zaterdag 30 april 2011

New books to look forward to for May 2011.

Here is my list of sparkling new books to be released in May:

Anne McCaffrey – Dragon’s Time – Pern series
Cheyenne McCray – Zombies sold separately – Night Tracker 4
Alexis Morgan – The darkness beyond – Paladins of Darkness 8
Karen Hawkins – Scandal in Scotland – Hurst Amulet 2
Thea Harrison – Dragon’s Bound
Ilona Andrews – Magic slays – Kate Daniels 5
Lynn Viehl – After Midnight – Youngbloods 1
Kim Harrison – Something deadly this way comes – Madison Avery 3
Deborah Cooke – Darkfire Kiss - Pyr 5

I have read only 2 books from my April list last month, and 1 which was not on it, but on this list, Quicksilver. Which is not much. I have read a total of 18 books in April. I do hope to read some more in May.

What are you looking forward to in May 2011?

Cherry Adair – Hot Ice

The first book in the T-FLAC: Black Rose Trilogy series, published in 2005 (only, so far there are only two books in this so called trilogy).

Hot Ice

The only thing Taylor Kincaid likes more than diamonds is stealing them. But when she snatches the elusive Blue Star diamonds from a murderous terrorist organization – and inadvertently snags the secret security-system codes to a South African diamond mine – this ultra-chic freelance jewel thief becomes a hunted item herself. Also in hot pursuit is top T-FLAC operative Huntington St. John, who Taylor thinks is just plain hot. The feeling, emotional and otherwise, is very mutual. But since ecstasy is fleeting and diamonds are forever, Taylor bolts to reclaim the jewels she stashed overseas. True to his name, Hunt is close behind. If they can survive danger at every turn, they just might get everything they desire.

Another case of the blurb totally misrepresenting the book. I hate it when that happens.

T-FLAC, a private counterterrorist organisation, well funded and with the latest gadgets and intel, and of course very hot operatives, has received some disturbing data on José Morales, the leader of the terrorist organisation Mano del Dios. Huntington St. John is in charge of the operation, and he needs a thief, the best there is, for the job.
So after cross checking thousands of high profile jobs, they finally find the person they are looking for. A woman, fearless, and extremely good at what she does. And her speciality is stealing jewels from criminals. It takes even longer to find out her identity, and where to find her. To his surprise, she is in San Cristobal, robbing Morales. Just what he wanted her to do. Only he was not after the priceless stolen jewellery, but after the secret codes to the plans of Morales and Mano del Dios. They know he has not only normal weaponry and biochemical weapons, but also a nuclear warhead. They need to find out his target, where everything is stashed away, and then stop him.

Just after her successful theft in Morales’ home, Taylor is arrested by the police. How on earth could they know about it? She successfully evaded the best alarmsystems and security available. Could it be that woman who wanted her to work for her gave her away? But Taylor doesn’t give up easy, and she is planning her next escape out of prison, when some guy springs her. Only the guards have hit her so hard, she is temporarily blind, and at the mercy of her rescuer. Of course he is not just a Samaritan, he wants what she just stole from Morales’ safe. But Taylor doesn’t trust him, and won’t tell him anything, not even when he almost seduces her. Why should she believe him? So she escapes once again, leaving Hunt unconscious and chained to the headboard of the bed as he kept her.

It takes months for Hunt to find her again, and this time he is determined not to let her escape him again. Time is running out for them to stop Morales from using his nuke. Taylor effortlessly manages the heist Hunt had thought impossible for her, but when she finally returns to her hotelroom, she finds Hunt waiting for her, lying on her bed. His fellow officers soon follow, and she is truly trapped this time. She still doesn’t trust Hunt or the others, but she sure is in lust with him. And after much persuasion, the tells them where the contents of the safe are: in a bank in Zürich. So they all go there to retrieve the information they need.

But T-FLAC and Morales are not the only ones looking for her and the stolen disks, there is another terrorist group called the Black Rose after the info. They intend to steal everything Mano del Dios has accumulated, and take the glory for themselves. And somehow they seem to know everything T-FLAC does almost as soon as Hunt himself. There has to be a traitor in their midst. After much adventure, Taylor joins T-FLAC in the final stages of the operation, as they need her skills to get into Morales’ stronghold.

This was a really good romantic suspense novel. Cherry Adair managed to amaze me a few times. I loved Taylor. She is such a great thief, she is strong and resourceful and she just won’t give up. She has been after Morales for years now, trying to steal the famous Blue Star diamonds from him, but every time she is just to late. Of course, she doesn’t leave her attempts empty handed, but she wants those particular diamonds.
I really want to tell more about her, but that would really spoil the story. I loved her, her joy for life, and the adrenaline she lives for. The dangers Hunt’s life throws at her, she enjoys immensely. And with all that, she steals Hunt’s heart.
Hunt has always been a loner, like Taylor. They both lost their mothers at a young age. Hunt never had much fun in life, not much laughter. But Taylor manages to make him smile, and laugh. He hates himself for falling for a criminal, for someone without his own high moral standards, but he just can’t stay away from Taylor. Of course she is beautiful, and has a gorgeous body, but it is the inner Taylor that attracts him. He wants to know her secrets, and is angry when she doesn’t trust him and tells him everything. But in the end, the fact that she doesn’t just give in to him, saves the day (and the mission).
I like how Hunt and Taylor are together, and how his men tease him with that. He never wanted woman in the field, and his concern for Taylor proves that. He would do anything to keep her safe, even compromise the mission. But Taylor won’t let him.

I do believe I found out who the traitor is, and I hope to get more clues in the next book. According to Fantasticfiction, this should be a trilogy, but the second book was written in 2007, so I do hope it doesn’t end for good with that book. That would mean a large never-ending story.

I like Cherry Adair’s writing style. This is a very fast-paced book, with lots of action and suspense, but also great humor, and some very hot love scenes. And jewellery. Great main and secondary characters, and I am curious who will be the star of the next book. This book has been on my shelf a very long time, and I am happy I have finally read it. I was in the mood for some good romantic suspense.

8,5 stars.

donderdag 28 april 2011

New addition to my addiction

Another Ebay score reached my house yesterday. A book I have been wanting to add to my collection for years now:

Elizabeth Lowell - Too hot to handle.

Only one more to find from this author.

I also received a package of bookmarks from Leann Sweeney. Now I am just waiting for the ordered books to find me.

woensdag 27 april 2011

Melissa Mayhue – Highlander’s curse

The eighth book in the Daughters of the Glen series, published March 2011.

Highlander's Curse

When Colin MacAlister is cursed by the Faerie Queen and ends up in the bed of a twenty-first-century woman – who also happens to be the most beautiful creature he’s ever laid eyes on – he’s torn between anger and lust. Colin is determined to see Scotland free of English control and must return to the fourteenth century, yet he cannot forget the woman who haunts his dreams and stirs him with scorching desire.
Abigail Porter can’t believe her luck. After making a wish to find her soul mate, she wakes up to find a gorgeous man in her bed! Can he really be a medieval Highlander summoned by her Faerie Magic, however? It seems crazy, but when Abby discovers someone wants to enslave her because of her Faerie heritage, she agrees to flee with Colin to 1306 Scotland to avoid capture. Thwarting danger at every turn, Abby and Colin surrender to an irresistible passion. But is the magic of true love powerful enough to save them?

Saying goodbye to her two best friends one night, being slightly drunk, they each tell their heartwishes. One wants to become pregnant with twins, the other wants to become engaged so she needs her boyfriend to ask her once again, and Abby wants to find her Soulmate, even though she claims not to need a man in her life. A green light appears, and somehow, those wishes are coming true!
Abby wakes up the next morning in the arms of a gorgeous, and naked, man. Was she that drunk that she doesn’t remember picking up a stranger in the bar when she left last night?
To her disappointment, the man calls his cousin to pick him up, and he disappears out of her life. Well, good ridden. She has to prepare for a new job, the chance of her lifetime! She has been chosen to go to Scotland for an archaeological dig. She has wanted to go there forever, since she has been dreaming of finding a centuries old treasure there. If only her new boss, Jonathan, wouldn’t act so much like he was interested in her for more than business …

Colin MacAlister is determined to rid Scotland of the English for good. He despises the Faery Magic in their family, seeing only the bad things that happened because of it, and not the love and Soulmates that people have found through it. He is kind of obsessed with finding people who can tell the future, to help him and his King in their battles.
But one day, Colin angers the Faery Queen, and she curses him with the ability to hear the screams of all the souls looking for their mates. Finding true love and a Soulmate is infinite more important than winning a battle, men will keep fighting. This curse will only end when he himself finds his Soulmate, and that will not happen in this lifetime!
And so Colin wakes up, hearing all the anguish from the torn souls in the vicinity. It takes him a good while to learn how to shut them out, so he can be in company again. And then, just before an important battle, he is ripped out of his world, and dumped in the 21st century, in the bed of a very pretty woman.
When she doesn’t seem to know how he got there, he leaves, but he keeps dreaming of her. Having no way of returning to his own time, he goes to Wyddecol, and trains to be a Guardian. Then he dreams Abby is in danger, and he just has to go to her. And so he joins her in Scotland, where he rescues her just in time from her boss, who is a Nuadian Fey, and who wants to keep her for her blood, which gives him access to the Magic again. The only way to escape, is to go back in time, to Colin’s home. And there Colin is determined to save his king, and to tell him of what is to come. He has learned much about what happened in Scotland after he left. He doesn’t care he is not allowed to change the future, for him it is not yet the future, but the present, and he wants Scotland free of the English.
He has no idea yet that Abby is his very own Soulmate, and he should be happy with her, instead of seeing her as an obstacle to his goals. She cannot go back to her own time without him, and he wants to stay where he is. And Abby just cannot live in medieval Scotland, never mind she is an archaeologist (or almost).
In order to be allowed to travel together to his clansmen and his king, Colin and Abby are married. And somehow, Abby will have to convince him not to change the future. Who knows what will happen when he does. Men who should die that battle will live, and vice versa. Who knows what evil will come of that. Maybe Abby herself will not even be born in that future.

Neither of them wants to give in to the other, both denying their love for each other. But in the end, one of them will have to choose. And then there is Jonathan/Flynn, who came back with them and is still after Abby and her Fae Magic …

Another good book by Melissa Mayhue. Don’t you just love that cover? I did not have much reading time lately, so it took me much longer than usual to finish.
Colin is a really stubborn Scot, but he did want to take good care of Abby. It sure took him long enough to find out she was his own Soulmate. A good thing there are mothers …
He is obsessed with winning the war, and he is the best warrior there is. He will warn his king of the treachery and save him and his clansmen. And if he has to take Abby with him, so be it. It won’t be comfortable for her. But Abby is just as stubborn as Colin is, and when she finally learns that the magic won’t send her back without him, she will stuck at his side as much as possible. Of course, the journey is a good way to really get to know each other. The danger is in the end was very suspenseful, and I liked what happened there.

I like Melissa Mayhue’s writing style, the characters she creates, and the fact that in a series, you get to meet the previous main characters again. There are no really funny scenes, but still there is some humor, and some small love scenes. And a few interrupted ones.

I shudder at the thought of having to live back in 1306 myself, no toilets, no toiletpaper, no shower, and most important: no chocolate! So yes, I agree with Abby, she needs to go back home and finish her degree.

8 stars

dinsdag 26 april 2011

New addition to my addiction

Robin Paige - Death at bishop's keep.

I have been away for the weekend with my boyfriend, and we had a great time. A beautiful country to travel, a nice hotel, good food, and eachother. I had taken some books with me to read, but alas, I have only read a few pages. Hope to catch up with that soon.

vrijdag 22 april 2011

Amanda Quick – Quicksilver

The second book in the Arcane Society: Looking Glass Trilogy series, published April 2011.


In the New York Times-bestselling author's latest Arcane Society novel, a paranormal killer pushes an unlikely duo's powers and passions to the limit.
Virginia Dean wakes at midnight beside a dead body, with a bloody knife in her hand and no memory of the evening's events. Dark energy, emanating from the mirrors lining the room, overpowers her senses. With no apparent way in or out, she is rescued by a man she has met only once before, but won't soon forget.
Owen Sweetwater inherited his family's talent for hunting the psychical monsters who prey on London's women and children, and his investigation into the deaths of two glass-readers has led him here. The high-society types of the exclusive Arcane Society would consider Virginia an illusionist, a charlatan, even a criminal, but Owen knows better. Virginia's powers are real-and they just might be the key to solving this challenging case.

When somebody dies, some powerful psychic energy is released and when there is a mirror nearby, that energy is stored inside. Virginia Dean is a high level glass-reader talent, and she can see in the mirror what happened. She witnesses those final moments, and knows if it was murder, or just a natural death. And sometimes, when a person was murdered, she can put the police on the right trail of the murderer. She does not however, see the image of the murderer, only that of the victim. It is not an easy talent, always seeing death people, and Virginia has carried the burden of it since the age of 13.
Her mother was glass reader herself, and mistress of a powerful man for many years, who had a strong talent himself. He had another legal family, another daughter he was proud of as well. A few weeks before her thirteenth birthday, both her parents were killed in a carriage accident. Luckily, her father has provided for Virginia, and she was sent to boarding school, to learn a trade, and when she was seventeen, she received enough money to start her own business. Only not something traditional, she got to work as a glass light reader. Unlike many psychics offering their services to the public, her talent is genuine.

Now Virginia is twenty six, and she and her best friend Charlotte, who owns a paranormal book shop (Charlotte has a talent to find rare and genuine paranormal books), have decided there will be no marriage in their futures, so they should set out to find a lover. Someone who can deal with their unusual psychic talents. But that is easier said than done.
Then Virginia meets Owen Sweetwater, a self appointed investigator, out to clear the streets of London of frauds. But something sizzles between them, and she is not afraid of him, though she senses he is a very strong talent himself.

Two minor glass reading talents have been murdered recently, and Owen Sweetwater has been hired by J & J Agency (the police of the Arcane Society) to hunt down the killer. The normal police will have no way to deal with a paranormal killer, someone who gets of on killing, and can defend himself without normal weapons. Owen thinks Virginia will be his next victim. The Sweetwater family has always had very powerful hunter talents, though Owen’s powers are a little different from the norm. But still, if he doesn’t find The One, the one woman who will be his Soulmate in time, his talent will take over, and turn him into a nightwalker. He is dangerously close to walking the edge. Until he meets Virginia. Now he only has to convince her of the fact they were made for each other.

Virginia accepts Owen’s proposal to guard her, after he rescues her from a horrible situation. He believes she is not a murderer, although everything points at her. But Virginia wants to join him in his investigation. As two glass reading talents have been murdered for their talents, she will be handy. Together they will find more clues to the why and who of the killings. They soon become lovers, but Virginia still has a difficulty to accept Owen’s casual way of thinking. She only wants to marry for love, and he never mentioned that.

Another great book in the Arcane series. I always love going back in time, to the beginnings of the Arcane Society, and the J&J agency. Meeting some of the previous heroes. The Sweetwater family has always been the “cleaners”, and it was nice to meet some of them up close and personal. It really is an intriguing family.
I liked Virginia. She has not had an easy life, growing up without a family, learning to deal with her talent all on her own. But she managed, and she is one formidable lady. She won’t let anyone trample over her. And so Owen finds out. Together they are that much stronger, and the very real psychic connection between them, grows as they fall in love.
There is a small secondary love story with Charlotte and Owen’s cousin, who also share a kind of similar talent.

For those of you not familiar with this series: Amanda Quick is a pen name for Jayne Ann Krentz, and she writes historical romance novels. Jayne Ann Krentz writes the same series, but then contemporary paranormal romance, and under the third name, Jayne Castle, she writes the futuristic paranormal romance novels in the same series. And I really love the series, and how it switches forth and back in time, following the same families, but mostly with different paranormal talents in the leading characters.

9 stars.

donderdag 21 april 2011

Susan Wittig Albert – Holly Blues

Book 18 in the China Bayles series, published April 2010.

Holly Blues

Life has been good to China Bayles, so she doesn’t mind welcoming her orphaned nice into the family. But she’s not happy when a Texas wind blows her husband’s ex-wife, mother of China’s stepson, into her herb shop. Sally is known to have a split personality and to be in trouble with the law, but now she claims she has nowhere else to turn. Perhaps it’s the scent of Christmas wreaths hanging in her store, but China invites Sally to stay…
Despite her track record, Sally surprises the family by making an effort with her son and forming an instant bond with China’s troubled niece. But soon an ex of Sally’s reappears. Sally has had plenty of bad-news beaus, but there seems to be an odd connection between this one and the murder of her parents nearly a decade ago. Now, with China’s P.I. husband out of town and two children in her care, it’s up to China to weed out whatever it is Sally’s running from before the truth catches up to them all…

Business is slow in Pecan Springs, and China is a bit worried. McQuaid’s P.I. business is not bringing in much money either, so McQuaid has gone back to teaching parttime. She loves her herb shop, and the businesses she shares with her best friend Ruby and their catering partner Cass. But people just have less to spend in the current economical climate. After the death of the half-brother China never knew she had, and an aunt, she and McQuaid have become the guardians/new parents of her niece Caitlin, who is still dealing with the loss of the rest of her family. It is difficult for China to connect with Caitlin, although she tries hard. She has had years to get used to Brian and his collection of lizards and snakes and other creepy crawlies, and now she has a little girl to take care of.
Christmas is only a week away, and they have made a lot of plans. Then suddenly Sally drops in. A very different looking Sally, nothing like the fashionsavvy China is used to. Sally seems to be really down on her luck this time, and when she confesses she doesn’t have a home, a job or even a car anymore, China takes pity on her, and asks her to stay. Sally does want to spend Christmas with her son this time. Brian is not too happy with having his real mother around. She has disappointed him so often the past years, forgetting his birthdays, Christmasses, promises, he doesn’t trust her anymore. But Caitlin form an instant connection with Sally, they both believe in faeries. And Brian is worried Caitlin will get her heart broken again if she gets to know his mother better. McQuaid is also not so happy. How could China fall for a fake sob story again? Did she forget what happened before? Luckily, he has a job in Omaha the next days, so he won’t be around to witness the fights bound to happen.

The very next day, China gets a phone call in her shop for Sally. Sally doesn’t want to speak with the man, and seems very afraid of him. That same night, late, a stranger calls again. How did he get her unlisted number? China’s doesn’t like to pry into other people’s private affairs, but she has to children to protect. What if the man is a stalker, out to hurt them? So without Sally’s knowledge, she alerts their friend Blacky, who is also the county sheriff.
And bit by bit she unravels Sally’s lies, while Sally tries to send McQuaid to her old hometown. When they were a young married couple, he really liked her parents and sister. But Sally didn’t want to leave the city. Visiting was allright, but living in that small town again? Never. And when their inevitable divorce was happening, her parents were murdered. The murderer has never been caught. Sally forbade McQuaid to interfere, or even come to the funeral. After all, they were no longer his family. And McQuaid had Brian to take care off, as he got full custody of their son. And now Sally claims to have a lead to the killer, and she wants him to find out the truth, to drive in the middle of a blizzard to her old hometown. But the person he was supposed to question is missing, and while he is still talking to the former chief of police, the body is found.
In the meanwhile, the police are looking for Sally, who has disappeared again, as a person of interest in the death of her sister! China just cannot believe Sally was capable of killing her sister, and be just a normal person at her dining table. So she and Ruby set out to discover the truth about what happened to Sally’s sister, and if her stalker could be the murderer. And then Sally could be his next victim if this is all connected…

A great story again, really fast pace, with action on two fronts. I knew from the previous books that Sally is a real screw-up, caring for no one but herself, always falling for the wrong guys. Getting in trouble big time, and having a multiple personality disorder. So that she managed to lie to China and get away with it, surprised me. Of course China is a good person, but being a lawyer sure gave her a thick skin when necessary. She quit being a high profile lawyer years ago to start her herb shop Thyme and Seasons, and is very successful in that. She likes her life, the family she has gotten.
She and Ruby are good at sleuthing, they have helped the police solve a lot of murders. To help protect friends, and sometimes even themselves from the murder accusations.

I really felt sorry for McQuaid and Brian for losing their favourite aunt/sister in law. She often stood in for Sally as a sort of mother for Brian, and they were pretty close. All is well with China and McQuaid, Ruby is still seeing her latest boyfriend, although she thinks him too boring, she wants some excitement in her life. Blacky and Smart Cookie (Sheila) are also back together, which is a huge surprise. Their brake up last time was bad. Ruby has a lot of troubles with her mother, who has Alzheimer and manages to escape out of the Home she is staying a lot. According to China, because she loves being brought back in the back of a police car.

The ending was exciting, but no surprise to me. A good mystery though. And perhaps a warning not to give personal information about your friends to a total stranger … even though he seems charming and harmless.
I have enjoyed reading this book, in just one evening.

Susan Wittig Albert has a different writing style. The book is written in the first person, but sometimes China talks to the reader directly. That is not something I am very fond of. Still, it does not take away much of the story. What I do find annoying at times, is the looking back, the summarizing of who is who, and what major things have happened. Will a person really start with reading the 18th book, and not the first one? Yes, I skip those pages, as I don’t need all those reminders.

7,5 stars.

Jude Deveraux – Holly

The sixth book in the Taggert series, published in November 2003.


Hollander “Holly” Latham can’t believe her good fortune. After endless calls, letters, emails and promises, she’s finally persuaded her parents to buy Spring Hill Plantation, just outside beautiful historic Edenton in eastern North Carolina – and strategically located near Belle Chere, the purest, most untouched plantation site in America.
At the tender age of thirteen, Holly fell in love with Lorrie Beaumont, who inherited the Revolutionary-period estate when his heiress mother died during childbirth. Though more than a decade has passed since Holly last locked eyes with her childhood love, the passion she felt in her young heart has never come close to extinction – that is, until charming, ruggedly handsome Nick Taggert unexpectedly waltzes into her life and treats her to an unforgettable weekend of laughter and intense passion.
Despite Holly’s undeniable attraction to this dazzling stranger, she knows he’s not marriage material. What Holly doesn’t know is that Nick Taggert is actually Dr. Nicholas Tagger. Having been with more than his share of woman only interested in his money and pedigree, Nick decides to test Holly and conceal his more refined qualities.
Will Holly be seduced by Lorrie’s wealth and privilege, or will she choose the simple gift of love that Nick has offered her? The answer is unveiled on a starry Christmas night, when passion, hate, and greed collide to reveal bitter truths that will forever change the course of Holly’s charmed life.
With Holly, Jude Deveraux once again uses her golden touch to conjure up a tale full of dazzling intrigue and inspiring romance. It is a story for all seasons and one to remember always.

Holly’s father is an important Ambassador, Holly’s mother was the single heiress of the Hollander Tool’s imperium. Her grandfather, knowing his daughter had no sense of the business, settled everything in stone. A board of directors manages the factory and Holly only gets to go to a shareholders meeting once a year, she has no say in the daily running of it. But she does get a huge income out of the trust and the profits.
Her father remarried, and Holly got a stepsister as well. Holly loves Taylor and her new stepmother, and provides for them (as her father has little money of his own). She has no clue whatsoever that Taylor hates her privileged guts. Taylor lived in poverty till the age of ten, and when her mother remarried Holly’s father, she got used to being rich very fast. But she still despises Holly for having everything: money, a good name/pedigree, a very pretty face and figure. Not that Taylor is not pretty, but her father was a commoner her mother ran away with, and lived to regret the rest of their marriage. So what she wants more than anything, is marry a very rich man with a very good pedigree. And the man she sets her cap for, will have no choice whatsoever…

Usually her parents choose a summer vacation location with lots of other children to play with, but when Holly was 13, they got a house offered by one of her fathers connections, in the wilds of North Carolina. Holly foresaw a lonely bored summer, as Taylor was old enough to drive to the nearest town, but would never take her. Then one day she met a gorgeous boy named Lorrie Beaumont, and who was their next door neighbour. Holly spend all summer with him, helping him restore the ancient plantation mansion that was his heritage. His father was involved in a bad real estate deal, and suddenly lost the money to send Lorrie to summercamp, so now Lorrie was hiding out at the family estate.
Holly thought no one new about her secret friend, but she was very wrong. Taylor found out very soon, and had in fact set it up. That summer, Holly fell in love with both Lorrie and his estate, Belle Chere. It changed her whole future. At university, she got involved with architecture, and American domestic historic architecture in specific. Giving money to preservationist societies, and finding, buying and repairing old American buildings. After all, she had money enough to do what she loved to do, and she hated doing nothing at all, going to parties like her stepsister.

Holly has kept track of Lorrie all those years, he went to lawschool, married, and now he is divorced and setting up practice in Edenton. Her father recently had a heart attack, and he needs to rest. So buying that old place where they once spent the summer, is a logical choice. Especially as Taylor is marrying a man living there. So this is Holly’s chance to meet Lorrie again, and hopefully he gets to love her as much as she has loved him over the years. No man could ever compare to him …

So now Holly is back in Edenton, making sure the move will go well. But she has a few hours to kill, and decides to go looking if the rumours about the age of the houses in this area is true. Holly loves trespassing and searching for abandoned old buildings, finding out their age. But this time, she gets scared by a big rattlesnake, and falls through a rotten floor into the old cellar beneath. And she can impossibly climb back out. The house is remote, her car is neatly hidden in the bushes, will she ever be found?
Lucky for Holly, when the movers reported her absence at the diner she had lunch, the cashier lady though she has been abducted by the hot bad man she was admiring earlier, and send the police after him. After Nick got through, being mad at being a suspect of a kidnapping, he got to thinking. The woman had to be somewhere. And so, late at night, he found her. Halfnaked in a dark pit, a true vision for his eyes. Having been through a bad breakup a few weeks before, he has no interest at all in a new relationship, but he does want sex. And Holly is so grateful he rescued her, and was already lusting after him earlier, she agrees. A weekend filled with as much sex as they can handle, and then they will part ways forever. They promise not to fall in love with each other.

So after the hot weekend, Holly deals with the movers, and goes home, to her family. But Nick cannot believe she left him just like that, as she promised. No woman has ever turned him down before. Never has he had better sex either, or had so much fun with a woman. So, forgetting his promise, he asks his Montgomery cousin to find out everything he can about her, and about the man she wants to marry. She is not engaged yet, so he still has the chance to win her over.
Holly knows a mixed marriage can never work. Nick is so proud, he would never want to live off her money. The differences between them are too big. And she is still in love with Lorrie, excited about meeting him soon. And seeing the plantation again, after all those years. Yes, she liked the sex with Nick, and his company, a lot. But he is not her future. So why can’t she stop thinking about him? Why are the memories of Lorrie fading?
And when she finds out that Nick is her fathers new gardener and chauffeur, and living in a cottage nearby, she cannot stop herself from seeing him every night.

How can she choose between them, Nick the poor gardener, and Lorrie, the handsome lawyer with the estate she loves above all things? But in the end, the choice is made for her, when tragedy happens….

Due to the cover of the book, I thought this one was a historical novel, but when I finally read the blurb, it proved me wrong and I wanted to read it at once. This is a really lovely contemporary romance as only Jude Deveraux can create them. I loved it. I am not used to lots of sex in the start of one of her books, but this fit the storyline. And the scenes are not too detailed.

I liked Holly a lot. Yes, she was a bit of a snob with her ideas of class, but that is the way she is brought up. She is no Paris Hilton type, she works hard, and she loves those old buildings a lot. I got to know her and sympathize with her. She has seen enough evidence to know that marrying a poor man is a bad choice. And when the glow of love left her eyes, she finally saw the truth of that perfect summer. And I was sad for her.
The deception of her stepsister brought a dangerous plot to the story, and she really is the bad stepsister of the fairytales. Holly has done nothing to deserve her hatred, has shared everything she has, made a huge trust for her stepmother, father, and stepsister so they will be well taken care of for the rest of their lives, and still it is not enough.
I am a bit dubious about Nick. I understand he wants to be incognito, to be loved for himself, and not his money, his family or his status as a doctor. And at first it was romantic that he came after her, got to work as a (very bad) gardener and chauffeur, and later her protector. But he let it go to far, he just took from her. Asking for her trust, and not giving it in return. There really was a connection between them from the first time they met, but still.
And then there was Lorrie. A southern gentleman? Or not really? No, I won’t spoil it ;)

All in all, a book I read in one sitting in a few hours. I liked it. There surely were a lot of surprises in the book, and I like being surprised. There was also a tiny little link to my favourite trio of books by Jude Deveraux: Forever, Forever and Always, and Always. I keep hoping there will be a sequel, she left that last book with such an open ending. Nick had a phone call with Darci.
Jude Deveraux is one of the first authors I read as a teenager (too many years ago), and she will always be a favourite author, and auto-buy.

8,5 stars

dinsdag 19 april 2011

Annette Blair – Vampire Dragon

The third book in the Works Like Magick series, published april 2011.

Vampire Dragon

In Salem, Massachusetts, the Works Like Magick employment agency matches clients in need with magical temps. This time it brings two heart mates together, but when neither is who they appear to be, true danger could be even closer than true love …

Darkwyn, a former Roman warrior turned dragon, has landed in the 21st century – in stark-naked human form – needing the help of Works Like Magick to build a new life. His first job is as a bouncer in Drak’s place, a club for local wannabe vampires. But that’s just a cover – his real assignment could kill him.
Bronte McBride is on the run from the mob with her twelve-year-old nephew Zachary. They both know too much, and a place like Drak’s offers the kind of anonymous protection they’re seeking. Darkwyn has what it takes to protect – and serve – even when he begins to suspect that his vulnerable charge, a woman he recognizes as his heart mate, isn’t everything she claims to be. Then again, Darkwyn has his own secrets. And now, as the past catches up with both of them, nothing less than ultimate chaos will be the next thing these guarded new lovers are destined to share.

The first human Darkwyn sees when he opens his eyes after his hard landing on Earth, is his heart mate. A beautiful masked woman, dressed to kill, in thigh high boots, a corset, and a mask. He knows it is her immediately, and he senses the woman is attracted to him, but then she runs away. As he doesn’t know how to speak yet, he cannot call her back. Then he realizes he is not in an alley, but behind the bar in a pub. A pub with woman, all looking curious at him, and with desire. He sees their hearts, and knows they are not his heart mate. He was told it would be difficult to find her, but it wasn’t.
Just when he is about to be accosted by the woman, he is saved by Vivica, the owner of Works Like Magick, who takes him with her, to train him in everything he will need to know to survive here. His two brothers who arrived before him, Bastian and Jaydun, are with her. His heart mate, a woman named Bronte McBride, who owns the place, needs help. She needs a Vampire Master to her Vampiress, as she owns a tourist / vampire place. She needs him to keep the more persistent vampires and vampire-wannabe’s of her self, and as a bouncer and such. So Darkwyn promises to take the job, after Vivica has teached him what he needs to know. But when one night Darkwyn senses Bronte needs him, he leaves before he has learned enough. Which leads to him exposing himself as a dragon to a reporter, damaging Bronte’s cover as she and Zachary are hiding from the Canadian mob.

Bronte is severely attracted to Darkwyn, but she doesn’t want to act on it, she cannot risk getting close to anyone and perhaps put them in danger as well. She doesn’t know who she can trust, and who will be working for Sanguedolce. But she cannot fight Darkwyn for long, especially when she finds out about his extra special manparts, who put the most sophisticated vibrators to shame. It can do so much more, and seems to have a mind and memory of its own. So after one night filled with lovemaking, she accepts him in their life, but not yet trusting him with her secrets, or her face behind the mask she wears always.

The book is totally original, and funny, and filled with action and some hot love scenes. But to me, it was lacking something. It was not as funny as the first part, in which I could really feel with McKenna, the heroin. And it certainly had not the dept of feeling as the second book, which is one of my most treasured books. Perhaps I should not have been comparing them.
Darkwyn was a Roman warrior before a bad witch/goddess turned his whole platoon into dragons, and banned them to a distant star. There he was a fierce dragon, called Black Ice. And now he is on earth for one purpose only: to find his heart mate, to make her goals his, and help her, and to defeat Killian, so Andra the good goddess who protects the dragons, can get her magic back, to send the next dragon back to earth.
So, Darkwyn finds his heart mate at once, he is not curious about her, what she likes, or dislikes, he just wants into her bed, and protect her. He really did not have any other feelings. Also, there is nothing at all about his personal past. What he was like, did he lose someone? What made him a good man, or dragon.

I loved the place Bronte and Zachary made for themselves, the place for tourist, and the club for vampires and everything. But still, not much background on Bronte either. The only thing that made her ticking was her love for her nephew Zachary, whom she raised from birth, and to keep him safe. And for the rest, not much info on her either, so I just couldn’t get a feeling for the both of them. Instant lust, okay, heart mates, okay, fine, but also no time for love to build. A hurried marriage for the wrong reason.
I am very sorry, but I am disappointed in this book. I did enjoy parts of it, but it lacked what I loved in the previous book. The passion, the characters I totally loved and could feel for, and understood why they were as they were.

6 stars.

maandag 18 april 2011

Robin Kaye – Too hot to handle

The second book in the Domestic Gods series, published May 2009.

Too hot to handle

He sure would love to have someone to take care of...
Dr. Mike Flynn's single mom taught him early how to cook and clean, and there's nothing like vacuuming or doing dishes to help a guy relax. Annabelle Ronaldi is an artist without a domestic bone in her body. Since her fiancé’s death, she can't paint, and life looks hopeless.
Until the day after her sister's wedding, when she wakes up with Mike next to her in bed, and then she's really beside herself - because the handsome stranger is a dead ringer for her dead fiancé.
After their mind-blowing one night stand, Mike is sure this is the woman he wants to take care of forever, but she acts like she's seen a ghost. While Mike sets to work wooing Annabelle, she sets to work sniffing out the truth of the convoluted family secret that turns everybody's lives upside down.

Two years ago, Annabelle’s world collapsed when her boyfriend died from cancer. He just gave up, didn’t want treatment, didn’t fight for their relationship. His parents despised her, thought she was only after his money, and threw her out of his (and hers) apartment. She was heartbroken, and to move in with her parents again. With the death of Chip, she also lost her ability to paint. It just hurt to much. Her awful mother drove her straight into a new relationship, with a rat of a man, who cheated on her. Just in time she found out, and cancelled the wedding. To the bitter disappointment and displeasure of her mother, who thought she should be grateful the louse wanted to marry her. Instead, her sister had the wedding she’d been planning for the last year.
And at that wedding, she almost fainted at the sight of the best man of her new brother-in-law, Dr. Mike Flynn. He was the spitting image of her lost love, he could be his twin! Mike of course doesn’t know that he only feels the attraction between them, and when Annabelle gets drunk at the wedding, goes home with her for a passion filled night.
Annabelle isn’t much interested in sex, to her opinion it is overrated, and all that sex stuff in books is just fake. Until she spends the night with Mike, and she finally finds out what it is al about. Her previous two lovers were just selfish and worthless in bed. Mike proves her wrong, she is not frigid, she is a very passionate lover, and he falls in love with her right away. After his endless string of girlfriends, mostly leftovers from his best friend Nick Romeo, he wants something more in a relationship, and Annabelle is it. And now he just has to convince her of that fact, earn her trust. And beat her also interested boss Ben to the job…

Annabelle’s best friend Becca, also the sister of her lost love Chip, wants to see Annabelle happy, and is curious after Mike. Does he really look like her twin? When she finds a picture on Annabelle’s computer, she prints it out and asks her dad about him, never knowing Mike could really be her half brother! Her father tells her the story of his long lost love of his life, and how her own mother betrayed him by posting the news of their engagement in all the newspapers, driving Colleen back home to Ireland, where she was out of his reach. He never knew she was pregnant …
When Mike’s mother Colleen tells Annabelle the same story, and she finds out Mike is dr. Larsen’s son as well, she is devastated. She will not be treated like dirt again, she is no longer 18! But she also will not stand between the man she loves and his newfound family.
And when Mike finds out, he just thinks Annabelle is still in love with her first boyfriend, his own half brother!

They both jump to conclusions, and are miserable. Will they know how to mend this breach, or go their own way?

Another fun and good book from Robin Kaye. I truly like her wicked sense of humor, the hot love scenes she writes, the fun characters. I want me a man who loves to cook and clean too! (Yes, I am happy with my boyfriend, but I hate household chores).
Dog Dave also plays a nice role in this book, as Rosalie and Nick are on their honeymoon. And never forget the Fairy Godfathers, the neighbours Annabelle inherited with the apartment from Rosalie she took over. They are totally the best neighbours ever. I also loved how brother Richie spoiled the first date between Annabelle and Mike. That was funny.

I heartily recommend this series to anyone who is in the mood for a funny and good contemporary romance. Of course, there is more than just light fun, Annabelle really has to deal with the grief over Chip, and relearn her love of painting. As for Mike, he has to deal with issues at his job, and I am sorry I didn’t learn more about that. I am curious what those partners were up to, with the covering they did. Perhaps the next book will reveal more.

8,5 stars

zondag 17 april 2011

My blogoversary pricewinners!

I am sorry, but I was too tired yesterday to blog. So as there were only two contestants for my very first give-away, I have decided, that you both win the price. Congratulations to Freya and Blodeuedd!

Please send me an email with the book you want (which has to be: paperback, still available at the Bookdepository, and reviewed by me in the previous year), and your snail mail address at:
auriansbooks at gmail dot com

I will order the book, and send you the order confirmation.

zaterdag 16 april 2011

J.D. Robb – Creation in Death

Book 25 in the In Death series, published November 2007.

Creation in Death

The number 1 New York Times bestselling author of Innocent in Death and Born in Death delivers her explosive new novel …

When the body of a young brunette is found in East River Park, artfully positioned and marked by signs of prolonged and painful torture, Lieutenant Eve Dallas is catapulted back to a case nine years earlier. The city had been on edge due to a killing spree that took the lives of four women in fifteen days, all courtesy of the man the media tagged as “The Groom” – because he put silver rings on his victims’ fingers.
This time, it becomes chillingly clear that the killer has made his attack personal: the young woman was employed by Eve’s billionaire husband, Roarke, washed in products from a store Roarke owns and laid out on a sheet Roarke’s company manufactures. Chances are The Groom is working up to the biggest challenge of his illustrious career – abducting a woman who will test his skills and who promises to give him days and days of pleasure before she dies: Eve.

Eve and Roarke are enjoying a quiet evening at home, Eve has the next day off, and they have plans … Then Eve gets a call from the Commander himself to report to a murder in East River Park. He knows she is off duty, and she knows he wouldn’t call himself if it wasn’t important. And when they get on scene, they walk straight in a nightmare. A serial killer who got away nine years ago is back. He abducts young women, and tortures them to death. And then he carves their time in their skins. While he is working on the first, he has already taken the second, and so on. Never before have the women been linked, until now. The killer uses connections to Roarke. The women work for him, the products used are manufactured by his companies, and dr. Mira strongly believes, he will go for Eve as his last and best work ever.

Nine years ago, New York was his first place of work, but since then, he has been around the world. 24 woman are murdered so far, and Eve vows, it will stop here. They have a big advantage they didn’t have last time, when Feeney led the team, and Eve was just learning how to be a Detective. She also was too young to fit his victim profile, but no longer.
This time, they have Roarke, with his resources and intelligence to help them find and stop this killer. And as it is personal for Roarke too, he is helping with the investigation the whole journey. Getting more respect for how they work, and how they care, even though they trade some jokes.

Eve finds some new angles to work the case, with Summerset giving her a very important clue. And in the end, all the little clues come together. But it will be in time to save the last victim before Eve?

This one was certainly exciting to read again. I had the ending confused with another book, so it was still kind of a surprise. But I think I’ll stop re-reading for a while, as I do remember too much now.
A very good book. It was great to see how good Roarke fits in with the cops, how they all work together. Even though Feeney and Roarke get mad at Eve, they make up again. And it are Mavis and Trina who give Eve her first real breakthrough. And Eve didn’t even have to have a session with Trina this time! All the favourite secondary characters where there, except Charles and Louise. Even Morris helps with the investigation, as he was there nine years ago as well. Dickhead doesn’t even need to be bribed, he is as eager to catch this killer as they all are. And the end, wow, that sure was great, how they thwarted the murderer. Hooray for Roarke and his unregistered.

9 stars.

vrijdag 15 april 2011

Lisa Kleypas – A Wallflower Christmas

The fifth book in the Wallflowers series, published October 2008.

A Wallflower Christmas

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas invites you to spend the holidays with the Wallflowers – four young London ladies who finally found the men of their dreams … and will join together one more to help the world’s most notorious rogue meet his match.

The magic of Christmas
Rafe Bowman has just arrived from America for his arranged meeting with Natalie, the very proper and beautiful daughter of Lady and Lord Blandford. His chiseled good looks and imposing physique are sure to impress the lady-in-waiting and, if it weren't for his shocking American ways and wild reputation, her hand would already be guaranteed. Before the courtship can begin, Rafe realizes he must learn the rules of London society. But when four former Wallflowers try their hand at matchmaking, no one knows what will happen…
Begins under the Mistletoe
Winning a bride turns out to be more complicated than Rafe Bowman had anticipated, especially for a man accustomed to getting anything he wants. However, Christmas works in the most unexpected ways, changing a cynic to a romantic … and inspiring passion in the most timid of hearts.

A lovely little novella, to catch up with the four couples in the original Wallflower series. Lillian and Daisy’s father has decided it is time for his oldest son to marry, and if he agrees, and to marry the woman his father has chosen for him, he will get huge benefits from his father. Not that Rafe needs them, he is a rich man in his own rights, but he does want a piece of the European branch of the soapmaking factory his father has started. So he agrees to meet Natalie Blandford, a lovely young woman of a good family. Her father is eager for the match, as the Bowmans are exceptionally rich and will keep his daughter in wealth. But especially the connection to Lord Westcliff is important to him.
So when his daughters chaperone gets an invitation to have tea with the Duchess of Westcliff, he urges her to agree to that. Of course it is only to find out about Nathalie’s virtues, and if she and Lillian’s brother Rafe could be compatible. But it is an important invitation, and Hannah should go.

Hannah is a poor relative of the Blandfords, and has been taking care of Nathalie for years now. She loves her dearly, and doesn’t believe an uncouth American is a good match for Nathalie. No matter how rich he is. He is a commoner, and a barbarian. But when she sets eyes on Rafe, and accepts his handshake, something strange happens.
And Rafe also doesn’t know what is happening. He is about to marry someone, but all he wants is Hannah in his arms, in his bed. I
n a few days time the house party at Stony Cross Park starts. The Blandfords are invited of course, to give Rafe and Nathalie time to get to know one another. Hannah will have to chaperone Nathalie, and will be close to Rafe because of that. Her cousin wants some alone time with Rafe, to find out about his kisses for herself. Which is an important something to know, if you are thinking about marrying some one.
Hannah wanders off, and finds herself in the library, reading A Christmas Carol to a bunch of children. An activity she repeats every night until the book is finished. But Rafe is also one of the listeners, and he finds himself drawn to Hannah more and more. How can he marry Nathalie when it is Hannah he dreams about? But not marrying Nathalie means disownment by his father, and will he risk that? Is he capable of love and fidelity?
He had a very harsh youth, his father was extremely strict and rude with him, so when he came off age, knowing he would never get the approval he wanted, he went the other way. Rafe became a rake, a hellion, and a major player at the stockmarket. But deep inside, there is still that lonely boy who was never allowed to play with other children.

A really lovely little love story. As it is only a novella, there was no big break up scene before the reconciliation. Both Rafe and Hannah have to trust in their love for each other, never believing they are good enough. But there is unmistakable attraction between them, and admiration as well. They get to know each other, and fall in love (and lust). Some hot love scenes and kisses.
As always, I love Lisa Kleypas’ writing style, her humor, the great characters and secondary characters. No perfect heroes, but with their own flaws and honourable intentions (and a few less honourable). It is a book that will make you smile.

7,5 stars

donderdag 14 april 2011

Anna Windsor – Captive heart

The sixth book in the Dark Crescent Sisterhood series, published January 2011.

Captive heart

Hot, wet, and bothered
As the world's only fully trained water Sybil, Andy Myles is too busy battling New York's demonic population and coping with personal tragedy to trust her broken heart to the wrong man. Jack Blackmore, FBI adviser to Manhattan's Occult Crimes Unit, is Army-tough and rattling Andy's nerves big-time, criticizing her strategies for attacking the powerful flesh-feasting Rakshasa. She could happily drown Jack with a rogue wave of her water energy - or her kisses. Honestly, when did hating a man become so hot?
Jack's all human - and he puts his trust in bullets, steel, and fists, not magic. Tough and confident, he's never met a problem he couldn't handle. Then again, he's never fought alongside warrior witches who can kill with a flick of a finger or lost his heart to a wild, unpredictable woman whose kisses taste like sweet southern rain. As a tide of despotic evil sweeps through the streets of New York, Jack's got one chance to stop a malevolent rampage - and claim Andy's heart.

In the previous book, Jack Blackmore came back from his visits to the Motherhouses of the Fire, Earth and Air Sybils a changed man. No longer so obnoxious arrogant, like he is the only one in charge and dedicated to fight demons. Accepting that the Sybils know what they are doing and his equals, not his underlings. And this change makes Andy look at him differently. As he looks at her as a wonderful woman he wants to get to know better.
But the danger is still not over. Mobsters are being killed, torn to pieces. And Jack needs Andy back in New York, as she is one of the best OCU officers with strategy.

The search for the Coven is still going strong, but as Bela, Andy, Camille and Dio are afraid to use their unique powers to search for them since falling in a nasty trap, it is going slow, cold and useless. In the first series of books, the Sybils fought and Andy killed the last Leviathan. And as now is revealed, the Coven leader and his half sister where his children. Trying to up their powers by genetic enhancing, using Rakshasa blood and DNA to create super mobsters, unstoppable by bullets, to fight their battles for them, and capture more paranormal creatures. Like some of the Sluagh, looking for something they lost a long time ago. Allies of the Fire Sybils, they won’t harm them, or help them, but in the end they are after the same thing.
Both Dio and Andy have horrible premonitions of the future, of the resurrecting of the last Rakshasa demon, the death of Andy and her little god daughter Neala, a young fire Sybil, and the mutilation of Dio and the rest of the quad. And if Andy cannot get her powers to work as they should, those premonitions will become reality.

I don’t want to spoil too much of this story, as I did with the previous book. Sorry for that, but I was totally blown away with it. As I am with this one. I love this series, and I hope for a new series. Perhaps featuring Dio and Saul?
If you like strong kick ass heroines and paranormal creatures, the fight against evil, this is really a series you should not miss out on. The characters are all so well written, you have to feel with them. The pain of their past, the losses they suffered, and now the love they find. The doubts about their own abilities, and how they grow into their powers. As usual, the ending of the book was great, filled with love and humor.

Andy was a normal human police officer until she was attacked with elemental water energy, and her latent water Sybil powers were awakened. Now she has to balance being a Sybil Mother, will all those responsibilities, her job as part of a fighting squad, her experience as a police officer, making time for her god children, and her growing love for Jack. It all takes time and energy, and she still is learning about her own powers from Elana. She is afraid of her powers, and unsure how to use them, what she should be doing with them. But she tries. And after losing her last lover Sal, she is trying to open up to Jack. I love her love for food, the strange combinations she is trying, under the pretext: food should never be boring. The date she had with Jack was great too. And when he is not wearing his FBI (=Flaming Bunch of Idiots) suit, he is really hot …
And Jack also had not had an easy life. His father was a mafia assassin, and he had to kill him to protect his mother and sister. After that, he joined the army and his family the Witness Protection Program. He never saw them since. After the army came the black ops, the feds, and the paranormal divisions. He is good at what he does, but he doesn’t put down roots, going from one city or country to the next, fighting demons. Until New York. Until Andy makes him rethink his life, and what he wants out of if. What he could have if he wants it bad enough. Pure human, he is no match for an angry Water Sybil. But at the end of the book, he too is no longer just human, but something more. He will live as long as she does, if they don’t die in battle that is.
And the quad as a whole, they finally get the respect and acknowledgement they so richly deserve from the various mothers. Their powers are needed in this fight, and for the next generations to come.

Anna Windsor’s writing style is exactly as I like my books: kick ass women, but they can lean on their man if necessary. Stubborn and powerful, and fighting. But there is also room for humor in the book, little quirks, personalities evolving. She writes fluently, and fast paced. Lots of action, and some very hot love scenes. Even though all the other characters in the previous books are still in this one, Andy and Jack are stage center. You just keep on reading, needing to finish the book and at the same time, not wanting it to end. So Anna Windsor, please keep writing more books in this great world you invented.

9,5 stars.

New addition to my addiction

To my surprise I received this book at 8 a.m.! But a great way to start the day.

Melissa Mayhue - Highlander's Curse.

dinsdag 12 april 2011

Anna Windsor – Captive Soul

The fifth book in the Dark Crescent Sisterhood series, published December 2010.

Captive Soul

She's definitely getting warmer.
Her flame power nearly extinguished in a battle against the dark forces attempting to control Manhattan, fire Sybil Camille Fitzgerald is down but not out. Joining a new squad of warrior witches, she hopes to reclaim her fighting spirit and, with luck, her pyrotechnic mastery. Two problems on that front: a new army of cannibalistic demons and her superheated lust for John Cole, an unholy blend of demon and U.S. Special Forces agent now working undercover for New York's Occult Crimes Unit.
John knows he can't be trusted--hell, he can't trust himself. His warrior soul has entered a new, supernaturally fit body. Unfortunately, it's a body belonging to the Sybils' worst enemy, whose supernasty essence still lingers. But when John's demon energy seems more alive than dead, it's Camille whose scorching kiss keeps him human--for now. All he's got to do is master his dark side and save Camille and the Sybils from an army of satanic hellboys planning their ultimate destruction.

In the previous book, John Cole became a ghost, sharing the body with Duncan Sharp, his best friend, and infected by a Rakshasa Demon. In the end of that book, Camille separated that soul, and put it unintentionally in the body of the almost defeated Rakshasa Demon leader named Strada. And in that moment, John and Camille joined souls.
John was already attracted to Camille while still sharing Duncan’s body. And now that he has seen her soul, he loves her. But he cannot be near her until he gets Strada’s essence under control, so he won’t take over his body again. But he still watches her from a distance, and when needed, helps her in her fights.
Camille is confused. She knows what happened back them, but refuses to believe it. But why then doesn’t she attack Strada when she has the opportunity? Can he really be John Cole?
From young Sybil on, Camille never fitted with the other Fire Sybils. She doesn’t have their ease with fire, she doesn’t smoke, but she does have other powers. Powers the mothers find too dangerous for her to use, and haven’t trained her in. There is only one ancient fire Sybil in motherhouse Ireland who helps her. A recluse, living in the ancient catacombs beneath the castle. Ona has the same powers Camille has, and she tries to teach her how they work. But Ona is damaged, and cannot bear to tell Camille everything that has happened.
At the same time, John is getting trained by the Bengals, and their leader, Elana. An other ancient woman, who knows much about what Camille and the rest of her squad are going through.
When John is finally in control enough of his inner demon, he meets up with Camille, her squad and Duncan again (who married Bela in the previous book). The other Sybils don’t trust him, he is a whole new kind of demon, and they want to test him as they did Duncan and the Lowell brothers. But Camille cannot stand it, she knows it is John even though he looks like Strada in human form. And that day their relationship starts. They already know the most important things about each other, but Camille just needs time to get to know the real John, his past, and what he wants, beside fighting Rakshasa demons.
Unfortunately, that time is not given to them easily. The Rakshasa don’t sit still and wait to be found and killed. They join forces with the mobsters, go on creating more Created demons, and their pet sorcerers know how to make Asmodai. Patrolling every night is exhausting, but there still aren’t enough fighting Sybils to cover the whole of New York to give them a night of now and then.

The new leader of the Rakshasa, Tarek, is learning more about humans daily. He is proud of his accomplishments, of his fellow Eldest, but his pet sorcerer and his coven is getting out of his control. And he cannot have that, when he is on the verge of a great battle with those four different Sybils, the one with the ancient powers, the same powers that imprisoned them all a thousand years ago.

I really loved this book. It took me awhile to pick it up after the previous one was a bit of a disappointment, but this one was great from the start. I could really feel with Camille, who was standing apart from her sister fire Sybils as she can’t do what comes so easily to them, and which is so hard needed in battle. But her other powers are getting stronger, and are exactly what is needed to safe the world this time.
She loves John, but is uncertain of their future. Her powers are unknown and dangerous, and so extremely strong, there is no limit to what she can do. But the backleash of using all that power can kill her and those she loves. Still, she is willing to give love a try, building a relationship with him, and be happy even if it will be only a short time.

John has been a soldier his whole life, first as a fighting priest in the army, than as an undercover federal agent. He kept fighting as a ghost, and now that he has a body again, he can go on again. But there is also Camille. He has fallen in love with her, ever since he touched her soul. And yes, he wants that happy ever after with her. If only he can control his inner demon for good. He will absolutely not endanger her. He accepts Camille, accepts she is a warrior in her own right, and will have to face danger. But they fight well together.

Bit by bit, we learn more about the different powers those four Sybils have, and how they can use them. Camille really has some cool ones. This book is action filled, lots of good fighting scenes, especially that last one. You can feel the love between Camille and John, and their lovescenes are scorching hot, literally. It is not an easy love, for both of them. Sometimes it is difficult not to run away, and stay with the other. Sometimes they just can’t.

There is also a little bit more information about Griffen and Rebecca, and I am extremely curious to find out what they are, and what they are really up to. Their last scene was such a surprise, it will have to backfire on them, or on the Sybils somewhere. Andy is so happy that there is another water Sybil alive after all, some one who can teach her what it means to be a water Sybil, show her what to do with her powers. I believe in the next book there will be more about that. But the biggest surprise was Jack Blackmore, who came back from his tour of the motherhouse a changed man. He managed to behave, and not to piss of Andy, except for that last meeting.

All in all, a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I am looking forward to Captive Heart, which is on the shelf above me, just there for the picking. But there are also two other books I just received calling my name … Decisions, decisions …

9 stars.

New additions to my addiction

Today I found two new books on my doormat:

Anne Bishop - Heir to the shadows
Annette Blair - Vampire Dragon.

I am really anxious to start that last one, as I totally loved the first two books in this series. They really belong with the list of best books I have ever read. So, stay tuned for the review ;)

New additions to my addiction

Today I found two new books on my doormat:

Anne Bishop - Heir to the shadows
Annette Blair - Vampire Dragon.

I am really anxious to start that last one, as I totally loved the first two books in this series. They really belong with the list of best books I have ever read. So, stay tuned for the review ;)

zondag 10 april 2011

One year blogoversary!


Today is the first anniversary of my blog. Yeah, I made it! I didn’t know if I would manage to keep doing it when I started, but I did, so I am a little bit proud of myself.

An anniversary speech usually has some numbers in it, so here are my blog numbers for the past year:

I have 11 followers, and I am very proud to have gathered you all. Thank you for reading my blog, and for commenting on my posts.
I have blogged a grand total of 308 times.
I have made 238 book reviews.
I have read more than that, as I didn’t always made a review when rereading a book, or reading a book in Dutch, my first language.
I have not kept a list right from the start, but I have bought 232 books since June 2010.

Of course, this calls for a little bookparty, so I have decided to do a book give away. Now I cannot possibly part with one of my own books, so the lucky winner will be able to choose one paperback from the Bookdepository. You can choose any book you want of the books I have written a review about, and if it is still available at the Bookdepository.

The rules: you have to be a follower, and you have to comment on this post.
Please leave your email address in the comment, if I don’t already have it.

I will draw the lucky follower/commenter out of a hat Sunday April 17.

So, let’s hope the coming year will be just as good, with many great new books to read and to review.

Robin Kaye – Romeo, Romeo

The first book in the Domestic Gods series, published November 2008.

Romeo Romeo

Rosalie Ronaldi doesn't have a domestic bone in her body ...
All she cares about is her career, so she survives on take-out and dirty martinis, keeps her shoes under the dining room table, her bras on the shower curtain rod, and her clothes on the couch ...

Nick Romeo is every woman's fantasy - tall, dark, handsome, rich, really good in bed, AND he loves to cook and clean ...
He says he wants an independent woman, but when he meets Rosalie, all he wants to do is take care of her. Before too long, he's cleaned up her apartment, stocked her refrigerator, and adopted her dog ...
So what's the problem? Just a little matter of mistaken identity, corporate theft, a hidden past in juvenile detention and one big nosy Italian family too close for comfort ...

Rosalie is happy with her life, she loves her job and is good at it. She has a boyfriend on her own terms, and is not planning on getting married, ever. She hates doing domestic work, so her house resembles a blizzard. Her clothes and other stuff are everywhere, except in the closets where they belong. The only clean place is the kitchen, because she doesn’t use it except to make coffee.
If only her mother didn’t start nagging her about getting married. She is 27, and has been dating Joey for two years, so it is about time they got married. But Rosalie doesn’t want that. She isn’t in love with Joey, he is just convenient. So when he does propose to her, she refuses him and breaks things off. Her mother is very mad about that, but Rosalie doesn’t care.
The previous day when she got a flat tire and was rescued by a very handsome car mechanic, she ended up with a date with him. And she really is looking forward to that.

Nick doesn’t know what happens to him when he meets Rosalie. He doesn’t want to tell her who he really is, as woman have been chasing him just for his money. And he really likes this spitfire. He doesn’t want to marry, and as soon as a girlfriend uses that word, or wants him to meet her family, he runs. But this time, it is him who gets the talk about a casual no strings attached relationship. So, is it a dream come true? Rosalie is independent, doesn’t expect him to take her out to dinner at four star restaurants every evening, doesn’t want to talk excessively about her feelings or expectations, and she loves watching hockey games.

On their second date, he finds her in bed, sick. He is worried about her, and stays to take care of her. When he takes her to the emergency room the next day, she is diagnosed with pneumonia. Nick takes her home, vows to take care of her, and just moves in. And when she finally gets better, he just stays. Still pretending he is just a mechanic, and not the owner of all those car dealerships. What he doesn’t know is that Rosalie is the new CFO of Premier cars, a Jaguar dealer ship, Nick has had his eye on since forever. He wants to buy it, and now Rosalie has to make it sound again. Will knowing him jeopardize her career?

Nick and Rosalie are so great together. I thought I would get a nice fluffy hilarious book to read. And I sort of did, but not all the time. The pieces were Nick is doing the household chores, especially the vacuuming, are great. How he cooks nice Italian dinners for her every night, and just takes care of her, cleans up behind her and her big dog. But Rosalie also has to come to terms with her father cheating on her mother, her mother knowing that, and not doing anything about that. Her mother even wants her sister Annabelle to marry her cheating boyfriend after she caught him. There is not much liking her family in this book, I can only hope that will get better.
Rosalie’s assistant Gina and Nick’s secretary Lois, as well as the dog Dave are great secondary characters. All in all, it is still a fun book to read. I really love the writing style and the humor.
Two people not wanting to marry, to have commitments, are falling in love. And they don’t know how to change the rules they have lived by for so long. They are scared about their feelings.

8 stars.

Leann Sweeney – The Cat, the Professor and the Poison

The second book in the Cats in Trouble Mystery series, published May 2010.

The Cat, the Professor and the Poison

Between her kitty quilt-making business and her three beloved cats, Jillian Hart has her hands full. That doesn't stop her from wanting to solve the mystery of the milk cow that's gone missing from her friend's farm. But imagine her surprise when a stolen cow leads to the discovery of fifty stray cats and one dead body-a victim of cold-blooded murder...

The story starts with Jillian Hart and her police woman friend Candace catsitting the night away at the local shelter, handfeeding a nest of tiny kittens every two hour and trying to stay awake. Then Candace gets a call from a distressed woman whose cow went missing. How can she give her young son his raw cow milk in the morning, when their cow is missing? The other police officers are used to her almost daily distress calls, and don’t walk to hard to help her out, so Candace promises to come over first thing in the morning. As Jillian was the one driving, she has to come too. And so Jillian gets to meet the overprotective mother Robin, and her precious and genius son Jack. When Candace finds out the padlock on the shed is broken, the cow did not wander just off, the cow was stolen! Luckily, she comes walking back home just then. That same night, Candace and Jillian stay guard, to find out if the cow will be stolen again. But this time, the thief just wants the milk as he is carrying a pail.
Candace knows the man, some strange professor on a sabbatical. And as Robin won’t press charges this time, there is nothing she could do. Even though he gives of some really scary vibes, and is acting all weird.
Then there is also the appearance of some stray cats in the barn, looking for food. Robin needs help feeding them, as times as a small farmer are lean. So when Jillian comes back later, she brings with her some sacks of dry cat food from the shelter. One of the cats, who looks like she just had kittens, is acting strange. Like she wants Jillian to follow her back to her litter, while most cats just want to hide their kittens from people. So Jillian sets out after the beautiful calico cat. And finds a real horror.
Cage after cage filled with hungry cats, and that professor man making notes. Jillian escapes unnoticed, and after warning Candace and Shaun from the animal shelter, waits for their help. But just when they arrive, they find the professor murdered. And not in a pretty way. All Jillian wants to do is help the cat, but when they are finally allowed in the back, most of them are gone. Only the calico mother and her kittens, and four other cats are left in the cages. Did some animal rights activist take them? Or just free them? And who murdered the professor?
The same crazy assistant coroner appears on scene, and again she warns Jillian away from the man she wants as her boyfriend.

After coming home with the mother cat and kittens, Jillian installs them in her basement spare room, meant for guests when the house was build, but never used before. She doesn’t know how her own three cats will react to the intruder, let alone to the kittens. But her precious Chablis is all over the mother cat and kittens, acting like she had them herself, even keeping the other two, the males, away from them.

But then Jillian gets a second shock. Her late husband had a daughter from his first marriage, and Kara never warmed for Jillian. And now she is on her doorstep, expecting to stay for a while. She just lost her job, and needs to start over again. She wants to see the house her father has build. As John left his daughter quit well off, she certainly doesn’t need money. But to Jillian, who has no family of her own, Kara is the only reminder of John left, and she really hopes to build a relationship with her this time. Only, she doesn’t really know how. Luckily, her want-to-be-boyfriend Tom Stewart helps out with that problem, providing Kara with a part time job, and giving her the idea of writing a book about the professor’s murder.
Jillian really wants to know what the man was doing with all those cats, and why he stole that cow. So, together with Candace and Kara, she is trying to find out what she can from the ex-wife and sons of the murdered man, and solve the mystery.
At first, Candace is very wary of Kara, and keeping an eye on her. Kara isn’t very considerate towards Jillian, and Candace doesn’t want her friend to get hurt. And after an intruder warned Jillian of the case, Candace gets protection detail.

I really liked this book. I got more knowledge about Jillian and Candace, and the mystery was great. The cats made great secondary characters, and so did Robin and Jack. Jillian tries to get her to be a little less overprotective, let Jack play around a bit, even if it is in the mud. And in the end, he even gets two of the kittens! Which is of course a huge thing for someone so obsessed with cleaning as Robin is.
There is a little more talk about the quilting business, but I still have no idea how she does that. Perhaps I should watch an instruction video or something to get a grip on that.

All in all, I liked it, and am looking forward to reading the next one in the series, which has just come out. I like Leann Sweeney’s writing style, the obvious love of cats, and the characters she has created. I do hope Candace gets her young fireman to notice her someday soon.

8,5 stars.

vrijdag 8 april 2011

New additions to my addiction

In the last two days I found some lovely books on my doormat. I was hoping to find the last one of the series today, but helas. Perhaps next week.

Anne Bishop:
Daughter of the Blood
Dreams made flesh
Queen of the Darkness
Shalador’s Lady
Tangled Webs
The invisible Ring
The Shadow Queen

Susan Wittig Albert - Holly Blues
Lisa Kleypas - A wallflower Christmas

Only three new books to read in this stack, the rest will be put in their proper places on my shelves tonight :)

donderdag 7 april 2011

Leann Sweeney – The Cat, the Quilt and the Corpse

The first book in the Cats in Trouble Mystery series, published May 2009.

The Cat, the Quilt and the Corpse

Recently widowed Jillian Hart is rebuilding a life for herself and her three beloved cats--Chablis, Syrah and Merlot--as a quilter in a small South Carolina town. The quilts she makes are for cats as smart, special, and sweet as her own, and business is thriving.
But when she returns from an overnight quilting show, she discovers Chablis sneezing--and since Chablis is allergic to humans, that can only mean one thing: Someone has broken into her house. When she realizes her Abyssinian Syrah is missing, Jillian suspects catnapping.
Spurred by Chablis and Merlot's mournful meowing, she investigates--and discovers more missing cats and a murder. Now she's got to save more than one cat in trouble--not to mention herself.

This book grabbed me with the very first sentence: My cat is allergic to people. I just had to know about that.

Jillian Hart has been a widow for ten months now, and hasn’t ventured in the small town of Mercy where she and her late husband moved to shortly before his untimely death much yet. But that is about to change. One day when she comes home from a quilting show, she finds her cat Chablis sneezing. He is allergic to people, but how could he have gotten in contact with a stranger? Then Jillian discovers her window is broken, the tv she left on for her cats is off, and her beloved Syrah is missing. The local police isn’t much interested in the case, so she will have to start looking for her cat herself. And the best way to do that, is put up flyers, and talk to people. What she doesn’t know, is that the town has a no-flyer policy, and her flyers are taken down almost immediately. The local animal shelter hasn’t received a stray cat either, but Shawn, the owner, accuses an old man of catnapping her cat. But of course, they cannot prove anything.
Though Shawn takes her over to the Pink House, were the man is living, they get no answers. A cat escapes the house while they are talking to Mr. Wilkerson, but it is not her cat. Though Shawn takes it back to the animal shelter with hem, when he sees the cat again on the road.
A shaken Lillian has her window fixed, and an alarm system installed. And to her surprise, the next day (she has a life feed on her mobile phone) she sees evidence of a fight and rushes home to find another burglary. Luckily her two remaining cats are safe. But her alarm system is smashed to pieces. But on the computer she got some good pictures of the intruder, and recognises Mr. Wilkerson. She is determined to confront him, and calls Tom Stewart, who installed her security system, to meet her there in 5 minutes. This time, she does find her missing cat, but also the dead body of Mr. Wilkerson.
At first the police suspect her of being the murderer, but all Jillian cares about, are the cats kept prisoner in the house. She needs to have them taken care of. The police doesn’t believe that the motive can be found in the cats, so Jillian sets out to find out the truth for herself. With the help of Candace, a young police woman who wants to be a CSI, and who is severely under appreciated by her boss and collegues.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I like cats, but as I am very allergic to them, I am not really a cat person. The book is filled with great secondary characters who love their cats, and I learned quite a bit off funny cat-lore.
Jillian is just coming out of her grieving time, when this tragedy with her cat happens, and she discovers it was about time she got out the house some, and mingle with her neighbours and the other inhabitants in Mercy. Everyone goes to the coffeehouse, so that is a great place to talk, and hear things about other people. Jillian also makes quilts for cats, which is a good business, and for charity. I just didn’t learn very much about the art of quilting. Perhaps in a next book.
Tom hits a bit on her, and Jillian is very surprised to find herself warned away from him. And Tom is so not happy with that woman he wants nothing to do with.
Candace has a crush on a gorgeous firefighter, the man who repaired Jillian’s window, and one of the men on the calendar sold for charity … so you can imagine him I guess?
The police chief investigating the case, I am still not sure about him. Very insensitive, and he just doesn’t believe her ideas. She is just a suspect to him, and after that, fraternizing with other suspects. While in the end …

Yes, a good book, and I will be sure to read the other two in this series. If you are a cat lover, you will enjoy this book, I am sure of it.

8 stars.

woensdag 6 april 2011

Lori Handeland – Moon Cursed

The tenth book in the Night Creature series, published March 2011.

Moon Cursed

Kristin Daniels is passionate in her pursuit of the truth. As the host of the television show Hoax Hunters, she's travelled to the ends of the earth to explore - and expose - life's most enduring myths. Her latest undertaking is no exception: Kris is bound for Scotland, where she intends to get to the bottom of the Loch Ness monster legend for once and for all. Instead, Kris encounters something far more mysterious...For in the ruins of the lake's Urquhart Castle lies a heavenly creature - a sleek, muscled man with a seductive brogue named Liam Grant. One look into his eyes and Kris is already in danger of falling in too deep. Is Liam for real? Or has the spell of the moon touched them both?

To write a short recapitulation of this book, would certainly spoil too much. So I won’t, this time.
It took me a while to get into the story, it was certainly nothing like the rest of the series. I didn’t really understand Kris. And how she fell so fast for Liam, which was not according to her character, I just found it foolish. But that was explained during the story, and I did understand then. But she doesn’t give her trust easy, and there were some strange people in this book. Of course, being away from your own country, totally alone, makes you do things out of character.
I liked the early appearance of Edward Mandenauer, and how he gets Kris to do as he wants. But his way of communication was a bit over the top for me. And how she got what she needed to protect herself, also too mysterious for words.

This certainly is one original explanation of the Loch Ness monster, and I really grew in the story, and liked it. I was a bit sad with the ending at first, because, well, Nessie is explained, but the very last sentence of the book had me laughing again. Way to go Lori!
And I must admit, a nice change from the werewolves, even though I missed meeting any of the old cast of main characters.
So after a rough start, the book grew on me, and I liked it, but I don’t think it is the best one in the series. But from a non-believer in magic, creatures, monsters and legends, Kris really turns around into a believer, and how!

8 stars.

dinsdag 5 april 2011

Ellery Adams – A killer plot

The first book in the Books by the Bay Mystery series, published June 2010.

A killer plot

In the small coastal town of Oyster Bay, North Carolina, you'll find plenty of characters, ne'er-do-wells, and even a few celebs trying to duck the paparazzi. But when murder joins this curious community, the Bayside Book Writers are there to get the story…

Olivia Limoges is the subject of constant gossip. Ever since she came back to town—a return as mysterious as the day she left—Olivia has kept to herself, her dog, and her unfinished novel. With a little cajoling from the eminently charming writer Camden Ford, she agrees to join the Bayside Book Writers, break her writer's block, and even make a few friends…
But when townspeople start turning up dead with haiku poems left with the bodies, anyone with a flair for language is suddenly suspect. And it's up to Olivia to catch the killer before she meets her own surprise ending."

Olivia Limoges is a very wealthy woman when she comes back to her home town. After travelling the world extensively, she knows she can only be happy near the ocean where she grew up. After the death of her parents, her grandmother whisked her away to boarding school, and taught her how to be a lady. Now Olivia owns a lot of property in town, including the only 5 star restaurant, called The Boot Top.
She lives alone with her black poodle called Captain Havilland, and is trying to write a novel. Unfortunately, the project is not going very well. Then one day, having breakfast at her favourite restaurant, Grumpy’s Diner. Her customary booth is taken by another group, so she has to eat at the bar. Dixie, the exuberant waitress, tells her they are a writers group, trying to critique each others work, to improve their own. Not able to silence her tongue, Olivia is invited to join their group, and have them critique her novel. She doesn’t know if she is ready for that. And they need a new place to come together, and Camden has heard she owns a cottage near the lighthouse.
As that used to be her childhood home, it holds a lot of memories for Olivia, pleasant ones about her mother, and very unpleasant ones when it was just her father and her living there, missing her mother. But she decides she is ready to clean up those memories, and with her usual vigor arranges to have the place fixed up, and fast.
Then, on their very first meeting in the approved lighthouse, Camden Ford doesn’t show up, and it would be his work to be reviewed by the rest of them. So they set of in search of him, and to their horror, find him dead in an alley near the bar Millay works as a waitress. A haiku is written on the wall above the body. Camden was busy writing a fictional novel about a local mighty but bad family, and perhaps they found out about that. Olivia and the rest of the group are determined to find out the why and who.

It took me a very long while to get into this book. It is not an usual cozy as I am used to. A woman with a shop or profession solving a mystery. Olivia doesn’t really work, even though she owns a lot of property. She is free to walk along the beach with her dog, go out to have breakfast, lunch and dinner, and write her novel. And then there are the other writers, sharing their work, and the clues they find.
Olivia is attracted to the owner of the new bookshop, and wow, that is one shop I would love to visit! But she also is attracted to the chief of police, and I am really hoping she will choose him. They just have a bit more of a thing going. Olivia is scared of relationships, she always keeps them casual, never takes a man to her own house. Easier to break it of that way. But perhaps things are ready for a change now she is living in Oyster Bay again.
She is rich, and easy with the spending of her money, for her self, but also for other people.

I could not get a handle on the mystery part though. Yes, the murderer was mentioned casually in the book, and there was a vibe about him, but there were no clues to figure everything out before the police arrested him.

In the end I did like Olivia, she has a lot of issues, but is getting over them, and knows it herself too. Her dog is great though, as are the lot of secondary characters. I read this book, as some one mentioned the sequel as the best mystery she had ever read, so I wanted to find out for myself. In my opinion, this one is not really what I love, but I am curious about the next one, if it improves upon knowing the cast. The book is well written, no love scenes but a few kisses, but also not very much humor which for me is an important thing in a book.

I did like the description of the 4th of July Parade in the end though. Usually a book ends after the mystery has been solved, but this book had some more pages to unwind with.

So, for now, 7 stars