donderdag 30 juni 2011

Alyssa Day – Vampire in Atlantis

The seventh book in the Warriors of Poseidon series, published June 2011.

Vampire in Atlantis

The most expected of all allies to Poseidon’s Warriors has chosen to be the fiercest – Daniel, a vampire and Nightwalker Guild mage. But even the strongest alliance can be destroyed when an eleven-thousand-year-old desire is reborn…

A vampire’s oath, a maiden’s quest…
Daniel, vampire and ally of the Warriors of Poseidon, has fought on the side of humanity- even against his fellow creatures of the night – for more than eleven thousand years. But the crushing weight of futility and the reality of always being starkly, utterly alone has forced him to finally give in to despair. He took the first step into the sunlight that would destroy him – and instead walked into Atlantis.
And the blackest of magic that could consume them both…
Eleven thousand years ago, Serai was one of a group who agreed to be placed into magical stasis to ensure the future of the Atlantean race. When a dark sorceress steals the gemstone that protects her sleeping sisters, she awakens to a vastly changed world – and the one man she could never, ever forget. And with an ancient evil tracking their every step, the long-lost lovers must battle both the darkest of magic and the treacheries of their own hearts.

I had to wait a very long time for this book to land on my doormat, but it sure was worth the wait. If you plan on reading this book, believe me, do not read the blurb as it is mostly nonsense, just dive in the book and don’t stop reading until it is finished.

I have been curious about Daniel in the previous books in this series, and now his story is finally told. He was a young blacksmith’s apprentice when he met Serai of Atlantis, and fell in love with her instantly. He almost died when he tried to keep her safe from a band of marauders who were after the items in the jewellers shop he was working in. And Serai made the choice to have him turned into a vampire, to safe his life. But right then, she is taken away by her fathers’ guards and taken home. Only to be told by her father that she is one of the chosen maids to go into stasis, to serve as a future Queen to Atlantis. She refuses, but has no choice, and even attempting suicide doesn’t help.
Kept in stasis for 11.000 years is just plain wrong, and she hates the ones who do this to her. The same magic that keeps them in stasis, and in very good shape as well, is keeping them aware of the changes in the world, teaching languages, even slang. And her magical powers keep growing as well, exposed to the magic of the Emperor, a very large amethyst, and one of the jewels of Poseidon’s Trident. But someone dirtside has found it, and is messing with its powers, causing Serai to awaken fully. But o, how it hurts, the powers surging through the jewel.
Escaping her crystal pod, Serai is still able to walk after all this time, and she quickly flees the chamber where the maidens are kept. She is determined to leave Atlantis, she will not be imprisoned again! How dare that Prince Conlan marry a mortal human, and leave her to her faith! Not that she ever wanted to marry him, even in all those years she never once could forget Daniel, her one true love.
And just when she is ready, the portal guards are unconscious thanks to her magic, and the portal is waiting, Daniel appears at her feet. She is elated with joy, but also suspicious. Did he know where she was all that time? Doesn’t matter, they have to leave at once. And the portal brings them safely to a cave, as it was daylight when he tried to kill himself. But now that he has found his Serai, alive, he has all the reasons to live again. The portal delivers them to the cave the rebels are hiding, with Quinn and Jack, and a lot of others, including Reisen, the Atlantean Lord who tried to change the course of action for Atlantis when Prince Conlan was still missing. Called a traitor and losing his hand to the evil vampire who captured him has changed Reisen. He is fighting with the rebels to redeem his honor, asking for the most dangerous missions, and succeeding in them. And now he has to work together with a computer hacker, the strangest human woman he has ever seen.

Jack attacks Daniel on sight, and of course Daniel fights back. But Serai turns herself into a sabertooth tiger to help him. And at the sight of that, Jack turns onto his back, acknowledging the other tiger as dominant. Not something he has ever done before!
Daniel will do anything to keep Serai safe, even if that means fighting his friends and allies.

Serai keeps feeling the pull of the Emperor, and together with Daniel she sets out to find the gem, and safe her sisters in stasis, who are slowly dying, without ever having the chance to life first. But she is still weak from the stasis, using magic drains her fast. And soon Daniel has no other choice but to give her some of his own blood, forging the first blood bond with her. But Serai doesn’t mind that. First, he saved her life doing that, second, she is not planning to ever let him get away from her again, even if he foolishly believes she needs an Atlantean prince to take care of her, and not an evil bloodsucker.

Even the bad guys in this book are made lovable. The sorceress wielding the stone for instance, as she does so only because they threaten her son’s life. The vampire Nicholas, who wants to become Primator, the job Daniel just quit, to make sure vampires stop killing humans for no reason. He believes the powers of the gem can make him rich enough to get that function. And why is he falling for the witch and her son? Why does he admire them so?

Prince Conlan and Ven appear, trying to get Serai back to Atlantis, but she refuses, and she has the magic to back that refusal up. They will not imprison her again, or marry her of, Conlan has no right to decide her future, and certainly not the right to deny her Daniel! She will be free to do as she very well pleases to do! She will not be coddled, she doesn’t need a protector, she is powerful enough to take care of herself.

Another great instalment in a great series! Vampire in Atlantis was everything I expected, Alyssa Day sure writes an intriguing lovestory. I never thought such a romance would have worked, but it did.
Serai is still a maiden and blushes easily when Daniel teases her. But there is no evolution gap or something, as the magic kept her appraised of all the changes in the world. Which of course does not mean she is all-knowing. But what she needs to know, to be able to blend in, she knows. She is resolute, can and will take care of herself, and of Daniel if needed. She doesn’t look at him in disgust when he reveals the truth of his past to her, the things he did. She sees the good he has done and is still doing as well. And she has loved him for such a very long time.

And Daniel, mysterious Daniel, who has been helping the rebels and Atlanteans in his many guises. When he finally surfaced from the bloodlust of the just-turned, not only Serai was gone, the whole of Atlantis had disappeared! Even if he believed her still alive, he could not get to her. So he went into hibernation for 10.000 years, and hoped the world would be less evil when he would wake up again. Which, of course, is not so. There is evil everywhere, no matter be they human, shapeshifter, vampire, witch or other.
And now, just when he was ready to face the sun, he finds himself in Atlantis, and face to face with the one woman he could never forget: Serai. How is it possible that she is still alive, still as young as back then? If he knew, he would have found a way to get to her, even if he had to fight Poseidon himself!

During their trip together, they tell each other what happened after that dreadful day. And of course, they become lovers. Something Conlan sure is not happy about. A vampire and an Atlantean woman? It is just not permitted.

I liked both the romance, as the story itself. Only one more gem to retrieve now, and Alaric and Quinn are up next. I wonder where they went together … Unfortunately, not a single word about Denal, and I really want to know what happened to him. So now we wait again till February 2012, and the next book in this wonderful series.

9 stars.

dinsdag 28 juni 2011

Cherry Adair – Hush

The first book in the Lodestone Trilogy series, published April 2011.


National bestselling author Cherry Adair introduces an edgy, sexy new suspense series with this exhilarating international tale of hide and seek.

A reckless adventure in a deadly paradise.
Thrill seekers Zakary and Gideon Stark travel the globe in search of extreme adventure, but a trip to Venezuela to jump off the world's highest falls catapults them into a perilous game of life or death - where they don't know the rules.
A one-night stand that will change his life forever.
Kidnapped with a woman Zak knows nothing about, the brothers are held prisoner deep in the jungle. A risky, deathdefying escape separates them and nearly claims Zak's life . . . until his recovery reveals a baffling new sixth sense.
An unexpected diversion with lethal consequences.
Now, to find his missing brother, Zak and the mysterious Acadia Gray will have to out-smart, out-gun, and out-manoeuvre not just the brutal kidnappers but also a new player who joins the adrenaline game: a ruthless opponent who wants the Stark brothers dead - at any cost.

Well, this book certainly was not what I expected.
Talk about a rude awakening. After a night of fantastic sex, Zak Stark awakes to the feeling of a naked woman in his arms, and a gun pressed against his temple. Zak and his brother Gideon have travelled to Venezuela to base jump off the Angel Falls, and he met this gorgeous woman in the cantina last night. Acadia is in Venezuela just to sightsee the Falls, with some girlfriends, before she is changing her life drastically. She spend the last 6 years taking care of her demented father, and now she will finally go to college, to study architecture. So one first and final adventure before her life starts over. And spending a one night stand with a dangerous looking man really fitted that target.
Six heavily armed guerrilla’s have invaded their room, and he is but-naked in bed, with a blonde in his arms. There is nothing he could do, even he was a hero. Which he is not, otherwise he would have been able to safe and protect his wife Jennifer.
Kidnapping is the national sport in Venezuela, the victims held for large ransoms, and no matter if the ransom is paid or not, most victims are never returned. So when Acadia, Zak and Gideon are taken deep into the jungle, there is almost no hope for them.
The leader and most men leave again, when they are shoved into their prisons, Zak and Acadia in one, and Gideon, who is severely wounded in his ribs, in the other one. When the guards start drinking heavily, they have to plan their escape, when the leader is back later that evening, they will have no other chance.
Luckily, Acadia is the sort who is always prepared for all the eventualities she can prepare for. Back home she works in a sports shop, so she brought with her clothes with 28 hidden compartments, and 18 pounds of gear stashed in it, just in case they get stranded somewhere. And boy, does she save their lifes with it! Aspirin, a small first aid kit, wet wipes, rations, and even a very new, small one person tent. When Gideon and Zak decide to split ways after they escape, Acadia gets stuck with Zak, who according to his brother, has a death wish. If Zak is responsible for getting Acadia out of this mess alive, he will have to stay alive as well.
But Zak is shot in his shoulder, and being wounded in the jungle is a dangerous thing. His wound gets infected fast, and the blood loss is making him dizzy. So when Zak collapses, it is up to Acadia to take care of the both of them. And thanks to all the things in her miracules pockets, she manages. But unlike Zak, she takes no pleasure in the situation. He is used to adrenaline kicks, and dangerous situations. Acadia wants to plan, know what she will be up to, and she is good at being prepared, but she does not enjoy their situation. And when Zak gets worse, she will have to get out on her own to find help.

But even after they get safely out of the jungle and back to civilization, which provides of few new adventures for Acadia, they are not out of danger. Their captors are still after them, and every time they think they find a safe place, they are found again. Someone is betraying them, but who, and why? And what happened to Gideon? Why hasn’t he arrived yet? Zak is sick with worry for his brother, as they have been very close since birth.

All in all, this is a very fast paced novel. I liked Acadia, she dealt with everything that happened to them without complaining or wining. Unlike Zak’s late wife, and does he feel disloyal thinking things like that. Acadia doesn’t like what is happening, but there is no other solution and whining doesn’t help, so she won’t do that. At first Zak kept calling her Barbie, but he gets respect for her fast enough to quit doing that. There is much more to Acadia than her newly died blond hair and great looks. Even half death Zak still is hot for her, and the feeling is certainly mutual. Acadia knows better than to fall in love with Zak, he loved his first wife Jennifer very much, and he will never be able to love her as much. But she is really wrong in that. Zak had come to the conclusion they didn’t fit long before she died.

What bugged me a bit, he keeps insisting on sex before a shower, and while I was screaming in my head: you are being betrayed by X, he kept trusting the man and contacting him again and again. Finally the nickel fell, and he asked someone else for help. But in the end, wow, who could ever have guessed that twist in the plot!
A lot of exciting things, and also some sad things happened. But being dead for a moment also gave Zak a new sixth sense, he is using well in tracking down his lost brother.

I thought, wow, what a nice thick book, but due to the lettertype and spacing and such, it was faster read than I though. And I did miss some of the excitement I am used to with the T-Flac novels. Just less suspenseful. Still a lot of passion though, hot love scenes. And for a shy person, Acadia did a lot of “first time” things.

7,5 stars

New additions to my addiction

Yes, finally, they have arrived!

Today I received some more books from the Bookdepository:
Allyson James - Firewalker
Jennifer Lyon - Sinful magic
Roxanne St. Claire - Hunt her down and Take me tonight
Maggie Sefton - Skein of the Crime
but most important: Alyssa Day - Vampire in Atlantis!
My best friend has received this book two weeks ago, and she has to almost start reading the series, but I am dying to find out what happens in this one!

Also received directly from Alyssa Day:
autographed copy of Atlantis Betrayed, with a nice bookmark and two bookplates! Yeah, very happy with that! (Only she used my offical first name, and I hate that one, but well, it is signed!)

zondag 26 juni 2011

J.D. Robb – Strangers in Death

Book 26 in the In Death series, published February 2008.

Strangers in Death

In 2060 New York, some murders still get more attention than others, especially those in which the victim is a prominent businessman, found in his Park Avenue apartment, tied to the bed, and strangled with cords of black velvet. Fortunately, homicide cop Lieutenant Eve Dallas’s billionaire husband, Roarke, happens to won the prime real estate where Thomas Ander’s sporting-goods firm is headquartered, giving her some help with access. Before long, she’s knocking on doors – and barging though them – to look for the answers she needs.
But some things don’t add up – and everyone’s alibi checks out, from the wife who was off in the tropics to the nephew who stood to inherit millions. Was this a crime of passion – or a carefully planned execution? It’s up to Dallas to solve this sensational case in which those who seem to be intimates sometimes guards secrets from each other – and strangers may be connected in unexpected, and deadly, ways.

I though to pick this book as my bath book this week, but of course I couldn’t. After the second chapter I was hooked and just wanted to read on. Even the second time around, this is one heck of a story. I have forgotten more than I though I had though. I knew the murderer, but the details had eluded me. But I kept thinking that Eve should have asked more questions, different ones. Eve despised the widow at first sight, and she knew in her guts she was guilty, even though she was alibied solidly as being out of the country at the time of the murder.
And so bit by bit, she put the story together, ferreted out the details, and the evidence.
It was a brutal thing to do, not only killing a good and decent man, but also smearing his good name, so she would be seen as the victim.

There was also a tiny subplot, with the little boy who sold Eve a silk scarf a while back, asking her to come check out some suspicious action in his neighbourhood. Eve gets to meet his great-grandmother. I have a feeling he will appear again some time.

As for the ongoing personal relationship/friends stuff:
Peabody makes her first appearance on Now, instead of Eve, and does fine.
Charles Monroe has decided on a career change, he will be a sex counsellor from now one. He also bought a house and has proposed to dr. Louise.
Mavis and Leonarda are still fine, but Mavis sure needs to lighten up on the super happy baby talk, it is driving Eve (and me) crazy.
Roarke and Eve are, of course, fine. Although Roarke really cannot understand why Eve won’t use some of his money when she ran out of her salary early due to circumstances. But of course she never will, as she did not marry him for it in the first place.

A good plot, some fun stuff, and of course hot scenes between Roarke and Eve. And Eve only got a black eye, and some scratches this time.

9 stars.

zaterdag 25 juni 2011

Anthology – Hexed

Published June 2011.


Ilona Andrews – Magic dreams

New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews spins Magic Dreams. Shapeshifting tigress Dali Harimau finds herself in deep waters when she must challenge a dark being to a battle of wits or risk losing the man for whom she secretly longs.

I love the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, there are two recent reviews on my blog if you want to read them. Jim is of course a fixture in those books, as he is the security chief of the Pack, and Kate’s old partner in the Mercenary Guild. Dali was mentioned before, as she drives as a blind bat from hell, and Kate is terrified of having to ride along with her.
Dali is insecure about herself, she is not pretty, and she longs to be, as she has been in love with Jim, the Alpha of the big cats for years now. She is very smart though, and a rare white tiger with a lot of ancient magic at her disposal. Which she uses through calligraphy, which is a very cool thing and something I have not come across before. She has very bad eyesight, and when she shapeshifts, it takes her a few minutes to come back to reality, unlike most other shapeshifters.
Then one night, she comes home to find Jim in her house, in her bedroom, unconscious against the wall. Something bad happened to one of their offices, and Jim went to check things out, on his own. Now he too is affected by the bad magic, and Dali will do everything in her considerable power to safe him. To get a magic cure, she has to confront the poachers in Atlanta’s underground, and fight a demon.

A great short story, with new kinds if magic and evil to fight. At first I though, why not just ask Kate to come and kill the demon, but of course, this is Dali’s story. And it went great. I am happy for her.

8 stars

Yasmine Galenorn – Ice Shards

In Ice Shards, New York Times bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn returns to the Otherworld as Iris Kuusi, a Finnish house sprite, journeys to the frozen Northlands to confront the crazed shadow of her former lover and break the curse that is keeping her from marrying the man she loves.

I’ve bought this book just for this story, as I love Otherworld / Sisters of the Moon / series by Yasmine Galenorn. I have been curious about Iris, their housekeeper, for a long while now. And finally we learn about her past, and her future in this novella.
Iris, Camille, Smokey and Rozurial travel to the Northlands to find out the truth about what happened 600 years ago. Did Iris truly kill her lover? Or was she set up? She has no memories of the past, but her lover’s soul is trapped in a Shadow, and it is killing people, getting more powerful. He has to be stopped, and it is the only way for Iris to ever know the truth.
With the help of Howl, the Great Winter Wolf Spirit, they set of for the Skirts of Hell, where Vikkommin dwells. But in the end, Iris will have to confront him on her own, the others won’t be able to help her.

A great novella. Lots of flashbacks of Iris’ live, both as she remembers it, and when she tells it to the rest. I loved Howl and his pack, and how they take care of Iris. The others play just a small part, in accompanying Iris through the different planes to her destiny. It was really good to finally learn the truth, and I hope to learn more in the next book in this series, of what it will have brought to Iris.

9 stars.

Allyson James – Double Hexed

National bestselling author Allyson James takes you to Magellan, Arizona, where Stormwalker Janet Begay and her friends are trapped by a powerful curse. It will take every bit of magic shimmering beneath her skin for the Stormwalker to survive being Double Hexed.

I am not reading this one yet, I plan on reading the whole Stormwalker series soon.

Jeanne C. Stein – Blood debt

From national bestselling author Jeanne C. Stein comes Blood Debt, in which bounty-hunter-turned-vampire Anna Strong is visited by three witches who ask her to right an old magical wrong. Anna will have to live up to her last name to make it through alive.

I have not read this series yet, and am not sure I will. In this short novella, Anna Strong has to face a tribunal, as she killed a black witch in a sanctuary. To safe herself and an innocent man who was also captured to atone for her “sins”, she needs to tell the truth about what happened, and while imprisoned, she tells her life story to Stephen. But there is more to their captivity than seems, her accuser, Samual, seems to have a personal agenda as well …
The story is told very straightforward, very dry, no humor, and I find humor very important in a story. So, that is the main reason I am hesitant to start reading. The story itself sounds very good and original. Perhaps if someone has read this series, you can tell me if there is some humor in the books themselves?

6 stars.

vrijdag 24 juni 2011

Kevin Hearne – Hexed

The second book in the Iron Druid Chronicles series, published June 2011.


Atticus O'Sullivan, last of the Druids, doesn't care much for witches. Still, he's about to make nice with the local coven by signing a mutually beneficial nonaggression treaty - when suddenly the witch population in modern-day Tempe, Arizona, quadruples overnight. And the new girls are not just bad, they're badasses with a dark history on the German side of World War II.
With a fallen angel feasting on local high school students, a horde of Bacchants blowing in from Vegas with their special brand of deadly decadence, and a dangerously sexy Celtic goddess of fire vying for his attention, Atticus is having trouble scheduling the witch hunt. But aided by his magical sword, his neighbour’s rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and his vampire attorney, Atticus is ready to sweep the town and show the witchy women they picked the wrong Druid to hex.

Life is certainly not boring for this old Druid: his apprentice has returned, and is still determined to become a Druid, he is signing a peace treaty with the local witches coven, and he has to heal about fifty square miles of death land, caused by the demons in the previous book.
Ever since slaying Angus Or, Atticus has been visited by all kinds of other deities to congratulate him, warn him to stay away from themselves, and ask him to kill Thor. Now the Morrigan is back, asking for his help in making her own amulet, just like her own, and Brigid is furious that Atticus is helping the Morrigan, so she may get an advantage of her. At least the Morrigan heals his ear and is not trying to kill him.
After having disposed of a giant bug like demon, Coyote appears and wants him to kill another demon who is eating schoolkids. Atticus needs some really divine help with that chore, so he asks his friend the widow to pray really hard to the Virgin Mary, so she may appear to bless his weapons. And when that job is finally done, there are some evil witches trying to kill him and his friends.

A really action packed book. I loved every page of it. There are so many great secondary characters, but I especially like Oberon, Atticus’ dog. I love their conversations. That sure is one very smart hound. Granueile, his new apprentice, doesn’t have a big role in this book, but I am sure if she learns more and more, that will change. His lawyers have a part, both the vampire and the werewolf, and he needs the ghouls for cleaning up the bodies too. Both the Morrigan and Brigid will be back for a piece of Atticus. And of course there are the witches. I really do not think they will leave him completely alone. And last, but certainly not least, there is the whiskey drinking widow.
There is a lot magic in those books, a lot of mythology and gods and goddesses, and it is all told by Atticus in a very humorous manner.
The secrets of his pesky neighbour are reveiled, so I do wonder what will happen next.

So far, I know there will be one more book, which will be published next month. I will be sure to read that as soon as it lands on my doormat, but I so hope there will be many more books.

I think those are original, fast paced, but because of the humor also very much fun to read, with lots of excitement and great characters. Atticus likes to explain things, but overall they are easy to read, and often especially Oberon has a great remark about something.

9 stars.

New additions to my addiction

I have got three more books, eight are still missing. I hope they show up soon:

Roxanne St. Claire - Now you die
Kevin Hearne - Hounded
Allyson James - Shadow Walker

dinsdag 21 juni 2011

Robin Paige – Death at Daisy’s Folly

The third book in the Victorian Mystery series, published February 1997.

Death at Daisy's Folly

Sir Charles Sheridan is many things – an amateur scientist, a renowned photographer, and a skilled detective. And due to Victorian customs, he will soon become a baron – rendering him unable to marry Kate Ardleigh, an American writer of the popular, yet frowned upon, “penny-dreadfuls”. Even as the customs of the time keep them apart, a good murder case always seems to bring them together.
Death at Daisy’s Folly
The countess of Warwick, known affectionately as “Daisy”, is the subject of endless rumors about her unladylike ways and temperament. But what happens during a weekend party at her Easton estate is uglier than any rumor. First, a stableboy is killed. Then a nobleman is murdered outside Daisy’s well-known trysting spot. A murderer is on the grounds – and on the loose. Seeking to avoid scandal, the Prince of Wales orders Sir Charles to solve the case. Together, he and Miss Ardleigh find that even the highest levels of society are no refuge from the lowest of deeds…

Another great novel written by Bill and Susan Wittig Albert, who are together Robin Paige. What made this book especially special, is that I have watched the BBC documentary about Lily Langtry last year on DVD, so I actually had the feeling to “know” a lot of the characters in this book!
Believe me, this plot had so many possibilities and twists, I really could not guess who the real bad person or persons was/were. And that always makes for a great mystery. If you read as much as I do, it is a great thing to be surprised by a plot.
The book touches on the bad times for poor people, the budding socialism, that most upper class finds extremely dangerous, and anarchy. With the purposeless and poor life of such a great part of British population, the threat of another French revolution, but than in England, was very real. Anarchists were a new phenomenon. And it is all so neatly woven into this book, it kept me compelling to read on. Unfortunately, I had to work, so that was not possible much.

Sir Charles Sheridan is appointed by the Prince of Wales, Bertie, to find out who murdered his stableboy and the Lord. He doesn’t want the local constable involved, as he is anxious to avoid more bad press. So he creates a fancy job and title for Charles, and commands him to find out what ever he can, as fast as possible. As this is murder, the culprit(s) must be found. And perhaps not brought to justice under the Law, but to his own personal justice. Some one is setting his Daisy up for a fall, and he won’t have that!

As Kate is the one who found the second body, and guarded it until he could return with the Prince, Charles appoints her as his assistant. She will have the job to interview all the women servants and houseguests, while he will take on the men. And through a lot of lies and false tears, the ugly truth begins to reveal itself very slowly.

On a personal note, Charles has decided to ask Kate to marry him, as he really loves her. But then his mother writes him, that his elder brother is slowly dying, and she is counting on him to do his duty as the next baron. He knows Kate will hate the life that his new position will force upon him, the social part that is. And Kate, who also is in love with Charles, is afraid that her secret job as an author would have to come to an end as Charles’ wife, to avoid any scandal. But when told, Charles is delighted with it, and he should have guessed her secret identity when he read her last “novel”. So, if his mother will approve, they will marry!
But first, they have a few murders to solve and His Royal Higness the Prince of Wales to satisfy.

I so love the characters of Sir Charles and Kate. And that set against this Victorian background of a house party with the crème of Society, just great. I lapped it all up. And not only the high society is scrutinized through American lenses, also the servant world plays a big part in this novel. And to my historical loving self, it is al really lifelike and realistic.

If you have never read a cozy mystery before, but you do like historical romances, perhaps you could try this series. I you love mystery novels, and can stand a dash of romance, you will also enjoy this series.

9 stars.

New additions to my addiction

I am very sorry to say that the books are only coming into the house in ones and two's lately. Something definately is not right with the postal company, time for another complaint!

But I did get:
Roxanne St. Claire - Killer Curves
Kevin Hearne - Hexed
Anthology - Hexed

Two books with the same title, but very different and I hope very good!

zondag 19 juni 2011

Leann Sweeney – Shoot from the lip

The fourth book in the Yellow Rose Mysteries series, published January 2007.

Shoot from the lip

Even though sassy Texas heiress Abby Rose was born with a silver iced-tea spoon in her mouth, she’s seen plenty of hard-luck stories in her work as an adoption PI. But consulting on a lifestyle make-over show will introduce her to an alternative – and deadly – reality…

Shoot from the Lip
The thought of working with a hot-shot producer and her TV crew is about as appealing to Abby as sticking her hand in a bucket of leeches. But "Reality Check" is a program that claims to turn American dreams into the real thing, and Abby figures that if anyone deserves that kind of bonanza, it's Emma Lopez, who has been raising her three younger siblings since her mother disappeared. Her family may be short on cash, but they’re long on backbone. Of course, there’s a hitch: an anonymous note hinting at a missing fourth child has been delivered to the study, and a lost baby is just the kind of gritty reality the producers don’t want to expose. But Abby is determined to help Emma realize her dream of a reunion-even when it becomes clear that someone out there doesn't believe in happy endings…

Abby is not happy when she finds a female reporter and a cameraman on her doorstep. Ever since that unwanted publicity around her previous big case, she gets swamped with requests for help. So she sure doesn’t want any more publicity. And when the extremely obnoxious reporter tells her they are working on a tv production called Reality Check, and need her help, she is even less happy. But she does get interested in the case, and even though she turns the tv people down, she wants to help Emma Lopez find her missing baby sister.
Emma’s father died before she was even born, so she never knew him. Her mother was an alcoholic, which left little Emma taking care of her younger brothers and sister, who also did not have a daddy. Her mother often left them alone for days, while on a drinking binge. But one day she stayed gone for a lot longer, and then child services came for them. Luckily they could all four stay together in the same foster home, and when Emma turned 16, she got legal custody of them and moved back to her old house.
Now someone has anonymously tipped a tv program about Emma, and that she deserves some help for the difficult live she has had, raising herself and her brothers and sisters in a good way. Her house is about the be demolished by the city as it is become too dangerous to live in. And the tv program has offered her a new house, help with college for her younger sister and brother, and all kind of extra’s. Emma was really happy with all that, until she found out they knew about her missing baby sister, and were planning to use that in the show as well. Unfortunately, she cannot get out of her contract as Abby’s lawyer confirms, and has to do what the tv people want. And Emma really would like to find her baby sister. Her mother told her the social child services took the baby away while Emma was in school the day after she helped her mother give birth to the little girl.
But when they demolish the house, they find a tiny baby body buried underneath the house. Is it the end of Abby’s search before she has even begun? And what did happen to Emma’s mother when she didn’t come back ten years ago? Abby sure could use Jeff’s support right now, but he is away on personal business, and he won’t tell her or his partner what it is all about.

I have to give credits to Leann Sweeney once again: she managed to come up with another incredible plot, which I totally did not see coming. Of course there were details I guessed, but the plot itself, no way! And for a bookaddict as myself, being surprised is a very good and happy thing.
So, mystery part: great! It sure had me reading in a trance to find out what has happened and how it would all end.
Emma was a very likable character. She stood up for herself and her brothers and sister, and did a very great job raising them all. Now she has a chance at something better, but she wants to give it all up, as she doesn’t want the whole of America witness her sordid past, or her mother’s. But when the baby is found, the reality show changes into a crime show. She cooperates if she must, but does not let anybody bully her around.

On the personal part: Kate has split up with Jerry, as he keeps pushing for marriage and children, and she is not ready for that. And Kate on the rebound very fast picks up a new guy... or did he pick her for a reason?
Jeff happens to have a sister with Down Syndrome, and the woman who has taken care of her has died. Now he has to find a way to take care of her himself, so how does that affect his life with Abby and their new relationship?

9,5 stars.

zaterdag 18 juni 2011

Jayne Ann Krentz – Lady’s Choice

A stand alone novel, published 1989.

Lady's Choice

He had a plan…
After one night of passionate intimacy, Travis Sawyer realized he’d taken his need for revenge too far. Juliana Grant was under his skin and in the way. And now there was no turning back.

She had a choice…
Somehow Juliana had fallen in love with a man determined to get even with her. Well, she could play the game, too. Travis owed her and she intended to see that he paid his debs in full.

The moment Travis walked into the door of her coffee shop, Charisma Espresso, Juliana new he was the one. She was going to marry him. Now she only needed him to get aware of that fact. When she found out he was a business consultant, she hired him on the spot. What better way to get together often, right? And when after a month of dating, they shared a fantastic night together, she knew it was time. But when she mentioned getting married, Travis had no idea what she was talking about. He never hinted at that, had he? He came back to Jewel Cove to get his revenge on her family, and never intended for her to get involved, but from the moment he met her, he was fascinated by Juliana. He normally doesn’t take clients this small, but he made an exception for Juliana, and a very low fee for it. And yes, their night together was spectacular, but marriage?
Juliana is hurt at first, she loves him, and he is perfect for her, and of course she is the perfect woman for him, how can he not see that? So she throws him out of her condo, and gives him one month to come to his senses and realize he loves her too, and to propose to her.
Of course Travis doesn’t want to lose her, but this next Saturday she is going to hate his guts when he reveals his plans to her family. 5 years ago they offered him a third part ownership in their resort if he could get it back on track, which he did. But when his engagement with Elly went through, so when the deal. He got nothing for his efforts. Juliana was not in town at that moment, so she has no idea who he is. But the resort is in big financial problems again, and this time he will get it all…
But Juliana doesn’t want to give up on them so soon, and proposes a deal. If he rescues the resort again, and this time from himself!, she will agree to a partnership with him in Charisma Espresso. Travis agrees, even though he doesn’t believe he can save the resort and thinks so. But Juliana has every faith in him. Juliana wants to open a chain of teashop’s. Because she herself prefers tea over coffee, she is certain there are lots more tea drinkers out there. Travis doesn’t believe that (of course, he is a coffee drinker), and tries to hold her back. And as she agreed to a partnership, she cannot really precede until he agrees with her ideas.
Her family believes Travis is taking advantage of her, taking his revenge out on her, but Juliana loves him, and she believes he loves her back. If only he will let himself believe it.

After all the paranormal violence in the previous books, I needed something light to relax with, and Lady’s Choice was just the thing. Jayne Ann Krentz is one of my favourite all time authors, I just love her writing style and her humor, her strong heroes and heroines.

I loved Juliana, she is such a vibrant personality, she has build her coffee shop from the ground. She has always been the strong one in the family, lots of men have fallen in love with her, proposed to her, and then within 24 hours reconsidered it, as she is just too much woman for most men. To vibrant, to sure of herself. But Travis is different. His childhood was not so easy, but he made himself a huge success. But can he believe in a lasting love, and a lasting marriage? His parents are divorced and remarried, and more interested in their new families than in him, except of course when he can help out his siblings with money. He has been married before, which did not work out either. So why would Juliana love him for real?

A book filled with humor, and great characters. I confess, I did not like Elly much, as she is the weak type of woman but she was only a secondary character.

8,5 stars

And now I have a question for you, my readers, as well:
Do you prefer coffee or tea? Would you go to a tea shop if there was one around to try out all kinds of different tea’s? Because Juliana says a lot of tea drinkers prefer buying coffee they don’t really like over a cup of bad tea (lukewarm water with a teabag).
I myself am a teadrinker.

J.R. Ward – Lover Unleashed

The ninth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, published March 2011.


Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, warrior cloth as her brother: A fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side… and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.
When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can- and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous, secret world. Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night- like vampires- he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.
As the two find so much more than an erotic connection, the human and vampire worlds collide … just as a centuries old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in deadly jeopardy.

I have read disappointed reviews and raving reviews about this book, and in the end I just had to find out for myself.
In the beginning I was a bit put of by all the cursing by the various parties. But getting deeper into the story, I became mesmerized. I did love the interaction between Manny and Payne, and did not feel like the rest of the storylines in the book made it less than it was. It all just came together. Yes, a huge part of the book is taken up by Vishous and his relationship with Jane, but in the end, everyone got better. And the big surprise in the end, with Manny and Butch, wow. Did not see that coming, although the comment about the taste of his blood …

The love triangle between Blaylock, Qhuinn and Saxton is still a bit heartbreaking, but I just know they will find their way out of it eventually.

Again the book is packed with action, fighting and passion. Some new and dangerous characters are introduced, and not only vampires. Helas, no info on the Lessers, only them getting killed, but nothing about the intrigue, the Omega. Also no sign of the Scribe Virgin, though she is mentioned enough by Vishous and Payne as being their mother. No sign of Thorment or Lassiter, so that plotline still is a mystery. But I guess if everything had to be mentioned, the book would be twice as thick as it already is.

And no, no recap this time, I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone. I am looking forward to the next book, which will be published in March 2012, Lover Reborn. So far, that will be a great month for reading new books …

8,5 stars

vrijdag 17 juni 2011

Ilona Andrews – Magic Slays

The fifth book in the Kate Daniels series, published May 2011.

Magic Slays

Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.
Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be—now that the Order is disparaging her good name, and many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.
So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. Turns out this is not an isolated incident, and Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price . . .

The day does not begin good for Kate Daniels. She is called out of bed by the headmaster to inform her, that her young charge Julie has run away, again, and this time she is not welcome back. The child is obviously not happy at school. By way of punishment, she decides to have Julie walk her way home, with two shapeshifters of the Pack secretly keeping an eye on her.

Kate is alone in her new office, contemplating the lack of work now she is on her own and no longer part of the Order of Merciful Aid. Then she gets a call from Ghastek, one of the Masters of the Dead, that there is a loose vampire coming her way. She needs to capture it before it goes on a killing spree. Of course she manages that, and then Ghastek and a few of his associaties arrive to take command of the vampire again. Apparently, the previous “rider” lost consciousness, which got the vampire on the loose.
But then the PAD arrived, ready and very eager to kill the vampire. Ghastek is showing of his command of the vampire, when he too faints and loses control. And the trigger happy PAD shower the vampire and the People with bullets. At her own peril, Kate drags the wounded People into her office, which is build like a fortress, trying to save their lifes. The PAD doesn’t care who they shot, as long as they can shoot. And leaving witnesses is not a good thing for them. So they want Kate to hand them over, to get them “medical care”. They don’t care that she is Consort to the Beast Master, that her office belongs to the Pack. Luckily at that moment Andrea shows up and bails Kate and the People out by showing her Order badge.

After cleaning up Kate and Andrea have a long talk about what happened, and Kate hires Andrea on the spot as her partner. As in the previous book her Lycan nature was revealed, the Order has fired her on bogus charges. Kate is just happy to have Andrea back, and of course her attack poodle Grendel.

Then another surprise walks into the office, Renee of the Red Guard needs their help. They were guarding an inventor and the machine he was working on, when they both disappeared. They need Kate to find them and bring them back. Some serious magic was worked at the place, and one of the guards has died. After wrestling a bridge troll back to his lair, they arrive at the scene and investigate. Which is not a good thing for Kate’s bad knee. Different kinds if magic are involved, and the wards seems to have disappeared altogether. Which is very uncommon, a broken ward just resurrects itself after the magic hits again.

A lot happens in this book. The device is killing magic, permanently, as well as the people who are magic or partly magic in its radius. A secret society who wants to kill al magic and bring technology back into the world has stolen it, and are not shy of using it. The inventor seems to be in different hands. Kate has to deal with some powerful witches and lots of other magical beings. She finds out about her mothers family, and Curran’s motives are in question. Does he really love her for herself, or is she just an asset to the upcoming war with her father?
Can she save Julie from the brutal attack that gave her the Lyc-V virus and is killing her?

A great new book by Ilona Andrews. Packed with action, sarcasm, magic and some nice scenes between Kate and Curran. Kate needs to visit the Temple again, and the Casino, the Forest where the Witch is living, and many more strange places. Live is never dull around Kate. She has to solve some Pack problems when Curran is out hunting, and she still has to deal with the Wolf Alpha, who hates her guts after Kate had to kill her younger sister when she went Loup.
And in the end, just when you thinks, wow, all problems solved, the next dangerous thing arrives …

I like Ilona Andrews writing style, it is fluent, with good dialogues and lots of sarcasm. But you also feel the love between Kate and Curran, and I want to know what will happen with Andrea next. Will she submit to Aunt B, or will she indeed fight her all the way? Will Kate get magic lessons from Baba Yaga?

If you like Urban Fantasy, and have not yet started this series, where are you waiting for? I heartily recommend it.

9 stars.

donderdag 16 juni 2011

Elizabeth Lowell – Too hot to handle

A stand alone novel, published in 1986.

Too hot to handle

Tory Wells has been on her own since she was sixteen, driven by the dream of becoming a champion. But an injury has knocked her out of the competition for now – maybe forever – with no plans, no prospects, and nowhere to go.
A letter promising employment leads her to Sundance Ranch, but all she finds is bitter disappointment – and Ethan Reever, the devil himself. She knows she should leave as soon as possible, so why is she so certain that her life changed the moment she saw Ethan’s stormy gray eyes?

Tory Wells was just sixteen when she left home, to live with some other girls from her Swim Group. Training and diving competitions during the day, cooking to earn enough money next to her scholarship at night. But now she is almost 21, her knee gave up on her, and after surgery, she is told she has to give it a rest for at least three months. She has no other home, no money, and no place to go. Until one of the sponsors promises her employment on a ranch in Arizona he co-owns. They are setting up a vacation center, and they could use a swim coach. So with her last dollars, Tory makes the trip.
Only to be brutally disappointed by the manager, Ethan Reever. He thinks she is one of his cousins cast-off lovers, a useless week city girl. He has no use for her, so he sends her on her way again, without bothering to read the letter she has for him. She got a ride with the mail woman on her way in, but now she will have to walk 19 miles back to the nearest town. Which would not be so bad without her healing knee and her luggage. But she is stubborn, and there is no other option, so Tory goes on her way. Getting blisters from her luggage, and stones in her shoes from the bad roads. Then some punks in a hot car spot her walking al alone, and yell insults at her. Which she is used too, and ignores. Until the boys come back, and want to catch her. Then she throws her luggage across the barbed wire, and squeeze through herself, the only place to run. But one of the boys keep chasing her, until she is rescued by a man on a big black horse: Reever. He punishes the boy who chased her, and threatens him with worse if he ever hears about him hurting a girl ever again. But he is even more angry with Tory, for walking back to town on her own. That way she is just asking for trouble! So he takes her back to the ranch with him, after having the boys take her luggage to the only inn the village has, so one of his cowboys can take her to town in his truck. Tory has never ridden a horse before, and doesn’t know what he means, holding on to his saddle with her tortured hands is agony, but she bites her tongue and perseveres. Which makes him even more angry when he finds out later. But she doesn’t want to whine in his presence.
Reever has never been more attracted to a woman before than he is lusting after Tory. But he is 32 and she is just too damned young. He needs a woman to stand by him, work at the ranch with him, have his children. Not a spoiled city girl! He just doesn’t notice that Tory is anything but spoiled. She is used to hard work. And when, after getting back at the ranch, he discovers his cook went of on a drinking binge, again, she just starts making her own dinner as she hasn’t eaten anything at all that day. Tasting it, he hires her as his temporary cook until she has earned enough money for the busfare back home. Now she has to cook three meals a day for nine hungry cowboys and her self. But Tory likes it at the ranch, the land, the work. She takes over more and more little tasks around the house. Everyone likes her, and admires her for her hard work, except Reever. He doesn’t miss a chance to put her down, calling her clumsy and a city girl. And he just doesn’t seem to notice how much he hurts her by doing that. And of course she gets more and more clumsy when he is around. Every time he touches her, her skin is on fire. And that doesn’t happen with one of the other cowboys, only with him. No matter how badly he treats her, she sees the gentleness underneath, like when he is handling an injured horse or calve, and she longs to feel his hands on her.

When they finally become lovers, the pages are on fire. He is her first, and is going to make it good and memorable. Until one night Tory tells him she loves him, then he keeps his distance from her. She still has not enough money for the ride back home, but is determined to leave. He is hurting her too much to stay. But she will not go back to being a professional diver, she has discovered how much she loves working the land, living near the mountains. She will find another job, what, is not important.

Okay, I cried buckets reading this book. Totally loved it, even though it is older than a lot of you ;). It is a romance novel, and nothing more. But the way Elizabeth Lowell has with words, just touches my heart. She made me feel Tory’s hurt, and made me root for her, that her knee would get better, that Reever would she her for the woman she is, and not the young girl he thinks she is (and never was).
I didn’t like Reever all that much, cutting her down with his harsh words time and again. O he noticed it all right, and kept doing it to drive Tory away from him and the ranch. But every time she was enjoying herself with one of the other cowboys, he broke it up. Only in the last few pages I started liking him.

It is not a long book, but also not a novella. I like Elizabeth Lowell’s writing style, it is fast reading and you just have to know how they get to their happy ending (no, not marriage), knowing there will be more tears first.

9 stars.

woensdag 15 juni 2011

Jennifer Lyon – Blood Magic

The first book in the Wing Slayer Hunter series, published February 2009.

Blood Magic


In the days when powerful witches used their magic to shield humanity from demons, their allies and guardians were a group of men gifted with preternatural abilities of their own-the witch guardians. But when a band of witches traded their humanity for demonic power, the ancient bond was broken, and the guardians became the hunters.

Darcy MacAlister knows nothing of demons or magic. But this beautiful young woman is about to discover the truth about her past . . . and her future. For she is a witch-not just any witch, but the key to breaking the curse that has plagued witches and the men who hunt them. For if a hunter kills an innocent witch by mistake, the price is no less than a piece of his soul.

Axel Locke, gorgeous leader of the Wing Slayer Hunters, has sworn never to shed the blood of the earth witches who have resisted the temptation of demonic power. But when his sister is cursed by a demon witch, he discovers that Darcy MacAlister may hold the cure-if she can master her newfound powers in time. When the chase begins and Axel and Darcy come face-to-face, this hunter must weigh his soul against his honor-and against his heart.

Darcy has always felt different, without knowing why. Her stepfather hated her, and was afraid of her. He used to lock her in the hall closet when he caught her doing “evil” things. But her mother loved her very much, and now she is death. As the funeral director, she is determined to make her mothers funeral spotless. But still she hears the whispers of the attendants. Her cousin Joe McAlister is the only one there to comfort her in her grief.

Then, when saying her last goodbyes to her mother alone, she is scared by a strange man, smelling of copper. He even makes her run off. Later that night, closing up shop, she is attacked by two strange man, claiming she is a witch! Another man appears, and he saves her from her attackers, only to take her hostage himself. His little sister has been cursed by a demon witch, and he needs her, Darcy, to heal her. Darcy doesn’t want to believe his claims that she is a witch, but he leaves her no choice. He is a witch hunter, and although the curse layed upon all witch hunters thirty years ago compels him to kill her, he is resisting. Axel is also drawn to her, for more than her blood alone.

Darcy has one week to learn how to use her powers and heal little Hannah, or Axel will have to find and kill the demon witch who cursed her. Which will jeopardize his soul, and turn him into a rogue, like the men who are after Darcy. When she meets Hannah, Darcy agrees to help her if she can, and she sets out to learn what it means to be an earthwitch. She is a strong one, and with little help learns fast. Her friend Carla helps her from afar, through an internet connection. She never knew Carla was a witch, until she needed help, and Carla gives it as much as she can. Darcy has heard voices in her head all her life, until fear of her father made her stop listening. But those voices are her Ancestors and she needs their help to spell Hannah better.

Axel is drawn to Darcy, and she shows him time and again that she wants to help, that she cares about Hannah and wants to heal her if possible. Yet he stays suspicious of everything she does, and is afraid she has made him into her familiar, as he just can’t stay away from her. But the closer they get, the less the pull of the curse is on him, the craving for witchblood, which only sex can keep at bay. Axel wants Darcy in his bed, but he won’t force her. And Darcy had some bad encounters before, as she senses what a man really thinks of her when he climaxes. They were all kind of afraid of her, but then, Axel is not a normal human male. And he claims he is not afraid of her, or of her powers. Dare she take the risk of making love with him?

A lot is happening in this book, and as only little bits of the past are revealed at a time, it seems a bit rambling. Who is this Wingslayer that is mentioned so often, and whom the Witch Hunters believe in, until they turn rogue by killing an innocent witch?
It was a really good and original story, yet it could not hold my concentration for long. The background of the story is told in little bits and pieces throughout the book, and perhaps it should have started with it. Summarizing what happened back then, and what the consequences are. But then, I am not an author.

I liked Darcy a lot. No matter what happens to her, she is very strong, and determined to do the right thing, she wants to help Hannah, and learn who she is herself. About her parents and her gifts and how to use them right. Her connection to Axel is strange, but she cannot deny the attraction between them. Ever since she was a little girl, she dreamed of a Hawk who kept he safe, and when she touches Axel’s Hawk tattoo on his back, it feels so real to her.
Axel has been fighting the curse ever since his father wanted to change him into a rogue at the age of 14. He has made the vow, with some hunter friends, to stay true to the Wingslayer and never to kill an earthwitch, to protect the innocent as they were meant to do. And no matter how hard it is, he will resist the bloodlust raging through him.

A good book, an original story. It could use some more humor at times, but there is plenty of action, danger and some very hot love scenes. Trust comes slowly for both of them, but as they are soul mirrors, their relationship is growing fast. And in the almost end, they both want to die to save the other. Some tears threatened to fall now and then. A nice cast of secondary characters, and I will read the next book soon.

7,5 stars.

Annette Blair – An unmistakable rogue

The third book in the Rogue's Club series, published October 2003.

An unmistakable Rogue

For richer or poorer…
Married and widowed in short order, Chastity Somers vows to claim her bridegroom’s inheritance as the long-lost St. Yves, Earl of Barrington, if only to have the means to care for his impoverished young cousins. After freeing the children from their workhouse prison, she heads for Sunnyledge. The estate will be hers to run as a children’s home if no other heir appears within three months … and if she remains above reproach.
But now she must contend with Reed Gilbride, who also believes himself the missing St. Yves. The dangerously handsome military man has the power to derail all her dreams. She prays he will not find proof of his claim … or realize the power he soon holds over her heart. If she surrenders to the passion he inspirers, will she sacrifice the children’s future … or find the key to her own?

Charity used to be a nun in France, until she married an English doctor, who was returning home to right an old wrong. She has always longed for love and touch and children, and now is her chance. Only William dies two days later, leaving her a widow. Arriving at his sister’s home, she finds her deceased as well, with four young children hiding in the cellar. She decides to take them for her self, and raise them. She wants to start a children’s home. Unfortunately, when she doesn’t accept the lecherous attentions from the local church man, the children are taken from her and put into a workhouse. Seeing firsthand by working there, the dismal conditions the children have to live in, the decision is made quickly. She breaks in at night, and steals them back.
Now they just have to find the lawyer who has been managing the Barrington estate ever since the last Earl died almost thirty years ago. If she can stake a claim on it on behalf of her late husband, she can raise the children and perhaps save some more. But then there is Reed Gilbride, who got the same letter claiming he is the lost heir. He hates children so what are they doing under his roof? After some discussions with Charity, he accepts the position of handyman, to do some repairs in the house, and start a garden. Which will also give him the opportunity to search the house for proof of his birth.
Charity has a big heart and really loves the children, but she has no idea how to take care of them. She cannot cook, and knows nothing about farming. Reed knows way to much about those things, and though he hoped he never would have to do that again, he teaches her and the children.
Reed lusts after Charity, until he finds out she is a nun! Which she lets him believe to be safe from her own feelings for him. Reeds gets used to the children pretty fast, especially little Bekah, who doesn’t talk anymore.

But there is someone evil around as well. The person who wrote the notes in the first place, telling two different men they are the missing heir. What happened all those years ago? Reed and Chastity slowly unravel the past, but danger keeps coming as well. Someone is trying to kill Reed. Will they found out who and why in time?

It took me over half a year to finish this book, but I was determined to do it. Annette Blair is one of my favourite authors, I love her witches books and other contemporary’s. I just have a problem getting into her historicals. So I read a few pages here and there, until I got to the point the book caught me. And now it is finished, and it really is not a bad story at all. I do understand why most authors use different names for each genre they create. The writing style is just so less fluent and humoristic than in her other books.

The four children are really unique little persons, each with their own quirks and personalities. That Reed falls for them, and for Chastity is totally believable. And Chastity, who would not fall for a handsome, grumbling rogue, who does his best to help her care for her charges? Even when at first he thinks the children should be with the missionaries in London until their parents are found. He soon wants some of the love she has for the children for his own. When he finds out she is not a nun, he is furious, and tries to take advantage of that fact, but he just can’t hurt her. Chastity has to want him too.

A lot happens in this story, which I am not telling you. Happy things which made me laugh, and also some sad things that made me cry along with Chastity. Two lost souls searching for a place to call home and someone to love, even though Reed does not accept that at first. And in the end, they still cannot marry, because under English law, a man cannot marry his sister-in-law …

This is the third book in a series, and I never read the first two, but it can be read as a stand alone. The other rogues are mentioned, and appear in the epilogue, but their own stories are not relevant to this book.

6 stars.

dinsdag 14 juni 2011

Stefanie Sloane – The devil in disguise

The first book in the Regency Rogues series, published May 2011.

The devil in disguise

Lord William Randall, the Duke of Clairemont, is a rake with little regard for society - a most unlikely suitor for Lady Lucinda Grey. But his latest assignment for the Young Corinthians, an elite spy organization, involves protecting her from a kidnapping plot. To do this, the notorious 'Iron Will' must use his devilish charm to seduce Lucinda and convince her he's worthy of her attention. William never planned to become enthralled by the lovely Lady Grey - or to lose his own heart in the bargain.

Beautiful and fiercely intelligent, Lucinda has managed to gracefully sidestep even the most persistent suitors. Until the Duke of Clairemont, that is. She's tempted by his sinfully sensuous mouth and piercing eyes, and finds it hard to resist the champion thoroughbred he offers her in exchange for the honor of courting her. Can she keep him at arm's length when his touch begs her to let him so much closer?

Lord William Randall, the Duke of Clairemont, and a spy for the Young Corinthians, has a new assignment, he is not really happy about. He has to convince Lady Lucinda Grey, the richest woman in England, to accept him as a suitor. Which means, if she agrees, to escort her to all kind of social functions, something he hates with a passion. He is a man for brandy and billiards, and not for ball’s and musicales, shopping and Almack’s.
But then he sees Lucinda across the ballroom for the very first time, and he is struck like lightning. He hates having to lie to her, as he is intrigued with her, her character, her honesty and her intelligence. He wants to protect her from her kidnapper, who is also a notorious assassin who loves to torment his victims.

Lady Lucinda lives together with her three aunts, and together they are running a horse breeding program. They are quite content with their lives, and Lucinda really sees no point in giving up her freedom to be married to some man. So she has rejected most single man in London, never felt the slightest attraction to any one of them. Until she sees this big man staring at her, across the ballroom. She knows his reputation ofcourse, Iron Will, and all the scandals to his name. But when they are introduced, and he steals her away from her admirers for a wals, she follows. When he bluntly asks her later if she will accept him as a suitor, she plans to refuse him, but then he bribes her with his horse. He was told she attended his birth, and had always had a soft spot for it. So when Lucinda bites, he is sad to loose the horse, but happy to be spending time with her. Lucinda is surprised by her own actions. Sure, the winning of the horse would be great, but can she keep a distance from this disturbing man?
Her aunts are divided. One is happy to play matchmaker, but the others don’t trust the Duke and his intents. How come he suddenly joins the marriage market? He doesn’t usually appear in the ton but seeks his pleasures elsewhere.

Will has a hard time keeping up with Lucinda, trying to protect her without her noticing it. Planting a servant inside is really helpful. And he can prevent a few kidnapping attempts. He tries to curtail her movements, and even forbids her things. Which Lucinda of course does not accept, he has no right to tell her what to do or what not. And that certainly does not endear him to her or to marriage.

Will and Lucinda fall in love quite easily, and though Lucinda confesses to it, Will is unable to do so. So when Lucinda finally finds out why he is courting her, she is heartbroken. Was everything between them a lie? Does he not love her back after all? To keep her safe, they must continue the charade, but Lucinda is not happy with it. She opens up herself a few more times, to get him to tell her he loves her as well, but to no avail, and then she just can’t take it anymore. She lets herself get set up for bait, just to get it all over with.

For a debut historical romance, it was a nice one. I liked Lucinda a lot, she is a smart young woman who knows what she wants, and what not. Until Will shatters her resolves, and she just loses her heart to him. But for Will, I understand he had a tyrant for a father and a bad childhood because of that, but he knows he is in love. Why can’t he just say so? Even if he doesn’t believe himself worthy of being loved, why can’t he say it back?

The bad guy was really scary, a true psychopath who enjoyed killing. The little scenes with him are giving the suspense part a real boost. But of course it all revolves around the romance. The aunts are a really nice touch, bringing depth and humor to the book. Lucinda her best friend is at first horrified that she is allowing the Iron Will in her company, but later wants to help her admit to his love for her.
There are some funny scenes in the book, but you also see Lucinda’s love for her horses and her aunts. But I also believe the seduction comes too soon, and that Lucinda should follow up on some of the things she finds out. Sometimes she is really though, and sometimes she just cries. Which is of course fine in a historical romance, but not my favourite kind of heroine.

The one thing that really irritated me, are the many typo’s in this book. This publisher should really hire me to proofread their books for them, if the editor is not good enough to spot them.
I am not sure if I will read the other books in this (for now) trilogy. I did enjoy the story, but it was not really unique, and I do believe this author has potential. I won this book in a contest on one of the blogs I follow, and I really appreciate that it is signed and the little extra swag added to it (I love book swag!).

7 stars.

Alyssa Day – Atlantis Betrayed

The sixth book in the Warriors of Poseidon series, published September 2010.

Atlantis Betrayed

Poseidon’s Warriors have learned that the battle to protect humanity produces unexpected enemies – and alliances. And one of the most powerful of all Atlantean warriors will soon find both … in one daring beauty.

A Warrior’s mission, A woman’s desire…
What could Christophe, powerful Warrior of Poseidon, have in common with Fiona Campbell, prim and proper Scottish illustrator of fairy tales by day and notorious jewel thief known as the Scarlet Ninja by night? Answer: The Siren, a legendary Crown Jewel that Fiona has targeted for her next heist. It's said to be worth millions, but to Christophe it's invaluable. For the Siren also happens to be one of the missing jewels from Poseidon's trident.

And the unnatural evil that could destroy them both.
But breaking into the Tower of London is a two-person job, and Christophe and Fiona team up to commit the crime of the century. As newfound passions fire their motives – and cloud their judgment – they realize they aren’t the only ones after the priceless gem. A dark force is shadowing their every move and threatening to shatter their trust with revenge, betrayal and a haunting revelation about the past.

Christophe is sent to London, to steal back the Siren, which is a large gem in the sword of William the Conqueror, and part of the Crown Jewels, kept safe in the Tower of London. It is not going to be an easy job, as the Tower is not only guarded by magic but also by shifter guards. And they will scent what the magic cannot detect. Christophe has always loved London even though England holds brutal childhood memories for him.
Slipping into the Tower in his mist form is easy enough. Unfortunately, the Tower is crumbling and some falling little stones alert the guard, so he will have to hide. If the guards spot some mist just floating inside a room, that would not be good. Luckily, he just manages in time. When the guards have given up, blaming the pigeons, he sets on his way to the Jewel room. To his surprise, he detects some other unknown magic. He is not the only thief here tonight! Even though it is just a scouting mission at the moment.
Slipping inside the Jewel room just before the guards close the doors is easy. But to his own surprise he cannot hold his form when he sees the Red Ninja uncloak as well! And it is not a man, but a beautiful woman! And he falls literally at her feet. Christophe is mesmerized, and amused, something that does not happen often in his life. He is drawn to this woman, and scared of his own feelings at the same time, but he cannot resist teasing her, and kissing her. And the woman also cannot shoot him, though she is ready to do just that, and leave his body for the guards to find.

Lady Fiona Campbell is a Scottish young lady by day, writing and illustrating children’s books. But at night, she is the Red Ninja. Stealing priceless art, and donating half its worth to charity. Always leaving her calling card behind. The police and Interpol of several countries are looking for her, but they think it is a man they are looking for. The normal people cheer for her. Ever since the Vampires gained control in most countries, welfare for normal humans has been downsized to unliveable conditions. So especially when she steals from vampires, the average man admires her. A modern day Robin Hood.
One of her contacts have told her, there is a buyer for the Sword. And as money is no object, she is game. There are several charities in dire need of more donations, and this Sword will bring in several millions. Fiona has the unusual ability that she can cloak herself in shadows, and become invisible. Her powers over air and light also make it possible the make her self scentless, so the shifters cannot sense her either. So when she discovers someone else is after the same thing she is, she is annoyed. And attracted to this gorgeous man who appeared out of thin air. She senses he is not really a treat to her, and she is totally captivated by him. She even ignores the warnings from her brother, that her time is running out. So when she decides to go for it, and kiss Christophe, she shoots him with her tranquilizer gun. After all, she is not a murderer like her grandfather! But Christophe is Atlantean, and he quickly overcomes the effects of the dart. Just in time to escape being caught red-handed by the guards, and follow his Ninja home.

But they were not the only ones after the Siren, which is not only a priceless gem from Poseidon’s Trident, but also gives a vampire the power to thrall a shifter for good. Which is a very bad thing, as they could easily build a shifter army that way. Normal humans would not stand a chance anymore, and be killed as the sheep the vampires think they are.
The Dark Fae prince who is after the sword, and the Siren, has asked to many “persons” to get it for him. He knows who Fiona is, and is counting on getting them both. Fiona has some Fae blood in her, which accounts for her magic, and she would make a fine mother to his children. That she is his sister’s best (and only) friend, doesn’t matter to him. He wants her, and that is enough. After Fiona and Christophe leave the Tower, the Master Vampire of London enters, and he kills some guards to get what he wants: the Sword and the Siren. And when he discovers the Siren’s powers as soon as he gives the guards an order, he has no intention whatsoever to turn it over to the Fae Prince.
The worst thing is, Fiona left her calling card behind, and now everyone thinks she stole the Sword, and killed the guards. Her reputation is in ruin, she has never killed or harmed anyone in her heists. Christophe immediately understands her concern, even though her brother and faithful butler do not. So they decide on a partnership to find out who stole the Siren, and how to get it back, and clear her name in the process. And for that, they have to go for information in London’s underbelly. Fiona has no intention whatsoever to let Christophe handle it alone, she will go with him. Are they partners or not? Christophe calls in Denal to help guard the family while he is away. But neither Fiona nor her brother or butler believe Christophe when he claims to be an Atlantean warrior. A sorcerer, okay, but Atlantis? No way!

I loved this book! At first I was sceptic, as I did not like Christophe at all in the previous books. He looks down on humans, the sheep, as they invited the Vampires and Shapeshifters to take over their worlds. So why should he risk his life defending them? But when he falls for Fiona, and he falls hard! he feels the need to protect her against anything and anyone. He even puts her safety before finding the Siren again. And no one, not his High Prince Conlan nor the Priest Alaric can stop him doing just that. When Fiona sets foot in Atlantis, she is delighted by the gardens, the colors, the flowers, everything. She wants to come back and paint everything for her next children’s book.

Christophe had a horrible childhood before the Warriors found him and brought him back to Atlantis with them, where he was not capable of trusting anyone but himself. A loner, until he became a Warrior of Poseidon, and even then not a real friend to the other Warriors. But in Fiona and her family, he finds a home.
Fiona’s past was not easy either. Her grandfather betrayed them which caused her own father’s death. So when her grandfather finally died, it was a relief. She became the Red Ninja not out of need for personal money, that she has enough. But to make a difference, to seek revenge on behalf of those who could not do it themselves. And of course because she can, and it is a kick. Her little brother is a great computer hacker, a genius with gadgets, and he helps her as much as he can, as do the other members of her strange little household.

This was an action packed novel, with lots of room for Fiona and Christophe to fall for each other. Christophe feels Fiona is not yet ready for the soul meld between them, and manages to stop it from happening. Will he ever get a second chance at the soul meld? He used to be terrified of it happening, but now he has met Fiona, and he is thinking in terms of for ever, and the future. He understands finally why his fellow warriors have fallen for their mates.

This was an action packed novel, with lots of room for Fiona and Christophe to fall for each other. Christophe feels Fiona is not yet ready for the soul meld between them, and manages to stop it from happening. Will he ever get a second chance at the soul meld? He used to be terrified of it happening, but now he has met Fiona, and he is thinking in terms of for ever, and the future. He understands finally why his fellow warriors have fallen for their mates.

I loved both Christophe and Fiona, which I really did not expect. But something inside of him comes to live, and he just understands Fiona and doesn’t try too much to suppress her or her viewpoints. The Dark Fae were great new characters in this book, and Denal! What happened with you Denal, when will I find out?

Some very hot love scenes, great dialogues, and two very good kick-ass main characters, with a great cast of secondary characters. And of course some of the other warriors make an appearance here as well.

9,5 stars

New additions to my addiction

Okay, I am back from a very tiring weekend, where I read only half a book. But some more new books were waiting for me, or are just delivered:

From the Bookdepository:
J.K. Beck - When wicked craves
Cherry Adair - Night Shadow
Roxanne St. Claire - Then you hide
Allyson James - Stormwalker

And secondhand, as I am slowly changing my Dutch books for the English ones:
Stephanie Laurens - A rake's vow
Jude Deveraux - The Duchess
Katherine Kingsley - In the wake of the wind
Catherine Coulter - The Heir

vrijdag 10 juni 2011

New additions to my addiction (yes, again!)

Twelve sparkling new books reached my home today:

Robin Paige - Death at Daisy's Folly
Robin Paige - Death at Devil's Bridge
Robin Paige - Death at Epsom Downs
Robin Paige - Death at Glamis Castle
Robin Paige - Death at Rottingdean
Robin Paige - Death in Hyde Park
J.K. Beck - When Blood Calls
J.K. Beck - When pleasure rules
Shannon K. Butcher - Finding the Lost
Jennifer Lyon - Night Magic
Alexis Morgan - The Darkness Beyond
Roxanne St. Claire - Edge of Sight
Roxanne St. Claire - Face of Danger
Roxanne St. Claire - First you run
Roxanne St. Claire - Shiver of Fear

I've ordered all the books by Roxanne St. Claire, so there are still a lot of them under way. I really wish the Bookdepository would choose a new post delivery company here in Holland.

Going away for the weekend, to a place without internet (shivering already), but I do hope to read some good books.

donderdag 9 juni 2011

Laurell K. Hamilton – Hit List

Book 20 in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, published June 2011.

Hit List

A serial killer is hunting the Pacific Northwest, murdering victims in a gruesome and spectacular way. The local police suspect "monsters" are involved, and have called in Anita Blake and Edward, US Marshals who really know their monsters, to catch the killer.

But some monsters are very real. The Harlequin have been the bogeymen of the vampire world for more than a thousand years; they are a secret so dark that even to speak their name can earn you a death sentence. Now they are here in America, hunting weretigers, and human police.

The Harlequin serve the Mother of All Darkness, the first vampire. She was supposed to be dead, but only her body was destroyed. Now she needs a new one, and she's decided that Anita Blake's is the body she wants. Edward thinks the serial killings are a trap to lure Anita closer to the most dangerous vampire they've ever hunted. The vampires call Edward "Death," and Anita the "Executioner," but Mommy Darkest is coming to kill one, and possess the other, and she doesn't care how many others have to die along the way.

Wow, this is one sexy cover, and more appropriate for the Merry Gentry series! I don’t know who the model is supposed to be, but it certainly is not Anita herself!
I am still madly in love with this series, and was surprised at how fast I read the book. It wish it would have gone on for a few more hours! Of course, then I would have needed some matches to keep my eyelids propped open at the office today …

Marshal Anita Blake and Marshal Ted Forrester (bka Edward) are following the trail of a mutilating serial killer through America, and have just landed in Seattle. Anita has never been this long away from Saint Louis, and she really misses her men. She is sick and tired of the killing, of the policemen who don’t take her seriously and think she just sleeps her way around. Both with the monsters, and with the other cops, except themselves. Yes, her boyfriends are vampires and shapeshifters, but that is not why they are her boyfriends. Perhaps the Ardeur made it all easier, but she loves everyone of them.
Marshal Raborn really dislikes Anita, and accuses her almost of sleeping with the monsters being the reason she has so many skills. He wants her to tell him about the were-animals in his own city, but Anita sure does not want to betray their trust to a bigot like Raborn. Sure, Seattle has a were-tiger clan, her red tiger to call Alex is their prince. So when she realises she hasn’t fed the Ardeur in a while, and it is affecting her work and her mood to much, she decides to go on a booty call. Edward is not so happy with it.
The Harlequin is murdering were-tigers left and right, just to lure Anita away from St Louis and the center of her power. They are hunting her, and she needs some bodyguards from preventing them to snatch her, as the new body for the Mother of all Darkness. Going alone to the tigers is not something he will allow. So when the other marshals go on a doomed to fail hunt for the monsters, Edward and Anita are off to visit the local tiger clan. The queen is not really happy with Anita seducing her son away, so she tries to stall them. And Anita is getting really attracted to one of the guards. He has multiple tigers inside of him, she can smell it, and her own tigers are very happy with him as well. But just when they are about to become intimate, Alex bursts in on them, very unhappy. Anita is his! But his anger is way over the top, he has no real claim on Anita. Another guard joins the fight, and he is just way too fast to be a were-animal, he is of the Harlequin! And now they have found Anita again.
What follows is a fast paced book, filled with lots of action, but also long dialogues. Where the guards from St. Louis have arrived to help Anita, but Edward also called for Bernardo Spotted Horse and Olaf! And Olaf sure has changed! Anita is scared of him, but has to play nice. He cannot ever find out she is terrified of him, or he will stop seeing her as a girlfriend, and start seeing her as his next victim, again.

And the ending of the book, wow. Captured by the Harlequin, fighting with her back to the wall (literally), she has to deal with Mommy Dearest, who wants to take over her body. Now Anita has to risk everything and everyone she holds dear in one last desperate attempt. What a great ending of this book, now I have no idea anymore where this series will go to next. And Olaf? He is even scarier now then he was before!

As I said before, I love this series. It is one of the series I go to when in need of comfort. Rereading some favourites, or just parts of them. It is a world I get really swept into. I like Anita a lot. If you follow her from the start, you just have to like her. Even though metaphysics have turned her into a love machine and guy magnet, in her heart she is still the prude country girl. She doesn’t do casual sex or nudity, and is still not comfortable with it.
We learn a bit more about Edward in this book. There are only 2 love scenes in the book, which is very modest for this series.

I really did miss all of her men, although not really all the emotional upkeep necessary with so many relationships going on. But Jean-Claude is my favourite vampire persona ever, and he only had a few sentences in the end of the book. I hope she will stay at home for the next book again, and help Jean-Claude with his vampire imperium.

10 stars.

Leann Sweeney – Dead giveaway

The third book in the Yellow Rose Mysteries series, published November 2005.

Dead giveaway

Texas heiress Abby Rose has everything a gal could want. But as a new PI specializing in adoption, she’s more focused on what money can’t buy – like answers in a case of a baby abandoned years ago…

Superstar college athlete Will Knight was once a baby abandoned on a doorstep. And when he hires Abby to locate his birth family, her only clues are an expensive baby blanket – and Verna Mae, the woman who found him. But just days after meeting with Abby, Verna Mae is murdered. Perhaps she knew more than she let on to Abby … maybe even enough to upset someone with big money and a big secret. Abby’s search for answers will take her from the Huntsville state prison to the poshest parts of Houston. But somebody has already decided that she’s asking too many questions…

Another great book by Leann Sweeney! I very much enjoyed reading it. As I don’t want to spoil anything in this fast paced cozy mystery, you will have to make do with the blurb.
Abby Rose took me on a wild chase for the truth, and even though she gets hurt herself, she just doesn’t give up! I like her boyfriend, homicide inspector Sergeant Jeff Kline, as well. Even though Abby is working as a PI, he wants to work together as they both think her old case is connected with his new case. He gives her tips, and help from colleagues to get into places she normally would not have been welcome.
The story kept intriguing me, and I kept guessing after the truth. It stayed exciting till the end, and then, wow! But what a sweet ending as well.
Of course Abby her sister Kate appears in this book as well, but her aunt Caroline has only one small appearance. Which doesn’t bother me, as Abby doesn’t like her and her meddling very much. There were also those really funny Texan sayings again. Abby sure does crack me up now and then. Abby is a very sweet person because of her big heart, if she sees something she can help with, she takes care of it. Personally or financially. She is also determined to go her own way, and won’t give up on the search, no matter what.

It is the third in a series, though I believe you can read it as a stand alone mystery. Every book has its own mystery, only the personal parts, relationships and family, move forward.

9 stars.