zaterdag 30 juli 2011

L.J. McDonald – The worth of a Sylph

Sylph series 2,5 published November 2010.

From the anthology A Midwinter Fantasy, by Leanne Renee Hieber, Helen Scott Taylor and L.J. McDonald. This time I have read only this one story.

Amidwinter fantasy

This is the story of Mace, one of the original few Battle Sylphs to belong to Solie, Queen of the Sylphs. For the last 19 years, he has belonged to Lily, the widow who takes care of all the orphans in the Valley of the Sylphs. Mace has looked after the girls she raised, but has ignored the boys mostly. Lily she is becoming old, almost 90 now, and she wants Mace to go look for a new master to belong to, one he can truly love and form a soul bond with.
Her last charge, a 14 year old boy named Yaden, has run away, and Lily wants Mace to go after him, and bring him back home. But both she and the Queen forbid him to kill on this mission, or reveal himself in his true form.
What Mace does not expect to find, is a woman he made love for one night, while he was still in his suit or armor form, in the power of his evil master. Sally never forgot him, and she claims she has born him a son. Sylphs and humans cannot have children together, but Sally is adamount that Travis is his. Her family hates Mace for ruining her 19 years ago, and she and her son are shunned. So when Mace finds out that Yaden has joined a band of outlaws, just like Travis, he takes Sally with him to find both boys. But things are not as easy as Mace thinks. For some reason, the bandits are not that afraid of him, and under orders not to kill, there is little Mace can do.

This is a very lovely short story. Mace finally finds out that human men (or boys) are not as bad as he always believed. And he has the chance to find real love with Sally, when Lily will pass away. But will she be true to her word, and give Mace and Sally a chance for love?
Sally is a great character. All those years she has claimed that Mace is the father of her son, and that he will come back for her. She has strength, she never cowered to the wishes of her family. And now she will do anything to get her son back. Mace likes her spirit, and strength, the perfect Master for a Battle Sylph.
Mace has a good life with Lily as his master, but theirs is not a true bond, and he longs for one. When Lily tells him to find a new woman as his next master, he doesn’t really want to. Nor does he expect to find one he can love so fast.

A short story, but a good one, with full focus on Mace. He truly deserves happiness after everything he has had to endure. He has to change his beliefs, when he finds out about his son, and that Jayden also thinks of him as a father. He never did like human males before, couldn’t understand why Heyou and Ril do. He also has to learn some new powers, he never bothered with before.

8 stars.

L.J. McDonald – The shattered Sylph

The second book in the Sylph series, published April 2010.

The shattered Sylph

Kidnapped by slavers, Lizzie Petrule was dragged in chains across the Great Sea to the corrupt empire of Meridal. There beneath a floating citadel and an ocean of golden sand, lies a pleasure den for gladiators-and a prison for the maidens forced to slake their carnal thirst.

Real love has no limitations.
Despite impossible odds, against imponderable magic, three men have vowed Lizzie’s return: Justin, her suitor; Leon, her father; and Ril, the shape-shifting but war-weary battler. Together, this broken band can save her, but only with a word that must remain unsaid, a foe that is a friend, and a betrayal that is, at heart, an act of love.

Six years have passed since book 1. The Community has grown with the help of all those Sylphs and they prosper. Their little Queendom is called The Valley of the Sylphs. The neighbouring kingdoms are keeping their distance, as they don’t have as many Battle Sylphs to fight their war for them. Solie has made some treaties, trade agreements, and there is some commerce between them.
Lizzie, the oldest daughter of Leon, the master of Ril, who was damaged in the last big fight, is 18. She still loves Ril, although he seems to have lost all interest in her. So she starts looking at Justin, the oldest son of the trapper who brought Solie and Heyou back together. Justin thinks he is in love with Lizzie, and he wants to marry her. But it is a selfish love, with no regard for her feelings or who she is, and he is a coward who deserts her in the face of danger.
Lizzie and her friend Loren, the young girl with the water Sylph Shore, have come to Para Dubh with a trade caravan. They run of to explore the strange city, and when Shore wants to sea the ocean, they head for the docks. Loren, who is a very loose girl, starts flirting with a tattooed sailor, and tells where they are from. Her Sylph quickly takes her into the water with her, to keep her safe, but Lizzie gets kidnapped. Those girls know the secrets of the Battle Sylphs, and as the men are slavers, she is worth a lot of gold! So Lizzie gets carted of to the other side of the world, to Meridal. The Sylphs and poor humans who live there are abused. The nobility lives in a floating island, kept in the sky by air Sylphs, the poor humans live in a hot city, and the earth and water Sylphs have the task to keep the desert fertile enough to feed all those people. But in the shadow of the floating city, nothing lives for long.
All people who commit some kind of crime, or misdemeanour, are taken by the Battle Sylphs to the Arena, where they battle each other and the Battle Sylphs for the pleasure of the Emperor and his court. Of course the humans stand no chance at all, but that is not important. When the Battlers are done fighting or guarding they city, they have whole harems full of human women to have sex with. The women have no choice in that, and when a battler falls in love with one of them, the poor woman is carted off to the feeding pens, where she will be bound to a lesser Sylph, air, water, fire or earth, to feed them. Of course, first their tongues are cut off, so they cannot give orders to the Sylphs they are bound to.

And this is were Lizzy is destined for. At first, they use her as bait, to trap a new battler, but he refuses to come for her. Then they throw her in the harem. Lizzy is terrified, she doesn’t want to have sex with all those battlers. Luckily, one of the woman quickly becomes a good friend. She and one of the Battlers are in love, as are several others, and they just pretend to use other women as well. Lizzy gets caught up in that routine. To the battlers, she is off limits, as she is already mated to one! Lizzy has no idea what they are talking about, yes, she is still in love with Ril, but there never was a ceremony between them. But still, they insists she is his master.

When the battle Sylphs back home cannot find her trace, they have to wait for her father Leon to come back from his latest mission for the Queen. He is horrified, and so is Ril. But Ril does know how to follow her trail, and together they set out to find her, and bring her back home. Justin wants to come as well, even though he is scared of Ril, and Ril despises him. He needs to make it up to Lizzy, for deserting her when she was in danger. So the unlikely trio sets sail after her.

Okay, a lot happens in this book, I was totally enthralled while reading it. A new country with new rules, and I did not see how they could ever escape from there. The battlers were all kept prisoner with such an enormous set of rules, they had even less freedom than in the first book. Even though they could fight in the Arena, and have sex in their harems. They were bound to stop their women from escaping, not allowed to care for a specific woman. And the other Sylphs had to work night and day in the jobs allotted to them, only taking a break to feed from the human prisoners.
But of course, where there is love, there is a way around the rules. They had to be really careful though, and watch out for spies and traitors as well.

I liked Lizzy in this book, she had no choice in what happened to her, but she kept fighting, and she was smart. She kept her head when they threw Ril in the harem, did not give away their secret. She kept her faith that her father would come for her. She did not care that Justin came as well, she loved Ril, and Justin betrayed her.
I love Ril and Leon, how they never gave up. Ril is caught on early though, but Leon stays free. He slowly finds out more and more about this strange country and its customs, and he comes up with the plan to free his daughter and Ril and Justin.
When Ril became damaged, only half a Sylph, not able to shift back to his own form, he thought he was not worthy of his Lizzy anymore. She deserved a whole man, be he human to give her children, or another Battle Sylph. But when she was in danger, he did not hesitate to do everything in his power to get to her, to protect her.

And Justin? Well, he was just a selfish young boy and a total wimp. He did not deserve Lizzy.

And in the end, this country has a new future as well. With their own Queen of the Sylphs, and freedom.

9,5 stars

vrijdag 29 juli 2011

New additions to my addiction

For those of you who thought I had bought enough books for this year, or even this month, you are just a little bit wrong. Today these lovely books reached my house (brought by a very handsome mailman):

Eloisa James – A kiss at midnight
J.D. Robb ea – The other side
Jillian Hunter – Daring
Jillian Hunter – The wicked duke takes
Jillian Hunter – The wicked games of a gentleman
Jillian Hunter – Wicked as sin
Julia Quinn – Mr Cavendish, I presume
Julia Quinn – The lost duke of Wyndham
Julia Quinn – What happens in London
Julia Quinn, Eloisa James ea – The lady most likely
Anthology: Cherry Adair, Leanne Banks, Pamela Britton - Red hot santa
Heather Graham - Blood red
Adele Ashworth - A notorious propostion
Sara Bennett - A Most Sinful Proposal
Kieran Kramer - Dukes to the left of me, princes to the right
Madeline Hunter - Provocative in pearls
Christine Warren - Born to be wild
Eloisa James - When Beauty Tamed the Beast
Elisabeth Naughton - Marked
Kerrelyn Sparks - Secret life of a vampire
Susan Kearney – Lucan
Nora Roberts: Born in Fire; Born in Ice; Born in Shame; The pride of Jared McKade; The return of Rafe McKade; Treasures Lost, Treasures Found; Hidden Star; Secret Star; Time was; Times change

I know, I know, I am an addict. But I have a perfect excuse this time: it is my birthday monday, and I will be reaching the big 40. So all those books are a present for myself. (Of course, they always are...)

donderdag 28 juli 2011

L.J. McDonald – Battle Sylph

The first book in the Sylph series, published March 2010.

Battle Sulph

Sometimes, love means war.
He is one of many: a creature of magic, unrelentingly male. He is lured through the portal by pure female beauty, a virgin sacrifice. When she is killed, he is silenced and enslaved.
Such a dark ritual is necessary, you see. Unlike their elemental cousins – those gentler sylphs of wind and fire – Battlers find no joy in everyday labor. Their magic can destroy an army or demolish a castle, and each has but one goal: find a Queen, then protect and pleasure her at all costs. What would a woman do if she were given such a servant, and what would befall any kingdom foolish enough to allow a Battler to escape?
Young Solie and the people of Eferem are about to find out.

Welcome to the fantasy world of Eferem. A medieval world, where Sylphs are only meant for the powerful. There are earth, fire, water, wind and healing Sylphs for everyday work, and they don’t kill anything. Not a plant nor an animal nor an enemy. And then there are the Battle Sylphs. Kings have them fight their battles for them, to keep their kingdoms save from their neighbours. The one night the King decides his young son and heir (whom he despises as he is a coward) has to have his own Battler to keep him safe. And so he sends his soldiers to find a young virgin to use as the sacrifice to lure one from the realm they live.

Meet Solie, a young girl who has ran away from home as she does not want to marry the old man her father wants her to marry. He is just an old lecher, and her independent aunt thought her she can be much more than just a wife and mother. Females are not worth much in this realm. Unfortunately, she is taken by the solders as the sacrifice they need. Luckily, they need a true virgin or they would have made some “fun” first. They don’t even search her, so she has the chance to keep her small knife, disguised as an hair ornament. So while the priests are performing the ritual, Solie is sawing away at her bonds, freeing her hands just in time. So when the prince is ready to kill her, she attacks him instead, and the Sylph who comes down the portal rescues her by killing almost everyone inside the room. The King barely manages to escape. The prince (and only heir to the thrown) and all the priests and guards are killed by the Battler, whom she has named Heyou.

Heyou takes Solie to her aunts house, but unfortunately, her father and her scorned suitor are waiting for her there, and they need an other place to hide. Ofcourse the King doesn’t let things go as they are, and sends his most trusted man with the Battler Ril out to find them, and kill them both. As Heyou is very young jet, that will be no trouble at all for Ril, who has the shape of a hawk.

Battle Sylphs are not allowed to take a form other than the one their masters want them to take, nor are they allowed to talk to their masters or their own kind. But Solie doesn’t know those rules, so Heyou is very free. He is also very happy to have find his own female, his own Queen. On his homeworld, there are very few Queens, and only a few Battlers ever have sex with her. So he is anxious to please her. But Solie is a proper girl, and keeps him at a distance, no matter how hard it is.

When Ril and his master Leon find them, Ril and Heyou destroy most of the village in their battle. Mortally wounded, Ril leaves Heyou, knowing the other battler will slowly die. But Heyou doesn’t give up, and with the help of a trapper, he manages to follow Solie, and together and with their new friends they arrive at a pirate’s camp. When Solie and Heyou finally make love, that single fact makes her the Queen of all the Sylphs in the camp. And of all the Sylphs who came from the same hives as hers did. They only have to reach her first to be able to pledge their alliance.
And so, from a young farmers daughter, Solie becomes Queen of the Sylphs. As the other Sylphs won’t listen to their masters when Solie decides something, the men in charge have no other choice than to accept her as their leader too. After all, she is the one commanding the Battle Sylphs they need to protect them all. But Solie still has to learn so much, she never wanted to be in command or control other people.

I have just given the big outlines of the story here. The details are just so great, if you like fantasy or Urban fantasy, just read this series. You won’t regret it.
I liked Solie. She is young, but reliable, and head over heels in love with her Heyou. And he wants nothing else than to please her. He goes against his own nature when she asks it of him, but both don’t know better. She gives the Sylphs their freedom back, and they are so happy. I loved it. The battle scenes are also very detailed and great to read.
But Solie also doesn’t mind peeling potatoes and helping with other daily chores. She is down to earth, and doesn’t let it all get to her head.
And Heyou, well, he certainly is a randy thing. He would like to make love to Solie all day and night long. But she tells him to behave, and he literally has to obey her. She is his Queen and his master.

All the other secondary characters, especially the storyline with Leon and Ril, make the book that much better and richer. Ril’s story is next, and I am going to plunge right in it. The writing style is easy to read, fast paced, and never boring. There is time for battles, but also for the little things, and feelings.

Okay, a really good book, a great new world, and I want to read more.

9 stars.

dinsdag 26 juli 2011

Catherine Coulter – Split Second

Book 15 in the FBI Thriller series, published July 2011.

Split Second

A serial killer is on the loose, and it's up to FBI agents Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock to bring him down. They soon discover that the killer has blood ties to the infamous now long-dead monster, Ted Bundy. Savich and Sherlock are joined by agents Lucy Carlyle and Cooper McKnight, and the chase is on.

At the same time, Special Agent Lucy Carlyle learns from her dying father that her grandfather hadn't simply walked away from his family twenty-two years earlier: he had, in fact, been murdered by his wife, Lucy's grandmother. Determined to uncover the truth, Lucy moves into her grandmother's Chevy Chase mansion. What she finds, however, is more in the nature of a nightmare. Not only does she discover the truth of what happened all those years ago, but she faces a new mystery, a strange ring that holds powers beyond her ken. She learns about obsession and destruction and ultimate power.

As the hunt for the serial killer escalates, Savich realizes he's become the killer's focus, and the hunted. It's up to Lucy to stop this madness before Savich dies.

I loved this book! I finished it at 01.30 last night, which is not a good thing on a Monday night, with a full work week ahead. But I just had to know how it ended. I enjoyed everything in this book. The hunt for the crazy killer, and also the romance between Lucy and Cooper. And of course the second plot about her grandfather’s murder and the ring he left her, and the subsequent attempts at murder Lucy faces. I could guess a lot of the plot, but that totally did not diminish my pleasure.
I am not going to write a summary of this book, the blurb kind of says it all, and I do not want to spoil anything for the rest of you.

Just let me rant a bit about how much I love Savich and Sherlock as the continuing main couple of FBI agents in this book, the glimpse in their private lives with their son Sean. They want to protect each other, but that is not always possible. Lucy wanted to handle everything in her private life on her own, no matter how much Savich and Cooper want to help her. It is her family history, her responsibility. Besides, would they believe her? She is a strong woman, and she is dealing with the grief over the loss of her father. And then the discoveries she makes in her grandmother’s house, wow. Ugly secrets are revealed, and her family is not happy about it.
Cooper McKnight has the reputation of a lady killer, but that is just not true. Sure he drives a hot car, but that was a present from his mother, who wants some grandchildren of him. When Coop sets his sights on Lucy, who doesn’t seem to like him very much at first, she cannot easily shake him off. He is just always there for her when she needs him.

As usual, the book is written with a fast pace, but easily readable. With humor, but also evil and murders for no reasons. Suspense and romance and laughter and tragedy. All mixed in one superb new novel by Catherine Coulter. She proved again why she is on my auto-buy list and one of my long time favourite authors.

9 stars.

maandag 25 juli 2011

Jayne Ann Krentz – Call it destiny

The third book in the Men: Made in America series, published in 1984. I have the original Mira book, the small cover.

Call it destiny\
Call it destiny

Call it business
With the cool finesse of a successful businesswoman, Heather Strand negotiated her marriage. Ready to assume control of her family’s Tucson resort, she wanted one man at her side – Jake Cavender. It was a calculated deal, pure and simple, one that would be profitable for both. Nothing stood in the way of their successful partnership.
Call it pleasure
Except betrayal. Now she’s leveraging and impromptu buyout – leaving her groom standing at the altar. Heather is not a woman willing to relinquish the upper hand, especially to a man who’s getting under her skin and awakening in her something she lost long ago. A man who wants her on his terms.
Call it destiny
Storyteller extraordinaire Jayne Ann Krentz weaves a dramatic tale of a modern woman forced to confront her heart and her identity, who suddenly finds herself walking a tightrope between ambition and passion, dreams and desires.

When Heather was 18, she left her parents behind, and ran away on her motorcycle and a bad boyfriend to California. She would make it on her own. She dearly loves her parents, but their choices are not her own. The boyfriend left with her motorcycle, leaving her stranded on the highway. But she did get to California, got a job and a college education, and made her own way in the hotel business. And now, at 29, she is ready to come home, and take over her father’s resort. And she will marry the man he wants her to marry, financial wizard Jake Cavender. A marriage of convenience, with her in power, as he will still be kind of working for her.
She is compliant to her parents and Jake’s wishes, not getting into business yet, but focusing on getting to know Jake and arranging their wedding. He really wants to push the physical side of their relationship, but somehow she is still wary of him, and refuses to sleep with him yet. And he promises not to push her, even after they are married. But on the evening before her wedding, Heather is restless and goes to the office to be on her own a bit. Away from all the wellmeaning family and friends. But going through the papers in what will be her office tomorrow, she is shocked. Her father has sold the resort to Jake 6 months ago! He will be the one in charge of everything, making the major decisions, not her! How could they betray her like this? They knew she though to come back to take over for her father!
So the next morning, she gets out of her wedding finery after sending away her mother and sisters, and dresses again in biker gear, borrowing the motorbike of one of the staff, and goes to church like that. And in hearing of all the guests and family, she tells Jake the wedding is off, as she has found out the truth after all, and she takes of.
Unfortunately, there is no quick flight out of Tucson, so she checks into a hotel near the airport. Then her roomdoor is thrown open and in walks Jake. He has cancelled her flight, got the key to her room from the reception, and tells her his point of view. If he had not deceived her, she would never have married him. And now he has come to claim his wedding night, and take her home to her parents the next morning, as he promised them he would. He won’t listen to Heather, just overpowers her, and makes her body want him in return. I still do call that rape.
The next morning, Heather is calmer, and even believes she loves him, but she wants some time alone to think it over. And to her own surprise, he lets her leave for her fathers cabin up in the mountains for a few days. Finally there, a nasty surprise arrives. Her ex-boyfriend is using the cabin for shady deals, and he threatens to shoot her if she doesn’t go with him to Mexico after his next deal. When Jake does show up (of course he cannot leave her alone for more than a few hours!) he has her turn him away, or he will kill Jake. And so Heather convinces Jake to leave her, but instead, he safes her and they have to flee from the cabin and the fastrising water. They save each other’s lives, and Heather tells Jake she loves him. But Jake is not capable of love, having never had any in his life before. And when he can’t commit like that to her, she won’t marry him. A new battle of wills between them starts.

My thoughts: at first, I really liked Heather. She was a self-made businesswoman, who got what she wanted on her own terms. She is very lively, and charms her guests and personnel easily. She is also a hard working woman, and she has earned everything she has herself.
But she forgave Jake way too fast, especially after he forced her to react to his “lovemaking”. He wants her to surrender herself to his will completely. Do you fall in love with a man who betrays you like that? And later, the resort is no longer important to her, or who will be in charge (not her), she only wants his love.
Okay, okay, the book was written in 1984, when men really acted like that. They were in charge, and the woman had to be nice and agree to everything.
I could not fall for Jake. He was good with figures, and her parents and other family like him, but he is not a people person. The personnel is wary around him, as he always stays aloof. He keeps manipulating Heather, even signing the prenup she gives him, because in reality, it is all in his own favor, and not in hers. She thought to protect herself, and instead, gave it all away.
Jake grew up with a drunk as a mother, and no father, going from fosterhome to fosterhome. He is also a self-made man, but he has no softer qualities. He cannot understand why Heather lived her life the hard way instead of accepting everything her parents could have given her. He thinks she threw their love away, and has forfeited her inheritage, he has worked at the resort for the last two years and has put a lot of his time and own money in it. He just wants to marry Heather because she can give him the home he wants, and a closer tie to her parents. She is also great with people and the resort really needs her. He complains about how his mother and foster mothers and ex-wife never loved him, so he doesn’t believe in the feeling. But he also didn’t love his ex-wife in return, so why he is surprised, no idea. He was totally inflexible, and didn’t know how to compromise or even give a little. He had to have it all on his terms. If was fine that she loved him, he enjoyed hearing those words, but love was nonsense. Now, if she just safe that fire for in their bedplay …

All in all, what started out as a good book, really irritated me from the halfway part till the end. I know, that is the risk with reading those old books. Heather could have fought a little harder, and Jake sure is a caveman.
I still love the writing style, so fluent, and full of humor and also some suspense with that ex-boyfriend stuff.

6 stars.

zondag 24 juli 2011

Lara Adrian – Deeper than midnight

The ninth book in the Midnight Breed series, published June 2011.

Deeper than midnight


At eighteen, Corinne Bishop was a beautiful, spirited young woman living a life of privilege as the adopted daughter of a wealthy family. Her world changed in an instant when she was stolen away and held prisoner by the malevolent vampire Dragos. After many years of captivity and torment, Corinne is rescued by the Order, a cadre of vampire warriors embroiled in a war against Dragos and his followers. Her innocence taken, Corinne has lost a piece of her heart as well - the one thing that gave her hope during her imprisonment, and the only thing that matters to her now that she is free.

Assigned to safeguard Corinne on her trip home is a formidable golden-eyed Breed male called Hunter. Once Dragos's most deadly assassin, Hunter now works for the Order, and he's hell-bent on making Dragos pay for his manifold sins. Bonded to Corinne by their mutual desire, Hunter will have to decide how far he'll go to end Dragos's reign of evil - even if carrying out his mission means shattering Corinne's tender heart.

As usual in this series, this book continues right where Taken of Midnight ended, so you really need to read this series in order.

After many decades of being imprisoned by Dragos, experienced and breeded upon, she wants to go home, to her family, to heal. She still looks as young and beautiful as she did when she was abducted, thanks to the Breed blood she and the other captive Breedmates have been fed. She needs her powerful father to help her retrieve her son, Nathan, who was taken from her right after she gave birth to him. Only the memory of him have kept her sane and whole all those years, able to overcome the torture and degradation inflicted upon her.
Unfortunately, Brock is in Alaska with his Breedmate, and unable to come back soon to take her to her father’s Darkhaven in Detroit. To his own surprise, it is Hunter who volunteers to take her home. Ever since he saw her, he has been captivated by her. Her beauty, and what she endured all those years. Hunter was raised by Dragos as his personal assassin, and now works for the Order, fighting him. He has never known a woman, and he doesn’t understand his feelings or wants for her. He just knows he has to keep her safe.
But when he delivers her to her parents, something just doesn’t feel right. And when he comes back undetected, he confronts her father. The bastard knew what has happened to his adopted daughter all those years ago, who took her and why. It was him who staged the discovery of the body a few months after she disappeared, and even when his own son found out the truth, and killed himself, he didn’t come forward. And even now he betrays Corinne and calls Dragos. And in the end, it is his wife, his breedmate, who gives the order the name of one of Dragos’s lieutenants. He used to visit with Dragos’s all the time back then, so he should be able to tell them where to find Dragos now.
Boston isn’t safe at the moment to go back to, as Dragos has planted a tracking device in young Kellan Archer while he was abducted. When Kellan got so sick, he just threw up the device, the males of the Order knew they were fucked. Of course there had been no other choice for Kellan and his grandfather to go since Dragos had killed their entire Darkhaven and all of their family. But the Order’s headquarters are now exposed to Dragos, they desperately need a new safe place. So Hunter takes Corinne with him to New Orleans, where they are after Henry Vachon. But everything goes bad there, the local Enforcement agency has been tipped, and they are after them. The hunters become the hunted, and they need a safehouse of their own. Luckily, Gideon’s mate Savannah still has a sister living in the swamp, and she is willing to take Hunter and Corinne in. Hunter goes back after Henry Vachon on his own, and he finds him. When the man keeps talking trash about Corinne, Hunter looses it, and kills him savagely. And by ingesting some of the man’s blood, his own powers are finally freed. He is a bloodreader, and through the memories of Henry Vachon, he knows where he can find more info on Dragos.

Meanwhile, the Order is checking out some new property over in Maine, but the move will have to be postponed as Tess is in labor. Chase is falling into Bloodlust, and he leaves the Order after another fucked up mission. But when he finds the renegade Agency agent Murdock on an illegal Bloodhunt, he captures him and tortures him until he knows all Murdock knows on Dragos. It appears, he is after a brand new but powerful politician, and he has been making Minions by the dozens. What will he do when he owns the American government? But Chase cannot go back to the Order, he is too close to becoming Rogue, the very same thing the Order is chasing, when they are not after Dragos. He has to find out more first.

A great new book in this series. The plot thickens more and more, and I am really wondering what will happen next.
I loved the slow relationship between Corinne and Hunter. As Corinne has been tortured and abused for centuries, of course she isn’t looking for a mate. She is very weary of males, but Hunter makes her feel safe and protected. He doesn’t look upon her or her scars with disgust or something. He completely accepts her as she is.
Hunter has never known a female in his life, not as a care giver, nor as a lover. He was trained/conditioned not to feel emotions, not to desire or want anything. So he doesn’t understand his feelings, what they are. But their first kiss was so sweet, and the scene where she asks him to dance in the jazz club they are at in New Orleans. He doesn’t know how to dance. His few months at the order have not learned him everything about living in a society yet. I have to admit, I really liked Hunter. But I though Corinne a bit stupid and naïve, how she wants to risk everything, even capture again, to find her son. The son who doesn’t even know her, and has been trained to be a ruthless killer, just like Hunter. And Hunter still wrestles with the vision he once saw in Mira’s eyes …
Can he live with the fact that he will destroy Corinne’s happiness and her love for him?

9,5 stars

zaterdag 23 juli 2011

Many new additions to my addiction

Today Freya and I went to Dordrecht, where someone was selling an entire collection of books. So I splurged! Here is the list, I did not count them ...

Titel Auteur
Irish enchantress, the Fetzer, Amy J.
Irish knight, the Fetzer, Amy J.
Rebel heart Fetzer, Amy J.
Renegade heart Fetzer, Amy J.
Runaway bride Gordon, Deborah
Runaway magic Gordon, Deborah
Bewitched O'Day Flannery, Constance
Time for love, a O'Day Flannery, Constance
Heaven's fire Ryan, Patricia
Time without end Miller, Linda Lael
For all eternity Miller, Linda Lael
Tonight and always Miller, Linda Lael
Forever and the night Miller, Linda Lael
With all my heart Goodman, Jo
Captain's lady Goodman, Jo
Passion's sweet revenge Goodman, Jo
Secret sisters Maxwell, Ann
Timeshadow rider Maxwell, Ann
Fire dancer Maxwell, Ann
Promise in a kiss, the Laurens, Stephanie
Pirate, the Mason, Connie
Gunslinger Mason, Connie
Lion's bride, the Mason, Connie
Sheik Mason, Connie
Viking Mason, Connie
Stardust and shadows Taylor, Janelle
Starlight and splendor Taylor, Janelle
Moondust and madness Taylor, Janelle
Destiny mine Taylor, Janelle
Anything for love Taylor, Janelle
Love with a stranger Taylor, Janelle
Night games Bangs, Nina
Original sin, a Bangs, Nina
Autumn star Morgan, Lori
Indigo moon Morgan, Lori
By design Hunter, Madeline
Gypsy lord Martin, Kat
Dangerous man, a Brockway, Connie
After twilight Davis, Dee
Everything in it's time Davis, Dee
Promise, the Davis, Dee
Outlaw an the lady, the Heath, Lorraine
Virtual heaven Lawrence, Ann
Her secret guardian Needham, Linda
Heartmate Owens, Robin D.
Heart of the condor Renken, Laura
My lord pirate Renken, Laura
Night shadow Renken, Laura
Wicked lies Renken, Laura
Prince of the night Cresswell, Jasmine
Ravyn's flight O'Shea, Patti
Devil's honor Dier, Debra
Socerer's lady, the Dier, Debra
Cinderfella Jones, Linda
Sealed with a kiss Morsi, Pamela
Magic Cates, Kimberly
Mercy Garwood, Julie
Girl named Summer, a Garwood, Julie
Darkest knight, the Callen, Gayle
The shadow of midnight Canham, Marsha
Iron rose, the Canham, Marsha
Straight for the heart Canham, Marsha
Across a moonlit sea Canham, Marsha
Swept away Canham, Marsha
My reckless heart Goodman, Jo
Maggy's child Robards, Karen
Dark torment Robards, Karen
Midnight hour, the Robards, Karen
Island flame Robards, Karen
Forbidden love Robards, Karen
One summer Robards, Karen
Night flame Hart, Catherine
Getting her man Albert, Michele
Blue Christmas Hill, Sandra
Blue Christmas Jones, Linda
Blue Christmas Psacreta, Sharon
Blue Christmas Saunders, Amy Elizabeth
Blithe images Roberts, Nora
MacGregors, the: Daniel-Ian Roberts, Nora
Winning hand, the Roberts, Nora
Sacred sins Roberts, Nora
MacGregor Grooms, the Roberts, Nora
Wishes Deveraux, Jude
Mountain Laurel Deveraux, Jude
Temptress, the Deveraux, Jude
Eternity Deveraux, Jude
Twin of fire Deveraux, Jude
Twin of ice Deveraux, Jude
Conquest, the Deveraux, Jude
Counterfeit lady Deveraux, Jude
Lost lady Deveraux, Jude
River lady Deveraux, Jude
Maiden, the Deveraux, Jude
Princess, the Deveraux, Jude
Raider, the Deveraux, Jude
Velvet promise Deveraux, Jude
Highland velvet Deveraux, Jude
Velvet song Deveraux, Jude
Velvet angel Deveraux, Jude
Remembrance Deveraux, Jude
Sweet liar Deveraux, Jude
Invitation, the Deveraux, Jude
Legend Deveraux, Jude
Game, the Joyce, Brenda
House of dreams Joyce, Brenda
Finer things Joyce, Brenda
Conqueror, the Joyce, Brenda
Splendor Joyce, Brenda
Innocent fire Joyce, Brenda
Rival, the Joyce, Brenda
Secrets Joyce, Brenda
Fires of paradise, the Joyce, Brenda
Violet fire Joyce, Brenda
Beyond scandel Joyce, Brenda
Third heiress, the Joyce, Brenda
Deadly love Joyce, Brenda
Deadly affairs Joyce, Brenda
Deadly desire Joyce, Brenda
Deadly caress Joyce, Brenda
Deadly promise Joyce, Brenda
Deadly illusions Joyce, Brenda
Deadly kisses Joyce, Brenda
Private eye, the Krentz, Jayne Ann

vrijdag 22 juli 2011

Karen Hawkins – Scandal in Scotland

The second book in the Hurst Amulet series, published May 2011.

Scandal in Scotland

New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins spins an unforgettable tale of a captivating beauty with a secret, a dashing sea captain on a treacherous mission - and the priceless artefact that seals their destiny
Despite fame and countless admirers, actress Marcail Beauchamp has never forgotten William Hurst, the audacious seafarer she once loved . . . and lost. Now, forced by a mysterious blackmailer who threatens her family, she must steal an ancient onyx box from the one man she's vowed never to see again.
To save his brother from a ruthless abductor, William must deliver the artefact as ransom. He's stunned when Marcail, more lovely than ever, suddenly appears on his ship. But when she drugs him and steals the box, his fury knows no bounds.
William pursues Marcail, but too late: she has already delivered the box. The estranged lovers realize they must work together - both to regain the artefact that could mean life or death to his family and to destroy the mysterious blackmailer's power over her family. Thus begins a high-stakes quest through the reaches of Scotland, a quest that stirs up long-forgotten memories and an unquenchable passion. . . .

William Hurst, captain of the Sea Witch, is ready to set sail, and bring the artefact his sister has recovered to Africa, to free their brother Michael, who is kept prisoner in exchange for the onyx box. To his surprise, his former lover and famous actress Marcail Beauchamp is waiting in his cabin for him. She needs his help. But remembering how she betrayed her love, and not wanting to hear her out, he tells her to leave. Asking for a last drink, she drugs him, and then steals the box.
But William needs that box, so once he is recovered, he follows her. He knows where she lives, so he sets a Bow Street Runner on her trail. He wants to know where she goes, and take back the onyx box.

Marcail and William were very much in love some years ago. Both young, and Marcail just making a name for herself as an actress. William was away at sea a lot of the time. And an actress in that time period, got propositioned by all the young bucks, and sometimes even royalty. To protect herself, she accepted the protection of the Earl of Colchester. She became his mistress, but only in name, as the Earl was not really interested in women … She saved his reputation, while he protected hers. But in exchange for that, she had to give William his farewell, and she did it in a kind of cruel way, not telling him the truth. But if the then hot-headed William had found out about her predicament, he would have stormed off to confront the prince, and he would have damaged both their careers. She didn’t want that. And they were both so young back then.
Now Marcail is being blackmailed. She supports her parents and four sisters with the money she makes as an actress, and to protect her sisters’ reputation, society cannot find out they are related to her. Her blackmailer uses a very cunning young woman, called miss Challoner as the courier. Miss Challoner is being blackmailed by the same man herself, so she also has no choice but follow orders. Marcail has to steal the onyx box from William, and that will be the last thing ever. But of course, with a blackmailer, that is never the truth.
Once William catches up with Marcail, and they are together in her hotel room, the passion between them reunites. He believes her story, and they will have to find a solution together. But then his ship is set on fire, and they run of to investigate. In the meanwhile, the box is stolen by miss Challoner, and now they will have to catch up with her, and find her, and find out who the blackmailer is to put a stop to it once and for all.

I was not as engrossed with this story as with the previous books by Karen Hawkins. The love part between William and Marcail is great, and they come to understand each other better. Their love never really died. They missed each other greatly, more than they realised. And now, working together, and making love together, solving their problems together, all is well again between them. The story itself is just a lot of travelling, staying in inns, and not really very exciting. The third brother, Robert, also makes an appearance, and he knows much more than he has told his siblings. He has another onyx box with him … and he also knows Miss Challoner … very well ….
At least his story promises to be exciting, an agent for the crown and a dandy all in once.

All in all, too much love scenes for my taste, not enough suspense in the story. Although I do like William, and admire Marcail for everything she does and endures for her family. Her father, well. He does not really deserve that name.

7 stars.

woensdag 20 juli 2011

Elizabeth Lowell - Midnight at Ruby Bayou

The fourth book in the Donovan series, published in July 2000

Midnight in Ruby Bayou

Elizabeth Lowell, the New York times bestselling author of Amber Beach, Jade Island and Pearl Cove, achieves a breathtaking new level of suspense and emotional intensity with her fourth riveting adventure featuring another member of the remarkable Donovan family.

Welcome to Ruby Bayou … where beauty and peril are one.

Faith Donovan is famous for creating exquisite jewelry studded with fabulous gems. But the dangerous task of acquiring the rare rubies she needs for her art has taught Faith to be wary of anyone outside her own family – especially someone like Owen Walker, an adventurer with an intimate knowledge of the ruby trade and man’s murderous greed. But now necessity has thrown them together, as they venture into the shadowy world of the wealthy and mysterious Montegeaus in search of quality stones.
A powerful Georgia clan descended from pirates, the Montegeaus are said to possess a staggering fortune in gems, hidden for generations in the legendary Blessing Chest. In the living shadows of historic Ruby Bayou, Faith and Walker are soon drawn into a terrifying web of corruption and betrayal, and haunted by the dark, unfolding secrets of the Montegeaus past and present. For there are those who would kill for the contents of the Blessing Chest. And now two outsiders who have learned to much stand in the way.

The blurb sure mentions some true things, but makes no sense whatsoever once you have read the book.

Now Faith has broken off her relationship with her ex-fiancée Tony, she feels lonely. Her twin sister and two of her brothers have found love and are married, with children to enhance their love and family. After the failure of her relationship with an abusive bully, she has sworn of men, and is determined to become the best aunt ever, even though she still longs for a family of her own.
She is a great jewellery designer and artist, and is starting to make a name for herself in the business, apart from the family businesses and her very successful parents and brothers.
Her best friend Mel is getting married soon, and her father-in-law-to-be has asked her to design and create a necklace, with 13 gorgeous rubies in them. The real Burmese ones, not the ones cooked in smugglers fires. The 14th ruby will be her salary.
She can also use the necklace as a showpiece for a big event in Savannah in two weeks. The only problem is getting insurance for it, as there is no time to send it to an official appraiser and still get the job done in time.
It sure doesn’t help when her shop is robbed and searched, and some of her designs are stolen. It is not the monetary value of the jewels that is bothering her, they were her own creations, and impossible to make again. Real art. And now her siblings put her store back to rights, and deal with the insurance company, while she herself is busy creating the necklace.
Owen Walker got wounded badly in Afghanistan a few weeks ago, and is now back in America, working for Archer Donovan, doing odd jobs. Archer now asks him to look after his sister Faith, and keeping her and the rubies safe. He will ensure the ruby necklace for Faith, if Walker will guard it. Walker doesn’t find it a hardship at all, ever since he first saw Faith 19 months ago, he has been attracted to her. But as a lowly Southerner, without any formal education, he thinks he is no match for her. And besides, ever since his brother Lot was killed he doesn’t want the responsibility for another person depending on him ever again.

The trouble doesn’t end with the robbery of the store. Walker convinces Faith to stay in another Inn than the one she has reservations for. The next morning on the news, he learns that the woman who stayed in that same room, due to an unexpected cancellation, was brutally murdered, and the safe of the hotel robbed. Someone really wants those rubies.
When they leave the exhibition for a lunchbreak, the safe where they pretended to leave the rubies is robbed, and some mugger wants Faith’s handbag when they leave the restaurant they had lunch. Faith still thinks it is all some big coincidence, but Walker knows better. The tug that tried to rob Faith, and held a knife to her throat, was mafia.

When later on they are invited to come to Ruby Bayou for the wedding early, Faith happily accepts. Walker is less happy with it, he would prefer to see both Faith and the jewels back home in Seattle, with her family around her. But Faith doesn’t want to hear it, she has promised Mel she be at her wedding, and so she will be.
But once they reach Ruby Bayou and the Montegeaus family home, danger sure hasn’t passed. They are followed by some FBI agents, but the real trouble is inside the house. Mr. Montegeau senior has gotten into trouble way over his head, and to safe his own skin, he has put Faith in danger …
Faith doesn’t know that Walker is also some kind of bodyguard for her, and somehow they change from friends into lovers, and she finally finds out what sex is all about. Tony blamed her for not being ready for him or hot enough or whatever, but with Walker, there are no difficulties at all. So when she thinks it is only part of his job, to stay close to her, she is really hurt. Of course, she knew in advance he is not into the relationship for the long haul, he doesn’t want to get leg-shackled or something, he doesn’t want the responsibility. But still.

Another great romantic suspense novel by Elizabeth Lowell. I keep hoping she will write more books in this series, there are after all, two more Donovan brothers on the loose in the world. But I don’t think that will happen anymore, just like the book about Erik, from the @ series. Publishers rights on a series and stuff like that.

I liked Faith from the first time she appears in the series. Walker also plays a secondary role in most of them. Faith is a small woman, especially compared to her large father and brothers, and has a tight bond with her twin sister Hope. So when Hope found Jake and got married, that bond changed, and she longs for a man of her own. She though she had found that man in Tony, who was just as big and loud as her brothers, but so very different where it counts. He is abusive and jealous and controlling, and he can’t stand it that she ended the relationship. He had his eyes on the Donovan money all along. She has lost a lot of her believe in herself as a woman, but not as a designer. Until Walker comes a long, and as he is using a cane, he is not as threatening as most other large males. They grow closer, Walker truly admires her gift and her work, and of course her self. Her sense of humor is close to his own, and they get along very well. I do think her very naïve of not connecting the dots to everything that has happened, but she is still very trusting of people, although she certainly is not stupid.
And then Walker, who keeps blaming himself for the death of his dare-devil younger brother, who always trusted on Walker to get him out of the fire he got himself into. Until that last time, and his brother got killed before Walker could rescue him. They had a very hard childhood in the marshes, near Ruby Bayou. His father was an alcoholic, who only worked as a mechanic when he was sober. But he did teach Walker to hunt in the bayou, to put food on their table. One day he left for Texas, and never came back. His mothers new boyfriend was also an alcoholic, who abused both her as well as her boys. Until the day Walker beat him, and his mother put the both of them on the bus to Texas. She choose for her lover instead of her sons. And that lesson Walker also never forgot. It took a while to find his father, who was working as a mechanic on a small airfield. Walker soon learned the same stuff, and some friendly pilots taught him how to fly. He was a natural, and he loved flying. He took a lot of odd jobs, to support himself, his drunken father and his little brother. Until he got the attention of Archer Donovan and became part of the family.
He doubts himself so much, but he cannot fight the attraction to Faith for long. And when she agrees to just an affair, no strings attached, he doesn’t know why he is disappointed.
Walker and Faith are so great together, they share the same strange sense of humor, and their bantering sure makes me laugh a few times. And the lovescenes, wow. Not too many, but really good ones, fitting the storyline.

The suspense was a great story as well. In the previous books, the Chinese are the power to reckon with, here it are the Russians. Along with the rubies Faith has gotten for the necklace, a very large and famous stone was stolen. And they need it back and fast, for the new wing in the Hermitage, or heads will fall. So both the Russian as the American mafia are after the ruby, and they all think Faith knows where it is …

Of course, there is a lot of lure and knowledge about rubies in this book. I like that kind of detail, and it never got too much or boring. I would have liked a picture of the necklace that was designed by Faith on the cover instead of this lovely one of the bayou at midnight. If Elizabeth Lowell’s description would be made, it certainly would be very lovely.

9 stars

Elizabeth Lowell - Pearl Cove

The third book in de Donovan series, published June 1999.

Pearl Cove

He might help her, if the price is right.
Surrounded by potential enemies, Hannah McGarry faces the mystery of her husband’s suspicious death, the prospect of bankruptcy … and the disappearance of the fabulous Black Trinity necklace that was to be her financial security. Desperate, she calls Archer Donovan, a silent partner in Pearl Cove, her late husband’s pearl farm venture. He might help her … if the price is right.
Archer Donovan would rather forget he’d ever heard of Pearl Cove … it’s memories of living on the dark side, the soulnumbing certainty that there was no law, no justice, no mercy: just hunters and the hunted. That life taught him to trust one but family. But when Hannah McGarry calls in an old debt Archer is back in the game. And at his side in pursuit of the stolen fortune is a woman he shouldn’t want, yet cannot resist … a woman who may know more than she’s telling about her husband’s death … and more than is safe to know about the dark and elusive black pearls. With deadly competitors on their tails, Archer and Hannah race through uncharted waters in search of the fabulous Black Trinity. And the closer they come to finding the coveted pearls, the closer they come to danger and death … and to each other.

It’s the middle of the night in Seattle when Archer Donovan gets a phone call. A voice from his past, but one he never forgot. Hannah McGarry, the woman who married his half-brother Len a decade ago, the one woman he can never get out of his mind. When she tells him, Len is dead, and she is scared of her own life and needs him, he flies to Australia as fast as he can. Len and Hannah owned and operated a pearl farm on the coast of Australia, with Archer as a silent partner. It appears Len knew the secret to created the elusive black pearls, with a rainbow luster, and he was killed for his secrets. And now “they” believe Hannah must have also known the secret, as she was his wife. Archer needs to protect Hannah, recover the stolen pearls, and he wants to find his brother’s murderer. But Len made an enemy out of everyone he ever met, so there are suspects too many.
The Australian government, who wants to keep the Chinese from getting a monopoly on the pearl trade, the Chinese government, more specifically the Chang family, who want the monopoly on high end pearls, and the secret of the black pearls who look like black opals. Ian Chang, the number one son of Sam Chang, also wants Hannah for his own, but she keeps refusing him. And then there is Coco, who works at Pearl Cove, and whom every man longs for. And she likes plenty of men herself and only laughs at Hannah for living like a nun. Len was crippled the last seven years of their marriage, and he hated Hannah as much as he needed her. So her life was not easy, only diving for oysters gave her still a sense of freedom.
And now there is Archer. Who wants her, and makes no secret of it. But he is so much alike Len, she never wants that again. Big and handsome, but also ruthless, cold, determined. She never has had sex like she has with Archer, but when he wants to marry her, she refuses. She only needs him for protection and sex, nothing else. She doesn’t believe he can be different, but when she sees him with his family, all those other Donovans, she comes to regret that decision. He literally freezes all over when he is interacting with her, while he is warm and gently with his family. So unlike Len, or her own parents, who are missionaries in the Brazilean rainforest. Hannah wanted out of that life, and she saw Len as her escape ticket to something better. Boy, was she wrong in that choice. O, he did marry her after all, but not because he loved her. Len noticed Archer’s interest in Hannah, so he made sure he got there first.

When Hannah and Archer are safely back in Seattle, the search for the stolen pearls begins, putting them close together, and still apart. Until Archer is in danger, and Hannah finally realises her own feelings, and how different Archer is from Len. But can she convince Archer of the truth of that? And what happens when their adventure together is over? When the pearls are found, and the murderer of Len brought to justice or punished?

The first thing my boyfriend said: are you reading a book without a half naked man on the cover? Yes I am. Of course, that hot man was inside of the book ;)
Another great suspense novel by Elizabeth Lowell. I loved every page of it, again. The descriptions are so lively, you just feel the heat and humidity of Australia in Summer, and then the cold and rain in Seattle. The dangerous atmosphere in the Triade’s place.

Hannah hasn’t had an easy life. Living in the rainforest in primitive conditions with one of the tribes who life there, and later, being dragged all over the third world countries by her husband Len, while he was searching for his personal holy grail. But still, she keeps going, keeps seeing the good things. She teaches English to the Chinese children of their divers, she does some woodworking, and she has a great eye for sorting pearls on color and luster, a rare and sought after talent. Yes, she doubt Archer at first, but finally she sees trough the surface to the real him, and he is nothing like his half brother after all.
Archer felt bad leaving Hannah with his half brother all those years ago. He knew Len wasn’t really sane, but he did believe Hannah would be good for him. And she chose Len over himself. Len kept taunting Archer with Hannah, until he finally told him to get lost and never come back again. He didn’t need or want Archer or the other Donovans in his life.
But now Hannah has called, and all the memories, bad and good, come rushing back.
Archer was the strong, silent type in the previous books, and in this one, he gets his story.

Perhaps you think Hannah and Archer cold: Len has been dead a few days only, and they begin an affair. But that marriage hasn’t been a real marriage for at least seven years, and Hannah stopped loving Len long before that. When he was glad she miscarried, and almost died. He never wanted children, and Hannah loves children. But she never wants to expose a child to Len’s brutal coldness. The attraction between Archer and Hannah is something Hannah has never felt before, with any man. And what he makes her feel when they are making love, is extraordinary. And she knows the difference between sex and making love, because when she turns him down, and tells him she only wants protection and sex from him, he sure shows her the difference, and she regrets it bitterly.

The suspense part of the story is equally strong: I never did guess the whole truth. And like in the other books, you learn more about pearls then you ever wanted to know, but it is all interesting, and adds to the story. Of course there is also politics, and I am curious to know if that has changed in those years, or still applies.

9 stars.

New additions to my addiction

Eloisa James – A duke of her own
Johanna Lindsey – A rogue of my own
Susan Wittig Albert – The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree
Mary Balogh – Under the mistletoe
Johanna Lindsey – Prisoner of my desire
Johanna Lindsey – Angel
Johanna Lindsey – A loving scoundrel
Johanna Lindsey – The devil who tamed her
Johanna Lindsey – Glorious Angel
Stephanie Laurens – The perfect lover
Catherine Coulter – Whiplash
Kevin Hearne - Hammered

Elizabeth Lowell – Jade Island

The second book in the Donovans series, published October 1998. I do prefer this cover over my own, which has a little wooden boat on a beach. The only boat mentioned is Kyle’s big SeaSport, the Tomorrow.

Jade Island

New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Lowell continues the spectaculair story that began with Amber Beach, sweeping us back into the magnificent, high-risk world of the gem trade in this extraordinary new novel – Jade Island.

Wild and restless, Kyle Donovan has freed himself from the constraints of his family’s high-powered gem-trading empire to rove the world as a treasure hunter. Now the president of Donovan International has given Kyle an assignment with explosive ramifications. A case he must take.
When one of China’s legendary cultural treasures is stolen, Lianne Blakely, a mysterious and beautiful jade expert, is accused of the theft. It’s Kyle’s job to get to the bottom of what could be a potential disaster for the Donovans as well as Lianne.
But Kyle finds himself irresistibly drawn to the exotic beauty and captivated by her fierce claim of innocence. Soon they are in dangerous pursuit of the real thief, drawn deeper into the perils of spiralling power plays, and linked by a passion as powerful as the lore of the ancient culture and as enduring as the splendour of the treasured jade.

Okay, the blurb does no justice to the contents of the book. So, skip it please. Hmm bad cover, bad blurb, but great book!

After his near-death adventure last year, Kyle Donovan has matured a lot. So when Archer asks him to make contact to Lianne Blakely, the bastard daughter of an American woman and a married Chinese man, a member of the Tang family, he is not expecting to fall in lust the moment he sees Lianne. His normal type of woman is tall, blond and curvy. And Lianne is petite, with long dark hair, but of course very pretty in an exotic way. They meet “coincidentally” at a Jade exhibition and auction. Her father, who has never acknowledged her as his daughter, has asked Lianne to make contact with Kyle Donovan two weeks ago, and she has been watching him. But she is not the type to boldly approach a man and ask him a question. So when Kyle approaches her, she is relieved. Now she can do as Johnny Tang, her father, wants, after all.
Lianne is glad with Kyle’s presence with her, as she needs a bodyguard to keep the powerful but lecherous Teng away from her. Her family would like to have the connection with him, but she is scared of Teng. And that is the same family that has never acknowledged her as such. Yes, her grandfather learned her everything she knows about jade, and she has a natural knack and love for it. But they pay her a fraction of her worth, and treat her like a servant instead of a family member.
So, they make a trade. Kyle will serve as her bodyguard, and in exchange, Lianne will teach him more about jade, as it is only a recent passion of Kyle. And Kyle will not only protect her from Teng, but also of the mysterious man who has been following her for weeks now. She only catches glimpses of him, but she knows he is there, and she has no idea why.

The government is shadowing Lianne, as there are rumours about the Jade Emperor’s Tomb being found recently, and that its contents have been sold to an American billionaire/investor. Lianne is supposed to have helped steal the jade, and brokered the deal. It is now up to Lianne and Kyle, with the help of all the other Donovans, to prove her innocence before Uncle throws her in jail to appease the Chinese government, and to find the real thief. And is it a coincidence that the jade in the Tang family vault, which her grandfather loves so dearly, but can no longer see or feel, is being traded with inferior stuff? Something her half brother is blaming her for?

What follows is a fast paced novel, filled with action, romance and love, and more knowledge about jade then you ever wanted to know, but those are things I love in this series. Elizabeth Lowell sure did her homework on gems for those books.
I really liked Lianne. She is a mix of American and Chinese culture, but she doesn’t bow down to the men in her family, although she also doesn’t really know how to handle Kyle when he deliberately bates them. All her life she has wanted to be acknowledged by her father, and the rest of her family. She cannot understand the choice her mother made as a young girl, to become the concubine to a married man, but they are happy in love, whenever they are together. Still, he has never said the word daughter to her. The rest of the family ignores her, or calls her names, but she still wants to please them, especially her grandfather. But when they give her up, throw her to the wolves, there is only Kyle left to turn to. But after one hot night, will he come to her aid?
And Kyle, after being burned so badly in the previous book by a gorgeous woman, can’t believe he is falling for one again. It is so clearly a set up. But for the benefit of Donovan International, he will go through with it, and find out if Lianne is up to her ears in all this mess, or an innocent framed to take the fall. He is attracted to her beauty from the start, but it is her character, her mind and her very quick with that capture him. The Donovans are a great family, they will always be there for each other, not matter how much they tease.
There is a little more about their father and mother, whom they all call The Donovan, and Susa, who is a famous paintress.
Lianne longs for such a family of her own. Yes, she loves her mother, but she has always been lonely, never really fitting in.

The suspense part of the book is beautifully written, you just can’t figure out how they will beat everyone, both the bad guys as Uncle (the FBI), to safe Lianne. Parts of the plot are of course easy to guess, but not the whole of it. Even when reading it for the third time or so, I was kept on the edge of my chair, and rooting for Lianne. She just believed her relationship with Kyle was temporary, when he and all the other Donovans already knew he wanted to keep her. Really nice ending.
Lots of action, lots of jade, lots of witty bantering, and lots of info on the Chinese family culture a westerner will never fully understand. And of course some hot love scenes.

9 stars.

vrijdag 15 juli 2011

Without internet

There is a problem with the cable in my neighbourhood. So I will be without internet, telephone and television for a few days. But of course, the internet will be missed the most. Luckily, I have tons of books to read so I won't be bored. Last night I typed a new post on Elizabeth Lowell - Jade Island, but could not post it, no more internet, sigh.
I am typing this at the office, and I wish you all a good weekend. Hope to be back soon, with some nice reviews for you.

dinsdag 12 juli 2011

Robin Kaye – Yours for the Taking

The fourth book in the Domestic Gods series, published November 2010.

Yours for the taking

Gina is convinced that he is either gay... or her perfect match
Administrative assistant Gina accepts a marriage of convenience with gallery owner Ben Walsh so she can get out of debt. Besides, with his beautiful apartment, art collection, and impressive culinary skills, Gina's convinced the sexy bachelor is gay. Ben needs to be married before the year is out to prevent his grandfather from selling his inheritance, so he takes Gina to meet his grandfather in Idaho-or, as the city girl refers to it, Hell on Earth. But there Gina realizes Ben's every bit a hot, straight man, and Ben begins to think a real marriage with Gina just might be possible after all...

Ben Walsh needs to get married, and fast. He asked Annabelle Reinaldi in the previous book, but she turned him down. Next he asks his best female friend Karma, who is more like a sister to him, but she also turns him down. Then he thinks of Gina, whom he has met at Annabelle’s wedding. And who is Annabelle’s brother’s ex-girlfriend. Ben is extremely rich, has an art-gallery and knows how to and likes to cook and clean. A real domestic god. He offers Gina a deal she cannot turn down. A marriage of convenience for only three years, and he will pay her a million dollars a year and buy her a house in Manhattan up to ten million dollars that she can keep after the divorce.
Gina is working very hard and is good at her job, but she really wants to have a house of herself, she wants to help her sister and brother in law, who are living with her, buy a house of their own, and … she wants to find the brother her father sold when he was two weeks old. So yes, she accepts Ben’s offer and marries him. After all, he has to be gay, so there will be no danger of falling in love. They will not even life together, other than for deceiving his grandfather until he signs the ranch Ben grew up on, over to Ben as promised.
Gina has grown up dirt poor, and she is so not accustomed to the riches Ben wants to shower her with. Gina just wants a little house to call her own, and he buys her a five story mansion! She just feels lost in it, and invites her sister and brother in law to come life with her.

But of course, destiny interferes. Ben very fast gets the hots for Gina, and he manipulates her to get her where he wants her. She is terrified of flying, but he just gets her so drunk she passes out, and takes her on his grandfathers plane, back home to Idaho. She is 100% a city girl, and he takes her to the desolated ranch he loves so much, but which is more a small cabin. It is high up in the mountains, where she will have to wear extremely ugly clothes that totally don’t become her, and he doesn’t tell her a thing about it. There is no electricity, she will have to use an outhouse as the pipes are frozen solid, no tv, no radio, no telephone.
The one good thing is, Gina rescues a lost puppy on the way up, and falls in love with Jasmine instantly, and they keep it. As Ben wants to give her anything she wants, and a lot of things she doesn’t want, he helps her taking care of Jasmine.
They spend the days and nights having sex, but back at his grandfathers mansion, there is a nasty surprise waiting for Ben, and he takes it out on Gina. Who leaves him, by truck instead of plane.

I wasn’t really impressed or endeared with this story as I was with the previous three books in the series. I really think Ben was too high handed, everything had to go his way, and Gina’s wants were not important. So when she left him, he just had it coming. She took everything too easily, adjusted to life in that cabin in no time, it just wasn’t convincing to me.

I really do like Gina, she has been taking care of her younger sister since she was born. Tina has been happily married for two years now, but she still has the feeling she has to look after both Tina and her husband. And then there is Rafael, whom she wants to have found. She is dragged to a country, where there is nothing familiar to her, to meet strangers who judge her as a money grabbing plaything. But she holds her own, and I like her for it. She just needed a bit more backbone with Ben in my opinion.
And Ben, well, he did lose his parents as a kid, but he still had his grandparents, and the children of his housekeeper he grew up with: Karma, Hunter, Trapper and Fisher. More than enough money, and a business he loves but doesn’t spend much time at. So, yes, in my opinion, spoiled. If his grandfather hadn’t blackmailed him, he never would have gotten married in the first place, but he did want to get married for love, and his grandfather denied him the chance to find it himself. Of course, love came after the marriage for them, but that doesn’t count.

A lot of new secondary characters and of course the couples from the previous books make an appearance. The book still has a lot of humor, and lots and lots of love scenes. I just didn’t like it as much as the rest. And yes, this is one of those kind of books, where people apparently cannot have a Happy Ever After if they don’t immediately after the marriage start making babies.

7 stars.

Elizabeth Lowell – Amber Beach

The first book in the Donovans series, published October 1997.

Amber Beach

New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Lowell sweeps us into another dazzling tale of high adventure and larger-than-life characters in the story of a legendary treasure that inspires consuming passion and treacherous betrayal … the fabulous lost fortune that was once the Russian Czar’s exquisite, world-renowned Amber Room.

Jewelry designer Honor Donovan was never welcomed into her father’s international gem-trading empire like her four brothers were. But when her favourite brother Kyle disappears, rumoured to have made off with a fortune in amber, Honor defies the men of the family and heads for the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest in search of answers.
Jake Mallory has been doing business with Donovan International and suspects he’s been set up to take the fall for Kyle’s dirty tricks. When he and Honor meet, a journey that begins with dark suspicion and plans of vengeance turns into a dangerous voyage of temptation and betrayal. Alone at sea, they fight against growing passions and lingering distrust. But as they flee from violent enemies in pursuit of the mysteries of the Amber Room, they discover that the deepest secrets lie within themselves.

Jake Mallory worked for the Russians in selling amber to the highest bidder. He has just delivered a shipment of raw mined amber to Kyle Donovan, when Kyle disappears with the shipment, and, supposedly a stolen panel of the famous Amber Room. Jake gets the blame for everything, and is no longer welcome in Russia and its satellites. This will certainly destroy his company and everything he has worked so hard for. The only way to save his reputation, is to find Kyle and the panel of Amber. But he is not the only one looking for Kyle. His family is one, the Russian Maffia is another party, the Russian government, the American government, they are all after the famous Amber Room.
Did Kyle really set Jake up to take the fall, or was he duped as well by his hot girlfriend?
Honor Donovan’s eldest brother Archer has asked her to check Kyle’s cabin in the San Juan Islands, if he is there as it is his favourite hide-out. And once there, Honor is convinced he has been there in the past week, even though Kyle has been missing for a longer time. Why hasn’t he contacted his family? Honor hates small boats and fishing, ever since a horrible time on board a small boat when she was 13. Now she is determined to learn how to handle Kyle’s SeaSports boat. He has to be out there, somewhere. His Zodiac is missing, as is some diving gear and a GPS. Some scary types have answered her advertisement for a fishing guide, but she has turned them all away, until Jake arrives. Sure, he looks dangerous, but also capable of keeping them out of trouble. She knows the police or the FBI are watching the house and the boat, but she has to go searching for her brother, waiting any longer will drive her nuts.
Of course Jake doesn’t tell her who he is, he just needs to find Kyle, and he is convinced Honor knows where Kyle is, or Kyle will contact her. So keeping close to this beautiful innocent young woman will not be a hardship. Or is that innocence just a pose? He will teach Honor to drive the boat allright, but just enough to convince her she can never go out alone, she needs him at her side. Together they backtrace Kyle’s routes through the ship’s computer, being followed by three different boats. The coast guard, who has orders to search the Tomorrow every day, the Russian mafia, the FBI and an unkown one. Luckily the Tomorrow is better equipped to handle the rough seas of San Juan and the Puget Sound, but they can not outrun the coastguard.
Jake and Honor are growing closer, Jake is helping her to get over her fear and disgust of small boats and fishing, and they are very much attracted to each other. And even though Jake is feeling guilty for deceiving her, he cannot resist her. Unfortunately, the next morning Archer calls again, and he blows Jake’s cover. Honor is heartbroken, she wants him out of her life, but Jake refuses. She still needs him to drive the boat and he needs to clear his name.

More bad things happen, the weather gets worse, and time is closing in on them. They will have to find Kyle, if he is still alive, and fast.

This is perhaps the fifth time I have read this book. I love this series, it is still just as good, and the suspense just as exciting, even though I kind of know what will happen next, and who the bad guys are.
I love Honor, she just doesn’t give up, she wants her favourite brother back. No matter what she has to do, endure, survive, she will find him. Even when her heart is broken because of Jake’s betrayal. And Jake, his resolve softens when he gets to know Honor. His priorities shift, because of her. Now he finds to find Kyle not only to clear his name and his company, but also because of her. He doesn’t want to see her hurt, and when she ignores him, he doesn’t know what to do anymore.

A really great romantic suspense series, even though it is perhaps a little bit outdated. Elizabeth Lowell has a great way with words, she makes the characters so real and lifelike, and their emotions just grab you. I fell for this couple, hook line and sinker. There is also a lot of snark and bantering, both Honor and Jake are not shy with words, they tease each other a lot.
Of course, the background information about the Amber Room, the history of amber, and the many different kinds of amber, are great to get you more involved in the background of it all, and the different parties who are after the missing panel.
There are three more books in this series, and I am planning on re-reading them all soon. I have been hoping for years now that Elizabeth Lowell will write the books for the other siblings as well.

Smexy, if you are reading this: Jake has a mustache and a beard, and a hairy chest ;).

9 stars

maandag 11 juli 2011

Annette Blair – Skirting the Grave

The fourth book in the Vintage Magic Mystery series, published July 2011.

Skirting the Grave

Even though Maddie is swamped running Vintage Magic and dealing with the consequences of the visions she gets from certain of her fashion treasures, she’s agreed to plan her sister Sherri’s baby shower and mentor a design intern. But when Maddie goes to the Mystic train station to pick up her new student, she finds a murder scene instead. The victim: intern Isobel York. Cause of death: suspicious circumstances.
Later that evening, a woman claiming to be Isobel appears on her doorstep, and Maddie knows it’s not just a case of “whodunit” but “who-is-it”. Luckily a gift of lusciously luxe vintage clothes offers clues, and though the ‘50s wardrobe and accessories are to die for, Maddie is determined to iron out the wrinkles before the murderer can return to put an end to a promising fashion career…

Madeira Cutler’s sister Brandy talked her into helping her with the organisation of some charity events of the foundation she is working for. And in taking an intern, a friend of a friend kind of thing. Reluctantly Maddie agrees, she just can’t say no to the whirlwind that is her younger and harebrained sister. Calling way to late to tell her she herself missed the train from New York, but Isobel should have arrived by now, so could Maddie pick her up? So Maddie has to drop everything she is doing to race over to the train station. But no-one appears to be waiting for her, and what are those emergency vehicles doing over there? When she sees the stranger lying on a bench, she is relieved. This badly dressed person cannot be her intern, but identification proves her wrong. What happened to Isobel? Foul play is not apparent immediately, but a young woman just doesn’t die from a heart attack. Her admirer Werner is investigating the case.
Then, late that night, an identical young woman comes to the house, claiming to be Isobel York. Her purse was snatched with her ID, money and trainticket, and friends brought her here at last. Maddie doesn’t know what to think of it, so she calls Werner to come over, and her of-again-on-again boyfriend Nick, who happens to work for the FBI with her brother Alex. Their relationship is of at the moment, and Werner keeps hoping to fill that position.

Maddie gets to deal with Isobel and her family. It happens she and her twinsister Giselle, and their first cousin Paxton, look all very much alike. So it is not Isobel lying in the morgue, but Paxton. As Isobel knows lots of facts about fashion, just like Maddie, she just knows it has to be the real Isobel, who is a model and wants to be a designer, and Isobel loves vintage fashion just as much as Maddie. But when they decide to trade clothes, Maddie gets in trouble when she gets a vision and passes out on the floor of her walk-in closet.
Giselle happens to be missing, no one has seen her for months, not that that is a strange thing in the York family. Her father is running for selectman, and has his campaign manager with him. His brother apparently embezzled his funds, so he turned him in, even though the money was never found. Now his niece is death. The only thing that seems to matter, is getting free publicity out of it. Which he does by giving press statements out of the hotel he hired, smearing Werner’s reputation by getting pictures of him dancing with Maddie one evening, instead of investigation his niece’s death. That it could be one or both of his daughters in danger, doesn’t seem to bother him. And then there is the grandmother who gave to trunk full of vintage clothing. When a whole rack falls upon Maddie, she is getting vision after vision, and Werner cannot wake her out of them. So, how can she prove the past without telling how she came by her knowledge?

Bit by bit the pieces of the puzzle starts to fit, and the evil reaches way back in to the past, to haunt the present York family.

With two men vying for her attention, Maddie doesn’t really know what to do. She certainly is not yet ready to settle down, after all, she helped raise her siblings after her mother’s death 20 years ago. She is busy with her shop and getting to learn her own magic skills. But she loves Nick, and misses him when he is not there. Even though her BFF Eve hates his guts. And Werner really knows how to kiss her breathless, and shares her love for 50’s music and dancing. But in the end, she has to pick a guy, she cannot let both of them hang there, and perhaps have them snatched up by someone else.

I loved the story, although not as much as the previous book. Annette Blair has a very fluent and easy reading writing style I love. Her characters are just human (okay, sometimes with a bit of magic), and humorous. If you love vintage clothing yourself, you will love the numerous descriptions of dresses and purses and whatever else goes with that. But if you are not a fashionista, like my self, you will still enjoy this lovely cozy mystery series. A great heroine, lovely secondary characters, two hot guys who both want Maddie. No love scenes though, after all, it is a cozy.

8,5 stars

zaterdag 9 juli 2011

New additions to my addiction

Yesterday two more books arrived:

Annette Blair - Skirting the Grave
Lori Handeland - Crave the Moon

vrijdag 8 juli 2011

Karen Hawkins – Talk of the Town

The first book in the Talk of the Town series, published November 2008.
Talk of the Town

Do Blondes Have More Fun?
Newly divorced Roxie Treymayne is dying to find out. After years of being the perfect Southern lady, all she ended up with was a cheating husband. So she goes bombshell blond, gets a provocatively placed tattoo, and prepares to live it up as a Bad Girl. But then her mother falls ill...and Roxie is forced to return to Glory, North Carolina.
He'd Love to Know.
Once the town bad boy, Nick Sheppard is now Glory's highly respected sheriff. When the hot blonde he stops for speeding turns out to be formerly prim Homecoming Queen Roxanne Treymayne, Nick doesn't quite know where to look -- though he'd like a much closer one at the tattoo peeking from her shorts.
But It Takes Two to Tango.
Roxie and Nick had a steamy fling in high school, but a love affair between a Southern princess and a boy from the wrong side of the tracks was doomed from the start. Now they have a second chance. Can they get it right? Or will they just end up... the talk of the town?

It’s the third time I have read this book, and I still love it. It is so full of humor, and fun, and there is the sizzling hot attraction between Roxie and Nick. Roxie wants to be a wild woman for a chance, and Nick wants it safe, no distractions from his work. And Roxie is nothing but a distraction for him, and a hot one!

And then there is the Murder Club, a bunch of very senior citizens who love CSI and especially Gill Grissom, and Roxie gets the job to take them out and about, so they do more than just watch re-runs of CSI. Her mother used to take them to the park to watch the statue, but well, that is always the same. Now Roxie’s mother has had a little heart-attack she needs to rest, and Roxie and her brother Mark have come back to Glory to take over her many charity works. To get the Murder Club up and running, Roxie invents that they could investigate the suspicious death of Doyle Cloyd some years ago. After all, the whole town knew him, and they are using his old room at the assisted living center as they clubhouse. What Roxie doesn’t know, is that they are using some more things of Doyle’s…

When they find a whole box of blackmail notes, and it appears as though Doyle was blackmailing all of Glory’s important people, the stakes are rising. Someone is desperate to stop the Club from investigating, and Nick wants to keep Roxie and the oldsters safe. One of them is his own aunt Clara, and she sure is a portrait.

So, in a nutshell, a sexy as hell Roxie, bent on having some fun, her maid Trundy, who came with her to Glory to look after her mother, who can be so nasty, no nurse wants to work for her. And that Trundy is a character apart! I keep hoping she will get her own book as well. Perhaps with the bankmanager? Roxies brother Mark, who has only a small part in this book, as the next one is his. The stupid Mayor and his bimbo secretary, the newspaper owner who might also have his eye on Roxie, and some old people who stir things up nicely.
Hell bent to get out of Glory, Roxie married Brian, an upcoming young lawyer, and became mrs. Brian, managing his house and his career, neglecting her own degree. But she certainly is not stupid. After catching him in the act, cheating on her, she is mad as hell. And after the divorce, where she cleaned him out nicely, she is intent on big changes in her life. To start with going blonde, getting a tattoo and a navel piercing! Next: Paris, or Italy, and some hot men. But when her mother gets sick she needs to get back home first. But that will only be for a short time, and there will always be Paris. She certainly is not looking for a new man in her life, but never could she have guessed she would run in her old boyfriend Nick, then the bad boy of town, now the respected town sheriff. Roxie doesn’t want to behave anymore, she wants some fun, so she goes after it, and that means Nick.

I love this book, and I will certainly read it again and again, it still makes me laugh out loud. For instance, when Tundy tells Mark about the things Roxie did when she found out about Brian. Or the showdown between Roxie and Robin, when they wore the same outfit. Nick sure had his tongue hanging out of his mouth then!
It is a delicious story, so if you want a good laugh, a good plot, and some hot sizzling attraction and a few lovescenes, you really should try this book.

I know I am rambling somewhat, but it is late, I am tired, had my first driving lesson in 17 years tonight, and have an extremely busy weekend ahead. So good night, and have a nice weekend with a good book in it.

10 stars.

donderdag 7 juli 2011

Kevin Hearne – Hammered

The third book in the Iron Druid Chronicles series, published July 2011.


Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully - he's ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he's asked his friend Atticus O'Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.

One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus's home base of Tempe, Arizona. There's a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plain of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself.

Wow, I just finished this book, and WOW! Kevin Hearne is very evil to finish the book like this, and I have no idea how long I’ll have to wait for the next book to find out what happens next. I though I had many more pages to read, and suddenly the book has ended, and there are those horrible “extra’s” to fill the book up.

This third book in the series continues where the previous one ended. Atticus has promised to fetch one of one of Idunn’s Golden Apples from Asgard, as payment of the witch Laksha’s help with the Bacchants. He knows another route, so he doesn’t have to cross the Bifrost Bridge.
As a druid, he can easily shift planes, and he tricks the giant squirrel Ratatosk to take him up to Asgard. Unfortunately, the Norse seers called the Norns know of his arriving (of course!) and they await him to kill Atticus, killing the squirrel instead, and leaving Atticus no choice but to kill the hags.

Of course things are not going smoothly once he is in Asgard, but he does manage to steal one of the apples, but almost back to the World Tree, he is attacked by Odin himself, on his magnificent eight-legged horse Sleipnir and the twelve Valkyries on flying horses. Shape-shifting crumbles the tracking spell on Odin’s spear, so it falls harmless in the snow beside Atticus, who then hurls it back at Odin, killing his horse. And as Odin falls in the snow, and the Valkyries run to his side to help him, Atticus can escape Asgard in the nick of time. He sneakily left notes in Bacchus’ name, hoping to buy some time for himself, to settle his affairs and move with Oberon, his great dog and his apprentice Granuaile to another country to hide. Killing gods makes him way to visible for all the other pantheons and magic users.

And as his next step will be taking Leif up to Asgard, so he can finally fight Thor, after a thousand years, he is not sure he will come back from that adventure. Even Jesus himself warns him of what is to come. That killing Thor will be a very bad thing for the world to happen. But Atticus gave his word to his friend, and he cannot go back on it. So, against al warnings and misgivings, Atticus, Leif, Gunnar and some other people bent on revenge against Thor and the evil things he has done to them, set out for Asgard. The fact that the Norns are no more, should give them a slight advantage. And if they can get the frost giants on their side, and even better one.

This third, and even better, book in the series was very fast paced and action filled. But it is also filled with lots of humor. I loved the reference to Star Trek for instance, and why it never became a religion. Atticus can quote both Shakespeare and the Lolcatz, and often has a funny remark or thought. Of all the secondary characters, I still love Oberon best.
In the previous book, the Virgin Mary appeared, to bless Atticus’ arrows when he went battling a fallen angel. In this book, Jesus himself appears, to drink that beer with Atticus, and warn him from his path. Also performing some small miracles while here. And he helps Atticus out of a great danger, when the Hammers of God and that overzealous Rabbi have found him, and are doing their best to kill him, never mind the hundreds of witnesses around. If you are very religious I do hope you are not offended by the perhaps flippant use of Jesus in this book.

The Morrigan has a small part in this book as well, also warning Atticus from killing Thor, and of the Valkyries, of which some are kind of her friends. After all, they choose the death for Walhalla, the same as she does in her panteon.

I loved this book, and I have gotten very fond of Atticus and his carefree attitude. He tries so hard, but some things are just inevitable if he wants to keep on living himself. He explains some great things to Granuaile about being a Druid, and we learn the history of Leif and Gunnar and some other nice “people” and their hatred for Thor.

If you like some urban fantasy, and your mythology twisted around, where everyone you ever read about is real, you will love this series. Lots of gods and goddesses and creatures, good and evil, lots and lots of humor, male bonding and fighting, no romance though, although there is some sex mentioned (not for Atticus this time).

But the ending of the book, o that ending. It will haunt me for a while, not knowing what is to come.

10 stars