zondag 30 september 2012

Anthology: Christmas Spirits

A collection of stories by Elizabeth Bevarly, Casey Claybourne, Lynn Kurland and Jenny Lykins, published November 1997.
Genre: contemporary or historical romance with ghosts.
Cover: Christmassy, I like it.

Christmas Spirits

Lynn Kurland - The three wise ghosts

The English countryside. A quaint inn at Christmastime. Three matchmaking ghosts have found the perfect setting for a modern day romance between a free-spirited American and a single-minded British executive.

This story ties in to both her MacCloud series and The Piaget series, and I enjoyed revisiting her world. I thoroughly enjoyed the antics of the ghosts, in trying to get their great-great-great-grandchildren together. And of course they were right, they were totally made for each other. Megan has been sent to England by her brother, to investigate the castle he just bought. Megan is a failure compared to her family, who are all very successful in what they do for a living, but Megan is the kind of 12 jobs, 13 accidents. She even managed to get herself fired in Disneyland. Something to do with Mickey Mouse and his ears …
Gideon is a total workaholic, send to the inn by his brother for a forced vacation. When he thinks he can just keep on working on his laptop, or use his phone, or his car to get into town, he did not know what the three ghosts would do to him and his possessions. Everything to keep him in the inn, with Megan, and some Christmas cheer.
When the inn’s owner runs screaming into the road after the ghosts have messed with her for the last time, Megan finds herself to be the new owner, as everything has been signed over to her (which would not be possible here in Holland, without her knowledge and consent and signature on a deed made by a civil law notary!). Determined to make a go at it, and succeed, she does her best to decorate the inn. The parts where both Megan and Gideon cannot cook and try to follow instructions, is hilarious.
And when Gideon finally sees the light, and knows there is more to life than work, it is Megan who needs to be convinced of that.

I enjoyed this story very much, and it makes me want to return to Lynn Kurlands world again. There are plenty of her (unread) books on my shelf. I liked both Megan and Gideon, but the ghosts made the story fun.

9 stars.

Casey Claybourne – Keeping Faith

When a little orphaned girl is befriended by a ghost and saved from the streets of Regency London, she proves to be a Christmas miracle for a grieving couple.

This little story was a real tearjerker. Both for the parents who lost their little girl to illness, and to the little girl who was living on the streets since her father died two months ago. It is the ghost of the dead girl who tries to push them all together, and Lady Stratford sure wants to keep Alice. She already loves the girl, now she only has to defy and persuade her husband to open his heart again.
I loved this little story, it was so well written, I was totally swayed by all the characters, and could feel with them and for them.

9 stars.

Elizabeth Bevarly – Only fifteen shopping days left

When the jolly matchmaking ghost of a department store Santa makes his Christmas gift list, he has a very special present planned for the busy store manager: one of Santa’s elves!

This one was fun again. After a divorce, Sophie Gift has to make a living for herself, finding a job and supporting herself for the first time. She married right after college but now her husband has dumped her for a 19 year old girl, and she is pregnant. Their friends have all chosen him, and she is alone in a small apartment. She loved Christmas, went all out every year, never forgetting anyone. But now, there is little reason to celebrate.
Mitchell Lauderdale is the new CEO of the department store his family has owned for generations, and he has no time for relationships. But when he first sees one of Santa’s elves in her very sexy costume, he takes a second look. Did he approve those costumes? No wonder there are so many fathers waiting in line with their children for a visit with Santa! But then Mrs. Claus starts attacking the children, and the dark elf and a blond one have to restrain her. And when Mitchell helps the elf to her feet, after she is clocked in the eye by mrs. Claus, he is mesmerized. Unfortunately, the store has a reputation, and a mandate for the upper management to get involved with the hour labourers. Still, he cannot keep from thinking about her, and when she doesn’t call him as promised, he calls her. And the next days, he keeps making excuses to visit Santa’s workshop, just to see Sophie Gift.

But the resident ghost thinks they are moving too slowly, after all, he has a reputation to uphold to have them fall in love and get married on Christmas day. Ever since 1946 he managed that. His death caused his beloved granddaughter to postpone her wedding, after which she got dumped by her fiancée and never married at all.
He just needs to give Mitchell and Sophie a few pushes in the right direction …

A very cute story, I very much enjoyed reading. It focuses a bit more on Mitchell, which is a nice change in a romance. He is determined to get closer to Sophie, but she is not going for it. I am not really sure why, perhaps I missed that bit while reading too fast to find out the next thing.

9 stars.

Jenny Lykins – The ghost of Christmas Present

Alane was looking forward to spending a cold, snowy Christmas alone, until an unexpected visitor causes a change of heart.

Alane is a painter, just like her famous father, but she has lost her muse. Deciding to take some time for herself, even through Christmas, she has hired a remote cabin in the woods to think about her life, and to work. To her surprise, the cabin is not empty, a very handsome ghost has been residing there for years. The ghost has seen many visitors to his cabin, some drove him crazy, and some entertained him. But never has he been attracted to one, like he is now to Alane. No matter he scared her half to death, he can’t keep away from her. Reluctanty, Alane acknowledges him, and spends time with him. They cannot touch, but she does feel warmth when they try.
It all took place in just a few days, but they fell in love, and Jared has to tell his sad story, of how he became a ghost, and stuck in this place. He died over 200 years ago, and roamed the world, until he came back to the place where his old home was, and this cabin was build on the same spot. He never was able to leave again after that, and he is pretty bored.

Can Alane really fall in love with a ghost? Someone she can never touch, never have children with? Who stays the same while she grows old? Who can never help her with something? Alane wants to, but Jared refuses her to give up her future for him. Their days together will soon end, and Alane will have to go back to her normal life. Without him in it.
But it is Christmas, and who knows when a Christmas Miracle will happen …

9 stars.

I really truly enjoyed all those four very different stories. The only know author to me is Lynn Kurland, and I know Elizabeth Bevarly’s name but have never read a full length novel by her. I will for sure read more books by all those authors. I like their writing style, their characters, the stories. And yes, I do enjoy reading Christmas books all through the year, not only in December.

9 stars average.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

zaterdag 29 september 2012

Karen Hawkins – How to Capture a Countess

The first book in the Duchess Diaries series, published September 18, 2012.
Genre: historical romance
Cover: nice, but our hero is blond, and this is not a scene from the book.

How to Capture a Countess


Urged by her favorite nephew, the intimidating Duchess of Roxburghe agrees to transform a thorny Scottish rose into a lovely bloom. But even she isn't prepared for fiery Rose Balfour.

At seventeen, Rose fell wildly in love with Lord Alton Sinclair, known as Lord Sin for his wicked ways. Stung by his indifference, the starry-eyed girl tried to win an illicit kiss, but then panicked and pushed the notorious rakehell into a fountain. Leaving Lord Sin floating among the lily pads to the mocking laughter of his peers, Rose escaped back to the obscurity of the Scottish countryside.
Six years later, Sin convinces his aunt, the Duchess of Roxburghe, to invite Rose to her annual house party, where he plans to get revenge by making Rose the laughingstock of polite society. To his astonishment, he finds she has become an alluring woman who threatens to turn the tables on his nefarious plans. Thus Sin and Rose begin an epic battle of the sexes that becomes more passionate at every turn. Eventually, one will have to surrender . . . but to vengeance? Or to love's deepest passion?

After spending 6 years searching for the girl who made him a laughingstock, Lord Sin found out that his own great-aunt is the girls godmother. And so he demanded that she be invited to the annual houseparty, to finally get his revenge on Rose Balfour. Little does he know that he is doing exactly what his matchmaking great-aunt wants him to do. She just knows there is more to his obsession, there is something different about this girl, otherwise he would have given up his anger a long time ago.
Ever since the disaster Rose has been back home in Scotland, taking care of her father, a famous horticulturist, and her two younger sisters. Her aunt has refused to support her sisters after the debacle, and Rose is very sorry for that. There are no eligible bachelors in the neighbourhood for her sisters to meet and her father is too engrossed in his studies to notice that. So when the invitation from her godmother comes, to spend three weeks at Floors Castle she is very happy to accept. Even though she won’t have the right clothes, she is determined to have some fun, away from all her responsibilities. She doesn’t count on meeting Lord Sinclair again, though he has never been far from her mind. But when he boldly states he is going to seduce her during her stay at his great-aunt’s house, she is just as determined to withstand his attempts. If only his kisses didn’t cloud her mind …
Sin finds out soon enough that she is straightforward, has a wicked sense of humor, and cannot refuse a challenge. And so he proposes challenges with very personal stakes. But Rose is not easy to catch, and she does her best to win the challenges. Of racing horses, archery, and even a lawn game Sin detests. This all to the interested eyes of the Duchess and her other house guests and staff. The duchess tries her best to push them together, convinced they are in love, but they are also very stubborn, and Sin has no idea he is in love at all. He just knows that Rose is different, and he is very attracted to her, she drives him insane. Especially when she keeps telling him no, and tries to avoid him, with the help of his great-aunt. She knows a man cannot withstand the challenge of a hunt …

One would expect a standard, boring story here, more of the same old, same old, but I am very happy to tell you, one would be wrong.
Rose is only 22 years young, and has precious little for herself. Taking care of her father and the household and her younger sisters. No spoiled debutante, nor a miss firmly on the shelf. She is also not incredibly beautiful, just pretty, until she smiles a real smile. Sin readily believes she is not an innocent miss, though she is. She likes horseback riding, and reading, and all kinds of games with her sisters.
Lord Sinclair has become quite ruthless after his disgrace in the fountain, the ton kept calling him Lord Fin for months. At age 17 his parents died in a carriage accident, and he had to come home from school, and take up the mantle of the Earl of Sinclair, including the care of his two younger brothers. And he was good at it. His brothers are happily married, and his grandmother and great-aunt are despairing if he will ever marry. No matter how hard they try to matchmake him, they never succeed. Until miss Rose Balfour aggravates him, making him even more of a rake than before. So there must be something special about the girl.

I loved the bits with the Duchess and her lady-in-waiting, Lady Charlotte, and of course her pack of little pugs. Meenie, Beenie, Weenie, Teenie, Feenie and Raymond. They sure livened up some of the pages with their antics. The Duchess just wants to see her great-nephew happily married, and of course, she loves matchmaking. The Duchess is in her 70’s and married to her fifth husband. She sure knows how to plot and scheme, and it was fun to read her diary entries. Her butler is another great secondary character, he has been with her since her first marriage at 17.

Rose is torn between what she wants, which is kissing Sin, and what she should do: behave herself, and make sure her sisters will be invited as well, so they have a chance at finding a good match. She is responsible after all. She is also afraid that Sin will break her heart, if she indulges in his arms, and he will leave her after the house party is over.
Sin has no intention at first to get to know her, and like her, he just wants revenge. But when he learns more about her past, and her personality, he is slowly falling for her, he just doesn’t know it, nor does he want to be married. He is very proud and stubborn, but he wants her in his arms, and more. So he does his best to seduce her, only to be thwarted time and again, getting injured a few times as well.

This book is a really fun read, but without blatant attempts at humor, I just enjoyed it very much. The characters, the story, the unsuspected events. Karen Hawkins has the perfect writing voice for me. Yes, the attempts at seduction, and the love scene are well written, and I liked reading them. The pull between Sin and Rose is really there, and you can’t help but feel with them.

I am looking forward to the next books in this series, with Rose’s sisters: Lily and Daisy.

9 stars

Autobuy authorLove this book

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 28 september 2012

New additions to my addiction

Stapel boeken

From Bookdepository:
Carrie Lofty – Starlight
Laura Kaye – North of Need
Karen Hawkins – How to capture a countess
Nalini Singh – Archangel’s Storm
Karen E. Olson – Ink Flamingo’s
Suzanne Enoch – Rules to Catch a devilish Duke
Susan Sizemore - Personal Demon

Secondhand books:
Nora Roberts – High Noon
Lauren Kate – Fallen
Lauren Kate – Passion
Lauren Kate – Torment
L.J. Smith - The secret circle: The initiation
L.J. Smith - The secret circle: The captive part 1
L.J. Smith - The secret circle: The captive part 2
L.J. Smith - The secret circle: The power
Michelle Maddox – Countdown
Eve Kenin – Driven
Eve Kenin – Hidden
Debbie Macomber – 92 Pacific Boulevard

I received some lovely Gini Koch swag from Sullivan McPig, thank you! I really love those magnets and postcards.

© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 27 september 2012

Jennifer Ashley – Hard Mated

Book 3,5 in the Shifters Unbound series, self-published August 20, 2012.
Genre: paranormal romance
Cover: nice. I love tattoos.

Hard Mated

Spike, a wildcat Shifter and the champion fighter of Shiftertown, is stunned when Myka, the best friend of a dying human woman, announces that Spike has fathered a cub. What's more, the mother is giving the boy to Spike to protect and raise. Myka, who'd been raised by an abusive stepfather, is not sure that a wild fighter named Spike is the best man to bring up the cute little jaguar cub. She goes to Shiftertown to check out Spike, and finds that the man behind the name is a lonely Shifter who has lost most of his family and is a fierce caretaker to those he has left.

I must admit, Spike was not on my radar when reading the previous books in this series. But now he sure is. He is a dominant wildcat male, working for Liam Morrissey as Tracker. He is quiet, but very strong, and he takes care of his stress by fighting in the illegal fightclub for Shifters. He has lots of tattoo’s, mostly of jaguars and other wildcats, but on his back is a big dragon. (And it sure sounds beautiful!). He has only his grandmother left of his family, and they take care of each other.
Until the day a young human woman comes to the fightclub, and tells him to come with her. He once had a one night stand with a young woman, and she is dying. She wishes to see him, and to give him his son. Spike is astonished. He does remember Jillian, and would have like to see her more, one night stands are not really his thing, but she disappeared after that night and he never saw her again. And now he has a son? A cub of his own? He never expected to find a mate for himself, as females are rare and can pick whomever they like, let alone a cub. So he is sad that Jillian is dying, but elated with his son. He will take care of Jordan.
But Jordan turns out to be a handful, a four year old with so much energy, nothing can keep him quiet. He keeps turning from little boy in young wildcat, and get himself into every nook and cranny in the house, and even in the top of the tallest tree in the yard. Spike really needs help taking care of the boy, as his grandmother cannot do it on her own, and he needs to work. And so he asks Myka for help when she turns up to find out how things are going. Jordan likes her, and she will know how to care for him, she has been doing it before.

Both Spike and Myka are lonely people, and very much attracted to each other. Spike senses his mate in her, and Myka falls for the caring and loving man hiding behind the dumb fighter image. She even stands up for him against Liam Morrissey! And when an old enemy kidnaps the boy to make Spike fight for him, Myka does what is necessary to get him back safe. Even if that means getting in danger herself.

It is a short story, about 200 pages, which means it all happens very fast, in a few days, a week or so. But I fell for Spike and Myka immediately. Spike is a dominant, but he has a low rank in the community, hiding his true self behind his dumb fighter image. But he is getting tired of being underestimated by Liam Morrissey and everyone else, even though it often works to his advantage. He knows he can beat Dylan, and perhaps even Liam, which means he could be a Shifter town leader himself. But he really does not want to be one.
Myka has had an abusive childhood with her stepfather, and is very slow in trusting men, especially one who loves to fight as much as Spike. But she soon sees behind his façade, and finds a caring and loving man, who would never hurt her. Myka has found refuge in horses, riding them, training them, caring for them. Unfortunately, the stable she is working at is being sold to a development company, and she will be out of a job very soon. She and her fellow workers cannot possibly raise enough money to buy it themselves. Working with horses so much sure has given her an education in how to deal with powerful animals, which really comes in handy when dealing with shifters. When not to back down and hold her ground, and when to be careful. She soon is accepted as Spike’s mate, a fact that makes his grandmother Ella very happy.

I liked both Spike and Myka, which is a lovely name! and of course revisiting shifter town and all the shifters I have already met. The story itself is good as well, with an exciting plot. I very much enjoyed reading it, and am looking forward to the next full length novel, which will be published with the usual publisher.

Thanks to Lillie, who blogged about this story, otherwise I would not have know it was a self published novella. So I’ve bought this story at Smashwords, it is only $ 0,99 and totally worth it: http://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=jennifer+ashley+hard+mated

8,5 stars

Autobuy author

© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 26 september 2012

Maya Banks – Whispers in the Dark

The fourth book in the The Kelly Group International series, published Janyary 3, 2012.
Genre: romantic suspense
Cover: I love hot men on my covers, so yes, I love this one.

Whispers in the Dark

She came to him when he needed her the most.
She came to him at his lowest point. The voice of an angel, a whisper in the dark. She's the only thing that gets Nathan Kelly through his captivity, the endless days of torture and the fear that he'll never return to his family. With her help, he's able to escape. But he isn't truly free, because now she's disappeared and he's left with an all-consuming emptiness as he struggles to pick up the pieces of his life. Did he imagine his angel? Or is she out there, needing his help as he'd once needed hers?
Now he rushes to save her before it's too late.
Shea has been on the run from people who will stop at nothing to exploit her unique abilities. She never wanted to drag Nathan, who'd already suffered so much, into danger, but she doesn't have a choice so she reaches out to him for help. Finally face-to-face after having already formed a soul-deep bond in hell, their emotional connection is even more powerful than their telepathic one. Nathan refuses to consider ever letting her go again, but she worries they can never have a life free of the dangers that dog her every step. He'll protect her with his every breath, but can he convince her that they are meant to face these threats together?

In the end of the previous book, Nathan Kelly was missing in action. His family still doesn’t know what happened to him, where he is or who has him imprisoned. Not even all the resources of KGI can find a clue. Until an anonymous email points them in the right direction, and they finally can free their brother, and the last of his team.
Nathan does not want to tell anything about the sender of that mysterious email, they will think he has gone mad in captivity. Being tortured for two months, he lost the will to live. Until a female voice in his head started talking to him, giving him courage, and the will to go on, to escape. She even took away his pain, so he could rest. He only knows her first name: Shea. He knows she is in danger herself, though she doesn’t want to tell him. He has his family now, he doesn’t need her anymore, but she is wrong. Nathan does want her in his life, not a day goes by that he doesn’t think of her. Sometimes he almost convinces himself he was just dreaming, but the fact of those emails leading his brother to the rescue, remains.

And then, six months later, she calls to him again. He only gets sensations of huge fear, and disorientation, but he knows it must be Shea. And a few days later, she calls him. She has escaped the place they kept her prisoner and drugged, and she needs his help. She is barely clothed and has no shoes or money or id, and she cannot go on alone. Without a word to anyone, Nathan takes one of KGI´s private planes and comes to the rescue. Together they will keep her safe. But he will need the help of his brothers to find out who is after her, and her sister Gloria. The enemy is too well prepared and equipped to be anything but military.

Of course the Kelly family embraces her wholeheartedly. She was the one who gave them back their brother/son, and for that they will for ever be grateful. But now that Nathan has fallen for her, she will be a part of their family, and they will protect her.
Until she is abducted again, right out of their midst. The Kelly clan will do everything in their considerable power to find her again, and get her out. It helps that they finally know where to start looking: with their favourite CIA agent. He doesn’t respond to their calls or emails, and they have spotted his favourite henchman.

Another team is send to find and protect Gloria, as Shea is frantic with worry about her sister. She won’t respond to her telepathic calls anymore, and she needs to have her safe. Gloria’s powers are stronger than hers, and if they are abused, they can kill her.

I loved this story so much! And this book should really come with a box of tissues. There were some scenes, I was really crying hard. This very fastpaced story had me captivated from start to end, and made me way too late for bed, which I paid for the next day at the office. But this book was totally worth only 5 hours of sleep. I could never have closed it without knowing the end.

I loved Shea, she is such a selfless caring person. To reach out to Nathan in his hour of need, when he is so close to giving up. To take away his pain, and help him plot and plan and safe himself and his last team member, I loved it. She has been on the run for a year now, trying to make a living doing odd jobs that pay cash, keeping contact with her sister to a minimum. If she doesn’t know where her sister is, she cannot betray her location when she is captured. She does not want to endanger Nathan or his family, but she has no one else to turn to. Her parents were murdered by the same persons who want to capture her and her sister. And she doesn’t know who they are, or how they know of them.
Nathan is hurt pretty badly, and it is not easy to recover from being kept naked in a cave, tortured almost daily, deprived of food and water. Especially his twin brother Joe doesn’t like it that he has changed, and won’t confide in him. But Nathan has to work things out for himself, but most especially, he needs to find Shea. His body is slowly recovering, but he will never be the same careless easygoing Nathan again. Before his capture he wanted to go work for his brothers at KGI, now he is not so sure anymore. And so he takes his time, building his own home by hand. Everything has to be very open, as he has gotten a dislike of small, tight places.

The story itself, was so very good, I never did see it all coming. Especially the Resnick angle. I really want to read the next book very soon, as I have to find out all about Gloria. At least, I do hope her book will be next.

I really loved this story, the characters, the suspense, the plot, such evil bad persons, the action. Maya Banks is so good in writing emotion, to make me feel it, to make me fall for the characters. Of course, some steamy love scenes are in here as well.

If you like romantic suspense, even with a psychic twist, you really need to read this one. You won´t be sorry.

10 stars.

Autobuy authorLove this book

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

© 2012 Reviews by Aurian


As I love this series so much, I have decided to give away this book, or one of the others in this series to one of my followers and commenters on this post. Just leave me a comment, and tell me you want it. I'll pick the winner next Sunday.

dinsdag 25 september 2012

Laura Kaye – North of Need

The first book in the Heart of the Anemoi series, published April, 2012.
Genre: paranormal romance
Cover: enticing

North of Need

Her tears called a powerful snow god to life, but only her love can grant the humanity he craves...
Desperate to escape agonizing memories of Christmas past, twenty-nine-year-old widow Megan Snow builds a snow family outside the mountain cabin she once shared with her husband, realizing too late that she's recreated the very thing she'll never have.
Called to life by Megan's tears, snow god Owen Winters appears unconscious on her doorstep in the midst of a raging blizzard. As she nurses him to health, Owen finds unexpected solace in her company and unimagined pleasure in the warmth of her body, and vows to win her heart for a chance at humanity.
Megan is drawn to Owen's mismatched eyes, otherworldly masculinity, and enthusiasm for the littlest things. But this Christmas miracle comes with an expiration--before the snow melts and the temperature rises, Megan must let go of her widow's grief and learn to trust love again, or she'll lose Owen forever.

Two years ago, on Christmas Eve, Megan Snow lost her husband in a traffic accident. She is still grieving for him, especially now, now it is Christmas. She can’t stand to be with her family, having to act cheerful and like everything is all right. It is not allright; she misses John and the life they never got to live together. Her family and friends want her to move on, but she can’t. She still feels guilty for his death, if only he had not gone out on that errand to buy her something, he would still be alive.
And so she decides to spend Christmas week alone, up in the mountain cabin they owned. They both loved all kinds of snowsports, and all their gear is still up there. When loneliness hits hard, and the snow is too high to go for a walk, Megan decides to build a snowman, and then a snowwoman, and a snow baby. She even dresses them, and then the grief comes out again. They never had time to start a family, that was for later. And now she has made a snow family. She falls down crying, at the feet of the snowman. And her tears call him forth, Owen, one of the Anemoi, the ancient gods of winter and snow.
When during a snowstorm a half naked man knocks on her door, Megan has no choice but to let him in. She cannot let even a stranger freeze to death on her porch, now can she. But how he comes to be dressed in her late husbands clothes, the ones she used for the snowman, she doesn’t know or figure out.

Her late husband has made a request to the gods, to give his widow a second chance at love, to make her happy again. And Boreas, the King of Winter, decided to send Owen. He still had to make something up to Owen, when his own daughter scorned him before they were to be joined in power. Owen knows everything there is to know about Megan, but he cannot let on that he has her husbands memories. If Megan falls in love with him, and tells him that she chooses him, he will become mortal, and they will be happy together. If not, then he will melt when spring arrives, and go back to the realm of the gods.

Owen things he will have plenty of time to make Megan fall in love with him, to court her, but when Zephyrus throws a temper, the snow and cold recede, and the western winds prevail. He only has three days now. And in that time, Megan will have to let go of her grief and guilt, and embrace life again.
Megan has been lonely those past two years, and she is only 29. Her body suddenly craves Owen. But how can she fall for a stranger? Isn’t that a betrayal of her husband John? Owen seems to understand her, and finally she believes him when he tells her the accident was not her fault. John chose to go on the errand to make her happy, as he loved making her happy. And when she can finally let go of the guilt, the grief starts to disappear as well. John would not want her to grief for him forever, he would want her to move on, and live her life again. Owen makes her laugh again, and it has been so long.

Owen soon reveals his powers to Megan, he cannot hide what he feels for her and what it does to him. Especially when he makes it snow inside the iglo they build together. And his constant craving for icecream should have been a giveaway as well. Megan is very quick in accepting it all, and she enjoys Owen and his powers. Owen sooths her while having a nightmare, and she has the first good sleep in months. She doesn’t even get scared when finding this stranger in her bedroom, holding her hand.

The third day, they decide to go skiing together. Owen can wear John’s clothes, and he can rent some skies at the resort. After some thrilling runs, Owen takes her flying with him, in incorporeal form, to show her his powers. And it is thrilling, but Owen overdoes it, and depletes his god powers severely. Seeing Owen so vulnerable really scares Megan. He is a god, but he still can be hurt. She cannot risk her heart again, she cannot survive another loss. And she knows she is falling for Owen, hard.

This story really focuses more on the romance than on the paranormal aspects of Owen the Snow God. I really would have liked some more action moments. I liked Megan, and really felt for her, and her loss. But when Owen arrives, she is so accepting and falls for him so fast, I could not really accept that. I know there is the deadline for Owen, she has to be in love with him, or he will melt away, but still. It just was too rushed for my tastes, especially the love scenes. If you can overlook the rush, the romance is there, and it is very well written. You can feel the emotions, and the attraction. And I think it very normal and healthy for Megan to be afraid of falling in love again, to take another risk with her heart.
And Owen, he was funny, with his love for icecream, and his pleasure in discovering little things. But somehow, he never was a real man to me. Too much childlike I guess for me to fall for him.

I enjoyed Boreas as a secondary figure. He really did care for Owen, and did more than his normal best to protect him and give him a second chance at love.

I really enjoyed the writing style of Laura Kaye. Her use of language, and the conversations, and of course the tales behind this romance, of the Anemoi, the ancient gods. I am looking forward to reading the next book.

7 stars

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 24 september 2012

Thea Harrison – Hunter’s season

The fourth novella in the Elder Races series, published September 18, 2012.
Genre: paranormal romance
Cover: hot

Hunter's Season

As a palace guard and assassin for the Dark Fae, Xanthe always wore a mask, hiding her emotions to do her duty. But when her identity is compromised, she trades undercover work for guarding Queen Niniane—a position that often brings her in contact with Chancellor Aubrey Riordan.
Aubrey’s trust is shattered. A year ago his wife tried to assassinate their new queen in his name, a betrayal of everything he believes in. And now an attack on his life is proof the dark conspiracy is not yet over. Although injured and weak, Aubrey can’t help but be drawn to this shy assassin and loyal protector. Xanthe is everything Naida wasn’t, and the passion she stirs in him is something he thought had long passed him by.
Warning: Take a man recovering from an assassination attempt, the assassin sworn to protect him, add in a magical Tarot card deck and an isolated cabin, and watch the sparks fly!

After a long year in America, serving Cieran Thruvial until she had the opportunity to kill him in the former novella, Xanthe is home again. As her cover is compromised, she cannot go back to working undercover, and Niniane takes her as a personal guard. Xanthe likes that, as she is fiercely loyal to Niniane, the Dark Fae Queen, and her mate Tiago. She enjoyes most of her duties, and the time at her cottage, soaking up the piece and quiet she lacked for so long in America. It also doesn’t hurt that she gets to meet Chancellor Aubrey Riordan frequently. She has worshipped him from afar for many years now, and now she gets the chance to get to know the real Aubrey.
When Aubrey is attacked and nearly killed, Niniane sees her love for him, and decides to do a little matchmaking. Aubrey is to kept safe and secluded at Xanthe’s cottage, with only Xanthe caring for him, and only Niniane and Tiago will know where he is. In the meantime, Tiago will hunt for his attackers.

Being stuck together, Aubrey and Xanthe almost have no choice but to fall in love, with Aubrey finally seeing Xanthe for who she is, and appreciating her quiet beauty and manners.

As always, I enjoyed reading this short story, Thea Harrison has a very nice writing voice. The story is nicely paced, and the characters are very well done, with enough background on everything around them. This story really focuses on the romance, there is almost no action in it, which I did miss. Also, I would have hoped for at least one full tarot card reading, as there is a hint to them in the blurb. The lovescenes are very hot, and well written.
It was nice catching up on Niniane and Tiago, I do think she is a great Queen of the Dark Fae. I do hope there will be more books starring them, or at least with a big secondary part.

8,5 stars

Autobuy author

© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 23 september 2012

Maggie Sefton – Deadly Politics

The first book in the Molly Malone Mystery series, published August 8, 2012.
Genre: mystery / suspense
Cover: beautiful

Deadly Politics

Molly Malone was driven from Washington, D.C. by political backstabbing, scandals, and personal heartbreak. But now she’s starting a new life in the one place she swore she’d never come back to.
When Molly’s only Washington job prospect falls through, her politico niece, Karen, sets her up with a position in the office of a freshman senator. As the former wife of a congressman, Molly is alarmed to hear that Karen is having an affair with her boss, congressional chief of staff Jed Molinoff. Just days later, Molly finds Karen shot to death. Discovering that Molinoff has ransacked Karen’s apartment, Molly investigates further – and finds herself in the crosshairs of a shadowy political group that’s killing anyone who gets in its way.

I’ve been reading Maggie Sefton’s Knitting Mystery books for a few years now, and thoroughly enjoy them. So when I found out she was writing a new series, I had to have it, even though the book was a bit too expensive. But well, that is what gift cards are for. I did expect some kind of cozy mystery, but that sure is not the case with this book. Nothing cozy about it. This is mystery, suspense even. So, be warned of that.

Molly Malone grew up with politics. Her father was a senator, and she was married to a congressman, both honourable men. Her husband committed suicide when his good name was slandered over and over by a political rival who was taking bribes, and Molly left Washington, pursuing a career in accounting.
Her job in Dallas has ended though, and as she desperately needs the money to keep her mother in a very expensive senior home, with her own private nurse, she has agreed to a job in Washington, DC. But when that job falls through, due to the bad economic times and an unsuspected setback for the company, she has no choice but to accept a job offer from the new Senator Russell of Colorado. They can’t match the salary she would have earned at the other job, but can provide her with free living space close by, which means no living costs and no commuting. She cannot keep on living with her friends or relatives. Her own children are grown up and have their own lives.

Only, the senator will want more from Molly than her accounting skills. She is still highly valued in Washington, and many thought of her as the power behind her husband. His charm and her brains. She will have to play the hostess to the senators get to gethers and parties, as he is inviting all the other senators and congressmen in groups, to get to know them. Molly’s take on them would be invaluable.

Starting over again is not easy, but Molly is enjoying it all, the adrenaline is flowing, and it is nice to meet old friends again. Only her niece Karen is cause for concern, she is working very hard, and is having an affair with a married man, her boss in the office. And he does not take it kindly when she tries to break it off. Karen is also researching a political group, making donations and who is very influential in international banking. But before Karen gets the chance to quit her job and find a new one, she is murdered in her car. Molly is devastated, and wants to find the killer. The police is at a dead end, they think it was just a crime of opportunity, a mugging turned murder. But Molly won’t give up, and with the help of Casey, the senator’s chief of security, and an old highschool flame, Danny, she sets out to find the truth. Danny, a retired army colonel, is making her feel alive again, even though she did swear off men after her bad divorce recently. One of Karen’s colleagues is trying to help her find clues, until she is threatened too much and flees Washington. Molly feels bad about that.

So, lots of political intrigue to wade through, which was unsuspected entertaining. I really did like Molly, who is middle aged, but certainly not old or staid. She is good at her job, and enjoys doing it. She is also relentless, and will pursue the truth. I liked Danny but I am also a bit suspicious about him and his vague consultancy job.

The end of the story made me go: WHAT?!? It can’t be finished, I need answers! Yes, this story is kind of wrapped up, or Molly thinks so perhaps, but the reader knows more. And I want … I need …. oooo when is the next book due?
So, yes, it is a really great story, I enjoyed it very much, but the ending left me hanging.

One other thing I did not like, was the enormous amount of alcohol consumed in this book, by Molly and her friends. At lunch, dinner, parties and everything. I guess that is normal for Washington, but still, drinking so much and then driving home is just wrong. And of course, another sign that this is truly not a cozy mystery.

Maggie Sefton’s writing is solid, the story is very believable, and of course you believe everything that politicians do for power and money. Which makes you think a bit more deeply about the story. It is fast paced, sometimes a bit too fast as I would have liked some time in between scenes. There is a nice cast of secondary characters, which I hope to see more of in the future, and a solid chance at romance.

8,5 stars

Autobuy author

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© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

zaterdag 22 september 2012

Bailey Cates – Brownies and Broomsticks

The first book in the Magical Bakery Mystery series, published May 1, 2012.
Genre: cozy mystery
Cover: cute, makes me hungry!

Brownies and Broomsticks


Katie Lightfoot's tired of loafing around as the assistant manager of an Ohio bakery. So when her Aunt Lucy and Uncle Ben open a bakery in Savannah's quaint downtown district and ask Katie to join them, she enthusiastically agrees.
While working at the Honeybee Bakery - named after Lucy's cat - Katie notices that her aunt is adding mysterious herbs to her recipes. Turns out these herbal enhancements aren't just tasty - Aunt Lucy is a witch and her recipes are actually spells!
When a curmudgeonly customer is murdered outside the Honeybee Bakery, Uncle Ben becomes the prime suspect. With the help of handsome journalist Steve Dawes, charming firefighter Declan McCarthy, and a few spells, Katie and Aunt Lucy stir up some toil and trouble to clear Ben's name and find the real killer..

After a bad breakup with her fiancée, Katie is happy with the chance her Aunt and Uncle offer her, to work in their brand new bakery. She is a good chef, and she knows she is ready for the challenge of her own place, or co-owned. But even before the bakery is officially opened, a woman is murdered and her Uncle Ben is the prime suspect. Mavis Templeton was a rich old woman, with a lot of power in Savannah, so Katie is sure there must be people out there who wanted her dead. Her Uncle would never have killed her!
Back at her cottage, the little Cairn terrier is waiting for her again, and Katie can’t resist him any more. If no one is looking for him, and he has no tags or chips, she will keep him. And Mungo is quit happy with that. After all, he is her familiar. Katie doesn’t know yet that she is a witch, descending from a long line of witches, but her Aunt will have to show her sooner than she planned. To help her husband, she needs the help of her bookclub ladies, which happens to be a spellbook-bookclub. At first, Katie finds it hard to believe, but some clues and details about her childhood are falling into place. Finally, she feels like she belongs. But why did her parents hide this from her?

With the help of two handsome men, one a hot firefighter and a close friend to her Uncle Ben, who used to be the firechief before he retired, and a reporter who also is a witch, Katie sets out to find clues and the real murderer before her Uncle gets arrested and their bakery bankrupt even before opening day!

I’ve had this book on my wishlist for a few months, and when Felicia gifted me a cozy mystery of choice, I knew I wanted this one. Thank you again Felicia!

I very much enjoyed it. It is the third cozy mystery with a new witch I have read in a short time, but I think I enjoyed this one the most. It was more open about the witchcraft, and what the ladies of the coven practised and tried to work, and I enjoyed that a lot. Also, Mungo the little dog is a great secondary character, who really stole some paragraphs.
The chance of a love triangle is something I don’t really like, but if I were Katie I would also have a very difficult time choosing between them. Still, I do prefer the hot fireman, even though he has no idea that she is witch. I did not really like the pushy reporter Steve Dawes, but he kind of grew on me and came to Katie’s help without questioning her or doubting her.

The story is fast paced, and the reader finds out the same things Katie does. The real killer was a mystery to me, which is always nice. And there was enough time for some private Katie time, like her decorating her new house, spending time on her garden and with her doggie. It just is exactly what I enjoy in a paranormal cozy mystery.

I am really looking forward to reading more books by Bailey Cates, and for this series, she landed on my autobuy list immediately.

9 stars

Autobuy author

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© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 21 september 2012

Winners of the book tour and interview with Gini Koch - The Night Beat


Yesterday the giveaways of The Night Beat ended, and I am happy to announce the winners.

The winner of the giveaway in the interview post is:
Melissa (Books & Things)

The winner of the giveaway of the blogtour post is:
Melissa (My world … in words and pages)

Congratulations to both Melissa’s! I made my sick friend Maia draw the names this time, and I do hope you both enjoy the book as much as we did.
Emails will be sent to both of you and to Gini Koch today.

© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 20 september 2012

Lyn Benedict – Ghosts and Echoes

The second book in the Shadows Inquiries series, published 2010.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: I like it.

Ghosts and Echoes

Sylvie Lightner is no ordinary PI. She’s just saved the world but lost her lover in the process. And putting those she cares about in danger has never been part of her job description. Distracting herself from her grief, Sylvie investigates what appears to be a simple robbery only to uncover a complex case of organized murder with a magical edge.
But she has even more pressing mystery to solve. Chicago cop Adam Wright has picked up a spiritual hitchhiker: the ghost of a dead man who desperately wants to live again. Wright believes Sylvie is the only one who can rid him of the spirit – a spirit she finds strangely familiar…

After all the chaos and loss of the previous book, Sylvie took a month vacation, just lounging on the beach. But now she is back, and Alex wants her to take a few cases she really is not interested in at first.
Someone is committing robberies, without forced entry and without disabling the alarm systems, and still, the alarms don’t go off. Sylvia really wants to refuse the case, but Alex persuades her, and they do need to earn some money. If only it wasn’t a woman she dislikes so much hiring her.
And then there is a cop from Chicago, claiming to be possessed by a ghost, ever since the events from last month. Blood rained out of the sky, he got struck by lightning and died, but lived again, only to share his body with some other. No one believes him, his job is on the line, and his marriage is almost on the rocks. No one can help him, but he dreamed of Sylvie and now he has found her, she is going to help him. He will not leave her side until he has some answers!

Sylvie agrees to go on a stakeout of the mall which will be the most likely to be hit by the burglars, and to her surprise, she does encounter them. Only to be put asleep for almost an hour! Waking up, she finds the doors unlocked and open, and the alarm blinking green that everything is alright. But the burglars are still inside, so she will catch them in the act. Unfortunately, they use their magic devices again, and both she and Wright are unconscious again on the sidewalk, to be roughly awakened by some cops.
Sylvie is getting used to being harassed by the cops, her employee whom was murdered a few weeks ago, had lots of family on the police force, and they all blame her for his death. Even though it was a satanic cult performing a blood sacrifice to gain more power. And now the whole coven has disappeared, but she cannot tell the cops that the God of Justice took care of the problem for her, now can she?

This story is fast paced, lots of action, and dark magic. Necromancy, Hands of Glory, ghosts and just icky things. Rich teenagers, thinking they can do whatever they want, and Sylvie’s little sister Zoe is in the center of it all.

I was very much looking forward to reading this book, as I enjoyed the first one so much. And to be honest, I am disappointed. I still liked Sylvie, even though she seems to accept things too much this time. But my problem is, I really dislike all the other characters. Alex who keeps lecturing Sylvie on stupid things, the possessed cop, and the ghost, and Zoe. So even though the story is a good one, that kept me reading, I disliked the other characters so much that I could not really enjoy this book. I do hope the next one is better, bur I won’t be picking it up very soon.

6 stars.

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© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 19 september 2012

Kevin Hearne – Two ravens and a crow

A novella, 4,5 in the Iron Druid Chronicles series, published September 4, 2012.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: the words are too big and he is unarmed in this story.

Two Ravens one crow

Atticus O'Sullivan is back in an all-new, action-packed, laugh-out-loud novella from the author of The Iron Druid Chronicles. Two-thousand-year-old Atticus may have outwitted and outfought everyone from Odin to Bacchus, but in this eBook original, he's about to discover what comes around when you go around messing with gods.

Six years into the training of his beautiful apprentice, Granuaile, a large crow swoops down and transforms into none other than the Morrigan, a goddess who insists that Atticus come with her at once. He must leave his apprentice behind, along with his Irish wolfhound, Oberon - and he must also leave his sword. The Morrigan has always taken extreme pleasure in pronouncing the Druid's mortal danger and imminent doom, so the fact that she won't reveal the purpose of their journey makes him very nervous. Of course, any time the Celtic Chooser of the Slain drops in unannounced, it's never good. When she does let slip that she'll be saving his life in the near future, Atticus is left to wonder . . . will he soon be giving his legions of enemies something to crow about?

This is a really short story, and I enjoyed revisiting the series while waiting for book 5. The Morrigan comes to take Atticus home with her, to remake his healing tattoo, which will take a few days. And I really have my suspicions on some of the magic in that room, I will be curious to find out if I am right.
After that, the Morrigan has arranged for a meeting with some of the Celtic Gods who hate him for slaying Thor and so many of them. They come to some sort of agreement as blood price, but then someone tries to kill Atticus with a sniper rifle.

Very short story, but a nice peek in the new lives of Atticus and Granuaile and Oberon, 6 years after the previous book ended. I still love Oberon, he is so smart and cute.
I am looking forward to the next full length book, and what else can I say but: read those books!

7,5 stars

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© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 18 september 2012


Dear readers, as I am being hit with a lot of Spam lately, I have activated Captcha on my blog for a while. Hopefully I can remove it next week or so again.