zondag 31 maart 2013

Patricia Briggs – Frost Burned

The seventh book in the Mercedes Thompson series, published March 5, 2013.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: I wish my book had the American cover, I like those better.

Frost Burned photo n398989_zpsdc61ceb3.jpg

Now that she’s the mate of Alpha werewolf Adam, Mercy Thompson’s life finally seems to be calming down – but not for long. After a traffic accident, Mercy suddenly can’t reach Adam or the rest of the pack. All she knows is that Adam is angry and in pain.
If Adam’s disappearance has anything to do with the werewolves fight for public acceptance, it means the entire pack is in serious danger. Outclassed and on her own, Mercy will have to seek help from an unlikely ally – no matter how grave the consequences.

The book starts with Mercy doing something she would never have thought possible: she is shopping on Black Friday with Jesse, her werewolf husband Adam’s teenage daughter. Jesse is a normal human though. When Jesse spooks her with an innocent question, she wrecks her precious car, a vintage Rabbit. She tries not to show Jesse how sad she is about it as she had that car while still in college. And as her friend Zee is hidden in the Fae reservation, she doesn’t have his help fixing the car again. This time her old Rabbit is truly deceased.
But the strange thing is, when she tries calling someone to come pick them up, she can’t reach anyone from the pack. Finally, they hitch a ride from the tow truck back to her garage, where she finds a strange car in the parking lot, and Gabriel and Ben hiding inside. Ben is one of the pack, and he is wounded and not healing.
When he tells her the pack has been rounded up by some Federal Agents with the same kind of tranquillizer as used before, and that secret was supposed to have died with its inventor!

Mercy needs to stash Jesse somewhere safe, they will surely come for them next. She can’t look after Jesse and Gabriel when she has to rescue Adam and the pack. But first she has to find them. And what has happened to the other non-werewolf spouses of the pack members? Have they been taken as well? She has to get Ben to Samuel, so he can be treated, and then find Adam. Through the mating bond she can feel he is in pain. There is only one choice, she will have to take Marsilia’s brand new Mercedes, as no one will think to look for her in that car. Also as Marsilia is the local vampire Queen, and no friend of Mercy at all, the car is been secured and protected from bullets and magic alike.
Unfortunately, Samuel has been called away by his father, Bran, the Marrok, and won’t be back for days. Ariana, Samuel’s mate, can only help a little, as she is very afraid of werewolves. When Ariana wants to call Samuel, she hears something else on the line and knows her phone has been tapped. Which reminds Mercy to get rid of their cellphones, asap. How else did the Government agents know where to find the werewolves who were not out of the closet yet?

After Ben is treated, Mercy tries to contact Adam through the mate bond. She can rest his mind about herself and Jesse, and finds out what he knows about why they have been kidnapped. They want him to murder a high profile senator who is very much against the supernaturals and wants their rights revoked. Of course that will only work against the werewolves, and Adam does not want to do it, but with the safety of his pack on the line, he will have no choice. They are all pumped full of silver to keep them call and captive, and it won’t be long before some of the weaker wolves will die.

Of course, Mercy will not give up on them, and the next stop is Kyle. With Jesse and Gabriel safely put away at his mother’ apartment, Mercy will need back up, and she calls for her old friend Stephan. Stephan likes Warren and Kyle, and he will help her safe them. They soon discover that Kyle is held captive in his own house, and that there are at least 5 well armed strangers in the house with him. When they overhear that Kyle is about to be tortured, they cannot wait any longer, and Mercy’s reluctance to just kill them all, is overruled. They need to act fast, and now, to safe their friend.

And they will have no choice but to involve the local police in this. They need the public opinion on their side, before they are all killed.

This book is just chock full with action, and plot twists. Even after the pack is rescued, the action doesn’t stop. It never was about the pack after all, something much more devious is behind it. And when Mercy finds that out, she will have no choice but to put her own life on the line, again. She cannot stand by and have innocent people get slaughtered if this mad man wins.

I am always looking forward to reading the next Patricia Briggs book, and as always, it was read way too soon. I was immersed in Mercy’s world right from the start of the book, no catching up time needed. I love the relationship between Mercy and Adam, how she doesn’t back down even though Adam is so much an alpha. I was surprised by the appearance of Asil to help Mercy out, but he was great. It is fun to read about werewolf hierarchy and customs, and how dangerous it can become in a heartbeat.
Mercy is still discovering more about her walker powers, and I enjoyed Zee’s brief appearance in the story. I don’t know what more to tell you, I just like this series a lot and urge you all to start reading it from book 1.

Patricia Briggs has created a great world, filled with all kinds of paranormal beings, some are out of the closet, and others like the vampires, are not. Her characters are kick ass, and the books are filled with action, but there is also room for humor and love and romance.

9 stars.

Autobuy author

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

zaterdag 30 maart 2013

Erin McCarthy – Heiress for Hire

The second book in the Cuttersville, Ohio series, published January 3, 2006.
Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: makes me smile

Heiress for Hire photo n150728_zps26afe38e.jpg

Chicago socialite Amanda Delmar thought spending the summer in Cuttersville - Ohio's most haunted town - would be a hoot, until dear old Dad cut her off. Now Amanda has to do the unthinkable and get... A JOB.
Luckily the good folks of Cuttersville will always help someone in need. Even the ghost in Amanda’s cottage is pelting her with pennies. Farmer Danny Tucker would be more amused by Amanda’s attempts to hold down a job if he weren't so turned on by the skinny, bronzed blonde. A simple man with simple needs, Danny knows that courting Amanda would be anything but. Besides, another girl has turned Danny’s head: an eight year old daughter he never knew he had. One who takes quite a shine to Amanda and her couture-clad poodle…
Hiring Amanda to baby-sit his baby girl may not be the smartest thing Danny has ever done. But seeing how she brings a smile to his shy daughter's face makes it all worthwhile. Now all Danny has to figure out is how to keep Amanda at arm's length, when she has already wriggled her way into his heart…

Yes, I have been bad, I have read out of order. But I don’t have the first book yet, and I really wanted to read this one. And lucky for me, I had no trouble with it at all. All the characters I should already know are briefly explained, and the story just flowed.

Amanda Delmar is a spoiled little princess, and when she followed her ex-boyfriend to Cuttersville, Ohio, where he found his current wife, she thought it would be fun to stay for a bit and explore small town life. When she needs more money for a nice manicure, she calls daddy and asks him for some money. After all, that is what he does. But to her surprise, he tells her there will be no more money, at all. She will have to start living on her own. This sure is a nasty surprise, as he never wanted her to do something before with her life, and always gave her everything she could have possibly wanted. With her mother away somewhere at an expensive spa, Amanda has to make a decision. Borrow money from one of her friends and go back home to Chicago, or stay here and find a job. With only 76 dollars left, that money will be gone quickly. So, getting a job and some groceries are the first things on her calendar.

In the meanwhile, Danny Tucker’s life is changing forever. A strange man suddenly drops an 8 year old dirty girl on his doorstep, telling him he is the father. And after some deep thinking Danny knows it to be true, that one summer that he and his girlfriend and later his wife had broken up, he lost his virginity to an out of town girl. She never told him she was pregnant, or contacted him for money, but she did put his name on the birth certificate. Danny has no idea what to do with a little girl, but she is his, and he will keep her and love her and take care of her. But first, he needs to buy her stuff as her clothes are dirty, threadbare and too small for her. And as his mother is not home today, he will ask his ex-wife Shelby to help him out. But Shelby has no time, and so he gets stuck with Amanda. Danny is very much attracted to Amanda, but he knows she is not for him. He is just a simple farmer, and she is a rich society girl. She will go back to her old life as soon as she gets bored, he knows that. But Amanda is one hell of a shopper, and even having never before set foot in a Wall Mart or has to shop with a budget, she is good at it. She even knows how to deal with Piper. Her stepfather Mark used to say that she was not worth spending even two dollars on, and now she is going to get all new clothes and a bedroom and stuff?
Danny is horrified with the way his daughter has been treated all her life. Why didn’t her mother call him or something? He would have loved and cherished Piper. And so would his parents.

Danny tells Amanda about a job at the local hairdresser, perhaps that is something for her if she is serious about getting a job? But Amanda can’t hold it for long, and soon she is out on the streets again. In the mean time, Piper doesn’t want to be separated from Danny for even a minute, and she follows him around on the farm. But she can’t keep doing that, when he is working heavy equipment, or at his second job at the construction firm, he needs someone to keep an eye on her. And Piper does not really like his steamroller of a mother. She does want Amanda though, and Danny sets out to ask her. It will be only for a few weeks, until school starts. And she doesn’t have to live with them. She will have to do some light housekeeping, but her main job is to play with Piper. Amanda agrees, and when her father calls her, to check up on her, he is horrified that she is taking care of a little girl. She can’t even take care of herself! Hurt, Amanda ends the call, but her father wants her to come back home to Chicago, where he will find her a job with one of his friends. Amanda really doesn’t want to do that, she is not interested in a rich husband looking for a new wife. As most of her father’s friends are. She likes Danny, a lot, but he does his best to keep her at a distance. Does he even like her?

Danny’s mother is afraid that Danny is falling for that rich bimbo, and warns him about Amanda. Which only puts Danny’s hackles up of course. Amanda is a nice girl, and she might be rich, but she does a good job of looking after Piper. And so Willie has to give a little if she wants to bond with her granddaughter. And to her surprise, she actually likes Amanda. But what will Amanda decide, when her father comes to take her home himself?

I very much enjoyed this story and I did not expect to like Amanda that much. The spoiled little princess is actually a very practical woman, and she is not hesitant to get her hands or clothes dirty. She just goes for it, and keeps trying. Of course she has never dusted or done the dishes in her life, but she is game. And Danny admires her for it. She even risks herself to save her little poodle from a hawk. Danny soon falls for her, but can he ask her to stay? He has nothing to offer her, but a lot of hard work on the farm, and his love. And his daughter, who clearly loves her as well.

This book by Erin McCarthy is a fun and fast read, and I enjoyed every page of it. I liked the characters, her sense of humor, and everything that happened. Of course my heart bled a little for Piper, but she found a loving family at last, and she will learn that it is true, and that they won’t leave her.

I do recommend it if you are in the mood for a fun contemporary romance (with a tiny bit of ghosts) that you can read as a stand alone. But I think, like I do, you want to read the rest of the series as well.

9 stars.

Autobuy author

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 29 maart 2013

Maya Banks – Shades of Gray

The sixth book in the Kelly/KGI series, published December 31, 2012.
Genre: romantic suspense
Cover: Love it. So totally PJ

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The Kelly Group International (KGI): A super-elite, top secret, family-run business. Qualifications: High intelligence, rock-hard body, military background. Mission: Hostage/kidnap victim recovery. Intelligence gathering. Handling jobs the U.S. government can't...
P.J. and Cole were sharpshooting rivals on the same KGI team and enjoyed a spirited, uncomplicated camaraderie. Until the night they gave in to their desires and suddenly took their relationship one step further. In the aftermath of their one-night stand, they're called out on a mission that goes terribly wrong, and P.J. walks away from KGI, resolved not to drag her teammates into the murky shadows she's poised to delve into.
Six months later, Cole hasn't given up his search for P.J., and he's determined to bring her back home where she belongs. Bent on vengeance, P.J. has plunged into a serpentine game of payback that will make her question everything she's ever believed in. But Cole - and the rest of their team - refuse to let her go it alone. Even if it means sacrificing their loyalty to KGI, and their lives...

Warning: if you can’t handle rape in a book, you should not read this one.

P.J. is relaxing in her usual bar after a gruelling mission. Then her ex-boyfriend and fellow Seal walks in with his two best friends, who totally screwed her a few years ago. She doesn’t mind that much anymore, she would not be working for KGI otherwise, and she really loves her job. But she also won’t take any crap from them, and Derek is not pulling any punches. To P.J.’s surprise, suddenly Cole is there, taking her side. And she has no choice but to tell something of their story to him. How she found out he was dirty, stealing drugs and money from busts, and when she told their commander, he and his friends just painted her as a scorned lover looking for revenge. Making her position on the team unbearable. So she walked away. Since then, she kept her private life private, and although she is just one of the guys, she doesn’t risk her trust or her heart anymore.

Cole has had his eye on P.J. for as long as she joined the team, and he respects her. She is a better sniper than he is, although he will of course never confess that! But he wants more of her, he wants a real relationship. And after a few shots of tequila, to his surprise, P.J. asks him to come with her to her place, to spend the night. But after that night of hot sex, they are called back in for the next mission. A mission where P.J. is asked to go undercover to gather Intel on some child smuggling bad guys. A mission that goes horribly wrong.
P.J. gets cut off from her back up team, and ends up drugged and raped and tortured. She doesn’t want to deal with it, or with her team’s sympathy and especially not with Cole. She only lives for revenge, and that is not what KGI stands for. So she gets herself out of the hospital, and goes vigilante. It takes over half a year for the team to find her again, and safe her but. They are mad at her for leaving them behind, they will have her back, always, and they will help her get the main bad guy. Whatever it takes.

P.J. has some serious healing to do, and she cannot go back to her own place. Cole offers to take care of her, and she lets him. He still wants her, he doesn’t care about what happened, only the horror that he had to listen to everything and could not safe her in time. Cole wants nothing more than to keep her safe, and out of the action, but he knows he cannot. That would not be the P.J. he fell in love with. He will have to let her fight her own battles, and go into danger with the team, knowing he can only have her back, as she will have hers.

Ofcourse I cried buckets in the beginning, but I was totally absorbed by this story. Cole is such a great hero! He knew just how to handle P.J. to be there for her when she needed him, and not to try to hold her back. He took her on a date and everything, and even knows how to cook. Which is really not P.J.’s gig.
I liked P.J. already from the previous books in the series, and I just knew that Cole was the one for her. I am very happy that Maya Banks wrote their book.
Shades of Gray is very much filled with action, but also with attention to the team dynamics, and the healing P.J. has to do. The Kelly wives help her with that as well. The whole team is there for her. We get a bit of a closer look at Steele as well, and he is the hero in the next book. It will for sure take a special kind of woman to tame him! The dialogues are great, lots of bantering between the team members as usual, but you just feel the closeness they share. And of course, there are some hot love scenes as Maya Banks can write so well.

I really enjoyed reading this book, it kept me up way too long, and thinking long after I finished it. I do recommend this series to all lovers of romantic suspense.

There is a short story (Sofly at Sunrise) in the back of this book as well, but I am saving that one for a rainy day, when I run out of her books to read.

9,5 stars.

Autobuy authorLove this book
(only for romantic suspense and historical romance).

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 28 maart 2013

Amanda Bonilla – Shaedes of Gray

The first book in the Shaede Assassin series, published December 6, 2011.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: I like it although the heroine would not want to be caught dead in that outfit. She does not wear leather.

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“I’ve learned the hard way that love is nothing more than the sharpest blade, and it can easily be turned against you. I refused to let anyone have that kind of power over me ever again”.

Darian has lived alone for almost a century in the shadows of the night. Made and abandoned by her former love, Darian is the last of her kind - an immortal Shaede who can slip into darkness as easily as breathing. With no one else to rely on, she has taught herself how to survive, using her unique skills to become a deadly assassin.
Darian finds herself struggling to keep her employer, Tyler, at arm’s length, especially since his seductive smile makes her want to break her rules about love. The work he offers is necessary to protect the innocent - and a welcome distraction. But when Darian's next mark turns out to be Xander Peck, King of the Shaede Nation, her whole worldview is thrown into question. Darian begins to wonder if she's taken on more than her conscience will allow, but a good assassin never leaves a job unfinished...

Darian is an assassin, and a good one thanks to her special abilities. Her targets are only bad guys, mobsters, murderers, child molesters. And she gets paid top dollar for killing them. And of course, her “employers” will someday be her targets as well. If they pay her to kill of the competition, someone else will pay to see them removed.
Darian is a Shaede, she can melt into the shadows, and just disappear, but not during daytime. Her handler is Tyler, whom she thinks is just a human. Tyler is totally in love with her, but she doesn’t want to have a relationship with him. They are working together. And so far, her history with being in love has not been a great one. When her parents all but sold her to the handsome doctor who wanted to marry her, they had no idea what she was getting into. A closet gay, who uses his wife as a punching bag. Darian hates her life, but there is nothing she can do about it. Everyone thinks she has the ideal marriage, a gorgeous husband who is devoted to her. But that is only the public side. Then one evening, he brings a very handsome man with him, and Darian is totally taken with him. Azriel gets her to talk about her own life and ideas, and her husband is getting more and more angry. And when Azriel has gone, he beats her more severe than ever, and Darian knows that this time he will kill her.

But just before that happens, Azriel is in the room with them, killing Henry and saving Darian. He takes her with him, as he has made her a Shaede. He enjoys killing people, and for the next 25 years or so, he shows her the world. Then one night he just leaves her and never comes back, leaving her to fend for herself, without any money or much skills. Only those of an assassin, and so Darian becomes one. He told her there were no other Shaedes, and she should stay hidden. But Azrial lied to her. Because Darian’s new job is none other than the Shaede King himself. Darian is a pure American though, and doesn’t acknowledge Xander as her King, which is something is people don’t like. But Darian has no choice but to obey Xander’s wishes as he is so much stronger than her, and has the power to do whatever he wishes. She will be trained to be a better assassin, since her next victim will not be a paltry human, but more.

When Tyler shows up to “rescue” her, she thinks he is just unnecessary putting himself in danger. She can handle herself, and she needs him to be safe. But Tyler is not human, he is a Djinn and he has bound himself to her. It is very irritating to Darian (and to me) that no one is willing to explain things to her, that they expect her to just obey orders and understand everything at once. But slowly she gets more knowledge about herself and her heritage. But not only is she found by the Shaedes, she is also found by their mortal enemies, the Lythan. A whole new world opens up to her, and suddenly she is no longer the best, she needs to train and learn.

It took me a while to like this book, but once I did and the story started flowing fast, I was hooked. Especially after I learned more about her past, I liked Darian and understood her reasons for keeping Tyler at arms length. I still think it very strange that she never ever saw anything supernatural, as her world is filled with them, and especially hidden in the shadows she should have seen something. But she has really no clue what else is out there. Of course, Azriel kept her ignorant, refusing to tell her anything. He knows she is special, and he wants to exploit her destiny.
Darian does not back away from a fight, she is a great kick ass heroine, and I totally applaud her for not wanting to fall for and obey Xander, whom I think is a jerk. I liked Tyler, but he could have been honest with her.

The story itself is totally original and I liked it. I am looking forward to learning more about this world when Darian does. And I am very happy to already have the next two books on my shelves.
Amanda Bonilla has created an awesome world, filled with all kinds of supernatural beings, some totally new to me, and some familiar. She has created her own rules though, and I like this very much. It keeps it all fresh and new.

8,5 stars.

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 27 maart 2013

Anita Ensal – A Cup of Joe.

A stand alone novella, published November 17, 2012.
Genre: science fiction romance
Cover: nice

A cup of joe photo cupofjoe_bookstore_zpse5f46b90.jpg

When Emily smiles at David, the Chosen One, as if he’s a normal person, his sheltered existence plunges into terror and deception, forcing him to see that the world might not be as perfect as he’s always believed. If the choice is between love or perfection, which would you choose?

David is the Chosen One, chosen to be the Father of the Next Generation. He will be mated with a young woman, specially selected for him, and their children will lead their world next. All is well in David’s world, he enjoys his life. Then, one day while wandering the streets, a woman smiles at him. And something is different about that smile, and he decides to follow her. Entering a coffee shop, he has no idea what to do. This is something only the commoners do. But he gets up cup of joe, and sits down at the woman’s table. Of course Emily knows who he is, they all know that. But she teases him, and makes him think of all the things in his world he has taken for granted. The Mother Board and the Master Computer rule his life, and he abides by their decisions and teaching.
But Emily is a dissident, and subtly she changes his perceptive a bit. But she is also afraid of him, and because of him, especially as he keeps following her to Old Park. He is not supposed to be interested in other women, the Mother of the Next Generation is almost old enough for him now and he will be mated soon. He will endanger her, and she has no intention of being eradicated like her parents were. But David does not want to give her up, and he has to be very careful going back to his Tower to keep her safe.

I did enjoy this story. It is not fun as I expected though, and even creepy at times, but it does make you think. I know I am a slave of my computer and don’t want to live without it, but I hope it never will come to be as real as in this story.

7,5 stars.

buy from:

© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 26 maart 2013

New additions to my addiction

Stapel boeken

Here is a list of the books and bookrelated goodies I received in the last few weeks, some have been read already:

From Bookdepository:
Deborah Martin (Sabrina Jeffries) - By love unveiled
Sofie Kelly – Copycat Killing
Sofie Kelly – Curiosity thrilled the cat
Dakota Banks – Deliverance
Duffy Brown – Iced Chiffon
J.D. Tyler – Savage Awakening
Alexis Morgan – Her Knight’s Quest
Kari Lee Townsend – Trouble in the Tarot
Victoria Hamilton – Bowled Over
Nalini Singh – Wild invitation
Patricia Briggs – Frost Burned
Ellery Adams – Peach pies and alibis
Laura Childs – Agony of the leaves
Sofie Kelly - Sleight of Paw
Sofie Kelly – Cat Trick
Amanda Bonilla – Crave the Darkness
J.R. Ward – Rapture
Maya Banks – Never seduce a Scot

Secondhand books:
Erin McCarthy – Heiress for Hire

Bought from Claudia:
Patricia Briggs - Masques
Patricia Briggs - When Demons Walk
Grace Burrowes - Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal
Rachel Caine - Devil's Due
Rachel Caine - Gale Force
Gayle Callen - Every Scandalous Secret
Gayle Callen - A Most Scandalous Engagement
Pamela Clare - Breaking Point
Manda Collins - How To Romance a Rake
Jasmine Cresswell - Suspect
Claudia Dain - How To Dazzle a Duke
Claudia Dain - Daring a Duke
Vicky Dreiling - How to seduce a scoundrel
Meredith Duran - Written on Your Skin
Meredith Duran - Bound by Your Touch
Jane Feather - An Unsuitable Bride
Jane Feather - Valentine
Jane Feather - Violet
Jane Feather - Vanity
Jane Feather - Smuggler's Lady
Jane Feather - All the Queen's Players
Jane Feather - Twelfth Night Secrets
Gaelen Foley - My Scandalous Viscount
Sable Grace - Ascension
Heather Graham - Deadly Harvest
Heather Graham - Deadly Gift
Heather Graham - Ghost Shadow
Heather Graham - Ghost Moon
Heather Graham - Heart of Evil
Heather Graham - The Seance
Heather Graham - Dying To Have Her
Alexis Grant - Sizzle and Burn
Lois Greiman - Unzipped
Jennifer Haymore - Pleasures of a Tempted Lady
Brenda Joyce - A Dangerous Love
Brenda Joyce - An Impossible Attraction
Brenda Joyce - The Promise
Brenda Joyce - Seduction
Lavinia Kent - Bound by Temptation
Sherrilyn Kenyon - Blood Trinity
Rosemary Laurey - Keep Me Forever
Catherine Mann - Cover Me
Seanan McGuire - Discount Armageddon
Seanan McGuire - Late Eclipses
Seanan McGuire - An Artificial Night
Kat Martin - Rule's Bride
Kat Martin - The Summit
Kat Martin - Heart of Honor
Mary Jo Putney - No longer a gentleman
Kimberly Raye – Kiss me once, kiss me twice
Kimberly Raye – Sweet as sugar, hot as spice
Karen Robards - Bait
Karen Robards - Ghost Moon
Karen Robards - Walking After Midnight
Karen Robards - Pursuit
Karen Robards - Guilty
Karen Robards - Shattered
Susan Sizemore - Laws of the Blood: Heroes
Susan Sizemore - Laws of the Blood: Companions
Stefanie Sloane - The Sinner Who Seduced Me
Kathryn Smith Taken by the night
Anne Stuart – Breathless
Anne Stuart - Reckless
Elizabeth Vaughan - White Star
Susan Wiggs - Mistress
Susan Wiggs - At the King's Command
Susan Wiggs - Lord of the Night
Susan Wiggs - The Raven and the Rose
Susan Wiggs - The Lily and the Leopard
Eileen Wilks - Night Season
Eileen Wilks - Blood Challenge
Anthology: Wait Until Dark – Karen Roberts, Linda Anderson, Andrea Kane, Mariah Stewart

A gift from Melliane, between Dreams and Reality blog:
- Barb Hendee – Ghost of Memories
- Eileen Wilks – Mortal ties
- some lovely autographed swag.
Thank you again, you are a sweetheart.

© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 24 maart 2013

Erin McCarthy – Sucker Bet

The fourth book in the Vegas Vampires series, published January 2, 2008.
Genre: paranormal romance
Cover: fun

Sucker Bet photo n238386_zpsc3c97a12.jpg

A night of indulgence…
Gwenna Carrick is a woman with a history - 900 years of it. As the vampiress ex-wife of the notorious vampire Roberto Donatelli, she has to keep a low profile. Not easy when she’s bathed in the neon glow of Las Vegas - especially when there's a whole online group of vampire slayers bent on dealing her her last hand.
can feel like an eternity …
A wild night with a stranger was not in the cards for Gwenna. But that's what happened when she met the ruggedly handsome detective Nate Thomas. Their passion made her feel … well, alive again. But when Donatelli catches wind of the tryst, Nate tops his to-off list. Gwenna knows she hit the jackpot with Nate and won't let her ex stand in the way. But they soon realize they have far more enemies than Donatelli - both on the strip and underground…

The fourth and last book in this series, and again, one I enjoyed. I was very much hoping that Gwenna would not get back with her drugdealing killing criminal of an ex husband, and I am very glad that Erin did not make her.

Gwenna is 900 years old, and she recently moved to Las Vegas, to her brother’s hotel after living alone in a deserted Welsh castle for 300 years since her divorce. She enjoys computers and modern things, but she is still shy, and that will have to change. She is tired of being controlled by men, her brother and her ex-husband, and wants a new life for herself. She has become a member of the Slayers loop on the internet, since her sister in law Alexis told her about it. She still thinks they form a serious treat to the vampires, even though Ethan doesn’t believe that. So she has been trying to find out their real identities, and plans. Meeting up with one of the main players sounds like a good plan, especially as she is hard to kill being a vampire. What she does not count on, is discovering a dead body at the meeting place, and becoming the police’s main suspect. She knows the man has been killed by a vampire, as he is totally drained of blood. But she can’t tell the police detective that, now can she.
When she meets up with him that night in the hospital, they share a connection. Brittany has given birth to a beautiful baby daughter, with a long list of names. But Detective Nate Thomas has just lost his sister to leukemia. He is devastated by the loss, and as his parents are abroad, he will have to take care of all the arrangements. He is not looking forward about. So when he meets his beautiful suspect again, and she asks him for a cup of coffee, he agrees. He does not want to be along or go home just yet. And when she tells him of her own loss, her own daughter, they connect.

Gwenna takes him to the Ava with her, to find a quiet place to talk some more. But soon they end up having sex against the wall, something she has never experienced before, but decides she quite likes it. She likes not being treated as if she was made of porcelain, but someone to be desired. When the guards come upon them, she is mortified, but when Nate does not want to let her leave just jet, they continue their evening together. Until Alexis calls her, needing her help consoling Kelsey. Apparently, she has left her husband for good this time, when he tried to sell her services to other vampires. Gwenna feels horrible leaving Nate behind, but she thinks she will be back before he wakes up.

The only thing that consoles Kelsey is the promise that Alexis and Gwenna will join her tomorrow evening for the concert she is going to. A band pretending to be vampires for their fans, but who are vampires in reality. And Kelsey knows them personally.

Roberto Donatelli wants his ex-wife back, she is his. And Gwenna standing up to him is something he really cannot appreciate. Of course, wanting her back does not give him up other women at all. Nor does he give a thing about her wants or opinions. He needs her on his arm for the next political party. So he really won’t take no for an answer. But Gwenna stands him up, just to be with Nate at his sisters wake. Donatelli is not amused, and has one of his goons follow her around. And when he finds out, she has had sex with Nate, he decides to have him killed. That will teach Gwenna a lesson. If he can’t have her, no one will.
In the meantime, more bodies are found at places that Gwenna has been, and they will have to find this killer fast.

I was totally surprised by the mystery part of this book, and loved it. I enjoyed how Gwenna became her own woman, how she stood up to her ex husband and her brother, and did her own thing. Nate encourages her to get a job, to do something useful with her life, and I liked that about him. He is a cop and sees the world in white and black, and he is good at his job. So finding out that vampires are real, really threw him for a loop. But he is in love with Gwenna, and he knows it. And after a little time of being stupid the way only men can be stupid when in love, he wakes up, and knows what he wants and tells Gwenna that. Lovely scene. And I loved it when Gwenna told him how she felt about it all. Go Gwenna!

I think that from the whole series, this is my favourite book. Now I do wonder, will there ever be a fifth book, where Roberto finds his match and reforms? And what will happen with Ringo and Kelsey, and his dead brother Kyle. Is he really a ghost Kelsey can see? Or did I imagine that part?

9 stars.

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

zaterdag 23 maart 2013

Jessica Andersen – Storm Kissed

The sixth book in the Nightkeepers series, published June 7, 2011.
Genre: paranormal romance
Cover: I like it

Storm Kissed photo StormKissed_zps261b0735.jpg

Dark forces stand poised to crush mankind beneath a vicious rule of terror and blood sacrifice. Our only hope rests with a group living in secret among us: modern magic wielders called the Nightkeepers.
Dez is no angel. The former gangbanger spent years in jail and alienated the love of his life, Reese Montana. Now he has a second chance to join forces with the Nightkeepers and master the triad magic. Even better, Reese is back – taken on as the Nightkeepers’ sexy bounty hunter. But this time, the stakes are even higher for Dez and Reese.
The sexual electricity between them is still alive, but when Dez goes rogue on a hunt for a powerful artifact, Reese can’t help but wonder if he has been playing her again all this time … what will become of the Nightkeepers with a potential traitor on the run?

I have been curious about Mendez since the very first book, when he was hauled to prison and Strike gave up on him. Now a year has passed, and Dez is part of the team. He is big and strong, and he still keeps secrets from his fellow warriors. So when he goes after his mad Winikin when he has send Dez a message, he doesn’t tell the others about it. Who think they have no other choice but to send the bounty hunter who apprehended him before after him. Not knowing that Reese and Dez have a shared past.
Reese is not sure what to make of the crowd of people she just walked into, but she senses danger, and it takes some persuasion from Strike to accept the job. She thought Dez was dead, killed by some gangmembers years ago. But he is alive, and a Nightwalker? Those stories he used to tell her are real? Reese likes to be part of something bigger, to make a difference in the world, and what better way than to help the Nightkeepers? Reese is good at her job of hunting and finding people, and she has little effort following the trail Dez left. And when she finds him, she has to choose between trusting and believing him, or taking him back to the Nightwalkers. But he has changed so much, he is so much the men she fell in love with all those years ago, and not the bad one he became after his Winikin forced him in that last ritual, leaving him with an evil avatar bound to him. Being part of the Nightwalkers has been good for him as well.

Being the last of the Snake clan, or so he believes, Dez is the only one who can stop his Winikin from finding all the 5 artifacts needed to make a great and dangerous weapon. It is meant to make a Snake the next King, and Dez has no ambition for that job. He will not betray Strike.
Things are not going well for the Nightwalkers. Anna is dying, and Strike is losing his powers as well. Perhaps they need a new King? Whole villages are being emptied of inhabitants, as Iago turns them into Makol. The new surveillance is working, but they just are not fast enough to stop Iago. Perhaps they do need a new King, a new look on things. Ever since he broke the 13th prophesy to keep Leah safe, their luck has been bad. The Winikin are also in trouble, since their leader, Jox, left to keep the twins safe. And a democracy is just not working for them, someone has to start leading them again. And they need to find the Winikin in hiding, as many escaped 25 years ago.

Reluctantly the Nightwalkers start following Dez when Strike orders it, and tells them of his nearly killing them all, and instantly they turn up some new leads and solutions. Perhaps it was the best solution after all. Reese keeps sensing that Dez is keeping secrets he should not, and Dez is determined to win her over again. No way is he waiting with his personal life until after the endgame is over. Time is short, and he never stopped loving Reese. Can he convince her that she is his mate? Even though his ancestor tells them she was never meant for him?

With each book, I love this series more. I know the date has come and gone without any trouble, but I still want to know what they went through, and how they saved the world. Each book focuses on a new couple, but the ongoing storyline is just so great and original. I love this world of magic, and fighting evil. Working for the gods, and sacrifice. Nothing ever goes easy for them, they loose a lot of battles, but so far no people. I hope it stays that way. There is also a nice set up for the next book, with Sven and his reluctant winikin. I am looking forward to their story. Especially since Sven has bonded with a coyote.

9,5 stars.

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 22 maart 2013

Interview with Lisa Marie Rice, our sixth author for LLC 2013!

Hi, we are Aurian from Boeklogboek and Maia from Boekenlijstjes, and today we have best selling author Lisa Marie Rice visiting us here in Utrecht, Holland.

Of course you want to know, what is LLC 2013? It is short for Autoren Love Letter Convention 2013, which takes place in Berlin, Germany, on May 25 and 26, 2013. Lisa Marie Rice is one of the American romance authors attending. We had a blast this summer, so we immediately bought the tickets once they became available for next year’s convention.


Our guest is Lisa Marie Rice, author of numerous erotic/romantic suspense novels. To be honest, romantica or erotica is not my genre, so I have not read any of your books yet. But Maia has, and she enjoyed them very much.
Lisa Marie Rice was a guest author last year as well, and her interviews and workshops were a lot of fun!

Aurian: Welcome to Utrecht, the Netherlands, Lisa Marie. Have some hot chocolate and some Dutch cookies.

Lisa Marie: Why thanks, I do believe I will! I lived in Belgium for many years and would certainly love some Speculaas!

Maia: Can you tell our readers who might not yet know you or your books, a little about yourself? Something that is not in your official bio (which is at the bottom of this post).

Lisa Marie: Well, as you can tell from my official bio, I am someone quite separate from Lisa Marie Rice, who is a fantasy woman. I am not tall and willowy and eternally 30 years old. And if men dropped like ripe pears at my feet, my husband would definitely have something to say about that! One interesting fact—I live in Italy, which is nice. The bureaucracy is horrendous but the food more than compensates! For many years I was a simultaneous interpreter and I travelled a lot. Now I travel much less and am happier. Writing my books provides quite a lot of excitement!

LL Convention questions

Aurian: Could you tell us why you are attending the convention in Berlin, Germany, Europe, again? I know we had a blast last year, but how was it for you as an author? What are some of the differences with American conventions?

Lisa Marie: It was fabulous being at the convention in Berlin! I loved every minute of it. I have been to a lot of writers conferences, but haven’t been to the RT Convention, which is America’s premier readers’ conference, so I can’t compare the two.

Maia: The convention is in Berlin, a beautiful city. Are you planning to do some sightseeing? In Berlin or even in the rest of Europe?

Lisa Marie: I’ve been to Berlin before. As an interpreter, I used to work sometimes at CEDEFOP, a European agency (it has since been moved to Thessaloniki). I even worked in the Reichstag! As a matter of fact, once when I worked in Berlin I was able to see the Reichstag wrapped in silver material, which was gorgeous!

Aurian: There is a lovely group of authors coming this year. Last year you came with your friend and fellow author Shannon McKenna, who has only very recently been added to the list. Do you personally know any of the new authors present?

Lisa Marie: Cherry Adair!! A good friend! I'm delighted she's coming! Don't personally know the others...

Maia: The convention promo and books are in German. Will it be possible for you to bring some English books and/or swag?

Lisa Marie: I’ll see what I can do! You know what the airline rules are for weight, though and paper books are heavy! But I will try to bring something.

Book questions

Maia: Your first books were written for Ellora’s Cave. My first ebooks were bought from Ellora’s Cave, so this brings back good memories. For instance, among the first I bought was the Midnight Man series, which I enjoyed very much.

Lisa Marie: Thanks. I loved writing Midnight Man. It was my first full length erotic romance novel and I knew, writing it, that I could never go back to pulling my punches. And Ellora’s Cave in the beginning was just a hotbed of creativity. Before Ellora’s Cave and some of the other digital presses, romance writing had a ton of ‘rules’. Don’t write this and don’t write that. Imagine—traditional publishers absolutely forbade fantasy and paranormal books because ---here insert snigger—there was no market for them. So EC and others just unleashed a tidal wave of creativity in romance authors who had been stifled for years.

Aurian: You’ve switched from Ellora’s Cave to Avon. How does this work, did they offer you a contract you could not refuse, or did you or your agent propose something to them they liked?

Lisa Marie: Actually I didn’t stop writing completely for Ellora’s Cave. For example, I published a novella that came out in December, the Italian. Avon, and other traditional publishing houses, offered something that EC and the other digital presses could not—widespread paper distribution. I was fairly well-known in the (then small) digital world but unknown in bookstores. Avon has been very good about paperback distribution. Of course nowadays, ebooks outnumber print books.

Maia: Your hero’s are military men, or policemen. Why are you attracted to them in particular, and how about writing about a hot firefighter hero?

Lisa Marie: I love writing military men and cops because right there, you know that the hero is capable of being dedicated to something outside himself. In general, this is a very attractive trait to a woman. I have written two stories about very sexy very rich men but I don’t think I could ever write a book about a rich banker or a CEO. It just feels narcissistic. My heroes must be serious, and must be good guys. And having them be soldiers and cops is a signifier of that.
Firefighters? Hmmm. Without detracting in any way from the sheer bravery (and sexiness!) of firefighters, their job keeps them literally close to home. They operate within about a 5 mile radius and this is limiting for a novelist. You need for your hero to have a wide range of action!

Maia: You have also written books under the pseudonym Elizabeth Jennings, and Darkness at Dawn was actually your first book I’ve read. I loved it. Both the hero and the heroine are strong characters, but they worked very well together in solving an interesting case. Do you often write characters who can work together well as a team?

Lisa Marie: Certainly in my Elizabeth Jennings books, the main theme was the hero and heroine working together as a team in the suspense plot. But also in my Lisa Marie Rice books, the couple becomes a team. And, like in all good teams, each plays to his or her strengths. I don’t particularly like kick-ass heroines who have to be better shots than the hero, and enter into competition with him. The heroines have their own, very solid strengths.
This touches upon another element of a romance novel. For me, anyway, I am describing the beginning of a love story that will last the rest of the protagonist’s lives. My job is to make you believe that this couple will survive and thrive. In the books, the menace they face can be that ticking close of a suspense subplot, but I want you to know that in the more mundane future, that love will survive illness, will survive economic setbacks, will survive all those million problems life throws at you. My couple is strong. They have each other’s backs. They will provide a strong and loving framework for their children. That love will never weaken and die. And that only happens when the man and the woman work together as a team.

Aurian: What is next on your writing schedule?

Lisa Marie: Well, right now I am writing the third in my slightly paranormal futuristic series Ghost Ops. I left the second book I DREAM OF DANGER (out in June 2013) on a real cliffhanger. I am also working on a fourth Midnight book (tentative title MIDNIGHT VENGEANCE) and I am about to self publish a backlist book, WOMAN ON THE RUN. So I’ve got a busy schedule!

Personal questions:

Maia: We both have enormous TBR mountain ranges, how big is yours? And what do you plan on reading next?

Lisa Marie: My TBR read pile is mainly on my Kindle, so it’s not a mountain it’s gigabytes! I do a lot of thriller reading—right now am reading Thomas Perry’s The Boyfriend and right after is Ghostman. I also read a lot of apocalyptic/zombie stuff, and have just downloaded Scourges. I’m anxiously awaiting Maya Banks’ next KGI book! I have about 700 books on my Kindle and I’ve read about 500. I’ll never catch up because that oneclick shopping is like a drug!

Aurian: What would you be if you could not be an author?

Lisa Marie: What I was before—an interpreter and translator. Well, more a translator, since I hate travelling for work. I love literary translations, it’s exacting, satisfying work. I was just offered a translation of a fabulous book but I turned it down, sorrowfully though. I’m now a full time writer but I do love translating.

Aurian: Who are some of your favourite authors? Do you still have the books you loved reading as a young girl?

Lisa Marie: My favourite authors? Shannon McKenna, Maya Banks, Nora Roberts. I really like Sylvia Day. I’ll read anything by them. Then: Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Jeffrey Deaver, Stephen Hunter, Robert Crais, Le Carrè. Some science fiction: Kim Stanley Robinson, Greg Bear, Stephen King.

And now for some fun quick questions:

Are you left-handed or right-handed?

What is your favourite movie, and which is the last one you saw in the theater?
I love movies but would have difficulty in naming my favourite. Last movie—Les Miserables, loved it! Cried my eyes out!

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
DEFINITELY a morning person. A lark.

What famous author, dead or alive, would you love to meet and why?
Of all the authors I love to read, I think I’d most like to meet Stephen King because he thinks long and hard about writing and always has interesting observations. His book ON WRITING is one of the best I’ve ever read. Plus I like his political ideas. I think we’d be on the same wavelength.

 photo IMG_0266-kopie_zpsb777eb0d.jpg

Lisa Marie Rice is eternally 30 years old and will never age. She is tall and willowy and beautiful. Men drop at her feet like ripe pears. She has won every major book prize in the world. She is a black belt with advanced degrees in archaeology, nuclear physics, and Tibetan literature. She is a concert pianist. Did I mention her Nobel Prize? Of course, Lisa Marie Rice is a virtual woman and exists only at the keyboard when writing erotic romance. She disappears when the monitor winks off.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Now isn’t that an interesting bio to have? Isn’t that a thousand times better than saying that I’m a middle-aged, er…woman, no longer in the very, very first flush of youth, who basically sits in front of a computer screen all day in her pajamas?
I am so lucky to be Lisa Marie Rice! There is no literary genre anywhere remotely as exciting and thrilling as erotic romantic suspense. It has absolutely everything: red-hot passion, danger, adventure, heart-stopping love. I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoy sitting down to the keyboard and bleeding…er, writing my heart out, falling in love with my men over and over and over again.
Well, why not? My men are brave and smart and built. And boy do they love their women! Their women are much more interesting than new weaponry, sports cars, and even plasma TVs in their eyes, and the fascination will last their entire lifetimes, I promise. It’s sex, of course, but also a whole lot more. My heroes genuinely like and admire their women, though in the beginning this is sometimes obscured by blinding lust. Once that first sharp edge of desire is over and they settle down a little—and that will take several years and a kid or two—they’re so bonded with their women that they couldn’t live without them.
And it is so much fun “being” my heroines while writing about them. You may have noticed that most, if not all, of my heroines are artsy in some way, just like me. It just sort of comes out that way. There’s not much calculation when creating my characters: They literally become alive for me and when my character says—I’m a singer or a designer or I love books—well, that’s that.
It’s fabulous sitting here in my not-perfect body and becoming the beautiful young woman that that ornery alpha male is glomming on to. Of course, my heroines are also in dire peril, which is not so much fun. And which is why I’m the writer and not the heroine (give or take a few years and a few pounds).
One true fact: Looking out of my study across my wonderful terrace I see a bright blue line which is the Ionian Sea. And if I had a powerful enough telescope I could see the Greek temple where Pythagoras taught.

Where to find Lisa Marie?
twitter: @Lisa_Marie_Rice

Lisa Marie’s latest book is Heart of Danger, the first in the new Ghost Op series.
Heart of Danger

The second book will be published in July 2013, and is called I Dream of Danger.

© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 21 maart 2013

Maya Banks – In bed with a highlander

The first book in the Highlander series, published August 30, 2011.
Genre: historical romance
Cover: nice

In bed with a highlander photo inbedwithahighlander_zpsdca10bca.jpg

Maya Banks, the New York Times bestselling author of erotic romance, romantic suspense, and contemporary romance, has captivated readers with her steamy Scottish historical novels, perfect for fans of Julie Garwood. In Bed with a Highlander is the start of a beguiling trilogy featuring three unforgettable brothers risking everything to save their clan and their legacy - and to surrender their hearts to love.

Ewan McCabe, the eldest, is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his - until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan's clan, but for a man who dreams only of revenge, matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.
The illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that has made her a pawn - and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe. But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband makes her crave his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin's strength, spirit, and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons - and embrace a love that means more than revenge and land.

I have to say it right away: this was the best Highlander story I have read in a long time. I just loved it.

The story starts with Mairin being abducted from the convent she has been living in for a long time. Duncan Cameron is after the dowry Mairin will bring him, and his men sure are not careful of their prisoner on the long road to his keep. Mairin has heard of the ruthless Duncan Cameron before, and she is very afraid of him. But not too afraid to try to save a little boy who tries to steal one of their horses. The men want to kill him, but Mairin throws herself over the boy to protect him. At a stalemate, they decide to bring the boy with them, as a means to keep Mairin from escaping.

When Mairin flat out refuses to marry Duncan Cameron, he flies into a rage, and almost beats her to death. Thrown into a tower room with little Crispen, she is almost unconscious. That night, a servant helps them escape the castle, and a soldier puts them on a horse. They have no idea where they are, or how to get Crispen home, but they have to leave. Mairin is unable to ride the horse herself, and it is up to Crispen to lead the horse up north. He promises to keep Mairin safe, as she saved him. Lucky for them, upon the second night they come upon a party of men looking for Crispen. One of his uncles is leading it, and they take the couple safely home to Laird Ewan McCabe. Ewan is very happy that his only son is home safe again, but he has no idea what to think of the lass. She refuses to tell him her name, and is adamant on leaving again. She is in no state to ride a horse, and he has no intention of giving her one. Crispen has sworn to keep her name a secret, but when one of the serving girls helping Mairin sees the brand on her hip, she tells the Laird.

And even though Ewan has sworn never to marry again, he wants to dowry and security Mairin will bring to him and his clan. After the woman who betrayed his brother, and got his parents killed and their Keep burned, he was determined never to trust a woman again. The keep is still not fully rebuilt, he has enough soldiers, but his larders are empty, and so are his coffers. He needs gold to buy cloth for clothes and food for his people.
Mairin is not happy, and refuses to marry him, but Ewan leaves her little choice. And she does love Crispen dearly. She has always longed for a home and a family of her own, and why not Ewan? He is handsome, and kind, and a good Laird to his people.
Too bad her wedding day is interrupted by Duncan Cameron coming to battle, and Ewan has to consummate the marriage at once, leaving her in their bridal bed to go off to war. Luckily, the McCabe’s quickly defeat the Camerons, and Ewan can prove to his bride that their marriage bed will be a good one, and that he is a better lover than she might think of this one encounter.
But this battle also proves, that they need allies, and Ewan sends his brothers to his neighbours to negotiate.

And just when it seems everything is going allright, they are summoned to appear before the King, as Duncan Cameron has laid claim to Mairin, telling the King they were wed and bedded, and Ewan stole her from him …

I loved this story. I loved the characters, the setting, the story line. Of course it sounds like dozens of other books, but Maya Banks gave it her own twist and to me it felt original and kept me engaged for hours. Mairin is strong and determined, but not stupid or naïve. She knows that marrying Ewan is her best choice, especially as she has nowhere else to go. Court is certainly not an option, nor is the property that makes her dowry so valuable. The one that her son will inherit. She loves Crispen, and she organises the servants quickly to get the keep up to standards. They all soon love her.
I loved the part where Mairin goes to Abby to ask for advice on how to please her husband. She does not want him to stray, ever!.
Ewan is of course handsome and big and brawny, but he cares deeply for his son and people, and soon falls in love with Mairin. He is determined to keep her safe, and chooses her over her dowry.

If you haven’t read a Maya Banks book yet, and you do love historical romance, you really need to try this book. It is totally worth your time and money.

9,5 stars.

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 20 maart 2013

Tamar Myers – The hand that rocks the ladle

The eighth book in the Pennsylvania Dutch Mysteries with Recipes series, published March 1, 2000.
Genre: cozy mystery
Cover: neutral

The hand that rocks the ladle photo Thehandthatrockstheladle_zps27abcf4c.jpg

Barbara Hostetler was having triplets. And no one was more excited than wily grandma-to-be Freni. But when Barbara went into labor and only two were born, Freni couldn’t accept that it was just a doctor’s mistake. She insisted on a recount…
Now Freni wants innkeeper Magdalena Yoder to find the little one. Magdalena decides to humor her eccentric cook and start searching, but while questioning doctors and nurses, the strangest thing happens: their stories don’t add up. And the only one who seems to be making sense – is Freni. Magdalena better find answers quick before the cradle robber strikes again …

Ever since the fire destroyed the PennDutch Inn, and Magdalena Yoder had it rebuild exactly how it was, she has lost her famous clients. They have gone on to newer pastures. So she has to lower her standards quite a lot, accepting people into her house who would never have been able to pay her fees before. A Doctor (not a medical one!) who totally rubs her the wrong way, a nice Mennonite couple and two sisters from England. But then Barbara Hostetler goes into labor, and Freni has to be there. Which leaves Magdalena with a house full of guests, and no cook.
At first everything seems to be allright, the guests all pitch in (except for the Doctor), and look after themselves. But when Barbara only has two boys come out of her, and not the third one who surely will be a daughter, a granddaughter for Freni who will share her name, Freni is terribly upset. And she blames the hospital staff for loosing her grandchild. Magdalena has no choice but to promise her she will look into it. Surely it must have been a medical mistake made by Dr. Pierce who told them she was pregnant with triplets. But when some of the stories don’t add up, she knows there is more. Especially if some Amish lady is pregnant as well, and she finds out they are giving away their child to God. There has to be something fishy about that!

Magdalena also gets a surprise gift from her would-be boyfriend, the handsome Doctor Rosen, and she is quite taken with it. She has to “cure” her sister from being like a normal housewife, and to go back to her own flaky self, and they even have to work together for a while, when they discover a dead body.

I did like the mystery part a lot, and Magdalena gets into even more scrapes in this book. Getting assaulted by a woman with a shovel in a store, accused of trying to steal her man. Of course her brother-in-law still tries to arrest her for being in the wrong place at the wrong time Magdalena manages to keep out of any real trouble.

I am looking forward to the next book, and what will happen with Magdalena and her neighbours and family.

7 stars.

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 19 maart 2013

Jacquelyn Frank - Ecstasy

The first book in the Shadowdwellers series, published January 1, 2009.
Genre: paranormal romance
Cover: nice

Ecstacy photo Ecstacy_zps820ac77b.jpg

At one with the darkness, the mysterious Shadowdwellers must live as far from light-loving humans as possible in order to survive. Yet one damaged human woman will tempt the man behind the Shadowdweller throne into a dangerous desire...

Worlds Couldn't Keep Them Apart
Among the Shadowdwellers, Trace holds power that some are willing to kill for. Without a stranger's aid, one rival would surely have succeeded, but Trace's brush with death is less surprising to him than his reaction to the beautiful, fragile human who heals him. By rights, Trace should hardly even register Ashla's existence within the realm of Shadowscape, but instead he is drawn to everything about her--her innocence, her courage, and her lush, sensual heat...
After a terrifying car crash, Ashla Townsend wakes up to find that the bustling New York she knew is now eerie and desolate. Just when she's convinced she's alone, Ashla is confronted by a dark warrior who draws her deeper into a world she never knew existed. The bond between Ashla and Trace is a mystery to both, but searching for answers will mean confronting long-hidden secrets, and uncovering a threat that could destroy everything Trace holds precious...

Ashla and her sister and friends have been to a New Year’s party, and she is the designated driver, driving them all home. She wished they would have not gone at all, or stayed at a hotel in town. So many drunk drivers on the road on this night! They tell her not to fret, but the next moment, a huge truck barrels down on them. Ashla wakes up alone in a dark and deserted New York city. Everything she knows is still there, but no one or nothing is alive. The subway, cars and machinery are all still working, but without drivers, the shops keep filling up with new produce and products, and she can take what she wants. Ashla is lonely, and afraid, and most of all, she misses light. The sun never shines, nor does the moon or the stars, or any electrical lights. Slowly her eyes get used to the lack of light, but it is still eery. She has been all over the city, every place she has ever been, but never finding any one alive. Has the apocalypse come?
Then one day, while trying on a new dress in her favourite vintage shop, two big men come barrelling into the store, fighting each other with swords! She is not really afraid, but kind of happy not to be alone anymore. One of the men accuses the other one of treason, and against the odds, manages to kill him. But he himself is deadly wounded, and Trace knows he won’t survive this fight. But how is it possible that this Lost human, this shade, can see him? She sounds and feels totally real. But Shadowscape is a different plane from Realscape, and only those who are in a coma dwell here, without ever seeing someone else. To his surprise, she tries to heal him, and then he runs her off with his rudeness. But thanks to this girl, Ashla, he can go back home and warn his Chancellor’s of the plots against them. His people have just come from a long time of war amongst them selves, and were finally united under 1 couple of rulers – brother and sister. They were read for some peace, and now there are plans to overthrown them. He won’t have it, he has worked so hard for so many years to make this happen, he will keep them safe.

Still, Trace can’t keep his mind of the girl that saved his life, he feels bad for scaring her off. And when he is fully healed, he returns to Shadowscape. As a Shadowdweller, he lives in the dark. Exposure to even the smallest amount of light will burn him, and eventually kill him. Lucky for Trace, Ashla has gone back to the shop, hoping to still find him there. Time runs different in Shadowscape, which she doesn’t know anything about. She has no idea how long she has been there, or why, or how.
Trace is glad to find Ashla again, but when he notices she is now suffering from the wounds she took from him, somehow, he is determined to nurse her back to health. She is staying in one of the best hotels in town, and he goes with her to take care of her.
Trace loves it in Shadowscape, but he can’t stay more than two days, before he will succumb to Euphoria. When that happens, he will grow increasingly selfish, a sex addict without any regard for his partner.
He feels he has to leave, but when Ashla kisses him, he goes over the edge, and is no longer capable of leaving her. She is a virgin, he needs to go gentle with her, he can’t just stay for a quicky, even though he knows he is in danger if he stays too long.
When his Chancellor’s and his foster father Magnus, who is the Religious leader of their people, miss him, they set out to find him, and bring him back home. It will take many days before he is healed enough to function again. But Magnus is curious about this strange Lost woman, who should not be so real at all, and he sets out to find her human body. She has to be in a coma somewhere in New York. When he finds Ashla, and runs into her mother, the secret is revealed. And Ashla’s horrible past as well. With a mother blaming her for her own fault’s, torturing her and punishing her, putting her siblings up against her as well, that was truly awful. And no wonder Ashla is so shy and scared all the time, although she does have a hidden backbone …

I really like Jacquelyn Frank’s Nightwalker series, so when I found out that the Shadowdwellers series is linked to the Nightwalkers, I bought them all. And I have to say, I am very glad to have the rest of the series available, as I very much enjoyed this story.

I don’t want to spoil anything from the story for you, I liked the discoveries, though I have to admit, they were pretty predictable. Still, the world is fresh and original, and I like that a lot. With so many paranormal series out there, it is hard to think of something different.

I liked Ashla, she is not really a pushover, in the end she chooses what she will or will not do, and I am very much looking forward to the next book in this series.
Trace is a very honourable man, who is used to looking after others, instead of his own interests, and even though Ashla should be out of limits to him, because of what she is, he doesn’t want to let her go.
I do like the worldbuilding a lot, and the many characters. We meet Gideon again, which is fun, especially when he drops a kind of bomb on them both. There are a lot of love scenes, but also action, and time to get to know each other. Ashla has a whole world to discover she knew nothing about. She handles it really well, I do admire her.

8 stars.

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian