dinsdag 30 september 2014

Jim Butcher – Storm Front

The first book in the Dresden Files series, published April 1, 2000
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: strong

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Lost items found. Paranormal investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable rates. No love potions, endless purses or other entertainment.

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he’s the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things - and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a – well, whatever.
There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that is when things start to get ... interesting.
Magic. It can get a guy killed.

I know this is a series almost everyone has read already, so yes, I am very late to the party. And I have had this book gathering dust on my shelves for a few years. But now that I have read it, I am glad that I did, and I will certainly read more books in this series, a bit faster.

I enjoyed Storm Front, featuring wizard Jim Butcher, who is under a death sentence from the Council if he uses black magic. And now someone is killing people using the blackest of magics, and they all start to think that he is the one behind it. So in order to clear his name, and save his own neck, Harry will have to find the real murderer fast, before he ends up as one of the victims himself!
The police want him to find the bad guy, the local mob boss wants him to stay out of it, and his guard is convinced that Harry is behind it and is looking for proof. And a lovely woman wants him to look for her missing husband, and is afraid that he is too much interested in black magic after he was sacked from his job.

I really enjoyed this world Jim Butcher has created. It is always a bit strange for me to read from a male perspective, but it was well done. Harry Dresden is a nice man, and has no knack at all when it comes to dealing with women. This is of course endearing him to a female reader, in the way that a womanizer would not. He ends up in a few really embarrassing situations.
I loved the humor in this book. When Harry started making potions with the help of Bob, his talking skull, which was just plain fun. The ingredients he used are totally outrageous and normal day stuff. And Bob, well, he sure was an unsuspected character. Another nice touch is the big cat named Mister that adopted Harry.

The book is fast paced, lots of action, and of course lots of bad things happen to Harry. But he perseveres, and figures out who is behind it all, and how to defeat him. I do love that in my main characters that they just don’t give up, no matter what happens. Those fight scenes were exciting to read, and yes, there is more gore than in a book written by a female author, but not too much for me. Still, I am very glad that I live in a country where the only scorpions live in the zoo.

I am a bit sad for Harry that his relationship with the police detective in charge has suffered from his need to keep things secret from her, and who knows, there might be a romantic interest between him and one of the women in this book in the future. But really, for me, that is not necessary at all.

8 stars.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 29 september 2014

Interview with Patricia Briggs

Today we have one of our favourite authors as guest on my blog, Patricia Briggs, answering some of our most pressing questions. We tried to be a bit original, to make it fun for Patty.

Patricia Briggs is mostly known for her amazing Mercy Thompson series, and the Alpha and Omega series. They both take place in the same world, and feature werewolves, Fae, vampires and a coyote shifter (walker), and Patricia uses Native American mythology. But before Patricia started writing these urban fantasy / paranormal romance series, she was well known for some lovely fantasy series. I still have to read most of those books, but I absolutely loved her stand alone novel The Hob’s bargain.

After Maia and I visited the Love Letter Convention in Berlin, we drove to L├╝neburg to meet with Patricia Briggs, who was giving lectures at the University there. The Tuesday night one was open for the public, so we quickly made the decision to extend our vacation in Germany with two more days.

Patricia lectured about the use of mythology in urban fantasy, taking werewolves as an example. I really enjoyed the lecture, and afterward there was room for questions. We had made a long list of questions that afternoon, with the help of our good friend and fellow fan Sullivan McPig. But we did not have the chance to ask all of those questions, and we asked Patricia’s assistant Ann if there would be time for an interview for the blog in the near future, and she assured us there would be time for that. So, here are some of the questions we already asked, but as you will also enjoy the answers, we asked them again, and some new ones.

So here goes.

Aurian: Hi Patricia, thank you for making time for us again. We hope you enjoyed your time in Germany, and had a good trip back home. Did you like the stroopwafels we brought you?

Patricia: They were lovely—both the stroopwafels and Germany.

Maia: How many Alpha and Omega books are you planning to write?

Patricia: Hahaha, you are funny. A plan? Okay, really there is sort of a plan for the next few books, but I honestly don’t know how many books I’m going to write. That depends upon readers—and upon how long I stay interested. Right now all I can tell you is that there will be at least two more after the one I’m working on right now.

Aurian: Asil is a very intriguing character, and he has made appearances in both series now. Will he have his own story someday?

Patricia: I love writing Asil. I don’t know that he’ll have his own book, but I’ve written short stories with him as the main character and had enough fun with him that I’m virtually certain that he will have more short stories.

Maia: Can you describe a typical writing day?

Patricia: I get up and feed horses and then go out to my writing trailer – an elderly construction office trailer -- to start writing. I turn on music to block the sounds outside and then get started. Right now, as I’m finishing up a story, most of my work is really putting words on the page (rather than editing or research). I can do that for about four hours at a time before I have to take a break for an hour or two. Late in the book, like now, I might work in total for twelve to sixteen hours a day writing. About dinner time, I have to stop and feed the horses again. Then depending upon how far I’ve gotten, I’ll either hang out with my husband for a while—or go back to writing.

Aurian: I absolutely loved The Hob’s Bargain. Any chance of a sequel to that one, or just a book set in that world? In my opinion, to invent a whole world for just one book, seems a waste.

Patricia: Yes. I do intend to write a second book to the The Hob’s Bargain. And also I intend a third book to the Dragon series (Dragon Bones, Dragon Blood). For right now I’m fully occupied with Mercy Thompson and her friends so a new traditional fantasy will not be coming in the next year or two.

Maia: I am very intrigued with the Fae walking stick that keeps returning to Mercy, and you once wrote there are four famous Fae walking sticks. Will one of the other Fae walking sticks appear in the series?

Patricia: I have no plans for that—though in Night Broken Mercy’s walking stick seems to be absorbing some of abilities of some of the others. I won’t rule it out, though.

Aurian: Does Mercy have some Fae blood in her, and is that the reason the walking stick keeps returning to her?

Patricia: No. It’s just contrary. Mercy performed a service for a fae. She appreciates it—and her live is so interesting.

Maia: I have never read anything with a Volcano God before, how did you come up with that idea?

Patricia: I was looking up shapeshifting dogs—I had actually intended to use one of the Black Dogs that are part of fairy lore. Somewhere in my Internet research, I came upon the Canary Islands. I think I now own every book written on the Canary Islands – including the self published ones. Guayota seemed like a character I could base a whole story around—with the added bonus that he’s not been overdone.

Aurian: If Jessie wanted to have a pet, what kind of animal would the pack be able to live with and not eat? (besides Medea of course).

Patricia: Dogs do fine with werewolves as do most domesticated animals. Not cats (besides Medea), but horses, cows, sheep. Donkeys are not too fond of them—but donkeys are pretty smart animals. The pack would never eat a pet that belonged to Jesse—no matter how temping it was.

Maia: You use a lot of Native American mythology in your last books (Coyote, Thunderbird). Will there be more creatures like those? We both love the originality of it all.

Patricia: Mythology is maybe not the right word—“traditional beliefs” works better because there are a lot of people in my neck of the woods who believe in Coyote and the rest. Sure. I will use whatever feels right for a particular story. And with both Mercy and Charles being of Native American heritage, these beliefs are part of who they are.

Aurian: Is Mercy's halfbrother going to appear in more books, and will there perhaps be even more halfsiblings for Mercy to meet?

Patricia: Gary? I love Gary. I could not possibly resist putting him in another book. I don’t know if he’ll show up in the next Mercy book, but certainly in future books.

Maia: Are there plans for a new series

Patricia: Yes. A while ago, I wrote a short story for a blind witch who lives in Seattle called “Seeing Eye” set in the same universe as Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series. I liked the characters enough that I used them again as secondary characters in Hunting Ground. I talked it over with my editor, and I’m going to write at least one novel in the next couple of years with Moira and her boyfriend the werewolf Tom. I’m not sure it will become a series, that depends upon reader’s response and if I have time to keep three series going.

Aurian: What are some authors you love to read

Patricia: In urban fantasy: Jim Butcher, Kelly Armstrong, Ilona Andrews, Anne Bishop. For straight fantasy: Robin McKinley, Lois McMaster Bujold, Brandon Sanderson.

Sullivan McPig: My favourite paranormal creatures are zombies. Will you ever write about zombies in Mercy’s world? Or perhaps a were-pig?

Patricia: I have a zombie in “In Red With Pearls”, which is a short story in the Mercy universe. I don’t think I’ll ever use them as the primary character. I have this thing about happy endings—and zombies are already ended before the story begins. I did love Warm Bodies, though, and the movie Shawn of the Dead so I won’t rule it all the way out.

Aurian: Thank you for those great answers Patricia, Maia and I sure hope to meet you again some time. Perhaps at the next Love Letter Convention, or if you are visiting Europe again for some research. Perhaps we can show you our Dutch “Witte Wieven”.

Patty – Thank you so much! It was lovely to meet you (two of you anyway) in Germany. Witte Wieven are very interesting ladies. I knew about the “Dames Blanches” and we have “white ladies” in the US - but I didn’t realize that they were Dutch, too. Hmm. Interesting. . .

Where to find Patricia?
website: hurog or patricia briggs
twitter: Mercys Garage
facebook: Official Patricia Briggs

Patricia Briggs photo bioPhoto_zps967e0ceb.png

Patricia Briggs, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mercy Thompson series, lives in Washington State with her husband, children, and a small herd of horses. She has written 17 novels to date. Briggs began her career writing traditional fantasy novels, the first of which was published by Ace Books in 1993, and shifted gears in 2006 to write urban fantasy. In Fall 2010, Patricia made another foray into traditional fantasy, when Ace published a revised version of her very first book, Masques (2010), and its never-before-published sequel, Wolfsbane (2010), both of which debuted on the New York Times bestsellers list for Mass Market Fiction.

In 2006, Ace Books published Moon Called, the first book in her #1 New York Times bestselling—and signature series—about Mercy Thompson. The non-stop adventure left readers wanting more and word of this exciting new urban fantasy series about a shape-shifting mechanic spread quickly. Blood Bound (2007), the second book in the series, debuted at #12 on the New York Times bestsellers list. After the incredible success of Iron Kissed (2008), which landed at #1 on the New York Times list, the Mercy Thompson saga continued to win the hearts of readers and grew in popularity with the release of each book. Bone Crossed (2009), the fourth book in the series and first to be published in hardcover, debuted at #3 on the New York Times Hardcover bestsellers list, where it stayed for four weeks. The most recent hardcover, Silver Borne (2010), debuted at #1 on the New York Times Hardcover bestsellers list and stayed on the printed list for a total of three weeks!

Briggs also writes the Alpha and Omega series, which are set in the same world as the Mercy Thompson novels. What began as the novella “Alpha and Omega” in an anthology called On the Prowl (2007), was then expanded into a full new series. The subsequent books were Cry Wolf (2008) and Hunting Ground (2009), both New York Times bestsellers. The third book of the Alpha and Omega series is Fair Game (2012) and debuted at #4 on the New York Times bestsellers list. For more information about Patricia Briggs and her marvelous novels, feel free to visit the author on the web: here.

zondag 28 september 2014

Patricia Briggs – Shifting Shadows – Dual review

Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson, published September 2, 2014.
Genre: urban fantasy / paranormal romance
Cover: nice. Of course my ARC has no cover, but it does have a signature which is even better.

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Mercy Thompson's world just got a whole lot bigger…
A collection of all-new and previously published short stories featuring Mercy Thompson, “one of the best heroines in the urban fantasy genre today" (Fiction Vixen Book Reviews), and the characters she calls friends…

Includes the new stories…
“Roses in Winter"

…and reader favorites
“Fairy Gifts"
“Alpha and Omega"
“Seeing Eye"
“The Star of David"
“In Red, with Pearls"

Shapeshifter Mercy Thompson has friends in high places – and in low, dark, scary ones. And in this must have collection of stories, you’ll meet new faces and catch up with old acquaintances – in all their forms.
In a time of fresh starts, Mercy is asked to use an old talent – ghost hunting – in the all-new story Hollow. You’ll learn what happens when an ancient werewolf on his last legs befriends a vulnerable adolescent (“Roses in Winter”) and how Mercy’s friend Samuel Cornick became a werewolf (“Silver”). The werewolf Ben finds “Redemption”, and Moira, a blind witch, assists on a search in “Seeing Eye”.
From Butte, Montana, the copper-mining town that vampire Thomas Hao calls home (Fairy Gifts), to Chicago, where the vampire Elyna buys and renovates the apartment she lived in while human (Gray), you’ll travel the roads that originated with Mercy Thompson in the fertile imagination of Patricia Briggs. Roads that will lead you to places you’ve never been before...

This is an anthology totally worth your money if you love Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson world. Patricia does a lovely little foreword before each story, telling how it came to life, and why. I enjoyed that a lot, and I think this collection really enriches the Mercy world.

The book starts with Silver, the story how Samuel met Ariana. And how he and his father Bran were turned into werewolves and forced to work for an evil witch for centuries.
Aurian: I really enjoyed this peek into their past. It broke my heart when I found out who the other werewolves were. But I loved the time Samuel spent with Ariana and Haida. What did you like the most in this story, Maia?
Maia: In other books there were hints about this story, so it was good to find out what happened, even though it was heartbreaking at times. It gives background to Bran’s motivations and choices.

The second story is Gray. In which the vampires Elyna goes back to her human roots in Chicago.
Aurian: I have to admit, I can’t remember if she ever popped up in another book of the series, but I liked getting this peek into vampire life and how she meted out justice. Do you remember her from another book, Maia?
Maia: No I don’t. I know it was previously published in another anthology, but I didn’t read it then. It feels like a stand alone story. I liked it, especially the interaction with the construction guys/cops.
Aurian: I really liked the ghost angle, and how he decided on the decoration of the apartment he and Elyna live in.

The next one is “Alpha and Omega” and we both have read it multiple times already. It is the starting point of the spin-off series we both really like.

The fourth story is “Star of David”, featuring David Christiansen and his family in a really nice Christmas story. He first appeared in “Moon Called” and was not such a bad guy after all.
Maia: It’s a story about making choices, about family and about forgiveness. A real Christmassy story. It gave more depth to this character, who started off as the bad guy, but redeemed himself beautifully.
Aurian: I liked how David never forgot his daughter. He respected her wishes not to have contact, but he came to her aid, when she asked for it, immediately. And how Stella after finding more about her father and what being a werewolf implies, finally accepted him.

The next one is “Roses in Winter” starring the ancient werewolf Asil and teenager Kara.
Maia: Always when Asil appears in the series, he intrigues me. I loved to see more about him and his interaction with Kara. He is an old wolf, but in spite of his willingness to die, helps Kara to live against all odds. What did you think, Aurian?
Aurian: I enjoyed learning more about Asil and his past. I only wish ancient werewolves would look at least middle aged, instead of early twenties. But perhaps that’s my age. I liked his patience with Kara, and how he taught her how to control her wolf. This story sure had its sweet moments.

Story number six is “In red, with pearls”.
Aurian: This is a story about Warren and Kyle and it sure was full of surprises! Sullivan, you will especially love this one, as it has a zombie in it. I liked how Warren as a private investigator, found out the real culprit, who wanted to kill his boyfriend. I also enjoyed the part with the witches, as I like to read about witches.
Maia: Warren is one of my favourite secondary characters, and his relationship with Kyle is great to read about. Gay werewolves are rare but Warren is tough and can fight against all prejudices. The more I read about them, the better! I didn’t expect the person who really was behind it all, Patty got me there.

The next story is “Redemption” which is Ben’s background story.
Maia: This one was my favourite new story. I’m a bit of a geek myself, so I loved reading about his work and the way he started to protect his colleagues. Even though he was never taught that in his last pack, he learned and developed himself.
Aurian: I’ve always been intrigued by Ben and his rude behaviour towards women. I enjoyed learning his background story and how he found out that there was a lot of werewolf behaviour he didn’t know about and how he surprised himself. I never expected him to be a geek, though; he is a bit too alpha for that.

The last short story is Mercy story: “Hollow”. It takes place after “Night broken”.
Aurian: Finally a Mercy story! Mercy’s garage is in ruins and she has to decide to rebuild it or taking it all down. Which is a hard thing to think about. While she’s doing that, a woman asks her help in exorcising a ghost. She doesn’t really want to, but Hank Redtail tells her to try. And as this is a Mercy story, there is more than “just” a ghost behind it all. I enjoyed those twists.
Maia: Actually, this was one of my least favourite stories. It was too short and I would prefer it to be a part of a longer story, interwoven in a full length book. I wanted to know what happened to Rick and Lisa next. I hope they get some “screentime” in the next novels.

Lastly there are two outtakes from “Silver Born” and “Night Broken”. These scenes really add something to the books, and we both liked them very much.

I absolutely loved this book, it contained some really nice stories I will certainly re-read.
I am not usually a fan of anthologies, or the really short stories, but having read and loved all the books in the Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series, I enjoyed this very much indeed.

9 stars.

Autobuy authorLove this book

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 25 september 2014

Recommendations from Karin for September 2014.

In order to bring some more variety to my blog, I have asked some of my bookish friends to tell about the books they have in the past month, and to give us a recommendation. Today’s post is made by Karin from Austria.

Karin :

I have read 7 new books in the past month, and the 3 books I enjoyed the most are:

Night’s Honor by Thea Harrison

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Touch of Frost by S.E. Smith

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Wray by M.K. Eidem

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There is not really much I can say to Thea Harrison’s novel of the Elder Races. I loved the book that came before (“Kinked”) and I liked this one almost as much. I liked the heroine and the way she came into her own. I liked the hero, Xavier, even more. I think – no, I know – I have a soft spot for the dangerous, silent guys. If they look good on top of that – well, no harm done.
He had this kind of family that surrounded him, a faithful family with one exception, and Tess found her place. She really needed that feeling of safety after the kind of childhood she had. The romance is written in a way that is believable, the look into the future at the end of the book promises a very long and happy life and the fight before that had me gripping my Kindle in a way that endangered it. All in all – what more can a reader want?

One more time – it must be a teacher thing that constantly repeating myself!! - I would like to draw your attention to the ongoing series that some authors have on their website.

There is of course Ilona Andrews’s “Sweep in Peace”. This series is published fairly regularly every week and I find I’m as fascinated by this part as I was with “Clean Sweep”. Of course I would hope that they write faster and publish it (if at all possible please: yesterday) but there is nothing to be done but read, re-read and hope for the next weekend to get the next installment.

And then there is Grace Draven’s “Radiance”. Now this series is seriously trying to become a full novel – and an excellent one at that. By now I have been re-reading the series three times and I’m more fascinated each time. In my opinion this is going to be an excellent book once it’s finished (I have no high hopes for this date to roll around any time soon, she is slow to publish the next instalment) but it’s definitely worth the wait.

So, what about you? Do you wait patiently until the books are finished or are you like me: biting my nails, hoping for a new chapter each time I check out the website?

Whatever type you might be – happy reading!!

Aurian: Thanks for the recommendation Karin! I actually did read Night’s Honor, I just have to write a review about it ... I enjoyed it a lot, I just wished for some more details on the bad Djinn.
Serials, I just can’t read them. I think it is torture, and I will wait until the book is finished and published as a whole story. I did love Clean Sweep and was lucky enough to win an ARC from the author.

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 16 september 2014

Recommendations from Peggy for September 2014.

In order to bring some more variety to my blog, I have asked some of my bookish friends to tell about the books they have in the past month, and to give us a recommendation. Today’s post is made by Peggy from Belgium.


I have read 9 novels in the past month, and the 3 books I enjoyed the most are:

1. Stinger – Mia Sheridan

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2. In flight – R.K. Lilley

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3. Lawful escort – Tina Folsom

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(this book has a new prettier cover now but I found this one!)

The one I can recommend to all Aurian’s readers is:

Mia Sheridan - Stinger

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Grace Hamilton was the girl with a plan. She knew exactly where her life was going and prided herself on always achieving her goals. It was who she was, and how she lived her life. She never stepped outside the lines, and never considered what she might desire and whom she was actually trying so hard to please. Until him...
Carson Stinger was a man who didn't play by any rules except his own. Working in the adult entertainment industry, he didn't care what others thought, and took each day as it came, no direction, no plan. He knew what women wanted from him and believed it was all he had to offer. Until her...
When circumstances forced them to spend several hours together, they walked away changed. But for two people who never should have meshed, overcoming the reality of their vastly different lives wasn't possible. At least not yet...
Author's Note: THIS IS A STAND-ALONE NOVEL. The first two books in the series need not be read to enjoy this book. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

After reading the review from Aurian about ‘Lawful escort’ I wanted to read this book (series), so I did and I really liked the book and the second book also. I can’t wait to read the third book of this series. While surfing the internet I discovered a new writer, R.K. Lilley and her ‘Up in the air trilogy’. If you loved the ’Fifty shades series’ and you love kinky men then this series is something for you.

Mia Sheridan is also a new writer that I discovered through the internet. ‘Archer’s voice’ is the first book that I read from her and I really liked it. So I wanted to read more books from her. The next book that I tried was ‘Stinger’, I must confess that I wasn’t sure what to expect after reading the blurb but I wanted to give it a try and I’m so happy that I did.

The story is about Grace Hamilton, a girl who knows what she wants to do with her life. She has it all figured out. Even her love life is planned.
Everything is going according to plan until the moment she meets Carson Stinger. He wasn’t something that she planned.

Carson Stinger is a man who has no plan or rules. He lives his life like he wants to. The only thing he knows for sure is that women like him, they like him very much! So he gives them what they want.

Grace has come to Las Vegas to attend a conference, The International Law Students Association Conference. So when she meets Carson she first thinks that he’s also there for that same conference but then she discovered that he isn’t a student and that he’s there for the other conference, namely The Adult Entertainment Expo. An adult entertainer is not someone who she wants to know. So she quickly walks away from him. But when you both stay at the same hotel, it’s only naturally that you run into each other. And so they meet again and the third time they meet, they’re stuck together in the elevator for some time. And this is where they learn more about each other. Where they each get a glimpse to see behind the mask of the other person.
After this accident Grace decided to forget about her rules for a weekend and go with the flow. Both feel that this is a special weekend but they agree that it will only be a weekend of sex and nothing more. After that weekend they will go back to their own life. A simple plan but life is never simple. They both have a fantastic weekend and enjoy each other company. When the end of the weekend is there, it isn’t as easy as they thought it would be to say goodbye but they do it.

But that weekend has changed something in both of them and they both react to it differently.
Especially, Carson reacts heavily to this weekend and makes a big decision to his future, a decision that changes his whole life. Years pass and they both go on with their lives but that doesn’t mean that they don’t think about each other and the weekend they spent in Las Vegas. After years being apart they meet again in Las Vegas. They both live and work there. Through circumstance they meet again. The feelings are still there but there are some new obstacles in their way. Can they make it together this time?

But if you can’t stop loving someone for so many years, how can you stop now?

When I started this book I thought I already knew how the story would go but that wasn’t the case with this book! It started that way but it took a whole different turn and I loved it. I especially loved Carson. He is so sweet. I don’t want to tell much about the changes they make after their weekend because I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone but it took me by surprise. And for me that was part of why I love this book. I love it when a story takes me some place where I didn’t expect it. I can’t wait to read more books of this writer.

Aurian: Thanks for the recommendation Peggy! I am glad you enjoyed the Tina Folsom book. The other two authors are completely new to me, so thank you for discovering them. Not sure if I will ever read them though, as you kept sending me to the adult section of Fantasticfiction for the cover pictures.

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 10 september 2014

New additions to my addiction

Stapel boeken

My 15th new additions post for 2014. A short list this time.

From Bookdepository:

Allison Kingsley – Trouble Vision
Allison Kingsley – Mind over murder
Allison Kingsley – A sinister sense
Allison Kingsley – Extra Sensory Deception
(I think Diana made me buy this series with her review)
Annie West – Damaso claims his heir
Jayne Castle – The Hot Zone

Books bought at the bookfair:
Barabara Taylor Bradford – Playing the Game
Lilian Jackson Braun – The Private life of the cat who..

A gift from the author:
ARC Patricia Briggs – Shifting Shadows
Annie West – Door verlangen gevangen (Imprisoned by a vow)

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 9 september 2014

Jayne Castle – The Hot Zone

The third book in the Futuristic World of Harmony: Rainshadow series, published August 26, 2014.
Genre: sci fi romance / paranormal romance
Cover: strong, I like it

The Hot Zone photo w512744_zpsd7c99d13.jpg

The world of Harmony has its wonders, one of them being Rainshadow Island.
Just beneath its surface, a maze of catacombs hides a dangerous secret...

Halloween - with its tricks and treats - is a dust bunny's dream come true. Just ask Lyle, Sedona Snow's faithful sidekick. But for Sedona, it's a nightmare. Though her new job managing a small hotel and tavern on Rainshadow is helping her move on from her tragic past, a bizarre disaster down in the catacombs has brought a pack of rowdy ghost hunters to her inn.
And now, Sedona's ex has arrived on the island, claiming he wants to get back together, just as a newcomer appears to have a strong interest in her. Cyrus Jones is the new Guild boss in town. He has his own agenda when it comes to Sedona, but even the best-laid plans are no match for the passion that springs up on Rainshadow...

Sedona Snow wakes up from drug induced nightmares to find out that she is being held a prisoner in some kind of lab, and that someone calling himself a doctor is running experiments on her. She was on a Guild mission in the Catacombs when she was abducted. Her new dust bunny friend helps her to escape, and together they find their way aboveground. When Sedona finally gets home to her new husband, she finds out that he has already replaced her with her secretary, she has been gone almost a month. As he received word that she was presumed dead in the Catacombs, he just filed for divorce and moved on.
Sedona is used to being abandoned, both her parents’ families did that the day she turned 18, as she was an illegitimate child and an embarrassment to them. Now she has started a new life for herself on Rainshadow Island. It is perfect for her, it seems to attract people that don’t fit in society, and those that have strange powers like she has. Ever since her abduction, her powers seem stronger, and she has this new one controlling fire.

The Sebastian family who owns most of Rainshadow Island, has hired the Guild to map the recently discovered Catacombs, and the Guild has appointed a new Guild Boss to run things, Cyrus Jones. But Cyrus also has another mission; he needs to find Sedona Snow and asses her mental state. They now she was experimented upon, and if she is still alive after being taken of the serum that was tested on her, that is a real miracle. His own power is even more frightening, he can go cold and make other people’s powers stop working. Temporarily, or permanently. No wonder Arcane Match could not find a wife for him, everyone is afraid of that. But one look at Sedona Snow is enough for Cyrus to know that she is it. But Sedona is weary of men after what happened to her, and especially of Guild bosses. They can’t be trusted.

When Sedona is attacked in her own home that night, and barely manages to escape, her dust bunny Lyle fetches Cyrus, her new next door neighbour, for help. She doesn’t expect that he believes her story, but his own psychic senses prove her story true, and he stays to keep her safe while she crashes from the overextension of her psychic powers. The next morning, he offers her a job down in the Catacombs with his team, knowing that anyone who has ever worked down below, wants to go back. Sedona is very relieved that he believes her, and that he thinks she is not broken of fragile. Her friend Rachel has confirmed that her aura is healthy and whole, but Sedona knows not everyone will believe her story.

And then her ex-husband suddenly shows up on her doorstep, claiming he has been looking for her and he wants her back. Sedona doesn’t trust him one bit, and Cyrus thinks it a too big co├»ncidence that he shows up right after Sedona has been attacked. How did he find her? Sedona is contacted by her grandfather’s lawyer firm, and now by her mother’s sister. Why are all those people suddenly looking for her? They have ignored her her whole adult life. So she is not really inclined to answer the phone or listen to the messages they leave behind.

When some treasure hunters get into trouble in the Catacombs, Cyrus and Sedona and a team of hunters go down to rescue the man left behind. And what they find is beautiful and dangerous, and stranger than any hunter has ever seen before...

With the mad scientist and his guild hunters, her ex-husband, and her own family after her, Sedona has to trust someone. And Cyrus has proven himself to her, when he refused to leave her behind in the crystal forest. So when they all start telling Sedona that she can’t trust a Jones, and certainly not him, she doesn’t believe them. The attraction between them is so strong, she can’t deny it as being alien psy influencing them any longer.

What can I say about this series that I haven’t said in my reviews in the past years? I just love this series, the setting is amazing, the characters are instantly in your heart and the stories keep being fresh and adventurous. Sure, the relationship feels like it is always the same, but I don’t care one whit about that. A woman with strong and unique powers is in danger, and the man with even stronger and darker and more violent powers instantly falls for her, and together they save themselves and solve the mystery. Add in a cute dust bunny, and I am lost in the world of Harmony for hours.

I like the adventure, the strange new psychic powers Jayne Castle invents. There are some nice love scenes as well. I just like her writing style, in any of her pen names, and her sense of humor. It is quiet, not over the top, and just how I like it.

I totally recommend this series if you like characters with psychic powers saving themselves from danger, and finding their perfect match.

9 stars.

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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 7 september 2014

Catherine Coulter – Bomb Shell

Book 17 in the FBI Thriller series, published July 9, 2013.
Genre: romantic suspense, with a dash of psychic abilities
Cover: boring

Bomb Shell photo n418322_zpsad0e2fac.jpg

FBI Special Agent Griffin Hammersmith, last seen in Backfire, has been recruited by Dillon Savich to join his unit in Washington, D.C. Savich sees something special in Hammersmith, an almost preternatural instinct for tracking criminals.
While on his way to D.C., Hammersmith plans to visit his sister, Delsey, a student at Stanislaus School of Music in Maestro, Virginia. Before he arrives, he gets a phone call that Delsey was found naked, unconscious, and covered with blood after a wild party. The blood isn't hers - so who does it belong to?
Meanwhile, back in D.C., Savich and Sherlock have their hands full when the grandson of former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank is found murdered, every bone in his body broken, and frozen at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial.
Was Savich right - is Griffin gifted with a unique ability to "see" how criminals think? And will he figure out who was behind the attempt on Delsey's life - before it's too late?

I am very much afraid that I have fallen out of love with this series. I get the impression that Catherine Coulter writes those stories on autopilot. Of course I like the scenes with Savich and Sherlock and their young son, and the mystery is often a good one, especially as there is a bit of paranormal involved. But for the rest, all the characters sound the same; they are not fleshed out at all anymore. Griffin meets Anna, and he immediately likes her, and in three days time he knows he loves her, but he doesn’t even know her! All he knows is that she is a brave hardworking undercover DEA-agent, not afraid of danger. For me, there is no longer any thrill or excitement in the stories, the agents themselves are all laid back and easy going, there is just not enough action anymore. They are not running, hiding, staking out, nothing much but thinking and politely asking questions. When previous characters are mentioned, I have no idea anymore what their story was about.
I will try her first book in her new series, co written with J.T. Ellison, about a Brit in the FBI, but I think it will have the same characters.

5 stars.

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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 2 september 2014

Ellery Adams – Murder at the Mystery Suite

The first book in the Book Retreat Mystery series, published August 5, 2014.
Genre: cozy mystery
Cover: lovely

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Tucked away in the rolling hills of rural western Virginia is the storybook resort of Storyton Hall, catering to book lovers who want to get away from it all. To increase her number of bookings, resort manager Jane Steward has decided to host a Murder and Mayhem week so that fans of the mystery genre can gather together for some role-playing and fantasy crime solving.
But when the winner of the scavenger hunt, Felix Hampden, is found dead in the Mystery Suite, and the valuable book he won as his prize is missing, Jane realizes one of her guests is an actual murderer. Amid a resort full of fake detectives, Jane is bound and determined to find a real-life killer. There's no room for error as Jane tries to unlock this mystery before another vacancy opens up…

Ellery Adams has written another winner. This book managed to break through my hay day addiction, and I finished it in one day. Ellery has such a vivid writing style, I got sucked in this story from the beginning, and I really want to go on vacation to Storyton Hall now.

Jane Steward was recently widowed and pregnant with twins, when she accepted her great-aunt and –uncle’s offer to become the new manager of Storyton Hall. Storyton Hall is an old English estate that has been moved stone to stone to Virginia, America, and rebuild there. It has several extensive libraries and lots of quiet reading spaces. Perfect for readers to relax with a good book, in a beautiful environment. There is excellent food in different locations, as well as room service. There are all kinds of activities to sign up for, and guests can use the Hall’s car service to visit the village of Storyton, with its bookstore and lots of nice shops. The bookstore is run by Jane’s best friend. They are truly pampered during their stay.

There is a lot of staff necessary to maintain the house and grounds, and care for all the guests. It is becoming difficult to pay for the necessary repair costs, so Jane has come up with the idea of a Murder and Mystery week. There will be all kinds of activities, based on the most famous detectives ever written. With a costumed ball, a scavenger hunt and pickleball contest.

But when her aunt has a heart attack, and Jane is told the heavily guarded secret of Storyton Hall, and that she will now be its Guardian, she not only has to retrieve a valuable book from her aunt’s personal collection, she has to find a killer ....
With the help of her prized staff, who have also been hiding their true jobs from her, Jane has to run the Hall and find a killer before the Hall’s secrets are brought into the open.

I loved this book, and everything about it. Jane and her family, her book club friends, the setting of this book, the small village and its shops. Nothing is cardboard; everything is well worked out and original. The secret of Storyton Hall is surprising and good, and the murder mystery is engaging and the weapon of choice pure evil.

What more can I tell you, so far I love everything that Ellery Adams has written, all her series are different, with different characters and storylines, and I do recommend them all. If you want to try a cozy mystery for the first time, pick one of hers and you won’t be disappointed. I can’t wait for the next one!

10 stars.

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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 1 september 2014

New books to look forward to for September 2014

This is the list of new releases for the month of September 2014 I am looking forward to:

Jennifer Ashley – Scandal and the Duchess – Mackenzies 6.5
J.F. Lewis – Grudgebearer – Grudgebearer Trilogy 01
Alexis Morgan – Honor’s Price – Warriors of the Mist 3
Catherine Coulter – The Final Cut – Brit in the FBI 1 PB
Catherine Coulter – The Lost Key – Brit in the FBI 2 HC
Christine Feehan – Dark Blood – Dark 26 HC
Clive Cussler – The Eye of Heaven – Fargo Adventure 6 HC
Clive Cussler – The Mayan Secrets – Fargo Adventure 5 PB
Heather Graham – The Betrayed – Krewe of Hunters
J.D. Robb – Festive in Death – In Death 39 HC
Jean Johnson – Birthright – Flame Sea 1 Kindle?
Karen Hawkins – The prince who loved me – Oxenburg Princes 1
Kim Harrison – The Witch with no name – Rachel Morgan 13
Kresley Cole – Endless Knight – Arcana Chronicles 2 PB
Patricia Briggs – Shifting Shadows – stories from Mercy Thompson HC
Robin D. Owens – Ghost Layer – Ghost Seer 2
Sherrilyn Kenyon – Son of No One – Dark Hunter 25 HC
Susan Wittig Albert – The Darling Dahlia’s and the Silver Dollar Bush – Darling Dahlia’s 5 HC
Susan Wittig Albert – The Darling Dahlia’s and the Texas Star – Darling Dahlia’s 4 PB
Suzanne Enoch – Christmas Brides anthology
Thea Harrison – Night’s Honour – Elder Races 7
Yasmine Galenorn – Priestess Dreaming – Otherworld 16
Erin McCarthy – Close Up – BD 04-06

I have read a total of 7 books this month, which is disturbingly low. I need to make a serious effort to kick the addiction to Hay Day.

Did I match my reading solutions for last month? No.
I have read 1 cozy mystery:
- Ellery Adams – Murder in the Mystery Suite

2 books longer than 1 year on my shelf:
- Anne McCaffrey - Dragonsdawn
- Nora Roberts – Song of the West

0 books I have won / been gifted / given for review:
although I am reading my ARC of Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs.

and for my Kindle freebie/Nora Roberts challenge:
- Nora Roberts – Song of the West

I promise to do better this month, and I will have to succeed. I will be on holiday for a nice long weekend soon, and perhaps the quiet will help me focus.

© 2014 Reviews by Aurian