Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review: Entice Me at Twilight

Entice Me at Twilight is book 4 in Shayla Black’s Doomsday Brethren story.  For those not familiar with the books, the Brethren are a group of good wizards who have banded together to fight off the evil sorcerer Matthias –and to keep a powerful book, called the Doomsday Diary, away from him. 

Simon is a member of the Brethren.  As our story begins, he is preparing to attend his human half-brother’s wedding.  He is attracted to the bride, Felicia. But he doesn’t realize that she feels only deep friendship for Mason, her groom.  Quickly, it’s revealed that Felicia is “an Untouchable,” a special human born once every 1000 years who nullifies magic. She doesn’t know what she is or anything about magickind. The only thing she knows that makes her different is her ability to smell a lie.

Anyway, Matthias has his sights set on Felicia. He wants to use her to open the tomb of Morgan Le Fay and resurrect her. So, Simon whisks her away from the wedding to protect her.  They fight their attraction to each other, mostly because they both care about Mason’s feelings. But soon, even that is not enough to keep them apart.  What does serve as a barrier between them are Felicia’s serious emotional problems.  She is so afraid of letting someone in that she has cut herself off from love.  It’s frustrating to watch Simon put himself out there for her, over and over, while she continues to hold on to her insecurities.

We’re told Felicia’s problems stem from her sister’s suicide.  That just didn’t hold up for me. It would have been easier for me to accept loyalty to Mason as a stumbling block… but maybe that’s just me.  I liked the book, though not quite as much as Possess Me at Midnight. The teaser at the end makes it look like the next book will be Lucan’s, so I am looking forward to that.

Also in this book, (*spoilers*) we lost a member of the Brethren to a gruesome death. Not only was I upset by the loss, but I didn’t feel like it got nearly enough attention. I felt like this should have been made a much bigger deal than it was. 4 stars.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Review: Possess Me at Midnight

What is it about the tortured hero in a paranormal romance series? Those installments are always my favorites (ie. Demon from the Dark, Lover Awakened.) Possess Me at Midnight features the Doomsday Brethren’s very own tortured hero, Ice. And as a result, it is the best book in the series yet.

A little backstory: the Doomsday Brethren are a group of British wizards who have banded together to fight a very powerful and evil foe named Matthias. And they are protecting a powerful book called the Doomsday Diary that Matthias wants to use to further his agenda.  Ice hates Matthias more than most. 200 years ago, Matthias tortured and killed his little sister. It nearly drove him crazy.

Since joining the Brethren, Ice has fallen for Sabelle. She is the sister of the group’s leader, Bram.  And she is attracted to Ice too. But there is bad blood between Ice and Bram and she knows it.  Bram is badly injured in a fight with Matthias and as the enemy approaches, Ice is tasked to protect the unconscious Bram, Sabelle and the diary.  As much as he is in love with her, Ice doesn’t think he has a chance with the beautiful witch, nor does he think he deserves her.  But over and over, he protects her. He proves his worth. And they fall in love.

The sex scenes are hot and the action is great.   The side characters are interesting –and the drama surrounding Lucan, Anka and Shock continues.  I can’t wait to learn more about where Shock’s allegiance truly lies and whether Anka has a future with either man. I guess only time will tell.  4 1/2 stars.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Review: Seduce Me in Shadow

Shayla Black continues her Doomsday Brethren with the second full length novel, Seduce Me in Shadow.  This story picks up where Tempt Me With Darkness left off. We have a band of wizards who call themselves the Doomsday Brethren. Their mission is to defeat a powerful evil wizard named Matthias and keep him away from a powerful book called the Doomsday Diary. 

Caden MacTavish is still human, but has reached the age of transitioning into a wizard. He rejects magic and wants no part of the wizard community. He has lived in the US for a dozen years and has served as a Marine. But his brother Lucan has gone mad, since Matthias kidnapped his mate Anka. So Caden came back to England to try to help.  Brethren leader Bram sends him undercover to a local Enquirer-type magazine, where a woman has been writing stories about magickind. She has an unnamed witch source that may be Anka.

This reporter, Sydney, is Caden’s mate. He fights it. But their attraction can’t be denied… especially when Sydney’s friend gives her the Doomsday Diary. She tells Sydney to write her sexual fantasies in the book and, of course, they come true.  Her articles quickly attract the attention of the bad guys too, so Caden is working to protect her, find Anka, and get his hands on the book… while keeping the truth about his magical knowledge and their potential as a mated couple, to himself.

I wanted to shake some sense into Caden more than once. And while I appreciate Sydney’s honor and directness, she was not always smart about her safety.  Their chemistry was great. But I found myself just as interested in the side stories surrounding Lucan. I was shocked with Sabelle’s sacrifice and even more blown away with what eventually happened with Anka.  And what the heck is really going on with Shock?

I can’t wait to read Ice & Sabelle’s story next.  4 stars.

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Review: Fated

“Fated” is a novella in Shayla Black’s Doomsday Brethren series, available only in ebook form.  Based on my reading, it seems like the events here are happening in the same time frame as the second half of Seduce Me in Shadow.  And it introduces three men who will join the Brethren: Tynan, Ronan, and Raiden.  (In case you’re not up to speed on the series, the Brethren is a group of wizards in modern-day England who have banded together to fight off a super-powerful evil wizard, and his minions, and to keep him away from a powerful tome called the Doomsday Diary.)

Like all wizards, Ronan has to have frequent, er, relations with members of the opposite sex to maintain his powers.  But he has grown weary of bed hopping and has fixated on a human bartender named Kari.  Unfortunately, there is a curse on his family, which prevents the men from taking a mate.  So he’s afraid if he mates with her, she’ll die.

It’s a short little story (only 88 pages), but I enjoyed it. You can read about Ronan’s twin brother Raiden and his love in Haunted by Your Touch.  4 stars.

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Review: Tempt Me With Darkness

Tempt Me With Darkness is the first book in Shayla Black’s Doomsday Brethren story.  It features Marrok, who was a knight for King Arthur when he slept with the witch Morganna. After he loved her, he left her. And in her rage, she cursed him to an immortality without the ability to ever find satisfaction.

15 centuries later, he sees a woman in a dream that reminds him of Morganna.  The very next day, he meets Olivia, the woman from that dream. He thinks she is Morganna in disguise, but she is actually a descendant of the le Fey line.  There is a strong attraction between Marrok and Olivia and they quickly consummate their relationship and become mated.  We learn that the book Morganna used to curse Marrok is very powerful. A really twisted and powerful wizard, Matthias, has been revived by his followers after a long absence. He wants the so-called Doomsday Book to use for his own ends.

A good wizard, Bram, takes it upon himself to form the so-called Doomsday Brethren, a group of wizards devoted to protecting the book and fighting Matthias.  The Brethren also take on the cause of protecting Olivia –as she may be the key to using the powerful book.

The dynamic between Marrok and Olivia is kind of sad as it plays out. Each is filled with fear that they are unloveable and that causes them to doubt each other’s feelings and motivations. But with part of the book’s mythology, witches and wizards gain energy from sex, so there is a built-in hot factor throughout. The love scenes were steamy and frequent… though not overwhelming in relation to the plot. It takes a long time for our couple to get past their baggage, but the story surrounding them was interesting and the sex was hot enough to keep me reading.

I liked the concept of the series and will definitely check out Seduce Me in Shadow. Almost 4 stars.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Review: Haunted by Your Touch

Reviewed by Jen
I am a big fan of Jeaniene Frost. Her Cat & Bones series is one of my favorites. So her name on the cover was a good enough reason for me to try the anthology Haunted by Your Touch.

Her contribution, “Night’s Darkest Embrace,” is a departure from her usual vampire fare. This novella features a partial demon, Mara.  She journeys to the demon realm of Nocturna to avenge the death of her cousin. But while she searches for answers, she crosses paths with Rafael, the leader of Nocturna. She has been attracted to him for years, but knows that he keeps secrets about himself and his connection to the full blooded demons (who killed her cousin.) So she convinces him to bring her to his home on the pretext of sex. While there, she plans to search for answers. The only problem is, her feeling for him are too real to fake.

The chemistry between Mara and Rafe is off the charts. And Frost can write the heck out of her love scenes.  There was a lot of world building in this short story, so you have to pay attention. But I really enjoyed it. When all was said and done, I was left wondering how Rafe managed to be a good guy with the lineage he has… but that lingering question wasn’t enough to take away from my enjoyment of the story.

The second novella, “Mated,” is part of Shayla Black’s ongoing Doomsday Brethren series.  I’ve never read any of those books, but after this short story, I will definitely give them a try.  Raiden is a wizard who has lived a life more interested in loving than fighting. But he is now part of the Doomsday Brethren… a group of seven guys who fight evil.  He is in love with Tabby and got her pregnant (presumably in some earlier book in the series), but he doesn’t think he can give her the life she deserves, so he refuses to mate with her. He thinks he has put her out of his life, but an evil wizard kills her family and now Tabby is in terrible danger. Raiden needs to keep her safe, but can he fight his feelings now that he has her with him again?

I liked this story. Obviously, there is a lot of backstory, but it was fairly easy to jump in as a new reader. For some reason, I felt like the story was a little foreign. We had words like “knickers” and “bloody” floating around, but maybe it’s supposed to be set in Britain or something.  Maybe that, too, will be explained by other books in the series.

The last novella was ”The Darkest Temptation,” by Sharie Kohler.  It was the shortest of the three and I really liked this one too.  Lily has been attacked by a Lycan and she thinks that killing Luc (who she is told is the pack Alpha) will keep her from changing. Luc catches her and can’t quite bring himself to kill her. The two have great chemistry from the start and I wish I had more of their story to read. My next stop will be to check out Kohler’s Moon Chaser books.

A great anthology. I enjoyed all three stories and discovered two new authors. 4 1/2 stars.

Haunted by Your Touch
by Jeaniene Frost, Sharie Kohler, & Shayla Black
Release Date: October 26, 2010
Publisher: Pocket Star

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Series Reading Order: Doomsday Brethren

This is the reading order for the Doomsday Brethren series by Shayla Black:
*Denotes short story/novella

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Review: If You Deceive

If You Deceive is the 3rd book in Kresley Cole’s sexy Highlander series surrounding the MacCarrick Brothers. This installment focuses on the eldest brother, Ethan. Like his brothers, Court and Hugh, Ethan believes the family is cursed… the brothers never to marry or have children. If any were to open his heart, the object of his affections will suffer or die. Ethan feels like he is most intimately acquainted with the curse, as his old fiance killed herself years ago, shortly before their wedding.

10 years ago, Ethan was a handsome rake, who went home with a different woman every night. But one night, he went home with the wrong woman. She was married, a little older, and thought to seduce him. Once in her bedroom, he changed his mind. The woman became enraged. And when her husband came home early, she said Ethan tried to rape her. The husband had him beaten and his face slashed. Ethan made it a point to ruin the man and his evil wife. He bought up their debts and called them in. The husband killed himself. The wife and her daughter, Maddy, were driven into abject poverty. Anyone want to take a guess who that daughter will become to our hero?

Ethan meets Maddy in the novel’s present day, at a masquerade ball. They are inextricably drawn to each other. So much so, their passion escalates to sex in the carriage after the party. Ethan doesn’t know young Maddy was still innocent and he is a little too forceful with her. She leaves with a healthy dose of fear about sex. And Ethan is disconcerted by his intense feelings for the woman.

They go their separate ways… Maddy back to her seedy French apartment and Ethan on an assassin’s job. But after it’s over, he realizes he must find her again. It’s after he starts making inquiries that he realizes who she really is.

He pursues her anyway, thinking to find new ways to punish her mother. He asks Maddy to marry him. But he begins to truly fall for her. And he soon learns her mother is long dead –and he is to blame for the hard live Maddy has led.

Their feelings for each other are real and deep, but the secret between them creates a huge chasm. Ethan has so much baggage surrounding his scars, his curse and his past. He clearly doesn’t know how to love, but with Maddy, it’s inevitable. Their encounters are steamy. Their story is captivating. I couldn’t put it down.

And I loved the Epilogue, that gives us a glimpse into the future of all three brothers.

5 stars.

If You Deceive  
by Kresley Cole
Release Date: May 22, 2007
Publisher: Pocket Books

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Review: If You Desire

I wasn’t a huge fan of the first book in the MacCarrick Brothers series, but I loved this second installment. If You Desire follows brother Hugh. His story picks up right where we left him, near the end of If You Dare. He’s been called by his boss, Weyland, to protect the man’s daughter, Jane. Hugh has been in love with Jane for a decade. But he has stayed away from her, due to the MacCarrick family curse.

Just to refresh your memory, the MacCarrick brothers are Highlanders, cursed by an ancient book, never to find love or have children. If they try to have a relationship, they believe the object of their affections will suffer.

So to keep Jane safe, Hugh has stayed away. But now her life is in danger from Grey, an assassin. Hugh and Grey are both assassins, in fact, working for Jane’s father. But while Hugh kills bad guys that are a danger to the country (think old-world equivalent to a black-ops agent), Grey would kill anyone, including women and children. And he grew to love it. He also became an opium addict and Weyland put a hit on him.  It didn’t take. So to get even, Grey is targeting Weyland’s daughter.

It seems Jane has been in love with Hugh just as long as he has been in love with her. She has been hurt by his long absence in her life. But at his return, her feelings come back with a vengeance. Her dad convinces Hugh and Jane to marry and leave the country, so Hugh can serve as her bodyguard and protect her from Grey. The couple fights their feelings, but neither can deny their passion for each other. It takes awhile before their relationship in consummated, but the journey still manages to be hot and steamy.

Like all Kresley Cole books, the love scenes are hit out of the park. But unlike Court’s book, I cared about both of our main characters.  Hugh is very sympathetic. Easily, my favorite of the MacCarrick brothers. And Jane’s hurt and fears make complete sense from the mixed messages he has given her. I rooted for them to get together and rejoiced when they did.

5 stars.

If You Desire 
by Kresley Cole
Release Date: April 24, 2007
Publisher: Pocket Books

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Review: If You Dare

Kresley Cole’s If You Dare is a historical romance centered around a rogue Highlander with a family curse that prevents him from having a baby or falling in love. Obviously, the curse is the big foil for our hero, but his other obstacle is the dainty “lady” who fights off his advances. OK, she only fights them for the first half of the book. But I digress.

Our heroine, Anna, finds our hero, Courtland MacCarrick, beaten and nearly unconscious on the bank of a river. She saves him and nurses him back to health. When he recovers, he is drawn to her, but fights it. She looks down on him; he thinks she is a priss. Sparks fly. Anna finds out her brother Llorente has been kidnapped by the local evil warlord, Pascal, and she had to marry the warlord to save her brother’s life. She makes the sacrifice. MacCarrick saves her but it’s an unwilling rescue because Llorente’s life depends on her. Pascal sends henchmen to track her down and MacCarrick fights to keep her safe. Over time, their building attraction becomes too much to fight.

As with all Kresley Cole books, the sex scenes were H-O-T. Once we got there, wow. I’m also a sucker for Cole’s written Scottish brogue. Again, hot.

However, it took way too long to get to the good parts. Anna was a stuck-up bitch for half the book. One of the best things about Cole’s writing is her ability to hook me from the beginning. A Hunger Like No Other had me invested in the couple by the beginning of Chapter 2. Not so much, here.

I liked it. Didn’t love it. 3 1/2 stars.

If You Dare 
by Kresley Cole
Release Date: April 26, 2005
Publisher: Pocket Books

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Series Reading Order: The MacCarrick Brothers

This is the reading order for the MacCarick Brothers trilogy by Kresley Cole:

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Review: The Price of Pleasure

Kresley Cole’s The Price of Pleasure is the companion story to the Captain of All Pleasures.  It’s a historical romance set at sea, featuring the dashing and stalwart captain Grant Sutherland.  Grant is on a mission to find the lost family of an old nobleman.  The family has been missing at sea for 8 years, and if Grant finds success, he will inherit the old man’s estate.

After months of searching, Grant finds the one remaining member of the family, the beautiful Victoria, and her friend Cammy. Everyone else who had been aboard the ship, died when it went down in a storm.  The survivors lived alone on a tropical island.. having no contact with the outside world, except for a few ill-meaning sailors who had crossed their path.

Victoria doesn’t trust Grant at first, but she can’t ignore her curiosity or her attraction to him.  At the same time, Grant fights his urges to be with Victoria, believing he has a duty to be a gentleman with her. He is destined to lose that internal battle… on several occasions.

Grant gets the women off the island and the ladies quickly befriend his cousin Ian. Cammy is dealing with a mysterious illness and Victoria… well, she is determined to have Grant.  She finally wears down his defenses, but the man has some serious issues. It makes it hard to like him, because I mostly just wanted to kick him in the shins for being an idiot.

Life gets even harder for Victoria when she returns to London. And Grant’s stupidity reaches new heights. He doesn’t deserve her. But when he finally realizes the error of his ways, he is somewhat redeemed.

Kresley Cole is the queen of hot love scenes and that is true here as well. Big points for that –and even more points for the reappearance of Derek and Nicole.  Sadly, I must subtract points for the hanging plot surrounding Ian. I got the impression it was a set-up for another book that never came to fruition.

Not quite as good as its predecessor, but still a good read. 4 stars.

The Price of Pleasure 
by Kresley Cole
Release Date: June 29, 2004
Publisher: Pocket Books

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Review: The Captain of All Pleasures

I just can’t get enough of Kresley Cole. As in love with her Immortals After Dark books as I am, I’ve been trolling around for everything she has ever written. And I found this gem. It’s definitely different… not a drop of paranormal in it.  Instead we have the story of a rakish sea-captain and the young woman who captivates his mind, body, and heart.

Our gutsy heroine, Nicole, is no stranger to sea life. Her father is captain of his own ship and she grew up on the water.  She returns to her dad after getting kicked out of yet another finishing school and she’s hoping to join him on a long race aboard the ship. She finds her father at a whore house as he investigates a series of sabotages on the vessels involved in the race. It’s there she first meets eyes with Derek.  Her father drags her out.

Later, Nicole catches some of the saboteurs in action on her father’s ship. They chase her, meaning to do her harm, but Derek rescues her and brings her back to the ship. He doesn’t know who she is, but they quickly get physical. Once he realizes she’s virgin, though, he pulls away.   And at nearly the same time, one of her father’s men finds her and drags her away.

When word gets back to Nicole’s dad, he faces off in fist fight with Derek and ends up in jail. Nicole decides to take his place in the race. Derek takes off behind her.  Quickly, the men on Derek’s ship start getting sick and they realize the water is poisoned.  Derek suspects Nicole. So when her ship goes down in a storm, he takes her and her crew captive.  It’s then that things really start to heat up… because while the rest of the crew is kept elsewhere, Nicole is kept in Derek’s room.

This was a really good book. The relationship between Derek and Nicole was stormy and steamy.  There were twists and turns in the plot –especially near the end when we find out why Derek is so opposed to marriage. 

It’s nothing like IAD… except for the hot factor… and when push comes to shove, the hot-factor is what I like best about any Kresley Cole book. 4 1/2 stars.

The Captain of All Pleasures 
by Kresley Cole
Release Date: July 1, 2003
Publisher: Pocket Books

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Review: Crave

Reviewed by Jen
Crave is book 2 in JR Ward’s Fallen Angel series. And if you’re on the fence about whether to continue with the series after Covet, then listen up.  This book is definitely a step in the right direction.

Here’s a quick recap on the premise of the series:  Angels and demons are battling for ultimate supremacy on earth. But instead of a war for the ages, they’ve agreed to whittle the fight down to just seven souls. Whichever team tips a simple majority of the seven in its favor, wins world domination. Only one man is supposed to be able to influence those chosen seven. Jim Heron is a fallen angel and ex-military man with a dark past.  He didn’t choose his place in this fight. He was drafted. But now that he’s in it, he wants to play for the angels and help lead the souls to the right path.

As the book begins, Jim is heading to Boston to help out an old friend from his military days, Isaac. Before Jim died and became an angel, his old boss, Matthias had ordered Jim to kill Isaac. But now Jim believes saving Isaac is his next mission.

Isaac is just trying to get out of the XOps organization that Matthias leads. He tries to earn some quick cash cage fighting, but the fight gets busted by the cops.  The beautiful Grier is his public defender. She takes a special interest in Isaac and uses her own money to spring him on bail. She tries her best to save him; stop him from running from his past. They fall for each other quickly.

Of course, Matthias hasn’t given up the idea of killing Isaac. And once he realizes that Isaac has developed feelings for Grier, he realizes he can use that to his advantage. Adding more fuel to the fire, Grier’s father is an XOps man too, also trying to break out of the organization.  But his attempts have only led to the death of Grier’s brother, who now comes to her as a ghost.

Our nasty demon, Devina, from Covet is back. And she is as twisted as ever. She’s got her hands squarely involved in this battle. She has some serious mental health issues. And now, it seems, she has a thing for Jim.

I enjoyed this book leaps and bounds over the last one.  I really enjoyed the romance as it bloomed between Isaac and Grier. Both characters were sympathetic and I wanted happiness for them both. And the bedroom scenes were very, very hot (in true JR Ward fashion).  There was also a twist toward the end, that turned everything on its ear.

I can’t wait to see what comes next for Jim and his comrades; Whether Devina will be punished for breaking the rules; And what will happen with Jim and Sissy (It feels like more is going to develop there, but maybe I am reading too much into it.) I have no doubt I will be reading Envy in September to find out.  4 1/2 stars.

by JR Ward
Release Date: October 5, 2010
Publisher: Signet

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Review: Covet

Reviewed by Jen
JR Ward’s Covet is the 1st in her Fallen Angel series. I decided to try it because I am a huge fan of her Black Dagger Brotherhood books.  But I need to start out with this warning: a BDB book, this is not.

I read this book for the first time about a year ago, when it came out. I was disappointed. I didn’t think I’d want to read the sequel. But when Crave came out, I realized I did want to read it. But first, I’d give Covet another chance. I found I liked it better the second time around.

Here’s the premise of the series: the angels and the demons are ending their age-old battle by bringing the fight of good versus evil down to seven souls.  One man will try to influence those souls one way or another. That man is Jim. He’s lived a hard life and done some very questionable things. But deep down his soul is good.  When the book begins, he has no idea he has been chosen for this path. He’s just an ex-military guy, working a construction job.

On the night of his 40th birthday, he meets a beautiful stranger at a bar and has a one-night stand in the parking lot. He finds out the next day, she is the girl-friend of the man paying for his big construction project, Vin diPietro.  On the job, Jim gets electrocuted and dies. He is sent just outside the gates of heaven and learns his place in the big cosmic battle… then he is sent back to Earth.  His first soul to save is Vin’s.

So where is the romance? This is a JR Ward book after all. Well, at first Jim thinks his job is to make Vin appreciate his beautiful girlfriend Devina.  But things change quickly as Vin meets and becomes enamoured with Marie-Terese. (If the name sounds familiar, she was a prostitute at Zero Sum back in Lover Avenged.) Yes, Marie-Terese is a hooker, but she is a reluctant one. It turns out, she is living under an assumed name, trying to pay off a mountain of debt she incurred trying to free herself and her young son from her mob-boss ex-husband.

As our story develops, it becomes more complex. Characters we meet early on turn out to be fallen angels, or demons respectively. Even the dog is not a regular dog.  And to make matters more complicated, a crazed serial killer is hunting Marie-Terese and killing men who come in contact with her where she works. She is in danger from him and in fear of being found by her ex.  Vin is in danger from the demon who he may or may not have made some kind of deal with as a teenager. He keeps getting caught in the cops’ radar for things he didn’t do. And he is dealing with the reappearance of visions he had been rid of for years.

If you’ve noticed I haven’t been detailing much romance, that’s because it takes a backseat to all the pesky plot in the book. I think that’s where my disappointment came from the first time around. I read JR Ward for romance!  It’s there… the few love scenes in the book are steamy.  But the love story comes second to the other stuff going on.

There are few Easter eggs for BDB fans: It’s set in the same city of Caldwell, NY, Marie-Terese is our leading lady; Detective De La Cruz keeps showing up to investigate the dead bodies; We get mentions of Zero Sum and the Rev; And we get a cameo appearance by (an un-named) Phury.

It’s a better book than I gave it credit for the first time around. I recommend it. Just don’t make the same mistake I did and expect it to be something it’s not.

4 stars.

by JR Ward
Release Date: September 29, 2009
Publisher: Signet

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Series Reading Order: Fallen Angels

This is the reading order for the Fallen Angels series by JR Ward:

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Review: The Pleasure Slave

Reviewed by Jen
The Pleasure Slave is book 2 in Gena Showalter’s Imperia series, but it’s in no way a sequel to The Stone Prince. In this novel, our hero Tristan was imprisoned in a jewelry box by a sorceress scorned. He is cursed to be something like a genie in a bottle… when released he is the slave to the woman who owns the box.

Julia is an antique dealer with low self-esteem and no love life. She acquires the box and is shocked when Tristan appears. He, in turn, is shocked when she is not ready and willing to use his services. He quickly becomes enamoured of her and wants her for his own. She thinks he is way out of her league and instead focuses her attention on her more-mousy neighbor. She enlists Tristan’s help to attract the neighbor and he begins to “tutor” her in seduction. Of course, Tristan and Julia only end up seducing each other.

Meanwhile, that sorceress is still after Tristan. Even though she is on another planet and a different time, she continues trying to get him back.

It’s a nice story, but unfortunately it’s one I’ve read before. I couldn’t stop thinking of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Fantasy Lover at any point during the book. I liked it better than Stone Prince, but they were similar in tone. Sweet, but light reading. 3 1/2 stars.

The Pleasure Slave
by Gena Showalter
Release Date: February 1, 2005
Publisher: HQN 

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Review: The Stone Prince

Reviewed by Jen
Gena Showalter’s The Stone Prince is the first of her Imeperia novels. Our hero is Jorlan, an alien warrior, trapped by his brother in a statue and sent to Earth. He is cursed to remain in stone until released by a woman’s kiss. But even then, his reprieve will last only a couple of weeks, unless the woman falls in love with him.

Katie James is a strong woman, raised in a home surrounded by strapping brothers (one of whom becomes the hero in Showalter’s Jewel of Atlantis). She restores homes for a living… and comes across Jorlan’s statue while working on her latest project. She is drawn to him and sets him free with her kiss.

It was not love at first sight. Jorlan is hot, but he’s cocky and domineering. It’s fun, though, to watch Katie put him in place. With her, he begrudgingly learns what love means… and they do fall for each other.

In the meantime, Jorlan’s brother maintains his quest for revenge. His motives are pretty weak –it’s mostly a mommy complex. Everything is wrapped up in a happy ending, even for our villain. It’s a light read, but fun.  3 1/2 stars.

The Stone Prince
by Gena Showalter
Release Date: September 1, 2004
Publisher: HQN 

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