Red Hot Books
Romance and Urban Fantasy Reviews
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Review: The Vampire Narcise
Friday, April 29, 2011
Review: Dead as a Doornail
It's not all bad. We've got a great moment where Sookie finally tells Eric what happened between them. And we meet Quinn. (I'm aware not everyone is a fan, but I really ended up liking him down the road.)
I'm just ready for Sookie to get a little light back in her life. Almost 4 stars.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Follow Friday and Assorted Blog Hops
Q. If you were stocking your bomb shelter, what books would you HAVE to include if you only had space for ten?
1. Lover Awakened by JR Ward
2. Demon from the Dark by Kresley Cole
3. A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole
4. Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning
5. Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
6. Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
7. The Darkest Passion by Gene Showalter
8. Dance With the Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon
9. Pale Demon by Kim Harrison
10. Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon
But this list is subject to change based on the mood I am in.
A. Not really. After work and the kids, there isn't much time left in the day. Sometimes, I'll watch a tv show with the hubs, but for the most part, it's all about the books.
Review: Club Dead
The chemistry between Sookie and Alcide is off the charts. Almost as fantastic as it is between her and Eric. It's easy to find yourself asking, "Bill who?" as she interacts with both men. Alcide would be a great partner for Sookie if he could just get over his dysfunctional relationship with his ex-girlfriend Debbie (who hates Sookie in a big way). As for Eric... he and Sookie are drawn together like magnets. It's easy to see how she is hanging on to her resolve not to sleep with him, by a thin thread. And Bill... well, it's hard to see how anyone can leave this book without thinking he is a complete asshat.
I really like where this book took us. I have to say, Bill's distance and change of heart at the beginning of the book felt forced and abrupt. But since I hate him so much now, I don't really care anymore. 4 1/2 stars
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Review: Living Dead in Dallas
But that mystery has to wait. Because Bill’s vampire-boss Eric is sending Sookie to Dallas to do a job. He’s loaned her out to the vampires there to help them find one of their own who has gone missing. Sookie uses her telepathic skills to figure out what happened to Russell. That draws her into the clutches of the nefarious Fellowship of the Sun, a group dedicated to the destruction of all vampires.
A lot happens to Sookie in this book. She meets Barry, a hotel bell boy who is also a telepath. She makes a big impression on the Texas vampires, including their leader Stan… who will be back in later books. For the first time, we get glimpses of the sizzling sexual tension between Sookie and Eric. And fissures begin to show in her relationship with Bill. We see, along with Sookie, what Bill’s lack of humanity really means. And she has to ask herself some very tough questions about what she can and cannot accept in her life.
(A few words about True Blood:) Season two of True Blood is based on this book. But there are some very big differences here. And I have to say, as with every season so far, other than the glory that is Alexander Skarsgard, the show is vastly substandard to the storyline in the book. There is a maenad, but it’s only a very small part of the storyline. Lafayette is the body in the car, because there is no Miss Jeanette. Tara is not Lafayette’s cousin. In fact, her role is very small and her character is nothing like it is the show. Oh yeah. And Godric is not the kidnapped vampire. He was the bait that helped kidnap Russell. And he’s not Eric’s maker. He is a child molester and killer. Just read the book.
Series Reading Order: Sookie Stackhouse
- Dead as a Doornail
- *One Word Answer (A Touch of Dead)
- Definitely Dead
- *Lucky (A Touch of Dead)
- All Together Dead
- From Dead to Worse
- *Gift Wrap (A Touch of Dead)
- Dead and Gone
- *Two Blondes (Death's Excellent Vacation)
- Dead in the Family
- Dead Reckoning
- *If I Had a Hammer (Home Improvement: Undead Edition)
- Dead Ever After (Coming in May 2013)
*Denotes short story/ novella
**There are other short stories set in the Sookie universe, but only these feature Sookie
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Review: Forever Vampire
My only beef was the combination of information overload and black holes in the history at the beginning. It felt like there was a lot of backstory we were getting on Vail in a very condensed form…. especially when it came to Vail’s murky family ties. This probably would not have been the case if I had read Seducing the Vampire, the story leading up to his birth.
It was absolutely worth braving a little confusion, though. The story was action packed and the love story was really good. 4 solid stars.
*ARC Provided by NetGalley
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Review: The Restorer
I became completely immersed in the murder case. I am a romance fan at heart, so usually I find myself wading through most stories just to get to the big relationship developments. But not here. I was just as wrapped up in the murders and the ghosts plaguing Amelia as I was in her pseudo-relationship with Devlin. There was intrigue, mystery, horror, and strong characters.
We do get a resolution to the murder arc, but many threads are left hanging as the book draws to a close... plenty of material to kick off the sequel. I can't wait to learn more about her family history and her future with Devlin. I just wish I didn't have to wait to find out what happens next! 5 stars.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Tangled Threads: Giveaway & Chat with Jennifer Estep
This giveaway is closed. The winners are mbreakfield, Allison, Kristen, Lexie & Heather.
Jen: Donovan Caine was Gin's initial love interest in the early books. Did you ever intend for him to get over his issues with Gin or was their relationship doomed from the start?
Jennifer: At first, I intended for Donovan to be Gin’s love interest throughout the series. But after writing Spider’s Bite, the first book in the series, I realized that they were going to have the same argument in every book about her being an assassin. Donovan is such a straight arrow that I really couldn’t let him come around to Gin’s way of thinking without really weakening his character. So I decided to have Donovan leave Gin at the end of Web of Lies, the second book in the series.
I’m glad I made the change. Having Donovan walk out on Gin made for some great drama – and so did bringing in Owen Grayson, the sexy businessman who is Gin’s new love interest. So far, most folks seem to be on Team Owen, which is really satisfying to me. ;-)
Jen: Will we ever see Donovan again? Does he feel the pins I stick into his voo-doo doll?
Jennifer: Heh. That’s funny. A lot of folks seem to not like Donovan after what he did to Gin. I’m thinking about bringing Donovan back at some point, if only so Gin can get some closure about their relationship. Donovan walked away from Gin, and she didn’t like that very much. Plus, I think I could write some interesting scenes with Gin, Donovan, and Owen. We’ll see what happens.
Jen: Do you intend to ever tell Sophia's backstory?
Jennifer: Readers will learn more about Sophia in Spider’s Revenge, the fifth book in the series, including why her voice is so broken and raspy. If the series goes long enough, I’d like to do a book that really delves into Sophia’s background – including the bad guys who hurt her.
Also, there’s a free short story on the Excerpts page of my website called "Tangled Dreams" that has some scenes from Sophia’s point of view. Here’s the link to read it and the other stories I’ve written for the series: http://www.jenniferestep.com/excerpts-short-stories/
Jen: Will Spider's Revenge be Gin's last book?Jennifer: Actually, I’m working on book six right now, which I’m jokingly referring to as “Gin on vacation.” Gin decides to get out of Ashland for a while, but trouble manages to find her no matter where she goes … Such is the life of an assassin. LOL.
A big thanks to Jennifer Estep for stopping by and for joining me (and some of my other blogging friends) for chat earlier this week. You can hear her join us about 10 minutes into the chat. If you're interested, check it out:
So, are you sold on the series yet? If not, I've got something to sweeten the deal! I'm giving away 5 copies of Tangled Threads! The contest is open to all followers of Red Hot Books in the US and Canada. To enter, just make sure you're following with Google Friend Connect, then leave me a comment, telling me what your favorite Urban Fantasy series is! The contest will run through the weekend and I'll announce the winners Sunday night.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Kyana is a half-breed: part Lycan, part Vampyre… the only one of her kind. And since the gates to Tartarus have been unlocked, she has been tracking the dark beings that have escaped and are wreaking havoc on the human world. She is part of the Order, a group of supernaturals devoted to fighting and policing those of their own kind who do wrong. Ky is a great tracker, and frankly that’s a good thing, since her job is really the only thing in her life, aside from her best friend Haven.
As our book begins, the Fates and the goddess Artemis tap Haven for a special job: to find the key that can lock the doors to Tartarus and re-imprison the members of the Dark Breed who have escaped. Ky is willing, but things get more complicated when they tell her she’ll have to work with Ryker, a demi-god who rejected her advances long ago. She is still attracted to him and feels the sting of his denial. What she doesn’t realize is, Ryker wanted her then and he still wants her now. He only rejected her proposition for a meaningless affair because he knew he needed more from her. He knew he would be the mate she wasn’t ready to accept.
There is a fair amount of world-building necessary here. We’ve got a book filled with Greek gods, Titans, vampires, lycans, zombies, mystics, and witches. They interact on earth, “below,” and in the realm of the gods. Personally, I didn’t have trouble keeping it straight. I thought it was all integrated quite easily into the story. The plot was pretty straight-forward and the characters clearly defined.
I liked Kyana. She’s tough and independent, though that comes from living a difficult life. She’s been through a lot, and it has made her strong, but also hard. Her feelings for Ryker seem genuine, but it’s clear he feels more for her. She just doesn’t know how to love someone… or more to the point, she doesn’t know how to be loved. This is definitely more Urban Fantasy than Paranormal Romance, but I found the relationship between Ky and Ryker to be book’s center for me. The action was great, but I wanted to see Ryker break down Ky's walls. The sex was pretty good, though not blush-worthy. And I feel like they’re on the right track. But this book does NOT have a neat ending. There is a lot left hanging for the impending sequel. So don’t expect a HEA. Kyana isn’t there yet. But I’m left with the hope that she’ll get there... in time. 4 stars.
*ARC Provided by NetGalley
Click to purchase: Amazon
Ascensionby Sable GraceRelease Date: April 26, 2011Publisher: Avon
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop
This contest is closed. Judy is the winner.
After centuries of secret conflict, humans and parahumans have reached an uneasy truce. But unspeakable evil now threatens the tenuous peace.
Teenaged shapeshifters are being slaughtered by a sadistic serial killer who rips their still-beating hearts from their paralyzed bodies. A task force forms to halt the madness, including the vampiric Aeternus Antoinette Petrescu, as well as Kitt Jordan and Raven Matokwe, members of enemy Animalian tribes . . . and forbidden lovers.
A centuries-old blood feud has divided their shapeshifting peoples, and if their passion is discovered it will doom them both. But past hostilities must be put aside, for the killer they seek is but the first sign of the all-consuming nightmare of The Dark Brethren.
Now the only hope for Chaz and his family—and the human race—lies in the secrets locked away in the mind of Angelique, the beautiful, mysterious Newbie he must protect.
To win the books, all you have to do is tell me your favorite book so far in 2011 in a comment below. The contest is open to Red Hot Books followers in the US & Canada. So make sure you're following before you enter! The contest will close Monday, April 25th at 9:00pm CST.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
I had some serious issues with the language in this book. I’m not even sure how to describe it. Let me give you an example:
The story itself was middle-of-the-road. There was adequate action and intrigue. But hands-down, the best thing the book had going for it was the love-scenes. Here, the author leaves any cumbersome language behind and wraps you up in a thick layer of hotness. (Two thumbs up on the sex!) The ending is both solid and satisfying. 3 stars.
*ARC Provided by Simon & Schuster
Monday, April 18, 2011
Review: Wait for Dusk
Reviewed by JenThe fifth installment of the Dark Days series is Wait for Dusk, or as I like to call it (*spoiler*) The One Where Mira & Danaus Finally Have Sex. And I have got to say, this is the best one yet.
As our book begins, Mira is being tortured by the entity who kidnapped her at the end of Pray for Dawn. But it's not an old witch woman kicking her ass... It turns out to be her "real" father, who claims to be Satan himself. Daddy's got a mission for Mira. He wants her to learn to take control of Danaus and Jebari's powers. And he gives her a power-upgrade so she has the ability to do it. This is a bit of a mixed bag for our vampire heroine. She finally has the juice to turn the tables on the two men who have been pulling her strings over the course of the last few books. But she's not completely on board with the idea because 1) she is sort-of in love with Danaus and 2) she is scared Jebari will wipe the floor with her. Dad's not giving her much of a choice in the matter.
Mira is summoned back to Venice to be officially indoctrinated into the Coven. And she brings Danaus as back-up. She knows she's facing the threat of death from fellow coven-member Macaire. And sure enough, he orchestrates a trip for her to Budapest, where he has set the wheels in motion for her death to occur. Of course, Mira's smarter and tougher than anyone gives her credit for. And not only does she have Danaus at her back, she's got Valerio and Stefan with her too. There's a fairly good plot arc about the intrigue in Budapest. But to me, the most interesting is the subplot surrounding Mira and Danaus' evolving relationship. And now that her allegiance to him is clear in the vampire world, he is becoming her Achilles heel. Mira's emotions are so fragile where he is concerned. And there was more than one time in the story where, I too, thought he abandoned her.
But holy cow, when these two finally get their act together.... I think I read (*spoiler*) their sex scene at least 5 times. In a row. Then when the book was over, I went back and read it again. It was that hot. Plus, I needed the distraction from the heart-wrenching ending. For as high as I got on the romance action, Jocelynn Drake shredded me utterly with (*spoiler*) Tristan's death. Even when Mira finally wins one, she still loses. 5 stars
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Review: Pray for Dawn
Themis summons him back to Savannah to help solve the mystery of a murdered senator's daughter. She was killed by some other-worldly creature. So he teams up with Mira to figure out who and what killed her --and why. In the course of the story, we see Mira start to fall apart. (And by that, I mean she goes bat-shit crazy.) Yet, in her moments of clarity, she is pulling Danaus more and more into her life. We finally get some movement on the chemistry between them. But due to Danaus' lingering reticence, they still don't seal the deal. (Grrr.) So Danaus must figure out what is wrong with Mira, while he slowly faces the truth about who killed the senator's daughter. Oh, and did I mention he sort of adopts a street kid in the middle of all this?
So, like I said, I loved finally hearing Danaus' voice in this story. I loved that he and Mira finally started moving towards each other. There were some hard knocks for Mira before the book came to a close. Namely, (*spoiler*) the street kid Lily is killed by poor Tristan... and Tristan is nearly killed by Danaus. Oh yeah, Mira's friend Emma is killed too. It really sucks to be Mira . I didn't see any of it coming and I'm sad and kind of pissed off to see Mira kicked in the teeth yet again. The book ends on a pretty substantial cliffhanger, so be prepared. Have Wait for Dusk on hand to start as soon as this one is finished. 4 stars.
P.S. I freaking-love this cover!
Saturday, April 16, 2011
And speaking of Danaus. Why the hell can’t these two recognize what they have together? We see over and over, through Mira’s thoughts and actions that she cares deeply for Danaus. And he seems to have to remind himself that she is the enemy. These two need to get it on already… in a big way. Three books is plenty of time for me to wait. I definitely need some payoff. (And not just physically, by the way. These two have a deeper connection.)
So when all is said and done, we get our big battle, more reveals about what Danaus is, and big questions about the future of the naturi. And while the book may be over, there is obviously plenty of story left to go. 4 stars.
P.S. If you haven’t read the first two books in the series, you don’t want to start with this one. It won’t make sense and you won’t have the same investment in the characters. This is not meant to be a stand-alone. Trust me.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Follow Friday & Blog Hop
Q. Do you have anyone that you can discuss books with IRL? Tell us about him/her.
I do! Her name is Jenna and we work together. She is a UF/PNR fan like me, so every time I find a great book or series, I pass it on to her when I'm done. My favorite part of the workday is when she comes in and we compare notes on the books we're reading. And sometimes, when one or both of us is at home and it's too hard to wait, we share tweets on the big scenes. Talking books with a friend is so much more fun than reading alone! Plus --we're going to DragonCon together in September.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Mira is a vampire, who is now working with vampire hunter Danaus to stop a race of fae, called the naturi, from destroying humanity and nightwalkers alike. Not that Danaus is all that interested in protecting vamps, but he does realize that he needs their help to deal with the naturi threat. At the end of the last book, we learned that Mira is really a weapon, whose fire-starting abilities can be manipulated by her old mentor Jabari --and now Danaus. (The whys are complicated, but let's accept it and move on.) She hates the idea of being at anyone's mercy, but she really has no choice in the matter.
Mira's character development and her relationships with Danaus and Tristan are (to me) the best parts of the book. This series is not a casual read. Each book intertwines with the next; It's layered and it's complicated. There are a lot of characters and a lot going on. It's all topped off with a healthy dose of violence and a dollop of sex. 4 stars.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The very best thing to me about this book are the two main characters. Mira is strong, sexy, and smart enough to know her place in the world. And Danaus is the perfect blend of smoldering power and mystery. The sexual tension between these two is off the charts. Every time they got close to each other, I gripped my book a little tighter, waiting to see if this would be the moment they would give in to temptation. Don't misunderstand. This isn't a romance novel. It's firmly Urban Fantasy, but what's going on between these two characters can't be ignored.