Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Review: Savor Me Slowly

Reviewed by Jen
Savor Me Slowly marks Gena Showalter's return to her grown-up Alien Huntress books. Our heroine is a familiar face, Mishka Le’Ace, who was featured in the YA Alien Huntress book, Red Handed. Her hero is Jaxon, an Alien Investigation and Removal agent. We’ve met Jaxon before but he failed to make much of an impression on me. Of course, we learn there is much more to Jaxon than met the eye in previous books. And Mishka, who was always just painted as a cold-hearted bitch, turns on to be a cyborg (sort-of) with a heart.

The book opens with Jaxon a prisoner, who is being tortured for information about a case he’s been working on. Essentially, a group of uber-hot aliens have come to Earth. They’re having sex with the women, and spreading a disease that turns the women into crazed cannibals. (I hope you’re ok with this premise, because it is a major plot point in the next several books.) Enter Mishka, who appears to be there to torture Jaxon. But instead, she rescues him. Of course, she’s trying to get the same information, but not because she is a bad guy. She is part machine and has a chip in her brain that forces her to the will of her owner. Her owner can torture her or worse if she doesn’t do what he wants.

Anyway, Mishka falls in love with Jaxon. But she fears that one day, she’ll be forced to turn against him. We learn there is more to Jaxon than his affable facade and the sparks that fly between them are awesome. In time, Mishka and Jaxon join forces to work on the alien case –and to fight her nefarious owner.

It’s Gena Showalter. Therefore, the smut works. The lady is a master and writing sex scenes. I like that this book ties together threads from the first two books Awaken Me Darkly and Enslave Me Sweetly. I was afraid that each story in the series would be utterly independent, since there seemed to be no characters that were shared in those stories. Welcome back, old favorites!

However, there were times in the book I felt like I had missed something. Like when we saw Devyn (from Enslave Me Sweetly) working with the AIR agents. I would have liked to see how that evolved. Instead, it was just a given –and I had to go back and make sure I hadn’t skipped a book or something. Also, I liked Mia in Awaken Me Darkly. I don’t remember her being such a bitch –and I only read her book a couple of days ago, so I think I would remember.

It’s a solid 4 1/2 stars. I felt for Mishka. I wanted her to get her HEA and she did. With lots of sex too.

Savor Me Slowly
by Gena Showalter
Release Date: December 26, 2007
Publisher: Pocket Star

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Review: Blacklisted

Reviewed by Jen
Blacklisted is the second YA novel set in the Alien Huntress world. Our hero is Erik, who was a secondary character in the previous book, Red Handed. When we saw him last, he was on the run, branded a drug dealer. His heroine is 18 year-old Camille, a regular girl with a crush on the wrong boy. She tries to get close to Erik, and gets thrown inside a world she didn’t know existed.

Camille has an uber-crush on Erik, who she has seen in the halls of high school. She and a friend follow him to a club one night and she gets caught up in a bust designed to bring him down. She ends up on the run with Erik, learning he’s not a bad guy after all. In fact, he has sacrificed his good name to help aliens who need the drug he’s selling in order to survive.

I liked seeing Phoenix and the other girls featured in Red Handed. Even Ryan and Mia showed up –-and I’m a sucker for reoccurring characters in a series. The love scene was sweet and slightly racier than I thought I would get in a YA… but VERY tame compared to most Showalter books.

My only gripe with this book was that it flew by and seemed short. I can’t be sure without a word count… maybe it just went so fast because it was a good and an easy read.

I liked it. I give it 4 stars, even though I would have loved to see Camille and Erik take that next step.

by Gena Showalter
Release Date: July 17, 2007
Publisher: MTV 

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Review: Red Handed

Reviewed by Jen
Red Handed is the first of two YA books in the Alien Huntress world.  Its heroine is Phoenix, a 17 year-old with a rocky past. She has a drug history but is working to overcome it as she learns that the peace between humans and aliens is more fragile than she ever knew. 

Phoenix is freshly out of rehab when she is at a party that’s crashed by evil aliens. She fights them off, capturing the attention of the Alien Investigation and Removal agency. Her mom thinks she’s using again and sends her off to what she thinks is a boot camp. It’s actually training for AIR.  Phoenix has a lot to overcome, but really begins to feel at home in her new environment. She makes friends and fights her feelings for Ryan, an instructor, as a relationship between them could get her kicked out of the program.

I like Phoenix. She is smart and brave and loyal, but she’s no Mary Sue.  I was rooting for her and Ryan and their short scenes together were memorable. I also enjoyed seeing Mia Snow from Awaken Me Darkly as an instructor.

I was happy to find out that Phoenix and Ryan get their HEA, but a year seems like a long time for them to hold out. Plus, we didn’t get “the scene” –just a summary of it. Of course, it’s YA, so it won’t be what we’re used to from Gena Showalter.

I liked it. I hope to see more of Phoenix and Ryan –maybe in the grown-up version of the series. 4 stars.

Red Handed
by Gena Showalter
Release Date: June 19, 2007
Publisher: MTV

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Review: Enslave Me Sweetly

Reviewed by Jen
Gena Showalter’s Enslave Me Sweetly is the second book in her Alien Huntress series. Our heroine is Eden, who is a beautiful alien and something like a government assassin. Her boss, who also happens to be her dad, teams her up with cocky and deadly agent Lucius. The pair butt heads, but of course, sexual tension simmers beneath the surface. The two work together to crack open a human-slavery ring and fall for each other in the process.

Our book kicks off with Eden trying to take down the man behind the human slavery ring, but she fails and is badly injured. Her boss, and adopted father, allows her to try again, but only with a partner. Of course, Lucius is sexy, dark, and totally alpha. Each tries to prove their worth to the other, each trying to prove themselves the better agent as they go undercover. But the more time they spend together, the more they are drawn to each other. Eden has to serve as bait for the slavery ring, which brings even more danger and more men who want to possess her exotic beauty.

Eden and Lucius are steamy, steamy, steamy. They are combustible as a couple and I couldn’t wait for each moment they were able to steal together. This book also introduced a favorite character of mine, Devyn, who gets his own book down the road.

On a side note, I was bummed out not to see any of my beloved characters from the last book, Awaken Me Darkly.

H-O-T. A great series. 5 stars.

Enslave Me Sweetly
by Gena Showalter
Release Date: June 6, 2006 
Publisher: Downtown Press

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Review: Awaken Me Darkly

Reviewed by Jen
Gena Showalter’s Awaken Me Darkly is the first in her Alien Huntress series. I am a huge fan of Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series and I couldn’t wait to see how these books measure up.

The story centers on Mia Snow, a delicate looking, tough as nails agent for the Alien Investigation and Removal Agency. Aliens live on Earth and have for 70 years.  Many are friendly, but the AIR protects humans from those who are not.

Mia is trying to solve a string of murders perpetrated by an alien, which draws her into the world of super-sexy Kyrin.  She fights her attraction to him, as she grudgingly agrees to work with him to solve the crimes.  It's only a matter of time, though, before she gives in to her desires.

Showalter has solid world building here. Good sex scenes. And some real plot twists, that were both unexpected and believable in context of the story.

It is a good story, but I can tell you that the series gets better as it goes. Perhaps (at least for me) because I grow more and more invested in the family of characters… and want them each to find their own HEAs. 4-stars.

Awaken Me Darkly
by Gena Showalter
Release Date: May 31, 2005
Publisher: Downtown Press 

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Series Reading Order: Alien Huntress

This is the series reading order for the Alien Huntress series by Gena Showalter:

*Denotes short story/novella

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Review: Water Bound

Reviewed by Jen
Christine Feehan’s Water Bound is sort-of a continuation of her Drake Sisters series, but not really. It is set in the same town of Sea Haven and features a handful of our familiar characters. Our hero is Lev Prakenskii –an undercover Russian operative who has lost chunks of his memory and identity following an accident at sea. Our heroine is the spunky sea urchin diver, Rikki, who finds him in the water and saves his life and later, his soul.

The book picks up loosely where Hidden Currents left off. Lev (which I think is pronounced LEEV, but I’m not sure and it bugs me) is in the water after his yacht goes down. Rikki is diving in the water; she finds him and they have a “moment” beneath the surface. She takes him home to nurse him back to health. It’s revealed Rikki is a “water-element” and can manipulate water and rain. She’s also autistic. In her past, are several fires where her loved ones have died. She’s not sure if she is to blame or if she was a target. Rikki now lives with 6 other women who have created a makeshift family where they work a farm together and help each other out. Lev falls for Rikki and she helps him put his dark, violent past to rest… while he helps her uncover what sparked those old fires and protects her from it happening again.

I felt uncomfortable with an autistic heroine. Maybe my understanding of autism is limited, but I kept thinking that a man like Lev would be seriously taking advantage of an autistic woman. I know it was written that his feelings for her were real, but it bothered me.

I also felt like there was way too much detail wrapped up in the diving process, scenery and the like. Give me more dialogue and action. And sex. If I’m reading a Feehan book, it’s not to learn about diving, people. And I feel cheated that I didn’t get to see Lev’s reunion with his brother Ilya.

I love the fact that we’re seeing more of the Prakenskii brothers. I would have loved a spinoff series featuring them. But alas, we can only hope for cameo appearances.

Probably one of my least favorite Feehan books. Too much time spent talking about stuff I’m not interested. And the heroine’s disability kept me from connecting with the story. 3 stars… maybe 2 1/2.

Water Bound
by Christine Feehan
Release Date: July 27, 2010
Publisher: Jove

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Review: Hidden Currents

Reviewed by Jen
Christine Feehan’s Hidden Currents is the 7th and final installment of the Drake Sisters series. As with each book in the series, this one focuses on one of the sisters and their quest to find a HEA. This story focuses on Elle, the youngest sister, who carries all the powers of the Drake line. We’ve seen hints in all the previous books that she was destined for a future with Jackson, the tough, introverted sheriff’s deputy, but their union won’t be a smooth one.

Elle is working undercover to bust a human trafficking operation. But she is kidnapped by the big bad-guy and held prisoner on an island that blocks her psychic abilities. She is tortured and raped for a month before she is rescued.  Jackson gets her home, but her tormentor escapes and keeps a psychic link to her she can not break. Elle’s powers, which were once astronomical, are badly injured, as is her body.  She leans on Jackson to keep her safe and is unable to share her pain with her sisters.  It’s a hard book to read at times, but the focus is on Elle healing and regaining her strength as her bond grows with Jackson.

We certainly broke the mold on this one. I never saw the this kind of storyline coming. Even though each Drake sister has faced some sinister foe, none has ever seen the likes of this villain.  The book was dark. Dark. Dark. I hated to see Elle go through this and in detail. And it was hard for me to swallow how quickly she was able to forge sexual intimacy with Jackson after her ordeal.

It was a love story a long time in coming… as I waited for Jackson and Elle to get together. And finally we get to see all the sisters marry their men.

Overall, it was a powerful end to an enjoyable series. I’ll always be a bigger fan of Feehan’s Carpathian books, but the Drakes are worth reading. 4 stars.

Hidden Currents
by Christine Feehan
Release Date: June 30, 2009
Publisher: Jove

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review: Turbulent Sea

Reviewed by Jen
Turbulent Sea is book 6 in the Drake Sisters series. I have to admit, I have been looking forward to this story above all the others. Not for the heroine, Joley, but for Ilya Prakenskii, the mysterious Russian we met in Oceans of Fire and who saved Hannah’s life in Safe Harbor.

Joley is a rock star out on tour. She’s been getting threats for ages from stalkers and over-zealous fans, but now she’s facing real danger.  A teenage girl disappeared at an after-party for Joley’s band. And shortly after that, the roadie who was last seen with girl, was killed. Ilya shows up to be her bodyguard. And boy, does he ever take care of her body!  You can cut the sexual tension between these two with a knife. There is all kinds of drama with the relationships involving band members… plus a dash of Russian mob intrigue… but the real draw here is the relationship between the main characters... and the hot sex scenes. Feehan delivers the goods here.

I didn’t care much about the secondary characters: Brian and Nikitin, the band-guy with the new baby and estranged wife.  Plus –I didn’t really get Joley’s revulsion at her own needs/desires in her lover. She likes a manly man, who is in control but still respects her. Yet, she acts like she is a freako-deviant because of it. It’s not that weird, Joley.

I really liked it. Although, it’s likely because I really like Ilya. More Prakenskii’s please! 4 1/2 stars.

Turbulent Sea
by Christine Feehan
Release Date: July 29, 2008
Publisher: Jove

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Review: Safe Harbor

Reviewed by Jen
Christine Feehan’s Safe Harbor is the 5th book in her Drake Sisters series.  This story focuses on beautiful Hannah. She is a widely famous supermodel, who is painfully shy and in love with Jonas, the town sheriff.  Jonas grew up with the magical Drake family and has been featured in every one of the books. He’s always been seen as teasing and taunting Hannah. But here, we learn it is because he has always been in love with her.  She has always appeared haughty and aloof, but it has just been a cover for her terrible shyness.  Now, as she faces a frightening stalker and attack, Hannah and Jonas finally face their feelings.

The book opens with Jonas and his friend Jackson taking an incriminating video of some Russian gangsters in the middle of an execution. Jonas is shot and barely escapes with his life. He returns to Sea Haven. And as Hannah prepares to go to a high profile fashion show, Jonas finally decides to face his feelings. They sleep together, and she leaves on the fashion shoot. There she is attacked; her face and body sliced up; and it takes the healing powers of all the sisters as well as Ilya Prakenskii, a friend of Alexandr from Oceans of Fire, to keep her alive. Hannah survives, but her trauma interrupts her romance with Jonas and she questions whether she can get over what happened and move on with him.

The first time Hannah and Jonas are together is magic. We’ve been waiting a long time for these two to find their way to each other.  It’s also great to see Ilya again. I’m glad his story wasn’t dropped. And I can’t wait to see what happens between him and Joley in the next book.

I have to admit, Jonas was a little over the top. I know that’s his character, but he seemed even more so in this book than in the previous ones. And if possible, Hannah seemed even weaker.

It was good, not great. But no one will (or should) skip this one after investing in the first several books of the series. Almost 4 stars.

Safe Harbor
by Christine Feehan
Release Date: June 26, 2007
Publisher: Jove

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Review: Dangerous Tides

Reviewed by Jen
Dangerous Tides is the 4th book in the Drake Sisters series. This one features the family healer, Libby. She is brilliant, giving and sweet. And she has never been attracted to any man except Tyson. They went to school together and she never though he noticed her. She was wrong.

Ty may be a super-genius who works on the cure for cancer, but in his free-time he likes to work with Search and Rescue operations with the Fire Department. (Where are all these genius/studs in the real world?) During a rescue operation, Ty is gravely hurt and at the hospital, Libby saves his life.

Ty doesn’t believe in the magic of the Drake sisters, but he does have feelings for Libby. In time, we learn that someone is after Ty, but the question is who? And why? Of course, Libby is in danger too. And danger + feelings = explosive sex.

What works: The explosive sex.

What doesn't: Ty as a character. Nobody is a nerd-genius who also has an amazing body and works rugged rescue missions in his free time. Plus, we’re supposed to believe he is a complete social idiot who also manages to be great in the sack. That’s too much fiction, even for me. It mucks up my suspension of disbelief.

It was good. The ending twist, I suspected, but didn’t know for sure it was going to happen. 4 stars.

Dangerous Tides
by Christine Feehan
Release Date: June 27, 2006
Publisher: Jove

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Review: Oceans of Fire

Reviewed by Jen
Oceans of Fire is the 3rd book in Christine Feehan's Drake Sisters series. It focuses on Abigail Drake and her romance with Russian spy Alexandr. All the Drake women have cool powers, and Abigail is no exception: she can force people to speak the truth and know when they’re lying. In fact, she used that skill to help Alexandr in the past. But it ended in disaster and split them apart, until their paths crossed again in Sea Haven.

Not only can Abigail work her truth-mojo, she can communicate with animals –and she loves working with dolphins. She was out on her boat, when she accidentally witnessed the murder of an Interpol agent… Alexandr’s partner. She sees her old lover for the first time in years and all the memories come back. Alexandr had never stopped loving her. Never stopped searching for her, although Abigail thought he had abandoned her after their disaster in Russia.

The story branches out beyond just the whodunnit, into the intrigue of a smuggling ring and the Russian mob. Here we meet the mysterious Ilya Prakenskii who will later get his own book with sister Joley Drake.

The relationship between Joley and Alexandr is the best part of the book. The love between them is tangible. His past is pitiful. And the sexual tension is masterful.

But I have to admit, it’s hard to keep all those sisters straight when you’re first getting to know them all. I had some trouble with that.  Also, I wasn’t a big fan of all the dolphin stuff, but the high-points in the book made up for it.

Overall: steamy and sexy. I never knew how much I could want to meet a hot Russian. 4 stars.

Oceans of Fire
by Christine Feehan
Release Date: May 31, 2005
Publisher: Jove

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Review: The Twilight Before Christmas

Reviewed by Jen
This is the story of the 2nd Drake sister, Kate. As with all the Drake sisters, she has a supernatural power, although hers seems the least noticeable. She can bring peace to those around her.

Kate has had a crush on Matt Granite since she was a child. He’s always been crazy about her. But they never were honest about their feelings. Matt is back from his service as an Army Ranger and he finally makes a move on Kate, just as an evil entity makes its way into Sea Haven.

The spirit seems bent on destroying Christmas and those who would celebrate it. Kate must use her gift and band together with her sisters to defeat the evil. And still find time to get it on with Matt.

She manages to do both. (Go Kate!) 4 stars.

The Twilight Before Christmas 
by Christine Feehan
Release Date: November 2003
Publisher: Pocket Star

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review: Magic in the Wind

Reviewed by Jen
“Magic in the Wind” is on the short story that kicks off Christine Feehan’s Drake Sisters series.  The premise of the series is that there are 7 sisters, each with a different magical gift. A prophecy says that one day, the gate to their home will open for the man meant to fall in love with the oldest sister, Sarah. Then, from the oldest, ending with the youngest, each sister would find her true love. Finally, the youngest sister will again begin the prophecy by taking over the family home and having 7 daughters of her own.

Damon Wilder moved to Sea Haven to escape some bad guys trying to kill him… just as the mysterious Sarah moves back home. He hears so much town gossip about her that he goes to investigate and (shockingly) the gate opens for him, beginning the prophecy.

I like Sarah. She is strong and tough and not the 21 year-old ingenue we see in so many romance novels. She helps Damon fight for survival and finds the love of her life in the process.

I would have liked to have the set-up of the series more fleshed out, but it’s a short story and an OK one, so I’ll give it 3 1/2 stars.

Magic in the Wind
by Christine Feehan
First Published in Lover Beware Anthology
Release Date: July 1, 2003
Publisher: Berkley

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Series Reading Order: Drake Sisters

This is the reading order for the Drake Sisters series by Christine Feehan:

Sea Haven:

*Denotes short story/novella

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Review: Demon from the Dark

Kresley Cole’s Demon from the Dark is the 8th book in her totally amazing Immortals After Dark series.  The heroine in this book is the witch, Carrow, who we were briefly introduced to as Mariketa’s best friend in Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night. I have to say, I was not excited about reading her story. Her character never stood out to me, and the hero, Malkom, is an entirely new character.
Why did I ever doubt Kresley Cole? She rocks my socks off.

Carrow was one of the supernaturals kidnapped at the end of Pleasure of a Dark Prince. We find out that a group of humans is collecting samples from all the otherworldly species.  But they don’t have a dempire (demon/vampire hybrid.) They kidnap Carrow’s little witch niece, after killing the child’s mother, and blackmail Carrow into helping them catch Malkom.  Carrow is sent to Malkom’s demon realm and quickly discovers she is his destined mate.  Problems abound. He has lived a solitary and harsh life for centuries. He doesn’t speak English. And sadly, he has known nothing but cruelty and betrayal. They manage to fall for each other despite the language barrier, but Carrow can’t make him understand what she is doing and why she has to lead him into a trap.

In a word: Malkom. I cared so much about his fragile heart, I wanted to beat down everyone who had ever hurt him. I ached for his sadness.  I hated what Carrow had to do.  It was masterful writing. Kresley Cole at her very best. And of course, you know that means there was some great sex in here too.

I’d give it more than 5 stars if I could.
Hell, it’s my blog. I give it 10 stars. Out of 5.  My favorite in the series.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Review: Pleasure of a Dark Prince

Kresley Cole’s Pleasure of a Dark Prince is the long-awaited story of Lucia and Garreth in the Immortals After Dark series.  And when I say long-awaited… I mean ever since A Hunger Like No Other, when we first saw their connection and Lucia’s unexplained reluctance to accept their destiny together.

One of the things that amazes me about Kresley Cole is how she lays the foundation for future stories inside her books.  We get to look back now and revisit all the clues she has dropped along the way and see what’s been happening with our couple.

Garreth the Lykae met Lucia the Valkyrie before the events of AHLNO. In fact, the book starts before Lachlain MacReive has pulled himself from the bowels of hell.  Garreth knew right away, of course, that Lucia was his mate. What he didn’t know, was that centuries ago she made a vow to stay chaste… a vow tied to her abilities as a master archer.  If she gives in to her feelings, she will lose her aim. This is especially bad since she is required to use her skills during every Ascension to put down Cromm Crauch (a really big bad guy) who she had the bad judgment to marry as a teenager.

So Lucia goes on the run and Garreth follows. She is on the hunt to find a weapon that can finally kill CC. The search leads her and Garreth deep into the Amazon. They face one obstacle after, not the least of which is their undeniable attraction to each other.

I love that so many questions were answered here. And by the end of the story, Cole has already set up the next major story arc.

I never really warmed up to Lucia. I never really felt like she deserved Garreth, which took away from the story a little bit. Perhaps my anticipation of this book prevented it from totally reaching my expectation.  Don’t get me wrong, it was an excellent book. But I surprised myself by liking the next book, Demon from the Dark, even better. 5 stars.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Review: Kiss of a Demon King

Kresley Cole’s Kiss of a Demon King is book 6 in her Immortals After Dark series. Here we finally learn what happened to King Rydstrom when he disappeared in Dark Desires After Dusk. We had a glimpse then of how Sabine tricked him into her prison cell.

Now we see from Rydstrom’s perspective how important his crown is to him. How guilty he feels that he couldn’t be there for his people. And how much he wants to find his fated female. Of course, he had no idea that both of those goals would be tied up with Sabine. She is the Queen of Illusions, a sorceress with loyalty only to her sister Lanthe. She is tied to her evil half-brother Omort, and wants to have a child with Rydstrom only to free herself from Omort and rule in his place.  She tortures Rydstrom with seduction, wanting to become his wife. Omort is behind the seduction because he wants to take Rydstrom’s heir and sacrifice him.

Rydstrom manages to escape and takes Sabine with him… working through the demon realm, trying to get back to his brother, to get to the sword foretold to defeat Omort.

Of all the IAD books, this one was my least favorite.  I like Rydstrom, but Sabine is awful. I’m sure she’s supposed to be, but perhaps it’s too much so. I also didn’t like that we are cut off from all that’s familiar for most of the book. The previous installments were all so intertwined and while there is a link to the last book… it’s just not the same.

I’d never suggest skipping this one if you are reading the IAD series, but for me, it wasn't nearly as good as A Hunger Like No Other.  Cole set the bar too high early in the series. I look forward to getting back to our Valkyries. 4 stars.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Review: Deep Kiss of Winter

Reviewed by Jen
Deep Kiss of Winter contains two stories, "Untouchable" from Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series and "Tempt Me Eternally" from Gena Showalter’s Alien Huntress Series.

The AH story focuses on Aleaha Love, a shapeshifter posing as Alien Investigation and Removal agent Macy.  She doesn’t know if she is alien or human. She grew up on the streets and is trying to make a life for herself. She took over Macy’s identity after discovering her dead body. Anyway, she is working with AIR, when a group of super-hot warrior Aliens show up. A fight ensues but she instantly has a connection with the leader, Breean. The Rakans are good aliens… they’re just trying to make a life for themselves on Earth. Their planet has been taken over by the Schon sex-cannibal folks we met in Savor Me Slowly. But they hope to use Aleaha/Macy and a handful of other AIR agents to secure their safe passage on our planet. As Breean and his men hold them captive, his relationship with Aleaha blossoms.

It’s not a long story, but it’s a good one. And Aleaha’s stories about her childhood and old friend Bride help set up Seduce the Darkness. A nice love story, with some wonderfully steamy scenes.

"Untouchable" finally shows us who Murdoch Wroth’s mysterious bride is: Daniela the Ice Maiden.  We learned way back that Murdoch had been blooded but he said his bride did not want to be revealed.  The story takes us back to the events of “The Warlord Wants Forever,” where Nickolai was searching for his beloved Myst. It seems that back on that fated night in the French Quarter, when he finally caught up to her, Murdoch met up with Daniela and his heart began beating again.

The big obstacle between the two is the fact that Daniela is an Ice Maiden and can not touch another person without it burning her skin.  I’ll tell you, they find some very creative ways to deal with this problem.

It felt like there was a lot of rehash in this story, but I wouldn’t have missed it. I love the Wroth brothers. I just wish Murdoch would have had a fleshed out version of a story that was all his own.
4 stars.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Review: Dark Desires After Dusk

Kresley Cole’s Dark Desires After Dusk, is the 5th book in her steamy Immortals After Dark series. Our hero is Cadeon Woede, a demon prince. We met him back in Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night, when he and his brother Rydstrom were trapped in the cave with Mariketa. He has found Holly, his fated female, but it seems she is a human. That makes her off-limits to Cade, because mating with a demon would kill a human woman.

Good thing she isn’t really human. It turns out Holly is really half-Valkyrie  and doesn’t know it. Not only that, but she is the “vessel.” Every Ascension, a woman is chosen as the vessel to carry a child that will be the ultimate good or evil. So all the different factions of the Lore are on the hunt for Holly, either to knock her up or to kill her. As she comes into her immortality, it would seem like the perfect time for Cade to claim her. Only he can’t.

You may remember, Cade is the reason his brother lost his throne. Now, he learns the only way Rydstrom can get his kingdom back is with a special sword. A sword the brothers can only get, by trading the vessel for it.

Cade agrees to bring Holly to the swordmaker, unbeknownst to her. And of course, he falls in love with her over the course of his journey. This despite, her very serious quirks. Holly has OCD, and I must say I didn’t find it at all endearing. In fact, she seemed to border on serious mental illness. Fortunately, Cade was ok with that and started helping her learn what it means to be a Valkyrie and an immortal.

When it’s time to turn over his woman, can Cade do it? Can he atone for his part in his brother losing the crown? Can Holly ever forgive him? What was Nix doing with those explosives? (I digress.)

I liked Cade a lot. And Cole can write the heck out of a love scene, so I’d give this one 4 1/2 stars. But I’m ready to go back to those Lykae. Aye!

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Review: Dark Needs at Night's Edge

Dark Needs at Night’s Edge is book 4 in Kresley Cole’s fun and sexy Immortals After Dark series.  In it, we finally find out what happened to the missing Wroth brother: Conrad.  As we know from earlier books, Conrad’s brothers Murdoch and Nickolai forced him to become a vampire more than 100 years ago.  What we didn’t know was that this was especially abhorrent to Conrad because he was part of a secret vampire hunting organization at the time. He went crazy and became an assassin.

His three brothers corner him in a bar and drag him to an old home to help him recover from his bloodlust. What they don’t know is that the old home is haunted by the ghost of a beautiful ballerina, Neomi.  Nix, our favorite all-knowing Valkyrie, provided a special sedative that not only calms Conrad, but allows him to see Neomi. They, of course, fall for each other.

Conrad is eventually able to orchestrate his freedom from the house. And Neomi manages to reach out to Mariketa the witch to gain a temporary corporeal form. Once Conrad meets Neomi in the flesh, his heart starts beating and he confirms Neomi is his bride.

I didn’t think I could like a book where the love interest is a ghost, but I did. I love crazy Conrad and his lack of experience makes him endearing. Neomi isn’t as compelling to me as our Valkeryie heroines but she was ok.  Conrad was really compelling enough for both of them.  Kresley Cole is so creative and finds new and unique stories to tell in each of these books. Plus, the sex scenes are awesome.

5 stars.

P.S. Best book cover. Ever.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Review: Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night

OK. Nobody is as sexy as one of Kresley Cole’s Lykae.  (Those accents should be criminal!) And Bowen MacReive is no exception. We met Bowen back in A Hunger Like No Other. There he was a broken man, barely hanging on to a reason to live after the death of his mate. In No Rest for the Wicked, we learn that he is trying to win an ancient competition called the Talisman Hie, where the prize will allow the winner to go back in time. He wants to use it to prevent his mate’s death.  Then, we only saw Bowen as a competitor from Kaderin and Sebastian’s perspectives. Here, we see the Hie from Bowen’s side.

As the competition begins, Bowen is drawn the young witch Mariketa. He assumes she has put some kind of spell on him, as he has been loyal to the memory of his dead mate for centuries.  He fights the attraction.. even going so far as trapping Mari and some others  in a cave full of zombie incubi to keep her out of the competition. She fights back by putting a spell on him, making him mortal.

We already know from the last book that Bowen loses the Hie.  He goes back to rescue Mari and the others in the cave, to avoid the wrath of the other witches.  As he helps bring her back to civilization, Bowen is less and less able to fight his overwhelming attraction to Mari.  Beyond the guilt over letting go of his feelings for his dead mate, he must also fight his revulsion of witchcraft, just as Mari strengthens her magic.

Like all of the IAD, this book is SEXY.  The twist surrounding how Bowen can have more than one mate is interesting and unexpected.  And it’s a lot of fun watching Mari grow into her powers. I am in awe of how Kresley Cole manages to weave so many books together at the same time.  It's totally seamless.  Just amazing.

5 big stars.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Review: No Rest for the Wicked

Not many books can measure up to the sexy goodness of A Hunger Like No Other. But I am happy to say, No Rest for the Wicked was really, really good.  This third installment of Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series features the tortured vampire Sebastian Wroth.  

Poor Sebastian is a recluse… who would welcome the death the vampire-slaying Valkyrie Kaderin the Cold-Hearted would bring.  But something strange happens before Kaderin can swing the death blow on our hero. First, she makes Sebastian’s heart start beating. That means she is his fated Bride. The only woman who can make him, er, be able to, um… do it.  Sebastian has quite the effect on Kaderin as well. You see, she has the curse/gift of a life without feeling…. granted to her centuries ago after her sisters were killed on the battlefield.  Now faced with Sebastian, Kaderin starts to feel again. At first, they revel in their change of fortune. Then Kaderin gets scared and bolts.

Kaderin is the long standing champion of the Talisman Hie, a sort-of supernatural scavenger hunt. This year’s winner gets a prize that allows them to go back in time. She wants to win, of course, to go back and save her sisters.  Sebastian enters to get closer to his lady-love and hopes to win the prize for her.

The competition is exciting and dangerous. And the growing relationship between our main characters is both sexy and sweet.  We have a big supporting cast which makes the series rich and full. The pacing is fast, but the book is never confusing.  This is one of the best Paranormal Romance series out there.

5 stars.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Review: A Hunger Like No Other

I read a lot. So much so that it makes my husband angry and my friends tease me. I tell you this so you know I mean business when I say Kresley Cole’s A Hunger Like No Other is one of the best Paranormal Romance books I have ever read.  The story centers around Lykae king Lachlain MacRieve. At the start of the book, he is chained in the pits of hell (for lack of a better word) and has been burning to near-death and resurrecting for hundreds of years. But then he scents his fated mated above ground. He busts free and finds her… only to discover she is part vampire. Lachlain hates the vampires, though, since they chained him that fiery prison and all….

Anyway, Emma is sweet, timid and not at all worldly.  An innocent in just about every way. Lachlain kidnaps her and uses her to help him acclimate to the new era he’s facing.  He pushes the envelope of a sexual relationship with her… and slowly begins to form an emotional relationship as well. 

Emma helps Lachlain journey back to his home in Scotland. (His accent is to die for, BTW.)  And he reunites with his people he hasn’t seen in centuries. While all this is happening, bad-guy vamps are trying to kidnap Emma.  It creates lots of drama and sets up a great twist at the end.

I want to acknowledge that I have heard some people complain that they felt Lachlain was too dominant, that they felt like he was forcing Emma to be with him physically, especially in the early parts of the book.  I felt like his self-control was tenuous, but their connection was undeniable.  I think it pushed the envelope, but for me, it didn't cross the line.  Lachlain is a great tortured hero, and those always resonate with me.

The world of the “Lore” that Kresley Cole establishes is unique and so easy to lose yourself in. The events in this book integrate seamlessly into other books in the series. I can’t recommend the Immortals After Dark books enough. And this is the book that made me fall in love with them all.

I’d give it more than 5 stars if I could.

Click to purchase: Amazon
A Hunger Like No Other
by Kresley Cole
Release Date: March 28, 2006
Publisher: Pocket Star

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Series Reading Order: Immortals After Dark

This is the reading order for the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole:
The Dacians

*Denotes short story/novella

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Review: Sin Undone

Larissa Ione hit it out of the park with Sin Undone, the 5th and final book in her Demonica series. This installment features Sin (short for Sinead), the one and only female Seminus demon.  If you’re not familiar with the back-story here, Seminus demons are essentially incubi and all the previous books in this series have featured her brothers.

So, during Ecstasy Unveiled, we learned that Sin has the power to create disease and uses that “gift” as an enslaved assassin. On a mission to kill a werewolf (warg) , she inadvertently starts a plague on the entire species.  In this book, she is facing the repercussions of that.  Sin is trying to help her brother Eidelon work on a cure. But the underworld jailers are now after her for the damage she has done.

She goes on the run with Conall, a half-vampire, half-warg paramedic. There are already sparks between the two of them. (They hooked up in the last book.) And thanks to her “needs” as a succubus, they must continue a physical relationship on the run. Sin’s afraid of anything more than that. She has some serious abandonment issues and she’s never really let herself be vulnerable.

Of course,  Con has his own issues. He is being called back to the dhampire community to mate up and help repopulate the species. He’s not really excited about the plan, but sees no way out.

Over time, the two of them develop real feelings for each other. It’s hard to watch Sin put herself out there, knowing Con may have to leave her. But their dynamic together is great and the sex sizzles.

I also enjoyed watching Sin develop a relationship with the brothers she has held at arm’s length.

I was worried about how this all could be resolved and Ione gave me a real scare at the end. But it was a great book and a fitting end to the Demonica series. I can’t wait to see our old friends again in Ione’s upcoming Horsemen series.
4 1/2 stars.

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Review: Ecstasy Unveiled

I’ve enjoyed the Demonica series from the get-go, but I think Ecstasy Unveiled is my favorite in the series. Our hero is Lore, a half-human, half-Seminus demon (incubus) who is working as an enslaved assassin.

He grew up thinking he was human, until he reached maturity. At that point, he got an insatiable sex drive and a dermoire on his arm that looked like a big tattoo. From then on, he could kill with the touch of his hand. 

Lore’s not a bad guy. He became an assassin to save his sister, Sin,  from slavery. And to get out of his assassin’s contract, he has to kill Kynan, a man protected by an angel, a force for good, and a good friend of Lore’s long lost brothers.  If he doesn’t do the job, Sin’s life is on the line… so he agrees to the job, even though he could lose the brothers he just met.

In trying to kill Kynan, he goes against guardian angel Idess.  Surprisingly, Lore becomes another one of her charges… so she now has to protect both Lore and Kynan. That puts her in a tough spot.  Idess imprisons Lore, to protect him and keeping from going after Kynan.

You may recall that whole sexual need of Lore’s that I mentioned earlier. That means Idess has to do some stuff you’d never expect an angel to do. She doesn’t seem to mind so much.

This book is complex. In addition to what’s going with Lore & Idess… we see what’s happening with brothers Eidolon,  Wrath & Shade… as well as sister Sin (and her budding relationship with dampire Conall.) It’s a surprising reveal when we find out who is behind the hit on Kynan and the troubles at the Underworld Hospital.  We’ve got the great steamy scenes the Demonica books are known for… plus great characters and world building.

5 stars.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Review: Passion Unleashed

Passion Unleashed is book 3 in Larissa Ione’s Demonica series. And this one is the much-anticipated story of Wraith.  In previous books, we’ve learned that Wraith isn’t quite right. He is the only vampire-Seminus demon hybrid and he had a horrible childhood. He was tortured by his vampire mother and her people until he was rescued by his brothers.  Therefore, he hates vampires… and in no small way, he hates what he is.  As part of his torture, his mother would throw human women in a cage with him.  He had needs as both a vampire and an incubus and used the women accordingly. He hated himself for it, but he couldn’t ignore his body’s demands. Now, he won’t sleep with or feed from a human woman.

In the last book, Desire Unchained, we found out that Wraith’s brother Roag isn’t as dead as everyone thought… and he’s out for vengeance. He hired a hitman to take out Wraith before he met his fate.

So as we launch this book, Wraith is poisoned.  The toxin has no cure. But it turns out a human woman named Serena carries a special charm that keeps her immune from harm and in good health. The only way Wraith can get his hands on the charm (and save his life) is to take her virginity. Unfortunately, if he takes the charm from her, a deadly childhood disease will return, killing her within days.

He fights the idea, but eventually gives in. Only to fall in love with her.  You see, Wraith’s not the only one who wants that charm. The bad guys want it too, so Wraith’s mission changes to one of protection for Serena. Unfortunately, things get even more complicated when brothers Eidolon and Shade start to get sick and their hospital starts to crumble. The structure was built on the blood, sweat and tears of the brothers, tying their lives and the building together.

A great secondary story follows the reunion of demoness Gem and former demon-hunter Kynan. Just as Gem tries to move on from her love (infatuation) with Kynan, he comes back ready to make it work with her. These two have more bumps in the road than Wraith and Serena.

Speaking of our main characters, it comes down to who is willing to sacrifice themselves so that the other can live. And the question really is, no matter who ends up with the charm, how can there be a happily ever after if one of them is dead?

Even though Serena can’t have sex for most of the book, there are plenty of steamy scenes to enjoy. It was a good book… smart and sexy.  4 1/2 stars.

P.S. Why does the cover model have his nipples airbrushed out? It bothers me.

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Review: Desire Unchained

Let me start off by saying that I love the Demonica series. But Desire Unchained was my least favorite.  This 2nd book in the series, features Shade, a paramedic and a Seminus demon.  Like all Seminus demons, Shade is a man whore. He can’t really help it. For him, frequent sex is a biological imperative.

The book starts off with Shade and his sister kidnapped.  He wakes from his attack, chained up in a dungeon. Among the prisoners there, is his ex-girlfriend Runa.  Back when they dated, Runa was human, but now she’s a warg (werewolf).  Their relationship ended badly… Runa had walked in on Shade in bed with two other women.  His response was to invite her to join them.  It was when she ran out of the apartment in tears, she was attacked by a warg and infected with lycanthropy.

It turns out that the kidnapper is (spoiler) Roag, Shade’s brother, who he thought to be dead.  Roag’s alive, but badly burned and has serious metal problems. He wants revenge against the brothers he blames for his condition. And he wants to harvest body parts to reconstruct himself. (Gross.)

Anyway, Shade has a curse on him that says if he ever falls in love, he’ll turn into, well, a shade. He will no longer be corporeal, alive only to feel unrelenting hunger and solitude for the rest of his existence. So clearly, Shade isn’t looking for love.  But Roag figures if he sets up Shade and Runa as mates, Shade will eventually fall.

All that is pretty interesting and I like Runa. Shade, not so much.  It also seems that Shade has a “gift” where he can draw out a woman’s deep pain with some BDSM.  This is where they lost me.  I’m all for people getting their jollies however they like them. Live and let live. But this did not appeal to me.  The whole concept was a turnoff and the scene where Shade “helped” Runa made me cringe.  I felt like Runa was testing her growing empowerment throughout the whole book. We saw her grow from a weak woman to this strong warg –and then all of a sudden, Shade needs to whip her to help her get over her mommy and daddy issues? 

Moving on.  It was cool to see Kynan our former demon-hunter, working with the guys at Underworld General.  I want so much for him to return Gem’s feelings. And I want to kick him in the man-jewels for how he has treated her.  But I am captivated by their scenes and they are a great secondary story.

Roag is a great bad guy. The story is unique and intelligent. And the world building manages to be both clear and complex.

If you like the Demonica  books, you can’t skip this one.  Despite the parts I didn’t like, there are plenty of parts that really did work that make it a good read.  3 1/2 stars.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Review: Pleasure Unbound

Pleasure Unbound is book 1 in Larissa Ione’s delicious Demonica series. The story centers on Eidolon, a doctor and a Seminus demon. A Seminus is essentially an incubus. They are highly sexual. And when they reach 100 years old, they undergo S’genesis, their final stage of sexual maturity. At that point, they become fertile and are overwhelmed with the need to impregnate as many women as possible. They run the risk of becoming mindless sexual beasts. Unless they are mated.

So Eidolon runs a demon hospital along with his brothers Shade and Wraith. He is worried about his impending S’genesis and is trying to figure out a way around it. And then paramedics bring in Tayla. She is essentially a demon-hunter, who has been injured in a battle with a demon. Eidolon decides to treat her and discovers she is actually part demon. He’s also very attracted to her. So much so that the two end up having sex in the hospital. Of course, at the time, Tayla doesn’t realize that he’s not human.

Anyway, once that’s revealed and she is healed Eidolon takes her back to the surface. (The hospital is hidden underground.) They discover one of the nurses, a vampire, has been ravaged for body parts. She is alive, but barely. And she is sufferering. Eidolon and his fellow demons think Tayla’s group of demon hunters, the Aegis, are to blame for this and other organ harvestings like this. Tayla says it’s not so, but starts to have her doubts, not only about that, but her deep rooted hatred for all demons. That hatred runs deep, as a demon raped and killed her mother.

Tayla goes to the Aegis and some bad eggs inside the organization decide to send her back to Underworld General with a bomb. She is to be sacrificed in her mission. Once she figures out what was planned for her, she thwarts the plan and realizes that line between the good guys and the bad is not as clear as she always thought.

Eidolon takes up the cause of protecting her from her own people and trying to learn about her changing biology (that she herself is clueless about.) There is amazing chemistry between these two. The sex scenes are out of the park. And there is so, so much going on that I can’t even begin to touch on in a review. It’s rich, layered, and complicated. But it’s really good.
And hot. 4 1/2 stars.

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