Archive for the 'ARC' Category

19
Sep
08

Charlene Teglia: Wicked Hot

Two immortal warriors attending to her every need…
The struggle between good and evil is about to get…Wicked Hot

Edana is a succubus—a breathtakingly beautiful demon who offers men their most decadent fantasy in exchange for their souls. No one can get close to her without being destroyed..until she meets Eli and Dal. Both men are Nephilim, immortal warriors who bind and banish demons. Edana’s mission is to arouse their lust and steal their souls before they can destroy her—she never expects to fall in love. Shared by two virile lovers and lost in a world of sensation, Edana begins to fall for one of the warriors, jeopardizing her mission. Only he has power to save her, but first she must give him power over her heart—and her destiny…

I’ve read quite a few other first-person succubus books.

This is the only one I’d truly consider a romance. And what a romance it is!

Charlene kept the suspense going throughout the book, from the appearances of Eli and Dal’s father and the Devil to Edana trying to do what a succubus is best at. ;)

And the sex…*fans herself* If you are particularly into m/f/m threesomes, this is definitely the book for you. While many, and maybe most, of the sex scenes are threesomes, you can still see the growth of Edana’s relationship with her hero. It’s not to say that I rooted for one brother or the other, but when you get to the last page, you know that Edana ended up with the right brother.

It’s not a book I read in one sitting, however. Believe it or not, I got past the first hundred pages and then thought ‘whooo hot! but I need a breather.’ I put down the book at least twice. But I’m very very glad that I had to pick it up again so I could write this review, because the pay-off? Totally worth it.

Wicked Hot rates 4 out of 5.

23
Jun
08

Larissa Ione: Pleasure Unbound

In a place where ecstasy can cost you your life…

She’s a demon-slayer who hungers for sensual pleasure—but fears it will always be denied her. Until Tayla Mancuso lands in a hospital run by demons in disguise, and the head doctor, Eidolon, makes her body burn with unslakable desire. But to prove her ultimate loyalty to her peers, she must betray the surgeon who saved her life.

Two lovers will dare to risk all.

Eidolon cannot resist this fiery, dangerous woman who fills him with both rage and passion. Not only is she his avowed enemy, but she could very well be the hunter who has been preying upon his people. Torn between his need for the truth and his desire to find his perfect mate before a horrific transformation claims him forever, Eidolon will dare the unthinkable—and let Tayla possess him, body and soul…

Right from the first word, you’re dropped into the heat of the action. Always a good way to start a book.

But it’s also a book that’s filled with “Awwwwww….” moments, as I call them. You’ll be on edge, waiting for something to blow up or get killed…and then you get enveloped by what feels like a big, soft hug.

Pleasure Unbound also happens to have the only “heroine has never had an orgasm until she met hero” plotline that’s believable. Larissa’s taken one of the most awful genre clichés and made it work. Honestly, it’s worth it to buy this book just to find out how she does it (I shall delete all spoilers related to this bit in the comments), if not for the fact that is has excellent worldbuilding, lots of hot sex and is just generally fun to read.

Pleasure Unbound rates 4.5 out of 5.

FD: Larissa sent me the book.

01
May
08

Alan Campbell: Iron Angel

In Iron Angel, the second book of the Deepgate Codex, we meet the other sons of the goddess Ayen, and we travel to the other side of the world.

It feels almost as though we’ve taken one big step backwards from Scar Night’s finer focus on Dill and Rachel, such that in Iron Angel, we look at the bigger picture, but without losing the pacing and certainly not the feel of being balanced on the knife edge of action.

It is by far a better book than Scar Night–which incidentally, I appear to have forgotten to review. It is less…rough, for lack of a better word. The story flows, rather than occasionally stopping and starting around passages of lovely description.

The worldbuilding is, again, amazing. It’s not only the level of detail, but also that the details given to you are just enough for you to draw your own pictures without dragging the book down, something I felt was an issue in Scar Night.

And all this is capped with what I consider to be an glorious ending. There will be people who will disagree with me, but I think it is a pitch-perfect ending for this book.

Iron Angel rates 4 out of 5.

(The publisher sent the book to me.)

I’m giving away a copy. I do think this book is that good. Comment to put your name in the draw.

05
Mar
08

Linda Wisdom: 50 Ways To Hex Your Lover

Jazz can’t decide whether to scorch him with a fireball or jump into bed with him

Jasmine Tremaine is a witch who can’t stay out of trouble. Nikolai Gregorivich is a vampire cop on the trail of a serial killer. The sizzling love affair between Jazz and Nick has been on-again, off-again for about 300 years–mostly off, lately. But now Nick needs Jazz’s help, and while Jazz and Nick try to figure out their own hearts and resist their increasing attraction, they must steer clear of a maniacal killer with super-supernatural powers. They are surrounded by a hilarious cast of oddball paranormal characters including Norma, the chain-smoking ghost who haunts Jazz’s sports car; Dweezil, her ghoul of a boss; and Fluff and Puff, a pair of bunny slippers with sharp teeth and short tempers (watch your ankles)!

First, Fluff and Puff are the coolest bunny slippers ever!

That pretty much sums up how I feel about 50 Ways To Hex Your Lover. It’s got just enough bite to make it good fun, it’s fluffy and it’s still a curl up in my warm bed because it’s freezing outside type of book.

Her bunny slippers say a lot about Jazz. She’s a witch, but she’s still like us and needs her feet to be kept warm.

Irma the ghost is a good foil for Jazz. For one thing, Irma’s the ghost that curse-eliminator Jazz can’t get rid off. IOW, Jazz’s magical powers are not all powerful, which is a nice change. Plus the girl throws fireballs when she’s pissed off, and I wish I could do that!

Nick, on the other hand, doesn’t shine for me as a hero. He’s an old vampire, so what? (And I love my vampires, I truly do.) Maybe it’s not that he doesn’t shine so much as he pales in comparison to Jazz.

But I’m hoping he will improve. 50 Ways To Hex Your Lover is the first book in the series, and I definitely can’t wait to read the next one.

50 Ways To Hex Your Lover rates 4 out of 5.

Full Disclosure: The book was sent to me by the publisher.

01
Mar
08

Mark Henry: Happy Hour of the Damned

Seattle. One minute you’re drinking a vanilla breve, the next, some creepy old dude is breathing on you, turning you into a zombie. And that’s just for starters. Now, the recently deceased Amanda Feral is trying to make her way through Seattle’s undead scene with style (mortuary-grade makeup, six-inch stilettos, Balenciaga handbag on sale) while satisfying her craving for human flesh (Don’t judge. And no, not like chicken.) and decent vodkatinis. Making her way through a dangerous world of cloud-doped bloodsuckers, reapers, horny and horned devils, werewolves, celebrities, and PR-obsessed shapeshifters–not to mention an extremely hot bartender named Ricardo–isn’t easy. And the minute one of Amanda’s undead friends disappears after texting the word, “help” (The undead–so dramatic!) she knows the afterlife is about to get really ugly.Something sinister is at hand. Someone or something is hellbent on turning Seattle’s undead underworld into a place of true terror. And this time, Amanda may meet a fate a lot worse than death…

I like that Amanda is a zombie, rather than your typical vampire. From a girl’s point of view, being a zombie can be rather…icky, despite not sweating and not having a period.

But I think it’s part of what makes Happy Hour of the Damned both fun and real (well, as real as urban fantasy can get anyway), the way the icky bits are handled, like what does Amanda do when her arm is sliced open and zombies can’t heal? ;)

THe book itself starts off very well, then it starts to slide towards the end. The plot was tied up pretty neatly, but at the same time, it barely makes the mark. Not atypical of most fiction debuts.

And the footnotes annoy me. There are way, way, way too many. I think a good half of the pages in the book have them. Too much of a good thing, maybe? They were cute for awhile.

On the other hand, it’s a book that’s hip in a different way from the typical dark and slightly goth and alternative sensibility that most urban fantasy of late has.

Happy Hour of the Damned rates 3.5 out of 5.

05
Feb
08

Meljean Brook: Demon Night

Charlie Newcomb worked hard to get her life back together. But all that is shaken when she’s set upon by three vampires desperate to transform her beauty into something evil. Because Charlie is the vital link to something they want—and need. It’s Charlie’s flesh and blood sister, a medical scientist whose knowledge could be invaluable to the predators.

But to get to her, they must first get to Charlie, now under the intimate protection of Ethan McCabe. As her Guardian, Ethan is attracted to her vulnerabilities—as well as her strengths. The closer he gets, the more protecting her becomes not just his duty, but his desire. But will it be enough to save Charlie when the demon night falls?

Lovely, I think, would be the word to describe Demon Night. And sweet too—though not that way, Meljean never fails us on the hot sex part. ;)

I have raved about the worldbuilding in this series before, but I think that the pieces really come together in this book. Maybe it’s because I’ve read the previous books too, or maybe it’s because we’re probably about five, six hundred thousand words into the series, it’s just been that much easier to fall into Demon Night for me.

Ethan…I’ve described Colin as delicious, and Hugh as interesting, but Ethan…there goes a hero who is just too damn easy to fall in love with.

Like Ethan, Charlie has a past that she is not entirely proud of. I think the most significant imbalance of the book is here, that we got to see more of Ethan’s past than Charlie’s. An example: her singing, or its loss, isn’t touched on here.
In Demon Night, we have a demon who can and appears to have fallen in love. Which is one of the things I appreciate about this series, that it’s not all black and white, and makes it one of the few series to have passed my Three Book Test in the past year–IOW, the likelihood of me not sticking it through with the series has fallen pretty close to nil.

Demon Night rates 4 out of 5.

25
Jan
08

Justin Gustainis: Black Magic Woman

Supernatural investigator Quincey Morris and his partner, white witch Libby Chastain, are called in to help free a desperate family from a deadly curse that appears to date back to the Salem Witch Trials. To release the family from danger they must find the root of the curse, a black witch with a terrible grudge that holds the family in her power.

The pursuit takes them to the mysterious underworlds of Boston, San Francisco, New Orleans and New York, stalking a prey that is determined to stay hidden. After surviving a series of terrifying attempts on their lives, the two find themselves drawn inexorably towards Salem itself — and the very heart of darkness.

Black Magic Woman is striking in that it has a world feels remarkably more real than most urban fantasy settings, which is a statement of how seamlessly Justin has woven the supernatural and the real together.

It is a book almost-painstakingly crafted together, but is so readable that Justin makes it look easy. Absolutely the kind of book that you pick up and finish in one sitting.

However, Black Magic Woman is one of those books that are ‘flat.’ Some of the interesting scenes that should have punched simply did not, such as the one where Libby reveals something intensely personal or the sex scene (I think there was only the one). Everything came together in a neat little package, including Quincey’s fabulous personal history (one of the highlights of the book for me), except that I think it should have had more of an emotional punch.

That said, you’ll be definitely be seeing more of Justin Gustainis soon, just like Jim Butcher says on the cover. He is simply too good not to.

Black Magic Woman rates 4 out of 5.

Disclosure: This book was sent to me.





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