Archive for the 'Review' Category

06
Oct
08

Jaci Burton: Riding Temptation

He’s a biker working undercover for the Feds. She joined the Wild Riders for reasons of her own. Together, they’re burning up the asphalt and tearing headlong into danger and passion…

Naked under leather.

Ever since runaway Jessie Matthews teamed up with the gang of special ops bikers, the Wild Riders have thought of her as their kid sister. Except for Diaz Delgado. Over the past few years he’s been watching the budding of a ripe young woman. Jessie’s glad somebody finally sees her for who she is—and she’s thrilled it’s Diaz. His dark good looks and killer body have tempted her since day one.

Diaz’s unbrotherly urges have been hard to fight but the last thing he’d want to do is hurt Jessie and break up the gang. But when they both go undercover to infiltrate a group of killer survivalists, he knows it’ll be hard to keep his distance—especially when the mission takes a risky turn. Now Diaz has no choice but to open himself up to the one woman who may be strong enough to take him on.

Male bikers? Hot. Female bikers? Even hotter.

Riding Wild is an indulge-your-fantasy read. If you ever thought a guy riding a bike was hot, or wanted one for yourself, it’s definitely for you.

I can’t deny that I think the suspense subplot was weak, mostly because there wasn’t enough page-time given to it. But I like my subplots big and meaty, and if you don’t, then it won’t bother you.

Riding Temptation rate 3.5 out of 5.

FD: I got this as an ARC from Jaci.

28
Sep
08

Patrick Rothfuss: The Name of the Wind

MY NAME IS KVOTHE

I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

You may have heard of me.

So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature–the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.

The voice carries the story and makes the story. In anybody else’s hands, this would be nothing more than backstory, because there is precious little that actually happens in this book.

If I had not wanted to read this book to find out why authors like Terry Brooks and Ursula K. LeGuin blurbed the book, I wouldn’t have gotten past the first ten pages and wouldn’t have finished the book. It may take other readers less time to be snagged by Rothfuss’s voice, in which case they are going to settle in for a good solid read.

The Name of the Wind rates 4 out of 5.

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.

19
Sep
08

C.L. Wilson: Lord of the Fading Lands

Long ago, in the magical holocaust known as the Mage Wars, the immortal Fey and their allies fought to defeat the grasping evil of the Elden Mages and their dark-gifted supporters. During those wars, in a fit of grief-induced madness caused by the death of his mate, Fey shapeshifter Rain Tairen Soul nearly destroyed the world in a blaze of tairen fire.

Now, a thousand years later, the fierce Fey king must fight to save his race from the brink of extinction and once again stop the evil rising in the homeland of his enemies, the Eld. The key to his success lies in the mortal city of Celieria, where the Mage Wars began, and with a young woman whose soul sings to him in ways no woman’s ever has, whose presence reawakens the primal fury of the tairen within his soul, and whose vast, untapped power can either save or destroy him and his people.

I saw this at the library and picked it up because of the hype. I wouldn’t have made it through if I didn’t want to understand the hype.

It’s an interesting book. I’d have loved it maybe 5-6 years ago.

What’s not to like about Ellysetta? At the start of the book, she is someone nearly every woman has been at some point in their lives. They feel ugly, they are never going to get married, and they feel trapped. Excepting the second bit, I totally get it.

Then Rain comes along. Rain the soul mate. Rain thinks Ellysetta is beautiful, perfect etc. So does the rest of his people — at least the ones we meet in this book.

Wouldn’t you WANT to be Ellysetta?

I would, but I don’t think Ellysetta has much of a personality. Maybe it gets better in the next book, but there’s my one book and you’re out on your ear rule. Wilson’s voice isn’t anything special for me.

As for Rain… He never becomes anything more than a jumble of emotions of wanting Ellysetta, being the man who nearly scorched the world and being the last Tairen Soul. It never clicks into a single character.

Lord of the Fading Lands rates 2 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.

09
Jun
08

Marie Brennan: Midnight Never Come

England flourishes under the hand of its Virgin Queen: Elizabeth, Gloriana, last and most powerful of the Tudor monarchs.

But a great light casts a great shadow.

In hidden catacombs beneath London, a second Queen holds court: Invidiana, ruler of faerie England, and a dark mirror to the glory above. In the thirty years since Elizabeth ascended her throne, fae and mortal politics have become inextricably entwined, in secret alliances and ruthless betrayals whose existence is suspected only by a few. Two courtiers, both struggling for royal favor, are about to uncover the secrets that lie behind these two thrones.

When the faerie lady Lune is sent to monitor and manipulate Elizabeth’s spymaster, Walsingham, her path crosses that of Michael Deven, a mortal gentleman and agent of Walsingham’s. His discovery of the “hidden player” in English politics will test Lune’s loyalty and Deven’s courage alike. Will she betray her Queen for the sake of a world that is not hers? And can he survive in the alien and Machiavellian world of the fae? For only together will they be able to find the source of Invidiana’s power — find it, and break it . . . .

Midnight Never Come is a historical fantasy that’s also an interesting take on faerie lore. I don’t generally pick up historical fantasies or historical anything, for that matter, but this one had what for me was an interesting hook, the twining of the lives of the Queen of England and a faerie Queen.

On that count, Midnight Never Come does not disappoint. The author handles the politics and the intrigue with a deft hand, moving seamlessly from Elizabethan England to the world of evil faeries and then back again.

A book that starts out quietly, Midnight Never Come builds in an elegant crescendo to a powerful finish, much as both Lune and Deven grow as characters into what they finally become. It’s definitely one of my favorite faerie books of the year.

Midnight Never Come rates 4 out of 5.

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.

23
Apr
08

Marjane Satrapi: Persepolis

The intelligent and outspoken child of radical Marxists, and the great-granddaughter of Iran’s last emperor, Satrapi bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. This is a beautiful and intimate story full of tragedy and humor–raw, honest and incredibly illuminating.

Unforgettable is a good word to describe this book. Amazing would also be another good word to describe this book.

I don’t usually buy graphic novels. Pictures? Nah. I want words.

I picked it up purely because I’ve heard of her and the book, and now I want more.

The artwork matches the tone of the book, and despite it being a translation, I think Satrapi’s voice shines through, which is as much a compliment to the author as it is to the translator.

In some senses, Persepolis is a coming-of-age story, and it’s wonderful how you can ‘hear’ the author grow up. For me, this is what’s made Persepolis into a keeper book for me.

Persepolis rates 5 out of 5.

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.

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.

21
Jan
08

Michael Betcherman: Suzanne


Suzanne Braun had it all – the big house, the luxury car, the expensive vacations. Then her husband died, but not before making a series of reckless investments that depleted his fortune.
When a promising relationship with a well-heeled and aging suitor ends badly, the beautiful widow finds herself a social pariah, universally regarded as an unscrupulous golddigger. Her prospects look bleak when her late husband’s brother, Douglas, invites her to spend the summer at the family cottage on Lake Joseph, a playground for Toronto’s rich – and very rich.Suzanne heads north with one goal in mind: to return home with a wealthy fiancé in tow.

Douglas’ wife Catherine dreads her arrival. The two women have loathed each other for years and Catherine fears that Suzanne will set her sights on her brother Mark, a wealthy businessman who is returning to Canada after 14 years in Japan. She will do anything to keep her arch-enemy from entering the family circle.

An irresistible force is about to meet an immovable object.

It’s certainly an interesting concept, reading a book that’s constructed exclusively of emails. By the way, I didn’t read it as the author intended, as a couple of emails every day for three weeks, so this may have affected opinion of the book.

When one think of a woman who’s looking for a rich man to marry, one normally thinks of her as a shallow, money-hungry bitch. Suzanne doesn’t come across that way. To some extent, she still seems shallow, but she’s manages to be likeable anyway.

What makes Suzanne a good read is that Betcherman’s successfully given each of the correspondents their own voices, though I feel that some of the correspondents are rather stereotypical.

However, there isn’t very much emotional depth to the story, and curiously enough, I also find that the emails read more like proper, hand-written letters than emails.

Suzanne rates 3 out of 5.

Full disclosure: The author sent the book to me.

15
Jan
08

David Boultbee: The Gender Divide

Ryan Peters is an anomaly. In a world where women live four times as long as men do, Ryan is one of a few men with a similar lifespan. This difference in lifespan has had profound consequences on the world balance of political, economic, and military power and has created a social Gender Divide that threatens to tear the world apart.Determined to close this Gender Divide, Ryan will sacrifice anything to succeed. The Gender Divide has already cost him the one true love of his life and even though he has a second chance, he won’t let that stand in his way. He is even willing to give up his own life … and in a sense he already has.

The Gender Divide isn’t normally my type of science fiction, and I can’t say that it has changed my mind.

It has an interesting set-up. Women live much more longer than men, and as such, instead of a pink ceiling, we have a blue one. Then comes our protagonist, who is the first man to gain an equally long lifespan.

The author expands the concept lucidly, but it all goes downhill at the end. I admit that much of why I think the ending is weak has to do with my personal beliefs. It’s just too pat and too “let’s fix everything so that everybody can have a happy ending.” For me, The Gender Divide simply does not do its premise justice.

The Gender Divide rates 2.5 out of 5.

Full disclosure: the author sent the book to me.

10
Nov
07

Jeaniene Frost: Halfway To The Grave

Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father – the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life. Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unlikely partnership.

In exchange for help finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She’s amazed she doesn’t end up as his dinner – are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn’t have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side…and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

I like a heroine who goes after her enemies with the intention to kill, and succeeds, and Catherine Crawfield is certainly that. But I do wonder: No matter how much she wanted to kill vampires, actually killing one should have some sort of impact on her psyche, surely? Unless she’s sociopathic, in which case this book automatically gets an extra 0.5 points.

I disliked the inclusion of your typical, urban fantasy “female protagonist was badly hurt emotionally by the male(s) in her life” backstory. But at least she wasn’t raped, I suppose.

It’s Bones who kicks the book into high gear though, because that’s when Cat has someone to play against, with and for. IOW, she’s got someone fight with, play with, and do the dirty thing with. *g* Bones is very well-drawn, especially in a first-person novel where another character’s the viewpoint character, and that helps pull the book together.

While I want to emphasize the fact that Halfway To The Grave is an urban fantasy novel, not a romance no matter what it says on the spine, I also want to say that I liked the ending, even though it does feel rather like a cliffhanger. I think it rings more true than if the usual thing was to happen, and I can’t wait to read the next book.

Halfway To The Grave rates 3.5 out of 5.

Full disclosure: Jeaniene Frost sent me the book.

30
Oct
07

Jackie Kessler: The Road To Hell

Hell hath no fury like a succubus scorned

Jesse may no longer be a succubus, but she’s got a Hell of a past. She wants to come clean about her infernal history with Paul Hamilton, her white-knight-in-training lover, except he’d never believe her. Just like some people are worth being (shudder) monogamous for, some secrets are worth keeping. So Jesse keeps mum—until three of her former associates strong-arm her into returning to the Pit. Now, unless Jesse faces off against the King of Hell, she’ll lose Paul’s immortal soul. If she’d known love was this tough, she never would have turned her back on Lust…

The Hell On Earth series takes a more serious turn in this book.

It’s a better book than Hell’s Belles in many respects. TRTH relies much less on the strength and appeal of Jezebel’s voice than HB did, which also makes it a book that is much more rereadable than TRTH.

The pacing is better, giving the reader space to breathe and to make the connections that turn TRTH into something more than a funny, romp book.

But for all that Jackie has improved as a writer, TRTH just didn’t have the spark Hell’s Belles did.

The Road To Hell rates 4 out of 5.

PS Jackie sent the ARC to me.

03
Sep
07

Jaci Burton: Hunting The Demon

IN A WILDERNESS SEETHING WITH SIN AND SEDUCTION, THE CHASE IS ON.

Hunting demons for a living can have its moments. Especially when Shay Pearson’s latest quarry is the gorgeous bronzed surfer who just stepped out of the sea. Uncovering Nic Diavolo’s devilish side could prove Shay’s toughest assignment yet. Because while she’s acting as bait to snatch this sexy bad boy, Nic’s got a plan of seduction no woman—earthly or otherwise–can resist

Caught between two warring realms, Nic needs to stay alive long enough to figure out who his enemies are. That includes the beautiful hunter who won’t let him out of her sight. And something far worse: A force of evil with an almost unimaginable goal – possessing Nic’s very soul. But the hunt really heats up when a guy who’s hotter than Hades and a woman who’s afraid to love join forces, igniting an inferno of lust and longing that could send them into mortal danger…or straight into each other’s arms…

To be perfectly honest, I might not have picked this book up on my own. I wasn’t crazy about the first book in the series, and Hunting The Demon releases at a time when I just don’t have time to visit bookstores and such.

So I’m really glad that Jaci sent me an ARC (yes, she was brave, because my review was mean) because I think HTD improves on where Surviving Demon Island shone and at the same time, a lot of the little things that annoyed me about SDI aren’t in HTD.

In other words, it’s also a page-turner, but it’s a very rereadable page-turner; I’ve had to reread this several times, partly because I’ve been dragging on this review, and I think it stands up to rereading quite well.

The only part that didn’t stand up to rereading is Nic’s refusal to believe that Derek is his brother. Uhm, DNA testing? Sidenote: I would have liked to find out how a half-demon’s DNA defers from a human’s.

I do think that Jaci’s taken her handling of the h/h relationship to a new level in HTD, and I’d certainly rank Shay and Nic in my top 3 Jaci couples.

Hunting The Demon rates 4 out of 5.

03
Sep
07

Nalini Singh: Caressed By Ice

Explore new heights of sensuality in this return to the world of the Psy—where two people who know evil intimately must unlock the good within their icy hearts…As an Arrow, an elite soldier in the Psy Council ranks, Judd Lauren was forced to do terrible things in the name of his people. Now a defector, his dark abilities have made him the most deadly of assassins—cold, pitiless, unfeeling. Until he meets Brenna…Brenna Shane Kincaid was an innocent before she was abducted—and had her mind violated—by a serial killer. Her sense of evil runs so deep, she fears she could become a killer herself. Then the first dead body is found, victim of a familiar madness. Judd is her only hope, yet her sensual changeling side rebels against the inhuman chill of his personality, even as desire explodes between them. Shocking and raw, their passion is a danger that threatens not only their hearts, but their very lives…

Caressed By Ice is the darkest of the three books out so far in the Psy/Changeling series.

It’s a very tightly wound book, with breaks that let you glimpse the overarching storyline without changing the focus of the novel, which is, of course, Brenna and Judd.

Nalini is one of the rare romance authors whose series moves forward in every novel, and for me, that is a very big part of why I love her work.

Judd did come across as rather more one-dimensional than her previous heroes. He is Psy, and he is a Psy who seeks to hold onto Silence, which probably contributes to why I think he’s more 1-D. I did get rather irritated with his “I can’t do this..Silence that…” Can’t help but wonder if less would have been more in that respect.

However, whilst I do think that Caressed By Ice is weaker than the previous two novels, I still very much want the next book (hint hint, Nalini! *g*). After all, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll love all the books in a series equally, right?

Caressed By Ice rates 4 out of 5.

28
Aug
07

Sydney Croft: Riding The Storm

A storm’s rage. A woman’s desire.A man with the power to set them both free.

He can summon lightning at will. Emerge unscathed from the center of a tornado. Strip a woman down to her barest defenses through the sheer force of his sexuality. He’s gorgeous, dangerous, and the target of parameteorologist Haley Holmes’s latest mission. Haley has been dispatched to the Louisiana bayou to investigate the phenomenon known as Remy Begnaud – man with a gift he never wanted: the ability to control a storm’s fury. But even a woman trained in bizarre weather phenomenon has no defense against the electrifying power of the Ex-Navy SEAL…a power his enemies would kill to control.

With her agency monitoring their every move, Haley’s job is to seduce Remy, gain his trust — and help him harness his extraordinary gift. But who will protect her from this voracious lover who’s introducing her to a new world of erotic thrills – a man who grows increasingly insatiable with each new weather event? Haley knows a big storm is approaching –and with it will come unexpected delights. But, so, too, will the storm unleash her greatest fears: An enemy bent on destroying Remy. And her worst fear of all…falling in love with this magnificent man, then having to betray him…

This is a great debut for Sydney Croft, aka the writing team of Larissa Ione and Stephanie Tyler.

One of the things that really made the book for me is Haley and Remy’s ‘backstory.’ I won’t elaborate, because I don’t do spoilers, but it still makes me go Awwwwww….

And their ending was, for me, the perfect cross between Happy Ever After and Happy For Now. I think that they will have a HEA, but because the book spans only a short timeline, it’s enough Happy For Now for me to believe it. If that makes sense.

There were places where that I felt the secondary characters, namely Annika and Creed and Devlin, nearly overwhelmed the hero and heroine, especially the latter, whom I felt wasn’t as well-drawn as other characters in the story.

I also don’t think it was explained why Remy is called T-Remy, but I could have missed it because the sex scenes are mindblowing.

All in all, I can’t wait to read the next book–though sadly, Annika and Creed are not stars of Unleashing The Storm.

Riding The Storm rates 3.5 out of 5.

21
Aug
07

Dionne Galace: Skin To Skin

What Leilani wants, Leilani gets. That is, until she meets the enigmatic Oliver Clayton, her new neighbor. For some reason, Oliver seems to be intent on avoiding her even though he’s obviously interested. Leilani has tried to everything to get his attention, from wearing skimpy little outfits to walking a neighbor’s dog six times in front of his yard. Leilani wants Oliver…and she always gets her man.In the heat of the summer, the temperature’s not only thing rising. Luckily, Oliver has that pool in his backyard and Leilani knows just how to cool off…

I was going to say that Skin To Skin’s just good, clean fun, but there’s too much hot sex in it to be just good, clean fun.

So what’s Skin To Skin? It’s hot and sexy fun.

It has its flaws. I’m not sure what Leilani sees in Oliver except his hot bod, and I can’t help but think but Oliver being a cop is shorthand for Oliver being a trustworthy guy.

The ending is a little rushed, but it also has the type of ending that makes me smile. :D

Skin To Skin rates 3.5 out of 5.

11
Aug
07

John Scalzi: Old Man’s War

John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife’s grave. Then he joined the army.The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce—and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. To defend Earth, and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity’s resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force. Everybody knows that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don’t want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You’ll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You’ll serve two years at the front. And if you survive, you’ll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.

John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine—and what he will become is far stranger.

I’m intrigued by this book.

I had to put it down halfway–the parents insisted because we had to have dinner–and I couldn’t wait to get back to it.

But what’s interesting isn’t what I liked about the book as much as why I liked the book despite it’s shortcomings: Old Man’s War a rather flatly written book.

Oh the characterization’s wonderful, the pacing is tight, the worldbuilding intricately executed…but it’s not a book that wows you with sheer impact, and I felt that the book was an almost too even keel.

Still, the protagonist, John Perry, made up for it. He has a wry and sometimes morbid sense of humor that makes his point of view (Old Man’s War is written in first person) a joy to read.

I’m definitely going to pick up the next book…and why did I take so long to pick this one up when I’ve been reading John Scalzi’s blog for so long?

Old Man’s War rates 4 out of 5.





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