Archive for the 'Signed Books' Category

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.

30
Jul
07

Jeanne C. Stein: Blood Drive

Anna Strong is a vampire caught between two worlds. She clings to what makes her human, her family, her job, her lover. But the pull of the undead is a siren song becoming impossible to resist. She discovers she has a niece, Trish, a child caught up in the worst kind of human nightmare. To save Trish, Anna may have to surrender to the animal side of her nature. Concepts of good and evil are no longer clearly defined as Anna must determine who is the real monster—a human who preys on children or the vampire who tries to save them.

What makes Blood Drive stand out is Jeanne‘s handling of Anna’s journey. It’s a more nuanced and complex exploration of what immortality means to someone newly immortal, paralleled by Anna travelling deeper into the world that she is now part of.
My main gripe about the series is that the male characters in the series are rather flat, though this has improved since the first book, The Becoming, especially with the introduction of Daniel Frey. But this detracts rather less from the book than it should, perhaps because this book is first and foremost about Anna Strong.

Blood Drive is one of the best urban fantasy novels I’ve read in awhile, and I can’t wait for the next book, The Watcher, to be released.

Blood Drive rates 4 out of 5.

Full Disclosure: Jeanne sent me this book, and I have interviewed her recently. There is also another extract of Blood Drive available here.

02
May
07

Lynn Viehl: Night Lost

A Noble Prisoner…

Gabriel Seran has falen into the hands of the fanatical religious order known as the Brethren. Though abandoned by his fellow Kyn, he remains honor bound to protect their secrets from his interrogators. Blinded, nailed to a cross, and sealed in a chapel cellar beneath a ruined chateau, Gabriel faces an eternity of suffering.

An Obsessed Thief…

Nicola “Nick” Jefferson has been traveling across Europe, looting churches of their precious artwork and fencing the treasures to make her living. At each destination, she liberates the captive vampires, hoping they’ll provide her with information leading to the one artifact she so desperately craves: the Golden Madonna.

A Fateful Coupling…

Gabriel and Nick have met before in each other’s dreams. Bound together by more than coincidence, their destinies intertwine even as their passions ignite…

I loved this book. What, you expected me to say anything else? Of course I loved this book.

I have a huge soft spot for Michael, and I liked Thierry and Lucan, but it is Gabriel I sigh over. *sigh*

Nicola’s a different sort of heroine. I can’t put my finger on it though, despite having read it many times (hey, I’ve had the ARC for more than two months now, I think). Ideas?

And the writing! As much as I adore Lynn, I don’t usually call her writing beautiful. I call it tight, snappy etc. But this time, beautiful is a good adjective. A very good adjective. The nightlands… *sighs again*

Go get this book. You won’t regret it.

This rates 5 out of 5.

01
May
07

Lara Adrian: Kiss Of Midnight

INSATIABLE DESIRE. ENDLESS SEDUCTION. ONE TOUCH IS JUST THE BEGINNING.

He watches her from across the crowded dance club, a sensual black-haired stranger who stirs Gabrielle’s deepest fantasies. But nothing about this night–or this man–is what it seems. For when Gabrielle witnesses a murder outside the club, reality shifts into something dark and deadly. In that shattering instant she is thrust into a realm she never knew existed–a realm where vampires stalk the shadows and a blood war is set to ignite.

Lucan Thorne despises the violence carried out by his lawless brethren. A vampire himself, Lucan is a Breed warrior, sworn to protect his kind–and the unwitting humans existing alongside them–from the mounting threat of the Rogues. Lucan cannot risk binding himself to a mortal woman, but when Gabrielle is targeted by his enemies, he has no choice but to bring her into the dark underworld he commands.

Here, in the arms of the Breed’s formidable leader, Gabrielle will confront an extraordinary destiny of danger, seduction, and the darkest pleasures of all . . . .

I first read this on my laptop, and then in print, as Lara was kind enough to send me a print ARC as well. Interesting to note that I enjoyed reading it in print more.

This is a more suspensey type of paranormal, as opposed to a more fantasy type of paranormal. I tend to prefer the latter, but Kiss of Midnight hit all the right buttons for me.

I very much appreciated the characterization of Lucan (yes, I survived the name) and Gabrielle. It’s all show, not tell.

I found that there were what appeared to be unneccessary subplots. Perhaps they will be continued in later books, though I can’t see how and in my humble opinion, they could have been cut and the book tightened just that teeny bit more.

Now, there are likenesses to various popular vampire romance series out there (believe me, I’ve read them all). Some might argue that there isn’t anything terribly original about the Breed. I do agree with this, to some extent, but for a number of reasons, I personally still prefer the Breed over many of them, and if you want to discuss them, that’s what the comments are for.

But execution matters most of all, and in this I think Kiss of Midnight surpasses many of the vampire romances on the market.

This rates 4 out of 5.

13
Mar
07

Saskia Walker: The Strangeling

One woman alone holds the power…

…to undo the hundred-year-old curse of an invincible army of dead men who wait to prey upon the living. Maerose, a beautiful, resilient maiden must drive back the evil spirits by mating with a man of faith on the dark night of Samhain at the very gates of the underworld. Her dormant magic can only be unleashed by willing submission to her predestined lover . . . but a mad man aligned with the demonic forces of the underworld threatens to possess her in his place.

The Strangeling reads like a fairytale. A dark, sensual fairytale.

It’s the kind of book you want to read curled up by the fireplace in winter, perhaps with a nice cup of hot chocolate in your hand.

I found that the second half of the book was better than the first half, largely because there is some degree to which you have to suspend belief, but I think it’s very much worth reading through to the end.

FWIW, it was easy for me to suspend belief because Saskia’s voice works very well for me. I will be getting more of her books.

This rates 4 out of 5.

01
Mar
07

Vicki Pettersson: The Scent Of Shadows

When she was sixteen, Joanna Archer was brutally assaulted and left to die in the Nevada desert. By rights, she should be dead.Now a photographer by day, she prowls a different Las Vegas after sunset—a grim, secret Sin City where Light battles Shadow—seeking answers to whom or what she really is . . . and revenge for the horrors she was forced to endure.

But the nightmare is just beginning—for the demons are hunting Joanna, and the powerful shadows want her for their own . . .

Vicki Pettersson does not disappoint, and Joanna Archer? She kicks ass. When she gets knocked down, she gets up and punches back.

Reading The Scent of Shadows is like taking a trip to Las Vegas! It’s comes together with great worldbuilding too–if you read comics, you have to pick this book up, and you’ll find out why when you read it.

And the final paragraph sent chills down my spine. (if you read the ending first, I’ll shoot you, plus I don’t think reading the ending first will make much sense, so DON’T)

This rates 5 out of 5.

27
Feb
07

Richelle Mead: Succubus Blues

Succubus (n) An alluring, shape-shifting demon who seduces and pleasures mortal men.
Pathetic (adj.) A succubus with great shoes and no social life. See: Georgina Kincaid.

When it comes to jobs in hell, being a succubus seems pretty glamorous. A girl can be anything she wants. The wardrobe is killer, and mortal men will do anything just for a touch. Granted, they often pay with their souls, but why get technical?

But Seattle succubus Georgina Kincaid’s life is far less exotic. Her boss is a middle-management demon with a thing for John Cusack movies. Her immortal best friends haven’t stopped teasing her about the time she shape-shifted into the Demon Goddess get-up complete with whip and wings. And she can’t have a decent date without sucking away part of the guy’s life. At least there’s her day job at a local bookstore—free books, all the white chocolate mochas she can drink, and easy access to bestselling, sexy writer, Seth Mortensen, aka He Whom She Would Give Anything to Touch but Can’t.

But dreaming about Seth will have to wait. Something wicked is at work in Seattle’s demon underground. And for once, all of her hot charms and drop-dead one-liners won’t help because Georgina’s about to discover there are some creatures out there that both heaven and hell want to deny…

I did tell you guys how much I enjoyed this book already.

But here’s the full-length version.

I think Lilith Saintcrow said it best when she called Succubus Blues
“Dysfunction, funny and sexy!”

It’s quite the page-turner too, except for a section towards the end.

I would have liked to understand Georgina’s world better. Other than who’s her boss and her stealing souls, there’s not much you know about it.

Um, it’s not a romance. Just to make it clear. Kensington’s not even putting romance on the spine.

I want to read the next book!

This rates 4.5 out of 5.