Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lover Reborn by JR Ward

I just finished JR Ward's Lover Reborn. She is my favorite fiction author and I've looked forward to this book for a year now.

She did not disappoint.

What follows is the quick review I did for Barnes and Noble. I am doing a re-read before I do a proper review, I want to give the multitudes of her fans time to do their first read before I start putting up things that would be spoilers. This review is spoiler-free.

JR Ward has surpassed herself with this new book. Tohrment is still mourning his beloved wife, Wellsie and their unborn child as a new group of soldiers, lead by Xcor, seek to get rid of the king, Wrath, and the Brotherhood and take over. John-Matthew and Xhex try to make their mating work, and the rest of the cast of characters weave in and out of what is probably the best of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books to date.

There are the usual Lessers to be hunted, Glymera to be pacified, new characters come to challenge the status quo in Caldwell NY over the one year of this 600 pages of pure action and emotion.

Don't forget the tissues, there are some really emotional scenes in this one. You will laugh one moment, yell the next, and cry another. It's a roller-coaster of a ride but one that will have you wanting to re-read it almost immediately.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Illicit Magic by Camilla Chafer

Stella Mayweather works at a temporary clerks job in London and lives in a very small, run-down flat after growing up in a series of foster homes. She’s odd, everyone either knows it or figures it out and soon she moves on because people can’t handle being around her because of that oddity. 

And the news reports are filled with stories of women around Europe and then in England are getting taken and put into bonfires, burned to death as witches. In this day and time, someone called the Brotherhood has declared war on women. One night Stella gets chased home by these men who have every intention of making her their next victim. She manages to allude them and get home, only to have a young woman show up at her door telling her that she is in danger and she has to come along with her NOW. Etoile, the lady at her door, isn’t kidding around and as she convinces Stella of the immediacy of the need to move, the Brotherhood starts throwing firebombs into the apartment. Etoile gets Stella out, by magical means, and Stella’s life is completely changed from that moment on.

Illicit Magic is the first of a series about Stella and the world just on the edge of our own, one controlled by magic and headed by a Council of Elders that is fighting both the Brotherhood and something else, something deeper. Stella moves into a house kept by a lady named Meg with a lot of other students of magic, is taught by Evan and David to harness her skills, skills she has buried for many years. Things are not as they seem, there are questions about her parents, a missing sister of Etoile, odd behavior by another student without magic, and then there’s Evan. Stella is drawn to him like a moth to a flame, but will she get her wings singed? 

This book is a lot slower that many of the other paranormal books I have read. Camilla spends a lot of time describing general life in the household and building up the relationships between the students and the teachers before she gets to the final few scenes that are the real meat of the book. Sometimes I found myself wanting to skip ahead and look for the good stuff when I got bored of watching Stella working on her lessons yet again. But the last 1/3 of the book made the rest of it well worth the wait as she pulled together several threads and explained a lot of the hinted upon background we saw all through the book. By the time I finished, I was in tears and wanting to pick up the next book, Unruly Magic.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ascension by Caris Roane

A new kind of vampire novel.

Alison Wells is closing her psychology practice and going back to school. She is feeling unfulfilled, jealous of her sister, Joy’s, family life and love. She reflects on the last guy she went out with and how she hurt him but we’re not told how, exactly. She throws a statue through the window, which shatters but she stops the window and the statue, pulls it back and the window is as new, the reader is left with a “what the?” feeling. Alison just has to see one more patient, Darien Greaves. She thinks on him and that she really hasn’t helped him at all as he arrives. He offers her a job with him, offering her almost the world to come with him. She turns him down.

Then someone is murdered in the street below and they go down to see. There is a crowd around and the emergency personnel but no one sees the winged figure rising above the dead woman. The black wings beating, the beautiful bluish man calls to Alison, telling her it’s her turn. Then a man with big muscles and white wings comes between them. She is drawn to his cardamom scent and the warrior is drawn to the lavender she is putting out. Neither of them are really sure what is happening and Alison is not sure she likes the fact that no one but her and Darien can see these two winged me. Then Darien disappears and the fight between the men begins. The warrior wins, introduces himself as Kerrick, a Warrior of the Blood, takes her memory and leaves her a card of a local club, and disappears, leaving her bewildered and with a headache.

This is the start of one of the most interesting takes on the Vampire mythos I’ve ever read. Caris Roane has put interdimentional travel, winged vampire warriors with codes of honor and limited numbers to fight the hordes of death vampires who drain their prey and make war on humans and other vampires, led by Darien Greves, 
called the Commander. She has the concept of soulmate, lifemate, called breh hidden that has the mating scent between those who are drawn together, in this case cardamom and lavender. 

Kerrick is an Ascended Vampire warrior, he fights for the Supreme High Administrator of Phoenix 2, a woman named Endelle. He also becomes the Ascension Guardian of Alison, taking care of her for the three days between her declaring she wants to become what she is supposed to be; a citizen of the second dimension with all the power that entails, and also becoming her teacher. With Damien wanting to kill her since he cannot use her, this becomes very problematic for both of them, especially since they are falling in love while he is training her and keeping her alive. 

Ascension has a whole new world built just out of reach of our own, shadowing our own and it is told so cleverly that I cannot recommend it highly enough. And this is a series so we don’t have to wonder what happens with the other warriors and the war that is going on, we have three novels already out to enjoy with the potential for many more as other dimensions open up.I picked this up because the thought of vampires with wings intrigued me, I’m continuing with the read because it is one of the better series I’ve read.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Immortal Desires by Laura Eno

Two factions of Immortals fight for the human race, though at odds with each other. One serves Order, the other Chaos. At stake is the Tobar d’anamacha—the Well of Souls—and with it the pairing of soul mates.
Occasionally, humans are forced onto the battlefield. This is one of those stories. (leading paragraphs of Chapter One, Immortal Desires)
After being stood up at the altar by her fiancé, Deanna Cameron is given the chance of a dream job, one with many perks, an apartment in the building she is working in, a free cafeteria, and travel to places she could only dream about before, such as the first assignment to go Scotland and check on accommodations at a castle-turned-hotel. Before she leaves, she encounters a strange man, almost a ghost, keeping watch on her in her new apartment in Boulder Colorado. What she does not know is that she is the soul mate of the last laird of the castle that is now the hotel she will be staying at. She flies to Scotland, sees his picture above the mantle, and then, during a walk in the cemetery, she finds a Celtic broach and suddenly she is whisked back to 1505 to meet with the laird, Ian Mackay.

Robert Thornton of the Light Street Corporation isn’t your average good looking mega-millionaire corporate CEO. He is a Guardian of the Well of Souls, someone who helps souls back to the Well to be paired with their soul mate in future lives. Guardians work with the Aeneas Council, the Gods of the Souls. Ian Mackay is an Immortal who works for Robert as a Guardian and is none too happy to find out that the new lost soul that Robert has hired with intents on recycling into the well is someone who is meant to be his soul mate, Deanna.
Workings against the Guardians are the Contri, a group that believes that the only way to save humans from extinction is to keep soul mates from pairing. They do this by targeting humans who are carrying souls to be mated and killing them to banish the souls from the Well.

This book has so many twists and turns, changes in time between the present day and the 1500’s Scotland. We see the story as it happens in the 1500s, Ian’s reactions in the present, and how Robert is having to work on things. The process of getting the soul mates together, how Ian in the present is having to sit and await how his early self handles things is an interesting twist on time travel storytelling. 

I loved this book, Laura Eno is fast becoming one of my favorite writers and I am hoping there is going to be more to the Well of Souls. It has a fast pace and there are some really great scenes with Deanna’s modern woman ways and Ian’s “pigheaded Scottish maleness” pulling between them. Oh, and Ian does wear a kilt.
With the way it is set up and the way it has been put together, Laura Eno has almost an unlimited pool of stories to write about (pun intended). The book has some nice, gentle love scenes but it’s not graphic by any means, I would give those scenes a PG 13 rating, mainly for the necessary language used to describe their lovemaking.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

House of Saints-by A.C. Mason

Note: this was written for, a new site I'm writing for.

A poor orphaned Victorian girl with two brothers to raise takes a chance on becoming a prostitute in a brothel to give her brothers schooling and a good life. Simone is trained in sex by a mysterious man named Eravas. She is given a new name, taught how to be with a man, shown creatures she never knew existed, and loses her heart.

This is a very short book, rather a novella. It's very easily a couple of hours of reading if you take your time. It is fast paced and it held my attention throughout. Simone is a very likeable character and I found myself hoping she would find a way out of her situation and somehow could find her happily ever after with Eravas. The Madame of the brothel, Saint Veronica, has a very interesting part in the book as well.

The story reminds me of "The Story of O" by Pauline Reage but with a paranormal bend. It is a very well done story and it ends up better than Reage's book. It also reminded me of an old fairy tale by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, the name of which would give the story away so, shhhh, no spoiler here, if you are curious about what I'm referring to, look it up AFTER you read this wonderful story and see if you agree with me.

This is not a book for the faint at heart, to be sure. It is hotter than a cup of coffee on the sun and you will need to keep a cold drink, a hand fan, and maybe even your preferred manner of relief nearby as you read it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Darkest Seduction by Gena Showalter

Paris carries the demon of Promiscuity in him. This is the punishment for his part in opening up the box guarded by Pandora. Zeus punished his warriors, the Lords he had built to guard him and the other Gods and Goddesses for this by putting an escaped demon in each warrior.

In Book 2 of the series, The Darkest Kiss, Gena tells the story of how Sienna, a Hunter who seduces and then drugs Paris into oblivion, making him a captive of the Hunters. They want to experiment on him and then kill him to take the demon. Paris is not able to have sex for several days and weakens to the point he is dying. The hunters finally send Sienna in to try to save his life so that he can be examined further. She brings him back to full strength and he breaks away, taking her with him. As they get free of the compound where he is being kept, the Hunters shoot, hitting her three times, killing her.

That is the background of the story told in the Darkest Seduction. Paris has hunted for her for seven books and he finally finds her. She has been given the demon of Wrath, taken from Aeron when he died. She is being held by Cronus as a pawn in the war and Paris is wanting to take her back.

This book has a lot of twists and turns. There is not as much of the group stories with all the Lords as in other books but we do get a few tie-in's to what is going on.

One side storyline is Kane's, the carrier of the demon of disaster. William is with Paris for a lot of the book and the banter between the men is pure fun.

Sienna and Paris keep trying to get together but circumstances keep them apart and this drags the story out somewhat and becomes tedious. There were times when I was wishing we could get rid of the back and forth, "I will sacrifice for you" stuff and let the couple find each other. One thing that I really found long and slow was the almost word-for-word recounting of Paris' first meeting with Sienna. Yes, I know Gena put it in there so that someone picking this up as a first book would know what was going on but it really detracted from the pace of the story for those of us who have been reading the series all along.

Viola. The keeper of the Demon of Narcissism. This character is a real strange, funny, and somewhat grating character. I wasn't sure any character could top the Harpies or Anya in the previous books but Viola tops them all. I do wonder who she is going to end up with and how that happily ever after is going to happen.

The book has a very interesting twist at the end, one I did not see coming. It is not often that a writer can make me put a book down, sit and reflect on what I just read and then just say "oh wow." but Gena managed to do that with Darkest Seduction. This twist made the entire book fantastic and left me wanting to read the next one soon.

Overall, this is a good book. I would love to give it a "great" rating but for the dragging first part.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What I'm Reading Right Now

Look for a couple of reviews soon.

I just finished Gena Showalter's The Darkest Surrender

Now I'm reading Caris Roane's Ascension. Oh, this series is seriously H.O.T.  Keep a glass of tea and a hand fan handy, you'll need it!

I'll do the proper reviews in the next couple of days. Meantime, here's the cover of Ascension, just as a teaser.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Where the Heck have I been?

I know, I've been remiss in writing for a bit but I have been out of town seeing my younger daughter, Kimmie, get married to her sweet man, William, on Leap Year Day. It was a beautiful wedding and I am so proud of them. It's a long trip and I'm still trying to recover. Not a lot of time to write, although I did get into the first chapter of my book (hurrah!) and I picked up Gena Showalter's "The Darkest Surrender"; Paris' story, which is wonderful and I'll put up a review on it probably tomorrow.

I'm now reading Ascension by Caris Roane, it's good and it has the most interesting twist on the vampire mythos, I promise, you'll be getting the review on it just as soon as I finish it off. It's a series too so look forward to seeing the rest of the books reviewed too.

This is also Read an E-Book Week. If you have never read a book by electronic means, it's a good time to do so. I know, I know, many of us "oldsters" want to stick to our tried and true paper and ink bound books. There's something comforting in having it in your hand, being able to bend down a page or press a flower between the pages. Ever found a $20.00 bill in the pages of a book you remember reading years ago? I have. And then there's the look of your rooms filled with bookcases over-flowing with books you've read and may not read again. Yep, I have those too. We have enough to start a small-town library.

So why go to a Nook? Or a Kindle? Or any other electronic form? It's lighter than a book, it is back-lit so you are able to read without a light on or a clip on light. If you get bored with one book, open the library and pick another book, even when you're miles away from home because you carry your electronic library with you. And my Nook Tablet can access magazines, Graphic Novels, comic books, newspapers, music and videos, movies and TV, and I have all nine of the grandchildren's pictures and the children's pictures on it so Grandma's brag book is always with me. I can read a page or two waiting for a doctor and then just close it and not worry about a bookmark slipping or having to dog-ear a page.

And did I mention FREE BOOKS? Oh I didn't? Yeah, there are tons of free books out there. And you can borrow books from the library for more. And you can borrow some books from friends too. And then, some are purchased, but they are, many times, cheaper than a paper book. And you can keep them forever.

So, if you've never tried it, get your start now.. Kindle (Amazon) and Nook (Barnes and Noble)have downloadable (and free) readers for your computer that you use to read books from their sites. They both have free books to download to your computer and there are other sites that have free books, just put that in your search engine and have fun downloading things you will find yourself wanting to read.

Just don't blame me if you become addicted and need to buy an e-reader. Then again, drop me a note and tell me what you bought, your favorite e-book, and how many freebies you've managed to come up with.