Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blood Fire by Sharon Page

For me, this book was all about female power, female sexuality, and magic. Lady Octavia Grenville is dying. She wants to have an adventure and lose her virginity before she dies. Who better to choose as an object of desire to accomplish both goals, then the sexy rake Matthew, the Earl of Sutcliffe? She has studied his delectable naked form in her hidden stash of naughty colored prints (no Playgirl magazine back then). She cleverly arranges for him to be invited (never knowing that he already was invited) to a scandalous party in hopes of seducing him or having him seduce her. When Matthew first meets her, he is intrigued by her and is at the same time suspicious of such a seeming innocent being at such a gathering. They eventually do click and sparks fly. Afterwards, he does believe that she really is dying and not just trying to trap him into marriage. Matthew has been on a melancholy and suspicious bent ever since he killed his brother when the brother was turned into a vampire by the evil vampiress Esmeralda.

Meanwhile..... Olivia thinks she is a witch because not only does she notice that her health seems to mysteriously improve after every sexual encounter she and Matthew have, she exhibits pyrokinesis & telekinesis - and all this freaks her out a lot. Little does Olivia know that she is actually a Succubus. Not only does she have that to deal with, but she discovers that she is pregnant. This throws a wrench into everybody's plans. Matthew doesn't believe in love, doesn't think he can love after what happened w/ his brother and after watching his parents' loveless marriage and the unhappiness it caused them. While he thinks he is just sexually obsessed w/ Olivia he offers to marry her out of duty. She would like to turn him down flat believing that a marriage made out of a sense of duty is worthless - however she agrees once she finds out she is pregnant.

There are some twists and turns, involving Mrs. Darkwell, Lucifer the Prince of Darkness, a MFM married vampire trio, female powerful paranormal types trying to enslave men and take over the world, a love curse, and all kinds of male paranormal baddies trying to kill Olivia & baby to stop the women taking over the world thing, and of course the requisite X-rated sexual vinegnettes.

I enjoyed this book, but Black Silk is still my fav book by this author. I would love to see in future books in this series if Mrs. Darkwell & the librarian vamp Guidon get together.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Death Warmed Over by Kevin J. Anderson

Dan “Shambles” Chambeaux is a zombie private detective. One night he was investigating his girlfriend’s murder when somebody shot him in the back of the head. In the world the author has created, there was an event called “The Big Uneasy”. After the Big Uneasy, there was an increase in all kinds of paranormal or “unnaturals” like ghosts, zombies, vampires, werewolves, etc.  Not only did Dan come back as a zombie, but his girlfriend Sheyenne came back as a ghost. Sheyenne was a nightclub singer before her untimely death but now helps around the office for Dan & Robin at Chambeaux & Deyer Investigations. Robin is Dan’s business partner and young, passionate lawyer for all things paranormal. Robin & Dan will often help out on the same case. Dan, Robin, and Sheyenne are all very likable. I enjoyed reading about Dan’s many clients and got involved in their sometimes funny, sometimes sad struggles. It was fun reading about Dan’s client Ramen Ho-Tep and his struggle to emancipate himself from the museum. I was happy how things worked out for the mummy & the Wannovich sisters. I was very saddened by the death of one of the clients and was glad to see him avenged at the end. I enjoyed the world building and meeting all the cool characters that inhabit that world.
I also found this book satisfying as a mystery. I knew from the beginning that the anti-unnaturals hate group Straight Edge would be somehow involved in the bad things happening around town. I wasn’t surprised so much by who the bad guys were, so much as the how & why.
This was not a book that I would have chosen if not for getting it through the Publisher as an early review book, but I’m glad I did get it. Having just finished it, I am excited to just get the next book in the series Unnatural Acts. I look forward to reading about the regulars and what happens this time around.

Dragon's Moon by Lucy Monroe

For those of you who love highlander books - you should give this series a try. For those of you who don't think you can stomache another highlander book if your life depended on it (like me) - you should give this series a try. For those of you who like paranormal historicals - you should give this series a try.

Ciara is the heroine of this book. She is a wolf shifter. Years ago, when she was a young girl, she watched her ornery older brother and his douche bag buddy get turned to ash by a dragon shifter. They got burned because the db buddy was about to wail on two Ean (bird shifter youths) for no good reason. Ciara was about to put a stop to things and come out of her hiding place - but was not fast enough. Who was that dragon shifter? Our hero - Eirik, prince of the Ean shifters. Part dragon shifter and part raven shifter. These two meet up when Eirik and Lais (eagle shifter) come to hang out for a spell and work with Talroc's clan (hero of book 2). Since her brother's death, Ciara has been an adopted daughter of Talroc (the Laird & wolf shifter) and his wife Abigail.Sparks fly between the two right away. However, Ciara is slower to accept the idea of a mating between the two. Ciara tries to resist getting too emotionally invested in anybody after what happened with her brother and parents.

This was another fab story in this fab series. Loved the two main characters & their romance, nice to see old familiar characters, and cool new characters. The shifter myth is explored in greater detail and added to as well. Look forward to reading about Paindeal (cat shifters) in future books. Appreciated the glossary at the end w/ some common terms.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Trouble with Cowboys by Melissa Cutler

When I first read the description on the back of the book and I read the first part of the book when Amy & Kellan hook up almost immediately, I thought this book would be simply a fun, flirty, sexy bit of brain candy - lots of fun but not much substance. However, the story turned out to be heavy on substance. The three Sorentino sisters – Amy, Rachel, and Jenna – have not had an easy time for most of their lives. Their father was perhaps not a totally black hearted villain, but a man who played fast and loose with his family’s money and was careless with the safety and security of his wife and daughters. Their mother has a myriad of health issues, both mental and physical. Rachel stayed close to home and tried to work the land and take care of her family that way. Jenna had a somewhat wild youth, having a baby boy early in life, but changing her wild ways after embracing motherhood. Amy chose to run away as soon as she could. She honed her skills as a chef and eventually was cast, and became a finalist on the cooking reality show Ultimate Chef Showdown. Amy’s one vice is cowboys. She sees a good looking cowboy and she gets all hot and bothered. While on the show, she fell for the machinations of fellow contestant & all around jerk Cowboy Brock McKenna. Unfortunately for Amy, it was in the midst of the pressure of the reality show and her relationship with Brock that she found out about her father’s sudden death and her mother’s ill health. These things created the perfect storm and she went on a hysterical tirade and was humiliated on national television. She has come back to the family home at Catcher Creek to help take care of their mother, lick her wounds, and earn money turning the old homestead into a successful inn and cafĂ©.  For me, this story is all about the characters and the layered relationships that they all have. It’s the characters that make this story so powerful. Kellan is more than just a sexy guy Amy sees in a cowboy hat. He’s not even a real cowboy. He comes from a severely damaged home life. His father was a criminal and a druggie always in and out of jail. His mother is also a drug user. At a young age he and his younger brother Jake were put into foster care. When Jake got out & grew up he was bitter about how things worked out with his family but became a good cop. Kellan went looking for the rich part of his family with a chip on his shoulder. What he found was a very shady uncle. Eventually Kellan made it on his own and has a successful ranch and helps out his community. A lot of the conflict in this book comes from Kellan’s family associations and how that is connected to the problems going on with Amy’s family. I liked Amy & Kellan and thought they were both two very good people. I was happy with how Amy’s family troubles resolved at the end. I look forward to reading more stories about Amy’s sisters and Jake. I’m kinda hoping that somehow Jake & Jenna hook up.

A Killer in the Rye by Delia Rosen

This is the third book in this cozy mystery series but only the first one that I have read. Gwen is a NY transplant living and working in the south. Despite the odd moment or two of culture shock, she has carved out a good business, taking over her late uncle’s kosher deli. It has been a slow and steady process involving settling in the community, hiring reliable staff, and building a clientele. One of the things that are consuming Gwen in this book is trying to win the Best Mid-Range Restaurant Award. Everything and everyone seems to be conspiring against her. Amid the hustle and bustle of daily business activity, Gwen comes in early to open the shop and get the special rye bread delivery. She is surprised to find the bread truck still parked out back at a time when it should have already come and gone. She is even more surprised when she slips on the blood of the murdered man – who just so happens to be the guy delivering the bread. She has a very realistic reaction to experiencing something so traumatic. I did not warm to Gwen immediately, but she grew on me through the course of the book. I liked the relationships and interactions between all the deli co-workers. Dani was a fun character – she was sweet and not quite as ditzy as she first appears. I found the mystery engrossing and the characters interesting.
The only part that disappointed me was the possible new love interest for Gwen. I feel like the author was legitimately leading up to Gwen and Robert being romantically involved and then, out of left field, she and the reader find out that he is actually gay. I felt very let down because they seemed to click and have good chemistry. I’m glad that, at the end, they seem to be on friendly terms but it was still a surprise.
I would read future books in this series.

The Inconvenient Duchess by Christine Merrill

I couldn't resist because it was free & I liked the first (and so far only) book I had read by this author.

Marcus is a Duke and a widower. On her deathbed, his slightly evil mother tells him that she promised an old friend that he would marry the friend's ward. Needless to say he is not thrilled about this prospect. He has enough to deal w/ looking after/rebuilding his crumbling estate and dealing with his scapegrace younger brother.

Lady Miranda Grey is the daughter of a peer......but a peer who has gambled away the family fortune. Miranda's father isn't totally a baddie. He got the wake up call and did hard manual labor to try and keep the family together and keep Miranda from winding up on the street selling herself or being a man's mistress. She goes to visit the Duke with low expectations but he does the right thing and marries her.

I was worried at first, having read these kinds of stories before, that the no good evil brother would completely muck things up beyond salvaging. Luckily things didn't go as bad as I feared, but I was very relieved when Marcus & Miranda finally came clean with each other.