Thursday, February 28, 2008

Knight of Darkness

Knight of Darkness by Kinley Macgregor
For countless centuries, I've been the assassin for the infamous Merlin, even though the woman who birthed me sits at the right hand of our enemy, Morgen le Fey. Now both my mother and Morgen have decided that it's time I take my place on their side of this conflict.

Normally, telling them no wouldn't be a problem, except for the fact that the good guys I protect think that I'm an even worse demon than the ones we fight. Hmm, maybe they're right. I have to say that I do enjoy maiming anyone who gets in my way.

At least until my mother gives me a simple choice: join Morgen's Circle of the Damned or see an innocent woman die. I'm all for saving the innocent, but Merewyn isn't as innocent as she seems. And she's none too fond of the fact that her fate is in my dubious hands. Personally I'm all for taking the easy way out, but leaving her to Morgen is rough, even for me. Now the only way to save both our lives is to face the evilest forces ever known—my mother and Morgen. And two people who know nothing of trust must learn to rely on each other or die: provided we don't kill each other first.
Ahhhh Kinley Macgregor aka Sherrilyn Kenyon is currently one of my top 5 authors. I love her imagination with the whole Dark-Hunter, Were-Hunter, Dream-Hunter series and now with the Lords of Avalon series.

This series is a different take on the King Arthur legend. Morgan is still the big bad person but Merlin is not so much a person as a title. And a Merlin is essentially a powerful sorcerer. In the final battle Arthur did fall, but before all was lost, all the Merlin's banded together and took Camelot and Avalon out of time and space. Now Camelot is ruled by Morgan while Avalon is still held by the forces of 'good'. They fight Morgen in hopes that one day Arthur son who was placed in stasis will finally awaken, find the holy grail and finally defeat Morgan once and for all. Its a very fresh and original take on the Aruthian legend, especially with Knights who are Merlins (Sorcerers) and able to time travel.

Varian duFey is the dark hero in this book. Son of Lancelot and Morgan, reviled by both dark and light. To say that he's had a hard life is an understatement, he's known no kindness and as a result is ruthless. Yet as the story develops we see chinks in his armor of ruthlessness and I must say that he's that perfect man that everyone wants to claim if we just love him enough.

I throughly enjoyed this book and can't wait for more tales set in this magical world.

Overall Score: 4.5/5

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Song

The Song by Jean Johnson
Eight brothers, born in four sets of twins, two years apart to the day-they fulfill the Curse of Eight Prophecy, and are thus exiled to Nightfall Isle, in Jean Johnson's "thoroughly romantic and wildly entertaining"* series.

Evanor lost his powers-and his voice-in a terrible battle that defeated his family's greatest enemy and gave his sister-in-law her freedom. The advanced magical healing that would restore his voice and powers is beyond their means-but not beyond the ability of the lovely healer Mariel. Mariel can restore what was torn from Evanor-and possibly repair her own broken heart in the process.

Book 4 of the Sons of Destiny series. You really need some background to understand this series so I highly recommend started with book 1. Jean has built a wonderful world here and I for one cannot wait for the next book. I always thought that Evanor who's power is as a song mage would be one of the hardest brother stories for me to get into. I was partially right.

In this book, Evanor's romance is only 50% of the book which is good because its fairly clear cut. Instead the rest of the book deals with, the back plot of the prophecies and Katan and political intrigue that was developed in the previous books are finally coming to bear. It made reading this book a treat and why you really need to have read the previous books.

Now we see he island coming its not nation. We even get a glimpse of how powerful the youngest brother really is and I can't wait for him and hope to finally come about. Book 5 can't come soon enough.

Overall Score: 4/5

The Black Dragon

The Black Dragon by Allyson James
When Saba Watanabe is attacked by white dragons in human form on the streets of San Francisco, the only man she can turn to for help is the dangerously seductive Malcolm, a black dragon who once made Saba his love slave. But it's Saba who must use her rising powers to save Malcolm-and all of his kind.

Book 2 of Allyson James' Dragon Series, we pick up with Saba Watanabe introduced in book 1 and Malcolm the Blank Dragon. I'm a little torn about this book, I want to like it but plot and character wise, it just didn't do it for me. There's no one area that the book fails at, but I felt the plot was not interesting enough, the characters were good but... not deep enough.

For example, the main bad guy is a white dragon who is pure evil, but it seems super easy to kill especially with Lisa (The Silver Dragon from Book 1). Then there the big black "evil" which in my opinion didn't make much sense, and was the true bad guy, not the white dragon.

Overall I think Allyson needs to decide, if her books are going to be more hard core in terms of plot, currently everything seems rather superficial, like reading a lite version of a fantasy world. I would be hard pressed to pick up the next book in her Dragon series with so many other options available nowadays.

Overall Score: 2.5/5

Mine to Possess

Mine to Possess by Nalini Singh
A lifetime ago, Changeling Clay Bennett lost his freedom, as well as the only girl he loved. Although both were children at the time, his leopard knew his mate when it saw her. But a cruel twist of fate tore them apart, and when Clay was finally freed, he learned that young Talin had died years earlier.

Now a DarkRiver Sentinel, he has made a home with the powerful pack in San Francisco, but his beast walks a fine line between sanity and insanity, threatening the loss of his humanity. When Talin McKade turns up not only alive, but in need of his aid, he finds his salvation. Her presence stirs emotions he thought long forsaken to him and the leopard in him demands to take its mate.

But Talin has been damaged, scarred by the tragedies in her past and their shared history. Clay must tread carefully if he is to convince his mate that they belong together.

Through it all, Talin and Clay work together to save the children that have gone missing, only to have their bodies turn up later, gruesomely battered. The truth behind the murders is even more diabolical than they could imagine.

Book 4 of Nalini's Psy-Changelings series. Again we're faced with the Psy, Changlings and humans circle. I loved the world that Nalini has created and her first few books were very very good. I highly recommend starting with Slave to Sensation if you've never read any of the Psy-Changelings books.

What's wrong with the book is the female character in "Mine to Possess". Perhaps its just me, but while I know that Talin is emotionally scarred and was raped by her father from a young age, she is just not a character I want to read about. Especially not with her constant self-doubt and super fragile ego.

What "Mine to Possess" has going for it is the Psy-Changling world which was introduced in previous books and the on-going plot that something big is going to happen in future books. We all know that the Psy are going to have a big meltdown and Silence will be broken. The happenings in Psy world with the council's machinations is truly riveting.

Despite the weakness of the main characters, the book does hold up if you're invested in the Psy-Changling world, I give this one a 3/5

Monday, February 11, 2008

Dream Chaser

Dream Chaser by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Hades doesn't often give second chances...Xypher has one month on Earth to redeem himself through one good deed or be condemned to eternal torture in Tarturus. But redemption means little to a demigod who only wants vengeance on the one who caused his downfall.Until one day in a cemetery...Simone Dubois is a medical examiner with a real knack for the job. Those who are wrongfully killed appear to her and help her find the evidence the police need to convict their killers. But when a man appears and tells her that she's more than just a psychic, she's convinced he's insane.Now the fate of the world hangs in her hands...It was bad enough when just the dead relied on her. Now's there's the seductive Dream-Hunter Xypher who needs Simone's help in opening a portal to the Atlantean hell realm to fight insatiable demons. The future of mankind is at stake-and so is her life. The only question now is: Who is the bigger threat: the demons out to kill her, or the man who has left her forever changed?

Ahhhhh... Sherrilyn Kenyon. The Dream-Hunter novels are a spin off from her wildly successful Dark-Hunter series. The difference is that the Dark-Hunter's are the individuals who sold his or her soul to the Greek goddess Artemis for one single act of vengeance after being killed. Afterwards they are bound to protect mankind from the Daimons who want to claim human souls. The Dream-Hunters are about the group of gods who have the ability to walk in the dreams of mortals and gods. Because of a transgresion made by a sole Dream-Hunter long ago, all Dream-Hunters since were cursed by Zeus to feel no emotion. However, they found that they can still experience emotions second hand through the dreams of mortals. As such, some Dream-Hunters go rouge and indulge in this which results in the death of the mortals. And that's the basis of the Dream-Hunters novels.

I'll admit that I didn't know where this series was heading. After 2 books I thought that the well was drying out for the Dream-Hunters. But I was wrong. In Dream Chaser, we meet Xypher and Simone who I fell in love with. Xypher especially is strong and powerful and yet pityful because he's never known love or kindness having been raised with demons and reviled by both demons and gods for being a half-breed. This is an excellent addition to the world that Ms. Kenyon has created.

More importantly, we meet popular characters like Archeron and a new very interesting character called Jaden. Jaden is a entity that draws power from the void of chaos. He's the entity that Demons make pacts with or call for help, and always at a price. In fact I would venture that he's more powerful than most gods. And then we see that he's toutored by an even more powerful being. I shiver with anticipation to read more about Jaden.

I give this book 5/5 for paranormal goodness.

Sizzle and Burn

Sizzle and Burn by Jayne Ann Krentz
When Raine Tallentyre made the mistake of revealing her paranormal abilities, her most recent romantic relationship came to a hasty end. Her Aunt Vella, a gifted but troubled soul, had told her years ago to keep her talents a secret. And now that poor Aunt Vella-her last blood relative-has died, Raine has resigned herself to a lonely life.

But when she journeys to Shelbyville, Washington, to clear out Aunt Vella's house, Raine's highly developed sensitivity leads her to a horrifying discovery: a young woman bound and terrified in a basement storage locker. The victim has survived, but the culprit is still on the loose. Without warning, a new man enters Raine's life-investigator Zack Jones. Surprisingly, Zack isn't repelled by her powers: in fact, he has them himself. While Raine hears voices, Zack sees visions and within hours of their meeting, Raine experiences an intense, thrilling intimacy-mental, emotional, and physical-she never dared to expect.

There's one complication, however: Zack Jones is working for the Arcane Society. This secret organization, dedicated to the study of paranormal phenomena, shattered Raine's family with an act of betrayal long ago, and she's not about to trust them now. But as a killer makes her his target, and a cabal of psychic criminals known as Nightshade operates in the shadows surrounding them, Raine and Zack must rely not only on their powerful abilities but on each other . . .

From the author who also hits bestseller lists under the names Jayne Castle and Amanda Quick, this is a delightful new caper filled with suspense and wit-and the steamy Victorian passion her devoted readers love.

I love almost all of Jayne Ann Krentz's books. And her Arcane Society novels are so far a huge hit. The Arcane Society is a secret society that comprises of people with psychic powers. All kinds of different powers abound and they even have a ranking system for how powerful a person is. Naturally the main characters are usually level 10's (the most powerful). Added to that there is some cloak and dagger action from a rival psychic society. In fact there's a lot of similarities between her Arcane Society novels and Harmony novels. What's also fun is that the Arcane Society series could be sent in the time period from 1800's till the present.

This book is set in present times, It tells of Raine, who is a strong psychic but cut off from the Arcane Society because of the actions of her father and Zack Jones who is an agent of the Arcane Society. Zack and Raine are very likable characters and play off each other very well.

If you've never read an Arcane Society novel, I recommend starting there with Second Sight (the first Arcane Society Novel).

I give Sizze and Burn a 5/5