Saturday, October 11, 2008

Witchy Business

Witchy Business Under His Spell\Disenchanted?\Spirit Dance
Witchy Business collects three Witch paranormal romances, these stories are connected by a clinic for disfunctional witches, who have either lost or not gained their powers due to love denied, love repressed or love rejected.

The first story, "Under His Spell", by Julie Leto was my least favorite of the bunch. Witch Regina St. Lyon and witch hunter Brock Aegis have a history. He romanced her and then tried to kill her, and she got even by banishing him to hell. Now he's back and he claims he was given a chance at redemption but only if he can keep Regina alive as the head witch hunter is out to get her. Since we jump into an established relationship there is no buildup and no time to get to know Regina and Brock. Regina quickly overcomes her distrust in the name of lust and Brock consequently is just the shadow of a character and not well fleshed out, so it is hard to care too much about what happens to these two.

"Disenchanted?" by Rhonda Nelson is much better. We get a real feel for Benedict DeWin the only powerless member of a famous witch family and Bryony Flynn also a witch misfit who has been banished by her family to avoid messing up the arranged-since-birth marriage of her sister - to guess who, Ben. This pair has an attraction that sizzles and they may just find that the magic of love is a cure to all their problems - except for the fiance one.

The last story, "Spirit Dance", by Mia Zachary. Has hereditary witch Siobhan Silverhawk heir to great powers - with Celtic witches on one side and Dine medicine women on the other - but she too has yet to come into her powers. Pilot J. B. Pendleton doesn't believe in the hocus pocus stuff, but finds himself under Siobhan's spell. Only the ghost of his dead wife is determined to keep what's hers, so Sioban better watch out. Both Siobhan's and J.B's growing desire for each other is done very effectively and I liked the scenes where Siobhan is performing the Dine ceremonies. You may recognized these if you've read any of Linda Conrad's Shadow Warrior series.

An ok book, of the 3 stories, Under His Spell, by Julie Leto was the best and the other 2 were so so.

Overall I'd rate this one a 3/5

Mr. Cavendish, I Presume

Mr. Cavendish, I Presume by Julia Quinn
Amelia Willoughby has been engaged to the Duke of Wyndham for as long as she can remember. Literally. A mere six months old when the contracts were signed, she has spent the rest of her life waiting. And waiting. And waiting . . . for Thomas Cavendish, the oh-so-lofty duke, to finally get around to marrying her. But as she watches him from afar, she has a sneaking suspicion that he never thinks about her at all . . .

It's true. He doesn't. Thomas rather likes having a fiancée—all the better to keep the husband-hunters at bay—and he does intend to marry her . . . eventually. But just when he begins to realize that his bride might be something more than convenient, Thomas's world is rocked by the arrival of his long-lost cousin, who may or may not be the true Duke of Wyndham. And if Thomas is not the duke, then he's not engaged to Amelia. Which is the cruelest joke of all, because this arrogant and illustrious duke has made the mistake of falling in love . . . with his own fiancée!

I had high hopes for this book. I loved the first book and even rate it a 5/5, but this one failed to deliver on all that promise.

It builds from the previous storyline, but instead of giving us any new insight or storyline this is literally a retelling of the exact same story from a slightly different view point and simply does not work. There's little new information, there's very little character development, and the plot is ... very blah.

Sadly I give this book a 2/5

Side By Side: The Journal of a Smalltown Boy

Side By Side: The Journal of a Smalltown Boy by Mioki
SIDE BY SIDE is the story of Evan and Rick. Fast and close friends since their kindergarten days in a small town their friendship evolves into the love of their lives. They move to the big city where they meet Billy and Charlie and these four friends are soon inseparable. Mioki presents a moving portrait of gay life with all its highs and lows. Drawn in a sure style and masterfully incisive, Mioki's comic is a joy to read, is moving and the sex also doesn't get short shrift. A charming comic for the young and the young-at-heart.

Oh my, if you like gay comics this is a must buy. Its not as exaggerated as those drawn by Patrick Fillion, but equally arousing.

Its a simple tale of 2 boys from the same small town who grow up and move to the city and fall in love with each other. Excellent artwork, and I hope Mioki does a 2nd and 3rd and more books.

At the Bride Hunt Ball

At the Bride Hunt Ball by Olivia Parker
To Snare a Bride . . .

To Gabriel Devine, Duke of Wolverest, the bonds of marriage are nothing more than shackles. But if he's to remain a lifelong bachelor, that leaves only his younger brother to carry on the family name. Inviting the ton's most eligible ladies to an elegant ball, Gabriel is certain any one of them would be all too eager to become the next duchess and provide an heir—leaving Gabriel to continue his ecstatic pursuit of pleasure.

To Catch a Rogue . . .

Her social-climbing stepmother would give anything to have Madelyn Haywood betrothed to a future duke. But Madelyn believes the brothers Devine to be nothing more than heartless rogues—especially Gabriel, whose rakish reputation precedes him. He is nothing more than a slave to passion, and she will not be conquered by his caresses­—and yet his wicked ways tempt her so . . .

A pretty good book and fun read, but sadly another forgettable historical romance.

I rate this one a 4/5

Wild Card

Wild Card by Lora Leigh
It was supposed to be simple. All Navy SEAL Nathan Malone had to do was rescue three young girls from a Colombia drug cartel, then allow himself to be captured just long enough to draw out a government spy. That was before his mission went disastrously wrong…and before his wife, Bella, was told that Nathan was never coming home.

Bella’s mourned her husband’s death for three long years. But she has no idea he’s still alive. Forced to assume a new identity, the man Nathan was is now dead. If he can get back to his wife, can he keep the secret of who he really is…even as desire threatens to consume them? And as danger threatens to tear Bella from Nathan’s arms once more?

I simply loved this story. Guy finds love of his live, is forced to be dead, lives his life on automatic pilot. He is finally forced to reenter her life when she's in danger and they fall for each other again.

If you don't like slightly weepy stories, this might not be for you, but its hot and emotional. A good read.

I rate this one a 4.5/5

The Darkest Kiss

The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter
She has tempted many men… but never found her equal.

Until now.

Though she has lived for centuries, Anya, goddess of anarchy, has never known pleasure. Until Lucien, the incarnation of death—a warrior eternally doomed to take souls to the hereafter. He draws her like no other. And Anya will risk anything to have him.

But when the merciless Lord of the Underworld is ordered by the gods to claim Anya herself, their uncontrollable attraction becomes an anguished pursuit. Now they must defeat the unconquerable forces that control them, before their thirst for one another demands a sacrifice of love beyond imagining.…

I'm still on the fence about this whole series. But this specific book was pretty good. A minor goddess and the incarnation of death getting together.

The covers of this series is excellent, and this book is a decent read.

I rate this one 4/5.

Pleasure Unbound

Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione
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 quest 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 . . .

Talk about original, A demon who's a doctor, a world where demons are hunted by humans. A hospital for demons only but modeled after the human world. It goes on and on. Individually the various plots are not unique, but together it's a world that I've not read about in several hundred other books.

Oh and this is also a very hot book, did I mention that the demon doctor is rare kind of Incubus? So he's perfect male specimen and he's built to satisfy women, need I go on?

I give this book a 4.5/5, and subsequent books might very well be a 5.

The Wedding Challenge

The Wedding Challenge by Candace Camp
Lady Calandra should have suitors beating down her door. But her overprotective brother, the Duke of Rochford, has managed to scare off every suitable gentleman. Every man except the mysterious Earl of Bromwell, that is. Callie finds herself drawn to the enigmatic earl, despite her brother's almost violent protestations.

In defiance of her brother's wishes, Callie devises a plan to see Bromwell again, enlisting the help of matchmaker Francesca Haughston. But when shadowy secrets about the duke and the earl come to light, it may be too late for Callie to see that she's walked straight into a trap.…

I believe that this is the third book in the Matchmakers series by Candace Camp. The Matchmakers series revolves around Lady Francesca, a widow whose husband died leaving her almost nothing. To survive she plays matchmaker and in return people gift her with token of their esteem (jewelery) and she pawns them to pay the bills. And its obvious that she and the Duke of Rochford are meant to be together but... they never have.

Ms. Camp has a talent for writing beautiful historical romances, and this book was a delight. It deals with the Duke of Rochford sister and the earl of Bromwell who hates the Duke, after all its rumored that the Earl's sister was the Duke's mistress at one point. But things are not always as they seem.

A highly enjoyable read, but even more important is that the next book is FINALLY about Lady Francesca and the Duke of Rochford!

A give this book a 5/5

Dark Light

Dark Light by Jayne Castle
Tabloid reporter Sierra McIntyre wants a scoop when she interviews Ghost Hunter Guild boss John Fontana about the disappearances of retired, homeless hunters. She doesn’t want to trust the physically and psychically powerful man, but her intuition—and her dust bunny companion—give her the green light. To uncover the conspiracy within his own organization, Fontana proposes…marriage. And though it’s purely a business arrangement, there’s nothing pure about the attraction that sizzles between them.

I won't bother with a detailed review. Jayne Ann Krentz writes under the pen-name Jayne Castle only for books about the world Harmony. Filled with Psychic powers and Ghost Hunters.

Its one of the best paranormal series out there and if you've never read any of the Harmony books, you're missing out.

This is an automatic 5/5 and I finished it in one sitting. I just wish she would write more books for this series.

Hostage to Pleasure

Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh
Ashaya Aleine was separated from her son, forced to create a neural implant that will forever enslave her psychically gifted Psy race. After fighting a desperate battle to save her child and escape the PsyNet, she’s lead not to safety, but into the lethal danger of a sniper’s embrace.

Nalini Singh came out of nowhere a few years ago and create a unique world where there are 3 major races. Humans, Psy, Changlings. Since then she's enthralled countless people with her books, and I am happy to day that book 5 (Hostage to Pleasure) is an excellent addition to the series.

Readers might remember Ashaya Aleine from the previous book, the Psy scientist who's working on Protocol I, this is the first book where it starts dealing with the wars between the 3 races on a global level (or attempts to). It makes the stakes and the dangers that much more obvious and adds to the excitement of the book.

Dorian (The Hero) has been mentioned in several of the previous books. A protector but unable to change into his cat form. A very interesting hero and as alpha male as all the rest of them.

I enjoyed the book a whole lot both on a plot scale and on the romance anglee, I highly recommend it.

I rate this book a 5/5

With Every Breath

With Every Breath by Lynn Kurland
When medieval laird Robert Cameron pounds on Sunny Phillips’s door, he isn’t paying a social call. He’s braved a trip onto enemy soil to fetch the MacLeod witch, a crone renowned for her healing powers. But the woman who opens her door to him is enchanting and young... and not from his century.

If you're read any of Lynn Kurland's other books you'll be familiar with her time travel stories. This follows the same vein and even beings several former character's into the fold.

Its a fun read and not her best work, it does have its own magic. Robert Cameron is definitely a hero to fall in love with, however I must say that he's a terrible laird because the condition of his court is a shambles in my opinion. So the only down side and confusion I had was over the condition of his court and leadership abilities. But since we don't spend much time there before coming back to the future (or present) I can happily recommend this book.

I rate this book a 4/5.

A Distant Magic

A Distant Magic by Mary Jo Putney
When Nikolai Grigori is a homeless urchin in Malta, the visiting Macrae of Dunrath recognizes his magical powers and offers to foster him. But on the voyage to England they are attacked by pirates, and Macrae does nothing to stop them from taking Nikolai as a slave. Years later Nikolai exacts revenge by kidnapping the late Macrae's daughter. Jean, a Guardian, saves the day, first when their ship is attacked by pirates, and later when she adds her magic to Nikolai's to survive a horrifying storm. Adia, a woman from the future who survived the Middle Passage and went to England at the end of the American Revolution, turns up on Nikolai's private island, Santola, with the message that Jean and Nikolai must travel to the future to ensure the success of the abolition movement. As they travel through time, they use both African and Guardian magic and discover the synergistic effect of intimacy on their paranormal powers. Not the page-turning escapist fare readers usually expect from Putney, this tale features admirable characters and a fascinating approach to slavery and the abolition movement. Tixier Herald, Diana --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

I wish that I could strongly recommend this book. After all the premise is original, there's magic involved and the characters are likable. But the latter half of the book is mired in abolishing slavery and going through time to fight the unseen evil that is promoting slavery.

Not exactly romance material and it really detracted from the story. It almost felt like a story about slavery instead of romance. Not a good mix at all. I think the intention was to make it an epic love story that spanned ages but it failed on that front.

I give this book a weak 2/5

Seducing Mr Darcy

Seducing Mr. Darcy By Gwyn Cready
Mr. Darcy just isn't Flip Allison's style. She prefers novels with hot sex on the bathroom sink to the mannerly, high-tension longing of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. That is, until she pays a visit to Madame K, who promises a therapeutic massage with an opportunity to "Imagine Yourself in Your Favorite Book." Somehow, on the way to a sizzling sink-top session with a Venetian Adonis, Flip lands right in the middle of Regency England -- and dangerously close to handsome Mr. Darcy. So close, in fact, that she discovers a side of him even Jane Austen couldn't have imagined.

Waking from her massage, Flip is on top of the world and ready for her upcoming book club -- that is, until she notices a new scene in which Darcy and spunky heroine Lizzy Bennet are arguing over...Flip Allison? Her rapturous liaison with Darcy has had disastrous consequences for Austen's characters -- not to mention millions of Pride and Prejudice fans! Flip has twenty-four hours to put the story back on course, and Magnus Knightley, a sexy but imperious scholar whose brooding good looks and infuriating arrogance are decidedly Darcy-like, is the only one who can help. The only problem is, Flip can't keep her hands off him, either....

This was an enjoyable read. The Premise was fun and different, getting a massage and being transported into a book and "changing" the story. But things go very wrong and when Allison awakes, she finds that the actual book is being re-written based on her experiences.

Naturally she has to try and rectify this along with the unwanted help from a current day professor of literature. Fun ensures.

I can't say that I'm now a devoted reader of Gwyn Cready, her writing style is still a little unpolished and her plot lines could be tighter. For example little knowledge is given to the person giving the massage and we just take it on faith that its there to make the story work instead of woven into the story. Still, very innovative and I will definitely check out her next book.

I rate this book 3.5/5

The Storm

The Storm by Jean Johnson
Sixth book in the must-read series from a national bestselling “fresh new voice in fantasy romance.”( Robin D. Owens)

Eight brothers, born in four sets of twins, two years apart to the day—they fulfill the Curse of Eight Prophecy. Though no longer trapped in exile, their growing family faces new problems. Now Rydan, the tormented sixth-born son, must find a way to trust his Destined bride, Rora, a woman who possesses her own secret power—one that could bring them together or annihilate their world forever.

If you've not read the previous books, don't read this one, it will only confuse you. This book relies a lot on the other books to make sense especially the previous book as the heroine is a twin and her story is heavily intertwined with book 5, her sister's story.

If you have been following the series, then why are you bothering reading a review, just get the book already. Rydan and Rora's story might not be my absolute favorite but knowing all the backstory and seeing new twists she's laid out for the remaining 2 books is such a treat.

I rate this book a 4/5

The Millionaire's Inexperienced Love-Slave

The Millionaire's Inexperienced Love-Slave by Miranda Lee
Adrian Palmer, a millionaire architect, always had a beautiful woman in his bed. When he met Sharni Johnson, a pretty young widow, she seemed perfect for his wicked brand of seduction. And wicked it was; he was blown away by the intensity of their lovemaking.

But Sharni was not a one-night-stand kind of girl. Adrian was prepared to do anything to have her—but there was one problem: he was the spitting image of Sharni's late husband….

The synopsis seemed interesting but while the first half of the book was promising, the latter half was a disappointment interms of character development and plot. Lover all a fair read.

I rate this book a 3/5

Death Angel

Death Angel by Linda Howard
A striking beauty with a taste for diamonds and dangerous men, Drea Rousseau is more than content to be arm candy for Rafael Salinas, a notorious crime lord who deals with betrayal through quick and treacherous means: a bullet to the back of the head, a blade across the neck, an incendiary device beneath a car. Eager to break with Rafael, Drea makes a fateful decision and a desperate move, stealing a mountain of cash from the malicious killer. After all, an escape needs to be financed.

Though Drea runs, Salinas knows she can’t hide–and he dispatches a cold-blooded assassin in hot pursuit, resulting in a tragic turn of events. Or does it?

Left for dead, Drea miraculously returns to the realm of the living a changed woman. She’s no longer shallow and selfish, no longer steals or cheats or sells herself short. Both humbled and thrilled with this unexpected second chance, Drea embraces her new life. But in order to feel safe and sound–and stop nervously looking over her shoulder–she will need to take down those who marked her for death.

Joining forces with the FBI, supplying vital inside information that only she can provide, Drea finds herself working with the most dangerous man she’s ever known. Yet the closer they get to danger, the more intense their feelings for each other become, and the more Drea realizes that the cost of her new life may be her life itself–as well as her heart.

This was actually a fun read and with a unique perspective. Its not often than the main hero/heroine are not on the up and up character wise. If you enjoy Linda Howard's writing style and don't have an aversion to morally ambiguous main characters, this is the book for you.

I rate this Book a 4.5/5.