dinsdag 30 november 2010

Jennifer Estep – Venom

The third book in the Elemental Assassin series, published in 2010.


What kind of assassin works pro bono?

It's hard to be a badass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family. Which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most. To the public, I'm Gin Blanco, owner of Ashland's best barbecue joint. To my friends, I'm the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker--Mab's right-hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists. At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I'll take my chances. Then there's Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland's finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I'm a cold-blooded killer . . . who is about to save her life.

One night having a nasty cold, coming back from college, Gin is waited for by Jonah McAlister, who is trying to find out who murdered his son, even though in the papers it is written to be a heart condition that turned fatal. So now he is talking to everyone who had a bone to pick with Jake, and Gin is right on top of that list. When she denies to know anything (of course she won’t confess to that!) he has Elliot Slater, Mab Monroe’s enforcer, to beat her up. To keep her disguise, she can’t use her Stone or Ice magic, which is a good thing, since Mab is waiting in the shadows for just such a thing. But they leave her mostly dead. The rent-a-cop employed by the college really thinks her death, and calls in the police. And so Gin finally lays eyes on her long lost sister: Bria. Of course Bria doesn’t recognize her, but Gin does, and so does Finn when het gets on scene.

When Gin finds out Roslyn is being stalked by Elliot Slater, and it is kind of her fault for getting the giant to meet the vampire, Gin is determined to help her. But every time she tries to kill Elliot, something or someone gets in the way.
Like her sister, who seems determined to get something on Mab Monroe and her cronies, to arrest them for. But of course, with the police and judges being as corrupt as they are, that will never happen or stick. The only way is Gin’s way: to kill them, so they can’t hurt other people anymore, and get their revenge for the murder of their family.
Of course Gin cannot yet reveal her identity to her sister, but she will do what she can to keep Bria safe, even though she seems capable and strong enough to do that herself.

Some one else Gin keeps stumbling over is Owen Grayson. He really is serious about getting to know her better, and even the ugly truth about herself is not enough to chase him off. Can they really have a future together, when Gin is determined to bring down Mab Monroe and everyone of her cronies and goons?

I really liked this book, and am looking forward to the fourth in the series. But I do get tired of all the repeats. You don’t have to read the previous ones to read this one, everything is explained, and again. It does take me away from the storyline, and costs too many pages.

7 stars.

maandag 29 november 2010


Okay, this is totally non-book related, but I just have to blog about it, to remember for myself. I am home from work with a nasty migraine, and it is snowing! The very first snow of the season, and I just love looking at it. I just went outside for a minute, catching some flakes. It was a really gray day, but with the snow on the ground, it is much lighter outside. I love it. And according to the radar, there is a huge amount of snow coming my way!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Ofcourse, I have been listening to Sky Radio Christmas songs today, so I am even more in the mood for it ;)

Jennifer Estep – Web of Lies

The second book in the Elemental Assassin series, published in 2010.

Web of lies

Curiosity is definitely going to get me dead one of these days. Probably real soon.

I'm Gin Blanco.
You might know me as the Spider, the most feared assassin in the South. I'm retired now, but trouble still has a way of finding me. Like the other day when two punks tried to rob my popular barbecue joint, the Pork Pit. Then there was the barrage of gunfire on the restaurant. Only, for once, those kill shots weren't aimed at me. They were meant for Violet Fox. Ever since I agreed to help Violet and her grandfather protect their property from an evil coalmining tycoon, I'm beginning to wonder if I'm really retired. So is Detective Donovan Caine. The only honest cop in Ashland is having a real hard time reconciling his attraction to me with his Boy Scout mentality. And I can barely keep my hands off his sexy body. What can I say? I'm a Stone elemental with a little Ice magic thrown in, but my heart isn't made of solid rock. Luckily, Gin Blanco always gets her man . . . dead or alive.

Gin is still thinking about the things Fletcher left her after his death. The fact that he has always known who she really is, that her baby sister is still alive while Gin though she was responsible for her death 17 years ago. And why is Mab Monroe’s name in the file? Is she the fire elemental who murdered her family and tortured Gin? What is she to do about Bria, where can she find her? And will she be happy with an older sister who is an assassin?

She also never knew retirement would be so … boring. She still works the dayshift in the Pork Pit, the restaurant Fletcher left her. She still loves to cook, but she is at a loss what to do with her evenings now there are no files to study, people to track down and kill. And that handsome detective Donovan Caine also hasn’t contacted her. Even though there is this huge attraction between them, his morals get in the way. Of all the cops in Ashland, Gin had to fall for the only honest one.

Then two young men try to rob her restaurant, taking one of her customers hostage. Gin and Sophia, her cook and cleanup crew, take quickly care of that. But this little mouse has a very long tale, as one of them is the son of the most important lawyer in Ashland, also close friends with Mab Monroe, the fire elemental who runs the town. And he can make life very difficult for her when she presses charges against his son. But Gin isn’t afraid of him, and she won’t stand back for a bully. If word gets around that she gave in, her place will be robbed all the time, and Jake MacAllister will make it his hobby to harass her. After all, he will never forgive her for defeating him.

Another piece of the tail is, the girl taken hostage is the beloved sister of another very powerful man. Owen Grayson is not a friend of Mab Monroe, and he quickly becomes very interested in Gin, in a personal way. Especially when she doesn’t want his money for saving his sister. Of course, she made millions as an assassin, and doesn’t need the money MacAllister senior is trying to buy her of with, or the money Owen wants to thank her with. But she does take the favor he will own her in future.

The very next day, shots are fired into her restaurant. Luckily the window is bullet proof, so no one gets hurt. But tracking down the shooter is not so easy. And when Gin finds out she was not the target, that Jake MacAllister is not the shooter, but the young girl who just asked about the Tin Man was, her curiosity gets the better part of her. She has Finn find out everything he can about her, and tracks Violet Fox back to the university, where they are just in time to safe her from being raped and murdered by a dwarf.

It turns out her grandfather and Fletcher were old friends, who split up over a woman who made a fool of the both of them. A powerful dwarf miner, Tobias Dawson, another one of Mab Monroe’s friends, is trying to get them to sell the property their family has lived on for over 300 years, so he can mine some more coal. Killing the mountain in the process. Warren T. Fox refuses again and again, and Dawson is increasing the pressure to sell. If not legal, than by illegal means. And killing certainly will get him what he wants.

To Gin’s surprise, Donovan Caine is an old friend of the family, and also there when they all arrive. And of course he cannot accept that Gin will have to kill Dawson to get him of the Foxes’ back. But he will also do nothing to prevent it. And that is killing him.

I really loved this book. Filled with action, and direct decisions. And perhaps Gin will finally get over Caine, he is just not meant for her. Lots of magic, colourful characters. Murder and danger, and I just have to read the next one, Venom. I want to know what will happen in this book too.

I like Gin and her friends, they don’t hesitate to do what is necessary, how cold it sounds. But they also stand for the innocent, and do something pro bono. And that retirement? Perhaps she will continue on that path, or not.

8 stars.

zondag 28 november 2010

Anthology – Burning up

Burning up

Nalini Singh – Whisper of Sin

A woman in lethal danger finds an unlikely protector – and lover – in a volatile member of the DarkRiver pack.

This story is placed at the beginning of the Psy-Changeling books, where DarkRiver and SnowDancer are not yet allies.
The Leopard Changelings have claimed Los Angeles as their territory, when a human mafia family is trying to take over. They start out in China Town, threatening the shop owners into paying protection money. Ria’s mother has refused to pay, and one night, when Ria gets home from night school, she finds herself attacked in a dark alley close to home. She fights back, but is about to be overpowered by the lowlife, when a blond angel saves her. But it is not the blond who holds her so tenderly, it is his dark and rugged companion, Emmett, who cradles her in his arms, and makes her feel so save. Even after the horrible experience, she knows she can trust him, he will not hurt her.

Her family is a mix of Chinese and American humans, and though she looks American, she has the height (or lack of) her grandmother and mother. But she is tougher than she looks. Ria’s family is determined to have her marry the son of their best friends, Tom. But Ria is not interested in Tom, and never has been. Just as little as he is in her. He just wants to make a respectable marriage, and have his real love as his mistress. Her parents don’t believe her, until her wily grandmother shows them the evidence. But that doesn’t mean they are happy with a Leopard in the family.

The gang will stop at nothing now to hurt Ria and her family, so the DarkRiver pack sets up protection for all of them, and Emmett will be Ria’s bodyguard, till they manage to find the mafia boss and make him pay.

I really loved this little story, wish it was a full length one! I admired Ria and how she handles her family and Emmett. And Emmett, when he finally realises his mate is not a pampered female he needs to cuddle, but a warrior in her own right. They were great together, with some really hot love scenes between them.

9 stars

Angela Knight – Blood and Roses

A vampire warrior and his seductive captor join forces to stop a traitor from unleashing an army of demonic predators on their kingdom.

Welcome to a world where human magicians created a race of vampire warriors to keep them save from their reptilian neighbours, who love to slaughter and eat humans. They also created a race of female magicians, called Blood Roses. They can enthral the vampires and keep them in line.

The king suspects one of his knights of treason, and sends his best investigator out to find out the truth. Raniero and his men ride straight in an ambush, and his men are killed instantly by two Varil warriors, and he himself fights another vampire. He is on the brink of winning the battle, when he is distracted by the appearance of a Blood Rose. He tries to save her, which is not necessary and is captured by his enemy.

Amaris doesn’t want to help her father, but the price for rebellion is the death of her little sister. And she cannot risk it. Perhaps she can ask this prisoner for his help later.

I am not familiar with this world created by Angela Knight, but I liked it. There was little time to get to know both Raniero and Amaris, but the little I learned about them, I liked. A totally different kind of vampire story this is. But I love most anything to do with magic. Of course there was passion in this story, but also love and trust. I think I want to read more of her.

8 stars.

Virginia Kantra – Shifting Sea

The story of a wounded soldier rescued by a strange and enigmatic young woman.

Major Jack Harris has just returned from fighting Napoleon. He is scarred, but whole, and the heir to a little estate on the shore. A little fishing village belongs to it. The past few days he has surveyed his new possession. He is eager to do the right thing to his tenants, although he was never brought up to be a farmer, a landowner. He was 16 when his parents died and he joined the army.

Then he hears a woman singing on the beach, a vision, and he just has to go to her. He has not seen her before, and she just asks him to join her in her bed. Is she the village whore then? Is that why she is living alone, away from the village? But no, her dress is of quality. But after their passion is satisfied, she sends him on his way, she is expecting an other man. What is he to think of her.

The very next day, he meets her in the village, trying to buy a pair of shoes with an ancient Spanish dubloon. His steward accuses her of stealing, and wants to take her into custody, but Jack helps her out. His steward has been robbing his villagers for the past six months, and Jack is determined to pay those debts in full. He takes Morwenna to her cottage, and again they have sex. She is not abhorred by his scarred body, and something melts inside of the both of them.

But Morwenna is not human, she is of the finfolk, and they do not know much about love. She doesn’t want anything Jack can offer her, she wants her freedom. But Jack is determined to court her, he wants to marry her. But living like a human, loving like a human, will maker her age and die like a human too. Her brother warns her: humans hate what they do not understand. Can she tell Jack the truth about herself? Or will he reject her when he finds out?

I have read a short story in this world created by Virginia Kantra before, and liked it, but not enough to start reading the whole series. Again I like this short story, but I just miss a bit of humor. It is al written with such a serious tone, no witty bantering, just a lot of love scenes and earnesty. So it is not the world I don’t like, as I do, but I guess just the writing style of this author that does not appeal to me enough.

6,5 stars

Meljean Brook – Here there be monsters

A desperate woman strikes a provocative – and terrifying – bargain to gain overseas passage.

I’ve started this story, but won’t finish it. I’m just not into steampunk.

zaterdag 27 november 2010

Tamar Myers – Just plain pickled to death

The fourth book in the Pennsylvania Dutch Mysteries with Recipes series, published in 1997.

Just plain pickled to death

A well-preserved corpse.

A twenty-year-old barrel of genuine Pennsylvania Dutch sauerkraut isn’t Magdalena Yoder’s idea of a great wedding present from her future father-in-law. Especially when it has a corpse in it. And it sure puts Mennonite-born Magdalena, owner of the picturesque PennDutch Inn, in a pickle. She has just one week before she ties the know with the man of her dreams – and this bride of forty-four will allow nothing to delay her nuptials, even murder.

Of course, Magdalena recognizes the victim, who is as well preserved as a gherkin. It’s her fiancé’s cousin Sarah, who’s been missing for years. Soon Magdalena’s inn is filled with unwanted guests – eccentric aunts and loopy uncles of the deceased. And Magdalena – shrewd as she is peppery – suspects one of them is the killer. Now she is over a barrel, blowing the lid off a mystery two decades old, and digging up a scandal that may shake her Amish hometown to the bedrock and send her to a funeral – her own – instead of her wedding day!

I am a little disappointed in this book, as it couldn’t hold my attention for long stretches. Magdalena is busy with the preparations for her wedding next Saturday, she even closed the Inn for the week! She and her cook Freni are busy planning the wedding dinner, when her future father-in-law brings over an old barrel of sauerkraut. Freni wants to check the contents to see if it is still edible after all those years, and then they find the body. Aaron’s missing cousin has apparently been there for the last twenty years.

Magdalena is determined to find out who killer her, she will not let this spoil her wedding! And she sure can’t count on their stupid chief of police, Melvin Stolzfuss to find the murderer. To her dismay, Aaron’s relatives who want to come for the funeral, have to stay at her Inn, at no cost! And they really are a very strange bunch.

Rumors are, Sarah’s mother eloped a few weeks before Sarah herself disappeared, and Jonas, their husband/father is estranged from the family, no-one knows where he is. But Magdalena manages to find out from rumors where she could find him, and is determined to invite him to the funeral of his own daughter.

But Jonas has secrets of his own, all this time he had in his possession his daughters diary. And he blames one of the aunts of her death. And refuses to allow her access to the funeral. But the diary gets stolen before anyone other than Magdalena can take a look at it. Things detoriate from there quickly, and the family is divided in two camps.

As always, I loved the interaction between Magdalena and Freni. I still think Aaron is a whimp, and Magdalena could find a better man. They will live together in the Inn, and Aaron will help her run it. She even agrees to take in his father, who is a real pack rat. He cannot throw anything away. Hence the 20 year old sauerkraut, and a house full of worthless things.

But she does take little crap from the rest of the family, for which I am glad. The real murderer was a surprise to me as much as to Magdalena, and I don’t think I could have figured it out myself earlier.

6,5 stars.

vrijdag 26 november 2010

J.D. Robb – Immortal in Death

The third book in the In Death series, published in 1996.

Immortal in Death

She was one of the most sought after women in the world. A top model who would stop at nothing to get what she wanted – even another woman’s man. And now she was dead, the victim of a brutal murder. Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas put her life on the line tot take the case when suspicion fell on her best friend, the other woman in the fatal love triangle. Beneath the façade of glamour, eve found that the world of high fashion thrived on an all-consuming obsession for youth and fame. One that led from the runway to the dark underworld of New York City, where drugs could be found to fulfil any desire – for a price …

Lieutenant Eve Dallas is getting married! She still cannot believe herself she said yes to Roarke. But she did, and now she has to face the consequences. She refuses to have Roarke pay for her wedding dress, so she has to go shopping. When Roarke finds out, she is going with her best friend Mavis, he blanches. After all, Mavis has a very flashy style. And Eve has not really what you can call a fashion sense, or much interest in what she is wearing.

Mavis takes Eve to her new boyfriend, Leonardo, an upcoming designer. Eve wants to run away as fast as she can when she sees the displays, but Leonardo surprises her. He is an enormous man, but as gentle as a teddy bear, and obviously very much in love with Mavis. The design Leonardo comes up with, is really great. No white or ivory for Eve, nor much frills and lacey bits. But classic lines and smooth fabric.

Then, in the middle of being measured, a very angry woman enters the room, and she takes a swipe at Eve with her lethal nails, and Eve has no choice but to deck her. It happens to be an ex lover of Leonardo, furious that he has the nerve to discard her. After all, she is Pandora, a super model, and she can make him, or break him! If she wishes too, she can ruin his coming fashion show, and make the money lenders demand their money back. He will give up his relationship with Mavis until she is done with him, or else!

Mavis chooses for Leonardo, as she is in love with him too, and cannot bear to sea him loose his future. They will just postpone their relationship till after the show. When he is a success, there is nothing Pandora can do anymore to hurt them.

Then Eve gets the call that one of her snitches is found floating in the river. Officer Delia Peabody recognized him as one of Eve’s sources, and called it in. Even though she already has a full caseload, Eve asks for this one. He was one of hers. And she asks for Peabody as her aide. She thinks Peabody has a lot of potential, and she wants to be a Detective. Helping Eve will sure teach her a lot of things about being a Detective.

Searching through Boomer’s room is a health hazard. It is really filthy, like he has been holed up for a few weeks there. But in they end, they hit pay-dirt. Under his mattress they find a bag with a blue powder in it, and a disk with a scientific formula. Testing in the lab takes to long, as it is swamped with work this hot summer, so Eve asks Roarke to use his system to find out what they are dealing with. And one of the components is just unknown, not from this planet. But they do know it is a powerful drug, and something of a regeneration formula too. But it is also highly addictive and poisonous. It will kill you after a few years of using this.

Then Pandora is found death in Leonardo’s loft, and Mavis finds her. And is also the main suspect, as her skin is found under Pandora’s finger nails, and her fingerprints are the only ones on the murder weapon. Eve just knows Mavis would not, could not have killed Pandora. But she has to do her duty and arrest her, while using all her skills and time to find the real murder, or murderers.
More people turn up death, but they are not so high profile as Pandora. But her suspects are.

And Eve is thrown in a plot of greed, drugs and high fashion. And still she has to prepare for her wedding, and sort out her own past now her nightmares are getting worse, and she actually starts to remember her childhood. And how horrible it was.

In the end, she finds she has friends in unsuspected places and it is her henparty where she finally finds out the truth, and the murderer.

Another great book, I really loved reading this one. It was great to learn more about Mavis and her Leonardo, who take so much place in the rest of the series, and of course Peabody, who will be a real co-star. She appeared very briefly before, and this is where she really enters the series. Of course there are Nadine and dr. Mira. But there is also the one woman Eve is really afraid of: Trina. And those glimpses in her private life are just precious to me. Of course, the mystery part is great, but it is the personal life and the development of that I really love reading about. And the reason you have to read a series like this one in order to fully enjoy it all.

8 stars.

donderdag 25 november 2010

J.D. Robb – Glory in Death

The second book in the In Death series, published in 1995.

Glory in Death

The first victim was lying on a sidewalk in the rain. The second was murdered in her own apartment building. Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas had no problem finding connections between the two crimes. Both victims were beautiful and highly successful women. Their glamorous lives and loves were the talk of the city. And their intimate relations with men of great power and great wealth provided Eve with a long list of suspects including her own lover, Roarke. As a woman, Eve was compelled to trust the man who shared her bed. But as a cop, it was her job to follow every lead … to investigate every scandalous rumor … to explore every secret passion, no matter how dark. Or how dangerous …

A very much admired and respected PA gets murdered in a sleazy part of town. Whatever possessed her to go there in the middle of the night, by her own. Suspects enough for Lieutenant Eve Dallas. And especially the victims son seems to hide a lot. He desperately needs money, and this time his parents refused him. So his mothers death will get him a nice inheritance. Then the second woman gets her throat slashed. A famous actress this time. And David was in the middle of negations with her, but she was stalling for more favours. Eve and Feeney are working around the clock on both murders. Which is a good thing concerning Eve, as she and Roarke seem to have broken up. She just isn’t ready to move in with him. But the knife slices two ways, as they both miss each other like crazy.

One of their own was murdered, and everyone wants to murderer caught and brought to justice. But the case is complicated, as her commanding officer is very good friends with the deceased and her family. So Eve has to tread very carefully, but still the evidence points at David, her commander’s godson.

The media is all over the case, and Eve has made a plan to draw the killer out, to make herself the next target. After all, she too fits his victim profile. But so does Nadine Furst of Channel 75, whom Eve is giving personal interviews. They both get a lot of airtime, and that must rattle the murderer. Especially when he kills the wrong woman by mistake …

A great second story in this long but still strong suspense series. I loved the parts between Eve and Roarke, and of course with Mavis, her almost rock star friend. It took me a while to remember who the real murderer was, and I didn’t remember all the great details any more, but that is the fun with re-reading. You know what is coming in the greater lines, but not the tiny details that bring the book to such great life.
Did I mention yet that the series play in 2058, which makes this a paranormal romantic suspense series? I love the sneak peak in the future, and can only hope it will become reality. Wouldn't mind seeing those amazing things for my self.

8 stars.

woensdag 24 november 2010

J.D. Robb – Naked in Death

The first book in the In Death series, published in 1995.

Naked in Death

Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant, hunting for a ruthless killer. In over ten years on the force, she’s seen it all – and knows that her survival depends on her instincts. And she’s going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, an Irish billionaire – and a suspect in Eve’s murder investigation. But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and it’s up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about – except the addictive hunger of needing his touch.

After terminating a suspect, Eve knows she will have to go trough Testing the next morning. Instead, she gets called to a new murder scene, a very high profile one. To keep things from leaking out, only she and her old partner Feeney are on the job. Which means also doing the drone work themselves. A powerful Senator’s granddaughter is murdered in her own bed. She was a high prices licensed companion, something her family was not happy with. Sharon DeBlass was murdered by three gunshots. As guns have been outlawed decades ago, they are only collectors item’s, collected by the rich and powerful mostly. The high end security in Sharon’s apartment building was tampered with, so there is no evidence of the killer on disc. The apartment itself was cleaned meticulously, so no hairs, body fluids or fibers were found on scene. But the killer is arrogant, as he leaves Eve a recording of the murder at her apartment. Telling it is only the first out of six …

The case is difficult, there are almost no leads. But then they learn Sharon kept a diary since her youth, and loved bragging about the secrets inside it. Eve and Feeney do everything they can think of to find it.

The case seems to be blocked in every direction, the senator demands progress, but at the same time is using his granddaughters dead to further his political goals. The chief of police stonewalls her, and asks her to lie to the press, that this high profile murder has nothing to do with the next one, of a very young licensed companion, who was killed in the same modus.

And every piece of evidence seems to point to Roarke, a mystery man, who seems to own half the planet and its satellites. But Eve just knows he didn’t do it, and not only as she is attracted to him. O he is certainly capable of killing, but not in this way, and not to brag about it.

I decided I wanted to reread the first few books in this series, to learn again how the relationship between Eve and Roarke got started. Even after 37 books it is still a great series to read. The murders are never boring or repetitive, and the personal life of Eve and Roarke is still steamy and filled with friends and the difficulties of learning to handle a relationship and everything that is custom to it. Both Eve and Roarke had hard childhoods, but they got out of them, and made something of themselves. They will never be victims again.

If you like romantic suspense, I certainly recommend this series to you. You don’t have to like Nora Roberts’ other books to love those, they are so completely different.

8 stars.

maandag 22 november 2010

Jennifer Estep – Spider’s Bite

The first book in the Elemental Assassin series, published in 2010.

Spider's Bite

My name is Gin, and I kill people.

They call me the Spider. I'm the most feared assassin in the South -- when I'm not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don't use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.

Now that a ruthless Air elemental has double-crossed me and killed my handler, I'm out for revenge. And I'll exterminate anyone who gets in my way -- good or bad. I may look hot, but I'm still one of the bad guys. Which is why I'm in trouble, since irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine has agreed to help me. The last thing this coldhearted killer needs when I'm battling a magic more powerful than my own is a sexy distraction...especially when Donovan wants me dead just as much as the enemy.

Well, the blurb tells most of the story. And a really original and compelling one it is. Welcome to a great new urban fantasy series. A world with vampires, giants, dwarfs and humans. Some with elemental magic, strong or not so strong. The world Gin lives in, is filled with all kinds of violence. Vampire hookers, giant bodyguards, and a city ruled with the iron hot fist of the fire elemental Mab. Most of the police force and other officials are corrupt, and the innocent people are left to fend for themselves.

When she was a 13 years old, her family was murdered by a fire elemental. She never knew why. Only her own Stone magic saved her from the same faith, though she was tortured by the woman. So living on the streets of Ashland on her own, eating out of restaurant dumpsters, just staying alive, is hard for a girl alone. Only one old man shows her a bit of kindness. The owner of the Pork Pit, he sometimes hires her to do some cleaning jobs, or just gives her a left over burger. Then one night she saves Fletchers life, and her new life has started. Fletcher not only teaches her how to be a waitress and a cook, and takes her in his own home to raise as a daughter, he also teaches her his other, secret, job. An assassin. And a damned good one too.

Being a murderer doesn’t bother Gin very much. After all, she has killed before. And she has her own set of rules. No children. No animals. No cruelty but a swift death, and to victims who each and all deserve to die. Like that dirty cop who liked to rape little girls. Only his partner didn’t know that, and vowed to bring her to justice for that. The very same, rare honest cop on the force, she now needs to help her bring down Fletchers killer.

I liked the book a lot, and will certainly read the next books in this series soon. You just have to like Gin. She is sassy, and merciless in her job and in protecting those few she loves. She is also honest, and doesn’t hide the fact that she is attracted to Donovan. She is not afraid to act on it, even though she knows he wants to bring her in. There is not much information yet on Donovan, but he cannot deny the attraction between them, even though he loathes himself for giving in to it.

And then there is Fletchers son Finn, a longtime friend of Gin, who is more like a brother to her. She barely manages to save him. Together the three of them are a force to be reckoned with. The secondary characters with Jo-Jo and Sophia are great too. And real characters they are too.

7 stars.

vrijdag 19 november 2010

Stephanie Laurens – The reckless bride

The fourth book in the Black Cobra Quartet series, published in 2010.

The reckless bride

Four officers of the Crown, aided by Bastion Club member and Cynster alike, fight to bring down a venomous enemy – and to win the loves of their lives …

Entrusted with vital evidence, Rafe takes the long way home to England - a journey made even longer and more perilous when when he acquires some unwanted companions. After rescuing an old woman from footpads, he finds himself stuck with the woman's niece Lucy. Unwilling to leave her to the Black Cobra's minions, he discovers he has a surprisingly fierce defender on his hands.

Lucy is not quite certain what Rafe is up to, but it's clearly dangerous. Drawn to him, despite the obstacles he tries to place in their way, Lucy soon realises that this particular rake is the one for her. Brought together by faith and united by fiery passion, Rafe and Lucy pursue their shared destiny, as they race to bring down the Black Cobra – and begin their lives happily ever after…

I typed this blurb from the back cover of the book itself. The really stupid thing about it is, the heroine is not named Lucy, but Loretta. How come no one noticed that before the book was printed?

After having declined her eight suitor, a totally eligible young man, Loretta Michelmarsh is whisked away into Europe by her great-aunt, Lady Esme Congreve. Lady Esme has recently been widowed, and now she wants to visit all those places she went with her late husband again. As Loretta has come to the conclusion, that after posing as a demure female for years, she is attracting the wrong suitors, and she needs to change herself into her true being, she takes joy in the travelling. What no one in her family knew, is that she is secretly writing articles for one of London’s newssheets, the musings of a Young Lady in London. Her editor is only to pleased to continue with her new series, a Young Lady Abroad.

After travelling for a few months through Europe, meeting with Lady Esme’s friends and acquaintances, seeing the sights, and revisiting her memories, they decide it is time to return to England for Christmas. But just after they have booked passage on a river boat on the Danube (it took me a while to figure out that is the Donau), Esme is attacked by two villains. Luckily she is saved by an English gentleman, Captain Rafe Carstairs. And although the gentleman resists, she hires him and his companion to act as their guides and guards until they reach England.

Captain Rafe Carstairs has travelled all the way from Bombay, India, over land to reach England on a certain date. He is on a secret mission for the Crown, and his journey is extremely dangerous. Still, he cannot say no to Lady Esme. After all, she knows his family, and they do believe she and her party will provide cover for him and his companion Hassan. They have to evade the assassins of the Black Cobra cult, who followed them from India, trying to intercept the message he is carrying back home, with the proof of the identity of the Black Cobra. By travelling over the river instead of the highway’s they manage to stay out of sight of the cultists for a few days. But every time the ladies set out for a bit of sightseeing, some ruffians try to rob them. Are they really hired by the cultists as local muscle? They don’t seem to want Rafe and Hassan, but are after Lady Esme.

The moment Rafe and Loretta meet for the first time, time seems to stand still. Instantly aware of the other, and shaken to their souls, they have eyes only for each other. But Rafe can’t afford any distraction from his mission, so he tries to control himself, and ignore the attraction between them. Loretta has other plans. Never has she been attracted to a gentleman before, and she needs to find out about herself, before she is back in her old life in her brothers house in London. She wants to explore the attraction, and find out if she can have marriage after all, or will spend the rest of her life as an old maid. And when Loretta charges, Rafe doesn’t stand a chance. He will of course marry her when they cross the final line, but Loretta holds out on her promise. O, she knows he is in love with her, but she needs him to acknowledge that fact too.

Danger throws the two of them together, closer and closer. And when back in England the final battle begins, amidst all the other heroes of the previous books by Stephanie Laurens, they know they want to be together for ever.

I really did like the story, but there are some things in Stephanie Laurens’ books I am starting to dislike. Both Loretta and Rafe think way too much, there are too many love scenes, when I want some action, some intrigue. Stephanie Laurens is not easy or fast to read, she uses long sentences and an elaborate play of words. I love the story itself, and the strong hero and heroine, who are made for each other. Of course I will continue buying and reading her books, as I love meeting the previous characters again, and the adventures the current couple has.

I had a feeling about the Black Cobra that became reality, and made me think back to the previous books. All in all, a really good quartet of books.

7 stars.

dinsdag 16 november 2010

New additions to my addiction

Finally, Sinterklaas arrived early for me. But I have been waiting for two weeks for those books to reach  me, so I am happy.

Amanda Quick - The third circle
Yasmine Galenorn - Harvest Hunting
Lori Handeland - Marked by the moon
Jayne Castle - Obsidian Prey
Nalini Singh - Branded by Fire

and last but not least: Jennifer Estep - Spider's Bite, which I won in a book contest on Realmsonourbookshelves blog.

zondag 14 november 2010

Jayne Castle – Midnight Crystal

The third book in the Arcane Society: Dreamlight Trilogy series, published in 2010.

Midnight Crystal

For many Earthly centuries a legendary curse has plagued the Winters family, stemming form the tumultuous founding of the Arcane Society. But now, on the futuristic world of Harmony, the curse’s final mystery will be unravelled…

Adam Winters has enough responsibility as the new head of the local Ghost Hunter Guild without being saddled with the family curse. He’s convinced his recent nightmares and hallucinations will lead to him becoming a psychic rogue – unless he can find a stolen relic and a woman who can read dreamlight.

Marlowe Jones rides into his life on a motorcycle and with a dust bunny at her side. Though a descendant of the rival Arcane family, she’s just what Adam needs: a psychic private investigator and dreamlight reader extraordinaire.

Together, amid the glowing catacombs and steamy underground jungles at Harmony, Adam and Marlowe must break the curse, save the entire underworld – and fight a passion that could destroy them both…

I truly loved this book, but I am also kind of sorry I read it. It means there are no new books in this series to look forward to for a very long time. I am confident there will be more, but there will probably first come a historical Amanda Quick novel, then a contemporary Jayne Ann Krentz novel, and only then perhaps a new futuristic Jayne Castle novel. I love them all, but I have fallen for this great world with its adorable dustbunnies.

When Marlowe Jones contacts Adam Winters, and asks him to meet her somewhere private, she has no idea of the intrigue that will follow. Marlowe informs Adam that a powerful relic has been stolen from the Arcane Society museum, called the Burning Lamp. It belongs to the Winters family, and is needed every few generations to save one of the men from becoming an insane Cerberus talent. But Adam tells her not to worry, the lamp in the museum was just a fake. As a matter of fact, he has been looking for the real lamp for quit some time now, as the real one has disappeared too. And as she is a PI, the new head of Jones and Jones, with the full power of the Arcane Society behind her, he can really use her help. According to legend, only when a Winters and a powerful dreamlight reader work together, they will find the lamp.

Then their meeting is abruptly disturbed by a gunshot. Someone has been trying to kill Adam ever since he became the new Guild Boss of Frequency city. The second shot blasts one of the tyres of her motorcycle, so that area of escape is gone to. The only way to stay alive is to get down into the catacombs. Which is not so easy as there is a vortex over the entrance. Luckily, Adam is powerful enough to deal with that. But the afterburn of using so much psy power really kicks in hard and fast. They barely make it safely to an underground rainforest where they will be safe from their pursuer.

Soon after Adams collapses, Marlowe senses his nightmares, and soothes him with her powers. Then she leaves him asleep for six hours, causing their return to the city really late. The tabloids have a field day with that, their picture is splattered all over the front page: new Guild Boss and his mistress … Marlowe is not amused by that, and neither is her family. But they believe she and Adam are meant for each other, her mother is after all a very strong talent too … Marlowe got burned really badly by a con artist a few weeks ago, so she is very cautious about Adam. But Adam knows she is the one from the start, so he doesn’t mind the fuss all that much. He wants her for his wife, and he will make sure to get what he wants.

But first they have to find the Burning Lamp, heal his parasenses and then save the underworld. All in a days work ofcourse.

But the danger is not over when that is done. Other people want to Burning Lamp for themselves.

A really great story again. Filled with action, and humor. Gibson the dustbunny is no artist like Elvis or Vincent, but he does have a lot of friends. And when your friends come to visit, you have to feed them of course.

I liked both Marlowe and Adam a lot. Marlowe is really hot on that bike of hers, and Adam notices that right away. They work really well together, even though there is a bad history between the Winters and the Joneses. I loved the part where the ancient prophesy became reality. How Adam was prepared to die to save Marlowe, and how she saved him instead.

There are some hot love scenes too, and of course some of the previous characters make an appearance here. All in all, a good read.

9 stars.

zaterdag 13 november 2010

New additions to my addiction

I almost forgot to post this, but I received three books yesterday evening. One from my backlist, and two brand new ones I have been looking forward to a lot:

Amanda Quick - The perfect poison
Jayne Castle - Midnight Crystal (which I am reading at the moment)
Stephanie Laurens - The reckless bride (which will be the next book I will be reading).

But still I haven't received some of the jewels I have ordered and which have been dispatched last week already. Sigh.

Jayne Castle – Obsidian Prey

The seventh book in the Harmony World series, published in 2009.

Obsidian Prey

Two hundred years after the closing of the energy Curtain that allowed interplanetary travel - cutting off all contact to Earth - the planet Harmony is thriving. Thanks to an abundant supply of amber, which powers not only electrical machines for everyday use but also psychic abilities in the colonists, Harmony has created a stable, progressive community. But when that stability is threatened, resolving an ancient family feud and a fresh lover's quarrel might be the planet's only hope.

Three months ago, Lyra Dore suffered a heartbreak and a hostile takeover - both at the hands of the same man. A descendant of her ancestors' fierce rival. Cruz Sweetwater charmed his way into Lyra's heart and gained access to her pet project, an amethyst ruin. Then he took over the project and took off. When Cruz walks back into her life and requests a private meeting, Lyra convinces herself he's there to crawl and beg forgiveness. Wrong again - he just needs her help. With the project he stole from her.

Five innocent men are trapped inside a chamber in the amethyst ruin, and Lyra is the only one who can reopen the door. Reluctantly she agrees to help. Then Cruz wants her to apply her talents to the rest of the ruin - because no one else can work it. Lyra and Cruz are both harboring psychic secrets. Unknown - and dangerous - powers pulse within the amethyst ruin, and the closer Lyra gets to them, the more at risk she becomes. And now she must decide whether to trust her guts or her heart.

Lyra Dora is a tuner of amber, and a very good one at that. She is one of the rare ones, she can tune any colour of amber, but her speciality is amethyst amber. Once exploring the underground alien jungle of Frequency City, her dustbunny Vincent led her to an amethyst amber ruin, something not found before. But as an independent prospector, her find is confiscated by the authorities, who hand it over to Amber Inc, to secure and investigate it. And it was the man she loved who took it from her. She never knew he was a Sweetwater until he walked out on her, otherwise she would have listened to her grandfathers warnings about that particular family.

Lyra is not the sort of woman to leave it at that, take the money offered, and keep her mouth shut. No, she files a lawsuit against Amber Inc, and nearly got bankrupt because of it. She hired a lousy lawyer and Amber Inc’s expensive ones wiped the floor with him. But she did get a lot of press out of it.

And now, three months later, Cruz Sweetwater, CEO of Amber Inc, comes back into her life. Not just because she broke his heart as he claims, but because he needs his help. The company has been unable to find anyone who can work with amethyst amber, so they have been unsuccessful to work with it and discover its secrets. She knew that of course, the head of the lab, an obnoxious dr. Webber has been trying to get her to work for him for weeks now.
The door of the amethyst amber building has suddenly closed, trapping 5 innocent people inside. And as much as she loathes AI or the Guild, she will save them. Of course, the press has a field day with this all, thinking they got back together.

And that is certainly Cruz’s intent. The very first time he set eyes on Lyra, he knew she was the one for him. But at the time he was just doing his job, and trying to keep her safe. His family is one of Old Earth’s most powerful psychics, hunters by nature, and high in the echelons of the Arcane Society. But they also have the ability to recognize their lifemates. The only difficulty is to convince Lyra of that fact. She distrusts him now, and with reason of course.

After Lyra opens the amethyst amber chamber, and frees the people in there, Cruz goes back home with her again. And there he tells her one of the artefacts has been stolen from his lab, and a lab tech murdered. Some one is trying to set it up like she is the one behind all this. Of course he doesn’t believe it for one moment, but she will be needing his protection. Of course, sticking close to her will also give him the opportunity to find out who is behind it all. So it is not so strange Lyra keeps doubting him, as he always has multiple purposes, and still wants her help with the amethyst amber artefacts. He suspects she has hidden some of them before his company took over the chamber from her, and of course, she has. Some of the most powerful relics ever discovered, but as she believes them dangerous, she doesn’t want to turn them over to the government to be used as weapons. Lyra wants to have control over what will happen to them. And to her astonishment, Cruz agrees. But he does ask her a large favour in return. To accompany him to his grandfathers’ birthday party on Amber Island, to meet his family.

I loved this story a lot. It combines the Harmony world with the Arcane Society very nicely. I absolutely loved Vincent, the painting dustbunny. The story is very fastpaced, with lots of action, and some nice love scenes. But it certainly was Lyra who got my admiration. She just doesn’t give up, is a very strong psychic herself. I love the humor and the witty banter, she knows she is playing with fire by teasing Cruz, but that won’t stop her. She even accepts a consulting job with his biggest competitor, knowing he will not like it. But it is her career, her life, and he has no say over that! But of course, Cruz does not meakly accept it, he doesn’t trust that man not to take advantage of Lyra, so he just goes with her.

The last two scenes in the book are great. Hooray for the dustbunnies!

I really love this world Jayne Ann Krentz has created, and I do hope there will be many more books. For now, I only have Midnight Crystal left.

9 stars.

vrijdag 12 november 2010

Lynn Kurland – If I had you

The second book in the De Piaget series, published in 2000.

If I had you

Artane … a majestic keep on the edge of the sea.

Artane … the foster home of Anne of Fenwyck and the legacy of Robin de Piaget

Warring had kept Robin far from home for so long, Anne had all but given up hope he would ever return. But now Robin has returned to Artane – to the enchanting young woman who leaves him breathless with longing … and to a treachery that places them both in terrible danger. Then as the past threatens their future, he realizes that he wants nothing more than to have her – forever…

It took me awhile to finish this book, as it is a lot thicker than most historical romance books. Also, the characters use old(er) English, which makes it slower to read, but ads to the atmosphere. I really liked this book. The tale grabbed me from the start, and so did the hero and heroine.

After being humiliated in a fight as a young boy, Robin vows to become the best swordsman in the country, to be worthy of his stepfather’s admiration and his lady’s love. Not believing he hurts both of them by being away for so long.

Anne of Fenwyck also doesn’t believe herself worthy of his love. After all, why would a man as handsome as he wants a cripple for a wife? She smashed her leg in a horseriding accident as a kid, and now she walks with a limp. She hasn’t looked in the mirror for years, and totally does not believe herself pretty. But she is. She looks at her foster sister Amanda, and sees a feisty beauty so not like herself. Why would anyone look at her twice. Of course, al the teasing and hurting remarks she has heard all her life from her father and the pages around her, have not build her self conscience a bit.

Her father is trying to sell her and her inheritance to the first man who would want her. Until now, she has always managed to disparage her suitors, waiting and hoping for Robin to come back. And now he and his brother Nicholas are back at Artane. To tease his brother, and to make him finally declare himself, Nicholas pretends to court Anne himself. His brother can’t stand that, but he also is not capable of being nice to her. Everything he says and does, Anne takes as an insults, and she lashes out at him. They both suffer in silence, thinking the other cannot possibly love them. Each time they manage to come closer together, something happens that ruins everything again.

Then accidents are starting to befall Anne. Until she cannot deny the truth any longer, someone is trying to kill her. With their parents gone, Robin can see only one way to keep her safe, and this is keeping her in his parents chambers, under guard by his own trusted men, and with him in the room at night. Of course rumours abound, and when their parents come home unexpectedly early and find them in the room together, they are wed within the hour. The one thing they both want the most, but not in that way! But they are wed, they have to spend time together, but is the danger really over now?

I loved this book. Lynn Kurland has a very nice writing style, she makes the characters come alive, with both their good characteristics and their flaws. The short in between chapters where the story of the “bad people” is told, really ads to the book, and to the suspense.

Robin is a great warrior, and kind of a barbarian. He doesn’t care for courtly manners, but as he thinks Anne wants herself a gentle knight, he really tries to learn some skills to court her. And for some one who is not a poet, he sure tells her nice things. I really liked him.

There is humor in this book, and true love, but no love scenes. A nice change I find. I also like the secondary characters in Robin’s siblings, and hope to read more about them in the next book in this series. I am especially curious about Nicholas, and Amanda. Will Robin’s squire get her?

8 stars.

donderdag 11 november 2010

New additions to my addiction

I know The Bookdepository has shipped several new books to me last week, but so far I have only received two of them. Each day I come home hoping to find a lot of packages behind the door, but only to be disappointed. Well, there is always tomorrow. But I think I will never check the site if my books have been shipped in future ....

Nalini Singh - Archangel's Kiss and Angels' Blood will be joining my other books on the shelves.

I also received the new calendar by Nene Thomas yesterday, which I bought in America. I love the new pictures, am very happy with it. (Shipping from America is faster than shipping from England, strange huh).

dinsdag 9 november 2010

Cherry Adair – Black Magic

This is a stand alone novel, published in 2010.

Black Magic


Ever since the death of her parents, Sara Temple has rejected her magical gifts. Then, in a moment of extreme danger, she unknowingly sends out a telepathic cry for help - to the one man she is convinced she never wants to see again.


Jackson Slater thought he was done forever with his ex-fiancée, but when he hears her desperate plea, he teleports halfway around the world to aid her in a situation where magic has gone suddenly, brutally wrong.


But while Sara and Jack remain convinced they are completely mismatched, the Wizard Council feels otherwise. A dark force is killing some of the world's most influential wizards, and the ex-lovers have just proved their abilities are mysteriously amplified when they work together. But with the fate of the world at stake, will the violent emotions still simmering between them drive them farther apart . . . or bring them back into each other's arms?

How to write a review about a book where so much has happened?

Jack and Sara have a history together. They once were so very much in love, they nearly got married. And now they meet again, not under the best of circumstances. A wizard has gotten crazy, threatening to kill both his wife and Sara, and Sara’s desperate pleas have reached Jack half a world away. He arrives just in time to save the woman, but he has to shoot Alberto to do that. Something Sara didn’t want him to do, as she thinks of Alberto as a surrogate father. But Jack’s magic doesn’t seem to work so he has no other choice. And then suddenly they are at the Wizard’s Council, where they learn that the evil Omnivatics are not extinct as thought, and they are behind the latest natural disasters worldwide. In three weeks time, a certain comet will be passing earth again, as it does every 333 years, and at that time, the Omnivatics are at their most powerful. So they have to find the source of this evil, and they have to work together to do that.
They both protest, but to no avail, and it is true, their powers seem to amplify each others. But they are no Lifemates! It can’t be!

Sara still lives with her Guardian, also her friend and her employer, Grant Baltzer, a man Jack has always disliked intensely. She works as an interior decorator, and keeps an eye on the building of his new hotels in South America. Sara is very good at what she does. She is afraid of using her magic, but for small things like changing clothes. After all, her parents died because she couldn’t control her powers as a teenager. Jack doesn’t believe that, but can’t convince her of the truth.

Both Jack and Sara are still attracted to each other, they still love each other, although both are determined to keep their distance. A broken heart costs too much pain. But they have to stick together and cannot fight their attraction. Every time they become close again, there is something that drives a wedge between them. They disagree, mostly about Grant, or the large house snake Harry. Jack loathes snakes, ever since a horrible incident when he was 10 years old, he is terrified of them. So being in the jungle is not his favourite place to be.

Piece by piece, they unravel the truth. About the evil wizard, and about their own history, and what keeps getting between them.

What we have here is a book filled with magic, with love scenes, and with snakes. I already had an enormous dislike, fright, of snakes, and reading this book did not do anything to make it better. It is even worse now.
But, I still think it is a good story, and I sure wish it was not a stand alone as I like the concept.

I liked Jack from the start. He is strong and handsome, a geologist, and really loves Sara. He knows Grant is the one driving a wedge between them, and it is very frustrating when Sara just doesn’t want to see it. He is not a macho he-man, he lets Sara be herself, and do her things. Together they are great. I was hesitating about Sara at first, as she just wanted to have other people deal with things, instead of doing it herself. Relying on herself. In the end again she had to be saved, couldn’t do it herself. Bit of a disappointment really. Not the strong heroine I love.

7,5 stars.

zondag 7 november 2010

Tamar Myers – No use dying over spilled milk

The third book in the Pennsylvania Dutch Mysteries with Recipes series, published in 1996.


Magdalena Yoder is out from behind the counter of the PennDutch Inn, and into hot milk – uh, water. Yost Yoder, her second cousin twice removed, has been found naked, floating in a tank of unpasteurized milk, and Magdalena knows it’s murder: Amish men just don’t go swimming in milk in the middle of February.

Loading up the car with her free-spirited sister and her fickle cook, she heads to Farmersburg, Ohio, for the funeral … and gallons of trouble! She learns that not a week earlier another Amish man met his untimely death. Something is truly rotten in Farmersburg, and it smells a lot like cheese. When a war between powerful cheese makers erupts, Magdalena uncovers the startling truth about what’s churning in this once peaceful town.

It really is a fun series. Magdalena is such a character. All prim and proper, but she loves to pry her nose into everything, and eats like a dock worker. She has no tact whatsoever, and just asks the most embarrassing questions. And she gets the answers to. Of course, not everyone likes her, and she sometimes gets bodily removed from a premises, but she is always a lady.
Witty sarcasm flows of the pages. If you are not Amish, you’r English. Even though the Yoders were Amish before becoming Mennonites, and every bit as strict.
She is cursed with a younger sister who chases everyone in pants, carrying her rat like dog with her in her bra (as she has no other use for the thing anyway), who doesn’t like to work but sleeps the day away instead.
The fun part is that Magdalena now has a boyfriend for her own, and soon may be a married lady. I do wonder if that will change her one bit.

O, about this book. The mystery was not really a mystery, but the people involved were not really clear till they revealed themselves by kid/car-napping Magdalena.

7 stars.

zaterdag 6 november 2010

Jayne Castle – Dark Light

The sixth book in the Harmony World series, published in 2008. Don’t you just love this cover? I see a young Tom Cruise in this picture … hmmmm ….

Dark Light

Everything is different underground. Just ask the residents of Harmony, a futuristic world where alien catacombs can lead you astray - and where psychic senses spark out-of-this-world passion...

Reporter Sierra McIntyre's stories on Crystal City's ghost hunters - and their mysterious guild - have earned her tabloid a bit of respect. And they've allowed her to clothe her dust bunny companion Elvis in rock-and-roll style. It helps that she has mega-rez intuition to fall back on...

Especially 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 senses - and Elvis - 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 is nothing pure about the attraction that sizzles between them...

Sierra McIntyre comes from a rich and old family, with ties to the old Earth Arcane Society, a well kept secret here on harmony. They are psychics in their own rights, not because of the strange world they live one, not because of their links to amber. A well kept secret, as ordinary people are still afraid of what they can’t understand. Just like the well kept Guild Secret about Dark Light, a very rare ability to work with the other end of the Ghost Light spectrum, and John Fontana has that peculiar ability. It enabled him to duel the former Guild Boss, who could wield blue ghostlight.

When Sierra gets to meet Fontana for a special interview, sparks strike between them, or in Harmonic terms: they rezz, instantly connect on a psychic lever. Even her dust bunny Elvis (complete with white rhinestone cape) likes Fontana. Sierra has accused the Guild of abandoning its hunters when they no longer can work the catacombs, there are homeless men disappearing, and the Guild should look after them better. And how about that new drug on the market, that especially affects the hunters? To her surprise, Fontana agrees with her, and he needs her help to find out the truth. To stop the new drugs and to find the abducted hunters, dead or alive. But Sierra is in danger too, the gang that is trafficking the drug is after he, and just to keep her safe, she should marry him. Cause killing a Guild Boss wife would attract way to much attention. So that very same day they enter in a Marriage of Convenience. Her family is shocked, not McIntyre for generations has done that, they always go straight for the Covenant Marriage. But luckily they are all back in Frequency City, and will find out after the fact. And so Sierra herself is cover material for the paper she is working for. After all, the marriage of a Guild Boss is huge news, not only in Crystal City.

Danger is closer than they think. Some bikers try to catch Sierra on the way to her wedding, if not for some old hunter friends who save her. They are astonished to learn about her wedding the new Guild Boss, and insist to bring her there safely. Fontana is very grateful for them. One thing that didn’t occur to Sierra, is that as his wife, she is supposed to move in with him. After all, she only has a little cheap flat, and he lives in a secure mansion. Or not so secure when it is burned down with them in it. They make a narrow escape into the catacombs, where there are other bikers awaiting them, using a strange violet ghost light to hunt them.

I very much liked this story. It was fast paced with lots of action, both above ground and in the catacombs and rainforest, with a good amount of humor. I also liked the secondary characters as Sierra’s coworkers. Strangely enough, the farfetched headlines and stories they made up, came true, sort of. And Elvis, the dust bunny, he really stole the show. I liked both Sierra and Fontana. She stood up to him, something he apparently isn’t used to, and soon has him wrapped around her finger, even though he is not aware of it. But he will do anything to keep her safe. Again some new alien devices are found, and new types of ruins with their own stories, so the alien history is being expanded too. I am really looking forward to the next two books, I do hope they get delivered soon.

8 stars.

vrijdag 5 november 2010

Suzanne Enoch – Rules of an engagement

The third novel in the Adventurers Club series, published in 2010.

Rules of an engagement

For proper young ladies, good behavior has always been the rule.

Captain Bradshaw Carroway loves the seafaring life - though he'd rather be battling brigands than his current assignment of ferrying a boatload of spoiled aristocrats. One passenger, however, has caught his eye: a bewitching young minx who definitely distracts him from the rules of shipboard decorum . . .

Some rules, of course, are meant to be broken.

Miss Zephyr Ponsley has travelled the world, but she's completely innocent in the ways of love. She's never learned to dance or flirt. But scientific observation has taught her that the laws of attraction have no rules, and that no adventure, on land or sea, is more dangerous - or delicious - than passion!

Captain Bradshaw Carroway thought he liked nothing better than being captain on his own war ship, fighting enemies and pirates, holding the wheal in storms, being free of society. But on his last battle he lost his best friend to a stray bullet, and suddenly he has lost his appetite for fighting and bloodshed. Still, he is not ready to retire yet, but he is restless. Then the Duke of Somerset asks him for a favour on his next journey. Apparently, the Duke knows his orders better than he does, when he has to report to Australia. The Duke asks him to deliver something for him on Tahiti, where he made a promise to a man a decade ago. So now Shaw has something to focus on during the long journey to Australia.

Finally arrived in Australia, he at long last gets his orders. Not something he would have expected, or what an ordinary naval captain would have liked. He is to escort a famous botanist, dr. Joseph Ponsley and his daughter on a tour of the islands in the Pacific, including somewhere in that list Tahiti. He is to guard them, and to help them establish contact with the natives, even though some of them are known cannibals!

Miss Zephyr Ponsley has a very low regard for Shaw, as she finds out he doesn’t read very much. She thinks all naval persons are bloodthirsty and wanting to fight. She believes he would rather shoot the natives on sight then make friends of them. But she is to be proven so very wrong.

Shaw is surprised by this young miss, who is not like any lady he has ever met. She insults him continually, and is very blunt and outspoken. She helps her father by making sketches of his finds, and to help harvesting not only botanicals, but also insects and birds and such. And Shaw will have to find a way to stow them on his ship, not knowing about that last part until his carpenter is asked to make some birdcages. But he likes Zephyr and indulges her as much as he can. Unfortunately, just before they start the journey, some other stranded passengers are foisted of on him and his ship. As the war with France is over, his ship is only half staffed, so luckily for those passengers and their servants, he has the room in the officers quarters to house them. But they are demanding and ungrateful and question his authority way too much.

Lots of adventures for Zephyr and her father, and Shaw and his crew in gathering the specimens the botanist wants, and with the contact with the natives. Both friendly and not so friendly. And Zephyr and Shaw are getting to know each other, are attracted to each other. Each has to figure out what he or she wants in life. Shaw couldn’t see himself settle down on land, with a house and a wife, but now he has met Zephyr, things change. And Zephyr was content travelling the world with her father as his assistant, knowing she is not as important to him as his work is. Having a place of her own or a husband, never crossed her mind. Until Shaw. Of course other men have tried to seduce her, but she has never been tempted.

I really liked the story, even though I couldn’t read for long stretches, or concentrate as I should. I liked Shaw and Zephyr, though she really was very harsh with him. He was amused by her biting comments, and attracted to her at the same time. Love came as a surprise to both of them. They are both strong characters, but complemented each other. There was enough time to really find out about the other before they finally became lovers, which I prefer. Not a book filled with seduction and one lovescene after another. Their adventure was a good one, and sometimes exciting to follow. Something like that cannot happen in those modern times anymore, I really loved it.

Suzanne Enoch is one of my favourite authors, I like the writing style, the humor, the characters, both primary and secondary. But I still love her contemporary Samantha Jellicoe series best of all.

8 stars.

donderdag 4 november 2010

J.D. Robb – Indulgence in Death

Book 38 in the In Death series, published in 2010. Book 38 and still a great and surprising series I love very much.

Indulgence in Death

First it was a limo driver shot through the neck with a crossbow. Then it was a high-priced escort stabbed through the heart with a bayonet.

Random hits, thrill kills, murderers with a taste for the finer things in life - and death - are making NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas angry. And an angry Eve can be just as an efficient and dangerous predator as the killer.

As time runs out on another innocent victim's life, Eve's investigation will take her into the rarified circle that her husband, Roarke, travels in - and into the perverted heart of madness..

Just back from a well deserved vacation, Eve Dallas gets a new homicide on her plate. A limo driver from one of the best and most expensive limo services in town is murdered. With a crossbow. No matter how she looks, she can find no motive for the murder. The man had no enemies and leaves behind his grieving widow and two young children. His wife inherits his half of the company. It just seems random. Especially when the man who hired the limo that evening, was elsewhere. Someone stole his company credit card data to do that. Which is not a good thing if you are in the business of security.

Then the second murder, one of the best Licensed Companyons in the city is found in the Haunted House, stabbed through the heart with an ancient bayonet. Her services were hired again by someone with a ironclad alibi, whose company credit card data were used. To Eve, it just looks like a murderous game of Clue. But are they really random, or is there a pattern to it, some far fletched link to the murderer? Or perhaps murderers?

On surveillance video they catch a little glimpse of the man who escorts the LC into the haunted house. His face is only partly visible, but his shoes are clear. And luckily, they are very expensive ones, so they have a real lead here.

Very soon in the story, Eve suspects some people, and of course her instincts are true. But now the hard part: to prove it. I won’t tell you anymore, so not to spoil the suspense.

Again, I loved this story. Of course because of the great detective part, the murders, the trying to prove it all part, but secondary just for the characters of Eve and Roarke, and their friends. They are some very special people, and you just have to love them. If you like romantic suspense, a good story, and great personalities, you really have to read this series. It will give you many hours of reading pleasure.

9 stars.

woensdag 3 november 2010

New addition to my addiction

Tamar Myers - No use dying over spilled milk has finally found my house today. So now I can read on with this huge series.

dinsdag 2 november 2010

Yasmine Galenorn – Harvest Hunting

The eighth book in the Otherworld / Sisters of the Moon series, published in 2010. A really great urban fantasy series, which I heartily recommend.


We're the D'Artigo sisters: sexy, savvy operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. But being half-human, half-Fae means our supernatural talents can go haywire at any time. My sister Camille is a wicked good witch whose life recently took a drastic turn. Menolly's a vampire who's still getting the hang of being undead. And me? I'm Delilah, a werecat with a very interesting love life. But life isn't all fun and games. We're on the trail of the demon general who has decided that we've become quite a nuisance...

It's Samhain, and the Autumn Lord, has called for my training to begin with the Death Maidens...and I find that I like it. But we've got problems: werewolves are going missing and a new magical drug, "Wolf Briar," is being used as a weapon. My dear Chase and I have come to a delicate crossroads and there's no turning back from our decision. And most dangerous of all: Stacia Bonecrusher has put a bounty on our heads. Now it's a race to take out the demon general before she realizes the sixth Spirit Seal is within her reach...

This book continues where the previous one, Bone Magic, stopped. But this time it is the middle sister, Delilah, in the lead again. Her boyfriend Chase almost got himself killed, but for the Elixer of Life, that saved him. Or not. He is no longer human, and will live for a thousand years. It is very hard for him to come to terms with it, and for now, he wants to end their relationship. He needs to find himself. He still loves Delilah, but he needs to be alone. And that really tears her apart. Her other boyfriend, Zachary, also doesn’t want to see her as he is adjusting to live in a wheelchair. But she still has her master, the Autumn Lord, as she is his only living Death Maiden. He comforts her, and now her training begins. She meets the other Death Maidens, and her sister Arial, who lives with them. And she meets Shade, half shadow dragon, half something else. Very ancient, very powerful, and he reminds her very much of her master. She falls for him immediately, he is her Soulmate, just like Camille and her three husbands are.

Luke, the bartender working in Menolly’s bar and a werewolf without a pack, asks for her aid. His sister Amber has finally fled her abusive husband in Montana, and has come to Seattle to visit. But shortly after she checked in the hotel, she went missing. The police won’t do much about a missing shape shifter, so he asks Delilah for help. After all, she is a licensed P.I.

Together with Camille, they go scout out her hotelroom, and run afoul of some very bad magic, which lays Camille out cold. Wolf Briar, made from the glands of Alpha Werewolf Males, to turn other werewolves into submissives, for good. Apparently, it also affects other magic users in a bad way. And it can only be harvested from dead bodies …

Now they are not only looking for their enemy, the deadly lamia Stacia Bonecrusher, but also for some missing werewolves, and a rogue coyote pack, using the stuff. And not in the least, trying to find the next spirit seals.

The whole story is full of battles and action, finding out clues and following up on them. The cast of characters grows with each new book, so you really have to read this series in order. There are some love scenes, lots of magic and very colourful secondary characters. What is very important, is that the main three characters, Camille, Delilah and Menolly, grow in their own magic and powers and confidence in each book. They mature, handle loss and grief, and find their strengths together, the three of then, and together with their friends and lovers.

I love this series a lot, am so curious how it will al end, where the plot will take me. But for now, there are more spirit seals to find, so I am hoping for at least 4 more books. I am also dying to find out more about Iris and her secrets.

9 stars.

Lisa Kleypas – Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor

The first book in the Friday Harbor series, published in 2010.

Christmas Eve

Entrusted with the guardianship of his orphaned niece Holly, Mark Nolan plans to marry his longtime girlfriend Shelby. But an unwelcome and tantalizing distraction appears in the form of Maggie Conroy, a young widow who has recently opened a toy shop at Friday Harbor. Mark is a cynic and a realist, but Maggie is a dreamer who hopes to make him believe in magic . . .

When Holly’s mother dies in a car accident, her brother Mark is stunned to find out he is appointed as Holly’s guardian. How on earth is he going to manage a 6 year old girl? It is not like he and his brothers had a good example growing up. Their parents fought constantly, and punished their children without much thought. His bachelor one-bedroom condo in Friday Harbor is no place to raise a child, so he convinces his younger brother Sam to let them move in with him. Sam has bought a vineyard with a huge rambling Victorian mansion, which has room enough for the both of them. It only needs an enormous amount of work to make it habitable and safe for a child. Of course, the very first rooms that are finished, are Holly’s bedroom and her bathroom, and then the kitchen.

Both men become attached to Holly very fast, never knowing they could actually feel love. And the brothers become closer to each other as well. But one thing worries them: since her mothers death six months ago, Holly hasn’t spoken a single word. The paediatrician tells them it will take time, and not to force anything, but Mark is worried about Holly.

Then one day, they are visiting the local toy store. Holly becomes entranced with a faery house up on display, and the owner of the toyshop explains everything about faeries to Holly. Mark is not so happy with that, as he sees no point to let Holly believe in things that are not real, like magic. But he has never seen Holly bond with a woman so fast, even taking her hand. He himself is also very attracted to Maggie, even though he has a steady girlfriend whom he is even contemplating marriage to. Of course he is not in love with Shelby, but still they could have a good life together.

Then Maggie gives Holly a large seashell, and tells her to whisper her secrets in it, to hear them come back at her, and after a while, Holly really does whisper, and suddenly starts talking to her uncle. Mark is so very relieved and happy with it, he doesn’t object any more.

Maggie is a widow of 28, who lost her husband to cancer. It was hard to see him die, and to stay strong for him, she doesn’t know if she can go through that again, but Mark and Holly are getting to her. Even though he has a girlfriend, she is attracted to him, something she hasn’t felt for a long time. Her family and friends want her to start dating again, after all it has been two years now, time to get on with her life.

When one night Holly gets very ill, Mark finally realises Shelby is not meant for him. It is Maggie he wants, and Maggie he needs in his life, and in Hollies too. But convincing Maggie at that, is not going to be easy.

I liked this little book, a lovely contemporary romance, with no suspense whatsoever. It has been a long time since I read something like it. I fell for the characters right away. Lisa Kleypas has a great writing style, she makes them come really alive for me. Humor and compassion are tightly interwoven. No rush rush romance, where they fall into bed at once, and are almost married at the end of the week. They have time to get to know each other, to know their own feelings.

I am really looking forward to the rest of the series, though I will always prefer her historical romances.
8 stars.

maandag 1 november 2010

Nalini Singh – Play of Passion

The ninth book in the Psy-Changelings series, published in 2010.

Play of Passion

In his position as tracker for the SnowDancer pack, it’s up to Drew Kincaid to rein in rogue changelings who have lost control of their animal halves – even if it means killing those who have gone too far. But nothing in his life has prepared him for the battle he must now wage to win the heart of a woman who makes his body ignite … and who threatens to enslave his wolf.

Lieutenant Indigo Riviere doesn’t easily allow skin privileges, especially of the sensual kind – and the last person she expects to find herself craving is the most wickedly playful male in the den. Everything she knows tells her to pull back before the flames burn them both to ash… but she hasn’t counted on Drew’s will.

Now, two of SnowDancer’s most stubborn wolves find themselves playing a hot, sexy game even as lethal danger stalks the very place they call home.

Drew has been desiring Indigo for a long time now, but she keeps seeing him only as the younger brother of Riley, her fellow Lieutenant, and as less. After all, she is the dominant of the two, and outranks him. As a tracker, which is not known throughout the pack, he is not really included in the hierarchy, something that is very important to wolves.

So one day, Drew makes his move on Indigo, and blows it. She doesn’t like it that he treats her as less dominant, she did not grant him skin privileges yet. And she is very sorry that their easy friendship is gone now. She needs a man she can respect, a man who is her equal, and not a young boy.

But Drew is not al that sorry. At least he got Indigo thinking of him as something else than a friend. And of course, he will not give up until she is his. Indigo is very weary of starting a relationship that will go nowhere, she has her aunt as primary example. Her aunt has fallen in love with a lesser wolf, and he just can’t handle the fact that she is dominant over him. Their love has turned to hatred, but a wolf mates for life, so not so strange that Indigo is cautious in her choice of lovers.

Yes, she is attracted to Drew, he is after all very handsome, with a gorgeous body, and can charm everybody, which is a necessary trade for his job. But is he really serious about her? Can he accept who she is, or will he try to boss her around once she is his lover?

In the meantime, two of the Psy-Councillors have decided that it is time for war. The council is divided over Silence, and Pure Psy is beginning to attract more and more followers. One of the first things necessary, is to take out the leaders of the SnowDancers and DarkRiver clans. But the wolves patrol their lands well, and soon find out the devices the Psy are planting on their lands. Lesser Psy are murdered all around the city, others disappear without a trace.

With this book, Nalini Singh got back to the roots of the story, the SnowDancers pack and all its members, their society, the strength of the family, the Pack. The wolves are fierce fighters, but also love to play with each other, and not just mating games. I liked the training moments with the children of the Pack, how they learn to control their wolf, to accept dominance.

I liked Indigo a lot. Fiercely loyal to the pack, very unsure what to do about Drew, but still not able to deny herself the pleasure of his touch, his kiss. Trying to choose another more suitable male for her mate, but not being able to as her heart was already lost. They were great together, and had the time to get to know each other even better than they already did, and accept each others dominance and character.

But still, I did miss the high paced action of the previous books. The intrigue was there, but not as much as I am used to, and love. No real plot twists either, perhaps a little bit at the end. This book is more romance than action, and no real suspense moments either except for one fight with some Psy, in which Drew got wounded.

All in all, still a good book, but it did not really capture my attention for a very long time.

I am looking forward to the next book though, which will be about Hawke. Whose cover is extremely lickable! I hope there will be major breaks in the plot in that one.

From now on I will start grading the books I read, and this one gets 7 stars.

New books to look forward to for november 2010

I have a huge stack of books on my list for november, lovely! Some of those, I really have been waiting for for months. So they will be devoured as soon as I get my hands on them.

Lisa Kleypas - Christmas Eve at Friday Harbour

Stephanie Laurens - The reckless bride
Nora Roberts – Happy ever after – Bride Quartet 4
Christine Feehan – Sea Storm
Suzanne Enoch - Rules of an engagement
Karen Hawkins - One night in Scotland
Nalini Singh – Play of passion – Psy–Changelings 9
JD Robb – Indulgence in Death - In Death 38
CL Wilson – Crown of Crystal Flame – Tairen Soul 5
Marjorie M. Liu – The stars below – Dirk and Steele 10
Anna Windsor – Captive Spirit
Barbara Bretton – Spun by Sorcery
Anne McCaffrey – Catalyst – Barque Cats 1
Lori Handeland – Marked by the Moon – Night Creature 9
Cheyenne McCray – Vampires not invited – Night Tracker 3
Nora Roberts – The Other Side anthology
Jacquelyn Frank – Drink of me
Susan Krinard – Luck of the Wolf

To my shame I must admit, I have read only 2 of the books for september. Though I did read 22 books, which is a great score I believe.