maandag 31 januari 2011

Lynn Viehl – Frostfire

The third book in the Kyndred series, published in January 2011.


As one of the genetically enhanced Kyndred, Lilah can read and control the minds of animals. Rescuing a group of kids from a wayward bear brings her to the attention of GenHance, the shadowy biotech company willing to murder to acquire superhuman DNA. After being drugged and abducted, Lilah wakes up handcuffed to a half-dead man in a refrigerated truck.
Walker, a soldier critically wounded in Afghanistan, is brought back to life by Lilah’s warmth and determination, and resolves to do anything he can to free and protect her. But as the two struggle to escape their grim fate, they stumble upon a remote town hiding a dark secret, and learn that Lilah as also being hunted by someone she never expected to fear: a Kyndred friend.

This is maybe the worst day of Lilah’s life so far: she gets fired from the job she loves, animal rescue, and her car gets stolen. Holing up inside her little house, she gets online with a friend and shares her troubles with him. She is feeling in danger, and promises to tell him when she gets to the next safe place. But before she can do anything, she is abducted from her own home, drugged, and handcuffed to a naked and almost dead man in the back of a truck.
They are both abducted by GenHance, taken to the new laboratory to be taken apart, killed for their DNA. Walker was a mercenary soldier in Afghanistan, left for dead after an ambush where he tried to save the lives of American soldiers, even though he is not American himself. He wanted to die in the war, but he is still alive. And now there is this woman he is drawn to, like never before.
They escape their capturers just in time, and end up in a quaint little town called Frenchman’s pass, somewhere in the snow covered Rocky Mountains. Lilah and Walker never were normal human to begin with, and the drugs they were given have strange side-effects. Together they can melt the frost around them, to keep from freezing to death in the inadequate clothing they found in the back of the truck. To their horror they see their abductors being attacked and eaten by some things that just have to be werewolves! They themselves get rescued by the town sheriff, and taken to a Bed and Breakfast to get warm and dry.

Lilah wants to go to Denver, to ask her friend Samuel, or Paracelsus, for help. He is very rich, and can help them with new identities, and a safe place to stay for a while. What she doesn’t know, is that Samuel is one of the men trying to find her. He has actually hired the woman who has had her abducted. Samuel’s gift is slowly killing him, and he is convinced that her DNA has the clue to his own salvation. So he is kind of desperate to find her in time, and won’t take the risk of her refusing his request. Because why would she want to be a lab experiment ever again? They share the same childhood memories.

In the mean time, Richard has summoned Gabriel and Nicola to his retreat, to order them to America, to capture a Rogue Darkyn. They are not to tell the American Seigneur Michael Cyprien about it, or else he will hunt the Rogue down himself. So now there are three parties hunting for Lilah and Walker, and it is only a matter of time before they are found. Due to the tracking device in the truck they were abducted in, they are not that hard to find. After having escaped Frenchman’s Pass, they are again rescued just in time by the same people they fled from, and here the storylines start to come together. The strange history of the towns people, and the Darkyn and the Kyndred.

Never, ever would I have guessed the identity of the Rogue Darkyn, Walker. Perhaps if I had recently read the previous series, but this time, no, not a clue! But Walker and Lilah have fallen in love from the first time they were handcuffed together, and nothing will come between them, not even death. Their powers are truly awesome and a sight to behold. Two lonely people who have found each other, and together are so much more.

I liked the story, was drawn into it from the start. Then it became kind of convoluted with just a bit too many players and threads. I liked Lilah from the start, how she had to stay apart from other people, never making close friends or finding a lover, because of what could happen. And now there is Walker, she senses how he fights the need to just take her, or hurt her, and falls in love with him. She can trust him, just knows he will never hurt her. But Walker is afraid of his own feelings, afraid of what he might do to her, and tries to get away from Lilah. But she will have nothing of that, finally she is not afraid of going after what she wants, and she wants Walker. So she leaves him no choice, and together they face who or what is after them. And in the end, Lilah is truly magnificent!
I would have like some more personal details about Lilah, but I really liked this fast paced story. I can hardly wait for the next book in this great series. A series you really have to read in order though.

9 stars.

zondag 30 januari 2011

Nalini Singh – Archangel’s Consort

The fourth book in the Guild Hunter series, published in January 2011.

Archangel's consort

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux and her lover, the lethally beautiful archangel Raphael, have returned home to New York only to face an uncompromising new evil…

A vampire has attacked a girls’ school—the assault one of sheer, vicious madness—and it is only the first act. Rampant bloodlust takes vampire after vampire, threatening to make the streets run with blood. Then Raphael himself begins to show signs of an uncontrolled rage, as inexplicable storms darken the city skyline and the earth itself shudders.

The omens are suddenly terrifyingly clear.

An ancient and malevolent immortal is rising. The violent winds whisper her name: Caliane. She has returned to reclaim her son, Raphael. Only one thing stands in her way: Elena, the consort who must be destroyed…

It took me awhile to get into the story, perhaps because it has been so long since the previous book. And there is not so much looking back at the previous books, which I often don’t need.

Elena and Rafael have returned to New York, no to the Tower, but their own house, near the Hudson River. Elena is still a newly Made angel, and not strong enough since her fall in Bejing. So she trains daily with the Seven, Raphael’s most trusted warriors. Then she gets a call from Raphael to join him at a school, the very same school her half-sisters are attending. Two young girls have been taken by a crazed vampire, and killed. And Elena knows terror again. Will she find those sisters, whom she barely knows but are still her sisters, tortured and murdered like her elder sisters when she was a chid? Luckily, it are not her sisters, even though one of the murdered girls could be a twin, and they were best friends.
Elena quickly hunts down the murdering vampire, as she is still one of the best Guild Hunters the Guild has. Being an angel hasn’t changed that. Strangely enough, the vampire is not crazed with Bloodlust, but appears sane enough. But rage overtakes Raphael, and he quickly kills the vampire. Only Elena’s touch brings him back. What is happening here? Someone is undermining Raphael’s authority over his vampires, or this would never have happened.
Suddenly all the strange weather all over the planet is making sense: an Ancient is Awakening, and those are the symptoms. Erratic behaviour of the Archangels, young vampires falling into Bloodlust and murdering all over the globe. And over it all the scent of a rare black Orchid, the scent of Raphael’s mother. The Archangel Caliane, who when mad over a thousand years ago, and went to Sleep before the other Archangels would have murdered her.

But something seems of to Elena, something is just too convenient. So when the resting place of Caliane is finally discovered, she insists on going with Raphael and Illium. They will try to determine if she has healed, or is still so insane that she has to be killed. And it will fall to Raphael to kill his own mother if that is the case. Arriving in the hidden city of Amanat, they find not one, but two Archangels. But which one is the insane one?

When I finally got sucked into the story, I just wanted to keep reading. A lot is happening to Elena, with her family and her past. The pieces with her friends were good, a nice diversion. But I loved the pieces with Raphael, how they grew closer and closer together. How she pulls him back from the edge when needed, and the love scenes are certainly very hot.
Lijuan, the Archangel of China, is in my eyes pure evil. And she will have to be put down in some of the next books, I am sure of that. She doesn’t value life at all, only death. But it will take a lot to make that happen.

Nalini Singh sure knows how to make someone curious about the next books, with the hints she is giving about the pasts of the Seven, and a bit about the other Guild Hunters. But the main focus is still Elena and Raphael. I hope there will be more little Sam in the next book though. And boy, do I wish I had angelwings myself, learning to fly like that sure sounds awesome and just plain fun.

8,5 stars.

zaterdag 29 januari 2011

Lynn Kurland – Princess of the Sword

The third book in the Novel of the Nine Kingdoms series, published January 2009. I so love the covers of those books!

Princess of the Sword

Born out of a "fantasy world...too wonderful to miss"* the Nine Kingdoms trilogy now explodes in the fiercest battle yet as the fate of a kingdom lies with a man and a woman bound by love, magic, and a legendary sword.

As the mercenary daughter of Gair, the black mage of Ceangail, Morgan is the only one who can stop the terrible sorcery her father unleashed. To do so, she must race against time and find the spell that will allow her to close the well of evil he opened. But that quest will lead her to places she never dreamed existed and into a darkness she would give anything to avoid…
The fate of the kingdom of Neroche is intertwined with the closing of Gair's well. Miach, the archmage of Neroche, is determined to help Morgan find what she needs, not only because the safety of the Nine Kingdoms hangs in the balance, but because he will do anything to protect her. Together they must search out the mysteries of Ceangail, and the dangers of Morgan's own bloodline.
Now, to rescue the kingdom from total ruin, Morgan and Miach have only each other to trust, heart and soul...

In this third book, Morgan is finally back to her own self, her own strength. She is accepting her own magic, learning spells, and most important: meeting the family she never knew she had. Her grandfather the Elven King is very opposed to her marrying a mage, and a minor prince. Even though he is the Archmage of Neroche. But he relents in time, when he sees their love for each other is true, and betrothes them officially. Giving them gifts they never would have expected, binding them together in the process.

One thing that kept confusing me, the previous rulers, mentioned in the legends and stuff, are all still alive. So strange to meet the greatgrandparents of the hero, and their ancestors, and then have them all together in one place, helping out. It sure is not easy keeping all those names straight.

And they meet and fight evil. Evil in many forms, evil Morgan is helpless against, even with her weapons and her new found powers. But she is not alone, and with the help of her mercenary friends, her family and most especially Miach, they manage to defeat evil. But at a very high price, and a not-foreseen ending.

I liked this book, it was somewhat faster paced than the previous one, but I am also happy I have finally finished with the tale.

7,5 stars.

J.D. Robb – Reunion in Death

Book 16 in the In Death series, published in march 2002.

Reunion in Death

At exactly 7.30 p.m. Walter Pettigrew arrived home to find more than a hundred friends and family shouting – “Surprise”-. It was his birthday. Although he had known about the planned event for weeks, the real surprise was yet to come. At 8.45 p.m. a woman with emerald eyes and red hair handed him a glass of champagne. One sip of birthday bubbly, and he was dead.
The woman’s name is Julie Dockport. No one at the party knew who she was. But Lieutenant Eve Dallas remembers her all too well. Eve was personally responsible for Julie’s incarceration nearly ten years ago. And now, let out on good behaviour, she still has nothing but bad intentions. It appears she wants to meet Dallas again, in a reunion neither will forget…

Julianna Dunne slid through the system. She is stone cold murderer, targeting rich older men. She marries them, then kills them. But she fooled the shrinks, the jury, the judge. Told them she was raped as a young girl by her stepfather. She couldn’t help herself taking revenge on men just like him. Sitting in the courtroom, demurely, blond and blue eyed and innocent, she got only 10 years. For killing three men, and getting very rich in the process. If it wasn’t for Detective Eve Dallas, she would still be out. A mere man never would be able to catch her, but a woman is a worthy adversary.
Julianna used her time in prison well. She kept herself in shape, and by charming or bribing the prison guards and the warden, she could pretty well do whatever she wanted. She kept her investments going, and researched Eve and her next victims. She just loves to kill men, and now she is rich enough not having to marry them first. She will pay Eve back for putting her in a cage for years, for denying her that rush. She will let her run around in circles, and in the end, will hurt her the most. Cause Eve Dallas has been foolish enough to fall in love with a man, and married him. So by killing her husband, she will crush Eve. Or so she thinks.

Eve and Roarke are back from a well deserved vacation, and Eve has nothing left on her desk to finish. Peabody took care of it all, and even had her office cleaned thoroughly and repainted. So Eve decides to take a look at some cold cases, to see of something leaps out at her. And she decides the Marsha Stibbs case is a good one for Peabody to investigate on her own. A young woman murdered in her own house while her husband is away on a business trip. His alibi holds, and everyone told the primary, they were happy together, and very much in love. But there were also love letters found from a mysterious C in her drawer, and not a clue was found to his identity. No one could believe she really did have a lover. Eve decides to do a follow up on the husband and his new wife, and smells something fishy. She tells Peabody to investigate again, and continue on her own time when they get a life case.
And with the distraction of her parents come to town, she will not have much time.

And they get the Pettibone case. No one believes he has any enemies, he was just a person loved by all. Made his fortune with flowers, flowershops, agriculture. He had divorced his first wife after over 30 years (and she happens to be a close friend with her superior’s wife!), but it all was very friendly, even when he married his second wife, Bambi. A very pretty and very stupid girl, younger than his daughter. But they were happy together. Eve recognises Julie Dockport as Julianna Dunne immediately. So why did she break pattern? Is she gone pro now? But they can find no motive, no trail of money, nothing.
Visiting the Dockport prison where Julianna stayed for the last 8plus years, they try to get the inmates to talking about her. And Eve does get some clues, but not enough the save the next victim. A highly respected lawyer gets killed in his own office by poisoned coffee. And Julianna smiles in the camera while she is at it.

Eve knows her killer, but she can get no angle. Julianna is obviously murdering for fun now, so how can she stop her, figure out who her next target will be? She must have some luxurious house apartment somewhere, she likes her amenities. Only the best clothes and stuff for Julianna. Even though the computer disagrees, she just knows she will go after Roarke next, though he is not her usual target group. After all, she stays in New York to best Eve, and what better way to do that, than to kill her husband? Eve wants to protect Roarke, but he will have nothing of the sort. He can take care of himself.

During the investigation in Julianna’s past, Eve has to go to Dallas to speak with the stepfather. She doesn’t believe the rape charges, as Julianna shows none of the signs of a victim, even though she gives all the right answers. And she will need to confront her personal demons there. It is the city where she was found as a nameless 8 year old girl, covered in blood and with a broken arm. Roarke will be with her every step of the way, and perhaps it is even rougher on him, to witness her memories and not be able to slay her dragons for her. The man is already dead.

I loved this story, it is really great. The interaction with all the known characters, but also the next step in her mind, her history. The suspense part is wonderful too, and it all ends with a huge catfight between Eve and Julianna.
Peabody’s parents are something else, and they add a nice touch to the storyline. They get to witness Peabody’s victory in interrogation, and are so very proud of their daughter.

8,5 stars.

donderdag 27 januari 2011

New addition to my addiction

Whew, it took me twice as long to get home as usual, and I am totally frozen through! But this nice package cheered me right up:

Nalini Singh - Archangel's Consort.

dinsdag 25 januari 2011

Lynn Kurland – The mage’s daughter

The second book in the Novel of the Nine Kingdoms series, published in January 2008. Don’t you just love those covers?

The mage's daughter

The second book in the Novel of the Nine Kingdoms series.

If I tell you anything about this book, I will spoil the first one, and I don’t want to that. So I will just type that I loved it, again, and that I will continue with the third one in the series.
I did think Morgan could have recovered somewhat faster, be more kick-ass, and cried a bit less, and accepted herself sooner. And Miach really should accept her skills and stop protecting her so much.

7,5 stars.

New addition to my addiction

Today I received a book I am impatient to start: Sabrina Jeffries - How to woo a reluctant Lady. But at the moment I am immersed in the Lynn Kurland series of the Nine Kingdoms, so it will have to wait a bit.

maandag 24 januari 2011

Lynn Kurland – Star of the Morning

The first book in the Nine Kingdoms series, published in December 2006.

Star of the Morning

Legend has it that only the two magical swords held in trust by Neroche’s rulers can defeat the evil of the black mage … and never have they been more needed, as the mage’s assault begins to cover the kingdom in darkness.

The king has lost his magic to wield his own sword. Fortunately, Miach, the archmage of Neroche – and the king’s brother – has found a wielder for the other in Morgan, a young woman abandoned among mercenaries as a child, now a feared mercenary herself. But Morgan despises magic and has no patience for the schemes of kings and mages … and too soon, Miach must choose between endangering the woman who has captured his heart and defending the kingdom he is sworn to protect.

For in this land of warrior maids and magical swords, nothing is as it seems. The king is less than he should be, Miach is more than he appears, and Morgan will find her mysterious past brings her troubles she cannot face with a sword alone …

I was dubbing between two new books yesterday, and finally chose this one. And I was glad I did, as I enjoyed the story immensely. It has been a while since I read a nice fantasy story.

Morgan, a young woman raised as a mercenary, is asked to bring a certain dagger to the King of Neroche. She doesn’t really want to, as the dagger is magic, and she can feel it. She hates magic and mages. But Lord Nicholas has asked it of her, and as she sees him as sort of a father, she complies with his wishes. Nicholas has also arranged for some of her previous companions to join her on her journey north.
Right at the start of her journey, Morgan notices she is being followed. Being unafraid of anyone, she quickly renders him unconscious, and takes his possessions for her own. Those are the spoils of battle after all. And he attacked first. But when she turns him over, she is flabbergasted by his beauty, and leaves him with some of his money after all. Until the man wakes up and he opens his mouth. Her companions have found her at that moment, and don’t really understand why she didn’t take all, and most of all, why she agrees to let him travel with them. What Morgan doesn’t know, and one of her companions does, is that he is her King, Adhémar, sent on a quest by his brother the archmage, to find someone who can wield his magical sword now he himself has lost his magic. So Adhémar is travelling incognito through the Nine Kingdoms to find that person. Morgan doesn’t think much of this man, he is a braggart and an oaf, even though he is handsome to look at.

Without telling her companions about her mission, they set out (on foot) for north. Unluckily, they will have to leave the island by boat, and Morgan gets terribly seasick. Her companions fed her some herbs, which make her even more sick, as they are magical herbs. Finally ashore again, they have to travel light, to give Morgan the time to regain her strength. Then they are attacked by creatures, and only when Morgan takes Adhémars sword when he is knocked over, and it lights with magelight, do they win the battle. Luckily there is a tavern not far from there where they can recover.
Meanwhile, the archmage gets impatient, as he hasn’t heard from his brother the King for a month. So he takes the shape of a hawk, and sets out to find him. With no luck, until he sees the sword light up, from miles away. He confronts his brother there, which Morgan witnesses. She cannot believe her eyes, a hawk changing into a man? Her illness overcomes her, and she faints. Miach carries her back to the tavern, and instead of leaving, he stays to watch over Morgan. And looses his heart. So he decides to join the group, so he can keep an eye on her. At that moment, he doesn’t know she is the one he is searching for …

Morgan still doesn’t like Adhémar, but she does like Miach. He is just as handsome as his brother, but not such a braggart. Even if he doesn’t know how to fight well, she likes being near him. He helps her to keep the dreams away. Cause whenever she is sleeping, and lately also while being awake, the sword is singing to her, making her dreams into nightmares. Or are they memories from her childhood? Miach is beginning to suspect who she is, but dares not tell her, as she despises magic so very much. It is not manly in her opinion, to fight with magic instead of a sword. But how is it possible she can see through his magic disguises so easily?

As I said, I really liked the book, and have already started the next one in the series. But I do have some criticism. For a trained assassin/mercenary, Morgan is very gentle, innocent and naive. She trusts too much, or too little. Yes she knows how to use her weapons very well, but she is not a kick ass heroine so far. When in the end of the book, she learns of Miach’s betrayal, she is totally heartbroken. She runs away from her problems, instead of meeting them head on. Still, it is a nice story. I would have appreciated some more background on her friends, and their past adventures, instead of just that they told each other about it around the campfire. What happened when she was in school by Lord Nicholas, etc. Perhaps the next book will give more answers.

7,5 stars.

zondag 23 januari 2011

New addition to my addiction

In the huge box I received yesterday, were also some books my friend Freya ordered. And just like I am known to do, she bought a book she already had, so we swapped. And now I have:
Christine Warren - Walk on the Wild Side.

zaterdag 22 januari 2011

Cherry Adair – Undertow

The first book in the Cutter Cay series, published December 2010. And I totally love this cover! Do you think he wears anything?


Teal Williams is content with her career as a ship's master mechanic - until Zane Cutter, the 'Casanova of the Caribbean,' makes her an offer she can't refuse: to climb on board with him for a real-life treasure hunt. Teal must help him dredge up a shipwrecked vessel containing an abundance of gold, silver, and emeralds - and she'll claim part of the prize.


Zane needs a mechanic - not a lover - and Teal, who can also dive, is perfect for the job. So it suits him just fine that Teal is completely immune to his charms, or so he tells himself. But with a deadly enemy in their midst - one who's silently edging closer - Zane and Teal sink into troubled waters. Trapped in the middle of a perilous sea, they have no one to turn to but each other as they face down a danger that runs unfathomably deep - and a passion that runs even deeper.

Teal Williams has just divorced her abusive husband, when she gets a job offer from Logan Cutter as their ships mechanic. It will also take her to her father, who is terminally ill with cancer. She used to live for those two weeks a year when she was with him on the Cutter’s island. She learned everything from him about engines, but she never got a good relationship with him. As a child, she was extremely shy, and in love with Zane Cutter, the youngest brother. So Teal grabs the job offer with two hands. What she didn’t plan was going out to sea with Zane, as she is awfully seasick, and she doesn’t want anyone to know about it. Of course, even on a ship the size of the Decrepit, she cannot escape her shipmates. Beside Zane, there are several more people on board, to help with the diving, the cataloguing and security.
Zane has spend 4 years tracking down the shipwrecked Dutch ship Vrijheid, and now that he has found it, he is going to salvage its treasures.
But as soon as they reach the site, and start the dive, other ships keep appearing. Some are just curious, wanting to know what is happening, but of course there are other people, like the Sea Witch, who want to steal as much of the treasure as possible without getting caught. Even though Zane has the exclusive salvage rights, there is not much he or the authorities can do about it, even though it makes them all furious. Some really good pieces are disappearing, not only from the site at night, but even from the ship after they have brought it aboard. Is there a traitor on board? But Zane has knows all of his people for years, and he trusts them all.

He is very much attracted to his mechanic, and it really bothers him that she wants nothing to do with him. He is not used to having a woman say no to him. He is handsome, charming, rich, likable. He falls in and out of love with great regularity, it never lasts long. So why does he keep thinking about Teal, want to know everything about her?
What he doesn’t know is that he has already slept with Teal once. She came to him on the night of his fathers funeral, months ago. To comfort him, and that lead to them spending the night together. The next morning, without even opening his eyes, he send her out. And broke her heart. So no, she won’t risk it again. And he does not even remember that night, he was so drunk that time.
Zane does his best to make Teal jealous by flirting with the scantily clad woman from the other ships who just want to party, but that is working not as he plans. She flees to her engine room the first opportunity she gets, as the smell of the diesel is working wonders on her stomach.

Then a huge storm is coming, and they will have to leave the salvage place and seek safety on shore at Sint Maarten. Zane doesn’t really want to go, and leave the Vrijheid unprotected, but he has no choice. He takes Teal for a last dive, and they stumble upon some strange divers, stealing their treasures. Zane fights with them, but then Teal has disappeared. Zane is frantic, he is sure she is kidnapped by those man. He doesn’t want to believe the sharks got her, even though she was bleeding. He is positive she will be aboard the Sea Witch and takes his security team over there, to find her. But the woman who captains the ship claims to know nothing, and though they find lots of treasure aboard her ship, there is no sign of teal. So will she be on the other ship, the one with the old ladies aboard, after al?

Of course, Teal gets rescued, and a lot of stolen treasure retrieved, but that is just the beginning of the adventures. I won’t spoil the rest of the story. Let’s just say, it is very exciting, suspenseful and dangerous. There are also some very hot love scenes between Zane and Teal.

I did like the suspense part of the book very much. I liked Teal, but I thought she gave in too easy to Zane. He really did not deserve that yet. Did he want her just because she didn’t want him? Or did he really like the real Teal? Of course the danger brought them quicker together, but she still did not really make him work for it, earn her trust. It was totally new for Zane to put an effort into seducing a woman, and he is also the kind of man who cannot turn down a bet. Look at the bet with his brothers: the one who brings in the most treasure, gets 10.000 dollars from the others, and the CEO job of the company. Zane wants to win very badly, but he would never want to do the job of CEO, all the paperwork and stuff. He is only happy on board his boat, hunting down sunken ships and salvaging what there has been hidden for centuries.
Then there is the underlying story with Teal and her father, how she had to take care of her drug addicted mother since childhood, and her really bad marriage. That really shot her self esteem down the drain, and she only picked Denny because he reminded her of Zane so much, the charm, the great looks. Yes, she never did stop loving him, but he really is a womanizer and a charmer. So why make it so easy for him, not even get mad at what happened before.

But I really am looking forward to the next books in this series, as the suspense is great, as I am used to with Cherry Adair. I want to know who can tame the other Cutter brothers. The oldest one is aloof, and the middle one can be charming, but I do think he works for a secret government agency. Like Michael Wright … nice meeting him again.

8 stars

New additions to my addiction

Today I received a huge box from my friend Claudia, which made me really happy.

Shannon Drake - Deep midnight
Linda Winstead Jones - Raintree: Haunted
Veronica Wolff - Master of the highlands
Jo Beverley - The secret duke
Virginia Henley - Insatiable
Stephanie Laurens - Temptation and surrender
Jacquelyn Frank – Ecstasy
Jacquelyn Frank – Pleasure
Jacquelyn Frank – Hunting Julian
Nalini Singh – Blaze of memory
Sherrilyn Kenyon – Born of night
Sherrilyn Kenyon – Born of fire
Sherrilyn Kenyon – Born of ice
Sherrilyn Kenyon Upon The Midnight Clear
Alyssa Day – Atlantis unmasked
Cindy Miles – Highland Knight
Lisa Kleypas – Smooth talking stranger
Lisa Kleypas – Blue-Eyed Devil
Madeline Hunter – The seducer
Madeline Hunter – Sins of Lord Easterbrook
Madeline Hunter – By possession
Nora Roberts – True Betrayals
Anne Mallory – For the earl’s pleasure
Julia Quinn – Ten things I love about you
Julia Quinn – Mr. Cavendish, I presume
Julia Quinn – What happens in London
Jane Feather – To wed a wicked prince
Jane Feather – Rushed to the altar
J.D. Robb – Kindred in Death
J.D. Robb – Lost
J.R. Ward – Covet
Karen Marie Moning - Darkfever

donderdag 20 januari 2011

Jude Deveraux – The scent of Jasmine

The fifth story in the Edilean series, published in December 2010.

The scent of Jasmine

Would you risk your life - on the love of a lifetime?

Charleston, 1799: A daughter of Southern gentility and a gifted painter, Catherine Edilean Harcourt has no lack of suitors at home in Virginia, waiting to fulfil her dream of marriage and family. But Cay's adventurous spirit, fostered by growing up with her three brothers, is piqued while visiting her godfather in South Carolina. Bedridden with a broken leg, he asks Cay to fill in for him on an urgent task: on her way to a fancy dress ball, she must deliver a packed horse to an old friend's son - who also happens to be an escaped convict charged with murdering his wife! Cay agrees to the plan, which doesn't go at all as planned . . . whereupon she finds herself fleeing Alexander McDowell's captors, riding blind into the night with the fugitive Scotsman. Though she should fear him, Cay finds herself overwhelmingly attracted to Alex, and drawn into his tale of misguided justice and his innocence as they seek refuge in the steamy Florida everglades. Will trusting him be the worst mistake of her life? Or will falling in love be the salvation both of them have been looking for?

Cay has come to Charlestown to visit her godfather, and to think about her three suitors: a priest, a gamber and an older man with a son only one year younger than herself. She really wants to make a good marriage, just like her parents have done, and they are really happy together. On her way to a ball, dressed like a princess in a white sparkling ballgown, wearing diamonds in her hair, TC asks her to bring a packhorse to a friend in need. His other goddaughter Hope tells her the truth: that friend is a convicted felon, who murdered his own wife on their wedding night! Uncle TC believes his friend innocent, and has arranged for him to be sprung from the prison before he is hanged the next day.
And Cay really should do it, she is not dressed for horseriding, even though she is very good at it. But Cay can’t resist a challenge, and agrees to do it, before she goes to the ball. While waiting in the dark, her white gown hidden beneath a huge cloak, she is starting to get afraid. Then a man finds her, speaking with a horrible Scots accent. He is being pursued, and they are shooting at both of them, so Cay has no choice but to flee with the man. She is already guilty of helping him escape.
And so a difficult journey begins. Cay has always been looked after, is used to have the best and everything she wants. And now she has to keep riding most of the day and night, seeking shelter in the forest to sleep, and with Alex next to her, sharing her cloak for warmth. Their pursuers don’t give up easily, and Alex cannot risk letting her go and be captured. Even though she is from a rich and influential family. And she makes him laugh, and feel good after that awful time in prison. He only knew his wife for three weeks, but he was madly in love with her. Who murdered her? He was unconscious when they busted in his room, to find his wife lying dead next to him. He didn’t even consummate the wedding!
Cay will have to disguise herself as a boy, and they steal some clothes for her, and for Alex too. And while they are at it, Cay takes a bottle of jasmine oil to kill the bugs in Alex’ long hair and beard. He protests adamantly against it, but of course Cay gets her way, and as a result, Alex is finally cleaned up, and smelling of jasmine …
Upon reaching Florida, they learn her family has cleared her name, and will fetch her as soon as possible. But Cay doesn’t want to be left behind! Alex is hired to go on an expedition to explore the swamps, and Cay can do the drawings TC would have been doing. And so they set out. It doesn’t take long for them to become lovers, as they come to really know each other. Cay becomes stronger, harder, and is busily drawing everything they see, while Alex takes care of the animals and hunts for their food on the way. The other men seem to know their secret, but make no point of it, except for a young boy who tries to make Cay’s life hell.

Finally at a hunters outpost, they learn from an old acquaintance of Alex, that his wife isn’t dead afterall, he has seen her in New Orleans a few weeks ago. And Alex and Cay set out to New Orleans at once, to find her, and to find out the truth. How could she let Alex go to trial for murder when she is still alive?
In New Orleans, they find Cay’s brothers first, who have found Lilith already, and were waiting for Alex to get the truth out of her. Cay’s world explodes: Alex is not a bachelor she is free to love, he is still a married man! A man who fell in love with his wife at first sight! Does he still love his wife after everything she put him through? Or does he really love Cay?

Alex is determined to clear his name, just having the murder conviction dropped isn’t enough for him, and get his marriage dissolved before he will declare himself and ask Cay to marry him. And what is Cay to do? Sit demurely at home in Edilean and wait for him?

Of course, there is much more to the story then I just outlined. I loved Cay. She is young, but she cares about everyone and everything, and does her best to cheer Alex up. She keeps up with him, and even agrees to have her hair cut short to disguise herself as a boy. And when she enjoys the joy of being without a corset! And she also tries to matchmake the other women she meets …
Alex is a real Scotsman. Used to getting his own way, he races his horses and makes a lot of money out of it. But the trial, and the fact that all his friends except TC have let him down, has changed him. He was easygoing and carefree, and having rocks and mud thrown at him, really changed his life. But Cay is there to lighten him up, to make him laugh again.
Of course, he never tells her he knows all about her, as he has been writing with her brother since they were boys. He lets her believe he is much older, and ugly, while he isn’t even thirty yet and very handsome underneath his beard. And when he finally shaves, she is so furious with him for deceiving her!

It is a lovely story, filled with lots of humor, and heartache. I quickly devoured the book, and I can’t wait to read the next one. Or the previous ones, as I realise I haven’t read those yet! Two great characters as main ones, and some very good secondary characters. I hope her brothers find their wives in the next books.

9 stars

New additions to my addiction

This morning when I opened my front door to put the trash outside for the collectors, I was given four books by a mailwoman. Usually those books arrive in the evenings, so this sure made my day!
Two brand new ones to devour, and two from my backlist, which will be put in their right places this very evening.

Christine Feehan - Dark Slayers (such a fantastic good book!)
Lisa Kleypas - Married by Morning
Lynn Kurland - Star of the Morning (I am very curious about this series)
Marjorie M. Liu - In the Dark of Dreams

Naturally, unpacking and drooling over these treasures made me too late for the bus, so I had to ring for a cab, what a hardship!
All in all, a good start to a very difficult day.

dinsdag 18 januari 2011

J.D. Robb – Seduction in Death

Book 15 in the In Death series, published in September 2001.

Seduction in Death

Lieutenant Eve Dallas is searching for a Casanova killer with a deadly appetite for seduction …
Dante had been courting his victim in cyberspace for weeks before meeting her in person. A few sips of wine and a few hours later, she was dead. The murder weapon: a rare, usually undetectable date-rape drug with a street value of a quarter of a million dollars.
Lieutenant Eve Dallas is playing and replaying the clues in her mind. The candlelight, the music, the rose petals strewn across the bed – a scene set for seduction that’s gone horribly wrong. He hadn’t intended to kill her. But now that he has, he is left with only two choices: to either hole up in fear and guilt. Or start hunting again …

Doctor Louise Dimatto has just come home early from a boring date, when she is almost hit by a dead body falling from the sky. A naked woman splashes on the sidewalk next to her. Lieutenant Eve Dallas is called in as primary to investigate, and she quickly rules out suicide. This woman was already dead when she fell (or was tossed?).
Visiting the apartment she sees al the signs of a seduction: two wineglasses, soft light, romantic music, a bed strewn with rose petals ... So what went wrong? But she is convident she will find her suspect soon, after all, she has his fingerprints, his DNA and his face captured on the security camera’s. He did nothing to disguise himself. Or did he?

A@ had been chatting online with Dante for a few weeks now, and was very excited to finally meet him in person. Of course she would never sleep with him on the first date, according to her best friend. So why did she? Then the tox report comes in, and they found A@ with two very expensive and rare dating raping drugs in her system. Lieutenant Eve Dallas has enough leads to follow: the expensive wine, the facial enhancements and wig the murderer wore (he was disguised after all), and the drugs. The wine leads her to Roarke, her husband, who owns the vineyard. For the drugs, she asks Charles Monroe for his professional experience as an LC, and if one of his customers ever used it. Louise Dimatto also wants to be kept in the loop, and has never come across those specific drugs.
When Charles and Louise meet each other at Eve’s place, there is an instant connection between them. Louise doesn’t care that Charles is a licensed companion, though she warns him she has not much time for a relationship. McNab is incensed on Peabody’s behalf. Okay, they broke up, but that is no reason for Charles to behave like that right in front of her! Ofcourse, he still doesn’t know Peabody and Charles are just friends, nothing more.

Then a second body is discovered, with virtually the same MO. Only much more brutal, much more violent. This woman is covered in bruises. So to Eve, something is off. Are there really two murderers on the loose? Playing a game, a contest? This murderer left nothing behind of himself, no fingerprints, no DNA. The disguise on camera is slightly different from the first murderer, but she cannot be sure yet.
The drugs lead her to a scientific experiment a few decades ago, when a company was researching drugs to cure sexual problems. They did find some great medicine, but those specific drugs were abandoned quickly after some major problems with it. It was unstable, and the personnel was taking it home for personal use, and there were also some complaints of rape. One drop of the stuf is enough to make a woman do everything that is desired of her, taking away her choice and free will. Still, Eve is digging deeper and deeper, why are those files sealed? Of course, having a husband like hers, those seals mean not so much ...

The third woman is lucky: she doesn’t die, she manages to call 911 after the killer leaves her for dead, and get to the hospital in time. When she finally wakes up out of her coma, she can tell Eve valuable data. The net is closing in on the murderers. One of them is brilliant with computers, even Roarke is impressed, the other one is the scientist, the chemist brewing the drugs. But will it be in time to save the next woman?

I loved this book, again. It still is one of the best series I have ever read, and I will keep doing that for as long as possible. Eve and Roarke are great together. As usual, having a sexual crime on her hands make the nightmares about her father come back more and more dreadful. Ofcourse Mavis and Trina make an appearance in this book, and Peabody and McNab are getting back together, after McNab fights with Charles over her.

9 stars.

maandag 17 januari 2011

Juliet Blackwell – A cast-off coven

The second book in the Witchcraft Mystery series, published in June 2010.

A cast-off coven

Lily Ivory is not your average witch. She runs a vintage clothing store called Aunt Cora's Closet and has the magical ability to sense vibrations of the past from clothing and jewelry. When students are spooked at the San Francisco School for the Arts, Lily is called in to search for paranormal activity. She finds a dead body - and a closet full of old clothes with some very bad vibes.

Lily is settling down in San Francisco nicely. She is not hiding her powers as a natural born witch anymore, and is making friends. Her vintage clothing store is running well. Her new assistant Maya is asking her to check out her school, as they are hearing more and more ghostly sounds, and the people are getting afraid. There was a suicide in the school a few decades ago, and perhaps that is the ghost haunting the place. The old belltower has been rumoured to be haunted for at least that long.
In exchange for her help, Lily will get the contents of an old cupboard recently discovered in the school. Lily, Maya, Bronwyn and Ginny visit the school at midnight to find out what is happening at the school. But when she is checking things out, there appears to be more going on than just a harmless ghost: Lily senses demonic energy as well. Even the ghost is afraid of what is going on. They find the body of Jerry Becker, the father of one of the students and a big contributor to the school. Did he fall down the stairs, or was he pushed? They find out he was not very well liked, he treated everyone else like dirt. He thought he was gods gift to woman. But his lifestory really was the American Dream. He started out at a delivery boy, but then he invented a device to curl hair, and set up a chain of beautyschools.
Jerry Becker visited the school at the same time John Daniels died, the guy who killed himself for love, and is said to haunt the school, and they happened to be after the same girl. But she didn’t marry either of them, she wanted a rich man, not a starving artist. After all, she was accustomed to the good life.

When Lily goes back to the school the very next day to collect the clothes and see if she can find out more clues, she runs in some interesting people, including the hot teacher Luc, who happens to be Max’ brother. And Max’ sure doesn’t like the fact that Luc is interested in her, and tells her he is afraid he is being possessed by a demon, as he is losing time. He creates great statues, but has no knowledge of making them. Max is adamant that paranormal things don’t exist, and he doesn’t like it that Lily believes she is a witch. Will she have to hide what she is to give this relationship a chance? Or will Max just have to start believing?
Finally the truth about his wife’s death is told, and she does understand his reluctance. But she is comfortable with the not hiding anymore, being accepted for who she really is. Making friends.

Lily is investigating the history of the school, to find out how the demon came there in the first place, and it al goes back to 1906, when some French nuns came to the then convent. But after the earthquake and fire that destroyed most of the city, they were never heard from again. The archives have an old letter stating that they brought something with them they shouldn’t have.

Lily is over her head in this, she doesn’t know much about ghosts and demons, let alone how to vanquish them, so she goes to Aidan for help. But Aidan refuses, he tells her to look for Sailor, he will know what to do. And if she solves this, she will pay the debt she owes him.

Lots of action in this book, lots of secrets, way too much to summarize. Great and strange new characters. So I am not telling anymore, just read the book.

I really like Lily, how she is trying for the normal things in life, dinner with friends, doing lunch. Having guest. And of course Oscar is a great secondary character. I still wonder if he really is hers, and what Aidan is about. Will the relationship with Max go anywhere? After all, he is a journalist determined to unveil frauds. So, bring on book nr 3.

8 stars.

zaterdag 15 januari 2011

J.D. Robb – Interlude in Death

Book 14 in the In Death (Novellas) series. First published as part of the anthology Out of this world in 2001, then as a stand alone novella in 2006. I have both versions. This time I read the novella, as I am not interested in the other stories again at this moment.

Out of this world

Interlude in Death

Number-one New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts, writing as J.D. Robb, has taken romantic suspense to an electrifying new level in her In Death series. Now she takes Lieutenant Eve Dallas off-planet, where she just might lose the man she loves…
Eve is resigned to the fact that she’s been ordered to give a seminar at a police conference – and that she’ll have to leave Earth to do it. But dedication to her job only goes so far, and when a legendary commander sets his sights on taking down her husband, Roarke, Eve will do everything in her power to stop him…

Lieutenant Eve Dallas hates going off planet, as she is afraid of space travelling, even to the luxurious resort of Olympus, Roarke has been building for years. Why couldn’t they have the blasted seminar in New York, her own turf? What use is there in sending thousands of police officers and techs from all over the world to out of space? But she has no choice in the matter, and Roarke is happy to take her in the most luxurious space yet he has.
At the opening reception, Eve gets to meet Commander Douglas R. Skinner, a very much respected cop with 50 years in service under his belt, who is now doing the lecture rounds, making tons of money in doing so. But she is not impressed with him, being a cop is about doing the job, not bragging about it. And when the Commander demands an interview with her, she is not really interested. But he leaves her no choice.
He just sits there, and tells her, that if she hadn’t gotten involved with Roarke, hadn’t married him, she would have her captains bars by now. But she sold herself out, degraded her badge, by associating with a known criminal. But if she gives him Roarke, he will make sure she makes captain. Eve is furious, and of course she refuses. When she wants to stalk away, his bodyguards detain her. She is not to be excused till the Commander is finished with her. Eve just busts his nose, and walks away.
While celebrating with the rest of the NYPD cops and techs and Roarke, they get the message that a body is found on the stairs. The security agent who detained her earlier, is battered to death. The murder weapon is left on the stairs. Eve is ready to start the investigation when she realizes she has no jurisdiction here. The head of Olympus police is a very beautiful female officer, Roarke has employed for a few years now. She has worked for years in Colombia, but has no experience in a murder investigation. So she reluctantly welcomes Eve’s help, and that of her team.
And what should have been some leisure time, some lectures and workshops, turn into a homicide investigation. It is clear that someone is trying to frame Roarke, and that someone has to be the Commander. But did he really sacrifice one of his own man to get to Roarke? How did he become so obsessed with Roarke, as they never cross paths before?

Even though it is a short story, it is a good one. The interaction between Roarke and Eve is sizzling as usual, and one more clue about their pasts is being revealed. It is not easy for Eve not being in command herself, but she copes with it, and together the two woman, with the help of Peabody and dr. Mira really kick ass.

8,5 stars

vrijdag 14 januari 2011

Juliet Blackwell – Secondhand spirits

The first book in the Witchcraft Mystery series, published in July 2009.

Secondhand spirits

Love the vintage- not the ghosts

Lily Ivory feels that she can finally fit in somewhere and conceal her "witchiness" in San Francisco. It's there that she opens her vintage clothing shop, outfitting customers both spiritually and stylistically.

Just when things seem normal, a client is murdered and children start disappearing from the Bay Area. Lily has a good idea that some bad phantoms are behind it. Can she keep her identity secret, or will her witchy ways be forced out of the closet as she attempts to stop the phantom?

Lily Ivory is very strong born witch. She has travelled all over the world, but now she has the need to put down roots, and she has chosen San Francisco to do just that. She has opened a vintage clothing shop, part of which is rented out to a wiccan practioner, selling herbs and stuff. A young student is helping her find her merchandise.
Lily gets a visit by a very handsome male witch, who tells her he knows her father (which is not a good thing) and who leaves her a housewarming gift: a familiar. Only this is not a black cat or anything, but a cross between a gnome and a goblin, and looks like a small gargoyle. She doesn’t want to accept the creature, but Aidan Rhodes has already left the shop. Luckily, the creature, which she calls Oscar, can shapeshift, and it turns itself in a cute little pig before anyone can see his true self.
Lily and Maya are off to an old lady now, who has never in her life thrown anything away, so Lily is excited about the clothes she could find. She is especially looking for wedding gowns, as she is to outfit a high society wedding party with vintage bridal gowns and bridesmaids clothes. Frances Potts lives in a rambling big house in a totally neglected garden, in what is now a run-down neighbourhood. The basement, a rarity in San Francisco, is a true treasure cove for Lily, including two great wedding dresses. She’ll have some work to do with the garments, as they are not really in prime condition, but they are still great finds.
While they are sorting through the clothes, both Lily and Frances hear the wail of a demon: where are my children? And the next thing that happens, is a young girl that was just visiting Frances, is snatched of the street. When Lily hears the name La Llorona, she gets scared. La Llorona used to be a mother, who drowned her children, and now herself. She is supposed to dwell on the shores of the Rio Grande, looking for her children, and snatching and drowning those she meets. So what is she doing here?
The fact that Frances has heard her wailing, means that Frances is in mortal danger too, and Lily decides to brew her a protective potion. Going to the house in the middle of the night to cast her protective spell in Frances’ bedroom should be easy, but a very powerful something is fighting her. It should still work, as Lily is very powerful, but the next morning Frances is still found murdered by her estranged daughter. Of course, she was only protecting Frances against demons, not against ordinary humans.

The next evening she decides to scout the house, to see if she can find out what happens. Surprised she meets Max again at the house, and they explore together. Upon finding a voodoo altar in the bedroom closet, strange and evil things start happening, and Max is wounded. With a little help from Tomás, a cousin of the disappeared Jessica, Lily gets him in her car and takes him home with her to heal him. Wounds gotten through magic means are often more serious than normal wounds.

A lot is happening in this book, some magic and some action. Even a bit scary at times, not your typical cozy. There are some great secondary characters, and I am curious about the next book. The strange neighbour-shop owner Karen, and of course the male witch. Why is he interested in her?
But I like Lily. There is a lot of hinting about something that happened in her home town, and which is the reason she travelled the world. And she did meet her father at one time, which was not a good thing. She is totally new at making friends, and everything that involves. But she is a good witch, and I like reading about witches. So yes, I want to find out more.

7,5 stars.

New additions to my addiction

Yesterday, four new books found their way to my home, all the way from England. Took them over three weeks to reach me though.

Cherry Adair - Undertow
Jude Deveraux - The scent of Jasmine
Lynn Viehl - Frostfire
Anna Windsor - Captive Soul

I am very happy with those books, for they represent hours of reading pleausre. I just don't know which one will be first ...

donderdag 13 januari 2011

Sabrina Jeffries – A hellion in her bed

The second book in the Hellions of Halstead Hall series, published in September 2010.

A hellion in her bed

Furious at his grandmother's ultimatum to marry or lose his inheritance, Lord Jarret Sharpe wagers his luck - and his heart - at the card table against a most unlikely opponent. Mired in scandal after his parents' mysterious deaths, notorious gambler Lord Jarret Sharpe agrees to tamely run the family brewery for a year if his Machiavellian grandmother rescinds her ultimatum that he marry. But the gambler in him can't resist when beguiling Annabel Lake proposes a wager. If she wins their card game, he must help save her family's foundering brewery. But if he wins, she must spend a night in his bed. The outcome sets off a chain of events that threatens to destroy all his plans . . . and unveils the secret Annabel has held for so long. When Jarret discovers the darker reason behind her wager, he forces her into another one - and this time he intends to win not just her body, but her heart.

Their grandmother is ill, and she asks Jarret to take over the brewery for her. When he was 13 years old and sent of to Eton after their parents death, there was nothing he wanted more. He hated Eton, and wanted to stay at the brewery. But now he is used to not caring about anything or anyone, except his family. He likes his life of gambling and drinking and wenching with his friends. So he agrees to run the brewery for a year, if she agrees to him not marrying. Hester Plumtree has little choice, as there is no one else to take over for her. So she agrees, and Jarret will take over the business, with no interference from her.
But then he discovers the brewery is in trouble, after the Russian market fell through a little while ago. He will have to work very hard to turn its course around. A young woman manages to slip past his secretary, and boldly proposes a business deal: she brews a very good October Ale, and she needs his help to market it to the East Indian Company ship Captains. But Jarret knows Plumtree is in no position to help someone else so he refuses. Annabel Lake however doesn’t give up easily: his grandmother was her last hope to save her brother’s brewery Lake Ale, and her family. So she gets Jarret to agree to go to his grandmother to tell her the proposal. She decides to follow him to find out where mrs. Plumtree lives. But instead of to his grandmother’s house, he is going to a pub to gamble with his brother and friends. So after a few hours, when Jarret has been winning steadily, she challenges him to a wager. And when she wins, he has to help her and Lake Ale. To his own astonishment, he loses. He has no other choice but to go with the delectable miss Lake back to her home town to check things out. As her brother has been “ill” for some time now, she is running things, but her brother is still the owner, so he has no choice but to deal with the man.
Jarret loans his brothers travel carriage for the trip back with Annabel, her sister in law Cissy and her 12 year old nephew George. He cannot stop thinking about her, and what would have happened if he had won the wager. She would have spend the night in his bed, and he really wants for that to happen. She is feisty, and won’t back down from him.
When his grandmother learns of his adventures, she is secretly pleased. A female brewer is just the woman for Jarret, she doesn’t care about her low birth, a wife is what she wants for him, and great grandchildren for herself. So if she pretends to be opposed to this scheme, so much the better.
On the journey home, Jarret and Annabel are very much attracted to each other, and when Cissy falls ill, the trip costs even more days. At first Jarret worries that he will be away from the brewery for too long, but he likes Annabel, and little George. So when he finally gets the chance to seduce her, he doesn’t hesitate. But Annabel is not a virgin, she was engaged once before, when she was sixteen. Her fiancée seduced her before he went of to war, and left her behind, pregnant. Her brother and sister-in-law have taken George in as their own son, and raised him as such. The boy doesn’t know the truth, and Annabel has never wanted to marry since. How can a man accept the fact that she isn’t chaste, and has a son? She won’t leave him behind for anything. But Jarret is kindling all those passions she has been hiding for so long, and she wants to make love to him.
She knows nothing about him, except what the gossips are saying about him and his family of Hellions, but she can see he is a gentleman at heart. He treats them all well, and is patient with George. And when he kisses her, she just melts in his arms. But Jarret doesn’t want a wife, he wants no complications in his life, and most of all, he doesn’t want to care about anybody and risk his heart. Yes, he wants to bed her, he needs her, but that is all.

I loved this book. Annabel is a great character. That one little mistake she made when she was so young, has cost her dearly. Her fiancée died in the war, and left her pregnant. She has been a devoted aunt to her own son, and to the other children of her brother and his wife. And she has been running the brewery as much as she can. She is good at it too. She never wanted to marry, or fall in love again, but she can’t help to be attracted to Jarret. So she goes after a few nights of passion with him, but refuses his marriage proposal, when he won’t give her his heart. After all, he already has hers, and she won’t have it trampled upon.

Jarret sets Pinter out to find the answers to more questions about the day his parents died so tragically. There are more angles to that than I guessed from the first book, and I am very curious about the truth. We will learn more about that in the next book, about Minerva, and Jarret’s best friend.

A great romance, with characters you have to love from the start.

9 stars.

New addition to my addiction

Strange things are happening at the Book Depository. This book was dispatched on December 24, and it was delivered yesterday evening, by a very wet mailman, and I had to sign for it!
One: why does it take over 3 weeks to reach me?
Two: since when do I have to sign for those books? I'm never home during the day! They just push it through the mailslot in my door!

Okay, the book is:
Deep kiss of winter by Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter.

woensdag 12 januari 2011

J.D. Robb – Betrayal in Death

Book 13 in the In Death series, published in 2001.

Betrayal in Death

From number 1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts, writing as J.D. Robb, comes a new novel in the futuristic series … Detective Eve Dallas investigates a homicide on familiar grounds – her husband’s hotel – and finds herself up against a murderer with a passion for the finer things in life … and death …
At the luxurious Roarke Palace Hotel, a maid walks into suite 4602 for the nightly turndown - and steps into her worst nightmare. A killer leaves her dead, strangled by a thin silver wire. He's Sly Yost, a virtuoso of music and murder. A hit man for the elite. Lieutenant Eve Dallas knows him well. But in this twisted case, knowing the killer doesn't help solve the crime. Because there's someone else involved. Someone with a more personal motive. And Eve must face a terrifying possibility - that the real target may, in fact, be her husband, Roarke...

The Palace Hotel has a scoop, a world famous actress has decided to auction of a lot of her memorabilia and costumes from her movies and plays, and to hold that auction at the Palace Hotel. Roarke is thrilled, he has been a huge fan of Magda since his youth. The estimated value of the auction is close to half a billion dollars, and the proceeds will go to a foundation to help struggling your actors. Roarke has taken great care with the organization of things, and especially the security arrangements, and is certain everything will go flawless.

But then a young housemaid is murdered in his hotel, while he and his wife, Lieutenant Eve Dallas, are on the premises. Eve takes charge of the investigation, and tries to find a reason for this murder. Because for once, she doesn’t have to find out who did it, the murderer is smiling in the camera for her. It turns out to be an international assassin, wanted all over the world and beyond by every alphabet agency there is. But they never looked deep enough at the clues provided.
Roarke is hurt very much by this murder, it was one of his people after all. But then an old friend from Dublin turns up as a surprise, as Roarke thought he was dead. Stabbed to death in a pub in Dublin years ago. But Mick is very much alive, and totally impressed with Roarke’s accomplishments, and of course, a bit jealous. After all, they started out alike, with the same background and chances, and they were “in business” together more than once back than. So he cannot really believe Roarke married a cop, and has gone straight.
Then a man is murdered in the same way, with the murder actually being caught on camera. A friend of Roarkes this time, as well as an employee. He is furious, and devastated, and he wants in on the investigation. But Eve has a hard enough time fighting of the FBI when they want to take over the investigation. They don’t care for the victims, they just want to collar of capturing this murderer. And when they mess up her hours of investigation, and the murderer flees, there will be hell to pay. And pay it, those FBI agents will.

Eve is tenacious, finding leads and clues the FBI and other agencies never bothered with. But in the meanwhile, she is very afraid Roarke is the real target. Someone is gunning for him. Someone from his past? Or his present business dealings? They want him not focusing on his business, on edge. And when the murderer goes after Summerset (but fails), she is almost certain. She hopes to be the next target herself, so she can protect Roarke. Of course, he won’t just stand still for that. He will be part of the team. But Eve wants more than the assassin, she wants the person who is paying him! And so bit by bit, she unravels the plot.

A really great story. Even though I have read it before, I could not stop reading last night, and it was nearly three a.m. when I finally closed it with a sigh. A great plot. This time it is Roarke who needs to be held, and Eve can comfort him. She doesn’t really trust Mick, but she loves the stories about their childhood pranks, and not so young stunts.
Peabody and McNab have a falling out over the fact she is still seeing Charles Monroe, but Peabody is not about to give that friendship up. Nor will she tell McNab it is just that, and no more. Even Mavis and Trina are roped in to help with the investigation, and that was the golden idea. Of course Trina takes the opportunity to work at Eve, even though Eve is afraid of her and her arsenal of lotions and the like.

A really great instalment in a terrific series, I will not for a long time be bored with.

9 stars.

dinsdag 11 januari 2011

Jayne Ann Krentz – In too deep

The first book in the Arcane Society: Looking Glass Trilogy series, published December 2010.

In too deep

Jayne Ann Krentz follows up her highly successful Dreamlight Trilogy - written in collaboration with her two alter egos, Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle - with a brand-new story arc that begins in a secluded coastal town in northern California.

Scargill Cove is the perfect place for Fallon Jones, confirmed recluse and investigator of the paranormal. It's a hot spot, a convergence point for unusually strong currents of energy, which might explain why the town attracts misfits and drifters like moths to a flame. Now someone else has been drawn to the Cove - Isabella Valdez, on the run from some very dangerous men.

When she starts working as Fallon's assistant, Isabella impresses him by organizing his pathologically chaotic office - and doesn't bat an eye at the psychic element of his job. She's a kindred spirit, a sanctuary from a world that considers his talents a form of madness. But after a routine case unearths an antique clock infused with dark energy, Fallon and Isabella are dragged into the secret history of Scargill Cove and forced to fight for their lives, as they unravel a cutthroat conspiracy with roots in the Jones family business and Isabella's family tree.

Fallon Jones runs the psychic detective agency of J&J, a firm that has been in the family for 400 years. They solve cases, but also police the psychics. After all, the normal police doesn’t even acknowledge psychic crimes, let alone have the ability to arrest or detain a high level psychic. Fallon himself is an off-the-scale chaos talent, he sees patterns were other people see nothing, which makes them think he just sees conspiracies behind every tree. But all of his theories are based on facts, and he is getting tired of explaining himself, or denying that everyone thinks he will go mad, just like his ancestors with this particular talent.
Especially after his terminated engagement three years ago, Fallon has been alone. But now he has finally hired an office assistant, and she sure knows how to manage his office, and himself for that matter. Sure, she has secrets of her own, he knows she is running from something or some one, but he is patient and will give her time to trust him with the truth.

Isabella has some powerful talents of her own: she is a finder, she finds things and people. And most often things she doesn’t really want to find, like dead bodies. She was very happy in her last job, feeling appreciated for her talents, until she found out she was targeted as a scapegoat for a paranormal arms dealer. Someone in the firm was dealing in psychic weapons, and they were trying to blame it all on her. The Arcane Society has very strict rules when it comes to dealing with those things, and she does not want to be targeted by them.
So she runs, after all, she has only been working there for six months, and her boss, the one who is framing her, for years and years. Her word would mean nothing to these people. And when some thugs try to grab her in Phoenix, another part of her talent comes in handy as well: she can “suggest” things to a person when he is touching her, and she tells those men to ”get lost”, but only to cross over at crossroads when the light is green … she does not want to be responsible for some unexplained deaths.
When she told her grandmother all about this, she was told to go to Scargill Cove and find Fallon Jones. He would be able to help her. Her grandmother is a real conspiracy artist, and she would go underground. She would pretend to be death, and Isabella was to stay away. But when time went on, Isabella was very much afraid they found her grandmother, and the death was not faked after all.

After a few weeks at the agency, Isabella wants to become an investigator herself, and she accepts a client, a real estate agent, who wants them to declare a house she has been unable to sell, as being ghost free. But upon entering the house, Isabella finds some much darker things, and calls Fallon for backup. A psychic serial killer is using the house as his killing place, using an antique psychic weapon to help him. Of course he is not match for Fallon, and when he discloses there are more of those weapons around, they have a bigger problem on their hands. Luckily, the townspeople trust Fallon, and tell him were to look. They have been guarding those weapons, whom they believe are alien or from a black ops government operation for 22 years, ever since they came to the town. So Fallon arranges to have them taken to the Arcane labs, where they will be dismantled.

Then Zack Jones and his wife turn up, the currant Master of Arcane. And he wants Fallon to come to the yearly meeting this year, to back him up. There are rumors they want Fallon out as head of J&J, and for Arcane to break up with J&J. Of course, the next step would be to elect someone else Master of Arcane. So an united front would be appreciated. Fallon dreads the thing, as his former fiancée and her parents will surely be their. They blame him for killing their son/brother, when he was defending his own life. So he gets the notion to take Isabella with him, as his assistant.

Lots of things start happening, a lot of action, ancient secrets unravelled. And I totally loved the book. A few of the twists I saw coming, but a few were nice surprises. I loved the little visit to Eclipse Bay in the end. Both Fallon and Isabella are great characters. Both have been so very lonely, only for different reasons, and they just accept each other. Of course, they are a perfect match according to the aunt who runs Arcane Matchmakers. A few little love scenes, but a lot of action, and humor and psychic adventures.

A great book, a great series, a great author.

9 stars.

zondag 9 januari 2011

J.D. Robb – Judgment in Death

Book 12 in the In Death series, published in 2000.

Judgment in Death

In an uptown stripjoint, a cop is found bludgeoned to death. The weapon is a baseball bat. The motive’s a mystery. It’s a case of serious overkill that pushes Eve Dallas straight into overdrive. Her investigation uncovers a private club that’s more than a hot spot. Purgatory’s a last chance for atonement where everyone is judged. Where your ultimate fate depends on your most intimate sins. And where one cop’s hidden secrets are about to plunge innocent souls into vice-ridden damnation …

Lieutenant Eve Dallas is called as primary to investigate the vicious murder of another cop in a strip joint. It appears he was moonlighting as a bartender for some extra cash to afford a bigger house for his wife and two children. On the surface, there is nothing wrong with that. Also, the strip joint is a very upscale one, so it comes as no surprise when she finds out her husband Roarke owns the place. But something is off, as the manager didn’t know Kohli was a cop. She thought he was working in security. And she did check out his references.
From the beginning, Internal Affairs is messing with her investigation. Sending Webster, to warn her off, the feed her hints and suggestions. Was Kohli a bad cop? And why leave the thirty silver credits, like the thirty silvers Judas got for betraying Jesus on the scene? The badge smeared with blood? All the police force will be after this murdered, after all, he killed one of their own.
The captain of the precinct Kohli was working for, wants the investigation for herself, but Eve refuses. All the leads turn back to one person: Max Ricker, a very bad apple. He has been arrested numerous times, but always managed to slither free. And some time ago, Max and Roarke were in business together. Until Roarke decided he didn’t like the business Max was involved in, nor the way he did business, and ended their relationship, skinning Max for several million of dollars.
Kohli and the other officers from his precinct were very close to nailing Max Ricker half a year ago, but then evidence got missing or mixed up, witnesses disappeared, and Max got free, again. It all points to dirty cops, but no one wants to investigate that, wants to believe that from their colleagues. And now Eve has to figure out who is dirty, who is not, and who is killing of the cops they believe are dirty. Who will be next? And will she be able to pin this on Ricker, and bust his ass?
Roarke doesn’t want Eve to go after Ricker, as Ricker is not to be messed with. He has no scruples, and enjoys hurting woman. But Eve doesn’t heed his warning, and gets an interview with Ricker. Who is delighted at this chance to hurt Eve, and through her, Roarke. He really wants to get at Roarke, and Eve uses it to goad him into action. Resulting in getting four heavily armed goons on her tail, whom she manages to arrest. But just when she has made a deal with one of them to roll over on Ricker, the man is murdered, while being guarded by two cops!
Another cop from the same precinct gets murdered, and he really is a bad cop. He has been taking money on the side for years, but Eve has no way to prove it was Ricker buying him. The captain has some things to hide too, and she turns up highly on the suspect list. She new Kohli was working in Purgatory, she was seen visiting there as a customer.
And no cop would let a stranger get this close to him to get killed without even defending himself. Is this murderer really another cop?

A really great story this one. With a lot of action, where Eve is in danger a few times. Also a big fight between Roarke and Eve, and Eve getting drunk with Mavis to try to figure out how to patch things up between them. Some very hot love scenes are the result, and Roarke gets his revenge on Ricker, but not how he wants to. Webster makes a move on Eve, and Roarke trashes him for it. Even though Eve would have done that herself.
Ricker does his best to capture Eve, and to hurt Roarke, but of course he is out of his league. And Eve learns a little more about her past, when she gets another flash back.

9 stars.

vrijdag 7 januari 2011

Christine Feehan – Ruthless Game

The 9th book in the GhostWalkers series, published in december 2010.

Ruthless Game

GhostWalker Kane Cannon is pure male – animalistic, sexual, protective, instinctive – and his past missions have prepared him for anything. But his newest assignment, to rescue hostages in Mexico, plunges him into a hot zone he never anticipated: the hiding place of Rose Patterson – a fugitive, an ex-lover, a fellow GhostWalker, pregnant with his child.

Rose is in flight from the insidious experiments that still haunt her dreams, and from the madman who’d do anything to take her child. Of all the GhostWalkers enlisted to hunt her down, Kane is the only one she can trust. But as their passion reignites, the stakes are raised. Because Kane is now a wanted man as well. And together they’re about to face the most difficult challenge of all: staying together and staying alive.

Ever since she escaped from Whitneys breeding program and his female prisoner camp, Rose has been on the run. Pregnant and nowhere to go, she desperately needs a place to be safe to give birth. Trained from her own birth as a soldier like the other orphan girls Whitney bought all over the world, she has no experience living in the real world. Having a family, of being part of one is something she knows nothing about. But she wants this child and vows to keep him safe. She will never give him up to Whitney for his evil experiments. Of course, she is an outstanding soldier, with her enhance psychic and physical abilities and she can certainly take care of herself and her unborn child.
But now she has been found by the father of her child, a man forced to have sex with her, forced to make her pregnant. But after that, he helped her escape. Of course he has been looking for her ever since, as they are mated together. He cannot help but want her, need her desperately. But still, he wants to give her a choice, not knowing she already had chosen him as the father of her unborn child. He was after all the most honourable man of the lot Whitney had her choose from.
Before he can take Rose home with him, Kane and his GhostWalker team have to finish their mission: rescuing some hostages from a Mexican drug lord. Something unexpected comes up, and Rose and Kane get separated from the rest of the GhostWalkers, and have to fight their way to a secret desert house Rose knew to find. She believes it is safe, but Kane just smells a trap. It is all too convenient, he is certain Whitney has set her up. After all, he wants to get his hands on their child. The supersoldier he is trying to create by enhancing man and woman who already have some paranormal powers, and certain characteristics. And now he is pairing of the man and woman he has selected, making them crave each other, and making babies for him. But so far, he has not been so lucky in that last part. All the couples have eluded him so far, and their children are still safe and out of his reach.

To his horror, Kane will have to help Rose give birth to their child, as it arrives way too early. But together they manage, and fall in love even more with each other. Two lonely people, never learned to trust a stranger or depend on anyone but themselves. Well, Kane did have his family of GhostWalkers, but Rose was alone. It was safer not to bond with the other girls in the compound, to stay aloof and keep your abilities a secret.
Not only Whitney wants Rose and her child, also the drug cartel is after her, knowing Whitney will pay handsomely for the both of them. But Kane’s family arrives just in time, saving them from all the bad guys. Of course, neither will give up on catching her, so she will have to be careful where ever she goes.
So now Rose has her freedom, living with Kane and his family of GhostWalkers. Training with them, so she will be able to go on a mission with them. Which is not something Kane likes. He needs to protect her, to keep her safe, he cannot get used to the fact she is an excellent soldier herself and can take him out if necessary.

This was a really great story again. Full of action and suspense. I loved Kane and Rose, and how totally the big guy fell for her. For Rose it was especially difficult to learn to trust his family, and the fact they would always be there to protect her and little Sebastian. Everything in this new life is strange to her, she never had a family, a relationship, a child. But she manages, and she tries to manage Kane as well.
I loved the promise of Sebastian and his abilities, as well as those of the other GhostWalker babies we meet in the end. Will they be the ones to take out Whitney at last? He is not the only one they have to be careful of, there is also this political faction that is afraid of them, and wants them all terminated.
The love scenes between Kane and Rose are hot and great, and totally fit the storyline.

For the most enjoyment, you should read this series in order. The plot around Whitney keeps evolving bit by bit.

And I am very curious about the next couple ..

9 stars.

Sabrina Jeffries – The truth about Lord Stoneville

The first book in the Hellions of Halstead Hall series, published in 2010.

Lord Stoneville

In the two decades since a tragic “accident” took the lives of his parents, Oliver Sharpe, the Marquess of Stoneville, has survived the scandal surrounding that fateful night by living as an unrepentant rakehell. And with his grandmother vowing to disinherit him if he doesn’t settle down and wed, he plans to fulfil the bargain in true Sharpe style – by bringing home a fake fiancée from a brothel! But his scheme is derailed when he rescues an American beauty in a dire predicament instead. Maria Butterfield came to London to track down her groom-to-be, who’s gone missing, but her engagement won’t stop Oliver from getting what he wants: her, in his bed. His rebellious masquerade may call his grandmother’s bluff, but it’s soon made all too real – by a love that tempts him to be a hellion no more.

Mrs. Hester Plumtree has issued an ultimatum: she wants to see her five grandchildren wed within the year, or she will cut the all of financially. No more paying for their gambling and caroling, their housing and their clothes. Oliver, the oldest is 35, and is still suffering from the death of his parents. He believes he is responsible for the tragedy, and unworthy of love. So he has never before pursued a young lady of a respectable family. He takes his pleasures with whores and theatersingers and dancers. He is furious, as his grandmothers decision means he will have to re-open Hallstead Hall, his ancestral palace so he and his siblings can live there. He has shirked his duties for years, and is now expected to take care of the place and his tenants. And he vowed never to follow his father’s footsteps, who would have done anything to keep the place running smoothly, but didn’t deny himself any pleasure at all, no matter how much his infidelity hurted and shamed his wife.
So he thinks, if he brings home a totally unacceptable bride, his grandmother will relent. So he sets out to find a suitable woman in the brothel he usually frequents, but fate has other plans. He runs into miss Maria Butterfield and her cousin Freddy Dunce. They are only trying to get a good look at a certain satchel one of the customers has with him, as Maria is certain it is the one she made for her fiancée. But the customers of the place don’t let them go that easily, they are accused of thievery. To help them out of their predicament, Oliver strikes a bargain with Maria: she will pretend to be his fiancée, and he will safe Freddy from the magistrate, and also help her find her fiancée. Maria has little choice but to accept his offer, she has little funds left, and lord help her, but she is attracted to this British Lord.
But first he needs to get her out of her mourning clothes and into something a little more revealing, just to upset his grandmother. When he finds out Maria is Catholic, and her father was a war hero, he fought the English, and his grandmothers only son was killed in that war, he is really pleased with his find. His grandmother will have to back down, and give in to him.

Little does he know that is grandmother doesn’t care who he marries, as long as he does, and gives her some great-grandchildren. And Maria, who is not afraid of Oliver and who seems to be a good influence on him, is perhaps just the right choice! She will pretend to oppose the match, pushing the two of them together. But Oliver’s’ brothers and sisters also like Maria at first sight, and they don’t want Oliver to seduce her into his bed, so they keep interfering on their alone time.
But all those schemes are working, and finally Oliver realizes he really does want to marry Maria. She doesn’t believe all the gossip about his parents death, and does not even condemn him when he finally tells her the truth about what happened that night. Maria wants to marry him for love, and when he proposes but tells her he doesn’t believe in love, she turns him down. Then finally the runner they hired to find her lost fiancée appears with the news he found him. And while Oliver is out, getting a special license, against Maria’s wishes, she runs of with mr. Pinter to get the answers she needs and to end her engagement.

I loved meeting with Oliver, getting to know him, and his siblings. His feisty grandmother will for sure get her way! I am looking forward to the book about Minerva, who writes gothic romance novels, and Celia, who loves shooting pistols and winning from the men she competes with. I have a hunch about Celia and mr. Pinter. And I just know there is more to the story about the night their parents died. I think certain people will have to be found at last, and that what Oliver thinks, did not happen at all.

I loved Maria, how she sees to good in Oliver, and makes him think his life over, and his morals or lack of them. An American girl who needs to learn the English customs and is not afraid of anything. She won’t accept anything Oliver wants, and tries to stay herself.
And Oliver, all his needless suffering. He was just a boy after all. I blame both his parents for their behaviour.

All in all, a really good book, which I loved from first to last page. And I will read the others soon. A Hellion in her bed is already waiting for me, and Minerva’s book is pre-ordered.

9 stars.

donderdag 6 januari 2011

Annette Blair – A Christmas baby

A book in the Rogue's Club series, published in 2004

A christmas baby

A merry gentleman
Rocking a cradle is no diversion for a rogue – but the new earl of Blackburne has no choice. Ashford Blackburne cannot clear his debts or save his family’s estates unless he comes into his inheritance, and his grandfather’s will makes it perfectly clear that he must marry and produce an heir by year’s end – or forfeit a fortune. His choice of bride is most unconventional: Larkin McAdams is an innkeeper’s daughter!

And his sweet lady
Though her clothes are rough, a tender heart beats beneath. Lark has hidden her fondness for Ash for many years, thinking him above her. But now she must say yes – the Earl of Blackburne won her fair and square in a card game with her father. Ash has promised to educate her well and turn her into a lady fit for his grand house. Yet as Christmas draws near, Lark will teach the earl some lessons of her own … in the ways of love …

Jilted for the altar, again, Ashford Blackburne and his two friends seek solace in their favourite pub. Getting as drunk as humanly possible to forget what happened (or not happened). Ash has to get married and father a baby, or he will be disinherited by his grandfather. He had bought an actress to be his wife, but she just took his money and disappeared. No woman of noble birth would want to tie herself to a rogue like him. Then he gets the brilliant notion to buy the pub to support himself. But the pub owner doesn’t want to sell, he will gamble for it instead. If Ash wins, he gets the pub. If Ash looses, he looses 1.000 gold guineas, but gain the pub owner’s daughter in marriage as a consolation price! Ash agrees, as he has always had the devil’s own luck with cards. And of course, he is stone cold drunk.
Larking is hiding on the stairs behind Ash, dreaming of him as she has done since she was a little girl of 11. He was kind to her then, and she has never forgotten that. But she knows he is so far above her station, even when he was just a soldier fighting Bonaparte. And now her father is trying to get rid of her by marrying her of to Ash. It could be a dream come true … And she could help her nephew Micah as well! So when Ash is about to win, no matter how much her father cheats, Lark decides to help out a bit by trading some cards …
And so, at gunpoint, Lark and Ash are married. Ash doesn’t know what happens, this dirty smelling person is a woman? And he really has to take her with him? The marriage is real, and they both have no choice in the matter. But after making her take a bath (which is a real fight between them), Ash is flabbergasted! His wife is a beautiful young woman after all. When he tries to demand his husband rights, she shoots him. She will have none of that thank you very much. After what happened to her sister, she is determined no man will do that to her, ever! So Ash has his fair share of wooing to do. He really needs that heir!
Then Micah appears on their doorstep, a little boy of 7 years old, very clearly abused and not speaking. He doesn’t remember his Auntie, but both Lark and Ash are trying to make him feel at home and safe. Ash promises to raise him as his own nephew.
Just when things are progressing, another surprise arrives. Apparently, the first woman who jilted Ash, was pregnant when she married another, and now she has died and their daughter is send to him. Only not directly, she has survived on her own on the streets of London for quit some time, so she is a real hellion, and wants to be called Brian. Just like Lark, she pretended to be a boy to keep safer.
So now they have two children to raise and keep safe.
Everything between Lark and Ash is going well though, and Lark even finds out she likes “doing the matrimonial” and they are eagerly trying to create a baby of their own. Lark and the children have to follow lessons, reading, writing, numbers and behaviour. So they will be able to meet society at last.

At Christmas, there is a huge house party, were all the rogues and their families out of the previous rogue books make an appearance. The number of children they all have is staggering! But it sounded like a lot of fun and happiness.

I really loved this book! Lark sure knows what she wants, and being an innocent she still makes it plain what she will and will not do. I loved the scene in the attic, where she found the clothes and most important, the shoes. Having done without most of her life, she loves wearing all those beautiful colors. And Ash finally gets to know that having a wife and a family is what he wanted after all. The escapades Lark and the children are getting into, are great.
High time I (re)read all those rogue books! E-bay, here I come again …

8,5 stars