Sunday, March 29, 2009

Before Dawn Breaks by Rae Lori

This is an action-packed tale with enough twists to keep your interest. Alex/Camilla is a formidable heroine who also has a gentle side to her. The question is, which one is real? That is what Alex has to find out on this journey. Josh is such a sweet guy, but he's also more than capable of handling the danger that stalks them both. I liked the premise of this book, reminding me of the television shows Alias and La Femme Nikita. It's cool to see an African American heroine in this case. Like Sydney and Nikita, Alex is a heroine you care about but is more than able of taking care of herself and anyone who happens to be her enemy. The love story was sweet and involving. You do want things to work out between Alex and Josh, hoping that they will find each other amongst the chaos of Alex trying to find out who she is and trying to stay alive as her enemies strive to do her in. And Josh is personally involved himself, as his ex-wife is one of the people gunning for Alex. If readers are looking for an action-filled romance that has a sweet love story at heart, they will love this book. I hope to read more from Ms. Lori.

Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn

This was an interesting read that takes a different path for the urban fantasy heroine. Kitty is not the usual kickbutt heroine who can handle whatever life throws at her. She's a regular girl, who happens to be a werewolf. I found that intensely refreshing. Kitty is the wolf of lowest status in her pack and complete submissive when the story starts. She has to come into her own and into the realization that she can make it on her own, and that she doesn't need the pack so much that she can deny her sense of self. The description of werewolf pack dynamics kept my attention. I didn't care much for the way the pack controlled Kitty's life. I tend to be a loner because I don't like doing things because they are expected of me by others, and not because I want to. That's why I could really identify with Kitty's situation. Kitty is still trying to deal with her dual selves, as a werewolf, and as a human. She became a werewolf under some pretty awful circumstances, and has lingering trauma over that. When the book starts, her parents don't even know she's a werewolf. She avoids going to family get-togethers because of fear that the wolf would emerge. The one thing is hers and makes sense is her radio dj gig that becomes a show about preternatural creatures, and as it grows, helps Kitty to find her sense of self and meaning in life. This story has plenty of action, but it is also a story about a woman coming into herself and dealing with her identity. That is one of the reasons I really like this story, because of the introspective aspects teamed with a good, action-oriented urban fantasy tale. Cormac is a hunter of vamps and weres who his hired to kill Kitty, but is convinced to call off the contract at the last minute by Kitty herself. Cormac certainly caught my interest, and I'd like to see more of him. When this story ends, very few of the external conflicts are wrapped up. You know that Kitty has troubles ahead to face. But you know that she can handle it, because she is a wolf in control of her own destiny.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

I'd really rather give this one 4.5 stars, because it was an excellent book. Although a young adult book, it is definitely sophisticated enough for an adult to enjoy it (I don't consider myself sophisticated, but I still think a person who is would like it). I liked that the suspense builds. There are no cheap thrills or shock value scares. Instead, the author takes his time and builds up the menace so that you spend your time trying to prepare yourself for the scare. Even still, you won't hear someone yelling 'boo.' Instead the moment of dread will come and you will think, whoa, "I'm glad I'm not in Tom's shoes right now." I do love stories where a character comes into their destiny, and this is one of them. Tom wasn't really sure that he wanted to be a spook after all. But he didn't have any other trade in mind, and he definitely didn't like farming. But it turned out his destiny was waiting for him as the seventh son of the seventh son. He was apprenticed to train as the next Spook, which is a person who rids the towns of evil, supernatural creatures. It is a job that is looked down on by others, and promises to bring the bearer a lonely life. But at the time, Tom figures it's better than farming, and his mother doesn't really give him much of a choice. Let's just say she had his destiny determined long before he was born. You get to see Tom struggle with his role as the Spook's Apprentice, several times, deciding to quit but having his mind changed in various ways. He makes some mistakes along the way, but learns from them, so there is also a good coming of age story in this book.

I like that there is definitely good and evil in this book. But there are also humans who could go either way. Yes there are bad witches, but there are some that are benign. There is one character that is likely to be in-between, and she has a very pivotal role. I believe that she will have a very important place in Tom's life as he matures. Perhaps there will be a romantic future for Tom and Alice when they get older.

The parts with the witches really did unnerve me. They are horrible creatures who kill and eat people and use their bones for dark magic. It was refreshing to read a book that actually had bad witches for once. I was very proud of young Tom for facing off on not one, but two witches that were out for his blood and his bones, and saving a young child that was likely to be one of their victims.

The author really did a great job of setting a sinister tone. It wasn't over the top, but very subtle and building. His use of words drew a very vivid image, where I felt as though I was standing there and the witch was crawling out of the grave to get me.

Another thing I liked was that this story was not predictable. You don't know how it's going to end. You don't know the way in which the witch will manifest herself. She could have possessed any one of the people in the house during the climax moments of this story.

Tom was a sympathetic, likable narrator. He was realistic for his age, but I truly did admire his bravery although he was scared when a rational person would have been scared. He was often left to deal with situations that would have been challenging for a grown-up, much less a boy of twelve. He risked his life to do the right thing, and that was very admirable to me.

There are questions that I would still like answers to, but reading the next books in the series, will definitely give insight into the enigmatic Spook, and Tom's mother, who has gifts that are still somewhat mysterious at this point.

If you want to read a young adult book that has the appeal of giving a good, sustained scare instead of a series of shock value, short-lived scares, I think you would enjoy this one. A cool bonus with this book is pages of Tom's journal, a map of the areas in the book, and the key to the codes used by a Spook in his trade....

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Urban Shaman by CE Murphy

Ms. Murphy managed to do something I didn't think could be accomplished. She wrote this incredible story that seamlessly intertwines Celtic and Native American folklore and mythology. Let me tell you this is a book you don't want to put down. It is so vivid it's like a movie, but I haven't seen a movie this cool. Hollywood doesn't like to take chances on women in high prolife action roles. And this is definitely a woman's story. Joanne Walker is running away from her dual heritage as a Cherokee Native American and a woman of Irish descent. She just wants to be one of the guys and work on cars in the police unit, although she is a cop. But our destiny calls us, and we cannot run away from it. It only runs right into us. She has to face her identity when the shamanic heritage that she inherited from her dad awakens within her. It happens at a good time, because she's having to deal with Celtic deities wreaking havoc in her city. I really enjoyed the folklore elements. It was so cool to see Joanne taking on Cerunnos, the Horned God of Celtic myths, and also Hearne the Hunter. She has to stop the Wild Hunt from occurring and taking human souls. This is a book that you might want to read along with a mythology encyclopedia, or at least zip over to Wikipedia, because you will find yourself reading about people and things that might not ring a bell, but they are definitely part of folklore. Or if you are inclined towards the myths, you will think it's pretty cool. Don't let me forget to tell you that her spirit guide is a Coyote Trickster, a nod toward the Native American folkore. He talks in her dreams. Pretty surreal.

Another thing I liked was there was no sex. Okay now I'm going to get laughed at. But it is refreshing to read a woman's book where the heroine isn't fixated on her sex-life or lack therof, or is in a relationship or between relationships. Woman are complex creatures and it seems as though in fiction and the media, we are defined too often by our sexuality. Joanne is not a sexless being, don't get me wrong. There is tension with Cerunnos, who is clearly digging on her, and there is an attraction between Joanne and her boss Captain Morrison, who sounds really hot to me. I pictured Hugo Weaving as Cerunnos, complete with horns around the sides of his head that resemble a crown, and Angus MacFadyen as Morrison. I really did like the fact that Joanne was comfortable in a man's world and got along really well with the men she knew, and how much they respected her abilties.

If you enjoy great urban fantasy and like to read about women saving the day and coming into their own, you would really like this book.

Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell

I must admit I am not a fan of the courtesan/prostitute heroine because I dislike the idea of a woman having to sell her body for survival. For that reason, I did not read this book right away, although I was very intrigued by the storyline of a hero who would do just about anything to keep his heroine. I read some scenes from it at the bookstore, trying to decide if I was "ready" to read it, and I couldn't stop thinking about story and how good the writing was. Finally, I decided I had to read it and I read it within a few days of buying it.

This book is one of the best historicals I have ever read. It was intense, it was well-written, it had believable characters who made real choices, good or bad. And at the heart I think it did have a really good love story. Not the sweet and light kind, but a love story all the same. I have championed this book and I have tried to explain why Kylemore isn't a bad man. He's not an emotionally healthy man. And he does some things that are not right, namely forcing Soraya to have sex with him after he kidnaps her, not to mention kidnapping her in the first place. I would never defend or excuse that behavior. But reading the book, you can understand what his motivations are. He is completely desperate at the thought of losing her. Yes, he's like a child who has a toy taken away from him, on one level. But I believe that he is motivated by a deep, obsessive love for her. I find myself very intrigued by obsessive heroes. I don't know why because that would be really scary in real life, but I do like it in romance novels. I love when the hero truly cannot exist without the heroine.

Kylemore somehow found his way into my heart. I did find him to be a sympathetic, albeit flawed hero. There were aspects about him that I did like, such as his devotion in his own way to Soraya. He waited for Soraya for years when she was with another protector. As far I as I recall, he didn't even take another lover in that time. When he had her as his mistress, he compartmentalized their time together, making it seem that it was not as important as it was. But deep down, I believe being with her was the highlight of his existence. Also, he was going to ask Soraya to marry him. Dukes did not marry their mistresses. It just wasn't done. They had their mistresses but married virgins or respectble widows, and the two aspects of their existences didn't meet. Yes he told himself it was to anger his mother, but I believe it was because he genuinely loved Soraya and wanted to make a life with her.

So, viewing his actions in light of the facts given, I do believe that his behavior was not completely rational. His kidnapping and captivity of her was done from a knee-jerk, emotional level that wasn't ruled by logic and negated right and wrong. Not excusable, but definitely actions I could understand in light of what motivated Kylemore. There was also an aspect of knowing that as a powerful duke, he shouldn't have to be told no or be denied anything he wanted. That is the part I didn't like.

The scenes where they struggle against each other physically, mentally, and emotionally were riveting, and I didn't even want to put the book down for a minute. I was drawn in and I knew I had rarely if ever read a romance novel with this degree of complexity of relationships. In some ways it was hard to watch how Kylemore scared Verity and wore her down. At some points I wondered if he would drive her to insanity. That was painful to read. She deserved better. I wanted to tell him, "If you're trying to get this woman to stay with you and love you, you're going about it the wrong way." But Kylemore was raised by a very evil woman, his mother. How would a man raised in that environment know how to give or receive love? You could not expect that of him, considering his background.

Truly Verity was the more emotionally stable and well-adjusted of this pair. I really liked how Ms. Campbell really plays with society's concepts of morality in both this book and in Tempt the Devil, having the courtesan be the more virtous and more respectable and laudable of the pair. And truly in my mind they are (in most cases).

Back in this time period, there was no such thing as equality between the sexes. Women were property and chattel. Women's choices were extremely limited. Men had the power and they had the choice to have sex with women according to their wishes and wants. Women had to submit in various ways, either as wife or mistress. I can see that this dynamic is played out in this novel. Verity had to become a courtesan out of survival, and she did it until she was financially secure. I found it repugnant that her first protector was an older man who made her an offer to become his mistress at the young age of fifteen, and he felt that that was the right way to save her from a harrowing situation. If he really wanted to help her, he could have placed her in a safe situation and helped her to get a living that wasn't prostitution, or at least waited until she was older. But he saw how incredibly beautiful she was and wanted her. Thus his motives were selfish and although Verity now had some protection, he sent her into the life of a demimondaine.

Verity/Soraya accepted her position as a courtesan and made the best of it, but it wasn't the life she wanted. When Kylemore made her an offer, it was business, pure and simple. She could not make the mistake of getting her heart involved. She didn't expect Kylemore to be emotionally involved either. When their two year contract was up, she had achieved the means for financial security. There was no reason to continue in that life. By leaving Kylemore, she could close her life on one chapter and start another. I want to reread this book to study again how the wall broke down and Verity was able to love Kylemore. I think that this part is probably one of the most important elements, because knowing that she accepts and loves him doesn't make what he did okay, but at least you can hope that they will have a hopeful future together and that there can be some emotional healing for both of them.

Words fail me to express why I loved this book so much.I just did. It's not for the faint of heart reader who wants a happy-go-lucky rakish hero who wouldn't ever consider harming a woman or doing anything she didn't consent to. But for a reader who is willing to put aside their list of what a hero does and doesn't do and read this book and evaluate Kylemore as an individual, I believe that this reader may find that there are untapped depths to this book that make it a fascinating and enjoyable read.

Jewel of Atlantis by Gena Showalter

I'd give this 4.5 stars if I could. Although it took me a while to finish this book because of outside factors, I thought it was pretty awesome. My one complaint is I think the ending was a bit rushed. This might be the hottest book that I have read by GS so far. The love scenes were pretty steamy. One thing I liked is that Gray has a very large POV in this story. It's really cool to see a romance from the guy's perspective. And I feel that his viewpoint read pretty authentic for a guy. He did and said, and thought exactly the way I would imagine a man would think. Now I have never walked in a man's shoes, so I might be disputed on this. Nevetheless it felt real to me.

As typical for GS, there was an aura of sweetness and good-naturedness to this story. It is difficult to describe, but in the books I've read by Ms. Showalter with the exception of Awaken Me Darkly there seems to be this upbeat tone. Now that doesn't mean that bad things don't happen and people don't die in this book or her others. But you get the impression that in the end, everything will work out and good will prevail. I must say I like that about her books. Life can seem pretty dark and hopeless. It's nice to read a book with an overall tone of optimism. I love my angsty, dark romances, but it's also nice to read some that are on the upbeat side as well.

The mythology in this story is pretty interesting. It borrows from Greek myths, but there are some extra things added. I have never thought of vampires as being a large aspect of the Greek mythology, and I believe the Formorians are from ancient Celtic mythology. Thus I feel that there is a potpourri of folklore used to develop Showalter's Atlantis universe. As always, I am a folklore/mythology geek, so I enjoyed seeing the mythological creatures that populated this story.

It was also nice to revisit Darius and his bride Grace, and see the intriguing Layel (can't wait to read his story). Those demons are just gross and don't sound the least bit attractive to me.

I really did like Jewel. She was a sweet person but also formidable in her own way. She had been in love with Gray from afar for many years, seeing him in visions in her mind. I thought it was sad that she had seen the profusion of women he'd been with in her mind in excruciating detail, but she didn't let that bother her, but took her opportunity to be with him the capacity available to her. I appreciated her love for others, and how she often tried to sacrifice her well-being to help others. She had a rough existence, but in a way that is rather different from other romance heroines.

I must say that this is a great book to read if you are a fan of the paranormal genre. It's not dark and intense in the way that a lot of the popular series right now are. But it's very good and fun, but has depth that will fill your hours until the last word has been read.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Italian's Ruthless Marriage Bargain by Kim Lawrence

Man the blurb is a bit misleading. They make Jude seem like a wallflower. She really isn't. She's got a PhD (ladies who are looking for HP heroines with a higher education and a good career read this one), she's got a nice place to live, and I would consider her successful. She sounds pretty attractive to me. Not drop dead gorgeous, but an attractive woman. She just feels like she's not attractive at times because of her mother's overbearing ways. So Ivwouldn't exactly call her a Plain Jane although I would add this under that theme in my bookshelf because thats how Jude sees herself. It was a good book, a quick read. I've read better by Lawrence, but it was enjoyable. It had some angst, but not too much. One thing I didn't like was you really didn't get to know Luca's daughter Valentina that well. You got more glimpses of Jude's nieces and nephews than you get of Valentina. I think if you're going to plot a book around a child, they should make more than a token appearance. Otherwise, they are merely a plot point.

Luca started off being a bossy alpha who was on the judgemental side. But he he didn't stay that way long enough to be annoying as does happen frequently in the world of Harlequin Presents. Another staple of the HP land is the enormously tall, so hot he can melt off your panties Italian hero. This book is no difference. Jude can't seem to keep her hands off his body and blurting out things about how gorgeous he is. She even propositions him. Of course, he accepts, but his plan is marriage all along (that's refreshing, isn't it?) She just wants an affair. The reasons weren't clear except I think she felt he couldn't possibly want a girl like her. Yes, I think that's what it was (I was really tired when I was trying to finish this book, so forgive me). Anyway, I personally would be rather embarrassed to proposition my neighbor like that. But heroines can get away with things that us real life girls don't dream of doing.

There was some good steam and I wanted Jude and Luca to be together. The ending was nice, but nothing to write home about. I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I wasn't half-dead from exhaustion from working a six day week last week, and twelve hour days and getting up at 4 am every stinking morning six days in a row with one day off. If you like Kim Lawrence, read it. If you want a couple hours of light entertainment, I think you'd also enjoy it. If you are a fan of HP books, it would be a worthwhile read. But I don't think it would knock your socks off. If I could, I'd give it 3.5 stars instead of 3 stars.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Kiss of Crimson by Lara Adrian

Very good book. I am liking this series more and more. The thing that I like most about this series is the interesting mythology and world-building behind the vampires. It's very dark and gritty, and the violence is in your face when it comes to humans being harmed and murdered. I think that part is almost too much for me. I love a book with intense action and a dark edge, but I do hate to see innocent people dying, and this series has a lot of that.

I didn't really find Dante or Tess very tragic, although they had issues there were dealing with. I guess not all the characters can be tortured although I certainly wouldn't mind. Dante was a character that I enjoyed reading about, but I can't say I ever fell in love with him. I do feel like Dante and Tess were meant to be together.

I liked that Tess was a veterinarian, but I think some aspects of her trade were almost simplified. The truth of the matter is that a veterinarian needs lots of help to run her practice. I was wondering how she was accomplishing all the treatment of animals and the money part with just one part-time employee. I'd like to see her give a pet intravenous medications or fluids by herself. Not an easy thing to accomplish. I was glad she didn't romanticize the economic aspects of veterinary medicine. You cannot afford to treat and save every animal and get all the bills paid. It breaks my heart, but I know that this is real life. Tess made choices to price things where she could help the most clients and their pets, but she couldn't make ends meet when it came down to it. This is one of the most heartbreaking aspects of the profession. All and all, it was nice to see a veterinarian doing her thing in these books.

I really liked Chase's character although I did not like Elise. She was a bit too whiny-mopey for me. I hope that he moves on from her and finds a real woman who's not so much of a whiny baby. Normally I don't mind a vulnerable heroine, but she bugged me. Probably because she didn't show Chase very much respect as the brother of her dead mate or see him as a flesh and blood man of meritand realize all the sacrifices he had made for her.

The part with Rio choked me up. Poor baby. Really looking forward to reading his book. I enjoyed reading scenes with the likable Gideon and his mate Savannah. Nice to see some ethnic diversity in the paranormal romance genre.

So all in all, I liked this one more than the first book, and I suspect I will like the books increasingly as the series continues. By the way, just loved little doggie, Harvard. I was so glad he was doing alright. That part nearly made me cry (with some of the stuff going on in my personal life.)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Nightlife by Rob Thurman

I loved this book. It was very different and kept my interest in a way that a great urban fantasy should. I really fell in love with Cal and his brother Niko. I love books that show a positive view of siblings since I love my sister and get along so well with her. If you enjoy the relationship between Sam and Dean on Supernatural, you'd probably like this book for that reason. Some of the elements of their relationship bring to mind the Winchester brothers. Niko is a man that I could marry. His love for his brother was so intense and so all-consuming the way a sibling should love. I love his dedication to being the best warrior that he can so that he can protect Cal when his "other relatives" try to take him back. When he cut his hair off in grief, I just about lost it. I enjoyed the new twist on elves, and I found the action sequences so vivid they jumped off the page at me. There were some genuinely scary moments that sent a chill down my spine (I love a good scare). I liked the noir-esque narrative, peppered with wry humor and in a voice that really sounded like a young man (I was surprised the author is a woman) who has seen more bad than good in the world. In fact, I think Cal is a great character and a real trooper considering what he has gone through and the heritage he has to face. I love that Cal's sweet on a young woman who is biracial and can see the future (you know me and my love for interracial romance). Fans of shows like Buffy and Angel would like this book because it has the feel of these shows, but delves deeper than an hour long show can. I liked the very interesting secondary cast of characters and beasties (as a lifelong fan of folklore, I am always happy to see some of the beasties in fiction books). I loved that I actually had to look up a few like the boggle who lived in the pond in Central Park. Fans of Harry Dresden from the Jim Butcher novels and John Taylor from Simon R. Green's Nightside novels will probably like this book and consider it a book that might show what Harry and John might have been like as a young man. In the end, I just can't say enough good things about this book. I will buy every book Rob Thurman writes and particularly the Cal Leandros series. If you are an old fan of urban fantasy, a new fan, or wanting to branch out to this wonderful genre, please read this book.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Defiant One by Danelle Harmon

I quite enjoyed this book. Andrew is the type of hero I wish I saw more in romances. He's a complete nerd and a bit of a mad-scientist inventor thrown in. He's a hot nerd, though, with a very sexy body and beautiful reddish hair. He sounded very very yummy to me, anyway. I loved the fiery chemistry between Andrew and Celsie. At first they thought it was mutual dislike but it turned out to be the beginning of a deep love. Although superficially they are different, there was a meeting of the minds, and a mutual respect that I believe a couple should have. I like that they were both misfits and felt like they would never be understood of accepted by society, although for different reasons. Celsie is a tall, slender woman who feels like she's not very attractive, but Andrew definitely found her attractive from the beginning. Celsie supported Andrew's desire to invent, and Andrew supported Celsie's crusade to protect animals that few care about, such as cart horses, and dogs used to turn the spits that meat is roasted on. I could see some of myself in both of them. I am a bleeding heart and I love animals, and hate their unnecessary suffering. I am also a bit of a nerd who can get lost in the things running around my brain, like Andrew. Andrew's deep dark secret was a bit odd. I felt like more time could have been spent on wrapping that up. I don't want to spoil anyone so I won't go into detail about that.
Loved the aphrodesiac storyline. Imagine jumping someone's bones like Celsie did Andrew. That was funny and steamy. I loved glimpses of Lucian, the Duke of Blackheath, who schemes and connives to get his younger siblings married and settled. He's a great character, and I fell in love with him when I read The Wicked One, which is his book and the last in the series. It's interesting to see how things work out in this to start his relationship with Eva. They are definitely a match made in Heaven, or perhaps a place south of there. I loved the Georgian setting, which is like Regency but a lot more wild and free-wheeling. Part of me wishes this book was about fifty pages longer so we could delve deeper into Andrew's abilities/curse, whatever you want to call it, and have a more leisurely climax. But overall, I am very happy with book and enjoyed it because it reminds me of the great historical romances I used to devour several years ago, and seem less in the offering recently.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

My February Reading

1. Hired: The Sheikh's Secretary Mistress. Lucy Monroe. A-. (Harlequin Presents, Unrequited, Sheikh, Playboy, Office Romance, Pygmalion). 2/1/09.
2. Hot Desert Nights. Lucy Monroe "Mistress to a Sheikh" (Khalil/Jade)/Louise Allen "Desert Rake" (Caroline/Drew)/Kim Lawrence "Blackmailed by a Sheikh" (Karim/Prudence). A (Sheikh, Exotic, Short Stories, Harlequin). Favorite was Kim Lawrence story: Blackmailed by a Sheikh.
3. Marrying Marcus. Laurey Bright. A+. (Silhouette Romance, Unrequited, Friends to Lovers, Marriage). Marcus, Jenna. 2/1/09.
4. A Seduction Revenge. Kim Lawrence. A. (Harlequin Presents, Revenge, Artist, Lawyer, Deception, Traumatized.) Flora, Josh. 2/1/09.
5. The Bride and the Beast. Sue-Ellen Welfonder. A. (Scarred Hero, Tormented heroine, Manaconda, Arranged Marriage, Rape (In past), Medieval, Scotland, New Author). Caterine, Marmaduke. 2/6/09.
Taken by Storm. Marie Rochelle. A+. (Emotional read, interracial, e-book, unrequited, lovewary, dark secret). Syleena, Storm. 2/4/09.
6. Second Sight. Amanda Quick. A-. (Victorian, Mystery, Psychic abilities. Fake Widow, Career Woman/Artist, Book 1 of the Arcane Society.) Venetia, Gabriel. 2/6/09.
7. The Perfect Waltz. Anne Gracie. A+. (Tortured hero, Rags to Riches, Abused, Opposites Attract, Regency, Merridew Family Series, Family). Sebastian, Hope. 2/8/09.
8. Mind Game. Christine Feehan. A+ (Paranormal Romance, Ghostwalkers, Assassin, Sniper, Psychic, Fated-to-Be-Mated, Asian Heroine/Asian/Native American Hero). Nicolas, Dahlia. 2/14/09.
9. Tempt the Devil. Anna Campbell. A+. (Courtesan, Rake, Tormented Heroine. Regency.) Julian, Lord Erith, Olivia. 2/14/09.
10. Summer of the Raven. Sara Craven. A. (Harlequin Presents (Vintage), Deception). Carne, Rowan. 2/14/09.
11. Infatuation. Charlotte Lamb. A. (Harlequin Presents, Unrequited, Plain Jane, Office Romance, Forbidden). Luke, Judith. 2/15/09.
12. The Ruthless Magnate's Virgin Mistress. Lynne Graham. A. (Harlequin Presents, Russian Hero, Mistress, Virgin Widow). Nikolai, Abbey. 2/15/09.
13. The Desert Lord's Baby. Olivia Gates. A+. (Silhouette Desire, Secret Baby, Lovers Reunited, Secret Baby, Infertility, Sheikh, Heir to the Throne). Farooq, Carmen. 2/15/09.
14. The Desert King. Olivia Gates. A++. (Silhouette Desire, Lovers Reunited, Marriage of Convenience, Misunderstanding, Bad Reputation, Sheikh, King, Less than Perfect Heroine.) Aliyah, Kamal. 2/15/09.
15. Night Game. Christine Feehan. A++. (Paranormal Romance , Ghostwalkers, Assassin, Military, Cajun Hero, Kickbutt heroine, Covert Agency, Cancer/Sick.) Gator, Flame. 2/16/09.
16. Conspiracy Game. Christine Feehan. A++. (Paranormal Romance, Navy SEAL, Pregnant, Ghostwalkers, Gamma hero, Military, Fated-To-Be-Mated). Jack, Briony. 2/17/09.
17. Deadly Game. Christine Feehan. A++. (Paranormal Romance, Navy SEAL, Fated-to-be-Mated, Sniper, Scarred hero, Captive/Kidnapped, Gamma hero). Ken, Mari. 2/18/09.
18. Predatory Game. Christine Feehan. (Paranormal Romance, Navy SEAL, Less than Perfect, Fugitive, Friends to Lovers, Fated-to-be-Mated, Assassin, Ghostwalkers). Jesses, Saber. 2/19/09.
19. The Empath. Bonnie Vanak. A-. (Paranormal Romance, Silhouette Nocturne, Werewolf, Draicon Series, Fated-to-be-mated, Animal, Vet, Outsider). Nicolas, Maggie. 2/21/09.
20. Enemy Lover. Bonnie Vanak. A+ (Paranormal Romance, Silhouette Nocturne, Werewolf, Draicon Series, Fated-to-be-Mated, Stalkerific Hero, Enemies to Lovers). Damian, Jamie. 2/22/09.
21. The Earl's Dilemma. Emily May. A. (Harlequin Historicals, Regency, Plain Jane, Bride Hunting, Regency, Tortured hero). James, Kate. 2/21/09.
22. Veiled Truth. Vivi Anna. A. (Silhouette Nocturne, Witch, Dhampir, Demon, Valorian Chronicles, Criminal Investigator). Lyra, Theron. 2/22/09.
23. Turbulent Sea. Christine Feehan. A. (Paranormal Romance, Fated-to-be-Mated, Stalkerific Hero, Antihero, Assasssin, Celebrity, Witch, Drake Sisters, Russian Hero.) Ilya, Jolie. 2/24/09.
24. Pleasure Unbound. Larissa Ione. A. (Paranormal Romance, Demon, Demonica Series Book 1, Antihero, Medical Professional, Covert Agency, Destiny).. Tayla, Eidolon. 2/28/09.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian

Good book and very imaginative storyline. Adrian really developed a unique concept of vampirism and vampire society. Although the warriors remind me of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, they are not carbon copies, and the Midnight Breed series is claiming its own place in the paranormal romance genre. I love warriors, and these guys are definitely creme de la creme. One thing that bothered me was the casual indifference about humans being killed by the Rogues. The Breed warriors did protect humans, and that was clear, but the ones that died in this book didn't seem overly mourned by the warriors. It seemed a little callous to me. Perhaps this due to many, many years of seeing humans dying and savagely killed by the Rogues. Lucan is a hard man (vampire), who doesn't open his heart. It was great to see Gabrielle sneak into his heart. For a young woman who felt isolated and drifting in her life, I was happy that she found her home in Lucan. I am curious about the warriors that fight alongside Lucan, and I can't wait to read their stories.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Taken by the Highest Bidder by Jane Porter

I liked this book initially, but I didn't like the ending. I felt that Cristiano did not really make any compromises with Samantha, knowing her fears, and why she had them. She ended up being the one who gave in to make up with him. And he just took her back like that. He makes an aside to the effect that he might retire from the thing that scares the life out of Samantha in a year or so. More because he's tired of it, not because he loves her. I am not saying that a person should always give up what's important to them to make his loved one happy, but I don't think he tried to meet Samantha halfway at all. It was good for her to conquer her fears, but I would have preferred that Cristiano meet her halfway.

It's too bad because I thought it was beautifully written and I really was drawn into the story. I realize that Cristiano is written as an alpha man who shapes the world to his needs and desires. But, I don't see why an alpha hero can't learn and give compromise. Alphas should love and take care of others. He knew what Samantha's needs are, but I am not sure he made an effort to meet them. For that reason, I couldn't give this book more than three stars.