On the night Firebird Wilder learns she isn't a true Wilder (at least in blood), something stalks her family's ranch. The scent investigation by her bOn the night Firebird Wilder learns she isn't a true Wilder (at least in blood), something stalks her family's ranch. The scent investigation by her brothers doesn't exclude a Varinski, but deep down Firebird knows who paid her family a visit.
State patrolman Douglas Wilder is determined to find his birth family who's abandoned him in the desert at his birth, leaving him to die. The family who's passed onto him the terrible gift of being able to turn into a cougar at will.
His search is temporarily detained by the sudden appearance of his former lover, the girl who left without an explanation three years ago. Firebird has a secret she can no longer keep, three years ago, Douglas has fathered a son, but the night she planned to tell him, she saw him change and fled for her life. After the news of her true heritage, she knows she's made a terrible mistake and is determined to right wrongs committed by her and by whomever tore the true Wilder son from his family.
But she isn't the only one keeping secrets and Doug's could be the most deadly of them all.
This book heralded the time of reckoning. The back story was heart wrenching, the peril palpable, the final battle wonderfully drawn, yet I couldn't help but feel there was something missing...This was definitely the weakest book in the series.
As with the first book in the series - Scent of Darkness - there was no *real* feeling between the two leads. Sure, lots of nice, sweet words and inner monologues about their feelings and betrayal yadda yadda, yet I didn't *feel* it. I'm all for second-chance-at-love, yet Firebird and Doug were a little too cold to make it believable. The only time the emotion was real was when Firebird discovered Doug's (other) secret. Doug on the other hand was a little cold throughout the story. One again it was explained by his childhood and youth as an abandoned child, but still, I wasn't convinced.
Also the two were pretty bland compared to the couples from the previous books, the tidbit about Doug working as a cop at such a nearly age (16) was iffy, and the Varinskis have lost a little of their demented charm in this installment, yet the final battle was still amazing.
Even the final confrontation and resolution between Doug and Firebird, which should've been...I don't know...great was lacking, so the only reason this book even got such a high rating was for the older Wilder brothers (they're always a hoot to read - grownup men acting like complete idiots), their wives/mates, and of course Zorana and Konstantine.
It was lovely how the whole story came full circle and ended where it began - with Konstantine and Zorana happy and in love....more
At day Karen Sonnet is building another hotel for her father's hotel chain deep in the Himalayas, at the foot of the "Evil Mountain", at night she's vAt day Karen Sonnet is building another hotel for her father's hotel chain deep in the Himalayas, at the foot of the "Evil Mountain", at night she's visited in her tent by a mysterious lover. When the enraged mountain one day enacts her revenge on the construction site, nearly taking Karen's life in a rock slide, it is her lover that rescues her...Then promptly kidnaps her, whisking her off as his little wife-slave.
He is Warlord, leader of a band of mercenaries, a thorn in the side of the Chinese army. The Chinese army that's hired a ruthless Varinski to get rid of the Warlord problem. When the camp is attacked, Warlord sends Karen to safety with an ominous promise he would one day find her again.
Two years later Karen has finally put the traumatic experience behind her, when handsome and enigmatic Rick Wilder, baring an uncanny resemblance to Warlord, waltzes into her life. Presumed dead by his family, Adrik has emerged from the pit of Hell a new man, his soul saved by the woman who's captured his heart, the woman he promised he would find once again.
But can Karen forgive him? And if she can, will they stay alive long enough for him to savor it?
This was the darkest story in the series to far, and the most compelling one.
With Adrik Christina Dodd has created a wonderful character. He's dangerous, rotten to the core, violent, deadly, literally walking at the edge of the precipice, yet still beautiful and redeemable. He encompasses the two extreme poles of the human psyche, the black and white. At the beginning of the story he's so brutal, so uncaring to anything but his own desires, yet there's something skirting just below the facade that makes him impossible to despise fully. And when, coming face to face with the fact he isn't invincible, the realization of having let everybody down and faced with the love for an incredible woman, he finally transforms, redeems himself in his eyes and the eyes of those around him, the feeling is still bitter-sweet, for he knows he has to face the most ruthless enemy of all - how to gain the forgiveness of the woman he loves.
Karen, compared to her rather immature predecessors, was a breath of fresh air in this series. What she's suffered (though not of the same magnitude as what Ann and Tasya's ordeal) has shaped her, lent her strength, resilience, and determination. She's stubborn when it comes to forgiving Adrik, but rightfully so, considering what he put her through. But eventually she realizes what he's been through, how he suffered and how he's won, and knows he's truly changed. This is also thanks to the fact it was mostly because of her and what woman wouldn't find that balm for the ego.
The suspense was yet again wonderful, the action escalating into the final battle, with the just victory incredibly short-lived. I was crying like a baby at the injustice of it all, but thanks to Ms. Dodd's writing genius and a little help from the icon, I quickly found myself smiling through the tears.
This was an amazing book, a wonderful story of redemption in the face of love, and highly recommended by this reader....more
Rurik Wilder is determined to break the curse on his family and save his father's soul. He knows he's close to finding the missing piece of the holy iRurik Wilder is determined to break the curse on his family and save his father's soul. He knows he's close to finding the missing piece of the holy icon that can accomplish all that. All clues point to a cave, an ancient warrior's grave, on a small Scottish island, but Rurik isn't the only one adamant on finding that icon.
Photographer and writer Tasya Hunnicutt wants to find the icon to provide irrefutable proof on the Varinskis, the family that killed her parents. Unfortunately for her, Rurik, her lover, is also a Varinski.
The two embark on a perilous journey across Europe in hopes of locating the icon, dodging the Varinski assassins along the way. They're a little too resilient, but Tasya refuses to believe the rumors of the family's supernatural abilities, until Rurik is forced to give her a demonstration in order to save her life.
Now Tasya is forced to make a life-altering decision. Is it possible for a man of Varinski descent to feel any kind of tender emotion? And can she really trust him enough to place her life and heart in his hands?
Yet another winner—and an improvement from the first installment in this wonderful series.
Rurik is an easier character to relate to, compared to his brother Jasha. Rurik is scarred from a past accident when he was still an Air Force pilot. It was that accident that spurred him into denouncing somewhat his ability to change into a predator. He's also gentler than Jasha was in Scent of Darkness, yes, still using sex to bend his woman to his will, yet doing it with more "style and class". Rurik is also a lot quicker to admit his feelings, which is another plus.
Tasya...What to say about Tasya. Two immature, emotionally-inept, bitchy heroines in a row is almost too much to take, but at least Tasya came around a little quicker than her predecessor Ann. Which has mostly had to do with Rurik's behavior toward her. Still, I found all that secret-keeping a little tedious, when everybody with half a brain could figure the part of the story about her origins just by examining her name. Duh!
Ms. Dodd heightened the action and peril another notch in this one and expanded on the main story-arc, dealing another tidbit about the possible unraveling of the pact with the Evil One. The conflict between Tasya and Rurik was a beauty of behold. From the beginning they never were on the same page and as soon as a truth was told, another secret sprouted out, and the two constantly skirted on the edge of betrayal.
There was also another great cliffy at the end, unfortunately I have the entire series, so it didn't create the desired effect, but still...Oh, boy. It made me itch to pick the next book immediately. As the series progresses the stories get more and more engaging and complex, so this series is definitely highly recommended by this satisfied reader....more
Scent of Darkness (Darkness Chosen Series #1) A thousand years ago a vicious warrior made a deal with the devil for his soul and the souls of all hisScent of Darkness (Darkness Chosen Series #1) A thousand years ago a vicious warrior made a deal with the devil for his soul and the souls of all his descendants. Thirty-five years ago, one of "the damned" defied the Evil One and his pact, fled, and married.
It is this family's destiny to break the curse by restoring the four missing pieces of a religious icon, or suffer eternal damnation.
It is the eldest son, Jasha, that's called first. With his ability to turn into a wolf, he's a predator to be reckoned with. But little does he suspect that when he returns from his wild run with his brethren, that a woman might be waiting for him in the privacy of his secluded home.
Ann Smith, Jasha's administrative assistant has had a major crush on her gorgeous boss since she's started working for him four years ago. When she finally musters enough courage to pursue him, she sees a huge wolf turn into the man she lusts for, and inadvertently stumbles smack in the middle of the dark prophecy.
For when Jasha pursues his terrified assistant into the woods in the middle of the storm, a lightning spits a tree, leading Ann to a piece of the missing icon.
One of my favorite authors, Christina Dodd never fails in delivering a great read. This is her first venture into the paranormal, but what a start!
The best part of this book, besides the back-story of the ancient deal with the devil and prophecies to go with it, was definitely the Wilder family. Their close-knit relationship, the fact Zorana, instead of her bear of a husband was the head of the family, how the two of them quickly quelled any argument from their children. A good old Slavic family, drinking vodka in the evening, loud, boisterous, utterly and completely loving. I adored how quickly and easily they took Ann under their wing, though the suspicion it was so solely thanks to her finding the icon remained throughout the story.
Jasha was pure alpha (in human and wolf form) with a heart of gold, completely dedicated to his family...Yet I found his pursuit of Ann a little to animalistic, regarding what we learned about his father and his discipline throughout the story. I know all men are animals at heart, but still, I couldn't blame the woman for not believing his feelings toward the end...And as with all alphas, it took quite a shocker to wake him up and realize his Ann was a complete contradiction, and utterly frustrating in the second part of the book. Her "secret" and resulting angst of bad people coming was a bit childish and immature for an astute business woman (that Jasha said she was). Also her "love" for Jasha soon seemed to be merely an infatuation. After all the lengths she went through to "get him", all that strong love quickly evaporated when she learned of his secret. Isn't love supposed to conquer all?! And then her stubbornness toward the end. Insecurities reared their ugly heads. It could be safe to say everything stemmed from her childhood circumstances, but still, the whole God-fearing thing got boring after a while, when all could be resolved quickly just by a simple, honest, open conversation.
So the romance was almost nonexistent, and even what there was between Jasha and Ann was overshadowed by the brief glimpses of the love story between his parents, Zorana and Konstantine. Now, that's love!
Yet, the absence of romance didn't deter from the story, although it is the romance that is usually needed in stories about breaking a curse (again, love conquers all). It was the "history" that drove this plot forward, the intense, fast-paced, keep-you-at-the-edge-of-the-seat action, and brief, yet belly-clutching moments of humor.
Even though Jasha and Ann were flawed, they were superbly flawed, so different, both in character than in background, that despite it all, I couldn't help it but root for them. Ms. Dodd's strength is her characterization, and though the two might not come off as extremely likable, the reader still feels strongly about them. All their flaws and deficiencies is what made this couple so real and why this book was still such a pleasure to read.
And make me giddy for more...Because the cliff-hanger at the end—oh, boy!...more
Noah (Nightwalkers, Book 5) For the past six months, Noah, the Demon King, has had difficulty keeping his darker and "baser" instincts under control,Noah (Nightwalkers, Book 5) For the past six months, Noah, the Demon King, has had difficulty keeping his darker and "baser" instincts under control, plagued by tantalizing and incredibly real dreams of the woman clearly destined to be his mate. But if she fights him even in his dreams, he can only suspect the fight she'll put up in real life.
Kestra Irons is living her life on the edge, trying to purge her deep-rooted fears with deadly stunts. Yet one day, the Grim Reaper is waiting and her life is extinguished with a single bullet through her head...That is also the day Noah's dreams stop.
He knows something has gone terribly wrong and when the tiny bundle of his "niece" Leah helps him understand by showing him Kestra's violent death, Noah's life shatters. For the first time in his life, he indulges in a bout of (temporarily insane) selfishness, using every power available to change the past and save his woman, no matter the cost to him and the people he loves and love him.
The powerful Demon succeeds in his quest, sequestering Kestra right before she's killed, and brings her to his home. Yet, as he suspected, convincing her of the fact they're destined to be together soon proves to be a major problem...A rather minor one compared to a new threat of a group of rogue Vampires intent on feeding off the powers of random Nightwalkers. From the very beginning of the series Noah came off as the most "stable" of the Demons, the strong, capable glue keeping his people together, providing an immovable buffer for his friends when they jumped off the proverbial cliff. Taking all that in consideration, coupled with the his awesome capability of keeping a tight reign over his volatile temper, gift of his scorching element, watching him fall apart, literally implode, is thrilling and terrifying at the same time. Like a train-wreck, you don't want to watch, yet you're compelled to do just that.
His struggles as he tries to piece together who he (thought he) was, what he's turned into (a monster, at least in his eyes), and what he could be with Kestra at his side are both painful and beautiful to behold. And his inner turmoil when he realizes the true extent of what he's done to get her and yet still unable to feel guilty about it, was heartbreaking.
I must applaud Ms. Frank on her "selection" of Noah's heroine. I couldn't imagine a woman more worthy of her hero as Kestra was. In a way, she was so similar to him, it was uncanny, and a real joy to read. They both hid their fears and scars behind an exterior veneer that only came undone when they were finally together.
Kestra was a much a "balm" for Noah as he was for her. In her own way, she taught him not to be afraid of who he was when he was with her, of just being true to himself. And he taught her the real meaning of true and unconditional love. Love uncorrupted, as she reflected on the union of his parents.
Again, kudos to Ms. Frank's amazing story-telling. Because that's what she does, she's just not a writer, she tells stories, and though her style is something one has to get used to (and still there are some parts where the plot could move a little faster), her interpretation of her characters, their relationships, their interaction and their world is always on the mark.
I was saddened by the fact this was the last in the series, but since there was not even a small mention of the main villain from the previous four books, instead concentrating on a new threat, I'd say she isn't done with that plot yet.
Although I'd love to read more about Demons, 'Thropes and Vampires, I'm perfectly content (for the time) to leave it with Noah...That is, until I pick up her Shadowdwellers series next.
As I suspected all along, the entire series has built up to the grand finale that this book was. When I think Ms. Frank cannot do it better, she's outdone herself yet again with this huge emotional roller-coaster (as much for the heroes that this weep-prone reader).This small (and rather insignificant) review cannot even hope to do this amazing book the justice it deserves. You'll just have to pick it up and see for yourself....more
Damien (Nightwalkers Series #4) When the Vampire ruler, Damien, saves Syreena, Princess and heir-apparent to the throne of the Lycanthropes, from theDamien (Nightwalkers Series #4) When the Vampire ruler, Damien, saves Syreena, Princess and heir-apparent to the throne of the Lycanthropes, from the clutches of the insane, vengeful Mind Demon, he's completely unprepared for the staggering attraction between them.
The possible relationship between them is a total taboo in his society, not to mention the possible ramifications if they did decide to give in to the sudden passion flaring between them...Unfortunately, neither Syreena or Damien have much of a choice in the matter. It all comes down to the stunning compatibility in their chemistry...And in true Vampire fashion, taboos and rules are meant to be broken.
I loved this one! I'm rather partial to vampires, so this was just up my alley. This book was yet another lesson in differences attraction each other and repercussions such unions might have. Damien and Syreena were perfectly delineated and absolutely perfect for one another. She needed someone to teach her to live and make her own choices, while he needed a (rather rude) shake from his Vampiric stupor and old routine for just looking out for himself (as it was beautifully put in the last chapter).While this book was a rather drastic removal from the template of the previous ones - the characters from the first two books don't appear at all (except for Gideon's tiny cameo) - I found I didn't miss them at all, despite the author's obvious knack for making them appear without taking center stage. The story and the two leads made well for the "void"...And the new (supporting) characters was enough to keep my mind occupied with being annoyed. I'd be more than happy if Jasmine didn't make another appearance. Ever!
The progressing main theme of the series is getting more complex with every single page (and every single book). The big bad is already so out of it, I cannot imagine how Ms. Frank can to it, yet she does every single time, and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next. Unfortunately, the next book is also the last, so the demented ploy will soon come to its untimely and well-deserved end, but I'm sure Ruth, the crazy b**** will go down with a bang...And who better to see to it than my favorite character in the entire series, Noah, the Demon King. Can't wait! *giddy little grin*Yes, I didn't think anything could top Elijah, but Damien certainly rose to the challenge and won straight on. Unlike so many other series, when the first few books are wonderful, but then all goes downhill from there, the Nightwalkers just get better and better.
So if you are a fan of paranormals, you cannot miss this book. Yet, as I've previously noted, it would be better to start at the beginning, although this one is an "easier" stand-alone than the previous ones, since there is not overly much detail from the previous stories, except, of course, the main story-arc.
A highly recommended read!
Update (03/10/2010):Another story that I liked even more on the second read. There is just something about Damien that draws me in (probably his vampiric magnetism)....more
Elijah (Nightwalkers Series #3) To Elijah's consternation, the Captain of the Demon Warriors, falls into a trap like a rookie. Left for dead, he's resElijah (Nightwalkers Series #3) To Elijah's consternation, the Captain of the Demon Warriors, falls into a trap like a rookie. Left for dead, he's rescued by the woman who's been plaguing his dreams for the past half a year - Siena, the Lycanthrope Queen.
What starts as a nurse-patient situation, quickly escalates into something mush stronger, more potent, and inevitable as Fate, when the mutual attraction between them burst up into a conflagration of passion that cannot be denied.
Against all odds, principles and beliefs of the two races, the two are Imprinted, possibly disintegrating the young, tenuous peace between Demons and Lycanthropes.
But the peace between the two races is the least of their problems, when the evil-stained traitor, followed by human hunter/necromance forces threatens to destroy not only Elijah and Siena, but their friends and allies as well.
So far into the series this one has been the best book so far, since it touches (in its own fictitious ways) on a sometimes pretty touchy modern subject. The improbable and heavily discouraged relationship between two completely different individuals, in this instance a Demon warrior and the queen of the race that was his enemy not twenty years ago is a wonderful example of the scorn and disdain many mixed relationships face in these modern times we call our era. With her fictitious example, the author shows such prejudice and inner and outer fears and demons can be put to rest with determination, force of will, and love.
This subject aside, this was one heck of a book, with just the right amount of action, drama, romance, and insanity. Once again it was the male lead that remained quite stoic throughout the turmoil that was his love-life, mostly due to his knowledge that such things could not be helped and Destiny could not be outrun.
It was the female lead to provide the required amount of angst, inner turmoil, and indecision every romance novel worth its salt needs...And her eventual development was as gratifying as it was jaw-muscle-relaxing.
Once more I cannot help it but admire the author's knack of interweaving the past characters and their stories (and future ones) into the current plot, bringing each individual book to yet another full-circle, while still keeping the reader at the edge of his/her seat with creating two new obstacles for each resolved issue and given clue. So, while each book in the series is a small closure to its own story, it is, at the same time, a huge cliffhanger for the next one in line, keeping the reader interested and stubbornly refusing to let it go until the end.
Another highly-recommended read from this astounding author....more
Gideon (The Nightwalkers, Book 2) Nine years ago Gideon, the oldest of Demons, the Ancient medic of his race, has committed (in his eyes) the unpardonGideon (The Nightwalkers, Book 2) Nine years ago Gideon, the oldest of Demons, the Ancient medic of his race, has committed (in his eyes) the unpardonable sin of succumbing to the cursed moon of Samhain and claimed Magdelegna, the youngest sister of the Demon King. Their embrace was nothing more than a heated kiss, but still, he went into self-imposed exile for the better part of a decade.
Now he's back, braving her mistrust and acerbic insults, but Destiny has something "wicked" in store for the two Demons. During a routine exam, the two become Imprinted, melding their souls, hearts, and (somewhat) bodies together in a ritual as old as time.
Gideon and Magdelegna now must come to terms with their Fate, the desire they feel for each other, and their blossoming feelings all in the midst of a full-blown battle between human necromancers and the Nightwalkers...How come in every series there has to be an old "geezer" with silver eyes? First, there was Christine Feehan's Carpathian Gregori Daratrazanoff, then came Sherrilyn Kenyon's leader of the Dark-Hunters, Acheron Parthenopaeus, and now Gideon, the Nighwalker. Unlike his "predecessors", he also has silver hair combined with his mercury/silver eyes.
Actually, Gideon was a little too similar to before mentioned Gregori, both in age and abilities (Gregori is an Ancient healer, Gideon is an Ancient medic) to be deemed original. Also the scene after the attack in Jacob's home was a rather flat mirror reflection of a scene with Raven and Gregori in Dark Desire. Another similarity between these two series (Carpathians vs. Nightwalkers) is the "battle" between the Demons (and other dark creatures) and the humans.
I don't know whether that was an intentional tribute, or the only way the author saw that could create a decent enough conflict.
That uncanny similarities apart, this was yet another good story. The past characters (Jacob and Bella) mixed rather nicely with the current and future ones, making yet another great example of Ms. Frank's ability to have them all in the same book, yet not "crowding" each other. Also the bigger picture (the animosity between Nightwalkers and humans) was nicely woven into the main story, resolving some issues that remained open from the previous book, and creating some more to propel the series forward...Nicely prepared ground for Elijah's story with the introduction of his heroine and the already obvious mixture of their emotions.
While Magdelegna has developed nicely throughout the story, the diplomat embracing her fierce and protective nature slowly yet effectively, I missed the same with Gideon. He didn't appear to struggle overly much with his newfound mate and emotions. For someone who's been alone for so long, he's adapted rather too quickly. But that's just my opinion. I find myself liking the stories where the man is literally brought to his knees by his woman. Gideon simply appeared to take it all in stride. Maybe it was his logical nature that made him see sense, but I really hoped he'd put up more of a "fight".
A big plus was the cutback on the lyricism of the prose. There were still too many internal musings, but not as few and not as "colorful" than in the previous book. The repetitions remain, alas. The "abuse" of the word mate and heavy fall of hair was molar-grinding-inducing.
All in all, a good book, with a plethora of various characters and a nicely developed plot (and universe). Not really a stand-alone per se, so I'd advise to start from the first book in the series (Jacob) or a few of the scenes could draw a complete blank.
Update (03/09/2010):I don't know why, but I actually liked this story more on a second read. And I absolutely adored the epilogue. How more cute can you get?...more
Jacob (The Nightwalkers, Book 1) The most feared amongst the Demons, Jacob the Enforcer, is the only one standing between his people and the madness bJacob (The Nightwalkers, Book 1) The most feared amongst the Demons, Jacob the Enforcer, is the only one standing between his people and the madness brought upon them by the moon of Samhain and Beltane.
On one of those nights, after giving his little brother a slap on the wrist for straying and following a Summoned Demon back to New York, his destiny is dropped into his lap. Literally.
Isabella Russ is staring at the moon, feeling as she usually does when staring at the moon - weird, when she suddenly loses her contact with her apartment floor and tumbles head-first onto the street...And straight into the embrace of a hunk strolling the Bronx streets in the middle of the night.
That tumble, and subsequent catching, is the start of a new life for them both. Bella quickly discovers her strange dormant abilities that fit her uncannily into the Demon world, while Jacob, the perpetual loner, finds the tough, little book-worm has wormed herself into his heart.
But is there a future for a human/Demon relationship when the very laws of the ancient race forbid such a union? And when the human magic-wielders throw their weight into the mix, Bella and Jacob have their work cut out for them.
This book started rather slowly, boy did it start slow, but still not slow enough for me just to skim the pages. But after a few chapters the plot thickened and the story revved its engines.
Kudos to Jacquelyn Frank for her imagination. Using the Demons, we humans see as ugly, slimy creatures (after the transformation in Ms. Franks' universe), the "lesser" creatures of the night realm, as leading characters was a nice respite from the flood of vampires and lycans in today's paranormal fiction...Also, great world-building. It's tough enough creating an entire race, its history, beliefs, laws, abilities, and prophecies from scratch. But make them work as a whole without falling into inconsistencies and making the created world crumble down around its foundations is another story altogether.
The milk thing was a great move, BTW. Also providing for one of the few funny moments in the beginning of the novel. ("From where?" - "A cow.")
I loved Ms. Frank's characters. Though introducing (almost) all main characters of the series in one (first) book could be kinda crowded, the "supporting cast", despite their "largerthanlifedness" complimented the leading couple and story without "hogging the space". Bella was a real gem with her dry sense of humor and astounding presence of mind. Jacob was your average paranormal Alpha, a loner with barely a friend in sight, whom everybody either feared or hated. He was in dire need of salvation and Bella provided that and much more.
Also, I liked how through the pages Bella seemed to rub off a little on Jacob...Nice touch and very cute.
The only major problem I've encountered with this novel was its prose. The style of narration was a tad too old-school for a "new" author and it was that strange (and somewhat out of place) lyrical style that made for such a page count and the slow beginning. Once the reader gets used to the style, the story starts flowing.
Also some repetitions could've been avoided, for example constant reminders of Bella's dark hair curling around something (mostly her breast) and Jacob's obvious fixation with it. There wasn't a scene with the two of them together, when he wouldn't run his fingers through her mass of hair, surprising she didn't go bald...Wait...Never mind.
Other than that "small" hitch, this was a wonderful story and a great start of the Nightwalkers series. Ms. Frank is certainly an author to watch out for....more
Joley Drake, rock star sensation, has been growing a little fed up with her life of late. Despite the carefree picture she paints of herself, she cravJoley Drake, rock star sensation, has been growing a little fed up with her life of late. Despite the carefree picture she paints of herself, she craves for normality and a life away from the limelight. She hides her true feeling from everyone, including her sisters, but she cannot hide them, or herself from one man she knows should keep her distance from.
Ilya Prakenskii is a man of many secrets and Joley is one of them. When he first heard her voice, she brought light into his barren world of darkness and shadows. And when he saw her for the first time (in Oceans of Fire), he's known she's his destiny.
When someone starts to send Joley warnings in the form of murdered members of her crew, she has no one to turn to but Ilya. Ilya with his mesmerizing voice, hypnotic eyes, dark aura, and an inexplicable power over her senses. Ilya, whose song merges with hers in a perfect harmony.
But as she seeks his protection, is she really safe, or has she given her heart and soul to a man who would destroy her?
I have one word for this book. FINALLY!
After years of waiting and speculating just what might be brewing between these two, we finally got our answers. And those answers are scorching hot!
A leading man just doesn't get better than Ilya Prakenskii. An impassive face that hides deep turmoil, ice veneer over a white-hot volcano. And the fact that we don't really know whose side he's on merely ads to his allure. Whew!
Although this is supposed to be her book, Joley pales in comparison with this Russian hottie. If I'm quite honest, I didn't get the girl. And that's pretty understanding, since she didn't get herself either. She's spent most of the book brooding on the fact she was attracted to bad, dominant guys, while hating them for their domineering way all the same. While it was understandable to a point, it quickly grew old and repetitive.
Although this issue was resolved soon, thanks to some finger-burning pages of sex, I just cannot overlook the somewhat absurd plot-moving devices, with missing girls, battle for supremacy between criminal clans and a gay head of the Russian mafia. Oh well, maybe it's just me.
I loved the "hand-thing" and I would definitely put it on the pro side of the list and I adored the little twist in the end with Ilya's bloodline. Hysterical.
And the ending, with the Drake house recognizing him and welcoming him home, offering a home to someone who's never had one... Juts plain heart-melting.
This book is definitely a keeper (and re-reader)....more
MHC has been one of my favorite suspense/mystery/thriller authors even before I came to really love the genre, and this book is my absolute favorite bMHC has been one of my favorite suspense/mystery/thriller authors even before I came to really love the genre, and this book is my absolute favorite by her.
Though the story leans more toward the thriller/suspense part, the little tidbits of romance sprinkled here and there give a few moments of respite from the action and intrigue. The pacing is excellent, so is the characterization, and Ms. Clark keeps the reader guessing until the end as to who the villain is and the motive for his crimes.
Another wonderful mix of history, mythology, religion, mystery and thriller. Maybe not as good as Langdon's first adventure, but still better than hisAnother wonderful mix of history, mythology, religion, mystery and thriller. Maybe not as good as Langdon's first adventure, but still better than his third one. Nicely developed characters, well-crafted plot, the twists and turns were well integrated and interwoven into a fast-paced story.
Yet another book that was definitely better than the movie....more
One heck of a mystery/thriller combo. It’s a wonderful mixture of everything. Some history, a great conspiracy theory, thrills and chills, art appreciOne heck of a mystery/thriller combo. It’s a wonderful mixture of everything. Some history, a great conspiracy theory, thrills and chills, art appreciation, loads of trivia to use as conversation fodder...And a minute romantic sub-subplot to draw a few more females. ;) This is a combination many authors are going for these days, but unfortunately I’m not that impressed with the results.
I’m a history buff, I admit, so this one was right up my alley. The characters were nicely drawn, the facts "simply" presented, and the conspiracy (whether there is a grain of truth in it or not) nicely interwoven into what is basically a race-against-the-time, whodunit story. Major kudos for the final twist, (when I first read it) I never saw that one coming.
That is also the reason why I didn’t much care for the movie version. There were too many cuts, changes and additions. If you want to truly appreciate this story, don’t settle for the movie, read the book. The page-count might appear a tad intimidating, but trust me, once you start reading the time (and pages) will fly....more
I don't particularly like Ms. Rice's vampire storylines, so I was pleasantly surprised by the theme in this book, so completely removed from the vampiI don't particularly like Ms. Rice's vampire storylines, so I was pleasantly surprised by the theme in this book, so completely removed from the vampiric realm, yet still firmly entrenched in the paranormal genre.
I'm a big fan of mummies (from cartoons, movies, to books) and Ramses the Damned with his soulful blue eyes is no exception. I loved his story, the trials and tribulations he had to go through and I was rooting for him from the beginning...And was so very happy he got his just reward.
A wonderful, gripping, intense, rather poetic, romantic, angsty, dramatic novel....more
This was the first book by Angela Knight I read and I was immediately hooked. Equal parts erotica, suspense, and sci-fi, combined with a time-travel eThis was the first book by Angela Knight I read and I was immediately hooked. Equal parts erotica, suspense, and sci-fi, combined with a time-travel element this was a real pleasure to read.
The two main characters, Baran *pant pant* Arvid and Jane "one-of-the-non-annoying-heroines-I-like" Colby had some major chemistry going on, both in (hence the panting) and out of the bedroom, the villain was sickeningly twisted (just how I like 'em), the pacing was good, the story well-thought out and plotted...And the ending. Oh, boy, don't get me started on the ending.
It was even better the second time around. ;) 4 ½ stars...more
Zarek of Moesia, the baddest badass among the Dark Hunters, a bit crazy, a bit faking it so people would leave him alone, is one of the most complex cZarek of Moesia, the baddest badass among the Dark Hunters, a bit crazy, a bit faking it so people would leave him alone, is one of the most complex characters in this series. His past is heartbreaking, his present cold and bleak, his future uncertain. It all comes down to one woman, make that goddess, that is sent to Zarek’s place of banishment and cold torment, also known as Alaska, to determine whether the baddass, lip-curling, illegitimate son of a Roman general, is also a ruthless killer gone completely bananas over the years, and not caring whether he exposes the Dark Hunters to the world or not.
The goddess falls hard for the badass, the badass goes a little soft around the edges (but don’t tell that to anyone or he’ll have to kill you and hide your body so no one can find it), a little conspiracy is revealed, the soul retrieval is pointless, and all live happily ever after.
It sounds easy and simple, but it’s not. Ms. Kenyon truly succeeded in creating a superb story for this complex characters and immerse the reader even more into the world of her Dark Hunters. And I have to say (yet again), the first books in this series were a lot better than her few newer works. I guess the universe itself got a bit too big for comfort and ease of track....more
Iphiginia (let's now dwell on the name, shall we?) has recently returned to England, when she learns her dear aunt Zoe is being blackmailed. The blackIphiginia (let's now dwell on the name, shall we?) has recently returned to England, when she learns her dear aunt Zoe is being blackmailed. The blackmailer is so vicious he actually killed a member of the ton, Marcus Valerius Cloud, Earl of Masters, so he truly must be stopped. So Iphy devises a cunning plan. She would enter the ton posing as Masters's mistress - the man is dead after all, he won't be able to label her a liar and since he was quite a recluse before his death, no one will know the truth - and try to uncover the blackmailer.
All is proceeding quite nicely, though Iphy still hasn't uncovered the blackmailer's identity, when all of a sudden Masters appears at a ball, quite healthy and alive, rather curious as to whom his mistress might be. Drat it, when a man is supposed to be dead, he should remain dead, don't you think?
Anyway, Marcus is quite taken with his pretend mistress and decides to keep up with the charade. The fact he also thinks she is the blackmailer - yes, one of his friends is also being blackmailed - helps in his decision to do so.
But soon, blackmailers and intrigue will prove to be the farthest thing on Marcus's mind and he'll be more than ready (and Iphy more than willing) to erase the "pretend" from their arrangement.
This is the absolute first book by AQ I read and I've been hooked ever since (with historicals one of my favorite genres and Ms. Quick one of my favorite authors).
I loved this story. It had everything one desires in a historical. A wonderful leading couple (a high-ranking member of the ton and a spinster), nice supporting cast, great chemistry, lovely romance, and a nice dose of suspense thrown into the mix, just to keep things lively. Though Marcus isn't Julian (from Seduction), he's still one of my favorite historical heroes out there. And Iphy, the template AQ heroine, a little before her time, was his perfect counterpart.
Though this is an oldie, it remains one of my absolute favorites on that keeper shelf, and I really cannot find any fault in this book. It even has a carriage-sex scenes, that "must" in early AQ novels.
This was the book that got me hooked on Ms. Moning’s highlanders. Wonderful mix of historical romance and time-travel with some contemporary elements,This was the book that got me hooked on Ms. Moning’s highlanders. Wonderful mix of historical romance and time-travel with some contemporary elements, suspense, and some pretty nifty battle scenes.
I loved the story, I loved Circenn (as much as I loved his daddy later on), Lisa was absolutely perfect for him, Robert the Bruce made a surprise appearance…The story was fast-paced, the suspense gripping, the romance lovely and heart-felt, all intertwined with magical elements and the beauty of Scotland.
And the finale…Did I mention how much I loved this story?...more
Another favorite LK read for me with wonderful characters (even though Celia is a little annoying at times, but I LOVED Griffin), great intrigue, someAnother favorite LK read for me with wonderful characters (even though Celia is a little annoying at times, but I LOVED Griffin), great intrigue, some nice suspense, a nice dose of steam, good pacing, and some pretty great twists.
Actually, it made me wish for a pirate of my own. ;)...more
Lara has finally started enjoying her widowhood (who wouldn’t after the marriage she had), when news comes that her husband is still alive. But the maLara has finally started enjoying her widowhood (who wouldn’t after the marriage she had), when news comes that her husband is still alive. But the man she takes under her roof is completely different from the man she married. Though he looks the same, his behavior, his obvious changes make him appear a stranger…
This is one of my favorite LK stories out there. A nice dose of mystery interspersed with the (budding) romance, with danger looming at the horizon. A great story, nicely paced, with wonderful characters, good tension and great intrigue, offering a little twist on the “old married couple getting reacquainted after a long absence” theme.
Though it was rather predictable (no real mystery involving “the stranger”) it would still get a 5 star rating if it weren’t for the constant “bane of my reading existence” – the dreaded heroine. I just couldn’t stand Lara, though she did come around as the story progressed. I know she had her reasons for being so “uptight”, but her husband sure deserved better.
And I have to say I absolutely loved the epilogue. Brief, to the point and sweet....more
Princess Theresa "Tess" Rubinoff and Sheikh Galen Ben Raschid first met when she was twelve and trying to save her dog from the smelly bog...He endedPrincess Theresa "Tess" Rubinoff and Sheikh Galen Ben Raschid first met when she was twelve and trying to save her dog from the smelly bog...He ended up saving her and the dog.
That night, his last night in the kingdom of Tamrovia, Tess came into his chambers begging him to save her two dogs from being snuffed by her tyrannical father, promising him anything in return.
Six years later the time came for her to keep her promise. Galen needs a wife to secure an alliance between Tamrovia and his homeland, Sedikhan, and no one is better suited then Tess.
And he knows just how to tempt her. He offers her freedom after three years of marriage to secure the unity of his country, and a child.
Tess promptly accepts, but little do both of them know, that such bargains rarely work. Especially if there's the heart involved...
This was, I think, the first historical romance I've read back in time when I could still find my library card.
I'll admit, this book has many faults, slow-moving plot (until the last forty-or-so pages, acute lack of romance - blink and you've missed it (you really have to read between the lines, squint your eyes, and have a good imagination to spot it!), and a storyline that has to be desired, but still it's an amazing and titillating read.
Tess is quite a character, strong, smart (a boon, really), fiercely independent, stubborn to a fault, yet lovable to a fault. Hey, she managed to make a barbarian sheikh fall in love with her! And she kicked some serious barbarian booty in the end, you go girl!
Galen is a bit more of a mystery, he certainly isn't drawn as well as Tess is, but that's the charm of these bad boys. Just as you know what makes him tick, he veers left and completely surprises you. I loved his inner turmoil, though. The way he was struggling with keeping the balance between a savage barbarian (that he thought he was) and a civilized man (as civilized as it got in a desert country ravaged by war and disputes between clans).
The love was there, even more for him than for Tess, if you ask me. Maybe because the author showed more his adversity toward the end of their "agreement" than Tess' - the man went caveman whenever she mentioned leaving, for crying out loud. And despite the fact he needed a woman "frequently", he didn't want anyone but his wife. If that ain't love, I don't know what is.
What was really the best part of this book was the seduction. Despite the title and the "inner Galen", this was seduction plain and simple. And he was not only seducing Tess, he was seducing the reader as well. The heat and intensity slowly and leisurely rises and the tension is so thick you can chew on it, until you want to grit your teeth and shake the two idiots to just get it over with...But let me tell you, they certainly don't need you to tell them that.
Yeah, it wasn't perfect, but it is definitely a keeper....more
Little did Lady Antonia Lamb know that the sailing trip with her twin brother Anthony would turn out in an attempted murder and her brother's disappeaLittle did Lady Antonia Lamb know that the sailing trip with her twin brother Anthony would turn out in an attempted murder and her brother's disappearance. To prevent their estate falling into the greedy, unscrupulous hands of their cousin Bernard, she decides to impersonate her brother.
At the same time, the twins' legal guardian – so named by their father, Adam Savage, leaves his plantation in Ceylon for England, to set up a home there, take care of his wards, and plan his marriage to Antonia and Anthony's mother.
Taking "Tony" under his proverbial wing, Adam vows to turn the boy into a man, never guessing his ward's secret, while Antonia, despite feeling liberated by her disguise, can't help the growing attraction she feels for the rake with a "scarred face and ice-blue eyes".
Seduced is a great book, though the length is tedious at times. Maybe it could've been shorter than its 532 pages, but cutting pages would probably have resulted in severe cost in characterization and that most important interaction between characters. As Antonia's feelings for Adam develop through the book, so does the reader's perception of him, and the two of them. It is a slow development, but that's what gives it that extra semblance of reality.
Obviously the one thing suffering mostly by the book's length and character definition and interaction was the plot. After a great start, the pace slowed and picked up again only for the great final showdown.
Seduced is a great mixture of intrigue and romance, exotic settings like Ceylon and Venice during il Carnevale, sensuality, and that special drop of mystery that comes with a he-is-really-a-she twist. And it is all bound together by Ms. Henley's ability to take history and fiction and blend it all together into an excellent novel.
The two leads are your typical HR hero and heroine, but Ms. Henley succeeded in gifting them with that much-needed, and often neglected, life-likeness. Despite their obvious "perfection", they're still humans, they feel joy and pain, suffering and elation. Their interaction from the beginning of the book could be classified as foreplay. One heck of a long foreplay, that makes the final act of surrender so much stronger and scorching. There is no doubt in the reader's mind that the author loved these two together, that they are meant for each other, and the reader can enjoy their connection and their love fully before the book ends, which is not standard HR template....more
Lovely Lady Brenna Wardieu, daughter of the Black Wolf, isn’t exactly known for her ladylike behavior. She’s spent her childhood emulating her brotherLovely Lady Brenna Wardieu, daughter of the Black Wolf, isn’t exactly known for her ladylike behavior. She’s spent her childhood emulating her brothers and has become a master of the longbow, a worthy rival of the land’s best archers.
One day, she finally meets her match in Griffyn Renaud de Verdelay, a mysterious man she’s caught trespassing on her father’s lands. She immediately knows he cannot be trusted, despite his acquaintance with her brother, Robin. Her suspicions turn true when she learns Griffyn, a.k.a. Prince of Darkness, has been hired to challenge Robin in a tournament and dispose of him accordingly.
Griffyn is a man on a mission which doesn’t involve getting tangled up in a woman’s web. Yet, there is something about Brenna that draws him in and makes it harder and harder to go through with his plan on getting a rematch against Robin and ultimately killing him.
Neither can help the growing attraction between them and despite their differences and conflicting goals, they find themselves watching each other’s backs in battle after battle. Soon, it becomes clear their goal is the same and they end up working together to save her brother’s life, find a traitor in their midst, and save a few lives and maybe even the fate of kingdom in the process.
This was the final book in the Robin Hood Trilogy, that started with Through a Dark Mist and continued with In the Shadow of Midnight. And while both previous books were great on their own, I couldn’t help but think everything I’ve read so far, both individual stories intertwined with the main arc of the trilogy, has led to this one, the last book—The Last Arrow, which for me is the best in the trilogy. After all, it is the ‘grand finale’, where everything is nicely tied up, and the main arc sort of comes full circle.
This is the story of how three of the Wolf’s cubs (all three boys and the tomboyish girl that has always been the pupil of her father’s eye) travel from France to England to save the Lost Princess, retrieve a damsel, and help the outlaws in their noble cause against the tyranny of King John. While on their way to England they’ll stop on a tournament, make a few new acquaintances, save on of those acquaintances’ life, and enlist that same acquaintance’s help on their venture to their final destination.
Since this book was rife with sub-plots, historical details, and strong, realistic and believable characters, to me it was the most complex one in the trilogy. While so far we’ve only been served one main story and one to two side-stories per book, this one had two ‘main’ couples vying for attention, an old revenge sub-plot that was resolved somewhere in the middle, the lost princess subplot, a great villain and a rehashed one from the previous book, the ‘robinhoodesque’ conclusion etc.
Focusing on the ‘main’ main couple—Brenna and Gryffin (because let’s face it, the other couple, Robin and Marienne, truly had only one scene together), for me their romance was the most realistic of the entire trilogy. Realistic in the sense of their interactions, their personalities, and their inner ‘demons’. The fact she was a proficient archer in a time where women were considered more cattle than cattle, and he was a self-made tournament champion and even better at archery than her, was a bit fantastic, but it worked well with the story and their development, both individually and as a couple. It was the aforementioned other things, the emotions they brought to the table, the inner turmoil, the reluctance to trust and yield, that made them so ‘real’ to me, because it could happen to anyone, even in this day and age. The emotional roller coaster the two were on works regarding of the historical setting. The attraction was obvious from the start, the ‘love’ started developing from the moment they were officially introduced, but there was so much baggage with both of them, the misgivings, the secrets, the mistrust, they were both weary of giving in, of taking that final leap of faith. One would think because this is a romance, there shouldn’t be so much reluctance, but the story wouldn’t have worked if there wasn’t that reluctance present. Ms. Canham has written it in a way the reader (on the first read, that is) also isn’t quite sure whether Gryffin, despite being the hero, could indeed be trusted. So, if the reader cannot completely trust the hero (until the final few chapters where everything is explained, that is), how can the heroine? And he, well, he held so much anger inside, so much darkness, the armor around his heart and emotions so thick that he couldn’t afford falling for her, yet couldn’t help himself. Like moth to a flame he was drawn to her, despite knowing better, despite all his efforts. To me, Brenna and Gryffin were a perfect couple, fighting against everything they felt for each other, yet succumbing at the end. And the best part, he was the one who fell first and the hardest. Sure, he was an asshole, but he had his reasons. She was no angel, either, at least when it came to him. Yet, they fit. Perfectly. Both flawed, yet one loving the flaws of the other. I loved them both.
With such a ‘power-couple’ and such a strong love story, everything else could’ve easily rode shotgun or even taken the back seat, but it didn’t. It’s Ms. Canham’s forte to intertwine and combine multiple elements, characters and plot-lines where all of them shine through in the story without one of those ‘elements’ fading into the backdrop. Everything has its purpose, everything, every single aspect of the story works in driving the plot forward, and in a multiple-book storylines, everything is nicely tied in a bow in the end, even elements that seemed redundant in previous books. And that’s what I love about Ms. Canham’s writing and that’s what makes her one of my favorite authors. The ‘homogeneity’, the flawlessness of combining and mixing various elements to make a tight, well-paced and well-written plot and story.
The story of the Lost Princess of Brittany was nicely tied up, with an additional romantic aspect to it, despite of where she was and what she’s become, the Wolf’s heir kept his promise given eleven years ago (at the end of In the Shadow of Midnight) and retrieved his one and only love. (view spoiler)[The fact he’s remained chaste for the duration of the ‘wait’ was both sweet and funny. (hide spoiler)] The villains got their due, though I wanted to know what happened in Gryffin’s youth resulting in one of the villains only having nine fingers. The main villain of the entire trilogy, Prince/King John had mellowed (and met his maker as explained in the epilogue). And we finally got the retelling of the Robin Hood legend that’s I’ve been waiting for since book one. It was unique and engaging and made me want to demand more, especially what happened to Robin and Brenna’s brothers Richard and Dag, and whether Will has indeed married the younger Wolf’s cub, Rhiannon.
This was an engrossing read that will keep you guessing until the last page. There is action and adventure aplenty, a great villain, awesome secondary characters all woven into the 13th century tapestry of political intrigue, dark family secrets, revenge, murder, knightly battles, and a great romantic conflict and sensual tension between the two leads. All told with Ms. Canham's usual flair, elegance, and talent for delivering a strong combination of romance, action, adventure, and sensuality along with humor and great character development.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more