This is a pretty unusual romance, in that the heroine is a prostitute. As with all of Catherine Anderson's books she de...moreReview on www.BookChickCity.com
This is a pretty unusual romance, in that the heroine is a prostitute. As with all of Catherine Anderson's books she deals with the subject matter with empathy and warmth making it an enjoyable read, if hard going at times. Franny is a victim of circumstance, she does not enjoy being a prostitute or do so by choice, if any woman does. But has to not only deal with the hours that her job often entails but being continuously ostracised by the rest of society.
Catherine Anderson has written a foreword to this book, and her aim in writing this story was to highlight the plight of women before the women's liberation, including a touching story about her great-grandmother. She talks about the women who became widows with a family to raise, and how there were very little employment choices. Many had the choice between prostitution or watching their children starve to death. I think most of us know what we would chose. And this is the premise of this novel. The eldest daughter of a large family with a blind mother, Franny does the only thing she can think of to save them all from starvation and enters into the world of prostitution at the painful age of thirteen.
The subject matter does not always make this book comfortable reading, particularly when Franny reminisces about that dreadful first time at thirteen. But she is a charming, warm and interesting character. Despite her profession, Anderson still manages to portray her convincingly as innocent, which is quite a feat in itself. This is a woman who has never known love, tenderness or even kindness from a man.
Chase Wolf is quite a contrast to Franny, you don't have to have followed the series to read this book, but we met his parents Hunter and Loretta in 'Comanche Moon', he is their half Indian son. Tough and confident his attitude towards Franny is pretty awful at the beginning of the novel. He believes her to be after nothing but money and not a befitting friend to his sister. One of the charming things about this story is how this opinion turns around until he would do anything in his power to save Franny.
At the centre of this story is the theme that love conquers all, but also of redemption. Of Franny's redemption from her awful past, but also for me of Chase redeeming himself from his awful behaviour towards Franny in the beginning.
Anderson has written a beautiful and touching love story. When I read the premise that Franny was a prostitute I had a picture in my mind of what that character would be like, but Anderson has gone out of her way to break away from that archetypal stereotype creating a unique character in Franny. But also at same time she highlights the plight of women during at time when for most a good job was non existent no matter how desperately you might have needed one. It makes me glad to be born in the year that I was.
This is a love story that will take you by surprise, sweep you off your feet and make you believe in second chances. It is so easy to look down upon a women who sells her body for money and this really made me think about what choices would take a woman to that place. Remarkably thought-provoking for a historical romance and fabulously heart-melting too. (less)
'Relentless' is the second book in Kaylea Cross's suspense series that I have read. Having...moreReviewed for www.bookchickcity.com (8 out of 10 on the blog)
'Relentless' is the second book in Kaylea Cross's suspense series that I have read. Having picked up 'No Turning Back', book number three in the series, earlier in the year. Each of the books reference the different characters in the other and our two leads for 'Relentless' are Rhys and Nev (Neveah), who were important characters in 'No Turning Back'. But I still think you could pick this up as a stand-alone novel in its own right, although perhaps having read the former would give you a slightly richer reading experience.
Nev is a doctor and in 'No Turning Back' was working to set up a hospital for the poor in Afghanistan, when she and her colleagues were kidnapped by Al Qaeda terrorists. Here she was tortured and suffered a horrendous ordeal until she was rescued by an elite armed forces team. Rhys was one of the soldiers that rescued her, but just as they were trying to escape his vehicle drove over a land mine, setting himself on fire and giving him severe neurological damage. As a doctor on the scene, Nev then saved her rescuer's life.
'Relentless takes off as Rhys is finally released from hospital following on from his injuries. But almost as soon as he's released his his boss calls him to let him know that a terrorist cell has been activated in Vancouver, which also happens to be where Nev is due to give a speech at a medical conference and he knows that he must go to protect her, whether he's physically ready or not.
Both Rhys and Nev are great characters. They have both suffered both physical and psychological ordeals during their time in Afghanistan, but while this makes them vulnerable, they are both very tough and resilient at the same time.
Rhys has been a solider all of his life, and when he's not protecting civilians and his fellow soldiers, he is protecting his twin brother Ben. Additionally Cross's physical description of him, despite his scars, had my mouth watering on several occasions! Rhys believes himself not capable of love and his resolved himself to a single life:
"He'd always known he'd spend his life alone. He wasn't cut out for relationships, let alone one that ended with happily-ever-after."
Which makes the romance all the more sweet, and the romance in this novel really is absolutely captivating, I so wanted Rhys and Nev to come together.
Nev is intelligence, tough and brave. Despite everything that has happened to her she is determined to get on with her life and not let the terrorists win and I couldn't help but admire her for that.
The plot is a perfect mix of suspense and sizzling romance as Nev and Rhys fall for one another and the terrorist plot unfolds around them. I was impressed with the couple of surprising elements Kaylea Cross managed to throw in that I genuinely didn't see coming at the end.
If you're a fan of romantic suspense, then I would definitely recommend you add Kaylea Cross books to your reading list. I enjoyed this book much more than 'No Turning Back' simply because I had some issues with the heroine's decision making in that book! But this really is a fab read.(less)
Book six in what has shaped out to be one of my favourite all-time urban fantasy series and it's great to have Mercy back! She is a fabulous heroine....moreBook six in what has shaped out to be one of my favourite all-time urban fantasy series and it's great to have Mercy back! She is a fabulous heroine. It's easy to worry with a series that you love that the writing will lose its way and not have the same punch the early books did, but Patricia Briggs continues to keep this a fast paced, gritty and entertaining urban fantasy series.
I love the fact that Mercy has been allowed to grow up throughout the series, and was very excited that we got a wedding! And a wedding not shrouded by disaster, other than Mercy's mother's insane planning! This book was very much about Adam and Mercy's relationship as they become husband and wife and working together as a team. It's great that the author has had the confidence to allow Mercy to choose her mate and break away from the will they, won't they storyline that many UF books fall into. And also have the courage to resolve the painful love triangle with Sam, although I very much enjoyed reading about it in the earlier books.
Of course, just because the wedding goes smoothly, don't hold your breath for the honeymoon! Mercy's inexplicable habit for running into trouble or need help people is not going to leave her just because she's married now. There is one scene at Wal-Mart which didn't fail to make me laugh as Mercy convinces Adam to leave her shopping alone: "I've been shopping at Wal-Marts for most of my life, and I've never been assaulted in one." You just know she's doomed for trouble!
The biggest development in this book is Mercy discovers more about her part Indian heritage, her father and what it means to be a walker. There is some great Indian folklore interwoven into the story as well as some new characters, Coyote and Gordon Seeker are worthy of a special mention. I hope we see some more of them in future books.
If you love the series's supporting characters, Samuel, Warren, Jesse and Zee to name just a few, you may be slightly disappointed with their absence. As this is mainly about Mercy and Adam's honeymoon we get a few phone calls, but other than that it's just about the two of them. I enjoyed this difference, but want the characters back for the next book please.
The book wouldn't be complete without a decidedly evil baddy and the need for Mercy to save the day, get beaten up and escape by the skin of her teeth. Don't worry there are scenes in 'Rivermarked' that will keep you on the edge of your seat and the writing is as pacy and engaging as ever. And yes, the baddy is grimly evil and definitely needs a good killing ;-)
If you're a fan of Urban Fantasy and haven't got around to reading three books yet, where have you been?! It would be easy to think that a shape-shifting, VW mechanic is a bit of strange heroine, but she remains to be one of all time favourites. For existing fans of the series, this book does not fail to disappoint, so enjoy!(less)
I read 'Crux' the first book in this series back in January and really enjoyed it, but 'Crossroads' was even better!...moreReviewed for www.BookChickCity.com
I read 'Crux' the first book in this series back in January and really enjoyed it, but 'Crossroads' was even better! Although this book focuses on two new main characters - Nick and Derek, the storyline continues on from 'Crux' with all of the same characters, so I would recommend that you read it first.
Nick is the equivalent of werewolf royalty, daughter to the ruling alpha she is expected to marry for political gain and produce heirs. It is a fate she has spent most of her adult life running from, relocating to New Orleans and running a bar instead.
Derek has watched Nick from afar for years, fighting his physical attraction to her. Since he was bitten by a werewolf two years ago he has struggled to control his wolf and come to terms with his new life. In werewolf society a bitten wolf is viewed as inferior. But just as Derek and Nick are finally ready to admit their feelings for one another, Nick's life gets thrown upside down with the arrival of her twin sister she would do anything to protect, and some shocking news.
This book very much sits on that line between paranormal romance and urban fantasy, it is darker, grittier and tougher than a romance which is part of the reason why I think I enjoyed it so much.
The attraction between Nick and Derek is so tangible and so believable that from the start I was fully sucked in and engrossed in their story. About two thirds of the way through I couldn't see how they could possibly end up together and the pages whirled by as I willed the book to give me that happy ending. But that happy ending doesn't come without a price, there are some shocks and sorrows along the way that makes the story all the more engaging and left me with a ball in my throat. Although I did read this book on holiday, I finished it in less than a day.
The romance between Nick and Derek is, well, steamy would perhaps be an understatement! This is fuelled by their mating instincts as two wolves, but it felt right and added to the growing love and wild passion between them that they had both tried to ignore for so long. It also adds to the desperation as the extent of the trouble Nick's sister is in becomes apparent and looks as though it will drive them apart.
This is a fantastic book and a really exciting new paranormal romance series. If this is a genre you love, then I would recommend you pick up both 'Crux' and 'Crossroads' when you next get the chance. I can't wait for 'Deadlock'!(less)
There is one thing that makes this series really work for me. That is Cat and Bones. As a couple they make me lau...moreReviewed for on www.BookChickCity.com
There is one thing that makes this series really work for me. That is Cat and Bones. As a couple they make me laugh out loud, grip the edge of my seat and sigh happily all in the same chapter. They really are one of my favourite supernatural couples.
Their relationship is slightly more grown up in this book, now married they still have their issues, but Cat is working very hard to work as a team and not run off and get herself in crazy trouble when Bones’s back is turned. Although I did kind of miss the old reckless Cat, and wanted her to go off and do something crazy just so that Bones could go and rescue her. But I also love how obvious their love and dedication to one another is. The dialogue between them is brilliant, snappy and witty. Their bickering always amuses me. Cat’s comment below on Mencheres and Kira’s relationship did make me chuckle and sums up the banter between her and Bones.
"“See?” I’d whispered to Bones, nudging him with a grin. “He never argues with her. Isn’t that sweet?” A snort proceeded his response. “Keep dreaming, pet.”
I also have to say look out for the flying scene… Just brilliant!
Of course the book wouldn’t be complete without the threat of all out war and Cat sitting right in the middle of the trouble. Her supernatural abilities causing her problems even after she has been turned. As expected this book is no exception. But the danger comes from the ghouls this time for a change.
As well as Cat and Bones, the secondary characters in this book are also pretty awesome. We’ve got Mencheres, Spade, Tate and Cat’s old team all adding to the story and as rounded as the main characters. In particular I have to mention Vlad (if you’re wondering, yes that Vlad!) who was fabulous in this book, genuinely laugh out loud funny. I hope like Mencheres and Spade he gets his own spin-off.
Interestingly, this book has a very human tragedy written into the novel, mixed in with supernatural. Becoming used to living in the supernatural world, managing the threat of war and evil, suddenly Cat has to face up to human mortality and disease. Which leads to some terribly sad scenes, that you may just need a tissue or two after. There is perhaps less action in this book than we have seen in others in the series, but don’t worry the end finale won’t leave you disappointed.
Another fantastic instalment to Jeaniene Frost’s excellent series. If you’ve not yet picked up ‘Halfway to the Grave’ I would urge you to do so, it mixes love, wit, super hot chemistry with page turning action and characters that will stay with you after the last page is turned.(less)
This is book three is Stacia Kane's Downside Ghost series and I've read all three in as many days. The writing has got better with each book and this...moreThis is book three is Stacia Kane's Downside Ghost series and I've read all three in as many days. The writing has got better with each book and this is most definitely my favourite so far.
In 'City of Ghosts' despite her addictions and complicated life, Chess's career has taken a leap forward and it's clear she has an excellent reputation in the church. She is recruited to help the elite Black Squad with a case and has to work with a female partner Lauren. Just like Chess for a lot if the time I wanted to give Lauren a bit of a smack. In many ways she's everything Chess is not and this is not always a good thing!
The action in this novel is so far past paced, I barely had time to take a breath. After all the beatings she took, I had no idea how Chess managed to pick herself up and keep going. But like every good tough, urban fantasy heroine she does.
Despite the absolutely fantastic action and brilliantly carved plot, it was the romance that stole the show in this book. After the heart-breaking elements of 'Unholy Magic' it was painful to read Terrible's totally cold and almost cruel treatment of Chess. And for our messed up heroine to realise that she has probably made the biggest mistake of her life.
But like the characters their relationship is complex, dark and gritty. There are some parts the are off the scale hot and others that are simply hard to read. I just wanted to bash their heads together! Then comes the ending, I shall say no more other than in Chess and Terrible's own way it was just perfect!
Lex was a surprise in this book, I expected him to potentially fade into the background, but he really grew on me. It became clear that he had genuine feelings for Chess and I liked the twist at the end that saw him taking on an unexpected partnership to help her.
My favourite book so far. This series demonstrates Stacia Kane's unique writing skills from her characterisation, dark world building and also worthy of a note the very clever Downside dialect she has invented. It should be a must on every urban fantasy lover's bookshelves(less)
Book two in this great urban fantasy series and the writing has definitely got better in this instalment. This book focusses on the two faces of Chess...moreBook two in this great urban fantasy series and the writing has definitely got better in this instalment. This book focusses on the two faces of Chess as she bridges two worlds. The junkie with connections to the drug underworld of Downside, and the respectable church debunker who has been commended for her investigations.
For a lot of the book it feels as though Chess is life is becoming unravelled, life without drugs an impossibility, but at the same her addictions could very well lead her to lose the job that sits at the core of her existence. This does at times makes for painful reading, you begin to realise just how deep Chess is in with her drug addiction, and the messes it leads her into left me with a mixture of feeling the need to shake or weep for her.
In her addition her relationships in particular with Terrible and Lex become more complex. There are some truly lovely scenes with Terrible and some absolutely heart-breaking ones. What was just the hint of an unusual romance is 'Unholy Ghosts' began to sweep me away in 'Unholy Magic'. We learn more about Terrible, the good as well as the violently ugly. And as the reader just like Chess, I fell for him and began see the man beneath the dark and tough veneer.
Lex is a character I have failed to connect with as much as Terrible and Chess. But he is also exceedingly important to the story. But I am so far struggling to see the motive behind his actions, are they driven because he genuinely cares or is there a more sinister ulterior motive?
The ghosts in this book are as nasty as before. But I also find myself becoming more and more uncomfortable with the church's role in society. There are so many stark comparisons in this book between the seemingly respectable life and rule of the church and the bloody and unpredictable life of the poor in Downside. I couldn't help but notice that both are equally ruthless in their own way. The boundaries just different. Who needs hell when the church can torture your ghost in the afterlife? Which then makes me wonder which society is in fact worse?
As with book one, I take my hat off to Stacia Kane for her excellent characterisation. Her excellent written, dark and complex characters are what makes this story. Couple this with a vividly drawn urban fantasy world and you have a book you'll struggle to put down. (less)
I've read so many raving reviews about this series that I knew I had to read it. Stacia Kane has created a very unique urban fantasy world, with ghost...moreI've read so many raving reviews about this series that I knew I had to read it. Stacia Kane has created a very unique urban fantasy world, with ghosts as the monsters, but more compelling is her unique characterisation.
Strangely, the very thing that I eventually loved about this book was also the reason it took me a little while to get into it a first. Our two lead characters are Chess and Terrible and they're more like anti-heroes than heroes. The creation of these characters by Kane felt like a brave move and puts this series apart from other urban fantasy series.
Our heroine, Chess is a debunker for the church, responsible for hunting ghosts and investigating hauntings. She's also a drug addict. Chess is a raw character, a mix of pain, too many issues to mention and at the same time brave and believes in the purpose of the church and protecting innocent people. She's fascinatingly complex, and despite her addictions it's a testament to Kane's writing that I couldn't help but both fall and route for her.
The two other lead characters worth of mention are Terrible (yes Terrible) and Lex. Both men are heavily entrenched in the drug underworld of Downside and work for rival drug lords. Unwittingly Chess's drug debts lead her to become involved and indebted to Terrible's boss Bump. Before she knows it she's up to her elbows in a ghost investigation that is most definitely not sanctioned by the church and could end up with her losing her job or worse.
Enter Lex, who is naturally working cross purposes to Bump and Terrible's motives. Against her will, Chess ends up in a dangerous situation somehow needing to work to both gang's demands and still remaining true to her role at the church.
Again Terrible's characters demonstrates Kane's clever writing ability, here with a hero that is described as terribly ugly and is Bump's top enforcer. A job that involves killing, murdering and torturing Bump's enemies and yet I still really liked him! Lex, equally as ruthless, but the opposite to Terrible in outward appearances, he's rather hot! Which adds an interesting dynamic to the story.
The overall mystery of the book is great too, I didn't guess who the baddy was and it's always nice for that to be a surprise, the action is fast, gritty and evenly paced. Making sure I did not get bored at all!
This is a fantastic start to a new urban fantasy series and despite all her flaws I loved Chess. Roll on book two... (less)
Do you ever have a book that sits there for ages and you put off reading it? 'Passion Fish...moreReviewed for www.BookChickCity.com (7 out of 10 on the blog)
Do you ever have a book that sits there for ages and you put off reading it? 'Passion Fish' was one of those books for me. I think it's because I'm quite fussy about my genres, for example I like romance books, but have recently gone off what I would class as 'chick-lit'. And, from reading the back cover, this book seemed more chick-lit than romance. However, while it has a touch of chick-lit about it, I would say it is more romance and I actually ended up really enjoying it.
Eve is a curator for the Santa Barbara museum which is applying for a $3million grant to build a new wing, and is just about to go on a business trip to Boston as part of the application process. But her personal life is a bit of a mess after escaping from a bad relationship and a seriously creepy ex.
Before she goes her friends plan a night out and decide to make Eve the victim of their favourite game passion fish. This game requires Eve to be blindfolded while her friends choose several hot guys to kiss her anonymously, in order to remind her that passion still exists out there. But the rules of the game state that the chosen men must leave the club and not pursue things that night.
After two icky kisses, fish number three is sweet, but fish number four completely blows Eve's socks off. This begins a new journey for Eve, as her career takes on a new track with the grant application process and her love life for the first time in years takes on a very exciting new twist.
While Eve is the central character to the book, but the novel is much about her friends lives as it is hers. It circles around Eve, Skylar, Josie and Noelle, all of which work at the museum with Eve, with the exception of Noelle who is a nurse, and their loves and lives.
While we have Eve's love story which is more sedate and a slow grower, I did actually really enjoy the fact they did not fall into bed straight away, like you see in a lot of romances. Skylar's story is completely the opposite and complements Eve's perfectly, the more cautious versus, the wild and bold. And if you're a lover of sizzle in your romance, then Skylar gives you plenty of that!
Underpinning the story is the role of Eve's nasty ex, who moves from creepy to scary stalker type in his unrelenting pursuit of her. This adds an element of suspense and drama to the book.
I do have a couple of criticisms, overall I think the book was slightly longer than it should have been, this maybe because it covered the lives of four women, two in detail and two at a peripheral stage. But in general the story just needed tightening up a touch. There was a lot of two-ing and fro-ing and also a lot of wrapping up at the end. This book was obviously written by two authors who loved their characters and wanted to give them all the endings they deserved, but it felt just slightly too long to me. That being said, it didn't affect my enjoyment.
Additionally the back blurb states 'Passion Fish is one part romance and one part heart pounding thriller'. While it did have some great suspense parts to the story, I'm not sure I would call it a 'heart pounding thriller'. I think a little bit more could have been made of Eve's ex and I would have loved a bit more of the thriller part. This probably says a bit more about me and my reading tastes, but I would like things to have got a bit bloodier ;-)
Apart from my two criticisms, this is a really entertaining and readable romance, I found the pages turned quickly and I enjoyed each of their personalities of the four women featured and their partners. At times it was funny, sexy and dark and there are plenty of scenes to make a romance fan's heart melt.(less)