Last year, Amanda Bonilla captivated me with the first in her Shaede Assassin series, her debut release Shaedes of Gray featuring cold hearted, damaged, and lonely Darian making my top 5 favorites for 2011. Now she’s back with her second, Blood Before Sunrise, and I have to say that I absolutely love this series!
I’m completely fascinated by the world Ms. Bonilla has created. Set in Seattle, Fae, Shaedes (creatures of shadows), Lyhtans (creatures of light) Djinns and Oracles all try to coexist with the human populous – and other unknown beasties – in a convoluted and elaborate world in which no one seems to know how to share knowledge, tell the truth or say things outside of riddles.
Darian is a Shaede, able to switch between blending in with the night and her corporeal form. An assassin by trade and mistreated for most of her life, I can understand her standoffish detachment, but it’s her haughtiness that throws me and has me screaming at her from page to page. Darian isn’t a TSTL character by any means, but her arrogance leads her and, more often than not, drags her farther and farther down the wrong path.
It’s this arrogance that propels her in Blood Before Sunrise. After a passing word from the desperate Delilah to save her own skin, Darian becomes obsessed with finding her friend and mentors missing daughter, Brakae. Like many times before, Darian’s assumptions and inability to trust her new found friendships lands her in situations that are far more than she can handle and costs her more than she can bear.
Not a single word or scene is wasted, and the payoff at the end is well worth the journey in this fast-paced mystery-driven plot. With fascinating characters and awesome world building, Blood Before Sunrise is exactly what urban fantasy was meant to be. I can’t wait to see what happens next for Darian when Crave the Darkness hits shelves next year.(less)
I can remember when I was a little girl and first read the story of Cinderella – I think most of us can. How t...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com.
I can remember when I was a little girl and first read the story of Cinderella – I think most of us can. How the horribly treated cinder maid defeated her evil stepmother by marrying the handsome prince – *sigh* how romantic. Eloisa James has now taken this timeless classic and made it her very own with the debut in her new fairy tales series.
It all started with rats… well not exactly rats, but something similarly close. One small Maltese that turned Katherine Daltry’s world upside down and around. Though, we’ll get back to the rats… er dogs. Since Kate’s father died seven years ago, she’s been treated by her stepmother as nothing more than the help, instead of a lady of the Yarrow house that is her birth right. Marianna Daltry hasn’t exactly turned Kate into a maid, but she has moved her to the attic and fired most of the staff, making Kate pick up the slack. She also has no interest in the upkeep of what’s left of the tenants and instead uses Kate’s fathers money to buy unnecessary frivolous items. Kate can leave Yarrow house at anytime, but she fears what would become of the tenants and what’s left of the staff. So she stays and endures.
Victoria Daltry has had a slight mishap with feeding her dog, Ceasar, which couldn’t have come at a worse time. Marianna has concocted the perfect scheme (in her eyes), she needs Kate to pose as Victoria so she can marry Algernon Bennet who needs the approval of his uncle, The Prince of Marburg. It just won’t do for everyone to see Victoria in such a condition (with a reputation to uphold) and first impression is not only wanted, but needed. Now, because of the rat, Marianna forces Kate to take her sister Victoria’s place in meeting the Prince.
Prince Gabriel Augustus-Frederick William von Aschenberg of Warl-Marburg-Baalsfeld is in love with archeology and wants nothing more than to be sifting through the ruins of Carthedge. He doesn’t want to be at Pemeroy castle. He doesn’t want to be responsible for the family and staff his crazed brother, The Grand Duke, threw out of Marburg on the grounds of religious impurity. He also doesn’t want to meet Algie’s new bride or his own betrothed for that matter. He wants to be free to do as he wills, to dig in the dirt and uncover history. However, as much he doesn’t want to do all these things, honor bounds him to his responsibilities.
When Gabriel first meets Kate as Victoria, he thinks nothing much of his nephew’s new betrothed. He most certainly doesn’t see where the ton thinks of her as the seasons beauty. Kate has a similar negative reaction to the Prince. Though, while she thinks him an attractive man, it’s the air of arrogance that turn her off. Gabriel wants two things in a woman – biddable and bedable. He see’s neither in Kate, but there’s something about her that he can’t stay away from. With him knowing her as only Victoria and his future bride only a few days away from arriving, Gabriel tries his hardest to stay away from Kate, but fails miserably. Duty and honor are the only two things holding him back from the alluring Kate and Gabriel is finding it hard to live up to his position.
Kate is exactly how I always wanted my Cinderella to be – a fighter. She fights for what she believes in, what’s right and wrong. She fight’s her stepmother as much as she can in her position. She isn’t book smart, but she has made effort to be and she’s not lacking in common sense. Her sister Victoria isn’t the awful stepsister, but actually very sweet and caring. She’s never taken part in torturing Kate like Marianna does and that’s why Kate relents on going along with the crazy plan. Even the Prince is different from our perfect first. He’s arrogant, a little rude and brooding. It’s not until Kate really gets to know him that she finally understands his personality. Although his arrogance never really goes away, it becomes more playful and sexy.
A Kiss at Midnight is actually my first Eloisa James novel. The other girls at Paperback Dolls completely love her, so when we got the chance to review one of her novels, I jumped at the offer. The story is one we’ve all heard before, but the twists that Ms. James puts in are a welcomed change. Most of the novel takes place at Pemeroy, but I didn’t feel the least bit claustrophobic. Pemeroy is a very large castle, and Ms. James makes use of the grounds. My favorite character has got to be Henry, Kate’s “Godmother” This woman says exactly what’s on her mind. She’s a little vulgar for the times and completely self assured. It’s plain to see that she wants nothing but good things to come Kate’s way. She does everything in her power to make her comfortable and happy.
I took A Kiss at Midnight for exactly what it was, a fairy tale romance. I wanna say how important it is that I make it clear that this is a fairy tale and not a historical romance. Ms. James expresses this herself in the authors notes at the end. But anyone who reads this beautiful story will have no doubt about it. A Kiss at Midnight was romantic, sexy and funny and I myself am already more than ready for the next in this series, which I hear will be about Beauty and the Beast.(less)
Stars: Doll Believer: 4 Stars Doll Suz: 1 Star Doll Kitt: 2 Stars Doll Noa: 1 Star Doll Day: 1 Star Doll Eowyn: 1 Star Doll Chrissy: 1 star Doll Mona: 1 Star - DNF Doll Lil: 1 Star - DNF Doll Alli: 1 Star - DNF
Kitt: See what had happened was... It all started with an innocent inquiry from Alli about Fifty Shades of Grey "Has anyone read it?" From there Day, dratted woman ;p, decided we should all read it. Most of us involuntarily volunteered, but what the hell, we're all game for the challenge. Except how to have one review with ten women that would be different - and short (ha! yes, this is the short version!) - hence the Q&A. All the Dolls were charged with reading Fifty Shades, once completed, were to submit two questions. Here's the result:
Did you finish reading FIFTY SHADES OF GREY? If not, how far did you make it and why did you stop reading? If yes, how did you rate it on Goodreads?
Day: Yes, I finished the first one. I had to keep reading. I kept thinking... "Okay. Any minute now something really amazing will happen and I will realize why so many women are obsessed with this book." That moment never came for me. I rated it a one on Goodreads. (Sorry)
Noa: Day, that was my reaction too! I kept telling myself "maybe the next chapter...maybe the second book...the third?" Then I realized it wasn't going to happen. This wasn't even a one star series for me.
Mona: I stopped at a point shortly after Ana’s graduation. My inner goddess told me she was going to kick my ass if I didn’t give her something less annoying to read.
Eowyn:Yes, I finished the book and felt I liked it a little more toward the end. I only gave it two stars on Goodreads.
BLVR: Devoured all three. I took time off whenever my feelings were too overwhelmed. The first book was particularly emotional for me.
Alli: I have as of yet not finished. It's not because I don't like it, it's just my pregnant brain won't allow me to read for more than 10-20 minute spans before zoning out and thinking about nesting!
Lil: I did not finish it. I tried repeatedly but could not do it. I stopped at Chapter 4 and decided to skip ahead (something I never do). I got through "basic training" and I couldn't keep going. I became angry because I have a TBR full of really good books I was ignoring them to be annoyed by head cocking, murmuring, and one really noisy subconscious. I reluctantly gave Fiddy 1 star because giving Minus Stars is not an option.
Chrissy: Yes I finished reading it despite the fact that I did not enjoy it.
Suz: Yes, I did finish it although I haven't rated it on Goodreads yet because I've been waiting to do this review first. I give all cliff-hanger endings a one star rating because I believe them to be manipulative marketing thievery. This book will get one star when I rate it for that reason. I read all three of the books, back-to-back.
Kitt: Yes, I did. I read the first two - both I gave 2 stars - and then I had other books to read. I may eventually go back to read the last, Fifty Shades Freed, just to see how it ends.
Suz: Did you begin reading FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY with preconceived notions, and if so what were they?
Day: Yes. Due to all the hype I was expecting the "grand poopa" of books. Something that is extremely well written with incredible character development and a new and unique twists on erotica.
Mona: No preconceived notions here. I tend to take every book on its own merits, but this one had more demerits than merits, IMHO.
Noa: I guess I did. It would be very hard not to with everything going on out in the media and social media world proclaiming it as the literary accomplishment of the year if not decade.
Eowyn: I began reading the book expecting it to be extremely racy considering all of the media hype. I must admit, though it is slightly racy, I found it quite tame to what I had been led to believe from all of the hype.
BLVR: Yes, I did. I had heard a lot of media hoopla surrounding this piece, "Mommy Porn" , "BDSM in the Burbs", "Publishing Phenom". I was very intrigued.
Alli: I had heard some talk of the book bringing sexy back to the bedroom on the radio and how all these women just couldn't put it down. I expected it to be amazing.
Lil: I didn't even know the book existed until Day brought it up. I live with my nose in books or at Swimmer Girl's practice or I'm working (not lots of book discussion there) so I missed all the media attention. But I trust Day's opinion so I did go in thinking I was going to regret it. Which of course made me feel guilty for not giving a new author a chance.
Chrissy: I had a few preconceptions. From what I'd seen online it seemed as if 50% of readers loved it and 50% of readers loathed it so I figured it could go either way.
Suz: Yes. I had heard it was fanfic of Twilight and that it also had a lot of BDSM. I assumed the quality of writing, or at least the editing, might be substandard and was therefore skeptical but tried to remain open minded. My biggest concern, however, was that BDSM would be presented as some sort of psychological and emotional work around for the deeply broken. I think that's how it was presented in the movie The Secretary and I was fearful I would find that to be the case here. In all honesty I had not really exposed myself to too much of the hype other than to be aware of its existence. I don't spend a lot of time scouring sources for controversy as I find it unpalatable.
Kitt: Yes, I believe I did. Even though, like Mona, I try to take every book on it's own merit, it's hard to ignore the massive amount of hype surrounding this book. Going in I thought "This must be one of the best erotic books ever"
Day: Have you read other books that are classified as Erotica fiction? If so, how does this compare? If not, will you now read more?
Day: Yes. This one is nothing spectacular when it comes to the genre. There are some that are much better and some worse. In my opinion, 50 Shades is just mediocre.
Mona: I’ve read a LOT of erotica. Heck, I even corrupted Kitt with my choices. FSoG doesn’t even register on my radar.
Noa: I have read Erotica fiction and many of its sub-genres. As with any genre there are books I enjoyed more and books I enjoyed less. If not for me forcing myself to finish it (see answer 1) I would have stopped in the middle and put it in the "Do Not Read" pile.
Eowyn: I have not read other Erotica books. I can't say that I won't read more after reading this but I'm not inclined to run out and check out all of the Erotica books. I have enough Fiction on my TBR list at the moment.
BLVR: Yes. I often read Erotica written by Emma Holly, Portia Da Costa and several authors who might bristle at being labeled Erotica but whose work clearly fits. I am not a huge fan of Erotica for its own sake, instead I prefer erotic themes or events that are part of a larger work.
Alli: I have not read any books that are classified as Erotica. It's just not my style typically, but doesn't mean I'm not open to exploring it as an option later.
Lil: I have been told over and over if I'm going to write then I had to read everything, fiction, nonfiction, cookbooks, Archie and Jughead.... so yes I've read Erotica, I hated it in the beginning, it was torture for my creative juices. Then I discovered Lorelie James and Cat Johnson and what can I say, Giddy Up Cowboy ;). They opened me up to the world of Erotica where there is juicy story line and a plot that makes sense with dominant men and strong women, since then I have found other writers I enjoy but they remain at the top of my list.
Chrissy: Erotica is one of my favorite genres to read. I'm quite fond of the works by Alison Tyler and Rachel Kramer Bussel.
Suz: Yes. This one had comparable heat to other erotica in terms of excessive quantity but the quality of erotica can vary pretty widely and 50 Shades is not exceptional in regards to the quality of the erotica. In fact, given that it was supposed to be kinky I found it to be more than a little tamer than I expected. In terms of quantity I suppose I would praise 50 Shades because the sex scenes were relatively brief and not over written with flowery prose. I did have trouble with suspension of disbelief because the protagonist was a virgin who became multi-orgasmic from her very first experience, but I suppose that’s a trope you could find in just about any romance novel. A wishful thinking trope. As for whether I'll read more, I read a lot anyway and much of what I read is "chick lit." There is often a lot of erotica in that whether it intends to be classified as erotica or not. So I don't think I'll read any more or less than I was reading of it before. I LIKE a bit of sex in my books, I just tend to prefer there to be a STORY with it, too.
Kitt: Mona is one of the worst book pushers! So yes, I've read my fair share.
Mona: After reading FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, do you think people will assume BDSM will magically revive sexual desire, and if so, will they be brave enough to try it? What happens if their partner is offended/disgusted by it?
Day: If readers are naive, they'll believe anything I suppose. The media sure would like us to believe that millions of women have revived their sex lives with BDSM, but I don't think it's likely. And if it has actually sparked a flame in their bedrooms, I think it will be short lived. Good sex has a lot to do with breaking the monotony and in my experience everything gets old after a while.
Mona: I had to ask this question after seeing a news program about the increase in women buying the 'toys' to spice up their marriages. I wondered if any of them actually had any idea what they were getting into, and what their husbands thought about them just coming up with this out of the blue.
Noa: Mona, I was wondering about that too. I have to agree with Day. I'll add a little bit of wisdom I got from my mom: Spicing up the sex life is awesomesauce. So long as both sides are happy with what's happening. But I doubt it will make readers decide to take on the BDSM lifestyle.
Eowyn: I honestly think it might spice up their sex lives but not with the BDSM life style. I think perhaps women are getting a little turned on from reading the book and perhaps making sex exciting again but I'm not so sure they are adding anything other than some possible role play to the mix.
BLVR: I wouldn't classify these acts as true BDSM but it doesn't matter I suppose. I would hope that a reader would be inspired to bring the themes that move them into their own lives and act upon them. Absolutely! Harry Potter can help children feel brave and courageous. There are countless examples of literary characters or scenes giving people solace, hope, courage and inspiration. If 50 Shades helps reignite a romantic spark - I'm all for it! These games are not for everyone and there will be readers who will stop reading or simply enjoy being voyeurs.
Alli: To be quite honest, a book shouldn't be the catalyst to revive someone's sex life. Reading about non-vanilla sex might make them desire sex more with their partner, but would it make them branch out and try something new? Probably not.
Lil: What Day said.
Chrissy: I'm sure that many readers will view it that way but both parties are not always apt to participate. If it works for them then great if it doesn't at least they can say that they tried. Although I agree with Alli, it shouldn't be the catalyst.
Suz: Although 50 Shades uses the correct shibboleths from the BDSM community and suggests the proper forms it’s not, in my opinion, a BDSM book. It’s a slap & tickle bedroom book in which the virginal, inexperienced female protagonist manipulates and controls the highly experienced but emotionally bankrupt dominant throughout. In the BDSM scene they call it “topping from the bottom.” Since there really isn’t any BDSM other than references and props and a bit of spanking and light bondage, I would say it’s not really a BDSM book. Do I think it will help people feel better about wanting to shake up their sex lives and try something “new and naughty?” Yes. It already is. Will that be BDSM? I doubt more than a very few people will find their way into a BDSM community or lifestyle from these books. As for partners that are offended/ disgusted – I suppose they will do what curious partners have been doing from the beginning of time: either forget about it or go exploring on their own.
Kitt: What is there really to add to this that hasn't already been said, except no, I don't think the majority of women will suddenly feel the urge to take BDSM into their bedroom. At least I didn't. However, I do think that this book is having the same effect of other erotic romances by giving the women the urge to have sex more often.
Chrissy: If you enjoy the overall storyline of a book, can you overlook the unnecessary reiteration throughout a novel or does it annoy you? Example: the continuing emphasis on the fact that Ana is a bookworm and that Christian is gorgeous.
Day: Yes. IF I enjoyed the overall storyline those things could be overlooked.
Mona: A book must be really good for me to overlook something that annoying. Oh, my.
Noa: I think it would be very difficult to say. There are just so many things that annoyed me in this book. Ana's inner goddess, Christian's hair, Ana's inner goddess, her other inner character, her inner goddess... See? annoying right? And the storyline didn't help.
Eowyn: I think perhaps I can overlook unnecessary reiteration if I'm really enjoying the book. For most of this book I felt it was strained and I was back in High School.
BLVR: I did overlook it eventually. I found that the character development and story arcs became increasingly interesting enough to make me more generous towards forgiving certain crutches the author employed.
Alli: Probably. I do get annoyed with repetitive themes being beaten into my skull, but if the story is amazing I tend to ignore the nagging voice inside my head.
Lil: No I can't. I tried. Really really hard.
Chrissy: For me, it takes away from the book and can be the difference between whether or not I like a book at all. Writing style is very important to me as both a reader and a writer.
Suz: It depends on the book and whether or not I’m getting properly lost in the story and characters and the world. Generally if it’s annoying me it’s also pulling me out of the “world.” There was a lot of annoyance factor with unnecessary reiteration in this book. In fairness, that does improve a bit as you move through each book but since we’re only talking about the first book I’d have to say it was above average annoying in this book, but not as bad as I have seen in some books by much more established authors.
Kitt: I'd have to really like the book. But like Chrissy, it can make or break a book for me. In Fifty in particular, I couldn't ignore it, like a little electric shock every time she mentioned her inner Goddess, her subconscious, every time she said 'Oh my'
Kitt: What are your thoughts on Anna and Christian in general? Were they well developed or one-dimensional? How about the secondary characters of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY?
Day: Unimpressed all down the board. More development with all characters would have been nice.
Mona: Paper dolls. Repetitive paper dolls.
Noa: There were characters in 50 Shades of Grey? O_o
Eowyn: Character development was lacking.
BLVR: Yes - I believe that James imbued her Ana & Christian with complexity. But Ana could have acheived a higher level of complexity without a doubt. I think James was exceptionally brave in the last book when she gives us Christian's POV of his first meeting with Anna. He is truly unappealing and a cad.
Alli: Like most of the other dolls, I felt that the character development was very one-dimensional. We learn about them at only the most superficial level. I had a hard time connecting to Ana and Christian, which makes me like the story a lot less.
Lil: I didn't really read enough to make an observation about character development. I can say the characters did not draw me in and I didn't find myself invested in them in the least. I guess that made it easier to put the book down.
Chrissy: I strongly agree that the characters were one dimensional.
Suz: It was fairly poor in the first book but improved a bit as you move through the rest of the trilogy, for both the protagonists and some of the secondary characters. In the first book there was so much reiteration and so much mind talk that seemed juvenile and insipid that it left the characters fairly flat. I think that time could have been better spent developing situations to put the characters in that would have shown us their characters.
Kitt: I'm going to agree with Suz here, and some of the other Dolls. As the books continue, we do get to see further growth from both Christian and Ana, but for Fifty Shades by itself, both characters were flat. <laughs at Noa>, I could see how you missed them.
Lil: How did you feel about the POV? Was the inner dialogue helpful to you as a reader or distracting from the story?
Day: My thoughts on Ana's inner dialogue? Annoying. Personally, I wanted to scream at her to shut up about her inner goddess. But that is just me.
Mona: My inner goddess kicked the crap out of her inner goddess….and her noisy subconscious, too. Just shut up and let me read.
Noa: Her inner goddess, her subconscious... I take it back, there were characters in 50 Shades, they were all in Ana's head.
Eowyn: I have to agree with the rest of you on the inner dialogue. I was so sick of her inner goddess! I wanted to scream at her inner goddess and it didn't even make sense to me the things her inner goddess would be doing. I mean really? I think inner dialogue can be helpful but in this book I wanted to scream at it.
BLVR: A-ha!!! I loved it! I really did! Those are the moments and devices that make literature great. A visual medium could not have done those moments justice. James chose a clever way to showcase her character's logic fighting with her libido.
Alli: I teeter-tottered between meh and annoyed with the inner dialogue. By the way, where's my inner goddess these days?
A Blood Seduction hooked me right from the start with a different twist on the whole vampire trope, and I couldn’t put it down.
The protagonist, Quinn Lennox, knows she’s different, but after her mother dies and her father remarries she suddenly becomes an outsider in her own home.
When her baby brother comes along, she’s supposed to stay away from him so of course, she makes him the focus of all her love and attention. Years later when his girlfriend vanishes, Quinn is determined to help him find her, and in the process, the two of them embark on a terrifying journey through a strange dimension filled with vampires.
I’m fascinated by the different breed of vamps that populate the pages, especially Arturo, but I doubt he can be trusted. He appears to develop real feelings for Quinn, but then does or says something that negates them, and I’m right back to square one. Do I trust him or not?
Some of the horrendous acts performed on the humans were hard to read, but since the vamps feed on pain or fear, the acts fuel the progression of Quinn’s attachment to Arturo. By the last chapter, I was convinced Arturo really loved her only to have that certainty blasted out of the water. Now I’m on the fence and don’t know which way to turn.
The world building is wonderful, and I could visualize it as I read. The vamp hierarchy is interesting and contributed to my on/off appreciation of Arturo. Since few truly care for her, Quinn is fiercely protective of those she loves, and that could end up becoming her strength or her weakness. I’m curious to see how that plays out.
Yes, it was a bloody, violent, emotional book—that’s what made the vampire world so horrifying to imagine. It also gave Quinn a reason to fight back, and I can see where her ability to discover and hone her own talents will make or break future events.
Minor spoilers, possible... I've actually searched the internet on how best to describe Pamela Palmer's A Blood Seduction. Some refer to it as a paranormal romance, others as urban fantasy romance, others still as dark urban fantasy romance, but let me make this clear: A Blood Seduction is not a romance. Far from it, in fact. I personally think it would be best described as a horror.
Quinn Lennox, along with her half-brother Zack, fall down the "rabbit hole" into a parallel universe of Washington, D.C. circa 1870, aptly named Washington, V.C. or Vamp City. Everything in this alternate reality is exactly as it would have been back then except in disrepair... and filled with blood thirsty fiends. Though, it's not just neglect ripping this city apart, the magic holding it together is breaking down and letting the human world seep through its cracks bringing with it sunlight to brighten a world in perpetual darkness. After Quinn gets captured by Arturo shortly after her arrival, he soon discovers a secret about her that he hopes will save his world from being destroyed.
I have to hand it to Ms. Palmer, from the very first page, I was sucked into her world, compelled to keep reading even though every part of me was screaming for me to stop. Her world is harsh, violent, sickening and terrifying. I don't think I ever enjoyed one moment. Her vampires are the epitome of terror. Not only do they feed on blood, but the majority feed on pain, fear, and pleasure. After years of honing their skill, most take just as much delight in the chilling acts that they perform as the release given to them by it.
To feed, the vampires make slaves of the poor souls that they stole before their magic started failing or ones unlucky enough to fall through one of the many wholes between the two worlds that have now started popping up all over Vamp City. These humans are nothing more than cattle, no, lower if that's possible, rats to them. They think because they glamour them, nothing they can do will affect them, but most of what we see through Quinn's eyes.. you just can't come back from that. I found in some places it was hard to keep the nausea from rolling up at the things being described - This is definitely not one for the faint of heart.
It’s hard when reading a book not to look for that ray of light. That small glimmer of hope. You want, or need, a reason to fight, but in Vamp City, it isn’t just crushed, it’s obliterated. The vamps are so strong and adept that it magnifies how powerless the naïve and directionless Quinn is throughout the whole book, how she fumbles her way through, never making plans, and always relying on others to save her. To make matters worse, I found myself silently screaming at her repeatedly for making the same mistakes over and over and over and over – like with Arturo.
Normally, I root for the anti-hero. He has always been my favorite. Is he good or bad? Can he be saved? Never before have I ever wished so much for a heroine to grow a pair and kill the hero. This is a first for me. Arturo has absolutely no redeeming qualities. Every time Quinn starts to trust him, he shows her another reason why she shouldn’t have. He’s a snake, a liar, playing on Quinn’s vulnerably and loneliness. The crux is she knows this! But lets him continue to get close to her so he can do it again all because of the burning desire that rears up every time she gets close to him! Sex? Or survival? Sex? Or survival? Hmmm… I pick survival, but that’s just me.
A friend of ours described A Blood Seduction perfect for me – it polarizes the reader. On one hand, this book will have you ranting and raving, shocked and appalled, or just plain irritated by the shear helplessness. On the other, Ms. Palmer seduced me, kept me reading, and fighting for Quinn. Her world building was fantastic and her writing keeps you in abject horror, but you’ll continue to read until that very last page. I think fans of Laurell K. Hamilton will find it to be a perfect fit, especially those intrigued by Queen Andais like myself. I’ll be reading the next in Pamela Palmer’s Vamp City series.(less)
Noa: I have to admit before beginning this review that I did not read the first book in the new Smythe-Smith quartet series. I do know who the Smythe-Smith’s are… I loved reading about the annual musicales in the Bridgerton series, and I always felt awful for those poor girls with their lack of musical talent, I was really looking forward to reading a series that focused on them. Sadly, I think my growing TBR pile made me miss out on Just Like Heaven. So I’m really happy I got a chance to review A Night Like This…
Kitt, I know you are a major Bridgerton fan, did you read Just Like Heaven, were you looking forward to the next installment?
Kitt: Like you, I totally missed its debut! I had no idea that Just Like Heaven even existed. I don’t know what happened, because like you mentioned, I’m a huge Bridgerton fan (you can read my review of the series here) and was really looking forward to a series from the Smythe-Smith family point-of-view.
It’s unfortunate that we both failed to read Just Like Heaven, though, because it appears we missed out on quite a bit. Apparently when A Night Like This starts, it’s in the midst of Just Like Heaven’s ending and we’re seeing a major scene from two new, different points-of-view.
Noa: True Kitt, but I do have to add, while the first chapter does involve scenes from Just Like Heaven – the rest of the book does stand on its own. Do you agree?
Kitt: Oh totally! Besides feeling a little pang of regret for not reading the first – you know how obsessive I am about reading a series in order – I had no trouble following the characters or the story.
Noa: So, what do we have in A Night Like This? One governess for the Pleinsworth cousins of the Smythe-Smith family, one prodigal son returning after years abroad, an awful musicale and almost immediate attraction… Kitt, what do you think of the book’s main characters?
Kitt: I completely adored them both! Daniel Smythe-Smith is the eldest son, Earl of Winstead, Viscount Streathermore, Baron Touchton of Stoke – my word, the names! – and he has just returned home to England after three years of forced exile do to a drunken night between friends wherein he accidentally shot a Marquess son. When we first meet him, he seems young and frivolous, but the years abroad change him. His focus has found new avenues, family means more to him, and he’s taking his responsibilities more seriously now. The way he goes about catching Miss Wynter is completely swoon worthy. From the very first moment he lays eyes on her, he has to have her and what made me the happiest is that he never strays away or falters in his determination.
Miss Anne Wynter has a huge secret that keeps her at arm’s length even more so than the average governess. Her past is truly heart-wrenching, but it’s made her stronger and more resilient for it. I like her playful and witty attitude along with how she fights instead acting like a swooning debutante. It did surprise me, though, that she wasn’t more wary of Daniel’s intentions when she finds herself once again in a similar predicament regardless of his perseverance. What did you think of the Earl of Winstead and Miss Wynter?
Noa: I really liked Ms. Wynter, like you said, she fights back and doesn’t just lie down and take things. I also like that Julia Quinn put her in a happy household rather than many books where the stories have a Cinderella feel. Though, I guess she did have her share of bad positions, both as companion and governess in previous homes she worked in.
As for Daniel, I thought he was lovely – a perfectly upstanding young man who is a good brother, a loving son and cousin and who, like you said, realizes he has responsibilities.
So, what was the problem you might ask? It did reach a point where I felt Daniel was acting less than honorable. She’s a governess…he has to realize the problems. His cousin warns him, his aunt warns him…and what does he do? Ignore them. I really found myself disliking him at one point in the book. Especially knowing what we come to learn about Ms Wynter. And like you Kitt, I felt Ms. Wynter should have been a bit more wary of Daniel. I guess what I’m saying is – I needed a bit more story in order to believe that the romance was real and not just a member of the aristocracy trying to seduce the help.
Kitt: I’m totally going to have to agree with you, I’m not the hugest fan of cross-class coupling myself. It seems highly unfair to the poor party – which is usually the woman – that the gentry has even more power over them – which is almost always the man. Not to mention, I really don’t see this as something that would have actually taken place. I will give Miss Anne Wynter some credit though. She’s a governess which holds a significant higher position than the maid.
Noa: I agree, though there have been books where I really enjoyed it, I just felt that in this case their meeting and everything that followed was a bit rushed. I needed “more” to happen between them for it to be believable. What do you think?
Kitt: Actually, I didn’t get the feeling of it being rushed at all, but yet I do still see what you mean. I think it would have helped considerably to see just a little more intimacy between the two of them in some form or another – and not just in the smexing department.
Noa: Lol! The smexing was nice ;) I think Julia Quinn excels at writing a humorous love story, and A Night Like This delivered in that department. It just needed that extra “something”.
Kitt: The smexing was nice. But it seems to me, though, that I enjoyed A Night Like This a smidgeon more than you did. Overall, I thought it was a good showing from Ms. Quinn. I like her style and the humor she adds to each of her stories. She continues to demonstrate why readers flock to her books. I ended up reading A Night Like This in one afternoon and it has me eagerly rushing to find out what I missed in Just Like Heaven.
Noa: Oh, I did enjoy it Kitt, and like you, I really wanted to find out what I missed in Just Like Heaven, but I can’t say this was my favorite Julia Quinn book. She writes such fantastic heroes (and heroines) and Daniel just had a tough act to follow. Of course, I’m now dying to know what happens next… who will the next Smythe-Smith heroine be? ;)(less)
I requested Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal completely on a whim. I was looking for something light hearted and f...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com.
I requested Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal completely on a whim. I was looking for something light hearted and fun after all the heavier reads I’ve been devouring lately. As the second in Grace Burrowes The Duke’s Daughters series (or the fifth in her long running Windham series) about the Duke of Morland’s daughters, Ms. Burrowes drew me in from the very first page.
Lady Maggie Windham is the illegitimate, but much loved eldest daughter of His Grace, Percy Windham. She’s a strong, clever, and self-reliant woman, but riddled with self-doubt due to her by-blow and marital status.
Mr. Benjamin Hazlit is in the business of secrets and shadows. An investigator of sorts for the ton finding all things lost or missed placed and ferreting out information. However, that very same skill set has him kept at arm’s length from his own clientele for fear of what he may find out about them.
Ms. Windham and Mr. Hazlit share something in common, though – they both have a secret life. Their paths cross often at Maggie’s father home, but it isn’t until something precious goes missing do these two really have more of a chance to get to know one another when Maggie seeks Ben out for his services.
Sadly, I haven’t read any of the previous books in these series and I really wish I had. There is so much back-story not told or alluded to, that I feel I missed out by not going in order. Those interested, I suggest that you start with “The Heir”. One thing that is truly fabulous – and that I absolutely love – is that Ms. Burrowes has interwoven her whole series with minor characters that will have you longing to learn more.
There was one main major hiccup for me, however, something I just couldn’t wrap my head around – the story of Ben’s secret life. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but he is more than the face he shows high society and I just don’t understand how someone of his status and station could have hidden it for very long, if at all, from the likes of the ton – people who have nothing to do, but be in each others business. Not to mention, that he has sisters. Sisters that surely had to have a come out at some point since they are both married. In fact, his sisters situations puzzled me even more. Either I missed what happened from previous books or it isn’t explained very well at all. I’m thinking more the latter than the former.
Overall, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal is a light, delightfully told unconventional love story between two passionate and family oriented characters. Both Maggie and Ben are relatable in their insecurities as well as their longings. I found it to be both an emotionally driven and humorous read that not only satisfied my craving for romance, but did it without being too sugary.(less)
I really do try my best to finish every book. If the story is interesting enough, I will find the strength to...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com.
I really do try my best to finish every book. If the story is interesting enough, I will find the strength to muddle my way through to the end. It’s a compulsion for me, the NEED to know what will happen next. Slowly but surely, I’m learning quickly to just stop instead of subjecting myself further to a book I just don’t like.
Kiss of Pride should have been a triple threat. I mean Viking Vampire Angels? Score, right? Unfortunately for me, no. I tried really hard for over a week to get through the first hundred pages to no avail. From the very first pages we’re greeted with a subject matter that doesn’t match the levity of its language, but instead comes off completely absurd and just plain immature:
”I am deeply disappointed in the Vikings. I made them proud examples of a favored race.” Lightning bolts shot from Gods hands, which He raised on high, and the clouds wept. “Micheal!” God called out, and immediately appeared the Archangel Micheal, feathers flying as he rushed to His side. Without words, Michael could see down below to what had so offended his Lord. “Tsk, tsk!” was the best he could come up with.
“God loved Michael’s idea. “You will head this enterprise. Viking vampire angels. Well, not really angels. More like angels-in-training.” The archangel gasped with horror at his mistake. “Oh, not me, Lord. I have to help St. Peter repair the Pearly Gates. And Noah is building another ark. We have no room to put another ark. And those hippos! Phew!”
Kiss of Pride is the first in Ms. Hill’s Deadly Angels paranormal romance series designed to tell the story of the seven VIK who each committed one of the seven deadly sins and must now spend their lives as one of God’s vangels – vampire angels – fighting against the Lucipires – Lucifer’s vampires.
Now, I will admit to being somewhat shallow myself in choosing Kiss of Pride. That cover is HOT and who doesn’t secretly harbor desires for Viking Vampires, hmm? However, after reading just a short way through, that’s where all my interests ended. I didn’t get much past the introductions to the story and characters to report on more of what happens, but I can say what irritated me the most was the gravity of the situations warred with the humor. I, for one, am all for humor in books, but sometimes too much can make a mockery out of what is trying to be conveyed and make it all sound rather empty and foolish.(less)
Jessica McClain: Blooded is Amanda Carlson’s first offering in the urban fantasy genre. In this very short nove...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
Jessica McClain: Blooded is Amanda Carlson’s first offering in the urban fantasy genre. In this very short novella, only about 50 pages, we’re introduced to the world of Jessica McClain and her fight for survival in a pack that will no longer tolerate her existence. As the first female, and human, born to a race of werewolves where bloodlines are only passed down through the males, Jessica is an anomaly that breathes truth into an old myth of the Daughter of Cain bringing fear, panic, and rage to the pack that her father, the Alpha, can no longer control.
In this prequel to Jessica McClain series, Ms. Carlson brings to the table a strong, witty heroine who will go to lengths to ensure her own survival and a premise that promises to be enormously entertaining. If Blooded is just a taste of what is to come, than I for one am eagerly awaiting Full Blooded when it hit shelves this September.(less)
My heart is completely broken and I feel slightly sick to my stomach now.
I’ll be honest with you. This review is going to be breif, because I only made it 40 pages before I couldn’t go any further, but I’ll tell you what I know up until that point. I want to warn you though, if you have no desire to see any spoilers, I would stop now.
Bloodright is the second in author Karin Tabke’s Blood Moon Rising Trilogy and I was so looking forward to enjoying another hot and steamy yet fully enriched story by one of my quickly becoming auto buy authors. I had everything – my favorite comfy seat, my cool beverage, and my tasty little snack for later – then tragedy strikes in the first chapter.
Bloodright picks up exactly where Blood Law’s cliff-hanger dropped off. All hell has broken loose after the council’s verdict that either Lucien can take Falon as his one true mate or leave her to Rafe and choose another. Lucien chooses his Bloodright, not for a love of Falon, but only to torture his brother more for his treachery at slaying his own chosen.
Falon is so in love with Rafe and hates Lucien so much that she would rather shoot herself than to go with him. She finds him selfish, mean, callous, and insensitive and quite frankly, so do I. By the time Lucien gets her to his lair; she’s hurt and bleeding badly. It takes five days for her to heal, but for Falon, everything has just happened when she wakes up from her much needed recovery.
Karin is very good at what she does and that’s why I loved reading her work so much. She has me right there with Falon in her distrust, disgust and her broken heart. I feel her pain and her lost.
That’s why it isn’t a shock for me that when Lucien comes for her, she rails against him, fights him tooth and nail, tares at his flesh and shreds his skin.
The shock comes at his actions and her switch in mental voice because of it. I don’t care what “inarguable call of her blood to his” is happening or that they aren’t like us with animalistic instincts. I don’t care that her body betrayed her.
At no time is ok for a man to force himself on a woman.
For me this is NEVER hot, sexy or romantic, but it has come to my attention that there are some women out there who may enjoy this type of fantasy or can overlook it. I, however, am not one of them. I will not be reading Blood Vow when it releases this December.(less)
Blood Law is the debut in author Karin Tabke’s sultry new trilogy, Blood Moon Rising , mixing old and new Lycan...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
Blood Law is the debut in author Karin Tabke’s sultry new trilogy, Blood Moon Rising , mixing old and new Lycan mythology to create a fresh take on an old favorite. For those of you who don’t know, Ms. Tabke is the alter ego of Karin Harlow who I just so happen to absolutely adore! Karin makes some of the best Alpha heroes out there and she doesn’t disappoint as she brings us not one, but two.
Now there is a ton of back story to this series that you’ll only find out if you read Blood Law, but I’m nice enough to throw you a bone (ha,ha) and give you the down and dirty. For hundreds of years, wolves have been hunted down by Slayers at the decree of King Edward I, but about eight hundred years ago during the first Blood Moon Rising, a huge battle was fought between the Slayers and the two great wolf packs – the Mondragon of Europe and the Vulkasin of the New World. Though the wolves fought bravely they were on the verge of extinction so, Singarti, the great spirit guide of the Intuit people, called to the gods for intervention who in turn; turned the wolves into Lycan so as they might blend in with the humans.
Skip ahead to fourteen years ago. Rafael and Lucien, twin alpha males of the Mondragon/Vulkasin pack, are in a blood feud. There is one law that governs the Lycans, Blood Law, where first and foremost, a Lycan must not lie with a Slayer, to do so is punishable by death. And second, if another Lycan shall take another’s person or thing, eye for an eye can be invoked. In an extreme twist of fate, Rafael returned home to find his brother, Lucien, about to mark a Slayer as his one true mate and rather than see his brother dead, Rafe slew her by his own righteous hand. However, Lucien doesn’t see his brother’s actions as kind, nor does the governing council, and Blood Law now hangs over both packs until Rafe finds a mate so Lucien can finally take his vengeance.
Fast forward to present day where Blood Law truly begins. By now, the blood feud has taken a powerful toll on the world’s leading alpha pack, pinning them against one another. One side, the Mondragon, for Lucien. The other side, the Vulkasin, with Rafeal. One single human girl stands between them both as destiny unfolds. Falon Corbet always knew she was different, but it wasn’t until Rafael saves her from Slayers and marks her as his own does she truly find out just how truly different she really is.
Trust me when I say Karin Tabke knows her alpha males. They’re dominant, arrogant, erotic and sexy as hell. It makes my breath quicken just thinking about them. Alpha Lycan, Rafe, has been avoiding connections with the female body at all cost, because he’s never wanted to be responsible for the loss of an innocent life. When he meets Falon , he sees her as nothing but a mere human. In an effort to finally be done with the blood feud, he marks her for Lucien to do with as he wills. However, the more he gets to know her, the deeper she crawls into his head. Something about Falon makes his blood quicken and his beast call to her.
When we first meet Falon, she’s desperate, hungry, and savage. Homeless and an outcast orphan for most of her life, she’s only had to rely on herself and her own fundamental moral code. When Rafe takes her, she’s confused and yet drawn to him. There were numerous times when I wanted to scream at her, so furious with her for her hair brain actions and ideas that brought her further into trouble or just plain didn’t make any since at all. She actually tip toed the line for a TSTL heroine, but I’m happy to say how well she recovers and has only the most epic come back I have ever seen!
Ms. Tabke delivers in Blood Law an intense, erotic paranormal romance with compelling multilayered storytelling. Her mythical narrative with full rich history draws in the reader, but it’s her characters that keep them glued to the pages. Although, the cliffhanger at the end wrenched a tortured sigh from my lips, I’m eagerly awaiting to read the entire trilogy to see where she will take us next.(less)
I’m pretty sure my squees of excitement could be heard blocks away at the invite sitting prettily there in my i...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
I’m pretty sure my squees of excitement could be heard blocks away at the invite sitting prettily there in my inbox. I actually had no idea that there was a story in the works from Jocelynn Drake, but I’m so glad to have been selected to read an early copy, because quite frankly, I’ve been missing this series something fierce since it’s ending in Burn the Night last year.
For those of you who don’t know, Bound to Me is a short novella of only 100 pages set a couple centuries before Mira’s adventures in the Dark Days series. Available only in ebook from HarperCollins, fans will get one more look back into the past of the Fire Starter.
Finally, we get to see just what it was about one of my favorite sub-characters. I always wondered just what it was that kept Mira looking so fondly towards Valerio, besides his smoking good looks. Caught up in a love affair, Mira travels with Valerio to track down her own kind, among others, and deliver death as the enforcer for the Coven. Though, this arrangement is not without its entertainment as the pair of them travel throughout Europe leaving death in their wake.
In this short, Valerio and Mira go to the home of her maker Sadira, Madrid, to track down a Warlock murdering vampires, but while they’re there, Mira uncovers the real truth behind the Covens request.
Appealing to both new comers to the Dark Days series and longtime readers alike, Bound to Me, is a perfect addition to the rich world Jocelynn Drake has created. While I was both completely heart broken and thrilled that Ms. Drake ended the series when she did, I must admit that visiting Mira again has been nothing less than fabulous.
ETA: Bound to Me will becoming to paperback May 1, 2012: Amazon(less)
Noa gave Trouble at the Wedding 5 stars. Kitt gave Trouble at the Wedding 3 stars.
Kitt: Last Month of Love, Noa and I reviewed the first two novels in Laura Lee Guhrke’s Abandoned at the Alter series (which you can find here if you’re interested) and now we’re back to review the third, Trouble at the Wedding. This time around it should be a little more interesting though, because while I found the series latest release to be somewhat lacking, Noa really loved it.
Noa: It’s fun how the third in the series is the one we disagree on, we’ve usually agreed when it comes to romance novels. I really loved this book, I loved the heroine, the hero, and most of all, I loved how every single time I thought the book was headed for a tried and true romance cliché, Ms. Guhrke turned the tables and surprised me. But before we continue, maybe we should share the book’s premise…
Kitt: I’ve got this! Trouble at the Wedding takes place in 1904, half aboard the Atlantic and half in London. Annabel Wheaton is an American heiress looking for her way into Society through marriage. Normally, I don’t like social climber heroines, but Annabel is doing it for a slightly different and altogether altruistic reason which makes her ambitions less disingenuous in my eyes.
Noa: I’ll add that I don’t usually like the social climbers either, though I am a fan of the Buccaneers, I guess it bothers me less when you remember girls didn’t have much of a choice, and in this case, Annabel really does have some altruistic reasons.
Kitt: I remember, I remember and it is possible I’m still a teensy bit jaded by a resent read of another social climber, but that’s for another review, another time. Now let me finish! :p Where was I? Oh yes, when we meet Annabel, she’s already found the man who is going to make all her dreams happen in the Earl of Rumsford. This arrangement works both ways, because while Annabel needs a tittle, the Earl needs money. Not everyone is thrilled with this union, though. Annabel’s uncle Arthur has been doing his best to thwart the wedding to no avail, but then he gets this brilliant idea for the rakish Duke of Scarborough, Christian De Quesne, to talk Annabel out of a life he thinks she isn’t ready for.
I personally found this premise a little uninteresting compared to Ms. Guhrke's previous releases in this series. The first part of Trouble at the Wedding goes smoothly and at a steady pace, but it’s too unmatched for my taste, because on one hand it felt like it took too long for the prevention of the wedding to happen, and then on the other, it felt as if Christian and Annabel aren’t given enough time. And while the lust is pretty high, it’s after the initial buildup that the romance just turned into another one of those “I can’t marry you because you don’t love me” romances that so frustrate me. After a while everything just feels a little too forced and then events happen because they’re needed to move the characters in the right position instead of a more natural transition. But more on that later, Noa, what did you think of the plot?
Noa: Ok, so it really seems like this one is going to be complete disagreement ;) I actually thought the premise was fun, starting out in NY, the book then moves to the high seas and then on to England – Christian never expected to be the Duke of Scarborough, but with his father and big brother dead, and the family pile (and the pile of debt that comes with it) now his, he has to make some changes in his life, but due to his own past, he refuses to take the easy way out by marrying money. He has his eye on a business venture and needs to find an “in” … which is how he gets mixed up in trying to talk Annabel out of her marriage. I thought the book moved at a steady pace, I do understand where you might have felt things were a bit drawn out, but I actually liked the way things unfolded on the romance front. But Kitt, I want to know, what did you think of our hero and heroine?
Kitt: Believe it or not I actually really liked our heroine. Annabel is a rags to riches Southern Belle. Yes, she has beauty, but she also has smarts, wit and a healthy amount of stubbornness that she utilizes to her advantage whether it is in business or matrimony. She’s also one of the few heroines that I’ve come across to have her own money – not her parents or her brothers, but hers. The problem is that now she no longer belongs back home in the back waters of Mississippi, but neither does she feel like she belongs to the high society she now finds herself in. The number one thing she longs for – and something I think we all can relate to – is acceptance.
As for Christian De Quesne (it’s Du Cane, in case you wondering), he’s a notorious rake and gambler struggling to adjust to the new role he never thought to find himself in as a second son. Also, he’s been married once before… to another American heiress. His story really bothers me and his actions do very little to comfort me. He married his first wife for her money and when she was at her lowest, he was off gambling with her money in France. I find it extremely hard to find sympathy for his plight of the dukedoms dwindling funds when he was doing the exact same thing his brother did. What did it matter that his brother was the duke at the time? And saying that his youth was to blame is a weak and inexcusable excuse – that’s what is you know, an excuse. But I’m sure you saw him differently, what did you think of the roguish Duke of Scarborough?
Noa: First of all, I agree about Annabel, she was a fun gutsy heroine who wasn’t afraid to go out and get what she wanted – loved how she got her vengeance on her so called sweetheart! Yet she has this vulnerability that makes us as readers empathize. She isn’t hard the way many gutsy heroines are written.
As for Christian, I get where you’re coming from but… I disagree :p he does not justify his actions with his first wife, if anything, they are the reason he is so adamantly against marrying for money. Was he perfect? No. But that would make him a bit boring. I loved how in Annabel he saw a way to make up for some of his mistakes, he sought to make her realize she didn’t have to change, that to me is awesome.
I have to get to my favorite part of the story, I mentioned it before: the lack of clichés. This is what really made this book a fun read for me. Every time I thought the book was headed in a “not that again” direction, Ms. Guhrke swerved and surprised me.
I just had so much fun with Annabel and Christian, I think what I really wanted was more time. More time of them together, more time for him to explain his motivations to Annabel… I didn’t want it to end.
Kitt: Ah, we are in agreement, but our views of the situation are different. I, too, recognized his motives behind his not wanting to marry, not only to Annabel, but ever again regardless of wealth. The problem was that I didn’t feel Christians love towards Annabel, but instead his determination to do the right thing felt more to me like atonement for his first wives suicide. At first, yes, I could see him unknowingly falling for Annabel, but somewhere around the second half, it changed or he changed and instead, it felt more like he was trying to convince himself into love to make the new situation he found himself in easier.
I just wanted, and again like you, more – more time of them together, more time for him to explain his motives to Annabel, and more time for him to fall in love. So, while I didn’t enjoy this books story as much as the first two, I didn’t completely hate it either. Trouble at the Wedding is one I would recommend those who are interested to find out and decide for themselves.
Noa: I think this book ties for me with the second book in the Abandoned at the Alter series - Scandal of the Year. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait for the next installment in the series...wherever it takes us.(less)
Sins of the Angels is first in Linda Pointevin’s Grigory Legacy series with a fresh new look on Angels and Demons; good and evil. Alexandra Jarvis is a homicide detective in Toronto, Canada working a particularly gruesome serial killer case where the body count is high, but the savagery and depravity is higher.
Fighting demons from the past become a struggle for sanity when Alex meets her new partner, Jacob Trent. From their very first meeting, Alex recognizes something in him that she just cannot let go, but the tormented Angel has his own mission. The tenuous relationship hangs by a thread as they scour the streets looking for their suspect only to realize that he’s already found them.
One of my favorite scenes for a multiple of reasons, but mostly because it shows the intense struggle that both Alex and Jacob Trent (Aramael) are going through:
Alex jerked her hand from Trent’s arm, but too late.
Energy jangled through her, unstoppable, unfettered.
Making her see again that which could not be. A man who looked as shell-shocked as she felt, and who was possessed of wings rising from his back.
Magnificent, powerful, golden wings.
Panic twisted in Alex’s gut. She stumbled backward, recoiling from Trent – and from her own reaction. She did not see wings, and she sure as hell didn’t feel myriad of emotions woven into the brief touch they had shared, either here or in the office. Didn’t feel those emotions vying for attention, each as improbable as the one before, all underlined by utter confusion.
“Detective Jarvis – “
At the sound of Trent’s voice, the wings rising beyond his shoulders disappeared. Alex blinked, swallowed, and felt cold fingers of dread brush against a mind that terrified her with its sudden fragility.
No. Not that.
With careful movements defined by their very deliberateness, she took the keys from her pocket and replaced the cell phone in its case at her waist. Then, with equal precision, she locked away the image of a winged Trent with the memories and the gut-congealing fear with which she’d lived a lifetime.
“We have another body,” she said. “Staff Roberts wants us at the scene.”
Set in third person multiple povs, Sins of the Angels is a roller coaster of a ride sure to keep you at the edge of your seat. I just could not stop reading until I reached that very last page. My heart was racing through the twist and turns, broken with surprises and left aching by the end with a promise of retribution. With only minor flaws, Linda Poitevin writes a beautifully vivid and sometimes all too real story that readers of Jeannie Holmes Alexandra Sabian series is sure to love. Now, if only Sins of the Son, Grigory Legacy 2, were releasing tomorrow instead of next week.(less)
Kitt: When Suz found out that I got an ARC to Jenn Bennett’s second in her Arcadia Bel...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
Kitt: 3 Stars Suz: 3 Stars
Kitt: When Suz found out that I got an ARC to Jenn Bennett’s second in her Arcadia Bell series, Summoning the Night, she down right viciously attacked me to get her grubby little hands on my precious. Of course, being the fabulous, golden heart creature that I am, I couldn’t just let her pout in the corner could I? That’s right; I couldn’t, because no one puts Suz in the corner.
Suz: You sound a little bit like Johnny from Dirty Dancing, Kitt. “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” “Oh, Kitt!” ;) But seriously, Kitt – I really loved the first Arcadia Bell book and when I heard that you had an ARC of the second I found myself squeeing like a fangirl. It was a bit embarrassing, really. But I really enjoyed the first one. The world Jenn Bennett has created around Arcadia Bell is pretty compelling and draws me in. I wanted to go back there and see what was cooking.
Kitt: You squeeing like a fangirl? I almost don’t believe it. Almost. Because I know where you’re coming from and think I’d have to agree. Ms. Bennett’s world truly is a fantastic, fresh new angle on magic. Arcadia Bell is a magician who can kindle Heka through electricity, and after Kindling the Moon, we now know about her Moon Child powers too. But it isn’t just her world is it? Her charming characters have this way of completely stealing the show. Who would of thought that a thirteen year old motor mouth could be so entertaining?
Suz: Isn’t that the truth? You know I’m not a big fan of the kiddies, Kitt. It’s not that I dislike kids; I’m just one of those people who does better when I can “awww” from afar and carry on with my day. Even so, it’s the kid’s show in this book, for sure. I don’t mean to take anything away from the rest of the characters, they all reached out and grabbed me one way or another, but that kid redefined “endearing brat.”
Kitt: I know what you mean! But oh we’re skipping ahead, aren’t we? Summoning the Night begins only two months after Cady’s tragic brush with reality. Everything is going swimmingly with her job and her new found relationship with Earthbound demon, rare book collector and rich photographer, Lon Butler. That is until the head of the Hellfire Club, Ambrose Dare, asks them both to look into the case of missing teens and a cold case serial killer, the Snatcher, from the early 80s.
Suz: I gotta tell you, Kitt, I really don’t like that guy, Ambrose. In the first book he was just alluded to as the power behind the throne, so to speak, of the Hellfire Club, and the person who would fix the ills the club had been up to. Turns out he’s a real piece of work in his own right and I’m thinking I’m going to get plenty of opportunity to love to hate him in the future, too. Just a hunch.
But Lon, I think, is a new kind of dreamy that we don’t see very often in romantic leads. He’s not super hunky, but more of a later-hippy-throw-back who kept his decent looks. You’re a bit younger than me, Kitt, so that might not be up your alley, but it brings back memories for me! *eye wiggle* Combine that with his other, supernatural characteristics and his near infinite patience and it’s a pretty attractive package to me in an unconventional way. Although, I could probably do without the mustache.
Kitt: No, I get the appeal – he’s rich, charming with all the right amounts of laid back that some heroes seem to have an allergy to, but I have to admit, he’s not really my type. There’s something about him that didn’t quite resonate with me at first. Also, the mustache! Throws me every time and I have no idea why. Though, the more I see him on the page the more I’m warming to him.
I have to admit that this story brought on a complete state of confusion for me. I understand Cady’s power, but I don’t understand why she would be asked to help find these missing kids. Ok, well maybe not why she was asked, but more like feelings that maybe this story was brought on too soon in the series. Nothing about her seems like the appropriate person to ask and her skills rank somewhere near junior league detectives. Before Kindling the Moon, she was just magician fugitive bartender, and now in Summoning the Night, she still is. Not to mention, that Cady seems to be moving backwards from the self-assured women we saw in the first in the series. What did you think of the plot, Suz?
Suz: I agree there seemed to be holes in the plot and you’ve mentioned one of them that was confusing. I half expect to find out in a later book that Ambrose has some inside information from Cady’s magic society that we haven’t been privy to yet, but I suppose that’s just me trying to fill in the blanks.
For me, however, her moving backwards as you suggest, was the most frustrating. I could have dealt with it had it been a personal growth arc that was book length, but it’s looking like it’s going to be her cross to bear in the long haul and I find that pretty infuriating. She’s acquired tons of magic she’s afraid to use just because she prefers to “not think about it right now” and she puts herself and everyone around her at risk because of it. Again, this is something that when it first appeared in this book I frustratingly thought it had to be a book length personal growth arc but when we reached the end of the book and it was not only unresolved but perhaps in worse shape I have to admit I was disappointed.
Kitt: Same here. Seeing Cady continue down the path of ignorance is just going to make things worse in the end, not only for her new found family, but for readers as well. Summoning the Night started out well enough. And it does have all the action, mystery with a smidgeon of romance that I look forward to in my urban fantasy’s, but I honestly was hoping for more than I was given. Maybe we’ll see a little more personal growth from Cady in the short story, Leashing the Tempest, when it release’s this December.
Suz: Oh! See, I didn’t know there was a short coming out in the same year. That’s a bit of salve on my confusion and helps me lean more to wait-and-see. Bottom line for me is that I loved the first one, was so torn with duality about the second one that it ended up feeling unfinished, even though it’s not, so I could only give it a middlin’ rating. However, the world is so original, the way the magic works and the characters interact is so interesting and genuine, and Cady started out with such a bang that I’m going to continue to follow this series and see where it goes, hoping that Cady finds her figurative cojones soon. I’m chalking this one up to a sophomore slump because I think the foundation is essentially still pretty solid. (less)
I have a confession to make. This is my very first pirate romance novel. When I first came across Shana Galen’s The Rogue Pirate’s Bride I instantly thought of those Harlequin ‘bodice ripper’ romance novels that came out in the early 90’s with Fabio Lanzoni on the cover. And not even exactly what they are, but more along the lines of what I thought they would be like considering I haven’t read one of those either. However, it’s always a pleasure to be proven so completely wrong.
Matter of fact, I wish there were more heroines like Raeven Russell in our Regency romances. Raeven is the daughter of a British Admiral and has been living with her father on his ship since she was four years old. I suppose that living on a ship doesn’t just help her possess all the things we hope for in our heroines, but gave her the practice to own them in a society that expects the quit and demure. Never the less, Raeven is a spitfire. She’s spunky, cocky, out spoken, resourceful and smart. When she wants something, she goes out and grabs it.
She had the object raised! Damn him if she wasn't going to strike again!
But he had his hand wrapped around her wrist now, and he twisted it violently. She cried out, and he muttered, "Drop it."
The black sea was fading now, and he was able to focus on her face. It was set in a stubborn expression, those green eyes flashing like the ocean during a tempest. He tightened his grip and saw her jaw clench, but she didn't drop the candlestick she held.
Merde. The thing was brass and had to weight two pounds. She really did want to kill him. Anger shot through him as his head throbbed again, and he wrenched her arm. The little hellion held on, so he pushed her up against the door, slamming it closed in the process.
Her eyes were watering with pain now, but she still held the candlestick. "Drop it."
"No!" The word was barely a breath.
He shook his head. "Mon Dieu! Are you always this stubborn?"
"Some might call it persistence," she grit out.
This is why Captain Cutlass –also known as a privateer, rogue, and Sebastian Harcourt, marquis de Valére– is in so much trouble. Raeven is hunting him down and she doesn’t plan to stop until she kills him for his murderous pirating ways, regardless if she dies in the process. She believes he has killed her young fiancé for no other reason than the glory, but we come to find this isn't how Cutlass operates. He's far too honorable for that. An honorable pirate? Raeven can't believe it, it's not possible.
However, Sebastian has his own problems. He’s searching the seas high and low for his enemy, Jourdain, for the murder of his mentor. At first, like Bastian, I found Raeven to be a kin to a gnat that just won’t stop buzzing around. But she grows on you when you learn what she’s really all about. Bastian eventually keeps her, half by sheer circumstance and half because I believe he can’t bare to let her go. He finds her entertaining, unbelievably alluring and something of an enigma. Definitely not the kind of woman he was use to seeing. The rogue himself is smooth, charming with a broody mixture of the dark and mysterious. Did I mention that he was unbelievably good looking and French? I think I’m in love.
One of my favorite scenes for Raeven:
Something zipped past him and struck the man with enough force to cause him to drop his pistol and clutch his abdomen. Bastien had a moment to look behind him and saw his cabin girl, his beautiful cabin girl, standing there with arm out stretched. He'd known she'd be accurate with that dagger.
and one right before my favorite scene for Bastien (you'll have to read to find out how it ends):
"I-I’m not going to take off my clothes.”
Since she didn’t appear likely to take it, he set her wine on the desk. “No? Then why are you here? And don’t tell me it’s simply to retrieve your sword.”
She clamped her mouth closed.
“You could have had another sword made.”
She cocked her head to the side. “Why do you think I’m here then?”
He shrugged, drank some wine. “Me.” He looked pointedly at the large berth.
She laughed. “Oh, really? You have a rather high opinion of yourself.”
He sat down behind the desk, lifted his glass to examine the red wine in the candlelight. “You went to a lot of trouble to see me again. Perhaps my arrogance isn’t entirely misplaced.”
Over all, The Rogue Pirate’s Bride is a swashbuckling good time. There’s tension, lies, deceit, action, adventure, passion, witty dialogue, lust, love and romance – all the ingredients to keep you up until the wee hours of the night. The characters are scrumptiously refreshing, and one is sorry to see them go off to their well-deserved happily ever after. Shana Galen writes a fun, vivid story in this third installment of The Sons of the Revolution series that will keep you turning those pages. I have not read either of the two previous books in the series about Bastien's brothers: The Making of a Duchess and The Making of a Gentleman, but I had no trouble following the storyline and events. I for one am ready for the next. Right now.(less)