Bewitched & Betrayed (Raine Benares, #4) by Lisa Shearin

Published April 27th 2010 by Ace, Paperback, 384 pages, ISBN-13: 9780441018727

Impending war is the least of her problems.

My name is Raine Benares. I’m a seeker. I find lost things and missing people – usually alive. Finding the specters of six evil mages who escaped the Saghred, a soul-stealing stone of unlimited power, was easy. Stopping them before they unleashed Hell on earth just may be the death of me.

Being bonded to the Saghred wasn’t my idea – neither is hunting down its escapees. Especially not when one of them is also hunting me. He’s regenerating his body by taking lives of powerful victims, along with their memories, knowledge and most important of all, their magic. The dark mage wants control of the Saghred, and if he gets it, he’ll become an eveil demigod whom no one can stop. The only thing in his way is me.

One of us doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.

**Review: Completely “UNPUTDOWNABLE!” Just like the first three!**

Okay, you’ve read my reviews before. I usually give a brief detail of what happens in the book, then my thoughts on it. This review is going to be all over the place, LOL! Fair warning.

**Spoiler Alert!** If you plan on reading the novel and don’t want to know what happens, do not read past this point!

Lisa Shearin has done it again!!! This is only the fourth book she has published, and already, with her style, she resembles a veteran; an author who’s been around for years! She’s that good!

Raine’s back, with our entire favourite cast of characters.

The spectres are running rampid all over Mid, including Sarad Nukpana. Raine is now after them, to put them back where they belong. The opening line is, and I quote: “I was being chased by a pissed-off guy with a knife. A really big knife.” My first thought: And we’re off!!!

Then, not halfway down the page, I cracked up when I read: “And believe me, I got to see enough manhoods and fleeing pasty white posteriors to last me a lifetime.”

When a shriveled up body is dumped at her feet by none other than Sarad Nukpana, she’s warned that the whole situation is about to get worse. Sarad is going to “eat” as much power as he can, and will eventually find a way to control her and the Saghred (stone). And he’s going to go after everyone she cares about and everyone she loves before he gets to her.

Raine will stop at nothing to find him.

We see another side of Mychael; now we learn where he came from before he became Paladin. Their umi’atsu bond grows stronger, and both finally admit to being in love with each other.

Talon gets himself into even more trouble – on a couple of separate occasions. Piaras keeps himself out of most of it, until he goes after Talon. And when Tam learns of where his son has gone, he takes off before anyone can stop him. But of course, Tam is captured by Sarad, and Raine has to make the hardest decision she’s made so far.

The whole scenario gets more and more complicated as the book moves along, and the deeper Raine gets, the more you’re rooting for the home team. A war is averted, for the most part, although the threat is still there. A duke is thought dead, but isn’t. Imala Kalis, head of Goblin Intelligence (with the cute dimples), needs Tam’s help. Imala has a secret of her own as well.

And if I keep going, you’ll end up getting more of the story than I intend to give you. This book has great characters that you love to love and hate with a passion. This book is non-stop intrigue and action, from beginning to end. Figths (magical and non), arguments, truths and lies, conniving deceptions and set-ups, power-hungry elves, mages and goblins, and love-making that was 3 books in the making.

This book, this series, is one of the top fantasy series I recommend to anyone who asks me. Why? Because it deserves the recognition. Run, don’t walk, and get your copy today! What are you waiting for?

Rating:

 To the FTC: I shouldn’t even have to post this; I’m Canadian. But, just to keep you happy (and keep me away from a possible $11,000 charge against me *eyeroll*), I will state that I purchased this book at Coles (Chapters) for my own reading pleasure. I was in no way paid for this review.

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Turn Coat (The Dresden Files, #11) by Jim Butcher

Mass Market Paperback - 560 Pages - Published March 2nd 2010 by Roc (first published April 7th 2009) - ISBN-13: 9780451462817

Turn Coat

(The Dresden Files, #11)

by Jim Butcher

When it comes to the wizard’s White Council, Harry Dresden is thought of as either a black sheep or a sacraficial lamb. And no one holds him in more disdain than Morgan, a veteran Warden with a grudge agaisnt anyone who bends the rules. But now Morgan is in trouble. He’s been accused of cold-blooded murder – a crime with only one final punishment.

He’s on the run, wanting his name cleared, and he needs someone with a knack for backing the underdog. So it’s up to Harry to uncover the traitor within the Council, keep Morgan under wraps, and avoid coming under the scrutiny himself. And a single mistake may cost someone his head.

Like Harry…

**Review: Another excellent novel in the series with quite a bang!

**Spoiler Alert!** Parts of the story is going to be revealed, so if you don’t want to know, don’t read past this point!

Harry answers his door to find Morgan standing there, bloodied and bruised, from head to toe, asking for help, and promptly passing out.

Morgan’s been a thorn in Harry’s side for too many years to count, but Harry being Harry, can’t turn him away, no matter how much he wants nothing better than to close the door on Morgan and pretend like he isn’t even there.

But Harry is Harry, and no matter who knocks on his door, if they’re in trouble, Harry does what he can to help.

Morgan’s being framed. He knows that, down to his core. Morgan has been the Senior Council’s executioner for over 30 years, and is completely loyal to the Wardens and the Senior Council. There’s no way he’d ever willingly murder a member of the Senior Council. But, besides the fact that he’s found, standing over the body with knife in his hand, there is mounting evidence against him. And this bugs Harry. And when something like this bugs Harry, there’s only one thing he can do: find out who did it and find the traitor. But time is against him.

Morgan has managed a spell to keep any of the Wardens from finding him, but a bounty has been placed on his head, and other ‘creatures’ are coming out of the woodwork to find him, making things even harder for Harry. On top of them all, a naagloshii, a very bad shapeshifter with very, very rotten vibes, is also after Morgan. Suddenly, staying alive has become just as important as finding the traitor.

And things get from bad to worse. Harry is attacked again and again. Shagnasty (aka Harry’s name given to naagloshii) somehow has managed to kidnap Thomas, Harry’s White Court vampire brother, and wants to trade Thomas for Morgan. A vampire from the White Court is partly behind the frame-up. Someone is seriously messing with wizards’ heads. And Harry’s sure that there is a group of wizards against the White Council. He’s naming them the “Black Council”, for lack of a better name. How to prove it is the major question.

Suddenly, friends are dying, going missing, and Harry can only do what he does best. Investigate and fight back. The question is: Will he win this time?

**Huge Spoiler Time!!** If you debated going on past the first spoiler alert, you definitely don’t want to read what’s next.

Hell, I knew just as certainly as Harry did, that Morgan had to have been framed. What we don’t know, until close to the end of the book, was that a wizard messed with a lot of young wizards’ heads, including Anastasia Luccio’s. Now that she’s in a younger body, her mind was just as easily manipulated, and that makes it all worse. Without her knowledge, she was the one forced to kill the member of the senior council, and didn’t even realize she did it, even after Morgan found her, took the knife from her and got her out of there before anyone saw. Plus, she was manipulated into getting even closer to Harry, which seriously hurts (emotionally) them both.

By the end of page 515, I was crying. Why? Because Morgan dies. Now, why am I crying, knowing how much of a pain in the ass he was to Harry? Because he had his reasons, and it’s the way he dies that touched me. He dies after saving Harry’s life, after telling him about finding Anastasia in that room, holding the bloody knife. But Morgan was a constant. He was always there, riding Harry’s butt and breathing down his neck. You always expect to see him in some fashion, and to know now that he won’t be popping up anymore really does hurt.

Anastasia, after all of this, shows up to talk to Harry. Obviously, she now knows all that’s been going on. While she does care for Harry, she’d never had gotten involved with him. She’d been manipulated. And that hurts both of them. So now she comes to say she’s sorry, and while Harry understands why she’s saying goodbye, it still hurts.

By the end of page 543, I was balling. Yes, Harry has Thomas back, but Thomas isn’t the Thomas we knew. Shagnasty did a really bad number on him, and really screwed up what Thomas had going. While he may still be Harry’s brother, he’s no longer the brother we knew, the brother Harry knew, and that hurts even more than losing Morgan.

Meanwhile, closer to the beginning of the book, when Harry’s first attacked by Shagnasty, Kirby, one werewolf friend, is killed, and another, Andi, comes close to losing her life.

How much can one person (well, character) take before cracking? So, by the end of the last chapter, I’m weeping, sobbing really, because as much as all of this hurts him, he’s finding a way to move on, to move past all of the loss and hurt he’s suffered. And that alone, makes him a truly amazing person.

Mix all of this with a mystery, with action, with suspense that grips you by the throat… another fabulous book in the series, and I’m anxiously waiting for his next Dresen novel. Jim, you are one hell of an author!!!

Take No Prisoners (Black Ops, Inc., #2) by Cindy Gerard

Mass Market Paperback, 363 Pages - Published November 1st 2008 by Pocket - ISBN-13: 9781416566748

Take No Prisoners

(Black Ops, Inc., #2)

by Cindy Gerard

New York Times bestselling author Cindy Gerard’s red-hot new romantic suspense series features the irresistible men of Black Ops, Inc., a special team of heroes with a taste for living on the edge…

A dangerous attraction…
Abbie Hughes no longer trusts men, but despite her cool indifference, her long legs and showgirl face still draw plenty of attention. Between working as a blackjack dealer, going to school, and keeping an eye on her younger brother, Cory, there’s no time for romantic adventures–until the night a sexy, mysterious stranger places a wager at her table.

Spurred by revenge…
Sam Lang left Black Ops, Inc. when tragedy struck his family. Although he’s determined to retire his M-16 rifle to lead a quiet life on his ranch, a vengeful quest will send him on a manhunt for the ruthless multimillionaire who murdered his sister.

…reveals a savage threat they can’t ignore.
Though Sam suspects Abbie is in on a lucrative gem-smuggling deal her brother made with the enemy, their attraction is undeniable. Now Cory is missing, and together they search the wild Honduras backcountry to find him. With danger on their trail, they must trust each other completely or face certain death alone…

**Review: Falling for the woman you’re investigating can really weigh on you.

Sam Lang left Black Ops, Inc. when the unthinkable happened. Sam was getting too close to Fredrick Nader and his operation. He was determined to stop the cold, maniacal SOB. But Nader got to him first. Planting a bomb in Sam’s sister’s car, blowing up her and her husband, leaving their daughter behind, was Nader’s warning to Sam: Cease and desist, or more will follow.

Sam is now running his father’s ranch outside Las Vegas, taking care of his niece and his parents, determined that he won‘t be the cause of another heartache. But his team receives a hot tip: Cody Hughes is one of Nader’s mules. If they can find Cody, they just might be able to bring Nader down once and for all. When Cody can’t be found in Vegas, Sam seeks out Cody’s sister, Abbie. She‘s a student and a dealer at a casino‘s blackjack table. She must be involved with Nader: the house, the new car, the new furniture, the big diamond pendant… As a student and a dealer, she couldn’t possible afford all of this.

When Abbie meets Sam at her blackjack table, her friend Crystal’s words float through her mind. Having been burned by a now ex-husband, she doesn’t trust men, but there’s something about Sam that has her wanting to take a chance. After a week of Sam’s courting, and a fantastic time in the bedroom, she wakes up to Sam and his team, going through Cody’s boxes in her garage. Stung once again by a man, Abbie is confronted by Sam. Give over Fredrick Nader. But Abbie has no idea what they’re talking about. And when Cody goes missing, fright comes to the forefront. And after the message she receives, Abbie’s determined to fly to Honduras to save her brother, who ended up in way over his head. With or without Sam’s help.

And for Sam, Lord help him, he’s falling for a woman he shouldn’t want.

** Excellent second book in the series! The author brings out emotions in her readers like no one’s business. You can feel Abbie’s hope, the hurt from the betrayal, her determination to get Cody out of the fix he was in.

The emotional war Sam ends up in brings out the Kleenex. He wants to protect what’s left of his family. But taking Nader down, plus payback for his sister and brother-in-law, is overpowering, and he’ll stop at nothing until Nader is caught or dead. Preferably dead. But Abbie’s getting under his skin. He doesn’t want to believe that she not involved in any of this, but as they traipse the Honduras backcountry, not only does he come to believe her, but he’s falling for her. But after his betrayal, how can he convince her to love him? Watching it unfold, is the sweetest thing ever. He finally does earn her trust, and it’s absolutely wonderful to see it all come together. Can’t wait to grab Whisper No Lies, Bk # 3, from my TBR pile.

Rating:

Small Favor by Jim Butcher “The Dresden Files” Book #10

Paperback: 560 pages - Publisher: Roc; Reprint edition (March 3, 2009) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0451462009 - ISBN-13: 978-0451462008

Paperback: 560 pages - Publisher: Roc; Reprint edition (March 3, 2009) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0451462009 - ISBN-13: 978-0451462008

 

Small Favor

by Jim Butcher

“The Dresden Files” Book #10

Wizard Harry Dresden’s life finally seems to be calming down. The White Council’s war with the vampiric Red Court is easing up, no one’s tried to kill him lately, and his eager apprentice is starting to learn real magic. For once, the future looks fairly bright.

But the past casts one hell of a long shadow.

Mab, monarch of the Winter Court of the Sidhe, calls in an old favor from Harry. Just one small favor he can’t refuse – one that will trap Harry Dresden between a nightmarish foe and an equally deadly ally and strain his skills and loyalties to their very limits.

And everything was going so well for once….

Review: You owe me a favor, Harry…

Finally, it seems that life is calming down some for Harry. But you never know when the past will come back to bite you in the ass…

Winter’s Queen Mab seeks out Harry; he owes her two favors, and she’s come to collect on. As Winter’s Emissary, she’s putting Harry in charge of finding Gentleman Johnny Marcone. Seems the man has been kidnapped, and that move is against the Accords. Harry doesn’t want to, but he has no choice.

Summer’s Queen Titania doesn’t like what’s happening and is sending everything she can to stop him.

But that’s not the worst of it. When the Denarians roll into town, Harry knows no good could come of any of this, no matter what side is hitting at him. In an effort to get Marcone back, Harry has asked the Archive to mediate a meeting between Harry and Nicodemus. And Harry walked right into their trap, for it’s the Archive they’re after. Should she be broken and take one of the coins, all hell would literally break loose.

So, now Harry has to find the Archive as well as Marcone, repay the favor, keep from getting killed by Queen Titania’s emissaries, all the while trying to keep his friends alive. Could things get any worse?

**There is no stopping Jim Butcher! One of the best series I’ll continue to read until Harry is no more, and I hope that doesn’t happen for a really, really, really long time.

How can you not like Harry Dresden. He is chivalrous, caring, funny, does whatever he can to keep his butt and those of his friends from getting fried, can be a little slow on the uptake when it comes to women, and is completely selfless. He’ll put himself in harm’s way before standing behind someone else. And when scenes get tense, his quips and one-liners make me laugh sometimes to the point of tears. As a defense mechanism to push back his fear, I love it!

The action scenes are superb and well written; descriptions have you right there in the thick of it, seeing everything around you, without going overboard. All characters are three-dimensional and you care for everyone one of the good guys, all while rooting them on to taking down the bad guys. Oh, and a love interest is starting to bloom for Harry as well, I think. I’m very interested to see where that line goes.

Mr. Butcher, you are one hell of an author and I hope Harry is around for a long, long time. I can’t wait for my daughter to be old enough to read this series!

Rating:

The First Sin by Cheyenne McCray “Lexi Steele” Book #1

Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages - Publisher: St. Martins Paperbacks; 1 edition (February 3, 2009) - Language: English: - ISBN-10: 0312946449 - ISBN-13: 978-0312946449

Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages - Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; 1 edition (February 3, 2009) - Language: English: - ISBN-10: 0312946449 - ISBN-13: 978-0312946449

 

The First Sin

by Cheyenne McCray

“Lexi Steele” Book #1

No seduction is too dangerous.

AN ELITE PARTNERSHIP

Alexi Steele is determined, relentless, and driven to protect the innocent. She’s a top agent of the NSA’s clandestine Recovery Enforcement Division, specializing in human trafficking and sex crimes. Her current mission: to infiltrate the inner circle of Boston’s exclusive S&M clubs in order to save thirteen young women who are about to be auctioned off to the highest bidders. But Lexi’s only way in is under the “control” of her new partner in crime, Nicholas Donovan.

AN EROTIC END GAME

Nick will do whatever it takes to bring down the billionaire sex-ring mastermind who’s kidnapped his sister. But the games he must play as Lexi’s “dominant” are burning away his icy control and blurring the lines between partners. Meanwhile, their enemies are closing in as they enter a devastating race against time … bringing them dangerously close to THE FIRST SIN.

Review: Warning: Dark and Very Graphic

Alexi Steele is a top RED agent. She and her team plan to infiltrate exclusive S&M clubs of Boston’s inner circle; young ladies seem to be disappearing from clubs around Boston, never to be seen or heard from again. Word is, the women are being auctioned off to the highest bidder. And Lexi is determined to bring them down. 

Nick Donovan’s sister is one of those missing young women. His only hope to finding her – join RED. Assistant Special Agent in Charge Karen Oxford, Lexi’s direct boss, has been trying to recruit him for years – nothing but the best of the best for RED’s clandestine operations. He’s turned her down every time, but now he has no choice, for he’s sure it’s the only way of finding his sister. Plus, he’s been eyeing Lexi: he wants her.

Now Lexi isn’t happy to end up stuck with Donovan. For her, he’s too close, too emotionally involved. Now she has no choice but to include him in the op, and now he’s her partner. The man is gorgeous as sin; does she want him as a partner in an S&M club? Only time will tell.

And as they go further under cover, not only are they getting close to who is behind the missing women, but they’re getting closer to each other as well, and they can’t deny themselves any more. But will this pose a problem for their undercover operation? Time is ticking, and both are afraid they may be too late.

**An excellent first novel!

I’ve never read a full-length Cheyenne McCray before. Now I’m wondering what the hell too me so long, LOL!

Lexi is a strong woman with a difficult past. Her family has no idea what she went through a few years before. Details of her past capture and torture are what Lexi hold deep – no one knows the full extent. But during her capture and subsequent torture, she was given an option: join them and become their assassin, or die – very slowly and very painfully. To save herself, she did as they asked, never asking questions, yet always looking for a way out. And just when she was close to getting caught, Karen Oxford gave her that way out. Now nightmares plague her. Lexi is one hell of a strong woman, who is willing to do what it takes to get the job done, no matter the cost to her. No one in her family, save her brother who is also another RED agent, knows what she actually does for a living, and Lexi has to keep it that way. I think not being able to talk about her past, holding it so close, is what hurts her the most, and when Donovan arrives into the picture, she may tell him some of it, but he doesn’t look at her as a monster; he understands what she went through.

Donovan will do whatever it takes to find his sister. Both, he and Lexi are like pitbulls, never giving up. Both are strong, determined characters, and the heat between them is palpable! Whew *fanning myself*! Some of those loves scenes would have fogged my glasses if I was wearing them!

The action is superb. The mystery is great and I’m glad it’s not completely over, which means on to Book #2, LOL!

Warning: Memories of Lexi’s past torture, her capture by one of the current bad guys, as well as the BDSM aspect of the book, are very graphic and are not for everyone.

Rating:

Paying the Piper by Simon Wood

Mass Market Paperback: 386 pages - Publisher: Leisure Books (October 30, 2007) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0843959800 - ISBN-13: 978-0843959802

Mass Market Paperback: 386 pages - Publisher: Leisure Books (October 30, 2007) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0843959800 - ISBN-13: 978-0843959802

 

Paying the Piper

by Simon Wood

He was known as the Piper – a coldhearted kidnapper who terrified the city. Crime reporter Scott Fleetwood built his career on the Piper. The kidnapper even taunted the FBI through Scott’s column. But Scott had been duped. The person he’d been speaking to wasn’t really the Piper. By the time the FBI exposed the hoaxer, time ran out … and the real Piper killed the child. Then he vanished. But now he’s back, with very specific targets in mind – Scott’s children.

Review: Suspenseful and intense!

Eight years ago, a kidnapper dubbed the “Piper” began kidnapping children. Once the ransoms were paid, the children were returned, unharmed. During the last kidnapping, the Piper contacted Scott Fleetwood, a reporter with the San Fransisco Independent. Only, the man Scott was talking to wasn’t the real Piper. To teach the public, Scott, and the FBI a lesson, the real Piper murdered Nicholas Rooker and left the body in a park. Not a day goes by that Scott doesn’t think about Nicholas Rooker. And now the unthinkable has happened… Scott’s own son, Sammy, has been kidnapped right in front of the school. It’s the Piper – and it’s payback time.

A ransom is demanded, and Scott and his wife Jane, don’t have the funds. But Charles Rooker, Nicholas’s father, pops up at the most unexpected time and saves the day, putting up the ransom; he swears he harbors no ill will toward Scott and his family; he wants the Piper caught, once and for all.

And now the Piper has Scott running in circles and through hoops – for Scott has a lot to answer for. Scott has to do what the Piper wants him to do or the Piper will hurt Sammy. And if things couldn’t get any worse, in the middle of the night, their other son, Peter, is taken right from his own bed, with Jane unable to stop it. And a new ransom is demanded; Charles Rooker swoops in once again. He doesn’t care about the money – he wants the Piper caught. And now the Piper has made a new demand: Scott is given a deadline – he has to find the Piper.

But FBI Agent Tom Sheils is on the case. He still holds contempt towards Scott, but regardless, he’s determined to take down the Piper and bring the boys home. But he knows that Scott is keeping secrets, and he’s determined to get to the bottom of it. The question is: will Scott and Sheils figure it out – before it’s too late?

**Incredible suspense, the tension is palpable. There’s no putting this book down. Just when you think you’re starting to get a handle on what’s going on, who’s involved, a twist occurs that blows your theory out of the water, time and time again.

The characters are complex and full of emotion, especially guilt. The main character, Scott, feels it daily; not one day has gone by in eight years that he doesn’t think of what happened to Nicholas Rooker. All the main men characters feel some form of guilt, and because the FBI had been made fools of, Sheils still harbors anger toward Scott, making for some very, very tense scenes.

On the back cover of the book, there’s a quote from Book Browser: “Simon Wood knows how to create tension, he knows how to build three-dimensional characters, and he has proven he can tie everything together in a high-octane climax.” I couldn’t agree more. An excellent novel and highly recommended!

Rating:

Sizzle and Burn by Jayne Ann Krentz “Arcane Society” Book #3

Paperback: 480 pages - Publisher: Jove; Reprint edition (January 27, 2009) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0515145815 - ISBN-13: 978-0515145816

Paperback: 480 pages - Publisher: Jove; Reprint edition (January 27, 2009) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0515145815 - ISBN-13: 978-0515145816

 

Sizzle and Burn

by Jayne Ann Krentz

“Arcane Society” Book #3

A woman who hears voices.

A man who sees visions.

A killer who may elude them both…

Raine Tallentyre always tried to heed her late aunt Vella’s advice – and keep her paranormal abilities a secret. But when she journeys to Shelbyville, Washington, to clear out her aunt’s house, Raine’s highly developed sensitivity leads her to a horrifying discovery: a young woman held captive in the basement storage locker. And the kidnapper is on the loose.

Without warning, a new man enters Raine’s life – investigator Zack Jones. While Raine hears voices, Zack sees visions, and suddenly Raine experiences an intense, thrilling intimacy with him that she never dared to expect. There’s one complication, however: Zack is working for the secret Arcane Society. The organization – dedicated to the study of paranormal phenomenon – lost Raine’s trust long ago, when it shattered her family with an act of betrayal. Now, as a killer makes her his new target, and a cabal of psychic criminals known as Nightshade operates in the shadow surrounding them, Raine and Zack must rely not just on their powerful abilities but on each other as well.

Review: Excellent addition to the series!

When Raine went to her aunt’s house to begin clearing it out and putting it up on the market, she never expected to find a kidnap victim in the basement. The last thing she wanted was to have an agent on her doorstep – an agent from the one organization she never wanted to hear from again. Nor did she expect the sudden and intense desire to get him naked…

Zach Jones needs Raine’s cooperation and help. Nightshade needs to be shut down, and he believes that Raine’s past is connected. And now Raine had become the focus of a serial killer, while Nightshade is trying to eliminate Zack.

And just to complicate matters, Zach is experiencing the same sudden and intense desire to get her naked…

But is history about to repeat itself? Who’s after Raine? And who’s connected to Nightshade? And now that she’s fallen in love with Zach, it only seems to get more complicated…

**An excellent addition to the series!

I loved Raine’s attitude. She’s taken her aunt’s warning to heart; she may hear voices, but admitting it to anyone would make her look crazy. Bradley Mitchell, a detective with whom she’s worked several cold cases with, writes it off as instinct and intuition. And when she thought they could be something more, Mitchell shuts her down. She’s decided not to get close to anyone ever again. Seriously – who would want to be with a woman who believes she can hear voices in her head? I felt bad for her at first, but understood why. But when Zack enters her life, it’s now a possibility that she can be with someone who wouldn’t write her off as crazy. But he’s a Jones, soon to be named the head of the Arcane Society, a society she wants no part of after the death of her father and the betrayal towards her aunt.

Zach enjoys being an investigator and has no intension of being named the head of the Arcane Society, even though he’s the perfect fit. And after being betrayed and burned in the past, is vary wary of his feelings for Raine. But he needs Raine’s help, for Nightshade is growing, and he’s sure that Raine’s past is connected somehow.

I loved watching them come together; their hesitancy and wariness of each other only made things sweeter. And while both cases are connected, watching it unfold was terrific. Great action scenes, smooth love scenes, and terrific characters make up a great novel. A high recommendation for this series!

Rating:

Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione – “Demonica” series Book #1

Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages - Publisher: Forever (June 20, 2008 ) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 044640103X - ISBN-13: 978-0446401036

Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages - Publisher: Forever (June 20, 2008 ) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 044640103X - ISBN-13: 978-0446401036

 

Surrender to the ultimate temptation…

Pleasure Unbound

by Larissa Ione

“Demonica” series Book #1

In a place where ecstasy can cost you your life…

Tayla Mancuso is a demon-slayer who hungers for sensual pleasure – but fears it will always be denied her. Until she lands in a hospital run by demons in disguise, and the head doctor, Eidolon, makes her body burn with unslakable desire. But to prove her ultimate loyalty to her peers, she must betray the surgeon who saved her life.

Two lovers will dare to risk all.

Eidolon cannot resist this fiery, dangerous woman who fills him with both rage and passion. Not only is she his avowed enemy, but she could very well be the hunter who has been preying upon his people. Torn between his need for the truth and his quest to find his perfect mate before a horrific transformation claims him forever, Eidolon will dare the unthinkable – and let Tayla possess him, body and soul…

Review: Pleasure abound!

Tayla Mancuso is an Aegi Guardian; in other words, a demon slayer. She believes all demons are bad, especially after witnessing her mother’s murder by a demon.

While in the midst of slaying demons, her partner is killed and she’s hurt. She’s brought into the ER of Underworld General, where Doctor Eidolon patches her up. But as he’s repairing the damage, he notices something else… Tayla isn’t completely human.

They are unbelievably attracted to each other; the sparks hard to miss. Knowing she would have to betray him hurts like crazy – for demons are abominations to be killed. But at the last few second, complete catastrophy is averted when Tayla throws her exploding cell phone out into the parking lot. While two demons are killed and a few more injured, it could have been worse. And now Eidolon isn’t sure what to do with her, for obviously the second time she arrived at the hospital, it had been with ulterior motives. Even though she should be questioned thoroughly and disposed of, he can’t make himself or allow anyone else to do that to Tayla. For he’s sure Tayla is his mate. But first, he must explain to her why she’s been having weird symptoms, what’s been happening to her body, and that he can heal her just as much as she can help him divert turning into a monster.

But not everything is as cut and dried as Tayla believes. And now that the Guardian cell in New York is trying to kill her as well, someone out there is trapping demons and harvesting organs to sell on the magic black market. But she’s sure the head of the cell doesn’t know what’s going on. The question is, who is? And under what authority?

**Oh, did I enjoy this book, I could count the ways. Tayla is stronger than she appears, even after the rough childhood she lived. After witnessing the murder of her mother, she’s determined to take out as many demons as possible before she dies.

Eidolon is attracted to Tayla immediately, even when she’s hurt bad the first time he meets her. Once she’s no longer out of it, the sparks fly and you’re feeling the static even as you’re reading it!

What I liked was her inner battles. While she enjoys sex, she refuses to let go. She witnessed her mother’s rape and murder – so while she can find release when she’s ‘self-servicing’, she can’t with a man. But I loved watching Eidolon bring her past that hang-up, and it was beautiful! The sex between the two is just as hot as the sparks between them when they’re not having sex, and it made this reader wish her husband wasn’t working nights, LOL! Whew!

There’s lots of action, a mystery, twists that have you wondering. And even though you get some of the answers, you don’t get them all, but the way it’s written, you’re not left feeling frustrated. In fact, you’re left feeling excited and anticipating the next novel in the series. My only mistake: not having Desire Unchained on-hand to read next, LOL! I liked the descriptions of the different demon races, from those that love to kill to those that wouldn’t harm a fly. Definitely a novel, a series, worth reading!

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Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath – “Jacqueline ‘Jack’ Daniels” series Book #1

Mass Market Paperback: 292 pages - Publisher: Hyperion (May 31, 2005) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 078689072X - ISBN-13: 978-0786890729

Mass Market Paperback: 292 pages - Publisher: Hyperion (May 31, 2005) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 078689072X - ISBN-13: 978-0786890729

 

Whiskey Sour

by J.A. Konrath

“Jacqueline ‘Jack’ Daniels” series Book #1

Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels is an insomniac Chicago cop with a train wreck of a personal life and a stalker bent on adding her to his murder list. Join Jack, her binge-eating partner, a sleazy PI, and two very stupid FBI agents on a wild hunt for the Gingerbread Man – a killer who makes Hannibal Lector look like Huck Fin.

Whiskey Sour, the first in the Jack Daniels series, cleverly combines laugh-out-loud humor with edge-of-your-seat suspense. This is serial murder – with a twist.

Review: A laugh-out-loud, in-your-face mystery.

Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels, yes that’s her real name, you can check her ID, is a divorced, 40 something insomniac, who is good at her job. And that’s it, as far as she believes. At one point, she had it all: marriage to a great guy, a budding career… only, her ambitions took over. She became a great lieutenant detective in the Violent Crimes unit, and believes her marriage failed because of it. In her words, “it was all her fault.” Married to her career, she doesn’t have a personal life. Her latest boyfriend left a “Dear Jack” letter on her fridge, then left a message on her answering machine asking her to put his things in storage. Instead, she left them in the hall.

A new case pops up; a woman found dumped in a garbage can, um, rear-end facing upwards. Stapled to the victim, a note: “you cant catch ME IM THE GINGERBREAD MAN.” And it doesn’t end there. More bodies are found, and other than finding twine imbedded in the victims’ wrists and ankles, there are very little clues to go on. With pressure from the mayor, Jack her her partner Herb, are now stuck with two FBI agents who are sent to profile their madman, using the ViCAP computer. Only, their profile is off – way off. And nothing they get from the computer is worth a dime.

Meanwhile, tampered candy is left in her car, causing havoc and ending up with eleven stitches in Herb’s mouth. Clues have her questioning her ex-partner, and Herb convinces Jack to try Lunch Mates, a dating service. And her lucky first date ended up with a hell of a lot more than he bargained for.

**Laugh-out-loud funny is right. The deadpan jokes had me cracking up. I liked Jack. I liked her in-your-face personality, and you really get the feel for her. No buttered up and overdone descriptions, the entire story is to the point. You get her background quick and easy, and you kind of feel bad for her. Being married to her job, she believes she can’t have a personal life, yet we see her make a friend out of a criminal she’d arrested when she was still in uniform, and the new guy, who got more than he bargained for, has kept in touch, even from the hospital. I think there’s hope for her yet.

I liked her partner, pushing without being pushy. I see him as her polar opposite, yet they’re both just as determined to get the job done and see justice is served.

I liked the mystery. Even though you know who the murderer is, it was watching the good guys going after him that was really well done. Warning: at one point, it does get a little gory. But I’m a Stephen King fan, so that didn’t bother me in the least. And getting inside the killer’s mind – enough to give me a couple of shivers.

While the story is a little less than three hundred pages, you get all of what a good book is made of. I liked the fact that there wasn’t any filler – nothing that draws you away from the plot, even when hitting Jack’s personal life. Straight, to the point, and still, it involves the story. Terrific novel, and I plan on continuing the series.

Rating:

Hope’s Folly by Linnea Sinclair – “Gabriel’s Ghost” series Book #3

Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages - Publisher: Bantam (February 24, 2009) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0553592181 - ISBN-13: 978-0553592184

Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages - Publisher: Bantam (February 24, 2009) - Language: English - ISBN-10: 0553592181 - ISBN-13: 978-0553592184

 

Hope’s Folly

by Linnea Sinclair

“Gabriel’s Ghost” series Book #3

Admiral Philip Guthrie is in an unprecedented position: on the wrong end of the law, leading a ragtag band of rebels against the oppressive Imperial forces. Or would be if he could get his command ship – the derelict cruiser called Hope’s Folly – functioning. Not much can rattle Philip’s legendary cool – but the woman who helps him foil an assassination attempt on Kirro Station will. She’s the daughter of his best friend and first commander – a man who died while under Philip’s command and whose death is on Philip’s conscience.

Rya Bennton has been in love with Philip Guthrie since she was a girl. But can her childhood fantasies survive an encounter with the hardened man, and newly minted rebel leader, once she learns the truth about her father’s death? Or will her pasion for revenge put not only their hearts but their lives at risk? It’s an impossible mission: A man who feels he can’t love. A woman who believes she’s unlovable. And an enemy who will stop at nothing to crush them both.

Review: A great read, even if a little predictable.

(Bookaholic’s Review Note: Make sure to read Gabriel’s Ghost and Shades of Dark before reading this one. That’s a must!)

Admiral Philip Guthrie finds himself now aboard Hope’s Folly, what was once part of the Imperial fleet. Converted to a fruit carrier, the ship was sold to the Alliance under a few conditions: that the ship retain its name, and the cat, Captain Folly, is to remain onboard.  Now Philip is in command of the ship, and they are trying desperately to get it in working order to fight against the Imperial fleet. Philip, still recuperating from a shattered hip and leg (Shades of Dark), was attacked before getting onboard. It seems the ‘law’ wants him alive. Philip can well imagine why, but he’ll do whatever it takes not to end up in the enemies’ hands.

Rya Bennton had been an Imperial Assassin before her father had been killed. Seeing what is happening to the Empire, she is now on the other side of the law, wanting revenge. Now aboard the Folly, she wants in on the action to bring the Empire down. Philip asks her, if she was ever in the same room with the man who took her father’s life and handed a gun, would she kill him? She answers she would, without a doubt or hesitation. But when Philip hands her his gun, Rya the Rebel is confused. While Philip didn’t actually kill her father, he puts the responsibility on his own shoulders, and Rya won’t shoot him, for she’s been in love with the man since she was a kid, when her father brought Philip home to meet the family.

After the attack on Kirro Station, Rya has put herself in the position of guarding Admiral Guthrie against any more attacks. It seems that, at every turn, their efforts to get the Folly functioning, something happens to set them back. The more Rya looks into it, the more she’s convinced their have a saboteur on their ship. And now she’s determined, not only to keep the man she loves alive, but to find the person who doesn’t want the ship to fly.

**While I liked the book, I sort of found it predictable. Philip believes himself a man who can’t love, and yet, even though he refuses to, his feelings for Rya grow. A strong man, he’s determined to thwart the enemy. It’s his knowledge and determination, his personality and inner struggles that readers will love.

Rya – I loved her. She’s just as strong and determined as Philip. I liked her ‘action first, think later’ attitude, and how she’ll do whatever is necessary.

What bugged me a little was how predictable the romance part of the story was. Woman is in love with the man – man falls in love with the woman – believes it’s his responsability to protect her and is determined to put her out of harms way. Once, just once, I’d love to read the romance part of any book where the male keeps the female with him, no matter what. For once, I want the man to hold her there without the female having to fight to stay there. Just once, I want the male’s chauvinistic pride and arrogant attitude to either take a backseat or not appear at all in a love story. Will I ever get my wish? *eyeroll* I’ll let you know if and when it happens. But then again, I guess most lead male characters have to have a little alpha male attitude. *shrug*

However, besides my romance rant, I loved the action and mystery in the story. The author writes it all so well that it’s as if you’re aboard the ship, watching it all unfold in front of you. Her descriptions put you in the thick of it. I loved the characters’ inner battles. I loved the tension you feel between characters, primary and secondary. Way to go, Ms. Sinclair! Can’t wait for the next installment in the Gabriel’s Ghost universe.

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