Monthly Archives: January 2012

Kiss of the Vampire by Cynthia Garner

Kiss of the Vampire (Warriors of the Rift, #1)


ORDER A COPY: Kiss of the Vampire (Warriors of the Rift)

Publisher: Forever
Publishing Date: February 1, 2012
Paperback: 384 pages

Rating: 4 stars


Once a generation, the rift between the paranormal world and the human world opens, allowing supernatural entities to cross. Vampire, demon, or shapeshifter, they can save the world-or send it spiraling into chaos.

Half-demon, half-human, Nix de la Fuente is accepted by neither and mistrusted by both. Determined to prove she’s more human than not, she devotes herself to solving crimes between the world’s mortals and its most unsavory undead. But her latest case brings her face to face with the one vampire she could never resist . . .

Called in to investigate a string of violent murders, special agent Tobias Caine isn’t interested in rekindling his relationship with Nix. Yet one look and the vampire knows his need for her is as strong as ever. Once, their all-consuming passion nearly cost Nix her fragile hold on her humanity. Now, as their hunger for one another intensifies, exposing them to an unimaginable danger, it could cost them both their lives.


Every 73 years a comet passes by the earth causing a rift between dimensions, and the Extra-Dimensional (ED) beings would push their criminals through the rift as punishment for their crimes, not even knowing or caring where they would end up. (Making Earth the Australia of the universe.)

The only exception to this is Tobias Caine, who was a secret service agent who followed the assassin of their king through the rift. Now Tobias is a vampire special investor to the Council of Preternaturals. He has returned to Arizona after a phone call from an old friend who needs his help. Only he returns a day too late, and his friend is among those killed in a series of vampire slayings. The Council has assigned him to find out and stop whoever it is that is able to kill a vampire, the most dangerous of the preternaturals. Arizona is the last place that Tobias wants to be. When he left five years ago, he needed to get away from Nix de la Fuente, the beauty that stole his heart. Nix is half-human, half-demon, and Tobias’s vampire nature would bring out her demon side. Since that usually leads to insanity in the half breeds, Tobias knew he had to stay away from her for her own good.

The time of the comet’s arrival is quickly approaching again, and humans are not happy knowing there will soon be another influx of the stronger preternatals. Five years after Tobias left town, Nix is now the human liaison to the Council, and she has been assigned to this vampire killings in case the killings are being done by disgruntled humans. She is not happy when Tobias walks onto her crime scene. She has finally moved on from her heartbreak, or so she hopes, but she is not ready to spend the time with Tobias necessary to solve this case.

While they investigate they slayings, they will also delve into the issues of their past and hopefully they can move on to the future.

This was a well written story, and the characters were very enjoyable, including Nix’s full-human partner, Dante. My one complaint is that the story seemed to end abruptly. Although the who and whys of the vampire slayings are given by the end of the story, there were still many issues that I felt were not addressed before the end of the story. This appears to be book one of a series and I hope that it will simply be a continuing investigation.

Received an ARC from Netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher.  Thank you!


Favorite Scene:

Tobias saw anger flare in Nix’s eyes. Before she could respond, he started to move away from her. She touched his arm to stop hm. Just the weight of her slender hand on his sleeve sent a shockwave through him. Damn, but he’d missed her. He hadn’t allowed himself to think about how much until now. The only reason he was back in town was because Amarinda had needed him. Otherwise he wouldn’t have been within a hundred miles of here.

He stared down as Nix and resisted the urge to comb his fingers through her short black curls, slide his palm down her soft olive-complexioned cheek. Take those sexy courtesan lips with his own. Sympathy swirled in her dark eyes. That had been one of the first things that had struck him about her, those gorgeous brown eyes that so clearly communicated what she felt. He was humbled that she possessed such an amazing capability for empathy. No matter how much she might hate him now, she could still be sorry for his loss of a friend.

She dropped her hand and took a step back, going still like prey in the presence of a predator. Her small fits clenched at her sides and that stubborn chin of hers went up. Intelligence and good sense were qualities about her he admired. She knew better than to show fear in the face of his thin control. From the change in his vision he knew his pupils had expanded to obliterate his irises, and from the wary way she watched him he suspected the whites of his eyes had been taken over by crimson. His fangs were down and the bones in his face had hardened. Nix’s step back had been her humanity reacting to the changes in him. His race was a race of hunters, regardless of which dimension they were in, and she knew it.

When she’d stiffen to stand her ground, well, that was the demon in her taking up the challenge. And there was the danger, that attraction of pret to pret, regardless that most demons and vampires barely tolerated each other. That was why he’d left. For her. To make sure she didn’t lose her grip on everything that made her human.

Firelight by Kristen Callihan

Firelight (Darkest London, #1)


ORDER A COPY: Firelight (Darkest London)

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publishing Date: January 31, 2012
Paperback: 384 pages

Rating: 5 stars


London, 1881

Once the flames are ignited . . .

Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family’s fortune decimated and forced her to wed London’s most nefarious nobleman.

They will burn for eternity . . .

Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it’s selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can’t help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn’t felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.


Lord Benjamin Archer made a fateful decision one night long ago, one that left him cursed and horribly disfigured. Hiding his face behind a mask, he has come back to London to claim the only thing he desires above all, the hand of the beautiful and spirited, Miranda Ellis.

Miranda Ellis might not be hiding behind a mask, but she too hides a secret as dangerous and deadly as Lord Archer’s. It is Miranda’s special gift that caused her family to lose their fortune; leading her father to use her to steal to support the family. Miranda decides to accept Lord Archer’s proposal of marriage. Maybe, just maybe, this man would understand her pain, and not turn away from her if he learned the truth.

When bodies start to turn up around London, all eyes are turning to Lord Archer as the murderer. Can Archer and Miranda learn to love beyond the masks and secrets; and can they find the true perpetrator, or will they are forever be torn apart by the murder?

This novel needs a category all it’s own; part-historical, part-paranormal and all wonderful romance. When I requested a copy of this novel from netgalley.com, it sounded interesting, but I was not really sure what I would be getting. Let me tell you, as a romance, this book was sexy, sweet and funny. As a paranormal mystery, it kept me guessing until the final reveal.

This story kept me enthralled until the very end, and I am refusing to tell you anymore since the very mystery of what happened to Lord Archer is the driving force of this story. Added to that mystery is the wonderfully written beauty-and-the- beast/phantom-of-the-opera type romance between Miranda and Archer. Who could not fall for the vulnerable, tortured Archer, or the bright and strong Miranda?

If paranormal romance is your thing, then I can’t recommend to you enough that you should try this story.

I am definitely picking up the prequel: Ember, as well as the sequel Moonglow in August.

Received an ARC from Netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.

Check out my interview with Kristen Callihan for more information about this series.

Go to the Kristen Callihan’s website for bonus scenes.
Deleted Scenes


Favorite Scene:

He glanced at the stairwell as though he’d like nothing more than to flee. “Perhaps we should go. It is getting late.”

He moved to put on the mask once more, and her hand flew to clutch his arm.

“Don’t,” she said gently. The muscles beneath her hand hardened like granite yet he did not pull away. He loomed over her, his newly revealed features inscrutable, all the more because she did not yet know the subtleties of them. Without the warm rumble of his voice, she seemed almost a stranger to her for a moment, but for the scent of him and the familiar lines of his form.

“You startled me, Archer. That is all. I had no right to rail at you.” Absently, her thumb caressed the fabric of his coat. She forced it still. “Thank you. It is a gift you gave me, and I am the richer for it.”

Flushing and unable to meet his eyes another moment, she let him go. His silence was almost unbearable, but she could not turn from him. She had promised to stay. She gripped the cool balustrade and hoped it might keep her in place.

On a sigh, his stiffness released, and his hand came down to rest next to hers. “I felt you,” he whispered. “That is how I knew.”

She raised her head, and the world seemed to fade down to a narrow focus of just him, just her.

“I feel you,” he said, “whether stalking me through the streets of London, or hiding behind a screen in my library.” His words were soft as bunting, buffeting her skin, shivering inside of her.

Her hand opened on the balustrade, fingers stretching toward his. The very tips of their fingers met, the touch sparking between them like a current.

Archer’s fingers grazed hers. “I feel you. As if you were connected to me by an invisible string.” He touched his chest. “I feel you here. In my heart.”

She couldn’t think past the mad pounding of her blood. She swallowed painfully. “I feel you too.”

The Professor by Cathy Perkins

The Professor


ORDER A COPY: The Professor

Publisher: Carina Press
Publishing Date: January 23, 2012
E-Book: 295 pages

Rating: 4 stars


The Professor presses his palm against her flank, the warmth of her blood, hotter than her skin. Hot, like the life force that he has claimed. The power over life and death is the ultimate thrill.

Someone is murdering women on college campuses. Agent Mick O’Shaughnessy’s mission is simple: stop the killer. Following every lead, he meets Meg, the faculty advisor for one of the victims, who can help him track the killer through her campus connections.

Meg Connelly is focused on getting her master’s degree to show her estranged family she doesn’t need anybody’s help to succeed. There’s something about Mick she can’t resist, but the last time she let someone get close to her, it cost her everything.

As the investigation heats up, so does their relationship. But Mick’s interest in Meg doesn’t just endanger her heart—it puts her in the sights of the killer.

Once he gets her alone, he can take all the time he needs…


Agent Mick O’Shaughnessy is tracking a serial killer. A dangerous man who preys on young college woman. When his investigation takes him to a local college to investigate a possible lead, he is dumbstruck when he sees a beautiful young woman across the room.

Meg Connelly is a teaching assistant, just trying to finish her masters, so she can begin her future. She doesn’t have time for Mick or the powerful draw between them.

But Mick isn’t the only one with eyes for the intriguing Meg. The killer is also fixated on her. The question now is can the police get their hands on the killer, before he gets his hands on her?

This was an incredible thriller, full of suspense and intrigue. We are not only in the heads of our main characters Mick and Meg, but also the killer throughout the story. We watch what he sees and feel his increasing obsession, first with Meg, and then when he realizes the growing relationship with Mick and Meg, he obsesses about defeating “his enemy” and taking Mick’s woman in the ultimate humiliation of the man he deems his nemesis.

As we watch the killer getting closer and closer to his goal, the question of whether the police will unmask the killer before he can get his hands on Meg will keep you enthralled.

This was a great suspense/police thriller, and we spent a lot of time working with the police through the investigation. I would have like to spend a little more time building on the romance/relationship between Meg and Mick without the looming killer or Meg’s resistance to the relationship; maybe a quiet bbq with his family or a short epilogue.

This first novel by Cathy Perkins was a fantastic read.

Received ARC from Netgalley.com courtesy of Carina Press. Thank you.


Favorite Scene:

“Creature comforts.” He said it as if he were making notes. “I’ll have to remember their importance.”

“That’s right,” she solemnly agreed. “Right up there with chocolate and air.”

His face grew still and his expression intent. “I shouldn’t do this for a whole bunch of reasons, but I want to get to know you.” He glanced at his watch. “We’ve been together nearly an hour and it feels like it’s been five minutes, max. I could sit here all day talking to you.”

He laughed self-consciously, then breaking the eye contact, leaned back in his chair. “Okay.” One hand rose and scrubbed his face. “That was incredibly stupid. I’ll walk you back.”

“It’s not stupid,” she said, before her brain caught up with her mouth. Fear spurted from its hiding place with her words—fear of the desire he generated, fear of letting anyone get close to her again. She stood; the chair legs scraped loudly over the tile floor at the abrupt motion. “I have to go.”

She strode to the door.

He grabbed his jacket and scrabbled after her. “Meg, wait…”

She ran down the street. She’d nearly reached the Victorian when she heard his footsteps directly behind her. He caught her arm, but this time he didn’t release her when he spun her against him. Instead, his hands dropped to her waist, pulling her closer. His heart pounded against hers. His arms imprisoned her, but she made no effort to free herself.

“There are a whole bunch of reasons we shouldn’t do this, either,” she said.

“There are a lot of reasons we should.”

She wanted to shake her head, but she couldn’t. His gaze dropped to her mouth. His lips followed. The first contact was gentle—and electric. She could barely breathe for want him. Her whole body focused on Mick, attuned to his every move. He shifted experimentally, changing the angle of this kiss. He tasted of coffee and a deeper essence that was him. The pressure increased, and a glow started in her belly that warmed and loosened her limbs.

His Dark Bond by Anne Marsh

His Dark Bond (Fallen, #2)


ORDER A COPY: His Dark Bond

Publisher: Brava
Publishing Date: February 1, 2012
Paperback: 291 pages

Rating: 3 stars


Zer is no angel – well, not anymore. He’s explored every flavour of sin imaginable, drinking in the pleasures of humanity. But now he must find the woman who carries his salvation in her very blood…a woman like Nessa St. James. Nessa has considered the bargain the Fallen offer. Anything she wants in exchange for accepting Zer’s bond? No way. Not her. Not when she finds out about the mind-blowing ritual involved and the marks of surrender that will ink her skin. But with a serial killer to stop and centuries of experience on his side, Zer will do whatever it takes to change her mind.


Zer lead the rebellion again the Archangel Michael three thousand years ago, and he still feels guilty for subjecting his brothers to banishment on earth. Now the Fallen survive feeding off the souls of those willing to make a Bond with them. The Fallen can fulfill your greatest dream, if you are willing to make the bond and give up part of your soul. The bigger the favor, the longer the bond and the more of your soul you surrender to them.

But the Archangel Michael has promised a chance at redemption. If the Fallen can find their soul mate—that one woman meant just for them– and learn to love her, they can regain their wings. Zer will do anything to provide his brothers with their chance at redemption. Even if it means forcing a woman to accept the Bond.

Dr. Nessa St. James, the brilliant geneticist and investor of the pee-on-a-stick DNA home test kit, is having a problem with her boss. She is losing her funding and her lab and only has a few days to come up with something proving her thirteenth tribe theory. When the Fallen come calling, offering to fulfill her dreams, is she wiling to pay the cost to get what she needs?

It was an interesting and well written story, but I have a few issues with some of the storyline. If you don’t delve too much into it or if these things simply do not bother you, I am sure you will enjoy this story.

THOUGHTS:

#1 – Nessa isn’t interested in forming a “bond” with the Fallen, but her name is on the list for a possible soul mate, and Zer isn’t going to let a potential soul mate for one of his brothers regaining his wings, get away. So regardless of Nessa’s wishes, he is going to make her choose a bond mate. Worse is that he never indicates to her the possibility that she is a soul mate and this will be a forever bond. When she finally relents (not that she has a choice), she thinks its just going to be a one-night stand with a fallen angel.

To create this bond, you need to have sex with the fallen angel. Soooo, technically isn’t this forced prostitution. He’s making her have sex with a Fallen to create the bond and in payment for the bond he grants her a wish or “favor” which she didn’t want to begin with.

#2 – Zer leaves out a little more information since it appears that the Bond and Favor needs to be witnessed. So hopefully you are not shy since you will have to have sex with your Fallen angel in front of a witness who will verify your favor and the bond being made.

#3 – On the night she is to choose this bond mate, Nessa is brought into the club (dressed up like a high priced prostitute) and she is told to choose one out of over 200 men dancing in a club. It’s not even like a night of speed dating where she has 10 min to talk to each guy. They dance with her and rub up against her. So is it any surprise that she chooses the only man she has had any conversation with—like him or not?

#4 – Although Zer feels that he himself does not deserve a chance at redemption and that Nessa should choose one of his brothers to save–that being said he seems to have no problem taking a little sample of Nessa for himself. Although these encounters were erotic, it seems in poor taste while you stick your tongue down someone’s throat and your finger up somewhere else, that you are telling them they need to choose some other guy, a guy who hopefully has no problem with what you were doing to his future soul mate first.

#5 – Now after kidnapping her, forcing her to have sex in front of witnesses and forcing a bond on her, we have the additional fact that Nessa is a biochemist and the creator of the pee-on-a-stick DNA test. So now Zer wants Nessa to see if she can determine a DNA difference between the soul mates and others so that the Fallen can go out, locate and kidnap more potential soul mates and make they bond with the Fallen so they can regain their wings.

Seems to me that redemption shouldn’t be something that should be gained by kidnapping women, forcing them to have sex and bond with you so you can have a chance to get back into heaven.

Okay, okay, so maybe I am reading too much into my paranormal romance, and maybe these things could be said for any “fated female” story, but when I really started to think about this one, it rubbed me the wrong way. I did not get a chance to read the first book in the series, Bond with Me, so I don’t know if my issues are more with Zer and his heavy-handed, leader of the Fallen personality, or with the Fallen in general. But there was one comment by the heroine from Bond with Me wherein she said a group of the Fallen stood outside the bathroom while she used the pee-on-a-stick DNA test, so I am guessing she might have been forced into a bond as well. In my brain, that pushes this story from a fated love story into a kidnapping/forced sex slavery story. Just not my thing.

Received ARC from Kensington Books. Thank you.


Favorite Scene:

This close, he could taste the delicious heat and scent of her skin. He didn’t want her to be afraid of him. No, what he wanted was to stroke his thumbs along the sweat-slicked line of her collarbone. Follow that feminine shadow with his tongue. His teeth.

Christ. What was wrong with him? She was a weapon in his fight with Cuthah and making this personal was a disaster waiting to happen.

“This is kidnapping,” she hissed up at him. “Kidnapping. Do you know what the penalty is for that?”

“Ten years,” Nael tossed over the seat. Brother had a mistimed sense of humor, as always. “If you’re human. Your kind hasn’t built prisons that can hold our kind, love. There’s no point in making useless threats.”

“Is that true?” Her glare drilled into Zer as if he was honor-bound to tell her the truth. Clearly, she hadn’t gotten the memo that the Fallen were no longer members of the choir. “You think you’re above the law? That you don’t have to play by the same rules the rest of us play by?”

He eyed her.

“You want to kidnap me, feel free to try.”

She was absurdly feminine, lying there sprawled on the seat. Her careful chignon was lopsided, sliding out of its pins. He reached out and pulled the last survivor free, ignoring her hands as she batted at him. The heavy locks spilled around her shoulders, all waves and gentle curves. He wanted to bury his fingers in those sweet strands, run them through his fingers.

No. He didn’t want a lover—and he certainly didn’t want a vulnerable, fragile human lover. It didn’t matter that she was the prettiest thing he’d seen in months, startlingly alive and achingly vulnerable. Someone had to seduce her, coax her into falling in line with the plan. That someone could be him.

Kill Switch by N. Baer and J. Greene

Kill Switch


ORDER A COPY: Kill Switch

Publisher:   Kensington Books
Publishing Date:  December 13, 2011
Paperback:  289 pages

Rating:  4 stars


A heart-pounding glimpse into the world of forensic psychiatry, Kill Switch marks the powerful fiction debut of Neal Baer and Jonathan Greene—former executive producers of television’s acclaimed Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Filled with breakneck suspense, vivid characters, and riveting detail, it is a mindbending thriller you’ll never forget… Meet Claire Waters, a young, dedicated forensic psychiatrist with unnervingly personal insights into the criminal mind. Haunted by a disturbing childhood incident—and driven by her demons—Claire has always been drawn to those rare “untreatable” patients who seem to have no conscience or fear. She has a natural ability to put people at ease, to help them face their darkest secrets. But one shocking case could make or break her career—and it’s waiting for her in the psychiatric wing of New York City’s Rikers Island. His name is Quimby. A deranged inmate whose boyish good looks hide a sordid history of dysfunction and abuse, Quimby triggers something in Claire she’d rather not face. As she tries to unlock Quimby’s past, she unwittingly reveals her own painful secrets—leaving herself dangerously vulnerable. For Claire, the patient’s obsessions are just the beginning. When the case propels her into the mind of another killer—a homicidal maniac who’s watching her every move—it could only end in madness, or murder, or both…


Claire Waters is still working through her childhood trauma. When she was only 8, her best friend was grabbed out of her driveway while they were playing. She can’t forget those life changing minutes and is haunted by her friend’s last moments of life. She is now a forensic psychiatrist and hopes to help understand the criminal mind.

She is sent in to assess Todd Quimby before his release from prison so see if he is ready for release and to be his counselor in the outside world. Is Quimby just misunderstood and suffering from a childhood trauma, or is he a serial killer who is now focused on his pretty new doctor?

Det. Nick Lawler is finally cleared of any charges in his wife’s death, and just in time since his first case is almost identical to the last murder he was investing a year ago. Same m.o., same pretty blonde. Is this random or a serial killer? If so, where has this killer been for the last year?

This was a very interesting thriller. Really held your interest in the story. There are a lot of things going on in this story and a lot of it involves past traumas suffered by the main characters.

Only thing I didn’t understand is that with all the things in the story and with everyone’s different behind the scenes traumas, was it really necessary that Nick Lawler was also going blind? It just seemed odd to throw that in and really didn’t seem necessary to the point it was almost distracting. If this is a first of a series, he won’t be around for more cases and if this is a stand alone book, his future blindness really didn’t add anything to the story.

Received ARC from Kensington Books. Thank you.


Favorite Scene:

Nick’s head turned toward the voice just as Savarese pointed him out to Dr. Claire Waters. “Detective Lawler’s handling that case,” Savarese said to her.

“That’s me,” Nick shouted, crossing the room quickly at the sight of a woman who looked too much like his dead victims. He held out his hand. “Nick Lawler.”

“Claire Waters,” she replied, shaking hands with him.

“Why don’t you come back to my desk, Ms. Waters. Did you know Ms. Mills?” he asked her as they walked.

“No,” replied Claire, “but I may know the person who killed her.”

“Please, have a seat,” Nick said, indicating the chair beside his desk as he sat down.

Claire couldn’t help but notice that Nick’s desk was clean in contrast with the others, which were piled with frayed files and stacks of papers. “Did someone tell you he murdered Ms. Mills?”

“Not in so many words,” Claire offered, relieved to get this off her chest. “He told me he paid her to have sex with him last night. In the Theatre District.”

Nick was hopeful. This was good information, if it was accurate. “Not to be rude, but why would he confess that to you?”

“I’m sorry. I should have told you,” Claire said. “I’m his doctor.”

Nick was thrown. “If I murdered someone, I wouldn’t confess to my doctor.”

“I’m really sorry, but I had a bad morning,” Claire said. “I’m a psychiatrist.”

The word psychiatrist set Nick off. “You’re a shrink and he’s one of your patients,” he said with open hostility.

Claire didn’t know what to make of this, but it came pouring out of her like a flash flood. “He called me in the middle of the night, and I met him in the emergency room at Manhattan City Hospital. He told me he’d done something bad. He described Ms. Mills perfectly. When I got home this morning, I saw a photo of her on the news. Then I made myself look like your victim and went back and confronted him, and…”

Claire was showing all the signs of having been victimized herself. But Nick felt only anger toward her. “And?” he asked.

“And…he freaked out.”

“Freaked out,” Nick uttered in disgust. “Is that what shrinks call it?”

Claire couldn’t understand why this cop was being so nasty. “I was scared. He tried to kill me.”

“Thanks. Why don’t you go downstairs and see the desk sergeant. He’ll have someone take a report.”

Now Claire was getting angry. “Don’t you believe me?”

“Sure I do, lady, but I have two dead bodies I need to investigate,” Nick said.

“Look, Detective, I know when I’m being blown off. You have a madman out there, and I know a lot about him—”

“And I’m telling you to take your story downstairs,” Nick interrupted.

“Do you have a problem with me?”

“And everyone like you,” snapped Nick. “I don’t like shrinks.”

Lothaire by Kresley Cole

Lothaire (Immortals After Dark, #12)


ORDER A COPY: Lothaire

Publisher: Gallery
Publishing Date: January 10, 2012
Paperback: 468 pages

Rating: 5 stars


Driven by his insatiable need for revenge, Lothaire, the Lore’s most ruthless vampire, plots to seize the Horde’s crown. But bloodlust and torture have left him on the brink of madness—until he finds Elizabeth Peirce, the key to his victory. He captures the unique young mortal, intending to offer up her very soul in exchange for power, yet Elizabeth soothes his tormented mind and awakens within him emotions Lothaire believed he could no longer experience.

A DEADLY FORCE DWELLS WITHIN HER

Growing up in desperate poverty, Ellie Peirce yearned for a better life, never imagining she’d be convicted of murder—or that an evil immortal would abduct her from death row. But Lothaire is no savior, as he himself plans to sacrifice Ellie in one month’s time. And yet the vampire seems to ache for her touch, showering her with wealth and sexual pleasure. In a bid to save her soul, Ellie surrenders her body to the wicked vampire, while vowing to protect her heart.

CENTURIES OF COLD INDIFFERENCE SHATTERED

Elizabeth tempts Lothaire beyond reason, as only his fated mate could. As the month draws to a close, he must choose between a millennia-old blood vendetta and his irresistible prisoner. Will Lothaire succumb to the miseries of his past . . . or risk everything for a future with her?


Elizabeth Peirce is living a quiet life in the Appalachian mountains until her body is hijacked by the soul of the vampire goddess Saroya. Whenever Ellie has a blackout, that means Saroya has gone on a killing spree. Ellie ends up on death row for those murders, until she is rescued by a red-eyed vampire.

Lothaire, the Enemy of Old, cannot have a lowly mortal bride. He needs to get back the Ring of Sums in order to remove the soul of Elizabeth Peirce and make the goddess Saroya immortal in Ellie’s body. Then he will finally be ready to claim the throne of the vampire horde army.

Ellie is not ready to let go of her life so easily and give Saroya and Lothaire a HEA with her body. If she needs to seduce the gorgeous, but deadly, vampire, then so be it. She’ll show him that life with a down-to-earth, mortal mountain girl can be more exciting than ten millennium old vampire goddess.

Will Lothaire sacrifice Elizabeth to reach his Endgame or will he decide there are more interesting things to life than being a vampire king?

If you are a fan Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series, you will agree that this is an awesome addition to the series. If you not a fan, why not??

Although Lothaire isn’t my normal idea of a great hero, you have to admit he is an interesting character. We have seen bits and pieces of Lothaire throughout the past 11 books in the series and watched him collect his blood debts from the other immortals in an attempt to reach his Endgame. So it is very exciting to finally see what the Endgame that all those 11 books were leading up to.

Elizabeth Peirce is an interesting choice for Lothaire’s Bride, but her quick wit and cunning mind makes her perfect for him. She is as nice as he is evil but they heat up the pages together and she balances him nicely.

We get to see a little more insight into Lothaire’s relationship with Nix, the Ever Knowing, Valkyrie soothsayer extraordinaire, and we get to meet some interesting new characters.

I was a little leery of the two souls in one body storyline, and jumping back and forth in the story, but that quieted down soon and we got to spend much of the story with Ellie and Lothaire. There is no surprise to anyone familiar with the series that he won’t end up with the goddess since we see quickly how Ellie is the better match. Since she is the only person in a millennium to stand up to Lothaire, it is funny that he is like a kid at Christmas at certain points waiting to hear what she’ll say next. It is a great story and many open story lines from prior books get settled throughout Lothaire’s story.

I am still crossing my fingers that the next story will be Lanthe and Thronos, please, please, please…!!!!! But I definitely enjoyed Lothaire’s story much more than I thought I would. Lothaire being Lothaire, and the Enemy of Old, and all that, it is nice that he can find his true love, but that doesn’t necessary mean that he ends up joining the our good guys and going soft (Example, Eric from True Blood going all needy and clingy and ruining his hot, aloof, bad-ass vampire vibe.) Lothaire is still the scariest, bad-ass in town!!

Great story!! Definitely put on your must read list for 2012!! If you haven’t tried a Kresley Cole IAD book, now’s the time.

Just for fun – Check out my guest blog over at Heroes & Heartbreakers:

Immortals After Dark Casting – Part I

Immortals After Dark Casting – Part 2


Favorite Scene:

“Imagine my abject disappointment in you, female. Lothaire the Enemy of Old—the most feared vampire alive, the son of one king and the grandson of another—paired with a mortal? Much less a mortal of no distinction. I’m given to understand that your people are worse than peasants.”

Instead of indignation, curiosity lit her face. “Wait. I came first? You didn’t find me because of her? Hey, are you saying you’re a prince?”

“Yes, peasants,” he repeated slowly. “The lowliest of the low among humans.” Then he enunciated, “Exceedingly backward and vulgar hillbillies.”

“Been called worse, mister.” At his raised brows, she exhaled impatiently. “Bootlegger, moonshiner, Elly May Clampett, mountain mama, redneck, backwoods Bessie, hick, trailer trash, yokel, and, more recently, death-row con.”

“No references to mining? I’m disappointed.”

Sadness flashed in her expressive eyes. “My father died in a mine collapse. Ever since then, none of my kin will work underground.”

“Naturally the big bad coal company was at fault?”

“I’m sure there are nice, safe coal companies out there; Va-Co isn’t one of them. Mining’s over for us.”

“And so you remain appallingly poor.”

“S’pose so. The bottom line is that insults only hurt when they come from someone I respect.”

“Then no one’s taught you to respect your betters?”

“You think you’re better than me because you’re a prince?” Had she sounded disbelieving?

“I’m a displaced king of two vampire factions. Now I work to reclaim my thrones.” Why am I telling her this? He didn’t give a damn if she respected him. “As for the other, I think I’m better than you because you are demonstrably my inferior in every way. Intelligence, wealth, looks, bloodline, should I continue?”

She waved that away. “How’d you find me? You’re obviously rich—oh, and royalty—why would you be in one of the poorest areas in America?”

Bound in Sin by Cynthia Eden

Bound In Sin (A Vampire/Werewolf Romance)


ORDER A COPY: Bound In Sin (A Vampire/Werewolf Romance)

Publisher: Self published
Publishing Date: January 2, 2012
EBook Only: 63 pages

Rating: 4.5 stars


What’s the price of sin?

Human Paige Sloan once loved werewolf Drake Wyler more than life, but then that life was taken away from her. Attacked by vampires, Paige was bitten, and, on a cold, dark night, the life she’d known ended.  She was reborn as a vampire—a werewolf’s deadliest enemy.

Paige ran from the vampires who attacked her, and she ran away from her lover. She didn’t want Drake to know what she’d become, and she didn’t want to face the fury of his pack. But a girl can only run for so long until the past catches up with her.

Some sins mark your soul.

When Paige learns that Drake is being targeted for death, she knows that she can’t hide in the shadows any longer. She has to return to him, and she will do anything—anything—in order to make sure that he keeps living. The vampires might have destroyed her chance to live and love Drake, but they won’t take him. Not over her undead body. She’ll slay them all…and maybe, just maybe…she’ll even have the chance to sin—one more time–with the werewolf who’d marked her as his mate.

Some sins are worth dying for…


The above explains the basics of the story. Since it is a short story, I don’t want to add anything and give away too much of the plot.

This book ranks up there with her other self-published short stories, Bound by Blood and Bound in Darkness. It is an action packed and very sexy story. As with most of her stories, you jump right into the action from the first page, and in this story, Paige and Drake have a history so there is no waiting around for the “action” to begin.

If you are a Cynthia Eden fan like me, you will need to add this to your collection and if you have never read her books, for the bargain price of $.99 this is a fine story to start your Cynthia Eden collection. Pick this up for a quick read between books.

From now until January 13th, you can even get a copy of Bound in Sin for free on either www.allromanceebooks.com or www.smashwords.com.

How can you resist that??? Hurry – get your copy today!!


Favorite Scene:

“I’ve got a vampire I want you to behead.” Her breath rushed out. “A vampire named Gabe is the one who made me, he’s–”

Drake’s claws burst from his fingertips and sliced into the bedding. “He’s fucking already dead.” As far as Drake was concerned, the vamp—Gabe—had died the instant he put his fangs in Paige.

Her gaze held his, and he saw the worry there. “Gabe is a pureblood. He’s strong, he’s—”

“No match for an alpha.” Didn’t she get it? He wasn’t the boy she’d left behind. He was a warrior. A monster. A walking nightmare.

Since she’d left him, he’d seen more blood and hell than she could possibly imagine. No, he’d always known the blood and hell…Page had been the only thing that had been good in his life.

Sweet. Pure.

Then she’d left him, and he’d gone back to the darkness.

She won’t leave again.

He stared up at her. He could move her easily enough, but he didn’t want to do so. He wanted to keep her just where she was, only he’d like to remove a few of her clothes. Or all of them.

But business came first. “What will you do for me?” Drake demanded.

She blinked. Vampires weren’t supposed to look so innocent. “I…um…”

He smiled and knew that his own sharpened teeth would flash. “Death doesn’t come for free. In the supernatural world, there’s always a price.”

He heard the slight hitch of her breath. “And what do you want?”

You.

Ink by Holly Hood

Ink


ORDER A COPY: Ink

Publisher: Self Published
Publishing Date: August 19, 2011
EBook: 348 pages

Rating: 3 stars


Hope didn’t ask for so much change in her life. She was happy living in Georgia for the rest of her life. Focusing on the things she loved the most: singing, dancing, and her best friend Karsen. This was effortless, she had no worries.

But all that changed when her mother decided to leave her dad for Pete, the Tae Kwon do instructor. And now Hope had to choose between staying where she belonged or moving far away to Cherry, California with her dad.

After making the choice to move far away, to protect her father, Hope realizes Cherry is nothing like the hometown she’s used to. Everyone is rude, high class and she doesn’t fit in. Not until Slade comes along. He has never fit in and he is okay with that. And Hope is fascinated by everything that Slade is. All the way down to his tattoos and bat wielding rescue the first time they meet.

She knows she should stay far away from him, but it proves tricky as she discovers dark secrets about the town and people in Cherry, California. Hope doesn’t know who to trust as her life takes a turn from ordinary and depressing to dangerous and wild.


Hope moves with her soon-to-be divorced father and two brothers to their new home in Cherry, California. They move into their grandmother’s beach house so they can start a new life away from her cheating mother, and so Hope can go to a High School for the musically gifted.

She doesn’t really fit in with the snobby and odd kids in the school. The Mayor’s son, Tucker, is very interested in getting to know the new girl in Town, and tries to seduce her.

Hope is more interested in the gorgeous and tattooed Slade when they meet at a concert by the Evil Kings of Ink.   Slade isn’t so interesting to everyone in the Town. Several think that he is responsible for the death of a local girl last year and want Hope to stay away.

Hope knows there is more to the story than anyone is saying and she comes to believe in Slade’s innocence, but she knows that there is something very odd going on in Cherry, California, and that Slade is hiding something very important.

I so hate to give a bad review, but in fairness to all the wonderful stories I have been reading lately, and since the basic purpose of this blog was to point out books that you should read and books that you should pass up, I have decided to post this blog.

I was terribly disappointed with this book. I was very excited to give it a try and when I started, I had high hopes for where the story would go. I will say in this case, this self-published book would be improved by a very good editor.

This story had great potential, but there were too many story plots going on, including the malevolent spirit of Slade’s former girlfriend who didn’t show up until almost the end of the book. This would have been an interesting plot if this was the plot of the book, and it worked well with the ending of the story, but since she literally pops in near the end, it was just distracting. We already spent the majority of the book dealing with the history and who did it of last year’s dead girl, a secondary Tucker vs Slade as Hope’s love interest and a whole third plot of the oddities of the band and the weird happenings at their concerts, then tossed in at the end is the fourth plot of the dead, jealous ex-girlfriend (different dead girl then the murdered girl).

There were also several issues and characters which were not needed, which faded to the background and/or really didn’t add anything to the story. For example, Hope is to attend this special high school for her music and dance. Except for the first day of school, and specific introductions to two of her classes both of which are pointed out as odd, we don’t really go back with her to school. There is a whole set up about the odd sociology teacher, who says to call her “Mrs. Legs,” which seems to be setting the story line with a “what’s up with her?” and then we never hear about her or her class again. We also never hear about Hope dancing and except for once singing for the guys in the band, we never hear about her singing again. So what was the point of a special school instead of just sending her to a regular school, and since she doesn’t sing with the band, why does she even need to sing at all?

The fact that she had two brothers and a third little brother who stayed behind with the mother added nothing to the storyline and could easily be removed from the story.

My last complaint would be that several of the characters, including Hope, did a lot of flip-flopping in their personalities. For example, no matter what others said about Slade, Hope’s father kept an open mind and didn’t pre-judge him and even welcomed him for dinner and then at one point he must have drank the Town Kool-Aid and suddenly it was “Stay away from Slade” and “Why aren’t you going out with that nice boy Tucker.”

This story definitely had such potential, Slade was a great character, but the book as a whole needs to be tweaked and tightened up to be a really good story.

Received courtesy copy from the author. Thank you.


Favorite Scene:

I dropped my head, picked at my nail polish, at a loss. I wasn’t the girl who knew how to do any of this stuff. But I knew when I found someone interesting. And Slade was interesting.

“You could be a really famous singer someday. Well, I actually can’t believe you’re not already.” I admitted, looking away. I was sure I looked like some silly fan.

“I’m happy right here,” he said, his body moving quicker to the music as it picked up.

“I thought someone like you would love tours and girls going crazy for you.”

“I’m happy right here. I get to sing and do what I love,” he said again. I sighed, going back to the music below us.

“Do you do what you love?” he asked, turning to look at me now, his lip ring flashing in the moonlight.

“I try,” I answered, trying to give a short explanation, one as short as his. If he wasn’t willing to divulge any more information I wasn’t going to either.

“Well, let’s hear,” he said, turning to face me now.

I touched my face, feeling bashful. After hearing him sing I really didn’t feel too confident.

“I wouldn’t even know what to sing about,” I told him, my face on fire.

“Whatever you want. It can be what you sing in the shower. I just want to hear your voice.” He waited again, his hands gripping his knees.

I stared at him. He seemed serious, but maybe too serious. Finally, after a long silence, he jumped up. “Give me two seconds.”

I swallowed, watching him hop back off of the roof. I waited patiently, wondering what it was he was going. He had already impressed me with his voice. What more could he do?

“Hope!” Slade called out from below. Seconds later the head of a guitar popped up. “Grab that.”

I did as he asked, bringing the guitar on the rooftop. Slade did a quick shimmy coming up. He took the guitar from me, taking a seat, his legs crossed Indian style. I sat down in front of him, my stomach in knots. He slowly plucked at each string, looking at me now. “Fast or slow?”

I bit my lip. “Slow,” I told him, clearing my voice. I took a giant breath, praying I didn’t mess it up. I didn’t want to look like a fool in front of him.

Darkness Dawns by Dianne Duvall

Darkness Dawns (Immortal Guardians, #1)


ORDER A COPY: Darkness Dawns (Immortal Guardians)

Publisher: Kensington Books
Publishing Date: February 1, 2011
Paperback: 345 pages

Rating: 5 stars


Once, Sarah Bingham’s biggest challenge was making her students pay attention in class. Now, after rescuing a wounded stranger, she’s handed in the middle of a battle between corrupt vampires and powerful immortals who also need blood to survive. Roland Warbrook is the most compelling man Sarah has ever laid hands on. But his desire for her is mingled with a hunger he can barely control…In his nine centuries of immortal existence, no woman has tempted Roland as much as Sarah. But asking her to love him is impossible – when it means forfeiting the world she’s always known, and the life he would do anything to protect


One early morning, music teacher Sarah Bingham overhears men talking in a field close to her secluded home, and she goes over to investigate. When she find one man staked to the ground being tortured and stabbed by two others, she doesn’t think, she acts and saves the man from his attackers. She takes him home and gives him first aid. What she doesn’t know is that Roland Warbrook is an Immortal Guardian who was hurt fighting vampires.

Roland Warbrook has never met anyone like Sarah in his almost 950 years. She is brave and kind and oh so beautiful. After Sarah gets over her initial shock of learning who and what Roland is, they are helpless against their strong attraction for each other.

But the vampire leader has a personal vendetta to settle with Roland Warbrook and he has waiting over 200 years to finally kill him, and if his best chance is using human Sarah as bait, then so be it.

So now Roland, with the aid of the other Immortal Guardians, needs to solve the puzzle of who is trying to kill him and why, so that he can protect Sarah and return her to her normal human life.

This is the first book in the series and although I read Book 2, Night Reigns, first and had a little insight to some happenings in Book 1, it did not diminish the enjoyment of this story at all.

Roland is known as being “antisocial” as his friends like to point out to him through the book, but even from the beginning his demeanor with Sarah is completely different. He is warm and caring to her, and you can see from early chapters of the story how quickly and strongly their bond grows.

I have greatly enjoyed the first two books in this series and am looking forward to more. I am definitely going to be listing this as one of my favorite series to read.

Received copy courtesy of Kensington Books. Thank you.


Favorite Scene:

Sarah sensed movement about her face before Roland’s hand withdrew.

“What are you doing?” He sound surprised.

“Stopping you from doing something stupid.”

“Let go of my arm, Marcus.”

Fear surged to the surface again at that ominous warning.

“Feed first, then heal her.”

What did that mean—heal her? Heal her as in render first aid? Why was it so imperative that he feed first?

She recalled the soothing heat that had suffused her chest when he had touched her ribs moments ago. The sharp pains had vanished, as had the ache. She was once more able to take deep breaths.

What had Roland done to her?

“When she wakes, I don’t want the first thing she sees to be me holding a bag of blood to my lips,” Roland bit out.

Oh crap. He is a vampire.

“Then hurry up and feed before she wakes.”

“She’s already close. Her breathing is changing.”

She swore silently.

“Then leave the room and feed.”

“And have her wake up alone? No.”

A charged silence followed.

“Oh, man,” Marcus breathed. “You like her.”

Against her will, Sarah’s eyes flew open and sought Roland’s reaction.

He was kneeling beside her, his hair mussed and damp with perspiration around his face. The terrible wound in his neck was sealed and no longer bled. A long cut followed his jawline from his earlobe to his chin where one of his opponents must have tried to slit his throat again and miscalculated, laying open the flesh so deeply that she feared she would see bone if she rinsed away the blood.

His shirt was saturated with the red liquid, his clothing torn in numerous places. He was also holding his left arm close to his body in a way that made her wonder if it weren’t broken.

Battered and looking no better, Marcus stood behind the sofa. In one hand, he held a bag of blood similar to those used in hospitals.

Neither man paid her any attention as they stared at each other.

Marcus looked concerned. Roland looked bitter.

“You do, don’t you?” Marcus pressed. “You like her.”

A muscle in Roland’s cheek jumped. “Don’t you think that would be rather foolish, considering?”

“Considering what—that she’s smart, pretty and good with a gun?”

“No,” Roland said, his voice laden with sarcasm. “Considering she would have used her gun on us if you hadn’t made her promise not to. As soon as she wakes up, she’s going to run screaming for the door.”

Okay, she knew he was a vampire or whatever, but felt guilty anyway because running and screaming had been her first impulse and he looked as if he knew that and his feelings were hurt.

Marcus stroked his chin thoughtfully. “I think you’re wrong.”

“Why, because you know her so well?”

No, because you’re so distraught over her injuries and her potential fear of you that you’ve missed something pertinent I have not.”

His gaze still on Marcus, Roland brushed his fingers through her hair in what seemed an unconscious gesture of affection. “And what might that be?”

Marcus smiled smugly. “She’s been awake ever since you laid her on the sofa and has not run for the door.”

Dark Taste of Rapture by Gena Showalter

Dark Taste of Rapture (Alien Huntress Series #6)


ORDER A COPY: Dark Taste of Rapture (Alien Huntress Novels)

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publishing Date: August 23, 2011
Paperback: 464 pages

Rating: 5 stars


Hector Dean is shaved, tattooed, and totally ripped—and he has a deadly secret. He is a walking weapon, capable of killing with a single brush of his fingertips. Little wonder he’s determined to remain on his own. But Noelle Tremain is a temptation like no other. She is beautiful and rich, with a party girl smile that hides a shocking vulnerability, and from the beginning his sizzling attraction to her is undeniable. For the first time, his stone-cold resistance is tested. But to be with her, he risks destroying her.

When a wealthy businessman is murdered in New Chicago’s seediest district, the two are partnered, and there’s no escaping what they both want: each other. Yet neither Hector nor Noelle knows what to fear more—the killer case, or their own lethal desires. . . .


Hector Dean was born in the poorest corner of New Chicago. His parents, both junkies, made Hector and his brother fight in human cockfights when they were children. Now an AIR agent, everything about Hector from his shaved head, tattoos, and constant scowl screams dangerous and do not touch. Good thing because a touch from Hector could bring death, his heated arms could burn through everything including flesh.

Hector’s ripped muscles and back-off attitude is like catnip to rich, party girl Noelle Tremain, and when Hector starts to see the real woman behind the fascade, he hungers to put his hands all over her. If only he could. He’s not sure what makes him angrier, the fact that he can’t have her or the fact that his closest friend, Dallas, also wants to take a bite out of the beautiful Noelle.

When Hector and Noelle are assigned to work together on a case, he can’t avoid her or his growing feelings and desires for her.

I know, I know…took long enough to get to this one. But I had just read one disappointing story and was trying to read a book which was the third in a series and I was lost by page 4, so I was soooo happy to have this one tucked on my Nook shelf since August. I snuggled down and read this one in one day.

A rather quiet character in the first five books, I wasn’t really that interested in Hector as a main character, but he certainly glowed when given the spotlight. In a new earth where aliens were accepted but not trusted, Hector feared that if anyone knew of his abilities it would be bring the government down on him thinking he was dangerous and an alien. As I read I couldn’t imagine how we were going to get past his burning issue when every time he got close to Noelle, his arms starting heating up, and when he kissed her things literally went up in flames. Gena Showalter handled that quite well. Get it—handled it—burning hands? no? Okay, I’ll behave.

Noelle Tremaine was a fabulous character who we met in Ecstasy in Darkess (another awesome story). She grew up in a rich and privileged lifestyle with a family more interested in her behavior than in her, so she acted up in the worst way to disappoint them as they had disappointed her. Spending a lifetime being rejected by her family and most of people who judged her on the façade she presented, she was disappointed when Hector rejected her after their heated kisses, but she was determined to break through his gruff demeanor to the man she saw beneath the gorgeous muscle.

My only disappointment would be that I would have liked to see a little more Noelle/Ava time which was so hysterical in Ecstasy in Darkness. We only get a little Ava and barely any McKell at all. I had hoped to see more of them in Noelle’s book since she and Ava were inseparable, but then again, Ava probably would have stabbed Hector for making Noelle sad.

Although this is Book 6, there is no reason you couldn’t pick this book up and start the series with this book.


Favorite Scene:

“I take my job seriously, you know,” he began.

O-kay. Not the direction she’d anticipated. “Why?”

A crackling pause. “Did you really just ask me why?”

“Yes.” Not to be facetious or anything, but because she was curious about him.

“I stop predatory aliens from hurting other,” he gritted out. “I save lives.”

And didn’t that just make him even sexier? She thought with a wistful sigh.

“Why do you want to be an agent?” he asked. “And don’t give me that bullshit about wanting to shoot people legally.”

So Jaxon had told him about that.

Hector went on, “I believed it before, but I’ve seen the way you push yourself.”

He’d seen—and been impressed? She wouldn’t get her hopes up on that front. “To be honest, I just want to spend more time with Ava.” No reason to lie. If AIR had decided to can her, she would be canned, no matter what she said.

A beat of silence. Most likely her bluntness had stunned him. That happened a lot. With her family, her friends, everyone but Ava. “Well,” he finally said, “your reason sucks, and it won’t get you anywhere.”

“Why would a girl like me want or need to get anywhere?” she asked, only the slightest trace of bitterness escaping.

“Don’t do that.”

“Do what?”

“That girl like me crap. You’ve got determination and drive, and you should be proud of it, not masking it with sarcasm.”

Hector Dean had just…praised her. She was dreaming. She had to be dreaming. “Are you saying I’d…make a good agent?”

Another beat of silence, as if he had to gather his thoughts. And that was answer enough, wasn’t it.

Knew better than to ask. Also good thing she hadn’t gotten her hopes up.

“I’m saying you need to think long and hard about whether or not you’re right for this,” he said. “It’s hard and it’s dirty.”

Even as she fought the urge to punch him in the face for implying she couldn’t handle something like that, she force her voice to go low and husky. “Hmm, hard and dirty. Just how I like my sex.”

He tripped over nothing and, scowling, hurried to right himself.

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