Archives for October 2010

Review: Entice Me at Twilight

Entice Me at Twilight is book 4 in Shayla Black’s Doomsday Brethren story.  For those not familiar with the books, the Brethren are a group of good wizards who have banded together to fight off the evil sorcerer Matthias –and to keep a powerful book, called the Doomsday Diary, away from him.

Simon is a member of the Brethren.  As our story begins, he is preparing to attend his human half-brother’s wedding.  He is attracted to the bride, Felicia. But he doesn’t realize that she feels only deep friendship for Mason, her groom.  Quickly, it’s revealed that Felicia is “an Untouchable,” a special human born once every 1000 years who nullifies magic. She doesn’t know what she is or anything about magickind. The only thing she knows that makes her different is her ability to smell a lie.

Anyway, Matthias has his sights set on Felicia. He wants to use her to open the tomb of Morgan Le Fay and resurrect her. So, Simon whisks her away from the wedding to protect her.  They fight their attraction to each other, mostly because they both care about Mason’s feelings. But soon, even that is not enough to keep them apart.  What does serve as a barrier between them are Felicia’s serious emotional problems.  She is so afraid of letting someone in that she has cut herself off from love.  It’s frustrating to watch Simon put himself out there for her, over and over, while she continues to hold on to her insecurities.

We’re told Felicia’s problems stem from her sister’s suicide.  That just didn’t hold up for me. It would have been easier for me to accept loyalty to Mason as a stumbling block… but maybe that’s just me.  I liked the book, though not quite as much as Possess Me at Midnight. The teaser at the end makes it look like the next book will be Lucan’s, so I am looking forward to that.

Also in this book, (*spoilers*) we lost a member of the Brethren to a gruesome death. Not only was I upset by the loss, but I didn’t feel like it got nearly enough attention. I felt like this should have been made a much bigger deal than it was.

4 stars.

Review: Possess Me at Midnight

What is it about the tortured hero in a paranormal romance series? Those installments are always my favorites (ie. Demon from the Dark, Lover Awakened.) Possess Me at Midnight features the Doomsday Brethren’s very own tortured hero, Ice. And as a result, it is the best book in the series yet.
A little backstory: the Doomsday Brethren are a group of British wizards who have banded together to fight a very powerful and evil foe named Matthias. And they are protecting a powerful book called the Doomsday Diary that Matthias wants to use to further his agenda.  Ice hates Matthias more than most. 200 years ago, Matthias tortured and killed his little sister. It nearly drove him crazy.

Since joining the Brethren, Ice has fallen for Sabelle. She is the sister of the group’s leader, Bram.  And she is attracted to Ice too. But there is bad blood between Ice and Bram and she knows it.  Bram is badly injured in a fight with Matthias and as the enemy approaches, Ice is tasked to protect the unconscious Bram, Sabelle and the diary.  As much as he is in love with her, Ice doesn’t think he has a chance with the beautiful witch, nor does he think he deserves her.  But over and over, he protects her. He proves his worth. And they fall in love.

The sex scenes are hot and the action is great.   The side characters are interesting –and the drama surrounding Lucan, Anka and Shock continues.  I can’t wait to learn more about where Shock’s allegiance truly lies and whether Anka has a future with either man. I guess only time will tell.  4 1/2 stars.

Review: Seduce Me in Shadow

Shayla Black continues her Doomsday Brethren with the second full length novel, Seduce Me in Shadow.  This story picks up where Tempt Me With Darkness left off. We have a band of wizards who call themselves the Doomsday Brethren. Their mission is to defeat a powerful evil wizard named Matthias and keep him away from a powerful book called the Doomsday Diary.

Caden MacTavish is still human, but has reached the age of transitioning into a wizard. He rejects magic and wants no part of the wizard community. He has lived in the US for a dozen years and has served as a Marine. But his brother Lucan has gone mad, since Matthias kidnapped his mate Anka. So Caden came back to England to try to help.  Brethren leader Bram sends him undercover to a local Enquirer-type magazine, where a woman has been writing stories about magickind. She has an unnamed witch source that may be Anka.

This reporter, Sydney, is Caden’s mate. He fights it. But their attraction can’t be denied… especially when Sydney’s friend gives her the Doomsday Diary. She tells Sydney to write her sexual fantasies in the book and, of course, they come true.  Her articles quickly attract the attention of the bad guys too, so Caden is working to protect her, find Anka, and get his hands on the book… while keeping the truth about his magical knowledge and their potential as a mated couple, to himself.

I wanted to shake some sense into Caden more than once. And while I appreciate Sydney’s honor and directness, she was not always smart about her safety.  Their chemistry was great. But I found myself just as interested in the side stories surrounding Lucan. I was shocked with Sabelle’s sacrifice and even more blown away with what eventually happened with Anka.  And what the heck is really going on with Shock?

I can’t wait to read Ice & Sabelle’s story next.  4 stars.

Review: Fated

“Fated” is a novella in Shayla Black’s Doomsday Brethren series, available only in ebook form.  Based on my reading, it seems like the events here are happening in the same time frame as the second half of Seduce Me in Shadow.  And it introduces three men who will join the Brethren: Tynan, Ronan, and Raiden.  (In case you’re not up to speed on the series, the Brethren is a group of wizards in modern-day England who have banded together to fight off a super-powerful evil wizard, and his minions, and to keep him away from a powerful tome called the Doomsday Diary.)
Like all wizards, Ronan has to have frequent, er, relations with members of the opposite sex to maintain his powers.  But he has grown weary of bed hopping and has fixated on a human bartender named Kari.  Unfortunately, there is a curse on his family, which prevents the men from taking a mate.  So he’s afraid if he mates with her, she’ll die.

It’s a short little story (only 88 pages), but I enjoyed it. You can read about Ronan’s twin brother Raiden and his love in Haunted by Your Touch.  4 stars.

Review: Tempt Me With Darkness

Tempt Me With Darkness is the first book in Shayla Black’s Doomsday Brethren story.  It features Marrok, who was a knight for King Arthur when he slept with the witch Morganna. After he loved her, he left her. And in her rage, she cursed him to an immortality without the ability to ever find satisfaction.
15 centuries later, he sees a woman in a dream that reminds him of Morganna.  The very next day, he meets Olivia, the woman from that dream. He thinks she is Morganna in disguise, but she is actually a descendant of the le Fey line.  There is a strong attraction between Marrok and Olivia and they quickly consummate their relationship and become mated.  We learn that the book Morganna used to curse Marrok is very powerful. A really twisted and powerful wizard, Matthias, has been revived by his followers after a long absence. He wants the so-called Doomsday Book to use for his own ends.
A good wizard, Bram, takes it upon himself to form the so-called Doomsday Brethren, a group of wizards devoted to protecting the book and fighting Matthias.  The Brethren also take on the cause of protecting Olivia –as she may be the key to using the powerful book.
The dynamic between Marrok and Olivia is kind of sad as it plays out. Each is filled with fear that they are unloveable and that causes them to doubt each other’s feelings and motivations. But with part of the book’s mythology, witches and wizards gain energy from sex, so there is a built-in hot factor throughout. The love scenes were steamy and frequent… though not overwhelming in relation to the plot. It takes a long time for our couple to get past their baggage, but the story surrounding them was interesting and the sex was hot enough to keep me reading.

I liked the concept of the series and will definitely check out Seduce Me in Shadow. Almost 4 stars.

Review: Haunted by Your Touch

Reviewed by Jen

I am a big fan of Jeaniene Frost. Her Cat & Bones series is one of my favorites. So her name on the cover was a good enough reason for me to try the anthology Haunted by Your Touch.

Her contribution, “Night’s Darkest Embrace,” is a departure from her usual vampire fare. This novella features a partial demon, Mara.  She journeys to the demon realm of Nocturna to avenge the death of her cousin. But while she searches for answers, she crosses paths with Rafael, the leader of Nocturna. She has been attracted to him for years, but knows that he keeps secrets about himself and his connection to the full blooded demons (who killed her cousin.) So she convinces him to bring her to his home on the pretext of sex. While there, she plans to search for answers. The only problem is, her feeling for him are too real to fake.

The chemistry between Mara and Rafe is off the charts. And Frost can write the heck out of her love scenes.  There was a lot of world building in this short story, so you have to pay attention. But I really enjoyed it. When all was said and done, I was left wondering how Rafe managed to be a good guy with the lineage he has… but that lingering question wasn’t enough to take away from my enjoyment of the story.

The second novella, “Mated,” is part of Shayla Black’s ongoing Doomsday Brethren series.  I’ve never read any of those books, but after this short story, I will definitely give them a try.  Raiden is a wizard who has lived a life more interested in loving than fighting. But he is now part of the Doomsday Brethren… a group of seven guys who fight evil.  He is in love with Tabby and got her pregnant (presumably in some earlier book in the series), but he doesn’t think he can give her the life she deserves, so he refuses to mate with her. He thinks he has put her out of his life, but an evil wizard kills her family and now Tabby is in terrible danger. Raiden needs to keep her safe, but can he fight his feelings now that he has her with him again?

I liked this story. Obviously, there is a lot of backstory, but it was fairly easy to jump in as a new reader. For some reason, I felt like the story was a little foreign. We had words like “knickers” and “bloody” floating around, but maybe it’s supposed to be set in Britain or something.  Maybe that, too, will be explained by other books in the series.

The last novella was ”The Darkest Temptation,” by Sharie Kohler.  It was the shortest of the three and I really liked this one too.  Lily has been attacked by a Lycan and she thinks that killing Luc (who she is told is the pack Alpha) will keep her from changing. Luc catches her and can’t quite bring himself to kill her. The two have great chemistry from the start and I wish I had more of their story to read. My next stop will be to check out Kohler’s Moon Chaser books.

A great anthology. I enjoyed all three stories and discovered two new authors.

4 1/2 stars.

Haunted by Your Touch
by Jeaniene Frost, Sharie Kohler, & Shayla Black
Release Date: October 26, 2010
Publisher: Pocket Star

Series Reading Order: Doomsday Brethren

This is the reading order for the Doomsday Brethren series by Shayla Black:

*Denotes short story/novella

Review: If You Deceive by Kresley Cole

If You Deceive is the 3rd book in Kresley Cole’s sexy Highlander series surrounding the MacCarrick Brothers. This installment focuses on the eldest brother, Ethan. Like his brothers, Court and Hugh, Ethan believes the family is cursed… the brothers never to marry or have children. If any were to open his heart, the object of his affections will suffer or die. Ethan feels like he is most intimately acquainted with the curse, as his old fiance killed herself years ago, shortly before their wedding.

10 years ago, Ethan was a handsome rake, who went home with a different woman every night. But one night, he went home with the wrong woman. She was married, a little older, and thought to seduce him. Once in her bedroom, he changed his mind. The woman became enraged. And when her husband came home early, she said Ethan tried to rape her. The husband had him beaten and his face slashed. Ethan made it a point to ruin the man and his evil wife. He bought up their debts and called them in. The husband killed himself. The wife and her daughter, Maddy, were driven into abject poverty. Anyone want to take a guess who that daughter will become to our hero?

Ethan meets Maddy in the novel’s present day, at a masquerade ball. They are inextricably drawn to each other. So much so, their passion escalates to sex in the carriage after the party. Ethan doesn’t know young Maddy was still innocent and he is a little too forceful with her. She leaves with a healthy dose of fear about sex. And Ethan is disconcerted by his intense feelings for the woman.

They go their separate ways… Maddy back to her seedy French apartment and Ethan on an assassin’s job. But after it’s over, he realizes he must find her again. It’s after he starts making inquiries that he realizes who she really is.

He pursues her anyway, thinking to find new ways to punish her mother. He asks Maddy to marry him. But he begins to truly fall for her. And he soon learns her mother is long dead –and he is to blame for the hard live Maddy has led.

Their feelings for each other are real and deep, but the secret between them creates a huge chasm. Ethan has so much baggage surrounding his scars, his curse and his past. He clearly doesn’t know how to love, but with Maddy, it’s inevitable. Their encounters are steamy. Their story is captivating. I couldn’t put it down.

And I loved the Epilogue, that gives us a glimpse into the future of all three brothers.

5 stars.

If You Deceive
by Kresley Cole
Release Date: May 22, 2007
Publisher: Pocket Books

Review: If You Desire by Kresley Cole

Reviewed by Jen

I wasn’t a huge fan of the first book in the MacCarrick Brothers series, but I loved this second installment. If You Desire follows brother Hugh. His story picks up right where we left him, near the end of If You Dare. He’s been called by his boss, Weyland, to protect the man’s daughter, Jane. Hugh has been in love with Jane for a decade. But he has stayed away from her, due to the MacCarrick family curse.

Just to refresh your memory, the MacCarrick brothers are Highlanders, cursed by an ancient book, never to find love or have children. If they try to have a relationship, they believe the object of their affections will suffer. [Read more…]

Review: If You Dare by Kresley Cole

Kresley Cole’s If You Dare is a historical romance centered around a rogue Highlander with a family curse that prevents him from having a baby or falling in love. Obviously, the curse is the big foil for our hero, but his other obstacle is the dainty “lady” who fights off his advances. OK, she only fights them for the first half of the book. But I digress.

Our heroine, Anna, finds our hero, Courtland MacCarrick, beaten and nearly unconscious on the bank of a river. She saves him and nurses him back to health. When he recovers, he is drawn to her, but fights it. She looks down on him; he thinks she is a priss. Sparks fly. Anna finds out her brother Llorente has been kidnapped by the local evil warlord, Pascal, and she had to marry the warlord to save her brother’s life. She makes the sacrifice. MacCarrick saves her but it’s an unwilling rescue because Llorente’s life depends on her. Pascal sends henchmen to track her down and MacCarrick fights to keep her safe. Over time, their building attraction becomes too much to fight.

As with all Kresley Cole books, the sex scenes were H-O-T. Once we got there, wow. I’m also a sucker for Cole’s written Scottish brogue. Again, hot.

However, it took way too long to get to the good parts. Anna was a stuck-up bitch for half the book. One of the best things about Cole’s writing is her ability to hook me from the beginning. A Hunger Like No Other had me invested in the couple by the beginning of Chapter 2. Not so much, here.

I liked it. Didn’t love it. 3 1/2 stars.

If You Dare
by Kresley Cole
Release Date: April 26, 2005
Publisher: Pocket Books