Archives for November 2010

Review: Blacklisted

Reviewed by Jen

Blacklisted is the second YA novel set in the Alien Huntress world. Our hero is Erik, who was a secondary character in the previous book, Red Handed. When we saw him last, he was on the run, branded a drug dealer. His heroine is 18 year-old Camille, a regular girl with a crush on the wrong boy. She tries to get close to Erik, and gets thrown inside a world she didn’t know existed.

Camille has an uber-crush on Erik, who she has seen in the halls of high school. She and a friend follow him to a club one night and she gets caught up in a bust designed to bring him down. She ends up on the run with Erik, learning he’s not a bad guy after all. In fact, he has sacrificed his good name to help aliens who need the drug he’s selling in order to survive.

I liked seeing Phoenix and the other girls featured in Red Handed. Even Ryan and Mia showed up –-and I’m a sucker for reoccurring characters in a series. The love scene was sweet and slightly racier than I thought I would get in a YA… but VERY tame compared to most Showalter books.

My only gripe with this book was that it flew by and seemed short. I can’t be sure without a word count… maybe it just went so fast because it was a good and an easy read.

I liked it. I give it 4 stars, even though I would have loved to see Camille and Erik take that next step.

Blacklisted
by Gena Showalter
Release Date: July 17, 2007
Publisher: MTV

Review: Red Handed


Reviewed by Jen

Red Handed is the first of two YA books in the Alien Huntress world.  Its heroine is Phoenix, a 17 year-old with a rocky past. She has a drug history but is working to overcome it as she learns that the peace between humans and aliens is more fragile than she ever knew.

Phoenix is freshly out of rehab when she is at a party that’s crashed by evil aliens. She fights them off, capturing the attention of the Alien Investigation and Removal agency. Her mom thinks she’s using again and sends her off to what she thinks is a boot camp. It’s actually training for AIR.  Phoenix has a lot to overcome, but really begins to feel at home in her new environment. She makes friends and fights her feelings for Ryan, an instructor, as a relationship between them could get her kicked out of the program.

I like Phoenix. She is smart and brave and loyal, but she’s no Mary Sue.  I was rooting for her and Ryan and their short scenes together were memorable. I also enjoyed seeing Mia Snow from Awaken Me Darkly as an instructor.

I was happy to find out that Phoenix and Ryan get their HEA, but a year seems like a long time for them to hold out. Plus, we didn’t get “the scene” –just a summary of it. Of course, it’s YA, so it won’t be what we’re used to from Gena Showalter.

I liked it. I hope to see more of Phoenix and Ryan –maybe in the grown-up version of the series.

4 stars.

Red Handed
by Gena Showalter
Release Date: June 19, 2007
Publisher: MTV

Review: Enslave Me Sweetly

Reviewed by Jen

Gena Showalter’s Enslave Me Sweetly is the second book in her Alien Huntress series. Our heroine is Eden, who is a beautiful alien and something like a government assassin. Her boss, who also happens to be her dad, teams her up with cocky and deadly agent Lucius. The pair butt heads, but of course, sexual tension simmers beneath the surface. The two work together to crack open a human-slavery ring and fall for each other in the process.

Our book kicks off with Eden trying to take down the man behind the human slavery ring, but she fails and is badly injured. Her boss, and adopted father, allows her to try again, but only with a partner. Of course, Lucius is sexy, dark, and totally alpha. Each tries to prove their worth to the other, each trying to prove themselves the better agent as they go undercover. But the more time they spend together, the more they are drawn to each other. Eden has to serve as bait for the slavery ring, which brings even more danger and more men who want to possess her exotic beauty.

Eden and Lucius are steamy, steamy, steamy. They are combustible as a couple and I couldn’t wait for each moment they were able to steal together. This book also introduced a favorite character of mine, Devyn, who gets his own book down the road.

On a side note, I was bummed out not to see any of my beloved characters from the last book, Awaken Me Darkly.

H-O-T. A great series. 5 stars.

Enslave Me Sweetly
by Gena Showalter
Release Date: June 6, 2006
Publisher: Downtown Press

Review: Awaken Me Darkly


Reviewed by Jen

Gena Showalter’s Awaken Me Darkly is the first in her Alien Huntress series. I am a huge fan of Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series and I couldn’t wait to see how these books measure up.

The story centers on Mia Snow, a delicate looking, tough as nails agent for the Alien Investigation and Removal Agency. Aliens live on Earth and have for 70 years.  Many are friendly, but the AIR protects humans from those who are not.

Mia is trying to solve a string of murders perpetrated by an alien, which draws her into the world of super-sexy Kyrin.  She fights her attraction to him, as she grudgingly agrees to work with him to solve the crimes.  It’s only a matter of time, though, before she gives in to her desires.

Showalter has solid world building here. Good sex scenes. And some real plot twists, that were both unexpected and believable in context of the story.

It is a good story, but I can tell you that the series gets better as it goes. Perhaps (at least for me) because I grow more and more invested in the family of characters… and want them each to find their own HEAs.

4-stars.

Awaken Me Darkly
by Gena Showalter
Release Date: May 31, 2005
Publisher: Downtown Press

Series Reading Order: Alien Huntress

This is the series reading order for the Alien Huntress series by Gena Showalter:

*Denotes short story/novella

Review: Water Bound

Reviewed by Jen

Christine Feehan’s Water Bound is sort-of a continuation of her Drake Sisters series, but not really. It is set in the same town of Sea Haven and features a handful of our familiar characters. Our hero is Lev Prakenskii –an undercover Russian operative who has lost chunks of his memory and identity following an accident at sea. Our heroine is the spunky sea urchin diver, Rikki, who finds him in the water and saves his life and later, his soul.

The book picks up loosely where Hidden Currents left off. Lev (which I think is pronounced LEEV, but I’m not sure and it bugs me) is in the water after his yacht goes down. Rikki is diving in the water; she finds him and they have a “moment” beneath the surface. She takes him home to nurse him back to health. It’s revealed Rikki is a “water-element” and can manipulate water and rain. She’s also autistic. In her past, are several fires where her loved ones have died. She’s not sure if she is to blame or if she was a target. Rikki now lives with 6 other women who have created a makeshift family where they work a farm together and help each other out. Lev falls for Rikki and she helps him put his dark, violent past to rest… while he helps her uncover what sparked those old fires and protects her from it happening again.

I felt uncomfortable with an autistic heroine. Maybe my understanding of autism is limited, but I kept thinking that a man like Lev would be seriously taking advantage of an autistic woman. I know it was written that his feelings for her were real, but it bothered me.

I also felt like there was way too much detail wrapped up in the diving process, scenery and the like. Give me more dialogue and action. And sex. If I’m reading a Feehan book, it’s not to learn about diving, people. And I feel cheated that I didn’t get to see Lev’s reunion with his brother Ilya.

I love the fact that we’re seeing more of the Prakenskii brothers. I would have loved a spinoff series featuring them. But alas, we can only hope for cameo appearances.

Probably one of my least favorite Feehan books. Too much time spent talking about stuff I’m not interested. And the heroine’s disability kept me from connecting with the story. 3 stars… maybe 2 1/2.

Water Bound
by Christine Feehan
Release Date: July 27, 2010
Publisher: Jove

Review: Hidden Currents

Reviewed by Jen

Christine Feehan’s Hidden Currents is the 7th and final installment of the Drake Sisters series. As with each book in the series, this one focuses on one of the sisters and their quest to find a HEA. This story focuses on Elle, the youngest sister, who carries all the powers of the Drake line. We’ve seen hints in all the previous books that she was destined for a future with Jackson, the tough, introverted sheriff’s deputy, but their union won’t be a smooth one.

Elle is working undercover to bust a human trafficking operation. But she is kidnapped by the big bad-guy and held prisoner on an island that blocks her psychic abilities. She is tortured and raped for a month before she is rescued.  Jackson gets her home, but her tormentor escapes and keeps a psychic link to her she can not break. Elle’s powers, which were once astronomical, are badly injured, as is her body.  She leans on Jackson to keep her safe and is unable to share her pain with her sisters.  It’s a hard book to read at times, but the focus is on Elle healing and regaining her strength as her bond grows with Jackson.

We certainly broke the mold on this one. I never saw the this kind of storyline coming. Even though each Drake sister has faced some sinister foe, none has ever seen the likes of this villain.  The book was dark. Dark. Dark. I hated to see Elle go through this and in detail. And it was hard for me to swallow how quickly she was able to forge sexual intimacy with Jackson after her ordeal.

It was a love story a long time in coming… as I waited for Jackson and Elle to get together. And finally we get to see all the sisters marry their men.

Overall, it was a powerful end to an enjoyable series. I’ll always be a bigger fan of Feehan’s Carpathian books, but the Drakes are worth reading. 4 stars.

Hidden Currents
by Christine Feehan
Release Date: June 30, 2009
Publisher: Jove

Review: Turbulent Sea

Reviewed by Jen

Turbulent Sea is book 6 in the Drake Sisters series. I have to admit, I have been looking forward to this story above all the others. Not for the heroine, Joley, but for Ilya Prakenskii, the mysterious Russian we met in Oceans of Fire and who saved Hannah’s life in Safe Harbor.

Joley is a rock star out on tour. She’s been getting threats for ages from stalkers and over-zealous fans, but now she’s facing real danger.  A teenage girl disappeared at an after-party for Joley’s band. And shortly after that, the roadie who was last seen with girl, was killed. Ilya shows up to be her bodyguard. And boy, does he ever take care of her body!  You can cut the sexual tension between these two with a knife. There is all kinds of drama with the relationships involving band members… plus a dash of Russian mob intrigue… but the real draw here is the relationship between the main characters… and the hot sex scenes. Feehan delivers the goods here.

I didn’t care much about the secondary characters: Brian and Nikitin, the band-guy with the new baby and estranged wife.  Plus –I didn’t really get Joley’s revulsion at her own needs/desires in her lover. She likes a manly man, who is in control but still respects her. Yet, she acts like she is a freako-deviant because of it. It’s not that weird, Joley.

I really liked it. Although, it’s likely because I really like Ilya. More Prakenskii’s please! 4 1/2 stars.

Turbulent Sea
by Christine Feehan
Release Date: July 29, 2008
Publisher: Jove

Review: Safe Harbor

Reviewed by Jen

Christine Feehan’s Safe Harbor is the 5th book in her Drake Sisters series.  This story focuses on beautiful Hannah. She is a widely famous supermodel, who is painfully shy and in love with Jonas, the town sheriff.  Jonas grew up with the magical Drake family and has been featured in every one of the books. He’s always been seen as teasing and taunting Hannah. But here, we learn it is because he has always been in love with her.  She has always appeared haughty and aloof, but it has just been a cover for her terrible shyness.  Now, as she faces a frightening stalker and attack, Hannah and Jonas finally face their feelings.

The book opens with Jonas and his friend Jackson taking an incriminating video of some Russian gangsters in the middle of an execution. Jonas is shot and barely escapes with his life. He returns to Sea Haven. And as Hannah prepares to go to a high profile fashion show, Jonas finally decides to face his feelings. They sleep together, and she leaves on the fashion shoot. There she is attacked; her face and body sliced up; and it takes the healing powers of all the sisters as well as Ilya Prakenskii, a friend of Alexandr from Oceans of Fire, to keep her alive. Hannah survives, but her trauma interrupts her romance with Jonas and she questions whether she can get over what happened and move on with him.

The first time Hannah and Jonas are together is magic. We’ve been waiting a long time for these two to find their way to each other.  It’s also great to see Ilya again. I’m glad his story wasn’t dropped. And I can’t wait to see what happens between him and Joley in the next book.

I have to admit, Jonas was a little over the top. I know that’s his character, but he seemed even more so in this book than in the previous ones. And if possible, Hannah seemed even weaker.

It was good, not great. But no one will (or should) skip this one after investing in the first several books of the series. Almost 4 stars.

Safe Harbor
by Christine Feehan
Release Date: June 26, 2007
Publisher: Jove

Review: Dangerous Tides

Reviewed by Jen

Dangerous Tides is the 4th book in the Drake Sisters series. This one features the family healer, Libby. She is brilliant, giving and sweet. And she has never been attracted to any man except Tyson. They went to school together and she never though he noticed her. She was wrong.

Ty may be a super-genius who works on the cure for cancer, but in his free-time he likes to work with Search and Rescue operations with the Fire Department. (Where are all these genius/studs in the real world?) During a rescue operation, Ty is gravely hurt and at the hospital, Libby saves his life.

Ty doesn’t believe in the magic of the Drake sisters, but he does have feelings for Libby. In time, we learn that someone is after Ty, but the question is who? And why? Of course, Libby is in danger too. And danger + feelings = explosive sex.

What works: The explosive sex.

What doesn’t: Ty as a character. Nobody is a nerd-genius who also has an amazing body and works rugged rescue missions in his free time. Plus, we’re supposed to believe he is a complete social idiot who also manages to be great in the sack. That’s too much fiction, even for me. It mucks up my suspension of disbelief.

It was good. The ending twist, I suspected, but didn’t know for sure it was going to happen. 4 stars.

Dangerous Tides
by Christine Feehan
Release Date: June 27, 2006
Publisher: Jove