Archives for March 2012

Review: Inherit the Sky

Reviewed by Jen

In his early 30’s, Caine isn’t getting what he wants out of life. He’s in a lackluster relationship and his terrible stutter keeps him from advancing in his job. So when his uncle dies and leaves his Australian sheep farm to the family, Caine sees a chance to make a change. He packs his bags and moves to the Outback, determined to forge a new path for himself, following in his beloved uncle’s footsteps.

Caine isn’t stupid. He knows that he has a lot to learn about the job. So he goes in with deference to the ranch foreman, Macklin. He has every intention of simply learning what he can so he can do the job right. But Macklin is prickly and skeptical. Every so often, the older man seems to warm to him, but he goes back to being cold just as quickly.

Caine is attracted to Macklin and never dreams his feelings would be returned. But when his life is put in danger, Macklin reacts with a fury and passion that can’t be denied. After that, Caine has high hopes something can grow between them, but Macklin has never been in a real relationship with another man. His love life has been nothing but a string of meaningless sexual encounters. In addition, Macklin is afraid to pursue something with Caine because of the potential fallout should their affair become public knowledge.

I enjoyed the story. Caine’s stuttering and determination to turn his life around make him very sympathetic. He’s a good guy who knows who he is and what he wants. He is gentle without being a wuss; and he is patient without being a doormat. Macklin is gruff and sexy, though his mood swings and his stand-offishness make him less accessible. The sex stays mostly on the tamer side, but I think it was well done. And the Australian backdrop gives the romance a little extra flavor.

The story was pretty low key. And the ending was a little convenient. But I liked watching this couple find their way together. 3 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Inherit the Sky
by Ariel Tachna
Release Date: February 20, 2012
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Review: A Sliver of Shadow

Reviewed by Jen

OK. I have to start out by telling you that this book ends on a massive, hairy cliffhanger. I want to get this out of the way because it’s the only thing that did not absolutely rock about this story. I loved it from beginning to… well, ALMOST the very end.

The action picks up about six months after the events of the last book. Brystion is still gone. Abby is working to become stronger in the Dreaming. And Moira has left again. This time, she is in Faery, taking care of her sick mother, the Fae Queen. Abby is watching over the baby and maintaining her job as the Touchstone of the Protectorate.

All that is plenty to deal with –but things get more complicated when a Fae woman shows up, claiming to be Moira’s replacement. And then it really hits the fan when the Queen shuts down the paths between human and Faery realms, leaving many Fae trapped on the wrong side of the doors. Abby joins forces with Moira’s brother Talivar and those closest to her –to travel to Faery, hoping to convince the Queen to re-open the paths.

There is so much going on, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I love the world-building in these books, which are heavily steeped in the Fae. But even more than that, I love the rich and fleshed out characters at the heart of the story. Allison Pang does such a fantastic job, I feel like I know them. Abby: the woman trying to learn her place in the world and striving to do the right thing by everyone, while struggling to know her own heart. Talivar: the crippled prince with vulnerability and a nobility that extends far beyond his royalty. Brystion… OK, I still don’t know what the deal is with Brystion, but he does come back. And the spark is still there.

Speaking of which, we’ve got a love triangle all of a sudden. I understand why Abby is torn (though if my vote counts, it goes to Talivar.) There is great chemistry with both men, though their relationships are very, very different. I still feel like the reason Brystion left at the end of the last book was lame; and it’s made worse that he seems to change his tune for no tangible reason at all. Whereas, Talivar is broken. But his role in Abby’s life –and their blooming relationship– are healing him. He is a good man and he is good to her.

There’s satisfying sex, family drama, action, danger, legend, blossoming love and sacrifice on a massive scale. And somehow, during it all, it still manages to make me laugh. Frankly, who doesn’t love a cantankerous, horny, miniature unicorn? There’s so much more that I want to say, but I already feel like I am rambling. I’ll leave you with this: I have no idea what is going to happen next, but I can’t wait to find out. Almost 5 stars.

*ARC Provided by Pocket Books

Click to purchase: Amazon
A Sliver of Shadow
by Allison Pang
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: Pocket Books

Review: A Brush of Darkness

Reviewed by Jen

Allison Pang has created an interesting and unique world with the Abby Sinclair series. It’s one dominated by the Fae, but features an array of supernatural species from angels to demons and everything in between.

Abby is a human, but she’s special. She serves as a Touchstone to the Fae Protectorate, Moira. Her job is essentially to anchor Moira to the human plane, help her cross between worlds, and to assist with disputes and problems Moira helps settle. In exchange, Abby will not age for the seven years of her contract with Moira; and when she is done, she gets one wish. Unfortunately, Moira has gone missing and Abby has to hold down the fort in her absence. She keeps the disappearance a secret as long as she can, but things are becoming more complicated than she can handle alone.

A sexy incubus named Brystion shows up, needing help to find his missing succubus sister. Abby agrees to work with him, which lands her in the thick of danger. The succubus is one of several of her kind who has disappeared –and it all may or may not be tied to what happened to Moira. Tensions run high as Abby is blamed for her boss’ absence. And all of this is happening as she deals with her own internal demons that have been plaguing her ever since the car accident that killed her mother.

It took me awhile to connect with the book because the world building was revealed so slowly. Often in the early chapters, I felt lost or like I had missed something. But once the basics were laid out and the romance started to build steam, I got more invested. (Didn’t I mention the romance? Come on! The hero is an incubus. What did you expect?) I found myself going back and forth with how I felt about the relationship between Abby and Brystion. There were times, in his softer moments, that I really rooted for these two. But then, I’d find myself questioning how real it all was and how much it had to do with the fact he was an incubus. Does he want her for who she is or for the juice she can give him?

The questions, the sex, and action really got me wrapped up in it all. Not to mention, a healthy dose of humor, some really engaging secondary characters –and a talking, horny miniature unicorn. I was really enjoying it all until I slammed into the brick wall of an ending, going about 90 miles per hour. Don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil the end. But I will tell you that I didn’t like it. And I didn’t understand a single good reason why it had to go that way, except to set the stage for the next book. And that kind of ticks me off.

So I am conflicted about how to rate the book. For the most part, it was really great. It made me laugh out loud. It surprised me with its twists and turns and unexpected betrayals.  But it also confused me occasionally and it made me mad. Mmm… 4 stars.

*ARC Provided by Pocket Books

A Brush of Darkness
by Allison Pang
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Publisher: Pocket Books

Review: Lover Reborn by JR Ward

Reviewed by Jen

I’ll tell you what: JR Ward gave me my money’s worth with Lover Reborn. A far cry from the anemic Lover Unleashed, this book is massive in scale. It brought me back to the characters I care about. It gives the primary romance the attention it is due, and weaves in subplots that interest me. Ward revisits old relationships and lays the groundwork for new ones. She made me laugh; She made me cry; She made me curse. She took me on a journey and made me glad to be back in Caldwell.

I wasn’t happy with the idea of Tohr getting a new mate. I’ve never gotten over Wellsie’s death. And I figured that if I couldn’t get over it, surely he shouldn’t be over it either. But once I started reading the book, I realized that the whole point of the story is that he’s not over it. He can’t let Wellsie go and by holding onto her so desperately, he is preventing her from going into the Fade. Wellsie and her baby are trapped in the In Between and their spirits are fading. As Lassiter explains, either Tohr finds a way to let go, or there will be nothing left of the woman he loved.

The story begins just weeks after the events of Lover Mine and it felt more like a continuation of that book than the last one. (Thank goodness for that.) No’One is staying with the Brotherhood, hoping for a chance to get to know her daughter. She finds herself becoming friends with Tohr. She knows he still mourns his wife, which makes her more comfortable around him than other men. Their friendship –and Lassiter’s prompting– lead her to offer her blood to him when he’s in need. And from there, the bond between them grows.

It’s definitely not an easy road and it’s one filled with starts and stops. (And I felt it drag occasionally, especially early on.) Tohr’s grief is tangible, but there are times his behavior is extreme and harsh. No’One is a difficult heroine to get excited about. She is meek and subservient, broken and pitiful. She puts up with alot of crap and sometimes stretches the limits of believability in how accommodating she is. But at least that is addressed as the story progresses. I like that their relationship is an evolution; that there is no quick fix. And we see them move forward through trial and error.

While all this is going on, the main b-plot is focused on Xhex and John Matthew. The honeymoon phase of their relationship is over quickly. And they are struggling to reconcile Xhex’s warrior nature with John’s instincts as a bonded male. I loved this part of the book. I’ve always had a real soft spot for these two and their problems make total sense within the world-building of the series.

We’re also brought back into the Band of Bastards and their plans to overthrow the king. And in doing so, Ward sets up a fabulous possibility that I never saw coming to get rid of give an HEA to Layla. Alas, it doesn’t happen soon enough. (*spoilery*) The one thing I feared most would happen in this book, does indeed come to pass. I’m sorely disappointed Ward picked this predictable route. Without telling you outright what happens, I will simply remind you what a big Qhuay fan I am and leave it at that.

Before I find myself back in the cursing fit this initially brought on, I’m going to skip to the end. The end, which was amazing. I cried and cried and cried. Ward saved the most powerful punch for the last few chapters and left me feeling satisfied, optimistic, and excited for what’s ahead.

I’ll leave you with my favorite line of the book: “Our future has come.” You’d better deliver on that, JR Ward. Verily. 4 stars.

Click to purchase: Amazon
Lover Reborn
by JR Ward
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Publisher: NAL

Review: The Kingdom

Reviewed by Jen

This book was nothing like I expected it to be and yet it manages to advance the Graveyard Queen series in a way that maintains the tone and answers some of the questions set up in The Restorer. It has elements of horror. It has danger. It, of course, has ghosts. But what it doesn’t have… is John Devlin. But I’ll get back to that in a minute.

It’s been a few months since the events of the last book and Amelia has accepted a new job in a new town called Asher Falls. She has been trying to keep her distance from Devlin and she feels like this new project will help her do that. But even aboard the ferry –on her way to the secluded town– there are signs of trouble. An underwater graveyard is one –a mysterious and compelling man is another.

In Asher Falls, she finds a place that’s cut off from the rest of the world.  A powerful family is responsible for its ruin and, perhaps, things which are much worse.  There is an undeniable evil in the town. It recognizes Amelia and she becomes a target, in more ways than one.

I’m not going to get into the details of the plot, because I don’t want to ruin the surprises and revelations. I will say that I wish I would have re-read The Restorer before beginning this installment. I found myself struggling to remember some of the particulars that were only mildly referenced here. Perhaps because of that, I had a little bit of trouble getting back in the groove at the beginning of the book. Or maybe because –with a new town and a new supporting cast– I almost felt like we were starting over.

I was intrigued by the new love interest… but I was very put out that the Devlin storyline was put on the back-burner. I liked learning more about Amelia’s past and what makes her who she is. I’ll admit that I figured out the “big reveal” early, but I certainly wouldn’t call it predictable –and other elements of the story still managed to surprise me and keep me guessing until the very end.

And while we are on the subject of the end –the last line of the book was completely awesome and now has me panting to get my hands on The Prophet. (Thank goodness it will be here in April!)

4 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
The Kingdom
by Amanda Stevens
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Publisher: Mira

Series Reading Order: Graveyard Queen

This is the reading order for the Graveyard Queen series by Amanda Stevens:

*Denotes short story/ novella

Review: Sacrificial Magic

This book is amazing. This series is phenomenal. The characters are so very deeply flawed: filled with insecurities, addiction, rage, lust and sorrow. But through that, they so are so very real. I read most of this book with a knot in my stomach. In turns, I felt hopeless and crushed, joyous and elated. Because that is what Chess felt. And Stacia Kane masterfully put me inside of her head.

The story picks up shortly after the ending of City of Ghosts. Chess and Terrible are in love, but there are no guarantees for their future. And no one knows that better than Chess. Kane never takes the easy way out. It would be so satisfying to see Chess just begin to rebuild herself with the love of this amazing man. But the truth is, she is still Chess. Even though she sees Terrible for the gift that he is, what is just as important is how she sees herself: as unworthy of him. And with dread and inevitability, we watch her obsessive fears become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Of course, there is much more happening in the book. Primarily, Chess is on a case from the Church which coincides with an investigation she has going on for Bump. Lex is back, bringing more complications. Chess faces danger from humans and ghosts alike. It’s exciting and unpredictable. But the truth is, the internal conflict is far more interesting than the external one.

It’s like watching a star explode: It’s beautiful and destructive and you can’t take your eyes off of it. And before I convince you that it’s all heartwrenching sadness, remember that joy and elation I talked about earlier. It’s not all one way or another. This book took my emotions on a roller coaster. When it was over, my heart was in my throat; I felt satisfied and exhausted; and I’m already dying to get back on the ride. If you have never read this series or if you gave up on it early, you are truly missing out.  5 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Sacrificial Magic
by Stacia Kane
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Publisher: Del Rey

Author Interview: Stacia Kane

If you have never read the amazing Downside Ghosts books by Stacia Kane, stop what you are doing right now and go buy Unholy Ghosts.  No, I am not kidding.  Go now. I’ll still be here when you get back.  

As for the rest of you,  it’s been a long wait for Sacrificial Magic, but I can tell you it’s my favorite book in the series so far.  Please help me welcome Stacia to the blog today! 

Jen: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me!

Stacia: Thanks so much for inviting me!

Jen: I feel like I came late to the Downside Ghosts party, but I am so glad that I found this series. It’s not like anything I have read before. The main character, Chess, is so flawed and yet so sympathetic. How do you strike that balance with her?

Stacia: Hmm. I just try to make her as realistic as possible, really. I think everyone has both good and bad parts; everyone has flaws. And I think it’s the flaws that make us interesting.

For me a big part of what makes a character–any character, or even any person–sympathetic is that they acknowledge their flaws. Having flaws doesn’t automatically make you sympathetic if you refuse to admit or accept that you have them; it just makes you a jerk, really. Chess acknowledges her flaws, and even as she rationalizes them and even hides behind them, she still accepts that they are indeed flaws.

Jen: As damaged as she is, do you think she is capable of ever really being happy?

Stacia: Oh, that’s a good question! I do, yes. But then I also think happiness means different things to different people. I think Chess is capable of happiness. I think she can probably at some point reach a place emotionally where she’s mostly at peace. Whether that means hopping out of bed every morning with a grin on her face is another question. But I think she’s growing, and I think she’s changing and maybe starting to see that there is hope for her, that she can let herself feel something positive.

Jen: The drugs are a really big part of her life and the series. Did you ever worry that might alienate readers?

Stacia: You know, I was actually more worried that it might be triggering for some people, or that readers of my previous books–which were much more light-hearted in general–just wouldn’t like the darker tone. I honestly didn’t think it was that big an issue; I mean, at the time I started writing it or when it sold, WEEDS was on TV, BREAKING BAD was on TV, HOUSE was on TV. There were quite a few male characters who were addicts or alcoholics. And I never saw anyone taking issue with those or saw any huge backlash where people called the scriptwriters or producers names. So I really didn’t think it was going to be a big deal (and if I had it wouldn’t have mattered, because I needed to write Chess, for a number of reasons).

So I wondered, and of course any time you have a book coming out you worry how it’s going to be received. But there were a lot of other things I worried about more.

Jen: Let’s talk about Terrible. I loved that you acknowledge the odd names in “Rick the Brave.” What were you thinking when you gave him the name?

Stacia: Ha, yeah, that was really fun, to do that in RICK. I just wanted a name that fit him and fit the world, really. Given his history it wouldn’t make sense for him to be a Bill or a Joe, and it certainly wouldn’t make sense for him to have a more “UF hero” type name. It needed to be something that made sense given the kind of place it was.
I’d once had a few drinks with a guy whose nickname was Horrible (although in his case it was a joke), and there’s another nicknamed-Horrible as a very minor character in my favorite novel, so when I was thinking of a name that would both identify and kind of describe this character–who wasn’t even really a character yet at that point, just a “This is his job”–that popped into my head, and I decided to go with it. It seemed to fit really well. It made sense people would call him that and see him that way, and that the name would kind of define him in the eyes of other people. I mean, when you hear Bob is after you it just doesn’t inspire the same kind of foreboding that you might feel when a guy everyone calls Terrible is after you. You wonder why they call him that and how he came to get that name.

Jen: And you made him ugly! A bold choice for a romantic lead. Have you been surprised at how beloved he is among readers?

Stacia: Totally! I never expected that. I mean, I hoped, because I love him so much, that others would feel the same. And he was a real challenge for me, a real test of my skill: could I create a character who is deliberately ugly and brutal but manage to write him in such a way that readers would see who he is inside? Could I pull that off, and illustrate the point that not only can looks be deceiving but that how people look to us changes as we get to know them, and that who people are inside matters more than what they look like?

I wanted to be very careful with him and how I revealed his character, because I wanted readers to undergo the same transformation as Chess does: first finding him unappealing, not very smart, etc., and then slowly seeing how much more there is to him. And I wanted to do that just through Chess’s eyes, so that he starts to change for the readers at the same time as he does for her, and we can follow her thought process and see how things change as she gets to know him and they both start to open up to each other more and trust and understand each other. I wanted to immerse readers into the characters and world that much more by doing that, you know?

Of course, whether I really succeeded in that isn’t for me to say, but it’s amazing to see how much people love him!

Jen: I’ll say it: you were very successful.  He is one of my very favorite heroes in print! Will there ever be further consequences to the sigil Chess put on him in Unholy Magic?

Stacia: Oh, yes. Yes yes yes. I don’t want to spoil anything by saying more, but absolutely. It’s going to have a huge impact. We’ll see a bit more of that in SACRIFICIAL MAGIC, and then a lot more in CHASING MAGIC, and then…well, it’s a big deal, that sigil.
Jen: The street language people use in Downside is very unusual, but it’s very consistent in the books. What did you base it on?

Stacia: I just made it up, really! I considered at first using a sort of Ebonics-type dialect, but I didn’t want to do that for a couple of reasons: One, I wanted to be very careful of looking like I was co-opting an existing culture, and Two, I wanted to make it very clear that this is a different world.

I did get a lot of the words from old slang, though, like Georgian/Victorian slang. I have a dictionary of it, and I had so much fun reading it and I was so excited at the idea of using some of those words. And the Downspeak kind of evolved from that, too, because I needed something where those words legitimately fit, and didn’t sound too out-of-place.

Jen:  Was the series initially supposed to be a trilogy? At what point did you realize it would be more than that? Did you already have a direction for the series to continue in your mind?

Stacia: Actually, no, it was never a trilogy; I wrote UNHOLY GHOSTS as the first in a multi-book series and that’s never changed. I’m not sure where the idea that it was originally a trilogy came from unless it’s the fact that the first three books were released back-to-back.

I did make sure that I gave the third book a definite ending, though, because of course I wrote that one a year or so before release, and when I wrote it I had no idea if the first two would sell enough copies for my publisher(s) to want more. So it was really important to me that readers at least get a solid resolution to the Chess-Terrible story, just in case. I hated the idea that they might be left unsatisfied.

I will say, though, that originally I hadn’t intended for them to make their big declarations until the fourth book; the third book would have essentially been the same as far as the physical aspects, but without the big ending. Then the fourth would have shown them as having gone on for a few more months of this sort of sleeping-together-but-not-making-any-commitment kind of situation, where he was just immensely reluctant to actually get emotionally involved.

Whether that would have been better I can’t say, of course. Certainly part of me thinks it would have made more sense given his character and the depth of her betrayal, but at the same time I think given what happened to her at the end of CITY OF GHOSTS, it’s also believable–I hope it is–that he would have basically said, “Well, yeah, she did this, but thinking she was gone for good made me realize that I can forgive it.” You know? When you think someone you love is dead you realize how lucky you are to have them at all, even when they’ve hurt you. Especially since–again, hopefully–it’s clear that even after he said he was done with her he really wasn’t, not in his mind or his heart, and that not speaking to her or hanging out with her was just as painful for him as it was for her. Chess missed the person she’d become so close to, the only person she felt really understood her and accepted her, but so did he; her friendship and company meant at least as much to him as his meant to her. So he wasn’t just hurting her when he wouldn’t speak to her. He was hurting himself, too, and thinking she was dead made him realize he didn’t want to do that anymore, that he couldn’t keep holding a grudge–even though he had a good reason–when life is short and they could be happy.

Jen: Like so many fans, I am very excited about Sacrificial Magic. What can you tell us about the book?

Stacia: Ohh…let’s see. The first reviews are starting to appear now, so some of the biggest stuff is probably already out there: that trust is a huge issue in this book, that Chess has to really open herself up in this one and try to learn to accept the idea of being loved. There’s some good stuff in store for Elder Griffin that I’m really excited about, and that’s going to have some big impact in CHASING MAGIC. There’s a new character being introduced and that’s pretty exciting (for me, at least) because it’s yet another example of how Chess’s world is expanding. Which is really healthy, and a really good thing for Chess, but at the same time brings her problems into sharper relief. Because when the series started, she had no one; she had work and she had being home alone, and that was basically it–yes, she was/is friends with Edsel, and it is a genuine friendship, but she kept him at quite a distance. So her addiction didn’t affect anyone but herself; there was literally no one to be hurt by it but her.

But now, with every new person she lets in there’s one more person who can be hurt by her behavior, who can have feelings about it, who can be damaged by it. So it’s kind of a double-edged sword; she wants to have these people in her life because they make her feel good, but it also means having to accept that her actions can have consequences beyond just what they do to her personally, and that makes her feel worse, because she doesn’t want to let them down but isn’t strong enough/ready to make changes.
Jen: And there are at least two more after that?

Stacia: Right now, yes. CHASING MAGIC and the sixth, which isn’t officially titled (or written!) yet. Hopefully SACRIFICIAL MAGIC will be successful enough that I get to do more; the continuation of the series really does rest on its performance, so I’m very nervous and trying to be very hopeful. I’d love to keep writing these books.

Jen: Again, I thank you so much for answering my questions. I wish you great continuing success for the series!

Stacia: Thanks so much again for having me, I really appreciate it!
If you would like to learn more about Stacia Kane, you can visit her website or follow her on Twitter.

Review: Confessions from an Arranged Marriage

Reviewed by Jen

Minerva is different than the regular young miss coming out to the ton. She is beautiful and knows her manners, but instead of frivolity, her interests lie in politics. Her dream is to marry a man with political aspirations and help him effect change. But those hopes were dashed when Lord Blakeney confused her for another woman at a party. As she slept off a migraine in the library, he drunkenly thought she was someone else and put his head up her dress. Of course, that was the moment other people began to walk in the room.

The couple is forced to marry to avoid scandal and neither is happy about it. Blake just wants to live a life free of constraints…a life that includes his sexy and worldly mistress. And though he is next in line to the Dukedom and is devilishly handsome, Minerva can think of nothing but the fact that Blake is notoriously stupid. What the reader learns quickly, is that Blake is not really stupid, but likely dyslexic. He’s never been able to read well and cultivated the image of a lazy rake to hide behind. He is terribly ashamed of his shortcomings and he knows that his academic wife would reject him further if she ever knew the truth.

It was very hard for me to like Minerva. Even though she is not wealthy or of high station, she is so very snobby that it’s nearly unbearable. She is constantly ruminating about how stupid Blake is and she is completely self-absorbed with her political machinations. Blake was an ok hero, but I never really felt like he got his due. He never really gets over the belief that he is anything more than the brawn in their relationship and that was a shame. It took him a really long time to share his secret –and I don’t blame him one bit.

Tying into Minerva’s whole reformist yearnings, there is a lot of political weaving in the book. And there is a little blackmail scheme and a dab of danger at the end. But the story really focuses on the mismatched pairing of Blake and Minerva. I can see why she eventually falls for him, but I’m not so sure why he ever falls for her.

This is the fourth book in the Burgandy Club series and it made frequent references to the events of The Dangerous Viscount, which I have not read. Things are explained fairly well, but I was very aware that the books were tied together. This could be read as a standalone, but I feel like it would be better for those who have a history with the series. 3 stars.

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
Confessions from an Arranged Marriage
by Miranda Neville
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Publisher: Avon

Review: A Taste for Passion

Lucian has waited decades for the reincarnation of his beloved Elizabeth to appear. And just when the desolate vampire was about to give up hope, he meets Rana. He is drawn to her right away, but her identity is confirmed as his lost love when she makes a connection to the spelled ring that once belonged to Elizabeth.

Rana is mourning the death of her grandfather and fears at first that her attraction to Lucian is really just a way to fill the emotional void in her life. But every night when she closes her eyes, Lucian is there to fulfill her desires. And that makes it harder and harder to resist him in the flesh.

In the meantime, Lucian has decided to take his place as the vampire leader. But his nemesis Kraid wants the position for himself and plans to gain it at any cost –including going through Rana. Kraid’s actions have serious consequences that I can’t get into without spoiling the story. But I will say that for their severity, the repercussions were laid out too quickly and without enough explanation for me. It’s never made clear who or what is responsible for mitigating the fallout and, later, why and how the rules were able to change.

I felt like we had to take a lot of the book at face value and that the story did not have a chance to be terribly deep. While some scenes were rich with detail (mostly the steamy ones,) it just seemed like some elements were addressed too superficially. The book was closer to novella sized than a full length novel and maybe that had something to do with it.

I did enjoy the romance, though. The sex is hot and because of the reincarnation element, the quick attachment between Lucian and Rana didn’t bother me. I also liked that the story featured a smattering of well developed secondary characters, which we’ll see more of in future installments of the series.

Overall, it was a short and sexy read, but one I may have enjoyed more with a little more fleshing out. 3 stars.

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
A Taste for Passion
by Patrice Michelle
Original Release Date: August 2003
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Re-Release Date: December 2, 2011