Archives for September 2012

Review: Unsafe Haven

Reviewed by Shelly

Arriving in the isolated village of Staamat, Alaska, Kendall Martin is ready to start over. On the run from her ex-fiancé, she’s there to reinvent herself as the new owner of a souvenir and sportsman trading post. While there she meets Denn Nulo, Staamat’s Chief of Police and resident good guy.

Kendall and Denn click immediately. That doesn’t mean they jump into bed or anything like that – just that they recognize their mutual attraction. Even though she thinks that Denn seems to be a nice guy, it’s because of her prior abusive relationship that Kendall is very untrusting of her feelings for him. Kendall comes from a home with great parents and wonderful childhood memories, which made her easy to identify with as someone who has had a run of bad things happening in a small, yet defining, time in her life. I loved how although her time with Conroy was bad, it didn’t turn her into a bitter or mean person. Yes, she was more cautious of those around her but her personality remained as a caring person. I really liked Kendall. I thought her character was smart, sweet, vulnerable, and oh so gratifyingly unwilling to play the woe-is-me card. I like that a lot.

Denn is a great character. He’s that everyday hero you would read about in your local paper. He’s a go-getter, intelligent, and yes, very good-looking; very much the boy next door. After going away to college in Anchorage with the plan to become a lawyer, he has to come back home because of his mother’s sudden death and to take care of his thirteen year-old sister, Luna. Luna is absolutely precious: she’s diabetic and her ‘rebellion’ is eating junk food at the local eatery owned by old man Fake (what an awesome name). It’s because of Luna’s sweetness and inherent love of her brother (and him for her) that Kendall sees Denn as a caring and patient person.

There are a lot of characters that make up the small town. Jo, Denn’s best friend who has five boys and is pregnant with her sixth and seventh – yep you got it – twins. She keeps telling this story of her mother’s pregnancy and giving birth that make me laugh out loud. Wendy, the owner of the inn where Kendall first stays has some secrets that probably should have stayed locked up. There’s a plethora of others that I enjoyed getting to know. Oh yeah, let me tell you about Kendall’s ex-fiancé. Conroy Herington was the culmination of what happens when not only power corrupts but when one parent over compensates for the other parent and the kid grows up to be Ted Bundy. Conroy was evil incarnate and I wanted –no, needed– all bad things to happen to him. I really enjoyed this book a lot. The writing is fresh and clever and very well done.

Happy reading folks!

Rating: A+

*ARC provided by author for review 

Click to purchase: Amazon
Unsafe Haven
by Char Chaffin
Release Date: September 5, 2012
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Review: Highlander Reborn

Reviewed by Jen

Laura Hunsaker takes two of my favorite genres and blends them together with this vampire Highlander novella.  I was little worried about how these two could go together, but it actually worked.

Nevin is a Highland warrior who began hunting vampires after they killed his wife.  He even went so far as to hunt the Vampire Queen herself, but his honor would not allow him to kill her unless she attacked first.  That intrigued Amalia and from then on, she developed feelings for him.  When Nevin was nearly killed on the battlefield, Amalia stepped in, turning him into one of her kind.  He fled after that, and for seven centuries, they stayed apart.

Now Nevin is a bounty hunter and he has never forgiven Amalia for changing him. But she has never let go of her feelings for him.  When she approaches him to help her track down a traitor, sparks fly. And Nevin must quickly decide what he truly feels for the beautiful queen.

I liked it.  It was a short story… less than 50 pages… but fast paced and verra sexy.  I enjoyed the vampire, Highlander fusion. Nevin is uber-hot. And the sex is great.  A few nitpicks though… I thought his about-face happened really fast. He went from hating Amalia to being her mate in the blink of an eye.  And even worse, they were throwing around the L-word after just a day or two in each other’s company.  (My Number One Romance Pet Peeve.)

If you are looking for a fast, sexy PNR short, though, this one fits the bill.  Just right for a lunch break read or hot afternoon diversion. (Plus, the door is open for the story to continue.)

Rating: B-

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Highlander Reborn
by Laura Hunsaker
Release Date: October 2, 2012

Review: Liv’s Journey

Reviewed by Shelly

While doing a photo shot on the Journey ranch, former supermodel Liv Aune meets Army officer Trey Journey. At first glance these two feel the attraction, but Liv is hesitant because of her weight. Trey is a dominant who’s looking for a submissive, not a doormat, and he thinks that he might have found something in Liv.

I really didn’t understand Liv – for a 24 year-old supermodel, she’s got the biggest case of insecurity over her body and how much she eats. She used to be a size zero until a couple year prior, when one day she decided that she’s going to start eating ‘cause she’s hungry (huh?) and didn’t want to be malnourished anymore. I would assume that’s a hard decision to make, but what’s puzzling is that I didn’t understand Liv’s personal journey and the transition of her weight and its relationship to her chosen career. She’s been modeling since age twelve when her mother put her into modeling to help pay for college, except that Liv didn’t go to college (not yet anyway).

On one of their first dates, Liv says something that Trey didn’t like and thought as disrespectful – so he sends her out to the truck to wait for him. When he gets there and begins her punishment there’s an incident where someone catches them red-handed (pun intended), quickly captures the images and flees. There’s a whole blackmail story behind that. However, the conflict didn’t seem to be the photograph taken but of Liv’s ongoing ordeal with her weight and whether Trey would think she’s a ‘pig’ (she said it, I didn’t) when he sees how much she eats.

In addition to all that, Liv’s a bit of a brat and would say things that just asked for something to happen and Trey would bring it every time. I’m didn’t really understand the reason for the spankings either. Some seemed a bit harsh – there’s a scene with a looped belt that I’m not sure how that was pleasing to Liv. She and Trey did seem to have a spark and I think that he liked her quite a bit, but I didn’t like the head games that he played with her about being in the BDSM lifestyle that he’s into.

This is a short read, about 39K words so I can’t give too much away. I will say that if you like spankings in your stories, give this one a try. I’d like to read the others in the series to see who’s up next, because there were some other interesting characters, mainly Ace, Trey’s older brother who I wouldn’t mind getting to know a little bit more (if you know what I mean – insert wink).

Happy reading folks!

Rating: C

*Book provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Liv’s Journey
by Patricia Green
Release Date: March 23, 2012
Publisher: Blushing Books

5 for Friday – September 28

It is Friday, September 27… three days after the release of JR Ward’s Rapture. I still have not read it.  I fail at both fandom and blogging.  But we have tons to talk about this week!

5. I know this is a week old, but Jennifer Estep revealed the cover for Deadly Sting, the next book in the Elemental Assassin series.  Check it out:

Red is definitely my color. Good thing, because in my line of work, I end up wearing it a lot.Most people shy away from blood, but for an assassin like me — Gin Blanco, aka the Spider — it’s just part of the job. Still, it would be nice to get a night off, especially when I’m attending the biggest gala event of the summer at Briartop, Ashland’s fanciest art museum. But it’s just not meant to be. For this exhibition of my late nemesis’ priceless possessions is not only the place to be seen, but the place to be robbed and taken hostage at gunpoint as well. No sooner did I get my champagne than a bunch of the unluckiest thieves ever burst into the museum and started looting the place.

Unlucky why? Because I brought along a couple of knives in addition to my killer dress. Add these to my Ice and Stone magic, and nothing makes me happier than showing the bad guys why red really is my color.

It’s a stepback cover and I love that we see Gin’s face, but… Did you guys notice the one word missing from that blurb?? I’ll give you a hint. It starts with an “O” and ends with a “wen.”  I pray that we get some happy news on the romance front with this next book.  Deadly Sting is out March 26.

4. Lord’s Fall is just weeks away and Thea Harrison is giving out advanced copies of her newest Elder Races book.

This is another Dragos & Pia book!  You can win a copy at Thea’s blog or pre-order now.  It’s out November 6th.

3. If you don’t read Stacia Kane’s Downside books, you may not understand the pure moment of squee I had when she tweeted the following:

That was followed by:

I don’t know anything else. But whatever this turns out to be…. I will buy it. I love Terrible so hard.

2. Two big announcements from Ilona Andrews.  First, the spectacular writing duo announced the name for the next Kate Daniels book.  MAGIC RISES will be out in July or August of next year.
In the meantime, they are putting out a free serial on their blog.  It’s called Clean Sweep. You can link to it HERE and they will likely release it as an ebook when they are done.  Help spread the word.  I love these two.

1. And finally… I promised you some big news last week! I’ve got a huge feature coming in the month of October. It’s called Favorites From My Favorites.

Every weekday in the month, I’ll have a guest post from one of my favorite authors, offering up recommendations of their favorite books for you to try. We’ll have great giveaways, thanks to the amazing folks at Penguin, Harper Collins, Grand Central, Kensington and St Martin’s Press.  And some of the authors are sharing their own work as well.  I could not be more excited about the lineup.  We’ve got such a great variety of authors from Urban Fantasy to PNR, fantasy and HR.  From NYT bestsellers to debut authors and some you may not even be familiar with.  But each one of them is a favorite of mine!  So please give them all a warm welcome.  Be sure to enter the giveaways and leave lots of comments.  Our first guest is Jennifer Estep –and her post will up first thing Monday morning.

I hope you love it!

XOXO,
Jen

*”Favorites from…” photo: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos  

Review: From the Ashes

Reviewed by Shelly
 

I fell in like with this book because of the cover – the geometrical shapes of the skin wrapped in wire just fascinated me. The blurb got me further, how interesting and different would it be to have an anti-hero as the main character? How promising a concept that someone could rise from the ashes to become a hero in a world of villains’? Pretty on the outside doesn’t fix the inside…

Twenty-five year old, aberrant Tobias Rutherford, aka Spark, masquerades as a graduate student at UC Berkeley while he’s on a mission from his father, Michael Cornelius Rutherford aka Lord High General Infernus Blaze — aka Blaze. Unfortunately, that name doesn’t lend credence to this being a non-comic book or manga style story. But moving on…part of Tobias mission is to prevent the advancement of a biogenetics research being conducted by Professor Langdon at the college. While Tobias is there, he meets professor Sean Archer who had some secrets of his own.

Tobias is convinced that he’s a killer by nature, and nurture has no impact on his ability to make a choice, be it good or bad. There are some morality and ethics thoughts/concepts/dialogue that I wasn’t sure of their purpose within the story line, so I kept reading. Known as an aberrant by society’s standards – aberrant genetics, aberrant psychology – Tobias talents lie in his ability to control and manipulate electricity.

I had a lot of trouble with this story. Tobias is a straight up killer – he didn’t kill a few people, he killed a whole lotta people. He proudly acknowledges himself as his father’s son. He’s killed three million people, half the population of Laos, when he was younger. This is just one example of his killing. Am I supposed to feel sympathetic or empathetic towards this guy? Am I supposed to feel for him because his mother was killed when he was younger? Ummm – hell no, I’m not. Folks, when I read a story, for me to have enjoyment I expect to care about the character(s). Sadly, I found myself completely dispassionate about Tobias, Sean, or the LHGIB.

Sean was lacking in development. I don’t know what made him tick. I don’t know what made him like Tobias. I didn’t know anything about him except he’s got to have something going on to like somebody like Tobias. LHGIB was just some voice on a phone that I knew through the thoughts of Tobias. I thought there was a moment when the story line would have given more about him but that didn’t happen. So I kept reading. When his father contacts him with a change in mission, Tobias has to make the decision if he will continue to follow in his father’s footsteps or become the hero.

The end was quick, forced and make me a bit uncomfortable because I was sure that Tobias would redeem himself. I’m not okay with the killing folks especially because they’re human and they’ve done you no harm. If I saw evidence of cruelty and inhumanity, I might have a different thought to that but I didn’t. (*spoilers*) I absolutely did not see how the killing of Congress progressed this story line. How do you go from killings millions without mercy or impunity and claiming that you have no feelings for three fourths of the book to falling in love and all is right with the world? WTF?

Overall I didn’t like this story, it felt more like a comic book read primarily because of Tobias’s complete lack of remorse.

Happy reading folks!

Rating: D

*ARC Provided by Entangled for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
From the Ashes
by Adrien-Luc Sanders
Release Date: September 7, 2012
Publisher: Entangled

Feature & Giveaway: The Night Beat

Thanks for stopping by on the Necropolis Enforcement Blog Tour of 2012! If you haven’t read the first chapter of The Night Beat, hit Deathless Prose over at my website and check it out. Then, hit each stop along the way to get more of the story. Missed a stop? Check the website for the Tour Page http://www.ginikoch.com/blogtour.htm and get caught up.

And don’t forget to get entered to win a copy of The Night Beat at EVERY blog tour stop along the way! Plus, follow the Tour ‘til the end and get entered for a mega-prize! So, grab your badge — it’s time to join Necropolis Enforcement!

The majority of Prosaic City’s residents don’t know that their town exists on top of another place — Necropolis, City of the Undead. For the most part, the two planes of existence manage to remain separate. And when they don’t, Necropolis Enforcement has beings in place to ensure the general human population remains blithely clueless.

Victoria Wolfe is more than just a policewoman. She’s an undercover werewolf assigned by Necropolis Enforcement to work Prosaic City Police’s Night Beat. Victoria’s comfortable working the shift where all the weird comes out to play, especially since her partner is also her perfect man. Or would be, if Victoria could ever work up the nerve to tell him she isn’t like other girls.

It’s hard enough being a werewolf in disguise, but when a creature from the Depths of Hell shows up in an alley preferred by junkies, bums, and hookers, it’s going to take more than just Victoria’s special gun and werewolf skills to subdue the ancient Sumerian demon. Especially when the demon is merely the start of what appears to be a major takeover attempt by the Prince of Darkness.

Soon all of Necropolis Enforcement’s Undead Brigade is involved in the fight to stop the Prince’s Major Minions from taking over Prosaic City and the rest of the human plane. But it’s Victoria who has to face the Adversary and figure out what intricate plan Lucifer has up his wings before everyone she cares about is destroyed. In other words, it’s just another day on the Night Beat.

Check out an excerpt:

“There’s no way Vic can go back to human right now,” Ken said briskly. “She can barely stand upright.”“But I’m supposed to be one of the detectives on the scene.”

“I’ll handle it,” Jack said. “I’d like one of the vampires to stay with me, though, just in case.”

“I will,” Ken offered. “Maurice, you take Vic back to Headquarters and get her taken care of. Amanda, can you carry the others?”

“Monty’s done with cleanup and he’s taking Dirt Corps back the way they came,” Amanda said. “So I’ll only have to worry about H.P.” Ken shook his head. “Nope. We have a new succubus and zombie that need to go with you.”

Amanda sighed. “No problem.” Vamps were strong and Amanda worked out. Not that she was the vampire equivalent of a body builder or something, but she was stronger than the average vamp. She was at least as strong as Monty.

“I’d take one, but Vicki squirms,” Maurice said. Sadly, he was right. Werewolves don’t like to fly all that much. And Maurice loved to fly fast and wild. It was all I could do to not claw him and jump for the illusion of safety when I wasn’t hurt. When I was it took all my concentration and his to keep me from freaking out, even if he flew slowly.

“You need to get moving,” Ken said.

“I’ll see you later, partner,” Jack said as he handed me to Maurice.

“Behave and don’t bite someone’s head off.”

“Funny. See you later.”

Maurice snorted, Amanda picked up H.P., our new zombie and our new succubus, and we all took off.

“Slow down!”

“Vicki, Vic, Vicster, Vicarino…you freak at granddaddy speeds, you freak at NASCAR speeds. I’m a formula vehicle and since it makes no difference, I’m going to get us there faster so I get clawed less.”

Maurice had a point. I shut up, closed my eyes, and tried to relax.

Didn’t help. I could feel the air moving past us, smell everything we whizzed by, hear the noises that showed me our speed.

“What happened?” This question came from the succubus.

“Well, an ancient Sumerian demon manifested and they always come out hungry,” H.P. began. I could recognize a lecture starting. I opened my eyes, did my best to drown out the lecture by humming “Werewolves of London”, and tried to enjoy the view.

All things considered, Prosaic City looked pretty good from the air. Like all big American cities it had a variety of business and high-rise sections, older stately buildings surrounded by newer, sleeker ones, scattered suburban sections filled with every kind of tract home from simple to McMansion, a lot of streets and highways, an old downtown nice people didn’t want to be in after dark, a newer downtown where they did, and a variety of uptown and other higher class, hot spot, and trendy areas. Unlike many cities, it had a variety of rivers running through it and an impressive bridge system.

And unlike every other city in this hemisphere, it had an underground like you wouldn’t believe.

Gini Koch lives in Hell’s Orientation Area (aka Phoenix, AZ), works her butt off (sadly, not literally) by day, and writes by night with the rest of the beautiful people. She writes the fast, fresh and funny Alien/Katherine “Kitty” Katt series for DAW Books, the Necropolis Enforcement Files series, and the Martian Alliance Chronicles series for Musa Publishing. As G.J. Koch she writes the Alexander Outland series for Night Shade Books. She also writes under a variety of other pen names (including Anita Ensal, Jemma Chase, A.E. Stanton, and J.C. Koch), listens to rock music 24/7, and is a proud comics geek-girl willing to discuss at any time why Wolverine is the best superhero ever (even if Deadpool does get all the best lines). She speaks frequently on what it takes to become a successful author and other aspects of writing and the publishing business. She can be reached through her website at www.ginikoch.com

Would you like to win your own copy? Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below:

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Review: Lord of Temptation

Reviewed by Jen

Forced to run from his old life to escape a murderous uncle, Tristan was pushed into a life at sea from the young age of 14. He never had a chance to be the man of nobility he was bred for. Instead, he grew to embrace his destiny on the open water. He shed his old persona and became Crimson Jack. Eventually he became captain of his own ship. And though as an adult, he and his brothers were finally able to reclaim their names and inheritance, he never again felt comfortable in the skin of a Lord.

Anne is a woman in mourning for her dead fiance. He has been gone for years, but to find closure, she feels she must travel to the distant land where he died at war –and make her peace with his memory. She hires Tristan to take her there.

From the moment he sees her, Tristan is taken by Anne. He only agrees to bring her to her destination for the payment of a kiss.  He figures he’ll seduce her and get her out of his system during the voyage.  After all, he believes she has a real, live fiance waiting for her on the other side of the journey.  He’s wrong on all counts.

I enjoyed watching Anne and Tristan push each other’s buttons.  The sexual tension between them is good and though we had to wait a while for that kiss, once the ball got rolling between these two, it was impossible to keep them apart.  The sex is great and the emotional aspects of the relationship are solid.

The biggest hurdle between them is Tristan’s inability to embrace love and a stable future.  Anne wants a marriage and family, but Tristan makes no secret of the fact that his life is at sea… Or is it?  The story starts going round and round in the second half with these two together, then pushing each other away. I can’t tell you how many times they had their “last time together.”  It’s very apparent to the reader how these two feel about each other, even if they can’t see it themselves. So I did find myself growing a little impatient waiting for Tristan to have his big revelation.

Overall, though, I really did like the story.  Our hero and heroine are honest with each other and their feelings are genuine and true.  The secondary character were fleshed out and interesting too.  I’m really a fan of the whole premise of this series. (And I liked the book about Tristan’s twin, though this book works well as a standalone.) These poor brothers have been through so much!   I can’t wait for Rafe’s story.

Rating: B

*ARC Provided by Avon

Click to purchase: Amazon
Lord of Temptation
by Lorraine Heath
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Avon

Chat & Giveaway with Faith Hunter

The newest installment in the Jane Yellowrock series is just a week away! And Faith Hunter is joining us today to answer the questions fans want to know and to share a copy of Death’s Rival. Please help me welcome her to the blog.

Q. Why hasn’t Jane gotten with Bruiser?

A. Rick and Bruiser and Leo. What a conundrum. Jane is a healthy, unrepressed female, who respects her body and her souls, so she will eventually pick at least one guy, but even I don’t know which guy(s) yet.

All the men are a big part of her life. Jane likes one guy (Rick) but she can’t have him. Her Beast likes another guy or two (Bruiser and Leo) so it’s hard to pick. And Beast assures Jane that, “Big-cats do not mate for life.” However, at this stage in her life, Jane doesn’t sleep around. She’s a little too uptight and reserved for that. But she is a sexual being. And men like her.

Q. What about Rick LaFleur is attractive to Jane?

A. Rick is free (or was until recently) and he is human (or was until recently) and he could have given his all to Jane, in a relationship where she would not have been used (as she surely would be with Leo) and will be first in his life (unlike with Bruiser who would be loyal to Leo). She wants to be first in a man’s life. Rick fights crime and understands the fact that Jane does so, as well, even if she is going about it via different route. They have a lot in common.

Q. You have graphic violence, but avoid graphic sex and cursing, an unusual choice that makes the books widely accessible. Why?

A. Oy. Lots of reasons. In no particular order: Emotional, but also physical violence, were part of my young home life. Dad taught me to shoot guns at age 12 in an outbreak of rabies in our rural county. As eldest I had to be ready to protect my brothers from rabid animals as well as human predators. Also, I was bullied in school because I was a Christian and had to stand up, without violence, to the bullies. In my heart-of-hearts, I wanted to bash the bullies, but I couldn’t, so I do on the pages I write. I have internal demons (my own spiritual but evil Beast) that I want to kill, and I kill it over and over on the page.

As to sex? LKH writes great sex. Never ever boring. And she never uses crass or popular names for body parts, making her sex read like poetry. Most written sex is boring after a while, IMHO, and hers is never boring! When I write sex it makes me laugh. Not what I wanted. I do however write good sexual tension, so I write to my strengths.

As to language: Language is a tool. If it brings in more readers then it is a good tool. If it pushes away even one reader then it is a bad tool. I can just as easily say, she cursed, or she swore. As long as I don’t overdo, no one misses the actual cuss words. And readers who would be offended by the words themselves are not offended and buy my books. It’s good business. And yes, I do cuss myself. But I am sparing with the use. It’s a tool to be wielded, not a crutch.

Q. Vampires, New Orleans. It’s been done before. How do you keep it fresh?

A. New Orleans is amazing. Every time I drive through I see something new that has been there all along. I literally ride with my head hanging out the window to capture the sights and smells, camera in hand. How can anyone not love NOLA? It is amazing! And it reinvents itself yearly, so fresh is easy.

Q. Will there be more books in this series?

A. After DEATH’S RIVAL, I have two more books under contract. After that, well, it all depends on the readers and how faithful they are to the series. Fans make or break books, and writers live on their joy and love of books. If fans buy books and tell their friends to buy books, then a writer gets contracts. So far, Jane Yellowrock is selling, If I do my job well and the fans like it well enough to do theirs, then yes. I can only hope!

So here are the deets on the new book:

Jane Yellowrock is a shapeshifting skinwalker you don’t want to cross—especially if you’re one of the undead…

For a vampire killer like Jane, having Leo Pellisier as a boss took some getting used to. But now, someone is out to take his place as Master Vampire of the city of New Orleans, and is not afraid to go through Jane to do it. After an attack that’s tantamount to …a war declaration, Leo knows his rival is both powerful and vicious, but Leo’s not about to run scared. After all, he has Jane.

But then, a plague strikes, one that takes down vampires and makes their masters easy prey. Now, to uncover the identity of the vamp who wants Leo’s territory, and to find the cause of the vamp-plague, Jane will have to go to extremes…and maybe even to war.

Want to give it a try?  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. US only please. In the meantime, you can find Faith online and on social media:

Website:  http://www.faithhunter.net
Twitter:   http://twitter.com/HunterFaith
Facebook page for Faith:    http://www.facebook.com/official.faith.hunter

And if you haven’t tried the Jane Yellowrock series before, check out my review of book one: Skinwalker.
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Review: Blue Violet

Reviewed by Shelly
 

Ellinore ‘Ellie’ Audrey is not just another high school student; she’s a girl with a secret that only her twin Griffin knows. In this first book of the series, both of these siblings have moved to Colorado from Texas in pursuit of what they believe to be more of their own kind. Once in Colorado, Ellie’s disguises herself as a high school student, allowing her to get close to the Jenners and the Pierces, who are undiscovered members of the Svatura. The Svatura are a ravaged and decimated group of gypsies who have some pretty cool, spectacular supernatural powers. While she’s doing some surveillance work at the high school, Ellie meets fellow Svatura, hunkalicious Alex Jenner.

Ellie’s power is that she’s able to morph into some inherent creatures (wolf, falcon, etc.) and use her twin brother’s, Griffin, mind reading ability. If you’re a fan of the X-Men series, Ellie’s powers remind me of Rogue’s ‘touch’ powers. When I started reading, I was a little nervous that this would be too similar in plot and I would have to give Owens the big what-for but I was pleasantly surprised to say that the premise was the only similarity that I found, thank goodness. And another prop – thanks for staying away from the formulaic werewolf plot (who doesn’t love a wolf pack?), so refreshing – but I digress. Once Ellie sets eyes on Alex she’s really intrigued and drawn to him but doesn’t see a future there because of what/who she is and who she believes Alex is. Alex’s ability to freeze objects from the miniscule to the ginormous is pretty awesome too. Again, he reminds me of the powers of X-Men’s Iceman, but like Ellie and Rogue, that’s where the similarities end. Alex and Ellie were a great couple, when they really get together and are able to get out of that teenager mentality. They’re going to rock the sheets, trust me on this.

The development of this story was precise and carefully done. There were a few places where I felt a lull but they were few and far between. I really liked Griffin. He seems to be a practical foil for Ellie’s sometimes hot-headedness. Even better, he’s got a few secrets that he’s been keeping from his twin. I’m hoping those will get flushed out in the upcoming novel (hopefully with Selene huh? insert plea). Oh, please! please! please! Tell me that Ramsey and Lila get together – I could feel the heat on my iPad. Owens has written this story so that many of our new friends can have their own story – very exciting there. Gabriel was in interesting character, I was slightly disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of him.

Overall, I thought this story was well done and captivating. I found myself emotionally invested in each character, especially Ellie and Alex, but that’s because Owen has not written about Griffin, Selene, Adelaide, Nate, Ramsey and Lila and I can’t wait until she does.

Although there’s no sex –it’s pretty much a young adult theme– there was enough tension that I felt that Ellie and Alex were sexually compatible.

Happy reading folks!

Rating: B

*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Blue Violet
by Abigail Owen
Release Date: August 19, 2012

Review: Immortal Surrender

Reviewed by Jen

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  It’s the second in Claire Ashgrove’s Curse of the Templars series.  And one of the things that I like best about these books is that each one features a tortured hero with a heroine who can save his soul.

In this case, our hero is Farran. Like Merrick before him, he doesn’t want a seraph. He thinks he is too far gone. He wants one of his brothers to receive the gift. Beyond that, though, he is still nursing a 900 year-old heartbreak brought on by a treacherous and unfaithful wife.

Noelle is an unlikely choice for a seraph. She doesn’t even believe in God, which makes the whole immortal Templar thing sound all the more insane to her.  She does, however, trust in science. She dates and authenticates ancient relics for a living.  She doesn’t have much of a life beyond her work. Apparently, Noelle is plain and flat chested and no man has ever really been interested in her.

Once the angel Gabriel does his thing and orchestrates a meeting between Farran and Noelle, he realizes immediately that she is his fated match. He decides he must speak his oath to bind with her, in order to honor his duty, but he will never allow anything real to grow between them.  He essentially kidnaps her, drags her back to the Temple and spends the rest of the book trying to force her to speak the oath back to him while he fights he growing feelings for her.

I like the world-building and the story is rich with great secondary characters. It gives the entire book such a great canvas.  I enjoyed the tender moments between Farran and Noelle, but he also frustrated me at times with his thoughtless comments designed to put emotional distance between them.  He wasn’t a bad guy, but he was thick-headed. And 900 years is a long time to hold a grudge against women.  As for Noelle, it kind of stretches credulity to think that any functional 29 year-old woman can be that innocent in 2012.  Beyond that, I liked her well enough. She has a sharp mind and demands the kind of proof that most rational people would need.  I just hated to see her feelings hurt so often.

When the walls finally start to come down between these two, the heat factor was fantastic.  The love scenes were great and there was a fair amount of action worked in –as well as enough intrigue to keep me guessing.  –Not everything is tied up neatly. There are definitely loose ends that will branch over to the next book. But the ending gives good closure on the relationship, so it’s by no means a cliffhanger.

I liked it. And I’ll read the next one when it comes out.  I’m hoping for Sophie’s story… with Tane perhaps? Or maybe Declan?  I’m looking forward to it.

Rating: B



*ARC provided by author for review

Click to purchase: Amazon
Immortal Surrender
by Claire Ashgrove
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Publisher: Tor