Review: Falling From the Light by Regan Summers

falling from the lightReviewed by Jen

I remember that I really enjoyed the first story in this series, but cooled a bit toward the second. I think this third installment, though, is easily the best to date.  It pays a lot of attention to the core romance; it’s got a fast-moving, action packed plot; and it’s got angst in spades.

As the story begins, Sydney is being forced to do a job for the super-powerful vampire Bronson. Essentially, he is basically using extortion, by threatening her lover Malcolm, who is currently serving him.  She has to dig up info on a Las Vegas company linked to the powerful drug, Radiant, that made a bunch of vamps go crazy in the last book. Conveniently, Malcolm has a job of his own to do in the same neck of the woods, so they can travel to Sin City together. [Read more…]

Guest Post & Giveaway: Regan Summers

My favorite love story comes from a James Cameron movie.

Hey, where are you going? Come back! I’m not talking about Titanic.

I’m talking about The Abyss. The 1989 science fiction movie is best known for the water effects and for how parts of it were filmed in a 7,000,000 (that’s right, seven meeeeellion) gallon tank at an unfinished nuclear power plant. And that is remarkable.

But the heart of the story is Virgil “Bud” Brigman, played by he-of-the-piercing-blue-eyes, Ed Harris. He’s a gruff foreman running an experimental deep sea oil rig. And Virgil’s heart, in turn, is in the hands of the abrasive Dr. Lindsay Brigman, played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. Do you see where I’m going with this?

They come from disparate backgrounds. He’s a roughneck and she has a PhD. He gets all greasy fixing the machines on the rig. She designed the rig. They married for convenience, truly fell in love, but then combusted and separated. Fate, aliens and the U.S. military throw them together thousands of feet below the surface of the ocean in a veritable pressure cooker, and they fall in love again. They’re both competent, intelligent, passionate people who will do anything for the other person. And I do mean anything.

Twenty-three years is long enough, right? I’m not going to spoil this for anyone? Okay, if you haven’t seen this movie, skip the remainder of this, and the next two paragraphs. Otherwise…the big sacrifice, the one that influences the aliens to spare humankind, is delivered softly. It’s Bud, relaying a poorly-typed message saying that, when he went out to try to defuse a bomb, he knew it was a one-way trip. He reassured Lindsay and the crew when he left, but he understood he wasn’t coming back. It’s a great moment, really, but the two scenes that made my heart grow three sizes were these:

One: When Bud hears that Lindsay’s coming down to his ship after months (or years) apart, he pulls off his wedding band and throws it into the toilet. Then he realizes that, no matter how much she frustrates and angers him, he loves her. He retrieves the ring and, since the toilets are specialized, they’re full of neon blue water. His hand is stained blue, a larger, more noticeable exhibit of his love than the ring. Awwww.

Two: Bud and Lindsay are trapped in a failing mini-sub, which is rapidly filling with frigid water, far from the rig. They’ve only got one survival suit. Lindsay calculates the oxygen, water temperature and their relative strength, and determines that one of two things will happen. Either they’ll both die, or she has to die so that Bud – the stronger swimmer – can drag her back to the rig. It’s the only chance for at least one of them to survive, and it’s an intense scene. The sub’s tiny, so Bud’s right there, holding her as she drowns, not knowing if he can bring her back.

*blows whistle* Okay, all you people who’ve been meaning to watch a movie for TWENTY-THREE years but haven’t gotten around to it, come on back. This is the love story that made me believe in love stories. It’s probably why I’m addicted to paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Situations are highest possible stakes intense. Differences between love interests can be vast. We’re talking different species or millenium-old enemies. It’s fantastic.

Love has to find a way through massive odds, threats of violence and magically-induced divisions. When it’s tested, it’s put way past the red line. In the Night Runner series, Sydney Kildare and Malcolm Kelly are, for everything going on around them, taking things slowly. As a vampire, Mal has all the time in the world, but because of a serious mistake in the past, he’s indentured to a stronger vampire. He’s learned to value things like time, freedom and choice, and wants to make the most of all three.

In RUNNING IN THE DARK, Sydney’s stepping deeper into the vampire world – a world she’s skirted for years as a courier – and she’s not liking what she’s finding. With the exception of Malcolm. For someone who’s learned to mistrust men and been taught to distrust vampires, this is a difficult realization.

So when they discover a substance that’s threatening vampires and humans alike, they both want to find and destroy it. And that’s when Malcolm’s past springs open like a Pandora’s Box with a malicious sense of humor, upping the stakes and making the danger very real, and very, very personal.

What is Malcolm willing to give in order to protect Sydney? What is Syd capable of doing when a band of vampires rises between her and Mal?

Santiago, Chile After surviving a vampire turf war in Alaska, vampire courier Sydney Kildare is back behind the wheel and working under an assumed name in Chile. She doesn’t speak the language, doesn’t know the city and—worst of all—has to drive a crappy car.

What she does have is Malcolm Kelly, her sort-of boyfriend and manager of the city’s vampire population. But with Malcolm preoccupied by bloodsucker business—and a gorgeous vampiress from his past—Sydney feels more alone than ever.

But Sydney has more than her love life to worry about. She’s got vamps on her tail, mysterious deliveries that leave death in their wake, and old enemies targeting her to get to Malcolm. Turns out he’s got a history more deadly than she ever imagined, and she’ll have to use every skill in her arsenal to stay alive…

About the Author
Regan Summers lives in Anchorage, Alaska with her husband and alien-monkey hybrid of a child. She is a huge fan of the low profile. She likes books, ottomans with concealed storage, small plate dining, libraries, Corporal Hicks, some aspects of pre-revolutionary France, most aspects of current Italy, and books.

Her Night Runner series, including Don’t Bite the Messenger and Running in the Dark, is available wherever e-books are sold.

Website  –  Twitter  –  Facebook  –  Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Carina Press

Want to give this series a try? Enter the Rafflecopter form below. The two winners can select either Don’t Bite the Messenger OR Running in the Dark.

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Review: Running in the Dark

Reviewed by Jen

The scenery has changed, but life as a courier for the vampires is just as crazy as ever for Sydney Kildare.  She had to flee Alaska, where she had made a name for herself in her profession and now she is starting over from the ground-up in Santiago, Chile.  And she’s trying to make a go of her relationship with Malcolm, the vampire running the city for his boss.  Things aren’t going well on either fronts.

As the low man on the totem pole, Syd is getting the lowliest jobs and her ambition is riding her hard.  That would be bad enough, but there are problems in the vamp population which are starting to make life difficult. A new drug is is on the street and its slowly making the vamps lose it.  Not only does that make things more dangerous for Sydney on the job, it’s also pulling Malcolm away from her.

She doesn’t really set out to solve the mystery or to jump into middle of it all, yet she ends up there just the same.  It’s bloody and ugly –and Malcolm’s true loyalties are called into question more than once.  There is a lot of action and plotting and gore.  But what I really wanted was more on the characters, and especially, more on the relationship between Malcolm and Sydney. Maybe it’s the romance reader in me, but I felt like I was only getting little nuggets of what I most interested in.  The glimpses of their time together were good, but it wasn’t enough.

I don’t really feel like I know either Syd or Malcolm. What really makes them tick.  Obviously, with Sydney’s first person narrative, we know her a little better, but I want more character development.  This, even more so with Malcolm.

I feel like the potential is there. I’m interested in what happens, but not very emotionally engaged for the most part.  The moments where Malcolm and Sydney are together draw me in, though.  So I’m going to give book three a try and see where it leads.

Rating: B-

*ARC Provided by Carina Press via NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Running in the Dark
by Regan Summers
Release Date: October 29, 2012
Publisher: Carina Press

Guest Post & Giveaway: Regan Summers

Paranormal romance author Regan Summers is joining us for a guest post today. I enjoyed her debut novel, Don’t Bite the Messenger, which came out last month. Please help me welcome her to the blog. 

SLOW BURN
I used to think that bodice manufacturers were the cheapest bastards on the planet. According to literature, those things were constantly coming unstrung, or getting ripped and flung into far corners of manor houses and stables.

You see what a romantic I am, focusing on manufacturing rather than the fiery passion that inspired said bodice-ripping?

I actually do believe in love at first sight. I’ve seen it in action. (I was once nearly run over by a car when the driver spontaneously fell in love with a woman jogging in a silver sports bra. Superlative craftsmanship in that garment, by the way.)

So, while I believe in it, I sometimes would rather read about a gradual process. I have, for your amusement, assembled a list of some of the many forms of slow-burning love:

A. The Hate-Love (possibly repeating) – These romances are explosive and often involve traded insults, moonlit confessions, scratch marks, and maybe beach or alley sex, depending on locale. The courtships/battles make the reader hold her breath for the duration of entire scenes (or until fainting becomes imminent). Declarations of love are uttered sparingly and/or withheld beyond the point of frustration. They are amazing.

B. The Blind Leading the Besotted – These are uneven romances. One party is infatuated; the other is obliviously obsessed with important social work, or another party (who is clearly wrong for him or her), or maybe an upcoming weekend trip to the Wis Dells. A relationship exists but it is stunted. And, if the blind does not clue in promptly, can become twisted. These stories range in intensity from nail-biters to throw-the-book-across-the-roomers.

C. Just Friends – Oh, really? Good luck with that, since he/she is the most handsome/beautiful, funny/quirky, considerate/compassionate, and adoring/attentive person you’ll ever know, you moron! These books always Sometimes these books make me yell at them. But only because I care.

D. Suspicious Minds – They are very attracted to each other, but…he may have killed her father! …she may have stolen his Very Important Thingie!! …he could be the third cousin once removed of that plumber who overcharged for but then never fixed the garbage disposal!!! I have no idea what to do with these books but sit on the edge of my seat and read, read, read until done. There isn’t always a lot of smexy time in these books, but that’s probably because having a broken garbage disposal stinks. Literally.

In Don’t Bite the Messenger, Sydney and Malcolm find each other attractive. But they don’t hop from that first meeting straight into love, or anything resembling a real courtship. There is anger, frustration, suspicion, dawning friendship and…I wouldn’t want to spoil it. I hope you’ll have as much fun reading about their explosive journey as I had writing it.

Thank you so much for having me, Jen!

Regan is giving away a copy of her book Don’t Bite the Messenger.  To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.  You can learn more about Regan on her website.  Thanks so much, Regan, for being here today.

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Review: Don’t Bite the Messenger

Reviewed by Jen

Sidney earns her living as a messenger, delivering mostly to the vampires of her little corner of Alaska. It’s dangerous work, with a short life expectancy. The excitement and the money satisfy her –and Sidney is good at her job. But she knows she can’t do it forever. It’s not only the danger, but the lonely life she must lead to keep her identity safe from the vampire population.

She has few friends and no romantic life to speak of, until she comes across a sexy man in a bar, while trying to hide from some vamps. An unexpected kiss leaves her thinking about him long after he should have been a distant memory. It takes very little time to realize there is more to the mysterious Malcolm than meets the eye. And as Sidney is marked for death, she has to decide whether he is an ally or an enemy. The even bigger question: can she resist the temptation to give into his charms?

The story is short… less than 100 pages, but I found that I really enjoyed it. It was faced-paced, with world-building that is clearly explained and easy to understand. I like the fact that Sidney and Malcolm did not fall instantly in love, something that happens far too often in PNR novellas. But the heat is definitely there.  The sexual tension is good and I was satisfied with the payoff.

All my questions were answered and all my itches scratched. Plus, I think the door is left open for the author to revisit our characters, should she choose to in the future. A fun, sexy way to spend an hour of your day… 4 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Don’t Bite the Messenger
by Regan Summers
Release Date: January 16, 2012
Publisher: Carina Press