Monday, November 29, 2010

Review of Game Over by Taylor Keating

Game Over

Taylor Keating

Tor Publishing

405 pages

Taylor Keating is the pseudonym of Catherine Verge and Paula Fox and Game Over is the first in their new Paranormal Guardian Series, but it’s so much more that that and you will be cheating yourself if you don’t try it.

River Weston game designer and geek extraordinaire is in the final stage of creating her newest interactive game only she can’t defeat the evil Soul Man and win. Against her teams wishes she goes back to the lab to tweak it alone only she’s far from alone. In his prison provided by the Guardians The Dark Lord watches River and dangles just the right carrot to entice her farther into his trap and if his theory is right she’s just what he needs to escape. Guardian Chase Hawkins has volunteered for his soul to be separated from his body for an experiment only to find himself too close to the Dark Lord’s prison and being snared into it with him. River and Chase have only themselves to rely on to get them out, but can they both get out and if not who will sacrifice who.

In this era of new and exciting genres we have many readers who are genre jumpers, me included. I love dipping my toes in all the proverbial genres, but where have you seen an author who successfully jumps genres in one novel, well look no further because it’s right here in Game Over. You get the interplanetary techno action of Sci-Fi, the characters of fantasy and paranormal the heat of a romantic suspense and the downright great storyline of all of the above in one read. The author(s) give us a heart pounding, blood pressure rising, action packed plot with Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Paranormal thriller written all over it. They will delight their reading audience with animated and provocative dialogue as they take us through the levels of the game describing scenes and creatures, and they’re not afraid to throw out a few expletives when needed. The characters are all way above average and every one of them has their own essential place in the read. The hero Chase and heroine River are exceptional examples of thinking outside the box when it comes to dreaming up protagonists as these two are complex and confounding characters who are constantly challenged and still always rise above. The romance is heartbreakingly poignant while not being cheesy or one-dimensional. The love scenes are few as the author(s) obviously want to focus on more than sex, but the few there are, are sensual, earthy, visceral and edgy.

Believe me when I tell you that you cannot go wrong with this novel, it has all the bells and whistles that any fans of Science Fiction, Fantasy or Paranormal would want in one neat little package. And yet the best thing about this read is that it’s the first in a series, a series that will be first on my wish list. I can’t wait to find out what perils Chase and River will face in their next adventure. To the authors Ms. Verge and Ms. Fox you two have hit the nail on the head. Kudos to you for your exciting new series.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review of Blood Spells by Jessica Anderson

Blood Spells

Jessica Anderson

Penguin Group

440 pages

Blood Spells is the 5th in Ms. Anderson’s Final Prophecy series and is the story of the only mated pair from before the end time clock started ticking again Patience and Brandt White-Eagle.

A chance meeting, a secret shrine, love at first sight, these are the things that Patience thinks about when she remembers meeting Brandt, but now she knows she’s been living a lie, she wants it better or she wants it over. Brandt White-Eagle loves his wife, but he knows there’s something wrong, something he just can’t put his finger on, but when a dark entity threatens their sons they will put aside their problems with each other and fight tooth and nail to save the children. But will they have to make the ultimate sacrifice to do so.

Ms. Anderson is a gifted storyteller with a wicked side, a side that can create creatures even more horrible than your worst nightmare, she can do this while weaving her unbelievably imaginative plot and using her very modern narrative interspersed with eons old Mayan. She gives us out of this world over the top characters, characters that her audience will want to have on their side just in case the end date is real. She catches us up on the stars from the previous novels and introduces us to new characters as well. Her romance is as earthy as her hero and heroine warrior mates while her love scenes are filled with passion, lust, yearning and love.

This novel is not for the feint of heart, not for the timid and not for the meek. This novel is for the brave, the adventurer and the dare-devil. I would recommend this be read in chronological order as the series is about the Mayan doomsday prediction of December 21,2012 and happens chronologically in the novels. If you’ve been waiting for the next installment of the series, your wait is over, if you haven’t tried them yet, what is wrong with you.
Ms. Anderson Kudos to you, this is one kick butt and take no prisoners read.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Review of Strangers by Mary Anna Evans


Mary Anna Evans

Poisoned Pen Press

305 pages

Strangers is Ms. Evans 6th in her Faye Longchamps series.

Faye and Joe have opened their own consulting firm and have landed a job in St. Augustine to research a B&B’s owners property to determine whether or not they can dig a pool. Faye is very late in her pregnancy and Joe is hovering but sometimes even hovering can’t stop danger.

If you’re a fan of Ms. Evans like I am you’d know that her series is set in Florida, well most of the time anyway, which is the home of Faye, and Florida is usually the setting for tourists no matter the city, I always love being educated while reading for pleasure and this novel was no different, in fact did you know that the word Strangers originally meant tourists and I’m sure any native will agree that tourists are indeed strange, but necessary. But let me get back on topic. Ms. Evans has as usual a very unique plot, though contemporary in nature we also deal a great deal with the past as our protagonists are archeologists and it’s probably pretty unusual for said archeologists to be involved in murder and mayhem, but you'll find Faye and Joe deep in the middle of their job when a young woman goes missing. Her characters are wonderfully portrayed, all interesting and all very important to the story. And yes this is a who-done-it but I’ll bet you don’t know who done it until the very end when the author let’s you in on her secret. The hero and heroine Joe and Faye are one of my very favorite couples in a literary series and if you’ve read the whole series you’ll know what I mean, if not briefly it’s their ancestral diversities and their own love story that has been told through out the series.

If you like a mystery series with a little more bite than a cozy and yet not quite a thriller, this series will appeal to you. If you love well developed, well depicted characters with great stories of their own then you will love this. This novel stands well on it’s own except for the background you will have learned about the characters. Ms. Evans kudos and I can’t wait for the next one.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Review of Inspirations Selections of Classic Literature by Paulo Coelho


Selections from Classic Literature by Paulo Coelho

The Penguin Group

235 pages

Paulo Coelho author of the popular novel The Alchemist had a certain vision when asked by Penguin to put together this eclectic assortment of excerpts from many, many years of Penguin classics. He in his preface enlightens us as to what an anthology really means he tells us that it comes from the Greek word meaning a flower-gathering and goes on to tell us how difficult it was to choose not only the work but the passage within that work and also how to catalog them together that will make us not only open our “magic cabinet” of literature and reawaken our passion for that particular piece of literary history but for all of the choices he presents to us here.

In reading this assortment of tidbits from these many and varied classic tales of not only fiction but non fiction as well I am reminded of the flower gathering that Mr. Chelho talks to us about in the preface and in envisioning that I let my mind see a vast arrangement of flowers in a field not put together by size or color or type but by the loving hand of a child with a hand full of seeds who simply runs through this fertile yet barren piece of land spreading the joy of these blooms to come as he has combined these to make a complete work by sorting them by the astrological four elements. Now maybe you think that’s a little over the top but once you feast your eyes on this masterpiece of snippets from some of the greatest writers who ever lived I think you’ll get the picture. Be ready for a journey for all of your senses the trip is set in motion with Water the primordial ocean. It may seem like an unlikely arrangement but just keep reading and as you do I promise you the bouquet will come into focus.

We will get short quips starting with The Ugly Duckling and ending with Frankenstein with a spattering in the middle of the likes of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Sun-tzu’s The Art of War, Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann and the Holocaust, Nelson Mandela’s No Easy Walk to Freedom, George Orwell’s 1984, The Rig Veda, Hymns to Agni, God of the Sacrifice, and The Dead Sea Scrolls. That’s quite a range of interests and genres but don’t let that intimidate you. It’s a rare combination by a master, where else can you get your nursery rhyme in one story and a version of heaven in the next. If you have one must read of 2010, if you’re looking for the perfect gift for that someone who has everything or for the someone most precious to you look no farther “Inspirations” is the only item you need on your list.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Review of Unforgivable by Laura Griffin


Laura Griffin

Pocket Books

387 pages

Publish date 11/30/2010

Unforgivable is the third in Ms. Griffin’s exciting Tracers Series.

Dr. Mia Voss has been a top Delphi Center operative and above reproach, until now. Some one is threatening her and her family and is making it clear that she does what they say or else. What she doesn’t need is super cop Ric Santos snooping around stirring up feelings that she’d rather not think about while also being her conscience. Ric Santos has a good reason for not wanting sexy Mia Voss in his life, she’s the nesting sort and all he wants is meaningless encounters with women. But something is happening that is keeping them in close contact and that contact is about to react like tnt to a spark. He needs to keep her safe, he needs to find out what she’s hiding and he needs to keep his hands off of her.

In this the third of her Tracers series Laura Griffin gives us a strong story line that is easily believed in today’s society of intrigue and above the law politicians and her audience will get their fill of both in this action packed thriller. She will wow us with her narrative that will invite you into her world of crime drama by taking you on a journey for the senses. She will do this through her enigmatic characters most of whom we’ve met in previous episodes of the Tracers series but not all of them. And you her readers will have to look hard to see that almost invisible line between good and evil and determine who wears the white hat and who wears the black as she takes us through the twists and turns of this novel and I’ll bet very few of you will know who the villain is until the author wants us to know him/her. Her romance is frustrating and entertaining and you will doubt this couple is heading for their HEA because of all the obstacles she gives them to get through. The love scenes however leave no room for doubt that these two people are compatible in the biblical sense.

Ms. Griffin has a way with words that will keep her readers engrossed for the entire length of her novels and this one is no different. She will lure you with a plot right off CNN or your local headlines, she’ll hook you with her dialogue that will keep you turning pages without stopping and she’ll reel you in with her characters that are over the top and yet your next door neighbors in one. This is a good stand a lone novel but my suggestion is read the series.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Review of The Keepers by Heather Graham

The Keepers

Heather Graham

Harlequin Nocturne

283 pages

The Keepers is the first in a collaborative trilogy by three award winning authors 1)The Keepers by Heather Graham, 2) The Shifters by Alexandra Sokoloff and 3) The Wolven by Deborah LeBlanc.

The otherworld or underworld has to have order and policing just like the human world and that’s where The Keepers come in, in the form of three sisters each responsible for a sector or species of creature they make sure the rules are followed or the consequences could be deadly.

Fiona MacDonald is the keeper of the Vampire society and it looks like there’s a rogue out there killing innocent and not so innocent victims and while she’s hot on their trail she’s constantly bumping into sexy Vampire cop Jagger DeFarge with who’s help she intends to put an end to the killings even if it kills her. Jagger is a Vampire and perhaps a better New Orleans cop because of it, he can smell a rat and the rat seems to be a Vampire, but not all is as it seems and he with the help of sexy Vampire Keeper Fiona will have to battle to end the senseless killings.

These characters are literally out of this world and out of this world good as well, we have all manner of fantasy and paranormal species that could only be visited between the pages of a novel of which Ms. Graham is no stranger as she herself is the author of many, many previous paranormal reads. She gives us a dialogue mix between antebellum and modern slang with characters that could grace the cover of Vogue one minute and the cover of Sci-Fi magazine the next. Her hero Jagger and heroine Fiona give us mere humans something to yearn for as she mixes not races but species to race toward their HEA. The love scenes are as hot as the New Orleans summer and will make your palms sweat even in the Arctic in winter, and yet the love these two characters feel for each other make the explicitness of the scenes necessary.

So get your bite on and experience the first in this wonderfully new, inventive and imaginative paranormal trilogy The Keepers is a keeper.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Review of A Truth for a Truth by Emilie Richards

A Truth for a Truth

Emilie Richards


305 pages

A Truth for a Truth is a Ministry is Murder series number five.

Welcome to Emerald Springs, Ohio. Home of the Consolidated Community Church or slanged the Triple C by the current minister’s wife Aggie Sloan-Wilcox who’s not only known by that title, no she has other hobbies that keep her (in)famous, like, having her own opinions and life aside from being married to her husband Ed the minister, like not behaving like a proper minister’s wife should (according to upstanding congretory opinions), or like seemingly always being in the vicinity when a murder just so happens to occur. Yep that’s Aggie, and this episode of the life and times of the Wilcox family is no different, when getting ready for the church’s 150th Anniversary a past pastor just happens to drop dead. From all angles it appears to be natural causes, from all angles that is except one, yup, he was murdered and Aggie is bound and determined to find the culprit. Now if she could only learn to be a proper minster’s wife, she’d be perfect.

Ms. Richards is one of those amazing storytellers that can make her readers visualize the journey that she’s taking them on and that will become obvious as she gives us a view of this small American community that appears without villainy and yet people don’t murder themselves do they. She’ll take us on this trip with dialogue filled with irreverent humor and narrative that will keep her readers glued to the novel to find the culprit and solve the crime. Her characters vary from the mundane to ridiculous and they will in turn charm and alarm you but will all fit nicely in the story and become important to the final The End. Her main protagonist Aggie wears many hats and Ms. Richards shows her confident and doubtful at the same time, yes she makes her very human as she goes through her days as a mother, wife, friend and detective but through it all she always comes through very genuine, someone I would personally love to know and interact with. She also in between solving crimes shows us the day to day problems that we all have and in turn make us laugh at ourselves as we laugh with Aggie.

If you make a list of must reads, this one has to be on it, if you love series put this one on your TBR pile, if you love contemporary mysteries or cozy mysteries this should be top choice. Be prepared to laugh in the next breath after you gasp in the next breath after you wipe your tears in this nail biting one minute, laugh out loud the next minute who-done-it. This novel stands well on it’s own, but the series is chronological and so I would suggest reading them all. If you’re a fan of Hank Phillipi Ryan or Diane Mott-Davidson you will love this series.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Review of The 4th Victim by Tara Taylor Quinn

The 4th Victim

Tara Taylor Quinn

Mira Publishing

336 pages

The 4th Victim is the 4th and final episode in Ms. Taylor Quinn’s Kelly Chapman files series and will be released in early December.

Kelly Chapman, a national expert witness and psychologist living in her hometown of Chandler Ohio disappears while skating one morning in early December, because of her notoriety and the contents of her past and present cases the FBI is quickly called in and along with local authorities starts the search. Dedicated FBI agent Clay Thatcher gets the call to head up the search for Kelly and while going through all her current and past case files trying to find the culprit and more importantly finding Kelly alive he becomes captivated with her and the search becomes his personal mantra and the more he learns about her the more she becomes a permanent resident in his psyche.

In this latest thriller Ms. Taylor Quinn gives us a lot to chew on in terms of content. We her audience will revel in the intricacies she reveals about her characters where she bears souls and opens hearts. Her plot is more than interesting, it’s engrossing and enthralling. It’s content is very contemporary and we of the all news all the time generation will love it. She will wow and woo us with her narrative as she bounces between the victim, and the hardened law officer, between friends and foes of Kelly’s and between those who love her and those who owe her their very lives. We readers will be reunited with the past cases that she brought us in the previous novels of the series, we’ll get to see how the romances solidified. Her heroine is the unflappable Kelly Chapman who isn’t used to being a victim and shows us that she doesn’t handle it well either. And her hero in this case is a lonely man with issues and who better to pair him with than our lovely Ms. Chapman. Her romance is endearing, enchanting and sweet as we see our hero and heroine learn to trust each other by trusting their hearts and opening their eyes to possibilities that neither of them ever expected. Her other characters are used to fill the informational holes provided by our main protagonists and are more than important to the story.

If you’ve become a fan of Kelly Chapman you won’t want to miss her very own file entry. If you love Tara Taylor Quinn this will only reinforce that love. If you love good old fashioned romantic suspense with the emphasis on suspense give this one a try. This stands well alone, but why deny yourself the pleasure of the whole series.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Review of Assassin's Heart by Monica Burns

Assassin’s Heart

Monica Burns

Berkley Sensation

360 pages

Assassin’s Heart is the second novel in Monica Burns’ Order of Sicari series.

The night over a year ago when Lysander’s world came crashing around his ears has left him more than just disfigured, it left him longing for a woman he still loves and vows he can never have, a way of life he still honors and a way to exterminate even more a Praetorian enemy who threatens his “Assassin’s Heart”. Phaedra witnessed the murder of her parents when she was just a child and she’ll never forget the voice of the monster who committed it, now she’s all grown up in love with a man who threw that love back in her face after the night he almost died. Lysander and Phaedra are sharing a dream of ancient Rome and possibly a past life where they were a couple, they’ll need to uncover the reason for these dreams or die again trying.

Ms. Burns second in her Sicari series is more intense and a more sensual love story then the first one, perhaps it’s because it’s my favorite kind of romance, that of second chances but whatever the reason you’ll find one heck of a plot between the pages of this novel, you’ll also find a dialogue that will transport you to the different locales of the story through her impressive vivid depictions. Her hero and heroine in this read are larger than life as they both lead two lives one past and one present and as I said above the romance is that of second chances and is presented to her audience with turmoil and unbelievable obstacles that makes their HEA that much more deserving. The love scenes are earthy, sensual and graphic so make sure you’ve got your personal fan waver to ward off the excessive heat along with a tall glass of something cool to quench your thirst.

If you haven’t yet immersed yourself in the secret Sicari society let Assassin’s Heart be your first as it does very well as a stand a lone, but why diminish your joy also get Assassin’s Honor to go to the beginning and not miss a beat or the swish of a sword.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Review of Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick


Becca Fitzpatrick

Simon and Schuester

432 pages

Crescendo is the sequel to the best selling Hush Hush.

Ms. Fitzpatrick continues the tale of Nora Grey who’s coming of age story is more than learning to drive and her first romance she get’s an education into fallen angelology 101, where at the end of Hush Hush Nora’s love interest Patch a fallen angel gives up what he wants most in the world to save her life. So now instead of being human he’s gotten his wings back and has been assigned to Nora. Nora being a typical teenage girl with too high an IQ and too much time alone dreams up a perfect romance between she and Patch and when it seems that it will never be she decides the best thing would be to separate. What Nora doesn’t know is that Patch is convinced that she’s still in danger and not knowing who are friend and who are foe may just be deadly to Nora, it’s up to Patch to save her, but can he.

In Crescendo Ms. Fitzpatrick gives us a solid sequel to her debut novel Hush Hush with typical teenage angst mixed with otherworldly improbable and impossible to imagine complications which she delivers to her readers with believability in unbelievable situations. Her dialogue could be heard at any video arcade, high school or teen hangout and yet she gives her protagonists a certain air of maturity beyond the other kids in the story. On the subject of her characters, she gives them multi-dimensional facets which makes us want to keep turning the pages to find out more. The romance is in trouble in this instillation of her series and yet even at the height of their problems it’s still very clear to her audience that Nora and Patch share the same heart, they just don’t know how to make it beat for them (yet).

Crescendo is marketed as a Young Adult novel but this book will appeal to more than just the 14+ crowd, adults will rush to read it because it speaks to our inner teen. It has been compared to the Twilight series but any serious reader will clearly see the differences and this reader thinks that this series far out shines the other. I don’t think it would be appropriate for the teen under 14 and that is a good dividing line. Crescendo stands very well alone, but my suggestion would be to complete your education and read Hush Hush if you haven't already.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Review of Love Capri Style by Lynn Reynolds

Love Capri Style

Lynn Reynolds

The Wild Rose Press

198 pages

Sometimes you just need a romance, if this is one of those times let me make a suggestion. Love Capri Style will leave you deeply in love with love. If it’s not the scenery it’s the characters, if it’s not the azure tint to the water it’s the fact that true love is hard to find, harder to keep and precious in all accounts.

Ms. Reynolds has the ability to spin a tale like no other, she continually impressed me in this very short novella by not only telling and completing the story in 198 short pages but in doing so with humor and most of all with heart. Her dialogue is the eloquence of the British mixed with the gum popping American youth and swarthy Italian millionaire and her narrative will take you on a photo book journey of the Isle of Capri with her attention to detail and graphic scenic depiction, while she makes us laugh out loud with her humorous remarks. The characters will blow you away and go from the fabulous to the more fabulous. The hero Eric and heroine Amanda are humbly speaking two of the most deserving of their Happy Ever After, but will they get it. Ah for that you’ll need to find out for yourself. The love scenes will scorch any surface you put it down on, oh and be sure to be directly under the air-conditioner vent while reading.

Like I said sometimes you just need a romance, so if you need a little pick me up, if that old geezer you married 40years ago is getting on your nerves, if the kids are screaming in your ear or maybe your boss is being a little over demanding. Take a step back, relax and pick up Love Capri Style and begin a trip that will change your life.

Kudos to you Ms. Reynolds for one heck of a romance. Oh and if you like a little suspense with your romance try Thirty Nine Again.