Monday, May 30, 2011

Review: Barbara Bretton’s "Casting Spells"



Synopsis from the back cover:

            Sugar Maple looks like any bucolic Vermont town, but when the tourists go home it's a different story–inhabited as it is with warlocks, sprites, vampires, witches, and an ancient secret. And I know all about secrets. I'm Chloe Hobbs, owner of Sticks & String, a popular knit shop where your yarn never tangles, you always get gauge . . . and the knitter sitting next to you comes out only after dark.

           I'm also the sorcerer's daughter--a single sorcerer's daughter with Sugar Maple's future in her hands, which means the whole town is casting spells meant to help me find Mr. Right. Who'd have guessed I'd find him in Luke MacKenzie, a cop investigating Sugar Maple's very first murder? Bad news is he's 100% human which could spell disaster for a normal future with a paranormal woman like me--in love, in danger, and in way over my head.

This is book number one from Barbara Bretton’s Sugar Maple series.  I found this book to be extremely well written.   The plot is smooth and flows evenly and there is humor and conflict.  Chloe Hobbs is part of a lineage that dates back to the founding of Sugar Maple, VT.  Each generation is responsible for keeping the magic in this town a secret, which requires falling in love and then the eventual birth of a daughter.  She is also a sorceress-in-training; and by in-training, I mean she hasn’t been able to channel her inner magic yet so Isadora, the evil baddy in the book decides to take things into her own hands.  

Welcome to Sugar Maple everyone.  As long as Barbara continues the series, I’m here to stay.

I give this book a 5/5.

Review: Christopher Pike's "Thirst No.1"



 Synopsis from the back cover:

As to blood --
ah, blood, the whole subject fascinates me. I do like that as well, warm and dripping, when I am thirsty. And I am often thirsty....
Alisa has been in control of her urges for the five thousand years she has been a vampire. She feeds but does not kill, and she lives her life on the fringe to maintain her secret. But when her creator returns to hunt her, she must break her own rules in order to survive.
Her quest leads her to Ray. He is the only person who can help her; he also has every reason to fear her. Alisa must get closer to him to ensure her immortality. But as she begins to fall in love with Ray, suddenly there is more at stake than her own life....


This is Volume 1 of Christopher Pike’s vampire novels entitled “Thirst No.1.”  It contains 3 stories: The Last Vampire, Black Blood, and Red Dice. 

I had a really hard time getting into this book.  In fact, I had to renew my check out notice from the library 2 additional times in order to finish it.  I found the first person point of view from Sita/Alisa to be very blunt and choppy.  Her words throughout the book just seemed to not flow the way the books do that I’m used to reading.  She is emotionless and I found myself not relating to anything she said or felt.  I usually completely engulf the feelings of the characters in the books and with Sita/Alisa I was like a stone. 

Now, because Pike portrays Sita/Alisa as a cold, ruthless killer I understand why he may have chosen to write her character this way.  I, however, don’t really like it.  But, on that note, I currently have Thirst No. 2 and Thirst No. 3 in my possession.  Somehow he manages to draw you into the next novel whether you’re sure you like them or not.

I give this book a 3/5.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review: Kim Harrison’s "Dead Witch Walking"



Synopsis from the back cover:

All the creatures of the night gather in “the Hollows” of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party…and to feed.
Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining—and it’s Rachel Morgan’s job to keep that world civilized.
            A bounty hunter and witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she’ll bring ‘em back alive, dead…or undead.

This book is fantastic!  It has a little bit of every paranormal creature:
Rachel Morgan is a witch; Ivy is a vamp; Jenx is a pixie.  There are also warlocks, weres, and a demon or two.
I love the twists and turns and situations that Rachel encounters.  There are death threats, amulets, charms, the occasional morph into another creature.  The depth of the main characters truly makes this a very strong book from start to finish.  I didn’t find any of it lacking, slow, or boring.
I can’t wait to begin the next book in the series “The Good, The Bad, and The Undead.”

I give this book a 5/5 and, if I decide to give my sister back her books, I will add this to my collection.  If I decide to keep the books, I guess she’ll be buying herself another set…..teehee.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Amber Scott’s “Fierce Dawn” BEST SELLER FOR A DAY + 99¢ eBooks + A CHANCE TO WIN A KINDLE + REVIEW




Here is your chance to buy Amber Scott’s ebook “Fierce Dawn” on Amazon’s Kindle for only 99¢.  Order it today, May 18, 2011 and then go to http://bestsellerforaday.com, fill out the form on the website and you will be entered into a drawing to win a Kindle!  Signing up for the event newsletter will earn you extra entries toward the Kindle!  Order the ebook today and you can request an autographed ebook copy of the book AFTER submitting proof of purchase.  This request is fulfilled when you email a five word phrase you locate in the middle of the book to amberscottbooks@gmail.com
Now, on to the blurb, excerpt, and my review of “Fierce Dawn” by Amber Scott.

Blurb: 
“X-MEN action meets True Blood heat.”
-Ann Charles
Nearly Departed In Deadwood, 2010 Daphne Winner

“Intensely satisfying!”
-Carolyn McCray
Kindle Bestselling author, 30 Pieces of Silver

Snarling teeth, glowing eyes. Someone--something--is after Sadie Graves.

Elijah Stokes, the man who haunts her dreams, enters her reality claiming she’s transforming into a changeling--not quite immortal but no longer human.

Battle lines are drawn and blood spills as the two fight not only for Sadie’s life, but for all of mankind's as well.

Excerpt:  

He stepped closer, so close he could see thin gold flecks in her sky blue eyes. “Do you remember the night something chased you past the park?”
Her eyes widened. She perceptibly swallowed. “A werewolf?”
“No,” Elijah said, not wanting to correct the mortal term and create even more confusion. “I thought she was a shapeshifter, but she claimed to be a changeling. And that you are, too.”
“It doesn’t sound like you’re sure I am.”
“I wasn’t. Until now. The changeling has been following you. I can’t get a strong enough trace to hunt her again.”
“She wants me dead?”
“I don’t think so, but she wants something. She’s waiting, watching.”
Her hand went to her throat but her gaze hardened. “That’s why you want me to come with you?”
 “Yes,” Elijah said. “There are immortals who would kill you just to keep the realms pure. Half-breeds aren’t tolerated in the immortal realm. They’re seen as inferior, tainted perfection by many. A changeling would be far worse. Right or wrong, your existence threatens both realms. The fact that I’m not the only one who knows you are transforming puts you in higher danger.”
She threw her hands up and started yanking drawers open, tossing clothes aside. Impatient but not angry.
He took in her every move, listened to the even keel of her vibration. She sounded resolved. Elijah’s worries subsided. She was far sturdier than he’d first assumed.
She paused but didn’t face him. “And?”
“And there is a faction—The Illeautians—who consider humankind parasitic. They want the human realm destroyed. If humans start evolving….”
She pulled off her tee. The smooth bare skin on her back, two crescent shaped scars at her shoulders, filled his vision. Elijah couldn’t look away as she strapped a bra around her slender ribcage and put her arms through the straps. His gaze caressed the slope of her back. Two hollows above her ass peaked out from her bottoms. His imagination filled in what he could not see.
His body tightened against his will. He had no business wanting a mortal.
Even a changeling one. Because a part of her might always be human.
Humans died. Immortals lived.
“If you’re right and I’m not going to be human anymore, why would anyone care what I am?” She brought a snug blue shirt over her head then glanced meaningfully over her shoulder.
He should turn around, give her privacy. “Because, what are realm lines for if humans are evolving? Mortals live, they die, they do not become immortal. In human terms, it could be seen as the first stages of Armageddon. Only this wouldn’t be a war between Heaven and Hell.”

Review:  

Sadie has been dreaming of a gorgeous guy for months.  When she paints her dreams, he becomes the image on canvas-but with wings.  When she gets into trouble a local club, her dream guy becomes her reality and brings with him news that not all is what is seems in the mortal world.  She is a changeling; a human that is turning immortal and changelings blur the lines between mortal and immortal realms. 
Sadie falls for Elijah fast, certain that she is in love with him, only to find out that only reason he helped her and continues to need her is purely selfishness.  He needs her to find his missing friend, Crusoe.  Her exact words to him are “You only want me for what I might become.”
Amid all the chaos of her new life she is introduced to Lyric, who’s past with Elijah is filled with anything but joy.  He has the aura of a bad boy but what is he hiding?  And what is the real issue with Elijah?

This book is filled with mystery, intrigue, and so much emotion that I could feel right down to my bones.  All of Sadie’s anxiety, frustration, confusion, sadness, rejection, and love became my emotions.  I even teared up in a couple places.  This book is gripping, moving, and completely engulfing.  It starts off being about a woman in her 20’s that was diagnosed with mental illness and becomes a battle between good and evil.  It’s not about Angels and Demons or Heaven and Hell; it’s about the line between immortals and mortals.

Rating:
5/5
This book is a MUST READ!!!  
I absolutely cannot wait to add the paperback to my bookshelf (I currently have it in another format) and cannot wait for Book 2 “Stealing Dusk” which focuses on Lyric.

Please note that this book has “Adult Scenes.”

There are also 3 other books on the 99¢ promotion today!  

“Stolen Dreams” by Stacey Kennedy 

“Fated” by Carolyn McCray
“Cattitude” by Edie Ramer

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Review: Lynsay Sands’ "A Quick Bite"




Synopsis from the back cover:

            Lissianna has been spending her centuries pining for Mr. Right, not just a quick snack, and this sexy guy she finds in her bed looks like he might be a candidate.  But there’s another, more pressing issue:  her tendency to faint at the sight of blood…an especially annoying quirk for a vampire.  Of course it doesn’t hurt that this man has a delicious-looking neck.  What kind of cold-blooded vampire woman could resist a bite of that?
            Dr. Gregory Hewitt recovers from the shock of waking up in a stranger’s bedroom pretty quickly—once he sees a gorgeous woman about to treat him to a wild night of passion.  But is it possible for the good doctor to find true love with a vampire vixen, or will he be just a good meal?  That’s a questions Dr. Greg might be willing to sink his teeth into…if he can just get Lissianna to bite.

Upon first review of the back cover, in the infamous words of my husband, “You’ve got to be kidding me?!  A vampire that faints at the sight of blood?  What the (insert expletive here—if you know my husband you’ll know exactly which one)? “, I wasn’t quite sure about the book.  Of course, I’m game for almost any type of book, so I said “What the heck!” and away I went with reading.

Lynsay brings an altogether new concept regarding how vampires came to be in existence.  Her vampires got their start in the mythical “Lost City” of Atlantis.  125 pages into the novel we get a nice overview of how Lynsay’s vampires are actually a scientifically advanced race.

“Atlantis is no more a myth than vampires are.  It was a very advanced race, and just before the fall, scientists there developed a sort of nano” as explained by Lissianna. 
“Those tiny little computer thingies?” Greg asked. 
“….Basically they combined nanotechnology with some sort of bio something or other—“
Greg asked, “Bioengineering?”
Yes, bioengineering is the method in which the vamps in this story were created.  The two technologies noted above were combined and microscopic nanos created, that in turn, were injected directly into the bloodstream.  

There is also the concept of “Life Mates.”  According to Lissi’s Aunt Marguerite, a vampire’s true life mate will “unreadable”—this is, their mortal mind will not be open to his/her vampire true life mate.  So, is this man in Lissi’s bed her true life mate?  And who is out to get her when she is staked at a friend’s house?  

Many things in the book are predicable but I still found it enjoyable.  It didn’t grip me to the point of not being able to function until I finished it but it was still a good read.  I borrowed it from the local library and most likely won’t add it to my book collection.  I will, however, be getting Book 2 in the series “Love Bites.”

Please note that this book contains "adult scenes."

I give this book a 4/5 and look forward to reading "Love Bites."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Review: Merrie Destefano's "Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles"

Synopsis from the back cover:
            Welcome To Your Next Chance.
            Chaz Dominguez is a professional Babysitter in New Orleans, helping to integrate the recently deceased into the new and improved lives.  Though Fresh Start has always been the only game in town, resurrection isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Nine lives are all a person can get-and a powerful group of desperate, high-level Nine-Timers will stop at nothing to possess the keys to true immortality.
            Now the only hope for Chaz and his family-and the human race-lies in the secrets locked away in the mind of Angelique, the beautiful, mysterious Newbie he must protect….(Destefano, 2010.)
 
I located Merrie Destefano while perusing the Facebook page of Supernatural Underground http://www.facebook.com/Supernatural.Underground.  Merrie was having a contest to win a signed cover flat of her upcoming June 2011 release of her next book, "Feast" (which I will review on this blog after it comes out).  Anyway, after finally receiving "Afterlife," I was able to sit down this past weekend and start reading it.

"Afterlife:  The Resurrection Chronicles" is an urban fantasy book that hints at Sci-Fi.  It has a complex plot that brings together life, death, resurrection, cloning, immortality, murder, & mystery.  It makes you think about the ethics involving godless resurrections, cloning, and the problems involved.  I actually wasn’t sure about this book at first (now wait---keep reading).  This book is very Sci-Fi oriented, of which I’m not normally a huge fan.  The most Sci-Fi I get is my love for Star Trek:  The Next Generation; the only Star Trek series I really could get into, although I can tolerate the original series for a minute or two.  I kept thinking throughout the book that “If this book was made into a movie, my dad would be all over it.”  Dad is a HUGE Sci-Fi fan.

Each Chapter is told from the viewpoint of a character:       
            Chapter 1= Chaz
            Chapter 2= Neville
            Chapters 3-5= Chaz
            Chapter 6= Neville
            Chapters 7-9= Chaz
            Chapter 10= Angelique…..and so forth through all 81 chapters and the Epilogue.

The first 7 chapters had me lost in some areas because there wasn’t a lot of background information on the characters: Chaz, Angelique, Neville, Omega, & Russell.  This is where my impatience causes me grief.  Those first 7 chapters are only 33 pages of the 332 page novel.  I should have just stopped judging the book before it even began….Chapter 8 begins the background of Chaz and a lot of things started coming together; add in Angelique’s background in Chapter 10 and Wow!!  There are so many twists, turns, and happenings that you don’t expect but make total sense.  When it was all said and done, I found this book to be a great read.

If you don’t want to buy the book first, as I did, then check if your library has it or can get it for you….If urban fantasy that dabbles with Sci-fi is your thing then you won’t be disappointed.

I give this book a 5/5.  I can’t wait to get her next novel “Feast.”
 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Review: Jana Oliver's "The Demon Trapper's Daughter"

“The Demon Trapper’s Daughter” by Jana Oliver

Synopsis from the back cover:
            Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary demon trapper Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps.  The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers Guild needs all the help it can get—even from a girl.  When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils—Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild.  Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping queen.
            But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined.  As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart—and her life? (Oliver, 2011)


I’m a subscriber to BookDaily (http://www.bookdaily.com/) and received the first chapter of “The Demon Trapper’s Daughter” as my sample.  I was absolutely hooked just in that first chapter.  I pre-ordered the book from Barnes and Noble as soon as it was available.  I received it a couple days after release but due to my school schedule I wasn’t able to start it until a couple weeks ago.  I was NOT disappointed in this book at all. 

The story is set in Atlanta, Georgia in the year 2018 (not that far away really) and portrayed the city as very impoverished and overrun with demons.  Riley is a 17 year old girl living with her father, who is training her to become a demon trapper just as he is.  Of course, not all goes as planned.  Add Beck into the mix-her father’s demon trapping partner-and, pardon the expression, All hell breaks loose.

This is a young adult novel so if you’re looking for more than a couple kisses, this book isn’t for you.  It is smart, full of wit and humor, conflicted feelings, sadness (yes, there are sad parts), and keeps you wanting to read more.  The ending wasn’t exactly how I wanted it to be – don’t get me wrong, the book is awesome, I’m just leaning a certain way in Riley’s relationship dealings – but thankfully the 2nd book in the series, Soul Thief, comes out in Aug. 2011 so maybe things will change and Riley will see the light.

If you don’t want to buy the book first, like I did, then check if your library has it or can get it for you….You won’t be disappointed.

I give this book a 5/5 and look forward to the release of "Soul Thief."