chez_jae: (Books)
I stayed at the office for lunch today, which allowed me to finish reading Jacob by Jacquelyn Frank. It's the first book in her "Nightwalkers" series.

The Nightwalkers are the nonhuman races, such as demons, vampires, and lycanthropes. Jacob is the Enforcer for the Demons, and it's his job to punish any of their kind who harm humans. On patrol one evening, Jacob saves Isabella from falling out of an open window. He has spent centuries alone, but he is inexplicably attracted to the small human woman. Jacob, Isabella, and the other Demons soon learn that Bella is actually a Druid--from a race of nonhumans who were supposedly eradicated by Demons. However, Isabella's research seems to indicate that Demons and Druids once worked closely together. Her newly formed bond with Jacob has awakened her own powers, making it clear she is Jacob's equal when it comes to her ability to eradicate errant Nightwalkers.

Now, it's up to the Demons to begin rebuilding their society by seeking out the same Druids they once persecuted almost to extinction. Along the way, Jacob and Bella must also contend with dissent among Demons, as well as the growing menace of human Necromancers, who have the ability to Summon Demons and pervert them until they transform into the Demons of human nightmares.

The world building was interesting. The prose was a bit purple. I used to lap that up, but these days, it leaves me feeling rather blah. I confess that I was a tad uncomfortable with Demons being the "good guys", even though the author portrayed them as noble.

Favorite line: She even had the requisite pair of cats.
OMG, I just realized that this is the last mention of Isabella's cats! What became of them?! *frets over the cats*
Least favorite line: "Eleven! Eleven years old?"
See? Stalked by eleven-eleven, even in the books I read!

A decent enough story. Main characters fell in twu wuv too quickly for my taste. Oh, and Isabella was allegedly a ravishing beauty, nearly 30, but still a virgin. Um, okaaaaay. Not that that's a bad thing, but I find it difficult to believe she could have been so gorgeous, yet never had a serious relationship until Jacob. Sheesh. Eh, giving this one four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
Earlier this evening, I finished reading the ebook Deadly Intent, which is the first book in author Kate Allenton's "Linked Inc" series.

Quinn Thatcher and her sisters have formed a company called Linked Inc, which enables them to use their psychic abilities to help others. Quinn can see and communicate with spirits. The ghost of a Scotsman badgers her until she agrees to collect a precious jewel from his grave and return it to the Menzie Clan in Scotland. Quinn plans to deliver the jewel and return home. She arrives to find Collin Menzie and his friend, Ian McDougall, reenacting their clans' infamous battle over the missing gem. Quinn marches into the fray, hands the emerald off to Collin, and sweeps off again.

Collin, however, is determined to find out more about the mysterious American beauty and how she came to be in possession of the emerald. There's also the matter of an age-old curse on his family that Quinn's presence has set into motion.

When Quinn's pilot becomes deathly ill, she is forced to stay in Scotland longer than she wanted to. She reluctantly agrees to become a guest in Collin's ancestral home, where she learns that her part in events, both past, present, and future, has already been foretold. Quinn and Collin must join forces to find out who has tried to harm Quinn, as well as lay the curse to rest.

A very interesting read. I was quite taken with it. Quinn is feisty and smart, and she has no qualms about taking Collin to her bed. What she didn't count on was falling in love with him.

Favorite lines:
♦ The sound was as loud and annoying as a foghorn mating with a tornado siren.
♦ "It's dangerous to stand between a woman and dessert."


Will definitely read more in this series! Four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
I recently finished reading an ebook: Smoke by Val St Crowe. It's the first installment in the author's "Slayer Chronicles".

Clarke Gannon makes her living by slaying rogue dragons. It pays well, and she needs the money to help take care of her sister, who is an addict. When Naelen Spencer, a wealthy dragonshifter, shows up and wants to hire Clarke to help him find his sister, she turns him down at first. She kills rogues; she doesn't locate missing dragons. Naelen won't take no for an answer, and he continues upping the ante until Clarke agrees. She can use the money to get her sister into rehab.

What promises to be a tough job becomes worse when Naelen insists on accompanying Clarke in the search for his sister. He's an entitled playboy who is clueless about navigating the seamy underworld that his sister was drawn into. Aside from that, Clarke is reluctantly attracted to him, and Naelen is bent on bedding her. Complicating matters is her on-again-off-again lover, Logan, who flits in and out of the narrative. Clarke and Naelen track his sister to a vampire's lair, where she is being held under a compulsion. Dragons are supposed to be immune to magic, but this vampire has some tricks up his sleeve.

The story wasn't great. Naelen came across as juvenile in every sense of the word. Clarke at least had a good head on her shoulders, but I was disappointed in how difficult it was for her to refuse Naelen's hamhanded advances. Throughout this story, she managed the feat, but barely. I am so done with (supposedly) strong female leads who can barely think when the hunky male lead is all up in their hamster ball. The two of them bumbled from one lead to another on their quest to find Reign, including an overnight excursion with an unconventional family. I saw no reason to devote so much of the narrative to this side-venture. In short, a blah, plodding story with no world-building whatsoever, an ass of a male lead, and no real resolution at the end.

Favorite line: And when someone's relying on you, it changes something in you. Makes you braver.

Two stars:

**
chez_jae: (Books)
I brought my work book home on Tuesday and finished it that evening. It was Falling Upwards by Kassandra Sims. I've been doing a lot of book culling the past year or so, but for some reason, I continued to hang onto this one. I'm glad I did!

Neva is a businesswoman on a trip to Wales, when she meets a strange young man in a pub. March is intense and gorgeous and seems strangely fascinated with Neva. The feeling is mutual, as she continues to dream about him even after she returns home to the States. Neva's carefully ordered life begins to unravel, and she follows a compulsion to drive to her grandparents' property and dive into the pond. She emerges into a world not her own. Here, animals talk, including the crow who tells her to remove all the steel she is wearing, and the stag who tells her she must fetch two locks of hair. Neva eventually encounters March, and she soon finds herself on a quest to save him from a cyclical curse.

Along the way, she meets giants, a surfer dude who may or may not be a god, and King Arthur. Neva isn't sure what she's supposed to be doing, but she does know she's finding March more and more difficult to resist.

This was a magical story in every sense of the word. The author's descriptions were lush and vivid, and I admired Neva's spirit and determination. She is alternately drawn to March, yet aggravated by his secretive ways. Characters were well-drawn, including those who merely flitted through the narrative. Therefore, it was truly disappointing that the ending of the book seemed so rushed. It was as if the author grew tired of writing it and simply wanted to finish it. Neva and March both deserved better than that.

Favorite lines:
♦ She felt like she'd walked onto the set of a soap opera and hadn't been handed a script.
♦ If a crow talked to you, you at least owed it to the universe to respond.
♦ Only family can take you from pleased to pissed in one sentence.


I really loved this story, up until the last chapter. There was resolution, but it felt like I missed that chapter or something. Would have given this a five, but it gets a four-star review instead.

****
chez_jae: (Books)
It took me several weeks, but today I finished reading the book I'd taken to work. It was My Loving Familiar by C J Card. The book was part of Jove's Magical Love line.

Isabel Gomez has sold her family's old trading post building to Cooper Adair, because she needs the money. Had she known ahead of time that Cooper planned to open a pharmacy, she never would have agreed to sell to him. Isabel has her own business of creating herbal remedies and beauty aids, and a pharmacy next door could ruin her. Deciding that the only way to get rid of the competition is to break up Cooper's engagement to wealthy, spoiled socialite Marcella Kent, Isabel puts her scheme into motion. She is aided in her endeavors by her old fairy cat, Grimalkin. What Isabel doesn't realize, however, is that Grim has his own agenda.

This was a sweet, fun story. I enjoyed the paranormal aspect of old Grim, who was more magical than his owner realized. It was fun to see how flustered Cooper became any time he encountered the brash and beautiful Isabel. Characters were three-dimensional, even the snooty Marcella, and I adored Isabel's friend, Dora. My only complaints are the vacillating points of view. Had it simply switched between Isabel and Cooper, that wouldn't have bothered me, but there were times the reader was getting Marcella's pov, too. I also thought the ending was rather rushed.

Favorite line: "Being cruel is a lot more difficult than being kind."

Very good, even though I seldom read the paranormal romance genre any more. Four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
Earlier this evening, I finished reading an ebook, A Gift of Ghosts, which is the first in author Sarah Wynde's "Tassamara" series.

Physicist Akira Malone is hiding a secret--she can see and speak to ghosts. As a scientist, however, she makes her living with things that can be measured and researched and proven. Akira has convinced herself that ghosts are merely residual energy. She avoids them when she can, but that all changes when she accepts a job in the small town of Tassamara. Here, paranormal is the norm. The town is filled with psychics, and a medium in their midst isn't unusual. Akira is utterly astounded by the laid-back atmosphere she finds herself in. Akira rents a haunted home, and the car she leases is haunted by the nephew of her new boss, Zane Latimer.

For his part, Zane isn't sure he believes in mediums, even though he has abilities of his own. However, when Akira consistently proves herself, in spite of her own instinct to keep her talent hidden, he can't help but begin to believe in her, and to find himself attracted to her feisty spirit. The two of them begin a relationship, but neither is willing to commit, until Akira's life is threatened by a dangerous ghost...who just happens to be the spirit of Zane's mother.

This was a fantastic story, much better than a lot of other ebooks I've read. The characters were likable and relatable, including the many ghosts. Point of view switched between Akira and Zane, but it added to the story, rather than detracting from it. Akira is courageous in using her gift, even when she doesn't want to, because prior experience has shown her how dangerous in can be for her.

Favorite line: They'd fallen into conversation as easily as if they were old friends, talking about astronomy and science and Harry Potter.

Finding out that the author got her start writing fanfiction was icing on the cake. Wonderful, five stars!

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
This afternoon, I finished reading Unforgiven by Lindsay McKenna. It's the first book in Silhouette's Nocturne line, and it's also the first installment in the author's "Warriors of Light" series for the line.

Reno, a Native American, jaguar shifter, and former Marine sniper, is in prison for planning to kill the general who murdered his wife and daughter. He's given a reprieve when the CIA recruit him to travel to Ecuador to eliminate a shadowy figure who has been harassing the owners and sentries of an emerald mine.

Calen is also a jaguar shifter, and she dresses in black to deliver justice as El Espanto. As soon as she meets Reno, she knows he's been sent to kill her, but she finds him compelling. As for Reno, he is drawn to the enigmatic Calen, but he knows he has a job to do.

When the two encounter one another as jaguars, they recognize one another and soon realize they're both on the same side, in spite of what has brought them together. Each has a peculiar birthmark that their respective parents told them marked them as Warriors of the Light. Now, it is up to them to rid the countryside of the negative influence of the mine owners, as well as establish a base of operations where other Warriors of Light can gather in an effort to prevent the world from descending into a thousand years of darkness and chaos.

The story went more for drama than anything else, even over romance. While Reno and Calen were attracted to one another, they both sought to ignore the attraction in favor of their mission. It was almost too heavy for a short story, but since there is apparently more to come, I can forgive it.

Favorite line: "The greatest saints were at one time the greatest of sinners."

Not overly enjoyable, but compelling. Four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
I brought my book home from the office tonight to finish. It was Out of the Night by Robin T Popp. It's a paranormal romance, featuring vampires and...CHUPACABRAS!

Librarian and volunteer firefighter Lanie Weber must travel to the Amazon to identify her father's body. She charters a flight with Mac Knight, who is a former military man, forced to retire due to injury. When they reach her father's jungle research lab, all they find are dead bodies and an odd statue in a cage. Lanie can't resist opening the cage to inspect the statue, which of course comes to life and attacks Mac. She manages to save him, but the chupacabra venom has turned him into a vampire-like creature. In addition, both her father and the man in charge of security have both become full vampires. Now, it's a race against time to stop Lance Burton from creating more vampires and building his own army of the undead.

Well. On the surface, it was an interesting story with some unique aspects, such as the chupacabra. It was neither dark and gothic, nor light and fluffy, but somewhere in between. Certain things annoyed me, however, such as the fact that Mac put pain pills in the shot of tequila he gave to Lanie to calm her nerves for the flight. Um, excuse me?! For all he knew, she could have been pregnant at the time. WTF? Also, Lanie just HAVING to open the damned cage, because, you know, the fact that something is locked in a cage isn't enough warning, yeah? There was a lot of UST between Mac and Lanie. Too much, if you ask me. Just fuck, already! Sheesh. And, how many times did Lanie stupidly bumble into danger? Good grief, woman. I prefer my heroines with more pluck and BRAINS, thank you very much. Also, the author portrays Lanie as a plain Jane at the beginning of the story, but near the end, she's a freaking Mary Sue that needs to beat her admirers back with a stick. *yawns* Changing povs were the norm. It wouldn't have been so bad to switch between Mac and Lanie, but several others were included.

Favorite line: Damn, it was good to be alive, in an undead kind of way.

It was a good book, but it could have been better. Three stars:

***
chez_jae: (Books)
I brought my work book home to finish, since I only had two chapters left. It was Dangerous Temptation, by Kathleen Korbel, and it's the first in a trilogy about the three daughters of the Faerie Queen, Mab.

When anthropologist Zeke Kendall tumbles off of a cairn in Ireland, he lands right in the lap of Nuala, daughter of the Queen of Faeries. Nuala has been watching Zeke for years, slowly falling in love with the mortal man. At first, Zeke is certain he's dreaming, due to the knock to the head he received. Eventually, he comes to accept that he's truly in the land of the Faeries, even as he comes to love Nuala.

Queen Mab, however, is a ruthless ruler, and she intends for Nuala to succeed her on the throne. Her plans would go for naught if Nuala and the mortal fall in love. Mab tries to claim Zeke for her own, but Nuala barters with her mother for his freedom. She'll willingly take the throne if Mab returns Zeke to the mortal realm. However, nothing in Faerie is quite so simple, and Zeke is charged with three tasks. If he can pass all three, he will be safely returned.

The story was lush and descriptive and very sexy. Although I enjoyed it, I probably would have enjoyed it more twenty years ago. I liked meeting the characters that peopled the Faerie realm, but I thought the falling in love bit happened too fast for Zeke. In addition, there were some glaring editing errors towards the end of the book, most notably when the author was writing about Zeke's brother, Jake. Their names were often mixed up, meaning I'd have to re-read certain lines to make sense of them.

Favorite line: "Just because I have to give him back doesn't mean I have to give him up."

Interesting, in spite of editing errors--four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
Yesterday, I brought home the book I'd been reading at work, and I finished it last night. It was The Remarkable Miss Frankenstein by Minda Webber. I believe it's part of a loosely-connected series, but was easily read as a stand-alone.

The story centers around Clair Frankenstein, niece of Dr Victor Frankenstein, who created the infamous monster. Only, Clair considers the monster, Frederick, to be her cousin. Clair's parents died when she was young, leaving her to be raised by her Aunt Mary and her mad Aunt Abby, who often believes she is Marie Antoinette, Cleopatra, etc.

In an effort to live up to her noble name, Clair vows to find proof of supernatural creatures living in London. She sneaks into the cellar of Baron Ian Huntsley, certain that he is a vampire. Ian catches her in the act and punishes her with a kiss. Clair flounces out, angered to have been thwarted, yet intrigued by the baron's kiss. When she sets her investigative sights on Lord Wilder, Ian once again catches up to her and foils her attempt to obtain proof of the supernatural.

For his part, Ian is attracted to the exasperating Miss Frankenstein, and he is determined to make sure she comes to no harm in her mad quests. Ian is well aware that vampires (and other preternaturals) exist in London, and he doesn't want Clair to be hurt. He steers her investigation to a safer target, only to suffer Clair's wrath when she realizes he set her up.

The book was light and funny, start to finish. Clair's beauty, spirit, and determination both attract Ian and frustrate him, while she is equally attracted to and frustrated by the enigmatic baron. The story contained many subtle, tongue-in-cheek references to pop culture, such as the famous investigator, Durlock Homes and his side-kick, Doctor Whutson. The smut (once we got that far!) was hot and delish, and the ending of the book featured a delightful twist.

Favorite line: "Yes, I was the girl who cried wolf. But Ian was aware that I thought the earl was a were. When I needed to know where the weres were, Ian knew the whereabouts of the weres, because he is the were."

Marvelous fun! Five stars!

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
I had very little left to read of my work book, so I brought it home to finish. The book was How to Date a Dragon by Ashlyn Chase.

When firefighter and dragon shifter Drake Cameron responds to a burning building, he rescues Bliss Russo and her computer from death and destruction. Bliss is more concerned about her computer than her home, because she's competing in a greeting card contest/reality show, and she was afraid of losing all of her hard work.

Drake can't help but think of the pretty mortal woman, but he has no way to find her again. In the meantime, he goes on a date with a female dragon shifter who's more dragonlady than anything else. Bliss manages to track Drake down, and the two of them reconnect...and sparks fly. Zina, the female dragon isn't keen on letting Drake get away, however. She begins threatening Bliss and setting fires all over Boston. Zina's activities come to the attention of Mother Nature herself, and she isn't having it.

This was what paranormal lite is meant to be. It was cute and fluffy, hot and sexy, and just all around fun. Bliss has a snarky sense of humor and a strong backbone, which Drake hopes will enable her to accept him for who and what he is.

Favorite line: "Well, of course dragons don't exist. Oh, wait. Maybe they do. Let me go ask my unicorn."

I don't read much paranormal romance any more, but this was a sterling example of why I used to. Five stars!

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
I brought my work book home, since I only had the epilogue to read, and I finished it last night. The book was Full Moon Dreams by Lori Handeland. It was published in 1996, and I daresay I bought it then. Had I read it at the time, I probably would have enjoyed it more. Now, however, I found the female lead too wishy-washy, and the male lead too high-handed. Le sigh.

Dr John Bradfordini is a physician, and he doesn't believe in myth and legends, until the night his brother is attacked and killed by a werewolf, and that same creature marks John with a bite.

Emmaline Monroe is a tiger trainer in Gerhardt's Circus, a traveling show. On full moon nights, they have been losing members of their crew, which the others attribute to a werewolf among them. Emma doesn't believe in such nonsense, until she sees a wolf with the intelligent eyes of a man.

Before he dies, John's brother tells him to find the circus, and his answers will be there. John abandons his practice and hooks up with the circus as a canvasman, helping to set up and take down each time the circus makes a stop on its tour. There, he meets Emmaline and is immediately attracted to her, although he knows he must keep her at a distance. For her part, Emma is attracted to 'Johnny', the drifter, even though she is aware he is hiding secrets that could destroy her way of life.

*yawns*

Emma's grandfather Franz knows a werewolf stalks the circus, and he knows it must be one of their own, but he is powerless to stop the killings. My logic brain kicked in, and all I could think was, 'If you believe it's one of your own, why not have everyone gather at the eve of the next full moon?' Either the werewolf won't dare show up, and you'll know who it is, or he will and he'll change, and you'll know who it is. Was that solution too simple? *shakes head*

And, of course, Emma falls in love with Johnny, even though he's a no-good drifter and he's never anything but rude to her. Please spare me from stupid, insipid women in literature. This paragraph sums up all that I disliked about their "relationship":

...she had merely not seen the danger past the desire clouding her eyes. She could not help but be drawn to him despite her fears and uncertainties, and though she wanted to follow what her head told her and stay away from him, she could not.

*makes gagging sounds*

The book was somewhat dark, in that John knew he carried the werewolf taint, but he was not self-aware when he changed, and he lived in fear that he was the one responsible for killing some of the victims. There was nothing light or fluffy about this, which is fine, but it's not what I look for now when I choose a paranormal romance.

Favorite line: Harboring a monster made the protector a monster, too.

Hmm. I'll give it 3 of 5. It was a well-written story; I simply didn't like it.

***
chez_jae: (Books)
I brought my work book home to finish, which I just did. The book was Witch Fire by Anya Bast. It's the first installment in the author's "Elemental Witches" series.

The story was part paranormal romance, part urban fantasy. Mira Hoskins is toiling as a waitress, not realizing she's a rare and powerful air witch. When a wealthy warlock wants to use her to summon a demon, the Coven sends Jack McAllister to protect her. Jack arrives in time to thwart an abduction attempt, and he whisks Mira to his heavily warded apartment.

The attraction between them is immediate and strong. Jack knows it's because he's a fire witch, and fire and air are naturally drawn to one another. However, he's been warned by his boss, Mira's cousin, to keep things professional between them. For her part, Mira tries to ignore her attraction to Jack, but she is drawn to him like a moth to a flame. In no time, they are acting on their desire for one another, just as the bad guys make a move.

Jack and Mira escape and hole up at the Coven headquarters, where Mira learns she has family she never knew of, and receives additional training in how to wield her magic. Jack tries to avoid her, but once again, he is weak and succumbs. When Mira is once again in danger, it's up to Jack to save the day.

*yawns*

Actually, the sex scenes were hot, but I really get tired of reading stories where the characters literally cannot stay away from one another. I like some UST! Some other things bothered me, too.

Spoilers )

Favorite line: He looked like sin and seemed like salvation.

I'm waffling over stars here. I'd like to give it a three for aggravation factor, but the sex was so yummy...can I give it a 3 1/2? Ha ha! Eh, I can read hotter sex on LJ for free; I'm going with a three, for aggravation factor.

***
chez_jae: (Books)
Wednesday evening, I finished reading Insatiable Desire by Rita Herron. It is the first book in the author's "Demonborn"...trilogy, I think.

The story had multiple pov's, but most of the time it followed the two main characters: Vincent Valtrez or Clarissa King.

When Vincent was a child, he killed his father after seeing the man kill his mother. Since then, Vincent has tried to atone for his father's sins by joining the FBI. Clarissa is descended from a long line of psychics. Her mother went mad and hanged herself, leaving Clarissa with no living family.

After two mysterious deaths in her hometown, Clarissa tries to convince the local sheriff that it's the work of a serial killer. Instead of dismissing her, the sheriff calls in former local Vincent to help with the investigation. Vincent and Clarissa are immediately attracted to one another, but each is reluctant to pursue the attraction.

What Vincent doesn't yet realize is that his father was a demon, and he will rise again to bring a new reign of terror to the world. A lesser demon, wanting to ascend the ranks of hell, is behind the murders in Clarissa's hometown, and he will stop at nothing to bring Vincent to the side of evil and destroy Clarissa in the process.

This story was dark, and there was absolutely no fluff or humor to temper that. It was edgy and erotic, and not really my normal cup of tea. However, I was engrossed in the story, and I found myself thinking about it at times when I wasn't reading it. Although it was compelling, I doubt I'll seek out the others in the series.

Favorite line: Heaven help her. She never had sex dreams.

Not my typical genre, but it was well-written, and the story was gripping. Four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
Last night, I finished the book I'd brought home from work. It was Mortal Danger by Eileen Wilks. This is the second(?) installment in her "World of the Lupi" series. I don't have the first book, and I wasn't about to buy it, so I dove in on this one. The author did a good job of not making me feel like I was floundering and adrift, for not having read the first installment.

In the story, former homicide cop Lily Yu is attending her sister's wedding, along with her werewolf mate Rule. When Lily thinks she sees a woman whom she knows is dead, she follows her into the restroom. Rule finds Lily unconscious. Although Lily doesn't feel "right", she can't put her finger on what may have befallen her. As a Gifted Sensitive, no magic should work on her, yet she feels as if foreign magic lingers.

Later, while pursuing a familiar serial killer, Lily is drawn into danger when her sister is taken hostage. In the ensuing battle, her world divides, leaving Lily and Rule in dire peril.

This was good urban fantasy/paranormal romance. However, I wasn't completely on board with the plot device the author used to separate Lily from her Gift, and from Rule. Just my opinion, but I didn't particularly care for it.

Favorite line: "If I let myself get bent out of shape every time I run across one of your old lovers, I'd spend most of my time pretzeled."
Least favorite line: "Title 18, Chapter 51, Section 1111 makes it a federal crime to use magical means to commit murder."
OMGXYZPDQ!!

Four of five:

♦♦♦♦
chez_jae: (Books)
Yesterday, I brought home my book from work, and I finished it last night. It was Come Hell or High Water by Michele Bardsley, and it's part of her "Broken Heart" paranormal romance series.

In this story, vampire Phoebe can't resist a tumble with Connor, who told her he's a Ghille Dhu. What he didn't tell her is that he's half-demon, and they're now officially mated. Connor needs Phoebe's help to retrieve one half of a talisman that is essential if they're to prevent uber-demon Lillith from escaping hell to wreak havoc on earth. While Phoebe is angry at the deception, she can't help falling for Connor's charm...nor his "charms". Heh.

The book brought back familiar characters from previous installments, and it introduced some new characters that I hope to read more about in the future. As always, this was fun, sexy and delightful without being too fluffy.

Four diamonds!

♦♦♦♦
chez_jae: (Books)
I had less than a chapter to read in my book at work, so I brought it home and finished it tonight. The book was Breath of Fire by Tammy Kane. It's a paranormal romance, with the paranormal element being dragons. Actually, it's more of a fantasy/romance than anything.

The story featured Karl, who was an Initiate to become a Mattaen monk, and Elera, daughter of the dragonslayer Shane. When Karl witnesses local villagers dragging a maiden to be sacrificed to a dragon, he scoffs at the villagers' beliefs and offers himself in the girl's stead. Imagine Karl's surprise when an actual dragon comes swooping from the sky. Along comes Elera to vanquish the beast and claim her prize...Karl.

Elera has secrets, however. She is not a dragonslayer, but rather a dragon rider. After a night spent with Karl, she leaves him with small clues to track her down, as is the way of her people. Karl eventually finds her, along with an entire society devoted to dragons. Throw in a bad guy who has long coveted rule of Verteva, which can only be achieved by bonding with Elera, and there is the recipe for an exciting romance.

The story was likable enough, but I've veered away from fantasy and paranormal romance. I'm rating it a three out of five, more due to my own change in taste, than to any fault of the author's.

♦♦♦
chez_jae: (Books)
I brought my work book home this evening to finish, and finish it I did, just now.

:D

The book was Forever and the Night by Linda Lael Miller. It's the first book she wrote in the paranormal/vampire genre. I used to devour books by this author, but I've gradually veered away from romances in general, preferring cozy mysteries and urban fantasy now. She's a fabulous author, but I realized her writing smacks of purple prose. I am certain I lapped it up in my youth, but now it just seemed a bit much.

The story centers on Aidan Tremayne, reluctant vampire, and Neely Wallace, former assistant to a senator who exposed his mob connections and is now on the run. In addition, we have Maeve, Aidan's twin who insisted on being turned into a vampire, too, so as not to be parted from her brother (weird!), vampire Valerian who fancies himself in love with Aidan (intriguing!), and Lisette, the mad, dastardly Queen of Vampires who originally turned Aidan and who refuses to let him go. Yeah, it was like a soap opera.

There were two plots going on: one of Aidan trying to reclaim his humanity, and the other of Neely trying to stay one step ahead of the mob. The two of them fall in love after two brief encounters (really?!), and it's a big, flowery yawn fest from there. The story was compelling, but the telling of the story was just so...over the top as to make it less enjoyable.

The author admits to being influenced by Anne Rice, and it showed. She portrayed one family of vampires that was uber-creepy. The husband/father was turned, then came home and turned his wife. Then, the two of them turned their own children, not wanting to ever be separated from them. So, now we have two creepy little girl vampires who were several hundred years old. Like, their parents couldn't have waited for them to, oh I don't know...grow up before they turned them?! Wow, I'd love to be immortal while saddled with the body of a child. Not!

SPOILER ALERT: Once Aidan successfully regains his humanity, the elder vampires wipe out his memory of all things vampire, while Valerian does the same to Neely. So now, the two of them must meet and fall in love all over again, having no memory of the other. What was up with that? I didn't like it. It's like they (and I!) were cheated out of a full HEA. Hmpf.

Three diamonds:

♦♦♦
chez_jae: (Books)
Just finished reading Kiss of Fire by Deborah Cooke. This is the first book in her "Dragonfire" series.

The story was a paranormal romance, with the shifter element being dragons. Quinn Tyrell, known to the Pyr as the Smith, is destined to meet and mate with human Sara Keegan. Quinn has turned his back on his own kind, feeling they failed him when he needed them most.

As for Sara, she knows nothing of shifters, until she is attacked one evening by a Slayer and rescued by Quinn. Among dragonkind, the Pyr are the "good guys", tasked with guarding the Earth and the humans who inhabit it, whereas Slayers wish to destroy humankind.

Sara is the prophesied Seer, and the Slayers will do anything to prevent the union of Smith and Seer. Sara is drawn into the war between the factions of dragons, all while trying to come to terms with her growing regard for Quinn. For Quinn's part, he is reluctantly drawn back into the war, but he will do what he must to protect Sara.

I don't often read straight-up paranormal romance any more, but this book reminded me why I used to be enamored of the genre. It's a well-written story, filled with fascinating characters. The battle scenes were exciting, and the sex was hot.

:D

Four "stars"!

♦♦♦♦
chez_jae: (Books)
Yesterday I brought home my work book so I could finish it. The book was The Haunting of Cambria by Richard Taylor. It was part contemporary romance, part horror, and part fantasy.

The story is told in first person pov of the main character, Theo Parker. The story begins with him commenting that his wife died the same day they signed the escrow papers to buy a bed and breakfast in Cambria. Theo and Lily had gotten married just that day, and by nighttime, Lily was killed in an auto accident that left Theo in a coma.

After recovering and rehabbing, Theo has nothing left except Monroe House. He goes there and is surprised to find it occupied by the woman who was hired to manage the property while he was recovering. Theo allows Eleanor to stay, and the two of them end up forging a bond as they investigate who, or what, is haunting Monroe House.

The story was interesting, eerie in parts, and vexing in others. Theo developed feelings for Eleanor, in spite of, or perhaps because of, how different she was from Lily. Under Theo's regard, Eleanor blossoms from a shy, reserved woman to a vivacious, striking one. I liked the slow pacing of their romance, especially since Theo was newly a widower.

What I didn't care for was how the story started out as paranormal, then seemed to veer into the realm of sci-fi/fantasy. However, I often found myself thinking about the story at odd times, and I even dreamed about it one night. For that reason, it gets four clovers:

♣♣♣♣

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