Friday, October 26, 2007

#60 Demon's Delight by MaryJanice Davidson, Emma Holly, Vickie Taylor, Catherine Spangler

My Rating: 5 out of 10 stars

"Witch Way" by MaryJanice Davidson
My Rating: 2 stars
New York Times bestselling author MaryJanice Davidson challenges a charlatan exorcist with a sexy dead woman-and an unnatural romance.

Stupid, stupid, stupid!! And completely unrealistic to boot. The author writes about Salem, MA as if it's some theoretical place where Witches are still hunted to this day when that couldn't be farther from the truth. It's actually more of Witch Central now. If you want to write about witch hunters, look to the southern states where there's still a lot of ignorance and fundamentalism. For some reason, this just didn't read like MJD's usual stuff... it was just blah for me.

"Street Corners and Halos" by Catherine Spangler
My Rating: 5 stars
And award-winning author Catherine Spangler gives a vampire prostitute a last chance at redemption when an angelic hunk offers her a night of divine lovemaking.

This one was a bit better than MJD's story, and at least held my interest, even if it was a bit corny and cliche at times.

"The Demon's Angel" by Emma Holly
My Rating: 6 stars
USA Today bestselling author Emma Holly introduces a beautiful scientist to the realm of the Demon World...and an irresistible male she has experimented on.

A little different from what I'm used to from Emma Holly. The genetic mutation part was a bit freaky... the sex was a bit tame, but there was a bit more to it than just a romance so I tended to like it a little bit. :-)

"Angel and the Hellraiser" by Vickie Taylor
My Rating: 5 stars
National bestselling author Vickie Taylor throws a hell-bent man into the arms of a beautiful dark angel who is driven by ethereal desires of her own.

For my first intro to this author, I found her story fairly well written and interesting enough. Though a bit too romancey for my tastes to make me want to hunt down other works by this author.

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#59 Derik's Bane by MaryJanice Davidson

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

This was a quick read, and I think I enjoyed it more coming into it after having read the two Wyndham werewolf stories from the Secrets anthologies since I already recognized many of the characters.

This is Derik's story. In it, he leaves the shelter of his pack leader Michael's home to head out to California, to supposedly kill the reincarnated Morgan LeFay, destined to bring the end of the world. Instead of killing her however, Derik falls in love with Dr. Sarah Gunn, the reincarnated LeFay, and cannot bring himself to do the deed. Besides, she apparently has some strange cosmic forces at work that make it impossible to kill her. So Derik takes matters into his own hands (paws) and attempt to change Sarah's fate.

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#58 Nymph by Francesca Lia Block

My Rating: 6 out of 10 stars

This is a collection of short erotic stories by Francesa Lia Block, author of the Weezie Bat books. I wasn't quite sure how to feel about this collection, but I think I at least got my money's worth in the "hotness" factor department. ;) Each story was loosely related to the others, either via a common character or a common location. Some stories had an element of fantasy to them while others did not. And though some seemed a little weird, they weren't much weirder than some of the goth books I've read, and I know this author writes in that genre anyway. That said, I think I enjoyed Plum's character the most.

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#57 Heiress for Hire by Erin McCarthy

My Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

Amanda Delmar is a 26 year old Chicgo socialite and heiress to a multi-million dollar company. She'd been living the good life back in Chicago, with her dad footing the bill for everything from her apartment and huge closetful of designer clothes, to her luxury trips around the world and all her day-to-day living expenses. With all her parties and superficial friends, she was the epitome of FAKE! But when her Dad suddenly cuts off her money supply, the life lessons she learns are the most valuable ones of her life.

Going in, I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this book since I'm still deciding whether or not I like chick lit. :-P A few of the chick lit books I've read, Jennifer Crusie for instance, read much too romance-y for my liking. This book however, wasn't too sugary at all and I'm glad I gave it a chance. :-) It had a great deal of humour and a number of laugh out loud moments. And I should've known as soon as I saw her refer to someplace as "East Bum Fuck", a term I use quite often myself, that I'd really relate well to this author. LOL

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Friday, October 19, 2007

#56 Light My Fire by Katie MacAlister

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

This is the third book in the Aisling Grey, Guardian series. Whenever I start reading these Aisling Grey books, I read all the girly-girl romance crap at the beginning and think to myself, I'm not going to read any more from this series after this one. I just don't have the time with all the other great books I've got waiting on my shelf. However, about halfway into the book, it begins to pick up the pace and grab my interest, and then ends on somewhat of a cliffhanger so that I'm looking forward to the next book again. LOL

This time, Aisling and Drake are romping around London, and as usual, Aisling is doing her best to keep herself alive. She's had one too many close brushes with death, and this time around is no different as she's got no less than three different groups gunning for her! Besides coming into some new, darker powers, she's also had quite a change of heart with regards to on-again/off-again her relationship with Drake, which now appears to be going strong! But if this will continue as her "dark side" continues to tempt her will remain to be seen in the next book.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

#55 The Cutting Room by Louise Welsh

My Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

Rilke is a down-on-his-luck auctioneer in Glasgow, Scotland who comes into a estate job that has seriously piqued his interest. In the converted attic of the McKindless residence, hidden among a huge collection of rare and hard-to-find first edition pornography, he finds some extremely disturbing photographs.... Proving that McKindless was more than just a reader, but an actual participant in some very nasty stuff!

I'm glad I found the time to read this. Thank you for allowing me hang on to it longer than usual. I'm not much of a "true crime" reader usually, but the subject matter of this particular book (pornography and other sexual deviations) greatly interested me. ;-) Apparently, this was a first novel from this Scottish author, Louise Welsh, and though I had a slightly difficult time with some of the colloquialisms, it wasn't anything that took away from the story, and I was usually able to figure out what the author was referring to within a page or two max. An exciting read!

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Friday, October 05, 2007

#54 Midnight Pleasures by Amanda Ashley, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Maggie Shayne, Ronda Thompson

My Overall Rating: 5 out of 10 stars

Though I didn't care for some of the stories in this anthology all that much, I'm still glad I read it because I did enjoy the story by Ronda Thompson. :)

"Darkfest" by Amanda Ashley
My Rating: 3 stars
The price of saving her dying mother is Channa's promise to spend a year at the castle of tormented nobleman, Lord Darkfest... to obey him as his servant or, as his secrets are revealed, to become his salvation. And her own.

I found this one a bit chintzy and sappy. And then I realized I didn't really care for Amanda Ashley's full-length novel, Desire After Dark, that I'd read either. Romance buffs may enjoy it more but it didn't have enough of an interesting story line to go along with it to hold my interest.

"Phantom Lover" by Sherrilyn Kenyon
My Rating: 4 stars
Haunted by recurring nightmares of terrifying beasts, Erin McDaniels is afraid to sleep—until a hero arrives in her dreams to save her... and makes erotic, incredible love to her. But can she find him again when she is awake?

I wasn't too impressed with this story. It was a bit too "sappy romance" for me and the rest of the action was only mediocre. Though I've felt that the romance in Kenyon's full-length Dark-Hunter novels was a bit sappy too, they generally had enough action and sub-plot going on to keep me interested anyway... although I do admit I get a bit glassy-eyed during the sappy love scenes that go on for 3 or 4 pages. But glossing over those parts, the rest of the story is still fairly engaging, which I didn't really find to be the case as much with this short story, probably due in great part to the short-story format and not having enough space to really flesh out a good sub-plot.

"Under Her Spell" by Maggie Shayne
My Rating: 5 stars
Melissa St. Cloud is hired as the technical consultant for a television series, The Enchantress. But instead of simply correcting the technical inaccuracies related to Witchcraft in the show itself, she ends up having to banish an evil spirit who is trying to consume Alex's life... literally!

I had mixed feelings about this one. On one hand, I liked the background story that went along with the it. However, the way the author approached the parts dealing with Wicca and Witchcraft, though accurate, seemed very much like a Wicca 101 lecture. Yes, granted she's trying to teach the reader something in the process, but for someone who's already experienced with all that like myself, it simply came off as rote, and the kind of thing that should be saved for a non-fiction Wicca 101 text.

"A Wulf's Curse" by Ronda Thompson
My Rating: 7 stars
Elise is running from her uncle and the arranged marriage he's set for her to a very cruel man. So she stows away in the wagon of a traveling road show, hoping to hitch a ride from London to Liverpool, and ends up right in the arms of the Beast Tamer, Sterling Wulf... and the Wulf part is more than just his last name! ;-)

This is my fist introduction to this author, and since I have some of her full-length novels coming in a bookring from CandyDarling, I had wanted to make sure I liked the author. Although this was strictly romance, I liked the author's writing style enough, and there was enough of a storyline outside of the romance with the traveling road show, that I enjoyed it nonetheless. IMO, this was the best story in this anthology.

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#53 Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

My Rating: 6 out of 10 stars

When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up such problems. But when her guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta's magic circles: the undead (Vampires) and the shapeshifters (more than just wolves).

This book had a completely unique way of looking at vampires, shapeshifters, and magic, and I'm not sure I cared for all of it. I definitely didn't like the concept of vampires "piloting" other vampires remotely, nor the fact that they were portrayed as completely emotionless bloodsuckers. The concept of magic or technology being "up" was also a bit hard to get used to—especially the fact that only one or the other could be in effect at any given time. I'm much more synergistic in my approach to life and thus have a hard time dealing with absolutes. And this one definitely seemed a hard one to swallow, at least for me personally.

Overall, I'm not sure how I felt about this one. On the one hand, I enjoy the urban fantasy genre very much, but on the other, this was this author's first novel and I'm sorry to say, you could sort of tell with the writing. There were many things that could've been done better. That said, I do hold out hope for the second novel in the series, due out in March of next year. By then, she may have refined her writing technique a bit more and I won't be distracted by the lack of finesse in the writing. :) We shall see....

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