zondag 30 december 2012

New additions to my addiction

Stapel boeken

The last new additions post for this year, and it is not a very long list this time. I am still waiting for my Alyssa Day book, and there are a lot of others still on their way as well. But I behaved, and did not visit the secondhand book pages.

From Bookdepository:
Lucy Arlinghton – Buried in a book
DD Barant – Back from the undead
Kari Lee Townsend – Corpse in the Crystal Ball
Jessica Andersen – Blood Spells
Jessica Andersen – Magic Unchained
Jessica Andersen – Spellfire
Jessica Andersen – Skykeepers
Jessica Andersen – Demonkeepers
Jessica Andersen – Storm Kissed
Jacquelyn Frank – Adam
Jacquelyn Frank – Seduce me in Flames
Jacquelyn Frank – Secuce me in Dreams
Jacquelyn Frank – Stealing Kathryn
Jacquelyn Frank – Rapture
K.A. Stewart – A shot in the dark
J.D. Tyler – Primal Law
Gini Koch – Alien vs Alien

I’ve received some marvellous things from Cecy Robson, about her Weird Girls series, which I won over at Between Dreams and Reality blog, during the blogtour.

Books I’ve won
I recently won two giveaways over at I smell sheep blog:
- Erin Hunter: The fourth apprentice
- Erin Hunter: Fading echoes
- Erin Hunter: Night whispers
- Susan Dennard: Something strange and deadly
- a big bag of swag, which I won at Halloween, so there were some scary things inside! But also some fun and beautiful things, and bookmarks from some authors still on my wishlist.

I also received two autographed books I won over at Preternatura blog:
- Suzanne Johnson – River Road
- Susannah Sandlin – Absolution.
I have been awaiting River Road for a while now, after reading all those great reviews about it, and of course, I did love the first book, Royal Street.

© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 28 december 2012

Jennifer Ashley – The pirate next door

The first book in the Regency Pirates series, published October 1, 2003.
Genre: historical romance
Cover: nice

The pirate next door

What was a proper English lady to do when a pirate moved next door? Add the newly titled viscount to her list of possible suitors? Take his wildly eccentric young daughter under her wing? Let the outlandish rogue kiss her with wild abandon?
As everyday etiquette offered no guidance, Alexandra Alastair simply set aside her tea, peeled off her gloves, and followed her instincts – whether that involved rescuing her new neighbour from hanging, fending off pirate hunters, plotting against aristocratic spies, or succumbing to a little passionate plundering. Forget propriety! No challenge was too great and no pleasure too wicked, for Grayson Finley promised the adventure of a lifetime.

Mrs Alexandra Alastair, granddaughter to a Duke, has been married before. Very unhappily, as her husband was notorious for his many mistresses and adventures outside the marriage bed. She lost her precious baby only a few hours after birth, and is still grieving for that loss. So now she is determined to marry again, and start a family of her own, with a good man. Someone who will really care for her, and not embarrass her. Together with her best friend, she has made a list of eligible bachelors, and has started to check them out.
But somehow, her new neighbour has her intrigued. Is he really a pirate as the rumors say? But surely, a Viscount with a daughter could never be a pirate? Even though he doesn’t dress conform the latest fashion, and receives odd visitors who could very well be pirates, he is so very handsome.

Then one warm evening, when the windows from her bedroom are opened, she hears a commotion next door; someone is trying to kill her neighbour! And the French King is missing? Alexandra doesn’t hesitate, gathers her big burly but young and very cowardly footman with her, and races to the rescue. And just in the nick of time she manages to save the Viscount from hanging himself. His enemy left him strung up, and he would have slowly suffocated himself that way, with his own servants incapacitated as well.

Grayson Finley really was a pirate before he became a Viscount, and he has an adorable little daughter named Maggie, who he didn’t know he had until a few months ago. He has made a bargain with the devil himself, so his little girl, whom he loved on first sight, could be brought up as a young lady should, respectable and with a large fortune behind her. Of course, he has no intention to honor the agreement and sacrifice himself, he wants to see her grow up. But his enemy is cunning and ruthless and not a little bit mad with grief and the need for revenge.

Alexandra has no idea she is getting in the middle of a fight between pirates, ending up a pawn between them. Her reputation is at stake here, she doesn’t want to become a mistress, she wants to be a wife, but her lover doesn’t seem to want to marry, and the men she doesn’t want, propose to her en masse. What is a lady to do?

I so enjoyed this story. It is so fluently written, and so easy to read, the pages just flew by. It is a light-hearted story, with characters I fell for at once, especially Alexandra, who keeps her head up no matter what happened to her. She is determined to choose a better husband this time, but all goes awry when she falls in love with the pirate next door. A man who shows her passion and freedom and joy. She also loves his little girl, and she longs for one herself.
Grayson Finley really was a pirate captain, and he acts as if he still is. It is his way of the highway, he takes whatever he wants, and won’t hear any arguments, or listen to reason. Nothing Alexandra says will sway him, but he does fall for her just as hard. He just has to get his affairs in order first. But to dally with her in the mean time, is just to his liking.

And he has to find the French King who has been kidnapped, so the Admiralty will give him and his crew a general pardon for their piratical sins.

I so enjoyed all the twists and turns in this novel, how the smart Alexandra figures it all out, and goes for what she wants, to safe the man she loves. There is also a romantic subplot with Alexandra’s former governess, who she wants for Maggie, and one of Grayson’s crew.
This book is just fun, it is different, it is very well written, and has some hot love scenes. I enjoyed the story and all the characters. And don’t worry, it is not a typical pirate book on the high seas, the closest to the Ocean this book gets is the mouth of the Thames.

9 stars

Autobuy author

The paperback edition is on longer for sale on Bookdepository.com, but the ebook which has been re-released earlier this year, is only 99 cents on Amazon at the moment:

© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 27 december 2012

Kari Lee Townsend – Corpse in the Crystal Ball

The second book in the Fortune Teller Mystery series, published June 5, 2012.
Genre: paranormal cozy mystery
Cover: love it

Corpse in the Crystal Ball

Psychic Sunshine Meadows makes a dark discovery in the woods...
After clearing her name as the prime suspect in a murder, Sunny Meadows hopes she can finally enjoy some serenity in the idyllic town of Divinity in upstate New York. She'd also like a second chance with Detective Mitch Stone. But when Mitch's gorgeous ex-girlfriend Isabel Gonzales shows up, Sunny's not sure she can compete. Then Isabel mysteriously disappears.
When the police turn to Sunny for help, her visions lead to the discovery of Isabel's corpse in the woods. Before she died, Isabel scrawled in the dirt a message implicating Mitch in her murder. Now Sunny must help the man she's falling in love with as she sets out to find the real killer. But this time Sunny's clairvoyant abilities might not save her - as what she doesn't see can hurt her...

After successfully solving her first murder case, Sunny’s psychic business is doing well. She has a lot of clients, and she enjoys her new house and cat, and everything. But she is not sure she wants to go further with Mitch, after all, he totally does not believe in her powers. So how can they be together? They should just try to be friends first. But when his gorgeous ex-girlfriend shows up in town, she is not so sure of that anymore.
And then her grandmother shows up in her house. She loves her grandmother dearly, but she is dead sure her parents set her up, to keep an eye on her. They promised to stay out of her life until Easter, and now this. But she loves her granny, and doesn’t tell her about her resentment. Of course, she also loves the cooking and cleaning her grandmother does around the house, if only she would stop interfering with her readings! She really cannot handle cookie breaks while in a trance.
Her cat Morty has taken a liking to her grandmother as well, letting her dress him up with bow ties, and worse!

And then Isabel ends up murdered, and Mitch is the prime suspect. Relieved of his duty and his badge, he is supposed to stay at home, taking care of Isabel’s even gorgeous twin sister, while Sunny and Detective Fuller solve the case. Sunny doesn’t believe Mitch is guilty, and Detective Fuller seems to be ruled by the clock: breakfast, lunch and dinner are more important to him. So Sunny sets out by herself to follow some leads.
And while she discovers Isabel’s secrets, and some of Mitch as well, she puts herself into more danger than she can foresee.
Sunny is still in love with Mitch, but she knows nothing can come of it, especially now with Selena who needs him more than she does. And then there is that handsome mailman Kevin, who seems to like her very much. Even Morty approves of him, while he hates Mitch (which is duplicated!). And so she tries to summon enough cheer to go out with Kevin, and why is Mitch acting so jealous?

At first there are suspects galore, as in the short time that Isabel stayed in town, she managed to aggravate a lot of people. But one by one they get cleared, and Mitch is left as the only viable suspect. Until they start digging deeper and deeper and start looking at outsiders who came to town and knew Isabel. And about the money she had embezzled.

I enjoyed this story even more than the first, as Sunny has become a bit more mature. She won’t give up on clearing Mitch’s name, even though she doesn’t know what to do anymore with her love life. Her gran sure is a character. And she wants to learn to drive a car! At her age, and with her bad vision. Still, Sunny doesn’t want to disappoint her, and risks life and Beetle to give her some experience.

I did have my suspicions but could never have guessed the whole plot. That ending was truly awesome, I loved it. Kari Lee Townsend wrote a great mystery, that was just a whole lot of fun, with eccentric characters and a very peculiar cat. I just wish that Sunny had done some more readings to figure out things, instead of investigating the oldfashioned way. There is definitely romance in this book, but not love scenes. Not only for Sunny, but also for some of her friends, and I enjoyed reading about them as well.

I am looking forward to reading the next book, and do recommend this to all lovers of paranormal cozy mysteries.

9 stars

A blogger made me buy itAutobuy author

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 26 december 2012

Jennifer Ashley – A MacKenzie Family Christmas – The perfect gift

Book 4,5 in the MacKenzie / Highland Pleasures series, published December 15, 2012.
Genre: historical romance
Cover: Lovely

MacKenzie Christmas small

The Mackenzies gather for a clan Christmas and Hogmanay in Scotland. In the chaos of preparations for the celebration--the first of Hart and Eleanor's married life--one of Ian's Ming bowls gets broken, and the family scrambles to save the day. Daniel busily runs a betting ring for everything from the hour Eleanor's baby will arrive, to whether Mac's former-pugilist valet can win a boxing match, to who will be the first of the many guests to be caught under the mistletoe. Ian begins a new obsession, and Beth fears that the loss of one of his precious bowls has made him withdraw once more into his private world.

I enjoyed this novella so much. If you love this series as much as I do, you really, really need to buy this story, and read it. It is just a catch up with all the characters out of the series, their lives, their children, and all against a lovely Christmas setting. Ian and Beth, Hart and Eleanor, Cameron and Ainsley, Isabel and Mac, and Daniel. Then there is David, and Isabel’s sister Louisa, the MacKenzie half brother policeman, and Ainsley’s brothers, the McBride’s.
There is not much of a plot, a missing child, a broken bowl, the effort in finding a new one, Eleanor being very pregnant. It is just a sweet story, an update and of course to get you in the mood for the next book in the series, The Seduction of Elliot McBride.
And as usual, now I really want to reread Ian’s book. He is still my favourite.

8 stars

Autobuy author

It is only $ 0,99 at Smashwords at the moment, and totally worth its money, as it over 200 pages. Here is the buy link: buy here

© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 24 december 2012

Merry Christmas!

I wish you all a very happy Christmas, or whatever you do celebrate. And if you don’t celebrate anything, just enjoy the days off.

Merry Christmas

This first day of Christmas, I’ll be spending home with my boyfriend. Tomorrow we will go to my parents, to be with the whole family. I will be bringing enough books with me to last the day and evening.

Laura Kaya – West of Want

The second book in the Hearts of the Anemoi series, published June 26, 2012.
Genre: paranormal romance
Cover: nice

West of Want

When Marcella Raines' twin brother dies, she honors his request to be buried at sea, never expecting the violent storm that swamps her boat. Though she's gravely injured--and still emotionally damaged from her recent divorce - Ella fights to survive.
Zephyros Martius is the Supreme God of the West Wind and Spring, but being the strongest Anemoi hasn't protected him from betrayal and loss. Worse, he's sure his brother Eurus is behind it. When Zeph's heartbreak whips up a storm that shipwrecks a human, his guilt forces him to save her.
Ella is drawn to the vulnerability Zeph hides beneath his otherworldly masculinity and ancient blue eyes. And her honesty, empathy, and unique, calming influence leave Zeph wanting ...everything. When Eurus threatens Ella, she and Zeph struggle to let go of the past, defend their future, and embrace what they most want - a love that can be trusted.

Ella is doing the sad job of dispensing her twin brother’s Marcus ashes while on their sailing boat, True Blue, when a sudden storm surprises her. She is swept overboard, one of her arms not working anymore, still clutching the urn. Will she die here, in Chesapeake Bay? Her twin was only 30 when he died suddenly, and left her his sole heir. Their parents died when they were 20, and he was all she had left. Especially after her husband left her when she was diagnosed barren, for her best friend who was 4 months pregnant with his child already.
Coming back home to Marcus’ house, now her house, was just what she needed to start living again. Marcus left her well off, and she doesn’t need a job for a long time. Perhaps she can do something for the environment on a volunteer basis here. Ella loves nature in and around Chesapeake Bay.
But now, she is dying, and no one will care.

When sensing an innocent human is dying in the cold waters below him, Zephyrus, God of the West Wind, reins in his rage and sorrow, and sets out to safe that soul. When he finds Ella, he drags her back on board, and steers the boat towards the coast, where other people will take care of her. He is sure of that. Still, he cannot just leave her, he has to find out for himself what will happen with her. After all, he cause the accident to happen in the first place.
When Zeph finds out she has no one, he stays with her in the room, healing her as much as he can without raising suspicions. Somehow, she is soothing him with her quiet gentle energy. When Ella is released a few days later, he decides to take care of her, if she will let him. He has to make it up to her.

At first, Ella is spooked to find a strange man in her bedroom, but there is just something about him. After trying to escape him, and hurting herself even more, he carries her back to her bed, and does nothing to hurt her. He calms her fears, and she eventually lets him heal her. In exchange, she offers him to stay at her place if he has nowhere else to go at the moment. And Zeph is touched by that, it has been so long since anyone offered him any kindness at all, any thought for his wellbeing. It will give him a chance to get to know Ella better, and the strange way she soothes him and gives him new energy.
But his jealous and spiteful younger brother Eurus won’t leave them alone, won’t let Zeph find any measure of peace. He does his best to ruin everything for Zeph, but will he succeed, again?

I enjoyed this book very much, I loved Ella, and how she struggles with the hard blows life has dealt her. Still, she is very accepting of Zeph, and what he is. I think she could have been a little sceptic for a little longer. A fun detail though: Ella googles Zephyrus and stumbles upon Wikipedia. This made me curious and do the same thing. And yes, I found the same page, only most of the names are different in Dutch.
Back to Ella: I liked her, how she still loves the little things in life, her flowers, sailing, and wants to share it with Zeph.
And Zeph, well, talking about a tortured hero. He lost everyone he has ever loved, and most of them thanks to the machinations of his younger brother. So I was glad to see he got what he so richly deserved. It was difficult for him to trust Ella, but he fell for her, hook line and sinker, and together they decided to give it a try. Even though he is a God, with all the duties that entails, and she just a human.

I enjoyed the story very much, and it was totally different from the first book, even though I was very happy to meet Owen again, and Boreas. To learn a little more about the realm of the Gods, and how everything comes at a price. A price (or sacrifice) that can be very high indeed. I am very much looking forward to reading the third book, South of Surrender, which I have pre-ordered months ago. I really love Chrysander in this book.

There are a lot of hot love scenes in this book, if you enjoy that kind of thing, and the story itself is well written, and good paced. I like Laura Kaye’s writing style, and her subtle sense of humor. She managed to surprise me with the plot, and I like that in a book.

8 stars.

I won this book on a blog

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 23 december 2012

Lynn Viehl – Dead of Night

The second book in the Youngbloods series, published July 8, 2012.
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Cover: I like her, he is spooky though. And those cats eyes are very important in this book.

Dead of Night

Catlyn Youngblood has a secret life. Despite being a natural-born vampire hunter like her two older brothers, Cat has fallen for Jesse - an ageless boy from a centuries-old vampire clan.
Cat's job cataloguing rare, mystical texts at a bookstore allows her to meet with Jesse alone every evening. But when girls who look disturbingly similar to Cat start disappearing from town, Cat and Jesse discover frightening clues to their whereabouts within the book collection. Together, they must stop a crazed man from realizing his dark scheme - one that would claim Cat's life.

WARNING: this review will spoil some important details from book 1, so read at your own risk.
Also: This book seamlessly continues where the first book in the series stops, so you really should read them in order.

Somehow, Cat starts her first day at school again, only it is two months later. And this time, it all goes a lot better than the first time, and she can actually enjoy it. Until she sees Jesse again, and suddenly remembers everything that has happened before. She is furious with her brothers for messing with her head, again, and with the whole town this time! Everyone has forgotten two months of their lives, the good and bad things that happened. So she will have to pretend to be happy carefree Cat and meet Jesse in secret again. Getting a holiday job at the local bookstore is perfect for that. A few hours of work, and a few hours of being together with Jesse. He shows her the secret tunnels beneath the village, where he has his workroom and safe place to hide when dawn catches him.
A little bit more freedom from her overprotective brothers.
But girls are disappearing from their town, girls who look a lot like Cat. Is someone looking for her? And then she meets a girl who escaped the brainwash, and still remembers everything that happened. Kari is totally willing to help them be together, and provide some cover up. Because Cat is determined to find those missing girls, and safe them. Even though her brothers want her to keep out of it, and be safe inside the house. Locked up in her room if necessary. Cat knows she can find them, she knows what she can do and how to protect herself. But she gives them the slip, and sets out with Jesse. And in the end, her bond with Jesse is the only thing that saves her from the old lunatic.

There is also a subplot with one of their horses, a pregnant Arabian mare, but I did not really understand the ending of that. Why or how everything was suddenly solved.

I really enjoyed this second book in the series as well, and blazed through it. It did not have all the errors the first book had. I still like Cat, she has no choice but to lie to and hide from her brothers, they would just wipe her memories again if they get the chance. But they finally tell her everything that happened, and explained their actions. It made sense, but did not make it right in my mind. Jesse is also a great character, never pushing their relationship, just accepting what time they can be together, and getting to know each other, and their families past. I liked him.
But her brothers, well, lets just say I am very glad not to have brothers myself, if they all act like that.

So the book ended kind of happy, and then a postcard arrived on the very last page, and now I totally need the third book! I want to find out what will happen!

8 stars

Autobuy author

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© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

zaterdag 22 december 2012

Lynn Viehl – After Midnight

The first book in the Youngbloods series, published May 8, 2011.
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Cover: nice

After Midnight

Ever since the death of their parents, Catlyn Youngblood her two older brothers have shared a nomadic existence, always moving from place to place. When they at last settle down for good in the sleepy backwoods town of Lost Lake, Florida, Cat thinks they might finally have a normal life.
While riding her horse late one night, Cat meets an enigmatic and handsome boy named Jesse Raven. Even more strange than her overpowering attraction to him is Jesse's apparent aversion to daylight. Only under the cover of darkness can they meet. As Cat and Jesse’s bond grows stronger, Cat discovers an incredible secret about the Ravens’ and her own family’s past – a secret that could destroy their love. Their families, knowing the truth, conspire to keep them apart. But Cat and Jesse will risk everything to be together - including death.

As I love Lynn Viehl’s adult books, I just had to try her YA series as well. And I am not disappointed. After Midnight is a well written novel, with lots of action, and NO LOVE TRIANGLE!

Catlyn Youngblood is a 15 year old schoolgirl, and she is always the new girl in school. Her brother, who is her legal guardian, has to move for his job every six months or so, meaning they never get to make real friends or put down roots. But now he has quit his job, and is planning to stay in Lost Lake, Florida, for good. Starting a horse breeding ranch. They have always had their horses with them, wherever they have been living, and now Patrick (Trick) is planning on adding some more. Patrick is 30, and a big and strong muscled man. He cares deeply for his brother and sister, and is a bit overprotective. Okay, a lot.
Cat’s second brother is Grayson (Gray), or Grim as she calls him, due to his sunny nature. Cat and Gray have to go to highschool, Tanglewood, something Cat hates, as she is always the loner there. But to her surprise, this time it seems to go a bit different. If only that bully of a jock, Aaron Boone, did not seem to like her so much. She is totally not interested in him, even though he is the star of the school, of a rich family and the schoolteams quarterback. He has been with his girlfriend Tiffany, who is ofcourse head of the cheerleaders, since 5th grade. So why is Tiffany acting so hostile against her? It is not like she is trying to steal him away or something.

Trick has forbidden it, but Cat loves to ride her horse at night, without a saddle so he won’t notice it is wet at the underside in the morning. She has excellent nightview, and Sadi is very steady, so she is not afraid of having an accident. Then one night, she sees another rider on a big black horse. He is going straight for the new fence Trick build, as if he is used to riding there without there being a fence. His horse doesn’t try to jump it, but swerves, throwing his rider in the barbed wire fence. Catlyn does her best to free the boy, who is tangled badly, at the cost of some bad scrapes on her arms and hands. She likes the boy, who is very handsome, and smells good, and is kind to her, but then she faints.
A few hours later, she wakes up, alone, and manages to make it home just before her brothers wake up and she is busted. Will she ever see that boy again? She doesn’t even know his name! All she has is a ring he was probably wearing, and lost when he fell.

At breakfast, her brother Gray has a surprise. He wants to go to the tryouts for the football team. He never has wanted to before, so why now? Trick doesn’t like it, and forbids it, but for once, Gray is going to defy him. If they are going to stay here forever, he wants a normal life and try to blend in, be a part of the community. And then the local sheriff pays them a visit, seeming to warn them away.

Cat keeps meeting Jesse in secret, she knows her brothers would never allow her to date a boy. Her mother was pregnant when she ran away with their father, and for some reason they are afraid she will do the same.

During the next few weeks, Cat discovers secrets about her own family, her parents, and Jesse’s. It was surprising to me, and I enjoyed it. Of course they fall in love, and Jesse wants her to run away with him for a chance to be together. His parents don’t want him to see her anymore, and her brothers will also keep them apart. But Cat loves her brothers too much to do that, they will work something out. Especially after the attack …

I enjoyed this book more than I anticipated, and the ending made me really happy to have book 2 ready to grab to continue reading. I liked Cat, she is levelheaded, even if only 15 and in love for the first time. She doesn’t do really stupid things, strange things keep happening, but she deals with it. And highschool is not easy for anybody I guess. At this point, I really dislike her brothers for what they have done to her, but it will be explained in the next book. And wow. It is really hard not to tell a bit more, but that would mean spoiling all the nice surprises, and I don’t want to do that.

If you like YA vampire books, I heartily do recommend this one. Remember, no love triangle, intrigue and mystery, and originality. (But perhaps I have not read enough YA to be the judge of that).

What I still cannot comprehend at all, and perhaps never will, is how a boy who looks 18, but is in reality well over a hundred, can fall in love with a schoolgirl. His body might be 18 but his mind has to be looking for something else. And that is perhaps my main issue with reading paranormal YA as a genre.

And one note of displeasure: I was thrown out of the story more than just a few times, by the missing of small words in the sentences. This book needs to be edited again.

8 stars.

Autobuy author

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© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 21 december 2012

Karen E. Olson – Pretty in Ink

The second book in the Tattoo Shop Mystery series, published March 2, 2010.
Genre: cozy mystery
Cover: love it.

Pretty in Ink

Brett Kavanaugh is a tattoo artist and owner of one of Vegas’s hottest tattoo shops, The Painted Lady. And in her spare time, she does some sleuthing – because nothing needles her more than murder.
After Brett and company ink Sin City’s newest drag queen stars, they’re invited to opening night at the Strip’s glamorous Nylons and Tattoos show. An evening of glitter and dancing ends in disaster when a stranger with a queen of harts tattoo fells Brittney Brassieres with a wayward champagne cork.
Even though Britney recovers, she mysteriously dies soon after, and then another drag queen is found poisoned. Someone’s targeting Vegas’s fabulous femmes. And sharp as a needle Brett must crack the case before the show’s over for good.

Where to start with this review? It was action filled from the first page till the last. Brett has been inking some drag star queens lately, for their new show, and now she and her colleagues are invited to opening night at Chez Tango, owned by MissTique. Brett is enjoying herself, which she had not expected, but those drag queens are very good at their job, and look fantastic.
But then some lunatic points a bottle of champagne at Britney Brassieres, who is singing on stage, and makes the cork slam straight into Britney’s chest, knocking her over. The sound of the cork popping, and the sight of the singer falling over, makes people suspect the worst, and a stampede starts for the door. Which does ruin opening night. Brett never got a good look at the guy, as he sprayed her with the champagne as well, getting it into her eyes, but she did see the tattoo on his arm, a Queen of Hearts playing card. But well, this is Vegas.
When the cops and the paramedics come in, Britney aka Trevor McKay is taken to the hospital, as he has hit his head pretty hard on the stage. Charlotte, Brett’s intern, is going with him to keep him company. To Brett’s disappointment, it is not her brother Detective Tim Kavanaugh who heads the investigation, but some other cop who seems to really dislike her, and doesn’t even give her his name.
The next morning that same cop arrives at their door (Tim and Brett are living together) and their clearly is some bad history between the two of them. Detective Frank DeBurra is dating Tim’s old girlfriend, the one who left him when he did not propose to her when she expected it. And Frank clearly resents that. But DeBurra works not for LVPD, but for Metro Homeland Security, so there must be more to this case than meets the eye.

The next morning, Trevor is released from the hospital, but Charlotte is missing. And things get worse after that, fast. Trevor gets sick in The Painted Lady, and dies shortly after in the hospital. Charlotte is wanted by the police, for something that happened in a pawn shop, involving a tacky pin owned by Trevor. Charlotte and Ace are apparently dating, and Brett never noticed it, and Ace is protecting Charlotte. But Brett needs to get to the bottom of all this, as Frank DeBurra is harassing her.

I won’t spoil everything that happens in the book, I never ever could have foreseen all those twists in the plot, and the strange happenings. And the strangest part is perhaps that Brett’s main competitor, Jeff, is helping her out when he can. Does he have his eye on her?

I enjoyed this second book in the series a lot, it kept me on the edge of my seat, and really makes me want to visit Vegas once in my life. See a drag queen show in a club, gamble a bit, and tour all the major casino’s.
I enjoyed catching up on Brett and all the other characters, and am looking forward to the next book. Karen E. Olson has written a fast paced cozy mystery, with unique characters and lots of action. There is of course also room for humor, and friendship. Romance, not so much, as Brett is not very lucky in that department. I keep being tempted to get a tattoo myself, but know I never will have enough courage for that.

8 stars

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 18 december 2012

Kari Lee Townsend – Tempest in the Tea Leaves

The first book in the Fortune Teller Mystery series, published August 2, 2011.
Genre: paranormal cozy mystery
Cover: beautiful, I love it.

Tempest in the tea leaves

Leaving the Big Apple for the quaint town of Divinity, New York, Sunny is determined to make it on her own as a psychic. With an ancient Victorian house as her place of business, Sunny uses various psychic methods to aid the town’s residents. But when she uses tea leaves to give a reading for a frazzled librarian, what she finds at the bottom of the cup is anything but helpful.
Sunny informs the police of her deadly vision, but her warning is too late. And with hard-nosed, ruggedly handsome Detective Mitch Stone denying her abilities and naming her prime suspect, the situation is dire. Now Sunny has to use her visions to clear her name, before the killer can put an end to the psychic’s future…

At age 29, Sunny Meadows is more than ready to leave her parents, who see her as nothing more than a disappointment. Her father is a successful surgeon, and her mother a successful attorney, a killer in a courtroom. And Sunny is a psychic, something neither parent wants to believe in. The first thing Sunny did when she was 18, was legally change her first name from the hated Sylvia into Sunshine, which fits her much better.
And so Sunny sets out in her old VW Bug to the small town of Divinity, and the gorgeous Victorian mansion she bought for herself. As it is thought of as haunted, she got it cheap, no one having lived there for decades. And it comes fully furnished with lovely Victorian furniture. And a spooky white cat with big black eyes. At first Sunny is scared, as the cat is acting kind of strange, but Morty soon grows on her, and she decides to keep him or rather let him keep her, as he apparently was already living in the house.

Sunny enjoys making the house liveable, and especially the room she has designated for her readings, her little sanctuary. And then late one afternoon her first client arrives: Amanda Robbins, the town’s librarian. She is horribly upset, and asks Sunny to read her future to her. But Sunny cannot allay her fears; instead, she sees Amanda’s death is imminent. Someone she knows very well will kill her. Amanda doesn’t want to believe her, and leaves, making Sunny wonder what to do next. An hour later she finally calls the police to tell what she saw, but it is too late. Amanda has been found death in her bedroom. And Sunny becomes the main suspect. She was the last one to have seen Amanda alive, and as there is no such thing as a psychic, how else would she have known of the murder? Especially when it were the tea leaves she gave Amanda that were found soaked in the poison used?

But as the evidence is only circumstantial, Detective Mitchell Stone will have to release her. And Sunny is determined to clear her name. This will for sure kill off her fledgling business. Who would want their future told when all she sees is murder?
And so she sets out to find out what happened, only to butt heads with the handsome detective time and again, which is only getting worse when the powers that be decree for them to work together. Mitch for sure is not happy with that, and she totally hates him for calling her parents, making them race over to “help” her out of her predicament. Still, investigating is a great way to get around town and meeting the locals.

I really enjoyed Sunny, and the stuff she got herself into. She has a big heart, and wants to help whenever she can. She doesn’t really thing things through first, making it necessary for Mitch to safe her, but she is fun and I would love to hang out with her.
And then there is the handsome Detective. He was burned badly by love before, so he is really careful now. And when Sunny reads his tealeaves, seeing that he will break her heart, he doesn’t want to believe her. She is so not his type! But Sunny’s talent is real, and he will find out for himself. Morty doesn’t like him though, and finds it very funny to scare him, making for some fun scenes.
I have to admit, I don’t like her parents. Too sure of themselves, and thinking Sunny without aim, not believing in her, nor standing behind her. She needs to come home and get a real job, a purpose in life. Hello’s she is 29, she doesn’t need you to tell her what to do, and decide how to live her life.

I did enjoy the friends she makes, and would for sure love to meet that gorgeous Irish barkeeper. Or the heartbroken singer. I am really looking forward to reading the next book, and find out more about this town and its inhabitants. Kari Lee Townsend has written a great new cozy mystery series, and I loved it very much. I did not figure out who the killer was at all, never even suspected him. Which is always a good thing as I like to be surprised by the plot. The humor is just my kind of thing, and the cat stole some great scenes. I just wanted the book to go on for a hundred pages more or so.

8 stars

A blogger made me buy it

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© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 17 december 2012

Kresley Cole – Shadow’s Claim

The first book in the Dacians series, published November 27, 2012.
Genre: paranormal romance
Cover: dark, not sure I like him.

Shadows Claim

Shadow's Claim features Prince Trehan, a ruthless master assassin who will do anything to possess Bettina, his beautiful sorceress mate, even compete for her hand in a blood-sport tournament - to the death.
Trehan Daciano, known as the Prince of Shadows, has spent his life serving his people - striking in the night, quietly executing any threat to their realm. The coldly disciplined swordsman has never desired anything for himself - until he beholds Bettina, the sheltered ward of two of the Lore's most fearsome villains.
Desperate to earn her guardians' approval after a life-shattering mistake, young Bettina has no choice but to marry whichever suitor prevails - even though she's lost her heart to another. Yet one lethal competitor, a mysterious cloaked swordsman, invades her dreams, tempting her with forbidden pleasure.
Even if Trehan can survive the punishing contests to claim her as his wife, the true battle for Bettina's heart is yet to come. And unleashing a millennium's worth of savage need will either frighten his Bride away - or stoke Bettina's own desires to a fever pitch. . . .

Trehan Daciano is the master assassin who has kept Dacia safe and undetected for the last 900 years. He is vampire, cold and logic, and utterly ruthless. He will do his duty to the kingdom that is his only passion. So when the Deathdemon Caspion leaves Dacia after having gotten sanctuary, Trehan will hunt him down and kill him. Silent as the shadows, and never seen. If he is seen by someone, that person will die, or Trehan risk being banished from his own realm. Dacia will have to stay hidden and secret, a legend only.
But when he follows his target to the demon realm of Abaddon, something pulls at him. A lone tower in the castle with a single light in the window is beckoning to him. And when Caspion is frolicking in a whore house for what will probably be the whole night, and Trehan won’t kill him in front of an audience, he has the time to investigate. He did not count on meeting his Bride there though. The one woman destined to be his forever. The woman who makes his heart beat again, after it stopped many centuries ago, the one who will bleed him.

Bettina, Princess of Abaddon is half demon, half Sorceri. A while ago, she was brutally attacked on earth while out with some mortal friends, by some Vrekeners, and only her Guardian summoning her back home, safed her life. But not her Sorceri powers, which were stolen from her. Since then, she has been afraid, and she wants nothing more than to stop that fear from taking over her life, and have her powers pack. Her Guardians have promised her that. Her demon godfather has promised to hunt down those Vrekeners, and kill then, and her Sorceri godmother, the powerful Queen Morgana has promised to get Bettina her powers back. But she will have to agree to be the price in the tournament they will hold in her name. She wants to be protected? They will give her the greatest warrior in the Lore as a husband. And so she had little choice but to agree, and now she is horrified of her fate, as she sees the warriors gathering. Those are no handsome demons, gallants who want her hand in marriage. They just want her kingdom, and will take her in the bargain. They are hideous, and some are even deathly to her, let alone compatible in body. She has only one choice to get out of this deal, and that is to lose her virginity. So she has decided to seduce the man she has been in love with for ten years, her friend Caspion. But Caspion refuses, he has his own problems, an assassin is on his trail, and he will be death the next day. So why won’t he help her out? Or enter the tournament, as her Guardians has promised every contestant safety outside the Iron Ring? She will just have to make him drink too much and seduce him. But her plan fails, and she ends up drunk herself.

Thinking Caspion has come back to her, she eagerly embraces the man in her bedroom. Being a 22 year old virgin, she has no experience with men, but he makes her dizzy with his kisses. And Trehan is just pleasantly surprised that his Bride is so eager in his arms, and welcoming of him. Until she calls the wrong name, and it all falls apart. His Bride is in love with someone else? With his target? No, he cannot condone that! But he also cannot hurt her, and so he leaves her alone, to go back home to Dacia to think things through, as he always does. But his logic has deserted him, and he doesn’t know what to do. If he goes back to Abaddon and enters the tournament, thousands will see him. He will lose his home in Dacia, and for what? A Bride who doesn’t want him? A throne he is not interested in? Of course he would win the tournament; there is no better warrior than him. But can he win her heart? She would hate him forever for killing the man she loves. Or thinks she loves.
Trehan just can’t stay away from Bettina, and at the last possible moment he enters the tournament, just after Caspion has done it himself. Caspion got smart after all, and decided to take a chance on living a while longer and having Bettina for his bride, even though he longs to find his own destined mate and knows Bettina is not her. He is marked for death anyway. But at least he can safe Bettina the horrors of marriage to one of the other contestants who horrify her.

Trehan offers Bettina to kill those contestants in the first day of the melee, if she will grant him a boon. As some of those demons really horrify her, she agrees. And in no time, she owes him 5 boons, as he kills those she fears the most. And when he saves Caspion from some fire demons, she grants him 5 more. So how will he let her pay for those boons? He wants to spend time with his Bride, to learn everything he can about her. To find out why she is so afraid, and to kill any threat to her. She is his to protect now, his to cherish. Slowly Bettina gets to trust him, he won’t hurt his Bride, and she certainly likes his kisses and his body. But what will she do, when he will have to kill her beloved in the Ring? There can be only one winner of the tournament, and her hand in marriage.

This book started out strongly, and never let up. I devoured it, and loved every page of it. But why this is a spin off of the Immortals after Dark series, I have no idea. It really wasn’t anything different, and with a lot of the same characters.
I liked Bettina. She really came back from nearly being tortured to death, she was still feisty. She wanted Caspion, and she went after him, even if she doesn’t get him. She is so very much afraid, but brave enough to face those fears, and with some help of Trehan, to overcome them. Yes, I do admire her. She is also young, and a Sorceri, with the characteristics of one. I liked her interaction with some others in the end of the book. And then there is her passion in working with gold, designing and making gorgeous jewellery and especially jewellery with hidden weapons.
And Trehan, such a fierce fighter, such a softy where his Bride is concerned. So busy trying to protect her, to kill her enemies for her. So determined to win not only her hand but her heart as well. I really liked him, and cheered for him. He is honourable, and has given his all to his homeland for so long, it was time for him to choose something different. He loves his Bride, and he admires her artwork, weapons are something they have in common. He would never prevent her from doing something she loves doing.
What I hated is that the book ended when it did, when I would have loved to see them together a little bit more, to see how a vampire and a Sorceri would rule a Demon kingdom. Perhaps in the next books in the series I will learn more about them.

A trademark Kresley Cole book, which I loved from cover to cover. Hot scenes of seduction and of love, great fighting scenes, fabulous descriptions of the realms and the creatures in it, and of course a great sense of humor. Characters to love and to cheer for, both the main and the secondary. I am really looking forward to reading more books by her hand.

9 stars

Autobuy author

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© 2012 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 16 december 2012

Ilona Andrews – Steel’s Edge

The fourth book in the Edge series, published November 27, 2012.
Genre: paranormal romance
Cover: strong, different, I love it.

Steel's Edge

The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is a fairy tale - and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny...

Charlotte de Ney is as noble as they come, a blueblood straight out of the Weird. But even though she possesses rare magical healing abilities, her life has brought her nothing but pain. After her marriage crumbles, she flees to the Edge to build a new home for herself. Until Richard Mar is brought to her for treatment, and Charlotte's life is turned upside down once again.
Richard is a swordsman without peer, future head of his large and rambunctious Edger clan - and he's on a clandestine quest to wipe out slavers trafficking humans in the Weird. So when his presence leads his very dangerous enemies to Charlotte, she vows to help Richard destroy them. The slavers' operation, however, goes deeper than Richard knows, and even working together, Charlotte and Richard may not survive...

Ever since she was a toddler, Charlotte was a healer. Meaning her parents sold her to the main Healer school at age seven, for a lot of money to heal their grief of losing a child. Charlotte was raised at the school, leaning that healing came at a price, and that the other side of the coin, destroying life, was easy but would in the end kill her. If she ever gives in to that dark thing inside of her, she would become a walking plague, killing whole populations.
She hasn’t felt the need to destroy, but when her husband discards her like old trash, when she is diagnosed as barren, she cannot control herself, and hurts him. She wants him to suffer as he is making her suffer, and is scared of herself. She is so powerful. But she has heard of a place called The Edge, where magic doesn’t work as well as in the Weird. And so she flees, leaving everything she knows behind. She almost doesn’t make it, having been robbed of everything she owns, and shot when she tried to heal a child. But a kind old lady took her in, and helped her learning the ropes of the Edge world. She is happy with her life here.
Until one day it is all destroyed, and she loses faith with her fellow Edgers. They are cowards, they won’t stand up to the slavers who killed her friends, and have abducted her patient. If they won’t help her, she will do it herself. Those slavers need to be stopped, to save others the grief she is feeling right now.
To Richard Mar’s surprise, she walks right in the slavers camp, letting herself be chained up. He is going mad in his cage, but he can’t help her. And then suddenly, some slavers start to cough, and cough harder, and then more and more. And then they die. Will he be next? Or can he get through her haze of grief and make her free him? Charlotte is horrified for what she has done, as she totally enjoyed the feeling of killing those animals. She has trouble reigning her powers back in. And when Richard tells her, there are many more of those bands of slavers scouring the country, she decides to help him on his quest to kill them all, and put a stop to this horror.
Of course Richard doesn’t want such a gentle lady to come with him, he works alone, always has. But Charlotte will only follow him, and he can really use her talents. He is ruthless in his goals. And so they set out to find the secret Market, and destroy it, with the help of some allies of his. Some of the most ruthless criminals there are, but who have a bone to pick with the slavers well. And Charlotte gets introduced to the underbelly of society, as she never could have dreamed existed.
She also meets George and Jack, Rose’s brothers, whom we met in some previous books. Working as spies for the Mirror, their mission is aborted and they will aid Richard and Charlotte in their goals with their unique talents.

When they find the Market, and destroy it, they are after the Bookkeeper, the only person who knows the identity of the persons behind it all. And when they find out this atrocity evolves from the highest echelons of society, they cannot stop here. They will have to expose those nobles, and end it for good. Which is not going to be easy, and will have to take some sacrifices from them all.

I was mesmerized by this story from the start. The gentle Charlotte, such a great healer, the strongest of them all. Her callous husband, who only used her and then discarded her and how her powers had a dark side to them. How determined she is to right a wrong, how she gives up herself to fight evil. She was strong, she was fun, and I very much enjoyed getting to know her. Richard has really found his match in her. His being unable to share his plans with her, drives her crazy, and she will teach him how to be a partner. He never fears her, even though he witnesses the worst she can do. He still sees the lonely woman she is underneath her power and he will do anything necessary to keep her at his side, even abandon his plans for her. But she won’t let him.

A really good book, and I hope to read the stories of Jack and George some day. I like them a lot, and Sophie as well. Great main characters, but the secondary characters are just as good. As evil as they come, and as good as they come. I enjoyed it all. The amazing world building, the descriptions of the fights, the magic, the deaths. I was unable to stop reading past a certain point, which cost me a few hours of much needed sleep. But well, it was almost weekend at that time.

If you have never tried an Ilona Andrews book before, I do recommend this series just as much as the Kate Daniels series, which is Urban Fantasy. But I also recommend you read those books in order, to be able to enjoy everything more. You will have no idea about the Hand or the Mirror, or the different realms in this amazing world.

10 stars

Autobuy author

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© 2012 Reviews by Aurian