zaterdag 30 november 2013

Nora Roberts – Savour the moment

The third book in the Bride Quartet series, published April 7, 2010.
Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: I don’t really like that weddingcake.

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Childhood friends Mackensie, Parker, Laurel and Emmaline have formed a very successful wedding-planning business together but, despite helping thousands of happy couples organise the biggest day of their lives, all four women have been unlucky in love.
Chef Laurel McBane has worked hard all her life to secure her dream - to be an award winning baker. Now, her wedding cakes are as close as anyone can get to edible perfection, stunning creations that complement Mac's beautiful photographs and Emmaline's floral bouquets.
Because Laurel has worked so hard to overcome her tough upbringing, she is wary about letting anything, or anyone, get in the way of her work. But a slowly simmering chemistry with Parker's brother Del has suddenly become too hot to ignore ...

Although this third book was not as emotionally loaded as the first two books in my opinion, I really enjoyed reading it, and kept on reading until I was finished.
Laurel is the third of the friends to fall in love, or rather, she has been in love with Del for as long as she can remember, and he just keeps treating her as one of the girls he looks after, like his sister. And she just can’t take it anymore, she wants more. Sure, she has tried falling in love with other men, has done her share of dating and is certainly not a virgin, but somehow they never can compare with Del. And when he comes into her kitchen, insulting her, something snaps and she kisses him to make her point. She is not a little girl anymore, someone he has to take care of, she can take care of herself. (That was a fun scene!).

Del is completely overwhelmed, what just happened? Why did she get so angry with him, and what was with that hot kiss? But he has been fighting how he looks at her lately, he does find her attractive, so can they really make a go of this? Of course, lawyer that he is, he comes up with a proposition and a set of rules. After he dares her to come and get the shoes back he has shoenapped the other night … If this does not work out between them, they will still have to be able to be friends, especially as they are such a close-knit group, and he is kind of a silent partner in their businesses. Laurel agrees, and the other girls are very happy for them, even Parker, who doesn’t care that Del is her brother, she wants details!

And so Del and Laurel start dating whenever their busy schedules allow them some time. Sharing their memories, and revisiting shared ones. But not everyone is happy for them, there is a lot of gossip, after all, Delaney is a Brown and Laurel is a nobody. Her father became notorious for getting caught by the IRS, and for having a string of mistresses. Still, her parents never divorced, they stayed together to make each other (and Laurel) miserably. If not for her friends and Emma and Parkers great parents who helped raise her, she would not have been the woman she is today. There are people who think she is after his money, other people who think he is just playing with her, it is nothing serious. After all, Del sure is a lady’s man besides a great lawyer. Laurel especially has a hard time when Linda shows up, Mackensie’s mother. Laurel prevents her from going into Mac’s house, as she is not welcome, and Mac and her fiancée are not home. And Linda knows just what to say to hurt someone the most. But Laurel manages to get her of the estate, and then Emmaline is there to comfort her and cheer her up again, as that is what good girlfriends do.

The first book has Mac, who had a hard time falling in love and committing to it, thanks to her rough childhood. The second book was Emmaline, who had a great childhood with amazing parents who wanted romance and love for always, and would not settle for less. And now we have Laurel, who also had crappy parents, and has had to make her own way in the world. She has succeeded, but she has always been in love with Del, there is no one else for her. And finally she takes that first step to make him notice her in a different way. I loved that she took the initiative.
Again, the friendship between the four women is awesome to read about, they know each other inside and out, and are there for each other. In the second book, Parker found the perfect wedding dress for Mac, and now she has found Emmaline’s dream dress.

I also love reading about all the small and big details that are involved with organizing a wedding, and I just know that I will never, ever, go through all that trouble and expense for just one day. Lol. Even if my boyfriend would want to get married, which he has vowed never to do again.

There is just an energy involved in those books that makes me love them, and fall in love with the characters and how they go after their own HEA. Of course I have been a long time fan of Nora Roberts, and so far, I still love her books. I heartily recommend this series to all lovers of romance, or if you want ideas for your own future wedding.

9 stars.

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 29 november 2013

Cherry Adair – Ice Cold

The third book in the T-FLAC: Black Rose Trilogy series, published October 11, 2012.
Genre: romantic suspense
Cover: cold.

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T-FLAC operative Rafael Navarro will never allow another woman to suffer the consequences of his dangerous life. But in a world where a terrorist can do more damage with a keyboard than a bomb, he needs the expert help of a cyber-geek. And fast.
Fellow operative, and cybercrimes specialist Honey Winston prefers computers to people. But when a serial bomber threatens the world's financial infrastructure, she's forced to work closely with Navarro, whose notorious skill in the bedroom is as legendary as his dexterity defusing bombs.
Honey and Rafael must fight sparks hot enough to melt their resolve, and push beyond fear itself, as they join forces in a bid to race the clock before a sinister and lethal bomber proves just how much they both have to lose.
T-FLAC is back, and the timer is counting down in the most pulse-pounding explosive op yet …

It has been a while since I read some Cherry Adair T-FLAC books, and the Black Rose books were my favourite. So I was very happy that Cherry has self-published this third book in the trilogy last year, after a 5 year hiatus. I had no trouble at all getting back in the story and to remember the characters.

The book starts with action, when Honey Winston discovers her boss murdered and she has to fight for her own life in the dark. Her enemy seems to know all her moves, and it ends in a standstill, both with their guns pressed to the other’s head. Who will pull the trigger first? Then he clicks on the light, and she recognizes Rafael Navarro. This does not mean that she lowers her weapon, as he could very well have killed her boss. Rafael convinces her he just arrived, and thought her the murderer, but apart from the blood on her hands from touching Jack’s body, they are both free from bloodspatter from the vicious murder. Jack has been stabbed at least 37 times.
Navarro doesn’t have time to let her grieve for her boss and friend, he needs a cyber geek on his current op, and with Jack dead, Honey is the next best thing. Even though she hasn’t gone on ops for a while, Honey is ready to leave at a moments notice.

Honey is known as the Ice Princess, being cold and emotionless, and absolutely brilliant at her job, working with computers. She lost her famous and very rich parents at age 14, and was raised by her butler as a competent minor. Honey has no idea how to interact with people, she has trust issues and has been betrayed by men only after her money before, so she has no inclination whatsoever to become involved with someone she works with. It doesn’t matter that he is so very handsome and attractive.
Unfortunately for Honey, Navarro sees her cold image as a challenge, especially when he suspects Honey is not as cold inside as she lets people think. And he starts chipping away at her, making her talk about herself and her past.

The op takes them all over Europe, where banks are bombed. Sometimes with heavy losses in human lives, sometimes just enormous material damage. But the terrorist groups claiming the bombings, are not known for this kind of targets, something more is going on. With Navarro working at the crime scenes, and Honey working on her laptop searching for a clue, the improbable answer becomes reality… somehow their own traitor, Catherine “Savage” Seymour is behind this. She has escaped her maximum security solitary lockup prison and has revived the Black Rose terrorist group. Setting Honey up to take the fall for her.

But what is Catherine really after?

An action filled book and I loved it. It is a gripping tale, where the intrigue is getting deeper every chapter. At first Honey is not believed when she thinks she saw Catherine on the street. Especially as it has been confirmed by two T-FLAC operatives she is still in prison. Honey is not convinced at all, and wants better proof, DNA proof. Of course this will take some time. In the mean time, there is a new bombing every day, and the pressure to get answers increases.
It is pretty soon evident that they do have a traitor in their midst, when Navarro gets attacked on the street walking back to the hotel where Honey is working. Why he hasn’t been killed is a mystery though. The enemy seems to know where they are going even sooner than they do themselves and are ready for them.

Honey and Navarro quickly become more than team members, when Navarro gets wounded and they end up in the same bed. Navarro wants her badly, and he doesn’t keep it a secret. And Honey, well, she doesn’t know how to resist his ice melting kisses. He surely did deserve his reputation as the Spanish Stallion …
But one night is not enough for Navarro, he wants more, and now he has to convince Honey of that. If they both survive, that is.

I loved Honey a lot, she is a great character, she knows herself and is amazing at her job. She is afraid to care for people other than her 86 year old butler/houseman, but she doesn’t realize she has much more friends than only him. Navarro is pushy, and I wish that Honey had stood up to him a little bit more in the beginning, make him work for it. He is also good at his job, dismantling bombs and gathering evidence. They are a smart couple and work well together. Navarro has soon feels very protective about Honey, which is totally unnecessary as she has had the same training he had as a T-FLAC operative, and she is better than most male agents in combat.

The plot comes to an ending at Honey’s Montana ranch, and it was a great ending.

A perfect ending to a fantastic, perhaps a bit over the top, trilogy. I love Cherry Adair’s writing style, and if you do love your sex scenes hot, you will not be disappointed. I had the pleasure of meeting Cherry earlier this year in Berlin, and she is just as fun and exuberant in person as in her writing. I hope she comes back often.

I do have one question though, if they know there is a traitor, why not have all the agents show their bare backs looking for the tell tale black flower tattoo? It would have saved some time …

9 stars.

Autobuy author

I won this book on a blog

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 28 november 2013

Thea Harrison – Dragos takes a holiday

Novella 6,5 in the Elder Races series, published November 16, 2013.
Genre: paranormal romance
Cover: I really dislike this cover model’s face, but the rest is nice.

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The Bermuda Triangle. Pirates. The Peanut. What could possibly go wrong?
Dragos Cuelebre needs a vacation. So does Pia, his mate. When the First Family of the Wyr head to Bermuda for some much needed R&R, it's no ordinary undertaking - and no ordinary weekend in the sun. Between hunting for ancient treasure buried beneath the waves and keeping track of their son, Liam - a.k.a. Peanut, whose Wyr abilities are manifesting far ahead of schedule - it's a miracle that Pia and Dragos can get any time together.
They're determined to make the most of each moment, no matter who tries to get in their way. And did we mention pirates?

A short story, but a good one. Dragos is tired and in need of a vacation, but first his sentinels have earned one. But Pia has other ideas, and she rouses Dragos interest in going treasure hunting in the Bermuda Triangle. Surely they can get away for a long weekend. Just the two of them and their little son, and two bodyguards. So when Dragos announces his plans, she is already packed and ready to leave. If not for Liam suddenly shifting in his Wyr dragon form… But after feeding the little guy some much needed meat, Dragos talks him into taking his human baby form again, and they are off.

It is short, it is fun, it is good and I really don’t want to spoil anything of the plot for you. I loved it, Dragos and Pia are good together, and Dragos had fun going treasure hunting. And when his wife and son are threatened, he takes care of it. Ruthlessly.

8 stars.

Autobuy author

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

woensdag 27 november 2013

Nora Roberts – Bed of Roses

The second book in the Bride Quartet series, published September 23, 2009.
Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: Nice. My book has a standing bride with a round bouquet of red roses.

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Since she was a little girl, Emmaline Grant has always loved romance. So it's really no surprise that she has found her calling as a wedding florist. She gets to play with flowers every day and work with her three best friends – Mackensie, Parker and Laurel - in the process. She couldn't ask for a better job.
Slim and sultry, Emma brings colour into every room she enters, just like the arrangements she creates. But though men swarm around her, she still hasn't found Mr. Right. And the last place she's looking is right under her nose.
But that's just where Jack Cooke is. He's been best friends with Parker's brother for years, which makes him practically family. But the architect has begun to admit to himself that his feelings for Emma have developed into much more than friendship. And when Emma returns his passion - kiss for blistering kiss - things start to get complicated at Vows.
Jack has never been big on commitment. Emma yearns for a lifelong love affair. And if the two are to find common ground, they must trust in their history - and in their hearts.

Emmaline loves her life and her job, working with flowers every day, and with her three best friends. But she is also looking for a lifelong love, her one true Love. She is gorgeous and vibrant, and she dates a lot. This does not mean she sleeps around a lot, she is sought after, but if there is no love in the air, she moves on gently. She has had feelings for their friend Jack Cooke for a while now, but the friends have a rule, not to poach on the other’s exes. And Emma thinks that Jack once had a fling with Mackensie. So he is of limits, and she also doesn’t want to ruin their friendship. He is Parkers brother’s best friend, and the architect working on Mackensie’s home. Now she is living with Carter, they need more space.

But Jack is feeling the attraction to Emma as well, and one evening, while being a guest at one of the weddings organized by Vows, he finds Emma alone outside, taking a break from Monster Bride. He brings her a glass of wine, and starts rubbing her tense shoulders. It all ends in a passionate kiss, until Emma’s pager goes off and she is urgently needed by Parker. Emma is confused for days, what is she to think of that kiss? And why doesn’t he contact her?

Talking to her friends makes her mind clearer, and she decides to go for it, and find out where the attraction will take them. But Jack has to agree to stay friends with her and all of them if things don’t work out between them. Jack has problems of his own to work through, she is his best friends’ honorary sister, he knows Dell will not like this. Jack is not the forever kind of guy, while Emma is that kind of lady.

But the attraction between Jack and Emma is real, and love soon grows between them, even though Jack does not want to acknowledge that. He likes today, and doesn’t much think of tomorrow. But Emma is hurting from his lack of commitment, they always go back to her place, and she doesn’t even have a key to his house. She has her parents’ great love as an example, and she will not settle for less. Jack will have to make room in his life for her, or they are better of as friends.

I was really in the mood for the next book in the Bride Quartet series, so I dug it up from behind three other stacks of Nora Roberts books. And I thoroughly enjoyed this story, especially because of the friendship between the four women. They know each other so well, and they are there for each other, having their backs but also telling the truth. I loved their interactions a lot.
It is also fun to see how much hard work a florist has to do. It is not just a bridal bouquet that Emma has to make, it is also boutonnières, and centrepieces for the tables, little things for the bridal maids and mothers of the bride and groom and so on. The decorations in the rooms and the hallways, the ballroom, the entrance. Nora Roberts all describes it so vividly, I can just see it happening.

It is a great romance, and a story about friendship amongst a wedding company background. I will certainly read the next two books soon. I do have an idea who will be their grooms … Lots of romance, lots of hard work, and yes I did cry along with Emma.

10 stars.

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 26 november 2013

Patricia Briggs – Bone Crossed

The fourth book in the Mercedes Thompson series, published February 3, 2009.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: love it.

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As a shapeshifter with some unique talents, ace car mechanic Mercy has had to maintain a tenuous harmony between the human and the not so human within the Tri-Cities of Eastern Washington on more than one occasion. But this time she may be in over her head.
Marsilia, the local vampire Queen, has learned that Mercy crossed her by slaying a member of her clan. Now she’s out for blood. But since Mercy is protected from the vampire’s direct reprisal by the werewolf pack – and her close relationship with its sexy alpha – it’s not Mercy’s blood Marsilia is after … it’s her friends’.

This book continues with the last few pages of the previous book, so no time has elapsed between them at all. Mercy is still suffering from the shock of being raped, and has accepted Adam as his mate. But he doesn’t want sex from her yet, he can wait until after she has had some counselling. Even if it is from her own mother who suddenly appears on her doorstep …
And she is not the only surprise visitor that evening …

Apparently Marsilia, the local vampire Queen, has found out that Mercy killed her loyal vampire André as they were planning to create more sorcerer-vampires. She could not let them do such an atrocity. And now Marsilia has punished Stefan for keeping it secret from her, and aiding Mercy. She has tortured and starved him, and sent him into Mercy’s home in the expectation he will kill Mercy as he is ravenous. But Mercy was not alone when it happened, and Stefan fed from Adam and some pack members instead. He tells Mercy to run.
And suddenly, an old schoolfriend visits Mercy. Amber tells Mercy she read about her ordeal in the paper, and as she remember Mercy once told her she could see ghosts, she asks for her help. Her house and especially her young son is being haunted, and her husband doesn’t believe it and wants to send the boy to some kind of boarding school.

Mercy does think something is fishy about this sudden invitation, and is not planning on going to Spokane at all. That is the territory of one very scary old vampire, who has been holding the city against all other vampires and supernatural creatures for decades. But when Marsilia starts targeting her friends and associates, almost killing one of their werewolves, she has no choice. As Stefan is kicked out of the Seethe, he decides to go with her, to try to keep her safe. There is no reason Mercy should attract the attention of The Monster, James Blackwood. But of course, the very first evening of her stay with Amber and her family, “Jim” is an important visitor. And when Mercy wakes up the next morning with bite marks on her neck, she doesn’t know what happened. Was it Stefan who fed of her, or Blackwood?

The little boy, Chad, is deaf and Mercy doesn’t know any sign language, but they still communicate well together. There really is a ghost in the house and he is targeting Chad. Mercy’s presence seems to make it worse though, and finally Amber’s husband, Corbin, takes his family to a hotel while they search for a priest to exorcise the ghost. And Mercy goes home, as her work in Spokane is done. The werewolves and the vampire Queen are negotiating some kind of peace treaty, and they are no longer in danger. Of course that is not all there is to it.
Some of Marsilia’s vampires are unhappy with her rule, and they want Stefan to help them dethrone her. But even though he has been broken and abandoned by her, he cannot go against his Mistress. Will there be a war between the vampires?

And of course, Blackwood does not give up on Mercy that easily, he takes her back as he has plans for her, long term plans …

This book certainly had some creepy elements in it. But I loved Mercy. Even though she suffers from panic attacks, and the dislike of some members of the pack who don’t like a coyote being made pack and as their alpha’s mate, above them in status, she is strong. She fights, she is loyal, and she wins. I love how she handles the men in her life, how she keeps a level head and protects her friends.
A nice mixture of vampires, werewolves and Fae in this book, and ghosts. Yes the creepy part had ghosts, and even a zombie.

A strong series, with great characters, both the main ones and the secondary ones. I never know what will happen next (of course I do, as I am re-reading this series) but I still am surprised at things I did not notice the first time.

10 stars.

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

maandag 25 november 2013

Recommendations from Karin for November 2013

In order to bring some more variety to my blog, I have asked some of my friends for their recommendations. Today it is Karin from Austria.


I have read 11 new books and a novella in the past month, and the 3 books I enjoyed the most are:

1. Archangel’s Legion by Nalini Singh

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2. Kinked by Thea Harrison

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3. A Tale of Two Dragons by G. A. Aiken

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This month’s review is going to be easier than last month’s – so to speak. I really wanted to recommend my favourite (see number one from above) only to discover that Aurian has already recommended it. Then I decided to talk about my second favourite (see number two from above) only to find out that the same thing has happened. So I finally settled on recommending

A Tale of Two Dragons by G.A. Aiken

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Braith of the Darkness likes going through life unnoticed. Not an easy task for a She-dragon of royal descent. But the evil plots of her father are turning her quiet, boring life upside down, and she has now become the enemy of the most vicious queen her kind has ever known. But for once, Braith won't have to fight alone. Not when the warrior dragon of her dreams is willing to risk everything to save her neck.
Addolgar the Cheerful wishes he could say he's helping the pretty royal strictly for honorable reasons--but he'd be lying. It's not his fault, though! He didn't tell Braith of the Darkness to have the most delicious tail he's ever seen! Yet before Addolgar can get his very strong claws on that tail, heads are going to roll. Just hopefully not theirs. . .

Braith of the Darkness likes going through life unnoticed. Not an easy task for a She-dragon of royal descent. But the evil plots of her father are turning her quiet, boring life upside down, and she has now become the enemy of the most vicious queen her kind has ever known. But for once, Braith won't have to fight alone. Not when the warrior dragon of her dreams is willing to risk everything to save her neck.
Addolgar the Cheerful wishes he could say he's helping the pretty royal strictly for honorable reasons--but he'd be lying. It's not his fault, though! He didn't tell Braith of the Darkness to have the most delicious tail he's ever seen! Yet before Addolgar can get his very strong claws on that tail, heads are going to roll. Just hopefully not theirs. . .

This is a novella and if you haven’t read any book of the Dragon Kin series it’s actually not a bad place to start. You’ll slip into this world quite easily; you’ll get to know some of the major players of books that have already been published.

This is the chronological reading order:

"Can't Get Enough" from Everlasting Bad Boys
"Chains & Flames" from Dragon Actually
"Dragon On Top" from Supernatural
Dragon Actually
About a Dragon
What a Dragon Should Know
Last Dragon Standing
The Dragon Who Loved Me
How to drive a Dragon Crazy

I really enjoy this series despite a lot of blood that is being shed, gruesome fighting details and general cruelty that is a big part of the books.
BUT: there is such a lot of humour involved, especially in the latest instalment. I found myself snickering, chuckling and even laughing out loud about the Addolgar’s family interactions and Braith’s dry sense of humour.
Addolgar doesn’t feel an instant attraction to Braith (she, a rather shy dragon, on the other hand has fallen head over heels for him, but is too shy to take action).
During the course of a mission they both have to undertake for the queen (Braith’s life is over if they don’t accomplish it), Addolgar finds out there is more behind the blue dragon’s facade than she lets on.

I loved all the books in the series but my all time favourite is “What a Dragon should know”. I strongly recommend this series and the series Aiken writes as Shelley Laurenston.

Aurian: Nice choices Karin, and of course we share a similar taste, otherwise we would not be such good long-distance friends. I think I have tried G.A. Aiken before and it was not really to my taste, but I know Maia loves these books. Perhaps time to try it again.

How about you readers, have you read G.A. Aiken books before?

© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 24 november 2013

Rachel Caine – Midnight Alley

The third book in the Morganville Vampires series, published October 2, 2007.
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Cover: cool and a bit spooky

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Morganville is such a nice place to live…
When Claire Danvers learned that her college town was run by vampires, she did what any intelligent, self preserving freshman would do: she applied for a transfer and stocked up on garlic. The transfer is no longer an option, but that garlic may come in handy.
.. and die. If you don’t mind that sort of thing.
Now Claire has pledged herself to Amelie, the most powerful vampire in town. The protection her contract secures does little to reassure those closest to Claire. All of a sudden, people are turning up dead, a stalker resurfaces from her past, and an ancient bloodsucker extends a chilling invitation for private lessons in his secluded home. To what end, Claire will soon discover – and it will give a terrifying new meaning to night school.

Claire has accepted Amelie as her Patron, to keep herself and her friends safe in this town run by vampires. Her friends are not happy when they find out though, they should be protecting her, she is the youngest of them all. Shane is also still very unhappy that Michael is now a vampire, he has joined the enemy. And his father is still planning to come back and kill them all. So he is torn between the desire to kill all vampires, and to keep his best friend safe.
Eve enjoys her new job as barista at the university, which is convenient for Claire as well. But Eve’s evil brother Jason is threatening her, just to get back at his sister for abandoning him to the merciless care of the vampire Brandon.
And what is with Monica, who suddenly tries to hang out with Claire? Claire will never be her friend after she almost killed Claire twice now. And she also won’t recommend her to Amelie!

And now Amelie is taking an interest in her studies, she wants her to fulfil her potential by taking advanced classes, and by studying with a scary old and partly insane vampire. Claire loves the challenge of her new classes, she is extremely bright, but not sure she can learn what Myrnin wants to teach her. The vampires are slowly dying as a race, and he is searching for the cause, and a cure. To safe her friends Michael and Sam, Claire wants to help them. But Myrnin is not safe to be around, even with another vampire playing guard. And what about the traitor?
There are also humans plotting to kill vampires, and apparently, Michael is one of their targets …

A very fast paced little book, I read it quickly. A gripping tale, with Claire making decision upon decision on her own, getting sucked deeper and deeper into the vampire world. As long as nobody dies, it has been a good day …
I like this intriguing world Rachel Caine has crafted, and I am very curious about what will happen next. Especially after the surprises Claire got in the last few pages … I do wonder.
And I wonder about Myrnin, a Welsh name very close to … Merlin. He certainly is old enough for that.

Looking forward to the next book!

9 stars.

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

zaterdag 23 november 2013

ARC Review: Catherine Lloyd – Death comes to the village

The first book in the Kurland St. Mary Mysteries series, to be published November 26, 2013.
Genre: historical (cozy) mystery
Cover: nice.

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Major Robert Kurland has returned to the quiet vistas of his village home to recuperate from the horrors of Waterloo. However injured his body may be, his mind is as active as ever. Too active, perhaps. When he glimpses a shadowy figure from his bedroom window struggling with a heavy load, the tranquil façade of the village begins to loom sinister…
Unable to forget the incident, Robert confides in his childhood friend. Miss Lucy Harrington. As the dutiful daughter of the widowed rector, following up on the major’s suspicions offers a welcome diversion - but soon presents real danger.

I do love historical (cozy) mysteries, there is just something about the slow pace of the story, the characters who have to act within their social time frame, that appeals to me.
Major Robert Kurland has come home from Waterloo with a severely broken leg, and is recuperating at home. It is not healing well, and he is tired of being sick and in bed, and being taken care of by his butler and his valet (who is his former Sergeant). One night he wakes up in a moonlight lit room from a laudanum induced sleep, and wants to close the curtains. He can hardly stand on that broken leg, and is in tremendous pain, but Robert is stubborn, and manages to get to the window.
Then he spots a strange man lurking on his grounds. What is he lurking about for, and what is he dragging with him? But then his strength gives out, and Robert collapses. None of the servants hear him call, and it isn’t until morning that he is found and put back to bed.

The next day, miss Lucy Harrington calls upon the Major, as her father makes her do that, even though it is laundry day and she needs to oversee the maids. When he asks her if something has happened in the village, she has not heard anything on her daily round of visits, but she will inquire. Back home though, she discovers one of the maids has gone missing. She has taken off with all her possessions, but without asking for her back wages, or telling Lucy what she was about to do. Did she go to London with her new friend Daisy, or did she run off with a man? Lucy is really worried, and determined to find out what happened that night, especially now that she has come home with blood on her gloves. What did she touch on the way home that she did not notice the blood?

Lucy is 25 now, and really wants a husband and a house and children of her own. Ever since her other died, she has taken care of her father and her siblings but without any real authority over them. She is especially exasperated about the cook who keeps defying her. Of course, the cook supplies the rector with more than just his meals, and is confident in her position. And Lucy’s father keeps lecturing Lucy on her duty to him and her family, and doesn’t want to loose his free housekeeper.
Her younger brother Anthony is also not telling his sister what he is up to, and when she finds an unknown snuff box in his jacket pocket while she is sewing on a button for him, she is afraid he is in trouble again.

Making inquiries into the happenings in the village and surrounding more important houses, Lucy becomes aware that there has been a lot of theft of small items lately. There is of course one obvious culprit, but he would not have had access to the houses. His young son might know some more, and so Lucy asks the Major to employ him. He is a good kid, and not like his father at all.

When the Major’s fiancée suddenly shows up with his aunt, Robert is dismayed. He doesn’t know what possessed him when he proposed three years ago, and his fiancée is obviously not happy with him being an invalid either. She is very beautiful, but that is all on the outside. She is a snob, and looks down on Lucy. She is only interested in Robert for his money. Still, Robert is a gentleman, and he cannot break the engagement.

It was really strange at first, to read a murder mystery when there was no corpse found until the last few chapters. I had my suspicions about some people and things that were happening, and I was party right. I liked Lucy, she did have to act with propriety, and she is determined to defy her father and have a Season. Especially now he has made plans for her younger and more beautiful sister, who is 20. With the twins of to school, and her brother Anthony off to Cambridge, or the army as he rather would do, her father won’t need her as much.
Of course he would love to see her marry to his curate, Edward, who does most of his parochial work for him while the rector is off with his horses/hunters. Lecturing Lucy about duty, and shirking his own when possible.

I liked her interactions with the Major a lot. He is not an easy patient, and used to issuing orders, and Lucy will have none of that. She challenges him, to at least get out of bed and sit in a chair, and even to have a wheeled chair build so he can go outside. Lucy is smart, and I liked how they worked together.

I do look forward to reading the second book someday. I don’t know if there is a hint of romance in the air, or not. Lucy seems determined to go to London for a Season with her friend and her friend’s mother, to find her own husband.

For a debut book, I really enjoyed this one and recommend it.

8 stars.

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

vrijdag 22 november 2013

Nora Roberts – One Man’s Art

The fourth book in the MacGregor series, published in 1985.
Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: generic, and for once, it is the cover of my edition.

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Her car had stalled on an isolated road in Maine, and Genviève Grandeau found herself pounding on the door of an old lighthouse. But the man who answered the door wasn’t the old seafaring gent she’d expected.
Grant Campbell was a loner – rude, surly and impossible. Gennie, however, was no pushover – she found the combination irresistible. Of course, Grand was also intelligent, sarcastic, tender, secretive, and extremely good-looking.
His appeal was tremendous, but to Gennie loving meant giving, sharing … trusting. She had o convince him that their love could be a beacon for the future, eliminating the shadows of their pasts.

I think I have read this book in Dutch once, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Genviève, Gennie, is a famous artist, a painter, but after a few years in the limelight, she has embarked on a tour. Her beloved sister died in a car accident a year ago, and suddenly she could not bear to stay in New Orleans any longer. The city is filled with memories of her sweet sister. So now Gennie is on the road, staying where the mood grabs her, and painting. In a different way though, no more veil of mystery over her work, but stark reality.
And now she has found an old small village in Main that has attracted her, and she wants to paint the views and the village. And so Gennie rents a small cottage from the post mistress, and sets out on the lonely drive to it. Only to have her car break down on her in a severe summer storm. Not wanting to stay in her small car, she sets out on foot, thinking the cottage cannot be far from her. Instead, she misses it completely in the dark, and lets herself be guided by the light from another house, the old lighthouse.
The man who opens the door would have just as happily tossed her back outside, but Gennie is not scared of easily. She refuses to leave again, and Grant relents and lets her inside where he even lets her use his shower to warm up again, and makes her something to eat. But Grant really doesn’t want her in his house, or in his life, he loves his solitude, he needs it for his work. Not that he tells anyone what he is doing, he is not after the limelight, he likes the anonymity.

Gennie doesn’t like how Grant is treating her, but she can’t complain, she did barge in on him in the storm. But she is determined to pay him back, and even though he doesn’t want her, she will paint the view at the lighthouse and surroundings on his land. The attraction between them is instantaneous, but neither of them want to give in to it. Grant thinks she is a flighty sociality, with dozens of men at her feet, if he believes all the newspaper articles about her. And Gennie does not know anything at all about Grant as he refuses to talk about himself. He doesn’t even want to tell her what he does for a living. Perhaps he is afraid that she will look down on him, as he uses his art to draw a hugely popular newspaper comic.

Grant’s only sister just got married Alan MacGregor, and to his own surprise, Grant enjoyed spending time with the family. So when Daniel MacGregor invites/orders him to come visit as he has just became grandfather for the first time, Grant accepts. Only, he wants to bring Gennie with him …

Of course Grant and Gennie fall in love, despite their misgivings about each other, but Grant refuses to see it through, Gennie could never be happy with him, living in his remote lighthouse as she is used to the big and noisy New Orleans. So he doesn’t even ask her, he just chases her off when she finally founds out what he does. It will take some serious grovelling to make her come back to him ….

I enjoyed this golden oldie a lot. As stated, I have read it before, but that might have been 20 years ago in Dutch. It was fun to reconnect with all those MacGregors. I have to admit, I don’t understand why Grant was so extremely secretive about himself. Sure, he wanted his privacy, but that does not mean you cannot share something from your past or present. Don’t you want the woman you love know who you really are inside?
Gennie was fun though, she did enjoy a challenge, and she certainly was no doormat, even though she was an innocent. I liked how they were drawn to each other, and fell in love so fast, even though they really did not want it.

A nice story, in a series I love. It is easy to read out of order if you want to. I don’t have them al in English yet, and some have been read so long ago I can’t remember any details, and now I will slowly read some more of those. I am in the mood again for oldfashioned Nora Roberts romances.

8 stars.

Autobuy author

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© 2013 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 21 november 2013

Patricia Briggs – Iron Kissed

The third book in the Mercedes Thompson series, published January 2, 2008.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: I love it.

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I could smell her fear, and it satisfied something deep inside me that had been writhing under her cool, superior gaze. I curled my upper lip so she could get a good look at my sharp teeth. I might only weigh thirty or so pounds in my coyote shape, but I was a predator…

Mechanic Mercy Thompson can shift her shape – but not her loyalty. When her former boss and mentor is arrested for murder and left to rot behind bars by his own kind, it’s up to Mercy to clear his name, whether he wants her to or not.
Mercy’s loyalty is under pressure from other directions, too. Werewolves are not known for their patience, and if Mercy can’t decide between the two she cares for, Sam and Adam may make the choice for her …

Mercy Thompson is just enjoying a quiet movie night with her two best friends, Warren and Kyle, when Zee calls and asks for her help. Someone has been murdering Fae at the reservate, and he needs her good nose to see what she can sniff out. As she still owes Zee a favor for using the Fae artifacts for killing to evil vampires instead of just the one she was allowed, Mercy agrees to come right away. She has never been to the Fae reservate before, and is surprised there is a guard at the gate. And an obnoxious one at that, who treats them as very inferior.

Zee takes Mercy to the houses of the murdered Fae, in the hope she can sniff out a common visitor or something they missed. But Mercy is a walker, with even to her unknown skills. She has some kind of partial immunity to most magic, and concentrating on her sense of smell, she manages to break through the glamour that has been hiding the true Fae world from human eyes. Scent is the one thing that glamour cannot correctly duplicate. And so she sees more than she is supposed to, and even stumbles into one of the Gray Lords. And drawing the attention of the Gray Lords, is not a good thing.
Lucky for Mercy, Zee and Uncle Mike find her, and take her back to the mundane world. After four houses, she has smelled the one person that has been to all of them, the one person who should not have been inside at all. The guard at the gate. Zee sends Mercy home in his van, while he and Uncle Mike go and “talk” to the man.
But the next morning Mercy finds out that Zee and Uncle Mike were too late to talk to him, he was already brutally murdered. And Mercy is to stay out of it; she is not to put herself in more danger. Of course Mercy hates following orders, so she arranges for a great lawyer for Zee, she refuses to have him sacrificed for something he did not do, while Uncle Mike hid behind his glamour and was overseen by the police. Of course, they had all the intention of killing the man themselves, but they did not. So who is the real killer? No human would be strong enough to literally rip a man’s head from his shoulders.

Finding the real killer is not the only problem Mercy has to solve. She needs to make a choice between Samuel and Adam, before they get into a fight together. They are both very dominant alpha wolves, and they both want her as their mate. But Mercy doesn’t want Samuel as her mate, she is not that naïve 16 year young girl anymore, and he would completely smother her if she accepted him. She has come to love who she is, and her own independence. But Adam frightens her, his power makes her want to give up control to him, and she doesn’t want to loose herself to him either. Although he would not keep her locked in the house, he doesn’t hesitate to ask for her help when it is needed, Adam also does not think she is strong enough to fight others.

Okay, I won’t spoil the rest of the story. The mystery part was very well written, and absolutely heartbreaking. The dead guard did not just kill Fae, he stole Fae relics, and now his crony is abusing them. Making Mercy do as he wishes …
I cried buckets over the ending, but I am happy to say, it does end well. I love all the many characters in this series, they are lifelike, and some are nice and some are not. One of my favourite’s is Adam’s daughter, it is not easy growing up with a father who is a werewolf, and a mother who forgets you when it is more convenient. She is fun and smart and resilient.

I enjoyed learning more about the Fae, who really are not nice and friendly at all. Well, except for Zee. I am looking forward to re-reading Bone Crossed soon.

10 stars.

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