Monday, January 19, 2009

Book Review: Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh

Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh
Psy/Changeling series Book 3

A strong-willed, violated changeling wolf. An elite exiled Psy assassin. Two people touched with darkness will find the light together.

The third book in Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series, Caressed by Ice is about Judd Lauren and Brenna Shane Kinkaid, two characters we have met in the previous books. Brenna, after surviving the brutal kidnapping and torture she had suffered under the hands of the Psy Concil Member Enrique Santana, is now in the process of mending. However, her dreams are plagued with dark visions and her self-confidence shattered by her inability to shift fully into wolf form, she seeks solace and comfort in the most unlikely place, in the company of Judd Lauren.

Judd Lauren, renegade Arrow, is a Psy, cold, emotionless, pitiless. With his own mysterious past and powerful abilities, he knew he should stay away from Brenna. The leashing of his dark talents and the safety of everyone he loves lie in his ability to maintain Silence. But Brenna’s presence tempts him to test his limits and makes him want things he shouldn’t even crave.

Now, with a killer gunning for Brenna, attacks against changeling packs, and a program called Protocol 1 about to be launched, Judd has his hands full. But his greatest challenge would lie in the biggest step he will take: can he break silence and claim Brenna as his?

I love, love this book. I don’t know how Nalini Singh is able to make a character like Judd, cold, emotionally unavailable and still make him hot and sexy. Brenna and Judd are great characters. I like the development of their relationship, so sweet and poignant. I like Judd’s quiet steadiness, Brenna’s stubborn strength, and most especially the powerful, almost inexplicable attraction between two unlike individuals who has fostered a strange friendship that will metamorphosed into a true bonding that will be their salvation.

I highly recommend this book to anybody who likes sci-fi/fantasy romance.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Book Review: Kiss of Fury by Deborah Cooke

A scientist on the run. A reluctant dragon-protector. A firestorm that will not be ignored.

After reading the first Dragonfire book, I knew I would want to read the next book. Sexy, free-spirited Donovan Shea had caught my attention and I wanted to see more of him, and his book Kiss of Fire, second book in the series, did not disappoint.

Alex is a brilliant scientist who has invented The Green Machine, an eco-friendly car who will be able to run on salt water. After her lab was destroyed, and her partner tortured and killed by sadistic Slayers (bad dragons in this book), Alex is on the run, not entirely sure of her own sanity, after all she is seeing dragons, but desperate to meet the deadline for her invention.

Donovan, on the hand, is sent to protect her, not knowing that she is his firestorm, the human that will be able to mate with him and give him a dragon child. With his own childhood issues of parental abandonment, Donovan is determined not to consummate the firestorm, not matter how much he finds the human sexy and attractive.

Meanwhile, the battle for the world’s survival between the Pyr (good dragons) and the Slayers (bad dragons) is escalating to scarier proportions as the Slayers use dark magic to create zombie-like dragons of friends and family members of the Pyr. To ensure their victory, Alex and Donovan will need to face their fears, embrace their destinies as Wizard and Warrior respectively, and harness the unwanted firestorm into a power that can tip the scales of the conflict.

Kiss of Fury is a mixture of romance, action, magic, humor and excitement. I like the pairing of Alex and Donovan, two strong-willed characters but with soft hearts. I like that Alex was strong and confident enough to go after Donovan. I’m starting to like more and more heroines that know their hearts and are willing to go after their guy. I also like the secondary characters, like Rafferty, Donovan’s mentor and Sophie, the Wyvern, the only female dragon who serves as some sort of prophetess.

Cooke’s world of shape-shifting dragons is getting more fleshed out here, and it is a fascinating place. With magic, prophecy and fated lovers, she has me hooked. I know the next book is going to be Eric, the leader of the Pyr, and I’m glad that I found this series just now, because I don’t have long to wait for its release on Feb 2009.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Book Review: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
Mercedes Thompson Book 1

Welcome to the world of Mercy, ace mechanic and coyote shifter. I picked up Moon Called at the library because I’ve heard of Patricia Brigg’s name bandied around a lot in most of the paranormal groups that I hang around.

Although I leaned more towards PNR, with emphasis on the R for romance, I don’t mind dabbling once in a while with some Urban Fantasy books where Moon Called righteously belongs.

Mercedes Thompson’s world is full of strange creatures. Her next door neighbor is the alpha of the local werewolf pack. Her former boss is a fae creature. She tinkers with a van that belongs to a vampire. But then, she is no ordinary girl herself. She is a walker, a being that has the ability to shift into a coyote.

Mercy’s world was about to get stranger, when she befriends a teenage runaway werewolf who brings trouble to her life and death to her doorstep. Adam, her werewolf neighbor, ends up getting attacked and his daughter, Jesse, kidnapped. Now Mercy, has to pull all her resources, including digging up personal connections in her past if she wants to help keep both father and daughter alive.

Moon Called is a fast-paced novel that quickly sucked you in. I feel that the action was pretty non-stop, moving the plot along, as I get introduced to the many characters that is part of Mercy’s world. Mercy is another strong female character that is fast becoming ubiquitous in the Urban Fantasy genre. I finished the book in a matter of two days, and knew that I will be continuing with this series. The Mercedes Thompson first book is something that will whet your appetite for more, if you like a well-written plot, with likable characters and plenty of paranormal elements.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Book Review: Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling

Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling

I picked this thin book from the library, without really meaning to get it. However, since I loved the Harry Potter series, and seeing that it was simply sitting there on the shelf, I grabbed it and added it to my pile of books to take home.

The book is a collection of stories, the wizarding world’s version of the Muggles’ (term for humans) fairy tales. Each story comes with notes from Dumbledore, revealing little tidbits about this great wizard and more insights on the world of Harry Potter.

I breezed through the book easily, finding the stories simple and easy to read. My favorite would be The Three Brothers, the same story that was referred to in the last Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I found some of the stories better than others; some with clearer lessons to share and others I feel were just slightly silly.

Overall, I was not overly impressed with the book. But aware that they were simple tales, I did not really raise my expectation high. For me, the feeling I got when I read it, is this, “This is cool. Now, I can say, I read this book.” As a Harry Potter fan, I just simply felt closure that I was able to read another book associated with the series. I’m sure the other Harry Potter readers probably feel the same way.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Book Review: Parallel Desire by Deidre Knight

Midnight Warriors series #4

Two wounded hearts find each other amidst a world-changing battle.

When I finished Parallel Seduction, I knew I have to find the next book fast and soon. So I was lucky, that when I made my weekly trip to the local library, I found Parallel Desire, sitting on its shelf, as if simply waiting for me. I resisted doing a happy dance, as I greedily snatched it, and put it in my overflowing basket of books.

Parallel Desire picks up immediately right where Parallel Seduction ends. Now time-traveler Scott Dillon, in his wife’s murderer’s body, is stranded in the past, trying to find a purpose for his own existence. With Hope, his wife, now happily mated to his younger self, he has decided that eliminating his wife’s future killer, will be the best way to secure her safety in this current timeline. Together, with medic Shelby Tyler, Scott embarks on a journey that will lead them into the hands of their enemies. As the battle between Refarians and Antousians continues to rage, Scott will be forced to embrace his own hybrid nature, heal his own hurts, and discover a new capacity to love.

I cannot say enough good things about this series, and after reading this fourth book, it is definitely in my top ten list. I enjoyed reading about this other Scott Dillon, the one that has experienced pain and loss, and his relationship with Shelby, who has experienced the same traumatic events in her own life. I also like the continuation of Jared and Kelsey’s story, and even Thea and Marco’s. It is like reading a new story while hanging out with old friends.

To those who haven’t read this series, and if you are into sci-fi romance, I highly recommend that you give this one a try. Definitely worth the read.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Book Review: The Road to Hell by Jackie Kessler

The Road to Hell by Jackie Kessler
Hell on Earth series #2

Jesse, the ex-succubus turned mortal stripper, is back. Now settling into mortal existence, complete with her shiny new soul, and enjoying the delights of love with her sweetie, Paul, Jesse thought that hell has forgotten all about her. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Though human, somehow she can still see malefic entities as they, under Hell’s new management directives, now actively abet mankind to commit sin and destruction, instead of just waiting for humans to give in to temptation. Furthermore, she has a missing Fury bestfriend to find,a persistent former fuck-buddy incubus to fend, and a vindictive queen to avoid. Jesse's problems just got bigger and bigger. To top the list, former queen of Lust Lilith steals Paul’s soul, and Jesse is forced to journey back to Hell to retrieve it.

This time our intrepid heroine will battle for her choices, her love for Paul, her belief in who she is, her friendships, even to the point of a confrontation with the new Boss of Hell.

I picked up The Road to Hell, even though I was planning to read another book instead, because I cannot resist it after finishing Hell’s Belles. Once again, I was able to finish this book in a short time, flying through the pages. Now, used to Kessler’s witty, hip prose, I still find myself giggling at some of her expressions, although once in a while, I frowned at her repetitive phrasings.

I still like Jesse, and I was rooting for her all the way. There are plenty of interesting endearing characters, including a beautiful, dim-witted angel trying to learn how to be a Seducer. But the one who stole the show for me is Daunuan. This incubus, with his seductive wiles, just leaped off the page and commanded attention. Because of my fascination with this character, I can't wait to read the third book, Hotter than Hell, because it is the sexy incubus' book.

I have to admit I’m not a deep philosophical reader, but I know that there is some profound message in this book, underneath the fluffy storyline. You can’t help it but feel the undercurrent of something more.

After a few moments of pondering, I came to the conclusion that The Road to Hell, Kessler’s follow up to her delightful Hell’s Belles, is a story of love and friendship, of making choices and being true to who you are. I give this book 5 stars over 5 for the amount of fun I had reading it.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Audiobook Review: The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning

The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
Highlander Series #5

A man possessed with one good conscience and thirteen bad ones. An overly-curious student of antiquities. A love that will battle an ancient curse and a destructive future.

Having listened to the other Highlander books, I finally got my hands on the audiobook of The Dark Highlander. Since, I read this series out of order, it was actually fitting that I ended having Dageus' story as the last one, since I started with Book 4, Kiss of the Higlander, which was about Dageus’ twin, Drustan.

Dageus MacKeltar, in his quest to save his twin brother’s life, ends up being possessed by 13 evil spirits. Now, ensconced in his penthouse up high in Manhattan, he pores over ancient tomes trying to find a solution to his infernal dilemma. Enters Chloe Zanders, ever curious scholar and an expert in ancient artifacts, she finds herself in an utterly compromising situation and ends up as the mysterious Scots’ prisoner. Together, they will travel through time, and challenge powerful beings, as they seek to fight the ancient evil that is slowly stealing away Dageus’ soul.

Narrated by Phil Gigante, I enjoyed listening once again to another KMM’sHighlander book. His voice brings to life every character, the nuances, subtle but distinct, the emotions, heartfelt. Karen Marie Moning’s writes with such passion, with such clever sensual phrasings, with a prose that is almost lyrical. Her characters are so real and their challenges daunting, that the whole experience becomes a thrilling ride of thrills and adventure.

I’m sad that I’ve finished listening to all the books in the series, but she has given me many memorable characters. I highly recommend this series to any paranormal romance fan. Definitely a 5 stars out of 5.