Darkness Rises Dianne Duvall.
ARC supplied by Netgalley.
I love paranormal romance abut strangely have never read any of Dianne’s works. Well, she’s now become a favourite author as I simply loved this book. I wasn’t sure if I’d follow it OK, as its a return to a world already revealed in past novels, but I was fine. I think I’d have enjoyed it even more if I’d known the histories of characters from past books, but that didn’t stop me from savouring the story and romance in this book. Its a twist on the usual vampire novels with “ordinary” vampires mostly turning mad fairly quickly, and devolving into killers. Etienne and his colleagues belong to a group known as Immortal Guardians, who protect humans by keeping these killers off the streets, but of course even with their talents its a dangerous task, and needs thorough thought and backup. Krysta and her brother Sean have some special gifts, and after she saw her fiancé killed by a vampire she’s been all out to kill them each night. Then she comes across Etienne, she knows he’s not the same as those she’s killed, but she finds it hard to believe when instead of killing her he helps her.
There’s attraction between them that neither are keen to acknowledge at first, but through circumstances Krysta and Sean get drawn into Etienne’s world, and they learn things they’d never dreamed of, and more about their own gifts. Of course, as all the best novels do – they get pulled into danger and Dianne manages to make this really credible. I hate those where, just as the heroine is in big trouble, she pulls out some new, unknown skill. Krysta doesn’t, she gets hurts and bleeds, as do the Immortals though of course they heal quicker. There’s some interesting side stories too, hinting at novels to come and I love the way that this links to past books, (which I now want to read!!) and also sets scenes for future ones. It’s not a cliffhanger novel, its part of a series but the story itself is complete. I have a real dislike, horror, hatred, disapproval of cliffhangers, especially when its so long to wait til next book, but series like this where each book links but is complete are fabulous, they allow an in-depth story, with a world that’s already introduced earlier, but without that cheated feeling I get when suddenly, just as things heat up it’s “the end” Argghh…frustration rules then. Priced at £3.78 for 416 pages its excellent value and one for my keeper files.
Stars: fantastic read, full five.
Prodigal Son. Debra Mullins.
ARC supplied by Netgalley.
I’ve never read any of Debra’s work before so went into this blind. She’s a great writing style though, and I was quickly drawn into the story. It’s paranormal romance, but with a gripping mystery backing the romance and leading the characters into life-threatening danger. Its an interesting twist on the paranormal genre, no vamps or werewolves, no witches or magicians, but ordinary people with an incredible heritage which leaves them with special powers. Rafe is estranged from his family, we don’t know why at the start, just that something went badly wrong, and he felt he had to leave for their safety. His siblings and mother are all Seer’s, being descended from the race that lived on Atlantis. At least that’s his mothers story, incredible though it seems, and she says they are from the only family to escape.. Rafe’s also a Hunter, as was his grandfather, and when the Hunter takes over he does so absolutely, leaving Rafe not in control any more. He’s learned to control the Hunter over the past few years, and only use part of the strength offered by it, and uses his seer powers to become a very successful bounty hunter. He sees the file for Danny, can’t “see” him, which is something that has never happened, and so decides to take the case to find out more about what’s happened to his gift.
He meets Danny’s step-sister Cara, and there’s an immediate searing attraction between them, which both of them fight. Through circumstances though they end up together on a trip to find Danny, and the passion flows into some rivetingly sensual, hot, erotic sex. Of course as well as pleasure that brings complications, especially when Cara starts to see him use more of his powers and won’t be placated with the usual excuses.
Its a fabulous book, the plots flow well, the characters are superb, and the action has just the right amount of drama, no overkill, pages and pages of drawn out descriptions but succinct, and interesting, using ordinary and extraordinary abilities.
I really enjoyed this novel, had me lost within the story, rooting for the good guys, hoping Rafe and Cara could work things out, wondering if Adrian and Tessa(? Rafe’s sister) would get together…there’s a pull there – maybe in a future book? The story is certainly open for more, though I don’t know if a series is intended, I hope so because it has all the elements of an outstanding one, one I’d read and reread 🙂
Its priced at £8.62 for 336 pages, so if that price is correct it is IMO quite expensive, but it’s also such a great read that if you love your romance with some paranormal adventure you may be tempted. You won’t be disappointed in the story, its a great balance of all the elements needed for a riveting read.
Stars: full five, can’t fault this book.
The Illicit Love of a Courtesan. Jane Lark.
ARC received via Netgalley.
Sometimes I enjoy a foray into the gentle romances, with a historical setting, and this one appealed so…
Ellen, what a lovely heroine. She’s been through so much, and is stuck in a lifestyle she hates but has no way out. Then, out with her keeper one evening, she meets Lord Edward Marlow. Edward has a fascination for her, with one glance she sees in him everything she’d love to have. He’s equally smitten, and when the chance arises they have a brief but torrid affair. Edward wants more and just can’t understand why she stays with Lord Gainsborough – it’s clear the man abuses her, she has a reputation little better than a whore, she’s his mistress and everyone thinks she’s with him for what material gains she can get. It’s clear to him though that what’s on the surface isn’t the true story and he’s perplexed. Ellen has secrets though and slowly they come out…
After a vicious argument with Lord Gainsborough Ellen escapes and runs to Edward. She can’t tell him everything, but pleads with him to help her nevertheless…and loving her he does.
Secrets slowly come out, family relationships are at risk, Edwards’s family think she’s simply after his money, and believe the story put about over her relationship with Lord Gainsborough. There are huge problems to be overcome if they are to have a chance at happiness and a relationship that lasts.
I liked the way the secrets came out carefully, a bit at a time, in drips and each setting up the next part of the story. Edward was a superb man, strong and loving and willing to abandon everything for love, even though he kept finding out more and more secrets Ellen had kept from him. She hadn’t a choice at first though, and then was too scared she’d lose the one chance of happiness she had found if she revealed all. Its bitter-sweet – she’s so happy with him and yet she’s convinced its only fleeting, and that like everyone else in her past he’d abandon her if he knew everything. Edward loved her though – and that love was truly tested as more and more secrets came out, and more hurdles were faced. He had his own family problems too – and Ellen didn’t want to exacerbate those by coming between him and his family.
Its a sweet story, and enjoyable romance. Its not heart pounding, flesh melting, edge of seat passion, but a true love story with some sensual sex scenes and a plot that unveils slowly, building the whole story gently and showing the best and worst sides of human nature.
Its priced at £3.99 for 2104kb – I haven’t page info but I’d guess at 250-300 as its a decent long read. If you love historical romance this is a great book for you, its more than just a sweet love story, with plots that keep on being revealed, til they add up to one huge conclusion. It’s not one for my keeper files but that’s because I only take occasional plunges into historical romance.
Stars: – its a good read and I enjoyed it but its not a book that had me riveted in the way a five star one does. I’m torn between four or four and a half…I think because of the sensuality and complexity of the plots I’m going four and a half 🙂
Shades of Pink Charity Anthology
As you may know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For this occasion, 33 authors have allied for 1 cause: fundraising for research. Their gift to everyone who makes a donation? A romance anthology (ebook) titled Shades of Pink, totaling over 200.000 words / about 500 pages as a PDF.
The suggested donation is $5. Funds are raised via Stayclassy.org and all proceeds go directly to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Readers can also donate to the charity organization of their choice (with a focus on breast cancer) and email their receipt to receive their copy of the anthology in either PDF, ePub or mobi (kindle).
Who: Kate Baum, Brei Betzold, Jean Booth, Catherine Bowman, Perci T. Brooks, Rose Caraway, Bethan Cooper, Sarah Daltry, Vivien Dean, JJ Ellis, Rachel Firasek, Sabrina Garie, Amber Green, T. Hammond, Lisa M. Harley, Zoe Susan Harris, K. R. Haynes, Ellie Heller, Laura Hunsaker, Jennifer James, Torie James, Kallysten, K.A. Linde, C. Deanne Rowe, DJ Shaw, Madeline Sheehan, Eden Summers, Gill Taber, J Annas Walker, Matthew Welch, Kristin L. Wilson, York, Angela Yseult
When: October through November 15th.
What: 33 short stories, including…
30 M/F, 1.5 M/M, 1.5 M/F/M
4 paranormal, 2 sci-fi, 19 contemporary, 3 historical, 1 BDSM, 9 fantasy, 3 YA (some stories have more than one genre)
4 spicy (ménage or kink), 15 sexy (explicit sex scenes), 14 sweet (no sex)
A handful of vampires, about four dozen humans including fighters, cursed humans, reincarnated souls, footballers, time travelers, bosses, secretaries, writers, rock stars, teens, witches, soldiers, wives, husbands and fiancés, 1 succubus, 1 genie, 1 extra-terrestrial princess, a few gods and goddesses, a pack of werewolves.
Pink, pink and more pink, including cherry blossoms, jewelry, flamingoes, silk, a leather collar, assorted flowers, hair, a car, lip gloss, champagne, a hair ribbon, a hippo, various clothing items, lemonade and a toy.
Where: Kallysten’s blog http://blog.kallysten.net/p/charity-anthology.html
Here you’ll find teasers for all the stories, interviews of the authors posted during all of October, and of course the link where you can donate and help this worthy cause.