Wednesday, March 18, 2009

TRB Challenge 2009: Games of Command

Title: Games of Command

Author: Linnea Sinclair

Published: February 2007

Genre: Science Fiction Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Stand Alone

From the Author Site: Can she trust a man who is half-machine?

The universe isn’t what it used to be. With the new alliance between the Triad and the United Coalition, Captain Tasha “Sass” Sebastian finds herself serving under her former nemesis, bio-cybe Admiral Branden Kel-Paten—and doing her best to hide a deadly past. But when an injured mercenary falls into their ship’s hands, her efforts may be wasted …

Wanted rebel Jace Serafino has information that could expose all of Sass’ secrets, tear the fragile Alliance apart—and end Sass’s career if Kel-Paten discovers them. But the bio-cybe has something to hide as well, something once thought impossible for his kind to possess: feelings...for Sass. Soon it’s clear that their prisoner could bring down everything they once believed was worth dying for—and everything they now have to live for…

Hero: Biocybernetic Admiral Branden Kel-Paten, aka Tin Soldier, of the Triad. As a biocybernetic being, he is programmed not to feel and to be completely ruled by logic. But he goes against his programing and falls in love with Tasha Sebastian. But having these feelings can have him completely reprogrammed or destroyed if anyone finds out. So he has to hide them from everyone else while trying to get Tasha to see him as a real person who loves her. It doesn't help that Tasha's best friend is an empath and is currently serving as his Chief Medical Officer.

Heroine: Captain Tasha Sebastian, aka Lady Sass, of the United Coalition. An United Coalition captain with a shady past that she must keep hidden, especially from Kel-Paten. She has been transferred to Kel-Paten's flagship, the Vaxxar, as a part of the peace agreement to unite the Triad and the United Coalition against a mutual threat. What she doesn't know is that Kel-Paten has other reasons for her being on his ship. With the appearance of Jace Serafino on board the Vaxxar, Tasha's shady past is catching up to her.

Review: Another brilliant read from Linnea Sinclair. Tasha and Kel-Paten are an unlikely pair that create a perfect romance. Tasha with her intuitive style and Kel-Paten with his logic. Together they are unbeatable. You can feel Kel-Paten's longing for Tasha as he follows her around his ship just so that he can be in her company as well as his frustration at trying to be emotional while with Tasha and unemotional the rest of the time to avoid getting caught and reprogrammed or destroyed. Meanwhile, you can see Tasha's confusion as to why Kel-Paten is "spying". Kel-Paten's straight military bearing is a perfect foil for Tasha's more relaxed and rougish style. You have to love her "My name's No, No, Bad Captain! What's yours?" T-shirt and Kel-Paten's reaction to it as well as their "Sabastian", pause, "Kel-Paten" routine.

Linnea Sinclair has given us a second love story to enjoy in book. The love story of the rascally outlaw Jace Serafino and Vaxxar's CMO, Eden Fynn. Their story is a bit more intertwined with the storyline and is hard to discuss without giving away the plot. So I'll just say that it is fun to see Jace the outlaw try to steal Dr. Fynn's heart but ends up reforming to earn her love.

And let's not forget the lovable furzels, Reilly and Tank (although he is just a fidget)! All would have been destroyed had it not have been for these two furry, lovable and loyal champions. I want a furzel of my very own (I know my furry baby definitely has the furzel quality of loving her food and always wanting her food). The book just wouldn't have been the same without them and their furry commentary.

Keeper?: Most definitely.

Recommendation: I loved it. A great story with wonderful, memorable characters. I can't think of anything that would make this better. It's perfect as it is written.

Rating: A+

Monday, March 16, 2009

Review: Finders Keepers

Title: Finders Keepers

Author: Linnea Sinclair

Published: April 2005

Genre: Science Fiction Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Stand Alone

From the Author Site: Now that they found each other, the universe won't know what hit it...

Blending hard SF with sizzling romantic suspense, Linnea Sinclair brings readers this red-hot adventure of two space outcasts on a collision course with destiny. Now that this star-crossed couple have found each other, the universe won't know what hit it...

Trilby Elliot is a barely legal independent trader. Rhis Vanur is the arrogant Zafharin military officer she rescued from a crash landing. It would have been a miracle if they survived each other's company on Trilby's slapdash starfreighter even under the best of circumstances. And these are far from the best of circumstances. For Trilby's best friend is missing and the warlike 'Sko are hunting both Trilby and Rhis. Suddenly they're in it together, for better, for worse--or until death blasts them to oblivion...

There are very minor spoilers ahead. To read with the spoilers, highlight the text.

Hero: Lieutenant Rhis Vanur aka Senior Captain Khyrhis Tivahr of the Zarfharin hunter ship Razalka aka Tivahr the Terrible. Rhis is having a really bad week. First he was captured by the 'Sko, then he escaped only to crash land on a middle of nowhere inhospitable planet. But to his luck begins to change when he is rescued by Tribly Elliot and her envoy droid Dezi. In his hurry to return to the Razalka, he gets on the bad side of Tribly by trying hijack her ship only to find the ship inoperable and in the middle of repairs. He quickly sees that the only way he can get back to Zarfharin space is to fix Tribly's outdated ship. The only things he hadn't counted on was to fall "ass over teakettle" for Tribly. He's Zarfharin military arrogance slowly melts away to show a lonely man in dire need of love and understanding.

Heroine: Tribly Elliot, Captain of the Careless Venture, and an independent Conclave trader who is down on her luck. With her only crew, and best friend, Desi - an old DZ-9 envoy droid - she is attempting to fix/upgrade her ship on the sly because she can't pay port fees. So she has set up a temporary shop on a uninhabited and mostly unwanted plant. Part way through her repairs, a 'Sko fighter crash lands practically on her door step. Unable to pass up a good salvage opportunity, Tribly and her faithful Desi head to the crash site and get more than they wanted. Tribly is a gutsy trader who just wants to make an honest and decent living, but time and money are not on her side. Tribly is attracted to Rhis but is afraid to risk her heart since it was recently dealt a harsh blow. Her character reminded me of Beka Valentine from the TV series Andromeda.

Review: Another wonderful story from Linnea Sinclair. She has managed to create a very believable world and situation. Just enough detail is given to give this universe life and delightful food for our imaginations.

In this universe, the war between the Conclave and Zarharin Empire has just ended and peace between the two is still fragile. Tribly is a citizen of the Conclave, but they are more of an annoyance to her rather than anything else. While Rhis is a member of the Zarharin Imperial Fleet and is used to rules and regulations. So difference between the two makes for delightful times as Tribly pokes fun at Rhis's imperial arrogance and Rhis being constantly caught off guard with the unexpected, such as having to hit or wack a tool to make it function or start.

Although the Zarharin Empire and Conclave are peace, there is something shady going on with the Ycsko, an aggressive non-human group that share this part of the galaxy with the Zarharin Empire and the Conclave. This increasing tension between all the factions makes a very exciting story.

Once again Linnea Sinclair has delivered an action packed story with two very delightful lead characters. Strong, independent, loyal Tribly and arrogant, lonely, sexy Rhis. As well as a slew of others.
My favorite secondary character is Desi. He just like C3PO from Star Wars. Always willing to help but overly verbose on whatever topic is being discussed. Poor guy is doing a job outside his original programming but does it without complaint. And at times very literal, I suppose that is the way of droids and in particular, envoy/protocol droids.

One two this seem bother me about this book. First is the first love scene. It just seemed to jump out of no where. Sure they liked and were attracted to each other, Rhis had already tried kissed Tribly, but Tribly had rebuffed him. Then out of the blue she jumps him and they go on to have steamy sex. Sure she found him attractive and quite yummy to look at, but there didn't seem to be any build up to that scene. The second is that the book ended without answering some questions that were presented in the book. Although the book was written as a stand alone, I felt like it was set up for a sequel. One that would explain or wrap up all those annoying little sub-plot lines that were still hanging around as loose threads.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: An excellent read. This a stand alone novel that is screaming for a sequel!

Rating: B+

Friday, March 13, 2009

Come Visit with Linnea Sinclair

Come over to DIK and chat with award winning author Linnea Sinclair!

You don't know what your missing if you haven't read any of her books. They are a must read for me. Go check them out!
Gabriel's Ghost (book 1) See my review here
Shades of Dark (book 2) See my review here
Hope's Folly (book 3) See my review here
Games of Command (my review will be up next week)
Finders Keepers (review also coming soon)
Accidental Goddess
Down Home Zombie Blues

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Riding on Instinct contest

Jaci Burton is running a contest over at her blog for the release of her latest book:

Riding on Instinct!

Check it out!

Play Host Over at DIK

Hiya folks. I'm the blogger-in-charge over at DIK for the next three days.

A mystery guest will be joining us today. A mystery prize (provided by our mystery guest) will be given to the first person to correctly identify our guest. Tomorrow there will be a Q&A session with our guest. Come over and play!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Review: The Shadow Queen

Title: The Shadow Queen

Author: Anne Bishop

Published: March 2009

Genre: Fantasy

Stand Alone/Series: Black Jewels #6
Book 1: Daughter of the Blood
Book 2: Heir to Shadows
Book 3: Queen of the Darkness
Book 4: Dreams Made Flesh
Book 5: Tangled Webs

From the Book Jacket: Dena Nehele is a land decimated by its past. Once it was ruled by corrupt Queens, who were wiped out when the land was cleansed of tainted Blood. Now only one hundred Warlord Princes stand... without a leader and without hope.

Theran Grayhaven is the last of his line, desperate to find the key that reveals a treasure great enough to restore Dena Nehele. But first he needs to find a Queen who knows Protocol, remembers the Blood's code of honor, and lives by the old ways.

Languishing in the Shadow Realm, Lady Cassidy is a Queen without a court, a castoff. She is not beautiful. She thinks she is not strong. But when she is chosen to rule Dena Nehele, she must convince bitter men to serve once again.

Theran's cousin Gray is a Warlord Prince who is damaged in mind and body by the vicious Queens who once ruled Dena Nehele. Yet something about Cassidy makes him want to serve - and makes him believe he can be made whole again.

And only Cassidy can prove to Gray - and to herself - that wounds can heal and even the whisper of a promise can be fulfilled...

The Cast of Characters:
Theran Grayhaven, Green-Jeweled Warlord Prince and last of the Grayhaven line, the last that can claim Jared and Lia as ancestor. As the strongest living Warlord Prince and the last of the Grayhaven line, it is his duty and dream to see Dena Nehele restored. Having grown up in a warrior's camp, he has few manners and is bitter that only Queen he has is a Rose-Jeweled and, in his eyes, unattractive one to try to rebuild Dena Nehele with and not a powerful and stunning Queen that would impress and attract others to his cause.

Jared Blaed "Gray" Grayhaven, Purple Dusk-Jeweled Warlord Prince and cousin of Theran (on his motherside and not truly of the Grayhaven line). When he was fifteen he was captured and tortured by the evil Queens because he was mistaken for Theran. The torture has left both mental and physical scars that done have been able to heal. In his mind the Grayhaven estate is a prison and Queens are those that only cause pain. Even though Cassidy is a Queen living in Grayhaven, Gray can't stay away from her and slowly finds that he wants and needs to be more than he is, to be more than a broken Warlord Prince. To become someone that Cassidy would want as a friend and lover.

Cassidy, Rose-Jeweled Queen from Dharo in Kaeleer, the Shadow Realm. Her court had just abandoned her because she did not come from aristocratic family, does not wear a powerful Jewel and is not pretty. She is gentle coerced by Jaenelle into accepting the "temporary" position as Queen of Dena Nehele in Terreille. As Queen of Dena Nehele, she faces challenge after challenge. The first is to set up her court, which she must do if she is to rule and there are only bitter men who have only known war and pain all their lives to choose from. Then to try to rule using Protocol and the old ways of the Blood that has been completely forgotten in Dena Nehele and is constantly running into roadblocks placed in her way by Theran.

Review: Another fabulous book by Anne Bishop set in the Black Jewel world. This story takes place approximately two-years after Queen of the Darkness and focuses on the territory of Dena Nehele. The main storyline, of the struggle to rebuild Dena Nehele, is woven with the continuing storyline of Daemon Sadi, Jaenelle, Lucivar and Saetan. Although it was interesting to see how they were all doing, it took away from the main story and at times was distracting.

The story in Dena Nehele, falls into two story lines. The first is the rebuilding of Dena Nehele as a territory and Theran's desire to lead this restoration. In order to do this, Theran needs a good Queen. And he gets Cassidy, an unattractive and not very powerful Rose-Jeweled Queen, of which he is embarassed. So he spends his time trying to hide her from the rest of Dena Nehele. Thus hampering Cassidy's ability to rule the territory. The interaction between Cassidy and her new court is spare at best. I wish there had been more there. The struggle of these men to learn Protocol and the old ways is completely lacking as is Cassidy's attempts to teach them. I felt that this storyline was not taken to completion. Only the surface has been touched and there is definitely more that needs to be told.

The second storyline is that of Cassidy and Gray. Gray has been so wounded that he has stayed an adolescent in order to protect himself. To hide from the past instead of facing it and learning to live with it. With the appearance of Cassidy, Gray finds himself wanting to be more than he is so that Cassidy will want to be with him, first as a friend and later as a lover. His struggles and triumphs come through clearly and you find yourself cheering for him. Cassidy has taken a bitter blow and has been basically told that she is both undesirable as a Queen and as a woman. It does not help that Theran's reinforcing these beliefs. But she runs into Gray and knows that he is hers to protect and perhaps more. With each of Gray's triumphs, Cassidy finds herself struggling with new and exciting feelings for Gray. It a love story of acceptance from both sides. This story, while satisfying, wasn't taken to its completion. There is definitely more there to explore.

The Kaeleer storyline, that of Saetan, Daemon and Jaenelle, was interesting but it probably would have made a better short story on its own rather than as a thread in this book. These interludes about characters we've come to love did not add anything to the main storyline, they were a distraction. Bumps in an otherwise smoothly flowing story of Dena Nehele's restoration and a budding romance.

Overall it was a great read. It was nice to catch up with our old friends and see how they are faring. And it was nice to meet some new friends and learn about their stories. I just wish they hadn't interferred with each other. In addition, I hope that Anne Bishop will pick up where she left off because there is definitely more to these stories than what is presented in this book.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: Although this is book 6 in the on-going Black Jewels world, it can be read as a stand alone. But I think to fully appreciate the whole of the storyline the reader should read the first three books (Daughter of the Blood, Heir to Shadows and Queen of the Darkness) prior to reading this one. In addition, The Invisible Ring (Jared and Lia's story) could be read for additional background information but isn't necessary to fully enjoy this book.

Rating: B+

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Review: Dark Desires After Dusk

Title: Dark desires After Dark

Author: Kresley Cole

Published: May 2008

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Immortals After Dark #6
Book 1: The Warlord Wants Forever (Playing Easy to Get anthology)
Book 2: A Hunger Like No Other
Book 3: No Rest for the Wicked
Book 4: Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night
Book 5: Dark Needs at Night's Edge

From the Author Site: A ruthless demon mercenary. A lovely young halfling. In the dark, he'll find her. A seductive beauty he can never have, yet can't resist...

Cade of the rage demons will stop at nothing to atone for the one wrong that will haunt him forever. But once he secures the key to his redemption, the halfling Holly Ashwin, Cade finds that the woman he thought he could use for his own ends and then forget haunts him as much as his past.

A tormented warrior she should fear, but can't deny...

Raised as a human, Holly Ashwin never knew that some frightening legends are real until she encounters a brutal demon who inexplicably guards her like a treasure. Thrust into a sensual new world of myth and power, with him as her protector, she begins to crave the demon’s wicked touch.

Surrender to dark desires...

Yet just when he earns Holly’s trust, will Cade be forced to betray the only woman who can sate his wildest needs—and claim his heart?

Hero: Cadeon Woede the Kingmaker, Rage Demon. For nine hundred years Cade has lived with the guilt of losing his brother's throne to the evil sorcerer, Omort the Deathless, and the death of his foster family at the hands of Omort's army. And for all that time he has been trying to help his brother Rydstrom re-gain his throne. Now its down to one last chance. It's either the weapon that can kill Omort the Deathless or his one and only mate, Holly Ashwin. He's definitely going on the list of favorite heroes. All that boyish charm and wickedness (not to mention the lickable horns and all), it's just too hard to pass up.

Heroine: Holly Ashwin, halfling Valkyrie and the Vessel formerly a math teacher. Poor Holly's had a really nasty week. First kidnapped by demons, then struck by lightening, then shot at by vampires, then chased through a swamp, then thrown into an OCD's nightmare of an apartment, and then learned that she was changing into an immortal being. And that was just the first night. She went from uninteresting mortal (she taught math to jocks) into the most popular girl in the Lore (everyone wants to either breed with her or kill her). Talk about life altering changes.

Review: Loved it. Another great read. This book is definitely action-packed as well as earlier ones in the series. And Kresley Cole must have a great time making titles for everyone: Cade the Kingmaker, Nix the Ever-Knowing, Omort the Deathless, etc. Everyone should have one, it certainly makes it fun to read.

Kresley Cole knows how to do write sexual tension and this one is as full of it as the ones before. Cade can't have sex with Holly at first because she's mortal and then later won't because he has to trade her for the sword that will kill Omort and restore Rydstrom's throne but it certainly doesn't stop him from teasing and flirting. He's just shameless! (Love it!) And Holly won't have sex at first because she'd in denial about everything (being immortal, liking Cade, etc.) and by the time she's will, Cade won't cooperate.

Still loving Valkyrie Soothsayer, Nucking Futs Nix the best. Not only does she have the best T-shirts, she has the inside scoop on everything. But of course she wouldn't tell you anything really juicy without a price.

There are unanswered questions at the end of this book... just what did happen to Rydstrom? Definite foreshadowing for the next book.

Oh and still waiting for the Garreth the Werewolf and Lucia the Valkyrie huntress story.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: a

Rating: A

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Look at what the nice UPS man brought me today!

One guess as to what I'll be doing today! *g*

He also kindly brought me MY very own copy of:

Elena Deveraux from the Hunters Guild is over at the Book Smugglers. Make sure you drop by and say hi for a chance to win a copy of Angels' Blood from Elena's pal, Nalini Singh (contest runs until the 7th of March)!

Much book happiness today.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Review: Kiss of a Demon King

Title: Kiss of a Demon King

Author: Kresley Cole

Published: January 2009

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Immortals After Dark #7
Book 1: The Warlord Wants Forever (Playing Easy to Get anthology)
Book 2: A Hunger Like No Other
Book 3: No Rest for the Wicked
Book 4: Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night
Book 5: Dark Needs at Night's Edge
Book 6: Dark Desire After Dusk

From the Author Site: With one kiss, he knew she'd be his queen...

New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole comes this spellbinding story of a demon king fighting to reclaim his crown and the wicked sorceress who dares to use his most secret desires to thwart him.

His obsession: the enchantress who surrenders her body, but not her heart.

After Sabine, the Queen of Illusions, lures and traps Rydstrom Woede in her lair, the ruthless warrior fights to resist her seduction.But his fierce demon nature lusts for her delicate body and won’t be denied. Even as Rydstrom plots to escape, he still intends to claim Sabine as his own—on his terms.

Her downfall: the battle-scarred demon who vows to keep her at all costs.

When Rydstrom breaks free, her abducts Sabine, turning the tables. Now she’s the one struggling to resist his delicious torment. With each relentless encounter, Sabine hungers more for her merciless adversary.

They were never supposed to want each other this much…

If they can defeat the sinister enemy that stands between them, will Sabine make the ultimate sacrifice to save her demon? Or will the proud king lay down his crown and arms to keep his sorceress?

Hero: Rydstrom, King of the Rage Demons. So he lost his throne (and whole dang country/plane) nine hundred years ago and has been trying to win it back. So his down to his last chance (per Nucking Futs Nix... oh gotta love her!) and he gets kidnapped by the enemy. Talk about bad luck. And then to find out his one true mate it sister of his greatest enemy, Omort the Deathless, was just another big "Ouch". To save he was pushed out of his comfort-zone is putting it mildly.

Heroine: Sabine, Queen of Illusions. Wicked, evil woman with a heart, and that would be her sister, Melanthe, for the most of the book. And like all wicked, evil women, she's looking to take over and Rydstrom's son and heir is the key (again was predicted by a soothsayer, but not our favorite Nix). So now she has to get pregnant but also has to get Rydstrom to marry otherwise the baby wouldn't be the heir. She definitely knows how to torture her captive male. And she's definitely got the best costume award so far.

Review: First off, the cover is great. Definitely won't be mistaking this one with the others in the series. Have to say that it was a relief to see the cover and to see that it didn't look like the others. Not saying that they were bad covers, just that they were too much of the same.

With that said, I didn't enjoy this one as much as I liked the others. I think the whole torture each other was a bit to overdone. They spend way to much time on how to make each other crazy and the whole revenge thing didn't hold my interest. Yeah, she was mean (well she kinda had to be, after all she was batting for team evil) but his whole need to do the same. *sigh*

I did enjoy Sabine's interaction with rage demons, Puck in particular. She was hoot and I enjoyed how Kresley kept her consistent through. There was no suddenly see the error of her ways, just an acceptance of being Queen to Rydstrom but continuing her wicked ways.

Nix is still great. All her scenes continue to make me laugh. Melanthe is definitely interesting and I'm looking to learning more about her. I thinking that evil-angel guy is her man, but we'll have to wait and see what Kresley pulls out of the bag.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: I think that the series has gotten to a point that reading the previous books in the series is required to fully enjoy the book. But it's still fairly good as a stand alone. Kresley Cole does a great job of keeping just enough background in each installment so that a new reader won't be completely lost.

Rating: B+

Copyright 2007 ID Media Inc, All Right Reserved. Crafted by Nurudin Jauhari