Tag: Nath’s Reviews

Guest Review: Kiss and Hell by Dakota Cassidy

Posted June 11, 2009 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 3 Comments

Publisher: Berkley, PenguinGenres: Paranormal Romance

Nath‘s review of Kiss and Hell by Dakota Cassidy

She’s never seen a sexier ghost.

Delaney Markham doesn’t just see dead people, she hears them too. And FYI-communicating with tortured souls all day can really wreak havoc on your love life. After all, no one wants to date the crazy chick that talks to herself. Sans boyfriend, Delaney makes the best of her gift by holding séances and earns a pretty penny for them too, that is until one incredibly annoying ghost just won’t go away.

Now, if she could only get her hands on him.

When he materializes wearing nothing, Delaney knows something’s up. Besides being sinfully hot-in a college professor sort of way-all signs point to Clyde Atwell being much more than the ordinary spirit. In fact, he’s a newbie demon whose first assignment is to take Delaney back down to hell with him. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen on the first date. If Delaney’s old nemesis Lucifer thinks she’s going down without one hell of a fight, he’s got another thing coming…

Hmmm, lately, it seems I’ve read a lot of okay-meh books. I don’t know if it’s a case of: “It’s not you, it’s me” or if it’s the book. So here is my opinion of Kiss and Hell by Dakota Cassidy. I’d say, if you read her books previously and loved them, then don’t pay any attention to my review. This is the third book by Ms Cassidy that I’m reading and so far, none of them I’ve really loved… so I think it’s a case of incompatibility.

The story is about Delaney Markham who is a medium. Yes, she can truly see and hear ghosts. She is conducting a séance in the hope of earning money to pay her rent and feed her 6 dogs (Dog #1 to #6 is their name :P), when Clyde Atwell makes his apparition and basically ruin all of her hard work… One little problem though, Clyde is not a ghost, but a demon who was sent to bring Delaney’s soul down to hell!

Clyde died three months ago in an explosion and somehow, found himself in hell. He didn’t even get the choice, he simply woke up there. Convinced that there is mistake somewhere – because although he was focused on his work and a bit arrogant, he never did anything that bad to deserve to be in hell. Now, he has a month to rectify the error and he isn’t above using his new demonic powers to threaten and blackmail Delaney.

I’m going to start by saying that the storyline had a lot of potential and could have been very interesting. I also liked the hero a lot, nerds are cute and Clyde was definitively yummy 🙂 I can imagine him wearing the pink bathrobe and trying to pull it down LOL. Unfortunately, there were also some severe drawbacks.

First, I didn’t like Delaney’s character. I’m glad that she wasn’t the meek medium heroine who’s scared and scarred by all of the ghosts she’s encountered. She seemed well adapted to her powers, but resigned to a lonely life. Kudos for doing some good and helping ghosts finding the light. My problem though was her attitude. I didn’t quite like it, she was somehow rough and the way she treated Clyde at first, as if he was an irritating bug… that bugged me ^_^; Okay, so he ruined her seance and she’s in a pinch… Still, if you’ve decided to dedicate your life at helping ghosts… you could be a tad nicer. So I found her irritating, although she did get a little bit better. I think if this book wasn’t at the first POV and I didn’t know everything she was thinking, I wouldn’t have minded her that much.

I said earlier that the storyline has potential, but I think that the pacing ruined it. The story was very slow-building, it took a lot of time before the action started. Actually, just having Delaney finally listening to what Clyde had to say took forever… and then, another while before she believed him. The storyline seemed to go nowhere for a long time and then, it finally picked up, but by that time, it was a bit too late to catch my attention.

Finally, the slang. It’s one thing to hear it, listen to it, but another to “read” it. Reading sistah, brotah, playah throughout the book is annoying. I think that I even read: You thung? as in you think (although I read an ARC, so it could be a spelling mistake). I understand that the author is trying to give a certain characteristic to her characters… make them stand out a little, be their own. However, I think that the author tried too hard. Did anyone ever hear of having sex being referred as “boffing”? Some common slang slipped here and there, readers will overlook it… but when, there’s too much, it’s distracting and laughable. Best example is the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward.

The world building could have used some more information, it wasn’t totally clear to me. Overall, Kiss and Hell kind of reminded me of Stephanie Rowe’s Immortally Sexy series. I would really have liked to enjoy this book more and I really did try. Like I said, the story had potential and Clyde was yummy 🙂 I think I’m definitively crushing on nerds lately 😛 Unfortunately, there were some aspects that I didn’t like which prevented me from being totally absorbed in the book and enjoying it 🙁

Grade: 2.5/5

This book is available from Berkley Sensation. You can buy it here .

Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest review: White Star by Elizabeth Vaughan

Posted May 20, 2009 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 5 Comments

Publisher: Berkley, PenguinGenres: Paranormal Romance

Nath‘s review of White Star (Star Series, book 2) by Elizabeth Vaughan

There is one m.ore adored.. Everyone knows that the Lady High Priestess Evelyn is virtuous and noble, one of the leaders of the rebellion against the unjust usurper, as well as a gentle healer who channels the powers of the gods to help the sick and injured.

There is no one more despised… Orrin Blackhart, the Scourge of Palins, is renowned as an evil man. As the war leader of one of the usurper’s supporters, he has killed many and stood by while the sorceress he serves created an army of the undead.

And there is nothing more unexpected than passion… When Orrin takes Evelyn prisoner during the war, each will discover there is more to the other than they expected. And souls that should have clashed will be forged together in desire, redemption, and glory…

I’ve become a fan of Ms Vaughan after reading her excellent Warlands Chronicles trilogy. I loved everything about the Warlands Chronicles: the strong heroine, the ambitious hero, the meeting of two worlds, the journey, the secondary characters… everything!

After such a wonderful series, it is understandable why my expectations for this new trilogy would be high. I hoped for Ms Vaughan to follow-up with something great. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been the case. Dagger-Star was somewhat disappointing and looking back on my review, I realized that I’ve been generous with the grade 🙁 I would have to agree with Li that Dagger-Star was more in a C-range… Still, I wasn’t going to give up on Ms Vaughan and I looked out for White Star. This second installment is better, but it still hasn’t met my expectations.

The beginning of White Star actually overlaps with the timeline of Dagger-Star and readers find out what happened to Evelyn once she was kidnapped by Orrin Blackhart, the Scourge of Palins. I have to say, that is a cool nickname LOL 🙂 In White Star, we discover that the fierce warrior that everyone seems to fear and be wary of is a man, a normal man who is tired of holding down the fort. Yes, at first, his baroness seems to have a good idea – raising an army of undead and using them to fight and take possession of the neighbouring lands… However, when your mistress turns out to be a bit loopy – okay, a lot crazy – and it’s up to you to see to the well-being of an entire army and population… well, it can take its toll. So Orrin Blackhart is just a man who is tired, exhausted by the burden of his responsibilities towards his men. He knows he’s made a mistake supporting his baroness, but at this point, it’s too late.

When news come that his baroness has died at the hands of the mysterious Red Gloves, Orrin knows that they have lost. He only hopes that the life of Evelyn and his surrender will spare his people’s lives. Thus, Orrin is taken back as a prisoner and is sentenced to death, while Evelyn is given a boon for the role she has played in making the prophecy come true. Upon hearing the voice of the Lady telling her to save Orrin’s life, Evelyn uses her boon… and Orrin is given one chance to obtain a pardon for him and his men – he must get rid of the remaining undead…

Overall, I enjoyed White Star better than Dagger-Star, mostly for Orrin. I really liked his character and his sense of honor. Yes, he did a lot of wrong in the past – but as a warrior, it’s to be expected. He regrets his action, did his best to make up for it and protect his people. I like his entourage, his team. They had very good chemistry and their interaction was fun to read. Evelyn was an okay heroine. I thought she was a bit too stuffy for me and haughty. As if the fact that she initiated the rebellion gave her some rights, you know? And if I remember correctly, she even acknowledges it as well. I understand why these two characters would be attracted to one another, unfortunately, I think the chemistry wasn’t there. Perhaps if the author had time to develop their relationship a little bit more…

My main problem with White Star though was the plot. I think that the overall idea was more interesting than Dagger-Star and had great potential, but the execution was poor. Everything went too fast, the action was not well developed… it’s as if we zipped through it all. I felt that Ms Vaughan had too many ideas and she tried to cram them all in one single book and as a result, it did not work to her advantage. Oh, I like the storyline… only, it could have been more. It could have been more engaging to the readers… The thing is, because all the events happen so fast one after another, the readers don’t have time to engage their emotions, get involved in the storyline and connect with the characters. In addition, I feel like the voice is a bit impersonal, it simply relates what happens. Perhaps if she was going back to first POV (I can’t believe I’m saying that LOL).

In addition, because there is so much action, I think that the world building was a bit neglected. We know that the Star trilogy takes place in the same world as the Warlands Chronicles, but in a different kingdom. We know that Palins is divided into different regions and each is governed by a baron. The politic part is okay… but I mean, it’s hard to reconcile Palins with the world we know from the Warlands Chronicles. How can magic exist in this kingdom and not another? Also, elves?!? I thought these things would be explained in this book, but it wasn’t 🙁

Again, it’s very unfortunate because I really like Ms Vaughan as an author. I said it in my previous review that I liked the whole idea of the prophecy and rebellion… for the chosen one to get back the throne… I would have liked it to span all three books. As it is, I will still pick up the last book, although to be honest, I’m not really interested in Bethral and Ezren’s story ^_^; (although I want to know more about Ezren… it’s more Bethral that is meh) I’m actually looking forward to the next trilogy, because I believe there will be one 🙂

Grade: 3.25/5

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest review: Tempted at Midnight by Jacquie D’Alessandro

Posted May 12, 2009 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 9 Comments

Nath‘s review of Tempted at Midnight by Jacquie D’Alessandro

Lady Emily Stapleford never dreamed that the burden of saving her family from financial ruin would rest on her lovely, resourceful shoulders. Since she’s only willing to marry for love, and not money, Emily pens a story she hopes will bring her fortune — only to have it rejected by every major publisher. After all, what respectable reader would dare embrace a vampire heroine?

Not to be dissuaded, Emily generates publicity by attracting attention with a vampire masquerade. Overnight London is abuzz with the sightings. With renewed interest in Emily’s book, she’s guaranteed success — if it wasn’t for the mysterious American, Logan Jennsen. He’s on to Emily’s duplicity and he has every intention of using it to his advantage. If only he wasn’t falling in love with this unabashedly creative hothouse flower. And if only he didn’t have a scandalous secret of his own — one that’s putting both their lives in danger…

Genre: historical romance
Series: Mayhem in Mayfair, book #4

Tempted at Midnight is the last installment in the Mayhem in Mayfair series and came out earlier this month. I really enjoyed Sleepless at Midnight and Confessions at Midnight (reviews here and here), but was a disappointed in Seduced at Midnight (here). I was hoping that the author would rebound with this book…

The Story: All right, so basically, Emily and Logan have been attracted to each other for a long while (which is why they’ve been snipping at each other), but have only realized it after they’ve shared a kiss at the end of Seduced at Midnight, at Julianne and Gideon’s wedding. After three months of not seeing each other, they are still frustrated because they can’t forget the kiss nor the kisser.

Emily is back in London and she was told by her parents that she must marry this Season and preferably to someone with money in order to save the family from financial ruin. Emily has no intention to marry for any other reason than love and as a result, hope to sell her novel instead. To generate publicity and increase the interest, Emily has come up with a plan – to “become” a vampire or at least, masquerade as one just long enough to be seen and generate a buzz.

Logan is an American in London. He knows he’s only tolerated because he is wealthy and he is fine with it. Lately, however, he’s been feeling uncomfortable. He has the feeling that he’s being observed… and thought he spot someone from his past, it’s impossible because the person is dead.

My Opinion: Okay, so unfortunately, Tempted at Midnight didn’t work for me 🙁 My main reason is Emily. I liked her in the first book, I thought she was bold, outspoken and direct. However, as the series advanced, she lost her shine, her luster… I understand what the author was trying to do – the whole bickering because we’re attracted to each other and usually, I like it… but with Emily, I felt she was too snobbish and haughty. Her whole attitude was too much and too negative in my opinion and there were a lot of prejudices. If at least, she knew him better, then it would have gone better with me. One of the scene in particular – when Logan comes to talk to Emily’s father about the debt. Emily immediately jumps on her high horse and accuses Logan of harassing her father for repayment. First, that was not Logan’s purpose and second, she never let him explain- not that he tried, and anyway, I don’t think she would have believed him. In the end, I felt her sharpness came out wrong and as a result, she grated on my nerves a lot. It’s really unfortunate, because I really liked Emily’s character in the beginning of the series… and I knew from the beginning that she and Logan would be a couple.

One of the main problem also is that I didn’t feel the connection or chemistry between Logan and Emily. Sure, they were attracted to each other, but that was pretty much it. Even at the end, after Logan marries Emily because they were found in a compromising situation, they suddenly were in love with each other and everything was fine. It felt phony ^_^; Finally, I have to say, the different storylines – Emily masquerading as a vampire, Emily and Logan’s relationship and Logan’s stalker – didn’t blend well together. It was very clear-cut and didn’t intertwine very well.

Of course, there were parts I enjoyed… I liked the brief scenes with Emily’s family – meeting all of her siblings. I wished we could have a bit more. I liked Caroline’s side-story, it was nice to see her again and to see the friendship between the women. It always seemed like Caroline and Emily had a bond between them and it was nice to see it. Although the storyline was nice, I thought 1) it seemed like Ms D’Alessandro was filling the pages and 2) why couldn’t Caroline remain childless? I mean, that was one of the important points in her book right… I guess I just felt everything was a bit too convenient.

So yep, this book didn’t really rock my boat. It was quite disappointing because this series started off quite well. The storylines were quite original and interesting… and then, it dwindled down. Hmm, I think it lost its sparkle somewhere along 🙁

My Grade: 2/5. It really hurts me to give Tempted at Midnight this grade and perhaps, it was a case of me and not the book, although I doubt it… However, despite everything, I’m still looking forward to Ms D’Alessandro’s next book 🙂

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Other books in the series:

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

Tagged: , , , , ,

Guest Review: Seduced at Midnight by Jaquie D’Alessandro

Posted January 13, 2009 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 6 Comments

Publisher: Berkley, Penguin

Since my first review of the year 2009 went to Breezing Through, why not write a review for Book Binge? Especially since I’ve already reviewed the first two books of this series here 🙂

Seduced at Midnight
is the third installment in Jacquie D’Alessandro‘s Mayhem in Mayfair series (personally, I would either call this series the Ladies Literary Society of London or Midnight series, but whatever…). You can read my reviews for Sleepless at Midnight and Confessions at Midnight, the previous installments, here and here respectively.

The Ladies Literary Society of London gathers again for a ghost story…

Lady Julianne Bradley has always longed for wild adventure. Unfortunately, the man with whom she wishes to share her fervor can never be hers. Tormented by her desire, she’s preparing for a suitable marriage when ghostly occurrences straight out of her latest read start happening and to protect Julianne, her father hires the very man her heart cries out for…

Bow Street Runner Gideon Mayne is determined to resist his new charge – a spoiled, pampered princess whose unequalled beauty admittedly sets his body ablaze with desire. Especially once he realizes that everything he assumed about Julianne is utterly wrong. For beneath her aloof demeanor lies a passionate woman determined to provoke his raw hunger. But now that she’s decided to play with fire, who will keep her safe… from him?

Let me fill some gaps here: Julianne is the daughter of an earl with cold, unloving and insensitive parents. Her parents consider Julianne as a property and all that matters is that she makes an advantageous marriage, thus her father choose the Duke of Eastling who has rank and money.

Needless to say, Julianne isn’t in love with the duke. Instead, she desires Gideon Mayne, a lowly Bow Street Runner. When her parents announce their decision, Julianne decides to go after what she desires and uses the ghostly murderer as a ploy. Several noble ladies of London have been killed, their jewelry stolen, in closed chambers and that have led the society to believe in a ghost as the culprit. Thinking that Julianne is the next victim, her father hires Gideon to protect his investment as Gideon is the principal investigator in those murders… but what happens when both succumb to desire?… or when Julianne turns out indeed to be the murderer next victim?

I’ll go straight to the point: this book didn’t work for me. While the writing is still excellent and engaging, the problems were the characters. I didn’t like Julianne and couldn’t connect with her. I thought she was too passive, too bland… and well, boring. She might have been a great beauty, but she didn’t have much of a personality or confidence in herself. I don’t know why she didn’t stand up to her parents and found it very annoying and frustrating. Finally, when her fate is almost sealed, she gathers enough courage to reach out for Gideon… a bit too late in my opinion. It’s not as if she cared about money or loved her parents, so why did it take so long?

Gideon was an okay hero, but I didn’t warm up to him much more than Julianne. First, there were all those prejudices against Julianne, believing that she was a spoiled princess. Then, all he could think was: “Hubba, I want her… but hubba, can’t have her, because she’s above me.”

See, I just realized what annoyed me so much about these two characters. Their pessimism and negativity. Not once did they believe that they could be together and have a HEA ending. There was always this class barrier between them and they didn’t try to remove it. Sure, they acted their parts… Gideon was jealous of the Duke or any other contenders when he thought Julianne would marry one of them. Julianne did long for adventure and freedom… However, ultimately, it just felt fake because neither of them really believed.

At the end, after they had sex, after Julianne’s been in danger and rescued by Gideon, after the bad guy’s been captured, both the H/H were still thinking they couldn’t be together!!! None of them thought of defying society and eloping!! If it wasn’t for Julianne’s friends’ husbands who got the special license for them to wed – yes, the friends’ husbands, NOT Giden or Julianne, I don’t think they would have ended together. Quite frankly, I think that Julianne would have continued being submissive and marry whomever her parents chose… Sure, she would have been heart-broken and unhappy, but she still would have done it. As for Gideon, he would live in regrets forever…

So that was my main crux with the book. Other things that bothered me? First, the parents – I don’t understand why they blamed Julianne for being born a girl. I mean, isn’t it the job of the wife to produce the heir? Aren’t they usually require to have two sons anyway? An heir and a spare? So why blame Julianne? Couldn’t the earl have slept with his wife a few more times to beget the required heir? Ugh. I didn’t really like the unloving parents; however, it does make the story a bit more original… and it’s a nice change from the usually fussy parents.

Then, there was Lady Emily. Lady Emily. She is the last woman of the group who is unmarried and of course, she’s getting her own book: Tempted at Midnight coming out in April 2009. Now, I really liked her characters in previous books. She’s the complete opposite of Julianne. Pretty, out-spoken, direct and penniless. I liked her personality in the previous book and was actually hoping this book would be hers. However, I found her snob and haughty in Seduced at Midnight… and that is not a good thing. As it is, I’m now wondering if I should get Tempted at Midnight… sigh.

So are there redeeming factors to this book? Well yes. Like I mentioned earlier, the writing was good and engaging. Then, there were some very funny scenes involving Princess Buttercup and Caesar, Julianne and Gideon’s respective canine friends LOL 🙂 I also enjoy seeing the Ladies Literary Society of London continuing reading scandalous books and meeting secretly to discuss it.

The most interesting part of this book in my opinion was the mystery… the murders of the Ladies. I think the whole plot behind it was quite clever; however, something went wrong with the execution. I think that Ms D’Alessandro didn’t really do a good job as foreshadowing and inserting clues… as a result, I don’t believe that Gideon had enough clues to solve the mystery. Another thing that I couldn’t help but wonder is why nobody was mourning? I mean, we’re talking of 3 or 4 ladies killed here… and sure, people were gossiping and speculating about the murders and murderer… However, everyone still went around like nothing happened. Not once did I read “How tragic” or “How sad.” It’s as if these murders didn’t impact their lives and quite frankly, I found that hard to believe. You’d expected the ton to be scared and worried, but no. It felt even more unrealistic when one of the hostesses was murdered a day or two after a soiree and she was barely mentioned. Even if you don’t mourn about the victims, what about their husbands? Wouldn’t anyone be sympathetic? I know that most of the ton is superficial, but to not feel anything? That’s was a major oversight from Ms D’Alessandro.


Seduced at Midnight was a total let-down after two first great entries. The plot might have worked better if the H/H were different… however, as it is, it was hard to root for them when they didn’t believe it and therefore, difficult to connect with them or like them.

Reading Order:

Book CoverBook CoverBook CoverBook Cover

This book is available from Berkley Sensation. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Demon Bound by Meljean Brook

Posted November 11, 2008 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 3 Comments

Genres: Paranormal Romance

Among the Guardians, Alice Grey is known as the Black Widow—a woman trapped in a web spun by the demon Teqon. To save her soul, she agreed to deliver to Teqon the heart of the oldest and most powerful Guardian of all, or else be damned for eternity. After more than a hundred years, Teqon is calling in his debt.

Jake Hawkins is a novice Guardian whose gift of teleportation could be invaluable to Alice in determining her next move. But in aligning himself with her he never expected to fall in love. Now, their passionate flight to escape Alice’s damnable bargain is threatening both their souls. For they’re about to discover a hellish secret about the Guardians—something that will change their universe forever.

Wow. That’s really all I can think of to sum up the book 🙂

I’m not going to summarize the story, because Holly did a good job in her review. So I’ll go straight to my thoughts. I really enjoyed Jake as an hero. I’ve been a fan of his ever since he first appeared in the series… simply because he’s fun. He acts so “juvenile” LOL 🙂 Unlike the previous heroes, he’s relatively young and it shows 🙂 I admit I wonder what Ms Brook would do with him? Would she make him mature? Would he go through an epiphany and suddenly grow up? It wouldn’t have been bad necessarily, but I do think it would have been hard and it might have changed Jake’s character drastically. In the end, Ms Brook, or perhaps Jake, handled it really well. All in all, Jake was an interesting hero and a great contrast to Hugh 😛 I liked how he got along with everyone, how he always put his foot in his mouth and said the wrong thing. Although silly, he’s also very brave and loyal… and his love for archeology and history indicates that there’s much more to him than one would expect.

Alice Grey was an interesting character, but unfortunately, I didn’t connect with her as well as I did with Jake. Perhaps it was due to her personality, or Jake or even the whole storyline overshadowing her. She was also a very complex character and it was hard to understand what she was really thinking. I also had few questions about her at the end of the book… I don’t know if they were answered in the book and I accidentally missed it or what… For example, it was said that her gift “affected” her… but it was never clearly said how. She was definitively integral to the book, but not one of my favorite heroines in this series.

As for the storyline of Demon Bound… WOW. If you thought you had it figured out, well wait till you read about all these new twists!! Aside from Jake, that was definitively the highlights of Demon Bound. Learning more about the origins of the Guardians, the Guardians themselves and Caelum. I think readers have been waiting for this and it was great that Ms Brook answered some of the questions we had 🙂 It sure opens up a lot of doors and it’ll be interesting to see in which direction the series is going. What was great is how Ms Brook inter-connected the two storylines… i.e. the actions with Alice and Jake trying to find a way out of Alice’s bargain with the demon Teqon and how to introduce the new information about Caelum and the Guardians. There were some hints throughout the series, but I have to admit that the temples did seem to come out of nowhere.

I enjoyed Alice and Jake’s battle against Teqon and how they outwitted him. The ending was also great and I won’t give it away… However, it makes me wonder at the possibilities. I thought that Ms Brook paced the apparition of past characters quite well and didn’t overdo it. She knows how to put her foot down and limit the apparition to only on strictly-needed-basis. I’m also definitively looking forward to the next book to see what’s going to happen and how the Guardians are going to get organized 🙂

A warning however… although Demon Bound is quite shorter than most of the Guardians books, the storyline is once again very complex. Yes, I did get confused here and there… but nothing a second re-read won’t take care of 🙂

I’m giving this a 4.5/5 (A-). Fans of the series, don’t miss this one 🙂

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Don’t forget: Buy a Book, Win $100

Tagged: , , , , , ,