Tag: Paranormal

Review: Shadow Reaper by Christine Feehan

Posted May 31, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Shadow Reaper by Christine FeehanReviewer: Casee
Shadow Reaper by Christine Feehan
Series: Shadow Series #2
Also in this series: Shadow Reaper
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan returns to her scorching-hot series starring a Chicago crime family that has built its empire in the shadows...

Billionaire playboy Ricco Ferraro knows no other life. Being a shadow rider is in his blood--but so is a haunting desperation stemming from the secrets of his dark past. His recklessness puts not only his life at risk, but also the future of his entire family. To save them all, he must find a woman who can meet his every desire with a heat all her own...

Just when Ricco has given up hope, he meets her--a mysterious woman whose shadow connects with his. She's someone looking for a safe haven from the danger that has stalked her over the last several months. In Ricco's embrace, she finds one. But the darkness in which they so often find sanctuary can also consume them...

I’m not sure about this book. I loved Shadow Rider. It was a great start to this series and I was really looking forward to Ricco’s book. A couple of things distracted me from the beginning. First, Mariko had blond hair and she was part Asian. I know it’s possible, but it kept throwing me off. Second, the nickname Ricco kept calling her. Thanks to Holly, the word farfallina was not just an Italian word that meant “little butterfly”. So that was somewhat jarring.

Ricco has spent most of his life protecting his family from possible death. During childhood, every shadow rider is sent away from home for training. Ricco was sent to Japan. While there, he was put into vigorous training. He was also witness to a horror so profound that it would impact the rest of his childhood and follow him into adulthood. The very adults that were supposed to protect him threatened him and his family. They eventually sent someone to kill him after fifteen years.

Mariko us a shadow rider herself and was sent on a mission to either kill Ricco or lose her brother. The shadow riders exact swift justice upon those who are deserving of it. Mariko soon realizes that Ricco is not deserving of the justice that Mariko is there to give. As a matter of fact, Ricco is nothing that Mariko thought he would be. He is fierce and protective of his family and friends.

Ricco knows why Mariko is there, but he doesn’t care. He finally has found the woman that is meant for him and he means to keep her. He doesn’t care that she’s a shadow rider and she can bear shadow rider children. He’s looked his whole life for her and he’s not letting her go. Since he was fourteen years old, Ricco has walked a tightrope. He has finally shared the burden with his family and his relief is profound.

I didn’t particularly care for the shibari. It just didn’t belong, in my opinion. It wasn’t exactly BDSM, but it was a form of it. I’m very particular when it comes to some things and BDSM is one of them. Mariko did kick ass which was amazing. I love a heroine that can hold her own. Ricco respected her as a fighter which made me love him even more. It was more the story I had a problem with than the characters.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

three-stars

Retro Review: Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard

Posted May 24, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Retro Review: Raintree: Inferno by Linda HowardReviewer: Holly
Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard
Series: Raintree #1
Also in this series: Raintree: Sanctuary
Published by Silhouette
Publication Date: May 1st 2007
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Fantasy
Pages: 288
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Two hundred years after the Raintree clan defeated and abandoned them on a small Caribbean Island, the Ansara wizards are rising again to take on their bitterest foes. Despite their extraordinary powers and supernatural origin, the Raintree have largely blended into the modern world. They are bankers, cops, husbands, wives and lovers in the society of humankind.

But now, from Nevada to North Carolina, the rejoined battle will measure the endurance of their people. It will test their loyalties and relationships. And it will force upon them all new lives they could barely have imagined before.

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

I think about this series every now and again. I may have to go back and re-read it at some point. Just to see if my opinion of it still stands. 

This review was originally published May 14, 2007

I’ve been hearing a lot about this book the last few weeks, most of it not so good. Jane at Dear Author and Rosie both reviewed it and neither had very good things to say about it. I’ve been a LH fangirl for years now, but her last few releases, with the exception of her Blair Mallory books have left a lot to be desired, so I wasn’t too keen on reading this before I read the bad reviews. After? Yeah, so wasn’t going to touch it.

But then last week I read Tara Marie’s review and changed my mind. You see, there are some things I find I can’t stomach in a novel, and brain rape is one of them. From what Rosie and Jane said, I was under the impression there was quite a bit of that in this novel. But Tara Marie shed a bit more light on the subject and I decided to see for myself how bad it truly was.

Side Note: Spoilers below. I don’t think I can say what I truly felt about this book without them. :End Side Note

Lorna Clay has been spending a good amount of time in Dante Raintree’s casino. Normally that wouldn’t be cause for concern – quite the opposite in fact – but she never loses. Never. She’s not winning massive amounts of money at one time, but she’s walking away with enough to make Dante and his main casino dude a bit skeptical. They can’t seem to spot how she’s cheating via video, but they’re sure she is. So they drag her upstairs to “question” her and both she and Dante seem to have a rather…electric connection to one another.

Now, Dante is a Raintree, which is a psychic type of people that have been around for hundreds of years. They have a feud going on with the Ansara clan that’s lasted for centuries, and as soon as Dante figures out that Lorna has psychic abilities, he starts to wonder if she’s Ansara.

To quote Lorna about the Raintree/Ansara situation:

“You’re the weirdo equivalent of the Hatfields and the McCoys?”

She’s not. Lorna doesn’t even realize she has powers. She just thinks she’s really lucky. While in Dante’s office, a fire breaks loose in the main part of the casino, 19 floors below them. As one of Dante’s powers is the ability to control fire, he immediately heads down to help fight it, dragging Lorna along with him.

Now, this is where Jane and Rosie seemed to start having major issues with the book. I’m just going to tell you what happened. This is still relatively early in the book (the 2nd or 3rd chapter, I think) so you probably won’t be hurting yourselves if you read this part, but beware, major spoilers below:

Dante goes down to the main part of the casino to fight the fire and he can’t. He isn’t sure why – if it’s because his powers have been depleted trying to help the guests get out, or if it’s the fire itself – but he can’t get it under control. At this point, he and Lorna are pretty much surrounded by the fire. There’s no way for them to get out alive. He’s placed a protective “bubble” around them, but it’s starting to crack and he knows they don’t have much time left. Plus, the hotel that’s attached to the casino is at full capacity and he’s afraid of how many lives will be lost if the fire spreads that far.

He knows if he had another Raintree there to connect minds with he’d be able to pool their power and contain the inferno, but there’s no one but him and Lorna. That’s when he realizes – duh – she has powers and he could use them to boost his own. That’s when he “brain rapes” her by pushing himself into her mind and combining her powers with his.

I honestly don’t see what the big deal is. When weighing a situation like that, your death along with possibly hundreds of others, or forcing yourself into the mind of another for the greater good, well…I just can’t say I blame the guy. No, it wasn’t pleasant for Lorna and yes it was a gross invasion of her privacy, but he didn’t do it to find out if she was Ansara, or to purposely cause her pain. He did it to save her life. And his. And possibly hundreds of others. No big deal.

What comes next is a bit harder to swallow. He uses a mind “compulsion” to keep her from running once the fire is under control and they’re out of the building. Basically, if he tells her “Don’t move” she’s literally stuck in one spot. Because he’s not convinced of her innocence – in either the gambling or the fire – he binds her to him and forces her to remain against her will. At one point he even orders her to silence.

I had a hard time with this. Perhaps it’s because I’m a fairly independent woman and I would hate to have all control of myself taken away. Or perhaps that has nothing to do with being independent or a woman, but simply a human being. In any case, the next chapter or so was hard for me to get through. The way Dante pretty much forced her home with him and then checked her out to see if she was Ansara left a bad taste in my mouth.

But I persisted and you know…I ended up really liking the book. Really liking it. I can’t say it’s LH’s best work, but it more closely resembled the classic LH I fell in love with than anything else she’s produced in recent years.

Lorna was a fabulous heroine. She suffered numerous shocks in a short period of time, but rather than bowing under them, she kept her chin up and her sense of humor. She was sassy and sarcastic, and though I thought she forgave Dante a little too soon for his mind control of her, her reasons for doing so made a lot of sense.

As for Dante, he was a typical Howard Alpha and I thought he was great for what he was. For those of you who enjoyed some of her earlier category type books and works like Dream Man, you should enjoy him.

The ending was a major cliffhanger, but the relationship aspect of the story was all wrapped up. Since this is the first of a trilogy, I wasn’t too upset with the ending. I am annoyed that I have to wait for the next 2 installments, but otherwise? I highly enjoyed it. Well, once I got over being pissed at Dante, that is.

I’m giving this a 3.5 out of 5.

I’m not sure how I feel about the whole 3 author trilogy, though. Having never read the other 2 authors, I can’t say for sure how excited I am to read them. On the other hand, I am anxious to see what happens next, so I’m sure I’ll purchase them.

The series is as follows:

Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard
Raintree: Haunted by Linda Winstead Jones (to be released June 1, 2007)
Raintree: Sanctuary by Beverly Barton (to be released July 1, 2007)

This book is available from Silhouette Nocturne. You can purchase it here.

three-half-stars

Retro Review: Hunting the Demon by Jaci Burton

Posted May 17, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 5 Comments

Retro Review: Hunting the Demon by Jaci BurtonReviewer: Casee
Hunting the Demon (Demon Hunters, #2) by Jaci Burton
Series: Demon Hunters #2
Published by Dell
Publication Date: August 28th 2007
Pages: 448
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

In a world seething with sin and seduction, the chase is on.
Hunting demons for a living can have its moments. Especially when Shay Pearson’s latest quarry is the gorgeous bronze surfer who just stepped out of the sea. Uncovering Nic Diavolo’s devilish side could prove Shay’s toughest assignment yet. Because while she’s acting as bait to snatch this sexy bad boy, Nic’s got a plan of seduction no woman—earthly or otherwise—can resist.
Caught between two warring realms, Nic needs to stay alive long enough to figure out who his enemies are. That includes the beautiful hunter who won’t let him out of her sight. And something far worse: a force of evil with an almost unimaginable goal— possessing Nic’s very soul. But the hunt really heats up when a guy who’s hotter than Hades and a woman who’s afraid of love join forces, igniting an inferno of lust and longing that could send them into mortal danger...or straight into each other’s arms.…

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

 

This review was originally published September 26, 2007

This book was blah for me. Not bad, but not great. That makes it really hard to do a review. When I review a book, I really like to feel passionate about at least one thing in the book, be it good or bad. In Hunting the Demon, well, I’ve got nothing.

This is the 2nd book in Burton’s Demon Hunter series. The 1st book, Surviving Demon Island, set up an interesting world of good vs. evil. On the good side, you have the Realm of Light. Charged with protecting the human race, the Realm of Light has an awesome responsibility. Due to the fact that many people would never believe that demons exist, they have kind of a hard time recruiting demon fighters. On the bad side, you have the Sons of Darkness. These are some bad mother-f-ers. See, there are only certain women that can actually have demon children. The Sons of Darkness don’t really care if these women already have families and children of their own. They just kidnap them.

Shay Pearson’s mom was kidnapped when she was a child. At 6 years old, she had a vision where these really scary monsters took her mom. Knowing that no adult would believe her, Shay kept quiet. So when her mom disappeared from a business trip, Shay knew exactly what happened. Thus she started carrying that burden on her 6 y/o back.

Now Shay is a kick ass demon-fighting machine. Brought in by the Realm of Light to fight demons, Shay finally learned that she wasn’t the only child that lost her mother. After killing a Demon Lord on Demon Island, the team now has to find out if the Lord’s son (and brother to the hero of Surviving Demon Island) is a demon himself.

Heading the Australia, Shay volunteered to some recon work on Nic Diavolo. She did keep a few things to herself about why she was so willing check out the potential demon. Like the fact that she’s been having visions of the man, whom she has never met before. Charged with the task of discovering whether or not Nic is an evil demon like his evil demon father, Shay does what any self-respecting woman would do. She strips down to her bikini and introduces herself to Nic on the beach. Of course Nic can’t help but be attracted to Shay, especially since she doesn’t seem to want anything from him (as if). As the sole heir to Diavolo Diamonds, Nic has seen his share of gold-diggers.

After a fun filled afternoon of surfing, eating, and making out, Nic is a little uneasy about the feelings that Shay invokes him him. Because of these bizarre nightmares he’s been having where he turns into some sort of evil creature, Nic is hesitant to get involved with Shay. Shay can tell that Nic is pulling away and has no choice but to bring him in. Obviously Nic is more than a tad angry that Shay has used him. He’s especially angry when this group of strangers try to convince him that not only is his father dead, but he was also a demon. He refuses to believe that he has any demon blood running in his veins or that Derek is his brother. He explains his dreams away as coincidence. Mmmm-hmm.

Kidnapping Nic and taking him to the Diavolo Diamond mine probably isn’t the most intelligent idea, but the team has no other choice. They have to find this Black Diamond which is presumably somewhere in the mine before the demons get a hold of it. If they happen to get it before the Realm of Light can get it, the world is basically going to hell. There will be no stopping it. Unfortunately for Shay, Nic seems to be smack in the middle of it. If her visions are right, Nic will turn evil demon and join forces with the bad guys.

After a few escape attempts, Nic finally realizes that Shay and her fellow fighters are telling him the truth. Of course seeing a demon in the flesh really helped him come to that conclusion. Again, though these demons bear a remarkable resemblance to those in his dreams, he still puts it down to coincidence. I call it denial. Nic refuses to believe that he will turn evil, which is what he thinks his dreams are telling him.

Eventually there is a showdown with the good guys, the bad guys, and the Black Diamond. We also learn that there is actually a Queen of Darkness who is supposed to join evil forces with Nic. The Sons of Darkness think they have her…the archeologist that was hired to find the Black Diamond (having no idea demons existed). What they soon realize is that she’s not the one, but they can’t figure out how they were wrong. Angelique knows that it’s her twin sister Isabella that they’re looking for. So when everyone is distracted, Angelique takes the diamond and runs. This sets the stage for the 3rd book, out in Summer 2008.

It took me 5 days to read this book. That’s pretty unheard of for me. So while I didn’t dislike this book, I just wasn’t in to it. Like I said above…blah.

3 out of 5.

three-stars

Joint Review: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Posted May 8, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Joint Review: Moon Called by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #1
Also in this series: Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Fire Touched, Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson, #10), Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson, #2)
Published by Ace Books
Publication Date: January 31st 2006
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 288
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Mercedes "Mercy" Thompson is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy's next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy's connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water...

Rowena: Thank goodness for you because without you, I wouldn’t read nearly as many of these books as I do. I’m SO glad that I finally got around to reading this book because it was hella good. Not just good, but hella good. I need more Mercy and Adam in my life…and it was good to see Samuel, Bran and Charles (from the Alpha & Omega series) and to see why Samuel was the way that he was in those books.

How was your re-read of the books?

Holly: I didn’t think I’d like this series at first. It took me ages to finally read it. I’m sorry I waited so long. Mercy, Adam and his pack, Jesse…They’re all amazing. I love how the world combines Magic with the Fae, Werewolves, etc.

My re-read this time was just as good. I love how normal Mercy is. She isn’t a super badass, despite the fact that she can turn into a coyote. She’s practical and down to earth, which makes her easy to relate to.

Rowena: I agree. As much as I adored both Adam and Samuel (you know I’m all about the heroes), Mercy was my favorite character in this series. Ames told me that she had such a huge girl crush on Mercy and I can totally see why. She’s really easy to relate to and she knows herself as well as her strengths and weaknesses. She’s not too stupid to live but she is brave and I just loved the hell out of her. I can’t wait to read more of these books.

I now see what you meant when you said that both this series and the Alpha & Omega series are kind of weaved together. Some of the things happening in here reminded me of stuff going on in the other series with Charles. I like that. It kind of reminds me of the Chicago Fire, PD, Med and Justice shows on NBC. I love how there’s this one world of characters that cross over to each different show. If done right, having so many different aspects of a world in different books and series is great and I think that Briggs does a wonderful job of that here.

What was your favorite part of this book?

Holly: It’s hard to say what my favorite part is, because now that I’ve read the entire series (and the A&O series) things have different meaning for me. I think it might be Adam demanding Mercy help him find Jesse. She’s weak by comparison to him and the other wolves, but he still wanted her to find his daughter because he knew she wouldn’t give up. I also love her interactions with with Bran. They have such a complicated relationship.

What about you?

Rowena: You’re right. Since everything is so fresh for me and I don’t know what’s to come, I see things differently. One of my favorite parts were Adam demanding Mercy help him find Jesse but more so because he knew that Jesse meant something to Mercy and he knew that she cared far more than Samuel did and wouldn’t give up. He knows her strengths and her weaknesses and …he claimed her to his pack. sigh I’m really looking forward to seeing their relationship grow.

It was nice to see Samuel learning of Adam and Mercy’s complicated relationship and really, the characters were well written and well rounded. No two dimensional characters in this series. I love how Mercy cared so much about a wide variety of people. People who didn’t get along with other people and yet, Mercy did. I could go on and on about how much I like Mercy but I think you get it.

I was invested in this story from the jump. This world is colorful and vivid and I’m so here for it all. I’m late to the party but what’s new? This was good stuff.

Holly: You’re right, he did know Mercy cared about Jesse and wouldn’t stop until she was found. That’s one of the things I like about Adam, period. He’s willing to set aside his own personal feelings in any given situation. It’s kind of a nice change for an alpha-male.

I really love how Mercy is sort of the glue that brings all these different elements together. We see this more as the series goes on, of course, but she’s like a neutral third party. I love it.

The world is my favorite thing about this book. It’s very well-drawn and immediately pulls you in.

I’m giving this a 4 out of 5.

Rowena: Same. This one gets a 4 out of 5 from me. Thanks for making me read this book!

four-stars

Review: The Chosen by J.R. Ward

Posted April 10, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Chosen by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
The Chosen by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #15
Also in this series: Lover Mine, Lover Unleashed, Lover at Last, The King, The Shadows, The Beast, Lover Enshrined
Published by Ballantine Books
Publication Date: April 4th 2017
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 544
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

A scorching forbidden love threatens to tear a rift through the Black Dagger Brotherhood in J. R. Ward’s newest novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, convicted of treason against the Blind King, is facing a brutal interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Yet after a life marked by cruelty and evil deeds, he accepts his soldier’s fate, his sole regret the loss of a sacred female who was never his: the Chosen Layla.

Layla alone knows the truth that will save Xcor’s life. But revealing his sacrifice and his hidden heritage will expose them both and destroy everything Layla holds dear—even her role of mother to her precious young. Torn between love and loyalty, she must summon the courage to stand up against the only family she has for the only man she will ever love. Yet even if Xcor is somehow granted a reprieve, he and Layla would have to confront a graver challenge: bridging the chasm that divides their worlds without paving the way for a future of even greater war, desolation, and death.

As a dangerous old enemy returns to Caldwell, and the identity of a new deity is revealed, nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love . . . or destinies that have long seemed set in stone.

With so many secondary characters, it is hard to review this book. I’m going to give it my best shot without rambling, so stick with me.

The Chosen started off where The Beast left off. The Brotherhood still hold Xcor captive and they’re waiting for him to wake up to do whatever they need to do with him. Tohr wants to kill him, but he can’t. The Band of Bastards are in the wind. Layla had the twins. Throe wants to overthrow Wrath and be the King of the race. The Scribe Virgin is no more.

If you were worried about Layla being a boring heroine (which I was), you needn’t have worried. She was fierce. From the beginning of the book, all Layla could think about was that she betrayed Wrath and the Brotherhood. She never put her love for Xcor above her duty to her King or her love her her children. She didn’t have her head in the clouds. She knew that she and Xcor had no future. Love isn’t all it took. Love by itself doesn’t solve everything after all. She had children to consider. What she didn’t consider what the Qhinn would go off the deep end when he found out that she was seeing Xcor. And boy, did he ever.

Qhinn was incredibly sweet at first. He didn’t know about Layla’s betrayal and thought she had postpartum depression. He was extremely worried about her. That changed in a heartbeat when he found out what she did. Then he turned into a psycho. No joke. He was a maniac. I can’t even describe what an asshole he turned into. I wanted to throat punch him. He deserved it. The way he treated Layla, Blay, and even his own daughter deserved a throat punch or three.

Xcor and Layla realized that they had no future, so every moment they spent together was like their last. Layla wouldn’t let Xcor hide from her. Xcor was so used to hiding himself. His childhood was heartbreaking all because of a birth defect that he had no control over. Xcor was ready for Layla to turn away from him at any time, but she never did. The time they spent together was even more special because any moment could be the last. It was just sad.

Wrath was intense. So freaking intense. It doesn’t matter that he’s blind, you don’t cross the guy. Which Tohr and Qhinn did. They put their vengeance before their King and they got told. Both of them. I can understand (a little), that Tohr would go against Wrath. Kind of. A little. But Qhinn? He’s just been recently inducted into the Brotherhood. That he would go against Wrath? No. Wrath isn’t having any of that. This book totally makes me want to reread Dark Lover.

V and Jane. I never liked them together. V and Butch all the way. Jane is too absorbed in her career. And V needs someone that is a little absorbed in him, I believe. Not overly absorbed, but a little. Right? Yeah. Well, V is looking to cheat. That’s right. V and Jane are on totally separate pages here and V is considering cheating on his mate. Who does that? I appreciate that JRW doesn’t just end a book with a HEA the end period. But cheating? That’s harsh. V is so damaged so seeing him so torn up over this was some good reading.

The end was a little too pat for me. I mean, really. If you read it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Come on. The scene with the four of them and the babies? Seriously. After all that angst? Please. Gag me. The thing with Lassiter? The only way it could have happened. Tohr and Autumn? Sigh. I love those two. Qhinn and Blay? Blay deserves better. The only redeeming moment for Qhinn in this book was when Blay called and Qhinn dropped his vengeance and went after him. Overall, I was happy with this book.

Assail and Sola’s book is next.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

four-stars