Demon from the Dark By Kresley Cole

From Goodreads.com: A dangerous demon she can’t resist… must unleash both the demon and vampire inside him. When he becomes the nightmare his own people feared, will he lose the woman he craves body and soul?MalkomFor them to survive,

Malkom Slaine: tormented by his sordid past and racked by vampiric hungers, he’s pushed to the brink by the green-eyed beauty under his guard.

A maddening witch he aches to claim…

Carrow Graie: hiding her own sorrows, she lives only for the next party or prank. Until she meets a tortured warrior worth saving.

Trapped together in a savage prison…

Ah finally, I got to read all about my beloved drunken, karoke-singing, youtube sensation, warrior witch, Carrow the Incarcerated.  Carrow has been abducted by a group of radical humans called the Order bent on studying/weaponizing/eradicating immortals.  Their latest goal? Capturing the rare demon/vampire hybrid, or vemon, Malkolm Slaine.   Somehow, the Order knows that Carrow will make excellent bait to lure Malkolm to this plane, so they blackmail her with her newly adopted daughter, Ruby.   Carrow must go to Malkolm’s plane, which is bascially her own personal hell, and somehow trick him into following her home.  But Carrow doesn’t realize that Malkolm’s tragic past has turned him into a solitary, brutish monster who immediately recognizes Carrow as his fated female.  Left with no choice, Carrow must follow Malkolm to his cave, where the two have some serious chemistry…once he bathes of course.   Unfortunatley, Carrow still has to betray Malkolm, leading him back to the prison, where she will be betrayed as well.

The Good:  Well, it’s Kresely Cole.  If you have read the other IAD books, that would be all I needed to say.  But if not, allow me to elaborate.  Kresley Cole writes some of my favorite charcters in the genre.  They are all funny and smart, albeit damaged.  But the damage isn’t dwelled upon, it just makes them who they are.  She seemingly worships one of my favorite movies, Aliens, and references it quite frequently.  Her love scenes are oh so steamy, but never the same.  Her heroes and heroines kick serious ass in the action sequences.  And she makes me laugh out loud at least once every book.  THIS book, had all of those things I have come to expect and there is really too much good to get into here.  I felt that this was more of a transitional book though, with the immortal prison setting up stories for several books to come, much like the Talisman’s Hie did in the beginning of the series.  We get to see Regin (POOR REGIN!!) and her beserker, Sabine’s sister Lanthe, and one of the Lykae twins, Uilleam, plus we are introduced to new categories of immortals we haven’t seen yet! Exciting!  I am so ready for Regin’s book I can’t stand it!!  Oh, and I want to get into how much I heart Malkolm, the big vemon scene-stealer,  but I will discuss shortly.

The Bad: ::wince::  I really don’t like saying anything bad about this series, as it truly is my favorite, but i have to vent about this one little thing.  You see, Carrow and the House of Witches reminds me of me and my girlfriends in college, but with less nudity, so they have always been my favorite cameos in the books.  I knew that Carrow’s book would deal with her becoming more un-Carrow-like, but I was hoping the first bits would be filled with the Carrow/Mari/Regin shenanigans I expect to take place in every book.  I was very, very disappointed to jump right into serious, little girl saving, soul mate finding Carrow.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the story of Carrow and Malkolm finding each other and being all damaged and stuff, but I missed the Carrow I had come to know over the past bazillion books.   And then Regin being all serious too!! Sigh…it just wasn’t the same.  But yeah, that’s all I got for the bad.  Here was my fav Carrow moment:

“She surveyed all the tracks scattered over the clearing.  Again, she could make out Malkolm’s prints, but now she saw even lighter boot prints.  Even more demons?

With ten shots of Jack D in her belly, she was convinced that her scientifical mind could read tracks and deduce a corresponding fight.  She was a regular Sacagawea.” 

The Bumpin’ Uglies:  Teeeheee, Malkolm is a naughty little vemon.  He’s all big, and caveman-like and pierced…a  lot!!  Whew…and I thought I was a modern woman! Malkolm Slaine sent me back to the days of lady clubbing (the wooden kind) and I wasn’t even upset about it.  There is this one scene, I think the book calls it Extreme Makeover: Malkolm edition, where there is lots and lots of bathing…in a cave…and they don’t speak the same languages…and mama liked.   And then there was “You Betrayed Me!” angry beach lovin’.  Yummmm.   And then there was the 98% “we’re not done yet! lovin’.  It was awesome.  I heart Malkolm.  Oh, and Carrow was there too.

Rating: 8.5

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Mind Games By Carolyn Crane

From Barnesandnoble.com:  JUSTINE KNOWS SHE’S GOING TO DIE. ANY SECOND NOW.
 
Justine Jones has a secret. A hardcore hypochondriac, she’s convinced a blood vessel is about to burst in her brain. Then, out of the blue, a startlingly handsome man named Packard peers into Justine’s soul and invites her to join his private crime-fighting team. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal. With a little of Packard’s hands-on training, Justine can weaponize her neurosis, turning it outward on Midcity’s worst criminals, and finally get the freedom from fear she’s always craved. End of problem.

Or is it? In Midcity, a dashing police chief is fighting a unique breed of outlaw with more than human powers. And while Justine’s first missions, including one against a nymphomaniac husband-killer, are thrilling successes, there is more to Packard than meets the eye. Soon, while battling her attraction to two very different men, Justine is plunging deeper into a world of wizardry, eroticism, and cosmic secrets. With Packard’s help, Justine has freed herself from her madness—only to discover a reality more frightening than anyone’s worst fears.

The blurb above is pretty thorough, but let me expand a little.  Packard is a high-cap, which basically means human plus (think X-Men), who can ‘read’ the make-up of your mind and see how you are wired.  He has used this ability to put together a team of flawed humans that fight crime by ‘disillusioning’ criminals.  Packard teaches people like Justine, who is almost crippled by fear of dying from a phantom vascular disease, to transfer these fears/flaws/urges to criminals, basically driving them to near insanity in hopes of creating a life-changing event.  Transferring Justine’s energy on a regular basis essentially saves her from herself, but Packard failed to mention that she will never be able to stop without turning into a vegetable.  Now trapped with Packard, Justine starts investigating his past in hopes of finding a way out, which leads her to some startling discoveries about him and the new local celebrity, Police Chief Sanchez.

The Good:  I like books that hang out in the gray areas.  Not that I don’t enjoy good ole good vs. evil, but it’s the gray areas that make you think.  Mind Games is firmly in the gray.  Justine and the other disillusionists are severely flawed people (gamblers, alcoholics, hypochondriacs) that basically attack people’s energies.  Their targets are criminals of varying degrees, but instead of striving to prove their guilt, they attempt to reprogram their brains.  Is this legal? Nope.  Does it work? According to Packard it does.  I liked the idea of not-so-great people fighting even worse criminals.  I also liked the idea of transferring your flaws to someone else temporarily.  Actually, I liked a lot of things about this book, especially the characters.  Unfortunately, the good things were overshadowed for me by 2 specific events.

The Bad:  So here I am, really liking this book, until about 65%.  **RANT ALERT**

I will give a mild spoiler here:  this is the part where Justine is kidnapped and almost violently raped by her latest target.  This part was so irritating to me, that I almost had another DNF on my hands.  I felt that this horrific situation was dealt with way too lightly, and that’s a lot coming from me!  So Justine manages to get free, zap her target with all her nervous energy and call for backup.  When back up arrives, she seeks NO retribution against this man who had her drugged and tied to a bed.  No calling the cops, no castration, oh no.  Disillusionment is enough for this guy; let’s just get him started on alcoholism sometime next week.  Ummm…I’m sorry, but I have huge issues with this.  I really don’t care for books that involve rape as I look to books for escape, but if it has to be dealt with, at least make it a pivotal plot point, not something that is just breezed over with almost sympathy for the attacker.   I mean, I get that these characters barely function as it is, but at least defend yourself or something!!  Okay, rant over.  Well maybe not.

The Bumpin’ Uglies:  **RANT PART 2**  Packard and Justine.  Such lovely sexual tension throughout the book.  And then…a crime against all smuttiness is committed.  Not only do Packard and Justine NOT act on this tension at any point in the book, but with 10ish% left in the book, Justine falls for another character out of nowhere!  Ugh.  To be fair, Justine and other guy have some super steamy scenes involving hot tubs and offices and such, but still!! I was all ready for Packard!  The path to redemption can only lead to a hot love triangle in future books, I will accept nothing less.  But if Packard/Justine is abandoned entirely? Not cool. 

Disclaimerlicious:  I realize I ranted a good deal about this book, but these were purely personal opinions about events in the book, not bashing the book as a whole.  Like I said earlier, I liked a lot of things about this book, and I know others really enjoyed it.  So check it out, and then come back and let me know what you thought.

Rating: 7

Dark Obsession (Shadow Destroyers #4) By Sydney Somers

From Goodreads.com:  Scorching desire…fatal consequences.

Demon slayer Rae McAvoy refuses to let anything stand between her and getting the job done. Especially her ex. Loving Parker nearly destroyed her, and if partnering with him one last time means he’ll be reassigned and out of her life for good, bring it on.

If Parker was the only threat to her heart, tracking down one rogue scientist would be a snap. Except the scientist in question is Rae’s father, and his experiments are hitting much too close to home.

Parker Walsh hasn’t forgotten the passion that once burned between them, and he’s determined to remind Rae every chance he gets. But giving in to more than just lust could mean surrendering to the darkness inside him—the same darkness that once drove her away.

Riding the edge of their rising desire pushes them to the breaking point, until an explosion of passion raises the stakes even higher. Especially when long-buried secrets force them to break the last links to their past—or else be consumed by an obsession so dark it could tear them apart for good.

Disclaimerlicious: The author asked me to review this book.

Bare with me, since I came in on the 4th book of the series, my plot synopsis may not be great.   Shadow Destroyers are humans gifted with a gene that allows them to acquire a demon’s abilities once they are ‘initiated’ or first encounter a demon.  The abilities gained depend on the type of demon; lust, storm, telepath, etc.  Parker Walsh was initiated by a lust demon (rawr!), and he also happens to be Rae’s ex-live-in-boyfriend.  Rae is…something else entirely.  When Parker is reassigned to Rae’s area to investigate a string of missing children cases thought to be Shadow related, he decides he has to try to win her back.  Unfortunately, due to the HORRIFIC nature of their break-up, Rae is not interested.  Of course, when they start traveling cross-country following leads on the missing kids, Parker kind of makes himself…unavoidable. 

The Good:  Two Words come to mind for this book: Sexual Tension.  I felt like I could slice it with a knife it was so thick!  Parker and Rae’s history, jaded feelings and remaining (and unwelcome) lust is the heart of this book and I was very affected by it.  Actually, anyone who has ever survived a serious break-up will probably be affected by this book.  It was slightly more somber than the PNR I am used to because of the heavy break-up discussions, but I appreciated this, as it really made me pull for them as a couple.  There were some lighter bits, like Rae’s devil cat that hates Parker, that I loved.  Nothing sucks worse than your pet trying to take out your lover in his sleep!  I also really liked the whole humans becoming like demons thing, what a cool idea.  Best way to fight demons? Steal their powers! Makes so much sense! 

The Bad:  The only thing I can really say here is while the books could stand alone, I really don’t think they should.  I really only say that because there are several of supporting characters that I could tell hooked up in previous books, and it sorta drove me crazy wondering about them.  I got a little lost on the whole Shadow Destroyers mythos as well, I felt I really could have benefitted from more back story.

The Bumpin’ Uglies:  I could sum this entire section up by saying: Sex or almost-sex in inappropriate places.   🙂   Parker attempts to seduce Rae in the strangest places: Against the vending machine, kitchen floor, you get the gist.  I loved this! I thought it was hysterical and really HOT.  I think I remember public-ish sex being a problem in the Pendragon Gargoyles series as well, must be a running theme….one that receives the Kindlelicious Stamp of Approval.   And then after said PDA episodes, seeing Darcy the Telepath have to filter Parker’s thoughts was hilarious:

“He might have even gotten her up on the edge bar where he could have worked her pants off and started the whole process over again, much, much lower.

‘Parker!’

Yanked from his thoughts, he straightened in his chair.

‘Dial it down buddy’, Darcy tapped her temple.  ‘At least go with the PG version if you feel compelled to think so hard.”

I thought Parker and his lusty demon ways were really hot.  His confidence (arrogance?) and those silver eyes were yummy.  If you are looking for some fun, steamy PNR, then I recommend adding Sydney Somers to your list.

Rating: 8

 

Pendragon Gargoyles Review

Tracking the Tempest By Nicole Peeler

From Barnesandnoble.com:  Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and Ryu – Jane’s bloodsucking boyfriend – can’t let a major holiday go by without getting all gratuitous. An overwhelming dose of boyfriend interference and a last-minute ticket to Boston later, and Jane’s life is thrown off course.

Ryu’s well-intentioned plans create mayhem, and Jane winds up embroiled in an investigation involving a spree of gruesome killings. All the evidence points towards another Halfling, much to Jane’s surprise…

 Jane is a half-Selkie, who is dating a vamp, spends most of her time with a Gnome and is now being stalked by another halfling who is convinced they are soul mates.  Needless to say, these books are different but in a good way.  Jane is hilarious, here is one of my fave quotes:

“Ryu knew damned well that humor could overcome any emotion, even lust.  I couldn’t help laugh s he helped to my feet and pushed me to the wet room.  Meanwhile, I began strategizing all the various ways in which I would destroy him later.  And he’s afraid of a little Gorgon, I thought as I wondered what, exactly, Iris has packed from my dirty drawer.  Game on Vlad, I thought, wriggling my own eyebrows at my vampire’s back as he went to get my suitcase.  I’ll show you an ‘impaler.

I also have to include this quote because I know one certain fellow blogger who will appreciate this:

 “Before executing my culinary genius, I first poked ay Ruy’s iPod, set in his state-of-the-art sound dock thingie, until I found the Killers and put them on shuffle.  I was officially obessesed with the Killers, not least because of the lead singer’s slightly spastic-yet-strangely-sexy dance moves.”

Tracking the Tempest was action packed and hilarious from start to finish, kind of like a summer blockbuster for books.  However, I have two complaints. First, I learned very quickly that the series is also forgettable.  I had a really hard time remembering supporting characters (besides the Gnome, who I am moderately obsessed with) from the first book.  It wasn’t a huge deal, and it didn’t ruin the fun, but since these are kinda short reads, they just don’t stick with you.  Second, Jane talks a big game about all the dirty things she has planned for Ryu, but then we skip over the actual scenes.  To this I say, BOOO!  You can’t refer to Jane’s dirty drawer repeatedly and then not show the contents in action!  Alas, I am not really crazy about Ryu anyway, so I was excited to see the little love-triangle brewing with Anyan.  I am firmly on Team Anyan at this point.  Ryu is just too pretty. 

Rating: 8 (with bonus love for the super cute covers!)

The Darkest Lie By Gena Showalter

From Goodreads.com:  Forced to his knees in agony whenever he speaks the truth, Gideon can recognize any lie—until he captures Scarlet, a demon-possessed immortal who claims to be his long-lost wife. He doesn’t remember the beautiful female, much less wedding — or bedding — her. But he wants to . . . almost as much as he wants her.

But Scarlet is keeper of Nightmares, too dangerous to roam free, and a future with her could mean ultimate ruin. Especially as Gideon’s enemies draw closer . . . and the truth threatens to destroy all he’s come to love . . .

I think what I am about to say will be considered blasphemous to some, and it pains me to say it, but I liked the last one better.  Maybe I was too excited about Gideon’s story because he is my favorite, so nothing or no one would be good enough.  Or maybe I have been reading too much PNR lately, so the whole “oh, i will let myself enjoy this one moment, because we can never be together again” thing is just old to me at this point.   But I was expecting Scarlet to be a kick-ass chick.  She is Nightmares for crying out loud! She can kill you in your sleep!  Why the lack of confidence?  Why are we still wondering if Gideon could ever really love her at 90%??  Ugh. 

Okay, I got that out, now I can sorta discuss the book.  Well, not really.  Not without giving out major spoilers anyway.  Basically, the book picks right back up from the last one with Gideon discovering Scarlet was his wife, Aeron trying to figure out how to save Legion from Hell, and the Titan Rhea still unleashing her Hunters on the Lords.  Aeron asks Amun and William to asist him in the rescue mission, so we get to learn a lot more about both of them.  And I gotta say, I really liked the little hint we got about William.  We also get to see the beginnings of Strider’s potential HEA, which I am very curious to see how that one will get pulled together, because the chick is NASTY.   Obviously, we learn the most about Scarlet and Gideon, and aside from Scarlet annoying the crap out of me, her back story was great.  I won’t reveal anything, but I will say those Titans are some dirty hookers.  At this point, I have read almost every type of villain, and I would have to put these crazy bitches at the top of the list.  Man, my heart was breaking for Gideon and Scarlet.  Anyway, despite the PNR formula grating on me a little here, the book was great like all the others.  I was a little disappointed by Scarlet’s whining because my blue-haired hottie deserves better, but the plot still rocked.  And Torin has some great one-liners…actually I think he has replaced Gideon as my favorite, though I have no idea how he will ever get his HEA.  Keep an eye out for another Immortals After Dark shout out during one of Torin’s scenes.  Those always make me happy.

Rating: 8 (though the lack of blue hair on this cover really sucks!!)

Hunting Season (The Gathering #1) By Shelly Laurenston

From Gooodreads.com:  

Stubborn, lethal, and from Jersey…what more could a Viking warrior want from his woman?
The Gathering, Book 1

Neecy Lawrence, winged warrior for a Viking goddess and second-in-command of the fierce Crows, doesn’t know what to do with a nice guy. As it is, making up for a past she’d sooner forget leaves her barely polite most days. But Raven leader and loyal Odin warrior, Will Yager, isn’t just nice. He’s gorgeous, hot, and a distraction she simply can’t afford.

Yager has wanted Neecy in his life—and in his bed—for a long time. Not just for a night, but forever. And, like any self-respecting Viking, he’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants. So what if she’s the most difficult, complex, never-gives-him-a-break woman he’s ever known? She’s more than worth the effort. In fact, she’s worth everything.

And if it turns out that twenty-four hours of non-stop, any-way-she-wants-it sex doesn’t work with Neecy? Then it looks like he’ll just have to get a little more creative…

 I think I am developing a Shelly Laurenston addiction.  I just can’t stop reading her stuff.  This makes the 10th book (counting the GA Aiken books) I have read and I swear she can do no wrong.  There is just something about the way she captures funny, smart people being…funny and smart that I love.  I think the blurb above explains the plot pretty well, as it follows the standard PNR formula.  You know the one: Neecy and her group of bad-ass chick friends bump into Yager and his group of super hot dudes, they immediately hate each other, until tossed into grave peril, and then those pesky hormones take over.  Only this time, Neecy belongs to porn-loving Norse God Skuld, while Yager is forced to tolerate Odin’s penchant for turning strippers into Valkyries. Such a nice twist.  So, there I was, happily reading along, already loving this book because 1) Shelly Laurenston wrote it, and 2) it’s a fresh take on the standard PNR…and then she goes and does this:

“Didi looked up from the television as Arri, Janelle, and Katie walked into the living room.  It was a quiet night.  No job from their goddess, so they’d all decided to watch movies.  As usual, they ended up watching Aliens…again.  They simply couldn’t get enough of Vasquez.  Any chick who kicked that much ass was an honorary Crow.”

It’s like…she can see into my soul or something.  Not only is Aliens one of my absolute favorite movies EVER (behind Ghostbusters 1 & 2 of course), but she mentions Vasquez!!!  Do you know how long I have been lusting after that flame thrower she eviscerates the aliens with??  I have mourned her death all 573893495 times I have seen it! She’s gotta be the most underrated movie chick of all time, and they mentioned her!!  So I mean, I don’t really need to say any more about this book.  It was great, like all the others.  It was a little more edgy than the Pride series, which I loved; more cussing, more sexing, more awesomeness.  My only complain is, while stalking reading her blog, Ms. Laurentson said she doesn’t know when she will pick back up the series.  To that I say: It’s not very nice to set up not one but TWO more couples in the first book and not carry on with the series!  Please write more!  I am not above begging! 

Rating: 9.5 

Love in the Time of Dragons By Katie Macalister

From Goodreads.com:  Tully Sullivan just woke up in a strange place, surrounded by people she’s never met. Which is bad enough. But then the strange people insist they are dragons. And, worse, that she is also a dragon, named Ysolde de Bouchier, one of the most notorious figures in dragon history.

She doesn’t buy it. She can’t breathe fire or shapeshift. She’s not even bothered by gold. But they’re adamant. And she’s in trouble.

Because these dragons also want to sentence her to death.

If she’s going to survive, Tully realizes she is going to have to find a way to solve the crimes she’s being accused of. Even though they happened in a past she has absolutely no memory of living.

This was a pretty short read, so I will just do a quick review.  If you have read all of Katie Macalister’s dragon books up until now, you will love this addition. We finally get to see what big bad Baltic is all about.  If you haven’t, you will be pretty lost.  I even had to go back to the previous books to make sure I had the plot correct.  The most important thing to know is that Baltic and Ysolde were both killed a long time ago, and have been reincarnated to find each other again and serve some sort of purpose that we have not learned about yet.  I thought this book was much better than the two silver dragon books, just much more entertaining…and to be honest, Gabriel just gets on my nerves.  I loved the dynamic of Baltic and Ysolde/Tully.  There was this one scene where they were looking back at their previous selves in bed and Ysolde started umm…comparing and contrasting old vs. new Baltic.  I didn’t think I would ever stop laughing. And Ysolde’s son Brom was hilarious, especially when paired with my favorite demon dog Jim.  Jim was at his best in this one, actually, everyone was pretty funny in this one.  Baltic cracked me up more than once:

Ysolde: “You think so?  Well maybe your precious Aisling just needs to watch out, because I’m not some pushover, you know.  I’m a mage, and mated to the baddest ass in the dragon world.”

Brom looked speculatively at Baltic.  “That’s you?”

Baltic: “Yes.  If you were my son, as you should have been, you, too, would have a badass.”

 My only complaint about this book was the ending.  I know it’s setting us up for future books in the series, but it was very unsatisfying.  There were also a few plot elements that were left unresolved, but hopefully we will get to those in the next one.  I am also hoping to see more of sexy Italian blue dragon, Bastian. 

Rating: 8.5 (+0.5 for super sexy cover that matches my new theme so well, which I made especially big for this post. Hehe.)

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