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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Contest and Review: Seduce the Darkness (Alien Huntress series) by Gena Showalter

I have been told by the publisher I can give away three copies of Seduce the Darkness, to be mailed to the winners by Pocket Star. If you want to enter to win a copy of Seduce the Darkness, leave a comment, and please include an email address so I can let you know you've won and can find out where the books should be mailed. If you leave a comment your name goes in the hat once, if you leave a comment and you follow this blog then your name goes in the hat twice. I'll assign everyone either one or two numbers and then run a random number generator to decide the winner on Sunday July 5.

Now, for the review:

I supposed I've gone about this series backwards, reading the fourth book first. But I think that coming in late to the series was okay, I never really felt lost, like there was some part of this world that I didn't understand. Other couples were mentioned, and looking through the earlier book descriptions I see that those books were about those couples getting together.

My first comment has to do with genre definition. In my mind, Urban Fantasy is my world with supernatural beings in it. Some of the series I like stretch this a bit, like The Rachel Morgan /Hollows series by Kim Harrison which is kind of a parallel universe. And some of them stretch that definition a great deal, like the Kate Morgan / Magic Bites series by Ilona Andrews. Seduce the Darkness falls into that latter category. I mean, sure, there are vampires, but this universe is a futuristic world where Aliens from many planets live along side humans, and where most food seems to be synthetic, unless you are very rich. It is not my world. I'm putting this book into the Paranormal Romance category for my purposes, not Urban Fantasy.

With that being said, Seduce the Darkness was an enjoyable read. This is a HEA romance book with lots of inner dialogue about feelings. That's not really my thing, but if it is yours then this is right up your alley. For me, I enjoyed the story, the action, the plot, the characters, and even the bad guys. I would compare Seduce the Darkness to the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole. Lots of romance stuff, but also lots of world building and plot and action and story and character building of people other than just the two lovers.

Before I go too much farther, here's the blurb:

The war between otherworlders and humans changed Earth beyond recognition. It also saved Bride McKells's life. Before, the gorgeous vampire was a target for every fanatic with a stake and a crucifix. Now, she's free to roam the streets -- and desperate to find others of her kind. One man claims to have the answers she seeks. Devyn, King of the Targons, is a warrior and a womanizer, and he makes no secret of how much he wants Bride -- and how dangerous he could be to her in every way.

An avid collector of women, Devyn easily seduces human and otherworlder alike. Until now. Not only does Bride resist him, but she leaves Devyn feeling something entirely new...a bone-deep need bordering on obsession. Her blood is the key to curing a vicious alien disease, but helping Bride uncover her origins will compel her to choose between electrifying passion and a destiny that could tear her from Devyn's side forever.

What am I going to rate Seduce the Darkness? To be honest, I have to take a point away for doing the one thing that just annoys me in a Romance book: having part of the conflict be something that is only there because our love-birds don't communicate with each other. But, maybe not a whole point, because it really was a deep seated thing, and they did talk about it sooner than some authors would have had them talk about it. And I did enjoy the plot, it was something different, plus the world building was interesting. I'll give it an 8 of 10. Without reading the other books, I can't rate the series yet.

Book Rating: 8 of 10

1. Awaken Me Darkly
2. Enslave Me Sweetly
3. Savor Me Slowly
4. Seduce the Darkness

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum series) by Janet Evanovich

On the one hand, Finger Lickin' Fifteen is like visiting old friends. I enjoyed reading it while I was reading it. It wasn't as funny as some (maybe most) of the other books in the series, but there were a few LOL moments. And it was kind of nice to check in with Stephanie and the gang again.

On the other hand, nothing's changed. When the book ended, I was disappointed. I had hopes for change and growth in this book, but sadly, there was none.

The plot was half way decent, a few cars get destroyed, we hear more about Lula's life as a ho, and there are a number of slapstick things designed to get laughs that didn't (a few that did, but more that didn't). Like I said, while reading it I enjoyed a good part of the book, but as it ended I was just disappointed. No one is growing up. Ranger, Stephanie, Morelli, Lula... the whole cast of characters is caught in a time warp where nothing changes.

I'm giving Finger Lickin' Fifteen a 7 of 10, and I'm moving the Stephanie Plum series down to a 7 of 10. Which is a shame, because once upon a time I rated the series a nine of ten.

Book Rating: 7 of 10
Series Rating: 7 of 10

One For the Money (1994)
Two For the Dough (1996)
Three to Get Deadly (1997)
Four to Score (1998)
High Five (1999)
Hot Six (2000)
Seven Up (2001)
Hard Eight (2002)
Visions of Sugar Plums (2003) (don't bother)
To the Nines (2003)
Ten Big Ones (2004)
Eleven on Top (2005)
Twelve Sharp (2006)
Plum Lovin' (2007) (don't bother)
Lean Mean Thirteen (2007)
Plum Lucky (January 2008) (don't bother)
Fearless Fourteen (June 2008)
Plum Spooky (January 2009)
Finger Lickin' Fifteen (June 2009)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

* Anxiously Awaiting - Late June 2009

The books I am anxiously awaiting release are:

06/23/09 Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum), Janet Evanovich
07/07/09 Branded by Fire (Psy-Changelings), Nalini Singh
07/07/09 Strange Brew
(Anthology) Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris
07/07/09 Where There's a Witch (
Bewitching Mysteries, No 5) by Madelyn Alt
07/07/09 Dragons Prefer Blondes (
Caruthers Sisters Bk 2) by Candace Havens
07/21/09 Mercy Thompson Homecoming (Comic)
Patricia Briggs, Francis Tsai
07/28/09 Destined for an Early Grave (
Night Huntress, Bk 4) Jeaniene Frost
08/04/09 Bad Moon Rising (Dark Hunter Series) Sherrilyn Kenyon
08/04/09 Beloved Vampire (Vampire Queen Series) Joey W. Hill
08/15/09 By Blood We Live
(Anth) Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Kelley Armstrong, Carrie Vaughn, etc
08/25/09 Hunting Ground (Alpha & Omega, Book 2) by Patricia Briggs
08/25/09 Unbound
(Anthology) Kim Harrison, Vicki Pettersson, Jeaniene Frost
09/01/09 Must Love Hellhounds
(Anth.) Ilona Andrews, Charlaine Harris, Nalini Singh
09/01/09 Doom With a View (Psychic Eye Mystery) Victoria Laurie
09/15/09 The Lost Symbol (DaVinci Code series) by Dan Brown
09/29/09 On the Edge (The Edge book 1) by Ilona Andrews
10/06/09 A Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse) by Charlaine Harris
10/20/09 Divine Misdemeanors (
Meredith Gentry #8) Laurell K. Hamilton
10/27/09 Bound to Shadows (Riley Jensen, Guardian, Book 8) Keri Arthur
10/27/09 Frostbitten
(Elena & Clay) (Women/Otherworld) Kelley Armstrong
10/27/09 A Deep Kiss of Winter
(Anthology) Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter
11/03/09 Blaze of Memory (Psy-Changelings, Dev's book), Nalini Singh
11/03/09 Apocalypse Happens (
Phoenix Chronicles, Bk 3) Lori Handeland
11/03/09 Never After
(Anth.) Laurel K. Hamilton, Yasmine Galenorn, Marjorie M. Liu, etc.
11/03/09 Skin Game by Ava Gray
11/24/09 Vampire Sunrise (Delilah Street: Paranormal Investigator) Carole Nelson Douglas
12/01/09 Angelic (Women/Otherworld) Kelley Armstrong
01/01/10 Kitty’s House of Horrors (
Kitty Norville Bk 7) by Carrie Vaughn
01/26/10 Pleasure of a Dark Prince
(Immortals after Dark) Kresley Cole
01/26/10 First Drop of Crimson (Night Huntress World, Bk 1) Jeaniene Frost
02/??/10 Silver Borne, (Mercy Thompson, Book 5) Patricia Briggs
02/23/10 Black Magic Sanction (The Hollows Rachel Morgan, Book 8) by Kim Harrison
03/??/10 The Spellmans Strike Again (Spellman Files, Book 4) Lisa Lutz
03/09/10 Werewolf Smackdown (Felix Gomez 5) Mario Acevedo
03/16/10 Voices of Dragons (new YA series) by Carrie Vaughn
Spring/10 Chaos Bites, (Phoenix Chronicles, Bk 4) Lori Handeland
Changes (Dresden Files 12) Jim Butcher
05/??/10 Magic Bleeds, (Kate Daniels Book 4) by Ilona Andrews
08/??/10 Alpha and Omega series, Book 3 Patricia Briggs
Skin Starved (Wicked Lovely Book 4) Melissa Marr
??/??/?? Not That Innocent (Anthlgy) Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kresley Cole...
??/??/?? Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter, Bk 2) Nalini Singh
??/?/?/?? Captured by Vengeance (Riley Jensen Bk9) Keri Arthur

Not all of the series I keep up with have another book listed as coming out. The authors have stated there will be more, but to my knowledge they haven't said when, or given a title name. I've listed those series below.
* Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman
* Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris
* Queen Betsy series by MaryJanice Davidson
* Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton
* Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich

Below are series I follow, but it is unclear whether there will be more books in the series:
* Bronwyn the Witch series by Candace Havens
* Nightcreature / Moon series by Lori Handeland
* Nadia Stafford series by Kelley Armstrong

You can read an excerpt of many of these books, to see my list of excerpts please go here.

If someone wants to send me an ARC of one of the books on my Anxiously Awaiting list, I will read it within a day or two of it arriving (assuming I'm home and I'm not sick or anything), and will get a blog post up of it as soon as I've finished reading it. You may send me a digital version at chained lightning at g mail dot com, or to send a hard copy you may contact me at that email address to ask for a shipping address. If you have an ARC you would like to send that is not on my Anxiously Awaiting list I will attempt to read and review it in a timely manner but it probably won't be placed topmost in my TBR pile.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Blood Trail (Blood Series Book 2) by Tanya Huff


Blood Trail, the second book in the Blood series, did not have a TV show made directly from it. There was a were-animal TV show that had a few similar elements, but the tone and plot was nothing like the book. So, I did not know "who done it" as I read the book, which probably made it a little more interesting. Although, I kind of guessed who was doing it pretty early on.

The relationships in the books are different than they were in the Blood Ties TV show, which adds a nice change. I like the way the relationships in the books are working out much better than I did the way the love triangle was handled in the show.

I noted in my review of Blood Price that since this series was written in the early nineties, that investigations are handled differently with the technology available today. There is legwork in the books that would only involve an online search in today's world. Blood Trail, more than the other, would have been written different had it been written today, because this crime could have been solved very quickly by an internet search.

Here's the blurb:
When a pack of werewolves is discovered on a London, Ontario, farm, Henry Fitzroy, a Toronto-based vampire and writer of romance novels, calls upon private investigator Vicki Nelson to help him trace the trail of destruction to the killers.

As with the first book, Blood Price, I'm also going to rate Blood Trail an 8 of 10, and for now I'll put the series at an 8 of 10. As with Blood Price, there were some very disconcerting typos. Could they not fix those in between re-publishing them?

Book Rating: 8 of 10
Series Rating: 8 of 10

. . .

The Blood Series
1. Blood Price
2. Blood Trail
3. Blood Lines
4. Blood Pact
5. Blood Debt
6. Blood Bank

Lifetime still has the episodes up, if you want to watch the TV series, go here. Or, you can follow the links above to buy the DVD's. It is kind of a pain to watch online with the commercials, and having to click between the online "chapters", but it's free.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Blood Price (Blood Series Book 1) by Tanya Huff


I've been meaning to read the Blood Series by Tanya Huff for years, every since I stumbled across the Blood Ties series on Lifetime Television and enjoyed it so much.

I recently found the omnibus books of this series, with two books per book, and decided it was a good chance to finally read the series.

I enjoyed the first book, Blood Price. The main plot was pretty close to the show's pilot episodes, with enough differences to keep it interesting. Blood Price was written (I believe) in the early 90's, which means Vicki has to do legwork where today she could just turn on the computer and log onto the internet. It means she has to buy a map. It means she doesn't use a cellphone, and that there are actually pay phones around when she needs one. But other than that, the time difference didn't really matter.

I enjoyed reading more of how Vicki felt, and more of how Henry remembers things from his past. They covered it pretty well in the show, but you always get more of it in the book.

Here's the blurb:
It began with blood and death. And Vicki Nelson, PI was at the scene. The victim had been brutally, inhumanly opened up. Messy work. She'd had to cover the corpse with her coat. It had sort of made her feel involved. Now Vicki is caught up in the deadly pursuit of a mass murderer with an inhuman appetite for mayhem and destruction. And her advisor on the case is doing nothing to dampen her growing sense of foreboding. But then, with a being of unspeakable evil stalking the city, only Vicki Nelson would ally herself to Henry Fitzroy, the illegitimate child of Henry VIII and a five-hundred-year-old vampire.

I am amazed that Lifetime still has the episodes up, if you want to watch the TV series, go here. Or, you can follow the links below to buy the DVD's. It is kind of a pain to watch online with the commercials, and having to click between the online "chapters", but it's free. Still, I may consider buying the DVD's, as it would be nice to just lay back, chill out, and watch. I really did enjoy this series.

But, back to the books. What do I rate Blood Price? I think probably an 8 of 10. There were some typos that were pretty blatant, and that pulled me out of the fantasy. Not misspelled words so much as sentences where the author started to say something one way and then said it another but didn't go back and change the beginning of the sentence to fit the end of the sentence. Would it have been a 9 of 10 without the typos? I don't know, maybe, but maybe not. Would it have been a 9 if I hadn't seen the show already? That's actually a bigger possibility. I'm not sure, but I think maybe.

Book Rating: 8 of 10

. . .

The Blood Series
1. Blood Price
2. Blood Trail
3. Blood Lines
4. Blood Pact
5. Blood Debt
6. Blood Bank