Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Review: The Prophet by Amanda Stevens

Mass Market Paperback347 pages
Published April 24th 2012 
by Mira 
(first published January 1st 2012)
Series: Graveyard Queen, #3
My Rating:
Genre: Urban Fantasy

My name is Amelia Gray.

I am the Graveyard Queen, a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. My father passed down four rules to keep me safe and I've broken every last one. A door has opened and evil wants me back.

In order to protect myself, I've vowed to return to those rules. But the ghost of a murdered cop needs my help to find his killer. The clues lead me to the dark side of Charleston—where witchcraft, root doctors and black magic still flourish—and back to John Devlin, a haunted police detective I should only love from afar.Now I'm faced with a terrible choice: follow the rules or follow my heart.

Oh my, Amanda Stevens has done it again. Ever since I started this series, not too long ago, I have been swept away by this author's writing. The imagery, the careful placing of words makes reading this series a rich experience. You get the shivers. Of the hot and cold kind. You get the creeps. You feel the tension coiling inside, and you see every scene come alive as you read. It devastates me, every time.

In this book, Amelia is back in Charleston. She's dealt with a lot, and it seems there is more mojo for her to unravel and face. And at the center of it all is Delvin, the haunted man she ought to avoid. But it seems some fate is drawing them together, and Amelia soon comes to realize that she needs to do things she never dared to do before--converse with ghosts, acknowledge them, help them. And the one ghost most in need of her help is little Shani, Delvin's late daughter.

What I discovered about Delvin's late wife in this novel made me shiver. But it worse knowing that Shani was tied to her mother. The magic that comes into play in this novel is sinister, and yet also allows Amelia to realize that she has power. Power she's never dared tapped, power she's never acknowledged. All of this lays down what could be some very spooky, very magic based events that Amelia may have to face. It seems that it's her destiny, as much as Delvin is also her destiny.

Which brings to me to the romance in this book. Le sigh. Romance has never been the focus of this series, but I love that Delvin and Amelia have had some very intimate moments, emotionally and physically. And I'm dying to see how this relationship plays out. I'll be picking up the next book as soon as it's released. This is one series that has yet to disappoint, and has delivered haunting stories of rare beauty each and every time.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Quote It!~15

This long weekend, I'm hoping to catch up on writing some posts. So I'm starting with a Quote It! post because I love mouth watering quotes from authors who just make words drip with meaning, or beauty. Or even better, both.

Amanda Stevens is one such author, a favourite author of mine. So I just have to share some quotes with you. She just makes you shiver and quiver in amazing ways. So which of her books am I quoting from today? I'm sharing with you quotes from The Prophet, book number three in the Graveyard Queen series. I'm all caught up in this series and just dying from more.

A perfume of death for every season.

Delvin was my destiny. The one man I wanted above all others was the one man I could never have. 

Slowly, he brought me to him, one hand up into my hair as he lowered his mouth to mine. "You're the one I care about," he murmured against my lips. 

Stay tuned for my review!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Review: Runaway by Heather Graham

Mass Market Paperback493 pages
Published July 1st 1995 
by Dell 
(first published August 1st 1994)
Series: Old Florida McKenzies, #1
My Rating: 
Genre: Historical Romance

"I accepted you as payment on a gambling table, because you're incredibly beautiful, and I want you for the same reason." 

His smoldering gaze claimed her long before a poker hand made her his. Tara Brent knew she could never escape this dark and brooding stranger who promised her safety, with a price: marriage and life together in the lush, lethal wilderness of Florida. She didn't even know his name, only the promise of passion, and refuge in his arms.

Jarrett McKenzie swept his ravishing bride away from New Orleans to his remote Florida plantation, determined to uncover the desperate secret from which she ran. He couldn't tell her of his own Seminole roots—or open her guarded heart—until his former commander, President Andrew Jackson, declared war on the Indians, and a powerful enemy from Tara's past found his way to their door.

I ran across this title a few months back and I have been yearning to read it for a while. It was a wonderful read, the setting was lush and beautiful and the characters were raw and headstrong. There was an element of mystery to Tara's past--we know she is innocent of murder, but that's all we know. It was interesting to learn more about it and realize that she wasn't such a woman of mystery after all. 

Tara's character was headstrong, passionate and somewhat willful. I really liked her. She was also proud in ways, but it was wonderful seeing her develop empathy towards her native neighbours and to grow to realize that people are all people, regardless of race. Tara goes through a lot in this book. She's on the run, hiding her past from her husband, jealous of Jarrett's dead wife, attacked on more than one occasion and than forced to part ways with Jarrett's family, who she has come to think of as her own. 

Jarrett is a character that I can only describe as commanding. He doesn't give Tara a lot of explanations as to what is happening in the war, or about his reasons to his neutral position. Some readers might think him of as something of a tyrant, but I thought of Jarrett as equally strong willed as Tara, and for that reason found that they fit nicely together. Even though they constantly bicker, he fully acknowledges to himself that Tara evokes strong emotion within him, and it's clear that it's more than just her body that he desires. Which is what I loved about them as a couple, they are both deeply passionate. And I'll admit that I'm sucker when it comes to passionate characters. 

This was a solid four stars, set during a time period not often explored, with a strong plot line and wonderful characters. I can't wait to read more of this series. 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Review: When Lightning Strikes by Brenda Novak

Paperback448 pages
Published August 28th 2012 
by Harlequin MIRA 
(first published 2012)
Series: Whiskey Creek
My Rating:
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Simon O'Neal's causing trouble again. And it's up to Gail DeMarco to stop him.

Gail DeMarco left Whiskey Creek, California, to make a name for herself in Los Angeles. Her PR firm has accumulated a roster of A-list clients, including the biggest box office hit of all—sexy and unpredictable Simon O'Neal. But Simon, who's just been through a turbulent divorce, is so busy self-destructing he won't listen to anything she says. She drops him from her list—and he retaliates by taking the rest of her clients with him.

Desperate to save her company, Gail has to humble herself by making a deal with Simon. The one thing he wants is custody of his son, but that's going to require a whole new image. He needs to marry some squeaky-clean girl who'll drag him off to some small, obscure place like Whiskey Creek….

Gail's the only one he can trust. She agrees to become his wife—reluctantly. But she isn't reluctant because he's too hard to like. It's because he's too hard not to love!

This book came to my attention a few months back, and I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this. The cover led me to believe this would be a sweet, even cute romance novel, but what I got was really great plot and some characters that are troubled and have to deal with some tough circumstances. 

Character in question? Simon. I expected him to be some spoiled brat, but instead this is a man who is dealing with the demon of disillusionment thanks to his ex-wife, a custody battle, and media attention. And for the media in this story, the worse the scoop, the better the story. All of this is breaking Simon down and causing him to lash out in ways that are harmful to himself. 

Gail gets caught in the crossfire of all of this. Mind you, she's not totally innocent. Her big mouth got her into trouble, and the way to save both her butt and Simon's is to pull off a happily ever after that the media will eat up and that give Simon back some credibility as a human being and parent. It's a crazy plan, but it works. The only trouble is, both Simon and Gail fall in love with each other, which was not as planned. But then, life isn't planned.  
Book Two

I loved how real to this life this story was. I loved how Simon had to really re-discover himself and start being true to that person. It just really made me think about the things in life that matter--love, family, while pointing out that life is about more than the trappings we sometimes we caught up, like work or own insecurities and doubts.

The layers to these characters really impressed me as did the careful plotting. From beginning to end, this was lovely reading and I'm looking forward to more of Whiskey Creek. I have no idea who the next book will be about (a lot of series hint at whose book is upcoming) but I couldn't guess in this one, and I have to say, the element of surprise is a pleasant touch. I'll be reading that book, When Snow Falls before the year is out.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Review: Hunter of Shadows by Nancy Gideon

Mass Market Paperback383 pages
Published November 29th 2011 
by Pocket
Series: Moonlight, #5
My Rating: 
Genre: Paranormal Romance

The secrets he knows about her could get him killed.

Transferring to the New Orleans Police Department, Detective Silas MacCreedy has a hidden agenda: to secure his clan’s place once again in the Shifter hierarchy. What he didn’t count on was stumbling upon a sexy assassin who could shred his best intentions and lead him into a dangerous dance that threatens to engage his heart.

But the ones he doesn’t know . . .

Monica Fraser knows just how to make a man beg—for his life. But she has no clue how to fight her attraction to the fiercely intense detective who seems determined to get in her way, both professionally and intimately.

. . . could kill them both.

When emotional attachments to the past and an unexpected glimpse of a different future have her questioning her deadly purpose, Nica must discover the truth about her secret abilities in order to free herself from the forces that control her. But that freedom comes with a price—trusting those she’s been ordered to eliminate.

I'd like to start off this review by saying I wasn't sure what to expect of this book. The series was well established, the characters were ones I loved and am totally invested in. So I wasn't sure what the series might feel like with new characters being introduced. I'm delighted to say that the new characters gave this series added an element of excitement and layered onto the overall series plot beautifully. Silas and Nica are characters that I loved from the second they walked onto the page, and I am dying to read more about them. 

So, my overall assessment would be WOW. Nica was kick ass, but there's a sensitivity to her as well that softens her and made her easy to connect to. Silas was pure deliciousness. Moral, noble, with a dark past and a determination to do right by all of those loved, he was an easy character to love. And love him I do. He was a perfect fit for Nica, and I loved how alpha he could go on her, how he never ran from her even though there was so much in his life that demanded that he let Nica go and move forward as planned. But Silas is too good for that, and I'm glad that he and Nica found their way together. 

I guess you're wondering about Max and Cee Cee, and I was happy that they played a central role in this story as well. And their story is significantly developed on a lot of levels. I'm so super excited for them, but I'm also on pins and needles because there's something in Cee Cee's past that's going to come to the surface and I'm dying to know what it is and what it will mean for the series. Ms. Gideon knows how to leave a reader on the edge of their seat. 

I loved this book. I loved everything about it--the wonderful writing, smart story line and new characters that fit into the series seamlessly. Once again, my hat goes off to this amazing author.

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