General · reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Armed & Dangerous

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Zane had to fight back a jangle of nerves. He had to believe that the CIA agents after them wouldn’t hurt anyone unless they were in the path of Julian Cross. Deuce would be fine. He hoped.

– Armed & Dangerous by Abigail Roux

General · reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Crystal Gardens

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Irene would have been nothing short of ravishing at the marriageable age of eighteen or nineteen, Evangeline thought. But looks and intelligence were not always sufficient when it came to the business of marriage, because marriage was a business transaction and everyone knew it.

– Crystal Gardens by Amanda Quick

Book Review · General · reading

Book Review: Unbound Darkness by Keri Arthur

From Keri Arthur’s website:

Risa Jones is as extraordinary as her heritage. Born from a lab-enhanced clone mother and an Aedh father, she can not only talk to the souls of the dying and the dead, but she can see the reapers and walk the gray fields that divide this world from the next.

They are skill she rarely uses, however, preferring to concentrate on the business she shares with her two best friends. But when her mother asks her to help the parents of a little girl locked in a coma, she reluctantly agrees. What she discovers scares the hell out of her. Because the little girl’s soul no longer resides in her body, and it wasn’t death and the reapers that took her.

Someone had ripped her soul from her flesh.

As it turns out, a creature consuming the souls of the innocent–and not so innocent–is the least of her problems.

Because someone wants to rip open the gates that divided hell from earth, and Risa is a key component in their plans.

And the only person standing between her and disaster is a reaper who isn’t exactly on her side.

I loved Unbound Darkness! It’s clear and fast-moving.

The plot is complex, but the author presents everything so clearly, you over look that. But truthfully, only 2 of maybe 4 or 5 plot points get resolved by the end – the whole ripping soul the summary above talks about.

The summary also talks about ripping open the gates of hell. I expect the series plot arc will come from this. Unbound Darkness introduces the idea – and that’s all this book does. It’s complex and involves a lot of players. Half of them have been hinted at, but not introduced yet. I don’t even know who the villain is yet, if you can believe that. I suspect the author left out so much because it would be too much for a single book. I foresee quite a lot of books in this series. 😀

I expect (I hope!) it will be related to the smaller single-book-size plot of someone stealing souls. Maybe. I want it to, but this minor villain might not related to the bigger series plot.

I remember Risa as a little girl from the Riley Jenson stories. But in this book there is no doubt Risa is all grown up.  Even though she can’t change into a wolf, she’s still a half-wolf and perfectly comfortable in the wolf clubs. That’s not surprising. But I think I expected her to go grow up and be a psychic for a living, just like her mother. Instead she owns a restaurant. Go figure.

But the most surprising – the most astonishing part! – is that Risa makes a deal with the devil herself: Madeline Hunter, leader of the vampire council.

I don’t think she had to make that deal. Personally, I hope Madeline Hunter ends up dead by the end of this series.

General · Short Story · Writing

Third Campaigner Challenge: Show Not Tell

The third challenge is write a blog post in 300 words or less, excluding the title. The post can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should show:

  • that it’s morning,
  • that a man or a woman (or both) is at the beach
  • that the MC (main character) is bored
  • that something stinks behind where he/she is sitting
  • that something surprising happens.

Just for fun, see if you can involve all five senses AND include these random words: “synbatec,” “wastopaneer,” and “tacise.” (NB. these words are completely made up and are not intended to have any meaning other than the one you give them).

This is my attempt. It is exactly 296 words. I am number 6 in the linky list, if anyone feels inspired to vote for me.

Title: Broken Islands

Dina smelled sulfur and blood and blinked open one eye. This beach was smooth white sand, palm trees and an ocean still tinted with the colors of the rising sun. It was empty. Sunrise was too early for normal people to up.

She sniffed the air, just to be sure. Nothing. Maybe she was smelling things out of boredom. Dina considered the idea and sat up slowly.

She shoved her feet into pink flip-flops. A big ridiculous sunflower plastic decorated the straps. They were the least flashy pair the big island souvenir store stocked. Dina scowled at her feet and wished for home, where she didn’t have to hop two islands to buy simple black flip-flops.

The smell came again and disappeared as quickly as before. Dina rose, excited for the first time since her boss forced this island vacation on her. As if boredom on an isolated island would be good for her. Well, tacise him!

She stepped out cautiously, careful of her balance. The flip-flops did very little to cushion her banged-up foot. At least the sand was still cool.

The smell came again and this time she was ready for it. Sulfur and blood, two smells she knew well, and something else, something rancid and sweet. Like wastopaneer.

Oh no. Dina called her wolf forward. The change was fast and painless, like every change since the last mission. Joy bubbled up in her when her wolf burst free. Four feet planted in the cool sand, she howled her joy to the sky.

Her hind foot still ached, but the smells were much sharper in her wolf form. Dina lowered her nose, sniffing.  Sulfur, blood, wastopaneer.

Ha! Death had followed her to this remote island. She couldn’t regret it; anything was better than boredom.

General · reading · Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday: Witch Eyes

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

This is some sort of joke. A test. My father was in the room with me. “What are you doing here?” I whispered, as if someone was listening.

– Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey

Book Review · reading

Book Review: Vampire Instinct by Joey W. Hill

Amazon Summery: As servant to vampire mistress Lady Daniela, Elisa is unwaveringly devoted-but she recoils at one shocking request: destroy the untamed, undead children entrusted to her care. There is one desperate option: Malachi, a Native American vampire who is a legend for his work with rehabilitating feline predators. And as Malachi struggles to control the young ones’ impulses, he opens himself up to those of Elisa-and the passion they share for the night could seal their fates forever.

I read this awhile back and I really liked it. It’s very emotional, very intense and hot. This is a Joey W. Hill book; you know you can count on the heat factor. But it’s possibly more emotional than any other book in this series and that’s not an easy thing to do.

Malachi isn’t like other vampires. He lives away from other vampires because he doesn’t care for vampire society. Instead he stays on his island and rehabilitates large cats for release into the wild. That’s why he’s given wild, damaged vampire fledglings and asked to make them ready to live in the vampire world.

Elisa was badly traumatized in a previous book, but still tries to help the made vampire fledglings. The vampire fledglings are not children, really, in terms of years, but they are stuck in children’s bodies, in a child’s brain and always will be. It’s tragic. Despite all that, Elisa thinks of them as her children. It’s why she comes with them to Malachi’s island. They are her reason for living after her trauma.

In fact, the most intense scene involves one of the vampire children. It would be, right? Children (even if they are out-of-control, blood-sucking vampires) always tug at the heartstrings.

The oldest of them gets loose – they are kept in this enclosure, like one of those especially made habitats for dangerous predators in zoos – and rapes one of the other fledglings, a girl. Jeremiah, the second oldest boy, kills him dead. Then he wants to know if Malachi is going to kill them. It’s pretty heart-breaking.

Malachi doesn’t, but in order to introduce them to vampire society, he needs to go out into it himself. He takes Elisa with him as his servant.

That’s where I had trouble with this book. Despite being a servant all her life, Elisa has never participated in any of the sexual games vampires play. It’s odd. Malachi has to teach her, and yeah, she performs beautifully but still . . . It’s was just an odd note in an otherwise wonderful book.

Also the romance . . .yeah, this is a romance and I need at least a paragraph about the romance. The romance is strong from page 1.

It develops through the children, through Malachi helping her with her trauma, through Elisa helping him through his. Yes, he has trauma in his past, too. There are reasons why he lives on an island with no other vampires. It’s slow and pretty damn believable. They need each other.

It develops through the sex, too, but they are probably the least important element in this novel. The sex scenes are hot and kinky and all that. They certainly contribute to the story, but despite them, I would have to call this more romance than erotica.

If you take out all the sex scenes, you still have a very solid story. This is not true for other Joey W. Hill novels. Vampire Trinity, for example. In that one, if you take out the sex scenes, you lose a large chunk of the story.

Book Review

Book Review: Archangel’s Blade by Nalini Singh

Goodreads Summery: The severed head marked by a distinctive tattoo on its cheek should have been a Guild case, but dark instincts honed over hundreds of years of life compel the vampire Dmitri to take control. There is something twisted about this death, something that whispers of centuries long past…but Dmitri’s need to discover the truth is nothing to the vicious strength of his response to the hunter assigned to decipher the tattoo.

Savaged in a brutal attack that almost killed her, Honor is nowhere near ready to come face to face with the seductive vampire who is an archangel’s right hand, and who wears his cruelty as boldly as his lethal sensuality…the same vampire who has been her secret obsession since the day she was old enough to understand the inexplicable, violent emotions he aroused in her.

As desire turns into a dangerous compulsion that might destroy them both, it becomes clear the past will not stay buried. Something is hunting…and it will not stop until it brings a blood-soaked nightmare to life once more…

Archangel’s Blade is Dimitri and Honor’s book. I am kind of disappointed it’s not another episode in Elena and Raphael’s life (the couple in the last three books). But not too disappointed. Come on, this is Dimitri, Elena’s nemesis. Plus, just look at that cover.

I have to say, in past books, I didn’t really like Dimitri. Part of that is probably because Elena is the main character in the other books and she doesn’t like him. He doesn’t like her, either. He hurts her; he constantly winds her up. (Winding someone up is a phrase I found in books by British authors. I quite like it.) Anyway, he’s a jerk in past books. In this book, he’s a sympathy hero. The way she does that, transforming him from a jerk to a likeable hero, well, I am just amazed.

There are hints in the other books about Dimitri’s painful past. Nothing explicit, it’s all just kind of in the background and I still dismissed him as an ass. This book explains it all. It explains in a way that is not sentimental or overdone, but just right. I am amazed. He has to kill his own child – and I didn’t even know he had a child, let alone two. Painful. All his past memories, they range from sweet to bittersweet to painful. He’s never forgiven himself. (Yes, that is a lot like other troubled, painful-past heroes, but Dimitri is better written than a lot of them, including the bulk of Dark Hunters, even though that sounds sacrilegious.)

Honor is the heroine; she is a hunter, but her skills are primarily academic. As a child, she bounces from foster home to foster home and later she’s kidnapped by vampires for months. She’s a mess when they get her back. With Dimitri, she begins to regain confidence. It’s fast, but not hard to believe. Of course, it’s just as easy to believe that if Dimitri hadn’t come into her life, she wouldn’t have regained her confidence.

Minus points – the summary talks about murder, headless bodies and distinctive tattoos. All that is there, but it seems almost a secondary plot in the book. Capturing the vampires who tortured Honor is more important and the two have nothing to do with each other. Except as a means to bring Honor and Dimitri together.

The romance between the two is really great. In the end she agrees to become a vampire – that isn’t such a surprise, is it? It’s hardly a HEA ending if you know your SO won’t survive your death a second time (yes, a second time!!!!! The first time was centuries in the past. He barely survived his own grief).

Grade: A-