Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Starters (Starters #1) by Lissa Price


Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man. 

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . .(synopsis from Goodreads)

When I saw the cover and read the synopsis I was immediately intrigued by Starters. I have a real love for dystopias and post-apocalyptic novels. Starters is the debut novel of Lissa Price and the exciting start of a new series. The world-building and story are fascinating. Parts of the tale, had a disturbing ring of truth to them. This novel quickly captured my attention and I breezed through it in a single day.

The protagonist sixteen year old Callie, lost her parents during the Spore Wars. Without grandparents or any other living relative, she and her seven year old brother Tyler are left to fend for themselves. They are living in abandon office buildings with their friend Michael.  Callie learns of a way to make income through another Starter.  Prime Destination’s offers Callie an opportunity to gain enough money to rent a home and provide food for a few years.  The catch, she has to rent out her body three times to an Elder.  Her instincts scream this is dangerous, but after a raid on their shelter, she makes the decision to take the job. The tale that unfolds is mine boggling and kept me engrossed. Callie is lovable, confident, and intelligent. Her courage and loyalty when faced with adversity was refreshing. I connected with her and other key characters such as Blake and the Elders.  The relationship between Callie and Blake was interesting and a startling revelation near the end of this novel shocked me.  The villain, referred to as the Old Man was creepy and his motives not yet clear, I am looking forward to learning more in the next novel.

The world-building, and history of the reality Callie, and the other Starters find themselves living in was intriguing. Some of the issues in this society, eerily parallel our own reality. A lot of moral issues are raised regarding a society where the gap between the poor and the wealthy has widened. Where the rich take what they want regardless of the impact of the rest of society. The world building wasn’t without flaws. I question some of the back story. The large number of children left without guardians in a world where the average grandparent is 100 years old. The math just doesn’t add up.To believe what is written, there is a whole generation missing from this tale.  The way in which the unclaimed young are treated is deplorable and the governments reasons and actions vague. I felt the storyline needed to be more tightly knit. Despite these concerns; I loved the characters and plot.

I highly recommend Starters to fans of post-apocalyptic dystopias. Price shows tremendous talent as a young writer and I look forward to watching her growth. I will definitely continue with this series. Starters is scheduled to publish on March 13, 2012 and will be available in paper, audio and eBook formats.

I want to thank netGalley and Random House for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.              

I gave this novel 4 coffee cups out of 5.            Kimba   

Author's website:Lissa Price
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Monday, January 30, 2012

Against the Night (The Raines of Wind Canyon #5) by Kat Martin

She's got the face of an angel and the body of …well, isn't that what he'd expect from an exotic dancer? But there's something about this girl that Johnnie Riggs can't shake. The former army ranger is hot on the trail of an elusive drug lord—and suddenly very hot under the collar, as well.
Amy's got her own agenda to pursue: her sister is missing and Amy seems to be the only one who cares. She'll enlist Johnnie's help and do her best to ignore her growing attraction to finally get some answers. But when the two trails begin to converge and reveal something even more sinister than they imagined, their mutual desire is the least of their problems. They'll bring the truth to light…or die trying.(synopsis from Barnes and Noble)

Against the Night is the fifth novel in the Raines of Wind Canyon series by Kat Martin. The series began by telling each brother’s story and now we are learning about their close friend retired Army Ranger, Johnnie Riggs.  Martin delivers suspenseful contemporary romances with strong, noble men and the woman who fall for them.  

Johnnie Riggs is a bounty hunter, PI and recovery expert. With the exception of his close friends and ex-ranger buddies, Johnnie is a loner. Convinced he isn’t relationship material, he doesn’t get close to anyone.  On a case to return a pedophile that has skipped bail, he stakes out an exotic dance bar. While scanning the crowd, he can’t help but notice Amy. Posing as Angel an exotic dancer; Amy is a pretty, petite blonde, who looks out of place.  Amy notices the tough ex-ranger and his rock hard abs. He complete unnerves her and yet she is drawn to him.  Soon, Riggs is a regular at the club and the more he gets to know Amy, the more he is convinced that something is off. His instincts are right; Amy is posing as an exotic dancer to investigate the disappearance of her sister and will do anything to find her.
Martin masterfully, weaves a suspenseful tale that quickly had me turning the pages, as Johnnie and Amy work together to find her missing sister. The search presents, a lot of danger, speed and action. Filled with drug cartel, creeps, and corruption it kept me on my toes. The chemistry between Johnnie and Amy was sizzling hot, sweet, and frustrating.  Both characters are independent and stubborn. I quickly felt a connection to them.  It was obvious to me and everyone around them that these too belonged together and watching them figure it out was delightfully intense.

Against the Night is the perfect read for fans of contemporary romance and suspense. While part of a series it can be read as a standalone. Kat Martin has over fifty-nine published works and has been on the NY Times Bestsellers list.  Against the Night is expected to be published on February 28, 2012 and will be available in both paper and eBook format.

I want to thank netGalley and Harlequin publishing for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this book 4 coffee cups out of 5.


Author's website:Kat Martin
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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Copper Beach (Dark Legacy #1) by Jayne Ann Krentz

A rare book. An ancient code. An all-new novel from the New York Times-bestselling master of passion and the paranormal.
Within the pages of very rare books some centuries old lie the secrets of the paranormal. Abby Radwell's unusual psychic talent has made her an expert in such volumes-and sometimes taken her into dangerous territory. After a deadly incident in the private library of an obsessive collector, Abby receives a blackmail threat, and rumors swirl that an old alchemical text known as The Key has reappeared on the black market.
Convinced that she needs an investigator who can also play bodyguard, she hires Sam Coppersmith, a specialist in paranormal crystals and amber-"hot rocks." Passion flares immediately between them, but neither entirely trusts the other. When it comes to dealing with a killer who has paranormal abilities, and a blackmailer who will stop at nothing to obtain an ancient alchemical code, no one is safe.(synopsis from Goodreads)

If you have been following my blog you know that Jayne Anne Krentz, aka, Amanda Quick, aka, Jayne Castle writes one of my favorite series the Arcane Society. Cooper Beach is a spin-off series that introduces a new family; the Coppersmiths. This is a contemporary paranormal romance filled with mystery and suspense.  This is book one of the Dark Legacy series (or trilogy), I devoured it in one evening and loved it.

The heroine is Abby Radwell. She uses her psychic talent to unlock rare books locked by a paranormal talent.  When she is attacked in the home of a collector, she uses her ability to disabled the armed man. Shortly after, she begins receiving blackmail threats. Concerned about her troubled past, and protecting her secret, she hires Sam Coopersmith.  Sam believes that someone wants Abby for her special skills. An old alchemical text is rumored to have surfaced known as The Key. He believes they want Ruby to unlock the secrets of this dangerous book. The book is linked to the Coppersmith family and they believed it had been destroyed. Determined to keep the book out of dangerous hands, Sam agrees to protect Abby and find the book.  What he finds with Abby is a whole lot more than he bargained for.

This novel was fast paced and the paranormal woo-woo was fascinating.  Krentz spins a mystery chocked full of suspense, and danger that completely captured my attention.  She has this incredible gift for weaving wonderful characters, paranormal elements and mystery into an intoxicated blend that I cannot seem to get enough of. The Coppersmith’s are an exciting family, who made their fortune in special minerals. Forty-years ago, one of the mines revealed a cave of unusual crystals that had paranormal elements. When they realized the crystals could be dangerous, they sealed the cave, but not before they were all exposed.  As a result Sam and his siblings all are high level talents and I am looking forward to reading more of their story.  The romance between Abby and Sam was intense, sweet, and spicy.  Both of the main characters are loveable. Abby has had a rough upbringing and is very independent. Sam is noble and a man of his word. He holds himself accountable, even when he isn’t to blame.  I became completely wrapped up in the story as they worked together to keep her out of danger as they search for, The Key.

I highly recommend Copper Beach to fans of paranormal suspense, and romance.  I could not find any evidence to support if this was a new series or just a trilogy…It doesn’t matter; I will be reading them anyway. Krentz is on my pre-order list of authors and her next novel in the Arcane Society entitled, Crystal Garden is expected to be published on May 3, 2012. Copper Beach is available in paper, audio and eBook formats.

I gave this novel 4 cups of coffee out of 5. 


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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Shot Through the Heart by Niki Burnham

At Eastwood High, love is a battlefield.
Two guys, two girls, two thousand dollars, and one epic water gun battle.
Senior year? It's all about Senior Assassin, a yearly water gun tournament where the last team standing receives a cool two grand. Connor wants nothing more than to split that prize with his best friend, Josh. When their mission is put in jeopardy by Molly--thanks to her crush on Connor--Josh comes up with a plan to thwart her, one that involves his sister, Peyton... 
Peyton's deepest desire is to score entry to MIT. She's working her tail off to achieve her goal, but when she's dragged into Connor and Josh's water gun tournament, their antics threaten to leave her high and dry. As Peyton's forced to choose between chemistry class and chemistry with Connor, will the super student and the super athlete discover they have more in common than they imagined?
One thing's for certain: When Connor, Peyton, Josh, and Molly load their weapons, someone's bound to get shot through the heart.(synopsis from Goodreads)

Shot Through the Heart is a YA romance by Niki Burnham the RITA-Award winning author of Royally Crushed and Scary Beautiful.  Burnham delivers a wonderful, fun and romantic comedy. This is a delightful feel good story.

The story involves high school seniors and juniors at Eastwood High. Told from several points of view, we get a sneak peek into the lives of these characters; their feelings, goals and fears.  The main plot of the story is this year’s game of Senior Assassin. It’s an annual event with one team winning two thousand dollars.  Senior and sports jock Conner, want to win in the worst way. He is a thousand dollars shy of buying his own wheels. He and his best friend Josh have been planning how to execute this for years.  Their plan is put in jeopardy when Molly, a girl who is crushing on Conner gets involved. She’s a nice girl and Conner doesn’t want to hurt her feelings.  He tries to think of ways to let her down easy, and Josh suggests that Conner pretend he is dating his younger sister, Peyton.  While the story is predictable, the tale that unfolds is sweet. The unexpected romance that develops between Conner and Peyton feels genuine and their teenage emotions plucked at my heart strings.

Filled with sweet gooey-goodness, Shot Through the Heart, also delivers some great messages. Burnham touches on such lessons as, reaching for your goals, being true to yourself and integrity. The characters are all lovable and the story line is fast paced.  The chapters are broken up by character and I liked getting to know them, and laughed a loud at some of their antics.

I recommend Shot Through the Heart to fans of romance and humor. This short story is currently available in paper and eBook formats. I will definitely read more by this author. 

I want to thank the author for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.
I gave this 3.5 coffee cups out of 5.

Author's website: Niki Burnham

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Friday, January 27, 2012

I AM DIVING by Joseph Valentinetti

The story is a fiction based on fact. My protagonist, Jack York, is an ex-sailor. He suffers from Fugue, a distinctive dissociative disorder characterized by geographical displacement and amnesia for the episodes. The misunderstanding of his condition is the reason for his dishonorable discharge from the Navy. The story concerns the events that lead Jack York to be in Dallas on November 23, 1963. The premise of the story is the Dallas tragedy was carried out by two men who had no prior knowledge of each other and different targets in mind.
'There exists a type of phenomenon...which has puzzled man. The seemingly accidental meeting of two unrelated causal chains in a coincidental event which appears both highly improbable and highly significant.'
Arthur Koestler
The significant factor motivating Jack York is the loss of the Atomic Submarine Thresher with one hundred twenty-nine men aboard. The premise is based on letters, part of one is excerpted here. Please note the date.
Letter date: August 12, 1963. Notarized and mailed/receipted August 12, 1963
To: Hon. John Connally, Governor of Texas.
From: Field Engineer on Thresher.
Dear Governor;
A plot is underway to assassinate you. As former Secretary of the Navy you are well aware of the Submarine Thresher disaster, and how Bendix used fraudulent pressure/depth curves on equipment designed and built by Bendix for submarines of the Thresher class.
An organization...Justice For The Crew Of The Thresher is being formed.
Sir, I beg you, if you do visit Dallas and ride in an open car, please do not allow your loved ones to ride in an open car with you. If a sniper's bullet, meant for you, was fired from a high powered rifle by one of these disgruntled former service men...
The letter's author was questioned in August 1963 by Naval Intelligence, The FBI and postal authorities. The FBI and the other investigative agencies, failed to file a report concerning this and later failed to inform the Warren Commission.
The letter, send three months before the Dallas event, named the three salient factors of the crime: disgruntled ex-serviceman, high powered rifle, open car.(synopsis from Goodreads)

I  Am Diving is a fictional novelette surrounding two historical events. Those events occurred in 1963 and were the loss of the submarine Thresher, and the assassination of President Kennedy. Valentinetti weaves these two events into his story suggesting that the first event caused the other.  

Protagonist Jack York suffers from an affliction called Fugue, which is a rare psychiatric disorder characterized by amnesia. The state is usually short-lived (ranging from hours to days), but can last months or longer. Dissociative fugue usually involves unplanned travel or wandering, and is sometimes accompanied by the establishment of a new identity. Jack has been dishonorable discharged from the navy and his wife Teri tries to be supportive.  Jack and his wife own a bar called the Crossroads. On the eve of the sinking of the Thresher, a patron shows them letters written warning Navy and government officials that the Thresher has been built with faulty specifications. The patron is distraught because no one listen to him.  The sinking of the Thresher is a catalyst for Jack’s illness and he goes to Dallas with a gun.

The premise of I Am Diving is very good and I was intrigued by the concept. The story sometimes felt choppy and the author left me as the reader to fill in a lot of the story. I liked the characters, but would have liked more detail. Although some clues were given, I would have liked to have read about Jack’s episodes. Where did he go, and what triggered the attacks? Some of the dialogue felt forced and I think it could have benefited from an editor.  I would like to see this made in to a full length novel with more of the detailed fleshed out.  

Overall this was a unique and interesting read. Fans of conspiracy theories and historical fiction would enjoy this short novelette.  I Am Diving is available in both paper and eBook formats. 

I want to thank the author for sending this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review. 
I gave this 3 coffee cups out of 5. 


Author's website: Joseph Valentinetti

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Partials (Partials #1) by Dan Wells

The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.
Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic in training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws threaten to launch what’s left of humanity into civil war, and she’s not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will discover that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them—connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there. 
Dan Wells, acclaimed author of I Am Not a Serial Killer, takes readers on a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our humanity is both our greatest liability and our only hope for survival. (synopsis from Goodreads)

Partial is the first novel, in a new series by Dan Wells, acclaimed author of I Am Not a Serial Killer. In this YA, post-apocalyptic dystopia the year is 2076. It has been eleven years since the uprising of the Partials; a group of engineered organic beings who released a virus known as RM. This virus wiped out most of humanity and left the few remaining unable to produce living offspring. 

Wells took me on a fast paced, breathtaking ride and left me wanting more. The world-building in this novel is fantastic, unique, and believable. Wells painted a world that I could see, and his attention to detail had me riveted. The plot is engaging, and not a page was wasted in the development, and movement of this story.  I became completely engrossed, and the rest of my world faded away. The remaining humans are living in or around, Long Island, NY. They are frantically trying to find a cure for RM to stop their dwindling numbers. The community is governed by a small senate that passes laws to ensure the continued existence of mankind. One such law is the Hope Act. It states that every female must become pregnant at the age of eighteen. These women give birth over and over again. For eleven years they have studied and tested but no child has survived. This Act caused friction within the community, and some left; becoming a group known as the Voice. Violent outbreaks, and theft have become a source of tension between the two. The Partials haven’t been seen in eleven years, but both sides fear an attack.

Protagonist Kira is a sixteen year old medic in training. Wells has created a strong, fearless, and bright heroine. I immediately connected and saw her as a believable leader. Despite her age, Kira is wise beyond her years, and wants to find a cure for RM.  Wells gives us a female character who can think for herself regardless of her friends opinions. Kira believes that the cure is connected with the source of the infection, and wants to study a Partial. Despite being forbidden to do so, she, and a team of her friends head out in search of one. The tale that unfolds is stunning, mind-boggling and one of the best I have read. I truly cannot wait to get my hands on book two.

Partials is a must read in 2012 for fans of post-apocalyptic dystopias.  The novel is set to release on February 28, 2012 and will be available in paper and eBook formats.  I have added Dan Wells to my list of must read authors. The next book in the series is entitled Failsafe with an expected publication of 2013.
I want to thank netGalley and HarperCollins for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this 5 coffee cups out of 5.                      Kimba     

Authors website:Dan Wells
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Volition (Violition #1) by Shawn Kirsten Maravel

Charlotte Rush would be the first to admit that her life is no rollercoaster ride. Her days are laced with ordinary and at times boring monotony. But with a heart that finds itself frequently broken she's happy to say that she's content. 
When her friends convince her to spend the night out at a club to let loose and maybe even find a guy, she finally admits that her life might be missing something. No sooner does she let go of her inhibitions does she find herself waking up in a dark hotel room in the presence of Joel, a man who carries mystery in his eyes and familiarity in his smile. Against reason Charlotte decides to trust him based solely on one thing. Somehow, she is sure that she knows him. In a race against time to find answers and to solve the crime committed against her Charlotte finds herself falling for him. However, with nothing but mystery surrounding him she can't even be sure that he's the hero at all. While knowing all of the right things to say he still manages to tell her nothing. As a battle is waged over the innocence of her cryptic stranger, Charlotte discovers that much greater danger awaits her. And the mysteries behind who and what Joel is will lead Charlotte to discover that heaven and earth are not so far apart.(synopsis from Goodreads)

Volition is the first in a young adult, paranormal romance series by Indie author Shawn Kristen Maravel. This novel offers mystery, crime, and romance with a mysterious stranger. 

The main character of this novel is, Charlotte Rush, a conservative art student, and part-time banker. When she and her friends go to a night club, Charlotte is the designated driver.  After dancing for hours, she heads off the dance floor to search out her friends. She decides to get a drink of water from the bartender and the next thing she knows, she is waking up in a dark hotel room. Her head hurts, her mouth is dry and there is a complete stranger sitting in the chair by the bed.  This mysteries man, with heavenly green eyes and a body resembling a Greek god identifies himself as Joel and tells her that she is safe. Charlotte drifts to sleep again, and when she awakes she is home in her own bed. The tale that unfolds, deals with Charlotte learning about the crime that occurred that night. Despite, the fact that she knows nothing about Joel, she trusts him. ( she has this, niggling feeling, that she has known him forever) Together they gather clues to solve the mystery and stop a criminal.

Overall I enjoyed Volition. The characters were well developed and it had plenty of suspense and mystery. At times, I felt details messed with the flow of the story, and in these areas I skimmed.  For example, what everyone was eating or wearing.  I will warn you, although this is listed as YA, there is some intimacy.( however no real details are provided).The romance between Charlotte and Joel at first appeared to be insta-love, but actually winds up being so much more.  

Volition was a wonderful start to a new series, and I am looking forward to reading book two entitled Severance.  I recommend this to fans of paranormal romance. This novel is currently available in paper and eBook formats. I will be adding this author to my watch list.

I want to thank the author for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this book 3.5 coffee cups out of 5.                         Kimba     

Author's website:Shawn Kirsten Maravel

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. (synopsis from Goodreads)

Hallowed book two in the Unearthly trilogy, took me on an emotional ride and left me wanting more. This novel picks up a few months after Unearthly ends.  Hand’s writing style is unique and her character driven series is well on its way to becoming one of my favorites.

As the middle novel we do not see a lot of movement but we learn more about angels, black wings and Clara’s lineage. Clara struggles with a new vision and what it might mean. She realizes that someone close to her is going to die and with Christian's help she slowly puts the pieces together. The answer devastates her and she looks for a way to change the outcome. Her raw emotions had me reaching for the tissues. She is still concerned about her purpose and confused by her feelings for Tucker and Christian. The love triangle continues, but Hand has managed to make it difficult to really hate either guy. In this novel, Clara gets to know Christian more and we see her try to come to terms with her feelings for him. He is significant and she feels a strong bond and perhaps she even loves him. She is so in love with Tucker and doesn't want to give him up. Yet at the same time she begins to worry about their differences and the danger she puts him in. Can’t the three of them live happily ever after? Maybe Christian could patiently wait till Tucker’s life ends? (Tucker’s human after all.) We do see character growth in Clara as she deals with loss, and a realization that sometimes; loving someone isn't enough.

Jeffrey struggles with issues and is much darker in this novel. He distances himself from Clara and her Mom. It isn't until the end, that we begin to understand his struggle. We meet other half-bloods and new characters that I found delightful. Angela forms an Angel club and the four of them share information. While we get to know Angela a little better, I still have many questions. I also want to know more about her mystery man. I am also very curious about the black wing. Hand shares some of his back story and I am so intrigued. I am anxious to see how his role develops in the plot.

Hand’s wonderful prose and her first person narrative sent me on an emotional roller coaster and I frequently had to pause and savor her words. She allows things to unfold realistically and for me; it made it all the more poignant.  While I have never been a fan of love triangles, I think Hand may have just written the most beautiful one. 

The Unearthly trilogy is very character driven, and to me they are absolutely beautiful. I applaud Hand and her ability to capture my emotions and hold them hostage. I became Clara in Hallowed; I felt her emotions, her fear, her love and her heartache. I highly recommend this novel to fans of paranormal romances. The next book is yet untitled and is scheduled for release in 2013. Hallowed is currently available in paper and eBook format.

I gave this book 4 coffee cups out of 5.                   Kimba     

Author's website:Cynthia Hand

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Unseen by Heather Graham

1800s. San Antonio, Texas: In room 207 at the Longhorn Saloon, in the long shadow of the Alamo itself, a woman renowned for her beauty was brutally murdered. Her killer was never found. One year ago: In that same historic room, another woman vanished without a trace. Her blood was everywhere…but her body was never recovered. Now: In the last month, San Antonio has become a dumping ground for battered bodies. All young women, all long missing, almost all forgotten. Until now. Texas Ranger Logan Raintree cannot sit by and let his city’s most vulnerable citizens be slain. So when he is approached to lead a brand-new group of elite paranormal investigators working the case, he has no choice but to accept the challenge. And with it, his powerful ability to commune with the dead. Among Logan’s new team is Kelsey O’Brien, a U.S. marshal known for her razor-sharp intuition and a toughness that belies her delicate exterior. Kelsey has been waiting all her life to work with someone who can understand her ability to “see” the past unfolding in the present. Now she has her chance. Together, Kelsey and Logan follow their instincts to the Alamo and to the newly reopened Longhorn, which once tempted heroes with drink, cards and women. If the spirits of those long-dead Texans are really appearing to the victims before their deaths, only Kelsey and Logan have the skills to find out why. And if something more earthly is menacing the city’s oldest, darkest corners, only they can stop it – before more innocent women join the company of San Antonio’s restless ghosts…(synopsis from Goodreads)

Unseen is another novel involving Krewe of Hunter's leader Jackson Crow. He is in Texas, putting together a new crew, since his team is stretched to the limit with investigations and the characters have all been paired off.  Graham delivers a novel filled with murder, mystery, suspense, paranormal activity and a new romance.  I like the way the dead assist the living in these mystery driven romances.

Young woman are showing up murdered near the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas.  All of these young women were last seen in the area of the Alamo and a historical hotel called the Longhorn. The Longhorn is steeped in history and death. Legend has it a young woman died by the hands of a man around the time of the battle of the Alamo in room 207. Recently, the room was found covered in blood, but the body was never found. Jackson has arranged to meet US Marshall, Kelsey O’Brien and Texas Ranger, Logan Raintree. Both have uncanny abilities to find the dead and missing. Neither of them knows what this job offer is about.

When Raintree is offered the position as leader of a new team on the FBI, he isn’t sure he wants it, but his insatiable curiosity has him staying on the case. I really liked Raintree and was moved by his troubled past.  He has the skills and manner to make a great team lead. O’Brien isn’t sure she wants the position. She has always lived near the water and has wanted to be a US Marshall since she was a teen. Like Raintree she is intrigued by the case.

As the team takes on more members and more bodies are discovered; paranormal activity leads Raintree and O’Brien toward solving the case.  Graham weaves a tale that captivates you, as she slowly reveals clues and suspects. The chemistry between Raintree and O’Brien develops slowly and was sweet. The climax finds O’Brien smack in the middle of danger.  I am excited about the new team and look forward to reading more cases.

I recommend Unseen to fans of suspenseful paranormal mysteries with a touch of romance. I have always enjoyed Graham’s novels, trilogies and series. While her novels in the Krewe of Hunters series are all linked each can be read as a standalone. Unseen is the first with a new crew and the perfect place to start.  Graham’s novels offer a face-paced read and are highly entertaining. Unseen is scheduled to publish on March 27, 2012. It will be available in paper, audio and eBook format.

I want to thank netGalley and Harlequin for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review. 

I gave this book 4 coffee cups out of 5.             Kimba     

Author's website:Heather Graham
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Friday, January 20, 2012

The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose

A sweeping and suspenseful tale of secrets, intrigue, and lovers separated by time, all connected through the mystical qualities of a perfume created in the days of Cleopatra—and lost for 2,000 years. 

Jac L’Etoile has always been haunted by the past, her memories infused with the exotic scents that she grew up surrounded by as the heir to a storied French perfume company. In order to flee the pain of those remembrances—and of her mother’s suicide—she moves to America, leaving the company in the hands of her brother Robbie. But when Robbie hints at an earth-shattering discovery in the family archives and then suddenly goes missing—leaving a dead body in his wake—Jac is plunged into a world she thought she’d left behind. Back in Paris to investigate her brother’s disappearance, Jac discovers a secret the House of L’Etoile has been hiding since 1799: a scent that unlocks the mysteries of reincarnation. The Book of Lost Fragrances fuses history, passion, and suspense, moving from Cleopatra’s Egypt and the terrors of revolutionary France to Tibet’s battle with China and the glamour of modern-day Paris. Jac’s quest for the ancient perfume someone is willing to kill for becomes the key to understanding her own troubled past.(synopsis from Goodreads)

The Book of Lost Fragrances is a captivating historical fiction. It offers a tale of suspense with paranormal elements, religious oppression and a romance that spans the ages.  Rose masterfully blends fact and fiction as she takes us from the tombs of ancient Egypt to the catacombs of Paris. I was fascinated by the history and drawn to the characters. 

Told from multiple points of view we travel from past to present as different groups search for the fragrance of lost souls. Believed to have been created by the perfumer of Cleopatra, this scent is said to help one remember their past lives. The main characters are Jac and Robbie L’Etoile. They are heirs to one of the oldest perfume companies in France; The House of L’Etoile. Their family business is in financial trouble when Robbie uncovers pottery with hieroglyphics. He asks his friend Griffin to decipher the ancient writing. When Robbie ends up missing and a man is found dead, Jac returns to Paris to search for her brother. Despite a painful past relationship, Jac and Griffin work together to find Robbie. We also meet a doctor who believes in past lives, Tibetan monks, a young man believed to be a reincarnated lama and members of the Chinese mafia and government. All of them are seeking the shattered remains of pottery. Each has a reason for wanting them and some of them will stop at nothing to obtain it. 

While at times the leaping from past to present and the multiple POV’s had me re-reading the beginning of a chapter, I urge you to read on. This seems to be a trend in a lot of books I have read of late and Rose beautifully weaves all of these chapters and timelines into a tale I will not soon forget. The characters have depth and I quickly became invested in their tale. I found the history of perfume, Tibet, Egypt and France to be fascinating. I even stopped reading to goggled some of the subjects. I became completely engrossed in this tale and was moved by the outcome.

The Book of Lost Fragrances is scheduled to publish on March 13, 2012 and I highly recommend it to fans of historical fiction and suspense. Rose has twenty published works and I look forward to exploring more of her work.  This novel will be available in all formats.

I want to thank netGalley and Simon & Schuster for providing me with this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this book 4 coffee cups out of 5.   Kimba

Author's website:M. J. Rose

Buy it at B&N here
(click on cover)

Or at Amazon here:

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cover Reveal: Night Sky by Jolene B. Perry

Night Sky by Jolene B. Perry
Expected publication: March 1st 2012 by Tribute Books

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

After losing Sarah, the friend he’s loved, to some other guy, Jameson meets Sky. Her Native American roots, fluid movements, and need for brutal honesty become addictive fast. This is good. Jameson needs distraction – his dad leaves for another woman, his mom’s walking around like a zombie, and Sarah’s new boyfriend can’t keep his hands off of her. 

As he spends time with Sky and learns about her village, her totems, and her friends with drums - she's way more than distraction. Jameson's falling for her fast. 

But Sky’s need for honestly somehow doesn’t extend to her life story – and Jameson just may need more than his new girl to keep him distracted from the disaster of his senior year.


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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I was Interviewed by the Aussie Zombie!

I was interviewed by fellow blogger Kat @The Aussie Zombie
Stop by her Awesome Blog and Learn a Little Bit more About Me.
Be sure and check out Kat's Book Reviews!

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Nightfall (A Vampire Romance) by Norah Wilson

Aiden Afflack (a vampire) is as charming, sexy and easy-going as he is gorgeous. Unless you happen to be a rogue vampire, in which case he’s apt to be the last thing you see. Sam Shea is a wildly successful nature photographer whose prescient dreams lead her to some of the world’s most turbulent, awe-inspiring weather phenomena.
When their paths cross and Aiden discovers that his proximity to Sam warps her psychic power, causing her to hone in on vampire violence instead of violent weather, he knows he’s found a priceless tool in his fight to rid the world of rogues.
Sam has a deep-rooted aversion to having her powers exploited, but once her eyes have been opened to the lives she can help save, she can’t withhold her cooperation. But she can deny Aiden the other thing he wants from her, which makes her unique among women. And absolutely irresistible to Aiden!(synopsis from Goodreads)

Last week I reviewed book one of Norah Wilson’s Vampire Romance series the Merzetti Effect.(click to see review) This week I bring you book two entitled Nightfall. This novel centers around, Aiden Afflack. Aiden is Dr. Delano’s most trusted friend and a vampire hunter. We briefly met this sexy, two hundred year old vampire at the end of book one.  Wilson delivers an exciting story, filled with danger, romance and some very sizzling love scenes. I was quickly caught up in the tale and thoroughly enjoyed it.  

Protagonist Sam Shea is a nature photographer who captures the raw energy of dangerous weather phenomena.  In order to capture these weather events, Sam follows her dreams; literally. She will wake up in the middle of the night with a detailed location and time. She immediately write it down and heads there the next evening. One dream leads her to Aiden, and she is captivated by his raw energy. Her next dream leads her to an encounter that will open her eyes to the world of vampires. When a rogue vampire attacks, she witnesses Aiden taking out the vampire. The tale that unfolds is fascinating, quick paced, and action-packed. The romance between Sam and Aiden is hot enough to melt your e-reader. For the delicate reader, be warned some scenes are very detailed and had this reader blushing. I liked Sam and her curious nature and Aiden’s story touched me. Some of the interaction between the two of them had me laughing aloud and I found myself rooting for them.

Fans of paranormal romances, suspense and vampires are sure to enjoy this series. Wilson spins a tale that draws you in. I finished Nightfall in a few hours and was thoroughly entertained.  While this book is part of a series, it can be read as a standalone.  Nightfall is currently only available in e-book format. Book one in the series the Merzetti Effect is currently .99cents at B&N and Amazon.  I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series.  Norah Wilson has eleven distinct works published and I encourage you to check them out.

I want to thank the author for providing me with this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this 4 coffee cups out of 5.              Kimba

Author's website: Norah Wilson

Buy it at B&N here:
(click cover below)

Or at Amazon here:

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