Saturday, December 22, 2007

Review: Fear the Darkness by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Title: Fear the Darkness
Series: Dark-Hunter
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Read copy: eBook
Published: January 1, 2007

My rating:

Nick Gautier is back in New Orleans. He's bitter, angry, vengeful... and in complete denial.

Nick was one of my favorite characters, though I sometimes wished someone (or something) would bitch-slap the boy, already.

Now that he's immortal, apparently with powers similar to those of Ash, and with an express link to Kalosis and Stryker, I wish someone would kick his idiotic Cajun ass to Katoteros and back.

I understand he's bitter because of his mother's death, I understand his anger, but his conviction that everybody else is to blame for what he himself is responsible for is just so utterly juvenile it makes me grit my teeth.

I really hope he can redeem himself before he does something more stupid that he's already done.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Review: The Dark-Hunter Companion by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Title: The Dark-Hunter Companion
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Read copy: Paperback
Published: November 13, 2007
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
ISBN: 0312363435
ISBN-13: 9780312363437

Consider this handbook your education. Hunter 101. And don't go thinking you got off easy just because there's not a pop quiz at the end. This is the good stuff. The real deal. In here you'll find out all there is to know about being a Dark-Hunter.

Now for the disclaimer: This book is mutable. It goes with the wind. It changes more often than the mind of a sixteen-year-old Gemini with a closet full of clothes and a date in an hour. Don't be surprised if you open it up for the thirty-five thousandth time and find something old, something new, something borrowed or. . .well you get the point.

Curl up in a comfy chair with some millennium-old scotch and feast upon the informative banquet I have prepared for your enjoyment.

Welcome to your new life.

My rating:

This is a must have for all Dark-, Were- and/or Dream-Hunters fans out there.

A mixture of manual, fictitious material, historical tidbits, and yummy recipes, it's a fun, light read to escape the often gloomy, dark world of the Hunters.

This is a go-to book to refresh your memory on the Hunters (present and past), learn a little more about them, their squires, and even their leader.

It also explains the origin of the Apollites and Daimons, sheds some light onto the powers-that-be (gods, demigods, deities, and other immortals), offers short Greek, Atlantean, and Cajun dictionaries, along with a brief tour of New Orleans and its hot spots, and Cajun culture.

The authors haven't been stingy with the yummy extras, either. AG, Ash, and Simi all agreed on short interviews, there is a hilarious parody about an DH in making, a short story Second Chances which appeared in the official booklet (that's impossible to get nowadays), along with the original synopsis for Saving Grace, Fantasy Lover's original, and a few deleted scenes from previous books.

Though The Dark-Hunter Companion reads like a manual, you should take it for what it is. A light, entertaining read that serves both the purpose of broadening your Hunter horizon as cracking you up.

Also, love the manga-style chapter intros.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Review: Shadow Game by Christine Feehan

Title: Shadow Game
Series: GhostWalkers
Author: Christine Feehan
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: August 26, 2003
Publisher: Jove
ISBN: 0515135968
ISBN-13: 9780515135961

The classified experiment is the brainchild of renowned scientist Peter Whitney and his brilliant daughter. Lily. Created to enhance the psychic abilities of an elite squadron, it can transform their natural mental powers into a unique military weapon. But something has gone wrong. In the isolated underground labs, the men have been dying--victims of bizarre accidents. Captain Ryland Miller knows he is next. When Dr. Whitney himself is murdered, Ryland has only one person left to trust: the beautiful Lily. Possessed of an uncanny sixth sense herself, Lily shares Ryland's every new fear every betrayal, every growing suspicion, and every passionate beat of the heart. Together, they will be drawn deeper into the labyrinth of her father's past...and closer to a secret that someone would kill to keep hidden.

My rating:

Renowned scientist Peter Whitney is working on a classified experiment to enhance the psychic abilities of an elite task force. If it succeeds, the military will have a new and unique weapon – mental powers.

But not all is as it seems. The subjects have been dying in freak accidents, and the squadron leader, Captain Ryland Miller, knows he‘s next in line to face his Maker. When Dr. Whitney is murdered, Ryland leans on the only person left to trust, Whitney’s brilliant and beautiful daughter, Lily.

Lily is special as well. With unique psychic abilities, she shares Ryland’s fears, betrayals, and suspicions. And since she shares his telepathic abilities, the two are instantly, potently drawn to each other.

The two will have to work together to unravel the secrets of her father’s past and try to stay alive when a ruthless enemy breaths down on their necks.

Being fan of Christine Feehan's Dark Series, I was not disappointed with this book. In this new series, Feehan focuses on different supernatural powers than in her Carpathian novels. She explores the deepest recesses of human mind and the unbelievable power of the psyche.

This book is a great twine of action, supernatural, high sensuality, and witty dialogue. Though the plot might be a little slow and improbable at times, and the little twists leave quite a few loose ends, whetting the reader’s appetite for more (hence – the series), this is still the kind of book her fans adore.

In true Feehan form (exploited shamelessly in her other series), the two protagonists are immediately drawn to each other, resulting in multiple sex scenes (even a shared erotic dream, another wink at her Carpathians) that seem gratuitous after a while and draw the attention off the plot and danger the two are in.

If you like sci-fi stories with a drop of romance, a whole lot of suspense, smart characters and an erotically charged romance, this book is definitely something you might want to read.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Review: Dance of the Gods by Norma Beishir

Title: Dance of the Gods
Author: Norma Beishir

Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: May 1, 1988
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 0425108392
ISBN-13: 9780425108390

She was Meredith Courtney, television journalism's hottest new star.

He was Alexander Kirakis, gorgeous heir to a vast multi-national empire.

From the ultra-exclusive reaches of Malibu and Beverly Hills, to the glittering international playgrounds of New York and Paris, their passion was a fantasy come true. Their fame and fortune allowed them everything—but the power to hush a tragic secret... and ultimate scandal.

My rating:

A stunning, young newscaster, Meredith Courtney's dazzling charms and beauty captured the world's most eligible man, Alexander Kirakis, a Greek tycoon, whose wealth and power was matched by his dark secrets.

Their tumultuous romance was a fantasy come true, but a shocking tragedy from the past could destroy their love, empire, and lives.

This was a surprising book to read. It was light and entertaining with its plethora of exotic and exclusive locations from a Greek island to glittering New York and Paris.

Yet in had incredible depth of perception of human nature and an assortment of psychological and plot twists and turns.

This is a perfect book for those in the mood for a lightweight read full of glamour, tabloid covers, and power games at the heart of the ruthless business world.

Just when you think this book is nothing more than a contemporary romance between a business tycoon and a newscaster tucked into luxurious settings, Norma Beishir probes deeper.

This novel is full of hidden conflicts, dark pasts, and even darker secrets. There is intrigue and mystery, a deep-rooted demand for revenge buried deep under a power-struggle, a subtle peek into human psyche, and a gentle probe into human identity.

Are fame and fortune enough to keep a secret buried forever? What happens when that secret is blown wide open? What kind of future can a man have, when all his life has been a lie?

These are just a few of the questions that breathe some fresh depth into a light read.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Review: Sheikh Surgeon by Meredith Webber

Title: Sheikh Surgeon
Author: Meredith Webber

Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: January 9, 2007
Publisher: Harlequin
ISBN: 0373820488
ISBN-13: 9780373820481

Fourteen years ago, Dr. Nell Warren fell madly in love with Sheikh Khalil al Kalada—although he could never be hers, for a brief time their passion was intense.

Now Nell is faced with an emergency and is forced to seek him out. She journeys to the cosmopolitan oasis city where Kal is now a successful surgeon.

He is the only man who can save her son's life. Not because of his skill, but because Kal is Patrick's father.

My rating:

I think there should be a special award for blurb-writing. Because I read this book's blurb and I couldn't resist the temptation of the desert, the sheikh-doctor, the secret child in peril...
Unfortunately the book doesn't live up to the few sentences on the back of it...Or the cover picture of Nathan Kamp as the sheikh. *big grin*

After fifteen years of separation, all Nell had to say to the father of her son was "Hello, Kal", which didn't strike me as something a woman who's been pining for a man for that long would say.
The sheikh who was supposed to be hot-blooded and passionate (isn't that the stereotype these days?) was so-so and his anger at what he saw as Nell's betrayal soon grew old and bothersome...

And we're supposed to believe that these two strangers at best who happened to have a hot affair more than a decade ago that ended in a child, could clear things between them with just a few sentences (which is exactly what happened at the end of this story)? Sorry, didn't buy it.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Review: The Makeover Takeover by Sandra Paul

Title: The Makeover Takeover
Author: Sandra Paul

Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: October 4, 2002
Publisher: Mills & Boon
ISBN: 0263829758
ISBN-13: 9780263829754

An office romance—with a unique twist!

Efficient secretary Lauren is in love with her bachelor boss Rafe Mitchell! Lauren's fought her attraction for as long as she can remember, but now she's finally had enough of watching the steady stream of unsuitable women come in and out of Rafe's office. She decides it's time for Rafe to notice her! But his reaction to the new improved Lauren far exceeds her expectations...!

My rating:

The usual schtick with the secretary crushing on her boss and the boss never noticing, until the secretary gets a magical makeover that brings that certain glimmer in the boss' eyes.
Been there, done that, have the condemning book evidence to prove it.

Quite predictable, yet the little twists and turns, and a few funny scenes prevent this story from becoming a total bore.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Review: Last Chance for Marriage by Sandra Paul

Title: Last Chance for Marriage
Author: Sandra Paul

Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: August 1, 1992
Publisher: Silhouette
ISBN: 0373088833
ISBN-13: 9780373088836

Home economics teacher Amy Larkin refused to be daunted in her quest for a husband. Armed with her trusty new guidebook to marriage, Amy knew that finding the perfect mate would be as easy as pie. It was just a matter of the right ingredients—a dash of this, a pinch of that and voil√†! Wedding cake!

Amy was crazy, Jake Weston decided. Certifiable. With her cookbook approach to marriage, his childhood nemesis shouldn't be unleashed on the unsuspecting bachelors of California. Especially since she'd informed him that passion was out, and practicality in—and particularly since she'd looked so sexy when she'd said it. But when she tried to recruit him to find likely prospects, Jake knew it was time to take matters into his own hands....

My rating:

Ugh. I have sort of a love/hate relationship with this little book. I'm a sucker for romance and happy endings...and old-school Harlequin/Silhouette titles, but this one...There are as much good things I could say about it as there are bad ones, so I'm stuck somewhere in the middle, undecided whether I like it or not.

It is a cute little number, but you do have to read it just for relaxation and send your brain to fetch the newspaper or something. Because if you, God forbid, involve your brain cells, all the cons of the story will overlap the good stuff and you'll want to hurl it into the wall...I know what I'm talking about.

It could've been a great story if not for the heroines harebrained plan of snatching herself a husband using a "self-help" book, a cooking book on how to get yourself a husband, apparently written by a highly intelligent woman. So intelligent she uses Dr. in front of her name. Yeah, I bet that book is quite a bestseller.
And why has the heroine decided to apply home-economics skills to get herself a husband? Because she's turning thirty and refuses to stay single after that. Wait, isn't this supposed to be going on in the nineties? Are we sure we didn't somehow ended up in a time-traveling machine?

Anyway, because she's so stubbornly following everything the doctor woman wrote in her little wonder-book, the heroine doesn't see what is right in front of her eyes...A hunk...On whom all the little devious plans described in the book have apparently worked.
And when she finally sees what is right in front of her eyes and the hunk finally decides he's had enough of all the lesser hunk parading through his house and takes the big step, the heroine gets even more stupid...Instead of being overjoyed, because her idiotic planned worked—on the guy she's secretly had a crush since childhood!—she refuses to believe it, because there's no way it could've worked...Hmmm, magical book, girl!

So she rejects him and hightails out of town. He, the hunk that he is, is pouting and moping, but does nothing to follow her, because that would diminish his hunkiness...And it's once again on the heroine to set things straight and the heroes hunkiness is salvaged and they live happily ever after.

Reading though what I wrote I can't believe I even gave it that rating, but it's much better when you read the whole story. Still, switch the brain off, or else...Consider yourself warned.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Review: Trojan Odyssey by Clive Cussler

Title: Trojan Odyssey
Series: Dirk Pitt
Author: Clive Cussler
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: September 20, 2004
Publisher: Penguin Books
ISBN: 0141016949
ISBN-13: 9780141016948

In the final pages of Valhalla Rising, Dirk Pitt discovered, to his shock, that he had two grown children he had never known-twenty-three-year-old fraternal twins born to a woman he thought had died in an underwater earthquake. Both have inherited his love of the sea: the girl, Summer, is a marine biologist; the boy, himself named Dirk, is a marine engineer. And now they are about to help their father in the adventure of a lifetime.

There is a brown tide infesting the ocean off the shore of Nicaragua. The twins are working in a NUMA underwater enclosure, trying to determine its origin, when two startling things happen: Summer discovers an artifact, something strange and beautiful and ancient; and the worst storm in years boils up out of the sky, heading straight not only for them but also for a luxurious floating resort hotel square in its path.

The peril for everybody concerned is incalculable, and, desperately, Pitt, Al Giordino, and the rest of the NUMA crew rush to the rescue, but what they find in the storm's wake makes the furies of nature pale in comparison. For there is an all-too-human evil at work in that part of the world, and the brown tide is only a by-product of its plan. Soon, its work will be complete-and the world will be a very different place.

Though if Summer's discovery is to be believed, the world is already a very different place...

My rating:

A giant, prestigious, floating hotel finds itself in the path of a hurricane. The only salvation for the guests is Dirk Pitt.

Of course, NUMA saves the day (once again), but in the storm's wake there are clues to an ancient mystery with shocking implications.

I picked up this book solely thanks to the movie Sahara, and before I knew the movie and the book were like night and day.

Needless to say, I was sorely disappointed. The descriptions were flat, the characters one-dimensional at best, and the action was lacking.

A grandmaster of disappointment!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Review: Valhalla Rising by Clive Cussler

Title: Valhalla Rising
Series: Dirk Pitt
Author: Clive Cussler
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: September 26, 2022
Publisher: Penguin Books
ISBN: 0140287973
ISBN-13: 9780140287974

Pitt and his trusty pal Al Giordino track the sinking to the boardroom door of a multinational conglomerate called Cerberus, whose evil CEO has designs on the world's oil supply. He'll do anything to keep Egan's advanced engines and secret formula for frictionless oil off the market--even sabotage another vessel, this time a luxury passenger submarine. By the time our heroes have foiled the mastermind's nefarious plots, they've also uncovered the existence of a working submarine nearly a century before one actually existed--irrefutable proof of a Viking landing on the Hudson River--and the remains of the British sailor who inspired Jules Verne's Captain Nemo.

My rating:

A luxury cruise-liner powered by a state-of-the-art propulsion system sinks in a blaze of glory.

Once again, Dirk Pitt is on hand to bring the passengers to safety and investigate the tragedy.

There's also another shady organization with a huge megalomania complex-

This is another predictable, utterly improbable tale about the exploits of Dirk Pitt and his buddies at NUMA.

The action once again falls short, the descriptions are dull, the characters one-dimensional, making the reader regret the precious hours spent reading instead of doing something else.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Review: Atlantis Found by Clive Cussler

Title: Atlantis Found
Series: Dirk Pitt
Author: Clive Cussler
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: January 18, 2001
Publisher: Penguin Books
ISBN: 0140287965
ISBN-13: 9780140287967

When mysterious black obsidian skulls and other artefacts of an exceedingly ancient culture begin to turn up in odd places, Pitt jumps in with both feet. It soon becomes dangerously apparent that a powerful, amoral group of fanatics calling itself the Fourth Empire wants the strange discoveries to remain underground. Pitt teams up with a beautiful red-haired expert in ancient languages to decipher the meaning of the artefacts. They were made 10 millennia ago in a then-temperate Antarctica by a seafaring civilization advanced enough to predict its own destruction by a comet impact. Now the Fourth Empire (whose literal and figurative progenitor comes as no surprise) is predicting a similar disaster in only a matter of months and preparing to take control of the Earth.

My rating:

An ancient artifact is found in Colorado and lo-and-behold, Dirk Pitt appears to, yet again, save the day, and the archeologists buried deep underground due to a freak explosion.

Mysterious artifacts start popping up all over the globe, apparently carrying a message of global Armageddon.

And there is, lo-and-behold yet another shadowy organization that tries to accelerate said Armageddon.

Yet another masterful example of a predictable plot, repetitive descriptions and language. There was nothing even remotely pulling in this plot. Any slower and it would all have gone backwards.

It was extremely hard for me to finish the book and it made me wonder whether reading the phone-book might be more entertaining.