Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Review: Lion's Heat by Lora Leigh

Title: Lion's Heat
Series: Breeds
Author: Lora Leigh
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: April 6, 2010
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 0425233804
ISBN-13: 9780425233801

Bad Boy Jonas Wyatt's personal assistant, Rachel, has had a child;an innocent new life that has been put in grave danger because of Jonas's perilous games and calculations played in the shadow-world in which he lives: the dark and sensual world of the Breeds. Now, Rachel is making only one demand of Jonas: that he finally take responsibility and deliver on the protection that only he can give.

Jonas has known for a long time that it is destiny that Rachel become his mate. He can sense it. He can also sense her reluctance. And for that, he refuses to claim her. He wants her on love alone and not because of the urge of the mating heat. But it is Jonas's destiny to claim her. And he *will* have his way...

My rating:

Jonas Wyatt is finally getting his due...

I had high expectations for this book. I've been waiting for Jonas' story almost since the guy first appeared in this series, and seeing how arrogant this lions was, how manipulative, I simply couldn't wait to see him brought to his knees by the right woman.

To say I was disappointed is a huge understatement.

Rachel sure didn't fill the bill for Jonas' mate, IMHO. I felt he deserved more, I expected, I wanted more for him. He got a whiny, emotionally-crippled, bratty icicle instead of a worthy female and mate.
I know it's all about the conflict between the hero and heroine, she has to oppose the mating at first, it makes for an exciting and exhilarating read, but this was a bit too much for me. Rachel purposefully hurt him at every turn, knowing what her denial did to him, yet still she persevered in her stubbornness.
For two thirds of the story!
I'm all for conflict, but not that much of it.

She finally came around in the last third (no one informed us readers th mating hormone can bring on a personality change as well), but it was a little too late. Where was the feisty, no-nonsense woman at the beginning of the story? The one who stood up to the Leo, defended her mate? The glimpse I got of her wasn't enough and came way too late for comfort.

It always comes down to the heroine for me it seems. But in this case she wasn't the only problem this book had. The lack of actual story bothered me, the villain appeared in the beginning and at the end, leaving a huge gulf in between that was filled mostly with the heroine's overreaction about everything and everyone, and generic, impersonal, going-through-the-motions sex scenes. I sure didn't feel the love that was supposed to be between them.

The only redeeming quality of this story was Jonas himself, but unfortunatley he lost most of what made him Jonas. He wasn't himself anymore, and I refuse to believe it was the only way for Ms. Leigh to "do him justice". Don't get me wrong, I loved seeing him so helpless against the mating heat (it's what I was actually looking forward to), so utterly sweet in falling in love, but the fact he lost a part of himself in the process didn't sit well with me. Whether another heroine might have made a difference is a moot point. What's done is done.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review: Demonkeepers by Jessica Andersen

Title: Demonkeepers
Series: Final Prophecy
Author: Jessica Andersen
Read copy: eBook
Published: April 6, 2010
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
ISBN: 1101427892
ISBN-13: 9781101427897

Lucius is an Indiana Jones wannabe who never quite measures up until a twist of magic brings him powers beyond belief … and reunites him with Jade, the one-night stand he never forgot. Despite the sizzling chemistry between them—and the added power that comes with a love match—Jade is determined to prove that she can be a Nightkeeper warrior in her own right. But as the two race to rescue the sun god himself from the underworld, they learn that kicking ass isn’t enough. They’ll need all their brains and skill—and the love, long denied, that burns between them—to foil the dark lords’ plot.

My rating:

Jade Farmer of the Harvester line is finally getting the front line position. Not exactly as a warrior, since she's supposed to be a scribe talent, but she's on for the booty-action. Her one-time lover, occasional demon-vessel, and all around rather nice, if a little too academic, guy Lucius Hunt needs a boost to reach the Nightkeeper library, and sex magic just might do the trick.

The problem arises when Jade sets eyes on Lucius. Gone is the geeky, gawky, nerdy boy. There's a hunky, ripped, all around hot man in his place, a stranger with a friend's eyes. A stranger that is more than a threat to Jade's peace of mind, since one look at him makes her want to forget her "friends-with-benefits" mantra. Lucky, or not, for her, there's no time to think about how Lucius filled up, when problems keep on piling, coupled with danger, a Xibalban trick to take over the world, and the truth about her family and her roots...

This was yet another great installment in Ms. Andersen's Final Prophecy series, but unfortunately there were too many issues combined between the hero and heroine to let that greatness and awesomeness truly shine.
I've never seen (or read about) so many issues and hang-ups in one book. And I know those same issues and hang-ups made Lucius and Jade all the more realistic - people in the real world are flawed and make mistake upon mistake - but when those issues could (and should) have been resolved, the hero pulled a "template heroine act", the resolution blinked out of existence, and the issues started to get really annoying.
Lucky for me, this is Romancelandia we're talking about, and all we needed was some seriously perilous situation for Lucius to see reason. Finally! And men say we women are complicated and impossible to understand.

The story more or less revolved around Jade and Lucius, their struggles with themselves, their emotions, their feelings, their complexes...blah blah blah, so there wasn't that much time for some serious action as in the previous three books. But what there was, more than compensated for the abundance of before-mentioned issues.

I felt the ending was a bit rushed, and more questions arose than were answered, but that's why this is called a series.
I'm slightly disappointed the next book will be about Patience and Brandt, though, because I don't particularly like the chick, but I hope the author will redeem the blonde.
And I really hope Rabbit's girl turns out to be a villain, because I don't like her either, and all her nagging about him finding the truth about his mother. Seems a bit shifty to me...And on the Sven front (though we don't get to see much of him, except in battles), I really hope he'll get his story soon.

Anyway, a little too many issues for comfort, taking the spotlight slightly away from the main story and the action sequences.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Review: Chain Reaction by Dee Davis

Title: Chain Reaction
Author: Dee Davis

Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: June 1, 2007
Publisher: HQN
ISBN: 0373772068
ISBN-13: 9780373772063

Artist Mia Kearney has the perfect life: a successful career, a home she loves, amazing friends…until the hot August morning her world explodes. Lone survivor of a nuclear accident, Mia awakens in a government facility, faced with Homeland Security agent Nicholas Price, a man who wants answers she knows she doesn't have.

When Mia escapes, Nick has a choice to make. The CIA wants him off the case, but instinct tells him not to let Mia out of his sight.

Now the web of deceit that's woven tightly around them is about to unravel, and someone out there won't be satisfied until Cedar Branch's last surviving resident is dead....

My rating:

A nuclear blast took out the entire population of small town Cedar Branch in Idaho. Only one survived, artist Mia Kearney. Is she a victim who miraculously survived or did she have something to do with the blast? That's what Nick Price of Homeland Security wants to find out.

But when she escapes and Nick is called home, all kinds of red flags are raised and he has no choice but go after her. Then, when it becomes evident someone wants to silence Mia forever, Nick realizes not everything is as it seems and the two embark together on a journey to discover the truth. The truth the powers that be would do anything to keep buried.

This would've been an excellent romantic suspense / thriller story if it wasn't for its length. Because instead of filling all those pages with gripping, intriguing stuff, the author stuffed it with page-filling minutiae, only sparsely intersected by suspenseful elements, action scenes, and the hero-heroine conflict. Said conflict would've been much more interested if she kept it constant (but the ping-pong effects of now-he-believes-her-now-he-doesn't-now-he-does got old pretty quickly).

I loved the slow buildup toward the discovery of the truth (what could be seen through the insignificant details), but unfortunately Ms. Davis showed her hand too soon and I figured out what it was all about somewhere in the middle. Of course it took the characters, a former Special Forces operative and an artist turned computer genius (major suspension of disbelief needed here!), later on helped by Nick's Homeland Security buddy and computer wiz almost to the end to connect the dots.

Kudos for the excellent portrayal of the hypocrisy, greed, and blood-lust among those who are sworn to protect us, but are willing to sell their mothers to make a decent buck.