Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Review: Night Shield by Nora Roberts

Title: Night Shield
Series: Night Tales
Author: Nora Roberts
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: February 5, 2010
Publisher: Mills & Boon
ISBN: 0263877248
ISBN-13: 9780263877243

NOT TO BE TRUSTED?

Even though he agreed to protect her cover — even though her own dad vouched for him — Allison Fletcher refused to be seduced by Jonah Blackhawk's smooth charm and good looks. She was too much of a cop to fall for a shady character like Jonah...even if her pulse did race at his touch.

... EVEN BY HIMSELF?

If only she didn't have eyes like prime whiskey and a smile that melted his insides. If only she weren't Boyd Fletcher's daughter. Jonah had never cared much for cops — until now. But Ally was definitely off-limits to a guy like him. If only he could stop wanting her....

My rating:

Alison Fletcher thinks she's got everything under control. Though her stalker-ish ex-boyfriend is trying to erase the "ex", her case is progressing rather smoothly, if you forget her father's drop-dead gorgeous former protégé's infuriatingly arousing presence. Then, she shoots a woman in self-defense and everything goes up the chimney with the dead woman's crazy brother coming after Alison with a vengeance, her father's gorgeous former protégé getting under her skin, and the stalker ex-boyfriend escalating.

What is a gal to do?


This was by far the best book in this series. Alas, it was also the last, but I'll definitely come back to it at a later occasion. A reviewer mentioned Alison and Jonah were the prototype for Eve and Roark in In Death series, and though I haven't read one book out of it, that piece of information was quite an incentive.

Anyway, I loved this story. Great characters, wonderful, explosive chemistry, believable situations, good suspense, great pacing...And it was wonderful to see the Night Tales family reunion in one of the funniest barbecue scenes I've read in a while.

A 5-star keeper!



Monday, January 24, 2011

Review: Night Smoke by Nora Roberts

Title: Night Smoke
Series: Night Tales
Author: Nora Roberts
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: January 1, 2010
Publisher: Mills & Boon
ISBN: 0263877213
ISBN-13: 9780263877212

He had a reputation for being abrasive, aggressive and annoying - but if Natalie Fletcher was going to save her business, she needed arson investigator Ryan Piasecki's help. The classy executive was accustomed to being in control and Ry's arrogance was utterly infuriating...and oddly irresistible. Only, as the sparks flew, danger was hot on their trail.

My rating:

I just can't stop repeating just how great this series is. You'd think that something written in the nineties wouldn't ring "right" nowadays, sounding a bit backwater at the least, but this series is just timeless.

This was yet another winner with a strong, stubborn, determined female lead, and a hunky, yummy arson investigator as leading man. Throw in an arson mystery, some explosive chemistry, a visit from much-loved characters, a little twist of insecurities, and a villain you won't see coming, but is still believable...and what more can someone want.

A definite keeper!



Sunday, January 23, 2011

Review: Fever (series) by Karen Marie Moning

WARNING: This review may contain spoilers, read at your own discretion!

Title: Darkfever
Series: Fever
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Read copy: eBook
Published: November 1, 2006
Publisher: Dell
ISBN: 044033635X
ISBN-13: 9780440336358

MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman.

Or so she thinks...until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death—a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone—Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed—a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae....

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane—an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women—closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book—because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands....

My rating: (short review)

Title: Bloodfever
Series: Fever
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Read copy: eBook
Published: October 16, 2007
Publisher: Dell
ISBN: 0440337224
ISBN-13: 9780440337225

I used to think my sister and I were just two nice southern girls who'd get married in a few years and settle down to a quiet life. Then I discovered that Alina and I descend, not from good wholesome southern stock, but from an ancient Celtic bloodline of powerful sidhe-seers, people who can see the Fae. Not only can I see the terrifying otherworldly race, but I can sense the sacred Fae relics that hold the deadliest of their magic.

When my sister was found dead in a trash-filled alley in Dublin, I came over to get answers. Now all I want is revenge. And after everything I've learned about myself, I know I have the power to get it....

MacKayla Lane's ordinary life underwent a complete makeover when she landed on Ireland's shores and was plunged into a world of deadly sorcery and ancient secrets.

In her fight to stay alive, Mac must find the Sinsar Dubh—a million-year-old book of the blackest magic imaginable, which holds the key to power over both the worlds of the Fae and of Man. Pursued by Fae assassins, surrounded by mysterious figures she knows she cannot trust, Mac finds herself torn between two deadly and irresistible men: V'lane, the insatiable Fae who can turn sensual arousal into an obsession for any woman, and the ever-inscrutable Jericho Barrons, a man as alluring as he is mysterious.

For centuries the shadowy realm of the Fae has coexisted with that of humans. Now the walls between the two are coming down, and Mac is the only thing that stands between them....

My rating: (short review)


Title: Faefever
Series: Fever
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Read copy: eBook
Published: September 16, 2008
Publisher: Dell
ISBN: 0440338166
ISBN-13: 9780440338161

He calls me his Queen of the Night. I'd die for him. I'd kill for him, too. When MacKayla Lane receives a torn page from her dead sister's journal, she is stunned by Alina's desperate words. And now MacKayla knows that her sister's killer is close. But evil is closer. And suddenly the sidhe seer is on the hunt... For answers. For revenge. And for an ancient book of dark magic so evil, it corrupts anyone who touches it.

Mac's quest for the Sinsar Dubhtakes her into the mean, shape-shifting streets of Dublin, with a suspicious cop on her tail. Forced into a dangerous triangle of alliance with V'lane—an insatiable Fae prince of lethally erotic tastes; and Jericho Barrons—a man of primal desires and untold secrets—Mac is soon locked in a battle for her body, mind, and soul.

As All Hallows' Eve approaches and the city descends into chaos, as a shocking truth about the Dark Book is uncovered, not even Mac can prevent a deadly race of immortals from shattering the walls between worlds - with devastating consequences.

My rating: (short review)

Title: Dreamfever
Series: Fever
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Read copy: eBook
Published: August 18, 2009
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
ISBN: 0440338786
ISBN-13: 9780440338789

He has stolen her past, but MacKayla will never allow her sister’s murderer to take her future. Yet even the uniquely gifted sidhe-seer is no match for the Lord Master, who has unleashed an insatiable sexual craving that consumes Mac’s every thought—and thrusts her into the seductive realm of two very dangerous men, both of whom she desires but dares not trust.

As the enigmatic Jericho Barrons and the sensual Fae prince V’lane vie for her body and soul, as cryptic entries from her sister’s diary mysteriously appear and the power of the Dark Book weaves its annihilating path through the city, Mac’s greatest enemy delivers a final challenge...

It’s an invitation Mac cannot refuse, one that sends her racing home to Georgia, where an even darker threat awaits. With her parents missing and the lives of her loved ones under siege, Mac is about to come face-to-face with a soul-shattering truth—about herself and her sister, about Jericho Barrons...and about the world she thought she knew.

My rating: (short review)

Title: Shadowfever
Series: Fever
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Read copy: eBook
Published: January 18, 2011
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
ISBN: 044033974X
ISBN-13: 9780440339748

“Evil is a completely different creature, Mac.
Evil is bad that believes it's good. ”


MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever.

Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister's murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh—a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King, containing the power to create and destroy worlds.

In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves.

Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman haunting her dreams? More important, who is Mac herself and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card?

From the luxury of the Lord Master's penthouse to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac's journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and to make a choice that will either save the world . . . or destroy it.

My rating: (short review)


It took me a while to start this series, but only because I knew of all the cliffhangers at the end of each book, so I waited for the last one to be released to read them all. I’m glad I did, the cliffhangers drive me nuts.

Anyway, I loved this series. Absolutely loved it. Mostly because of Barrons, but let’s not split hairs. ;) Though it easily could’ve worked as a trilogy, because the first two books weren’t very satisfying, at least not for me. Sure, the first book (Darkfever) set the stage for the story/series, adding more flare and depth to Ms. Moning’s already established Fae universe, but it also featured Mac at her most irritating and air-headed. The second book also felt pretty-much a filler, but the last three literally blew me away.

As usual with Ms. Moning’s novels, the pacing was excellent, though hampered a little by the first-person view (and consequently by Mac’s whining in the first two books), the suspense edgy and dramatic, the world-building wonderful, the alternative reality of the full-on war with the Fae chilling, the descriptions of the darkened Dublin (in Faefever) blood-curdling, the cliffhanger scene in the same book written with such subtleness and simplicity it read more like a dream-like experience than “fact”, but it was that subtleness and quasi-mellowness that gave it such a horrific and chilling feel.

But what I liked most were the characters...The supporting cast was wonderful, the characterization spot-on, helping the story progress nicely, creating the perfect backdrop for the three (?) main characters:

Mac: MacKayla Lane. Rainbow Girl. I can safely say she was a perfect heroine for such a series. Starting off as a spoiled, selfish, self-centered, pink-loving, airheaded bimbo that literally begged to be raped and slaughtered in the first few chapters. She got on my nerves, I hated her, I wished for someone to just shoot her and bring in the real heroine. And that is what makes Ms. Moning’s writing so great. She created characters that make an impact on her readers. They either impact us in a good way or a bad one, but they do leave and impression, they do live a mark, we react to them, whether with empathy or dislike, but that needed reaction is there.
And let me tell you, I reacted to Mac with everything in my arsenal. I hated her, I wanted to slap her silly, I wanted to kill her, but slowly, slowly, she grew on me, as much as she grew and matured through the story. Unlike many other heroines in fiction, she grew stronger, she learned her lessons, she made mistakes, she made amends, she turned from a fluffy, pink bimbo into a leather-wearing, kick-ass warrior princess, worthy of carrying the weight and fate of the world on her shoulders, worthy of walking out into the sunset beside her man, chin high, proud and strong.
And I learned alongside her. Fear kills. Hope strengthens. Not everything is as it seems. Never judge before knowing all the facts. Never judge a person by what they say, but by their actions...She got burned, and she rose above it all.

V’lane: I despised the little fairy ever since his first appearance in the story. And I couldn’t understand how Mac even contemplated working with him. His vibe all but screamed get-as-far-away-from-me-as-possible.
Okay, I admit it, I hated the fairy because he thought he could poach on Barrons’ territory, that he was better than Barrons. Sorry to disappoint, but he wasn’t worthy of polishing Barrons’ extremely-expensive shoes.
And I was so glad at the end, when all my suspicions came true. Don’t get me wrong, I had no idea that would happen, but I knew he was a creepy bastard from the beginning.

Barrons: JB. IYD. Jericho Barrons. Jericho Z. Barrons. God, could there be a more perfect hero? Tall, dark, dangerous, electric, tough, hard-eyed, hard-bodied, wild, secretive, (almost) monosyllabic, one foot in the swamp...I fell for him the minute Mac saw him at the bookstore at the beginning of Darkfever and am still riding the wave.
He’s the epitome of the saying “Never judge the book by its cover”. (Almost) whenever he opened his mouth you knew he would go all jackass on Mac (or whoever), but, as he said, it wasn’t words that defied him. He should be judged by his actions. And his actions screamed “hero” from page one. Pity his heroine couldn’t pull her head out of the sand, or whatever else, and see that. The guy was always there for her. Saving her butt, bailing her out of trouble...
She would’ve died that day she got lost in Dublin if it wasn’t for him and his bookstore, she would’ve died on the streets if it wasn’t for him, she would’ve died in her underground prison if it wasn’t for him, she would’ve remained Pri-ya forever if it wasn’t for him (not that he didn’t enjoy bringing her back *grin*)...And she still didn’t trust him. He never tried to force himself on her, like, I don’t know, V’lane, for example, yet she kept putting them both in the same basket. Sure, he was a bastard when he wanted to be, but it was always with best intentions, to keep her on her toes. To keep her alive.
It took him giving his life for her, for her to open her eyes, and later what does she do, revert back to not trusting him because of a phone-call. She read his mind, saw what he thought in that basement when he f****ed her back to reality, and still she vacillated. It took his threat of leaving and almost dying again, for Mac to finally admit to everything she felt for him and let herself go, go for everything she wanted from him...Yet, no matter how long she took, he still beat her when it came to expressing his feelings. Because those few sentences were absolutely perfect, and so utterly him.

Yes, I could safely say Shadowfever, the last book in the series, was the absolute best. How can I say that? Well, I sometimes measure a book’s worth in how many times it makes me cry - or if it makes me cry at all. I lost it during the first chapter. I lost it when she read his mind during a kiss. I lost it when he (in his words) told her he loved her. And I lost it in the end of the 53 chapter when he once again called her Rainbow Girl. Did I mention how I loved the guy? Pity he’s just a figment of imagination. Can you fathom Barrons actually living? Wars would be fought.

P.S. And I admit to yet another weakness when it comes to this series. I listened to the song JZB on KMM’s website. It’s also part of the Shadowfever soundtrack, with Phil Gigante as Jericho Barrons. Ooh, boy. So I went and downloaded the audiobook as well. And he’s truly the perfect voice for Barrons. Deep, edgy, gravelly...Very Barrons-esque, creating an absolutely perfect atmosphere. The audiobook is worth buying just for his voice alone.



Saturday, January 22, 2011

Review: Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

Title: Shadowfever
Series: Fever
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Read copy: eBook
Published: January 18, 2011
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
ISBN: 044033974X
ISBN-13: 9780440339748

“Evil is a completely different creature, Mac.
Evil is bad that believes it's good. ”


MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever.

Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister's murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh—a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King, containing the power to create and destroy worlds.

In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves.

Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman haunting her dreams? More important, who is Mac herself and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card?

From the luxury of the Lord Master's penthouse to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac's journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and to make a choice that will either save the world . . . or destroy it.

My rating:

Verdict after 5th book: I'm speechless. It all came seamlessly together in the end. Everything worked, almost everything was answered (as far as was possible to be answered), we got the epic love story (most important in this series, because I love Barrons!), I didn't feel cheated with the truth about Barrons and Mac...It all just worked. Plain and simple.

I also couldn't resist acquiring this as an audiobook. Phil Gigante's is absolutely perfect for Barrons. Dark, deep, edgy, gravelly...Perfectly Barrons-esque. ;)

It all worked.

series pseudo-review



Review: Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning

Title: Dreamfever
Series: Fever
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Read copy: eBook
Published: August 18, 2009
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
ISBN: 0440338786
ISBN-13: 9780440338789

He has stolen her past, but MacKayla will never allow her sister’s murderer to take her future. Yet even the uniquely gifted sidhe-seer is no match for the Lord Master, who has unleashed an insatiable sexual craving that consumes Mac’s every thought—and thrusts her into the seductive realm of two very dangerous men, both of whom she desires but dares not trust.

As the enigmatic Jericho Barrons and the sensual Fae prince V’lane vie for her body and soul, as cryptic entries from her sister’s diary mysteriously appear and the power of the Dark Book weaves its annihilating path through the city, Mac’s greatest enemy delivers a final challenge...

It’s an invitation Mac cannot refuse, one that sends her racing home to Georgia, where an even darker threat awaits. With her parents missing and the lives of her loved ones under siege, Mac is about to come face-to-face with a soul-shattering truth—about herself and her sister, about Jericho Barrons…and about the world she thought she knew.

My rating:

Verdict after 4th book: The darkest of the series (?). Loved it, though it reminded me a lot about the 7th season of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer with the army of sidhe-seers loose on the Unseelie.

And the third part with the IYD actually working even in the middle of an Unseelie/Seelie nowhere...Barrons' IYD actually broke my heart a little, because, knowing what I know, his words from earlier on in the book made so much sense. And, knowing what I know, the final scene broke my heart even more.

series pseudo-review