Archive | March, 2007

The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer

26 Mar

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How far would you go to uncover a secret? What if the secret was so huge, so incredible, that it would destroy your life and the lives of all those around you? What if uncovering this secret would destroy the foundations upon which the world was built? How far would you go?

 

Wes Holloway is a presidential aide to US President Leland Manning. Having caused a scheduling error, Deputy Chief of Staff Ron Boyle missed his meeting with the President and is pissed at Holloway. Trying to smooth things over, Wes invites Boyle into the Presidents limo as it travels to a NASCAR promotional event. No one can predict how the event will end; but it will end in blood.

 

When Nico, a man bent on uncovering the secrets of the Masons that have infected the White House, takes a shot at President Manning, he does two things: disfigures Wes Holloway and kills Ron Boyle. At least, that is what everyone thinks. Eight years later, when Holloway, still a presidential aide, sees Boyle back stage at one of Manning’s speeches, his life is turned upside down.

 

Though no one believes him, Wes knows that Boyle is back. For what purpose, he cant’ know. But when Wes begins to dig, he discovers a secret that will shake the foundation upon which the
United States was built. Wes suspects that Manning invited Boyle behind stage that day to wait for him, that Manning is involved with a group called The Three.

 

Free Masons are an organization older than time. What started as a group of free masons who built structures became an organized secret society that uses secrets, symbols and mystery to gain power. Only the elite can become a Free Mason, only the most powerful. Has President Manning fallen under their spell like other
US Presidents before him?

 

Why is Boyle back? Who are The Three? And what mysteries must Wes Holloway solve in order to save his life? He must race against time with the help of a lawyer, a gossip columnist and others if he is to unravel the mysteries surrounding him and save his life; and the world itself.

 

The Book of Fate is without a doubt the best political thriller I have ever read. It’s far better than anything John Grisham has ever penned and just as fast and furious as something written by James Patterson. The chapters fly by in a flurry of pages and all the while you’re thinking: How is this book going to end?

 

Having never read anything by Meltzer, I read the first page not expecting much. I thought that The Book of Fate would be a cheap DaVinci Code knock off and that would be that. I am so thrilled that I was wrong! For those of you worried that Meltzer is hopping on the DaVinci Code bandwagon, fear not! The Book of Fate if as far away from The DaVinci Code you can get and so, so much better.

 

Meltzer has to be commended on imagining such a tale. There are so many different character, so many different locales for the novel, yet he keeps track of them all, pulling the reader deeper and deeper into a mystery that is not what it seems at all. Once you think you’ve figured out where the book is going, it pulls you in another direction entirely until you’re left spellbound.

 

Suffice it to say that The Book of Fate is absolutely incredible. It’s well plotted, amazingly executed and the plot goes a mile a minute. The plot, though fantastical, remains grounded and believable and you can tell that Meltzer has done his research. He has crafted a thriller so taunt, so wonderful that you’ll find yourself calling in sick to work to finish reading it.

 

Read it, read it, read it. I can’t recommend this one highly enough.

 

 

Reviewed for THE GOTTA WRITE NETWORK. Click right here to visit their homepage.

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Bloodmoon by Mike Shade

26 Mar

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Mike Miller is content with his life. After his grandfather died and left him the family farm, Mike is content to live by himself and continue the family business: raising dogs. But, sometimes, he gets an itch for something more than country life. He gets an itch for something spicy.

 

Thus he finds himself one night at the Spanked Kitty, a city bar that caters to anything you could desire. There, Mike meets Steven Pierievoda. Tall, pale and long fingered, Mike finds the man incredibly sexy and feels desire building in him.

 

From the bar, they go to a hotel where they indulge in a steam night of hot sex. But there’s only one problem: Steven is a vampire. He feeds on Mike during their sexual interlude and finds himself, days later, not hungry. Normally, he feeds at least once a week. But after dining on Mike’s blood, he doesn’t need to.

 

Deciding he needs to find Mike Morris, he tracks him down at his family’s farm. There, they re-ignite their passion from the previous night. Steven also makes a vow: to find out what it is in Mike that stops his hunger that made his blood so filling. If they had to experience passion, blood and lust in the quest for an answer, what of that?

 

That just makes the deal all the more sweet. But each of them is hiding a deep, dark secret: Steven is a vampire and Mike…is a werewolf. Stevens duty is to himself and Mike’s is to his pack but the two species have been at war with each other for decades.

 

Can two star crossed lovers look past their differences and indulge in the forbidden? Or will they ignore the love that begins to bloom between them and remain forever alone? Only their hearts, and their blood, can decide.

 

Bloodmoon is one hell of a novel. I’ll admit that when I started it, I figured it would be just your average gay vampire romance. The market is flooded with vampire erotica and I worried at reading another book cut from the same cookie cutter. I needn’t have worried. Bloodmoon is fresh and throws quite a few delicious twists into the old vampire genre.

 

Giving the book a gay Romeo and Juliet feel to it was pure genius. It gave the characters depth and feeling that would otherwise not have been present. Mike is perfect as the small town boy who dreams of better and bigger things and Steven is the perfect exotic lover. The two, both strong individuals, compliment each other beautifully.

 

Shade writes with a depth that is surprising in Vampire/Werewolf fiction. Normally, the characters are lifeless cardboard cut outs that prance around the page for our amusement. Instead, Shade gives us deep, knowable characters that rip through the pages for our enjoyment. Steven if hilarious and funny and several of his comments made me laugh out loud during the reading of Bloodmoon. Mike is more than he seems, not just the simple country boy, but a leader hiding dark secrets.

 

I flat out loved Bloodmoon. It’s probably one of the better fantasies that I’ve read. It has depth of story, depth of character, blood, lust and lots of steamy hot sex. What’s not to like? And this isn’t your average fairy tale. It was enjoyable, surprising, funny and, oddly enough, heartwarming.

 

For a good time had by all, pick up Bloodmoon. You won’t be sorry! This is one novel you won’t want to end. And when it does? You’ll want to read it all over again!

 

Reviewed for The Gotta Write Network. You can find their site by clicking here.

Hunters Pride by Shiloh Walker

21 Mar

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Years ago, Kennedy almost died on Pride Mountain.

She remembers running for her life from a man who was supposed to protect her. Brutally assaulted, beaten and close to death, Kennedy fully expected her step father to kill her. But something happened.

 

 

Something saved her that day; something huge and cat like. Kennedy remembers only a flash of fur, golden eyes and a cry that, though cat like, sounds vaguely human. She remembers nothing else, no matter how hard she searches her memory.

And now, fourteen years later, she is searching for answers. Kennedy returns to Pride Mountain after the death of her foster parents to find out more about the cats that saved her, to dig deep into the mystery of her past. She doesn’t know it, but the answers she needs are closer than she thinks.

Duncan Pride saved Kennedy that day and marked her as his. Able to change shape at will, he is a shifter who can take the form of a large cougar. He knows that Kennedy is trying to find out about the cats she saw that day, all those years ago. But Duncan must stop her from prying too much. He must protect his Pride at all costs.

 

 

What he doesn’t count on is falling in love with Kennedy. Against his better judgment, he indulges himself and explores the passion between Kennedy and himself. But if Duncan is not careful, he will risk more than the Pride’s exposure. He may be risking their lives…

 

 

This is the first romance I’ve read by Walker and all I can say is she has a new fan. Hunters Pride was fantastic from start to finish and I have only one minor complaint: it’s too short! Just as I got involved in Kennedy and Duncan’s story, the novel ended on a satisfying climax.

 

 

What I loved most about Hunters Pride, aside from its paranormal elements, were the characters. Kennedy is a strong willed woman who will not let obstacles stand in her way to getting the answers she needs.
Duncan is also wonderful; he’s sensitive but tough and isn’t afraid of doing what he needs to do to protect his Pride, his family.

 

 

While Hunters Pride doesn’t have a lot of sex, it has just enough to make the story spicy, delicious and wonderful. The focus here is really on Kennedy and Duncan; on her search for answers and Duncan following his heart. Though there is plenty of sex here to satisfy even the most picky romance reader, Walker instead looks more at the characters. This is almost unheard of in a romance novel and I applaud her for it.

 

 

Hunters Pride is funny, charming, fast and furious and you’ll be spellbound until the story’s shocking twist ending. Walker writes better paranormal romance than Christine Feehan and Nora Roberts put together and I, for one, can’t wait for her next adventure.

 

 

I give Hunters Pride five out of five cats! This is an excellent read and you won’t want to miss one fantastic word. Walker can indeed take pride in this novel and the fans she is sure to win with this fantastic story.

Reviewed for The Gotta Write Network. Click here to view their site.

Pacific Breeze Hotel by Josie A. Okuly

18 Mar

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Los Angeles in the 1940’s is the city of dreams. Thousands come to the city with hopes of making it big in the movies. One of those people is Felicia Avery. With flowing red hair and a Rita Hayworth beauty, she has dreams of landing a break through role that will make her shine on the big screen.

 

But along with dreams, there is danger. Felicia auditions for the well known C. B. DeWarner of DeWarner Studios. She hopes to get a big role for one of his upcoming pictures. She doesn’t get the role, however; instead she gets lots of trouble.

 

DeWarner tries to take advantage of Felicia on the preverbal casting couch. When Felicia tires to run, DeWarner rips her dress and Felicia stumbles towards the door. She is almost free when she hears a gunshot. She turns to find DeWarner shot dead, bleeding onto the carpet.

 

She runs home to her room at The Pacific Breeze Hotel. The hotel has seen better days, but Felicia is not able to afford better. It’s here that Detective Sean O’Rourke finds her. He is immediately taken with her beauty and his partner, Sean Nolan, wonders if O’Roukre has fallen in love at first sight.

 

O’Roukre denies this, of course and tries to get Felicia’s side of the story. She tells O’Roukre of the shooting, of fleeing the scene because she was afraid. And O’Roukre believes her. Together, they begin to search for a killer while fighting the ever growing passion that is growing between them.

 

But they are in more danger than they realize. The killer knows that Felicia was there at the time of the shooting and may have seen something she does not remember. The killer begins to stalk them and soon our hero’s are in a race against time, before their time runs out…

 

I love old style mysteries. Pacific Breeze Hotel put me in mind of a 1940’s mystery right away and the setting was the perfect backdrop for murder, revenge, lies and tons of passion. It’s a well written mystery with tons of romance thrown in, so it should please fans of either genre.

 

I can’t say it’s the best written book I’ve ever read, but it was a damn good read. Felicia as our heroine was strong willed, strong minded and one smart cookie; these are all fantastic things. There was just one small problem. I found her naiveté a little grating. Aside from that, she was a great leading lady.

O’Rourke was a great leading man who tried to run away from love only to find it staring him in the face. The two of them together are a powerhouse and their passion heated up the page. I loved how flawed both of these characters were, how they hid their secrets only to have to deal with them head on.

 

The writing was clean and crisp and Pacific Breeze Hotel moved along at breakneck speed. Before I knew it, I was finished this novel and left wanting more. The story put me in mind of a black and white Hitchcock film; this book had atmosphere and brought the 1940’s to life, something that is hard to do and not many authors are able to accomplish this task.

 

If you want to read a really good mystery, one that sinks its teeth into you and doesn’t go, you’ll want to read Pacific Breeze Hotel. You’ll laugh, gasp and yes, maybe even tear up a little. It’s a fantastic read and I know I’ll be reading more of Okuly’s work. I only hope she can write fast enough.

 

Four out of Five Hotels!

 

 

Reviewed for The Gotta Write Network. Click here to visit their site.  

 

 

Storm by Joyce A. Anthony

13 Mar

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StormJoyce AnthonyStar Publish Books, 2006http://joyceanthony.tripod.com/ 

 

Storms are bringers of many things; Winds that rip the sea apart, dark skies that foretell danger, limbs ripped from trees and rain that pummels down all around us. But what if a storm brought something else all together? What if a storm brought something that would change your life?  

This is what happens to Sam. A lighthouse keeper, he takes his job seriously. He is the last thing between a ship and the rocks of the coast. Playing solitaire as a fierce storm rages outside his lighthouse, he is thankful that he is safe inside. What he does not know, however, is that his life is about to change forever.  

Going outside the next morning to survey the damage, Sam comes upon a wicker basket. Inside is a baby that stares at Sam with eyes that are wise beyond their years. Sam wonders how anyone could have gotten the child onto the island; they are surrounded by nothing but water, clam now that the storm had passed. 

Deciding to take care of the baby, he calls the child Storm, naming him after what brought him to the island in the first place. Thirty three years later, Storm rests by Sam’s side as he lies dying. No matter what Storm does, Sam is not comfortable. A chill has invaded his bones and he knows he is not long for the world.  

Knowing this, Sam tells Storm that he is meant for great things. “Follow the railway tracks and seek the whirling rainbow. There you will find what you are meant to be.”  

After Sam’s death, Storm finds himself in a small town where he hears a voice in a dream telling him that he must find his destiny. He finds the railway tracks that Sam spoke of and soon meets a pure white dog with amethyst eyes. When the dog leads Storm to a battered woman by the train tracks, Storm has no idea that he has found his destiny.  

The dog with the amethyst eyes leads him down a path that will change his life forever and will challenge everything he knows. And Storm must rely on all of his strength if he is to help others and to survive… 

This was one incredible read. From the first words, I knew I was in for a literary treat. After reading the first chapter, I knew I was in for a life changing experience. Rarely does a book come along that speaks to me so clearly, so beautifully and I was blown away by the beauty of Storm.  

Part parable, part fantasy, party mystery, part spiritual quest, Storm is unlike anything you have read or will read. Ever. I can’t even come close to describing the beauty and depth of this novel, the sheer gorgeousness of it. I am still haunted by this novel, thinking of it, dreaming of it. You will find yourself thinking of this book well after you have turned the last page.  

What I love most about this book is the story. It’s so simple yet it manages to touch on every emotion you can name. I laughed and cried while reading this novel. It’s written with such a depth that it’s hard to believe this is Anthony’s first novel; she writes with a maturity of a seasoned writer and the beauty of her words is breathtaking.  

Even though there is a spiritual message in this book, it doesn’t hit you over the head. Storm makes you think and it makes you feel and that is the true power of a book. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so affected by a novel, so moved by words I’ve read.  

This is one of the best books I have ever had the pleasure to read. I can’t get Storm or those amethyst eyes out of my head and I don’t think I’ll ever want to. Storm helps reshape how you look at the world, how you look at others and, perhaps most importantly, how you look at yourself.  

Storm is an enchanting work that I will read again and again for years to come.

A Touch of Magic by Cassandra Kane

12 Mar

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Beginnings: A Touch of MagicCassandra Kane  Samhain Publishing  October, 2006Romance/Science Fiction Reviewed for The Gotta Write Network at www.gottawritenetwork.com/

The year is 2561.7 The planet Samhain has been home to mystery for years. Apparently habitable, several scouting missions have been sent to the planet on the edge of the Ekabadian solar system only to disappear and never return.  

Heading the latest reconnaissance mission, Tirana Albaster has two directives: inspect the planet to see if it is ready for colonization and find the missing scouts from the previous mission. This being Tirana’s first time heading a mission, she wishes for as little as possible to go wrong.  She does not count on Colonel Stodd Orsen, however. A womanizer and a man with a love for violence, the mission soon goes array. When Tirana and Orsen stumble upon a group of robed people surrounding a fire and holding a gorgeous man captive, the last thing Tirana wants to do is disturb them. But Orsen opens fire, scattering the robed figures.  

Tirana is hurt in the crossfire but she is saved by Lorne, a man more beautiful than she has ever seen. His eyes seem to look right into her soul and when he kisses her, sparks fly between them. He takes her into the centre of the planet and tells her of his people. They worship the Goddess Lilath but there are others, the Priests, who threaten the world and worship an untrue God.  Tirana listens with rapt attention unable to ignore the love that is growing in her for Loren. She is shocked to learn that others are alive, from previous scouting missions, and that she can join them; but she must become one of the True People and become touched by Magic.  

Will Tirana give into her passion and love Lorne? Will she dance with magic and become one of the True People? Before she can make her choice, Orsen finds her and threatens all that she holds dear. She will need all of her strength if she and Lorne are to survive…. I am normally not one for science fiction. I find the genre tired and dry and little has been done to revive it. It’s as if the computer just keeps playing the same old program. Well, with A Touch of Magic, the genre just got a whole new boot disc! This novel was fantastic and, coming from someone who doesn’t like science fiction at all, that’s saying something.  

It breathes fresh life into a genre but also into an old myth as well. The followers of Lilith have been in myths and legends since the beginning of time. Now their story, their spirituality, are given a new spin that is so believable, you could swear that Kane was there to witness everything.  Tirana and Lorne are great leading characters. Tirana is tough and no nonsense but she does have a heart to. Her internal debate about whether or not to trust Lorne was so wonderfully written and heartfelt, you will ache with her. Lorne is equally amazing as the leading man; mysterious and full of myths and legend, the mysteries surrounding him will make you fall in love with his character.  

A Touch of Magic is a wonderful story. It’s sexually charged, passionate and incredibly lyrical. It’s also beautifully written. I give the story 4 out of 5 Lilath’s. The only reason it doesn’t get full marks is because it was too darn short.  I could have lived in this world forever.

AMuse Me by S. L. Carpenter

9 Mar

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What do you do if your writing has lost its passion?  When the heat of your words has dulled from a steamy hot inferno to the fluttering flame of a match?

 

Eugune has been writing steamy romances under the name of Dorris Daye for years and his last few books have not done very well at all. They’ve lacked the passion of his earlier works; the spontaneity, the fire has fizzled out. The heat that made his earlier books so good has fled and Eugune is left with only writer’s block for company.

 

Eugune decides that a change of scenery is in order and that somewhere exotic might just fit the bill. He heads to Aruba, the land of sun, sea and skin. There, he meets the ravishing Miranda, the woman of his fantasies.

 

It also doesn’t hurt that he spies her reading one of his books. On impulse, he tells her about his alter ego, Dorris Daye and his writers block problems. She tells him that, in order to get the life and the passion back into his writing, he ought to experience some of his fantasies in real life.

 

Miranda and Eugune start to explore each other in ways that Eugune had only dreamed possible and pretty soon he is writing again fueled by the red hot passion that flows between them.  They share a heat that Eugune has never experienced before; except in his novels. Eugune feels that Miranda is most likely is Muse. How else can he explain the urge to write again?

 

But what happens when the vacation in Aruba is over and they both have to go back to Aruba? Will their passion continue or will they ever see each other again?

 

A Muse Me is one hot read. It’s also one hell of a book. The characters are incredibly likeable and the story is quick, passionate and fantastic. The only problem with this book is that it’s too short! I would have loved to read a longer adventure featuring Miranda and Eugune.

 

What I loved about this book is that the hero isn’t your typical man, but a man who writes romances, a man in touch with what women want; he just doesn’t know how to give it to them. And Miranda is a saucy femme with a sense of humor that had me laughing out loud in several spots.

 

I love the idea of bringing fantasy into reality, of exploring passion and letting yourself go. The sex scenes are incredible too. There’s one scene in an elevator that will blow your socks (and maybe your pants) right off. Carpenter writes with a deft hand and a good eye for observation. The scenes are funny, hot and passionate and you find yourself wishing for more; or maybe for a man like Eugune.

 

I’ve already read this book twice and I can say hands down that it’s one of the best romances I’ve read. It rivals anything written by Nora Roberts or Diana Palmer and the writing is ten times better. You don’t get cardboard cutouts; you get real people experiencing passion that just melts the page.

 

I know I’ll be looking for more books written by S. L. Carpenter in the future and I will devour each and every one. I give this book 5 out of 5 Muses.

 

It’s so hot, it’s on fire.