Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rest of the Best

Here are some quickie reviews of the rest of my favorite 2007 books that I never got around to reviewing:

Demon Moon by Meljean Brook
I had a hard time reading the previous book in the series, Demon Angel, because of some intense world building full of complex rules that demons, angels, vampires, hellhounds, nosferatu, and guardians must follow. I found it extremely confusing, but I was intrigued enough to keep reading and re-reading confusing passages until I sorted it out. I ended up doing some research on Brook's website (see The Primer) and online reviews with spoilers so that I think I figured things out. Fortunately, DM was much clearer and much easier to understand. The hero Colin is a 200 year old vampire who made this book worth reading on his character alone. He was made by a nosferatu and therefore cannot feed from other vampires so he feeds on humans. Colin is an extremely beautiful man and utterly vain and I was half in love with him myself. Savi is brilliant and fascinating and seemed to be a perfect match for him. The non-stop action kept me riveted to the story and I had a hard time putting it down. It's one of those books where you aren't sure how H/H could get their HEA, but they did and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
My grade: A-

Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh
This is the third book in the Psy/Changling series and I liked it almost as well as the first book (Slave to Sensation). Judd Lauren is a telekinetic and a Psy who has left the PsyNet along with his family to escape having their minds destroyed. They have sought refuge with the Snowdancers, a wolf changling clan, and have been accepted into their pack. Judd's mind is still locked into Silence and any emotion causes him excruciating pain. Brenna Kincaid, a wolf changling and member of Snowdancer, first appeared in another book in the series. She had been kidnapped and tortured by a psychopathic Psy serial killer and her mind was invaded. She has now healed physically but she has been emotionally damaged. I love books with the theme centered on the healing power of love. Brenna and Judd are basically emotionally broken. Judd continually tries to push Brenna away and Brenna can't keep away from him because she knows he's her mate. The gradual progression of their relationship and the sexual tension culminating in some very hot love scenes were phenomenal. This book was a great addition to the series and I look forward to Mine to Possess.
My grade: A-

Lover Revealed by J. R. Ward
Butch O'Neal was one of my favorite characters in the previous books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and I was excited to learn that this book, #4 in the series, focuses on his story. Butch, an ex-cop, is the only human who has been living among the vampire warriors of the Brotherhood. He has secretly been in love with Marissa, an aristocratic vampire, since book #1. Butch feels caught between two worlds; he doesn't fit into the human world anymore and the vampires won't let him help in their fight against the lessers. Butch has bonded with the brotherhood, especially Vishous. The action was non-stop and scenes with the lessers was far less annoying than in previous books. The love scenes were hot and steamy but Marissa was a bit of a dull character. Overall, I liked this book and gave it the same grade as the others in the series which is good because at least I'm consistent.
My grade: B+

Play Dirty by Sandra Brown
I haven't read Brown's newest releases lately because she seems to have strayed away from romance and into suspense, but I decided to pick up this book based on a recommendation from Keishon. The book had an unusual premise and I had to give it a try. As the book begins Griff Birkett is an ex-con just out of prison on parole and looking for work. He was a star pro football quarterback when he was caught gambling and throwing games for millions of dollars and sent to prison for 5 years in disgrace. I can't remember a book where the hero was such a thoroughly unlikeable character. Foster Speakman, a wealthy businessman, invites Griff to his home to offer him a job. Foster is a paraplegic and in a wheel chair. His beautiful wife, Laura, loves him and is devoted to him. But Foster wants an heir and he feels nothing from the waist down and cannot impregnate Laura. And he refuses to use artificial insemination. He wants Laura to conceive and deliver a baby in the natural way and has finally convinced her to do just that with a surrogate. He offers Griff 100 thousand dollars to impregnate Laura with an additional 500 thousand when the baby is born and then a million a year after that. Griff is reluctant at first and he can see that Laura is reluctant but determined to go along with her husband's wishes so he finally agrees. This is a suspense novel not technically a romance, but a romance sub-plot is there. I was completely shocked near the end when the villain was finally revealed and it really took me by surprise. Griff's complete story was eventually revealed and he manages to redeem himself a little and I kinda liked him at the end. He turned his life around and started to repair the damage he had done to the people in his life. The action kept me on edge and turning the pages late at night. The ending along with a couple of love scenes are satisfying enough for most romance readers to enjoy. And Keishon and I agree on the grade :)
My grade: B+

Ice Storm by Anne Stuart
This book is Isobel Lambert's story who is the head of The Committee, a covert mercenary organization who employs secret agents and assassins to save the world from nasty low lifes like drug dealers, arms smugglers and terrorists. Isobel has appeared in all the other books in the "Ice" series and has been an intriguing character. Joseph Serafin is an assassin and a dangerous man. Isobel is called on to pull his butt out of trouble in Morocco because they need him for the intelligence he can supply them. But Isobel and Serafin have a past history. She shot him and left him for dead 17 years ago... but he's the only man she has ever loved. I liked this book a lot. Almost as much as Black Ice, my favorite in this series. I like older heroines and I believe Isobel and Serafin are in their early 40's. Both characters are deliciously dark which Stuart does so well. I loved their past history and how it was all revealed to the reader. The action was well done with some spicy love scenes which made it a very quick read. And the ending was also typical of Stuart - a bit spare. She never wastes words on her endings.
My grade: B+


Stacy~ said...

I have all those books, though the only one I've read so far is JR Ward's. Great reviews.

avidbookreader said...

I was a bit nervous about the Sandra Brown because of the premise and the unlikable hero but he redeemed himself just enough to make me like him in the end. Glad you enjoyed it.

I see you are reading Reap the Wind, I LOVED that book (the older version) Recently, she rewrote it for her suspense fans and took out quite a few love scenes and changed some scenes around too. So the cover I see that you are reading is the older version. That book is HOT and very good. Again, I loved it and have reread it a million times.


ReneeW said...

Stacy: Yes, I have heard others say they have them but have not got round to reading them. I just wanted to encourage people to get busy reading.

Keishon: Thanks for the recs on PB and RtW too. You rarely steer me wrong. I'm less than 100 pages from the end of RtW and I'm having a hard time putting it down! I remember you saying the older version was so much better than the re-written version so I carefully searched for it and found it on PBS. It has some deliciously hot sex scenes! I love the hero Alex although I was not too fond of him at first because I didn't like how he was manipulating Caitlin but now he is so yummy. Oh, and Kemal is wonderful. So funny and charming, ... I hope he doesn't get killed off. I can hardly wait to finish it tonight.

Jennie said...

You should read Demon Night next -- I think it's the best one yet. :)

I'm so behind on the Singh series. I read the first two, but haven't gotten to CbI yet.

CindyS said...

I really need to get over my phobia of 'huge' books and read Meljeans full length novels already!

Love the quickie reviews although they look like my 'normal' reviews ;)


ReneeW said...

Jennie: Yes, I plan on reading that one very soon. I think you probably could read the Psy series out of order but I'm a teensy obsessive that way.

Cindy: You have to have patience to read Demon Angel so I'm not sure these would work for you. You might get discouraged. And I don't want anything to interfere with your reading once you start considering it's so hard to get you started :) Your reviews I think are longer and vastly entertaining. I need me a Cindy review.

Laurie Likes Books said...

We had pretty similar grades for Lover Revealed, although mine was a straight B. That's the only Ward book I've read so far, although after reading it, I went and bought the others, even if I'm yet to read them. I ALMOST agree with your Ice Storm review, but in this case my grade was higher; the book earned DIK status for me, and the ending was, I thought, brilliant. Spare, yes, but so true to both characters!

I've only read one Sandra Brown - Slow Heat in Heaven - which everybody raves about, but it seemed to embody altogether too many romanceland cliches from an earlier time, even though it was published in 1988 and should have been beyond them. But your Play Dirty comments make me think I should give her another try.


ReneeW said...

Laurie: I think of all Ward's books Dark Lover was my favorite. I love Stuart's writing but I wish her endings weren't quite so abrupt. I remember someone on AAR's boards complaining about this regarding Black Ice. She replied with a quick 2 or 3 paragraph ending and it was wonderful. It did the trick for me. She still ranks up there in my top 5 favorite authors. I just know what to expect when I reach the end of her books.

Be prepared if you read Play Dirty that you are not reading a romance in the strict sense of the word. PD is such an unusual story and the romance in it worked for me. I loved some of her older romances.

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