27 March 2009

Column: RT book spotlight on Hounding The Pavement

While chaos is my middle name this week I am also in a restless mood and I'm getting nothing done while springtime has snuck up on me with cheerful sunshine and puffy clouds. So when I came across my blog image folder and noticed the RT cover


I thought: “Damn @#$%^&*($% completely forgot to pimp this great book!” Well, ok, I don’t know if it is a great book…yet, but when my RT magazine fell on the doormat this month and the spotlight was on the author Judi McCoy telling the readers she is donating her royalties to Best Friends, I had to spread her love for animals and this book.



As I have four dogs of my own (and Jasmijn already passed away) it is a subject that appeals to my deep rooted passion for pets and I just had to devote a Blog post to it. To know that there are people out there doing such a tremendous job taking care of abandoned, neglected or simply old animals and have a golden rule that no animal is put down deserves a standing ovation in my book.



Quote website Judi McCoy:

The most important thing you need to know about this first book is that ALL royalties I earn will be donated to Best Friends, the largest no-kill animal shelter in the US. Located in Kanab, Utah, Best Friends also has a television show. Dogtown can be viewed on the National Geographic channel, usually right after the Dog Whisperer on Friday nights. This organization takes in dogs, cats, horses, birds, reptiles, even goats, and no animal will ever be ‘put down’ when in their care unless there is a medical need. They even accepted 22 of Michael Vicks pit bulls for rehabilitation and adoption. These folks are the ‘real deal’ when it comes to assisting our four-legged or feathered friends.

To have an author support such a cause with her royalties in this meager economy alone tells me that she has heart for this cause. As I’ve already told you I have had 5 dogs total, all purchased in 2 years, quite a horde I tell ya and at first, with their cuteness factor sky high as a puppy, I had trouble just doing groceries. Kids and also grownups just wanted to know, what was the race, can the kids pet them and hold them for a minute? And then the inevitable question from the kids: “Awh mum, can I have on too?” What should’ve been a 15 minute quickie to do some grocery shopping usually tended out to become an hour or so more. I have got puppy albums like moms got baby albums and after that I have made a load of shots when they had their first Christmas, their first swim in the lake and with Luka I went to puppy training so when he won his degree I was super proud of course LOL



Then we got to deal with the dogs rebellious phase where my DH and I got home one night and found an ocean, yes really, an ocean of toilet paper shredded throughout our apartment…we gave them the evil eye as we cleaned up and all they did was wag their tail so incredible happy that we were home again…then Eros sits up and makes this gesture with his paws that says: Aahh mistress lady, please can I get a hug, big brown eyes looking at you…what can I say, I’m such a softie when it comes to Eros’ pose.


I know that while their antics weren’t always appreciated they are in a warm loving home, taken care of until the day we have to put them to sleep because they are too ill or when their bodies surrender to their old age, and with them being between 10 and 11,5 years they are definitely senior citizens and such a part of the dog community outdoors, I will not think about the day I will have to miss them, instead I will just give them an extra hug tonight.

Does anyone else know of authors who donates their royalties to a good cause or has something set up, an event or contest, to support their charities? And please, feel free to share some of your pet stories, I love to hear that I’m not the only one with, in my case dogs, who have a mind of their own and arrogant behavior which tells me I am there to serve them LOL In any case, I hope you all buy Hounding The Pavement from Judi McCoy in her Dog Walker series to support this wonderful cause of Best Friends!



Review: Jo Davis - Trial By Fire

Click on cover to purchase the book

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Signet; Book 1, The Firefighters edition (August 5, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451224779
ISBN-13: 978-0451224774

Summary:

Meet Lieutenant Howard “Six-Pack” Paxton— one of the handsome, hard-bodied firefighters of Station Five.

Four-alarm fires have nothing on him…

Howard may love being a firefighter and riding his Harley, but there’s nothing he values more than his bachelorhood. That is, until a feisty, curvaceous teacher named Kat McKenna falls into his arms at the scene of a fire—and melts the six-foot-six tower of bronze muscle…
But just as passion ignites between them—and they explore new heights of sexual ecstasy—a ruthless arsonist with a deadly secret and a thirst for vengeance becomes their worst nightmare…

Review:
A hot and buff firefighter meets a curvaceous, sassy heroine and together they create steamy love scenes and get entangled with a twisted mind bent on wreaking havoc. All these ingredients stirred my enthusiasm upon reading the back blurb of the cover and Trail By Fire was placed in the highest regions of my TRP. Firefighters are, like cowboys, something new on my shelves to explore and sample from, and while Howard “six pack” Paxton and Kat McKenna definitely endeared me with their entertaining story it remained on the level of an entertaining story. Now there is nothing wrong with entertaining, I spend welcome hours getting to know the boys and gal from Station Five but somehow I expected more from the story.

Howard is all American hero material, leading a crew of firefighters who consider him to be their rock in stormy weather. He is a mountain of a man with an imperiously “do not mess with me vibe”, he is also serious, gentle, quiet, innate sensual, attentive and almost too good to be true. For many readers I think Howard is a dream come true and one über-alpha who will be very much appreciated. Unfortunately for me he doesn’t rock my personal boat all that much where a hero gets under my skin and makes me sigh in female bliss. Perhaps it were his character traits, I almost felt like he had a golden halo surrounding his head at times. If it wasn’t for the nightmares haunting him, for certain commitment issues, he just would be too good to be true.

Now Katherine McKenna, Kat for friends, is someone I just cheered for, I love it when the author brings a woman to life who is all woman. Curves, ass and a healthy appetite to boot, and most important, she isn’t ashamed for her curves nor her appetite! Still, she gets the comments from a former lover that makes her ponder whether mister right actually exist. When Kate witnesses a fire she meets the mountainous firefighter Lieutenant and an instant attraction snaps between them, even under such an extreme situation one can notice the opposite sex.

The romance factor entails from fooling around in the park to going hot and heavy as only two newly lovebirds can do, in the bedroom, outside the bedroom, thinking about it or talking about it. This was definitely not bad to read though when it tended to get serious Kat and Howard go through all the typical relationship stuff, with Howard being an emotional hermit as the catalyst in the whole. I could understand them both in their issues and where they were coming from yet Howard will edge on the border of a big no no for some readers and it raised my eyebrow as well. I was well on my way in the story when the separate issues fall in to place and leading towards and ending where romance and plot worked together to give a thrilling completion of the whole story.

The plot is one where I, as the reader, already knew certain things before the characters discovered them. It was where I found out the arsonist was one cruel man who enjoyed to execute his plan step by step. Reveling in the anticipation of what effect his deeds would have on the firefighters of Station Five. Though I already had my suspicions as to where the origin of certain things came from I have to say that I didn’t see the ending coming as it did, and the ball kept rolling in the revelations. It is also with Howards gruesome past what made me feel for him and the way it is written within the story aimed for maximum emotional effect.

As this is the opening novel of The Firefighters of Station Five series a group of characters is introduced and immediately there are the ones who captured my notice. We have Captain Sean Tanner, Julian “Party-Like-You’re-Gonna-Die” Salvatore, Tommy Skyler, Zack Knight and Eve Marshall. I already flagged Capt. Sean Tanner and Zack Knight as my personal favorites, like I have no doubt each reader will have their favorites in this band of brothers. Each brought their own vibe to the image of being a close group, willing to go the distance for each other in dire circumstances and with this Davis perfectly nailed the essence of what is so important among the firefighters to do their often adrenaline enhanced job. Add the birthday barbeque where every firefighter was in attendance to celebrate and catch up with one another and the author couldn’t go wrong anymore. It is with small facts that revealed itself throughout the story regarding each individual of Station Five that made me sit up and take notice, teasing me what would be behind the personal matter of certain characters.

All in all I can say Trail By Fire was nice…nice, charming and pleasant to read, and though it didn’t knock the ball out of the park for me concerning the hero Jo Davis did a great job of keeping me invested in the rest of the crew to buy the next story: Under Fire. Juicy romance, easy-to-relate-to characters, a well orchestrated plot and a surprising ending are the master ingredients of Trail By Fire and is something most readers will enjoy to read about.

Quote Howard:Uh-oh. Discussing a woman’s weight wasn’t a bullet. More like a rocket launcher.
Aimed at a man’s balls.

Quote Howard:How could three little words make him feel like a king and scare the crap out of him at the same time?


26 March 2009

Review: Diana Hunter - Secret Submission

Click on cover to purchase book
Paperback: 246 pages
Publisher: Ellora's Cave Publishing (July 25, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1843608111ISBN-13: 978-1843608110

Summary:
When Phillip asks Sarah if she is a compliant sort of woman who will do anything he asks of her, she plays along, wanting a bedroom romp that will quiet the urges within her.

But Phillip has much more than a "bedroom romp" in mind. As he introduces Sarah to the world of bondage and submission, she discovers a need to be dominated. Phillip invites her to explore her sexuality each weekend at his cottage - as his slave.

The question is: how willing is she to give up her hard-earned independence? Even to a man so meltingly handsome as Phillip Townsend...



Review:
When DM recommended me the novel of Diana Hunter - Secret Submission I was intrigued to say the least. Ever since Shayla Black with Wicked Ties broadened my horizon there is one theme that can whet my appetite for a good Erotica/Romantica and that is a Dom/sub one. So I hooked myself up wit the story to be completely blind sighted by the tale that I got. DM discussed it with me but to experience the stellar way in how Diana Hunter displayed the intricate working of a Dom/sub relationship is one that kept my eyes riveted on the written word of this Erotica novel.

I didn’t get much background story for either Phillip Townsend, the Dom in this story, or Sarah Simpson-Parker, the submissive and to be honest, I didn’t miss it one bit. I got the essentials in that Sarah was a widow and that she was getting back in the dating scene. They both met in a grocery store over an orange and she and Phillip had a few dates. Phillip was Hollywood handsome and Sarah was looking for some “naughtiness” in her life. This all got presented within a page or so and then Phillip asked her:

Quote Phillip:
“Now, Sarah, I need to ask you again. […] I want total control over you. Are you willing to give that to me?

Sarah is all in for some fun and games and the minute she steps over the threshold she finds out what he meant:

Quote:
There was coldness around her wrist, a small click, and she was caught. “You are mine,” he whispered in her ear.

At this point I’m still, very much like Sarah, thinking this is all going to be erotic fun but in that first weekend I got a taste of what Phillip truly desires and I wondered if Sarah was going to give in to him. Because with each test, each action orchestrated by Phillip, I’m reeling against the implication of it all just as Sarah is. To truly submit to a man’s wants, a Dom’s wants, needs and desires takes more than just handcuffs and a bit of variety in sex play.

Step by step Phillip reveals another side to Sarah’s nature and with each crossroad in their journey it is up to her to decide whether this is something she truly wants. To free her body and mind of the restrictions she is conditioned to feel throughout her life. And in this Diana Hunter gave an utter beautiful but also intrinsic love story of a Dom training a submissive yet side by side they grow deeper feelings for each other. It is not only the use of a hogtie, chastity belt or flogger that showcases the Dom/sub relation, there are also the consequences for the personal and professional life of Sarah which emphasizes that it can be more, it can be a lifestyle. For Phillip this is definitely not a weekend occupation and longs for more but in this, Sarah holds all the cards.

The erotic scenes were extensive, taking me step by step in the process of where a Dom and sub find ultimate ecstasy, especially as Phillip is searching for the boundaries of Sarah. I could completely relate to Sarah’s initial reactions on issues like finishing the plate of lunch when her master is done, or when tied to a cage as a play toy. It is all done with purpose and Sarah is challenged to think about it all, her feelings regarding the situation, the demands her master has of her and in those reflective moments Sarah’s submissive side is revealed with emotional moving discoveries.

While much is told from Sarah’s point of view I also got inside Phillips head and heart on the occasions I needed it. He is not only a Dom, he is also a man in search for his significant other and has crashed and burned a time or two. It is revealing to find out how caring he is and the way he shows this. Slowly something so deep is forged between Sarah and Phillip and I got to see and feel it all. The finale is not only very erotic, it is also layered with life altering emotions that demands of the reader, in this case me, to simply scroll the bar down and drive me straight to the place where I found my supreme happy spot romance wise.

There is nothing else going on plot wise, it all centers around this couple and their budding relationship with in the end some friends from both sides who come to add another layer to emotionally investigate. I didn’t mind it one bit that the story evolved so much around the main couple, it only gave their story more punch and flavor. I would honestly say you need to have an interest in the Dom/sub theme and a very character driven story or else this might bore you to death. If not, be prepared to be absorbed by a multi-faceted exposure on a romance between a Dominant and his submissive.

Secret Submission is an Erotic profound story where the author not only takes Sarah on a journey, but via her, also the reader, giving a very meaningful insight in the inherent workings of a Dom/sub relationship that aims for so much more. I can only say that I am highly impressed with what Diana Hunter displayed in this novel. I can only revel in the thought that the journey of Phillip and Sarah isn’t over yet and I can follow them in to another chapter of their life with Submission Revealed.

Quote Phillip:
So helpless she had looked, so frightened—and yet, she let the wanton side of her be exposed as Anton took Jill before her eyes. He knew then that she was the one he had searched for.

23 March 2009

Review: Nalini Singh - Angels' Blood

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Berkley (March 3, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425226921
ISBN-13: 978-0425226926

Summary:

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux knows she's the best—but she doesn't know if she's good enough for this job. Hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, only one thing is clear—failure is not an option...even if the task is impossible.

Because this time, it's not a wayward vamp she has to track. It's an archangel gone bad.

The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other…and pull her to the razor's edge of passion. Even if the hunt doesn't destroy her, succumbing to Raphael's seductive touch just may. For when archangels play, mortals break…



Review:

As I left the new world of Nalini Singh I wondered how I could avoid becoming repetitive in my reviews, for I’m awe-struck again by the storytelling abilities of this author. The force of Angel’s Blood struck me with the introduction of Elena Deveraux, a vampire hunter and Raphael, an Archangel. With them I stepped into a realm ruled by Archangels who also have the ability to create vampires. To keep those Vampires in check there is a Guild that has the task of hunting the Vampires who are walking astray from their masters. To be turned Vampire they blood swear themselves to an Angel and a service of a hundred years but some may see this differently after a few decades. This is just a hint of the things I discovered while reading this story and had me falling for various characters.

Elena is one of them and she is a mix of femininity and warrior character traits. As a hunter-born she is all business in the field, strength and wit holding her ground against the Vampires. Home is her sanctuary and you’re not easily invited, it is where Elena winds down and recharges her batteries. Raphael shares the spotlight with Elena but almost demands more attention with his sheer presence. He is unearthly beautiful yet exudes a raw power, combined with a lethal stroke and dark sensuality. He holds sway over New York and is quite the challenge for Elena.

While there were many supporting characters it was Raphael and Elena together who stole the show. Raphael’s power play was provoking Elena to no end, infuriating her but at the same time it attracted her. Strong women like Elena don’t like to be played or considered a toy, nevertheless, it created dialogues that are vibrant from the clash of opposite sexes. Both personalities delivered ironic and edgy conversations and I couldn’t help but take it all in with enthusiasm each time they verbally parried with each other. I think I was as enthralled by Raphael as any other female in Angel’s Blood, with my heartbeat increasing and my eyes nearly devouring the sight of him in my mind’s eye. To have Elena deliver some much needed backtalk is something I cheered on and produced a challenge for Raphael. He is described in to detail for the reader with magnificent wings, commanding presence and all! And leave it up to Nalini Singh to create an angel dust clinging to their wings that borders on an aphrodisiac.

Next to my joy of getting acquainted with Raphael en Elena there was much imbedded in the set up of this new series. The plot was well rounded, it contained both dire suspense for the here and now yet also allowed questions to rise for the future. With an Archangel turning rogue the proverbial trouble hits the fan and Elena’s hunter abilities is needed to hunt him down. Uram is evil to the core and gorges himself on the pain and devastation he causes. A diabolical opponent who you can instantly dislike and who gives the story another surge to keep on reading. He was creeping me out but at the same time I loved his effect on the story, what it did to The Ten and how the element of good being victorious over evil was executed by Nalini Singh.

As I yielded to Raphael and Elena’s battle of the sexes and the plot held me captivated with suspense and new information there were also a cast of supporting characters who courted the reader in me. The centuries old Vampire Dmitri tempted me with his erotic scent straight from the pages as the whole club of Seven held alluring characters. Also Sara and Ransom gave as good as they got in Angels Blood. Sara is a true friend in your greatest hour of need and is joined by Ransom and his humorous ways. Together with Elena they give a true three musketeer vibe, one for all and all for one! Every character demanded from the reader to invest in them, whether they were the leading couple or the supportive ones, everything worked as a whole. It pleases me to no end when an author can trigger both my inquisitive nature simultaneously with my emotional side with secondary characters like these in Angel’s Blood. Give them a voice that holds significance and speaks to the reader I feel the overall story is a long cry from told.

There is little that I found disappointing. I can say that the first half of the story is more character driven, but then, I didn’t mind it with the introduction of such an intriguing cast. When the plot picks up in pace it truly keeps one constrained to read on in whether this would all have a happy ending. There are story threads which will find a spectacular conclusion but there is also an overall story arc that will leave you wanton for more. All I can say is that I hope we have not seen the last of this amazing couple.

I relished as a reader in Singh’s fantasy with the new set up of Angel’s and Vampire lore. With her introduction of her protagonist, Elena, I was thrown smack dab in the middle of this new world to discover Archangels who I could not have imagined in my wildest fantasies. Great characterization, romance, eroticism, battles or action, it all thrives one way or another in Angel’s Blood. All I can finally say is: “Where can I sign up for more!”

Quote Raphael to Elena:
“You shouldn’t look at me in that fashion, Elena.”
“Why?” she asked, prodded by some heretofore unknown suicidal streak. “Scared?” He leaned a fraction closer. “My lovers have always been warrior women. Strength intrigues me.”

Quote Elena to Ransom:
“Wow, hell froze over while I wasn’t looking. You care about her.”
”He dropped his arm. “I let her leave stuff at my place. Girly shit.”


18 March 2009

Column: 80 questions survey

I have answered this survey on 3/17/2009:

1: Whats your middle name?
Ellis

2: How big is your bed?
2m wide 2.20 long

3: What are you listening to right now?
The radio - Kate Ryan – The promise you made

4: What are the last 4 digits in your cell phone number?
Let me shock you when I say I haven't got a cell phone - I know, stone age *wink*

5: What was the last thing you ate?
A chicken sandwich

6: Last person you hugged?
My DH, this morning

7: How is the weather right now?
Springtime sunny

8: Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?
My sister

9: What is the first thing u notice in the opposite sex?
Their size ;-)

10: Favorite type of food?
I would love to say a non-fat salad but its pasta

11: Do you want children?
Yes, even I would like to spawn a midget me.

12: Do you drink?
On a handful occasions a year

13: Ever get so drunk you don't remember the entire night?
Nah, too much of a control freak LOL

14: Hair color?
This is where I want to say vermillion red or raven black, even strawberry blond would do but it is ordinary brown

15: Eye colour?
Forest green

16: Do you wear contacts/glasses?
Glasses

17: Favorite holiday?
Christmas

18: Favorite Season?
Winter

19: Have you ever cried over a girl/boy?
Hell yes!

20: Last movie you watched?
Toy Story, I was in bed with the flu

21: What books are you reading?
At the moment it is: Jo Davis - Trial By Fire and looking at my TRP I almost twitch my eye at how much I still have to go

22: Piercings?
No

23: Favorite movie?
Dirty Dancing - Braveheart - Steel Magnolia's and many more to speak of

24: Favorite college football Team?
Haven’t got one

25: What were you doing before filling this out?
Working on my Blog

26: Any pets?
Four dogs to serve *wink*

27: Favorite Flower?
Orchid

28: Have you ever loved someone?
Duh

29: Who would you like to see right now?
Julian McMahon, spread-eagled on his bed LOL

30: Have you ever fired a gun?
No!!

31: Do you like to travel by plane?
Yes

32: Are you missing someone?
My father in-law

33: Right-handed or Left-handed?
Right

34: If you could go to any place right now where would you go?
Scotland

35: Do you have a tattoo?
In my imagination

36: Do you still watch cartoons on Saturday mornings?
No, though this doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to

37: Are you hiding something from someone?
Aren't we all...

38: Are you 18?
In my dreams

39: What is the wallpaper on your cell phone?
Jeez, you don't give up do you, haven't got a cell phone

40: Did you get enough sleep last night?
A solid 8 hours

41: First thing you thought about this morning?
If it was wise to pick up reading: Secret Submission in bed.

42: What do you have handy at your bedside?
CD's and Nintendo DS

43: Grilled or fried?
Definitely grilled

44: What makes you unique?
What a hallmark question LOL Skipping this one...or ask my family and friends instead!

45: Favorite hangout?
The arms of my DH…see now what you did, getting all puppy-dog eyes with question like: what makes you unique ppffff

46: Three things you can’t live without?
Me, myself and I, yeah I have a multiple personality problem ;D

47: Favorite song?
Haven't really got one

48: What are you afraid of?
You

49: Are you a giver or a taker?
Both *wicked grin*

50: What are your nicknames?
Have shed those last year, no point in diggin them up again

51: What is your dad’s middle name?
He hasn't got one

52: What is your mother’s middle name?
She hasn't got one either...no parental fantasy in the 50's I tell ya

53: Stuck on a desert island and could take one thing?
I would go for Julian McMahon, nothing like a Blue Lagoon expereince to interrupt life LOL Have got a bit of a weakspot for McMahon can you tell? LOL

54: Favorite commercial?
Who’s got time for commercials??

55: Who’s your cell phone provider?
Stubborn man are we?? Really, what does it take to convince you I don't have a cell phone??

56: The first thing you’ll save in a fire?
We are talking THINGS here, not persons or animals…than it is books, no question about it!

57: What’s your favorite color?
Purlpe-ish

58: What are the things you always take with you?
My bag with book, wallet and make-up

59: What did you wanna be when you were a kid?
Nurse

60: What do you usually do when the clock turns 11:11?
Thinking if this would be some sign

61: The color of your bed sheet?
Crème

62 What do you think about before you go to bed?
*Evil laughter* Wouldn't you like to know!!

And this is where I found out the 80 question survey turns out to be a 62 question survey so I’ll ask you –the reader/visitor of my Blog - to leave a question for me to answer so I will end up at 80.

17 March 2009

Review: Lora Leigh - Nauti Dreams

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade; 1 edition (August 5, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425219518
ASIN: B001Q9E9EC

Summary:
Natches Mackay separated himself from his family years ago, except for the two cousins who gave him the only family he’d known. Now he’s being dragged back into his father’s life in ways that could destroy him and the one woman who tempts him beyond reason: Government Agent Chaya Dane, who has fought to put her own past behind her. A mission in Somerset, Kentucky, brings her back into the dreams of Natches—and into the shadows cast by his father, suspected in the theft of government missiles. And it could cost Chaya more than she ever imagined.

Review:
Quote:The Nauti Boys were thick as thieves, it was said. Their loyalty was to each other and to family alone.

The very first thing that inexplicitly drew me to the Nauti series was that mystifying bond between those MacKay men that said: “I’ll have your back at all times.” Rowdy, Dawg and Natches shared a youth together, shared their first time and every woman after that. At first I was given an easy mix of sultry sex, alluring romance and a suspenseful note in Nauti Boy but with book two, Nauti Nights, the balance already shifted a bit with more attention for a full bodied plot yet still remaining to give that Nauti vibe. Now, with reading Nauti Dreams Lora Leigh has blown my cap off with the youngest of the Nauti cousins. Natches is one of those men who became stronger then oak through the adversities in his life, it left him a bit dark, a bit nasty and always living on the edge of sanity and always in search of the most dangerous situations as to taunt life itself. Natches enthralled me from the get go in this series and his story is fraught with such steep emotions it literary absorbed me in to the romance that was meant to happen from the first moment Natches and Chaya spoke to each other.

Nauti Dreams opens with a life altering experience between Chaya and Natches and it reached out to me, whisked me away from my couch and threw me in to the story. Such an experience between two people digs deep in to the soul to leave a mark which is everlasting. It forges a bond between them that they cannot deny…how hard either one might try. Years later they meet again and this is where the actual story begins…
Nauti Dreams took me back to the hometown of the MacKay cousins Somerset, Kentucky, where Chaya is officially following up on events partaking in the second novel; Nauti Nights. The things on her hidden agenda remains shrouded in mystery but one thing’s for sure, it somehow is connected to the events of last year and the MacKay family is smack in the middle of it all. If there is one thing the men in this family seriously dislike is flying blind when every one of their honed senses tells them trouble is brewing in their small town.

However, that is not the only thing brewing in Somerset. Natches allowed, yes he is that kind of man, he allowed Chaya to walk away from him twice in the past years but now it was time, she was his in every way, heart, soul and body, as he vice versa belonged to her. It was time they quit running and face up to what happened all those years back and let their feelings soar. Well I can tell you that soaring it did! Both in sexuality as in the pent up emotions of the heart. You could feel the past and the attraction burning between them, Natches was challenging Chaya to make it real, right there, right now. It was all there from the first line forging threads between me and the characters ensuring I wouldn’t leave this story until it was told.

Chaya is a woman who was blackmailed in doing this op that she was reluctant to do but she was that much of a professional to see it all through to the ending before she would resign her job. She is tough, she is responsible, she is sensual but also careful to open up and she buries her emotions so deep it takes a very determined man to uncover them. Chaya is a character you can instantly like with her tenacity and resilience for life and mostly because she gives Natches such a good run for his money.

This is one of the things that makes me rave about this story so, Natches and Chaya together. They bicker, they fight, they cry, they laugh, the share a passion that almost makes them go up in flames (but who wouldn’t want that kind of body action?) they want more from each other than anyone else and they open up towards each other in heart breaking scenes. The fact Natches is so sure of his feelings for Chaya had him reacting in a way that would both drive a woman up the wall yet at the same time woe her to surrender her deepest fears. Natches might have a lethal set mind and dark brooding thoughts but when he goes for someone, he really goes for someone, in all open honesty. It gives me that amazing romantic feel to see them work at some form of a relationship, born from such intense moments you can only wonder if they will work it out. The writing style is evoking participation from the reader, to feel, to see, to nit-pick at the information given so good can victor over evil.

Everything is so saturated with emotions as only Lora Leigh can give it and is backed up with a familiar secondary cast and a plot that delves deeper from the one in Nauti Nights. Natches and Chaya may have the spotlight but Dawg, Rowdy and even the rest of the MacKay family are still every bit as important to tell the tale. The bond between the three men is also something that shifts, changes and alters throughout these three books. Love happens to find them and it changes the way they view their sex life and new priorities are formed. Still, amidst all these changes in the end they are still the Nauti men, they are only entering a different phase in their lives. One I wouldn’t mind taking a sneak peak in once in a while and therefore I love the fact there is already a next novel out there named; Nauti Intentions.

The plot is something that held familiar things but also had very surprising elements in them that fueled this story with a frantic search for what was going on and because I read the previous novels I was equally curious where it all could come from. Also Timothy Cranston, as head-honcho of Homeland Security, was a manipulative rodent and someone I loved to hate. As he wasn’t above manipulating everyone to get where he wanted to go, leaving everyone with bits and pieces of the whole picture, it drove Natches crazy. He knew what Cranston was made of and all the more bent on the fact Chaya spill whatever information she had. Towards the ending every storyline came together and gave a finish that took me to that place where I feel a reader’s ecstasy, with tears and all.

Nauti Dreams is Lora Leigh at her finest with romance, passion and suspense working as one to create such a stupendous journey for two people it left a mark on me as a reader. When I started with this series I expected to be charmed with easy-to-read stories. It did start out that way for me but with each novel Lora Leigh proved to me why she is one of the Romantica queens out there!

Quote Chaya about Natches:He always looked like a dark avenging angel to her. But now, he looked like a savage warrior.

Quote Natches about Chaya:
She deserved gentleness and warmth, and all he had was hunger, lust, and heat.

Quote Chaya:
To be wanted like that. She had never been wanted so desperately by a man as Natches wanted her.

Quote Natches:And she had changed him. In that short time, she had erased the man he had been, and shown him the man he wanted to be. A man who was worthy of a woman that strong.

5 stars

16 March 2009

Review: Chris Owen - Bareback

~click on cover to buy a copy~

Paperback: 372 pages
Publisher: Torquere Press (June 16, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1933389192
ISBN-13: 978-1933389196

Summary:

Jake Taggart’s life was almost perfect--he’d worked hard to overcome his past, and he loved his job as foreman on a ranch in Arkansas. The only thorn in his side was a dark eyed cowboy named Tornado whose stubborn attitude brought frustration and confusion to Jake’s mostly happy existence. A late spring rainstorm brings out hidden passions and unleashes a chain of events neither of them expected--and eventually brings about events that threaten to destroy them and what they worked to create. Strong wills and forceful personalities make for intense encounters.... but is it enough to keep love alive?


Review: If there was one book that came recommended while researching possible novels to quench my curiosity for the erotica gay romance sub genre, it was Bareback by Chris Owen. The novel stubbornly popped up everywhere I went and with a summary that appealed to me I decided to go for it and buy a copy. Yesterday evening as I read the final pages I can only be very glad I chose this novel because Bareback was raw, sexual laden, packed with vigorous male attitude, a whole lot of ranching activities and a romance that shined in its simplicity.

With Chris Owen’s unembellished and straight forward way of writing I met two incredible men. Jake, the second man on Doug Gillian’s ranch who is also known as “The Boss”, overcame a past of teenage drinking and making mistakes. Jake is down-to-earth and serious, his life is steady now and ruled by the rhythm of ranch life. Tornado, Tor for short, seems a bit arrogant and provoking, a man who will take charge in his personal life rather than sit by and watch.

Bareback doesn’t waste any time with preliminaries and dives straight in to the matter of the attraction between Jake and Tor. Being oblivious to each other’s feelings at first it doesn’t take long and on page 13 I already got some hot male on male action going on in the rain, signaling to me I was in for a long scorching ride! This is very much an Erotica story with lots and lots of man-love going on in various ways. I mean, daisy chain, I never heard of the word…or what it entailed, until I read this novel and it was quite a sight to behold. The trysting is diverse as it is bountiful and very important, never boring, but there is also a beautiful romance story woven within that gave me a rainbow of emotions to work through. It all speaks of two men falling for each other but also have issues to work out alongside the heady cowboy sex, it speaks of family values and of finding a family that fits the heart. There is also the explosive situation of how the environment deals with them coming out as a couple that gives a dose of realism to Jake and Tor’s journey.

The sexuality varies in Bareback from pulse pounding hard in order to stake your claim to comforting and gentle to sooth and reassure one another. It has events of a summer party, hot and filled with multiple partners to missionary style in bed. The level and frequency of men going at it with each other is intense and like I said, never boring! It is a signature element within the story just as much as the colorful characterization. It aims to empathize the emotions of the characters, to explain something to the reader which isn’t spoken out loud between Tor and Jake. This type of communication is very elemental but served Jake and Tor incredibly in their personality differences. I never got tired of reading the erotically charged scenes and they are plenty! This also surprised me a bit because the libido displayed can easily create a superficial story and it didn’t.

I witnessed the development of a romantic liaison between a gay couple who each brought issues of loss and alcoholism to deal with, but also a common denominator through it all is the acceptance of them being gay that sets this story up for emotionally rich scenes and had me reach out for tissues at times. It is first all about lust and gradually going towards something neither has real experience with. Jake and Tor are both men who rather let their actions and body speak before verbally working issues out. Still, there is a love increasing in strength and depth growing between Tor and Jake that swept me away. I was firmly entangled in their lives with their friends and foes, their work and their erotic antics when the story starts to shift through the seasons with short scenes to wind up years later, giving me a dreadful feeling via those short scenes that change was not for ahead. Only a chapter or so later my heart broke in to a thousand pieces, I cried myself a river and will never forget that moment passing between Tor and Jake and the repercussions birthing from it.

It is at that moment I truly felt the depth of the characters Chris Owen brought to life because without me realizing it I became so attached to these two men that this one moment shocked me to my core, had me cry and all I felt was desperation how this was going to work out. Wasn’t there going to be a happily ever after for Jake and Tor? Two men who deserved it after all they had to go through life. With fear, hope and a bit of empathetic pain riding me all at the same time I read on.

What I found at closing this book is that Bareback is a character and relationship driven story, simple in life but intricate in emotions. Bareback is Jake and Tor’s story all the way, it is about them in every way that is important and make you care about them so. They have a subtle supporting group of characters, though essential to the story because they matter to Tor and Jake. The bunkhouse is home to various cowboys including Elias, Skip and Hound. Their reactions to having a gay couple as roommates sometimes had me going from smiles to full blown laughter and they were a tremendous asset to the impact of the story. The Boss was also one of those characters who was needed to showcase not every man is a homophobic in Arkansas. Then we have Lissa, Cath and Jacob, they are blood relatives of Jake and Maureen, Becky and Susie the ones of Tor. They all contributed to the crucial feel of being a part of their lives including events like lying on a blanket looking at a starry night, talking on the phone with a niece or nephew, having wild humping sex in the shower or becoming stubborn in a disagreement.

If there is a plot it is a human one, which engulfed the novel with the necessities to deepen this tale from mere erotic sequences to a rounded romance story that will give the reader a more then sustaining Romantica read. For Jake and Tor go at it in sometimes a frantic want for more, instant and devouring, while at other times it is gentle, seductive and heart stopping beautiful between them. Together they created a more then believable gay romance and the only reason this story is not going to get the full 5 star rating is the fact a few essential scenes missed elaboration missing the mark with me on certain family matters and the ending could have been even more completed if the author would’ve used an epilogue. With this I also feel I need to warn there is also frequent cussing and swearing. Bareback is about men, on a ranch, working and interacting amongst each other in a direct way, personally I say it just added a reality to the picture Owen was painting for me and I didn’t mind it one bit. Others may feel different about this though.

Bareback has become a unique novel among my Erotica shelf with an astounding romance and heated, lustful, lascivious, spicy and fiery man love. I will definitely check out more from this author but Chris Owen will always be synonymous to the story of Jake and Tor!

Quote Jake to Tor:[Jake] “Just ignore it. He’ll stop after a while, when he sees we’re not going to try to seduce him. Or give him a free show.”
Tor laughed. “You don’t want to make out in front of the TV on Saturday nights? I’m hurt.”

Quote Tor to Jake:“This time…this time I’m offering Jake, if you want me, I’m yours. Do anything I can for you, be everything you need. Give myself to you forever.”

4.5 stars

12 March 2009

Review: Christina Dodd - Scent Of Darkness

Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Signet (July 3, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451221737
ISBN-13: 978-0451221735

Summary:

A thousand years ago, Konstantine Varinski roamed the Russian steppes. Driven by his craving for power, he struck a terrible bargain. In return for the ability to change from a magnificent warrior to a predator that could hunt down his enemies and kill them, he promised his soul — and the souls of his descedents — to the devil.

Plain Ann Smith loves her handsome, dynamic boss, Jasha Wilde, but her daring plan to seduce him goes awry when she finds a black wolf warming itself before the fire. Before her horrified eyes, the wolf changes into the man she adores. She flees, he pursues, but they can't escape their destinies.

For Jasha is the descendant of Konstantine Varinski and Ann is the woman fated to break the curse that binds his soul. To find heaven in each other's arms, they have the devil to pay.


Review:

Quote premise story:
They hailed the birth of a new demon and raised the child to be a ruthless warrior worthy of the name Varinski.
For no Varinski ever fell in love…
Until one did.
No Varinski married…
Until one did.
No Varinski ever fled the compound and that way of life…
Until one did.
For the first time, cracks appeared in the solid foundation of the deal with the devil.
Heaven took note.
So did hell.

While I read this quote Christina Dodd enticed me to no end, the ominous sound of the quote, the warning it contained and the change that was coming, it whetted my appetite and I was merely on page three of the story. I wanted to sink my teeth in the first novel of the Darkness Chosen and find out what this all entailed.

From the prologue – The Beginning – I turned the page and there I met the Wilder family. Konstantine is a boisterous man from mother Russia who fled his country with his wife to the promised land of America. They settled in the Cascade Mountains where they wanted to raise their young family and hoped to stay hidden from his relatives. At a family gathering with the complete village present Konstantine scolds his sons for not marrying and giving him grand children he so desires. The picture it presented is that of a warm, tight-knitted family, lead by a dramatic man who adores his wife and loves his children. Zorana might by small in size but reigns over the household as her rightful domain with warmth and structure. Though I’m not a frequent user of comparing authors – books or characters I couldn’t elude the feeling that for some reason Konstantine made me remember the larger than life Daniel MacGregor from Nora Roberts’ MacGregor Clan series, with one vast difference, Konstantine was a direct descendent of the man who made a pact with the devil. It was probably the way they both want to take charge of their children’s lives, who just lovingly rolled their eyes at the effort, and how they both embrace life in the winter of their lives.

With the premise and the introduction of Konstantine, Zorana, Jasha, Rurik and Firebird Wilder I was more than a bit enthusiastic where this was all going. So when Ann Smith drove up to the secluded house of her boss, Jasha Wilder, I got comfortable and let myself be swept away with the romance and action that was for sure going to happen. The first thought that ran through my head as I read more about Ann was that she was kind-hearted woman but also a bit of a goody two-shoe raised in a Catholic orphanage with an attached convent. She was the executive assistant of her boss and so in love with him she decided in the last couple of months to give herself a makeover, and with her riding up to his house she also has a seduction planned.

For me, the cheesy storyline of a secretary falling for her boss screams Harlequin novels which I read in my teens and early twenties on the beach. This isn’t bad, the storyline just made me instantly think of these novels and I wondered what Christina Dodd would make of it. Ann Smith sees herself as a giant with no breast to speak of who has a crush on the hunk of a boss with the “fallen angel” looks, the killer smile and a body that screams: touch me, decorated with tats and all. Even I was practically drooling how Jasha was described and could relate to Ann wanting to take charge. Only, when she steps over the threshold of Jasha’s house things do not turned out as she planned.

Jasha is raised by a parents who loved him as his father explained the family tree he is a part of, the danger it presented but also taught him to always be in control over his animalistic side, only, this goes to hell quickly when Ann sees his true self. From that moment it is a whirlwind of sexual tension, a bit of rough mating heat going side by side with them both connecting at a deeper level and escaping the threat of torture and murder. I was in the midst of reading this all, turning pages, wondering what would happen, to find out the story gradually fell flat. There is definitely an adventurous streak to Scent Of Darkness but the imminent threat and danger felt like it was a distant one. The foes didn’t have a face, thoughts or feelings, it wasn’t really personified, just the perception of Ann and Jasha and the background story which was told at the beginning. Only at the very ending does it get better, and with that I am kind of hoping the overall plot in the four books this series count will give more information with each book read, giving it a fully fleshed out experience. The premise promised more than it actually delivered which created a light-hearted read with interesting characters who will keep me involved in this series.

Jasha and Ann’s interaction together is sultry with a warm natured essence to it which told me they knew each other’s habits from the work floor but are finally getting to know each other for real with baring the past, baring the secrets and finding out if their feelings are still enough to make a true relationship work. Jasha has got a dangerous side to him but he is also a gentleman and a caretaker for a woman, while Ann is stripping herself from her goody two-shoe image and acquires some much needed backbone throughout the story. Ann goes from starry-eyes and a bit of a pink clouded judgment to smart mouthed and taking charge. I raised my eyebrows a few times at certain behavior which she just shouldn’t have gotten away with in my opinion, but in the end it smoothed out and delivered a beautiful ending between her and Jasha.

The ending also delivered a shocker in information regarding Rurik and for this only I will read his story in Touch Of Darkness. It is the family, the individual people in it, and a path to redemption I enjoyed so much. While I do have some concerns regarding Scent Of Darkness and it definitely lacked in an area or 2 when it comes to the depth and details, the romance is gratifying, the men hunk-a-liscious and the women are made of sterner stuff than initially thought. Overall the fresh take on the paranormal aspect and romance gave me a charming read. I hope that from this novel the Darkness Chosen series will find a way up in my reader’s enjoyment that will have me raving about the conclusion of it all!

Quote Konstantine to his son Rurik:
He proceeded to his next victim. “Rurik is an adventurer.”
“An archaeologist papa,” Rurik said.
“Archaeologist, adventurer – I saw the Indiana Jones movies. They are the same.”

Quote Jasha:
He’d had her before, and the circumstances were the same and yet so different.
This time she wasn’t afraid; she was angry.
This time, he wasn’t gentle; he was demanding.






07 March 2009

Picking the fifth picture of the fifth folder

Picking the fifth of the fifth:

At times I am hopping from blog to blog and stumble on to some great posts and I read such a post on a blog from my blogroll…I’m going blank here as to which blog it was. It could be Katie, Cindy, Randi, Jill or any of their related/linked bloggers. Anyway, I read a post that said to search for the fifth map folder on your computer and take the fifth image from that map folder and write a blog post about it.

Well, I searched for the fifth map and found out that this is my family folder *eek* where I store all my pictures from family gatherings and outings. So I took a look at the fifth picture and really had a “oh my gawd” moment because it was about me…and my interest for scrapbooks…and very much about ME and my teenage years!!

So here is the picture:


Over at bookblog I already was asked: Is this your little one?” I can honestly say I am my mother’s “little one” at the above three pictures…the below three pictures was of me in my teenage years and if she still wanted to claim me at that point in life is something I can’t quite tell for sure LOL When I look at myself like that, at how young I was…feeling the whole world was at my feet doing my bidding, I suddenly have to say that years do go by in the blink of an eye. From left to right is was 13 – 15 and 17. In those years Patrick Swayze rocked my world in Dirty Dancing – Ghost, made me blush with the erotically charged scene in Road House and swept me away to the Calcutta slums in City of Joy. Beverly Hills 90210 rocked my world and I danced on the Lambada, the Vengaboys and so on. I was also studying to become a nurse and specializing in the elderly and to assist women for a period of time during and after their birth of a baby. I had my first love and crush and as you can see in my picture at the age of 17 I had my first dye-job done…I think it was some kind of autumn red LOL Up to this day red mixed with a degree of brown is still one of my favorite color to dye my hair with.

This picture was one of my first ventures in scrapbook creativity and I love doing this IRL but also on the computer. I still need to find me some sites where I can buy various images for me to start using and will have to google it soon. It is so enjoyable to start from scratch and liven up the picture at hand. It is the memory attached to the picture that makes me savor it so and if it were up to me I would take a bundle of pictures, will my family or dogs to sit, stand and smile in a joint pose together and snap a few for posterity. I love to create these kind of mementos and I can already see myself sitting somewhere in a rocking chair and remember all the times when the pictures were taken.

I need to make myself a bigger one, to have a complete overview from birth to the 32 year old I am today and have nightmares of how much I changed in the years. Anyway…this was my fifth of the fifth offering and I’m still strolling a bit on memorylane here LOL

Have a great weekend all!!

Hugs,
Leontine

Review: Pamela Clare - Surrender

Mass Market Paperback: 355 pages
Publisher: Dorchester (February 28, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0843954884
ISBN-13: 978-0843954883

Summary:

A hand-picked cadre of warriors, they had the fierce courage of their Scots forefathers, combined with the stealth and cunning of the Indians who lived beside them in the wilderness. Battling the French in no-holds-barred combat, they forged a new brand of honor, became a new breed of men…

MacKinnon’s Rangers

Iain MacKinnon had been forced to serve the British crown, but compassion urged him to save the lovely lass facing certain death at the hands of the Abenaki. He’d defied his orders, endangered his brothers, his men and his mission, all for a woman. But when he held Annie’s sweet body in his arms, he could feel no regret. Though he sensed she was hiding something from him, it was too late to hold back his heart. In love and war, there are times when the only course of action is… Surrender.


Review:

After the battle of Culloden Iain MacKinnon, his brothers with their parents were exiled from Scotland. As their parents settled in America they hoped to create a new home for the MacKinnon Clan. Iain, Morgan and Connor MacKinnon grew up alongside a neighboring tribe of Indians, mixing their Highlander blood with Indian ways.

Annie bears her own past in how she came to America but when she crosses the path of Iain their fates intertwine…

Wow, that is all I felt as I closed Surrender by Pamela Clare. When I’m in the mood for a historical romance than a Mackinnon story will definitely appease my hunger for it. With the first entry in this trilogy Pamela Clare became a name that has shot up to my top list of authors within this genre. As this author took me back to Albany on the Hudson River, Colony of New York in the year of 1755, I met the MacKinnon Rangers and a woman who could match their courage with that of her own.

I don’t think it is the essence of the story itself - a man and a woman meeting during war time and feeling an attraction - for this has been told a few times already. What latched me to the pages is the fact that from page one I utterly empathized with Annie and Iain, I needed them to survive it all, I felt the desperation, the secrets pressing between them and the almost hopelessness of Iain’s situation. Lord William Wentworth is largely, if not solely, responsible for the situation Iain and his brothers are in and it aims for a testosterone filled storyline. For the blue blood of English nobility led the people in this war who were the convicted, the poor and the commoners.

Annie is courageous, strong and intelligent and in a dire situation when she meets her savior Iain, who is chivalry, meets honor, meets highlander temperament. They both occupy this story in every way possible, first with their journey through the wilderness to end up in Fort Elizabeth. They are both characters who will adjust to a situation or way of life, not always because they want to, but because they need to. I like to read about characters who know grief and joy, defeat and victory, and pain and love. It draws me into their hearts and lives, living each moment with them as I hope to leave them in that ultimate happily ever after moment upon closing the book.

With Annie trying to make due in Fort Elizabeth there are inconsistencies in her character that does not only get noticed by Iain but also by Wentworth. This latter person confused me, he seems to play with lives as easily as he does with his chess pieces but at the same time holds a weird kind of honor code I did not always seem to grasp. Wentworth seems cold and has calculating ways, accustomed to hold sway over a person’s life. He plays with such a life like a predator with its prey and enjoys every moment of it, yet when his opponent surprises him it challenges his keen intellect even further. I really wanted to fiercely dislike him but by the end he somewhat humanized for me with certain actions and I can only guess – and secretly kind off hoping - he and his scheming ways are also a part of book two in this trilogy.

Every romantic vibe in my body has been wooed by Iain MacKinnon. He leads the Rangers with such responsibility, courage and sense of leadership. He is there for each of his men in word and deed, inspiring loyalty among his men and giving the reader an almost perfect picture of a hero. But there are no perfect heroes in my opinion because behind the hero image there is a man or a woman, and Iain has a few flaws/mistakes along the way that encourages growth from him.

Annie with her secrets and longing for a life of her own becomes the wild card in already a stirring time period. At first she survives purely on instinct and having the luck of Iain by her side. Slowly I got to see a woman who grows into her own potential, stronger, wiser and still remaining compassionate for those around her. You would almost think with so much horror surrounding a woman she becomes detached but through her own actions she gains the loyalty with the Rangers and ultimately the man she has set her heart on. With so much going against her at the beginning I loved to read the journey of Annie and the woman she turned out to be in the end.

Next to Annie, Iain and Wentworth there were also Morgan and Connor, Iain’s brothers, Captain Joseph and the Rangers Cam – Killie – McHugh – Brandon who also occupied Fort Elizabeth. They brought life to campfires under starry nights, they stood shoulder to shoulder in times of need and celebrated upon joyous occasions. They were an essential part of this story and gave it all the more substance for me to devour. Each held a voice of their own becoming a group that adds a distinguishing element to a MacKinnon Rangers novel.

One thing that I also noticed was the use of the highlander brogue in the language, it is very much a part of this story and it enhanced the overall feel of the story allowing the characters to come truly alive on the pages. Now I am a sucker for this kind of writing but for someone who is just starting to read English novels or for those who do not appreciate it, be warned! The “Nay, this not so” and “Wee bonny lass” language is frequently used throughout the entire novel.

From the blue Pamela Clare came – saw and concurred this reader with at the backdrop of a raging war, at a changing time period, it is Annie and Iain who became a beacon of all that everyone is fighting for. A historical romance story that will transfix many readers to the pages in an eagerness to find out what the ending will hold for this incredible love couple!

Quote:
Annie about Iain:
He was a big man, a rough man, a man who lived by the sword. But he saved her life, shown her kindness, even compassion. He fought as the leader of a Ranger company. Yet his words were those of a traitor. There was something about him that frightened her, and yet…something drew her to him, as well.

Quote:
Iain about Annie:
She was solace. She was beauty. She was life. And the wanted her.

Review: Jaime Rush - A Perfect Darkness

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (January 27, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 006169035X
ISBN-13: 978-0061690358

Summary:

They live ordinary lives, but they are extraordinary. They are the Offspring, children of a mysterious experiment gone awry—and they are in terrible danger.

A sexy stranger awakens Amy Shane in the dead of night. Lucas Vanderwyck barely has time to whisper a few words before three men burst into her bedroom and drag him away. But what Lucas reveals shatters Amy's safe little world forever.

Lucas and Amy share a psychic gift—a gift that could put them in mortal danger. And as they share night after night of savage passion, as a shadowy government conspiracy tracks their every move, they will fight to save each other. But only with their powers of second sight can they escape the terror of a perfect darkness.

Review:

I barely read the first chapter of A Perfect Darkness when the author, Jaime Rush, launched the fireworks plot wise and hooked me for the rest of the story with a hundred questions I wanted answered. The Offspring series hit it off with an exciting introduction and five people who were all interesting in some form or another.

The theme of a government project going awry with the result that people were suddenly showing signs of paranormal abilities resonated with a bit of a déjà-vu feeling and I couldn’t put my finger on where it was coming from. I didn’t mind it one bit though, since I love a good conspiracy within an agency and the power scheming minds at work within the agencies hierarchy. I can genuinely cheer for the underdogs who become the rebellions in their need for answers and quenching me thirst for information at the same time. They are called the Offspring and with Lucas Vanderwyck and Amy Shane I got my first taste in what this series had to offer.

Amy Shane is a computer expert on retrieving lost information and has a cockatoo named Orn’ry to keep her company. When she goes to bed all she desires is to see her dream man again but when drifting off in to her REM sleep one night she is rudely awakened by her dream man. Lucas is alive and talking gibberish to her about their parents and not to trust anyone.

Lucas is a painter, an artist, hereditary sensual and he shares this amazing psychic gift with a woman he felt all of his life and this gets him in serious trouble. Someone is rounding up the Offspring and the slogan: Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country is taken to another level.

Throughout the story they mostly meet in their shared reams giving their passion a bit of an illusory quality while their connection is more than apparent and felt through the pages. It was the separation of Lucas and Amy and the complicated situation surrounding them that created an image and feel of an impossible love. Sacrifice, courage and longing imbedded with a hint of stubbornness is what fueled this romance story. I thought the romance was appealing and definitely an addition to the story. It combined well with perilous moments, edge-of-your-seat situations and it raised the stakes for each character in this novel which ultimately led to an exciting conclusion.

When Amy meets the siblings, Petra and Eric Aruda, my antihero signal flashed itself as Eric makes a few choices that flirts with the limit of good and evil. He enjoys his power and has no moral problems in using it against those who threaten him with lethal force. Every character in this book bears a prominence because everything is intertwined together and gives the reader – eventually – a more complete picture. From Gerard Darkwell, the one leading the project and who has patriotism in his blood. The righteousness burning in his soul allows him to justify the means and makes him one hell of a dangerous opponent for the Rogue Offspring to deal with. To Cyrus who is ex-CIA and the five children, bound together by the memory of sharing an innocent sunny afternoon with an inflatable pool and in the end have so much more in common.

What really took the lead in A Perfect Darkness for me was the introduction of other Offspring, which went hand in hand with the plot, and the background of project BLUE EYES and DARK MATTER. The story is a revealing of information concerning the past and present of various Offspring, some questions get answered as new one’s arise, what should warn the reader that the overall plot is a long way from told. The high speed chases, the rescues, the frantic search for information and discovery of powers, it all ups the thrilling suspense and had me living in the moment with various characters.

Jaime Rush is a new author for me and the voice I found in The Offspring series definitely invites me to read the next story in this series: Out Of The Darkness coming in October 2009.

Quote - Ozzie to Amy:
“So you don’t like, ah, sex?”
“It’s fine. I just don’t like dealing with guys in general. You know, the morning after, relationship stuff.”
“Are you a…lesbian?”
“No, a vibratorian.”

Quote Amy to Petra:
“I’m not trying to impress anyone,” Amy said in her defense, slipping into the dress. She looked at her reflection. “Wow,” Amy Shane, sex goddess, in three easy steps.