Archive for September, 2012

The Cutting Room – Jilliane Hoffman

Posted: September 30, 2012 in Review
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Manny Alvarez is an experienced cop in Miami who is given a case with a body in a dumpster.  Drugged and horribly tortured, the victim was last seen with a spoiled rich kid and the investigation leads to him being found to be the killer.  The case goes to court with Assistant State Attorney Daria di Bianchi  prosecuting.  Then the accused’s mother receives a disturbing video of a young women being tortured in the same way as the victim.

As Manny and Daria try to uncover who she is and if there’s a serial killer out there, they come to the disturbing realisation there’s a snuff club operating, sick people who watch the torture broadcast live.  The only lead is from the depraved rapist and serial killer William Bantling, who claimed to be a member of this depraved society.  CJ Templeton was the prosecutor in William Bantling’s case.  She was also a victim of his years ago.  Having fled Miami to hide from the memories, she’s drawn back to help find the society.

This book was very well written – tightly complex plots with multiple viewpoints and chillingly dark.  The good guys were strong characters who fought for the right thing and the bad guys – scary!  Never having read Jilline Hoffman, I quickly picked up the gist of what had happened in previous books.  Enough detail was given without over explaining, and I’m now determined to find the earlier books.  The ending was not happy but I loved the last paragraph, and will be impatiently waiting for the next book.  This author is addictive!

Supplied by HarperCollins

Reviewed by Jan

surrenderDiane Rowe finds missing people.  Usually she works for the police finding identities of bodies found in crime scenes or washed up on the beach.  Then her little sister, Niki, was murdered.  Diane focused on pushing the police to find the killer forcefully.  Too hard, as it lost her credibility as she put it above all other cases.  It also caused the breakup of her marriage, as finding Niki’s killer became her only thought.  Her policeman ex-husband quickly found a replacement.

Then the main suspect, Snow,, turns up dead, murdered the same way Niki was and in the same place.  The new case turns up evidence of Niki’s seedy past and Diane learns things she’d rather not know.  She embarks on a journey to uncover the killer of her sister, as the police case is finished now Snow is dead.  At the same time she has been asked by the police to find the identity of a 30 year old skeleton found in the bush, her chance at regaining credibility and more work.

This story had a strong plot, believable characters, quite a bit of action, and a strong heroine who could look after herself.  Oh, and a cute but tough dog.  I really enjoyed this book, I was kept intrigued by the unfolding of the story, and it offered up a few twists I didn’t see coming.  Set in New Zealand, it won the 2010 New Zealand Society of Authors – Pindar Publishing Prize and has some glimpses of the breathtaking beauty of the bush.  The cover has an instantly recognizable picture of the lights on Wellington’s waterfront.  Definitely a must read and I plan to read more of the Diane Rowe series.

I received my copy as a paperback from HarperCollins and it seems to only be printed in New Zealand.  There is a kindle edition on Amazon.

HarperCollins

Supplied by HarperCollins

Reviewed by Jan

Dragon’s Oath PC & Kristin Cast

Posted: September 29, 2012 in Review
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Dragon’s Oath

PC & Kristin Cast

Published by Atom

Supplied by Hatchette

Reviewed by Jan

This is a short story of Dragon – how he got the name and ended up fencing instructor at the House of Night.  Its the first in a new mini-series of novellas about the House of Night.  The story explains the background of Dragon and Anastasia, their love affair, his oath to her, and his torment after her death in Awakenings.  It’s fun to see these two when they were young, and have a bit more insight into Dragon’s personality.  It makes his character more real and helps to better understand his actions at the end of Awakened.

Banished from his noble English family, Bryan Lankford is Marked on the docks and becomes a Fledgling.  He travels to America, finding that he has a talent for the sword along the way.  Bryan becomes Dragon Lankford, a Sword Master, teaching at the House of Night.  There he meets Anastasia, a Professor of Spells and History.

Becoming a Fledgling proves to be exciting, but it opens a door to a dangerous world….  Dragon is caught up in a dark power and uses his fighting skills and brains to ward off the evil.  All the while protecting Anastasia.

Dragon’s Oath is a quick, sweet read.  It’s suitable for teens, like the rest in the House of Night series.  My favourite in the House of Night series, you need to read Awakened first.

Darkness Unbound – Keri Arthur

Posted: September 29, 2012 in Review
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Darkness Unbound

Keri Arthur

Published by Piatkus

Supplied by Hatchette

Reviewed by Jan

Risa Jones is half werewolf and half Adeh, a non-physical being that can assume a physical form. She can go to the grey world between the physical and dying, where the souls of the dying are. Asked by her clairvoent mother Dia to check a client’s comatose daughter, Risa finds the child’s soul has been torn out of her body and destroyed. After making the terrifying discovery that a sinister force is stealing souls, preventing the dead from ever knowing the afterlife, Risa finds supernatural beings are trying to kidnap her. Also, that Azriel, a reaper, is following her.

Reapers are beings that escort souls through the grey world to heaven or hell. Azriel is following Risa in the hope of finding her father, an Aedh priest. The Aedh are the gatekeepers that guard the gates between heaven and hell and mortality, stopping demons from escaping. If the gates are permanently closed they would prevent souls from moving on. Keys were created to permanently lock the gates, but now they have gone missing. The only person who can find them again is a blood relative of the man who stole them – Risa’s father.

Risa’s best friends/flatmates help her out, Illiana – a powerful witch, and Tao – a werewolf with fire abilities, as well as some rather interesting new characters. Riley, Rhoan and the gang also play a role in pursueing the practitioner of blood magic seizing souls. There are also two sexy men for Risa, the mysterious Azriel, and Lucien – an Aedh who may have lost his wings but none of his sex appeal.

Darkness Unbound is the first book in the new Dark Angels series. It is set in the same world as the Riley Jensen series by Keri Arthur . It isn’t necessary to read the Riley Jensen series in order to enjoy this one. I definitely think you should read all the Riley Jenson books first though, mainly because I love them and you would be missing out. If you have read the Riley books then you need to read this one, it’s fantastic! It’s fun seeing what’s happened to old friends and having them as minor characters was enjoyable.

Keri Arthur once again proves just how good she is at writing an intriguing book with a fast moving plot that has plenty of steaminess on the side. It’s packed with some awesome and unique supernatural characters, a few sexy men, lots of action and mystery, and a few heart breaking moments. The ending left a lot of loose ends, setting the scene for the next Dark Angel book.

Dark Slayer: Carpathian Series Book 17

Christine Feehan

Published by Piatkus

Supplied by Hatchette

Reviewed by Jan

There’s a legend in the stories of vampires – a dark slayer who commands a wolf pack and is relentless as she destroys any vampire who crosses her path.

Ivory Malinov strikes terror into the hearts of the undead – her only purpose in life to destroy them.  Her body is horribly scared from when she was sliced to ribbons in a vampire attack.  It took centuries for her body to knit together again in the soil, now she lives to kill vampires. Then one night she saves a man’s life.  Her life mate.

Razvan is a Dragonseeker, one of the greatest Carpathian families.  He was born into captivity.  Possessed by Xavier, his evil captor, he did many terrible things and is now despised by his people.  He escapes from imprisonment and tries to end his existence by finding the sun.  Instead Ivory finds him.

She heals him in her lair, before they set out to find and destroy Xavier.  They come across the Carpathian prince and his followers, who have the same mission – to destroy Xavier.  They form an uneasy alliance and set to work…..

This book has many new twists, soil being healing, vampires travelling through dirt and having parasites in their blood, mutated parasites in the soil…, a ‘new’ world,, not the same old same old stuff.  The 17th book in the Carpathian saga, this is the first one I’ve read.  I really liked it and am looking for the previous ones; I’ve definitely missed out as this series is great!

Don’t Look Behind – Lois Duncan

Posted: September 29, 2012 in Review
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Don’t Look Behind

Lois Duncan

Published by Atom

Supplied by Hatchette

Reviewed by Jan

This is a reissue of a book I enjoyed as a teenager.  I wanted to see if the story was still as gripping as I remembered.  I’m happy to say it is.  It’s been updated with pop culture references, but ignores the social media prevalent in teenage life.

April is 17, a star tennis player and has a normal, happy life.  Then her father testifies in a trial against a drug dealer and her world explodes. The family must temporarily hide while the trial is in progress.  April’s attempt to contact her boyfriend causes the death of the agent guarding them.  The trial ends, the bad guy is behind bars, normal lives can ensue.  Until the drug dealer appeals the court’s decision.

The family is in danger and relocates as part of the Witness Protection Program.  Their names are changed; they must sever all ties to the past; April must stop playing tennis; her mother must give up a lucrative career as a children’s author.  They move far away and have no contact with their old life.  Or try to.

April’s life turns upside down and the whole time she is being watched by a notorious hitman out to get her and her family…  She goes on a high speed cross country chase with her grandmother when the hitman finds them, in a vain bid to hide her family.

This is an excellent book, it held my interest the whole time and the plot kept moving forward. There was never a dull moment and it has a very satisfying ending with all loose ends tied up. It is very realistic, all of the characters easily come to life, and it has ironic situations with an overall very interesting story.

The author interview at the back is worth a read. It’s sadly ironic how she wrote about a character with her daughter’s traits who is pursued by a hitman.  A few months later life imitated art.

Dark Prince: Carpathian Series Book 1

Christine Feehan

Published by Piatkus

Supplied by Hatchette

Reviewed by Jan

The Carpathians are a race that live for millennia and have psychic and physical powers. . They shape shift into animals and can become fog, while moving and travelling with phenomenal speed. They survive on human blood but never kill the donor and wipe memories when finished.  Sunlight and violent wounding can kill them though they heal themselves from other injuries. They sleep in healing earth during the day and are awake at night. They’re declining in numbers though, as no females have been born for hundreds of years and few males survive infancy.

The male has a darkness which grows until he finds his life mate – who balances and illuminates his darkness. If he doesn’t find her, the male gradually loses his emotions and ability to see in colour. He is condemned to a lonely, dark and despairing world devoid of all happiness. When he does find her, he regains his emotions and his world becomes full of joy and hope.  Males who don’t find their life mates become filled with dark despair and “turn,” becoming vampires who can then feel exhilaration by murdering humans and Carpathians. They tried to take human women as life mates before.  Humans go violently insane when their bodies were converted to Carpathian and have to be destroyed.

Mikhail, the Prince and leader of the Carpathians, decides to take his life to stop the darkness.  A woman’s voice tells him not to give up and he follows it.  The owner is a human woman he sees in colour, showing she’s his life mate.

Raven is a psychic who helps the FBI track serial killers.  She’s come to the Carpathian Mountains for a rest after her last case.  They’re quickly drawn to each other and Mikhail starts to turn Raven, before marrying her.  There is a group of fanatical vampire hunters targeting non-humans.  Having killed Mikhail’s sister and her unborn, they then focus on Mikhail and Raven.

This is the first in the Carpathian series and has lots of background about the race.  It’s not a gripping story though and it was later books in the series that got me hooked.  For someone saying she’s intelligent all the time, Raven does some pretty dumb things.  “Ooh, fanatical assassins around, I’ll just go for a long walk in the dark woods, all alone”.  Mikhail is unbearably bossy and overbearing.  Sure, he’s a prince but his “I know best’ attitude is annoying.

Not the best cover art either.  Ok read for when you have nothing better to do.  Not suitable for tweens – there’s quite a lot of sex.