Posts Tagged ‘ paranormal romance ’

Review: Lust

Lust by Charlotte Featherstone is the first book in The Sins and the Virtues, a brand-new series of books that follow the stories of seven Fey princes, each cursed with one of the Seven Deadly Sins.  Lust is due to be released by Harlequin’s Spice line in January 2011.Lust cover

Centuries ago, the Queen of the Seelie Fey, Aine, was kidnapped by Duir, King of the dark Unseelie Fey.  Whilst in captivity she bore him twin sons, Crom and Niall.  Aine eventually managed to escape, taking Crom with her, but before doing so she laid a curse on Niall and on the other male children of Duir’s line.  Each Dark Fey prince was cursed with the personification of one of the Seven Deadly Sins, their nature shaped by that sin and forced to act upon its desires.  Thanks to Aine’s curse the Unseelie court is dying, and Niall, now king, was helpless to stop it until he discovered the key to unravelling his mother’s curse.  For each Fey prince cursed with a Sin has a counterpart, a mortal woman who embodies one of the Seven Virtues.  If they can find these women, earn their love, and bring them willingly to the Dark Court, perhaps the Seelie Queen’s spell will be broken…

Our first story, Lust, is the tale of Thane, one of Niall’s younger half-brothers.  Thane possesses the Sin of lust, and along with it an insatiable appetite for the pleasures of the flesh.  He and his siblings quickly track down the first three of the human Virtues they need to break the curse, and Thane is unable to take his eyes from Chastity Lennox, the third of the Duke of Lennox’s four beautiful daughters.

Chastity, as her name implies, is one of the embodiments of a Virtue, and Thane’s mortal counterpart.  She has spent all of her life cold and restrained, unmoved by the handsome faces and elegant compliments that make other female hearts flutter – until a chance encounter at a masked ball rocks Chastity’s world, and she finds herself responding to a man, however reluctantly, for the very first time.  A man who she quickly begins to suspect is not a man at all, but a Dark Fey seeking her soul…

Lust is part of the Harlequin Spice line, and very much deserving of the classification.  Lust is a very sexy read, with smouldering chemistry and red-hot sex scenes.  The combination of historical setting and fantasy elements is difficult to find, and certainly makes this book stand out from the crowd.  I spent several enjoyable hours whiling away the time with Lust, and will certainly keep my eye out for the rest of the books in the series to be released.

If you dislike fantasy elements or explicit sex scenes, then this book is not for you; it is very much an erotic romance., with heavy emphasis on the erotic.  However, if  you like your heroes mythological and your sex scenes smokin’ hot, then Lust comes highly recommended.

Review: Stone Kissed

Stone Kissed by Keri Stevens is a sweet modern paranormal romance that’s due to be released at the end of this month.Stone Kissed cover

Most everyone is the small two of Stewardsville knows that the town founder’s descendants are… an odd bunch, to say the least. The latest of those is Delia Forrest, who talks to statues – which might not be so odd, if it weren’t that the statues talk back.  Delia is forced to give up her apartment and business to return home when a terrible house fire wreaks havoc on her ancestral home and puts her estranged father in the hospital with serious injuries.

Grant Wolverton, an old acquaintance and rival of her father, also finds his way back into Delia’s life; he wants to buy Steward House, and with the cost of her father’s medical bills increasing by the hour it’s an offer Delia can’t refuse.  The obvious attraction between them is unsettling to both – can they work together to restore Steward House without giving in to their feelings?  Is Delia be able to keep her magical secret hidden from Grant?  And will the chatty statues in Delia’s new apartment ever shut up?

In addition to our Stoic Hero an Intrepid Heroine, we have Delia’s cousin, Cecily Johnson, who for some reason is a succubus.  I’m not sure quite why that is, and it’s never explained.  For all that she’s the ‘villain’ of the piece, I can’t help but feel sorry for Cecily, and my interpretation is that it’s Cecily’s supernatural nature that makes her the way she is, rather than any real desire to Be Evil or anything.

I would like to read further stories set in this universe, and perhaps learn something about the way magic works and what other supernatural types might be out there.  Recommended.

Review: Breath of Magic

Now, I’m not normally a fan of time travel romance, but Breath of Magic by Teresa Medeiros might have changed my mind.  Just a tiny bit.  I loved her Charming the Prince, a medieval romance take on Cinderella, and I’m glad I was willing to give this story the benefit of the doubt based on past experience.Breath of Magic cover

Arian Whitewood is the daughter of a French courtesan, plagued by rumours of witchcraft and devil-worship in the small Massachusetts town where she and her Puritan step-father live.  Though the details are exaggerated, the townspeople’s fears are true – Arian can work magic, with the help of a magical amulet than once belonged to her mother.  The amulet saves Arian’s life when she is tried for witchcraft and ‘ducked’ into the pond to drown, and instead of breathing water, she finds herself flying through the air in New York City, three hundred years into the future.  After her broomstick has an unfortunate run-in with a chimney and catches fire, Arian finds herself crash-landing into the arms of billionaire bad-boy Tristan Lennox.

Tristan is a renowned skeptic, and not the least bit amused when his well-publicised “magic contest” – one million dollars to anyone who can prove that magic exists – is interrupted by a lovely slip of a girl on a flying broomstick, of all things.  Though it’s clearly a hoax, it will take time for Tristan’s scientists to find the trick and prove it; until then, he finds himself reluctantly enjoying the company of the strange young woman he thinks a charlatan and a fraud.  And Arian finds that perhaps there’s something more important than getting home to be killed for witchcraft…

There’s no complicated plot or arching character development, but that only meant the story was straightforward.  The characters and plot weren’t particularly believable – this is a time-travel romance, after all, and suspension of disbelief is de rigueur.

Tristan started off the story gruff and quite unpleasant.  It was nice to see his cold shell slowly thawing as Arian wormed her way inside his defences, and the struggle to align what his heart feels with what his head thinks.  IT was interesting, if sometimes cringe-inducing, to follow Arian’s attempts to adapt to the twentieth century and all the ways society and technology has changed since her time in Puritan Massachusetts.

While not a stunning literary masterpiece, this story is a light and enjoyable piece of fluff that was perfect for lightening the dreary chill of a late autumn afternoon.  Recommended.

Review: Moon Called

Moon Called coverAfter my failed attempt to read A Magic of Twilight (boo, hiss), I decided something a little less epic fantasy and a little more towards the romance end of the spectrum would perhaps be more suitable.  Since I enjoyed the Raven Duology so much, I settled on another of Patricia Briggs’ books that I haven’t read, Moon Called.

This is the first in a pretty standard ‘hidden world’ paranormal series; it takes place in modern times, but there are supernatural creatures living alongside (or with) humans that the majority of the world’s population are not aware of.  In this case, the humans are aware of at least one supernatural population, the fae, though in this book that is mainly background information.

Vampires, werewolves and witches… oh, my…

Merecedes Thompson is your regular everyday small-town mechanic.  Who happens to be a skinwalker – based on the Native American legend of shaman who could turn into animals – and lives next door to the Alpha of the local werewolf pack.  Did we mention that Mercy was raised by werewolves, and her former-employer, still-friend Zee is a fae metalwright?  Let’s not forget the vampire with the Mystery Machine van and the Scooby Doo ringtone…

Battling the paranormal is not Mercy’s usual style, but when a new teen werewolf in town leads to her neighbour being attacked and his teenage daughter kidnapped, she finds herself getting involved in some kind of crazy scheme to… well, no one’s sure quite yet, but it’s bound to be Bad.  A trip back home to the town she grew up in – the home of the biggest, baddest werewolf in North America, who just happens to be the father of her childhood sweetheart – goes less than brilliantly, particularly when said sweetheart ends up tagging along with Mercy and werewolf Alpha Adam on their quest to find Adam’s missing daughter.  A quest that is becoming more complicated by the minute…

It is, quite frankly, nice to find a heroine in a paranormal tale who isn’t a vampire, witch or werewolf.  Or two or more of the above (Jaye Wells, I’m looking at you).  Even if she does still have a ‘special’ element, being the only walker that she knows of apart from her long-deceased father, and the only walker a lot of people have ever met.  Despite this, Mercy seems fairly practical and relatable.  At least in the start of the book.

Moon Called is the first in a series, and it does show.  The major plotlines in the book are wrapped up by the end of it, but a lot of the characters still feel fairly flat and unsympathetic.  Hopefully this will be resolved with character development in the following books.  There are some nice little touches here and there to give life – metaphorically speaking, in some cases – to the minor characters that seem to be oddly lacking in some of the main characters.  It amused me to find out that Marsilia reads in the same position that I do; this little note made me relate to her a bit, which made the fact that her ‘humanity’ is just an act a little more jarring than it was for certain others (yay vagueness from trying not to provide too many spoilers).

One of the problems that I had in this book was that it seems to fall into the same problem that every other ‘paranormal’ story I’ve come across has – Everyone Wants To Do The Heroine!  This is more pronounced in the second book than the first, but for someone who claims she’s not very attractive, Mercy seems to receive an awful lot of male attention.

And speaking of male attention, have I mentioned yet that I hate love triangles?  Because I do.  I really, really do.  Particularly when you know that there’s no chance they’re going to end up in a triad or a polyamorous relationship.  And these love triangles (or polyhedrons, in some cases) are everywhere in paranormal fantasy/paranormal romance!  I will refrain from complaining any more about that, because there’s probably enough fodder in my burning hatred for love triangles to earn its own post at some point.

But there is a love triangle.  Which I could see as soon as the third person was introduced.  Argh.

I liked the interaction between Mercy and Adam, regardless of the will they/won’t they aspect of the relationship.  I did not like Mercy’s interaction with childhood sweetheart Sam, who came across as condescending and disrespectful of the fact that Mercy is no longer a love-sick teenager.  Quite frankly, I can’t see any of the positive qualities that Mercy seems to see in him, he was useless for much of the book, and I pretty much feel that he should have just stayed at home.  YMMV.

Other than the issues that I’ve mentioned, I didn’t have any big problems with this book.  There’s no sex, so anyone looking for sex scenes will be disappointed, and there isn’t very much romance.  Some of the characters need more development, which is a common problem with novels intended to be the first of a series.  I hate love triangles.  The vampires are not sparkly.

Overall, this book is a good, light paranormal fantasy that can be read on its own or as the first in a series.  The author’s paranormal universe is interesting, and hopefully she will take it to interesting places and provide more information and detail as the series advances.  Recommended.

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