Archive | January, 2012

Touch the Dark, by Karen Chance

27 Jan

Format: Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published: March 29, 2007 (first published June 6, 2006)
Publisher: Roc
Back cover blurb:

Like any sensible girl, Cassie tries to avoid vampires. But when the bloodsucking Mafioso she escaped three years ago finds Cassie again with revenge in mind, she’s forced to turn to the vampire Senate for protection.

The undead senators won’t help her for nothing, and Cassie finds herself working with one of their most powerful members, a dangerously seductive master vampire – and the price he demands may be more than Cassie is willing to pay.

My review:

Slow start, which made me put it down a few times, but once the running stopped and the dialogue began I was gripped by Cassie Palmer’s world. She is such a kickass heroine, and being surrounded by so many smoking hot men… what’s not to like?

Much of this book is world-building, which is necessary with such a complicated plot. I loved the way she incorporated famous historical figures into her vampire backstory; in my mind I went “well, that explained it – of course they were vampires!” Historical elements mix with vampires, mages, seers and weres but Chance writes so well and with such perfect pace that this complex story carries you along easily to the climax. That ending, though, only hints at what is to come, so it’s a good thing I have the next book on my Kindle ready to go!

I suspect Mircea may become one of my new fictional boyfriends. I’ll have to let you know after I read the next one. UF + UST = GAH!

My rating: 4/5


The Scottish Prisoner, by Diana Gabaldon

26 Jan

Format: Trade Paperback, 534 pages
Published: November 29, 2011
Publisher: Orion
Back cover blurb:
London, 1760. For Jamie Fraser, paroled prisoner-of-war in the remote Lake District, life could be worse: He’s not cutting sugar cane in the West Indies, and he’s close enough to the son he cannot claim as his own. But Jamie Fraser’s quiet existence is coming apart at the seams, interrupted first by dreams of his lost wife, then by the appearance of Tobias Quinn, an erstwhile comrade from the Rising.

Like many of the Jacobites who aren’t dead or in prison, Quinn still lives and breathes for the Cause. His latest plan involves an ancient relic that will rally the Irish. Jamie is having none of it—he’s sworn off politics, fighting, and war. Until Lord John Grey shows up with a summons that will take him away from everything he loves—again.

Lord John Grey—aristocrat, soldier, and occasional spy—finds himself in possession of a packet of explosive documents that exposes a damning case of corruption against a British officer. But they also hint at a more insidious danger. Time is of the essence as the investigation leads to Ireland, with a baffling message left in “Erse,” the tongue favored by Scottish Highlanders. Lord John, who oversaw Jacobite prisoners when he was governor of Ardsmiur prison, thinks Jamie may be able to translate—but will he agree to do it?

Soon Lord John and Jamie are unwilling companions on the road to Ireland, a country whose dark castles hold dreadful secrets, and whose bogs hide the bones of the dead. A captivating return to the world Diana Gabaldon created in her Outlander and Lord John series, The Scottish Prisoner is another masterpiece of epic history, wicked deceit, and scores that can only be settled in blood.

My review:
Gabaldon never disappoints, and here she has the added bonus of lots of Jamie Fraser as well as Lord John to work with. In other words, it’s pure win!

It’s been a while since I read any of the Outlander series (or Cross Stitch as it was called here) – I own the last two books but have been put off by their enormous size so they remain beside my bed gathering dust – so I had forgotten some of the relationships, including Hal and Harry Quarry’s previous dealings with Jamie. I like Harry. He’s one of my favourite secondary characters along with Tom the valet. But being reminded that he put Jamie in irons made me question why I liked him so much and come to the conclusion that maybe it was just the excellent poetry, lol!

Anyhoo, this story has all the elements we love from Gabaldon – mystery, romance, politics, fighting, men in period costume, men out of their period costume (!), women who are more than just a pretty face, and quite a few laughs. This also had a supernatural element, which DG also introduced into a previous Lord John adventure. What I loved the most was how this book filled out the main Outlander story by providing interesting background on Jamie’s time at Helwater and his early relationship with young Willie.

Not quite a five-cupcake read for me because I found myself putting it down at times, but it certainly made me want to dust off the volumes by my bed.

My rating: 4.5/5

Fifty Shades Freed, by E.L. James

25 Jan

Format: ebook

Published: January 19, 2012

Publisher: The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House

Back cover blurb:

When unworldly student Ana Steele first encountered the driven, damaged young entrepreneur Christian Grey it sparked a sensual affair that changed both their lives irrevocably. Shocked, intrigued, and ultimately repelled by Christian’s singular sexual tastes, Ana demanded a deeper commitment; determined to keep her, Christian agreed.

Now, together, they have more – love, passion, intimacy, and a world of infinite possibilities. But Ana always knew that loving her Fifty Shades would not be easy, and being together poses challenges neither of them ever anticipated. Ana must somehow learn to share Christian’s opulent lifestyle without sacrificing her own integrity, identity or independence; Christian must somehow overcome his compulsion to control, and lay to rest the horrors that blighted his past and haunt his present.

Just when it seems that together their love can conquer any obstacle, misfortune, malice and fate combine to make Ana’s worst nightmares come true. Alone and desperate, she must face down the poisoned legacy of Christian’s past.

Seductive, shocking, sad and funny, Fifty Shades Freed is the compelling final volume in the Fifty Shades trilogy.

My review:

I’m really going to miss Fifty and Ana. Especially Fifty. *sigh*

The third book in the trilogy is a rollercoaster ride, from the highs of a wedding and honeymoon, to the lows of jealousy, mistrust and betrayal. There is some serious heartfail when Christian believes Ana has done the unthinkable, but I don’t want to spoil anything here. Suffice to say there is a happy ending, and it’s amazing to see how much Ana and Christian have grown by the end.

James also treats readers to some added extras in this edition: the beginning of the story, when Ana first came to interview Christian and his subsequent meeting with her at the sporting goods store, told from Fifty’s point of view. Being in his head for just a few pages is wonderful and gives us a great insight into that first fateful meeting. I loved it!

This trilogy is sexy, smart and very addictive, and the third installment rounds it off nicely. I have found myself blushing in the supermarket when the sound system has played “Nothing Sweet About Me”, and it’s all E.L. James’s fault. She is certainly an author to watch, and if the rumoured movie deal ever comes to fruition, I know who would make a perfect Fifty. Anyone else would be a hard limit 😉

My rating: 5/5

24 Jan

My casting choice: Michael Fassbender for Matthew – unf!

The Book Hookup

One of our much-loved books here at The Book Hook-up,  A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, was optioned last summer by Warner Bros and now it’s one step closer to the big screen. 

Playwright David Auburn has been tapped to penA Discovery of Witches, Warner Bros.’s adaptation of the supernatural fantasy novel by history professor Deborah Harkness.

Denise Di Novi and Alison Greenspan are producing.

Published by Viking Adult in February 2011, the book centered on a scholarly woman who is a direct descendant of the first woman executed at the Salem Witch Trials that accidentally discovers a long-lost manuscript that may contain the secret of immortality. She is thrust into a position where she and a 1,500 year old vampire must stop an inter-species war between witches and vampires.

Warners picked up the book, part of a planned trilogy, last July as it…

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24 Jan

So very excited about this! Click on The Book Hookup link to read the smexy snippet 🙂

The Book Hookup

If you were sad to see the last installment of the Fever Series Shadowfever come to an end, you’ll be thrilled with this news.  On her facebook page, author Karen Marie Moning has announced the release of the next book in the series…ICED.

ICED: A Dani O’Malley Novel
October 30, 2012
Book 1
Begins the morning after SHADOWFEVER ends (EEEEEEEP ~ Jag)

The book is not yet available for pre-order but follow us on twitter or subscribe to the blog and you’ll know when we know.

Now brace yourselves, here is the teaser from Iced:

ICED: Teaser 1 (Contains spoilers from the Fever Series!)

by Karen Marie Moning  

Four nights he’s come to me, murmuring my name, making it an exquisite melody with which not even the divine orchestral choir of all the angels in heaven could compete. 

He chimes my name in the language of the Unseelie and…

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Just Gotta Say, by Laura Kaye

24 Jan

Format: ebook, 65 pages
Published: September 28, 2011
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Back cover blurb:
Callie Davis stumbles upon two of her three male roommates in a surprising, molten-hot midnight tryst and discovers a side of herself she never knew existed. Desire to play with them grips her, and she can’t stop fantasizing about having multiple men, particularly her three long-time best friends.Callie is thrilled when a guys’ night out gives her the perfect opportunity to recreate her fantasy, with the help of a threesome porn video and a bag of sex toys. That is, until Lucas, Jack and Noah return early and catch her in the act. More than anything, the guys want to make her fantasy come true. But Callie has a secret, and she can’t help wondering if being with all three men will risk the future she’s always wanted with one of them.

As three strong sets of hands caress and undress her, Callie surrenders to desire, because sometimes you just gotta say…yes.

My review:
*stares slack-jawed into the distance, blinking rapidly* OMG, Laura! That was erotica with a capital E! I don’t think I can review this without venturing into NSFW territory, but suffice to say one word: Foursome. ‘Nuff said. *blink* Awesome foursome. *blink*
My rating: 5/5

Yours, Unexpectedly, by Susan Fox

20 Jan

Format: Kindle Edition, 337 pages
Published: November 29, 2011
Publisher: Kensington Books
Back cover blurb:
The wedding may be off, but the honeymoon is on. . .

Merilee Fallon has been planning her wedding to Matt Townsend since she was seven, and now the big day is only two days away. But suddenly she has an unexpectedly serious case of cold feet. So she shocks both Matt and herself–and calls off the wedding.

They may not get their happily ever after, but both Merilee and Matt agree they shouldn’t let their non-refundable honeymoon go to waste. So they take the Mexican Riviera cruise–as friends. It’s Merilee’s chance to be adventurous, and maybe even put her newfound freedom to the test. But she’s about to discover that sometimes there’s nothing more arousing than first love–especially on a cruise ship where there are no rules and anything goes. . .

My review:

Although I enjoyed this, the characters annoyed me so much – Merrilee especially (and what kind of name is that? I found myself singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat as I read, lol!) – that I had to take half a cupcake off what might have otherwise been a four-cupcake read.

I hadn’t read the previous three books in this series, outlining the other sisters and their romances, but enough was reiterated here for me to get the gist of what had gone on before. Merrilee and Matt, both now 21, were about to get married, but she had second thoughts and called it all off. Independent of each other, they both decide to use the nonrefundable honeymoon cruise as a holiday to rest and think, but then find themselves sharing a cabin, and falling back in love.

It’s a great premise but my problem started at the idea they had been together as a couple since they were seven – yep, seven. How realistic is that? And unfortunately they both acted like they were still seven most of the time. Matt was my favourite of the pair, but he was such a doormat that even he started to get on my nerves. The smexy times were very hot, though, and the HEA seemed to be quite realistic. I just didn’t like the immaturity, but maybe that’s 21-year-olds for you? The cover’s lovely, though.

My rating: 3.5/5

Hammered, by Kevin Hearne

19 Jan

Format: Kindle Edition, 336 pages

Published: July 5, 2011
Publisher: Del Rey
Back cover blurb:
Thor, the Norse god of thunder, is worse than a blowhard and a bully—he’s ruined countless lives and killed scores of innocents. After centuries, Viking vampire Leif Helgarson is ready to get his vengeance, and he’s asked his friend Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the Druids, to help take down this Norse nightmare.One survival strategy has worked for Atticus for more than two thousand years: stay away from the guy with the lightning bolts. But things are heating up in Atticus’s home base of Tempe, Arizona. There’s a vampire turf war brewing, and Russian demon hunters who call themselves the Hammers of God are running rampant. Despite multiple warnings and portents of dire consequences, Atticus and Leif journey to the Norse plain of Asgard, where they team up with a werewolf, a sorcerer, and an army of frost giants for an epic showdown against vicious Valkyries, angry gods, and the hammer-wielding Thunder Thug himself.

My review:
Slower, more serious and downright sad in places, but still another great effort from Mr Hearne. The first third progressed really slowly for me, but once Atticus returned to Tempe and Jesus arrived on the scene it was all action until the amazing end.Although there were many sad parts, especially as the men out to kill Thor told their stories as part of their male bonding, and at the final showdown, the usual humour was still evident. Jesus – who looked like the Old Spice guy – had some great lines, and I loved Atticus trying to explain to Leif about “squeeing” in the presence of Neil Gaiman.

Leif is fabulous, as always, and when he told his story I really felt for him. Of course when he engages in word play with Atticus he is at his best. Oberon wasn’t in this book so much, but his riff on “bacon lattes” and the R&D department at Starbucks had me laughing out loud. Hearne also has a wonderfully inventive mind for rude epithets – I particlarly liked “monstrous f*ckpuddle”.

The ending had a chilling twist and, as the next book is called Tricked, I fear Atticus may now be in some serious trouble. I hope Leif will return to help him.

My rating: 4.5/5

Nocturne, by Syrie James

18 Jan

Format: Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published: January 4, 2011
Publisher: Vanguard Press
Back cover blurb:
When Nicole Walker runs off the road in a blinding snowstorm after attending a friend’s wedding at a Colorado ski resort, she wakes up to find herself stranded at the remote mountain house of a handsome, enigmatic stranger. She lives and works in a fast-paced, high tech world; he is cultured and modern yet lives a quiet life in self-imposed exile. They are both powerfully attracted to each other, but there are things about him that mystify her and fill her with apprehension—and Nicole can’t shake the feeling that he really doesn’t want her there.

She soon discovers that he’s a famous, reclusive author, renowned for his highly detailed and authentic historical fiction, and fiercely protective of his privacy. No wonder he was so reluctant to take her in, Nicole thinks. But he hides a far darker secret. As the sexual tension between them builds, the clues mount up.

When Nicole realizes that her host is an ages-old vampire who thirsts for her blood, there’s nowhere for her to run but the blizzard raging outside, and he’s the only one who can save her life. By now there is no turning back; they have both fallen deeply in love, and share several passionate days together while waiting out the storm—a deep, meaningful, and dangerously seductive experience that will change them both forever.

My review:
A simple story beautifully told. With only two characters and one setting, James paints a vivid picture and one can’t help falling a little bit in love with tortured soul Michael, a reclusive historical fiction author, musicbox maker and horseman who just happens to also be a vampire. The ending was a surprise – I may have even welled up – but was a realistic conclusion to the story. Not that I believe that is the end of their tale.

The cover art is also as beautiful as the prose.

My rating: 4/5

Midnight Rising, by Lara Adrian

17 Jan

Format: Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published: December 1, 2010 (first published March 25, 2008)
Publisher: Robinson
Back cover blurb:
In a world of shadows and consuming passions, desire is the deadliest weapon…
Fuelled by pain and rage over a shattering betrayal, the warrior Rio has pledged his life to the war against the Rogues. He will let nothing stand in his way – least of all a mortal woman who carries a secret power. But now an ancient evil has been awakened and a new darkness is on the rise.
For journalist Dylan Alexander, it began in Prague, where suddenly she is at the centre of a gathering storm of violence and secrets. But nothing is as dangerous as the scarred, lethally seductive man who appears from the shadows to plunge her into his world of dark desire and endless night. Very soon Dylan will have to choose: leave Rio’s midnight realm, or risk everything for the man who has shown her infinite pleasures of the heart…
My review:
Another great offering from Ms Adrian. Very similar formula to the other books in the series, but this time we have the tortured Rio finding his proper soulmate after the betrayal of his first wife. I liked the idea of a second chance at love, and Dylan was a fabulous heroine. The introduction of a new villain was great, and of course I will be reading the next in the series.
My rating: 4/5