Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dark Prince

Dark Prince by Christine Feehan
Mikhail Dubrinsky is the prince of his people, the Carpathians. But they are dying out. There are few women, and the men are either falling prey to vampires or are choosing the soulless life.

Losing all hope, Mikhail is no longer sure he can bear the bleak future laid before him. The only thing that can add light to his life, can relieve his terrible haunting loneliness, is to find a life mate. But he has given up believing one exists. As the beast rages inside, threatening to consume him, he vents his centuries-old despair in an anguished cry that fills the waning night. And then, incredibly, a life-saving voice answers him.

Raven Whitney has a rare gift: she not only can read minds, but she can communicate telepathically. But her talent is not always a gift. Her job is to track the twisted mental paths of serial killers, and their evil thoughts drain her both mentally and physically. Now, she is hoping to heal and comes seeking a quiet escape in the Carpathian Mountains. But when she mentally hears the anguished cry at dawn, she can not ignore it, unaware that her life is about to change forever.
--Dark Prince by Christine Feehan, Copyright ©2005

My Review:

I tried to stop myself. Truly, I did try. I told myself “Self, you’ve read this story at least twice if not three times. You do not need to read/listen to it again. Find something else to listen to…you’ve a huge audio library…choose something else!” But as much as I tried, I just couldn’t help myself and loaded up my iPod with Dark Prince.

If you’ve never ready any of Christine Feehan’s Carpathian series (sometimes called Dark series), this is the first book and the one you need to start with. It lays out the foundation of the entire series and you need that foundation to understand the remaining books in the series.

Mikhail Dubrinsky, unable to continue his bleak existence, decides to end his life. He has despaired for centuries, seeking his lifemate, the light to his darkness, and has been unable to find her. But in the anguish of his last night, a voice reaches out to him. Young, understanding, female. Who is this strange woman and why is she able to communicate with him in his mind? He decided to find out and discovers a woman staying at a nearby inn. Mikhail is unable to take his eyes off of her because he has at last found what he was looking for. His lifemate.

Raven Whitney is exhausted, mentally and physically, and has come to the Carpathian Mountains to rest. A psychic skilled at hunting serial killers, she is on the verge of collapse due to the demands of her job and only wishes to be left alone to rest. But the mental touch of a man in pain causes her to reach out and offer some measure of comfort. Little did she know that in that brief moment of compassion, she was sealing her fate and linking her life to a man who would draw her into a world of wonder, beauty, passion…and blood.

I was and still am a bit bothered by Raven’s easy capitulation to Mikhail’s will. I’d’ve expected her to put up more of a fight, make Mikhail work for her love rather than just decide it must be so and that’s it. Now, Raven gives Mikhail plenty of sass—she’s no wilting flower—but it’s pretty much a fait accompli that Mikhail will win Raven’s heart, simply because he wishes it. I think the man needs to work for his woman, even if they are destined to be together.

The different obstacles thrown in their path—vampire hunters who believe Mikhail to be the undead, a jealous wanna-be suitor, a rogue master vampire who wants Raven, and the introduction of half a dozen or so minor characters who will have their own stories in the future—are nicely woven together with a few jarring notes. The introduction of Aiden is the most jarring as he appears late in the story, seemingly from nowhere, and does nothing to move forward the plot.

However, Ms. Feehan’s skill as a teller of passionate tales improves greatly over the life of the series (I know because I’ve already read them all) and the stories become richer, more detailed, and draw the reader deeper and deeper into the Carpathian world. I thoroughly enjoy the series, and if you’re interested in reading a different take on the standard vampire stories, I urge you to give this series a try.

I give this story FOUR STARS.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dark Slayer

Dark Slayer by Christine Feehan

A rumor has persisted in the vampire world of a dark slayer—a woman—who travels with a wolf pack and any among the vampires who meets her is slain. Mysterious, elusive and seemingly impossible to kill, she is the one hunter who strikes terror into the hearts of the vampires.

Ivory Malinov is that woman, betrayed by her own people, by her family, by everyone she held dear and she hunts during the night with only her pack to sustain her sanity. She has not spoken to or been with any other person for a hundred years other than to feed from or slay. She stumbles across a body on her way back to her lair and discovers—her lifemate.

He is Razvan, branded a hated criminal, detested, feared and loathed by all Carpathians—he is also a dragonseeker of one of the greatest lineages of all Carpathians Held captive nearly his entire life by his grandfather, the Carpathians bitterest enemy, he is seeking the dawn to end his terrible existence.

This is a story of two people, horribly betrayed, wounded in spirit, fighters to the death, who must struggle to unite against a common enemy.
--Dark Slayer by Christine Feehan, Copyright © 2009

My Review:

I think this is the first time I’ve listened to an audio book where I wish I’d been reading the actual physical book instead. With a book, I can go slower and re-read a passage, taking a few precious moments to savor what I just read before going on. It’s not quite the same as when listening to a book and driving down the highway to or from work.

This is (I believe) the 20th book in Christine Feehan’s Carpathian series, so if you haven’t read any of the books in this series, do not, absolutely DO NOT start with this one. You will be so lost and confused as to the intricate details of the back-story ant it might turn you off to the series all together. Seriously, this is why I stopped reading Archangel’s Kiss after only one chapter.

If you have read the series, then read on.

Ivory Malinoff is known among the vampire community as The Slayer, a dark, beautiful woman who delivers death to any vampire foolish enough to cross her path.

One night, returning to her lair, she spies the body of the man splayed out on the ground at the base of her mountain home. He is Carpathian, and he pleads with her to leave him where he is so he may meet the sun and end his long, painful existence. Ivory is tempted, but in the end, cannot comply with his wishes and takes him into her home to begin healing his many wounds.

He is Razvan, scourge of his race and believed these many years to be in league with Xavier, the sworn enemy of the Carpathian people. But Razvan was merely a puppet, a body to be used by Xavier to commit his legion of crimes as he worked to find a way to eradicate the entire Carpathian race.

Ivory had once been Xavier’s student and had learned much under his tutelage, until the day he betrayed her to the vampires. She survived beyond all odds and applied herself to learning all she could about Xavier and his work so she could one day destroy him.

Now allied with Razvan, her lifemate, and with the backing of the Carpathian prince and his people, the two must set out on an impossible mission: destroy that which does not want to be destroyed.

I love Christine Feehan’s Carpathian series and I would be hard-pressed to give any of her stories less than four stars. There is one that I think I would …but this isn’t that one.

I give this story FIVE STARS.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Chesapeake Blue

Chesapeake Blue by Nora Roberts

Seth Quinn is finally home....

It's been a long journey. After a harrowing boyhood with his drug-addicted mother, he'd been taken in by the Quinn family, growing up with three older brothers who'd watched over him with love.

Now a grown man returning from Europe as a successful painter, Seth is settling down on Maryland's Eastern Shore, surrounded once again by Cam, Ethan, and Phillip, their wives and children - all the blessed chaos of the extended Quinn clan. Finally, he's back in the little blue-and-white house where there's always a boat at the dock, a rocker on the porch, and a dog in the yard.

Still, a lot has changed in St. Christopher since he's been gone - and the most intriguing change of all is the presence of Dru Whitcomb Banks. A city girl who has opened a florist shop in this seaside town, she craves independence and the challenge of establishing herself without the influence of her wealthy connections. In Seth, she sees another kind of challenge - a challenge she can't resist.

But storms are brewing that are about to put their relationship to the test. Dru's past has made her sensitive to deception and slow to trust. And Seth's past has made him a target of blackmail - as a secret he's kept hidden for years threatens to explode, destroying his new life and his new love.
--Chesapeake Blue by Nora Roberts, Copyright ©2004 by Nora Roberts, published by Jove Books

My Review:

Award-winning storyteller Nora Roberts gives her fans what they’ve been asking for: Seth’s story. The fourth book in the Chesapeake Bay series, after Sea Swept, Rising Tides and Inner Harbor, Chesapeake Blue tells the story of Seth Quinn, the adopted brother of Cameron, Ethan and Philip Quinn.

Chesapeake Blue is a wonderful conclusion to the series. We finally get to learn what’s happened to Seth. He’s all grown up now, an accomplished artist, ready to settle into the town that has always been his home. He meets Drusilla Whitcombe Banks, a newcomer to St. Christopher, and immediately sets himself to charm his way into her life. Though she tries to resist, having her own personal demons to conquer, Dru can’t help succumbing to the charm that is endemic to the Quinn men.

But Seth’s past threatens to tear them apart, and it’s only with Dru’s love and support, and a few words from the spirit of his deceased grandmother, that he’s able to find the strength to finally lay his own demons to rest.

I give this story FOUR STARS.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sleeping with Fear

Sleeping with Fear by Kay Hooper
Riley Crane woke up fully dressed, a gun under her pillow, and covered in blood. Even more frightening, she didn't remember what happened the night before. In fact, she barely remembered the previous three weeks.

An ex-army officer, now a federal agent assigned to the Special Crimes Unit, Riley was a chameleon - a clairvoyant who could blend in with her surroundings, be anyone or anything she chose to be. The SCU's expert on the occult, she'd been sent to the beachfront cottage on Opal Island by her enigmatic chief, Noah Bishop, to investigate reports of dangerous occult activity.

But that was three weeks ago. Now she's awoken to discover that she's got a sexy new man in her life and an unreliable memory, and that the clairvoyant abilities she's always depended on to protect her are MIA. Worse yet, with SCU resources stretched thinner than ever before, Riley is alone and without backup, feeling her way through a deadly game of blindman's buff, where no one around her is quite who or what they seem. And a bizarre murder is only the first jarring reminder of how high the stakes really are.

Bishop wants Riley off the case. So does powerful local D.A. Ash Prescott. Both her old retired army buddy Gordon Skinner and Sheriff Jake Ballard believe she can catch a vicious killer. But one of these four men knows exactly what's going on in this coastal community, and that's knowledge Riley desperately needs. For what Riley can't remember is more than enough to cost her her life. This time evil isn't just closer than she thinks - it's already there.
--Sleeping with Fear by Kay Hooper, Copyright © 2006 by Kay Hooper

My Review:
To wake up covered in blood and no memory of how it got there is a great way to grab the reader’s interest from page one, I have to admit. Once again, Kay Hooper steps away from the conventional murder mystery set-up and throws a handful of twists at her protagonist Riley, including amnesia, lost time, a man she doesn’t remember falling in love with and a grisly murder. Oh, and Satanists.

Yeah, I said Satanists. Seems this grisly murder has definite satanic hallmarks and Riley, being the SCU’s occult expert, is the natural choice to help the sheriff solve the murder. But can she, with her memories of the past three weeks gone, her psychic senses AWOL, the aforementioned lost time and the constant drain on her physical energy reserves? She has to, otherwise, she might never be normal again.
I give this story FOUR STARS.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Three Things


I'm neck-deep in studying for a new career--a one-month course to become a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant). I have to drive about 30 miles to get to class, so I'll continue to listen to audio-books as I drive. Unfortunately, this means reading for pleasure will have to take a back-seat for a while.


I started reading Nalini Singh's book, Archangel's Kiss, but only got about a chapter in when the course started. I've tried to continue reading, but by the time I finish my nightly studying, I don't want to read anything except the inside of my eyelids for eight hours (and be grateful if I get six). Archangel's Kiss will have to wait until after the course, and after I get the story that precedes this one (Angels' Blood, I think...I'll figure it out).


I thought I had the last three audio books in Kay Hooper's SCU/Bishop series, but I don't! It'll be a few months before I get them...I have the cheapest option in my audiobook subscription service, which means I get only one book a month. So once I finish listening to Sleeping With Evil, I'll listen to a few other books. Once I get the last three "Blood" books, I'll listen to them and post reviews.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chill of Fear

Chill of Fear by Kay Hooper

FBI agent Quentin Hayes always knew he had an unusual talent, even before he was recruited by Noah Bishop for the controversial Special Crimes Unit. But, as gifted as he is, for twenty years he’s been haunted by a heartbreaking unsolved murder that took place at The Lodge, a secluded Victorian-era resort in Tennessee. Now he’s returned one final time, determined to put the mystery to rest. Diana Brisco has come there hoping to unlock the mystery of her troubled past. Instead, she is assailed by nightmares and the vision of a child who vanished from The Lodge years ago. And an FBI agent is trying to convince her that she isn’t crazy but that she has a rare gift, a gift that could catch a killer. Quentin knows that this is his last chance to solve a case that has become a dangerous obsession. But can he persuade Diana to help him, knowing what it could cost her? For something cold and dark and pure evil is stalking the grounds of The Lodge. Something Diana may not survive. Something Quentin never felt before: the Chill of Fear.
--Chill of Fear by Kay Hooper, Copyright © 2006 Bantam Books

My Review:

Number 8 in the Bishop/Special Crime Unit series, this story takes a different track than the others in the series, and sets up the darker twist that the series is about to take.

Quentin Hayes has always been haunted by the murder of a little girl he came to know one summer long ago at The Lodge, a secluded resort in Tennessee. He regularly returns to the town of Leisure to pore over the case files, researching every little fact until there simply aren’t any more facts to research. But still he persists, hoping this visit is the one that breaks the case. Finally, twenty-five years after Missy’s death, this may finally be the year he solves the case.

Diana Brisco is at The Lodge attending a therapy seminar, hoping this time she can finally work out the demons that haunt her. Since the age of eleven, the deeply disturbed woman has been in and out of therapy, trying almost every anti-psychotic medicine known to man. Now, finally clean of all the drugs, her mind is struggling to figure out who she is, who she was always supposed to be.

When Diana and Quentin meet, a connection is made, opening pathways in each other that had never been explored before and maybe, just maybe, they can lay each other’s ghosts to rest.

This is a new twist in the series because the SCU is not being called in on an unusual case. This case comes from Quentin’s past, one he’s tried but just can’t seem to put to rest. Diana’s trying to put her own past to rest so she can move forward into her future. While the other books in this series all deal with evil in one form or another, the evil in this story takes on a new form, one bent on justice and revenge.

I give this story FOUR STARS.