Thursday, April 29, 2010

Alan Baxter's Books Now Available in Print

Alan Baxter, whom I've mentioned previously on this blog but have not reviewed, recently contracted with Gryphonwood Books to have his previously-released e-books released in America (and anywhere else that can buy through in print format.

Here's a link to his announcement on his blog.

And links to his books on

While I'm not a huge fan of dark fantasy/horror (or whatever genre his stories fit into), Alan's imagination and excellent writing made RealmShift a thrilling read for me. I do plan to read MageSign this year but I'm not exactly sure when I'm going to fit it in...probably over the summer. Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Wraith by Phaedra Weldon

Have Powers, Will Travel

Zoë Martinique was just your average, single female, past 25, looking for love and/or exciting job opportunities. Until life handed her the dubious ability to travel outside of her body at will—which she turned into a career, hiring herself out as a literal spook. Industrial espionage, domestic surveillance, you name it—when she’s traveling she can see but can’t be seen…

Then one night things get out of hand while she is out-of-body: Zoë witnesses a murder. What’s worse, the killer is also a Traveler—and he most definitely not only sees her, but tries to pursue her.

To save herself, Zoë must somehow guide the very handsome detective assigned to the case to the truth without revealing herself. And with the help of her semi-psychic mom, a pair of gay ghosts, and her best friend (a Goth techno witch), she also has to figure out exactly who—and what—the murderer is, before he finds her and puts and end to her traveling—permanently.
--Wraith by Phaedra Weldon, Copyright ©2007 by Phaedra Weldon, published by Ace Books

My Review

An urban fantasy, written in what I’d call the ‘chick lit’ style (you know, first person female with a lot of personal commentary), I surprisingly found myself hooked rather quickly into the story.

Zoë hires herself out as a kind of investigator, finding out information for people willing to bid for her services (on eBay, no less). She does this through astral projection, following her targets and acquiring information. One night she witnesses a murder, and the killer—to her surprise—is another astral traveler. The killer manages to mark her, and Zoë’s life takes a turn for the uber-weird.

It’s hard to describe what happens next, because I’m still not sure I fully understand it all, at least, not without a handful of diagrams and a couple pie charts. If you’re interested in the unusual and unique, I’d give this book a read. I really liked it, and I’m going to start reading Spectre, book two in the series, next…starting tonight!

I give this story THREE STARS.

Dark Gold

Dark Gold by Christine Feehan

Alexandria Houton will sacrifice anything--even her life --to protect her orphaned little brother. But when both encounter an unspeakable evil in the swirling San Francisco mists, Alex can only cry to heaven for their deliverance . . . And out of the darkness swoops Aidan Savage, a golden being more powerful, more mysterious, than any other creature of the night. The ageless Carpathian male snatches them from a hideous fate. But is Aidan Alex's salvation . . . or her sin? If she surrenders to Aidan's savage, unearthly seduction, and gives him the color, the light, the family he craves, will Alex truly save her brother? Or sacrifice more than her life?
--Dark Gold by Christine Feehan, Copyright © 2007

My Summary

My least favorite of the Carpathian series, if this had been my first Christine Feehan read, I might not have read any of the others in her series. Good thing it wasn't my first because several others that came after this one I consider my favorite stories of all time.

I was put off by Alexandria's constant whining and Aiden's constant assertion that he knew best and that she should just be quiet and do as he says. Granted, she didn't ask to be made Carpathian and he didn't ask to have an independent woman as a lifemate, but for Pete's sake, people, bend a little, will ya?

As in all stories, there's a happy ending, so that's nice, and we never hear from them again until the Christmas Reunion--also nice. Their relationship has stabilized by that point so they don't get on my nerves (much).

I had planned on listening to Dark Magic next, but I still remember the main points of the storyline, so I'm going to skip it.

Please, please, hold back your applause, you're scaring the cats.

I give this story TWO STARS.

Monday, April 12, 2010

BoneMan's Daughters

Sooooo…I was at the Dollar store yesterday and I picked up six—yes, SIX—new books. Only one was by an author I’ve read previously, one was by an author I’ve heard of but never read, and the remaining four are all new-to-me authors. I figured at a buck each, if they’re lousy books I haven’t lost much and if they’re good, hey, it’s all good.

It wasn’t until I got out to the car that I realized what I had just done. I just bought six new books. The number of unread books on my bookshelf is at least 50, likely closer to 75, and I just added six more.

And I haven’t touched BoneMan’s Daughters in a week!

Allow me to explain.

BoneMan’s Daughters is an intense ride. On the front cover is a quote by Brad Meltzer: “[It] doesn’t just get under your skin. It crawls there, and nests, and raises its head with a bitter tug, like it’s living within you.” This is a very apt description of this novel and this is exactly what this novel did to me.

Have you ever read a book (or watched a movie) where you knew a train wreck was coming and there was nothing you could do to stop it? You could see it happening, building up scene by scene, paragraph by paragraph and with every page you turn, you know that train wreck is getting closer and closer, and with every word you know the coming explosion is not just going to be just a little fire but a conflagration that will simply swallow you whole?

Yeah, that’s this book.

I had to stop reading on page 175 because I knew the bomb was going to drop in the next couple pages and I just couldn’t read any further. I figured I’d give it a day or so then I’d pick it back up again and finish reading. That day turned into two, and two turned into three, and next thing I knew, three turned into a week. I even started reading another book just to keep myself from reading BoneMan’s Daughters. I kept telling myself, “I have to finish the Ted Dekker book before I read this other book,” but I just couldn’t bring myself to pick up BoneMan’s Daughters and finish it.

So after that little revelation in the parking lot, I decided that I had to finish BoneMan’s Daughters and I had to finish it before I went to bed. Which I did last night.

BoneMan’s Daughters by Ted Dekker

Would you kill an innocent man to save your daughter?

They call him BoneMan, a serial killer who’s abducted six young women. He’s the perfect father looking for the perfect daughter, and when his victims fail to meet his lofty expectations, he kills them by breaking their bones and leaving them to die.

Intelligence officer Ryan Evans, on the other hand, has lost all hope of ever being the perfect father. His daughter and wife have written him out of their lives.

Everything changes when BoneMan takes Ryan’s estranged daughter, Bethany, as his seventh victim. Ryan goes after BoneMan on his own.

But the FBI sees it differently. New evidence points to the suspicion that Ryan is BoneMan. Now the hunter is the hunted, and in the end, only one father will stand.

--BoneMan’s Daughters by Ted Dekker, Copyright ©2009 by Ted Dekker. Published by Hatchette Book Group

My Review

If you’ve read this far, you probably already know what I think of this book…it is four hundred and four pages of pure awesomeness.

Commander Ryan Evans is in Iraq, a Navy intelligence officer borrowed by the Army to help analyze the mountains of data they’ve amassed. When his convoy is attacked and he’s the only survivor, he must rely on his wits and his knowledge of the Iraqis and their tactics to gain his freedom.

He manages to escape after a harrowing, heart-wrenching experience and returns to the US, only to find his wife is in love with another man and his 16 year-old daughter wants nothing to do with him. He hasn’t been a part of their lives, more dedicated to the military than to his family. They’re ready to move on, but Ryan isn’t.

Lawyers for the man convicted as the BoneMan, a serial killer who kidnapped six teenaged girls and then killed them by breaking every bone in their bodies, manage to get his conviction overturned and he is set free, much to the city of Austin’s horror. Is this man really the BoneMan, and if he is, when will he strike next?

With time and counseling, Ryan comes to grips with his family’s decision, but before he can do what little bridge-building he can do, his daughter is kidnapped, ostensibly by the BoneMan. Problem is, now the FBI suspect Ryan is the BoneMan, and they have very good reasons to think so.

Can Ryan find the BoneMan and his daughter before the FBI catches him? Can he do as the BoneMan directs and jump through his hoops in order to save his daughter? And if he does, will his daughter ever accept him as her father again?

Get this book (click the link below). You will not be disappointed.

As I believe I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I’m an aspiring writer and this story was not only a great read, but a great lesson. Ted Dekker goes further than I have ever conceived going. He doesn’t just push the envelope, he mangles it, he shreds it, he puts it back together and then sprinkles a little C4 on it and blows it up. I’m now taking another look at the mystery I’ve started to craft and am wondering just where I can do a little envelope-destroying of my own.

I give this story FIVE STARS.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dark Desire

Dark Desire by Christine Feehan
The stranger silently summoned her from across the continents, across the seas. He whispered of eternal torment, of endless hunger, of dark, dangerous desires. Somehow, American surgeon, Shea O'Halloran could feel his anguish, sense his haunting aloneness, and she ached to heal him, to heal herself. Drawn to the Carpathian mountains, Shea found a ravaged, raging man, a being like no other, and she trembled. In his burning eyes, his icy heart, she recognized the beloved stranger who'd already become a part of her. This imperious Carpathian male had compelled Shea to his side. But was she to be his healer or his prey? His victim or his mate? Was he luring her into madness or would his dark desire make her whole?.
--Dark Desire by Christine Feehan, Copyright ©2006 by Christine Feehan

My Review:

The second in Christine Feehan’s Carpathian series, this story takes place about twenty-five years after the first, but there’s only the barest of hints of that much time passing. A seven year gap is mentioned, as that’s germane to the storyline, but the twenty-five years, well, you had to have read the previous story and you had to pay attention to what you were reading to catch that little tidbit.

Does that time gap really matter? Perhaps not. Maybe I’m just being picky.

Yeah, probably.

Okay, so, this story opens with Jacques, the brother of Mikhail (our hero from Dark Prince) locked away in solitude, his mind splintering due to the agonizing torture he endured at the hands of human vampire hunters. Turned over to them by “the Betrayer,” Jacques hung on to the barest shreds of his identity, his broken mind reaching out desperately for someone to help him.

Shea O’Halloran, an American doctor, is haunted by visions of a man in pain, at times even feeling his pain. He calls to her, and she tries to resist but when she is confronted by a pair of mysterious hunters, Shea goes on the run and finds her way to the Carpathian Mountains. Through her exploration of the area, she comes across Jacques’ body, buried upright in the wall of an abandoned, burned-down house. She rescues him, and the doctor in her has no choice but to heal the wounds of his body and try her best to heal the wounds in his mind.

A necessary trip into town finds Shea meeting up with another of Jacques’ kind. He—Byron—along with Mikhail, Gregori and Raven, find Shea and Jacques at her cabin. Shea is grateful, for now Jacques’ healing can finally begin.

But who is “the Betrayer?” Who turned over Jacques to the vampire hunters? What connection does Shea have to Jacques and Mikhail, besides being Jacques’ lifemate? With the hunters close on their trail, can the answers be found in time to save Jacques’ sanity, and Shea’s life?

I give this story THREE STARS.