Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dark Peril

Dark Peril by Christine Feehan

Carpathian Dominic Dragonseeker has taken a desperate gamble by ingesting deadly vampire parasites that will help him infiltrate cruel enemies who seek to destroy his peaceful race. He never counted on finding his lifemate under these dire circumstances, but to his shock, his dreams of a jaguar shape-shifter turn into reality when he meets warrior Solange Sangria. Solange is bent on destroying her evil father and his cohorts, who murder women and conduct hideous scientific experiments. Dominic and Solange must learn to fight side by side and trust each other to protect the innocent and heal their old wounds.

--Dark Peril
by Christine Feehan
Copyright © 2010 by Christine Feehan
Published by Berkeley Hardcover
Reprinted October 2011 in paperback by Jove Books

My Review

I’ve long enjoyed Christine Feehan’s books, but I have to say, the sexual depravity by some of the characters in a couple of her most recent books have left me with a bad taste in my mouth. This one contains similar elements by supporting characters (not the main protagonists) and I can’t help wondering if this is becoming a staple in her books. Yes, there are plenty of depraved people out there, but that doesn’t mean all of us readers enjoy reading the details of their demented thoughts.

This is probably the lowest review I've ever given a Christine Feehan book, but I could barely bring myself to finish this story. One of the things I've always loved about her characters is their passionate nature that's constantly at war with their savage nature. But this time, it was just over the top. Long paragraphs of narration about how everything in their world has changed now that they found their life mate and the same information is repeated again and again and again ad nauseum. I started listening to the audio version of the book and had to stop and finish it by reading the novel. It was much easier to skip over the unbearable parts that way.

To quickly summarize, Solange is the last pureblood of the royal Jaguar line. Her father, Broderick, has been on a campaign to kill any female with Jaguar blood that cannot shift. He thought years ago he had killed Solange, but she's still alive. Joined with Dominic, her life mate, they fight to destroy Broderick's operation. At the same time, they work to destroy the vampires that Broderick has allied himself with in his quest.

For those who may think I'm no longer a fan, you're wrong. I do still enjoy her novels and I'm looking forward to the next Sea Haven novel. I'm eager to learn more about the Prakenskii men...I just hope it's not as repetitive as the Carpathians have become.

I give this story TWO STARS.

She's back!

I didn't disappear off the face of the earth, nor did I go on a six week vacation (I wish!). No, what I did was enroll myself into an on-line university course so I could start getting my Bachelor's degree. The classes are only six weeks long, however, they're very intense with a lot of reading and writing to do. I did some reading for pleasure, but as you can see by the posts, only four books. My next class starts Monday, so with a week off, I figured I'd better get caught up on stuff I was putting off.

BY the way, if you're in the Northern Virginia area, would you like to adopt a couple of kittens?

My nephew's wife wants the grey one, and my other nephew has dibs on the red (though I don't know if he'll be able to keep it). The two blondes, both boys, are available and we'd like them to go as a pair. So if you're interested, or you know someone who might be (AND THEY'RE IN No. VA! Seriously, I'm not driving cross-country to deliver a couple of kittens to someone.), let me know!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The First Family

The First Family by David Baldacci

It began with what seemed like an ordinary children's birthday party. Friends and family gathered to celebrate. There were balloons and cake, games and gifts.

This party, however, was far from ordinary. It was held at Camp David, the presidential retreat. And it ended with a daring kidnapping . . . which immediately turned into a national security nightmare.

Sean King and Michelle Maxwell were not looking to become involved. As former Secret Service agents turned private investigators, they had no reason to be. The FBI doesn't want them interfering. But years ago, Sean King saved the First Lady's husband, then a senator, from political disaster. Now, Sean is the one person the First Lady trusts, and she presses Sean and Michelle into the desperate search to rescue the abducted child.

With Michelle still battling her own demons, and forces aligned on all sides against her and Sean, the two are pushed to the absolute limit. In the race to save an innocent victim, the line between friend and foe will become impossible to define . . . or defend.

--The First Family
Copyright © 2011 by DAVID BALDACCI
Published by PUBLISHER

My Review
Another Sean King/Michelle Maxwell adventure, this one finds the two seemingly on their feet and working to build their business. Years ago, when Sean was still with the Secret Service, he happened to meet Dan Cox, the new senator from Georgia in, shall we say, a compromising position? He returned the inebriated gentleman to his wife and kept the identity of the woman he was with a secret. Years later, First Lady Jane Cox calls Sean for help. Her niece, Willa, has been kidnapped. Will he and Michelle please work with the FBI to find her?

Naturally, they take the case and uncover a plot that digs deep into a father's need to avenge his daughter.

I won't say any more, because I think you might have caught a little bit of the plot that I just threw at you. The basic motive of the bad guy was pretty easy to work out, but it was the execution of his plan, and how Sean and Michelle worked to uncover it, that kept me interested in the story. Baldacci's plots are both simple and intricate at the same time, making the reader actually think about what's happening. That's why I like him so much. As an added plus, Michelle finally uncovers the memory that she's been blocking all this time. Now that she has, I hope she can finally heal. I'll find out eventually as The 6th Man is in my "to listen to" queue.

I give this story FOUR STARS.

White Dusk

White Dusk by Susan Edwards
Dakota Territory, 1810

Nothing is more important to Swift Foot than restoring his family's honor, not even love. Though his heart belongs to another, he agrees to wed Small Bird, in the hopes that the marriage will end a war. A war that began when his own father chose love over duty to his people...

Small Bird believes she is destined to stand by Swift Foot's side as his wife, that their shared past has shaped their future. She knows he does not wish to marry despite the desire she sees in his eyes, but she is determined to win his heart as well as his respect.

Just as passion flares between the newlyweds, the enemy draws near. And the wife of Swift Foot is their target...

--White Dusk
by Susan Edwards
Copyright © 2011 by Susan Edwards
Published by Carina Press ebooks

My Review
Swift Foot has returned to his Hunkpapa clan and been made chief of his people. Now he must marry Small Bird to bring peace to the two clans. But for some, the Miniconjou to be exact, peace cannot come until Swift Foot, the product of a Hunkpapa Indian and a white woman, is dead. By marrying him, Small Bird puts herself in harm’s way.

But the threat to her life isn’t the only thing Small Bird must contend with within her marriage. Her new husband loves another, a white woman. Though he assures her she is out of his life, she isn’t out of his heart. Can Small Bird find a way to bring peace to the Hunkpapa and Miniconjou and at the same time, banish the spirit of the white woman from Swift Foot’s heart and fill the space with her own?

Ah, now we know what happened to Emily’s lover from White Dawn. Though I was sad to see Swift Foot and Emily’s parting, they needed to experience their love for each other in order to fully love the ones they eventually married. It was a difficult task the author set out for herself in the plot of this story, but she handled it beautifully and in a way that doesn’t feel forced or false.

Susan Edwards shows her mastery of the craft in the way she brought Swift Foot and Small Bird together. I know the characters in the remaining stories in the series will find themselves in similarly heart-wrenching situations, but under her skillful pen, they will find their way to their true heart’s desires.

This story was first published in 2002, the remaining stories in the series following naturally. They’re being re-released by Carina Press and the first four books are available on their web site. Click here to order from Carina Press or the below link to order from Amazon.com.

I give this story THREE and a HALF STARS.

I received an Advance Uncorrected Proof from NetGalley.

White Dawn

White Dawn by Susan Edwards
Missouri River, 1810

Broken-hearted and abandoned in the wilds of America's untamed West, sixteen-year-old Emily Ambrose is rescued from certain death by solitary trapper John Cartier. Though she's learned the hard way not to trust any man, she can't help but feel safe with the kind stranger.

John can't imagine anyone willingly letting Emily go. Her strength and beauty call to him, but it is clear her wounded heart needs time to heal, and he won't settle for just her body. He vows to return Emily to civilization-and to resist the desire growing between them, unless she turns to him out of love.

Emily is drawn to her rugged but gentle rescuer, and begins to feel the passion that a woman can feel for a man. But she can't embrace a future with John as long as she's haunted by secrets of the past...
--White Dawn
by Susan Edwards
Copyright © 2011 by Susan Edwards
Published by Carina Press ebooks

My Review
I’m usually not a fan of historical novels, but the overall story arch of the twelve “White” stories that Susan Edwards penned intrigued me, so I decided to give them a try. I’m glad I did.

Emily is actually rescued from death twice. The first time, she is saved from a pair of wolves by a Sioux Indian named Swift Foot. They travel together through the spring an early summer and Emily finds herself falling in love with Swift Foot. Because of the language barrier, they’re not able to converse, but they find a way to, ahem, communicate. Swift Foot wants to keep Emily for himself, but loyalty to his people has him leaving her to rejoin them. He doesn’t abandon Emily—he leaves her where he knows she’ll be found by a trapper he knows, John Cartier.

Though John finds himself drawn to the golden-haired beauty, she has her secrets and they keep her from returning his affection. As much as she tries, Emily cannot deny the pull on her heart. But what will John do when he learns the truth?

This story is a wonderful beginning to the series and I'm eagerly looking forward to the remaining stories.

This story was first published in 2002, the remaining stories in the series following naturally. They’re being re-released by Carina Press and the first four books are available on their web site. Click here to order from Carina Press or the below link to order from Amazon.com.

I give this story THREE and a HALF STARS.

I received an Advance Uncorrected Proof from NetGalley.