Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: Starved for Love by Annie Nicholas

I’ve never read a book about a succubus before, so I’m not familiar with their traits or background. I don’t know the typical living arrangements or habits. In Annie Nicholas’ Starved for Love, Pia, a succubus, still lives at home with her sisters, father and his three wives. The sister wives (and yes, they are called sister wives in the book) and the very controlling, powerful father all felt a little too Big Love for me. I was never much of a Big Love fan because I was bothered by the way the women allowed men to control their lives, which is exactly what I disliked about this story.

Pia’s in her mid-twenties, but she behaves very much like a child. She’s dependent on her three moms, still needs them to cook for her and take care of her. There are scenes in the book in which she’s playing around with her sisters, teasing and punching each other as if they are little girls. One of her favorite things to do is chase frogs, and mentions her father having to help her out of the swamp after she fell in a few weeks — not years — ago. She doesn’t have a real job, but gets paid to sing in a club owned by Sin, her vampire lover – or rather, suitor, as she refers to the men who provide her with orgasms to keep up her energy. But worst of all, she seems to be completely controlled by her father. He plays a role in selecting her suitors, he has the final word with regard to her finding a husband, and she “feeds” him with her energy.

When her father isn’t telling her what to do, she’s taking orders from Sin. It’s because of Sin that she meets Val, who wants to make her his sixth wife. Her father doesn’t approve, but Pia insists on allowing Val to court her. I didn’t find their relationship to be all that romantic. Val is yet another controlling male, telling her what she should and shouldn’t do. She’s simply exchanging one dominant male (her father), for another.

I don’t enjoy reading about weak, childlike women. Pia wants to fall in love, but her needs as a succubus make that difficult. She thinks she may be falling in love with Val, but she’s only known him for three days. I didn’t find that to be very convincing. There was never any sort of explanation that made their attraction to each other believable. They are certainly attracted to each other physcially, but I got the impression early on that Pia is physcially attracted to most men.

Also, I expected a book about woman who needed orgasms to survive to have hotter and more sex. There are a couple of interesting scenes, but not until toward the end of the book. They weren’t enough to make the rest of the story worth it. Much of the book felt like a big tease. There are so many characters in this story: Pia’s other suitors, Sin’s employees, the fallen angel that worked for Val. I was expecting these other characters to have bigger parts in the story, but in the end most of them were irrelevant. I kept reading, expecting something exciting to happen, maybe a big surprise ending that would redeem the story, but when the story was finished, it all felt like a bit of a letdown.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: Sole Possession by Bryn Donovan

Bryn Donovan’s Sole Possession is the perfect scary, haunted house story for the Halloween season – or anytime you might be in the mood for a chilling read.

After David inherits his father’s house, he answers an ad for a contractor to get the house ready for a quick sale. He’s expecting an Andy when Andi shows up at the front door. His first instinct is to keep her away from the house, which leads Andi to think he’s a sexist jerk who doesn’t want to hire a woman.

David isn’t even sure why he wants Andi away from the house, but he is sure of his attraction toward her. She isn’t the sort of woman he normally dates. David prefers casual relationships, ones that provide a safe emotional distance. But immediately he feels close to Andi and realizes whatever happens between them won’t be casual.

The two wouldn’t seem to have much in common, David is a handsome successful lawyer and Andi has left her office job to work as a contractor. She strips wood and does tile, but her dream job is a full kitchen remodel. She likes the freedom her job provides and was never comfortable working in a cubicle. David admires her feisty determination, and her insistence that she’s the best person for the job.

As soon as Andi begins working on the house, she realizes there’s something strange happening here when she notices a face in the wood of the banister looking back at her.

There’s something in the house, something evil. David grew up as a victim of this evil, and now Andi is frighteningly aware of it. David is afraid he’ll never be able to escape and now he’s worried that his involvement with Andi – the first person he’s ever allowed himself to care about – will lead to her being another victim of this malevolent force.

As Andi and David begin uncovering the secrets buried within the house, they find themselves forced to confront their own secrets stemming from their childhoods. I found this to be the most interesting aspect of the story. In order to move forward in their lives and in their relationship, these two characters must struggle with their own personal demons, as well as banish the demon clinging to the house. As a child, Andi saw things other people couldn’t see, leading her to believe there was something wrong with her. Now, she’s beginning to realize that maybe what she saw wasn’t part of her childhood imagination. She has to decide what she is going to do with this ability she’s been denying her whole life.

I really enjoyed this story. It’s plenty scary and creepy, and there’s a very nice, hot, sexy romance happening between Andi and David. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good ghost story on a chilly fall night, but be warned, you might end up wanting to sleep with the lights on.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: Night Thief by Lisa Kessler

Lisa Kessler’s Night Thief begins along the streets of Paris, as crowds are gathering to watch Napoleon’s remains beings transported down Champs-Élysées to Les Invalides, making the year 1840. Already the story has scored bonus points with me – I enjoy a well-described historical setting, and I love Paris.

Marguerite, or Rita as she is often called, is trying to “earn” money for her escape from Paris. The police authorities refer to her as the “Golden Thief” because the golden-haired beauty is able to distract men with her charm as she swipes their valuables. Her plan is to sell what she takes and then use the money to travel across the ocean, away from the man for whom she works. I really liked this character, she’s tough and determined. There is absolutely nothing weak about her. She isn’t looking for someone to save her, she has a solid plan to save herself, as well as her cousin.

Her whole life, she’s been betrayed by men who claimed they would take care of her. With each man, her situation only grew worse. Now she is going to take care of herself.

Then she meets Kane, who can’t stop thinking about her after noticing her pick pocketing. For weeks he searches for her, though he’s not even sure why he feels so drawn to her. He’s a Mayan god, a night walker with the ability to transform into a jaguar – not that he ever does, at least not in public, because he’s fairly certain that wouldn’t go over well on the streets of Paris. For centuries, he’s avoided getting involved with humans, but he can’t seem to resist Rita.

While Rita is attracted to him, she’s no stranger to immortals and she isn’t too eager to get involved with one. She’s also a bit put off by his desire to rescue her. She’s not ready for another so-called protector to turn into a monster. She’s certain she doesn’t need him, she’ll be just fine on her own.
Kane isn’t about to give up that easily, and he’s not going to stand by idly while Rita is in danger. These are two strong characters that challenge each other before eventually realizing they should be together.

I don’t want to give away too much. That would ruin part of the fun of reading this yourself. But I will add that even though this is a novella, there’s quite a bit happening here. This is packed with action, danger, lots of emotion and quite a few very steamy scenes. The descriptions are written in such a way to elicit plenty of feelings – both good and bad. There are some horrible, gruesome things happening here to contrast against some truly beautiful parts. I’m a painter, and I’m going to cringe every time I see a paintbrush for a while. You’ll understand why if you read this.

This is a quick, fun read. Once I started reading it, I didn’t want to put it down. I was going to read a few pages before going to sleep and ended up staying up until it was finished.

I should mention, this is considered part 1.5 of The Night Series. I haven’t read the first book in the series and didn’t feel as if I missed anything. The back-story, at least all that is necessary for this story, is explained thoroughly. This has sparked my interest in reading the book before this in the series.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble by H.P. Mallory

This is the first book in the Jolie Wilkins series.  The ebook is available for free on amazon, which is how I ended up with it.

I thought I'd like this book.  I usually enjoy stories about witches.  It started out well enough, but the fact that it took me more than a week to read it doesn't bode well for the story.  Lately, I've been flying through everything I read.

With this book though, I felt like I'd been reading a lot, only to realize I wasn't very far into the story at all.  After a while, I just sort of lost interest and didn't care all that much about what happened to Jolie.

She's a psychic in Los Angeles who attracts the interest of a handsome warlock.  He hires her to go back in time and discovers she has amazing powers.  Also he's attracted to her and she's attracted to him, but they spend the whole book hot and cold for each other, and after a while it gets boring. 

Jolie describes herself as being very plain, but every man she meets can't seem to resist her.  There's the warlock, the leader of a pack of werewolves, a sexy vampire and the king of the fairies. Everyone wants Jolie in their bed and they're very up front about it. 

And yet, she claims she doesn't date -- well, she says that at one point, says she's only had sex once, back in tenth grade, I think.  But then several times she mentions she hasn't had a date in six months.  I found that confusing.  If she doesn't date -- not at all -- then why keep saying she hasn't had a date in six months.  Did she date six months ago? 

I never quite understood why everyone was so drawn to her.  It's never revealed what is so attractive about her.  How has she gone her whole life -- or six months -- without dating and now all of a sudden everyone wants her?  Maybe she has some quality that only attracts supernatural beings.

Also, after a while I got tired of Jolie crying over everything.  Seems like every scene resulted in her crying for some reason.  I just didn't care about her or her tears.

I was under the impression this was a fun and light-hearted story, and it's written in a very casual way - but then we have all these near death battles.  Such drama didn't fit with the style.  Or maybe I'm just picky.

While I didn't hate the story, and I was amused by the Bon Jovi mention -- Living in Sin is played during a party, following a waltz -- there are much better witch stories out there.