Thursday, May 29, 2008

Through The Veil - Shiloh Walker

Found wandering in a field as a child, Lee Ross was given a name by the state and put in a foster home—without anyone realizing she wasn’t entirely human. All her life, she’s tried to forget the odd dreams that have plagued her, of monsters creeping through the night and a man fighting demons by her side. But the bruises she wakes with are all too real to ignore…

Then the man from her dreams appears—in the flesh. His name is Kalen—and he insists that her destiny lies in his world, the world of her dreams. To save their people, he must convince Lee to give up everything she knows, follow her heart, and cross over into the Under Realm—even though once she does, she’ll never be able to return.
This was my very first Urban Fantasy so I wasn't sure what to expect. Add in the fact that it's mixed with paranormal ... well, generally that's not my style. But, I'd been wanting to try UF for a while, and when Shiloh offered the ARC, I snapped it up. Why? Because I love her writing. LOVE IT. So I figured the fact that I always enjoy her writing would be a great way to ease into the UF genre. I was right.

I have to admit that the beginning, the world building, was a little slow going for me, but in some ways I think the route Shiloh took was necessary because there is A LOT of stuff going on in this book. So many different creatures... some of them just way creepy. Shiloh sure has a GREAT imagination. Anyway, I'm not going to rehash the book and what happens in it except to say... expect the unexpected.

In Through The Veil Shiloh took me on a journey to another world. One that was bleak and dark and, frankly, scary. I mean I sure as heck wouldn't want to meet up with one of those Sirvani or Ikacado demons. *shudder* I loved Lee. I loved how Shiloh didn't make Lee one of those tough-as-nails women who ends up in a different dimension/world and doesn't get freaked about it but instead kicks ass without hesitation. I like how Lee was "humanized"... how she did get freaked and how she did wonder what she was doing there and just what the hell was going on.

Enter Kalen. Oh, hunky Kalen. He is no pushover. He gives Lee the what-for more than once and I like that about him. He doesn't push her farther than he knows she can go, but he does give her the shove she needs to be what she needs to be and helps her down the path in finding it.

There are a lot of twists and turns in this book, creatures from your worst nightmares, a lovely romance in spite of the chaos and war, and the occasional surprise in the story that will keep you turning the pages. I thoroughly enjoyed Through The Veil and I hope that Shiloh will continue this as a series. It certainly would be interesting to see where Kalen, Lee, and their people go from here. (Hint, hint *G*)

My grade: B+.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Monthly Recap

Shaken & Stirred; Sex, Straight Up; Nightcap by Kathleen O'Reilly: These were the first Blaze books I'd read in a while, mostly on the recommendation of Dear Author and the reviews and comments there. They didn't disappoint. Each brother is unique as is each heroine. I still wish Sean (Nightcap) had ended up with the realtor lady. I think the storyline in Nightcap was too big for the 55K of a Harlequin Blaze. Still, it was good. The first two books A's, the third a B.

Just Desserts by Barbara Bretton: New-to-me author one whose backlist I fully intend to explore in detail. I saw the storyline and it looked intriguing. Glad I snagged this one from the library. It was good. B+.

The Day We Met by Barbara Bretton: I enjoyed Just Desserts so much I decided to explore Ms. Bretton's backlist. I really enjoyed this story a lot. It's different and explores the many facets of the life of a cop who has a troubled past, and a divorced, single mom, who meet by chance in Atlantic City and instantly feel a connection... then when they get back to reality, it's a little harder to be together than they realized it would be and though it all fight to be together. Enjoyable storyline. B+

Pursuit by Elizabeth Jennings: The beginning of this book rocked and I was enthralled for about 2/3 of the book... then it dragged. It was as if once the H & H hooked up, that was where the book should have ended. Then, the ending? Like two pages. It felt VERY rushed, but that's probably because we had already rectified nearly everything way too early in the book. I think the first 2/3 of the book was an A, the last 1/3 a C.

Silent Run by Barbara Freethy: Well thought out romantic suspense. I like that the H & H have issues they need to resolve along the way. Freethy is also a new-to-me author and one I'm glad I found. I'm looking forward to reading the next book Silent Fall. My grade: B.

Private Pleasures by JoAnn Ross: I picked this one up by chance from the library as the storyline looked good. Holy crap! This book rocked my socks off! If you like older Sandra Brown books, you're going to LOVE this book. It isn't a suspense, but rather a contemporary, one that spans about 15-20 years, but dude, it's awesome. My Grade: A+. It's a keeper for me. It'll go right next to Sandra Brown's Mirror Image. (NOTE: I'm not sure if this part of a trilogy or connecting stories or not, but I will be looking Ms. Ross's earlier books for sure!)

Drive-by reviews, monthly recap

Absolutely no gumption for full-length reviews of late. And it is NOT for lack of fabulous reads. Just busy.

In March and April, I managed to read a handful of titles that were aging on my TBR list. I think A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole lingered on my TBR list for two years. Another multi-year entry was Allison Brennan’s The Prey. Lisa Kleypas’ Mine Till Midnight languished for a year and a half and both Mine To Possess by Nalini Singh and Ice Storm by Anne Stuart came close to lapping this year’s follow-up releases.

The not-so-old releases included Virgin River by Robyn Carr—a book I saw on more than one best-of-2007 list—and Blue-eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas. Still, I am as far from the bleeding edge as I’ve ever been. LOL

A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole – Wow. Just wow. There is an intensity in paranormal romance—in both characterization and circumstance—that I rarely find elsewhere. I can think of a few historicals that wield the same grip—Lord of Scoundrels, Dreaming of You, The Spymaster's Lady. Contemporary romance? Maybe one of Linda Howard’s darker books, like All The Queen’s Men, or an early Robb installment, back when Roarke’s need for Eve overpowered all else. In all of these titles, I found deeply compelling characters, men and women barely holding on to conscious choice in the face of overwhelming desire and need. Paranormals offer a wider selection of such characters obviously, because that formula picks fate over choice every chance it gets. But man, when an author gets it right, wow. Cole’s Lachlain is more a force than a being. Heroine aside, everyone else (particularly the reader) travels along in his wake. He definitely fell in the more-man-than-I-could-handle bin, but I enjoyed his magnetism nonetheless. Although not as intense, Emmaline was compelling in her own right. Cole did a fabulous job of balancing these two--giving us Lachlain’s pain right upfront while holding Emmaline’s story back. I couldn’t stop turning the pages. Compelling, compelling, compelling. No other word fits like this one does. Loved it. Just finished No Rest For The Wicked and loved it just as much.

The Prey by Allison Brennan – Page-turner. More for its suspense elements than for its romance, but that is not a drawback for me. I really enjoy suspense. As my first Brennan book however, this was a close call. The set-up of the first brother as potential love interest, overshadowing him with his Delta Force brother, then killing him didn’t work for me. Took away from the story and left me wondering if Brennan was going to butcher her suspense tales with botched romance attempts. Having started The Hunt, I’m reasonably assured this won’t happen and look forward to more page-turning suspense in that smooth, economical writing style.

Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas – Early complaints that Kleypas pulled a bait-and-switch here—not giving Cam his pre-baited heroine Daisy—were responsible for my delay in reading this one. I think. At any rate, none of that mattered once I started reading. This was classic historical Kleypas, wholly captivating and very, very satisfying.

Mine To Possess by Nalini Singh – I love Singh’s Psy-Changeling books. No question. But this was the first one to grip me on page ONE. Literally, I was pulled under instantly. And no, before this, I hadn’t paid much attention to Clay. As a secondary in earlier books, he never really stood out to me. But man, Singh set his story up and hooked me before I could blink.

Ice Storm by Anne Stuart – Fabulous. There hasn’t been an entry in this series that I haven’t loved.

Virgin River by Robyn Carr – I don’t think I qualify as a true contemporary romance fan. I need suspense with my present-day romance and the inherent period confines/conflicts in my historical romances. Somehow, I’m rarely moved by stories of men and women just working it out as they go about their daily lives. Virgin River was good. But its remote setting, military-cum-mountain man and emotionally vulnerable heroine didn’t set off any sparks for me. They did hold my interest, but they didn’t involve me. Not sure whether I’ll continue on in the series. If I do, it will be for Carr’s clean prose and storytelling pace.

Blue-eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas – A disappointment. It lacked maturity and depth, IMO. And its first person narrative fell considerably short of pulling me headlong into the story. I think Kleypas handled the issue of spousal abuse with honesty and care, but those moments of real connection with her heroine (the story’s narrator) were short-lived—her short attention span and stereotyped relationships with family, friends and coworkers inevitably bounced me out of the story. I haven’t read Sugar Daddy. Should I?

I also read:

River Road by JoAnn Ross – Good romantic suspense—heavy on the romance. Not an author meticulously documented or tracked on my TBR list, but one I keep an eye out for at paperback swaps and UBS. I should probably step her up to my lists to ensure I get through her backlist and receive alerts to any new releases.

The Second Time Around by Marie Ferrarella – Contemporary and category. Definitely stepping outside of normal for me, but it was a unique, interesting and humor-filled read. I enjoyed myself, a lot. Thank you Anne for the rec!

Abandon by Carla Neggers – A completely random (romantic suspense) selection from my library’s paperback swap shelf. Excellent read and a new-to-me author I can begin tracking ruthlessly. LOL

Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich was good in the usual way—kind of like having lunch with girlfriends you haven’t seen in awhile.

Dangerous Games by Lora Leigh was what I expected it to be. I thought her August brothers series ground-breaking, but couldn’t get into her Breed series. Talking to Leigh fans, these are the two series to read. Unfortunately, the titles I’ve tried since Leigh’s move from Ellora’s Cave have all felt formulaic--sure, it’s Leigh’s formula, but still repetitive. This one was no different. Still, I enjoyed it for what it was. In the same month, I picked up Cheyenne McCrays’ Chosen Prey and Shiloh Walker’s Hunting The Hunter. DNFs, both of them.

And finally, I read Deadly Game by Christine Feehan. As I read it out of order, I was a bit lost—particularly at the beginning. But once on my way, I couldn’t put it down—not even long enough to go back to the beginning of the series and catch up. I’m doing that now. This is another paranormal series (Ghostwalkers) that I’ve heard mentioned over the last couple of years and wish now that I’d listened more carefully. Good stuff.
Related Posts with Thumbnails