Introducing: “The Watchers” by Jon Steele

Hardcover: 560 pages

Publisher: Blue Rider Press

Release Date: May 29, 2012

Series: Unknown as of yet, but rumored to be a trilogy

I just received an ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy) of this book and I have to say it intrigued me. This is a big leap for me since it’s not normally what I read, but it does have fallen angels so it does count for something! Anyways, just look at this beautiful cover! The story sounds so interesting and unique that I’m compelled to read it.

Then I thought I might just introduce this book to you too and then make a final report once I’ve finished reading it. Here is the description of the story:

“Meet Marc Rochat, a man-child who has devoted his life to being the bell ringer at the gothic Lausanne Cathedral, one of the great architectural structures in the world. Strange things have been going on in and around the church, including tremblings in the underground crypt and a variety of gruesomely murdered bodies showing up in nearby streets. 

Into this landscape comes Katherine Taylor, a beautiful young American woman, who is making a phenomenal living as one of the highest-priced call girls in Switzerland; she’s a bit too introspective for her own good, and, unfortunately, much too observant of her clients’ peccadilloes for theirs. 

Putting the puzzle together is Jay Harper, a British private eye, who has been hired to investigate the killings and other strange doings; alas, he has no memory of who hired him or precisely why he was chosen for the job.

And that’s when the Fallen Angels start appearing.”

Sounds pretty damn good doesn’t it? I’m really happy I have a chance to read this before it gets released on May 29.

As some of you might know, I’m writing my first novel and it’s also about angels, so naturally I’m intrigued to see what the others have come with in terms of theory or stories. I find the whole subject immensely fascinating and there are so many things one can write about them without the stories being overtly religious. Well, anyways, I guess I’m off to start reading this book and if you’re interested, I’ve posted some info on the author below.

About the author

Jon Steele was born in the American Northwest in 1950 and was raised in Great Falls Montana. He worked an assortment of legal and illegal jobs all accross America before joining Independent Television News of London. Jon earned a reputation as one of the world’s top cameramen in dangerous environments. His autobiography, ‘War Junkie’ was published in 2002 by Transworld and is today recognized as a cult classic of war reportage. In Baghdad, on the day before the Iraq War began, he put his camera on the ground and quit. Jon moved to the south of France and lived without a television, radio or newspapers for a year. He spent his days writing and taking walks in quiet places. In 2007 he traveled to Iraq, alone and without support of any news organization. He lived for three months with an American combat unit, filming their lives and recording their emotions for the award winning documentary, The Baker Boys: Inside The Surge. Currently Jon lives in Switzerland with his Jordanian-born wife and the two abandoned cats they found in an Amman road.

http://www.jonsteele-author.com/

“Visions of Heat” by Nalini Singh (Psy-Changeling #2) – Review

Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: Gollancz

Release Date: March 6, 2007

Series: Psy-Changeling

Hailed as a major new talent in paranormal romance, Nalini Singh takes us deeper into the world of the Psy and the changelings in her latest extraordinary novel, where a gifted woman sees passion in her future – a passion that is absolutely forbidden by her kind… 

Used to cold silence, Faith NightStar is suddenly being tormented by dark visions of blood and murder. A bad sign for anyone, but worse for Faith, an F-Psy with the highly sought after ability to predict the future. Then the visions show her something even more dangerous – aching need… exquisite pleasure. But so powerful is her sight, so fragile the state of her mind, that the very emotions she yearns to embrace could be the end of her. 

Changeling Vaughn D’Angelo can take either man or jaguar form, but it is his animal side that is overwhelmingly drawn to Faith. The jaguar’s instinct is to claim this woman it finds so utterly fascinating, and the man has no argument. But while Vaughn craves sensation and hungers to pleasure Faith in every way, desire is a danger that could snap the last threads of her sanity. And there are Psy who need Faith’s sight for their own purposes. They must keep her silenced – and keep her from Vaughn..”

My Thoughts

“Visions of Heat” is the second book in the Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh and a worthy sequel to “Slave to Sensation”. Like with the first book, I was completely blown away. I didn’t expect the sequel to be as good as the first book in the series, but boy was I wrong. I simply did not want it to end.

I really liked Faith, maybe not as much as Sascha, but she was still amazing. Her strength and determination to feel something beyond what she thought was possible impressed the hell out of me. I don’t know many people able to do that. And Vaughn…he was so damn hot! I love my men wild, and he certainly delivered on his part. All possessive, growly and protective. The jaguar in him let loose.

As for the heat, well, let’s just say that this one was way off the scales, possibly even better than the first one. I loved Lucas & Sascha, but Faith and Vaughn were simply magnetic. They were constantly drawn to each other, all logical thought gone. It was mesmerizing to follow. And as for his imagination…well, I strongly suggest you sit down comfortably in your bed while reading this. I sometimes read books in the train while I’m on my way to the university, and as I was reading this, I was actually blushing and laughing. I guess the people on the train thought I was a weirdo, but I so did not care. Their loss, haha!

Aside from the romance and hot sex scenes, the plot was incredibly well structured. I loved the fact that Nalini Singh went deeper into the Psy mentality and issues. The Silence protocol and the NetMind were actually quite fascinating and I found myself wishing I’d thought of these things first.

I absolutely love Nalini Singh’s books. I’m truly addicted. In total there are ten books in this series, with the eleventh coming out in May. I. Cannot. Wait!

So what are you waiting for? Go grab the yourself the first book in the series and then read on, because it’s something truly worth your time.

Rating: 🌙  – a golden moon!

“Pride Mates” by Jennifer Ashley (Shifters Unbound #1) – Review

Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Leisure Books

Release Date: January 26, 2010

Series: Shifters Unbound

CALL OF THE WILD

To most, they are animals even when in human form. They are to be collared and kept on the fringes of society, scorned because they are feared, hated for their extraordinary powers. And attorney Kim Fraser has to go right into the heart of their lair.

It’s her job to defend those in need. But there s absolutely nothing defenseless about Liam Morrissey. His soft Irish lilt and feline grace can’t disguise his sheer strength. Nor can the silver chain at his throat, designed to control the aggression of his kind, completely reassure her that this man has been tamed.

Yet when a feral shifter begins to stalk them both, Liam is the only one she trusts with her life. She’ll let him claim her for her protection, for her pride, and for a passion that knows no bounds.”

My thoughts

Just look at that cover! Damn, I could stare at it for ages. I don’t know about you, but I love Celtic lore and the medallion pictured on the cover is called a Celtic knot. I have a very similar one, so when I saw this book, I knew I had to buy it. And besides it’s got everything I love in it: shapeshifters, faeries, love, sex, and vulnerable characters.

With just the right amount of humor, Jennifer Ashley managed to picture just my kind of man. Liam Morrissey is also Irish, which is always a plus for me! I love me some sexy Irish men.

I don’t need to tell you how good this book is. It just is! I’m a massive Shifters fan and can’t wait to get my hands on the next books in the series. There are lots of hot sex scenes in this book, but it also speaks of family and love. Liam is such a protector and a sweet man that I found myself wishing I find somebody just like him.

The story world is also fairly interesting. I hate the fact that the shapeshifters are chained and locked in a society far away from humans. It seems so unfair, but at least they don’t feel the need to be among humans, so it’s all good. Shifters are really loving to each other, even to non-family members. The whole atmosphere in their “Shifter City” is filled with love and joy.

The book starts with attorney Kim Fraser, who is trying to defend a shifter in a murder case. Everybody thinks she is insane, but she is convinced the shifter is innocent. The only problem is that nobody will talk to her. Soooo she goes to see Liam Morrissey. He is the one who opens up the doors for her, even though he doesn’t believe she can do anything about the case. They are instantly attracted to each other and I find it sweet that he tries to take care of her even without knowing what kind of person she is. For example, he gives her a foot massage after she walked for a long time in high heels. And that was the first day they met! Ludicrous, right?

Anyways, I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. I think I’m going to read it again soon, cause I just miss all the characters! A girl can dream, right?

Rating: ★★★★★ – 5 stars!

“Dark Awakening” by Kendra Leigh Castle (Dark Dynasties #1) – Review

Paperback: 331 pages

Publisher: Forever

Release Date: June 28, 2011

Series: Dark Dynasties

“For centuries, shapeshifting vampire Tynan McGillivray has prowled the night as an outcast, valued only for his ferocious hunting skills. When a feud among the immortals escalates into all-out war, he is ordered by his ruthless queen to locate a Seer – a human woman with a special gift – who can secure victory for their clan. Ty’s search leads him to a quiet New England town, but once he has the Seer in his grasp, her touch awakens within him a hunger like he’s never known…

Lily Quinn has always been different. Since childhood, she’s had vivid nightmares and an eerie sixth sense. When a sexy, silver-eyed stranger demands her help, Lily plunges into a new world of danger and sensuality. With Ty, she discovers sizzling passions she cannot deny and powers she cannot control. Soon, it is clear that Lily is much more than a Seer – she holds the key to ancient secrets and unthinkable destruction. But will a vampire’s vow of eternal protection stop these evil forces…or unleash her dark destiny?”

My thoughts

Wow! I mean, wow! This novel had me hooked right from the start, making me want more of Tynan McGillivray. A shapeshifting vampire with a Scottish accent and silver eyes is bound to be irresistible. Well, at least for me he is.

Kendra Leigh Castle has created a world where history meets fantasy, a secret world of vampires living within the world of humans. This is an incredible debut novel. I first got to hear about this book when I requested an advanced reader’s copy for it. I didn’t manage to finish it within the time limit – I got it as an ebook for a month – but only because of personal commitments. I was so sad when I finally had time and the book wasn’t available anymore. I had only read the first chapter, but it stayed with me for so long, I just couldn’t let it go without reading the whole damn thing.

So I did what any normal person would do, and just ordered it. I’m really happy I did! Reading it was an outright pleasure and Kendra Leigh Castle doesn’t sound like a new writer at all! She’s in there with the best of them.

The story is utterly captivating, sexy, and, of course, dark since we’re in the world of vampires. What I find really cool is that there a many types of vampires in this series. They’re not only your normal kind of bloodsuckers, but each dynasty has its own special talents. There are those who can turn into bats, smoke, cats, can fly or  have lightening speed.

Reading this book felt like watching the aristocracy of the old days, and there’s history everywhere you turn. One of the vampires is also Cleopatra’s sister, imagine that! But if you don’t like history, then you don’t have to worry much. There are no long paragraphs explaining historical facts or other such things. This book is clearly an urban fantasy novel, but inspired by historical figures.

The novel also contains sex scenes, so if you’re looking to avoid such books, then this is not the book for you. But if you’re not bothered, then I really recommend you read this. I can’t wait to read the second novel in the series, “Midnight Reckoning”, which came out in January. A hint for all you werewolf lovers: there was a werewolf character in the first book which will be further explored in the second book! Just saying.

This is not another Twilight, and honestly, I’m fed up with the fact that as soon as a book has vampires and werewolves in them, it’s immediately compared to Twilight. This has absolutely nothing in common with the series and I’m glad it doesn’t. The Dark Dynasties is a series for adults, and I hope it turns into a really long series.

I wish Kendra Leigh Castle all the success in the world with her books and am very happy to consider myself among the readers of her story. Go out there and buy this book! You won’t regret it.

Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭ – 5 stars!

“Moon Called” by Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson #1) – Review

Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: Orbit

Release Date: January 31, 2006

Series: Mercy Thompson

Werewolves can be dangerous if you get in their way, but they’ll leave you alone if you are careful. They are very good at hiding their natures from the human population, but I’m not human. I know them when I meet them, and they know me, too. 

Mercy Thompson’s sexy next-door neighbor is a werewolf.

She’s tinkering with a VW bus at her mechanic shop that happens to belong to a vampire.

But then, Mercy Thompson is not exactly normal herself…and her connection to the world of things that go bump in the night is about to get her into a whole lot of trouble.”

My Thoughts

I looooooooooooove this series! Patricia Briggs is one of my favorite all-time authors and she certainly delivered with this first book in the Mercy Thompson series. The lead character is neither a werewolf or a vampire or any of your usual suspects, but a shapeshifter who turns into a coyote! How unusual and wonderful!

You may not know this, but coyotes are fairly smaller than wolves, and the werewolves in this series are even bigger. So imagine then how it was for little Mercy growing up in a werewolf pack, especially since werewolves think of coyotes as inferior to them. Then you can also imagine this sexy, ex-military next-door neighbor, who is also the Alpha of the local werewolf pack needing help from a coyote to save his daughter – who BTW is Mercy’s partner-in-crime at annoying her father!

Yes, this novel is absolutely brilliant, and I love the fact that the big, old tough werewolf has to rely on a coyote. Mercy is defying, brave and perfectly lovable! You’ll fall in love with her from the start, and you’ll get hooked into this wonderful world she has created.

Aside from the werewolves and shapeshifters, you also have the very “friendly” vampires and the fae. The latter have exposed themselves to the human world, and are utterly fascinating in my opinion. Patricia Briggs has this fabulous imagination and has managed to take several legends and twist them into something that simply belongs in her story world. And her vampires are downright scary, except for Stefan, who is also Mercy’s friend. He owns a VW bus that looks like the Scooby Doo van! Imagine that! Not really a scary image for a vampire, yet I find him totally appealing.

Anyways, the writing is superb, and if you’re into the Mercy Thompson series then you’ll be happy to hear that there is also a spin-off series, set in the same story world, but featuring another character that we only hear little about in the Mercy books. Charles absolutely took my heart away, as did Adam and a few side characters in the Mercy Thompson series.

From Indian legends to Celtic myths, there is something for everybody in these books. Oh, and the romance is absolutely worth it! Definitely a nice read, and one of my favorite series so far!

Rating: 🌙  – Another golden moon!

“Magic Bites” by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels #1) – Review

Paperback: 272 pages

Publisher: Ace

Release Date: March 27, 2007

Series: Kate Daniels

“When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake. 

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.

The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings – and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league – but she wouldn’t have it any other way.”

My thoughts

It somehow always starts with a murder doesn’t it? But that’s mainly where the cliche ends with this book. “Magic Bites” is so different than most of the things I’ve read that it’s truly a breath of fresh air. The vampires in this novel are not some incredibly gorgeous creatures, but fierce, bloodthirsty monsters, kept on a leash by necromancers. The shapeshifters don’t have it any easier though. They have a choice between living their lives under a strict set of rules or go rogue, becoming as bloodthirsty as any vampire. Count in the fact that there are magical waves overcoming the planet, destroying tall, modern buildings, and leaving mythological creatures in its wake, and you have something really fascinating.

At first, I though I wouldn’t like it. I don’t even know why I jumped to the conclusion before even reading the damn book, but I just did, and went with that.

The story world is really complex, and every details is so well-thought that you can easily imagine this kind of thing happening in the future. It would be a dangerous place to live in, but somehow, it’s still beautiful.

Kate Daniels has simply got to be the most funny and strong female lead character out there. I mean, for real! She’s been trained since she was a little babe to become a killer. Her powerful magical blood is also a weapon she cannot live without. But just reading her thoughts makes you smile. She faces danger with an amount of humor and fear, but she is brave and would do anything for the people she cares about.

The necromancers, or the People as they’re called in the book, and the shapeshifters bring fabulous conflict into the scene, and Kate must choose which side she’s on, because although she tries to be as impartial as she can, there’s just no way to do that. Will she then go with what her bloodline made her to be or follow her heart and make the world her own? Tough decisions, tough decisions.

As I was reading, I wasn’t quite sure if there was going to be any love scenes. Sure, there was some teasing and maybe even some flirting, but nothing substantial. It’s an urban paranormal romance novel so I was expecting some love scenes, right? Well, except for that one teasing kiss near the end of the book, there was nothing, nada! Yet, I found it incredibly compelling and believable. I wanted it to go on, I wanted more of the chemistry between Kate and Curran, the Beast Lord and leader of the Pack. They were constantly fighting, teasing each other, getting on their nerves. But the main thing was, they were attracted to each other. You could so tell despite both of them being in denial.

When I finished the book I wanted more. So much more. It was so addictive in the end that I didn’t really get what I was so worried about in the first place. I abso-lute-ly LOVED it! As you read the other books in the series, you can see the attraction between Kate and Curran develop into something deeper, becoming ultimately love. It is so beautiful to watch, especially since there are some parts that make you think they won’t make it.

This series delivers an incredible emotional experience and I would definitely recommend it to anybody asking me about it. I’m in love with it, utterly, head over heels in love with it! I could read it over and over again and never get bored. It’s that good! Just go out there and grab your copy. You won’t be sorry, I guarantee this!

Oh and here’s a taste of a few of my favorite quotes that simply cracked me up:

“I turned to leave and paused before the gap in the ruined wall. “One last thing, Your Majesty. I’d like a name I can put into my report, something shorter than typing out ‘The Leader of the Southern Shapechanger Faction.’ What should I call you?”
“Lord.”
I rolled my eyes.
He shrugged. “It’s short.” 

“It’s a reflex. Hear a bell, get food. See an undead, throw a knife. Same thing, really.”

“I gave him my best cryptic smile. He did not fall down to his feet, kiss my shoes, and promise me the world. I must be getting rusty.” 

“It took a qualified wizard to detect a summoning in progress. It required only a half-literate idiot with a twitch of power and a dim idea of how to use it to attempt one. Before you knew it, a three-headed Slavonic god was wreaking havoc in downtown Atlanta, the skies were raining winged snakes, and SWAT was screaming for more ammo.” 

“Please, Kate. Suspend your dislike of me for a few moments and listen to what I have to say. It makes sense.” 
“I don’t dislike you. It’s an oversimplification.” 

So that’s it for this review then! Go, buy it, and read it. It’s the best advice I can give you. 😉

Rating: 🌙  – Another golden moon! Man, I’m giving these out today!

“Dark Lover” by J.R. Ward (The Black Dagger Brotherhood #1) – Review

 Paperback: 416 pages

Publisher: Signet

Release Date: September 6, 2005

Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood

“In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other – six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed – leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate – Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead – a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams.”

My thoughts

If you’re reading this, you are probably wondering why you should read another goddamned vampire novel. They’re basically all the same, right? Wrong! The world J.R. Ward has created is so different and so addictive, you won’t be able to have enough of the Brothers. So it’s a good thing that there nine novels already out, with the tenth one coming out on March 27, including an incredibly hilarious insider’s guide that’s worth every penny.

As I started reading “Dark Lover” I found it a bit dark and unusual. It was unlike any other novel I’ve read. Each brother has deep problems which they keep hidden under a facade of cold-blooded killers. Don’t get me wrong, they’re very good at killing their enemy, the lessers – a society of undead who smell like baby powder. Yep, you read right. Baby powder.

Wrath, the hero of this novel, also known as the Blind King, is, as the nickname already indicates, the king of the vampire race. His problem: he has no wish to lead his people. Enraged with the lessers for killing his parents, he blames himself for not being able to defend his family. So he fights alongside his brothers, focusing his anger on the enemy. Which is all good and dandy, and suits him just fine. The vampire race, on the other hand, is suffering without its leader.

And here’s where Beth Randall steps in. Growing up as an orphan human woman, she has no idea who she is or what the darkness hides at night. Her mother died at childbirth and she never knew her father, who unbeknown to her, is one of the seven vampire brothers, the warrior named Darius. He watches her from afar, not wanting to get her mixed up in the dangers of his world, but then, he fears that she might transition into a vampire when she hits the age of 25. Afraid something might happen to her, he contacts Wrath, and asks him to help her through her transition, because you see, in J.R. Ward’s novels, vampires only feed from other vampires of the opposite sex. Human blood doesn’t really sustain them much. And Wrath, as the only purebred vampire left, has incredibly strong blood, so it would certainly help Beth survive her transition, especially since she might not survive the change.

The shocker, or well not so surprising decision considering the way Wrath feels about humans, he turns down Darius’ request for help, telling him to find someone else for the job. Just as Darius then leaves the meeting, he gets killed, which sets off the entire story, forcing Wrath to care for the half-breed daughter as the dying wish of his brother.

The attraction between Wrath and Beth is incredible, starting with their first encounter. I do have to warn you though – if you’re not used to really hot sex scenes in a novel, then you’re in for a very tasty surprise, well if you’re into that sort of stuff. Which I totally am. The book is so much more than sex scenes and killing though.

Wrath is an incredibly hard man to approach, and poor Beth has a hard job at reaching his heart, but when she finally does, its incredibly heartbreaking. The story is so beautiful and, in my opinion, sets up the stage for the next stories perfectly. You get to meet the lovely and fierce brothers: Rhage, Zsadist, Phury, Tohrment and Vishous. I think these are fabulous names! I mean, would you really expect a vampire warrior to be called something like Sam or Edward? Their names totally fit!

The lovely J.R. Ward also created this intriguing language – the Old Language – and I find myself already using some of the terms explained in the book. In the first book, you’ll have to keep going back to the glossary in the beginning of the book, but you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly. Oh, and if your first language isn’t English, you might want to read the books translated into your own language. If you normally read books only in their original language as I do, you’ll find that Ward uses a lot of slang, the American one to be more precise, and some phrases might be a bit hard to understand. You might not even like it at all. I personally fell in love with the slang and now find myself using expressions and words I would have never used otherwise. Which is rather cool, true?

Well, other than that, I’m not sure what else to say about this book. I really, really loved it, and feel like I cannot get enough of this world. I find myself wishing I lived in the world and with every book I read, I fell in love more and more. I love the Brothers and their shellans, or mates as we humans call them. I cannot wait for the next book coming out in March, “Lover Reborn”.  It also features my favorite brother and I’m sure it won’t disappoint.

So if this all sounds appealing to you, or if you’re looking for a really good book to get you started in the whole urban fantasy genre, I recommend you start with “Dark Lover”. You’ll fall in love with Wrath, I guarantee it!

Rating: 🌙  – I’m giving this book a golden moon! The highest possible rating on this blog. Only my absolute favorite books will be getting this award as of now! 😉