Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cody McFadyen-- "Abandoned" (Smoky Barrett series)

For FBI special agent Smoky Barrett, the wedding of one of the Bureau's own was a cause for celebration. Until a woman staggered down the aisle, incoherent, emaciated, head shaved, and wearing only a white nightgown.
No one knows who she is or where she's come from, or why she's chosen to appear in a church filled with law enforcement agents. Then a fingerprint check determines that the woman has been missing for nearly eight years, that once she was someone's wife, someone's mother.... and a cop. Imprisoning her in a dark cell, depriving her of any contact with the outside world, her enigmatic captor was a man she didn't know and who seldom spoke, who punished her only when she failed to follow his most basic instructions designed to keep her alive.

***This is the 4th installment in the series, and the one i liked the least. This book started out great, but lost some of it's edge in the middle. I was bored, it didn't keep my attention like the others had. It lacked that "edge of my seat" tension in the chase, and at times seemed kinda philosophical. Is this the end of Smoky Barrett? It doesn't seem like she has much more "chase" in her. How much torture can one woman take? Her life is coming together with a husband and daughter and baby on the way. Chasing serial killers isn't the smartest way to make a living anymore, and i got the feeling that was where this book was leading. A lot of soul searching for Smoky, and what lines she was willing to cross to save herself, the friends she loved, and her family.......

Friday, December 25, 2009

Cody McFadyen--"The Darker Side" (Smoky Barrett series)

A lie, a long-ago affair, a dark desire--everyone has secrets they take to the grave. No one knows that better than FBI special agent Smoky Barrett. But what secret was a very private young woman keeping that led to her very public murder? That's the question Smoky and her handpicked team of experienced manhunters are summoned to answer by the FBI director himself. As a mother, Smoky knows the pain of losing a child. As a cop with her own twisted past, she takes every murder personally. Brilliant, merciless, righteous, the killer Smoky is hunting this time is on his own personal mission. For in his eyes no one is innocent; everyone harbors a secret sin. Soon Smoky will have to face the secret she's carefully hidden even from her own team, and confront a relentless killer who knows her flaws with murderous intimacy.

***Another great one for McFadyen. The Darker Side, is just that, the darker side of everyone. Everyone has secrets, some more so than others. Some more horrible than others. Someone is killing sinners.... sinners they believe have not confessed the full truth to God, and must be punished for it. They force their final confession so they can release them from life to go to God. To bad they forgot that murder is a sin, even if your delusion is that you are doing God's work. Smoky and her team must work fast to find the killer before they "hear" the next confession. Confession 145. After 20 years the killer wants to be heard, for their work to be known. And for the world to rejoice in their efforts to help others find God. And in the midst of this Smoky has to figure out where her head is at with Tommy and Bonnie. Life goes on after tragedy, and Smoky must make the decision to forgive herself and move on with happiness, while chasing another psychopath to the wateringhole.

If you haven't read the first two in this series, start there. The characters are well developed. McFadyen shows all their flaws and their best traits. They have lives and worries, and in the process of living, they chase psychopaths. McFadyen's series is very dark and is not for the squeamish, but it keeps you on the edge. I really love the ride.....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cody McFadyen--"The Face of Death" (Smoky Barrett series)

A 16 year old girls holds a gun to her head at the scene of a grisly triple homicide. She claims "The Stranger" killed her adoptive family, that he's been following her all her life, killing everyone she ever loved, and that no one believes her. But Special Agent Smoky Barrett does. Her team has been hand picked from among the nation's elite law enforcement specialists and they are as obsessed and relentless as the psychos they hunt; they'll have to be to deal with this case. For another vicious double homicide reveals a killer embarked on a dark crusade of trauma and death: an "artist" who's molding Sarah into the perfect victim, and the ultimate weapon. To catch him, Smoky is going to have to put her own fragile, once-shattered life on the line. For The Stranger is all too real, all too close, and all too determined. And when he finally shows his face, Smoky had better be ready to face her worst fear.

***McFadyen writes a very dark world. One where at least, sometimes, the good guys win. His story may seem too detailed at times, but i find that i appreciate it. If you close your eyes, you are actually there watching it happen thru his description. The characters are well developed and you become attached to them and want the happy ending for them all. But the path to the end is full of fear, courage, and raw rage at times. It shows you what it takes to keep your soul intact.

"I've called this a diary, but that's not what it really is.
This is a black flower. This a book of dreams. This is a path to the watering hole, where the dark things go down to drink."......Sara

Sara has everything she has ever loved taken from her, killed by The Stranger. It started for her when she was 6 years old. She is now 16 and his game is coming to an end. It has been a well controlled plan of vengeance, taking place over 10 years. But for the killer it started at age 6 with the bottom dwellers of human trafficking. But Smoky is smarter than him. Smoky and her team are thinkers, they get into the mind of the most sickest creatures of humanity and get ahead of the game before the final play. McFadyen never lets you see who the bad guy really is until you are almost at the finish. It's an edge of your seat ride and i can't wait to finish the next 2 in this series. If you haven't read the first...start there. You need to understand Smoky first before you follow her to the watering hole.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Alexandra Ivy-- "Darkness Unleashed"

A scarred recluse, Jagr makes no secret of his disdain for others company. But now, as a member of Chicago's powerful vampire clan, he has certain obligations to fulfill. The latest: track down a missing were pureblood and return her to her sister. The problem: Regan Garrett has no intention of complying. And though Jagr agreed not to harm an inch of this stubborn female's distractingly tempting body. he'll gladly kiss her into submission, awakening an urge he hasn't felt in years. Hell, in centuries. Regan vowed never to be at the mercy of another man. That goes double for arrogant, steel-muscled vampires with eyes of ice. All Regan wants is revenge against those who imprisoned her. She doesn't need an ally. She certainly doesn't need a mate. But soon Regan will have to choose--between a lust for vengeance, and a passion as dark and dangerous as the night.

***This series is not so different than other paranormal romance series. But i really like the characters Ivy develops, you somehow become attached to them and want them to be together in the end. Another winning chapter in this series.

Jagr and Regan have both been held captive and tortured, Jagr for over 300 years, Regan for the last 30. Regan is soon to discover she is one of the pureblood were quadruplets stolen at birth. Darcy, Styx's mate wants her sisters found. So Styx sends Jagr to bring Regan back to Chicago. He understands her need for revenge. And she finds an ally in his understanding for her need for vengeance, she feels safe with him once she finally admits she loves him. And as always Levet the bumbling gargoyle is along for the ride as the comic relief.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Keri Arthur-- "Bound to Shadows" Riley Jenson Guardian Series

Part vampire, part werewolf, Riley Jenson knows what can happen when vamps don't play well with others. but she's never seen anything like this: a series of brutal murders surrounding the latest hot spot for vampire-human hookups--and the victims aren't just killed, they're beheaded. Now Riley is launching into action, toying with a seductive and highly suspicious club owner, and finding herself in the middle of another mystery: women being killed one by one, without a trace of violence. For Riley, solving multiple cases -- in a world going mad with human and vampire passions--would have been tough enough. Instead she has two jealous lovers on her hands; Kye Murphy, the amber-eyed werewolf who makes Riley's wolf blood howl--and Quinn, the cool, elegant vamp who has over a thousand year's experience at fulfilling women's desires. While she's busy juggling these two sexy beasts, Riley's detective work takes a stunningly violent turn. finding a murderer is now a matter of life and death. Especially since the killer has long since found her.....

***Another great story in the Riley Jenson series. Arthur can not write these fast enough for me. If you have not read this series, i strongly suggest you give it a try from the beginning. I love every action packed page.

(spoiler alert) The background of the murder mystery is just that, the background where the true story plays out. Her wolf soul mate Kye is back and wants what belongs to him, if for no other reason than his need to control what he feels belongs to him. But unfortunately he has become a part of the murder team beheading vampires on the council. Riley has to make the ill-fated decision to hunt down her wolf soul mate and possibly lose her other half. In the last standoff between her and Kye a favorite member of the team is killed and Riley sinks into a death spiral only to be brought back by the cute Risa stating "Riley's decided to live". All in all, it looks like Riley might just get that happily ever after with Quinn while they start their own pack with Rhoan and Liander.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Kresley Cole/Gena Showalter-- "Deep kiss of winter"


Untouchable: Murdoch Wroth will stop at nothing to claim Daniela the Ice maiden--the delicate Valkyrie who makes his heart beat for the first time in three hundred years. Yet the exquisite Danii is part ice fey, and her freezing skin can't be touched by anyone but her own kind without inflicting pain beyond measure. Soon desperate for closeness, in an agony of frustration, Murdoch and Danii will do anything to have each other. Together, can they find the key that will finally allow them to slake the overwhelming desire burning between them?

Tempt me Eternally: Aleaha Love can be anyone--literally. With only skin-to-skin contact, she can change her appearance, assume any identity. Her newest identity switch has made her an AIR (alien investigation and removal) agent and sends her on a mission to capture a group of otherworldly warriors. Only she becomes the captured. Breean, a golden-skinned commander known for his iron will who is at once dangerous and soul-shatteringly seductive, threatens her new life. Because for the first time, Aleaha only wants to be herself....

***Untouchable: Murdoch is the last of the 4 Wroth brothers to become "blooded". This story follows along in a timeline that parallels the entire series. It starts from when Nicholai finds Myst and ends with Conrad finding Neomi and finally Murdoch marrying Danii. It is a nice Christmas story focusing on one of the Wroth brothers finding his way to his Bride. I enjoyed this story, it was almost like a Hallmark Christmas story except all the players are "otherworldly". If you haven't read this series from the beginning, you may not understand the events in the brothers lives, so start at the beginning. It is a series you will enjoy.

***Tempt me Eternally: If the AIR components of this story is a series, i have not read it and i don't think i will. It didn't intrigue me in any way. This is a love story turned into an extra long sex scene. I liked the main characters, but I didn't see enough of the back story to understand what was really going on. It was mildly cute, i liked that Aleaha was able to become herself and no longer hide and Breean found a new home. But i wanted more from the story. Not a keepsake book for me. I prefer the Lords of the Underworld series.