Thursday, November 12, 2015

2015, Part 9

The Knight and the Seer by Ruth Langan- Gwenellen Drummond comes from a magical land, but unlike her sisters, her magic never seems to work properly. Her efforts to cast a spell properly land her in the lands owned by Andrew Ross, whose land has been invaded by his enemies, his villages burnt and people scattered. They might need magic, but Andrew only believes in revenge, and no strange woman who seems to have fallen out of the sky can make him believe any different. Until she works with him and his people to dig out and help him rebuild. Only then can he see that this strange young woman might be just what he needs to bring back peace to his lands- if only she'll stop speaking of magic and spells. Can Gwenellen make Andrew believe in magic once again, or will she be fated to return to her land of magic without the man she has fallen for? I liked this book a lot. I liked how Gwenellen needs to find true love to make her magic work and how Rafe was just the man to fill her needs. I also liked that in the end, she decided to stay with him, leaving her family behind, and of the magic she found where she was. Recommended.

Her Dearest Sin by Gayle Wilson- Sebastian Sinclair is a honorable member of Her majesty's army, but when he is scarred by a man come to bring back Dona Pilar, he vows vengeance. Encountering her again while on a diplomatic mission, he steps in to shield her from the man who took her back, Julian del Castillo, who wants her for her money and her dowry, and he's made the ruler of Spain fall in line with his plans. All Pilar wants is to be free- she doesn't expect to feel anything for the man who stepped in to protect her- but before she knows it, he has become very dear to her heart, and she seeks to protect him from the vengeance of his own protector, Julian del Castillo. But when she must enter a fake marriage to flee her protector's wrath, can she keep her heart from falling for a gallant Englishman who promises to never let her go? Another really good book that I definitely enjoyed. I loved how Pilar sought to keep him safe even as he was trying to do the same for her. The two characters fall in love, but have to come to terms with what that means for themselves. Recommended.

The Viking by Margaret Moore- Meradyce is a a beautiful Saxon who has come to the attention of the married clean leader of her village, Kendric. Einar Svenson is the Viking who has been paid to come and kill the wife of that very same man. He thinks Meradyce is the wife, and carries her off instead, leaving the leader of her village stuck with a woman he hates. But as the village leader  schemes to get rid of his troublesome wife and to get back Meradyce, Meradyce is already fitting into the Viking village as a midwife. And it's not only the women who have noticed. Einar, too, has noticed, and is slowly losing his heart to the beautiful Saxon. But when Ingemar, the Viking wench who wants Einar for herself, betrays the entire village to the Saxons, and Meradyce must keep the villagers safe while Einar and his men sail to the rescue. But can she keep the Vikings safe until the men arrive, or will she even be able to lead her new people to freedom on her own? I enjoyed this book. Yes, it begins with a trope of the woman being carried off by a rampaging Saxon, but at the same time, it moved beyond the trope in a good way. I liked how Kendric's children were also taken, and that was less important to him than getting Merdyce back (he only wants his son, not his daughter). I ended up enjoying it far more than I thought I would. Recommended.

The Masterful Mr. Montague by Stephanie Laurens- Violet Matchum comes to Mr. Montague to reassure the woman she is companion to about her wealth. Lady Halstead believes there is too much money in her accounts, but when she dies unexpectedly, it seems like someone from her family might have done it. Barnaby Adair and Inspector Stokes, and their wives, Penelope and Griselda, are on the case to discover not only who might have killed Lady Halstead, but who is responsible for the extra money in Lady Halstead's account, and is it the same person who might have killed her? And Montague might be falling for the beautiful Violet, but will she return his affections? I actually liked this book far better than the Cynster novels, and I liked how the romance was no longer so much between Adair and Stokes and their wives (although, to be fair, they did get a lot of time in the spotlight as well), and more to Mr. Montague and Violet. Highly recommended.

The Bloodforged by Erin Lindsey- Alix Black used to be just the King's Bodyguard, until she married the King's Half-Brother, Liam. But for the Kingdom of Alden to survive, Erik and Alix will have to appeal to the King of the land of Harrm, while Erik, who is horrible at diplomacy, is sent to the Republic of Onnan to find out where the massive fleet that the Onnans promised Alden is after too many months in construction. Finally, Lord Riggard Black must turn back the Trionate from invading the heartland of Alden with the help of Andyrithi soldiers and a female priestess of Wisdom. But when both Liam and Erik fail at their tasks, something seems strange about Erik, and Alex and Liam must uncover what happened to cause such a change, and deal with the results without informing Erik. But can they uncover the secret truth at the heart of the change? I hadn't read the first book, but I enjoyed this book very much, and the world-building was excellent. I really enjoyed the characters, and the change at the end was amazing, as well as the reason behind it. It actually reminded me a lot of the writing of Deborah Chester. Highly recommended.

Updraft by Fran Wilde- Kirit Densira is the daughter of a trader in the spire of Densira in the city. All she has wanted her whole life is to be a trader as well, but when she opens a window during an attack on Tower Densira, she attracts a skymouth. But her scream drives it away, which gets her a charge against her by a singer, who adjudicate the laws, along with her best friend, Nat. They must clean out the lower four levels of Densira, where trash collects and those who cannot live elsewhere hide. The Singer wants her to become a Singer, but she would rather be a trader, and refuses. But when both of them fail their wingtest (the only way to get around the city), for stupid reasons, likely orchestrated by the Singers, they make an assault on the Singer's spire. Nat seems to fall to his death, where Kirit is saved and told to climb up into the spire all on her own. But even as Kirit struggles to join the ranks of the Singers and master her ability of Skymouth singing, she becomes aware that not all is right in the Spire, and that her father was a Singer as well, and was responsible for the death of her friend Nat's father. But the lies keep piling on, and when Kirit decides to lead a revolt in the Singer's spire, can she fight off Rumul, who has bribed the Windbeaters to help him win? I liked this book, which is a stand-alone book instead of part of a trilogy. But in this case, I'd love to see more about what happened in the city and about how Kirit and the others remake the roles of the singers in the city. I loved the world-building and the characters, even the ones who only appear for a very short time. I also loved how the entire city comes together to fight off the plague of Skymouths, and the entire ending. It's a wonderful book, and it seems like it should have been a YA, except that the focus (or one of them) is *not* on romance. Highly recommended.

Dark Warrior Unleashed by Alexis Morgan-  Ranulf Thorsen is over a thousand years old, a former Viking Raider who serves as enforcer for Kyth, tracking down and disposing of Rogue Kyth as a Talion enforcer. But when Kerry Logan, a woman who likes hanging out in dance clubs and at sports events, foils the efforts of a firestarter to burn down a club she is dancing at by saving the people who were trapped inside with her by leading them to safety. But because she also comes to the attention of the Pyromaniac who set the fire, both Ranulf and the police want to keep her safe. But when the Pyro turns out to be a Rogue Kyth Talion, not only is Ranulf involved, but Sandor Kearn, another Talion who thinks that Ranulf is just a single hunt away from the dark side and Dame Judith, the leader of Kyth society. But there is more at stake than anyone realizes, because it seems that Dame Judith is dying and Kerry, having the power of healing, can be the one person who can replace her. But will Kerry even believe in the Kyth and her own powers, and who will she choose to be her lover and champion, Ranulf or Sandor? Given that Ranulf is mentioned on the back of the book first, that's kind of a no-duh kind of question, but because this is part of a series, it seems like this could be the beginning end, or a middle as well. I liked Ranulf. He went from overly world weary to wanting to engage with Kerry and actually enjoying himself once again. I could believe the character arc and the characters, and how they resisted making Sandor the bad guy. Yes, he's wrong, but in the end, he comes to realize that Ranulf is just as good as he is. I liked this book, and would definitely recommend it to others.

Sister Light, Sister Dark by Jane Yolen- Jenna is the daughter of a townswoman adopted by a woman of the Hill tribes near the end of their existence. Even as academics fight over whether or not she was a real woman, her life followed closely to a prophecy given to followers of the Mother Goddess. But she also must survive three mothers and discover how to summon her dark sister, a twin from the other side of the mirror, to assist her when her adulthood journey goes disastrously wrong. But can she survive the alien warriors on the way who want to kill her for helping the son of an evil warlord, who wants to get away from his father and the rest of his family? I liked this book, which reminded me a bit of "The Handmaid's Tale", with the notes about academics fighting over the truth of the story and what it means. And, of course, the academic who is least credited it the one who is the closest to being right. I also liked the very mythic feel of the story, and the fact that the story itself was interesting and fun. Recommended.

Living with Ghosts by Kari Sperring- The City of Merafi was constructed in order to keep out ghosts and spirits. But now, Valdarrien, dead ten years. has been seen by his best friend and brother-in-law, Thiercelin, who approached Gracelin, a failed priest of death, to try and banish his ghost or at least lay him to death. But Valdarrien wants to be reunited with his former love, Ioreth Yscoithi. Joyain wants to have a life free from strife, but as forces  converge on Merafi, a sorcerer and a foreign ruler have come together to try and drown and destroy Merafi. But to undo their work, it will require a sacrifice in the city's name- a willing sacrifice. The question is, who will be willing to sacrifice themselves for the city, and can they find out who is behind it and how the spell on the city can be lifted. But while Thiercelin is fixated on his relationship with his wife, a counselor to the ruler of Merafi, and Gracielis is afraid of becoming a full priest and hooked on his indolent life as a lover to women for money. As the floodwaters rise and sickness spreads through the city, all the characters must come together to fight it and the people behind it. But can they triumph over those who would destroy Merafi? I found this book a little boring at the start, but as the story picks up, the story became more interesting. This is a stand alone novel, and it's a fairly good one. Slow at first, but picks up towards the end. And a very good story, with excellent world-building. Recommended,

The Rebel and the Lady by Kathryn Albright- Victoria Ruiz is on the run from Santa Anna and his army. But when her family sends her to the Alamo to take shelter, she meets Jake Dumont, whois looking for his brother, a doctor. But while he shouldn't be staying there and looking for his brother instead, he can't bring himself to give up the sight of this beautiful women, When it seems that Santa Anna will destroy the people in the Alamo, they must flee the doomed fort and find Jake's brother. But will Victoria leave with Jake, or will she face death to stay with her family? I thought this was only okay, verging on meh. I didn't find it all that interesting a romance. It's there, but I didn't get turned on by it or find it all that interesting. Not recommended.

Eternal Kiss by Laura Wright- In a world where vampires are a whole separate race and have their own vocabulary, the vampire race have a breeding male who is little more than an animal who is only interested in feeding. The Roman family are sons of the breeding male, and the vampire council in charge wants to bring back the breeding male from one of the Roman brothers. One of the members of the council is using an impure blood named Ethan Dare to make one of the Roman brothers give themselves up to the rite that will make one of them the breeding male. He has his eye on Nicholas Roman's brother, Lucian. But when a vampire veana female named Kate Everborne brings Nicholas a young male balas, or vampire male child, she tells him that the boy's mother said that the child was Nicholas'. But Ethan wants Kate and the child to bring Nicholas in to the council. But Nicholas is far more interested in Kate, who is a former resident of Vampire Prison. With Secrets of his own, can Nicholas persuade Kate that she wants to be with him more than to face the possibility of prison once more? I was interested to read another vampire romance, but this book was dragged down for me by all the esoteric terminology and all the terms that were flung around for vampire male and females of different ages. It just seemed unneeded  complication to the story and was ridiculous. It's an okay story, but was dragged down by all the ridiculous terminology. Not recommended.

Griffin Stone: Duke of Decadence by Carole Mortimer- When Griffin Stone nearly runs down a woman on a forest road, he feels duty bound to offer her shelter in his home. But even as he looks for who she might be, it becomes clear that whoever she was running from is also the man that Griffin was sent into the country to look for. But as he true identity becomes clear, her memory of what actually happened becomes crucial to capture a true villain. But will Griffin be able to give up the woman who he calls Bella when she is discovered to be an upper class woman? I liked this book very much. Yes, it's based on the amnesia trope, but I liked how this one came out, which was neither overdone nor sloppily or lazily done. I also liked both Griffin Stone and Beatrix (which is "Bella"'s real name)'s interactions, and how he helped her recover her memory. Recommended.

How to Seduce a Scoundrel by Vicky Dreiling- When Tristan Gatewick gives his friend Marc Darcett, Earl of Hawkfield, the guardianship of his sister, Julianne, for the season while Tristan is away, he's told in no uncertain terms not to let Julianne get interested in any rakes, Hawk included. So when Hawk gets carried away by Julianne during a dance, he makes it immediately clear that he has no interest in marrying her, because he is afraid of his true feelings. But she doesn't allow herself to be brought down by his rejection. Instead, she and her best friend, and her chaperone, Mark's Aunt, decide to write a book on "How to get a Rake to Offer Marriage". But when it is finally published, it becomes the scandal and talk of London- including among Hawk's friends. But can Hawk face up to his true feelings for Julianne? And when he has to talk to Tristan about marrying Julianne, can he confess his true feelings for her and ask her brother for her hand, can he convince his old friend to let Julianne marry him? I actually enjoyed this book a lot, especially the writing of the book part, and I liked how Julianne teases and taunts Hawk with his feelings and finally gets him to tie the knot, when she has long had feelings for him. Highly recommended.

Weddings from Hell by Maggie Shayne, Jeaniene Frost, Terri Garey, and Kathryn Smith- In "Till Death by Maggie Shayne, Kira McLellan doesn't believe in curses, even though her mother and father supposedly fell victim to one on her family. But when she is summoned back to Scotland to meet her family, she meets and falls in love with Scot Ian Stewart, and suddenly becomes aware that not only are curses real, but so is her own. And if she wants to save the life of the man she loves, she is going to have to break it..."Happily Never After" by Jeaniene Frost has Isabella, a girl who is marrying a local mob boss to save her Brother's life. Little does she know that her grandmother's former lover, a vampire, has been summoned to save her from her fate. But can she accept the love of a supernatural creature in his place?  "Ghouls Night Out" by Terri Garey has Nicki Styx, who can see Dead People. When one of her sister's bridesmaids doesn't show up for the wedding fittings, Nicki discovers that the woman is dead, but she has to discover who murdered her sister's friend while taking her place. "The Wedding Knight" by Kathryn Smith brings back Payen Carr, a vampire, to stop the wedding of the woman he loves to the wrong man. But can Payen put paid to the wedding while keeping Violet safe and her out of his own arms? Or will she end up in Payen's arms? This was an interesting book, but I actually found the story "The Wedding Knight" to be the most interesting story, even though I usually like Maggie Shayne and Jeaniene Frost far more. Still, all the stories were good and interesting. Recommended.

A Husband's Wicked Ways by Jane Feather- Aurelia Farnham is a widow, living in Cavendish Square, but when a man named Greville Falconer arrives to let her know she's been widowed for real this time, Aurelia is astonished. She's believed herself to be a widow for over two years now. But Colonel Sir Greville Falconer tells her that she has been lied to all this time, she is very angry. But when he asks for help in bringing down a foreign spy, she is intrigued enough to agree. Putting herself in his hands, and they begin a mock-courtship to bring Greville into her world. But very quickly, the courtship becomes less a sham and far more real. but can they keep their real selves separate from the mission long enough to bring those they hunt to justice, or is Greville merely preparing yet another mission by pretending to be interested in her for real? And can she trust him to answer truthfully if she asked him? I loved this book, as I usually enjoy the whole "is this real or is the spy just playing a deeper game?" kind of question. I liked both the main characters and how they become entangled with each other. I also liked how they both have to tear their masks away to find out the truth between them. Highly recommended,

Castle of the Wolf by Margaret Moore- Thomasina is beautiful and virginal, and she comes to the attention of Sir Rheged of Cwn Bron when he sees her passing out alms to the poor at night. But when the tournament her father is holding ends, it is Sir Rheged who wins and claims to the prize, only to discover it is worth a mere pittance instead of what it is supposed to be worth, Sir Rheged, who comes back and kidnaps Thomasina instead to persuade her father to make up the money, which he needs to help rebuild his castle from its state of disrepair. Thomasina is horrified to be kidnapped, but as she spends more time in Sir Rheged's company, she comes to see that he is not the savage that many make him out to be. As for Sir Rheged, he begins to realize that he has taken the real treasure from her father- Thomasina herself. But when she interferes in the feud between Sir Rheged and his greatest rival, can she mend the feud and bring the feud to an end? I liked this book, as I always love Welsh heroes (I admit it, I have a sneaking love for the underdog, and the Welsh were pretty much that in the Middle Ages), and this book was right up there as my catnip- Hero who is a successful knight, but people think him brutal because he comes from Wales, who finds love with a maiden who needs to see below the surface to find his finer qualities. Recommended.

Secrets of Surrender by Madeline Hunter- Roselyn Longworth is a good woman, but when she makes the mistake of succumbing to the blandishments of Lord Norbury, along with his protestations of love, she becomes debauched by him, but when she refuses to be debased any further, he decides to auction her off to the highest bidder. But she is surprised to be bid on and won by Kyle Bradbury, a mere architect. But while the expects to be treated like a soiled rag, he continually treats her well and gently. By the time she is seduced into loving him, she realizes that Kyle has bid his future to win her, and only because he wanted to rescue her from Lord Norbury. In order to repay him, she will have to marry him and sacrifice everything that was to come to her to ensure their survival. But can Kyle, who has secrets of his own, save them both with hi talents? I liked this story, but while the beginning was similar to another book I'd read recently, I liked how Roselyn had to deal with what had happened to her, and with both of their choices in their lives. But watching their relationship unfold was very enjoyable and affecting to me. I enjoyed it immensely. Recommended.

A Match for Marcus Cynster by Stephanie Laurens- Niniver Carrick is the head of the Carrick clan, laid low by her father and older brother's bad decisions. But when the members of her clan start becoming a problem by seeking her hand in stupid and disruptive ways. When it gets really out of hand, Niniver seeks out the help of her next door neighbor, Marcus Cynster, looking to have a problem relieved by pretending to seek her hand in marriage and being her bodyguard to prevent overeager members of her clan from breaking in on her to force the issue. But her male clan members aren't the only ones seeking to marry her- and there are many secrets hidden in the past of her family that are hidden to blow her out of the water. But when someone else seeks to take over the clan, will the clan choose Niniver to continue to lead them, or let her go and let someone else take over? And when Marcus realizes that not only does Niniver need his help, but that she is the perfect woman for him, can he persuade Niniver to realize the same and to marry him? I loved this book, when I usually can't stand the many Cynster novels just because there are SO MANY OF THEM. It's a case of there being way too much of a good thing. I feel a deep weariness of sequelitis here. But this book focused far more on Niniver and showed her to be a strong woman who was doing a hard job, and doing it well, and she probably would have succeeded without Marcus Cynster's help, it just would have taken longer, so I liked it for that reason. Also, generally, Marcus is on his own much of the time- with his family off in the background. Recommended.

Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready- Ciara Griffin used to be a con artist, but she is trying to go straight. But when she is hired to do marketing and PR for WMMP, the local radio station, which is about to be taken over by a conglomerate, she discovers that all the DJs who seem to know so much about their areas of music are actually vampires, who were musicians at those times and are deathly afraid of change. When Ciara is able to wrap her head around the whole idea of vampire DJs, she comes up with a way of telling the truth within a con, by pretending that the vampire DJs are human DJs pretending to be vampires for the promotion. But while there are other vampires out there who are not very happy with Ciara and the other vampires at the station for their "hiding in plain sight" game brings Ciara to their attention, and some of them want to kill her or turn her into a mere vampire Scooby Snack, she is also connecting with Shane, the youngest vampire at the station. But when the vampires are coming to the attention of both human and vampire hunters, she also has to hold off the people who want to buy up WMMP. But can she do all that and keep herself alive as well? I liked this book, which had a rather unique take on both vampires and the story. Vampires are so creatures of the time they were made that as time passes them by, they just don't change. It's possible that they can't, or just that it is very hard for them to do so, as time passes, they react badly-very badly, to things that are newer than what they knew. I liked that idea about vampires as it was something new- that their brains weren't as plastic as humans. I liked the romance, the characters, and the ideas in this book. Highly recommended.

The Duke Next Door by Celeste Bradley- Deidre Cantor is a young woman with a plan on her mind, to win her grandfather's vast fortune by being the first in the family to marry a Duke. So she marries Calder Marbrook, Marquis of Brookhaven and future Duke of Brookmoor. But her future husband had some secrets of his own he'd been hiding, like a spoiled, bratty daughter who most certainly DIDN'T want a new mother out of the deal. But when the girl becomes the fly in her ointment, can Deidre make her marriage somehow a happy one, and find a place in her heart for her new stepdaughter, or will the games she plays with Calder's heart bring them both nothing but sorrow? And when her games lead to an abduction, can her husband see beyond her games to find the love in her heart? I found Deidre rather mercenary, but during the course of the book, she actually won me over, whereas, I found Calder to be much more sympathetic  all the way through. But in the end, I did want the two of them to find love and be happy. So I ended up enjoying this book. But I do say that it's not for everyone. So, recommended, but with a caution.

The Renegade Hunter by Lynsay Sands- Nicholas Argeneau was once a vampire hunter. But when he was discovered to have killed a young woman who had known his dead wife, he was declared a rogue. When he's captured by his former fellow hunters, he meets Josephine Willan, who has been brought in to be a possible mate for his fellow immortals. But when she sees him in the process of escaping, he's the only one she is interested in. Nicholas wants to stay away from her, but he can't help himself when he injures her dog and feels that he must make it up to her. But when he tells her about what got him declared renegade, Josephine senses something wrong with his story and when they are recaptured, she makes a case for him being innocent. But can Nicholas, his old colleagues and Josephine discover the truth and set them both free to live and love for as long as they are together? I liked this book. I liked how Nicholas thought of himself as a rogue and yet he did his level best to keep Josephine and her dog and friends safe, even as she wanted to be with him very strongly. I loved both characters and the story and who was behind what really happened to Nicholas. Highly recommended.

Shadowlight by Lynn Viehl- Jessa Bellamy has a strange psychic talent to see into people's pasts merely by touching them. But her job as the head of a company dedicated to ferreting out frauds and tricksters comes into question when she notifies the FBI of a woman working with a con artist to defraud a company, she comes to the attention of Jonah Gennaro, the head of GenHance, a biotech company. He wants to kidnap and experiment on Jessa, with no guarantee that she would survive the process. But when she is kidnapped by Gavin Matthias from a meeting with Bradford Lawson, Lawson blames Jessa for the damage Matthias inflicts on him and his company wanting to fire him. But as Matthias tries to convince Jessa that her life is in danger, she tries to wonder why what she can see of his past is shrouded in mist. But when they must go on the run from Bradford Lawrence, will they come to the attention of the Kyn, and will Matthias and Jessa be able to keep each other safe? This was a series I read a long time ago, but I really enjoyed this book. I wonder why I haven't seen any more of this series or Lynn Viehl. I wish I could find more of her stuff. I liked her Kyn books and the Kyndred books as well, and this one is no exception. The villains are both evil and scary, one in a more intellectual way, and one as a definite evil threat. Highly recommended.

Drink of Me by Jacquelin Frank- Reule is the leader of the Sange, who most of the people in the world consider savages. But when he leads a mission against the Jakals, who have imprisoned a member of his pack, he discovers a woman who has taken shelter in the second floor of the house where the Jakals have holed up and is projecting a feeling of limitless sorriw. He rescues the woman, who he named Mystique, When he returns to his capital city of Jeth, he discovers that the woman is recovering from horrible wounds, but she knows a little bit of his tongue. but she cannot remember her real name or where she comes from. Soon after, she takes up the job of healer as the Sange healer is completely unable to do his job and is actually killing people through inaction. Mystique takes over and gets into a relationship with Reule. But when the city is approached by people from the mountains, it seems that they are looking for a female murderer who fled their city, and it is quite obvious that they are looking for Mystique. However, one of Reule's pack has looked into her memories and knows she was telling the truth that she couldn't remember. But can she remember what truly happened in time to keep from being dragged off by her own people and tried as murderess? And will Reule defend her if he thinks he is married to a murderess? I am used to Jacquelyn Frank writing all sorts of Nightworld characters, but this one is not tied in any way to any of her previous series, and so I was rather confused. The cover with its Black and silver(ish) souple made me think of her previous Shadowdweller series, but as far as I can tell, it was a stand-alone novel. Even so, the story was something I loved. I loved how Mirage was not at all afraid of Reule and his people, even though others seem to think they are some sort of savages. But I liked how Mirage knew what she wanted and went for it, and the things she accomplished while she was in the city. I also liked the reveal of her background, and the truth, of course, but also felt that the conflict with Reule's second was sort of thrown in at the end for tension without much need, I felt. still I loved the book and want to see more. Highly recommended.

Wayward Moon by Denny DeMartino- Philipa Cyprion is a  forensic astrologer, sent to the Baderes Space station to investigate the death of Duriken Sunteel, who attempted to merge with the station to save her world. However, the merger was interrupted, and her consciousness was forcibly rejected, leading to her death. It's up to Philipa and her lover and comrade Artemis Hadrien, to figure out who or what killed Duriken Sunteel. The only problem is trying to understand the alien society and why Duriken Sunteel wanted to even try to resurrect a dying world. But the aliens have their own theories, including something called a Shimbang, which is apparently some sort of evil, disembodies intelligence. But *something* is fooling around with time and space, and it seems like something may have to do with an alien race whose home planet exists at the center of the universe. But when Hadrian disappears into the mid-air, it seems the only way to get him back is for Philipa to travel to the planet and track him down for herself. But can the visit provide insights into who might have killed Sunteel, and why? I was not enjoying this book. The whole idea of a "forensic astrologer" just made my head want to explode, but I just didn't get into the characters and it seems like a whole bunch of things were going on that just didn't make sense. Why would astrological signs, visible from earth, have any influence on aliens? How does that even make sense? I found myself both boggled and uninterested in the entire book. I would not recommend this book, both for reasons of not making sense and for being deeply uninteresting. Not recommended.

Black Wings by Christina Henry- Madeline Black is an agent of Death, tasked with escorting souls to the door that will bring them into the afterlife. But when she takes over for a friend who has a hot date, she is attacked by something big and bad, and her friend is killed. But a new possible renter, Gabriel Angeloscuro, helps her out. It's only afterwards that she finds out that Gabriel was sent by her father, the fallen angel Azazel, to look after her. This is because another of Azazel's children, Antares, is after her. But not only is Antares after her, but Ramuell, the Nephilim, or half-angel, child of Lucifer, is after her as well, and has also killed her mother in the past. But Maddy has been dreaming of Evangeline, the long-ago consort of Lucifer, who somehow disappeared from her own world and the life of Lucifer, who she loved. Can Maddy discover what happened to Evangeline and her children? and why is Gabriel forbidden to have a romance with Maddy, and can Maddy defeat Ramuell without attracting negative attention from Lucifer? And can shedo so and keep her job as an agent of death? I liked this book a lot. I liked Maddie and I liked Gabriel and her Gargoyle, Beezle. I liked her introduction to her father (who was actually kind of frightening), and how none of the Agents of Death could see beyond the door, and how the fallen angels fell merely by wanting to have kids with human women. I also loved Gabriel's story and how and why he and Maddy couldn't have any kind of relationship. Definitely recommended.

Blood Angels: Deus Encarmine by James Swallow- Rafen is a Space Marine of the Blood Angels chapter. He's fairly experienced, but after a battle on the memorial world against a chapter of Chaos Marines known as the Word Bearers, he is reunited with his actual brother, Arkio, who comes to prominence with an idea as how to defeat the Chaos Marines guarding the spaceport and defend their ship in space from Chaos Marine ships. The inquisitor in charge, Stele, presents Arkio to the other marines as something to look up to, but when Arkio touches an ancient artifact, the spear known as the Spear of Telesto that Stele recovered from the orcs, it flashes and recognizes him. Slowly, Arkio begins to change over time, becoming more and more like Sanguinus, the progenitor of the Blood Angels Order. But as Arkio becomes colder and distant, Rafen has more and more trouble believing in his brother as the reborn Arkio, even though his fellow Marines have heartily embraced Arkio as Sanguinus reborn. But as everyone who might cast doubt on Arkio's ascension dies in horrible ways, who can Rafen call upon to advise him, and when it's demanded of him that he must agree that Arkio is Sanguinus reborn, can he bring himself to betray the Emperor of Man? I wasn't very familiar with the Warhammer 40K Universe, but this one was about one of the Blood Angels, one of the three chapters I Have heard of; (Space Wolves, Ultramarines and Blood Angels are the three) but I didn't find it hard to come up to speed on the book, who the Blood Angels were and what Stele and the Chaos Marines were trying to do. I found it grim and dark (but then, the whole Warhammer Fantasy Universe defines Grimdark, but it was easy to feel for Rafen, who wanted to save his brother and talk sense into him, but couldn't, and was losing everyone who he trusted most. Recommended, but unless you really like Grimdark (and I am only "eh" on it, you may find it depressing.

Blood Angels: Deus Sanguinius by James Swallow- As Arkio returns to the center of space, the Blood Angels chapter is being ripped apart by Heresy. The two sides are those who believe that Arkio is Sanguinus reborn, and those who don't.. But as Arkio draws the two parts of the chapter closer to war, Stele and the Chaos Marine leader are close to coming to a war of their own, and when it comes to war between Dante, leader of the Blood Angels, will Arkio's corruption begin to show? If so, who can bring the brothers back together when the leaders of the Blood Angels come together to parley and are attacked by the Chaos Marines? Will the Chapter fall or stand strong, and will Rafen, now wanted as a traitor by those who have sworn loyalty to Arkio, destroy the man who made all of this happen? I enjoyed this book, but again, it's very Grimdark- as you would expect the world of Warhammer 40K to be. So I recommend, but YMMV.

So Still the Night by Kim Lenox-Marcus Helios used to be a member of the Shadow Guard, until he underwent Transcencion to bring down a Rogue, and began a slow process of decline. His only hope is to find the three ancient scrolls that might tell him where to find a very special mirror that might be able to reverse his condition and save his life. Luckily for him, Mina Limpett's father was in possession of the two scrolls he needs most. But Mina left her father behind in the east and then came home to the family of her uncle. When Marcus shows up and realizes that Mina's father's is dead. but his body isn't in the grave, he approaches her to get het father's papers, but she isn't giving them up, or even giving Marcus a clue as to where he can find them. He should be angry at her, but he's too fascinated by her instead, and attracted to her. He marries her to get access to her father's papers. and also because this is the first woman he has ever wanted to marry in his life. However, this doesn't please Mina's aunt, who wants Marcus for herself, and Marcus' sister, Selene, is looking for an excuse to take his life. And then there is a woman calling herself "The Ripper's Bride" is out after Marcus and wants him for her own, as Marcus will soon flip to being evil and wanting to destroy all humans and the world. But when Marcus rejects her, will Mina find out more about her family, and will she ever be reunited with her father? I liked this book. It's not one of my favorite vampire romance series, but it's something different, and I enjoy it when I read it. Kim Lenox's vampires are quite different, and I do like that, but it's just not my favorite. Recommended, but not highly.

Scottish Miscellany by Jonathan Green- Ever had questions about Scotland, like "Why do clans have kilts" or "What does an Egyptian Princess have to do with the birth of Scotland?" or "When does a broth become a Scotch Broth?", well then this book might be the answer to all those questions. I had a Scottish co-worker (before she retired), and I feel that she would have loved to have this book to show people who have questions about Scotland, Scottish heritage or other bits of Scottish life, like tartans, or why Scotland is known as "The Home of Golf". The questions are rather simple, but answers go into quite a lot of depth and are very interesting. This is a book that doesn't go to deep questions, but it's good for a lot of more generalized questions and specific answers. Recommended, just don't expect the answers to go too deep.

Her Vampire Husband by Michelle Hauf- In order to bring peace to the warring Werewolf and Vampire clans, Vampire Creed Saint-Pierre is supposed to marry Werewolf Princess Blu Masterson. Neither one wants the wedding, but both are being more or less forced into it. Blu by her father and Creed by pressure from the other vampire Clans. To the Council who has mandated the marriage, Blu must accept Creed's kiss. At first, she is unwilling to accept anything from him. She longs for her former boyfriend, the Werewolf Ryan, as he is less violent and abusive than her family. But when Creed treats her even better than her family and Ryan, she begins to question why she is following what her father and the other Werewolves want her to do. But as she falls deeply in love with Creed, he finds himself falling in love with her as well. And as both sides in the war are going behind each other's backs to cause strife and win the oncoming confrontation. But can Creed and Blu bring the clans into line by their actual love, or will it take more than that to bring actual peace? and is peace even possible? I loved this book. I first found Michelle Hauf from her Luna books series, Seraphim, Gossamyr, Rhiana. I liked that series, and this was the first other book by her I've seen (along with "A Vampire for Christmas", which I have recently acquired and am going to read. I loved this book, and I understand there are more in this series (and I want to find them, honestly!). I loved both characters, and I loved how they came to trust each other more than their respective sides, and I loved how Creed came to appeal to Blu. She seemed so confident. but she merely puts on a good game- she was actually abused, and Creed comes to love her despite his intention to remain unmoved. I also loved how both of them were willing to suffer for their love. Highly recommended.

Touched by Light by Catherine Spangler-Dr. Julia Reynolds is an academic who has been scarred by an encounter with a killer when she was just a young woman. She and her sister have come to the attention of the Sentinels, a group of humans who are the reborn spirits from Ancient Atlantis. But when a Sentinel disappears from the radar, the Sanctioned Adam Masters, who used to be a high priest in Atlantis, comes to Julia, who is his perfect conductor, to try and find the man, as he feels the Sentinel isn't dead, but his presence comes and goes. The man, Matt, has been possessed by a Belian, an evil Atlantean, who was able to take him over because his wife died, and Matt is unable to deal with the loss. Matt's adopted son, Sean, is desperate to find his father, but it isn't until the three of them are joined by Julia's student, Miriam, who is Romany, that they are able to get a lock on Matt. But Julia is troubled, because the man who attacked her and left her permanently injured, Bennett, has just been released from jail, but he wants Julia back, who he felt led him on. And Julia hates Adam, and feels that he and she could never be joined, even though they she is his perfect conductor, and when they do come together, their connection is explosive. But for them both to have any chance, they will have to exorcise the Belian, save Matt and deal with Bennett, and Julia will have to accept that she and Adam are perfect for each other. But can she bring herself to stand his high-handed ways? I thought this book looked interesting, and it was, but to get there, I had to put up with a lot of stuff that was annoying, like the high-handedness of Adam and Julia's extremely annoying prickly personality. Eventually, both of them grew on me, but it was a tough row to hoe to get there. I ultimately found the book rewarding., but this isn't for everyone, and it isn't an author I'd willingly seek out to read more of. YMMV, but a cautious recommendation for me.

The Knight's Broken Promise by Nicole Locke-Gaira of Clan Colquhoun was on her way to visit her sister in the village of Doonhill. Unfortunately, she gets there after the inhabitants have been slaughtered almost to a man by the English. English Knight Robert of Dent, known as Black Robert, goes to the village to see what one of the men under his command has done. There he finds Gaira, her niece and two other children who have survived the battle in the village. Gaira, who is fleeing a man who she was wedded to without her consent, needs to bury the adults and bring the children back to her home clan. But when she knocks out Robert inadvertently, he ends up agreeing to help her get the children back to her clan, the two of them are thrown together, and both of them find themselves falling for the other. By the time her husband comes  to get her back, he believes that she has been unfaithful with Robert, and Robert defends himself and Gaira, they are inextricably bound together. But with both sides let them be together? I liked this book. Medieval romances are my catnip, so this book was right up my alley. I loved both characters, though I did find it a little annoying that Gaira is so open and Robert so closed off. I did like how each fell in love with each other, even though Gaira didn't know who "Black Robert" actually was. And I loved the ending and how they finally ended up together. Recommended.

No comments: