Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Friday, February 19, 2021
This story of Cristaldo's cataclysmic connection to a woman who seemingly is fated to be his mate fuels the story, which starts out hot and only becomes more incendiary. Because unlike most of the women Cristaldo has met, Everly is not going to be a pushover. She feels the attraction, but she doesn't have a great track record with men and there's a restraining order out on her last (her first) boyfriend, a dangerous psychopath.
Bain has done a terrific job of building the world of this story. The characters have real connections to other people--Everly to her two best friends--bandmates in a group they call THE SIRENS--and Cristaldo has his brothers and Serge, his consiglieri, and Sly, the charming majordomo who's been put at Ellery's disposal. But there are also the characters from the other clans--all of them descended from Roman royalty and all of them with clashing agendas. There are also vampires in this world and they have a very interesting role in the werewolf world.
The course of true love is never smooth, even if it's between a man and a woman fated to be "Forever Mates."
There's a lot of heat in the love/sex scenes, including a spectacular take on the whole "dream lover" trope. And yet, the prose never shades over into purple. It's streamy. It's hot, but it's not the kind of out and out erotica that can turn some readers off. (You will definitely be turned on.)
Check out SIN CITY WOLF: HOWL now.
Sunday, February 7, 2021
Lovers' Masquerade is a sexy Valentine's collection of stories that share setting, characters, and intention--heating up your night! Some of the stories--like "The Phantom and the Cheeseburger"--have rom com roots, others flirt with 50 Shades of Grey withe their dominant billionaires flying their dates off to Greece in their private jets. There's plenty of playful banter, lots of tenderness, a few misunderstandings, and many surprises.
The women are relatable--Nicolette, who has not quite perfected the art or walking in a ball gown (Kick/Step) and therefore makes a spectacular entrance; Addie who stops into a lingerie store to buy some dainties only to have the snooty saleswomen ghost her, not realizing she's the owner's daughter; Madeleine, the party's hostess who is the very definition of "poor little rich girl." The men--alphas all--have dimensions. One man seems to have it all, but his mother is dying from complications of MS and not even his manager knows it.
These bite-size bits of romance are a perfect diversion for a cold winter's night. Get lost with the lovers.
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Deborah Wilde’s Blood & Ash is the first in a new urban fantasy series that offers a snarky heroine who has a complicated life, really good friends, and a mother who’s deeply into human versus magical politics. And oh yes, there’s also her prickly relationship with Levi Montefiore, the head of the most powerful magic “house” in the city, and a someone who’s known Ash almost all her life.
Did I mention Ash’s life is complicated? She is at the center of a spiderweb of intrigue that begins when she witnesses a strange paranormal event in which a dark smudge-like THING possesses a woman after using up its previous host and leaving him dead on the sidewalk. When something similar happens a few hours later, it becomes clear to Ash that something dark has come to Vancouver and it’s up to her to stop it.
Wilde has put together a believable world in which magic-workers and mundanes know about each other and coexist. It’s a diverse place, and Ash (short for Ashira) has real-world problems that make her relatable. (Her relationship with her mother is particularly engaging because Thalia is…a piece of work.)
The mystery of what’s going on in the story has several levels, and one is very personal for our heroine. The stakes of what’s going on in the main story are real and consequential, and readers will be rooting for Ash every step of the way.
The world is steeped in Jewish mysticism and culture, and that automatically sets it apart from 99.9% of the other urban fantasies out there. And when a golem shows up, it feels only natural.
It’s a lot of fun being in Ash’s world, and the steamy dose of sexual healing that comes in at the end, feels like a treat. It also sets up part of what’s to come in the sequels. This is definitely something a little different.
Sunday, January 31, 2021
30 Pieces of Silver, Carolyn McCray’s thriller, a nicely worked out bit of (alternate?) history that’s bolstered with tons of bogus academic papers and made-up artifacts that feel persuasive. As the story plays out along two timelines—the present and two thousand years ago—the pace never flags, and there are action beats that build and build and build and build from the moment we meet Rebecca Monroe being squeezed to death by an anaconda to the final explosive revelation.
The special ops team central to the mission is familiar in concept—like James Rollins’ Sigma Force—are not just warriors, they know their science and their religious history. Characters keep underestimating them and it’s a lot of fun to see them thwart those snooty expectations. It’s also fun seeing military people being portrayed as something more than meatheads. (Once an Army brat, always an Army brat.)
It is a little disappointing that Rebecca is just about the only woman with anything to do in the book. While she does some brave things and she is an intriguing person, she doesn’t necessarily drive the story—Brandt and his team do. Still, you have to love a book that combines all these thriller elements so seamlessly with an ancient backstory. Worth the read if you’re a fan of Clive Cussler, James Rollins, and Dan Brown.
Saturday, January 30, 2021
I gobbled those books up like chocolate-covered cherries. The sub-genre is having something of a comeback right now and that is really good news for readers because the neo-Gothics are a lot more complicated and compelling than the Bronte imitators that spawned the first wave of books back in the Seventies.
And I'm not even counting the O.G. Gothics, a list of which you can find here.
The story takes place in a fictional California town where a new Chief of police has just arrived. Nick Grayson is looking for a fresh start but his initial impression of Prominence is not promising. He's afraid he's going to be bored to death with only the town's Fouinder's Day festivities to look forward to. (Town mascot Winkie the golden hedgehog figures prominently.)
Just one day in, however, weird things start happening, and Nick finds himself caught up in a battle between good and evil. (Cue the Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" as you start to read--you'll see why.)
The characters in Dream Reaper are fully fleshed out and real. Readers will immediately be caught up in heroine Madison's story because we know what we need to know about her before she has the accident that kicks off the narrative. Although the story takes place in present day, all the trappings and tropes of Gothic novels are in place. There are haunted rooms, whispering voices, an abandoned church, a cemetery with wrought-iron fences, and more. Dark secrets and hidden needs fuel the action as the battle between good and evil plays out. There are real stakes here--eternal stakes.
There are intense moments, as when a woman randomly admits to her greatest sin and several other women attack each other over a man neither one truly wants. The heroes and heroines of the story are all flawed, even broken, and that adds to their believability.
The horror here is lightened with levity, and quirkiness, and emotions run the gamut. It's a terrific read.
Friday, January 1, 2021
I'm still not convinced that readers care about these accolades, but when you work at home and kind of ain a vaccuum, the affirmation they give can be balm to the soul. (So far, I haven't seen any increase in sales thanks to being entitled to use the phrase on my covers, but it's fun knowing I am entitled to them.)
I made a lot of plans last year and they were nearly all upended. This year, I'm thinking in broader terms and not making resolutions at all. But that doesn't mean I'm not making plans. I'll be launching a couple of cozy series this year (look for my work as Katherine Moore) and really mazing out on the holiday
stories. (Christmas, Halloween, Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving.) I'm going to write more suspense (which is my first love) under my real name. And as for the urban fantasy I love--there will be historical shifters, more about my conflicted werewolf Rezso, a couple of gargoyles, a few fae, and many, many vampires. Because really, can you ever have too many vampires?
So, basically, I want this new year to be more productive than last. We're going to be stuck with the plague for a while longer, so I fully intend to go my part by staying at home, wearing a mask, and writing.