Thursday, June 28, 2007

Valentine's Resolve by E. E. Knight

Valentine’s Resolve
A Novel of The Vampire Earth
E. E. Knight
ROC – New American Library
July 3, 2007
ISBN# 978-0-451-46146-9

For More than 50 years Earth has been occupied by the alien Kurians and terrorized by the vampiric Reapers they use as avatars to enforce their will. When the Lifeweavers begin disappearing, David Valentine finds himself back in the ranks of the resistance as he takes on a new mission for the Southern Command. The Lifeweavers have helped the resistance with their alien abilities for years, and they’re needed now more than ever. In exchange for his help, the Freehold will fake the death of Blake, the young alien that Valentine protects like his own.

Valentine begins his long and danger filled trek to Seattle, a city run by the Kurian Order. His goal is to discover what has happened to the Lifeweavers with the hope of returning with their help before the Southern Command collapses. From allies turning against him to the aliens who see him as prey, Valentine cuts a path to his destination. What he finds there is beyond anything he anticipated, but nothing short of his death will prevent him from carrying out his plans.

Valentine’s Resolve is the sixth installment in The Vampire Earth series. As Valentine once again enters the fray, the adventure is full-on with the nonstop danger greeting him at every turn. E. E. Knight builds an incredibly well-detailed future Earth and populates it with a charismatic hero, unlikely allies and an array of enemies. The gripping action and multitude of perilous battles is sure to capture the reader’s attention and easily keep it until the satisfying end.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wraith by Phaedra Weldon

(A Zoë Martinique Investigation)
Phaedra Weldon
Ace – Berkley Publishing Group
June 2007

Zoë Martinique has a special talent, one she discovered when she became the victim of a violent crime and found herself above her body looking down. As a Traveler on the astral plane, she has set up a business where for a fee she’ll retrieve information as an incorporeal spy. On a job with time to spare, Zoë is drawn to what becomes the scene of a murder where she comes face to face with Trench-Coat, an entity that is not only traveling like herself, but has the ability to become corporeal. When his grab for her is successful, he leaves behind a stripe of white hair and the mark of his handprint burned into Zoë’s skin. With this bizarre encounter she gains the ability to become corporeal in her astral body, but as she quickly learns there’s a price that’s paid.

Detective Daniel Frasier is hot on the trail of Theodore Rollins, a televangelist he’s sure has something to do with the murder of Koba Hirokumi’s employee. Hirokumi is in possession of something that once belonged to Rollins, the plot thickens and Zoë finds herself kidnapped by each man. She’ll need the help of her mother who has been keeping a few secrets of her own, Rhonda who can find the answers to Zoë’s bizarre world, a pair of gay ghosts who have their own special talents and Detective Frasier who wants to catch a killer. Together, they have to stop the evil men from following through with their plans and destroy Trench-Coat before he’s able to fully change Zoë into a Wraith.

Wraith is the debut novel in the Zoë Martinique Investigations series, and offers a great new character and storyline in the paranormal genre. There’s a mystery to solve and people to save so Zoë won’t give in until the evil is put to rest. Ms. Weldon weaves a riveting tale with well defined characters and a marvelously fun world for them to work and play in. A well paced page-turner that leaves plenty of room for future stories in this entertaining and unique series.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Exit Strategy by Kelley Armstrong

Exit Strategy
Kelley Armstrong
Bantam Books
July 3, 2007
ISBN# 978-0-553-58819-4

Nadia Stafford loves the lodge she bought when she was forced to leave the police force, but times are tough and repairs are high so Nadia is taking on a second job. She’s a hitwoman, working mainly for the Tomassini family and eliminating those people who even she feels have committed acts against humanity that warrant death.

Jack is a contract killer who has taken Nadia under his wing. When he asks Nadia to join him in tracking down and taking out a serial killer she’s cautious but agrees. With the help of others that Jack has worked with over the years, they band together and track someone they think may be one of their own. The last thing their community of professional killers needs is someone bringing them undue attention, and they mean to put an end to it.

Calling in old favors for information where they can, the team begins their search to locate the man dubbed the Helter Skelter Killer. Finding him is one thing, but keeping their anonymity in ending his life is a priority they all have to consider. In disguise they hunt, but when one of the team gets a good look at him the hunter quickly becomes the prey. The game is on, and only the best will survive.

Exit Strategy is the first in a crime fiction series that features the hitwoman Nadia Stafford. Nadia lives and works by her own rules, proving to others in her profession that she’s more than capable of getting the job done. Ms. Armstrong provides a suspenseful storyline and delivers an excitingly dangerous new heroine that will quickly endear herself to readers. In her line of work when push comes to shove, Nadia has what it takes to come out on top. Readers will get a taste of the romantic possibilities in Nadia’s future, but she’s not quite ready to lose herself in anything but her current case. A captivating page-turner that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Under the Rose by Diana Peterfreund

Under the Rose (An Ivy League Novel)
Diana Peterfreund
Delta – Random House, Inc.
July 3, 2007
ISBN# 978-0-385-34003-8

Amy Haskel is a senior at Eli University and a member of Rose & Grave. When the Diggirls, the female knights of Rose & Grave, each receive bizarre emails they quickly realize that their society is being targeted. Worse, someone is selling their secrets to a website bent on exposing them in any way they can. Sure that there is a traitor among them they set out to reveal the culprit’s identity. What Amy and her loyal Diggers soon discover is that there is more going on than someone breaking the oath of secrecy.

When their traitor suspect disappears, Amy is sure that a select few of Rose & Grave’s patriarchs are responsible. After all, it was them who were against their all male society changing with the times to allow the Diggirls in. Time is running out, and if they don’t solve the mystery soon, not only will the current club be destroyed but the very history of Rose & Grave could be as well.

Under the Rose is the second book in the Ivy League series. Amy is a spunky character who, although she questions her worth in Rose & Grave, never questions her oath to the society or her willingness to do the right thing. Ms. Peterfreund has developed an intriguing storyline filled with mystery, friendship, sizzling romances and the fascinating secret society she’s created in Rose & Grave. The characters have a wide variety of personalities and their future interests vary, but each are tied together through their Digger brotherhood. Readers will be watching for more in this fun cloak-and-dagger series with its fabulously witty edge.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dragon Heat by Allyson James

Dragon Heat
Allyson James
Berkley Sensation
July 03, 2007
ISBN# 978-0-425-21589-0

After an unpleasant divorce and the death of her grandmother, Lisa Singleton is finally getting her life back together. With her best friend Caleb, the beautiful golden dragon enslaved by witches to protect her, Lisa always has company at home. Still, she’s beginning to get lonely and missing the attentions of a man in her life. When a black dragon becomes a threat in her life, Caleb implores one of his captors to change him into a human male so he has a better chance of protecting Lisa. She does, at a great price to her own strength, leaving a gorgeous and gloriously naked male warrior in Lisa’s apartment. Together they fight the black dragon and witches who threaten to harm them, and continue to protect the orb whose presence has been kept secret for centuries. If the orb falls into the wrong hands and its immense power is used, it could mean the end of earth as well as Dragonspace.

Being forced into the role of protector would not have been a choice Caleb would make. Only a witch who knew his true dragon name could keep Caleb like a pet that’s made to follow orders. He would like nothing more than to be free from the witches, but only when none remain who know his true name can he enjoy that freedom. Dragons aren’t supposed to have emotions, but Caleb has developed them through the years. When Lisa comes into her powers and the threat to earth has been neutralized she may no longer need Caleb, and that heartbreak may be the one thing the strong warrior can’t survive.

Dragon Heat is a sizzling paranormal romance. Lisa and Caleb are fascinating characters thrust into a responsibility neither of them chose. Raising the stakes is a powerful witch who seeks more power at any cost, and a black dragon exiled on earth in human form who wants nothing more than to fly free in Dragonspace. Ms. James pens a riveting story that’s brimming with action, sinfully sexy characters and the beautiful gift of love. A magical and thoroughly enchanting read.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Burning Bridges by Laura Anne Gilman

Burning Bridges
Laura Anne Gilman
LUNA – Harlequin Books
June 2007

Wren Valere is a Talent, someone labeled other than human with the ability to channel current. Making an income as a Retriever, Wren locates and brings in that which her clients have paid for. Her partner, Sergei, sets up the agreements and researches the jobs. There’s much more to their relationship now, and what Wren shares with him may very well be causing Sergei harm. There’s a war brewing, and as the variety of nonhuman Fatae murdered expands to include all magic users, the Fatae and lonejack communities come together as an organized group. Taking a united stand in an attempt to stop the killings, their efforts may be the end of them all.

Sergei Didier is a former member of the Silence, or as close to being separated from the group as he can get. Once a part of the group sworn to protecting humans, there is no real escaping, but Sergei has done his best to limit his contact with them. When his relationship with Wren grew from strictly professional to something more personal, his priorities changed. Marked as being caught somewhere in the middle between the Silence and those like Wren, it’s not an easy, or healthy, position to be in. With a battle raging, Sergei’s side has already been chosen, and that alone could cost him his life.

Burning Bridges is the fourth book in the Retrievers series and remains as wonderfully unique as the previous installments. Ms. Gilman has woven an exceptional world, unlike any other in her genre. Each character and group of beings has been developed with the same detailed care as the action-packed storyline. This intriguing series continues to draw readers in with Wren’s amazing and ever advancing journey, and will certainly leave you craving more of the same.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Key to Conflict by Talia Gryphon

Key to Conflict
Talia Gryphon
Ace – The Berkley Publishing Group
June 2007

Dr. Gillian Key is a Paramortal psychologist as well as a Special Forces Operative. Her current work takes her to Romania and deep into the Carpathian Mountains where Count Aleksei Rachlav, a centuries old vampire, needs her professional help. While there she’ll counsel a second client, a ghost who has some issues of his own. Despite her seemingly full workload, Gillian’s also on a special ops mission to gather what information she can about Dracula. A war is about to begin among the vampires, and Gillian is right smack in the middle. With the protection of Aleksei and his allies Gillian must stay in the country until the threat has passed, but when Aleksei’s brother Tanis goes missing Gillian refuses to wait around. With the help of some old friends Gillian plans to bring Tanis back, because in her line of work no one is left behind.

Count Aleksei Rachlav has come to a point in his long life where living no longer holds the interest it once did. Calling upon Dr. Key for some much needed professional advice, Aleksei never expects the instant attraction he feels for her. Not that he could act on his interest, because along with their professional relationship comes the rule that prohibits Gillian from getting romantically involved with a patient for a full year after the patient is discharged from her care. With the threat of war, Aleksei’s position in the vampire community could be threatened, and those who he protects would be in great danger. Aleksei will do whatever it takes to defeat Dracula, and hope that someday he’ll have the chance to claim the woman whose presence brought meaning back to his life.

Key to Conflict is a refreshingly new facet in the paranormal genre, and wonderfully well-written. As Gillian embarks on her journey deep into the vampire world, the last thing she expects is to be caught in the middle of a war. As the tension rises with the impending battle the chemistry between Gillian and Aleksei reaches sizzling heights. Ms. Gryphon has woven a gloriously fascinating tale and carved a niche in this well loved genre to call her own. This is a delightfully entertaining read.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Saturday, June 2, 2007

No Humans Involved by Kelley Armstrong

No Humans Involved
Kelley Armstrong
Bantam Spectra – Random House, Inc.
May 2007

Jaime Vegas is on a set in L.A. with two fellow spiritualists. They’re planning to attempt contact with the ghost of Marilyn Monroe for an upcoming television special. Not only is Jaime a necromancer who can raise the dead, but she sees and hears the dead as well. Things begin to take a bad turn when Jaime can’t quite get a fix on a number of ghosts in the garden of the home they’re shooting at. Never having encountered this before she seeks advice and answers to the strange haunting, but in her effort to gain knowledge she’s quickly getting herself into deep trouble.

Jaime enlists the help of Jeremy, an alpha werewolf, a half chaos demon named Hope, and Eve, her guide from the other side. Together they set out to find the cause of the weakened ghosts in the garden and set them free. The more she learns, the more threatened her life becomes and not even Jeremy watching over her will keep trouble away. Jaime will do everything in her power to keep everyone around her safe while she continues to help the dead, and one way or another she plans to make things right.

No Humans Involved is the seventh novel in the Women of the Otherworld series, with an additional short story included in an anthology. In this installment readers get a deeper look into Jaime’s life as she narrates and demonstrates her powers as a necromancer. Ms. Armstrong’s skills as an author shine through and make Jaime’s story well worth the read. Powerful characters capture the reader’s attention, while their unique abilities grow in clear detail and their quirky personalities keep you entertained. Filled with equal parts of action, adventure and a dark mystery, this story is also sprinkled with a delicious dose of lustful interest.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews