Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Darkest Kiss by Keri Arthur

The Darkest Kiss
Riley Jenson, Guardian, Book 6
Keri Arthur
Bantam Dell
April 29, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-553-59114-9

Working as a Guardian for the Directorate is more than a full time job for Riley Jenson. Her werewolf senses and vampire blood give her strength and speed in the hunt, but even she can find herself in a deadly situation. The new cases she’s working will bring her face to face with two killers that are quite different than anything she’s ever encountered before.

The Toorak Trollops are a group of high-society women who date only the wealthy and powerful men who can give them the most. When the men they’ve been with begin turning up dead, the Directorate is called in to investigate. This case also forces Riley to come face to face with an ex-lover who is never far from her thoughts. In her still fragile state from a recent break-up, Riley will have little strength to fight off the passionate connection they still share.

While she’s already on the trail of one murderer, Riley receives a call from Ben Wilson. He’s a wolf she met during a previous case and he’s in need of a Guardian’s help. More murders are occurring that may somehow have a connection to the Toorak Trollops case. Now Riley has two murderers to find who are each committed to exacting their own forms of revenge. Her skills will be put to the test, but stopping the killings is the only option. Riley will do whatever it takes to see it done, even if that means fighting something far stronger and more dangerous than she is.

The Darkest Kiss is the sixth book in the Riley Jensen, Guardian series. Riley’s instincts and skill will lead her to two deadly opponents who each started with an agenda but are more than willing to destroy anyone who gets in their way. Ms. Arthur pens a fabulous mystery filled with vampires and shapeshifters whose unique qualities add to the overall suspense. The danger throughout the story plays a big role in the building tension and the heroine’s passion for catching the killers bring each case to a searing climax. While the cases in this installment are new, readers should read each of the prior books to gain a better understanding of Riley’s background. Readers looking for a great urban fantasy series with mystery and romance need look no further than the Riley Jenson Guardian novels.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Don't Hex With Texas by Shanna Swendson

Don’t Hex With Texas
Katie Chandler, Book 4
Shanna Swendson
Ballantine Books
April 29, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-345-49293-7

Katie Chandler thought she was doing the right thing by leaving her job and the man she cared about behind. Far from Manhattan, she returns to her hometown of Cobb, Texas where life is generally quiet. While she missed her job at Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., Katie thought her absence would help to keep Owen safe. Her boss, Merlin, seemed to agree. Little did she know that something was brewing in her hometown, and someone she knows could be deeply involved.

Owen Palmer is a powerful wizard who’s at war against darker magic. He’s been busy tracking down Idris, a wizard who poses a dangerous threat. When Katie’s hometown is in magic induced trouble, Owen betrays his orders and heads down to help. What he discovers could be a real problem. While he manages to find assistance from some unexpected sources, he’ll still have to rely on their honor in keeping their promises. Not such an easy thing to do when so many lives are on the line.

This is the fourth installment in the Katie Chandler series. In this magical world wizards can be charming, gargoyles make fabulous bodyguards, and what most of the world sees is rarely what’s there. Don’t Hex With Texas is fun, witty and delightfully entertaining. Ms. Swendson weaves fantasy, fairytales and her own creative magic into the storyline, making this series simply unique.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Friday, April 25, 2008

Grimspace by Ann Aguirre

Ann Aguirre
February 26, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-441-01599-3

The only survivor of the Matins IV crash, Sirantha Jax has been isolated by her employer and forced to undergo psychological torture disguised as treatments to mend her. Born with the J-gene that allows her to act as a Jumper, Jax has the ability to work with a pilot and move a ship through grimspace. While most Jumpers would have died from the number of jumps Jax has completed, her continued strength has captured the notice of a group who has plans of their own where her future is concerned. If Jax can train their engineered Jumpers they can break-down the control that the Farwan Corporation holds.

March arrives and offers to free Jax with the condition that she do as they ask, and use her talent to help them stand against the Corp. It’s clear to Jax that March has shadows of his own that he holds deep inside, but with their roles as Pilot and Jumper their relationship must be close and trusting. The Corp won’t easily allow Jax to walk away, so the tentative connection she forges with March could be all that enables her to survive.

In this science fiction tale, Ms. Aguirre blends a creative adventure with a thorny romance and takes readers on a fast-moving ride through space. With a fascinating concept in space travel, and the unique characters that make it possible, Grimspace is well-imagined and very entertaining. The sequel, Wanderlust, is currently scheduled as an August 2008 release.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Kat Richardson is guest blogging at the Penguin Group Blog...

I know many of you are fans of the Greywalker series, and have read Greywalker and Poltergeist. Now we're all looking forward to Underground being released the beginning of August. :) If you enjoy urban fantasy and haven't found this series yet then you should really check it out! In the meantime, stop by and see what Ms. Richardson has to say over at Penguin Group's blog.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wild & Hexy by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Wild & Hexy
The Hex Series, Book 2
Vicki Lewis Thompson
June 3, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-451-41258-4

Annie Winston was once the Dairy Queen of Big Knob, Indiana, but left to pursue her dreams. Soon after the break-up of her marriage she’s returned home for her sister’s wedding. She’s gained a bit of weight and now her mother is busy making sure that splitting seams won’t be an issue come wedding day. Dropping a few pounds won’t be a problem with so much running to do for the wedding, tracking down a daily story for her job at the Tribune and spending what’s left of her time with Jeremy, a guy she barely noticed in high school.

Jeremy Dunstan runs an internet café in town with the only high-speed connection around. He had a crush on Annie when they were teens, but he was too shy to act on it. Now that she’s back and using the café to send off her articles for the paper, he wishes he had the confidence to ask her out. With Annie coming to the conclusion that he’s not interested in women at all, it’ll take a bit of magical help for Jeremy to sweep her off of her feet. Convincing her to stay in Big Knob will take a whole lot more effort than a touch of borrowed magic.

With Dorcas and Ambrose Lowell meddling in their love lives, the residents of Big Knob are destined to find their perfect match. In this second book of The Hex Series, readers are introduced to a new pair of unsuspecting mortals on the Lowell’s matchmaking hit-list, and find that there are more supernatural residents calling Big Knob home. Each book that Vicki Lewis Thompson pens is an experience that will have you laughing from the start. The world is well-built, the characters are charming and the storyline is simply delightful. Wild & Hexy is a zany adventure in romance and magic. Readers won’t be able to resist another visit with the inhabitants of Big Knob.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Monday, April 21, 2008

From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris

From Dead to Worse
Southern Vampire Series, Book 8
Charlaine Harris
May 6, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-441-01589-4

In the town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, Sookie Stackhouse waits tables at Merlotte’s, a local bar owned by her shapeshifter boss and friend, Sam. She lives life the best that she can with a telepathic gift that she’s not always happy to have. Last month she survived a life claiming explosion at the vampire summit, and Sookie is trying harder than ever to get her life back on track. With her ties to both the vampire and werewolf communities leading an uneventful life is next to impossible.

Sophie Anne’s rule over the Louisiana vampires has been further hindered by her extreme injuries sustained from the explosion, and someone sees this as their chance to make a change. Meanwhile, Sookie’s weretiger boyfriend, Quinn, hasn’t contacted her since just after the explosion and Sookie is growing more concerned each day.

Tempers rise in the werewolf community, and the vampires find themselves in turmoil that takes them by surprise. As power becomes the main objective Sookie will once again discover she’s surrounded by supernatural battles, but in the midst of it all she’ll meet an unexpected visitor who has special significance in her life.

In this eighth full-length installment of the Southern Vampire Series, Sookie’s loyalties to her friends and family will be tested and she’ll continue the struggle to piece together the puzzle of her life. With supernatural action that never slows, Ms. Harris takes readers on a new thrill ride filled to the brim with fabulous detail, characters that will charm their way into your heart, and the magic of never knowing what might come next. Tension filled, and laced with romantic possibilities, From Dead to Worse advances the storyline as it ties up loose ends and opens new doors. This series is a must read for fans of urban fantasy and should be read from the beginning.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Ghost and the Femme Fatale by Alice Kimberly

The Ghost and the Femme Fatale
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, No. 4
Alice Kimberly
Berkley Prime Crime
May 6, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-425-21838-9

Penelope Thornton-McClure is a widow, single mother and owns a bookshop with her Aunt Sadie. Having completed restorations, the new owners of the Movie Town Theater are holding a Film Noir Festival with special guest speakers and book signings to be held at Pen’s shop. One of the big stars from the period is Hedda Geist whose career ended abruptly back in the day when she was involved in a murder. Hedda’s boyfriend, Pierce Armstrong, went to jail for the stabbing and Hedda disappeared. Now that she’s willing to be seen again it seems that someone may not want that to happen. What others are calling accidents, Pen believes are premeditated murders and she’s quick to begin investigating.

Jack Shepard was a private investigator when he was killed back in 1949, but his ghost remained in the area that is now the bookshop. Pen is the only one who can hear him, and while he’s usually stuck in the store she can also take him with her as long as she has Jack’s lucky buffalo nickel along. Actors and authors are turning up dead and while it looks like accidents, Jack and Pen are convinced it’s far from simply bad luck. Along with several of her local friends they plan to get to the bottom of the case without Pen meeting with a deadly accident of her own.

With a mystery that began with stars from 1940’s film, this fourth book in the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries is sure to please fans of both the mystery and paranormal genres. Ms. Kimberly weaves a decades old murder around a current deadly mystery and puts her headstrong heroine and ghostly hero on the case. In the midst of it all Jack pulls Pen into his time through dreams, and the chemistry they share draws them closer together as more than investigative partners. With a fast-paced storyline, detailed scenery and fabulous characters, The Ghost and the Femme Fatale comes together with a twist, making for a fun mystery that readers can get lost in.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Angel of Mercy by Toni Andrews

Angel of Mercy
Mercy Hollings, Book 2
Toni Andrews
May 1, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-7783-2547-5

Mercy Hollings is a hypnotherapist with a gift she calls ‘pressing’. When she gives a client a suggestion, they obey without argument. She’s careful to keep the persuasion light because she’s learned first hand how deadly her skills can be when someone is pressed too hard.

When a client arrives who has clearly been abused by her husband, Mercy knows that the woman needs more help and protection than she can provide. Making arrangements for the ill-treated Tiffany brings Mercy into contact with Rose Jackson, the woman who runs Haven House. The facility does their best to help those they can, and Mercy finds herself brought in on a case where a mother and daughter, Anna and Grace, have been abused so badly that Rose can’t begin to uncover all that’s happened.

With her friend Sukey’s help, Mercy is looking into her past to find answers to the questions that have plagued her throughout most of her life. Her boyfriend Sam has been patient in waiting for her to trust him enough to share her secrets, but she’s recently discovered that he has some secrets of his own. In an effort to use her gift to help, Mercy’s control begins to slip, and soon the lives of those around her could be at risk.

In the second installment of the Mercy Hollings series, Mercy takes a step closer to discovering her past, keeps her boyfriend at arms length and uses her gift more than ever. There are some heart-wrenching discussions on abuse, and as disturbing as that may be to some readers it plays an understandable role in the storyline with Mercy’s profession. Ms. Andrews pens a unique paranormal tale with mysterious pasts, romance and suspense that’s bound to capture the reader’s attention. Angel of Mercy references incidents from the first book in the series, Beg for Mercy, and to really understand the extent of Mercy’s power it’s best if they’re read in order.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Call of the Highland Moon by Kendra Leigh Castle

Call of the Highland Moon
Kendra Leigh Castle
Sourcebooks – Casablanca
May 1, 2008
ISBN# 978-1-4022-1158-4

Gideon MacInnes is a werewolf who thought life was passing him by. In line to be pack Alpha, Gideon flees his home in the Highlands of Scotland and travels to some of the largest cities across the U.S. before stopping in upstate New York. A pack of strange werewolves have followed him there, most likely sent by his scheming cousin Malachi. They viciously attack, but Gideon manages to hold his own through the fight. Injured and bleeding in the aftermath, he follows a sweet scent and collapses at the door of a small bookshop.

Carly Silver owns Bodice Rippers and Baubles, a bookstore she purchased with an inheritance from a great-aunt. After her book club meeting winds down and her guests have left, Carly hears scratching and finds what appears to be a wounded dog at the door. With a storm brewing, Carly takes the animal home, fixes him up and leaves him to sleep in a comfortable pile of blankets. When she wakes her furry houseguest is gone and a naked man is beside her in bed.

Gideon returns to his family and pack with an injured Carly, and as moonrise approaches he must face a long forgotten evil. While it’s part of their heritage, little is known of the Stone of Destiny that they guard. Gideon must follow through with his duty to protect it, even if it’s at the cost of losing the woman he loves.

Sweeping readers along from upstate New York to the Scottish Highlands, Call of the Highland Moon tells a werewolf tale with a mysterious origin. Ms. Castle develops likeable characters, adds danger-filled mystery to a steamy romance, and keeps reader’s interest to the revealing end.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Death Dealer by Heather Graham

The Death Dealer
Heather Graham
March 25, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-7783-2532-1

After surviving a kidnapping at the cost of another life, Genevieve O’Brien has had enough horror. Now her worries are for her mother and the other Ravens of the Poe Society who appear to be in danger. There’s a serial killer on the loose and no one’s better to find the culprit than the man who helped to save her life. Confident in his abilities, Gen hires Joe to look into the Poe Killings and to keep her mother safe.

Joe Connolly is a Private Investigator, and reluctantly takes on Gen’s case. He has problems of his own right now and thinks he may be going crazy after hearing voices from the dead. With so many possible suspects, and so little proof, the case will take more than his expertise to be solved. Gen isn’t about to let him go off to investigate on his own, so when she insists on accompanying him Joe gives in.

As they grow closer to the truth the killer will strike once again and Joe will have little choice but to believe in the voices of those he lost. If he doesn’t heed their warnings another life will be taken soon, and that loss may be more than he can bear.

This sequel to last year’s, The Dead Room, is another well-told mystery with a paranormal touch. Ms. Graham writes some fabulous tales, and her romantic ghost stories are certainly a favorite. A romance blooms, the mystery steadily unravels, and readers are led to a brisk and satisfying end. The Death Dealer picks up soon after Genevieve’s rescue, but can easily be read as a stand-alone book.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Kiss Before the Apocalypse by Thomas E. Sniegoski

A Kiss Before the Apocalypse
Thomas E. Sniegoski
May 6, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-451-46205-3

Remy Chandler is a Boston P.I. with an amazing history. Once part of the Seraphim, the angel Remiel chose to give up his place in Heaven and live among the humans on Earth. Like most men Remy fell in love with a beautiful woman and married. Now Madeline’s life is approaching the end as she fights a deadly disease.

Hired to follow a cheating husband, Remy finds himself the witness to a murder/suicide, but the fatal wounds don’t actually claim their lives. His fears are confirmed when Nathanuel, accompanied by three other Seraphim, asks for his help in locating Israfil, the Angel of Death.

Souls are not being claimed, so those who should be dead are left to linger. Sacred scrolls are missing, and if opened they will unleash the four Horsemen and bring the Apocalypse. A battle rages, its instigators intent on destroying mankind for their selfish purposes. With one of the fallen by his side, and the power of an angel within, Remy becomes the planet’s only hope.

Blurring the lines between good and evil, A Kiss Before the Apocalypse will keep readers riveted until the very end. This is an emotional journey that’s sometimes filled with sadness, but once it begins you won’t want to walk away. Mr. Sniegoski defines the hero in a way that makes him very real and thoroughly human. While the supernatural plays a large and detailed role, much of Remy’s decisions come from his human heart as opposed to the angel’s intellect and strength that he keeps locked away. Fast-moving, well-written and wonderfully enchanting, this is one that fantasy readers won’t want to miss.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Monday, April 14, 2008

Succubus in the City by Nina Harper

Succubus in the City
Nina Harper
Del Rey
March 25, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-345-49506-8

Lily is a Succubus in the employ of Satan, otherwise known as Martha. She’s good at what she does, but seducing men to send to Hell is getting old. She knows what’s missing from her life, but finding a man to love her despite her job description isn’t an easy task. Her friends warn her against falling for a man, sure that he’ll betray her if she dares tell him truth, but when Lily meets Nathan all rational thought is out the window.

Nathan Colemen is a P.I. working a missing person case that leads him to Lily’s door. The absent man in question had Lily’s personal information, and Nathan plans to find out why that is. It isn’t until later that Lily realizes that while she didn’t recognize the man’s name or picture there may be a connection to her life suddenly being threatened.

In the midst of danger, Lily’s thoughts are with Nathan. Intelligent, handsome and sweet, he’d be perfect for her if it turns out that he’s a generous lover. Lily’s life as a sex demon is a secret she plans to keep until the day she decides to risk everything for love.

Succubus in the City moves ahead at a leisurely pace introducing readers to Lily and the various aspects of her life. I had a difficult time warming up to Lily in the beginning, but Nathan’s introduction into the story adds interest and uncovers more of Lily’s unique origins. While Lily is a Succubus, the sex scenes are well-spaced and don’t overwhelm the other facets of the storyline. Ms. Harper reels readers in by the end of this installment and provides a solid start with good friends, the possibilities of love and a whirlwind tour of Hell.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Murder Can Crash Your Party by Selma Eichler

Murder Can Crash Your Party
A Desiree Shapiro Mystery, Book 15
Selma Eichler
May 6, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-451-22384-5

Desiree Shapiro is a Manhattan PI who’s recently been asked to Connecticut as a guest speaker at a mystery writer’s convention. As much as the idea terrifies her, Desiree accepts the invitation. Some time away from work and the strain of her relationship with her boyfriend, Nick, is just the thing she needs.

Having gotten through her speaking engagement the previous day, Desiree is enjoying breakfast and trying to decide if she’ll stay an extra night. Her thoughts are interrupted when she’s joined by Belle Simone, an author, and her assistant, Gary Donleavy. Surprised, but intrigued, Desiree listens while Belle offers her a job. If Desiree can correctly identify the murderer in Belle’s new book she’ll be given a check in the sum of $24,940. An odd amount, but it’s an offer that she can’t refuse.

Desiree begins her new case with the stipulation that she will be given clues along the way. The story of a man who’s the victim of foul play at a surprise party given by his wife is the basis of the story, and Desiree reads along as the death is investigated. With a little help from friends and family, she moves through the book and the clues given to her by Gary and Belle. Just as Desiree nears the end of the story, tragedy strikes. It becomes more important than ever to discover the truth, and she won’t stop until she’s solved the crime.

Written as a murder mystery within a murder mystery, Murder Can Crash Your Party will keep readers on their toes right from the beginning. Ms. Eichler deftly draws readers into the mystery and keeps them engaged in solving the crime. While this isn’t a fast paced read, it’s amazing how quickly you’ll find yourself at the end. This well-written tale is filled with delightful characters, a realistic romance and a touch of humor that keeps things on the lighter side.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Romancing the Dead by Tate Hallaway

Romancing the Dead
Garnet Lacey, Book 3
Tate Hallaway
Berkley Books
May 6, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-425-22133-4

Garnet Lacey’s life tends to be a busy one, but things were finally settling down. The Vatican assassins are no longer on her trail for being a witch, and she’s getting ready to marry Sebastian Von Traum, her vampire fiancé. They’re forming a new coven, and Garnet’s meeting with her boss to put in an offer on Mercury Crossing, the occult bookstore where she works. Just as everything seems to be going well for her, Sebastian disappears and her life is suddenly in danger.

When Sebastian doesn’t show for a scheduled speech to the Horticultural Society, Garnet begins to suspect that he’s decided to cozy-up with one of the new coven members. The arrival of her future stepson, and their growing concerns, force them into an alliance to discover his whereabouts. With no real leads to follow, Garnet begins questioning the ghouls Sebastian sees for his feedings.

As her search for Sebastian becomes more frantic a new threat emerges. One of the new coven members develops more than a passing interest in Lilith, the goddess who lives within Garnet. If she’s not careful her relationship with the goddess could be damaged beyond repair and without Lilith’s power she may not have the strength to save the man she loves.

Romancing the Dead is the third book in the Garnet Lacey series. Ms. Hallaway provides another exciting adventure in her unique series, and adds fascinating new characters to the mix. Readers will meet Micah who’s charming, sexy and altogether captivating, even when his actions are less than honorable. Garnet, who is generally a strong character with all she’s weathered, becomes more flawed and human as she deals with the shock of her missing fiancé, accepts help from the future stepson she loathes, and suffers the insecurities of contemplating the future she’s about to share with her vampire lover. Romancing the Dead starts off slowly, but it’s really the only chance readers get to catch their breath before they’re swept up into the melee and left looking forward to more of the same.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Playing with Fire by Katie MacAlister

Playing with Fire
The Silver Dragons, Book 1
Katie MacAlister
May 6, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-451-22378-4

Gabriel Tauhou is a wyvern that leads the Silver Dragons. He’s just discovered his mate in Mei Ling, a notorious cat burglar. Her talents are exactly what Gabriel’s been looking for to help him retrieve the phylactery that the Black Dragon, Kostya, now has in his possession. While May would not choose to be a thief, her unique skills enable her to hide in the shadows and become invisible under the right circumstances. Her gift could come in quite handy, but it’s the fact that May can take his dragon fire that draws him to her.

May Northcott is a doppelganger and twin of Cyrene, the naiad who brought her into existence and in desperation bound her to Magoth, a demon lord of Abaddon. When May is given a direct order by Magoth, she’d be foolish to decline. If she were to refuse his command she’d become dybbuk, and that could put her in a position she’s fought hard to avoid.

The sexy dragon has won May’s heart and she’ll give up everything to keep him safe, even if it means having to let him go. Gabriel now has a mate, something he never thought he’d find, and losing a treasure that grand to a demon lord isn’t an option any dragon would entertain.

Playing with Fire is the first installment in The Silver Dragons series. Ms. MacAlister works her creative magic and adds a fabulous new layer to her world of sexy dragons. The dialog is as witty as ever and having the charming Gabriel in the lead is an experience that you can’t help but enjoy. Readers that follow the Aisling Grey series will be thrilled to see Aisling, Drake and Jim in supporting roles. Playing with Fire has all of the danger filled action, steamy romance and wonderful humor that fans know and love.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Heart of the Wolf by Terry Spear

Heart of the Wolf
Terry Spear
Sourcebooks - Casablanca
April 1, 2008
ISBN# 978-1-4022-1157-7

Having survived the fire that killed her red wolf pack, Bella was adopted as a pup by a local pack of gray wolves. Her life as a red among the gray pack wasn’t a problem, but Volan, the pack alpha, insisting on making her his as she grew-up definitely was. It was Devlyn, another gray wolf, which she wanted as her mate, but that desire put the young wolf in danger of suffering the alpha’s wrath. Seeing no other escape from Volan, Bella ran away.

Years later Bella is running in wolf form when she’s captured, and the incident brings her to the attention of the local red pack that had no idea she’d been living in their town. After 150 years of hiding and starting a new life, her old pack has tracked her down, and Volan has sent Devlyn to retrieve her. Bella finds herself in demand in a way that threatens her survival.

Women are being killed in a brutal way and it appears to be the doing of a red wolf. It’s not long before Devlyn and Bella suspect that there is more than one wolf involved. As they get closer to the truth their lives are at risk from not only the red pack who want to claim Bella for their own, but from Volan trying to do the same. Devlyn will have no choice but to fight to the death in order to keep the mate he’s waited so long to claim.

Heart of the Wolf is filled with action, mystery and romance. The deep connection between Bella and Devlyn was in the making before Bella ran from the pack, and while they try to fight their attraction and follow pack rules, the change in their relationship is inevitable. Ms. Spear blends a well-structured werewolf tale with an intriguing murder mystery. Heart of the Wolf is a fast-moving read with a sizzling romance and danger-filled action that keeps readers engaged to the end. I’m hoping that we’ll get to read about the lone red wolf, Leidolf, in the future.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Dorchester's 2008 Mr. Romance Contest....

This is such a great idea, just had to share. *grin*
All you hot and horny women who go weak-kneed at the sight of washboard abs and flirty tresses better get ready or get your inhaler, cause these dudes are righteously buff and they’re ready for their close-up.
One month from now, eight men will strut their stuff down the runway, flash their pearly whites and flex that one muscle that can win them the gold—personal charm. Dorchester’s 2008 Mr. Romance winner will have to put everything on the line and let it all hang out to rise to the top of this packed stable of stiff competitors. It’s winner take all, baby. Love is a battlefield.
Beginning April 7, Dorchesterpub.com will reveal two models a day in all their pixilated, spray-tanned glory. Learn their stats, love their lats and dream away about dinner for two with beefcake tartare for starters. After four days of hunky reveals, voting will open to the Dorchester public and that’s when the real fun begins. See the models’ ranking go up and down; who’s hot and who’s not. Will it come down to a cheeky little wink or something much bigger? Log on to dorchesterpub.com and find out!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Under Darkness by Savannah Russe

Under Darkness
The Darkwing Chronicles, Book 5
Savannah Russe
Signet Eclipse
May 6, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-451-22385-2

Daphne Urban is a centuries old vampire working for the government as part of the Darkwing team. It’s not a job she would have picked for herself, but being given the choice of working as a spy or being left permanently dead was a good motivator. As a team the vampires are sent out to prevent or eliminate threats to the US.

When an important historical symbol goes missing, experts are baffled at the how and why of it. The Darkwing team is called in to figure out how it was done, locate it and find out what purpose the theft serves. There’s a much darker plan at work and their worst fears of a terrorist attack may be realized if the team can’t solve the mystery before their time is up.

For Daphne and her fellow vampires there’s more going on with a sudden threat of vampire hunters trying to eliminate them. Darius is back, and while Daphne hasn’t stopped loving him, she still has to wonder if he is behind the attacks. With Darius as secretive as ever, Daphne will have to maintain her focus on the dangers surrounding her and decide once and for all if this is a man she can trust.

Under Darkness is the fifth book in The Darkwing Chronicles. Dangerous brushes with vampire hunters and terrorists making demands have the team on high alert in this newest installment. Ms. Russe shares a well-defined Urban Fantasy and adds danger, death, and romance to the action-packed mix. The characters are engaging and realistic in their world, and more often than not their reactions and flaws are very human. For a solid understanding of where the Darkwing team members came from, and how the steamy romance has gotten to the point where it is, this series should be read from the beginning.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Night
Lords of the Underworld, Book 1
Gena Showalter
May 1, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-373-77246-9

Traveling to Budapest with her boss and coworkers from the World Institute of Parapsychology, Ashlyn Darrow ignores her boss’s order and attempts to gain access to the men she thinks can help her. Ashlyn can’t stand the voices in her head anymore, and for her dealing with men who are described as angels by some or demons by others is worth any risk.

Maddox and his brethren have been cursed for freeing the demons contained in Pandora’s Box. His punishment is to be possessed by the demon Violence and to be killed night after night in a gruesome manner. When he finds Ashlyn sneaking around the fortress grounds with Hunters following her every move, Maddox sees her as Bait from their enemies. Still, there’s something about her he can’t resist.

When Ashlyn is taken back to the fortress by Maddox what she learns will have her questioning the Institute’s motives and the role she was forced to play. One thing she’s sure of is that being with Maddox is the most peaceful she’s felt in her life, and she has no plans of giving that up.

The Darkest Night is the first full-length print novel of the Lords of the Underworld series. There is an ebook prequel titled The Darkest Fire. Ms. Showalter gives readers a well-built and dark paranormal world to escape to, and spices things up with a scorching tale of love. With a unique blending of myth, fairy tales and imagination, The Darkest Night will lure you in and keep you entertained to the end. The next installment, The Darkest Kiss, is due to release June 1, 2008.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Fallen by Erin McCarthy

Seven Deadly Sins, Book 2
Erin McCarthy
April 29, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-515-14462-8

Given the task of watching over humans, the angel Gabriel is overwhelmed. When he falls into addiction and the woman he cares for is murdered, he’s punished for his sins and becomes one of the ‘fallen’, a demon. Bound to the city of New Orleans for the past 150 years, Gabriel has sobered up and is now looking for answers to the mystery of Anne Donovan’s death.

Sara Michaels has lost her mother in a brutal unsolved murder, and the man accused, her mother’s boyfriend Dr. Rafe Marino, has just been acquitted. Sara has always felt he was innocent, but she failed to stand by him through the trial while her grief turned her life upside down and sent her into addiction.

Gabriel has followed the news from Florida on the murder of Jessie Michaels, and contacts Sara to collaborate on a book showing the bizarre similarities between the deaths. With Sara’s forensics background she may be able to help solve Anne’s murder and finally release Gabriel from his self-imposed torture.

Both keeping secrets, some much bigger than others, Gabriel and Sara set out to examine every piece of testimony and evidence they can find. Their working arrangement brings them closer together, but if they cross the wrong line it could destroy them both.

Fallen is the second book in the Seven Deadly Sins series. Gabriel and Sara are engaging characters with interesting backgrounds, but both characters retain secrets throughout much of the story. Ms. McCarthy leads readers in a murder mystery that twists and turns its way to a surprising climax. With a sizzling chemistry that turns steamy, and the immortal ‘fallen’ to add a taste of the paranormal, readers should be entertained by this suspenseful tale.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Interview - Tera Lynn Childs

Darque Reviews welcomes Tera Lynn Childs

Hi Tera, thanks so much for sharing your time with Darque Reviews! We’re looking forward to getting to know you and your work better.

Oh. My. Gods. is scheduled to release on May 1, 2008 by Dutton Books (Penguin Group, USA). Can you tell us a bit about Phoebe Castro and her life at the Academy?

TLC: Phoebe is a California girl whose mom marries the headmaster of the Academy, a super-exclusive private school on a tiny Greek island. She just wants to get through her senior year with a B-average and a few cross-country wins because that’s her ticket to a USC scholarship. But when they arrive she learns that the school is populated by the descendants of Greek gods--and she’s the only one who’s not! How can she compete with that? As my cover blurb says, Phoebe’s in for a romantic odyssey of mythic proportion.

Which came first, Phoebe or the Greek gods?

TLC: The gods. Actually, the (original) title came first. My working title was Growing Up Godly--a twist on the Growing Up Gotti reality show--and since I’m not an inspirational author I knew I had to find another meaning for the “Godly” part. I’ve always loved anything ancient, so the Greek gods were a perfect fit.

Will this be a stand-alone story, or can readers expect to see more of Phoebe in the future?

TLC: There will be at least one more--I’m revising the as-yet-untitled sequel right now. I can’t say too much without revealing Oh. My. Gods. spoilers, but the second books takes place the summer after Phoebe’s first year at the Academy. All the familiar characters (Nicole, Troy, Griffin, Adara, and Stella) play major parts in the story.

Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and what influenced you to choose it as a profession?

TLC: I know the exact moment I started thinking about writing as a legitimate potential career. During my masters thesis defense one of my advisors said, “You are a very effective writer.” Now he was only trying to soften the blow of his next comment, but it got me thinking. Maybe, just maybe, I could.... Two years later, in 2003, I decided to really go after the career.

What was the most difficult part of the writing process for your first book?

TLC: Finishing. The first book I completed was a Regency historical romance the will never see the light of day. Before that I’d started one book after another, but never got more than halfway before giving up. After you reach the end once, then you always know you can do it again, but that first time is scary. You’re plagued by doubts. What if I can’t finish it? What if it’s horrible? What if, what if, what if? You have to push that aside. Just. Keep. Writing.

What are you working on now? What can readers look forward to next?

TLC: Like I said, I’m just finishing up the sequel to Oh. My. Gods. Hopefully there will be more books in the series because I’m not done with Phoebe yet. In the meantime I have a few others in the works. I have BADD (Book Attention Deficit Disorder) so I always have half a dozen ideas at the ready, but until I have a contract I can’t know which ones will make the cut.

Which genre do you enjoy reading? Who are some of your favorite authors?

TLC: Of course I’m reading mostly teen books right now and some of my favorites are Stephanie Hale, Jaclyn Moriarty, E. Lockhart, John Green, and Rachel Cohn. My first love, though, is historical romance and my must-reads are Sophie Jordan, Shana Galen, Suzanne Enoch, and unequivocally Julia Quinn.

What did you do to celebrate the sale of your first book?

TLC: I got a tattoo! I’d been wanting one forever, but was very cautious about the what and the where. Choosing the location was easy--my back hip--but I couldn’t decide on the art. TeenVogue published a picture of a Brazilian girl with a field of stars over her shoulder. That was perfect! I was unpublished at that point and made myself a deal: I could get one star for every book I sold. Which reminds me, I still need to get a star for the sequel...

How do you spend your free time when you find some?

TLC: (I find way more than I should!) I’m a reality TV junkie--gasp, I know. If someone has a chance to win a bunch of money by doing something disgusting, embarrassing, or awe-inspiring, then I’ll tune in. I also like to read, rearrange my furniture, travel, browse bookstores, make lists, and covertly observe teenagers at my local coffee shop while I’m supposed to be working--it’s market research!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers or aspiring authors before we say goodbye?

TLC: Never give up and never stand still. If writing is your passion and you are committed to never stop learning and changing and growing as author you will eventually succeed. Author friend Lynda Sandoval once gave a very powerful speech in which--and I’m majorly paraphrasing/interpreting here--she said, “Imagine if you gave up the day before. The day before you got the bestselling idea. The day before you sent the query that landed you an agent. The day before all the hard work paid off. How can you ever give up knowing that today could be the day before?”

Thanks so much for spending time with us. The best of luck with your upcoming release, Oh. My. Gods.!

TLC: Thank you for the fun interview and for the luck--all writers need that in heavy doses.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

You can visit Tera Lynn Childs website, here:

You can visit her blog, here:

You can order a copy of Oh. My. Gods., here:
Oh. My. Gods. - Amazon

Oh. My. Gods. by Tera Lynn Childs

Oh. My. Gods.
Tera Lynn Childs
Dutton – Penguin Group USA
May 1, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-525-47942-0

Phoebe Castro has worked hard to be one of the best in cross-country running, and doing what she loves most will pay off in the form of a scholarship. Attending USC with her best friends Cesca and Nola is just a year away. Unfortunately for Phoebe, her mother has different plans.

Returning from a family reunion in Greece, Phoebe’s mom has a surprise that will turn Phoebe’s world upside down. She’s fallen in love with Damian Petrolas, the headmaster of an exclusive academy on the Greek island of Serfopoula. If that weren’t enough of a shock, Phoebe’s told that they’ll be moving there and the students are all descendants of Greek gods with inherited powers, leaving Phoebe as the only normal in attendance.

Phoebe’s only hope for getting off of the island is to get her scholarship, but with a stepsister who’s out to make her miserable, life has definitely taken more than one turn for the worst. Her new friends Nicole and Troy make life at the academy bearable, and her crush on the gorgeous Griffin Blake is a tempting distraction, but Phoebe knows that everything hinges on the decisions she’ll have to make. Her future is in her own hands.

Oh. My. Gods. is a fabulously fun visit with the descendants of Greek mythology. Phoebe is your average high school student with dreams of college before her life is suddenly changed forever. Ms. Childs plucks readers from their everyday lives and drops them onto a mysterious island where the myths of ancient gods are alive and well in their modern day offspring. Oh. My. Gods. is a witty, well-defined and realistically imagined escape for teens and adults who enjoy a romantic fantasy.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Karen Chance is Guest Blogging at the Penguin Group Blog...

For all of you wonderful Karen Chance fans....you might want to stop by the Penguin Group Blog. She's guest-blogging this week! If you have questions, now's your chance. *grin*

Blood Moon by A. W. Gryphon

Blood Moon
Witches Moon Series, Book One
A. W. Gryphon
James A. Rock Publishing
April 28, 2008
ISBN# 978-1-59663-609-5

At the young age of seven, Amelia Pivens is left without a mother when a group of men attack their coven and leave Grace Pivens dying before her daughter’s eyes. When Grace’s body is released by the officials, William Pivens takes his daughter back to his family in London.

Many years pass and Amelia has recently taken a job at the London National Gallery when she meets Wolfgang Kreutzer, a classical pianist from Europe. They’re married less than a year later, but within a few short years tragedy would once again enter into Amelia’s life.

Already devastated by her previous losses, the death of her father sends Amelia’s life in a new direction as she’s forced to reenter the world of The Craft. Believed to be ‘The One’, Amelia’s life is in constant peril. She’ll have to stand against The Organization, a group whose current goal is to prevent her from gaining power, and the opposing witches who practice the darker arts. As her 28th birthday approaches they all await the final outcome.

Blood Moon is the first book in the Witches Moon Series. Amelia has lived most of her life away from The Craft that she felt took her mother’s life. As her Samhain birthday approaches, Amelia will be left to decide if revenge is worth the price she’ll pay. A. W. Gryphon weaves a tale of witchcraft, power and death that blurs the line between those who practice for good and those who practice with a darker agenda. Moving through the years of Amelia’s shadowed life at a fast clip, readers find themselves at the final showdown where what you think you know when you arrive may be far from what you’ll actually find. Blood Moon is an engaging suspense that’s fueled by the magic of witchcraft.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Fantasy Book Critic - Small Favor Giveaway

If you hurry over to Fantasy Book Critic in the next few hours you can still enter to win a copy of Small Favor By Jim Butcher. Just click....Here.

Be sure to take a look around while you're there! Lots of reviews, book news and giveaways to be seen. :)

Small Favor by Jim Butcher

Small Favor
The Dresden Files, Book 10
Jim Butcher
April 1, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-451-46189-6

Harry Dresden is a wizard making his way in the world as a private investigator. While working with his apprentice, Molly Carpenter, they’re hit with an attack of gruffs. Furry, white and goat-like, the gruffs are enforcers for Queen Titania of the Summer Court of faeries. It seems that Titania wants Harry out of the way, and the surest way to achieve that is with his death.

Owing a favor is never a good thing when it comes to the faeries, and Harry owes the terrifying Queen Mab of the Winter Court more than one. She’s offered to help him by removing a favor in exchange for Harry finding the robber baron, Gentleman Johnnie Marcone, a Chicago crime lord that’s gone missing. She’d also like him to become her Winter Knight, but that’s a job that Harry refuses to consider. With little choice in taking on the Marcone case, Harry sets out to find answers to the kidnapping, and to get the matter resolved as quickly as possible without it costing his life.

Harry’s streak of luck without near-death experiences has officially ended, and now even the Knights of the Blackened Denarius would like a piece of him. With his brother Thomas at his back, Harry has every intention of solving the case and surviving everything the faerie courts send his way.

Small Favor is the tenth book in The Dresden Files. Willing or not, Harry is on a new case to locate a local crime lord. If he can stay alive through the process he’ll have one of his remaining favors removed by the queen of the Winter Court. Mr. Butcher sets a fast-pace in his latest Dresden adventure and this page-turner doesn’t disappoint. With a heavy dose of the sarcastic dialog that readers have come to know and love, an entertaining new case ensues. Small Favor is a danger-filled and magical read that will keep fans riveted from page one.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews