Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Review - One More Bite by Jennifer Rardin

One More Bite
Jaz Parks, Book 5
Jennifer Rardin
Orbit Books
January 5, 2009
ISBN# 978-0-316-02209-5

Book Blurb:
It's Jaz Parks. I've already smoked the guy who was the pain in the CIA's you-know-what for the past few years. But now, in the power vacuum left by the death of Edward "The Raptor" Samos, a struggle for supremacy has begun between his former allies: The Flock, The Valencian Weres and the Coven of Inverness.

The CIA feels the balance must be maintained. So when an agent planted among the Weres discovers a plot to assassinate the Coven's leader, I and my vampire hottie (and boss), Vayl, are brought in to take out the woman hired to do the deed, a killer who might be as wily and Gifted as ourselves.

So it's off to the Scottish Highlands for some twisted fun among murderers, demons and half-crazed relatives. Sometimes being a top-secret CIA assassin isn't all it's cracked up to be.

My thoughts:
After ridding the world of The Raptor, the team finds that one of the groups he had allied himself with is making a play to gain power over another. Jaz Parks, along with Vayl and Cole, are sent to Scotland to prevent a hit on the Inverness coven leader from taking place.

With little to go on but a name, the team arrives just in time for a ghost convention and uses it for their cover. Little did they know that in the midst of their investigation, ghosts would become the biggest threat around.

This is the fifth book in the Jaz Parks series, and quickly became a favorite for me among them. Ms. Rardin adds more to the complexity of emotions between her characters and to their world with each book. One More Bite offers a fast paced paranormal adventure that travels to the castles of Scotland and leaves readers with a whole new outlook on ghostly possibilities. For a good understanding of the Jaz Parks series, readers should start with book one. You really don’t want to miss a word.

To learn more about One More Bite, please visit Ms. Rardin’s website: HERE

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Film Promo - Ink by Double Edge Films

I was recently contacted by one of the cast in Ink, an upcoming film by Double Edge Films. The release should be sometime this coming Spring (2009). In the meantime, you have to check out this awesome trailer:

When I hear more, I'll keep you posted!

You can also visit the Double Edge Films website and learn more about Ink: HERE

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Monday, December 29, 2008

Q & A - Justin Gustainis

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of interviewing Justin Gustainis, the author of Black Magic Woman, and the upcoming Evil Ways. He’s agreed to share a bit more of his time with Darque Reviews by answering a few questions about what he’s been up to this past year, and what fans have to look forward to.

Hi Justin, welcome to Darque Reviews!

DR: Can you tell us a bit about what Quincey and Libby get up to in Evil Ways?

JG: The beginning of Evil Ways finds Quincey Morris and Libby Chastain in trouble, but of very different kinds. Quincey is being blackmailed by the FBI into investigating a series of child abductions and murders with occult overtones, while Libby is the target of a murder attempt, by professional hit men, that very nearly succeeds. Little do they realize that each is grasping a different end of the same piece of string. The murder of children, and the effort to kill Libby, originate from the same evil mind. And that mind has got even bigger things planned (cue fiendish laughter).

DR: What attracted you to writing urban fantasy?

JG: Actually, I never consciously decided to “commit urban fantasy.” I write the kind of stuff that I most like to read, and somewhere along the line people started calling that urban fantasy. I’m thinking of having a T-shirt made up that reads, “I was into urban fantasy before urban fantasy was cool.”

DR: Can you tell us what you’re working on now?

JG: I’m in the early stages of the third Morris & Chastain investigation, called Sympathy for the Devil (I’ve pretty much milked Santana song titles for all I can get). In this one, Quincey and Libby discover that a major party’s presidential candidate has been secretly possessed by a demon. N.B.: this novel is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual presidential (or even vice presidential) candidates is purely coincidental and unintended.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it….

DR: Do you work on more than one project or series installment at a time?

JG: I haven’t up until now, but that’s about to change. I’ve been offered a three-book deal with HarperCollins (the British division of Harper & Row) for a series of urban fantasy novels set in an alternate-universe Scranton, PA. In this world, the supernatural, and supernatural creatures, are acknowledged and accepted, if not exactly welcomed and trusted. My protagonist is a detective on the Scranton PD’s Occult Crime Investigation Unit, which everybody calls the Supe Squad.

I’m setting it in Scranton because I’m from there, and it should be an interesting change from the usual backdrops of urban fantasy, which tend to be New York or Los Angeles. I’m also hoping to make good use of the culture and ethnic mix of the area.

DR: What have you found is the most difficult/enjoyable part of the writing process?

JG: For me, it’s plot. Coming up with a story that has hasn’t been done a zillion times already, has an internal logic to it, and is entertaining (to somebody besides me), is something that can send me up the wall. The upside is, however, once I’ve got the plot figured out, the rest of it is easy.

Easy. Yeah, right.

DR: Thank you for joining us Justin! Is there anything else you’d like to say to readers before we go?

JG: Just remember: there ARE such things!

Best wishes on the release of Evil Ways.

Visit Justin Gustainis: HERE

His publisher, Solaris Books, can be found: HERE

If you’d like to read the original interview, you can find it: HERE

My review of Black Magic Woman can be found: HERE

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Review - Bedeviled by Maureen Child

Maureen Child
Signet Eclipse
January 6, 2009
ISBN# 978-0-451-22576-4

Book Blurb:
Maggie Donovan isn't interested in overthrowing a Faerie queen. She barely had time to kill the demon that devoured her fiancé. Then she comes home to find a scrumptious hunk in her living room who informs her that saving the Otherworld just happens to be her destiny, and Maggie realizes she may not have a choice . . .

My thoughts:
Having boxed up the belongings for the latest addition of ex’s, Maggie Donovan heads over to his office to drop them off. The scene she walks in on may give her nightmares for the rest of her life, but she manages to survive the encounter and unwittingly sets a legacy in motion where she fills the starring role.

The appearance of Culhane, a warrior for the Faery queen, signals the start of Maggie’s training. While she understands the plight of Otherworld under Mab’s rule, she’d much rather hold on to her ‘normal’ life and continue painting store windows. Despite her best efforts to ignore Culhane, she finds herself left with little choice but to accept what destiny has in store for her.

Ms. Child brings her characters to life with a blend of fantasy, humor and seduction. With the Otherworld in upheaval readers may expect fast moving action to dominate the storyline, but Bedeviled unfolds at a much steadier pace. The secondary characters add interest, while the sizzling attraction between the heroine and her self appointed guardian heats up. This installment has a ‘happy for now’ ending, so I’m looking forward to seeing where the author takes us on our next trip to the Otherworld.

To learn more about Bedeviled, please visit Ms. Child’s website: HERE

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Review - Marked by Passion by Kate Perry

Marked by Passion
The Guardians of Destiny, Book 1
Kate Perry
January 27, 2009
ISBN# 978-0-446-54100-8

Book Blurb:
Rules for the (Very) Reluctant Guardian of the Scroll

One: Don't lose the artifact you've inherited from your ancestors—no matter how much it starts messing up your life.

Two: Do learn how to control its powers. (And, yes, that means putting up with uber-complicated Guardian lessons from your father's meddling ghost.)

Three: Don't trust anyone. Especially Rhys, the mysterious bad boy who's always one step ahead of you... and irresistible as sin.

Four: Do anything to keep the scroll from landing in the wrong hands—and destroying the world. Even if that brings on a heartbreaking betrayal, an evil you never saw coming, and a choice you may not live to regret.

My thoughts:
When a package is delivered under her full name, Gabrielle Sansouci Chin’s worst fears are realized. The life she left behind has just caught up with her, and with her father’s death the responsibility as a Guardian has been passed on to her. While it’s her birthright, it’s a job that Gabe would much rather see passed on to her brother, Paul.

Gabe’s life tending bar and finishing the paintings for her upcoming show are being pushed down the list of priorities. The appearance of a mysterious stranger could be the answer Gabe’s looking for in getting her life back on track, or he may just be an enemy behind a handsome face.

This is the first book in The Guardians of Destiny series. Gabe is forced into training for a duty she didn’t choose, while risking the future of a career that she’s determined to hold on to. Ms. Perry creates a tale of fantasy and magic, coupled with a fiercely independent heroine who’s surrounded by deception. Marked by Passion has an engaging storyline, entertaining characters, and a romance that builds throughout the story. I’ll be looking forward to the next visit with The Guardians of Destiny.

To learn more about Marked by Passion, please visit Ms. Perry’s website: HERE

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Review - Hope's Folly by Linnea Sinclair

Hope’s Folly
Gabriel’s Ghost Universe, Book 3
Linnea Sinclair
February 24, 2009
ISBN# 978-0-553-59218-4

Book Blurb:
It's an impossible mission on a derelict ship called HOPE'S FOLLY.

A man who feels he can't love. A woman who believes she's unlovable. And an enemy who will stop at nothing to crush them both.

Admiral Philip Guthrie is in an unprecedented position: on the wrong end of the law, leading a rag-tag band of rebels against the oppressive Imperial forces. Or would be, if he can reach his command ship—the intriguingly named Hope’s Folly—alive. Not much can rattle Philip’s legendary cool—but the woman who helps him foil an assassination attempt on Kirro Station will. She’s the daughter of his best friend and first commander—a man who died while under Philip’s command, and whose death is on Philip’s conscience.

Rya Bennton has been in love with Philip Guthrie since she was a girl. But can her childhood fantasies survive an encounter with the hardened man, and newly-minted rebel leader, who it seems has just become her new commanding officer? And will she still be willing follow him through the jaw of hell once she learns the truth about her father’s death?

My thoughts:
Rya Bennton is bent on revenge for her father’s death and taking a position on Hope’s Folly as part of the Alliance could put her right where she needs to be. Serving alongside her childhood hero is a bonus, and now that she’s all grown up it’s clear that Philip Guthrie is all that and so much more. Rya’s feelings for him deepen, and with the threat of battle Rya vows not to lose him like she did her father.

Admiral Philip Guthrie has his doubts that Hope’s Folly, a former fruit hauler, will see them to safety, but the bigger threat comes from within the ranks of his crew. Someone is sabotaging their mission, and that someone knows all of their plans. Guthrie isn’t about to lose Rya, and he’s willing to sacrifice himself for the safety of his crew. All he has to do is convince his young Rebel to see reason in more ways than one.

Hope’s Folly begins as an injured Admiral Guthrie takes over his newly assigned ship with a crew that’s largely unknown. This is the third release in the Gabriel’s Ghost universe, following Shades of Dark. Ms. Sinclair shares her phenomenal writing talent with a well-built sci-fi world, and characters who charm their way right into the reader’s heart. Hope, fear and longing play heavy roles in Hope’s Folly as a crew struggles to survive, and an uncertain attraction progresses into a romance that sizzles. Whether you’ve read the previous books or not, you’re in for a wonderful treat that will surely leave you dreaming of life among the stars.

To learn more about Hope’s Folly, please visit Ms. Sinclair’s website: Here

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Review - Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand
Kitty Norville, Book 5
Carrie Vaughn
Grand Central Publishing
January 27, 2009
ISBN# 978-0-446-19953-7

Book Blurb:
This time, Kitty's taking on Las Vegas!

Her mind is filled with visions of a romantic weekend with her boyfriend Ben, lounging for hours by the pool with a frufru drink in hand, and maybe even getting hitched. She also plans a live, televised version of her popular radio show.

The plans go awry, however, and she find herself sharing the stage with Balthasar, a mysterious lycanthrope who fronts an animal act of sexy were-felines; a shadowy convention of bounty hunters specializing in supernatural targets; a stage magician whose magic may be the real thing; and Dom, the playboy Master vampire of Las Vegas. When Ben vanishes, Kitty faces a myriad of suspects with ill intent - or Ben himself, getting cold feet.

Things get even hotter when Balthasar sets his romantic sights on her. Kitty discovers that there are forces at work here beyond even Sin City's reputation. Kitty gets help from unexpected quarters. Evan and Brenda, tough-as-nails bounty hunters, and Odysseus Grant, the magician with dark powers, help Kitty discover that Balthasar's sexy stage show is a front for a cult that worships an ancient Babylonian goddess - by sacrificing werewolves.

My thoughts:
Planning a wedding can get stressful, and Kitty Norville has reached her limit when she comes up with what she believes to be a much easier plan. Getting married in Vegas should be a great solution, but once word gets out Kitty finds herself with more work and danger than she alone can handle.

This is the fifth book in the Kitty Norville series, and if you thought that Kitty couldn’t find herself more trouble than she has in the past you’re in for a big surprise. Ms. Vaughn expands her supernatural world further with a trip to the Vegas strip where things aren’t always what they seem. Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand is filled with thrills, chills and sexy temptations that are sure to keep the reader’s rapt attention.

To learn more about the Kitty Norville series, please visit Ms. Vaughn’s website: HERE

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Friday, December 19, 2008

Review - Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine

Lord of Misrule
The Morganville Vampires, Book 5
Rachel Caine
NAL – Jam
January 6, 2009
ISBN# 978-0-451-22572-6

Book Blurb:
In the college town of Morganville, vampires and humans coexist in (relatively) bloodless harmony. Then comes Bishop, the master vampire who threatens to abolish all order, revive the forces of the evil dead, and let chaos rule. But Bishop isn’t the only threat.

Violent black cyclone clouds hover, promising a storm of devastating proportions as student Claire Danvers and her friends prepare to defend Morganville against elements both natural and unnatural.

My thoughts:
When Claire Danvers isn’t working with a half crazy vampire to create a cure to the disease that’s slowly eating away at his people, or busy trying to save her friends from the deadly threats they face, she’s attending classes in college. There’s been little time for class of late, because Morganville is facing one of their biggest challenges yet, Bishop. Amelie, the Founder who currently holds the lease on Claire’s life, is gearing up to make a stand. No one in Morganville is safe, and those who survive the coming battle may almost wish they hadn’t.

This is the fifth installment in the Morganville Vampires series. The residents of Morganville are about to engage in a fight for power, and not even the threat of a storm closing in can stop it. Ms. Caine uses her dazzling story telling skills to share the darkest chapter yet on the characters that have charmed readers from the start. In the midst of death and destruction brought to this well-built world, there’s always strong friendship and the touch of romance to add light and warmth to the storyline. Lord of Misrule is an engrossing read that once begun is impossible to set down. Ms. Caine has cliff-hanger endings down to a science, and she’s used that talent once more to leave readers anxious for more.

To learn more about the Morganville Vampires, please visit Ms. Caine’s website: HERE

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Review - What Time Devours by A. J. Hartley

What Time Devours
A. J. Hartley
January 6, 2009
ISBN# 978-0-425-22623-0

Book Blurb:
A dead woman. A literary treasure. A dangerous quest.Thomas Knight, the protagonist from On the Fifth Day, returns and is faced with a centuries-old mystery surrounding a long-lost-and now priceless-Shakespearean play. To find it, Thomas will have to enter a story which drags loss and death after it like one of Shakespeare's tragedies, a story bound to time and all it devours.

My thoughts:
Following the appearance of a dead woman pressed-up against his window, Thomas Knight finds himself caught in a chain of events that send him searching for a lost play said to be written by Shakespeare. Led on a dangerous journey that takes him away from his Chicago teaching job, he’s soon hunting through England and France for clues. Thomas isn’t the only one looking for this priceless treasure, and the others have no intention of allowing him to walk away with the prize.

What Time Devours features Thomas Knight from the author’s previous release, On the Fifth Day. Mr. Hartley takes readers on a danger filled quest to solve a mystery that began centuries before Thomas Knight is thrust into the middle of it all. What Time Devours is a well-crafted, edge of your seat thriller. Just when you think you’ve figured out what’s coming next, the story takes a sharp turn and takes off in a new direction. From an opening that will have you keeping your windows covered come nightfall, this dark suspense will keep you guessing until the very end.

To learn more about What Time Devours, please visit Mr. Hartley’s website: HERE

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Review - Mean Streets - Anthology

Mean Streets
Anthology – Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green,
Kat Richardson, Thomas E. Sniegoski
January 6, 2009
ISBN# 978-0-451-46249-7

Book Blurb:
From four of today's hottest fantasy authors-all-new novellas of dark nights, cruel cities, and paranormal P.I.s.

The best paranormal private investigators have been brought together in a single volume-and cases don't come any harder than this.

New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher delivers a hard-boiled tale in which Harry Dresden's latest case may be his last.

Nightside dweller John Taylor is hired by a woman to find something she lost-her memory-in a thrilling noir tale from New York Times bestselling author Simon R. Green.

National bestselling author Kat Richardson's Greywalker finds herself in too deep when a "simple job" goes bad and Harper Blaine is enmeshed in a tangle of dark secrets and revenge from beyond the grave.

For centuries, the being that we know as Noah lived among us. Now he is dead, and fallen-angel-turned-detective Remy Chandler has been hired to find out who killed him in a whodunit by national bestselling author Thomas E. Sniegoski.

My thoughts:
The Warrior by Jim Butcher
– When someone anonymously sends Harry Dresden what amounts to a threat on Michael Carpenter’s life, he steps in to protect him against Michael’s wishes. Harry will find that he’s in as much danger as the friend he protects.

The Difference a Day Makes by Simon R. Green – A client is sent to John Taylor for help in finding her husband who has disappeared into the Nightside. Even John, who is used to the bizarre goings on of the Nightside, will be surprised at what they find.

The Third Death of the Little Clay Dog by Kat Richardson – When Harper Blaine is hired at the request in a dead woman’s will, she travels to Mexico to carry out the instructions. She soon has a ghostly companion that will help her solve the strange mystery.

Noah’s Orphans by Thomas E. Sniegoski – Remy Chandler has just been informed that Noah’s been murdered, and he’s been asked to find the killer. What he finds is a cover-up that goes back to humanity’s beginning.

Mean Streets contains four stories that are sure to keep readers engaged. For those who haven’t had the opportunity to read the series that each of these tales are connected to, this anthology provides a fabulous taste for what they’re about. For fans of Harry Dresden, John Taylor, Harper Blaine and Remy Chandler, you’ll find that Mean Streets is a wonderful treat while waiting for the author’s next novel. They’re equally well-told and intriguing, to the point where I found it impossible to say that any one stands out above the rest. This is a keeper that will easily rise to the top of the list of favorite anthologies for fans of the genre.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Promo - Deidre Knight blogging at Penguin Group

Deidre Knight is blogging on the Penguin Group blog this week! You can visit her posts: HERE

Learn more about her book, Red Fire: HERE

You can read a letter from Deidre and the hero of Red Fire: HERE

Happy Reading!

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Promo - Dawn Keepers by Jessica Andersen

Dawn Keepers
A Novel of The Final Prophecy
Jessica Andersen
Signet Eclipse
January 6, 2009
ISBN# 978-0-451-22575-7

Book Blurb:
The countdown to the end of days has begun—and Only the Nightkeepers can stop the annihilation of all mankind...

Though a Nightkeeper, Nate Blackhawk refuses to allow others to control his fate. The gods have even tried to influence his love life, sending him visions of Alexis Gray, a sleek blonde who is everything he’s ever wanted in a woman.

The two warriors can’t deny their attraction. But a frightening vision leads Nate to distance himself in spite of the intense passion he feels. Thrown together once more, they must reassemble seven Mayan artifacts that hold the key to preventing the end of the world…

To learn more about the novels of The Final Prophecy, please visit Ms. Andersen’s website: HERE

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Review - Blood Sins by Kay Hooper

Blood Sins
Bishop/Special Crimes Unit: Blood Trilogy, Book 2
Kay Hooper
December 16, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-553-80485-0

Book Blurb:
Some sins can’t be forgiven…
because some sins no one survives.

New York Times bestselling author Kay Hooper has touched our darkest fears but none so dark as in her latest thriller. Here’s a psychopath who lures his victims with a promise no one can resist…and demands a price no one would knowingly pay.

Young, vulnerable, attractive, Tessa Gray made the perfect victim. Which was why Noah Bishop of the FBI’s Special Crimes Unit recruited her to play the role of grieving widow. As the supposed new owner of property coveted by the Church of the Everlasting Sin, she’d be irresistible bait for the reclusive and charismatic Reverend Samuel. His fortified compound in the mountains near Grace, North Carolina, had been the last known residence of two women murdered in ways that defied scientific explanation.

Though hardly as naive or as vulnerable as she appears, Tessa knows she has a lot to learn about using her unique gift. She also knows that Bishop and the SCU have to be desperate to rely on an untried psychic agent in an undercover operation so dangerous. And desperate they are. For the killer they’re hunting is the most terrifying they’ve ever faced and shakes even the most seasoned agents: a soulless megalomaniacal cult leader who can use their own weapons, talents, and tactics against them.

By entering the cult’s well-guarded compound, Tessa will be exposing herself to the dark magnetism of a psychopath on an apocalyptic crusade of terror that spares no one, not even the youngest victims. And Samuel has protected himself within a fanatically loyal congregation, many of whom occupy surprising positions of power within the community. Even Grace’s chief of police, Sawyer Cavenaugh—a man Tessa will have to trust with her life—may be unable to protect her. Because no one, not even Tessa herself, can guarantee she’s strong enough to resist—or powerful enough to battle—a killer who’s less than human.

My thoughts:
Tessa Gray has agreed to play the part of a widow in need of direction. It’s the perfect cover for SCU to get her inside the compound that a psychic killer runs. The job is dangerous for anyone on the team, let alone someone like Tessa who’s had little training with her own psychic talents. She does have a special gift, and combined with her other abilities it may just see her through.

Sawyer Cavenaugh is the police chief in Grace, North Caolina. He’s sure that something is going on, and that there are deaths connected to the compound and the man who leads it, Father Samuel. Finding any real proof to do something about it has proved impossible, but once he meets Tessa everything will change.

This is the second book in the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit: Blood Trilogy, and a powerful addition to the series. Ms. Hooper weaves an eerie tale of twisted evil masquerading as a virtuous soul. Blood Sins is an engrossing paranormal suspense that takes readers on a chilling adventure to stop a killer and ultimately save the world. I’d strongly suggest that readers start with the previous book, Blood Dreams, the first in the trilogy. If you’re looking for a good suspense with a strong psychic element then you should really enjoy this series.

To learn more about the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit novels, please visit Ms. Hooper’s website: HERE

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Monday, December 15, 2008

Review - Stay the Night by Lynn Viehl

Stay the Night
Darkyn, Book 7
Lynn Viehl
January 6, 2009
ISBN# 978-0-451-41266-9

Book Blurb:
Outlaw, immortal vampire, and art thief, Darkyn Lord Robin of Locksley has evaded authorities for the last 700 years. At the moment, he's falling for undercover federal agent Christina Renshaw, who has no time for an affair. She hopes to snag an elusive art thief, but soon has no choice other than to join forces with Robin.

When the chase becomes dangerous, both will have to choose between losing each other and losing everything they value...

My thoughts:
Chris Renshaw is working a case to capture an international art thief that the agency calls the Magician. Against her better judgement the bait is The Maiden’s Book of Hours, a priceless book created by Brother Thomas de Crewes and filled with prayers, fables and portraits of the famous people of his time.

Robin of Locksley is one of the immortal Darkyn and has spent half a millennium trying to retrieve the book he feels is rightfully his. There are others, immortals like him, who have their own claims on the book and they’ll let nothing stop them from claiming their prize.

This is the seventh book in the Darkyn series. Ms. Viel deftly juggles many story threads in Stay the Night, giving readers a good look at new characters as well as the current troubles in the world of the Darkyn. The author does a fabulous job of unfolding the mysteries of her hero, and makes this story a well-defined and engrossing addition to the series.

To learn more about the Darkyn series, please visit Ms. Viehl’s blog: Here

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Promo - Book Giveaway and the new Vampire Chats with Marta Acosta

Marta at Vampire Wire has a great new weekly spot on her blog...Vampire Chats!

This week her guest is Meljean Brook. To learn more about the author, and enter to win the book contest for a copy of First Blood (which I can say that I really enjoyed!), visit Vampire Wire: Here

Darque Reviews thoughts on First Blood can be seen: Here

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Award Nomination - Kreativ Blogger

Ruth, from Ruthie’s Book Reviews nominated Darque Reviews for this lovely award, as did Amber, from Amberkatzes Blog, and now it’s my turn to share some of my favorite places to visit. Thanks so much Ruth and Amber!

1. Mention the blog that gave it to you.

2. Comment on their blog to let them know you have posted the award.

3. Share 6 values that are important to you.

4. Share 6 things you do not support.

5. Share the love with six other wonderful blogging friends.

6 Values that are important to me:
1. Honesty
2. Family
3. Caring/Compassion
4. Strength to see things through
5. Loyalty
6. Selflessness

6 Things I do not support
1. Liars
2. Thieves
3. Abusers, especially against children and animals
4. Selfishness
5. Cheaters
6. Laziness

6 Blogs I'd like to share with readers:

Best Blog to find new Fantasy authors:
Fantasy Debut

Best Blog for a mix of Reviews & Contests:
The Book Smugglers

Best Blog for Fantasy Reviews:
Fantasy Book Critic

Best Vampire Review Blog:
Vampire Wire

Best Blog for a mix of Romance Reviews (paranormal, suspense, mystery):
What Rachel’s Reading

Best Urban Fantasy Review Blog:

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Review - Night of the Loving Dead by Casey Daniels

Night of the Loving Dead
Pepper Martin Mysteries, Book 4
Casey Daniels
Berkley Prime Crime
January 6, 2009
ISBN# 978-0-425-22555-4

Book Blurb:
Introducing sleuth Pepper Martin...

And now, in her fourth hip, quirky mystery, she’s all ours.

Pepper Martin, heiress-turned cemetery-tour-guide, often has her hands full with two hotties and the ghosts who won’t let her rest—or work, or shop—in peace.

Now the specter of a young woman in a lab coat wants Pepper’s help. Before the woman died, she worked with a sexy, mysterious doctor who coincidentally once saved Pepper’s life—and who the woman claims is now in danger. But Pepper doesn’t know that there’s more to the story, including a devious doctor—and an obsessive, crazy love.

My thoughts:
Filing in for her boss to represent Garden View Cemetery at a conference in Chicago, Pepper Martin is not thrilled with Madeline, the sarcastic ghost she’s been pushed into assisting. Giving in to the sympathy that she has for a friend, Pepper agrees to help stop a doctor who’s running a shady operation and in the process prevent a friend from wrongly winding up in jail.

As things heat up and Pepper finds herself in life threatening danger, the pieces begin to form a shocking picture. Pepper’s willingness to help the dead is about to force her into crossing a line she’d never agree to on her own.

This is the fourth book in the Pepper Martin Mysteries, and Pepper’s newest investigation brings her closer to the dead than ever before. Ms. Daniels weaves a well-plotted paranormal mystery that takes a dangerous turn for the heroine and leaves her emotions in turmoil. Night of the Loving Dead shares some answers that fans have had since we first met this entertaining character, and adds several surprising twists along the way. I’ll be looking forward to visiting with Pepper as she unravels her next ghostly mystery.

To learn more about the Pepper Martin Mysteries, please visit the author: HERE

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Review - Real Vampires Don't Diet by Gerry Bartlett

Real Vampires Don’t Diet
Glory St. Clair, Book 4
Gerry Bartlett
January 6, 2009
ISBN# 978-0-425-22564-6

Book blurb from the author’s site:
First Glory's stood up on New Year's Eve by her long time main squeeze Jeremy Blade. Then a moonlight boat ride on Austin's Lake Travis with newly turned vampire, rock star Israel Caine (Ray) goes horribly wrong. Who knew there was a Siren lurking in the lake just waiting for her chance to lure unsuspecting vampires into a trap? Now Glory and Ray are racing against time to find vampire sacrifices or they're doomed.

With the storm of the century threatening to wash out her new home and an old enemy taking aim at her, things don't look good for Glory.

As for her relationship with Blade? Well, Glory wonders if maybe it's time to cut her longtime lover loose.

Valdez is at her side as usual, along with her friends who won't let Glory go down without a fight. Surely all this action is bound to help our curvy vamp lose a pound or two. You think?

My thoughts:
With Blade called out of town, Glory and Valdez are expecting a quiet New Years Eve, but those plans are quickly changed by a phone call. Ray, singer and recently turned vampire, is in need of help and having committed herself as his mentor Glory has little choice but to respond.

Ray’s place has a great view of the lake, and against her better judgment Glory heads out for a late night ride in his boat. What should have been a harmless decision is about to cause them more trouble than either of them ever anticipated.

This is the fourth installment in the Glory St. Clair series, and Glory finds herself with a dilemma that could end up costing her a life in what may as well be hell. Ms. Bartlett adds a mythical being to the cast of characters that has the heroine scrambling to save her friend’s lives as well as her own. Real Vampires Don’t Diet provides the adventure and surprises fans have come to expect from this fun series, with more turmoil and temptation than ever. Glory has such human issues mixed in with her life as a vampire, that you just can’t help thoroughly liking this character. If you haven’t yet experienced the pleasure to be had from this series, be sure to start at the beginning.

To learn more about Real Vampires Don’t Diet, please visit Ms. Bartlett’s website: Here

You can read an excerpt from Real Vampires Don’t Diet: Here

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Review - At Grave's End by Jeaniene Frost

At Grave’s End
Night Huntress, Book 3
Jeaniene Frost
Avon Books
December 30, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-06-158307-0

Book blurb:
Some things won't stay buried . . . at grave's end.

It should be the best time of half-vampire Cat Crawfield's life. With her undead lover Bones at her side, she's successfully protected mortals from the rogue undead. But though Cat's worn disguise after disguise to keep her true identity a secret from the brazen bloodsuckers, her cover's finally been blown, placing her in terrible danger.

As if that wasn't enough, a woman from Bones's past is determined to bury him once and for all. Caught in the crosshairs of a vengeful vamp, yet determined to help Bones stop a lethal magic from being unleashed, Cat's about to learn the true meaning of bad blood. And the tricks she's learned as a special agent won't help her. She will need to fully embrace her vampire instincts in order to save herself—and Bones—from a fate worse than the grave.

My thoughts:
Cat Crawfield’s job as the Reaper has become more dangerous than ever when her disguises no longer hide who she is. In a desperate attempt to stop more children from being kidnapped, the team agrees to use a vampire as bait in Cat’s place. It’s a high risk that she hopes they won’t regret.

An indiscretion from the past has caught up to Bones, and Cat seems to be the target of the vampire using forbidden talents to cause him pain. One vampire has the strength and knowledge to prevent their final destruction, and now the team’s fate rests in his reluctant hands.

This is the third book in the Night Huntress series. Ms. Frost throws the action into high gear as the characters battle a sinister force they have little protection against. At Grave’s End blends strong love, life’s temptations and dark magic into an urban fantasy that will have fans thoroughly engrossed. This series should be read from the beginning, you don’t want to miss a word.

To learn more about the Night Huntress series, please visit Ms. Frost’s website: Here

You can browse the first 50+ pages of At Grave's End: Here (I have to say…Wow!)

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Review - On the Prowl by Karen MacInerney

On the Prowl
Tales of an Urban Werewolf, Book 2
Karen MacInerney
Ballantine Books
November 25, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-345-49626-3

Book Blurb:
Talk about a bad-hair day!

Sophie Garou is a master at taming her inner beast, which comes in handy since she’s a werewolf. With a big promotion at work and a supersexy boyfriend, Heath (whom she recently spotted leaving a jewelry store with a beguiling ring box), she’s one happy girl.

But when Heath starts spending long nights at the office with his new associate–a dead-ringer for Career Day Barbie–Sophie smells trouble. And when her professional relationship with her big new client–who also happens to be Texas’s brilliantly blue-eyed most eligible bachelor–begins to sizzle, she wonders if her animal instincts are leading her in the wrong direction. Just when it seems that things can’t get any more complicated, they do. The Houston werewolf pack has sniffed Sophie out, and their message is chillingly clear: you’re either with us or against us. And unless she can prove that she’s with them, the next full moon may just be her last.

My thoughts:
Hanging on to her semi-quiet life and remaining hidden from the Houston werewolves is about to come to a screeching halt for Sophie Garou. They’ve found her and brought trouble to her front door, but that’s only a start to Sophie’s troubles. Someone’s trying to hex her mother and her love life is suddenly out of control.

The new client that earned Sophie a partnership at work has set his sights on more than business, and she’s finding that temptation hard to resist. With the Houston pack issuing demands that could cost Sophie her life, and a group of young werewolves looking to her for guidance, life has just taken a complicated turn.

This is the second book in the Tales of an Urban Werewolf series. Some of Sophie’s worst fears have come true when word gets around and she’s discovered by the Houston werewolf pack. Ms. MacInerney shares a sequel that’s every bit as difficult to set down as the first. On the Prowl grabs the reader’s attention with its danger filled action, and keeps them engaged through the heroine’s intriguing adventure. Fans won’t want to miss Sophie’s latest hair raising exploits.

To learn more about On the Prowl, please visit Ms. MacInerney’s website: Here

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Review - Succubus Takes Manhattan by Nina Harper

Succubus Takes Manhattan
Succubus series, Book 2
Nina Harper
Del Rey
November 25, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-345-49507-5

Book Blurb:
Lily loves working for Satan. Being one of Her Chosen means a gig filled with fashion, food, and the best supernatural gal pals a succubus could imagine. Still, being dumped by the first mortal she’d fallen in love with in centuries has put Lily in a serious funk.

Nathan Coleman bolted because he couldn’t handle Lily’s inner demon, but blond, buff, blue-eyed Marten is a delicious distraction, and he’s one of her own kind. Only Lily’s not sure she can trust him–especially when her best friend’s demon boyfriend is kidnapped, the ranks of the Hierarchy of Hell are gunning for her downfall, and Lily’s dashing P.I. beau is back on the scene, rekindling flames. Two men, too much temptation, and assassins closing in–if Lily survives, who claims her heart?

My thoughts:
As one of Satan’s Chosen, Lily has obligations to uphold, but her day job keeps her just as busy. She’s just returned from a trip to Aruba where she met Marten, a ceremonial magician and she's back to trying to keep her job on track as the accessories editor for Trend magazine. Lily soon finds herself stuck trying to placate an obnoxious coworker whose suddenly set his sites on turning her career upside down.

Her doorman has disappeared and Lily has reluctantly asked Nathan, the ex she’s still in-love with, to investigate. This is difficult enough for her, but when Marten comes to town on business it’s all Lily can do to hold her emotions in check.

This is book two in Ms. Harper’s Succubus series. Readers are taken deeper into life among the denizens of Hell, as well as Lily’s passion filled love life. Succubus Takes Manhattan is a suspenseful adventure that’s topped-off with the sizzling charms of a succubus and the inner battle she’s engaged in over two men. I’ll be watching for more of Lily’s escapades.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Review - In the Blood by Adrian Phoenix

In the Blood
Adrian Phoenix
Pocket Books
December 30, 2008
ISBN# 978-1-4165-4145-5

Book Blurb:
Vampire. Rock star. Begotten son of the fallen angel Lucien. Dante Baptiste still struggles with nightmares and seizures, searching for the truth about his past. It is a quest as seductive as his kiss, as uncontrollable as his thirst, and as unforgiving as his determination to protect one mortal woman at any cost.

FBI Special Agent Heather Wallace now knows the extent of the Bureau corruption that surrounds her, but worries she is losing the battle. And when Dante and his band Inferno come to Seattle on tour, Heather can't help but be drawn back to the beautiful, dangerous nightkind. But what Heather and Dante don't know is that new enemies lurk in the shadows, closer than they think...and even deadlier than they fear.

Shadowy government forces have pledged to eliminate all loose ends from Project Bad Seed -- and Heather and Dante are at the top of the list. Elsewhere, the Fallen gather in Gehenna, intent on finding their long-awaited savior, the True Blood nightkind whom Lucien DeNoir would die to protect. And a damaged and desperate adversary, with powers as strange and perilous as Dante's own, plots to use Dante as a pawn in a violent scheme for revenge. But only one of these lethal forces holds the key to Dante's past -- a key that could finally unlock the secret of his birth and the truth of his existence...or destroy him completely.

My thoughts:
Dante Baptiste and his band, Inferno, are on tour and their next stop is Seattle. In the aftermath of the Project Bad Seed discovery, Dante continues to struggle against his personal demons. As he digs into the mysteries of his past, the Fallen discover the existence of a True Blood, and it’s just a matter of time before they use Lucien to track him down.

Heather Wallace seeks answers from her own past and has little choice but to remain guarded when it comes to trusting her colleagues in the FBI. While Dante coming to town is an opportunity to spend a little time together, they may make an easier target for those who still wish to destroy them for what they know. Their lives are in more danger than ever.

This is the second book in the series and Ms. Phoenix continues to provide all of the action, suspense and chemistry that readers found in the first installment. In the Blood has plenty of unexpected twists to keep fans hooked and looking forward to seeing where the characters take us in book three.

To learn more about In the Blood, please visit Ms. Phoenix’s website: Here

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Monday, December 1, 2008

Review - Defending Angels by Mary Stanton

Defending Angels
A Beaufort & Company Mystery, Book 1
Mary Stanton
Berkley Prime Crime
December 2, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-425-22498-4

Book Blurb:
With a long list of ethereal clients who need her help, Savannah lawyer Brianna Winston Beaufort's career choice is beginning to haunt her . . .

An already dead businessman needs Bree's help to find his murderer and prove his innocence against the charge of greed, which comes from the mightiest hand of the law, the Celestial Court. And the verdict in this case could put Bree's life on the line-as well as her client's afterlife.

My thoughts:
Moving to Savannah to take over her uncle’s practice, Brianna Winston Beaufort soon finds that her experience as a lawyer didn’t prepare her for the clients that would come with the new job. It’s a good thing that the staff Bree’s hired has experience, or she might not survive her first case.

With so many possibilities it won’t be easy to prove that Mr. Skinner was murdered, but there’s much more at stake. Benjamin Skinner is being charged with Greed in the Celestial Court, and if Bree can’t prove his innocence he’ll face a grim fate in the hereafter.

This is the first installment in the Beaufort & Company Mystery series. Ms. Stanton gives readers a murder mystery with an intriguing storyline and makes it her own with wonderfully fresh twists. Defending Angels entertains with a surprising paranormal element and a charming cast of characters. I’ll be looking forward to more from this fun new series in the future.

To learn more about Defending Angels, please visit the author’s website: Here

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews

Promo - Berkley Prime Crime

Dead Men Don’t Crochet
A Crochet Mystery, Book #2
Betty Hechtman
Berkley Prime Crime
December 2, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-425-22500-4

Book Blurb:
When a member of Molly Pink's crochet group is suspected of murder, it's up to Molly and her pals to pick up the dropped stitches and catch a killer.

Ding Dong Dead
A Dolls to Die For Mystery, Book # 4
Deb Baker
Berkley Prime Crime
December 2, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-425-22502-8

Book Blurb:
Doll restorer Gretchen Birch and the other Phoenix Dollers can hardly wait to open their doll museum. But when an out-of-town doll-maker meets her own maker, the Dollers's dream-come-true will soon prove more of a nightmare.

Eggs in Purgatory
A Cackleberry Club Mystery, Book #1
Laura Childs
Berkley Prime Crime
December 2, 2008
ISBN# 978-0-425-22495-3

Book Blurb:
Now Laura Childs is cracking a whole new case of murder in a brand new series-RECIPES INCLUDED.Introducing the Cackleberry Club Mysteries...Suzanne, Toni, and Petra lose their husbands but find independence when they open the Cackleberry Club. Then their cozy cafe becomes the scene of a crime when a lawyer dies with a secret on his lips and egg on his face. What this all has to do with a religious cult and Suzanne's past could put her own life on the line.

Kimberly Swan, Darque Reviews