Saturday, June 23, 2012

Blood of the Wicked by Karina Cooper (Dark Mission Series)

Blood of the Wicked (Dark Mission Series)

Publisher's Blurb
When the world went straight to hell, humanity needed a scapegoat to judge, to blame . . . to burn.
As an independent witch living off the grid, Jessie Leigh has spent her life running, trying to blend in among the faceless drudges in the rebuilt city. She thought she was finally safe, but now she's been found in a New Seattle strip club—by a hard-eyed man on a mission to destroy her kind.
A soldier of the Holy Order, Silas Smith believes in the cause: trawling the fringes of society for the murderous witches who threaten what's left of the world. Forced into a twisting web of half-truths and lies, he has to stay close to the most sensuous and electrifying woman he has ever seen and manipulate her into leading him to the witch he has to kill: her brother. Silas doesn't know that Jessie's his enemy, only that he wants her, needs her, even as he lies to her . . . and must protect her until his final breath.

Review:  This novel grabbed me from the beginning. The setting is about 50 years in the future, after planetary catastrophes caused massive destruction.  A religious order has risen to power after blaming witches for the destruction, and a new Inquisition is the norm.  Witches are hunted and slaughtered, and the religious order called the Mission has unlimited power.  The story starts with Mission agent Silas Smith, a ruthless, experienced witch-hunter, going into a seedy dance club in the gritty lower levels of New Seattle tracking a lead to find Jessie.  Jessie is a witch on the run and she knows Silas is a hunter the second she lays eyes on him. She's been on the run since her mother was murdered, and over the last several years she practically raised her brother Caleb, teaching him to hide and survive.  Jessie is resourceful, smart, and desperate to find Caleb who disappeared a year ago, after telling Jessie not to try and find him.  Caleb's gift is seeing the future, and his last vision before he left was of Jessie's fiery death.
Silas doesn't know Jessie is a witch, though, and he plans to find her and use her to get to Caleb, who has been linked to several ritualistic and sadistic deaths in New Seattle.  When Silas captures Jessie, she agrees to help him find Caleb, planning on using the hunter to get to her brother.  But while both Silas and Jessie are plotting to use each other, they are also shocked to discover an intense attraction between them.  They are soon hunted by the coven that wants Jessie for her powers, betrayed by a traitor in the Mission, and closing in on Caleb, forcing them to depend on each other.

What sets this book above many others out there is the incredibly rich imagery in the writing.  Cooper's writing is like a rich, elegantly woven tapestry - the images jumped from the page and into my mind's eye, and as I read I was in the bar, on the run, chased through the destruction of the lower city, and I would swear I could see, smell and taste everything.  Which was pretty damned awesome when it came to the sex scenes.  Hot, intense and breathless are apt descriptors for their first time.  At the same time she is steering the reader along a very well-crafted plot, as we discover clues that Caleb may not be the innocent younger brother Jessie believes him to be.

Rich, exciting, dark and sexy, Karina Cooper is now on my must-read list.  I've already bought Lure of the Wicked, the second Dark Mission book and will review it soon.

For more information visit the author's website at

All Things Wicked (Dark Mission Series) Tarnished: The St. Croix Chronicles No Rest for the Witches: A Dark Mission Novella Lure of the Wicked (Dark Mission Series) Before the Witches

For more information visit the author's website at

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Braddock Boys: Colton by Kimberly Raye (Harlequin Blaze Series #690

The Braddock Boys: Colton (Harlequin Blaze Series #690)

Publisher's Blurb
Guys don't tend to find gals with guns too sexy. So after years of awkward fumblings, deputy Shelly Lancaster is lookin' for a man…. Not for love—good Lord, no. She just wants some hot, heavy and unforgettable sex with a man who knows exactly what he's doing!
As it turns out, Shelly's just found the perfect guy. Cowboy Colton Braddock is tasty as hell—and one of the perks of being a vampire is that he has years of hot, lusty loving under his belt. Unfortunately, this cowboy also has a wicked thirst for vengeance. But will it prove stronger than his hunger for her?
Published May 2012.

Finally, I can say that I have read a cowboy vampire romance novel!  Or is it a vampire cowboy romance novel?  Either way, you know what?  It was pretty damn good.  This book was a delightful, quick read that had some incredible sexual tension, a solid story and a pace that zipped right along.  Shelly is a tough, determined, stubborn woman who was born on the wrong side of the tracks and has worked her entire life to become a respected and trusted deputy.  She has a plan and it includes getting elected sheriff, and finding some hot stud to have sex with, leaving love and relationships out of the question and out of the way.  But when Shelly sees Colton Braddock, her hormones go into lusty overdrive and she struggles to balance her needs and desires as a woman with her long term goals of being a single, hard-working sheriff.  Plus, something seems just a little bit off about Colton.  Purple eyes, telepathy and rock hard abs are quite the combination!
For his part Colton has never met a woman like Shelly.  For over 100 years he has used blood and sexual energy to feed himself, but once he meets her he has these super strong urges to kiss her (not usually his focus) and be with her.  But he also has other plans and his focus is revenge and death.  And death and revenge.  But love is in the air, and it's flavored with serious lust, raging hormones and sexual frustration.  This story was a lot of fun and sexy as hell.  The cast of characters includes the serious, quirky, and the realistic and it was a frothy fun read.  One quibble I have, though, is when Shelly wore a wool trenchcoat over her sexy dress in summer.  In Texas.  No way!  All I could see in my mind's eye was a sweaty puddle of Shelly and pink spandex.

And nothing is better than discovering a new author who has a large backlist!  Love the cover art for  the Dead-End Dating Series!!

For more information about the author, visit her website at:

The Braddock Boys: Travis: The Braddock Boys: Travis\The Pleasure Principle The Braddock Boys: Brent (Harlequin Blaze Series #551) Cody (Harlequin Blaze Series #496) Your Coffin or Mine? (Dead-End Dating Series #3) Dead and Dateless (Dead-End Dating Series #2)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Two Harlequin Intrigue Books by HelenKay Dimon

I was fortunate enough to attend the recent Reader & Author Get Together sponsored by Lori Foster.  Held the weekend of June 1-2 in Cincinnati, it was Lori Foster's 8th annual event and while it was my first it will not be my last!!  I met an old Army friend there and we had a blast.  There were dozens of authors, lots of informative and interesting events, tons of fun contests and giveaways, and amazing auctions that benefited some really outstanding charities for children and animals.  Throw in all meals included for the low, low cost of $50 and it was easily one amazing weekend.  My friend Lisa and I had a wonderful time and plan on going again next year.  And check out Lisa's great book review blog at  She has new reviews and content daily and has lots of giveaways and author interviews!
I think one of the best things about the weekend was that I discovered so many authors!  HelenKay Dimon is one of my discoveries.  I attended one of her panels (Contemporary Heroes) she co-hosted with Jill Shalvis, and HelenKay was so funny and witty I figured that if she wrote like she talked I had to read her books.  So I picked up the following Harlequin Intrigues and enjoyed them both very much.

When She Wasn't Looking (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1352)
Publisher's Blurb:  No woman could deny the appeal of the sexy deputy sheriff Jonas Porter. But to Courtney Allen, Jonas has one major flaw—his badge. Years ago, Courtney's father was wrongfully convicted of a crime and she vowed to never trust a cop again. But when Jonas becomes the only man to believe in her father's innocence, Courtney begins seeing the brooding lawman in a whole new way.
Jonas knows in his gut that the real killer is still out there and determined to finish what he started long ago. To protect Courtney and bring the criminal to justice will require all the skills he can muster. And that means focusing on the job. Not the woman who makes him forget his troublesome past and arouses in him a passion that is anything but professional.

Review:  When She Wasn't Looking (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1352) was published in May 2012 and is only $2.99 as a Nookbook!
Although I enjoyed both books, this was easily my favorite.  Courtney is smart, brave, capable and doing her best to clear her father's name and stay alive.  Jonas is the ultimate protector - both a lawman and sexy,  alpha male.  At first suspicious of Courtney, he quickly realizes that her life is in danger as the murder count begins to rise.  Keeping her with him allows him to be in the middle of any action while trying to figure out who the killer is, and also allows him to satisfy his increasing possessiveness and attraction for Courtney.  The mystery is solid, and as well-built and written as the growing romance.  All the characters are believable and it was hard to tell at first who was a bad guy.  And watching Jonas slowly realize Courtney was the victim at the same time his respect and attraction was growing made for a great romance.  Having the romance blossom under extreme stress and danger creates such a believable scenario - a pressure-cooker romance! Those conditions heighten and enhance the senses and emotions, and I was quickly caught up in the story and didn't want to come out for trivial things like sleep, work and caring for my children - the sure sign of a great book!

Locked and Loaded

Publisher's Blurb:  Nothing was as it seemed… Not even the protection Maddie Timmons was promised when she'd entered the Witness Security Program. One of her handlers was missing, the other had burned her, and now Maddie was at risk.  All that stood between her and certain death was one sexy stranger.

Deep undercover, Recovery Project agent Adam Wright vowed to keep Maddie safe from the leak at WitSec. But Adam wasn't prepared for the confident woman he'd rescued, the sensuous lover who got under his skin. He could do nothing about her past being taken away, but he'd do anything to secure her future …even if it meant forsaking his own….

Review:  Locked and Loaded (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1297, and Book 4 of the Mystery Men series following the men of the Recovery Project), was published in August 2011.  The Recovery Project is a former government agency that has gone independent.  According to the author's website:
"The series follows the men of The Recovery Project, a quasi-governmental operation established to locate missing people – those who want to be found and those who don't. After the Project's cover is blown, and under extreme pressure from members of Congress, the group disbands. But a conspiracy in the Witness Security Program, WitSec, puts the group back in business. The books are an equal mix of emotional romance and heart-stopping suspense. The sensuality level is sexy but not graphic. The books are available in print and digital formats."
This romantic suspense is a great little package, combining a sexy, strong and capable hero, an equally smart and capable heroine, a plot chock full of danger, suspense and a well-crafted romance.  Both the main characters are so believable and likeable.  Maddie suffers from chronic back pain and does her best to stay in shape to be prepared for her former boyfriend hunting her down.  Although she in is the witness protection program she has always planned for the worst, and when that happens she meets Adam, a seriously sexy and deadly protector.  She takes a chance and trusts him - a little -and he is shocked at how capable she really is.  His respect for her has grown over the month he's been watching her, and when they're under attack he in turn shocks her with his deadly skills.  But she doesn't know who to trust, and her growing sexual attraction and affection for Adam is not going to get in her way if she can escape.  After a really intense few days - Adam is shot and left for dead, Maddie is sold, and there are firefights and excitement and rescues - Adam and Maddie have given in to their attraction, but Adam doesn't trust Maddie, and Maddie can't live with that.  Adam's stubbornness and Maddie's need for Adam to say certain things felt a little awkward and the lovebirds almost break up.  Never fear, the HEA is there, and Maddie and Adam quickly work through their issues.
As a new reader to the Mystery Men series I did get confused at times telling the good and bad guys apart, and figuring out the Recovery Project.  I think I would have enjoyed it more if I read the series in order, although it was a very good read on its own.

For more information check out the author's website at

Copy That (Harlequin Intrigue Series #1369) It's Not Christmas Without You Seal Of My Dreams Victoria's Got a Secret The Big Guns