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Wicked Nights (Angels of the Dark #1)

Leader of the most powerful army in the heavens, Zacharel has been deemed nearly too dangerous, too ruthless -- and if he isn't careful, he'll lose his wings. But this warrior with a heart of ice will not be deterred from his missions at any cost…until a vulnerable human tempts him with a carnal pleasure he's never known before.

Accused of a crime she did not commit, Annabelle Miller has spent four years in an institution for the criminally insane. Demons track her every move, and their king will stop at nothing to have her. Zacharel is her only hope for survival, but is the brutal angel with a touch as hot as hell her salvation -- or her ultimate damnation?

Showalter was one of the first PNR authors I read, starting with her Atlantis series. She has such a great sense of humor and an edginess that makes for great reads. Following in the footsteps of the Lords of the Underworld, we get the other side of the story starting with the perennially cold Zacharel.

Leader of a an army of a bunch of nearly fallen angels, he not only has to keep in his crew in line or suffer the consequences himself, his forever untouched heart is starting to beat. Annabelle, stuck in a mental institution for years because she could see the demons, fights every day against a staff of perverts and invisible foes. Of course these two are destined to be together!

Watching Annabelle break down the never touched heart or soul of Zacharel while he continuously freaks out about having emotions is equally hilarious and totally hot. Both have an intriguing backstory with plenty to get over and great new ways to bond with each other. The end wraps up their story well, while leaving several arching story lines open for future installments.

At times gritty and violent with great character chemistry and cast of colorful characters, it’s easy to fall into these books. An awesome expansion of the LOTU universe with several tie ins (but without leaving new readers behind), and lots of fun cameo appearances. A perfect companion series for fans of Showalter’s, I am definitely looking forward to the rest of this series!

 

BY - March 12th, 2013 - Books - 2 comments

The Immortal Highlander (Highlander #6)

With his long, black hair and dark, mesmerising eyes, Adam Black is Trouble with a capital T. Immortal, arrogant, and intensly sensual, he is free to roam across time and continents in pursuit of his insatiable desires. That is, until a curse strips him of his immortality and makes him invisible, a cruel fate for so irresistible a man. Now Adam's only hope for survival is in the hands of the one woman who can actually see him.

Enter law student Gabrielle O'Callaghan. For Gabrielle, cursed with the ability to see both worlds, Mortal and Faery, it is the beginning of a long, dangerous seduction. But as Adam's quest to regain his immortality plunges them into a world of timeless magic, the price of surrender could be their very lives. Unless they can thwart the cosnpiracy that threatens both Mortal and Faery realms...and give them a shot at a destiny few mortals ever know: glorious, wondrous, endless love...

So you know how I said last week’s Karen Moning Highlander review was the last? Yeah, totally lied. In my excitement I forgot one of the most important installments in this series. For pete’s sake it’s Adam Black! Not only a character that shows up in the Fever series, but appears in almost every book in the Highlander series. 

A fae prince of sorts, playing trickster on the human’s finally gets his come uppance and is sentenced to the mortal coil. Worse yet, the fae queen makes him invisible, leaving him with nothing. That is until he runs into a sidhe seer who not only sees him but gives away her ability to. Adam Black chases after the only woman who can see him, then they run from hunters, major fae conspiracies and quite frequently, each other.

Adam Black is certainly alpha, especially being of the non human variety, but watching him have to deal with a human body and mortality is equal parts hilarious and na-na-na-na-na-na. Gabrielle, raised to ignore the fae she can see in fear of revealing her powers, starts her relationship with Black scared shitless. Of the couples in this series, I loved how they came together the most.

History of the sidhe seers is revealed, as well as some major story points that lead into The Dark Immortal and of course (once more with feeling) the Fever series. I love getting some of the back story details and there’s plenty connections to be made here.

More great chemistry, awesome story telling and a romance you can really get into. Loved every moment of it.

The Audiobook: Phil Gigante rocked it once again, big fan.

Narrator: Phil Gigante          Length: 10 hours and 5 minutes

BY - February 4th, 2013 - Books - Leave a comment

Spell of the Highlander (Highlander #7)

½

It's taken him eleven centuries to find the right woman. He's not about to lose her now.

Jessi St. James has GOT to get a life. Too many hours studying ancient artifacts has given the archaeology student a bad case of sex on the brain. So she figures she must be dreaming when she spies a gorgeous half-naked man staring out at her from inside the glass of an ancient mirror. But when a split-second decision saves her from a terrifying attempt on her life, Jessi suddenly finds herself confronting six and a half feet of smoldering INSATIABLE alpha male.

Heir to the arcane magic of his Druid ancestors, Cian MacKeltar was trapped inside the Dark Glass eleven centuries ago. And when the Dark Glass is stolen, an ancient enemy will stop at nothing to reclaim it. For Jessi, the sex god in the mirror is not only tantalisingly real, he's offering his protection—from exactly what, Jessi doesn't know. And all he wants in exchange is the exquisite pleasure of sharing her bed.

If you are one of the ten people who read this blog (okay, I know there’s really only three of you), you’re probably getting sick of all the Karen Moning fangirlin’ and stream of Highlander romance novels. Well, have faith. This is the last one.

For now.

Cian MacKeltar an ancient relative of Drustan and Daegus is stuck in a mirror by none other than Darroc (of Fever fame. The connections to that series are thick all the way through and NOW we know why the walls got all weak and unseelie leaky.

Cian is a total barbarian, he isn’t even in the category of alpha male as he is more animal than anything. Jessica is a good counterpart to him with her completely brash attitude and seemingly no fear of the giant highlander.

The rest of the MacKeltars make their appearances and play a pretty big role as well. The end of this book leads practically right into Darkfever, something that almost made me want to re-read those books again. Even though I just finished them a month ago.

A great ending to the Highlander novels and a perfect lead in into one of the best series ever. You can’t go wrong with these romance novels!

The Audiobook: I will miss Phil Gigante’s sultry tones. Couldn’t have had a better narrator. I wish he was in the first three books of the Fever series. Re-record? Anyone?

Narrator: Phil Gigante          Length: 10 hours and 59 minutes

BY - January 31st, 2013 - Books - 2 comments

The Dark Highlander (Highlander #5)

Journey to a world of ancient magic, breathtaking sensuality, thrilling time-travel.... Journey to the world of The Dark Highlander. Crisscrossing the continents and the centuries, here is a novel as gripping as it is sensual—an electrifying adventure that will leave you breathless....

I am Dageus MacKeltar, a man with one good conscience and thirteen bad ones, driven to sate my darkest desires…

From his penthouse lair high above Manhattan, Dageus looks out over a glittering city that calls to the darkness within him. A sixteenth-century Scot trapped between worlds, he is fighting a losing battle with the thirteen Druids who possess his soul, dooming him to an eternity of sexual pursuit. When Chloe Zanders, student of antiquities, is drawn into his world, she finds the insatiable alpha male an irresistible lure.Before long, she is caught up in an ancient prophecy that will sweep her back into time to medieval Scotland. Plunged into a world of timeless magic and dark seduction, she will soon face the challenge of a lifetime: fighting thirteen evil spirits for the heart of one irresistible man...

If you have read the Fever series, Dageus MacKeltar will be a familiar name to you. As one of Christian MacKeltar’s many uncles he plays a big role in the later Fever books. Here in The Dark Highlander, you get to read his story of how he became the ‘possessed’ and all the romance that went with it.

Not as broody as his twin brother, even with the thirteen evil druids residing in his head, Dageus is one my fave in this series. His story is well entwined with the previous novel as well as the set up for some major plot points in the Fever series. You get to spend plenty of time jumping around time periods, revisiting is family in ancient Scotland and his brother’s family in present time. I keep staring at Kayak.com wanting to buy tickets to Scotland, like, yesterday.

Chloe is another solid female lead with enough spine and snark to put up with Dageus and is man-child ways. He is still a warrior through and through, but Chloe is able to love all sides of him. Even though it seems to take for.ev.er. for her to figure out just what’s going on with her man, she just rolls right along with it.

the Audiobook: Another stellar performance by Phil Gigante, you can’t go wrong with him.

Narrator: Phil Gigante          Length: 10 hours and 58 minutes

BY - January 28th, 2013 - Books - Leave a comment

Kiss of the Highlander (Highlander #4)

A laird trapped between centuries...

Enchanted by a powerful spell, Highland laird Drustan MacKeltar slumbered for nearly five centuries hidden deep in a cave, until an unlikely savior awakened him. The enticing lass who dressed and spoke like no woman he’d ever known was from his distant future, where crumbled ruins were all that remained of his vanished world. Drustan knew he had to return to his own century if he was to save his people from a terrible fate. And he needed the bewitching woman by his side....

A woman changed forever in his arms...

Gwen Cassidy had come to Scotland to shake up her humdrum life and, just maybe, meet a man. How could she have known that a tumble down a Highland ravine would send her plunging into an underground cavern — to land atop the most devastatingly seductive man she’d ever seen? Or that once he’d kissed her, he wouldn’t let her go?

Bound to Drustan by a passion stronger than time, Gwen is swept back to sixteenth-century Scotland, where a treacherous enemy plots against them ... and where a warrior with the power to change history will defy time itself for the woman he loves...

I’d like to take this time to thank Karen Moning for creating some of my absolute favorite romantic reads. Scotland, check, highlanders, check, fantastic alpha males, check, femme leads you can relate too, check and just a touch of magic, double check.

Better written then your typical serial romances, the last half of this series interweaves the characters brilliantly, instead of just shoving the matched couples to the sidelines. Even better the MacKeltar’s are here! Fans of the Fever series will love hearing the back story of the fae’s clan of protectors as well as some of the events leading up to the clashing of the fae and human worlds.

I couldn’t get enough of this book, Moning has a way of painting the landscape and characters so vividly that you can almost taste it. I felt like I was there with Gwen and Drustan as they race through time to save his family.

The steamy parts were very entertaining and the story surrounding them made is all the better. I can’t recommend these books enough!

Audiobook: Another brilliant job by Phil Gigante. You can’t have a better narrator for a bunch of highlanders. I find most romances impossible to listen too, they never quite get the emotion or the uh… passion. Not a problem with this talent. They’re almost better then reading it. I didn’t want it to end!

Narrator: Phil Gigante           Length: 11 hours and 24 minutes

BY - January 20th, 2013 - Books - Leave a comment

The Highlander’s Touch (Highlander, #3)

½

A Warrior Of Immortal Powers

He was a mighty Scottish warrior who lived in a world bound by ancient laws and timeless magic. But no immortal powers could prepare the laird of Castle Brodie for the lovely accursed lass who stood before him. A terrible trick of fate had sent her 700 years back in time and into his private chamber to tempt him with her beauty—and seduce him with a desire he could never fulfill. For this woman he burned to possess was also
the woman he had foresworn to destroy.

A Woman Caught In The Mists Of Time

When Lisa felt the earth move under her feet, the fiercely independent 21st-century woman never dreamed she was falling...into another century. But the powerful, naked warrior who stood glaring down at her was only too real...and too dangerously arousing. Irresistibly handsome he might be, but Lisa had no intention of remaining in this savage land torn by treachery and war. How could she know that her seductive captor had other plans for her...plans that would save her from a tragic fate? Or that this man who had long ago forsaken love would defy time itself to claim her for his own....

I have been on a Karen M. Moning spree since November. I re-read the Fever series, falling in love with it all over again and this time decided to give the her Highlander series a second chance.

This time switching over to audiobook to enjoy the dulcet tones of Phil Gigante I was swept up into the highlands, full of alpha men in kilts.

Following the be-kilted Ciercen Brodie the half fae highlander as his bath time gets rudely interrupted by the time traveling Lisa. You know this will end well…

A vast improvement over the first two installments in the series, it was an easy read to get caught up in. The time traveling made for a fantastic plot device and the history of the Bruce was well weaved adding a ‘smarter’ dimension to this genre romance.

Sure it ends with a pretty bow on top but this is why you read these. You know they will end happily with lots of drama and steam along the way.

The Audiobook: You can’t beat Phil Gigante as a narrator. The man can do a Scottish brogue like a rock star and he KNOWS how to read romance. He gets the emotion and the heat. Sure his female voices are a tad awkward but everything male makes up for the lack.

Narrator: Phil Gigante     Length: 10 hours and 51 minutes

BY - January 14th, 2013 - Books - Leave a comment

On Dublin Street

Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare…

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.

Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.

But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul.

Now that NaNoWriMo is done, I have the teensiest bit more time to get caught up on reviews. I actually read this back in October, and was immensely entertained.

The reviews were so stellar for this read and it was exactly the kind of book I wanted to pick up at the time. I had no problem grabbing this one off of Amazon and devouring it.

Joss was a well crafted character. With a tragic past that makes it nearly impossible for her to get close to anyone and a penchant for panic attacks to boot, creates some interesting scenarios. Of course then she meets Braden, the typical alpha male that wants in her pants.

It isn’t just him that starts breaking down her long fortified walls though and that’s what made this book great. She gets involved with his family, his sister is her new roommate and through a combination of her relationship with Braden and getting to know Ellie and the rest of the clan, she starts to properly deal with her past and open up to her future.

As an alpha male, Braden was quite likable (and lickable). He knew at first glance he wanted Joss and spends the rest of the book making her realize she wants him too. Of course the whole ‘let’s just be friends with benefits’ thing, never works out but I have a feeling that was Braden’s plan all along. A man who knows what he wants and has no qualms about saying it, I thoroughly enjoyed the banter between him and Joss.

Young has a talent for building tension and had real craft with the romance. Every time Joss tried to throw up her defenses, Braden came right back to shock her into place. This worked well in and out of the bedroom. He refused to play by her rules and I loved it. The storyline was a tad predictable, but it didn’t matter, the characters made up for it. I would love to hear this one in audiobook, especially if they got the right narrator for Braden.

The Point: A steamfest with well crafted characters and a story well worth your time, that’s guaranteed to satisfy.

BY - December 4th, 2012 - Books - Leave a comment

Shadowfever (Fever #5)

“Evil is a completely different creature, Mac. Evil is bad that believes it’s good.”

In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves.
Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman haunting her dreams? More important, who is Mac herself and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card?

From the luxury of the Lord Master’s penthouse to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac’s journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and to make a choice that will either save the world . . . or destroy it.

Originally reviewed August 3, 2011

Phew! What a fantastic series! Unlike some other series *cough* Sookie *cough*, this one had a very clear beginning, middle and end. There is nothing watered down or elongated here. Really, it reads like Lord of the Rings or Hunger Games. The books are simply volumes in a longer story. This made for a very refreshing read, after trudging through other faved series that should have ended books ago (but that I keep reading out of undying loyalty…ugh.) The story was well thought out with complex story lines, side plots and well weaved (if not an inordinate amount of) tension.

Mac was a great character to follow, she lead you through the hero’s journey with souther sass, charm and just the right amount of utter confusion. Okay I take that back, I spent most of the series wanting to slap her face off for being so confused and totally undeceive. But who wouldn’t be if you were thrown into the middle of a Fae war, stripped of all your comforts not knowing who to trust or what you even are. Moning had the perfect remedy for the gray and confused thoughts of Mac, through another great character, Dani.

She was the yin to Mac’s yang, her cheese to her mac. Where Mac was gray Dani’s world is black and white, she was never confused about who she was or where she stood. She added a little “innocence” to the over sexed world of the Fae and heavily accented voice to a world gone mad. Along with the other side characters of Jayne, Mac’s parents and the Keltars you had enough human to keep the story grounded and enough outside perspective to keep you sane when Mac was a blithering idiot. Moning does a great job of directing your emotions towards Mac and by the end you’ll be cheering right a long with her, and loving every minute.

Jerico, Jerico, Jerico…never have I met a more infuriating man on the page. He is not a romantic lead, the hero (or the antihero), he cannot be tamed and is never more than what he appears to be. The man is an animal and unlike other simpering PNR books, he is never anything more, but in Moning’s New Dublin, he is exactly the guy you want. For four and a half books this man is steeped in mystery and by the time he is revealed, you feel like you have only scratched the surface. And if you are waiting for Jerico and Mac to get their collective shit together, you will be waiting for…ev…er. Well, not that long but lets just say when you live forever you can have a lot of bloody patience.

You spend 4 and three quarters books, analyzing, deciphering and adding to a very long list of questions that by the end you don’t care how it ends as long as you have some damn closure! Moning does a great job of bringing everything together, with plenty of twists and turns along the way. Questions are answered and satisfaction (on sooooooo many levels) is finally had. It isn’t all wrapped up in a pretty pink bow however, she leaves a few strings dangling for future possibilities and instead of ending a chapter, begins a new one, with a New Dublin.

A final word, when I first started this series I believed that the Fae could have been replaced with any other super natural species and it would have been just as good. I no longer believe that. The Fae are infuriating in their endless possibilities and complexities. They have no boundaries but within Moning’s brilliant grasp, they are intriguing and manageable.

I will read ANY book that will continue Mac’s story, and look forward to reading more Moning’s works.

Rewind

The Audiobook: Natalie and Phil return for Shadowfever. I loved this book in print, I lust after this book in audio form. I was actually surprised how much I had completely forgotten from the previous time I read this series. But I know I won’t forget nearly as quickly this time with the voice of Barron’s scarred into my memory. These books are so well produced and acted in audio format that you forget you’re listening to a book! It is a happy medium between the printed page and the screen. Plenty of room for imagination, but with the right narrators it can really bring your imagination to life.

This is one of those rare series, that come out and totally flip your world. I loved every minute and will absolutely be revisiting these books again!

Length: 19 hours and 57 minutes     Narrators: Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross

BY - November 26th, 2012 - Books - 2 comments

Dreamfever (Fever #4)

They may have stolen my past, but I’ll never let them take my future.

When the walls between Man and Fae come crashing down, freeing the insatiable, immortal Unseelie from their icy prison, MacKayla Lane is caught in a deadly trap. Captured by the Fae Lord Master, she is left with no memory of who or what she is: the only sidhe-seer alive who can track the Sinsar Dubh, a book of arcane black magic that holds the key to controlling both worlds.

Clawing her way back from oblivion is only the first step Mac must take down a perilous path, from the battle-filled streets of Dublin to the treacherous politics of an ancient, secret sect, through the tangled lies of men who claim to be her allies into the illusory world of the Fae themselves, where nothing is as it seems—and Mac is forced to face a soul-shattering truth.

Who do you trust when you can’t even trust yourself?

Originally reviewed July 21, 2011

Arg!!! I hate how this book ended. Not because it wasn’t good but because…well arg!! I’ll have to write a more thorough review once I have had time to get over it. Needless to say I hope the final book turns things around.

Rewind Update

I knew I had planned to go back and give this a proper review, but clearly that didn’t happen. I remember how devastated I felt at the end of this book. I had never (or since) been on such an emotional drag through hell. It is hard to talk about this book in anyway that doesn’t give it away. Here’s my attempt.

Dreamfever, starts off right where Faefever ended. This is rock bottom for Mac, she has completely lost herself and the first part of the book is her clawing her way back to herself, with the ‘help’ of Jericho Barrons. We are now on to Mac 4.0. She is forever and irrevocably changed by the events that start this book off.

Dublin is mirroring Mac, it is at it’s lowest point, now trying to claw its way back to survival. Dani is in the midst of it, fighting right alongside Mac. She thankfully adds a much needed voice of reason, especially when Mac is practically incoherent and stuck in her special world.

Mac thinks she is through the worst, that she has nothing left that she could lose. Oh, how wrong she it. Moning has weaved one hell of a tale here. Forget that it has fae and a seriously large world of paranormals, this is damn good storytelling. Even after another year of reading some truly amazing books, this remains one of my all time favorites.

The Audiobook: Wow. Bone melting, wow. The narrators are switched up here and all of the good. Natalie Ross has taken over for Mac, and immediately she has to dive into some seriously steamy scenes. She does it so well, that… nevermind. Then there is the new narrator Phil Gigante who is the voice of the men and most importantly Jericho Barrons. Two words, holy shit.

Best. Narrators. Ever.

Narrators: Natalie Ross and Phil Gigante       Length: 12 hours and 16 minutes

BY - November 13th, 2012 - Books - Leave a comment

Faefever (Fever #3)

He calls me his Queen of the Night. I'd die for him. I'd kill for him, too.

When MacKayla Lane receives a torn page from her dead sister's journal, she is stunned by Alina's desperate words. And now MacKayla knows that her sister's killer is close. But evil is closer. And suddenly the sidhe-seer is on the hunt; For answers. For revenge. And for an ancient book of dark magic so evil, it corrupts anyone who touches it.

Mac's quest for the Sinsar Dubh takes her into the mean, shape-shifting streets of Dublin, with a suspicious cop on her tail. Forced into a dangerous triangle of alliance with V'lane, an insatiable Fae prince of lethally erotic tastes, and Jericho Barrons, a man of primal desires and untold secrets, Mac is soon locked in a battle for her body, mind, and soul.

As All Hallows' Eve approaches and the city descends into chaos, as a shocking truth about the Dark Book is uncovered, not even Mac can prevent a deadly race of immortals from shattering the walls between worlds-with devastating consequences...

Originally reviewed on July 17, 2011

This series continues to get better! Mac’s character development is rock solid, and for being stuck in such a crazy fantastical world Mac is a well anchored character.

Faefever has Mac navigating her way through who to trust between, V’Lane, Barrons, the other seers and the MacKelters all while attempting to save the world from an oncoming onslaught of uber evil unseelie fae. I can’t tell you how completely annoyed I got with the fact that she really didn’t have anyone to trust. She needs somebody on her team to help balance her out and it still has happened three books in.

This is definitely on long continuous story with a well thought out arc and a clear ending in mind. There isn’t much for filler to be found in these pages and first perspective voice of the character continues to keep things fresh and on the right side of not to serious.

There was one hell of a cliffhanger at the end of this book, so I had to immediately jump into the next one. I still have yet to decide whether or not I like the turn of events, it’s a serious paradigm shift.

I would absolutely recommend this series to anyone who enjoys PN reads. Even if fae isn’t your flavor.

Rewind Update

The Audiobook: Joyce Bean once again makes takes this book to a whole other level of greatness. I am so used to her as the voice of Mac that I am a bit apprehensive for the switch up that comes in Dreamfever. Though I hear the narrator for Barron’s has a voice that will bring you to your knees. Of that I am eagerly awaiting.

There were some rather, interesting scenes, especially in the last few chapters that could have easily gotten lost if the narrator didn’t provide the proper… ahem, emotion. Bean rocked it, I was riveted.

Narrator: Joyce Bean          Length: 9 hours and 50 minutes

BY - November 12th, 2012 - Books - Leave a comment
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