Sunday, April 28, 2013

ARC Review: Darkness Bred


Darkness Bred (Chimney Rock #2)

by Stella Cameron 

Blurb:

THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON
Ever since shapeshifter Elin escaped to Whidbey Island, danger has stalked her every move. Her human traits, combined with her unique supernatural gifts, make her a prized being to be possessed . . . or destroyed. It is only the passionate attraction she shares with werehound Sean Black that gives her hope for her future-if she can elude the lethal predators who are hot on her scent.
HIDES DANGER AND DESIRE
Sean knows that Elin, with her delicate beauty and seductive powers, is his one perfect mate. The woman who can restore his humanity and make him stronger than ever. He'll need that strength and more to protect her from those who wish to destroy him and everything he desires. For Sean carries a secret that binds him to an enemy from the past and to a darker, deadlier force-a malignant evil that is hunting the women of Whidbey Island ...


Review:

Darkness Bred was the newest installment in Cameron’s Chimney Rock series and jumps right in where book 1 left off.  I had been looking forward to this for a while mainly because after reading the first book I was hoping this one would improve greatly.  Although I love the Court of Angels series, Chimney Rock has now consistently been a disappointment to me. Overall the story was choppy and jumped around like a jackhammer on metal, and though it did improve greatly about 2/3 of the way through the book, I couldn’t bring myself to say I liked or even enjoyed the story.  The only saving grace was the references to the court  of angels series and the clumsy but interesting dynamics of the H/H.
My main issue with this book is that there was a distinct lack of flow in both plot and dialogue.  One minute they would be discussing the big bad and the next fighting over their relationship and then deciding how they needed to solve the big problems first, all within the same paragraph.  It was very all over the place and made following difficult and ofttimes unbearably exhausting.  There was just too much going on from both a large and small scale in the characters lives.  Also confusing was the ever changing minds of the men.   They were overly suspicious of allies and couldn’t stick with a decision to trust of not.  There was little to no balance of the strength and weakness of characters.
Sean was alpha, but not in the best ways.  He was one of those guys that know it all and refuse to let the little woman free from under his thumb—or paw as the story may well be.  Granted he did have his redeeming moments but they were few and far between.  The sexual interactions with his mate were painful to read and his emotional reactions were not what you would ever expect.  His decisions, even if they affected all those around him, were made on his own with his knowing what the right choice was for everyone.  Granted Elin was definitely TSTL most of the time, using her desire for independence as an excuse to do whatever she wanted even if it put her in danger.  Though she was magically interesting there was never really enough development of her as an individual character, just as a foil for the big bad and Sean’s mate.  Though I will say she had one very cool power, even if she didn’t use it the best advantage in my opinion. 
I never really understood who the big bad really was, what his ultimate goal was, and when the end arrived there was a hugely anticlimactic single page where everything comes to an abrupt end.  There was so much potential with this part of the storyline, but it never developed enough for me to follow and enjoy.  Again there was just too much jumping around to figure out what was really going on.  It was increasingly difficult to understand how the deaths and kidnappings were fitting into the plans of the villain.  When you finally learn who or rather what the guy is you might find yourself scratching your head with a “huh?” expression on your face. 
I wanted so much to enjoy this story like I have previous Cameron novels, but I just couldn’t find enough enjoyment to rate it higher.  I like the little hints of previous series that were slipped in and it was nice to see the good news Leigh had, even if her mate handled it terribly. The passion between Elin and Sean was lost in the craziness of the plot and the choppy dialogue was sadly lacking in what we expect from a great novel.  I didn’t love the first book in this series, but sadly, this one hurt even more to read.  This book was definitely not for me, but I respect the work that went in to it so make sure to check it out for yourself and see what you think.  I continue to hope Cameron will find her stride again and return to the great writing I first encountered, but sadly it just wasn’t to be found in this book.

Rating:  1.5 stars

Rose Rating: 

*eARC provided free by the publisher for the purpose of an honest review. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

ARC Review: Predatory

Predatory 

by , , , 

Blurb:
Four of today's most exciting paranormal authors take readers into the thrilling realm of vampires, immortals, and other supernatural beings with a thirst for illicit desire...

Out Of Control by Alexandra Ivy
PhD student Angela Locke has a crush on her sexy professor, Dr. Nikolo Bartrev. When she learns he's actually a Sentinel with extraordinary powers, she joins forces with him to catch a psychopath. But soon, their hottest pursuit is of each other...

Ties That Bind by Nina Bangs
Cassie Tyler agrees to sub for her friend at the funeral home where she works. But she gets more than she bargained for when a group of men attack her and a vampire comes to her rescue. . .

In Still Darkness by Dianne Duvall
Immortal Richart d'Alen├žon can't forget the woman who rewarded him with a sensuous kiss after he saved her from a trio of vampires. While Richart knows that loving a human can only bring trouble, the taste of forbidden lust is too great to resist. . .

High Stakes by Hannah Jayne
When vampire fashionista Nina LaShay's design contest rival is found dead, she's the prime suspect. Sexy photographer Pike is number two. He's the kind of man who makes Nina salivate. But will she have to reveal herself to have him--and to save them both? Or does Pike have a secret of his own?

Review:

Out Of Control by Alexandra Ivy

I realized after I began this story that it was a prequel to a new series, set in a whole different world, and based around a group of beings known as Sentinels.  I love Alexandra’s other series and was a bit surprised to find a whole new world developing in this story.  I can’t wait to learn more about this alternate reality and the Sentinels, but on its own Out of Control was a great novella.  Niko and Angela were sexy together and seeing the action and emotion these two deal with in a relatively short amount of time was great.
Niko has been monitoring Angela and protecting her for several months, knowing that she is the target of his prey and determined to keep her safe.  But during that time she becomes more than simply an assignment for him and he has lost all objectivity where she is concerned.  Angela has likewise been lusting after the new professor that has been hanging around her lab, never realizing that he will be leading her into a whole new world, where danger lurks around every corner, and she is forced to depend on the Sentinels for her life.
I really loved this novella on its own and as an intro into the new series.  Niko and Angela were sensual and the connection between them, though intense right away, is perfectly believable and very well written. I can’t wait for more and am very much hoping Arel’s is the next book in the series since we got to know him a bit and liked him a lot.  Another hit series is on the rise for Alexandra Ivy and I’m glad to have gotten in on the ground floor.

Rating: 3.5 starsRose Rating: 


********

Ties That Bind by Nina Bangs

Bangs’s books have often grabbed my attention and kept me enthralled, especially her Castle of Dark Dreams Series.  I enjoyed the plot of this book, including the world building and introductions to the beings, but I didn’t feel the chemistry I expected between Cassie and Ethan. Overall it was an ok read but was missing the heat I’ve come to expect from this author.
Cassie has fallen into a dark new reality and isn’t too sure what to make of the new things she is learning about the world she’s found herself in. She’s force to face her greatest fears and defend herself when she is lured to her death, but inadvertently stops an evil plot, freeing a captured vampire—a good vampire.  They feel an inconvenient but dazzling connection to one another on sight and Cassie knows that the mysterious Ethan is her only hope to survive. Together with Ethan’s maker and a quirky cast of characters, Ethan and Cassie quickly work to take down the threats to their lives, while succumbing to the attraction that pulls them together. 
The passion in this one was sort of iffy for me.  It was there in the undercurrents in the beginning but then faded considerably for me.  Only when they decided to do “the deed” did any of the heat return to the pages.  Things moved quickly from there but overall I was a little bit disappointed.  I am hoping the series continues and gets better, because Nina has never let me down before.  I am unclear if this will be the beginning of a new series, but as a single novella read there was a bit of confusion for me and I hope there are more novels that link so I can learn more about this unique world.

Rating:  2.75 starsRose Rating: 


********

In Still Darkness by Dianne Duvall

I have followed Ms. Duvall’s series from the beginning and this addition to the series was no less than exactly what I expected… a masterfully written and sexy story to fill in some of the gaps that were only hinted at in other stories.  Richart’s story takes place on the sidelines during books 2 and 3, with overlap of some of the plot points.  It was interesting to see another side of the stories I’d already read and loved.
Seeing Richart lose his heart to sexy, understated single-mother Jenna was wonderful.  I loved seeing his sensitive side, slowly coaxing Jenna to become his friend and to finally falling in love with him.  He is sweet and sensual—not that I expected anything less from a sexy French Immortal Guardian!—and handles her digging herself deeper into his heart with great aplomb.  Jenna is a great woman for Richart, matching his playful side with her seriousness and keeping as smile on his face. 
When his secret comes out, quite unexpectedly, they both handle the changes in their relationship well and you can see the deep emotional connection between them.  And of course the passion explodes off the pages.  When a new threat comes to the front, risking Jenna's life and cracking Richart's heart, they have to work together to overcome amazing odds and find out ifthey are a match made in heavenin every way. 
I loved reading this novella and am dying for the next installment in the series. A great read and worth every second!

Rating:  4.25 starsRose Rating: 


********

High Stakes by Hannah Jayne

I tried to make it through this novella, but I was unable to get into this story in any way.  The main character was a bit too shallow for me.  The premise could have been interesting with a lot of work, but overall it was just too fuzzy for me. I couldn’t bring myself to believe in a vampire fashion designer whose life revolves around a rather shallow dream and she seemed a bit of a ditz to me.  Maybe had I been a fan of the series already it would have been better, but unfortunately I found myself unwilling to even keep trying to read it.

Rating:  DNF