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    2011 Reading Challenge

    Fiendishly Bookish has read 3 books toward her goal of 250 books.
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    Friday
    Feb112011

    New Fiendish Review: Ravished by a Viking by Delilah Devlin

    Book:                   Ravished by a Viking

    Author:                Delilah Devlin

    Publisher:            Berkley Heat

    ISBN/ASIN:        9780425239612

    Rating:                  4 Stars

    Release Date:    Out Now!!!

    Check out: Delilah Devlin

    Delilah Devlin keeps the fires stoked and the mercury close to bursting with her latest steamy read Ravished by a Viking. Don’t let the title fool you. Devlin detours far as far as she can from a traditional historical piece and ventures into the land of enterprising.  Ravished is a perfect marriage between two genres, tailor-made to Devlin’s specifications. Her Vikings hail not from Norway or Iceland, but New Iceland, a remote and bleak territory on a distant planet. Deposited there as slaves eons ago by the Outlanders and tracing their distant ancestry to ancient Scandinavia on Earth, the Vikings have whittled out an existence mining “pure light” ore for the Outlanders.

    When his brother Eirik is captured by the Outlanders and taken off-planet, Dagr the clan lord of the Wolfskins, a powerful fiefdom, will do whatever he can to find him-even if that means stealing a ship and running the gauntlet through Consortium space to Karthagos. And he doesn’t bet on the insane attraction he has for Captain Honora Turgay when he commandeers her ship. But Honora will never be content being his concubine and their personal battle will be fought skin-to-skin…What he also doesn’t know is that the Consortium has a diabolical plan at the ready and finding his brother is only the beginning of a minefield of obstacles that he must overcome-with Honora at his side.

    Ravished by a Viking is a tapestry rich and colorful, full of hot warrior action, an unstoppable pace and a great cast of supporting characters like Birget, Baraq, Fatin and Cyrus. Each has their own story, and I am betting that we are going to see more of them. The best part, is the backstory of the Outlanders, New Icelanders, and the legacy of the Bifrost, that ancient device that transported the Vikings offworld from Midgard. All of these add to the spicy flavor of this unique story.

    The intense visuals, and impressions… the crack of the ice as the skiffs skim through the frozen waters, the colorful sea serpents that tunnel the icy depths, the frozen fortresses of New Iceland, and the seedy underworld of Karthagos all come alive in every sentence. As do the combustible romantic interludes of Dagr and Honora. Ravished is sexier, fleshier, and more mouth-watering than anything else that I have read from Devlin. And at its core, a tender love story about a Viking who has never known love, and just needs the right woman to show him the way.

    Devlin has masterminded what it takes to prick the finicky interest in a reader. With one paragraph, even one statement she can collectively raise my eyebrows, and drop my jaw to the floor. Um yeah…dare I mention the scene in the gym? Or the bar scene in Karthagos? Volcanic. Everything has a purpose in Ravished, with the ultimate goal of entertaining the reader. Not to mention make smoke billow out of my Kindle.

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)

    Thursday
    Feb102011

    Next Up: Ravished by a Viking by Delilah Devlin

    Book:                Ravished by a Viking

    Author:             Delilah Devlin

    Publisher:        Berkley Heat

    ISBN/ASIN:       9780425239612

    Rating:              4 Stars

    Release Date:    Out Now!!!

    Check out: Delilah Devlin

    Book Blurb:

    “What a Viking wants, a Viking takes.

    When his younger brother goes missing, Dagr, Viking warrior and Lord of the Wolfskin Clan, will do whatever it takes to get him back. But nothing could have prepared him for Honora—a feisty, intelligent woman who is nothing like the women of his world—women who are content to serve their men in all things. Drawn to her despite her recalcitrant nature, Dagr is determined to show her who’s boss both in bed and out.

    When the two enemies-turned-lovers join forces to find Dagr’s brother they are thrown into a rousing adventure full of danger, intrigue and erotic abandon. Can their passion truly unite them or will their different worlds lead to destruction for them both?” (from www.delilahdevlin.com) 

    Just finished this book the other night and I can honestly say…Wow. And Wow again. Going to try and get this review up today, just working on the finer points as to why this book is like molten lava. Highly recommended!

    ~Miz Fiendishly

    Wednesday
    Feb092011

    New Fiendish Review: Nightshade by Michelle Rowen

    Book:                    Nightshade

    Author:                 Michelle Rowen

    Publisher:             Berkley

    ISBN/ASIN:          9780425239827

    Rating:                  3.85 Stars

    Release Date:     February 1, 2011

    Be sure to check out Michelle Rowen’s virtual space

    Michelle Rowen starts off strong out of the gate and with thoroughbred speed for her new Nightshade series with a phenomenal opening scene.  Jillian Conrad, a temp for a finance firm is taken hostage, an unlikely bystander in a war between vamps and a secret government agency. With a syringe at her neck, and the lunatic holding it facing down a gun from a thug with an eye-patch, things can’t get any stickier for her. Little does she know that her life will end in the mere seconds it takes for the psycho to press the plunger.

    Within that precious syringe lies the fate of all bloodsuckers. The deadly Nightshade serum, destined to tip the balance in favor of humans, has become a priceless commodity…if it gets in the right hands.  But when it ends up in the body of Jill, all bets are off.

    Nightshade dug its sexy claws into me and didn’t let go…after that amazing opening scene, Rowen doesn’t let up for a second. It’s an easy read but with a well-conceived plot. Jill ends up kidnapped by vampire hunter Declan Reyes (aka eye-patch dude) and together they try to fend off blood servants, the Amarantos Society, hybrid dhampyrs, King Matthias, traitors and each other.  All Jill wants is to survive, and the only way she can succeed at it is sticking with Declan.  But it’s an uneasy truce between them, one that will be tested over and over again.

    The biggest enticement to Nightshade (personally speaking) is Declan.  As a dhampyr, he must fight his bloodlust with a serum. It turns him into an emotionless fighting machine. But when Jill and Dec end up in the boondocks with no serum, their victim/captor relationship takes an interesting turn. The Nightshade compound is intended to make Jill irresistible to vamps…her smell, her body, everything about her is a delicious lure for their species-and Dec is not immune.  He’d love to be immune but without his serum he’s vulnerable and wanting.  All the things he has denied himself as a hunter, and the life he’s chosen comes spinning out of control and to the surface. He has to have Jill one way or another.  What woman wouldn’t want to break down his resistance and conquer him?

    Rowen manages to insert a big romantic taboo with Matthias, the current leader of the vampires with whom the hunters and scientists at Silver Ridge have aligned against.  This is a coup for Rowen…because the ambivalence that Jill feels for her enemy becomes an intriguing emotional triangle for her.   Is Matthias guilty of the charges brought against him? Does he deserve to be exterminated?  Jill is plagued with this moral plight as well as a healthy dose of desire for him.  And when Dec is permanently “fixed” by a new serum to eradicate all emotion from him and keep him a killing machine, who will Jill turn to? How can she break through that wall?  Will she turn to Matthias? Rowen has left us quite the cliffhanger.

    All I have to say is that Bloodlust is out in July and I’m hoping it’s going to wrap up a few of these issues for us. No doubt, at the top of her To Do List, Rowen has marked” “Tease Fans Further.” I’m betting we’ll be thrown over some craggy ledge as soon as we reach the last page. If so…then Rowen is doing her job well.

    And lastly, I cannot wait to see if Matthias’ prophetic words come to pass…”I promise you one thing, Jillian. One day soon, you will come to me again.” It just makes me shiver

    Part of the 2011 Book Chick City Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge 

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat).

    Tuesday
    Feb082011

    New Fiendish Review: 666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce

    Book:                  666 Park Avenue

    Author:               Gabriella Pierce

    Publisher:           Avon/Harper Collins

    ISBN/ASIN:        9780061434778

    Rating:                 3.5 Stars

    Release Date:    Out Now!!!

    Gabriella Pierce invokes a distinctive vintage horror vibe reminiscent of such great like Shirley Jackson and Ira Levin in her debut novel, 666 Park Avenue that takes that old 1970’s occult influence and modernizes it in a way that is highly appealing.  Like a dark, poisonous cloud wending its way through every page. Pierce artfully creates an atmosphere that is both subtle and creepy.

    This re-tooled Rosemary’s Baby (but without the baby), piece is about orphan Jane Boyle who emigrates to the U.S from France on the heels of two life altering events: the whirlwind romance to New York’s blue blood Malcolm Doran, and the death of her reclusive grandmother Celine.  But as she is further isolated in New York from Malcolm and immersed in the Doran family circle, she realizes that something is dreadfully wrong. Do the Doran’s know about her family history, the power she can barely wield?

    Pierce does a great job seducing the reader into trusting Malcolm…an absolutely great job.  We believe in the relationship, the tenderness, the stalwart support he provides. When all is said and done, I can admit that I was fooled. Completely and utterly fooled.  Pierce also offers up Jane’s fragile and trusting nature to further topple our stability and her isolation lends a solitary feel to the novel that works with the atmosphere.

    Pierce’s depiction of Lynne Boyle is classic: mutable and off-center to the reader…evil and conniving and nurturing to fulfill her own ends.  Charles chilled me to the bone. And that scene with him and Jane was just…just thinking about it makes me shiver.

    The major weakness of this promising new book is the lack of a set of strong support characters for Jane and more of an intricate back-story into the history of the seven families, the seven witches and Ambika to really get our teeth into the story and the conflict. Either of which would have made 666 Park Avenue a richer read. Maeve and Harris are simple teasers, and with Maeve struck down by the evil matriarch of Clan Doran, there is little she can do but exit stage right.  Perhaps a more robust role from either one, including Dee would have been better. But if Pierce’s focal point was for tone rather than plot, then it succeeds.  I found that I had alot of questions at the end that were left unanswered…the names of the family lines who carry the genetic trait…is Jane pregnant when she leaves…more conflict…the attraction between Harris and Jane…(which was absolutely scrumptious by the way).

    Over all I like 666 Park Avenue, and I am definitely wanting to read the sequel, where Pierce has a few infinite possibilities to pursue..and definitely want to read more about Harris and Jane who I think will be making a repeat performance…

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)

    Part of the 2011 Book Chick City Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge

     

    Monday
    Feb072011

    New Fiendish Review: Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

    Book:                   Pale Demon

    Author:                Kim Harrison

    Publisher:           Harper Collins

    ISBN/ASIN:        9780061138065

    Release Date:    February 22, 2011

    Rating:    5 Electrifying Stars!!!!

    Enter the world of the Hollows

    At the end of Black Magic Sanction we were left with a quite a few loose ends. Rachel began her studies as Al’s student in the Ever-After, got possessed by insane demon Krathion, was imprisoned in Alcatraz, bumped hips with Gordian Pierce, got screwed over again by Nick and the laundry list goes on. As she continues to weather her shunning, it appears that the Coven of Moral and Ethical Standards is not simply going to let her stand in that magical state of limbo. They have deemed her dangerous enough to either lobotomize or sterilize. Anything to ensure that she or any future children will never be able to kindle magic again-certainly not black magic.

    If anything, the single most important point of conflict for the Hollows series is that Rachel Morgan has existed in flux-treading, no…teetering on the line between acceptable magic use, and black magic. This has been simply because the chaotic circumstances in which she has been thrust-defending herself by any means necessary. Is she a white witch who twists black curses? Is she a natural born demon? Did she really think she was going to ride the fence for this long, and not choose a side?

    In Pale Demon, Kim Harrison successfully brings that central theme of choice to the fore and forges new ground in old conflicts (including one new ley line). This time Harrison has really spelled the plot, putting it all out on the table that things are going to have to change. With Rachel’s potential in mind, Ceri’s baby on the way, and Trent’s “secret”…a new generation is going to arise regardless. Will their arrival precipitate a new chapter in the Demon/Elf wars…or will bridges be built? Will Inderlanders be caught in the maelstrom? What about the constant ebb and flow of Ever-After receding from Reality and vice versa? Sides are plotting and planning and where will Rachel stand? On a chosen side, or in the way? Will the minds of the Coven and Inderlanders regarding defensive black magic be changed in time for the coming storm?

    These conflicts all come to head as Rachel is forced to attend her hearing and trial by peers by the Coven of Moral and Ethical Standard in San Francisco. Unfortunately since her recent shunning, her movement is pretty much restricted and instead of flying she has to drive to the trial location.  Accompanied by Trent Kalamack (who has to make it to Seattle in three days), Ivy, and Jenks, make this latest adventure an unholy road trip from hell. They are plagued by assassins, Jenks being kidnapped, the betrayal of Gordian Pierce, death by fairy, the St. Louis arch crumbling, and the release of the Ever-After’s most uncontrollable demon, Ku’ Sox.

    If you don’t think things are going to get worse, then think again. Trent manages to curse Rachel to the Ever-After for all eternity…unless she is summoned. And lovely Ku’Sox manages to level half of San Francisco in her absence. It is going to take her nearly dying before defeating him.

    The biggest possibility (and surprise) that exists for Rachel is the Ever-After-It’s one that readers should be focusing on-because if anything ever goes wrong in Cincy, or anywhere else on the sunny side of the lines…then she could…quite possibly build a life for herself there. With Newt lucid for once, there is a possibility of her remembering the secrets that the demons have had buried for the past two millennia. Her relationship with Al has taken a turn for the better, now that he realizes she is so much more than a familiar and student. Her worth has been fully realized, and the trust between them continues to grow. And she has finally accepted that she is a demon. If that stunt in Dalliance were not a clear indication of that, then I don’t know what is.

    And cannily enough, Harrison has highlighted Rachel’s impending choices in neon.  Will she stay in Cincy living with the derision of Inderlanders, her public shunning (which could get revoked), and her banishment? Or will she chose the demons…who accepted her unequivocally? And what about Trent when he reveals just a few of his motives? Never has there been such calculation on the part of one of Harrison’s characters…(besides Ivy)…and some of it has been to motivate Rachel to some unknown end. Trent might have actually given her what no one else has…a clear choice to fully accept who she is and ride with it. And he might have planned it all along.

    I love, love, that Harrison manages yet again, to elevate the conflicts, and the entanglements surpassing her earlier efforts.  She manages to show us something new every time, wrapped in resolution, illuminating numerous possibilities that keep you guessing, and always foreshadowing a possible future in the next book. Pale Demon hummed and arced with all the electricity and fire of the ley line of Fountain Square, was unputdownable, and provided a thrill ride that is uniquely Kim Harrison. It was everything….and I mean everything I was hoping for in the next installment of the Hollows.

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)

    Part of the 2011 Book Chick City Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge