In Review: Animal Attraction by Charlene Teglia

Released: 3/17/09       320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780312537418

This book surprised me. A werewolf initiation, by way of orgy, that could make or break the pack doesn't exactly scream emotion, but there was. The sex scenes were good, they didn't take away from the story, and the actual multiple partners were so completely justified you almost have to bang your head against the wall, screaming in frustration as she considers backing down.

Chandra Walker is a normal girl, or at least that's what she believes when a bevy of events changes her entire world. She's a rare female werewolf, and its imperative that she become a member of the pack. Not only do they need her, but she finds that she needs them as well.

All the characters are well drawn out, so that there is an emotional connection, you root for them to win, to get their happily every after,even if you're sure that it can't happen. There's love, there's struggle, and there's actual intelligence behind the story, never thought I'd see that in an erotic book. The story pulls whats known about werewolves and adds its own clever twist.
I love it from beginning to end, unable to put it down until I was through.

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Supernatural Recap: Real Men Don't Wear Plaid

Lightning strikes, and a corpse rises. A man watches Animal Planet in his trailer, when there’s a knock at the door. He gets up to answer it, but no one is there so he goes back to his TV. The door flies open, he goes back to shut it. He turns, and the cemetery corpse is there, it grabs him and chokes the life from him.
Sam and Dean arrive in Bobby’s hometown posing as FBI agents to investigate, but Bobby isn’t answering his phone. They head into the diner to talk to Digger Wells, a local witness. He saw Clay Thompson, aka the corpse, climb into Benny’s window and leave a few minutes later. Digger claims that Benny shot Clay a couple years back killing him, and covered it up making it look like a hunting accident. Sheriff Jody Mills comes in and asks for the boys’ IDs, demanding to speak with their supervisor. They give her a card with Bobby’s number on it, when she calls it, she recognizes Bobby’s voice before he can hang up. She lets the boys off with a warning that Bobby is a con artist and that they should steer clear of him and his half-baked plans.
The Winchesters head to Bobby’s. Bobby claims he’s been out of contact while searching for a way to beat the devil, but Dean is not buying it. Bobby’s also too quick to note that he’s checked into Benny’s death and that Digger is a drunk who made the whole thing up.
They decide to leave town, but on the way out, something is eating at Dean and they stop by the cemetery,  just in case Bobby missed anything. Clay’s coffin shoes signs that he did indeed claw his way out. So they head to Clay’s house, where everything seems normal.  Clay attacks Dean, but he’s quickly subdues. The brothers slip into their FBI personas and Clay agrees to turn himself in for Benny’s murder. He killed the man who killed him, but he is willing to pay for it. Clay’s wife calls the police, insisting that her husband is harmless, but the boys escort him out. Ad Dean prepares to shoot him, Sam stops him, believing that Clay isn’t a monster. Sheriff Mills responds to Clay’s wife call, and arrests Dean and Sam for threatening a town citizen, claiming they have no right to shoot Clay.
In their cell, the boys try to figure out what the heck is happening and how the sheriff is involved. Bobby bails them out, and tells them to go. Five days ago the dead began to rise, but there is nothing they can do about it, at his house he introduces them to Karen, his wife who passed away long ago.
Karen makes them breakfast, Dean sucks it down as Bobby explains the situation. He’s tested Karen for magic and demonic possession and there is no evidence of either. After her death her body was cremated, and the ashes buried in the cemetery where fifteen to twenty others also arose, including Sheriff Mills’ son. It may be a part of the Apocalypse, he isn’t sure, but it may be the Pale Horseman, Death’s work. Dean and Sam both agree nothing good can come from these resurrections.  But Bobby can’t help but to disagree since Karen is here and she doesn’t remember that Bobby killed her after a demon possessed her. They can hear her humming from the kitchen, and Bobby admits that in their place he’d kill her, but still he begs them not to.
They go back to the diner, trying to process the information at hand and come up with a game plan. They split up Sam to do more research and Dean to keep an eye on Bobby.
Sam checks into the Mills’ house first, and Dean does what he does best. He eats pie. Karen tells him that she knows that they’re hunters, and so is Bobby, she even knows that she is dead and the Bobby killed her. She remembers it all, but she refuses to let Bobby know, she doesn’t want him to go through that pain.
At another formerly dead’s house, Sam sees Ezra choking on the couch. He goes in to help her, and she attacks him. As they fall Sam see her husband nearby, with his stomach missing. Sam has no choice but to kill Ezra. He reports back to Bobby and Dean, but Bobby doesn’t want to believe it, saying that Ezra was never right in life, and that she was the first one to return. Dean and Sam prepare to kill Karen, but Bobby pulls a gun on them, saying that he’ll take care of her. Dean stays for Bobby, but Sam is off to warn Sheriff Mills and the rest of the town.
Owen Mills becomes ill, with a high temperature, and Jody calls the doctor. Karen too begins running a high fever and collapses.
Jody hears a scuffle, and goes to investigate, and finds her son eating his father. Distraught she backs away, as her dead child advances on her. Sam arrives just in time getting her out. He tells her what is happening and urges her to get everyone to the jail for protection, while he disposes of Owen.
Karen’s appetite begins to swell, and she begs Bobby to kill her, but he refuses and she tells him she remembers how she died the first time. Still he hesitates. A tall skeletal man brought her and the others back, and he has a message for Bobby. Dean hears the gunshot, and sees that Karen is dead.
At the jail, the townspeople are being armed by Sam and Jody. They tell them to shoot anyone who should be dead, and arm for the head.
Bobby and Dean head out to the van when Dean is attacked by Clay. As they struggle more zombies come and attack Bobby. He shoots several of them, including Clay, but its quickly apparent that there are more zombies than there are bullets and they make a break for the house, only to realize that they loaded the bullets in the van. They retreat to a closet as a last resort, when Sam and Jody come to the rescue and kill the rest of the zombies.
Later Sheriff Mills, and the boys collect the corpses to burn in the graveyard. She assures then that no one will believe the traumatized people, herself one of them. Bobby, at his wife’s funeral pyre apologizes for threatening them. Dean points out that at least he got a few more days with his wife, but Bobby admits that it worsened his sorrow and guilt. Bobby finally delivers Deaths message: Anyone that helps the Winchesters will suffer.
Sam tries to offer assurances, and confirm he’s still with them, but Bobby doesn’t give him an answer, and maybe that’s an answer in itself.

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In Review: Devil's Playground by Jenna Black

Released: 3/23/10 384 pages
Publisher: Dell
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0440244943

The demon war continues to rage, sucking Morgan Kinsey back into the fray. She's still possessed by the demon king, Lugh, who's not leaving any time soon, and when possessed humans start looking a little rough for the wear, as if the demons are pushing their hosts beyond the socially accepted norm, Morgan is asked to look into it. More demons than ever are flocking to the Seven Deadlies club, and owner Shae doesn't like it, especially if those hosts are societies rubbish, instead of the normal quality hosts. Something is fishy, which usually means the rebel leader Dougal is involved.

There is a lot of dialogue in this one, so much so that it slows the book down. Morgan's relationship with Brian gets strained further, as Lugh clarifies that he enjoys sharing Brian with Morgan, which seems a little change of events since before it seemed Lugh was very much interested in Morgan as well.

Overall the story seemed to be toned down. It lacked the tighter plotting of the previous books of this series. Morgan herself seemed watered down. She's a prickly character, that is actually the least likable of the bunch, she's tough, and she's opinionated, and stubborn, but this time all she seemed to be doing was making coffee.

The pacing was a little off, but the ending picked up speed. Many sub plots were tied up, as well as the major story arc. The epilogue at the end made the series seem to be at an end, even though there was much still left undone.

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In Review: Speak of the Devil by Jenna Black

Released: July 28, 2009                 352 pages
Publisher: Dell
Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-0440244936
Ever since exorcist Morgan Kingsley found out that she was possessed and hosting demon king Lugh, her life has been on a slippery slope of suck. Not only is she getting her pants sued off her by a family whose son’s court ordered exorcism went awry, which many do, she’s being suspended by the Exorcism Board, her insurance still hasn’t cut her a check for her burnt up house and it looks like she’s being set up for murder. Poor girl can’t catch a break.
But the posse is back, to help out. Bad boy Adam, is using his brains and muscles to get the job done and keep Morgan, and therefore Lugh safe. And, too nice trying too hard to prove he’s tough enough boyfriend Brian, is still around and still a nuisance. Morgan herself is a little too needy in this one, she’s second guessing herself, and Brian, and really everyone around her. Trust is still the ultimate issue, and Morgan still lets her emotions rule her, which leads her to act overly impulsive and regretful.
Well paced and with a nice blend of continuity and ingenuity, it’s plenty tense, and the plotting remains consistent. However the overall struggle between Lugh and Dougal seems to have been put on the backburner as Morgan’s problems take the stage.

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In Review: The Devil's Due by Jenna Black

Released: November 25, 2008                   336 pages
Publisher: Dell
Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-0440244929
Morgan is back, and she’s still possessed. In the aftermath of her house burning down, and her father’s death the last thing Morgan wants to do is trust, but that’s exactly what she has to do if she wants to survive. The demon king, Lugh, who’s in residence has already invaded her body, mind and dreams is now prying into her sex life, and as he pulls her further in a power struggle that could be devastating to both humans and demons alike there is no escaping.
Finally Lugh gets a bigger chunk of the action. He’s always been talked about a lot, but for a King, he hasn’t been very present. Getting some page time definitely picks up the stories pace, and allows readers to get to know Lugh, not just everyone else’s opinions of him. Morgan still the driving character, but Lugh is finally really coming into his own, now if he could just push Brian out of the story.
He seems to be the one character that doesn’t fit, whose problems don’t further the overall plot, but instead hinder it. Again some great writing with Adam and Morgan, he’s a little rough around the edges, but he’s the go to guy. Plus he keeps Morgan on her toes, and keeps her snark on the right level.
The plot is much tighter in this one than the last, it doesn’t stray much. And the arcs seem to be tying together quite nicely. It was a quick read, and the series continues to build upon the previous. New readers could jump in at this point, but there is plenty that they’d have missed.

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In Review: The Devil You Know By Jenna Black

Released: July 29, 2008                 336 pages
Publisher: Dell
Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-0553590456
Morgan and crew are back for round two. And just like last time, Morgan’s world gets turned upside down. Everything Morgan thought she knew about her past, her life, may have been a total lie.

As Morgan tries to unravel her family history, she’s also trying to avoid a sociopathic demon hunting her, while navigating through some demon issues as well. She’s coming to understand demons a little better, and her bond with Adam is strengthening into a dependency through she’d never admit it. His lover Dom, may be the better friend, but when she needs something she doesn’t turn to her vanilla boyfriend, Brian she turns to Adam. And with him, there is the perfect amount of attraction and hatred to make him a palpable and delicious character.
But, when her brother Andrew awakens from his demon induced coma it only adds to her troubles. His demon, Raphael, Lugh’s brother, didn’t treat him so well, and where Raphael’s alliances stand are yet to be seen.
The character growth was perfection, and the plotting was fast paced. The story was thoroughly enjoyable, but with its quick tempo, and ongoing political mechanisms new readers may have a hard time keeping up.

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In Review: The Devil Inside by Jenna Black

Released: November 27, 2007                   336 pages
Publisher: Dell
Format: Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-0553590449

Black’s newest heroine, Morgan Kingsley may have the hard candy shell, but inside she’s all gooey na├»ve girl on the inside. She’s a bad ass professional exorcist, who just happens to be possessed by hottie Demon King, Lugh. Embarrassing, right? Well kinda, but she’s willing to get down and dirty with some demons to find out just who the heck put him there.
There is a ton going on in this world, where some humans happily host demons and the demons take advantage of their hosts, turning them into drooling vegetables when their done. Well, not all hosts get that sort of treatment, some are gentle, but the humans are giving up their lives so that their bodies can be heroes. And of course, the demon’s only want the pretty ones.
The Political intrigue is almost as fun as the group dynamics. Morgan even with all her shining hatred of demons, is a very likable character. She acts impulsively, but very realistically, especially as her world is turned upside down and dear friends turn out to be enemies, and enemies are her only allies. And as much as I like Morgan, I adore the sadistic Adam, who seems to have a cream center as well. He is the perfect balance of hard and soft.
There is the combination of mystery, action and sex, making this a fantastic start and an excellent read.

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IN REVIEW: Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh

Released: March 2009 353 pages
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-425-22692-6

Angel’s Blood takes place in a world of angels, vampires, and hunters. Nalini Singh gives a remarkable twist on what mythology has told us about these creatures. The biggest? There is no reference to where the angels came from. It’s not even a mystery; it’s just not part of this world. These angels are lustful, have human flaws, human servants and take and discard human lovers. I won’t even mention the tight catsuits and pants...oh wait, sorry.

Next, vampires cannot make vampires, only angels make vampires. One can only become a vampire by applying and waiting to be accepted or denied. Vampires do drink blood and have exceptional strength, but they also sign a contract to serve the angels who made them for 100 years. When a vampire decides to break that contract, the hunters are brought in. Hunters track, capture, and return the vampire to the rightful angel. In this world angels rule, vampires are servants, and humans are not worth much notice. Humans are just toys to angels and vampires.

The Guild Hunter world is run by the Cadre of Ten, ten archangels’ that have divided the world into territories for each to run. Raphael is one of the oldest and most powerful archangels. Only the Guild director has contact with an archangel or the Cadre of Ten.

So when Elena, the most skilled Guild hunter, is requested by Raphael, she is a little weary. Raphael wants Elena to hunt an archangel that has gone a bit crazy. Remember, Elena is a vampire hunter. She can track vampires by scent, but not other living beings, but one cannot turn down an archangel and survive. In fact, an archangel can control human’s actions, like when Raphael makes Elena grip her knife by the blade, cutting her palm, just let her know he can.

Throughout the book, Elena is haunted by a drip…drip…drip sound in her head. Followed by “come hear little hunter.” The nightmares, which probably have something to do with her estrangement from her family, terrorize her during sleeping and waking hours. We don’t find out what this means, but not knowing only makes me want the next book published faster.

Elena is a defiant, strong-willed heroine. She never backs down from anything, which fascinates Raphael. He is used to everyone following him and never being questioned. That’s just angel politics. In Elena’s opinion, she will defy anything or one who tries to block her from her duty. This makes her a perfect match for Raphael. I can best describe these two by comparing the push and pull between them, to Torvill and Dean’s figure skating to “Bolero.” These two are addicting and great together.

What also made this book so refreshing were Singh’s angels and vampires. They are nothing like other angels or vampires. It leaves the mind open to new interpretations. Not once did I think to myself, “That’s not how an angel behaves. Vampires can’t do that.” It just never entered my mind. I only thought of it when trying to figure out what made this book so great. I also love how much attention Singh gives to describing the angel’s wings. There feathers are like fingerprints. The individual differences are as detailed as the lines in a brush stroke. Oh, and did I mention when Elena fa……Oops. The cliffhanger is BRILLIANT!

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In Review: Shift by Rachel Vincent

Released 3/1/10 441 pages.
Publisher: Mira
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0778327608

The fifth book to Rachel Vincent's Shifter series introduces the readers to Thunderbirds. Birds against cats? Don't laugh these are blink and you'll miss their shift, wing clawed menaces who can take a 300 pound cat high above the ground and drop him on his head. They aren't exactly looking to make friends, in fact they want revenge on Faythe and her entire pride, and distract everyone including the reader from the impeding war between the Prides.

On top of the greatest stall tactic of all time, Faythe continues to make decisions that leave me scratching my head and others dead, all the while the supporting characters marvel at how self sacrifing she is.

The love triangle is grating. Marc bothers me almost as much as Faythe does. I'm almost as tired of hearing that he's alpha material as I am that tabby's are important, when everything presented seems to point to the opposite. Marc is strong and fearless, but his temper is so over the top, and he is constantly cowed by Faythe that I can't see him being a good leader or being able to put the Pride before her. And it seems that Ms. Vincent is on a steady path of making Jace into Marc just to show that he's Alpha material. When did having an uncontrollable temper start meaning you were better capable of leading? I find myself wishing she would just chose Marc, as it's clear that she will even though she claims she suddenly loves Jace, so that we can just get onto the war already.

Of course, Faythe does the impossible, emerging the hero through all her follies and gains a new ally. The impeding war looms over the horizon with the final book in the series.

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In Review: Dark Hunters, vol 2 by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Released: 3/2/10 208 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0312554002

Volume Two of the Dark Hunter Manga concludes Night Pleasures, the story of Kyrian and Amanda. The flashbacks are frequent, back to the Kyrian's death before he pledged his service to Artemis for a chance at revenge.

He has a purpose, and can't be distracted by a woman, no matter how much he wants her. He doesn't trust himself, seeing as the last woman he trusted cost him his life.

The dialogue is fun, with plenty of wit and humor, just as the novel was. The novel was well adapted to this format, the illustrations are consistent throughout. This second half is much better than the first, with the characters already established, there's more romance, and more Ash. The characters of Nick and Julian have had a bit of a makeover, but they now look more appealing than they did in the first volume.

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