Cast in Ruin: Chronicles of Elantra #7

 You asked me why I love you...
       Can I ask you the same question? 

Cast in Ruin
Michelle Sagara
Chronicles of Elantra, book seven
Paperback, 384 pages
Expected publication: September 29th 2011 by Luna
ISBN 9780373803309

Seven corpses are discovered in the streets of a Dragon's fief. All identical, down to their clothing.

Kaylin Neya is assigned to discover who they were, who killed them—and why. Is the evil lurking at the borders of Elantra preparing to cross over?

At least the investigation delays her meeting with the Dragon Emperor. And as the shadows grow longer over the fiefs, Kaylin must use every skill she's ever learned to save the people she's sworn to protect. Sword in hand, dragons in the sky, this time there's no retreat and no surrender…

First note I want to make is that Cast in Moonlight, the prequel to the series that was released in October 2010 by Michelle Sagara in the Harvest Moon anthology, is directly referenced in Cast in Ruin. It's not a must read, but it's the most helpful if read before starting this book.

The seventh installment kicks off with two Dragon lords, Diarmat and Sannablois, vying for Kaylin's time. Diarmat's aim is to see her properly educated in her etiquette classes while Sannabolis wishes to have her redeployed to the fiefs with the stipulation that Severn accompany her. So *of course* Sannabolis wins out and Grammayre grants his request. Smart man that Grammayre.

I read it in a few other reviews but didn't necessarily believe it to be true, and yet it was... Kaylin does actually mature in this book. The first hundred pages, as far as Severn is concerned, are by far the best and this was one of the most enjoyable reads of the series for me. Delving into the history and culture of the Dragons, there is so much knowledge and explanation to be found. Nightshade, much to my relief, gets very little page time. He does, however, make a long enough appearance to request a leave of absence for Kaylin that she might travel with him to West March.The results of which, I expect, are to be found in the next book, Cast in Peril. Ah, another year of wait.

Cast in Ruin has been promoted as the book in which Kaylin finally puts to words her feelings for Severn and Nightshade. And... she does. But it's in the lamest, most underplayed fashion one could imagine. She knows who loves her, and who does not. She admits what keeps her from being with Severn (and THANK YOU! it's not Steffi and Jade's deaths) and she recognizes the source from which her attraction to Nightshade stems. It certainly wasn't the end all of all romantic issues between the three, and Severn is still being as silent and patient as ever.

"Then I don't see the problem."
     "No, you don't." She rose and began to pace. "And I- I'm not good at talking."
     He waited, because he was good at waiting. "Are you afraid of losing me?"
     "Yes. But not because you leave. Because you'll die." Gods, she hated this. She was squirming, he knew it. "I'm afraid," she finally said in as neutral a voice as she could manage, "that you want me."
     "Want. Desire."
     He stared at her. This was different from watchfulness. "You're not afraid of wanting me."

What progress was made? There's now a female dragon on the scene. Kaylin is still up for a promotion. And our girl's gained herself a roommate. 4 out of 5 stars.


Cast in Moonlight
(Harvest Moon anthology)

Cast in Moonlight
part of Harvest Moon anthology
Michelle Sagara
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Luna
ISBN 9780373803224

Barely a teenager, Kaylin Neya is a thief, a fugitive and an attempted assassin. She also has a smart mouth, sharp wits and mysterious markings on her skin. All of which make her perfect bait for a child prostitution sting in the city of Elantra—if she survives her first meeting with the Hawks!

It's that time of the year again... the release of the latest epic installment in the Chronicles of Elantra series!!

But before I dive into what better be the book where Severn gets the chance, and courage, to spell his feelings out for Kaylin-the gods know she'll never figure it out otherwise-I had to catch up on Cast in Moonlight, a short prequel to the series.

This story begins when Kaylin is thirteen, after she has fled the fiefs and very much after her dearest friend, Severn, murdered the two younger girls she considered part of their family. It reveals how Kaylin came to be a Hawk, even at so young an age, and how she came to gain her new surname, Neya.

Many beloved characters do make an appearance: Tia, Tain, Clint, and of course, Marcus. I didn't expect Severn. He had no reason to be here. However, the poor guy wasn't even mentioned. He played a key role in the most traumatic experience of Kaylin's life and yet that doesn't warrant even a roundabout reference? Bah!

This story was a fine compliment to the series, but it did lack the oomph with such a young protagonist. Not an entirely bad concept for a prequel, but let's go back to this time and focus on the Wolves. Let's hear Severn's story. 3 out of 5 stars.

Harvest Moon also contains A Tangled Web by Mercedes Lackey and Retribution by Cameron Haley.


Needing Nita

Needing Nita
Norah Wilson
(To Serve and Protect #3.5)
ebook, 27 pages
Published September 11th 2010 by Wilson, Norah
ISBN 2940011101700

Attorney Nita Reynolds is hot for Det. Craig Walker, but he's given up asking her out. She doesn't date cops...until a doctor's call makes her re-examine her priorities. Believing she has a brain tumor like the one that killed her father, she vows to make love to Craig Walker while she still has her full faculties. By the time the doctor realizes he's mixed up the scans, she's in way too deep.

One of those skip the dating, let's get married kind of reads. And a damn good one, too! 4 out of 5 stars.


Fresh Blood

Fresh Blood
Jennifer Colgan
Published February 13th 2011 by Jennifer Colgan, via Smashwords (first published 2005)
ISBN 2940011208201
Amazon freebie

A desperate call from her missing sister sends Erica Talbot on a dangerous rescue mission. Determined to prevent her twin from becoming a feeder, Erica steps out of her quiet, lonely existence and into a dark underworld where vampires make the rules.

Maxwell Hart is a vampire investigator. Part of his job is to protect humans. The moment he lays eyes on Erica, he knows she doesn’t belong in his world, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting her there.

With Max as her guide, Erica descends into a world where humans willingly give up control to their vampire masters. Posing as Max’s submissive feeder, Erica discovers a strange freedom in relinquishing her hard won self-control to Max.

After just one taste of Erica’s blood, Max finds he hungers for no one else. How can he possess her when drawing her deeper into his dark world will change her forever?

Another too good to be free freebie!

When Erica gets a distress call from her sister, Elena, she's forced into the world of vampires in order to save her. Before she gets in too deep though, Max Hart (vampire and cop) manages to save her from herself and offers what help he can give. It doesn't take Max long to unravel the riddle Elena has put out for her sister. And I certainly wasn't expecting the twist. 4 out of 5 stars.

“How often did you feed from her?” Erica hated herself for asking. Like a self-inflicted wound, the sudden pain of it shocked her. Her eyes stung.
     "Don’t do this, Erica.” Max sounded tired.
     She looked up at him and saw something in his eyes that touched her heart. She’d wounded him, too. “I want to know.”
     “We feed every two to three days by necessity. More if we have a regular feeder. I visited Kyra ... maybe three times a week.”
     “And you slept with her all those times?”
     Max gave Erica a dark look. If she insisted on opening up wounds, he could be coaxed into adding salt to them. He saw it in her eyes. She wanted to hurt. She wanted him to inflict pain. “Most of the time.”
     “Did you love her?”
     “Does Lucas love her?”
     Max laughed, but the sound was cold. “Lucas doesn’t love.”

Lucas' story, La Vida Muerta, can be found on Amazon here.



Ann Bruce
Kindle Edition
Published August 25th 2011 by Ellora's Cave

A darkened room…hurried breaths…frenzied touches…impulsive decisions… Wanting her on sight, he manipulated a tryst. Angry and betrayed by another, she let him. Mutual desire leaves no room for rationale. After all, there’s something to be said for a good…rebound.

When Amie catches her boyfriend cheating on her during an elegant event, her distress drives her out onto the balcony and into the arms of a stranger.

Of all the underhanded tactics a man might employ to get a woman... I'm not sure where to begin with a response to Jason's actions. Oh sure, it worked, but damn, was that *really* necessary buddy? 3 out of 5 stars.


Immortal Heat

Immortal Heat
Lanette Curington
Published March 18th 2011 by Ellora's Cave

A goddess in peril…a god in exile…

Aglaia has been sent on a mission to right a love gone wrong. Hephaestus has exiled himself to the caverns, away from his ex-wife and the humiliation he suffered from her infidelity. Only the lusty body and untamed spirit of Aglaia can mend his broken heart.

How does a god, haunted by the infidelity of his wife, come to fall for a servant who committed adultery in his own home with the very same man to whom his own wife cheated on him with???

Hephaestus' true shame lies with his deformity. His evident lack of perfection has always set him apart in Olympus and numerous times, for various reasons, he's been cast from the palace of the gods. Finally, the exile took and he chose to stay away.

When Aglaia is sent on Aphrodite's bidding to set aright an arranged marriage between royal families, it is Aphrodite's ex-husband that comes to her rescue after she's cast from the cliffs and left battered and bruised by Poseidon's merciless sea.

As she heals with Hephaestus' care, the two fall in love and somehow, for some reason, Hephaestus is suddenly ready to yet again return to Olympus. Too many contradictions ate away at my enjoyment of this book. I know the gods are fickle beings but I appreciate things making actually sense in a story. 2 out of 5 stars.


Renegade Wolf: Devil's Promenade #2

Renegade Wolf
Aileen Fish
Devil's Promenade, book two
Kindle Edition
Published July 24th 2011 by Aileen Fish

When Stephanie shifts into wolf form for the first time on live TV, she flees to the one man who can protect her from were-hunters, Micah Salway. As attracted as she’d been to him four years ago when they’d met, she’d run scared at the changes he awakened in her after just one kiss. Was it possible he’d turned her into a werewolf?

Micah can hide Stephanie in the caves known as Devil’s Promenade, but the dangers there are worse than facing down the hunter. His choices are few when faced with keeping Stephanie alive: fight the hunter alone or kiss the asses of his former pack-mates and ask for help. His wolf had claimed her the night they met. There was no way he would lose her again.

Four years ago, Stephanie and Micah shared a kiss that awakened the dormant wolf inside of Stephanie. She ran away from it then, but now being hunted has forced her back to Micah to save her life. It's a task Micah isn't confident he can handle alone and calls upon some friends, the Guardians to the door to their world, for aid, and even those of the pack he'd abandoned.

This story is quick paced and makes for very light reading. The characters are likeable enough as they sort through and conquer the obstacles rather easily. I'm not sure however what was up with Jarrod, Michah's cousin and former pack's Alpha. What kind of wolf, let alone Alpha, responds to a packmate's plea for help with the solution of 'Get a gun'?

3 out of 5 stars.


Must Be Magic

Must be Magic
Lani Aames
ebook, 93 pages
Published February 24th 2010 by Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc. (first published February 2005)
ISBN 9781419926174

To save his princedom from the greedy Faerie King, the Prince of Pixieland must marry by the next Equinox. A desperate spell hurls him into the realm of his Heart Match—who just happens to be a mortal woman!

Cast into the Other Realm—the human world—on St. Patrick’s Day, Prince Myghal pursues Kerry O’Neill with physical pleasures beyond her wildest dreams. He has only three days to convince her they are meant to be together.

Kerry has to believe that the man she had fantastic sex with and is falling hard for is actually the Prince of Pixies. She must accept it, because she has to brave the tunnels of the Troll who lives under the bridge across the street to save Myghal. And her heart has known all along that their incredible connection must be magic.

Publisher’s Note: Previously published in the Enchanted Rogues anthology.


Snow Blind

Snow Blind
Kara Lynn Russell
Published January 21st 2011 by White Rose Publishing
ISBN 2940012653345

A woman scarred by the past...

Spurred by obligation, Robin Spencer drives through blizzard conditions to find the one person she never wanted to see again: Shale Anderson. When her trip turns deadly, Robin's only hope is to trust this man who broke her heart. But can she, when he's more like the dark, reclusive hero in the graphic novels he creates than the caring Shale she once knew?

A man in need of forgiveness...

Shale Andersen is poison. When the only woman he's ever loved shows upon his doorstep, he'll do anything to send her away. If he doesn't, he will end up ruining her life, or worse, killing her-just like every other woman who's ever gotten close to him.

A danger so complete, it threatens to consume them both...

Robin's only chance at happiness lies in acceptance. Shale's only chance at freedom lies in forgiveness. Can they weather the storm and begin their lives anew, or will someone with a thirst for revenge destroy their future?

Shale is an artist/writer who believes God is done with him. Burdened by an insurmountable guilt, he portrays his despair in his dark themed graphic novels starring the character Midnight Soul. Shale's one of those people who believes that everything that happens bad in life is somehow a consequence of their own actions.

Robin is his childhood best-friend who was once his lover for a short time. That was before the allure of Allison and freedom from his father's tainted legacy led Shale astray. On her deathbed, Shale's grandmother makes a plea for Robin to bring Shale home so that they may mend things between them. When she ventures to do just that, Robin finds Shale is only a fraction of the man she once knew.

I've never felt that warm, ooey gooey feeling from these stories who offer spiritual and emotional healing through banal visions and cheesy life lessons. They actually make me gag. What was worse was Robin and her holier than thou attitude against Shale's books. She has the nerve to deem them trashy because they build upon the dark, pessimistic side of life. That's the beauty of them! That's *inspirational*.

I liked Snow Blind but, if it existed, I'd have rather read the chronicles of Midnight Soul. 3 out of 5 stars.

Snaring the Huntress

Snaring the Huntress
Sylvia Day
ebook, 25 pages
Published by Sylvia Day (first published 2005)
ISBN 9780982857120
Amazon freebie

Star is an Interstellar Council judge. Her position requires her to pass sentence, hunt down the offenders, and administer punishments. She’s considered one of the best, and if she plays her cards right, she just might become the first of the Hunter species to ascend to the Supreme Court–her life’s goal. When she’s ordered to hunt down a rogue Jacian ambassador in heat, the precedent is death. Sympathetic, but following the law she holds so dear, she pursues him with the intent to kill.

Roark has entered his mating cycle. By Council law, he should be locked in a room with his pre-assigned partner for a week of non-stop sex that will get him through his heat. But he doesn’t want his pre-assigned. He wants Star, the luscious blonde judge whose compassion and intelligence has won his regard. The penalty for going rogue while in heat is death, but that’s a small price to pay for a week of sensual pleasure with the woman he desires more than anything.

Now the huntress is the prey, and when she’s snared by a man in heat, it’s passion that rules, not the law. Or does it? Roark still has his sentence, and his lover Star is judge, jury… and executioner.

This book had everything I normally gravitate to in my paranormal-futuristic erotica: shared dreams, intense physical demands to mate, and even a secret love. The actual smut is, for the most part, skipped over and the way everything resolves itself in the end was a bit corny. Aside from that, it was a nice, little read. Great characters. 3 out of 5 stars.

Love in the Elevator | Jumping Bones

If the fantasy of just being taken by a man does it for you, you might want to check these out. They're each a swift, three minute read and very similar in the plot department, but pretty damn good for quickies.

Love in the Elevator
Lizzie Lynn Lee
Published March 29th 2011 by Summerhouse Publishing
AllRomanceEbooks.com freebie

Sometimes a man can get it up... while they're going down.

Jumping Bones
Lizzie Lynn Lee
Published March 29th 2011 by Summerhouse Publishing
ISBN 2940011248306

AllRomanceEbooks.com freebie

Sometimes, it only takes a glimpse to realize that you want to jump his bones...

Wish List: September 2011

September 5

September 6

September 12

* * * September 20 * * *

September 27