Thursday, June 19, 2008

Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad

I have been on such an Urban/ Paranormal Fantasy kick lately. The two out of the three I have reviewed here were very enjoyable, while the third one was a major dud. I may have some rotten fruit thrown at my head when you find out which one was given the label of being a DNF! *muwahahaa*

Dead To Me by Anton Strout
I had met Anton when Christine and I went to Comic Con a few months ago and when he wrote me saying that he was doing a talk at Borders last Saturday and invited me to come hear him speak, I was very interested. I had a very enjoyable experience hearing him speak about the publishing industry, (he also works for Penguin) his writing process and how he came up with the ideas for his first published book.

Dead To Me is the first book in a series about Simon Canderous, a twenty-four year old psychometrist, living in New York City and working for the secret Department of Extraordinary Affairs. What’s a psychometrist you ask? Psychometry is the ability to touch an object that someone owns and find out things about them, such as memories or a certain time in their lives when they owned the object. Poor Simon hates having this ability because anything he touches with his bare hands, will allow him to know a person’s deepest and darkest secrets. It also makes dating quite an uncomfortable thing for him.

Simon used to work as a petty thief and is now on the side of good even though his underpaying job can hardly pay the bills. Plus, he comes in contact with all types of creatures. This includes ghosts who will turn part of your hair white if you tangle with them, thus being welcomed into the “White Stripes” group. Simon calls them the Hair Club For Men. His older partner, Connor, is part of this elite group of hair men because of his latest ghostly investigation. Simon and Connor take up a case after Simon spills his coffee through a ghost named Irene. And since they can’t just have her floating around scaring people, they decide to find out who killed her. From there, Simon falls into all types of scrapes from being chased by killer bookshelves and evil cultists. He has to make sure he keeps his job and not touch anything that could possibly drain him to the point of passing out.

Since I am so use to reading about the female protagonist’s point of view, it was nice for a change to read about the male’s POV. Dead To Me is very quirky and Simon is such a funny and loveable guy. I wanted to give Simon a big hug because he is such a fish out of water, barely making ends meet while trying to stay alive as the things that go bump in the night try to do him in. This is a straight up Urban Fantasy with many pop culture references (Simon has a leather duster that reminds him of the one worn by Angel in the old TV series Angel) and I found myself chuckling a few times. There is this one scene where Conner and Simon go looking for a man on the run and as they enter an office looking for him, they announce they are D.E.A. One of the characters responds:

“But, we’re environmentally friendly! We recycle. We don’t dump any contaminants.”

There are some subtle moments with a possible romance to come and since Anton has been contracted for three more books in this series, I would love to see what else he has in store for Simon.

3 out of 5 stars.

Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole
Since the titles in Kresley Cole's Immortal After Dark Series have become so confusing, I have nicknamed this one, Cade: The One With the Likable Horns. Alas, his horns were not licked during the story but this is another worthy addition to Cole’s paranormal series that should not be missed.

Caedon Woede is a rage demon who is trying to help his brother, Rydstrom retrieve his magical crown so he can take back his kingdom he lost. Cadeon will do anything to get his brother’s crown back even if it means sacrificing his one true mate, Holly. Cade has been watching or rather peeping on her ever since they met. He can never have her because she is human after all and if he tries to mate with her, she wouldn’t be able to survive. So, Cade has a constant case of blue balls.

One night Holly is attacked and about to be raped so she can conceive the spawn of evil, but Cade comes to her rescue in time. Holly finds out she is part Valkyrie and the vessel to carry the spawn that can either become a product of good or evil and help change the world. This has only come out now because Holly has been repressed. She holds back all types of sexual urges and likes everything to be in perfect harmony. Cade and Holly go on the road and she thinks Cade is trying to protect her and find someone who can change her back into human, while Cade needs to deliver her to the one person who can help him get Rydstrom’s crown and thus the key to the kingdom.

If you like road romances, Dark Desires is the perfect read for you. I had so much fun over the bantering and bickering back and forth between Cade and Holly. Talk about total opposites! Cade is a porn loving slob while Holly has OCD and the thought of sex gets her very scared because she feels if she loses it in the heat of the moment, she will hurt the man she is with because of her Valkyrie strength. I know some had issues with Holly and her being so repressed and stiff but what I enjoyed the most is how Holly was able to break free of her self imposed bonds and become more empowered within herself. Cade helped her realize who she is and held her hand so to speak. Plus, they way Cade helps her release her pent up feelings is oh, so good.

These two were a riot to read even though I wanted to bop Cade over the head at one point because of a certain situation he places Holly in, but again, Cade has to sacrifice a part of himself for his brother. In my eyes that made him a worthy hero.

3 ½ stars out of 5

Damien by Jacquelyn Frank
Sorry, this was the one book that was a major DNF for me. I have tried repeatedly to enjoy the world of the Nightwalkers and every time, I scratch my head and go “huh?” Perhaps I am missing something but every one of Frank’s books are so long winded and go on and on without any major action. I also think part of my problem is the long paragraphs that don’t really make sense and the sex is pretty ho hum.

Damien is the prince of all vampires and his story involves Syreena, sister and princess to the queen of the Lycanthropes. There is a magical sort of library that has all the secrets and history of the Nightwalkers which includes all creatures such as Vampires, Lycanthropes and Demons. Syreena is there to guard this library and Damian goes to read some books. Out pops an evil demon skank who attacks Syreena and Damien rescues her. All this rescuing makes them both horny for each other and they figure out they are each other’s mates even though it is not possible for a Vampire and Lycanthrope to be together. But for some reason it worked for Syreena’s sister and her consort who is an important Demon. Damien and Syreena think a lot while trying to deny each other. Plus there are some rogue vampires around intent on causing mayhem along with the demon skank who won’t go away and realize she has no chance in wining.

It is really hard to explain in so many words that Damien doesn’t really have much going on. Yes, there are some fight scenes and a love story, but this was so slow moving and blah, that I really didn’t care if Damien and Syreena would go off and have a few Vampthropes… or would that be Lycanpires?

1 ½ stars out of 5
Katiebabs (KB)


Kristie (J) said...

I need to catch up on my Kresley Cole reading before I get this one - I have her entire back list but so far I've only read one. But Dead to Me sounds intriguing. It's been quite some time since I've read a book written by a)a guy and b) not a romance. I think I will check this one out. As for the third book - I haven't read any of hers and haven't heard the greatest thing about them. And I have SUCH a huge TBR pile as it is - I imagine I'll skip this one.

Kristie (J) said...

And look - they have the Dead To Me one at my local Chapters. Nice - that.

sula said...

I gotta catch up on the Cole series (they of the impossible long and complicated names). So what I really need to know though, kb...does my man Rydstrom make some good appearances in this? Lickable horns indeed. lol

Christine said...

Kate posted a threesome! What a naughty girl. lol

I have Dark Desires... on my TBR pile right next to Dark Needs... I plan on reading them back to back later this month.

Thea said...

2/3? That's pretty good!

I have Dead to Me on my TBR, now I'll have to bump it up a few spots :)

"But, we're environmentally friendly! We recycle, we don't dump any contaminants."

This is hilarious!

MaryKate said...

I loved Cade. He's my favorite hero in the Immortals After Dark series so far.

Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy the Jacqueline Frank book. I read the first and found it not to my taste either. But the series is pretty popular so clearly, she's speaking to a lot of romance readers.

Just not me.

Anton Strout said...

Thanks! Yer ten bucks is in the mail!

Katie(babs) said...

Kristie: Do catch up on Cole. Her books are a ton of fun!

Sula: You will not be disappointed because you find out who's Rydstrom's mate is and that small taste is right up your alley.

Christine: I am such a naughty, dirty girl ;)

Thea: There are many great moments like that where you will have a good chuckle.

MK: I am still waiting for the Frank fans to come out *looks over shoulder*

Anton: Sorry dude, it was $20 remember??

Anton Strout said...

I thought 20 was for a FOUR star one...?

Anonymous said...

I heart Kresley Cole - but I still haven't read the last book! Mrs. Giggles or someone said it's one of those "my magic ovaries will save the world!!! mwuhahahaha!" books. I've been curious to read it, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

I read the very first JF book and her writing style did not appeal to me, so I haven't read any others. *ducks*

Never heard of the first one - but that's why I love your blog. I find so many books to add to the towering TBR pile!

Tracy said...

Couldn't decide what to post so you did 3. I like it.

Anton's book sounds really good I'll have to check that one out.

Cade - omg Cade. He does have lickable horns! I loved Holly and Cade and of course loved Nix in this one too.

Damien - I liked Damien *ducks and takes cover*. It was Elijah I kept hitting on my knee wondering when I was going to get to a part I liked. Um, didn't happen.

Great reviews Chickie!

Sarai said...

Okay own the first 2 and haven't read them... Sad yes I know.
The last one IDK I loved Jacob for some reason and I own the next 2 I really waiting for Noah's story which is the last in the series.

nath said...

Ugh, that's not a good sign for me. I have Damien :( it's just to bad how the series is going downhill. I think she should have stuck with demons instead of inter-breeding them.

naida said...

great reviews....I've never read Kresley Cole, shame on me.

Carolyn Jean said...

I can't wait to read about Cade's horns!

Sayuri said...

I am waiting paitently on Cade's book dropping through the letterbox.

I have never read JF because I have seen a LOT of people lay the same critism at her door and frankly, I got to much to read already without wasting my time on long-winded.

Anton Strout sounds good but very much like Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden on the surface. Fish out of water. Check. Struggling to make ends meet. Check. Leather Duster. Check. Problomatic love life. Check.

But then I *heart* Harry so I am SO going to give this a go.

Sayuri said...

Plus Sula -

Rydstrom gets his own book next. January 2009 I think.

sula said...

kb, i have an idea of who i THINK Rystrom's mate is gonna be. (hint, me me me!) lol. no, j/k.

sayuri, your avatar cracks me up. mmm guy...mmm. January 2009 is so long to wait for Rydstrom. I want to lick *ahem*

Katie(babs) said...

Sula, I think you and have a horn fetish.