Friday, August 12, 2011

Recent Reads

Bound by Moonlight by Nancy Gideon

Why this one: I have been LOVING this series

Steam Level: The story takes place in New Orleans and let’s just say the steam in the story and the steam in the city match!


Detective Charlotte Caissie is suddenly sharing drawer space and making local news with her shape-shifter lover, Max Savoie. He’s determined to be accepted by her peers—so how can she ask him to return to his criminal roots to help her solve a complex case?

Working undercover with her partner to find the serial killer who’s kidnapped a colleague’s daughter, Cee Cee is caught between her job and her fiercely possessive lover. And when she calls on Max’s preternatural talents to aid his hated enemy, she crosses a line that strains their relationship to its limit.


With his secret spreading, Max is forced to protect his family and his clan. The only certainty is his love for his human mate . . . unless the loyalties that define them divide them forever.

My Thoughts: As I said at the beginning, I LOVE this series. The hero Max Savoie is like no other hero I’ve read before and he just leaps off the page with his presence. A bit of background for those who haven’t read the first few books. Max was the ‘enforcer’ for a very influential, very bad crime lord. Jimmy Legere ‘rescued’ Max when he was just a child hiding in the swamps of Louisiana after his mother was brutally murdered. But Max wasn’t an ordinary child; he was a shape shifter who because of circumstances didn’t know anything about his heritage. Jimmy used Max, aimed him, pointed him, and sent him after anyone in Jimmy’s way and Max was so grateful to Jimmy, he would have done anything for him.

This was the situation at the start of the first book, Masked by Moonlight. It begins when Max meets up with Charlotte Caissie or CeeCee, a detective with the NOPD. Max’es loyalties are tested. The first three books are wonderful and CeeCee and Max try and work out a relationship with both of them on either side of the legal fence.

Max is, well, Max is unique. He’s a criminal with a strong sense of right and wrong and a sense of loyalty that won’t quit. And he is so totally wrecked for the heroine. He doesn’t see how she can love him as he considers himself part monster and in some ways he is. He breaks the readers heart with his damaged soul. When he is in his animal form, he almost repulsive, but so broken up by who and what he is when he’s not. The author never really explains what animal he is, but whatever it is, Max has powers that no other has; powers that even he isn’t aware of. He is so lost as to what he is considering his mother died when he was very young before having a chance to explain what he is and his father is a mystery.

CeeCee comes from an equally horrific background. Second generation cop, she was captured, held prisoner and tortured when she was young and it was in fact Max who saved her, though she hadn’t been aware of it until after the start of the first book.

In some ways, these books can be compared somewhat to the In Death books by JD Robb in that both heroines are cops and both heroes are or were part of the criminal element. But in other ways they are vastly different. Unlike Eve Dallas, CeeCee doesn’t have the same moral code when it comes to police duties. She’s a rule bender with an attitude that the ends justifies the means and Max, unlike Roarke, is still involved in the criminal element. And he’s not a cultured or suave as Roarke. And unlike Roarke he is very conflicted about everything except those he is loyal to.

All this so far and I haven’t even got to this particular book. But I’ve very enthused about this series and background is needed. As this book opens up, CeeCee and Max are finally taking their relationship to a more open level. They have shown up together at a charity event. As one can imagine, this sends shock waves throughout both the criminal and cop element. CeeCee is called away to work on a case where women have been kidnapped, tortured and murdered. When the daughter of a rather bully of a cop disappears, CeeCee fears she has been taken by the serial killer and races to find her. Because of some of Max’s supernatural powers and his more than willingness to bend rules and out and out break the law, he helps CeeCee in unobtrusive ways. But he has history with the bully cop. Which makes for some wonderful conflict.

Unlike the other books in this series, we don’t learn too much more about Max’s mysterious background. Rather this is more concentrated on solving the case as well as CeeCee and Max trying to establish the boundaries of their relationship.

There is a real shocker of a twist towards the end that I did not see coming and I think will have huge ramifications in future books. Books I will be reading.

For me, this is a great addition in a great series and it gets a real thumbs up from me for a very unforgettable hero. I just noticed she has a number of books written for Harlequin. I’m going to see if they are available as ebooks so I can get my fix until the next book comes out.

Grade: 5 out of 5

Stand-in Wife by Karina Bliss

Why this one: Karina Bliss burst onto my radar with the wonderful What the Librarian Did last year and I’ve bought all her books since then.

Steam Level: Warm

Blurb: Playing with dynamite, a girl could get burned…
What does he know about love and marriage? And exactly how did he, Ross Coltrane—a special forces elite soldier and demolitions expert—end up playing middleman to his kid brother and the estranged wif And most important, why is he suddenly noticing how beautiful his sister–in–law is? He's never thought about his brother's wife…that way…before.
Then he figures it out and everything makes sense. This tantalizing woman is the other twin! The identical sisters have pulled a swap and duped everyone around them. Furious much? Oh, yeah. Poised to bring down their plan, Ross hesitates. Something about Vivienne Jansen's courage and zest for life gets to him. Except, he's not a man who has feelings. Everyone calls him the Iceman. He doesn't know how to be anything else…

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this one. I read it a week or so ago now and need to read the blurb to remember it, but that’s more of a case of declining short term memory retention then the book not being memorable.

Ross Coltrane, our hero, was first introduced in Here Comes The Groom. He is part of an elite Special Forces group – think Seals – only a New Zealand company, who were attacked and lost two of their own in Afghanistan. Each surviving member has reacted differently. In Ross’ case, he is hell bent on getting himself back into fighting shape and avenging his lost friends. He hasn’t time for anything else and holds all feelings in to the point that his nickname is Iceman. His plans are thrown into turmoil though when his step-mother perishes while exacting a nasty revenge on him. He’s had a ‘fractious’ to say the least relationship with her for years, though he is very fond of and close to his younger step brother, Charlie.

The heroine of this book, Vivienne, is walking a fine line. She is a designer in New York, but has taken time out to help out her twin sister, Merry a wife and mother to the nth degree, who has broken her leg and needs surgery. Her twin is married to Ross’s step brother but they are currently separated. Ross is taking his brother’s side and Viv, her sisters. In order to help, it’s too complicated to go into detail, Viv impersonates her sister and I had a number of laugh out loud moments while reading this book with the complications that come along with this deception. Ross is decidedly angry at his sister-in-law for what he considers a betrayal of his brother and when he thinks Viv is Merry is not the warmest cube on the block. It doesn’t take too long though before he realizes it’s not Merry he’s dealing with, but her twin Viv. Viv, the sister he’s lusted after for years.

Viv pleads with him to go along with her plan and he reluctantly agrees to – for a short while.

This book, as I said is delightful and I’m so very happy I discovered this author. She writes believable characters, people you wish were real so you could meet them. I liked this book better than the first one, Here Comes the Groom.

One thing I have to add, please, please, please do not judge this book by it’s completely horrid cover. I never would have read this one if I based picks on covers alone. The cover of this one is a real eye sore. So IGNORE it. Please!

Grade: 4.25 out of 5


nath said...

Wooohooo, two good reads. I mean, one perfect score!! I need to get a crack and read that series! Was Ms Gideon at RWA? I know I have the first book somewhere, thanks to you LOL.

I'm looking forward to reading the Karina bliss. it's really been getting good reviews... despite the cover LOL.

Kristie (J) said...

Nath: I don't know if she was at this year's or not. I know that I met her at one of the events I went to last year, I'm thinking RWA. And I love this series she's writing - but I bet you gathered that :-) I know you are reading and enjoying the In Death books to varying degrees so I think you would like this series too.
As for the Karina Bliss book, I really enjoyed it too, though What the Librarian did is my favourite by her.

Leslie said...

Just got the Bliss and the Gideon. Not that I need to start a new series but I do like the sound of this one and you love it so it's all good. :)

I still haven't read Nancy Gideon westerns she wrote under the name Rosalyn West. I think you might have been the one that recommended them during the Great Western Drive. :)

orannia said...

I really need to try Karina Bliss' books, especially since they are set where I live :)

I'm guessing from your description that Ross is SAS (Special Air Service).

Kristie (J) said...

Orannia: I had to go back and double check and yep, you're right. He was a member of the SAS And yes!!! You really do need to try her. I love her books - well, most of them. A couple of her earlier ones were a bit iffier, but The Librarian and this one are both excellent.

Leslie: Have you read any of the previous Moonlight books yet? I'm thinking you will like them too as you're also a fan of the In Death books. I have most of the Rosalyn West books, but right now they are packed away until my son rebuilds *mumbling curse words at him* my library. And I just got one of her vampire books for my Kindle since it was on for a pretty good price at Amazon.