Friday, November 26, 2010

Review: Mind Games (The Disillusionists Trilogy: Book 1)

Mind Games (The Disillusionists Trilogy: Book 1)Product Description

Justine Jones has a secret. A hardcore hypochondriac, she’s convinced a blood vessel is about to burst in her brain. Then, out of the blue, a startlingly handsome man named Packard peers into Justine’s soul and invites her to join his private crime-fighting team. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal. With a little of Packard’s hands-on training, Justine can weaponize her neurosis, turning it outward on Midcity’s worst criminals, and finally get the freedom from fear she’s always craved. End of problem.
Or is it? In Midcity, a dashing police chief is fighting a unique breed of outlaw with more than human powers. And while Justine’s first missions, including one against a nymphomaniac husband-killer, are thrilling successes, there is more to Packard than meets the eye. Soon, while battling her attraction to two very different men, Justine is plunging deeper into a world of wizardry, eroticism, and cosmic secrets. With Packard’s help, Justine has freed herself from her madness—only to discover a reality more frightening than anyone’s worst fears.

Mind Games delves into the fears of Justine, a hypochondriac who yearns for a normal life.  Packard offers to help rid her of the fear that threatens to consume her.   It’s an unusual premise and the author satisfies with an amusing read. 

I enjoyed the story, but felt like the execution was a bit off; clunky sentence structure, flat descriptions, slightly shallow characterizations and an easily  manipulated heroine.  Some of it just felt forced, not a natural flow of events and character development.  That said, I did laugh out loud several times at some of the dialogue and situations in which Justine found herself.

I’d recommend this as a decent read even with the problems previously mentioned.  It’s a fun read with great promise.  I plan on reading all three and have the second ready to go.

Sensuality: several fade to black sex scenes and a few mild sex scenes, not overly descriptive.

Rating: 3 stars

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Review: Blood of the Demon (Kara Gillian Book 2)

Blood of the Demon (Kara Gillian, Book 2)Product Description

Welcome to the world of Kara Gillian, a cop with a gift. Not only does she have the power of “othersight” to see what most people can’t even imagine, but she’s become the exclusive summoner of a demon lord. Or maybe it’s the other way around. The fact is, with two troublesome cases on her docket and a handsome FBI agent under her skin, Kara needs the help of sexy, insatiable Lord Rhyzkahl more than he needs her. Because these two victims, linked by suspicious coincidence, haven’t just been murdered. Something has eaten their souls.

It’s a case with roots in the arcane, but whose evil has flowered among the rich, powerful, and corrupt in Beaulac, Louisiana. And as the killings continue, Kara soon realizes how much there’s still to learn about demons, men, and things that kill in the night—and how little time she has to learn it.

Blood of the Demon begins a month or two after the end of Mark of the Demon with an apparent murder-suicide.   Kara’s chief assigns her the case which adds to her already full plate.  Her aunt, still alive but in a coma, has a library with lots of answers but Kara encounters numerous problems attempting to get the answers. 
I really enjoyed Blood of the Demon.  Ms.  Rowland did an exceptional job portraying the life of a police officer as well as describing Kara’s internal struggle between Rhyzkhal and Ryan.  Kara advances quite a bit as a summoner in this installment as she makes an important discovery.  We learn a bit more about Ryan but are left with more questions than answers, pointing us to book 3.  Rhyzkhal is still a bit of a mystery as well; it will be interesting to see what his end-game is.
This isn’t a fast-paced hold on to the seat of your pants kind of book, so if that’s what you’re after, you should try Cassie Palmer, but it’s far from boring, has an intriguing mystery, interesting plot, great characters and a truly likeable heroine.  This book should be read after Mark of the Demon as it builds significantly on the previous book.  I’m looking forward to reading the third entry in the series in January 2011: Secrets of the Demon
Sensuality:  one brief sex scene, not overly graphic
Rating: 4 stars

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Review: Mark of the Demon (Kara Gillian Book 1)

Mark of the Demon (Kara Gillian, Book 1)Product Description
Cop and conjurer of demons, she's a woman in danger of losing control—to a power that could kill....

Why me? Why now? That’s what Beaulac, Louisiana, detective Kara Gillian was asking herself when an angelic creature named Rhyzkahl unexpectedly appeared during a routine summoning. Kara was hoping to use her occult skills to catch a serial killer, but never had she conjured anything like this unearthly beautiful and unspeakably powerful being whose very touch set off exquisite new dimensions of pleasure. But can she enlist his aid in helping her stop a killer who’s already claimed the lives—and souls—of thirteen people? And should she? The Symbol Man is a nightmare that the city thought had ended three years ago. Now he’s back for an encore and leaving every indication on the flesh of his victims that he, too, is well versed in demonic lore.

Kara may be the only cop on Beaulac’s small force able to stop the killer, but it is her first homicide case. Yet with Rhyzkahl haunting her dreams, and a handsome yet disapproving FBI agent dogging her waking footsteps, she may be in way over her head...

When looking for something a little bit different from the more traditional urban fantasy I’ve read, I found this little gem.  The demons described here are not evil, they simply exist on another plane and can be summoned to our world but the summoner pays a price.  The demon is then honor-bound to do what the summoner requires.  It’s an interesting take on demons and the author did well with creating the world.
Kara is a fun character to read, seems normal except for  her ability to summon demons.  She grew up with her wacky aunt, who taught her summoning.  Now she’s a police detective, brand new to homicide, who landed a huge serial killer case.  We quickly meet several people on the force, some FBI guys and a demon lord.   The author did a pretty decent job fleshing out the characters and their relationship to Kara but still leaving room for further development.
The mystery part was pretty good; I had fun working out whodunit along with Kara.   I’d recommend this book because it’s a great combination of genres: urban fantasy, murder mystery, suspense, with just a hint of a romance in the wings. It probably wouldn’t interest younger teens, but I'm ready to read the next one!
Sensuality: one brief sex scene, not excessively graphic, and some sensual dreams
Rating: 4 stars

Friday, November 19, 2010

Review: Curse the Dawn

Curse the Dawn (Cassandra Palmer, Book 4)Product Description
Cassie Palmer may be the world’s chief clairvoyant, but that doesn’t mean people have stopped trying to kill her. And now, the self-styled god Apollo, the source of Cassie’s power, is on the warpath—leaving her no choice but to face down her creator once and for all.

WOW!  What a wild ride!  This book, like all the others in the series, chains action scenes, chases, magic fights and a few sensual scenes together into a delightful read.  It had many laugh-out-loud moments, usually followed by “oh wow, that did NOT just happen!” moments.
Pritkin really shines in this book.  The chemistry between Cassie and him sizzles. Pritkin seems to be Cassie’s only true ally as she tries to learn how to do her job.  He doesn’t coddle her, he tells her the truth and doesn’t manipulate her into doing what he wants.  I sincerely hope Karen Chance pairs them romantically because if she doesn’t she’s going to need to do some work on Mircea because he seems a bit flat; yeah, he’s hot and seductive, but he seems to want to keep Cassie as a pet, which prevents her from doing her job as Pythia not to mention stifles her personally.
Ms. Chance introduces us to a few new fun characters, one of whom is a drag queen lounge singer who steals the scenes she is in.   Character development for primary characters is steady but the story is primarily action-based.  A fun read, whole-heartedly recommended.  The only problem is we have to wait for the next installment (due in the summer of 2011).  The series is best read in order: Touch the Dark, Claimed by Shadow, Embrace the Night and Curse the Dawn.
Sensuality: kissing, several sensual scenes, one sex scene
Rating: 5 stars

Monday, November 15, 2010

Review: Sookie Stackhouse Series

Dead Until Dark (Original MM Art) (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)Dead Until Dark

Product Description
Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out....
Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea.

Living Dead in Dallas (Original MM Art) (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)Living Dead in Dallas

Product Description
When a vampire asks Sookie Stackhouse to use her telepathic skills to find another missing vampire, she agrees under one condition: the bloodsuckers must promise to let the humans go unharmed.

Club Dead (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Bk. 3)Club Dead

Product Description
Sookie's boyfriend has been very distant-in another state, distant. Now she's off to Mississippi to mingle with the underworld at Club Dead-a little haunt where the vampire elite go to chill out. But when she finally finds Bill-caught in an act of betrayal-she's not sure whether to save him...or sharpen some stakes.

Dead to the World (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 4)Dead to the World

Product Description
When cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse sees a naked man on the side of the road, she doesn't just drive on by. Turns out the poor thing hasn't a clue who he is, but Sookie does. It's Eric the vampire--but now he's a kinder, gentler Eric. And a scared Eric, because whoever took his memory now wants his life.

Dead as a Doornail (Original MM Art): A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)Dead as a Doornail

Product Description
Small-town cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has had more than her share of experience with the supernatural—but now it’s really hitting close to home. When Sookie sees her brother Jason’s eyes start to change, she knows he’s about to turn into a were-panther for the first time—a transformation he embraces more readily than most shapeshifters she knows. But her concern becomes cold fear when a sniper sets his deadly sights on the local changeling population, and Jason’s new panther brethren suspect he may be the shooter. Now, Sookie has until the next full moon to find out who’s behind the attacks—unless the killer decides to find her first…

Definitely Dead (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 6)Definitely Dead

Product Description
Sixth in the Anthony Award-winning Southern Vampire series. Spiked with a frothy fusion of romance, mystery, and fantasy, this bestselling series sends the supernaturally gifted cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse to New Orleans, where she has to deal with the legacy of one of her own family and a host of potentially dangerous characters.

All Together Dead (Original MM Art): A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)All Together Dead

Product Description
Betrayed by her longtime vampire love, Louisiana cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse must now not only deal with a possible new man in her life-the oh-so-handsome shapeshifter Quinn-but also contend with a long-planned vampire summit. With her power base weakened by hurricane damage to New Orleans, the local vampire queen is vulnerable to those hungry for a takeover. Soon, Sookie must decide what side she'll stand with. And her choice may mean the difference between survival and all-out catastrophe.

From Dead to Worse (Original MM Art) (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)From Dead to Worse

Product Description
After the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina, and the manmade horror of the explosion at the vampire summit, Sookie Stackhouse is safe but dazed, yearning for things to get back to normal. But her boyfriend Quinn is among the missing. And things are changing, whether the weres and vamps in her corner of Louisiana like it or not. In the ensuing battles, Sookie faces danger, death…and once more, betrayal by someone she loves. And when the fur has finished flying and the cold blood ceases flowing, her world will be forever altered.

Dead and Gone: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)Dead and Gone

Product Description
Now an HBO original series, True Blood-the New York Times bestselling Sookie Stackhouse series continues. Except for Sookie Stackhouse, folks in Bon Temps, Louisiana, know little about vamps-and nothing about weres. Until now. The weres and shifters have finally decided to reveal their existence to the ordinary world. At first all goes well. Then the mutilated body of a were-panther is found near the bar where Sookie works-and she feels compelled to discover who, human or otherwise, did it. But there's a far greater danger threatening Bon Temps. A race of unhuman beings-older, more powerful, and more secretive than vampires or werewolves-is preparing for war. And Sookie finds herself an all-too human pawn in their battle.

Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 10)Dead in the Family

Product Description
The #1 New York Times bestselling Sookie Stackhouse series- the basis for HBO(r)'s True Blood-continues! After enduring torture and the loss of loved ones during the brief but deadly Faery War, Sookie Stackhouse is hurt and she's angry. Just about the only bright spot in her life is the love she thinks she feels for vampire Eric Northman. But he's under scrutiny by the new Vampire King because of their relationship. And as the political implications of the Shifters coming out are beginning to be felt, Sookie's connection to the Shreveport pack draws her into the debate. Worst of all, though the door to Faery has been closed, there are still some Fae on the human side-and one of them is angry at Sookie. Very, very angry...

Series Review:

Sookie Stackhouse is one of my very favorite characters out of all the books I’ve read in the past few years.  She is one tough cookie, as she has learned to be growing up a telepath (I REALLY don’t want to know what people are thinking!).  She’s strong emotionally, thinks fast on her feet (she flashes a bad vampire before she knees him in the groin to get away in one of the books), she is one of the most “normal” heroines (despite the whole telepathy thing), she’s funny, loyal, determined to do the right thing (Miss Manners doesn’t always have the answer for the problems she deals with regularly though to her chagrin) and be a good person in this crazy world. 

The  world and the characters are all exceptionally well-thought out.  Bubba is an excellent addition to the Sookie world, one of my favorites.   Dead to the World is my favorite in the series, but  From Dead to Worse and Dead and Gone are also excellent installments to the series. 

If you like series with “real” heroines you will probably love this series as much as I do.  I wouldn’t recommend for young teens to read the series as some of the sex scenes would  be too much for them, but they are well-done, not overly graphic and they blend in well with the story.   Another reason this series would not be appropriate for younger teens is it deals with some other adult themes.  There’s a lot of violence throughout, torture in one book, supernatural politics and more.  For older teens and adults however, the stories are rich and entertaining, deeply moving at times, and linger in your memories as you await the next Sookie adventure.

Sensuality:  sex scenes in most books, not overly graphic

Rating: 5 stars

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Review: Night Huntress Series

Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 1)Halfway to the Grave

Product Description
Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father—the one responsible for ruining her mother's life. Then she's captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.
In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She's amazed she doesn't end up as his dinner—are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn't have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 2)One Foot in the Grave

Product Description
You can run from the grave, but you can't hide . . .
Half-vampire Cat Crawfield is now Special Agent Cat Crawfield, working for the government to rid the world of the rogue undead. She's still using everything Bones, her sexy and dangerous ex, taught her, but when Cat is targeted for assassination, the only man who can help her is the vampire she left behind.
Being around him awakens all her emotions, from the adrenaline kick of slaying vamps side by side to the reckless passion that consumed them. But a price on her head—wanted: dead or half-alive—means her survival depends on teaming up with Bones. And no matter how hard she tries to keep things professional between them, she'll find that desire lasts forever . . . and that Bones won't let her get away again.

At Grave's End (Night Huntress, Book 3)At Grave’s End

Product Description
Some things won't stay buried . . . at grave's end
It should be the best time of half-vampire Cat Crawfield's life. With her undead lover Bones at her side, she's successfully protected mortals from the rogue undead. But though Cat's worn disguise after disguise to keep her true identity a secret from the brazen bloodsuckers, her cover's finally been blown, placing her in terrible danger.
As if that wasn't enough, a woman from Bones' past is determined to bury him once and for all. Caught in the crosshairs of a vengeful vamp, yet determined to help Bones stop a lethal magic from being unleashed, Cat's about to learn the true meaning of bad blood. And the tricks she's learned as a special agent won't help her. She will need to fully embrace her vampire instincts in order to save herself—and Bones—from a fate worse than the grave.

Destined for an Early Grave (Night Huntress, Book 4)Destined for an Early Grave

Product Description
Her deadly dreams leave her in grave danger
Since half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her undead lover Bones met six years ago, they've fought against the rogue undead, battled a vengeful Master vampire, and pledged their devotion with a blood bond. Now it's time for a vacation. But their hopes for a perfect Paris holiday are dashed when Cat awakes one night in terror. She's having visions of a vampire named Gregor who's more powerful than Bones and has ties to her past that even Cat herself didn't know about.
Gregor believes Cat is his and he won't stop until he has her. As the battle begins between the vamp who haunts her nightmares and the one who holds her heart, only Cat can break Gregor's hold over her. She'll need all the power she can summon in order to bring down the baddest bloodsucker she's ever faced . . . even if getting that power will result in an early grave.

Series Review:
Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost is on my must-read list.  Ms. Frost creates a rich world with well-developed characters; Cat and Bones make a great team.  At first, she’s a bit whiny but she grows up fast.   The training sessions in the first book are really good as are the fight scenes throughout.
If you like series with a strong female main character, an interesting (and hot) hero, lots of  action, great dialogue, and a couple that works together more often than not, you will probably enjoy this series as much as I did.  Make sure you have the next book in the series as soon as you finish each one so you can start right away on the next adventure!
Sensuality: many sex scenes in the series, most graphic
Rating: 5 stars

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Book Review: Kate Daniels Magic series

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, Book 1)Magic Bites

Product Description
Mercenary Kate Daniels cleans up urban problems of a paranormal kind. But her latest prey, a pack of undead warriors, presents her greatest challenge.

Magic Burns (Kate Daniels, Book 2)Magic Burns
Product Description
As a mercenary who cleans up after magic gone wrong, Kate Daniels knows how waves of paranormal energy ebb and flow across Atlanta like a tide. But once every seven years, a flare comes, a time when magic runs rampant. When Kate sets out to retrieve a set of stolen maps for the Pack, Atlanta's paramilitary clan of shape shifters, she quickly realizes much more is at stake. The stolen maps are only the opening gambit in an epic tug of war between two gods hoping for rebirth, and if Kate can't stop the cataclysmic showdown, the city may not survive.

Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, Book 3)Magic Strikes
Product Description
Drafted into working for the Order of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems than she knows what to do with. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.
But when Kate’s werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet.

Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels, Book 4)Magic Bleeds
Product Description
Kate Daniels cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to deal with-especially if they involve Atlanta's shapeshifting community.
And now there's a new player in town-a foe that may be too much for even Kate and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, to handle. Because this time, Kate will be taking on family.

Series Review:
This is an outstanding series by Ilona Andrews, a husband-wife writing team.  The world-building is incredible.  Set in 2040ish, the world has changed substantially from how we know it.  Tech (electric-based items) and magic take turns working and you have to be prepared for either.   The authors take vampires in a different direction too; they are not the sexy creatures often portrayed today.
Kate Daniels, the heroine, is tough physically and mentally; she constantly strives to be a better warrior and magic user.   She’s a loner, afraid to get close to others because of a secret she carries.  The secondary characters are well-developed; as the series progresses, she grows  and learns to accept others in her life, that she can’t do what she needs to do all alone.
I saw several lists recommending this series and had it on my to-read list for at least a year before I actually started reading it and kick myself now for waiting!  It’s one of the very best series I’ve read.  Action, humor, solid world and character building all are very strong throughout the series.  Tough, strong heroine with some weaknesses, a little bit of romance, but not a lot.  This definitely falls in the urban fantasy not romance category.  My husband thoroughly enjoyed the series and I would probably let my 14 year old daughter read it.
Sensuality:  very small amount, no sex until the 4th book.
Rating: 5 stars

Review: Embrace the Night

Embrace the Night (Cassandra Palmer Series, Book 3)Book Description:
Recently named the world’s chief clairvoyant, Cassandra Palmer still has a thorn in her side. As long as Cassie and a certain master vampire—the sizzling-hot Mircea—are magically bound to each other, her life will never be her own …
The spell that binds them can only be broken with an incantation found in the Codex Merlini, an ancient grimoire. The Codex’s location has been lost in the present day, so Cassie will have to seek it out in the only place it can still be found—the past.
But Cassie soon realizes the Codex has been lost for a reason. The book is rumored to contain some seriously dangerous spells, and retrieving it may help Cassie to deal with Mircea, but it could also endanger the world…

Embrace the Night begins with Cassie in a graveyard, someone shooting at her as she searches for the Codex Merlini.  Thankfully, Pritkin travels with her to be her body guard, but their work relationship has a good amount of teamwork in it and they end up rescuing each other, much to Pritkin’s chagrin.  We learn a LOT about Pritkin in Embrace the Night, and some of those bits of information are doozies.  

We learn a little bit more about Cassie’s time away from Tony’s from the time she’s 13-17 in an interesting addition to the story.  Mircea is not very prominent in this book because Cassie’s still trying to avoid him so the geis isn’t strengthened. 

One of the new bad guys is a demon lord, Rosier.  Unlike Myra, he’s a really good bad guy, truly scary, capable of really horrible things.  

This book has it all, fast-paced action, laugh out loud humor, character development, the story moves forward in many areas, ending some story arcs and starting some more.  As usual, Cassie has several factions trying to kill her, making even more enemies this time around.  We revisit a few scenes in the first book and they make more sense now.  This book should NOT be read out of order, it will make close to zero sense if not read in order.   Have Curse the Dawn handy.

Sensuality:  some heavy kissing, petting and one sex scene

Rating: 4.5 stars

Friday, November 12, 2010

Review: Claimed by Shadow

Claimed by Shadow (Cassandra Palmer, Book 2)Book Description:

A recent legacy made Cassandra Palmer heir to the title of Pythia, the world's chief clairvoyant. It's a position that usually comes with years of training, but Cassie's circumstances are a little...unusual.  Now she's stuck with a whopping amount of power that every vamp, fey, and mage in town wants to either monopolize or eradicate-and that she herself doesn't dare use.

What's more, she's just discovered that a certain arrogant master vampire has a geis on her-a  magical claim that warns off any would-be suitors, and might also explain the rather ... intense attraction between them. But Cassie's had it with being jerked around, and anyone who tries it from now on is going to find out that she makes a very bad enemy...


Claimed by Shadow begins shortly after Touch the Dark ends.  Only a few pages go by before there’s a crazy war-mage barreling toward her.  We meet some new characters, including the Graeae, an ancient trio who bring giggles as well as some “oh my goodness, I can’t believe they just did that!” moments.  Mac, a former war-mage,  is also a great new character we meet in Claimed by Shadow.   Several other secondary characters from the first book make appearances as well.

Now that Cassie is Pythia, she is taken back in time several times to the late 1880s to protect the timeline because Myra is back, making trouble for Cassie.   As far as villains go, she’s pretty devious, but more than that, she’s just REALLY obnoxious.   Cassie  finds out  Mircea placed a geis on her when she was a child to protect her from Tony.   It does protect her as she grows up, but it also has a surprising effect once she becomes Pythia and meets Mircea in the past. 

We don’t see Mircea very much in this book as Cassie tries to avoid him so he doesn’t gain control of her in her new role through the geis.   We see more of Pritkin in this book than in the last and he develops from hating Cassie, mistrusting her every move to helping her when she goes to Faerie to track Myra and Tony.  

Cassie develops a bit in this book amid all the crises she faces, becoming a woman determined to not hide from her new responsibilities as Pythia.  She may not be the smartest, fastest, most intimidating heroine ever created, but she has heart, tenaciousness and spunk.   It seems at times the book is not going places, but there is development in the story as well as in several characters and it lays the foundation for the next one.  Make sure you have the next book in the series handy.

Sensuality: several lusty thoughts, some kissing, one sex scene,  and a scene in Faerie that’s disturbing.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Review: Touch the Dark

Touch the Dark (Cassandra Palmer, Book 1)Book Description:
Cassandra Palmer can see the future and communicate with spirits-talents that make her attractive to the dead and the undead.  The ghosts of the dead aren't usually dangerous; they just like to talk...a lot. The undead are another matter.

Like any sensible girl, Cassie tries to avoid vampires.  But when the bloodsucking Mafioso she escaped three years ago finds Cassie again with vengeance on his mind, she's forced to turn to the vampire Senate for protection. The undead senators won't help her for nothing, and Cassie finds herself working with one of their most powerful members, a dangerously seductive master vampire-and the price he demands may be more than Cassie is willing to pay...


Touch the Dark begins with Cassie seeing her future obituary on her computer, her death taking place in about an hour.   Of course she leaves immediately to go on the run again, but she wants to say goodbye to her roommate, Tomas, who has a surprising secret.  The frantic, imminent death pace that begins on the first page of the book does not relent throughout as she moves from one death-defying adventure to the next. 

Since this is the first book in the series, there is a  LOT of world-building, which is top-notch. This world includes war-mages, vampires, demons and time travel.  We meet Mircea, a vampire Senate member whom Cassie knows from her childhood, Pritkin the war-mage who carries enough firepower to arm a small nation in addition to his magical powers, which are formidable to say the least.  Another entertaining character is Billy, her helpful ghost buddy.  There are other delightful secondary characters, some are historical figures, which always amuses me. 

Cassie has several groups who either want to kill her or keep her seer ability under their control, which is enough to make a girl scream in frustration, but Cassie shows a remarkable practicality and determination to be her own woman.  Even though the action is non-stop, it’s about halfway through the book that the plot behind the endless near-death experiences comes into play.  So be prepared to wonder what the heck is going on a few times before the end of the book.  It’s a good idea to grab the next book in the series is all I will say.

Sensuality: several sensual scenes, one lasting several pages prolonged with conversation, fairly graphic

Rating:  4 stars