Saturday, January 8, 2011

Review : Crusade by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Release Date: September 7, 2010
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 480
Source: ARC Tour

The Story:

The ultimate battle. The ultimate love.For the past two years, Jenn has lived and trained at Spain’s Sacred Heart Academy Against the Cursed Ones. She is among the few who have pledged to defend humanity or die trying. But the vampires are gaining power, and the battle has only just begun. Forced to return home after death takes a member of her family, Jenn discovers that San Francisco is now a vampire strong-hold. As a lone hunter apart from her team, Jenn is isolated—and at risk. She craves the company of her fighting partner, Antonio: his protection, his reassurance, his touch. But a relationship with Antonio comes with its own dangers, and the more they share of themselves, the more Jenn stands to lose. Then Jenn is betrayed by one who was once bound to protect her, causing her to doubt all she had held as true. To survive, Jenn must find the courage to trust herself—and her heart.

--via Star Book Tours

RatingFOUR Gold Stars!!!!

My Review: One word: SATISFYING

Who told you vampires don't exist?

Well guess what? They were dead wrong; pun intended. Because the Cursed Ones do exist and they are thirsty. For blood. For power. And for control.

Six Years Ago: It was a Valentine's Day like any other until vampire spokesperson, Solomon - a hot, young, red-headed vampire - was seen on national television standing by the U.S. President revealing that his fellow mythical creatures of the night weren't only restricted to nightmares. Lying to viewers all across the country that vampires don't rip out the throats of their human counterparts. That vampires can be sustained by the blood of animals. That vampires can only "convert" humans to brethren by permission.

Two Years Ago: Not long after the vampires outed themselves after many centuries in hiding, humanity found itself at war with the far stronger, far more ruthless, far more manipulative species. And that is when the Church stepped in. For thousands of years the Church has trained and prepared lone Hunters to protect the innocent, their villages from the bloodsucking creatures. But Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie's CRUSADE isn't about any group of hunters.

Two Months Ago: CRUSADE is about the Hunters of Salamanca headed by their unconventional Master, Father Juan; Jenn, Antonio, Holgar, Skye, Jamie and Eriko. Stationed in Spain at the Sacred Heart Academy Against the Cursed Ones, this makeshift so-called team - which is by the way a new concept - is not only armed with Krav Maga training and each of their personalized vendetta but with loads of stakes, holy water, garlic and crosses as well . . . Which they don't seem so adverse to using on one another.

Jenn Leitner, or 'just Jenn' as she commonly likes to refer herself as, who has rebel blood - courtesy of her grandparents if giving her grandfather that nickname of Papa Che after Che Guevara is any indication - decides that living in denial and under vampiric dictatorship isn't for her. Fleeing her "safe and protected" life in Berkeley, California, at the age 16 to Spain Jenn joins Sacred Heart Academy to become a hunter. But after two years fighting alongside her comrades she realizes that she just may have bitten off more than she can chew.

Antonio de la Cruz is a Spanish native as well as Jenn's hunting partner. A seminarian, Antonio is studying to be a priest, he fasts, prays and mediates very often in an effort of serving God. But being a man of God isn't as easy as it once was. Now he must prove himself worthy of forgiveness for the sin of what he has become. And having fallen in love with his partner Jenn, she has such a firm grasp on his being that causes his control on his inner beast to slip. But he can't give her up. Instead he vows to always keeps vigil over Jenn and never leave her. Their love is rare. An anomaly. One that could be the death of them both. How long will their love last? Will their love conquer the trails and tribulations the chaotic world throws at it?

Though the Scandinavian werewolf doesn't trust anyone, Holgar is jovial, nice guy. Every full moon he locks himself in a cage so as not to hurt others or himself. No one knows why he chose to become a hunter when werewolves, although few and far between, are generally the accomplices of vamps. He licks his wounds, make noises of a wolf and laps at water while still in human form; during his transformations loneliness eats aways at him. He is half wolf. And that means that the pack dynamic, the communion between its member is an important part of who he is. But never asks any of his teammates to stay with him, not even his partner Skye.

The English White Witch - also known as a Wiccan follower of the Goddess - Skye York may not be who everyone thinks she is. Her teammates believe that she's pure and whole but they're wrong. For unbeknownest to them, Skye is harboring a dark secret - or rather a black secret ... lover - that has haunted her since she was was fourteen. How long will it take for that particular brand of Black magick from her past to catch up with her. Like a predator stalking its prey. And to make matters worse, Skye's self-destructive fondness for bad boys still doesn't hinder. What will her love for Jamie cost her this time?
Jamie O'Leary is yet another foreign transplant in Spain. Born and raised in Ireland, he has "ferocity and [the] fighting skills drilling into him by his family during his childhood in Belfast" [Crusade, Page 20]. Driven by the death of his entire family by the hands of werewolves, Jamie is a vicious hunter who has animosity towards his two teammates Antonio and Holgar. But his armor has one kink in it. His fighting partner. Eriko.

Eriko Sakamoto is a former vampire groupie Japan turned Buddhist. Her initial purpose for becoming a hunter was to avenge the death of one of her best friends. The fiercest of the Hunters of Salamance, bestowed upon her was an special elixir that gives her superhuman strength, speed and healing power. But being the Hunter comes with a great and painful price.

Present: Together the splintered team of hunters must fight against the vampires who are infesting the world and taking it into their stronghold. Together they must uncover the traitor in their mist. Together, with the help of their new acquaintance, The Resistance, who are group of human rebels, they must lend hands - preferably holding stakes and holy water - to a fellow teammate in need. Vampire queen Aurora has kidnapped Jenn's younger sister, Heather, while she was back in California for a family funeral. Heather, the sister who begged her sister for an escape. For the chance to fight against the vampire oppression, father's denial and human slaughter. Heather, who has been given a deadline of Mardi Gras - literally - to be saved by her sister. Heather, whose capture, Aurora, has an agenda that doesn't just entail the luring of Jenn and the hunters. But one hunter in particular. Antonio.

Together the Hunters of Salamanca must save the crumpling world from the bloodthirsty vampires ... without killing each other first.

Here is some of my favorite quotes from Crusade:
Jenn & Heather:

"'Why did you go?' [Heather]
'To get my own room.' [Jenn]
A pillow sailed through the darkness and landed on Jenna's head. Fortunately, she had been expecting it. She suppressed a laugh as she hurled it back at Heather.
Jenn threw it a little too hard and felt guilty when Heather grunted at the impact." -- Page 103.

Holgar: "On Father Juan's desk sat a copy of Bernini's statue of St. Theresa of Avila in mystical ecstasy, head thrown back, lips parted, as a chubby cupid of an angel grinned at her, preparing to stab her with the little burning spear in his hand. On other occasions Holgar, a modern, lusty Scandinavian, had inwardly chortled at the rampant sexuality of the piece. There was nothing mystical about what she was feeling. Catholics, as a group, were tremendously repressed. Look at Antonio." -- Page 117

Antonio to Jenn:
"'I know that I would die for you.'
Then he turned toward her, and gazed at her, his crimson eyes filled with love. His fangs lengthening with bloodlust.
'Before I let anything happen yo you, I would die first.'"-- Pages 298-299.

***Check out Nancy Holder's website for more information about her and the Crusade: HERE
***Check out Debbie Viguie's website for more information about her and Crusade: HERE

Happy Reading!
Thursday, January 6, 2011

Review : Nocturne by Syrie James

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Release Date: January 4, 2011

The Story:

When Nicole Whitcomb's car runs off a Colorado mountain road during a blinding snowstorm, she is saved from death by a handsome, fascinating, and enigmatic stranger. Snowbound with him for days in his beautiful home high in the Rockies, she finds herself powerfully attracted to him. But there are things about him that mystify her, filling her with apprehension. Who is Michael Tyler? Why does he live alone in such a secluded spot and guard his private life so carefully? What secret - or secrets - is he hiding? Nicole has secrets of her own and a past she is running from - but Michael understands her better than anyone she has ever known. Soon, she is falling as deeply in love with him as he is with her - a profoundly meaningful experience that is destined to change their lives forever. As the sexual tension between them builds, however, the clues mount up. When Nicole learns her host's terrifying secret, there is nowhere for her to run but into the blizzard raging outside and Michael may be the only one who can save her life.

--via Star Book Tours

RatingTHREE Gold Stars!!!

My Review: One word: BITTERSWEET

Nicole Whitcomb is a ski loving, medical insurance claim employee whose life changes with one wrong turn. In Colorado mountains for a friend's ski wedding during an extended weekend, Nicole's car swerves off the road and into a ditch.

Michael Tyler is a reclusive who lives on a homestead with his two horses: a mare named Hip Pockets - Pockers for short - and Posse, an intelligent cantankerous horse. Michael is content with spending his days building beautiful wooden music boxes, playing haunting tunes on his piano and riding his horses. But fate has others plans when a blinding blizzard causes Nicole to stay with him for a few days. Much to Michael's dismay his conscious forces him to save Nicole from impending death by freezing.

But when Nicole and Michael are forced to dig underneath each other's surface they find they like what they see. Nicole is everything Michael could have imagined the perfect woman to be. And although, socially impaired and a bit ruff around the edges, Michael is actually quiet talented, handsome and enthralling. With more in common than they could have imagine, they fall in love before long. Unfortunately for Nicole though, she may have went from one death trap to another. Because Michael is harboring a blood-chilling secret that puts Nicole in more danger every day that she is trapped in his house ... every second that he falls deeper in love with her.

Will Michael help Nicole overcome her painful past? Or is her pain to be subdued by Michael's love? Will Nicole be able to ease the effects of Michael's long self-isolation? Or is his reclusive ways drive Michael to drive Nicole away? Does Michael have the willpower, the self-control to protect Nicole from his darkest attribute?

Nocturne is a beautifully composed novel. However, in all my years of reading I have always been a sourpuss that throws tantrums after despondent endings. Hence, that is why Syrie James' Nocturne only receives 3 out of a possible 5 stars instead of 4.

Here is some of my favorite quotes from Nocturne

"Michael couldn't stop smiling as they hung up their heavy winter garments, couldn't take his eyes off her as they made their way upstairs. He could admit it now -- if only to himself: Nicole was everything he'd ever dreamed of in a woman. He loved her, had loved her from the first moment he saw her, and every moment in her presence since had only reaffirmed it. "-- Page 173

Nicole & Michael:
'Considering the outside temperature,' she replied, 'I hope you didn't do all of those activities naked.'
'I assure you, I was fully dressed,' he returned softly. 'One wouldn't want to shock the horses or frighten the neighbors.'
'But you're naked now.'
'All the better to watch you sleep.'
Nicole laughed, her heart pounding. 'That doesn't sound very exciting.'
'Oh, but it is, my love.' The deep tenor of his voice seemed to penetrate her skin and ripple like a a caress through her veins and nerves, as luscious as a warm bath..." – Page 229

***Check out Syrie James' website for more information about her and the Nocturne: HERE

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Review : Vampire Crush by A.M. Robinson

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: December 28, 2011
Pages: 416
Source: ARC Tour

The Story:

Supernatural suspense, star-crossed love, and drama of undead proportions. Meet Sophie McGee. Her life is about to get very interesting.

First, six mysteriously pale new students show up at Sophie McGee’s high school. Then, Sophie’s childhood nemesis James reappears, still displaying a knack for making Sophie’s blood boil. When Sophie finds out that James has a connection to the new students, she decides to investigate...never expecting her life will quickly begin to resemble a campy horror movie, complete with budding crushes and bloodthirsty villains.

Perfect for fans of the Vampire Kisses and Vladmir Tod series, A. M. Robinson’s debut novel sparkles with action, intrigue, irresistible wit, and sizzling romance.

--via We Love YA!

My Review: One word: WITTY

Completely normal was how you would describe Sophie McGee's life in Michigan. Normal house, normal family - if you consider a brazenly nosy stepmother and a stepsister who cries over celebrity wardrobe malfunctions normal, normal school where the principal bans pointy shoes. And all Sophie wanted was to make her Junior year perfect by becoming the Editor in Chief of her high school's paper ... and, of course, one day marry Danny Baumann - a typical all-American jock, low on functioning brain cells. But then her journalism teacher, Mr. Amado, assigns her and her friendly rival, Lindsay Allen, to the new student profile article for the welcome-back issue of the school's paper. Little did she know that the "Getting to Know Our New Tigers'" feature was about to debut with a bite.

Suddenly, life wasn't so normal anymore.

When six new students enroll at Thomas Jefferson High School . . . the arrogant leader of the sun-deprived group, Vlad Smithson who also happens to be tall, blond and hot, the new goth recruit Marisabel Jones, spacey and love-struck Violet Martin, Neville Smith - the real life rendition of High School Musical's Troy, and the zombie twins, Devon and Ashley . . . things start to get strange. Abnormal.

And to make matters worse, James Hallowell shows up. Yes, the same James, whose hobbies were listed as: mutilating Sophie's dolls, kidnapping Sophie's sandwiches, yanking Sophie's hair, and ruthlessly teasing Sophie about her freckles throughout her childhood until moving to New York the summer before her freshman year of high school.

James, who now seems to have the power to make Sophie's heart race any time he comes near.

Naturally observant, future reporter, Sophie McGee keeps watch on Vlad and posse and dsicovers they are hiding a dark secret. One that involves a possible cult named Danae, a search for the girl with a star-shaped birthmark, eating disorders and fear of sunlight. And when mean boy Vlad takes a special interest in her stepsister, Caroline, Sophie puts her investigational skills to the test. Especially since James knows the new students and warns Sophie to stay away from them.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from Vampire Crush:

Sophie to Neal Garrett:

"'Neal, if you don't stop I will kick your pocket,' I threaten.
'But --'
'I will.'
Looking more befuddled than scared, Neal turns around. Partly relieved -- and yet partly offended that Neal so readily accepted me as a hamster kicker -- ..."-- Page 34.

"My kiss lands southeast of its target, but he turns his head and corrects my tactical error. It's not perfect. Sure, his lips are cooler than the average guy's and I think I may be sitting on his hand, but under the very strange circumstances I think this is a happyish ending." – Page 404

***Check out A.M. Robinson's website for more information about her and the Vampire Crush: HERE

Happy Reading!