Friday, April 1, 2011

Dark Prince by Christine Feehan

Dark Prince: Author's Cut Special Edition

Dark Prince by Christine Feehan

The blurb:
Enter the enchanting world of the Carpathians, where dark adventure, mystery, and love await and the desires of two daring hearts unite in one irresistible pattern.

A telepathic hunter of serial killers, Raven Whitney helps to catch some of the most depraved criminals.  But her work keeps her from getting close to others, and has drained her body and spirit.  In need of rest and rejuvenation, she embarks for a vacation far from home.

Mikhail Dubrinsky is the prince of the Carpathians, the powerful leader of a wise and secret ancient race that thrives in the night.  Engulfed by despair, fearful of never finding the mate who can save him from the encroaching darkness, his soul cries out in loneliness--until the day that a beautiful voice full of light and love responds, softly soothing his pain and yearning.

From the moment that they meet Raven and Mikhail are helpless to resist the desire that sparks between them.  But just as fate unexpectedly brings these life mates together, malevolent forces threaten to destroy them and their fragile love.  Yet even if they survive, how can theses two lovers -- Carpathian and human -- build a future together?  And how can Mikhail bring Raven into his  dark world without extinguishing her beautiful goodness and light?

The Carpathians are a unique race, similar to vampires but more complex.  Not only are Carpathians monogamous but they only fall in love once.  The male Carpathians grow darker and more cruel over time because of their violent existence. Not only do they feed on blood but they hunt down those of their race that have "turned" and have become ruthless killers.  The one thing that keeps a Carpathian male from darkness is falling in love.   Those that do not fall in love slowly see the world in darker and darker terms.  When the male finds his life mate, the world grows more colorful -- he literally sees in color again -- and is happier, content.  

We see the physical effects of love when Mikhael meets Raven.  Their love story is particularly well done - rather explicit but tasteful.   Mikhael and Raven are sympathetic lead characters and draw you in.  I found myself engrossed with their love story and the suspense.  After all, Mikhael and the Carpathians face deadly killers while Raven is able to sense and hear the Carpathians and the hunters.  Mikhael tries to behave decently - struggling against incredible difficulty and odds - and it's his courage and integrity that inspire loyalty and devotion from the Carpathians and the villagers.  Raven's willingness to take on others' suffering makes her a good match for Mikhael.  Her inherent goodness and empathy give Mikhael and the Carpathians hope - she represents a new beginning, a possible future for the race. 

I very much enjoyed Dark Prince.  The story of the Carpathians is complex and fascinating while the danger that the race adds suspense.  The best part is the love story between Mikhael and Raven. Overall, Dark Prince is an engrossing, satisfying read!

ISBN-10: 9780062009623 - Hardcover $19.99
Publisher: William Morrow; Special edition (March 8, 2011), 496 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:
Number one New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan has had more than 40 novels published, including four series that have hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list.  She is pleased to have made it on to numerous other bestseller lists, as well, including Publishers Weekly, USA Today, Washington Post, B.Dalton, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Walden books, Ingram, Borders, Rhapsody Book Club, and Walmart.  In addition to being a nominee for the Romance Writers of America's RITA Award, she has received many honors throughout her career, including a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times and the Borders 200 Lifetime Achievement Award.

William Morrow has offered to sponsor a giveaway of Dark Prince - more details in the days to come!

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Road to Rome: A Novel of the Forgotten Legion by Ben Kane

The Road to Rome: A Novel of the Forgotten Legion

The Road to Rome: A Novel of the Forgotten Legion by Ben Kane

The blurb:
In 48 B.C., having survived a disastrous campaign in Pythia as part of the Forgotten Legion and spent years fighting their way back to Rome, Romulus and Tarquinius have finally made it as far as Alexandria.  On arrival, though, they find themselves in the midst of the Roman Civil War, when they're press ganged into Caesar's thinning legions, greatly outnumbered and fighting for their lives against the Egyptian army.  Meanwhile in Rome, Romulus's twin sister, Fabiola, having caught only a glimpse of her long-missing twin before being forced to flee Egypt for Rome, lives in fear for her life, loved by Brutus but wooed by Marcus Antonius, his deadly enemy.

From the battlefields of Asia Minor and North Africa to the lawless streets of Rome and the gladiator arena, they all face death and danger daily, until 44 B.C. when their individual roads all lead them to the Senate floor on the Ides of March, where the future of the republic lies unexpectedly in their hands.

You'll need to read each of the books in Forgotten Legion series in order.  Ben Kane creates complex characters that undergo incredible trials.  As they escape death and tempt fate, the lead characters are forced to give up things that they hold dear. 

The twins Fabiola and Romulus are children of a slave woman who was raped by high ranking Roman citizen.  The twins never know who their father is but hold a deep anger and hatred towards him for the pain inflicted on their mother.  They're exceptionally good looking and strong willed - traits that serve them well and bring them considerable pain.  As slaves, their owner raises them and disposes of them in the most profitable way possible:  Romulus is sold to a ludus and is forced into the life of a gladiator.  Fabiola is sold to a brothel.

Romulus is quick, smart, and strong. He finds a good friend in the ludus and when fate forces them to run away, they escape together and join the Roman legion.  Though they face death on the battlefield, their greatest danger comes from their past.  An escaped slave faces death by crucifixion.   Romulus does well on the battlefield, he takes to strategy and leadership quickly.   While he proves his strengths, his past still serves as his greatest weakness.

Fabiola learns quickly the rules of the brothel.   Her owner and the patrons hold her life in their hands, but it's the jealous competitors that pose the greatest threat.  As Fabiola uses her beauty and cunning to win over powerful lovers, she is ruthless in her ambitions.  Life in the brothel is as deadly as the battlefield and Fabiola is willing to attack first.  Her experiences leave deep scars.  Only the dream of revenge and of reuniting with her brother keep Fabiola intact.

This third book in the Forgotten Legion series covers Fabiola's deep hatred of Julius Caesar and her conviction that he is their natural father.  Fabiola is driven by the desire for revenge.  She makes alliances and takes on "clients" towards this end.  Even Romulus and her lover Brutus are unable to dissuade her from her goal.  Fabiola works to kill Julius Caesar while Romulus is committed to defending him.   Rome, Caesar and the twins speed towards tragedy.

In The Road to Rome, Ben Kane combines considerable detail on Roman life with a deep and fascinating drama.  As Romulus becomes more of a traditional hero,  Fabiola is a much darker and less sympathetic character in this third novel.   Romulus's bravery and loyalty are finally recognized and he's given the chance to shine.  As Romulus becomes a Roman citizen and declares his deepest allegiance to Rome and her ideals.  Fabiola remains focused on her family's tragedy and her need for revenge - at the cost of the people that she loves.  Overall, The Road To Rome is another satisfying addition to Ben Kane's  Lost Legion series.  I highly recommend it to fans of historical fiction and adventure.

ISBN-10: 0312536739 - Hardcover $26.99
Publisher: St. Martin's Press; Reprint edition (March 29, 2011), 528 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:
Ben Kane is the author of The Forgotten Legion and The Silver Eagle prevous novels in the Forgotten Legion Chronicles.  He has traveled widely and is a lifelong student of military history.  He lives in North Somerset, Wngland, with his wife and children.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Bone Yard: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass

The Bone Yard: A Body Farm Novel
The Bone Yard: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass

The blurb:
The onset of summer brings predictably steamy weather to the Body Farm, Dr. Bill Brockton's human-decomposition research facility at the University of Tennessee.  But Brockton's about to get more heat than he's bargained for when Angie St. Claire, a forensic analyst with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, asks him to help prove that her sister's death was not suicide, but murder.

Brockton's quick consulting trip take a long, harrowing detour when bones begin turning up amid the pines and live oaks of the Florida panhandle.  Two adolescent skulls -- ravaged by time and animals,
but bearing the telltale signs of lethal fractures - send Brockton, Angie, and Special Agent Stu Vickery on a search for the long-lost victims.  The quest leads them to the ruins of the North Florida Boys' Reformatory, a notorious juvenile detention facility that met a fiery end more than 40 years ago.

Guided by the discovery of a diary kept by one of the school's young "students," Brockton's team finds a cluster of shallow graves, all of them containing the bones of boys who suffer violent deaths. The graves confirm one of the diary's grim claims: that one wrong move could land a boy in the Bone Yard.  But as the investigation expands, it encounters opposition from the local sheriff, who's less than delighted to find forensic experts from the state capital and the Body Farm digging up dirt in his country.

As Brockon and his team close in on the truth, they find skeletons in some surprisingly prominent closets. . . and they learn that the ghosts of the past pose perilous consequences in the present. 

The Bone Yard drew me in from the first chapter.  Not surprisingly,  Jonathan Bass paints a clear and authentic picture of the research facility.  After all, Dr. Bill Bass is an expert in forensic anthropology and created The Body Farm in University of Tennessee while Dr. Jon Jefferson wrote and produced two films on the facility.  I learned a bit about forensic pathology, which made the book even more enjoyable. 

As heroes go, Dr Bill Brockton is an enjoyable one to follow.  An acknowledged expert in his field, he is generous with his time and a dedicated teacher.  He is insatiably curious and tenacious.  He looks for puzzles and won't rest until he solves them.  He's a hero to root for.   When he comes across the bones that reveal disturbing cruelty to young children, he responds the way that we wish we could, the way we wish people did in real life.  He focuses everything on finding out more about these children, solving the mystery of their death and bringing their attackers to justice.    The story is engrossing - with sympathetic characters,  red herrings, plot twists, and a satisfying ending.  I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend The Bone Yard.

ISBN-10: 0061806781 - Hardcover $24.99
Publisher: William Morrow (March 8, 2011), 336 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:
Jonathan Bass is the writing team of Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson.  Dr. Bass, a world-renowned forensic anthropologist, founded the University of Tennessee's Anthropology Research Facility - the Body Farm - a quarter century ago.  He is the author or coauthor of more than 200 scientific publications, as well as a critically acclaimed memoir about his career at the Body Farm, Death's Acre.  Dr. Bass is also a dedicated teacher, honored as National Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.  Jon Jefferson is a veteran journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker.  His writings have been published in the New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, and Popular Science, and broadcast on National Public Radio.  The coauthor of Death's Acre, he is also the writer and producer of two highly rated National Geographic documentaries about the Body Farm.  Learn more at

William Morrow is sponsoring a giveaway of 5 copies of The Body Farm by Jefferson Bass.  More details on the giveaway to follow. A big thanks to William Morrow for generously sponsoring the giveaway!

The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French - Giveaway!

The Revenge of the Radioactive LadyThe Revenge of the Radioactive Lady

The blurb:

Seventy-seven-year-old Marylou Ahearn is going to kill Dr. Wilson Spriggs, come hell or high water.  In 1953, he gave her a radioactive cocktail without her consent as part of a secret government study that had horrible consequences.  Fifty years later, she is still ticked off, and now that she has recently discovered where he lives, she's on a mission.  Taking a cue from her favorite fifties flick Attack of the 50-Foot Woman, Marylou changes her name to Nancy Archer and moves to hot and humid Tallahassee, where she begins the tricky work of insinuating herself into the lives of the Spriggs family.  Little does she know what a nest of yellow jackets she is stumbling into.

Told from the perspectives of an incredible cast of endearing oddball characters, this lively, intricately plotted, laugh-out-loud funny novel beats with the heart of a genuinely affecting family drama.

Humorous, quirky, offbeat all describe the unusual characters that inhabit The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady by Elizabeth Stuckey-French.

There is seventy-seven-year-old Marylou Ahearn is determined to kill Dr. Wilson Spriggs to avenge his involvement in the medical experiment that cost her her only child Helen.   Spriggs had fed pregnant women - Marylou included - radioactive cocktails in a scientific experiment that bore horrific results.  When Marylou finally tracks Dr Spriggs down, she moves to his neighborhood and takes on a new identity and introduces herself.

She discovers that Dr. Spriggs has major memory loss - and doesn't seem to recall what he'd done.  So, instead of murder, Marylou plans to disrupt his life through his family.  She finds a way to meet his grandchildren.  And falls for young Suzi - a sporty,  outgoing and slightly tormented young girl.  As Marylou gets to know Suzi and her sister Ava, she finds a closeness and friendship she hadn't expected. And her carefully laid plans go awry.

The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady has been compared to the movie Little Miss Sunshine because of the quirky, unusual characters and unexpected situations.  Elizabeth Stuckey-French's novel  is entertaining, engrossing and hard to forget.

About the Author:
Elizabeth Stuckey-French is the author of a novel, Mermaids on the Moon, a collection of short stories, The First Paper Girl in Red Oak, Iowa, and, with Janet Burroway, Writing Fiction: A Guide to the Narrative Craft.   The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady, is her second novel and is released by  Doubleday in spring 2011. Her short stories have appeared in The Normal School, Narrative Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, Gettysburg Review, Southern Review, Five Points, and The O’Henry Prize Stories 2005. She was awarded a James Michener Fellowship and has won grants from the Howard Foundation, the Indiana Arts Foundation, and the Florida Arts Foundation. She teaches fiction writing at Florida State University.

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