Review – The Obsession by Nora Roberts

the obsession

Synopsis: Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous. Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton. Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.

Genre: Romance, Thriller

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Can I say upfront – another terrific romance and thriller from Nora Roberts. I had my suspicions on who the killer was and it was a fun journey piercing together the clues.

I felt for Naomi, what she went through – no child should have to face such a thing. The mother who should have protected her children instead of burying her head in the sand and in depression.

The uncles were great and it was heartening to see Naomi and Mason make a good life for themselves – all of them. The way Nora Roberts described Naomi’s talent for photography, her passion in it and the house she bought – the plans she had for it – made me see it, made me feel the emotions. Plus, with those feelings in me, I had a yearning for photography and took tons of pictures for my Instagram account lol.

And Xander. Oh, my god, can any girl resist a hot guy who plays a mean guitar, sings with that sexy voice, rides a motorcycle and looks like he does? Most important of all, he read books. Irresistible! Where can I find me one too?

I love how Tag followed Naomi everywhere and how he’d carry her little treasures. The other characters added spice to the story. The instant love between Lelo and Tag was sweet. Another keeper to my favorite pile.

Regards,

S.R. McKade

Review – Dragonbane (Dark-Hunter #25) by Sherrilyn Kenyon *Spoiler Alert*

Out of all the mysterious boarders who call Sanctuary home, no one is more antisocial or withdrawn than Maxis Drago. But then, it’s hard to blend in with the modern world when you have a fifty foot wingspan. Centuries ago, he was cursed by an enemy who swore to see him fall. An enemy who took everything from him and left him forever secluded. But Fate is a bitch, with a wicked sense of humor. And when she throws old enemies together and threatens the wife he thought had died centuries ago, he comes back with a vengeance. Modern day New Orleans has become a battleground for the oldest of evils. And two dragons will hold the line, or go down in flames.

Synopsis: Out of all the mysterious boarders who call Sanctuary home, no one is more antisocial or withdrawn than Maxis Drago. But then, it’s hard to blend in with the modern world when you have a fifty foot wingspan.
Centuries ago, he was cursed by an enemy who swore to see him fall. An enemy who took everything from him and left him forever secluded.
But Fate is a bitch, with a wicked sense of humor. And when she throws old enemies together and threatens the wife he thought had died centuries ago, he comes back with a vengeance. Modern day New Orleans has become a battleground for the oldest of evils. And two dragons will hold the line, or go down in flames.

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Wow, it’s been such a long time since I’ve ventured into the Dark Hunter/Were-Hunter world. And I missed it. I didn’t even realize how much until now. From the first Dark Hunter story, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s been one of my favorite authors.

The best compliment I can give for her excellent writing and plotting is, she’s got style and I say that in a voice full of awe.

I was in tears over everything Maxis suffered. I put myself in his boots and it made me feel that even on my baddest days, life’s not so bad.

To have suffered through so much agony, to have your heart ripped out over and over again and crushed to dust and still feel compassion for others, it’s a very special person who can do that. And that’s what Maxis was – special.

Of course, there’s also the fact that I love dragons.

Ugh, I wanted to dropkick Seraphina over how she treated him. Maxis was a gift, the most priceless treasure and she abused that. I don’t know if regret/remorse is repentance but Maxis deserved his happiness.

I loved all the new characters. Plus, Dragonbane also revisited all my favorite characters. I am in awe over how Sherrilyn Kenyon creates complex plots, links them all in such a way that it makes perfect sense in the end. Kudos for another great story! 

Regards,
S.R. McKade

Review – Fire Bound (Sea Haven/Sisters of the Heart #5) by Christine Feehan

Flame-haired Lissa Piner is a skilled glass blower whose delicate gift conceals a burning inner strength that can destroy as exquisitely as it can create. Commissioned to design chandeliers for a string of luxury hotels, her remarkable skills have taken her to Italy. But Lissa’s real mission there is a secret. For her entire life has been a lie, leading to a chance to avenge a terrible wrong. Enlisted as her bodyguard is Casmir Prakenskii, a trained assassin living off the grid. In Lissa, he sees a kindred spirit—something unexpected and wicked, mysterious and sensual. But more than desire is about to bring them together: because both of their pasts cry out for revenge. And for two people with this many secrets, this much passion, and this many enemies, someone is bound to get burned.

Flame-haired Lissa Piner is a skilled glass blower whose delicate gift conceals a burning inner strength that can destroy as exquisitely as it can create. Commissioned to design chandeliers for a string of luxury hotels, her remarkable skills have taken her to Italy. But Lissa’s real mission there is a secret. For her entire life has been a lie, leading to a chance to avenge a terrible wrong.
Enlisted as her bodyguard is Casmir Prakenskii, a trained assassin living off the grid. In Lissa, he sees a kindred spirit—something unexpected and wicked, mysterious and sensual. But more than desire is about to bring them together: because both of their pasts cry out for revenge. And for two people with this many secrets, this much passion, and this many enemies, someone is bound to get burned.

Genre: Paranormal, Erotica

Rating: 4 stars

Review:

The first thing that comes to mind about this book is the clever plot-line – Lissa’s history, the revenge plan. I have to say I bought Uncle Luigi’s cover too.

The shock of finding the truth, about who was really behind her family’s murder, the treachery of people who you thought cared about you – I felt for Lissa.

The latest Prakenskii didn’t disappoint. Strong in spite of the excruciating agony of his childhood. I was right there with him when he took care of Arturo. That sadistic monster deserved what he got.

I liked the powwow the brothers had. Seeing them all together, they do make such an irresistible bunch. I liked the glimpse into the eldest brother, Viktor. That was a wonderful surprise. I can’t wait for his story. I wish there were more scenes with the brothers.

Regards,
S.R. McKade

 

Review – Dark Lycan (Dark #24) by Christine Feehan

Tatijana of the Dragonseekers spent centuries encased in ice with her sister, trapped in limbo between life and death, never speaking to a soul other than those who tormented her. Now, she has been freed from her frozen prison by an unknown descendent. Awakened in human form, Tatijana yearns to explore the modern world in which she now lives -- a world with more mysteries than she is prepared for. Fenris Dalka has returned to the Carpathian Mountains after a long absence to be with his brother. He is scarred by centuries of battle, and every hard-won victory. But the real reason for his return home could prove deadly if discovered by the wrong man -- or woman. Upon his arrival, he is compelled by a beautiful and enigmatic stranger who carries the scent of fresh earth, of forest, of the night itself. In time Tatijana and Fenris will discover all that unites them -- their secrets and pasts, their predators, and the hot flush of passion that stirs their souls. Yet just as surely, seduced into the silvery darkness of a full-moon night, they'll also discover everything ancient and evil that exists to destroy them.

Tatijana of the Dragonseekers spent centuries encased in ice with her sister, trapped in limbo between life and death, never speaking to a soul other than those who tormented her. Now, she has been freed from her frozen prison by an unknown descendent. Awakened in human form, Tatijana yearns to explore the modern world in which she now lives — a world with more mysteries than she is prepared for.
Fenris Dalka has returned to the Carpathian Mountains after a long absence to be with his brother. He is scarred by centuries of battle, and every hard-won victory. But the real reason for his return home could prove deadly if discovered by the wrong man — or woman. Upon his arrival, he is compelled by a beautiful and enigmatic stranger who carries the scent of fresh earth, of forest, of the night itself.
In time Tatijana and Fenris will discover all that unites them — their secrets and pasts, their predators, and the hot flush of passion that stirs their souls. Yet just as surely, seduced into the silvery darkness of a full-moon night, they’ll also discover everything ancient and evil that exists to destroy them.

Genre: Paranormal, Erotica

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

As I re-read this book, I am once again enchanted by Fenris Dalka. I love it that he and Dimitri, who is one of my favorite Carpathians, are brothers. It was endearing how Fenris was so taken with Tatijana.

Tatijana’s every bit the warrior Fenris is. I love the heat and fire between them, the chemistry. And who can resist a dragon?

The scenes with Dimitri and Skyler were just perfect. I loved how the brothers teased each other, the deep love between the brothers, enjoyed Fen’s exasperation over the stubbornness of his little brother – if you could call a battle-hardened warrior with centuries under his belt, little, lol.

Add in a lycan trilogy creating a new twist in the Carpathian world, a new enemy to defeat, a new danger to their survival and you’ve got a terrific story. Dark Lycan was a delightful, fun-filled book with action-packed scenes. In your favorite-books pile, people.

Regards,
S.R. McKade

Review – Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Uprooted

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.” Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood. The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her. But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Genre: Dark Fantasy, Young Adult (mature teen), Horror, Paranormal

Rating: 5 Stars

Review:

When I first discovered this book, I was charmed by the cover. Then I read the extract in the synopsis, “Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley”, and I was hooked.

I read some of the negative reviews on this book on Goodreads and I don’t understand how some people didn’t appreciate this story. Me, I was impressed by the cleverness of this story’s plot-line, the characters, the conflicts, the setting, the intense emotions, the action scenes.

At first, I really liked Agnieszka’s voice. I really loved her name, and I found her life interesting. I could relate to her. As I read on, I didn’t like her much. She was awkward, clumsy and kept making all these mistakes and she didn’t seem to have much of a backbone. But I liked her defiant thoughts – “…looking like some sort of mad noblewoman who’d run off to the woods from a ball.” And she turned out to be stronger than I thought, stronger and empathic.

The wizard known as the Dragon is one of my favorite characters. He’s cold and sarcastic and bad-tempered and I absolutely loved him. I loved his snarky, sarcastic remarks, his bafflement over Agnieszka. It was so cute how he couldn’t seem to understand what made her tick. I love his real name, Sarkan, as beautiful as Agnieszka.

This book is one of those rare fantasy stories after Harry Potter that’s kept me hooked and at the edge of my seat. Seriously, all this stuff kept happening in it. You’d think you’d get a respite from one danger to the next, but no. You’d barely catch your breath before the next danger blew up in your face. It was terrific!

Uprooted was a wild, heart-palpitating, pulse-racing, roller-coaster ride. Add in an unlikely romance between two people who are complete opposites, an amazing plot-line, excellent writing and you’ve got a keeper. Straight into my favorite pile.

Regards,
S.R. McKade

Review – Dark Storm by Christine Feehan

Awakening after all this time in a world of absolute darkness and oppressive heat, Dax wonders in how many ways the world above must have changed. But it is how he has changed that fills him with dread and loathing. Buried alive for hundreds of years in a volcano in the Carpathian Mountains, Dax fears that he has become the full-fledged abomination that every Carpathian male fears, a victim of the insidious evil that has crept relentlessly into his mind and body over the centuries. But there are some things that never change. His name is Mitro, the vampire Dax had hunted all these long centuries. Second in command to the prince of the Carpathian people he is the epitome of everything malevolent, and perpetrator of one of the most shocking killing sprees known to man - and beast. Even his friends and family weren't safe from Mitro's bloodlust. Neither was Mitro's lifemate, Arabejila, an extraordinary woman with extraordinary gifts. But now that Dax has re-emerged, so too has Mitro. The ultimate battle between good and evil has been re-engaged. Between Dax and Mitro, a violent game has begun - one that has marked Riley Parker, the last descendent of Arabejila, as the reward.

Awakening after all this time in a world of absolute darkness and oppressive heat, Dax wonders in how many ways the world above must have changed. But it is how he has changed that fills him with dread and loathing. Buried alive for hundreds of years in a volcano in the Carpathian Mountains, Dax fears that he has become the full-fledged abomination that every Carpathian male fears, a victim of the insidious evil that has crept relentlessly into his mind and body over the centuries. But there are some things that never change.
His name is Mitro, the vampire Dax had hunted all these long centuries. Second in command to the prince of the Carpathian people he is the epitome of everything malevolent, and perpetrator of one of the most shocking killing sprees known to man – and beast. Even his friends and family weren’t safe from Mitro’s bloodlust. Neither was Mitro’s lifemate, Arabejila, an extraordinary woman with extraordinary gifts. But now that Dax has re-emerged, so too has Mitro. The ultimate battle between good and evil has been re-engaged. Between Dax and Mitro, a violent game has begun – one that has marked Riley Parker, the last descendent of Arabejila, as the reward.

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Thriller, Erotica
Rating: 5 Stars

Review:

I’d forgotten how much I loved Danutdaxton—Dax. Dark Storm was a joy to re-read, keeping me in a state of ecstasy. I had so much fun re-reading this story, not to mention an intense case of adoration over Dax. I remembered the excitement I felt the first time I read Dark Storm.

Dax was just so—so larger than life. A strong, honorable warrior. And oh my god, I found it so sexy that he could spew fire. Holy cow! Christine Feehan created one hell of a character with Dax. He’s totally one of my favorite Carpathians. I love his name. I kept saying it over and over again just to hear how it sounded, like a lovesick teenager, lol. I loved the ancient dragon, the Old One. Very cool.

There was something sweet about Dax when he was with Riley. Sometimes, I’d go back and read a scene over a few times, because I wanted to see the scene over and over again.

I liked Riley’s character growth—from a non-believing daughter to a strong woman with enormous power, worthy of being a Carpathian’s lifemate. And what a Carpathian! The loss of her mother, Riley’s grief, the transference of powers from mother to daughter and Riley’s acceptance of the truth were a very big part of the plot.

This is my second read of this book and I find that there were a lot of things I didn’t truly appreciate the first time. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it the first time too but somehow this second time, I absolutely adored it.

Amazing plot-line and awesome characters. This is an excellent story and deserves to be in the all-time-favorite pile. Kudos!

Regards,
S.R. McKade

Review – Dark Predator by Christine Feehan

an immortal male comes to the end of a long and violent journey—to reach a far more dangerous and inescapable threat… As brutal as the undead he hunted, executioner Zacarias De La Cruz’s savage journey is over. After a thousand years in a gray world, he has accomplished everything he set out to do. His brothers are safeguarded, and each has a woman who completes him. But with his centuries as a killing machine now left to the past, and without a hunt to define him, Zacarias wonders, for the first time in his life, who he really is. The answer awaits him in the vengeance of an old enemy, in the consequences of a bloody family legacy and in Marguarita, a woman he once saved—his lifemate, his deliverance, and the greatest risk yet to both their lives.

An immortal male comes to the end of a long and violent journey—to reach a far more dangerous and inescapable threat…
As brutal as the undead he hunted, executioner Zacarias De La Cruz’s savage journey is over. After a thousand years in a gray world, he has accomplished everything he set out to do. His brothers are safeguarded, and each has a woman who completes him. But with his centuries as a killing machine now left to the past, and without a hunt to define him, Zacarias wonders, for the first time in his life, who he really is.
The answer awaits him in the vengeance of an old enemy, in the consequences of a bloody family legacy and in Marguarita, a woman he once saved—his lifemate, his deliverance, and the greatest risk yet to both their lives.

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Thriller, Erotica
Rating: 5 Stars

Review:

I had a hankering to re-read the latest Carpathian books, especially my favorite ones. Re-reading a book’s like visiting with your favorite people in the world. I started with Dark Destiny, went through Dark Demon, Dark Curse, Dark Slayer to Dark Peril. I couldn’t remember Zaccarias’ story except for who his lifemate was. I had a soft spot for him from Dark Peril. Ruthless, scary Zacarias, whose honor was the only thing that kept him going.

Marguarita was perfect for him, as he called her, “his beautiful lunatic”. I loved the interactions between them. Aw, it was so entreating how she wrote letter after letter to explain why she saved him. It was funny how Zacarias was so discombobulated by her and sweet how enamored. Marguarita’s courage was a match for his. Her independent spirit, her need to do the right thing and the way she saw the real him, endeared her to me.

A terrific story with even parts fear, danger, chemistry, humor and love.

Regards,
S.R. McKade

Review – Dark Promises by Christine Feehan (Spoiler Alert)

Gabrielle has had enough of battles, of wars, of seeing Gary Jansen, the man she loves nearly lose his life when it isn’t even his fight. Once he was a gentle and very human researcher. Now he’s a fearless and lethal Carpathian warrior with the blood of an ancient lineage coursing through his veins—a man Gabrielle still needs and desires and dreams of with every breath she takes. All she wants is a life far away from the Carpathian mountains, far from vampires and the shadows cast by the crumbling monastery that hides so many terrible secrets. But Gabrielle soon learns that promises made in the dark can pierce the heart like a dagger. And she isn’t the only one in search of answers in the corners of the unknown.... Trixie Joanes has come to the Carpathian mountains in search of her wayward granddaughter, fearing that she has been lured there by something unspeakable. Instead, Trixie has stumbled into the path of a desperate man and a woman in love and on the run. And they’re all fated for the lair of a mysterious ancient with revenge in his soul and the undying power to make bad dreams come true.

Gabrielle has had enough of battles, of wars, of seeing Gary Jansen, the man she loves nearly lose his life when it isn’t even his fight. Once he was a gentle and very human researcher. Now he’s a fearless and lethal Carpathian warrior with the blood of an ancient lineage coursing through his veins—a man Gabrielle still needs and desires and dreams of with every breath she takes. All she wants is a life far away from the Carpathian mountains, far from vampires and the shadows cast by the crumbling monastery that hides so many terrible secrets. But Gabrielle soon learns that promises made in the dark can pierce the heart like a dagger.
And she isn’t the only one in search of answers in the corners of the unknown….
Trixie Joanes has come to the Carpathian mountains in search of her wayward granddaughter, fearing that she has been lured there by something unspeakable. Instead, Trixie has stumbled into the path of a desperate man and a woman in love and on the run. And they’re all fated for the lair of a mysterious ancient with revenge in his soul and the undying power to make bad dreams come true.

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Thriller, Erotica
Rating: 4 Stars

Review:

Like all Carpathian fans, I wanted Gary and Gabrielle to be lifemates even though it was impossible. Logically, with the two of them now changed into Carpathians, they couldn’t be each other’s lifemate.

A few pages into the book and in Gabrielle’s head, I knew for sure that Gabrielle wouldn’t have been right for Gary. They wouldn’t have been right for each other. Sometimes, the person you want isn’t the right one for you. Sometimes, the person you think is horribly wrong for you turns out to be the right one.
And so it was for Gabrielle and Aleksei.

I liked Aleksei a lot. So honorable and strong. It was unfair to him how he’d held out for a lifemate, who turned out to hate him and refuse him. To hold on century after century, with your honor as your only strength, in the hope of a lifemate to restore your emotions and make the lonely, empty years fighting vampires and the darkness within all worth it—only to be rejected by your salvation.

I didn’t like Gabrielle much at first, but with a deeper insight into her past, I understood why she was the way she was. In spite of her fears, she did the right thing by her lifemate. I was super mad at her family for how they never protected her against her mom’s psychotic episodes. Aleksei was my hero over how he decreed Gabrielle’s mother would never throw another of her psychotic scenes around her. Boy, I hope there’s a scene in the following books where Gabrielle’s mom gets a face-to-face with Aleksei.

Fane was super cool and just plain sexy. I love the scenes with him and Trixie. What a terrific twist. It cracked me up how Trixie shot him as he rose from the ground. Super funny. And later, when he told her that she’d closed her eyes when shooting. Lol.

The idea of the three gifted women giving the ancients some relief and Gabrielle finding an approximate location for their lifemates was another fantastic twist.

Seeing Gary as a Carpathian Warrior, a Daratrazanoff—boy, had he changed! Carpathian Gary was even more amazing than human Gary had been. It sucked that he lost all his emotions. Everything that happened with Gabrielled front and center, Aleksei and Gary were innocents caught into it. I hope we’ll get his book soon, and of the ancients, especially Dragomir, who’s my favorite.

I hadn’t expected Gabrielle’s story but Dark Promises turned out to be pretty good. Fane and Trixie’s romance was an addition that added humor and made the book better in my eyes. Excellent plot-line and hints of new material that keeps me hoping for more Carpathian stories. Kudos!

Regards,
S.R. McKade

Review – The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Picture1

Synopsis: Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, didn’t expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind. As Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she’s never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.

Genre: Young Adult Sci-fi, Romance, Dystopian

Rating: 5 Stars

Review:

I finally got around to reading The Host. I watched the movie when it came out and loved it. I told myself I definitely had to read the book. But you know how it goes with TBR (To-Be-Read) lists – you keep adding books with big, greedy eyes on little time to read but you just can’t help yourself. And voilà, that’s how you know you’re a bookworm. I recently re-watched the movie and loved it all over again. I decided I better read the book this time.

So I started reading it and I got hooked in. So much so, that I was up till 2 a.m. reading. I found it enthralling. Stephanie Meyer did a great job in writing a sci-fi story that was interesting, emotional and fun. Her imagination is a marvel. The way she wrote about those lives Wanderer lived in the other worlds—I could picture them.

Her writing was a joy to read. The emotions practically jumped out of the page. Poignant, emotional, well-written and fantastic story-telling. Five stars and straight into my favorites and to-read-again pile.

I’m so glad I watched the movie before reading the book. This way I got to enjoy BOTH the movie AND the book.

Regards,
S.R. McKade

Dream = Hope

“I have spread my dreams under your feet.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
― W.B. Yeats

What are we without dreams? Often, I ask myself why I write, why I keep at it even in view of criticism and negative reviews. I know the answer, even when discouragement makes me question myself again and again.

The answer—I write because I have stories to tell, stories that won’t let my mind rest, stories that need to be told. Words have power. And by writing the stories in my head, I bring them to life. Give them power.

Of course, I want to write a bestseller, touch thousands of lives, maybe make them better. What writer doesn’t? But I write because I have to.

We wake, work, do what needs to be done, deal with our responsibilities and obligations, go to sleep at nightsome, exhausted. Others, restless, unable to sleep with our busy thoughts or worries keeping us up. And we wake up to do it all another day, and another.

Food, water, exercise and work feed our body, education our mind.

Dreams feed our soul. They are what give rise to music and books. To art. 
“Dreams nourish the soul just as food nourishes the body. The pleasure of the search and of adventure feeds our dreams.”
― Paulo Coelho

Without dreams, a soul can wither because there is no hope. What are we without hope but hollow shells?

I wonder sometimes if dreams aren’t what give us courage—the courage to face the hurdles of our lives day after day. I believe even in the hardest times of our lives, we should have dreams, for they give us hope. Hope for a better future.

S.R. McKade