Saturday, October 16, 2010

Contemporary & Paranormal Recommended Reads

Today I continue my Recommended Reads for the third quarter of this year. Earlier this week, I listed my favorite historicals. Today's books are my favorite contemporary, romantic suspense, and paranormal titles....

***Some of the following reviews may contain spoilers***

Sin Undone by Larissa Ione (My Review: LOVE) - I knew Larissa Ione wouldn't disappoint Demonica readers with this fifth and final installment of the paranormal series, but still - WOW! Sin may be the only female Seminus demon and the youngest of five, but she lives up to her brothers' previous books. Add half-werewolf/half-vampire hero, Con, to the package and wowza! A whole bunch of page-turning goodness happens! As always, conflict between Ione's characters is superbly written, particularly between Sin and Con and the ending sums up an amazing series while setting up her next: Lords of Deliverance!

Burning Alive by Shannon K. Butcher (My Review: 4/5) - I really enjoyed this book. Along with heroine Helen, the reader is plunged into the world of the Sentinels and their war against the Synestryn demons. I don't know if it was her voice or the worldbuilding but something about Butcher's style reminds me a bit of J.R. Ward. Still, the story itself is original and I will be buying Book II. Not a lot of books make me go bump in the night, but this one definitely went there for me. It's dark parts, however, never outweighed the romance and I loved the hero. I felt that some of the love scenes maybe left a bit to be desired, especially after the great build-up of sexual tension between Helen and Drake. That's my only complaint...except (***spoiler warning***) I wish Thomas wasn't killed off. I was really rooting for his story.

Warrior by Zoe Archer (My Review: LOVE) - I've heard nothing but awesome things about the Blades of the Rose series and for good reason. This book rocked my socks off! It is so clear right from the onset that Zoe Archer is a natural born storyteller and a wordsmith to boot! I can't find any complaints with this book. The paranormal/historical setting transplanted me into another world as only J.D. Robb has transplanted me into 2060 NYC. And the characters: perfection! Thalia is the perfect example of a well-written strong heroine. A fighter, a survivor but still vulnerable and easy to connect with as a reader. The hero, Capt. Gabriel Huntley, is in an alpha with a noble streak. I've used perfection to describe this book already, but I have to say it again here. The hero of this book was absolute perfection. As soon as I finished with his and Thalia's story, I wanted to dive straight back in and do it all again! Serious kudos to Zoe Archer for crafting an addictive world that is completely original and so compelling I could hardly put it down for a few minutes at a time. She is clearly in a league of her own.

Skykeepers by Jessica Andersen (My Review: LOVE) - Another paranormal for the keeper shelf. Skykeepers is hands-down my favorite Final Prophecy so far. I didn't expect to love the character of Michael Stone, but he won me over very quickly. His devotion to heroine Sasha Ledbetter is so endearing and the inner conflict that prevents him from being with her is so compelling and heartbreaking. I really felt for both of them. The world of the Nightkeepers keeps getting richer and denser. I have a hard time believing anyone who hasn't read the previous novels in this series could fully enjoy Skykeepers or the next books, Demonkeepers and Blood Spells. For fans like me however, this is a treat!

Primal Male by Sasha White (My Review: 5/5) - This sizzling Brava title is a quick one but one to reckon with, no less! If you like your paranormal romance white hot, look no further. I was intrigued by the worldbuilding and the characters' predicament. There are two previous novellas that proceed Primal Male, both of which are available in the Sexy Devil paperback but this one stands alone even as it draws from world and characters of other stories. There is an alarming number of typos in this book. Such a shame since the story packs a great punch and is written with a healthy dose of flair. I found it highly enjoyable and look forward to combing White's backlist for more!

The Sheriff of Silverhill by Carol Ericson (My Review: 4/5) - This is the second in Carol Ericson's romantic suspense series about the McClintock brothers of Silverhill, Colorado. Carol Ericson keeps getting better and better and I was thrilled with this glimpse into life on the rez. The heroine, Dana, is a government agent who specializes in Native American crimes. She returns to Silverhill, the place of her childhood, when a serial killer begins targetting Native American women. This romantic suspense is well-written and worth reading just for the title character, Rafe McClintock, the Sheriff of Silverhill. The well-researched Indian culture as well as the reservation setting took me away from the usual romantic suspense setting and I enjoyed the escape. I already have my copy of the third series installment and recommend this one to RS fans.

A Very Special Delivery by Linda Goodnight (My Review: 5/5) - I don't read enough inspirational romance. This was clear to me after reading this winter-themed contemporary inspy about a single father and a woman who suffers from anxiety. I felt akin to the heroine despite the extraordinary circumstances in which her panic attacks stem from. The inspirational parts of this book were neither too heavy nor too light. The romance itself is well-blended with the heroine's journey toward healing and the hero's discovery of place and home for himself and his baby daughter. For inspirational readers, this Linda Goodnight novella is a heart-warming treat that I recommend with a glass of cocoa!

Chasin' Mason by Stacey Joy Netzel (My Review: 4/5) - This list wouldn't be complete without western romance! After reading Dragonfly Dreams, I couldn't help but pick up Stacey Joy Netzel's next single title. This book starts out strong with great conflict between the hero and heroine who are thrust reluctanly into an adventure. My favorite element of this story is that it proves further that what we love most about contemporary western is mainly it's echoes of historical westerns. In Chasin' Mason, the characters battle the outdoors as well as themselves as they race to clench their hold over a loved one's ranch land with the capture of a wild stallion. An enjoyable read from start to finish. Netzel is another author who writes with flair and is one of my favorite contemporary voices!

Readers, I would love to hear your favorite contemporary, paranormal, or romantic suspense recent reads!


Lauri said...

Oh, goodness, I was just trying to catch up on blogs I haven't had a chance to read recently, and after reading this, now my must buy book list has grown.

Amber Leigh Williams said...

Lauri, to think there were more I wanted to include in this list. There just wasn't enough room, LOL

Hope you enjoy these as much as I have!