Tour’s Books Blog

August 8, 2010

Two August Samhain Releases: Paranormal and Romantic Suspense/Urban Fantasy

You mention Samhain and mostly readers immediately think, “Oh, smut.”  Or the more PC term, ‘romantica’.  Regardless, Samhain publishes a lots of mainstream romance,  paranormal romance, and romantic suspense, something often overlooked.  The two books I read this week were both in the mainstream class, though Isaiah’s Haven was steamy paranormal romance, Behind Blue Eyes was classic  romantic suspense with a paranormal twist bordering on urban fantasy.  Both were very good reads.

  • Title: Isaiah’s Haven
  • Author:  N. J. Walters
  • Type:  Paranormal steamy romance
  • Genre: Werewolves and hunters in Chicago; Legacy Series 2
  • Sub-genre:  Loner werewolf finds mate and her family
  • My Grade: B-  (3.7*)
  • Rating:  PG-13 to NC-17
  • Length and price:  Full novel about 80,000 words ebook for $5.50 discounts available
  • Where Available:  book available at Samhain book store online
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased book from publisher’s website

I happen to have a weakness for N.J. Walters’ books.  I enjoyed most of her Dalakis vampire books published by Ellora’s Cave and I enjoyed the first of the Legacy books published by Samhain.  The first book, Alexandra’s Legacy is available in print or ebook and tells the story of Joshua Striker and Alexandra Riley, the half human daughter of the Wolf Creek pack Alpha.  Alexandra and her father James, as well as the entire pack is still threatened by the Hunter’s humans that stalk and kill shifters simply for being shifters.  But there is a second threat, one from other wolves, because many werewolves think half human children are an abomination and will kill any and all half-breeds.  Alex is settled into Joshua’s house and is safe among the pack her father runs, but she longs for her own belongings.

Joshua’s older brother, Isaiah comes to Chicago to watch James’ old business to be certain the Hunter’s won’t try and follow his movements back to the pack before he considers moving Alex’s belonging.  Isaiah hates cities.  He’s the classic lone wolf, never fully recovering from the self-inflicted guilt of having lost his teenage sister, a failure he takes sole blame for.  Though the eldest, he refused to become Enforced to the Wolf Creek Pack, instead leaving that to his next brother Joshua.  He never sought a mate either.  Female werewolves were few, so not many males have a chance at one.

Restless and unable to sleep, he walks into a different part of town when he hears a woman’s sultry voice singing.  Despite his dislike of crowds, he enters the club called Haven, drawn by that voice.  Meredith Cross is a female werewolf hiding her small pack in the least likely of places, the city of Chicago.  Taken in a forced mating by the son of the pack Alpha, she had two sons of her own before her mates death.  She ran with her two sons when it became obvious she would be forced into another mating against her will.  Along the way she found herself taking in strays, mostly half-breeds, off-spring of werewolves and human females.  So for now, they could hide.  Sooner or later the lack of aging would give them away and they would have to move, but for now, they could enjoy the relative stability and safety of her club and upstairs apartments where they all lived.  Everything was going well until Isaiah walked in the club.  Meredith feared not just for herself, but for her pack.  If Isaiah was a purest, he try to kill her adopted children.

Once Isaiah gets close to the female who has so completely captured his attention, he realizes she’s a female werewolf – and she’s coming into heat.  Now it becomes a contest between an alpha male werewolf and a female alpha protecting her young.  Only Meredith’s oldest son suddenly finds himself challenging his mother, Hunter’s have found them and Isaiah, and males werewolves working with the Hunter’s want Meredith for themselves.  Isaiah proves himself, but Meredith has little trust left in her for male werewolves and despite the threat and her own undeniable attraction to Isaiah on many levels, she pushes him away again and again fearing for the safety of her pack.  Isaiah might not have any skill at courtship, but he’s a tenacious and determined predator and Meredith is his mate, no matter what it takes to convince her.

The side story involving the Hunter’s and trouble among them, and what the agenda is for one of their members remains to unfold in future installments.  Isaiah’s memory of the loss of his sister also seems to open several interpretations, including the possibility that she is still alive.  There are two more Striker brothers who will have their own books, so no doubt the Hunter’s and the spy in their midst will be resolved there.  Although I found the yo-yo actions of Meredith regarding Isaiah rather trying, her motivation was understandable.  The story itself tended to loop thru versions of the same push back-pull in routine before it got moving forward again.  Overall, Isaiah’s Haven was not as good as Alexandra’s Legacy.

My recommendation is Isaiah’s Haven is worth the $5.50 as an ebook for anyone who enjoys shifter romance with a bit of angst, but without kink.

************************************************************************

  • Title: Behind Blue Eyes
  • Author:  T. L. Schaefer
  • Type:  Paranormal romantic suspense/UF
  • Genre: Psychic photographer gets involved with a detective and ends up chasing her past thanks to a serial killer
  • Sub-genre:  A crime scene photographer finds her hidden past is tied to current serial killings
  • My Grade: B- (3.9*)
  • Rating:  PG-13
  • Length and price:  Full novel about 80,000 words ebook for $5.50 discounts available
  • Where Available:  book available at Samhain book store online
  • FTC Disclosure:  purchased book from publisher’s website

If you enjoy Denise Agnew, or any of the paranormal romantic suspense books out there, then this book will be right up your alley.  With the emphasis on the suspense, not romance, Behind Blue Eyes is an interesting and well written tale told in the first person that uses a slightly annoying plot device of retrospect at the opening of each chapter.  Instead of a prologue that gives Sara’s history,  a bit of it is revealed at the beginning of each chapter.  For me, it broke the rhythm of the current story, even though her past is what is driving these events.

Sara Covington has spent the last ten years as a contract crime scene photographer for the Dallas PD.  She’s known for doing some of the best photos the detectives ever saw, and in shooting them, she seems to capture things that help them solve the crime and convict the person responsible.   Without even realizing it, she’s leaving a pattern that someone could follow.  And Sara never wants to do anything to call attention to herself.

At the age of 14, before she became Sara Covington, her drunk of a mother got tired of her always knowing things and dumped her at a school for gifted children.  Only it was a school so much as a prison where she found herself the subject of endless experiments.  After 2 years and the death of her only friend, Wes, she managed to escape, get a new name, a new life, in a different city.  For 10 years she’s hidden from her past – but not her abilities, painful though they are.  She sees auras – and is psychic, but thru her camera lens, she can be ordinary.  With the help of her special filter glasses, she can move among people without too much discomfort.  Until tonight.

Being called to the scene of a murder in the middle of the night is nothing new for Sara, but the sense that she should know something about the killer is.  The victim is a high profile city councilman, naked, his clothes in a neatly folded pile, no restraint marks – and his throat slit.  Detective Brian Roney’s sure he saw something in Sara’s reaction and he’s determined to find out what it is.  He’s shrewd, intuitive and determined – and taken with Sara on a personal level.  Sara is attracted to him too – and amazingly, he has no aura and she can’t read him at all.  Roney is a null.

Then there’s a second murder, and a third.  And with the third there’s no longer any doubt that somehow, Sara is tied in some way to the killer.  A game of cat and mouse, and Sara’s past comes crashing back into her life.  A past that holds nothing but fear and pain – and the terror of the wrong people getting to her again, making her a prisoner, and nothing more than a science experiment.  Brian can’t deny his attraction despite the fact that Sara’s life is a lie and she can read things he can’t see.

The romance takes a backseat to the mystery/suspense here and it’s a very solid read for a paranormal suspense novel.  I found the ending unsurprising, but that’s me.  The ending of the bad guy had this strange little question to it, leaving me wondering if he will survive by some miracle.  Obviously the start of series, it will be interesting to see where the author takes this.

My recommendation for Behind Blue Eyes is buy the ebook, you’ll get your money’s worth.

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