Heather Graham hits another home run with Phantom Evil (Mira Books / Harlequin, April 2011). This is the first installment in her new mini-series “Krewe of Hunters.” Graham fans will delight in getting the newest team of investigators assembled by Adam Harrison – and this team is now working with Harrison and the government.
Set in post-Katrina and post-oil spill New Orleans, Phantom Evil is yet another page-turner by the multi-talented Graham. In the Garden District of a possible haunted mansion the team assembles to investigate the possible suicide of a state senator’s wife – were ghosts the cause or was a human element at work?
As we get to know the team, including leader Jackson Crow, former cop Angela Hawkins, and Whitney, the granddaughter of a New Orleans Voodoo priestess, Graham weaves her magic and draws us into the story. No surprise or spoiler really that there is something non-human at work in the mansion, but I won’t go into details and spoil it for you. ‘Nuff said that the team faces challenges and there is also some very steamy romance too.
Curling up with a Heather Graham novel is like savoring a glass of wine before a fire – totally relaxing and enjoyable – but with the added spice of say indulging in a Szechuan dinner too. It is always an extra special treat to enjoy her latest entry and usually calls for phones, email to be unchecked, and darn it all, forget all about Facebook as you curl up and start to flip those pages – or in our now digital world – skip from page to page via a digital device.
Graham shows an underbelly and corruption in New Orleans, but at the same time celebrates the indomitable spirit of this fair city’s residents. Andy Deverereux plays a role – albeit more minor than in past Graham novels – but its good to “see” him again.
So, make sure to look out for Heather Graham’s Phantom Evil at the beginning of April or pre-order it now, then block off some quality time and enjoy your time in her romantic, suspenseful, supernatural, and very sexy world.
For more on Heather Graham’s books, see Amazon
From the publisher:Alive or dead, everyone is looking for something…
A secret government unit is formed under the oversight of Adam Harrison, famed paranormal investigator. The six members he’s gathered know a little of the otherworldly—each has honed a psychic talent of their own.
Jackson Crow, part English, part Cheyenne, heads the group. Haunted by his experience with an ancestral ghost who saved his life as a child, and the recent murders of two previous teammates, Jackson can’t tell if Adam’s demoted him or given him an extraordinary opportunity. Despite his link to the realm of spirits, he’s well aware that the living commit the most heinous crimes, with spiritualist charlatans existing merely to fool and seduce the unwary.
To counterbalance Jackson’s careful skepticism, Adam Harrison has paired him with Angela Hawkins, a young woman who learned the painful lesson of loss at an early age. A police offi cer utilizing her paranormal intuition in Virginia, she already has her hands full. But Adam’s call to New Orleans is strong.
The case: In a historic mansion in New Orleans’s French Quarter, a senator’s wife falls to her death from a balcony. Most think she jumped, distraught over the loss of her young son. Some say she was pushed. And yet others believe she was beckoned by the ghostly spirits that inhabit the house—once the site of a serial killer’s grisly work.
Whether supernatural or all too human, crimes of passion, greed and desire will cast the pair into danger of losing their lives…and their immortal souls.
Author Bio:New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author HEATHER GRAHAM has written more than one hundred novels, many of which have been featured by the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild. An avid scuba diver, ballroom dancer and mother of fi ve, she still enjoys her south Florida home, but loves to travel as well, from locations such as Cairo, Egypt, to her own backyard, the Florida Keys. Reading, however, is the pastime she still loves best, and she is a member of many writing groups. She’s currently vice president of the Horror Writers’ Association, and she’s also an active member of International Thriller Writers. She is very proud to be a Killerette in the Killer Thriller Band, along with many fellow novelists she greatly admires.Colleen Gleason, author of the Gardella Vampire Chronicles, is now releasing a new series – The Regency Dracula. I began reading the review copy of the first book, The Vampire Voss (Mira Books/Harlequin, March 29, 2011), last night and couldn’t put it down. It is a page turner that scorches your fingers. Gleason’s lush descriptions, her ability to portray the dichotomy of good and evil of the vampire or Dracule – as well as the passion – made for a very exciting read.
For me, Gleason’s novel was like a Barbara Cartland on steroids. She was able to portray the time-frame of the Regency period – adding in a little Jane Austen to the mix – while at the same time conveying very different personalities of the Regency vampire set she’s envisioned.
Voss, or the Viscount Dewhurst, could be one of Cartland’s beloved rakes – albeit with fangs – but Gleason’s ability to really convey the conflicts that Voss is unique. The heroine – Angelica – who is one of three sisters and a brother given paranormal gifts (sight, calling) through their Romany Gypsy ancestry is also compelling.
What Gleason has so successfully done is create a world within the Regency world familiar to many readers of romance – White’s, the gentleman’s club, now has a more interesting area; brothels may serve more than one purpose; and journeys to the continent and New World for heirs may indeed be more to cover eternal life. Fun stuff indeed!
I won’t give any spoilers, but here in Gleason’s world, vampires are created through a pact with Lucifer – whose bond with them can be a torment if not served.
What transpires as Voss and Angelica begin to know one another, as the world of vampire is opened to the sisters, and ‘good’ and ‘evil’ vampires clash is one that is a fascinating and exciting novel.
Gleason’s style of writing is perfect for these novels and one can look forward to the next installments: The Vampire Dimitri (Mira Books, May 2011), about the man who serves as the sister’s guardian in Voss, and The Vampire Narcise (Mira Books, June 2011), about one of the rare female Dracule.
For more on Colleen Gleason’s novels, see Amazon
From the publisher:Regency London—a dizzying whirl of balls and young ladies pursued by charming men. But the Woodmore sisters are hunted by a more sinister breed: Lucifer’s own.Voss, also known as Viscount Dewhurst, relishes the sensual pleasures immortality affords. A member of the Dracule—a cabal of powerful, secretive noblemen marked with a talisman that reveals their bartered souls— the mercenary Voss has remained carefully neutral…
until Angelica.Angelica Woodmore possesses the Sight, an ability invaluable to both sides of a looming war among the Dracule. Her very scent envelops Voss in a scarlet fog of hunger—for her body and her blood. But he is utterly unprepared for the new desire that overcomes him— to protect her.Now Voss must battle his very nature to be with Angelica…but this vampire never backs down from a fight.
Jaye Wells’ Green-Eyed Demon (Orbit/Hachette, March 1, 2011), her third installment in the Sabina Kane novels brings to a head the conflict between Sabina, a half vampire half mage, and her grandmother Lavinia, the leader (Domina) of all vampires and who raised her. Lavinia having kidnapped Sabina’s twin Maisie, who had been raised by the mage side of the family, has evil in mind. Can Sabina stop her? Find peace? Learn how to trust? Love?
Most of the action takes place in New Orleans and the city originally freaks out the team of Sabina, Adam, and Giguhl as it’s so accepting of the strange. Some prejudice of non-supernatural entities is shown with an exchange between Sabina and Madam Zenobia (Zee), a voodoo practitioner, shopkeeper, and human. But in some ways that only highlights the prejudice that Sabrina herself faces as a scorned “half-breed.”
With fun characters – love the Demon Giguhl (aka Gigi or Mr. Giggles) and the just introduced fae faerie (you have to read this) Brooks or Pussy Willow – there is some humor to be found in this very taught book, but the focus is more on propelling the plot line forward than lingering too long in reflection or humor. Much like her character Sabina, Wells’ charges full steam ahead.
Having not read the other two entries in the series, I feel slightly at a loss, but Wells’ fills in enough back story to make the reader come up to speed quickly. However, I will be ordering those other two as I’d like to see the evolution of her characters.
Romance is seen between the mage Adam, who serves the leader of the mages (Orpheus) as one of the inner circle of guards, and the Sabina. It’s apparent that Sabina has issues – Giguhl gives her advice drawn from watching Oprah – and it’s not clear whether or not that will have an effect. Not going to give out any spoilers, you’ll just have to wait till Green-Eyed Demon is released to see.
Wells’ Sabina Kane reminds me slightly of Laurell Hamilton’s Anita Blake, but without Anita’s early vulnerability or the highly charged sexuality of the later Blake books. But Wells has similarity in styles which makes this a good read. To get a preview, read the first chapter courtesy of the author’s website.
See Amazon, for information on the series.
From the publisher:The clock is ticking for Sabina Kane. She has to save her sister from her mysterious captors. And in order to do that, she has to broker a deal between the mages and the vampires before all hell breaks loose.But as much as Sabina is focused on surviving the present, the past won’t be ignored. Before she can save those she cares about, she’s got to save herself from the ghosts of her past. Because the past is haunting her. Literally.
What happens with Francesca and Hart? Does Rick step back into the picture? How does Leigh Anne handle her condition? And what about Evan and Maggie or Sarah and Rourke? If you’re not sure what I’m referring to, please pick up and begin reading Brenda Joyce’s “Deadly” series. It is a fabulous blend of mystery and romance that sizzles.
Brenda Joyce’s Deadly Vows picks up from Deadly Kisses on Francesca and Hart’s wedding day and is the ninth installment in her “Deadly” series of Francesca Cahill novels. Each of these volumes is like a little treasure, to be unwrapped an savored (or maybe that’s chocolate I’m thinking of). Either way it is pure enjoyment.
Deadly Vows moves this series into a new direction with some characters finding themselves and others lost and alone.
In preparation for the release of Deadly Vows (HQN Books, 22 February 2011), I re-read the Joyce’s “Deadly” series and then the “De Warenne” saga and then her “Bragg” series (hint some of these characters appear in multiple series). I’d recommend all of you do as well. Joyce is a fabulous writer who is able to convey character and emotion, while maintaining a roller coaster plot line in each of these novels.
One could say they are the perfect escapism as they take us out of our world and place us in one that is populated with good, evil, and many shades of gray – as well as romance that sizzles.
But Deadly Vows somehow seems almost a culmination of all these series and strikes strongly at the heartstrings. Mid-way through I could feel my eyes tearing up and by the conclusion, the tears were flowing freely down my face. That’s why Joyce is one of my favorite authors. She is able to tap into our emotions through her beautiful prose and provide us with a beautiful and wonderful world.
So, you still have a few days before the release of Deadly Vows to catch up and if you’re like me you’ll be reading non-stop as Joyce’s writing is addictive. Remember her books are available in e-versions and you can download appropriate reader apps (mostly free) to your computer, iPhone, Blackberry, or other mobile device, in addition to your Kindle or Nook reader. In addition, HQN has re-released the prior two novels – Deadly Kisses and Deadly Illusions. Get a headstart and order her books today (and pre-order Deadly Vows) from Amazon today.
Read an excerpt from Deadly Vows that Joyce has posted on her website.
From the publisher:
New York City, 1902Something happened on the way to her wedding…On the morning of her wedding to Calder Hart, amateur sleuth Francesca Cahill is lured away to a private viewing of a portrait that could destroy her entire family: the nude Hart commissioned of her. Her desperate quest to recover the scandalous portrait leads her into a dangerous trap with no way to escape—until it’s too late. And when Francesca finally arrives at the church, it’s vacant. She has unintentionally jilted Hart at the altar.When Hart tells her their estrangement is for the best, Francesca is devastated. With a blackmailer intent on destroying her reputation, Francesca turns to Rick Bragg, the city’s powerful police commissioner. Together they scour the sordid streets of lower Manhattan, following a deliberately laid trail of clues in a race against the clock. And once it becomes clear that Bragg’s marriage is failing, Francesca must war with her feelings for him, battle Hart’s jealousy and escape a killer—all as she fights to win Hart back. But sometimes, passion just cannot be denied…I confess, I read books more than once, sometimes twice, but very rarely a third time. However after being introduced to Kim Harrison’s “The Hollows” series over Christmas this year, I found myself re-reading each of the eight books in her series three times – each time finding small nuggets of information, character traits, funny quips, and tears on my face. So, along with all her other devoted readers I’ve been counting the days till 22 February when her next installment – number nine – Pale Demon would be released.
Fans can preview some of the chapters on Harrison’s website, but lucky me, I was able to read Pale Demon last week, courtesy of the publisher Harper Collins via a review copy. I wasn’t disappointed at all. It was worth the wait, every minute of it. Pre-order it now!
I’m not going to give away any plot twists, because that would just be evil (okay, I’m thinking about it, but trying to be good). Just know that this book will answer some questions, lay some to rest, and raise some more. (Until the 22nd, check out Kim Harrison’s website as she provides a sneak peak at some of the chapters online.)
Rachel Morgan the witch, cum demon, cum kick-ass heroine is fabulous in each of the nine installments. What Harrison provides so successfully in this series is the trajectory of growth. When we meet Rache, she’s unsure, not aware of herself, yet begins the transformation of self – a heroes journey – that continues in each volume.
By this entry in the series she’s gone through heartbreak, passion, hate, despair, and bitter disappointment – but known love, hope, friendship, and trust. Her friends or frenemys- a supernatural team really – Ivy the Vampire, Jenks the Pixie, Al the Demon, Trent the Elf (oops spoiler if you haven’t read the first volume, sorry), Bis the Gargoyle, and Pierce, the re-animated ghost – all play a role in Pale Demon as do some nice and naughty witches, a few new and familiar demons, and a new – well that would be a spoiler, just wait and read …
Harrison as always tweaks at heartstrings while at the same time eliciting out loud laughter as you page through her book. Now, I’m waiting for the next installment to see what transpires. Her ability to fully realize these characters to the point you think they are friends is quite a gift. I and her other readers are very lucky.
If you don’t have them already, check out the rest of Harrison’s The Hollows series on Amazon
From the publisher:Condemned and shunned for black magic, Rachel Morgan has three days to get to the annual witches’ conference and clear her name, or be trapped in the demonic ever-after . . . forever after.
But a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixy in one car going across the country? Talk about a recipe for certain disaster, even without being the targets for assassination.
For after centuries of torment, a fearsome demon walks in the sunlight—freed at last to slay the innocent and devour their souls. But his ultimate goal is Rachel Morgan, and in the fight for survival that follows, even embracing her own demonic nature may not be enough to save her.Just released on February 1, License to Ensorcell bespells the reader with Katharine Kerr‘s spunky Nola O’Grady, her highly dysfunctional yet believable gifted family, and, of course, by her tough guy colleague Ari Nathan.
O’Grady, who works for a paranormal CIA/FBI-type agency, returns to the city of her birth (San Francisco) and finds herself trying to maintain the middle ground – not letting chaos wreak havoc on humans, dealing with a possible romantic interest after a lifetime of disappointments, and helping her family out. Werewolves find a home in O’Grady’s novels, as do psychics, witches, paranormal entities, and tough guys. O’Grady is termed a psychic detective, but her skills include the license to ensorcell and that is a weapon of great caliber as well as a sense of humor, fragility, and intelligence.
I felt like I was reading a few books into the series at first as Kerr introduces us to O’Grady as a fully-formed heroine – with a complete back story. By halfway through the book, I found myself centered in the world of this paranormal San Francisco and couldn’t stop turning the pages – finishing it in an evening and wanting more. For more, read a sample chapter that Kerr has posted on her website.
Very much looking forward to seeing the next installment of Nola O’Grady and her family. Kudos for this new addition to the urban fantasy realm. The author notes her next installment, Water to Burn, will be released in August, 2011. Can’t wait!
From the publisher:
Psychic Agent Nola O’Grady isn’t sure returning to San Francisco, and living near her unusual family, is a good idea. Her job, with a psychic agency so obscure even the CIA doesn’t know it exists, can be perilous, and she’s afraid of the relatives getting involved.
Then the Agency saddles her with Israeli secret agent Ari Nathan, and she has a bigger problem on her hands, because tact and compromise are not Ari’s strong points. Their mission is to track down a serial killer obsessed with werewolves. He sees them everywhere and shoots whenever he thinks he has one in his sights. Ari assumes the man’s psychotic, but in truth he’s murdering actual werewolves. Nola should know. Her younger brother Pat, a lycanthrope, was the first victim.
Can Nola’s psychic talents and Ari’s skill with guns keep them alive long enough to unravel the greater mystery behind the killings? Can they save the werewolves and the world while stopping Nola’s family from running headlong into danger?