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2 Treasure Boxes (7 out of 10)

Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
A Jaz Parks Novel, Book 1
Publisher: Orbit (October 8, 2007), Paperback: 320 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 9780316020466, ISBN-13: 978-0316020466

Monster and vampire terrorists are trying to destroy the world and it is up to CIA agent Jaz Parks and her gorgeous vampire partner Vayl to save the day. This book introduces the characters and the world that this story takes place.  It is similar to our world and occurs in modern times with the addition of supernatural beings including vampires, werewolves and witches. Jaz and Vayl are on a special assignment to find and stop the terrorists.  This is a twist on contemporary fantasy because she works for the CIA, has special powers and her boss is a vampire.

There are currently seven books in the Jaz Parks novels and the eighth and final book will be released June 2011. Unfortunately Jennifer Rardin passed away September 20, 2010. These books fall into the contemporary fantasy genre also known as urban fantasy. The story is told in the first person narrative from Jaz Parks point of view.  She works for the CIA as an operative and the story revolves around her as she solves the current case she is working on.

Once Bitten, Twice Shy grabs our attention from the first page, alluding to some dark and dangerous event that occurred in Jaz’s past. We are left wondering why does Jaz have blackouts? What is her history? What is she? It is fun to read the interactions between her and her partner Vayl, the sexy vampire assassin. Also, Jaz’s internal dialogue is entertaining, I enjoyed reading her unique view on the world and her quirky analogies. In this book her powers are slowing being revealed and she slowly uncovers new and more interesting abilities.  Among these she can smell vampires, she can feel magic and she is a sensitive.

I liked how the story was written and how the enigmatic past was slowly revealed. However, I did think that the final unveiling of the great event was done in a writing style that allowed an easy way out.  It was revealed with a gimmick rather than through well developed story. But overall there was lots of action and the story built up to an exciting conclusion.

This is a stand alone book, and I am interested to see what Jaz is going to get up to next.  For the first book in a series by a new author I feel there is plenty of potential and I recommend this as a good entertaining read. If you enjoy a contemporary fantasy with good and bad vampires, witches and a strong female lead then you should enjoy this book.

 

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Horizon by Lois McMaster Bujold

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series The Sharing Knife

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
The Sharing Knife Series, Volume Four
Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; 1 edition (February 10, 2009), Format: Kindle Edition, File Size: 438 KB, Print Length: 464 pages, Language: English, ASIN: B001NLL8UG

This is a story about battles.  A fight against evil creatures, predjudice and old concepts. Dag, the magic wielding Lakewalker and his young bride the Farmer-girl Fawn continue their story with plenty of adventures. They have found a new Lakewalker camp where Dag can learn to use his developing maker abilities, but it isn’t long until Farmer versus Lakewalker troubles start to appear. Add into this story a new kind of Malice and you have an interesting tale.  This book takes place immediately following Passage.

Lois McMaster Bujold has written numerous Science Fiction and Fantasy books and series including The Vorkosigan Saga, The Chalion Universe Series and the The Sharing Knife Series. Horizon is the last book in The Sharing Knife Series which has a total of four books. These books fall into the Fantasy genre but can also be considered a Romance since it revolves around a love story. There is magic in this universe that is welded by the Lakewakers and it takes place in a society that is equivalent to ours in the early 19th century. It occurs after the fall of a greater society that was destroyed by the creation of evil creatures known as Malices. In this world the Lakewalkers serve by destroying these creatures as they continue to randomly pop up. The story is told in a third person narrative by the two main protagonists Dag, the Lakewalker and Fawn, the Farmer girl.

I liked the first two books in this series better than the last two books, but I am still glad I read them all as it is a satisfying tale. This book once again addresses the problems associated with predujice and shows the harm it can cause.  Dag’s journey and inner struggle are well written and believable.  He is looking to the future and continually coming up with great solutions.  All the characters are pretty well rounded and show good depth.  We are introduced to some new characters and we learn more about Lakerwalker magic and makings. The story had a great build up to an exciting and frightening climax. The book shows that through co-operation and understanding people can overcome their dfifferences and learn to combine their strengths to the benefit of all.

I recommend this book, it is a good conclusion to an interesting and different fantasy series.  If you enjoy reading a good, original fantasy story that revolves around a romance then you will enjoy this book.  This is a stand alone book, but you will enjoy it more if you read the books in order as the story builds from book to book.

 

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Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Mercedes Thompson Series

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
The Mercedes Thompson Series, Book 1
Publisher: Ace (January 31, 2006), Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 9780441013814

How can a shapeshifting coyote kill 2 werewolves? With lots of determination and guts, especially if that coyote is Mercy Thompson and she is trying to save a friend. In this story Mercy gets drawn into werewolf pack problems that involve murder, kidnapping and magic.  It also draws her back to her past for a reunion with her ex-boyfriend.

There are currently six books in The Mercedes Thompson Series. The series revolves around Mercedes (Mercy) Thompson, a Native American shapeshifter who can assume the body of a coyote. She is also a strong, independent woman who makes her living as a mechanic. Patricia Brigg has also written several other series which fall into Paranormal Romance, High Fantasy, and Fantasy.  She has written numerous short stories.  This series is considered Urban Fantasy or Contemporary Fantasy.  The books are told in a first person narrative with Mercy’s voice and thoughts as we unravel the mystery with her.

The story grabs our attention from the first page and keeps us intrigued until the last page.  We are introduced to the protagonist, Mercy Thompson, a Walker.  A Native-American shapeshifter who can also resist the magic of vampires. She is one of a kind as there are not very many, if any Walkers still in existence.  She was raised by werewolves and fully understands their world.  In this book, the fae have come out to humankind but not any other supernaturals. This is a stand-alone book with a good satisfying conclusion.  We meet Mercy’s friend which include a Gremlin, vampire and alfa werewolf.  We learn about her past, which I found to be interesting and well-written.  This story was also a mystery that had several very exciting action scenes which lead up to a good climax ending with a resolution of the mystery.

I know there are six more books in the series and I am curious to see where it is going and what Mercy is going to get up to.  I recommend this book, it is a good series in the Urban Fantasy landscape.  The characters are interesting and pretty well rounded.  If you enjoy books with werewolves, shapeshifters, fae, vampires and witches then you will enjoy this book.

 

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Passage by Lois McMaster Bujold

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series The Sharing Knife

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
The Sharing Knife Series, Volume Three
Publisher: Harper Voyager (January, 2009), 411 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 978-0-06-137535-4

Do you want to read about two far-sighted individuals who want to improve the world? Then you should give this story a try, it is a journey both literally, from far inland all the way to the sea and spiritually, as the couple try to gap the great gulf between their two peoples. Dag, the magic wielding Lakewalker and his young bride the Farmer-girl Fawn continue their story with plenty of adventures, but instead of fighting malices, they are this time fighting against evil people and helping others on their trek.  This book takes place immediately following Legacy

Lois McMaster Bujold has written numerous Science Fiction and Fantasy books and series including The Vorkosigan Saga, The Chalion Universe Series and the The Sharing Knife SeriesPassage is the third book in The Sharing Knife Series which has a total of four books. These books fall into the Fantasy genre but can also be considered a Romance since it revolves around a love story.  There is magic in this universe that is welded by the Lakewakers and it takes place in a society that is equivalent to ours in the early 19th century.  It occurs after the fall of a greater society that was destroyed by the creation of evil creatures known as Malices.  In this world the Lakewalkers serve by destroying these creatures as they continue to randomly pop up. The story is told in a third person narrative by the two main protagonists Dag, the Lakewalker and Fawn, the Farmer girl.

Our protagonists have gone on a voluntary exile from Dag’s family and community.  They knew it was either that or face being told to leave.  Together they decided it would be best to be out on their own and in the process start to breach the distance between the Lakewalkers and the Farmers.  There was not as much excitement in this book as in the previous two books.  There were no conflicts against malices, but there was trouble against people including bandits and renegade Lakewalkers. Dag was given the opportunity to learn more about his magic and we understand more about how it works.  This book showed much more depth into the characters and how this world works. 

I thought it was really interesting how Dag’s healing abilities worked. It showed how this is a great attraction for those who need it, but it also showed what the ill effects of using it can be. Once again clarifying that there is always a price.  This also gave insight into how and why the old world was destroyed.  The two start out on their journey alone, but by the end they have accumulated a number of people that travel with them.  Effectively creating their own mobile village which is comprised of an amalgamation of different peoples. This is a reflection of who they are and what they are trying to accomplish which is to bring the world together.

I highly recommend this series.  If you enjoy reading a good, original fantasy story that revolves around a romance then you will enjoy this book.  This is a stand alone book, but you will enjoy it more if you read the books in order as the story builds from book to book.

 

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Judgment in Death by J. D. Robb

This entry is part 12 of 26 in the series In Death Series

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
In Death Series, Book 12
Publisher: The Penguin Publishing Group (Electronic Edition: October 2003), EBook: 593 KB, Language: English

This is a good futuristic suspense novel featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas. She is a tough, smart, likable homicide detective. In each book she solves a crime and finds the killer. The book also encompasses her entire life including her personal relationships. Eve is investigating the murder of a young police officer.  What at first appears to be a brutal killing soon turns out to involve a large conspiracy.

Judgment in Deathis the twelfth book in the In Death series by J.D. Robb, to date she has written 40 books in the series. Books 41 and 42 are expected out in the fall of 2011. I have read most of these books and found them all to be enjoyable and well written. This book falls into both the suspense and romance categories as the book focuses on the case Eve is currently working on as well as Eve and Roake’s relationship. This is a futuristic suspense that takes place in 2059 in New York City. The books are told in a third person narrative that focuses primarily on Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a dedicated and talented homicide detective. Although the story is also told through some of the other characters including the murderer. The books are written by Nora Roberts under the pseudonym of J. D. Robb.

Lieutenant Eve Dallas is working on solving the murder of several cops and they all include 30 peices of silver. During her investigation she finds that the link for these murders is the criminal Ricker and cops on the take.  In addition, Ricker has had dealings with Roake in the past and has a hate-on for Roake.  Naturally, this causes trouble in paradise, but the angry sex is hot, hot, hot. This books shows more depth into Roake character and it is interesting to read his jealous reaction against Webster, a fellow police detective from the Internal Affairs Division who is working with Eve on the case.  The story flows well and builds to an exciting ending with Roake working undercover.  Eve’s character is also further developed to show her truly kind heart when she is dealing with the murderer at the end of the story.

This is a standalone book but I am sure that if you read it you would be quickly reading the other books in the series. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about strong female lead characters and enjoys a suspense story. The story is well written and enjoyable. I also recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about a bit of romance since there is a fair bit of this as well as some hot sex scenes between Eve and Roake.

 

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The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch and Lee Chadeayne

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: AmazonCrossing (December 7, 2010), Format: Kindle Edition, File Size: 646 KB, Print Length: 448 pages, Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Language: English, ASIN: B003P9XMFI

This an amazing story that takes place in the mid-1600s in the Bavarian town of Schongau and centres on the executioner Jakob Kuisl.  During this story children are being murdered and the town council wants to execute the midwife as a witch for committing these crimes.  However, Jakob knows she is innocent and sets out to find out who the true culprits are, despite the obstacles that he must face.

The Hangman’s Daughter was written by a descendant of the Kuisl family and the book is a historical fiction.  It is also falls into the suspense genre since we know that a crime was committed, but not by whom until the end of the book.  It is told in the third person narrative from the various characters within the story.  The main protagonists are Jakob Kuisl, the hangman, his gorgeous daughter Magdelena Kuisl and Simon, the physician’s son.

Jakob, with the help of his daughter and the young handsome doctor, tries to uncover the mystery of who is murdering the children. However, he is on a time crunch and must do this before the government official arrives in town for the trial.  He has great pressure put on him by the town’s council to force a conviction from the midwife through the use of torture. The executioner and his family are shunned by the townsfolk which makes the task even more difficult.

The story is exciting and there is a fair bit of action in it.  There are numerous interesting characters including the “devil”, an evil man with a bone hand. The historical references to the witch hunting done in the previous years were gruesome and unsettling, yet also thought-provoking. The story progressed with good pacing and the climax at the end was full of surprises. The author did a good of first putting out many different tenticles and then weaving them all together for a satisfying story.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction, the depiction of  Germany in the mid 1600s is fascinating. Also, if you enjoy reading a good suspense, you will enjoy this book.

 

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Loyalty in Death by J. D. Robb

This entry is part 10 of 26 in the series In Death Series

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
In Death Series, Book 10
Publisher: The Penguin Publishing Group (Electronic Edition: October 2003), EBook: 574 KB, Language: English

This is a good futuristic suspense novel featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas. She is a tough, smart, likeable homicide detective. In each book she solves a crime and finds the killer. The book also encompasses her entire life including her personal relationships. Eve is investigating a couple of seemingly unrelated murders. One is the murder of a much-loved successful business man and the other a low-life computer wizard. Then through into the mix a crazy terrorist group is setting bombs throughout the city.

Loyalty in Death is the tenth book in the In Death series by J.D. Robb, to date she has written 40 books in the series. I have read most of these books and found them all to be enjoyable and well written. This book falls into both the suspense and romance categories as the book focuses on the case Eve is currently working on as well as Eve and Roake’s relationship. This is a futuristic suspense that takes place in 2059 in New York City. The books are told in a third person narrative that focuses primarily on Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a dedicated and talented homicide detective. Although the story is also told through some of the other characters including the murderer. The books are written by Nora Roberts under the pseudonym of J. D. Robb.

This book has lots going on, but the main focus is on finding and stopping a terrorist group. Eve must find out where the next attack will be so she can prevent damage and save hundreds, if not thousands of people.  At the same time she must also deduce who is behind this group and bring them down. Intertwined in this investigation Eve must help Peabody’s brother, who has become a murder suspect. There is plenty of action and fair amount of suspense as the story builds.

This is a standalone book but I am sure that if you read it you would be quickly reading the other books in the series. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about strong female lead characters and enjoys a suspense story. The story is well written and enjoyable. I also recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about a bit of romance since there is a fair bit of this as well as some hot sex scenes between Eve and Roake.

 

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Midnight in Death by J. D. Robb

This entry is part 8 of 26 in the series In Death Series

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
In Death Series, Book 8
Publisher: The Penguin Publishing Group, EBook: 102 KB, Language: English, ISBN-0-7865-9938-3

A good futuristic suspense novella featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas. Lieutenant Eve Dallas is a tough, smart, likable homicide detective. In each book she solves a crime and finds the killer. The book also encompasses her entire life including her personal relationships. A serial killer that Eve had committed to jail several years ago has escaped and is seeking revenge on all the law enforcement officials who put him in jail.  It is up to Eve to track him down once again.

Midnight in Death is the eighth book in the In Death series by J.D. Robb, to date she has written 39 books in the series with book # 40 to be released  Februrary 11, 2011.  I have read most of these books and found them all to be enjoyable and well written.  This book falls into both the suspense and romance categories as the book focuses on the case Eve is currently working on as well as Eve and Roake’s relationship.  This is a futuristic suspense that takes place in 2058 in New York City. The books are told in a third person narrative that focuses primarily on Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a dedicated and talented homicide detective. At times, the author also gives us insight into some of the other characters including the murderer. The books are written by Nora Roberts under the pseudonym of J. D. Robb.

In this story Eve knows who the murderer is and who the potential victims are, but she does not know where he is.  So the race is on to locate him before he kills anyone else on his list. Both Eve and Doctor Mira, Eve’s mother figure who works as a profiler for the police department, are on his list.  It is always interesting to read Eve as she tracks down her suspects. The story becomes very suspenceful towards the end and has a very satisfying conclusion.

This is a standalone book, it is also fairly short compared to most of the books in the series. So it is a good quick read for when you are in a hurry. I am sure that if you read it you would be quickly reading the other books in the series.  I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about strong female lead characters and enjoys a suspense story.   The story is well written and enjoyable.  I also recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about a bit of romance since there is a fair bit of this as well as some hot sex scenes between Eve and Roake.

 

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Holiday in Death by J. D. Robb

This entry is part 7 of 26 in the series In Death Series

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
In Death Series, Book 7
Publisher: The Penguin Publishing Group (Electronic Edition: July 2001), EBook: 573 KB, Language: English, ISBN-0-7865-0092-1

A good futuristic suspense novel featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas. The Lieutenant is a tough, smart, likable homicide detective. In each book she solves a crime and finds the killer. The book also encompasses her entire life including her personal relationships. This is Eve and Roake’s first Christmas together, but there is a serial killer targeting customers of an exclusive dating service and it is up to Eve Dallas to find the killer.

Holiday in Death is the seventh book in the In Death series by J.D. Robb, to date she has written 39 books in the series with book # 40 to be released  February 11, 2011.  I have read most of these books and found them all to be enjoyable and well written.  This book falls into both the suspense and romance categories as the book focuses on the case Eve is currently working on as well as Eve and Roake’s relationship.  This is a futuristic suspense that takes place in 2058 in New York City. The books are told in a third person narrative that focuses primarily on Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a dedicated and talented homicide detective. At times, the author also gives us insight into some of the other characters including the murderer. The books are written by Nora Roberts under the pseudonym of J. D. Robb.

Eve is working with her usual team which includes her aide Officer Peabody, Captain Feeney, Roake and the addition of a new character, Detective Ian McNabb. McNabb works in EDD (the electronics division) with Captain Feeney and is an interesting character who has long blonde hair and dresses very funky with bright colours and loads of earrings.  Eve is working really hard to track down the brutal serial killer of lonely singles. The theme of the murderer is the 12 days of Christmas, and as each consecutive murder is committed it is getting closer and closer to Christmas.  Eve does not have a lot to go on, but she does know that all the victims were customers of an exclusive dating service.  So Eve decides to put her aide and Detective McNabb in undercover. The relationship between Peabody and McNabb is touchy with McNabbshowing great concern for Peabody. They both go into the undercover with great aplomb. Eve and her team work hard together to solve the puzzle of who is committing the crime.

The story is interesting and well written.  There is a good intermingling between solving the case and Eve’s personal life. Robb gives a few suspects for us to look at but does not reveal the true murderer until the end of the book.  If you are looking to solve a mystery along with Eve then you will be disappointed since you cannot solve this book on your own. The ending of the book is quite suspenceful and has a great conclusion.  As usual there were a few sex scenes between Eve and Roake and they were steamy as ever.

This is a stand alone book, and I am sure that if you read it you would be quickly reading the previous books in the series. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about a strong female lead and enjoys a suspense story.  The story is well written and  enjoyable. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading romance since there is a fair bit of this as well as some hot sex scenes between Eve and Roake.

 

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Burnt Offerings by Laurell K. Hamilton

This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter Series

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Seventh Book in Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter Series
Publisher: Jove (Electronic Edition: December 2002), EBook: 382 KB, Language: English, ISBN-0-7865-2906-7

This book starts out with Anita reviewing all her various scars, and there are a lot of them, then she is asked to help solve another super natural case involving a psychic fire starter.

This is the seventh book in the series and to date there are a total of 20 books. This book falls into the contemporary, urban fantasy genre with Anita Blake as a necromancer by trade and a sometimes vampire slayer known as The Executioner. There are vampires and other supernatural beings living together with humans in her world.  The book also falls into the romance genre with plenty of graphic sex. The story is told using the character narrative with Anita’s voice and thoughts as we follow her around.

She gets dragged into helping Jean-Claude with his political Vampire problems. She is also drawn into the wereleopard pack because she killed their former leader in the previous book and they desperately need someone to protect and take care of them.

There is lots going on and the story is interesting.  Anita and Richard are learning what the triumvirate can do for and to each of them and learning it with them is fascinating.   Anita is becoming closer to Jean-Claude and yet she still does not trust him or feel completely comfortable with him.  Anita is now only dating Jean-Claude but she is still involved in Richard’s life. There is the introduction of new, sexy vampire called Asher, whose power is sex.

Once again I enjoyed reading Anita in action. We are given more information about the world she lives in and it is interesting to learn about her growing powers while she is learning them. Richard is becoming more irritating and the less we see of him the better. Throughout the book Anita is solving problems with plenty of action. Sex plays a much larger role in this book and it is very graphic.  I like that the story had a good conclusion and I am still curious to see where this series is going, so I will definitely be reading the next book in the series.

If you enjoy reading contemporary, urban fantasy that deals with vampires and werewolves and includes a strong female lead then you will enjoy this book.  If you enjoy reading romance with graphic sex, you will enjoy this book since sex is a large part of Anita’s new powers.

 

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