The Gypsy Muse – Author Rachel Kenley

September 16, 2011

Friday Bedside Book Review – The Second Betrayal by Cheyenne McCray

The second in the Lexi Steele Series

I’m taking a break from talking about my book to talking about an author who inspires me – Cheyenne McCray, who’s books are passionate, well paced, peopled with great characters and (grab the ice water) *very* hot.  She’s done several different series including the Armed and Dangerous series, Night Tracker series, and the Magic series (along with some great stand alones).  I, however, happen to be a fan of the Lexi Steele series and this is the second Ms. McCray has written to date.

Lexi Steele and Nick Donovan are an excellent team. Nick is that strong alpha you dream about. However, without a great heroine I lose interest.  I particularly like Lexi because she is both strong when she must be and has a touch of understandable vulnerability because of her history and her deep love and commitment to her big Irish family.  Together Lexi and Nick are a fiery combination. The heat between these two was papable in the first book and is even more so now.  If you like your romantic suspense with sizzle – this is the series for you.

One of the interesting things about this book is the mix of POV (points of view).  When we are in Lexi’s POV, the book is in first person.  For Nick and everyone else, it’s in third.  When I read The First Sin I was surprised and it took me a while to get used to it, but I’ve definitely come to like it and appreciate the differences it gives the reader.  We are *in* Lexi’s head, hear all of her thoughts as though she were talking to us and I’ve found it made me feel more connected to her, which is espeically important given the intense plot going on all around her (professionally: human trafficing; personally: mom has breast cancer).

When I am working on a manuscript, the closer I get to the end, the more I need to read books only in my genre because the language and the atmosphere are similar.  This is where I find Ms. McCray inspiring.  Her mix of characterization, plot and heat is strong and consistent. Her pacing is excellent; her dialogue snappy and realistic. It’s like having a mentor at my bedside. 

Ms. McCray… I wanna third Lexi novel, and I’m certain I’m not alone in that desire!


July 2, 2011

Friday Bedside Book Review – American Gods

Filed under: Friday Bedside Book Review — authorrachelkenley @ 8:14 pm
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Okay… it’s Saturday, but I was so close to the end of the book I had to finish it and write about American Gods, by Neil Gaiman.  The novel, deservedly, won both the Hugo and Nebula awards.  It is wonderful.

For the most part, we follow Shadow, a man recently released from a three year stint in prison who is expecting to return to the wife and job he left behind.  When she is killed his plans are up in the air, un

This is not a fast read, but it is worth every minute of it.  It was referred to me by my friend and fellow writer, Jeffrey C. Pettengill, who listened to the audio version and I am very glad I took his recommendation. Old and new gods are warring for survival and every mythos seems to represented either as important characters or in glimpses and gatherings. I loved the characters, the pace and, perhaps most importantly, the vision Mr. Gaiman was trying – successfully – to bring to the readers of the world we live in and whether it is even possible to believe anymore.

Gaiman is currently on tour celebrating the 10th anniversary of the publication of this novel and HBO is in the process of creating a three year miniseries based on the book.  In a recent interview  with the author said.  “One of the things I’m concerned about is that I really want to make sure the races of all the characters are kept. I want to keep the racial mix in American Gods the same. And, I want to make it faithful, but also would like it to have a few surprises for people who read the book.”

It would be a delight to see this book come to life.  In the meantime, pick it up now, even if you are in the middle of reading something else, so when you are at a loss for what to read, you know you have something truly worthwhile waiting for you.

Have you already read the book?  Let me know what you thought?

May 20, 2011

Friday Bedside Book Review

Read this book!

There are not enough glowing adjectives for me to describe the incredibly sexy vampire books of Joey W. Hill — but I’ll try. 

Vampire Mistress is the fourth of Ms. Hill’s vampire books I’ve read and it is as moving, intense and erotic as the others.  For those who’ve read The Vampire Queen’s Servant and The Mark of the Vampire Queen, Gideon is the brother of Jacob Green (the hero of those novels and of an upcoming third book, Bound by the Vampire Queen – Dec 2011).  If ever there was a character less likely to commit himself to a vampire, it’s the tortured Gideon.  And if ever there were an author who could make his journey believable – it’s Ms. Hill.

Gideon is looking for release at the BDSM club, Atlantis, run by the sexy and intuitive domme Anwyn Naime.  When she is turned into a vampire in an act of violence and vengence (because of her friendship with the vampire Daegan Rei), Gideon finds himself in a situation that will rip his emotional foundation apart, only to put it back stronger than ever.  His journey, along with Anwyn and Daegan is riviting and wrenching.

And did I mention how sexy it is?  OMG – not to be cliche, but this book deserves a warning label.  Few writers can match Ms. Hill for her ability to maintain a consistently high level of sensuality even when she’s not writing a love/sex scene.  The book is erotic ALL THE TIME, not only when there is something physical going on. 

..then read this one!

There is a second book to Gideon’s story, Vampire Trinity, which I cannot wait to read.  Also coming this year, along with the previously mentioned Jacob and Lyssa story, is a second in the vampire Daniella’s story, Vampire Instinct, which is being released in July.  That should keep the summer hot.

If you like paranormal romance, and you like your romance *hot*, you cannot go wrong with a novel from the Vampire Queen series by Joey W. Hill.

Which authors immediately go to the top of your to-be-read pile?

April 15, 2011

Friday Beside Book Review – Maya Banks

Sweet Persuasion

When I’m writing an erotic romance, I need to read erotic romance.  Good – and preferably great – erotic romance.  I was very happy, therefore, to finally take SWEET PERSUASION by Maya Banks off my to-be-read list.

This was my first Banks novel and it wont be my last.  Serena is a strong heroine, which makes her fantasy of wanting to be a sex slave hard for her to believe.  Fortunately Damon, a man more into reality than fantasy, is there to help her.  In addition to a great love story and fiery sex scenes, I was very moved by Serena’s dilemma around the importance of fantasies and fantasy fulfillment.  Is it a good thing?  Or does it just make you realize what you don’t have when the fantasy ends.

This book stands alone,  but it is the second in the “Sweet” series, the first being Faith’s story. According to Ms. Banks’ website: Book 1:Sweet Surrender.
Book 2: Sweet Persuasion
Book 3: Sweet Seduction
Book 4: Sweet Temptation
Book 5: Sweet Possession
Coming Soon! Book 6, Sweet Addiction, will be  releasing April 2012.

Fans of erotic romance will not be disappointed by this book.  I certainly wasn’t and will be looking for more by Maya Banks in the future.

What erotic romance do you recommend?

March 25, 2011

Friday – Bedside Book Review – Uglies

Filed under: Friday Bedside Book Review — authorrachelkenley @ 3:12 pm
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Book One - start here

I have come late to Uglies party, since they have been out for quite a while, but this series by Scott Westerfeld is wonderful.  Tally is an exciting and likeable heroine and even if her world is fantasical, it is also familiar.  The driving desire of a nearly sixteen year old to be pretty and fit in is timeless.  The fact that this society has determined that looking a certain way leads to less violence and more piece is frightening in it’s possibility.

Much of the first book reminded me of a “Twilight Zone” episode entitled “Number Twelve Looks Just Like You” where every one chooses at around 16 what they will look like forever.  The choices are limited and one young woman doesn’t want to go through the change which not only leaves her looking like everyone, but thinking like them as well.

When Talley leaves her world to meet the people of Smoke, readers experienceher waffle between what she was told to do, what she’s always wanted (to be Pretty), and her new knowledge and feelings.  It is an unforgetable ride.  (Speaking of which – you are SO going to want a hoverboard!)

This looks tempting after I'm done with the series

I immediately read the next book “Pretties” and the third book in the series, “Specials” is on it’s way in the mail.  Initially planned as a trilogy, Westerfield added “Extras” to the series when he discovered there was more to tell.  I am looking forward to reading more of Tally and her friends and what, ultimately, becomes of their world.

This series is on my keeper shelf.

February 18, 2011

Friday Bedside Book Review – Soulless by Gail Carriger

Filed under: Friday Bedside Book Review — authorrachelkenley @ 10:56 pm
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Writers are told to do two things regularly.  Read and write.  My prefered genres are fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance and, recently, steampunk, although I do read nongenre and literary fiction and I’ve promised myself I will read Great Expectations before the year is out.  I am usually reading two books at a time, a paperback that comes with me everywhere (heaven forbid I’m caught without a book), and one by my bedside.

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Recently, those were one and the same as I was pulled into the wonderful steampunk world of Alexia Tarabotti in Gail Carriger’s Soulless.  This book has something for everyone and everything very well done.  Alexia a 25 year old on the shelf spinster in an alternate England.  The language used by Carriger is rich and lush.  It’s been so long since I’ve read a regency romance that it took me a while to slip into the flow, but once I did the ride was completely worth it.

I wont give away some of the plot details because how Carriger gives them to her readers is so beautifully done.  The book, simply, has everything we could want.  A Strong, smart heroine.  Smart alpha (literally) hero who loves the heroine even when he wants to throttle her and a terrific plot involving a threat to the preternatural and supernatural communities which are now an accepted part of London Society.

And the best thing about the book?  There are three more.  Changeless and Blameless are out now and Heartless is coming before the end of the year.  Alexia is a character worth spending time with and Ms. Carriger is definitely an author to put on your auto buy list.

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