Concealed in Death – my thoughts on the new chilling book from JD Robb

July 2nd, 2014

Concealed in Death by JD Robb

Book Title: Concealed in Death
In Death 38

Author: JD Robb

Buy Now

Ali’s thoughts

It’s been almost ten years since Rosie first introduced me to the writings of JD Robb, yet at book 37 in the series, I’m still enjoying every word.

The “In Death” series is not romance, but still has one of the most ‘romantic’ couples in Eve and Rourke, the cop and the (mostly) reformed badboy, the pauper and the billionaire. One of the reasons they remain a fantastic couple is the ways in which they balance each other.  It is this aspect of the In Death series that really keeps me hooked, for all that it usually only plays a side role within each story, Eve and Rourke are intricately linked within the plot. There is no contrivance to fit the plot to their relationship.

In Concealed in Death that link comes in the form of bodies being found in a property (one of many) that Rourke has bought. Rourke being Rourke, and being there when the bodies were found, takes this personally. Eve, being a homicide detective, and being Eve, is also going to take young girls murdered personally. Neither will rest until the killer is found.

As with any of the books in the series, if you’re a serious crime buff, the who-did-it aspect of the story is going to be far too simplistic. Although there are enough twists and turns to keep interest high, and enough emotional depth to keep tissue companies in business, for me the enjoyment in reading Concealed in Death comes from the engagement with the characters, it is their passion that leads the story. Although I will say I, for all that I was pretty sure I knew who did it, the way Eve brings everything to a conclusion still caught me.

Concealed in Death was very dark in places, the bodies of teenage girls have been found sealed up inside the walls of a disused halfway house for runaways. Although murder is never pleasant, the parallels that get drawn between these girls lives and Eves horrific ‘childhood’ take the emotional involvement of the reader to a new depth.

My only minor issue was the lack of Peabody’s main squeeze, McNab. I adore their interaction, and the public display of affection that annoys Eve in the most wonderful way. He makes an appearance, but only a minor one.

It’s hard to judge how someone who was picking this book up as their first introduction to the series would go, as part of my enjoyment is having watched the characters grow and develop over time, so some of the ‘in-jokes’ might be missed by a new reader, but I think the story itself stands up well as an introduction to the series. Or at least will most likely send a new reader back to the beginning to see where it all started. Think of it as a potential gateway drug to the wonderful In Death series. If you’re an old hand, no hard sell is required. You’ll love it.

Book Blurb

There is nothing unusual about billionaire Roarke supervising work on his new property – but when he takes a ceremonial swing at the first wall to be knocked down, he uncovers the body of a girl. And then another – in fact, twelve dead girls concealed behind a false wall. Luckily for Roarke, he is married to the best police lieutenant in town. Eve Dallas is determined to find the killer – especially when she discovers that the building used to be a sanctuary for deliquent teenagers and the parallel with her past as a young runaway hits hard. As the girls’ identities are slowly unravelled by the department’s crack forensic team, Eve and her staunch sidekick Peabody get closer to the shocking truth. . .

Buy Now

A perfect ending from Dunedin author TK Roxborgh: Birthright

April 11th, 2014

Birthright by TK RoxboroghBirthright

TK Roxborogh

Banquo’s Son Trilogy #3

Buy Now

Ali’s Thoughts

Birthright is the perfect ending to the wonderful historical series that has been the Banquo’s Son trilogy, with TK Roxborogh cleverly weaving a story around the history of a Scotland in 1055, taking the lead from Shakespeare.

This is a really hard book to review with any great detail to the plot without offering serious spoilers. Assuming that you’ve read the previous two books (Banquo’s Son and Blood Lines… and I really do recommend you read this series in order), you may be used to the fact that TK Roxborogh seems to come from the GRR Martin school of writing; plot, twist, twist, death, twist, plot.

TK Roxborogh is a rare writer that has the ability to worm a character into your soul without you realising how attached you are, until you turn the page and discover a completely unexpected twist. Despite this being the third book I’m still caught every single time. The twists are fantastic, but the depth of emotions for the characters is what really brings the story home.

Our hero, Flea, can be a bit of a pain in the butt, but it’s his relationships with others that colour my feelings towards him more often than his own actions.

My adoration of the charming Rachel changes how I feel about Flea depending on how he treats her (there’s one scene where he completely dismisses her and orders her from the room…my mouth dropped open in righteous indignation!).

That he still loves Rosie in a manner, but remains loving and loyal to Rachel warms my heart towards him. But more my respect for Blair (Rosie’s husband), and the mutual respect and friendship he and Blair share confirm Flea as a strong character for me.

Birthright is an adventure, with romance, fighting, history, dark magic, evil, divided families and divided loyalties, but it doesn’t seem to intend to be all of these things. It sets out to tell a story of a broken boy who becomes king to a broken country, and the rest just happens naturally.

That is one of the things I love about this writing style, it’s natural. The dialogue is smooth and natural, the plot flows, and we end up with a completely believable and cohesive story that is impossible to put down. This is not helped by the pace, which seems to be perfectly timed to really liven up just at the point where you’re about to put the book down and go to sleep. So yes, TK Roxborogh is, again, responsible for my sleep deprivation. But it was worth every moment.

This is the sort of series that I’ll look at on my shelf and think “meh, history,not really in the mood”, but five minutes into the story wonder why I’d forgotten how truly awesome this series is (I rarely remember books in great detail, but if they’re still only shelf I know that they’re good!). It’s a series that will be dusted of and devoured every few years. It’s calls like chocolate and good wine. It’s a curl up, turn the phone off, ignore the kids sort of book. It’s rather perfect in fact.


Book Description

Birthright is the heart-stopping conclusion to T. K. Roxborogh’s epic Banquo’s Son series.

Fleance, King of Scotland, has made a political marriage to Rachel, the sister of dead King Duncan. It may seem that happiness is not far around the corner with a royal baby expected, but things are far from peaceful in the realm. The young king and queen must dodge daggers in hallways and hold together a nation swept by a savage rebellion and a mysterious illness.

And Fleance is still haunted by his first love, Rosie, now married to one of his most trusted friends.

Can he keep the throne of Scotland when treachery is around every corner? A storm is brewing and soon the nation may experience the biggest battle in its history.

Format: Trade paperback (UK), 304 pages
ISBN: 9780143567783
Publisher: Penguin NZ
Publication Date: November 20, 2013

Buy Now

It’s been a quiet year around here…

April 6th, 2014

So, you may have noticed it’s been a little quiet around here lately. I haven’t forgotten about you, and my 3am thoughts are often with you, but…

One year and one month ago, this happened:


It’s been a wonderfully exiting and bewildering time as my husband and I adjust to life with a newborn, then life with an infant, and now life with a toddler!


So a big thank you to everyone for your continued support, and a huge woohoo for Rosie who’s been single handedly keeping you all titillated on twitter for the last year!

Hopefully my world has stopped spinning enough now that I’ll be able to get back to helping Rosie with updates and “stuff”. In the meantime, if you want us to know about what you’re up to, just let us know. We’re on email, Twitter, Facebook … and of course, right here.

Another Argeneau book just waiting to be bitten: Vampire Most Wanted

February 17th, 2014


Vampire Most Wanted by Lynsay Sands

Vampire Most Wanted
Argeneau #20


Lynsay Sands

Ali’s Thoughts

How Lynsay Sands manages to keep her Argeneau vampire series enjoyable and interesting after this long is amazing, but in Vampire Most Wanted we have another amusing, sexy, enjoyable paranormal romance set in her world of the Argeneau vampires.

Basha Argeneau is the niece of family head Lucian Argeneau. Until recently she had been presumed dead. But now new information has suggested she’s alive, and Lucian wants to find his long lost niece, even while he fears she’s gone rouge.

Marcus Notte is at a loose end and lacking a mission in life, so he’s happy, eager even, to take on Lucians task of finding the mysterious Basha. His job would be a little easier if she’d gone missing since the invention of photographs, or if anyone had thought to paint her picture. No matter, he’s pretty certain the attractive, gypsy fortune teller is his woman. In more ways than one.

Rather than creating story arc’s that never end to keep her world alive Lynsay Sands has created a world with endless vampire families that need to be matched up, and keeps her series arc’s to only 2 or 3 stories before they’re resolved and a new one starts. This means it’s quite easy to pick up any of the books in the series and thoroughly enjoy them out of order, yet not miss any major plot points.

Vampire Most Wanted follows in this vane. It’s really the conclusion to the previous few books, with how Marcus became to be at a lose end, and in need of someone to look after. It also ties in some much, much, earlier history that we get to see resolved.

That is one of the things that I adore about Ms Sands stories, there’s always just one more hidden layer that can suddenly be revealed. I’d hate to see what her white board of plot points looks like, after 20 books in this series alone it must be looking like the London A-Z.

In Vampire Most Wanted we have some nice light mystery, a few twists, some darker moments in vampire history revealed, and, of course, sexy sex and true love. All delivered with Lynsay Sands, now signature, humorous quips. Lynsay Sands’ gets humour. She doesn’t get too cheesy with it, nor is it so subtle one needs a laugh-track to know that a joke was told.

It’s a light, clean romance, with enjoyable well developed characters, interesting plot, and just full of warm fuzzies and hot sexiness.

If you’ve enjoyed the Argeneau series so far, then you’ll thoroughly enjoy Vampire Most Wanted. If you’ve never tried the series, then you are seriously missing out. Go straight to your nearest book story and start today.

Book Description

Take a road trip with the undead . . . in this latest in the argeneau series by New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands

For Basha Argeneau, anything is better than facing her estranged family. Even hiding out in sweltering southern California. But when a sexy immortal in black shows up determined to bring her back to the clan, she’ll do anything to keep far, far away from the past she can’t outrun.

Marcus Notte isn’t here to play games – especially not with someone as crazy as the infamous blonde. Asked by Lucian Argeneau to bring her back for questioning, Marcus is determined to carry out Lucian’s request; no matter how the seductive little mind-reading vamp feels about it.

Basha doesn’t mind fighting fire with fire, especially with a hot immortal involved. But if he wants to take her away, he’ll have to catch her first . . .

Format: A-format Paperback, 320 pages
ISBN: 9780062078179
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: February 18, 2014

Heroines, fallen knights and deering-do… it’s Romancing the Duke

January 27th, 2014

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Romancing the Duke
Castles Ever After

Author: Tessa Dare


Ali’s Thoughts

With a name like Isolde Ophelia Goodnight, you’d expect to be the heroine with a dashing knight on a white stallion coming to save you. Wouldn’t you?

Izzy is the daughter of a famous author who wrote stories full of romance and deering-do. She’s grown up under the shadow of a life that is supposed to have princesses and knights in shining armour. Unfortunately her reality is anything but.

After the death of her father she’s left destitute. Again. But one letter from a lawyer and suddenly she’s the proud owner of her very own run down, decrepit castle.

At least it’s a roof over her head.

Unfortunately, the castle isn’t quite as empty as she was lead to believe, and the Duke of Rothbury is not about to let some flighty flibergidget take his castle.

It never ceases to amaze me how, in a genre with so many wonderful stories, authors like Tessa Dare keep coming up with original and amusing stories.

I simply adored Izzy. She’s such a fun character. Rather down to earth and practical, but able to really enjoy the moments of pleasure that she can find, and she’s just a charming extravert who’s warmth rather bulldozers over people.

The Duke is, of course, taciturn and sullen, as all good protagonists should be. He has reason to be a little moody, and he will, of course, make a complete hash of things, proving that all is right in the story flow.

One of the rather delightful aspects of Romancing the Duke is the backstory around Izzy’s fathers serial story, and the introduction of the fans of the story. It really changes this from another historical romance where boy and girl dance around stepping on each other’s toes, metaphorically usually, until they stumble and end up in love. The back story and layers around this make Romance the Duke a whole new level of enjoyable.

Overall, Romancing the Duke follows enough of the standard plot sequence of historical romances to be a warm and comfortable read, but Tessa Dare spices things up to create a delightfully funny and clever romance that’s just a perfect post holiday cheer up.


Book Description

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens.  She never doubted romance would be in her future, too.  The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off.  One by one by one.

  • Ugly duckling turned swan?
  • Abducted by handsome highwayman?
  • Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?

No, no, and . . . Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head.  What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

Format: A-format Paperback, 384 pages
ISBN: 9780062240194
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 01, 2014