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Willaful Review: Rogue Rider by Larissa Ione

Sensuality rating: Torrid

Traditionally, the last book in a romance series is about a fascinating character that we’ve seen in the previous books and are dying to read about. In this case, there’s a twist: Reseph is someone we’ve only seen in tiny snippets and though the memories of others. One of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, he’s spent the last three books ruled by an inner evil, Pestilence. As Pestilence, he caused vast misery in the world and committed vicious crimes against the members of his own family — the other three horsemen, and the heroes and heroines of the previous books — in an effort to force them to join him. Which of course made me even more eager to read his story and discover who Reseph really is, and how he’s going to redeem himself and reconnect with his family.

As the story opens, the world in general is trying to recover from the plagues, wars, and demon attacks Pestilence caused, and Jillian Cardiff in particular is trying to recover from a terrible attack that left her damaged inside and out. When she rescues a gorgeous naked man she finds in the snow, all of her protective mechanisms are challenged — including the voice of experience which tells her she has very bad instincts when it comes to men.

Amnesia is the perfect set-up for this book: it gives the powerful Reseph a touch of vulnerability, frees him from crippling guilt (temporarily, of course) and exposes his true self with no filters.  Tabula rasa Reseph is natural, playful, and lovable, happiest when he’s bouncing around stark naked or having sex. I liked Jillian a lot too, perhaps because Reseph always views her as strong rather than fragile. Their relationship is hot but also supportive, believable as the catalyst for Reseph to change and take responsibility for his actions.

Characterization was the strong point in this book, and pacing the weak. The first half drags a bit; the second has more compelling storytelling, but wastes some of its angst potential.  When you have a really powerful set-up for drama and then don’t use it… well, it may be different, but it’s also disappointing. The ending is strong though, and has a great set-up for the next book — which apparently will count as part of the “Demonica” series, rather than the “Lords of Deliverance.” (It doesn’t make a whole lot of difference — they’re extremely intertwined.)

My gut instinct rating for Rogue Rider is 3 1/2 stars, even though in many ways I really liked it. If you’ve enjoyed the rest of the series, you certainly won’t want to miss it. (I also thought while reading it that it could stand alone, but another reviewer who hadn’t read the previous books was very lost.)  You can order it from Amazon here or Barnes and Noble here.

Published by Grand Central. Reviewed from an e-arc provided by netGalley

Willaful Review: Lethal Rider by Larissa Ione

Sensuality rating: Torrid, but vanilla.

Warning: there are some necessary spoilers for previous books in the series in this review. I’d highly recommend reading them in order, in any case; each book builds on the events of the previous books.

The third in the “Lords of Deliverance” series is the best story I’ve read by Ione to date.  Like the others, Lethal Rider is a hell of a ride: sexy, funny and exciting.  But it’s also poignant: the ass-kicking main characters are touchingly emotionally vulnerable, and their HEA really has to be worked for.

The story opens a significant eight and a half months after the events of Immortal Rider, in which female Aegis Guardian Regan raped Horseman of the Apocalypse Thanatos while they were both drugged.  Thanatos, who is destined to become “Death”, has been immobilized by his sibling Horsemen ever since, to prevent him from going on a bloody rampage. Meanwhile, Regan is almost ready to give birth to a son she is planning to give up for adoption, for his own good. She fully expects to die as soon as Thanatos finds her.

When Thanatos does manage to escape, he has serious plans: (more…)

After two weeks, I’m finally putting down my impressions from the insanity that is a book signing involving more than a couple hundred authors, and ten times as many fans1. As I mentioned before, the energy in that ballroom (conference room? whatever it was) was extraordinary.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me backtrack a little.

ann-aguirre-rt-09-3Ann Aguirre picked me up early on Saturday, so that we would have some time for breakfast before she had to start setting up for the signing. We had met face to face, for the first time after over a year of emailing and chatting, only that Tuesday. Let me tell you that Ann is a very funny person, as well as very down to earth. Hell, she made us dinner and everything!

(Yes, epic failure of my hostess skills-don’t tell my mother, please)

Anyway, Ann had to be inside the… well, the ginormous room for quite a while before, first, the convention attendees, and then the general public could enter, so I waited in line for a while. What does one do when standing around without a book (really, it would have been a bit like bringing a lump of coal to a mine, you know), but people watch? And so I did. (more…)

And on this fine Monday morning (if any Monday morning can be called fine, that is…), let’s welcome author Larissa Ione to KKB. Ms Ione has graciously offered herself as willing victim erm… guest here today.

In case some of you are not aware, Ms Ione’s third Demonica novel, Passion Unleashed, releases tomorrow from Grand Central Publishing. The first title in the series, Pleasure Unbound, got quite a few rave reviews and authorly squees (check out Ann Aguirre’s) and the second, Desire Unchained, made the USA Today Bestseller list sortly after its release date. You can find much more about these books, the Demonica world and Ms Ione herself in her website. Now… onward to the grilling! erm… interviewing. (more…)