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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wicked Whispers by Nina Bangs

Wicked Whispers by Nina Bangs
Publisher: Berkley Publishing (Penguin Group)
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (247 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

All Ivy had ever wanted was a safe, secure life with no drama. Now she was working in an adult theme park where visitors came to role-play their wildest imaginings. She reminded herself to stay focused on her job and to ignore everything else. The reminders didn’t work. One man drew her. Murmur was every erotic dream she’d tried to repress, every deliciously dangerous temptation she said she didn’t need. Her instinct suggested that this was a man who walked in darkness. She ignored the warning.

But Murmur was more than what he seemed. A powerful demon, he used his evil gift to destroy as well as seduce. In desiring him, Ivy had opened herself to a menace born centuries ago—one that would risk both their lives and betray the promises made with every one of his…

I adore the Castle of Dark Dreams. There is always interesting mayhem, hunky tortured heroes in need of saving and a couple of Cosmic Troublemakers to keep the stories from taking themselves too seriously. Ms. Bangs does serve up a satisfying assortment of drama, suspense, double-cross and general spookiness but it’s balanced with a delightful sense of quirkiness, naughty and sometimes suggestive humor or outright knee slapping hilarity. Every book has a troublemaker and every tale has a romance but other than that, they always seem to surprise me with the author’s creative imagination. Each novel is unique and Wicked Whispers carries on that fine storytelling tradition.

Murmur’s signature T.V. game show should be Name that Tune – win and die. He’s a demon and his music kills. He doesn’t sound like the ideal candidate for a hero, does he. Let me assure you, he’s perfect. He has feelings that are new to him because he’s been topside on Earth too long. It was fun watching him see-saw between wanting to feel, not wanting, interested in what they mean and afraid of what they might mean. The poor guy was all over the place until one fateful night he got more ‘feelings’ then he was prepared to handle. He met Ivy. She drove him nuts and yet she intrigued him. He thought it was bad before but with Ivy on the scene, emotions and urges bombarded him and the results were often sweet, sometimes smoking hot and other moments were just plain funny. How could I not like him?

Ivy was a terrific heroine. She has family and is loyal. She has a great work ethic and experiencing weirdness, like having a spiderfest, didn’t seem to faze her at all. Then again, when a reader finds out about her family history, I suppose that explains a lot. It sure made her fascinating and a perfect partner for a music demon. She was a sweet heroine to get to know and I enjoyed how the author put her in all kinds of predicaments to see how she’d react. Add in her feisty internal dialogue and I found the book vastly entertaining.

That’s the thing with most books written by Ms. Bangs. Her dialogue is usually crisp, with fast repartee that includes great puns and social references that flow naturally between her characters. It’s like a reader is in on an inside joke.

Music has the power to sooth the savage beast but in this book it has a way of making a woman swoon, pant and generally feel like she’s had the best release ever. However, it’s not as it first appeared and I was wow’d by the concept. Ivy is no pushover and she gives Murmur a what-for. I do so love a spunky heroine.

Secondary characters are integral to the plot conflict and that includes Bain. After reading this novel, I’m pretty sure he’s going to be in dire need of a Cosmic Troublemaker assist because his happy ever after is in a pickle. The dude got shocked with a capital “S” and in a most spectacular fashion. It’s a great hook for his future story and I can’t wait to read how in the world Ms. Bangs is going to fix his ‘whoops!”.

Zane is back. He’s another character that populates the Castle of Dark Dreams and although his role is small as a secondary personality, his potential is huge. The dynamics between him and his dad are always an attention grabber. Again, he helps with the hero and heroine and doesn’t undermine the focus of the story. It’s just always nice to see him because someday, the spotlight will be on him.

As for the bad guys and the conflict, all I have to say is, ‘very cool’. I never suspected a thing until Ivy started noticing some inconsistencies. The battle was part scary and part fun. I guess it has something to do with who was doing the fighting and how it took place. Like I said, Ms. Bangs has a great imagination and the story is very entertaining because of it.

Read Wicked Whispers if you’re in the mood for fun and chaos with a little loving on the side. The happily ever after is sweet and true to character and the hijinks between Asima and Sparkle should induce a few giggles. This is a great book to spend some time with and relax.