Thursday, December 31, 2009
To end the year on a high note, I'm going to try and do a not Bible length post about the Worth It and Not Worth It picks of 2009. I can't say that this covers everything, apparently my Google Calendar didn't start until March 2009, but I think all in all this covers most of the year so it should still be helpful.
Worth It: This was the year for sequels. Throughout 2009 I saw a lot of authors come forward with incredible additions to well loved series. Whether it was Magic Strikes by Illona Andrews, the 3rd in her series, or Turn Coat by Jim Butcher, the 11th in his, sequels just roared to the forefront with power and substance. They stood on their own with story lines and characters twists, making the whole series that much more powerful. Whether the author was old or new, sequels totally grabbed my heart this year, with ones like The Mane Squeeze by Shelly Laurenston and Burning Wild by Christine Feehan being read over and over again. Here's the final list of what really caught my attention in 2009:
Magic Strikes – Andrews
Turn Coat – Jim Butcher
Lover Avenged – JR Ward
Burning Wild – Christine Feehan
Dead and Gone – Charlaine Harris
Skin Trade – Laurell K. Hamilton
Mastered by Love- Stephanie Laurens
What a Dragon Should Know – G.A. Aiken
The Mane Squeeze – Shelly Laurenston
Not Worth It: There weren't many books this year that were completely and totally not worth my time. Even the 3 that made this list weren't complete losses, just ones that I wish I'd gotten from the library because they weren't that good and now I'm going to feel compelled to complete the series. Nora Roberts' Vision in White was just not that good. It was typical and mediocre and not an example of the type of eye catching romance that she usually writes. That's what really puts it in this category - I know she can do better and I refuse to accept that this is how she chose to start a new series (especially a trade paper series). Anthologies are always tricky, so Never After's appearance on this side wasn't a surprise, and Covet by JR Ward was just strange. I understand that it was series opener, and thus had a lot of world building and character explanations to do, but I still feel like it could have done better. So the short but sweet Not Worth It list looks like this:
Vision in White – Roberts
Covet – JR Ward
Never After - Laurell K. Hamilton, Yasmine Galenorn, Marjorie M. Liu, Sharon Shinn
Biggest Fake Out: Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.
I did this final part not to blame Patrick Rothfuss, but to mourn the book that could have been. I was SO READY for his next book to come out, and to find that it wasn't even through being edited was a bit of a shock. I'm still excited, I'm still waiting with bated breath for the book to be released, but in 2009 there was no bigger fake out than Wise Man's Fear.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Many stories tell of damsels in distress, who are rescued from the clutches of fire-breathing dragons by knights in shining armor, and swept off to live happily ever after.
This is not one of those stories.
True, when Creel’s aunt suggests sacrificing her to the local dragon, it is with the hope that the knight will marry Creel and that everyone (aunt and family included) will benefit handsomely. Yet it’s Creel who talks her way out of the dragon’s clutches. And it’s Creel who walks for days on end to seek her fortune in the king’s city with only a bit of embroidery thread and a strange pair of slippers in her possession.
But even Creel could not have guessed the outcome of this tale. For in a country on the verge of war, Creel unknowingly possesses not just any pair of shoes, but a tool that could be used to save her kingdom…or destroy it.
Go buy Dragon Slippers! Immediately! Do you feel like you've lost touch with your childhood? Do you feel like you just can't remember why reading used to be fun and now it's a chore? GO BUY DRAGON SLIPPERS AND YOU'LL REMEMBER! This books is an incredible example of why juvenile literature should be embraced by all ages but especially encouraged in the young. It balances so well between being a childrens book and being a young adult novel. Creel shows the type of go-getter attitude that will endear her on the hearts and minds of everyone. And the adventure is definitely heart pounding, with dragons doing battle and good against evil at the center.
I would definitely recommend that anyone take the time to read this book for themselves or with someone younger. I'm most exited about reading the rest of this series and hopefully starting in on her other set of books.
Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. A lot of fun and one that's good for everyone at any age.
Series - 1) Dragon Slippers 2) Dragon Flight 3) Dragon Spear
There is a monster feeding off of human blood, flesh, and souls and Gaby must stop him. But her passion for Luther distracts her from the terrible connection she has with her quarry-and the creature's desire to devour her.
It shows you how busy life can be, when you go through your old posts and find a draft of review from FIVE MONTHS AGO that you barely remember. Oy. I need to always finish what I start - this is the lesson that I've learned from this. Now, back to the review.
I think I might have said this before, but what I find the most intriguing about this series by Foster is that it's never quite clear how much is real, how much is fantasy. You're never really certain when what Gaby sees is what's there and when it might be a hallucination. It's pretty much always implied that what she sees is what's actually happening, in all its gruesome, bloody glory, but the cops and other supportive characters in the books don't always see it. It's more that they're willing to trust Gaby's instincts than anything else. In this particular book I like the continuation of Gaby and Luther's relationship, with both of them trying to figure out how to fit in each other's lives with all these new monsters and responsibilities around them. All of the reluctantly gotten, but now treasured friends that Gaby has accumulated throughout the other books make an appearance, and Foster does a great job of making the reader excited for the next book, while also secretly dreading the monster that's going to be revealed the next time around.
Overall Feeling -Thumbs up. Of course darker than her romance, Foster shows a real aptitude for making what goes bump in the night real in our world.
Series - 1) Servant: The Awakening 2) Servant: The Acceptance 3) Servant: The Kindred
They will clean out the demons and the suicides, and move on. As long as they stay within the rules, Jill Kismet can't deny them entry. But she can watch--and if they step out of line, she'll send them packing.
When Cirque performers start dying grotesquely, Kismet has to find out why, or the fragile truce won't hold and her entire city will become a carnival of horror. She also has to play the resident hellbreed power against the Cirque to keep them in line, and find out why ordinary people are needing exorcisms. And then there's the murdered voodoo practitioners, and the zombies.
An ancient vengeance is about to be enacted. The Cirque is about to explode. And Jill Kismet is about to find out some games are played for keeps...
Yay I'm not dead! Sorry for the absence readers - I've been dealing with house guests galore! (House guests, if you're reading this, it's not that I don't love you, it's just that you make me slightly too busy to be reading enough to write good reviews!) Anyway, what matters is that instead of rereading old stuff I finally finished something new! I think I've reviewed her books before, but it doesn't really matter for this one does it? Flesh Circus picks up where Redemption Alley left of, with Jill Kismet still fighting the good fight, trying to keep the monsters of the nightside from taking over entirely. I tried to be as committed to Saintcrow's Valentine series, but I think that Jill is just a much more compelling character, with enough twists, turns, and almost psychopathic tendencies to keep a reader interested for a good long while. And of course the types of bad guys that take center stage in these books are also what keep me coming for more. Hellbreed and Traders might be the usual, but Saintcrow manipulates what goes on them in such a way that you're never bored or feel like you know what's going to happen - in fact, it's quite the opposite. Often you feel like you're in the middle of an intricate mystery that has so many hidden components that you're never going to get out unless she shows you the way. But you never feel like you're not connected, so it's always fun to get to the end.
Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. It might have taken me a few days to get enough free time to read the book, but it was definitely worth the wait. A great paranormal series to have on your shelf!
Series - 1) Night Shift 2) Hunter's Prayer 3) Redemption Alley 4) Flesh Circus
Thursday, December 24, 2009
In the spirit of the season and of the joy of the day - Merry Christmas! Try to take some time for yourself, not just your family, to reminisce on the good things you have in your life! It might not be Thanksgiving, but thanks and thoughts can still be given for everything and every person that is important.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
It was walking into work today that made me think of this one - along with the conversations I had with my house guest last night: how do you buy a gift for someone that loves to read? It's an unexpectedly hard question once you start thinking about it. What books do they want? What books do they already have? If they follow a particular series, are they waiting for that one book to complete their set or is the whole thing a hodgepodge they're still trying to fill? Once all the questions start coming to mind it almost seems easier to scrap the whole thing and just get your friend a hat. But don't fret! I am here to tell you that it's a lot easier to buy for a book lover than it seems at first glance. All you have to remember are two simple things:
1) Don't be ashamed of buying a gift card! This is a VERY important lesson to remember! I don't care what people say about 'surprises' or proving that you really 'know' them - a book lover will love a gift card! Who doesn't love the option of buying everything they want, from now until some point in the future when they finally use up the card? Unless of course they're people like me, who have their book list planned out 6 months in advance and can use up a gift card in one trip. But even then, don't think I don't enjoy it! I have a tendency to buy a lot of the books I want, I budget for them in fact, and I think I would be making a pretty good guess to say that other book lovers do the same thing. So unless you live with them, and can search through their bookshelves to find out what they're missing (or if you have ESP, which if you do, A+ for the win! Want to give my mind a try?), it's really just better to go with the gift card. Yes it's not big and spiffy and wrapped with a bow (unless you do that box within a box trick, which unless you're experienced I wouldn't recommend), but they'll love it just as if it was.
2) Forgo the element of surprise and just ask what he/she wants. I have to say that nobody likes to hear this option but it's been the one to give me the most personal satisfaction. Say that someone is waiting to start a series of books, one that's been going on for a while now so it has a lot of backlisted titles - it's hard to just jump into that. BUT if you were to ask them if there was a particular book or books they really wanted, this gives them the chance to step forward and say 'I would love if you could get me this..." If surprises are a really big thing for you, then ask for a list of books that they want. This allows you to pick and choose as you go, thus avoiding a situation where they'll know exactly what they're opening Christmas day.
Ok guys, those are my two big tips for the holidays. Sounds simple, right? It would probably surprise you how many people stress themselves out worrying what to get for that special someone in their life. Well these two seemingly simple things will make your life easier! But what about you? What do you do when you're not sure what to get someone for Christmas or their birthday?
Saturday, December 19, 2009
For some reason I'm always reluctant to pick up the latest book in this series. Maybe I'm afraid that Tamora will have a sudden fit of ennui and ruin a perfectly good story so far or that all of sudden some important character will die and it'll be too much for me. Who knows? Though I have decided at this point that I blame some of my hesitance on the jacket descriptions. For some reason they give me this feeling of doom for the series - I should probably just stop reading those entirely, huh? Well either way I was happily surprised and this was a great book for the Beka Cooper series. Beka has a grown up a bit and she's a full-fledged Dog, one who gets drawn into big to-dos at home and in Port Caynn. I highly recommend that you take some time and grab this book to ad to your shelves - because whether it's for you, your children, or any neighboring relative that crosses your path, it's a fun book. And a fun book with the appropriate amount of action and romance for all ages is almost impossible to come by.
Overall Feeling - Thumbs up! I great Young Adult book, but it's adult enough for all of us!
Series - 1) Terrier 2) Bloodhound 3)Mastiff (2010)
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Created solely for pleasure, Eland is a level-three Shareem. Rough, edgy, commanding. Oh, the things he could teach Jeanne…if he can stay alive long enough.
I haven't stopped by Ellora's Cave in awhile, mostly because the authors I like haven't been publishing a lot through there lately. BUT Allyson James just released this new, quick, little read for free! All of the 'Naughty Nooners' are free from Ellora's Cave, but definitely check this one out and catch up on the world of Bor Narga and the Shareem!
Overall Feeling - Thumbs up! Kind of a tease at 24pgs, but still fun!
Series - 1) Rees 2) Maia and Rylan 3) Rio 4) Aiden and Ky 5) Calder 6) Eland
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Here’s the problem: Lucy doesn’t have the knack for matchmaking. According to family legend, every Valentine has been blessed by Cupid with the ability to read “auras” and pair up perfect couples. But not Lucy. Her skills were zapped away years ago in an electrical surge, and now all she can do is find lost objects. What good is that in the matchmaking world? You’d be surprised. In a city like Boston, everyone’s looking for something. So when Lucy locates a missing engagement ring—on a dead body—she asks the sexy private eye who works upstairs to help her solve the perfect crime. And who knows? Maybe she’ll find the perfect love while she’s at it…
This was another free read gotten through the nice folks at LibraryThing.com! I was really happy to get it, mostly because the book sounded right up my alley as a nice uncomplicated read and it was definitely that! A lot of people would probably classify this as a romance, and it is, but I think that it's even more of a fantasy fiction novel - almost Chic-lit, but not. I think it's Lucy herself that makes Truly, Madly a fun read, with her spunkyness and need to be doing something with her life. Plus, it's just a very unique twist to have a magical matchmaking family end up with a daughter that who, after getting struck by lightning, finds lost things but can't match up people. It's a quick read that does a great job of leading audiences into the next book. And just so you don't think I liked everything about this book, haha, rest assured that I was very annoyed at the very last page. Mostly because I hate when a character whose sole existence is to cause strife is deliberately brought back to wreck havoc - especially when another less annoying character could have been introduced instead.
Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. Read in less than 2 hours, it's a great way to spend an afternoon break.
Series - 1) Truly, Madly (Feb 2010) 2) Deeply, Desperately (Aug 2010)
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
While I may have rejected the monarchy, I cannot abandon my people. Someone is killing the fey, which has left the LAPD baffled and my guardsmen and me deeply disturbed. My kind are not easily captured or killed. At least not by mortals. I must get to the bottom of these horrendous murders, even if that means going up against Gilda, the Fairy Godmother, my rival for fey loyalties in Los Angeles.
But even stranger things are happening. Mortals I once healed with magic are suddenly performing miracles, a shocking phenomenon wreaking havoc on human/faerie relations. Though I am innocent, dark suspicions of banned magical activities swirl around me.
I thought I’d left the blood and politics behind in my own turbulent realm. I had dreamed of an idyllic life in sunny L.A. with my beloved ones beside me. But it becomes time to wake up and realize that evil knows no borders, and that nobody lives forever—even if they’re magical.
So anyone who talked to me after LKH's last Merry Gentry book was released knows that I thought that should have been her last. I felt like it ended really well, the story had seen a complete arc and completion, and the characters had pretty much received the happy ending that LKH says these books will have. Well alas, it was not to be, more books are coming and this one is just the latest. I finished this book in just a few hours, which tells you my first opinion - it is a fun, and engaging, read. The action is cut throat and the plot is slightly winding, both elements combining in a story you don't want to put down. Now on the negatives - first, this book didn't really do much. No particular character's story was furthered in a really meaningful way and while one bad guy/faerie/whatever got their comeuppance, I just didn't quite feel fulfilled by the whole thing. Also - I love LKH's characters, but I feel like I've hit character overload. I'm starting to forget who all the supporting people are, their stories: everything that makes them unique. I'm hoping that later on in the series more of the people who are supporting characters at this point will take on more front man roles. We'll just have to see. And......and wow do I hesitate to say this....I almost feel like the sex was completely extraneous in this book. There wasn't a total abundance of it everywhere, but I did feel like a good half of the partnerships that happen were unnecessary and maybe took away from pages that could have been used for something else. But who knows, this series has been intricately entwined with sexual and emotional relationships from the beginning, and I never had a problem up until this point. Maybe I was just in a mood. Eh - who knows.
Overall Feeling - Thumbs up, definitely. A fast paced, exciting, and just plain fun read. It doesn't detract from the rest of the series.
Series - 1) A Kiss of Shadows 2) A Caress of Twilight 3) Seduced by Moonlight 4) A Stroke of Midnight 5) Mistral's Kiss 6) A Lick of Frost 7) Swallowing Darkness 8) Divine Misdemeanors
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Rylee Monroe walks dogs in old-money Charleston, a part of the city recently targeted by a daring thief. Logan Woods works the crime beat for the local paper but dreams of a life as a nonfiction writer. When the string of robberies takes a strange twist, Logan sees the making of a once-in-a-lifetime book that seems to circle around this charming, eye-catching dogwalker. But pursuing the truth means ignoring that he seems to be falling for her. And what is she hiding in her past that could crack the story wide open?
I won this book as a give away from LibraryThing.com so I'm very happy to do a review here on RAtC! The book is marketed as a romance/crime/mystery novel and it definitely lives up to its name. There are elements of all those genres though I feel that sometimes the length of the book detracted from the authors' ability to make everything pop. Rylee was a fun character to learn about, her antics as a rollerskating dogwalker make her a heroine to root for - especially when she uses those rollerblades as a weapon. Logan is a good guy, but I feel like more of his personality and the work that he does as an investigative reporter could have been illuminated a bit more. There are enough unique suspects and enough intricacy to the events that a bit more room, pages wise, to expand on everything would have been welcome. The only thing that was really unexpected about the novel were the religious elements. I don't know the authors, so I can't say that I should have expected it, but Rylee and Logan definitely connected on a religious level. You could even say that Rylee has a spiritual epiphany during her journey to prove her innocence. It doesn't detract from the book, but I think some readers would be turned off and others would be inspired by that inclusion. Either way it's an enjoyable novel and a unique one in that these authors came to together to make a romantic crime novel. I've never read about anything like that being published before and just for that it's worth your time to try.
Overall Feeling - Thumbs up, but since it's being released in February as a trade paper it might be better to request a copy at your local library.
Series - None
Sunday, December 6, 2009
So May is shocked when Gabriel encourages her to give in to the demon prince. But her fire-breathing boyfriend has an ulterior motive. Since May was created in the mortal world, her surrender would give her master access to that world, where he would lose most of his powers.
It looks as though May will have to barter to gain her freedom and fulfill her destiny by Gabriel's side. But will a deal with the devil make life heaven or hell?
May Northcott is a woman at the end of her rope. She’d almost gotten used to her employer, the ex-demon lord Magoth, spending his days hanging around her home and interrupting her private moments with her dragon lover Gabriel. Then trouble appears in the form of a nearly dead man on her doorstep.
With May fighting to control the dragon shard, Magoth wrangling to regain his position and powers, and a mysterious and deadly dragon bent on their destruction, Gabriel has his work cut out for him. Now, he’ll have to claw his way through all the distractions and convince May that their love is strong enough to conquer all of their enemies.
I decided to write out of the box and do a two-fer review for these books. Me and My Shadow is the latest release in Katie MacAlister's Silver Dragon series, but I realized after buying that I didn't quite remember what had happened before! That led to a merry little 'track down the book chase', but it was all for my own good because it let me remember why I like MacAlister so much! Her characters are firmly in the 'lots of fun' pile. I mean, who can resist 6th level demons from Abbadon (hell) who appear as dogs that persistently go around talking about how its missing out by not having its camera when the really crazy shifting happens? Plus I think it's quite unique that May is a doppleganger, a type of paranormal creature that is not normally featured in fantasy books. Then as a reader you get a character bonus when MacAlister brings in pretty much everyone from the Aisling Grey series. It's a huge cosmic mishmash of paranormal ridiculousness!
Overall Feeling - Thumbs up, both these books are a lot of fun to read and get me excited for the new Light Dragons series!
Series - 1) Playing with Fire 2) Up in Smoke 3) Me and My Shadow
This is an old school Krentz romance. Amy might be an independent woman, she lives alone and writes books, but her turmoil over what happened at Pacific Island is still something she can't solve with Jed's help. Doesn't really matter though, because their chemistry jumps off the page and the elements of suspense in the book make it a page turner. I've often described reading a book as being similar to watching a movie, one where I get to pick what everyone looks like, and this was one fun movie. Jed's good and mysterious, with just enough danger to make him enticing without being frightening. Amy and Jed need each in different in ways and support each other in making hard decisions - things necessary to a long lasting happily ever after.
Overall Feeling - Thumbs up, A great throwback romance.
Series - None
Friday, December 4, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
There are a couple things I want to start out saying with this review - 1) this cover description is one of the lamest, most misleading ones ever, and 2) finally Diana Palmer has come out with a Long, Tall, Texan Novel that has a different plot. Before this book I could have described to you quite succinctly how any of Palmer's books went: first, older man meets younger, virginal woman. Second, after being scared by his feelings for her, older man treats younger woman horribly to run her off. Finally, younger woman forgives older man for his shitty attitude and sex, love, and happiness ensue: The End (ask me sometime about Bertrice Small books - I can do the same thing). This novel, as you would never tell from the description is different. Alice might be a virgin, but it is her wit and feelings for Harley that take the forefront, from the beginning she uses humor and kids him about marrying her. That attitude helps Harley overlook the disappointing relationships he's had in the past and makes him that much more anxious to spend time with her. The only thing that I would say is negative about this book is that it seemed to really need to be almost twice as long. They start bringing in a criminal/mystery element to this book that isn't fleshed out enough and is definitely left hanging. Hopefully this means that Palmer has a full sized novel coming out soon or at least there are going to be some more Silhouette Desire books to round out the suspense!
Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. A fun book that definitely deserves to be added to shelves, and one that claims its place as the latest release in this well known, and well loved, series.
Series - Started in 1988, there are almost 30 books in this series, so please check out Diana Palmer's website for the list!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
With love and gratitude,
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
11. Simon, The Silver Kiss - People love to talk about Twilight as the epitome of teen vampire romance and angst, but I think that's mainly because they haven't read about Zoe and Simon in The Silver Kiss. I think there is no truer expression of love then in this book, where in spite of her desire to be changed, Simon sticks to his guns and his understanding of what being a vampire actually means and refuses to make Zoe a vampire. Instead, in one of the most poignant goodbyes ever, he sits with her to see his last sunrise.
10. James, Secret Vampire - James and Poppy are a good example of when, if the heroine is DYING, I can see making a teenager a vampire. Plus the whole series features younger heroes and heroines so it's not too much of a surprise that this storyline makes an appearance.
9. Louie, Interview With the Vampire - Louie was probably my first 'grown up' vampire - who wowed me with the tall, dark, and handsome bit. With his crazy eyes (contacts were never so attractive) and Brad Pitt's lips who couldn't love Louie?!?! Plus he was so kick ass and tormented in a non-whimpy way.
8. Wrath, Dark Lover - In Ward's first book on her Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Wrath makes his appearance as the ruler and savior of his species. Definitely one of the best examples of a H-O-T alpha male, it is his complete devotion to Beth and the reality that his life is only complete with her in it that makes him so easy love and totally irresistible.
7. Eric, Sookie Stackhouse Series - Eric squeeks by on my list and not Bill because I think Eric is just a lot more real. He's always been up front with Sookie about how he feels and reading (I don't watch the show!) through the transformation where physical attraction leads into real feelings is so engaging, it's just one more place for Charlaine Harris shines in this series.
6. Constantine, Sunshine - Constantine is probably the most unusual hero to place on this list just because McKinley doesn't write the stereotypical vampire figure. All of the vampires in this book are hugely 'other' and their existence is very antithetical to the existence of humans. Sunshine and Constantine banding together and their attraction is not typically romantic. It just is, as something that can't be changed by any outside forces. That connection and the unique world and storyline of the novel is what places him so high on my list.
5. Jean-Claude, Anita Blake Series - No vampire list could really be complete without Jean-Claude. The very essence of temptation and sin from Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake books, he's just incredible. Alive for centuries you always get the feeling that he's done just about anything and could teach you things you've never even dreamed of - all without breaking a sweat. How is that not sexy?!?!
4. (x2) Spike and Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Number 4/3 had to be a tie because even after all these years I still cannot choose between Angel and Spike. When I was younger, and the TV series was younger, Angel of course was the winner, with all his brooding sexiness. But as seasons went by and Spike went from just a cute bad guy to a soul toting hero in his own right my feelings changed. I could have sworn that after he attacked Buffy that there was no way he was worming his way back into my affection but he just loved her so much. Even when he knows that she doesn't love him. And at the end when sacrifices himself for her and for the world it just sealed his place on this list. So yeah - I couldn't decide between the two, so Angel and Spike make it high up on this list.
2. Rhage, Lover Eternal - Rhage makes it higher on my list I think because it was even more touching to read about his falling in love with Mary who had cancer and enough emotional issues to fill an issue. And of course, he had his addiction to sex caused by a curse he couldn't seem to get a handle of. Plus the story itself was so atypical with Mary doing a very good case of emotional emptiness due to her diagnosis and in Rhage being a very atypical hero when he goes to have sex with another woman in the middle of the book - after he's identified Mary as his true love. Nothing is easy in this book and these two people, brought together after so much hardship, make a story that I will read over and over again.
1. Thierry, Soulmate - Thierry wins because he loves Hannah so much that he commits himself to their love even knowing that he will be forced to watch her die over and over again. As an old soul Hannah is reborn, but instead of halting her destiny, instead of forcing her into one body forever, he devotes himself to her, to their eternity together. But it's going to be hard. To be with her and watch her grow old and eventually die - and then wait. Wait for her to be reborn and for him to find her again, all knowing that the cycle is going to repeat itself. AHH! SO ROMANTIC! I know I'm a fool but this just gets to me!
1. Mikhail, Christine Feehan's Dark Series - I love Mikhail but to be fair to the category he's not a vampire, he's a Carpathian so he get's an honorable mention.
2. Ash, Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters Series - Same thing with Ash, he's not a vampire and actually only really drinks Artemis's blood, but he's so cool that he also gets a shout out.
Monday, November 23, 2009
"Why? I've seen you kill before, Kate. Granted, you do it with considerably more skill."
"I kill because I have to. I kill to protect myself or others. I won't take a life to titillate a crowd. Nor would I torture a man for the pleasure of it."
Saiman shrugged. "You kill to survive and to appease your own misguided conscience. Those in the Pit kill for money and the gratification of knowing they are better than the corpse at their feet. At the core, our motives are always self-serving, Kate. Altruism is a fog created by sly minds seeking to benefit from the energy and skill of others. Nothing more."
"You're like a god from Greek myth, Saiman. You have no empathy. You have no concept of the world beyond your ego. Wanting something gives you an automatic right to obtain it my any means necessary with no regard to the damage it may do. I would be careful if I were you. Friends and objects of deities' desires dropped like flies. In the end the gods always ended up miserable and alone."
Saiman gave me a stunned look and fell silent.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I had tried many different ways to organize my lists of what books were coming out when. Amazon Wishlists, about a zillion different kinds of notebooks, even post-it notes around my computer screen. Finally last year about this time I gave in to complete absurdity and created something that does the job better than all of those combined - a Google Calendar that shows me the release date, book title, and author of everything I'm interested in. Oh god! I said it! Yes I'm that nerdy. I have a Google Calendar just for book releases (in fact, that's the the calendar's title: Book Releases)! As much as I'm in awe of my own ridiculousness every time I look at my full monthly calendar and see all those green reminders, I can't be all that regretful. IT JUST WORKS SO WELL! I can go months, years if the date is available, ahead of time and input the books I'm looking at purchasing. Of course this has now led to days where I spend a good chunk of time just browsing through author pages to see if I can update my calendar further....yeah there's really no end in site for how bad this can get. Hahaha!
Either way I hope this helps you learn a little bit more about me and the neuroses that make me who I am today. My calendar is public and you should be able to search for it if you're interested in keeping up with what I'm reading, but feel free to email me if you want a personal invite!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Thank to everyone for entering and I hope if nothing else you've found a new site that will help you pick some great reads! Look for my next contest/give away soon!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
To make matters worse, Tolliver learns from his older brother that their father is out of jail and trying to reestablish contact with other family members. Tolliver wants no part of the man- but he may not have a choice in the matter.
Soon, family secrets ensnare them both, as Harper finally discovers what happened to her missing sister, Cameron, so many years before.
And what she finds out will change her world forever.
Ok I'm going to try to write this review without any spoilers - because that's not fair to anyone and I like being fair. This latest novel was really interesting for the series mainly due to all the real life applications of many different individuals' decisions. Harper, Tolliver, her step-father Matthew, step-brother Mark, and more - so many people making world altering decisions that affect everyone around them. In the last book Harper and Tolliver finally find each other in a romantic sense, moving beyond the more 'brother-sister' type relationship they had before. Yes, I know that sounds weird; read the books and it'll all make sense and with, in my opinion, no implications of inappropriateness. I've always thought that Harris writes a terrific mystery book, and this is no different, though perhaps for me the overlapping nature of crimes in the past and present sometimes became a little confusing. Definitely pick it up if you have the chance, it's a book where the paranormal is just another facet to a mystery more intrinsically based in the darkness and confusion of people's minds. That sounds a bit heavy because this book is - good people die and though the bad guys get it in the end I was still left with a mix of melancholy and hope.
Overall Feeling - Thumbs Up. A great page turner with an intricate mystery that makes you excited about the answer while dreading what that answer will do.
Series - 1) Grave Sight 2) Grave Surprise 3) An Ice Cold Grave 4) Grave Secret
As little girls MacKensie, Emma, Laurel, and Parker spent hours acting out their perfect make believe "I do" moments. Years later their fantasies become reality when they start their own wedding planning company to make every woman's dream day come true. With perfect flowers, delicious desserts, and joyful moments captured on film, Nora Roberts's Bride Quartet shares each woman's emotionally magical journey to romance.
In Bed of Roses, florist Emma Grant is finding career success with her friends at Vows wedding planning company, and her love life appears to be thriving. Though men swarm around her, she still hasn't found Mr. Right. And the last place she's looking is right under her nose.
But that's just where Jack Cooke is. He's so close to the women of Vows that he's practically family, but the architect has begun to admit to himself that his feelings for Emma have developed into much more than friendship. When Emma returns his passion—kiss for blistering kiss—they must trust in their history…and in their hearts.
I thought this book was a lot better than Roberts last Bride Quartet book. Emma and Jack definitely have more spunk and their romance just seems more emotionally satisfying. I still wouldn't say it's incredibly unique for Roberts, I mean this isn't a big leap when in comparison to what she's done before, but it's good - and the future relationship implications that Roberts makes in this novel makes me excited to see how the last two remaining women find love. BUT I still do not think these books are worth the price of a trade paperback - these totally should have been published at the normal mass market price ($7.99). They're just not long enough or special enough to be worth the more expensive price - I don't care how 'artistic' or 'unique' the covers might look.
Overall Feeling- Thumbs Up. This book had really good characters, both who showed entertaining personal growth that results in the happy ending.
Series - 1) Vision in White 2) Bed of Roses 3) Savor the Moment (April 2010) 4) Happily Ever After (Unknown)
Friday, November 6, 2009
Chapman has pulled out another cute little Christmas romance. The other books of hers that I've read have concentrated on the historical twist shes adds to this series, but the contemporary feel to this particular novel, mixed in with a few magical elements, makes it stand out. I was really amused by the idea of a nuclear physicist throwing her hands up at it all and becoming a dog walker - Chapman just pulls it off well and definitely gets the reader rooting for Camry. Luke is another great leading man, someone who after spending most of his life firmly in reality gets a taste of what life can offer those who look beyond their noses. Together they make a very cute couple and their journey from career nemeses to husband and wife is a good one.
Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. Not incredible but still a lot of fun and a somewhat atypical Christmas romance.
Series - 1) Charming the Highlander 2) Loving the Highlander 3) Wedding the Highlander 4) Tempting the Highlander 5) Only with a Highlander 6) Secrets of the Highlander 7) A Highlander Christmas
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
They're battle-hardened, sinfully wealthy, completely unstoppable—and all male: Four officers of the Crown, fighting against a deadly foe known only as the Black Cobra.
He is a man who has faced peril without flinching, determined to fight for king and country.
She is a bold, beautiful woman with a scandalous past, destined to become an untamed bride.
Together they must vanquish the ruthless enemy, while confronting the dangers of the heart . . .
It might have taken me a few days, but I've finally finished The Untamed Bride - and it was great! It was a definitely a departure from some of her other works with its extended prologue and the death of a friend RIGHT in the beginning - significantly before you meet the heroine. But still, the elements that make a Laurens book such a joy to read are all still there. Strong male and female characters, interesting environments, and most importantly enough suspense and mystery to keep everyone happy. Rarely are books by Laurens just romances. You usually have action, suspense, adventure, mystery, etc. all wrapped up in the path to a happily ever after. That's what keeps her readers coming, the fact that it's not just the romance at the heart of the book, there is so much that goes on, especially in a series, that it's a lot of fun and an incredible journey.
Thanks again to Wiredset for sending me a copy to review!
Overall Feeling - Thumbs up! Another great one by Laurens and I can't wait for the next one!
Series - 1) The Untamed Bride 2) The Elusive Bride (Feb 2010)
Monday, November 2, 2009
A selkie on the run from a century-old broken marriage arrangement has finally found true love- only to have the darkness from her past return to threaten both her and her dearly beloved in New York Times bestselling author Yasmine Galenorn's 'The Shadow of Mist.'
New York Times bestselling author Marjorie M. Liu tells the tale of a young princess who escapes bethrothal to a warlord by entering a magical forest. But when an evil queen sends her on a quest to 'The Tangleroot Palace', she faces dangers more perilous than marriage.
When a princess refuses her boring betrothed, the king holds a competition to see who will win his daughter's hand. But in matters of the heart, is a winner truly worthy- or can a loser offer even more in national bestselling author Sharon Shinn's 'The Wrong Bridegroom'.
This was actually a really disappointing anthology. I'm a big fan of Ms. Hamilton, Ms. Galenorn, and Ms. Liu but the stories were just unsatisfying. They all just felt short and unfinished, kind of like these authors were asked at the last minute to throw something together and this is what was given to the audience. OR I could see this as being a kind of publicity vehicle for the last author, Sharon Shinn. Even as a relative new comer to me, her story offered a kind of depth and character development that the others lacked (though this could also be attributed to her story being twice as long as almost everyone elses). I could see readers picking up this anthology because of the bigger names and being introduced to Shinn in a very flattering light.
Overall Feeling - Thumbs down. It's just not that great and 1 enjoyable story out of 4 does not a good anthology make. Either get it from the library or don't even bother - especially for the too high price of $9.99.
Series - None
Friday, October 30, 2009
At nearly seven feet tall, Lock is used to people responding to him in two ways: screaming and running away. Gwen-half lioness, half tigress, all kick-ass-does neither. She's sexy beyond belief and smart as hell, but she's a born protector. Watching out for the family and friends closest to her but missing the fact that she's being stalked by a murderous enemy who doesn't like hybrids…and absolutely hates Gwen. Lock probably shouldn't get involved, but he will. Why? Because this is Gwen-and no matter what the hissing, roaring, drape destroying feline says about not being ready to settle down, Lock knows he can't simply walk away. Not when she's come to mean absolutely everything to him.
I love Shelly Laurenston. Is it ok if I say that? Because it's totally true - I LOVE SHELLY LAURENSTON. Her books are this incredible combination of sex, violence, and laughs. How could anyone not love them? I think that even though over my 23 years I've continually said I read too much to pick just one favorite author, Laurenston might actually take that prize. I don't think I have ever been disappointed by one of her books, primarily because her main characters, the women especially, are crazy (probably certifiably so). But it doesn't matter because the shenanigans that all of them manage to get into make the books a sure fire good time - though I really hope they never make these into movies. I'm positive that will kill them. Their main stream audience appeal in my opinion comes from Laurenston's ability to make the lives of these shapeshifters normal. Family drama, embarrassing situations (you want to be there while your mom discusses her post-delivery vagina? I think not!), worries about the future - they're all there and make each man and woman incredibly relatable. Laurenston isn't going anywhere and with her releases getting bigger with every book I can't wait to see what happens in the future.
Overall Feelings - Thumbs Up! So much fun it had me laughing out loud, and it definitely makes you want to find that special bear of your own!
Series - 1) The Mane Event 2) The Beast in Him 3) The Mane Attraction 4) The Mane Squeeze
Let me start out by saying that I don't think Sunny's books are going to appeal to everyone. They can be kind of dark with a lot of sex and violence, not always with the emotional attachment that some readers expect to make those relationships 'okay'. Her books could almost been seen as very dark fairy tales, where the prince doesn't always win and the princesses are known to do a lot in defense of their honor and their kingdoms.
With that being said, Lucinda, Dangerously is an intriguing second book for this series. Written in first person (switching sometimes from Lucinda's view to the views of the other central characters) it's the continuing story of Lucinda's journey to find herself. There are a lot of things going on in this demon's life, or non-life, and the enemies that she meets and the changes that happen to her are substantial. It's a good book but it's a little hard to see this one going as far as Sunny's Mona Lisa books, just because while Lucinda is changing, I kind of find myself rooting for her to find her happy ending and not have to worry about everything anymore. Shrug - we'll have to just see I think.
Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. I had an interestingly neutral feeling after reading this book, even though I know I enjoyed it. So definitely read it but know what you're getting into and be prepared for some evil to rear its head.
Series - 1) Lucinda, Darkly 2) Lucinda, Dangerously
The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown. From her uniquely qualified perspective, Philippa Gregory explores this most famous unsolved mystery of English history, informed by impeccable research and framed by her inimitable storytelling skills.
On a recommendation from a friend I picked up my very first Philippa Gregory book and I was pleasantly surprised! I don't usually read historically accurate romance/fiction just because it seems to often be depressing. Yes, I know, history had its ups and downs, thus 'duh!' books that are accurate cannot always have a happy ending - I know! Either way, I just don't read a lot of them. But this one is definitely something I'd recommend to others. The story of Elizabeth Woodville and King Edward IV, it has an intriguing mix of romance, mystery, and the supernatural. Elizabeth is a strong woman determined to do the most to forward the lot of her children and her family, even if her methods don't always result the outcome she desires. Ms. Greggory has a nice writing style, engaging the reader and making them fell committed to the lives that are playing out before them. The only negative thing I would say is there is kind of an obvious foreshadowing of doom right from the beginning, but I don't know if that was really something Ms. Greggory could change, with her writing about a period of history where really horrible things happened and peoples fortunes could change with a snap.
Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. An interesting read, though not necessarily a fast one with an ending that definitely leaves you wanting to know what comes next.
Series - 1) The White Queen
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I've done a review on Stephanie Laurens' books before but this is a chance for you to get- FOR FREE- her latest release The Untamed Bride. But you might be asking yourself, 'Why do I want the new Stephanie Laurens book?' Because she writes some of the best Regency England romances available today. A New York Times Bestselling Author, her books are always filled with great alpha males and incredibly strong women with just the right amount of banter to keep you engrossed in the story. To be completely upfront they are going send me a free copy to review, but keep in mind two things: 1) I was planning to read the book anyway, and 2) I've already reviewed Laurens' work before with very high marks so I'm not offering up anything I don't think is quality work.
Since this is a give away, and my first one at that, the rules are going to be pretty simple (and sorry in advance, but it's only open to US Residents):
1) You must be at least 16 years of age (because you're going to have to email me your physical address)
2) You must be a subscriber of my blog (click the Follow Blog button!)
3) Leave a comment on this post asking to be entered into the giv eaway
And that's it! Two winners will be chosen randomly from everyone who comments, please make sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win - GOOD LUCK! Contest closes November 12, 2009 11:59pm(my birthday!)