Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The iPad? I still say let's wait and see

Well it's been revealed - the ever so hyped and discussed Apple tablet PC. The online world is already inundated with articles talking about how it will affect netbooks, Kindles, smartphones - pretty much every hand held device you can think of. Almost 10inches long, it's of course touch screen and looks most like a bigger than average iPod. But let's consider this (from my point of view of course)-

1. I realize it doesn't affect the usefulness of the device, but iPad? Really Apple? Did no one raise their hands and suggest that just maybe that wasn't the best name to go with? Every other comment I've seen on Facebook seems to deal with how men and women alike can only visualize feminine products when they hear the name. Somehow it makes me think that Apple isn't quite getting its message across....

2. Since this device offers (supposedly) better than average internet browsing capabilities, the iPad will be available in conjunction with different phone companies to offer wireless coverage. Without that the device will cost around $699 - a hefty sum for most people. That in and of itself is going to be a big deterrant for me. I can't imagine paying between $400 and $700 or beyond for something that is really an above-average iPod. I like my iPod. It does its job very well I think and my phone does its job too. And neither are all that big so I don't feel like my life is incredibly inconvienced because I carry both at the same time.

3. Again with the fact that I don't see myself browing the internet all that much with this, I don't like the fact that I'm going to be tied down to another monthly payment with the iPad. Comcast gets my money, VerizonWireless gets my money, countless credit cards get my money - isn't this enough? Do I have to pay monthly for the privilige of downloading the movies and ebooks I already own onto a device that would make them portable?

I think at least right now, with the information available, I don't see an iPad in my future. At least until I get my hands on a nook to test it out, I'd rather just consider the Sony e-Reader my best bet for a portable book reading device. Yes it would have been cool to be able to watch movies in addition to reading while in transit, but I'm just not willing to be sucked in to another contract. It's not worth it. I just want to be free from any particular company affiliation and be able to transfer files I already have to a device I can take with me. That's smaller than a laptop - or netbook. Ideally I'd rather just have a bigger iPod. But I can tell that that's not going to happen any time soon, if at all. In the end each person is going to have to make that decision for themselves, but do your research! Don't let the shiny new Apple product abduct your wallet and run away giggling!

Monday, January 25, 2010

It's never just one thing, it's almost always another too

Amy over at Romance Book Wyrm did a post with some great fantasy romance suggestions and talking with her got me thinking about my own bookshelves. A lot of the books I read would probably be considered paranormal romance or urban fantasy - but how firmly are any of us able to draw that line? Romance is a vehicle for all sorts of other genres, fantasy, science fiction, etc. Primarily, I would think, because romance is about love and no matter what environment or set of circumstances brings two characters together, love is the same in all of them. Trying to recommend just fantasy romances proved to a problem because what makes fantasy a fantasy and not a paranormal? Is one title exclusionary to the other? If I try to define it by saying certain elements like vampires or werewolves are what mark a paranormal, where do you then place books that have creatures that are similar to those but have them existing in another world entirely? Or do we need to go back to the root of the word paranormal - 'normal'. Is it only in comparison to the 'normal' world that we can define what is outside it? Are the general cultural assumptions that we as readers make about what is usual or acceptable what allow publishers and book stores to tell us what is paranormal? It's not an easy question, in fact it's probably that if I were still in school I would research and write a paper about. But it's something we can start thinking about - what defines our categories as readers for what we read? Who is going to be responsible for making those distinctions: ourselves or the people who provide us with the material?

Either way, we do at some point have to just agree to agree. To say that generally most people are able to distinguish between fantasy, paranormal, futuristic, and the many other types of romance. To actually get to point of this post, here are a few of the authors (and series) that I think are wonderful examples of paranormal romance and that you shouldn't miss!

Christine Feehan - Ghostwalker Series
Everyone talks about Feehan's Carpathian books but I think she does just as a good job, if not better, with this series that stars different men and women who've have their natural psychic powers increased through government experimentation.

JR Ward - Black Dagger Brotherhood

Ward's books star some of the best alpha males around. Bad-ass vampires who are completely in love with their mates, it makes me want to find one of my own!

Sunny - Monére, Children of the Moon Series
Sunny does an intriguing thing, because her books are really on that line between paranormal and fantasy. A lot of the stories take place in the 'human' world but at the same time her Monere characters travel to other dimensions, including a hell-like place. Whatever you want to call it, the world that she depicts is dark, sensual, and very intriguing - highly recommended.

Shelly Laurenston - Pride Series
I love Laurenston, she has some of the best laugh-out-loud romances I've ever read. Combine that with shapeshifters that she somehow manages to make seem completely normal and you've got a great read.

Patricia Briggs - Mercy Thompson Series
I feel like Patricia Briggs is one of those authors you just have to mention when you talk about paranormal romance. But romance is not always the main focus of the story - Briggs includes a lot of fantasy and mystery elements to keep her series both interesting and always changing.

Laurell K Hamilton - Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series
People have a lot of mixed feelings concerning LKH's most well known series, mostly due to the fact that as the series goes on you get more and more of a focus on interpersonal relationships rather than on mystery (resulting in more sex in the books). I personally love them, and while she had me worried there with Blood Noir, Skin Trade showed that LKH still knows how to write a great horror/fantasy novel with enough romance elements to keep anyone happy.

Charlaine Harris - Sookie Stackhouse series
While Tru Blood made Sookie Stackhouse a household name, I've loved Harris through all of her incarnations - paranormal or not. She's always excelled at writing great romantic mysteries with characters that have incredible amounts of depth to keep the reader engrossed in the final outcome. Sookie is no different, because it doesn't matter what vampires, werewolves, or other nasties show up, the series has the intricacy of its characters at the heart.

Ok so those are my picks. What do you guys think? Are there some other series out there that deserve to be on my shelf that I'm missing out on? Let me know!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Taking Shape by Tielle St. Clare - ERR Challenge Review

As a shapeshifter, Nick Conner can turn into anything or anyone he touches. Along with his brothers and sister, he uses this unique gift for private investigations. But something about their newest case doesn’t sit right. Their client isn’t being honest and their target, Tally, seems way too sweet to be a crook.

Or maybe it’s just that Nick wants her to be innocent.

But now he has an even bigger challenge on his hands. He’s made love to Tally in another man’s form—how can he convince her to love the man he truly is?

I've been trying to catch up on some of the erotica I've been missing out on lately by reading a lot of the free reads available on Ellora's Cave and do you know what I realized? There's a reason I haven't been reading so much of it. The authors I love aren't putting out books as often as they used to and the books that I see now-a-days just aren't that well written. I understand that it's hard to make a sex scene meaningful or engaging in 30pgs, but it's not impossible - I've seen it done. Yet somehow almost all of the 'quickies' I read these past couple days were very dissatisfying. Take away something from my experience people, free does not automatically make something worth your time, pick discerningly where you can.

Luckily by laying down some money and picking up this re-promote of a novella by Tielle St. Clare I got a great erotica to add to my list. Taking Shape is a great example of how an erotica has to have engaging characters along with well written sex scenes to top my list. Also there is just a sense of flow that a sex scene has to have to get me to be right there with the characters. You can have the man talk dirty all you want but if I'm reading about a woman replying back with a stilted 'f*ck my p*ssy' then I'm not going to be interested. I'm not saying that those words don't have a place in erotica, I just think they need to be used in the correct way - which thankfully St. Clare does.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. A great erotica that even with the intriguing premise of the guy sleeping with the heroine as another man first, pulls out a believable, and satisfying, ending.

Series - None.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Uncanny by Simon R. Green

Things were going so well for P.I. John Taylor, that it was only a matter of time before everything hit the fan. Walker, the powerful, ever-present, neverto-be-trusted agent who runs the Nightside on behalf of The Authorities, is dying. And he wants John to be his successor-a job that comes with more baggage, and more enemies, than anyone can possibly imagine.

I've been reading Green's Nightside books for what feel like forever, and while this one was good, it also somehow left me wanting. I think one of the best and worst things about Green is that he has an incredible ability to create characters. All of them with unique back stories and with their own desires and quests. Reading this book I just felt a little overwhelmed by it all. There seemed to be SO many characters and so much going on that I found it hard to pin point exactly where my attention should be. I guess I should just be paying attention to everything all along, but come on Green - sometimes my mind likes to wander a bit! I'm pretty positive that it primarily has to do with the gritty, noir-like quality of Green's books. It's never obvious who-dunnit and it's never who you first suspect either. He's the master of keeping you guessing and showing you that a character you knew is someone you never really saw at all. Take Walker for instance - an integral character since the beginning, it was really hard me to read about him in this book. He changes a lot and shows John quite a bit of what changed him. Very sad, really. In the end I can definitely see how Green is laying the groundwork for a new story arc for John Taylor and I'm excited but almost apprehensive to find out where he takes it next - but he's for sure got my money when the next book comes out!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. You can never quite tell where your eye should be looking, but it's another fast paced suspense book that leaves you wanting more!

Series - 1) Something From the Nightside 2) Agents of Light and Darkness 3) Nightingale's Lament 4) Hex and the City 5) Paths Not Taken 6) Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth 7) Hell to Pay 8) The Unnatural Inquirer 9) Just Another Judgement Day 10) The Good, The Bad, and The Uncanny

Heart Mate by Robin D. Owens

All his life, Rand T'Ash has looked forward to meeting his HeartMate, with whom he could begin a family. Once a street tough but now a respected nobleman and artisan, he has crafted the perfect HeartGift, which, in the custom of the psychically-gifted population of the planet Celta, is the way a man finds-and attracts-his wife...

Danith Mallow is irresistibly drawn to the magnificent necklace on display in T'Ash's shop, but she is wary of its creator, despite an overpowering attraction. In a world where everyone is defined by their psychic ability, Danith has little, and thus is at the opposite end of the social spectrum from T'Ash. But T'Ash refuses to accept her rejection, and sees it as a challenge instead. They are HeartMates, but can T'Ash persuade his beloved to accept her destiny by his side?

I know I should probably devote more of my book reading time to new books, but this one just called to me! And think that since it's been years since I read it the first time around I get a free pass to talk about it here. Robin D. Owens' HeartMate series is a great foray into the futuristic romance realm, and she does it without being ridiculous in her world building. As you read this book and the ones that come next you learn more and more about Celta but you never feel like she's saying 'Now I'm going to teach you guys about the flora and fauna of the planet...blah blah blah' which some authors do. Instead you have a very compelling love story between two people who've experienced hardship and are learning how to trust their feelings for each other.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. While some of her other books might not be my favorite, she starts off the series strong with great characters and a wonderful romance.

Series - 1) Heart Mate 2) Heart Thief 3) Heart Duel 4) Heart Choice 5) Heart Quest 6) Heart Dance 7) Heart Fate 8) Heart Change

A weekend off? Yeah right!

Well ladies and gents I'm back! I've just finished a whirlwind weekend in NC, where I spent my time playing, shopping, video taping, and as always, reading. NC is a quick 40min jaunt by plane, and while I appreciate finding a flight the same price as a 6hr bus ride, I must say I still don't like fling. It always messes with my inner ear and my sinuses and the whole thing ends up making me slightly ill. Not a good look - especially when you start mindlessly chatting with some cute Indian guy and you realize that this is the sh*tiest you've looked the entire weekend. Only me.

::face palm::

Either way I feel reinvigorated. If not to get back to work, at least to get back to blogger. It might surprise you to know that I only finished 2 books this weekend, with the one I just started finished up today. When I get around to editing and uploading my new YouTube video (in which my friend Jessica plays a starring role) you'll understand how sometimes, just sometimes, I have other things I want to do besides read. I know, shocking right?

The other thing I want you guys to start thinking about now is my giveaway! Wandering about Southpoint Mall I came upon these two items that were just perfect - for me anyway. Random and hilarious and themed to my life, I felt duty bound to deliver them up for your inspection and winning pleasure. I don't think it'll be a contest, just another giveaway probably, but stay tuned because there will be two chances to win - as a subscriber on my blog and as a fan of my Facebook page! Yes I'm on FB - look me up: 'Reading Amidst the Chaos'. It's a whole new chapter of my blogging life. I'm not sure if I should be scared....

More reviews soon!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Got Fangs? and Circus of the Darned by Katie Maxwell

I'm not sure if I talked about these books in a previous post, if I did it was years ago, but I just finished rereading them and I want to talk about the type of quality young adult paranormal romance that is out there. Katie Maxwell's GothFaire books are an excellent example of how an adult series can be toned down and made appropriate for a younger audience without losing any of its charm or uniqueness. These books focus on Fran, a 16 year girl dragged along on a European carnival tour, where all the people in it are oddities of some kind or another. When her close friend Imogen's brother shows up, she's not quite prepared for what happens - the revelation that not only is he a Moravian Dark One (aka vampire) but she's his Beloved destined to save his soul! Da da daaaa! Can't you just hear the dramatic music?

Well I'm happy to report that the drama is not all that dramatic and there's tons of humor to keep readers entertained. With Fran trying to find herself amidst her own powers and also trying to understand her feelings for Benedikt I think Maxwell does a tremendous job of creating characters in her already established world that have their own adventures so
individual to them that you get completely caught up in what's happening. And I think what put's it above some of the other more well known vampire series (*cough* Twilight *cough*) is Fran's sense of self and her relationship to her mother and those around her. Benedikt might be cool as a vampire, oh sorry - Dark One, but if he thinks he's just going to sweep her away to unite them for all eternity he has another thing coming! Less of the heavy breathing 'make me yours' type of book, Fran and Ben's feelings for each other work themselves out gradually over the series and while it's alluded to that Fran will save him at some point in the future, right now she's not ready for anything more than being his girlfriend.

The only sad thing I have to report about this series is that Maxwell doesn't plan to release any more young adult additions. Under her more well known name, Katie MacAlister, she does have plans to publish books where Fran and Ben make appearances as adults, but their initial romance will end for readers with
Circus of the Darned. I can only hope that maybe there will be a few flashbacks or something to let everyone know how things turned out.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up! A great example of humorous paranormal romance for a younger audience.

- 1)
Got Fangs 2) Circus of the Darned

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kitty's House of Horrors

Talk radio host and werewolf Kitty Norville has agreed to appear on TV's first all-supernatural reality show. She's expecting cheesy competitions and manufactured drama starring shapeshifters, vampires, and psychics. But what begins as a publicity stunt will turn into a fight for her life.

The cast members, including Kitty, arrive at the remote mountain lodge where the show is set. As soon as filming starts, violence erupts and Kitty suspects that the show is a cover for a nefarious plot. Then the cameras stop rolling, cast members start dying, and Kitty realizes she and her monster housemates are ironically the ultimate prize in a very different game. Stranded with no power, no phones, and no way to know who can be trusted, she must find a way to defeat the evil closing in . . . before it kills them all.

Apparently Carrie Vaughn is one of the few authors I'm not stalking because this book came out without me knowing! It was only thanks to the handy B&N new paperback tower that I was able to keep up to date with this series - though I do think I would have stumbled upon it eventually! I've always enjoyed this books, though Vaughn's tendency to have delayed releases is probably what keeps me from being totally obsessed with it. Kitty is a woman who was involuntary turned into a werewolf and, at the beginning of the series, was part of an emotionalyl and physically abusive pack. I'm happy to say that by the time this book rolls around things are a lot happier but it all takes a turn for the worse when she decides to take part in a new 'reality show'. While Kitty goes into it suspicious of the TV executive's motives not even she could have imagined the deadly consequences of bringing together so many different supernaturals. All of Vaughn's books have some element of suspense and mystery, but this novel really reminded me of a horror movie because you never know who's going to die next and no ones safe from the carnage.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. A lot of good people die, but it's an enthralling ride to the finish so I say either start the series to get to this one, or pick up this latest and see what happens to Kitty next!

Series - 1) Kitty and the Midnight Hour 2) Kitty Goes to Washington 3) Kitty Takes a Holiday 4) Kitty and the Silver Bullet 5) Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand 6) Kitty Raises Hell 7) Kitty's House of Horrors

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Coming Soon - His Darkest Hunger by Juliana Stone

Hey Guys! Zooming about the internet with the help of some of the book blogs that I stalk I found a contest with a great sounding prize! Juliana Stone's latest book His Darkest Hunger (out March 30, 2010) is being offered up to the masses! With a little front cover blurb by Christine Feehan it sounds like something right up my alley, an opinion as confirmed by the back description:

Jaxon Castille: jaguar shifter, warrior, assassin. He has long hungered for the chance to make his former lover, Libby Jamieson, pay for her deadly betrayal. After three long years he’s finally found her. The hunt is over…

But the Libby that he finds is not what he expected. She has no memory of their tumultuous affair; of her treachery; of anything beyond her own name. A shadowy and deadly clan has marked them both for death, and in an instant the game changes: the hunter has become the hunted.

On the run, with the ghosts of their past between them and a dark, desperate hunger quickly reclaiming their bodies and souls, Libby and Jaxon must discover the truth behind the dark forces working against them. Together, they must grab hold of a destiny that has the power to either heal them or destroy them.

I'm very excited to feature the book here and on my other blog Bittersweet Musings. If you want a chance to win this book I suggest you visit Juliana Stone's blog here for all the contest rules!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Giving Help Where It's Needed

In light of the terrible disaster recently experienced by the people of Haiti I have removed my own personal donation request in the hopes of urging you to do something more - to give for Haiti. The country and its people have been horribly effected by earthquake and whatever you can give, $5, $10, $15, would make a great difference to the relief effort. Here are just a few of the ways you can help-

I just donated - have you? For missing family, call 1-888-407-4747.
To help with relief efforts, text "HAITI" to "90999" and $10 will be
given automatically to the Red Cross, charged to your cell phone bill.

text "yele" to 501501 to donate $5 to Haiti disaster relief.

Or please check out the Red Cross website at http://www.redcross.or
g/ to give in the name of Haiti.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Reading Amidst the Chaos - Live from B&N

Erotica Romance Reading Challenge

Ok reader-ettes (and reader-dudes) I've decided to try something new in 2010 - a blog reading challenge! I'm still learning the in's and out's of the whole thing, but the gist of it is that as the year goes along I'll be coming back to this post periodically to update it with the erotic romances that I've read. Some of them will link directly to my reviews, others will just be up here to show what kind of variety I like in my erotica. This challenge is being hosted by Erotic Horizon, and while I've just started combing my way through all the great stuff she has on her blog, I know enough to recommend that you take the time to stop by too! I'm excited about the challenge and the chance to start chatting with other people who read like I do! Wish me luck and happy reading!


Book List (linked to review when available) -
Guilty Pleasure by Lora Leigh
Hunting Evander by Kim Knox
Changing Perspective by Marilu Mann
Hot for the Reunion by Ann Jacobs
The Bad Widow by Barbara Elsborg
Her Very Special Robot by Ann Jacobs
Taking Shape by Tielle St. Clare
Nauti Deceptions by Lora Leigh

Coming Undone by Lauren Dane

Black Jack by Lora Leigh
The Mane Attraction by Shelly Laurenston

Torturous Tuesday by Various

The Bargain by Julia Templeton
The Captivation by Natasha Rostova

Naked by Megan Hart
Bullet by Laurell K Hamilton
Coin Operated by Ginny Glass
The Panther's Lair by Esmerelda Bishop
Consent to the Cowboy by Abby Wood
Coming Undone by Lauren Dane
Better Late Than Never by Savannah Stuart
Marvin and the Three Bears by Tielle St. Clare

Her Heart's Divide by Kathleen Dienne
Motor City Fae by Cindy Spencer Pape

Healer's Garden by Nina Pierce

Coming Clean by Inez Kelley
Second Chances by Lauren Dane

Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston
Go Fetch by Shelly Laurenston
Here Kitty, Kitty! by Shelly Laurenston
Highland Beast by Regina Carlysle
Love's Choice by M.A. Ellis
Challenge Protocol by Dawn Ryder
Outside Protocol by Dawn Ryder

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Family Way by Jayne Ann Krentz

Expecting a baby was supposed to be the most incredible thing in her life, but for Pru Kenyon, it was bittersweet. Her relationship with live-in love Case McCord was both exciting and deeply satisfying. But Pru knew Case wasn't willing to take it to the next level of commitment.

Pru wasn't about to force Case's hand by revealing her secret. Sher didn't want him to propose to her out of duty- she wanted him to want her for herself.. So she did the only thing she could... She walked away from the love of her life.

She knew she could have this baby on her own, that she could love her child enough for two. But she hadn't bargained on what Case was willing to do for love.

This is an oldie in my collection of books. I bought a used copy a few years ago, because after reading the one from my library I knew I was going to be going back to it again and again. This is a classic, uncomplicated romantic story. The focus is solely on Pru and Case and their relationship, though Krentz does bring in a hint of mystery with Case's past. Sometimes it's really nice just to take a step back and read a story that doesn't take a lot out of you. The book is contemporary in feel, though it was originally published in 1987 (not surprising, really. I mean, look at that old Harlequin cover!). I was reading another review of it on Amazon, and this particular reader was annoyed because she thought Case was too cold and aloof a character for Pru to fall in love with, but I think I've read stories with much worse heroes. Case might be a little stoic but you can always tell that he cares a lot for Pru and when it can finally say that he loves her at the end of the story you're really touched.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. An oldie, but a goodie. A great romance that stands the test of time!

Series - None

Guilty Pleasure by Lora Leigh

Marty Mathews had always known about the secret, forbidden pleasures that the women she had grown up with enjoyed. Women whose husbands or lovers were members of the exclusive “Club,” where they took a selected “third” into their beds. And there is one man—a dangerous, forbidden man—who is part of this world and who has haunted Marty’s dreams for years. But she had been the FBI agent assigned to shadow him, making him completely off limits. . .That is until Khalid is cleared and Marty is released from her assignment. Now, all bets are off. . .

The beautiful, fierce Marty Mathews is the one woman Khalid hungers for like no other and is the one woman he dare not let himself have. His past dogs his every step and danger lurks around every corner. If he wants to keep her safe, he must stay away from her. But the power of their desire is something they cannot deny—and once Marty is his, Khalid will do whatever it takes to keep her in his bed and in his arms.

This book is very not G-Rated! Just so everyone's warned, because I'm not sure if people notice when I label something as erotica. I think Lora Leigh writes some of the best contemporary erotica out there, with sex scenes that titillate and make sense with the plot - because there is always plot. All of her 'Pleasure' books center around 'The Club', a secret organization and hangout for men who like to share their women with other men. Sounds different, huh? Well it is. Somehow something that would sound weird or misogynistic in other people's hands makes seems completely normal in Leigh's. While the main characters might be seduced in the beginning, each women finds her own strength and freedom in the final trio. This particular story focuses on Khalid, Middle Eastern royalty, who is working with the US to bring down his terrorist half brothers. Which brings you to Marty, who while working for the FBI is sent to delve even deeper into Khalid's private life. Bring in the fact that these two have been circling around each other for years, and it results in quite the combustible show down between the two.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. I own all the series, and while they have their ups and downs, this is definitely one of the better ones. Still, and I hate to say it, for $14.99 it might be worth it to wait for mass market because while these books are good, you can get even better if you grab something from her other series (which are all mass market price).

Series - 1) Surrender to the Fire 2) Submission/Seduction 3) Wicked Sacrifice 4) Shameless Embraces 5) Forbidden Pleasure 6) Wicked Pleasure 7) Only Pleasure 8) Guilty Pleasure

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Excerpt - What a Dragon Should Know by G.A. Aiken (aka Shelly Laurenston)

"Really?" He lowered his head and his voice. "Am I fiercer to you now that you've seen me in battle? Do you want me more than you ever thought possible? Are you ready to take me at this moment?"

"Perhaps when the scabs fall off."

Not knowing what she meant, Gwenvael looked down at this body. Horrified, he sat up. "What is this? What's happened to me?"

"Calm down. It'll heal quick enough, I'm sure."

"Heal? I'm hideous!"

"You're alive."

"Hideously alive!" He covered her face with hands. "Don't look at me! Look away"

"Stop it!" She pulled at this hands. "Have you lost your mind?"

Gwenvael dropped back to the bed, turned his face toward the wall. " You know what this means, don't you?"


"I'll have to live alone, at the top of a castle somewhere. I'll hide from the daylight and only come out at night."

"Please stop this."

"I'll be alone but not for long because you'll all want me more. You'll lust for the beautiful warrior I once was and pity the hideous creature I've become. Most importantly, you'll want to soothe my pain." He looked at her again. "Don't you want to soothe my pain? Right now? Without that dress on?"

"No, I do not."

Dagmar tried to stand, and Gwenvael caught her hand, pulling her back down. "You can't leave me. I'm tortured and brooding. You need to show me how much you adore me so I can learn to love myself again."

"You've never stopped loving yourself."

"Because I'm amazing."

She yanked her hand away, but Gwenvael simply caught it again and dragged her until she was on top of him.

"Let me go!"

"Not until you kiss away my torturous brooding."

"I'm not kissing anything away." Dagmar froze. "And move your hands, sir."

"But they are warm and comfortable where they are."


Buy What a Dragon Should Know from or any other fine book sellers and check out more great books by G.A. Aiken (Shelly Laurenston),

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh

Dev Santos discovers her unconscious and battered, with no memory of who she is. All she knows is that she's dangerous. Charged with protecting his people's most vulnerable secrets, Devi is duty-bound to eliminate all threats. It's a task he's never hesitated to complete...until he finds himself drawn to a woman who might prove to be the enemy's most insidious weapon yet.

Stripped of her memories by a shadowy oppressor and programmed to carry out cold-blooded murder, Katya Haas is fighting desperately for her sanity. Her only hope is Dev. But how can she expect to gain the trust of a man who could very well be her next target? For in this game, one must die...

I've talked before about how I love Nalini Singh. Her Psy-Changeling series is just incredible, with the perfect combination of love, sex, and heart pounding suspense. Some of her other books have really touch my heart, most especially Mine to Possess, but this was the first one to bring tears to my eyes. A romance! One I knew somehow had to have a happy ending still brought tears to my eyes, because as frustrating as it was to be along Dev and Katya's journey to each other, once they were a unit it was unbreakable and amazing.

......sorry about that. Sometimes I feel like I gush too much when I talk about her. But it's just so rare to have that an author who you know is going to write a great book. If I really thought about it, there are only about enough authors to fill up one hand that have that same distinction. Either way, it's another fantastic book and Nalini Singh even has a spot here on Blogspot where you can find her! You can take a look at her books and posts about everything, here.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. A great book that really touches the heart, it continues upon the high standards that Singh has set for herself with this series.

Series - 1) Slave to Sensation 2) Visions of Heat 3) Caressed by Ice 4) Mine to Possess 5) Hostage to Pleasure 6) Branded by Fire 7) Blaze of Memory

The Royal Treatment by MaryJanice Davidson

In a world nearly identical to ours, the North won the Civil War, Ben Affleck is the sexiest man alive, and Russia never sold Alaska to the U.S. Instead, Alaska is a rough, beautiful country ruled by a famously eccentric royal family, and urgently in need of a bride for the Crown Prince. But they have no idea what they're in for when they offer the job to a feisty commoner. . .a girl who's going to need. . .

The Royal Treatment

The Princess-To-Be Primer,

Or, Things I've Learned Really Quick, As Compiled by Her Future Royal Highness--Yeah, Whatever--Christina. That's me.

1. Telling jokes you picked up from the guys on the fishing boat doesn't go over really well at a fancy ball.

2. Must learn to curtsy, stifle burps, and tell the difference between a salad fork and a fruit knife.

3. Must not keep thinking about Prince David's amazing eyes, lips, hands, shoulders, uh. . .wait, can I start over?

4. Becoming a princess is a lot harder than it looks.

5. Falling in love is a whole lot easier. . .

This was one of my first few rereads of 2010, and a perfect example of MaryJanice Davidson at her best. When I first started reading her Betsey vampire series I was just blown away by her light hearted writing and how funny being turned into a vampire could be, if put in the hands of someone who's willing to see it that way. But as she kept going the books got less enjoyable and it just seemed very contriving - I'm not lying when I say it broke my heart a little. Still I was willing to give The Royal Treatment a try and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it harkened back to the beginning of the 'Undead' books and it was a great romantic comedy! Christina is completely without pause when she meets up with the royal family of Alaska and hers and David's romance is unique to say the very least. Filled with laugh out loud scenes, candy, and 'sharp as shurikan' psychologists, I'd definitely recommend that you pick this up!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. The rest of the series has it's ups and downs, but this is a great beginning and very enjoyable as a stand alone.

Series - 1) The Royal Treatment 2) The Royal Pain 3) The Royal Mess

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Street Game by Christine Feehan

For Mack McKinley and his team of GhostWalker killing machines, urban warfare is an art. But despite a hard-won knowledge of the San Francisco streets, Mack knows from experience that too many things can still go wrong. Danger was just another part of the game—and now he’s come face-to-face with a woman who can play just as tough.

She’s Jaimie, a woman with a sapphire stare so potent it can destroy a man. Years ago she and Mack had a history—volatile, erotic, and electric. Then she vanished. Now she’s walked back into Mack’s life, as a spy with more secrets than are good for her. Against all odds, she’s hooking up with Mack one more time to take on an enemy that could destroy them both, or bring them back together in one hot, no-holds-barred adrenaline rush.

Sorry this post took me a bit - life got just slightly hectic and I didn't get a chance to write it up before now. Street Game is Feehan's latest addition to her GhostWalker series, books filled with military men whose psychic abilities were revved up in one scientists quest for the perfect soldier. I think one of the things I like best about the series is that while she started with one set of enhanced soldiers she gradually introducing all of these other teams, each with their own personalities and quirks. It allows the series to evolve naturally and the reader never feels like Feehan pulled some character out of left field to write a book about because her publishing company told her to crank out another one. And while this book focuses on the romance between Mack and Jaimie, the other members of the team, men and women who have known each other since childhood, are really intriguing characters on their own and do a lot to tell the story. What makes this book stand out in particular is that because Mack and Jaimie have known each other so long there's this intriguing 'we were together, I cared about you, why did you leave' element to their interactions and that, combined with the action of him being a member of an acting counter-terrorist unit, make this book a great thrill ride.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. Just as good as any action movie, Feehan knocks another one out of the park.

Series - 1) Shadow Game 1) Mind Game 3) Night Game 4) Conspiracy Game 5) Deadly Game 6) Predatory Game 7) Murder Game 8) Street Game

And Reading Amidst the Chaos hits YouTube!

This is only a teaser, but what the hell here goes nothing! This is the first little video I've made for Reading Amidst the Chaos(YT). I can't say how often they'll appear yet, it kind of depends on the response I get, but I think it's at the very least a new way to get my voice out there. Let me know how you feel about it, if it's something you could see yourself watching or if it's too random to work!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

By the Book

I saw this note over at Romance Book Wyrm, and I thought that Amy did such a fun job composing her life by book titles that I had to give it a try too! It was actually pretty hard for me, since I haven't been keeping track of every book that I devoured during the year, but through some stealthy stalking of my Google calendar and my folder full of ebooks I was able to put together my own version. Hope you enjoy a look at my 2009!

Directions: Using only titles of books you have read this year (2009), complete the prompts below. Try not to repeat a book title.

Describe yourself -
Burning Wild by Christine Feehan

How do you feel -
Cast in Silence by Michelle Sagara

Describe where you currently live -
On the Edge by Ilona Andrews

If you could go anywhere, where would you go -
Summer's Caress by Tielle St. Clare

Your favorite form of transportation -
Call of the Sea by Michelle M. Pillow

Your best friend is -
Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz

You and your friends are -
Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon

What's the weather like?
Half Wild by Madison Hayes and Rhyannon Byrd

Favorite time of day -
First Moon Rise by Tielle St. Clare

What is life to you?
Strange Brew - Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, etc.

Your fear -
Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

What is the best advice you have to give?
No Reservations by Lauren Dane

Thought for the day -
Challenge Protocol by Dawn Ryder

How I would like to die -
Tempting the Beast by Lora Leigh

My souls present condition -
Broken Boundaries by Evangeline Anderson

Walk on the Wild Side by Christine Warren

Kitty Sugarman is a lot tougher than her name implies. Still, she’s content with how her small- town life keeps her removed from all the changes happening in the world—like the Unveiling of the Others. That is, until a near-tragedy strikes and Kitty discovers she has abilities . . .thanks to a father she never knew was alive. He also happens to be a were-lion and leader of one of the most powerful Prides out West.


When Kitty heads to Vegas to find out more about her father, it’s his sexy, seductive second-in-command or baas of the Pride, Marcus Stewart, who commands her attention. Now that she has tempted Marcus’s hunger for a mate, Kitty finds herself stuck in a vicious struggle for her father’s fortune, while deadly unrest stirs within the pride. Kitty’s rivals won’t rest until she’s gone for good, but Marcus will fight until his last breath to save her…even if it means going against the pride.

I like Christine Warren so I love to give her the benefit of the doubt, but let me tell you - if this book didn't have such a satisfactory ending it might have gotten a thumbs down. I just have an issue when all of sudden characters are 'scolding' the heroine. Yes, I want you to help her grow. Yes, I want you to teach her new things about herself and her future. But DON'T scold her like she's 4 years old and decided to have a tantrum, because even if the heroine tries to shrug it off by saying that she was being a brat, I won't believe you. I've been reading the whole story and do in fact know what's been going on. Ok then, to move on. The reason I do like and would recommend this book is totally for the last 3/4. Warren again pulls out a good shape shifter love story, in a world that has enough similarities to ours to make everything seem plausible and because of that, that much cooler. As a warning to my readers, there is a full on 'shifted into lions and then had sex' scene. It's well written and I feel works with the story. I'm never quite prepared when authors pull this card, but Warren carries it off and doesn't make the scene go so many pages that it would start to feel weird. But you're warned.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. Slightly irksome in the beginning, it pulls it out in the end as a still fun read. Though I do remember now why I don't reread it more often....

Series - 1) Wolf at the Door 2) She's No Faerie Princess 3) The Demon You Know 4) Howl at the Moon 5) Walk on the Wild Side 6) One Bite With a Stranger 7) You're So Vein 8) Big Bad Wolf