Sunday, February 28, 2010

Musing Mondays (3/1)

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about story format.

How do you feel about books written in a differing format – whether this be journals or letters (epistolary), verse novels, or any other form? Is this something you enjoy? Or do you prefer straight forward chapter prose.

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your opinion in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

**MUSING MONDAYS is hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page...

In general I'd have to say that I prefer a book to be written in the usual first or third person format. My experience has shown me that it is a very rare author that can write a book through journal or letters and make me feel like I'm still a part of the story. Somehow the forced format of a journal entry is just distracting and I never feel like I'm getting the whole story.

Tamora Pierce did a good job of the journal style with Terrier, but then another one of my favorite authors - Stephanie Laurens - disappointed me with the beginning of the chapter journal entries in The Elusive Bride.

I guess then for me there's no clear cut 'this is what I like' and instead I have to base it individually on an author's ability to handle the medium.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Book to Reel (2/25)

This weekly event is hosted by Lori at Escape Between the Pages. What Lori does is each week she posts a trailer for a particular movie and the description for the book that inspired it. Readers are encouraged to comment on the book, the movie, or both.

This week I'm going to be talking about one of my favorite books ever - Charlotte's Web. I don't care about all the other random things I read before this book, but I DO vividly remember this being the first nice hard cover my mother ever got me - as a Christmas present no less. I believe it's one of those books that stays with you forever, because the themes and emotions it depicts are timeless in their simplicity. I tried to find a good 'book blurb' to remind people what the story is about, but everything was too ridiculous or concentrated too much on the (newer) movie version and not about the book. For me, this book is about friendship and life. Wilber is born and has to learn to navigate the world as we all do, with all the challenges, hardships, and loss inherent to that journey.

The movie takes this basic story line and jazz's it up a bit with music, lights, and sounds. The basic story is the same, but due to the audience it was targeted to and the time it was made (1973) it might not seem quite as hard hitting as the original book. Still, the end is bittersweet and you become so attached and won over by Charlotte that you're still somewhat devastated when she's gone. I haven't seen the recent redo of the film, but I know that the first release is a movie I'll never forget, mostly because the book has such a hold on my childhood and my development as a person.

Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole


Lucia the Huntress: as mysterious as she is exquisite, she harbors secrets that threaten to destroy her -- and those she loves.


Garreth MacRieve, Prince of the Lykae: the brutal Highland warrior who burns to finally claim this maddeningly sensual creature as his own.


From the shadows, Garreth has long watched over Lucia. Now, the only way to keep the proud huntress safe from harm is to convince her to accept him as her guardian. To do this, Garreth will ruthlessly exploit Lucia's greatest weakness -- her wanton desire for him.

I think I'd really forgotten how much I like Kresley Cole. Her characters are always inventive (Nucking Futs Nix anyone?) and the relationships are always hot and fast paced. What particularly struck me in this book was the time jumps. Especially in the first few chapters of the book, readers are treated to story lines that go in and out of other books in Cole's series. I'm 90% positive that if I hadn't already read them I would have been very confused because as much as this book is a stand alone, it's dependent on the build-up done in previous books. Still that threading through with the other books gives the reader an unusual chance to know what's going on in the background of other romances - I might have loved Emma and Lachlain's story, but only now did I really get to see what her family was going through while it happened.

But ok - to get back to Lucia and Garreth - this was a great book. The story was funny, the way the two interacted was a hoot, and the supporting characters were unique, while doing a good job of helping the story along. Combine all that with random texts from Regin? Hilarious!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up! I loved having a longer book to read, one with enough romance, sex, and action to keep me entertained the entire way through!

Series - 1) Playing Easy to Get 2) A Hunger Like No Other 3) No Rest for the Wicked 4) Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night 5) Dark Deeds at Night's Edge 6) Kiss of a Demon King 7) Deep Kiss of Winter 8) Pleasure of a Dark Prince 9) Demon From the Dark (August 31, 2010)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Enchanted, Inc. Series by Shanna Swendson

Katie Chandler had always heard that New York is a weird and wonderful place, but this small-town Texas gal had no idea how weird until she moved there. Everywhere she goes, she sees something worth gawking at and Katie is afraid she’s a little too normal to make a splash in the big city. Working for an ogre of a boss doesn’t help.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, Katie gets a job offer from Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc., a company that tricks of the trade to the magic community. For MSI, Katie’s ordinariness is an asset. Lacking any bit of magic, she can easily spot a fake spell, catch hidden clauses in competitor’s contracts, and detect magically disguised intruders. Suddenly, average Katie is very special indeed.

She quickly learns that office politics are even more complicated when your new boss is a real ogre, and you have a crush on the sexy, shy, ultra powerful head of the R&D department, who is so busy fighting an evil competitor threatening to sell black magic on the street that he seems barely to notice Katie. Now it’s up to Katie to pull off the impossible: save the world and - hopefully - live happily ever after.

This series first starting getting published in 2005, so while I'm sad to say I was a little late jumping on the bandwagon, at least when I got there all the books were already out! Swendson has put together this great little contemporary romance fantasy quartet with Katie trying to not only figure out life in the big city, but figure out life when magic is real!

Swendson writes Katie as a woman who, while being impressed by the surreal still has her feet firmly planted on the ground, which makes her a perfect character for readers to get attached to, since I'm sure so many of us would feel the same way. The romance between her and Owen is strung through all four books and is both frustrating and sweet, because as much as you want them just to get together already, the reader understands that sometimes life just doesn't work that way. I'm very happy to have all of these books to read at my leisure and they definitely make me think of my favorite rom-com movies (You've Got Mail anyone?).

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. This series is so much fun to read from start to finish, and it's one that I'm happy to have on my shelf and recommend to my friends when they need a pick me up.

Series - 1) Enchanted, Inc. 2) Once Upon Stilettos 3) Damsel Under Stress 4) Don't Hex with Texas

Teaser Tuesdays (2/23)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Look, I know what you used to be, and I hear that's not something that happens to nice guys. So I want to make it very, very clear to you that if you give my friend anything to complain about, I know people who can turn you right back into a frog. Are we clear?"

--pg 207,
Enchanted Inc. by Shanna Swendson

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Musing Mondays (2/22)

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about keeping books.

Do you keep all the books you ever buy? Just the ones you love? Just collectibles? What do you do with the ones you don’t want to keep?

**MUSING MONDAYS is hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page...

I think is the pivotal question for a lot of book lovers. What am I going to do with my books? Where am I going to put them all?

I didn't really wonder too much about what I was going to do until I hit college, when I started traveling with all the books that meant the most to me. There never seemed to be enough room! I tried to be discerning with my pick, only allowing myself to take a few with me, but the definition of a few grew ever year!

I guess at this point in my life what I try to do is buy the important ones and every few years do a used book store purge of the rest. It's hard to see anything go, I'm one of those people who'll suddenly remember a part of a book I read years ago and want to read the whole thing over. But I can't keep them all, I don't physically have enough space. Plus, I'm almost positive my roommate would murder me in my sleep if I didn't have some semblance of control over my purchasing habits.

I've made a promise to myself that I'm going to visit the library more and maybe that will make a change; put a dent in the hundreds of books I'm sure I buy a year. But let's be serious - I know I'm going to turn into one of those old ladies that has to devote a room and almost every other piece of wall space in her house for bookshelves to try and contain her 'addiction'.

I'm not sure if I feel bad about that.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

When a meteor hits the moon and knocks in closer in orbit to the earth, nothing will ever be the same. World wide tidal waves. Earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions. And that's just the beginning.

I think maybe part of the reason I was taking so long to finish the latest Stephanie Laurens was because I knew I had this book waiting for me. I picked it up kind of randomly in a Borders and started reading it just to waste some time - I got through about one chapter and realized that I was going to have to buy it. The writing was that compelling. The problem I had with this book is due to the fact that I've read post-apocalyptic accounts before and they're always depressing (ask me about Octavia Butler sometime). I guess that's unsurprising since most of them depict whole societal collapse, but still - very depressing, very hard on my soul to read.

This books stars Miranda, a 16yr placed in the most extraordinary of circumstances, in which her and her family have to somehow survive the moon's move closer to earth. Pfeffer creates an incredibly believable and sympathetic characters; as I was reading this I really felt like I knew Miranda and hurt when she hurt. There will definitely be tears if you decide to pick this up, but at least I can say that it ends on a somewhat hopeful note.

I can tell you right now I'm going to be a total character and not read the second novel, though I might pick up the 3rd to see how things are going with Miranda. The second novel, The Dead and the Gone focuses on a boy named Alex who lived in NY when the meteor hit and since this first book talks about huge tsunamis hitting every continent's coast and how the Statue of Liberty got washed out to sea, I just can't do it right now - or probably ever. I'm sure it's still written very well though, so if you could get up the courage I'd say go for it.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. The book is heartbreaking to read and often had me in tears, but no one can deny Miranda's powerful voice and Pfeffer's ability to create an unforgettable novel.

Series - 1) Life As We Knew It 2) The Dead and the Gone 3) This World We Live In (April 1, 2010)

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Elusive Bride by Stephanie Laurens

A second battle-hardened, completely unstoppable, all-male hero, an ex-officer of the Crown, confronts the deadly enemy known only as the Black Cobra.

He's focused on his mission, then sees a lady he never dreamed he'd see again—with an assassin on her heels.

She secretly followed him, unaware her path is deadly—or that she'll join him to battle a treacherous foe.

Through ever-present peril, through passion, desire, and ecstasy, they race to reach England—and their destiny.

It's amazing! I have a book review to write! I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, thrown my hands up at the sky, and screamed 'NO MORE BOOKS!'

........that might have been a bit much, huh?

Whatever I don't care - it's Friday and I've finally finished this book! Woohoo! It took me forever because this book was really only so-so (I'm very sad to be saying that, but it's true). I didn't really like the format of having the heroine write in her diary at the beginning of chapters - I pretty much skipped those from the 3rd chapter on. But even after that I just didn't feel the connection to the main couple like I usually do; there was just something about Emily and Gareth as people that made me care somewhat about their romance, but I never ended up caring a lot. Once you got to the middle of the book the story started picking up and at the end when I got little glimpses of all the Cynsters I fell in love with before, I even started liking it. But to be completely honest (which I try to do) the story was just not up to par with the others.

Overall Feeling - Eh. I don't give 'eh's very often, so you know that when I do they're usually warranted. Pick it up if you want to complete the series, but don't feel bad if you wait until your local library starts carrying a copy.

Series - 1) The Untamed Bride 2) The Elusive Bride 3) The Brazen Bride (July 2010)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Book to Reel Wednesday (on Thursday)

This weekly event is hosted by Lori at Escape Between the Pages. What Lori does is each week she posts a trailer for a particular movie and the description for the book that inspired it. Readers are encouraged to comment on the book, the movie, or both.

Truthfully I don't think too often about the movie adaptations of books, because more often than not they're hideous reproductions that make me yearn for an ice pick with which to stab myself. But on my walk to work this morning I just started thinking about some of the ones I liked, times where either the the movie was a true representation of the book or it veered enough from the story to keep the spirit but exist as an independent entity.

**Disclaimer: Most of these will be movies based on books from my childhood, at least in the beginning, because those are my favorites.**

This is not a fairy tale. This is about real witches! Grandmamma loves to tell about witches. Real witches are the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth. There's nothing they hate so much as children, and they work all kinds of terrifying spells to get rid of pesky kids. A boy listens closely to his Grandmamma's stories of the evil witches, but nothing can prepare him for the day he comes face to face with The Grand High Witch herself!

I loved Roald Dahl when I was a child and love him now. I think he has some of the most unique and culturally pervasive children's characters ever - and those characters always seem to hang around. I haven't seen the movie in a while at this point but I still remember how scary it was! Angelica Houston was probably the scariest witch ever and that was before she started peeling off her skin and showing how grotesque she was underneath! If you get the chance I definitely recommend picking this up from Blockbusters (are those still around?) or NetFlix and reminding yourself how cool kid's movies were even before Harry Potter.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Weekend Reading

Sorry to be a little lax on the reviewing lately! I actually was a complete hermit and spent almost the entire weekend curled up in bed re-reading parts (or the whole) of some of my favorite books. I think that's probably one of the most comforting things in my life right now. I can snuggle up in my blanket, put on some music, and lose myself in a book that I know will not disappoint. There's no surprise ending, the drama is less drama-filled, and the bad guys always get it in the end.

I know a lot of people who don't like to re-read books. Instead they like to pick something up from their TBR pile and keep it moving. While I understand this mentality, I can't do it all the time. I've found that sometimes reading is work. Maybe this is a sign that I'm reading a not-so-great book, but either way I can find myself forcing my way through a story. That is tiring enough and when my life gets really stressful I enjoy the familiarity of something where I know what's going to happen. It's almost like a stuffed animal or a well love blanket - it brings me back to happy times and makes everything a little bit better - even if it's only for an hour or so.

Sorry if this post is a little down sounding, but I'm tired and feeling a little stressed about life. I promise to keep up with the reviews and I'm sure I'll be back soon with a random rant about something. There's always something!

Teaser Tuesdays (2/16)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Sitting back down, she placed the creamer on the table. "This is your company. See how it's unprotected? All alone in the big bad world. And look, it's saccharine coming to attack." Jess placed several of the blue packets down, aimed toward the creamer. Then she broke the sticks in half and gave them swords. " See? They're armed and dangerous." She placed brow-sugar packets between the creamer and the saccharine. "But look! It's the sugars coming to protect us!" Now, thoroughly enjoying herself, she gave the sugar packets swords too. "Saccharine charges"- she moved the packets forward- "but the sugars battle them back with skill and the darkness within us all. They're not afraid to kill and destroy in the name of justice- and cold, hard cash."

Jess grinned, extremely pleased with her presentation. But when she looked up at Smitty, he sat there with his elbow on the table, his chin resting in the palm of his hand, and he was staring at her.

"What?" she demanded. "That's not clear?"

- pg. 58-59, The Beast in Him by Shelly Laurenston

YES I CHEATED! I admit it! I put up more than two sentences! But I love this scene and I declare that I have the options of cheating whenever I want in the name of a funny scene! Viva la RAtChaos!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Musing Mondays (2/15)

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about a reference material.

Do you keep reference books on your shelves at home? What’s your first port of call when you need information – the internet or a book?

**MUSING MONDAYS is hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page...

I don't know how people existed before Google and Wikipedia. I fully admit that people shouldn't ONLY use internet resources when they need information, but for a quick fix? I couldn't live without the little Google search box in the upper right hand corner of my Firefox screen.

In fact, Google is so integrated into my searching mindset that I'm not sure how competitors are going to work to dislodge that; take Bing for example. Microsoft has spent all this money on really cool commercials and ads, all just to move people from Google (and to a smaller extent Yahoo) to Bing. But I just don't see that working because people are creatures of habit and the ease of Google has pretty much got an uncontested hold on their minds. Anybody not get inundated with articles after Google started making noises about leaving China?

But I think that's an interesting twist to this topic - do you like to use one search engine over another? Or do you try to search for information using a few different platforms, to make sure that you cover all your bases?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Nauti Deceptions - ERR Challenge Review

Caitlyn "Rogue" Walker left her life in Boston to become a teacher in a small Kentucky town. But her dream was shattered when she was framed in a sex scandal. Refusing to be run out of town, Caitlyn shed the identity she had and became Rogue. Sheriff Zeke Mayes knows there's more to her than meets the eye, though what meets the eye is pretty smoking. He's prepared for a long struggle getting Rogue to drop her defenses-and give in to desire. But soon Zeke will become embroiled in a deadly game that sweeps Rogue up in its wake. And when everything seems to be a matter of life and death, there is no reason to hold back...

I am so glad this book came out! Throughout the whole series Rogue has been prominently positioned as a character you would love to know more about. But all we got were innuendos; it was incredibly frustrating! Finally in Nauti Deceptions do we learn about her back story and what has turned her into the kick ass woman we've been reading about. Not only that, we get to learn more about Zeke and see how his own alpha male personality fits in with the 2-some/3-some/whatever-ness that has permeated the other books. In general though I have to say that I thought the relationship between Rogue and Zeke evolved the easiest throughout the book, but that could be because I've read about both of them enough in previous installments that I just felt like it was a natural continuation.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. Probably my favorite in the series, these characters are very much unforgettable.

Series - 1) Nauti Boy 2) Nauti Nights 3) Nauti Dreams 4) Nauti Intentions 5) Nauti Deceptions

Thursday, February 11, 2010

New Video!

You thought I forgot about it didn't you? You thought that RAtChaos on YouTube was going to be just one more failed enterprise, like the much talked about but never seen Sex-O-Meter. But you're wrong! Check out the video below to see my latest comings and goings during DC's snowpocalypse!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Queen by Sharon Sala

No stranger to responsibility, Queen was the one who cared for her younger sisters when their errant dad was otherwise occupied. Now that the girls are all grown up, Queen is finally free to pursue her own dreams. And she knows they're bound to take her farther than the Tennessee hills...some day.

Cody Bonner loves being the father of three young boys, though raising them on his own is a handful. Then Queen shows up. From the very start Cody knows this fiery, flame-haired lady is much more than just a housekeeper. Her remarkable heart and passion move him in ways he's never felt before. The proud, handsome widower's got a love in him that could make Queen Houston happy for the rest of her days. All he has to do is convince her restless royal highness that the sweetest dreams of all wait just inside his door...

I recently talked about this book in a RAtC video (it may or may not get published - there's some REALLY horrible lighting) but I figured that no matter how old this book is, it deserves some limelight of its own. Sometimes in this new and shiny realm of paranormal and fantasy romance the simply wonderful contemporary romance can be overlooked. It doesn't have flashy gimmicks or brooding heroes on the cover; the fact is, it doesn't need them. What books like Queen have are honest characters and a story line filled with the type of day to day realities that make it incredibly easy to relate to. I mean, why are we reading romance if we're not romantics at heart? Queen and Cody's journey to each other is just so rewarding, and the road blocks that come up don't feel fabricated for forced. I would definitely say that you take the time and pick this book up, if nothing else so you know that on rainy days you have the perfect staple to go back to.

Overall Feeling
- Thumbs up. An older romance that still has its place of honor on my shelf.

- 1)
Diamond 2) Queen 3) Lucky

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Back in Black by Lori Foster

SBC president Drew Black is as controversial as they come. But the hot-headed entrepreneur is a perfect match for his popular sports club venture: uncompromising and extreme. Maybe too extreme. With a reputation for saying what he thinks, Drew's been causing a lot of friction. That's why someone's been called in to clean up his image—before he does any permanent damage.

The lucky lady is Gillian Noode, a PR expert who's smoothed out the rough edges on many a man. But Drew is rougher than anyone she's ever met, and he refuses to change for any woman, for any reason. To make matters more complicated, Gillian's starting to like him raw. Now, opposites aren't only attracting, they're igniting. But in the rising heat, which one of them will end up on top?

I've enjoyed all of the books in Foster's Fighter Series, but I must say that this is my favorite since the first (Causing Havoc). Drew and Gillian were both kick ass characters with the type of explosive personalities that make contemporary romances so much fun. Neither gave an inch while navigating the initial attraction, and even after they gave in it didn't matter whether it was in the bedroom or in the boardroom with the owners of the SBC - both had strong opinions and they were both going to heard. I also think that this book has possibly the hottest sex scenes from any of her titles and Foster does an incredible job of portraying how much fun both of them have together.

What also puts this book so high in my esteem is the great job that Foster does writing two romances at the same time. Even though Brett and Alison aren't mentioned on the back, their story is very prominently featured and Foster makes them wonderful supplementary characters that take on such a life of their own I almost wish they'd had their own book! But I only wish a little because Foster writes enough to make any romantic go 'Awww!' over their story!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up! I really enjoyed this title, to the point that I started reading it again as soon as I finished it the first time!

Series - 1) Causing Havoc 2) Simon Says 3) Hard to Handle 4) Double the Pleasure 5) My Man, Michael 6) Tails of Love 7) Double the Heat 8) Back in Black

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"She gasped as he released her wrists, only to swing her up in his arms and stride into the bedroom. Within seconds she was bouncing on his bed, pushing at her hair as it fell over her eyes and feeling his hands at her hips, dragging her pants over her thighs."

- pg. 162, Nauti Deceptions by Lora Leigh

Monday, February 8, 2010

Musing Mondays

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about a random book.

I’ve seen several bloggers mention reading multiple books this week. Do you frequently read more than one book at a time? Do you try to limit this to a certain number? Do you have different books for different purposes/topics?

**MUSING MONDAYS is hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page...

I found this a very interesting topic, mostly because I just can't understand reading more than one book at a time. Usually I am involved with one book exclusively - those characters and that world are all that matter. I can admit though that this is probably due more to the fact that most of the books I read are fiction, than an inability on my part to read more than one at a time. Just as I wouldn't like watching two movies or once, or flipping through too many channels on the TV, I prefer to concentrate on one story at a time.

But there are a couple instances where I could see adding in other periphery choices to my main reading: 1) If my first choice turns out to be so uninteresting that I have to try something else or I'll never go back to it, 2) If there's a non-fiction choice that I can use as more of a coffee table book. I've come across books with unconnected chapters about historic figures, fashion, or makeup that I can really enjoy but can't read all in one sitting. When that happens I like reading a chapter of non-fiction right before I go to bed or on my lunch breaks; it's just something to break up whatever I've got my mind on.

Either way, I think it's a better person than me that can keep track of two authors (minimum) at once!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ilona Andrews Quiz

I just saw this quiz talked about at Book Addict and I had to do it!!! I've talked about how much I love Ilona Andrews and this was a great way to spend some time on a snowy evening! I'd love to know what you got!



You are a cop of the Paranormal Activity Division. You have a strong sense of right and wrong and tend to see the world in black and white. The laws are there for a reason and you make sure that they stay in place. You live hard and party hard, because you never know when you have to put yourself between a crazed maniac armed with a fireball and a random citizen who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

More about factions:

Which Faction do you belong to?

Tea for Two by Shelley Munro

Lies and secrets have a way of returning to bite a girl in the butt…

Hayley Williams thought she was past the screwing-up stage of her life.
These days, she wears her good girl persona well—except when she moonlights as a gypsy tea leaf reader in order to earn money to buy her own home. There’s something about Sam Norville, though, that prods her inner imp back to life. A chance meeting, a margarita…okay, two…a stolen kiss, and suddenly she’s back in hot water.

Sam, a successful businessman, doesn’t believe in love at first sight. Not anymore. For him, involvement with any woman means risking a run-in with the tabloid press. But his mysterious gypsy lover keeps him coming back, keeps him prodding her for more…like the truth. Of course it’s not love. No, sir. Sam only does lust.

Hayley knows she shouldn’t want Sam, especially since she lied to him. The right thing to do? Shove that naughty imp off her shoulder and come clean. But that pesky imp just won’t budge…

I won this book in a contest hosted by Smexy Books and I must say that I was hoping that I'd like it a bit better. I didn't get into the story from the beginning, but I persevered hoping that I'd like Hayley more or that Sam would somehow become a more compelling character. Unfortunately I found the whole thing kind of flat, with neither character being fleshed out enough. I just didn't believe any of it- the way Hayley reacted to Sam, how she jumped into bed with him again after lying more - and then how Sam dealt with it all, especially the last misunderstanding. I would have liked to have had more interactions between Hayley and her family because there was a lot that could have been developed there; more information about Hayley's past also would have been a great addition. In the end I just feel like this book could have been twice as long and benefited tremendously from it.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs down. I think there are similar story lines done with more heart and enough background and plot to really keep readers engaged.

Series - None.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Romantic Couples - Contest by Dark Faerie Tales!

This fantastic contest is being hosted by Dark Faerie Tales and I love the theme! What she's asking readers to do is choose their top 3 romantic couples (or love stories) and tell why.

There's a whole host of books up to give away -

1. Ecstasy Unveiled
2. Shadow Blade
3. The Iron King
4. Archangel’s Kiss
5. Bone Crossed
6. First Drop of Crimson
7. Darklight
8. Need
9. Betrayals
10. The Secret Year (Signed ARC)
11. Something Like Fate (ARC)
12. Incarceron (ARC & Hardcover)
13. Dirty Little Secrets (ARC)
14. Invisible Girl (ARC)
15. Inked
16. So Punk Rock (Signed)
17. Light Beneath Ferns (Signed)
18. The Princess and the Snowbird
19. The Dark Divine & Nail Polish
20. For Keeps (ARC)
21. Bleeding Violet (ARC)
22. Eleventh Grade Burns (ARC)
23. Spider’s Bite
24. Night Tides
25. Unperfect Souls
26. Blood Magic
27. Succubi Like It Hot
28. Embrace the Night Eternal
29. Beyond the Night
30. Pleasure of a Dark Prince

Who wouldn't be hyped after looking at this list?!? Either way, I am happy to say that after much time and attention (there might have been some agonizing along the way) I picked my TOP 3 ROMANTIC COUPLES!!


Buffy and Angel
- I have to go with Buffy and Angel, just because of the episode 'I Will Remember You'. It was the
epitome of romance, and about a billion episodes of unrequited forbidden love, when Angel turns human and they both get to have this perfect day. But then to have it all torn away because he can't protect her or help save the world? I fully admit that when he was holding Buffy and telling how everything would go back to the way it was and she wouldn't even remember it, I was crying like a baby. Full out, messy, not attractive at all tears. But I loved it and I know I'll remember it forever.

Wesley and Fred - What does it say that two of my most romantic couples are from Joss Whedon and for both the moments that stand out for me are the most tragic? Throughout the entire series of Angel I was rooting for Fred and Wesley, and when Fred died after being possessed by the demon Ileria I didn't think it could get more heartbreaking. Of course, THEN came the series finale where after Wesley is fatally injured, Ileria takes him in her arms and asks the question 'Would you like me to lie to you now?'. She then becomes Fred one last time, cradles him in her lap and tells him how she loves him, how they'll finally get to be together now. Oh! My heart! Again - crying, sobbing, like a baby!

Hannah and Thierry
- This last couple is one from my teenage years, but it's always been near and dear to my heart. Thierry is a vampire and Hannah is an Old Soul, a person who has been reborn throughout history. During
each of her lifetimes Thierry searches for her, only to find her just before she's murdered and taken from him again. In the present, Hannah is 16 and finally reunited with Thierry but torn between her feelings for him and the premonitions of doom she's been receiving. It all culminates in this beautiful scene where he tells her that he loves her so much he could never turn her into a vampire, instead he'll stay with her through her life and after she dies, wait and find her again. SO ROMANTIC! That Thierry loves her for who she is, and has no desire to change her.

But what are you waiting for?! Click on the link for Dark Faerie Tales and pick your own top 3!

Flirt by Laurell K Hamilton

When Anita Blake meets with prospective client Tony Bennington, who is desperate to have her reanimate his recently deceased wife, she is full of sympathy for his loss. Anita knows something about love, and she knows everything there is to know about loss. But what she also knows, though Tony Bennington seems unwilling to be convinced, is that the thing she can do as a necromancer isn't the miracle he thinks he needs. The creature that Anita could coerce to step out of the late Mrs. Bennington's grave would not be the lovely Mrs. Bennington. Not really. And not for long.

This book exemplifies why I'm sure there are some bookstore employees that just hate me. I went into B&N yesterday and I made a very nice guy (named Guy I think) work for his paycheck! But it's not my fault that none of the new releases were on the shelves. I just requested books that I knew were in the store - and unfortunately this guy had to suffer for the inadequacies of whoever closed the store last night. Oh well - at least he has the satisfaction of knowing I bought everything he found for me!

To get back to the book, let me just warn you that this is a novella. It's not a full length novel and only about ~160 some pages - but it's a good 160 pages. I've never been that person who cries and laments every time Hamilton releases an Anita Blake book with some sex. Even when the story focused primarily on her interpersonal relationships, I still feel like the series as a whole was going somewhere. But even after saying that, I am happy to report that this book focuses on the other side of Anita's powers, her necromancy. It's another look into what Anita could be, what she chooses not to be, and the type of people who are brought to her attention by the incredible power she wields. There's a lot of violence, blood, and death - which shouldn't be surprising to any readers of the series. Yet at the same time the new characters are fleshed out enough that you don't feel like they're being gipped by the smaller page count.

Aspiring writers and other fans should be enthused about the essay at the end of the book, where Hamilton talks a lot about how she gets her ideas and how she writes. And after that you can get a kick out of the comics done by The Devil's Panties creator, Jennie Breeden.

Overall Feeling - Definitely Thumbs up. A really quick read, the only thing I could have asked for is that it was released in paperback to save my wallet.

Series - I've said this before and I'll say it again. There are just way too many books in the Anita Blake series to list them all, so please check out Laurell K Hamilton's website here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

January in Review

Hey Everyone,

So I know this is a little late (darn you January!) but here's a list of the books I got through during the month. Most of them were good, though some were DEFINITELY better than others. Surprisingly enough, the ones that I enjoyed the best seem to be ones that I picked back up off myself after years of neglect. It goes to show you that sometimes the best trip to the library or bookstore can be done inside your own home - or through the homes of your friends. Just because I like owning the majority of the books I read doesn't mean that allowing yourself some 'shopping' time through your friends shelves won't result in wonderful things. You never know what you're going to find and keeping your mind open to new possibilities is never a bad thing!

Walk on the Wild Side by Christine Warren (eh)
Street Game by Christine Feehan (good)
The Royal Treatment by MaryJanice Davidson (great)
Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh (great)
What A Dragon Should Know by G.A. Aiken (great great!)
Guilty Pleasure by Lora Leigh (good)
The Family Way by Jayne Ann Krentz (good)
Kitty's House of Horrors by Carrie Vaughn (good)
Dark Slayer by Christine Feehan (great)
Got Fangs? by Katie Maxwell (great)
Come Up and See Me Sometime by Lucy Monroe (good)
Circus of the Darned by Katie Maxwell (great)
Heart Mate by Robin Owens (great)
Inked by Karen Chance, Yasmine Galenorn, etc. (great)
The Good, The Bad, and the Uncanny by Simon R. Green (good)
Bone Magic by Yasmine Galenorn (good)
Hunting Evander by Kim Knox (good)
Changing Perspective by Marilu Mann (ok)
Hot for the Reunion by Ann Jacobs (eh)
The Bad Widow by Barbara Elsborg (eh)
Her Very Special Robot by Ann Jacobs (double eh)
Taking Shape by Tielle St. Clare (great)
The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu (great)
Midnight's Daughter by Karen Chance (great)
Death's Mistress by Karen Chance (great)
Queen Sharon by Sala (great)
Night Game by Christine Feehan (great)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dorina Basarab Series by Karen Chance

I picked up this series again when Chance released her newest addition to it, Death's Mistress. Truthfully I had to reread the first one just because I couldn't remember what happened! I hate when my reading list overwhelms my brain to the point I can't recall where something left off. Unfortunately it happens more often than I'd like, because when it takes months or years for a sequel to come out, and I read hundreds of books in the meantime, it's just bound to happen. But - it also helped me remember how cool Chance's covers are! What do you guys think?

Either way, what matters is this series takes place in the same world as Chance's Cassie Palmer books - thus you know there's going to be a lot of fast paced action and cool magic. The series stars Dorina Basarab, the daughter of Mircea and a peasant Romanian (a human peasant). Dhampir's are few and far between in Chance's world, not only because vampires hate them for their ability to kill scores of them, but also because their existence seems to cause black-out rages that result in lots of damage to their enemies, but at the same time causes lots of damage to themselves. The first book focuses on Dorina efforts to help the Vampire Senate capture/destroy (depends who you ask) Dracula, Mircea's brother- who's escaped from his magical prison. Along the way her efforts are split between trying to figure out what happened to her roommate Claire and trying to not kill her father-appointed vampire helper, Louis-Cesare. Yes, the first book is as cool as that explanation sounds.

The second book had even more action, since the whole story focuses on a whole slew of people searching for one
Fey relic- a relic that is rumored to bring invincibility to the wearer. Unsurprisingly, you've got Feys, Vampires, Sorcerers (everyone really) trying to get their hands on it, and none of them are too squeamish to kill someone standing in their way. Add in Vampire Senate seat competitions and disgraced Fey big-wigs trying to kill their way to throne, and you've got a rollicking good time. Plus, this book does a great job of drawing back in the romance element that I loved in the Cassie Palmer series.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. The books might not come out as quickly as I would like, but when they do they're great! (Wow, I kind of felt like Tony the Tiger there)

Series - 1)
Midnight's Daughter 2) Death's Mistress