Friday, December 31, 2010

Hello There 2011!

 I originally had had some kind of hope of doing an actual worthwhile post here, with goals for 2011 - maybe thoughts about the future - something. But I realized amidst my 4th or 5th YouTube makeup tutorial video, watching my nails dry, and reading on my new Nook, all I really want to say is: 

Have fun and be safe no matter your celebrations!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What Rocked My Socks This Year (I don't care when it was published)

Ok originally this was going to be some great post, similar in theme to some others my favorite bloggers have done, about the books I loved in 2010. But you know what? I'm started to go down my list and a lot of the books I loved and reread a million times over are not from 2010 - they're older.

I've decided I don't care.

I love these books and in 2010 they were either new to me or favorites that came back and reminded me why they were my favorites. Out of the 250+ books I read this year only a few made this list so really I don't feel too bad about it. This list could have been pages and PAGES long but instead I used self control and logic to work it down to these 18 books. Be grateful.

BWAHAHAHAH! I kid, I kid!

Well I don't kid on the the 'I don't care when they were published part' but you already knew that, didn't you?

So in no particular order, here are the books that Rocked My Socks This Year:

Blaze of Memory, Mine to Possess, and Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh (Paranormal Romance)
I don't feel that anyone can really say enough about Nalini Singh. Her Psy-Changeling series is fantastic, and these are just some of the standouts for me. If you're not reading these there's really no excuse!

What a Dragon Should Know G.A. Aiken (Fantasy Romance)
This book is laugh out loud hilarious, with enough romance and action to keep even a HEA-junkie like me entertained. Loved it!

Queen by Sharon Sala (Contemporary Romance)
Contemporary romances are hard to get right. That special blend of emotion, dialogue, and plot is not the easiest to nail down, but this one by Sala is one of my favorites and while it's old I pulled it out time and again this year.

The Mane Squeeze and Beast Behaving Badly by Shelly Laurenston (Paranormal Romance)
Laurenston is probably the holder 'best paranormal romance' in my heart. They're always straight forward fun with kick ass heroines and steamy sex with unbelievably great Alpha Males. She always makes me wish I had one of my own!

An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire (Urban Fantasy)
McGuire really brings this series into its own with this book, filled with enough frights for anyone and emotion that touches you.

Lion's Heat by Lora Leigh (Paranormal Romance)
How could I not mention this book?! Readers have been waiting forever for Jonas's book and Leigh did not disappoint.

Changes by Jim Butcher (Sci-Fi/Fantasy)
Why Jim Butcher, why?! I'm on pins and needles waiting for Ghost Story because his books are just that good!

Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews (Urban Fantasy)
So. Freaking. Good. That's all that needs to be said.

Bullet Laurell K Hamilton (Paranormal Romance)
I loved that LKH brought Anita back to her kick ass police-esque roots in this one, along with her signature blood, sex, and  violence.

Roadkill by Rob Thurman (Urban Fantasy)
An outstanding example of Urban Fantasy. Rob Thurman has written an amazing cast of characters and since in each book the point of view moves around readers get to know all of them. Can't wait for the next one!

Cast in Chaos Michelle Sagara (Fantasy)
One of the very few pure fantasy series I read right now, Sagara has created a compelling world and characters you can't help wanting to know more about. 

Touched by an Alien and Alien Tango by Gini Koch (Sci-Fi)
The dark horse of the year! Koch's science fiction romances have popped up as favorites across the blogger board and for good reason. Her snappy dialogue and fast action are as good as any big screen movie.

bonk by Mary Roach (Non-Fiction) 
I was surprised by how much I learned from this book. And how much of what I learned I really didn't need to know. Grad students, I'm ashamed of you - taunting those monkey's with your fingers of sexual satisfaction. [[Shudder]]

Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (Young Adult)
This book made me ashamed that I have no idea how to take care of myself in the event of an apocalyptic event.  It also made me cry. But it's a very powerful novel and as it takes place through diary entries yet still managed to catch my attention, it stands out even more for me.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hungry for You by Lynsay Sands

This vampire has been alone for far too long . . .

As one of the most ancient in the Argeneau clan, Cale Valens has given up on finding a life mate. His friends and family, however, have not. In fact, they believe they've finally found his perfect match. Getting them together, however, requires one little white lie . . .

Alexandra Willan is in a panic. Her restaurant is due to open in two weeks, but her chef just walked out. Then a highly recommended replacement arrives, an impossibly handsome culinary genius who sends electric tingles racing through her body . . .

Except he can't cook. In fact, Cale hasn't eaten real food in two thousand years. Yet he's determined to prove to Alex his prowess in the kitchen . . . and elsewhere. Because never has he hungered so for any mortal woman. And not just for a taste of her, but for the whole delicious feast! 
**I requested this title to review from NetGalley**

This book definitely had some ups and downs for me. I'm not ashamed to say that I usually really like the 'fated to be' and 'from the moment I saw you I knew' romances. When done right they're usually a great mix of romance and heat, which is just how I like my books. The problem with this one is that while the relationship itself I liked because of the Alex and Cale, the supporting characters really irked me. 

The little turn of having Cale work in Alex's restaurant worked. There was just enough subterfuge to get him in, but quickly enough things were turned around so that Cale was doing what he was actually good at and Alex was doing what she loved. Plus their relationship evolved I think somewhat realistically with Alex being stand off-ish due to her own past and concerns about getting involved with an 'employee'.

If I really had to put my finger on it it wasn't until the last few chapters that I felt things got wonky. I didn't like the fact that Alex got pinned down in an 'I'm a vampire and you have to listen to what I have to say' situation (not with Cale though - with someone else). How about you let her freak out as is her right and Cale has to come after her and do some of the work too? Those endings are infinitely more satisfying to me and I feel more true to way two people work out bumps in the relationship road. Also, the fact that Alex had to make a decision before leaving this familial home (again not Cale's) or she would leave with all memories of Cale AND her sisters wiped and she would in fact never see them again also irked. There was just irked feelings all around when it came to the ending.

Thinking back on it now, this book would appeal to someone who's involved with this series and the characters, but for me there isn't enough to entice me to read another. Which is a shame because I liked the romance itself but having any more of this 'decide now or be effectively banished' would probably drive me crazy. Alex and Cale are strong characters, neither of them willing to take a lot of crap (he's over 2,000 years old for f*ck's sake), and don't need busy bodies forcefully changing their actions. I wish I could just tell Sands to leave them alone and let them fight it out for themselves - I'm sure things would work out!

Overall Feeling - Eh.

Series - ...13) Bitten by Cupid 14) Born to Bite 15) Hungry for You

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

I know it's almost too late, but at least by East Coast standards I still have 2 more hours or so to wish all everyone a


and  a Happy Holidays! I hope you've all spent the day and the season with family and friends, celebrating just because you can. 



Thursday, December 23, 2010

And the winner is....

I'm so excited to announce the winner of my CSN Stores giveaway! To make sure everything was fair I listed every person first in the order they commented and then at the end gave additional entries to those who got some of the '+1's. I then stuck that into's list randomizer, thereby ensuring that everything was all mixed up, and the list look liked this:

   1. Domestica Diva
   2. Jessy
   3. Jessy
   4. Liz
   5. Debbie
   6. Liz
   7. Jessy
   8. Jessy
   9. Ashley
  10. Image Chaos
  11. Tea Gal
  12. Mami2jcn
  13. Katrina
  14. Liz
  15. Debbie
  16. Debbie
  17. Domestic Diva
  18. Tea Gal
  19. Tea Gal
  20. Tea Gal
  21. Liz

From there I let pick the winner and that is...

16. Debbie

Congratulations Debbie!! I've just sent you an email and when you reply back I'll forward all the gift certificate information on to you.

Thank you to everyone who entered, stay tuned for more giveaways because I've got a lot of books that need new homes!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Alien Tango by Gini Koch

It's been five months since marketing manager Katherine "Kitty" Katt started working with the aliens from Alpha Centauri, and she and Jeff Martini are getting closer. But when an experimental spacecraft is mysteriously returned to the Kennedy Space Center, Kitty and the rest of her team are called in to investigate. Now the team must survive murderous attacks, remove a space entity from a group of astronauts, and avoid an unhinged woman with a serious crush on Kitty's high school boyfriend. And that's all before evil masterminds decide Kitty's extermination is vital.

Oh my goodness, look, look! I remembered what I am supposed to be doing around here and have a book review for you guys!
Sorry things have been a little slow lately, life has been doing it's usual interfering and keeping me from 1) reading all the books I want to be reading and, 2) writing any reviews that would help show the world I'm not a sloth. Still things are getting better (mostly) and here's a review to prove it!

But seriously though I have to admit that this is a bit of a cop out because if you read book blogs AT ALL you've heard about Gini Koch. Her science fiction romances are the new blog darlings, and I have to say deservedly so. She has a unique voice and a really fun way of writing about what could be a trite topic. Kitty is forthright and strong on her own, and while she dances on that 'invincible heroine' line she never completely trips over it.

Alien Tango picks up 6 months after Touched by an Alien, with Kitty trying to find her place with Jeff and in this new MIB-like world. We're not really so much about Super Beings at this point (though they pop up a little), it's the nitty gritty of the AC world that's got everyone tangled up. Can Kitty marry Jeff? Does Kitty want to marry Jeff? What about Christopher? What about Chuckie? Are any of the Americanized (or Earth-ized? Earthian-ized? Whatever) AC's going to get the chance to live their lives without parental influence? Who knows! The book whizzes through a lot, and if you blink you might miss the fact that Koch is doing more than just writing a romance book. She takes a hard look at religion, prejudice, immigration, acceptance - all with a small and crap ton of action.

If I had to make a complaint I'd have to say that I would appreciate if Koch would stop 'testing' Kitty and Jeff. While the question of who she would end up with worked really well in the first book, in this one I just got distracted by the possible foreshadowing. Yes romances wax and wane and it would possible for Kitty and Jeff to break up. But how about we stop having Kitty's mother and every other random trying to point out how she's the densest woman on the planet and there are all these other options just in case she changes her mind? Just saying - just putting it out there. Not completely necessary.

Either way this book is a ton of fun and I highly recommend to anyone who loves a sense of humor and a great HEA!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. 

Series - 1) Touched by an Alien 2) Alien Tango 3) Alien in the Family (2011)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cut your time in line by HALF just looking around you!

I'm going to let you guys in on the 'big secret' of Barnes and Noble and Borders - you can check out in the cafe area too! I promise!

I was in Borders last night and the cashwrap line went down and around and around some more - all of it culminating in a line headed towards the back of the store. But do you know what didn't have a line?

The cafe.

I took one look over there and practically skipped to the counter with my books and coupon - no line for me! And yet my joy was not full, it was not complete. The damn season had filled me with a sense of compassion for my fellow man, stuck in the line of death.

So as I walked out of the store I tapped the shoulder of the last woman in line and whispered the secret I'm now sharing with you:

"You can pay for those in the cafe too."



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Time for a non-denominational all inclusive festive season GIVEAWAY!

I have to admit that I'm not ready for the holidays. I have one pre-organized light thing set up in my house that I bought from CVS last year and that's it. The only reason there's anything wrapped is because I'm doing a secret Santa with my coworkers.


Still, it occurs to me that I'm probably not the only who's feeling a little lazy! There's always a few of us, even if we hide away in the shadows, waiting to hit the malls or that 'purchase all' button online at the very last moment. I'm happy to say that with the help of CSN it's time for a:


CSN is an online retailer and they sell a ridiculously great number of things: luggage stores, bookshelves, lamps, chairs, BEDS - you name it and I feel that somewhere in their system they've got it. I did a post about them previously (you can find it here) and I love the high level of communication you get from their representatives. It's always such a relief, especially when things are stressful.

This giveaway is for a $65 certificate to CSN Stores. Woot! To enter all you have do is comment below with a little 'Enter Me' and your email address so I can let them know where to send the code.

But what is that I hear? You want additional ways to enter? Well since you asked....

+1 for subscribers of this blog
+1 for Facebook fans
+1 for subscribers of my personal blog (Bittersweet Musings)

Each '+1' means I'll add your name an extra time to the mix, giving you more chances to win! Just make sure to tell me which ones you qualify for in your comment.

Giveaway runs through 11:59pm EST on Wednesday, December 22nd. I'll announce the winner next Thursday morning!

Good luck!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Making that holiday shopping a little easier - coupons!

Two book coupons just popped into my inbox this morning. The first is for 40% off one item at Borders (in store only). These are my favorite to print and use at the cafe and the cash register :

(they're also apparently doing free shipping, no minimum, through 12/12)

The second is 15% off one item at Barnes and Noble:

Pick your favorite, the book chains are ready to accept your business, lol. You can either print the coupons straight from here, or click on them and (hopefully) the coupon link will work and you can print them that way.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

November in Review

Ok there's really no way for me to play off how late this is. This post is like 'maybe you should have just waited till next month because you fail!' late.  Well it's just been one of those kind on months I guess. I started out on a high note with the new Nalini Singh and the library opening up down the street from my house - it was joyousness all around I tell you. Then two big things hit 1) I turned 25, and 2) doctor madness.

Turning 25 definitely didn't suck. In fact it didn't suck to the point that I let a lot of things slide, including remembering to write down what I'd read. Sigh. Then right before Thanksgiving I was inundated with a lot of personal doctor stuff, and the recovery time associate with that, and unsurprisingly things began to slide. There's really only so much stuff you can remember to do when you're reduced to a narcotic haze, lol.

Well that's life I guess, and what's more important is here's the (mostly correct) list of what I managed to read this month and I hope you find something here that peeks your fancy!


Play of Passion by Nalini Singh  
The Mane Attraction by Shelly Laurenston
Inside Out by Lauren Dane (x2)
Cover of Night by Linda Howard     
Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts     
The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop   
Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh     
Obsidian Prey by Jayne Castle     
Harvest Hunting by Yasmine Galenorn     
Midnight Crystal by Jayne Castle  
Sunshine by Robin McKinley   
The Beast in Him by Shelly Laurenston   
The Mane Squeeze by Shelly Laurenston 
When He Was Bad by Shelly Laurenston
Beast Behaving Badly by Shelly Laurenston

Books Read/Reviewed: 16/8

Monday, December 6, 2010

Back from the only sorta lovely land of convalescence

Hey Everyone! Sorry things have been so kind of topsy turvy lackadaisical here at RAtChaos. I had some personal stuff jump into the forefront and it's been taking me some time to get back on the horse. Plus there was the fact that since during my convalescence I only seemed to be reading books I'd read a million times before didn't exactly put me in the reviewing mood! I felt like I was letting people down or something, reading nothing new but a lot of ones I'd read before (and an insane number of Shelly Laurenstons). I hope to have everything back to normal soon, with a post going over the books I read in November scheduled to be up later today!

Random side note:
You know what I did think about while recovering? How much I wish I could read with my eyes closed. I don't like audio books (I have this weird thing about hearing other people read/pronounce words I say in my head differently) but sometimes when I don't want to watch TV or sleep it's almost more than I can do to force my eyes to stay open and read!

I wish I had some kind of cool device that I could attach to the sides of my head and would project the words into my mind. Then I could just read them with my mind's eye and not actually have to continue with the physical work of making my eyes focus and go across the page. Who knows, I could be the new cuter Geordie :)