Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Master of Fire by Angela Knight

Giada Shepherd is a Maja – an immortal witch of the Mageverse. When vampire knight King Arthur asks her to protect his mortal son from an assassin, she’s willing to do anything she must to keep Logan MacRoy alive. But Logan is no ordinary mortal – he’s a handsome seductive cop, intent on a romance with his beautiful new partner.

Trouble is, Arthur has ordered Giada to keep her distance from Logan. But that’s a lot easier said than done....

90% of the time I hate cover descriptions. They just never seem to convey what's really going on in the story. For most books by Nora Roberts or Jayne Ann Krentz I've stopped reading the damn things because the books end up being good no matter how ridiculous they sound.

Anyway, this book was a good read not only because it brings you back into a world I've enjoyed before, but introduces new characters and plot lines to help extend the series even further. Giada and Logan are an interesting couple, two people who both have their own fears and hangups that have to be addressed before their relationship can really begin. Even in the midst of danger and attraction, I would definitely call this a romance book. Their feelings for each other are at the forefront and when they bond and still manage to hurt each other, it's obvious that what the book has at its center.

I am VERY excited to read the next book though because Smokey was a great character and the preview included at the end of this book has me hyped!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. For some reason I never got it to buying every book from the series, but this one was a lot of fun - though I've never like cliff-hangery endings.

Series - 1) "Seductions Gift" (part of an anthology) 2) Master of the Night 3) "Galahad" (part of an anthology) 4) Master of the Moon 5) Master of Wolves 6) "Moon Dance" (part of an anthology) 7) Master of Swords 8) Master of Dragons 9) "Vampire's Ball" (part of an anthology) 10) Master of Fire

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Megan's Mark by Lora Leigh

Cursed with the extraordinary power to feel other peoples’ emotions, Megan Fields has tucked herself away in a remote corner of New Mexico, working as a small-town sheriff’s deputy. She finds solace in the silence and heat of the desert. But when Breeds begin dying on her watch, Megan realizes that the secrets from her past can’t stay buried forever. Someone is out for blood - her blood.An arrogant Feline Breed, Braden Arness broods with feral intensity. His mission to solve the mysterious murders brings him to Megan, a woman who accosts his senses like no other. Only with him can she let down her guard - and surrender to the insatiable hunger that wracks her body. But as they team up to hunt the elusive killers, Braden and Megan find themselves becoming the prey…

I've already ranted about how annoying it is for authors to continue publishing in a series that started as E-books as if nothing has come before that latest installment - so I won't repeat myself. What I will say is that no matter whether it's print or virtual, Lora Leigh does a damn good job writing paranormal erotica. Not the usual 'shapeshifter' paranormal, this book focuses on characters called Breeds, beings that were designed to be a mixture of animal and human, the perfect soldier. Of course, those kinds of combinations, and the people who are willing to experiment with them, are never very pleasant. After years of incarceration and torture the Breeds are free (mostly) to find their way in the world and the people who will love them.

Just to give people an idea, being Breeds, when men or women meet their mate there is all sorts of hormonal connectivity and lusty-ness that goes on. I know some people hate the idea of that 'destined mate' or the like, but I personally think that Leigh does a wonderful job combining the heat of a hormonally perfect mate and the emotion that's needed to cement a true life bond. If you don't believe me, continue reading on and you'll see instances were one or both parts of the couple try to keep things just physical - it doesn't work out well.

Megan and Braden are unique because as a Lion Breed Braden can feel people's emotions to a certain extent and Megan as someone who is actually empathic can feel them all. So in the midst of all the blood and violence, her skill can be both a help and a hindrance depending on her ability to handle other people's emotions. Still the relationship between the two of them is a scorcher, with plenty of give and take and H.O.T. sex in between. Through in the action and mystery of a dangerous spy and you've got a damn good time!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. A reread that never gets old, it's an almost new beginning to an already fantastic series.

Series - The chronology of these books is long and confusing and split up between 3 publishers. Check out Leigh's explanation on her website, here.

Teaser Tuesdays (3/30)

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!

"So basically," I said, still a little out of breath, "this is masturbation for you."

His eyes sparkled with something like mischief. "Another one of those human hang-ups that don't make a whole lot of sense to demons. Besides, since I feel your pleasure, it gives me additional incentive to do a good job."

-- pg 158, The Devil's Playground by Jenna Black

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Musing Mondays (3/29)

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about multitasking.

Do you – or are you even able – to do other things while you read? Do you knit, hold a conversation, keep an eye on the TV? Anything?

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...

I would say that I try to do other things while I read. One of my favorites would be 'watching' Nightmare Before Christmas while I read, but I'm not sure it can be truly classified as reading. I'm not actively engaging with that storyline, just looking up from time to time and enjoying the music. My attention is more focused on the book and that world. I can't even imagine trying to knit! Just going beyond that lack of adequate hands, I'm no where near enough good enough at that activity to do it while reading. It's probably why I can only manage to do it for a few hours at a time when I'm in the groove to listen to new music. I have to look at my hands when I knit, so I'm not even really going to be watching TV and trying to do it.

But to get back to the topic at hand, I would say that the easiest thing to actually accomplish while reading is listening to music. Not singing along to music mind you, but listening to it and kind of just enjoying it as background noise. I think having that in the background actually helps me read for enjoyment better, which is why one of my best reading moments lately was just in the food court of the mall. I wasn't there with any friends, just returning something, and after gradbbing food I just sat there and finished up LKH Flirt; random I know, but it was a great way for me to finish the book.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Promise in a Kiss by Stephanie Laurens

Sheltered in a French convent school, Helena has little knowledge of men. But that changes one snowy Christmas Eve when she unexpectedly meets a mesmerizing Englishman who leaves her with a powerful kiss.

Grown into a stunning beauty, Helena cannot forget that forbidden kiss. Now, though, she must put aside her dreams and marry, an obligation that takes her to London.

There she is determined to meet Society's most eligible bachelor, Sebastian, Duke of St. Ives, a man sworn never to wed. But when they are introduced, Helena is shocked...for Sebastian is none other than her wild Englishman.

No matter how many times I pick up historicals by other authors, Laurens still remains my favorite. Maybe it's because the romance is paramount to me, but when I read a historical I actually don't care all that much about accuracy. I don't need to know the intimate details of the worst experiences of being a member of London high society - if I wanted to know, I'd read a history book. I read these for pleasure, and the joy of imagining some well to do woman scorning her place in life and going out to do what she wants to is just more interesting. Laurens in particular writes stories of women who are opinionated and want to make a difference, but understand that being born into certain families come with some responsibilities. Thus they can't always make the decisions they'd want to, though luckily Laurens creates a great journey and happy ending for them anyway.

As a prequel to the rest of the Cynster line up, I love this book just for the look it gives you at the beginning of a dynasty. The Cynster's are known for a very particular set of qualities and reading about the man who started it all, who set the pace for the generations of males who came after him, is both enlightening and engaging. Helena and Sebastian's love permeates through every book in this series, and reading finally the whole thing not only gives you a deeper understanding of the books you've already read but, if you haven't read the series yet, gets you excited to continue on to the rest.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. One of Laurens' best, the story of Helena and Sebastian is filled with adventure as well as romance.

Series - There are 16 books (so far) in the Cynster series and that's a bit much to list here. Check out Stephanie Laurens' website, but know that while this book was released 8th in the series it's a prequel so it doesn't really matter when you read it.

The Mane Attraction by Shelly Laurenston

Weddings have the strangest effect on people. How else to explain the fact that Sissy Mae Smith woke up in Mitch Shaw's bed the morning after her brother Bobby Ray tied the knot? Or that gunmen are trying to kill Mitch, and Sissy Mae now has to escort a bleeding, stubborn, yet still incredibly sexy lion shifter to her Tennessee Pack's turf to keep him safe? It doesn't help that Mitch's appraising gaze makes her feel like the most desirable creature on earth, or that the ultimate stray cat is suddenly acting all kinds of possessive...

Mitch is an undercover cop who's about to testify against some dangerous ex-associates. Even more worrisome, he's harboring hot, X-rated fantasies about the fast-talking little canine-and he has to deal with every male in Sissy Mae's Pack sniffing around her in a way that makes his hackles rise.. Mitch has his pride, and he intends to show Sissy Mae that when a lion sets out to make you his mate, the only thing to do is purr, roll over, and enjoy one hell of a ride...

Just so people are aware - I know I have an almost unnatural love for everything that Shelly Laurenston writes. I go on and on about how her books are so funny, about how the characters are probably some of the realest I've ever read.

Yes. I know I say this a lot.

That's why, though I can still go on and on about how great this book is, how this series is my go to whenever I feel crappy, I won't. I'll leave you to create your opinions about HOW FREAKISHLY WONDERFUL THIS SERIES IS.

So ok then. Go read.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. Mitch is hilarious and together with Sissy Mae Smith they have the best time just f*cking with the people around them. Fantastic.

Series - 1) The Mane Event 2) The Beast in Him 3) The Mane Attraction 4) The Mane Squeeze 5) Beast Behaving Badly (June 2010)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays (3/23)

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!


"He was an egomaniacal genocidal killer; impressed or not, he wouldn't show it. Egomaniacal genocidal killers rarely did. If they did, they'd be sensible, modest genocidal killers, and those were fucking hard to come by."

--pg 165, Roadkill by Rob Thurman

Monday, March 22, 2010

Roadkill by Rob Thurman

Once, while half-human Cal Leandros and his brother Niko were working on a case, an ancient gypsy queen gave them a good old-fashioned backstabbing. Now, just as their P.I. business hits a slow patch, the old crone shows up with a job.

She wants them to find a stolen coffin that contains a blight that makes the Black Death seem like a fond memory. But the thief has already left town, so the Leandros brothers are going on the road. And if they're very, very lucky, there might even be a return trip...

I know that at this point this series can't really be qualified as a 'break out hit' of 2009, but in my opinion Rob Thurman has created one of the most unique and vibrant urban fantasy worlds that I've ever read. Her (yes, her) books are just incredibly well written. Cal and Niko are two men who are trying to cope with the hardest of circumstances, Cal with his Auphe heritage and Niko with his desire to protect his brother. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and even when Cal is having a good day, it turns out that those feelings herald a much darker problem. I don't want to go too much in the story of this specific book, I feel like that would do a disservice to the series as a whole, but I do want to say that that poignancy in this book is very touching. Thurman seems to have an amazing grasp of the unbreakable connection of families - what they'd do for each other and in spite of each other. Again the easy answer isn't here; instead Thurman shows the depths of what people are capable of in the face of evil that comes from within and without.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. It's another fantastic addition to an almost unparalleled series.

Series - 1) Nightlife 2) Moonshine 3) Madhouse 4) Deathwish 5) Roadkill

Musing Mondays (3/22)

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about tbr books.

Where do you keep the books on the top of the tbr pile? Not the bunk of the mountain, but just the tip of the peak – the ‘almost up to’ books?

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...

I'm somewhat ashamed to say that while the books I've already finished get a nice organized spot on the shelf, TBR books somehow just stay in the bag I bought them in and sit on my couch or my table - something right out in front. I'm someone that (besides for her books) lives in organized chaos - there are piles for everything, but it usually doesn't look all that nice. I've found that since my time at the library has dropped off, TBR books are bought and read pretty quickly, thus they don't need a separate spot different from the one they'd have on my shelf anyway. With that in mind, I leave them kind of strewn about everywhere because when I'm running around getting ready for work and looking for the latest book to take with me, that's the quickest way to make them available to me.

I know - not a very pretty system.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Black Jack by Lora Leigh - ERR Challenge Review

The Secret Service can’t control him. The British government can’t silence him. But renegade agent Travis Caine is one loose cannon you don’t want to mess with, so his commanders cut him a break—and cut him loose. His new HQ is America’s top intelligence force, Elite Ops. His new code name is “Black Jack.” And his new assignment is to die for.

She’s smart, sexy, scintillating—and one of Elite Ops’ savviest agents. Lillian Belle’s code name is “Night Hawk,” and Travis certainly wouldn’t mind flying a few midnight maneuvers with her. But when their mission turns into a red-hot game of danger, deceit, and double-crossed signals, Travis begins to wonder: Can he trust her? Can he resist her?

Let me first start off by saying that this is another example of when a horrible back description happens to a good book. Travis for one isn't a renegade agent - he used to be a part of MI5 in his previous life, but after he 'died' he's begun working for Elite Ops. Lilly is also a part of Elite Ops because of a family betrayal, but during this particular story she has been reintroduced to her remaining family after suffering amnesia after a shot (graze) to the head. Travis is brought into her life to monitor her recovery/memory, watch her family and friends to see who might be funding terrorists, and to maintain his and Lilly's cover for where she's been the last 6 years. With that as the basis this story has all the action and hot sex that Lora Leigh's books are known for. Leigh has always done an incredible job creating sympathetic alpha men and she sustains those high standards here. Travis's and Lilly's relationship is a bit of a rocky adventure with the trust issues stemming from her amnesia and his superior's orders, but the way they end up together is really compelling. Again Leigh has created very real characters and the joy of her bringing back familiar faces and introducing more of the oh-so-cool women of Elite Two make this book one to add to the shelves - BUT, don't forget to read the rest of the series first!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. Scorching interactions between Travis and Lilly keep the story moving, but the background readers learn about Elite Ops and what their teams are like is just as engaging.

Series - 1) Wild Card 2) Maverick 3) Heat Seeker 4) Black Jack

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays (3/16)

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!


"I'd died six months ago.
Sounds dramatic, doesn't it?"

--pg 1, Roadkill by Rob Thurman

**Now this one is a true teaser, because it's the first two sentences of a book I haven't even started reading yet!

Born to Be Wild by Christine Warren

Josie Barrett brings out the animal in men. Literally. As the local veterinarian in a town that’s approximately seventy percent Others—mostly shapeshifters—Josie deals with beastly situations all the time. It’s practically part of her job description. But when the werewolves of Stone Creek, Oregon, start turning downright feral, Josie smells a rat—among other, more dangerous critter.

Teaming up with the ferociously sexy Eli Pace, a full-time sheriff and part-time were-lion, Josie tries to contain the shapeshifting problem before it spreads like a virus. But when more shifters get infected—and stuck in their animal forms—the fur really begins to fly. Josie and Eli have to find the cause, fast, before the whole town goes to the dogs. But first, they have to wrestle with a few animal urges of their own.

I'm so glad that Christine Warren came out with a new book that was actually a new book. I did a rant on it before, focusing on ebook authors republishing their old work as if it was new, and Warren's last book really frustrated me. I won't go into the whole thing here, but don't tell me that something's new when it's not! I am not an uninformed consumer ok? I know what's being published, and the fact that no one seems to realize how weird it is to be releasing things out of order, with seemingly no rhyme or reason, drives me slightly batty. But ok - you can go read my rant.

The whole point here is that this is a new book and a good one at that. Warren hasn't done a lot with lions, and she makes a good start with Eli. He's a very sexy alpha male, who recognizes pretty quickly the good thing he has in Josie. I also find it very interesting the way Warren has set up this book, with the two characters having lived in the same town for almost 3 years before bumping into each and feeling that spark of attraction. If I had to list a con for this book it would probably just be that the ending felt a bit rushed for me. Warren does all of this build up in regards to the mysterious white supremacist like organization, but then everything seems to be over in five seconds. Maybe it feels that way because Warren's going to continue with this particular storyline in a future book, but my opinion still stands that the end could have had some more 'kick ass'-ness and I wouldn't have complained.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up! I liked the romance between Josie and Eli quite a bit, plus the extra little hints of danger didn't hurt the heat factor!

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
9) Born to be Wild

Monday, March 15, 2010

March Madness for the Non-sports Fans

Mandi over at Smexy Books brought this to my attention and while I've never done it before I'm excited to give it a go! Two other blogs, Dear Author and Smart Bitches Trashy Books are having their annual DA BWAHA tournament, which from what I've been reading, seems to work just like a basketball tournament (Side note, don't ask me what DA BWAHA means - I've tried looking around the sight because of my own curious nature, and I've yet to see it defined anywhere).

To get back to the bracket, there are eight categories - Young Adult, GLBT, Paranormal, Contemporary, Historical, Category, Novel With Romantic Elements, UF crossover and Fantasy - and it's the 'picker's' responsibility to go through and predict the winners from each category until you've ended up with an overall champion (woohoo! champion!). I'm slightly nervous, mostly because I've never filled out a bracket completely in my life, but this is just too cool for me to leave it alone. Of course, what this means now is that I'm going to be completely distracted for the rest of the day because all I want to do is research the books I don't know so I can make an informed decision. For each round the hosts are going to set up a poll so we can vote for the winner, and this is how the tournament will advance for each versus match. I can't make Mandi's claim of being able to lead you to victory, but I can say that I can't wait to see how I do!

I'm going to try and post my bracket up here once I've got it all figured out, so all of you can hold me as accountable as their system will.

But what are YOU waiting for?! Jump on over to
DABWAHA.COM and fill out your own bracket! You have until 8pm EST Wednesday!

YES!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Musing Mondays (3/15)

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about picture books.

Do you have a favorite picture book, either from your own childhood, or reading to you children?

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...

This one was a really hard question for me just because I don't remember many of the picture books I loved as a child. I seem to think that there was a book that had a camel in a police officer's costume and a lot of other animals too, but I don't remember what the story was about! Ugh! Still I can say that like Rebecca I loved Where the Wild Things Are (though I didn't see the movie) and another one of the few I remember clearly is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. There was just something about seeing all the numbers in trees messing around that I always got a kick out of! I'm going to include more covers of the books I loved when I was little, some may be picture books and some not, but I hope you enjoy!



Friday, March 12, 2010

To Be Read (TBR) List

I'll tell you guys right now that this post is probably not going to be interesting. I've gone through multiple interpretations of a To Be Read list on my own. I've tried Notepad and Word, physically notebooks and post-its for days - I always seem to misplace them, throw them away, or just not save the damn thing on my laptop. Combine that with the fact that I get most of inspirations when I go through my blog-roll anyway and you have my problem.

But I think doing this list over blog might be my saving grace. I can always come back to it and update as I go, strike out what I read, and just generally keep myself more organized. I'm sorry if this ends up being boring and ridiculous for the world at large, but I gotta do something. It's like the old saying 'The more you know, the more you realize you don't know'. The more books and book blogs I read, the more books I realize are out there for me to get to!

Gaymes Anthology by Carol Lynne, Jenna Byrnes & Jude Mason
No Boundaries by Andrew Grey
Fierce Radiance by Tymber Dalton
Embers by Laura Bickle
Too Wicked To Kiss by Erica Ridley
Except the Queen by Jane Yolen and Midori Snyder
The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint
Night Tides by Alex Prentiss
Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox
Dreamquake by Elizabeth Knox
Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Fire (Graceling) by Kristin Cashore
Najica Blitz Tactics Volume 1 by Takuyo Tashiro (manga)
Love Recipe Volume 1 by Kirico Higashizato (manga)
Frost Moon by Anthony Francis
Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready
Bad to the Bone by Jeri Smith-Ready
Bring on the Night by Jeri Smith Ready
Destiny's Star by Elizabeth Vaughn
Demonfire by Kate Douglas
Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch
A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire
Swap Meet by Lolita Lopez
Rocky Mountain Haven by Vivian Arend
Ardeur: 14 Writers on the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Series by Leah Wilson
Blood Magic by Eileen Wilks
Shadow Marked by Anna J. Evans
White Cat by Holly Black
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Bond With Me by Anne Marsh

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
Aching for Always by Gwyn Cready
take a chance on me by Jill Mansell
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Under Wraps by Hannah Jayne
Backstage Pass by Olivia Cunning 
Ghost of a Chance by Simon R. Green
Pegasus by Robin McKinley
Highland Master by Amanda Scott
Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland
Right-Hand Magic by Nancy A. Collins
The Love Affair of an English Lord by Jillian Hunter
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
Two Man Advantage by Riley Shane
Taming a Highland Devil by Kimberly Killion
Sweet as Sin by Inez Kelley
Black Magic Woman by Justin Gustainis
How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper
A Lot Like Love by Julie James
Shotgun Sorceress by Lucy Snyder
Staying at Daisy's by Jill Mansell
Deadly Dreams by Kylie Brant
Katie's Choice by Rachel Clark
Follow My Lead by Kate Noble
Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
Eleven Scandals to Start to win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah MacLean
Graveminder by Melissa Marr
Breaking Point by Pamela Clare
Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
Yours to Keep by Shannon Stacey
Ravishing in Red by Madeline Hunter
Cover Me by Catherine Mann
What a Goddess Wants by Stephanie Julian
Provoke Me by Cari Quinn
Choker by Elizabeth Woods
Extreme Exposure by Pamela Clare
The 'What If' Guy by Brooke Moss
The Renfield Syndrome by J.A. Saare
Ralston’s Way by Talia Carmichael
Song of Oestend by Marie Sexton 

In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks
The Hour of Dust & Ashes by Kelly Gay 
Personal Demons by Stacia Kane
Where Demons Fear to Tread by Stephanie Chong
Burn Bright by Marianne de Pierres
Hellforged by Nancy Holzner 
Dead Man Walking by Stefan Petrucha 
Blood on Silk by Marie Treanor
Cut & Run by Madeleine Urban
Belong to Me by Shayla Black
Stay the Night by Scarlett Parrish
Hot as Hades by Alisha Rai
Embrace the Highland Warrior by  Anita Clenney
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding
Lord and Lady Spy by Shana Galen
The Care and Taming of a Rogue  by Suzanne Enoch
Series: “Bloodhound Files” by DD Barant
The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams

To Wed a Wild Lord by Sabrina Jeffries
Dance With Me by Heidi Cullinan 

Demon Bait by Moira Rogers
Chasing Her Trail by Keri Ford
Hunter's Prey by Moira Rogers
Nightfire by Lisa Marie Rice
Something About Witches by Joey W. Hill 
Bedding Lord Ned by Sally MacKenzie 
Grey's Awakening by Cameron Dane
Control by Charlotte Stein
Lead Me On by Victoria Dahl
One Small Thing by Piper Vaughn and M.J. O’Shea 
Cut & Run by Abigail Roux
Seducing Cinderella by Gina L. Maxwell
 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mrs. Kaputnik's Pool Hall and Matzo Ball Emporium by Rona Arato

Treat yourself to a visit to the wackiest restaurant ever!Ten-year-old Shoshi and her eight-year-old brother, Moshe, arrive in New York in 1898 from Russia with their mother and Snigger, the baby dragon that saved them from an attack by Cossack soldiers. Five years earlier, their father had also come to New York to make his fortune, but no one has heard from him since. Through a series of adventures and misadventures, Shoshi and Moshe use their wits to navigate through New York City's Lower East Side, making new friends and even a few foes: Salty, the seaman who helps the family smuggle Snigger through Ellis Island; Aloysius P. Thornswaddle, carnival barker extraordinaire; Dingle Hinglehoffer, pitcher for the Brooklyn Slobbers; and the mysterious Man in the Black Cape. With the help of Snigger, they set out to solve the mystery behind their father's disappearance, helping to free the Lower East Side from the tyrannical rule of gangster Nick the Stick along the way. Mrs. Kaputnik's Pool Hall and Matzo Ball Emporium is a colorful tale that blends history and fantasy with a journey of discovery, adventure, and fun.

I received this book for free from Tundra Books through LibraryThing.com.

This book was so cute! Unexpectedly filled with sometimes unknown to me Yiddish, this a really fun children's book starring a Russian family trying to make their way in America. Shoshi and Moshe come to America with their mother, looking to find the father they've lost and possibly their little bit of the American dream. I haven't read a lot of books focused on early immigrants to America, certainly none starring children, but I think this tale shows all the excitement, fear, and confusion that's involved with moving to a new place. Combine those more mundane worries with the two of them working to keep their dragon under wraps and it's just a very unique story.

And when they're finally settling into American life that uniqueness doesn't go away. All of the characters that Arato works into her story are very different, and even as supporting men and women, they don't fade into the background. From child 'hoodlums' to circus barkers, the whole neighbor is ready to come together in protection of themselves, their livelihood, the dragon that's made its on place in their hearts. I found myself cheering for everyone throughout this book and I'm really happy that I got a chance to review it, if for nothing more than the fact that I now have the ability to recommend it to others.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. A fun children's book, don't miss out on this cultural journey with a twist!

Series - None

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays (3/9)

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!


"Too slow to hit a half-blind cripple. You don't know the first thing about what it means to bear a sword."

-- pg 55, 'The Warrior' by Jim Butcher, Mean Streets

Mean Streets by Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green and More

The best paranormal private investigators have been brought together in a single volume—and cases don’t come any harder than this.

New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher delivers a hard-boiled tale in which Harry Dresden’s latest case may be his last.

Nightside dweller John Taylor is hired by a woman to find something she lost—her memory—in a thrilling noir tale from New York Times bestselling author Simon R. Green.

National bestselling author Kat Richardson’s Greywalker finds herself in too deep when a “simple job” goes bad and Harper Blaine is enmeshed in a tangle of dark secrets and revenge from beyond the grave.

For centuries, the being that we know as Noah lived among us. Now he is dead, and fallen-angel-turned-detective Remy Chandler has been hired to find out who killed him in a whodunit by national bestselling author Thomas E. Sniegoski.

I originally read this anthology about a year ago when it came out as a trade paper (~$14). I'm a huge fan of Butcher and Green, but the other two authors were new to me and I don't like putting down that kind of money for something I couldn't be positive of. I haven't gone back and read through all of the stories again, so I can't speak to them at the moment, but I can say that for the mass market paperback price this book is worth it just for the first 2 stories. Butcher does an almost unmatched job of creating a complete story, start to finish, in the smallest of formats. I've written before how short stories can be hit or miss depending on an author's ability to handle the size limit, but for Butcher there's no problem. Harry returns to readers in this story trying to protect his friend Michael, no longer a holy knight, from a threat that's not at all the usual paranormal beastie. Getting the deeper glimpse into Michael's life and Harry's efforts to protect his friend make this a really great read that I'll come back to forever.

Green's story focuses on John Taylor working to help his latest client - a women who has no memory of the last day and wants to know why. Like all things in the Nightside, there is a rarely an innocuous reason for any weird thing that happens, so he's forced to push through various obstacles to find the truth. Even if the client doesn't want to know the truth anymore. Sufficiently creepy for anyone and a great combination with his noir detective act, this short story is a welcome addition to the series.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. I love Butcher's and Green's additions to the anthology, and their work alone makes this book worth the price.

Series - Various. Please see the author's individual websites for more information.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Runt Farm: Clovis Escapes by Amanda Lorenzo

When a letter smuggled out of NAARF arrives at Runt Form, the family must gear up to help Tooth's cousin, Clovis, break out of her tiny cell. This gives the small and very fast bunny, Beatrice, a chance to do a little burgling. Then a mysterious package arrives at the barn door and Cletus finds himself in a pickle with Tooth. As the Runt Farmers recover from one catastrophe only to face an even bigger one, every critter in the crowd must call upon bravery, ingenuity, and luck!

I received this book from Author Marketing Experts through LibraryThing.com for review. I was really excited to get this book because I don't think that the general public recognizes enough the importance of children's literature. Every day a boy or girl's mind could be inspired to be even greater, if someone would just recommend to them a good book. I am firm believer that whatever you're reading, it's doing you good.

But to get back to the book up for review, Clovis Escapes is the third book in Amanda Lorenzo's Runt Farm series for 4-8 year olds. Focusing on a rag tag family of all types of animals, the reader gets to experience the excitement and action of learning to survive outside the clutches of a scientific research institute. Reminiscent of The Rats of NIMH, Lorenzo does a good job of creating cute, fun, young animals who have to find their courage to get through a variety of tough circumstances. The illustrations by Mark Evan Walker are just darling - who's going to forget Beatrice (the bunny rabbit) screwing up her face and throwing a few practice kung fu moves to show how able she is?

The only thing that threw me off were I feel some too adult themes for the age group. Lorenzo seems to be alluding to Clovis having depression after her rescue, and in the same story Beatrice refers to her as having 'a rexia': anorexia. I understand the concept of using books to introduce adult ideas in a kid-friendly setting, but I kind of feel that it was unnecessary to the story and in fact removed me from what I was reading. I'd just recommend that parents keep that in mind because whether your child is reading it by themselves or you're reading it with them, they're going to have questions.

Overall Feeling -Thumbs up. A cute kids story, in spite of some more adult ideas; I can see kids loving these courageous and personable little animals.

Series - 1) Under New Management 2) Beatrice and Blossom 3) Clovis Escapes

Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison

Rachel Morgan has fought and hunted vampires, werewolves, banshees, demons, and other supernatural dangers as both witch and bounty hunter—and lived to tell the tale. But she's never faced off against her own kind . . . until now. Denounced and shunned for dealing with demons and black magic, her best hope is life imprisonment—at worst, a forced lobotomy and genetic slavery. Only her enemies are strong enough to help her win her freedom, but trust comes hard when it hinges on the unscrupulous tycoon Trent Kalamack, the demon Algaliarept, and an ex-boyfriend turned thief.

It takes a witch to catch a witch, but survival bears a heavy price.

I've been with Rachel Morgan since the beginning and Harrison has done a great job at creating an enjoyable and compelling character. Having a heroine balancing on the knife's edge of good and evil makes for a more interesting ride I think. Who want's a character who has no faults, no doubts that what she does it right? Instead Rachel jumps between her demon teacher Al and her somewhat ghostly former love Pierce, trying to decide what's best for her. Throw in a not-quite-dead vampire and a pixy friend and you've got the kind of urban fantasy that stays with you. This latest book was dense - very dense. Don't plan on it making any kinds of sense if you haven't read the others first. There is just too much character back story for that to work. Once you get past that, I found myself dealing with a whirlwind; Rachel is working as hard as she can to not dig herself any deeper into a hole only sort-of of her making. This book is not really about romance, it's about her finding herself and making decisions independently about what is good or evil for her - not what is good or evil by everyone else's definition.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. A lot of fun, Black Magic Sanction has enough action for anyone and enough plot to confuse the hardiest of fans. Stay the course and pay attention and you end up making your way through a grand ole time.

Series - 1) Dead Witch Walking 2) The Good, the Bad, and the Undead 3) Every Which Way But Dead 4) A Fistful of Charms 5) For A Few Demons More 6) The Outlaw Demon Wails 7) White Witch, Black Curse 8) Black Magic Sanction

Musing Mondays (3/8)

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about dust jackets.

Do you prefer books with a dust jacket? What do you do with your dust jacket while reading? Leave it on or take it off? (Question courtesy of Kim from Page after Page)

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...

No matter how pretty they are, I hate dust jackets. I like to keep my books as nice as possible and dust jackets get torn, worn, etc. at the drop of a hat and give me a headache no matter what I do. To try to alleviate this as much as possible I always take the jacket off if I'm leaving the house. Of course, inevitably, it sits somewhere collecting dust, gradually getting out of shape and just annoying the heck out of me.

The only time I probably liked dust jackets was in high school when I worked at the public library. I was able to bring my books in and (using their materials) cover up the jackets just like they do to make them long lasting. It appealed to my OCD soul to see the crisp plastic cover that I knew wasn't going to rip the first time I put the book in my purse. Alas, I no longer work there and so now I just have to deal with them - or figure out where the library bought those things and see if I can buy some on my own!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Sick = Not Fun-ness

I hate being sick. Oh how I hate it. I'm always congested, something never feels right, and I'm inundated by 'you should go to the doctor'. I don't wanna go to the doctor! It never does me any good, they just tell me I have a cold and to rest, and by that point I've wasted my lunch hour or whole afternoon to hear that they can't do anything.

UGH.

The colds that make me the most frustrated though are the ones that keep me even from reading. When it my head hurts to much or I feel my pulse behind my eyes, etc. How can I be expected to correctly convalesce and get myself back to work if I can't read? I can only sleep so much you know! At least I can say that I'm now on the mend and able to get back to my reading and my blogging, though unfortunately that also means I'm well enough to go back to work.

How about you guys? Any special treatments or comfort things you like to have around when you're sick?

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

October "Toby" Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas...

The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening's dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant and renew old alliances. As she steps back into fae society, dealing with a cast of characters not entirely good or evil, she realizes that more than her own life will be forfeited if she cannot find Evening's killer.

I'm going to make this review a little on the quicker side, just because I'm still recovering from not-so-fun illness. McGuire does a good job of creating a different faerie world here, especially since she concentrates on changelings. The life of a mixed blood fae isn't always at the forefront of urban fantasy novels, maybe because as a half-blood, sometimes limitless power is too limited to make an interesting read. I would disagree with this assessment though, because having a character that's forced to be inventive due to lack of magical power usually ends up resulting in a more well rounded character. I do think that the series ended up slightly darker than I expected, with things happening to Toby and her friends that I just didn't seem coming, but in the end the story demanded that darkness. There was no way it could be too frivolous or light and maintain respect for what was going on. In the end I'd have to say that I have urban fantasies that I like more than this one, but it's a series I'm definitely going to watch.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs Up. Darker than I originally expected, this book left me interested and wanting more.

Series - 1) Rosemary and Rue 2) A Local Habitation

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (3/2)

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!


"I think we have time for some smooching at the very least." He grinned, putting his wineglass down.

She placed hers next to his and clambered up into his lap. "Probably just a bit."

--pg 141, Coming Undone by Lauren Dane

The Month of Love.......or was it?

This was an interesting month bookwise, just because I hit a couple of snags that through off my reading rhythm. Twice during February I either started to get bored with the book I was reading, or started to dread an upcoming book I wanted to finish. Neither of those are good places to be, so unsurprisingly I didn't read quite as many books as I did in February. I must also admit that these last couple weeks I wasn't as consistent in tracking my reading, so while I don't think I left anything out, there's no way to be exactly sure.

Still, even with these problems, there were a few standouts that I want to make sure that people take some time to read:
Nauti Deception by Leigh, Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Cole, and Coming Undone by Dane. All of them featured great main characters and the kind of plot, romance, and sex combination that make a book truly memorable for me. Life As We Knew It by Pfeffer is a very well written novel, but also a emotionally taxing read - take that opinion like you take anything else I say, but only read it if you're prepared to shed a few tears.

Oh! I almost forgot - I also loved
Back in Black by Foster. It's a fun light-hearted story, which I was glad to pick back up and reread after I finished Pfeffer's book.

Obsidian Prey
by Jayne Castle
Flirt
by Laurell K Hamilton

Back in Black
by Lori Foster
Tea for Two by Shelley Munro
Ladies Prefer Rogues
by Chapman and More
Nauti Deceptions
by Lora Leigh
The Mane Squeeze
by Shelley Laurenston
The Mane Attraction
by Shelley Laurenston
The Beast in Him
by Shelley Laurenston
The Elusive Bride
by Stephanie Laurens
Life As We Knew It
by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Enchanted, Inc.
by Shanna Swendson
Mine to Possess
by Nalini Singh
Pleasure of a Dark Prince
by Kresley Cole
Blaze of Memory
by Nalini Singh
Coming Undone
by Lauren Dane

Monday, March 1, 2010

Coming Undone by Lauren Dane - ERR Challenge Review

A new novel of "toe-curling" erotic romance from the national bestselling author of Laid Bare.

After his parents' death, Brody gave up a promising career to care for his family. Now, with his siblings grown, Brody owns his own business, and for the first time in years he's alone. Elise has come to Seattle with her daughter to find peace. After years as a world-famous ballerina-and trapped in a marriage gone bad-she's looking for neither love nor attention. But she finds both in the handsome, honest man who befriends her with no strings attached.

Brody and Elise discover in each other the wild, physical passion they need. But it'll take a shadow from Elise's past to make them look beyond what they need-to what they truly desire.

This book actually came out a couple weeks ago, but through one way or another I didn't end up buying it until this past weekend. I've read a lot of Lauren Dane, especially her ebooks, but I've got to say that this one ranks up there as one of my favorites. It's not just that she continues the tradition of having well written, steamy sex scenes, in Coming Undone Dane also has a great romance. There's just this wonderfully natural transition between Brody and Elise from friends with benefits to a loving couple. I probably love it so much because it's the kind of romance I'd want for myself if I got to pick and choose the path and the ending.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. Brody and Elise are definitely one of my favorite couples and this book is going to be a frequent reread!

Series - 1) Laid Bare 2) Coming Undone