Friday, December 30, 2011

Spirit Bound by Christine Feehan

Lethal undercover agent Stefan Prakenskii knew a thousand ways to kills a man—and twice as many ways to pleasure a woman. That’s what made him look forward to his new mission: arrive in the coastal town of Sea Haven and insinuate himself in the life of an elusive beauty who had mysterious ties to his past, and a link to a dangerously seductive, and equally elusive master criminal who wanted only one thing: to possess her.

Judith Henderson was an artist on the rise—an ethereal, and haunted woman whose own picture-perfect beauty stirred the souls of two men who have made her their obsession. For years she has been waiting for someone to come and unlock the passion and fire within her—waiting for the right man to surrender it to. But only one man can survive her secrets, and the shadow she has cast over both their lives.
~~

Ok everyone, time for a sigh of relief - I don't think Christine Feehan has totally lost her mind. Yes Dark Predator was kind of a debacle, with a laughable 'hero' and a 'romance' that was pretty much the antithesis of romantic. Luckily I think fans of her work can shift some of their devotion to her new Sea Haven series without too much of a problem because while Stefan could be a bit of a butthead at moments, not only does Judith call him on it, he also learns from his mistakes.

The most interesting part of this particular book (and maybe for the rest of the books too?) was the heroine, Judith. She's undergone so much guilt, grief, and pain trying to work through what happened to her brother and what she feels is her part in it. Reading about her pain wasn't easy and made the relationship between her and Stefan work that much more. She needs someone strong not only to snap her out when she's have a sad moment, but someone who won't succumb to the emotional emanations she gives off at the same time. If Stefan wasn't a bit of a mess he wouldn't work so well with her. All in all I think their relationship is pretty satisfying and believable, even if by this point readers can definitely see the writing on the wall - seven sisters, seven brothers, sparks are a-coming people, round up the wagons! (Also I wonder how long it's going to be before we get Blythe's book? Taunting us with that whole left hand/'I've seen this ceremony' stuff is just mean!)

I do wish that Feehan would back off the explainy bits in the beginning. When I started the book I felt like I kept being pushed out of the story by all the 'this is what this person looks like'. I don't usually find myself with that problem when reading Feehan, so I can only suppose that as we're still near the beginning of this latest series there's maybe more of a need for it to be there. Shrug. I wasn't the biggest fan but it didn't totally detract from the rest or annoy me enough to make me stop reading.

I'm still excited for the next one!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Water Bound 2) Spirit Bound


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fred the Mermaid Series by MaryJanice Davidson

Fred is a mermaid. But stop right there. Whatever image you're thinking of right now, forget it. Fred is not blonde. She's not buxom. And she's definitely not perky. In fact, Fred can be downright cranky. And it doesn't help matters that her hair is blue.

Being a mermaid does help Fred when she volunteers at the New England Aquarium. Needless to say, it's there that she gets involved in something fishy. Weird levels of toxins have been found in the local seawater. A gorgeous marine biologist wants her help investigating. So does her merperson ruler, the High Prince of the Black Sea. You'd think it would be easy for a mermaid to get to the bottom of things. Think again...


~~

MaryJanice Davidson is one of the few authors I both love and hate. I loved the beginning of the Queen Betsy series but then the same personality and dialogue I laughed at in the beginning started to drive me crazy. Some of her Alaskan Royals series are awesome even as rereads, but the some are so-so. If that seems a little wishy washy I'm sorry, but I wanted to give a bit of background in regards to where I'm coming from when I read (or reread) Fred the Mermaid. 

Fred the Mermaid is blunt, full of quips, and not all knowledgeable about her own attractiveness to the opposite sex. Love it or hate it she's never going to be Ariel, especially when she's trying to make the fish she cares for (she works at an aquarium) stop their hunger strike before the tank dissolves into total pandemonium. Throughout the three books readers learn about her best friend Jonas (the metro-iest metrosexual you'll never meet) along with two potential love interests, Prince Artur of the Undersea Folk and
Thomas the marine biologist obsessed with mermaids. 

All in all this series, though it has a few surprises or two, is about the characters and the quirkiness of them all. If you're not in the mood to deal with the strange and interesting I don't think the books will appeal to you because while plot is there in each book it's definitely secondary.  People come in and out of Fred's life and it's a circus of epic of proportions especially when the wedding planning begins. Still I like to come back to this series when I'm in the mood for some funny snark in my life, and Fred definitely delivers.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Sleeping with the Fishes 2) Swimming Without a Net 3) Fish Out of Water

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Movie Review - Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Sherlock Holmes has always been the smartest man in the room...until now. There is a new criminal mastermind at large-Professor Moriarty - and not only is he Holmes' intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil, coupled with a complete lack of conscience, may actually give him an advantage over the renowned detective. When the Crown Prince of Austria is found dead, the evidence, as construed by Inspector Lestrade, points to suicide. But Sherlock Holmes deduces that the prince has been the victim of murder-a murder that is only one piece of a larger and much more portentous puzzle, designed by Professor Moriarty. The cunning Moriarty is always one step ahead of Holmes as he spins a web of death and destruction.

~~

Let's be real with each other - this isn't a movie review blog for a reason. Mostly because I just don't want to pay the exorbitant fees necessary for the big screen. Still, in keeping with my friend's Jewish traditions, Christmas Eve seemed as good a time as any for a movie/Chinese food adventure. I wanted to see Arthur Christmas, but it wasn't in theaters any more (cause somehow that makes sense for a CHRISTMAS movie)! Instead the former roomie chose Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and I can happily say that even without seeing the first movie it was loads of fun.

Robert Downey Jr. rightfully steals the show as Holmes, with all the wit, combat skills, and 'urban camouflage' you could ask for. While I'm not the biggest Jude Law fan he also did a great job as Watson, the long suffering side-kick who's only goal really is to somehow get back to (or on at all) his honeymoon.  Sometimes I felt like the movie was overusing the trick of slow mo-ing the action beforehand, but it never got too annoying. There were plenty of laugh out load moments and I definitely want to go back and see the first.

Recommended, holiday or not :).


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope you're all enjoying fun and family and friends, even if you're not technically celebrating Christmas. But hey - there's nothing wrong with a few extra wishes of good will right ;)?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis

Free-spirited Chloe lives life on the edge. Unlike her soon-to-be married sisters, she isn't ready to settle into a quiet life running their family's newly renovated inn. But soon her love of trouble--and trouble with love-draws the attention of the very stern, very sexy sheriff who'd like nothing better than to tame her wild ways. Suddenly Chloe can't take a misstep without the sheriff hot on her heels. His rugged swagger and his enigmatic smile are enough to make a girl beg to be handcuffed. For the first time, instead of avoiding the law, Chloe dreams of surrender. Can this rebel find a way to keep the peace with the straitlaced sheriff? Or will Chloe's colorful past keep her from a love that lasts... and the safe haven she truly wants in a town called Lucky Harbor?
~~

There's really nothing like a good contemporary romance to get one's spirits up. Without all the soap opera drama and ridiculousness you get a wonderful story about people falling in love and connecting their family. I know this isn't technically a holiday book but it's one that I could definitely see myself pulling out around this time next year to reacquaint myself with good people and HEA's. I haven't read the first two books in the Lucky Harbor series but if this is anything to go by I need to go back and pick them up (and since there's a combo book with the first two for $7.99, I really need to get on that). 

Chloe is working on shedding her wild child reputation both with her sisters and the local sheriff, Sawyer. She's a free spirit and makes no bones about it, though throughout the story she starts to realize just how much settling down and making roots won't take away from that. It's a growth book for her and Sawyer, who's still battling left over resentment for the crazy youth he was. Really all of that sounds tame for a fantastic book with sparks and great dialogue and relationships for all three sisters that are fun to read about. I can't recommend it enough and between this and Animal Attraction I have GOT to get my hands on Shalvis's backlist.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Simply Irresistible 2) The Sweetest Thing 3) Head Over Heels 4) Lucky in Love (May 2012)

**Title requested from NetGalley for review.**

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mini Me: Nine-tenths of the Law by L.A. Witt

Without trust, common ground can get pretty shaky…

“I believe you have something of mine, Zach.”

Zach Owens doesn’t even know who this angry stranger is, let alone what the man is talking about—until he learns what they have in common. Their boyfriend, Jake. Once Jake’s out of the picture, Zach’s apology to Nathan Forrester leads to a long conversation, a kiss, and a chemistry that goes far beyond revenge sex.

Nathan can’t help but fall for the sexy movie theater owner, but it’s a long way from sheet-tearing sex to mutual trust. And a series of “coincidences” that throws Zach into Jake’s company leaves him unconvinced Zach was the complete innocent in their previous love triangle.

Zach can’t seem to make Nathan believe that Jake is up to something. But protesting his innocence isn’t working, and Jake’s carefully orchestrated campaign to destroy their love could leave them both with nothing…

~~

Nine-tenths of the Law seems to be one of those books the blog-o-sphere just loves. They gush over it, along with most of the titles by L.A. Witt, and while I don't dislike this particular book I can't say I was incredibly amazed by it either.

The relationship was fine, there was a good progression from revenge sex to actual relationship, but for some reason this isn't going to be one that sticks out in my mind. Maybe I was just in a blah mood when I read it because thinking back over it the story had just enough drama to not annoy me but enough emotion to be worthwhile. Zach and Nathan get together after Nathan busts in on a date Zach's on with Nathan's boyfriend. It was a little strange how they went from this to having sex with each other but, shrug, I try not to think too hard about the sex setup in eroticas.

Ultimately this story is about love and trust and how much you have to be willing to give of yourself for things to work. Maybe I didn't love it, but there's some like here and if you're lucky enough to be like me and find it for free from the Nook store, worth a read.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Move Me by Emma Holly

BELLE’s eccentric Uncle Lucky left her his spooky house in the tiny village of Kingaken. Twenty years ago, her little brother disappeared here, never to be heard from again. Returning to the place for the first time in so long resurrects more ghosts than she cares to face. When it also summons a sexy faerie, with an agenda of his own, Belle had best pray her luck is better than her sibling’s.
~~

I know that technically this title is a part of Holly's Hidden series but it reminds me quite a bit of the world she set up in Fairyville. That's in no way a bad thing, I consider Holly one of the queens of the short, sweet, and sexy format, but if you've read that one then this one will be comfortably familiar. As a faerie Duvall doesn't have the same hangups about sex and most of the time it invigorates and empowers him, which is part of the reason the somewhat quick jump into a sexual relationship works. Duvall is already prepared to 'do the deed' and when Belle turns out to be both smart and attractive, any barriers he might have had are pushed aside.

But even with the fantastically hot sex that's in this story, it's really about love and family. Belle's brother Danny had been kidnapped years ago and she's still trying to recover from that trauma. Trusting Duvall and his feelings for her is incredibly hard, as is trying to warm up and be open with any of the people in Kingaken (the town). Luckily, and probably unsurprising for those who already knew this was a holiday tale, there's a HEA in store for everyone, as the magic of the season and the people come together. Yes that sentence is corny but it's also true, so deal :-D.

Recommended.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Hidden Talent 2) Hidden Depths 3) Move Me

*Title requested from author for review**

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fate's Edge by Ilona Andrews

The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is a fairy tale—and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…

Born to a family of conmen, Audrey Callahan left behind her life in the Edge for an unmagical existence in the Broken. Audrey is determined to stay on the straight and narrow, but when her brother gets into hot water, the former thief takes on one last heist and finds herself matching wits with a jack of all trades.

Kaldar Mar is a gambler, a lawyer, a thief, and a spy with some unusual talents that guarantee him lucrative work. When his latest assignment has him tracking down a stolen item, Kaldar doesn’t expect much of a challenge—until Audrey turns up to give him a run for his money.

But when the missing item falls into the hands of a lethal criminal, Kaldar realizes that in order to finish the job and survive, he’s going to need Audrey’s help…
~~

Maybe it was the slightly less horrifying story in this particular installment, but I loved Fate's Edge. There was the perfect balance of new characters, old characters, action and banter that just hit all my 'yay new book!' happy places.

The best part though is Kaldar and Audrey together. The reasons they love each other is why I love them in this story, as they spend the entire time annoying each other, bantering, and testing the boundaries of love and forever. With everything else that's going they don't get the opportunity to take their time - there's too much going on and too many lives at stake. It ramps up the emotions 110%, but each is a professional and unwilling to sacrifice the goal for personal motives.

Still for those less romantically inclined than I, this book has a lot to offer. It's a throw back to the classic heist novels as there's not one but two major switches/thefts that have to be pulled off. Kind of like Ocean 12, each person is responsible for their piece of the pie and without all of them working together they would all be SOL. I definitely found myself on the edge of my seat (figuratively speaking) while reading and loved the whole thing. I think I could reread this many more times before ever getting even the tiniest bit bored with the story.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series- 1) On the Edge 2) Bayou Moon 3) Fate's Edge

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Alien Proliferation by Gini Koch

Alien Super-Being Exterminator Kitty Katt is expecting her first baby. But the alien attacks are getting more dangerous, and now Kitty and her* Alpha Centaurion husband, Jeff, have to find out who’s behind the conspiracy to kill Kitty’s secret agent mom and what caused Kitty’s transformation into a superhuman-and they’ve got to do it all before the baby shower…
~~

If you haven't heard about the Alien series by Gini Koch already then you've probably been living under a rock. And if you're living under a rock not only are you probably HELLA pale, I'm not sure there's anything I can do to accurately explain the place these books hold in the genre of romance, existing as they do at the intersection of sci-fi and romance. Instead we'll just go with the easy route ok? I'm sure you can handle it.

Alien Proliferation is a fantastic addition to the series because it shows unequivocally how all the other TV series I loved in my youth got it wrong - just because you have a child it doesn't mean you stop kicking ass. In Angel Connor was kidnapped to a hell dimension to get him away, on Xena, she and Gabrielle got locked in ice for 10 years, on Charmed all of a sudden everybody was obsessed with protecting Wyatt and got all maternal...it just goes on and on. Kitty and Jeff on the other hand aren't willing or being forced to hand their responsibilities over to anyone else. They can change diapers and protect the world just fine, thank you.

For my fellow romance lovers we all see some developments for Christopher! Happy Dance! Without going into spoilers I'll just say that all is not well in Christopher-land but with the help of some of Kitty's usually blunt and in your face advice things turn out ok. I mean, I'm still off in la-la land somewhere where I kind of wish this was an erotica so Kitty could just marry them both - BUT - I'm working on letting it go ok? I'm trying. Sheesh. 

I love this series and I can't wait for April 2012.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Touched by an Alien 2) Alien Tango 3) Alien in the Family 4) Alien Proliferation 5) Alien Diplomacy (April 2012)

PS - Know what goes right along with this? The Men in Black III trailer! I'm as surprised as anyone when I say that I think this actually looks good and I kind of want to see it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mini Me: Lesserblood Lies by Ainsley Davidson

To protect her children from the despotic Trueblood, Merianne defied them by taking her girls and fleeing the planet. Even though Merianne's daughters are Lesserblood, they have the Talents. The Trueblood would train her children to use their dangerous gifts, but their methods are cruel, and Merianne would never see her girls again.

Merianne tries to give her girls a safe, quiet life, but when they befriend Thorne, a brilliant scientist, she finds herself drawn to the kind and captivating man—despite his uncanny resemblance to the Trueblood.

Thorne wants to help the girls control their emerging Talents, and he's intrigued by their mother. But just as Merianne finally accepts Thorne's help, two of her children are seized. To rescue the girls, Merianne and Thorne must risk death at the hands of the Trueblood, who will kill to protect their lies.
~~

It's rare for me to do a review for a book that was a DNF but this was just so unfortunate. It started out ok, with Meri trying to start over on a new planet with her daughters (who were kind of cute) and getting drawn into this back and forth with the 'freesearcher' Thorne, but it didn't hold out. There was a lot of forced 'future-fying' of the language that resulted in most conversations sounding strange or stilted.

Pretty quickly I found myself flipping through pages just to get to the end because not only did I not care that Meri's three children had been kidnapped, I couldn't understand how both her and Thorne were so useless. Maybe I'm too used to take-charge, kick ass heroine but I was supremely underwhelmed by the whole thing. Once I finally got to the last chapter the HEA was for the most part unconvincing and I thought Eda's (the oldest daughter) choices for her future were kind of ridiculous considering the circumstances.

**Title requested from NetGalley for review**

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cast in Ruin by Michelle Sagara

Seven corpses are discovered in the streets of a Dragon's fief. All identical, down to their clothing.

Kaylin Neya is assigned to discover who they were, who killed them—and why. Is the evil lurking at the borders of Elantra preparing to cross over?

At least the investigation delays her meeting with the Dragon Emperor. And as the shadows grow longer over the fiefs, Kaylin must use every skill she's ever learned to save the people she's sworn to protect. Sword in hand, dragons in the sky, this time there's no retreat and no surrender…
~~

I do have to agree with Dear Author on one thing - I think this series has about reached that point where new comers can't just jump in and get the same level of enjoyment as those who have been reading since the beginning. I love where we are, even if I have to stop and think sometimes to remind myself what happened in previous books, but it's hard for me to picture another person doing that.

I do wish things were going a bit faster, but I'm an impatient reader and even if it put Kaylin at risk of getting flamed by the Emperor I'd STILL want to see it. Luckily for you guys I'm not writing these books and Kaylin's getting the (hopefully) appropriate training and meeting some cool new characters along the way. 

I love these books for their fantasy roots (romance is only really hinted at here and there) at the same time those roots can make my heart hurt for the main characters. The past is never really just the past, and while we may not see Kaylin actually get over some of the things that have affected her, we do get to see her reveal more of what's lying underneath (sorry for being purposefully vague here, but it's too important to spoil). Cast in Ruin does include a new character for Kaylin to be friends with, someone who has their own journey and hurts to overcome, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs Up.

Series - 1) Cast in Shadow 2) Cast in Courtlight 3) Cast in Secret 4) Cast in Fury 5) Cast in Silence 6) Cast in Chaos 7) Cast in Ruin

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

November in Review



I don't know how anybody moves ever. My entire life is still in boxes for the most part - though those boxes are in my new apartment - and I dread the idea of unpacking.  Does anybody else experience this? My books are especially the most intimidating, mostly due to how I'm the most anal about how those get put out on shelves. As in, I'm one of those strange people who likes to have things alphabetically by author's last name - and then in order by series. I don't know how other people do this, but whenever I try to complete this project it turns into a huge line of dominoes, with books piled spine up so I can keep making room without having to shift shelves of titles.

I also decided somewhere along the lines that it would be a good idea to go to NY for Thanksgiving right before my move, so you know, I'd take this list of read books with a grain of salt. The beginning's pretty accurate but as the month went on it just got worse and worse. So yeah - my bad. I'll try to do better this month so that 2011 can go out with a bang ;)

Making Chase by Lauren Dane
Bad Moon Rising by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston
Go Fetch by Shelly Laurenston
Here Kitty, Kitty by Shelly Laurenston
Run For Your Life by Andrea Kane
The Next Always by Nora Roberts
Tied With a Bow by Lora Leigh, Virginia Kantra, Eileen Wilks and Kimberly Frost
Lure of Song and Magic by Patricia Rice
Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh
Pulled Long by Christine d'Abo
Once and Again by Lauren Dane
No Mercy by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Hot as Hades by Alisha Rai
A Pride Christmas in Brooklyn by Shelly Laurenston

Books Read/Reviewed:
17/11

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pulled Long by Christine d'Abo

For months, coffee shop owner Ian Long has fantasized about a customer he knows only as "Blue Eyes." Until he learns Blue Eyes is in the midst of a divorce—the last thing Ian wants is to be the rebound experiment of a straight guy. Giving in to lust, he invites the man into the café after hours and they indulge in a little exhibitionist play, but Ian is unwilling to get involved.

When he's forced to see Jeff again to return his briefcase, Ian finally agrees to go out on a date. Dinner quickly becomes an erotic encounter in a special room at the sex club Mavericks, and Ian realizes Jeff satisfies desires he didn't know he had. The more he gets to know Jeff as a person, the harder it is to resist falling for him.

Jeff makes it clear he's interested in more than just sex. He wants to go public with their relationship in more ways than one. But can Ian open his heart, when he fears it will be broken?
~~

For the most part this book really worked for me. I liked the intense sparks between Ian and Jeff - the story starts after they've known each other for a little while so the tensions is definitely ratcheted up a few degrees. Their relationship evolves even though it's a short story, with Ian having to work through some serious emotional issues in order to find his HEA with Jeff. And the fact that Jeff is a real bisexual character and not some stereotypical man into 'playing' with women? Loved.

The not so greats were there as well, though luckily not in enough quantity to make me really dislike the story. I thought Jeff was a bit too perfect. He knows exactly what he wants (Ian) and seems to have no problems, hurdles, or issues to get over to make this relationship work. Sometimes it seemed as if Jeff's only job in the story was to just to be there and love Ian, to be this prince charming. I guess I'm just a little too used to having flawed fully fleshed out heroes and with that Jeff sometimes came off as a little flat. 

My only other criticism would have to be about Ian's 'redemptive act' or whatever you want to call it. Maybe it's because I haven't read the rest of the series, but it seemed a little tacked on and not as true to the two of them. Without going into spoilers, I'll just say that it came out of nowhere to me and I didn't consider it necessary to their HEA. 

All in all you've got a good story, scorching love scenes, and a cute couple. Add in the bits we see of Ian's siblings and I wouldn't rule out me picking up the first two books later.

Overall Feeling - Eh/Thumbs Up

Series - 1) Double Shot 2) A Shot in the Dark 3) Pulled Long (December 12, 2011)

**Title requested for review from NetGalley**

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful


I am so thankful for my health, my friends, the roof over my head and the job that pays my bills. It's no simple thing, living your life without stress, but right now I can definitely say things could be worse.


*Yes I cooked this. It was totally worth the long - long - time it took.
**If I wasn't moving I'd probably cook again. Because (in all honesty) my turkey is the bomb diggity.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

RIP Anne McCaffrey


My love of books would not have been the same without you Ms. McCaffrey. I've raided library sales, used book stores, Barnes & Nobles - anything really - to pick up favorites to find homes on my shelves. Your books were some of the first to star strong female characters, whether they were wives, mothers, or the leaders of Wyrs or wars. Thank you. You will be missed.

Another day, another winner!

Congratulations to 

JDean!

for winning my second birthday giveaway! Hope you enjoy your books!

<3

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Lure of Song and Magic by Patricia Rice

Her voice was a curse...
When Dylan "Oz" Oswin's son is kidnapped, the high-powered producer will do anything to get him back. Desperately  following an anonymous tip, he seeks help from a former child singing sensation called Syrene, only to find she's vowed never to sing again. Immune to her voice but not her charm, Oz is convinced she holds the key to his son's disappearance- and he'll stop at nothing to make her break her vow.

But he must make her sing...
She knows the devastation her talent can bring. There's more than a child's life at stake, but Syrene cannot unleash her dangerous siren's voice upon the world, even for a man who is impossible to deny
~~

Ok so I can't make this reveal suspenseful - I LOVED this book! I had it in my NetGalley que for a while because even though it sounded pretty good and I requested it, I just couldn't decide if it was something I really wanted to read. I should probably trust my 'new book' instincts more often - I feel that this is more the moral of this round about tale.

The best part of Rice's story is definitely Oz and Pippa. The both of them have very opposing views about how their respective lives are going to go: Pippa wants to be left alone to write her children books and Oz wants to find his son - even if he has to go through Pippa to do it. The fact that they were attracted to each other caused some worries on both sides and resulted in tension, sparks, and general craziness whenever they were together. I mean, how many romance books do you read where within moments of meeting each other the hero throws the heroine in her own pool?

Another great element of this story was Pippa's siren heritage/magical abilities. On her website Rice said that she worked really hard to ride that fine line in the book so it would appeal to both contemporary romance readers and fantasy lovers and I think she did an awesome job. Pippa's powers are hinted at/discussed quite a bit, but it never overwhelms the romance at the heart of it all. Plus Rice brings in enough supporting characters to keep me VERY interested in a sequel!

Highly recommended and I can't wait to pick up some of her backlist!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) The Lure of Song and Magic (? - I'm not positive that it's a series but I'm hoping!)

**Title requested from NetGalley for review**

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mini Me: Bad Moon Rising by Sherrilyn Kenyon

A stunning and suspenseful new landscape emerges in the thrilling Dark-Hunter world—a world where nothing will ever be the same again. . .

Fang Kattalakis isn't just a wolf. He is the brother of two of the most powerful members of the Omegrion: the ruling council that enforces the laws of the Were-Hunters. And when war erupts among the lycanthropes, sides must be chosen. Enemies are forced into shaky alliances. And when the woman Fang loves is accused of betraying her people, her only hope is that Fang believes in her. Yet in order to save her, Fang must break the law of his people and the faith of his brothers. That breech could very well spell the end of both their races and change their world forever.

The war is on and time is running out...
~~

Can I tell you a secret? You can't tell anyone else ok?

I'm not sure if I really like Sherrilyn Kenyon as much as I used to.

Shhhh! I know - you don't have to tell me! Blaspheme, right? I'm so gonna get kicked out of the book bloggers guild for this one. I just had to let it out though. I picked up Bad Moon Rising for super cheap at Barnes and Noble a few weekends ago and it wasn't the same! I'm not sure what happened but I think it might be that the world is just TOO BIG. There's so much all the time and for a minute there after Acheron I didn't really know where Kenyon was going to go with the series. She's pulled that out (though I am STILL not a fan of Nick's storyline), but the series as a whole doesn't bring me the same joy. It might have something to do with the time jumping. Yeah, I definitely think that's part of it. In the beginning the books were linear and there was a progression of the character's lives, but now it seems to change not only with every new book but within the book as well! I can't always be expected to remember what happened 17 books ago! I'm just not that cool.

For those other true ride or die fans out there, Fang and Aimee's story is by no means bad. I'd been waiting for this ever since Vane's book and Kenyon for the most part doesn't disappoint. There's a sudden side story addition of just why Fang was in a coma for so long, which was completely unexpected, but the relationship between the two of them was a joy to read. If you can find it super cheap or pick it up from the library I recommend it, but do not expect this to be a stand alone.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Desert Warrior by Nalini Singh

The fabled desert kingdom of Zulheina was Tariq's birthright, and he was a man who held tightly what belonged to him. And that meant he had to reclaim a very special woman--the woman who had broken his heart years before in New Zealand. And once he had lured her to this distant land, he meant to keep his new bride here forever....

But Jasmine Coleridge was not as easily tamed as he had imagined. Her beguiling blend of untouched innocence and dazzling sensuality threatened, once again, to bring the haughty sheikh to his knees--and made him wonder who was the true prisoner....
~~

THIS IS SO OLD SCHOOL! It was hilarious for me to read Singh doing the 'desert sheikh' book, especially since I am only slightly ashamed to admit that it was a favorite genre of mine years ago. I even have a whole set of them from my Silhouette Desire days, though I missed out on this release the first time around.

Tariq is the quintessential desert prince, hot blooded but determined not to open his heart and be vulnerable to Jasmine. Jasmine is the no longer quite so naive American, returning to Tariq to help him through the grief of losing his parents but also to claim the love she's never forgotten (see? the DRAMA!).

Tariq ends up being just the right amount of jerky alpha and emotional lover, which I think is a great example of why these books worked so well. It's old school but full of spark, as Jasmine works to show Tariq the new independence she's gained and how their love will make them both whole. There's so much familiar to me about the story but even with that Singh's voice and style make it unique and a stand out of the genre. 

If you can get your hands on the combo release of this and Lord of the Abyss I highly recommend it since both are a fun read and fantastic additions to anyone's library.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - None (?)

**Title requested from NetGalley for review**

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Next Always by Nora Roberts

The historic hotel in Boonsboro has endued war and peace, the changing of hands, and even rumored hauntings. Now it's getting a major face-life from the Montgomery brother brothers and their eccentric mother. As the architect in the family, Beckett's social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there's another project he's got his eye on: the girl he's been waiting to kiss since he was sixteen.

After losing her husband and returning to her hometown, Clare Brewster soon settles into her life as the mother of three young sons while running the town's bookstore. Though busy and with little time for romance, Clare is drawn across the street by Beckett's transformation of the old in, wanting to take a closer look...at both the building and the man behind it.

With the grand opening inching closer, Beckett is happy to give Clare a private tour- one room at a time, in between blueprint meetings and kindergarten pickups. It's no first date, but these stolen moments are the beginning of something that could arouse the secret yearning that resides in Clare's independent hear- and open the door to the extraordinary adventure of what comes next...
~~

1) I had to personally type up that whole d*mn description because I couldn't find it online. Boo.
2) I wish this book had been a little bit better.

Like the Wedding Quartet, I think (hope) this series will get better with time. The Next Always wasn't bad but I can't really say it was great either. The ghost was so-so, reminiscent of what's Roberts has done before, and Clare and Beckett were obviously a good match, but I detect a distinct lack of fire. Maybe that contributes to the overall 'blah' feeling. 

The MacGregors were the first series by Roberts I read and that family is full of Scottish hot heads. They feel a lot and live life accordingly, and each book kept that up. This series is starting for me the way the Wedding Quartet did with an ok book but no big bang. I already know who's going to pair up with who and while that brings a sense of comfort it does make me a little concerned about whether later books are going to hold my attention.

I think I'm going to hold out hope for Ryder's story (the last book in the series) because he's being set up as the 'feisty bad boy'.

Overall Feeling - eh.

Series - 1) The Next Always 2) The Last Boyfriend (May 2012)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winner & Another Giveaway!

Let's start off with the fun stuff ok? Time to send out a big congratulations to

Lady Soul 

for winning Murder Game and Lord of Legends! Thanks so much for entering my giveaway and I hope you enjoy the books :).

But don't worry guys - there are still more books to give out! This week there are three books up for grabs: 


Show No Mercy by Cindy Gerard

In Love With The Bronc Rider by Judy Duarte

The Second-Chance Groom by Crystal Green

Same rules as last time, comment below with anything and you'll be entered for a chance to win. Giveaway runs until 11:59pm on Tuesday, November 22nd with winners announced the following day. 

Tied With a Bow by Lora Leigh, Virginia Kantra, Eileen Wilks and Kimberly Frost

#1 New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh headlines an all-new paranormal romance anthology that turns up the holiday heat.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh features the Breeds in her story. New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra brings a haunting tale of a fallen angel. USA Today bestselling author Eileen Wilks returns to the shapeshifing Lupi for another magical tale. National bestselling author Kimberly Frost introduces a new paranormal world of muses and vampires.
~~

Eventually I want Lora Leigh, just by herself, to release a collection of her Breed short stories. The holiday ones especially are fantastic, and usually focus on the emotional stuff that I've seen people criticize her stories for lacking. 'An Inconvenient Mate' is another great one, Malachi loving Isobel for everything she represents to him as a mate and cherishing her for her skills and how they complement each other.

I haven't read Eileen Wilks's Lupi series but Arjennie and Benedict were so much fun to read about that I really need to get on my game with this. I'm hard to please now-a-days when it comes to paranormal titles but this one had good world building, interesting characters, and obviously a lot of action (since there seems to be a war going on between shapeshifters and 'human first' members).

Where the anthology fell short (for me of course) was with the additions by Kantra and Frost. I could not bring myself to care about Lucian and Aimee and ended up flipping through the story to read the end. Frost's story was a bit better but I still kind of felt like I was missing something, though I'd be interested in picking up some of the later books to learn more about the relationship between  Kate's muse and a mysterious human/vampire hybrid.
 
Overall Feeling - Eh (50/50 success rate here for me)

Series - Various.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mini Me: Run For Your Life by Andrea Kane

Manhattan attorney Victoria Kensington is deeply alarmed when she runs into her sister, Audrey, in Central Park -- clad in a hospital gown and fleeing from unknown pursuers. As Audrey collapses at her feet, warning about danger, Victoria rushes for help. When she returns, Audrey has vanished from sight.

Despite threats against her life, Victoria vows to discover her sister's whereabouts. She works alone until the only man she ever loved, Zachary Hamilton, suddenly appears in New York. Assigned to investigate a worldwide drug syndicate, he suspects it may tie in to Audrey's disappearance. Together, Victoria and Zach race against the clock to crack the deadly drug ring and and Audrey. While they work, they and the white-hot electricity between them recharging to a fever pitch. Pursuing the shocking truth that might tear Victoria's family irrevocably apart, she and Zach begin to unravel a complex web of deceit -- which echoes terrifyingly back to Victoria's own life.
~~

Overall I'd have to give this book a 'good but not great' review. The suspense plot was not bad, Kane definitely did a great job of keeping me in the dark about who was actually doing all the bad stuff, which I think is very important when you're marketing something as a 'romantic thriller'. I think where Run For Your Life mostly fell short for me was in the romance department. Something about Victoria and Zach just didn't ring true. I can't even put my finger on exactly what it was, because their interaction reminded me a lot of some early Linda Howard's that I own, but ultimately while I'm a sucker for a HEA I just wasn't as enthused about this one. I picked up this title from a used bookstore because of my still strong love for Scent of Danger, but I'm remaining undecided on how ultimately I feel about Kane and her books in general.

P.S - Don't forget to leave a comment on my post here and enter for a chance to win two great books!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

There's nothing like a GIVEAWAY to celebrate your birthday!!

In celebration of my upcoming birthday (Saturday! Woot!) I've decided to hold 3 separate giveaways. Yay for giveaways! Each one will begin on a Wednesday and feature 2-3 books from my personal collection. Yes my personal collection, which means they're gently used but FILLED WITH LOVE. They're practically BURSTING with love I tell you.

This week the picks are MURDER GAME by Christine Feehan and LORD OF LEGENDS by Susan Krinard. Entering is super easy - just comment below about anything and you'll be set. This first giveaway is running from today through November 15th, 2011



Good Luck and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to any other Scorpios out there!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

Three years have passed since Beka Cooper almost died in the sewers of Port Caynn, and she is now a respected member of the Provost’s Guard. But her life takes for the unexpected when her fiancé is killed on a slave raid. Beka is faced with a mixture of emotions as, unbeknownst to many, she was about to call the engagement off.

It is as Beka is facing these feelings that Lord Gershom himself appears at her door. In the span of hours Beka, her partner Tunstall, her scent-dog Achoo, and a unusual but powerful mage are plunged into a case under an extreme veil of secrecy. It is a case that threatens the future of the Tortallan royal family, and therefore the Tortallan government itself. As Beka delves deeper into the motivations of the criminals she now hunts, she learns of deep-seated political dissatisfaction, betrayal, and corruption. These are people with power, money, and influence. They are able to hire the most skilled of mages, well versed in the darkest forms of magic. And they are nearly impossible to identify.

This case—a Hunt that will take her to places she’s never been—will challenge Beka’s tracking skills beyond city walls, as well as her ability to judge exactly who she can trust with her life and her country’s future.
~~

With Mastiff I think Tamora Pierce has wrapped up a series that really stands out in my mind as being just as good as Alanna's. I read the first Alanna story, god, what feels like a million years ago now, and just fell in love. I loved her, the story, the characters - all of it, and the series just got better with every addition. The connection that Beka Cooper has to those tales and her adventures in her own right make her another remarkable heroine.

In Mastiff it's Beka and Tunstall on their own, out to save the entire kingdom on the most important hunt of their lives. I've already had to reread parts of the book because the first time through I kept getting distracted by the hunt - when are they going to find him? What's going to happen? I was the little child bouncing in the back seat asking 'are we there yet?'. Pierce has crafted an arc where over these three books we've been able to watch Beka grow and mature - to come into her own as a Dog and a protector of the realm. And as an adult she has to face the fact that things don't always end up as you'd hope. Bad things happen to good people and even when you try your best it doesn't guarantee the outcome - it's a hard story to read in that aspect, as you watch Beka accept the reality of what even good people can do. 

If I had to come up with something that was a little less than stellar, I'd have to say that the romance in this one wasn't my favorite. Even if the couple didn't work out quite the way I was rooting for in the first book, I'd have to say that things were a bit too fast overall. I'm being purposefully vague here so please excuse me, but while I understand a pressure situation can influence the speed at which feelings are revealed, I still felt a little cheated. Romance might not be the focus of Mastiff, it's not a romance book after-all, but seeing more of the buildup to the final HEA would have been great. 

I highly, highly recommend this book - and pretty much everything written by Tamora Pierce.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Terrier 2) Bloodhound 3) Terrier

Thursday, November 3, 2011

October in Review

Oh October, you were a bit busy this time around huh? I feel like every other second I was either going somewhere, doing something, or planning to do something. Fall, when it's not freezing cold, really gets me all excited. I want to be outside enjoying the fresh air and the leaves changing. Keeping up a reading schedule during all that is almost impossible. Or consistently Twitter-ing. Maybe this makes me old, but when I'm enjoying life out and about it doesn't really occur to me to tweet about it. I'll sometimes remember while out shopping but I'm just not good at it, lol! I should probably be fitted for my bifocals any day now o_O.

Want to know one cool/horrifying thing that did happen this month? Snow on Halloween! In DC! It makes me all excited for Christmas (though not so excited that I'm not horrified by all the stores with their Christmas displays). 


And if you're still coming off the Halloween high you might want to check out my post on Series to make you SHIVER!

Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
Serpent's Kiss by Thea Harrison
Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews
Angels of Darkness by Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh, Meljean Brook, Sharon Shinn
Beast Behaving Badly by Shelly Laurenston
Wickedly Charming by Kristine Grayson
Strange Neighbors by Ashlyn Chase (DNF)
Tiger, Tiger by Robyn Donald
Dreaming of the Wolf by Terry Spear
Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh
Dessert Warrior by Nalini Singh 
Animal Attraction by Jill Shalvis
Bite Before Christmas by Heidi Betts
Call Me by Lena Matthews
Keeper of the Way by Shirin Dubbin
Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Taking Chase by Lauren Dane
Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh
Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh

Read/Reviewed:
19/13

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Keeper of the Way by Shirin Dubbin

One man is a harbinger. The other a bad boy. She seeks to save their race. Too bad she has to die.

Aftermath cleaner, NiaMora, is destined to die--tonight. Severin, a harbinger of death, has already arrived to bear witness. But he'll defy his duty. He won't stand by and watch, not when NiaMora may be the Fae's last hope of survival.

Zan Wynn cares nothing for Severin's heroic delusions. The Fae-tech mogul has "spies" on NiaMora and her aftermath cleaner team. He wants her for reasons of his own and as the quintessential bad boy--some might say bad guy--he can't be bothered to play fair.

Oblivious to her doom, NiaMora focuses on the missing Way, the very essence of the Fae and the reason they are trapped in the mortal world. There's also the small matter of remaining single when she can't deny Severin's power over her or Zan Wynn's hypnotic pull. One man is her fate, the other the prelude to her destruction.
~~

I've gotta say that even with a few words Dubbin knows how to start a series (or at least what I hope will be a series). Like Chaos Tryst, Keeper of the Way presents the reader with this fully formed world that's quite different from our own. It's most comparable and probably supposed to be an Urban Fantasy title, but I don't quite get enough of a contemporary vibe to say for sure. Whatever, the point is it's very different from our own - there are fae and gargoyles and a whole host of other beings, some of which I recognize and some who are Dubbin's construct. It's all shown to the reader not told, so while you don't have to worry about a lot of boring info dump, sometimes I did find myself having to reread sections to make sure I understood exactly who (or what) was talking.

Spoiler-ly bits hidden behind the link below!
Click to Expand!
I do wish that this novella had been a little longer though, mostly because I feel Nia and Severin's relationship would have benefited from the extra space to develop. Things happen so rapidly that while I like both characters individually, together I was a little suspect of the whole 'magical mind meld' thing. Even though Nia's worried about ever finding someone who would accept her on this deep a level at all, once it does happen she seems to be all sunshine and roses without much of a qualm. Maybe I'm just a suspicious person but that seemed to happen a little too easily.


Overall I'd say it's a fun, fast paced tale with action and romance. The 'love triangle' and mystery weren't all that hard to guess, but I enjoyed it just the same and would be interested in seeing how the world developed and learning more about the people there.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Keeper of the Way (? - maybe?)

**Sent by author for review consideration**

Friday, October 28, 2011

Series to make you SHIVER!

I don't want to shock anyone, but I don't read a lot of horror. 

I know. It's amazing.

Rarely do I pick up a book that's solely designed to make me not sleep at night. In fact, I've only ever read 1 Stephen King book and it wasn't even really a horror! It was more political intrigue and it doesn't matter ultimately because I didn't like it anyway. 

In spite of my less than stellar horror track record I do have a couple series that have wormed their ways into my heart - even when that heart is beating a million times a minute because of the OMG IT'S BEHIND YOU RUN AWAY-ness of it all. Since it's October and the weekend before Halloween AND Neil Gaiman is trying to encourage an All Hallows Read celebration of both, I thought sharing these two series would be a bit apropos. Hope you enjoy!

October Daye Series by Seanan McGuire
I've reviewed a few of the October Daye series here on RAtChaos and I think reading over those posts make it pretty clear why this series is so fantastic: a sympathetic heroine, romance, action, and really freaking scary fairy tales come to life! I never know what I'm getting into with McGuire's books so with each new release I'm gripping the edge of my seat trying not to have a complete meltdown. Is anyone going to die? Who is it? What's going to happen next? How is Toby going to get out of this one?!

Most of this can be contributed a gritty dark tone, because we as readers don't have the luxury of accurately predicting the next rabbit hole. It's not a recipe for a comfort read but this series stays with you long after you're done reading and if I can work up the courage they definitely deserve rereads as well.



Nightside Series by Simon R. Green
This series is not joke ya'll - Green keeps the frightening fast and frequent, with John the kick ass detective trying to battle them all. Even when I was squirming inside I had to keep reading (though I have been known to flip a few pages to find out what happens - sssshhh! Don't tell anyone) which I think is the hallmark of a really engaging set of books. The happy ending is not guaranteed and this is not romance, though it has a bit of it here and there which I'm definitely not complaining about. Simon R. Green doesn't really have a function website, and WTF is up with that, but it's rumored that the next book, The Bride Wore Black Leather, is going to be the last in the series. That means you have nothing but time to catch up and nothing holding you back!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Animal Attraction by Jill Shalvis

She’s tempting his basic instincts…

Sunshine, Idaho, is a quiet ranching town, a perfect place to give injured animals a refuge…or to find one. And veterinarian Dell Connelly suspects there’s a reason his clinic’s uber-efficient receptionist has taken shelter here.

Jade Bennett couldn’t be happier to escape her well-meaning but smothering family and their expectations, not to mention the big-city jungle. There’s nothing like working with injured animals, having a forlorn, grumpy stray kitten make its home under her desk…or enjoying the gorgeous views of her ruggedly sexy boss.

Jade is used to planning everything in her life, but Dell’s understanding has sparked an uncontrollable desire. And though Dell has never had time for love, Jade’s strength and sass is the kind of call no red-blooded male can resist…
~~

My first Jill Shalvis book and I have book blogs to thank! I'm not sure where I read the review at this point, but when I was wondering around B&N the other day (I had forgotten to bring ANY book with me to work) the name Shalvis jumped out at me.

I'm sure I've said before that I'm a sucker for a good contemporary and this one definitely fit the bill. The story reminded me a little of early Lori Foster, with a strong alpha male (with emotions) falling for a slightly broken but brave female. The focus is on characters of the story, with the town and supporting men and women just as important. Without backup either Jade or Dell could have made different decisions would, of course, be sad to me as a reader who's hoping for a happy ending!

On a more serious note I think the book also does a great job with Jade as a person. She's a woman who's had some hard knocks and that sucks but she's determined to rise above it. Yes it's a bit of cliche, the woman recovering from attack by taking self-defense lessons, but it's an important thing to show just the same, as violence against women is still such a huge issue.

Animal Attraction is a wonderful feel good, small town romance and I can't wait to get my hands on the first book in the series.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Animal Magnetism 2) Animal Attraction