Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Roof Adventures

Why? Because I had a camera and apparently that was all I needed for some shenanigans :D

Hope you had a great weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

No More Mr. Nice Guy by Jennifer Greene

Carroll Laker knows she' s found the marrying kind in Alan Smith. The pediatrician is everything a woman could want in a husband; he' s kind, dependable, patient. Maybe too patient: even though they spend Saturday mornings house-hunting, they' ve yet to spend a night in bed together. And suddenly Carroll starts fantasizing about what it would be like to be wildly, wantonly, passionately in love… 

Alan has wanted to marry Carroll since the moment he met her. When he senses he' s on the verge of losing her, he decides it' s time to loosen up. If Carroll needs excitement and seduction, that' s exactly what he' ll give her. From orchids and exotic foods to midnight canoe rides and dancing till dawn, Alan will do anything to sweep Carroll off her feet and into his bed. 

At first, Carroll is delighted by the romantic gestures. But she can' t help wondering: Will the new Alan love her forever the way the old Alan would have? Previously published. 44,000 words
**I requested this title for review from NetGalley**

I've always thought that there's something to be said for a well written contemporary romance and Jennifer Greene does a great job with No More Mr. Nice Guy. It's one of those great modern fairy tales, where the woman and the man are equals, each with their own insecurities and doubts but who honestly love each other and want to be together.

I'm not sure what I was expected going into this, maybe more of an erotica since that's what I've read before from Carina Press, but this is at its heart a great romance. Alan and Carroll have fallen into the trap of letting things get easy. They stick to what they know and what they're comfortable with - which makes Carroll start to worry about just what she wanted in the first place in her relationship. Sensing this Alan is determined to be the swashbuckling 'hero' that he's sure she wants. It leads to a bunch of great adventures where both of them learn about each other.

The strength of this romance lies in the two main characters, in their personalities and the way the story switches viewpoints so readers are able to feel for both of them. I loved the book and thought it was a lot of fun, because in the end they became heroes for each other. And learned to cherish each other and their dreams like they hadn't before. I highly recommend it :)

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up

Series - None

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Corralled by Lorelei James

Sports therapist Lainie Capshaw has been rehabilitating injured cowboys long enough to know that a charming western drawl combined with a fine physical form doesn't mean you fall for the man.

So no one is more surprised than Lainie when she finds herself involved with not one, but two different men: Hank Lawson, a bullfighter, and Kyle Gilchrist, a bull rider. Lainie feels guilty about her two-timing, but it doesn't keep her from doubling her fun-that is until Hank catches her with Kyle.

She's shocked that Hank isn't mad. But she's more shocked to learn Hank and Kyle are hometown buddies. But when the men offer to share her-in every way-she knows that she's going to have to choose the one man who can give her the ride of her life.


Originally I had this long review I wanted to put up, talking about all the things and personalities I liked in this book. But now that I've let a few days go by I'm worried that most of what I wanted to say is a big fat SPOILER. Which I try not to do, especially at length and throughout an entire post. I guess that means I'm going to have to write slightly less and be more vague about the whole thing, which hopefully doesn't make you think I haven't read the book. Cause I HAVE - and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Which I think says a lot in light of how I didn't love both of the James books I read before.

The most important thing I want to say about this book is how I feel James did an incredible job creating real characters, ones that acted in ways that made sense to me and the book itself. No ones perfect, and this type of menage relationship is a very delicate balance between all 3 people. I think that no matter how it starts out, each person at some point is going to probably feel neglected or left out. Recognizing that and incorporating it made me believe more in what Lainie, Kyle, and Hank were doing. And then (going really vague here) how things end up progressing between all 3 makes even more sense. James doesn't just plop the characters down and let them have tons of sex (though they do), people get back stories, families, happy and not-so-happy endings.

I think James has started a winner of a series here and I can't wait to pick up the next one!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Corralled 2) Saddled and Spurred

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ok where was I when Tor decided to vote on top UF sidekicks?

I hope I was someplace REALLY FREAKING AMAZING as I'm sad that I didn't get to vote AND I didn't see this post until almost a month afterward. 

Thank goodness for Rob Thurman. Her blog teaches me so many new (and randomly fantastic) things. Though I have to say she was linking to the blog and ranting, rightfully so, how Niko and Robin Goodfellow didn't even get a damn honorable mention. No one apparently got the memo that they are some of the coolest sidekicks ever.

I don't dislike most of the list, though Tor did pluck some characters from series that while I know I haven't read anything from, which makes it slightly harder for me to judge.

It's a really fun list, but then they did this:


which made me do this: 
That's supposed to be Andrea? What the hell is wrong with people? Did anyone speak to the Ilona Andrews people and get this ish approved? Because come on now - who's going to believe that this woman is able to kick anyone's ass? Doe she look tough enough to take Raphael down a peg or two whenever his 'feathers are all ruffled'? I'm not saying the woman they chose to represent Andrea can't be cute, but she definitely doesn't have that 'I will take you down' look in her eyes.  Plus she needs a gun. I'm just saying.

Shame on you Tor. Do better.

(And if you didn't click on any of the links above (including the pictures) you can find the full article and top 10 UF sidekicks HERE.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

this has nothing to do with books

But it is incredibly epic if you've ever watched more than 1 episode of Star Trek Next Generation or been amused when other XXX parodies of popular shows have been made.

--Image from Fashion it So

Yeah that's totally supposed to be Captain Picard and Dr. Crusher. It's that amazing.

The Unbearable Lightness of Dragons by Katie MacAlister

Even an ancient dragon can learn how to multitask…

Ysolde de Bouchier is a woman beset with trials. The dragon part of her buried deep for centuries is still making itself known, but in ways that just don’t make sense. She’s continuing to have visions, but now they involve events she wasn’t present to witness.

As if that isn’t enough, she’s caught up in a tangled web of plans that seem to grow more complex each day. Not only does she have to work out peace between her Light Dragon mate Baltic and the weyr, she also has to free his friend, convince an archimage to lift the spell controlling her magic, figure out what it is that the First Dragon expects her to do, rescue a half-dragon damsel in over her head, and once and for all clear Baltic’s name of murder charges that continue to plague him.

No one told Ysolde that dragon love would be so hard…

Maybe I don't read the Dark Ones books as consistently as I used but MacAlister is still hitting it out of the park with her Dragon series. Starting with her Aisling Grey set she's created a great cast of characters, each with their own personality and back story. Plus as different characters come to the fore front and take charge in their series, the world as a whole just gets more rich and more entertaining.

My only complaint would have to be how a lot of the books seem to have pseudo cliff-hangery endings. Things generally get wrapped up but lots of new things get introduced as well, pretty much guaranteeing that I'm not going anywhere before that next book comes out.

Ysolde and Batlic are a great couple to read about. Both of them have their insecurities and hiccups, but bother are committed to staying together (especially after how they've both been killed and resurrected). I consider the story smart, the dialogue fun, and the scenes together hilarious and sweet - with a good dose of spice. I highly recommend the books and I love that Aisling and May continue to make regular appearances. With that said though, full enjoyment of the series can only really come I think by first reading the Aisling Grey books, then the Silver Dragon series, and then these two.

But as I'm not sentencing you to read anything that is long and boring, why don't you just take your butt over to the public library and see that I'm right? ;)

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Love in the Time of Dragons 2) The Unbearable Lightness of Dragons

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays (5/17)

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 do. Or else I wouldn't be outside in the middle of the damn day, trussed up like a turkey, stark nekkid, covered in body fluid."

--pg 246, Corralled by Lorelei James

Monday, May 16, 2011

Barnes & Noble Censors Cover Featuring Androgynous Male Model - Jezebel

--Image from Jezebel

Jezebel is one of my regular daily spots in terms of pop culture updates and I've got to say that this was a new one to me. Andrej Pejic is featured on the newest cover of Dossier magazine and both Barnes & Noble and Borders say that the issues have to be delivered to the stores in opaque packaging - because Pejic could be mistaken for a young girl.

........huh. Ok. A MALE model, one with admittedly androgynous features, is posed topless on the cover of a magazine and somehow this is censor worthy? Just as the Jezebel article suggests, what about about the dozens - hundreds - of other magazines that feature half naked men? Oh well those are apparently ok because of the hyper-sexualized masculine persona they're presenting, cause you know that makes 'sense' to the world. 

My head hurts.

What do you guys think? Is it just me or does this sound more than a little bit ridiculous?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mona Lisa Eclipsing by Sunny

Roberto Carderas, a dangerous drug lord of mixed Monère heritage, arrives in Cozumel to eliminate a rival. But the jaguar-shifter has encountered a much more valuable prize on the island: Mona Lisa, the first female Monère he’s ever met—and one especially vulnerable in that she has lost her memory. Now, with all knowledge of her real life as stripped away as her defenses, Mona Lisa can be manipulated into believing…anything.

Convinced that Roberto is her kind and sensual protector, Mona Lisa thwarts all attempts at her rescue—including those made by her desperate lover Dante. As Roberto’s devious scheme gets underway, Dante can only hope that the touch of his warm flesh will reignite total recall in the body and mind of the woman he loves. But escape for both of them could be as forever elusive as Mona Lisa’s past.

This is definitely one of those titles where the back cover blurb is very misleading to the actual story. Yes Mona Lisa loses her memory and meets/kidnapped by this guy Roberto - for maybe 50 pages. It sounds so huge and all encompassing if you go by the back cover, along with implying significantly more sexy time than is actually in that part. Yes there's a lot of tension with Roberto, but compared to what happens next things are mostly innocent and abuse free.

After that though? Not so much.

Maybe I've just fooled myself because it's been so long since I've read a Sunny title, but I totally forgot how dark these books can be. There's a torture scene in particular where I had to just start flipping pages because I didn't want any more vivid imagery to happen in my head. Now if you haven't read the other books I think here some readers might have been turned off by the seemingly random sex scene, but for Sunny and her Monere series, this makes complete sense. It even took me a minute to go along with everything, especially considering Mona Lisa's amnesia at the time, but mostly I just said screw it and decided to go along for the ride.

The best part, and sadly one of the smallest, is the last 1/4 of the novel. I think Sunny starts to really up the directions in which the characters and the story can go, which is fantastic when you're a reader like me who wants the series to keep going. I think exploring what exactly (***MINOR SPOILER***) the Monere mean in the world of today, living in America and dealing with humans, is necessary and makes a lot of sense. I was just sad at how rapid everything happened and how quickly it was all over - until the next book that is.

It took me a few days to man up and read this latest book, mostly because I think I get almost apprehensive with new books. I start to worry about what horrible things could happen in the story, how abused my favorite hero/heroine might get, and I completely psyche myself out. I'm happy to say though that Sunny does a great job with Mona Lisa Eclipsing and she's got me very excited about what's coming next.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Mona Lisa Awakening 2) Mona Lisa Blossoming 3) Mona Lisa Craving 4) Mona Lisa Darkening 5) Mona Lisa Eclipsing

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Reviewer Highlight: ALPHA reader

I probably don't say it enough, but I love the book blogging community. The women (and men) who write reviews are wonderful in allowing so many of us insight into books we might not even have known existed! Today I wanted to highly a particular review posted on ALPHA reader: Tender Mercies by Kitty Thomas.

I only read BDSM erotica when it's done as a little play element to the rest of the story. My kink doesn't really go towards the real hard-core depths of that lifestyle so this book probably wouldn't ever appear on my shelves. But Danielle really makes me want to change my ways - or almost anyway. She writes wonderfully about the novel and I think gives people a great look at what they'd be getting into picking up this or any other Kitty Thomas novel.

If you're looking for something new I'd definitely say head over to ALPHA reader and give some of Danielle's reviews a read. I think you'll be very pleasantly surprised :)

"Kitty Thomas is one of the most audaciously brilliant erotica novelists I have ever read. Her third novel, ‘Tender Mercies’, is another example of her brilliance as she weaves a twisted tale of punishment and betrayal, redemption and understanding – all against the kinky backdrop of a BDSM island wonderland."

--Review, Tender Mercies by Kitty Thomas, as posted on ALPHA reader

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

When You Dare by Lori Foster

The tougher they are, the harder they fall…

Professional mercenary Dare Macintosh lives by one hard and fast rule: business should never be personal. If a cause appeals to him and the price is right, he'll take the mission he's offered. But then the lovely Molly Alexander asks him to help her track down the men who'd had her kidnapped—and for the first time, Dare's tempted to combine work with pleasure.

First Time in PrintFiercely independent, Molly vows to trust no one until she's uncovered the truth. Could the enemy be her powerful, estranged father? The ex-fiancé who still holds a grudge? Or the not-so-shy fan of her bestselling novels? As the danger heats up around them, the only anchor Molly has is Dare himself. But what she feels for him just might be the most frightening thing of all…
**I requested this title for review from NetGalley**

I love a well done military-esque romance. It just appeals to the little woman inside me who wants to be swept away in big strong arms......or something like that anyway. There's no way to get around the sense of protectiveness and possessiveness that's characteristic of military men, especially in romances, but I think Foster hits another one out of the park by allowing Dare to stay true to his roots while also clearly showing his feelings for Molly.

In addition to the central romance of the story I think Foster also does a good job making sure that readers don't forget the large picture - we don't know how Molly got to Tijuana or what crazy person is after her. Even as a plot point that's removed from the relationship building I never quite forgot that I had to be looking at every new character with a discerning eye. No one could really be trusted because it could be anyone! (I would be 'ooohing' in a scary voice over the blog, but just imagine it for me ok? You'll make me feel better)

And of course no Lori Foster novel would be complete without some really spicy love scenes right? She definitely doesn't disappoint because the physical stuff between Dare and Molly is on point! The bathtub scene? I mean come ON the bathtub scene! Foster never loses the emotion but she builds the tension to it's natural conclusion and it's a lot of fun to get through.

All in all it's a great book and a wonderful beginning to a new series. I can't wait for Trace of Fever!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) When You Dare 2) Trace of Fever (May 2011) 3) Savor the Danger (June 2011)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fashion Foot Forward

I figured it wouldn't be TOO much shameless self-promotion just to say that if you're interested in a bit of fashion with your book this evening, head over to my other blog Good Red Herring and check out the first collection post of outfits from my 'Shopping in my Closet' challenge!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I hope you're all thinking about your loved ones today, because whether they're with us or not, the Moms in our lives are the BEST! 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Big Bad Beast by Shelly Laurenston

When it comes to following her instincts, former Marine Dee-Ann Smith never holds back. And this deadly member of a shifter protection group will do anything to prove one of her own kind is having hybrids captured for dogfights. Trouble is, her too-cute rich-boy boss Ric Van Holtz insists on helping out. And his crazy-like-a-fox smarts and charming persistence are making it real hard for Dee to keep her heart safe...Ric can't believe his luck. He's wanted this fiercely independent she-wolf from day one, but he never expected teamwork as explosive as this. And now is his last chance to show Dee what she needs isn't some in-your-face Alpha male - but a wily, resourceful wolf who'll always have her back in a fight...and between the sheets. 

You probably won't believe me but I've had to physically hold myself away from the computer to not write this review too quickly. I love Shelly Laurenston. I just do. And like with most of her latest releases, I finished this book and immediately started reading it again because it was so much fun. I literally couldn't help it. There was nothing else on my shelf - besides possibly Beast Behaving Badly - that I wanted to read. But I wanted  my review to have some reflection. I wanted to give myself time to think and consider and know what I want to say about this book so I didn't find myself frantically TYPING IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE THE BOOK WAS GOOD THERE WAS NO OTHER WAY TO EXPRESS MY LOVE FOR IT. 

Oh. [[cough]] Excuse me. I didn't mean to do that. 

After some careful reflection I'm able to say that this book definitely continues Laurenston's series is the best way possibly. Why? Because no matter what else is happening, these books are incredibly character driven. While Ric and Dee might be the central figures in this particular book we still get to see all the couples and friends that we've fallen in love with before. Plus, not only are we just seeing them, we're getting to see different facets of their personality because it's NOT all about them. For example, I couldn't have loved Lock more after his and Gwen's book. I wanted my personal Lock and if I'd had the money/science to genetically create one of my own, I probably would be sitting in his kitchen eating ice cream right about now. But here? He was a bit of a dick toward Bo and it wasn't always the most fun to read. But it was real. Bo can be a total OCD ass and as much as Blayne brings him into the social circle he can still be a little crazy - which makes it understandable that Lock wouldn't be able to take it all the time with a smile on his face.

Still, to go back to Dee and Ric: greatness. After seeing him circle around her in the past couple books it was simply terrific to seem him finally be able to switch roles and bring Dee after him. As unassuming as he can be on the outside he is still one of those 'wily' Van Holtz's and what he wants, he really does get. It's not selfish though, even if what I've just said makes it sound like it. Ric really does love Dee and wants her to be the happiest little assassin she can be. Which usually involves lots of food and lots of sex. Who's gonna complain about that?

True enjoyment of this book definitely comes after reading the whole series, so keep that in mind if you're picking this up as a stand alone. Each of the characters are just so much more vivid if you know what makes them tick. And of course while I'd LOVE for these to be released in mass market, because my wallet cries a bit at the trade paper size, I consider them totally worth the $15.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up!

Series - 4)  The Mane Squeeze 5) Beast Behaving Badly 6) Big Bad Beast

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

April in Review

April has been a bit frayed along the edges. It jumped from winter to summer with a dash of spring in the middle - which was waaaay unfortunate - and I've been trying to get a handle on myself. I have to say that quarter life crisis is hitting me hard, and right now I'm perpetually feeling like I think too much. About everything. And everyone. I guess I can count my blessings in that I notice when I'm thinking too much about something and try to pick up a book or watch an old favorite movie (Fifth Element anyone?) to distract myself.

On the book front there have been some really good releases. Thuman, McGuire, Koch - the books just kept a coming each was (mostly) more spectacular than the last. I didn't review them all but there please take a look at my list below and do some Googling - I know you won't be disappointed.

And just in case you were living under a rock, William & Kate got married. And her Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen dress was the BOMB. I didn't get up at 4am EST to watch anything live, but I totally gave in and watched clips on CNN and my little overly romantic heart got such a kick out of hearing their vows to each other (plus I cheered a little at no 'obey' in the ceremony). Anyway to get back to the dress:

T.H.E. B.O.M.B.

That's really all I have to say about that :)

Black Out by Rob Thurman
Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward
Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire
Alien in the Family by Gini Koch (x2)
Alien Tango by Gini Koch
Cast in Chaos by Michelle Sagara
The Search by Nora Roberts
Burning Lamp by Amanda Quick
Navarro's Promise by Lora Leigh
Dreams of a Dark Warrior by Kresley Cole
The Seduction of His Wife by Janet Chapman
Wedding the Highlander by Janet Chapman
Real Men Last All Night by Lora Leigh, Lori Foster, Cheyenne McCray,& Heidi Betts
Loving the Highlander by Janet Chapman
Big Bad Beast by Shelly Laurenston (x2)
Savage Nature by Christine Feehan
Rush of Darkness by Rhyannon Byrd
Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz

Books Read/Reviewed:

**Ok I have to admit that a lot of these reviews were from previous months on my blog, but look at that comparison! It still makes me happy :)

Oh! I also debuted Book 1 of The Adventures of Dana! Definitely check it out!

Can YOU guess the right answers?

A friend of mind just posted a link to a quiz on Sporcle

"Can you name the most common occupations of heroes in Harlequin Romance books?"

And it was a lot of fun while also infuriating! I totally take offense at some of these answers because (without spoiling your chances) there are at least two other popular choices that should have made this list! And the fact that while sometimes if you guess the right related word it'll give you the occupation, others wouldn't do the same - even if I was generally referring to the same thing.

So yeah - definitely take your chances and let me know how it goes! I'm ashamed to say that I only got 5/10 right >.<

Image from The Odd Girl

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Who can resist the llama?!

Ok, I'm aware that Alpacas and Llamas are not the same. But you know what? These guys are adorable and I'm putting them up anyway! Especially since I don't think I even thought about llamas before Fiction Vixen starting posting about them intermittently, and now whenever I see llamas or llama-like things I can't help but be distracted! So this one's for you Sophia!

So cute!

Still cute!

I've decided to name this little one Vixey in Fiction Vixen's honor. Isn't she adorable?! Plus the attitude is totally there - plushie or not. 

Teaser Tuesday (5/3)

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!

"What was it like to fuck someone that size? Could you be smothered? Especially when he wasn't some skinny basketball player type but nearly 400 pounds of muscle. God what if he died on top of her? Would Blayne be able to drag herself out?"

--pg __, Big Bad Beast by Shelly Laurenston

Monday, May 2, 2011

Savage Nature by Christine Feehan

When Saria Boudreaux finds a dead body in the Louisiana bayou near her home, her first instinct is to go to the police.  But there’s a problem--it looks like the victim may have been killed by a big cat, and her brothers are all shape-shifting leopards.

Sent to investigate by the land’s owner, leopard shifter Drake Donovan is ready for anything—except the insatiable hunger that rocks him when he meets Saria.  Deep in his soul he knows that she is destined to be his mate.  Torn between protecting her brothers and finding the truth, Saria treads warily around the powerful shifter.  Yet as they venture deep into the mysterious bayou on a hunt for the killer, Saria finds herself longing for Drake’s touch and the sweet release of surrender…

I think over the past few hundred posts it's probably become pretty obvious that I don't like giving 'eh' reviews. I want books to be fabulous and fantastic, especially when they're by authors I love. Unfortunately this book made me do it :(. There's just this one problem I have with a scene near the beginning of the book that affected my ability to enjoy most of what came afterward.
**Minor Spoilers Ahead**

We're introduced to Saria (how do you even say that anyway?) and she's clearly a strong female character. Independent, adventurous, willing to go out and do all the 'big girl' stuff that her 5 brothers might not want her to do - she's determined to make her own way in life. Thus when she stumbles upon a leopard kill in the bayou and she's concerned that one of her brothers might have done it, she doesn't back away from that possibility; she contacts Jake Bannaconni and hopes to get someone out there to help her figure things out. What she get's Drake and while on the surface it seems like a good idea, it doesn't quite jive for me as a reader.

Why? Because at meeting Drake Saria goes immediately against character and becomes willing to not only jump in the sack with Drake, but believe everything he's telling her. It made absolutely no sense. I like the reincarnated mates in this series. I like that the guy sees the woman (let's not talk about the going into heat thing) and knows that he's immediately attracted to her and almost loves her. What I don't get here is that usually Feehan has a strong woman character who's at least initially suspicious of this connection. Especially when they're already established as someone who's had to make their own way against very long odds. Why doesn't Saria have some of that to her? It immediately shook me and even when we got a look at great characters from previous books plus a decent murder mystery, I just couldn't get over it.

So this book gets an 'Eh'. It's not bad really, but I have to say that if you're someone like me who loves strong female characters, Saria's personality inconsistencies are more than a little annoying.

Overall Feeling - Eh.

Series - 1) The Awakening 2) Wild Rain 3) Burning Wild 4) Wild Fire 5) Savage Nature