Friday, July 29, 2011

If you were looking for a Friday pick-me-up, I found it

That's right. Some wonderful human out there cared enough about this baby elephant's quality of life to make him a prosthetic limb.

<3 the world :)

Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

New Book Battle

(if you wanna do me a favor and read this while pretending to hear the training music from Rocky I'd appreciate it) 
Friends I am in the midst of a rare occurance - stuck between two new books! Recently the latest Kitty Norville novel came out:

Kitty's Big Trouble

and while I was distracted working through older Nora Roberts the latest book in the Harry Dresden series released on Tuesday! 

Ghost Story

I don't know what I'm going to do! I wish I'd just read the damn Kitty book instead of the Nora Roberts but now it's too late and here I am. You can picture me sitting at my desk turning my head back and forth between the two books in front of me. It's not pretty let me tell you. I'm agonizing over the decision but I think due to the fact that the last book was a HUUUGGGE cliffhanger I'm going to have to start the Butcher first. Plus he's going to be in the DC area on Monday! Technically in VA, but whatever it's in the area, and I'm going to go!!! Hopefully the lines will be more manageable than they were at Dragon*Con.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hot Night by Shannon McKenna


Gold. The most precious of metals. And someone would kill to get at the dazzling exhibit of priceless Spanish treasure Abby Maitland just landed for the museum. Too bad Zan Duncan had to show up to protect her, but someone’s waiting—and watching. She’s in the crosshairs and she doesn’t have a clue.


Abby is mesmerized by Zan’s untamed strength and his very sexual vibe. From the long dark hair, the thick, hard muscles, and the black leather jacket right on down to the honed fighting skills and the tattoos, Zan is everything a bad boy oughta be . . . and everything Abby has sworn to avoid. Yet he’s a master of subtle seduction, pushing her buttons with tantalizing promises of night after hot night of secret, endless pleasure. Promises that he keeps, to the letter . . .

But danger stalks them both, for a lethal game of deception, greed and murder is underway—a game more sinister than Abby and Zan ever imagined. And when no one can be trusted and no place is safe, passion may be the only thing that can save them . . .

I'm not sure if my feelings are caused by reading both this and Out of Control back to back, but I can't see McKenna being much of a consistent read for me. They're kind of giving me that Diana Palmer feel, where the same thing happens over and over again with only the names of the characters changing. But see Palmer imbedded herself in my reader psyche pretty early so while I'm still able to reread her stuff, or buy new books when I'm really intrigued, I have too many things going on now to give precious reading time to McKenna.

The good about this book is that the action isn't bad and Abby and Zan, when looked at just for themselves, aren't the worst characters. Abby's desperately trying to overcome bad boy choices in the past and Zan can't seem to help being drawn to her and wanting to be in her life - even when it's not exactly the most convenient  thing for him. BUT - and we're about to get really bad here - this isn't enough of a saving grace when put up against the not so great of this book. 

First of all Zan annoyed the heck out me at many points in this book. Not only did he seem completely inconsiderate of Abby's choices and why she was trying to stick to them, he could be such a bonehead! He followed along right behind the person you knew the entire time was trying to set him up. Why? I couldn't tell you because it made absolutely no sense! 90% of the book could have been avoided (which I know doesn't really serve the author's purpose) if he would have realized that people who've already proven themselves to be horribly horribly untrustworthy probably shouldn't, you know, be TRUSTED again!

Dumb people. He might as well be the blonde in the horror movie that runs away from the killer into the empty woods. SMH.

It's an ok book with characters that could have been great. But the exact same He-Man falls irrevocably for woman and proceeds to make a bit of an ass of himself isn't my favorite punchline. Still, I have one more McKenna book from my library haul to go through so we'll see if she can pull it out.

Overall Feeling - Eh/Thumbs down

Series - None? I think?

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Adventures of Dana: Book II (in NY!)

It's time for another edition of The Adventures of Dana! I had a freaking fantastic time in NY with my close friend (and former roomie) Makiko. I unfortunately don't have a lot of  'book' geekiness to share with you, but at least you're getting a pretty good clue about what kind of movies I love and what food I crave! I can't wait to go back!

(In case you have any issues, these pictures are also now up on the RAtChaos Facebook page)

Click to Embiggen

 If you don't know what this quote is from then I just have no use for you ;)

 The Make Up Forever studio at the Soho Sephora was FANTASIC! I've never seen anything like and would love to take a class. Plus that employee who helped me out with one of my fav pictures of the trip by pointing at the sign was FABulous. I need Georgetown to hire one just like him.

Home Alone 2 anyone?

 In case you were wondering: Tribeca Taco Truck, Cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery, Zucchini Fries with Wasabi Dip

Friday, July 15, 2011

Out of Control by Shannon McKenna

Disillusioned P.I Davy McCloud has learned the hard way not to follow blind impulse when it comes to women. He'd rather play it safe, and keep his life simple, calm and uncomplicated. But he's prepared to make an exception when Margot Vetter shows up to teach at the gym next door. The luscious, mysterious woman stirs a hunger he hasn't felt in a long time, as well as a fierce protectiveness he can't quite explain, expecially when her background check reveals she's hiding secrets--secrets of the ugly, deadly kind.

Margot is at the end of her rope. It's bad enough that she's broke and on the run, framed for a murder she didn't commit. Now, she's being terrorized by a malevolent stalker. The only person she dares to turn to is buff, scarily gorgeous Davy McCloud, a man who seems like nothing on earth could intimidate him. But Davy has questions of his own, and the closer she gets to him, the more Margot discovers that she can't hold herself back from this enigmatic, sensual man in any way.

Neither of them expected passion to flare this quickly--or to drag them into a danger as real as their love. Margot's past has finally caught up with her.
And for Davy McCloud, life is about to get more than complicated . . .

It's turning deadly . . . 
I've realized that I have to get this review up right now or I'm going to be colored by my feelings for the next McKenna book I'm reading. I'm going to try and think about this one separately, but just ignore any random references to other stuff - hopefully it'll all make sense later.

Out of Control I'm almost positive is the first full length Shannon McKenna book I've ever read (because I may have read some short stories in anthologies). Initially I requested it from the library because of the romantic suspense challenge I'm taking part in, but I've got to say I'm very happy to be introduced to a new author. I'm still on the fence on whether she'll be an automatic purchase or not, but she's definitely a great library choice.

As a romantic suspense Out of Control works very well for me. The point of view flip flops a bit between the murderer and Davy and Margot, which due to just how CRAZY that character is is an interesting dichotomy. It kept me on edge as I tried to figure out just when there was going to be a show down amongst everyone.

The relationship between Davy and Margot wasn't too bad either. I feel like as a reader I was thrown into everyone's emotional baggage so quickly that sometimes I didn't understand why one person would react a certain way to the other. For example, Davy  would get angry at Margot about things she did/reactions she had, and all I could think of was 'do you remember what she told you about her past?! Get a grip here pal!' Still the sparks were pretty explosive between the two and the slower build-up reminded me a quite a bit of some old school Linda Howard books.

All in all I'd recommend this book, but there's something about it I don't completely love. I think I'm putting my finger on it a bit more with Hot Night, but I'll let guys know!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Behind Closed Doors 2) Standing in the Shadows 3) Out of Control 4) Edge of Midnight 5) Extreme Danger 6) Ultimate Weapon 7) Fade to Midnight

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Savor the Danger by Lori Foster

She may be aloof, and more pretty than gorgeous, but Alani Rivers is the kind of woman a hot-blooded mercenary can't forget, no matter how hard he tries. So when Jackson Savor wakes up next to the naked, sleeping beauty—with no memory of what happened— he knows he's been drugged…even if Alani doesn't.

After she was kidnapped, Alani vowed never to trust another man again. Still, something about this strong, sexy hero with the tender touch makes her want to believe him. As Jackson hunts down a mysterious intruder, he swears he'll move heaven and earth to keep Alani safe. But what really happened that night? And will the truth bring them closer than they ever thought possible—or put Alani squarely in harm's way again?

I know I've said good things about every book in this series, so you're probably not going to trust my opinion quite as much on this one, but I want to say that I loved this book. By far my favorite of the series, it's fantastic by itself and makes me excited for what's coming next. 

I think it's in this book that Foster really writes the perfect combination of softness and strength in Alani. She's supposed to be a haven for Jackson but she isn't only that. She's smart and engaging on her own, wants to be an equal partner - and she's not annoying while she does any of it, which I have to say is both a relief and a joy.

I'm happy to say that Jackson is just as great, with enough wit and hidden depths to make him a great Alpha male hero. He's still kicking butt and taking names, but reading about things from his point of view while he works out his own feelings for Alani while also trying to get her to admit hers just makes the romance even more perfect. Plus he is just HOTT and while the actual number of sex scenes is small, each one is done so that is enhances the story and makes their romance even more believable.

I wish I could say skip straight to this one and enjoy the heck out of it, lol, but I think to really love it the way I do you'd need the back story from the first two. Highly recommended! 

Overall Feeling -Thumbs up.

Series - 1) When you Dare 2) Trace of Fever 3) Savor the Danger

Monday, July 11, 2011

TWR: Traveling While Reading

I don't know how other readers handle it, but traveling can be really stressful. It's not the transportation, the money, or the funky people that somehow manage to find that perfect spot upwind from me that I hate, but the act of choosing. Choosing which books I will and won't bring with me.

I agonize over it. No joke- what books I bring can be even more important than what clothes I pack and what makeup I bring, which is amazing considering how OCD I can be about that. For my most recent NY trip though I tried to take into account what I was doing and how long it would take me to do it, and I came up with the following 'perfect storm' of book goodness:

(bottom to top)
1. Nook 2. Savor the Danger by Lori Foster 3. Out of Control by Shannon McKenna 4. Hot Night by Shannon McKenna

Want to know how many of those I read? 


I flipped through a few tried and true Chase stories on the Nook, but the most of both bus trips was spent napping, watching the Southpark movie on my iPod, and playing around on FB with my new smart phone.

I'm not sure what this says about my time management skills.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mystical Warrior by Janet Chapman

An eleventh-century lass with a stubborn streak unleashes the red-hot hero inside her modern lover in bestselling author Janet Chapman's irresistible new Midnight Bay adventure.

Trace Huntsman's peaceful life has headed to hell in a hand-basket ever since stunningly beautiful Fiona Gregor moved into the vacant apartment above his house. Kidnapped centuries earlier and transformed into a red-tail hawk, Fiona is human once more and must learn how to be a modern woman. But damned if Trace is going to be the one to teach her. Not when her mere presence ignites a fiery passion deep within his cautious heart.

Fiona longs to overcome the painful memories of her tragic past—to let down her guard and become a mother again. But so far her handsome landlord is not exactly thrilled with the stray animals—and suitors—that keep following her home. When the wizard Maximilian Oceanus shows up, Trace reaches the end of his rope. Weird things happen when Mac is around—raging storms, snarling demons—but this time, Midnight Bay is at the center of a fierce battle, and Fiona is the primary target. Only Trace can save her, but first, the lovers must set aside their fears . . . and open up their hearts.

I find this review particularly hard to write because there were so many things I liked about this book. The characters are fun, their personalities are great, as usual the shenanigans they all get into are hilarious. But. Oh the dreaded but.

I didn't like the repeated 'women want to get married and have children' mantra. It just got to be too much for me. Every half second, and yes I realize the book focuses on 2 women from the past, I was being beat over the head with it and finally I just didn't want to hear it anymore! Can't Fiona just fall in love with Trace? Can't it just happen naturally (as naturally as it can with her past) and let them figure it out? Don't tell me that intrinsically women are going 'yearn' to be wives and mothers. I hate that. And it ruins the fantasy of my HEA moment.

The other part that bugged me about this book is definitely personal preference. I'm not going to lie that from Janet Chapman I've come to expect and enjoy very lighthearted reads. Because of that I was taken aback by the darker storyline of Fiona's past. I'm not saying kidnap and rape aren't realities or things that should be represented in some romance stories due to that, but I am saying that I was looking for a lighthearted read and more time than not I spent being horrified as more and more of her ordeal was revealed to the reader.

I consider this book one of those stories you use your own judgement on. It's nice to have further peaks in the lives of characters I've come to really like, but it's definitely not my favorite in the series. 

Overall Feeling - Eh.

Series - 1) Moonlight Warrior 2) Dragon Warrior 3) Mystical Warrior 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Split Second by Catherine Coulter

A serial killer is on the loose, and it's up to FBI agents Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock to bring him down. They soon discover that the killer has blood ties to the infamous now long-dead monster, Ted Bundy. Savich and Sherlock are joined by agents Lucy Carlyle and Cooper McKnight, and the chase is on.

At the same time, Special Agent Lucy Carlyle learns from her dying father that her grandfather hadn't simply walked away from his family twenty-two years earlier: he had, in fact, been murdered by his wife, Lucy's grandmother. Determined to uncover the truth, Lucy moves into her grandmother's Chevy Chase mansion. What she finds, however, is more in the nature of a nightmare. Not only does she discover the truth of what happened all those years ago, but she faces a new mystery, a strange ring that holds powers beyond her ken. She learns about obsession and destruction and ultimate power.

As the hunt for the serial killer escalates, Savich realizes he's become the killer's focus, and the hunted. It's up to Lucy to stop this madness before Savich dies.

This is one of the rarer instances where I wish I had more of an exacting scale for my reviews. Not to say that this book doesn't deserve a thumbs up, it definitely does, but I feel like it's more 75% positive and unfortunately you're going to have to deal with me being a little lengthy in my explanation to say why. 

The first thing that bothered me is a slight SPOILER. SPOILER I'M TELLING YOU!!! You can skip this little bit, though I don't think what I'm about to say impacts anyone's enjoyment of the story. I didn't really like how the ring Lucy finds/inherits from her family stops and rewinds time for a short while. It just seemed very abrupt and misplaced in the middle of a very non-paranormal contemporary thriller. It kind of jolted me from what I was reading, especially since it seemed so sudden to what was happening amongst all the characters. SPOILER END!!

The other thing that I didn't love I have to admit may be specific to my experience. I've never read a Coulter book before and I have no familiarity with the series this book is from. For the most part it works well as a stand alone, but I did find that I had a hard time in the beginning figuring out who would be the main characters. As in Lucy and Cooper are the budding romance focus, but with already married Dillion and Sherlock, I would get confused. I guess I'm too used to the Eve Dallas books, where just because Eve and Roarke are married, it doesn't take away from them being the center of any controversy. Eventually everything in Split Second becomes clear, but I did take notice of how many times I had to refocus exactly on who's veiw point I was reading and where they fit in with everyone else.

But the good! This book has a lot of good. Once I knew everyone I got very involved with the characters. They were dynamic and interesting, some even possessing little quirks (I got the feeling there was some psychic stuff going around that I didn't know enough about), and in general held the story. Even the origins of the killer and they way they function through the book is engaging. So violent! So gory! Definitely a great thrill ride, and something that makes me interested in picking up the books at the beginning of the series.

And unsurprisingly to anyone I'm sure, the romance was a big part of what I enjoyed. Being already married with a son, Dillion and Sherlock had that long time familiarity with each other and how they work together in the FBI  which was fun to read. Lucy and Coop though, as the new romance, was even better. There were sparks galore and a very believable build up between the two. Lucy has some assumptions about Coop and his background that are a little hard to overcome but as they work together the two finally  get  a chance to talk beyond 'Hi, how are you' and are able to move past it. I never felt like the relationship was rushed and his determination to take care of her (in a non-domineering kind for way) and not buy her bull about the ring but want to help her with, is very endearing.

I recommend this book  and I think anyone who's read the previous books will like it even more than I did.
Overall Feeling - Thumbs up

Series - ...15) Split Second (Released 7/19/11)

**Received from Putnam for review consideration**

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

June in Review

Looking at my June reads you may be tempted to ask 'Dana, what's up with you and those damn Chase brothers books?'. Well let me tell you guys - I just DON'T KNOW. They're on rotation now as my go-to 'I don't know what to read I'll just read them again'- picks.  It's probably boring for you guys to see them on my monthly review summary yet again, but please be patient with me and enjoy instead all the wonderful other rereads I went through this month and the rare new book that also got a review. 

Don't worry - I have finally followed through on my determination to do better by my challenges and will have new (well different) books to pick up at the library tomorrow. Yay!

It's the little things in life guys ;)

Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews
Alien in the Family by Gini Koch
Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh (x2)
The Mane Squeeze by Shelly Laurenston
Big Bad Beast by Shelly Laurenston
Trace of Fever by Lori Foster
Hit List by Laurell K Hamilton
Hexed by Ilona Andrews, Yasmine Galenorn, etc
Midnight Crystal by Jayne Castle
Curse the Dawn by Karen Chance
Hunt the Moon by Karen Chance
Making Chase by Lauren Dane
Chased by Lauren Dane
Taking Chase by Lauren Dane
Ladybugs and Fireflies by Cheryl Alldredge

Books Read/ Reviewed:

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Friday and Happy 4th of July!

To be brutally honest I don't have enough concentration to do my July wrap up today. Miracles of miracles I'm getting out of work EARLY and I want to enjoy that feeling for the oh... hour that I have left.

Such simple joys that make me ecstatically happy.

I will also be out and about this weekend and cannot guarantee that I'll be online to post so instead I'm just going to say so long until Tuesday with a ...

Happy Friday!

and to all my fellow Americans...