Friday, September 30, 2011

Chaos Tryst by Shirin Dubbin

Ariana Golde may be known for breaking and entering but she's no thief, she’ s a returner. She retrieves stolen objects and gives them back to their rightful owners. Her latest job: retrieving a statue from the Medveds. But Ari is having an off night, and she's caught red-handed by the three brothers, who don't just get mad—they turn into bears.

Maksim Medved is outraged—the statue belongs to his parents. But Ari's returner magick doesn't lie: the heirloom has a new rightful owner. Ari is drawn to the surly, handsome Maks—maybe because he possesses the same chaos magick she does. But while Ariana enjoys a touch of chaos, Maks hates its destructive power.

When Ari and Maks team up to find her mystery client, their chaos magicks ignite even faster than their attraction. Can Maks learn to love a little chaos, or will the havoc they cause among the faebled creatures drive him away for good?

I have to give major props to Shirin Dubbin because she has created a wonderfully cute story in only about 100 pages. I consider that a very hard thing to do because setting up a whole new world and giving me two new main characters to care about usually requires more pages.

Chaos Tryst is a very multicultural story; Ariana is half West Africa and Japanese, which gives her light brown skin and blonde dreadlocks - different for sure but it totally works. Miks is the 'surly' one from Russian descent who, when he gets too upset, shifts into a bear. They both live in the world of Faebles that is populated with Goblins and Oni (Japanese word for demon), pixies, faeries, gods, and more. It's a veritable smorgasbord of mythological characters and Ariana and Miks meet most of them (and change a lot of their lives) over the course of their adventures together.

In case you worried, let me assure you that readers get plenty of Ariana and Miks. This tale is a romance and while there aren't any smexy times in the story itself I didn't feel like anything was lacking. The two of them already have this history together, even if neither of them want to be reminded of it, and when they finally come together it's all sparks and smart dialogue. And when they do arrive at their HEA you've been rooting for them for some long that it's a lot of fun to see how the universe contrived to get them there.

The last thing I want to mention about Chaos Tryst is the language. I loved how Dubbin used unique phrases and larger words in this story. I don't think you get enough of that really, using the more antiquated words in romances, because it usually doesn't fit in the dialogue or the feel of a contemporary story. But as this takes place in an alternate reality type of place the author doesn't have to stay true to anything but herself and her characters, which makes for a particularly unique and diverse story.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - None.

**Title requested from NetGalley for review**

Thursday, September 29, 2011

One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire


Now that she's a member of the landed nobility, October "Toby" Daye is dealing with a whole new host of challenges—not the least of which is figuring out the limits of her newly-enhanced abilities. Still, it feels like she's finally getting a handle on her life. She has a boyfriend, a roommate, and even a squire. Things couldn't possibly get better...

...but they can get a whole lot worse. Someone has kidnapped the sons of Duchess Dianda Lorden of Saltmist, and to prevent a war, the Luidaeg is calling in all Toby's debts. Toby will need to be smarter, sharper, and quite possibly damper than ever before if she wants to come out of this in one piece—and the fight is getting more personal than she could have dreamed.

This is gonna be another one of those reviews I'm afraid, those reviews where due to the amount of awesomeness the book contains I'm almost struck dumb. Please try and stay with me.

The October Daye books are just so good and yet so scary that I don't know what to do with myself with I read them! My heart beats really fast  and I get all stressed out but I'm so absorbed in the story and desperate to know what happens that I can't do anything else. In other words, I need to remind myself never to start these on a work night because it was at the root of a very tired day after only 5hrs of sleep.

I think it's the combination of how I think I know what's going on but I have no idea what's going to happen next. Since these books are urban fantasies the romance is not the central theme and a HEA is never guaranteed. You're just waiting around to see if McGuire pulls one out for Toby but you're never completely sure. This particular book had me laughing and crying and by the end of it I just wanted to the next one but I'm going to have to wait until September 2012! UGH!

This author is just as high up on my personal favorites list as Jim Butcher and Simon R. Green and I wholeheartedly recommend the series.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Rosemary and Rue 2) A Local Habitation 3) An Artificial Night 4) Late Eclipses 5) One Salt Sea

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cosplay Break!

Here's the deal - I'm working on a Dragon*Con day 2 post and just realized I haven't made the video thingy I wanted to go with it. I've decided to kill two birds with one stone and avoid putting too many cosplay pictures in the other post by putting them here! Enjoy!

(PS - these and more all came from my Flickr album. Enjoy the much higher quality images thanks to very helpful info from Epbot.)

Nerfpunk + KISS = Awesome

Princesses at rest

So cute!

I never see enough well done Xenas. But where's her Gabrielle?!

Candyland? Maybe? I think so. 

Iron Man and his entourage 

Vamp Xander and Willow! Oh Dopplegangland, you're one of my favorite episodes ever.

¡Three Amigos! 

If you want to know why this lady is one small pair of panties away from naked,  I have no idea.

And Mary Poppins for the supercalafragalisticexpialadoshus win.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mini Me: Dark Predator by Christine Feehan

As brutal as the undead he hunted, Zacarias De La Cruz was a master executioner. Over the long, dark centuries, he plunged into so many battles they blurred into an endless lifetime of evil that hardened the soul of this merciless, ruthless and implacable dark predator.

Now his stark and savage journey is over. After a thousand years in a gray world, he has accomplished everything he set out to do. His brothers are safeguarded. Each has found a woman who completes them. And they are at peace. For his brothers, Zacarias has walked the edge of madness, but with centuries as a killing machine now left to the past and without a hunt to define him, Zacarias wonders, for the first time in his life, who he really is.

The answer awaits him back home in Peru , in the betrayal of a woman who is readying her trap, in the vengeance of an old enemy, in the inevitable consequences of a bloody family legacy, and in the deliverance of a lifemate he never could have imagined.

I think there's been a lot of buzz about Dark Predatory and while I wish I could argue with it....I really can't. This book is odd. Like really odd - odd to such an extent that while I wasn't as offended as some reviewers I had squeeky uncomfortable feelings through most of it. I'm just not sure how Feehan thought her romance audience would be ok with a 'hero' who walks the fine line of rape (mental and physical) who doesn't even seem to have the same emotional connection we've seen in previous novels. 

Bleh. I think BABBLING ABOUT BOOKS AND MORE! has a good review of the book that hits most of the low points and I'm torn about whether I'll buy more of this series. I've read it for so long and every few books Feehan releases a pretty incredible installment. We'll see folks, we'll see. 

I can't in good conscience recommend this one but if you want to go back in the series and pick a book that works pretty well as stand alone, I'd say read Dark Slayer. Unlike the other books you have a very kick-ass heroine that's not afraid to go out and fight the vampires - and fight to save her Lifemate as well. I really enjoyed it and thought it harkened back to the beginning of the series, where there was much more of a balance of power between the hero and heroine. I was hoping it was going to be indicative of a new direction for the Dark Series but unfortunately I haven't seen that trend continue.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Rush of Pleasure by Rhyannon Byrd


With his sinister good looks, Noah Winston is the one man—a human with Casus ties—who Willow Broussard has never been able to resist. Once enemies, then lovers, Noah broke her heart. Yet the powerful witch and paranormal private investigator can’t turn him away when he needs her help in protecting his family, him —and the world— against their enemy…

As Noah and Willow work together, the secrets of their turbulent past are slowly exposed, each startling revelation drawing them closer. But when the enemy finally makes a move, Noah will need more than witchcraft and magic to survive. He’ll need his friends, one hell of a plan…and the undying devotion of a tenacious witch whose love is eternal.

While it feels like this series has taken a long, long, LONG, time to finish, Byrd wraps up her Primal Instinct books with a not too bad bang. The Casus are for the most part gone, finally sent back to the hell from which they'd escaped, but the Death Walkers are still around, causing wide spread death and destruction.

Also - random side note - I do really like how 1) vanquishing the original bad guys gave the series new ones, and 2) when the Death Walkers started to kill entire communities of people Noah and the other former Watchers were shown not only cleaning up the mess but trying to figure out how to cover it up. I thought both things gave the series a nice touch of reality, since that's not really something humanity deals with on a regular basis. 

But ok, to get back to the review, Rush of Pleasure is great both as a series end-er and a stand alone novel because while the characters from others books are brought into play for the most part the story centers on Noah and Willow. They have a past and so while they're forced to work together on this particle 'save the world' mission, neither are willing to forget what came before. There's a lot of sparks between the two of them and when the finally come together it's great!

The only place I'd criticize Rush of Pleasure is on the action front. You've built up all this momentum over eight books about how the Watchers are going to get rid of the Casus and then the Death Walkers, but by the time the final battle comes around readers aren't even in the midst of the action! The story switches to center on Noah and Willow, because their relationship depends on what happens at that battle, but I kind of felt jipped! I wanted to see the guys kick butt - which is rare for me as a hard core romance girl, but I think the ending would have been stronger for it.

Still the story was a good one and I can't wait to see what Byrd comes out with next.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - ...5) Touch of Surrender 6) Touch of Temptation 7) Rush of Darkness 8) Rush of Pleasure

**Title requested from NetGalley for review**

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Heart Search by Robin D. Owens

Laev T'Hawthorn -- one of the highest nobles in the land -- must rebuild his life after a devastating mistake.  He married a woman he believed was his HeartMate, only to learn she was a greedy social climber.  She callously used him, stealing his family heirlooms.  He is determined to reclaim all that he has lost -- beginning with his self-respect.

Abandoned at fifteen, Camellia Darjeeling values her independence above all.  She's fought to establish her own businesses -- elegant tearooms -- only to have her father and uncle re-enter her life.  They emotionally scourge her and extort money.  Trusting men, even her HeartMate, is too risky.

When Laev and Camellia meet, they refuse to acknowledge that they are true HeartMates.  After her shady relatives are implicated in the theft of Laev's property, Camellia and Laev's lives become ever more entangled bringing each to the brink of despair and passion...and a destiny they can no longer avoid.

I loved Heart Search and it was wonderful to see Owens go back to some of the characteristics that made her books a favorite of mine in the beginning. Heart Search had just the right amount of romance and angst; Camellia, with her distrust of Laev and all men really because of her family and Laev, who knew he had a heartmate but because of his horrible marriage didn't want anything do with love. You could think that with two main characters who are firmly determined not to find themselves in relationships again you'd get type of anger and confusion typical of HP,  but instead you just get one that feels real.

I didn't feel like either Camellia or Laev went out of their way to deliberately misunderstand or hurt each other - unfortunately it was more circumstance from their own experiences that left them floundering. Camellia initially might know that Laev is her heartmate but he married someone else; a betrayal that she's hard pressed to get over, especially considering how much emotional (and physical) abuse that's doled out by her uncle and father. None of the people she should have been able to trust have her back and she's not in a place where she wants Laev to pick up the slack.

So Laev, after overcoming his own fears, has to be the one to convince Camellia that they're good for each other. They might have sparks but it's the emotional connection they need to repair, and Owens does a fantastic job of showing how both Camellia and Laev have to work hard to get to their happy ending. 


Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - ....7) Heart Fate 8) Heart Change 9) Heart Journey 10) Heart Search

Monday, September 19, 2011

Once and Again by Lauren Dane

Seven years ago, Lily Travis was only too glad to see her hometown of Petal, Georgia in her rearview mirror. Thanks to her father running off with a twenty-year-old, though, here she is, trying to pick up the pieces. First order of business: meet with her brother’s teacher in a quest to pull his grades out of a downward spiral.

Nathan Murphy is pretty much resigned to his bachelor status—until he looks up from his desk to see an all-grown-up Lily walking into his classroom. Of all the women who turned out to be totally wrong for him, she’s the only one who felt right. At least until his foolish, immature mistake drove her away.

Lily has to admit that time has been more than kind to gorgeous, sexy Nathan. Except there’s no room on her full plate for another complication. Especially with a man who broke her heart once before.

With a little help from his friends, Nathan has a plan to rekindle the flame. It isn’t long before they’re burning up the sheets. Winning her heart? That’s another matter.

A the end of this book I had two main feelings 1) I still love Dane & her Petal, GA characters! 2) I may love her older Petal, GA characters so much that it detracts from my love for this book. I'm just so used to these fantastic large novels from Dane that this one (at about 100 pages) felt short and almost unfinished. I as the reader got to learn quite a bit about what was going on inside Nathan and Lily's heads but I would have appreciated more of just about everything. 

More of Lily's brother and family, more of Nathan and his growth as a person, more about the journey of Nathan and Lily back to each other - just more.

But please don't take any of this to mean I didn't like the book. Once and Again still has fun quirky characters and enough of the small time charm to make things memorable; I think I'm just distracted by how it's not the Chase Brothers series - which is more of a failing of mine than Dane's. There's enough of what I love here to keep me interested in learning about the next books that come out, especially if Dane sticks to fleshing out more of the Murphy family. In general I'd probably give this book about a B-/B on my scale, which is only different because I'm used to Dane releasing A+'s. Still recommended either way!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Once and Again

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews

This is the part were I usually have a title description but since I can't find one I'm going to go with the Tweet that sucked me in:

"Okay, it's basically Millionaire Boss and His Humble Secretary in space & secretary kills people with her brain"

(Or you could check out Goodreads which has the Andrews approved summary.)

It's incredibly exciting for me as a reader (though I'm sure frightening for them) when an author goes out and releases something that's different from their norm. I'm always on the look out for the next great book to read and when an author adds something different to their repertoire I almost feel like it's an assurance that while it may be new it's going to be good. It's an author's voice that has the most to do with whether a story a resonates with me, and in the instance of Silver Shark, Ilona Andrews has once again written a fantastic world, never mind the fact that it's not Kate Daniels in it.

While I was reading I could definitely see its HP roots with the self-confident billionaire and the insecure secretary, but as is often the case with Andrews things end up being much more than that. Claire (the secretary) is insecure only in the realm of this new world she's found herself in, her abilities as a Kinsman and and a protector are still what define her sense of self. Ventura (the millionaire) picks up on that dichotomy from the beginning and is determined to figure out what makes her so different from everyone else.

What I'm saying is that the story may be shorter but sparks fly and the romance is just sweet enough, without the annoying alphole or TDTL heroine (which is what turned me off full blown Harlequin titles). Add in lots of action since they're both warriors and you've got an intriguing and interesting story and I can only hope that the Andrews team decides to give us more glimpses into the Kinsman universe later.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Silent Blade 2) Silver Shark (Released 9/16? Soon!)

**Title requested from the author for review**

*NEW* Shelly Laurenston Excerpt - Bear Meets Girl

(if you don't want to miss out on other spectacularly wonderful updates from Ms. Laurenston, sign up for her newsletter here)

EXCERPT: (Unedited/Unproofed)

From Brava
Coming March 27, 2012!

Brutal, undeniable pain. The kind of pain that could kill a man. Maybe it had. Maybe the pain throbbing in his head right at this moment had killed him and he'd have to spend eternity feeling like this. Like warmed-over shit melting in the hot desert sun.

The worst part about all this? It was his fault. He had no one to blame for this but himself -- and those damn Jell-O shots. He should have stayed away from them. He knew better. All that alcohol in those delectable little jiggly squares...what was he thinking? And now he could barely move without pain. Brutal, undeniable pain.

Lou "Crush" Crushek tried to open his eyes but that only made things worse. It was morning and that light coming through the window was destroying any brain activity he had left. If he were home, he'd simply go back to sleep for a few more hours, but he wasn't home. He could tell. The scent was different. He smelled feline. Everywhere he smelled feline.

Crush snarled a little. That's whose fault this was. That damn cat. Male lions. Never trust a male lion! Sure, this particular male lion was married to a fellow NYPD detective and was from one of the wealthiest Prides in Manhattan, but he was also the asshole who'd brought the tray of Jell-O shots around, in their innocuous-looking little cups, and said, with that feline grin, "Go on. Try one."

So...Crush had tried one. Then another. And another. After the eighth...well, he didn't remember much of anything after the eighth.

What Crush did remember was making the mistake of going over to Detective Dez MacDermot's house for a "small get-together with some friends" that turned into anything but. Normally, when parties or events became something he didn't want to deal with, Crush would find the first exit and head on home to his TV and his quiet life. At least the quiet life he had when he wasn't working undercover, pretending to be a merciless drug dealer, biker, and occasional hit man. But honestly, Crush didn't leave the stupid party because he was, for lack of a better, manlier word, depressed.

A word he rarely used about himself. He wasn't much for sitting around, feeling sorry about his life. He was a bear after all. A polar bear specifically. No, not one of those guys who insisted on swimming in the Atlantic during the middle of winter to prove how virile he was. But a guy who could swim in the Atlantic during the middle of winter and never worry about dying of hypothermia. A guy who could shift into an eight foot, twelve-hundred-pound polar bear any time he wanted to. And, as a polar bear, sitting around being depressed wasn't really his thing. Instead, Crush lived like most of his kind. Being curious. Asking too many questions. Staring blankly at people until they became terrified and ran away. Eating whenever he was even slightly hungry. The usual.

Unfortunately, though, Crush had discovered something that all bears found distressing. He'd discovered there would be change. Change was coming Crush's way and he hated change. He liked to know things were going along as they should, and when that didn't happen he became depressed. He still hadn't recovered from the closing down of his favorite deli five years ago. Or that six years ago they'd moved his favorite shoe store -- needless to say that as a six-nine, three hundred pound guy, he couldn't exactly pick up his boots and sneakers from the local sports store -- and Crush still walked to where the old shoe store had stood, gazing into the window, wishing things were like they once were, until the customers inside the tea shop called police about the "crazed meth dealer lurking outside the door."

So no, Crush didn't handle change well, but he didn't see that there was anything he could do to prevent this change from happening. Not after one of his old partners had called him and given him a heads-up. The man wouldn't have called unless he was sure. So now Crush was just waiting for the anvil to drop.

Unfortunately, it felt like that anvil had already dropped right on his head.

He couldn't do this. He couldn't sit here in a co-worker's house, waiting for the hangover and migraine he had to go away. No, he just needed to get a move on. He had to get up. He had to deal with the pain. He had plans anyway for the afternoon and he wasn't about to miss out on them. So he had to get up.

But there appeared to be a little problem with him just leaping from bed and facing the day. And that problem was the naked female sprawled across his chest.

Uncaring about the brutal pain it would cause, Crush opened his eyes and looked down. Yep. That was a female all right. A -- he took a sniff -- feline female. Crush's lip curled. Another feline. The most untrustworthy of species in his opinion. And since he was naked, too, he could only assume that they' know.

Christ, what was wrong with him? This wasn't like him. Crush didn't get drunk and sleep with random people. He just didn't. It wasn't in his DNA. It wasn't just the NYPD who called him "By the Book" Crushek either. He had classmates from junior high, high school, and college who called him that as well.

Yet a little depression, a few too many Jello-O shots to drink at a house party, and here Lou Crushek was. Naked. With a feline.

Who was this female anyway? Anyone he knew? Crush didn't think so. He knew lots of felines but he didn't spend time around them because they were, as he'd already stated and everyone knew, totally untrustworthy. It was a fact. Look it up!

Too bad Crush couldn't be one of those guys who drunkenly slept with a woman only to sneak out before she woke up. It would definitely make his life a whole lot easier but that would bring him to a new level of tacky he couldn't handle. Just because he felt his life falling apart around him -- he hated change! -- didn't mean he'd allow it to actually fall apart. And part of keeping his life together was doing the morally right thing.

Man, it sucked being a good guy all the time.

"Uh...miss?" Jeez! His voice sounded like gravel. He cleared his throat and tried again. "Miss? Excuse me?" He couldn't see her very clearly with all that black hair, strands of white and red throughout, covering her face and his chest. He recognized that hair color, though. She was a She-tiger.

Hating to wake her up, Crush tapped her shoulder. "Miss?"


"Uh...yeah, sorry. I...uh..." This was so hard. How did he tell a woman he'd possibly had sex with that he didn't know her name? Couldn't even remember having sex with her? This was getting worse and worse. When the hell did he become a frat boy?

Suddenly she stretched, her long body briefly writhing on his. Crush ignored how good that felt and said, "Miss?"

She lifted her head and gold-green eyes blinked up at him.

Damn, she was pretty. He didn't remember having sex with her? Really? How drunk had he been last night?

She blinked at him in confusion; then she smiled. "Oh. Hi."

Oh, hi?

Yawning and slapping her hand against his chest, she levered herself up and looked around the room, giving him a monumental peek at her breasts and, wow, those were freakin' nice. "What time is it?" she asked.

"No idea. Early."

She nodded and settled back onto his chest, eyes closing, arms tightening around his chest. "Good. I'm still so tired." Wait. What just happened?

"I have to get up."

"Another hour," she bargained. "Maybe two. Just relax."

Completely confused, Crush said, "Look -- "

Her head snapped up, those eyes locking on him. "Are you going to keep talking? Cause it's irritating. I'm trying to sleep, and I'm extremely hungover."

Crush's eyes narrowed. He was irritating? "Tell me we didn't have sex last night."

"As drunk as you were?" She yawned, already bored with him, it seemed. "I don't think you could have gotten it up with a crane."


"Wait. Is that what you think? That we fucked?"

"We're in bed together. What was I supposed to think?"

"That I was tired and needed some place to sleep."

"But we're both..." He shrugged a little. "Naked."

"Yeah, I was really drunk, too, so I just took my clothes off."

"Wasn't there somewhere else you could have slept?"

"Most of the people who crashed here last night were either full-humans or canines. Have you ever tried to sleep with a canine? They yip in their sleep. And run. It's annoying. And Mace wouldn't take the couch so I could sleep with his wife so -- "

"You asked a lion male to move out of his bed for you?"

"Why wouldn't I? Because he's the majestic lion male, king of the jungle? Or because he's a rich Llewellyn of the Llewellyn Pride?"

"Because it's the man's house."

"It's his wife's house. MacDermot just allows him to stay here with her and those giant, useless dogs she owns. And I know she'd pick those ridiculous rotties over that lion in a hot second." She sat up. " I'm awake."

"How annoying for you." Crush struggled to sit up, too, ignoring the screaming in his head.

"What are you so cranky about?"

"You basically just told me you used me like a giant pillow."

"You were comfortable. And didn't yip once. I hate the yipping. Let me tell ya, you don't know hell until you've been trapped in a rainy, miserable jungle during monsoon season with a bunch of canines. Everyone wet and miserable and goddamn yipping."

Crush tried to ignore his migraine and asked, "Why would you be sitting in a miserable jungle with canines?"

"For lots of reasons."

"Name two. No. Just name one. I challenge you."

"You challenge me?" She laughed, her almost muzzle-like nose crinkling a little as she looked him over. "Aren't you cute?"

Finally, Crush had to ask, "Who are you?"

"If I wasn't still hungover, I'd give you my most sultry smile and tell you 'your dream come to life.' But eh. I'm just too tired to bother and, honestly, does one have to really put in that much effort for a bear?"

"Are you always this insulting?"

"Insulting? This is me being nice. I even complimented you."

"Yes. Apparently I'm as comfortable as a pillow."

"Yeah. But one of those full body ones. Or like one of those giant stuffed bears you get when you're a kid. My dad used to get me those and then he'd teach me how to maul 'em."

"I am not -- "

She held up her finger. "Hold that." Then the insane female stretched out across his lap and reached down to the floor, grabbing a phone out of her jeans.

Annoyed and disgustingly turned on, Crush snarled, "Woman, get off me."

"Ssssh," she said, settling her butt onto his lap. "Business call."

Did she just shush him? She did, didn't she?

"Yep?" she said into the phone, clearly uncaring that they were still both naked and there was absolutely nothing separating her ass from his cock? "Now? Cause I gotta get home to the kid."

Kid? The woman had a child but she was hanging out and getting drunk at house parties, and torturing him with her butt on his cock?

Thinking about all the shitty parents Crush had been forced to deal with over the years as a cop, Crush hissed, "You have a child?"

She nodded and while someone kept talking on the other end of her phone, she whispered, "Have to get home. Still breastfeeding." Then, when Crush thought his head might explode, she silently laughed and mouthed, "Just kidding."

Holy hell, who was this woman?

"All right. All right. I'll get Smith on it. You know she loves morning jobs. I know she doesn't work for you, but think of it as outsourcing. We both know she can do the damn job. Besides, she has to realize that not everything can be the close-up kill." Not knowing what she was talking about, Crush was relieved when she winked at him. Good. She was kidding. Because it would be really hard to arrest a naked woman sitting in his lap. "Okay. Good. I'll take care of it."

She disconnected the call and tossed the phone back on her jeans. "I've gotta go."

"Yes. You need to get home to your child."

"Yeah. Her too." She shrugged. "She's pretty self-sufficient. She can almost reach the stove."

Unable to take any more, Crush pushed her off his lap. Not as hard as he'd like -- damn his morals -- but at least he got her off him and he could move away from her.

Grabbing his clothes, Crush moved to the door.

"Don't you want my number?" she asked him. "Maybe the next time we could get drunk and then actually have sex. If you're worried about the kid, I can put a little brandy in her milk bottle and she'll be out like a light."

Crush began to speak, but realized he would only say something completely inappropriate and mean, something he simply couldn't bring himself to do. So instead he stormed out, slamming the door behind him.

Tragically, however, Desiree MacDermott stood there in her hallway, her green eyes growing wide as her gaze moved down the length of his naked body while he lollygagged in the middle of her hallway.

His fellow detective finally looked up into his face. "Hi, uh...Crushek. How's it going?"

"Fine. Thank you for inviting me to your party."


"Okay." They stood in the hallway another second, then Crush said, "Bye."


And, with as much dignity as he could muster at six in the morning while naked in a co-worker's house, and still sporting a hangover and a semi hard-on -- because even degenerates could be sexy as hell in the morning -- Crush headed to his truck and absolute freedom.


Marcella "Bare Knuckles" Malone -- She-tiger, feline nation protection agent for KZS, pro hockey player for the championship shifter team the Carnivores, and the Malone family's bare knuckles fighting champion -- heard the bedroom door open again but she simply couldn't stop her hysterical, wheezing laughter. No one could! Why? Because that had been the best!


She heard MacDermot but Cella couldn't answer her. She was too busy laughing and trying to figure out who that guy was? It wasn't every day Cella got to meet guys who looked like biker gang meth dealers but had the moral fortitude of Martin Luther. All that indignant outrage over her untended daughter while sporting long, white polar bear hair that reached past his shoulders, a perpetual scowl, a scar on his neck, and pitch black eyes that probably terrified lots of people. Of course, if all that didn't scare someone, she was pretty sure that what had to be about six feet and nine inches and about three hundred pounds or so of hard muscle probably did the trick. Man, had that body been like a thousand levels of perfect or what?

Yet even though the guy was really scary looking, Cella just found all that intimidating scowling and raging-anger made him so cute. Like teddy bear cute. Plus he was so damn uptight! She didn't know bears could be so uptight. Unless they were startled into a rage, bears were usually the most laidback of all shifters, except lion males. Although Cella felt there was a huge difference between laidback and just plain lazy.

Even worse for that poor bear was how all that uptightness brought out Cella's worst feline qualities. Honestly, the more uptight the bear became, the more she playfully swatted at him. She couldn't help herself. He was just so cute in his moral outrage!

"Cella!" MacDermot demanded, also now laughing. "What the hell did you do to the poor guy? I've never seen him look like that before. He was about to blow a vein in that big bear head of his!"

More than she could take, Cella rolled off the bed, hitting the floor, which miraculously made her hangover go far, far away.

Copyright © Shelly Laurenston 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dragon*Con Recap: Day 1

So here's the deal about Dragon*Con:: for me it's this huge almagum of ridiculous greatness - every fantastic holiday rolled into one and a place where I can just say f*ck it and be me. Which means talking about it always sounds much less cool than experiencing it, whether I'm talking to you in person or talking to you through my blog. I'm going to give it a go anyway, but I think by the end of it you're all just going to wish I'd gone with the haiku idea.

 Here's Dave doing the best Dave ever.

First the initial great things: 1) Dave arrived in Atlanta safe and sound, albeit a day before we had any type of hotel room to put him in 2) the room we did eventually get had 2 beds! Not one bed - 2! (That's cool folks. I know you don't believe me, but when you're expecting a hopefully roomy king for 3 people walking into a room with two beds is pretty fantastic.)

Since Jessica the most wonderfullest driver in the history of history had been driving since 3am we were very happy to get to Atlanta safe and sound, check into our room with little to no hiccup (except for strange valet parking guy) and head over to the Sheraton to pick up our badges. Which took all of FIVE MINUTES. This is a huuuge improvement over last year guys, when I had to take pictures and video from the epic line of death I found myself stuck in.

The magical non-line.

And after all that preliminary stuff? PANELS and COSTUMES! Those two are the bread and butter of any good D*C and let me tell you something that took us almost 2 years to learn - don't wait hours in line. Most of the time you can show up right before a panel starts and get decent seats in the back where you can still see everything from the big screens. I'm not saying never wait in line - I did for the Buffy panel on Sunday and definitely consider it worth it - but taking the time to see more and wait less makes the whole experience better.

This year my first panel had 3 actors from the Guild including the wonderful Wil Wheaton (who unlike a lot of other people I didn't hate on Star Trek: TNG but maybe that's because I stopped watching most of the later episodes with him and stuck to the ones where he was a kid in funny sweaters or kissing Ashley Judd)! I've only recently begun to understand the depths of his nerdy hilarity, but he's rapidly becoming one of my favorites and I'm so glad I got to hear him speak. While Felicia Day wasn't there Wheaton and two of his other cast mates were interesting and funny and make me even more determined to sit down and watch this show.

 Wil Wheaton for the win!

I went right from this to the Star Trek: Voyage panel because DUH I'm a nerd and Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway) and Robert Duncan McNeill (Lt. Paris) were there and Voyager was and always will be my favorite Trek. Yes I said it - my favorite Trek. Mulgrew and McNeill were great and since Garret Wang (Ensign Kim) was also there as head of the Trek Track and a part of the Voyager family, the whole thing blew my mind. I always love when actors suprise you with just how cool they are. As a viewer you can never really tell if the actors you like are playing a character completely different from themselves or if they're bringing some of their own personality to a part; hearing them speak about what made a role meaningful to them or why something worked (or didn't work) is just incredibly interesting.

At least to me.

But ok that's a LOT of words right there, and ya'll probably only care about some of it, so here's a little of what really matters - PICTURES!!! (yes that needed to be in all caps).

Sadly I had to wear flats with this dress instead of ridiculous heels because of some unexpected foot pain. No bueno!

Zombie Scoobie Doo

 (L-R) Robert Duncan McNeill, Kate Mulgrew, Garret Wang



Oh and for everyone who asked about a masquerade update. Yes I was uber stoked to go but here an example of when my time was more valuable than the event. The masquerade was very popular and the line was long. Looooonnnnnnggg I tell you, long enough that when they finished getting everyone in it the party was full and they had to turn people away - which I head about later because as soon as I saw the line I was done. But did I quibble or cry? No because it's f*cking D*C and I just wore my dress around everywhere like a Boss.


I love this dress and if I could wear it everyday I would. Or I wish I could at least where it once to work, just for shock value :)

More pics and a day 2 summary post coming soon!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Dragon Who Loved Me by G.A. Aiken

I was raised for battle. And as the first daughter of a warrior family, I’ve earned my reputation the hard way. Yet now I fight alongside uncivilized male Northland dragons who think a female is only good for breeding and waiting back home in the cave. But it’s the foolish and foolhardy who would try to stop me, Rhona the Fearless, from doing what I do best—destroying the enemies of my kind.

So the smartest thing wily barbarian Vigholf the Abhorrent can do for me is stay out of my way as we risk all on a deadly mission in enemy territory. I don’t care if he’s fascinated by me, even though he is as attractive as he is resourceful. He’s having far too much fun putting me in difficult situations and testing my sense of duty to the limit. And I’m going to enjoy challenging his insufferable confidence, outwitting his schemes, and making him surrender in the wildest ways… 

I'm almost a little sad to see this series grow up! So much happened in this book, a lot of it a continuation from Last Dragon Standing (which I probably should have reread because I had NO idea why there was a war going on o_O) and I think it shows just how much longevity this series has. I was a little worried - though I don't know why - if I would like the books as much once we got away from Fearghus and the rest of his clan. I just loved their antics so much I didn't know if I could love other characters as much. Happily Rhona and Vigholf demonstrated that my devotion to Shelly Laurenston is not unfounded, as these two were just as ridiculous and fun to read about as usual. Though with more violence and bloodshed than I'm really used to reading. 

There's 5 year gap between book 4 and The Dragon Who Loved Me, with all the main men and women we've met before spread out with their own legions of fighters, trying to defend dragon and human alike from the Iron dragons and their greedy god. When Annwyl goes off on a seemingly suicidal mission to get help Rhona gets suckered in to bringing her back and of course Vigholf can't let her go off by herself now can he?! Hilarity ensues, and  if you haven't already started reading this fantastic series I will again remind you that you are missing out!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Dragon Actually 2) About a Dragon 3) What a Dragon Should Know 4) Last Dragon Standing 5) The Dragon Who Loved Me

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mini Me: Canyons of Night by Jayne Castle

The island of Rainshadow is home to the mysterious, privately-owned woods known only as the Preserve. Now, after fifteen years away, both Charlotte Enright and her teen crush, Slade Attridge, have returned. But will their psi talents and Slade’s dust bunny companion be enough to keep them from getting drawn into the darkness at the heart of the Preserve? 

Canyons of Night was a good, but sadly not great, addition to the Harmony series. The elements were all there - characters with a past, kookie small-town setting, mysterious paranormal location that may or may not be imploding - it all should have added up to another home run. Unfortunately things felt more formulaic than usual in this installment and while I enjoyed it because I like the way Castle builds a romance between her two main characters, it's not my favorite and for those less devoted is a fine library read.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Prince With No Heart by Emma Holly

A very grown up fairytale from USA Today bestselling author, Emma Holly. In the magical kingdom of Madrigar, handsome Prince Augustin has been robbed of his heart by a cruel fairy. Blessed by a kinder member of the fae with an “untiring” sword, he’s learned such gifts present challenges . . . and that missing hearts are no light burden to bear.

Plucky Princess Violet likewise suffers under a spell, fated to burn forever with desires no common lover can satisfy. She seeks a champion to save her people and herself from the clutches of a lovesick werewolf.

The sparks they create are as hot as a blacksmith’s forge. Alas, these wounded lovers must do more than fall in bed. The survival of both their kingdoms depends on them losing their enchanted hearts to each other.

Emma Holly was my primary pick for the roadtrip down to Dragon*Con this year and I'm happy to report it was a good choice on my part! Her books were some of the first that introduced me to the erotica genre and she continues to be one of the authors that I go back to when I need reminding of just how good it can be. 

The Prince With No Heart is a quick little story (~100 pages) about a prince who was 'blessed' at birth with unending stamina and a princess suffering to put this? She's horny guys - horny all the time with no way to get satisfaction. She calls on the prince to help protect her kingdom and they end up falling in love - which shouldn't surprise anyone because this is a fairytale!

The dialogue is fun, the characters are kind of ridiculous (as they should be), and the story is one that is enjoyable even when you reread it.  Since it's an erotic fairytale the sexual antics shouldn't surprise anyone; they're fast and furious and have the kind of the over the top-ness that leaves you fanning yourself.  Plus Holly does a great job of introducing us to the prince's 'problem' while still keeping him a sympathetic character, instead of making him out to be a promiscuous jerk.


Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. 

Series - None.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Help me on my geeky quest!

Over on my other blog -  Good Red Herring  - I'm asking for thoughts on my Totoro plushie search. Help me with my geeky conundrum by going over there and letting me know what you think!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Awkward and Awesome (Dragon*Con Edition!)

-My right foot! It was so awkward the entire weekend because it hurt (kind of a lot actually) and it affected my ability to wear heels. Which messed with my outfits! Hmph. 
-anyone starting Q&A mic time with 'this is more of a comment than a question...'
-having a girl during mic time cry and explain how after having such and such different family members pass away your movie about getting revenge and killing people gave her a reason to live.
-Never finding Jen of Epbot! Danggit! I always seemed to be in line when she tweeted hints to her location - like on Sunday when I was waiting for the Buffy panel and was ONE FLOOR UP from where she was.
-People asking your friend the entire con: 'is the hammer your penis?'. I was very uncomfortable.
-Waiting for elevators. The 16th floor is a double edge sword because while you're far enough away from the noise to sleep elevators take FOREVER.
-Not knowing who Andrew Lee Potts was while watching a billion fan music videos about him. Oops!

-Wil Wheaton
-Would anyone mind if I just put Wil Wheaton again? Cause he's really awesome enough to deserve it.
-LKH in response to a moderator's ridiculously long winded quote that made absolutely no sense but was supposed to start the panel: 'I'm sorry - was there a question there?'
-Kate Mulgrew, Patrick Duncan McNeill, & Garret Wang on the Star Trek: Voyager panel. Hilarious and wonderful to listen to.
-How Kate Mulgrew and Gates McFadden (who in my head I keep calling Dr. Beverly) don't age. Seriously. They showed up at their respective panels looking almost exactly like they did on their shows (but with better hair).
-Rainbow Brite group - times 2! Only at Dragon*Con can you have one set of Rainbow Brite themed people meet up with a second set of Rainbow Brite themed people (with no duplicates) and stop and take pictures!
-Bob & Carl Sci-Fi Janitors (check out their awesomeness here)
-People asking to take pictures of my outfits/makeup! That never gets old :D
-Eliza Dushku and James Marsters. Oh and Nicholas Brendon too! The Buffy panel was epic in its fantasticness.
-Oh and finally - two videos from the anime/fan music video awards:


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays (9/6)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
   * Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"So I've been thinking about your Walls of Jericho. Actually not so much about the wall, but about the other part. Where I show you how a man undresses."

--pg 254, Something About You by Julie James

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Something About You by Julie James

Fate has thrown two sworn enemies…
Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends in bloodshed. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago—and nearly ruining his career…

…into each other’s arms
Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it’s no joke: the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes—and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension…

This is another book where despite all the good reviews I couldn't get past the back description! As much as I love contemporary romance but I didn't want to read another story with an alphole - I hate them and end up hating the women who fall in love with them. It's a vicious cycle of hate I tell you, and it's not fun whatsoever.

Luckily this book only has the slightest amount of  Jack being not so nice, both because they clear up the confusion that caused the problem in the first place and because Jack works on being as professional and polite as possible. Which knocks him up the good ladder, because even when he doesn't want to like Cam he tries to be civil, resulting in a book that's more enjoyable for me to read. 

And as I'm sure you've heard others say, this is a great book and I'm very excited to read others by Julie James. She has smart dialogue, funny supporting characters, and a good mix of romance and action. There's build-up before Cam and Jack actually find themselves in bed and it just makes their relationship seem all the more real. There's a murder investigation going on, a misunderstanding to work through - a lot of drama that needs to be cleared before they can comfortably release some hormones, lol, and I loved it. I cannot recommend it enough as a heart-warming romance that left me with a smile on my face.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - None  (? - A Lot Like Love could be #2)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Geek of the Week (9/2)

Time for a ghost post! I've decided to call it that because I'm actually writing this before I leave at D*C - where of course I will probably not be posting (though I'm going to bring my laptop just in case). Maybe I should start calling all my scheduled posts 'ghost posts'; I think we can all agree that that name is much cooler and spooky sounding. And who doesn't want their blog to sound spooky?!

Ok maybe I've been spending too much time reading The Bloggess.

Either way I have a couple geeky tidbits to share with you guys, with hopes for more when I get back!

1) I was going to link, possibly for the second time as I can't remember if I linked to it on Facebook, to the YouTube breakdown of the behind the scenes documentary of Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal. But. The world is not working with me and copyright issues has forced its removal. Sadness in the world of Dana.

2) Fabric glue, insta-tac, whatever the heck you want to call it, is my new best friend. I pretty much made my costume with this stuff and immediately went on to hemming shorts, pants, skirts, dress sleeves...really I just did too much. As usual.

3) To go back to Jim Henson for a minute, while I can't show you behind the scenes to The Dark Crystal I can, thanks to Epbot, link you to some pretty cool pics and info from the Labyrinth. I do what I can with the help of the internets.

4) Oh right - if you missed it, I joined Twitter (@goodredherring). I'm still not completely convinced that it's worth it, but I'm trying to withhold judgement.

5) If you're into hot girl cosplay (and really, no matter your orientation, who isn't?) then you should appreciate my new find: Vampy. She's even more of a geek girl than I am, with the kind of costuming skills I could dream of and fail miserably at attempting. Enjoy!

6) And finally I give to you, especially if you're not able to go this year, the Dragon*Con documentary. Thank you PBS for being once again the source of some really cool stuff!

Watch the full episode. See more Dragon Con.

Geek of the Week Bonus! The outfits of Cher Horowitz in Clueless. In under 60 seconds. Because she's awesome.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Basilisk by Rob Thurman

Stefan Korsak and his genetically-altered brother have evaded the Institute for three years. When they learn the new location of the secret lab, they plan to break in and save the remaining children there. But one of the little ones doesn’t want to leave. She wants to kill…

If you're not reading Rob Thurman I feel like you're missing out. Ms. Thurman writes some fantastic contemporary urban fantasy/sci-fi and while this series isn't topping my love for Niko and Cal, it's pretty damn close. 

Basilisk continues the story of brothers Stefan and Michael (Misha) as they try to figure out if they can save the other children held captive at the Institute. It's one of 'those' institutes by the way, filled with medical horrors and scientific atrocities, though none as bad as creating children for the sole purpose of being psychic killing machines.

This book is written from Michael's point of view and with that comes a lot of insight into a man who does not know how to be 'normal' - to be like everybody else. He was not raised to be a person, he was raised to be a killer, and taught social skills only because they would make it easier for him to take out a target without raising suspicion. Seeing (reading) first hand about him learning to love his brother and act like a one is interesting and moving and I can't wait for the next book to come out!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Chimera 2) Basilisk