Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pulled Long by Christine d'Abo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall Feeling - Eh/Thumbs Up

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

**Title requested for review from NetGalley**

Thursday, November 24, 2011


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

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

RIP Anne McCaffrey

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

Another day, another winner!

Congratulations to 


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


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Lure of Song and Magic by Patricia Rice

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

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

**Title requested from NetGalley for review**

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mini Me: Bad Moon Rising by Sherrilyn Kenyon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Desert Warrior by Nalini Singh

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - None (?)

**Title requested from NetGalley for review**

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Next Always by Nora Roberts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall Feeling - eh.

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winner & Another Giveaway!

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

Lady Soul 

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

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

Show No Mercy by Cindy Gerard

In Love With The Bronc Rider by Judy Duarte

The Second-Chance Groom by Crystal Green

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Series - Various.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mini Me: Run For Your Life by Andrea Kane

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Terrier 2) Bloodhound 3) Terrier

Thursday, November 3, 2011

October in Review

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Keeper of the Way by Shirin Dubbin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

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

**Sent by author for review consideration**