Friday, December 30, 2011

Spirit Bound by Christine Feehan

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

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

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

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

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

I'm still excited for the next one!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Water Bound 2) Spirit Bound

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fred the Mermaid Series by MaryJanice Davidson

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

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


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

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

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

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

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

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Movie Review - Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

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


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

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

Recommended, holiday or not :).

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

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

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis

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

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

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

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

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

**Title requested from NetGalley for review.**

Monday, December 19, 2011

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

Without trust, common ground can get pretty shaky…

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Move Me by Emma Holly

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

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

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


Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

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

*Title requested from author for review**

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fate's Edge by Ilona Andrews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Alien Proliferation by Gini Koch

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

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

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

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

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

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

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

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

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mini Me: Lesserblood Lies by Ainsley Davidson

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

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

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

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

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

**Title requested from NetGalley for review**

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cast in Ruin by Michelle Sagara

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall Feeling - Thumbs Up.

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

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

November in Review

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

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

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

Books Read/Reviewed: