Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August in Review

I know you probably won't believe me, but I totally deserve props for this post even existing on RAtChaos. Why? Because by the time you read this I will be at Dragon*Con having a FREAKING AWESOME time!!! And when I'm having an awesome time I find it hard to force myself to stick close to my computer and write monthly wrap-up posts, even when I've managed to actually read more than a few for once, lol.

I hope all of you are prepped for a great Labor Day weekend (yay for 3-day weekends!) and if you're not following me on Twitter yet (@goodredherring) you really should because I plan to spend most of my weekend tweeting cool pics of what I'm seeing at D*C!

Kitty's Big Trouble by Carrie Vaughn
Midnight Sins by Lora Leigh
The Assassins' Lover by Emma Holly
Charming the Highlander by Janet Chapman
The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen
Ain't Myth-Behaving by Katie MacAlister
Colters' Wife by Maya Banks
Slow Ride by Lorelei James
Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
Storm's Heart by Thea Harrison
Scent of Danger by Andrea Kane
A Rake's Vow by Stephanie Laurens
Basilisk by Rob Thurman (review coming soon!)
Something About You by Julie James (reviewing coming soon!)

Books Read/Reviewed: 
15/10

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Teaser Tuesdays (8/30)

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!



"At first. Then I sort of loved you. I still do."

--pg 307, Basilisk by Rob Thurman

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Rake's Vow by Stephanie Laurens

He vowed he'd never marry:
Vane Cynster always knew which way the wind was blowing, and it was headed in a marrying direction. The other Cynster men might not mind stepping up to the altar, but Vane never wanted to be leg-shackled to any woman, no matter how comely. Bellamy Hall seemed like the perfect place to temporarily hide from London's husband hunters. But when he encountered irresistible Patience Debbington, Vane realized he'd met his match and soon he had more than seduction on his mind.

She vowed no man would catch her:
Patience wasn't about to succumb to Vane's sensuous propositions. Yes, his kisses left her dizzy; his caresses made her melt; but he was arrogant, presumptuous...and, despite his protests, bound to be unfaithful, just like every other man. Patience had promised herself that she'd never become vulnerable to a broken heart. But was this one vow that was meant to be broken?
~~

My favorite historical romances by far are those written by Stephanie Laurens. With almost every installment readers are treated to strong, smart heroines and alpha males who are willing and able to win their hearts.  When I'm looking for a good natured romance that's just going to make me happy I often find myself reach for a Laurens title, and the Cynster family is my favorite series of hers.

Especially with the first 7 or so books, all the characters are men we've come to love from previous installments. Brothers and cousins, all with their own lands and things that they personally are passionate about. No cookie cutters here, though each one possesses similar traits of honor, morality, and strict adherence to their own moral code. 

Patience and Vane are wonderful in particular because each one is so determined to be left be. They don't want to be married but family duty and circumstance contrive to throw them together. The sparks are fantastic and the way they both have to work through their trust issues to admit they love each other results in a great HEA. The mystery element is a bit weak I admit, the perpetrators could have been squared away about 2/3 through the book, but it adds a nice 'something' to the overall story.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs Up.

Series - 1) Devil's Bride 2) A Rake's Vow 3)........15) The Taste of Innocence

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Storm's Heart by Thea Harrison

He’s a wyr warrior, a god of storms. She’s the heir to the Dark Fae throne. But desire will bring both to their knees in this all-new Novel of the Elder Races.

During the rule of her murderous Dark Fae uncle, Thistle “Tricks” Periwinkle found sanctuary among the wyr in New York. Her ethereal beauty and sparkling personality won the hearts of the public, but after her uncle’s death, there are those who don’t want to see her ascend to the throne…

Able to wield thunder and lightning, wyr sentinel Tiago Black Eagle has ruled the skies for centuries. His massive build and thunderous power make him one of the wyr’s best weapons. And he’s sent to protect Tricks when she’s almost assassinated in Chicago.

Soon, both Tiago and Tricks will fall prey to the stormy hunger that engulfs them—a passion that will shake the very foundation of all the worlds…
~~

Hmmm, I'm not sure what I want to say about Storm's Heart that would be unique. Like Dragon Bound, Storm's Heart has great characters and great action, with an added dose of mystery thrown in. When you start realizing that the hero is a kick ass alpha male with shapeshifting abilities, what's not to like?!

Nothing.

Harrison does a wonderful job building the relationship between Tiago and Tricks. Even though it's obvious to the reader where all their sparks are leading, the fact that the two of them take a little longer doesn't seem forced. It's a natural progression of how long they've known each other, especially considering how little time they'd spent together before the actions in the book. 

I'd only wish that the ending had been stretched out a little more. Murderous Fae mysteries, when done well, are a joy to read and while everything made sense I think people's motivations could have been explored a bit more with some additional pages.

The book is really fantastic and it's gearing up to be a wonderful series - don't miss out!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Dragon Bound 2) Storm's Heart 3) Serpent's Kiss (10/4/2011)

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's almost that time again - Dragon*Con 2011!

I've tried to avoid it. I've tried not to subject you all to the mania and hysteria, but it's 10 DAYS UNTIL DRAGON*CON 2011!!! 10 DAYS!! Better than my birthday, almost better than Christmas, Dragon*Con makes my little geeky heart go pitter patter with joy and laughter. With a touch of inappropriate clothing and ridiculous panels thrown in for good measure.

If you're unawares, Dragon*Con is one of the world's biggest sci-fi/fantasy conventions, and if I have my information correct, IS the biggest sci-fi convention in the United States. I've gone the past 3 years and it's been incredible every time. Every time I tell you! It doesn't matter if I'm waiting in line for 5 hrs to get a book signed or wandering around from panel to panel, it's always an amazing experience. There's just nothing like it, with the hordes of fans from all different fandoms coming together to have a great time. I posted some pictures from last year on RAtChaos's Facebook page.

This year - as I have done every year - I have a list of people to stalk:

Dana's To Stalk List***

Laurell K. Hamilton Nana Visitor
Charlaine Harris Norman Reedus**
Sherrilyn Kenyon Cruxshadows
Nicholas Brendon Terry Brooks
Felicia Day Rachel Caine
Virginia Hey Carole Nelson Douglas
Christopher Lloyd Sean Patrick Flanery**
Kate Mulgrew Diana Gabaldon**
Amanda Tapping Laura Anne Gilman
Garrett Wang Nancy L. Holder 
Julie Benz Stacia Kane**
Elvira** Mercedes Lackey
Carrie Fisher Joe Manganiello**
James Marsters Gates McFadden
Edward James Olmos** Mercedes McNab
Brent Spiner Susan Sizemore**
Wil Wheaton Jeanne C. Stein**
Peter Mayhew Rob Thurman
Robert Duncan McNeill Garrett Wang
William Shatner C.L. Wilson**

**Actors/Actresses/Authors that I should be reading or watching but aren't. They are so cool though that they need to be recognized even if I won't see them this year.

***If I knew how to make little floaty heads to go with some of these people I would, just so you would be as excited about their coming as I am. Sadly my skills are lacking.

To see some or all of them are my goal, so fingers crossed it all works out! I unfortunately missed out on Kate Mulgrew and James Marsters last year, but I'm hoping that making them priorities this year will help.


And as usual I have some ridiculous costumes in mind for the weekend. Extreme pinup is kind of the catch phrase, with my steel boned corset making multiple appearances (if I don't buy another one while I'm there). I guess I've just always felt the most beautiful in vintage silhouette when women showed hints but not the whole shebang. Still what would a geek weekend be without a geek outfit? No geek weekend at all I tell you! This year I'm debuting my first cosplay experience by playing Indigo from Rainbow Brite! Woot! I've discovered that liquid stitch is my new favorite thing in life (I want to use it on everything) and after spending almost the entirely of Saturday getting the last but most difficult part of it together, hopefully I won't put my friends to shame. I am a reader friends, not so much a crafter, and trying to figure out how the hell to make curved shoulder thingys that attach to a suspender-like contraption has not been easy. I've been doing in-depth makeup trials on my other blog Good Red Herring, so if you're interesting in knowing even more about my inner OCD workings please head over there.

Oh and I guess I have to admit when I become a total lemming right? Readers I have officially given in and gotten a Twitter account. I have resisted for awhile and have actually yet to send out a single Tweet, but if you're interested in random Dragon*Con coverage and pics, please follow me @goodredherring. If you're wondering, I ultimately decided to go with that name so I didn't feel bad every time I sent out a tweet not about books. Meaning please don't be surprised when I talk about fashion, makeup, and Star Trek all on the same day.

Finally I leave you with this a fan-f*cking-tastic video of geeky greatness:

Happy Monday!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mini Me(s): Colters' Wife & Slow Ride

Colters’ Wife is an extended epilogue that picks up just a few months from where Colters’ Woman left off. Revisit the Colter family just in time for the birth of their first child.
~~

I would never (or almost never) argue with more story after the HEA so I really enjoyed this little story. As an extended epilogue it's only about 60 pages but it's a lot of fun to revisit interesting characters, especially when they're in such non-traditional relationships. I picked mine up for free due to a tip from Dear Author, and look at that - it's still free for Kindle and Nook!


Keely McKay Donohue is enduring the longest wedding reception of her life: her own.

The only saving grace is that Jack Donohue is finally hers. Usually her hunky man gives her everything she wants, so why is her groom denying her the one thing she wants right now?

Jack thought his secretive wait-for-the-honeymoon plan was romantic, until he realizes he's only put Keely in a fighting mood. If he wants to get back on his temperamental bride's good side, he'd better find a way to sweep his cowgirl off her boots...fast.
~~

This quickie is also still free on the Kindle and Nook and while not as complete a story as Colters' Wife, does a pretty good job introducing new readers to some of the characters and the feel of the Rough Riders series. I liked how Keely and Jack are portrayed as people who aren't perfect but love each other - happy newlyweds that are still feeling their way. When you add in the spice of some illicit reception liaisons,  not by the bride and groom by the way, you get a fun tale that makes you want to read even more.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Inspirations - of the library kind

I wish I could wish myself into a house with ANY of these right now! Some of my favorites:





All Images from Library Inspiration

What would your dream library look like?

Does Jezebel usually offer grammar lessons?


This might be the case where I'm posting something the entire world already knows, but during a casual perusal of Jezebel comments I learned a new grammar rule. Or, well, a grammar rule that's new to ME. 

Maybe I can use the excuse a previous commenter brought up and just say I'm from North Carolina? Does that help at all?

Yep, that's the way you judge which one to use: if you remove the other person, what are you left with? So "and me" would be the correct usage here. But if it was "Anne and I went to the store" it's correct to use "and I" and not "and me" because you wouldn't say "me went to the store."

(This comment is referring to a tweet from Martha Stewart: "Here's a better shot of the beautiful and talented Anne Hathaway and I on the Today Show.")

The more you know :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison

Half-human and half-wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their Dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful–and passionate—of the Elder Races.

As the most feared and respected of the wyrkind, Dragos Cuelebre cannot believe someone had the audacity to steal from him, much less succeed. And when he catches the thief, Dragos spares her life, claiming her as his own to further explore the desire they’ve ignited in one another.
~~

This books suffers from two things - two unfortunate things - that caused me to wait a while to read it. 1) bad back cover blurb and 2) too much hype.

I know, I can already here you asking - how can there be too MUCH hype? Well I'm telling you that if I hear/read/whatever too many glowing amazing reviews for a book then I am less likely to read it. I become filled with foreboding, the sense that a book cannot possibly live up to all the good things said about it. And once I reach that point I don't want to waste time on a book that obviously must have something wrong with it, or why else would everyone be talking about how fantastic it is?

And #1 is another important consideration for me in terms of whether I read a book or not. The way the set-up is written you get the feeling that Dragos is going to be an ass and Pia is going to be persecuted, meaning that most of the book will be spent with her trying to convince him of her innocence and him riding the jack-assery train straight to hell.

Luckily both of my problems quickly became non-problems as I realized Dragon Bound really is that good. Instead of falling into the theif vs curmudgeon trope, we have two characters who use their brains and hearts when in consideration of each other. Pia stole a coin because it was the most innocuous thing she could think of to take after being blackmailed and Dragos, once meeting Pia, is quickly more interested in learning why he likes her so much than 'punishing' her about the theft.

Combining two great main characters with just the right touch of fantasy, magic, and shapeshifting results in a wonderful story and what I'd say is a must read for anyone who likes urban fantasy. I'm already half way through the second!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Dragon Bound 2) Storm's Heart 3) Serpent's Kiss (10/4/2011)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ain't Myth-Behaving by Katie MacAlister

A modern woman and a god from ancient legend? Surely an epic love mismatch...or maybe it's the "myth match" of the century? The irrepressible Katie MacAlister brings us heroes who are more than mere mortals in two sparkling new novellas of the Otherworld.

STAG PARTY

Dane Hearne -- also known as the Irish fertility god Cernunnos -- must choose a bride quickly. His long-time goddess has run off with a salsa dancer, and Dane must be married by Beltane, just a week away, or become a mortal -- and die. When he meets American travel writer Megan St. Clair, he knows he's found his soul mate. But while Dane is a sexy Irish hunk with his fair share of blarney, can he convince Megan to marry him in just one week?

NORSE TRULY

Alrik Sigurdsson is cursed to sail his Viking ship along the same stretch of Scandinavian coastline forever. So when lovely American Brynna Lund skids her car off the road into the ocean, he and his men are happy for the diversion of rescuing her. Then Alrik discovers that Brynna is the only woman who can break the curse. Is it any wonder that he's determined to keep her...forever?
~~

You gotta love how Katie MacAlister has such a fine sense of the ridiculous. In both of these tales readers could have been turned off or distracted by all the mythology and randomness of the characters, but somehow MacAlister just gets it and makes the whole thing  a lot of fun. 

I do have to say that NORSE TRULY was my favorite of the two stories, I think because the timeline worked better for me. Both stories happen over a matter of days but I think because STAG PARTY is written from Dane's point of view I couldn't really understand Megan or her feelings as well. The HEA is still enjoyable but since I didn't feel as connected it seemed more like I'd just watched a funny one episode sitcom then a real full blown romance.

In NORSE TRULY I felt like Brynna and Alrik share the spotlight and I'm able to root for them to stay together by the end. Plus funny families and sudden appearances of all powerful gods in Pippi Longstocking themed amusement parks are pretty fantastic. What's not to like?

I'm not sure if I'd put down money and make this a keeper in my collection but it was great as a library read and very recommended if you want something easy and lighthearted.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - None.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Update from the Shelly Laurenston Newsletter

As we are all well aware, I love Shelly Laurenston and reread her books with an almost fanatical devotion to her characters. They make me THAT happy and folks, sometimes it's the little things that get you through the day.

In her latest newsletter she included an excerpt from her upcoming dragon series addition, The Dragon Who Loved Me. As usual it's pretty spiffy so I thought I'd pass it along in the hopes that it can make your Monday as bearable as it has made mine. 
~~

EXCERPT: (Unedited/Unproofed)
THE DRAGON WHO LOVED ME
From Kensington
Coming September 6, 2011!

They ended up taking several breaks because of Ren during the next day of travel. Whatever Magicks the Eastlander was doing were quite strong and Rhona began to worry about him.

While Keita took a quick nap by the base of a tree a few feet away, Rhona crouched beside Ren. They'd shifted to their human forms and dressed in case any true humans stumbled upon them. The land path they were flying above was often busy this time of year, and Rhona had no desire to kill some human because he simply stumbled into the midst of dragons and felt the need to warn his neighbors.

"What can I do for you, old friend?" Rhona asked.

Ren smiled at her. "Nothing. I'm fine."

"You don't look fine. You look like you've been out drinking with my cousins."

"Gods, do I really look that bad?" He grinned and Rhona felt better for seeing it. "I'm fine," he insisted. "Really. Exhausted, but fine. Once I get the children into the Eastlands, my father's strength and the power of my parents' home will get me back to my old self. I promise."

"Is there anything you need now?"

"Any food left?"

Her eyes crossed. "That barbarian's eaten what we've brought with us. He just sucks up all the food around him without caring about anyone else."

Ren chuckled. "It could be worse. He could be chatty."

"Good point. You know how I hate chatty." Rhona stood. "Let me see if I can track something down for you. I'll even roast it for you."

"That would be perfect. Thank you."

"Anything for you, Ren of the Chosen."

"Really? And why's that then?"

"Because you manage to control Keita and keep her relatively safe. For that alone -- the entire Clan owes you."

Rhona lifted her head, sniffed the air. "Deer," she said and went after it.

*****

Vigholf caught the deer by its throat and slammed it into a tree, snapping its neck, and tossed the carcass to the ground. His stomach grumbled and he reached for the animal, planning to tear it open and enjoy its still-warm insides.

But before his fingers could touch the animal's soft pelt, a blast of flame singed his human fingers.

"Gods-damnit! What was that for?"

"You have to be the most selfish dragon I've ever met," Rhona accused. "And considering my kin -- that's truly saying something."

"What did I do now?"

"Ren needs to eat."

"So? Let him eat."

"You've devoured all the dried beef and bread we had. You haven't even asked any of us if we're hungry or not."

Vigholf shrugged. "I asked Keita. But she -- "

"Keita? You asked Keita? Keita who's not doing any Magicks to protect her nieces and nephew? Keita who's not protecting anyone? Keita who's done nothing but talk about all the bloody dresses she plans to get -- not buy mind, but get -- when she arrives in Dark Plains? That's the one you're making sure is fed?"

Vigholf cleared his throat, scratched the back of his neck. "Well...yeah."

Rhona's eyes narrowed and she shoved him back from the carcass. "I'm giving this to Ren. You can bring your precious Keita something else that you caught or killed."

"That deer wasn't for her. It was for me. I'm hungry."

"Again?" Rhona gawked up at him. "How can you be hungry again? You've done nothing but eat all day. Now that I think about it, I've never seen a dragon eat while flying."

"Then clearly you're not putting in enough effort." Rhona's eyes narrowed again and Vigholf, in no mood to fight with her, quickly put his hands up. "There's more deer over in that glen. I'll grab one of those."

"Good."

Rhona crouched beside the carcass and proceeded to skin it.

Vigholf watched her for a time until he asked, "How's the Eastlander doing anyway?"

"He's tired. To his bones tired."

"You're worried about him."

"Aye. I am."

"You two seem...close."

Rhona gave a good yank and removed the deer's pelt with her bare hands. "Aye. I guess we are."

"How close?"

She tossed the pelt aside and looked up at Vigholf. "What?"

"How close are you to the one your sisters refer to as the 'handsome foreigner'?"

"Why are you asking?"

"Why won't you tell me?"

"Because it's none of your business?"

"And what exactly is none of my business? What are you hiding from me?"

Rhona stood, flicking the deer blood and pulp from her hands. "I hide nothing from you, but my business and my personal life are my own. Even my mother doesn't ask me these sorts of questions."

"I'm not your mother."

"No. So you have even less right."

"Then answer me this," he quickly said before she could walk off. "Are you two...attached?"

She snorted a small laugh. "No. Not like that. We're...old friends."

"Uh-huh."

"Unattached old friends. So leave it be."

Except Vigholf wasn't sure he could.

*****

Rhona blasted the deer with her flame, using the power of it to turn the carcass over and over until it was wonderfully roasted on all sides. She reached for it and lifted it onto her shoulder. That's when Vigholf asked, "Do you want to be attached?"

Rhona froze. All these questions were beginning to get strange. Then again, the barbarian was strange.

"Attached to what?"

"A mate of your own."

"Guess I hadn't thought much about it. Why?"

"No reason."

"How could you have no reason to ask me that?" Rhona snapped.

"Because I don't."

"Well you don't have to snarl!" She turned away from him.

"But," he said to her back, "you're not against having a mate?"

Rhona faced him again. "Why are you asking me these questions?"

"Because I'm curious."

"Well, be curious with another female."

"Why? What's wrong with you?"

"Nothing's wrong with me except that I'd never settle for a male who wouldn't fight with me in battle."

"I've been fighting with you in battle for five years."

"Not willingly."

"That's ox shit. When have I ever said -- "

"'Females...fighting by my side?'" Rhona imitated in her low, making-fun-of-Vigholf voice that she used to entertain the triplets. " ‘When did the hells come to earth?'"

He blinked. "Oh. All right. I may have said those words before but -- "

"But what?"'

"But not when it's been you. I've never said those words about you. You've impressed me from the beginning."

"How very big of you," she snipped, again turning away from him. "You lunkhead."

Rhona took a few steps but Vigholf cut in front of her. "I'll admit that my opinion of female fighters was that there were none. But," he quickly added when she hissed, "you and your sisters have changed my opinion on that belief. Shame I can't say the same about you believing all Northlanders are barbarians."

"You are all barbarians."

"Even Ragnar?"

"Well...no. But he's different. Special."

Vigholf's left eye twitched and she suddenly felt in fear for Ragnar's safety. But, after a moment, Vigholf went on. "And has any of my brethren tried kidnapping one of you, forcing you into a Claiming?"

Rhona rolled her eyes. "No."

He took a step toward her, closing the gap between them. "Have some of us not proven ourselves to be excellent strategists in battle rather than berserkers you need to leash between fights?"

"I guess."

Another step. "Haven't we been polite and considerate to all the female warriors even when they're throwing ale, starting fights, and generally being a bit unstable?"

She let out a breath. "Most of you, yes."

"Then how about giving us a break? Giving me a break?" Another step. "Since we're all doing so well that is."

They were nearly touching now, his grey eyes gazing down at her.

"I have to get this meat to Ren," she said. "He needs to eat before we can return to the skies."

"All right."

But he didn't move or stop looking at her that way. She couldn't explain what that way was -- but it was that way. So Rhona forced herself to walk around him and slowly headed back to her cousin and friend.

Although to be honest, she really wanted to make a run for it. She just didn't know why.

Copyright © Shelly Laurenston 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Go Amazon go!

I know Amazon is considered by some to be contributing to the downfall of physical bookstores, but I still like hearing about them giving Apple the finger :)

Remember how a little while ago Apple said that apps downloaded through their store that sold books had to give them a significant (I think 30%?) share of the profit**? Well Amazon has side stepped that with their Kindle Cloud Reader which is accessed through a browser instead of the more familiar downloaded app - which makes it exempt from Apple's stupid rule. My roommate pointed the article out to me in the Wall Street Journal and I thought it was fantastic. It seems like Apple is always trying to mess with people, whether it be through censorship, selective selling, or unfair claims on publisher/author profits.

Fingers crossed over here at RAtChaos that with this new move other online sellers will also learn how to market and sell books to their respective audiences without Apple's interference.

**Jane over at Dear Author does a much better job explaining Apple's original move. For more info please check out her post!

The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen

Master storyteller Jane Yolen (Owl Moon, Sword of the Rightful King) and celebrated fantasy artist Rebecca Guay (Swamp Thing, Magic: The Gathering) weave a textured and lyrical tale of adventure, homelands, and heroism the hard way.

Two hundred years ago, humans drove the dragons from the islands of May. Now, the last of the dragons rises to wreak havoc anew-with only a healer's daughter and a kite-flying would-be hero standing in its way.

A compelling coming-of-age fantasy with exquisite fully painted art!
~~

I don't know if I'd completely commit to calling this a 'compelling coming-of-age fantasy' (I'd go to Tamora Pierce for that) but Yolen and Guay have come together to create a very visually beautiful and engaging tale. 

Long after the dragons are thought dead by the people of May, one is born beneath the branches of a fallen tree. Quickly growing in size it becomes the same type of deadly monster that moved the ancestors of these people to hunt them down. Unprepared for such a beast the townspeople must band together, along with an outsider who's not quite what he seems, to try and defeat it. 

I like my summary better.

The art is beautiful and I think it does to so much to further the story- it works hand in hand with Yolen's descriptions. Guay also does a fantastic job depicting personality and moment, two of the biggest problems I usually have with graphic novels. 

Ultimately while the story might be a bit too predictable, Yolen and Guay coming together has resulted in a comic that will be great to read on your own or aloud with others.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - None, title to be released on 9/21/2011

**I requested this title for review from NetGalley.**

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Midnight Sins by Lora Leigh

His name is Rafer Callahan. He was a kid from the wrong side of the tracks who fought through life the only way he knew how: with his fists. But Rafer never meant to bring any harm to Cambria Flannigan, the girl—the lover—whose sister he’d been unable to save…

Cami lost her sister in the brutal murders that rocked her hometown so many years ago. Some still believe that Rafe, along with his friends Logan and Crowe, were involved. But how could Rafe—who haunted her girlish dreams, then her adult fantasies—be a killer? That is the question that keeps her up at night.

Now a prosperous ranch owner, Rafe is trying to build a new legacy for himself. It’s finally time to settle the score with Cami—and make her his. But old wounds open up with a series of new murders…and each of the victims has a connection to Rafe, Logan, and Crowe. With suspicion, fear, and loyalty tearing her apart, Cami is once again at risk of losing her heart—or her life.
~~

There was some good and some bad with this particular series opener, but for the most part I really enjoyed it and would definitely purchase the second to see what happens next.

The good: as usual Leigh writes a good alpha male and a not bad female protagonist. Both have had some rough lessons when it comes to love, survival, acceptance, trust - really all of those things you usually need to have a long-lasting happy relationship. Which is why I find their slightly rocky road to pretty believable, as neither wants to admit they're committed and would be deeply unhappy without the other. I liked all three of the cousins, enough that I actively want to see what becomes of them in the next few books, though realizing just how drawn out the mystery of  'who & why' was going to be did make me a little sad. Also for any of those who've read Leigh before you will be happy (sad?) to know that she still keeps the spice level very high.

The bad: for some reason, and I know this is going to sound weird, the sex talk between Rafer and Cami came off weird to me. I don't even know how I can explain it, if it was the rapidity with which they started having sex or how open Cami and Rafer were in explicitly stating what they wanted and how they wanted it, but somehow it just seemed very stilted to me. And this is me just coming on after Holly's The Assassins' Lover so I know it's not that I had a problem with the sex itself, but, but....I don't know! It just didn't work for me. 

Secondly I feel like there were quite a few times when I wanted to shake Rafer or at least slap him upside the head. When closing in on the end of the book he started questioning why she didn't tell him about the threatening phone calls and stuff with Jaymi I almost started yelling. She'd told him multiple times by this point, maybe not saying exactly what was said but that they had been happening before and were now, and he just hadn't considered it important! It's not Cami's fault you were being a dumb-dumb, and his insistence on trying to 'get to the bottom of things' later on was annoying.

There were generally some other inconsistencies throughout the book that for the most part I ignored, and feel to reveal here would be spoiler-y, but if you want a warning I'd head over to Amazon and read the reviews there. As much as I hate to say it, I can't argue with what they're saying so much.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) Midnight Sins 2) Deadly Sins (2/28/2012)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Assassins' Lover by Emma Holly

Katsu Shinobi isn’t your ordinary princess. For one thing, she’s a Yama, a member of a supposedly demonic race Humans discovered living secretly among them forty years ago. For another, Kat doesn’t subscribe to the icy-hearted principles most royals swear by. She wants to live life—maybe not as recklessly as Humans but as fully as she dares.

Accustomed to sharing women, demon assassins Ciran and Hattori introduce Kat to the pleasures of an intense ménage. Neither expects to lose their heart to her, or that Kat's enemies will one day hire them to kill her.

Their bid for freedom will pit them against the icy dangers of diamond lands and the alien comforts of a Victorianesque Human world. Most of all, though, this daring trio will need to conquer the threat within. Only when they put all their faith in love will they find happiness together.
~~

There are few women who write erotica like Emma Holly. I tried to explain the plot of this book to my coworker without making it sound completely ridiculous and I came to two conclusions:

1) America is such a prudish country that I find it hard to explain how a relationship of 3 people can be really really meaningful and full of emotion.

2) Even things that make no sense work in Holly's world, I think solely because it's Emma Holly.

To get to the point of this review, Holly released The Assassans' Lover as a self-published e-title and I'm excited to say that it's just as of full of story and depth as they always have been. Plus the lots and lots of sex hasn't gone anywhere either. 

Kat first meets Ciran and Hattori when they've been employed as her cousin's bodyguards, but things rapidly heat up into the kind of no-holds-barred explosion that Holly (at least in my mind) is known for. Still what's great about her erotica is that it doesn't feel out of place or cheesy. It's not like that porno where the delivery man knocks on the front door and is holding the package in front of his junk. It's a quick transition but it's meaningful, and something that all three of them remember 4 years later when circumstances bring them together.

Now it's unfortunate that those circumstances are Kat's stepmother hiring Ciran and Hattori to kill her, but what are you gonna do? It's time to make the best of things. The three of them then spend the rest of the book (a hefty 260 pages by the way) trying to figure out how to fool the stepmother, save Hattori's twin brother, build a new life in a human city, AND decipher the rocky road to a stable relationship where everyone feels valued and loved.

Yeah Emma Holly doesn't make things easy for herself. I loved it though and I can't wait to pick up some of her other self published titles because if this is any indication, they should all be great.

Oh and yes this is part of a very specific world from her previous Yama stories. There's no specific connection so newcomers won't be lost, but the nuances of how everyone interacts are more clear with the background from the other titles. 

Highly recommended!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up.

Series - 1) The Demon's Daughter 2) Hot Spell (anthology) 3) Prince of Ice 4) Demon's Delight 5) Beyond the Dark (anthology) 6) Demon's Fire 7) The Assassins' Lover

**Title requested from author for review**

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My LAST Ghost Story thing I promise (at least for this week)


Also, if you haven't read Patrick Rothfuss his books are wonderful epic fantastic novels and I would highly recommend them too :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn’t doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin.
 
But being dead doesn’t stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has no body, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own.
 
To save his friends — and his own soul — Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic…
~~

 This is a hard review for me to write, mostly because I'd love to just blab everything amazing and pertinent about this book all over the internets. BUT as that would most likely result in a pitchfork and torches carrying mob to come after me, I'll try to resist the urge and do this without spoilers.

If you haven't read Changes though you're about to be completely messed up because I can't talk about Ghost Story without addressing the obvious - Harry is dead and this is his ghost story. I love how Butcher maintained that the last book was not a cliffhanger, that instead it was the natural conclusion to everything that happened. Now I can't say whether I completely agree with how he's trying to spin it, but he's been very vocal that this is what Harry was fighting for; to protect his daughter even if it cost him his life - that it did was just sad. 

I was a little worried about Ghost Story because I wasn't sure how Butcher was going to swing the communication from the other side angle, if there would be rule and restrictions on who he could contact and how. Luckily he proved my fears groundless pretty quickly as he has Harry search out the one person who can help him contact the friends he left behind. From there it's got the same rapid plot development, soul searching, and action that makes each Dresden better than the last. And ultimately the mystery that's always been at the heart of these books is even more important in this one: who killed Harry and why? The question haunts (hah - haunts) the whole story and it's not answer till the very end. 

It's a great ending by the way, in case you were like me and concerned. Butcher definitely doesn't let you down and wraps things up so that it stays true to the series and Harry. I can't say much more without big huge spoilers, so we'll just leave it at that and I'll end by saying I think Butcher did the best thing he could with the story he has created, which is really all I can ask for.

In no way will this book will be as meaningful or amazing without the back story of the first 12 novels but it is amazing and I highly recommend it.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. 

Series - ...11) Turn Coat 12) Changes 13) Ghost Story

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Teaser Thursday (8/4)

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!

"There are no words. It was like The Lord of the Rings and All My Children made a baby with the Macho Man Randy Savage and a Whac-A-Mole machine."

--pg 156, Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

July in Review

Sometimes I worry that I'm slowing down with the number of books I read. Then I have to remind myself that I'm reading for PLEASURE and it's not a contest. I read and review and hope to do it a manner that's fun to read for other people, but it's ok for me to read less books one month than I have the previous.

Obviously I never got over the sense of competition instilled in me as a small child. Also, I wish I was back here:


But since I can't be, let's get onto the books shall we?

Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz
Secrets of the Highlander by Janet Chapman
Making Chase by Lauren Dane
Split Second by Catherine Coulter
Mystical Warrior by Janet Chapman
Chased by Lauren Dane
Savor the Danger by Lori Foster
Out of Control by Shannon McKenna
The Royal Mess by MaryJanice Davidson
The Search by Nora Roberts
Hot Night by Shannon McKenna
Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts
Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
To Challenge a Dragon by G.A. Aiken

Read/Reviewed:
15/11

Challenge wise I'm pretty happy because I've finally been able to add a couple titles to my  Support Your Local Library Challenge. Same goes for the Romantic Suspense Challenge though I think I must have been out of my mind to think I was going to read 40 throughout the year. Oy. We'll see about that one.

Goodbye L.A. Banks



While I had known she was battling a serious illness, I am very sad to say that author L.A. Banks has lost her battle with late stage adrenal cancer. My heart goes out to her family, friends, and fans, and I urge all of us to remember to keep them in our thoughts. 

If you haven't already please consider donating to help her family cope with medical bills.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Geek of the Week (8/2)

Since I don't have Jim Butcher footage (cry!) and I haven't finished either my July round-up or my review of Ghost Story, you guys get to enjoy some geeky goodness. So go. Enjoy. That's an order ;)

1) 30 Days til Dragon*Con!
I just can't explain to you how excited I am for this. After weeks of hotel mix up HELL, my room in the Maririott is confirmed at a price that won't bankrupt me. AND I have outfits, shoes, jewelry galore to go with the weekend, though at this point I should really start thinking seriously about the makeup.

2) And at Dragon*Con? They're having a MASKED BALL. I have no idea how I'm going to make another outfit happen but it has to happen.
I'm 25, Dragon*Con's 25, this whole thing is just going to be epic! Of course finding out about this just yesterday means I have nothing to wear but with the strength of Goodwill and DC thrift stores behind me I'm determined to persevere!

 I want it to be exactly like this. Promise, kay?

3) Buffy's Back! (well ok not really)
 Sarah Michelle Gellar is returning to TV this fall with the show Ringer, which will (unfortunately) air on the CW.  I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. From the preview below it could be great it could be really really bad, so I think I'll try to just hold my opinion about this one and see what it's like.

4) In time?
I need to get off the Justin Timberlake bandwagon, but I just can't seem to help myself.  By the end of the preview I was more than ready to put down my $11. Plus it has Amanda Seyfried! I love her (in Jennifer's Body though, not Red Riding Hood. That movie was poop.).


5) Jeri Ryan on Warehouse 13
One of my favorite characters from Star Trek: Voyager. It makes me wish I was even a little familiar with the show!



6) Did you know there are two Dracula 2000 sequels? Cause there totally are.
If you were looking for some titles to add to your list for bad movie night have I got a couple for you! Dracula 2000 was my first exposure to Gerard Butler on screen (and I'm still proud that in 8th grade I was the only one of my friends not carded for the rated R movie) but I couldn't believe when I found out there were TWO sequels! Thank you free Comcast movies, thank you.


Guys I can't even tell you, they're so bad and so good at the same time. The second is definitely better than the third, I think they tried to take themselves too seriously in that one, but the third has Rutgar Hauer (of Buffy movie Dracula fame) playing Dracula again! Please if you haven't already watched these run to your nearest movie rental location, if nothing else so you can appreciate how the second movie had to completely ignore the ending of Dracula 2000 in order to have the plot make any sense.

7) Le Roi Soleil
This is a French musical. With beautiful people singing beautiful music. Don't miss out :)


Yes I am THIS geeky. Don't pretend to be surprised, lol. 

Edit: And in case you missed the link on Facebook, don't forget to check out theMarySue.com's list of 10 Action Librarians. You won't regret it, mostly because librarians are incredibly badass.