Friday, March 30, 2012

Bear Meets Girl by Shelly Laurenston

Lou Crushek is a reasonable, mellow, easygoing kind of guy—especially for a shapeshifting bear. But once someone starts killing the scumbags he works so hard to bust, that really gets under his fur. Especially when that someone is a curvy she -- tiger who's bringing his passion out of hibernation...

Marcella Malone is a member of an elite feline protection unit, and Crush is proving one major pain in her gorgeous tail. The only reason she's joined forces with him is to track down the wealthy human who's got her entire species in his ruthless sights. But there's no denying that beneath that big, burly exterior is a man who knows how to rub her in all the right ways... 

I didn't know I wanted Crush & Cella's story but apparently I really wanted Crush & Cella's story.  This book has all of the classic Laurenston touches that make her books so fun to read - sassy females, loveable alpha males, action and supporting characters you both love and hate. I don't ever find myself bored with her books and I know that I can read them without fear of emotional scarring - which I really needed right now. Plus there's definitely something to say (something positive) about an author who doesn't back down with previous characters. Bo Novikov is a dick. He likes being a dick, even if he doesn't quite see it that way, and doesn't have any intentions to change. Laurenston sticks with that, forces her characters to deal with and respond to that, and it makes for a hilarious story. 

But ok, back to Crush and Cella. Cella is blunt and relishes the chance to embarrass Crush out of his scowly life rut. She doesn't take no for an answer and even though it makes no sense to him, Crush spends most of this book as her 'pretend' boyfriend. Yes 'pretend' - and strange as that sounds it makes perfect sense in the book I promise. There are tons of sparks between the two of them and as they inch their way to love and long term happiness it's a ride for the reader that you don't want to get off at the end.

The mystery/cop elements of the story might take a back seat to the relationship (it is a romance after all) but I never felt that anything was handled carelessly. The bad guys were very bad and I hope that Dee-Ann, or Dez or Cella, get another shot at making them hurt in a future book. 


Overall Feeling - A+

Series - ...5) Beast Behaving Badly 6) Big Bad Beast 7) Bear Meets Girl

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Doubletake by Rob Thuman

Half-human/half-monster Cal Leandros knows that family is a pain. But now that pain belongs to his half-brother, Niko. Niko's shady father is in town, and he needs a big favor. Even worse is the reunion being held by the devious Puck race-including the Leandros' friend, Robin- featuring a lottery that no Puck wants to win.

As Cal tries to keep both Niko and Robin from paying the ultimate price for their kin, a horrific reminder from Cal's own past arrives to remind him that blood is thicker than water-and that's why it's so much more fun to spill.

This series is one of the few urban fantasy ones I read and as much as I love it I have to admit that sometimes I wish it wasn't so damn complicated. I only say that as a criticism because I can be lazy and my brain doesn't always want to work so hard. Or I'm tired and emotions don't always want to be engaged. Crazy right? Well if you flip that around you get what makes this series so great, including unforgettable characters and a world with significant depth and complexity. 

Cal and Niko are brothers through everything. Through life, death, blood, and tears it always come back to that bond and how they refuse to give up on each other. It makes for a hard to swallow story sometimes because the easy answer, or the answer that might be better for the rest of the world, isn't the one they choose. In this book in particular we get over and over again examples of how there commitment to each other supersedes everything else and I definitely found myself tearing up while reading about Cal as a 4 year old.

I'm a little worried about where the series is going and am keeping my fingers crossed that some lightheartedness finds it way back in. Without it I'm still going to keep reading, but with it I may actually end up reading it on release day. 

Overall Feeling - B

Series - 1) Nightlife 2) Moonshine 3) Madhouse 4) Deathwish 5) Roadkill 6) Blackout 7) Doubletake

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays (3/27)

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!

"It wasn't his first date for God's sake. He'd had unlawful carnal knowledge of this woman. More than once."

--pg 41, Once and Again by Lauren Dane

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spellbound Falls by Janet Chapman

Maximilian Oceanus arrives in Spellbound Falls just in time to save Olivia Baldwin from an overly aggressive suitor, only to find himself attracted to the beautiful, if rather aloof, widow. And although Mac has come to Inglenook to get a handle on fatherhood, his newly discovered six-year-old son has set his sights on finding his father a wife.

Olivia, however, is busy getting Inglenook ready for its new season, so she doesn’t have time to deal with her growing attraction to the dangerously seductive Mac. Besides, weird stuff seems to happen all around him. Take the fact that her seatbelt keeps getting stuck in his presence, or locks magically open for him without keys, and that he seems to have a talent for sensing things. Never mind the three lost albatrosses walking down the road in the middle of the night. Since when are there albatrosses in Maine?

But despite Olivia’s resistance to falling under the sexy man’s spell, Olivia is having trouble fighting her longing. Because she knows Mac is just the man to unlock the powerful passion deep within her….

If you follow me on Twitter you probably read some of the worries I had Monday night about this turning into a 'hero teaches the heroine the error of her ways' kind of romance. I hate preachy and similar to my feelings about heroines who have to overcome a feeling of 'shame' I have no patience for it. I like my heroines crazy and messed up and I want a hero who loves her just the way she is. 

I was so happy to find out that Max was actually underestimating just how sane Olivia was under her surface crazy.  Olivia is more of a behind the scenes mover and shaker - she doesn't have an interest in battling people head on for things that she can make happen in a more roundabout way. As someone who deals with life in a similar fashion, this was an attitude I could definitely get behind.

Combine this with Chapman's classically wonderful characters and you've got a very nice romance. Max and Henry were great, both unsure on how to navigate the tricky road to father and son, and almost every 'small town' person who popped up had a purpose and added to the story. Though I would say some people might as well have had a huge 'HERE I AM' sign over their heads because the mystery of who they were wasn't all that hard to figure out. But hey, for a contemporary romance the mystery of a character's backstory isn't that big of a deal and the connection between Max and Olivia was more than enough to make up for any perceived lack.

Overall Feeling - B-

Series - 1) Spellbound Falls 2) Charmed by his Love (May 29, 2012)

**These books are connected to the Midnight Bay series - see Mystical Warrior

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Reading is nerdy cool too!

(Though I do wish they'd picked a slightly catchier song - I just don't like Kanye & Jay Z enough)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I promise that sometimes I actually do work at work,

instead of reading books from Target.

Other times?


Happy Tuesday! Here's hoping you have the best sweets filled day ever :D

Monday, March 19, 2012

Beauty in the Beast by Christine Danse

Journeying by steam-powered sled to London's Frost Fair to perform, Tara and three friends are trapped in a blizzard in the woods. A gruff, handsome stranger offers them shelter-and wants one thing in return. Stories.

The travellers are glad to oblige. Their host, Rolph, is especially captivated by Tara's story of an orphaned girl raised by the Fae in the world of the spirits. Equally intrigued by Rolph, and aware of an electric pull between them, Tara encourages him to share a story of his own. When Rolph weaves a tale of a man who is doomed by his own folly to turn into a wolf at the full moon, Tara suspects there is more than a grain of truth in his words.

When the veil between the mortal and spiritual worlds is parted, and danger threatens, will Tara make the ultimate sacrifice to save Rolph?

I'm usually a little leery of fairytale re-tellings but this Steampunk laden tale by Christine Danse is an entertaining one. The story and romance is soft and subtle, with Rolph and Tara both having to overcome personal demons in order to trust their feelings. I liked the fact that it wasn't a jump into bed kind of thing, because while I certainly feel there's a time and place for that (I even like it in other stories), I don't think it would have been as authentic to the characters' personalities. 

I didn't think the stories told by firelight was too cliche, though it was clear from the start who was telling personal tales and who was doing it for the sake of entertainment. It just added another layer to everything else, and the spurt of action at the end with the suggestion of a HEA was nice for someone like me who often reads romances where everything is laid out step-by-step for the reader. 

Overall Feeling - B-

Series - None

**Title requested from NetGalley for review***

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fair Game by Patricia Briggs

They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.

Now that the werewolves have revealed themselves to humans, they can't afford any bad publicity. Infractions that could have been overlooked in the past must now be punished, and the strain of doing his father's dirty work is taking a toll on Charles.

Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack's help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer's sights...

Finally! I know, I'm sorry this took so long but I had to reread Cry Wolf and Hunting Ground. Under penalty of death I could not have told you want happened in those books and I didn't want to read Fair Game without the right background.

I will be a good little reviewer and not spoil the big surprised at the end and instead talk about the best thing with this series - character development. It's even more clear when you read them back to back how delicately Briggs is handling the development of Anna's character; from victim to independent woman she has grown and changed - and not just in relation to Charles. The mate-bond is a big deal and of course important to their relationship but Charles doesn't want Anna's strength to come solely from him; I guess you could say it's his Native American ancestry, but he wants her to go out and grow for herself, to become someone who knows their own strengths and weaknesses without boundaries. Not trying to sound corny, but it's really very beautiful.

I'll leave you with a little note to those who have already read the book - I'm a little bloodthirsty so I FREAKING LOVED IT and can't wait to see what happens next.

Overall Feeling - A

Series - 1) Cry Wolf 2) Hunting Ground 3) Fair Game

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Awkward and Awesome Thursday!

***Awkward and Awesome Thursday is hosted by Sydney at The Daybook. It's a style/life blog but I love her personality and think inserting a bit more of my own here is never a bad thing :). I can't promise them every week but I'll do what I can!

-85 degree weather in March. I am not prepared for the sudden influx of heat and I miss Spring dammit! Not summer.
-No longer wanted but volunteered for responsibility. I feel as if lately all I've been doing are things that I feel like I 'have' to do which is a crock - I don't have to do anything but continue breathing, get old, and die.
-Trying to clear out my closet - again - and finding that the clothes I have now I mostly like and don't want to get rid of.
-Finding a new face serum that I love and might actually work but then realizing it's kind of hideously expensive.
-Twitter. I'm so bad at it it's laughable. How does one tweet when they're having fun when it seems to require you to stop having fun to do it?
-This pseudo case of carpal that I have going on. My right wrist is not having a good week.
-Other people who have me Google for them. I am not your Google-r ok? I promise, your fingers can work the keyboard just as well as mine can.

-New books. These never suck :D
-Sitting on the roof during lunch, enjoying the sun and reading. It might suck to sit staring at the beautiful day outside my window but that time during lunch is pretty amazing.
-Lowlights! Or highlights. Whatever you want to call them, I love the new pieces of color throughout my hair.
-The Cherry Blossoms in DC. They're just starting to open up and I can't wait to see them in full bloom.
-A bit of an oldy, but new bags from HauteLook. I'm trying to incorporate the 'day clutch' into my outfits, but I haven't quite figured out how to function when you've always got one hand busy.
-Good skin days. As an acne sufferer I really appreciate days when I feel like my skin is looking good. Less makeup? Not always a bad thing for me. (I wish they'd last a little longer though)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire

Ghoulies. Ghosties. Long-legged beasties. Things that go bump in the night... The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity-and humanity from them. Enter Verity Price. Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she'd rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance.

Sounds pretty simple, right? It would be, if it weren't for the talking mice, the telepathic mathematicians, the asbestos supermodels, and the trained monster-hunter sent by the Price family's old enemies, the Covenant of St. George. When a Price girl meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed. To complicate matters further, local cryptids are disappearing, strange lizard-men are appearing in the sewers, and someone's spreading rumors about a dragon sleeping underneath the city...

A lifetime of training isn't enough to prepare Verity for what's ahead- especially not for Dominic De Luca, the Covenant's newest operative. When a Price girls meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed.

It's nice to be surprised by a book every once and a while ;). Apparently I let my stalking tendencies take a break because when I went into Barnes and Noble on Tuesday for the latest new releases, guess what *wasn't* on my list? A new Seanan McGuire. 

Discount Armageddon is the start of a new urban fantasy series and I've got say that it's not bad - not bad at all. I had a bit of a slow start, mostly because I don't think I was prepared for the change in tone between this and her Toby Daye books, but Verity really starts to grow on you. She's a smartass who knows what she's talking about and isn't willing to let people rest on ignorance or disavow what's right in front of them. 

The mystery here was top notch as usual - McGuire never seems to let me assume anything and right when I think I know whodunnit I'm confronted with brand new information that changes everything. The monsters, or cryptids, are very unique and well thought out; I never felt like they were an afterthought or something just thrown in. Instead they were characters in and of themselves, with skill sets that could either help or harm Verity.

Combine an intricate plot with great characters and a willingness to kick ass and you've got a good beginning to what I think will be a great series. 

Overall Feeling - B

Series - 1) Discount Armageddon

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Oracle's Moon by Thea Harrison

As a second daughter, Grace Andreas never had to worry about the intrigues of the Elder Races. But when her sister, Petra, and Petra's husband are both killed, Grace inherits the Power and responsibilities of the Oracle of Louisville, as well as her sister's two young children - neither of which she is prepared for.

Yet, she is not alone. Khalil, Demonkind and Djinn prince of House Marid - driven by his genuine caring for the children - has decided to make himself a part of the household both as their guardian and as an exasperating counterpoint to Grace's impudence toward the Elder Races.

But when an attempt is made on Grace's life, she realizes that Khalil is the only one who can protect her - and offer her more than a mortal man...

Can I just say one word?


I loved this book! It's so freaking good!! Khalil and Grace are just awesome - her spunk and tenacity, his non-overbearing Alpha male instincts and sex appeal - they're perfect together and their journey is so fun to read. This book has great supporting characters, action, a mystery to be solved and powers to be controlled; all the earmarks of a great paranormal and with Khalil and Grace the romance is never left out or forgotten. I cannot recommend this book enough and hope you pick up the rest of the books first as I can't see this series going anywhere but up :D.

Overall Feeling - A+

Series - 1) Dragon Bound 2) Storm's Heart 3) Serpent's Kiss 4) Oracle's Moon 5) Lord's Fall (not yet released)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays (3/6)

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

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

"He felt it again, the shift of the world's axis, the conviction that true north had moved and nothing would ever be the same again.

He felt it. He just had no idea what it meant."

--pg 27, True Colors by Thea Harrison

Monday, March 5, 2012

February in Review

Late is better than never right? Well February was a hard month in the whole reading department because it almost felt like my mind was too burnt out to read. I couldn't imagine sitting down and picking up a new book - there just didn't seem like there was room. I was helping out on a project back at my alma mater that required much time, travel, and organization and apparently I can only do so much of all that at the same time without losing my mind.

BUT things are looking up - I'm done with that side project, I've managed to clean my house (though they're some scrubbing still to be done) and I'm slowly working my way up to the Kim Harrison that I was *supposed* to read weeks ago.

Yay for surviving! 

Also, Happy Belated Valentine's Day! I hope everyone got to eat copious amounts of chocolate and spend the day with whoever means the most to you - significant others, family, friends, etc. I quite enjoyed the time on my couch and an early night's sleep.

The Stanislaski Brothers by Nora Roberts (A+)
Montana Sky by Nora Roberts (Mini Me)
Waiting for Nick by Nora Roberts (A+)
Considering Kate by Nora Roberts (A+)
Worth the Risk by Nora Roberts
Buckhorn Brothers - Morgan by Lori Foster (B)
Buckhorn Brothers - Gabe by Lori Foster (B)
Buckhorn Brothers - Jordan by Lori Foster (B)
Shadow Game by Christine Feehan
Mind Game by Christine Feehan
The Highlander's Touch by Karen Marie Moning
The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
Into the Dreaming by Karen Marie Moning (Mini Me)