Friday, November 30, 2012

November in Review

I told myself I was going to do better this month as far as 'books read' goes but I was fooling myself. How I thought that goal was going to work when I was headed to Hong Kong for a week was beyond me. Still the highlights are here and you get the general idea right? Lol! Forgive me and let's hope that 2013 just makes me that much more consistent with tracking. Maybe I can create a list on my phone? That may work better than one exclusively on my home laptop. 

And besides traveling the globe I ended up hitting another milestone this month - Reading Amidst the Chaos is at 200 likes on Facebook! I know it's probably a ridiculous number celebrate but it is incredibly cool to me to imagine there are 200 people out there who don't mind my intermittent updates in the world of book blogging. I have to say thank you to each and every one of you for connecting with me there and I'm going to be doing a special FB only giveaway during December to celebrate!

But now on to the books!

Realm of the Gods by Tamora Pierce
Petals and Thorns by Jeffe Kennedy (B+)
The Boldest Man in Ballymuir by Dorien Kelly (B+)
The Brightest Flame in Ballymuir by Dorien Kelly
The Billionaire Bad Boys Club by Emma Holly (Review coming soon!)
Born to be Wild by Donna Kauffman (B)
Midnight Heat by Donna Kauffman (Review coming soon!)
Lord's Fall by Thea Harrison (A+)
Fur Play by Christine Warren
Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz
Pride Christmas in Brooklyn by Shelly Laurenston
Tart by Lauren Dane (Review coming soon!)
Coming Undone by Lauren Dane

My favorite? I gotta give it to Emma Holly! I've already reread part of The Billionaire Bad Boys Club and I highly recommend for a spicy holiday read :).

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Born to be Wild by Donna Kauffman

Zach Brogan was sexier than sin, a globe-trotting wild man whose bad-boy smile beckoned Dara Colbourne to taste thrills only he could deliver! He’d always sensed the secret wildness that burned inside his childhood pal, had tempted her into trouble more than once, but now he wanted the woman she’d become to feel his fire. Could a man who chased danger for a living prove she’d be his greatest adventure?

After I finished Surrender the Dark I knew I had to pick back up with rest of the Three Musketeers. It was an easy enough choice knowing that each would be tight but entertaining contemporary romances with a built in trilogy being the end of it. 

I have to admit a certain love for the smart alec so I knew this one would be fun to read. Zach rides the line of annoyance very well, especially once he admits that the reason for his teasing is because of the feelings he has has for Dara. I would say that the childhood frenemies to lovers is a well known plot but it's not one that has lost its appeal for me. Zach's sweet but risk loving, balanced by his strict attention to detail; his risks might appear thoughtless from the outside be he's always careful to keep everyone as safe as possible. Dara's past with her father and fiance make this is a bit hard to accept but finally even she has to admit that life with Zach is worth whatever fears she may have. Their evolving relationship - even when it's rocky - still has that core of emotion that makes their final HEA worth it. Definitely recommended, though the most enjoyment comes from reading this as a part of the larger series.

Overall Feeling - B

Series - 1) Surrender the Dark 2) Born to be Wild 3) Midnight Heat

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays (11/27)

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! 

"He shrugged and she noted the faint blush on his neck and then wondered how his skin would taste. Like the hussy she was."

--pg 11, Tart by Lauren Dane

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lord's Fall by Thea Harrison

Before she met Dragos, half-human/half-Wyr Pia Giovanni was alone and on the run. Now she’s mated, pregnant and heading south to repair the Wyrs’ frayed relationship with the Elves. Being separated from Dragos is painful, but for the good of the Wyr demesne they need to figure out how to be partners—in more places than just the bedroom.

In New York to preside over the Sentinel Games, Dragos is worried about his mate, but knows that finding two replacement sentinels is essential to show the rest of the Elder Races just how strong and brutal the Wyr demesne can be. But as the Games heat up, Pia’s negotiations with the Elves take a turn for the dangerous, straining her bond with Dragos and threatening everything they hold dear…


Sometimes it's just awesome to be wrong. I had a little bit of readers' anxiety going in to this book because I just love Pia and Dragos together - did I want to read about them separately going through stuff? I was 50/50 on it but I can happily tell you that while these two do spent some of the action apart in the beginning of the book soon enough they're back together before any of the really bad stuff happens. 

And yes, some bad stuff happens. The intense feelings between Pia and Dragos don't fade though, their love for each other is still very apparent in this book, but around them are some bad people doing bad things. Which sucks for the diplomatic intentions that Pia had for going into Elven territory, but ultimately there's just no way around it. 

Harrison does a fantastic job weaving older characters with the introduction of new ones, and my only complaint is that I liked some of the new ones enough that I wish they'd had more screen time. But as I'm hoping this just means we'll see them again later (maybe some of them will get their own books?) I'm willing to be patient, lol. This is another great addition to a series that's just getting better with time. I love that even as each book stands alone (kinda) the story is obviously building with many new and interesting avenues to explore in the future. (And the ending? SO CUTE!)

Overall Feeling - A+

Series - 1) Dragon Bound 2) Storm's Heart 3) Serpent's Kiss 4) Oracle's Moon 5) Lord's Fall

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Boldest Man in Ballymuir by Dorien Kelly

When bold and sexy businessman Devlin Gilvane arrives in the Irish village of Ballymuir, almost everyone is taken by his charm. Only American chef Jenna Fahey sees the threat he poses. She's highly suspicious of the way Dev is sniffing around Muir House, the old manor house she has leased and worked relentlessly to turn into a restaurant on the brink of international fame. Muir House has been Jenna's redemption from a dark past, and she will fight to the end to make it hers. Dev needs the property to reach the top of the multinational resorts corporation that employs him. He won't let one admittedly beautiful chef get in his way. But neither Dev nor Jenna expects the passion that ignites between them, or the secrets that reveal themselves as their lives collide.

Again Dorien Kelly has written a feel good romance with just enough drama to keep me invested in the outcome. Sparks are immediate between Dev and Jenna but from the reader perspective you have to wonder how things are going to work; we know that Dev is looking to buy Muir House and add it to his resorts portfolio even when Jenna doesn't. Keeping the heroine in the dark about ones true intentions is the fastest ticket to the dog house but even when Dev lands himself there the feelings between to the two of them don't fade.

In a very realistic representation (I think) of how people sometimes just have to make it work - even if they know deep down it can't last - their relationship continues. Helped along by some friendly meddling, the two of them simultaneously work towards changing what they see as an inevitable future. It creates a bit of a bittersweet atmosphere because you spend a lot of time with them during painful internal monologues and as a romance lover, I really wanted them to find their HEA.

But since this is a romance you know they do manage to stumble their way into a wonderful HEA and I was happy to read it. I'm not sure if the new supporting characters Kelly introduces actually do all that much for the storyline but I wouldn't say they detract too much. It's just hard to win me over with meddling family [shrug]. Still, as that's a personal problem, lol, I would say if you're in the mood for an Irish small town romance to pick this one up (though start with The Last Bride - you won't regret it).

Overall Feeling - B+

Series - 1) The Last Bride in Ballymuir 2) The Boldest Man in Ballymuir 3) The Brightest Flame in Ballymuir

Thursday, November 22, 2012


I'm thankful for so much this year; the friends I have, the new friends I've made, and the privilege to live my life on my own terms (for the most part).

In a time when so many people are suffering, from war and natural disasters, I am especially thankful to be safe and warm and know that tomorrow I'll wake up and be able to continue my life as usual.

I wish the very best to you and yours, however you're spending this day.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Petals and Thorns by Jeffe Kennedy

In exchange for her father’s life, Amarantha agrees to marry the dreadful Beast and be his wife for seven days. Though the Beast cannot take Amarantha’s virginity unless she begs him to, he can and does take her in every other way. From the moment they are alone together, the Beast relentlessly strips Amarantha of all her resistance.

If Amarantha can resist her cloaked and terrifying husband, she gains his entire fortune and will be allowed to return to her family and a normal life. But the Beast seduces her at every turn, exposing, binding, tormenting, and pleasuring Amarantha until she no longer knows her own deepest desires. Increasingly desperate to break the curse that chains his humanity, the Beast drives Amarantha past every boundary. But her desire for a normal life may jeopardize the love that will save them both.


WHOA MOMMA. This is story is a hottie and I think everyone should be prepared for that going in. It rides that line of forced seduction pretty hard but personally, since I went into this acknowledging that it was going to be a take on Beauty and the Beast, for the most part things made sense with the author's direction. As the description says Amarantha agrees to marry the beast in name only; if in seven days they haven't consummated it then she gets to go home with lots of riches for her family. Unsurprising to no one I think, there are a LOT of things people can do with each other outside of 'Slot A into Slot B' sex. I found each of the scenes individually were both erotic and interesting; nothing seemed to overlap or feel repetitive, though do to a glitch with my story all of the dashes became annoying HTML speak. Every time the Beast interrupted Amarantha things got choppy which interrupted the flow of the story.

For those who like a lot of spice with their HEA (because this does have one) I'd say give this a try. It's a short thrill that will defintiely heat up your holiday nights.

Overall Feeling - B+

Series - None (at the moment?)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Asia Travels: Hong Kong!

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I recently spent some time in Asia and let me tell you - it was awesome! I've always had an interest in East Asia but the price ticket (after much stalking I got one for $1100) has been a deterrent. I'm not good at delayed gratification ok? Saving is something I'm working on getting better at but with the help of my tax return last year I was finally able to make it happen.

Even better for my budget I stayed with a friend of mine from college. Her and her family were completely wonderful in letting me invade their house (and their TV during election coverage) and I don't think I could have stayed so long or done so much without their generosity.

 Regina's cousin, Me, My Friend Regina

Often described as having the most beautiful skyline in the world, Hong Kong was a blast to visit. It's very English friendly, with almost everything repeated in English which makes independent traveling much easier. Plus everyone I spoke to in a professional capacity was just nice - I'm big on just asking when I don't know what I'm doing so I pay attention when people are open to it. Oh and the exchange rate isn't bad either, about USD $1 to HK $7.8.

Hong Kong at night

I'm going to do another post on our sojourn to Taiwan, but in Hong Kong it was all about the shopping (& the eating, but that was true everywhere). I feel like everyday there was a new street market to see and new stuff look at. It's great for chotsky's but not so ideal for clothing; the cheapest stuff you can't try on and I am not built along the typical Asian lines. After a somewhat disappointing first try (biggest problem? My arms surprisingly enough) I just stuck to everything random that caught my eye. I mean, if I couldn't/didn't have to be sensible with my shopping then hey - I wanted everything else instead!

Click below for more!

Friday, November 16, 2012

What an Earl Wants by Kasey Michaels *ARC Review*

Kasey Michaels introduces a delicious new series about the Redgraves, four siblings celebrated for their legacy of scandal and seduction....

Gideon Redgrave, eldest child of the late Earl of Saltwood, refuses to be humbled by the scandal that once tore his family apart. He's built his life in London society around one rule: trust no one. So the last thing he wants is to play guardian and role model to a headstrong boy... or to engage in a battle of wills with the boy's spirited half sister, who is fighting Gideon for custody.

Beautiful and bold, young widow Jessica Linden proves to be a formidable and passionate adversary. But the more they lock horns, the more Gideon realizes he'd prefer to have Jessica on his side...and in his arms. Especially now that a new threat-sprung from his father's supposedly defunct secret society-is poised to destroy the Redgraves once and for all.

This book ended up being the most pleasant surprise. I didn't know in the beginning how much I'd like it; the writing was solid but Gideon hadn't quite lived up to the hype - he was a bit of an ass in fact. There seemed to be a lot of things happening at once, and I admit to being a little lost about the direction the story was going to take. As things went on though, as Gideon and Jessica got married, and as the evolution of their relationship became entangled with the solving of an old mystery everything got very interesting.

There's a seed of evil in England, men coming together in secret to plot its downfall to Napoleon, and Gideon feels responsibility enough about his family's part in it to try and make things better. Gradually, as his feelings for Jessica grow their relationship comes to the forefront and Michaels does a fantastic job balancing both threads. I didn't feel like their relationship took a back seat to the mystery because both of them were invested in having the perpetrators exposed, but the mystery remained important. I may like instant gratification (tell me who the bad guy is! Now!) but even I have to admire the way Michaels kept me going while still ending without the full reveal. 

The end is both sweet and satisfying, reminding me just how good historicals (even if they're not truly accurate) can be. I can't wait for the next one!

Overall Feeling - A-

Series - 1) What an Earl Wants (11/20/12)

**Title requested from NetGalley**


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm bAAaack!

And so, so tired. Yesterday I couldn't sleep past 6:30am and this morning it was a whopping 4:30am. FML. 

Instead of a review post, which depending on my levels of coherency might not be up tomorrow as a I planned, here are some thoughts on the movies I watched while not sleeping on my 15hr flights. 

Fo Guang Shan Monastery in Taiwan. So cute!

The Muppets - The unexpected hit. A lot of fun all around, the music was fantastic, and I didn't even mind the fact that Amy Adams was in it (I don't really know why but I've never been a big fan of hers). This was my pick for movie to watch/listen to while I tried to sleep because it didn't matter where I was it was still enjoyable.

Katy Perry: Part of Me - Weird right? I watched this as a novelty but it was surprisingly interesting. Initially just a documentary of her 365 days of touring it ends up also catching the end of her marriage to Russel Brand. The editing was done well and while some might say that heart strings were deliberately pulled in regards to song selection/focus, you can't help but sympathize with Katy when she finally breaks down and cries about it all.

I think his book was better than mine....

Rock of Ages - Even the musical numbers couldn't save this one. It was a snoozer from start to finish and even the actors I usually enjoy (Catherine Zeta Jones) weren't that great. Pretty much the only person I wanted to keep watching was Alec Baldwin.

There were of course some other things in there (most notably Love Actually and The Mummy) but as far as 'new' new flicks, those were it. I'm weird on flights - I'm so tired I can barely read or focus but I can't really sleep. I end up in a zombie-like state where I watch movies I've already seen on repeat so I don't have to worry about what's going to happen next.

Anybody else have a tough time on long flights? Tell me I'm not the only one!

Friday, November 2, 2012


So....yeah. About how I'm not in the US right now. At 6:10am this morning I boarded a flight to Hong Kong!! Hong Kong people! I can't even believe it and I'm typing it out for you. I'm not going to be back until some ungodly hour on Nov 11th (it's gonna be that special trip where I leave and land on the same day) and I have to admit to being a bad blogger. 

Instead of actually reaching out for guest posts or maybe reading books I hadn't already reviewed, I've spent the last few months, weeks, days, dreaming about my trip. Which is my long worded way of saying I don't have any reviews for you guys while I'm gone. I know - I KNOW! I suck, I'm sorry, I really should learn to do better. 

What I can do for you right now though is highlight some of the books I picked to entertain me during the long, long, flight. None are all that expensive (some are even on sale!) and a bunch are the next books in series I enjoyed before:

$.99 books
Thanks to Fiction Vixen I learned a bunch of eroticas were on sale and these are the two I picked:

 Petals and Thorns by Jeffe Kennedy & Burned by Eliza Gayle

 Born to be Wild & Midnight Heat by Donna Kauffman
(review of the first book here)

 The Boldest Man in Ballymuir & The Brightest Flame in Ballymuir by Dorien Kelly
(review of the first book here)

Authors I love
Is this a surprise? I didn't think so. 

The Billionaire Bad Boys Club by Emma Holly

Hope this inspires you to do your own down time book list - even if they're only to be enjoyed in your home :). Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

October in Review

Trying to think about October what keeps coming up for me is the word 'stressful'. Work was stressful, life was stressful, all topped off by the fact that early October is never my favorite part of the year. 

Luckily I can't say that everything was totally crappy and at the moment things are pretty great! (Vacation on the horizon folks, it's so close I can smell it) And now? Now it's time to take a look at what I read this month*!

Rescuing Christmas by Vicki Lewis Thompson, Catherine Mann, and Kathie DeNosky (B)
Cast in Ruin by Michelle Sagara
Cast in Peril by Michelle Sagara (A-)
Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken
Laid Open by Lauren Dane (Mini Me)
Men of Smithfield: Seth and David by L.B. Gregg (B-)
Surrender the Dark by Donna Kauffman (A)
Tangle of Need by Nalini Singh
Samurai Game by Christine Feehan
The Last Bride in Ballymuir by Dorien Kelly (B+)
Absolutely, Positively by Jayne Ann Krentz (A-)
What an Earl Wants by Kasey Michaels
Tempted by Megan Hart (?)
Beast Behaving Badly by Shelly Laurenston
Blade Song by J.C. Daniels (B+)
Golden Chance by Jayne Ann Krentz
Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh
Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
Wolf-Speaker by Tamora Pierce

*Tentatively. I feel like I'm forgetting some titles (I've been remiss with updating the list as soon as I'm done) but hey, close is sometimes close enough right? Just consider this horse shoes. 

The favorite this month? Cast in Peril! I'd say something awesome about Nalini Singh for the billionth time but I'm not sure that's fair since I was rereading her books this month.