Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays (7/30)

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!)
"He broke her wide open, until something raw and trembling and utterly new crawled out of her old, outdated skin, and it was more fierce and possessive then she had ever been before."

-- pg 72, The Wicked by Thea Harrison

Monday, July 29, 2013

Indexing by Seanan McGuire (Kindle serial)

“Never underestimate the power of a good story.”

Good advice…especially when a story can kill you.

For most people, the story of their lives is just that: the accumulation of time, encounters, and actions into a cohesive whole. But for an unfortunate few, that day-to-day existence is affected—perhaps infected is a better word—by memetic incursion: where fairy tale narratives become reality, often with disastrous results.

That's where the ATI Management Bureau steps in, an organization tasked with protecting the world from fairy tales, even while most of their agents are struggling to keep their own fantastic archetypes from taking over their lives. When you're dealing with storybook narratives in the real world, it doesn't matter if you're Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or the Wicked Queen: no one gets a happily ever after.


**Review based on Parts 1-5 of Indexing**

Awesome? Scary as hell? I'm having a hard time beginning this review (maybe it's because I just finished the five parts last night?) but I don't feel it's a stretch to call Indexing one of my favorite urban fantasies available. Even in five short installments McGuire has created a compelling world where the Disney and Grimm fairytales are remixed into stories with wills of their own, stories that demand completion, no matter who (or what) might get in their way. 

Indexing focuses on a team of four people in ATI - Henry, Sloane, Jeff and Andy - men and women determined to protect the public from fairytales gone awry. All except Andy have been part of their own stories in the past, though only some of those stories have been concluded. For Henry and Sloane, two women still inextricably linked to the storylines they were born into, each time they face an incursion their very existence is at risk. They could accidentally be triggered into finishing a story as the characters laid out by the incursion they're dealing with, or be turned into the people prescribed by the circumstances of their birth.

And best of all it's still available on Amazon for $2.99!

Overall Feeling - A

Series - Serial 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Prince of Secrets by Lucy Monroe

100% Determined

Prince Demyan Zaretsky does whatever it takes to protect his country. So seducing Chanel Tanner will be easy. And marriage? An unfortunate side effect of duty. She unwittingly holds the economic stability of Volyarus in her hands...and he must secure it.

100% Devastating!

With his royal identity and intent disguised, Demyan sets about a ruthless seduction designed to make Chanel lose her mind with ecstasy. But when he discovers she is a virgin, he uncovers something in himself-a conscience. Now his plan takes a shocking turn-one this dark-hearted prince had never anticipated!  


You know, with a title like Prince of Secrets and a summary  that makes Demyan sound like the more typical Harlequin alpha-hole, I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this one. I've read Monroe in the past and One Night Heir was good but wow - this book was really good. Like great, good.

Right from the beginning neither of these people were just stereotypes. Chanel might be named after a designer with her nose stuck to the microscope, but she's observant. She cares about what happens around her and when Demyan flirts with her she isn't overwhelmed by his attention - she's wary. Demyon could have been judgmental or consumed by the threat Chanel posed to Volyarus; instead, when he's bowled over by his own feelings for her, he becomes human for the readers and kind of also for himself. He unexpectedly ends up pushing for marriage to ensure his own happiness.

And this is a fantastic case where the whole is more than the sum of its parts, because Chanel and Demyan lift each other up, whether it's in bed or in front of their (at times) taxing families. Their HEA is believable and rocky enough to make think that since they've had to confront the depths of what they mean to each other here, they won't take it for granted later. Add in a bittersweet but heartwarming epilogue and you've got a winner.

Overall Feeling - A+

Series - 1) One Night Heir 2) Prince of Secrets

*Title requested from NetGalley*

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays (7/23)

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!)
"Are you flirting with me?" she demanded, her gray eyes widening with shock.

"I might be." Awkward and this woman were on very friendly speaking terms. 

--pg 17, Prince of Secrets by Lucy Monroe

Monday, July 22, 2013

Marked by Elisabeth Naughton

From the moment he walked into the club, Casey knew this guy was different. Men like that just didn’t exist in real life—silky shoulder-length hair, chest impossibly broad, and a predatory manner that just screamed dark and dangerous. He was looking for something. Her.

She was the one. She had the mark. Casey had to die so his kind could live, and it was Theron’s duty to bring her in. But even as a 200-year-old descendent of Hercules, he wasn’t strong enough to resist the pull in her fathomless eyes, to tear himself away from the heat of her body.

As war with the Underworld nears, someone will have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

I think I might be OD-ing on new paranormal romance series. There wasn't anything particular bad about Marked but I can't say I'm all hyped to continue reading more either.  It's a little formulaic; Theron is the leader of his team Argonats, who fight against the forces of Atalanta (demon bad guys); but stumbles upon Casey in a strip club when he's out searching for his wayward fiance. Sparks ensue, demons attack, and Casey ends up bringing Theron back to her place for some lavender scented healing. 

Honestly it's a mix of Greek mythology reinvented in such a way that I'm reminded both of J.R. Ward's BDB series and Sherrily Kenyon's Dark-Hunter books. If you're in the mood for this kinda stuff I think the relationship between Casey and Theron was written well and very spicy, but Isadora is unfortunately confined to her role as Princess and Queen-to-be and the crap she takes annoys me. From the sounds of it things will get better for her soon but it's going to get worse before that happens and I'm not sure I'm invested enough to keep going.

Overall Feeling - B-

Series - 1) Marked 2) Entwined 3) Tempted 4) Raptured 5) Enslaved 6) Bound

Thursday, July 18, 2013

It's a Boy! by Victoria Pade *ARC Review*

In her latest Camdens of Colorado story, USA TODAY bestselling author Victoria Pade introduces readers to a suddenly single father—and the woman who might be his perfect match, if they can get past  their feuding familes!

Lang Camden has the daddy of all dilemmas! He just found out he's a dad…of a rambunctious two-year-old. He's now the sole guardian of said toddler and he's never pulled diaper duty in his life! What's a man to do?

Enter Heddy Lanrahan, the widowed baker who's as luscious as her cheesecakes. Lang's on a mission to help her business, and Heddy willingly lends a helping hand with his child. The chemistry between them is off the charts—but the history between their two families is complicated, and if Heddy lets herself love this man and his little boy, she could lose everything. Is it a risk she's willing to take…for love? 


Titles like It's a Boy! are Harlequin's bread and butter - and for good reason. Both Heddy and Lang are very likeable interesting characters, who are trying to work through a heap ton of emotional baggage and life upheavals. For the most part I enjoyed the whole story, though I do think that there are a few too many romance tropes used at once.

I think if the only back story going in had been the feud between Lang and Heddy's families the romance between the two still could have sustained the book; instead we throw in the surprise baby and recovering widow plot devices and while they didn't really detract from the whole, I wouldn't say they added anything either. Maybe I'm a bit of a traditionalist, but I'm ok when the romance is the focus - the extended family/small town vibe is great, but in a shorter format all the extras became background noise. Pade has crafted strong enough personalities for Heddy and Lang (and Cam to the extent that's plausible, lol) that readers want to know keep reading about their HEA, myself included.

I'd still like to backtrack and get a feel for the rest of the Camdens though, since family series are some of my favorite to read.

Overall Feeling - C+

Series - 1) Corner Office Courtship 2) A Baby in the Bargain 3) It's a Boy!

*Title requested from NetGalley*

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mini Me: Kamikaze by Moira Rogers

Zoe Bennett is an inexperienced werewolf in the grip of her mating cycle. With no pack and no mate, Zoe must brave the supernatural crowds of Last Call, the bar where your drink order tells everyone what you need. Kamikaze: Werewolf in heat, looking for a temporary mate.

The chase is on, and security specialist Connor O'Malley intends to win, if only because the sweet young woman at the bar looks unprepared for what the night might bring, in and out of the bedroom. Little does he know that, when he catches her, he may not be satisfied being just a temporary mate


At 36 pages Kamikaze is more like the first chapter or two of a novel then an actual story in and of itself. As a freebie from Amazon it's not really a big deal, but I don't think I was quite ready for the abrupt ending. The whole thing revolves around Zoe and her need for a partner to give her some 'relief' from her mating cycle. It's pretty typical though I wish there'd been a more suspense or build-up to her choosing Connor. There wasn't any competition even though it's advertised as a 'free for all' and even when they share glances before she picks him, Zoe and Connor don't even seem that aware of each other.

Still it's a spicy short that sets up the Last Call series and from the little hints of larger story I think future books could be pretty good.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Wicked by Thea Harrison

For a librarian with a focus on rare magic books, Olivia’s new job is a dream come true. She has been hired as part of a team to help manage the safe transportation of the collection of books owned by the Vampyre sorceress Carling Severan. The fact that the library is located on a mysterious island in an Other land only heightens the adventure.
Head of security for the expedition, Sebastian Hale is tired of his rootless life of adventure and finds himself attracted to the calm, beautiful librarian. But he is living a personal nightmare. He has been hit with a curse that is slowly taking away his sight, and he doesn’t know if he will survive the results.

But the powerful feelings growing between them, along with Sebastian’s inner turmoil, take a backseat when they learn there is a traitor lurking among their expedition team. With Elder Races politics and a priceless library on the line, they’ll have to rely on each other to survive the experience.

When Thea Harrison comes out with a new book my first reaction is all fangirl-y: 'AAHHH GIVE IT TO ME!'. Now with time I'm able to overcome this, lol, but I have to admit to a bit of the rose-colored glasses syndrome when it comes to her Elder Races series. The Wicked focuses on two new-ish characters, Olivia (a friend of Grace's, the heroine in Oracle's Moon) and Sebastian, the owl shifter charged with protecting her and her colleagues as they work to move Carling's library.

I gave the story a couple read throughs before forming my full opinion, and luckily it's short enough that this didn't take too long, so I'd say that while The Wicked is good, I think the lack of conflict and/or surprises makes it not one of my favorites. I feel weird complaining about a lack of drama, but Olivia and Sebastian where just so good. They felt something, they connected, and like the true adults they are they discussed Sebastian's curse, the future, their feelings - all of it, without nary a problem. I was hoping the traitor would turn out to be someone other than the obvious, but nope, you know the bad guy pretty quickly and he does what you'd expect. 

It all culminates in an easy HEA which, while comforting to read, doesn't stand up as well to the riotous, emotion-filled romances that Harrison usually writes. For fans of the series I think this quick read will be enjoyable to reconnect with characters we've grown to love in earlier books, but on its own it's sweet but lacking a little in the gritty department.

Overall Feeling - B

Series - 1) True Colors 2) Natural Evil 3) Devil's Gate 5) Hunter's Season 6) The Wicked (The Elder Races Novellas)

Monday, July 8, 2013

True Love by Jude Deveraux

Just as Alix Madsen is finishing up architectural school, Adelaide Kingsley dies and wills her, for one year, the use of a charming nineteenth-century Nantucket house. The elderly woman’s relationship to the Madsen family is a mystery to the spirited Alix—fresh from a romantic breakup—but for reasons of her own Alix accepts the quirky bequest, in part because it gives her time to plan her best friend’s storybook wedding.

But unseen forces move behind the scenes, creaking Kingsley House’s ancient floorboards. It seems that Adelaide Kingsley had a rather specific task for Alix: to solve the strange disappearance of one of the Kingsley women, Valentina, more than two hundred years ago. If that wasn’t troubling enough, Alix must deal with the arrogant (and extremely good-looking) architect Jared Montgomery, who is living in the property’s guesthouse.

Unbeknown to Alix, Jared has been charged with looking after her while she lives on the island—an easy task for him, considering the undeniable chemistry between the two. But Jared harbors secrets of his own, which, if revealed, may drive a wedge between the pair.

With a glorious Nantucket wedding on the horizon, sparks fly, and the ghosts of the past begin to reveal themselves—some of them literally. Finding their lives inextricably entwined with the turbulent fortunes of their ancestors, Alix and Jared discover that only by righting the wrongs of the past can they hope to be together.


I love reading a romance that has me smiling 90% of the time and while it's been a while Deveraux definitely delivers. As the beginning of a trilogy True Love reminds of all that's great about her books: fated love, small towns, interesting characters - they all work together to create an intricate story featuring two people with a lot (maybe too much) in common. Where in other books Jared and Alix's perfect love might be cloying, Deveraux writes two imperfect enough characters that even when they start playing house it's not too much.

My only complaints came near the end, but that's the the rub with quirky characters: sometimes they do what you want, sometimes you feel like they're derailing a romance that's doing JUST FINE on its own (*cough*). Regardless I can't wait for the next two books because I think this series is going to turn into one of those great comfort reads I go back to again and again because of its lighthearted, heart warming soul. 

Oh - one more thing. Ghost relative alert!

Overall Feeling - A-

Series -1) True Love (Nantucket Brides Trilogy)

*Title requested from NetGalley*

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Hidden Dragons by Emma Holly

Do you believe in dragons? Werewolf cop Rick Lupone would say no . . . until a dying faerie tells him the fate of his city depends on him. If he can’t protect a mysterious woman in peril, everything may be lost. The only discovery more shocking is that the woman he’s meant to save is his high school crush, Cass Maycee.

Half fae Cass didn’t earn her Snow White nickname by chance. All her life, her refusal to abuse fae glamour kept men like Rick at arm’s length. Now something new is waking up inside her, a secret heritage her pureblood father kept her in the dark about. Letting it out might kill her, but keeping it hidden is no longer an option. The dragons’ ancient enemies are moving. If they find the prize before Rick and Cass, the supe-friendly city of Resurrection just might cease to exist.


There are many things I could say about Hidden Dragons, about the Hidden series in total really, but the best of them is that Holly is consistently producing some of my favorite fantasy based erotic romances. Most of the books take place in the in-between town of Resurrection, where humans, Fae, and everything else live together (mostly in harmony) and as such each book introduces us to new people while still bringing back the ones we already love. 

I'm not saying that you don't have to suspend some sort of disbelief for Cass and Rick - it is an erotic romance and while there's the implication that both of them liked each in high school, they jump into bed pretty quickly once the story begins. I admit to a blink and a quick 'well ok, lol' thought until they'd spent a bit more time together - but once past that you get a great, fast paced story about two people drawn together by lust, eventually love, and some really cute dragons.

Overall Feeling - A

Series - 1) Hidden Talents 2) Hidden Crimes 3) Hidden Depths 4) Move Me 5) Hidden Dragons

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

June in Review

Somehow we've passed the halfway mark of 2013 and I just don't know how I feel about it. I guess everyone's entitled to a bit of a life moment now and then but I hate stressing about things I can't change, or the things at least I perceive as being unchangeable. How about we just talk about books and holidays and rainbow, sunshine, and sparkles instead?

Tomorrow is the 4th of July and in addition to fireworks (yay DC!) my plans are to walk my butt to the Mall and take in all the Smithsonian Folk Festival has to offer. If you live in the ares then I highly recommend you come down - food (festival prices D:), performances, and cultural presentations. Just ignore the tourists!

But I guess I should at least attempt to address the books I read this month right?

True Colors by Thea Harrison
Ideal Bride by Stephanie Laurens
Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh (A+)
Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway (C+)
Alone Time by Lauren Dane
Scent of Darkness by Christina Dodd (B-)
Beauty Touched the Beast by Skye Warren (Mini-Me)
The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett (B)
Bear Meets Girl by Shelly Laurenston
Wolf With Benefits by Shelly Laurenston
Hidden Dragons by Emma Holly

And my favorites? Well it's a tie - two very different books that both made me super happy!

(and both are part of series though only with Heart of Obsidian does it really matter)

Hope you guys are having a fantastic day!

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett

As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.

I picked up this up (from the library - budget win!) after reading a list of great books with horrible covers. Now the one you see above isn't actually all that horrible, lol, so I can't say it was a big deterrent. Instead I had to overcome one of my own biggest reading biases: fear of the unknown. I read a lot of romance because while I love humor, action, and new characters, I don't always want the heavy hitting world building that comes with it. This is not a criticism but a personal preference - I can't always read about extreme violence, incest, and rape ok? It makes my insides hurt.

I made an exception for The Warded Man and I'm very happy I did; as much I hurt for the characters and what they suffered, Brett has created a riveting world filled with good and evil. I couldn't help rooting for the good guys while watching the bad (and the 50/50 ones) try to derail everything they'd accomplished. We're lead on a journey of the world through the eyes of Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer so there's no info dumping and I didn't feel like any one person in particular got shafted in the storyline department. I've already put the two other books on hold at the library, so if you like your fantasy suspenseful and action packed (with some tragedy for all involved) then you should give this a try!

Overall Feeling - B

Series - 1) The Warded Man 2) The Desert Spear 3) The Daylight War