Friday, November 29, 2013


In celebration of the holiday I spent yesterday with friends, and it was a day filled with fun, laughter, and a ridiculous amount of food. I'm incredibly lucky in the friends-turned-family I have in DC and Thanksgiving this year was a classic example of why. Who else brings two entire pies AND a tray of frosted brownies to share amongst three people!?

There may have also been some (a lot) of time spent in the carrot onesie dancing to this song.  

 You see that plate? I made all that food. #proud

Monday, November 25, 2013

Dragos Takes a Holiday by Thea Harrison

Dragos Cuelebre needs a vacation. So does Pia, his mate. When the First Family of the Wyr head to Bermuda for some much needed R&R, it’s no ordinary undertaking – and no ordinary weekend in the sun. Between hunting for ancient treasure buried beneath the waves and keeping track of their son, Liam—a.k.a. Peanut, whose Wyr abilities are manifesting far ahead of schedule—it’s a miracle that Pia and Dragos can get any time together.

They’re determined to make the most of each moment, no matter who tries to get in their way.

And did we mention pirates?

"Dragos Takes a Holiday" is an awesome little short and for fans of Dragos and Pia, a wonderful look into how they're making their lives work at the top of the Wyr food chain. It's not been easy after the Sentinel games, because even with a full roster Dragos has been forced to pick up a lot of slack as the old heads take their own vacations. By the time Pia subtly 'suggests' some time out near the Caribbean everyone's ready for a break (and maybe to buy their own island?).

The best part about this short is that it doesn't feel short. We get a look at what it's going to be like to care for a little being whose powers are completely unpredictable and has a mind of his own. Add in some hot and spicy sexy times between Pia and Dragos, a little bit of Eva and Hugh doing their bodyguard thing, and it all adds up to fun times had by (mostly) all.

Overall Feeling - A

Series - A Story of The Elder Races

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Woman in a Shiekh's World by Sarah Morgan

With a client list hotter than the Zubran desert, wedding planner Avery Scott shouldn't be surprised that her latest client is Crown Prince Malik of Zubran—the man who once lit her body on fire…before steamrollering over her heart.Determined to ignore Malik's lethal charm, Avery makes a very personal not-to-do list:

1. Not being Malik's intended, our relationship must remain 100 percent professional.

2. His arranged bride might have run away, but I mustn't distract him—for the kings of Zubran, duty always comes first.

3. However luxurious the Bedouin tent—and smoldering the tension—pride dictates the touch I crave stays strictly forbidden.


I kind of can't believe I'm saying this, but Sarah Morgan made a really ridiculous premise work for me. Who, in all seriousness, goes out into the dessert with the man they still love to chase down their wayward fiance? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say no one, but somehow Avery Scott decides this is the best thing to do since her telling the other woman to face her fears now apparently makes her responsible for every subsequent dumb decision she makes.

Still, even with a wild set up like this, the dual viewpoints Morgan writes from, putting us in Mal's and Avery's heads, means that each person is more than just a caricature. Harlequin Presents as a series is renowned for starring Alpha-holes and even though Mal's actions seem to be heading in that direction, his pain and emotional turmoil made me sympathetic since so many of his decisions were impacted by circumstances outside his control. 

In the end, while I didn't feel like Avery's big reveal was worth the all the build up, I could understand how her mother's cold upbringing would make her shy away from commitment. Ultimately the HEA between the two was both satisfying and heartfelt, which I think is how the best romances should be.

Overall Feeling - A

Series - None

Monday, November 18, 2013

Kinked by Thea Harrison

As a harpy, Sentinel Aryal is accustomed to dealing with hate, but Sentinel Quentin Caeravorn manages to inspire in her a burning ire unlike anything she’s ever known. Aryal believes the new Sentinel to be a criminal, and vows to take him out as soon as the opportunity arises. But the harpy’s incessant wrath has pushed Quentin to the limit, and forces him to make a deadly vow of his own.

To put an end to the conflict, Dragos, Lord of the Wyr, sends them on a reconnaissance mission to the Elven land of Numenlaur. Forced to work together, Aryal and Quentin’s mutual antagonism escalates. Each fight draws forth more passion—culminating in an explosively sexual confrontation. But when their quest reveals real danger, Aryal and Quentin must resolve their differences in ways beyond the physical, before the entire Wyr is threatened.

I would say going into this story I was of two minds: Aryal isn't my favorite character so her having her own book so soon kind of threw me, but at the same time I trusted Harrison to make a book starring these two people make sense and damn if she doesn't do it. Neither Quentin or Aryal are willing to trust when the book starts. They have real and deeply heartfelt reasons for why they come to blows pretty much every time they see each other, and when finally forced out to Numenlaur it was clear that working together at all was going to be an issue. 

And yet somehow they do it. be completely honest they also spend some of that time planning out ways to kill each other that would look like an accident, but after that they find a balance and ways to lean on each other. Journeying across Numenlaur is no easy task - not only are there monsters and things they have to watch out for, the consequences of the God Machines are still being felt. Even though some of the things they face are obviously the necessary complications of taking over people's will and forcing them to do another's bidding (& I won't go into much detail for fear of spoilers) it was still hard to read.

Finally I would say that by the end of the book I believed in the connection between Aryal and Quentin. If there's too much going on around the two main characters, sometimes being Mates can be used as an avenue to gloss over the emotional road building that results in a HEA. Harrison does none of that as these two are constantly pushing each other's boundaries, physically and emotionally, and when the crowd at Dragos's Tower screams for Aryal so does the reader for the two of them together.

Overall Feeling - A

Series - ... 4) Oracle's Moon 5) Lords Fall 6) Kinked

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Tale of Two Dragons by G.A. Aiken

Braith of the Darkness likes going through life unnoticed. Not an easy task for a She-dragon of royal descent. But the evil plots of her father are turning her quiet, boring life upside down, and she has now become the enemy of the most vicious queen her kind has ever known. But for once, Braith won't have to fight alone. Not when the warrior dragon of her dreams is willing to risk everything to save her neck.

Addolgar the Cheerful wishes he could say he’s helping the pretty royal strictly for honorable reasons - but he'd be lying. It’s not his fault, though! He didn't tell Braith of the Darkness to have the most delicious tail he’s ever seen! Yet before Addolgar can get his very strong claws on that tail, heads are going to roll. Just hopefully not theirs...


I'm trying to figure out what else to say other than 'G.A. Aiken just gets me'. Her writing is just enough over the top hilarious to be always entertaining and I think her characters are unique while still being familiar (which is good for someone like me who thinks of Aiken as comfort reading a lot of the time). Braith and Addolgar start out like many of Aiken's couples do - they know of each other but don't really have more than two words to share. Ultimately it's Addolgar's sense of fairness and Braith's honor that bring them together and when they stumble into actual feelings it's new for everyone.

Butt gets kicked, family's are reunited, and it's a rip roaring good time the whole way. If you've read the Dragon Kin series then you'll especially enjoy the familiar faces of the Cadwaladr Clan, but as a stand alone it's still a great romance and a grand adventure.

Overall Feeling - A+

Series - ... 7) "Dragon On Top" from Supernatural 8) The Dragon Who Loved Me 9) "A Tale of Two Dragons"

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mini Me: "Shutdown" by Laurell K. Hamilton

This story is for all my readers who have been impacted by the current political SNAFU – and for anyone else who might need to enjoy a free story in these difficult times.

“Shutdown”, will be available free for the duration of the government shutdown. Once the government is back in business then the short story will no longer be available on line, at least not until my publisher and I figure out what we might want to do with it. But for right now, while we’re all wondering how it got to this point, here’s a brand new Anita Blake short story, featuring our favorite bad boy werewolf, yep, I mean Richard Zeeman. Hey, I’ve been telling you, he’s been working his therapy: read on to see the results that hard work and being brave enough to own your whole self can get you. - From goodreads

"Shutdown" was a quick little freebie offered by Laurell K. Hamilton and I think a great look into the personal real-life consequences that sometimes result from staying true to who you are. Anita, Richard, Micah - they have the most screen time in this story but ultimately it's about what we want for ourselves to be happy and the balancing act that can require. Hamilton returns to the emotional roots of her series with this short and I think if nothing else it shows why so many of her fans keep coming back: at the heart of every one of us is a soul who just wants to be happy, someone who wants to accept themselves and be accepted by other people and the world doesn't make us any promises. There's no guarantee that will happen.

Monday, November 4, 2013

October in Review

October was a whirlwind of a month, in both good and bad ways. I had a lot of fun things to read, spent more time at my local library than I think I have since I moved to DC, and enjoyed reviving a DragonCon costume for Halloween.

Plus RAtChaos introduced its first guest reviewer - Rachel! She did a great job reviewing Harrowgate and I can't wait to see what else is on her TBR pile :). But for now - on to the books!

A Deeper Dimension by Amanda Carpenter (B-)
Undead and Underwater by MaryJanice Davidson (B+)
Charming by Elliott James (A+)
Drawn Together by Lauren Dane (B+)
Enthralled by Lora Leigh, Alyssa Day, Meljean Brook, & Lucy Monroe (B/B+)
Dark Lycan by Christine Feehan (C-)
Written in Red by Anne Bishop
Bear Meets Girl by Shelly Laurenston
Samurai Game by Christine Feehan
Shutdown by Laurell K. Hamilton
Cherished by Maya Banks and Lauren Dane
One Night Heir by Lucy Monroe
Prince of Secrets by Lucy Monroe
Grave Secret by Charlaine Harries
Indexing by Seanan McGuire
Water Bound by Christine Feehan
Harrowgate by Kate Maruyama (B)

I'm going to be coming back to Indexing for a full review soon, but between that and Charming urban fantasy was the genre to beat this month!