Friday, May 30, 2014

Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murders of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside's shape-shifting leader—wonders whether their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or of a future threat.

As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

Despite what the looong silence here on the ol' blog might lead you to believe, I haven't stopped reviewing. I just got a new job that suddenly requires me to actually do work during the day (can you imagine?!) and I haven't found my groove in the evenings/weekends yet to balance that out. I love the people I work with but honestly, I'd forgotten what it was like to not know everything about what I was doing.

But anyway...

As a re-introductory of sorts I decided that there was not a better thing to talk about then the book I saved for Puerto Rico (and have read a billion times since then), Anne Bishop's Murder of Crows. The second book in her Others series, Murder of Crows focuses even more on the mystery of the cassandra sangue, and what their existence means to the Others. It's a phenomenal balancing act of mystery, action, and a tiny bit of romance. The relationships between the somewhat large cast of characters are layered and changing all the time - human, Other, what have you. Politics and self-preservation even come into play as some of the human employees of the Courtyard have defend their feelings (or loyalty) to the Others to other humans.

Nothing is as simple as it seems on the surface and Bishop is a master as making you think; what could happen if these people do this? If these two people feel this? They're tough questions with sometimes deadly consequences, but unlike some of her past work (Black Jewel Trilogy anyone?) nothing's terribly heartbreaking. At least not yet.

Overall Feeling - A+

Series - 1) Written in Red 2) Murder of Crows

Friday, May 16, 2014

Hard Time by Cara McKenna

In this all-new novel from the author of Unbound, a woman with a rocky past finds romance in the last place she’d ever expect...

Annie Goodhouse doesn’t need to be warned about bad boys; good sense and an abusive ex have given her plenty of reasons to play it safe. But when she steps into her new role as outreach librarian for Cousins Correctional Facility, no amount of good sense can keep her mind—or eyes—off inmate Eric Collier.

Eric doesn’t claim to be innocent of the crime that landed him in prison. In fact, he’d do it again if that’s what it took to keep his family safe. Loyalty and force are what he knows. But meeting Annie makes him want to know more.

When Eric begins courting Annie through letters, they embark on a reckless, secret romance—a forbidden fantasy that neither imagines could ever be real…until early parole for Eric changes everything, and forces them both to face a past they can’t forget, and a desire they can’t deny.

I rarely choose to pick a book where I know at least some of the plot is going to end up making me feel uncomfortable, but after all the hype on Twitter and the wonderful reviews going around about Hard Time I knew I had to at least try it for myself. And I have to say I don't regret reading it.

Cara McKenna doesn't downplay or put rose colored glasses over the realities of prison time for the inmates Annie works with. They're interested in her presence solely because of what she is: a woman. Her connection with Eric is completely unexpected and while I've never believed sparks can really just, you know, spark like that, the letters they write each other were enough to keep me invested in how important their relationship was to them. When it finally evolved to the point that they could be together nothing was an easy fix; dynamics had to be renegotiated and each person's comfort zones and turn-ons became topics of conversation that brought them closer together.

In the end, despite the fact that dealing with Eric's family was enough drama for any one person, I was almost sad not to learn more about how their relationship was accepted by Annie's father. The happy ending was almost unexpected after all the hurdles and difficult emotional barriers, but it turned out all the more satisfying because of them.

Overall Feeling - B

Series - None

**Title requested from NetGalley*

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick

One does not expect to be kidnapped on a London street in broad daylight. But Amity Doncaster barely escapes with her life after she is trapped in a carriage with a blade-wielding man in a black silk mask who whispers the most vile taunts and threats into her ear. Her quick thinking, and her secret weapon, save her . . . for now.

But the monster known in the press as the Bridegroom, who has left a trail of female victims in his wake, has survived the wounds she inflicts and will soon be on his feet again. He is unwholesomely obsessed by her scandalous connection to Benedict Stanbridge—gossip about their hours alone in a ship’s stateroom seems to have crossed the Atlantic faster than any sailing vessel could. Benedict refuses to let this resourceful, daring woman suffer for her romantic link to him—as tenuous as it may be.

For a man and woman so skilled at disappearing, so at home in the exotic reaches of the globe, escape is always an option. But each intends to end the Bridegroom’s reign of terror in London, and will join forces to do so. And as they prepare to confront an unbalanced criminal in the heart of the city they love, they must also face feelings that neither of them can run away from. . .

Here's something rarely seen on the blog anymore - a good ol' historical romance! Combine my slowing rate of reading with a general lack of historicals on my shelves, and the even the good ones don't get featured as often as they should. 

Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle is one of my favorite authors. She continues to write soothing but entertaining romances, where the HEA might be guaranteed but there's sure to be just enough twists and turns on the journey to keep you interested. Otherwise Engaged might not be my favorite, but Amity's independence and ability to protect herself (plus her interests) made her a fun heroine to navigate the world through. This was especially true once she and Benedict started to solve (what appeared to be) two mysteries simultaneously, because in every conversation or interactions sparks flew which meant the banter meter was high which is just the way I like it.

The Bridegroom was a good villain, sufficiently threatening and secretive, but there started to be so many unknown "to be revealed" moving parts that things got a tad unbelievable near the end. But hey, I'm not reading a romance for total believability, and in the end things worked out as they should.

Overall Feeling - B-

Series - None

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

April in Review

And here we are at May! Like everyone else it seems I can't believe we're almost halfway through 2014 o_O. There have been some definite shake ups in my life recently and hopefully I'll be able to share any exciting developments soon. Until then I'm still working through those #postvacationblues because Puerto Rico was just too much fun! How is anyone supposed to go back to real life after that much concentrated beach time?!

Falling Light Thea Harrison (B+)
Sun, Sand, and Sex by Linda Lael Miller, Jennifer Apodaca, Shelly Laurenston (A-/B+)
Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz
Tart by Lauren Dane
Oracle's Moon by Thea Harrison
Never Enough by Lauren Dane
Whisper of Sin by Nalini Singh
Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop
Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick

My favorite this month was one I knew would be phenomenal, which is part of the reason why I saved it for PR - Murder of Crows by Anne  Bishop! The world she's created it just incredible, which I hope to go into more in my review, and if you haven't picked the first book up yet I highly recommend you do!

But what else did I love this month?

Links I Love
//The Steampunk Workspace for Two. Beautiful. Simply, beautiful.

//Sailor Scouts dressed up as the Avengers - why has this never been done before?!

//25 Fun Facts about A League of Their Own

//This Femme Gipsy Danger *IS* Awesome!

//An incredibly amazing but also incredibly priced Nightmare Before Christmas clock

//"Why "A League Of Their Own" Is An Overlooked Feminist Triumph" (a great movie but I'm such a wimp about the ending that I usual like to flip between this and something else whenever I find it on tv.)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

so about that week of radio silence...

Sorry friends! I kind of forgot about the fact that maybe giving the world a heads up before I went on vacation would be a good idea. I've spent the last few days enjoying the sights, sounds, and foods of Puerto Rico. I am super tan, kind of tired, and a little sad to be back at work. Despite the #postvacationblues I love the fact that I had lots of great reading time and got through the best bits and pieces of my TBR pile. Yay!