Friday, August 27, 2010

Review: Sins of the Heart by Eve Silver

Dagan Krayl is a soul reaper and the eldest son of the underworld's most powerful god - Suketh. When his youngest brother is murdered, he's focused on one thing, finding and resurrecting him. But there's a careful balance to be maintained, not only between the mortal world and the underworld, but within the underworld itself. God's are constantly vying for power and as information is power, Dagan's search for the truth of what happened puts several opposing factions of the underworld in his path. Dagan must maneuver carefully and avoid added complications. Then an unexpected development leads him to her. The one person he never expected to see again. Eleven years since he'd left her to a better life, and now she was his sworn enemy...

Roxy Tam escaped death once, but was forever changed...in a fundamental way. Confused and wanting to belong she runs straight into the arms of the Daughters of Aset - when she was specifically warned to stay away from them. Now an Otherkin, it's her job to protect mankind. And when rumors of a soul reaper's death reach her, and seeing a potential link to it in her current assignment, she knows the vengeance of a god could have huge implications on the mortal world. She's working to prevent just that when the man that's haunted her waking dreams shows up with a different agenda.

Can Roxy and Dagan set aside their conflicting causes in order to get to the truth? Will they survive having their loyalties tested when the flames of desire flare hot between them, threatening to consume them completely?

The world in Sins of the Heart was something that immediately caught my attention. Long in love with Egyptian mythology I've often wondered why more people didn't tap this rich history. Eve Silver not only delved into the gods and goddesses of Egypt but made the complicated underworld and topworld in her story rich and diverse. She obviously spent a lot of time crafting the atmosphere. There's such rich detail in each scene that I could clearly see wherever the story took me, whether it be to Suketh's chambers, the lines of souls waiting for passage or an audience, Roxy's house, or the house of a serial killer. Places jumped off the pages just as clearly as the characters.

Roxy is a tangle of fascinating contradictions. Rarely alone, but always lonely. Strong, but vulnerable. Aloof, but caring. All of these combine to make her a great character that I could really love. She wanted connections but was afraid to open herself up to them because of past abandonment. She kicked ass in her job, had a smart mouth and yet still knew her limitations. It was never in-your-face or overdone, which can sometimes get on my nerves. And she was loyal to those she cared about, which in this book meant that she was constantly at odds with herself over helping and protecting Dagan or her Otherkin sisters. I definitely sympathized with her conflicting desires and her attempts to make them work.

Dagan's a strong, intelligent, dedicated male that did what needed to be done to get the outcome that was needed. He was direct, both in action and words, making his motives abundantly clear. After growing up in the underworld, surrounded by souls but alone, Dagan knows how to observe. I liked that he not only participated in scenes and action, but observed and thought about others' motives. He always seemed willing to re-evaluate and revise his own thoughts. I also really loved the connection between him and his brothers. It was clear that they cared a great deal for each other and always had each others' backs.

Dagan and Roxy have a ton of chemistry from the beginning. I couldn't wait to see how these two characters came together. With such big issues that were in their way, conflicting goals and ideals, I loved that a lot of the resolution came not only through dialogue between the characters, but actions. A scene near the end made me laugh with tears in my eyes. The only thing I could have asked is to see more of them, but that's just me being greedy.

Ms. Silver has created a fantastically rich, detailed world that kept me reading well into the night. Sins of the Heart was fast paced, with a tight, interesting plot and strong, passionate characters that simply felt real. As soon as I put it down I couldn't wait to start the second book in the trilogy, Sins of the Soul, and see where she took me next!

Grade: B+

Book Link | Amazon (print) | Kindle | B&N (print) | nook | Borders (print) | kobo | Sony | Book Depository | Harlequin

August 27 2010 Blog Hop and Follow Friday

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer at Crazy-For-Books.

About the Hop: In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!

She asks: Do you use a rating system for your reviews and if so, what is it and why?

I actually don't use a rating system because I just haven't found/made one that works for me. I try to offer reviews that are as spoiler free as possible so that anyone can read them and get an idea of what worked and what didn't for me. At the end I offer up a couple of lines giving my overall impression of it. I have recently been thinking about adding a rating system though, so I've been trying different ones out personally prior to using it here.

Follow Friday is hosted at Parajunkee's View.

Her question this week is: What is the first book that you remember reading?

Not sure if it was my first book, but I do remember it was my first favorite book when I was quite young. More Spaghetti, I Say! by Rita Golden Gelman.

This is my first week finding Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday, so I'm looking forward to finding a lot of great new book blogs!

Coming up in the next couple of days, I should have a review posted of Eve Silver's Sins of the Heart as well as updating my reading order/release date lists.

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: This Side of the Grave

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine which spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases!

For my very first edition check out this gorgeous cover and stepback!!

Title: This Side of the Grave
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Series: Night Huntress 5
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Avon
Release date: 22 February 2011

Book Description (from author's website) ***Warning: Spoilers if you haven't read the series to this point***

Danger waits on both sides of the grave

Half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her vampire husband Bones have fought for their lives, as well as for their relationship. But just when they’ve triumphed over the latest battle, Cat’s new and unexpected abilities threaten to upset a long-standing balance…
With the mysterious disappearance of vampires, rumors abound that a species war is brewing. A zealot is inciting tensions between the vampires and ghouls, and if these two powerful groups clash, innocent mortals could become collateral damage. Now Cat and Bones are forced to seek help from a dangerous “ally”—the ghoul queen of New Orleans herself. But the price of her assistance may prove more treacherous than even the threat of a supernatural war…to say nothing of the repercussions Cat never imagined.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Review: Ruthless by Anne Stuart

Elinor Harriman and her sister, Lydia, have been living in increasingly bad conditions thanks to their sick and gambling mother. Elinor is trying to hold the family together, shouldering more than her share of the burden and almost desperate when she hears her father has died and left her a small bequeath. But before she can journey to find out the details of her inheritance her mother absconds with the last of their money and Elinor is sure that she'll lose it too. She takes off after her to the Viscount Rohan's estate knowing that it's playing host to an orgiastic affair. Plain, and poor, she's sure that no one will take an interest in her there before she can remove her mother...

Francis, the Comte de Giverney and the exiled Viscount Rohan, is probably best known as the "King of Hell" for his hedonistic, orgiastic parties as part of the Heavenly Host. He's jaded and makes no excuses for himself or his excesses. He's cynical, believing in the good of no one - least of all him. And he's bored. Even the exquisite women laid out before him can't break the ennui...until a young woman dressed in rags enters and refuses to be intimidated by him.

To Elinor's utter dismay she finds herself in the sight of the 'King of Hell' himself, who agrees to help remove her mother as long she doesn't leave until later. Francis finds himself completely fascinated by this young woman who's mind is as interesting as her body. Can they build something with the chaos swirling around them? Will their history and enemies be able to tear them apart?

Having never read Anne Stuart before I had no idea what to expect when I went into this book. Right away I was surprised by the unusual (to me) setting of 1765 Paris - home of the English émigrés. Firmly set in the Georgian time period of powdered wigs, jeweled heeled shoes for men and hooped skirts for women. I don't think I've ever read another book in this particular part of the Georgian period so there were a lot of things that were fresh and new to me - and it seemed realistic, though I don't know enough of the time period to be sure if it was.

Francis is an interesting character, to be sure. He is absolutely unapologetic in his lifestyle, living for his pleasures and desires. On the surface he appears to be just another dark hero, but there's also a history to him that gives him an interesting depth.

Elinor I absolutely adored. She was strong and determined to keep her family safe and cared for. By any means necessary. She continuously puts herself in front of them, not wasting time on thought of the cost to herself. I loved how she didn't back down and her replies to Francis' goading quite often made me chuckle.

I have to say that I read the story of Francis and Elinor enjoying their slow descent into love. Francis was, of course, determined to not believe it was anything more than a temporary fascination, insisting that she was a passing fancy that he would soon, as he always did, grow bored of. Elinor believed him to be interested in only her beautiful sister (whom he didn't look twice at with interest). She didn't trust him, and worried about getting further into his debt. They circled each other, neither wanting to give a single inch. The dialogue between them fueled Francis' continued fascination - and mine. I loved how, as they gradually learned more about each other, you could see the affection and care grow between them.

I admit there were a few things that surprised me. Mentions of Jacobites, Bonnie Prince Charles, the Battle of Culloden and an important secondary character suffering from the degeneration of syphilis.

There's also a secondary minor love story for Lydia that's sweet and I was definitely hoping to see them conquer their obstacles.

What didn't work for me was mostly the villain. He was a cardboard character showing up and disappearing at will. While he was engineering some major issues within the story, he wouldn't be mentioned for pages at a time. And in the end it seemed more of a contrivance than any real threat. However it was such a minor part of the story it's not a big deal. There are also a few emotional turns that seemed a little extreme to me, but again nothing that took me out of the story, or was completely wrong.

Ruthless kept me greatly entertained with its dark, gothic setting and tortured, passionate characters. You can't help but root for them, even when they don't know what they need themselves. Ms. Stuart does a wonderful job keeping the characters true to themselves, and letting them fight it out to get where they didn't know they wanted to be.

Grade: B

Book Link | Amazon (print) | Kindle | B&N (print) | nook | Borders (print) | kobo | Sony | Book Depository | MIRA

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Amazon Free eBooks 5

The Ocean Inside by Janna McMahan
The Man Who Loved Jane Austen by Sally Smith O'Roarke
Sullivan's Evidence by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

I found a couple of free games too. These work on K2 forward I believe.

Every Word
Shuffled Row
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