Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Blood Rose

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

This WoW is the first paranormal romance book by one of my favorite authors!  It sounds fabulous and I can't wait to pick it up!

Title: Blood Rose Buy Link

Authors: Riley Shane

Series: Realm of Nine, Book 1

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Release Date: 29 November 2011

Book Description (from Goodreads):

To save his people, a half-mad prince must enlist the aid of a woman who has no reason to help him...and who he has every reason to desire.

At sixteen, Rose Carrison lost both her parents and her freedom. Since her father’s death, Rose has had to pick up the mantle of her family’s legacy and guard an object of incredible power, one the monsters who murdered her parents would kill to get their hands on. After ten years on the run, Rose’s luck finally runs out. A fate worse than death threatens to consume her. Then, out of the darkness, comes the most unlikely of rescuers...

Grayson van Court is a man skating on the edge of damnation. He’s a revenant: a powerful, blood-drinking, returned-from-the-dead, magical creature that no other magical species wants anything to do with. For centuries, Gray has bargained and fought for the revenants’ right to survive, but his efforts are hampered by his sociopathic mother and the madness that permeates his own soul. When Gray rescues Rose from his mother’s machinations, his intention is only to stop the attacks against his people that would surely come if Rose were harmed. But then he sees her, and everything changes. Two people who should never have met soon find themselves fighting side by side for the chance at a love that could prove to be their salvation.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review: Shadow Kin by M.J. Scott

Title: Shadow Kin
Author: M.J. Scott
Series: The Half-Light City, Book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 6 September 2011

On one side, the Night World, rules by the Blood Lords and the Beast Kind. On the other, the elusive Fae and the humans, protected by their steadfast mages...

Born a wraith, Lily is a shadow who slips between worlds. Brought up by a Blood Lord and raised to be his assassin, she is little more than a slave. But when Lily meets her match in target Simon DuCaine, the unlikely bond that develops between them threatens to disrupt an already stretched peace in a city on the verge of being torn apart…

First, this book is told in alternating first-person POV. There are, apparently, character-specific symbols that mark the beginning of each section, but I'll be honest and say that I never paid attention to these. Resulting in it taking me a couple of lines (or paragraphs sometimes) to get into who's voice it was.

I think that there's potential with this author, but unfortunately it just didn't hit the mark for me.

Lily, the main character, is a Wraith. A fae half-breed, with some special powers and has been turned into an assassin by the Lord of the Blood (think vampires), Lucius.

Simon, the other main POV character, is a sunmage. I have to admit that his powers seem pretty spectacular actually, but like Lily's they just came off as boring.

I think my biggest problem throughout the whole books was the lack of urgency about anything.

We're told that the wars between the Fae, Blood, Beasts (werewolves?), and Humans were so bad that they eventually had to make treaties, which are renegotiated every 3 years. So we're thrust into this quasi bad world, where no one is really fighting for anything.

The world building was...erratic at best. Was it medieval? Victorian? Victorian steampunkish? Modernish? I don't know. I stopped caring part way through.

Unfortunately, the characters didn't make up anything for me. Lily was the weakest assassin I've ever had the occasion to read. Not only was she completely under someone else's control (which wouldn't normally bother me so much), but she could barely make a decision to make a decision.

Simon came off as naive and petulant. And, even, at the end a complete and utter asshole - who didn't grovel nearly enough to gain the heroine's forgiveness, much less mine.

In the end, I may try something else by this author in the future, but I certainly won't be looking forward to it as much as I did this one.

Grade: D+

Book Link | Amazon | Kindle | nook | kobo | Sony | Book Depository | ROC

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kevin Hearne Book Order

Iron Druid Chronicles

* "Clan Rathskeller" - free short story in back of Hounded (also available here)
* "Kaibab Unbound" - free short story in back of Hounded
1. Hounded
2. Hexed
3. Hammered
* "A Test of Mettle" (available here)
4. Tricked
5. Trapped
6. Hunted
7. Shattered (2014)

Please note: This page was written by me, so as always, please visit the author’s website for up-to-date, author-verified information as well as for information on books that have not yet been included to this list.


Jennifer Estep Book Order

Elemental Assassin Series

* "Poison" - free short story available here
* "Web of Deceit" - free short story available here
* "Spider's Bargain" - free short story available here

1. Spider's Bite

* "Web of Death" - free short story available here

2. Web of Lies

* "Wasted" - free short story available here

3. Venom

* "Tangled Dreams" - free short story available here
* "Tangled Schemes" - free short story available here

4. Tangled Threads

* "Spider's Nemesis" - free short story available here
* "Haints and Hobwebs" in The Mammoth Book of Ghost Romance (7 June 2012)

5. Spider's Revenge

6. By a Thread

7. Widow's Web

8. Deadly Sting

* "Parlor Tricks" in Carniepunk

8.5. "Kiss of Venom" - ebook short
Owen's POV

9. Heart of Venom

10. The Spider (24 December 2014)
Back to The Spider's earliest becoming

Mythos Academy (YA) Series

* First Frost (ebook only short)
1. Touch of Frost
* "Halloween Frost" in Entangled anthology (ebook only short)
2. Kiss of Frost
3. Dark Frost
4. Crimson Frost
* "Spartan Frost" - ebook short
5. Midnight Frost
6. Killer Frost (25 February 2014)

Please note: This page was written by me, so as always, please visit the author’s website for up-to-date, author-verified information as well as for information on books that have not yet been included to this list.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review: Archangel's Blade by Nalini Singh

Title: Archangel’s Blade
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter, Book 4
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: September 6, 2011

The severed head marked by a distinctive tattoo on its cheek should have been a Guild case, but dark instincts honed over hundreds of years of life compel the vampire Dmitri to take control. There is something twisted about this death, something that whispers of centuries long past…but Dmitri’s need to discover the truth is nothing to the vicious strength of his response to the hunter assigned to decipher the tattoo.

Savaged in a brutal attack that almost killed her, Honor is nowhere near ready to come face to face with the seductive vampire who is an archangel’s right hand, and who wears his cruelty as boldly as his lethal sensuality…the same vampire who has been her secret obsession since the day she was old enough to understand the inexplicable, violent emotions he aroused in her.

As desire turns into a dangerous compulsion that might destroy them both, it becomes clear the past will not stay buried. Something is hunting…and it will not stop until it brings a blood-soaked nightmare to life once more…

In Archangel's Blade the past comes back to haunt, from the ancient to the near present. Dmitri's memories come back to the fore when someone seems intent on paying homage to his very bloody beginnings. A taunt thrown directly at him, as Raphael is still out of the country when the book starts, Dmitri will use everything he can to put an end – once and for all – to this viciousness.

For Honor St. Nicholas, a hunter for the Guild, the history is much more recent. After living less than a half-life, recovering from a brutal torture that lasted two months, she must learn to live again, and find those who hurt her. When she's contracted to help decipher a strange tattoo she finds Dmitri may just be the best one to help her…and the most dangerous to her.

Welcome back to the world we've come to know and love with Elena and Raphael. The story flows naturally, each scene building on the last until I was holding my breath wanting more. While we get more of the vampires, and the depths of violence they can descend to, this is absolutely a character driven story.

I've been absolutely fascinated with Dmitri from the start. Cruel, capricious, and lethal while still containing that honor, loyalty, and protectiveness. By the time I was just a quarter of the way into Archangel's Blade I was in love with him. He's everything I just said, but it goes so much deeper. Demanding and possessive, protective and patient, gentle – yes, gentle – and unrelenting. He is exactly who he is, not without regrets and pain, but he doesn't ever make excuses for himself either. I love that Ms. Singh doesn't try to make him softer and easier to accept. He has a razor sharpness about him that isn't dulled.

What can I say about Honor to do her justice? Not only is she one of my favorite heroines now, but I would love to know her. She's strong, not just physically because I think most hunters would be, but emotionally, psychologically. She came back from one of the most horrific experiences, and she managed to retain the core of compassion, care and niceness. Then there's the part of her that just won't give up. Plus, she does vengeance really, really well.

It was absolutely a joy to watch the two incredibly strong characters come together and find love.

I loved learning more about Dmitri's past, and seeing Honor come back out of her shell after her torture. We did see a bit of Raphael and Elena, but they didn't take over the story by any means. Another fantastic thing was seeing the interactions between Dmitri and Illium. Having always loved Bluebell, it was great to see him from another perspective.

Ms. Singh takes you deep into the darkest reaches of the vampires in this latest installment of the Guild Hunter series, pulling Dmitri and Honor out into the light. Archangel's Blade is a story that resonated deeply within me, making my heart ache and then soar. All my expectations were absolutely blown away and I can't wait to read the next book in this fantastic series.

Grade: A+

Book Link | Amazon | Kindle | nook | kobo | Sony | Book Depository | Berkley

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Cross Bones anthology

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

This WoW is an anthology of male/male pirate stories, including my favorite
male/male author - Riley Shane!! Who doesn't love a good pirate story, and
there are a lot of them in this anthology!

Title: Cross Bones

Authors: Rebecca Cohen, Jana Denardo, E.S. Douglas, K.R. Foster, Cornelia
Grey, Ellen Holiday, K.J. Johnson, Juan Kenobi, Maggie Lee, Emily Moreton,
MJ O'Shea, Riley Shane, B. Snow, Piper Vaughn, and Cooper West


Genre: Male/Male Romance

Release Date: August 15, 2011

Book Description (from Dreamspinner Press' website):

Ahoy, me proud beauty, shiver me timbers! I ask ye to sail me
jollyboat on the high seas, lubber, but will ye dare to accept? On offer be
a pirate's life full of danger and risk, and not just to yer neck, but to
yer very virgin heart! There's man a bodice to be ripped - or perhaps I
should say many a codpiece to be snapped - and should ye be graced enough to
cross bones with a corsair, don't be an addlepate! Heave ho, lad,
hondsomely, and show him how ye bury yer treasure!

Pirates didn't only sail the high seas in historical times. Modern day
renegades and futuristic rebels are just as ripe for asdventure and plunder.
No matter the time, place, or circumstances, bad boys steal affection as
often as they salvage treasure, and in these stories of romance, a rogue's
black heart always conceals a center of gold.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Review: Unlikely Protector by Nicole Sheldon

Title: Unlikely Protector
Author: Nicole Sheldon
Genre: Post Apocalyptic Romance
Release Date: July 15, 2011

The Mayan Calendar was right. The world ended, as we knew it, on December 21, 2012. That was the night the Supers - supernatural creatures - came out to play. Everything from dragons to dark wings (ravens that turn into men) to zombies and a whole lot more. As Moira says, the only hope was that you were eaten alive by a quick eater.

In this world, with death around every corner, surviving is the first and last thing on everyone's mind. Moira managed to stay alive for days in the urban wilderness of the world before Luke saved her from the closet she'd finally had to hide in and took her to a safe refuge.

When things start to go crazy again a few months later, Moira and Luke are thrust back together - with some intersting feelings and desires to mix it up. Can they survive long enough to find out what they have together?

Moira is a great character - smart, strong, and just a touch of vulnerability. She clings to life, almost stubbornly, even when fear is riding her hard.

Luke is silent, brooding, and stubborn. He can't survive if he cares about anyone else in this world, so he tells himself he doesn't care. But he shows so much more than that. He won't leave people behind, won't give up, and protects at all costs to himself. When Moira pushes past the barriers he's erected between them and shows him what is possible. Oh boy, do the sparks fly.

This is a fantastic story, set in a desolate, post-apocalyptic world that still manages to show the hope that can always flourish. Wonderful characters, that are layered and, quite frankly, people I'd like to know, take us through this world. They made me care, and made me want to know more.

If you're looking for a fantasticly built world, and a strong romance, you can't go wrong with Unlikely Protector. Quite simply it was a joy to read, and I eagerly turned the pages looking for more. I highly recommend it and will definitely be looking for more from this Ms. Sheldon.

Grade: A+

Book Link | Kindle | nook

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Unlikely Protector

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

This WoW is by a debut author, Nicole Sheldon, and I'm really excited for
it's release on this Friday!

Title: Unlikely Protector
Author: Nicole Sheldon
Genre: Post Apocalyptic Romance
Release Date: July 15, 2011

Book Description (from author's blog):

What would you bring to the plate if the world ended? Moira is finding that her knowledge of wine and club clothing isn't much help in the end of times, but her ability to problem solve has landed her a job at the camp she and a few other survivors live in. But she can't seem to solve the problem of her ever constantly growing sexual tension for the man who saved her life and brought her there.

When their safety is threatened and the camp has to move, will Moira find new safety and solve her biggest issue in the process?

Review: Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison

Title: Dragon Bound
Author: Thea Harrison
Series: Elder Races, Book 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: May 3, 2011

Half-human and half-wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful-and passionate-of the Elder races.

When I first saw this book, and read that it was going to be about dragons - one of my favorite things to read about - I was excited and anxious to get my hands on it. Then the awesome reviews started...just one or two here or there.

Then the flood came. Review after glowing review saying this was the best thing since the literary version of sliced bread. Me, being well me, I became skeptical. I just couldn't believe that something that had NO (at the time) critical reviews pointing out anything that was wrong could possibly be true. I tend to avoid trends, fads, and anything that gets glowing praise unless it's from a good friend that knows my tastes. It wasn't until several people, whose opinions I usually agree with, gave it fantastic reviews that I decided to give it a shot.

It started off fairly good, and I was excited again. Pia, a good girl caught in a bad situation, is running for her life. She made the mistake of trusting an ex-boyfriend and everything is now spiraling out of control. Dragos, alive since the forming of the universe apparently, has a ton of power, money, influence...and is bored out of his mind. That is, until someone breaks into his very guarded horde and steals something from him.

After that it started to go downhill. I think the biggest problem for me was the characters. Pia and Dragos just never completely settled into character. Pia switched from being submissive, scared, unsure of her place to yelling out orders, smoothing things over, and generally becoming a 'queen.'

For example - she's just been brought to Dragos' penthouse. She's not sure of her place there, is she a prisoner or a guest. She's naked in bed with Dragos, conflicted about how she feels in his arms. The "breakfast fairie" (no I'm not making that up) busts into the room to deliver their morning meal, sees them in bed (why isn't the bed in a separate room?) and Dragos FLIPS out about Pia being seen in bed in a less than ideal state. He's growling at the fairie who is stammering out apologies. Pia just takes over. Calms Dragos, apologizes for him to the faerie and asks her to knock before coming in next time. Her FIRST morning there.

Dragos went from very wooden thoughts, actions and dialogue - to slang, street-talk, and things I'd equate a teenager saying. In addition he was a bit too possessive, demanding and protective. Almost the entire 2nd half of the book takes place in Dragos' Cuelebre Tower....and the one time Pia decides to leave it, well of course she gets kidnapped.

The mystery of what type of Wyr Pia was intrigued me for a little bit, until I realized that the first thing I guessed was the truth. Dragos apparently didn't know until she'd changed though. That doesn't do a lot to convince me of his superior intellect.

Then there's the whole problem with the evil Dark Fae King. He's supposed to be smart, ahead of the game, and calculating - apparently evading Dragos for a very long time. Yet Pia manages to fool him, outright lie to him, escape from him (in a very unbelievable scenario) and get almost all the way home before he catches up.

Lastly I'm going to address the dragons (and gryphons, thunderbirds, and harpies) that make up most of the shifters we've met to this point. There's nothing especially special about them. They're like every other shifter I've read - that's not a bad thing necessarily, but it doesn't make them special either.

In the end, I think part of my grade is because of the insanely high expectations that all the glowing reviews set for me. If I had gone into this book with normal new-to-me-author expectations I may have thought it a good book. As it was, it felt fairly average with little to make it stand out from the crowd.

Though I probably will check out the sequel because Tricks was the one character that I thought was supremely interesting.

Grade: C-

Book Link | Amazon | Kindle | nook | kobo | Borders eBook | Sony | Book Depository | Berkley

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review: Solstice by P.J. Hoover

Title: Solsitce
Author: P.J. Hoover
Series: Stand-Alone
Genre: Dystopia/Paranormal Young Adult
Release Date: May 4, 2011

Where Mythology and Dystopia meet...

Piper's world is dying. Global warming kills every living thing on Earth, and each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles which threaten to destroy humanity. Amid this Global Heating Crisis, Piper lives with her mother who suffocates her more than the chaotic climate. When her mother is called away to meet the father Piper has been running from her entire life, Piper seizes an opportunity for freedom.

But when Piper discovers a world of mythology she never knew existed, she realizes her world is not the only one in crisis. While Gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper's life spirals into turmoil, and she struggles to find answers to secrets kept from her since birth. And though she's drawn to her classmate Shayne, he may be more than he claims. Piper has to choose whom she can trust and how she can save the people she loves even if it means the end of everything she's ever known.

Solstice has a pretty interesting setup. The world is basically on fire. They've had to learn to live with 113 degree Fahrenheit days, barely getting relief at all at night. This is where we're introduced to Piper. A young woman, seventeen, still in high-school, Piper is raised alone by her mother - never knowing her father.

When she meets two young men at school, who make her feel things she's never experienced before, things really start to change. Shayne shows up in one of her classes - saying he'd been there all year - and Piper feels an instant connection. She meets Reese through a mutual friend, and is irresistibly drawn to him, even losing a bit of her better common-sense when he's around.

I don't want to give away too much, because the story is pretty intricately tied to the mystery of who everyone is. Though this is set up as a dystopian/mythological story, and I can definitely appreciate the skill with which P.J. Hoover combined them, it's much more a mythology or paranormal story.

The beginning is firmly entrenched in the dystopian aspect of the world though - a world dying from global warming, and that's really the impetus that drives it. It's fascinating seeing what humans in Hoover's world have come up with to combat and survive the heat. I wanted to know more, dig deeper, understand better.

It does begin to get bogged down a little bit, losing some of the interest when we're put more through the paces of introducing the mythological aspect. And without saying anything to spoil what it is essentially a retelling of, I will say that if you have even a rudimentary knowledge of classic myths you'll recognize these characters fairly early on. What kept me reading from that point was to see if there were going to be any unexpected twists thrown in. There weren't.

Solstice is an interesting story that sometimes gets lost in the details. I would recommend it for younger readers (middle-school and up) as I do think it's a fun way to retell this particular myth (which has always been one of my favorites). I look forward to reading more of Ms. Hoover's work in the future.

Grade: C

Book Link | Kindle | nook

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review: The Starlight Rite by Cherise Sinclair

Title: The Starlight Rite
Author: Cherise Sinclair
Series: Stand Alonen
Genre: Science Fiction Erotic Romance
Release Date: August 3, 2010

Blurb from Goodreads:

Her voice is known throughout the galaxy; her face is completely unknown.

Fleeing her monstrous husband back on puritanical Earth and the police assassins he's hired, singer Mella Archer becomes stranded on the frontier planet of Nexus. Desperate to survive, she picks the wrong target--Dain, the head of planetary security.

Dain is amused by the attempted theft, and when Mella is sentenced to serve time indentured as a bedroom slave, he buys her contract. As he introduces the repressed Earther to the pleasures of sex with a dominating warrior, he slowly comes to realize that the little thief has stolen his heart.

When the monster arrives on Nexus and has lunch with Dain, Mella is panic-stricken. Her owner must be part of the conspiracy to kill her, and it will only be a matter of time before the monster discovers that she's still alive. She attempts to escape. She fails. Embittered by her lies and mistrust, Dain returns her to Indenture Hall to be sold again.

Now the monster has found her. And she has nowhere left to run..

I’m not generally a fan of science-fiction romance. I’m not sure why, I’ve just never really been able to get into it. You wouldn’t think it’d be so far off of my fantasy romance, or paranormal romance – both of which I love, but it just is for me. However, because I love Cherise Sinclair, I dug right into The Starlight Rite

Dain and Mella are both great characters, interesting, three-dimensional, and I came to care about them. The world is well-thought out and it was enough to intrigue me into wanting more.

Unfortunately, there was one aspect of this story that just didn’t work for me. And even more unfortunately it was a major aspect of the story. The plot.

This is most definitely a ‘capture’ fantasy type of book. And I’m not saying anything that isn’t in the blurb, so I knew it going in. It just didn’t work for me. The lack of choice is a fairly big deal, and it comes up over and over again throughout the book. There's one scene in particular that almost broke it for me. Even though we get from her POV that she enjoys what's happening, she still thinks about her lack of choice in the matter.

While The Starlight Rite didn’t work for me, I am sure there are many others that it will work for. Ms. Sinclair’s writing is as good as it always is and the subject matter isn’t handled badly, this is just one of my pet-peeve issues and I couldn’t get past it enough to truly enjoy the story.

Grade: C

Book Link | Amazon | Kindle | nook | Sony | Book Depository | Loose Id

Friday, June 3, 2011

Review: The Unfinished Song: Initiate by Tara Maya

Title: The Unfinished Song: Initiate
Author: Tara Maya
Series: Unfinished Song, Book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: December 22, 2010


Dindi can't do anything right, maybe because she spends more time dancing with pixies than doing her chores. Her clan hopes to marry her off and settle her down, but she dreams of becoming a Tavaedi, one of the powerful warrior-dancers whose secret magics are revealed only to those who pass a mysterious Test during the Initiation ceremony. The problem? No-one in Dindi's clan has ever passed the Test. Her grandmother died trying. But Dindi has a plan.

Kavio is the most powerful warrior-dancer in Faearth, but when he is exiled from the tribehold for a crime he didn't commit, he decides to shed his old life. If roving cannibals and hexers don't kill him first, this is his chance to escape the shadow of his father's wars and his mother's curse. But when he rescues a young Initiate girl, he finds himself drawn into as deadly a plot as any he left behind. He must decide whether to walk away or fight for her... assuming she would even accept the help of an exile

When I was first offered this book to review, I thought it sounded absolutely fascinating – not quite like anything I’d ever read before. I was definitely right.

The book starts out rather slow. There’s a lot of description of the place, the people, the setting. It was a little hard to get into at first, because I was having trouble following the story among all the descriptions.

But it wasn’t too far into it that the story really picked up. When Dindi is taken for her Initiation, and Kavio is kicked out of his tribe, everything starts to get interesting.

I could not put my Kindle down. The story flows beautifully, and naturally, from this point forward, and I was up late into the night finishing it.

Dindi is an great character. She dances in secret, she’s not supposed to before becoming a Tavaedi, with the fae and wants nothing more than to be able to continue to dance. She’s not entirely sure of herself, but she’s sweet and kind.

Kavio is something else entirely. He’s strong – physically, mentally and emotionally. He willingly takes his punishment as exile, when all he was doing was trying to save his tribe. He fights off those that would do more harm, saves young girls from drowning, and doesn’t expect anyone to give him any trust or belief. He sets out to make his own way – refusing to let that way be less than what he was, he strives for better.

I really loved both main characters, as well as being incredibly interested in a few of the secondary characters we got to know (Gwenika comes to mind immediately). The Corn Maiden – I sure hope we're going to learn more about her!!

The real prize here though, is the world. It’s an intricate, beautiful, harsh world. Ancient, ancient times – think Neolithic – with tribes that remind me of the Native American or African tribes of old. Magic and fae still populate the world, and if you have magic you are admitted to an entirely different class of the tribe. The customs and interactions between the tribes were fascinating. I could see the influence of a few different ethnicities and histories, and they were seamlessly woven together into a brand new whole.  Honestly, it delighted me.

Tara Maya has given us a beautiful new fantasy world. The Unfinished Song: Initiate will pull you in, immerse you in the people and stark beauty of Faearth, and leave you wanting more when you’re done. I know I definitely can’t wait to start The Unfinished Song: Taboo to see what’s next for Dindi, Kavio and the rest.

Grade: B

P.S. There is a cliffhanger at the end, but the second book The Unfinished Song: Taboo is already out and it looks like the final book in the series should be out next month!

Book Link | Amazon | Kindle | nook

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Review: Chasing Alex by Riley Shane

Title: Chasing Alex
Author: Riley Shane
Series: Stand-Alone
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Release Date: June 1, 2011

Chase Larkspur is a rodeo cowboy who likes a good ride…as long as he’s the one calling the shots. Alex Dawson is a bull rider who tests every limit Chase has ever set. The passion between them burns bright and hot, until Alex grows tired of keeping their relationship a secret—and of being the one who’s always ridden. Alex lays down an ultimatum, and then the rest is up to Chase. Does Chase let the best thing in his life run away to the family ranch, or is he brave enough to chase Alex down??

Reunion stories are some of my favorites; I love the idea of people that were together finally finding love with each other. In this case there was the ultimatum – and the events that led to it – that tore Chase and Alex apart. When they come back together, their reunion is both steamy and emotional.

It’s great to read a short story, just over 30 pages, that manages to pull me in and make me care. But this one definitely does. I was rooting for Chase and Alex to get back together, to understand one another and to give themselves, and each other, a chance.

Chasing Alex is a quick, sexy, eminently satisfying read. Riley Shane has a gift of writing great stories with characters that I love and want to see more of. Recommended!!

Grade: A+

Book Link | Dreamspinner Press

Monday, May 30, 2011

Review: Miss Bramble and the Leviathan by Kristen Painter

Title: Miss Bramble and the Leviathan
Author: Kristen Painter
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Steampunk Romance
Release Date: September 13, 2010
Length: Novella

Blurb from Goodreads:

When Pandora Bramble steps aboard the Company’s premiere airship Daedalus it’s not for the exclusive VIP tour. It’s to secure proof that the Company stole the regulator valve her father designed—even if it means tearing the engine apart. Foiled by the unexpected appearance of a handsome crew member, she despairs of ever getting another chance—until he kisses her.

Captain Theolonius Hatch, sentenced to engine room duty for refusing to take part in the Company’s fleet week activities, never dreamed a woman like Pandora existed. Her brains match her beauty, a combination that adds up to more trouble than he ever expected.

As Pandora allows Theolonius to sweep her into a whirlwind courtship, her wildest dreams come true. As do her greatest fears, leaving her to decide what matters most. Loyalty…or love.
After getting my first taste of steampunk with Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas series (review of The Iron Duke here), I was anxious to delve further into the genre. It was fun, fresh and fascinating.

I really liked Pandora. She’s a fun, smart, fascinating heroine. She’s more at home tinkering in an engine room than in a formal dining room and when she is in formal society she’s in the shadow of her beautiful, society-minded friend. All this adds up to a woman who’s a bit alone in the world, taking care of her father and their shop essentially by herself.

I had a few problems with this one though. First, the steampunk world was more window-dressing than anything else. It didn’t play a very big part in the story, and could just as easily been a regency romance. That’s not such a big deal, but I think I would have appreciated it more had I know that going in.

The second is mostly I think due to the length. I just didn’t feel like there was enough time to properly develop the relationship between the hero and heroine. Pandora and Theo were keeping secrets from each other, truthfully thinking the other already knew, but not talking about them, for most of the story. This is one of my pet-peeves in reading so I’m not sure how big of an issue it really is. The things that they don’t talk about – like her father’s design – is a pretty major story point, and while I can understand each of their motivations for keeping mum on the subject it just got to be a little too much for me.

That being said, I loved how it ended. Kristen Painter didn’t take the easy way out with the ending, and I really appreciated the complexity that she layered in there. I definitely look forward to trying more out by Ms. Painter in the future.

Grade: C

Book Link | Kindle | nook | kobo | Borders eBook | Sony | Samhain Publishing

Review: Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh

Title: Kiss of Snow
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling, Book 10
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: May 31, 2011

**Warning – Contains mild spoilers for the previous books in the series***

Blurb from Goodreads:
Since the moment of her defection from the PsyNet and into the SnowDancer wolf pack, Sienna Lauren has had one weakness. Hawke. Alpha and dangerous, he compels her to madness.

Hawke is used to walking alone, having lost the woman who would've been his mate long ago. But Sienna fascinates the primal heart of him, even as he tells himself she is far too young to handle the wild fury of the wolf.

Then Sienna changes the rules and suddenly, there is no more distance, only the most intimate of battles between two people who were never meant to meet. Yet as they strip away each other's secrets in a storm of raw emotion, they must also ready themselves for a far more vicious fight…

A deadly enemy is out to destroy SnowDancer, striking at everything they hold dear, but it is Sienna's darkest secret that may yet savage the pack that is her home…and the alpha who is its heartbeat…

Hawke’s book has been highly anticipated by me since I first read Slave to Sensation, the first book in this wonderful Psy/Changeling series. Over the past year I’ve tried to subdue that anticipation as much as possible – sure that it could only lead to disappointment.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

This is the story I’ve been waiting for. The sexual tension between Hawke and Sienna is nearly explosive. Hawke doesn’t take too long to come around to the decision that his wolf has been pushing him towards – pursue Sienna. It might take a little creativity on Sienna’s part, but once he does; Oh boy. There are a few ‘almost’ moments, where Hawke and Sienna’s courting is interrupted by everything from injuries to Psy scouting parties to outright attacks, and you could feel the frustration, as well as the responsibility in each of those moments.

Hawke was the same alpha that I’ve always loved. The alpha who has feral wolves claiming him as their own alpha. In this dangerous war with the Psy, Hawke barely has time to set aside his responsibilities. So he never does. He and Sienna steal small moments, with the help of their Pack, and they don’t give up on what they have together.

Learning more about Sienna, and what she has grown up with, what she’s grown up expecting – to die before she reaches 25 – was heart-wrenching at times. And yet she always managed to impress me with the way she’s managed to become such a strong young woman. She is absolutely more than a match for Hawke. But she’s so much more than a perfect match for him, she’s a fierce, beautiful, determined, resourceful woman that’s not afraid to take chances with her heart, and will protect those she cares about, no matter the cost to herself.

There’s an additional side story between Lara, SnowDancer’s healer and Walker Lauren. It’s an incredibly sweet story that I was happy to read. There’s a lot of focus on the Lauren’s in general in Kiss of Snow, with more of one of my favorite characters (Judd) showing up quite a bit too.

By now there are around 50 distinct characters that we’ve met more deeply than passing by in Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling world. She continues to give each of them a voice that is solely their own. They act within their character all the time and are each noticeably different. Combine that with a world that continues to grow while following its own rules and Ms. Singh continues to blow away all my expectations.

Kiss of Snow satisfied every one of my expectations, and then some. It’s a sexy, sweet, enthralling story from beginning to end. I literally could not put it down from the moment I started it and was up late into the night inhaling this story. There’s no end in sight for my love of Nalini Singh’s writing, and I’m eagerly anticipating her next release.

Grade: A

Book Link | Amazon | Kindle | nook | Book Depository | Berkley Sensation

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Review: Full Exposure by Evangeline Anderson and Lena Matthews

Title: Full Exposure
Author: Evangeline Anderson and Lena Matthews
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Contemporary Interracial Erotic Romance
Release Date: August 29, 2008

Blurb from Goodreads:

Keeley Jackson has a problem. She's madly in love with her cousin's friend Sean Hastings, but the trouble is, he doesn't know she exists. All he sees is the flat-chested little girl with the big glasses whom he always called "Squints".

Despite what she might think, Sean has definitely noticed Keeley is all grown up. The proof is right there every time he looks her way. He's just not sure if he's willing to risk losing his best friend in order to have her.

For Keeley, enough is enough. With the help of her best friend, she cooks up a plan that will surely show Sean she's not a little girl any longer, even if that means posing suggestively for erotic photographs. It's a risky venture, but Keeley knows in order to get Sean for herself she will have to risk nothing less than full exposure.

My good friend Kat recommended Full Exposure to me. I think this was the first book I read by either Evangeline Anderson or Lena Matthews, and it’s still one of my favorites. Often with a shorter length novel you don’t get enough character or relationship development to be able to really feel like you know the characters and that they’re going to survive after the story ends. Happily, that isn’t a problem here.

Keeley and Sean have a history together, as friends over a long time period, and when Keeley finally decides to up the ante I was rooting for her the whole time. Both of them are extremely well developed and I immediately fell in love with Sean as well.

The bulk of the story takes place over a couple of days and almost entirely in Sean’s studio. As you can imagine, with the boudoir photography, it steams up pretty quickly – and never lets up. This is a story that has a bit of deception, generally something I can’t stand, but that I felt was really well done. It made total sense, and was, in my opinion, perfectly handled.

Full Exposure is a sexy, scintillating, HOT read that I highly recommend.

Grade: A

Book Link | Ellora's Cave

Friday, April 1, 2011

Review: Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

Title: Angelfire
Author: Courtney Allison Moulton
Series: Angelfire, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Release Date: February 15, 2011

Ellie is a normal sixteen – soon to be seventeen – year old girl. She gets bored in economics classes, does homework, goes to movies and shopping, is looking forward to getting her first car and, like a lot of girls her age, she’s trying to figure out how to get into the college of her choice. There’s just one difference: she’s been having these horrifying nightmares about creatures that kill her every night.

On the night of her seventeenth birthday she finds out the nightmares are real when she comes face-to-face with a reaper – those who devour human souls and send them straight to hell. Armed with swords the appear out of nowhere, an immortal sworn to protect her, and memories of her past lives coming back, Ellie soon finds herself on the front lines of an ages old battle between archangels and the fallen.

One of the things I appreciated most about Angelfire was the absolute normality of Ellie. Both of her parents were in her life, and though things definitely weren’t perfect at home, there was the strong point that her mother was actually a mother. She cared about where Ellie was, and what she was doing, and wasn’t just another convenient plot point. Ellie wasn’t an outcast at school; in fact she had a group of great friends while still not being obscenely popular. Obviously her parents were fairly well off, and they lived in a nice neighborhood, but everything was comfortable and normal. Plus (and this is probably my biggest thing), Ellie had common sense. See a weird boy following you – make a plan to stay away. I loved that.

Of course the weird boy turned out to be her immortal guardian, Will. Having been with her, in many lives, for the past 500 years, Will is the key to her remembering her duties, powers, and history. While he is her guardian, don’t mistake that for meaning that Ellie is weak. Far from it. Will often says, and we get evidence of it, that Ellie is stronger than him and he’s just there to watch her back – what they fight isn’t an easy enemy.

Another thing that was greatly appreciated was the fact that Ellie didn’t shy away once she learned who she was. Yes, she questioned, and had some freak-out moments, but for the most part she just kicked ass while struggling to come to terms with her new reality. And trying to integrate that reality into the one she already had. She’d train and do homework, then go hunting for more reapers. She still went to movie night with her friends, even dragging Will along saying he needed to act more ‘normal.’ I enjoyed this balance.

This isn’t to say Ellie’s perfect, but I do think she’s realistic for a teen girl dealing with incredible circumstances.

The action in Angelfire moves at a fairly decent pace, though there were times I was anxious to get back to it. It is interspaced with Ellie learning about herself and her powers, or trying to maintain a normal life, and learning more about Will.

Speaking of Will, there’s a strong romantic thread here too. While anyone who has read YA recently could probably see this coming, I thought the difference was that for once I could actually understand why they were interested in one another. It was a gradual growth of feelings based on what they knew of each other, and spending time together talking. I’d like to see where this goes further as there’s a rather interesting twist at the end to add the suspense to this storyline – and surprisingly it’s not a love triangle!

The biggest downside to the book is the writing style for me. It’s a bit choppy and doesn’t flow well all the time. I could start to see the improvement in that in the later half of the book, but it would still occasionally pull me out of the story, but it wasn’t that much of a distraction.

All in all, I was eagerly turning the pages of Angelfire to find out what happened next. A quick, easy read, with characters that I definitely want to get to know better, Angelfire left me wanting more – in a good way. It was eminently satisfying to see a lot of the young-adult conventions turned on their heads. Angelfire is the first book in a planned trilogy, so don’t look for the story to be neatly tied up in this book though there is a nice stopping point chosen.

Grade: B-

Book Link | Amazon | Kindle | nook | kobo | Borders eBook | Sony | Book Depository | Harper Collins

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward Giveaway

So, Elisha at Forever Growing, Forever Evolving is hosting a giveaway of J.R. Ward's latest book, Lover Unleashed.

I've been a long time fan of Ms. Ward's books, and am constantly spreading the love of her books to anyone I can get to listen.

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, seductive cloth as her brother. Imprisoned for eons by their mother, the Scribe Virgin, she finally frees herself-only to face a devastating injury. Manuel Manello, M.D., is drafted by the Brotherhood to save her as only he can-but when the human surgeon and the vampire warrior meet, their two worlds collide in the face of their undeniable passion. With so much working against them, can love prove stronger than the birthright and the biology that separates them?


All you have to do is leave a comment!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Review: The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton

Title: The Perfect Play
Author: Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play, Book 1
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Release Date: February 1, 2011

Mick Riley is an all-star football player for the San Francisco Sabers. For years he’s been happy to take advantage of the lifestyle made easily available to him, including a different woman for every occasion. But when he meets a determinedly single mom everything just might change…

Tara is an event planner, with her own business, and a fourteen year-old boy. It hasn’t been an easy road for her to get where she’s at, providing a stable life for both her and her son, but Tara’s never regretted a moment – and never looked back. So when she meets Mick at the party she organized for the Sabers, and ends up in his bed for a night of unforgettable sex, Tara quickly relegates it to one-night-stand territory.

What she doesn’t know is that Mick’s determined, and plans to resolutely pursue and win her, with the perfect play.

I’ll admit, I’ve been eyeing this cover for months now, waiting for the book to come out so I could own it, even though covers like this don’t generally draw me. Definitely a win on the cover.

I was really looking forward to a good sports romance, and I definitely was not disappointed here. Jaci Burton definitely knows her football, and it showed in almost every detail. The world really came alive and felt very real to me.

I really enjoyed Mick and Tara’s story. I thought that they were well matched, and I really enjoyed the growing relationship between all the characters, including Tara’s son Nathan and Mick, as well as Tara and Mick’s family. The issues that created problems for Mick and Tara, I felt, were extremely realistic and handled really well.

I had a few issues while reading, that ultimately didn’t take away a lot of my enjoyment of the book, but they were things that pulled me out of the story and I want to mention them. Throughout a good half of the book Mick is comparing Tara, favorably of course, to his past ‘flings.’ I can understand and get the point of this, but I felt that it got a bit old. Tara was so much better, more real, etc, etc, etc…

One of my hot-button issues is the ‘Big Misunderstanding’ so I’m perhaps a little overly sensitive to it. There was a misunderstanding issue about midway through that was really quickly resolved, and I loved how that was handled, because there was no time for it to become this big thing. Tara even admonishes herself for not trusting Mick, but just a few chapters later she’s doing the exact same thing. She doesn’t even ask him, or try to talk to him, just gets upset and storms out not wanting to talk to him.

The Perfect Play is an incredibly incendiary read. The really nice thing, I thought, was that it was all in line with the story and characters – it didn’t just feel like it was thrown in there to make the book hotter. Mick and Tara are both ‘talkers’ in their love scenes and after something in their words started to not feel right to me, though I still can’t lay my finger on what exactly. But, again, that did not diminish the sexiness of these love scenes, nor how extremely well-done they were.

I greatly enjoyed The Perfect Play and look forward to reading the next book in the series, Changing the Game which comes out August 2, 2011.

Grade: B-

Book Link | Amazon | Kindle | nook | kobo | Borders eBook | Sony | Book Depository | Berkley Heat

Friday, February 18, 2011

February 18 2011 Follow Friday Tag Along

Follow Friday is hosted at Parajunkee's View.
Her question this week is: If you are a fan of Science Fiction what is your favorite book? If you haven't read Science Fiction before...any inkling to? Anything catch your eye?
Honestly, I haven't really ever read science fiction. Here and there a few things, which has usually done more to confirm that it's not one of my favorite genres. But. There are a few that I want to check out. I really want to read Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card for one.

If you've got some AWESOME recommendations for science fiction (straight up, romance, erotica) leave them in the comments, I'd love to have more to choose from to dive into.

Calling all 18 and over book bloggers, are you looking for more bloggers like yourself? Well please join in so we can tag along with each other. This is for a specific group and your blog needs to primarily have book reviews and post adult book content. In other words, if you read books like erotic and adult romance and have adult pic, then you can play tag along. Sorry YA readers, but if you read both (I know some of you do) you can tag along also. Just make sure you have both YA and adult romance on your blog.

It doesn't matter what you read if it’s paranormal, suspense, historical, contemporary or mystery, along with erotic with any genre. As long as it is adult then you’re in.

To join in the fun and get details click here. This tag along is hosted by Laurie at Bitten by Paranormal Romance.

If you have an adult book blog, please sign up for this tag along. There are others including myself that are looking for you so please join us.


Review of First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones - Debut author book

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Review: First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Title: First Grave on the Right
Author: Darynda Jones
Series: Charley Davidson, Book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: February 1, 2011

Charley Davidson was born a reaper. The Grim Reaper, to be exact. She convinces the dead to go into the light. They’re drawn to her, and she to them. Because of this she often ends up investigating the deaths that happened under unusual circumstances – like murder. Which is good, since being a reaper doesn’t really pay the bills.

When three attorneys turn up dead, Charley helps out the PD with their case, through her Uncle Bob who’s a detective. While she’s searching for the culprit, and trying to help her other clients, Charley is also trying to figure out if her nightly visits from a phantom lover are more than they seem. This phantom has been following her all her life, and he just might not be dead. In fact, he could be something a whole lot more disturbing.

First Grave on the Right is sarcastic, humorous, quick and fun. There’s the two mystery threads – the attorneys murders, and the spectral visitor – that serve to move the story along, though Charley’s phantom is given much more credence and is much more interesting because of it.

Charley herself is extremely sarcastic. Extremely. She uses it to keep people and situations at arms length from her. I think this is a realistic defense considering what she is, but it also served to keep me at a distance. I think that I would have liked to be able to delve a little bit more into her, get some more depth and gotten to know her. I had a hard time connecting with her.

That being said, I caught myself laughing out loud a few times, even if I wasn’t loving the fact that she named her breasts which just seemed absurd to me. There were times when it felt like she was being witty for the sake of being witty.

The ending I absolutely loved. The resolution of the Big Bad that's been haunting Charley is a fantastic hook. It completely pulled me in and made me want to find out what happened next, making me think that First Grave on the Right is really more of an introductory book to get us into the world and life of Charley Davidson. I will be picking up the second book, Second Grave on the Left when it’s released to see if I can connect more with Charley.

First Grave on the Right is an enjoyable, witty ride with an interesting premise. I really enjoyed the idea of a grim reaper and what that meant for the world. I’m definitely interested in seeing where Darynda Jones takes Charley, and us, next.

Grade: C

Book Link | Amazon | Kindle | nook | Sony | Book Depository | St. Martin's Press

Friday, February 11, 2011

February 11 2011 Follow Friday Tag Along

Follow Friday is hosted at Parajunkee's View.
Her question this week is: What is your favorite romance hero-type? Stereotype wise. Do you like the strong silent type or the brute macho man?

I like a variety. I don't want to read the same thing over and over again. But if I were forced to pick, I love a big male that is possessive, a touch dominating, strong, intelligent and absolutely devoted to the heroine.

Calling all 18 and over book bloggers, are you looking for more bloggers like yourself? Well please join in so we can tag along with each other. This is for a specific group and your blog needs to primarily have book reviews and post adult book content. In other words, if you read books like erotic and adult romance and have adult pic, then you can play tag along. Sorry YA readers, but if you read both (I know some of you do) you can tag along also. Just make sure you have both YA and adult romance on your blog.

It doesn't matter what you read if it’s paranormal, suspense, historical, contemporary or mystery, along with erotic with any genre. As long as it is adult then you’re in.

To join in the fun and get details click here. This tag along is hosted by Laurie at Bitten by Paranormal Romance.

If you have an adult book blog, please sign up for this tag along. There are others including myself that are looking for you so please join us.

This week's question: Whats your favorite genre?

I've always been fascinated by the supernatural, so I naturally gravitate towards anything to do with paranormal - whether it be Paranormal Romance or Urban Fantasy. Those are probably my two most read, but I like to mix up genres too. I also really enjoy Fantasy, Steampunk, Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense (on occasion). And if I see a BDSM erotic romance story - I can't turn it down.


Review of Master of the Abyss by Cherise Sinclair
Review of Two-Man Advantage by Riley Shane
Review of Dead Man's Eye by Shaun Jeffrey
Review of Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
My Waiting on Wednesday Pick

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Kiss of Snow

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

I can't believe that I haven't had this one for a WoW pick already! If you dig around my site at all it'll be pretty easy to realize that I'm a huge fan of Nalini Singh's books. Her writing is always engaging, lush, and evocative. My first introduction to her work was her Psy/Changeling series, where there were three races trying to share the planet.

First, or they would say they were first, are the Psy - psychic beings - more of the mind than the body, but with some incredibly awesome powers. There were telepaths, telekinetics, medical, foreseers...some are able to insert a 'virus' into another's brain. Some can travel vast distances, or rip a body apart with their mind. Others can heal, see inside the body and brain to figure out what's wrong. And they're Silent, meaning they've chosen to purge all emotion from their lives - usually with fail-safes to prevent them from having any sort of emotional response.

Then we have the Changelings. Beast and Human combined, they are not one or the other, they are always both. We've learned of Changelings of cats, wolves, birds, snakes, deer and it seems that Changelings can be of almost any species. Though we spend most of our time with the Dark River (leopards) and Snow Dancer (wolves) packs. The Changelings live by Pack rules. Law enforcement lets them take care of their own. They're incredibly territorial and, in contracts to the Psy who deal in a near emotionless state, the Changelings emotions often seriously impact their lives.

Finally, there are Humans. Seemingly powerless in this struggle between those that have stronger minds, and those that have stronger bodies and senses you might be tempted to count the humans as nothing but pawns. You'd be wrong to do so. They're as much a part of the survival of the world as both the Psy and the Changelings.

Into this explosive dynamic we are thrust. Where the tides of change are already beginning.

Title: Kiss of Snow
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling, Book 10
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: May 31, 2011

Book Description (from author's website):

Since the moment of her defection from the PsyNet and into the SnowDancer wolf pack, Sienna Lauren has had one weakness. Hawke. Alpha and dangerous, he compels her to madness.

Hawke is used to walking alone, having lost the woman who would’ve been his mate long ago. But Sienna fascinates the primal heart of him, even as he tells himself she is far too young to handle the wild fury of the wolf.

Then Sienna changes the rules and suddenly, there is no more distance, only the most intimate of battles between two people who were never meant to meet. Yet as they strip away each other’s secrets in a storm of raw emotion, they must also ready themselves for a far more vicious fight…

A deadly enemy is out to destroy SnowDancer, striking at everything they hold dear, but it is Sienna’s darkest secret that may yet savage the pack that is her home…and the alpha who is its heartbeat…

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Review: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Title: Magic Bites
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels, Book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: March 27, 2007

From Ilona Andrews Website about the Kate Daniels World:
The world has suffered a magic apocalypse. We pushed the technological progress too far, and now magic returned with a vengeance. It comes in waves, without warning, and vanishes as suddenly as it appears. When magic is up, planes drop out of the sky, cars stall, electricity dies. When magic is down, guns work and spells fail.

It's a volatile, screwed-up world. Magic feeds on technology, gnawing down on skyscrapers until most of them topple and fall, leaving only skeletal husks behind. Monsters prowl the ruined streets, werebears and werehyenas stalk their prey; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds.

In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. But sometimes even trained killers make friends and fall in love, and when the universe tries to kick them in the face, they kick back.

Kate Daniels is a mercenary for the Guild. She’s having a bit of trouble making ends meet when she gets a visit suggesting that she get in contact with her guardian. But when she tries she gets stonewalled. And then she finds out he’s dead, killed by an apparently unknown magical being.

Now Kate’s on the job, searching for the answers, which brings her into contact with some of the most powerful beings in Atlanta. She’ll travel from the heart of the vampire’s power, the People’s Casino, to the shapeshifter’s Keep, ruled by the Beast Lord and everywhere in between.

I read this book quite a while ago, finally, at the insistence of one of my best friends – who had been recommending the series to me for over a year! What on earth took me so long? I’m doing this review now because I just got done listening to the audiobook and wanted to comment on both.

First, I absolutely love Kate. Not only does she kick ass and have a smart mouth, but because when she does talk, she can back it up – unless she’s trying to aggravate Curran of course. She’s not perfect, she makes mistakes, she has flaws! Sometimes she even makes rash decisions. And this is probably one of my favorite things about her – when she does any of the above, it doesn’t always turn out the way she wants and sometimes she has to accept the consequences of her actions. I’ll say it again, because I think it’s something that’s missing in a lot of urban fantasy I read – Kate’s (and truly all the characters) actions have consequences and they don’t just go away, they have to be dealt with. And it’s not always easy. Another thing to love about Kate is that she has a personal code of conduct, and she sticks to it. Honestly, there’s not one thing I didn’t love about Kate. Impressive, considering how difficult it is to make me truly like a heroine.

Now, I’ve spent all this time talking about Kate and haven’t mentioned a single other character. And there are so many wonderful characters to mention. Curran, I can’t even describe how much I love Curran, the Beast Lord of Atlanta. Strong, sexy, dominating, fierce. He’s arrogant and eminently sure of himself – with good cause. I was immediately enamored of him.

Honestly, I can’t do justice to all the well-developed characters in this book, so I’ll just say that all of them are fully three-dimensional and intriguing.

Magic Bites moves at a very quick pace, with lots of action set in a fabulously complex, detailed world. The world is a character all itself. I love the idea of the magic and tech asserting themselves at ever-changing intervals and the effects that has on our protagonist. The world building was flawlessly integrated into the story, and I never got hopelessly lost in it, though I was completely immersed.

Now, onto my thoughts about the audiobook, read by RenĂ©e Raudman. I just did not enjoy this as much as I thought I would. Ms. Raudman made Kate sound weak and stupid – neither of which I associate with her, obviously. Add to that all the times that I felt she got the inflection of speech or thought wrong, completely changing the meaning or tone of what they were saying and it about drove me insane. Still, even that couldn’t totally detract from the beauty of the story. Also, it’s probably not quite enough to stop me from listening to the rest of the series as well.

I highly recommend this series if you haven’t started it already. Magic Bites a rocket-fast story, set in a vivid, ever-changing world with characters that fairly jump off the page and make you beg for more.

Grade: A+

Book Link | Amazon | Kindle | nook | kobo | Borders eBook | Sony | Book Depository | Ace

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Review: Dead Man's Eye by Shaun Jeffrey

Title: Dead Man’s Eye
Author: Shaun Jeffrey
Series: Stand Alone Novella
Genre: Horror
Release Date: December 30, 2010

Joanna Raines has just undergone a corneal transplant in one eye to stop her from going blind. It’s a complete success, but as it begins to heal she starts seeing shadowy coronas surrounding certain people.

Terrified that something is going wrong and she’s never going to be able to see again, or worse – that she’s going crazy, Joanna searches for answers.

What she finds out is much more difficult to believe than a simple operating complication. The shadows surrounding people are proof that demons are amassing to take over the human population!

Now, she is the only one that stands in their way. A young woman with the ability to see what they really are. She just has to convince everyone else.

I was pulled along with Joanna, anxious to see her come to the understanding that there were demons walking among us and to see what she was going to do about it. Twists and turns are seamlessly spun throughout the tale and, while not entirely unexpected, offered another level of suspense.

But the thing that stood out for me most in this novella was the quality of the prose. It fully immersed me in the tale. Fast-paced, with a lot of action, it doesn’t let you go for the entire length of the book.

Dead Man’s Eye is a lively-paced, well-crafted, eminently enjoyable read. I look forward to seeing more from Mr. Jeffrey.

Grade: B-

Book Link | Kindle | Kindle UK | nook | kobo | Sony | Smashwords

Monday, January 31, 2011

Review: Two-Man Advantage by Riley Shane

Title: Two-Man Advantage
Author: Riley Shane
Series: Seattle Marauders, Book 1
Genre: Male/Male Erotic Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 25, 2011

Blurb from author’s website:
When Professor Nathan Troy walks into his cabin and finds a naked man in his bed, he figures his one-man vacation to snowy Lake Tahoe can’t get any worse. It’s not that Nate doesn’t appreciate the view…he’d just prefer he knew the man in question.

Kyle Harper has come to Lake Tahoe to escape the memories of his former life – one where he was a star hockey player until a career-ending injury shattered his dreams forever. All Kyle wants is peace, and he certainly isn’t going to get it with a prickly, stubborn man waking him up, insisting that Kyle is in his cabin.

An accidental double-booking and a wary compromise puts the two in close quarters. Attraction heats things up, but Nate’s not about to let his libido lead him into making the mistake of getting involved with his unexpected roommate. Kyle, however, seems determined to get under his skin at every turn. Both men soon learn that they can’t outrun desire. But lust is easy; it’s opening their hearts that’s hard. Each will have to let go of the past before they can take advantage of the future the two of them could have together.

Nate and Kyle both end up at the Tahoe resort running from something. Past pain, hurt and heartache. But regardless of what they’re trying to escape these two wonderful heroes are fighters. When something good comes along, no matter how improbable it seems, they’re both willing to take a chance. To grab life and see where it leads. That endeared me greatly to both of them.

Nate’s just out of a relationship that had really died a slow death quite a while ago. More than pain and loss there’s embarrassment and resignation, which are still two difficult things to get over. Kyle’s loss is deeper. His entire life-dream has been shattered. When Kyle gets to the cabin he’s floundering, trying to find his place again.

Watching them come together made me smile. These are two heroes that I rooted for getting their happily-ever-after. Added to the way they complemented each other, filling in missing needs, I would be remiss if I didn’t add that they are sexy-as-hell together.

Two-Man Advantage is a hot, sinful, and incredibly romantic love story. I kept sneaking glimpses while at work, as I just couldn’t put it down! Riley Shane gave us two heroes to fall in love with, to cheer for, and that left me begging for more. Highly recommended!

Grade: A+

Book Link | Loose Id
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