Before the Mission Begins is a prequel to Christi Snow’s Before the Mission Ends series. I am so glad she wrote this short story. In her second book, Operation: Endeavor, Christ hints that there was something between Chris and Julie. That something happened once upon a time. What I thought when I saw those hints? “OMG what happened?! I want to know! I want their book right NOW!!!” Imagine my glee when I learned that Chris and Julie’s story was actually going to start in a novella that is due out before their book! Yup. I was Crazy Excited. And do I feel better and less anxious now that I have read their ‘beginnings’ and know how their tale begins? Nope. Now I want their book even more. But you know what? It’s okay. The extra need this novella added is worth it because Chris and Julie’s ‘pre-story’ is wonderful.
Even though this is a prequel to the series I believe you will get the most out of it if you read it after the second book. You do get a solid story if you just jump in here but you will be missing the sympathy factor. What I mean by that is going into this novella after having read the first two books you already know what Julie and Chris have gone through – and it’s not easy. You already feel for these two. So going into the novella knowing what’s lies ahead for these two adds a level of emotion you would otherwise not feel.
In Before the Mission Begins we find out that Julie has had some pretty traumatic experiences when it comes to sex. She needs someone she can trust to show her that sex can be a wonderful and loving experience. I know you are probably rolling your eyes right about now but hear me out. She does approach Chris to ‘help’ her but how she does it and why he says yes is very sweet. You instantly feel the connection between these two. You know that they are meant to be and that their feelings for each other are way stronger than even they could imagine. Their connection is so well written, you can’t help but *sigh* and want to cry all at once. A good cry.
The emotion that Christi manages to convey through her characters is amazing. You can’t help but get sucked in by these two. That is why now I can’t wait even more for their book. They totally deserve each other and they deserve a HEA more than any other couple in this series. I can’t wait to reconnect with them and to see how Christi pulls everything together. But I have to wait because the book three, Operation: Endurance, is not due out for another couple of months yet.
Maybe I’ll re-read this novella to make the wait less painful…
Every time I pick up a “Mercedes Thompson” book by Patricia Briggs, I am so happy I finally got around to reading this series. It is exceptional. TheEvery time I pick up a “Mercedes Thompson” book by Patricia Briggs, I am so happy I finally got around to reading this series. It is exceptional. The world, the characters, the stories… All Great with a capital ‘G’. It’s always nice to be following Mercy. She’s so down to earth and so unassuming. And it’s nice to see Adam again. *g*To watch how much he cares for his pack. How much he cares for Mercy. *sigh*
“Silver Borne” is the fifth installment in Patricia Briggs’ ‘must read’ urban fantasy series. In this book, we’re back with spending time with the fae. The fae in Mercy’s world scare the crap out of me. There. I admit it. They bring the meaning of heebee-jeebees to a whole ‘nother level! The rules you need to remember or you could be inadvertently indebted to or screwed over by a member of the fae…*shiver*
Every book in this series is a bit of a ‘whodunit’. The main part of the plot involves solving a mystery. In this book however I found the mystery part of the story took a bit of a back seat. The main focus in “Silver Borne” is Mercy’s inclusion into Adam’s wolf pack, how the pack is dealing with it and how Mercy is dealing with her and Adam’s mate bond. Someone is messing with Mercy’s head, trying to get Adam to break up with her (yes, it is all very high school until you find out the full extent of it…then whoa!) I’ll just say this: People who live for a long time don’t like change.
I love books where the author has obviously thought out every single little detail about the world they’ve created. When the detail is so explicit, you can see every facet and understand every part as much as you would if it were all real. That is how Patricia writes her werewolves. And this time around, you really get a good look at the packs internal politics. Even though the situation surrounding your newly acquired knowledge is dire, it is still very interesting to witness what goes down.
The reason I knocked .5 off my rating is because of Sam. I like Sam. At least in the first few books, I really liked him. Then he started with the ‘woe is me and I’m so old and life is kinda sucking’ bit. And it’s brought to yet another level in this installment. To the point where, even though it’s all very emotional and I was feeling very worried and sad, I just wanted Sam to hitchhike his way to where ever the hell he wanted as long as it was away from Mercy. Using fewer words, he’s getting a bit on my nerves. By the end of the book I didn’t want him to pack his bags anymore, but I think it will take another book for me to truly see if I am a fan of Samuel’s once again. He does not ruin the story or the momentum or anything like that. This is still an excellent book and a fantastic installment in the ‘Mercy Thompson’ series. Don’t get me wrong in any way or form. I just didn’t enjoy Sam’s part early on in this story.
“Silver Borne” continues Mercy’s (and Adam’s) story very nicely. I wonder though if there will ever be a book where Adam and Mercy are both healthy and aware for the duration of an entire book and are able to investigate a whole ‘case’ together for once. That’s something I would enjoy seeing. Maybe that will happen in “River Marked”, book six, which is due out January 25th 2011. Not too bad of a wait.
It is always nice to read a new story featuring one of my favorite male protagonists, Atticus. Atticus is at the heart of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles series and he always manages to put a smile on my face. He’s just so clever! Grimoire of the Lamb is a quick novella that takes place four years before the first full book (it’s listed at #0.4). So that means no Granuaile. There really aren’t many of the characters we have grown to love in the full series; just Atticus and Oberon. And is there anything wrong with that, really?
The story in Grimoire of the Lamb is pretty simple. Atticus has a book. Egyptian magic man, Nkosi Elkhashab, wants the book. Atticus won’t give him the book so dude steals the book. Atticus isn’t too happy about that so he goes to Egypt to chase dude and get the book back. And probably kill the dude in the process because dude is a real nasty piece of work.
Don’t fret though. Even though there isn’t too much to the story it still packs quite the punch. There’s almost a suspenseful undertone to it, as you watch Atticus attempt to find the dude then enter his home undetected. And let’s not forget when Atticus and Oberon are trying to get away from all those cats! There is a brief scene with an Egyptian goddess that will sort of creep you out. Just imagine how quiet cats are and now imagine thousands of quiet cats, some will little bells on their collars, chasing you. That scene was well written and it eeked me out lol.
Speaking of eeked out, there are a few scenes that actually had my sporting my “oh, EW!” face. And when you think things are done for Atticus and he can pack up and go home…well let’s just say they aren’t and he can’t. And the last twist took me by surprise. I always enjoy Kevin’s spin on the many deities of the world and his take on the Egyptian gods/goddesses was no exception. Very interesting stuff.
You could read this novella without having read the books but of course you won’t get quite as much out of it as if you’ve read the novels beforehand. But if you are looking for something to read in this series to see if you would click with the author’s voice, Grimoire of the Lamb may be a good place to start. Overall, this may not have been my favorite novella in the series but it was still a solid read. Any story with Atticus is worth reading in my opinion and this one will keep me going until June 25th when Hunted hits shelves....more
And we are back with book three in Devon Monk’s awesome ‘Allie Beckstrom’ series, Magic in the Shadows. I know *bows head*not ‘we’…just me. But I am gAnd we are back with book three in Devon Monk’s awesome ‘Allie Beckstrom’ series, Magic in the Shadows. I know *bows head*not ‘we’…just me. But I am going to make as much noise as I can about this book. Let me just say Magic Fight people! A Magic. Fight!!! But I’ll get to that a little later.
Before I continue, a little warning. I won’t be able to write this review without slipping a couple little spoilers about the first two books in the series. Nothing that will take away from your reading enjoyment, but I still thought I should give you a heads up.
In this installment, Allie is struggling. You see, Allie is no longer alone. Her father’s spirit/soul seems to have taken up residence inside her head. Yup, talk about a mood killer. She has been invited to test to join the Authority (sort of like a secret Magic police force) so you’d think that having her father in her head would be a good thing since he knows pretty much everything when it comes to spells and magic. But Allie is determined to take care of things on her own, without her father’s interference. They didn’t get along when he was alive. In fact she did everything in her power to disassociate herself from him as soon as she was old enough to. But her father isn’t quite ready to die and go away, and he’s about ready to do what it takes to make sure he doesn’t.
Allie really is a great character. She is flawed. She is untrusting to a dangerous degree, and sometimes I wanted to smack her to help her see that not everything has to be a fight. But she is true to her word and tries her best. And her wit! I love her sarcasm and her wit. She causes me to break out in short bursts of out loud laughter every once on a while. Examples of her snarkiness would include:
“I was demure enough not to flip him off with both fingers.”
“Not so much creepy as sort of barf-inspiring.”
In the previous books, Allie wanted so much to be secluded from her father and his empire that she flat out ignored everything that had to do with him. Then he died, and all of his responsibilities went to her (thanks to that little thing her dad left behind called a last will and testament). Allie wasn’t having it. If her father was involved, she wanted nothing of it. But she wasn’t thinking about all of the other people involved in the big picture. But in this book, she is finally coming around – and I liked it. It was very good to see her become a little more responsible. A little more mature and ready to take on some responsibility. And not just the responsibility for her father’s company, but also for her fellow Hounds (those who track magic spells back to their casters for a living).
We meet a couple of new characters in this book. One of which I want to squeeze but can’t because he’s too hard and the other I want to squeeze but can’t because Pamela has already claimed him. (*mumble grumble* Pamela *mumble grumble*) The first is Stone. He’s a stone gargoyle and he’s cuter than a puppy. The next is Shamus. He’s looking like he going to take on the roll of ‘smart mouth’ in this series. He is Zayvion’s best friend. Clever and sharp with a wicked sense of humor. I am really going to enjoy reading him in future books.
Speaking of Zayvion, we finally find out who and what he is! *cracks open the champagne* He is a lot more open in this book and I was very glad for it. He’s not only open with information about himself, but also about his feelings for Allie. And you get to see his vulnerabilities. Let’s just say that Zayvion has become more human…and that makes him that much more relatable.
One character that I wanted to smack and smack hard was Allie’s dad. Aug! Talk about an egotistical maniac. I just want Allie to figure out how to get rid of him! There is potential there for a great partnership, but dad is just going about it all wrong. And I don’t blame Allie for being suspicious of him. He’s a controlling man who needs to be smacked down a couple of notches.
I like how Devon writes. One of the things I enjoy is how the story’s climax isn’t at the very very end of the book. It takes place a few chapters before ‘the end’ so there is a chance for a bit of a wind down before you reach the end of the book. She leaves you wanting more without feeling like you are experiencing a heart attack. I really appreciate that about these books.
I’ll leave you with this. There is a huge magic fight in this book. It’s epic. It’s “sitting on the edge of your seat, biting off all of your finder nails and maybe even moving on to your toenails” epic. Just…epic.
The fourth book in this series, Magic on the Storm is sitting in my book closet just waiting for me to pick it up. I won’t be able to do that until the New Year but for sure it won’t be sitting there too too much longer. As for Magic in the Shadows, it picks up right where book two left off and carries you with it until the very last page.
“Soulless”, the first book in ‘the Parasol Protectorate’ series by Gail Carriger, is in a word delightful. The fact that the story takes place in nine“Soulless”, the first book in ‘the Parasol Protectorate’ series by Gail Carriger, is in a word delightful. The fact that the story takes place in nineteenth century England adds an endearing quality to the characters and the plot. The tale holds all the elements of a historical romance novel — including corsets and ruffles, bonnets and chaperones, carriages and flighty sisters. (The sisters are quite funny, what with their charm and brainlessness). Now don’t let all this cutesy historical stuff fool you. There is some pretty gritty and gruesome paranormal stuff happening in this book, especially the in last hundred pages or so. It kind of took me by surprise seeing how most of the book is quite light and quirky. I thought the fact that our heroine was born without a soul thus giving her the ability to, with a simple touch, negate a supernatural being’s powers and rendering him or her essentially human (at least until she let’s go) to be an ingenious and unique concept. Once again, I am in awe of authors and their infinite ideas and astonishing imaginations!
Miss Alexia Tarabotti is charming to read. She is quite sassy – well, as sassy as a lady can be during Victorian times – and set in her ways. She’s comfortable with her station in life and doesn’t expect much to change. Her relationship with Lord Conall Maccon, Alpha werewolf, is really sweet. Alexia and Conall don’t expect the turn their relationship ultimately takes, and witnessing their reaction is so much fun. I loved Lord Akeldama (a flamboyant vampire) and his ‘minions’. Goodness, even Queen Victoria herself makes an appearance in this book! Every character you encounter is very likable – and if they aren’t, they are at least very well written (Of course I am speaking of the vile and loathsome Mr. Siemons).
I am very glad I plucked “Soulless” out of my book closet to read. It has been sitting there for quite some time and it was about time I did something about that. I had heard many wonderful things about this book and I’m glad to say I was not disappointed. The second Alexia Tarabotti novel, entitled “Changeless” is available now. The third book “Blameless” comes out September 1st 2010....more
I know I’ve said this before but sometimes, I feel down after reading a book. Either it didn’t click with me (which always bums me out) or it was particularly violent and sits oddly with me for a few days. To snap me out of my book-funk, all it often takes is a really well written contemporary romance. That guaranteed HEA puts me back in a happy fluffy-pink-bows-and-cotton-candy-ribbons place. All He Ever Needed by Shannon Stacey did just that. What a sweet little book it was.
All He Ever Needed is the fourth book in Shannon’s Kowalski Family series. Quick note before I go on: these books are stand alone (I read the previous books all out of order and I wasn’t lost in the least).
This time around we tag along as Mitch, the fun-time guy in the family (a.k.a. the solidified bachelor) as he finally meets the woman who will make him stop his “I love women too much to settle with just one” ways. I’m not saying that Mitch is a player or anything like that. He makes it very clear from the very beginning that he is not into relationships and has no interest in settling down any time soon. By making it clear, he shows the ladies a good time and when he leaves, they have big smiles on their faces. I found that part was cute – that all the women that he slept with before encourage other women to give him a try. And they really don’t have any hard feelings! So funny. Mitch is a successful business owner, very smart and extremely charming. Even in you don’t usually like his ‘type’ of character it’s hard not to like Mitch.
When Mitch returns to his hometown to help his brother care for the family lodge while he recovers from a broken leg, he meets the new restaurant owner and is immediately drawn to her. We see it, others see it, but Mitch doesn’t see it. He just sees her as his latest conquest. The new restaurant owner’s name is Paige. She’s only been in town for a couple of years and absolutely loves it there. She finally feels like she has found home and has no interest in a fling with Mitch – no matter how encouraged it is.
Paige, I loved. Loyal, sweet, smart and fun – she’s the sort of person I would hang out with…you know, if she were real. I really liked how she didn’t fall for Mitch’s lines and plays, even though she really really wanted to. And once they do hook up, both feeling as though it’s a temporary thing until Mitch goes back to the city, they are one hot couple. Paige and Mitch’s chemistry is amazing and not only during their hot and steamy times. They sizzle even when they are just sitting at a table doing some work! Their dialogue was really fun too.
Mitch has a bucket-load of siblings. His brother Sean was the hero in book three (really cute book – love the pink Post-Its). There are also brothers Ryan (hero for book five) and Josh (brother who broke his leg and hero for book six). Ryan makes an appearance in this book and we get a glimpse at his lady love. They have a “past” together and I’m curious to see what happened to them and how everything will come together. But really, the book I’m most looking forward to is book six. Josh is the baby brother, Katie is the tomboy who grew up in the same house as him…and now she lurvs him. And of course, he’s oblivious. I can’t wait for their story! Their characters were really well writing in this book so I can only imagine how great their book is going to be.
Shannon has always had a great style but I feel it’s maturing and getting stronger with each book she releases in this series. Her voice is wonderful with its perfect mix of charm, wit and sweet and it makes her Kowalski books really fun to read.
Usually with the books in this series there is a character that sort of bugs me, but that was not the case this time around. I found all the characters were well placed and worked well in the story. And as always the family unit was wonderful.
Overall, I truly enjoyed All He Ever Wanted. It’s a strong contemporary romance story that I feel good recommending to fans of the genre.
I originally saw this new series by Stacia Kane mentioned on Karen Marie Moning’s blog. She said some really fantastic things about it. She called itI originally saw this new series by Stacia Kane mentioned on Karen Marie Moning’s blog. She said some really fantastic things about it. She called it “dark, edgy, sexy” and said that it “pushes the envelope.” “Urban Fantasy at its finest” she called it. Well, that definitely caught my attention. So I went to Goodreads to read up on the series. To be honest, after reading the blurbs, I didn’t think I would enjoy the books and decided against checking them out. But the buzz surrounding this book was overwhelming! It was impossible to visit blogland and not see it being raved about. Fiction Vixen – 5 hearts. Wicked Little Pixie – 4.5 stars. All Things Urban Fantasy – 4 bats. Smokin’ Hot Books – 5 smooches! Hmmm…Then I thought maybe I was a little quick to dismiss this series. So, while on vacation (which, of course, included a visit to the book store) I picked up “Unholy Ghosts” and read it. And what did I think?
The world that Kane created is very interesting. Ghosts have been banished, but some escape (or hide out) and haunt and hurt people. Chess’ job as a Debunker is to get rid of them – to send them back where they should be. Reality for the people of Downside is quite grim. There is no religion as proof of an afterlife has become a scientific fact. The Church (Chess’ employer) rules and pays anyone for the inconvenience of being haunted. Chess must try to disprove their claims. If anyone is caught fabricating a ghost story just to get paid, they are punished – and Chess is rewarded.
This is not a fluffy, cutesy bunny rabbits running through a field of yellow buttercup flowers kind of book. This is a raw, gritty and dark story set in an equally raw and gritty setting. It is no way a paranormal romance title – it’s a real urban fantasy tale. You do get a smidgen of romantic tension, but overall the story is about Chess, her mission and her addiction.
Chess is one of the most complex characters that I have read in a while. She is a drug addict. At first, I wondered how that would play out and affect her persona – and my opinion of her. It didn’t take long before I noticed that her drug dependence added a vulnerability to her. I like that the ‘high’ aspect of Chess is not played up. This book is not a pro-drug ad, nor is it an anti-drug ad. But the drugs do play an important role in the story. They are part of Chess and her life. They affect her reactions to the situations she is faced with – both good and bad. They show how she has trouble dealing with her life without having a crutch and make you wonder all the more about her and what brought this dependence on. Therefore, you keep reading. Chess is strong and brave, but very human. She feels scared and alone. She has trouble relating to people and forming relationships. I think that is why her relationship with Terrible is so captivating.
Terrible is another interesting character. He is not an attractive man; therefore he is not your typical hero. He is Chess’ drug dealers’ strong arm. But he helps Chess along her mission and proves to be invaluable to her and her job. He is a good person and a good guy to have on your side. He may even be a good friend for Chess. Now if only she would let him in… Lex, a competing drug lord’s something (we’re not too sure) is a compelling character too. The ‘street’ dialogue took a little getting used to, but it quickly became an easy reference as to what side of the tracks the characters come from. After a while, it even made me smile.
Overall, the story was gripping and hard to put down. The second half of the book was really exciting. The last few chapters were a real rush and impossible to put down. “Unholy Ghosts” is an impressive start to a series that holds great potential. I’m looking forward to reading more about Chess and Terrible in the next book “Unholy Magic”....more
Bound by Night is the first book in a new series by Larissa Ione. The MoonBound Clan Vampires series is a paranormal romance series following…a clan of vampires. Yeah…that is pretty obvious once you read the name of the series. Okay, let’s tell you something that you can’t tell just form the title. Bound by Night follows Riker as he finds a mate in Nicole Martin, a woman who is his worst enemy. Or is she?…
Da da duuuuummmm.
Quick tidbit before we continue: in this world, vampires are out and are often owned by humans as servants. Nicole Martin’s family has owned vampires for decades. They did not always treat them kindly as they primarily see vampires as objects. Basically, they treated vampires like dirt. The Martin’s also own companies that use vampires to help come up with vaccines to help cure human ailments such as cancer. Nicole is involved with the company and working on an anti-vampirism vaccine. Twenty years ago, Riker was mated to a vampire that was Nicole’s nanny so he saw firsthand how the Martin’s treated their vampire help. Nicole loved her nanny though but Riker was too blind to really see that. He just always assumed that Nicole was like all the others who lived in that house and that she too didn’t find it necessary to treat vampires with respect.
Riker (I love that name for a vampire hero!) was a solid character. Filled with anger when you first meet him, he slowly sees that Nicole is not the monster he made her out to be. I enjoyed watching his journey. Larissa wrote him well as everything he goes through and how he reacts is all within what you would expect from his character. From his anger to his falling in love, it all suits Riker.
Nicole is also a solid character. She goes through a lot in this book and you feel for her, but not once did I see her as a victim. She is a strong woman placed in a crazy situation. Her little quirks (like folding paper into origami figures when she’s stress) endear you to her even more than watching her deal with Riker and his cohorts alone. She possesses some of my favorite heroine traits: she’s strong, smart, clever and kind.
We do meet some other members of the clan but we mostly focus on Hunter, Myne and Grant. Grant is the lab-tech vampire-guy, Myne is the dark vampire with a seriously twisted backstory (that we have yet to learn) and Hunter is the clan leader. If what is hinted at is correct, Hunter is next in line for getting his story told. The epilogue was one of those that make your eyes open wide as it is filled with hints and twists – really good stuff too! I hope I’m right because I can’t wait to see how his story plays out. I also can’t wait for Myne’s book so I hope he’s next after Hunter. Then Katina then Badden then… There were plenty of characters that have a story to tell and I hope Larissa has the chance to tell them all.
The world created in this book is really good. I know – what else should one expect from a book by Larissa Ione as she builds some of the best paranormal worlds out there?! As I mentioned, vampires are out and being enslaved by humans. Things are actually better now. They were a million times worst once upon a time but twenty years ago vampires rebelled and rules came into play. Of course, not everyone follows the rules, which is where vampire poachers come in. And you still have wack-jobs who think it’s okay to treat vampires like they were not living beings but tools to study and toys to play with. The main villain in this book, and what looks like in this series, is such a wack-job. He is horrible which means he is fun to read. It’s only one book and I already can’t wait for him to find a painful end.
There is also a native-american twist to the vampires and their origin. I found this to be fascinating. There are even rival clans and rituals to the…well I’m not going to tell you as I think that would be too much of a spoiler. It surprised me and I assume it will surprise you too.
Overall, I enjoyed Bound by Night. Riker and Nicole make a good couple and I feel that their story is just beginning. I hope we see much of them in future books. I also want to see more Bastien (and that’s all I am going to say about him ;) ). With this book, Larissa has managed to come up with another unique way to paint vampires and surround them with an interesting environment and a rich history. Can’t wait to see what else she has in store for the MoonBound Clan....more
Heart of Venom is the ninth book in the Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep. This is a very popular urban fantasy series and I totally get why. Not only are the characters amazing and the world interesting but the stories are simply thrilling. Each and every installment is a ride from start to finish and at the end of each book you totally want shout out a big “hooya” because all is well in the world…until the next intallment anyways.
This time around we learn more about Sophia and Jo-Jo, the dwarves in Gin’s extended family. We met these two characters in the very first book and are drawn to them instantly. They appear in each and every book yet we never know much about them. Until this book that is. Finally we get more insight into these two incredible side characters. We learn why Sophia dresses like she does and what happened to her voice. We find out how Jo-Jo met Fletcher. It’s great to know more about these two ladies and it just adds to the complexity of the relationship between Gin and her friends in this series. I quickly mentioned above that the characters are amazing and the reason they are is because each and every one, main or secondary, are flawed and layered. We learn a bit more about them here and there in the series and each time we do you feel even closer to them. Jennifer knows how to write relationships and how to draw her readers into them. She is a master at it and this installment just shows us this all the more.
On top of learning about Jo-Jo and Sophia’s past, Heart of Venom is about how Gin/The Spider must face off with a Harley Grimes, his sister and his men. He is a horrible man who runs a horrible operation. He is also obsessed with Sophia. He had her once and he wants her again but Gin can’t let that happen.
There is so much action in this book! It’s nonstop and really fun to read. Your heart is in your throat for most of the book but then again, that is not really a new thing for fans of this series.
Gin is awesome as ever. I especially liked her scenes with Owen. I won’t tell you what happens between them exactly but the scenes are good. Owen is so good for Gin and Gin for him. They deserve each other…even though Owen has been ‘questionable’ over the last couple of books ;) .
MM Monroe, who was first mentioned in the last book, is mentioned again in this book and now, I am extra curious to know who this person is. At the end of the book I’m still not sure if we are going to find out this mysterious person’s identity in the next book or if we’re going to have to read farther on to know. Either way, I’m in. Jennifer is doing a great job dropping just enough of a hint here and there to make readers curious yet not so few to make readers want to break into her house to steal her computer on order to find out more details. To me, that is the best way to write intrigue in a book or series.
Jennifer often writes short flashback scenes in her books. Usually one broken down throughout the story. I love this. I think it gives insight into the situation in the book without it feeling like the story stalls. She does a good job with those scenes and it’s always nice to see glimpses of events that shaped Gin into the person she is today. I especially love the flashback scenes involving Fletcher. I feel there is so much we still have to learn about this character and I’m sure we’ll know more after the next book simply titled The Spider. It’s due out December 24th 2013.
Once again, Jennifer presents us with one hell of a story. Awesome action scenes mixed with touching scenes laced with just enough humor to keep us smiling, Heart of Venom is a fabulous addition to this marvelous series....more
When I first “discovered reading” last year, I was bent set on reading only Young Adult (YA) titles. I had myself convinced that they would be lighterWhen I first “discovered reading” last year, I was bent set on reading only Young Adult (YA) titles. I had myself convinced that they would be lighter and easier reads. It was during that delusional time in my life that I discovered Richelle Mead’s “Vampire Academy” series. It came highly recommended and was very well reviewed online. I must admit, I really enjoyed them at the time. Yet, after succumbing to romance and urban fantasy novels geared for grownups, I found I was having trouble sticking by some of the YA series I had been reading. I was finding they were no longer able to hold my interest.
I have only been able to stick by a couple of series in the YA genre, and Mead’s “Vampire Academy” series is one of them. I think it helps that, although most of the series takes place in a school, the story is not focused on school life. The situations that the characters face are quite complex and more or less adult. In order to truly appreciate this series, you have to read all the books in order. The books are always fast paced and not filled with too much fluff – which I greatly appreciate for I detest redundant description, dialogue and situations. In “Spirit Bound”, the latest addition to the series, you get the usual twists and turns that really keeps you on your toes and makes you not want to put the book down. You also get to see some very welcomed growth from Lissa and Adrian – which leads me to my only issue with this series.
I really enjoyed the first couple of books. I loved Rose, I didn’t mind Lissa’s “woe is me” issues, and along with many others, I drooled every time Dimitri appeared on the page. After the first couple of books, I still enjoyed the series, but something was starting to irk me. I just couldn’t put my finger on what. Finally, while reading “Spirit Bound”, I was able to pin point the problem! Rose, the main character in the series, has experienced no character growth. She is the same in book 5 as she was in book 1! You would think that after running away with her best friend, then being caught and forced back to school, then falling for her instructor that she then followed to Russia because he had been turned to something evil, then being kidnapped by said “evil instructor” only to escape and kill him yet not quite kill him that Rose would mature just a little bit. You would think she’d start realizing that the world does not revolve around her and her whims. But no. Don’t get me wrong. Rose is quite the spit-fire and she is not unbearable to read. She’s even kind of fun! I just don’t know why Mead hasn’t gone somewhere more with her. Lissa’s character is charming and has really come on nicely. She is much stronger in this book and it’s nice to see. Adrian is not so full of himself and is actually yummier in this book! And even Dimitri shows extra depth. Why not Rose?
Overall, “Spirit Bound” is a good addition to the series. The big ‘wow’ that happened in this book took me by surprise – I expected it to take place in the last book of the series. But instead, Rose faces something that makes you go “say what now?” And for that reason, I am looking forward to the final chapter of this series. “Last Sacrifice” is coming out December 7th, 2010....more
Julie: The Day He Kissed Her is the third and final book in Juliana Stone’s Bad Boys of Crystal Lake trilogy.
Anne: I love this series with its bad boys, high level emotional issues, and hot sex. With this being Mac’s book, I knew there would be horribly bad history. I just didn’t expect it to be in the present in the ways it was.
Julie: I always found it odd these men were labelled ‘bad boys’. I suppose they could be thought of as bad boys in the small town they are from but it’s not like they set churches on fire or anything of the sort. They were basically trouble makers in their youth and they have all found their way back to the town they grew up in and the label still stuck…even though there is nothing ‘bad’ about them now. All of these men have issues to deal with but none were as weighted as Mac’s.
Mac comes from an abusive household. Dad beat Mom and then turned his fists to his children. On top of that, he feels his mother chose his father over her children since she never tried to take them away from the abuse she knew was happening. Thanks to this, Mac feels he does not deserve a HEA. But really, it just makes him worthy of one all the more. He is a heavy and truly messed up character but Juliana writes him wonderfully. But even with that, I don’t think I have ever read a contemporary romance hero who I have wanted to strangle and shake so much, yet find so amazingly sexy at the same time.
But I completely agree with you where I didn’t expect Mac to still have new issues to deal with and that he was not dealing only with issues from his childhood.
Anne: So it is clear why Mac is not a “relationship” kind of guy. He starts as the alpha man whore as many hot guys do. I mean half the romance books start like this, with a guy who has never actually had a relationship.
I have to say I was rolling my eyes when Lily stays over and he just leaves her after talking to his sister. Seriously, he couldn’t just check in with her briefly or leave her a note or something? I realize he had a lot on his mind but common courtesy would have been nice.
Lily was amazing. For all the difficulties she had with her family, she handled it well. She also was patient and caring with Mac. She really pulled herself together quickly, no matter what life threw at her. Luckily, she also had the support of her good friend, Jake.
Julie: I also had some issues with how Mac treated Lily. His behavior is justified considering what he has been through but still, I think he could have gone once or twice without being such a douche.
Lily really impressed me. She has not had the easiest life either – nothing comparing to Mac but unnecessary drama nonetheless – yet she has done a better job keeping a more positive outlook on things. She too thinks she is not able to do a ‘real’ relationship but she is more open to things once Mac comes into the picture. I liked how she was not whiny or bitchy and I liked how she understood Mac but didn’t just roll over and let him treat her badly. And their chemistry! Holy cow, it was amazing! I think Mac and Lily have the most intense chemistry of all the couples in this series.
Anne: His connection with Lily was great, and that is what it took for him to grow personally. Their feelings for each other, the intensity of their need to be together, forced each of them to grow personally. Lily did a better job of it and more on her own than Mac, but her present and history were not as personally devastating as Mac’s life.
I also loved her strength and willingness to do what Mac needed and make the relationship work. Mac, as all alpha males, took longer to get it but once he did, he started making better choices.
And yes, wow they are hot! I loved it and how unabashed Mac is about it. I’d adore it but also be so embarrassed.
Julie: I’m glad Mac finally comes around and I do like him when he does. The author doesn’t make him sprout rainbows. He’s had a tough life and this ‘relationship stuff’ is always going to be a challenge for him and that is how Juliana writes it. She kept Mac real the whole way through and I feel that is important.
Anne: I really loved this series and hate to think this is the last one. I want to know what happens to them, and to Becca, for example. I enjoyed seeing all the other characters from previous books and their parts in the story. Cain and Jake were both pretty hilarious. Jake was there to support Lily and Mac at various times. We saw more of Mac’s family. I loved the baseball coaching too. These characters, even in small roles, seemed very real to me.
Julie: That is a talent I find Juliana definitely holds with this series – the ability to make these characters very real. And, like you say, it’s in the details. The coaching and the support of friends and family.
There are two scenes I absolutely love in this book and both involve the words “I call bullshit.” Jake has always been a good friend for Mac but in this book, at this time, he is exactly what Mac needs. And Jake’s mom! She really does not play a big role in this series but she definitely helped things along in this book.
Anne: Jake’s parents are more of parents to Mac than his own are. I don’t like Mac’s parents very much. I won’t say his mom is stupid, but she is weak. If some guy hit me, I’d hit back or be out the door in one second flat. It’s one thing to compromise for someone you love; it’s another to sacrifice your health or safety or that of your children.
Julie: I was very surprised by Mac’s mom’s attitude towards his dad and the things he did. Maybe that is a more realistic approach to it and maybe my vision of having Mom hit Dad upside the head with a baseball bat is not. I guess while reading I was assuming there would be more closure where the whole ‘Mac’s mom and dad’ plot is concerned but there really wasn’t. I am still undecided on whether I’m disappointed that there wasn’t much of a conclusion there or if my expectation was unrealistic all along and that Juliana actually wrote the story like it happens most often in real life.
Anne: The parents aren’t the focus of the story, only a side plot. This is Mac’s story. I really enjoyed him even with his issues and am happy he was able to live his own life.
Julie: I think I felt by having mom and dad subplot put to a satisfying rest, then Mac could move on more easily. But by not doing that, Juliana made that Mac had to grow and move on on his own, which ended up building his character. I still wish Mom hit Dad with a bat though ;)
Overall, I was pleased with The Day He Kissed Her, even though it is quite a bit heavier than I usually like my contemporary romances to be. The reason I got hooked to this series is the characters. Juliana managed to write such depth and realism into them that it was hard not to get invested. Cain, Jake and Mac are all wonderful heroes deserving of their HEAs and the heroines are strong, likeable characters who are deserving of our incredible men. Fans of this genre who appreciate emotionally captivating stories really need to check this trilogy out.
4.5 stars for me
Anne: I also recommend this series if you like emotionally based, character driven stories (with HOT sex). I’d like to have more.
I feel as though I have been waiting foreeevvver for this book. I am a huge fan of Cassandra Clare’s ‘Mortal Instruments’ series, and when the releaseI feel as though I have been waiting foreeevvver for this book. I am a huge fan of Cassandra Clare’s ‘Mortal Instruments’ series, and when the release date was announced for the first book in her new ‘Infernal Devices’ series, I immediately wrote it down on every calendar in my house. Let me tell you, back then August 31st 2010 felt like a long way away.
“Clockwork Angel” is about the Shadowhunters in London, England during the late 1800’s. That is Victorian England with a steampunk edge, including automatons and other neat gadgets. They give an interesting twist to the already fascinating world that Cassandra has written. They also add a whole lot of creepy.
Cassandra Clare writes endearing characters and there are quite a few in this series. Characters I want to know more about. Characters I want answers about! First there is Theresa Gray. Tessa thinks she’s just an ordinary American girl who is summoned to England by her brother after her Aunt dies. But there is more to her than there appears and her power is truly unique. That makes her wanted by some of the most dangerous and powerful Downworlders (vampires, warlocks ect…) in London. Although she is frightened and alone, she manages her situation amazingly well. Anyone put in her place would crack. Once she is at the Institute, she is not afraid to ask a lot of questions, which I find cute. Another aspect of Tessa that I really enjoyed was that she loves books and quotes some here and there. I really like Tessa.
Then there is William Herondale. Will is a boob. There is a sweet and tender side to him, but he hides it. He is happier with people believing he’s a boy who likes to drink and who loves the ladies. I know there is something that Will is hiding. Something Big! But in true Cassandra Clare fashion, we are left dangling at the edge of our seat at the very end of the book when he approaches the Warlock Magnus Bane to ask for his help. With what? Why? What’s his secret? Aug!
Next is James Carstairs. Jem is a dear. Infected with a disease, he is often frail and weak. But when he is healthy, he is a strong Shadowhunter. He is kind and a good friend. In fact, he’s the only one Will is civil towards. Where Will is harsh, Jem is considerate. He is a true gentleman.
Even the more supporting characters get their fair share of time on the page. Enough so that we get to know them, feel for them. Enough so that we mourn for them when some are lost. I particularly like how Cassandra introduces Henry and Charlotte. A young married couple charged with running the Institute. There is love there, but distance as well as Henry is lost in his ‘trinket world’. I can’t wait to see more of this couple.
The villain, the Magister, is fantastic. Really wicked and sinister and all that. And he pretty much comes out of left field. And his side kick?! Let’s just say that when you discover all the information about him, you want to kick him in the head…hard. Very well done.
Of course there will be a little romance in this series. And at this point it’s difficult to say where it’s all headed and with whom. Tessa is more drawn to Will, but Will is doing his very best to push her away. Jem is sweet, but is he a good match for her? And then there is Magnus Bane with Camille! Whoa! (If you’ve read the ‘Mortal Instruments’, you’ll understand how that idea makes my eyes bug out of my head!)
My most favorite part of the ‘Mortal Instruments’ books was the dialogue and the sarcastic banter that occurred between the characters. The wit in that series is sharp. I missed that in “Clockwork Angel”. It’s not that the dialogue wasn’t witty, it’s just that it was witty Victorian style. You can’t get the same edge while speaking proper English from the late 1800’s.
I was wondering how Cassandra would write a new story about Shadowhunters, keeping it different enough from her Mortal Instruments books but not straying too far as to alienate the fans of her first series. She manages wonderfully. In fact, you absolutely do not have to read the Mortal Instruments books before picking up “Clockwork Angel” – it really is its own story. This was a good book, one that I will most likely re-read before “Clockwork Prince” comes out September 2011. And I will pounce on ‘”Clockwork Prince” the day it comes out because there are so many questions to be answered!!!...more
This is a big book for me this year. Not only was it my 100th read of 2010, but it was also my first m/m story that I ever read. *throws confetti* AndThis is a big book for me this year. Not only was it my 100th read of 2010, but it was also my first m/m story that I ever read. *throws confetti* And since this was my first m/m read, you are probably thinking that there must be some back story to how I picked this particular title. Well, to that I say…of course there is!
Many of my bloggy friends read and truly enjoy the m/m genre. So I wanted to play too! I went to one of the best sources for m/m – KC from Smokin’ Hot Books. She is cookoo over this genre. I asked her for advice and recommendations. She sent me an email with a couple of authors who tend to be pretty consistent in their stories and their writing. I noticed that one of these authors’s had a new book coming out and I thought ‘perfect’. So, proud of myself for having decided which would be my first m/m book, I added it to my ‘to-read’ list on Goodreads. Shortly after I added it, I get a message from Mandi telling me I made the wrong choice and that I should read this instead. (Okay, she suggested maybe I would want to reconsider my selection since she had already read my original selection and didn’t think it was as good as some of the other books that this author had written .) I really do appreciate her gesture, because of course she was right in her suggestion – this was the perfect m/m for me to start with. Light and funny, two things I value in a contemporary book, no matter the genre. So there is the back story as to why I decided to make “Gobsmacked” by L.B. Gregg my first.
This book gets you going from page one. Mark, a usually calm and collected man, gets screwed over by his live-in lover and suddenly becomes a vengeful ass. L.B. Gregg does a great job making you really feel for what Mark’s dealing with and he also does a great job making you really hate Jamie (the now ex-boyfriend). I find that often in shorter stories, the author almost rushes through the character development leaving the reader feeling rather let down and disconnected, but that is not the case here. The book is short, but the character development is great. Not only is Mark well written, but so is Tony.
Tony is a local cop. He’s been friends with Mark for years, but Mark has been neglecting his friendship with Tony since hooking up with Jamie. I think we’ve all done that; half ignore the rest of the world once we enter a new relationship. Tony is not bitter…much. You can feel their history when these two meet on the page. And you can truly feel how much Tony cares for Mark and wants to ensure he doesn’t do anything stupid…um, stupider.
I must admit that, while reading the first big sex scene, I was having some difficulty picturing how it was all going down (no pun intended ;) I really don’t think what I was imagining was quite right since it seemed humanly impossible! Maybe before I read my next m/m story, I should rent a video or something. Yeah, I think that would be something I would be watching alone. I just don’t think my saying “Hey Jason, I rented a movie. Kind of like research. Want to watch it with me?” will buy me a movie partner.
Overall, the story is charming and the characters balance each other very well. You can’t want much more than that in a story, whether it be about a man and a woman or a man with another man. I will definitely check out the other books in this series…once I have a little wiggle room in my to-read pile....more
I normally enjoy checking out what books show up on Goodreads’ annual reader awards lists. I found that often the readers of Goodreads have similar tastes to me so I also like to vote. That sort of changed last year when Fifty Shades Freed won for best romance book. I have not even read the book but I know that almost everyone that I know that read it did NOT agree with its victory. This year when I saw the nominations were up, I went to the site to check things out. When I got to the romance category, the category I would normally read the most, I only recognized one book. Yup. ONE! What the hell happened?! Am I seriously out of the loop or am I just not as in tuned to the readers of Goodreads as I once was?!
I found I had an available spot in my review schedule (how that happened, I’m not sure) so I thought maybe it would be a good idea to read one of the many books on Goodreads Best Romance list. I read the blurbs and I read what my friends had to say about each book and I decided on this one: Tangled by Emma Chase.
Honestly, there is nothing new about this book. The story has been done. The characters have been done. The quirks have been done and the ‘obstacle to the couple’s love’ has been done. “Okay then Julie,” I hear you all say, “why did you not rate this book lower then?” Well my friends, it’s because of this: The book is written in the first person from the hero’s point of view…and his voice was exceptional. A POV written like that, I had never seen done before.
The hero is Drew. When you first meet him, he strikes you as a bit of a douche. He’s very sure of himself and beds a different woman pretty much every night. But none of them have the delusion that more will come of things as Drew has no interest in an actual relationship. As I said, been done. But even though he’s nothing new so to speak, he is still a very likeable character. Watching him fall in love and watching it not only knock him sideways but also scare the poop out of him is a lot of fun.
When Emma writes Drew, she has him ask his audience questions. Things like “See that guy over there? That’s me.” It really draws you in, making you feel like you actually are a part of the story. She also has a no-nonsense tone to him that makes him really funny. I loved his honesty and his wit. Did I want to smack him sometimes? Of course! It’s part of his charm. But I loved witnessing his transformation and how he came to truly care for Kate.
Kate is a very good character and she is a perfect match for Drew. She is smart and ambitious and doesn’t fall for his expert charm. She sees through him and that is what Drew needs.
If you enjoy contemporary romance books I can’t see how you would not enjoy this one. Well, I suppose there would be one exception to that: if you don’t like Drew’s voice. What I would suggest is checking out Drew’s blog site. There he answers reader-sent topics and you get a really good idea of his voice. (You can also peek at the ‘giggle worthy quotes’ at the end of my review.) If you giggle at what Drew is saying and you like his ‘no bullshit’, ‘say it like it is with a smile’ tone, give the book a try. You will laugh a lot and really enjoy your time reading it.
Overall, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Tangled. I am not sure if I will read the next book as it will be told from Kate’s POV after she feels the need to separate herself from Drew for a bit. You see, I am not a fan of authors adding new tension to a contemporary romance couple who has already overcome obstacles to be together. Once they are together, I like them to stay together. I know that is not reality but I don’t want reality in my contemporary romance books. I want the fairy tale. But that is just me and my taste. Then again, if my friends read it and tell me it’s cute, I may just cave and do as they did. But I will for sure check out the third book, Tamed. That one will be told from Drew’s friend’s POV, Matthew. It should be lots of fun....more
Flirting with Disaster is the third book in Ruthie Knox’s Camelot series. I will tell you now that I enjoyed this one more than the second book. Not that the second book was bad…it’s just that the heroine drove me bonkers sometimes. The heroine in this installment did make me scratch my head a bit here and there but when things are explained, the why behind some of her decisions, you totally get where she is coming from and why she does what she does. Besides, the hero is so gosh darn cute!
The heroine is Katie and she is Caleb’s sister (the hero from the previous book). He owns a security firm and Katie feels she should take on more responsibility there. She is very excited when Judah, a rock star who is receiving not-so-friendly messages from a fan, requests her to handle the case. What does not excite her is the fact that she is teamed up with Sean. Sean barely says a word to her and she’s not sure why. She is also in the middle of trying to find herself as she has never really had the opportunity. Her story is not easy but it’s a good one. But don’t worry; it’s not a giant sob story either. That would be Sean’s story. That one is not pleasant and it only made me want to hug him harder.
But back to Katie for a quick bit before we get to Sean. As I mentioned, I did find her to be a bit much at times. Some of the things she does or says are a bit off but you soon know that it’s all meant with good intentions. And once she realizes what her calling truly is, it’s great. She makes a great decision and her chosen career is absolutely perfect for her.
Now for Sean. He is an extra smart and sexy geek. Who doesn’t like one of those?! His issue it that he stutters. It’s quite severe at times and it breaks his confidence. I enjoyed the story of his childhood and how he tackled his stutter and how Katie breaks him. All of that was well done.
There is a side story about Judah. It’s a good side story but I felt like it was supposed to do more for them main story. Of course it does play an important role in the end but I just felt like it needed more…something. I can’t really explain it unfortunately but it was an entertaining story and I did like Judah so I forgive the fact that there was a little something missing to it.
At the beginning of the book (and even in the last book) Sean is not speaking to Katie. We don’t know why. At first this adds a bit of mystery to Sean but soon it gets tiresome. Really tiresome. In fact, it takes chapters upon chapters before you find out what is up Sean’s a**. Yes, he is cute as a button and I just want to squeeze any cheek he has available but waiting as long as he did before telling Katie what was up was frustrating. A couple of chapters I could do but as long as it did take was too much.
Other than that, I enjoyed Flirting with Disaster. The chemistry between Sean and Katie is great and I liked where they ended up in the end. It suited them. I also really enjoy Ruthie’s writing voice and the pacing of her stories. Her characters are filled with angst and need but they never let it get them down. Sean and Katie are perfect examples of that. I hope Ruthie is given the opportunity to write more full-length book in this series. I would definitely be reading them if she did....more
**This is a review for the entire Rock Chick series**
Ann-Catrin is one of my Facebook followers. She and I have very similar tastes in books. So when she messaged me telling me that she was breezing through a contemporary romance series that was laugh-out-loud funny and that I just had to check it out I, well, checked it out. The series was the Rock Chick series by Kristen Ashley and from the blurbs it sounded great. I also looked at my other friends’ Goodreads reviews about these books and most showed tons of love.
I knew that meant I NEEDED to read these books. But when would I have a chance to do that with my crazy reading schedule?! I decided to see if these books were available in audio. They were! And from the preview, the narrator was good. So that, I decided, was how I am going to “read” them.
Since listening to the first one, I have not stopped listening to them. As soon as one book is finished, I go on to the next. I even tried to ‘take a break’ and listen to something different but about one chapter into the ‘new’ book I chose to listen to, I said “screw it” and started on the next Rock Chick book.
And you know what the strange part is? These books are so insane, they are borderline bad. But they are so bad, they are good. No, scratch that. They are so bad, they are great.
Let me explain.
Book one is about Lee and Indy. Lee is a badass private investigator and Indy is a used bookstore owner who has been in love with Lee since she was five years old. Lee, a few years older, had shown no signs of returning Indy’s affection ever. It is now over twenty years later and Indy finds out the truth about Lee’s feelings. Sounds like a decent romance so far, right? Well yes, it is. But then you add the “did I seriously just read that?” parts of the book. Indy’s bookstore also has a coffee counter. Rosie is the barista but he also sells pot on the side. Really good pot apparently. He’s gotten into some trouble and Indy, in the wrong place at the wrong time, gets involved in said trouble. She has nothing to do with anything yet she is shot at, blown up at and kidnapped. Three times. Yup. She is kidnapped three times. And some of these incidents occur because Indy can’t listen to Lee’s advice to ‘stay put’. She can’t stand being bossed around so she gets in trouble thanks to her insane stubbornness. Half of me thought Indy was so gosh darn cute and the other half worried she was too dumb for her own good. Lee is fantastic (if you like an extra alpha hero who also adores his woman – which I do). I enjoyed getting to know Lee and meeting his crew. So overall, I found this book to be exciting, entertaining and hilarious (the author writes in a way where you can easily picture all the crazy antics Indy and her friends are getting into) but also I found some moments a bit much and I found the book a tad long. I still gave it a 4.5 star rating.
In fact, I am giving this entire series a solid 4.5 star rating. Some books could actually swing closer to a 5 star rating!
Book two features Jet and Eddie. Loved them. The third Roxie and Hank, the fourth Jules and Vance (Loved this one!), the fifth Luke and Ava (a little too much like Lee and Indy’s story in my opinion but still decent), the sixth Stella and Mace (great one too as this was the first to feature a truly tortured hero), the seventh Sadie and Hector (loved Sadie – my heart just ripped for her) and finally the eighth features Ally and Ren. To be honest, I have about 3 hours left of this one to go but so far, it’s on par with the others. In fact, Ally is surprising me. Usually, she comes across as some flighty chick but there is much more there, which I’m happy to see.
Again, all of the men are alpha dudes who are used to having their own way and who, once they see their ‘woman’, won’t let anything get in their way of claiming her. After seeing this in first book with Lee, this sometimes felt old in the following books. Which was why I enjoyed Mace and how the author seemed to take a slightly different approach to him. Hector also had to be a bit different because of everything Sadie was going through. Ren also has to be a bit different because of Ally and how she is. So after five books, it seems the author changed things up for the better. But that still didn’t stop me from loving all of the men.
As for the woman, they are all nuts in very good ways. My only real beef is WHY DIDN’T THEY LISTEN TO THE MEN WHO WERE TRYING TO KEEP THEM, you know, ALIVE?! Also, why did the men never try to talk things out with their women instead of barking orders?! If they took two seconds to say “I love you and I want you safe”, I feel lots of ridiculousness could have been prevented. Yes, the books would have been much shorter, but seeing the size of these guys, I think they could have afforded it.
Let’s not forget the ever-extending circle of friends! You’d think they would be hard to keep track of but you don’t. Tex I adore. Duke I adore too. Jane is a surprise. Todd was a bit much but I loved Stevie. Daisy was a hoot as was Sharleen. Darius, I would love to see with his own book someday. There are tons of others but those are the main side-characters and the ones worth mentioning.
You do see the heroes and heroines from past books in each following book, which is always nice. And not just in quick passing either. You actually get a nice follow-up.
The stories are all a little too out-there but are all a bunch of fun to read. They don’t change all that much from the first book – as in there are drug dealers and crazy gun-toting men chasing seemingly innocent women – but it works for this series.
The narrator, I bears repeating, is amazing. AMAZING! She changes her voice for each character and her expression is spot on. She was truly fantastic.
“So Julie,” I am hearing you say. “If these stories were over-the-top-sometimes-ridiculous-dumb and if the heroes were too overbearing at times and if the heroines were crazy, why did you zip through these books like they would go out of print any day now?” You know what…that is a great question. There is just something so endearing, so consuming, about these characters. Even though you often think many are bordering ‘too stupid to live’ status, you can’t help but get attached to them. The way they are written, they crawl into your mind and stay there long after you finish the book. I’m on the last book and I have no idea how I am going to deal when I finish it.
If you are looking for a fun read that will keep you laughing while you shake your head, then you have to give the Rock Chick series a try, either reading or listening. As I said, they are so bad, they are great.
The ‘Downside Ghosts’ series. I’ve never read anything like these books. So raw and gritty. So intense. Yes, I’ve read books that have raw and graphicThe ‘Downside Ghosts’ series. I’ve never read anything like these books. So raw and gritty. So intense. Yes, I’ve read books that have raw and graphic moments, but this book kept my heart rate high from the moment you pull open the cover. You almost feel like hiding your eyes while reading them…almost. The characters are dark. The setting is dark. The story is dark. Even the humorous elements are dark. But all this makes for a remarkable tale about human nature. “Unholy Magic” is the second book in Stacia Kane’s newest series. Once again, it has received much praise and let me tell you, it’s all well deserved. The world she has created is very powerful.
I want to talk about the imagery in this series. As I’ve said before, I am not a “wordy book” girl. Authors tend to lose me if they go on too long about a room’s decor or about the feelings a certain situation bring out. I’m a “just get to the point so we can get to the action” kind of reader. ‘Over-wordiness’ is not the case in this series. I have never encountered imagery as I have found in Stacia’s series before. It is, simply put, stunning. The words she uses to describe Chess’ emotions or Bump’s outfit or Terrible’s dwelling are perfection. Stacia paints such a picture that you can’t help but lose yourself in the story. Yes, the picture is grim, but it’s striking just the same.
Chess is a captivating character. To me, her vulnerability is still her most fascinating trait. When trapped in a client’s house during a snow storm, she begins to go through drug withdrawal. My mouth hung open the entire time I read about her suffering. I have never personally experienced withdrawal. Hell, I haven’t even ever tried drugs, so I have nothing to compare what Chess is going through. But for the duration of that scene, I was thinking that yes, that is what it would be like and I felt it. I’m telling you, Stacia Kane can write!
The other character that is hard to forget is Terrible. He’s described as being ugly and sporting mutton chops – not your usual hero. Even though he has a reputation as a hard ass and he’s a confessed killer (all part of his job as Bump’s enforcer), he has an incredible soul. His scenes with Chess are really what make you care for him. Terrible’s honest words to Chess made my heart ache, and break. He trusts her with his secret, his life and his heart. It’s just too bad Chess has trouble confronting her inner demons long enough to fully trust him. I hope Terrible is more patient than he seems because he and Chess ‘together’ would be a wonderful pairing to watch. (And just a little aside. From the way Terrible is described in the books, I don’t think of him as ugly. I picture Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Am I right?!)
This series is as captivating as my blogland friends say it is. They also told me that the second book is even better than the first – and they were right in that respect too. “Unholy Magic” is breathtaking. Enthralling the whole way through. I just received the third book in the series, “City of Ghosts”, in the mail and I am very much looking forward to starting it and spending more time in Downside’s dangerous and ruthless surroundings. It’s next on my list.
I was reading a different Historical Romance book and found it to be a little too heavy for what I was in the mood for. After putting it aside, I was talking to many people on twitter about my HR experience to date and I got lots of advice (seriously, for recommendations, twitter people are great!). I was told about Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean. I had actually heard of that book and of that series, and seeing that it was also on the Goodreads list I was using as a reference, I was sold.
It turned out to be just my cup of tea. (See what I did there? It’s a Regency romance and I used to word ‘tea’ in my review. I am so clever sometimes. *pats self on back*) This is the book that helped me realize that I prefer light and fluffy HR books over deeper darker ones. Do not mistake me here. I am not saying that this book has shallow characters with no depth and that the story is petty. It is not like that at all. What I am saying is that this book made me giggle over and over and over. And the plot wasn’t a ‘life or death’ tale. It was a sweet romantic book with witty characters and an interesting story.
Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake starts off with a seventeen year old Calpurina Hartwell (Callie) running away from a ball where she is coming out to the ton. Her mother has dressed her in a hideous dress and Callie does not feel beautiful. Plus she has not danced and feels humiliated. She runs to the gardens and meets the Marquess of Ralston (Gabriel). He is a little older and a known womanizer, I mean rake. Same diff. He manages to make Callie feel like a goddess. The opening scene in the garden was very sweet and even though you know that the Marquess is a little full of it, he still pretty much won me right from then.
The book continues over ten years later. Callie is ‘on the shelf’ as they say – meaning she is unwed and is not expected to change her circumstances anytime soon. And she still remembers the Marquess of Ralston that evening and how he made her feel. After Callie’s younger sister gets engaged, she starts to think about what is missing in her life and what adventures she would like to live – thanks to her brother’s suggestions. While not his intention, Benedict has planted a seed in Callie’s mind – and once Callie is determined to do something, she does it. She compiles a list of things she would like to experience. This list happens to be filled with things only men are allowed to do. But the first thing on this list is not something only men do but it is something you need a man to do with. Callie wants to be kissed. And so enters, once again, the Marquess of Ralston.
Callie is such a spit-fire! You would assume that with her reputation of being a goodie goodie that she was just a plain society lady content with her place in the mess of things. And she sort of was in the very beginning. But soon that Callie disappears and is replaced with a really spunky character. She is so smart and inadvertently funny. And fun. Let’s not forget fun.
Gabriel is great. He isn’t actually a cheating scum bag who does anything with breasts. He has mistresses and treats them very well. He just doesn’t believe in love (because of what it did to his father) nor does he want to get married ever (because of what it did to his mother). There was quite a depth to his character without making him come across as pretentious or closed off. Even with his mess of a past, he’s still full of humor and warmth. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, but he knows his duties. He really takes good care of Callie. I liked how Sarah made it that he just happened to be there when Callie was trying to cross things off her list. Sometimes how things happened was a little predictable, but they were still so much fun to read.
Callie and Gabriel together…wonderful. They are on the page together quite a bit but not in every scene and I found myself missing them together when they were apart. I think Sarah really got it right with these two.
I loved Gabriel’s family. Nicolas is great (he’s the hero for book #2) and his sister Juliana (the heroine for book #3) is a total firecracker! Callie’s sister and brother were fun to read too.
Callie’s mother was annoying – but that was the point of her. She is written as your typical mother who has a younger daughter marrying well and two older siblings who aren’t married yet…and who may never marry. That’s a big deal to a mother in the early 1800’s because, of course, the children are a reflection of the family. But I could have done with a slightly toned down version of her. Another little point that I didn’t find necessary was the bet. I won’t go into detail but I just found it was one thing too many in this story and I didn’t think it was essential to advance the plot. Also, the odd time I wondered why Callie wasn’t just saying “hey, back off bub!” Yes, it was Gabriel and he is a yummy man, but again, just the odd time here and there, I wondered why Callie didn’t smack him away. Other than that, the book was great.
There were two scenes in particular that really brought a smile to my face – and a giggle or five. The gambling scene in the men’s club was just super cute…and really hot. And the scene where Gabriel visits Benedict – just classic. How casual the two men are in that scene…funny.
Overall, I found this book to be a nice blend of cute and sweet and sexy and fun. I was told by an anonymous source (*cough* Marcela *cough*) that the third book is even better than this one. I will definitely be checking that one out sooner rather than later.
My many thanks to all who suggested I try this book. Great choice....more
Crave the Night is the twelfth book in Lara Adrian’s popular Midnight Breed series. The last book opened up an entirely new chapter for this series. Where the first ten books are about how members of the Breed’s Order (basically vampire warriors) meet their mates while fighting some pretty horrible people and…things, the last, current and next installments take place twenty years after the first ten books and focus on the children of the hero and heroines from the first batch of books.
This latest installment features Nathan, Hunter and Corinne’s son, who we originally met as a child in book nine. He was raised from birth to be a Hunter of his kind. Once his mother rescued him, he learned to become a fighter for his kind. But that doesn’t mean that the hardness that was drilled into him as a boy is gone. Not by any means.
Nathan is my favorite sort of tortured hero. Cold and seemingly unfeeling until he meets a woman who turns his world upside-down. I love watching heroes like that crack. There is a certain innocence and vulnerability to Nathan deep under his extremely hard exterior and I liked how he came around by the end. How he opened up and changed. It wasn’t forced or unnatural – it fit him perfectly.
Jordana was a solid match for Nathan. In book eleven she kissed him and that is what really started everything. Jordana had her life planned out, mostly by other people, so this blip in that plan is not only taking her by surprise but also her family. None feel that a warrior like Nathan is a suitable mate for someone as refined as her. I liked how Lara made Jordana polished but not snobby or clueless. She does not run away from difficult situations.
There was a twist about Jordana that is revealed near the end and I have to say I never saw it coming. I mean…never. I tip my hat to Lara for that one. Very well played. It’s always sort of fun, while reading these paranormal romance books where one main character is immortal and the other not necessarily, to find out how the author will make a HEA possible. Sometimes it’s great. Other times, no so much. This time, it was well done.
There was a new possible ultimate villain introduced in the last book and we are trying to learn more about him/them in this installment. I like how the continuing storyline is progresses. Most is still a huge mystery so it makes you want to read more.
This is the last book in this series that Lara will be releasing via major publisher. The rest will be self-published. It’s what she feels is best for the series and for herself. That means many more books. Yay! But that also means no easy information about the next book. I wonder if it will feature Rune and Carys? They were mentioned and seen quite a bit in this book and seem to have a pretty intense story brewing.
Crave the Night continued the series very well. As you can tell, I am still really enjoying this series. Even after 12 books, Lara still manages to keep it fresh and entertaining. I think fans of vampire romance books with a twist should check this series out....more