Twitter is a powerful marketing tool for that is how I came to buy this novel by Brenda Pandos. It must have been retweeted by someone on February fou...moreTwitter is a powerful marketing tool for that is how I came to buy this novel by Brenda Pandos. It must have been retweeted by someone on February fourth that this book for Kindle was now only $.99 on Amazon (and still is). Well, what do I have to lose, I thought, I like vampires, I like jewelry, where could I go wrong?
I will admit it languished in my Kindle lineup for a while as my TBR pile built to frightening proportions. But today I was looking for something light, something easy. I don't know that this book was light and easy. The two central characters, Nicholas and Julia share a motherless past. He has been her guardian for many years without her knowledge. Of course, we know he isn't just a hot guy from town but a supernatural. Julia, she isn't too wise to this fact for a while and when he acts like a jerk she tries to write him off.
The story is written in teen-aged Julia's voice, in the past tense; as a report of things that have already happened. It shares a lot of factors with other YA: Parent Issue: Absentee Dad, Dead Mom. Dad cares but travels on business. Aunt Jo, who helped raise Julia and her brother Luke is married now and not spending much time with them. So Julia and Luke (H.S. Grad finding himself ie., no job, community college part time) fend for themselves alot.
Female character is special: Julia is a telepath or an empath. It seems she mostly feels conveyed emotions; but only since her mother's death and very uncomfortably.
Male is Mysterious, hot, and the two are kept apart by his secret. This is Julia all over.
Other male character to potentially fill the void of the mystery guy: As in Hush, Hush and Crescendo, There is a guy who is bound to come between the two lovers.
Shiny white-skinned vampires, shared with most romanticized, contemporary vampire stories.
Best Friend: Like in Hush, Hush and Crescendo, as well as the Soul Screamers series the female protagonist has a constant good friend.
Lost in the Woods: Bella, of Twilight fame gets out into a dangerous place a couple of times, both in New Moon. And, like Celeste in Once in a Full Moon, Julia gets lost on what should be a familiar road home and is attacked by something.
Another blog mentioned this week that they saw the third person past tense as a point of view as a trend in YA. It would be interesting to know how much it is true. In this case I feel there is a bit of distance between Julia and the events. Maybe a month or so. I always feel that the writing in this tense tends toward the expository and is a bit glib. With this POV one would have to be expository, and a teen might be glib and focus on the romance and emotional mood swings.
One question I had is why did Julia suddenly develop this ability to read emotions when her mother was killed? I was also a bit confused by the vampire siring methodology.
I also can almost understand how a teenaged girl could totally develop a crush on a guy in five minutes and read much more into his actions than was there. But, it was a bit of a stretch from saving her to, "maybe he'll ask me to homecoming."
Any way, a fun read for a young girl with a bit of harmless and controlled passion. Moms could benefit from reading and discussing with their daughters.
Why vampires? Two of the most powerful human emotions are fear and desire. They rule many of our actions when we're awake, and they inspire the most vivid dreams when we're asleep. The intrigue of the vampire through the ages has been the twining of these two emotions--we fear him, yet his darkness is the very thing that makes him so compelling, so incredibly desirable. http://www.laraadrian.com/home.php#quiet
Review assumes knowledge of series. FMI a brief explanation see laraadrian.com and a video at the bottom of the page.
DELIVERED FROM THE DARKNESS, A WOMAN FINDS HERSELF PLUNGED INTO A PASSION THAT IS DEEPER THAN MIDNIGHT.
At eighteen, Corinne Bishop was a beautiful, spirited young woman living a life of privilege as the adopted daughter of a wealthy family. Her world changed in an instant when she was stolen away and held prisoner by the malevolent vampire Dragos. After many years of captivity and torment, Corinne is rescued by the Order, a cadre of vampire warriors embroiled in a war against Dragos and his followers. Her innocence taken, Corinne has lost a piece of her heart as well—the one thing that gave her hope during her imprisonment, and the only thing that matters to her now that she is free.
Assigned to safeguard Corinne on her trip home is a formidable golden-eyed Breed male called Hunter. Once Dragos’s most deadly assassin, Hunter now works for the Order, and he’s hell-bent on making Dragos pay for his manifold sins. Bonded to Corinne by their mutual desire, Hunter will have to decide how far he’ll go to end Dragos’s reign of evil—even if carrying out his mission means shattering Corinne’s tender heart. http://www.laraadrian.com/home.php#quiet
Deeper than Midnight
Lara Adrian Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages Publisher: Dell; Original edition (June 28, 2011) Language: English Kindle Edition: 725 KB Print Length: 416 pages Publisher: Dell; Original edition (June 28, 2011) Sold by: Random House Digital, Inc. Blogger Purchased.
Lara has said how much she was looking forward to telling Hunter's story. I had never really thought of Hunter as anything more than a mass-produced commodity, void of personality, emotionless. That was stupid and narrow-minded of me. Just because he was brought up not to act on his emotions, to subvert them, doesn't mean he did not experience them.
Corinne, well I wasn't all that fond of her. She seems weak, although having survived seven decades of confinement where the only stimuli was hellish abuse at the hands of a power hungry, vampire Hitler kind of belies that. Hey, I am zero for two in character assumptions. She is taken to safe places but doesn't get any PTSD counseling. Of course Hunter was the product of such experimentation, and may have experienced gruesomeness nearly equal to Corinne's. She had to be strong, but she is so at odds with the world when freed, with the technology, with the people who saved her, that I found myself thinking of her as whiny.
While Lara's books follow a structure, this one only follows the romantic course. The rest of the plot shakes up the entire structure explosively. It is obvious she is not just phoning these in. So, if you know the structure you know that Hunter and Corinne get together eventually. She doesn't catch a break until she and Hunter get together. Think evil-fairy -Godmother who wasn't invited to the christening? This girl has a raincloud over just her head, on her side of the street and even under her umbrella. And, while Hunter is free from Dragos (aforementioned evil Hitlerish Vampire) he is still engaging in the only thing he does—he is still a fighting and killing machine. He is still in the emotional prison Dragos designed for him. He is like a male, vampire seven of nine without the hardware.
Things are happening to other members of the Order as well, and to people in Dark Havens (Where Breed families live) all around. It's really exciting and empowering for Breedmates who since Tegan and Elise have become much stronger, and more vibrant and independent.
So you have two remarkably damaged individuals who we know will hook up and go through a series of difficult adventures. Hunter has been partnered with Chase Sterling a former agent of the super-corrupt vampire FBI. Over the past few books his behavior has become increasingly erratic. But what happens is off the charts. It is also a different kind of love story where a woman who has no reason to ever look at a man after 70 years of rape and torture and a man who has been so shut down emotionally find sanctuary with each other and the strength to go into what has been prophesied as a disaster.
That's the great thing about this series. Yes, there is a thematic thread that ties the stories together. That is, of course, the romance and well-written, ick-free and incredibly hot lovemaking. And we know there will be a series of interwoven story lines. This is definitely not a standalone book. Well, it could be but to the best effect it is best read in series. Adrian manages to weave these story lines in new and refreshing ways that makes each book fresh and unpredictable. The last several in particular have really shaken up the Breed Snow Globe, and made me look forward to each new entry. I know Adrian is still excited by the series, it's obvious in the writing and the plotlines that she has a lot of ideas for the Breed Warriors and their Mates.
Recommendation: For followers of the series it is a MUST READ. If you aren't a follower of this hot and thrilling series what are you waiting for? There are a few series I buy without question as soon as the book comes out and this is one of them. One thing I like about this series is what seems to me to be a plausible and logical explanation for the Vampires.
MUST READ is my highest level of approbation. (less)
Pathfinder Tales: Winter Witch by Elaine Cunningham
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages Publisher: Paizo Publishing, LLC. (December 7, 2010) Language: Englis...morePathfinder Tales: Winter Witch by Elaine Cunningham
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages Publisher: Paizo Publishing, LLC. (December 7, 2010) Language: English Also available from publisher as a pdf/ePub No age group mentioned kissing, mention of making love, violence. Picked up book from publisher at BEA No expectation and no remuneration received.
In a village of the frozen north, a child is born possessed by a strange and alien spirit, only to be cast out by her tribe and taken in by the mysterious winter witches of Irrisen, a land locked in permanent magical winter. Farther south, a young mapmaker with a penchant for forgery discovers that his sham treasure maps have begun striking gold. This is the story of Ellasif, a barbarian shield maiden who will stop at nothing to recover her missing sister, and Decclan, the ne'er-do-well young spellcaster-turned-forger who wants only to prove himself to the woman he loves. Together they'll face monsters, magic, and the fury of Ellasif's own cold-hearted warriors in their quest to rescue the lost child. Yet when they finally reach the ice-walled city of Whitethrone, where trolls hold court and wolves roam the streets as men, will it be too late to save the girl from the forces of darkness?
I have never been able to do the role playing game thing, outside of Vampire Wars which I played for a while so I could review it. But, even then, it wasn’t my thing. The cover on Winter Witch was intriguing and although I don’t often read these I decided to give it a go.
It took quite some time to get going and I didn’t get into it until the set-up was complete. There are a lot of characters and types of characters, with the differences unexplained until you realize there is a glossary at the back. For example Wizards have to cast spells after years of study and practice. Sorcerers draw power from a supernatural ancestor, and Witches through an otherworldly pact.
At least the relationships between the characters are clear, as are the characters. Ellasif is a warrior; but a “Shield Maiden” who does not fit the physical characteristic of tall and Amazon-like. She is brave, skilled, single-minded, smart, witty and, of course, stubborn. She will also kill when needed and in battle. Declan is a young man frittering away his natural abilities and academic talents due to a fear of what he will become. The Winter Witch reminds me of Cruella Deville with out the black spots.
The writing is rich in detail and is often quite elegant. The book is well written and well edited. While it takes a while to get going and like a role playing game you may make a few wrong turns or decisions, the last third is very interesting and quick-paced. There are some great action scenes.
An example of the richly detailed prose:
By the eldritch light of the street lamps, Declan saw more shades of white than he knew existed, and between them hues so subtle that they seemed the ghosts of once-living colors. (p260)
There are few story lines in the book. I think some are continued from earlier books in the series but they are subtly entwined and ended. There is nothing philosophically heavy.
Elemental Assassin Book One by Jennifer Estep http://www.jenniferestep.com/books-se... Pocket Books/Simon and Schuster Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages January 26, 2010 Audio September 28, 2010 Purchased
My name is Gin, and I kill people.
They call me the Spider. I’m the most feared assassin in the South — when I’m not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don’t use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.
Now that a ruthless Air elemental has double-crossed me and killed my handler, I’m out for revenge. And I’ll exterminate anyone who gets in my way — good or bad. I may look hot, but I’m still one of the bad guys. Which is why I’m in trouble, since irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine has agreed to help me. The last thing this coldhearted killer needs when I’m battling a magic more powerful than my own is a sexy distraction . . . especially when Donovan wants me dead just as much as the enemy. http://www.jenniferestep.com/books-se...
With the first book in this new series about Gin Blanco, A.K.A. The Spider, Estep immediately presents us with a paradox: How do we like, feel sympathetic towards and adopta woman who is a paid assassin? Estep mitigates Gin's "activities" with the proviso that she doesn't kill innocents, pets or children; she only kills people who have done wrong. But, that's the very, very thin line Estep is examining -- who decides who has done wrong, how wrong.
Gin does some work killing people who have hurt children or women, which I think acts as another mitigating factor, but we have the same issue, the same problem the man who might have been her boyfriend , good-cop Donovan Caine does, she's still a killer.
It's a tough job for a writer to make someone who, if they were presented to us on the news, we would normally perceive as a villain into a likable character, a heroine. The closest I can come to her on this side of the law is Jaye Wells' Sabina Kane. On either side of the law I could add in Anita Blake who has discovered she doesn't mind killing just about anything all that much.
How does a writer turn a villain into, at least, an anti-heroine? Mitigating Circumstances. First, in a world such as Estep's Ashland and I guess the rest of the planet, crime seems pretty rampant. It seems to be a world filled with elementals (supes who control various elemental substances like stone, air, fire or water), vampires, dwarves, Giants and dirty cops all vying for power without much concern for who gets in the way. Gin's family was on the losing end of the battle and she believes herself to be the only member of her family alive. After they were killed she lived on the streets until she was rescued by assassin/restaurateur Fletcher who raised her with his son Finn. In a place where justice seems pretty scant, Estep presents us with a vigilante who brings justice where there is none to be found. She seems to do some pro bono work for the abused wife and children, but she is also pretty merciless. She has strict rules for conduct. She's the whole package, judge, jury and executioner.
Unlike HBO's Tony Soprano character in the Sopranos, who the public seemed to root for despite his heinous, irredeemability, Gin doesn't kill the innocent, nor does she commit other crimes for personal gain. She's not above tripping a waiter carrying a tray of drinks as a distraction, and she does seem to steal a lot of cars. I guess if people liked Tony, and given how much they like Eric Northman from the Sookie Stackhouse series, Gin isn't a tough sell. We've always had a soft spot for criminals who are acting for the public good.
(As I watched Les Miserables yesterday, I found myself wondering if Donovan Caine would become the Javert to her Jean Valjean)
Other factors in the book, like the romantic action pull this a little bit out of the urban fantasy genre and towards Paranormal romance. Estep wrote some interesting sex; quite original I thought.
The world building had me a little unsure; Elementals are described but other than knowing that many vampires feed off sex as well as blood, and are seriously killable, I can deduce but am not completely sure of the parameters of the species. Are they born or made? Although not stated outright, it seems the world is aware of the existence of the supernatural. It seems to have altered humanity, history and society. Not for the better. The Supernaturals seem to have a lot of power. The town it takes place in, Ashland, North Carolina, seems to be hellacious in Estep's world. Estep tells us what we need to know for the story. I think the rest will play out over the current count of seven entries in the three-year old series.
In any event, this series was one I started backwards this past summer and I wanted to catch up with it. Seeing how Estep will play out this anti-heroine's tale is enough reason to keep going, but the sheer enjoyability of a smoothly plotted, well written and edited novel gives a real desire to read more. Estep is an author who raises the bar for the Speculative Fiction sub-genres of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. I already have one more of her books sittingon my Kindle. I am sure more will follow. At no point was I thinking like the jaded reader I have become. If you enjoy Kim Harrison, Laurell K. Hamilton, Jaye Wells, Jeaniene Frast and other writers in the genre this is a MUST READ.
What about your take on anti-heroines? Do you like your heroines pure or naughty?(less)
For Kindle: 539 KB currently a freebie Print Length: 309 pages Publisher: CreateSpace (March 20, 2012) Sold by: Amazon Digital Services Contains short and non-graphic sex scenes and domestic violence. Disclosure: Free on Kindle.
When the abused decide to fight back, the abuser's world might just shatter. Lauren Covington's family maintains a grand facade that belies the life they live behind closed doors.
Alex Covington, Lauren's father, keeps a tight rein on his family through dominance, abuse, and obsessive control. Consequently, Lauren doesn't believe she could ever trust a man, much less fall in love with one.
When Lauren meets Jesse Ryder, her carefully constructed protective wall shatters. She falls hopelessly and completely in love. It's only fitting that Jesse is a private detective who had once worked for her father, had defied him, and was now the subject of Alex Covington's wrath.Amidst devastating loss, betrayal, and her father's destructive pursuit of Jesse, Lauren finds the trust and love she had always longed for. www.darciahelle.com-enemiesandplaymates
This was a very suspenseful book. I kept thinking, well the author might kill off the hero or heroine to make a point about domestic violence. And, that kept me reading on. The heroine was a young woman over whom I was conflicted. She hated her father, but was living at home and able to spend money freely as she had a newspaper job and went to Harvard. The hero was a nice enough guy.
I did think there was a lot of "tell" in the story. This is something I find a lot and I find it much more in self-published and indy e-published work.IT does occasionally pop up from the big six, but they have editors. I also know it is a tendency an author can work to correct as I have seen it happen. It must take a leap of faith in one's ability to represent the characters through thought, action and dialogue.
I did find the villain truly evil. So evil, he could easily have been an evil magician in a paranormal. And, I had to wonder why there weren't people lined up to kill him. He has even corrupted the pilce.
Sadly, domestic abuse occurs among all strata of economics and livelihoods. Sometimes people escape but sometimes they don't. No one deserves the kind of violence this family was subjected to by the cruel inhuman father. Sadly, it often takes a tragedy and then some to get people to stop it from happening.
This was free on Kindle. I will generally download anything that is free that looks remotely interesting and if it isn't I don't feel bad not reading it through. But, I got caught up in this rather quickly. I would have enjoyed it much more without the exposition. (less)
Ick Factor: some, surprisingly for oral sex scene that is kind of, icky, and for the other scenes of intimacy.
Passion: Sappy to Distrustful
Cliché: Not really; several surprising elements.
Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham is the best at banishing entities trespassing in the mortal realm. But as the Thorn Land’s queen, she’s fast running out of ways to end the brutal war devastating her kingdom. Her only hope: the Iron Crown, a legendary object even the most powerful gentry fear…
Who Eugenie can trust is the hardest part. Fairy king Dorian has his own agenda for aiding her search. And Kiyo, her shape-shifter ex-boyfriend, has every reason
to betray her along the way. To control the Crown’s ever-consuming powers, Eugenie will have to confront an unimaginable temptation--one that will put her soul and the fate of two worlds in mortal peril…http://www.richellemead.com/books/dar...
Sometimes characters lead authors to new traits. And sometimes characters are faced with situations that change them from strong and capable to horny puddles of goo. Such is what many of my colleagues seem to feel has happened to Eugenie Markham, the human world Shaman and the otherworld Queen, who was a strong, capable and decisive woman until, well, until now. In the last book Eugenie was raped by a vapid prince whose mother wanted to him impregnate Eugenie in hopes of fulfilling a prophecy.
That rape and her boyfriend, Kiyo’s (a Kitsune—fox shifter)refusal to take the life of her rapist, throw Eugenie into the arms of the ruler of another land, an ally she needs. We do see aspects of the real Eugenie at times when she fights other- and under- worldly creatures back in real-world Arizona.
There is no one way a rape survivor reacts to the violent assault of rape, so I cannot say whether the change in her character is due to the rape, or a combination of factors. She does seem changed, a bit hesitant and confused. She falls right into the scheme King Dorian has contrived to get a legendary and magical artifact to end the war the two are fighting against Katrice, the mother of the rapist.
You know Dorian is Dorian; he is scheming and conniving and slippery, smarmy even. Kiyo: I can never figure him out. Is he with-with the mother of his daughter or just playing her rook?
I think Eugenie is spending a lot of time in the other-world because there people haven’t abandoned her and they are taking care of her. That being said, her sexual relationship with Dorian is kind of bondage-oriented. I have a hard time believing a rape survivor would go for that kind of sex, at least not right off the bat.
I think the separation between Eugenie and her step-dad and mother has also thrown her for a loop. Instead of pulling her back from the gentry cliff about which she is about to fall, it seems to be pushing closer to the edge. She seems closer to becoming one of them entirely.
I think the quest ordeals to get to the magic artifact were too easy. And, then what I see happening to Eugenie is the development of vindictive behavior, almost as if she is be-spelled by certain items or people, or, if not be-spelled then manipulated. Eugenie is becoming that monarch she never wanted to become; the one her stepfather warned her about.
The ending marks a betrayal that sends Eugenie back into a place where I thought she might end up. She seems to be getting an idea that people (human or otherwise) are neither all bad nor all good. And, she is learning that even gentry only human.
Character oddities aside, I loved the book. As a whole it was better than the sum of its parts. And, as part of the series it is maybe a bit outside the expected trajectory, but I can see reasons for Eugenie’s changes. And, do we really want the next book in a series to be a predictable entity? Like people, the book is neither all bad, nor all good, but it is mostly a good continuation of the series and a necessity if you are a fan.
Moon Called Graphic Novel Makes Me Wonder About Why A Graphic Novel for the Books
Rating: Teen + Cover: Amelia Woo Writer: Patricia Briggs, David Lawrenc...more
Moon Called Graphic Novel Makes Me Wonder About Why A Graphic Novel for the Books
Rating: Teen + Cover: Amelia Woo Writer: Patricia Briggs, David Lawrence Penciller/Inker/Colorist: Amelia Woo (digitally painted) Genre: URBAN FANTASY Publication Date: March 2011 Format: Comic Book Collection PAGE COUNT: 104+ Paperback: 128 pages Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment (March 8, 2011) Language: English Dynamite Entertainment http://www.dynamiteentertainment.com/... Received through Net Galley
I usually don’t review graphic novels. I have the prejudice of still thinking of them as comic books and I haven’t read a comic book in years!
But, the graphic novel is building a position in the publishing industry and since there have long been paranormal and superhero graphic novels, and romance comics, could urban fantasy or paranormal romance have been far behind?
If you have read Patricia Briggs you already know and love Mercy Thompson a shape shifting woman/coyote. She has a neighbor who is the alpha of the area were wolves and she herself grew up with were wolves. After college she somehow ended up becoming a VW mechanic.
At this point in the series, Mercy and Adam are still just neighbors. When she kills a werewolf who attacks a young man under her protection she brings in a slew of paranormal activity and danger which almost kills Adam. The Young boy, well that would be a spoiler wouldn’t it?
Other than Mercy whose physique graces the cover of each book in the series, we have not seen the other characters. One thing a Graphic Novel does is fill that gap between the written word and the visual world. I didn’t find most of the men drawn that memorable. But, like many GN heroines she has gained several cup sizes from the book covers.
Since the PNR/UF world is mostly female one wonders why the concentration on physique. One aspect of the female characters in the genre is a woman’s ability to project herself into the heroine’s persona. So, given that I don’t see myself as a sexually objectified woman you have to wonder why this is the case? Are they trying to draw women toward the graphic novel or are they trying to draw males to PNR and UF. I discussed this with the gentleman at the BEA booth but they a. didn't know what the drive was for the creation and b. said they would pass it on. I mentioned the concept to several other graphic novel houses as well.
The drawing in Graphic Novels is almost always excellent, as I would say from my brief exposure to them. There is a visual language at work with which I am not familiar. The story is the same as the book, extracted in a digest format much in the way a film would be. We end up with a series of scenes, in frames, like a film.
It will be very interesting to see where this new slew of Graphic Novels in our genres goes. Will it continue and pull more people towards the genre? I don’t think it would be produced for its own sake. It is very well-produced, much as I find anything Patricia Briggs does is.
Condemned to death for black magic and shunned, Rachel Morgan has three days to somehow get to the annual witches convention in San Francisco and clear her name. If she fails, the only way she can escape death is to live in the demonic ever after . . . forever after.
Banned from the flight lists, Rachel teams up with elven tycoon Trent Kalamack, headed for the West Coast for her own mysterious business. But Rachel isn't the only passanger along for the ride. Can a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixy in one car survive for over 2,300 miles? And that's not counting the assassin on their tail.
A fearsome demon walks the sunlight, freed after centuries of torment to slay the innocent and devour souls. But his ultimate prey is Rachel Morgan. While the powerful witch with nerves of steel will do whatever it takes to stay alive, even embracing her own demonic nature may not be enough to save her. Excerpt http://www.kimharrison.net/BookPages/...
New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison was born and raised in the upper Midwest, but has since fled south. When not at work in the Hollows series, she spends her time tending orchids, cooking with some guy in leather, and training her new dog. Her current vices include good chocolate, and exquisite sushi. Her bestselling novels include Dead Witch Walking; The Good, The Bad, and The Undead; Every Which Way But Dead; A Fistful of Charms; For a Few Demons More; The Outlaw Demon Wails; White Witch, Black Curse; and Black Magic Sanction.
Always different, always dynamic, Rachel Morgan’s story created and told by Kim Harrison always gives me ethe feeling that I am traveling along with her. Who, other than a group of ridiculous witches afraid of the truth, wouldn’t love Rachel? She is thoughtful, honest, self-sacrificing, the paranormal Jack Bauer without most of his violent tendencies.
As we ride through the American West with Rachel, I could feel how grimy I would be in an old boat of a Buick with a varying number of passengers, several of whom she isn’t at all sure she can, or should, trust.
Rachel’s loyalty to her partners and to those to whom she has given her word is without flaw. Her disgust when Trent acts without scruples is only balanced by that sense of honor and their intense attraction to each other.
Her time in the ever-after is also changing as she comes to grips with who she is, and her self-acceptance is the harbinger of the witches council beginning to accept their origins in demonkind. Rachel brings up the idea that it doesn’t matter where the power originated but how it is used and the intention behind it.
Kim Harrison, as always builds a tight world with excellent continuity and adherence to the “rules” which define it. I missed her neighbor and the pregnant elf Ceri in this one but I am certain they’ll show up again. While Rachel has enjoyed intimacy in several of the books in The Hollows, Kim Harrison proves you can have a successful adult paranormal series based in plot and character and not slap and tickle. The intimacy in Kim’s novels serves the plot, but they aren’t the plot.
If you haven’t read any of this series, you want to get started as soon as possible and then read Pale Demon as soon as it is out on the shelves February 22. The Rachel Morgan series is fast becoming a favorite with fans of Urban Fantasy and deservedly so. Get reading!
The story gives off a lot of erotic, steamy heat. It happens in Boston—not a place known for the kind of erotic heat generated by Lauren's characters; heat that would make road salt unnecessary in the winter. I like that it happens in Boston, because it's not far from me and I like to feel familiar with what I am reading sometimes. It's also fun to think of all these naughty things happening in a place I see as all starchy and buttoned.
Sexy, Snarky and Smart Original post at FANGS, WANDS & FAIRY DUST
I had a naked incubus in my bedroom. With a frying pan of half-cooked bacon and a
...moreSexy, Snarky and Smart Original post at FANGS, WANDS & FAIRY DUST
I had a naked incubus in my bedroom. With a frying pan of half-cooked bacon and a hard-on. And a unicorn bite on his ass. Christ, this was turning out to be a weird morning. Brush of Darkness at Word-Whores
Well if you don't think that is a great line it is hard to imagine what you would think is. Allison Pang's debut novel is the first in a series. Filled with both the ridiculous and the sublime, the book has sad and gory scenes and hot and steamy episodes, plus, there's a scene Huffington Post's Paul Goat Allen cites as one of his personal favorites from Worst Paranormal Sex Scenes. I can't tell if he came to he's praising it or putting the scene down, but the line in question mentions a "turgid magnificence" and is part of a dream cloaked in the language of a bodice ripper. So, it's ridiculousness is the intent.
And, that snarky tone layers through the book; going past the characters' sarcasm to an ironic bite in the prose itself. With a unique voice,Allison Pang's writing is almost making fun of itself, telling me the writer doesn't want to kill the reader with seriousness but also doesn't want to create something too fluffy. The miniature unicorn is a perv and provides comic relief and some good advice.
I enjoy the characters and the dialogue/info balance is very good; especially in a debut. Everyone has a part to play. The plot is diverse and I am lead to believe the loose ends will be tied up in the next book.
The world building is complex and can be hard to follow especially as it concerns the travel between planes of existence and dreaming. She will have to be careful of continuity and of creating an out if she writes herself into a corner. If it has one flaw it is in the complex nature of the rules governing the world; especially that inter-planar travel. It can get a bit nebulous. The sex is very edgy. And, who wouldn't love an enchanted iPod!
I really enjoyed reading the story.I am a series loving reader—especially a series driven by great characters and intricate plots bound up with magic and danger! The sexy incubus is pretty good too. (less)
The Reluctant Vampire Lynsay Sands #15 in the Argeneau Series Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages Publisher: Avon; Original edition (May 31, 2011) Kindle Edition: 525 KB Print Length: 384 pages Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0061894591 Publisher: Harper Collins, Inc.; Original edition (May 31, 2011) Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
Not Icky, follows series blueprint with great results!
Has this immortal finally met her match? Rogue hunter Drina Argenis (from the Spanish side of the Argeneau family) has been many things in her years as an immortal, but bodyguard/babysitter to a teenage vampire is something new. There's an incentive, however: the other vampsitter, Harper Stoyan, may be Drina's life mate. Trouble is, having just lost a life mate, Harper is resigned to being alone. He's completely unprepared when sexy and unpredictable Drina bursts into his life to reignite his passions. Can Drina, with a little matchmaking help from their teen charge, tempt this reluctant vampire to take a chance? Or will a dangerous, unseen renegade kill Drina and Harper's one chance at happiness? Amazon.com
Harper lost his lifemate, Jenny, during her turn and has blamed himself for her death ever since, so he's rather happy for the distraction when Tiny and Mirabeau arrive with a young immortal in tow. Stephanie McGill is a young newly turned, immortal who is being hunted by a mad no-fanger named Leonius. When Anders and Drina Argenis (Argeneau) arrive to help, Harper finds himself working with the beautiful young Spanish woman. But things get interesting when Stephanie decides to take on the role of cupid and bring Drina and a reluctant Harper together. How much trouble could a newly turned teenage vamp be? Lynsay Sands Website
I am a HUGE fan of the Argeneau series. Lynsay has what I think is the most logical explanation for vampirism, note I say most logical, I am not saying its realistic, it just makes the most logical sense to me. But at 15 and counting, with the same contructions, keeping the idea of finding your mate with a few subplots could get tedious. I found this story anything but tedious.
I will say that trying to figure out Harper's lost love did leave me feeling I had missed a book. But when it was explained someways into the book I said, Aha! This couple being a pair is known to Drina much more quickly than to Harper: She's "older" so he normally couldn't read her. He thinks his renewed appetite is to having eaten when he found his prior mate. There's a great twist in the book. First we don't know who the villain is until nearly the end. There was some foreshadowing that I should have caught, but it was very subtle.
There's a third party making a love triangle, but not the kind we have become accustomed to. It's their young charge, an edentate (fangless vampire) teen, Stephanie. She is putting the two together quite craftily and with Drina's approval. The Argeneau matriarch, Marguerite has struck again with uncanny accuracy in pointing out lifemates to each other.
Of course,the problem is that Harper's late life mate died during the turn. He has survivors gilt and so his intense attraction to Drina makes him feel really bad. He gets a swift kick in the pants from Drina's baby sitting partner, Anders. But once Harper gets over his issue the couple face a more worrisome problem or three.
Sands is an expert at refreshing the Argeneau story line; each book involves life mates finding each other and having some obstacle to face. That's her formula and what we want and expect. It's no different from a mystery or crime novel. The freshness comes from the myriad scenarios she manages to imagine and construct. She makes each book a new story and the lifemates always stick together and have really hot sex.
For me Drina and Harper's story was fun and different. Lynsay has done it again.
A Must Read (my highest rating) and if you like the series why are you sitting there reading this when you could be reading The Reluctant Vampire! (less)
Across the Universe Beth Revis Reading level: Young Adult Format Hardcover: 416 pages Publisher: Razorbill (January 11, 2011) Format: Kindle Edition File Si...moreAcross the Universe Beth Revis Reading level: Young Adult Format Hardcover: 416 pages Publisher: Razorbill (January 11, 2011) Format: Kindle Edition File Size: 519 KB Publisher: Razorbill (January 11, 2011) Sold by: Penguin Publishing Paperback: 416 pages Publisher: Puffin Books Language: English
Plot-Pace: Quick Ick factor: Only in terms of a few distasteful medical events and a graphic attempted rape. Passion: Only anger, no love. Insanity and despotism disguised as devotion Cliche: not that I could see. Very twisty.
A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder. Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules. Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next. Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming. Google Products
I've seen many copies of this well-written, self-contained dystopian/Sci-Fi/mystery-thriller in giveaways, but not as many reviews. So, I thought it might be a tough read. It certainly wasn't fun. It is a bit hard to find an upside to the plight of all of the people on Godspeed, an inter-generational ship with many secrets and a population kept in the dark.
In the end, is being on a large planet different from being on a large ship, different from any other living situation? All situations have limitations whether you're on a ship, or on an organic ship traveling in a circumscribed course ad infinitum. For even on a planet we are limited not just by gravity or the limits of atmosphere, but also by socio-financial variables. And, what people want to see and hear is often what they see and hear because to do so often makes reality easier to stomach.
What is so very sad is Amy's loss of all she had sacrificed so much for and then settling for an imitation of life. Was she the protagonist or the antagonist, good for the ship or bad, self involved or selfless? Amy's story also touches on what it is to be alive, what it is to be a mind stuck in a body that doesn't obey any of your commands. Elder having been lied to his entire life is pretty sad as well.
Elder and Amy are the stereotypical couple kept from each other by outside forces; by duty, misdirected leadership.
One thing I found strange was with the problems facing the ship and the world's great minds, Essential Personnel, why didn't they defrost a few engineers or botanists? Maybe, if there is a sequel Amy and Elder will have figured that out.
This book reinforces that Life is unfair. I have a hard time when there is just no hope given in a book. More than disregard for truth and facts, hope is the beacon that holds us together. I am not saying it is not a good book,it is a good, imaginative and well constructed book. it just didn't leave me feeling like everyone would be living happily ever after.
While the outcome is a bit on this side of predictable, and of course Jeff was trying to save their marriage, this book packs a lot of heat into its 4...more While the outcome is a bit on this side of predictable, and of course Jeff was trying to save their marriage, this book packs a lot of heat into its 414 kilobytes. Gwen/Shiraz is a bit confused about her own sexuality and her husband is not at all confused about his. The two have been so emotionally and sexually estranged she cannot recognize him while wearing a blindfold.
One aspect of BDSM I find troubling is humiliation, and the act of people being gratified sexually not through submission but through allowing apparent psychosis to blossom. I am straight but not small minded and if someone wants to submit as a dog, well, that person might be okay, but lets get him or her a psych evaluation first. The story does allow that if something is not wanted, not fun then it's not done. But if this couple were as uptight with each other as described and then as open sexually and attitudinally as written then a fairly strange and rapid metamorphosis, especially on Gwen's part. Erotic MasqueradeImage via Wikipedia On the plus side of the story is the very, very hot sex offered for our reading pleasure. If a weekend of hot sex can save a marriage in a book then reading it sure can't hurt a relationship in which the reader is involved (as long as the kids aren't screaming and you mother-in-law isn't sticking her nose in).
There is a lot of emphasis on youth and still maintaining one's beauty, firm breasts, etc. even at the ripe old age of forty (can you imagine). There are several scenes where women of ordinary strength are hosted into the air by their shackled wrists (Is there an orthopedic surgeon in the house?!).
So, in the end, my feelings are mixed: nicely written sex interspersed with public sexual humiliation which the submissive mentally rationalizes or which she gets through via a form of of disassociation. Disassociation is nit healthy. Oh, and there is a penis with the circumference of a wine bottle (ouch!); I hope it was a split of champagne and not a jeroboam!
I love this genre: the good, the bad, and even the ugly books that seem to be propagating like rabbits through the universe.
The speculative fiction genres are on an uptick at the moment, and when something sells well it can get pretty crowded on the bandwagon. But, there’s a lot of trash in every genre and frankly I enjoy trashy every bit as much, if not more than, I enjoy literary. But, when something out of the ordinary comes across my desk I get excited about it.
Pack of Lies is Urban Fantasy for the Smart Reader, you know who you are. It is an engaging paranormal, urban fantasy book but, and this is happening with less and less frequency, it is well-written, very well-written. This is a book that you would never feel strange reading in public. It has detailed and complex storylines but only a couple. That helps keep the story cohesive and the action moving forward. The writing has a great balance between description, dialogue and internal-monologue with the added twist that some of the dialogue is internal.
The characters are unique and fully developed characters with background, and choices, likes and dislikes. There are characters of every ilk: good but flawed, bad but redeemable, just plain-evil, and many shades in between. Even supporting characters get a reasonable amount of personality tossed in. The main characters are not the typical heroes and heroines. Bonita is from Boston, smart, well heeled after a fashion, bi-sexual, and brave. She knows her talent, but sometimes plays on the edge of her endurance, like a lot of twenty- somethings do. In other words, she behaves like a well-educated, cultured Bostonian twenty-one year old who has seen too much of life and who has "magical skills."
The other members of the Investigative team have various personalities: two who want to be on top and in control, one who actually disappears like a ghost when he feels stress, a jock, a “good buddy,” and the two bosses, Venec and Stosser. Venec and Bonita (aka Bonnie), have an unrequited thing happening. They are “soul mates” and at the time of this book are not looking for soul mates. Venec feels like he was Special Forces or black-ops. Stosser comes from a high-ranking family and is a genius. The idea behind the agency is that fatae (fae) and talents should be accountable for the misuse of magic and the agency works to find the truth behind events that Talents usually get away with. Bonita knows that she can count on the others and that their diversity makes them a good team. That allows each member of the agency to take the chances, within reason, necessary to find the truth.
While Bonnie is not adverse to a one-night stand with a co-worker, she is not going to have one with her boss. So, we get to continue reading the great tension.
I like the idea,that all people, Talented, or Null, as we poor ordinary slobs are called, are accountable. It would appear that not everyone in the magical community agrees.
Laura Anne also creates a tight parallel Universe, which she tells me is very close to our own. The history is great, Ben Franklin moved magic from woo-woo to science, from mystical to electrical. To the Talent world he is Founder Ben and magic is called current (as in electrical).I am particularly drawn to this because I had a professor who said, often, that all science was once seen as magic.
Bonnie is Bi and it is not a big deal. Indeed, respect for diversity, and objectivity is a theme. Bonnie has a more liberal take on her sexuality than is popular in a right-wing swinging social pendulum of mores. There is only one scene of intimacy and it is not a committed love relationship but two friends. It is not graphic. If you don’t want your kids to read sex, don’t let them read this, but a lot more goes on in the TV show 2 ½ Men. Unless your kids have been cloistered since birth I am sure they have seen more graphic sex.
Often when I read a book, I really can’t describe the characters because they are so typical and/or sketchily written. In Pack of Lies you feel you know these people, not as if you read their dossier, but as if you were part of the team. I do recommend reading Hard Magic and Pack of LIes. While both stand alone, there are terms and history better explained by Hard Magic. You won't be wondering what the heck a "whatever" is; Laura doesn't go out of her way to come up with a term too far removed from our normal world. For example, "Fatae:" because readers of UF and PNR know the "Fae" and the concept of the "Fates" from mythology, we should get a reasonable inkling of what they are.
In addition to the Urban Fantasy the book is also an investigative procedural. Not a whodunnit, but a “why’d-they-do-it.” They are a gutsy bunch. You have to think while you read this book. It is refreshing, different and well written. Highly recommended.
Blogger's Personal Property: A copy of this book was received from author after Authors After Dark conference where we met and discovered that this book takes place in my state.
Terry's book takes place in and around Millinocket, Maine, a fairly remote area. It was probably developed as a paper mill town, with it's companion logging, and it sits at the feet of Maine's Mount Katahdin. The town is a gateway for the wilderness that surrounds it.
Wolves are no longer plentiful in Maine although Terry's wolves would not really be indigenous to the area as they are Arctic White Wolves. But, in the story, the wolves have come to be accepted by the locals and are thought to be hybrids.
Terry shows a dark and seamy side to life in a pack with dangerous and unscrupulous members and Alphas. The pack leader, Kintail, and the most Alpha female, Lila, are strangely amoral and serve themselves more than their pack. Then she introduces more upstanding folks who have no idea about wolves until they learn the hard way.
I liked how Terry brings two non-wolf characters in from the Pacific Northwest and gives them enough commonality to work together. They are instantly attracted to each other, but as humans work, at first to push away from it. When the intimate hook ups happen they are among some of the more natural and realistic scenes I have read. People put in dangerous situations away from home naturally bond over an experience. When those people are somehow destined for each other the bonding occurs quickly and quite magically, but social convention would say they don't really know each other.
Both Cameron and Faith are in the area to find people, and in Faith's case a thing stolen by a person. Because of intense secrecy, the pack has been behaving in ways I would not expect of werewolves. The highest ranking female in Kintail's pack, Lila, is a particularly nasty piece of work.
One underlying theme in all of this is pack and pack secrets. Almost anyone who learns about the wolves is turned or killed: If you aren't one of us you are a danger to the pack; humans can't be trusted. This means that the werewolves have to behave themselves by not changing in public or behaving indiscreetly. The only exception to this are the Native Americans in the area for whom shifters are magical beings.
Do you think some humans could be trusted with a secret like the existence of werewolves?
Another theme is mating, love, and loyalty. Werewolves mate for life in Terry's world (common in Shifter fantasy). In Kintail's Arctic wolf pack it doesn't seem the females have a lot of choice in the matter. Cameron is driven to protect Faith from the very beginning - before they know about wolves at all. So their story, and protecting Faith from predatory males, is quite romantic.
The book is part of a series but stands on its own perfectly well. Everything is explained and the story really depends on the characters and events in LEGEND OF THE WHITE WOLF. But, I was confused by the many characters in Milinockett at both a hotel and guide service office, at a lodge outside of town, and the pack themselves. I found the relationships between them all complicated. And, Cameron's quiet confusion after an event at the beginning of the book is never explained.
I would like to know what happens next to our hero and heroine as they head off into the sunset. I will have to put the next book on my TBR. I believe at this point my TBR can be seen from Airplanes. So, I do RECOMMEND LEGEND OF THE WHITE WOLF! (less)
BACKSTAGE PASS Sinners on Tour Olivia Cunning Reading Level: ADULT! Sourcebooks Casablanca October 2010 Paperback: 384 pages and e-book Disclosure: Blogger purchase: no collusion occurred, nor was remuneration exchanged. All opinions in my reviews are my own unless otherwise noted.
Human Sexuality Professor, Myrna Evans, wants nothing but a weekend of hot, no-strings-attached sex with Sinners' sensual lead guitarist, but Brian Sinclair is looking for something more permanent than a one-night stand. Unable to compose music for months, when Brian makes love to uninhibited Myrna, he hears exquisite guitar riffs and finger-burning solos. In Myrna, he's found his muse.http://oliviacunning.com/home.html
There's something for every heterosexual flavor of sexuality with a little bisexuality in there for good measure: BDSM, Double Penetration, Voyeurism, Groupies. Well written, scorching and toe curling sex scenes are motivated by the story. There's a lot of sex; more than is probably humanly possible. Poor actual, flesh and blood males, how can they ever live up to the rock gods in this book? Ladies, once you've read this you'll have to give your partners a break.
Like most erotica that is where the suspension of disbelief comes in: frequency, spontaneity, promiscuity.
Through her association with the band the psychology professor in Myrna becomes interested in groupie psychology. It's certainly a field worth thinking about. There are so many groupies out there, and every kind of public figure from politicians to pop-princes have been caught with their pants down. It rarely works out for the groupie except as a memory (or not), so why do they do it?
Now, I've never been back stage (or to a real rock concert) but I know some of you all have. Were you ever a groupie? What is really going on back stage?
Because in this story there's a lot going on; pretty much everywhere, in the hotel, bus, next to the bus, in the shower, with other people in the room, and just with other people.
My only issues with the book are. 1. Myrna has a problem with her sexuality because of a former relationship. Since she is a psychology professor specializing in sexuality, she would know that her feelings were harmful to her, I kept wondering why she wasn't in counseling. 2. The ending is rushed and throws off the tenor of the book. But this is a common issue, I have found, with Erotica.
I liked the characters. The male love interest, Brian, in particular, is such a nice guy you can understand why Myrna would be so drawn to him. Myrna is really into rock and roll. The characters are actually developed not a given in erotica! And, there's a real plot. I would actually suspect the author is very familiar with the life of an academic. Oh yeah, the band, THE SINNERS has its very own website, showing the depths of Olivia CUnning's Rock and Roll obsession!
If you fantasize about rock stars, or enjoy no-holds-barred, unbridled, passionate erotica then I would recommend this story. Book third, ROCK HARD is also available and the Third is scheduled to release November 1 (just in time for my birthday!).(less)