OMG it’s been awhile since I did a review, let’s see if I still know how. ;) Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is brought to us from the mind of Seth Grahame-Smith. You may recognize the name from his best-selling novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. You may also recognize the title of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter from a poster if you’ve been to the movies lately, or the trailers that have started to show. The novel was released back on March 2, 2010. Personally I was shocked I thought it had just been release, I’m a little behind can you tell ;). The movie however comes out June 22, 2012, I recommend reading the book first. Flyboy and I didn’t “read” the book we listened to it on our trip home (to Texas) and back. In fact every time we got in the car together we listened to it. (I had to listen to music when we were apart so I wouldn’t lose our spot since we were listening to my iPod, Flyboy on the other hand could listen to his book, The Wheel of Time I think he was on book 6 or 7, he’s relistening to the series since the final chapter/book is supposed to be released this year.) With this being said the major complaint we had may not be an issue when reading the book itself.
Our issue with the book, while listening to it, was the chapters. As the book went along we got use to the layout but at the beginning it was confusing. Abe Lincoln Vamp Hunter is set up like a paper or nonfiction where you have sections and different chapters within each section. The sections seem to follow Abe’s life his “real” life at is and the chapters are a combination of history and a creative imagination. Within the secretions there could be three different narrators: Abe, himself, the “author” who was hired to write the novel and Henry the vampire who commissioned the piece to be written. It works when you get the hang of it. If you’ve read his Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, this might be similar, but don’t hold me to that. I haven’t read that one. I can tell you Seth did his homework on Lincoln and he didn’t change much if any “real” life events. He just added a twist that we could/would never suspect.
What do I mean he doesn’t change Lincoln’s life when he made him a vampire hunter? All the events in Abraham Lincoln’s life are mentioned and unchanged. For instance his mother still dies when he is a young boy, though the way she gets sick is not what the doctors said she died from, thought this is explained in the book. He meets Edgar Allen Poe in New Orleans and they become friends. His dislike of his father, him becoming a politician and a lawyer are all in the book. The death of his son and Lincoln’s distaste of slavery are also see within the story. What Seth does change is little things like I said above the cause of Abe’s mothers’ death and other family members. What his father had to do with their deaths. How a vampire saved Abe’s from being drown by another vamp and how the two became friends/allies in the fight against vampires. This Vampire after saving his life teaches Abe how to kill vampires. Seth also changed the reason why slavery was so important in the south. He creates a story from these events that work alongside Abe’s real life.
The cool thing about Seth and how he wrote this story is that from the start we know this is supposed to be a work of fiction, and not just because of the title. Seth has the vamp enter act with a writer in 2010, a writer who hasn’t been published. He’d set aside his writing life not out of want but because life happened. One night the vamp asked this man to write a book for him, based off letters and journals he had, but he wanted it to be a work of fiction with bits of history thrown in. The vamp hands over Lincoln’s letters and journals as research material. The author uses these to create his book – his work of fiction. With a tale of fiction wrapped in tidbits of truth Seth and “his author” create an entertaining story of Lincoln and his life. The story takes us from childhood to Presidency and everything in between. I’d suggest taking Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter for a whirl; I think you’ll be glad you did. Even the movie due out this summer is sure to be a crazy ride. Though the movie, like most based off books, will miss a few storylines I’m sure. Flyboy and I, while listening, had to check IMDB to see who was playing the characters. We were excited by some and sad hat some characters from the book won’t be in the movie. Either way you go I sure you’ll enjoy this novel.
Last year, Amanda Bonilla captivated me with the first in her Shaede Assassin series, her debut release Shaedes of Gray featuring cold hearted, damaged, and lonely Darian making my top 5 favorites for 2011. Now she’s back with her second, Blood Before Sunrise, and I have to say that I absolutely love this series!
I’m completely fascinated by the world Ms. Bonilla has created. Set in Seattle, Fae, Shaedes (creatures of shadows), Lyhtans (creatures of light) Djinns and Oracles all try to coexist with the human populous – and other unknown beasties – in a convoluted and elaborate world in which no one seems to know how to share knowledge, tell the truth or say things outside of riddles.
Darian is a Shaede, able to switch between blending in with the night and her corporeal form. An assassin by trade and mistreated for most of her life, I can understand her standoffish detachment, but it’s her haughtiness that throws me and has me screaming at her from page to page. Darian isn’t a TSTL character by any means, but her arrogance leads her and, more often than not, drags her farther and farther down the wrong path.
It’s this arrogance that propels her in Blood Before Sunrise. After a passing word from the desperate Delilah to save her own skin, Darian becomes obsessed with finding her friend and mentors missing daughter, Brakae. Like many times before, Darian’s assumptions and inability to trust her new found friendships lands her in situations that are far more than she can handle and costs her more than she can bear.
Not a single word or scene is wasted, and the payoff at the end is well worth the journey in this fast-paced mystery-driven plot. With fascinating characters and awesome world building, Blood Before Sunrise is exactly what urban fantasy was meant to be. I can’t wait to see what happens next for Darian when Crave the Darkness hits shelves next year.(less)
I was first introduced to this novel during my attendance of the advanced writers’ workshop at the 2010 Romantic Times Convention in Columbus, Ohio. One of our instructors (author Mia Marlowe) continually referenced this book when explaining the key points in romance writing.
It took me two years to get around to reading Delicious by Sherry Thomas, but I have finally been able to pick it up and I have much to share about this novel.
Verity Durant is an infamous chef in both London and Paris. But her mouthwatering cuisine is not the only aspect of her life that has made her famous. Madame Durant is also well-known for her scandalous love affairs. After the passing of Bertie Somerset (master of Fairleigh Park and Verity’s former lover) she awaits the arrival of the new master, Bertie’s brother Stuart.
To Stuart, food is merely a means of survival and can in no way be enjoyed with great relish. Haunted by the night of passion he witnessed ten years ago, Stuart is unable to find zeal in anything other than his political campaign. That is, until he tastes the food prepared by Madame Durant. He soon lusts after her meals and the cook. But this lady of mystery has a secret that she wishes to remain hidden, a secret that could be the undoing of them both.
Delicious is a fun and tantalizing read. However, many aspects of this novel are downright unrealistic and just plain silly. The food and the love scenes are depicted in the most alluring way imaginable, making the reader hungry for chocolate custard and the loving of a hunky man.
If readers are able to overlook how unrealistic some of the events within this story are and the way that everything wraps up a little too neatly, this is a terrific read that will keep them on the edge of their seats from start to finish. Not to mention the incredible humor that is presented throughout the novel. There were actually moments (particularly the bath tub scene) where I actually found myself laughing heartily out loud.
Sherry Thomas nails the historic details in this novel as well as the setting, food facts, and love scenes that are so salacious that it will make your toes curl! Overall, Delicious is a unique, enthralling, convivial read that is sure to be a big hit with lovers of all romance genres.(less)
The Taker left off with everything calm and peaceful in Lanny’s world yet there is foreshadowing that the peace is about to be shattered. After waiting a year to find out what danger that I had feared would befall Lanny in Alma Katsu’s second novel in the series The Reckoning I must admit I was pleasantly surprised to find that my wild imagination had not produced any of the scenarios Katsu has come up with.
Suddenly Adair is free and his only thought is to find Lanore (Lanny) and make her pay for her transgression. The time has come for Lanny to pay the price for what she has done and her reckoning is upon her. We can feel the fear and anxiety she is feeling over the inevitability of this reunion as she races across the world trying to keep ahead of Adair. Katsu’s exquisite writing takes us on twists and turns as Lanny has a few startling revelations about what she had thought love was and begins to confront emotions she did not realize she felt. Much like The Taker we are drawn between past and present as Lanny and Adair both remember events from their lives. This effectively helps us to see the person Lanny has been becoming over the past two hundred years as well as how Adair became the tyrant we have come to know him as.
One thing that I immediately enjoyed is the new perspective we gain on Adair. As you can imagine he has been entombed for 200 years and quite a few advances in technology have taken place. It is almost humorous to watch him learn about computers and debit cards. I found myself laughing out loud more than once at his thoughts on modern life. Adair has had two hundred years to think about his life choices and he too has come out a changed man. Many of the profound moments in the book revolve around Adair’s battle between his nature and the new person he would like to be. The changes in him are intriguing and with the stories from his past a different more complex picture of him begins to emerge.
Love actually becomes a bigger theme in The Reckoning and we begin to see a little more about love lasting an eternity. Some of the characters from the previous book are revisited as well as a few new ones. Nothing is as it appears to be and Katsu continues to shake up your understanding of what has happened. Sometimes we believe what we have been told because we want to believe the story rather than face the truth.
The Reckoning will leave you wondering what new revelations will be unearthed about the main characters in the final installment. Can love last an eternity? Are some things beyond redemption? What makes Adair immortal? The character growth is so complex and so rich in this installment I personally can’t wait to see what lies in store for Lanny and Adair.(less)
When the author asked Paperback Dolls if we would review SEA Change by Karen White I immediately jumped on the opportunity based on the synopsis I couldn’t wait to read it and wow am I glad I did. It was by far one of the best books I have read in a while.
SEA CHANGE is a story of what it means to be a family. It’s a heartwarming story of how our families past affects our future and how misunderstood events in the past flavor the way we view ourselves today. White captivates with a story of love, betrayal and family secrets that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the last page. We are immediately engrossed as the story of Ava in the present is mingled with the story of Pamela from the early 1800’s. Both stories are equally intriguing filled with the nuances of family and what it means to love as they follow a path finally converging into one. White builds the story from the perspective of a few a few different characters and I love how we get to see events from the perspective of Ava, her mother and grandmother as well as Pamela’s story from the past. Each voice weaves together seamlessly tugging at your heart.
I absolutely could not put this book down. It is a testament that love can last forever and the ties that bind a family. You will cherish every moment as Ava discovers herself and what true love means. I highly recommend this for your summer reading list; in fact I recommend you grab this book as soon as it comes out June 5th. You’ll be delighted that you did.(less)
Africa has always been a bit of a literary mystery to me – Out of Africa is my guide, which is just wrong when you think about it. Nina Darnton’s Suspense Thriller An African Affair was quite an eye opener. The author has herself lived in Africa in the 70s (two years of which she spent in the novel’s setting – Lagos Nigeria) and it is evident in every detail that she has done her research.
An African Affair was a fascinating and yet, disturbing read. Lindsay Cameron, a journalist stationed in Lagos is looking for a story – one that will expose the corruption of Nigerian President Michael Olumide’s regime, she realizes that any attempt to unmask the truth behind the lies fed to the media may lead to her never being able to step foot in Nigeria again – that is, if she’s allowed to leave. Yet she doesn’t give up.
When one political assassination is followed by another mysterious death – Lindsay finally has the lead she was looking for. But with the CIA, mercenaries, rebels and the regime itself involved, she’s heading down an increasingly dangerous path.
Nina Darnton’s detailed description of the day-to-day life of a journalist in Africa, the often haunting descriptions of what life is like in Nigeria for local residents and the diplomatic staff were insightful and brought the story to life.
The novel remained suspenseful throughout and other than one minor scene which felt a bit unrealistic when you look at the bigger picture (won’t spoil but it involved Lindsay and a very tidy escape) the book managed to keep me on the edge of my seat.
Darnton’s protagonist is depicted in a very realistic way, she is not perfect, she has her flaws, and yet she still manages to be likable. In fact, each of the characters is very well portrayed and no one comes out looking one dimensional.
Reading this book I felt the suffocating heat, the close environment, the fear, the excitement and the adrenalin pumping as if I was Lindsay.
Darnton’s novel is a spectacular debut and I for one will be very happy to read whatever she comes up with next.
On a side note, as someone who works in a newsroom, I loved the backstage look at a journalist’s life abroad – filing stories, trying to dictate stories via a broken phone line – It brought a smile to this reviewers’ face.(less)
I can remember when I was a little girl and first read the story of Cinderella – I think most of us can. How t...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com.
I can remember when I was a little girl and first read the story of Cinderella – I think most of us can. How the horribly treated cinder maid defeated her evil stepmother by marrying the handsome prince – *sigh* how romantic. Eloisa James has now taken this timeless classic and made it her very own with the debut in her new fairy tales series.
It all started with rats… well not exactly rats, but something similarly close. One small Maltese that turned Katherine Daltry’s world upside down and around. Though, we’ll get back to the rats… er dogs. Since Kate’s father died seven years ago, she’s been treated by her stepmother as nothing more than the help, instead of a lady of the Yarrow house that is her birth right. Marianna Daltry hasn’t exactly turned Kate into a maid, but she has moved her to the attic and fired most of the staff, making Kate pick up the slack. She also has no interest in the upkeep of what’s left of the tenants and instead uses Kate’s fathers money to buy unnecessary frivolous items. Kate can leave Yarrow house at anytime, but she fears what would become of the tenants and what’s left of the staff. So she stays and endures.
Victoria Daltry has had a slight mishap with feeding her dog, Ceasar, which couldn’t have come at a worse time. Marianna has concocted the perfect scheme (in her eyes), she needs Kate to pose as Victoria so she can marry Algernon Bennet who needs the approval of his uncle, The Prince of Marburg. It just won’t do for everyone to see Victoria in such a condition (with a reputation to uphold) and first impression is not only wanted, but needed. Now, because of the rat, Marianna forces Kate to take her sister Victoria’s place in meeting the Prince.
Prince Gabriel Augustus-Frederick William von Aschenberg of Warl-Marburg-Baalsfeld is in love with archeology and wants nothing more than to be sifting through the ruins of Carthedge. He doesn’t want to be at Pemeroy castle. He doesn’t want to be responsible for the family and staff his crazed brother, The Grand Duke, threw out of Marburg on the grounds of religious impurity. He also doesn’t want to meet Algie’s new bride or his own betrothed for that matter. He wants to be free to do as he wills, to dig in the dirt and uncover history. However, as much he doesn’t want to do all these things, honor bounds him to his responsibilities.
When Gabriel first meets Kate as Victoria, he thinks nothing much of his nephew’s new betrothed. He most certainly doesn’t see where the ton thinks of her as the seasons beauty. Kate has a similar negative reaction to the Prince. Though, while she thinks him an attractive man, it’s the air of arrogance that turn her off. Gabriel wants two things in a woman – biddable and bedable. He see’s neither in Kate, but there’s something about her that he can’t stay away from. With him knowing her as only Victoria and his future bride only a few days away from arriving, Gabriel tries his hardest to stay away from Kate, but fails miserably. Duty and honor are the only two things holding him back from the alluring Kate and Gabriel is finding it hard to live up to his position.
Kate is exactly how I always wanted my Cinderella to be – a fighter. She fights for what she believes in, what’s right and wrong. She fight’s her stepmother as much as she can in her position. She isn’t book smart, but she has made effort to be and she’s not lacking in common sense. Her sister Victoria isn’t the awful stepsister, but actually very sweet and caring. She’s never taken part in torturing Kate like Marianna does and that’s why Kate relents on going along with the crazy plan. Even the Prince is different from our perfect first. He’s arrogant, a little rude and brooding. It’s not until Kate really gets to know him that she finally understands his personality. Although his arrogance never really goes away, it becomes more playful and sexy.
A Kiss at Midnight is actually my first Eloisa James novel. The other girls at Paperback Dolls completely love her, so when we got the chance to review one of her novels, I jumped at the offer. The story is one we’ve all heard before, but the twists that Ms. James puts in are a welcomed change. Most of the novel takes place at Pemeroy, but I didn’t feel the least bit claustrophobic. Pemeroy is a very large castle, and Ms. James makes use of the grounds. My favorite character has got to be Henry, Kate’s “Godmother” This woman says exactly what’s on her mind. She’s a little vulgar for the times and completely self assured. It’s plain to see that she wants nothing but good things to come Kate’s way. She does everything in her power to make her comfortable and happy.
I took A Kiss at Midnight for exactly what it was, a fairy tale romance. I wanna say how important it is that I make it clear that this is a fairy tale and not a historical romance. Ms. James expresses this herself in the authors notes at the end. But anyone who reads this beautiful story will have no doubt about it. A Kiss at Midnight was romantic, sexy and funny and I myself am already more than ready for the next in this series, which I hear will be about Beauty and the Beast.(less)
Seriously, offering me a book where Steampunk meets Jack the Ripper? Are you kidding me? It’s like chocolate with peanut butter on top! Oh, the goodness! Darn, did I give it away to early? Sorry, I just couldn’t wait to say that I really loved this book. Now I can act in a more orderly fashion. In this steampunk debut by Karina Cooper we are introduced to orphan and heiress Cherry St. Croix (love the name!) who is caught between two worlds – London below the drift and London above the drift… yes, in this alternate universe London has been divided in to two levels- the original level which is considered below the drift and the new level – constructed to escape the ever growing fog, above the drift, where the more privileged dwell in a fog-free area.
While Cherry lives above the drift, in a house with her guardian (a man we see little of but of who Cherry is terrified) she works a collector (a kind of bounty hunter) below the drift, in the foggy depths of London’s less salubrious neighborhoods. I keep thinking how much can I give away without completely revealing the entire plot…so I’ll say this: Her childhood left her with an expensive habit, one she can only pay off by getting an additional income.
London above the drift is ruled by society, and Cherry is at its outskirts, not quite a pariah but very close. So she is incredibly surprised when she gets invited to one of the society events of the season. Where she meets Lord Compton, the prodigal son who has returned to the arms of his loving mother – one of society’s leading ladies who loathe Cherry…
Meanwhile, London below the drift is rules by the Midnight Menagerie… a circus filled with every kind of pleasure, for those who can pay the price; and if you can’t pay the price, they will make sure you pay. Using collectors if necessary. Here Micajah Hawke is the ringmaster for the menagerie…and well, lets just say this ringmaster can run rings around me any day. ;)
While attempting to collect her fee from the menagerie, Cherry runs into one of it’s lady’s of the night who wishes to hire her to look into the disappearance of some of the menagerie girls, found brutally murdered. Yes, the infamous leather apron (one of the names given to Jack the Ripper) and from here on in the pace of this story just increases. As Cherry tries to discover who leather apron is, and could he be a collector? She is also embroiled in other menagerie business, stumbles upon a connection with her dead parents and all while trying to be a proper society miss who has caught the interest of Lord Compton, a man she doesn’t mind being caught by.
In fact, my only problem with Tarnished is that I sometimes felt a bit lost. I was trying to both understand the incredible universe created by Ms. Cooper while piecing together the plots and characters. There was just so much going on here! Now, this is something I have often seen happen in first books in a series, so I understand why it was like this, I just really needed a little bit more insider information on the St. Croix Chronicles universe.
As for the characters themselves, they each jump off the pages and are so easy to picture in my head. Cherry is a very sympathetic character though she is most definitely not the type-cast heroine. Her past, her current problems, they all make for a page turning read. It looks like Ms. Cooper is setting Cherry up for a bit of a love (lust?) triangle and frankly, I know where my loyalties lie…. Did someone say Hawke?
Tarnished is an absolutely riveting series debut and a must read for steampunk lovers. I am truly looking forward to Gilded which is set to be released in December…In fact, I may go re-read Tarnished now in anticipation.(less)
In all my years of reading historical romance, I’ve never seen dyslexia addressed in any of them even though it probably existed then. I was surprised to see it surface here, but it was presented in a sympathetic manner making the character even more endearing.
Lord Blakeney (Blake) is cursed with what we now know as dyslexia, but during that particular time in history, he’s simply considered stupid. It’s hurtful to be ridiculed, but for a Duke’s son it’s even more so. How’s he supposed to command respect when people think he’s an idiot? Eventually he learns to read, but it’s a painfully slow process. He manages to get through school by paying a friend to do his homework, which leaves him susceptible to all sorts of nefarious plots.
Minerva is his complete opposite—serious and studious with no learning problems. Her parents encourage her to use her brain and form her own opinions…one of which happens to be that Blake is an idiot. She decides it’s bad enough to marry someone you don’t love, but to be saddled with an idiot is worse. Though she’s well educated, Minerva hasn’t learned much about compassion. Without taking the time to get to know Blake, she treats him like an imbecile and misses no opportunity to insult him. In return, he avoids showing any emotion around her, figuring if he doesn’t reveal weakness, there’s nothing for her to use against him.
After a while, I began to wonder if these two had any chance of making it at all, and I wanted to smack Minerva for being such a snooty, spoiled brat. I must admit, though, she did have some redeeming qualities, and I actually felt a little sorry for her when she thought Blake had a mistress.
When Blake’s father dies unexpectedly, he starts to depend on Minerva to keep the masses at bay long enough for him to mourn and take the reins of his father’s empire. Little by little, they come to realize there’s a spark between them that could flutter into a flame if given a chance. And they almost miss it.
This book had me fussing and fuming at Minerva for being an unfeeling, spoiled prima donna. Blake needed to trust someone, and in order to do so he had to let down his guard, but with her condescending attitude, it almost didn’t happen. It took some time for both of them to show character growth, but by the end of the book, I was a happy camper. (less)
Deirdre Griffin is a strong, intelligent woman feeling trapped in her brothers’ shadow. Deirdre has always felt that she was the wallflower in the family, the one that nobody sees. Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook is the story about what happens when she finally decides to forge her own path in search of her own identity. I had requested a review copy of this book because the aspect of discovering who you are later in life appealed to me and where I am in my life at the moment. I hung on every word and read the entire book in one sitting.
Wallflower in Bloom is about family and how we view ourselves in our family. The story investigates how it is hard to view our siblings as the adults they have become instead of the children or teenagers they used to be. The part that resonates with me the most is Deirdre’s realization that her life is not where she thought it would be and she must take charge now because only she can forge the life she wants. It is a bit frightening to step out and follow your dreams and as Deirdre begins to do so we are right there with her. My only disappointment was that the book seemed to end way before I was ready to put down the book. I wanted to know more about Deirdre’s growth and her family. I felt there could have been more character development and the story could have been longer.
Overall Wallflower in Bloom is a fantastic summer read and I highly recommend it to anyone that is looking for an insightful, funny, light-hearted book to read on their summer vacation. (less)
I am trying to not go all fan-girl right now but it’s really hard. Why you ask? Because lately I’ve read some books that have been a major disappointment and thanks to Ms. Shalvis my faith was restored in Contemporary Romance. I do love me some naughtiness between the sheets or on a couch or up against the railing at the pier… *sigh* Oh Sorry where was I? But what I really want is a story I can get lost in. I want characters I feel connected too and a world I would at least love to visit.
I fell in love with Ty Garrison. He’s a bit of a smart ass, he says the sexiest things, his dark layers are yummy, and he is another reason I wish I lived in Lucky Harbor. Yeah he has some issues, he’s a former SEAL who went through some pretty dark stuff but he hasn’t stopped living. He just feels guilty about it. It’s an honest emotion many veterans feel and it is conveyed in LIL in a realistic manner.
Mallory Quinn is someone many women can relate too. She has work goals, a slightly crazy family, and an addiction to chocolate. She also is having trouble hanging on to her Mr. Rights. Ms. Quinn is a likable girl. And I have to tell you I’ve recently been unhappy with more than one female lead. It was refreshing not to have to yell that the woman on the page.
Shalvis has not let this series get repetitive or boring and I know sometimes I have had issue with other authors and their series telling me the same story over and over and over again. Annoying, right? Thankfully Jill has filled this small town chuck full of interesting and complex characters that will keep you wanting more. I’m already pacing around waiting for At Last and I have a TBR that needs some attention. Jill Shalvis is a storyteller who can make you laugh and rev your engine all on the same page. I appreciate a well-written book that can keep me entertained from beginning to end but when a book keeps me from sleeping because I can’t put it down, well let’s just say it ruins me for lesser books.
This book isn’t hit-me-over-the-head-with-fluffy-love-and-all-things-rainbows but it’s also not my usual angst addict fest. Lucky In Love doesn’t insist the reader suspend reality to like the story or understand it. In any work fiction there is a level of that probably wouldn’t happen in the real life but I am a strong believer unless it’s part of the genre the book falls under we shouldn’t have to have to force ourselves to ignore impossibilities. I am an even bigger believer in, we as readers, shouldn’t have to ignore poor editing! Reading shouldn’t feel like work whether your reading for pleasure or to review it, I want to be entertained and find my happy place in the pages of the book.
Lucky In Love helped me find my happy place… several times.(less)
I do love discovering new series with new premises especially when they come along just as your stuck in a boo...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com.
I do love discovering new series with new premises especially when they come along just as your stuck in a book rut wishing you had something new and exciting to read. It was thanks to my friend Bama that I discovered Inhale, the first in the Just Breath trilogy.
Here we are introduced to the world of wyldlings (humans) elementals and sentinels… a world where fire, air, water and earth are what makes the different elementals tick and in this case, the problems created when fire decides it’s just a bit too hungry and starts to invade human dreams, causing nightmares that in some cases, even lead to deaths. Enter the sentinels, super humans who can control dreams and manipulate Elements to either defend against or attack Elementals with Elemental magic. A Sentinel’s purpose is to maintain the balance and protect the wyldlings…or at least are attempting to do so.
Zoe a marine biologist specializing in whale research has finally gotten the opportunity she has been waiting for – a position in Australia leading a research team that could mean a major promotion and an escape from an annoying ex who happens to be her boss. She has a lot to prove but it might be a lot easier if she didn’t hear voices – the whales talking to her …and then there’s her panic attacks and the extremely strange dreams she’s been having.
Gavin Cassidy is a musician and sentinel without a cause. Ever since he lost his partner his control over his elements has been nil – just like his ability to write new songs. But then he’s called in to protect one wyldling – Zoe.
With fire trying to take over the dreaming, elemental leaders being killed off and changes coming to the ranks of the sentinels, Inhale introduces a fascinating new world with vivid imagery and almost poetic descriptions and let’s not forget sensual… Gavin and Zoe spend most of the book meeting in the Dreaming and well, things get interesting, very interesting. Sadly though Zoe is in danger in the Dreaming and in the ‘normal’ world. Some of the enemies are known – like a vindictive fire elemental named Scarlett, while others remain in the shadows.
I really did enjoy this book but at the same time I felt like I was missing something. The world of Inhale was beautifully presented but I wished there had been a little more background information. I realize that as a first book in a series there is always a lot to put on paper and some things get rushed so I hope this means that the second book in the series will clear things up on that front.
I also have to say that at some point in the book I really, really, wanted to find out more about Sinnder – the mysterious fire elemental. So much so that it took over the book from my perspective. That actually means I and seriously looking forward to read the next installment… with high hopes that Sinnder gets a more central role.
All in all Inhale was an intriguing and well written introduction to a new PNR/UF series; one I am looking forward to reading more of.(less)
I am having trouble writing this review. I don’t want to gush like a fan girl but it seems that is all I can c...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com.
I am having trouble writing this review. I don’t want to gush like a fan girl but it seems that is all I can come up with right now so before delving into Somebody To Love I’ll share a little of my reading history with you.
I discovered Kristan Higgins approximately two years ago when I decided I would try to read as much contemporary romance I could get my hands on. I was ordering some Rachel Gibson and Susan Elizabeth Phillips and a Kristan Higgins book was in the “people who bought this book also bought…”. I only had about $20 left on the gift card I was using and I was saving it for an upcoming planned prowl of the Bargain Books section at B&N so I opted out of the website and looked forward to a Monday morning off from work and the kids in school. You know Mommy time, book lover/addict style.
I woke up the next day with two sick kids. After bedding them down and loading them up with meds I found myself bored and bookless. My latest order wasn’t due to arrive for days. I couldn’t leave my sick kids alone while I made a mad dash to Barnes and Nobles for something, right? Right? No, no of course not! I had one option left. I had recently downloaded the new Nook app onto my iTouch. I know what you are thinking, tiny screen, but I don’t care how tiny the screen if I can read a book I’m in!
I sat down with the Mac and started searching for a book. I decided if I was going to finally break down and use a new technology to read then I should christen it with a new author and I downloaded my first Kristan Higgins book, Fools Rush In. Over the next two weeks I downloaded every book available from her. I was addicted to her worlds and characters. I loved them so much I re-read each book a minimum of three times. I was never one to revisit a stand alone title but I found I loved to laugh and cry along with Higgin’s characters and her writing style was so easy to sink into that when I read a different author I didn’t like or found the style to be bothersome I would cleanse my reader’s palette with Catch of The Day or Just One of Guys.
Last year Ms. Higgins released Until There Was You and some of you may remember it made my top ten for 2011. I absolutely adored that book. I finished it so quickly I rationalized an immediate re-read in case I missed something. The truth was I was totally in love with Liam Murphy and I wasn’t quite ready to put him on the shelf. Once I was done, for the second time, I started to feel nervous about Kristan’s next book. I mean how could it live up to Posey and Liam’s story? Will she hit a plateau? Will I find myself wishing for a sequel to UTWY instead of new characters? How can any guy live up to Liam?!? I tried not to think of these question when my book came in the mail and I immediately sat down with Somebody To Love……
A good sign I’m going to like a book? The author has me giggling halfway through page one and laughing out loud by page two. We enter the world of Parker Welles just before it’s about to fall out from underneath her. Of course this isn’t the first time we meet Parker Welles. Parker was a supporting character in The Next Best Thing which just so happens to be my favorite Higgins title. Parker is an accidental writer who has hit a crossroads in her career and her struggle to find her muse is something I can appreciate. She shares custody of her five year old son with her ex Ethan who just so happens to be married Parker’s best friend Lucy. When Parker is forced to move and her only option is to flip a remote property in Maine Lucy encourages her BFF to have a summer fling. Lucy believes Parker has been nooky-less since breaking up with Ethan. Can you say awkward?
Our male lead is James Cahill. I kept seeing Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid Love (after he fell for Emma Stone’s Hanna) *sigh*……. Yeah James is dreamy. James has some issues in the family department and we see him face them along with his growing feelings for Parker. James relationship with Parker’s dad is more than business. It’s more father/son on some levels and Parker resents the closeness because she doesn’t have that with dear old pops. James feels indebted to Mr. Welles but right from the start you can see how much he likes Parker even when she calls him Thing One. I really like James aka Jamie aka super hottie.
The book flows well and we get to dig deep with our leads while getting a nice second visit to Gideon’s Cove, Maine (the setting for Catch of The Day). Kristan is able to hit her stride fairly quickly with S2L, we get a happy balance of humor, angst, and romance. As a reader I never set the book down because I wanted to take a break. It only left my hot little hands because I had no other choice. I recently read a book I wanted to dump in the pool because I couldn’t get close to the characters and everything was distant and cold. Entering the S2L world you are wrapped up in Parker’s life and buckled in for a bumpy yet entertaining ride. Higgins makes it easy to see the world she has created for Parker and James to fall in love in.
The secondary characters help fill up the pages and tell a story worth reading. I have noticed in books where authors revisit characters after a long time away they are a shadow of what they once were. In S2L we get familiar characters we love in Hi-Def. One character in particular I wish would get her own book is animal rescue owner Beth. The dynamics between the new and old meld onto the page as if they were planned from the beginning and maybe even written at the same time. Somebody To Love was a refreshing love story that contemporary romance lovers are going to love. And as for me? There are very few authors that can have me wrapped around their fingers in less than three pages, Ms. Higgins is at the top of that list. (less)
I am not quite sure how I became so interested in the world of Amish romance. My typical choice of books usual...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com.
I am not quite sure how I became so interested in the world of Amish romance. My typical choice of books usually involves steamy love scenes, murder mystery, and paranormal creatures with a lust for violence and accumulating sex partners. When I learned that Amish romance was actually a genre I couldn’t believe my ears. I had to see it for myself. It began with Cindy Woodsmall’s Sisters of the Quilt trilogy and skyrocketed from there. So whenever I need a break from otherworldly creatures and sex kittens, I turn to the world that Cindy Woodsmall has created in Apple Ridge, Pennsylvania.
The Scent of Cherry Blossoms is the Amish romance version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In a world where it is forbidden for Mennonites and Old Order Amish to become romantically involved, childhood friends Annie Martin (of the Mennonites) and Aden Zook (of the Old Order Amish)find themselves drawn to each other in a way that they have never experienced before. After being abandoned by her father in New York and despising the manner in which her mother allows her siblings to behave, Annie must return to Apple Ridge and her grandfather, Moses, to gain a perspective on the life that she leads. Annie couldn’t be happier; she will be arriving just in time for the blossoming of the cherry trees in her grandfather’s orchard. She tries to make herself useful by helping the Zook family run their diner since Roman, Aden’s twin brother who was paralyzed in a farming accident years ago, is assisting his uncle in mechanic work during the busiest time of the year for Zook’s Diner. Annie is overjoyed to see her old friend Aden. But what neither of them counted on was falling in love and the trials and tribulations they must face in order to overcome two worlds that are trying to tear them apart.
The Scent of Cherry Blossoms is a wonderful love story. Combining sorrow, joy, laughter, and journeys to self-discovery, this novel has something for everyone. The interaction between the characters creates tremendous tension while to plot drives them both together and apart.
The characters are endearing, the Amish lingo and history are thoroughly explained, and the setting paints a beautiful image of springtime. (less)
I have never read a book by Barbara Bradford Taylor before but the synopsis of Letter from a Stranger sent fro...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com.
I have never read a book by Barbara Bradford Taylor before but the synopsis of Letter from a Stranger sent from the publisher intrigued me so I agreed to review the book at their request. I loved the book and found it was a quick and easy read.
Letter from a Stranger is a book of romance, family, intrigue and the beautiful backdrop of Istanbul. In fact Taylor paints a picture of Istanbul that leaves you feeling as if you have been there yourself. I found myself falling in love with the city and telling my husband we should go. Istanbul could easily be a main character in the book. As you can imagine this book is a journey for Justine. As she drops everything and heads to Istanbul to find her beloved grandmother she has no idea that the true journey will come once she has found her. Along the way Justine discovers deep family secrets that her grandmother has kept hidden away for many years as well as love.
I found the most intriguing part of the novel the memoirs of Justine’s grandmother Gabriele. Her memoirs take us on a journey back to her time in WWII and we relive the horror as well as the small beautiful moments she encountered during this period of history. I found myself thoroughly engaged in her story and this portion of the book alone could by far be the best part of the entire book. Ultimately Justine and her brother must face their mother as the truth behind her motives for such a deep deception come to light.
I enjoyed this book as a quick light hearted read for me in the midst of a very stressful time. At times the book was a bit slow and I do have to admit I have read quite a few novels recently that use the method of reading someone else’s journal to convey information and it’s starting to lose its appeal for me. If the memoir had not been so moving I would have been a little frustrated with the means of delivery. Overall this was quite an enjoyable book and I will find myself reading more by Barbara Bradford Taylor in the future.(less)
Try as I may, it is almost impossible for me to review this book without mentioning some details from previous...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com.
Try as I may, it is almost impossible for me to review this book without mentioning some details from previous books in the series and after 12 installments, can you blame me? So, just in case you haven’t read the earlier Sookie adventures, consider this a warning of possible spoilers.
In many ways DEADLOCKED showcases the true strengths in Charlaine Harris’ writing. Despite all the suitor wars (Bill Lovers, Eric Lovers, Sam Lovers etc…) at it’s core the Sookie Stackhouse books were quirky mysteries where some of the characters just happened to be supernatural. Somewhere along the way, whether it was the readers who got caught up in the supe craze or the authors intent, those paranormal elements began to out shine the mystery that is (and always has been) the foundation to each book.
In Bon-Temps, Sookie has settled into her new responsibilities at Merlottes as “part-owner” with her best friend Sam Merlotte. Despite being tired from work, she makes time to go out to ladies night at her cousin Claude’s strip bar, Hooligans, with her friends Holly, Kennedy, Michele (her brother Jason’s girlfriend) and the very pregnant Tara. The fun evening out quickly becomes an evening of surprises for Sookie when an unexpected person is seen stripping at the club and then afterwards at her home with an even more unexpected visit from her grandfather, Niall.
Niall’s appearance at Sookie’s home is awkward as ever, especially since her cousin Claude and great-uncle Dermot (who Niall considers a traitor) are living there. But, Sookie forces Niall to face Dermot and discuss their differences. In doing so, the possibility of a curse being put on Dermot becomes likely and Niall takes Claude back to Fairy to investigate the charges.
The following evening Sookie is strongly encouraged by the lone-were, Mustapha (Eric Northman’s daytime man) to go to a “party” where King Felipe is in attendance at Eric Northman’s home in Shreveport. Once there she is once again faced with visual knowledge that she, in a very “Scarlett O’Hara” fashion, had previously tried not to think about. But, instead of whining about the situation or running away from the problem, Sookie takes charge and deals with things in a rather mature manner. When the dead body of one of the party guests shows up on the lawn and Mustapha is missing, Sookie begins to investigate with the help of her ex-lover Bill Compton. The more they uncover, the more it appears Eric is being framed but the list of motives is long and all the details seem too complex for some of the usual suspects.
Of course, there are other issues adding to the conflicts. Eric is still in negotiations with The Queen of Oklahoma over the proposed marriage between them set into motion by his late maker. And if that wasn’t enough Sookie is having issues with Sam’s girlfriend, the were Jannalyn, who just happens to also be the second in Sookie’s one-time possible flame, Alcide Herveroux’s pack.
I admit, this is a tough book for Sookie and Eric. So many things seem stacked against this favorite couple. No character is perfect in this series and I think that is what allows readers to relate to the characters making these books strike a chord with so many different people. Even with all the turmoil, Sookie repeatedly says over and over that she is in love with Eric and loves him . . .
There is so much that goes down in this book. Charlaine Harris seems to be tying up all those loose ends. So often when author’s of long running series attempt to conclude their story certain things can feel rushed and unnecessary but this is not the case with DEADLOCKED. Readers will be delighted to see Mr. Cataliades and Diantha pop in at a perfect moment, questions about Barry the bell hop (LDID & ATD) answered, Quinn make a cameo on a special day with some big news of his own, Alcide finally atoning for some bad choices and growing up, The Fairy story-line directly dealt with, more of Sam, the Cluvial Dor’s purpose, Jason mature and stable, and Bill in a good place in his existence.
Even Sookie feels like she is in a better place than she has been in the last few books. She goes out with friends, visits people, tans and daydreams like Sookie of old but that’s not to say that there isn’t plenty of tough times and sad moments, just that the character’s growth is evident.
The writing in DEADLOCKED was improved and at times even poetically beautiful. As in these passages:
I woke up to a summer day that mocked me by being beautiful. The downpour had washed everything, cooled the air, and renewed the green of the grass and the trees. The delicate pink of the old crepe myrtle was unfurling. The cannas would soon be open. (Chapter 9)
Loved ones, friends, acquaintances had been mown down by the Grim Reaper. So I was no stranger to loss and to change, and these experiences had taught me something. (Chapter 9)
Not only was there real emotion conveyed in the text, but at times it felt as if Harris was really enjoying her characters, even poking fun at some of the tired behaviorism’s of various characters in a “Laugh out loud” scene between Eric, Pam, Bill and Sookie something that I haven’t really seen since the earlier books. All these things combined to make reading this book a real treat and left me nostalgic for earlier books, wishing I could re-read them all again from a first time perspective.
With everything that is answered in DEADLOCKED there are lots of surprises and revelations that leave so many possibilities that will keep fans guessing all the way to May, 2013.(less)
Jennifer Estep has done it again with yet another fun and addicting read that appeals to my inner 15 year old....moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
Jennifer Estep has done it again with yet another fun and addicting read that appeals to my inner 15 year old. With more action and development, DARK FROST is incredibly entertaining and page turning story that is even better than it’s predecessors.
DARK FROST is well titled as it’s definitely the “darkest” book in Estep’s Mythos Academy series to date. With battles taking place inside the academy and students coming to their ends at the hands of the Reapers, there is more of a serious tone to this book from the very beginning. That tone is reiterated in Gwen’s inner dialog and allows readers to really see her growth and development especially when she is left feeling more isolated and alone due to a very interesting twist. This isolation causes Gwen to question her abilities and opens the door to revelations about herself and her family.
Despite the bleakness of the situations the characters face, there are a few of what I would consider “cheesy” lines that lightened the darkness. I found myself laughing out loud while reading and I was told that I had a goofy grin across my face at times. But, what can I say? The Mythos Academy books are a guilty pleasure, and one I don’t take too seriously. I just enjoy them for what they are and look forward to each new installment.
I think fans of P.C Cast’s HoN books will really enjoy this series because it has the same teenage angst and drama set in a world with mythology and supernatural powers, but unlike House of Night, these books have some depth and resolution and don’t those have pesky cliffhangers every…single…Book. ;)(less)
If you haven’t read the first three books in the Eternal Guardian series I honestly don’t know what you are wai...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
If you haven’t read the first three books in the Eternal Guardian series I honestly don’t know what you are waiting for. Some of you may remember my series review from last fall and took my word for it on this compelling story, but if you haven’t put this series on your TBR or keep putting it off I implore you to pick up the books today! Ms. Naughton makes it very easy to get lost in the pages of her books regardless of the genre she may be tackling.
Enraptured was everything I was hoping it would be. Our featured hero Orpheus is not an easy Argonaut to love. He was introduced earlier in the series as a bit of a schemer, someone who you could not trust completely and was obviously out for his greater good. Or maybe that is what he wanted us to believe. In his addition to this fantastic series, Orpheus finds himself making choices even he did not know he was capable of making. A true change within his heart? Or his own demons keeping him from seeing his true self? I like to think it was the latter, but that may be simply because he made me fall in love within him!
Enraptured’s Skyla is a strong female character who can take care of herself and those she deems responsible for, and to be honest, Skyla grew on me slowly. I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to fully like her but she sucked me in and now I am a fan. She lived for over 2000 years stuck within a prison of guilt and regret. I think sometimes it is hard to find the character under all that angst and twisted emotion. But Skyla’s journey was just as intriguing as O’s. Her growth and ultimately the choices she makes qualifies her as a hero and someone I hope plays a big roll in future installments of the series.
And of course this is only the beginning for Orpheus’s brother Gryphon. His time in the Underworld was full of true atrocities upon his soul and you can’t help but to ache for him and his older brother. A new character introduced, Maelea, the bastard daughter of Zeus and Persephone, pulled me in from the start. She is a dark lonely creature who is drawn to and is sensitive to supernatural powers but wants nothing to do with the ongoing power struggles between the gods. I cannot wait to see what her roll will be in the future. Each character is a fully realized individual which I find refreshing, there aren’t any useless filler rolls here. I love to be able to get several points of view within a world that is as complex as the one Naughton has created. Sure I love lots of books with a single POV, but when it comes to an episodic series like this one, I find it really fills the pages and keeps me wanting more from all the characters and helps me dive in nice and deep.
All in all, Enraptured completely satisfied me and I cannot wait for the next Eternal Guardians book, Enslaved. Elisabeth Naughton’s understanding of Greek mythology, the human condition, and super hot love scenes comes together to create a book any reader won’t be able to put down. You will find yourself negotiating one more chapter before you turn the light off, burning dinner because you are trying to multitask, or (I highly do NOT recommend this) trying to make that yellow light because it will get you to your favorite chair and Orpheus just a wee bit quicker!(less)
Jessica McClain: Blooded is Amanda Carlson’s first offering in the urban fantasy genre. In this very short nove...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
Jessica McClain: Blooded is Amanda Carlson’s first offering in the urban fantasy genre. In this very short novella, only about 50 pages, we’re introduced to the world of Jessica McClain and her fight for survival in a pack that will no longer tolerate her existence. As the first female, and human, born to a race of werewolves where bloodlines are only passed down through the males, Jessica is an anomaly that breathes truth into an old myth of the Daughter of Cain bringing fear, panic, and rage to the pack that her father, the Alpha, can no longer control.
In this prequel to Jessica McClain series, Ms. Carlson brings to the table a strong, witty heroine who will go to lengths to ensure her own survival and a premise that promises to be enormously entertaining. If Blooded is just a taste of what is to come, than I for one am eagerly awaiting Full Blooded when it hit shelves this September.(less)
Blood Law is the debut in author Karin Tabke’s sultry new trilogy, Blood Moon Rising , mixing old and new Lycan...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
Blood Law is the debut in author Karin Tabke’s sultry new trilogy, Blood Moon Rising , mixing old and new Lycan mythology to create a fresh take on an old favorite. For those of you who don’t know, Ms. Tabke is the alter ego of Karin Harlow who I just so happen to absolutely adore! Karin makes some of the best Alpha heroes out there and she doesn’t disappoint as she brings us not one, but two.
Now there is a ton of back story to this series that you’ll only find out if you read Blood Law, but I’m nice enough to throw you a bone (ha,ha) and give you the down and dirty. For hundreds of years, wolves have been hunted down by Slayers at the decree of King Edward I, but about eight hundred years ago during the first Blood Moon Rising, a huge battle was fought between the Slayers and the two great wolf packs – the Mondragon of Europe and the Vulkasin of the New World. Though the wolves fought bravely they were on the verge of extinction so, Singarti, the great spirit guide of the Intuit people, called to the gods for intervention who in turn; turned the wolves into Lycan so as they might blend in with the humans.
Skip ahead to fourteen years ago. Rafael and Lucien, twin alpha males of the Mondragon/Vulkasin pack, are in a blood feud. There is one law that governs the Lycans, Blood Law, where first and foremost, a Lycan must not lie with a Slayer, to do so is punishable by death. And second, if another Lycan shall take another’s person or thing, eye for an eye can be invoked. In an extreme twist of fate, Rafael returned home to find his brother, Lucien, about to mark a Slayer as his one true mate and rather than see his brother dead, Rafe slew her by his own righteous hand. However, Lucien doesn’t see his brother’s actions as kind, nor does the governing council, and Blood Law now hangs over both packs until Rafe finds a mate so Lucien can finally take his vengeance.
Fast forward to present day where Blood Law truly begins. By now, the blood feud has taken a powerful toll on the world’s leading alpha pack, pinning them against one another. One side, the Mondragon, for Lucien. The other side, the Vulkasin, with Rafeal. One single human girl stands between them both as destiny unfolds. Falon Corbet always knew she was different, but it wasn’t until Rafael saves her from Slayers and marks her as his own does she truly find out just how truly different she really is.
Trust me when I say Karin Tabke knows her alpha males. They’re dominant, arrogant, erotic and sexy as hell. It makes my breath quicken just thinking about them. Alpha Lycan, Rafe, has been avoiding connections with the female body at all cost, because he’s never wanted to be responsible for the loss of an innocent life. When he meets Falon , he sees her as nothing but a mere human. In an effort to finally be done with the blood feud, he marks her for Lucien to do with as he wills. However, the more he gets to know her, the deeper she crawls into his head. Something about Falon makes his blood quicken and his beast call to her.
When we first meet Falon, she’s desperate, hungry, and savage. Homeless and an outcast orphan for most of her life, she’s only had to rely on herself and her own fundamental moral code. When Rafe takes her, she’s confused and yet drawn to him. There were numerous times when I wanted to scream at her, so furious with her for her hair brain actions and ideas that brought her further into trouble or just plain didn’t make any since at all. She actually tip toed the line for a TSTL heroine, but I’m happy to say how well she recovers and has only the most epic come back I have ever seen!
Ms. Tabke delivers in Blood Law an intense, erotic paranormal romance with compelling multilayered storytelling. Her mythical narrative with full rich history draws in the reader, but it’s her characters that keep them glued to the pages. Although, the cliffhanger at the end wrenched a tortured sigh from my lips, I’m eagerly awaiting to read the entire trilogy to see where she will take us next.(less)
I’m pretty sure my squees of excitement could be heard blocks away at the invite sitting prettily there in my i...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
I’m pretty sure my squees of excitement could be heard blocks away at the invite sitting prettily there in my inbox. I actually had no idea that there was a story in the works from Jocelynn Drake, but I’m so glad to have been selected to read an early copy, because quite frankly, I’ve been missing this series something fierce since it’s ending in Burn the Night last year.
For those of you who don’t know, Bound to Me is a short novella of only 100 pages set a couple centuries before Mira’s adventures in the Dark Days series. Available only in ebook from HarperCollins, fans will get one more look back into the past of the Fire Starter.
Finally, we get to see just what it was about one of my favorite sub-characters. I always wondered just what it was that kept Mira looking so fondly towards Valerio, besides his smoking good looks. Caught up in a love affair, Mira travels with Valerio to track down her own kind, among others, and deliver death as the enforcer for the Coven. Though, this arrangement is not without its entertainment as the pair of them travel throughout Europe leaving death in their wake.
In this short, Valerio and Mira go to the home of her maker Sadira, Madrid, to track down a Warlock murdering vampires, but while they’re there, Mira uncovers the real truth behind the Covens request.
Appealing to both new comers to the Dark Days series and longtime readers alike, Bound to Me, is a perfect addition to the rich world Jocelynn Drake has created. While I was both completely heart broken and thrilled that Ms. Drake ended the series when she did, I must admit that visiting Mira again has been nothing less than fabulous.
ETA: Bound to Me will becoming to paperback May 1, 2012: Amazon(less)
Mo (Mouse) Fitzgerald is still adjusting to life without her best friend Verity and the knowledge learned from...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
Mo (Mouse) Fitzgerald is still adjusting to life without her best friend Verity and the knowledge learned from the events in Torn, including her new role in a supernatural world she never knew existed. As if that wasn’t enough…Mo has her own personal family drama going on that has nothing to do with Supernaturals and everything to do with organized crime and family secrets.
TANGLED picks up shortly after the end of TORN. Mo managed to help stabilize things for the the Magical community and took over Verity’s role as the vessel and in now tied to Luc, and though she can admit that the boy has charm and definite appeal, in the back of her mind she still thinks that he is only interested in her because of the prophecy. Collin, Mo’s appointed bodyguard provided for her by her Mob uncle, is still guarding her and despite their mutual attraction Collin continues to push her away and remains highly guarded emotionally.
I know what you’re thinking “UGH! Another love triangle?! Stab me!”. Normally I would agree with you, but this love triangle doesn’t bother me that much. Whenever I am reading scenes with one love interest I am totally into that character and then the next chapter I am reading about the other guy and I am thinking he is the one! With a love triangle with two equally likable guys, what’s not to enjoy?
There are lots of new developments in this book including an unlikely “friend” that shows interest in helping Mo and the family dynamic is really shaken up when Mo’s mother begins making preparations for her father’s release from prison.
The real theme of this book is not love or redemption but secrets and lies and the impact they have on people from both sides of the deceit. It reminds me of that famous quote by Sir Walter Scott;
“Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive!” -Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17. Scottish author & novelist (1771 – 1832) (less)
Alma Katsu has released a brilliant eShort story The Devil’s Scribe that gives you a little more insight into Lanore (Lanny) the heroine from The Taker. We are immediately taken back to the year 1846 when it is shocking for a young woman to be alone in a bar at night, yet Lanny sits having a drink. Why does she not care what others think about her and why has Lanny returned to Boston after 20 years? Lanny tells us “I’d been fleeing my past, trying to outrun the terrible thing I’d done all those years ago. I was learning, however, that one never really escapes from one’s sins; they will demand your attention if you try to ignore them.” We are swept along wondering what this young woman could have done that is so terrible.
It is a delightful turn of events that Katsu has decided to use Poe as the one to push along Lanny’s story. With his keen sense he recognizes a story that he must tell in Lanny. Poe introduces himself to Lanny as the Devil’s Scribe, stating that “he preferred to write tells of intense darkness”. With this admission we are taken along the journey as Lanny returns to the source of her fear. Perhaps it is because he is a stranger Lanny doesn’t feel threatened and opens up a little about this terrible transgression she has committed that keeps her up at night.
Brilliant and enchanting, in this story Katsu has given you just enough information to leave you longing for more. If you haven’t read The Taker yet, this story will draw you in and leave you with questions that can all be answered in The Taker. It is also an excellent way to acquaint you with Katsu’s writing style and get a small taste of what to expect in her books. How exciting that it is being released in Trade Paperback on March 27th! If you have already read The Taker this short story gives you just enough new information about Lanny and will have you anxiously awaiting The Reckoning. I highly recommend this enchanting eShort story.(less)
Minerva Highwood is a geologist at a time when it’s a forbidden occupation for women. That isn’t all that’s forbidden to her…Lord Payne also falls into that category. In her mother’s estimation, he’s reserved for her much nicer, much prettier sister, Diana.
Bespectacled, intelligent, and socially inept Minerva discovers a fossil belonging to an heretofore undiscovered species of giant reptile. Determined to leave her mark on the world, she secretly enlists the aid of Lord Colin Payne to escort her to the Royal Geological Society symposium in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Lord Payne is attracted to Minerva, but he’s stuck in this Godforsaken castle until his birthday….or until he marries. Then he can claim and manage his own life. Until that time, he’s at the mercy of his cousin, Lord Rycliff. He’s also at the mercy of his personal demons.
After witnessing the brutal deaths of his parents at the age of eight, he’s haunted by nightmares and the memories of abuse by his fellow classmates.
As a child, Minerva was considered stupid until someone realized she needed glasses. To compensate for years of feeling stupid, she threw herself into books of all kinds completely shutting out the rest of the world.
How can two such emotionally crippled people possibly work together long enough to get to Scotland? It’s not easy, but bit by bit, mile by mile, they discover unknown strengths in the other that help offset their own weaknesses. They also discover a weakness for each other.
Tessa Dare is one of my favorite authors. Her characters come alive on the page, displaying all the foibles that make them live and breathe. I caught myself rooting for the unlikely couple to make it to Edinburgh, help each other, and find the love they both deserved. At turns, funny and sad, this is a tale that will have you cheering Minerva and Colin on and hissing the naysayers.(less)
I chose this book on a whim based solely on the title and quickly fell in love with it. McAfee has created a humorous homage to friendship, love and self acceptance centered around the main character, Graciela “Ace” Jones. Loud, loyal, and gregarious, Ace and her friends find themselves at crucial turning points in their lives.
Ace is stuck in a job she desperately hates and wonders if she has lost her one chance at happiness because of her pride & insecurity. Deeply in denial over her abusive marriage timid Chloe’s life is in shambles but her shame alienates her from her friends just when she needs them most. While worldly sophisticated Lilly is willing to sacrifice her own reputation to give another at chance at true love & happiness. Minor story lines round out the novel with humor and at times heartbreaking moments.
Set in Bugtussle, Mississippi,a small Southern town where most people stay from cradle to grave. Bugtussle feels genuinely like most small towns except for one crucial element towards the end of the book. That change is necessary to move the book forward but is so preposterous it breaks the spell McAfee had so convincingly laid.
Ace, Chloe and Lilly remind me of women I have met through the years. McAfee accurately and honestly taps into the unspoken rules of adult friendships – knowing when to respect a friend’s decision and when to intercede. Of course more often than not, Ace sees herself as a protective mama hen ready to rise to any challenge or perceived slight.
This book reminds me of a small town “Sex in the City” replete with drinks, gossip, sex and wild escapades! I can’t wait to read the follow-up, HAPPILY EVER MADDER when it comes out!(less)
If you’re looking for a good laugh, you’ve come to the right place. J.B. Lynn has given us the next Stephanie Plum in the form of Maggie Lee.
What’s a girl supposed to do when an accident leaves her sister and brother-in-law dead, her tiny niece Katie in a coma, and the insurance isn’t enough to cover the expenses? As a claims representative for Insuring the Future, Maggie doesn’t make the kind of money needed ensure her niece has the very best care, so she has to figure out how to cover the costs before the hospital turns Katie over to another facility. She also has to take care of Katie’s very small anole lizard named Godzilla….God for short. Oh, yeah, he talks. At least, he talks to Maggie.
After being rudely accosted in the hospital hallway by a sleazy jerk, Maggie decides to give him a piece of her mind and follows him into a patient’s room only to discover that he’s smothering the patient. She does the only thing she can think of—hits him with a plastic chair—thereby preventing a murder. She later learns the man was Alfonso Cifelli, son-in-law to mob boss Anthony/Tony Delveccio. (Delveccio is a twin. Their not-too-bright mother named them Tony and Anthony and Maggie has no idea which one she’s dealing with.) The person she saved turned out to be Anthony/Tony’s grandson…Alfonso’s son.
Anthony/Tony makes her an offer: Kill Alfonso and he’ll pay her one hundred thousand dollars—enough money to keep Katie right where she is. But since Maggie has no skills and only a week to do the job, Anthony/Tony arranges a meeting with someone who will train her. That someone turns out to be police detective/hitman Patrick Mulligan.
The path of the story is never straight, never what you expect, but always darkly funny. Maggie’s three weird aunts, incarcerated father, and mother in the loony bin make it seem she’s the only sane person around. But after talking to God (the lizard), she begins to doubt her own sanity.
The secondary characters are as bold and quirky as Maggie Lee. You’ll fall in love with her co-worker, Armani Vasques, who gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘smart ass’ and Paul Kowalski, who may or may not be a dirty cop. Fifty-something Aunt Leslie, who’s usually higher than a kite, is twin to Aunt Loretta, the sex kitten.
This dark comedy is great entertainment, and I hope Lynn plans to make this into a series, because I can’t wait to read more.(less)
The fact that we have been celebrating Month of Love on Paperback Dolls means that I’ve gotten to read my share of romances in February. Heroes and heroines galore! And before I get to my review of A Rogue by Any Other Name I need to mention another story I read just before A Rogue.
It too was a story of revenge, of a hero seeking justice for wrongs done to him in his youth or in his childhood, where vengeance has become the very thing that feeds his every move… The hero had every right to seek justice, could have had all my sympathy, and yet, he didn’t. I just couldn’t connect with him. And, as I mentioned to Kitt, I was really more interested in finding out what had happened to his brothers…
Then I picked up Sarah MacLean’s A Rogue by Any Other Name.
In A Rogue we meet the Marquess of Bourne – a young man who had everything and who lost it all on the turn of a card – to his guardian Viscount Langford. The public humiliation and loss of his entire fortune, including the ancestral lands, meant he could not show his face in good society.
Lady Penelope Marbury was Bourne’s childhood friend and neighbor, when he went away to school and she was left behind, they kept in touch through letters wherever he was. But after his parents died, he stopped answering her letters. (Each chapter opens with one of these letters and it was a lovely way to show the special connection these two had growing up).
Now, years later, Penelope is on the shelf (more on why in Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart) and in a desperate attempt to get her off said shelf, her father offers up something to sweeten the deal – the land around Bourne’s home as her dowry.
And Bourne? Well, he’s made his fortune from a gambling hell and while he doesn’t need Penelope’s money or dowry – he wants that land and will do anything to get it. Including marrying Penelope – by any means necessary.
See, in this story we also have a hero, who has made revenge the one goal of his life – get his land back, and crush the man who took it from him. And even though I found the reason Bourne was seeking revenge to be a bit lacking – I felt a lot of sympathy for his character and found him to be a much more interesting and multifaceted character than “the other vengeance book”. He was just that well written., the reader, even if she (being me) doesn’t agree with Bourne’s reasons can sympathize with his plight, and that made me understand why Penelope did.
In Penelope I found a heroine like those I’ve come to expect from MacLean – Smart, witty, knows what she wants and finally finding the courage to go out and get it. She was crushed by the circumstances surrounding her broken engagement and now feels that she’s not good enough in some way, that she’s unworthy. She has stood by as two of her sisters married men who aren’t exactly shining examples of what husbands should be – and she blames herself for failing her family. Penelope still has two unmarried sisters and refuses to be the one to stand in their way of a happy marriage.
Well, then she meets Bourne. Again. And yes, she does think the man (boy) she used to know is still in there somewhere but she is also actually realistic. This story could have gone both ways – it could have been a bit too soppy, another heroine who just won’t give up on a hero not really worth saving – but Penelope saved the story from going down that path.
And yes, Bourne was a bit of a so-and-so, revealed in it really, but you could see as the story progressed exactly where that attitude came from.
Moreover, whenever Bourne is being a bit of a “drama queen” – Penelope calls him out on it and refuses to back down. Which means there is plenty of what I have come to love about Sarah MacLean’s books – characters that communicate with each other and no silly misunderstandings. These romances are about the couple and their road to love and a healthy relationship. And there is plenty of that in A Rogue.
This is the first in a series about the owners of the Fallen Angel gambling hell and each of the characters introduced is extremely intriguing, so I’m very really looking forward to finding out about the next instalments…Though I have to say, I do wish A Rogue gave just a little bit more information on Bourne’s time between losing his fortune and becoming the wealthy businessman. It would have helped to better understand his character and motivations.
A Rogue by Any Other Name was a great addition to Maclean’s Historical Romance offerings and just goes to show, great writing can make you like even the biggest rogues.(less)