OMG…If you like/love the Hollows you can’t miss A Perfect Blood. Mrs. Harrison has taken Rachel past Pale Demon...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
OMG…If you like/love the Hollows you can’t miss A Perfect Blood. Mrs. Harrison has taken Rachel past Pale Demon and into her new life. In Rachel fashion the hard way is the only way to go. Thankfully she has friends there to help when she falls. A Perfect Blood has us seeing new dynamics within the “Hollows” series and we can start to see the possible end in sight. No you don’t know what’s going to happen. You can just see things starting to come to an end. There are still twist and turns, as there always is, and I’m sure we’ll have more in the further. But we know Mrs. Harrison is going to finish the series either at book 12 or 13 and with us on book 10 it’s only fitting that we start to see idea’s that will take us to the finish line.
So what could/would Mrs. Harrison do to prepare us for the end to come? She could do a lot and she did it with grace and stayed true to her characters. This is why I love Mrs. Harrison, she doesn’t jeopardize her writing for what people want. She shows their growth, their strengths, and weaknesses. With that said I’ll get on with it.
A Perfect Blood brings back some of our favorite characters (not dead) and some new ones, good and not so good. If you’ve read the first five chapters that HarperCollins posted than you know who I’m talking about. If you haven’t I’ll clue you in… Rachel now has a bodyguard thanks to Mom and Dad aka Takata. They think she needs someone to protect her/ keep her out of trouble. Though I think we can all agree that “trouble” is Rachel’s middle name. She is always getting into it with or without help. Her bodyguard, Wayde, is a Were who worked for her father as security. Wayde has a hard time controlling Rachel, as if anyone could and it leaves us with some pretty good banter.
Besides the introduction of Wayde we learn about a hate organization called HAPA. HAPA is a human hate group who want to eradicate Inderlanders. Being human and reading about HAPA made me wish I was an Inderlander. Even though HAPA doesn’t like magic or Inderlanders they aren’t opposed to using it. The magic they use is demon magic and so the I.S. wants to pin the crimes on Rachel if she doesn’t help them find the criminals. It’s a catch 22, with Rachel’s butt in a sling. Thankfully Rachel is smart enough to bring in the FIB. It’s the first time both groups worked together.
With a run on you never know what’s going to happen. We have a lot of people in this book and it’s action packed, similar to book one Dead Witch Walking and White Witch Black Cures.This one though has Rachel with more friends at her back to help and some enemies. And she needs them since she is cut off from the ley lines still. The bracelet Trent made her at the end of Pale Demon is still on her wrist, as she decides what she wants to be, or who. It’s not an easy decision for Rachel to make. There are a lot of good and bad issues one both sides.
Another decision Rachel has to make is getting her Pack tattoo. She has a hard time going to the tattoo artist until she is forced into it. Wayde and David are the ones that force Rachel into it and getting her there by force is quite funny. The tattoo’s description sounds really cool and it made me what a new one. Rachel even gets a special tattoo that’s slightly different than the one the rest of the Pack has. David too has a slightly different tattoo though his doesn’t look like Rachel’s but since they are both Alpha’s they get special ones. Having the tattoo gives Rachel another group that will protect her if she needs it. She now has three groups that would fight for her. It was so happy when I read that she had so many friends to aid her and “Inderlanders” that supported her.
A Perfect Blood has other highs and lows that are heart breaking as well. No, no one dies, at least no one we know. But some situations are sad, while others make you want to cheer. Having the good with the bad might be why this is such a great book, we feel everything Rachel is feeling. You want everything she wants. There are also other funny parts especially as Jenks cures more in this one. He takes Tinker Bell’s name in vain many times in this book and I love it. We also see his interactions will Belle which are both funny and heartening. He shows some real depth in this book as he’s moving way from the heartache of losing Matelina. It’s not just Jenks who is growing in this book both Rachel and Ivy do as while as they have to make difficult choices. We even see some growth from Trent and Al, which is shocking, though Trent started his grow in Pale Demon. It is within the growth that I think we can see where Mrs. Harrison might take us.
Mrs. Harrison can’t release book 11 soon enough. I know it’s going to be a year before the next one and than hopefully we’ll have two more books after that. I don’t think she’ll have everything tied up by twelve so my figures are crossed for thirteen, plus that’s just a witchy number. ;) I can’t wait to see where Kim goes from here and I can only hope my idea’s on what I think I’m seeing is the true journey. A Perfect Blood met and beat all my expectations. Granted my expectations when dealing with The Hollows is always high. I’m grateful it was a wickedly written novel. Kuddos Mrs. Harrison.(less)
I ran across this book when I first was diagnosed with infertility last summer yet decided it wasn’t the time t...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
I ran across this book when I first was diagnosed with infertility last summer yet decided it wasn’t the time to read it. I am glad I waited because after 10 more months Waiting for Daisy has had a profound impact on how I view my quest for a baby. Peggy Orenstein opens her memoir Waiting for Daisy with riveting words that struck me deep inside as they anyone who is currently or has dealt with infertility. ‘I’d taken my temperature every morning. I have been obsessive. I’d peed on ovulation predictors five days a month. I’d craned my neck like a yogini to see my nether regions while sluicing my finger around to check for the monthly fluid that would guide sperm to egg. I have been impatient. I’d chugged bottles of cough syrup, whose active ingredient supposedly improves the flow…..I’d transported cups of sperm in my bra. I’d turned lovemaking soulless …..Pardon me, forgive me, allow me to atone.” Anyone who is dealing with infertility will recognize these statements, they hit really close to home and I must also add: “I have become addicted to pregnancy tests, any changes in my morning temperature and analyzing my BBT chart on Fertility Friend.”
I read a few comments online about Orenstein’s memoir and I was struck by how many people that have gotten pregnant easily were so quick to say negative things about Orenstein. What makes this book so special is that she is honest, brutally so. Anyone who is dealing with infertility will relate to her struggles. One of the things that struck me strongly in this book is how we get caught up and do things we said we would never do. We put our own health at risk for the chance to have a baby. We become obsessed with everything surrounding getting pregnant. I look back and though I don’t think I’m completely obsessed, I can relate to Orenstein more than I would like to admit. You set limits for yourself such as “I will only take Clomid for four months”. (My own statement) Then you find yourself sitting here seven months later because you keep saying just one more month.
I find Orenstein’s experiences moving and helpful. It is hard to look at this roller coaster you are on objectively when it is you that is riding it. Reading someone else’s experience made me step back and look at my own life. A few things that struck me is how we become addicted to hope much the same way a gambler is addicted to gambling. “What if this is the only way I will have a child?” is something you ask yourself so often. As I read the book, I was struck by how the doctors play on this mixture of fear and hope to make more money. At least my Doctor told me up front that our chances of success are less than five percent. At least I get to go into this with my eyes wide open.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is caught up in the midst of this infertility roller coaster. You will find Orenstein’s honesty moving and touching. You know the pain she is going through; you are either right there at this moment or have been in the past. She has been brave to show us a part of herself that is not pretty and I think you have to have been here to understand how easy it is to become that person. I thank you Peggy, for your bravery and writing such a touching story. I am walking away from it with resolve to set firmer limits on what I am willing to do and a realization that I need to live. I have a wonderful loving husband and I need to cherish my time with him and enjoy this wonderful life that I do have instead of spending every second obsessing over what I don’t have.
Easier said than done but I am stepping out into the brave unknown ready to try and no matter the outcome, it’s going to be ok.(less)
In this exciting debut novel by Leigh Bardugo, readers are introduced to a magical Russian inspired setting ful...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
In this exciting debut novel by Leigh Bardugo, readers are introduced to a magical Russian inspired setting full of remarkable characters, creatures, and a truly unique world that I found utterly captivating.
Alina grew up as an orphan placed in a residence that served as an orphanage with another orphaned boy, Mal. Growing up together the two children form a close bond and follow each other into the military. Always exceedingly ordinary, Alina becomes a map maker and Mal excels at tracking. When they attempt to cross a dangerous area known as the Fold, Alina taps into a power that she never knew existed in order to protect herself and Mal.
With a new and powerful ability brought to everyone’s attention, Alina is whisked away by the magical elite order called Grisha and their mysteriously sexy leader known as The Darkling to begin her official training. Although Alina misses Mal, she is captivated by The Darkling and his mysterious ways. As their attraction grows so does Alina’s comfort in her knew surroundings until new discoveries are made that force Alina to make some decisions that she never dreamed she’d be in the position to make . . .
Leigh Bardugo blew me away, I couldn’t put SHADOW & BONE down. With all the amazing characters and world building, this is a truly intelligent book that will leave readers enthralled from cover to cover in it’s fantasies. It isn’t often that side characters are as detailed and interesting as the main characters or that a plot surprises in all the right ways, but SHADOW & BONE is an exceptional debut that did just that and more! I am already waiting on pins and needles for the next installment and will definitely add this author to my “must read” list.(less)
Wait For Me would be consider Romantic Suspense and anyone who hasn’t figured it out by now, unless the suspens...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
Wait For Me would be consider Romantic Suspense and anyone who hasn’t figured it out by now, unless the suspense involves a Brother or an Argonaut I tend to pass. I really have to be a fan of a writer to step outside my comfort zone to take a chance on a genre I am not interested in. I was so happy to have taken a chance on this book. I actually stopped reading only long enough to tell Elisabeth how much I absolutely loved this book. I totally gushed, it was a little embarrassing but I couldn’t seem to control myself.
Everyone knows by now I don’t like to spill the beans and throw spoilers out so I will keep this short, sweet, and hopefully not to fan girly……
Kate Alexander is introduced to us while getting an CT scan and trying not to lose her mind in the machine. She is recovering for a car accident eighteen months prior that has stolen her memory and left her body ravaged so badly she died for 90 seconds. In the next few pages she learns via a news bulletin her husband has perished in a plane crash……
At this point I am sucked in to the story. I am holding the Ipad so close I’m squinting and so tightly my fingers are aching. My heart is pounding in my chest and when one of the kids ask me a question, I’m pretty sure I hissed at her. Not my finest moment, I know. From that moment on I cannot put the book down. I love twisty. I am and will forever be a angst addict. This book fed so many of my reading needs, I read it twice in three days. Each character made me love them. The secondary characters were just as good at capturing my attention as Kate and her counterpart Ryan. And speaking of Ryan…. Oh sweet Lord, the man is delicious, aggravating, sexy, and I-want-to-eat-him-with-a-spoon-while-telling-him-to-snap-out-of-it-! (ie. Cher in Moonstruck).
I honestly cannot say enough about this book. Just go out and buy it, download it, or run to the nearest library! Trust me you will not be disappointed. Actually after talking about it with all of you I find myself pulling up my Nook app and opening Wait For Me right now. I honestly don’t think three times in Kate and Ryan’s world will be enough, but it’ll take the edge off for now. To sum it up, Wait For Me more than met my expectations, it was downright delightfully angsty with a great big dose of scorching hot scenes between two characters who could not have been more made for each other. The unraveling mystery is compelling all on it’s own but the chemistry between Kate and Ryan will keep you truly captivated.(less)
This book made me insane. Oh, it was surely a happy ride and I’d stand in line to go again, but it was without a doubt pure, emotional insanity. I said, about the last book, that Stacia Kane had ridden me hard and put me away wet and it’s true here, too. I feel like the junkie, coming back for more after being wrung out so hard, but I just can’t get enough of this series. For a long time I thought book #3 in the series was my favorite but I do believe this one is now. It might go down as the book I most love to hate in the series, too. There was a lot of emotional dichotomy in this book for me, a lot of emotional extremes.
I’ve been standing up for Chess against the folks who knee-jerk react against her drug abuse since the beginning. I’ve encouraged people to see beyond her drug use to the person behind it. I have to own that I’m tired of her drug use and the self hatred and negative mind talk; and I just want to smack her, and shake her, and smack her again and scream in her face and tell her to grow the fuck up. I’m sick and tired of being patient with her and watching her hover on the border of self-destruction and the annihilation of those around her who care about her (even though she’s so fucking great she always manages to pull it out). There. I said it. I feel so much better. I feel like I need to be going to Al-Anon meetings over my love of Chess. My co-dependency has resurfaced and I am making excuses for a relationship whose chaos I would not tolerate in meat-life. In short, I am completely sucked in!
So, by now you’re thinking that this book is nothing but negative, right? I’ve made it sound as though it’s all bad and you don’t think you could possible stand to listen to Chess mind-fuck herself through it all? Well, Chasing Magic is hands-down the most romantic, most action-packed, and most thrilling of all the books in the already superb Downside series. If you opt out of this book just because I bitched about the stuff that’s driving me nuts with Chess then you’ll miss all the good stuff and there is so much of it that you’ll want to roll around in it like a cat in a patch of cat nip. When I say “good” I don’t necessarily mean “feel good” but it’s good never the less.
We’ve never seen Terrible quite so tender or so effusive. There are so many wonderful moments that if Terrible wasn’t on your romance top hits list before he will be after this book. He’s also never been quite so adamant about putting his foot down and laying down some boundaries while still respecting Chess’ right to choose, and I say “about damned time!”
We’ve never gotten quite so much insight into Bump. But I’ll let that unfold by itself.
I’ve always felt a dichotomy for Lex. I empathized with people who liked him and thought he was charming and cared about Chess and understood that he was not to be trusted, but thought that because he cared about Chess he should be cut some slack. Let me tell you that I read this book two months ago, I’ve had time for it to stew. When I read this book I decided that I didn’t just hate Lex, I loathed him. I waited to see if I would still hate him after it stewed for a while. I still hate him. You may not. I do. I didn’t hate him until this book, and that’s even after he again saved Chess’ life, and I hate him for a scene in this book that he spends with Chess – not for what he tries to do to Terrible (although that doesn’t put him on my fan-girl list, either).
Chess suffers a loss in this book that is very real and ongoing. It’s something that she’ll have to deal with on a regular basis and it’s poignant and, in my estimation, very telling about how strong she really is. It’s an extremely hurtful thing to her, but she rolls with it and finds a way to keep on keeping on even though it hurts. It’s the kind of hurt all of us can relate to in one way or another, I think.
As I write this I have no word about whether or not there will be any more books in this series. The last I heard there might be one more in the U.K. but there were no known plans for further publishing in the U.S. According to Goodreads the paperback and Kindle publishing is Del Rey and the ebook is Random House Publishing (in case you might like to write an email expressing your support) although I have not been able to further verify any of this so please don’t hold me or anyone else to that and I am certainly not suggesting an email writing campaign.
All I know is that Downsides Ghosts is one of my most favorite urban fantasy series. Even when I hate it, I love it and that’s a very difficult thing to get from me as I am not the sort of person who enjoys being teased. I will watch with baited breath hoping that Stacia Kane finds a way to continue publishing whether it be through conventional publishing methods or not. As long as there is more to read in this series I will be there with bells on to read it, particularly if it’s half as good as Chasing Magic.
And with one final shot let me now thank Stacia Kane personally for never having written a cliff hanger in this series. Few things make me feel more respected by an author and this is at the top of my all time favorites list.(less)
Ripper is another book I found while looking for books to review for Paperback Dolls.
While the description drew me in the novel kept me reading. It did keep me reading, though I did stop so for sleep (at a reasonable hour). I finished reading Ripper in a day. Ripper had everything mystery, history, the supernatural, the Romantics with the added bonus of The Pre-Raphaelites. What more could a pre-law/English major ask for?
Ripper is a young adult novel centered on a large cast of doctors. The main character is a seventeen year old female named Arabella “Abbie” Sharp. She’s the granddaughter to Lady Westfield and Abbie has come to live with her after the death of her mother Caroline Westfield Sharp. She moves to London in 1888, to live with a woman she’s never met. Abbie is a little rough around the edges and her grandmother wants her to become a proper lady. Abbie, has different plans. She’s an adventurous young woman who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty or get into trouble. However that being said she doesn’t like the continuances after she’s done something grandmother deems unlady like or that would mess with way Westfield’s status. As you may have guessed Abbie doesn’t like the lectures her grandmother gives her, and she’s always expecting to be thrown out. No she’s not always in trouble but she likes to do things her way which her grandmother (and others) wants to object too.
You may wonder why, after what I’ve told you, that I liked Ripper. It’s because it has mystery and a little magic. Both of which I love. Here’s the other reason it has history which is something my dad and I loved to discuss. As I’m sure you caught the history portion has to deal with the most famous murderer of all time… Jack the Ripper. Yes, I was stoked, I have three or four Jack the Ripper books as it is. They hit on all of my “callings” (legal and English). However Ripper is on a different level than most Jack the Ripper stories, where most look at the true history of Jack and or who he might have been Ripper has a new point of view. The premise was great, Abbie is sent by her grandmother to help out down in the East End specifically Whitechapel, at the Whitechapel Women’s Hospital, for a week. Lady Westfield thought this would help make Abbie, see her evil ways and the experience would put her on the right track for becoming the “proper lady” Lady Westfield wanted her to be. It backfires. Abbie loves working at the hospital with the doctors and being able to help those less fortunate than she. The longer Abbie works at Whitechapel Hospital and with the doctors there she decides she wants to become a doctor as well. Something Lady Westfield is not going to approve of. Though Abbie does have the approval of the three doctors she’s working with, Dr. Bartlett, Dr. Simon St. John and Dr. William Siddal. When the murders start it’s the doctors (Abbies friends) at Whitechapel who become the suspects. Why you may ask? It’s because of the brutality and the fine craving skills of Jack the Ripper. Skills only doctors would have the training for, or so Scotland Yard thinks. At this time, almost to the day when Abbie starts working at the hospital, roughly two and an half to three months after her mother’s passing, Abbie gains her mother’s gift of visions. Though I don’t think Abbie would call it a gift, she starts seeing the murders take place.
There are many twist and turns as Abbie tries to work her visions to save the women that she cares for. She also wants to true killer whoever that maybe to be brought to justice, so her friends will be left alone, especially Simon and William. To do that she must follow her instincts and use her visions to prove her friends aren’t Jack the Ripper. The only problem, she may not be ready for the answers she seeks, or the family secrets she will learn. They may haunt her, and closure may not come. Especially since Jack wants her as well.
I would be tickled pink if Amy Carol Reeves came out with a second book. I don’t think Abbie or the Whitechapel doctors have told their full story. The one thing that I wasn’t sure about for this book was if the voice (language) was the correct for this time I would gladly join their journey again. Amy Carol Reeves did a wonderful job of drawling me in and keeping me with Abbie the whole time… I can’t want to see what comes next.(less)
I was first introduced to Laura Childs’ Tea Shop Mysteries when I was writing tea reviews for my college’s newspaper a few years ago. Stumbling upon this series by happenstance, I was a stranger to the world of cozy mysteries. But after reading Death by Darjeeling, the first novel in the series, I was hooked.
Over the past three years I have been following the lives of Theodosia Browning and her trusty sidekicks Drayton and Hayley. And who can forget Earl Grey, Theodosia’s trusty four-legged friend dubbed with a pedigree of “Dalabrador.”
I’ve enjoyed the mysteries and mayhem that this band of friends has endured over the years, felt the heartache of Theodosia’s break ups, and laughed at the wisecracks they’ve made throughout each novel. The world of the Indigo Tea Shop has become a haven of comfort and relaxation for me and many other readers who have become devoted to the series.
Agony of the Leaves, the thirteenth installment in the Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs, finds the staff of the Indigo Tea Shop at the Neptune Aquarium in Charleston, where they’ve been hired to cater an opening-day fundraiser. As Theodosia takes in the sights of the beautiful fish and coral, she discovers a new addition to the tank, a dead body. To make matters worse, the deceased happens to be her most recent ex-boyfriend, Parker Scully.
Everyone at the aquarium is convinced that it was simply an accidental drowning, even Detective Tidwell, Theodosia’s ally from the police department, is convinced that Parker slipped and fell into the tank before becoming entangled in a net and drowning. However, Theodosia knows better. Someone wanted Parker out of the way, but who and why? It’s up to Theodosia and her friends to discover who is behind such a sinister murder and why on earth would anyone want to kill Parker.
As a fan of this series, I have never found a single installment that has disappointed me. Yes, some of the novels are better than others, but all deliver excitement and entertainment. Agony of the Leaves is a tad bit different from its predecessors. It is this reviewer’s humble opinion that Agony of the Leaves is by far the best novel in The Tea Shop Mysteries.
Throughout the previous novels Theodosia is faced with solving the murders of people she barely knew or people that were vaguely mentioned as side characters in preceding novels. But for the first time she is faced with the murder of someone she not only knows but someone she also once loved. This simple fact takes both Theodosia and the reader through one heck of an emotional roller-coaster.
The characters are endearing, the plot original, and the setting ideal. This book includes cameos from characters that readers have come to know and love throughout the series (such as Timothy Neville, Delaine Dish, Aunt Libby, Earl Grey, and Miss Dimple) and gives the reader an in-depth look into the world of Charleston, South Carolina.
Agony of the Leaves is an intriguing read that grabs the reader at the very beginning and holds on tightly until the very last page. This book has it all: excitement, sorrow, humor, romance, and of course mystery. This novel is near impossible to put down once you start reading it and takes the reader through an emotional rollercoaster vicariously through the eyes of Theodosia Browning. Once I finished this book I was ready to read the next in the series. Unfortunately, we readers will have to wait until March of 2013 for the next addition to this magnificent series.(less)
I was lucky enough to meet Mingmei Yip at the 2010 Romantic Times Convention in Columbus, Ohio. She was on a panel for multicultural creative writing along with L.A. Banks and Barry Eisler. From her very first description of her book, Peach Blossom Pavilion, I was hooked. Throughout the panel I learned many things about Mingmei Yip as a writer and a person. I learned that she is quite the Renaissance woman, having written adult and children’s books as well as being a skill Qin player and artist.
I immediately purchased copies of her novels Peach Blossom Pavilion and Petals from the Sky and a grand love affair with her work began. Last summer I was overjoyed to pick up a copy of her book Song of the Silk Road and this year I was over the moon that she actually asked ME to review her latest novel, Skeleton Women. As a longtime fan you can imagine how exciting it was to be personally contacted by one of my favorite authors and to receive an advance copy of the book that I was eagerly awaiting. The works of Mingmei Yip have always captivated me and before I even read the first page I was certain that Skeleton Women would surely enthrall me from start to finish.
In 1930s China, the underworld of mafia was at its peak. Femme fatales (also known as skeleton women) were the secret weapons of gangs, so named because their charms and beauty often brought death upon their victims who became nothing more than skeletons.
Beautiful lounge singer Camilla wasn’t always a rich and respected woman. Her humble beginnings were that of an orphan who was later adopted by Brother Wang (head of the Red Demons gang) for the sole purpose of luring Master Lung (head of the Flying Dragons gang) to his death.
When she is forced to become Master Lung’s mistress she meets two other skeleton women, Rainbow (the head of a gossip column) and Shadow (a magician who rivals Camilla for Master Lung’s affections.) Both of these skeleton women cause Camilla to be on high alert, for her safety and status are soon at risk. But the biggest threat to her mission is Jinying, Master Lung’s son who has returned from Harvard to not only fall for Camilla but to capture her affections in return. The only way that Camilla can escape is to plot the demise of Master Lung, but at what cost is she willing to sacrifice for true love?
As always, Mingmei Yip did not disappoint. Skeleton Women is a dynamic novel jam-packed with action, suspense, romance, lust, scheming, and twists and turns. This was an incredibly well written novel that not only captures the setting of China but it also manages to pull you into the 1930s and make you feel like you are an outsider looking in on the gangs of Shanghai.
The characters are not only complex but also have the ability to evoke an array of emotions in the reader. Some of the characters of lovable, some loathsome, and some are in between. The plot for this book is original and mesmerizes the reader from page one to the very last sentence. Mingmei Yip proves once again why she is a master of creative writing, suspense, and romance.(less)
I’m always a little nervous when I read a new author. And when I say new, I mean to me, because let’s face it, there are simply too many great writers out there for even a book addict like me to have even scratched the surface. I sat down with Rules of Negotiation on a day when the house was clean, the kids were in school, and my wonderful husband was off hunting down lawn and pool supplies. I would have hours of uninterrupted reading time. And it’s a good thing, because I don’t think I would have noticed if dinner was burning.
RON was full of everything I love, a good dose of angst, a great love story, and a writer who knows how to deliver a story. I’ve recently hit a road bump with several writers and their continuity issues within one book. I’ve also run across finding a real disconnect with characters in several books. In more than a few I wanted to throttle the leads and tell them to find some new friends and family to hang with! In Rules of Negotiation we have characters that were likable, I want them to be together, I root for them! Brit is hot and adorable and sexy and smart. And hot. Hey did Imention hot? Tori got to me and not in a bad way. I was so happy to like a female lead this much again! I also enjoyed Betsy, Tori’s assistant. She was funny and straight forward but not in an annoying I-know-better-than-you way.
It’s that time of year to put our summer reading lists together and I highly recommend to all our readers to add Scott’s love story to their TBR! I ended up reading it twice and I have a good feeling I will again this summer. I’ll have to put a * next to the title though …..iced tea and a fan at the ready for some scenes because hot and steamy will be coming from the pages not just Mother Nature. (less)
I’m going to tell you right up front that I almost didn’t read this book because the ARC I had was missing chunks of the story and it was frustrating to try to piece it together. I’m so glad I gave it another shot, though, because it was so good I didn’t want it to end. Once I got past the first couple of missing sentences or paragraphs, I was able to glean enough from what I’d read to piece the rest of it together.
The cover blurb tells it all, but without the spirit and fire and emotion that’s woven throughout. Charlotte is determined to rescue her father with or without help. It’s just dumb luck that she ends up at Bryce’s feet…with a clear view of what’s under his kilt.
Thinking she’s a boy, he rescues her from getting arrested and now she’s his property. Laboring under the assumption that she is a he, Bryce is determined to make a decent man out of her. Charlotte/Charles is more than up for the task and can outdraw most men with her bow. Together, they make a formidable team, teaching each other valuable life lessons.
When she’s finally outed as a girl, Bryce is shocked then goes into macho protective mode, which is ridiculous considering she’s saved his hide more than once. She refuses to be intimidated into dropping her father’s rescue attempt, and eventually leaves Bryce behind. But like any hardheaded man in love, Bryce follows her.
A touching, funny ruse that morphs into a love story, A Warrior’s Promise will satisfy the historical and the contemporary romance reader. Plenty of action keeps the story moving at a brisk pace, and the solid bond of trust that develops between Charlotte/Charles and Bryce is the basis for the love that transpires later. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.(less)
Back in 2006 I was completing my first year of work at the city library. One day, as I was straightening the shelves, I noticed a very seductive looking cover. A candle and red smoke danced around the silhouette of a young lady with an arched back and flowing hair. I was intrigued. Little did I know that a grand love affair was about to be set in motion. The title of this book was Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur.
The Riley Jenson Guardian series introduced the world to characters like Riley and Rhoan, Quinn and Liander, and Dia and her adorable daughter Risa. Throughout the Guardian series little Risa demonstrates great power that readers just know will develop into full-blown greatness as she grows into adulthood.
The Dark Angels series is a spinoff of the Guardian series and follows the life and times of Risa, who is now an adult with great powers that she has learned to harness and use. The first book in this series is Darkness Unbound.
Risa Jones may be referred to as a half-breed by her peers, but she has the best of both worlds when it comes to powers. Her mother Dia is a genetically enhanced lab-created werewolf with psychic powers and her father is an Aedh, a being that appears to be an angel and aids in the transportation of souls to the afterlife. Risa has a touch of the psychic powers, the sex drive of the wolf, the ability to transform into invisible energy, the ability to walk the grey fields to seek out the dying, and the scariest of all—the ability to see the reapers.
While she would much rather focus on the business she runs with her friends Tao and Illianna, Risa is roped into searching the grey fields for the soul of a little girl in a coma. But what she finds there is beyond horrific. The little girl’s soul did not simply move on, it was ripped from her by an unknown creature.
But this is the least of her worries. A reaper is following her in an attempt to track down her father who has hellacious plans for the control of the gates to hell. Can Risa solve the mystery of the soul stealer and stop her father from wreaking havoc on both the grey fields and the world of the living?
Darkness Unbound is a wonderful introduction in the world of Risa Jones. This novel contained all the elements a reader desires in an Urban Fantasy novel. Action, suspense, terror, sex, love, humor, you name it. The plot is original and the characters are endearing. Old favorites from the Riley Jenson Guardian series make appearances. We bump into Riley, Quinn, Liander, Rhoan, and even Director Hunter.
This novel exceeded my expectations beyond belief. I was nervous to read a spinoff series since the Guardian series is one of my all-time favorites. But Keri Arthur did not let me down.
Darkness Unbound is so wonderful it manages to rival Full Moon Rising. Arthur’s writing style sucks the reader into the book, grabbing them in the first sentence of the book and holding on tightly until the last. Once again, Keri Arthur proves that she is one of the best in the world of Urban Fantasy writing.(less)
Noa: Will you be able to bring the new Sebastian St. Cyr book back with you from the states? I’m getting a review copy. Big Sis: *Squee* Yes! This way I can read it first! Noa: But I need to review it. Big Sis: You’ll get to review it…I’ll get it to you ASAP…after I read it
Another conversation between two sisters:
Little Sis: Whatcha reading? Noa: the new Sebastian St. Cyr, I’m reviewing it for Month of Love… Little Sis: OMG! I’m so excited!!! Yes! Sebastian! Yay! When can I read it????
Ten minutes after we finish reading it: How long do we have to wait for the next one????
Is it any wonder we need multiple copies of this series in my family? The beauty of C.S. Harris’ Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series is that it manages to enthral each of us. Yes, enthral. Each of these books (this being No. 7) just captures you from the get go and doesn’t let go even after you’ve closed the beautiful cover.
This instalment was no different; picking up from where we left off in the last book, Sebastian and Hero are starting off on married life together and while it seems that there is a kind of understanding between them, the wall created by the fact that Hero’s father and Sebastian still can’t seem to see eye to eye (understatement of the century) is still there.
Their enmity puts Hero in a very difficult position as in this book she keeps asking herself – who comes first, her father or her husband. Reading about how Hero deals with these issues, with her changing role gives the reader a new view of Hero’s character. She is so complex and when you put that together with Sebastian and his issues…well, wow!
Sebastian also has a lot to deal with – his love for Kat, his feelings for Hero, impending fatherhood, his own father…And then there is the ongoing mystery surrounding his mother’s whereabouts. Oh, and who is this man who seems to have Sebastian’s eyes? ;)
Sebastian needs to discover why Gabrielle Tennyson was murdered – was it because of something she discovered on a dig at the site she had believed was Camelot of old, was it because she was an independent woman who refused to accept the conventions of 19th century England, or was it something to do with Sebastian’s father in law Lord Jarvis… and what does Hero know? Sebastian is racing against time on this one as two children are missing and they may already be in the hands of a killer.
When Maiden’s Mourn also shares new information about Sebastian’s background and while it may not be shocking, it does raise even more questions. I am very happy to say that C.S. Harris does not fall into the trap that often captures authors writing a series – there is no treading water and yet, there are also no forced plot devices used to extend the drama. There is no need. The drama in this series keeps unfolding and like a maze, you take one step froward only to find you need to make a different turn to find the center. I love it!
This installment in the Sebastian St. Cyr series was as usual, a pleasure to read, The romance, conflicts, mysteries… I simply cannot get enough. Totally worth waiting a year. Now if only March 2013 would just get here already…(less)
My fascination with Shirley Jackson began at the age of fifteen. My Sophomore English teacher, Miss Randall, created a lesson plan around Gothic literature. Reading tales such as How Much Land Does a Man Need and The Yellow Wallpaper filled my mind with horrific images that evoked the spirit of the writer and horror fan within me. But it wasn’t until we read Shirley Jackson’s gothic tale The Lottery that I learned what true terror meant.
Years later I remain in awe of Jackson’s work and was overjoyed to read We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Just when I thought that her work couldn’t be any more intriguing, this novel comes along and proves once again why Shirley Jackson is a master of Gothic Lit.
Sisters Merrikat and Constance Blackwood live a secluded life in the dingy old mansion. But after what happened to their family what choice do they have? Rumors swirl as reminders of Constance’s trial are beginning to resurface, the trial in which she was acquitted from poisoning the elder members of her family. The girls are happy living a secluded life with their uncle, the lone survivor of the poisoning. But when their cousin decides to pay a lengthy visit, strange and unfortunate things begin to happen, and Merricat must face some truths that have always remained unspoken.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a deliciously sinister tale that creeps into the depths of the reader’s soul. This novel grabs the reader at the very beginning and holds on tight until the very last sentence. With lovable and loathsome characters, this novel introduces readers to the world of the Blackwood family and opens a magical yet dark atmosphere through the eyes of Merricat. The plot is original, the characters are powerful, and the setting is one of the creepiest of all time. With such a fantastic melding of characters and events, We Have Always Lived in the Castle will surely make the hair on your arms stand on end.(less)
Sins of the Angels is first in Linda Pointevin’s Grigory Legacy series with a fresh new look on Angels and Demons; good and evil. Alexandra Jarvis is a homicide detective in Toronto, Canada working a particularly gruesome serial killer case where the body count is high, but the savagery and depravity is higher.
Fighting demons from the past become a struggle for sanity when Alex meets her new partner, Jacob Trent. From their very first meeting, Alex recognizes something in him that she just cannot let go, but the tormented Angel has his own mission. The tenuous relationship hangs by a thread as they scour the streets looking for their suspect only to realize that he’s already found them.
One of my favorite scenes for a multiple of reasons, but mostly because it shows the intense struggle that both Alex and Jacob Trent (Aramael) are going through:
Alex jerked her hand from Trent’s arm, but too late.
Energy jangled through her, unstoppable, unfettered.
Making her see again that which could not be. A man who looked as shell-shocked as she felt, and who was possessed of wings rising from his back.
Magnificent, powerful, golden wings.
Panic twisted in Alex’s gut. She stumbled backward, recoiling from Trent – and from her own reaction. She did not see wings, and she sure as hell didn’t feel myriad of emotions woven into the brief touch they had shared, either here or in the office. Didn’t feel those emotions vying for attention, each as improbable as the one before, all underlined by utter confusion.
“Detective Jarvis – “
At the sound of Trent’s voice, the wings rising beyond his shoulders disappeared. Alex blinked, swallowed, and felt cold fingers of dread brush against a mind that terrified her with its sudden fragility.
No. Not that.
With careful movements defined by their very deliberateness, she took the keys from her pocket and replaced the cell phone in its case at her waist. Then, with equal precision, she locked away the image of a winged Trent with the memories and the gut-congealing fear with which she’d lived a lifetime.
“We have another body,” she said. “Staff Roberts wants us at the scene.”
Set in third person multiple povs, Sins of the Angels is a roller coaster of a ride sure to keep you at the edge of your seat. I just could not stop reading until I reached that very last page. My heart was racing through the twist and turns, broken with surprises and left aching by the end with a promise of retribution. With only minor flaws, Linda Poitevin writes a beautifully vivid and sometimes all too real story that readers of Jeannie Holmes Alexandra Sabian series is sure to love. Now, if only Sins of the Son, Grigory Legacy 2, were releasing tomorrow instead of next week.(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)
Hello, my name is Noa and I’m a romance novel reader. I read them on the train, I read them on planes, I read them when I’m happy, I read them when I’m sad, I read them at work… hmm? what? who? ;)
I think by this time everybody on this site knows I love romance novels, I mean, only someone who loves them as much as I do can stress so much about things I don’t like about the genre. I also realize that calling oneself a reader of romance books AKA “bodice rippers”, “trashy books” and “those Fabio covered monstrosities” will have people readjusting their opinion of me and probably deducting at least 50 points from my estimated IQ but I don’t really mind. They’ve never had the luscious experience of reading a Judith Mcnaught or Loretta Chase or Laura Lee Guhrke or georgette Heyer or *place favorite romance author here*. Plus, when people underestimate you – you have the power. Bonbon eating pink princess with low brow reading preferences and minuscule levels of intelligence? That’s me!
So imagine how disappointed I was when Sarah Wendell (Smart Bitch Sarah from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books) went and destroyed my cover, eviscerated the condescending prejudices of readers of “real literature” everywhere and exposed us romance readers as the educated intelligent and sometimes sophisticated women we really are. *Shakes fist at Sarah* Why? Why?
And as if that wasn’t enough she goes on to prove that romance readers may actually have healthier relationships, have better skills at dealing with conflict and just might have a more…interesting sex life. Does this woman want to kill me?
Ok, now seriously, I love this book. Reading it made me smile and laugh and most of all, it made me want to re-read every single romance I’ve ever read. Through a collection of interviews with authors, real-life reader stories and her own witty, insightful and humorous commentary, Sarah puts together a book of rules and lessons on life, love, relationships and of course: Romance.
Here you will find out why seeing yourself in a romance novel is not a bad thing, you will get a chance to discover what romance book you are (I’m a Historical, Regency with a touch of Erotica), you’ll get a nifty guide to romance heroes (mullets are NOT optional) and you will realize that while there are plenty of things that can be listed in the “wrong with this genre” column there are also so many things that are just so right.
In Everything I know About Love I Learned From Romance Novels Sarah not only vindicates romance book lovers, she celebrates them – this isn’t about us being naive romantics who believe that knight in shining armor might just ride over the hill and take us with him to that magical kingdom beyond the sunset, it’s about how we are capable of understanding that real love may not come with 50,000 acres and a title yet it does have to come with a man who has some of those heroic qualities – humor, the ability to put us first and the knowledge that we are worthy of love.
In its way, this book is an ode (sonnet? limerick?) to the romance reader community – and I think it does us all proud.
Sarah says that just about every romance reader she has met can remember what the first romance they ever read was. Well, I certainly can. It was Kingdom of Dreams by Judith Mcnaught, my mom gave it to me and it has had a special place on my keeper shelf ever since.
Romance novels may just be delicious escapism, but as Sarah confirms – we sure can learn a lot from them.(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)
Noa gave Trouble at the Wedding 5 stars. Kitt gave Trouble at the Wedding 3 stars.
Kitt: Last Month of Love, Noa and I reviewed the first two novels in Laura Lee Guhrke’s Abandoned at the Alter series (which you can find here if you’re interested) and now we’re back to review the third, Trouble at the Wedding. This time around it should be a little more interesting though, because while I found the series latest release to be somewhat lacking, Noa really loved it.
Noa: It’s fun how the third in the series is the one we disagree on, we’ve usually agreed when it comes to romance novels. I really loved this book, I loved the heroine, the hero, and most of all, I loved how every single time I thought the book was headed for a tried and true romance cliché, Ms. Guhrke turned the tables and surprised me. But before we continue, maybe we should share the book’s premise…
Kitt: I’ve got this! Trouble at the Wedding takes place in 1904, half aboard the Atlantic and half in London. Annabel Wheaton is an American heiress looking for her way into Society through marriage. Normally, I don’t like social climber heroines, but Annabel is doing it for a slightly different and altogether altruistic reason which makes her ambitions less disingenuous in my eyes.
Noa: I’ll add that I don’t usually like the social climbers either, though I am a fan of the Buccaneers, I guess it bothers me less when you remember girls didn’t have much of a choice, and in this case, Annabel really does have some altruistic reasons.
Kitt: I remember, I remember and it is possible I’m still a teensy bit jaded by a resent read of another social climber, but that’s for another review, another time. Now let me finish! :p Where was I? Oh yes, when we meet Annabel, she’s already found the man who is going to make all her dreams happen in the Earl of Rumsford. This arrangement works both ways, because while Annabel needs a tittle, the Earl needs money. Not everyone is thrilled with this union, though. Annabel’s uncle Arthur has been doing his best to thwart the wedding to no avail, but then he gets this brilliant idea for the rakish Duke of Scarborough, Christian De Quesne, to talk Annabel out of a life he thinks she isn’t ready for.
I personally found this premise a little uninteresting compared to Ms. Guhrke's previous releases in this series. The first part of Trouble at the Wedding goes smoothly and at a steady pace, but it’s too unmatched for my taste, because on one hand it felt like it took too long for the prevention of the wedding to happen, and then on the other, it felt as if Christian and Annabel aren’t given enough time. And while the lust is pretty high, it’s after the initial buildup that the romance just turned into another one of those “I can’t marry you because you don’t love me” romances that so frustrate me. After a while everything just feels a little too forced and then events happen because they’re needed to move the characters in the right position instead of a more natural transition. But more on that later, Noa, what did you think of the plot?
Noa: Ok, so it really seems like this one is going to be complete disagreement ;) I actually thought the premise was fun, starting out in NY, the book then moves to the high seas and then on to England – Christian never expected to be the Duke of Scarborough, but with his father and big brother dead, and the family pile (and the pile of debt that comes with it) now his, he has to make some changes in his life, but due to his own past, he refuses to take the easy way out by marrying money. He has his eye on a business venture and needs to find an “in” … which is how he gets mixed up in trying to talk Annabel out of her marriage. I thought the book moved at a steady pace, I do understand where you might have felt things were a bit drawn out, but I actually liked the way things unfolded on the romance front. But Kitt, I want to know, what did you think of our hero and heroine?
Kitt: Believe it or not I actually really liked our heroine. Annabel is a rags to riches Southern Belle. Yes, she has beauty, but she also has smarts, wit and a healthy amount of stubbornness that she utilizes to her advantage whether it is in business or matrimony. She’s also one of the few heroines that I’ve come across to have her own money – not her parents or her brothers, but hers. The problem is that now she no longer belongs back home in the back waters of Mississippi, but neither does she feel like she belongs to the high society she now finds herself in. The number one thing she longs for – and something I think we all can relate to – is acceptance.
As for Christian De Quesne (it’s Du Cane, in case you wondering), he’s a notorious rake and gambler struggling to adjust to the new role he never thought to find himself in as a second son. Also, he’s been married once before… to another American heiress. His story really bothers me and his actions do very little to comfort me. He married his first wife for her money and when she was at her lowest, he was off gambling with her money in France. I find it extremely hard to find sympathy for his plight of the dukedoms dwindling funds when he was doing the exact same thing his brother did. What did it matter that his brother was the duke at the time? And saying that his youth was to blame is a weak and inexcusable excuse – that’s what is you know, an excuse. But I’m sure you saw him differently, what did you think of the roguish Duke of Scarborough?
Noa: First of all, I agree about Annabel, she was a fun gutsy heroine who wasn’t afraid to go out and get what she wanted – loved how she got her vengeance on her so called sweetheart! Yet she has this vulnerability that makes us as readers empathize. She isn’t hard the way many gutsy heroines are written.
As for Christian, I get where you’re coming from but… I disagree :p he does not justify his actions with his first wife, if anything, they are the reason he is so adamantly against marrying for money. Was he perfect? No. But that would make him a bit boring. I loved how in Annabel he saw a way to make up for some of his mistakes, he sought to make her realize she didn’t have to change, that to me is awesome.
I have to get to my favorite part of the story, I mentioned it before: the lack of clichés. This is what really made this book a fun read for me. Every time I thought the book was headed in a “not that again” direction, Ms. Guhrke swerved and surprised me.
I just had so much fun with Annabel and Christian, I think what I really wanted was more time. More time of them together, more time for him to explain his motivations to Annabel… I didn’t want it to end.
Kitt: Ah, we are in agreement, but our views of the situation are different. I, too, recognized his motives behind his not wanting to marry, not only to Annabel, but ever again regardless of wealth. The problem was that I didn’t feel Christians love towards Annabel, but instead his determination to do the right thing felt more to me like atonement for his first wives suicide. At first, yes, I could see him unknowingly falling for Annabel, but somewhere around the second half, it changed or he changed and instead, it felt more like he was trying to convince himself into love to make the new situation he found himself in easier.
I just wanted, and again like you, more – more time of them together, more time for him to explain his motives to Annabel, and more time for him to fall in love. So, while I didn’t enjoy this books story as much as the first two, I didn’t completely hate it either. Trouble at the Wedding is one I would recommend those who are interested to find out and decide for themselves.
Noa: I think this book ties for me with the second book in the Abandoned at the Alter series - Scandal of the Year. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait for the next installment in the series...wherever it takes us.(less)
When I discovered that Anne Rice had a new novel coming out that would delve into the world of the werewolf legend I was so excited I couldn’t contain myself. I immediately requested an ARC copy of The Wolf Gift and Knopf was kind enough to allow Paperback Dolls a copy. I must say I loved the book and hungrily read each word with anticipation.
In The Wolf Gift Rice tackles the legend of the werewolf much the same way she tackled vampires and witches. She weaves a tale for you creating new perceptions and adding her own twist changing how we perceive the werewolf. One thing that I loved about her created legend is the fact that you are very much aware while you are in the wolf state and this is exactly what makes the story so endearing.
We are introduced to Reuben Golding who is a young energetic reporter searching for deeper meaning in his life when he suddenly finds himself with the “wolf gift”. There are many things I thoroughly enjoyed and loved in The Wolf Gift. The first thing is the fact that Reuben actually considers this a blessing. A quote from Reuben that sums this up quite nicely is “I thank you with all my heart for the gift of life, for all the blessings you have rained down upon me, for the miracle of life in all its forms-and Lord, I thank you for the Wolf Gift.” Since the story is from his perspective we marvel with him as he discovers his newfound strength. We journey along as he discovers his sense of smell is stronger; he can jump on top of buildings and run lightning fast. I also love the fact that we are taken along on his moral journey as well since he struggles with whether or not he is evil and what it means to be good or evil. Reuben has to entertain ethical questions regarding when is it ok to kill, if they are evil, about to kill someone else etc. These are complex issues and I enjoyed the thoughts that Reuben has around the issues and the lessons he learns along the way.
Reuben isn’t the only fascinating character in The Wolf Gift. As we learn more about the history of the werewolf we are introduced to an enchanting group and I was entirely engrossed in the mythological beginnings for the werewolf race that Rice has created. I felt I was sitting at the table leaning in with my head on my hands hanging on every last word. I was a little disappointed to sit the book down and leave the company of such fantastic companions.
The only thing I didn’t like about the book was in the beginning I felt the book was paced a little slow. This was necessary to create the backdrop for the rest of the story but I want to warn you to keep reading!!! Once the story picks up you will find yourself tuning out everything around you as you voraciously read to the last page.
I feel that Rice has given herself lots of room for more books in this series if she chooses. There are many characters introduced and I would love to see books on the back stories of many of them and hopefully we will learn more about Felix, I loved him. This is an enchanting read that draws you in, captivates you, and wraps you in its splendor. I am so excited that Rice is back in this genre. If you are a fan of Rice’s work you must read The Wolf Gift, nothing beats a day curled up on the couch with coffee or tea and a mesmerizing book by Anne Rice.(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)
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)
Thomas “Veck” DelVecchio, Jr. has a chip on his shoulder. The newest detective on the Caldwell police force is also the son of a notorious serial killer. Eager to distance himself from his father’s gruesome reputation and firmly establish his own sense of worth, Veck has lived a solitary life of self loathing. His smoldering good looks have never left him at a loss for company but his insecurities have made it impossible for him to connect with anyone.
When Veck is found covered in blood at the scene of a vicious attack on a serial killer Veck is immediately pegged as the number one suspect. Officer Sophia Reilly, a by the book red headed bombshell, is assigned by Internal Affairs to investigate the attack and become Veck’s partner. Right from the start these two find themselves fighting their attraction to each other. Can they find the real culprit and exonerate Veck? Who is the mysterious Jim Heron who continues to show up with information about the attack and the serial killings? Will Veck and Reilly finally allow their passions to take over?
What a ride! Ward’s writing style is direct and aggressive. Her characters are in your face, challenging you to deny their brash intensity. ENVY is the third book in Ward’s Fallen Angels series which follows Jim Heron in his fight to save souls on the verge of being eternally damned. Heron is pitted against the demon lord, Devina, an Angelina Jolie look alike who will break all the rules to make sure she wins this contest. Compared to the previous two books in the series, ENVY is simpler and easier to follow. Both Heron and Devina have gotten the hang of the contest and it is great fun to read the psychological battles between the two.
The mystery surrounding Veck and his role as the chosen soul is fairly clear and doesn’t leave the reader in the dark. The animal attraction between Veck and Reilly comes to life in some super smexy love scenes that may leave you hot and bothered so don’t say I didn’t tell you! Ward throws in a few doozies but there are two sub plots I could easily have done without (can’t tell you because they are spoilers). And you can always count on Ward to give you the anti-heroine heroine (her specialty) – Reilly doesn’t wear make-up and is utterly unaware how attractive she is. A paragon of tighty whitey efficiency - literally – she is brainy but she can’t understand what super hunky Veck even sees in her. While Veck is so steeped in guilt and repentance for the sins of his father, Reilly’s straight arrow good girl rocks his socks off and leaves him totally inept and hopelessly flummoxed.
Take this PNR to bed with you and don’t be surprised if you find yourself racing through the book to read the smexy parts!(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)
I’m hooked on Gena Showalter’s Lords of The Underworld series. The series describes the adventures of the immortal Lords of the Underworld, a group of warriors created by Zeus. Overcome by jealousy when Pandora is chosen to guard the box that imprisons all the worlds demons, the Lords kill Pandora and inadvertently set free all the demons upon the Earth. As punishment each Lord is sentenced to carry a demon within their body for all eternity. Now the Lords dedicate themselves to finding the mystical tools that will release them from their sentence.
The Darkest Surrender is the story of Strider, Keeper of Defeat. As Keeper of Defeat, Strider experiences debilitating pain whenever he is defeated. His demon seeks a challenge in even the most mundane of tasks. Incredibly handsome and overwhelmingly obnoxious, Strider will go to any length to keep from losing, especially when it comes to love.
Kaia Skyhawk is a beautiful harpy hopelessly in love with Strider. A mistake during the Harpy Games at the age of 14, has left Kaia ostracized by the harpy community and haunted by the ensuing tragedy. Countless decades have passed since that day and Kaia has sought to redeem herself in the eyes of her family but most especially her mother. When the Harpy Games are announced and Kaia receives a special invitation she is certain she can win and regain her status. But as the details of the event unfold, Kaia and Strider find themselves pitted against each other in the battle for the prize. Will Strider risk losing his heart to Kaia even if it means losing the only chance the Lords have to win their freedom?
The Lords of the Underworld series is a PNR set in modern day Budapest. The characters although hundreds or thousands of years old live in castles filled with video games, hip-hop music and state of the art surveillance equipment. Like a Black Ops outfit on steroids, the story is told in contemporary slang full of swagger and posturing – a never ending frat party. Showalter’s dialogue is fun! But behind all the bravado is a story of two people who are afraid of getting hurt and disappointed by love. It is painful to read the missteps and misunderstandings as Kaia and Strider awkwardly navigate the game of love. Showalter makes you believe that even immortals with centuries under their belts can still be made to feel insecure and sensitive when it comes to barring their hearts.
The Harpy Games add an exciting background to the love story. The challenges are bloody and gruesome and the villains are dastardly.
Showalter is the best friend who knows where all your skeletons are hidden and wants to help you find some more to put into the closet with them. This series is a fun over the top read that is full of action and and super smexy scenes. Give yourself a present – bring The Darkest Surrender home tonight along with a bottle of margaritas and get ready for some fun!(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)
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 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)
My dad says that since the end of the Cold War, two things will never be the same again: James Bond movies and espionage/suspense books. This has often been the truth – I mean lets face it, it’s hard to find a good villain in this day and age and without the east/west division Berlin has just become a rather boring place for drop-boxes.
Which is why I was very excited and intrigued when I received the opportunity to review The Silent Oligarch by Christopher Morgan Jones.
Jones introduces us to the world of post-Cold War Russia – where if you managed to move quickly enough after the fall of the Iron Curtain, you are now sitting pretty as a billionaire thanks to Russia’s natural resources. In our case – Oil.
We are also introduced to three main characters:
Konstantin Malin has reached the top position within the Ministry of Natural Resources – a simple government bureaucrat, no? Well, obviously not. In fact, thanks to his frontman Richard Lock he has been laundering oil money for years – investing and making money abroad and then bringing it right back into Russia.
Richard Lock, the money launderer who is the face for Malin’s many business interests, but he now feels that he is out of his depth – the ventures have just become too big. What started out as a great way to launder funds has now become a billion dollar industry he can’t seem to control.
Thanks to some shady dealings with another shady businessmen – the secrets these two men have been trying to hide might just be about to explode across the front pages of the international media.
Which is how we get to Benjamin Webster – in the days just before the end of the Cold War he was a young journalist trying to make a name for himself. An incident involving a young Russian colleague who was asking one too many questions led him to leave Russia behind. Now a corporate intelligence investigator, he is asked to expose Malin and Lock – and finds out there may be a connection between the events that led to his friend’s murder.
The Silent Oligarch is very much a character-centric book and together with the understated writing style it makes the reader feel as if we’re sitting in the room, on the sidelines watching as the story unfolds – it reminded me a lot of the John Le Care style of writing. Slowly building up the suspense and the drama to a masterful finish.
What I found to be extremely intriguing about The Silent Oligarch is that I was left constantly wondering who the ‘hero’ or protagonist of this book was. The POV changes every chapter or so between Webster and Lock so you get the sense that each of them, in a way, takes on that role. No black and white heroes and villains here – and it was in the grey areas that this book excels.
The POV changes also served to show the reader the similarities and contrasts between these two complex characters. In one chapter we see Webster with his family, the interactions with his wife and children. In the next chapter we see Lock realizing how much of his daughter’s life he has missed and what his relationship with his wife is like.
For both Webster and Lock the outcome of the Malin case will serve as a turning point and for each one there are moments when they wish they could just turn their back on it all and disappear.
Then there is the Silent Oligarch himself – Malin. Through Lock’s eyes we see a man of secrets and power, a man Lock looks up to, despises and fears all at the same time. As the book moves forward we learn more about his motives and how Lock came to become the man he is today.
I should add that there is another character that has a very important role in this book – Russia herself. I don’t know why I feel this way, but to me at least it appeared as if Russia wasn’t just a place where much of the plot took place, rather, Jones’ Russia was an actual presence throughout the book – a living breathing thing.
The Silent Oligarch is Jones’ début novel and I hope that it won’t be his last. Jones has a unique style and has written a brilliant tale of suspense – for the post-Cold War reader.(less)