Freaking hook, line and sinker!!!! LOVE Cassia Leo, Luke and Brina!!! I am reviewing the entire 7 part short story series on Bodice Rippers. First one...moreFreaking hook, line and sinker!!!! LOVE Cassia Leo, Luke and Brina!!! I am reviewing the entire 7 part short story series on Bodice Rippers. First one is up right now...GO...look now!!!! :D
What’s better than a Las Vegas setting? Hitting Sin City with this gal by your side! In an unusual (but eventually explained circumstance), Catherine...moreWhat’s better than a Las Vegas setting? Hitting Sin City with this gal by your side! In an unusual (but eventually explained circumstance), Catherine is allowed into the world of the immortals. It seems she bargained with Eris, the goddess of strife, and lost her soul in the negotiations. Wild Card by Jamie Wyman bets on Cat (couldn’t resist!) to attend a huge bash at Caesar’s Palace summoned by the deity herself. If Cat cooperates, her servitude may be terminated. How can she pass it up? She hates to be entangled in their affairs as it is. Ok…so Cat complies, but what does she do upon arrival? What exactly is she supposed to do at this gala where her human biology will not go undetected? What exactly is this deal that allowed Cat’s path to even cross with Eris? And more importantly, can Eris be trusted?
“Listen closely, Cat, for this is all the aid I will give you. There are four others in the game. Each of them has a token. Procure these, bring them to me, and you may get the freedom you desire…Follow your instincts, call in favors, break a few laws…I don’t care how you do it, but if you want your soul back, you will get the tokens.”
Oh, I’ll tell you what aid Eris provides: Discord of course! Seems the ancient goddess lost Cat’s soul in a poker game and has lined up Cat, the poor victim, to retrieve tokens from the other 4 players of the game: Coyote, Maui, Puck and Loki. Poor Cat has to be subjected to lascivious offers, harassed and hunted by magical creatures that are desperate to win her soul, and this is just a collection of “IOUs”; they’re “all in” for Cat’s soul (you know it’s clever!) All of this work without certainty of freedom. One set of jailers for another. Are you wondering what I am?
“…I can’t understand what’s so special about your soul that all of these gods are willing to take it, let alone fight for it tooth and claw.”
Enter the love interest. Wyman introduces us to Marius the satyr, personal assistant to Eris (though seemingly disgruntled) and Cat’s unlikely consort. His description would make any girl swoon: Drop-dead gorgeous with olive colored skin and a British accent. Marius just came across as overly confident and smarmy to me. It sounds like he’s willing to help Cat, the situation is just that dire, but I’m still undecided. Is Wyman setting him up to be Cat’s lover? Too soon to tell (plus Marius has painful confessions of his own). Yes, I am reading and reviewing in tandem! J Cat’s sworn off the otherworldly, so he better start earning her (my) respect. To complete Cat’s life, in a good way as far as I can tell (man, I’ll be pissed if that backfires!), is Flynn, Cat’s BFF and technomage (synergy with machines and electronics). He is a tattooed, lanky, red-headed magical being who owns a punk club and is willing to do whatever Cat needs to keep her safe. I sense a romantic declaration has been trying to surface, but timing is everything and now is not it. There is a major twist, a few in fact, that surprised me and made me reconsider all the players’ motives. Some of this book reads like a prequel would have answers to certain unknowns, but Ms. Wyman takes a languid approach to its finale.
Written with a fresh tone, a contemporary hipster humor, and all around enjoyment, Wyman’s writing appealed to me instantly. Lovers of mythology and the varying pantheons will delight in all the character references. While love triangles are usually loathsome to me, I can’t exactly classify this as such. Marius and Flynn are just 2 great guys who are forces in their own right; each contributes to Cat, but there is another who will throw you off (twist, I mentioned it). 52% in and it’s a simmering attraction between Cat and Marius. It made me crazy, but crazy for more! A fae encounter (or “mindfuck”), reassess Cat’s state of affairs. I was in complete disbelief/denial while simultaneously outraged, but it allowed Cat an inner reflection for honest perspective and discourse.
What ensues is a mission to reach the pivotal poker chips and Eris herself. Jumping through hoops is putting it mildly and Eris is no help whatsoever:
“Gather my trophies. Claim your reward.”
Trouble is…these other players (and their pawns)? They’re hardly harmless: Faeries, Kupua, former lovers, Demigods and deities! They are quite impressed with Cat’s tenacity and otherness (it’s a word; I looked it up). Cat has to survive trials and tribulations galore. Wyman depicts amazing action scenes! But the unraveling of truths? WOW. There’s so much going on…so much for you to love!
Now all you have to do is read this book to find out how it all culminates. What a terrific read! Ms. Wyman explores character backgrounds, supplies empowering moments and revelations, seduces and fools us, and ultimately delivers the Wild Card. A big YAY for having read this book!
Beneath my fingertips, chaos became order. Take that, Eris!(less)
Richelle Mead is nothing short of outstanding. Loved this book, the characters, the plot lines, all of it. She is seemingly unstoppable in her stride...moreRichelle Mead is nothing short of outstanding. Loved this book, the characters, the plot lines, all of it. She is seemingly unstoppable in her stride in this series. Cannot wait for book 5!!!(less)
Wait. What was he thinking? This kiss was a ruse. It wasn’t real. He was simply doing her a favor, being a good friend by helping her make her ex jeal...moreWait. What was he thinking? This kiss was a ruse. It wasn’t real. He was simply doing her a favor, being a good friend by helping her make her ex jealous to soothe her wounded pride.
Fuck, he really hated being stuck in the friend category.
Seems Wilde Security can handle a variety of matters — P.I. work is just their bread and butter. Problem is this isn’t a job. When Cam’s date/ex-partner/BFF, Eva, faces her cheater-ex (and his fiancé), Cam rushes in to assume the guise of lover and spare her embarrassment. Bigger problem? Cam’s genuinely in love with Eva and he can no longer deny it. Fingers crossed hard-ass, and unapologetic, Eva feels the same way. That kiss sure felt real!
We all know how temperamental we can be about sequels (imagine the stress of writing one!), but I was [beyond] eager to read about the second Wilde brother based on the wonderful family created by author, Tonya Burrows (debut novel, Wilde Nights in Paradise, can be read here). Get ready to swoon for Cam in Wilde for Her…
While I can devote an endless amount of time on Cam and Eva alone, we explore their background, make sense of their insecurities, and squirm (a lot) over misunderstandings, Ms. Burrows provides interesting subplots including a terrific thriller. It still revolves around Cam, though, lol. After a clandestine meeting with a loyal, but troubled informant, Cam discovers there’s a contract on his head. “Some white dude. Mean. Nice clothes.” has offered $1,000 to kill Cam. Are you thinking what I am? Clear your mind…he’s just one on Cam’s “long and varied” list of suspects.
The brother bond is deftly handled. Suffering from their parents’ abrupt death, each Wilde sibling went into a different branch of the military and Ms. Burrows allows each story to unravel, unhurried, at its own pace. The Wildes can fist-fight without hard feelings, open up through “cool bro talk”, but Burrows’ measured steps/writing, endear us to the family and keep us aware of particular torments unique to each brother. PTSD is a recurring theme for this series and her research is an invaluable service to anyone close to the issue.
If I’m being critical, the hit on Cam, or rather its resolution, may have wrapped up too neatly, and co-workers falling in love isn’t exactly innovative, but when written earnestly, thoughtfully, like Ms. Burrows continues to demonstrate, it matters not. This is not a cookie-cutter version of something you’ve already read. Ms. Burrows creates characters that you want in your circle of friends (and certainly in a fight!). She utilizes a subtle touch in an effort to gain sympathy for both Cam and Eva. Before long, their “baggage” (we ALL have it) becomes personal and relatable to anyone who’s persevered and endured the highs and lows of falling in love. Yes, many swoooon moments to linger in your system. ;)
I enjoyed Wilde for Her immensely and will read anything written by Ms. Burrows. If my instincts are honed (I should work for Wilde Security!), then the fortuitous run-ins with a suddenly available woman should bring Vaughn Wilde front and center. And since he seems to be the more stoic of the bunch, consider this my pre-swoon. That book cannot come out soon enough. Great read, Ms. Burrows!!!(less)
Faith and sanity restored!!! I had no doubts, mind you. :D Looooved this book and St. Vincent managed to win me over anew. Kleypas worked her magic. P...moreFaith and sanity restored!!! I had no doubts, mind you. :D Looooved this book and St. Vincent managed to win me over anew. Kleypas worked her magic. Please read my full review at Bodice Rippers on...11/19 for Turnback Tuesday.(less)
4.75 stars because I'm frankly bothered by the ending. The epilogue to be precise. Frustration aside, I loooooooved Westcliff and Lillian! Both were t...more4.75 stars because I'm frankly bothered by the ending. The epilogue to be precise. Frustration aside, I loooooooved Westcliff and Lillian! Both were too proud to admit their attraction, so it was in fact twice the thrill to see them succumb.
Please read my full review for Turnback Tuesday at Bodice Rippers on 11/05. ;) (less)
In case you were unclear, 14 year old Emma, apprentice to Miss Delia, the most powerful hoodoo Gullah roo...more“It’s hoodoo…Not voodoo. That’s a religion.”
In case you were unclear, 14 year old Emma, apprentice to Miss Delia, the most powerful hoodoo Gullah root worker of the Lowcountry in South Carolina, will clarify the misconception and race against a deadline to save her BF, Cooper Beaumont from a 300 year old curse. When you meet this young lady, you’ll know that this sort of urgent matter — it’s all in a day’s work for this gal! Allure is book 2 in the Hoodoo Apprentice series by Lea Nolan. I loved her writing style, the flow of the story so much, not only do I clamor for book 3 (please say there’s a book 3!), but I’ll retrace my steps in the meantime and start at the beginning with the debut novel, Conjure! By the time I’m done with that, you should be ready to go…right, Ms. Nolan? ;)
While Allure launches straight into a fast-approaching target date of 3 weeks (Cooper’s 16th birthday) to break the curse, we’re immediately given snippets of information detailing missing Gullah artifacts pivotal in Conjure. Overlapping mysteries including a stolen pirate’s dagger and a missing family heirloom are interwoven throughout the story, but Ms. Nolan features them all diligently. Sure, Cooper’s soul is the most important (can’t lose focus there, lol), but the suspense behind the subplots were just as intriguing. The 80-carat family heirloom ruby stolen from Cooper’s father, Beau, whose description resembles that of Jabba the Hut (minus the rotting bologna odor), detours off the main storyline, but snatches center stage when further explored by Emma, her twin brother, Jack, and Cooper, as it connects to the Beaumont curse Cooper is so desperate to avoid.
Sabina, an African queen with a brutal sense of justice…used her mystical hoodoo powers to seek revenge. She…cursed the Beaumont progeny forever by stealing their souls when they come into manhood, turning them unspeakably dark and corrupt.
A murder to be solved (along with identification of a tar-like substance found on the body), an unplanned stay from Miss Delia’s haughty great-granddaughter (intent on spoiling Emma and Jack’s young love), a shady investigator with a dark agenda, and all kinds of hoodoo magic, spell conjuring, and boo hags ultimately find its way back to the heart of the matter. This isn’t stereotypical teenage amusement at play, but supernatural threats that are based in deep-rooted vengeance.
Before you know it, latent effects of the curse are taking root within Cooper and he begins to detach from Emma and Jack (the trio have been BFFs for years).
My jaw drops as I stare at him, transfixed by the strange hue of his irises. His eyes have always appeared to change shades, but I’ve never seen this one, ever. It’s cold. Lifeless. Perhaps even soulless. A chill ripples through me. Is this proof that the Beaumont Curse has begun to set in?
Will breaking the Beaumont curse rid Cooper of his sudden obsession with Miss Delia’s great-granddaughter? Just when you hoped things/emotions would settle down, Ms. Nolan ramps up the hoodoo action, with even more action, and the mother of showdowns leaves you with baited breath (and a wicked oath for interference). Quick resolutions? Where’s the fun in that?! BRING ON BOOK #3!!!
I loved the care, the respect, afforded to the practice. Ms. Nolan clearly dabbles in the art or has done a marvelous job of research. The gathering of herbs and exotic ingredients to execute a spell felt as if they were being concocted in my home. I could almost smell the lemon verbena! I got such a kick out of her flare for the dynamic imagery: Referring to the first deputy on site of the murder scene, she described him as “a thick-necked, muscle-bound specimen of crime-fighting prowess”, or when explaining the impossible, she refutes, “But that’s like telling an ice cube not to melt in this heat”. When voiced by a 14 year old girl, Ms. Nolan gives you hope for the next generation! Even when Emma’s hoping justice is served, her indignation lies on the person mistreating hoodoo; for using it with malevolence. I loved this young lady! I did gasp, and gulp, when reading a kiss between Emma and Cooper that was just too “advanced” for my tastes. Tracing kisses behind her ear…yiker bikers, slow down! It didn’t go beyond that, thankfully, and we end up in love with young love…well, sort of. An unexpected change of plans keeps Emma and Jack in South Carolina. How long till Cooper and Jack notice Emma keeps looking over her shoulder from the supernatural threat that has a personal bone to pick with her?
It was indeed my pleasure to meet a lovely cast of characters, each equally impressive and unique. I did end the story on an “Awww…”, so I’ll say it again: I’M READY FOR BOOK 3!!!(less)
I really enjoyed this short story! At only 152 pages, I read fleshed-out lead characters and the gamut of emotions one experiences upon falling in lov...moreI really enjoyed this short story! At only 152 pages, I read fleshed-out lead characters and the gamut of emotions one experiences upon falling in love. Throw in background issues of illness and blackmail, and you've got lots to love!
Please read my full review at Bodice Rippers on 10/15! (less)
3.75 at least, and that's due to Mr. Rice's artful, deftly-written talent. This was not my usual kind of book (supernatural, yes, but more than that);...more3.75 at least, and that's due to Mr. Rice's artful, deftly-written talent. This was not my usual kind of book (supernatural, yes, but more than that); I was rather surprised by the path it followed. It definitely kept me intrigued. Full review available at The Reading Cafe on 10/20. (less)
I loved this book!!! It took me right back to the angst and insecurity of youth, but in reflective, though-provoking ways. Loved both characters treme...moreI loved this book!!! It took me right back to the angst and insecurity of youth, but in reflective, though-provoking ways. Loved both characters tremendously. Full review at Bodice Rippers on 10/01! :)(less)
Hmmm...lots running through my head as I compose my review...Not my favorite ending, but! My favorite character isn't dead in the water. How's that fo...moreHmmm...lots running through my head as I compose my review...Not my favorite ending, but! My favorite character isn't dead in the water. How's that for vague-speak? :D Please read my full review at The Reading Cafe on 10/13/13.(less)
Arianna....still wanted by everyone! The sequel explores the legend Arianna has inherited (though not entirely as there is a 3rd book) and how her mat...moreArianna....still wanted by everyone! The sequel explores the legend Arianna has inherited (though not entirely as there is a 3rd book) and how her maturity and acceptance of such sends the world of day and night humans into a frenzy. She is a gentle person thrust into a world that might desensitize her.
My full review (of the final two books in the trilogy) will be posted at The Reading Cafe on October 13. (less)
I love historical romances and those written by Lisa Kleypas tend to cuddle inside my heart like a kitten (she provides LOTS of cat references). The o...moreI love historical romances and those written by Lisa Kleypas tend to cuddle inside my heart like a kitten (she provides LOTS of cat references). The opulence, the fashion, even the rigid rules of polite society...I love it all! What struck me with Secrets of a Summer Night is how much I have yet to understand. Explore with me if you will, the influence of Victoria England upon the love story of Annabelle and Simon. How the Old World aristocracy faces the emergence of mercantilism. Swoon-worthy and educational? Kleypas did attend Wellesley!
Husband-hunting...the new sport? It's all the rage for soon-to-be 25 year old, Annabelle Peyton; a consequence of 4 failed seasons. When threat of exposure of her family's financial ruin from a vile man once considered a friend of the family, Annabelle takes the matter into her own hands and enlists the aid of three other less fortunate ladies who are as eager to be swept up by a titled man. Able to joke about their plight, they label themselves The Wallflowers.
"We should make a pact to help each other find husbands. If the right gentlemen won't pursue us, then we'll pursue them. The process will be vastly more efficient if we join forces rather than forge ahead individually. We shall start with the eldest -- which appears to be you, Annabelle."
I find it empowering! Comprised of two sisters from New York (ugh, the nouveau-riche) and another local Englishwoman, Kleypas charms us with an amazing sisterhood. We learn that these women go to bat for each other; that they are to be adored and cherished. Pity the man who underestimates her. I haven't yet started the sequel, but each Wallflower gets her own book! You'll be able to guess at least one future pairing, I think!?
Annabelle makes it her mission to nab the first peer, finer qualities notwithstanding "As long as he's firm in the pocketbook, he can be droopy everywhere else,". Now if only irresistible Simon Hunt would just stop being so, well...irresistible, Annabelle could snag her prey, MAN. Simon is the modern man; not borne of noble blood, but of hard work and progress.
Despite Hunt's coarseness, he was invited to upper-class parties because he was simply too wealthy to be ignored. Hunt personified the threat that industrial enterprise posed to the British aristocracy's centuries-old entrenchment in estate farming. Therefore, the peerage regarded him with concealed hostility even as they unwittingly allowed him access to their hallowed social circles. Worse still, Hunt made no pretense at humility, but instead seemed to enjoy forcing his way into places he wasn't wanted.
Problem is? Annabelle WANTS him. Two years prior, Simon and Annabelle shared a clandestine kiss that neither has forgotten. Whether disingenuous or not (I choose to overlook that since I've read the book!), Simon decides to exploit Annabelle's desperation "Privation had a way of presenting a situation in a whole new light.", but only because he knows she deserves the best. Their attraction is palpable, their intelligence is compatible, the means to provide for her isn't even debatable...Simon begins his own commission.
It was just a phenomenal, 5 stars read! Not only will the Wallflowers delight, but secondary characters like Annabelle's mother display richness that flies against the face of persnickety England. While there were not so subtle reminders to marry a wealthy man, Annabelle's mother was not the type to harangue (wait till you read her story!). And then there's the proper, but slightly irreverent Lord Westcliff whom you might recall from Kleypas' Hathaways series. He is a genuine earl who has befriended Simon, and at his expert advice, expanded his wealth. Westcliff tries to deter and admonish Simon for pursuing the "conniving" Annabelle, but it only serves to drive Simon:
"I was displaying simple compassion for a fellow human being." The earl snorted. "Whose drawers you're itching to get into." The blunt accuracy of the observation caused Simon to smile reluctantly. 'It was an itch two years ago," he admitted. "Now it's a full-scale pandemic."
This and more -- I have left you MUCH to enjoy! Before I go, was it understood that husbands inherited the debt of his wife's entire family? What if the wife came without a dowry? Who would want to take on such enormous responsibility? Marry for love or to secure a position and eliminate financial burden? The sequel calls to me and so I shall answer! I hope you trust my recommendation and follow alongside me for the next installment of the Wallflower series.
"I suppose I've always wanted to ascend to the top of the ladder without ever wondering if I would like the view."