Thursday, December 27, 2012

Malice in Wonderland by H.P. Mallory (Dulcie O'Neil #5)

I’m torn between 3.5 stars and 4 stars.  What pushes me to 3.5 stars is that Dulcie would go on these long tangents in her head about this situation or that situation and whenever Knight wanted to talk she would push it away saying she hadn’t had time to sort out her thoughts yet.  Ugh!  Shut up Dulcie!  We all wanted Knight to pay for how he treated you in Wuthering Frights, but make up your mind already!  And at time I found Dulcie to be… (Gasp) annoying.  She was always tired, she was grumpy and not the normal Dulcie.  Let her have a nap!  What pushes me towards the 4 stars was that it was still very well written.  I loved the scenes between Dulcie and Bram and Dulcie and Knight.  So you can see my conundrum.  Who’s ever heard of a 3.75 star? No one! 
This book picks right up where Wuthering Frights left off.  Knight just learns that Dulcie wasn’t willingly working for her father and actually help set up a sting on the latest and greatest potions smuggling.  He is apologetic, he is remorseful, and he wants Dulcie back!  Dulcie gets a crash course in how the resistance works.  Then not much else happens (besides Dulcie’s scenes of thinking in her head) until…something big happens and Dulcie must be moved for her own safety.  Bram is forced out of his fence straddling position (Is he good?  Is he bad?) and must make his decision and we finally learn why he was so well known in the prison in the Netherworld. 
The ending was a bit of a cliff hanger.  We got some answers to some things, but are left hanging…again. 
What was the dream about?  We never learned more about that!  I need to know…
Also only 85% of the content on the kindle version is Malice in Wonderland.  The other 15% is the short story released in “Kiss Me, Kill Me” (which I had already read) and some excerpts from Jolie’s book. 
I did have to get on Facebook to check out the pages for Dulcie, Bram and Knight while reading this to keep their images in my head.  For some reason Bram never looks as good in my head as he is intended to so I have to refresh myself. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Opal (Lux #3) by Jennifer Armentrout

4 Stars

I would have given this book 5 stars except that the book felt like it could have been shaved from its 452 pages to 250 pages.  I loved the scenes where Daeman and Katy were together, but it felt like the author put too much effort into drawing out the times between attempts on Daedalus. 

So this book takes off right where #2 left off.  Blake comes back and wants Katy, Daeman and Dawson’s help to get his friend, Chris (think Daeman and Katy’s connection) out of the DOD’s holding cell.  They enlist help and train, they go to prom and a club.  Daeman and Katy get closer, but Daeman still hasn’t told her he loves her. 
The end of the book was a major cliff hanger.  I can’t remember if the others ended this way, but I feel like there was some measure of resolution.  We are just left wondering what just happened and what does it mean?  Clearly this isn’t a trilogy.  I just hope that the next book isn’t a bunch of filler like this one felt like.  It still gets 4 stars because it is an awesome story line.  It feels authentic and I love the characters.  The summary of the book basically has you wondering who is on Katy and Daeman’s side and who is not.  I never quite figured it out and I will admit that I had it all wrong.  I liked that Daeman and Katy got closer but I still don’t feel like I know Daeman very well. 

Katy drove me nuts sometimes.  She was always making her own decisions about what to do in situations instead of asking Daeman when this is his world and she is very new to it.  She insisted on going to Daedalus and that is just asking for trouble.    

Favorite Quote:
“Simmer down, Kitten, before I have to get you a ball of yarn to play with.”  -Daemon to Katy

Scent of Magic (The Healers #2) by Maria V. Snyder

4.5 Stars

This is the second book in this series.  The first is Touch of Power.  I positively loved Touch of Power! Review: Touch of Power  This book takes up right where the first book left off.  Avry and Kerrick have just left Tohon’s castle where Avry had destroyed his garden of Death Lily’s and taken two of the children (Danny and Zila) who had survived injection of Death Lily serum.  Avry wants to find her sister again and Kerrick needs to check in with Ryne.  This means they split up and as others have said, they spend the entire book apart.  The only thing that saves this from being unbearable is that we get dual POV from Avry and Kerrick throughout the book.  Usually I find only one of the main characters narrative is interesting enough for me to want to continue and I will be disappointed with the switch.  However, everytime we switched from Avry to Kerrick and back again the author managed to create mini cliff hangers that I was loathe to leave but then within a few sentences I am sucked back into the next person’s dilemma. 
Avry infiltrates Jael/Estrid’s army and teaches them how to move silently in the forrest.  She manages to keep her identity hidden and gains the trust of many of the officers.  I couldn’t tell from what direction the betrayal would come from.  Those that I suspected of treachery ended up proving themselves loyal to Avry and those who I thought loyal proved their betrayal.  I kept guessing and I was wrong. 

Kerrick meets up with Ryne and spends time training his troops to move silently as well.  This is important because Tohon’s Dead Army is silent and deadly.  Soon they learn that the tribes from the Wild Lands have invaded Alga Realm (Prince Kerrick’s realm) and so Kerrick must go investigate.  The rest of Kerrick’s time is spent with this situation.  I did appreciate that the author didn’t try to insert a love triangle in here.  I HATE (and by hate, I mean I will stop reading an otherwise good book because of a love triangle) love triangles!  Blech!
We meet so many new characters and Avry makes some new friends, but the author definitely does not shy away from killing off those close to Avry.  This makes it a much more realistic war time/zombie story, but it is a bold move. 

Favorite Quote:
Ursan remained quiet until we reached his tent. "Prince Kerrick's a forest mage.  Which means his eyes change color with the seasons.  Right?" he asked.
He stared at me for a moment.  "Lucky guy."

Monday, December 24, 2012

New Maria V. Snyder Book Out Now!

I love Maria V. Snyder's writings.  I loved Poison Study (this one is tied for my favorite with Touch of Magic).  Scent of Magic is the second book in the Healer series.  So far I am loving it.  I am half way through.  We meet some new characters. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dream of Me/Believe in Me by Josie Litton

This is actually two books in one for a fairly cheap price.  I can’t remember exactly, but I think it is something like $3 per book. 

Brief summary of Dream of Me:

Cymbra is the stunningly beautiful sister of Lord Hawk of Hawkforte.  Lord Wolf has proposed a marriage to Lord Hawk’s sister in order to create an alliance between the Saxon’s and Norse against the Danes.  However, Lord Wolf is rudely refused by the lady herself and he seeks his revenge.  He infiltrates Lady Cymbra’s holdings as prisoners only to escape and kidnap Lady Cymbra.  He plans to humiliate her to ease his hurt pride.  Things don’t go quite as he plans and he marries Lady Cymbra anyway.  When Lord Hawk comes for her if she does not convince her brother that she is happy then Lord Wolf plans to kill her brother.  The rest of the story is how Lord Wolf and Lady Cymbra get to know one another and the other challenges that arise through this marriage of Norse to Saxon. 

Brief summary of Believe in Me:

Lord Hawk has proposed to King Alfred that more marriages between prominent Saxons and Norse could further solidify an alliance between the two.  Under protest, this puts Lord Hawk in the crosshairs.  Wolf has arranged for Lady Krysta to be Hawk’s wife.  Lady Krysta arrives under the guise of a servant of the Lady Krysta in order to get to know Lord Hawk better.  That plan proves to be faulty.  Daria, Hawks half-sister is…not a nice person and strives to make Krysta’s life unpleasant.  There is more unpleasantness for Krysta and Hawk as they travel to see the king in Winchester.  A whole different set of problems await Krysta and Hawk as they get to know one another than in Dream of Me, but the outcome is the same. 

I loved both of these books. There were strong alpha heroes and smart strong heroines.  I don’t have anything else to say, but I read 815 pages in less than a week.   I have an absolute of needing a HEA in my stories.  They are historical romance with a touch of the paranormal.   

Favorite Quote from Dream of Me: Cymbra to Wolf when they first meet:

“I can’t possibly sleep”

“Then perhaps we can find some better use for this pallet.”

“I’m almost asleep now”

Favorite Quote from Believe in Me: Krysta to Hawk:

“You had better be all right, you had just better!” she yelled, striking her fists against his chest.  The blows were so soft he could scarcely feel them but he knew better than to let her see that. 

“Ouch! Stop that, woman!  Udell did not cause me such discomfort as you now inflict.”

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Binding by L. Filloon (The Velesi Trilogy)

3.5 Stars
It is alternating first person POV between the two main characters.  While the reader spends more time in Lily’s head than in Tharin’s, I did appreciate getting to have an idea of what Tharin was thinking as his times of extreme jerkiness. 
The story line for this book was great.  Lily is living with her foster mother, Marilyn.  It is two days past her eighteenth birthday and she decides to go for a run.  She is attacked on her run by none other than her brother, Lucas, who has been missing for four years.  Enter Tharin, Ceesa, and Tolan.  Ceese is a giant black panther, she is bound to Tharin and I loved her immediately.  Tolan and Tharin are twins…and elves! (I love a story about elves).  And Tharin is the prince and guess what?  Lily is his betrothed.  But worst of all is that Tharin can’t stand Lily and he is mean and bossy, but he is the only way Lily can think to find Lucas.  She is convinced he didn’t mean to hurt her and Tolan and Tharin are convinced that he did.  Agree to disagree.  The rest of the book is the journey that Lily makes back to Tharin’s world.  She insists that her friend Julia come along and as much as Tharin doesn’t like Lily, it appears that Tolan really can’t stand Julia.  I think my favorite scene was when Lily tells Tharin that she knows about Kalis and she won’t marry someone who loves someone else.  Bravo girl!  We also meet Tharin and Tolan’s cousins, Alorn, Meelis, and Phoris.  I loved those three as well.  We meet other characters along the way and they are all great, good, bad and ugly this author has a way with building great supporting characters. 
Now to get on with what she doesn’t have a way with…editing.  I am sure that there are many people who can read right past grammatical errors, but I am not one of them.  They pull me out of the story faster than anything else. 
The worst thing about this book was the editing!  It drove me insane.  At one point the author said that a character had done a “complete three-eighty”.  There is no such thing as a three-eighty…unless you are in math class which means your line would take you twenty degrees past where you started after doing a complete circle.  The correct term would be a “complete one-eighty” meaning the person has completely changed from who they were.  The author consistently wrote “worst” when she mean “worse” and “pass” when she meant “past”.  I know it is probably difficult for a new author to ask a friend to read their work before self publishing, but it would have been worth it. 
Now, will I read the second one?  Not at this point.  I absolutely loved the ending of this with Lily and Ziri, but from the summary I read of the second book, it sounds like a lot of misunderstandings that are perpetrated by the “I know she doesn’t understand what is happening but I will tell her later” situation.  Also the summary says that Tharin is going to keep Kalis close to him.  I absolutely hate, hate, hate love triangles!  I don’t want to read about how Lily is hurt because Tharin is spending time with Kalis.  Pah!  If it wasn’t for that, I would have read it, although I read a review that said that the second book had an equal number of typos, I would have persevered just because I love these characters.  Maybe I will jump in with the third book. 
Favorite quote: Tolan talking about Julia…
“How can anyone sleep with this thunderous moose snoring on my chest,” he replies laughing gently.”

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Onyx by Jennifer Armentrout (A Lux Novel)

I have had this book for a while before I decided to read it.  I am not sure what triggered me to pick it out of the 13 pages of books I have waiting for me on my kindle, but something did and I devoured it in two days and before finishing I bought Opal which just came out this week.

Onyx takes up right where Obsidian left off.  Just a few days after the Arum attack.  Daemon is attempting to win Katy over, and Katy is attempting to ward off Daemon’s advances.  Katy is convinced that his attraction is from the healing connection and not her. 

Katy meets Blake in biology class and ends up going with him to a party that Dee and Daemon through and going out to eat with him.  This part was a little frustrating for me because Katy was clearly using Blake to make Daemon jealous and the vicious Ash attempts to make Katy jealous.  Katy finds Daemon’s interactions with Ash unacceptable, but she is carrying on with Blake!  It was like a love quadrangle! 

Daemon is convinced that there is something off about Blake, but Katy just thinks Daemon is jealous.  Who do you think is right?  Of course we all know that Daemon is right waaaaay before Katy does, but I didn’t have it all figured out.  I couldn’t decide whether Blake was good or bad, or if he was bad, how bad was he? 

Katy starts to train with her powers and does a good job with trying to get them under control.  She ends up finding people who were thought to be lost, and losing people that were initially found.  She loses a friend.  She also tries to unravel the whole mystery by herself.  I wanted to punch her sometimes because when she should have been telling Daemon everything she would keep it to herself to either protect Daemon or Blake or to prove a point that she can take care of herself.  A-N-N-O-Y-I-N-G!  Spill the beans already Katy.  It is like watching a horror movie where the girl goes into a dark house without electricity and you know it won’t end well!  Of course, me, as a reader, can determine the future of Katy’s life safely from the confines of my couch and see all the flaws in her ways. :)

That is me, while I read this book.
When I thought the end was near, that I could take no more tense waiting and anticipation, it just kept going and will I knew certain people were bad, I didn’t foresee what their game plan was.  Well done, Armentrout.  Well done.   

Favorite Quote:

“He kissed me again, soft and deep, and he took away most of the hours spent there, even though I was sure they’d linger for some time, creeping up like most dark things do.”

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Steel's Edge by Ilona Andrews (The Edge Series #4)

Although I have made numerous attempts to become a beta reader for these two I keep getting thwarted at every turn so while I wish I could start out this review by saying, “I was provided with an ARC copy for an honest review,” alas I can’t say that.  But I can say that I bought this book the day it came out and I have been waiting anxiously (note I did not say patiently) for eons and eons (does 364 days count as “eons and eons”?) 

This is the last book in this series although I strongly advise against this.  I need to know Sophie and George’s story.  I need to know that Jack finds himself his own little love bunny.  Someone else said that they felt like the part with Spider was rushed, I have to disagree.  I thought that was a perfect culmination for Charlotte.  The slavers wouldn’t have presented a worthy adversary for her skills that would require her to initiate a feedback loop, but The Hand?  Yes, The Hand is a perfect opponent.  What I found to be too fast of a wrap up was everything else!  Which goes back to me wanting to know about Sophie and George and Jack.  I want to see them get a HEA.  Maybe a short story or novella? Huh? Huh? 

Richard was perfect for Charlotte.  I have loved every book in this series as I have loved every book Ilona Andrews has put out.  I even love the free story they are posting on their website.  If you haven’t read it, you should.  Google “Ilona Andrews” and look for a tab that says “free fiction” and “Clean Sweep” is the title of this new story.  They have 7 chapters written so far. 

Back to Richard and Charlotte.  Richard could pass for a perfectly behaved blueblood.  Charlotte has been raised and adopted by one of the First Ten (like the name implies they are the first ten families of bluebloods).  They are perfect for each other and I love the witty bantering that goes back and forth.   


I loved George’s speech to his father.  He said it all perfectly.  Usually in those situations I think to myself, “oh he should have said _______”.  That did not happen with this speech.  It was strong and appropriately condescending and arrogant.  PERFECT

I also loved when Richard snuck into Charlotte’s room at the ball.  She thought he was gone, but he overheard her talking and their entire interaction made me utterly happy.

Oh, I also loved the scene with Charlotte and Jason where she gave him what for! She said everything perfectly as well! 

This is the most catawampus review ever, but I can’t help it, I JUST LOVE IT!

Favorite Quote (it was soooo hard to pick, I highlighted so many parts including George’s speech and Richard sneaking into Charlotte’s room). Any Princess Bride reference is awesome by me.  This is Richard to Jason:

“The Five Gangs are frothing at the mouth trying to put you on the bottom of the ocean, Rook has placed a bounty on your head, and now the Mirror’s agents are watching your house.  Your definition of ‘well’ is troubling at best.”

 He suddenly smiled and affected a slight accent. “‘I do not think that word means what you think it means.’”


Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Brian Wansink

I read this book for work.  It was one of my goals this year.  I am an oncology dietitan by day since my husband seems to think that we need actual food to eat and books just won’t cut it (pah!). 

I was amazing!  I absolutely loved it.  I have presented his information 3 different times to other dietitians and doctors.  It is so interesting that I even got my doctors to engage in dialogue with me about it.  It is easy enough that anyone can read it and understand it, but it is interesting enough to keep anyone engaged.  It provides practical tips to change our eating in small ways that we won’t feel like we are depriving ourselves.   I have already requested that three of my patients read it for themselves and my boss can’t wait until I finish it to read it for herself.  We will be ordering half a dozen copies to keep in our office for people to borrow. 

In short, this book looks at why people eat and why they eat so much.  It is just theories, it is backed up by studies that the author himself (and his team) have run countless times to get insight into our eating in almost every situation.  This book will change how I eat and how I practice as a dietitian. 


The Secret of Nexus by Jeff J. Miller

First, I received a promotional copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Second, many of you will notice that this isn't the normal type of book I choose to review, but it was a good, quick read that lends itself more to my professional life and reading than my personal life and reading.

This book is most notably about leadership. It lands somewhere between inspirational reading and self-help. It is a work of fiction and not filled with anecdotes and tips. The benefit is found in the impression of the main character that is left after you close the cover of the book.

Garrett Thompson is the president of Nexus, Inc. Five years ago he was a medical doctor and decided to open a business after developing a healthful sports drink. The story follows Garrett through a time period in his life when his business is about to take a new turn as his top researcher has developed a new product that would change our lives. We follow Garrett through how he deals with his management team and attempts to balance this with his personal life. There is trouble brewing and Garrett doesn't know from what direction to expect the next attack. I found myself at times doubting two different characters and for a split second one of the secretaries. The ending was unexpected and bold. Normally I would hate that type of ending as I am a HEA type of girl, but it oddly works...somehow (although it is against all of my parameters that makes a good book!).

Other reviewers have noted that this book would be good for those in management positions but I think it would be good for anyone who holds a job. Everyone would benefit from improved leadership and communication skills. Garrett shows us how to deal with uncomfortable situations without saying hurtful things and stepping up to take ownership of situations that aren't of our own making.

In this age of everything needing to be "politically correct" I'm not sure that this could be mandatory reading for companies as it has minute references to Christianity. At one point Garrett said he would keep a hurting colleague in his prayers and at the end Margaret notes that the church they are in is where Garrett went to worship on Sundays. As we have people trying to remove prayers from schools and "one nation under God" from the pledge of allegiance and the Ten Commandments from the courthouses I'm sure you would have those who would try to make money off of their company attempting to make them read this book. So without getting into a diatribe about how I feel about those issues I will just say, it was quick and good. Read it and encourage others to read it.

On to the technical stuff...

The book is written in third person POV and mostly from the POV of the main character, Garrett Thompson. The first time that the book shifted POV to another character was a little jarring. We went from one sentence being in Garrett's head and the next line of the next chapter we are in the head of Derek (one of Garrett's managers). Every other time we switched POV there was either extra spaces or a marker to designate this, so I am inclined to think that this was more of an editing issue and not a writing issue. However, it was big enough that I started questioning that perhaps I forgot the main characters name and it was Derek. It took a couple of pages to figure out the issue.

The dialogue at times was stilted. It could have benefited from some good beta readers. Overall, as a first novel from this author we see a great skill in developing a story line and characters.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

I’ve had this book for a couple of months.  I read “Austenland” by Shannon Hale and laughed out loud, but for some reason, I hadn’t delved into this book. I am very sad that I have put this off for so long because I adored this book! 

The Goose Girl is apparently a retelling of a fairy tale, but I am not sure which one.  I am apparently unfamiliar with it, but I assume a google search would ease my curiosity.  Hold on…ok Wikipedia has an excellent synopsis of the fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm.  Reading that synopsis I can assure you that Shannon Hale kept very near to the original fairy tale. 

Ani is the crown princess of Kilderan and she can talk to animals.  There are others who can influence people with their words and others still who can speak to the earth.  Ani soon learns that she is betrothed to the prince of Bayern and is sent with 40 guards and her lady-in-waiting to Bayern. 

The trouble begins when Selia, her lady-in-waiting uses her skills to influence the guards to put her forward as the crown princess.  This begins Ani’s long journey through Bayern where she makes many friends and learns the plight of the people of Bayern and earns her own way as the king’s goose girl.  Both Selia and Ani are blonde’s in a country full of dark headed people.    

I won’t say anything else, but I read it in 3 days (that included me working full time, so basically every moment not eating, sleeping or working I was reading!).  Ani’s speech at the end where she is giving the prince, the prime minister and the king a piece of her mind is awesome!

Favorite Quote:   

“A warning there, pig boy,” Conrad shouted from across the camp.  “Don’t touch her hair without leave, or keep a good hold on your hat.”

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Secret by Julie Garwood

4 stars
This was my first Julie Garwood novel and like another book I just read it has an omniscient narrator.  I enjoyed it and plan to read more of her novels.  There appears to be many, many, many of them out there for me to get my grubby little hands on. 
Judith is English and only four years old when she meets her best friend, Frances Catherine who is Scottish.  Neither of them understood they should hate each other and by the time they did they were besties for life.  Frances Catherine ended up marrying a highlander and is pregnant.  Judith promised to be by her friend’s side when she gave birth.  The problem is that the clan that Frances Catherine married into is very closed off from outsiders and very set in their ways.  Frances Catherine had to do some pleading and petitioning in order to get her friend to be able to visit. 
It just so happens that Frances Catherine married the Laird’s brother and it is in fact the Laird who ends up going to get Judith.  It is no secret that Judith and Iain Maitland (the aforementioned Laird) struggle to resist their attraction.  Their dynamics are quite comical at times and Iain expects to be obeyed always and immediately and Judith has a bit of fire in her blood. 
I loved all the characters.  They were likeable (except when they weren’t meant to be, like Agnes, I am sure glad that she got what was coming to her) and three dimensional.  I loved Gelfrid and Graham (two of the elders) and how Judith had to be careful with their pride, but was able none the less to win them over and make much needed changes to the clan. 
The biggest problem turns out not to be that Judith is English, but actually that she is only half English and her father is an enemy of the Maitlands.  Iain knows this to begin with, but Judith doesn’t know that Iain knows (I hope you followed that!).   
Favorite Quote (there were many amusing parts, this is just one, although it occurs to me that one might need to know the context: As little girls Frances Catherine told Judith that women get pregnant when they drink from a man’s goblet after they have spit into it):
“I specifically remember we both promised never to drink from any man’s goblet of wine.  From the looks of you, Frances Catherine, I’m thinking you broke your word.”

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fire by Kristin Cashore

Fire is labeled as a companion to Graceling.  It actually takes place before Graceling and there is only one character that is in both of the books.  As far as location, it is in the same world, but not anywhere we heard of or knew about in Graceling.  It is a world called The Dells and there are no gracelings there.  They have monsters.  It appears that every species of creature (leopards, bugs, birds, mice, humans, etc) have a monster version.  The monster version is always brightly colored.  For example, a monster kitten may be bright blue with yellow streaks and purple eyes.  The other difference is that the monsters have an ability to lure their prey in with their beauty and control their minds.  The more intelligent the monster the more control they have over someone’s mind.
There is only one human monster left and her name is Fire.  She is very beautiful.  She lives in a house near the estate of her only friends, Archer and Brocker.  Brocker is Archer’s father and Fire also considers him like a father.  Archer is obsessed with Fire and they have what appears to be a “friends with benefits” type of relationship. 
Fire is attacked in the jungle outside the compound where she lives.  This isn’t something new, but it is strange in its own way and sets off a string of events.  Archer and Fire journey to the queen’s house.  At the same time, King Nash (who is the queen’s son) and Prince Brigan (who is the commander of the king’s army) are also visiting the queen.  This is Fire’s first encounter with the king and the prince.  They have vastly different responses to her.  King Nash proposes immediately and Prince Brigan attacks her.  Prince Brigan’s mind is different though, he has learned to protect himself from monster mind invasion.
This meeting triggers the rest of the story.  Fire ends up in the royal city as a monster advisor who is trying to help the king and royal family determine who are loyal and who is a traitor for there are two factions of people who are trying to overthrow King Nash.  There are too many side stories to cover a synopsis of the entire plot.  It was very good, but I didn’t like it as much as Graceling. 
The main reason that I didn’t like it as much was because I didn’t like how little time Fire spent with her love interest.  (It appears this might be a spoiler if I revealed who it is because of the way it is revealed to the reader, although I will say I had it figured out.  *smugly smiles while typing this*)  The romance was still believable and I enjoyed the time it took to develop, but I just wished they had gotten to spend more time together instead of stolen moments here and there. 
Another reviewer pointed out that there was a lot of sleeping around and until you get to the end you don’t fully understand that truth until you learn who is this person’s father and that person’s real father.  I didn’t like that either. 
Overall, I really enjoyed learning about the monsters.  I loved Fire and her love interest.  The world of the Dells was amazing.  It is a bit pricey for a kindle book at $9.99 and therefore if you can get it from a library I would recommend that. 

It appears that there is another cover
for this book, possibly for another
country but I like it as well so I am
including it.

Favorite Quote: This isn't so much a favorite quote but one of my favorite parts:

At this Fire smiled, and held the handkerchief out to Musa.  "Thank you."

"It's not mine, Lady,  It's Neel's."  Fire recognized the name of one of her male guards.


"The commander took it from Neel and gave it to me to give to you, Lady."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning

I debated whether to include this
scandalous book cover, but it
adds  more interest to the post
so I apologize for the cheesy-ness.
 This is the first book in the Highlander series.  This is the first book I have ever read from this author.  The POV in this novel appears to be omniscient.  This is a fairly new narrative for me, and while it felt odd at times, I actually liked it.  I enjoyed getting to be in the head of both of the characters in the same scene.  A few times it was tricky as I didn’t realize I had switched from Adrienne to Hawk, but it didn’t take long to figure it out.  I certainly wouldn’t want every book I read to be an omniscient POV, but I liked this one. 
Adrienne de Simone is from the year 1997 and she has a tragic past that you are told in bits and pieces.  Without revealing too much, Adrienne was an orphan.  She fell in love with a man named Everhard (weird name!), and then something tragic happened and she now considers herself to be on the lam.  Due to some interference from the fair folk, Adrienne is transported back in time to the early 1500’s.  She ends up married to a man who is interchangeably referred to as both “Hawk” and “the Hawk.”  Adrienne has become the pawn in which the fair folk (or more precisely, a particular fae) use to get revenge on the Hawk. 
Hawk is instantly smitten with his unwanted wife and Adrienne is constantly working to spurn him.  She doesn’t like beautiful men.  She has been ill used by Everhard and has no use for beautiful men.  Hawk has his work cut out for him to win her over.  Once he does (because there is no question that he will) there is still the problem of the fair folk to deal with.  They want their revenge and they won’t be denied. 
I will definitely be buying the next book in the series.  And she has another series called the fever series that is supposed to be awesome so I will be delving into that as well (once December starts and my book allowance is back! Yes, that does mean that I have spent all my money for November).  

Favorite Quote: 
"Good. Because he wants my wife, and she doesn't want me.  And I saw her wanting him with a hurt in her eyes."  --Hawk to his friend Grimm about the nefarious Smithy   

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking by Emily Dickinson

Apprently it is a morning for poems.  I work in a cancer center and one of my patients stated that this poem is particularly healing for him:

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Poem from The Gray

So while I don't like movies without a HEA, I do love this poem from The Gray that Liam Neeson recites.  I read somewhere that it was something the director wrote.  I don't know why, but the poem won't get out of my head.  Maybe if I put it out here for you all, it will leave me be.

      once more into the fray

      into the last good fight I'll ever know

      live and die this day

      live and die this day

Monday, November 12, 2012

Treason: Book Two in the Grimoire Trilogy by S.M. Boyce

5 Stars
I received an Advanced Review Copy of this book.  I was encouraged to write a review.  Since I always write reviews this was a win-win for me!  Yay!
I absolutely loved the first book in this series.  Review: Lichgates: Book One in the Grimoire Trilogy by S.M. Boyce The world building is amazing.  I’m sure there are others, but the only books that come to mind with better world building in this genre are The Lord of the Rings books.  This book picks up with Braedon and Kara back in The Vagabond’s village.  They are training and waiting until they need to go to the Gala.  The Gala is where all the Yakona kingdoms (except the Stele, of course) will meet together to sign a treaty and celebrate.  This is where things got boring to me.  From 20-40% it was predictable and I dreaded opening it up! Of course the Gala goes all wrong and Kara and Braedon are in trouble again and this felt boring to me too.  How?  I don’t know, but something didn’t work for me.  Maybe it was just Kara pushing Braedon away over and over again saying the same stupid stuff.  So you are wondering how I can give the book 5 stars if I felt that?  It is because what comes after it is so amazing it blows my mind!
I convinced myself to keep reading and (this is a long book) from between 40-95% I was absolutely entranced again!  There were so many twists and turns.  I mean, an Isen?  Ahhh!  It cannot be!  And Braedon must go back to the Stele and I really didn’t want him to go! But he had to.  And the cat is out of the bag! Everyone knows everything.  Except Kara.  Kara only knows what people feel like telling her.  How can Kara possibly know who to trust?  They are all conniving behind her back and trying to get her power!  Niccoli plays a bigger role and Dierdre is back.  I can’t tell what her end game is even after the epilogue! 
I am going to say right now, that what I wrote above is quite possibly the worst synopsis ever, but there is so much that I can’t tell you. 
Favorite Quotes:
From Richard to Braedon: “You are and always will be my son.  That you ever doubted me is my failure and mine alone.”
Richard talking about Blood Gavin: “He led a campaign against the squirrels once for moving into an abandoned attic when he was six.  In his mind, they invaded his home.”

Motorcycle Man by Kristen Ashley

4 Stars
I read this book in spurts.  I enjoyed the beginning, then between 25-50% it dragged then I really enjoyed the last half.   But between 25-50% I would just read some then read something else, then come back to it.  I am glad that I finished it. 
Tack “Kane” Allen is the president/leader of the Chaos Motorcycle club.  We met his first in Mystery Man, and he also showed up again in Law Man.  He first meets Tyra at a Chaos party where they hit it off and end up getting it on.  But then Tack bursts Tyra’s “dream man” bubble by kicking her out and sending her on her way. 
Also, Tyra is Tack’s new office manager.  She knew this before hand, but Tack did not, and he doesn’t date people who work for him.  He wants to fire her and she gets mad and insists on staying (although at this point she believes he is a big jerk and wants nothing to do with him).  Also at this point, Tack changes his mind and decides that Tyra is a keeper. 
As with all books in this series, the heroine is under siege.  In this book, it is not her crap that is drawing the attention.  It is either 1.) her best friends fiancĂ© (kidnapping by association) or 2.) Tack himself.  Tyra ends up taken multiple times.  I actually love those parts.  Not that I like for women to be kidnapped or beaten or stabbed, but I love how the KA heroes go crazy without their women and do anything to get them back.  My only complaint is that the actual action last about ten seconds.  Tack’s boys drew the fire away from him, he went in and bang, bang and the action is over.  I want some fighting or nasty villain dialogue in which Tack can smack him down. 
I loved that Hawk, Mitch and Brock were all in this and willing to do anything to help Tack get Tyra back.  We even Saw Hector and Sadie once too!  I love the “posse”, but it is obvious these girls aren’t as close as the Rock Chicks.  I am excited that Shy and Tabby get their own book and that means the start of a new series. 
Favorite Quote:
Hmmm…this is harder than usual.  I went through my clippings and I only had two from motorcycle man and neither were appropriate for a blog.  I also remembered that Tack and Tyra would make grand proclamations of love and it got old because people don’t talk like that. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Conquering the Dark Axe (The Northern Knights) by Amber Dane

3.5 Stars
The story line was actually quite good.  This book was only a couple of bucks so my expectations weren’t high but I was in the mood for some medieval romance warrior stuff.  It wasn’t just about the hero and heroine falling in love.
Alexa is the sister that was promised to Rourke.  Now that Alexa’s sister is dead, the king has decided that Alexa will marry Rourke in her stead.  Only Alexa has been raised more like a boy and has never intended to marry.  She won’t make this easy on Rourke.  And Rourke has scars so deep he won’t let anyone in. 
A good chunk of the story is how these two try to hurt one another because they are scared how they feel and don’t want to be vulnerable.  Another aspect of the story are that someone at Barnett manor is trying to kill Alexa or Rourke or both.   And yet another aspect of the story is that a part of Rourke’s past that he thought long dead comes back and uses trickery and deceit into acquiring Rourke for his nefarious purposes. 
At times the lengths that Alexa and Rourke went to hurt one another got tiresome.  They always regretted what they would say, but too many times the author noted that the characters were too mad to care at the time. 
Overall, it was enjoyable. 

Funny Story

I know this isn't a book review or have anything to do with books actually (but it does involve reading).  It made me laugh so hard.  It is a story of the worst first date ever...

The Fart That Almost Altered My Destiny

Friday, November 2, 2012

Ilona Andrews Serial FREE Online Story

I know I posted before about this, but it is getting really good and I can't even wait for the next installment to come out every week.  You all should go read it right now!  Catch up!  Clean Sweep is the name of the novel. 

Favorite line from today's installment:
"At no point did the words ‘Help me, Sean Evans’ come out of my mouth.”

A Kiss at Midnight by Eloise James

4 Stars
This is an adorable (and adult) retelling of the Cinderella story.  Kate is the Cinderella in this story.  Instead of evil stepsisters, she had one kind but flighty half-sister.  There was indeed an evil stepmother.  And we learn that Kate’s father was not the blameless beloved man from the Disney version :).  The prince, Gabriel, is from Marburg and must marry a Russian princess for money.  Not for himself, but for those hangers-on that rely on him.  Kate’s sister needs the prince’s permission to marry the prince’s nephew (really I supposed that Kate’s sister’s fiancĂ© needs the permission as he is the prince’s nephew), but he must meet Victoria (the sister) in order to do this.  Victoria is unable to go and Kate had to go in Victoria’s place (as Victoria).  As someone else mentioned the prince quickly learns Kate’s real identity, which I found refreshing.  I find it frustrating when the reader knows the truth and a main character labors under misinformation the entire time.

It took too long for the hero and heroine to meet and it just took too long to get the story rolling in general.  Once it did though I found I was thinking about the story long after I had turned off the kindle.  I wanted to get back to the characters and see what would happen.  The author clearly has a sense of humor.  My favorite part is when Kate is trying to train Victoria’s dogs (which she must take around in public for the disguise).  She uses cheese to do this, and at one point she is taking a boat ride with the prince and it comes out that she has stuffed her reticule full of cheese (dog treats).

I loved how strong the heroine was.  She was charming and witty.  She laughed and made others laugh.  I enjoyed that there weren’t overtly catty females causing general mayhem.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a sweet (and sometimes steamy) retelling of classic fairy tales.   

Marti Talbot's Highlander Series I

I am so pleasantly surprised by this book.  I am definitely going to get the next book in the series (once October 1st hits as my book allowance will allow that).  I am always a little bit leery of the free books and I tend to have a little bit more lenient review for free books because…well they are free. 

As you can see from the title of the book, this book is actually a compilation of three novellas featuring first Anna, then Rachel and finishing with Charlet.  I loved each of the stories by themselves, but they created a larger story that I loved as well. 

Anna is sent to marry Laird Kevin MacGreagor sight unseen.  However, when she arrives she is a little worse for wear.  She was taught that she should fear the highlanders and when they find her badly beaten they are angry and she is more frightened.  The rest of the story is the story of Anna and Kevin and how they grow together. 

Rachel is Anna’s little sister.  She was barely four years old when she came to live with the MacGreagor’s.  Connor has loved Rachel for a long time and it appears that she can’t stand him.  There is trouble with a near-by clan and Rachel is the scout to find out the other clan’s plans.  She gets into a bit of trouble on one of these missions and Connor goes out of his mind with worry. 

Charlet is the baby that was found on MacGreagor land sixteen years.  Now the English are after her, to wed or kill her, and every Laird in Scotland wants to marry her to keep her from the English.  In an effort to save her, Laird Kevin MacGreagor sends her away with Blair Cameron (Laird Thomas Cameron’s second) to keep her safe. 

My criticism only applies to the first two books with Anna and Rachel.  They both have reasons to not like small spaces and I understand this, but the way they acted on these feelings was annoying to me.  It could be that I don’t have any irrational fears that I didn’t like that aspects.  I found their mother to be selfish.

Overall I really enjoyed these.  The descriptions of the land, people, dress etc was wonderful.  The stories are short enough to keep my attention the entire time.    

Fate Succumbs by Tammy Blackwell (Timber Wolves #3)

Oh-My-Goodness.  I have had this book on my kindle for a couple of months but just now read it, and I read it in 2 days once I started (because I couldn’t be bothered to do such things as eat or sleep, who needs those, pah!)
So the book picks up with Scout and Liam on the lamb from the Alpha Pack.  Liam is his typical self, being scowly  and brooding.  He doesn’t tell Scout where they are going or what the plan is.  Scout is still devastated that Jase has betrayed her and she doesn’t know what happened to Charlie after they escaped.  They move from place to place and soon find that they need to disguise Scout as the Alpha Pack has released to the media that this particular Senator’s daughter is missing so the whole country is looking for the strange looking girl with pale skin, silvery hair and silvery eyes. 
Throughout the book we learn more about the shifter culture and just what exactly is so wrong that the rebellion is needed for.  We learn about Liam and Alex’s past.  Alex still comes to Scout in her dreams.  Liam and Scout get closer.  This is the last book in the series (although, I just want my voice to be heard, I think this should be a quadrilogy, or a longer even!) so we do get resolution to the situation with the alpha pack. We met more characters and I loved them all!  Just Read it! 
Favorite Quote:  I will have you know that this author is amazingly funny!  There were so many times when I found myself chuckling or smiling at something Scout said and that doesn’t happen often for me.  I love you Tammy Blackwell!  So I don’t really know if this is my favorite, it is one of a long line of favorite scenes…
“Are all Shifters impervious to the cold, or are you just so badass the cold avoids you out of fear of being Chuck Norrised?” –Scout to Liam
I read from others that they didn’t feel like the Scout/Liam connection was valid and I must respectfully disagree.  I absolutely loved, loved, loved it!  It was slow and sweet.  They were both struggling over whether it was real or cabin fever or just Alex-look-a-like attraction.  My only complaint about it was the very end when Liam came back from Romania, it ended a few pages too soon.  What is the plan?  He asked her to give up the alpha position!  She said no, but that should have been a bigger deal.  Will he stay in Kentucky or will she go to Romania.  I could have used another entire chapter just about those two stinkers working things out.  I savored every moment throughout the book when those two got pushed too far and their lovey-dovey feelings broke through.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rock Chick Renegade by Kristen Ashley (Rock Chick #4)

Gah!  I finally freaking finished this book.  I know that for a lot of the KA addicts out there that Jules and Vance are their favorite Rock Chick couple.  It has been too long to give a good summary so I will just give a short one:

Jules is a social worker at a center for kids without homes, runaways, etc.  She has a few boys that she has taken under her wing.  One of them gets into trouble on the streets and Jules decides she wants vengeance.  That is how she ends up on the Hot Bunch radar with Vance confronting her.  The usual Hot Bunch tactics ensue with Vance pursuing and Jules resisting.  The Rock Chicks try to bring her into the fold and Jules resists.  More drama ensues…that is all I have because I stopped reading it for so long that I can’t give good details until the last 20% but that would give all the spoilers away, so that is all you get. :)

I got annoyed with her emotional Rottweiler turned pug.  I’m pretty sure that people don’t do that and it got old fast.  Jules yes/no feelings for Vance got old too, but in true Hot Bunch fashion Vance didn’t take no for an answer.

I stopped reading this book and actually finished the rest of the series then went on to read about 1,000 other KA books before convincing myself that I can’t leave a wounded soldier behind and picked it back up.  I enjoyed the first 30% and the last 20%, but the middle had a lot of BS filler that I could have done without.

One of my favorite characters was surprising Boo, the kitty.  I loved Jules narrative for what her cat was thinking.  Here is an example and you will see why Boo is the greatest!  (Don’t be confused with the reference to Luke, it’s from the right book):

“Luke was making himself at home and opening a bottle of Fat Tire beer when I arrived.  Boo was asking him who the hell he thought he was and also could he spare a few kitty treats for a poor, abused house cat?”

Favorite Quote:
“You told me I was home to you and I get it.  You’re home to me.  I’ve never had a home.  I like the one I found and I’m not losin’ it.  No matter what.”  -Vance to Jules (and that pretty much sums up the book, Jules keeps trying to pull it away and Vance keeps saying “no”).

The Goblin King by Shona Husk (The Shadowlands #1)

3.5 Stars

There is a prequel to this book (The Summons by Shona Husk) that tells the story of the first meeting of Roan, the Goblin King and Eliza, a then 16-year old girl. I thoroughly enjoyed the prequel but you don’t need to have read it to understand this book.  This book picks up 9 years after the prequel when Eliza calls to the Goblin King for a second time. 
Eliza is about to get married to a man she doesn’t love, a man who has blackmailed her into staying with him.  And when Eliza catches Steve with another women at her birthday party she gets back and Steve by ruining his suits and calls for the Goblin King again.  This time, as warned, he won’t return her from the Shadowlands.  He thinks that the curse that has kept him as the Goblin King for almost two thousand years will be broken if he takes a willing queen.  Only Eliza isn’t willing.  Once she goes back to the Shadowlands she decides she wants to go back home.  There is a lot of that in this book.  To the Shadowlands.  To the Fixed Realm.  No, to the Shadowlands.  And back to the Fixed Realm.  Make up your mind Eliza dear!  

Roan and his brother Dai are trying to fight off the druid who wrongly cursed them, thinking this may also break the curse.  They are the last of the Decangli who were cursed and have to fight off the call to give up their souls and become wholly goblin.  It was a great story line.  I haven't read anything like this...ever.  

I felt like the last half of the book was a lot of nothing.  Roan had given up and was just picking the time when he would die.  Dai, had given up and Eliza didn’t have any sort of plan.  It just felt odd.  They had a few plans and they didn’t work, then it was “…meet me here…” and “…come to dinner…” 

I was also a little put off with the amount of time Eliza spent pushing the goblin part of Roan away.  I can understand the first time she saw the goblin that she wouldn’t want to be near him and that it might take a while to get over that, but it took until their last dinner for her to see past the goblin.  She had told Roan she loved him before this and knew she loved him way before this, but still didn’t want anything to do with his gray skin.  She knew it was still Roan so get over it Eliza!

Summons: A Goblin King Prequel by Shona Husk

This is a very quick read (I actually enjoyed how quick it was!). It occurs before "The Goblin King" which is the first book in the series. I haven't read The Goblin King yet, and at first I thought, "I am not sure I want to read a prequel about the Goblin King and some girl right before I read the first book in the series with him and another girl." Of course, the author thought of that and it is actually the same girl in both books. The prequel is a short story about how The Goblin King first meets Eliza. It was sweet (and very fast), but I got into it immediately. Since (as I said above), I haven't read the first book in the series I can't say whether this book needs to be read before the first book, but it was published first. I suspect it is just for fun and you could follow the first book without it, but its free (and did I say quick?). I look forward to starting The Goblin King. I liked both 16 year old Eliza and The Goblin King.