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.