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.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Blood and Snow: Volumes 1-4 by RaShelle Workman


3.5 Stars

This is a review for the first four novellas in the Blood and Snow series (Blood and Snow, Revenant in Training, The Vampire Christopher and Blood Soaked Promises).  If I had paid $1.99 for each novella I would feel like they weren’t worth that price, but I got all four lended to me.   It would have gotten 4 stars if there weren’t so many typos.  There was an abundance of typos, but enough to jar you out of the story because your mind registered that it was wrong. 
Summary:

Snow White is named after the Disney princess and very clumsy.  She lives next door to her seven best friends.  Very soon Snow finds that she is not a normal high school girl.  She was marked as a young girl to be a revenant.  The vampire queen is the original Snow White that the fairy tale is written about and every thousand years she must inhabit another body.  Snow has been marked (along with many others).  This means she is in the running to have the queen take over her body.  Each girl who is marked, is followed by the one who marked them, their hunter.  And Snow’s hunter is someone she knows and she is having a hard time fighting her attraction for him.  There is a faction who is opposed to the queen and think Snow is the key to over throwing her.  Snow is overwhelmed and doesn’t want any of this.  She doesn’t know who to trust.  She doesn’t want to be a vampire.  She wants to go back to normal with her 7 besties.  There is something weird going on with her step mom, her friend Cindy, her hunter, the necklace and random creatures showing up in her room with cryptic messages.
I would like to finish reading this story.  Unfortunately although these are titled “volumes” there are simply small section of one story and at the end of the fourth volume you are left hanging.  I happen to hate that!  Grrr….

But I liked the characters.  I really like Professor Pops, I loved all the brothers and their relationship with Snow.  I don’t trust Cindy and definitely not the step mom.  I am undecided about Christopher (her hunter).   

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sommersgate House by Kristen Ashley


At times I thought this could have been my favorite of the National Trust property books, and at times I wanted to know where the plot was. 

The bare bones plot: Julia Fairfax is moving to England, moving to Sommersgate House actually to take care of her nephew and nieces.  Julia’s brother, Gavin, died in a car accident with his wife, Tamsin.  In their will they requested that their children be raised by Gavin’s sister, Julia and Tamsin’s brother, Doughlas in Tamsin’s ancestral home, Sommersgate House. 

So Julia moves to Sommersgate.  She moves into a situation that is wrong, wrong, wrong.  The children are silent, all their time is structured.  They hardly see their uncle or their grandmother who both live with them.  When Julia gets there she immediately makes changes to begin to raise the children how she thinks that Gavin would want them raised and Monique (Douglas’s mother) immediately attempts to undermine her changes.  Douglas, however, makes it abundantly clear that he supports Julia. 

Douglas decides very early on that he wants to make Julia his wife and spends a goodly amount of time trying to convince her of this.  Both Douglas and Julia have hurt in their pasts that need healing.  96% of the story revolves around this situation: raising the children and Douglas trying to convince Julia to marry him and Julia going hot and cold.  3% of the story revolves around the ghostly lovers separated for the past 100 years after their brutal murder.  The last 1% is the action that comes at the very end.  We in fact do not even realize that danger is possible except for Nick the bodyguard.  There are no threats, no bombs, no kidnappings, no nasty phone calls…nothing, just poof danger-in-your-face. 

I like a little more action throughout and because of this I can’t love this book as some of KA’s other books.  I want my hero to save the heroine from multiple dangerous situations.

Favorite Quote:

“And, if the last thing you did was give someone you loved a hug or kiss, it would make dealing with whatever happened just that tiny bit better.”

Austenland: A Novel by Shannon Hale


This is the first book I have read by Shannon Hale.  Indeed, my kindle boasts at least 6 of her books and yet I am just now discovering the wonders within.  It was witty and in fact I laughed out loud at one part to which my husband said simply, “It’s good.” 

Austenland follows the quick narrative of Jane Hayes.  She is obsessed with Dr. Darcy and in fact all things Jane Austen.  She is also ashamed of her Austen obsession.  She has lunch with her Great Aunt Carolyn, and said aunt arranges for Jane to visit Pembrook Park.  At Pembrook Park, visitors completely immerse themselves in 1806 or 1809 or somewhere abouts.  The give up all technology, and dress, act and speak as if they are in fact in 1809.  There are others there, like Jane who are visiting for 3 weeks.  And the rest are actors, paid to give the guests whatever experience they want. 
Jane is embarrassed to be at Pembrook Park.  She eventually goes for the gusto.  There is some feel of not knowing how far the farce goes at times.  The reader (at least this reader) wondered how many people were in on farce. 

For Jane, there are two love interests.  Mr. Nobley, who actually presents as “Mr. Darcy” and Martin/Theodore the gardener who she sneaks off with to have forbidden technology with.  My one complaint with the book was that Jane vacillated between them even until the end!    
I have two favorite quotes for this book for there were parts that were rather profound and parts that made me chuckle:

-“At a very young age, she had learned how to love from Austen.  And according to her immature understanding at the time, in Austen’s world there was no such thing as a fling.  Every romance was intended to lead to marriage, every flirtation just a means to find that partner to cling to forever.”
AND

-“I, uh…”  She stopped to laugh.  “I wasn’t aware until this precise and awkward moment that when startled in a strange place, my instincts would have me pretend to be a ninja.”  Mr. Nobley put the back of his hand to his mouth to cough.  Or was it really a laugh?  No, Mr. Nobley had no sense of humor.  “Excuse me, then, I probably have a secret mission somewhere.”

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Book One in the Lunar Chronicles)


What a B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L cover
 5 Wonderful Stars later...

It is clear from the title that this book is a take on the Cinderella story (I will admit I am a sucker for new takes on fairy tales). There is a girl who is pushed down at every turn, and a ball and a prince.

This is a futuristic story set in New Beijing. After the fourth world war, the countries of the world have been consolidated down to only 6 ruling countries. New Beijing is ruled by an Emperor and the story allows us to get to know the Crown Prince, Kai. He is charming and very likeable.

Cinder is a cyborg that has been adopted into a family. For the purpose of this story, a cyborg is a person who has had robotic parts attached to their body in place of missing limbs, etc from accidents. Cyborgs are considered second class citizens. The adopted father died very soon after adopting Cinder and left her the mercies of her evil stepmother and 2 stepsisters (one likeable, one not). Cinder is put to work as a mechanic and has an android Iko for her best friend.

There are moon people in this book! And they are called Lunars. Basically they are humans that traveled to the moon a long time ago but has since changed into another race of beings with powers normal humans don't. Earthens are afraid of them and they have good reason. Their Queen is evil and is coming to New Beijing.

There is a plague spreading over the whole Earth, claiming more lives. Prince Kai must decide whether to save his people (if he can), or himself.

The rest of the story takes us through Cinder's relationships with Prince Kai, a scientist whom you wonder "Is he good or bad", but eventually that becomes clear, her little sister Peony and her desire to flee New Beijing.

It was a super fast read, I read it in 2 days. I would give it 4.5 stars if I could. It didn't make me obsessive after finishing the book, but I am still thinking about the characters and what happens next a week later and I can't wait for the next book with Little Red Riding Hood. Why oh why are they only coming out once a year!

Wuthering Frights by H.P. Mallory (Dulcie O'neal #4)



4 Stars (only because I wanted to punch someone...read on)

I am slightly biased as I LOVE pretty much anything that H.P. Mallory writes. This is the fourth installment for the Dulcie O'neil series. It is a cliff hanger (like everyone has said), but pretty much jumped right in where the last story took off (which was a major complaint from the last Jolie Wilkens book).

I really hate watching movies or reading books where the main character gets dumped on repeatedly. This happens to Dulcie in this book. I started reading it, and then stopped because it just seemed that she was losing everyone around her and they all blamed her. At one point Dulcie gets beat up by this guy, Baron, and while Quill was trying to stop it from happening he never once says, "You are not going to wanna do that to Melchior's daughter." In my mind that is all it would have taken to stop what happened, but perhaps there is a reason for not saying that.

Dulcie didn't handle her situation the way I would have and she didn't say things to Knight that I think would have been beneficial to her case. Clearly everyone reacts differently in situations, but it makes it hard to relate to a character that seems to consistently not be able to make a choice that would help her.

Having said all that, the end of the story leads me to think that Dulcie's extremely long string of bad luck may be turning. I admit that I am mad at Knightly Vander. Dulcie is supposed to be his true mate, but he has immediately thrown their entire history out the window at the first sign of trouble. I would have liked for Knight to have seen past Dulcie's ruse and put the pieces together and try to help her. I can see that he wouldn't want to be played for a fool, but he seems to be pushing his version of what he thinks happened beyond what should be rational. But then again, who is rational when in love? But he is definitely not giving Dulcie the benefit of the doubt, and because of this, I am mad at him. I want him to think that he has lost Dulcie. My heart hurts for Dulcie in this book (yes, I know she is fictional, but the author did a good job of showing the hurt that Dulcie is going through in this book.

The Vampire King by Heather Killough-Walden (The Kings Series #1)



I have almost read everything that Heather Killough-Walden has written and if I haven't read it then it is in my TBR pile. This book is a spin off series on the Big Bad Wolf series. You don't have to read the Big Bad Wolf series first, but I would recommend it because you will have a better understanding of some of the side characters and their motivations.

Summary:
The vampire king is Roman D'Angelo and he has been the king for over 3,000 years. There are 12 other kings (we haven't met them all so I don't exactly know what they are kings of). The foe is revealed early on as Charles Ward who is a vampire but was good friends with the warlock king (whom Roman helped to eliminate in the last book of the Big Bad Wolf series). Roman meets Evie and wants her for his queen. I believe that the other books in the series about the kings will be about them finding their queens. They must have all been queen-less this whole time.

Thoughts:
I didn't like that the book started out with an excerpt from the ending and then went back 3 weeks. Once I had already read that part it was almost frustrating to go to the beginning at that point, but I was drawn in quickly and was interested to read how Evie and Roman get along.

The other part that I found a little frustrating was that it seemed like Evie went straight from trying to run away from Roman to being his queen. There wasn't any time in there spent their blossoming relationship. I can see that with the timeline that there wasn't any time in which to do that, but should have been an "ah ha" moment for Evie when she should have realized that she loved him.

Overall, it was very entertaining. We got to meet the Phantom King who is the star of the next book. We met the new warlock king. We briefly met Ramses and it is hard to tell if he is a full blown bad guy or is functioning under a misunderstanding. There is so much going on in this story line it would be impossible to discuss all the side characters (so I guess you must read the Big Bad wolf series first!). I am looking forward to The Phantom King.

Time Mends by Tammy Blackwell (Timber Wolves #2)



The end of this book has made me bereft! What about Alex, Charlie, Jase, Talley and Liam? How can this end well? What was Jase up to? What did the Seer's see when they touched Scout and why wouldn't they tell their queen? Who is Lilith? I can't possibly be expected to wait for the next book right?

The middle, however, was not short on chuckles (and I am not someone who hands out chuckles lightly).

Some of my favorite quotes:

" 'What is it with girls and vampires?' Charlie asked, trying to smile. 'They're pretty and they sparkle in the sun, just like unicorns.' "

"If the White Witch offers you Turkish Delights, tell her to shove off."

"And you would not Shift into a fox, not in a box, not wearing sock?"

"Ashley smiled sweetly and patted my back where her hand was resting. 'Of course not, sweetie. You're always sunshine and rainbows.' I was going to sunshine and rainbows her face if she didn't watch it."

There were more things that made me laugh despite the overall sad or dire mood of the whole book. Ok, that is all I have to say, there are plenty of better reviews to read for more information on a summary (which is impossible by the way without giving away all the secrets of this book).

Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier (The Sevenwaters Trilogy #2)



5 Stars (again)

This is the second book in the Sevenwaters Trilogy. It made me very anxious, but I guess that is good because it made me want to read past my bed time in order to find out what happens next. It's not that it is packed with action and lots of adventures, but there is a lot of subterfuge going on. The way the book is written is to dispense with the valuable information a little at a time, which also keeps you on your toes. There was a lot of grief in this book as well (I can't say what happens as that would contain spoilers). I did note that sorrow was a theme in the first book as well. Not completely a HEA but enough of one that I felt satisfied (I am a HEA junkie).

This book follows Sorcha's daughter, Liadan (Sorcha is the main character from the first book). You don't need to have read the first book to understand this book, but it certainly would help in understanding the brief references to Lady Oonagh, Finbar's swan arm and the Fair Folk (see you already want to read the first one now). Liadan has to make a lot of tough decisions in this book, but she is so mature. One of my pet peeves is when the main character does or says stupid things throughout the book that make you groan. Liadan does not put you through that.

I love all the characters in this book. Many of the same characters from the first book are still there for us (Sorcha, Lubdan, Liam, Finbar, Conor). Bran is the unwilling and unlikely hero in this book. And there are many villains and half villains that pop up throughout the story. Bran's group of alpha misfits are endearing and loveable.

The overall story line of the trilogy is to regain the lost islands from the Britons. The theme for this particular book was trust. Liadan must learn who she can trust and who she can't. She guards her secrets close as she learns that those she can't always trust those that she should be able to trust. The story line is too intricate to give a synopsis here.

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier (The Sevenwaters Trilogy #1)



5 stars

I sucked this book down so fast I am almost bereft at its finish. This is one of those books with a story line, characters and scenes that re-play in your head well after you have finished.

The Summary:
There is a strong Irish family defending their lands from their enemy, the British. The family consists of a strong remote father and six sons and the youngest is a daughter. Each of the sons are unique in some way so that their personalities and strengths/weaknesses are evident. And they love their sister dearly. One day the father brings home an evil step-mother and eventually she passes a curse upon the children. The six brothers are turned into swans except for 2 evenings a year. To break the curse, Sorcha must first not speak a word and second weave six shirts for her brothers from the starwort plant (basically this plant has barbs and is painful with just a small touch and she must harvest, make thread and weave 6 shirts). The rest is the Sorcha's story of trying to accomplish this monumentally painful task in the face of seemingly insurmountable opposition.

I can't wait to read the next book. The book is long, but it takes you through such an epic journey of body and spirit that it doesn't seem over long. I loved Sorcha. Often times the heroine will make stupid mistakes that make you mad, but I never felt that way with Sorcha. She went through terrible things on her journey and still persevered.

The Fire Wars by Kailin Gow



3 Stars

The premise of the book was new and interesting...

The entire world is nothing more than a series of islands after the water gods have submerged what they can. Mac moves with her mother to Aeros Island which is some Pacific Island. It soon becomes apparent that unknown forces have brought them here. Mac's tuition has been paid for at a prestigious private school, they live in the VIP client housing instead of the regular employee housing at the hotel that Mac's mom works at, etc. Then Mac meets two very different boys. She likes them both, and worst of all they are cousins. Varon is easy going, kind, blonde and beautiful. Chance is uninterested, almost mean, dark and yes he too is beautiful. They both want her, and wants them both. Chance thinks Mac is his Fire Queen and Varon insists that Mac should pick him and be his Water Goddess. Oh did I forget to Mention that Chance is the Fire god and Varon is the water god...

The downsides...
1. The book has a major cliff hangar. Some may like that, but I like at little a small amount of resolution at the end.
2. I am pretty sure (but I am not positive) that I hate love triangles! I don't like that someone always ends up alone and that the heroine has a hard time chosing. (And don't even get me started about books with one guy and two girls after him, yuck). So that is clearly a matter of opinion an dit is obvious that many many people love a good love triangle.

However, the writing was good and it was a new idea for a story line, but I won't buy the next one. 

Savor by Megan Duncan




The book takes place in a world where vampire royalty rules the land. When you turn 18, you get your blood tested and get a donor card. When Claire gets her blood tested she is soon visited by an ambassador of the royal vampire family. Claire is told her blood is perfect and is invited to the palace to become a princess, adopted vampire daughter to the reigning monarchy. Claire's mother is ecstatic, Claire...not so much. Eventually, Claire decides to accept the proposition. She likes the idea of becoming a princess and while she is scared of the process to become a vampire, she looks forward fitting in (as she felt she never did in the human world). The transition is subtle (I hate when a character goes from hating something to agreeing to it in a moments notice). However, not everything is happy with the new addition to the royal family and the natives (humans) are getting restless with more and more protests.

What I love:
1. The princess idea.
2. The blood mate idea. I love Arrick

Dislikes:
1. It was a little short and didn't feel like a complete story. I prefer to read series, but I like each book to be a complete story with a resolution.
2. Again with the love triangles and not being able to decide between two men. blah...

Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Cassiel Knight

I debated including this cover because that
half naked man in the background is
E-M-B-A-R-A-S-S-I-N-G


Ok, so first I must say that I won a e-copy of this book...and by won I mean that the author posted that she was giving away a copy to the first person who said they wanted it, which was me, so I won. There were no strings attached, she did not ask me to review and I do not know this author.

The summary for this book says that Gideon is trying to catch the guys who killed his father, which is not true, but that is all I am going to say without giving away parts of the story. Also, I don't think that you can tell from the summary but this book is set in the future, but still on Earth. She designates locations by referring to them as "New London", "New Boston", etc. so you don't get confused with where in the world you are. The only thing I found confusing was that she made up curse words/exclamations. One of them is "shred it". The first time I read it, I thought she was literally telling someone to shred something. But you get used to it, and it eliminates the excessive use of real curse words which can sometimes be distracting.

I read the book in 2 days. It was shorter than I wanted. I wanted to read more about the tension between Black and Sidra and Gideon and Sidra. It was so well done and I would often go back and read those parts again. Sidra is strong and independent, but doesn't make stupid choices just for her pride. I want to know more about why Kar and Gideon don't like each other, who is the "spook" in the Triad, does Sidra quit Triad and work for Vitaria or does she do the "double agent" thing, do they catch the bad guys? Will there be more Cassiel Knight?!? I started reading it late at night and didn't get very far, but as soon as we met Black, I was hooked. I had to go to sleep (that whole career thing is really getting in the way of my reading time), and I couldn't wait to get back to Black and Sidra.

This is a new author and a new book. When I try these I usually don't have very high expectations, but this one was a pleasing surprise. I would recoomend it.   I bought the next book that the author put out (it is a full length novel), but I am not as into it as this book.  In fact, it has been on my "currently reading" shelf for a couple months now. 

Lichgates by S.M. Boyce (The Grimoire Trilogy #1)



Ultra quick synopsis: Kara likes to hike and while on holiday with her father, happens upon a door in a mountain. Through a series of events, Kara finds The Grimoire and becomes The Vagabond in a new world where everything can be deadly and people don't always look like what they are. The people have waited a thousand years for the next vagabond and now that she is here there are those who would use her and those who would kill her. Kara must decide who to trust if she is going to live to try to bring peace.

I loved the world that S.M. Boyce built. I can't wait for the next book to come out and I hope that Braedan and Kara can end up together. I loved visiting the different kingdoms, they sounded beautiful with completely different people native to each one. Overall, I loved Kara, she is thrown into an incredibly stressful and important position and refuses to be used. I think it would be easy to go along with what other (scarier, bigger, deadlier) Bloods want from her while she is in this strange land. But it also annoyed me when she would go beyond stubborn (like when she refused to wear the dress. Just wear the darn dress Kara!). I loved the griffin and the rownthe and Feck (he was adorable!) and the rest of her menagerie of pets.

There was a time when Braedan’s adopted dad told Kara that she needed to watch how she spoke to his son (the new Blood). I didn’t like this and wished that Kara had somehow been able to let him know it was not ok to tell her to watch her mouth. It happened in a roundabout manner, but I wanted more of, “I am the Vagabond, you don’t tell me what to do scamp!”.

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder



I have read all of the "Study Series" by Maria V. Snyder and loved it. So when I saw this book coming out a couple of months ago, I was waiting on pins and needles. I kept checking back to make sure that the release date wasn't sooner than I remembered :)

Maria V. Snyder does an awesome job of world building and this book was no exception. It takes place in an area called "Fifteen Realms" in a world where the technology of phones, cars etc. does not exist. The heroine is Avry and she is a healer which is like a dirty word in this world. Avry has been on the run for 3 years and has to hide the fact that she is a healer. Being a healer means that Avry needs to lay her hands on the hurt/sick person and then her healer magic pulls the injury or sickness into her own body where she then has to heal herself from the same disease or injury, but she heals much faster.

Avry was caught in the act of healing a child and was in jail to be executed when she is busted out by a cantankerous man (Kerrick) who remains cantankerous mosto of the time. Kerrick didn't save Avry's life just to be nice though, he wants something in return. He wants Avry to heal a prince. But not just any prince, a prince that Avry doesn't think should live and should Avry heal this prince it would cost Avry her life as this is one sickness that she can't heal herself from.

A lot of the book is about the travels to the Nine Mountains where the sick prince is, the trouble to get there (as Kerrick isn't the only one who wants Avry), and Kerrick and his band of merry men trying to convince Avry to heal the prince.

I read this book in a day and a half (granted I had off work and was able to spend a large chunk of that day reading), but I couldn't put it down!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Entangled by Nikki Jefford (Spellbound Trilogy #1)



I finished this sucker is 2 days! It was excellent. I had actually borrowed the book but think I am still going to go buy it because I want it in my personal collection.

Summary:
Graylee (love that name) is a witch, but she hasn't had her powers or very strong powers since she was very young and the star of her class. We find out the reason for this very early.

Graylee's twin sister Charlene is also a witch, but for all appearances much stronger than Graylee. Graylee is kind of eclectic and Charlene is the typical pretty, popular, shallow teenager. Needless to say they bump heads often. Charlene's boyfriend dumps her and Charlene is determined to get him back. This stirs up a whole pot of nastiness and Charlene ends up accidentally killing Graylee. Because of this Graylee and Charlene end up sharing the same body, with only one of them being conscious during each 24 hour period. Graylee is working with her mother, Raj and Nolan (both warlocks) to find a way out of Charlene's body and into her own.

Thoughts:
I am glad that we spent each 24 hour period only in Graylee's head (as opposed to 24 hours with Graylee then 24 hours with Charlene). This meant that we missed out on the other 24 period unless we were in Raj's head (which I loved). I didn't want to spend any time in Charlene's head so I am glad my time wasn't wasted with that nonsense. I actually liked every time Graylee would wake up and read her sister's notes from the previous day.

I loved Raj! There aren't many Indian or maybe he is only half Indian hero's, but he was magnificent. I did think that it would have been more believable if he had noticed Gray before her disappearing act. I was also confused with Raj's mother as at one point she is downright hateful to Raj and another she is comforting him. What is the story there? Will be get it later? I wasn't sold on Shay even though I could tell that I should like her.

It was slightly annoying that Charlene got away with half of the stuff that she did, but I think that was part of her character that she was able to manipulate others.

Overall, the book got its hooks into me instantly and didn't let go. I will definitely be reading the next book.

Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley (Dream Man Series #1)



So many people have raved about Kristen Ashley's books and I finally decided to read one. I was blown away. I'm still living in Cabe and Gwen's world.

Summary:
Gwendolyn Piper Kidd is a book editor. She went through an ugly divorce. She loves her father and step-mother. One night, she meets a man in a bar and he goes home with her. She doesn't get his name and he is gone by the morning. Then this continues to happen for the next 1.5 years! No name, gone by the morning.

One of Gwen's sister's friends (friend's name is Darla, sister's name is Ginger) shows up on Gwen's door and freaks Gwen out. Ginger is in trouble (again). Gwen tries to figure out what is happening and try to help and in the process puts herself in the line of fire. At this point, Gwen's mystery man shows up and demands that Gwen drop the Ginger stuff. Mystery man starts investing much more time in Gwen that slipping in at night.

The rest of the book is about the adventure of trying to help Ginger while keeping Gwen safe and Gwen and mystery man's growing relationship.

Mystery man (Cabe "Hawk" Delgado) is the ultimate alpha male. I liked this more than I thought I would. I thought I would be annoyed, but Kristen Ashley did it in such a way that it was almost endearing. He always referred to Gwen as "babe". When Gwen would be upset and ask Hawk a question, sometimes his entire answer was, "babe". This made me laugh! I did like that Hawk called her "babe," but it got old that everyone seemed to called everyone else, "babe". One person using that term can be funny and just part of their personality, but everyone was too much.

I read this one in three days. I can't wait to read the next one!

Blood Unbound by Rachel Vincent (#3 in Unbound Series)



The premise of this story was really good. There are two feuding factions in "the city". Cavazos vs. Tower with one small area of the city considered to be neutral. If you belonged to either faction then you had rings tattooed on your designating both which faction you belonged to (by the color) and how long you had been with them (the number of rings) which also designated how high up the ladder in each organization you were (1 ring=5 years, 2=10 years and so on).

Liv is a blood tracker meaning with your blood she can find you. Liv's childhood friend has come to her with a problem: her husband was just murdered and she wanted him found. Liv was also helping Cavazos to find someone so she has to juggle these two jobs. Liv's ex-boyfriend is also part of the gig to help her friend, Anne and he makes no mystery that he wants Liv back, but Liv left for a reason and that reason still stands. The problems just keep coming and the reader wonders how in the world all of the problems could get resolved by the end. But indeed the problems do get resolved, but brand new ones arise at the end with a bit of a cliff hanger.

We don't get to know Tower at all except through the eyes of secondary characters. Cavazos, though, we do get to know and at times, the reader starts to think maybe he isn't so bad, but then he does something (or many somethings in a row) and the reader again knows he is a "bad guy". I think this is done on purpose as this is what the main character, Liv, goes through regularly.

Cons:
1. The story is written in first person POV of Liv (the Heroine) and while I normally like this, it would switch without warning to first person POV for Cam (the Hero). There was no title or description so that you knew you were going into his head. Just all of the sudden the "I's" stopped meaning Liv and started meaning Cam and I would often forget whose head I was in and has to go back and figure it out. There should only be one person giving the first person POV (my preference).

2. I really, really, really did not like Anne. She was supposed to be Liv's childhood best friend, but she repeatedly made me want to punch her. At the beginning, she asks Liv to track her husband's killer and Liv agrees to that, but Anne was the guy killed and she wants Liv to do it. Liv doesn't want to but she has to because Anne has asked her. That whole conversation was so annoying with Anne being the annoying one. I think that the author wanted to depict Anne as a mother who would do anything for her child, but she came across as a mother who would ask anyone to do anything for her. Later on she asked to go with Cam and to leave Liv with Cavazos even though Cavazos had just beaten Liv up and it would have been helpful for Anne to be there to see if he was lying, but little Anne didn't want to and we should all just give Anne whatever she wants because she is a suburban mom.

3. This is a separate issue although it still falls in the "I hate Anne" group. Anne slept with Cam the night that Liv left! Unforgiveable, but this is never broached at all in the book. Liv just gets over it after a brief discussion with Cam. Gah!

I liked it well enough to finish it, but I'm not dying to read the next one right away (maybe in the future).

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (The Iron Fey Series #1)



I really did adore this story. I bought the ebook a while back and it has sat on my virtual TBR shelf for months, but now I wonder what the holdup was.
The heroine is Meghan Chase, her ran disappeared when she was little leaving only his shoes behind. Her mom remarried and moved to a small town in Louisiana on a pig farm in the boondocks. She has a half brother, Ethan who is four. Her best friend is Robbie Goodfell and is a prankster, but pretty much her only friend.

The first few pages are Meghan recalling the day her dad disappeared, which looking back I think is the reason that it took me so long to read this or should I say, finish it. I had started it months back but never got past those pages where Meghan is reflecting on her dad leaving. It was just not interesting enough for me to keep reading. I guess that is a bad hook, but I am glad that I went back and started reading. Once I got to the current story line (which admittedly is only a few pages in, perhaps this says more about my attention span than the author's hook?), I tore through the book in 3 days.

Her brother Ethan, gets kidnapped and taken to Nevernever (love that name) and Robbie agrees to help her get her brother back, because the changeling left in his place is mean and he bites! Meghan ends up meeting her father, a cat who can talk (reminds me of the Cheshire cat), a best friend who is more than he seems, a prince who is hot then cold, and a would-be psychopathic suitor. I loved many of the characters that Meghan runs across through her journey to get Ethan back: Grumly the troll (or is he an ogre?), the little walnut skinned man who lives in the tree, the rat pack (my favorite), and others. There were villains that were great too: the redcaps, the goblins in the wyldwood, Virus, the kelpie, etc. Although, I couldn't bring myself to hate Ironhorse!

Usually, I have a whole list of annoying things with the main character that I feel compelled to share, but not with Meghan. There was once or twice when she annoyed me, but not enough for me to list them here :).

I can't wait to read The Iron Queen next!

Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley (Rock Chick #1)



I am officially on the Kristen Ashley bandwagon and its amazing. Love it! I read Mystery Man first which is the first book in another series but it was clearly written after this series as a couple of the characters made cameos and to appreciate the cameos I decided to go back to the beginning. And in the words of Inigo Montoya: "I am waiting for you, Vizzini. You told me to go back to the beginning. So I have. This is where I am, and this is where I'll stay. I will not be moved." Of course, I will be moved, right on to Rock Chick Rescue...

India Savage, goes by Indy, has been avoiding Liam Nightingale for the past 10 years. She has been in love with him since she was five years old. She threw herself at him numerous times and every time he turned her down. Ten years ago he made his point by saying that Indy was like a sister to him. And since Indy was his sister's best friend, Indy believed him, she was humiliated and hurt and she believed him.

Now Indy is thirty and she owns a used bookstore/coffee shop and her famous coffee guy is in big trouble. The coffee guy's name is Rosie (this is short for Ambrose) and he and Indy need a place to stay after getting shot at by bad guys after Rosie. Ally (Liam's sister and Indy's best friend) thinks the safest place for them is in Liam's condo (Liam isn't home). Of course, we know, Liam comes home. He comes home in the middle of the night and sneaky as a cat he ties up Rosie in the living room like he is a hog at a hog roast. He yanks Indy out of his bed by her foot...the rest is all the twists and turns through getting Rosie and Indy out of trouble with the bad guys (there are repeated kidnappings, numerous car bombs, and creepy bad guys that look like Grandpa Muenster) and also the tumultuous relationship that builds between Liam and Indy. Liam decides he wants Indy, Indy decided ten years ago she was done with Liam. Hmmm...interesting!

The secondary characters were great! I loved, loved, loved Tex (words can't even describe this guy but he is great). I loved Eddie (Eddie's story? Rock Chick Rescue? Don't mind if I do.), Kitty Sue, The Kevster.

The only thing I don't like is that there are too many cowboy boots. Everyone seems to be wearing them and they aren't my favorite so it ruins my mental image. Whenever I read that, I have to change their shoes in my head.

Rock Chick Rescue by Kristen Ashley (Rock Chick #2)



I ripped right through this book in two days. I believe it is something like 500 pages! Needless to say there wasn't a whole lot of laundry washing itself. Of course, at this time I am already 20% through Rock Chick Redemption. The entirety of July's book allowance is being spent on this series. I don't want to think about where I'll be when the allowance is gone, August will still be weeks away and more Rock Chick's to read!

Rock Chick Rescue is the story of Jet and Eddie. We met Eddie in Rock Chick and I definitely wanted to hear his story. Jet is a super cool name but I believe her real name is Henrietta or something. Jet is used to taking care of everything all by herself. She was working two jobs and trying to take care of her mom who had a stroke eight months ago. This was going ok, until her dad shows up in town (and while it is clear he loves her, he is still a bum) and he brings a heap of trouble on Jet.

Jet has a hard time with Eddie because she thinks he is out of her league and just looking for someone to rescue (hence the name). She tries to push Eddie away, and Eddie just keeps coming. I loved the beginning when they are dancing around each other. I loved Jet and that she didn't know how pretty she was. It was sweet seeing her realize that she had a bunch of friends who wanted to help her.

I still loved Tex in this, but I also loved Tod and Stevie, Ada was hilarious, I loved Eddie's mother, Blanca, and (surprisingly) I loved Daisy. I loved Mace and Vance and I looked ahead and I see I get to read their stories so I am pumped about that.

The ending was a little weak to me. Jet decides to end things and for no apparent reason, I needed a bigger reason than the same old stuff she had been saying, but then Jet says, "I love you" and Eddie just thinks this is cute. However, since I have started #3 then I can see that Jet and Eddie are still sorting their stuff out in this one, so I will forgive Kristen and trust that she has a master plan in place here.

The only thing I found annoying with Jet (it seemed that others found many things annoying with her, but I liked her a lot) was her tendency to say:
"No."
"No, No, No." and often.

Rock Chick Redemption by Kristen Ashley (Rock Chick #3)



Where to begin...I absolutely loved this book. I will admit, that at the beginning, I thought Hank's book was just something to get through to get to the rest of the books. He had parts in the first two books and while I liked him, I didn't think he had what it takes to be the hero of his own book...I was wrong. I was very, very, wrong. Hank was amazing and I really loved Roxie. I didn't like how high maintenance she was, but I appreciate that the author is giving her characters differences that make their personality. The book made me laugh. There were parts were Roxie by herself made me laugh, and Roxie with Hank made me laugh, or Roxie with Uncle Tex (I still love Uncle Tex although he has quite the potty mouth on him).

The entirety of their relationship can be summed up with this quote:
"I'm not your woman," I said, drowsy.
"You are," he returned.

I really loved the story line with Roxie. She was in a bad relationship with a boyfriend and she was trying to leave. She tried to break up with him and "it didn't take." He kept coming after her and Denver was part of the plan. Meet her Uncle Tex, Billy finds her and she will come back to Denver and hopefully he won't look for her in the place he just found her (that is her plan). When he does find her she is with Hank and Billy flips out. I actually liked the part of the story line were Roxie gets beaten and taken (not that I in any way find this acceptable behavior for real life or would ever think it is ok, but it works so well for this book). Because of this the entire Hot Bunch wants to protect Roxie, but she thinks she is dirty now.

This is my new favorite!

Rock Chick Revenge by Kristen Ashley (Rock Chick #5)



Ava and Luke

This was one of my favorite Rock Chick books! I loved Luke AND I loved Ava. I haven't loved both the characters equally since Liam and India. And Lee was super sweet in this one when he found Ava in the basement. I am actually ~70% through Vance and Jules story when I started this one (just intending to read the first few chapters that are available online because I didn't have access to my kindle) and I couldn't put it down. I had to go home and purchase this one and kept trying to convince myself to play by the rules and go back and finish Vance and Jules...but I couldn't!

I am not sure this one needs a summary (there is not so much stuff that goes down). In short, Ava has known Luke since she was eight, she gets into some trouble, goes to Luke, changes her mind, he decides he is taking care of her troubles and the rest is the story of those troubles and Luke and Ava's story.

I still love Tex. He usually makes me laugh (although I will reiterate that his foul mouth sometimes makes me cringe with his use of GD). I love Shirleen and (unexpectedly) I loved Ren. He was such a wonderful combination of macho man/sweet guy that (if I didn't love Luke as much as I do) I might have rooted for him. I like Riley as well (not as much as Ren) but he was a good character as well.

Ava's troubles were at once less scary and more scary than the other Rock Chick's, but I loved, loved, loved it.

Now, I just have to convince myself to finish Vance and Jules before going on to Mace and Stella. I have many colleagues who rely on me for book recommendations and I have having a hard time not getting giddy when I talk about Rock Chicks (that would mean I am a bigger dork than I already am, so I gotta keep a lid on that.)

Rock Chick Reckoning by Kristen Ashley (Rock Chick #6)



4.5 stars

Where to begin...

Obviously (as stated in the book summary) this is Mace and Stella's story. It was really good (which is why it gets five big beautiful stars), but if I could I would give it 4.5 stars. It wasn't my favorite of the Rock Chick series, but it wasn't my least favorite either.

This book had alternating first person POV, which is different than the rest of the Rock Chick's (which is always first person POV but always for one person). Because of this we got a look at the Hot Bunch sans Rock Chicks at times (not as much as I would have liked though), and also small glimpses into Roxie/Hank, Indy/Lee, and Jules/Vance. Whenever it switched to a different Rock Chick I always got annoyed and wanted to get back to Stella, but by the end of each mini episode I was digging it.

There was an epilogue which was a little different. It did a look into the future about five years and gave an update on all the Hot Bunch/Rock Chick couples. I liked it, but at the same time I was saddened.

There wasn't as much action in this book, which is my biggest complaint. I loved the story between Mace and Stella and maybe because of Mace's past the author didn't want to put him through any typical Rock Chick stuff and have to save her, but I missed it.

Wildest Dreams by Kristen Ashley (Fantasyland #1)



I absolutely loved this book...traveling to a parallel universe, talking animals, dragons, elves...wonderful! It reads like a historical paranormal romance Kristen Ashley style. I was only 30% of the way through when I went back on Amazon and bought the other two in the trilogy.

Summary:
Seoafin (or Finnie) switches places (willingly) with her twin in this parallel universe. However, while she was willing and left her twin (only in looks, they aren't genetically twins or even have the same personality) detail descriptions of how to get along in Finnie's life, her twin did not do the same for her. Finnie ends up in the middle of a big mess, marrying a guy who (apparently) hates her. Finnie's theme is to treat everything like it is an adventure so that is what she does.

Frey Drakkar is the hero. He is not quite the alpha male that Kristen writes about in the Rock Chick's and Mystery Man series, but he is still very alpha. He soon learns that his Finnie isn't who he thought she was and makes a series of decisions regarding her stay in his world (and other things).

There is a great deal of political strife (oh I think I forgot to mention that Finnie is a princess in this new world). So that is where most of danger comes from as many people were trying to assassinate her, of course she gets kidnapped (in true Kristen Ashley fashion). The world building here was amazing. It takes place in an area that is quite a bit more primitive than current times here. It took place mostly in a land that was wintery.

I loved Kell, Skylar, Penelope, Apollo, Valentine, Aurora, Finnie's girls, Frey's raiders, and mostly Frey and Finnie. I loved their teasing and banter. It was probably my favorite part. I would find myself grinning along with them.

The reason it gets 4 stars instead of 5 is that at about 70% way through I was thinking, "ok something interesting happen here" Not long after, something interesting did indeed happen though.

The Golden Dynasty by Kristen Ashley (Fantasyland #2)



I read a lot of reviews of people saying that this book was their favorite out of the three books. It was a great story and the beginning had me riveted, however, there were at least two times where I stopped reading it for a while.

Summary:
Circe lives in Seattle, goes to sleep in her own bed and wakes up in a pen with a bunch of women. She found a woman who spoke English and was explained that she was a part of the Korwahk Wife Hunt. Basically, it's what it sounds like. The women are set free and the men hunt them down. Circe attracts the attention of the savage Korwak king and is brutally fought over.

The rest of the story is King Lahn's struggle to win his queen's heart and Circe's struggle to adapt to a brutal culture. They don't speak the same language and have vastly different cultures and customs. There is a warrior who hates Circe and beats and humiliates his own wife. This was hard to read, but it made it so very easy to hate Dortak. Of course, the evil Dortak challenges the King to a fight to the death which would mean Circe being at Dortak's mercy. The Korwak's thought Circe was their True Golden Queen.

The ending when Lahn found out about Circe being from another world broke my heart. It was written so well I felt like I could feel Circe's pain. She said exactly what I wanted her to say to him (which is rare).

What I liked:
-Circe
-Her girls
-Her girlfriends
-Her guards
-Most of the time I liked Lahn (but not all, see below)
-Lahn learning English
-Circe's magic
-I loved reading the bits of the Korwahk language and learning about this culture.

What I didn't like:
-the Xacto (this is a group of female slaves whose purpose it is to basically have sex with the warriors whenever they want. It's ok for married warriors to have sex with the Xacto.
-The raping done during the pillaging. Circe clearly doesn't want her husband to rape women when he goes out on his raids, but he tells her that it is none of her business. When he finally concedes he says that he has never asked her to change who she is and that she can't ever ask him to change who he is. Um...ok, its asking her to change who she is if he thinks he should be able to have sex with who ever he wants and she can't leave him (which is what she would have done in her world).
-When Lahn hit Circe. That was one of the times I stopped reading. He was clearly upset with himself later for doing it, but I could have done without that part.

Overall it was still a good story, but I will be honest and say I am enjoying Fantastical (#3) more and when I would stop reading this book then I would read Fantastical. The only reason I didn't finish Fantastical first was that it got to a point where I felt like I would learn about the ending of the book before I actually read it so I stopped ~80% and went back to finish this book.

Fantastical by Kristen Ashley (Fantasyland #3)



This is my favorite from the Fantasyland Series. I loved the first one with Finnie and Frey. I liked the second one with Circe and Lahn, but had to stop reading at times because Lahn was making me too mad (see my review for The Golden Dynasty if you want more details about that). But I absolutely adored Cora and Tor.

Another reviewer said they hope to learn more about Noc and Apollo and I hope, I hope, I hope I get to read more about them too. I love this world so much and it would sadden me if I never got to experience it again.

Summary:
So the same premise for the past two books goes for this book. A woman from this Earth is sent in her sleep to the other Earth. The other Cora was sent to this Earth. Unlike in the other two books, we quickly learn that we do not and will not like Cora. We never find any redeeming qualities about her and I really enjoyed that I disliked her. Tor is already married to the other Cora because it was foretold at his birth that she held the other half of his soul. However, he quickly found out how dreadful she was. When good Cora woke up in the other Earth, birds were talking to her and she had an adorable sister. However, she quickly set in motion a curse that affects everyone in Prince Tor's kingdom. He, of course, thinks his terrible wife did this on purpose and does not believe good Cora's story of waking up in an alternate universe. The curse is after them and Tor must keep Cora safe even though he wants nothing to do with her. He thinks this new Cora's actions are just a farce. Meanwhile, the bad Cora has managed to attract the Tor of this Earth and has made a large mess of good Cora's life, ignoring her parents, leaving her apartment in shambles, losing all friends as well as getting into some nefarious activity in this world as well.

In between my breaks of book two, I would read this book. The only reason I didn't finish this book before it's predecessor is that I sensed I would learn some things in this book which would affect the people in book two.

Please make and book four, five, six...

The Gamble by Kristen Ashley (Colerado Mountain Man #1)



4 Stars.

Not my favorite nor my least favorite Kristen Ashley book

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It isn't my favorite KA book and the hero and heroine weren't my favorites either. They didn't annoy me, but I didn't connect with them as much as other KA characters. I didn't figure out who the bad-bad guy was until very late in the game, but I wasn't surprised when he made his move because I had his number by then.

Summary:

Nina had moved to England so although she was American, she had an English accent which led to her nickname of Duchess (which I did like). Max (full name Holden Maxwell, loved the name Holden so I am not sure why he went by Max, but whatever) lived in the Colorado Mountains, built a house on his own land their and took long jobs away from his home. Because of this he rents out his home when he isn't there. There is a mix up and both Max and Nina are slotted to be there at the same time. The book description does a good job of telling the reader what happens during that encounter, but sparks fly (angry sparks, not interesting sparks).

A man that no one in town seems to like (except of course his wife) ends up murdered and the rest of the book is spent with dealing with the aftermath of that, reading his will, catching his killer, etc.

There is an interesting (I say interesting the way that it kept my interest) with a friend of Max's, Mindy. This story line took up a good deal of the middle of the book. Mindy's ex-boyfriend is bad news and makes many cameo's spotlighting his jerkiness (and he has it in for Nina).

The very end of the book is where all the action happens as far as catching the bad guys. I wished that part took up a little bit more of the story line, but KA doesn't like to leave her heroine's too long in the clutches of the evil-doers.

I found it odd that Nina's dead brother would talk to her in her head. At first I thought that this was Nina's way of keeping Charlie close, but at the end Charlie says things that Nina wouldn't know (for example, Max is looking for Nina and Charlie tells Nina to yell because Max is close) so it's not just in Nina's head. I guess it was his spirit or something talking to her.

I got bored about 80% of the way through this and started reading another book. I did come back to it fairly quickly, but I feel like there could be a good many pages eliminated from this book and it would have been better. The entire book took place in a matter of two weeks. I have a hard time reading KA's descriptions of clothes. For one thing, it is too descriptive and another it is soo not my style that what I picture in my head actually makes me cringe thinking of people wearing these clothes (this is true mostly for all of KA's books, except for the Fantastical series which took place in another world so I loved their clothes). I have started just skimming her clothes descriptions and put my own images in my head to keep my heroines hip and cool in my head (not that I am super hip and cool, but I need my heroines to be).

The other annoying thing was that Nine would get interrupted constantly and she started all her sentences with "Mom-" or "Max-" and be interrupted three or four times in a row. Maybe this only annoys me because being interrupted is one of my personal pet peeves. Or maybe the problem was that Nina was interrupting people before they were done so they just kept talking, either way, it was super annoying to read that through the entire book!

I have already starting reading Sweet Dreams and am very much into those two characters. I don't think that you need to read The Gamble before you read Sweet Dreams, even though they are in a series I don't think any of the characters overlap.

Also, be careful, KA tends to use religious swear words often and it can be jarring to read them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Spellbound-Legend by Claudy Conn (Legend Series)



3 Stars

Short Summary (I hope this doesn't confuse you):
Maxie is a modern day look alike of a long deceased relative (also Maxie). Julian was once engaged to the first Maxie and a tragedy resulted in her death and his removal from this realm to the fae realm for many centures. The culprit responsible for this tragedy just got released from her exile and still has delusions of true love for Julian. Maxie (modern day/alive Maxie) is swept up in this drama as she finds her heritage results in her being a druid and also a seer. Maxie is thrown together with Julian (who can't stand her and she painfully reminds him of his Maxie and all he lost). The Prince of Dagda has a thing for this Maxie also and (you guessed) and love triangle ensues.

I loved the idea of this book, but I just had such a hard time getting into it. I started reading it two separate times only to set it aside for months before finally finishing it. I love reading about the fae and usually love anything they are in. I like the Prince of Dagda, but his obsession with Maxie just wasn't very convincing. When he was around her, it was believable, but we got the story a few times from his POV and at that point I couldn't believe his feeling for Maxie were anything deep.

I didn't really enjoy Maxie and Julian as characters. I didn't find anything about them endearing and many, many times Maxie would severely annoy me. The ending, which included a fight/battle, that the entire book was leading to, happened in just a few pages and was over very quickly. Very anti-climactic. I don't particularly want to read the next book, but I am glad that I finished this one.

Wild Man by Kristen Ashley (Dream Man #2)



This booked was lended to me on kindle. I don't own it, and I didn't love it enough to want to buy it after reading it. Not my favorite KA book. It took me a while to finish it, and I kept moving on to other books, but I just couldn't leave this wounded soldier behind so I finally got it finished. I was glad it wasn't as long as other KA books.

I didn't feel like there was a lot of action in this book. In Mystery Man, there was constantly something happening to Gwen. Most of the action that happened to the heroine, Tess, happened before we ever meet her. A little drama at the beginning and then a few pages at the end.

Not my favorite hero...

I like the name "Brock Lucus". It's a good name. However, we met Brock when he was undercover in Mystery Man. He was having sex with Darla who by all accounts was nasty and he hated every minute of it, but he did it for his undercover case he was working on. That didn't set well with me when I read Mystery Man, but then I found out Brock was the hero for the next book in this series, then it really didn't sit well. Then the other part that I didn't like Brock from Mystery Man was that he had Gwen kidnapped. Those things do not add up to someone that I want to read about! He was fine in this book, but I will always have Darla in my head when I think of Brock.

I did like the idea of Brock working on Tess as part of the undercover deal and falling in love with her and her finding out that he was undercover! That was the best part of the book, however, it happened right in the beginning, then Tess went off by herself for three or four months, then Brock walks back into her kitchen and her life and basically tells Tess to get over it. He should have had to work for it a lot longer, but I get that KA was designing a heroine that didn't play games and was super sweet, but she just got over it instantly, and then she got over learning about Darla instantly.

Both of their ex's are people you just love to hate although Olivia takes the cakes with that one. I was sooo relieved that we didn't have to deal with Brock buying into all her conniving schemes! There was only once when you question whether Brock is buying that crap.

I liked Brock's family, his boys, his brother's-in-law (maybe more than his sisters). I liked that we got glimpses of Hawk, Mitch, Hank, Vance and Hector. Not enough because I loved all of them more than Brock.

Law man by Kristen Ashley (Dream Man #3)




4 stars

Super Short Summary:
Detective Mitchell James Lawson (love that name) lives across the hall from Marabele Jolene Hanover. Mitch has had his eye on Mara and takes his shot with her when her faucet is leaking and she needs some manly help to fix it. Mara is pathologically shy and has also had her eye on Mitch for years (for four years to be exact!) and has watched women come and go from his apartment the whole time. The problem is that she believes she is a 2.5. Mara has a point system for everyone, it is firstly based on looks then personality, etc once she knows someone, and Mitch is a solid 10.5. So in Mara World, Mitch would never be interested in Mara. The drama keeps coming as Mara's cousin's kids call her from a convenient store because they are hungry and Mara's deadbeat cousin has no food, no money, no phone and is strung out of his gourd. Thus ensues the battle to get the kids out of that situation, and get Mara and Mitch on the same page. The Trailer Trash Twins (aka Mara's mom and aunt) make many appearances and while I must say some of KA's descriptions get a little long and I don't care, the descriptions for the Trailer Trash Twins was perfect! I could absolutely picture those two nasties in my head!

Cons:
KA's books tend to be a bit lengthy and towards the end I started skimming sections just looking for when they were talking. There is a lot of descriptions for peoples clothes, apartments, and tons of examining of feelings that sometimes feels redundant. I never ever skim books, but I did towards the end of this one.

Mara wasn't my favorite KA heroine, but she wasn't my least favorite either. Mitch is a lot like Hank Nightingale, but I liked Hank better. I didn't feel like I got to know Mitch quite as well as some of the other KA hero's.

The real drama with Tack and the Russian mob doesn't happen until the very end and I always wish that part lasted a little longer.

All's well that ends well and KA's books always end well! I loved, loved, loved the epilogue. In fact, I think this was my favorite epilogue that KA has written. Bud and the Rockies! And the way Mitch acted with grown up Billie and her shorts was right on!

Since I read this long winded book in ~3 days, I would say overall, I loved it!

Favorite Quote (this one makes me chuckle everytime I read it):

"But now I wondered if he'd think he'd walked into a Two Point Five setting the mood for an illegal maneuver on a Ten Point Five."  --Mara

Knight by Kristen Ashley (Unfinished Heroes #1)



4 stars

This book is a little different than a lot of other KA books. She does have a disclaimer on it saying that it is a bit more intense sexually than her other books although it is not erotica (per her disclaimer, I don't know what qualifies a book as such).  It is definitely saucier than her other books.  Buyer beware. 

Most of KA's books have a heroine in distress at some point who finds herself in deep enough that she requires saving. This book doesn't have that and in fact, doesn't have much action at all. Anya is the heroine and she is essentially without family. She has been taking care of herself for a long time and is working hard to open her own spa. One of her friends convinces her to go to a party. Enter Knight. He is a night club owner and has decided he wants Anya. He has a few rules that Anya must agree to and if she does, he will (essentially) give her anything. I could tell that there was something we still didn't know about Knight as we moved through the book (and KA does not hide this as Knight is described as very private and tells Anya he will tell her about himself when he is ready). I actually guessed at what the secret was, and while Anya was ok with it, I am not sure that I would be. However, I am not Anya and don't have to be so for a story, I enjoyed it. I would relate Knight to Marcus (from Rock Chicks) the most. And KA does describe Knight as the anti-hero and he certainly is.

I did enjoy reading this (as evidenced by the fact that it took me only 2 days to read it), but it is not in my top list of KA books. I would have liked it better if there was a little more action, but I can understand that the author was trying something different.

Favorite Quote (a little dramatic but I liked it):

"A man would work himself into the ground for it, go down to his knees to beg to keep it, endure torture to protect it, take a bullet for it," his eyes came to mine, "poison his brother to possess a face like this." 

Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley (Colerado Mountain Man #2)



4 Stars

This is one of my top KA books, but since there are a gazillion of them, it just means that Sweet Dreams is in the top 10-ish. I did really like Tate and Lauren both and Jonas is my favorite kid from any of the KA books so far. He was hilarious and precious!

Summary: This will be very brief because this book is mammoth with so much back story that it is hard to make a summary that will do it justice (but I will try) without spending hours recapping.

Lauren: Just spent 4.5 month on the road looking for a nowheresville town and when she drives into Carnal, CO to a biker bar named Bubba's, she thinks she's found it. She gets a job at Bubba's as a waitress.

Tate: has been hooked to Neeta since he can remember and has a kid with her (Jonas). Neeta is a hot mess and I mean that in the worst sense of the word. Tate decides he is done with her and the next day walks into his bar (Bubba's) to see Lauren there. He, for some reason, doesn't want her working there and says to the other owner, "Krys, maybe you wanna talk to me before you hire some sorry-butt, old, fat, suburban b-word." (insert the proper expletives). He defends this behavior by saying that when he gets mad he says things he doesn't mean, which he continues to do through the rest of the book. I had the hardest time getting over that sentence. He didn't even say it to me and it hurt my feelings! Then, of course, he takes a liking to our Lauren.

During this time, the May-December Serial Killer is on the loose and appears to be escalating. One of the waitresses ends up dead (and in a bad way!). Tate (who is also a bounty hunter) goes after the guy but comes up with nothing. The whole town is on edge. Lauren continues to make friends and another of those friends is attacked (but gets away).

The book was a little long and I felt like there could have been a lot that was trimmed out. I have started skimming sections with descriptions of clothes and feelings.

I totally didn't even guess who the killer was. I knew it was going to be a guy we had met, but he wasn't even someone I was considering. Manly because he had such a small part and was completely absent from 95% of the book. I would have liked a few more clues into who the bad guy was.

I can't even get into all the characters that I liked, because I liked so many and the ones who you were supposed to like (Neeta, her posse, Brad, Hayley, etc) I really didn't like.

Favorite Quote (I will admit this is a strange favorite  quote, but it makes me chuckle so you will just have to deal):

"Take you hand off me," I hissed.

"Shut your trap," he clipped back, opened the door and pulled me in.  Then he shut the door and maneuvered me so my back was to it and he was close to my front. 

Master of Crows by Grace Draven



3 Stars

I want to preface my review by saying that I suspect I might be in a reading funk and a lot of books are not capturing my attention like usual. However, saying that, I still consider 3 stars to be a good book, but not a great book (4 stars) and not a knock-my-socks-off book (5 stars).

Characters:
Martise of Asher is a slave whose master (Cumbria of Asher, a member of Conclave) has her spirit stone (a spirit stone contains part of a person's spirit so they are bound to however owns the stone). She is sent to Neith under the guise of being an apprentice of Conclave to aid Silhara in translations (she is really there as a spy for Conclave to find a reason to have Silhara killed). Silhara is also supposed to help Martise unlock her power (which no one else has been able to do).

Silhara of Neith (aka Master of Crows) is hated by Conclave and feared by everyone else. He is a very powerful mage who has refused to pledge allegience to conclave. He is brusque and slightly scary at times. The god, Corruption, has set his eyes on Silhara to be his way into the world. This is bad and Silhara is trying to resist while also trying to find a way to kill Corruption, but in the meanwhile, Corruption is taking his toll on Silhara's body and mind.

Cons:
-I didn't like how the author made Martise so "plain". It was said at least a dozen times how unattractive he is. This is a personal preference that I don't like my heroines to be ugly. They don't have to beautiful, just not so unattractive that that is the first thing anyone says or thinks about her.

-***Spoiler-ish***: Silhara, in his quest to rid himself of his desire for Martise ordered himself a prostitute. I didn't mind that, but he went way way too far with the prostitute for it to be endearing that he didn't end up having sex with the prostitute. And the only reason he didn't was because (oh how to put this genlty)...his equipment wouldn't work because this beautiful prostitue was not Martise. I found nothing in that situation to endear Silhara to me.

Overall, I would say this was an enjoyable book. I read the first 40% fairly quickly, then I had trouble getting into it until ~75% then I sucked it down quickly again.

For You by Kristen Ashley (The 'Burg Series #1)



In many ways this book was a typical, awesome KA book. But as The Burg series is listed under the subject of "Crime" on KA's website, I think it is understood that one can expect more...um, crime. Having said that, the bad guy in this book is a psychopath and has been on this path of destruction for 22 years. Not that he has necessarily been killing people for 22 years, but destroying lives nonetheless. What the means for the hero and heroine is that they missed 22 years together that should have been some of the best years of their lives. That, more than the killing spree, was hard to read about (not that I am ok with killing spree's!).

February Owens, known about town as Feb (what a great name) dated Alexander Colton (known about town as Colt). The author painted this relationship as epic. The whole town knew Feb and Colt would be together always. But of course they weren't. This is not a spoiler. (Now if I told you were they weren't together or who the psychopath was then that would be a juicy, juicy secret, but I'll never tell!). Now, I can completely dig this epic love between Colt and Feb, but there were numerous things that happened throughout those 22 years that didn't make it feel very epic to me. So this book, is the story of how Feb and Colt get back together and all the goings-on during that time (***spoilers***which include but are not limited to: aforementioned psychopath, family reunions, ex-wives, hidden cameras, and of course the typical KA heroine-moving-in-with-the-hero)

I haven't yet decided if I will read the next book in this series. I liked the story (as usual), but it was really long and could have used many pages being edited out (as usual). I found myself skimming long sections about descriptions (I never did this before KA and I hate that I do it, but I love the books so much I just can't walk away).

Favorite Quote:

"Since I was three, there's never been a day when I wasn't in love with you." --Feb

Rock Chick Regret by Kristen Ashley (Rock Chick #7)



This is Hector and Sadie's story. This is my favorite since Hank and Roxie. My favorites of the Rock Chick Series have been Liam and India, Hank and Roxie, and now Hector and Sadie.

Like usual, Sadie has found herself some trouble. Her father is some bad dude drug dealer and is put away for his misdeeds (by Hector!). Now, without the protection of her father, Sadie is the center-piece for a power struggle with the Balducci brothers. Sadie goes to Nightingale Investigations to ask for protection. While in his offices (which took guts to go to by the way as the last encounter Hector had with Sadie did not end well), the Rock Chicks tried to freeze her out and Lee refused her protection, while Hector sits next to Lee not saying anything.

It turns out Sadie does need the Hot Bunch protection (of course she does, this is a Rock Chick book), and now Hector will be her protector. The problem is that Sadie hasn't had any friends before, let alone a protector and she bumbles her way through this making a debacle out of it most of the time and assuming the worst of people (as she is wont to do based on how she was raised).

Sadie's life and loneliness was so tragic. I could feel her pain and humiliation as she worked through all her insecurities. This felt like the highest drama Rock Chick yet and I LOVED it!

I feel I should add...Sadie uses the term "aces" frequently. Now, it must be said that there is a very real possibility that it is me who is uncool by not using this term. However, it is weird for someone who is supposed to be as refined as Sadie using a term that should be left in the 70's.

My only complaint is that I could have done without the whole Natalie, half the women from the roadhouse drama. Hector was supposed to have been hung up on Sadie for a while and though that doesn't mean that he necessarily pined for her, I didn't like it that he was a love-them-and-leave-them guy the very moment that Sadie was having her drama! Yuck Hector Chavez...shame on you!

Favorite Quote:

"No really," I whispered, letting the sweet peaceful feeling steal over me.

"It only matters if there's someone to care if you don't wake up.  It's okay if I don't wake up because there's no one to care."

--Sadie Townsend

Laceybourne Manor by Kristen Ashley



This book is only $0.99!  What a deal.  Go get it post haste.  I loved Kristen Ashley books, but I hadn't planned on delving into her "Ghosts and Reincarnation" series. It didn't hold any appeal to me. But I am not one who can walk away from a sale. I am glad that I didn't. This book is in the reincarnation aspect of her "Ghosts and Reincarnation" series.

The legend goes that 500 years ago Royce Morgan and Beatrice Godwin had an epic love and there was a dark soul who wanted to destroy this love. And the dark soul did indeed destroy their love, but not before a witch was able to cast a spell that would bring back the souls of these two star crossed lovers. Enter Colin Morgan and Sybil Godwin. Their relationship does not start out well. Colin does not think much of women and immediately is suspicious of Sybil. There is yelling, and accusations, and general bossiness. Their second encounter is much better: Colin saves the day! At the third encounter (keep in mind Colin still does not like or trust women), Colin offers Sybil 50,000 pounds to sleep with her. Sybil has her reasons and accepts, but thus starts us down a road much different than the two reincarnated lovers should be on. Not to mention that the dark soul is still out there and once again wants to thwart true love and do despicable deeds.

I really enjoyed this book quite a bit. I liked Sybil a lot. She was generally wonderful and not annoying (as many strong heroines are wont to do). Colin was a little bit different for me. Not a typical KA hero in many regards, but still the typical alpha male that she has just dropped into another role. Because of this I had a harder time with him. Most of KA's heroes are good protectors of their lady folk, but Colin just seems to be capable of paying others to do the protecting (except at one point where he uses a cane to break a would-be assassin's arm). I just like the KA hero that is more hands on (more like Liam, Hank, Eddie, Hector, Mace, Vance, Cabe, Mitch, Brock and Tate!)

I will definitely read more in this series.

P.S. I thought I was going to have to be mad about Mallory, but luckily I am content with that aspect.

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa



This is book 2 of 8 in the Iron Fey Series.

I have mixed feelings about this book. It is well written. The plot is well thought out and a lot occurs throughout the book. I enjoyed many of the characters: grimalkin, Ash, Puck, Leanansidhe, Ironhorse. However, there was one character...the most important character that drove me insane enough to stop reading the books many times. Meghan Chase!

I will give the briefest of summaries (it will be brief because 1.) it took me so long to read it that I have forgotten many aspects and 2.) there are many little subplots that seemed to take forever to accomplish something larger). It starts out with Meghan being in the Winter Court. This part of the book was absolutely the most annoying and hardest to get through. Ash has apparently abandoned her and (without giving too much away), Meghan is too obtuse to understand what is happening. She came across as desperate, immature, whiney and not very intelligent. I cringed many times will reading that section and was so embarrassed for her.

Events unfold that force Ash and Meghan to flee the Winter Court on a mission to get the scepter of the seasons back from the iron fey (yes they are back and more annoying that last time those little rascals!). Ash goes his own way and Meghan, with the help of Ironhorse, Grimalkin and Puck set out to get the scepter themselves. There was a section in the briars that Grimalkin was downright mean and I wanted to pull his tiny little whiskers! This was also another time when Meghan got on my nerves. It was obvious that one should be quiet in the briars, but even with people shushing her, Meghan is regrettably loud, drawing the attention of a dragon upon them. Shut your trap Meghan!

At 50% through the book, my goodreads update says, "slow goings." Clearly I don't remember what was going on because I have been reading this same book for 2 months (while I read an additional ten or so books in between trying to finish this one). The last 30% went very quickly the end resolution packed with lots of action. (This is not the briefest of summaries as promised!)

I didn't like the love triangle going on either. I really liked Puck and it broke my heart that Meghan kept jerking him around. Ash was trying to push Meghan away for their own good, but Meghan kept throwing herself at him. None of the affection was believable except (at times) Puck's affection for Meghan.

There is something about this story line that keeps calling to me despite these things that drive me crazy. I am hoping that for Meghan, these are growing pains for her character and that she will mature into someone that I will enjoy reading about. Perhaps I am just a glutton for punishment to be annoyed by Meghan but I simply must know what will happen in the next book!