Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tempting the Best Man (Gamble Brothers) by J. Lynn

3.5 Stars

I have read many of Jennifer Armentrout’s YA books and really enjoyed them so when I saw that she was making a foray into adult romances I thought I would like them just as much…this did not happen.  I am not ready to say that I wouldn’t like any of her adult books, but this one didn’t come close the Lux novels.  I’m willing to try again though.


Madison is heading to her brother’s wedding.  She is happy for him, but not looking forward to seeing her brother’s best friend.  She has been in love with him forever.  They live in the same building and she sees him with his never ending stream of hussies all the time.  On top of this, they have a rather awkward past sexual encounter that ended badly.  On top of this, he is the best man and she is the maid of honor so they are walking down the aisle together.  On top of this (again!) there is a problem with the reservations and Madison ends up having to stay in the same room with Chase.  You know what happens next! 

My problem with this is that after the big climax, all the problems arise from a misunderstanding.  You may or may not know this yet…but I hate when all the angst comes from a stupid misunderstanding.  Even at the end, Madison doesn’t know how stupid she is because they never addressed the misunderstanding. I stopped reading it at 81% because I got so annoyed, then when I picked it back up I realized the book ended at 86% so I felt silly! 

Anyway, I when I went to Amazon to look for this title to add my review, I saw another book by J. Lynn and bought that right away.  I can’t remember what it is called but it looks interesting.  It is an adult installment in the Lux novels, but it is about an Arum as the hero!  Hmmm…

Seducing Cinderella: A Fighting for Love Novel by Gina L. Maxwell

 4 stars

I really liked the premise of this book.  The main character is Lucinda Miller who is a physical therapist.  She is in love with a doctor that she works with, but this guy has never shown any interest in her.  Her next patient isn’t a stranger, but her brother’s best friend, Reid Andrews.  He is a mixed martial artist and until his last fight when he tore his rotator cuff and required surgery he was the champion.  He has been ordered to see Lucinda (Lucie) for physical therapy to get ready for his next fight to win back his championship.  Through some desperation they both make the agreement that Reid will move in with Lucie and get all her attention for his therapy, she will take vacation time and in return he has agreed to teach her how to be the kind of woman who could catch the eye of her doctor. 

As we could all guess, this plan goes awry in that they both become attached to each other.  They both have baggage in their past that they have to get past.  Lucie does faster than Reid and he screws everything up.  I loved how he redeemed himself!  I can picture it in my head and it’s awesome!  The only downfall I felt was that these seemingly rational adults let some things in their past control their whole lives.  Because of a past relationship she decided only compatibility mattered, not love.  It got old, but when I thought about it, I could see myself behaving in a similar irrational manner so it didn’t bother me as much. 

Favorite Quote:  This is Reid talking to Lucie, he gave her some piece of jewelry and here is his explanation:

“This is a sparrow.”  He looked down and fingered the bird charm.  “Unlike most birds, when a sparrow finds its soul mate, they stay together until the end of their life.”  Raising his head again he met her gaze.  “Making them the symbol for finding one’s true love.”  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Updated: The Golden Dynasty

Soooo…I don’t tend to re-read books. Once I read them they go into something similar to the Disney Vault. This I find ironic since I am a consummate book buyer. I rarely borrow or rent my books. One would think this is because I would like to read them again and again. Before my kindle, I preferred hard back books and have 3 bookcases full of the beauties. Now with my kindle, I still buy but have nothing so pretty as a library to show for it. But this is neither here nor there. The point is that besides my beloved Emilie Loring books that my mother introduced me to, I never re-read a book.

When I initially read The Golden Dynasty, I gave it 4 stars. Normally, I give all Kristen Ashley books 5 stars, but because of some of the elements in this book, I didn’t like it so much. This book takes place not just in another world, but in a savage, brutal culture. There are many things in their culture that they find acceptable that in today’s society, we would abhor. I first read this book one year ago and wrote my review like normal. But then something happened. I kept thinking about The Golden Dynasty and not just thinking about it, but thinking about it fondly. I wanted to read it again. My TBR pile is ginormous and haunts my dreams, but The Golden Dynasty and Circe and Lahn haunted my waking hours. I was in the middle of another book, when I finally broke down and pulled The Golden Dynasty up on my kindle again and started reading. For those of you familiar with Kristen Ashley books, you know they are not small. They are usually 500-600 pages. I gulped down this second reading in less than three days. They three days didn’t have a lot of free time as I was visiting a friend in Chicago, but at night when my husband and my friend had passed out in front of the TV, this sober gal woke everyone up, tucked them in and snuck off to bed where she proceeded to read into the wee hours.

Everything that I didn’t like the first time was there, but I was able to read it with a different attitude this time. I still didn’t like it. This culture holds the warrior above all else and while wives are revered, they are still second to warriors. Even as a queen, Circe could be put to death for holding a knife to a warrior (one who unequivocally deserved to be gutted…oh my I think I just turned a little savage myself there!).

So obviously I must change my 4 star review to a 5 star. I’ve never re-read another Kristen Ashley book, and have no memory (outside of Emilie Loring) of re-reading another author’s work. There is something so magical about this story.

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.

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:
-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.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

After the Storm by Claudy Conn

4 stars

I have grown to really love Claudy Conn’s short historical romance books. They are usually ~200 pages and actually quite predictable as far as the major plot lines. There is a despicable rake who encounters a refreshing young chit and at first they do not get along, but eventually grow quite fond of each other and then of course love. The rake isn’t so despicable after all and the young chit shows grit and fortitude. There is always some danger lurking about and of course the must-needed happy ending. Does this stop me from devouring these books and loving every single second of it? Nope, not even a little bit. Also, in this particular book, I didn’t figure out who was the “bad guy” until it was staring me in the face! Well done!

So the main characters in this one are Jennifer Ashley and Earl Jason Danfield. The earl needs to marry within the month or he will lose his inheritance. Jenny was engaged a year ago to her lifelong friend who died at the battle of Waterloo. She has vowed to never love again. Is this perfect? The earl needs a wife, but hasn’t found anyone yet and Jennifer refuses to be debuted in London and paraded about. So they agree upon a marriage of convenience. Upon marrying, they promptly go the Danfield Castle for a month (per the terms of his inheritance) where Jenny meets Jason’s evil stepmother, his delightful half brother, his cousin, his two wards and their governess. He dead fiance’s best friend comes for a visit to make sure everything is on the up and up for Jenny. Things start happening (and luckily the characters don’t pretend they are accidents) to threaten both Jenny and Jason and they must figure it out before these attempts are successful.

They mourn, but smile at length;

And smiling, mourn;

The tree will wither long before it fall;

The hull drives on,

Though mast and sail be torn;

And thus, the heart will break,

Yet brokenly live on.

-Lord Byron, 1816

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire (October Daye #1)

4 stars

I know I am so late to jump on the October Daye bandwagon. I have heard that with this series that the first book isn’t the best one and they just keep getting better. This one was good enough that I will definitely read more.

October Daye (Toby) is a changeling. Again, not the typical definition of a changeling in that the fair folk stole the human baby and left a fae child in place of it. In this book, it is a person who is part fae part human. Toby is half human, half Daoine Sidhe. My biggest complaint about this book is that there are soooo many types of fairies in this book and the author only explains what some of them are. Sometimes she just says that they are this or that and moves on. I am sure that the more I read the books that I will learn more. I can see not wanting to bog down the entire first book with the definitions for all her fairy creatures. But it was frustrating that I don’t know what some of the main characters are. I don’t even know what the Daoine Sidhe really are.

When we first meet October she is a P.I. and is involved in a relationship with a human (named Cliff) and they have a child (named Gillian). She is working on a case for her liege lord, Sylvester and runs into a big problem. He turns her into a fish for 14 years! Somehow she makes it out and this is basically where the story line for this book takes up. Since not being a fish anymore, Toby has avoided pretty much all of her former acquaintances. I am not really sure why, except the author does explain to us that October is really good at avoiding relationships with people in general. One of October’s past acquaintances leaves her a message that binds her (under pain of death) to do as requested. So this book follows October through her attempts to fulfill her binding.

We meet so many awesome characters that I look forward to getting to know each of them more. Sylvester seems wonderful and I enjoy his wife as well. Lily, the Luidag, Manuel and Dare. My most favorite character right now is Tybalt! I want to read more about this guy. October says multiple times that he hates her, but I don’t think this is true. The character that I didn’t care much for was Julie. She was mentioned many times in passing before we actually get to meet her and while something tragic happens to her then, I do not respect her feelings towards October after that. She made me angry and I thought Tybalt should teach her a lesson.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Red and Her Wolf by Marie Hall (Kingdom Series #3)

I got this book through Lendle and boy did it take a long time to get it, but it was worth it.  I think it is around 200 pages so it is a fairly quick read.  This book followed the third guy in “The Bad Five” which is the Big Bad Wolf from Little Red Riding Hood.  Of course, it has Marie Hall’s twist on it so it is not at all the fairy tale that you remember.

Brief Synopsis:
The heroine of this story is kind of an anti-heroine.  She is “little red riding hood”.  Her name is Violet, but some call her the Heartsong.  The Heartsong is the incarnation of all the black magic from The Ten (the top ten most powerful fairies) and one of The Ten wants to kill the Heartsong to steal all that power.  The rest of The Ten attempt to keep her safe.  I am actually not sure how long of a time span that Violet is hidden away but one period lasted over 500 years!  The problem is that The Big Bad Wolf (we will call him Ewan from now on) found out that Violet is his mate and is going mad looking for her!  There is a plan for Violet that she will need Ewan to make it through, but Violet hates Ewan.  She has some memories of him that are skewed that has caused this hate for 500 years.  He has to win her over before the end.  There is so much more to the story line, but I’m not going to go into that here.

The next book in the series is about Jinni.  I really can’t wait to read Hook’s story.   

Brief comments about the rest of the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning

So I read this series so fast that I can’t even begin to give a proper review for each book.  They are all 5+ stars.  I read them so fast that I was a little bereft when they were done because I felt like I was missing some of my friends! I even read my first graphic novel!  I got these books from the library but plan to get them for my kindle but I want to re-read them and highlight all my favorite quotes.  It drove me nuts that I couldn’t find any spoilers out there to figure out the ending, but the entire series if you say anything it is pretty much a spoiler. 

I am going to talk briefly about Iced.  This is Dani’s book that takes place very soon after the end of Shadowfever.  Now there is some sort of Unseelie that is icing parts of Dublin and Ryodan wants Dani’s help trying to figure it out.  She has this friend, Dancer, who is a couple years older than her and I am pretty sure that he has a crush on her.  He is super smart, but not fast like Dani.  Christian is turning more and more Unseelie Prince everyday and for some reason he has decided that Dani is his.  Now there is Ryodan.  I can’t quite figure this guy out.  I think that is the way he is supposed to be, but most specifically I can’t figure out what he wants with Dani.  At parts, it seems like Christian, that Ryodan will wait for 15-year-old Dani to grow up and that was to be with her.  But a good part of this book, he is having sex with and then apparently having a relationship with a sidhe-seer, Jo.  Obviously, if he does want Dani, I don’t expect him to be celebate for the next five years, but he also shouldn’t be with Dani’s friend and I don’t want to read about it!  In Mac’s books, she got crapped on a lot, but I thought, “ok girl, buck up and march on, you’ve got a world to save.”  But with Dani, she kept getting crapped on and I just wanted her to teach everyone a lesson and just leave.  I wanted to tell her, “Dani, you don’t have to take this, just leave.” 

I hope that Dani is older when next we hear from her.  I hope that we hear from Mac and Barrons again.  

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning (Fever Series #2)

5 Stars

Ok, so if I liked the first book in this series, I absolutely loved this book. I keep trying to get people to tell me if Mac will end up with Barrons! No one is talking! Spill the beans people…I need to know.

This book takes off where the first one left off. Mac is still living at Barrons Books and Baubles. V’lane is still trying to “sex her up”. She meets a couple cute boys and realizes that she can’t have anything normal with them and walks away. Mac meets Dani, who is also a sidhe-seer, and discovers that the old woman who has abandoned her twice to die at the hands of the fae is in charge of all the sidhe-seers and incidentally wants to be in charge of Mac too. Mac still doesn’t know who to trust and on top of everything she is seeing what looks like the Grim Reaper watching her every move!

I can’t talk about the climax for the book because that would mean divulging who the big baddie is and that, my friends, is a surprise! But Mac gets into big trouble again (bigger than in Darkfever) and must find a way to survive this last one.

I absolutely loved the sexual tension that occasionally popped up between Mac and Barrons. My personal thoughts are that she can trust him even though he is obviously hiding a lot and can be quite violent with her. He said he would keep her alive and I believe him. I don’t know what he wants with the sinsar dubh but I can’t believe he won’t do something to save the world with it. Perhaps, like Barrons told Fiona, I am looking for a hero in someone who is not.