Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Review - Weekend

Title: Weekend
Author: Christopher Pike
Publishing Date: 1986
Genre: Young Adult/Suspense
Rating: B
Sensuality: Kisses

I chose to read Weekend for my March Re-Read Challenge. It has been damn near close to twenty years since I last read this book. I was only twelve or thirteen at the time and Christopher Pike was one of my favorite authors. I have to be honest I didn't remember much about the plot or the characters in Weekend. When I got the book, I was shocked to see how short it was. It is a little bit smaller than a category romance, ending at 230 pages. I guess when your younger books can seem a lot bigger. I cringe to think of what Harry Potter must look like to middle school aged kids. Anyway, back to the task at hand. I am curious to see what my thoughts are now for the books I when I was younger and less experienced in my reading tastes.

On to the plot: For the seniors of Hoover High School in Santa Barbara California, graduation is almost upon them. Shani along with a group of her closest friends have been invited to spend the weekend in Mexico relaxing seaside at Robin and Lena's vacation home. What was supposed to be a fun weekend with the boys, turns into something more sinister when strange, bad things start to happen.

The first thing that comes to mind for me is that, yes the book is still quite an enjoyable read. The characters are vivid and detailed. Pike does a great job with the dialogue between characters. There is plenty of humor. Some of it might veer on the immature side, but over all I think most adults would be able to relate to it. Where I really think this book excels, is with the subtle approach to creating the atmosphere and slowly revealing the mystery. Every thing is short and to the point, which makes for a fast, entertaining read.

One thing that I thought I remembered from when first reading this book, was that there was more romance to it. After reading it as an adult and reading adult romances, I can see that there really wasn't much to the relationship between Shani and Flynn. To be honest, it was barely touched on at all. The suspense was much more the focus. One other thing that really bothered me was how the villain was punished after the big reveal. The kids decided to take matters into their own hands, and it all seemed very unrealistic.

It was really fun to read a blast from my past and see how it resonates with the "me" of today. It's nice to reach back to that inner child every now and again. I definitely think I will find the time to read another YA book. Seeing as how they are so short, it should make for easy reading.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Review - Dawnkeepers

Title: Dawnkeepers
Author: Jessica Andersen
Publishing Date: 2009
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: C+
Sensuality: Hot

Dawnkeepers is book two in Jessica Andersen's The Final Prophecy series. Finding out that he is a Nightkeeper came as something of a huge shock to Nate Blackhawk. He grew up orphaned and was in and out of foster home after foster home. He even spent some time in juvenile detention and then cleaned up his act and became a success business man, running his own video gaming company. Now, however he is spending his time trying to save the world. To say he doesn't believe in all the prophesy nonsense is an understatement.

Alexis Grey wants desperately to live up to the expectations she has set for herself. She wants to become advisor to the king and she wants to hunt down the seven Mayan artifacts that are going to help the Nightkeepers protect the world from complete annihilation. She and Nate will have to work together for the Nightkeepers to be sucessful, but that is easier said than done. Nate and Alexis don't see eye-to-eye on anything.

I like Jessica Andersen's writing style. She has a way of weaving a story by using good characters who seem all too human. She also crafts multiple story lines that will be converging together at some point in the series. The world building and plotting is top notch and one of the better aspects of the series. However, I still think she is perfecting her craft. There were a few minor things that annoyed me. Everyone in the book refers to having a conversation as a 'convo'. I could see maybe one character calling it that, but all of them? It was too much. Also, the Nightkeepers where having a difficult time deciphering what the prophecy meant, when as a reader I figured out the twist fairly early on. These are intelligent people. Someone else should have been able to figured it out too.

My main problem with this story was Nate. He was a big asshat and Alexis truly deserved better. I suppose by the end of the story he finally wakes up and gets with the program, but until that happened it was brutal. Nate doesn't want to be attracted to Alexis and he doesn't want to be a Nightkeeper. He is in denial, denial, denial and after a while it can grate on a readers nerves. Alexis on the other hand, is constantly allowing Nate the power to hurt her. I just felt like she deserved better and really should have given Nate a proper slap down. I generally prefer my heroes to know what he wants and go after it.

I like that there is almost a ring of truth to this series. It doesn't seem all that far fetched that something like this could happen. With the Mayan calendar and ancient artifacts, it almost makes one wonder. This is an interesting series, I just wish the romance was a little more to my taste. I will keeping my eyes open for the next installment Skykeepers that releases this August.

Here is what others had to say:

My Thoughts on Nothing Much at All
Babbling Book Reviews
Wandeca Reads

Sunday, March 29, 2009

April New Releases!

Here are the main books that have caught my eye for the month of April. I am very excited for these releases and I can't wait to read them.

I hardly need to say anything about this one. Lisa Kleypas has been getting phenomenal reviews over her first two contempories in this series for Sugar Daddy and Blue-Eyed Devil. Now, Smooth Talking Stranger has already begun to get rave reviews in the blogosphere and I can't wait to read the next installement in the Travis family series.

Jill Mansell is a new to me author. I recieved an ARC of this book and was pleasantly surprised with it. I have a review that should post sometime this week. It is a light-hearted contemporary, but I would call it more woman's fiction than straight romance.

I read Mary Margret Daughtridge's debut novel SEALed with a Kiss last year and I absolutely loved it. It was one of my top reads from last year. So, of course I would read her follow up novel SEALed with a Promise. I love the idea that her hero, even though he is a SEAL, he is still just a man. He is flawed and doesn't get everything right 100% of the time, but he does still manage to be a hero. I can't wait for more from this author!

Let's face it. I will read anything that Megan Hart has a part in writing. That leads me to her second release of this year, which is a collaboration with her best friend and author Lauren Dane. Call me shallow, but I am not too crazy about the cover. Let's hope what's on the inside is better than on the outside!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Review - Winterbourne

Title: Winterbourne
Author: Susan Carroll
Publishing Date: 1987
Genre: Medieval
Rating: B
Sensuality: Warm

Lady Melyssan has devised a plan to escape from King John's lecherous clutches by pretending to be wed to Lord Jaufre de Macy, better known as the Dark Knight. She sets herself up in his castle, Winterbourne while he is away in France. When he arrives home he goes along with her charade calling her bluff, wanting to see just how far she is willing go on with her deceit.

Lady Melyssan and Lord Jaufre could not be more opposite. Melyssan is sweet and innocent and believes first and foremost the best in everyone. Jaufre, on the other hand quickly jumps to the worst conclusions about everyone and is an angry, disillusioned man. He has good reason to be this way because of some terrible things that have happened in his past. Also, the current political state of affairs are pretty disheartening as well.

Winterbourne had plenty of angst and drama. I like angst but too much can be a drag. Jaufre and Melyssan were very quick to jump to the wrong conclusion and instead of talking through their problems, they just sulked and avoided them. After a while this became troublesome. Even though that bothered me, for the most part this was a very fast read. The characters were well drawn and even though Melyssan was a very sweet person, she wasn't syrupy. Jaufre was your typical medieval man, close-mouthed about his feelings and yet protective of his wife and child.

One thing that you don't see to much of today is books that scan a long period of time. Winterbourne did and it took place over several years. It read like an eighties book with the misunderstandings and the sweeping length, but it didn't come with the negatives the eighties were known for, the rape or the womanizing. Winterbourne wasn't without its problems, but it was a good solid read for me.

Here is what others had to say:

Tracy's Place

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Review - Hot Six and Seven Up

Title: Hot Six
Author: Janet Evanovich
Publishing Date: 2000
Genre: Mystery
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Kisses

Hot Six is book six of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum bounty hunter series. In this book Stephanie teams up with vice-cop/boyfriend Joe to find Ranger. Ranger was Stephanie's mentor when she first started her bounty hunter job. Now she is trying to find him and clear his name because he is the number one murder suspect in the death of a local gun runner. Stephanie has more problems than just finding Ranger, though. Her Grandmother has moved in with her and if that's not enough, she has a couple of goons following her around.

After the huge cliff-hanger that ended book five, thank God book six was already published and I could start reading it right away. I don't know how fans would have lasted a year between books. I would have been so mad if I would have had to wait. Anyway, on the review. Basically, this one is more of the same from Stephanie and the gang. This time readers are introduced to Mooner and Dougie, two stoners who went to school with Stephanie. She also gets stuck with Bob, the dog. There were some pretty funny scenes involving Bob. Grandma was in rare form too. I have to say, Hot Six was another solid read.

Title: Seven Up
Author: Janet Evanovich
Publishing Date: 2001
Genre: Mystery
Rating: B
Sensuality: Kisses

Seven Up starts about a month after Hot Six ended. Stephanie is on the case to bring Eddie DeChooch in after he skipped bail for trafficking stolen cigarettes. Eddie turns out to not be such an easy catch. He keeps just one step ahead of her, even though he's her Grandmother's age. He a crazy old coot and Stephanie is getting tired of him shooting at her. Dougie and Mooner go missing and Stephanie knows that something else is going on. Valerie, Stephanie's sister come to the Burg for a visit.

I am beginning to see a pattern developing. Each book in the series has a self contained mystery. A new character or two to add to the zany chaos that always surrounds Stephanie and then the book ends at a big cliff-hanger regarding Stephanie's love life. While I do enjoy the silliness and crazy antics of Stephanie and the gang, it might not be such a good idea to read four of the books back to back. Grandma and Bob, the dog are still cracking me up. There were some pretty funny parts in this book, typical of Evanovich's style. Stephanie's relationship with Ranger and Joe is starting to get complicated and I can see why fans want some sort of closure. Now it looks like it is going to get messy and again the book ended on a big cliff-hanger. I am going to wait at least a week before I start on book eight.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Review - Witch Heart

Title: Witch Heart
Author: Anya Bast
Publication Date: 2009
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: DNF
Sensuality: Hot

Witch Heart is book three of Anya Bast's Elemental Witch series. Claire is a human that has been living as a handmaiden to a demon in another world Eudae, since she was six years old. After Thomas, head of the Chicago witch coven accidentally went through the portal and found himself in Eudae, Claire helped him to escape back to Earth (Book 2, Witch Blood). Claire's demon gifts her with a powerful magical weapon, the Elium which is attached to her core magic. She goes through the portal to Earth because she is being hunted by other demons who will kill her to get the Elium. When Claire arrives on Earth she meets up with Thomas's coven. Thomas assigns Adam, a fire witch, to protect her while they work on a solution to detach the Elium from Claire without killing her.

Okay, Witch Heart was the book I was referring too that sparked the poll on whether or not I should review a book that I was unable to finish. Many of you expressed an interest in hearing why I was unable to finish it and so I will give it my best shot, even though it has been two weeks since I attempted to read it. I did manage to read 200 pages out of 300.

Basically, the problem I had with the book was that there was so much potential for intricate world building, by showing how Claire had to adapt from going from the culture on Eudae to Earth. Unfortunately, there were just brief snippets of information that barely scratched the surface. The book definitely would have benefited and would have been more interesting if this aspect would have been better developed.

Another thing that really bothered me, was that both Adam and Claire were constantly internalizing every thought they had. It wasn't so much what I would call mental lusting, but more of just an internal monologue of their thoughts about the other person and any issues they had - and they did have issues. Adam's issues ranged from dealing with his new feelings for Claire and his old feelings for his dead wife. Claire had issues with having the Elium inside her and not wanting other people around her to get hurt, plus she didn't know how to deal with her attraction to Adam either. All these issues, instead of moving the book forward, seemed to stall the momentum of the plot and it made for some very boring reading. I think the main problem for me was my own expectations and unfortunately, Witch Heart didn't live up to them.

Here is what others had to say:

The Good, The Bad, The Unread
Errant Dreams Reviews
Romance Reviews Today
Literary Escapism

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Review - The Heart Queen

Title: The Heart Queen
Author: Patricia Potter
Publishing Date: 2001
Genre: Historical
Rating: DNF
Sensuality: Kisses

Janet Leslie and Neil Forbes were once young and in love. Neil, the bastard son of the Marquess of Braemoor, having nothing to offer young Janet, plus having the taint of madness in his blood, cruelly leaves Janet to wonder at his abandonment. He told her he loved her and wanted to marry her and then doesn't show up at their meeting point. After he breaks her heart, she marries Alasdair Campbell and she gives him an heir. Her picture perfect life though, isn't so perfect because Alasdair is not a very nice man. He beats her and his children and starves his people. Alasdair is takes ill suddenly and dies without naming a guardian to his son and wife. Janet desperately turns to Neil to help her because there is no one else to turn to.

Okay, I tried, I really did to finish this book. After four days, I made it to page 293 and then I had to call it quits. It was just so very boring. There is not a lot of action in this book. Instead, much of the conflict is internal. Both Janet and Neil often have long internal monologues. It just about bored me to tears and I kept waiting for something to happen, but it just never did. Neil especially irked me because he is a very Beta hero and he was always doubting himself. His indecision and lack of self worth was very off putting. The major consensus was this book was boring, boring boring. (Did I mention I was bored?)

The Heart Queen was March's book for the TBR Challenge. This month's theme was historical romance, fiction or mystery. Does it count if I wasn't able to complete the book? Well, in my mind, at least I get an 'A' for effort.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March Madness - Romance Style

Yep, it's that time of year again and the ladies over at Dear Author and Smart Bitches have teamed up once again to bring avid readers their very on version of March Madness. 64 books will pair off against one another to see which book is the one book to rule them all. Eight books in eight different categories have been selected. I am super excited because several of the books I recommended have been chosen. Among those are Blue-Eyed Devil, Iron Kissed, Demon Moon, Dark Desires After Dusk and many more.

This tournament was a lot of fun last year and this year they even have prizes for each round. Definitely head on over to DA BWAHA and fill out a bracket. You have until tomorrow 11:00PM to fill one out. After every one has their brackets filled out, the voting will commence on March 19th. Two books will be paired against one another and you vote for the better book. The winner will advance to the next round. Just hope your pick made it through.

I did pretty poorly last year, but it was a ton of fun. I hope you will check it out and join me.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Review - Four to Score and High Five

Title: Four to Score
Author: Janet Evanovich
Publishing Date: 1998
Genre: Mystery
Rating: A
Sensuality: Hot

Four to Score is the fourth book in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum bounty hunter series. Stephanie is looking for a local waitress who skipped out on her court appearance after stealing her boyfriends car. It seems like a simple apprehension, yet people start losing body parts and things get ugly. Stephanie has a crazy killer after her and moves in with Joe Morelli after her apartment gets blown up. Life is never dull with Stephanie, Grandma Mazure and ex-hooker Lula on the case.

Yay!!! Stephanie and Joe finally move forward with their relationship. Whoohoo!! I think Four to Score is the best book so far in the series. Stephanie has a new member on her wacky team Sally Sweet, a cross-dressing puzzle solver. He is a laugh a minute. He might just be my favorite character yet. Ranger was fairly quiet in this book. He only had one appearance when he calls in a favor from Stephanie. The mystery was all over the place this time and there were several different threats coming in all different directions. I don't know how realistic this series is... gun-toting grandma's and all, but it sure is entertaining.

Title: High Five
Author: Janet Evanovich
Publishing Date: 1999
Genre: Mystery
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Kisses

High Five is book five in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum bounty hunter series. Stephanie has bills to pay, but no one seems to be jumping their bonds. She decides to diversify and goes to work for Ranger. Also, her Uncle Fred is missing and her Aunt and Mother want her to try and find him. Stephanine and Joe are at a standoff. Joe doesn't want to get married and Stephanie knows that what a man can get for free, he won't be paying for.

High Five is more of the same kooky, crazy, never a dull moment shenanigans. I don't know how Stephanie manages to get in the scrapes she does, but it happens all the same. All of these antics are highly entertaining, yet extremely unbelievable. That doesn't really bother me, because this book is a great big escape. And even as unbelievable as the happenings in this book are, the characters are richly drawn. Every last one of them. I was disappointed that Sally Sweet wasn't in this book, but we get to meet Bunchy the bookie and Randy Briggs, a little person. Ranger steps up to the plate and let's Stephanie know he is more than interested in her, but the ball is in her court. When this book ended, I wanted to scream. The mystery was wrapped up, but her personal life was not and it ended in a HUGE cliff-hanger. Thank God, I don't have to wait a year to read Hot Six!

I am loving these books!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Review - Bone Crossed

Title: Bone Crossed
Author: Patricia Briggs
Publication Date: 2009
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: A
Sensuality: Warm

Bone Crossed is book four in Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series. These books are all interconnected and I highly recommend reading them in order. I have a brief post about the series, which you can read here. Bone Crossed starts up about a week after Iron Kissed (book 3) left off. Mercy is recovering from an attack that made national news. I don't want to give too much away without giving spoilers for book 3. Just suffice it to say that Mercy has some issues that she is going to have to work through before she can move on with her life.

Mercy is a coyote shapeshifter and in her world she is at the bottom of the barrel as far as magical beings go. Even though Mercy lacks in actual strength and size, she has enough grit and determination to make up for it. Mercy has a tendency to attract trouble where ever she goes. There is never a dull moment with Mercy around. Lest you think this is a negative. Nope, Mercy has plenty of friends. She has a compassion for helping people and has no shortage of friends helping her when trouble comes knocking on her door. And knock on her door it does.

In Bone Crossed, Mercy has caught the eye of not one, but two vampires and her life is in danger. Luckily, being Adam's mate now has it's advantages and she is protected by the werewolf pack. Bone Crossed had plenty of action and new insight into Vampire politics and the werewolf pack structure. All of which, I find fascinating. I can't say it enough about this book. Mercy has come to be very near and dear to my heart. I care about the characters in this series and I love watching them evolve and kick the bad guys' butts! Bone Crossed is another solid addition, if not the best book yet, in this series. If you haven't read a Mercy Thompson book yet, what are you waiting for?

Here is what others had to say:

Breezing Through
Darque Reviews
Avid Book Reader
The Good, The Bad, The Unread
Dear Author
Renee's Book Addiction

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Review - Stranger

Title: Stranger
Author: Megan Hart
Publishing Date: January 2009
Genre: Contemporary (Erotic)
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Burning

Grace Frawley is the owner and funeral director for Frawley and Sons Funeral Home. She took over the business from her father, and he from his father. She has always been aware of death as a part of life, even as a young child. Her dealing with death on a daily basis has stunted Grace's need for a permanent relationship. Instead of Grace going on dates like a normal woman, she pays men for companionship. It's safer emotionally for Grace. If she never becomes attached to someone than she won't have to worry about dealing with the loss later on when they die. Grace is not afraid of death herself, it's being left behind because those she loves have passed on without her that she fears the most.

Grace was to meet Jack, her paid companion in a hotel bar. She mistakenly picks up Sam, a regular guy who is visiting in town. Within fifteen minutes of meeting each other, they go back to his room and have sex. She leaves without a phone number or anything signifying they will continue their relationship. This is a one time only deal. A few days later though, fate throws them together once more and Grace embarks on a new journey.

When I first started reading Stranger, I will admit that I had reservations about liking the book. I was afraid that Grace would be too damaged for me to relate to her. I am glad to say that this wasn't the case at all. Grace was very likable. Even though she pays for sex, she explains her reasoning and it all seems so very practical and matter of fact. I started think this was a pretty good idea myself. Then as the book progresses, the reader sees Grace move into a more permanent relationship with Sam. Her emotional journey through this new uncharted territory is quite an adventure.

I will admit, I am not a big fan of the artistic, drifter type hero. I prefer a more concrete sequential type of guy. Give me a corporate executive any day of the week. That's just me though. Sam is a struggling musician with his own emotional baggage. At first he seems like a fun guy, but after learning more about him I felt he wasn't quite good enough for Grace. Grace has other ideas, though, so I guess I should respect her opinion.

I think a lot of readers might be put off with the way things are resolved at the end of this book. I personally thought the ending was very cleverly done. Not all of my questions and hang ups I had about this relationship were clearly answered. Am I completely convinced that this relationship will last for all time? Nope. But as a true testimony to Megan Hart as an author, I still felt deeply connected to the characters. Stranger is not a bad read by far, but it is not my favorite by Hart.

Here is what others had to say:

The Happily Ever After
Nobody Asked Me
Romance Book Wyrm
That's What She Read
Breezing Through
Leslie's Psyche

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

To Review or not to Review?

Okay, recently I had one of those books I just couldn't get through. It took me four days to read just under 200 pages of a 300 page book. The characters were dull and the plot was going no where. So guess what? I gave up. Yep, I put the book down and picked up another one. I really have no desire even at a later date to pick it back up so I gave it away knowing I wouldn't ever finish it.

So my question for you is this: even though I didn't finish the book should I still review what I did read? Do you want to know that I couldn't finish the book and why? Or do you feel that if I reviewed the book it wouldn't be a fair review? I have set up a poll in my side bar that you can vote on if you have an opinion on this subject. Any thoughts are welcome. I am just curious as to how the majority of you feel about it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Review - Dark of Night

Title: Dark of Night
Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Publishing Date: January 2009
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Rating: A
Sensuality: Hot

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Ms. Brockmann's 14th book in her vastly popular Troubleshooter series, Dark of Night. Now I'll be honest, I did not pay attention to all the discussions about this book. I didn't want to read any spoilers, inadvertent or not. Many reviews have been posted and the majority all disclosed spoilers. I hate spoilers. I really do. So, this review will be SPOILER FREE. The only plot summary I will give, will come from the cover blurb on the book.

A very shady government organization known as The Agency has come after James Nash nearly killing him. An opportunity arose to fake Nash's death and Lawrence Dekker took it. Only a small handful of people know that Nash is alive and Dave and Sophia aren't among the elite. Dave and Sophia in their grief over Nash's death turn to each other for comfort and their relationship moves from that of friends to lovers. Dave is attacked by a man that results in a knife injury. Dave believes that the attack has something to do with his past. Nash knows that it actually has something to do with him and The Agency. Now, people who Nash cares about are in serious danger. The troubleshooters will team up to put an end to the threat.

Dark of Night is classic Brockmann. There is fantastic dialogue, realistic multi-faceted characters, acute attention to detail, and non-stop, intense action. One of the reasons why I love this series so much is how the characters evolve throughout it. Real people are constantly changing and evolving and her characters do too. The characters become so real to me, I wonder that they aren't actual people. She is able to convey this realness in her attention to detail. There were so many scenes that were peppered with little nuances and references that paint such a vivid picture.

I know a lot of fans of this series were very worried over the Dekker/Dave/Sophia love triangle aspect. All I will say about this is that readers should trust Brockmann. If you have been a fan of the series up until now, then trust her to tell the story the way she believes it should be told. I did and I am very satisfied.

I am sure there are some readers out there who haven't started this series. Just to prove how confident I am that you will be entertained by this book, that I recommend just jumping in and start with this one. You won't be lost at all. Instead, I think you will be so entertained by the story and the characters that you will want to go back and read the other books, so as to find out all you can about them. Because for me, after having read Dark of Night, I now want to go back and read through all the other books again. That's just my two cents, for what it's worth.

Here's what others had to say:

Book Binge
Randi Romance Reader
Thrifty Reader
Good Books, Bad Books
Nobody Asked Me
I Just Finished Reading
Dear Author

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Series Sunday - Masters of Time

Brenda Joyce has a time-travel series called the Masters of Time. I am a huge sucker for time-travel novels. There is just something about an old-fashioned, controlling hero paired up with a modern woman. There is a lot of time jumping in the books and parts of the books take place in the past and then other parts take place in the present. The heroes are warriors sworn to protect innocence and were gifted with all kinds of powers. One of them being time-travel. My personal favorite so far in the series is book two, Dark Rival. Although, not all these books have lived up to my expectations, it is still a series I've enjoyed and am following closely.

Brenda Joyce has a website specifically for her Masters of Time series. If this series sounds like something you are interested in, then definitely check out this website. You can read chapters from all the books and see if her writing style appeals to you. I personally think that you can read the books in any order. Each book stands alone, it's just that some of the characters appear in multiple books.

Series Reading Order:

1. Dark Seduction (Malcolm and Claire)
2. Dark Rival (Royce and Allie)
3. Dark Embrace (Aidan and Brie)
4. Dark Victory (Black and Tabitha)
5. Dark Lover (Ian and Samantha) Releases September 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Review - Lady of Light and Shadows

Title: Lady of Light and Shadows
Author: C. L. Wilson
Publication Date: 2007
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Warm

Lady of the Light and Shadows is the second book in the four book Taren Soul series. It picks up right were The Lord of the Fading Lands ended. Rain and Elly are betrothed. Before Rain can take Elly back to his Fay homelands, he promised her parents he would allow for a proper wedding in human tradition. This means Elly has to go through several bridal blessings before they can wed. The complication is that something or someone is threatening Elly. Elly's homeland is also on the verge of war only her people are unaware of this unseen threat. Rain is trying to convince them of it, but the people are suspicious of the Fey.

I hate to say it, but I really struggled with this book. I could barely get through the first half and I repeatedly would put it down because of boredom. It felt like a recap of what had happened in the first book and the pacing was extremely tedious. There was a lot of political plotting and mysterious unveilings that didn't quite make sense until later on in the book. I had my hopes up that things would move a lot faster than they did. I was also hoping that part of the book would take place in the Fading Lands, but that didn't happen. It wasn't until about the halfway point that things really began to speed up and get interesting. I am very glad that I did hang in there and kept going. My persistence paid off big time. The shit hits the fan in the second half and things get very intense.

One of the complaints I had about the first book was that Elly came across as almost too perfect. I felt she could have benefited from a more realistic and complicated portrait of a woman. I was pleasantly surprised that Elly did evolve in this second book and we see that she does have some depth to her. She is not all sugar and honey. She grows a backbone and takes charge. It was very nice to see her come into herself. Rain, on the other hand, took a nose dive for me. Oh boy, did he ever royally screw up with Elly. He does something that he will regret for the rest of his life. (At least that's how I see it). He broke her trust in him and he will have to earn it back. Finally, in the third book, Rain takes Elly back to his homelands. This is the part I have been anxiously awaiting.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dreamfever Excerpt 2

For those of you who have been coming to my blog awhile already know this. For those of you who are new, I am here to tell you I am a HUGE fan of Karen Marie Moning. I don't know what it is about her writing, but it just sings to me. Maybe it's just some sort of adolescent fantasy that I had from way back when that she appeals to on some level ( - that I don't even want to think about). Scary, I know. Your thinking, "Too much information." Right? Nah, humor me!

What I was trying to lead up to before I got side tracked, was that I subscribe to Karen's monthly newsletter. What is so nice about that newsletter is that fans get a little sneak peak at her upcoming novel with a juicy excerpt each time. The next book coming up is Dreamfever and it is number four in a five book series. This is an awesome series. Many of you have already heard me going on and on about this series, so I'll just get on with it. Without further ado, Excerpt number 2: (And it's a good one!)

I closed my hand around Barrons' forearm. He could not have looked more pleased if I'd just gazed up at him with doe eyes and told him he was my world.

I locked my hand down, dug my nails into his flesh, and held on.

His eyes narrowed then flared, then I was no longer seeing him at all because I'd pushed, pushed, pushed violently, stabbed myself brutally deep into his mind with my special sidhe-seer talent.

I wanted answers. I wanted to know why the animosity between him and V'lane. I wanted to know who to trust, who was--not the better man--but at least the slightly-less-worse one.

I pushed, seeking any breach I could exploit and suddenly I was--

In Faery!

It had to be. The scenery was impossibly lush, the colors too rich, vivid, so full of tone that they had texture, like that first beach V'lane had taken me to months ago, where I'd played volleyball with Alina, when he'd given me the gift of seeing her again, if only an illusion, but this was no beach, this was the Fae court!

Brilliantly colored silk chaises were scattered around a dais. Trees sprouted leaves and flowers of incomprehensible color and dimension. The breeze smelled of jasmine and sandalwood and some other scent that I imagined heaven--if such a place existed--would smell like.

I wanted to look around. I wanted to see the queen on her dais, but I couldn't turn my/our gaze toward it because I was a passenger in his head, and I was--

inside Barrons body.

I was strong.

I was cold.

I was mighty and they didn't even know just how mighty I was.

They didn't recognize me, the fools.

I was danger.

I was everything they should fear but they'd lived so long that they'd forgotten fear. I would teach them.

I would remind them

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Review - Menagerie

Title: Menagerie
Author: Lara Santiago
Publishing Date: 2008
Genre: Futuristic (Erotic)
Rating: C
Sensuality: Hot

Vanessa Thornhill while out for a jog finds herself planted face first in the dirt as she blacks out. When she comes to, she finds herself sitting a class, aboard a spaceship with a blue alien explaining the rules she must follow for the next few years of her new life. At first she just goes with the flow believing this to be a very vivid dream. Next thing she knows, she is being told how the ratio of women to men is five to one. She will be paired up with a group of men, whom she will have to service sexually. The men's survival depends on it.

Menagerie is a silly, short book that is easily entertaining. There is nothing too deep or meaningful that will come from reading it, but it's a mindless way to pass the time. Vanessa and her entourage of five men are mediocre characters. Each man had a distinct personality as to easily distinguish them from one another. Really for me, only one man stands out from the crowd. Vanessa finds herself playing favorites and she starts to feel extremely guilty about it. I liked this part of the story and how Vanessa has to deal with this issue. It gave the book more of a purpose than just being all about sex. I still would have wished for more exploration of this issue than just the superficial attention it received.

There was a very interesting plot twist at the end of the story that was very creative on the authors part, but again, I would have liked to see it be developed a little more. I wouldn't say there was anything that I didn't enjoy about the story, but it didn't totally knock my socks off either. It was just an average read for me. It was short and easy to read and it entertained me, but it definitely could have used some jazzing up.

Here is what others had to say:

The Good, The Bad, The Unread
Book Binge

Monday, March 2, 2009

February Monthly Summary

Here is my list of books for February. This was a super short month and I am really lucky I managed to meet my reading goals. I started out the month with an A rated book and ended it the same way.

1. Virgin River, Carr (Contemporary) Rating: A
2. The Mark of the Vampire Queen, Hill (Paranormal/erotic) Rating: B+
3. Dream a Little Dream, Phillips (Contemporarary) Rating: B
4. In Too Deep, Da Casta (Contemporary/erotic) Rating: B
5. Wicked Game,Jackson (Romantic Suspense) Rating: C+
6. Living With the Dead, Armstrong (Urban Fantasy) Rating: B+
7. Contact, Grant (Futuristic) Rating: B
8. Sunset Bay, Mallory (Contemporary) Rating: B+
9. Three To Get Deadly, Evanovich (Mystery) Rating: B
10. The Bride, Garwood (Medieval) Rating: C+
11. Menagerie, Santiago (Futuristic/erotic) Rating: C
12. Lady of Light and Shadows, Wilson (Fantasy) Rating: B-
13. Dark of Night, Brockmann (Romantic Suspense) Rating: A