Monday, October 31, 2011

In My Mailbox (11)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.  Not nearly exciting as lastweek, but I still got a couple good ones!

Shoe Done It by Grace Carroll - giveaway win from Book of Secrets.

Rita Jewel has a dream job selling fabulous clothes and accessories to the socialites of San Francisco at Dolce's Boutique.  But when a pair of heels becomes a clue in a murder, Rita finds herself engaged in a high-end crime of fashion...
Society maven MarySue Jensen has old San Francisco money and an eye for style.  That's why she must have those handmade silver stilettos special ordered from Dolce's by their top fashionista, Rita Jewel.  She'd die before she wore anything less at the biggest charity event of the season.  That same night, MarySue Jensen's cold, lifeless body is found in Golden Gate Park...tragically barefoot.
What kind of remorseless, fashion-conscious maniac would swipe a pair of handcrafted stilettos from a corpse?  With her boss a prime suspect, Rita Jewel - and unnervingly sexy detective Jack Wall - must track down a killer.  But before Rita engages in such a dangerous game, she has one nagging question...What does one wear to solve a crime?

Two Moons of Sera by Pavarti K Tyler - First Reads

In a world where water and earthteem with life, Serafay is an anomaly.  The result of genetic experiments on her mother's water-borne line Serafay will have to face the very people responsible to discover who she really is.  But is she the only one?

Two Moons of Sera is a Fantasy/Romance and will be released in serial format.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Book Review: Impulse by Candace Camp

Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 401
Acquired: 10/20/11
Book of Your Shelf? No
Why I read it: NetGalley
Series: No

Cam Monroe is a stablehand, Angela Stanhope is nobility. Their love is forbidden and when Angela's father finds out about he threatens to ruin Cam and find a way to send him to jail for the rest of his life. Cam leaves the family's estate and vows to have Angela and his revenge. Meanwhile, Angela marries Lord Dunstan to try and save Cam from her father. Dunstan does not turn out to be the good man everyone thought he was, and several years later they end up divorced after a scandal that rocked the town.

When Cam hears of Angela's divorce he finds a way to return and try to marry her, but Angela sees herself as damaged good after her divorce and is terrified of being under the control of any man. On top of everything, Cam has been the victim of several "accidents." Accidents that seem to be happening all to frequently to be real. Will Angela and Cam learn to trust each other again, or will they forever live with their past doubts.

While this was more of what I consider a "traditional" romance, mistreated woman falls for gentle man but have too many issues to deal with to see that they love each other. However, the little bit of mystery behind Cam's accidents adds just enough to keep the story interesting, although an astute reader will figure it out early in the game.


Book Review: Bonded by Blood by Laurie London

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 384
Acquired: 10/10/11
Book of Your Shelf? No
Why I read it: NetGalley
Series: Sweetblood Series (1)

Sweetbloods are a rare type of human whose blood is delicious...more than delicious, it can be addicting. Few vampires can resist drainging a sweetblood dry. Mackenzie Foster-Shaw is a sweetblood. It's a trait that runs in her family and would explain the mysterious disappearances over the years. Dominic is a wounded vampire. Mackenzie quite literally stumbles across him and he cant resist the lure of her blood to heal him, but somehow he manages not to kill her. But he does come close and to saave her life he must give her a small amount of his own blood. This has unexpected consequences, they become bonded, sharing thought and feelings.

Then the unthinkable happens. The evil vampires, known as Dark Bloods, discover that Mackenzie is a sweet blood and have made her a target in their most recent scheme. As Dominic tries to protect her their bond grows stonger and stronger, as do their feelings for each other. They must find a way to defeat the dark bloods and come to terms with each other.

One of the better vampire romances I have read. I enjoyed the added aspect of the sweet blood humans that can be addictive to vampires, good or bad. I loved Mackenzie. She was so head strong and independent. She didn't just swoon every time something bad or new happened. She tried to take care of it and freaked out later. Dominic is your typical "strong man" and has difficulty accepting Mackenzie's help. But she makes him get over it and they work well together. A great paranormal romance for vampire lovers.


Book Review: Embellish by RL Sloan

Embellish by R.L. Sloan
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult??
Pages: 244
Acquired: 05/10/10
Book of Your Shelf? Yes
Why I read it: Contest Win
Series: Maybe

Ancient voodoo curses, magic and vampires....sounds like a great combination. Solis is the victim of harrassment of all levels by the descendants of Priestess Aldicia, who is a very nasty voodoo priestess. Solis's family in one of the ones that stood up to her way back when, and now they want their revenge. Enter Nico, also a victim of Priestess Aldicia, but in a different way. He was turned into a vampire, and Solis is his soul mate, the one he has been searching for forever. Solis and Nico team up to try and put a stop to the curse of Priestess Aldicia.

This seemed to have all the elements of a great story, and the story itself was very good. But I just didn't enjoy it. My problem wasn't with the storyline, plot, or characters. It was with the writing. The style and tone of the story seemed to be aimed toward young adults/early teens, but the language and content (very sexual) were definately more than I would have been comfortable or able to understand at that age.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Book Review: A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley

A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 272
Acquired: 09/29/11
Book of Your Shelf? No
Why I read it: 2011 Book Battle Long List
Series: No

This is the story of two girls and how they changed each other's lives. Charlie Duskin lives in the city, but even though she is surrounded by people she always feels alone. Her savior from this loneliness is her music. She plays guitar and sings, and she's actually quite good at it. It's too bad she's too shy to show anyone else her talent. Rose Butler lives in the country, next door to Charlie's grandfather. She is always with her best friends and never seems to stop having fun. But Rose wants to leave, she feels stuck in the country and want to go to a good school in the city.

The girls never really hung out together until this year. This year everything was beginning to change for both of them. And even though they don't even realize it at first, neither could have gotten through it without the help of the other. Both sets of eyes are opened to new experiences and new ideas.

This was a very touching novel of friendship. heartache, and rolling with the punches that life can throw at us. Told in alternating perspectives, it was fascinating to see the same situations from two points of view. The author wrote this in a way that wasn't jarring or interrupting to the story. This is definitely a must read book.


The Niteclif Evolutions, Book 1: Legacy by Denise Tompkins Book Tour

About the book:
When Fate makes you her bitch, accept it and adapt. Or die.

Looking back on the wish she made on Midsummer’s Eve, Maddy Niteclif should have been more specific. She only wanted to escape the shadowy nightmares that plagued her nights, not to be thrust into a completely altered reality.

If a strangely familiar, sexy dragon-shifter named Bahlin, who causes a never-to-be-mentioned-again fainting spell, isn’t enough to make her question her sanity, his insistence she’s the Niteclif ought to do the job. Prophesied super-sleuth of the supernatural world—a world that desperately needs her help—isn’t a job she’s remotely qualified for no matter what her family tree says.

Catapulted into a very different London ruled by dark mythology, mystery and murder, Maddy makes a few startling discoveries. Paranormal creatures exist. Getting shot really sucks. And her body responds remarkably well to dragon magic—in more ways than simple wound healing.

But in this kill-or-be-killed world, reality bites. And Maddy must choose to go back to what she knows…or stay and fight for the man she knows she can’t live without.

Warning: This book contains a shape-shifting dragon with a Scottish accent, modern and archaic weapons, global inter-species politics that make democracy seem mild, some very steamy sex underground, a severed head, murder, and…oh yeah…a woman caught in the middle of it all.

My Review:
Maddy Nitecliff has found herself in a rather strange situation.  After making a wish on Midsummer's Eve, she finds herself inundated with the supernatural.  Apparently she has triggered an ancient legacy to be the ultimate crime solver for the paranormal realm in and around London.  But she isn't alone in this life changing experience.  The shape-shifting dragon, Bahlin, has appointed himself her guardian and teacher, doing his best to guide her and ease her way into her new life.

But Bahlin has more than just a little crush on Maddy, which only complicates their professional relationship.  As he tries to show her his true feelings, he only seems to be making things worse when a spree of murders strikes the paranormal realm.  Maddy finds herself on the case, with Bahlin at her side.  She needs to find the murderer, stay alive, and figure out who she can really trust, because this time the entire world could be at stake.

As one of the books with a mystery aspect that I didn't guess the answer to within a couple chapters, this book scored major points.  The story was so involving that I found myself following the characters instead of trying to predict what they would do or find solutions to their problems.  Much like real people, they were a bit unpredictable.  The way the paranomal world overlapped and meshed with then normal world as we know it was fantastic.  The variety of creatures encountered kept me constantly wondering what I would get to see next.

There was a good chunk of romance, and it was done very well.  Maddy was not the kind of person to let just anyone take her to bed.  It was refreshing to see such a strong female role played out in a romance.


For more stops on the tour see the list below.  Take a few minutes and check out what others have to say about this great book.

  • October 18th – Jaidis S. @ Juniper Grove

  • October 19th – Florence P. @ Romance Me

  • October 19th – Kristen T. @ Seeing Night Book Reviews

  • October 20th – Tammy G. @ News and Reviews from the Heart of the Dragons Den

  • October 21st – Paula P. @ The Phantom Paragrapher

  • October 24th – Laurie J. @ Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

  • October 25th – Sheila H. @ The Dark Circle

  • October 26th – S.J.W. @ Fantasy Cookie

  • October 26th – Jasmyn No. @ Jasmyn’s Reviews

  • October 27th – Lea. R. @ Journey Reader

  • October 28th – Aparajita B. @ Le’ Grande Codex

  • October 31st – Beverly G. @ Everyone Loves A SiNner

  • November 1st – Aubrie Di. @ Flutey Words

  • November 2nd – Lindsay H @ Everyday Is An Adventure

  • November 3rd – Krystal L. @ Live To Read

  • November 4th – Shandy S. @ Mama Knows Books

  • November 7th – Wendy Mi. @ Rage, Sex and Teddy Bears

  • November 9th – Lena Sl. @ Lena Sledge’s Blog…Books, Reviews and Interviews

  • November 10th – Krishna A. @ Journey with Books

  • November 11th – Farrah K. @ The Book Faery Reviews

  • November 14th – Hywela L. @ Hywela Lyn: Romance That’s ‘Out Of This World’

  • November 15th – Lisa Ma. @ A Casual Reader’s Blog

  • Find Denise Tompkins:


    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    Book Review: Kiss Me Deadly by Michelle Hauf

    Kiss Me Deadly by Michelle HaufGenre: Paranormal Romance
    Pages: 288
    Acquired: 10/11/11
    Book of Your Shelf? No
    Why I read it: B&N Free Fridays
    Series: Bewitching the Dark (2)

    Ravin is a witch. Her sole purpose in life is the kill as many vampires as she can. Since witch's blood is poisonous to vampires, she has been rather successful. Her most recent hunt has eliminated several of the foul creatures, including their leader....or so she thinks. The vampire tribe leader, Nikolaus, was somehow able to survive and is now stronger than ever. Nikolaus is now out for revenge. He will stop at nothing to kill the witch that almost killed him.

    Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately in the long run, the Devil himself has his hands in the mix. He has set Ravin the task of mixing a love potion for him, only when Nikolaus breaks in while she is brewing, he finds himself strangely and suddenly in love with the woman he has sworn to kill.

    I'm very glad that I had started reading Seducing the Vampire by the same author when I started this book. I just couldn't get into much at all. I think the whole love potion thing was just a little too over the top for me. If this one piece hadn't played such a huge role, and mentioned and argued about so much, I think I would have really enjoyed the story.


    In My Mailbox (10)

    In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren.  I was very sick last weekend and missed getting this up, so I have a double edition this week.  I also had some ebooks come in, but I did not write down which ones came this week, so I'm going to skip over them to avoid accidental duplicates.  Next week you'll be seeing my first ever post for a blog tour.  I'm so very excited!

    Hustle by Jason Skipper - won on So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
    In this powerful, debut novel, an alcoholic ex-con man grandfather, his restless, philandering seafood salesman son, and his hopeful musician grandson struggle to make up for their past and somehow set course for the future.  In the past, the grandfather has hustled for money; now he's hustling for redemption.  The son has hustled for women; now he's hustling for love of a different sort.  His son, Chris, is hustling to be a famous musician with enough  money to solve his family's unsolvable problems.  Chris's coming-of-age story explores the ways people struggle to fulfill their wants and desires - and what they are willing to sacrifice to feel free.

    Crossed by Ally Condie - won on Diana's Amazing Book Adventures

    Chasing down an uncertain future, Cassia makes her way to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped into the majestic, but treacherous, canyons.  On this wild frontier are glimmers of a different life and the enthralling promise of rebellion.  But even as Cassia sacrifices everything to reunite with Ky, ingenious surprises from Xander may change the game once again.
    Narrated from both Cassia's and Ky's point of view, this hotly anticipated sequel to Matched will take them both to the edge of Society, where nothing is as expected and crosses and double crosses make their path more twisted than ever.

    A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander - Litfuse Publicity Group upcoming tour

    Claire Laurent's greatest aspiration is to paint something that will bring her to acclaim.  Yet her father insists she work as a copyist.  A forger.  When she's forced to flee her home, her path collides with attorney Sutton Monroe, who shows her kindness by not turning her in to authorities.  But when he later refuses to come to her aid, Clair fears she's sorely misjudged him.  Finding herself among the elite of Nashville society, Claire believes her dream of creating a lasting impression in the world of art is within reach - but only if her past remains hidden.
    The Federal Army destroyed Sutton's home, confiscated his lands, and now threatens to destroy his family's honor.  His determination to reclaim what belongs to him reveals a truth that may costhim more than he ever imagined - as well as the woman he loves.
    Set at Nashville's historic Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Adelicia Acklen, A Lasting Impression is a sweeping love story about a nation mending after war, the redemption of those wounded, and the courage of a man and a woman to see themselves - and each other - for who they truly are.

    Escape Velocity by Robin Stevenson - LibraryThing Early Review Copy

    It's the end of a long hot summer in Alberta's Badlands, and fifteen-year-old Lou is restless and dreaming of escape.  Then an unexpected crisis turns her dream into reality and Lou is forced to leave Alberta and stay with the mother she has never known.  Lou is overflowing with questions.  Why did her mother never want her?  She is convinced that the answers lie hidden in her mother's novels, and is determined to find the matter what the cost.

    The Arranger by L.J. Sellers

    The year is 2023 and ex-detective Lara Evans is working as a freelance paramedic in a new bleak world.  She responds to an emergency call and is nearly killed when a shooter flees the home.  Inside she finds the federal employment commissioner wounded, but she's able to save his life.
    The next day Lara leaves for the Gauntlet - a national competition of intense physical and mental challenges with high stakes for her home state.  She spots the assailant lurking at the arena and soon after, she lands in deep trouble.  Who is the mysterious killer and what is motivating him?  Can Lara stop, stay alive, and win the Gauntlet?

    All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

    From the author of the critically acclaimed Elsewhere comes this brilliant novel about an impossible romance, a family living outside the law, and the ties that bind us forever.
    Chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is increasingly scarce, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty.  And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine - going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new DA's son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend.  That is until someone in her inner circle ends up poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame.  Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight - at school, in the news, and, most important, within her mafiya family.

    Escape by Barbara Delinsky

    Have you ever woken up in a cold sweat thinking you're stuck in a life you don't want?  Did you ever consider disappearing - leaving family, friends, even a spouse - ditching everything you've known and starting over again? ... Maybe even returning to an old lover?
    Emily Aulenbach is thirty-two, a lawyer married to a lawyer, living and working in Manhattan.  An idealist, she had once dreamed of representing victims of corporate abuse.  Now she spends her days in a cubicle talking on the phone with victims of tainted bottle water - and she is on the bottler's side.
    But it isn't only work.  It's her sister, her friends, even her husband, James, with whom she doesn't connect in the way she once did.  She doesn't connect to much in her life, period, with the exception of three things: her computer, her BlackBerry, and her watch.
    Acting on impulse, Emily leaves work early one day, goes home, packs her bag, and takes off.  Groping toward the future and uncharacteriscally following her gut rather than her mind, she heads north toward a New Hampshire town nestled in the mountains.  She knows this town.  During her college years she spent a watershed summer here.  If she were to map out the turns she's taken in life, this would be the spot where she had first gone wrong.  Painful as returning feels, she knos that if she is to right her life, she has to start here.

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Book Review: Close Kin by Clare B. Dunkle

    Close Kin (The Hollow Kingdom Trilogy #2) by Clare B. Dunkle
    Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
    Pages: 224
    Acquired: 08/09/11
    Book of Your Shelf? No
    Why I read it: Series
    Series: The Hollow Kingdom (2)

    We met the sisters Kate and Emily in the first book, Hollow Kingdom. Their life since the joining Goblin society has been "uneventful." They both have their jobs to do, although those jobs would seem strange to most humans, and have made a place for themselves in the underground kingdom. However, Emily is getting older, and as a human woman, the Goblin King is not so patiently waiting to see which of his subjects she will choose to marry. Everything goes a little crazy when Seylin, a friend Emily made in the first book, proposes and Emily doesn't even realize it! Completely offended and heartbroken, Seylin leaves the kingdom to try and find his ancestors, the elves. Once Emily realizes that Seylin has left and what she did to him, she sets off to find him and bring him back.

    I still love Emily's character and I really wish we had seen more of her in this book. From the description, I thought it would be about half about her and half about Seylin. While Seylin was very heavily featured, Emily really lagged behind in coverage. Seylin is a very interesting character, but I didn't see him really grow or develop much here. I'm afraid that the second book in The Hollow Kingdom just isn't quite as good as the first, which is a trait I find quite often in series. I'm still going to try and read the third, but it will have to wait until I get some extra spending money.


    Book Review: Seducing the Vampire by Michele Hauf

    Seducing the Vampire by Michele Hauf
    Genre: Paranormal Historical Romance
    Pages: 384
    Acquired: 09/30/11
    Book of Your Shelf? No
    Why I read it: NetGalley
    Series: No

    Think Snow White meets vampires, werewolves, and France. Three of my favorite things and one of my favorite fairy tales growing up (I went through 3 copies of the Disney movie). Our fair princess is played by the blood born vampiress, Viviane LaMourette. Now blood born vampires are rare, and females even more so. So enter the evil queen (errr king in this case), Constantine de Salignac, the local vampire tribe leader who will have Viviane or else no one will! Prince Charming is played by quite an unusual character, a half werewolf half vampire named Rhys Hawkes, who just happens to be half-brother to Constantine. Now remove the 7 dwarfs, unless I totally missed something, and we have our main characters.

    The story itself takes us back and forth between present time and the time of Marie Antoinette's court in France. We first meet Viviane on her way to visit her patron in France where she meets Rhys for the first time and Constantine presses her to become his. Fearing for her independence should she choose to be with Constantine, Viviane tries to delay giving him a decision and ends up falling for Rhys. When Constantine finds out, saying he is mad would be the understatement of the century. He sets out for revenge.

    In the present time, Rhys hears a myth of a "Vampire Snow White" in the sewers of France. The timing and description of the fair vampire maiden reminds him of Viviane, thought lost to him for all this time. He immediately takes off to France to try and find her (Prince Charming to the rescue).

    The story's jump between time periods was well written. There was never any confusion when you started a section as to which time you were in now. There was a lot of action, but it never got too overwhelming or confusing with too much going on all at once. This was a great read.


    Book Review: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

    13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
    Genre: Young Adult
    Pages: 368
    Acquired: Library Book
    Book of Your Shelf? No
    Why I read it: 2011 Book Battle
    Series: Blue Envelopes (1)

    Ginny has a mission....a mission enclosed in 13 blue envelopes given to her by her Aunt with specific instructions on when and where she is to open each one. After much internal and parental debate, Ginny sets of on a grand adventure that begins in London. As Ginny works her way through the letters, Europe, and a steady stream of extremely helpful strangers, she begins to see her Aunt through different eyes and gains a better understanding of herself.

    I really liked Ginny. She was shy with strangers but outgoing once she let you into her world. As she traveled and interacted with new, and sometimes very strange, people Ginny discovered that she was capable of doing so much more than she originally thought. A journey that Ginny first thought was all about "discovering" who her Aunt was, turns into so much more.

    I enjoyed this book up until almost the very end. The places and people were engaging and lifelike. Even in what would normally be a mundane scene, the author managed to write in a way to bring out the excitement and anticipation that Ginny must have been feeling throughout the whole story. Now, the very end was a little different. I was all set to have things wrap up nicely and, well, end. But the story is set up for a sequel, which I didn't realize when I started. The ending wasn't cliffhanger enough to make me jump out of my seat and rush off to the library, but it was enough to leave me feeling frustrated that I couldn't just move on. Perhaps that was the point, and it's quite possible I would feel differently if I had known there was a book 2 going in.


    Friday, October 14, 2011

    Fall Into Bed With a Good Romance Challenge

    I almost forgot to sign up for this!  It's a great challenge going on at Royal Reviews.

    Now I used to think I hated romance, and then I realized how many of my books had very strong romance elements in them.  I picked up a few of the more modern romances (especially historical fiction and paranomal) and found that I loved them.  I will be listing links to my reviews below!

    Night of the Vampires by Heather Graham posted 10/3/11
    Seducint the Vampire by Michele Hauf  posted 10/20/11
    Kiss Me Deadly by Michele Hauf posted 10/23/11
    Bonded by Blood by Laurie London posted 10/30/11
    Impulse by Candace Camp posted 10/30/11

    Book Review: Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

    Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
    Genre: SteamPunk
    Pages: 640
    Acquired: 08/24/11
    Book of Your Shelf? No
    Why I read it: ???
    Series: None

    Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin is a scientist that lives on the fringes of society. He is known for his research in things that aren't quite accepted by the rest of the scientific community. His most recent project is for a garuda, a bird-like creature, that has lost his wings. His job is to find a way for him to fly again. Isaac's girlfriend, Lin, is a bug person that has been recently hired by a notorious underworld drug lord to create a sculpture. Now, these two incidents have in common. Well, not too much as first, but as we read further into the story strange and unrelated events turn into a nightmare. Nearly invincible creatures are released into the city and are killing in ways no one can quite figure out and Isaac, Lin, and their friends find themselves the center of it all.

    I really enjoyed reading this. There was sooooooo much going on that I was a bit overwhelmed when I first finished, but after sitting on my thoughts for a few days I realized how detailed the whole story was. Everything that was mentioned had a purpose. That purpose may not come into play for hundreds of pages, but the set up was perfect. The characters bothered me at first because they were very extreme in their personalities. But, again, as the story went along their quirks and extreme behavior all played a part. They also grew into completely new people as the events around them forced them to change their opinions and beliefs.

    This is a great book for any fan of SteamPunk, science fiction, or fantasy. I wish I could remember how it got on my wishlist so I could thank the person who recommended it.


    Trick or Treat Spooktacular Giveaway Event


    A Book-Lovers Review Trick or Treating will begin today, October 13th and end on Halloween night October 31st!

    She will have 13 SIGNED books up for grabs and an awesome prize pack to give away at the end.

    For more info and to enter click HERE.