Monday, December 5, 2011

This is funny, when it probably shouldn't be...

Friday, December 2, 2011

I'm in love with Evanescence all over again...

There's more goodness on the album, but you get the drift and it's an awesome one at that.

And because I'm totally missing her (and Amy Lee is totally channeling her with that beehive she's rockin') here's a little Amy Winehouse.

Thanks for tuning into the Queen B's Music Hour ;)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Winner of Dead Iron by Devon Monk

We have a winner of a copy of Dead Iron by Devon Monk and it is....van_pham!!

I have sent out an email and look forward to hearing from you. Congrats!!

Thanks to all who entered!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Winner of Dirty Kiss by Rhys Ford

is Nixie!!!

Congrats, Nixie! I have emailed you and look forward to hearing back so we can get you your prize.

Thanks to all who participated.

Friday, July 8, 2011

I have no content so I bring you...

Meeeeee!!! At a Britney Spears concert. Don't hate. I lurve me some Brit Brit. There was the cutest gay couple in the section bordering the stage (you know, the one you sell your kidney for?). They almost made me believe in love...except I'm married which is kinda like being inoculated for it. I kid. Mostly.


Here I am in Vegas (for the fist time) for my last bday with one of my sistahs in the law and an awesome and totally random Mad Hatter. (A lil' Vegas advise for noobs: Pace yoself. Trust me on this.)

And lastly, me and my sis, Jen, Who also blogs. We are serving time at in-law Christmas. God bless my MIL, she has a well stocked wine room.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Winner of Grave Witch and Grave Dance by Kalayna Price

And the winner is marybelle!! I will be emailing you shortly. Congrats!!

Thanks to all who entered.

Queen B's hubby reviews: A Shot in the Dark by K.A. Stewart (Jesse James Dawson #2)

Jesse James Dawson's vacation is interrupted by a pack of hell-spawned creatures. To save friends, family and himself, Jesse will have to put his trust in his most dangerous enemy-his personal demon.

Note: I received a copy for review from the publisher.

Buy links: A Shot in the Dark: A Jesse James Dawson Novel (Jesse Dawson)
book depository

My dearest and my darling reviewed the first in this series for me last year. Now, he is back with his usual charm and panache (back off, bitches, he's mine...and he totally snores) to review the newest offering in the Jesse James Dawson series by K.A. Stewart. Please show him the love...

After reading the first book in this series I was a little skeptical, as the first book had interesting concepts with imperfect but adequate storytelling. I am pleased to announce that this outing is extremely solid. Now that the characters and world have been established this book concentrates on a well done combination of action and tense anxiety. The story follows protagonist Jesse James Dawson, who eviscerates demons with cheery abandon. When someone makes the mistake of selling their soul to shady characters, they call in a champion like Jesse to fight in their stead. Now that Jesse has a few notches adding up on his belt, the underworld is conspiring to end his winning streak. Things quiet down after the ending events of A Devil in the Details, and (against his better judgement) Jesse proceeds to go on the annual paintball vacation with all of his best friends. The boys all head out to a cabin in the Colorado Rockies, where an ambush is flagrantly waiting for them. The situation quickly devolves into a seige of the tiny cottage. This was the highlight of the book, as all the action was punctuated by tense scenes of scrambling to mount defenses, as well as blaming eachother for the situation. Fighting eachother as well as demonic entities makes for a nice bit of drama. The atmosphere had a palpable sense of foreboding for almost the entire story, and really added to my entertainment.

There was some heavy handed foreshadowing that made the story extremely predictable, but this did not hinder my enjoyment of their fight for survival. The action scenes are well written and had me on the edge of my seat. Overall I enjoyed part two much more than the first. Indeed, this book seems like a major departure from all of the mundane activity of the previous story. Well done Ms. Stewart, you have gotten me to care about what happens next in the series. The only other issue I had was whenever Jesse had an inner monologue it came across a little like a womans' voice. I had this same criticism of A Devil in the Details, but honestly it is not as bad this time around. However, at some points it almost seemed like the author was deliberately trying to sound like a man, which kinda made it worse. At any rate these moments were few and did not affect the flow of the story that badly, but they were noticeable. Despite my gripes I did enjoy the story, and the characters were developed nicely (everytime Axel, the demon, shows up he steals the show). So if you've read the first book you really should pick this one up and see what's new in Mr. Dawson's world.

Final Grade: B

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Giveaway of Dead Iron by Devon Monk

Today is the release day of the fabulous Dead Iron by Devon Monk, and to celebrate the publisher has generously offered to give one lucky person a copy of the book. Open to continental U.S. only. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post. Giveaway will run from now until Sunday, July 10, 2011 at 11:59 pm PST.

For more info about this book and Devon Monk's new series as well as an excerpt, go here.

Stay tuned for my review of Dead Iron, coming soon!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Review: Dirty Kiss by Rhys Ford (And Giveaway!!)

Cole Kenjiro McGinnis, ex-cop and PI, is trying to get over the shooting death of his lover when a supposedly routine investigation lands in his lap. Investigating the apparent suicide of a prominent Korean businessman’s son proves to be anything but ordinary, especially when it introduces Cole to the dead man’s handsome cousin, Kim Jae-Min.

Jae-Min’s cousin had a dirty little secret, the kind that Cole has been familiar with all his life and that Jae-Min is still hiding from his family. The investigation leads Cole from tasteful mansions to seedy lover’s trysts to Dirty Kiss, the place where the rich and discreet go to indulge in desires their traditional-minded families would rather know nothing about.

It also leads Cole McGinnis into Jae-Min’s arms, and that could be a problem. Jae-Min’s cousin’s death is looking less and less like a suicide, and Jae-Min is looking more and more like a target. Cole has already lost one lover to violence—he’s not about to lose Jae-Min too.

Note: I received a copy for review from the author

Buy link: e-book
Author's Website
Rhys on twitter
Pub Date: July 1, 2011

Dirty Kiss is a well written mystery/romance featuring two very different men that have to face familial and cultural obstacles along with a fanatical killer just to be together.

The story is told through the eyes of Cole, a Japanese/Irish former cop who is now a private investigator. Cole has faced hate and loss in his life and although he hides behind a great sense of humor and a few close friendships, he's basically cut himself off from any hopes at romantic feelings again. I really liked Cole. He's a guy that I can see having a drink with down at the bar and he's also the guy you call when your back's against the wall and you need a loyal friend to turn to. For all the betrayal and lack of understanding he's faced in his life, he's not a bitter or hateful person. He lives his life as he pleases and he knows that not everyone is going to like it, so he accepts if they choose not to be in his life. He's damaged, haunted and wounded but he's so worth fighting for.

The man that finally reaches through the protective shell that Cole has encased his heart and even his sex drive behind is the enigmatic and beautiful, Jae. Jae has also faced hatred, betrayal and very hard times, but unlike Cole, Jae is a captive to his cultural and familial obligations and knows that he will never have the luxury of saying "eff you" to the world and living as he pleases. This is frustrating to Cole, but over time he begins to understand what it means to have such a strong sense of family and culture, all the beauty and ugliness of such ties and how they make their members both stronger and weaker.

The romance is sweet with two wary and wounded men that come from two different worlds trying to learn to trust and discovering if what they have is worth fighting for. The supporting cast is vivid and full of dynamic and varied characters. My personal favorite being the incomparable Scarlet. The mystery is intriguing and the threat of violence hanging over Cole and Jae give an urgency to the relationship. The ending is satisfying and leaves the door open for more growth and adventures while giving the reader, and I believe the characters, hope for the future.

The book is thought provoking, sexy and at times graphic.

I recommend this book to fans of mystery, suspense and gay romance.

Final Grade: B+

Now, thanks to the lovely author, I have one copy of Dirty Kiss for a lucky commenter to win. Just comment on this post and leave your email address. The contest will run from now until Friday, July 8, 2011 at 11:59 pm PST. Contest is open internationally. (Much thanks to Rhys!)

Good luck!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Winner for signed copy of Kindling the Moon

And the winner is..... Jennifer with the comment:

Please enter me.

Congrats, Jennifer!! I have your email addy and will be contacting you shortly for your shipping address.

Thanks all for playing and even if you didn't win, there are more contests coming and this book is awesome enough that y'all need to go buy it. It has the Queen B Stamp of Approval ;)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

Where there's smoke there's fire, and no one knows this better than New Jersey bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum. The bail bonds office has burned to the ground, and bodies are turning up in the empty construction lot. To make matters worse, Stephanie is working out of a motor home she shares with a dancing bear, and Joe Morelli's old world grandmother has declared a vendetta against her. And just when Stephanie decides it might be time to choose between the two men in her life, Morelli and Ranger, a third man from Stephanie's past moves back to Trenton...

Break out a cold drink and slap on some sunscreen, this summer is sure to be a scorcher with Smokin' Seventeen.

The last few books from 13 on have really lost all charm and appeal for me. Recycled lines, plots, jokes, sexual tension that's not even a ping on the radar and less than no character development. I honestly felt like after 12, Ms Evanovich reached a point where she might actually have to go forward with the characters and series, so she backed off. Unfortunately, she took it so far that she basically put it in reverse.

These books are not supposed to be taken overly seriously. They're supposed to be ridiculous and funny and larger than life and zany with some action, suspense and smexy times thrown in. Unfortunately since 12 she hasn't delivered on most of that.
However, this book was worlds better than the last 4. I actually laughed hysterically at a few parts and she definitely stepped up the steaminess which felt like overdrive considering the absolute desert we'd been wading through for several books, but you won't hear me complain. At this point I felt like I needed it as bad as Steph did.
I do believe that there will be something happening with the relationship choice soon, unfortunately because of the awful way it's been written this far, if it isn't handled right in the next couple books, either way she goes is just going to feel off for me.
I honestly feel that at this point the relationship with Morelli has been so very destroyed, plus the character of Morelli has been cut up pretty bad, that she really needs to make a clean break with that relationship at least for a few books while she and Ranger try to make an honest go of it. If, in the end, the Ranger thing doesn't work she can run back into Joe and they can start fresh with her and Ranger as friends and allies. Or, she and Ranger might really shock themselves and work and she and Joe can be good friends and she'll have an in at the police station. Either way, something that makes sense needs to happen at some point, but that's just my two cents.

All in all a much stronger and sexier and funnier addition (though the mystery and the third love interest was basically nonstarters)that will leave fans hopeful that we're getting our Stephanie Plum back.

Final Grade: B

As an aside, a big gripe I have is that in order for dumb luck to save Steph and not Ranger, she constantly runs to Morelli with all her concerns and possible leads which he never is able to do anything about instead of going to Ranger who is the only one to ever be effective at protecting her, and then she gets almost killed. Every time. Just saying.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Review: Sabine and The Beast by Moira Rogers (and the beast #1)

A curse can erase her from his mind, but never from his heart.

…and the Beast, Book 1

After three years at war, the High Lord of the Forest returns to his lands, a victorious wolf leader intent on claiming his mate. Instead Ciar finds an empty bed and a court with no recollection of the woman he loved. Following her long-cold trail proves far easier than facing what awaits him at the end.

Sabine’s first instinct is to beg her beloved to leave. The High Lord’s mother hired a witch to curse Sabine, desperate to wipe the lowborn wolf from her son’s mind. But the spell worked too well, and Sabine has vanished from the thoughts of everyone who sees her. Including her own family.

The edges of his memory already blurring, Ciar and Sabine must race to find a way to reverse the spell. Yet every searing moment together is not enough to stop the curse’s inexorable progress. His only chance is to bind Sabine to him too tightly to be forgotten, before she disappears once and for all.

Product Warnings
This story contains cruel betrayal, destined love, vile curses, smoldering reunions, wicked deeds between wanton shapeshifters and a happily-ever-after worthy of any fairy tale.

Buy link: Sabine
Author's Website

Sabine and The Beast was a very enjoyable read. There is definitely a fairy tale feel, but updated and made sexier. The romance between Ciar and Sabine is very sweet. Right from the beginning, the reader knows they have a strong history and their commitment to each other and desire to be together forever is never in doubt. The story was very poignant as Ciar struggles not to forget the woman he loves and Sabine wonders if she has the strength to carry on if he does. Even her own mother forgot her and this last forgetting may be too much for her to bear.

There is sex and it is hot, but it's always more tender and emotional which suited the story and the characters well.

Speaking of characters, the reader isn't introduced to too many since this is a shorter story and it's dedicated to Sabine and Ciar and their plight, but the few that are met are very interesting. I loved the bit with the First Warlord and how gruff, but loyal and fair he is. The world is shown well and it's easy to feel that you're there and watching the drama and romance unfold.

My one gripe with the story was that I personally felt Ciar didn't deal strongly enough with hs mother. I know she's his mom and all, but she showed no remorse when all was said and done. I mean, she could have been like, "Dude, I wanted my son to forget you, but I didn't realize EVERYONE would. That was a bit harsh and I'm kinda sorry about that." Instead, she was like, she's not noble, whatev, don't care. In that case, I think I would have sentenced her to three years living with the common people. Take that, snotty wench. But that's just me...

We hear a lot about the lions in this one and so it's a good thing that the second book is featuring them. I'll be off to get that one next.

All in all, a sweet, sexy and emotionally satisfying read that leaves you wanting to visit this world again.

Final Grade: B

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Quick and Dirty Review: Something Secret This Way Comes by Sierra Dean

Some secrets are dangerous. This Secret is deadly.

Secret McQueen, Book 1

For Secret McQueen, her life feels like the punch line for a terrible joke. Abandoned at birth by her werewolf mother, hired as a teen by the vampire council of New York City to kill rogues, Secret is a part of both worlds, but belongs to neither. At twenty-two, she has carved out as close to a normal life as a bounty hunter can.

When an enemy from her past returns with her death on his mind, she is forced to call on every ounce of her mixed heritage to save herself—and everyone else in the city she calls home. As if the fate of the world wasn’t enough to deal with, there’s Lucas Rain, King of the East Coast werewolves, who seems to believe he and Secret are fated to be together. Too bad Secret also feels a connection with Desmond, Lucas’s second-in-command…

Warning: This book contains a sarcastic, kick-ass bounty hunter; a metaphysical love triangle with two sexy werewolves; a demanding vampire council; and a spicy seasoning of sex and violence.

Something Secret This Way Comes
Author's Website

This book didn't make sense to me. The protag is supposed to be tough and smart and feared and independent. Then she meets this random stranger who's all, "We're meant to be" and she just kinda goes with it. She doesn't really question things she should and nothing gets explained to her very well. I absolutely did not feel the romance between her and Lucas and Desmond. Of the two, I thought she had a better emotional connection with Lucas, which was tenuous at best, and yet the only sex she ever had was with Desmond.
Here she is contemplating a life with one or both of these men and she never finds out if she can actually have both or if she has to choose, she lets them parade a well guarded secret out in public which made no sense, she won't tell them what she really is which kind of negated the whole possible true love angle for me and she became utterly weak around them. Also, when she was with one, she kinda forgot all her gooey feelings for the other.
The vampire part was honestly the most interesting and it was made so very obvious that she'll have at least one love interest from that quarter which would be welcome for me if she could even handle the love interests she has now.
The story was an interesting premise and it has a lot of potential for future stories to grow on, but I felt like the author tried to jam too much in to too short of a space and so everything suffered. The plot, the action, the romance, the character development.
I would read more from this author and I'm sure I'll try the next one in the series, but if the romance and characters don't get explored better in the next, I won't be reading any more in this particular series.

Final Grade: D

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Early Review of Grave Dance by Kalayna Price (Alex Craft #2) and a giveaway!!

After a month of down time, Grave Witch Alex Craft is ready to get back to solving murders by raising the dead. With her love life in turmoil, Alex is eager for the distractions of work. But when her new case forces her to overuse her magic, it might be the last mystery the Grave Witch ever gets to solve...

Buy links
book depository
barnes and noble
Grave Dance: An Alex Craft Novel
Author's Website

Contest is now closed.

I fell in love with this author and this series with the first book, Grave Witch, and I've been anxious to jump back into this world in the second book, Grave Dance. You can check out my review for Grave Witch right here. So, you may well imagine my delight when my copy arrived. There may or may not have been a happy dance. My motto: If it doesn't show up on YouTube, it didn't actually happen.

In Grave Dance, Alex is facing a new threat as well as still dealing with the repercussions of the events that took place in Grave Witch. I like that this book, while standing alone in plot, builds very well on the story arc that was introduced in the first book. There's a great feeling of continuity and it is very easy to sink back into the world and to reconnect with the characters. Now we find that Alex is dealing with her growing fey powers and also weaknesses that are affecting her life. Business has taken off since the events in Grave Witch and the enigmatic Death has stepped up the heat in their flirtatious relationship. However, one person is noticeably absent: Falin, the man that shoved his way into her life and made her care and then disappeared without so much as a word or warning.

I love that Alex has no problem loving her friends, but when it comes to romantic relationships, she's like a fish out of water. She doesn't want to care for Falin and she knows that a real relationship with Death, a soul collector, is less than realistic, but these two dynamic and secretive men have gotten under her skin and they have no intention of stepping aside and making it easy for her.

I like Death. I love the parts with him and the other soul collectors and I'm enjoying what we've been slowly learning about them. Having said that, for me it's Falin all the way. He's such a fascinating mix of strong and dangerous alpha male and yet he's vulnerable and not ashamed or afraid to submit to a powerful female. He's so tough and dominant in his interactions with other people, but from very early on in the first book he has worn his heart on his sleeve when it comes to Alex. The explanation for his absence as well as the complications from his divided loyalties really brings a great and realistic conflict to the story. I know there's no easy fix, but I couldn't help rooting for Falin and Alex to find a way.

I have to confess that I'm not a huge fan of the fey and I usually don't enjoy stories that take place in whole or part in faery, with a few notable exceptions. This series is one of those exceptions. I really enjoy the fey in this world and the glimpses of faery that we get are fascinating and well developed. The author conveys well the fact that faery is both beautiful and deadly and filled with a magic all its own. I was very happy that we get to see more of it in Grave Dance and I can't wait to see what happens with the discoveries that Alex made there.

We meet some new characters in this installment and my mind is already abuzz with where these introductions will lead in later books, but I also enjoyed the interactions with already established characters. I enjoy Alex's relationship with her three best friends and it was great (and terrible) to see how the events that take place in her life really affect the lives of those closest to her. Something that made me very happy was seeing Alex's dad again. I can't wait to learn more about this man and see what's really going on with him. He's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in bacon...or well, he's fun to read about and I want to know all his secrets.

In the end, I think Grave Dance is a solid entry that continues the development of the story and characters very nicely. I didn't love it as madly as I did Grave Witch, but the truth is I am so very in love with this series because of the wonderful world building and fabulous characters that I'm hooked and there's no turning back for me.

Final Grade: A

Now, because I'm awesome and because I enjoy these books so much, I want to share the love with all of you. Therefore, I am giving away a copy of both Grave Witch and Grave Dance to one lucky winner. I am shipping out of Book Depository so this giveaway will be international as long as you are in a country that they ship to. You can check for your country here.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with your email addy to enter. Contest will run from now until July 5, 2011 at 11:59 pm PST. I will announce the winner on the blog and I will contact him/her by email. If I do not hear back from the winner by Friday, July 8, I will redraw for a new winner.

Thanks for stopping by and good luck!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett (Arcadia Bell #1)

Being the spawn of two infamous occultists (and alleged murderers) isn’t easy, but freewheeling magician Arcadia “Cady” Bell knows how to make the best of a crummy situation. After hiding out for seven years, she’s carved an incognito niche for herself slinging drinks at the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge.

But she receives an ultimatum when unexpected surveillance footage of her notorious parents surfaces: either prove their innocence or surrender herself. Unfortunately, the only witness to the crimes was an elusive Æthyric demon, and Cady has no idea how to find it. She teams up with Lon Butler, an enigmatic demonologist with a special talent for sexual spells and an arcane library of priceless stolen grimoires. Their research soon escalates into a storm of conflict involving missing police evidence, the decadent Hellfire Club, a ruthless bounty hunter, and a powerful occult society that operates way outside the law. If Cady can’t clear her family name soon, she’ll be forced to sacrifice her own life . . . and no amount of running will save her this time.

Note: I received a copy from the author for review

Pub Date: June 28, 2011
Publisher: Pocket Books/Simon $ Schuster
Format: Available as e-book as well as paperback

Buy links
Amazon: Kindling the Moon: An Arcadia Bell Novel
book depository
Author's Website

Edited to add: Contest is now closed and winner notified.

Kindling the Moon is a wonderful debut novel by author Jenn Bennett. I really enjoyed her take on demons and magicians and the mythos of the world she has created. The characters were fascinating and dynamic and very relatable considering that they tend to be anything but ordinary humans. We have a good mix of mystery, action, love, lust, betrayal and family dynamics to keep the reader turning the pages to see what happens next.

Arcadia is a good protagonist. She's powerful, smart, sassy and honest with herself about her strengths and weaknesses and she owns when she screws up. She tries to be a good person and has compassion for others, but she's also not afraid to do what has to be done to survive and to protect the people she cares about. I like that in a main character. I don't enjoy wishy-washy characters and their forced angst because you know that in most cases, it's just so the reader doesn't feel that the MC is a sociopath. For me, if you show just cause and you're billing the character as tough and a badass, I don't need a bunch of faux angst and rehashing things while we cruise the guilt trip highway. I'm good, thanks.

I really enjoyed the supporting cast of characters as well. Father Carrow was one of my faves. In my opinion, he's a great example of a subtly layered character that doesn't fit in a box and I give the author props for not trying to put him in one. All the characters had layers and depth. They all had strengths and weaknesses and flaws and so they were very intriguing to read about. At one point I wanted to smack Lon, our enigmatic love interest and father to the exuberant and lovable Jupe, but I had to give the author and Lon credit because it was worked out promptly in the next chapter where he called himself on his crap and apologized. I liked that it didn't drag into "the thing that keeps them apart until the next book" scenario. It made it more believable. Parents aren't always rational when it comes to their kids' safety and if they already blame themselves for past parental mistakes, they are likely to lash out, but at least he didn't paint himself firmly into unreasonable asshole corner by not being able to admit that he was being a bit hypocritical. I had to learn to go with the flow in this story because the characters would do something that irritated me and I was so used to those types of things not being addressed in other books/series that I wasn't expecting it to happen here. Well, for the most part I was wrong. I really enjoyed that a lot of questions that popped in my head were admitted to and possibly answered by the characters as well.

My one honest issue with this story was that for a generally smart cookie, Arcadia (or Cady) came off as almost deliberately obtuse about a few of the most obvious things in the book. If you follow my reviews at all, you'll know that that is a big pet peeve of mine. There was one part where something that I felt Cady should obviously be concerned about or at least attempt to research she was completely blase about and naturally that came back to bite her in a big way. Instances of this popped up here and there in the story, but it wasn't enough to make me want to stop reading and the characters were likable enough that I wanted to see where the story led them.

Something else that I enjoyed about Ms. Bennett's writing style is her descriptions of characters and setting. I often times have a hard time visualizing these things, but the descriptions were so concise and clear that I had absolutely no trouble getting great mental images that really enhanced the reading experience for me.

I recommend this book to fans of UF and even Paranormal Romance. A fun, fast and highly entertaining read that left me more than willing to take another ride with Arcadia in whatever new adventure awaits her.

Final Grade: B+

Now, thanks to the very gracious author I am able to offer up one signed copy of Kindling the Moon for one lucky winner. Contest is only open to the Continental United States and is going to be open until Tuesday, June 28 at 11:59 pm PST. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post. That's it!

Thanks for reading and good luck!

ETA: I will announce the winner here on the blog on June 29. If I don't hear from the winner by July 2, I will redraw for a new winner.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: Visions of Magic by Regan Hastings

In the ten years since magic has reemerged in the world, witches have become feared and hunted. For weeks Shea Jameson has been haunted by visions of fire. When she unintentionally performs a spell in public, she becomes one of the hunted. Her only hope is Torin, a dangerously sensual man who claims to be her eternal mate.

So, I'm going to borrow a bit from my goodreads review of this one and say this: The premise of the book could be interesting. Maybe. The writing was not good. It certainly wasn't the worst writing I've ever read, but it was by no means the best. It was slightly below average. The whole book was slightly below average. It never pissed me off enough to want to throw it across the room, it never incited any extreme emotion in me at all, it was just...meh. The author tried so hard to be mysterious, but it just turned into annoying and unnecessary vagueness that caused very predictable conflict and eye rolling moments. Also, there were holes in the story that I don't remember being explained well enough.

I enjoyed the idea of the romance: this guy who has stood by his woman for generations and countless incarnations. He takes the whole "for better or worse" thing to a new level. He loves her sweet and sassy and he loves her bitchy, cruel and power hungry. That's sweet and should have hit all my turn on buttons, but while I was able to appreciate it, it never really did much for me.

I liked the concept of women of power banding together to right their own wrongs and this brotherhood of powerful men that have to stick together not just to protect their women but because to deal with these chicks the men need a whole emotional support system. Ha! Awesome.

Honestly, Visions of Magic had promise, and while it was at times enjoyable, it was ultimately very forgettable.

Final Grade: D+

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Review: Negligee Behavior by Shelli Stevens

When lingerie heiress Brandy Summer gets cold feet and runs out on her Vegas wedding, she has nowhere to turn—so she hijacks a hunky biker waiting for a red light and begs him for help. What she doesn’ t know is that her instincts are right: the groom has a hidden agenda. He needs her money to pay off his gambling debts and she’ s his ticket to the good life.
Marco Vargas isn’ t sure what he’ s getting himself into when he rescues Brandy, but figures he’ ll do the chivalrous thing. He offers her a job in his bar and the chance to sort out her feelings. But it seems that keeping Brandy hidden is easier than keeping his hands off her—and what will happen when Brandy discovers that Marco has secrets of his own?

Note: I received a copy for review from Netgalley
Buy link: Negligee Behavior

Negligee Behavior was a disappointing read for me. There were awesome supporting characters so I know the author is capable of writing nonirritating players. Unfortunately, I found the lead pair to be very cliched and very often aggravating. However, when they (especially the heroine) were not being ridiculous, the story was an entertaining one.

Our heroine, Brandy, is such a goody girl that it drove me kinda crazy at times, especially since she made a lot of judgments about others. As the story progress, though, and she was in the company of a wider range of personalities, she began to relax and become more enjoyable.

The hero, Marco, was sexy and hot, but his "dark secret" was a bit lame. He was a very nice character most of the time, but occasionally he would make absolutely ridiculous assumptions that had me rolling my eyes. I really did enjoy watching Brandy push his buttons, though. It was one of the most entertaining parts of the book.

The sexual tension was combustible and the love scenes were steamy and the ending was satisfying. Overall, I have to say my favorite characters were Sebastian and Val and not the lead pair. Brandy's parents were pretty cool, too. I wish my mom was that fun and supportive. Ha!

Final Grade: C-

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review: The Rake and The Recluse by Jenn LeBlanc

Francine Larrabee woke up on the wrong side of the century. She was fairly certain she went to sleep in her own comfy bed, but she doesn’t quite seem to be there now. Only adding to her problems is that she has no voice, is constantly being glowered at by a large, stunning man who is obsessed with propriety, and she is apparently betrothed to another horrid little man, determined to ruin her, and any other girls that get in his way.
How does she find herself in the past, when she couldn’t even find herself in her present? How does a self sufficient businesswoman survive in a time when women were still considered property for the whole of their lives and what is she going to do with this man who draws her to him so fiercely.

Note: I received a copy from the author for review.

Buy links:
Available as Nookbook from Barnes and Noble
The Rake and the Recluse
The Rake and the Recluse

Author's Website
Author's twitter

The Rake and the Recluse was a bit of a different experience for me because I've never read an illustrated romance before. I found that because of Ms. LeBlanc's skill at photography that I actually really enjoyed it.

The story itself is a time travel: modern woman lands in the 1800s plot. So, it's a contemporary woman stuck in a historical romance. I do have to give the author credit for coming up with a more unique way to explain how the heroine, Francine, ends up in the past, but it also led to other inevitable questions and concerns that were better off shoved to the back of my mind, otherwise I wasn't going to enjoy the story.

I will say that I was a bit surprised by the length of the book. It's a good solid story with lovely pictures, but I admit that it felt as if it could have still been a good story and been a bit shorter. For me, a romance really needs a reason to be that long.

As far as the characters go, I really vacillated in my feelings for Francine. I get that she had damage from being an orphan and obviously waking up in an entirely different time would freak anyone out, but she's supposed to be this modern woman and she seemed to only have two gears, meek and mild and clingy for fear of being tossed on her rump or a shrieking and inappropriately unreasonable hoyden in the name of being an independent female. It grated a bit. And quite honestly, the only reason she won any measure of independence was because her doting husband and his equally doting brother allowed her to be eccentric. This is not feminism, it's lucking out with not having complete assholes as family. However, I did enjoy her interaction with the characters around her and when she wasn't being ridiculous, she was actually quite enjoyable.

Now our hero, Gideon, was delightful. He started off so starched and stuffy and damaged and reserved, but once he gave over to love, he held nothing back. He seemed to love as fearlessly as any warrior fights a battle. His interactions with his little brother were just fabulous to read. I loved them both. They may bicker and not see eye to eye but they are always a united front against the world and they always have each other's best interests at heart. It was so much fun to watch Gideon be felled as well as healed and strengthened by love. He really came alive right before my eyes. His brother's story is supposed to be next and it looks very intriguing. It would be so much fun to watch that silver tongued devil succumb to the power of love and fidelity. Nothing like a reformed rake...

Overall this was an entertaining read filled with vibrant characters and a sweet romance. The photos are lovely and suit the story very well. I could tell that a lot of thought and work went into the making of this finished product.

This book is available as an e-book or as a physical book. Buy links for both are provided at the beginning of the post.

Final Grade: C+

Monday, June 13, 2011

Quick and Dirty Review: Shimmerlight by Jill Myles

Chloe Sorenson's just started a brand new job at Ms. Muffet's art gallery. However, no one told her that the latest auction piece - a sculpture of a handsome Roman soldier - comes to life. Think it's hard to explain to your boss why you're fondling a statue? Try explaining to the statue why you're holding his, uh, fig leaf. Chloe never thought that touching the statue would turn him into a sexy, aroused man, but she's not saying no to this delicious Roman soldier. The curse requires that she touch him at all times? Such a hardship...

But there's a problem in their lust-fueled relationship; she's falling dangerously in love with a guy that cursed to be hard as a rock - literally - unless she can somehow free him. And the statue of Titus just went up for auction. If she doesn't do something, he's going to be out of her life and trapped for all eternity...

This novella (16,000 words - about 70 pages) contains explicit scenes, including some backdoor play.

Buy link
Shimmerlight (An Erotic Time Travel Romance)
Author's Website

Shimmerlight is a short erotic story that is sweet and sexy. We have our heroine Chloe who is a young widow that is just finished with school and entering the workforce. This is her first real job in her chosen career and she's very nervous about doing a good job and pleasing her employer, Ms. Muffet (yes, that's her name). She's lonely and in need of some TLC.

Enter the hero, Titus. He, too, is lonely and in need of TLC. He's been trapped as a statue for centuries and for a virile young warrior, that's a tough punishment. The two of them come together well. They bring new life and joy to each other in a very sexy and fun way. The hitch in the happy proceedings is that Titus' statue self is going to be sold soon and they have little hope of being able to free him in time. How can these two star-crossed lovers find their Happily Ever After?

This is a very short and fast read. It has lots of sex for the length (ha!) and is able to pack in emotion and a plot at the same time, which is no easy feat in a short story, in my humble opinion.

Final Grade: B-

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wherein Life is Messy

So, I had some great content (or at least in my own my mind it seemed great) planned for this week, but then BAM! family emergency strikes. Le sigh. Everyone is ok, but here it is Thursday already and I feel like it should be Tuesday and I'm so behind, I think I'm backwards, and I'm still dealing with the family fall out. Good times.

I am planning (knock on wood, cross fingers, whatever) on resuming my posting on Monday. If I can, I'll try to pop in with something short and sweet before then, but no promises.

I apologize for the delay and hope to catch y'all next week.

Hope you all are having a much less drama filled week than mine. :P

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Restorer (Graveyard Queen #1) by Amanda Stevens

My name is Amelia Gray. I’m a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I’ve always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.

It started with the discovery of a young woman’s brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I’ve been hired to restore. The clues to the killer—and to his other victims— lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. I’ve vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.

Disclaimer: I received a copy for review from Netgalley

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Mystery
Pub Date: 4/19/11
Buy link: The Restorer (Graveyard Queen)
Author's Website

The Restorer took me by surprise. This was a much darker, sexier and sinister read than I had been expecting. At first I had some trouble with the mythos of this world. I didn't completely understand why things were the way they were, but as the story unfolded it became a bit clearer. Quite honestly, the dark, eerie and sexy quality of the story put me into a place where I didn't really care if it all made sense or it all my questions were answered. It was like a warm, sultry Southern night where you wake the next morning and wonder if it was all dreams or....if it was real and you're not sure which answer you'd prefer.

There was so much going on in this story, so many undercurrents. We had Devlin and his ghosts (both real and emotional) and we had the mystery surrounding him, we had the mystery of the murders and several characters that may or may not be tied to it, then we have the mystery of the supernatural and what is going on with that world and ours and why the rules that Amelia have lived by for so long no longer seem to be enough to protect her. Amelia's family seems to have their own secrets as well and Amelia needs to know the truth. It was like she was wading through a world of dreams and nightmares of lies and half-truths and I was hooked wanting to know just what was going on. In some ways this story could seem convoluted and confusing, but it was written well enough and the threads were all woven together to make it a cohesive and rather fascinating story.

The Restorer really didn't read like a romance to me, in that there was very little romantic interaction between Devlin and Amelia, but the interaction they did have was so full of tension and yearning that mixed with an all around intriguing story, I was hooked. The ending left me on pins and needles to find out what is going to happen next. I can't wait to revisit this world and these characters and discover all of their secrets.

Final Grade: B+

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Review: Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison

Half-human and half-wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful-and passionate-of the Elder races.

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub Date: May 2011

Buy links:
Dragon Bound (A Novel of the Elder Races)
Barnes and Noble
book depository

Dragon Bound is a great start to a new series by Thea Harrison, whom you can find on twitter here. She's loads of fun and really nice which doubles my fangirl love.

Dragon Bound was a really fun read. The world is so well established that I had no trouble picturing it and all its inhabitants. The story was easy to follow and the characters were very likable.

Dragos is a typical alpha male in a lot of ways. What I did love is that he is unapologetic about it. He tries to compromise a bit, in deference to Pia's feelings and to show her that her thoughts and feelings do matter, but he also admits that his instincts are strong and he can only bend so far. That was nice. I like strong characters that stay strong. Yes, I think there should be compromise and give as well as evolution of the character, but I hate to see a Protag completely neutered or assassinated to make them more palatable. It also doesn't hurt that Dragos is a hottie with all the fiery passion one would expect of an eons old dragon. I loved that Dragos was both raw and rough but also civilized and intelligent. Nice juxtaposition of the two.

Pia is also typical for a heroine in some ways. She's nurturing and giving and all about life and love and softness. However, what made her stand out and made me really like her is that she's all of those things, but she's also tough, logical, willing to do what she has to do to survive or protect the ones she loves and she's not bad in a fight. This made her a bit more layered and kept her from being so perfect that she was unrelatable. She stands up to Dragos and at times is frightened by him, but she knows when to stand firm and when to be cajoling and yielding. She's not manipulative, but she knows her guy and how to keep him in line and behaved. Which I would imagine would be a necessity if you were mated to a friggin' dragon.

Overall, there's action and romance, humor and great characters that I can't wait to read more about. Which is very convenient since there are several more books planned in the series. For excerpts of the second book, due out in August and titled Storm's Heart, and information about the series, please visit the author's website here.

Final Grade: B

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ummm....That's not actually a hard question. The answer is Kirk. Duh.

I love me some Weird Al. What? I'm not ashamed. Anyways, love this song and vid and since it's stuck in my head, I'm gonna torture you with it. I'm nice like that ;)

Hunt the Moon by Karen Chance (Cassie Palmer #5)

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pub Date: June 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
Note: Received review copy from publisher.

Buy links:
Hunt the Moon: A Cassie Palmer Novel
Hunt the Moon at Book Depository
Author's Site

In the fifth entry in Karen Chance's Cassandra Palmer series, Cassie is busier than ever preparing for her upcoming coronation as Pythia, the world's chief clairvoyant. But someone doesn't want Cassie to become Pythia---and will go to any lengths to make sure the coronation ceremony never happens.

I've been a fan of this series since book one, but I do have to admit that often times I find the books are so fast paced and action packed with so much going on that I end up feeling lost, confused and frustrated. Also, in previous books I've found Cassie to be a bit of an irritating protagonist. Now, one has to stop and remember that even though there were four previous books, they only take place over the span of a couple months whereas by this time in most series we would have had at least a year go by, so I really do have to consider that it's not reasonable or realistic for me to expect Cassie to morph into super butt kicking, uber hero chick in that amount of time. Especially considering that most of that time she's been flying by the seat of her pants, jumping from one crisis to the next and basically just trying to keep herself and the ones she loves, alive. Enter Hunt the Moon.

This book has to be my favorite in the series so far. As L. Blanchard from Dangerous Romance said on my goodreads review, this book is a game changer. It was much easier to follow. Still action packed (with some of the best action scenes yet, in my humblest of opinions) as ever and fast paced, full of twists and turns and new developments that will knock one's socks off, but I didn't feel as lost. There was a cohesiveness and engaging quality that made me pay attention better and keep up. Not to mention that I just really enjoyed Cassie as a character in this one. She really shines. She goes on an emotional roller coaster and finds her footing fast. She's more decisive, and the reader can see her starting to know her own mind and heart better. She's getting comfortable in her skin and owning her powers and the world is on notice: Cassandra Palmer is no one's pawn and she's getting ready to play with the big boys, and quite possibly make them cry.

The secondary characters were fabulous in this one. Not only has there been definite character development in Cassie, but it's noticeable in the supporting cast as well. We learn more about Pritkin and Mircea as well as the Circle and the Vampire Consul. I feel like the world is beginning to expand a bit and I can't wait to see more of it and Cassie's dealings with it instead of her just having to react to assassination attempts and Armageddon on the daily.

Now, for the part where I lose my cool and show my true colors.... PRITKIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, so I like Mircea. I do. I believe he honestly loves Cassie and does his best by her. I also believe she loves him in a layered way of him always meaning comfort, security and safety for a girl that knew of none for a large part of her formative years. Also, he's a father figure (which really doesn't squick me out, just sayin) and he's always been around. Now, that admiration and security turned into attraction (also based heavily on the geis) and desire and I think it's all valid and he's a fascinating character that I don't want to completely lose in the series, BUT the dynamic that Cassie and Pritkin has just blows all else right out the water. I love that she really doesn't come out and define her relationship with Pritkin nor does he ever really lay out all he feels for her, but their actions and Cassie's inner dialog speak volumes my friends. I'm not saying it's cut and dry, and I really don't want it to be; however, when two people are as committed to each other and have the combustible chemistry of Cassie and Pritkin, you must forgive this reader for her absolute and unfettered delight. For fans of Mircea, don't fret, he gets some great scenes in this one and I think he's much more likable in this one as well. For fans of Pritkin, well, honestly he just steals the show for me.

And the ending? Wow. I have read two UF's in a row now where the endings have just been EPIC and left me frothing at the mouth (accurate but perhaps unflattering) for the next installment. That would be Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews and Hunt the Moon. It was so satisfying and yet so damned teasing as Cassie is catapulted on to another adventure that is sure to be one hell of a ride (excuse the pun for those who've read it) and I wanted to jump straight into it with her. I was so bummed and yet so keyed up and happy when the I turned to the last page. I cannot wait for the next book. This series has picked up momentum, which doesn't seem possible considering its already crazy pace, and it's getting stronger with each new entry.

For those new to the series, I really recommend you start with book 1. So much happens in each book that I think it would be really hard to start in the middle and really understand what's going on and who's who. Also, in my own personal opinion, the books really start picking up around book 3 and then 4 was a much stronger installment and now 5 is just killin it, so give the books a chance to unfold and take you on a wild and crazy journey.

Final Grade: A-

Monday, May 30, 2011

That's One Way to Exercise Your Child. They Should Market That

This is too cute. Someone should give that otter an extra fish for a job well done. You know that kid's gonna sleep like an angel tonight.

Quick and Dirty Review: Kitty Goes to War by Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville #8)

Kitty Goes to War (Kitty Norville, #8)Kitty Goes to War by Carrie Vaughn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads: Kitty Norville, Alpha werewolf and host of The Midnight Hour, a radio call-in show, is contacted by a friend at the NIH's Center for the Study of Paranatural Biology. Three Army soldiers recently returned from the war in Afghanistan are being held at Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs. They're killer werewolves—and post traumatic stress has left them unable to control their shape-shifting and unable to interact with people. Kitty agrees to see them, hoping to help by bringing them into her pack.

Meanwhile, Kitty gets sued for libel by CEO Harold Franklin after featuring Speedy Mart—his nationwide chain of 24-hour convenience stores with a reputation for attracting supernatural unpleasantness—on her show.

Very bad weather is on the horizon.

I really enjoyed this one....right up until the end. The action was great, character development was there and I can see that the series isn't stalling out or becoming redundant. All good things. But then there's Cormac.

Cormac is such a fabulous character. I love his dynamic with Kitty. Love his dynamic with Ben. Love the three of them in this committed yet slightly awkward pack of three. The thing is, there has to be resolution at some point. The Cormac/Kitty unresolved issues have to be resolved. Now, I am a hardcore Cormac/Kitty shipper. I love Ben. I really do, but I want him out. HOWEVER, I could be ok if we see Kitty and Cormac air out their feelings and issues and just be committed to being bffs/family. What I CANNOT deal with is any sort of assassination of the character of Cormac or some overly convenient plot development that makes the Kitty/Cormac/Ben issue moot. So, you'll understand how wary I am of the new development regarding Cormac and his abilities. I can see how it could be cool and add a lot of angst/action/drama and so forth to the story, but I can also see it being an out that will be used to gloss over the Kitty/Cormac/Ben triangle and completely change Cormac beyond all recognition. I want to trust Carrie Vaughn not to do this, but I'm nervous, y'all.

Anyone else with me on this?

Also, I felt like there was a lead up to possible issues with Kitty's leadership of her pack. Anyone else catch that one, or am I delusional?

View all my reviews

Final Grade: 4 star rating translating to about a B on this one.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Music for a Saturday

I love this vid and song (minus Kanye...sorry buddy). Hubby was even impressed. He called it "very Bowie-esque." Love it!

Friday, May 27, 2011

ARC Review: Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh *cue fangirl screaming*

Since the moment of her defection from the PsyNet and into the SnowDancer wolf pack, Sienna Lauren has had one weakness. Hawke. Alpha and dangerous, he compels her to madness.

Hawke is used to walking alone, having lost the woman who would've been his mate long ago. But Sienna fascinates the primal heart of him, even as he tells himself she is far too young to handle the wild fury of the wolf.

Then Sienna changes the rules-and suddenly, there is no more distance, only the most intimate of battles between two people who were never meant to meet. Yet as they strip away each other's secrets in a storm of raw emotion, they must also ready themselves for a far more vicious fight...

A deadly enemy is out to destroy SnowDancer, striking at everything they hold dear, but it is Sienna's darkest secret that may yet savage the pack that is her home-and the alpha who is its heartbeat.

Note: I received an ARC from the author for review.

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Penguin
Pub Date: May 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Book is #10 in the Psy/Changeling series
Buy links
Amazon: Kiss of Snow (Psy/Changeling)

Book Depository: Kiss of Snow

Author's Website: Nalini Singh

Ms. Singh's prose are always lush and evocative. A sensual delight one cannot help but revel in. And boys and girls, I did me some revelin'....let me tell you. ::dreamy sigh::

I don't want to get too spoilery with this one (and we all know I loves to get spoilery) so I'm going to try to be extra good, and possibly extra vague this time around. Wish me luck...

Let's just break it down:

Hawke: Is the hotness. He is so controlled, but the boy is on the verge of breaking. Everyone and their baby sister knows it, but that man is one stubborn son of a gun. Good thing for us that he melts like butter when our sassy heroine turns up the heat. I really enjoyed watching Hawke struggle in this one. He's so ruthless and logical and commanding. He's like a wildfire that consumes everything in it's path until it smacks into the wall that is Sienna. She has a strength of spirit and will that both infuriates him and captivates him. He wants to dismiss her out of hand, but he can't. She's not like anyone else he has ever known and she reaches places in him that no one else even knows exists. What I loved was that he put up a good fight, but the man's no fool, he knew when he was done for. Once he knew the gig was up, he launched a full scale, take no prisoners assault that had me sure that I'd set the page on fire the next time I touched it. Slow and steady, but relentless is Hawke's strong suit.

Sienna: Do not dismiss this girl out of hand. Hawke gave it his best shot and couldn't do it. She's been through hell. Things even her family didn't have to undergo. She's had less of a childhood than even normal Psy. She's dangerous and she's haunted by that fact. She's a trained tactician and killer and she's good at it, but she also wants to be more. She wants to be a useful and valued member of the group. She wants to feel like more than just a freakish weapon of destruction, but she's afraid. She knows what the price of letting go of her iron control could be and she's not willing to pay it. Yes, she throws down the gauntlet with Hawke and yes she matches him step for step, but she always keeps a part of herself out of it, she always has a backup plan. How much do you wanna bet that that's not good enough for the uber demanding alpha that is Hawke? She's tough and strong and she's seen more than people twice her age, but she's also vulnerable and fragile. I really enjoyed her character and seeing her get a chance to shine.

I loved seeing all the people that rallied around Hawke and Sienna. We all know how loved and admired Hawke is, but I really wanted Sienna to get some love. She's been so isolated, so guarded and misused for so much of her life that I really wanted Hawke and the pack to work to deserve her trust and show her love. Sure, they're willing to capitalize on her strengths and use her as a soldier, but can they show her the love and acceptance that she never dreamed of having?

Many of our favorite couples from past books make appearances in this entry and it was so great to see them and what was happening in their lives. There is one couple in particular that had a huge development happen in this book and it was so great to see. It made my mind whirl with possibilities for later in the series.

The secondary romance of Walker and Lara was wonderful, too. It's so nice to see this scarred and damaged family not only interacting with each other and strengthening their own bonds, but also integrating into the Changeling world and finding happiness and love where they least expect it.

Sienna and Hawke's road to happily ever after is hard fought and hard won. They come up against a lot of obstacles and sometimes the reader can't see how they can possibly overcome, but have faith, Ms. Singh has never let us down before and she certainly doesn't start now.

I couldn't stop re-reading this book for a week. I was ruined for all others. The only real disappointment I had was that I wished there would be more Hawke and Sienna centered books. An entire series of them like Elena and Raphael from the Guild Hunter series and I still wouldn't be bored with them. Hawke surprised me with his playful tenderness that he mixed so well with his blazing passion and possessiveness and Sienna blew me away with her fierce loyalty, determination and all around fire. These two are a fabulous match.

Here's one of my favorite snippets (that hopefully isn't too spoilery):

He lifted his hand to run a strand of her hair through his fingers.

Fighting every cell in her body, she stepped back. "Stop it. No touching. No acting possessive."

Hawke's wolf prowled to the surface, a primal presence behind the human skin. "Oh?"

"All or nothing." She held her ground though she was shaking inside, her blood going alternately hot and cold. "If you want me, take me. Or let me go."

Grade: A all the way, baby.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Review: Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.

Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be—now that the Order is disparaging her good name, and many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.

So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. Turns out this is not an isolated incident, and Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price . . .

Note: I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Penguin Group
Pub Date: May 31, 2011
#5 in the Kate Daniels series

Buy links:
Amazon: Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, Book 5)
Book Depository: Magic Slays
Author's Website

Magic Slays is the fifth book in the Kate Daniels series and it is nothing short of another strong and solid addition.

There is action, drama, humor, romance and gut wrenching emotion galore. Basically, it's crack. So much happens in this book and in a rather short amount of time. We see Kate struggling to get her business going, getting thrown into the midst of a supernatural battle and all the politics that involves, not to mention struggling to find comfortable footing with her mate, Curran (that could be a whole book on its own) and dealing with personal hits that just keep on coming. Every time you think she should just roll over and play dead, but we know our Kate and we know that aint gonna happen. She may be dazed and down, but she's never out and she's never more dangerous than when she's up against it and everything she holds dear is on the line.

We learn so much more about Kate and her background, heritage and powers in this one...things even she didn't know. We meet new and fascinating characters and see more of the supernatural community of Atlanta as well as it's political undercurrents. What I loved with the passion of a thousand suns was seeing Kate having to embrace who and what she is. If she's going to survive and save those she loves, she has to stop running, stop fighting and be who she was born to be. The scenes at the end where *major spoilerage* happens were (excuse my fangirl gushing here) OMG EPIC! I think I may have squealed and then gushed to hubby for like an hour with non stop chatter about the all around Epic awesomeness that was this book and this scene and what does he say? "Thanks for spoiling it for me."
God, he's such a downer. Anyway.... all I can say is READ IT. There's so much good stuff here and it has my poor fried brain in hyper drive thinking of all the ways the rest of the series could play out. My mind, it's boggled.

Oh, and of course, all of this gushing is without even mentioning the relationship between Kate and Curran. Their love is not a smooth one, but it is a passionate, pure, all consuming one that will utterly decimate anything that tries to stand in its way. Yeah, that's hot.

Final grade: A.

Smexy Books review A

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


My 6 year old had his birthday party last weekend and there was a pinata involved. Worst. Pinata. Ever.
I give you the evidence:

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mondays Need Epic Winning

And so I bring you my husband's new addiction and possibly the catchiest damn ear worm

You're welcome.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Genre: Paranormal YA
Pub Date: 4/19/11
I received a copy for review from Netgalley

EVERY GIRL who has taken the test has DIED.

Now it's KATE'S TURN.

It’s always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won’t live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he’s crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride, and a goddess.

If she fails...

I have always loved Hades and any new takes on the Hades and Persephone story. Unfortunately this book did not add anything good to it.

The Good:
I rooted for Kate. I wanted Kate to pass the tests and I wanted her to find happiness and peace. I rooted for Kate and Henry as individuals and also as a couple. I wanted them to trust each other and what they felt for each other. I wanted it to work and that's what made me stick with this story even when I had a raging headache and wanted to give up. I liked Henry and I liked Kate. I did like other characters in the story, but by the end it feels like it's all been lies so I'm not sure anymore how I feel about any of the side characters. I'm on the fence, as it were.

The Bad:
This was a horribly contrived story. Almost every aspect of it was forced and pushed and I ended up feeling like I would have had some serious words for people if I was Kate. There was so much deception and omission and vagueness that it did not add an air of mystery but was just annoying. Furthermore, if I was supposed to be surprised by who the bad guy was or even the big reveal about Kate's mother, then I'm sad to say, I wasn't. For all the vagueness and mystery surrounding the tests and Henry's feelings and what's going on, it was way too easy to pick out the villain and know what was going on with Kate's mom.

When the big reveal comes and we find out who the council is and what the tests are, none of it made any sense. I mean, they were winging half the tests and even testing her at the meeting where they're supposed to tell her if she passed or not. It was just so forced and the whole premise made no sense. Why did Henry truly need Kate if his heir could have stepped in and helped him out? How much help is she really going to be if she's only there six months out of the year? Are we supposed to believe that she can be his Queen for six months out of the year and then go live a "normal" life the other six months? Cause I don't buy that for a second.
If the gods and goddesses all have such important jobs, why do they have nothing better to do than to spy on and deceive a girl for six months?
Honestly, the more I think about this book, the more things don't make sense.

Finally, the ending was completely unsatisfying. I understand that it's a set up for the next book, but still, it just felt so sudden and incomplete.

Overall, this was a very frustrating read for me. I honestly don't know if I'll try the next book. I want to hope that now that the tests are done that the heavy handedness and use of contrivance will not be so prevalent in the next book, but I don't know if I want to find out. Possibly. I really do enjoy Greek mythology and I want to see what happens between Kate and Henry and I want to see if the reader gets to see more of the Underworld and what Kate will be doing there. So, maybe I'll try the next one.

Final grade: C-

The Goddess Test (Harlequin Teen)

The Goddess Test at the book depository

Author's Website

Monday, March 21, 2011

Review: My One and Only by Kristan Higgins

Genre: Romance
Publish Date: March 29, 2011
I received a copy for review from Netgalley

Just when she thought she had life and love all figured out…

Divorce attorney Harper James can’t catch a break. Bad enough that she runs into her ex-hubby, Nick, at her sister’s destination wedding, but now, by a cruel twist of fate, she’s being forced to make a cross-country road trip with him. And her almost-fiancé back at home is not likely to be sympathetic.

Harper can’t help that Nick has come blazing back into her life in all of his frustratingly appealing, gorgeous architect glory. But in Nick’s eyes, Harper’s always been the one. If they can only get it right this time, forever might be waiting—just around the bend.

After reading the first few pages of this book, I was seriously crushin' on Harper James. So much so that I felt I could have read an entire book from her point of view and I didn't need the hero for me to enjoy it. I hadn't met Nick yet and I was concerned that he could not possibly be awesome enough to deserve my new book bff, Harper.

Harper James was abandoned by her mother when she was 13. Her father had the emotional range of a log with her and now she's a successful divorce attorney so she's pretty used to people just leaving, or at least, not being there when you need them. Harper could have so easily been bitchy or cold, but instead she was funny as hell, honest with herself, knew her hangups and loved her dysfunctional family and few friends with all her heart. When her stepsister, Willa, who she's always felt very protective of, calls to say she's marrying Harper's ex-husband's brother, Harper knows things are going to go south from there. Harper's inner dialogue was so great and her snippy fighting with Nick was hilarious. She kinda reminded me of KC. Which made me love her even more.

Add into this her mother issues, her ticking biological clock, worry for her sister, her stepmother confiding in her that there might be trouble with her and her dad's marriage, her intense love and hate feelings for her ex and a boyfriend that she's trying hard to get to walk down the aisle and Harper has her hands and heart full trying to navigate one potential land mine at a time.

I did enjoy the hero, Nick. He was very intense and could also be funny and tender. I loved that he knew what he wanted and had no fear about expressing his feelings. His feelings for Harper are so intense that I think I got flushed a few times while reading. The one issue I had about Nick and Harper's relationship is that Nick was a bit demanding of her. There were times I wanted to yell at him to give her a freakin' second to breathe, but by the end I felt that he had learned to make some concessions for her and that helped a lot.

My final grade: A. This book had me laughing out loud and tearing up and rooting for everyone from Harper and Nick to Willa and Chris to Harper's dad and stepmom.

Author's Website

Buy from book depository

I highly recommend! Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Falling Under Giveaway Winner

Hi all! Thanks for entering in the giveaway for Falling Under and checking out my interview with the cool Gwen Hayes. Without further ado, the winner of a copy of Falling Under is....Melanie with the comment:

"My first time hearing about this book and author. Looks great! I love the cover!

Thanks for the interview!"

Congrats Melanie! I will email you soon.

Cover: Crossed (sequel to Matched) by Ally Condie

I just saw this cover posted on goodreads and the author's site and I got all excited! I love these covers. I think they are very evocative of the story itself and more beautiful for their simplicity. I read Matched awhile back and liked it. I'm hoping that the second has a little more action and is just as well written. I can't wait til Nov.

What do you think? Have you read Matched? Are you anxiously awaiting the sequel?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Early Review: The Vampire Voss by Colleen Gleason

Voss, also known as Viscount Dewhurst, relishes the sensual pleasures immortality affords. A member of the Dracule—a cabal of powerful, secretive noblemen marked with a talisman that reveals their bartered souls—the mercenary Voss has remained carefully neutral…until Angelica.

Angelica Woodmore possesses the Sight, an ability invaluable to both sides of a looming war among the Dracule. Her very scent envelops Voss in a scarlet fog of hunger—for her body and her blood. But he is utterly unprepared for the new desire that overcomes him—to protect her.

Now Voss must battle his very nature to be with Angelica…but this vampire never backs down from a fight.

I received a copy from Netgalley for review.

Note: Mild spoilers

Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance
Pub Date: 3/29/11 according to Netgalley and 3/22 according to author's website
Format: Paperback and e-book

I've never read Ms. Gleason, but I've always heard good things about her books, so I didn't know what to expect. I did hope for a good solid and entertaining read. The Vampire Voss started out strong, but quickly went a way that left me less than enthralled with the story.

Voss himself is a rather fascinating character. He's an opportunistic mercenary that revels in his existence as a vampire. He loves feeding, loves debauching women and he loves procuring and selling information about his fellow Dracule. He's not overly tall or physically impressive, but is instead almost pretty, very into the latest fashions and lives by his wits as well as the edge his vampiric powers give him. I appreciated that Ms. Gleason showed how much of a vampire he really is. How much he enjoyed being one, but after a time it began to feel a bit much. More on that later.

Angelica started out as a great character. She has the ability to see a specific event in the future, people's deaths, and she knows about and accepts her gift for what it is. She even has a little side gig going on where she sells the information to interested parties in the ton. She's very forthright and open. Not a withering belle, this one. I really appreciated this about her. However, as the story progresses and events unfold, I couldn't help but be disappointed in her singular ability to be oblivious to the obvious. They are attacked by Vampires. She comes to terms with the fact that vamps exist, but when it becomes painfully obvious that Voss is, indeed, a vampire, she just doesn't see and is therefore absolutely shocked and betrayed when the truth comes out. This was irksome to me.

As for the romance between Voss and Angelica, again, I loved how it started. Voss is so very hedonistic and Angelica is brazen and wiser than many, but still very much an innocent. Voss wants nothing to do with the attraction he feels for her, he's a look out for number one kinda guy and he only wants the information he can get from her, but he cannot fight the pull between them. Their first kiss and the dialogue surrounding it was unbelievably heated. The way he always asked her to use his name and not his title, the way he couldn't fight the protective feelings she brought out in him, this all made me hope for a passionate romance, but that seemed to go flat about halfway through the book. I won't go into details, and again, I appreciate the realism of Voss being a vampire and needing blood and desiring sex to survive, however, I find it less than romantic when the hero does every available body but the heroine for most of the book. Aside from romantic and character issues that I had with the story, the ending was, in my opinion, a complete cop out. I was not left satisfied.

In the end, there were great moments, but it just wasn't enough to make me happy. And aside from my issues with the main characters, I really didn't like many of the other characters in The Vampire Voss, either.

Final Grade: C-

This book is the beginning of a trilogy. The next book features the annoying and unreasonable older sister of Angelica and the dour Dimitri. While the third, by my guess, features the bitchy (although I sympathize with her) female vamp, Narcise, and Angelica's and Maia's vampire hunter brother. I'm hoping the characters are better in their own books.

The Vampire Voss

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