Rock Redemption Review…

Anytime that Nalini Singh has a new book coming out, things get exciting. Her next release is from her Rock Kiss series, and it is the story of Noah and Kit, Rock Redemption. While we have to wait until October 6th for the official release, Monica kindly sent over her early review.

rock redemptionWhat Monica said…

This is the 4th installment in Nalini Singh’s Rock Kiss series. It’s Noah and Kit’s story. Although some readers have claimed that Charlotte and T-Rex’s story is their favorite, I have to say that I might have liked Rock Redemption even more than Rock Addiction (Molly and Fox’s story).

Throughout the previous books there have been hints of painful past between Noah St. John, the rock group’s guitarist and Kathleen „Kit“ Devigny (is it only me or does Kit make you think of Cara Delevingne?). Ever since she started out as a struggling actress in Hollywood Kit has been friends with the members of Rock Kiss, though she has been particularly close to Noah, with whom she has been secretly in love. In the prologue we learn what happened to cause the rift between the two of them and it is bad and all Noah’s fault. He behaved like a complete heel, but this wouldn’t be a novel by Nalini Singh if she did not manage to make us understand Noah’s actions and make us fall in love with him a iittle by revealing the secret of his childhood trauma (be warned: it is bad).

Kit is still deeply hurt by Noah’s betrayal, but when he needs her she doesn’t hesitate and rushes to help him. While they try to repair their relationship and become friends again the press makes them out to be the hot new it couple. In order not to jeopardize a potential movie-deal for Kit Thea advises them to keep up the charade. Noah will do everything to help Kit and to redeem himself in her eyes, even though being so close to her again is pure torture for him. Things are further complicated by a stalker that has been bothering Kit for some time by sending her psychotic messages and leaving creepy presents. Kit is still deeply in love with Noah, but she is also afraid that he will betray her again. Their love will only have chance when Noah is ready to trust her completely.

What I didn’t like: in my opinion the subplot with the stalker was kind of unnecessary. In the end it helped to bring about the conclusion but the story would have worked just fine without it. Although a red herring was thrown in, the true culprit was a bit predictable.

What I loved: once again Nalini Singh delivers a highly emotional love story with lovable characters, full of flaws and insecurties that make them believable. Their journey together is at times heartwrenching, but also sweet and sometimes even funny. I also liked that in this novel the two protagonists are on a more equal footing: Kit is an actress who has gained recognition in Hollywood, thus putting her famewise on the same level as Noah. My feminist sensibilities were a bit bothered by Molly, the librarian, who falls for the famour rock star and gives up her life to be with him and also by Charlotte, the administrative assistant falling for her new boss.

Rock Redemption is a wonderful addition to the Rock Kiss saga and an intense reading experience, so I give it 5 stars. As a bonus we also get glimpses of Abe and Sarah who still have feelings for each other after a messy divorce and whose story is going to come next.

Weekly Wrap Up

booksAfter a completely crap-tastic reading week last week, where I managed to read precisely zero books, anything is progress. I didn’t do as well as planned, but still I got a few under my belt.

I started out with something a little different. Everything, Everything is a contemporary young adult book from Nicola Yoon. Hype on this one has been pretty heavy on YouTube and such, and I thought it would be nice to read something outside of my usual PNR/UF box. It was a quick, fun little read that I finished in maybe 2 hours, and it was a nice change of pace. I did figure out the twist within the first few pages, but I still thought it was ok.

This next one is a book I have been putting off for quite a while. Kresley Cole‘s third Arcana Chronicles book, Dead of Winter, has a dreaded love triangle and that made me run far, far away. After snarling at it for months, I figured I might as well bite the bullet and get caught up. Minus the triangle, I liked this one. The story is progressing well, we are learning more about the whole backstory and other Arcana, and everyone seems to be coming into their powers. But the triangle. Ugh. Hate them so, so much. I am way too old for that angsty crap. When you like both of the potential love options, it makes it worse. I liked both Jack and Aric, and I think they both should dump Evie and take off together. Problem solved.

And I am working on the latest Carpathian novel from Christine Feehan, Dark Ghost. It isn’t bad, isn’t great, and actually a bit on the dull side so far (maybe a third of the way in). Lots and lots of cave. Andre has done the whole claim-her-now-and-explain-later thing, which never works out as planned. Teagan is handling things pretty well up to this point, so that is a bonus. If anyone has any question about Christine having a ghostwriter (no pun intended) for some of her more recent books, this one seems like Christine all the way (short, choppy sentences and lots of random info-dumping). Oh, and may I present to you my laugh of the week, maybe the month, and my new favorite expression…

Velvet helmet

Yep. Velvet helmet. And if you have ever even glanced at a Feehan book, you know exactly what she is referring to. Hard to believe two little words can completely take you out of a scene, but there you have it. I read it, blinked a few times, then laugh for a good 5 minutes right in the middle of a love scene, and I still snicker like a teenage boy whenever I think of them. Probably not the effect anyone was going for, but there you go.

What did you read this week? I figure most of you probably dove into Nalini Singh‘s Archangel’s Enigma by now, so what did you think? Did you love Naasir and Andromeda’s story, and where do you see things going from here? I am hoping for Aodhan’s story next, I think, but I would be happy with any of them.

Weekly Wrap Up…

booksGood Lord, this seemed like one long, long sucker of a week (my weekends begin on Sunday nights). I didn’t get a ton read, but I have been pretty good about my August goal of wrapping up a few one-book-left series.

It took quite a while, but I managed to get back into the swing of Rick Riordan‘s Heroes of Olympus series and finish off Blood of Olympus. I had totally lost track of the storyline heading into this one, and I have to admit that there were quite a few things mentioned from previous books that I didn’t remember at all. Even so, it was a fun read, and hopefully now I am ready for the start of the new Norse mythology series featuring Magnus Chase when it begins in October.

I also tackled a couple of books from favorite authors, with varying results. First up was Deceptions from Kelley Armstrong, which is the third book of her Cainsville series. This was one of my most anticipated books for the year, and I wasn’t disappointed. A lot questions are answered, which I wasn’t expecting this early on (there are two more books to come, after all). There are also some developments on the romantic front, and as much as I have come to dread the whole love triangle thing, for some reason I don’t mind it here. The only problem I have with it is that I just can’t tell which way it will go…Ricky or Gabriel? I preferred Gabriel going into this one, but Ricky has really grown on me. I guess I will just have to wait until next August to find out, since that is when Betrayals is scheduled for release.

My second book didn’t work out quite as well for me. In trying to branch out, I decided to pick up the young adult contemporary thriller, Don’t Look Back, from Jennifer L. Armentrout. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get into it. It seemed like an interesting story, but it just didn’t grab me at all. It has actually become one of my very rare Did Not Finish books, and I will be adding it to the donation pile. To be perfectly fair, though, I usually have trouble when I stray away from the PNR/UF genre, especially in terms of young adult or new adult. I know better, but I still try something different every now and then with disappointing results. I guess I should learn that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

What did you read this week? Did you start up any new series worth sharing, or did you manage to whittle down the TBR pile at all?

Weekly Wrap Up…

booksIt is time once again to check out what we all have been reading this week. I was a week behind, but I got my hands on Magic Shifts from Ilona Andrews, and it was well worth the wait. I am pretty sure I have said in many, many other posts that I was really happy with this one. I liked the whole Guild direction, the changing dynamics of some of the main players, and the hints of what is to come. If I had one small complaint, it would be that I missed seeing more of the supporting characters – Derek, Ascanio, Andrea, Raphael – they were there, but not to the degree that they usually are, and I did miss them. It was a very Kate-and-Curran centric story, and that is ok, too.

My other biggie for this past week was the third and final book in the Sisters of the Craft series from Lori Handeland. Smoke on the Water saw the three sisters reunited, come into their powers, and take on the big bad. It was a really nice wrap-up for a series that I found to be a very pleasant surprise. And the very best part? The whole trilogy was released over the course of something like 8 weeks, so details stayed fresh and enthusiasm stayed high. It was great. This was my introduction to Lori Handeland’s work, and I am looking forward to trying more.

Aaaand, I have continued my “end it, already” quest to finish up some one-book-left series that I just couldn’t seem to bring myself to let go of. I am about half-way through Blood of Olympus, which is the final book in Rick Riordan‘s Heroes of Olympus series. I know, I know. I didn’t read Harry Potter, but I am a total Percy Jackson fan (and way, way too old for them, but moving on). The problem is that I am totally, completely lost. I couldn’t justify a re-read of the previous four monster-length books, so I thought that I should be able to handle a kiddie book without a week-long recap, right? Nope. I had totally forgotten the whole storyline up to this point, I keep having to google things mentioned in the book, and I barely remembered who half of the characters are. Being beaten by a kids book knocks you down a peg or two, to be sure.

Ok, your turn. What did you try out this week? Anything surprisingly good (or bad), or anything you would recommend?

Weekly Wrap Up…

booksAnother week has flown by, which means it is time to see what we all read this week. I kept to my goal of trying to finally be a big girl and finish off some of the series I have only had one book left on, but of course because I put things off so long I had to do a re-read of the first books, first. I started off with Sarah Rees Brennan‘s The Lynburn Legacy series, which was a surprise young adult favorite of mine. I will be finishing off the third and final book tonight, and I have to admit I will be sad to see this one wrap up. Between the very original premise, the non-standard characters, and the humor, it was definitely no hardship for the re-reads. Much enjoyment was had.

Those three books pretty much took up my week, but I did manage to grab the new Carpathian novella from Christine Feehan that just came out in Edge of Darkness (of course, I didn’t read the other two stories. Um, yet? Maybe? Probably not). This one was actually quite a surprise for a couple of reasons. First off, there was a total change of setting. Instead of the Carpathian mountains (not bad) or the jungle (ugh), this one was very much city based, and a really nice change of pace. It was a short story, yes, but I can say that it manages to open up a whole new direction for the Dark books, and that I liked where it was going.

As a bonus, the focus was turned towards some Carpathians we haven’t seen much from. The triplets play a decent supporting role, and Tariq Asenguard is pretty much front and center. I am not sure if Christine is sticking to the Lost Dark Book storyline for Tariq, but Dark Crime makes me sort of hope that there is a new direction planned for him. And as a total bonus? A side storyline that seemed to be completely dropped way-back-when actually becomes relevant here. I don’t want to say what because of potential spoilers, but it always bugged me that it was hinted at and never followed up on. Oh, there is also another “legendary ancient hunter” introduced by the name of Val Zhestokly. This is totally a Dancing With the Stars name, and every time I read it I snickered like a kid. So sad.

The only downside I can see is the timing for this one. If Tariq or one of the triplets’ stories was up next, it would be great. Instead, we have not one but two books before we get back to this new offshoot of the Dark World. Tariq’s story will be called Dark Carousel, but we will probably have to wait until late 2016/ early 2017 to get it. To me, it would’ve made more sense to hold off a bit before coming out with this one.

Ok, that was my week. How did yours shape up? I assume most of you probably dove into Magic Shifts, but I have to wait until this Tuesday for my turn. You can be sure next week will be an equally long-winded rave about it, though.

Weekly Wrap Up…

booksThis is the post where I try and keep track of what I read, and what I thought about it, since I seem to be blurring a lot of books together in my mind. Getting old blows. Anyways, this was less of a reading week, and more of a re-reading week, but whatever works.

I actually went back and re-read MacRieve by Kresley Cole for some unknown reason. I was walking by my shelves and I just ended up grabbing it. I don’t usually do that, but I was glad I did. I liked it more with this second read. Not enough to have me super-excited for the next Immortals After Dark book, which is a big honkin’ shame, but it was still a bonus. I never, ever thought that the wheels would fall off of my IAD love, but it seems they have. It went from my absolute favorite to being a second-tier series (second tier isn’t bad in my world, but I just never thought it would fall. Ever).

I also plugged along on Mercy Blade by Faith Hunter. I have to admit, I am struggling a bit with this series. I like it, but I have no problem putting a book down and walking away for a week or two. As interesting as they are, they don’t grab and hold my attention for some reason. I suspect it is because the whole Rick/Leo/Bruiser romantic situation distracts me from the story. I like a story with a well-defined pairing, and anything else throws me off (I am looking at you, dreaded young adult love triangle. Die). I will definitely be keeping on with these books, but they are going to take a while.

Also on the re-read list is the first three Drake Sisters books. It has been a while, and I decided to go back and expand the Sisters of the Heart character guide to include all of the books set in Sea Haven, since it looks like that world will not be wrapping up anytime soon. It amazes me how much I had forgotten from these books, but it also made me miss the old Christine Feehan stories. Re-reading the older ones makes the changes in tone and style of the new ones really stand out. They were great stories, not everyone was emotionally scarred, tortured and battered beyond comprehension, and there was a bit more than just sex. Meh, I miss the old days.

So, what did you read this week? Did anything great come your way, or did you find yourself in the dreaded reading slump? Oh, and it is only a few more hours until Kate and Curran. Time should always be measured in terms of release dates, I figure.

Magic Shifts Review

Well, no one can deny that Magic Shifts is going to be a biggie, but Doug Meeks did up a review that confirms it. The last book was a total game-changer in more ways than one, but Ilona Andrews always somehow manages to top themselves.

magic shiftsWhat Doug said…

Where to start, I have written a review on most if not all of the books in this series and I find myself running out of superlatives. The plots are multilayered, interesting and unpredictable. The characters (all of them not just the main couple) are fully developed, no cardboard cutouts and you actually grow to care about all of them. The thing though that makes this such a huge success is that Kate and Curran are deeply in love at all times, add in the best “graveyard” humor ever and you have a mix that can’t lose.

This time you have to wonder, after last book (shame on you if you have not read that epic) what could even give them any problems? It seems there are a ton of things in this world that Ilona Andrews has crafted that can do that and one of them has come to town (no I won’t tell you, it is part of the plot to find out).

In addition to occasionally saving the world (or at least Atlanta), they seem to now need some kind of a job to go with their new lifestyle in suburbia and so they are getting involved with the Merc Guild which is something that makes me happy since I can see all kinds of fun things coming from that arrangement, providing everybody survives long enough to make something happen. The fact that they have some minor problems with the self-appointed neighborhood HOA in the midst of everything else is just another level of humor here, in spite of end-of-the-world plots I laughed more at this book than many romantic comedies I have read over the last year.

As usual there are a multitude of plots, they all seem to be able to tie themselves back together by the end of the book and we are left with a tidbit or two towards a future book (not always the next one) and in addition to everything else Kate and Curran are trying to look like a family unit, kinda hard but, hey, they are giving it a really great effort (nobody in the HOA was harmed in the reading of this book).

The ongoing [fill in the blank for what you call her relationship with her Dad] is still confusing to me, Kate leaves us no doubt as to where her feelings lie but they keep throwing just enough information into the mix that you have to remember some of the things from previous books to not start to like him a bit. He is still put forth as the big bad thing in some epic battle to be fought in the (I hope) distant future. There may be just the smallest bit of light at the end of that tunnel after this book but it was a teaser at the end of the book.

This book as many of the others revolves around complex relationships and loyalties between friends and loved ones, which is part of why this is such a great series, it is never as simple as “beat up the bad guys”, people’s emotions are involved and used to deepen plots, things that people would never risk are done for the sake of loved ones, and the list of such things is near endless but it takes this series from the swamp of interesting but average urban fantasy and raises it to the level of exceptionalism that you only get from one of the best series being written in this genre or any other.

I was going to do a trek to the nearest big city, pick up a copy, and get a hotel room for the night and just read. I even had a room booked in the best hotel in the city, but I had to change it to the week after because of work. Boo. I guess an extra week won’t kill me. Right?

Weely Wrap Up…

booksWell, I have a big two books to my credit for this week.  I stared things off with the second book of Lori Handeland‘s new Sisters of the Craft series, Heat of the Moment. I enjoyed this one just as much as the first, and I will be happy to get my hands on the third and final one in a couple of weeks. The best thing about this series? All three books are being released over something like 6 weeks, meaning no big wait where you forget what happened in the last book.

My second read was Christine Feehan‘s latest Sisters of the Heart book, Earth Bound, which featured Lexi and Gavriil. I have to say, this one was more “vintage Feehan” feeling than the last few books of hers I have read (I am looking at you, Viper Game). I enjoyed this one, I liked the fact that 5 of the brothers have reunited and I really liked the direction that Lissa’s story is taking. It looks like we might be heading to Russia for the next story, which could be fun.

There were a couple of things that did make me pause, though. I had already said in a previous post how I have noticed in the last book, Air Bound, that there were a few consistency errors. Like Airiana Rydell became Ridell, things like that. It also said in Air Bound that Hannah and Jonas had had a baby boy. Two weeks later (storyline wise), and Hannah and Jonas now have a daughter. I thought maybe I had read it wrong, but I went back and checked and nope – gender switch.

Do little errors like that bug you? They do me, sometimes. It isn’t a major thing, but it seems careless. Or maybe it is just me. What books have you caught consistency errors in?

Weekly Wrap-Up

booksI was a total, utter failure this week, reading a grand total of zero new books. Nada. I did manage to re-read the very, very short first book of Christine Feehan‘s Drake Sisters series, Magic in the Wind. Keep in mind, that one clocks in at only a little over a hundred pages, so I can barely even count it as a book. But what the re-read did do was really highlight the differences between the “old” Christine Feehan style and the new. I have been joking that Christine is morphing into Lora Leigh, but the tone and the vibe, for want of a better word, between her latter books and the earlier stuff really is different. I can’t say that I disliked the last Ghostwalker or Leopard books, not really, but they just read differently.

So, that was my pretty epic failure of a week. How did yours shape up? What is your take on the “new” Feehan style versus the tried and true stories of old?

Weekly Wrap Up…

booksAnother week, another weekly wrap up. This one was a bit on the slow side, with only a few reads under my belt. I finished up a re-read of Air Bound by Christine Feehan for the character guide. I had forgotten much of the storyline, so I am glad I did a refresher before the next book comes out next week, but there were a few technical issues. There were a few changes, or omissions, of details from the previous books, and that makes me nuts. Especially something like when the main character’s name changes between one book and the next. Airiana Rydell suddenly became Airiana Ridell, for example. They are only little details, but it takes me out of the flow of things and makes me start hunting for more issues.

I finished up the young adult Darkest Powers series from Kelley Armstrong. I really enjoyed the whole series, but I was wishing that Derek would connect somehow with Clay and Elena and the pack, but that wasn’t to be. If anything, though, it didn’t read like a last book. It ends with not much resolved, and between that and no pack interaction, it felt like there was a lot of story left to be told.

Potential spoilers…

And my other read of this week was Bengal’s Quest by Lora Leigh. On the upside, there were fewer typos and errors in this one, which is always a bonus. On the downside, though, there were some out-of-the-blue developments that make me wonder if I missed something. Like, Cat? Seriously? Where the hell did Cat come from? There was Fawn Corrigan, who became Claire Martinez. There was Gideon, who became Graeme. Here, there was no mention of Fawn, no reference to a Fawn at all. There was Cat, there was Claire, there was Cat AND Claire, and there was Catarina (?) I have learned to read each book as a stand-alone, which helps my OCD issues, but when I have to update the guide things get wonky and hard to manage. One character, one name, dammit! Other than that, I am glad to finally get Gideon/Graeme’s story, and I am hopeful that whole arc will wrap up shortly.

So, that wraps up my week. How was yours? What did you think of Bengal’s Quest, if you checked it out? Did the whole sudden appearance of “Cat” make you wonder what you had missed, too? And the whole Claire and Liza developments? Ooookay…