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Site Updates

xSo, I have been busy the last couple of hours playing around with some behind the scenes stuff, and I thought I should let you know there have been a few changes. They won’t matter to most people, but I am mentioning it on the off chance you go looking for something and can’t find it.

First off, I mentioned that since I was quitting the Arcana Chronicles series from Kresley Cole, I was also giving up the character guide. That has been deleted, along with a couple of others that I enjoyed but just didn’t feel like updating anymore – one is the Shadowhunters guide for Cassandra Clare‘s multiple series, and the other is the Rock Kiss series guide from Nalini Singh. On the Shadowhunters front, I have moved on from YA and don’t want to “have to” read it if I don’t feel like it, and Rock Kiss doesn’t fit the overall PNR/UF theme I have going on so I let it go, too.

I also deleted a few author pages. Tastes change, interests change, and having almost 30 different pages to try and keep updated and edited on a weekly basis was a bit over the top. I did delete the Cassandra Clare page, again because I am not doing young adult too much anymore, and that same reason made me say goodbye to the Richelle Mead section, too. Larissa Ione hasn’t really had much to mentioned for quite a while now, so that one was just taking up space, and I stopped reading Lara Adrian way back when so her page is gone, too. PhoenixFyre has a great character guide for The Midnight Breed that I definitely didn’t want to go to waste, so I moved it HERE.

There was other stuff I could’ve dumped, too, but I decided to wait and see. Maybe I am getting lazy, or just more realistic, but I don’t want this blog to turn into work. I spend a lot of time on it, but it is time I enjoy. When there are things that I start to dread, or have to force myself to do, then it is time to let those things go. I still have plans to add other guides, maybe new authors as I find them, but for now this will keep me busy.

Picks of the Week

Pick of the Week

I am late on making my pick of the week post because, well, I was reading my pick of the week. There wasn’t much to choose from, but even if the release deck was fully stocked odds are I still would’ve picked Nalini Singh‘s Wild Embrace. To finally get the story of the mysterious Arrow-who-isn’t Stefan? And to find out what was going on for Jem and Kenji? Both in the same book? Beauty.

wild embraceSynopsis…

Echo of Silence
In a deep-sea station, Tazia Nerif has found her life’s work as an engineer, keeping things running smoothly. But she wants nothing more than to break down the barrier of silence between her and her telekinetic Psy station commander…

Dorian
A changeling who can never shift lives a life of quiet frustration—until he learns how to let his leopard come out and play…

Partners in Persuasion
Still raw from being burned by a dominant female, wolf changeling Felix will never again risk being a plaything. But for dominant leopard Dezi, he’s the most fascinating man she’s ever met. She just has to convince this gun-shy wolf that he can trust the dangerous cat who wants to take a slow, sexy bite out of him…

Flirtation of Fate
Seven years ago, Kenji broke Garnet’s heart. Now the wolf packmates have to investigate the shocking murder of one of their own. And the more Kenji sees of the woman Garnet has become, the deeper he begins to fall once more. But even his primal instincts are no match for the dark secret he carries…

It was great to get back into changeling stories – I hadn’t realized how much I missed them, what with the last few books being Psy based (although I think Stefan’s story was my favorite of the four included here). Two of the biggest lingering questions I had about the whole series was what was up with Jem and Kenji, and how Stefan ended up based on Alaris with a possible mate, so I was a happy reader.

This one falls story-line wise before Allegiance of Honor, but it is the last official release in the first Psy/Changeling chapter. Nalini has mentioned she is working on the next as we speak. Where do you think things will go? Will she start to delve into BlackSea or maybe RainFire? The Falcons? I know (believe-pray-hope) that Silver, Pax and Bo have to have their turns coming up, but I also really want to get more from SnowDancer in the form of Alexei, Tomas and the other un-mated Sentinels, plus Jamie from DarkRiver. Jamie was mentioned too much in Allegiance of Honor for it to be casual, so he must have something coming up. I think.

Review

Reading Wrap Up

booksIt has only been a few weeks since I did my last reading wrap up post, but it seems like so much longer. That is probably because I managed to go through a decent number of books for a change, and I also managed to tackle some of my TBR pile, too. A win/win.

First things first, and this is a big one for me…

I did it. I finally, finally tackled some of my huuuge Sherrilyn Kenyon TBR pile. Her books make up just shy of HALF of my total books to be read – yes, almost half – and the pile staring at me had gotten so out of control that I figured if I didn’t jump in now I never would. Not quite sure where to start, I tackled the first five Chronicles of Nick books, and I ended up quite liking them. I figure it will give me a bit of a backdrop for when I do get to the Dark-Hunter books, too. The Nick books I read were fun, and I flew through them really quickly. I can’t say I will be caught up with all of Kenyon’s books anytime soon, but at least I have gotten a decent start.

Hm, what else…oh, yeah. I finally got to the latest from Darynda Jones, The Curse of Tenth Grave. I didn’t dislike this one, but it was…lacking, somehow. Maybe it was because of the distance between Charley and Reyes (both physical ad emotional) for the vast majority of the book, especially since it was based on what felt like soap-opera level drama. I think for me, just Charley isn’t quite enough to carry the book – she needs the gang around, and they weren’t around much. Things did pick up in the last quarter, so all is good again. But like I said, when Reyes, Garrett, Osh and the rest aren’t around, it doesn’t quite work as well for me. Still funny and all, but not quite as engaging.

Well, I also broke down and decided to borrow a book. Weird, for me, but there you have it. For quite a while, I have debated on picking up Dark Promises from Christine Feehan. There were a couple of issues I had – the biggest being that I loathed the character of Gabrielle since she was first introduced way back when. She just rubbed me wrong even in the little bit she had been seen in previous books, but I wasn’t stoked to read a whole book about her. I probably would’ve bitten the bullet and just picked the darn thing up anyways, but then I read the first chapter excerpt on Christine’s website, and I really couldn’t stand the way Gabrielle came off. Whiny, needy, demanding, and completely oblivious to pretty much everything going on around her, that one chapter completely turned me off her. Plus, I was strangely weirded out by the thought Grandma Trixie. Not sure why, but it just sounded odd. Add to that the less than stellar reviews I had heard, and negative reactions to the “hero”. So, not excited for the book. At all. But I do still have higher hopes for the next one.

However, I was thinking that if I didn’t give this one a try, I might miss some story set up for future books. You know, the introduction of new characters, possible leads on new lifemates, that sort of thing. But nope. I could’ve completely skipped this one and not missed a thing. I thought Gabrielle was a waste of page time, and to be honest I can’t even remember the name of her lifemate. Nope, no clue what his name was. Trixie wasn’t that bad – I ended up preferring her and Fane to Gabrielle and…unknown ancient dude…but I did roll my eyes a few times at nearly virginal, still incredibly hot and awesomely built, self sacrificing great grandma Trixie, but at least it was good for a laugh. And at least she was different. Gabrielle followed my “Feehan Female Formula” down to letter…but at least it was someone else who mentioned the “awesome boots” this time. Joy.

And I finished up Nalini Singh‘s Archangel’s Heart just last night. It has a different tone to it than previous books, but I liked it. It wasn’t my favorite by a long shot, but it is always great to get back into a favorite world. There is a lot of Aodhan, too, and he is making great strides towards taking back his life. I am still getting a Sparkle/Bluebell vibe, but I can’t be completely sure if it is just me.

So, what have you been reading lately? Have you managed to tackle any long-standing TBR monsters, or have you been hitting all new releases?

Book of the Month

August’s Book of the Month

I swear that it feels like it was just last week that I was doing up the July book of the Month list and whining that there wasn’t really anything that was must-have for me. Well, I can’t say the same thing about August – at all. For me, August usually shapes up to be second only to March in terms of anticipated new releases, and there are some good ones to choose from. As always, I have listed 10 upcoming titles for you to choose from, but if you have something else in mind just select “Other” and leave your pick in the comments section. A complete list of August’s new releases can be found HERE

Brace yourselves, because this is about the only time in history that Nalini Singh is releasing a book and I am not making it my pick of the month. Seriously. My runaway pick is absolutely Betrayals from Kelley Armstrong, the second from last book of the Cainsville series (Noooo, only one left after this). I have a strangely intense love for this series, and if you asked me I can’t even really tell you why. I guess sometimes a storyline just clicks for you, and this one did for me. I am excited for Wild Embrace, too, of course, and I have very high hopes for Blood of the Earth. I haven’t bonded with Jane Yellowrock that much, something about her multiple potential love interests has thrown me off a bit, but I am excited for Nell’s story. Amanda Bouchet‘s first book, A Promise of Fire, intrigued me since I first saw it listed months ago, and I find myself even looking forward to Christine Feehan‘s next Carpathian book, Dark Carousel, mostly because it is city-based rather than the usual jungle-or-mountain thing that has been going on. Yep, going to be a big, big month.

Uncategorized

Back in Action

Hey everyone, I made it back in one piece – and even brought my father home with me. And not in the trunk. Anyways, we survived our road trip/adventure relatively intact, but it was wonderful to get home. And what made it even more wonderful was what was waiting for me when I got here…

image1

My photographic skills are completely non-existent, I mean seriously cringe-worthy, but the beauty of this one speaks for itself. I seriously didn’t expect to get sent this one, but once again I am so grateful for it. I am trying to hold off until my days off before I start it so I can marathon, but it is hard. So hard.

Review

What She Said – Rock Kiss Review

Thanks once again go to Monika, who sent over her review for Nalini Singh‘s latest Rock Kiss book, Rock Wedding. I loved me some Rock Hard – that was a total winner for me. Couldn’t get enough of Charlie and T-Rex.  I was meh about picking up Noah and Kit’s story until I started reading, and then I really enjoyed it. But for some reason right from the start I haven’t been all that interested in Abe and Sarah’s story, and I didn’t know quite why. But from what Monika said, I might not be alone…

rock weddingWhat Monika said…

Too much… of everything (especially shirts, swearing, sweetness and weddings)

I’ve read almost everything Nalini Singh has ever written and loved all of it (some more and some a bit less), so it pains me to write a less than stellar review and rate one of her books only 3 stars.
This was also the first Nalini Singh book I did not finish in a day or two, but which I had to force myself to continue reading, and I only plodded thru to the end because I needed to write a review.

But first things first: this is the fifth story in the Rock Kiss series, and it’s about Abe and Sarah, of whom we have seen glimpses in previous installments. Abe is the band’s keyboard player and sometime vocalist and he has serious abuse problems: drugs, drinks, and dimwitted groupies, he does it all. Sometime along the way he inexplicably falls in lust with Sarah, marries her, doesn’t change his habits and treats her like dirt, until finally she can’t take it anymore and divorces his ass (takes her long enough). Then, at the end of Rock Redemption, at the Zenith event, we see Sarah get slapped around by her new boyfriend. The band members rally behind her and Abe finally realizes that he is still very much in love with Sarah and finally decides to get his shit together and seeks help for his abuse problems. So, that’s were we stand at the beginning of this book.

I actually do like second chance and/or redemption stories, but somehow this one didn’t click for me. I think the main reason was the characterization of the two main protagonists. I had a difficult time to swallow the complete about-turn in Abe’s behavior towards Sarah: when they were married before he behaved like a complete heel to her, he treated her as convenient fuck-buddy and occasional arm-candy, but otherwise he kept emotionally distant from her, was not interested in anything about her as a person, about her past or what her interests were or even her dreams. And even though he did not physically lay a hand on her, he would psychically abuse her every time he went into a drug-induced fit of rage. But say you paint you hero that way (and I do love reformed bad boys), but then they at least need a horrible past to explain their behavior, even though there is no excuse for it. But far from it, Abe is from a loving, supportive upper middle-class family and ever since he met the guys from Schoolboy Choir his friends have stood by him and had his back. There is a huge personal tragedy in his past, but for me it’s just not enough of a justification.

In comparison I liked Sarah a bit more, even though (at least in the beginning of the book) she was as close to a doormat as I could stand. She is deeply insecure and very needy, and lets Abe get away with shit and tries to be supportive. Most of this I can overlook, because she was very young when she met Abe, all alone in the world, and she did have a horrible past, so I could kind of relate to her for being awestruck by being noticed by a rock star and also her need to cling to the person that she believed loved her even a little. I also liked that after her divorce she started to build her own life and career, although – even with the suspension of disbelief – I had a hard time believing how she went in two or three years from a rather low-end job to owning her own successful business, especially as apart from going to one or two meetings and making a few phone calls we never see her working.

Now to some other problems in this book, chief among them the (needless) repetition: a reviewer of Allegiance of Honor complained that there were a gazillion descriptions of the clothes that the characters wore and I went “come on, describing dresses adds texture to the story and besides, I did not even notice it”. Unfortunately I  did notice here, mostly because Abe is always wearing a variation of the same thing, mainly a suit, either black, or charcoal or dark grey, with either a black, charcoal or dark grey shirt. Sadly, the repetition does not end there: Sarah is endlessy fascinated by his stunning physique and his bulging biceps. We already know Abe is a hunk, so no need to reiterate it every time he strips. She in turn is repeatedly described as feeling too tall and too curvy, and even though she claims she is (finally) happy with her body the constant preoccupation with said body actually creates the impression of an unhealthy attitude towards one’s own body image.

Obviously I am the last person who should complain about the occasional swear word, and really I don’t mind swearing, but it should at least be creative. Fuck, fucker, fucking appear a total of 91 times, mostly used either as an expletive or an intensifier and only three times to actually refer to intercourse, so it was just a bit too much for me.

Nothing against a feel-good romance but there was just too much of the happy feeling in this book. Aside from the main protagonists, everybody is deliriously happy all the time, deeply and disgustingly in love (they don’t even fight so that they can have make-up sex), and to top it off, there are no less than four! perfect weddings that naturally go off without even the tiniest hitch! Sorry, but ‘gag’! It’s like eating bar after bar of sinful chocolate, until you get sick of it and crave something savory! And there is even more ‘sweetness’, but I won’t mention it, because it would be a major spoiler!

So now I have to go find me some gritty UF novel with a kick-ass heroine who worries more about her fighting prowess than her looks or some dark romance with a deliciously bad anti-hero to get this feeling of cloying sweetness outta my head!

I think, for me, part of the problem is that I am not a huge fan stories where the couple already has a romantic history/divorce, that sort of thing. I have always felt that in that situation, it feels like being dropped into the middle of the story. Not sure that makes sense, but it is harder for me to get involved in the couple when so much of their story isn’t shown in the pages of the book. I do have high hopes for Gabriel’s brother’s books, though – they were awesome in Rock Hard. What did all of you think about Rock Wedding? Any fans, or were you like Monika and just found it too much?

Spotlight on...

Spotlight Wednesday – Elizabeth Hunter

Because there is always so much good buzz around Elizabeth Hunter, and to celebrate her new release, Monika has put her up as this week’s spotlight author. As I have said anytime I have done a post about her work, I have never heard anyone say they weren’t a fan (and I can’t even say that about Nalini Singh or Ilona Andrews, which is something).

Elizabeth Hunter has quite a few releases under her belt, with her Cambio Springs books, the Irin Chronicles, and three separate series set in the Elemental World. But for this spotlight post, we are going to go way back to the beginning and the Elemental Mysteries series featuring Giovanni and Beatrice. The book that started it all is called A Hidden Fire, which was published in 2011.

a hidden fireSynopsis…

“No secret stays hidden forever.”

A phone call from an old friend sets Dr. Giovanni Vecchio back on the path of a mystery he’d abandoned years before. He never expected a young librarian could hold the key to the search, nor could he have expected the danger she would attract. Now he and Beatrice De Novo will follow a twisted maze that leads from the archives of a university library, through the fires of Renaissance Florence, and toward a confrontation they never could have predicted.

I did look around and try to find an excerpt, but I didn’t have any luck. It turns out, though that you can check this book out for free through Amazon right now, just click HERE. I have the paperback version on the TBR, but I am going to download the freebie in hopes that I will finally be able to move it up the reading list.

Also to consider:

elizabeth hunter banner
I nabbed the banner from google, so credit goes to whomever created it.

. . . . .

5251202About the author: Elizabeth Hunter is a contemporary fantasy and romance author. She is a graduate of the University of Houston Honors College and a former English teacher. She currently lives in Central California with her son, two very ineffective canine assistants, and a pitifully empty fish tank. She is the author of the Elemental Mysteries and Elemental World series, the Irin Chronicles, the Cambio Springs Mysteries, and other works of fiction.

Ok, everyone. It’s up to you. How many other Elizabeth Hunter fans are out there, and if you haven’t tried her before do you think you will? What hidden gem of an author would you like to share with your fellow readers? Just send me an e-mail under the “Contact Me” button and we can maybe spread the word.

Cover Lover

Cover Lover – Etched in Bone

From the sounds of it, tomorrow is the cover reveal for Nalini Singh‘s Archangel’s Heart. But to tide us all over, we can behold the recently released cover art for Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop. And let me gush now…same cover model! Same cover design! My OCD thanks them! Now we all can officially begin the countdown to the March release…

etched in bone

Check back tomorrow for Nalini’s cover, too. This is a good week to be a reader-geek.

Review

Allegiance of Honor Spoiler Talk

Allegiance of Honor_MediumSo, it has been a solid week since Nalini Singh‘s Allegiance of Honor was released, and I thought that maybe you all would like a place to discuss. I read mine early, since I was kindly sent an ARC a while back, and I had a hard time keeping some details to myself.

Like I said…Spoilers…

There wasn’t much I didn’t like, I have to be honest, but that is to be expected. But if I had to choose my favorite parts of the book, I would have to go with the developments regarding Silver Mercant and Pax Marshall, who reminds me of a baby Kaleb (which is a very, very good thing). Both of those characters interested me in their previous appearances, but I found in this one I can really see their stories taking off. Maybe together? I would like that, I think. Plus, the deeper look we got into BlackSea got me much more interested in this pack. I was a bit meh before, but now I can honestly say I am looking forward to a water-changeling story or two. But not before Remy and his pack, ok?

One of my absolute favorite moments was really quite a small thing in the overall scope of the book, but it seems like I had been waiting for it forever. I was so happy when Annie finally met Kaleb and realized he had been the one to save her so many years ago, and finally got to thank him for what he did. I kept reading that part over and over, it made me so happy.

What did you think? Were you happy with not only a look back at previous couples, but the development of future storylines? What little moments made the story for you? Do you see Silver and Pax as a couple, or heading in two different directions?