31 December 2011

2011 Reading Review

2011 was a really good reading year for me.

Kid in a candy store: It's been a year of discovery.
Amazing discovery. For one, I discovered Goodreads properly. Before this year, I think I had just about 1 autobuy author: Sharon Shinn. This has changed, and I am a coupla hundred dollars poorer for it.

It is the year I rediscovered my first love, fantasy, and found new facets of it that I have come to love almost as much as the ones I knew already: like Urban Fantasy, and Paranormal Fantasy/Romance.

It is also the year I found two new favorite authors,  after picking up their books on a whim

Ilona Andrews
Nalini Singh

I love, love, love their work, the worlds they've created, and the characters they've made. And it is with Ilona Andrews I discovered just how much fun snark can be when done right. I learned to persevere. I borrowed On the Edge by Ilona Andrews. It took me a while to get into it. But I kept on...and ended up loving it. Same with Magic Bites. Now the Kate Daniels series has to be just about my favorite series of all time, I think. At least it's definitely in the top 5.

I didn't read any high/epic fantasy this year. I found one, and  I haven't found any/gotten around to reading it: George R.R. Martin and his  A Song of Ice and Fire

This year was also the year I learned not to judge a book by its cover. I'd noticed Nalini's books in the library several times before, but moved on because the covers were nothing to write home about. Well, I'd been doing that to another series I found in the YA/Science Fiction & Fantasy shelves. Patricia Briggs and her Mercedes Thompson series. The cover for Moon Called didn't impress me. AT ALL. I gave it a side-eye and passed it by every single time I was in that section. Every. Singe. Time. I relented when I saw how much some of my friends from goodreads loved Patty Briggs' writing. Now I also count myself among those who love Ms. Briggs and the characters she has created to absolute bits (Samuel!! :D).

I've discovered some riveting YA, with the best of the lot being Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers Series.

I discovered that I am very unlikely to read anymore books by Laurell K. Hamilton, and am almost ready to write off Allyson James and Courtney Milan.

And, best of all, I discovered my ignorance when it comes to great authors. So many authors, so many series to look forward to. So many other sub-genres to discover, and so many new (and old non-fave) genres to try. Here's to 2012!!

I hope you had as good a reading time as I did this past year.
Here's to an even better 2012!!

26 December 2011

Divining Without Seeds by Iruka N. Okeke

Divining Without SeedsDivining Without Seeds by Iruka N. Okeke
My rating: ★★

When I heard Dr. Okeke was publishing a book about the importance of microbiology and diagnostics in Africa, I knew I was going to buy it as soon as it came out. Well, I did buy it, and it's some of the best money I've spent all year.

In this book, Dr. Okeke outlines a very strong case for streamlining medical practice in Africa, and integrating it with diagnostic services, like it is in places with good and effective medical systems. She also spends time unpacking the myths about why diagnostic services are unnecessary/too expensive in Africa. She debunks very popular myths AND also proposes solutions.

What I love about this book is the simple and sure way it unravels the untruths surrounding why diagnostics are thought not to be a feasible part of medical practice in Africa. So easily, you "see the light" really quickly, LOL! That's why this book, to me, is so important. It provides a completely new paradigm, a new way of conceiving medical practice for a continent that is sorely, sorely in need of new paradigms when in comes to medical practice.

However, the reason this book gets four stars instead of five is that although it is geared towards laymen and professionals alike, the material makes for very, very heavy reading. It is a LOT of food for thought, wrapped up in quite a heavy technical package. Granted, the nature of the subject is very highly technical, but at times, my head felt like exploding, there was so much information.

Speaking of information - Dr. Okeke's bibliography is very, very extensive and takes up a good chunk of the book. If I find myself some time, I will go through her sources and look for some of the papers cited in there, it's so filled with useful information.

This is not a book for the fainthearted, it's not a book to keep to yourself, it's' not a book to read once only, it's not a book to read in one sitting, or even two or three or five. Each section bears very important food for thought. Even if one doesn't agree with everything in this book (and I do), it opens up a new avenue of debate about the direction of medical practice in Africa. And that perhaps, is the most important function/niche this book has filled.

I can't recommend this one enough.

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25 December 2011

Magic Gifts by Ilona Andrews

Magic Gifts (Kate Daniels, #5.4)Magic Gifts by Ilona Andrews
My rating: ★★★★

Ilona Andrews is beyond awesome! And getting a Kate and Curran story as a holiday gift knocked beyond awesome out of the park!!

Like all stories, this one is not without its flaws, but I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, especially on Christmas day!

I love Kate, I love Curran, and I loved this novella.

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21 December 2011

Archangel's Blade by Nalini Singh

Archangel's Blade (Guild Hunter, #4)Guild Hunter #4
Archangel's Blade by Nalini Singh
My rating: ★★

Okay. I bought this immediately it came out, but it's taken me so many months to read it.

I did like the story. Ms. Singh's storytelling works for me. It was moving in parts, but fell flat in others. Most of the characters, well all the ones that mattered in this tale, anyway, fell flat for me.

I have never been fond of Dmitri. After having read his story, I'm still not fond of him. I still think he's unnecessarily cruel, and something of a bully.

Honor didn't do anything for me, and I have no feelings toward her either way (you know, like, dislike, etc).

Sorrow didn't do anything for me either. Or Venom.

Not my favorite Guild Hunter story; not my favorite hero or heroine; not my favorite love story; not my favorite story, period.

Nevertheless, it is a good tale, an intriguing and rather unusual one, with some poignant moments.

Oh, and the cover is nothing to write home about either. 

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19 December 2011

If You Hear Her by Shiloh Walker

If You Hear Her (Ash Trilogy, #1)If You Hear Her by Shiloh Walker
My rating: ★★

My first Shiloh Walker, and it certainly won't be my last. I only realized that this wasn't a stand-alone novel after I'd begun reading it, and I was initially worried the whole suspense bit was going to be too thin to stretch over three books.

Well, it wasn't stretch out at all in this book.

I liked the story, and the mystery. Lena is a very unusual heroine in that she is blind, and it was fun to spend time with her. I liked Ezra too. And Law; and Hope; and Remy. Enough to look for the other books in this trilogy.

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17 December 2011

If I Die by Rachel Vincent

If I Die (Soul Screamers #5)Soul Screamers #5
If I Die by Rachel Vincent
My rating: ★★

This is not going to end well.

You have to hand it to Rachel Vincent. She can write fabulously. I ran the gamut of emotions reading this book - from exasperation, annoyance, anger, foreboding, anticipation, triumph, sadness, defeat, expectancy, to disappointment - and it has left me exhausted. So I can't NOT give this one five stars.

This is probably the best book in the series. The story was well-told and held my attention from beginning to end. I love how consistent the rules of Ms. Vincent's world are. No second chances. You die a second time, you die. And she didn't change that for Kaylee. I loved that

I have never been a fan of Nash - right from the very beginning, I thought him shallow, rude, arrogant, spoiled and selfish, egotistical, idiotic, hypocritical, horrible, unpleasant; I see nothing redeemable in him. He had never done anything without selfish intent. Even his reactions to Kaylee choosing Tod proved me right. There was one tiny moment where I felt sympathy for him, and then he had to make a string of bad decisions that just show how selfish, uncaring, and self-centered he is. I will NEVER be TEAM NASH or support anything he does because he is such a horrible character. But even he didn't deserve this, this...triangle. Having your girlfriend break up with you because of your dead brother is just..incestuous and horrible. Ugh! I hate Nash!

Kaylee. In this book, she grew up. Finally. I guess news of your own very imminent death does that to a person. Rachel Vincent did a fantastic job of showing Kaylee's maturity here, and I was surprised to find myself rooting for her in this one.

Tod was a shining star in this one, the foil to his horrible brother. Of course he has his flaws, and his selfish motives, but he genuinely cares about his family and his friends, genuinely loves them, and genuinely wants to see them happy. Not perfect, but his heart is truly in the right place. Basically a decent human being and then some. But still, not like this. Tod! What were you thinking?!

Sabine is a witch with a capital B. Amoral. Just as horrible as Nash, and those two deserve each other.

Dammit Tod, Dammit Kaylee!!! This isn't going to end well.

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Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

Hunting Ground (Alpha & Omega, #2)Alpha and Omega #2
Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs
My rating: ★★

Anna Latham Cornick mate of Charles Cornick, Omega of the Aspen Creek Pack. Wolf. Sister. Daughter. Lover. Beloved

Anna: You are a remarkable man Charles Cornick.
Charles: I know. And often underappreciated by those who don't know any better.

You know, on an aside, if Bran, Charles, and Samuel were real, I'd be so jealous of their mates.

I loved this one even more than Cry Wolf. Patricia Briggs' storytelling works wonderfully well for me. I love the gentle strength that characterizes Anna. and Charles. and Bran. and Samuel, come to think of it (Samuel has nothing to do with this book, but I can't talk of Charles and Bran without mentioning him, lol!) You don't see it often enough in any genre.

The whodunit worked very well for me. Sure, it was predictable, but the execution of it was rather unexpected, quite flawless, and done for maximum effect.

Loved it! Now I have to go pre-order Fair Game

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15 December 2011

Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs

Iron Kissed (Mercedes Thompson, #3)Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
My rating: ★★★★

5 stars, with misgivings.

My thoughts
1. Patricia Briggs' storytelling alone deserves 5 stars. It is done with consummate skill. And discretion too. I had to go back and read the rape scene after the book ended because I completely glossed over it the first time, she'd written it so subtly. I loved the story, and couldn't give it any less than five stars, but there were a few issues, hence the 'with misgivings.'

2. Ms. Briggs has slowly been redeeming Ben across the books, and she did splendidly in this one. I love the idea of seeing, not an underdog, but a true villain be redeemed slowly over time :D

3. Mercy isn't usually this stupid, going about blurting stuff all over the place. I didn't see the need for her telling that lawyer everything. Especially since the lawyer didn't do jack. If I was one of the Gray Lords, I'd have killed her for that alone. Just putting that out there.

4. Again, Mercy has far more sense than just going to Tim's place alone, without letting Samuel or Adam or someone know where she was going to be. I mean, none of us knew just how unfortunate that decision would turn out to be, but still. I had thought her care and consideration for Adam would have at least afforded him the courtesy of her letting someone know where she'd be. Even she knew it was not a good thing to do going to his place and not letting anyone know. Before anyone shoots me, I am not blaming Mercy for anything. I just remember thinking the entire time that she was going to his house that it was a stupid and inconsiderate thing to do, even as she was thinking the same - with no knowledge of what was going to happen once she got there.

4. I am glad Ms. Briggs resolved the whole love triangle (quadrangle?) and I love the way she went about doing it. It was awesome.

5. I wanna know all these fae stories!!

6. I love Adam and think Mercy belongs with him, but for me, Samuel is the star of this show. He commands every scene he enters, and everyone else falls away from him. I love, love, love Samuel Cornick (Marrokson, lol) and Mercy's description of him as a healer cemented it for me. Love me some Samuel! Can't wait for his HEA - he HAS to get one!

7. Can't wait to delve into the next book in this fantabulous series.

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08 December 2011

2012 TBR challenge

This fabulous 'clean up your to-be-read pile' challenge is being hosted on this fabulous blog..... and of course I'm in!

I'll keep my list here and update as I go.

I am going for:

Married With Children: Read 41-50 books off my TBR pile. I'll only put books that I have reviewed here.  

23/50 read

1. Bone Crossed, by Patricia Briggs 2/01/12
2. Storm Front. by Jim Butcher 4/01/12
3. Love, Come to Me, by Lisa Kleypas 14/01/12
4. Silver Borne, by Patricia Briggs 16/01/12
5. Sirantha Jax, by Ann Aguirre 21/01/12
6. Blood Bound, by Rachel Vincent 25/01/12

1. Heartless, by Gail Carriger
2. Unholy Ghosts, by Stacia Kane 18/02/12
1. Dead Witch Walking, by Kim Harrison 1/03/12
2. The Mane Event, by Shelly Laurenston 3/03/12
3. At Grave's End, by Jeaniene Frost 9/03/12
4. A Lady's Lesson in Scandal, by Meredith Duran 12/03/12
5. Hexed (anthology), by Ilona Andrews, etc.  16/03/12


1. River Marked, by Patricia Briggs1/04/12
2. Secrets of a Summer Night, by Lisa Kleypas  10/04/12
3. Magic to the Bone, by Devon Monk 12/04/12
1. It Happened One Autumn, by Lisa Kleypas 5/5/12
2. Seduction of a Highland Lass, by Maya Banks 8/5/12
3. Never Love a Highlander, by Maya Banks 10/5/12
4. Untouched, by Anna Campbell 15/05/12

1.  Kitty and the Midnight Hour, by Carrie Vaughn 5/6/12
1. Some Girls Bite, by Chloe Neill 
2. Blaze of Memory, by Nalini Singh

07 December 2011

Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs

Blood Bound (Mercedes Thompson, #2)Mercedes Thompson #2
Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
My rating: ★★★★

Patricia Briggs writes like Sharon Shinn: with a very quiet, understated elegance that engulfs you and immerses you in the story without you realizing it. Very subtly she manages to make you care about all her characters (well, all of the ones that matter, anyway) and make you invested in both the story and their HEA.

I will admit to being underwhelmed by MOON CALLED, but boy am I glad I continued. This was such a good book! The suspense and intrigue built up soooooo slowly, and ended in a roaring crescendo.

And her characters are some of the best in urban fantasy. Mercy is fantabulous; and so is Adam; and Samuel; and Bran; and Stefan: and Zee; and even Ben, yes even that annoying werewolf.

Besides, who doesn't love a good werewolf story? Exactly.

So if you are looking for well-fleshed out, interesting, and awesome characters, a great plot, and four especially hot werewolves (Bran, Charles, Samuel, and Adam) then this is your book. And of course, a fantabulous female lead.

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03 December 2011

Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews

Silver Shark (Kinsmen #2)Kinsmen #2
Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews
My rating: ★★

Silver Shark is a novella and the second in the Kinsmen novella series. If it is not too obvious by now, I love Ilona Andrews' work. It is always well thought out and even if I don't like a story, I can't dispute the quality of their output.

I am really happy to say I enjoyed Silver Shark very much. The reason I gave it four stars instead of five, is that like Silent Blade, the first Kinsmen novella, I did not particularly like the heroine. Even given her extenuating circumstances, I felt she did not act with honor at all times,and that the hero was a better/more honorable person. That's just my one pet peeve. Great novella!

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Fate's Edge by Ilona Andrews

Fate's Edge (The Edge, #3)The Edge #3
Fate's Edge by Ilona Andrews
My rating: ★★½


Hot Damn.

This was some pretty excellent reading, and made my day very well-spent.

Audrey and Kaldar are beyond awesome as characters - two skilled thieves trying to score one for the good guys. And as I've said elsewhere, if I wasn't too old, and if I lived in the world of The Edge, and if bigamy wasn't against the law, I'd marry them when they grew up. And if Gaston was human, him too. Yep, I want them all.

But I will say this. I defintely think FATE'S EDGE is the best of the Edge books, but ON THE EDGE REMAINS my favorite. (If you care to know, I didn't like Cerise and William's story). Fate's Edge felt a bit like theirs for me (Cerise and William, that is, not Rose and Declan's). The writing was perfect, and Kaldar and Audrey were perfect for each other. But they...didn't bring it. I don't know how to explain it, because I would be the first to say the story is excellent, the tension nearly gave me a heart attack, and I was giggling like an idiot during the moments of levity. It worked for me; it worked very well for me. But still.

The love. That was one of the factors that didn't "bring it." I mean, I felt the love, and I saw the love, but it just passed the screen. It didn't come out of the blue, but then it wasn't developed fully. Argh! This is too hard to put in words.

It's a great book. I loved it. I loved all the characters; I can't WAIT for the villains to get their comeuppance; Kaldar and Audrey are great; George and Jack and Gaston are excellent; Rose and Declan light up my life.

Highly recommended. What else can I do? It's an Ilona Andrews book. Of course it is excellent. It goes without saying.

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01 December 2011

Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning

Bloodfever (Fever, #2)Fever #2
Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning
My rating: ★★

Ha. Ok.

I still think that the writing is much tighter than KMM's highlander series, but the characters leave a mighty lot to be desired.

I can only conclude MacKayla Lane is Too Stupid To Live. If her sister Alina had been anything like her, it's no wonder she got herself killed. What surprises me is how Mac has managed to remain alive despite being inconceivably stupid. Obviously then it falls to reason that the people interested in killing her must be even stupider because there is no reason why she should still be alive. Stupid villains are not scary, and that immediately dilutes the dark and gritty aspects of this series for me.

Jericho Z. Barrons. Sure, I will admit, he's badass, dangerous, alpha-male - whatever you like to call those types of guys. But that is all there is to him. Nothing else. Absolutely nothing recommends him. There is nothing endearing about him, or lovable, or empathetic, or thrilling; nothing that humanizes him, or makes him worthy of hero status. On the contrary, I felt that he was rather abusive. I quite agree with those who have called him a douche.

Being trapped in a story told from Mac's POV, interspersed with Barrons and other idiotic/stupid/patently uninteresting characters does not make for interesting reading.

And oh yes, all the pontifications are annoying as heck. Womp.

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29 November 2011

Curran #3 by Gordon Andrews

Curran #3 (Curran POV, #3)Curran #3 by Gordon Andrews
My rating: ★★

NB: This is a freebie snippet of Curran's POV in the Kate Daniels series. It is a quick read; you can find it on their website here. This one takes place after Kate Daniels book #3, Magic Strikes.

I love my - well, Kate's - Curran!!!

Although - how would Jim/Dali/Mahon or whoever get all this info? That just doesn't make any sense to me. If this information is so dangerous that Kate has fought all of her life to keep it hidden (and Greg, and Voron, and Anna), but Jim/Dali/Mahon can figure it out, then how in the heck can't Roland - who is supposed to be a master builder, ruler of cities for centuries, and rather smart? Yeah. My point exactly.

But still! I love my Curran. Thank you, Gordon Andrews, for making my day!

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Skinwalker by Faith Hunter

Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock, #1)Jane Yellow Rock #1
Skinwalker by Faith Hunter
My rating: ★★

This one surprised me in a really good way.

For the first 30% or so, I was not impressed. At all. I didn't like Jane and her ways, I thought the characters were bland and uninteresting, I was irritated by the chapters featuring 'Beast,' I thought the plot was boring, and I couldn't read more than a few pages at a time.

Then one day, after weeks of not touching the book, I pick it up again, read on for a while, same-old, same-old, and then it happened like magic!

The characters became interesting, Jane became a fascinating woman, I was very interested in Beast's POV, and I had to read the whole thing in one sitting.

I am very surprised to say, I am impressed about what Ms. Hunter has brought to the urban fantasy genre. I am so looking forward to reading more about Jane Yellowrock and her adventures.

The cover, though, is a total turnoff. Eh.

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The Texan's Wager by Jodi Thomas

The Texan's Wager (Wife Lottery, #1)The Texan's Wager by Jodi Thomas
My rating: ★★

I chose to read this Western romance for a challenge, and I am glad I did.

I love the characters Jodi Thomas created for her novel. This book in set in Texas at the time of the Western frontier and is about Bailee and Carter's "arranged marriage" after a hilarious series of unfortunate events that landed Bailee in trouble.

This is a character-driven book, and oh my, what awesome characters they are! Carter is beyond sweet! And Bailee is funny. I didn't like hearing the beginning because i didn't understand how a woman could be so silly about sexual relations with her husband, but I realized that's how they were brought up in those days. Once I got over that hang-up, I went along with them on their incredibly sweet journey to love.

Pure awesomeness.

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26 November 2011

Ruthless by Anne Stuart

Ruthless (The House of Rohan, #1)House of Rohan #1
Ruthless by Anne Stuart
My rating: ★★
RUTHLESS is my introduction to Anne Stuart and the House of Rohan series.

As introductions go, this is not a bad one at all. I quite liked the story and I also liked the pace, which surprised me. It was paced much slower than I normally read, but that just meant Ms. Stuart spent a lot of time building the characters.

In faster-paced books, the character of Lord Rohan would have annoyed me no end, but because she spent so much time pacing the story, I found myself facing a very flawed, quite tortured man, but a good man no less. Elinor was a fitting heroine. Her strength and vulnerability were a good complement to Lord Rohan's caustic character, and her wit meant she was more than a match for him.

My impression over all is of a good, meaty story with excellent characters, and I am excited to add Anne Stuart to my current repertoire of authors.

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25 November 2011

Changeless by Gail Carriger

Changeless (Parasol Protectorate, #2)Parasol Protectorate #2
Changeless by Gail Carriger
My rating: ★★


More than 3.5 but not quite 4 stars. I jumped into the third book in the series without bothering to finish the second because its plot sounded more interesting. Now I am back to #2. CHANGELESS is the second book in the parasol protectorate series, and it follows a new adventure of werewolf Lord Conall Maccon and his wife, the soulless Alexia Maccon.

I like the story. None of it felt fillerish. I love the humor and the writing and the unique feel it has - a werewolf-vampire-soulless world set in 1800's United Kingdom: very unique and very well-executed. I am loving the relationship and the banter between Lord and Lady Maccon. Their love does not overshadow the story, but it doesn't take a backseat either; it strikes the perfect balance.

What I am NOT loving,however, is some of the supporting characters: Ivy Hisselpenny is so stupid and annoying and doesn't serve any useful purpose, not even comic relief. Neither does Alexia's family. I am just grumpy because I had to spend more time than I liked with those people in this book.

But yeah! I am really enjoying this series.

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23 November 2011

Blameless by Gail Carriger

Blameless (The Parasol Protectorate, #3)Parasol Protectorate #3
Blameless by Gail Carriger
My rating:★★

Gail Carriger is fast becoming one of my new favorite authors. I love this series!

BLAMELESS is book three of the series. I haven't actually finished book 2 - I peeked at the end and saw that the events in book three were going to be far more interesting, so I took a break from reading the second book to jump headlong into the third :P

In this one, Alexia leaves for Rome after her pregnancy was spurned by her husband, the werewolf Alpha of Woolsey Pack, Lord Conall Maccon. She heads to Italy, to see if she can find some evidence to make him see the error of his ways. There are more attempts on her life.

Back in London, Lord Maccon finally comes to his senses, realizes that Alexia would never be unfaithful to him, and he wants to go and find her and bring her back. But there are other more pressing matters to attend to, and he can't leave until he has seen to them.

I love Alexia and Conall. They make me laugh so much. There is not much I have to say about this book/any book in this series. The mystery is intriguing, and some of the characters are gems. I enjoy them immensely and would heartily recommend them!!

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21 November 2011

Firewalker by Allyson James

Firewalker (Stormwalker, #2)Firewalker by Allyson James
My rating: ★★
This was a waste of time. The only reason it wasn't a colossal waste of time was that after 40% of the way through, i gave up and skimmed most of it. I am NOT putting this as a DNF because of all the minutes of my life I won't be able to get back.

It was bad. Simply bad. Same inane characters from the first book; a different plot, but also inane all the same. Seriously? EVERY male to meet the main character says she's got balls/spunk? I frankly can't see what is so special about her, except for her penchant of making unbelievably stupid, idiotic acquaintances.

Just bad.

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20 November 2011

Killing Floor by Lee Child

Killing Floor (Jack Reacher, #1)Jack Reacher #1
Killing Floor by Lee Child
My rating: ★★
This is my first novel by Lee Child and my first thriller in a very long while.

The overarching impression that I get from this book is that a lot of people die, and very violently too. It really is something I can't quite understand.

That being said, I enjoyed my first Jack Reacher novel quite a bit. I like Jack. And I like the writing. The humor and POV is not so much snarky as it is dry... and wry. So that was great.

As for the mystery bit, I am one of those people who can't see what's coming even if it hits them in the face, so I was kept fascinated by how Reacher came to his conclusions/made his deductions.

It was a good novel. I enjoyed it.

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17 November 2011

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

CoralineCoraline by Neil Gaiman
My rating: ★★★★

I love Neil Gaiman.

I love the animated version of Coraline
(I watched it long before I had any idea that the book existed), and let me tell you, that movie doesn't do this book any justice at all.

Well anyway, I just got around to reading it and it was fantastic, as expected.

Neil Gaiman's descriptions are gold. As I was reading it, I had the distinct feeling that this was Coraline's book, ie. that a small girl was telling her story, not an adult telling a young girl's story. It's wonderful, just like I knew it would be.

In (Gaiman's) own words, his book tells the story of Coraline, who was small for her age and who would find herself in the darkest danger. By the time it was over, she would find what lay behind mirrors, have a close call with a bad hand, and come face-to-face wither her other mother; she'd rescue her true parents from a fate worse than death and triumph against overwhelming odds.

He also says it's the weirdest book he's written and the book he's most proud of.
I say he's right.

Gaiman said he wrote a book that children would experience as an adventure and that that gave adults nightmares. He is right. It does give me the creeps (both the book and the movie). I loved it and highly recommend it!

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15 November 2011

The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark

The Demon Lover (Fairwick Chronicles, #1)The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark
My rating: ★★
Callie McFay is hired by a college in the small town of Fairwick. While there, an incubus comes to her in her dreams at night, seducing the life out of her, literally. Incidentally, it seems to be the same incubus that tormented her dreams when she was younger. As she settles into the town she realizes that the townspeople are not your normal, run-of-the-mill townspeople. Instead they are a motley assortment of witches, vamps, demons and other otherworldly creatures. To save Callie they must banish her demon lover from her dreams before he manages to suck her life out.

The book is categorized under romance, but it didn't read like one.This book the same dark and serious tone that Rebecca has. The book is not fast paced. It is a meaty ride that takes us deep into the town of Fairwick and the lives of its ensemble characters. It got to a point I couldn't accurately remember who was who, but that didn't dampen my enjoyment. I liked seeing the lives of the other characters. The books also starts slowly, but once I acclimatized to the pace, I started to enjoy myself.

Ms. Dark's book is written in painstaking detail, with great finesse, and it shows. I found myself involved with the characters, eager to see what would happen, despite my misgivings. At the beginning, I wasn't so sure I was enjoying the book. Callie could be annoying sometimes, and I felt the whole situation with her human boyfriend Paul was extraneous and did not even need to be included. But as I plodded on, I realised I was enjoying myself, immensely so. I liked it a lot. If Ms. Dark were to write a sequel to this, I would get it.

*I received this eARC free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

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The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker (Strangely Beautiful, #2)Strangely Beautiful  #2
The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber
My rating: ★★

This tale was in a sense, Darkly Luminous, I guess. For me, it just didn't have the magic that made its predecessor a strangely beautiful tale. The stuff I found endearing in the first was tedious in this one.

Alexi and Percy, though lovable in the first installment, were rather annoying in this one. "Oh. Percy belongs to ME! I won't allow her to go into ANY danger, even though if she doesn't we all die and the whole world with it and Percy spends eternity being tortured by the dark." Yes, that was pretty much Alexi throughout. Annoying.

Percy wasn't much better. "Oh no my Alexi, please believe me. I love. I won't have any opinions of my own, because without your constant professions of undying love, my life is over. Oh please, please profess your undying love once again. And don't doubt mine. I will NEVER disobey you." Yeah. NO.

The rest of the cast were just there. As usual. Rebecca, who's as unserious a human being if I've ever read about one; Elijah, who's not very likable at all; Josephine who's just there; the vicar, who's bland and forgettable and whose name I just forgot; Jane, who's marginally interesting.

A new cast of characters - Beatrice, Ibrahim, and Aodhan joined in.

All in all, it was a good tale, but nowhere near as good as the first tale. It was all very melodramatic and theatrical (it makes so much sense when you find that Ms. Hieber has a background in theater :D)

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My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers, #2)Soul Screamers #2
My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent
My rating: ★★

Writing a review for this series is really hard.
Because I absolutely cannot stand Kaylee and Nash, the two protagonists.
So that immediately colors whatever view I have of the book/my enjoyment of it.
So why do I continue to read this, you might ask.
Well, because Rachel Vincent has managed to combine some really excellent writing with really excellent imagination to create a fascinating mythology and tale. I want more of that. So I put up with the idiocy that are Kaylee and Nash. And almost all her other characters. I tell ya, the story would be s much more excellent without almost all of them.

Especially Nash. His selfishosity and arrogance and self-absorbance is mind-boggling. I still can't get over how crassly he treats Tod, who's his (dead) older brother. He doesn't treat Kaylee much better either. CAN'T STAND THIS DUDE! IhatehimIhatehimIhatehim!

Kaylee is not much better than Nash. Added to her usual God-complex and her selfishosity, is hypocrisy.She was horrified Tod would be so heartless as to offer another soul for Addison's body (because she'd been his girlfriend while he was alive.. Um, Hello, Ms. Kaylee - you did the exact same for your best friend Emma. And all you do is go on and on about how you don't regret replacing Emma's soul with someone else's. So what makes you so special? Or give you the right to be horrified at Tod's (rather reprehensible) actions? OMG, I don't like her either. But not as much as I hate Nash. Those two deserve each other.

Tod - my so-called favorite character in this series, was much more of an ass in this book than in the first. He was just as selfish as Kaylee, and his sneaking in on Kaylee and Nash was just icky and an a**hole move (sorry Mom :D - no other way to describe it). That and deliberately misleading Kaylee even though he knew full well she could die in the Netherworld. So yes, he grated on my nerves in this one and I dislike him as much as I do Kaylee now. But not like Nash. No one is as detestable as Nash.

I also still think Kaylee's dad is an idiot (and the person from whom Kaylee got her self-absorbance/judgmentalism/selfishosity from - in this case the apple didn't fall far from the tree. At all). But now I am beginning to believe Nash's mom is an idiot too.

So there you have it. A well-written book whose characters I absolutely dislike.
I take two stars off for that.

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01 November 2011

Magic Graves (anthology) by Ilona Andrews and Jeaniene Frost

Magic Graves: One for the Money / A Questionable ClientMagic Graves: One for the Money / A Questionable Client by Jeaniene Frost
My rating: ★★★★

Magic Graves is an anthology that features an already-published work each from Ilona Andrews and Jeaniene Frost. Both stories are excellent.

A Questionable Client - 5 stars

This features a prequel to the Kate Daniels series; it is the story of how Kate met Saiman. I liked the younger Kate, and I liked the mythology in the novel. Saiman is still Saiman, as amoral as ever. It was a fun treat to look inside their first meeting.

One for the Money - 5 stars

This novella features Cat and Bones on bodyguard/whodunit detail, and it was a good read. Be warned though, this novella is like #3.5 in the Night Huntress series, so for someone like me, who'd read only the first book, there are MAJOR spoilers in there. I was quite sad to be so spoiled. Oh well, serves me right, I guess. But it's also great.

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Angels of Darkness (anthology)

Angels of DarknessAngels of Darkness by Ilona Andrews
My rating: ★★

This is one of my favorite anthologies till date, as it contains 3 of my very favorite authors.

Alphas: Origins, by Ilona Andrews - 5 stars
I loved this one. Skill and versatiity from two authors I adore. The writing is so different from the typical Ilona Andrews voice and I am excited. I am excited for a new series (fingers crossed), hopefully starring Lucas and Karina.

Nocturne, by Sharon Shinn - 5 stars
My favorite. Sharon Shinn writes with elegance and an understated beauty that drags you unawares into her stories. My favorite parts of the story was the legacy Rachel and Gabriel left Samaria, and any mentions of them made me smile.

Angel's Wolf, by Nalini Singh - 4 stars
Enjoyable story.

Ascension, by Meljean Brook - 2 stars
Now I am not familiar with Meljean's Guardians series, so it could be why I had such a problem getting into it. It was my least favorite story, and the one I thought was least well-written. I didn't enjoy either the hero or heroine, and while I felt their lust, i felt nothing else for them.

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Serpent's Kiss by Thea Harrison

Serpent's Kiss (Elder Races, #3)Elder Races #3
Serpent's Kiss by Thea Harrison
My rating: ★★

This is the third novel in the Elder Races series and Rune's story, with the Vampyre Queen Carling as his love interest.

I do think this is a much better book than the travesty that was Storm's Heart, but it is nowhere near as good as Dragon Bound. It was okay.

Hands down the best thing about the book was the heroine, Carling. I liked exploring her backstory and her motivations for her actions. She was also a strong, likable character. I did not like Carling from the previous books, but I am surprised to find myself in love with her in this novel. She rocks!

The person that didn't rock, much to my surprise, was Rune. I have loved him through Dragon Bound and Storm's Heart, but that love stopped in Serpent's Kiss. He did not seem funny to me, and all his "cool-talk/witty repartees" missed the mark for me: I found them hollow, unfunny, and sometimes quite disrespectful. Simply put, I didn't like the person Rune was in this book, and I found myself liking him less and less as the book progressed; I did not like the person he became in the end at all.

I was also very disappointed that he did not share the fact of his changing the past with Dragos and the Gryphons, or the fact that he'd mated with Carling (until he couldn't hide it later). His excuse was that he didn't trust them. That doesn't wash with me. You would think you could trust people who had been your friends and comrades in arms for centuries. Especially as they could feel the effects of his changing the past. But apparently Rune's definition of friendship and mine are different.

Another thing that bothered me was the Rift between Dragos and Rune at the end. It just didn't make sense in the grand scheme of things, and I'd have expected Rune to be less of an ass. You don't hide essential info from your closest friends and yet expect them to act as if they knew the entire picture. Needless to say I didn't think he deserved the friendship of the other wyr, much less Dragos' friendship. Dragos did not do anything wrong and acted very fairly, given what little he knew and given that he had the interests of the entire wyr race to consider. Sigh. Rune was so much less than he appeared to be in the other books. Womp.

One final thing that didn't work for me was the love. I loved Carling, and I could see her relationship blossom with Rune. It just did nothing for me - I could see the love but could not feel it. I went into this book worried that Rune would be stuck with Carling, but now I am kinda sad that Carling is stuck with Rune.

Needless to say, I am not too keen on continuing the series after this one. I'll just read Dragon Bound to regain my happy memories and quit while I'm ahead. But I am glad I read this book. If nothing at all, it wiped the bad taste of Storm's Heart from my mouth.

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Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh

Lord of the Abyss (Royal House of Shadows, #4)Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh
My rating: ★★

Sigh. This is the problem with reviewing books way after you read them: you can't remember what your exact thoughts were. Anyway, here goes nothing....

4 stars for Lord of the Abyss
Nalini Singh has this writing style that just appeals to me. When I pick up book she has written, I know, more often than not, that I will enjoy her work. Lord of the Abyss is no exception. I liked the writing and I like the characters. Micah made me smile a lot, and Liliana was a brave girl. Both hero and heroine deserved each other - in a good way: they complemented the other. the story development was the best in the quartet. With regards to sensuality, the heat factor was rather amped up in this one, so that it was more like Gena Showalter's than Jessica Andersen's or Jill Moroe's. All in all, I do think this was the best in the series as a whole.

Why I gave it three stars
The series as a whole is not very well done. As a quartet, I felt it was not very cohesive - there were no ties that bind. A few sentences about siblings here and there didn't connect the works quite as well as I'd hoped, so that was disappointing.

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15 September 2011

The Return of Rafe MacKade by Nora Roberts

The Return of Rafe MacKade (The MacKade Brothers, #1) (Silhouette Intimate Moments #631)The Return of Rafe MacKade (The MacKade Brothers, #1) by Nora Roberts
My rating: ★★★½

This is the first book in a quartet that comes highly recommended by Lady Vale (and most of my other friends who have read it have loved it too). And no one writes contemporary romance quite like Nora Roberts. So with these two things in mind, I was sure I was going to love the book/series. Things didn’t happen quite like I planned.

I haven’t read a contemporary romance for some time, and it took a while, but Nora Roberts sucked me into the fabric of her story and made me care about what was going to happen to all four of the Mackade brothers. So I know that I am going to read all their stories.
Unfortunately, Regan and Rafe were not my favorite characters, even in their own story. Regan was so concerned by not being defined by her mother’s neediness/dependency on her dad that she defined herself in another way – the opposite of her mother: I don’t need help from anybody. It was annoying. Rafe, was way too “me man, you woman” for my tastes, especially in a contemporary. Mebbe in a parallel/fantasy world, it would have worked well (as it usually does), but not in a contemporary. I was not impressed with either one of them.
Hopefully the other three brothers are not as unnecessarily “macho”(hah!n ot quite) as Rafe, and their heroines are not as annoying as Regan.

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11 September 2011

Silent Blade by Ilona Andrews

Silent BladeKinsmen #1
Silent Blade by Ilona Andrews
My rating: ★★

4 stars.

5 stars for the story. I took one star off for the heroine. Silent Blade is a sci-fi short story by Ilona Andrews, one of my favorite authors. As always with them, the narrative delivery is excellent, and I was intrigued by what I was reading.
I did not like Meli, the heroine. To be sure, her backstory is rather heartbreaking Due to the politics of her time/society, she’s basically left to become a spinster when her betrothed decides to break the engagement , but I did not feel that her decisions were justified. She chose to use her talents as an armed thug for her family, who I felt were bullies, notwithstanding the politics/culture of their society. So she didn’t have any sympathy from me.
The hero made some bad decisions in the past re: spurning Meli without stopping to think about the consequences for her and is not the most endearing person in the present, but I did come out with the feeling that he had more honor than Meli.
I enjoyed the story very much though, and am waiting with bated breath for the sequel, Silver Shark.

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Lord of the Wolfyn by Jessica Andersen

Lord of the Wolfyn (Royal House of Shadows, #3)Lord of the Wolfyn by Jessica Andersen
My rating: ★★

3 Stars.
This installment was based on Little Red Riding Hood and was a pretty hard one to rate. I kept vacillating between 2+ and 3 stars. Here’s why.

The good:
1.It’s a little thing, but I loved all the names in this book. Wolfyn, Dayn, Reda, Moragh… even Kenar. I liked them. These were names that belong in a fantasy novel, and they made me smile to read them.

2.Jessica Andersen (a first-time author for me) wrote certain scenes quite beautifully, and I found myself being carried away with the emotion and events in those scenes.

3.I liked Dayn a good amount of the time.

The not-so-good:
1.The niggling issues I had in the first and second (mostly the second) installments are piling up and becoming magnified. The timeline in the kingdom is really fuzzy for me. 20 years ago Dayn was 26? So that makes him 46 now? (Not a young man, although it the book makes it sound like he is young. Same for Nicolai and Breena). Just confusing. Is lifespan different in the other realms? How?

2.I was left with the feeling that Dayn was so much less than he could have been. He spent too much time “thinking” noble/brave thoughts than “acting” nobly/bravely.

3.As I’ve said before, the history behind the parents just doesn’t feel right to me.

4.I did feel Reda as a heroine was lacking, but I’m not sure she could have been more than she was. Some of the conclusions she jumped to, I’m not sure how the thought processes went. Smh.

All in all, this book was a rollercoaster. I’d be liking it one moment, not liking it the next. The whole was less than the sum of its parts. I’ll go with a 3-star rating.

Off to the final book in this quartet!

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05 September 2011

Duchess in Love by Eloisa James

Duchess in Love (Duchess, #1)Duchess in Love by Eloisa James
My rating: ★★

Not her best work.
Eloisa James' writing is good as always, but this time around, here characters were not as good. There was not one of the females that was not witless, frivolous and simpering. They were just not good characters, IMO. None of the males were either.
The plot was boring and I found myself patently uninterested throughout the novel.
I am putting it as DNF because I skimmed major portions of the book.

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03 September 2011

Lord of Rage by Jill Monroe

Lord of Rage (Royal House of Shadows, #2)Lord of Rage by Jill Monroe

My rating: 

Lord of Rage is the second installment of the Royal House of Shadows continuity quartet/series, and my first book by Jill Monroe. This is the story of Breena, the second born, Princess of Elden. As with Nicolai she is filled with the thirst for survival and vengeance that their parents instilled in them before their deaths; she also wakes up in a strange place, with a hazy memory. She stumbles on for awhile and comes to a hut in woods, which, unbeknownst to her, belonged to the berserker Osborn, and his two younger brothers. Jill Monroe modeled her story after Goldilocks, and unlike with the first installment, I had no trouble remembering. Some of the scenes were classic Goldilocks, and they made me laugh.

Osborn is a berserker, the last of them, because his entire family and village were destroyed by vampires, save for his two brothers. He ekes out a living for them as a mercenary until he can't take it anymore, and flees to the woods (I am still not sure where/how the woods is in the mythology. Is it outside of time or just a secluded woods? I dunno) - and their hut is what Breena comes across.

Osborn knows Breena as the seductive girl who invades his dreams at night, and Breena knows Osborn as the warrior who she goes to in her dreams at night. Now that she's found him, she wants him to help her in her quest for vengeance.

I am still loving the mythology that has been created for this world, and I also enjoyed Ms. Monroe's storytelling. I was always present in the story, following the journey of the characters.

Three niggling issues -

1. The characters. I felt that for a good part of the book, Breena was a user. She just wanted someone to further her own ends, and nothing more. It's funny, since Nicolai, in the first book, did the same thing to Jane. But the difference as soon as Nicolai realized that Jane was a person, he felt conflicted about what he had to do. Breena - I didn't get that feeling from her, she was only selfish. So I do not like her as much as I could have. I also felt that Osborn (fitting name for a berserker, lol) was not as honorable a character as he might have been. I hated the scene where it looked like he was going to barter teaching Breena how to fight in exchange for her body

2.Breena's background was a bit confusing to me. From the parents Nicolai remembered, I found it hard to believe that these were the same parents who'd raise their daughter only as a princess to be married off. But then, double standards when it comes to sons and daughters is fairly common, so I guess it makes sense. But I still get the feeling that it was out of character for her parents as well as the world. Being raised as a dainty princess just did not fit right.

3. The continuity is kinda off. I felt the same with the previous book, but it did not bother me as much, I guess, because it was the first book. I can't figure out the timeline..or the ages of the royal kids. Were they all caught in a timewarp? I don't know. I can't tell. It's really confusing.

That being said, I really enjoyed the book. I liked watching Osborn and Breena fall in loved. Ms. Monroe has created another winner. On to the third!

*I received this ebook/eARC free from Netgalley; it had no influence on my rating/review*

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02 September 2011

Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

*Reviewed in July 2011*

Bayou Moon (The Edge, #2)Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

My rating:

This is the first Ilona Andrews book that didn't do it for me.

ON THE EDGE was their very first book I read - and it took me a while to warm up to it, but when i finally did, it was great. BAYOU MOON... not so much.

The writing was good as it always is with Ilona Andrews, but I just couldn't get into it. for one, I didn't care for/about the characters. Cerise was just there and William too. The plot was also just there. I saw it all unfolding and I just kept wondering when it would come to a resolution. I just didn't care. In the end the only saving grace of the book is that is a well-written book. However, the plot and the characters are not at all engaging.

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01 September 2011

Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter

Lord of the Vampires (Royal House of Shadows, #1)Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter
My rating:

ETA: after finishing all the books in the series, I am downgrading my review to three stars. It factors in how much I like each book, and how many flaws I felt each book had when taking into consideration the whole quartet.

Now I understand why so many people love Gena Showalter. The woman is a master storyteller. The first book I read by her totally underwhelmed. This is my second book and I am totally overwhelmed.

I love, love, love the mythology Ms Showalter and the other three ladies have created for this series.

This is the first book in the series, and Ms. Showalter chose to model her story after Alice in Wonderland (I had to look that up to remember :O), and I guess I kinda see the resemblance.

I liked the book quite a bit. I was completely transported into the world and the experience of the characters. I felt rage when Nicolai was enraged, I felt sad when Jane was sad, I felt angry when Nicolai was angry. The tension/foreshadowing was out of this world.

After a tragedy that befalls his family, Nicolai, crown prince of a kingdom that runs parallel to our world, is trapped in a time warp, literally, with his memory wiped clean. He's been made a sex slave in the time warp kingdom and lives his days out planning his revenge. He also knows there is something urgent to do re taking back a kingdom, but with his memory gone, he has no idea what he is supposed to do. With his magic he summons Jane, a woman with her own scars, to free him. This being a PNR, of course they fall in love along the way (well these two fell in love rather early).

The characters were fantastic. Nicolai was one scary dude- he reminds me vaguely of Jericho Z Barrons and Nalini Singh's Raphael - utterly ruthless, completely without ruth (lol!). I felt every bit of his frustration when he'd start to remember something about his past only for the memory to fade when he was on the cusp of remembering, argh! The little snippets of memory he did have about his family all made me go "awwww."

I also totally loved that Nicolai was a vampire, but not in the undead sense of it. I don't like the undead. So this was one 'vampire' novel I enjoyed.

Jane was a kick-ass heroine, smart, witty, mature, and not at all TSTL. Girl was take-charge, going straight for what she wanted: Nicolai. No misunderstandings, no nothing. Just two adults who were as straight as possible with each other (well, most of the time) from the get go.

I loved reading this book. I see what all the fuss about Ms. Showalter is about now.
I am excited for this series and I am excited to read more of Gena Showalter's work.

I highly recommend this book description
*I received this ebook/eARC from Netgalley free of charge; it had no influence on my review/rating*

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31 August 2011

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Take (Soul Screamers, #1)My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
Soul Screamers, #1
My rating: ½

I feel duped :(

I was so excited for this book and this series because the prequel novellita Ms. Vincent wrote, My Soul to Lose, was simply awesome. Unfortunately,however, I found this book is a let-down.

Through a series of events, Kaylee finds out when she is 16 that she is a bean sidhe (known to the rest of us as banshee). She sees when people are about to die and wails/screams/sings for their souls. As if that were not enough big news to swallow, girls around her school begin to drop dead when it is obviously not their time to go. She has to find out why and put a stop to it.

The good: Firstly, the cover is amazing! I love it! More importantly, Rachel Vincent's world is so unique. I think it is so cool that she wove her tale around banshees instead of werewolves(although they are cute) or vampires (ick!). So she gets points for originality, lol. She also is a really good storyteller and kept me interested in where she was taking the story. I didn't see the ending coming at all (but I am not one of those who ever does) - the twist was really good.

Tod was a cool character, and along with Uncle Brendon the nicest/best/most likeable people in the book. It's a pity the series is not about Tod :( I'd take him over Nash and his idiocy any day.

The bad: I did feel that some scenes (well, one in particular) were just filler/plot movers. The conclusions Kaylee jumped to were ridiculous - there was no rhyme or reason to them, other than as a plot device for the big reveal (aka she is a banshee). I'm sorry, but 16-year-olds are not that dim. I felt it was unnecessary drama.

The side characters were not interesting (Sophie, Emma), and kind of annoying.

The ugly The main characters are nothing to write home about. In fact, as the story progressed more and more I found my dislike for Kaylee and Nash growing. Kaylee is rude, self-serving, obnoxious, TSTL (many times), idiotic...as you can see, my dislike for her grew from mild to rather strong by the end.

Nash is not much better. I know from reading the blurbs on the other books in the series that Tod is his brother. I could not believe how crass Nash was in how he treated Tod, especially given the relationship. A thousand strikes against him for that one. Also selfish. NO.

Kaylee's dad wins the award for selfishosity. I had no sympathy for is story arc. At all. Or maybe I am the one who's coldhearted and unsympathetic. :/

Basically, the long and short of it is this: a good story was ruined by idiot characters.

Will I continue with the series? Yes, because I enjoy Ms. Vincent's writing. Will I complete the series? I don't know. Depends on how I feel about Kaylee and Nash as I read more books.

Do I recommend this book? Yes, but with misgivings.

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29 August 2011

My Soul to Lose, by Rachel Vincent

My Soul to LoseSoul Screamers #0.5
My Soul to Lose by Rachel Vincent

My rating: 

This novellita is available for free on goodreads.com. You can just scurry over there, and download it. It's a really quick read, I promise. And it is well worth it! You can access it here

Ms. Vincent is a first-time author for me, and I'm really glad I got this book. I like the cover a lot too. It's a really short piece - only about 53 pages, and what a 53 pages it was!

I was completely intrigued the entire time I was reading it.

Kaylee knows she can't scream because something bad will happen. The one time she does scream, it's so horrific she ends up in a psychiatric facility. One inmate there seems to know what she is, but Kaylee herself doesn't know (or doesn't seem to know).

I want to know what Kaylee is. It sounds to me like she's a banshee, or a siren (in which case, it would have been so much fun if her name was Lorelei, lol) but I can't be sure because Ms. Vincent doesn't let on. Either way, it's a interesting concept for an urban fantasy novel, and I am excited about starting this series.

This book is such a great teaser novella(is it even long enough to be called that?)I am going to look for the first book in this series pronto!

This is how teaser novellitas should be done, lol.

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25 August 2011

When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James

When Beauty Tamed the BeastWhen Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James

My rating:

All the people whose reviews I trust raved about this book. Well, i just finished it and...

Wow. I have nothing useful to add to the other glowing reviews except that this book is A-MAZING! It was so much fun to read and I am in awe of Ms. James' talent. It's a simple enough tale - a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Only this time, instead of a literal beast Ms. James gives us a hero "Beast" who's fashioned after Dr. House: a brilliant doctor who behaves like a beast. Cue in the awesome snark. To me the heroine perfectly mirrored Belle in the original fairy tale - beautiful and wickedly smart. Put the Beauty and the Beast together and you have an awesome story that is rollicking fun.

FUNFUFUNFUNFUN!I can't tell you how much fun I had reading this book. It was almost like watching a particularly brilliant episode of House on TV, lol. Amid all the fun, Ms. James also manages to tell a very touching love story. Several scenes tugged at my heartstrings and tear ducts (but I firmly resisted the urge to cry, lol).

I can find absolutely nothing wrong with this book and everything right with it. Pure awesomeness.

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24 August 2011

Griffin's Daughter

Griffin's Daughter (The Griffin's Daughter Trilogy, Book 1)Griffin's Daughter by Leslie Ann Moore

My rating:

I got this book when it was a freebie from Kindle. It's the first of three books. I bought it because the premise sounded interesting, and that is the only good thing I can find to say about this book.

Quite frankly the writing was atrocious - full of tell-instead-of-show, really verbose, and bogged down with details. The dialogue was insipid. The characters are annoying and all of them TSTL

oOne of the reviews I read summed it up perfectly: this book can be best described with the world 'almost.' It was almost a very good book (the premise is really interesting), but sadly, what was produced was a very bad book.

In no way shape or form do I recommend this book. I gave up on reading it after a while because I couldn't take it anymore.

Run AWAY from this book!
(I guess it's obvious I won't be reading the other books in the series).

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23 August 2011

The Man She Loves to Hate, by Kelly Hunter

The Man She Loves To Hate (Presents Extra)The Man She Loves To Hate by Kelly Hunter

My rating:

The rave reviews are right. This book is quite unlike most HPs Ive read in that it was dark, heavy stuff. And it is excellent.

Ms. Hunter writes great, fully-fleshed characters. I loved both Jolie and Cole, especially Cole (He's MINE, Lulu, you can't have him!) And she is a fantastic storyteller.

But here's my catch: I hate, hate, hate adultery stories, and I'm rather extreme in my dislike of them. There are very few cases in which I think it is justified, and this book was not one of them. It was not the main point in the story, but it did play a significant enough role that I took it into consideration and it marred my enjoyment somewhat.

So although I will enthusiastically go looking for more of Ms. Hunter's books, and although this is probably one of the top 10 HPs I've read, I won't be putting it on my keeper shelf, and I won't be rereading it. I guess Lulu wins Cole after all, :-(

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Unclaimed, by Courtney Milan

Unclaimed (Turner #2)Unclaimed by Courtney Milan

My rating: ★ and three quarters

This book is my introduction to Courtney Milan's work and I am very impressed. Even so, I found it hard to decide what rating to give this book. Sometimes it felt like a 5-star book, others a 4-star book, and then sometimes a 3-star book. So I think I am going to settle on 3.75 stars.

Ms. Milan's writing is excellent, especially at the beginning. Sometimes I would stop to read passages over again just because I liked them and thought they were beautiful.
In the years that followed, she'd learned that the glittering finery was a trap, that the soiree was not endless.It eroded you, piece by irrevocable piece. it made a mockery of love, and if you did not look after your heart with ferocious care, you'd find. bit by bit, that you'd traded it for silk ribbons and baubles on gold chains.
Other times I would stop to read a line because it made me laugh or giggle, little gems like
There's no need to sound so surprised. I'm chaste, not dead.

I was entertained for 425 pages. Whenever I felt my interest waning, something would come up that would throw me right back in again. None of the scenes were 'filler scenes.' More importantly, the characters were not TSTL - oh yes, and they actually made decisions like they were mature, thinking adults. One thing I really loved was that anytime I thought a scene was being set up for a 'big misunderstanding' type scenario, Ms. Milan would turn the tables on me and have the hero and heroine talk and work it out like they were sensible people. I loved that!

My main problem, and the reason why this book is not rated five stars is the premise. I think it's an original premise but one that Ms. Milan doesn't quite manage to pull off (for me). Jessica is an undercover courtesan (lol!) with a mission: seduce Sir Mark, get proof of it, and make it public, so as to ruin his reputation. She has her (very good reasons) for doing it. Along the way she falls in love, and how can you ruin the man you love? That is the conundrum.

Sir Mark is one of, if not the most eligible bachelor in London; and his reputation is unparalleled and his character is of renown. What is he renowned for? His virtue. That is where my problem comes in. I just don't buy the whole male chastity angle. It is not that I don't believe that some believed in and practiced chastity in those times, it is just that I simply cannot believe that a man would write about it (who was not deeply religious and/or affiliated with a church, like Charles Wesley or somebody) and furthermore that he would gain a huge following of men/young boys who then tried to emulate him. I can't believe it, and I couldn't suspend belief long enough that it didn't factor into my enjoyment of the story. (I hope this is not a spoiler) It bothered me quite a bit, so I took one star off for that.

The other (minor) issue I had with the book was that at times Mark was perfectly imperfect (don't you just love that when it happens?), but once a while I'd read a passage that left me feeling that he was a bit too perfect. The other male characters in the book were but a foil for him, making him seem a lot like the saint/paragon that he claimed he wasn't. But that's really minor, so I only took of 0.25 stars for that, lol.

All in all, I would most definitely recommend it. It is very well-written and it was interesting. I don't know what more you could ask from a book. And I will also most definitely be scoping out more of Ms. Milan's work.

PS: This book is part of a series and I had no trouble following, even though I haven't read the other books.
*I received this ebook free from Netgalley. It had no influence on my review/rating*

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