30 January 2012

Coyote Dreams by C. E. Murphy

Coyote Dreams (Walker Papers, #3)Coyote Dreams by C.E. Murphy
My rating: 

You know how sometimes you take a test, and it's a breeze, and other times, you feel like you are slogging through it? When the results come back, both are A's, but for the first grade, you sailed effortlessly to it, while you had to work like mad for the second A? Well, this book is like the second paper - it had to work like mad for the four star rating.

I am very pleasantly surprised by this book. I've complained that in the previous books, Joanne's attitude was off-putting and she acted like a dimwit (been using that word quite often lately :/).

All of that changed in this book. This time around, we get Joanne the person - a hurt, broken person trying to finally acknowledge her mistakes, and her gift that has been thrust upon her, so that she can right some of the wrongs she has created, and actually use her gifts for the purpose for which they were meant.

The real Joanne, not the smart-alecky, annoying one we've been seeing the past books, is such a fun person to hang around. Her thoughts are interesting, and as I reader, I want to know more about her and the way she sees the world. I am interested and invested in her relationships, her life, her work. I want her to heal; I want her to be okay. (I wanted to smack the other Joanne). It was such a pleasure meeting the proper Joan in this book. Having our heroine be a better person made this book so much more of a joy to read than the previous two.

But I said this book had to work for it's four star rating...because there were still remnants of the dimwit Joanne, and I felt that didn't fit into the grand scheme of things. For example: Joanne has decided to stop putting her head in the sand. HOW then does she fail to notice that weird things are happening as soon as two new people enter her life? This wouldn't be too much of an issue if the previous disaster hadn't begun with weird things happening right after a new bunch of people were trying to enter her life. How can you miss the resemblance/significance? I noticed this right away and had drawn my conclusions. It took reading about 40% more of the book for Joanne to make this conclusion. I don't understand how this is possible, especially for someone who is actively trying to notice and connect the dots she'd refused to connect before? It was staring her right in the face. Of course if she had, we would have lost a lot of the story, but it might have made the book that much tighter.

Anyway - they say third time strikes the charm, and in the case of this series, they were so right, hehe! I am going to continue this series with much more enthusiasm about the characters and the incidents now :D

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In Bed With a Highlander by Maya Banks

In Bed with a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #1)McCabe Trilogy #1
In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks

I hope this doesn't come across as too ranty, but I am a slightly more than a a bit disgruntled.

See, the highlander historical romance genre is over-saturated. The landscape is choking with stories and heroes and heroines, some trite, some cliche, most of them entirely TSTL, and very few truly original and enjoyable treasures hidden among the dross.

Um... I did feel that this book ended up being part of the dross, even though so many loved it. It was not a bad book, but like I said, in an over-saturated field, an 'ok' book really isn't what you want. I also had so many problems with the characterization.

Mairin, the heroine of the story, comes in when the soon of Ewan, the hero, gets lost for being stupid. Now...this is the Scottish highlands at a time when clans were warring, and it was dangerous to be caught out. I would expect that people guarded their children close, especially clans that didn't have the money to pay for a ransom, if a person was caught. And I fail to understand how I'm expected to believe children can be so stupid. Children are smart, especially in dangerous times. They know what is going too far. So I failed to understand how any not-dimwitted child would have done what Crispen did, and consequently, brought our hero and heroine together. Strike one.

Mairin was also a dimwit, IMO. I mean, it was a common occurrence in those days to hang up bloodstained sheets to prove a bedding, no? And when a group of warriors intent upon kidnapping you and forcing you to marry another man is bearing down on the wedding, it is beyond obvious to me that the damn bedding had better be done in haste. No? But it seems Mairin thought that people bearing down notwithstanding, she deserved hours and hours of lovemaking. Go figure. Strike two. Another strike against her was that stupid habit of blurting any and everything and not realizing it. You would think one would notice the first two times you said something awkward and realized everyone heard you.

The final strike against this book were scenes that were very, very, reminiscent of some scenes in a Julie Garwood book I'd read - I think it was The Bride. I don't mind derivative works, but like others have said, it seemed like a blatant rip-off, :(. Strike three.

The book was a not-badly-written book, but I am pretty sure I won't continue with the remaining two. But dammit, I have had those books for so long in the waiting queue at my library!

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29 January 2012

Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

Fire Study (Study, #3)Study #3
Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder

This has been a disappointing end to what had the potential to be an awesome series. Perhaps Poison Study should have wrapped up neatly and been a stand-alone novel. After reading Magic Study and Fire Study, I feel as if they were superfluous, and actually don't add much to Yelena's character.

I was a bit tired of this long-distance 'love' between Yelena and Valek, since they almost never saw each other.

I was also not enamored of the plot, especially of this book. It felt fillerish and caused Yelena and other characters to do very stupid things you wouldn't see anyone with a modicum of intelligence doing, just so the story could be moved along.

I mean, for those who have read the books - how stupid does one have to be, to not kill Cahil after his constant foolishness which ends up putting people in mortal danger? How stupid does Cahil himself have to be, to go about every single time,hanging out with fools and murderers and doing horrible things (beating Yelena) and then realize the error of his ways and come asking for forgiveness? How stupid do you have to be not to know that the people you are hanging with are not good when they're capturing people and killing them for blood rituals, when even children are included among their captives? Just petty stupidities like that - from Yelena, Lord Marrok...just about everyone except Valek.

I felt this diluted the quality of the characters, after all, they can't be so great if they're so stupid, can they? And I do think somewhat less of Yelena now. Valek, and perhaps, Ari and Janco, are the only characters whom I felt maintained their integrity.

If Maria Snyder had stopped at book one, or come up with completely different plots for books two and three, she might have had a proper winner on her hand.

I read somewhere that someone read somewhere that Ms. Snyder had originally intended Poison study to be a stand-alone novel, and wrote it accordingly. But the publisher had wanted more than one book (prolly to make more money) and so she'd changed the ending to an open-ended one and come up with this trilogy. If that is the case (and I can certainly see how that could have been the case), then it's a major fail on Ms. Snyder's part and the part of her publishers.

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28 January 2012

A Lot Like Love by Julie James

A Lot Like Love (FBI, #2)A Lot Like Love by Julie James

I don't have too much to say, except that I enjoyed this novel enormously. The humor, the characters, the plot...everything blended perfectly, just like good wine, I guess. Teehee.

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Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

BittenBitten by Kelley Armstrong

I gave this book 3 stars, but I a not comfortable with that; but I also didn't feel comfortable with giving it four stars because I feel like I enjoyed the books I've rated 4 stars more than I did this one. So, mebbe 3.5 stars

It was a fairly good story, and rather enjoyable. Unlike many reviews I've read, I didn't mind the beginning. I was able to get straight into the flow of things. By mid-story, though, I was floundering. The same cycle kept repeating itself: "Oh noes! People from the village have came around! Oh noes, we found a dead body on our property, hide it quick ! Oh noes, a mutt kills someone! Oh noes, we killed some mutt! Oh noes, another mutt has come into town! Oh noes, Clay is throwing a temper tantrum! Oh noes, Jeremy is unruffled! Oh noes, Elena is yelling at Clay for something that happened a lifetime ago! Oh noes, Elena is mouthing off to Jeremy! Oh noes, Elena is going off on her own when she shouldn't, bad things are going to happen! Oh noes, Elena forgot to call Philip."

A good 50-60% of the story is what I've just described up above, I think.

So um yeah. I liked the story. I didn't like that it repeated itself so often.

I will definitely be checking out more of Ms. Armstrong's work.

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For Duty's Sake by Lucy Monroe

For Duty's Sake (Royal Brides, #9)For Duty's Sake by Lucy Monroe

This HP is made up of and Idiot Female Lead (I refuse to call such people heroines) who is the way she is because of her sorry excuse for parents.
- Her dad is the idiot "prince" who thinks with not-his-head, and thinks that his wife's refusal to bear another child is reason enough for him to go whoring with half the opposites sex on the face of this Earth. It is interesting that this dude never once caught an STD.

- Her mom is the idiotic,vapid model who thinks "but I love him" is reason enough to let her husband
a. continue with his foolishness(seriously! STDs!)
b. stay 'married' to him, but live in a different country so she is not 'shamed' by his behavior.

Now you are not to surprised our IFL is an idiot who is TSTL, nah?

This IFL thinks because she has been betrothed to the IML since she was 13 (now she's 23) and he hasn't announced a formal engagement, she's an old maid. Mebbe if she...say...went to school or did almost anything else with her life, she wouldn't be spouting such drivel.

She also has the nerve to be talking to people about moving their ideas into the 21st century when her parents are medieval train wrecks and she herself is stuck in the regency era (see above for examples).

With a person like this as one of the main characters, are you going to enjoy the story?

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27 January 2012

Spindle's End by Robin McKinley

Spindle's EndSpindle's End by Robin McKinley

I feel terrible writing such a review about a Robin McKinley book, but truth be told, this book was abysmal. Goodness, was it awful! Ugh!

This book is supposed to be a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. The original authors, if they were alive, ought to sue for defamation of character, this book is so awful. It started of delightfully enough, with a quirky description a a land filled with magic. That is the first two pages, and the ONLY time this book feels like it will be worth reading. The remaining 427 pages are bogged down with meaningless description. I understand what Ms. McKinley was trying to do, but very few books are able to make superfluous description and unwanted narrative observations work for them - The Princess Bride is one of very few that does this excellently. Excellent, this book was not. It was a spectacular failure is what it was.

The plot of this book is the exact same as the Disney story, with the exception that if Briar Rose and her fairy godmother had been real, you could have shot them and no one would prosecute you, they were so awful. Briar rose especially.

I can't think of a single good thing to say about this book. I endured for about 60% of the 420-odd pages, skimmed some, and then skipped about 4 chapters when i couldn't take it anymore. Would that I had DNFed this after the first few page, it was so torturous.

RUN AWAY FROM THIS BOOK!! - in the other direction, as far and as fast as your legs will carry you

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TGIF @ GReads #2

TGIF is a weekly meme hosted every Friday at GReads.This week's question is:


Buy or Borrow: Where do your books that you read come from? The bookstore? The library? Do you prefer to own a book, or have it on loan?

I definitely need my libraries in my life. Due to space and monetary considerations, I can't afford to own every book I read. Hence most of my books come from the library. In 2011, I read at least 186 books . Of those, possibly 125 came from the library. I couldn't have afforded those 125 books on my budget. I am fortunate enough to be a member of several libraries, a couple of which have really good selections of my favorite genres, so that I can find most of the books I want to read there. It also helps that my libraries have an awesome ebook selection.

Another great thing about using the library is that I sometimes stumble upon new authors to try and new books to love in my libraries' selections. I have found many series and authors this way.

There are a few authors, though whose books I usually buy immediately they come out, usu. in ebook format, most notably books by Sharon Shinn, Ilona Andrews, and certain books from Nalini Singh and Rachel Vincent. If there's a book I desperately want that my library doesn't stock, I'll buy it if I have money. 

I am grateful for libraries. Not to diminish anyone's opinions, but you have no idea what a treasure libraries are until you grow up somewhere where there are none. I grew up in Ghana, where the one public library is an insult to libraries and readers everywhere, and where my home library was as well or even better stocked than the few private libraries started by foreigners.

I don't mind having a book on loan. If I read and think it's a keeper I need in my life, I'll buy it when my budget permits. If the waitlist is too long and I can't hold it any longer and my budget permits, I'll buy it.  

I can't afford to buy/own every book I read. And I think I like it that way. Then the only books I get to keep are the ones I truly love, or ones from authors I adore.

26 January 2012

Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent

Blood Bound (Unbound, #1)Unbound #1
Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent

I am giving this one 4 stars, but I might change it to 5 stars. I gotta think about it.

I told Mimi this book was "good in a bad way", and this review will be my attempt to explain it. *It might be spoilerish, so if you don't wanna read them...*

I also just saw Kristen's status update for this book, and she is like, "Oh no! This book is an emotional roller coaster already and we haven't gotten anywhere yet!" I know exactly how she feels.

Let me start with the good
1. Whatever else I might say about her, however much I can complain about some aspect of her storytelling, Rachel Vincent has mad world building skills. It is her peculiar strength. She creates these worlds that just stand out from all the worlds in the (urban?) fantasy genre.

This time around, she introduces us to a world divided along the lines of Skilled and UnSkilled people. From what I understand, there are 12 skills, among them Binders, who can seal any oath and make it binding, Trackers, who can track people by name or through blood, Seers (self-explanatory), Travelers, who can travel anywhere through shadows..... and I don't think she mentioned about the other 8. Yes - pure awesomeness. I want to know more about a world like that, don't you?

2. Her other skill is engaging the reader. I am completely focused when I pick up one of her books. I don't skim pages, And I am not impatient to get to the end (sure, I peek sometimes, but I always go back and patiently read from where I was straight through till the end).

Then the bad (or it's still more good, depending on how you look at it).
1. Her characters often make me violent - I want to slap some sense into them half the time. When I don't want to kill them, I'm rooting for them.

Olivia, Anne, Kori, and Noelle were four childhood friends fooling around who managed to bind themselves with an oath to help each other no matter what. Unbeknownst to them, they were all skilled. Anyway, Liv is a very powerful bloodhound - she can track anyone so long as she has a whiff off their blood. Anne invokes the oath when she sends Liv on a mission to track and kill her husband's murderer. Which brings me to the first person I want to smack to high heaven and beyond: Anne. Stupid. Selfish. Despicable. How in the world do you force someone into danger because of revenge for your dead husband? Emphasis on dead. If that thug had been slightly more skilled, Liv would be dead, and there would be no story. Your dead husband is not worth more than your living friend's life or your petty desire for revenge. Simple as that. Endangering Liv to track your missing daughter is understandable, but not this. Never this. Anyway. I never liked Anne, not even when she was doing her 'protective, loving mother' outbursts - it just rang hollow and selfish to me. I don't like her.

Then Liv. A prophecy that she and Cam would be the death of each other prompts her to leave him without a word. No explanation no nothing. WTH? That is not noble, or remotely okay. It is an incredibly selfish thing to do is what it is! Why would you do that to someone you claim you love? Oy.

Then Cam. the girl you loved and was going to ask to marry you ups and leaves without a word, so what do you do? Sleep with Anne, her best friend. No, he couldn't just get stupendously drunk or get into a fight. Caramba. Now you see why I say this book is good in a bad way?

The novel is told from alternating 1st person POV of Cam and Liv, and the world that is revealed through their eyes as they fight to track Anne's daughter is fascinating. It is also raw and gritty. This is a story about desperate people trying to survive in a harsh and unrelenting world. And you come to see and understand them, you understand the choices they make (except that Anne, yuck!) enough to get past their nonsense to root for them and wish for their HEA. In some respects, the ending was rather poignant (just a fancy word for sad :( )

You can bet you I will be preordering book 2 in this series, Shadow Bound. Book 1 comes highly recommended. This world is one you have to experience for yourself.

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25 January 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #2

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Jill's blog, and highlights upcoming releases were highly anticipating.

My entry for today is Timeless, the fifth and final book in Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series. Amazon has it coming out March 2nd.
Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire's second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell's acting troupe's latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia's enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.

Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?

 This series is the only one that I know of that is  about supernatural creatures and set in the past: 1800's England, to be exact. I mean, how cool is that? It is also humorous and steampunk-y.  Plus, Alexia and Lord Maccon are just adorable.  I am excited.

24 January 2012

Under Her Skin by Frost, Andrews, and Brook

Under Her Skin Under Her Skin by Jeaniene Frost
My rating:★★

Pack - 3 stars
This is Jeaniene Frost's novellita, a tale of a girl bitten by a werewolf while on a hike in the park. It was a good story while it lasted, but very forgettable after that.

In Sheep's Clothing - 4 stars
Jill Myles' contribution was a rather sweet story about a werewolf who was abducted by a highway killer *shudders*. It wasn't bad at all, although I did notice that the werewolf acted more like a friendly domestic dog than like a werewolf :) Also a rather forgettable story.

Grace of Small Magics - 5 stars
Ilona Andrews' entry was the rather Stockholm Syndrome-like story about a girl bondservant to a powerful magical family. It was very interesting, packed quite a punch, and...was rather cheesy. It was also quite twisted. Loved it ^_^. 4 stars for the story, 1 more for originality.

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Ill Wind by Rachel Caine

Ill Wind (Weather Warden, #1)Ill Wind by Rachel Caine
My rating: ★★

My introduction to the Weather Warden series and Rachel Caine is not the best as new-to-me authors and series go.

Joanne is a Weather Warden on the run from the Association of Weather Wardens. Her only hope of staying alive lies with Lewis, a weather warden who disappeared some years ago. So to preserve her life, she hits the road to search for him, all the while trying to stay one step ahead of the Weather Wardens Association, because if they catch her before she gets to Lewis, she is toast.

The mythology of the world didn't catch me. Are the Weather Wardens a secret organization? No, it doesn't seem so, but normal people don't know about them.... the weather is out to get humans? Aetheric realms? Oversight? I don't know. It all seemed quite haphazard to me.

And then there was that I felt mostly indifference to mild dislike for Joanne and complete indifference toward every other character. It wasn't a bad book. It just didn't appeal to me.

I might continue on with this series, or I might not (leaning more towards the 'might not' side right now), but I think I will definitely search out a couple of other works by Rachel Caine to see if I can get another feel for her writing.

Not recommended, but then, not un-recommended either. You'd have to make your own mind up for this one.

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Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder

Magic Study (Study, #2)Study #2
Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
My rating: ★★★½

Magic Study continues where the previous book left off. Yelena is now in Sitia and has a whole new set of issues to face and adversities to overcome. It was a good installment in the study series, I guess. I liked it and it held my attention (which is what good books are supposed to do) but I do think it fell short of Poison Study.

I enjoyed seeing Yelena's parents and how much they had loved her, even in absentia. However, I missed the old crew. I wasn't interested in Dax, or Fisk, or any of the new people Yelena came to know. When she was interacting with those people, it felt wrong to me, and so I spent that time sorely missing Ari and Janco instead. I missed Valek :(.

One thing about the book I loved was that Sitia seemed slightly familiar. Then i realized I had seen Sitia before. There were references to Touch of Power and the events that will happen in that trilogy. It seems ToP took place about a century and a half before the Study series :)

The story picked up substantially when the old crew came back into the picture, but by then, the story was too far gone to bring it to a really good level of awesomeness.

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A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow

A Cold Day for Murder (Kate Shugak, #1)A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow
My rating:★★

I liked it.

At times I forgot I was reading a mystery, because it didn't 'read' like one. It had more of A Day in the Life of Kate Shugak vibe than a searching for a whodunit vibe.

The ending made me a bit sad, though. I liked the person who committed the crime :(

Not a bad introduction to Dana Stabenow's writing.

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21 January 2012

Sirantha Jax by Ann Aguirre

Grimspace (Sirantha Jax, #1)Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
My rating: ★★★½

I am sure this is the start of a new and beautiful friendship with Ann Aguirre.

Sirantha Jax is a rare carrier of the J-gene, meaning she can jump through space, a talent which makes her a valuable asset - she can lead the charge in charting space, discovering territories - you know the kind of thing that space ships do. She also suffers from major survivors' guilt over her last jump, which went terribly wrong and killed quite a number of people. She is in prison, waiting for it to all end, when March and his crew appear to break her out. They plan to use her and her ability to help break the monopoly the corrupt Conglomerate holds over space travel.

It was a bit confusing for someone who hasn't read any science fiction in a while, but once I found my feet, everything started rolling and didn't stop until the very end. I could see clearly in my mind's eye Sirantha's interactions with the crew, and her thoughts (obviously, since it was written in first person), and it was fascinating. I think Ms. Aguirre painted the portrait of a badly broken person trying to find her way very excellently, and I felt for and with her throughout the novel.

March - well, does anything need to be said about him? I think I found myself a new dangerous hero to love!

And oh yes, one more thing - the book is written in first person present tense. It is a little thing, but you never realize how used you are to reading 1st person past POV' until you get confronted with something else. I noticed it right away, and it took some adjusting to, but also made the narration a little more unique.

And oh yes - the book also gets extra points for NOT taking the Lord's name in vain. I know many people don't care, blah blah blah, but for once it was so refreshing to not see that! So it gets extra points for awesomeness.

Definitely very highly recommended.

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20 January 2012

TGIF @GReads #1

This one is the other meme I'm gonna do. Again, I shamelessly copied joined the meme when I saw Patty do it on her blog here - she does a coupla Friday memes, but this is the one I wanna join!

Okay! This meme is a weekly one, and hosted over at GReads.

Today's theme is Book Recommendations:

Recommend It: Which book from the last 10 you've read 
would you recommend to a friend?


Well, GReads, I'm really glad you asked that question, lol. I have had a really good reading month so far, and out of my last 15 books, I probably would recommend about 10. 

My two favorites so far of the last ten are 

Silver Borne, the fifth book in Patricia Briggs' Mercedes Thompson series. I love, love, love, this series to bits. This installment was somewhat focused on Samuel, who is my favorite werewolf, and so I was extra invested in his story. And it broke my heart. I spent the book with a big ole lump in my throat for my Samuel. But it was all resolved excellently and he had the beginnings of his own HEA, so I am a happy camper. And no mention of those despicable vampires made the story even sweeter for me :)

Caveat: I do think for full appreciation, this series should be read in order, as the characters build up from book to book, so this recommendation would be to convince a friend to start the series so they can get to Samuel, or hurry up and catch up so we can gush about Samuel!!

I think Neil Gaiman is a master of fantasy and horror. He knows just how to mix it right so that it is entertaining for children and hella creepy for adults. The Graveyard Book is a coming of age story that is told excellently. I can't say enough good things about it. The pacing, the characters, the writing, the life lesson - this book (and Neil Gaiman) is made of awesome!

18 January 2012

100 Books in a Year Reading Challenge 2012

I am joining in Book Chick City's 100 books in a year reading challenge.  To learn more about it, click the button on the top right corner of the blog :)

The challenge is to read 100 books in the year. I am keeping my tally here. Since we don't have to review the books, this will include books I read but don't review (so basically it will be the same as my Goodreads list) as well as rereads (I don't mark rereads on GoodReads).

Come join the fun!

**Clicking on the links to the books will take you to the GoodReads page for the book :)

January Reads (and/or Rereads)
1. Bone Crossed ★★★★ 2/01
2. Never to Sleep ★★★ 2/01
3. Storm Front ★★★★ 3/01
4. Touch of Power ★★★★★ 4/01
5. Gift of Magic ★★★ 6/01
6. The Inherited Bride ★★★ 7/01
7. The Scandal in Bohemia ★★★★ 7/01
8. Murder at the Vicarage ★★★ 9/01
9. Touch the Dark ★★ 10/01
10.Thunderbird Falls ★★★ 12/01
11.Love, Come to Me ★★★½ 14/01
12.Poison Study ★★★★ 15/01
13.Silver Borne ★★★★★ 16/01
14.The Graveyard Book ★★★★★ 17/1
15.Mr. Impossible ★★★ 19/01
16.Grimspace ★★★★½ 21/01
17.A Cold Day for Murder ★★★ 23/01
18.Magic Study ★★★½ 23/01
19.Ill Wind ★★★ 23/01
20.Under Her Skin ★★★★ 23/01
21.Blood Bound ★★★★ 25/01
22.Spindle's End ★ 26/01
23.For Duty's Sake ★★★ 27/01
24.Bitten ★★★ 28/01
25.A Lot Like Love ★★★★★ 28/01
26.In Bed with a Highlander ★★★ 29/01
27.Fire Study ★★★ 29/01
28.Assassin Study ★★★★ 30/01
29.Coyote Dreams ★★★★ 30/01
30.Magic in the Wind (Drake Sisters, #1) ★★★★ 31/01
31.The Conqueror's Lady ★★★★ 31/01

February Reads and/or Rereads
1. Walking Dead ★★★★ 1/02
2. Blood Cross ★★½ 4/02
3. Extreme Exposure ★★★★ 5/02
4. Glass Houses ★★★½ 6/02
5. On the Prowl ★★★★ 7/02
6. The Dutiful Wife ★★ 8/02
7. Fool Moon ★★★½ 9/02
8. Heartless ★★★½ 11/02
9. Once a Ferrara Wife ★★★★ 11/02
10.Grave Peril ★★★★ 12/02
11.A Bride for Kolovsky ★★★★ 12/02
12.Grave Peril ★★★★ 12/02
13.The Bride ★★★★★ 14/02
14.Demon Hunts ★★ 14/02
15.The Conqueror ★★★ 15/02
16.Heidi ★★★★ 16/02
17.Unholy Ghosts ★★★ 18/02
18.Desert Warrior ★★★ 20/02
19.Unholy Magic★★★★ 20/02
20.Home★★★★ 21/02
21.City of Ghosts ★★★★ 22/02

March Reads and Rereads:
1.Dead Witch Walking ★★ 1/03
2.The Mane Event ★★★ 3/03
3.Summer Knight ★★★ 5/03
**4.Archangel★★★★★ 7/03**
5.Magic Strikes Hot Tub Scene ★★★★ 7/03
6.At Grave's End ★★★½ 9/03
7.Tempted by Her Innocent Kiss ★★ 10/03
8.Home Improvement: Undead Edition ★★★ 11/03
9.Angels' Pawn ★★★★ 12/03
10.The Story of Your Life... 12/03 ★★★½
11.A Lady's Lesson in Scandal 12/03 ★★★
12.Ice Study 13/03 ★★★
13.The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie 13/03 ★★★
14.The Beautyful Ones are Not Yet Born 14/03 ★★★★
15.Hexed 16/03 ★★★

Waiting on Wednesday #1

Patricia (see her fab blog here) does the most interesting memes.

I decided I wanted to do some of hers, so I think I'll go with the Wednesday and Friday ones.

Here's my first post!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Breaking the Spine and invites us to spotlight upcoming releases we're interested in.

Okey dokey!

One of the releases I am most excited for in this year is Fair Game by Patricia Briggs.  Patricia's webpage and Amazon have it slated for a March 2012 release, while FictFact has it slated for a Feb 7 release. Either way, I get it either right before my birthday, or on Independence Day!

They say opposites attract. And in the case of werewolves Anna Latham and Charles Cornick, they mate. The son-and enforcer-of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles is a dominant alpha. While Anna, an omega, has the rare ability to calm others of her kind.
Now that the werewolves have revealed themselves to humans, they can't afford any bad publicity. Infractions that could have been overlooked in the past must now be punished, and the strain of doing his father's dirty work is taking a toll on Charles.
Nevertheless, Charles and Anna are sent to Boston, when the FBI requests the pack's help on a local serial killer case. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves-all of them were. Someone is targeting their kind. And now Anna and Charles have put themselves right in the killer's sights...

This is the third  story in the Alpha and Omega series, and I can't wait to see Anna and Charles again! *Of course, there is also hope that we'll see a glimpse of Bran, too :D*

16 January 2012

Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

Silver Borne (Mercedes Thompson, #5)Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
My rating: ★★

I read this for Samuel and only for him.

I also gave this one five stars for Samuel. The rest of the story is good too, but for me, everything took a back seat to my favorite werewolf.

Samuel broke my heart. I spent a good deal of the story with a lump in my throat for him. The conversation he has with Mercy in the X-ray room was so poignant, so sad. :'( And it was interesting too, seeing into the mind of a wolf who was losing control. I am glad Samuel found someone to live for. But I'll miss Sam. I liked the wolf being in control. I raised my eyebrows a bit when Mercy was thinking it was good that Ari had a sense of humor, because she'd only allow someone with a sense of humor to have Samuel. Smh. she complains about how protective he is, but she is also so very protective of him. She really does love him - you know, love that has everything to do with friendship and nothing to do with being in love. That was sweet to see.

And Bran....you gotta love Bran.

Um yes. The rest of the story was good, as stories in this series have always been. Truth be told, I wasn't paying it too much mind: I had eyes only for my Samuel.

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Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Poison Study (Study, #1)Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
My rating: ★★

"I am not a fool," says Yelena, and damn straight she isn't. After all, only fools would turn down the offer of becoming the Commander's food taster in favor of the gallows.

Even so, Yelena finds that being a food taster is far more than she had bargained for. The book chronicles Yelena's life as a food taster, and how she comes into her own and finds love, friends, and alla that jazz.

I like the heroes and heroines Ms. Snyder creates. And the stories she tells. This is my second book by her, and she had me hook, line, and sinker. Never a dull moment. She had me and didn't let me go till the very end. And even there, I wanted more.

After reading about Valek, I need to go find me an assassin boyfriend who can make the wryest, funniest comments with a straight face. His lines were gold.

I knew about this book, but was dragging my feet. Thank you, Sans for reminding me to read this one ASAP.

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14 January 2012

Love, Come to Me by Lisa Kleypas

Love Come to MeLove Come to Me by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: ★★★½

At times like this I really wish GoodReads would let us use half-stars. This is the perfect example of a book caught midway between three and four stars.

I think this is one of Lisa Kleypas's earliest books - you can definitely tell it was written much earlier in her career because although it is enjoyable, it isn't as masterful as her more recent work. It was a good story, but fairly unremarkable.

My biggest issue was probably Daniel. He was made only as a foil for Heath, so we could see how awesome he is. Daniel was portrayed as a stickler, a controlling person and someone with no regard whatsoever for women. After portraying someone like that, I don't want to see him near any female in the book. I don't understand why we have to pair him up with someone else,a s if it's supposed to be okay that he isn't with the heroine. He shouldn't be with anyone, period. Lots of authors do this too, not just LK :/

Then there was Damon too. Damon was a wonderful character, nuanced in a way neither Lucinda or Heath were. Stickler for duty and honor, with some prejudices, but willing to discard them when confronted with it. I wanted to know more about him, and it is a shame there is no sequel featuring him. he was the best written person in the book. I didn't understand the purpose of making him want Lucy too....

Overall a good read while it lasted, but quite forgettable. Except for Damon, :)

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13 January 2012

Thunderbird Falls by C.E. Murphy

Thunderbird Falls  (Walker Papers, #2)Thunderbird Falls by C.E. Murphy
My rating: ★★

I rated this  3 stars because I felt it was much better written than the first one, and I liked it better. What kept me from liking it even more is that better writing notwithstanding, many of the same problems from the first book plague this one too.

The biggest problem is Joanne herself. In beginners' Spanish class, we learned a phrase: cabeza dura. Joanne tiene cabeza dura. That's the only explanation for how someone can be so dense, so incredibly stupid (her words, not mine. I just happen to fervently agree with her). Literally. Her denseness was not credible. At all. I saw this coming the moment it started! And I never see anything! So if I caught it and she missed it, she is truly, and irredeemably dense! But then if she had caught it ad refused to be a part of the whole coven foolishness, there wouldn't be story now, would there? It also doesn't help that I don't like Joanne. I liked her a bit better in this book, but her attitude, unfunny snark, rudeness, and general childishness, along with her incredible denseness (especially the last two) doesn't make her a likeable character at all. But she is much better in this book, so there is still hope.

The other big problem was the story. Where did Coyote disappear to? That made no sense whatsoever and was another indication that this story's plot was weak. The only way to progress this story as far as it went was to have Coyote, who used to be (and is supposed to be) a constant presence in Joanne's life, vanish for no reason so this farce could take place. Smh.

Even so, like I said, I enjoyed this one quite a bit more than I did the first one. On to book 3 for me.

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10 January 2012

Touch the Dark by Karen Chance

Touch the Dark (Cassandra Palmer, #1)Touch the Dark by Karen Chance
My rating: ★★

I read this book. And stuff happens in it, but I truly couldn't tell you what because I haven't the foggiest idea what it was about. This book is like that horror movie that has all the elements of a good, frightful time, but goes so over-the-top that it ruins the show.

It started out auspiciously enough, with Cassandra Palmer in hiding from some sleazy vampires. They had given chase, finally found her, and now she had to be on the run again. Intriguing. Then the dumping begins. So much information was being dumped, it was like an avalanche. The first one keeled me over and I remained buried under it even as more was dumped on top.

Stuff happens. I can't tell you what happened because my brain was hazed over from the info-dump avalanches.

It finally breaks through my brain haze that Cassie is about 17 years old. That just feels...off. This whole world and the character set-up doesn't feel like it's for/about someone who is an adolescent. Anyway, more stuff happens, but...you know the drill.

Then this happened: Cassandra gets into a sexual situation with a vampire who used to visit when she was younger. EEEEWW!! I mean, think about it. This man used to visit and let her play in his hair when she was five years old! - you know, like your favorite uncle used to do when he visited. Now she's seventeen and he's going you've always been mine, blah blah blah, and they're naked and things are happening. That is just wrong - and nasty. I don't care if he's an ageless vampire. He used to visit and let her play with him when she was five years old, for crying out loud! Ew!

Anyway, even more things happen, more info is dumped, and I can't tell you a single thing that happened.

All in all, this book started out okay, but didn't interest me the series or the character because, well, I have no idea what is happening. However, this series is rather popular, and I've heard that the books become markedly better as you continue. So continue on I will. If nothing else, I hope I can figure out what happens from/in the next book because, dammit, I wanna know what happened!

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07 January 2012

The Inherited Bride by Maisey Yates

The Inherited BrideThe Inherited Bride by Maisey Yates
My rating: ★★

I didn't like the heroine at all. She rubbed me the wrong way from the moment she was introduced.She was whiny and childish and, quite frankly, an idiot. princess Isabella has run away to Paris to have a month to discover herself before her arranged marriage. Or so the book claimed. She read to me like a spoiled brat. I sincerely would have liked to turn her over my knee and spank some sense into her. I can see why others would not be annoyed by her though, so I am sticking with a three-star rating. That, and because this was a well-written book.

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06 January 2012

Gift of Magic by Lynn Kurland

Gift of Magic (Nine Kingdoms, #6)Gift of Magic by Lynn Kurland
My rating:★★

In one word, this book was a disappointing finish to the story of Ruithneadh and Sarah in particular and the tale of the Nine Kingdoms is general.

It's not that the story wasn't well told. It was. The writing was truly beautiful, and the world sprawled out like only epic fantasy can, and the names were right. It is a pet peeve of mine to read fantasy with names that sound fake - it spoils the whole story. Well, the names of people and places in this series, although unpronounceable, fit perfectly. So it was good book. It could easily have been a four or five star book, but it ended up a three because...it was just an anticlimax. Really, it was. The whole epic culmination of the novel was just blah.

In addition, the book had way too much repetition. Since book four Ruith had been whining about his magic. "Oh look at me, poor boy, I am a powerful magician, but my dad was evil. Never mind that everyone else in my family tree is a wonderful noble incorruptible person and I aspire to be like them, my dad was really evil, so I'll be evil too. Woe is me, woe is me." That was Ruith from book #4, when he was introduced, to the final 10% of this book when he realizes that he's nothing like his dad. Duh! And every 15 seconds, we were being reminded that he spent time running around with Miach of Neroche being troublesome and stealing spells when they were 10 years old. Every fifteen seconds. It happened over 20 years ago, and was repeated <i>ad nauseum</i> through the series, even from Miach's section - so that makes 6 books through which we've been hearing this. It became annoying after the 3rd mention in the first book. And we also heard way too much about Miach. This wasn't his book, and he didn't have any substantial part to play. i just didn't see the need to be reminded of him every few pages. Sarah also just spent half the book whining about not having any magic, even though she could dreamweave, and going on and on about not being princess enough for Ruith, even though her mom and dd came from distinguished royal families: every fifteen seconds too. Argh!

I think this might be the end of the <u>Nine Kingdoms</u> series, in which case I'm sad to part with a great cast of characters and a good epic story; but this ending didn't do it's characters or the series much justice at all.

ETA: No it's not the end of the series I hear tell Ms. Kurland  is working on a set of books for Runach! So we'll see them again.
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04 January 2012

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Touch of Power (Healer, #1)Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
My rating: ★★★★


Avry is a healer, a member of a profession that once once respected and revered across the 15 realms. You see, healers work their magic by absorbing other people's sicknesses into themselves, and then fighting the illness off - healers can do this because they heal ten times faster than normal people. Nowadays, healers are hunted criminals because they are thought to be responsible for the plague that spread throughout the kingdoms and killed about two-thirds of the population. So for the past three years, Avry is on the run. A decision to heal a little girl proves her undoing. She is captured and sentenced to death. But then Kerrick and his men step in and rescue her in return for her journeying with them to heal a friend of theirs. Avry later find out that this friend is Prince Ryne, the man she holds personally responsible for the hatred of healers. Touch of Power is about the journey to Prince Ryne.

This is a fantabulous story. I can't say enough good things about it - the prose, the characters..everything about this book was fantastic. I was engaged from beginning to end, from the very first word to the last. The plot twists were simple and very effective, and the prose is gold.

Avry is a wonderful character. She didn't so much as grow as blossom as the novel progresses. She is a wonderful: very self-assured and quick to remind others of her own agency. She owns her decisions and never lets others force her to do things she doesn't want to do. Even under duress, she manages to do things on her own terms. I never once felt her to be helpless, even though she found herself in helpless situations. She is smart, mature, assertive, resourceful, and able to reason, and learn to get past her prejudices; she is a stickler for doing the right thing. She is one of the best YA heroines I've ever read.

Kerrick. He didn't grow wither; or blossom. Rather, he unfolded. Watching his development was like watching a tightly coiled flower open up to the sun. And as he opens up, you see a different sort of man: not the man who backhands Avry, or is willing to forfeit his best friend's life, but the one who is strong, loyal, and wants so desperately to save the world from the horror of Tohon. I loved him too.

Belen, Quain, Vinn, and Flea were wonderful, and it was a treat to spend time with them.

Ms. Snyder also writes some great villains. I could see Tohon and Daneen and Jael in my mind's eye so clearly, essentially very spoiled brats. Well, Daneen has very extenuating circumstances to excuse her, but that doesn't change the fact that some sense ought to be severely beaten into her. Tohon sends chills down my spine. I can't wait to see how all of this will resolve and for them to get their comeuppance.

I hear tell this is the ninth novel by Ms. Snyder. If the others are anything like this one (and I have it on Sans' authority that they are), then it means eight absolute gems of books are somewhere in the world waiting for me to get my hands on them!

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

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Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Storm Front (The Dresden Files, #1)Storm Front by Jim Butcher
My rating:★★

This is the first book in the Dresden Files and our introduction to Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, a modern-day wizard living in Chicago. Somebody has been using very dark, dangerous magic to brutally kill people, and Harry must figure out who it is, because the wizard council thinks he did it.

I enjoyed it. I did find it a bit hard to concentrate for, like, the first 20% or so, but then things really picked up as the story, well...picked up... and I had myself a fun time.

I will definitely be reading more of this. It seems like a nice addition to the UF genre. No unique, per se, but it has an interesting twist on things. I like the Chicago Jim Butcher has created so like our own world, and yet not. This means you don't have to do a lot of thinking to figure out the rules of the world - you already know it because it's like ours. And the rules he's added on are also fairly straightforward that you don't need a whole lot of info to get right into the thick of things. They are interesting rules too - for example the part about potions needing eight components.

And the world is interesting enough to set it apart from the many worlds in UF.

And I like the author's voice. Male (fantasy) authors have a starker voice than female (fantasy) authors, for me. And it either works very well or it doesn't. Mr. Butcher's storytelling is shaping up to work very well for me.

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02 January 2012

Never to Sleep by Rachel Vincent

Never to Sleep (Soul Screamers, #5.5)Never to Sleep by Rachel Vincent
My rating: ★★

It should be 2.5 stars, really.

Ms. Vincent can write some wonderfully nuanced characters. Unfortunately, she failed in this attempt. Sophie is still the self-centered jerk she has always been. Sure, she's resourceful and assertive, but that is to be expected. Most girls don't get to be one of the most popular girls in their cliques by being just a mean girl.

Luca is a new character that was introduced in this novella, and it seems he'll play some sort of role in Before I Wake. But I am glad for Sophie's little adventure in the underworld. It's about time she got introduced into the family business.

I also had to laugh when she thought Kaylee could never have handled the underworld! if only you knew, Ms. Sophia, if only you knew!

All in all, I think you can skip this novella and not be the worse off for it.

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Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs

Bone Crossed (Mercedes Thompson, #4)Mercede Thompson #4
Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs
My rating: ★★

More than 3.5, but not quite four stars.

In this installment, the Vampire queen has discovered what Mercy did to Andre and is out for blood. Mercy has to figure out how to stay alive and keep her friends and loved ones out of the line of fire. A little trip to get away from everything for a few days also turns into way bigger deal than expected.

By now, I am used to the awesomeness of Patricia Briggs' writing, but it gets me every single time. the story is told very simply, so that you can see plot twists from miles away. I KNEW who Jim Blackwood was when i met him, even before his name was spoken, and I knew Mercy was going to meet him. What gets me is he execution - predictable mystery, flawlessly executed. It makes i fun to read on, even though you know who the whodunits are already.

What kept me from fully enjoying this story was..well, the story. Marsilia needs to die. Simple. It grates on me that she is still alive and hurting so many people. I agree with Samuel about Stefan (but then again, I'd agree with Samuel about anything, LOL!) If he cared so much he'd do the entire world a favor and put Marsilia out of her misery. She is evil. She needs to die. Stefan is an idiot.

I liked seeing Adam again, and how gentle he is with Mercy. Mercy's mom made me laugh most of the time. Samuel made me smile always - and why not, he is my favorite, after all.

Good book, good reading. Will reread. in fact, will by paper copies of this whole series and put in a place of honor on my bookshelf. This one is just not my favorite installment.

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