Friday, February 28, 2014

Tin Star (Tin Star #1) by Cecil Castellucci

Series: Tin Star #1
Published: 2/25/14
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Source: ARC from publisher for review
On their way to start a new life, Tula and her family travel on the Prairie Rose, a colony ship headed to a planet in the outer reaches of the galaxy. All is going well until the ship makes a stop at a remote space station, the Yertina Feray, and the colonist's leader, Brother Blue, beats Tula within an inch of her life. An alien, Heckleck, saves her and teaches her the ways of life on the space station. 
When three humans crash land onto the station, Tula's desire for escape becomes irresistible, and her desire for companionship becomes unavoidable. But just as Tula begins to concoct a plan to get off the space station and kill Brother Blue, everything goes awry, and suddenly romance is the farthest thing from her mind.
My thoughts:
 This is a short book that I read within a day. I warn those that don't like sci-fi... it is VERY sci-fi. I do like those kinds of things so it suited me well.

In this book we meet Tula who is going to help colonize other planets. She runs into trouble by questioning Brother Blue who then beats her to near death. Tula is smart from the start and finds a way to survive the brutal beating. She is abandoned on a space station and finds a way to survive it's harsh realities. This is a story of survival where everything is alien and, in fact, where you are the alien. No other humans live on the space station.

There are a couple of secondary characters I really enjoyed. Hecklebeck who grew on you as the story progressed. I found it so interesting that you really get to know an alien who is more like an insect and come to care for him. Tourndour is the other character. He is station manager and authority. Both of them look out for her is subtle ways and help her survive. There are others, but the book brings out those two as the most important to her survival.

I liked the way the book really shows how intelligent and strong Tula was. You really get to see how she survives very well. Later in the book she finally sees other humans. The contrast was palpable. It also showed how much Tula was able to adapt to her surroundings so much better than most humans are capable. It really make her feel stronger.

I give this book 4 stars. I really enjoyed my time with Tula and can't wait to see what else is in store for this character. I recommend it to those that love sci-fi and perhaps fantasy.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Blog Tour: The Sense of Touch by Ron Parsons

Collection of short stories
Publisher: Aqueous Books
Available Now
Source: From TLC Book Tours for Review
Sprung from the variously lush, rugged, and frozen emotional landscapes of the north country, this luminous collection of stories captures the progress of a diverse ensemble of souls as they struggle to uncover themselves and negotiate a meaningful communion, of any kind, with the world around them. A brilliant but troubled Bangladeshi physics student searches for balance, acceptance, and his own extraordinary destiny after his father disappears. When a Halloween blizzard immobilizes Minneapolis, a young woman is forced to confront the snow-bound nature of her own relationships and emotions. During an excursion to an idyllic swimming hole hidden in the Black Hills, two old friends unexpectedly compete for the affections of an irresistible, though married, Lakota woman. Like a mythical expedition to reach the horizon or the quest to distill truth from the beauty around us, the revelation confirmed by these imaginative stories - elegant, sometimes jarring, always wonderfully absurd - is that the very act of reaching is itself a form of touch.
My thoughts:
I wanted to review this one mostly because of the diversity of people within these pages. When so many stories seem homogenous, I wanted to read something a bit different. This one did have what I was looking for and like all good short stories, some won me over and some didn't quite make it. However, I still enjoyed myself within these pages.

I have to admit that the first tale I did dnf. The story was going good until there was a bit about harming a pigeon. I have gotten to the point where I will automatically dnf anything where an animal is abused to death. I just can't do it no matter the reason. I did think that it was just that story, so I had no problems reading the rest of the book.

The other stories are more like character explorations. Exploring a small part of their life and sometimes to making a decision. We don't get to know how it turns out, but then that wasn't the point of the story. There is also the story that has the same title as the book. It becomes more philosophical and then seems to meander on different themes. While this may bug some people, others will see it for what it is.. a creative exploration.

I recommend this book to anyone wanting something different. The short stories in itself can be used as a good palate cleanser while you are in between books. It can also just be something to let your mind explore.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Circle of Death (Damask Circle #2) by Keri Arthur

Series: Damask Circle #2
Published: 2/25/14
Publisher: Bantam Dell
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review
In one vicious night, Kirby Brown’s world is torn apart. Her best friend is dead, killed by a madman who is now after Kirby, and she has no idea why. When the police prove incapable of protecting Kirby, she has no choice but to trust a mysterious stranger. And while she finds herself inexplicably drawn to him, she fears the strange abilities he wields.

An investigator for the Damask Circle, Doyle Fitzgerald, has come to Melbourne, Australia, to hunt down a killer. What he doesn’t expect to find is a cadre of witches capable of controlling the elements, a sorceress determined to take that power for herself, and a broken woman who is more than she seems. Doyle is certain that the reason behind the bloodshed lies in Kirby’s past—a past she has no wish to remember. Because Doyle isn’t the only one with magic in his soul: Kirby’s special gifts have the strength to destroy the world.
My thoughts:
 This is the second book in the republished Damask Circle series by Keri Arthur. Even though this is the second in the series, it can be read as a standalone. You don't have to read them in order to understand what is going on here. Not much was revealed about the Damask Circle in the first book and little to none here. It is a mystery yet to be revealed. However, because of that, no problems with reading out of order. ;)

In this book our couple is Kirby and Doyle. Doyle is a panther shifter and Kirby has some sort of magic yet to be fully discovered. Her life gets ripped out from under her when her best friend gets mutilated and she is the next target. She must uncover long buried memories to figure out why and also much learn about her magic to save everyone. Doyle must help her on that quest while giving her the space to figure out things for herself. Hard to do when your family is known for falling hard and fast to a soul mate.

While this book does have insta-love, it is handled in a way that doesn't bother me. It acknowledges it and then tries to slow things down through Kirby's inability to trust. There are also several twists and turns in Kirby's mystery that keeps things interesting. I admit, I liked this one much more than the first in this series.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. I liked this couple and the adventure surrounding Kirby. I recommend it to those that love PNR and like a bit of action to keep things sprinting along.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Self-Advice

Tell Me Something Tuesday, a meme started by CambriaHebert, but now hosted on Rainy Day Ramblings. It is a chance to get to know your fellow bloggers by sharing fun stuff, discussions and more. Grab the question and post your answer on your blog and link up at Rainy Day Ramblings! Have fun!

This weeks question:
What advice do you wish you could go back and give yourself when you were starting your blog?

Honestly, I don't have much that I would have told myself. Most things would have to be found out at the proper time. Like I would have not believed that I would be turning down books I want to read because I would have too many to review. I wouldn't have believed that it really would have taken the time it takes to set things up and keep up with the schedule. Some things you just have to find out through experience.

I might have warned myself about NetGalley and Edelweiss and how dangerous those sites are... still, I doubt I would have listened... ;)

Still, at least one thing... hm...

I guess it would be prepare myself for the great community and bloggers there is out there. I doth my cap off to all of you reading this and I thank you for coming to my strange little blog with my badly done reviews. :) Also, I guess I would tell myself to be prepared for all the books you never knew you wanted because of all those bloggers. You all are quite evil... but in a good way. ;D

So any advice you would impart?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Killer Frost (Mythos Academy #6) by Jennifer Estep

Series: Mythos Academy #6 (series finalé)
Published: Feb. 25, 14
Publisher: Kensington Books
Source: From author for review
I’ve battled the Reapers of Chaos before–and survived. But this time I have a Bad, Bad Feeling it’s going to be a fight to the death … most likely mine. 
Yeah, I’ve got my psychometry magic, my talking sword, Vic–and even the most dangerous Spartan on campus at my side, in Logan freaking Quinn, but I’m no match for Loki, the evil Norse god of chaos. I may be Nike’s Champion, but at heart, I’m still just Gwen Frost, that weird Gypsy girl everyone at school loves to gossip about. 
Then someone I love is put in more danger than ever before, and something inside me snaps. This time, Loki and his Reapers are going down for good … or I am.
My thoughts:
I was not looking forward to this book while at the same time I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Why? It is the series finalé! I love this series and don't want to see it end and at the same time want to know how it ends. *sigh* Talk about first world problems. :)

Okay, so I don't want to spoil a thing so I'll just say that this book delivers. You want action? Oh you get that in spades. You want to know about Logan and Gwen's relationship? Yes, you get answers as well as things left open (they are kids still, so it makes total sense). Let me just say that the series goes out with a bang and you get enough twists and nail biting experiences to satisfy.

I also have to say this... I don't often like series enders. Things get to wrapped up way too conveniently or not at all. The ending doesn't fit the series. It is like a series ender stumps the author. I felt NONE of that with this book. I was happy with the ending. It was satisfying and a bit bittersweet. My biggest complaint? No more visits to this world. No more great secondary characters. Guess I'll have to do a reread.

I give this book 5 stars. I enjoyed my final battles with Gwen and the gang and hope that Vic and Nyx get a novella all their own.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Double Life of Incorporate Things (Magic Most Foul #3) by Leanna Renee Hieber

Series: Magic Most Foul #3
Published: Createspace
Available Now
Source: From author for review
Just when we think our nightmares are over, the Society has invented a new horror. Around every corner a shadow; behind every whisper a demon. If we don't end what the devils began, we will all die haunted... 
The finale in the acclaimed Magic Most Foul trilogy, the trauma and the terror of the Master's Society has only escalated for the dashing Lord Denbury and brave, feisty Miss Natalie Stewart. A new terror has been unleashed in Manhattan. Together they, with their stalwart friends and unlikely heroes, take the fight directly to the Denbury estate, where fresh evils have awakened. But are they prepared for all the sacrifices that shall be asked of them? With their very lives and the sanctity of their mortal souls at stake, Natalie and Jonathon are past the point of no return...
My thoughts:
This is the final installment of the Magic Most Foul Trilogy. In this one we are dealing with a new horror, a chemical which changes personality into something monstrous. If I'm not mistaken, I'd say that was a nod to Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde. This time the problem doesn't take center stage for long and we end up dealing with all 3 horrors at once. It's up to Natalie and Jonathon and their connection to save the day.

I enjoyed this final book. I really liked that Natalie was seen as a strong woman who had come into her own. She looks back and sees how much her father sacrificed for her and how much he loves her through his action and what she thought was inaction. The growth of her character really spoke to her strength. Unfortunately, there was a time a little later where she seemed to turn into a whining child where there were important things to consider and lives on the line. Fortunately that doesn't last for more than a few paragraphs.

Jonathon is much less evolved but it is easy to forgive him as we are reminded of everything he has gone though in such a short time. He has had very little time to process the whole thing so while we could be upset with his behavior from time to time, it was easy to forgive. Especially when he is there when he is most needed.

My biggest complaint is a small one. There seemed to be instances where the initial demon we discovered with the main characters was making a comeback. He seemed to be at the forefront and at the crux of the next battle. He was not seen again after making a big threat to Natalie. Although he could be seen as representing the demons as a whole, it still might have been interesting to have it come full circle with the same demon. Still, I just didn't quite understand why that character was dropped so suddenly.

I give this book 4 stars. It ends with a twist I didn't see coming. This book also seems to evolve around equality for women and those of color and other religious backgrounds. The other books dealt with it as well, but this book seemed to want to drive the point home. I recommend this to people who enjoy a good dark gothic tale.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard

Publisher: Viking Adult
Published: 2/20/14
Source: From Edelweiss and publisher for review
A prince with a quest. A commoner with mysterious powers. And dragons that demand to be freed—at any cost. 
Prince Corin has been chosen to free the dragons from their bondage to the Empire, but dragons aren’t big on directions. They have given him some of their power, but none of their knowledge. No one, not the dragons nor their riders, is even sure what keeps the dragons in the Empire’s control.

Tam, sensible daughter of a well-respected doctor, had no idea before she arrived in the capital that she is a Seer, gifted with visions. When the two run into each other (quite literally) in the library, sparks fly and Corin impulsively asks Tam to dinner. But it’s not all happily ever after. Never mind that the prince isn’t allowed to marry a commoner: war is coming to Caithen.

Torn between Corin’s quest to free the dragons and his duty to his country, the lovers must both figure out how to master their powers in order to save Caithen. With a little help from a village of secret wizards and a rogue dragonrider, they just might pull it off.
My thoughts:
Oh dragons! I have also been in the mood for a good fantasy. This one delivered, but still had a few problems in the telling. I have to say, first that the characterization was superb! I just loved Tam. She was nothing of a capitulating courtier that was expected. In fact she arrived at the palace for the experience and not to find a husband. So, it was completely unexpected to find the love of her life in the castle. The Prince was also a great character. Instead of insisting that Tam become what was expected, he decided to open himself completely to her and treat her as an equal rather than a subservient woman. He had an example of that with his parents, so it didn't come from left field.

Even though you know the relationship would have to be unequal (he is a prince and she is not only a woman but a commoner) they still acknowledged it and were able to skirt that line between equality and commanding and it was believable. I also enjoyed the secondary characters. We get a smattering of her more common friends and I would have liked more of that, but the other royals were quite engaging. I also really enjoyed the wizard people who seemed to hold more knowledge and power than they were willing to admit, but their fierce loyalty seemed to cancel out any worry that they may turn on our couple.

My biggest complaint is also one thing I enjoyed about the novel. It was very descriptive. I enjoyed it at times as it helped to explain the more magical parts of the book as well as some of the vistas important to the unraveling on how to help the dragons. However, it also slowed the book down considerably and even the more mundane things were explained in great detail. This can often happen in fantasy and it happened here. I would have loved some of the more mundane scenes edited a bit more. Still, I did enjoy really seeing those vistas and mystical visions when it became important.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. It is a good fantasy with dragons. It can be slow at times, but you will love the characters and romance in this book.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart (Magic Most Foul #2) by Leanna Renee Hieber

Series: Magic Most Foul #2
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Available Now
Source: TBR pile
I'm coming for you. 
The whispers haunt her dreams and fill her waking hours with dread. Something odd is happening. Something...unnatural. 
Possession of the living. Resurrection of the dead. And Natalie Stewart is caught right in the middle. Jonathon, the one person she thought she could trust, has become a double agent for the dark side. But he plays the part so well, Natalie has to wonder just how much he's really acting. 
She can't even see what it is she's fighting. But the cost of losing her heart, her sanity...her soul.
My thoughts:
As the first book hinged around the Portrait of Dorian Gray,  this one also revolves around another horror tale, but to a much less degree. Still, the nod to the other horror book is unmistakeable. Not sure if I should share what story it revolves around because I'm not sure if it would be seen as a spoiler, but it is obvious within the book.

This book picks up where the last left off so I would say that you should read these books in order. I figured it would build upon the first book in the same way her other series, Strangely Beautifulhad done. I have to say that I enjoyed this one as much as I did the first. I do like this author's gothic romances. It is as dark as the first tale and still leaves you with questions in the end. No cliffies, but just knowing there is a continuation of the tale and an unfolding of the mystery of "The Society". A group of either people or demons with a horrifying agenda.

We also get introduced to more secondary characters in this book, Rev. Blessing and Rachel. Both unique in their own way and quite compelling as well. They are great compliments to our already known secondary characters whom we met in the first book. There is also a couple of hounds (greyhounds) we are briefly introduced but are based on real characters rescued by a friend of the author. Yea, I know... but I'm a sucker for a good dog character. LOL

I give this book 4 stars. If you like gothic tales based loosely on horror books (it's not too horrifying... I'm a wimp and had no problems), then I suggest this series. I'm curious as to what the next book aludes to in the horror genre.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Romantic Reads

Tell Me Something Tuesday, a meme started by CambriaHebert, but now hosted on Rainy Day Ramblings. It is a chance to get to know your fellow bloggers by sharing fun stuff, discussions and more. Grab the question and post your answer on your blog and link up at Rainy Day Ramblings! Have fun!

This weeks question:
What are some of your favorite romantic reads?

This is actually a hard question for me. I do love romantic reads, but I admit I tend toward UF where the romance is secondary, sometimes non-existent. However, when I do pick up a romance, I often find myself enjoying my time within those pages. Let me see if I can come up with a few..

Okay, trying to figure out those that have romance as the prominent theme and not as a secondary one...

The Sea of Tranquility
by Katja Millay
"I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk." 
Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay. 
Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space. 
Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to. 
The Sea of Tranquility is a rich, intense, and brilliantly imagined story about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.
Pushing the Limits series:
I am aware of the problems and why not everyone likes these as much as I do, but I consider them my guilty pleasure. :D

Graffiti Moon
by Cath Crowley
Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she's going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city. He's out there somewhere—spraying color, spraying birds and blue sky on the night—and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for. Really fall for. Instead, Lucy's stuck at a party with Ed, the guy she's managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life. But when Ed tells her he knows where to find Shadow, they're suddenly on an all-night search around the city. And what Lucy can't see is the one thing that's right before her eyes.

Okay, I admit I don't have much here yet. I still have to get into this genre and many of you have increased my list of what to try! *mumbles*... I'm going to die in a book avalanche... *mumbles* 

Just One Day
by Gayle Forman
A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay
When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance ofTwelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.
Historical Romance

Highlander Most Wanted
by Maya Banks
In Highlander Most Wanted, a reclusive woman content to live in the shadows shows a Highland warrior the true meaning of love. 
Genevieve McInnes is locked behind the fortified walls of McHugh Keep, captive of a cruel laird who takes great pleasure in ruining her for any other man. Yet when Bowen Montgomery storms the gates on a mission of clan warfare, Genevieve finds that her spirit is bent but not broken. Still, her path toward freedom remains uncertain. Unable to bear the shame of returning to a family that believes her dead or to abandon others at the keep to an imposing new laird, Genevieve opts for the peaceful life of an abbess. But Bowen’s rugged sensuality stirs something deep inside her that longs to be awakened by his patient, gentle caress—something warm, wicked, and tempting. 
Bowen seizes his enemy’s keep, unprepared for the brooding and reclusive woman who captures his heart. He’s enchanted by her fierce determination, her unusual beauty, and her quiet, unfailing strength. But wooing her will take more than a seasoned seducer’s skill. For loving Genevieve, he discovers, means giving her back the freedom that was stolen from her—even if it means losing her forever.
The Scent of Jasmine
by Jude Deveraux
Would you risk your life—on the love of a lifetime? 
Charleston, 1799: A daughter of Southern gentility and a gifted painter, Catherine Edilean Harcourt has no lack of suitors at home in Virginia, waiting to fulfill her dream of marriage and family. But Cay’s adventurous spirit, fostered by growing up with her three brothers, is piqued while visiting her godfather in South Carolina. Bedridden with a broken leg, he asks Cay to fill in for him on an urgent task: on her way to a fancy dress ball, she must deliver a packed horse to an old friend’s son—who also happens to be an escaped convict charged with murdering his wife! Cay agrees to the plan, which doesn’t go at all as planned . . . whereupon she finds herself fleeing Alexander McDowell’s captors, riding blind into the night with the fugitive Scotsman. Though she should fear him, Cay finds herself overwhelmingly attracted to Alex, and drawn into his tale of misguided justice and his innocence as they seek refuge in the steamy Florida everglades. Will trusting him be the worst mistake of her life? Or will falling in love be the salvation both of them have been looking for?
The Devil Wears Plaid
by Teresa Mederios
Emmaline Marlow is about to wed the ancient patriarch of the Hepburn clan to save her father from debtor's prison when the Hepburn's sworn enemy Jamie Sinclair bursts into the abbey on a magnificent black horse and whisks her away. Jamie is everything her bridegroom is not--young, handsome, virile...and a perilous temptation for her yearning heart. 
Jamie expects Emma to be some milksop English miss, not a spirited beauty who will defy him at every turn. All of his plans to use her as a pawn in the centuries old Highland feud begin to go awry when irresistible passion flares between the two of them. A man can kidnap a bride, but is it possible for him to steal her innocence without losing his own heart?
Hm... not sure where I should stop... I mean there is romantic suspense... I so enjoy that genre. PNR, then of course the hundreds of other books where there is a lot of romance in the book, but I don't consider it a primary theme. I think I'll still with this lot since these are genres listed that I end up enjoying but don't end up reading a lot. 

So, any good romances in genre's you don't often read you can suggest?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Darker Still (Magic Most Foul #1) by Leanna Renee Heiber

Series: Magic Most Foul #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Available Now
Source: TBR pile
I was obsessed. 
It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I'd ever seen--everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable...utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike. 
There was a reason for that. Because despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame. 
I've crossed over into his world within the painting, and I've seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. He and I are inextricably linked--bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. Unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still.
My thoughts:
 This book takes you through the adventure of Natalie Stewart in diary form. For those that don't often like this form, it is set in such a way you get lost in the story rather than being constantly interrupted. The only time this bothered me was toward the end. I had a hard time believing she would have stopped suddenly to give us an account of what happened. Unfortunately that can be the downfall of this type of storytelling. Still, up until then, I did enjoy the diary format.

The story is a bit of a mystery. A bit like the Dorian Grey story where part of the man's essence is trapped in a painting. While Denbury, our hero, did not trap himself for selfish gains, it was a demon using his magic to trap Denbury's spirit while making use of his body. The mystery is how he did it as well as how to reverse it.

Our heroine is strong despite her inability to speak. She becomes the "white knight" she wanted herself and finds incredible strength in helping Denbury. Her bravery is not lost on Denbury and he himself becomes enamored and actually allows her to rescue him. The romance felt a bit instant, but in this book it works. The strong feelings come about from extreme circumstances.

The secondary charcters weren't as developed as I would have liked saved for Mrs. Northe. She was Natalie's mentor, so it makes sense she would be the most developed. I would have liked Crenfall to be a bit more developed and really wanted to understand his true roll with the demon. Perhaps he was only a "Renfield" (aka Dracula's henchmen) but it was unclear. The aspects to the demon's story might clear up as the series progresses.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. I really enjoyed the setting and the main characters in this tale. The book does not end on a cliffie (YaY!) but does hold the door open for more tales in this series. I'm curious as to what will happen next.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Mist (Midgard #1) by Susan Krinard

Series: Midgard #1
Publisher: Tor Books
Available Now
Source: From publisher for review
Centuries ago, all was lost in the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war. The elves, the giants, and the gods and goddesses themselves were all destroyed, leaving the Valkyrie Mist one of the only survivors. 
Or so she thought. 
When a snowy winter descends upon modern-day San Francisco in June, Mist’s quiet existence starts to feel all too familiar. In quick succession, Mist is attacked by a frost giant in a public park and runs into an elf disguised as a homeless person on the streets…and then the man Mist believed was her mortal boyfriend reveals himself to be the trickster god, Loki, alive and well after all these years. 
Loki has big plans for the modern world, and he’s been hanging around Mist for access to a staff that once belonged to the great god Odin. Mist is certain of one thing: Loki must be stopped if there is to be any hope for Earth. But the fight is even bigger than she knows….
Because Loki wasn’t the only god to survive.
My thoughts:
 Norse mythology heavy, I really wanted to dive right into this book. In fact, it was so mythology heavy I had to at times reread sections just so I got it straight. This isn't a bad thing because I do like books that just take you for a ride and hope you catch up. I'm not as familiar with Norse mythology as I'd like to think and this one challenged my knowledge. Yes, I did like that. However, some people might have a bit of a problem with having to go back and reread sections. Perhaps a small section at the end with the terms and gods defined would help.

Mist is a good heroine and a badass valkyrie, but also a bit naïve despite her time with the gods and on midgard. She trusts when I personally didn't think it prudent, but yet I understood as time was short and she had to make decisions fast. If she made a wrong decisions at least she didn't shy away from her responsibility. Her powers are new and she is also in her infancy learning about them. I questioned that since you would have thought she would have had some inkling about the powers because there was no reasoning as to why she was unaware, no magical binding. There is also a hint of a romance between her and a wayward elf but nothing more than that.

I give Mist 3 1/2 stars. I enjoyed the world and the mythology presented. You could tell that it was well researched. I still would have liked a bit more labor done with the characters to draw me in through Mist and her companions. I do think that will easily come as the series progresses and I can see why there was so much spent on the world building. The plot demanded it. I am looking forward to more adventures with Mist and defeating the irrepressible Loki.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Soul Born

Meme hosted by Melissa My World in Words and Pages. It's about books that are already on the shelves and are waiting to be read. Go to her website to join in!

My submission this week:

Soul Born 
by Kevin James Breaux
All Opal wanted was to be respected as a wielder of magic, but her teachers passed her over time and time again. When a mysterious warlord embarks on a conquest to destroy the lands of Illyia Opal seizes an opportunity to step out from the shadows of her instructors and take her rightful spot among them. Tala, an alluring young elf, was banished from her tribe, hunted and nearly killed by the beasts that dwell in the deep forests, but more than anything else she is a survivor. Joining forces with an ancient elemental power Tala finds herself in the center of an unrelenting human war. She never wanted any of this. Flesh like leather and bone as strong as steel Karn, a veteran from the first kingdom to fall, is fueled by vengeance. While pushing ever headlong into battle Karn begins to recall memories of another life; ghosts that haunt his dreams. Through death of soul, their world is born.
I have been curious about this one ever since I spied the Dan Dos Santos cover. Yep, I have it and I still need to get to it.
Any books you got because of the cover artist? 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Prodigal Son (Truth Seers #1) by Debra Mullins

Series: Truth Seers #1
Publisher: Tor Books
Available Now
Source: From the publisher for review
Bounty hunter Rafe Montana is a Seer, descended from the fabled Atlanteans. He uses his inherited power to “see” criminals across the globe and track them down, and he’s just started on a new case. Danny Cangialosi is accused of disappearing with a stolen car…but for the first time in his life, when Rafe goes looking, he is unable to “see” him. Instead, his search leads him to Danny’s stubborn, meddling, and very cute stepsister, Cara McGaffigan. 
Cara is looking for Danny, too, but not to turn him in. He is her brother, after all, and she’s convinced he has a good heart. If she can just find him before the cops do, she’ll figure out a way to get him out of this. But Cara didn’t count on a scorching-hot bounty hunter getting in her way.

Despite instant chemistry, Rafe and Cara know they’re never going to see eye-to-eye when it comes to Danny. What they don’t know is that Danny didn’t just steal a car—he stole a precious stone, a stone right out of the legends of Atlantis. It holds powers they can only dream of…and its owner wants it back.
My thoughts:
This is an interesting PNR world in which you have people descended from Atlantis with powers. The blurb at the end of the book explains where she got the idea. There is a region in Basque area of Spain where the native tongue is different than any other. The legend goes that they are descended from Atlantis. I thought that tidbit was so interesting it actually put a different spin on things for me when reading the book. Almost so I would have put it at the beginning of the book. :)

I did enjoy this PNR for the most part, but I have to say that when Rafe and Cara, our couple, had problems I just didn't buy their arguments. They seemed petty and out of the blue in some cases. One would get mad at the stupidest of things or if it wasn't stupid, their heated reaction just seemed out of place. Perhaps it was just me, but it didn't feel like it was a part of their personalities but put in to create tension. Other than those episodes, the PNR read as it should when wanting a heated romance with an HEA.

I give this book 3 stars. I ended up having lots of questions about this world, but not so much it bothered me. I think that is because I felt those answers would come as the series progresses. I also feel that this is a series that could get stronger as it goes along. I am looking forward to the next book and I'm hoping it will have Rafe's sister Tess and Mr. Grey. I would expect lots of snark within that coupling. :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Top Off Tuesday: One Sweet Ride

"Every once in awhile there are covers that just make you say Oh My! Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is bad, and sometimes it is head scratching. The point of Top Off Tuesday is to show you the ones with their Tops Off! Seriously y’all hunting out Top Off Tuesday covers is one of my favorite pastimes and you should join the fun!" ~from the Geeky Blogger

I have been enjoying this meme on Felicia's The Geeky Blogger's blog and have finally found some time to join in. The other players are Amanda from On a Book Bender, Christi from Smitten with Reading. Button made by Missie at The Unread Reader

My submission:

One Sweet Ride
by Jaci Burton
Gray Preston was born into money, but he’s built his racing empire on hard work and muscle. And now that Gray has millions of fans, his senator father sends one of his aides, Evelyn Hill, to elicit Gray’s help in garnering votes for the upcoming national election. Gray wants nothing to do with his estranged father’s campaign, but Evelyn can be pretty persuasive. She’s willing to learn about racing, and maybe even get a little dirty. 
Evelyn’s number-one goal is politics, which makes working with Gray difficult, because his only passion is fast cars. As she and Gray spend time together, he teaches her about the sport he loves, and she learns a lot about the man behind the wheel. The more she learns, the more she wants him. But any desire that threatens to derail the carefully laid plans for her future is a dangerous one. 
With the passion Gray and Evelyn share running hotter than either imagined, one of them is going to have to compromise, or else run the risk of losing more than their hearts.
Everyone kept telling me that one of my past covers looked like a Jaci novel. Well, I had to peruse her novels (I knew what they looked like, but I needed a reminder... LOL) so I thought I'd put one as a ToT. I need to collect these covers books. :)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Lady Thief (Scarlet #2) by A. C. Gaughen

Series: Scarlet #2
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Published: 2/11/14
Source: NetGalley and Publisher for review
Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again.
My thoughts:
After reading Scarlet, I was happy to be able to pick up Lady Thief right after. The book starts out where the last left off and we find that we are not completely rid of Gisbourne. Gisbourne finds a way to manipulate Scarlet but knowing her from the last book, you know she doesn't go with unarmed wit. Although you question the sincerity of Gisbourne and Scarlet's ability to thwart a trap set by someone who knows her weaknesses, you still find yourself rooting for Scarlet to help defeat the court of posers.

The story in this book follows most of what we know about the story of Robin Hood trying to obtain the title of sheriff. However, in this book it is the women who, despite not having much power, seem to be the ones of cunning wit. Often in these stories the woman is the one who ends up fumbling dumbly trying to set things right. In this one, it seems it is the men that are largely ineffectual. I praise the fact that the women don't feel like that, but I still hate it when characters who are seemingly supposed to be strong just aren't and feel ineffectual. Robin took the place of where most women get trapped and it still frustrated me. However, I still really enjoyed the fact that Scarlet became our true hero.

I give this book 4 stars. I warn you about the ending. Not quite a cliffie, but it does leave us hanging and wanting that next book immediately. The first book didn't do that, but did leave threads open. I'm not a fan of those endings, but at least it didn't feel like a complete cliffhanger. (btw, do check out the trailer below... lol)

Friday, February 7, 2014

Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A. C. Gaughen

Series: Scarlet #1
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Available Now
Source: TBR pile
Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in. 
It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.
My thoughts:
 After having so many great reviews from bloggers I trust I knew I had to get this retelling of Robin Hood told from the female perspective. Knowing that Scarlet was Will Scarlet reborn from the ashes of Marian made me more intrigued. I was not disappointed. I really enjoyed this retelling where a female is the main character and is intelligent, kick ass and interesting.

I know there are a lot of criticisms of the language in the book. Scarlet talks like a commoner so it makes sense. For those of you who are bothered by a dialect of poor grammar, then be assured that once you get into the story, it seems to flow. It didn't seem to bother me more than a couple of pages. Perhaps reading highlander books helped me to flow into it much quicker. :)

I give this book 4 1/2 stars. If you enjoy retellings especially where the female takes on a whole new persona and kicks ass then I say go get this book. I got it when it was on sale and I'm happy I did since I'm about to read the next one for review. Yes, it is in my hot little hands right now. AND yes, I'm reading in order. *passes out the smelling salts*

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Stone Guardian

Meme hosted by Melissa My World in Words and Pages. It's about books that are already on the shelves and are waiting to be read. Go to her website to join in!

My submission:

Stone Guardian
by Danielle Monsch
Series: Entwined Realms #1
Narrator: Tavia Gilbert
Published: Tantor Media
Gryphons flying past skyscrapers? Wizards battling it out in coffeehouses? Women riding motorcycles with large swords strapped to their backs? All normal sights since the Great Collision happened twenty-six years ago. 
Well, not normal for everyone. Larissa Miller may have been born after the Great Collision, but as a history teacher who lives in the human-only city, she has never come into contact with any other race or species, nor has she wanted to. Her life is as ordinary as it gets—that is, until one day she walks out of her apartment and is attacked by a mob of Zombies, only to be saved by a Gargoyle. 
Gargoyles trust no one outside their Clan, but due to a cryptic prophecy, Terak, Leader of the Gargoyles, has been watching over the human woman for months. While he can find no reason why the woman has been singled out, something about her stirs every protective instinct within him. When the attack confirms that the threats against her exist and are real, he convinces Larissa that though their races have never been allies, the best chance of discovering why she has been brought into his world is by working together. 
In the course of their investigation Terak becomes entranced by his little human. But when he discovers why Necromancers want her and the great reward that awaits him if he betrays her, he must choose between the welfare of his Clan and not only Larissa's life, but the fate of this New Realm as well.
I won this one and I can't wait to get started. Any audios on your tbr? 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Author Blog Post and Giveaway: Sandy Williams

December 31, 2013 was the best New Year’s Eve I’ve had in a long time. The Sharpest Blade, the third book in my Shadow Reader series, hit the shelves. The Shadow Reader books follow McKenzie Lewis, a human who can not only see the fae, but she can track them when they fissure (or teleport) from place to place. That little talent of hers has put her in the middle of a fae civil war, a war that finally comes to a conclusion in The Sharpest Blade.

Readers have waited a long time for this book. I’m so grateful for their patience, and for all their support these last few years. The reception McKenzie has received has been awesome, and I’ve met so many wonderful readers since The Shadow Reader was published. Thank you all for sharing McKenzie’s adventures with me, and I hope 2014 brings you many hundreds of fabulous and kickass reads.

Author Bio:
Sandy Williams has lived and breathed books all her life. When she was a teen, she was always the first to finish her class assignments so that she could read as much as possible before the bell rang. Her grades didn’t suffer (much), and she was able to enroll in Texas A&M University. She didn’t sneak in novels there, but every other line of her college lecture notes are filled with snippets of stories. After she graduated, she decided to turn those snippets into books.

Sandy is the author of The Shadow Reader novels, an urban fantasy romance series about a human who can both see and track the fae. When Sandy isn’t writing, she’s taking care of her twin boys, who also debuted in 2011. They keep her busy, but she’s occasionally able to sneak in time to read books by her favorite authors, and she still enjoys playing EuroGames like Dominion, 7 Wonders, and Agricola.

Social Media Links:

The Shadow Reader Blurb
There can only be one allegiance.  
It’s her time to choose.
Some humans can see the fae. McKenzie Lewis can track them, reading the shadows they leave behind. But some shadows lead to danger. Others lead to lies. 
A Houston college student trying to finish her degree, McKenzie has been working for the fae king for years, tracking vicious rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn’t her only secret. For just as long, she’s been in love with Kyol, the king’s sword-master—and relationships between humans and fae are forbidden. 
But any hope for a normal life is shattered when she’s captured by Aren, the fierce and uncompromising rebel leader. He teaches her the forbidden fae language and tells her dark truths about the Court, all to persuade her to turn against the king. Time is running out, and as the fight starts to claim human lives, McKenzie has no choice but to decide once and for all whom to trust and where she ultimately stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.
Buy Links:

The Shattered Dark Blurb:
A love declared. A war waged. 
A future endangered. 
McKenzie Lewis has a gift. It allows her access to a world few have seen, and even fewer can comprehend. It’s her secret. And it exists in the shadows… 
McKenzie was a normal college student, save for one little twist: she’s a shadow reader, someone who can both see the fae and track their movements between our world and the Realm. It’s a gift for which she has been called insane, one for which she has risked family and friends—and one that has now plunged her into a brutal civil war among the fae. 
With the reign of the king and his vicious general at an end, McKenzie hoped to live a more normal life while exploring her new relationship with Aren, the rebel fae who has captured her heart. But when her best friend, Paige, disappears McKenzie knows her wish is, for now, just a dream. McKenzie is the only one who can rescue her friend, but if she’s not careful, her decisions could cost the lives of everyone she’s tried so hard to save.
Buy Links:

The Sharpest Blade Blurb:
Torn between two worlds. 
Torn between two lives. 
McKenzie Lewis’s ability to read the shadows has put her—and …those she loves—in harm’s way again and again. The violence must end, but will the cost of peace be more devastating than anyone ever imagined? 
After ten years of turmoil, the life McKenzie has always longed for may finally be within her grasp. No one is swinging a sword at her head or asking her to track the fae, and she finally has a regular—albeit boring—job. But when a ruthless enemy strikes against her friends, McKenzie abandons her attempt at normalcy and rushes back to the Realm. With the fae she loves and the fae she’s tied to pulling her in different directions, McKenzie must uncover the truth behind the war and accept the painful sacrifices that must be made to end it. Armed with dangerous secrets and with powerful allies at her side, her actions will either rip the Realm apart—or save it.
Buy Links:

Fill out rafflecopter form below. This is a giveaway from the author and Rabid Tour Host. It is international.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ebook Bargains and Food for Thought...

The ebook of By a Thread is on sale for this month!

By A Thread
by Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin #6
When killing people is your job, there’s no such thing as a vacation. 
Then again, how often does an assassin live long enough to enjoy her retirement? In this line of work, you either get lucky or you get dead. And since I destroyed my nemesis Mab Monroe a few weeks ago, all of Ashland’s lowlifes are gunning to make a name for themselves by taking out the lethal Spider—me, Gin Blanco. So I’m leaving behind my beloved barbecue joint and heading south with my baby sister, Bria, to cool my heels in a swanky beach town. Call it a weekend of fun in the sun. But when a powerful vampire with deadly elemental magic threatens an old friend of Bria’s, it looks like I’ll have to dig my silver stone knives out of my suitcase after all. Complicating matters further is the reappearance of Detective Donovan Caine, my old lover. But Donovan is the least of my problems. Because this time, the danger is hot on my trail, and not even my elemental Ice and Stone magic may be enough to save me from getting buried in the sand—permanently.

A few of the Hollow series ebooks by Kim Harrison are also on sale.
Black Magic Sanction #8
Pale Demon #9
A Perfect Blood #10
Holiday's are Hell #5.5
are all $1.99 at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

A freebie!
Hotter on the Edge
Three novellas of science fiction romance 
On the edge of space...
On the edge of danger...
On the edge of desire...
All That Glitters by Erin Kellison 
Cheated out of a fortune by the Sol royal family, lowborn Simon Miner will do anything to get his revenge, no matter how ruthless. When Princess Mica Sol, a terraforming expert, is shot out of the sky on the way to her sister’s lavish wedding, she fears the worst—scavengers—and flees into an alien jungle to avoid capture. But the man who pursues and captures her is none other than Simon, her former lover. Passions reignite as violence rocks Sol City, and Simon and Mica must fight for love, family, and their world… or lose everything. 
To Buy a Wife by KC Klein 
In a harsh land where corruption rules and women are few, cold realist Hudson Land must purchase a wife to save his farm. Instead of an auction, he witnesses the start of an execution. With his first look at a beautiful woman in years, Hudson knows he has to have her—no matter the cost. Lake, a chemist and a rebel fighter, is resigned to her death, but when some back-hill farmer rescues her from the chopping block she has no intention of simply becoming his wife. She’s pledged her life to the Rebellion and being bought for some stranger’s bed doesn’t change a thing, though his soft caresses have her longing for more. As lies and secrets build between them, are the quiet moments during the nights they’ve shared enough to stand against two warring factions in a world where only the strong survive? 
Enslaved by Starlight by Jessa Slade 
Transformed by empathic crystals into the perfect paramour, Benedetta Galil is the last treasure of her fading world. When raiders attack—seeking to corrupt the crystals and conquer all of charted space—she gives herself as a prize to the one man in the universe who values freedom over power. Mercenary sheership Captain Corso Deynah left oppression behind him on a burning planet and has no use for a sex slave, even one as seductive as Benedetta. But while he stubbornly resists her body, her fierce spirit tempts him, and he will risk everything—his ship, his seclusion, the very stars—to win not just her passion but her love.
Get it at Amazon

I recently reviewed Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine. I enjoyed the retelling. I was not a huge fan of Romeo and Juliet, but I do love retellings (here is the link to the review if you missed it...). Anyhoo... I recently came across this article that totally had me thinking... It is an article by Glen Tickle: You're Reading Romeo and Juliet Wrong. You are supposed to hate Romeo (link in the title). It totally changed my perspective on the play. It actually made me like it a bit more too! LOL He breaks down why he sees Romeo as a villain especially during that time period. It actually makes more sense to me than what I had be taught about them being such great lovers. Oh so those of you who have read it... what do you think? Did it change how you now see the play? 

Also if you have more deals you would like to share, do share those as well! 
Happy Tuesday... 

oh and...
Will always be a Bronco fan!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine

Publisher: NAL
Published: 2/4/14
Source: From the publisher and Edelweiss for review
In the Houses of Montague and Capulet, there is only one goal: power. The boys are born to fight and die for honor and—if they survive—marry for influence and money, not love. The girls are assets, to be spent wisely. Their wishes are of no import. Their fates are written on the day they are born. 
Benvolio Montague, cousin to Romeo, knows all this. He expects to die for his cousin, for his house, but a spark of rebellion still lives inside him. At night, he is the Prince of Shadows, the greatest thief in Verona—and he risks all as he steals from House Capulet. In doing so, he sets eyes on convent-bound Rosaline, and a terrible curse begins that will claim the lives of many in Verona… 
…And will rewrite all their fates, forever.
My thoughts:
 This is the retelling of Romeo and Juliet and not from their prospectives. It is from Romeo's cousin Benvolio we follow in this tale. All the players are present, but what we get is a more fulfilling version of what may have happened if these two houses actually existed. The prose was there but it didn't overwhelm the tale. It was placed in just enough amounts to enhance the tale and I enjoyed it.

The story we are used to has changed a bit, but really feels as if we are granted a more true telling of what transpired. We get to know the minor characters much better and find out how vengeance and a want of power is what really stirred things into motion. For those that were not a fan of the insta-love with bouts of obsession which plague the original tale, I think you will be surprised and happy with the romance that does develop. Most things follow the play, so if you were hoping for a better outcome for the doomed couple, I'll spare you now and tell you all major parts are played to it's conclusion. It is the newer parts that have it's own tale.

I give this book 4 stars. I really enjoyed this retelling and I really loved how all the major and minor players come together. It is a more intriguing tale than the play and I do like how Rachel Caine mixed it up. I recommend this book to those that are fans of retellings, want a different tale than the one we expect and just wanted a different and more satisfying ending. Also, those that crave a more intelligent heroine will not be disappointed in this version of Verona. :)

Sunday, February 2, 2014


The winner for a backlist ebook by Felicity Heaton is...

Also... I leave you this for your weekend earworm...
:D Now go hug a kitty or a puppy.