Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Deep Blue (Waterfire Saga #1) by Jennifer Donnelly

Series: Waterfire Saga #1
Publisher: Disney Press
Published: May, 6, 14
Source: NetGalley and publisher for review
The first in a series of four epic tales set in the depths of the ocean, where six mermaids seek to protect and save their hidden world. 
Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe. 
When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin's arrow poisons Sera's mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.
My thoughts:
 This is a first book of four in the Waterfire Saga. In this book we are introduced to Serafina a mermaid destined to take over for her mother in ruling her area of the sea. Her betrothal is someone she did love, but isn't so sure of lately. The rumors of his actions of late leave the princess less than thrilled at the prospect as had been just a year ago. While you think at first this is what the book is about, there is a dark turn the book takes and now Seraphina must find out who she really is and what she cares about. She needs to find out what kind of ruler she is going to become. She meets others along the way set out with their own but entwining destiny with Seraphina and this book is mostly about uncovering those truths and what they reveal about who they will become.

I feel this is an easy read for a fantasy book. I actually think that MG readers would also be able to get into this book easily. I did have a few problems with the book and it had more to do with the actions of the mermaids forgetting they were under water. For example, how would one drink a specific drink? Without a straw or some apparatus like this, it would just mix with the water. One instance it was said that Seraphina had tears. I could see looking as if she was crying, but again tears, unless out of the water, would not be seen. I also remember one mermaid remarking that another had beads of sweat on her brow. These were minor but an example of when I think the world was confused with one on dry land.

I give this book 3 stars. Despite the flaws with consistency with the world building I think it was an easy and enjoyable read that young kids could easily slip into. I recommend it to those wanting to try a fantasy book with mermaids! :)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Talk Dirty to Me (Plum Orchard #1) by Dakota Cassidy

Series: Plum Orchard #1
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Published: 4/29/14
Source: Publisher and NetGalley for review
Plum Orchard, Georgia, is about to get even juicier…

Notorious mean girl Dixie Davis is back in town and it's payback time. Literally. Dixie is flat broke and her best—make that only—friend, Landon, is throwing her a lifeline from the Great Beyond. Dixie stands to inherit his business…if she meets a few conditions:

She's got to live in Landon's mansion.

With her gorgeous ex-fiancé, Caine Donovan.

Who could also inherit the business.

Which is a phone sex empire.

Wait, what?

Landon's will lays it out: whoever gets the most new clients becomes the owner of Call Girls. Dixie has always been in it to win it, especially when it comes to Caine, who's made it clear he's not going down easy. (Oh, mercy.) Can Dixie really talk dirty and prove that she's cleaned up her act? Game on!
My thoughts:
I have to admit, I don't usually like books about mean girls but this was Dakota Cassidy and Dixie was a reformed mean girl. Oh growth! I do like that in books and I was also wanting a good romance so I gave it a try and was glad that I did.

In the story I did immediately like Dixie, the reformed mean girl. There were times when I didn't like that she allowed people to walk all over her because she felt it was her punishment for past deeds, but she did come to the aid and protection to those around her so it was easy to forgive her even when you were pushing for her to stand up for herself. I also did like the way she handled the intense scrutiny and prejudice she endured because of her past reputation. That also solidified my affinity for this character. She was still exploring who she was, and she did it with as much honesty as she could.

I didn't always like Caine, Dixie's ex, because of the way he treated her even though we knew they had a past where he got hurt. You could understand why he was angry, but knowing the Dixie we were introduced to now, it just seemed excessive. However, you will be happy to know that he does redeem himself in spades in the end. It just had to take some time.

The secondary players were some of my favorites. Em, someone who was bullied by Dixie in high school did give her grief for her past deeds, but was the first to also come around knowing that Dixie had changed. She was also a cutie and I hope the next book is about her. The other main secondary character was Landon, their deceased friend. Oh that one kills me because he won't get any books with his romance. He was a hoot even in death and someone who lived large and didn't give a damn about what others thought of him. A character I would have loved to have known better.

In the end, I really enjoyed this book even more than I thought I would from the beginning. I give the book 4 1/2 stars and recommend it to those that are looking for a good contemporary romance set in a small town.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Audio Review: Fifth Grave Past the Light (Charley Davidson #5) by Darynda Jones

Series: Charley Davidson #5
Narrator: Lorelei King
Available Now
8hrs. 52min.
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Source: win
Never underestimate the power of a woman on a double espresso with a mocha latte chaser high. (T-shirt) 
Charley Davidson isn't your everyday, run-of-the-mill grim reaper. She's more of a paranormal private eye/grim reaper extraordinaire. However, she gets sidetracked when the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, moves in next door. To further complicate matters, Reyes is her main suspect in an arson case. Charley has vowed to stay away from him until she can find out the truth... but then dead women start appearing in her apartment, one after another, each lost, confused, and terrified beyond reason. 
When it becomes apparent that her own sister, Gemma, is the serial killer's next target Charley has no choice but to ask for Reyes' help. Arsonist or not, he's the one man alive who could protect Gemma no matter who or what came at her. But he wants something in return. Charley. All of her, body and soul. And to keep her sister safe, it is a price she is willing to pay. 
Charley Davidson is at it again in Fifth Grave Past the Light, the sexy, suspenseful, and laugh-out-loud funny fifth installment of the New York Times best-selling series by Darynda Jones.
My thoughts:
Well, it's the 5th book and I'm still wanting more. If you enjoyed the series through the 4th book, the enjoyment will continue in the 5th. In this book not only does she solve multiple cold cases she also finds out more about herself in the process. Oh and if you liked Reyes in the last book (you may leave the room now because... none of that... he's MINE) you won't like him in this one. No, not at all... so leave him all to me. Okay, you know I'm lying, but geeze... how am I supposed to get you all away from him? :)

The humor is still spot on and I do know a bit of sign language (yes, some of the naughty words...) and yes... she is spot on with her descriptions of a some of those naughty signs. Um... where has she been researching this stuff? LOL The action is just as intense as the other stories and there is an ending that will leave your mouth hanging open. Not a cliffie, but will surprise you.

Hm... speaking of that ending... How dare she make me wait a month for the next book. It is going to be a hard wait. Oh and yes, I'm going to do it on audio as well. I just love Lorelei's voice in this series and I seriously recommend it on audio (in case you didn't see my other reviews of the audios of this series). It's a great series. Read it... better yet, listen to it!

...just an example of some of the humor. This one is from the Charley Davidson FB page. Seriously, all fans of this series should like that page. :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Talker 25 by Joshua McCune

Series: Talker 25 #1
Publisher: Greenwillow
Published: 4/22/14
Source: Edelweiss and Publisher for review
Debut author Joshua McCune's gritty and heart-pounding novel is a masterful reimagining of popular dragon fantasy lore, set in a militant future reminiscent of Paolo Bacigalupi's Ship Breaker and Ann Aguirre's Outpost. 
It's a high school prank gone horribly wrong-sneaking onto the rez to pose next to a sleeping dragon-and now senior Melissa Callahan has become an unsuspecting pawn in a war between Man and Monster, between family and friends and the dragons she has despised her whole life. Chilling, epic, and wholly original, this debut novel imagines a North America where dragons are kept on reservations, where strict blackout rules are obeyed no matter the cost, where the highly weaponized military operates in chilling secret, and where a gruesome television show called Kissing Dragons unites the population. Joshua McCune's debut novel offers action, adventure, fantasy, and a reimagining of popular dragon lore.
My thoughts:
 This book seemed to have everything: dragons, a heroine named Melissa... paranormal abilities, but I still don't know how to review this book.

The first half of the book was pretty good. A girl finds that she has the ability to talk to dragons and a mess occurs until she finds herself on the wrong end of the government... or government like organization. She learns a lot about a once feared entity and finds that they are quite interesting and magnificent. Things escalate until she is captured by the military organization that is intent on obliterating dragons from earth. She is then forced to help them decimate the species.

That is where I couldn't really go on.

But then I still had to know the fate of at least one of the dragons... so I skipped ahead.... and regretted it. But I still had to know so I skipped some more... and found out what I needed to know.

Why I couldn't go on is often the quickest reason I DNF books. Even though they are imagined creatures (but then so are the animals in the fictional realm of books) I just can't stand to read about their torture. There was a LOT of torture going on in the second half of the book. Now I need something light and fluffy to read so I can get that "taste" out of my mouth.

Here is the thing. I don't think this is a bad book at all. It is me, the reader, and what I personally like and hate to read about. I don't like animal torture (little kids too, but you rarely see that in books, especially in YA... if it is there it is just suggested and not in detail). I now know I don't like mythical creature torture done in a way that makes me cringe. I know not everyone will feel the way that I do and I have no doubt that others will love this book because it is very dark and harrowing. Oddly enough, if I find that the second book is sans torture, I would be glad to read it to see what happens. I think I would have to find out first before I dive in though. :) I won't give this one stars since I don't think it is fair when I didn't read the whole book.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dark and Deadly Blog Barrage!

Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance Boxed Set is now available worldwide for a special introductory price of only $0.99!

This ebook boxed set of eight hot paranormal romances by eight New York Times and USA Today best-selling romance authors features powerful alpha male bad boys who will satisfy your darkest, most deadliest desires.

Here’s more about this fantastic eight book boxed set, including an excerpt from one of the stories.

Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance is available from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks stores and other retailers. Find the links to your preferred retailer at:  

Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance
By Jennifer Ashley, Alyssa Day, Felicity Heaton, Erin Kellison, Laurie London, Erin Quinn, Bonnie Vanak and Caris Roane
Eight hot paranormal romances by New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. Alpha-male bad boys will fulfill your darkest, most deadliest desires in these stories about shifters, werewolves, vampires, magic, special powers and other realms. But only if you dare…

BODYGUARD by Jennifer Ashley
Elizabeth Chapman is saved from an armed attacker by a Kodiak bear who shifts into a tight-bodied, naked human male. Ronan takes Elizabeth to Shiftertown, becoming her 24/7 bodyguard. The mateless Ronan has adopted a houseful of orphaned Shifters--having grown up in foster care, Elizabeth is touched by his protectiveness. Ronan only wants to keep Elizabeth safe, but the sassy woman is triggering his long-buried need to mate.

He’s a warrior, hardened by years of protecting his town from vampire attack. She’s a garden witch who sees the world in shades of sunshine and delight. Opposites don’t only attract, they go supernova in this sizzling tale of magic and mayhem.

BEWITCH by Felicity Heaton
A vampire with a bloodstained past and a soul tainted with darkness, Payne is perfect in his self-control, never surrendering to his darkest desires. Now a beautiful witch in the shadowy fae underworld reawakens long denied hungers and tempts him with pleasure. When one incredible night of fulfilling their fantasies leads to more than just keeping a promise and saving a friend, will they be able to overcome the barriers that stand between them and forever?

DARKNESS FALLS by Erin Kellison
Agent Malcolm Rook is hunting for people with the rarest of talents—the ability to master dreams. He finds the undeniably gifted Jordan Lane, but she’s wary of mysterious Rook and resists his pursuit as long as she can. Yet the dreamwaters they enter are too exhilarating to resist, and attraction soon ignites electric passions. Delving too deep stirs a nightmare, one they must defeat, or be forever lost to darkness. 

ROGUE’S PASSION by Laurie London
Blaming himself for the death of a friend, Iron Guild warrior Asher Kane vows to bring those responsible to justice. After he’s hurt on a mission and nursed back to health by a beautiful yet mysterious woman, this dangerously sexy bad-boy finds himself falling for Olivia…even as he struggles to stay away. But stalking them on the streets of New Seattle is a cruel and vengeful evil—one that threatens to destroy them both…

Alex’s mission: Kill the hellhounds that have invaded earth and return to his home in the Beyond. But from the start, things go horribly wrong. The hounds are cunning and a human female witnesses their attack—she intervenes and saves Alex’s life. Now he must keep the alluring Lilly alive while fighting his desire for her. When passion flares, Alex risks all to protect her and defend the forbidden life he craves.

THE MATING HEAT by Bonnie Vanak
Werewolf Kara Mitchell fled with her brother Aiden to Montana after their alpha father punished her for kissing sexy omega werewolf Ryder Carrington. Left scarred by her father’s cruelty, Kara believes no one can love her. After killing his alpha to save the pack, Ryder now rules, but needs a mate. His blood runs hot for Kara. Ryder will do anything to claim her, even risk an all-out pack war that could cost them everything…

TRAPPED by Caris Roane
Mastyr Vampire Zephyr, a one-man fighting force, struggles to save the life of a woman who despises his warrior ways. She’s been a thorn in his side, but he has one goal: to keep her safe. For Alesia, however, she just wishes he’d leave her alone since she can never approve of his profession. She broke up with him months ago and wants to start a new life. The trouble is, he’s still the one man who can curl her toes.

Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance is available from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks stores and other retailers. Find the links to your preferred retailer at:  

Payne could feel the questions bubbling inside her and he knew that she wouldn’t be able to resist voicing them forever. He wanted her to. She was beautiful, bewitching, and he couldn’t deny that he was attracted to her, but whenever she mentioned his incubus side, he wanted to leave and forget helping Andreu and Chica.

He could be their only hope though. Elissa could be their only hope.

They reached the edge of the woods and she paused and faced him.

“Have you ever submitted to someone?”

Payne froze and blinked hard. He had to have heard his petite, enchanting Elissa wrong. She couldn’t have just asked what he thought she had. The dark colouring on her cheeks said that she had and was regretting it.

He forced a shrug. “Once or twice.”

His stomach clenched. He hoped that answer would satisfy her.

The frown on her face said it hadn’t. “I don’t believe you’ve ever really submitted to someone. It isn’t in your nature. That’s part of your problem... neither side of you can submit. Both sides crave control too much. The incubus and the vampire.”

Payne couldn’t deny that and he didn’t like that she had seen it in him so quickly after meeting him. His version of submission had been letting women go on top. Hers seemed far more threatening, and alluring. Surrendering complete control to a woman? The very thought had him as hard as steel in his jeans but at the same time made him want to flee.

She swallowed, her sexy throat working overtime, and braved a step towards him. Her eyes were dark in the low light but he didn’t miss the challenge they issued.

“Submit to me,” she said and he almost choked, barely stopped himself from making a scene that would only render him weak in her eyes, stripping him of his masculinity.

He wanted to tell her that there was no way he was going to do such a thing and that he would find some incubi and ask them about finding the den and his grandfather. He still tensed inside whenever he thought about that. The ring he needed was not only in the clutches of an incubus. It was in the grip of his grandfather, a man he had hated without ever knowing.

He must have looked as though he was going to ditch her because she launched forwards and grabbed his wrists.

Elissa looked up into his eyes, that sense of fear, desperation and hope in them again. She needed him.

He needed her, but he couldn’t indulge such desires. What she was suggesting was dangerous.

“One night of passion at my command. It will help you. It will help us both. The only way to find the incubi hideout is to embrace your incubus side and let it take control. You’ll sense the location and be able to teleport straight there.” She paused for air and tightened her grip on him and he could feel her trembling. “Please, Payne. We both need this. Please. Surrender to your desire.”

He knew his eyes were positively glowing at the prospect but he couldn’t stomach the thought of allowing his incubus side to take dominance over his vampire one. He shook his head.

“You’re afraid.” She didn’t say it in a mocking way but that was how his heart heard it, and he couldn’t deny it. It wasn’t fear holding him back though.

“It isn’t that,” he said calmly and her grip on his arms eased. “I cannot do it. My incubus side will want to dominate you as well as the vampire in me.”

“That’s only because you’ve never really embraced it. You constantly want to reject it. It’s the whole point of the exercise... you need to embrace that side of yourself if we’re going to stand a chance of discovering where the other incubi are hiding.”

Payne despised how easily she could see through him to the truth he tried so hard to hide. What else could she tell about him whenever she looked at him? He hoped she couldn’t see some things, like the black stains on his soul.

“You just want to get into my pants.” He gunned for charming even though it was hard to smile at her when his insides were in turmoil, his heart and head tearing him in too many directions.

She smiled and it was dazzling, alluring and just a little bit wicked. He had the feeling that her one night of passion had absolutely nothing to do with helping him connect to his incubus side so he could find this place of the incubi. She really did want him. Why? What did she see in him to make him worthy of her that he couldn’t?

He had tried to figure her out back in her temporary home. Whenever she had glanced his way with desire darkening her beautiful eyes, he had tried to understand what it was about him that made her look at him that way. He had snarled at her, gnashed his fangs, and hurt her, and she had still found ways to touch him, still smiled at him, still wanted him.

He didn’t understand her at all.

“I’m only asking for one moment with you, Payne.”

One moment too many and one thousand too few.

Payne stared at her, knowing his eyes were brightening and unable to stop the reaction. He couldn’t take it anymore. He was so hard for her, too far gone to care about the danger or the details. She was offering him a moment with her and he needed it. He had never needed anything so fiercely. She might break him though. He had never submitted to anyone because it wasn’t in his nature, but he would try for her, because right now he would do anything for a taste of this exquisite beauty before him.

He would try to stifle his incubus side to protect her. He couldn’t embrace it though, not as she wanted.

He had only embraced his incubus side once in his lifetime and it had awakened something terrible within him.

That night, he had lost the only woman he had ever loved.

Grab the boxed set for just $0.99 to read this story and seven others…

Dark and Deadly: Eight Bad Boys of Paranormal Romance is available from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks stores and other retailers. Find the links to your preferred retailer at: 

A giveaway of the previous boxed set, Dark and Dangerous is up for grabs. It is available in .mobi or ePub. To enter, just fill out the rafflecopter form below. Since it is an ebook bundle, the giveaway is international. 

Dark And Dangerous - Six-in-One Hot Paranormal Romances

by Jennifer Ashley, Bonnie Vanak, Caris Roane, Laurie London, Erin KellisonFelicity E. Heaton

Good luck!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Far Gone by Laura Griffin

Publisher: Gallery Books
Published: 4/15/14
Source: Edelweiss and publisher for review
To save her only brother, Andrea Finch must face down a criminal mastermind, the FBI, and her own demons in this thrilling novel from the author of the bestselling Tracers series. 
Police detective Andrea Finch is a rising star in her department until a split-second decision derails her career. Disgraced and disillusioned, she's on leave from her job when she gets an urgent call from her younger brother. She'd prefer to ignore his latest plea for cash, but this time instinct tells her something is very wrong. Andrea's search for answers takes her to a dusty Texas border town where danger lurks in plain sight and nothing is quite what it seems. 
FBI agent Jon North is working undercover in west Texas investigating an unsolved murder that may be linked to a broader plot. But when the evidence points to Andrea&amp's brother, Jon finds that persuading the stubborn cop to help will be harder than cracking his toughest case. 
Andrea must find a way to do what's right while protecting her only sibling. As the clock ticks down on a deadly plot, Andrea and Jon race to confront a heartless killer who will stop at nothing to deliver a final, terrifying message.
 My thoughts:
I enjoy Laura Griffin's Tracer series and so I was quick to get this one for review. It has all the elements for a good romantic suspense and it also has a strong female lead. All are aspects to Laura Griffin's work I enjoy. The lead male character is alpha male with a strong protective streak, but he is also compassionate. They are both workaholics with romantic pasts that never quite worked. Sparks fly and both have to wade through their emotions to come to the conclusion that they don't want to be with any one else.

The mystery part wasn't so much a who done it, but more thriller type with a home grown terrorist. Andrea finds her brother mixed up in the whole thing which also makes her mixed up in Jon's case. A case he is virtually flying solo on since he has not convinced the FBI that his suspect is the correct one. Despite Jon not wanting Andrea involved, he finds that she is invaluable in getting the case solved and the FBI on the correct track.

I give this book 4 stars. The thriller part isn't something new, but still interesting. The romance is interesting in the way the two come together and they make a good match for the other. I don't know if this is a series, but I could see this book either be a standalone or part of a new series. I recommend it to those that enjoy romantic suspense and thrillers.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sunrise (Ashfall #3) by Mike Mullin

Series: Ashfall #3
Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Published: 4/15/14
Source: From NetGalley and publisher for review
The Yellowstone supervolcano nearly wiped out the human race. Now, almost a year after the eruption, the survivors seem determined to finish the job. Communities wage war on each other, gangs of cannibals roam the countryside, and what little government survived the eruption has collapsed completely. The ham radio has gone silent. Sickness, cold, and starvation are the survivors' constant companions. 
When it becomes apparent that their home is no longer safe and adults are not facing the stark realities, Alex and Darla must create a community that can survive the ongoing disaster, an almost impossible task requiring even more guts and more smarts than ever — and unthinkable sacrifice. If they fail . . . they, their loved ones, and the few remaining survivors will perish. 
This epic finale has the heart of Ashfall, the action of Ashen Winter, and a depth all its own, examining questions of responsibility and bravery, civilization and society, illuminated by the story of an unshakable love that transcends a post-apocalyptic world and even life itself.
My thoughts:
This is the final book in the Ashfall trilogy. I had the privilege to read the other two books and I was looking forward to this one. One thing I do want to mention... when I read the first two, I read them back to back. Don't read all these books one after another. It's not that they aren't good, but they were so dark, I needed a palate cleanser in-between the books and I know a lot of people who might need something fluffy for that cleanser.

This one is as dark as the first two. What I liked about these is that it pulls no punches. Yes, you could go into the book and tear down some parts saying that it isn't realistic for some characters to get out of predicaments or injuries that easily... but you can do that in any fictional book. Still, I haven't seen it where you aren't sure that even the main characters will make it out alive and certainly unscathed. All secondary characters are all redshirts (sorry, Star Trek reference, if you aren't a nerd like me, just ignore) so you won't know who survives until the end. The stakes are as high as they have been in the other books and the danger is as bleak. It also feels like an never ending bid for survival... which is realistic. Even so, in this book we do get small snippets of light and a few people who finally come around.

There were some aspects that bothered me at first like when Alex would leave the colony to go on scavenge hunts. This was addressed in the book so I was pleasantly surprised and it added another dimension of politics to the survival story. Also, like in the other books, my favorite part was Alex and Darla's relationship. There is little misunderstanding between them because they are more mature than most and discuss problems before they actually become a problem. Yes, they fight, but they fight fairly and with the want to understand the other. I wish more books had relationships like this in them.

I give this book 4 stars. The book isn't without it's faults. I didn't love the ending, but I certainly didn't hate it. It just felt incomplete to me. Still, I feel that this is a great addition to the series and would love to have a novella to know how the colony fares and what they learned about what happened in the world after this book.

Monday, April 14, 2014

House of Ivy and Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

Publisher: Harper Teen
Published: April 15, 14
Source: Edelweiss and publisher for review
Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves.

My thoughts:
This was a cute witching story that I would consider for younger YA crowds would enjoy. The interactions between the characters were a bit younger than I would feel at the older YA level would enjoy. The storyline is an interesting one. Not as dark as you would have expected, but yet still mysterious enough to keep me reading.

I had ideas about parts of the mystery and I did like the way the ending happened, but most of it was predictable. I didn't mind since I got my complete HEA. There is a hint of a love triangle, but it doesn't come to fruition and Jo, our heroine, choses wisely and confidently. It's at least the conclusion to an almost triangle we often want in a book like this.

In the end, I give this book 3 stars. It isn't as dark as I thought it would be, but it is an enjoyable young witch coming into her powers kind of book. It also has some great friendships that endure separation and some heartache.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet (Charley Davidson #4) by Darynda Jones

Series: Charley Davidson #4
Narrator: Lorelei King
Length: 9 hrs. 28m
Publisher: Audible
Available Now
Source: win
Sometimes being the grim reaper really is that. Grim. And since Charley’s last case went so awry, she has taken a couple months off to wallow in the wonders of self-pity. But when a woman shows up on her doorstep convinced someone is trying to kill her, Charley has to force herself to rise above. Or at least get dressed. She quickly realizes something is amiss when everyone the woman knows swears she’s insane. The more they refute the woman’s story, the more Charley believes it.
My thoughts:
 Another great installment in audio! This is a series I've enjoyed in audio and will continue to do so in this format. I'm so addicted!! :D

In this book we find our heroine with some PTSD with a side betrayal from her father. She ends up finding some interesting ways of coping with it. Having no other choice but to go out and find some way to feed herself and Cookie (or at least one good cuppa coffee!) and stay away from late night tv infomercials she stumbles upon a case that will at least bring her out of hiding. She also tracks down Reyes and finds more than she bargained. She also finds some answers to a few of her burning questions! Oh and let me just say, I LOVE the way Reyes helps Charley with her PTSD. What a great therapist.

I don't want to spend too much time on the review. I'm just afraid I'll give away too much. Let me just say that this one is as good as the others, Reyes is so *sigh* MINE *glares at everyone in the room* and Cookie even gave me a few tears toward the end. All I can say is if I can't be friends with Charley, then I want to be friends with Cookie! Love these characters and trust me... if you haven't yet... this is a series that is NOT to be missed. Also, be warned... you will want to start naming everything. I really should think of a name for my computer. Any suggestions?

I give this book 4 1/2 stars and can't wait to put on the next book in this series... on audio! :D

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Forever Song Blog Tour w/ review and giveaway!

The Forever Song
by Julie Kagawa
Blood of Eden #3
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: April 15, 14
Source: NetGalley and blog tour for review
Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? 
With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer. 
Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the path is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions—her creator, Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. 
The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost— the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie. In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, triumph is short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.
My thoughts:
I wasn't sure what to expect with the last book in the series. I'm usually not a fan of last books, but I did enjoy this one. However, my impatience almost made me skim. I wanted to know what happened after that last horrible ending of the Eternity Cure and the author, Julie Kagawa, drew out our pain in increments. I knew I would regret any skipping so I was good although impatient. :)

Finally! I was rewarded with what I wanted to know. WHAT? That happened? I didn't expect that, but maybe I should have. But then again I am still surprised... hm... still enjoyed that twist but knew there was SO much more book to go. So I happily read on. :) (What? you thought I was going to tell you? Silly rabid... ) ;)

All I will finally say is that I give this ending 4 stars. It is a solid ending and it answers a lot of questions. There could be room for a novella or two and I hope it is with Jackal. I don't even care where it is placed in the series, just want one of him. Oh yea, he rocked in this book too. :D I recommend this series. It is fun. :D

Contest Info: 
Each tour stop is offering up the winner’s choice of either THE IMMORTAL RULES, THE ETERNITY CURE or THE FOREVER SONG - whichever book of the series you might be missing!

There are also 2 grand prizes:

• 1 winner will get a complete set of Julie Kagawa’s books, including The Iron Fey Saga and The Blood of Eden Saga!

• 1 winner will get a $100 gift card from either iTunes, Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

Please enter via the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway is open to US/Canada and ends May 2nd.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

AimeeKay Review: The Taste of Apple Seeds by Katharina Hagena

Available Now
Publisher: William Marrow and Company
Source: From publisher for review
When Iris unexpectedly inherits her grandmother's house in the country, she also inherits the painful memories that live there. 
Iris gives herself a one-week stay at the old house, after which she'll make a decision: keep it, or sell it. The choice is not so simple, though, for her grandmother's cottage is an enchanting place where currant jam tastes of tears, sparks fly from fingertips, love's embrace makes apple trees blossom, and the darkest family secrets never stay buried. 
As Iris moves in and out of the flicker between remembrance and forgetting, she chances upon a forgotten childhood friend who could become more. 
The Taste of Apple Seeds is a bittersweet story of heartbreak and hope passed down through the generations.
AimeeKay's Thoughts:

I really tried to get into Taste. I wanted to like it, I really did. The story itself was interesting, but there were certain factors that really made it hard to enjoy. It's hard to separate what I enjoyed from what I didn't because it seemed to go hand in hand.

I thought the story itself was interesting. Iris has been left her grandmother's home and she has to figure out whether she wants to keep it or not. As she tries to decide, she ends up finding out more about her family, and herself, then she ever realized. It also explores people's memories and how someone's memory of an event can seem to change the event itself . The problem I had with the story was that it just seemed to lack any point. Yes, there are mysteries and family secrets, but they either don't get solved, or there just doesn't seem to be a reason for them. Plus the way it jumped between different memories really wasn't as seamless as it could have been and it gave the narrative a very jerky sensation. At the end of the story it just left me with an empty and unresolved feeling.

I have to say I did love some of the authors descriptions. They really brought the house and characters to life. However, even while I was being pulled into the authors world, there were times that the descriptions seemed to trip over themselves. I'm not sure if this is the fault of the author, or a fault in the translation. I felt while I was reading that it probably was more something that was lost in translation, since I have had similar issues with other translated works as well.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Collector of Dying Breaths (Reincarationist #6) by M.J. Rose

Reincarnationist Series #6
Publisher: Atria Books
Published: April 8, 14
Source: From Netgalley and the publisher for review
A lush and imaginative novel that crisscrosses time as a perfumer and a mythologist search for the fine line between potion and poison, poison and passion…and past and present. 
Florence, Italy—1533: An orphan named René le Florentin is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. Traveling with the young duchessina from Italy to France, René brings with him a cache of secret documents from the monastery where he was trained: recipes for exotic fragrances and potent medicines—and a formula for an alchemic process said to have the potential to reanimate the dead. In France, René becomes not only the greatest perfumer in the country but the most dangerous, creating deadly poisons for his Queen to use against her rivals. But while mixing herbs and essences under the light of flickering candles, Rene doesn’t begin to imagine the tragic and personal consequences for which his lethal potions will be responsible. 
Paris, France—The Present: A renowned mythologist, Jac L’Etoile, is trying to recover from personal heartache by throwing herself into her work, learns of the 16th century perfumer who may have been working on an elixir that would unlock the secret to immortality. She becomes obsessed with René le Florentin’s work—particularly when she discovers the dying breathes he had collected during his lifetime. Jac’s efforts put her in the path of her estranged lover, Griffin North, a linguist who has already begun translating René le Florentin’s mysterious formula. Together they confront an eccentric heiress in possession of a world-class art collection. A woman who has her own dark purpose for the elixir… a purpose for which she believes the ends will justify her deadly means. This mesmerizing gothic tale of passion and obsession crisscrosses time, zigzagging from the violent days of Catherine de Medici’s court to twenty-first century France. Fiery and lush, set against deep, wild forests and dimly lit chateaus, The Collector of Dying Breaths illuminates the true path to immortality: the legacies we leave behind.
My thoughts:
I picked this one up since I have been curious about this series and understand that these can be read as standalones. That was correct. The theme or reincarnation is what holds the collection together and the stories are separate.

In this book we follow alternating POVs of René, Catherine de Medici's perfumer, and Jac the daughter and sister of 2 great perfumers and one in her own right (she does not do it professionally). With René's story we follow what happened to him and what he did right before and during his time in the service of Catherine. We follow his long time obsession with collecting dying breaths in hopes of reanimating that soul into a newborn babe. He finds a formula where the ingredients are hard to find. He thinks he may have stumbled on the elixir to immortal life.

We also follow Jac. Her brother had been poisoned and she is not sure if she is the next target. She starts the arduous task of collecting her brother's things and she stumbles on his last project. The project determined to bring back René's greatest work of reanimating dying breaths. She becomes intrigued and then obsessed when she learns that her brother had his last breath collected. Through twists and turns that also ends up as a murder mystery, she finds the most shocking truth of it all and how everything connects. And that truth is... Yea, right... not going to reveal that. ;)

I give this book 4 stars. I recommend it to those that enjoy a good twisty mystery and a large amount of historical fiction. I really enjoyed the author's writing and I do intend to pick up the other 5 because now I'm very curious. Even with the shifting POVs, it is very readable.

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Almost forgot to post the winners of:
They are:
Congrats! I have contacted them all and sent their info off to the publisher!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Pop Art: Decorating and Shaping Custom Cake Pops by Kris Galicia Brown

Pop Art: Decorating and Shaping Custom Cake Pops
Available Now
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Source: From publisher for review
You've never seen cake pops like these! Hot Air Balloons, Pineapples, Robots, and Easter Baskets---cake pop artist Kris Galicia Brown shows you how to shape, dip, and decorate over 40 amazing designs. Make your cake pops phenomenal with Pop Art!
Whether you're a beginner or a veteran, cake pop artist Kris Galicia Brown shows you how to shape, dip, and decorate over 40 amazing designs for any holiday or event. Learn her personal techniques, tips, and tricks to create the most mouthwatering and beautiful cake pops.
My thoughts:
Can you see those pictures on the cover? Don't think you can do them? Oh I think you can! Just follow the directions given by the author and it would be easy. 

Her ideas are so well put together. Plus everything is laid out well so you can attempt them yourself. Don't believe me? Check out this video:

One of these days I'm going to try out the little furry dog she has on one of her pages for my vet. They do so much for my furry spoiled babies that I thought those would be cute. They even have kitties, but since I have puppers... :) If you want to see more of what you can make check out her website on the Gallery page (HERE). That little puppy is on that page. 

I give this book 4 stars. It's something different and fun and I think the instructions are extremely easy to follow.

Author Bio:
With a love for sweets and a passion for design, Kris Galicia Brown is a light of inspiration in the cake pop industry. Kris skillfully crafts her sweets like works of fine art.

After graduating with a degree in advertising from the Art Institute of California-San Diego, she pursued a career in graphic design and worked as lead Creative for a local advertising and PR agency. After entering motherhood, Kris founded kCreative and began work as a freelance designer and ultimately stumbled upon the world of cake pops. Her background as a graphic designer has proved to be an excellent foundation for her newest venture.

Kris's originality, eye for detail, and addiction to precision sets her apart from other cake pop makers and has landed her a global audience. Kris lives in San Diego, California, with her husband and two daughters. In addition to running her business, Goods by kCreative, Kris also teaches cake pop classes and blogs regularly. Learn more about Kris Galicia Brown at

Thursday, April 3, 2014

10% Happier by Dan Harris

Available Now
Publisher: It Books
Source: From Edelweiss and publisher for review
After having a nationally televised panic attach on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. After learning about research that suggests meditation can do everything from lower your blood pressure to essentially rewire your brain, Harris took a deep dive into the underreported world of CEOs, scientists, and even marines who are now using it for increased calm, focus, and happiness. "10% Happier" takes readers on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America's spiritual scene, and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives
My thoughts:
 I'm not a general fan of self-help books. Usually it is either a rehash of things you already know or at it's worse... it blames the victim for things they cannot possibly control. However, there are occasional gems that allow you to see the problem from a different angle. I wasn't sure about this one when I first heard about it and then I caught Dan Harris from ABC News talking about his book one night. Hm... he seemed down to earth and really sincere. I became curious.

I check out the titles of the chapters and I see "10. The Self-Interested Case for Not Being a Dick" and then in the preface I see... "I initially wanted to call this book The Voice in My Head Is and Asshole". Okay, this one might be right up my alley. :)

The book is more autobiographical in nature telling us how he came to figure out that meditation is his key to helping him deal with stress and his competitive nature. He didn't want to delete his drive or his sense of competition, but find a way to not allow that stress to overtake his life. He goes through several self-help gurus whom he mostly found ridiculous or hypocritical. He does find gems within some of them, but mostly he has many questions that go unanswered. Within his quest he starts to learn to separate the truth from fallacy and even found spiritual help from a devout atheist. All lead him to a retreat in which I could never complete. He does complete it and finds a small community willing to answer his questions and when he is ready to hear those answers he finds solace.

I give this book 4 stars. I think it is an honest look at what worked for one man and may work for others. Although this is pretty much an autobiographical book he does give the low-down to how he meditates in the appendix of the book if you need something quick to answer some of those general questions and how to do meditation. It is a book I would recommend those that are wanting to take up the practice but have not found a down to earth way of looking at it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Turned (The Belladonna Agency #1) by Virna DePaul and Top Off Tuesday!

Series: The Belladonna Agency #1
Published: April 1, 14
Publisher: Bantam
Source: From NetGalley and publisher for review
Welcome to a mesmerizing world where vampires hide among humans. This centuries-old species has its own rules, code of conduct, and taboos. Only the FBI knows that vampires exist—and although the Bureau agrees to keep their secret, it also plots to give humans the upper hand. 
Turning mortals into vampires is forbidden. 
But there are creatures who refuse to play by the rules. 
Ever since he was turned, FBI special agent Ty Duncan has had one mission: bring rogue vampires to justice. As a recruiter for Belladonna, a shadow agency formed to keep vampires in check, Ty must tap Ana Martin, a troubled ex–gang member and one of the few mortals who can infiltrate places that his kind and the law cannot. From their first encounter, Ty fights a hunger to make Ana his own. 
When Ty claims to have information about Ana’s missing sister, Ana has no choice but to trust this captivating stranger who awakens her deepest desires. But as she and Ty climb the heights of pleasure and passion, an enemy is conspiring to destroy them both.
Can Ana help Ty find his humanity in a love that could heal them both, or will their passion lead them into a darkness impossible to escape?
My thoughts:
 A new PNR vampire series and it sounded fun. It was an easy quick read with lots of hot smexy scenes. In this book we have Ana and Ty. Ana has a past she has tried to outrun and Ty's past lead him to where he is today... a vampire working for the FBI unit called Belladonna. Both are tortured by their past and past wrongs. Both are lonely and find themselves drawn to each other in ways that surprise both of them.

My biggest problems with the book really stem from not knowing much about the Belladonna program. We do get quite a bit of insight, but so much of it is still left in the dark. However, I do feel this is intentional and more will be revealed as the series progresses. The other problem I had was with Ty. It seemed that his hormones overtook him at every corner to the point you wondered how he got anything done. It actually seemed to hamper me with my connection with him until at one point he showed true vulnerability to Ana. It seemed genuine and I felt that they belonged to each other after that. However, we kept getting the hot/cold attitude from him which confused Ana as well as me. Also, another vampire was thrown in the end and I wanted to know more. He left the book before I could ask him anything. Darn it! What is going on there?

Despite my problems with this book, I think it gave you what you are looking for in a PNR. Hot couple and a bit of a problem to solve with a bit of action. I give the book 3 stars and I would love to see where this vampire world takes us. I really want to know more about those darn disappearing vamps!

Bloggy note:
I'm also submitting this book as my Top Off Tuesday submission. Thought it was perfect for today! :D
"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