quotes Jennifer likes


"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."— Jane Austen

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

TOP TEN TUESDAY: My Fall TBR List


Hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

~TEN BOOKS ON MY FALL TBR LIST~

BOOKS I ALREADY OWN

Murder of Crows (The Others, #2)
1. Murder of Crows (The Others #2) by Anne Bishop (urban fantasy)
I loved the first book in this series (Written in Red) and need to get caught up before the third book is released next year.

World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)
2. World After (Penryn and the End of Days #2) by Susan Ee (urban fantasy)
I read (and adored) Angelfall a few years ago and, for some reason, keep forgetting about the sequel.

Killer Frost (Mythos Academy, #6)
3. Killer Frost (Mythos Academy #6) by Jennifer Estep (YA paranormal)
This is an example of not wanting a series to end...I love the world of Mythos and will miss it.

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy, #3)
4. The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3) by Deborah Harkness (paranormal romance)
This is the conclusion of a fascinating series that I really will miss reading about.

Silver Shadows (Bloodlines, #5)
5. Silver Shadows (Bloodlines #5) by Richelle Mead (YA paranormal)
I am hesitating about this one because I know I will want to read the next book in the series right away and it doesn't release until next February.

BOOKS THAT HAVEN'T BEEN RELEASED YET

Chained by Night (MoonBound Clan Vampire, #2)
6. Chained by Night (Moonbound Clan #2) by Larissa Ione (paranormal romance)
The first book in the series was really good and I'm excited to return to this unique vampire world.
[Coming September 30th]

Darling Beast (Maiden Lane, #7)
7. Darling Beast (Maiden Lane #7) by Elizabeth Hoyt (historical romance)
One of my favorite historical series and I'm always game for a tortured hero.
[Coming October 14th]

Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover (The Rules of Scoundrels, #4)
8. Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover (Rules of Scoundrels #4) by Sarah MacLean (historical romance)
A heroine that I'm sure will become legendary and the conclusion of a wonderful series.
[Coming November 25th]

Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1)
9. Burn For Me (Hidden Legacy #1) by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy)
I have been meaning to try Andrews's Kate Daniels series, but I'm also intrigued by her newest series.
[Coming October 28th]

Night Shift (Kate Daniels, #7.5; SPI Files, # 0.5; Psy-Changeling)
10. "Secrets At Midnight" (Psy-Changeling #13.5) by Nalini Singh (paranormal romance)
A novella for another fabulous series.  Plus we return to the world of the changelings!!
[Coming November 25th]

Monday, September 22, 2014

REVIEW: "Shadowdance" by Kristen Callihan


Shadowdance (Darkest London, #4)
Shadowdance by Kristen Callihan
For Ages 18+ (Language, Violence, Sensuality)
Steampunk Romance -- Victorian England

Forever -- Published in December 2013
Mass Market Paperback, 427 pages
Read in September 2014
Borrowed from the library

THEMES
Alpha Hero, Tortured Hero, Kick-Ass Heroine

SUMMARY
Once a heart is lost in shadow...
Life has been anything but kind to Mary Chase. But the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals has given her purpose. Now she's been tasked with catching a vicious murderer dubbed the Bishop of Charing Cross. But someone is already on the case—and the last thing he relishes is a partner.

Only someone who lives in darkness can find it.
Jack Talent has been alone with his demons for many years. He never expected to have the willful Mary Chase assist him on the Bishop case. Their age-old rivalry reaches new heights—even as their desire for one another reaches a fever pitch. Though he aches to bring her close, Jack's dark secrets are a chasm between them. With dangerous enemies closing in, Jack must find the strength to face the past...or risk losing Mary forever.


FIRST LINE
"Life was not a long, straight road, but a series of turns."

MY THOUGHTS
Shadowdance features two characters that fans of Callihan's Darkest London series have been eagerly waiting to see take center stage: Jack Talent and Mary Chase.  This is a series that combines elements of steampunk, historical, and paranormal romance in a fabulous way.  I love the creativity that is shown in the worldbuilding and the character development though this was not my favorite installment.

Jack is the adopted son of a shifter lord with mysterious origins while Mary is a GIM (ghost in machine) who works for the Society for the Suppression of Supernaturals (SOS).  These are two characters who have been circling around each other for quite a few books and it was great to see them finally acknowledge their feelings. Things get going when Mary joins Jack on his investigation into the cult-like murders of demons.  Jack is one of the best agents that the SOS has, but they are concerned about why it is taking so long for him to solve this mystery.  Mary is assigned to figure that out and also to keep an eye on Jack who is still recovering from a lengthy torture at the hands of demons.

I adored both of these characters.  Mary is a lively and intelligent woman who is not afraid to do dirty work in order to achieve her mission.  She also shows a softer side when dealing with her friends and the man she is slowly falling for.  Jack is a character who has not had it easy lately.  He was captured by demons and is continuing to recover from that situation.  I love a good tortured hero and Jack definitely fit the bill.  What I admired most about him was his loyalty to his friends and adopted family as well as his strength of character.

The world of Darkest London is one of the best aspects of the series.  I love the way that Kristen Callihan has mixed mythologies of angels, demons, elementals, shifters, and even the fae into a Victorian-era world.  While a reader could probably pick up a random installment and follow things for the most part, I do recommend reading the books in order.  There is a lot of information floating around that I think could get confusing as the series moves towards an ultimate climax.

Another fun part of this series is the fascinating cast of characters that continues to grow larger with each installment.  Jack and Mary have been around for awhile, but readers are introduced to some fun newbies like SOS mechanical expert Holly Evernight and blood-drinking demon William Thorne.  There are also cameos from old favorites like Daisy and Ian from Moonglow and Poppy and Winston from Winterblaze.

The main issue I had with Shadowdance was the slow beginning.  It felt like it kept dragging on and I almost put it down quite a few times.  Mary and Jack have great chemistry, but I did find myself getting frustrated with the sheer amount of time that was spent on them circling around each other.  Thankfully, things picked up in the second half and I was easily able to get into the rest of the plot.  I just wish that the pacing had been better in the first part.

3.5 STARS


STEAM LEVEL
Flush -- Detailed descriptions of lovemaking though nothing overly graphic.

FAVORITE QUOTE
"A kiss," he said, "Is a conversation."  Easing closer, he continued to speak as he caressed her cheeks with featherlight stokes of his thumbs, "A first kiss", his lips neared hers, is an introduction and then his mouth brushed against hers. The contact sparked, sharp and bright like lightning, yet his lips were soft, unexpectedly so. Her breath caught the same instant his did.  Against her mouth he whispered "That was Hello." 

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
0.5. Ember
1. Firelight
2. Moonglow
3. Winterblaze
3.5. Entwined
4. Shadowdance
5. Evernight
6. Soulbound (Coming 2015)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

THEMES AND TROPES (2): Brainy Heroines and Heroes

This is part of a new (irregular) feature I'm going to be doing on my blog.  Basically, I am going to be focusing one a specific theme (or trope) that I have found in my years as a voracious reader/blogger.  I love finding commonalities between my favorite books and how that helps define me as a reader.  These won't be released on a regular schedule, but just appear randomly.

This one is going to focus on BRAINY HEROINES AND HEROES.  These are characters that aren't just smart, but are geniuses in one area or another.  

Please note that this list includes both Adult and Young Adult/Middle Grade Fiction novels so pay attention to the genre postings.  Also, while I wish I could say that I have read and recommend all of these, there just isn't enough time in the day.  I am providing links to any reviews I have published for these books and will put a note if I have read it.  

Enjoy and let me know if I missed one of your favorites and I'll add it!




BRAINY HEROINES
Adult Fiction
My Darling Caroline by Adele Ashworth (historical) -- I rated it 4 stars.
The Imposter by Celeste Bradley (historical) -- I rated it 4.5 stars.
As You Desire by Connie Brockway (historical) -- I rated it 4.5 stars.
The Other Guy's Bride by Connie Brockway (historical) -- I rated it 4 stars.
Evernight by Kristen Callihan (steampunk)
A Rake's Midnight Kiss by Anna Campbell (historical)
Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase (historical) -- I rated it 4.5 stars.
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie (contemporary) -- I rated it 5 stars.
A Week To Be Wicked by Tessa Dare (historical) -- I rated it 5 stars.
Bound By Your Touch by Meredith Duran (historical) -- I rated it 4 stars.
A Gentleman Undone by Cecilia Grant (historical) -- I rated it 5 stars.
Guilty Pleasures by Laura Lee Guhrke (historical) -- I rated it 4.5 stars.
Let Sleeping Rogues Lie by Sabrina Jeffries (historical) -- I rated it 5 stars.
Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon (paranormal) -- I rated it 5 stars.
Go, Fetch by Shelly Laurenston (paranormal)
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean (historical) -- I rated it 4.5 stars.
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning (contemporary) -- I rated it 4 stars.
Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster (steampunk) -- I rated it 5 stars.
The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan (historical) --  I rated it 5 stars.
Talk Sweetly To Me by Courtney Milan (historical) -- I rated it 4 stars.
Nobody's Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (contemporary) -- I rated it 4 stars.
Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid (contemporary) -- I rated it 4 stars.
A Study in Seduction by Nina Rowan (historical)
Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh (paranormal) -- I rated it 4.5 stars.
Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh (paranormal) -- I rated it 4.5 stars.
Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh (paranormal) -- I rated it 5 stars.
Sweet Enemy by Heather Snow (historical)
Sweet Deception by Heather Snow (historical)
Sweet Madness by Heather Snow (historical)
Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas (historical) -- I rated it 4 stars.
Lover Unbound by JR Ward (paranormal) -- I rated it 5 stars.

Young Adult/Middle Grade Fiction
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Legend by Marie Lu (dystopian) -- I rated it 4 stars.
Cress by Marissa Meyer (science fiction) -- I rated it 5 stars.
A Girl Named Digit by Annabel Monaghan (contemporary)
Harry Potter series by JK Rowling (fantasy) -- I rated the whole series 5 stars.
Matilda by Roald Dahl (fantasy) -- I rated it 4 stars.



BRAINY HEROES
Adult Fiction
The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie by Jennifer Ashley (historical) -- I rated it 5 stars
Obsession Wears Opals by Renee Bernard (historical)
Beauty and the Brain by Elizabeth Bevarly (contemporary)
Out of Control by Suzanne Brockmann (romantic suspense)
As You Desire by Connie Brockway (historical) -- I rated it 4.5 stars.
Last Night's Scandal by Loretta Chase (historical) -- I rated it 5 stars.
The Devil's Delilah by Loretta Chase (historical)
Meet the Earl at Midnight by Gina Conkle (historical)
Love Lessons by Heidi Cullinan (male/male contemporary) -- I rated it 4.5 stars.
A Private Gentleman by Heidi Cullinan (male/male historical) -- I rated it 4.5 stars.
Dirty Laundry by Heidi Cullinan (male/male contemporary) -- I rated it 4 stars.
The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand (contemporary) -- I rated it 3.5 stars.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (paranormal) -- I rated it 5 stars.
Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper (paranormal) -- I rated it 4 stars.
Snow Falling on Bluegrass by Molly Harper (contemporary) -- I rated it 4 stars.
To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt (historical) -- I rate it 5 stars.
Sleeping Beauty by Judith Ivory (historical)
When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James (historical) -- I rated it 5 stars.
Sexy/Dangerous by Beverly Jenkins (romantic suspense)
A Most Unconventional Match by Julia Justiss (historical) -- I rated it 4.5 stars.
Flowers From the Storm by Laura Kinsale (historical) -- I rated it 4 stars.
Trust Me by Jayne Ann Krentz (contemporary)
Absolutely, Positively by Jayne Ann Krentz (contemporary)
It's Not Shakespeare by Amy Lane (male/male contemporary)
The Dickens With Love by Josh Lanyon (male/male contemporary) -- I rated it 4.5 stars.
Muscling Through by J.L. Merrow (male/male contemporary) -- I rated it 4 stars.
Proof By Seduction by Courtney Milan (historical) -- I rated it 4 stars.
Unraveled by Courtney Milan (historical) -- I rated it 5 stars.
The Real Deal by Lucy Monroe (contemporary) -- I rated it 4.5 stars.
The Dangerous Viscount by Miranda Neville (historical) -- I rated it 4 stars.
Hot Shot by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (contemporary)
Lady Be Good by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (contemporary) -- I rated 4.5 stars.
To Sir PhillipWith Love by Julia Quinn (historical) -- I rated it 4.5 stars.
Love Hacked by Penny Reid (contemporary) -- I rated it 4.5 stars.
In Death series by JD Robb (romantic suspense) -- I rated the series an average of 4.5 stars.
Vision in White by Nora Roberts (contemporary)
To Charm a Naughty Countess by Theresa Romain (historical)
Love, Technically by Lynne Silver (contemporary)
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (contemporary)
Cinderman by Anne Stuart (contemporary)
Lover Unbound by JR Ward (paranormal) -- I rated it 5 stars.
The Bed and the Bachelor by Tracy Anne Warren (historical)

Young Adult/Middle Grade Fiction
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (science fiction)
Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer (fantasy)
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green (contemporary) -- I rated it 4.5 stars.
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green (contemporary) -- I rated it 5 stars.
Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks (contemporary)
Mindblind by Jennifer Roy (contemporary)
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (fantasy)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

STACKING THE SHELVES (50)

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A great feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers get to feature the new books they received over the past week.

 
~BOUGHT~
There was a huge Audible sale this week where a ton of books were only $4.95 so I added some fun audios to my collection.

Web of Lies (Elemental Assassin, #2)
Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep -- I read the first Elemental Assassin book awhile ago and have been meaning to try the rest of the series.

Changeless (Parasol Protectorate, #2)
Changeless by Gail Carriger -- I also decided to buy the second of the Parasol Protectorate series since I adored the first book (Soulless) years ago.

Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1)
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein -- I've been meaning to read this forever so I was pumped to see the audiobook go on sale.

~RECEIVED FOR REVIEW~
Foundation of Trust (Cost of Repairs, #5)
Foundation of Trust by A.M. Arthur -- I love the Cost of Repairs series and was so ecstatic to see that A.M. Arthur is writing more.

***********
WEEKLY RECAP

I READ... 
What a Wallflower Wants by Maya Rodale
Forged by Desire by Bec McMaster
Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper


Friday, September 19, 2014

REVIEW: "Broken" by Lauren Layne


Broken (Redemption, #1)
Broken by Lauren Layne
For Ages 15+ (Language, Sensuality)
New Adult -- Contemporary Romance

Flirt -- Published in September 2, 2014
Ebook, 270 pages
Read in September 2014
Received from Netgalley

THEMES
Dual POVs, Male Narrator, Tearjerker, Tortured Hero, Small Town Setting

SUMMARY
When Olivia Middleton abandons the glamour of Park Avenue for a remote, coastal town in Maine, everyone assumes she’s being the kind do-gooder she’s always been. But Olivia has a secret: helping an injured war veteran reenter society isn’t about charity—it’s about penance. Only, Olivia’s client isn’t the grateful elderly man she’s expecting. Instead, he’s a brooding twenty-four-year-old who has no intention of being Olivia’s path to redemption . . . and whose smoldering gaze and forbidden touch might be her undoing.

Paul Langdon doesn’t need a mirror to show him he’s no longer the hotshot quarterback he was before the war. He knows he’s ugly—inside and out. He’ll do anything to stay in self-imposed exile, even accept his father’s ultimatum that Paul tolerate the newest caretaker for three months or lose his inheritance. But Paul doesn’t count on the beautiful twenty-two-year-old who makes him long for things that he can never have. And the more she slips past his defenses, the more keeping his distance is impossible.

Now Paul and Olivia have to decide: Will they help each other heal? Or are they forever broken?



FIRST LINE
"Only in Manhattan would parents throw a dropping-out-of-college party for their daughter."

MY THOUGHTS
I read and LOVED Isnt't She Lovely, the prequel, so I had to request Broken when I saw it on Netgalley.  This book focuses on the character of Olivia Middleton (the ex-girlfriend of Ethan, the hero in Isn't She Lovely) and her attempt to decrease her guilt over their break-up.  I will admit that, while I was excited to read this, I was a little hesitant due to the way that Olivia was portrayed in the previous book, but, thankfully, she is redeemed and I really liked her by the end.  While you definitely could read this as a stand-alone, I think it works better as a sequel so you can truly appreciate the growth of Olivia as a character. 

The basic plot is that New York socialite Olivia drops out of college in order to act as a caretaker for a war veteran as a self-imposed penance for cheating on her ex-boyfriend.  Things get complicated when she meets Paul Langdon and realizes that he is not the frail old man she was expecting.  Then these two spend a significant amount of time arguing and circling around each other while they deal with their growing feelings.  While the romance is a major aspect of the plot, I appreciated the fact that Paul and Olivia's development was even more important.

Olivia is trying to escape her past while Paul just wants to be left alone.  Interestingly, they come from similar backgrounds, but took very different paths after high school.  Their close proximity first causes some friction due to the fact that Paul does not want a caretaker and Olivia is determined to prove herself as capable and trustworthy.  But, they do start to talk and become closer.  There are the normal conflicts like when Paul ventures out of the house for the first time in forever and then when someone from Olivia's past pops in unexpectedly.  I did appreciate the slow burn of the love story and how well Lauren Layne made me aware of how good these two were together.

Broken is part of a recent string of NA stories that have caused me quite a bit of surprise this year.  While I have always enjoyed a few here and there, I have found myself lucky in this genre lately and I believe I can officially say that I am a fan of New Adult romances.  There are definitely some plot points I still won't touch and I will definitely continue to research any books that I'm interested in like always, but I'm happy to be getting more into this genre that is just growing in popularity.  If you are a fan of NA, I highly recommend both Broken and its prequel, Isn't She Lovely, for the wonderful writing style and lack of drama for drama's sake.

I received a free copy of this book from Flirt via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

4 STARS


STEAM LEVEL
Glow -- Implied or subtle descriptions of lovemaking.


FAVORITE QUOTE
"I don't want to be without you," I say, my voice low.  "But I know that I can be, if that's what you want.  I know I'll survive and I'll be okay because of you.  You made me whole.  You took a wretched, broken soul and showed him how to take his life back."

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
0.5. Isn't She Lovely
1. Broken
2. Crushed (Coming 2015)

CHALLENGES READ FOR