Wednesday, November 30, 2011

MY BOOK BOYFRIEND (15): Zsadist


My Book Boyfriend is an awesome weekly meme hosted by Missie at The Unread Reader all about fictional boys who make us swoon.  This week, I am swooning over Zsadist from JR Ward's Lover Awakened, part of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

First Impressions:


"An image of Zsadist came to mind, clear as a photograph.  She saw his savage black eyes.  The scar that ran down his face and distorted his upper lip.  The tattooed blood-slave bands around his throat and wrists.  She remember the whip marks on his back. And the piercings that hung from his nipples. And his muscled, too-lean body."


About Zsadist:
  • He's a vampire warrior.
  • He has a shaved head and naturally yellow eyes that turn black when he's angry.
  • He has an identical twin brother named Phury.
  • He was kidnapped as a baby and kept as a sex slave for almost a hundred years.
Why I Love Him:
  • He is the ultimate tortured bad boy.
  • The only thing he cares about, before Bella, is his brother.
  • He falls in love with Bella quickly, but feels like he doesn't deserve her.
  • He has a beautiful singing voice that sounds like angels.
Quotes:

"Go 'head." Those freaky-ass black eyes had stared at Butch with the intensity of a shark. "Crack open that door. Run your little heart out. Run fast, run smart, call for help. Just know that I'll come after you. Like a hearse." 
--Dark Lover



"What is your name?" she murmured.
He cocked an eyebrow at her and then went back to staring at his brother. "I'm the evil one, in case you haven't figured it out."
"I wanted your name, not your calling."
"Being a bastard's more of a compulsion, really. And it's Zsadist. I am Zsadist."
--Lover Eternal



His yellow eyes lifted to hers. He was wincing, as if he were afraid of what might be showing on her face.
"Friends?" she said.
"Yeah… I mean, I wouldn't disgrace you by asking for more than that. I know that you regret… Anyway, I just couldn't let you go without… Yeah, so… friends." --Lover Awakened



"I… What are you saying, Zsadist?" she stammered, even though she'd heard every word.
He glanced back down at the pencil in his hand and then turned to the table. Flipping the spiral notebook to a new page, he bent way over and labored on top of the paper for quite a while. Then he ripped the sheet free. His hand was shaking as he held it out. "It's messy."
Bella took the paper. In a child's uneven block letters there were three words: "I LOVE YOU."
--Lover Awakened



"I was dead until you found me, though I breathed. I was sightless, though I could see. And then you came...and I was awakened."
--Lover Awakened


My Zsadist: Actor Wentworth Miller

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY (10): Croak


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases we're anxiously awaiting.  Here's what I'm waiting for this week:




(Croak #1)
by Gina Damico
Young Adult-Horror/Paranormal
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
March 20, 2012

Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby has sucker-punched her last classmate. Fed up with her punkish, wild behavior, her parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than that of shoveling manure.  He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach her the family business. 

Lex quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated entirely by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. Along with her infuriating yet intriguing partner Driggs and a rockstar crew of fellow Grim apprentices, Lex is soon zapping her Targets like a natural born Killer. 

Yet her innate ability morphs into an unchecked desire for justice—or is it vengeance?—whenever she’s forced to Kill a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. So when people start to die—that is, people who aren’t supposed to be dying, people who have committed grievous crimes against the innocent—Lex’s curiosity is piqued. Her obsession grows as the bodies pile up, and a troubling question begins to swirl through her mind: if she succeeds in tracking down the murderer, will she stop the carnage—or will she ditch Croak and join in?

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR THIS WEDNESDAY?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

TOP TEN TUESDAY (3): My Winter TBR List


TOP TEN TBR BOOKS THIS WINTER

10. A SECRET IN HER KISS by Anna Randol (January 30, 2012)
This is a debut historical romance that is set in the Ottoman Empire!  I love unique locations in historicals especially amid all the Regency rakes and bluestockings today.  Plus one of my favorite romance authors, Sarah MacLean, highly recommends it!

9. THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT by Jennifer E. Smith
(January 2, 2012)
This sounds super cute and original.  I love the idea of finding someone while on an airplane.  Plus the male protagonist is British which brings to mind my fangirl crush on Etienne St. Clair.  Haven't seen any reviews of this yet, but I'm on the lookout.

8. DARKER AFTER MIDNIGHT by Lara Adrian (January 24, 2012)
This is the tenth installment in Adrian's Midnight Breed series which has a unique twist on the popular vampire mythology.  The hero in this one is the complicated and tortured Sterling Chase who has gone through quite a transformation in the series.  I haven't read the book before this one, but I am getting ready to start it so I can be ready for Sterling in January!

7. WILD CAT by Jennifer Ashley (January 3, 2012)
This is the third book in Ashley's Shifters Unbound paranormal romance series which deals with a world where shifters are treated as second class citizens due to fear over their abilities.  I love the way she has the shifters interacting with non-shifters to prove how baseless the prejudices are.  I've enjoyed the first two books so I can't wait for the third.

6. THIS DUKE IS MINE by Eloisa James (December 27, 2011)
Eloisa James is one of my auto-buy historical romance authors.  I have been especially enjoying her Happily Ever After series that takes popular fairytales and gives them a historical twist.  Each of these books can be read as a stand-alone as their characters do not interact.  This most recent installment provides a fun perspective on The Princess and the Pea story.

5. INCARNATE by Jodi Meadows (January 31, 2012)
This is a Young Adult fantasy that is getting alot of buzz in the blogging world.  The cover is beautiful and the premise is slightly confusing so it definitely deserves a mention.  I'm still not a hundred percent certain what the concept is, but I don't even care.

4. RAINSHADOW ROAD by Lisa Kleypas (February 28, 2012)
This author is one of my absolute favorites in historical and contemporary romance.  She took a well-deserved break in 2011 so I am eager to read some of her new material.  While I prefer her historicals, I will take whatever Ms. Kleypas wants to give me at this point.  The plot of this one sounds super complicated so I cannot wait!

3. A MILLION SUNS by Beth Revis (January 10, 2012)
One of my favorites of 2011 was Revis's Across the Universe.  I loved the whole dystopian-science fiction aspect and Elder was an amazing hero.  Things are changing rapidly on the ship Godspeed and I, for one, cannot wait to see where it will all end up.

2. THE DARKEST SEDUCTION by Gena Showalter (February 21, 2012)
The most buzzed about character in Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series has been Paris, the keeper of the demon Promiscuity.  Paris's demon forces him to have sex everyday or risk certain death, the biggest catch is that he can only have sex with a person once and then never again.  Readers of this series have seen Paris try to find the one woman he has feelings for over many books and now we can finally see his happy ending.

1. LOTHAIRE by Kresley Cole (January 10, 2012)
Another buzzed about character in the world of paranormal romance is Lothaire, the big bad vampire from Cole's Immortals After Dark series.  Lothaire has shown over many books that he has little morality left so I am excited to see how K.C. reforms him into being hero material.  I also like the idea of his heroine being as tortured a soul as he appears to be.


WHAT ARE YOUR TOP TEN TBR BOOKS THIS WINTER?

Monday, November 28, 2011

REVIEW: "The Guardian" by Sherrilyn Kenyon

TITLE: The Guardian
AUTHOR: Sherrilyn Kenyon
SERIES: Dark Hunter #21
GENRE: Paranormal Romance-Demons, Mythology, etc.
PUBLISHER: St. Martin's
PUBLICATION DATE: November 2011
READ DATE: November 2011
SOURCE: Book Depository
SUMMARY:  Dream-Hunter Lydia has been charged with the most sacred and dangerous of missions: To descend into the Nether Realm and find the missing god of dreams before he betrays the secrets that could kill her and her kind. What she never expects is to be taken prisoner by the Realm’s most vicious guardian…

Seth’s time is running out. If he can’t hand over the entrance to Olympus, his own life and those of his people will be forfeit. No matter the torture, Seth hasn’t been able to break the god in his custody. Then there’s the beautiful Dream-Hunter Lydia: She isn’t just guarding the gates of Olympus—she’s holding back one of the world’s darkest powers. If she fails, an ancient curse will haunt the earth once more and no one will be safe. But evil is always seductive...



MY THOUGHTS:


The Guardian is the newest installment in the Dream-Hunter branch of the epic Dark-Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon.  As many Kenyon fans know, this series is separated into three main branches: Dark-Hunter, Were-Hunter, and Dream-Hunter.  While they may delve off into different areas of the DH world, it should be noted that the books are meant to be read in order as a whole.  Kenyon has an ultimate ending planned out for this world and the only way to fully appreciate it is to read all the books.

As expected of a series with over twenty books, there are some high and low points.  Unfortunately, for me, quite a few recent installments has been a little lackluster.  While I have enjoyed the new information and the characters, I have found myself wavering in my overall obsession of the series.  The last two books have only been 3 or 3.5 star reads for me which is devastating for a Kenyon fangirl.  Well, thank goodness, I didn't hesitate to read The Guardian because it reminded me why I love these books so much and why I cannot wait to find out what happens next in the DH universe.

To provide a very quick recap, the Dream-Hunter branch has been dealing with the big bad threat of primal gods Azura and Noir.  These two have been trying to find ways to increase their influence in the human world in order to bring out some version of the apocalypse.  There is some crossing over with the Dark-Hunter and Were-Hunter branches in this grand plan, but I won't go too deep into that in this review.  What you need to know is that the Dream-Hunters, or warriors who protect dreams from monsters, have been used and abused by these gods and are beginning to fight back.  There are many aspects of the apocalypse in this series and this is the Dream-Hunters' main battlefield.

The main couple in this book are Seth and Lydia.  Lydia is a Dream-Hunter who is also half Were-Hunter.  Her father, Solin, has been captured by Azura and Noir in an effort to discover valuable information about the Dream-Hunters and the whole Greek pantheon.  It is Lydia's job to find and rescue him from the Nether Realm.  Unfortunately, Solin is being held by Seth, an ancient warrior who has been a slave to Noir for centuries.  Throughout his enslavement, Seth has been through horrible torture and is willing to do almost anything to avoid that type of life.  Therefore, he is charged with getting the desired information out of Solin for Azura and Noir which becomes a little more complicated when Lydia enters the field.

Lydia is an okay heroine.  She is definitely strong and independent.  She knew what she had to do and was willing to sacrifice anything to achieve her objective.  Her loyalty to Solin and the other Dream-Hunters was admirable.  She had a few annoying moments, but that is par for the course for Kenyon's heroines.  Thankfully, the TSTL parts were pretty rare for Lydia.  As a reader, I would love to find out more about her half-breed background, but I believe that may have been glossed over for the purpose of the plot.

And then, we have Seth.  Kenyon is well-known for her sexy, tortured heroes and Seth is one of the best.  He comes from the Egyptian pantheon and has unimaginable power that is controlled by his masters. The torture scenes in this book are pretty graphic and make you feel for Seth especially as a small child.  The biggest lesson that Seth has to learn is to trust someone besides himself with his true feelings and know that he is worthy of being loved.  This is a common theme in this series, but Kenyon manages to make it feel fresh with Seth's character.  Despite all the torture, he is a decent guy who has an affinity for reading and falls hard for Lydia from the beginning.

There are many secondary characters that pop up throughout this book.  Fans of this series will find some familiar faces such as Zarek, Delphine, Fang, Aimee, and, my personal favorite, Jericho!  These are all previously main characters who are in the story for a reason not just to gloat about their personal happiness.  We also have some characters that we've met before and continue to tantalize readers with their mysteries.  Solin is definitely future hero material and Jaden is probably the most buzzed about DH character since Acheron.  The little tidbits about these characters just made me want their stories even faster!

The Guardian had one of the most organized plots in quite awhile for this series.  There was a definite beginning, middle, and end and it was fairly easy to follow.  There are many new details about the DH universe especially the demon section.  I loved finding out more about Azura and Noir's plans and their realm.  The only qualm I had about the plot was the anticlimactic ending. There was a lot going on and many conflicts being revealed and then it felt like it was just over.  I know there are more installments to be written about these characters, but I would have liked a more definite conclusion to Seth and Lydia's story.  Overall, this was one of my recent favorites in the DH series and I cannot wait for more!  



4 OUT OF 5 STARS


FAVORITE QUOTE:


"Hey now,” Maahes said. “Don’t be making that face. Okay? You start crying, I start crying, and I look like a total freak when I cry. Nothing worse than a big-ass man blubbering like a baby. Totally kills my chances with the women. You know?"

SERIES INFORMATION:
1. Fantasy Lover
2. Night Pleasures
3. Night Embrace
4. Dance with the Devil
5. Kiss of the Night
6. Night Play
7. Seize the Night
8. Sins of the Night
9. Unleash the Night
10. Dark Side of the Moon
11. The Dream-Hunter
12. Upon the Midnight Clear
13. Dream Chaser
14. Devil May Cry
15. Acheron
16. One Silent Night
17. Dream Warrior
18. Bad Moon Rising
19. No Mercy
20. Retribution
21. The Guardian
22. Time Untime (To Be Released 2012)

BOOK TRAILER:





INTERESTING LINKS:


Book Depository Page
Goodreads Page
Author Website

Sunday, November 27, 2011

IN MY MAILBOX (2): November


In My Mailbox is a book blog meme sponsored by The Story Siren.  The purpose of In My Mailbox is to showcase books that I have received through purchases, libraries, or giveaways.  Since I do not get books every week, I am striving to do this towards the end of each month.  


BOOKS BOUGHT:


DAIMON [Covenant #0.5] by Jennifer L. Armentrout 
HALF-BLOOD [Covenant #1] by Jennifer L. Armentrout
TOMMY NIGHTMARE [Jenny Pox #2] by J.L. Bryan 
THE STRANGE CASE OF FINLEY JANE [Steampunk Chronicles #0.5] by Kady Cross
I DREAM OF GENIES [Bottled Magic #1] by Judi Fennell
DEMON GIRL [Rae Wilder #1] by Penelope Fletcher
A TOUCH OF GREEK [Out of Olympus #1] by Tina Folsom
IMMORTAL RIDER [Lords of Deliverance #2] by Larissa Ione
TO WED A WILD LORD [Hellions of Halstead Hall #4] by Sabrina Jeffries
EPIC FAIL by Claire LaZepnik
A DUKE FOR ALL SEASONS by Mia Marlowe
TOUCH by Jennifer Snyder
DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE [Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1] by Laini Taylor
MOON SPELL [The Tale of Lunarmorte #1] by Samantha Young
THE SPACE BETWEEN by Brenna Yovanoff


BOOKS RECEIVED:


BY HONOR BETRAYED by Alex Beecroft
THE LADY'S SECRET by Joanna Chambers
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE by Jesse Goossens
MEN UNDER THE MISTLETOE by Josh Lanyon, Ava March, K.A. Mitchell, Harper Fox
FRACTURED LIGHT by Rachel McClellan
CINDER [Lunar Chronicles #1] by Marissa Meyer
WAITING TO FORGET by Shelia Kelly Welch


BOOKS FROM LIBRARY:


ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD [Anna #1] by Kendare Blake
CRAVE [The Clann #1] by Melissa Darnell
WITHER [The Chemical Garden #1] by Lauren DeStefano
EON [Eon #1] by Alison Goodman
UNHOLY GHOSTS [Downside Ghosts #1] by Stacia Kane
UNHOLY MAGIC [Downside Ghosts #2] by Stacia Kane
DEFIANT by Kris Kennedy
AU REVOIR CRAZY EUROPEAN CHICK by Joe Schreiber
STICK by Andrew Smith
NIGHT WORLD NO. 1 [Night World #1-3] by L.J. Smith
STRANGE ANGELS [Strange Angels #1] by Lili St. Crow

Saturday, November 26, 2011

ON MY WISHLIST (9)



On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where we list all the books we desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. It's also an event that you can join in with too. 

Here's what is on my wishlist this week:


(Dark Age Dawning #1)
by Ellen Connor
Paranormal Romance-Apocalyptic
Berkeley-June 2011
Growing up with an unstable, often absent father who preached about the end of the world, Jenna never thought in her wildest nightmares that his predictions would come true. Or that he would have a plan in place to save her-one that includes the strong, stoic man who kidnaps and takes her to a remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest. 

The mysterious ex-Marine named Mason owes a life-debt to Jenna's father. Skilled and steadfast, he's ready for the prophesied Change, but Jenna proves tough to convince. Until the power grid collapses and mutant dogs attack-vicious things that reek of nature gone wrong. 

When five strangers appear, desperate to escape the bloodthirsty packs, Jenna defies her protector and rescues them. As technology fails and the old world falls away, Jenna changes too, forever altered by supernatural forces. To fight for their future, she and Mason must learn to trust their instinctive passion-a flame that will see them through the bitter winter, the endless nights, and the violence of a new Dark Age.



(Transcend Time #1)
by Michelle Madow
Young Adult-Fantasy
Dreamscape-July 2011

New Hampshire high school junior Lizzie Davenport has been reincarnated from Regency Era, England ... but she doesn't know it yet. 

Then Drew Carmichael transfers into Lizzie's school at the beginning of the year, and she feels a connection to him, almost like she knows him. She can't stop thinking about him, but whenever she tries talking with him about the mysteries behind her feelings, he makes it clear that he wants nothing to do with her. Reaching him is even more difficult because she has a boyfriend, Jeremy, who has started to become full of himself after being elected co-captain of the varsity soccer team, and her flirtatious best friend Chelsea starts dating Drew soon after his arrival. So why can't she seem to get him out of her mind?

Even though Lizzie knows she should let go of her fascination with Drew, the pair of them soon find that fighting fate isn't going to be easy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

MY BOOK BOYFRIEND (14): Reyes


My Book Boyfriend is an awesome weekly meme hosted by Missie at The Unread Reader all about fictional boys who make us swoon.  This week, I am swooning over Reyes from Gena Showalter's The Darkest Pleasure, third installment in the wonderful Lords of the Underworld series.


First Impressions:


He had dark hair, dark eyes, and honey-kissed skin.  Honey mixed with melted chocolate.  He also possessed that haunted sensuality, as if he'd seen the most painful side of love and was marked forevermore.  Reyes was tall and stacked with a warrior's muscle.  He wore more knives than he did clothing, strapping them behind his head, on his wrists, ankles, and thighs, and hanging them at his waist.  Every time she'd seen him, he'd been covered in combat wounds, cuts up and down his arms and legs, bruises on his face.  He was a soldier to the bone.

About Reyes:

  • Age: Immortal
  • Appearance: dark hair, dark eyes, tall, muscular
  • Distinguishing Marks: numerous self-inflicted cuts on his body, creepy butterfly tattoo on his chest
  • Occupation: Ancient Greek warrior who acts as a host for the demon Pain who forces him to cause himself pain in order to find pleasure or stay sane.
  • Likes:  Weapons--making them, cleaning them, collecting them.
  • Dream: A life without pain.

Quotes:


Reyes had seen her only a few times, talked to her even less, but still, he craved her with every ounce of his being.  Something he didn't understand.  He was dark, she was light.  He was anguish, she was innocence.  He was wrong for her in every way, and yet, when she looked at him, his entire world felt right.





"I have a feeling I will always come to you."  His angry voice whipped through the silence, his accusing expression laying the blame at her feet.





"What happens when you know?" she rasped.
"I stop wondering.  Stop dreaming of you every night, thinking of you every minute of every day.  I think you wonder too.  I think you dream of me and wonder.  You hate yourself for it.  You hate me for it, but you cannot stop."






"I want to give you anything and everything you ask for, Danika."
Relieved, she sagged against the mattress.  "Thank you."
"But making myself forgettable for you, " he finished, "I cannot do.  You're going to haunt my dreams for all of eternity.  I have to know I meant something to you."




"How did I ever live without you?"
"You didn't," she quipped.  "Not really."
He kissed her again, lingering this time.  "No, I didn't.  Until you, I was dead inside.  You've given me everything.  Love, life, happiness."



My Reyes: Eduardo Verastegui

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY (9): The Duke Is Mine


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases we're anxiously awaiting.  Here's what I'm waiting for this week:


(HAPPILY EVER AFTERS #3)
by Eloisa James
Historical Romance
Harper Collins/Avon
December 27, 2011

Tarquin, the powerful Duke of Sconce, knows perfectly well that the decorous and fashionably slender Georgiana Lytton will make him a proper duchess. So why can’t he stop thinking about her twin sister, the curvy, headstrong, and altogether unconventional Olivia? Not only is Olivia betrothed to another man, but their improper, albeit intoxicating, flirtation makes her unsuitability all the more clear.



Determined to make a perfect match, he methodically cuts Olivia from his thoughts, allowing logic and duty to triumph over passion…Until, in his darkest hour, Tarquin begins to question whether perfection has anything to do with love.


To win Olivia's hand he would have to give up all the beliefs he holds most dear, and surrender heart, body and soul… Unless it’s already too late.


This sexy, witty version of The Princess and the Pea turns the classic fairy tale into an enticing, funny, and moving romance.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

TOP TEN TUESDAY (2): Authors I'd Love To Have At My Thanksgiving Feast


Top Ten Authors I'd Love To Have At My Thanksgiving Feast



1. JK Rowling
Author of the Harry Potter series
Favorite Book by Her: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

2. Suzanne Collins
Author of the Hunger Games series
Favorite Book by Her: The Hunger Games

3. Jeaniene Frost
Author of the Night Huntress series and Night Huntress World series
Favorite Book by Her: One Foot in the Grave


4. Meg Cabot
Author of the Princess Diaries series, Airhead trilogy, etc.
Favorite Book by Her: Princess in Love

5. Sarah Dessen
Author of Young Adult Romances
Favorite Book by Her: Just Listen

6. Julia Quinn
Author of historical romances including the Bridgertons series
Favorite Book by Her: The Viscount Who Loved Me


7. Sherrilyn Kenyon
Author of the Dark Hunter series and The League series
Favorite Book by Her: Seize the Night

8. Nalini Singh
Author of the Psy-Changeling series and the Guild Hunter series
Favorite Book by Her: Caressed by Ice

9. Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Author of the Chicago Stars series
Favorite Book by Her: Match Me If You Can


10. Louise Rennison
Author of the Georgia Nicholson series
Favorite Book by Her: Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging


Monday, November 21, 2011

REVIEW: "Unholy Ghosts" by Stacia Kane

TITLE: Unholy Ghosts
AUTHOR: Stacia Kane
SERIES: Downside Ghosts #1
GENRE: Urban Fantasy-Horror
PUBLISHER: Del Rey
PUBLICATION DATE: May 2010
READ DATE: November 2011
SOURCE: Library
SUMMARY: The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased.
Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah.

MY THOUGHTS:

Stacia Kane's Downside Ghosts series has the makings of being an unique approach to the urban fantasy genre if Unholy Ghosts is any indication.  In this dystopian setting, the world has been set upon by spirits and the only thing keeping them from taking over is the Church of Real Truth and their specially trained ghost hunters.  While the hunters are successful, there are still pockets of spiritual escapes that keep the citizens of this universe in constant darkness.  Most of the book takes place in the dirty, depressing slums of the city and this setting showcases the overall mood of the series which is dark, gritty, and often times horrific.

The main character of the series is Chess who is one of the ghost hunters employed by the Church to eliminate spiritual activity.  At first glance, Chess seems to be a typical UF heroine.  She is good at her job as well as tough as nails to those around her.  She is sympathetic to the weak in her world and is willing to do anything to protect those she cares about.  But, what sets Chess apart from the others are her character flaws.  Chess is a full-fledged drug addict who relies on pills and other substances to get through the tough times in her life.  Kane does not pull any punches with this aspect of her heroine's lifestyle.  There are numerous scenes that showcase Chess's desperation.  The realistic approach to this aspect makes the reader relate to Chess and sympathize with her on a deeper level. 

And then there's Terrible.  I am assuming he is being set up as Chess's love interest despite a few unfortunate incidents that put in wrench in their potential relationship.  Terrible is the primary enforcer for Chess's drug dealer, Bump, and has a reputation for being the scariest character in the series.  While we rarely see these dark aspects of Terrible's personality, there is definite foreshadowing throughout this first book that made me slightly frightened by his potential for violence and cruelty.  But, despite this potential, Terrible comes across as a sympathetic character.  He obviously has feelings for Chess, but seems unwilling to express them to her due to his reputation and his fearsome appearance.

There are quite a few other intriguing characters in this series.  Bump, Chess's drug dealer and Terrible's boss, is ruthless, demanding, and charming in the way that a successful dealer could be.  Lex, a rival dealer and Chess's lover, is introduced as a sensual and dangerous rival for Terrible in his quest for Chess's affections.  Then there are the various hunters and ghosts Chess runs into in the span of her workday.  All of these people are fascinating and provided valuable information about this world for the readers.

In terms of the plot, I found myself both intrigued and confused at the same time.  There is alot of worldbuilding done in this book and I sometimes got lost in all the spiritual discussions and the background about the Church.  This effected my overall enjoyment of the book, but I believe I understand enough to not run into this issue in the next book.  I am definitely eager to try more of this series especially if Terrible is going to make a play for Chess soon!  Recommended!


4 OUT OF 5 STARS
 
FAVORITE QUOTES:

“Bump stood in the middle of the room, wrapped in a heavy fur coat, with a black silk top hatcovering his fuzzy head and unnecessary sunglasses hiding his pale face. He looked like the Abominable Snowpimp.”

SERIES INFORMATION:
1. Unholy Ghosts
2. Unholy Magic
3. City of Ghosts
3.5. "Rick the Brave" from Home Improvement: Dead Edition
4. Sacrifical Magic (Coming 2012)
INTERESTING LINKS:

Book Depository Page
Goodreads Page
Author Website

Friday, November 18, 2011

FOLLOW FRIDAY (6)


QUESTION: 
LETTER TO SANTA--TELL SANTA WHAT BOOKS YOU WANT FOR CHRISTMAS

Books I've Read, But Don't Own
  • Unveiled by Courtney Milan
  • The Endearment by Lavyrle Spencer
  • Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
  • The Real Deal by Lucy Monroe
  • Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star by Heather Lynn Rigaud
Adult Books I Haven't Read
  • The Windflower by Laura London
  • Awaken Me Darkly by Gena Showalter
  • Ceremony in Death by JD Robb
  • Flat-Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy
  • In Total Surrender by Anne Mallory
Young Adult Books I Haven't Read
  • Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson
  • Remembrance by Michelle Madow
  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver
  • The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
  • I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
Books That Haven't Been Released Yet
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass
  • Lothaire by Kresley Cole
  • Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost
  • The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth





Thursday, November 17, 2011

REVIEW: "Scandalous Desires" by Elizabeth Hoyt

TITLE: Scandalous Desires
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Hoyt
SERIES: Maiden Lane #3
GENRE: Adult-Historical Romance-Georgian
PUBLISHER: Piatkus Books
PUBLICATION DATE: October 2011
READ DATE: November 2011
SOURCE: Book Depository
SUMMARY: Can a pirate learn that the only true treasure lies within a woman’s heart? “Charming” Mickey O’Connor is the most ruthless river pirate in London. Devastatingly handsome and fearsomely intelligent, he clawed his way up through London’s criminal underworld. Mickey has no use for tender emotions like compassion and love, and he sees people as pawns to be manipulated. Yet he’s never been able to forget the naive captain’s wife who came to him a year ago for help—and spent one memorable night in his bed...talking.
Widowed Silence Hollingbrook is impoverished, lovely, and kind--and a year ago she made a horrible mistake. She went to a river pirate for help in saving her husband and in the process made a bargain that cost her her marriage. That night wounded her so terribly that she hides in the foundling home she helps run with her brother. Except now that same river pirate is back...and he’s asking for her help.


MY THOUGHTS:

Let me begin by saying that I am a huge Elizabeth Hoyt fangirl!  I read her debut, The Raven Prince, a couple days after it came out and have savored every single book since then.  What I enjoy most about her writing is the unique characters and settings.  She takes normal romance novel cliches and gives them a complete makeover.  Due to my love of Ms. Hoyt, it is no wonder that I could not wait to read the third book in her fascinating Maiden Lane series and I was not disappointed.

This book is why I love historical romance.  There are well-drawn characters, lush settings, vivid historical details, and of course plenty of sexy goodness that Ms. Hoyt specializes in.  To give a quick recap, the Maiden Lane series focuses on a children's home in St. Giles during the Georgian era in England.  This home is run by the Makepeace family who have such lovely English names as Temperance, Silence, and Winter.  Much of the series deals with the difficulties that residents of St. Giles face on a daily basis during this time period.

The heroine of Scandalous Desires is Silence Hollingbrook who is instrumental in keeping the children's home run along with her brother Winter.  Silence is an impoverished widow whose husband recently perished while at sea.  The hero is Mickey O'Connor, a wealthy pirate who has control over almost all the sea traffic in London. 

These two people seemed to be living very different lives until they collided in the previous books of the series.  In an effort to save her husband's life and position, Silence made a deal with Mickey that ultimately ruined her reputation and her marriage and now looks upon Mickey as the very devil.  But, when one of Silence's wards, Mary Darling, at the home is discovered to be the daughter of Mickey and is simultaneously taken to reside in his house to hide her from his enemies, Silence chooses to go with the baby and must interact with the pirate on a daily basis.

I really liked both of these characters.  Silence had seemed like a wimp earlier in the series, but she definitely grew a spine through all her hardships.  She has a strong will and is determined to do whatever she needs to in order to protect Mary Darling.  But, Silence has a soft side that figures out the inner workings of Mickey's personality and strives to understand them.  On the other hand, Mickey is a product of St. Giles who has always relied on himself in order to survive and never gotten the love he deserves.  I found him to be fairly reminiscient of Lisa Kleypas's famous hero Derek Craven from Dreaming of You

Together Silence and Mickey had a lot of sexual tension in everything from their dialogue to their physical interactions.  As a reader, it just oozed off the page.  The sex scenes were pretty hot and coincided with the tension nicely.  Both of the characters had to learn to trust and rely on the other person so there was a realistic buildup to the confession scenes.  By the end, I could see how they would last in the long term which is hard to do in romance novels.

Another part of SD that I loved was seeing the introduction of Winter's future heroine and the buildup of their relationship.  Isabel is a donor for the children's home and she clashes with Winter from the very beginning.  Winter is a unique character that seems to have many layers to his personality which, I believe, we have only just begun to see.  I love opposites attract stories so I can't wait for more about Winter and Isabel in next year's Thief of Shadows.

A few other key points about this book and why I enjoyed it so much.  We did get to see the previous books' couples appear in realistic situations beyond the token "look how happy we are" moments that can happen in series reunions.  The mysterious Ghost of St. Giles, who had been reeking havoc throughout the earlier books, was finally revealed so it will be fun to see what happens with that plotline next.  And finally, the historical setting is full of rich details and obviously well-researched without becoming a textbook full of needless descriptions.  This book had everything I love about historical romance so I recommend it to anyone looking for a good story with realistic characters and steamy romance. 


5 OUT OF 5 STARS


FAVORITE QUOTES:

“He treasured her, treasured her tears, treasured her love for others. Her heart might even be big enough to fill that empty space in his own chest. Perhaps she could be his heart as well.”


“He watched her retreat, his eyes lazy, and his body unmoving. A trickle of blood seeped slowly from the corner of his mouth. He let her get nearly out of the room before he spoke, “I may not have the right, Silence, me love,” he drawled so soft she nearly didn’t catch the words. “But I would’ve listened to ye. I would’ve believed ye.”

SERIES INFORMATION:

*Wicked Intentions (Lazarus and Temperance)
*Notorious Pleasures (Griffin and Hero)
*Scandalous Desires (Mickey and Silence)
*Thief of Shadows (Winter and Isabel) [To Be Released 2012]
*Lord of Darkness (Godric) [To Be Released 2013]
*Duke of Midnight (Maximus) [To Be Released 2013]

BOOK TRAILER:


INTERESTING LINKS:

Book Depository Page
Goodreads Page
Author Website

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY (8): Nameless


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases we're anxiously awaiting.  Here's what I'm waiting for this week:


by Kyle Chais
Adult Fantasy/Science Fiction
Pocket
January 10, 2012

In the in between are the Nameless; names are for masters and they have none. They live in the Nameless realm; between being saved and being destroyed. They are Fallen.


One Nameless spends his time watching humans in New York City and, in his endless eternity of boredom, becomes intrigued by a drunk named Aurick Pantera. One day Aurick, a reckless gambler, is about to be killed by a gang over his debts. Nameless feels sorry for him, and possesses his body to save his life. He then decides that he rather likes being in a human body; the chance to taste, smells, and touch. He uses Aurick’s body to fulfill all of his wildest dreams – become a rock star, have a successful psychiatric practice, and pursue star journalist Helena Way.
 
Until, three years after possessing Aurick, the other Fallen take notice of these random achievements and begin appearing to Aurick. They are tired of waiting in Nameless and are ready to start a war—their only chance to cease this painful eternity of waiting and either be saved or be released. Aurick is stuck in the middle. Join the ranks and finally be released to Null for atrocities against mankind, or can his love for Helena, his budding friendships, and his growing concern for all humans grant him salvation?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

MY BOOK BOYFRIEND (13): Heath Champion


My Book Boyfriend is an awesome weekly meme hosted by Missie at The Unread Reader all about fictional boys who make us swoon.  This week, I am swooning over Heath Champion from Susan Elizabeth Phillip's Match Me If You Can.

First Impressions: 
"He was square-jawed and tough, everything about him proclaiming a brash, self-made man --a roughneck who'd flunked charm school the first couple of times around but had finally gotten it right on the third pass."

About Heath:

  • He's a successful sports agent in Chicago.
  • He has been nicknamed the Python due to his sly nature.
  • He played college football until he realized he wouldn't go pro so he concentrated on his studies.
  • He hires a matchmaker to help him find the perfect wife which throws his life into chaos. 
  • His childhood has made it difficult for him to form attachments to others.

Quotes:

"Basically, you expect me to find your bride, court her, and hand her over at the altar. Or do I have to come on the honeymoon, too?"
"Definitely not." He gave her a lazy smile. "I can take care of that all by myself."



“We’re only human.” 
“One of us, anyway. The other’s a reptile.” 
“Harsh, Annabelle. Very harsh.”


 

I don't need to be fixed anymore. That job's already been done. I love you, Annabelle.
 


You're beautiful, every part of you. I love your hair, the way it looks, the way it feels. I love touching it, smelling it. I love the way you wrinkle your nose when you laugh. It makes me laugh, too, every time. And I love watching you eat. Sometimes you can't shovel it in fast enough, but when you get interested in a conversation, you forget there's anything in front of you. God knows, I love making love with you. I can't even talk about that without wanting you.



My Heath: Actor Christian Bale

TOP TEN TUESDAY (1): Unread Books on My Bookshelf

This meme is hosted by The Broke and Bookish

I have seen this meme on many of my favorite book blogs, but never participated until today.  I absolutely LOVE lists so this seems perfect!  

TOP TEN UNREAD BOOKS ON MY BOOKSHELF

1. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
I am probably one of only a few people in the country who has not read the book or seen the movie.  I bought it years ago and just haven't been able to get myself in the mood.  This is especially surprising since my brother, who usually hates to read, has read it multiple times.

2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
A classic that surprisingly I have never read despite my years of English literature courses in college.  I have seen and enjoyed the movie, but never taken the plunge into the actual material. 

3. Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
This is the beginning of a popular fantasy series that I bought a couple years ago.  The purchase was inspired by Within Temptations "Hand of Sorrow" song which is based on the series.  I'm not sure why I haven't read this despite my usual love of fantasy novels.

4. Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
I am not normally a nonfiction reader, but the premise of this book intrigued me.  Unfortunately, I just can't get started on it so there it sits on the bookshelf.

5. Guilty Pleasures by Laura Lee Guhrke
I am a huge Laura Lee Guhrke fan and have read almost all her historical romances.  It is strange that I haven't read it because the premise is right up my alley with the plain jane heroine and the rake hero.

6. Highland Destiny by Hannah Howell
This is the first book in Howell's popular Murray Family series of Scottish historical romances.  I have read all the others in this series, but the beginning still sits there waiting for me.

7. Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
Another classic that I have seen in movie form and intend to read the actual book someday. 

8. Truly Madly Yours by Rachel Gibson
I love Rachel Gibson's contemporaries.  They are almost always guaranteed to put me in a good mood.  I bought this book used three years ago and haven't picked it up despite the fact that I have purchased and read many others of hers since then.

9. Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
A young adult fantasy novel that was recommended to me on Goodreads.  I ordered it that day from Paperback Swap, but haven't touched it since it came in the mail.  A shame because I have heard nothing but amazing things about it. 

10. Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon
I am a bad DarkHunter fangirl.  I love Kenyon's work and bought the first Chronicles of Nick book the day it came out.  Since then, I have just forgotten about it or found something that fascinated me more.  I am making a vow that I will read it by the end of 2011!

REVIEW: "The Iron Knight" by Julie Kagawa

TITLE: The Iron Knight
AUTHOR: Julie Kagawa
SERIES: Iron Fey #4
GENRE: Young Adult-Fantasy-Romance
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen
PUBLICATION DATE: October 2011
READ DATE: November 2011
SOURCE: Book Depository
SUMMARY:  To cold faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing gentler feelings the Winter Prince might have had. Or so he thought. Then Meghan Chase- a half-human, half-fey slip of a girl- smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer faery can survive,
With the unwelcome company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through its end- a quest to find a way to honor his vow to stand by Meghan's side. To survive the Iron Realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. And along the way, Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.


MY THOUGHTS:

Sometimes I find myself hesitant to read the final book in a series.  Usually if I have stuck with a series long enough to reach the end, I have discovered a fondness for the characters, the plot, and the author's writing style.  I have built up great expectations for the conclusion so it is always possible that I am going to be let down.  Thankfully, this did not occur with Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series which ended with the fabulous The Iron Knight.

In the world of Iron Fey, readers have previously seen Meghan Chase discover her half-fae status, fight against the king of the Iron Fey, prevent a disastrous war, become queen of the Iron Fey, and fall in love with an Unseelie prince.  On the other hand, Prince Ash of the Winter Court had made a vow to protect Meghan at all costs until she released him from his oath in order to save his life.  Due to Ash's Winter Fey background, the Iron Court is poisonous to him and will eventually kill him. 

This brings us to The Iron Knight which is the story of how Ash reacts to his separation from Meghan and how he attempts to become mortal in order to be with her in the Iron Court.  I will admit that I am partially biased to adore this book since Ash is my favorite of the series.  He started out as a stereotypical emo-bad boy, but quickly developed a realistic personality that resonated with me.  And this book takes him to a new level since it is told from Ash's point of view and provides valuable information about his background and his character.  What I really enjoyed was distinctive Ash's voice was which can be difficult for writers.

Another major high point in The Iron Knight is the focus on Ash and Puck's history.  These two were from opposing courts, but managed to become friends centuries before.  Then a tragic incident shattered their relationship and forced them to become legendary rivals.  I found the background of these two to be absolutely tearjerking.  They complement each other so well that it was sad to see their attitudes towards each other change though the adventure in this book seemed .  As a side note, we only got a little bit of Puck's viewpoint in this series, but I found his regret over the "incident" to be as heartbreaking as Ash's. 

Besides the primary characters of Ash and Puck, Kagawa showcases quite a few others in the Iron Fey world.  The ever-mysterious, delightfully snarky Grimalkin continues to provide guidance and commentary throughout the book.  There are also two other surprise characters who pop up to help Ash on his quest and I won't reveal them in order to avoid spoilers, but I really liked how they changed the dynamic of the storyline. 

And because this is an Iron Fey book, readers are provided fabulous details on the world of Faery and its many mysteries.  Ash's journey to become mortal takes him on some familiar and some new places in Kagawa's universe.  I particularly enjoyed the creepy village of the Forgotten and the ominous End of the World. 

The final point I want to make about this book is the message that appeared subtley throughout the earlier books and is prevalent in this one.  In order to be with Meghan, Ash must become mortal and he must understand what it means to be mortal.  This book delves into the mysteries of what makes mortals different from the fey and whether the cons of mortality are worth it.

In conclusion, I found The Iron Knight to be a satisfying conclusion to Meghan and Ash's story.  Both of these characters had to go on a journey in this series and the ending, while unconventional, worked for this couple.  Personally, I would love to see more of this world especially Puck or Grimalkin.  Fabulous series ending, Ms. Kagawa!  Highly recommended!



5 OUT OF 5 STARS


FAVORITE QUOTES:

“Do not be deceived by the the politeness of the fey. Fey are almost always polite. This does not mean they will not happily remove your head.”

“I have come from the End of the World.... From the River of Dreams, through the gauntlet and the Briar and the Deep Wyld, in order to stand before you today. I have but one request - to take my place at your side. To resume my duty as your knight, and to protect you and your kingdom for as long as I draw breath.”

SERIES INFORMATION:

1. The Iron King
2. Winter's Passage (e-novella)
3. The Iron Daughter
4. The Iron Queen
5. Summer's Crossing (e-novella)
6. The Iron Knight

BOOK TRAILER:


INTERESTING LINKS:

Book Depository Page
Goodreads Page
Author Website
Series Website
My Book Boyfriend: Ash