Announcement

Feminist Fairy Tale Reviews is currently on hiatus. I hope to return to blogging sooner rather than later.

I will still be posting mini book reviews on Goodreads and talking books on Twitter so feel free to find me there.

Thank you and happy reading1


Friday, March 30, 2012

FOLLOW FRIDAY (22)

Gain New Blog Followers
Feature & Follow Friday is a blog hop that expands your blog following by a joint effort between bloggers. Feature & Follow Friday is now hosted by TWO hosts, Rachel of Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!


This Week's Feature Blogs:


Justin's Book Blog

officialblogbutton1 1 Feature & Follow #90
Alluring Reads

Q:  Do you read one book at a time or do you switch back and forth between two or more?

I am usually "reading" three books at a time: one paper book, one e-book, and one audiobook.  Right now I am reading Blood Promise by Richelle Mead in paperback and Daimon by Jennifer L. Armentrout on my Ipad.  I am currently listening to Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer in my car or at the gym. 

*******

I have created different ways for you to follow my blog: GFC, LinkyFollowers, email, Twitter, or Goodreads.  Comment and follow me and I'll return the favor!!

Have a great Friday and weekend!!

 
**********************



**BOOKS READ**
Fire Baptized (The Habitat #1) by Kenya Wright--4.5 Stars
Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3) by Richelle Mead--5 Stars
The Other Guy's Bride (Braxton Family #2) by Connie Brockway--4 Stars


**REVIEWS**
The Darkest Seduction (Lords of the Underworld #9) by Gena Showalter--5 Stars (link)
The Traitor in the Tunnel (The Agency #3) by Y.S. Lee--5 Stars (link)
Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2) by Richelle Mead--4 Stars (link)
Hex Hall (Hex Hall #1) by Rachel Hawkins--4 Stars (link)

**BLOG FEATURES**
TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I'd Play Hooky With (link)
MY BOOK BOYFRIEND: Rehvenge from Lover Avenged by JR Ward (link)
WAITING ON WEDNESDAY: Storybound by Marissa Burt (link)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

REVIEW: "Hex Hall" by Rachel Hawkins


Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
(Hex Hall #1)

Young Adult--Fantasy/Paranormal
Hyperion--2010
Paperback, 323 pages 







SUMMARY

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

MY THOUGHTS

Magical schools have become a popular theme in young adult and children's literature lately, mostly due to the success of the wonderful Harry Potter books.  Some authors have taken this theme and just given it a minor makeover that results in a bland, unoriginal concept.  But, there are others that take this inspiration and turn it into something completely new.  That is what I found in Rachel Hawkins's Hex Hall, the first in the Hex Hall series.

The protagonist of this series is Sophie Mercer, a witch, who has been getting into trouble since her powers manifested.  Her latest escapade has resulted in her being sentenced to time spent at Hecate Hall aka Hex Hall.  This is a type of reformatory for supernaturals who have risked exposure through a variety of means.  The students and teachers include a variety of species such as fairies, shapeshifters, and witches/warlocks.  The primary conflict involves Sophie's confrontations with three witch classmates and the mysterious attacks surrounding them.

Sophie is a teenage witch who has always striven to prove herself to her mother and her absent father.  Her miscues seem to always result from her attempts to help others.  So when she is sent to Hex Hall, Sophie is understandably upset and scared.  She has not spent much time with other Prodigium and is unsure of what to expect in such an institution.  But, despite this uncertainty, Sophie retains her good-natured and independent spirit.  Her voice is highly entertaining and realistic with her sarcastic comments and overwhelming curiousity. 

There are quite a few secondary characters that caught my attention.  I really enjoyed reading about Jenna, Sophie's roommate, who is the sole vampire at Hex Hall.  Jenna's personality and attempts at normalcy after being turned are unique and heartbreaking at the same time especially with all the prejudice and bullying that she deals with on a daily basis.  Another intriguing character is Archer, a popular warlock, who catches Sophie's eye early on and has some mysterious actions to account for in this and, possibly, future books. 

The plot begins simply, but becomes fast-paced and wonderfully unpredictable.  I, like Sophie, was not sure what was going in the walls of Hex Hall for most of the book and enjoyed the suspense surrounding the attacks and their connection to the three witches, Sophie, and Jenna.  I love it when authors provide a true thriller feeling in paranormal books!

Overall, Hex Hall was an enjoyable read and a solid introduction to a fascinating supernatural world.  There are twists and turns throughout the book that keep a reader's attention.  I see definite potential for this series and look forward to reading the next book, Demonglass

Rating: 4 Stars
SERIES INFORMATION

Hex Hall
*Hex Hall
*Demonglass
*Spellbound

REVIEW: "Frostbite" by Richelle Mead


Frostbite by Richelle Mead
(Vampire Academy #2)

Young Adult--Paranormal--Vampires
Razorbill--April 2008
Paperback, 327 pages 






SUMMARY

Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose...

It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks... This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price.

MY THOUGHTS

WARNING!  POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR FIRST BOOK IN SERIES, VAMPIRE ACADEMY!

In Vampire Academy, readers are introduced to the world of the Moroi, Strigoi, and dhampirs.  They learn about the guardian/protected relationship between dhampirs and Moroi as shown in the friendship between brash, confident Rose and proper, slightly insane Lissa.  But, what began as a seemingly typical "magical school" story took a sharp turn into the darker aspects of vampire society and a brief look into some potential issues with the way the Moroi/dhampir relationship works.

As in most second books, the author does not need to spend as much time world building.  She is now able to delve deeper into this world and its issues.  The plot of Frostbite is full of little side stories and an overarching theme that is slowly beginning to take place.  The main storyline of this book involves massive Strigoi attacks, actually massacres, which forces the students of St. Vlad's to retreat to a ski resort for protection over the holidays.

Rose is still the brash, confident girl that she was in Vampire Academy.  But, she is showing signs of maturing especially after Victor Dashkov's attacks on Lissa in the first book.  She is more devoted to her studies as a guardian while dealing with some of the negative effects of her bond with Lissa.  While Rose does display some of her classic arrogance and party girl attitude, there are situations where she shows she is growing as a person and as a potential guaridan.  In addition to all of this, she also has some complicated love issues surrounding her in this book: Mason's crush on her and her personal feelings for mentor Dimitri.

The lust charm that Dashkov used on Dimitri and Rose has only broken the surface of their feelings.  Both of them are aware of the sexual tension between them and they are also aware that they should not act on those feelings.  In the first book, Dimitri acted as the ideal guy for Rose with his fighting ability and mysterious past.  Frostbite allows the readers to delve deeper into his personality as Rose does.  He becomes less of a mystery and Rose gets to know him beyond the obvious chemistry.  There are scenes where they are able to talk as friends rather than student/teacher or potential love interests.  This is important in making this forbidden relationship more realistic and root-worthy for readers.

Readers also get to see more of the existing secondary characters as well as meet some fascinating new ones.  Christian and Lissa are officially a couple now which has made Christian less surly and more devoted to Lissa and her needs.  In this book, Christian really shows his strength, both emotionally and magically, which was wonderful to see.  But, despite his growth, he still has some self-esteem issues primarily related to his parents' decision to become  Strigoi.  Lissa is still a little too perfect for my taste.  Rose puts her up on a pedestal so much that it has been difficult to get a real read on her character.  But, what I was able to see in Frostbite made me excited: Lissa's attempts to understand her spirit element and her showing signs of leadership capabilities.

There were quite a few new characters popping up in the VA world.  The most interesting, to me anyway, were Tasha, Janine, and Adrian.  Tasha is a Moroi, specifically Christian's aunt, who is a perfect example of growing unrest with the old guardian/Moroi routine and has strong ideas about how to save her people from Strigoi.  Readers also meet Rose's mother, Janine, for the first time.  I loved reading this complex mother/daughter relationship and how it showcased different aspects of dhampir culture and guardianship.  And, then, we have Adrian Ivashkov, the sarcastic, constantly drunk royal pain in the ass who immediately latches on to Rose and brings with him a whole new type of trouble.  I really enjoyed his character and see some definite potential beneath this bad boy exterior.

All in all, this was a solid second installment to what is shaping up to be an entertaining series.  The world has been established and little fissures are popping up to show readers that all is not perfect in this Moroi/dhampir society.  The plot is becoming darker and more complex while the characters are developing and growing rapidly.  I look forward to finding out more about Rose, Dimitri, and the rest of the St. Vlad's gang.

Rating: 4 Stars
SERIES INFORMATION

Vampire Academy
1. Vampire Academy
2. Frostbite
3. Shadow Kiss
4. Blood Promise
5. Spirit Bound
5.5. "Sunshine" Kisses from Hell
6. Last Sacrifice

Bloodlines (spin-off)
1. Bloodlines
2. The Golden Lily (To Be Released in 2012)
BOOK CHALLENGE ENTRY

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY (15): Storybound


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases we're anxiously awaiting.  I haven't done this feature in awhile so I thought I'd check out what people are excited about.


(Storybound #1)
by Marissa Burt
Harper Collins-April 3, 2012

In the land of Story, children go to school to learn to be characters: a perfect Hero, a trusty Sidekick, even the most dastardly Villain. They take classes on Outdoor Experiential Questing and Backstory, while adults search for full-time character work in stories written just for them.
In our world, twelve-year-old Una Fairchild has always felt invisible. But all that changes when she stumbles upon a mysterious book buried deep in the basement of her school library, opens the cover, and suddenly finds herself transported to the magical land of Story.

But Story is not a perfect fairy tale. Una’s new friend Peter warns her about the grave danger she could face if anyone discovers her true identity. The devious Tale Keeper watches her every move. And there are whispers of a deadly secret that seems to revolve around Una herself....

With the timeless appeal of books like A Wrinkle in Time and the breathtaking action of Inkheart, Storybound has all the makings of a new classic. Brimming with fantastical creatures, magical adventure, and heart-stopping twists, Storybound will leave readers wishing they too could jump through the pages into this enchanting fairy-tale world.


WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR THIS WEDNESDAY?

REVIEW: "The Traitor in the Tunnel" by Y.S. Lee


The Traitor in the Tunnel by Y.S. Lee
(The Agency #3)

Historical Fiction-Mystery
Candlewick Press--February 28, 2012
Hardcover, 373 pages 






SUMMARY

Queen Victoria has a little problem: there's a petty thief at work in Buckingham Palace. Charged with discretion, the Agency puts quickwitted Mary Quinn on the case, where she must pose as a domestic while fending off the attentions of a feckless Prince of Wales. But when the prince witnesses the murder of one of his friends in an opium den, the potential for scandal looms large. And Mary faces an even more unsettling possibility: the accused killer, a Chinese sailor imprisoned in the Tower of London, shares a name with her long-lost father.

Meanwhile, engineer James Easton, Mary's onetime paramour, is at work shoring up the sewers beneath the palace, where an unexpected tunnel seems to be very much in use. Can Mary and James trust each other (and put their simmering feelings aside) long enough to solve the mystery and protect the Royal Family? Hoist on your waders for Mary's most personal case yet, where the stakes couldn't be higher - and she has everything to lose.


MY THOUGHTS

Oh my god!! It is rare that I find a series that sucks me in the way that Y.S. Lee's Agency series has.  It is even rarer when every book in a series gets a 5-Star ranking from me, but that is what happened with these historical mysteries.

For those of you who are unaware, The Agency is a young adult historical mystery series that tells of the adventures of Mary Quinn.  Mary is a former street thief who was saved from execution/transportation and given the opportunity to be educated at a charity school.  After graduating, she was offered a position in the Agency which is a group of female spies who go undercover in a variety of places to help out clients.  In earlier installments of this series, readers have seen Mary as a lady's companion and as a twelve year old boy.  Now, Mary has become a housemaid in Queen Victoria's household to discover the truth about possible thievery amongst the servants.

My favorite thing about this series is watching Mary grow into a confident spy and an independent young woman.  Her past was tragic, but it has been a joy to see her overcome it to become successful in her chosen career.  It is very clear that Mary is no longer a novice within the Agency.  She has experience and confidence in her abilities that has been lacking in some of her earlier missions.  Mary has become less reactive and impulsive to what goes on around her, but she still hasn't lost that innate curiousity that makes her so fun to read about.  She has also grown mature and aware of her feelings about certain complex topics like her heritage (half-Asian) and her personal feelings for young architect, James Easton.  Despite her flaws, Mary is definitely an admirable and realistic historical heroine that would be a great role model for many teenage girls.

And speaking of James, it wouldn't be an Agency novel without that clever and stoic young man popping up in the middle of Mary's investigation.  James, like Mary, has grown up during the series.  He has realized how judgmental he was about certain things and wants to pursue a different relationship with Mary.  It is a sure sign of maturity when one evaluates one's earlier priorities and figures out where one is incorrect or hasty.  Readers do not get as much of James's point of view as in earlier installments, but I found that to be a great way for the author to hide his true motives.

Mary and James continue to be a fascinating "couple" with their opposing social standings, but obvious chemistry.  Both of them have difficulty trusting others, but have learned to let their guard down with each other.  In The Traitor in the Tunnel, readers see Mary intentionally pursue James's assistance (which she avoided at all costs before) and James deal with his protective nature when it comes to Mary's independence.  I look forward to the next book to see more of this potential romance especially after certain events occurred near the end.

The mystery in this book begins in a fairly simplistic manner, but any fan of Mary's knows that it can easily become complex.  In her investigation of the thievery, Mary discovers a mysterious tunnel underneath the palace and she, and James, try to decipher its connection to the royals.  It was entertaining to watch Mary deal with both mysteries at the same time while trying to maintain her cover as a housemaid.

Another thing I enjoyed about this book was the inclusion of Queen Victoria and her family.  I have always been fascinated by this lady and loved seeing how Y.S. Lee depicted her and her relationship with her husband and children.  It was also fun to see the inner workings of a large English household...fans of Downton Abbey would definitely find the escapades of the servants fascinating. 

This book does end with some lingering questions about the future of the Agency and Mary, and James's, role in it.  Y.S. Lee is doing a fourth, and final, installment, and I personally cannot wait to see more of this interesting world of mystery, drama, and romance.

Rating: 5 Stars

SERIES INFORMATION

The Agency
1. A Spy in the House
2. The Body at the Tower
3. The Traitor in the Tunnel
4. Rivals in the City (To Be Released)

MY BOOK BOYFRIEND (31): Rehvenge


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: 

REHVENGE
from
Lover Avenged by JR Ward (BDB #7)


About Rehvenge:
  • Black hair in a mohawk, purple eyes, tanned skin
  • Half-vampire; half-sympath (subspecies that feeds off emotions)
  • Dopes up in order to prevent his emotion-feeding tendencies
  • Nickname: The Reverend
  • Owner of ZeroSum nightclub in Caldwell, New York.
  • Pimp and drug dealer
  • Older brother to Bella, shellan to Brother Zsadist (Lover Awakened) and uncle to Nalla.
Why I Love Rehvenge:
  • He's a good cook.
  • Very protective of those he cares about: Bella, Nalla, his mother, Xhex, Ehlena.
  • Feels unworthy of love due to being part-sympath and a drug dealer/pimp.
  • Has an interesting..."body mutation", for lack of a better term, that could mean some intriguing nights ahead for his lucky lady.
Okay, so she wasn't his in the slightest.  He knew her name only because it was on the blue and white pin on her coat.  He saw her only when he came to be treated.  And she didn't like him at all.  But, he still thought of her as his and that was just the way of it.  The thing was, they had something in common, something that crossed species lines and eclipsed social stratification and bonded them together even though she would have denied it.


He was careful as he got off the exam table and drew that fur coat on, the sable widening the great width of his shoulders until he loomed even from across the room.  With his eyes on her, he took his cane and came over slowly, as if he were unsure of his balance . . .and his reception.  
"Thank you," he said.
God, the words were so simple and so commonly spoken, and yet, coming from him, they meant more than she was comfortable with.  Actually, it was less how he expressed himself than his expression: there was a vulnerability in that amethyst stare, buried deep within it.



He'd done a lot of evil deeds over the course of his life.  Big ones and small. . . 
And yet, none of that had bothered him at the time.  There had been no second thoughts, no regrets, no empathy.  Just more schemes, more plans, more angles to be discovered and exploited.  Here at this empty table, though, in this empty penthouse, he felt the ache in his chest and knew it for what it was: regret.  
It would have been extraordinary to deserve Ehlena.  But that was just one more thing he wasn't ever going to feel.





"But I wish I had better clothes.  Then I'd be beautiful."
Rehvenge paused.  And then he shocked the crap out of her by kneeling before her.
As he looked up, he had a slight smile on his lips, "Don't you get it, Ehlena?"
With gentle hands, he stroked down her calf and brought her foot forward, balancing it on his thigh.  As he undid the laces of her cheapo Keds sneaker, he whispered, "No matter what you wear...to me, you will always have diamonds on the soles of your shoes."



But Ehlena didn't remove her hand, "Is that why?"
"I didn't want you to know about any of this.  I wanted to . . . be normal for you.  I wanted you to feel safe around me . . . and I wanted to be with you.  That's the why of lying.  I didn't mean to fall in love with you.  I didn't want that for you--"
"What did you say?"
"I . . . I'm in love with you.  I'm sorry, but that's the way I feel."

My Rehvenge: David Beckham

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

TOP TEN TUESDAY (19): Books I'd Play Hooky With

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.


TOP TEN BOOKS I'D PLAY HOOKY FOR


Like most of my fellow bloggers, I'm sure I could be convinced to "play hooky" with any book.  After all, my ideal world would be one where I could read all day without any distractions such as work, school, etc. 


1. Lover Reborn (Black Dagger Brotherhood #10) by JR Ward

Released today!!  This is my ultimate book crack (or crahck if we're speaking Warden).  I have devoured this series more times than I can count and I'm sure this installment will be no exception.  Tohrment...Lassiter....Qhuay!!  Love me some Brothers!








2. City of Bones and City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments #1 and 2) by Cassandra Clare

I'm cheating with this one and counting the first two MI books as one.  I have heard so much about this series (and Infernal Devices) that I really need a day off to properly enjoy them one after another.



3. Hexed and Hammered (Iron Druid Chronicles #2 and 3) by Kevin Hearne

Similar situation as above.  I loved Hammered and would love to spend an entire day with Atticus, Oberon, and all their crazy adventures. 




4. Magic Bites (Kate Daniels #1) by Ilona Andrews

Sometimes there is nothing better than starting a fabulous (hopefully!) new series.  I have been meaning to get going on this series forever and would definitely love to use a free day to get obsessed!











5. Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3) by E.L. James

Really enjoyed the first two, but haven't read the last in the series.  These books (despite their obvious issues) completely suck me in and make me keep reading until the very end.






6. Born of Shadows (The League #4) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

I love SK's science fiction romance series and have had this book on my TBR shelf for ages.  If I played hooky, I could get going on this one and be ready for Born of Silence this spring!






7.  A Million Suns (Across the Universe #2) by Beth Revis

Another book that I have owned since release day, but haven't gotten to read yet.  I loved Across the Universe so much that I want to relish this next installment.  Plus I've heard there is a cliffhanger and I'm trying to bide my time so I won't have as long to wait for Shades of Earth.








8. Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver

A dystopian novel that I have read many great reviews on.  Plus with Pandemonium coming out, it would be the perfect time to spend a day getting into a new world.








9. Lord of the Fading Lands (Tairen Soul #1) by C.L. Wilson

A fantasy romance series that is rumored to be highly addictive.  Definitely need to block out a day to read this one!










10. Crave (Fallen Angels #2) by JR Ward

I adore JR Ward's writing (see #1), but haven't found the time to get farther in her Fallen Angels series.  The concept of Crave is intriguing to me and I would love to read it without too many interruptions.







HONORABLE MENTIONS
These are books that have not been released yet which could also require a "hooky day" to read.

*Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth
*Lethal Rider (Lords of Deliverance #3) by Larissa Ione
*Once Burned (Night Prince #1) by Jeaniene Frost

 

Monday, March 26, 2012

REVIEW: "The Darkest Seduction" by Gena Showalter


The Darkest Seduction by Gena Showalter
(Lords of the Underworld #9)

Paranormal Romance-Angels and Demons
Harlequin--February 28, 2012
Paperback, 504 pages 






SUMMARY

Possessed by the demon of Promiscuity, immortal warrior Paris is irresistibly seductive-but his potent allure comes at a terrible price. Every night he must bed someone new, or weaken and die. And the woman he craves above all others is the one woman he'd thought was forever beyond his reach…until now.

Newly possessed by the demon of Wrath, Sienna Blackstone is racked by a ruthless need to punish those around her. Yet in Paris's arms, the vulnerable beauty finds soul-searing passion and incredible peace. Until a blood feud between ancient enemies heats up.  Will the battle against gods, angels and creatures of the night bind them eternally-or tear them apart?



MY THOUGHTS

WARNING:  THIS REVIEW MAY HAVE SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST EIGHT BOOKS IN THE LORDS OF THE UNDERWORLD SERIES!!

Finally!!  After years of waiting, we are finally given the conclusion to Paris and Sienna's tragic, and complicated love story!  And it was everything I could have hoped for and more!  There was so much going on in this book, but none of it overshadowed the main couple which is exactly how I like my paranormal romance.

Paris's character has gone through many changes over the course of the series.  Readers have seen him as a sexy playboy to tender lover to depressed, suicidal warrior.  It was nice to see him shake off the issues that have plagued him in the recent installments and become determined to achieve a goal.  Ever since he learned of Sienna's imprisonment, he has been obsessed with rescuing her.  He uses his seductive skills to gain information about Cronus's whereabouts and, in this book, is finally ready to get Sienna out.  I loved seeing Paris throw off his moping and self-pity and become the hero that I knew he could be.  He is a strong, intelligent warrior who does everything in his power to help those he cares about without expecting anything in return. There is a definite sense of self-hatred that goes along with his curse which gives his character sympathy and vulnerability.

Sienna is a difficult heroine to like, at first.  Her role in the earlier books is hard to forgive especially after seeing the way her "death" affected Paris.  I was not sure if I would be able to see them as a couple with a potential HEA, but thankfully I was wrong.  Sienna is strong-willed and is socially aware enough to understand where she went wrong with her involvement with the Hunters.  I think her past was a great way for Showalter to portray how the Hunters use humans' weaknesses to recruit them toward their mission.  I also admired her determination to deal with the fact that she has been possessed with the demon Wrath.  She is finally able to understand what Paris and the other Lords deal with on a daily basis which changes her entire outlook.

Paris and Sienna have a lot to overcome before receiving their happily-ever-after.  I enjoyed watching them interact with each other and figure out what each of them wants from their relationship.  The last time they saw each other was fairly traumatic so there were some issues to work out.  I won't go much further into their love story to avoid spoilers, but I will say that, by the end, I firmly believed their romance would work out and that they deserved each other.

Because this is part of the Lords of the Underworld series, there are many subplots which will have some effect on the ultimate future of the characters.  Some of my personal favorite side stories in this installment were the introduction of more possessed immortals, the eerie, but intriguing romance between Galen and Legion, and the birth of Ashlyn and Maddox's twins.  Readers also get to spend more time with the always hilarious yet tortured William-the-Ever-Randy and the dark and dangerous angel Zacharel.  I know that Showalter is writing a spin-off with Zacharel and his fellow warrior angels and I thought this book provided a great introduction to him without taking away from the overall storyline.

Because this is a Showalter book, there is plenty of heart-stopping action and sexual tension.  I particularly enjoyed the scenes that involved Paris's journey into Cronus's castle.  I also liked that the overarching conflict between Cronus, Rhea, the Hunters, and the Lords reached a surprising point.  I was not expecting that particular event to happen, but I am interested to see where Showalter takes the series from here.

Rating: 4.5 Stars


SERIES INFORMATION

I highly recommend that this series be read in order.  Showalter does a decent job of providing backstory in each book, but I feel like readers could become easily confused if they just jumped in the middle.

Lords of the Underworld
0.5. The Darkest Fire (Geryon/Kadence) [prequel-novella]
1. The Darkest Night (Maddox/Ashlyn)
2. The Darkest Kiss (Lucien/Anya)
3. The Darkest Pleasure (Reyes/Danika)
3.5. The Darkest Prison (Atlas/Nike) [novella]
4. The Darkest Whisper (Sabin/Gwen)
4.5 The Darkest Angel (Lysander/Bianka) [novella]
5. The Darkest Passion (Aeron/Olivia)
6. The Darkest Lie (Gideon/Scarlet)
7. The Darkest Secret (Amun/Haidee)
8. The Darkest Surrender (Strider/Kaia)
9. The Darkest Seduction (Paris/Sienna)

Angels of the Dark (spinoff)
1. Wicked Nights (Zacharel/Annabelle)

BOOK CHALLENGE ENTRY



Friday, March 23, 2012

FOLLOW FRIDAY (21)

Gain New Blog Followers
Feature & Follow Friday is a blog hop that expands your blog following by a joint effort between bloggers. Feature & Follow Friday is now hosted by TWO hosts, Rachel of Parajunkee and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!


This Week's Feature Blogs:
Sarah's Books & Life Button
Sarah's Books and Life

poppy2 Feature & Follow #89
Short and Sweet

Q: What is the longest book you've read?  What are your favorite 600+ page reads?

LONGEST
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell at 1011 pages (according to Goodreads)
I read it when I was eleven and I remember it taking about a month for me to finish it.  I really enjoyed it, but there was just something about tackling a book that big that was intimidating at the time. 



FAVORITE 600+ READS
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (734 pages)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (896 pages)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (652 pages)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (759 pages)
Outlander by  Diana Gabaldon (629 pages)
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (752 pages)
Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon (722 pages)
The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillippa Gregory (661 pages)

*****
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

MY BOOK BOYFRIEND (30): Malkom Slaine


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: 

MALKOM SLAINE

Demon from the Dark (Immortals After Dark, #10) 
(Immortals After Dark #10)
by Kresley Cole

Appearance:
  • Dirty blond hair, blue eyes that turn black when angry.
  • Horns on top of head and fangs.
  • Piercings and tattoos everywhere.
  • Seven feet tall and very muscular build.


The being's body was nearly seven feet tall and splashed with blood.  Large horns curved back from above his ears.  His lips were parted, exposing upper and lower fangs.  Another demon.  And, gods, this one was big.  His broad chest and brawny arms were covered in a mesh chainmail shirt, his muscles rippling with strength under the metal.


About Malkom:

  • Vemon  or a demon transformed into a vampire by force.
  • Sold into slavery by his mother as a child.
  • Physically and sexually abused by his vampire owners.
  • Became a powerful warrior and eventually best friends with a prince before his transformation.
  • Like most demons, dreams of the day that he will meet his destined mate.
Why I Love Him:
  • Very sweet and awkward around Carrow, his mate.
  • Has lived a solitary life and has been very lonely.
  • Is ashamed of his vemon status, but uses his strength to protect those he cares about.
  • All he wants is a family to care for and to care about him.

What was this frenzy?  The feeling that had weighed on him now escalated.  When he recognized it, his eyes narrowed.  This was fear.  For her.  It'd been so long since he'd felt it that he hadn't comprehended it.  The only people who knew fear were ones who had something to lose.  At last, he did.  And he'd be damned if anything took her from him.

He interlaced his fingers and said, "We are bound."  
"Bound?"
He collected a piece of rope, knotting it. 
"Oh, you mean bound?"
He gave a nod, then drew in the sand.  An infinity symbol?
"Clever demon, how did you know that?"
He was gazing at her with a question in his eyes.
"Bound forever?"  And somehow she met his gaze and lied, "Yes, demon.  Bound forever."
As if to make her feel even guiltier, he gathered her into his arms, cupping her face against his broad chest.  His voice a deep rumble, he said, "Carrow is Malkom's."


At the end of the night, he'd turned on his side so he could enfold her in his arms, clasping her tightly to him.  His body still shuddering, his voice raw, he'd said, "A witch holds my life in her palm.  Ara, I live or die for you."


My Malkom: Wes Ramsey

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TOP TEN TUESDAY (18): Spring TBR List

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

TOP TEN BOOKS ON MY SPRING TO-BE-READ LIST
(New Releases Only)

1. The Duke's Perfect Wife
(Highland Pleasures #4) by Jennifer Ashley [April 3]

Lady Eleanor Ramsay is the only one who knows the truth about Hart Mackenzie. Once his fiancee, she is the sole woman to whom he could ever pour out his heart.

Hart has it all--a dukedom, wealth, power, influence, whatever he desires. Every woman wants him--his seductive skills are legendary. But Hart has sacrificed much to keep his brothers safe, first from their brutal father, and then from the world. He's also suffered loss--his wife, his infant son, and the woman he loved with all his heart though he realized it too late.

Now, Eleanor has reappeared on Hart's doorstep, with scandalous nude photographs of Hart taken long ago. Intrigued by the challenge in her blue eyes--and aroused by her charming, no-nonsense determination--Hart wonders if his young love has come to ruin him . . . or save him.

2. A Week To Be Wicked
(Spindle Cove #2) by Tessa Dare [March 27]

Minerva Highwood, one of Spindle Cove’s confirmed spinsters, needs to be in Scotland.  Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne, a rake of the first order, needs to be…anywhere but Spindle Cove.

These unlikely partners have one week
- to fake an elopement
- to convince family and friends they’re in “love”
- to outrun armed robbers
- to survive their worst nightmares
- to travel four hundred miles without killing each other

All while sharing a very small carriage by day and an even smaller bed by night.  What they don’t have time for is their growing attraction. Much less wild passion. And heaven forbid they spend precious hours baring their hearts and souls.  Suddenly one week seems like exactly enough time to find a world of trouble.  And maybe…just maybe…love.

3. A Night Like This
(Smythe-Smith #2) by Julia Quinn [May 29]

Anne Wynter’s job as governess to three highborn young ladies can be a challenge – in a single week she finds herself hiding in a closet full of tubas, playing an evil queen in a play and tending to the wounds of the oh-so-dashing Earl of Winstead. After years of dodging unwanted advances, he's the first man who has truly tempted her, and it's getting harder and harder to remind herself that a governess has no business flirting with a nobleman.

Daniel Smythe-Smith might be in mortal danger, but that's not going to stop the young earl from falling in love. And when he spies a mysterious woman at his family's annual musicale, he vows to pursue her. But Daniel has an enemy, one who has vowed to see him dead. And when Anne is thrown into peril, he will stop at nothing to ensure their happy ending.

4. Lethal Rider
(Lords of Deliverance #3) by Larissa Ione [May 22]

Thanatos, the most deadly Horseman of the Apocalypse, has endured thousands of years of celibacy to prevent the end of days. But just one night with the wickedly sexy Aegis Guardian, Regan Cooper, shatters centuries of resolve. Yet their passion comes with a price. And Thanatos must face a truth more terrifying than an apocalypse-he's about to become a father.

Demon-slayer Regan Cooper never imagined herself the maternal type, but with the fate of the world hanging in the balance she had no choice but to seduce Thanatos and bear his child. Now, as the final battle draws closer and his rage at being betrayed is overshadowed by an undeniable passion for the mother of his child, Thanatos has a life-shattering realization: To save the world, he must sacrifice the only thing he's ever wanted-a family.

5. Tangle of Need
(Psy-Changeling #11) by Nalini Singh [May 29]

Adria, wolf changeling soldier, has made a break with a past as
unpredictable in love as it was in war. Now comes a devastating new complication: Riaz, a SnowDancer whose lone-wolf appeal is beyond sexual. It’s primal. And it consumes them as completely as the impending cataclysmic Psy war—a battle that may alter the very fate of the world.



6. Lover Reborn
(Black Dagger Brotherhood #10) by JR Ward [March 27]

Now back in the Brotherhood - and unrecognisable as the vampire leader he once was - Tohrment is physically emaciated and heartbroken beyond despair. When he begins to see his beloved in his dreams - trapped in a cold, isolating netherworld - Tohr turns to a self-serving fallen angel in hopes of saving the one he has lost. When he's told he must learn to love another to free his former mate, Tohr knows they are all doomed . . .

Except then a female with a shadowed history begins to get through to him. Against the backdrop of the raging war with the lessers, and with a new clan of vampires vying for the Blind King's throne, Tohr struggles between the buried past, and a very hot, passion-filled future . . . but can his heart let go and set all of them free?



7. The Immortal Rules
(Blood of Eden #1) by Julie Kagawa [April 24]
Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

 
8. Insurgent
(Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth [May 1]
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.



9. The Selection
(The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass [April 24]

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.



10. Grave Mercy
(Grave Mercy #1) by Robin LaFevers [April 3]
Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?