Thursday, May 31, 2012

REVIEW: "The Governess Affair" by Courtney Milan


The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan
(Brothers Sinister #0.5)

Historical Romance -- Victorian
For Ages 18+
Self-Published -- April 21, 2012
Ebook, 101 pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars




SUMMARY

She will not give up…

Three months ago, governess Serena Barton was let go from her position. Unable to find new work, she’s demanding compensation from the man who got her sacked: a petty, selfish, swinish duke. But it’s not the duke she fears. It’s his merciless man of business—the man known as the Wolf of Clermont. The formidable former pugilist has a black reputation for handling all the duke’s dirty business, and when the duke turns her case over to him, she doesn’t stand a chance. But she can’t stop trying—not with her entire future at stake.

He cannot give in…

Hugo Marshall is a man of ruthless ambition—a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner’s son to the right hand man of a duke. When his employer orders him to get rid of the pestering governess by fair means or foul, it’s just another day at the office. Unfortunately, fair means don’t work on Serena, and as he comes to know her, he discovers that he can’t bear to use foul ones. But everything he has worked for depends upon seeing her gone. He’ll have to choose between the life that he needs, and the woman he is coming to love…
MY THOUGHTS

Courtney Milan is one of my favorite historical romance authors at the moment and she lives up to this honor with her new novella, The Governess Affair.  This short story is considered a prequel to her upcoming series, Brothers Sinister. 

I will admit that I am often hesitant about reading novellas because I feel like they are too short and often the romance isn't developed enough for me to truly believe there will be a happy ending.  But, I have learned that this is never the case for a Courtney Milan short story.  She is wonderful at organizing a story perfectly for the shortened length and I never feel like I'm missing something.  Like many of Milan's writings, The Governess Affair goes beyond the typicals lord meets lady durign the Season love story.  Neither of our protagonists is considered to be on the top of British society which is a refreshing change. 

Serena Barton is an impoverished lady turned governess who is in a bit of a situation.  She lost her position after being raped by a duke and then discovered that the encounter left her pregnant.  Now, Serena is determined to make the duke pay for his actions and insure that her child will not be raised without money or security.  On the other hand, we have Hugo Marshall, a former pugalist, who makes a living by solving his employer's problems.  Unfortunately, his employer happens to be the same duke that raped Serena and Hugo has been assigned the task of making her go away.

I adored both of these characters and their relationship with each other.  Serena has had a difficult time recently, but she uses her experiences to inspire her.  She is determined not to remain a victim any longer and is willing to do whatever she has to in order to give her child the best life possible.  Hugo, at first glance, appears to be an ordinary man, but his personality and actions make him a viable hero.  He is attracted to Serena and her strength of will which is wonderful to read.  Personally, Hugo has to go through some maturing especially when it comes to giving up his lifelong ambitions, but he does it in such a relatable way.

The sexual tension is apparent from the beginning with Serena and Hugo.  It is also balanced out with romantic chemistry that goes beyond pure lust.  These two people respect and admire each other's intelligence and personality.  This aspect of their love story made me root for them and sigh with pleasure by the end. 

Like any Milan story, The Governess Affair is well-written with a fascinating historical setting.  The Victorian era is new for this author and I am excited to see how she puts her own little twist on it.  This novella is the perfect length which, as I mentioned, is difficult for even the most experience romance writers.  I will also say the epilogue is a wonderful set-up for the Brothers Sinister series and I look forward these new stories.

SERIES INFORMATION

Brothers Sinister
0.5. The Governess Affair
1. The Duchess War (To Be Released 2012)
2. The Heiress Effect (To Be Released 2012)
3. The Countess Conspiracy (To Be Released 2013)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

REVIEW: "Awaken Me Darkly" by Gena Showalter


Awaken Me Darkly by Gena Showalter
(Alien Huntress #1)

Science Fiction -- Romance -- Urban Fantasy
For Ages 18+
Downtown Press--2005
Paperback, 358 pages

Rating: 3.5 Stars




SUMMARY

In a time and place not too far away, Mia Snow is an alien huntress for the New Chicago Police Department. Heading up her expert team of Alien Investigation and Removal agents, Mia's unmatched at battling the elusive enemy among us, and she's the perfect girl for the job. She's seen her brother die at the hands of aliens. She's earned each of her scars. And she'll die before she cries. Now, a series of killings have Mia and her partner Dallas tracking alien suspects -- but a sudden blast of violence leaves Dallas fighting for his life.

The chance to save Dallas appears in the form of a tall, erotic stranger. An alien. A murder suspect. Kyrin en Arr, of the deadly Arcadian species, holds the power to heal the injured agent but not without a price. For Mia Snow, that price is surrendering to Kyrin's forbidden seduction...and embracing their electric attraction. She's walking a knife's edge, risking her badge and even her life. The closer she gets to Kyrin, the more Mia learns about her own heart, her human needs -- and the shocking secret that will shatter everything she's ever believed.
MY THOUGHTS

Interesting premise and a good series starter.  I liked the worldbuilding in this futuristic Chicago.  The backstory of the aliens or otherworlders was detailed, but not overwritten.  There is still some mystery behind their appearance and purpose which I appreciated.

It took some time for me to warm up to the heroine, Mia.  She is a tough woman with a difficult job so she comes across a little unrelatable.  I did admire her strength and, thankfully, I got used to her brash personality.  The fact that the entire story is told from her point of view helped with this aspect.  I liked Kyrin, the alien hero, and wish that we had seen more of his character.  I think the first person viewpoint skewed this a little bit more than I would have liked.  His feelings for Mia were confusing, at times, as was the reason for his actions throughout the story.  But, he had definite potential and I would like to see more of him.

As a couple, Mia and Kyrin were hard to read.  There was quite a bit of confusion, as I mentioned earlier, about their true feelings for each other especially when their actions didn't match their proclaimed emotions.  There was a nice mix of hot sex scenes and tender romantic moments so I could see a possible happily-ever-after in their future, but I would have liked more proof.

The mystery that makes up the majority of plot was intriguing and kept me guessing for quite a while.  I have this weird obsession with serial killers so this was right up my alley!  I will warn possible readers that some of the murder scenes were a little graphic though nothing worse than you would see on primetime television.  All in all, this was a fascinating science fiction/urban fantasy story.  This isn't my usual genre of choice, but I enjoyed the book and will definitely seek out more in this series.

SERIES INFORMATION

Alien Huntress
1. Awaken Me Darkly
2. Enslave Me Sweetly
3. Savor Me Slowly
4. Seduce the Darkness
5. Ecstasy in Darkness
6. Dark Taste of Rapture

Young Adult-Alien Huntress
1. Redhanded
2. Blacklisted

Otherworld Assassin
1. Last Kiss Goodnight (To Be Released 2012)

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY (19): Scandal Wears Satin


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases we're anxiously awaiting. 



(DRESSMAKERS #2)
BY LORETTA CHASE

HISTORICAL ROMANCE
AVON -- JUNE 26, 2012

From the Journals of Sophia Noirot: A dress is a weapon. It must dazzle his eye, raise his temperature . . . and empty his purse.

A blue-eyed innocent on the outside and a shark on the inside, dressmaker Sophy Noirot could sell sand to Bedouins. Selling Maison Noirot's beautiful designs to aristocratic ladies is a little harder, especially since a recent family scandal has made an enemy of one of society's fashion leaders. Turning scandal to the shop's advantage requires every iota of Sophy's manipulative skills, leaving her little patience for a big, reckless rakes like the Earl of Longmore. The gorgeous lummox can't keep more than one idea in his head at a time, and his idea is taking off all of Sophy's clothes.

But when Longmore's sister, Noirot's wealthiest, favorite customer, runs away, Sophy can't let him bumble after her on his own. In hot pursuit with the one man who tempts her beyond reason, she finds desire has never slipped on so smoothly...

MY BOOK BOYFRIEND (39): Spade


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:

SPADE
by Jeaniene Frost

About Spade:
  • Major side character in the Night Huntress series that gets his own story in First Drop of Crimson.
  • 6'4 with long spiky black hair.
  • 200+ year old vampire originally from England.
  • As a human was known as Baron Charles DeMortimer.
  • Transported to the New South Wales penal colony due to his family's unpaid debts.
  • Best friends with Bones and Ian.


"Charles," Bones said distinctly.  "You'd better have a splendid explanation for her being n top of you."
The black-haired vampire rose to his feet as soon as I jumped off, brushing the dirt off his clothes.  "Believe me, mate, I've never enjoyed a woman astride me less.  I came out to say hello, and this she-devil blinded me by flinging rocks in my eyes.  Then she vigorously attempted to split my skull before threatening to impale me with silver if I so much as even twitched.  It's been a few years since I've been to America, but I daresay the method of greet a person has changed dramatically." --Halfway to the Grave




Something flashed across his face, too quick for her to translate.  "I won't leave you alone." He held out his hand. "Please."
She placed her hand in his.  Then she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror.
"My makeup is ruined."
"Nonsense, you look beautiful.  In fact, I've been propositioned on your behalf twice already." --First Drop of Crimson



"Yes, I'm coming back," he said, his voice rough.
Then he did what he'd wanted to do for longer than he'd admit.  He pulled her close, tilting her head back and cover her mouth with his.  Denise's surprised intake of breath parted her lips and he slid his tongue along them.  They tasted even better than her skin had, and when he delved deeper, stroking her tongue with his and learning the curves of her mouth, her taste there was like red wine--dark, heady, and sweet. --First Drop of Crimson



"You'll always love him," he said, as if he'd read her mind.  "That doesn't die just because he did, or because you now love me.  Your love for him is part of who you are.  It's a beautiful part, Denise.  Don't be sad of it and I will never be jealous of it." 
--First Drop of Crimson



"Foolish girl," he cut her off, pulling back to look into her hazel eyes.  "According to what you just said, you're safer now than you ever would be, even as a vampire.  So I don't give a rot about you occasionally changing shape.  You could transform into a zombie, a werewolf, or a cat again.  Whatever you fancy.  I'll still be there and I'll still be madly in love with you." --First Drop of Crimson


My Spade: Henry Cavill



The night is not safe for mortals. Denise MacGregor knows all too well what lurks in the shadows - her best friend is half-vampire Cat Crawfield - and she has already lost more than the average human could bear. But her family's dark past is wrapped in secrets and shrouded in darkness - and a demon shapeshifter has marked Denise as prey. Now her survival depends on an immortal who craves a taste of her.

He is Spade, a powerful, mysterious vampire who has walked the earth for centuries and is now duty-bound to protect this endangered, alluring human - even if it means destroying his own kind. Denise may arouse his deepest hungers, but Spade knows he must fight his urge to have her as they face the demon nightmare together...

Because once the first drop of crimson falls, they will both be lost.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

TOP TEN TUESDAY (25): Book I Hope People Are Still Reading

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.



TOP TEN BOOKS I HOPE PEOPLE ARE STILL READING IN THE NEXT 30 YEARS

1. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Obvious answer, but couldn't make this list without it.

2. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
See above comments.

3. Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
Wonderfully entertaining paranormal series that has something for every type of reader.

4. Fever series by Karen Marie Moning
Mindblowing urban fantasy series.  Should definitely be considered a classic of the genre.

5. Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa
Fantasy series with unique worldbuilding and fabulous characters.

6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Wonderful historical fiction that I think will become a staple on required school reading lists.

7. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie
I love the narrator and the way Alexie depicted Junior's plight.  I can definitely see generations of high schoolers connecting with him.

8. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Beautiful story that grabbed me and made me go through the full range of emotions.  Definitely a book that makes you think.

9. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Similar to the Sherman Alexie.  Most young adults can relate to Charlie and his high school experiences.

10. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Practically anything by Dessen should be considered a classic, but I chose this one because it is my favorite.  The message is so beautiful and thought-provoking.

Friday, May 25, 2012

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: "Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men" by Molly Harper

Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men by Molly Harper
Narrated by Amanda Ronconi
(Jane Jameson #2)

Paranormal Romance--Vampires
For Ages 18+
Pocket Star/Audible--2009/2010
Audiobook, 9 hours and 50 minutes

Rating: 4 Stars




SUMMARY

With her best friend Zeb’s Titanic-themed wedding looming ahead, new vampire Jane Jameson struggles to develop her budding relationship with her enigmatic sire, Gabriel.  It seems unfair that she’s expected to master undead dating while dealing with a groom heading for a nuptial nervous breakdown, his hostile werewolf in-laws, and the ugliest bridesmaid dress in the history of marriage.

Meanwhile, the passing of Jane’s future stepgrandpa puts Grandma Ruthie back on the market.  Her new fiance, Wilbur, has his own history of suspiciously dead spouses, and he may or may not have died ten years ago.  Half-Moon Hollow’s own Black Widow has finally met her match.  Should Jane warn her grandmother of Wilbur’s marital habits or let things run their course?  Will Jane always be an undead bridesmaid, never the undead bride?
MY THOUGHTS

**WARNING: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST BOOK IN THE JANE JAMESON SERIES, NICE GIRLS DON'T HAVE FANGS.  SEE THAT REVIEW HERE.**

Last time we saw Jane Jameson, she had been shot by a drunk, turned into a vampire, and almost killed by a psychotic pink-wearing real estate agent.  She began dating her sexy sire, Gabriel, and met some new friends to help her adjust to her new lifestyle.  Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men picks up soon after the first book left off and quickly throws the reader back into Jane's crazy life.

Like Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs, this book is hilarious!  Jane's sarcastic comments paired with narrator Amanda Ronconi's spot-on voices keep me giggling and shaking me head from beginning to end.  Molly Harper has a definite knack for showcasing the humor in both mundane and dramatic situations.  And, of course, Jane and the other residents of Half-Moon Hollow, Kentucky provide plenty of crazy antics.  In this book alone, readers see the planning for Zeb and Jolene's Titanic themed wedding (really?), the beginnings of Jane's bitter Grandma Ruthie's new love affair, and Jane's attempts at a long-term relationship with a handsome and mysterious Gabriel.  Plus you have the typical life issues like finding a job and dealing with Jane's ever-present family issues.

I liked the way that Molly Harper showed Jane's evolution from newbie vampire to slightly more confident woman.  She is definitely trying to get a handle on her new life and it is admirable to watch her determination even if things usually end up in disaster by the end.  The side characters continue to both entertain and annoy me.  Gabriel is not as present as in Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs, but I love every scene he is in with Jane.  Dick is as snarky and sexually inappropriate as ever, but shows signs of the great man he is under all the brash.  Zeb is a wonderful best friend for Jane despite his mysterious mood swings that seem to signal some supernatural goings on.  I liked seeing Jane's growing friendship with Andrea and Jolene as well. 

While the antics and narration were as entertaining as the first, I didn't feel like the plot moved as quickly in Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men.  Also, the mystery behind Zeb's personality transplant was a little easier to figure out for me.  And, can we talk about Jane's family?  I don't know if I have read such a horrible relative as Grandma Ruthie in a long time.  Her and Jenny's treatment of Jane is so cruel and illogical that I really feel for Jane,  Aunt Jetty, and Mr. & Mrs. Jameson.

As I mentioned earlier, Amanda Ronconi continues to bring out the very best in Molly Harper's writing.  The characters' personalities are very clear and perfectly in sync with their voices.  I especially love Ronconi's Ruthie, Dick, and Momma Ginger voices.  Overall, I am loving this series and Ronconi's performance of it.  The characters are fully developed and the plot is highly entertaining.  I look forward to more of Jane and the rest of her gang's over-the-top adventures.


SERIES INFORMATION

Jane Jameson
1. Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs
2. Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men
3. Nice Girls Don't Live Forever
3.5. Nice Girls Don't Sign a Lease Without a Wedding Ring
4. Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors

FOLLOW FRIDAY (27) and TGIF (16)

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:

Charissa Books

ula+button 150x150 Feature & Follow #98
Underworld Love Addiction


Q: Activity!  Dreamcast your current read.

I have been listening to Molly Harper's hilarious Jane Jameson series so I decided to dreamcast some of the main characters.  The first book in the series is Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs and my review can be found here.

 Chyler Leigh as Jane Jameson
A neurotic, clumsy librarian turned vampire with a quick wit and a tendency to get involved in some crazy antics.


Ian Somerhalder as Gabriel Nightengale
Jane's 150 year old sire and later secret-keeping boyfriend.


James Marsden as Richard "Dick" Cheney
A vampire who is Gabriel's former best friend with a snarky Southern drawl and seemingly few morals.

Christopher Gorham as Zeb Lavelle
Jane's childhood best friend who is a kindergarten teacher as well as Dr. Who superfan.


Isla Fisher as Andrea Byrne
A blood surrogate who helps Jane adjust to her new life as a vampire.


Kate Beckinsale as Jolene McClaine
Zeb's werewolf girlfriend with a huge appetite and a crazy family.


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


********************


Hosted by Ginger at GReads.

This Friday's Question

Show Me Your Cover: What are some of the worst book covers, but hold some of the best stories inside? Don't be embarrassed, show us your cover!

Most romance novels would fall in this category, but I tried picked out some of the worst with the best stories. 





Always to Remember by Lorraine Heath
A heartbreaking tearjerker that is saddled with a ridiculous Fabio-esque cover.  A complete travesty.






It Had To Be You (Chicago Stars #1) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
A hilarious contemporary romance that deserves better than the cleavage shot on the front cover.  Who came up with that brilliant idea?
A Hunger Like No Other (Immortals After Dark #1) by Kresley Cole
The later books in this series are pretty fabulous, but this early one just looked...wrong.


Castles by Julie Garwood
Just gaudy and overdesigned.







Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
Nothing completely egregious here, just doesn't showcase the excitement and the drama within one of my favorite YA series.








Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh
I've mentioned this one before, but why does this awesome paranormal series get saddled with ridiculous covers like these?







**********************



**BOOKS READ**
Rogues (Brook Street #3) by Ava March -- 3.5 Stars
Ruined by Rumor by Alyssa Everett -- 4.5 Stars
Fairy Metal Thunder (Songs of Magic #1) by J.L. Bryan -- 4 Stars
The Gentleman and the Rogue by Bonnie Dee and Summer Deven -- 4.5 Stars
Lethal  Rider (Lords of Deliverance #3) by Larissa Ione -- 5 Stars


**REVIEWS**
Brook Street Trilogy by Ava March (link)
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta (link)
Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men by Molly Harper (link)


**BLOG FEATURES**
MY BOOK BOYFRIEND: Jericho Z. Barrons (link)
WAITING ON WEDNESDAY: Fever Moon: The Fear Dorcha by Karen Marie Moning (link)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

REVIEW: "Finnikin of the Rock" by Melina Marchetta


Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
(Lumatere Chronicles #1)

Young Adult--Fantasy
For Ages 13+
Viking Australia--2008
Hardcover, 399 pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars




SUMMARY

At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom. He stands on the rock of the three wonders with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood to safeguard Lumatere.

But all safety is shattered during the five days of the unspeakable, when the king and queen and their children are brutally murdered in the palace. An impostor seizes the throne, a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere's walls, and those who escape are left to roam the land as exiles, dying by the thousands in fever camps.

Ten years later, Finnikin is summoned to another rock--to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, heir to the throne of Lumatere, is alive. This arrogant young woman claims she'll lead Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, to the prince. Instead, her leadership points them perilously toward home. Does Finnikin dare believe that Lumatere might one day rise united? Evanjalin is not what she seems, and the startling truth will test Finnikin's faith not only in her but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny.


MY THOUGHTS

I have heard many fabulous things about Melina Marchetta's YA books.  Most of my blogger friends have provided great reviews of her contemporary fiction.  I always meant to get started on her books, but never found one that grabbed my attention until I heard about Finnikin on the Rock, the first book in her Lumatere Chronicles fantasy series.  I adore YA high fantasy so I was pumped to try this one out.  And I am so glad I did!  Finnikin... is an entertaining adventure full of well-written characters, tons of suspense, and some of the best worldbuilding I've seen in YA literature.

In order to avoid spoilers, I won't be able to give much of a plot summary beyond what is provided above.  I will say that I loved how Marchetta mapped out her storylines.  There is so much going on in this book at all times with a huge cast and all their comings and goings.  The whole book starts off with a bang and just keeps going at a sometimes exhausting pace until the conclusion.  There is plenty of mystery and political turmoil which is nicely balanced by a dark humor and a sweet romance.

The protagonist is Finnikin, a nineteen year old warrior-in-training, who has traveled around with his mentor and friend, Sir Topher, since the murder of the royal family.  He is a wonderfully written character with plenty of quirks and vulnerabilities to keep a reader's attention.  Finnikin has a definite sense of loyalty to his homeland and does everything in this power to help restore peace. 

Besides Finnikin, there are many side characters that help move the story along and have their own personal backstories.  I especially loved Evanjalin, the mute novice who claims to know where the lost heir is.  She starts off as a seemingly weak girl, but shows her strength of character and determination early on.  Her mysterious past is a major subplot of this story that I found suspenseful and surprising at times.  Some of the others I liked were Froi, the young exiled thief, and Sir Topher, Finnikin's mentor.  Again I don't want to provide much more information about the minor characters in order to avoid spoiling all the twists and turns that Marchetta provides the reader.

Therefore, this is a fabulously entertaining fantasy that seems to have everything: admirable protagonist, detailed side characters, a sweet love story, lots of action, and plenty of mystery.  I look forward to reading more of Marchetta's work especially the other books in the Lumatere Chronicles. 

SERIES INFORMATION

Lumatere Chronicles
1. Finnikin of the Rock
2. Froi of the Exiles
3. Quintana of the Charyns (To Be Released 2012)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY (18): Fever Moon: The Fear Dorcha


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine to highlight upcoming releases we're anxiously awaiting. 



(Fever series)
by Karen Marie Moning
with Al Rio (artist), David Lawrence (scripter), Cliff Richards (illustrations) 

Urban Fantasy--Graphic Novel
Del Ray--Expected Publication: July 10, 2012

In Fever Moon, we meet the most ancient and deadly Unseelie ever created, the Fear Dorcha. For eons, he’s traveled worlds with the Unseelie king, leaving behind him a path of mutilation and destruction. Now he’s hunting Dublin, and no one Mac loves is safe.

Dublin is a war zone. The walls between humans and Fae are down. A third of the world’s population is dead and chaos reigns. Imprisoned over half a million years ago, the Unseelie are free and each one Mac meets is worse than the last. Human weapons don’t stand a chance against them.

With a blood moon hanging low over the city, something dark and sinister begins to hunt the streets of Temple Bar, choosing its victims by targeting those closest to Mac. Armed only with the Spear of Destiny and Jericho Barrons, she must face her most terrifying enemy yet.


MY BOOK BOYFRIEND (38): Jericho Z. Barrons


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:

JERICHO Z. BARRONS
from Karen Marie Moning's Fever series

I have adored Barrons since I read KMM's fabulous urban fantasy series and, for some reason, have never featured him on My Book Boyfriend.  Since I haven't found any new boyfriends lately, I decided to use this week to ogle the lovely Jericho Z. Barrons.  I couldn't come up with basic information on Barrons that didn't sound stupid.  So I'm going to let KMM's words show why he is worthy of being My Book Boyfriend this week.


He didn't just occupy space; he saturated it. The room had been full of books before, now it was full of him. --Darkfever



Last night you said you wanted to know what to expect so you could better select your attire. I told you we were going to visit a vampire in a Goth-den tonight. Why, then, Ms. Lane, do you look like a perky rainbow? --Darkfever



I was about to look away when he reached across the seat, touched my jaw with his long, strong, beautiful fingers, and caressed my face.  Being touched by Jericho Barrons with kindness makes you feel like you must be the most special person in the world. It’s like walking up to the biggest, most savage lion in the jungle, lying down, placing your head it its mouth and, rather than taking your life, it licks you and purrs. --Bloodfever


"One day you may kiss a man you can’t breathe without, and find breath is of little consequence."
"Right, and one day my prince might come."
"I doubt he’ll be a prince, Ms. Lane. Men rarely are." --Bloodfever



Barrons was powerful, broodingly good-looking, insanely wealthy, frighteningly intelligent, and had exquisite taste, not to mention a hard body that emitted some kind of constant low-level charge. Bottom line: He was the stuff of heroes.  And psychotic killers. --Faefever


"...And nobody’s getting laid!" I practically shouted.
"You think I don’t know that?" He shifted his body beneath me, making me painfully aware of something. Two somethings, in fact, one of which was how far up my short skirt was. The other wasn’t my problem. I wriggled, to shimmy my hem down, but his expression perished the thought. When Barrons looks at me like that, it rattles me. Lust, in those ancient, obsidian eyes, offers no trace of humanity. Doesn’t even bother trying. --Faefever


He shakes me."Say my name."
"No."
"Damn it, would you just cooperate?"
"I do not know that word,'cooperate.'"
"Obviously,"he growls.
"I think you make up words."
"I do not make up words."
"Do,too."
"Do not."
"Too."
"Not." I laugh.
"Woman, you make me crazed," he mutters. --Dreamfever

  

He pulls me around and kisses me. "You're Mac," he says. "And I'm Jericho. And nothing else matters.  Never will.  You exist in a place that is beyond all rules for me.  Do you understand that?" I do.  Jericho Barrons just told me he loves me. --Shadowfever


"I'm not the hero, Mac. Never have been. Never will be. Let us be perfectly clear: I'm not the antihero, either, so quit waiting to discover my hidden potential. There's nothing to redeem me." --Shadowfever


My Barrons: David Gandy


About the Fever Series:

MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman.  Or so she thinks... until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae...

Monday, May 21, 2012

SERIES REVIEW: Brook Street Trilogy by Ava March

Ava March is one of my favorite male/male writers with her specialty being romances that take place in Regency England.  Her author bio claims that she is fascinated by the strict social structure of this world of the ton and what really happens behind closed doors.  The Brook Street trilogy provides readers with three couples who have to deal with personal feelings while trying to maintain proper discretion to avoid punishment from the government and society.  These stories are also connected to the novella My True Love Gave To Me which I reviewed here.





Thief by Ava March
(Brook Street #1)

Adult Fiction-Historical Romance/Erotica-Male/Male
Carina Press--March 2012
E-book, 112 pages

Rating: 4 Stars




SUMMARY

London, 1822
It was only supposed to be one night. One night to determine once and for all if he truly preferred men. But the last thing Lord Benjamin Parker expected to find in a questionable gambling hell is a gorgeous young man who steals his heart.

It was only supposed to be a job. Cavin Fox has done it many times — select a prime mark, distract him with lust, and leave his pockets empty. Yet when Cavin slips away under the cover of darkness, the only part of Benjamin he leaves untouched is his pockets.

With a taste of his fantasies fulfilled, Benjamin wants more than one night with Cavin. But convincing the elusive young man to give them a chance proves difficult. Living with a band of thieves in the worst area of London, Cavin knows there's no place for him in a gentleman's life. Yet Benjamin isn't about to let Cavin—and love—continue to slip away from him.

MY THOUGHTS

This first book in the Brook Street trilogy shows a romance that crosses the class boundaries which are so present in Regency England.  Lord Benjamin Parker is a the young, unassuming son of a marquis who has begun suspecting his romantic preferences lie beyond the ladies of the ton while Cavin Fox is a a thief who uses his looks and sexual skills to complete tasks.  After one night together, Benjamin believes he has found the man of his dreams while Cavin tries, in vain, to forget about the man who made him believe in something more.

Both of the heroes in this novella are well-written and admirable.  Benjamin, despite his aristocratic upbringing, does not care about Cavin's background and proves himself to be a sweet, but strong man.  He strives to Cavin in any way he can without expecting much in return.

Cavin is a thief from a gang that reminded me strongly of the one in Dickens's Oliver Twist.  He is a unique character with his blunt personality that contrasts with some of the vulnerabilities he reveals.  His main struggle in this story is learning how to trust Benjamin.  He is thrown off by his innocent and determination to help him.

Like most of March's romances, Thief is full of angst and poignant moments.  The sex scenes are hot and plentiful, but not without romance.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy especially after meeting some of Benjamin's friends who I am assuming will be getting their own stories soon.


Fortune Hunter by Ava March
(Brook Street #2)

Adult Fiction-Historical Romance/Erotica-Male/Male
Carina Press--April 2012
E-book, 125 pages

Rating: 4 Stars




SUMMARY

London, 1822
Impoverished Julian Parker returns to London with one goal: marry an heiress. He'll do whatever it takes, even if it means denying his desire for men. After all, with a fortune comes happiness and social acceptance—which have eluded Julian his entire life.

The only things a vast fortune has brought Oscar Woodhaven are greedy relatives and loneliness. At twenty-one years of age, he has everything a man could possibly want—except someone to love him. When he meets devastatingly handsome Julian Parker, he believes his luck has turned.

Between Oscar's lavish gifts and their searing hot nights, Julian is caught between what he thinks he needs and what his heart truly desires. But when a betrayal threatens to tear them apart, Julian discovers he'll do whatever it takes to convince Oscar the greatest fortune of all is love.

MY THOUGHTS

In the second book in this trilogy, readers meet Julian Parker, the American cousin of Benjamin from Thief.  He has arrived from the States with two goals in mind: he is going to find an heiress to marry and figure out a way to change his family's scandalous reputation.  Unfortunately, Julian has a definite preference for men which is quite inconvenient when he meets Oscar Woodhaven, one of Benjamin's friends.

Julian is a difficult character to like in this book, at times.  I can admire his ambition and determination to better his life, but I had some issues with the fact that he was willing to have an affair with Oscar while actively searching for a wife.  He does have some self-confidence issues and is extremely sensitive to how others perceive him.  Throughout the book, Julian struggles with learning how to accept Oscar's friendship and how to be a better friend.   

I absolutely adored Oscar!  He is a rich, but lonely gentleman who was raised and neglected by his extended family.  All Oscar wants is for someone to like him for him rather than for his money or connections.  I really felt for this man throughout the story especially during scenes where he appeared as the outcast.  He fell hard for Julian and tried to do everything he could to make him happy.  When Oscar discovered the truth about Julian's aspirations, he was forced to make some difficult decisions and I definitely applauded him for that.

Like Thief, this book is full of angsty and poignant moments.  Julian and Oscar have a hard road ahead of them in this story, but they are just one of those couples that works despite their differences.  I will say there was a bit of a flash forward near the end that made me want to know more, but that is a minor quibble.  I also loved seeing more of Benjamin and Cavin from Thief.  Their few scenes were wonderful and made me believe they were continuing to work as a couple. Another recommended read!!

Rogues by Ava March
(Brook Street #3)

Adult Fiction-Historical Romance/Erotica-Male/Male
Carina Press--May 2012
E-book, 71 pages

Rating: 3.5 Stars 




SUMMARY

London, 1822
Two of London's most notorious rakehells, Linus Radcliffe and Robert Anderson, are the best of friends. They share almost everything-clothes, servants, their homes, and even each other's bed on occasion. The one thing they don't share: lovers. For while Linus prefers men, Robert prefers women...except when it comes to Linus.

As another Season nears its end, Robert can't ignore his growing jealousy. He hates watching Linus disappear from balls to dally with other men. Women are lovely, but Linus rouses feelings he's never felt with another. Unwilling to share his gorgeous friend another night, Robert has a proposition for Linus.

A proposition Linus flatly refuses-but not for the reasons Robert thinks. Still, Robert won't take no for an answer. He sets out to prove a thing or two to his best friend-yet will learn something about the heart himself.
MY THOUGHTS

Rogues is the final book in the Brook Street trilogy and deals with a couple that we have seen throughout the earlier installments.  Linus and Rob have been best friends, and sometimes lovers, for ages.  When one of them decides that they want their relationship to become exclusive, some hidden drama emerges.

Linus Radcliffe is a flirtacious man who prefers the company of other men and spends quite a bit of time searching out willing paramours.  But, this carefree facade is a cover for a lonely man who is uncomfortable with emotional intimacy and fears losing the company of his best friend above all.  Robert Anderson, on the other hand, has always preferred women in his bed and the only man he has ever been attracted to is Linus.  He is an intelligent and selfless man who strives to help those he cares about especially his best friend.   

This is probably my least favorite of all the Brook Street books.  I enjoyed both Linus and Rob's characters, but felt like the plot was a little melodramatic.  It just felt like it wasn't long enough to provide the emotional punch that is a signature of March's stories.  I did like the way their friendship was depicted and how loyal each of them was to the other.  I also enjoyed seeing flashes of Norton and Bennet from My True Love Gave To Me.  I would love for March to write a mass epilogue for each of the couples in this trilogy!   

OVERALL SERIES THOUGHTS

This was a highly entertaining trilogy from one of my favorite authors.  I loved the different plots that were utilized in each story and the detail that was put into the characters.  My favorite of the entire series was Thief with Benjamin and Cavin being my favorite couple.  Oscar Woodhaven from Fortune Hunter was probably my favorite character.  I recommend this series to fans of historical romance and well-written male/male romance with some definite drama.

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, May 18, 2012

FOLLOW FRIDAY (26) and TGIF (15)

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:
BWS tips button
Tribute Books Mama

Addicted To Heroines
Addicted To Heroines

Q: Summer Break is upon us! What would be the perfect vacation spot for you to catch up on your reading & relax?

Reading is one of the main reasons I look forward to vacations.  Sometimes my daily work and school life doesn't allow for much pleasure reading so I use these rare moments to delve in to my overflowing TBR tower. 
While there are plenty of opportunities to do other things on cruise ships, I always use these trips to catch up on reading.  There is nothing better than finding a lawn chair overlooking the ocean and sitting there all day while cute waiters serve me fun drinks.  I've been on quite a few cruises and I think I have gone through at least 5 books on each trip.  My preference is Caribbean cruises because of the added advantage of beach-time reading!

Las Vegas is one of my favorite cities in the country even though I don't really gamble or party that much.  I just love the whole vibe of the city!  While there are usually other things to do and see in Vegas than the pages of a book, I always make time to get reading done on the long plane ride or hanging out by the hotel pool early in the morning.


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


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Hosted by Ginger at GReads.

This Friday's Question
A Book Blogger is Born: What made you decide to
start your very own book blog?


I have been a blogger since June of 2011.  I was inspired after spending almost a year on Goodreads and meeting fabulous people through that site.  I am one of those people who loved discussing books with people, but I quickly learned that few of my friends enjoyed these conversations.  So Goodreads was a way for me to indulge my love of book talk and recommendations.  I started visiting my GR friends' blogs and fell in love with the whole concept.  I was a little hesitant at first, but finally got up the nerve to start Feminist Fairy Tale Reviews.  And I can say I have had a blast since then!

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**BOOKS READ**
Better by Jaime Samms [4 Stars]
Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1) by Melina Marchetta [4.5 Stars]
Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men (Jane Jameson #2) by Molly Harper [4 Stars]
The Governess Affair (Brothers Sinister #0.5) by Courtney Milan [4.5 Stars]
Body Check (New York Blades #1) by Deidre Martin [4 Stars]

**REVIEWS**
Demons at Deadnight (Divinicus Nex Chronicles #1) by A&E Kirk (link)
Dragon Actually (Dragon Kin #1) by G.A. Aiken (link)

**BLOG FEATURES**
TOP TEN TUESDAY: Book Friendships (link)
WAITING ON WEDNESDAY: Poison Princess by Kresley Cole (link)
MY BOOK BOYFRIEND: Finnikin (link)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

REVIEW: "Dragon Actually" by G.A. Aiken


Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken
(Dragon Kin #1)

Paranormal Romance--Shapeshifters
Zebra--2004
Paperback, 336 pages

Rating: 4 Stars




SUMMARY

It's not always easy being a female warrior with a nickname like Annwyl the Bloody. Men tend to either cower in fear-a lot-or else salute. It's true that Annwyl has a knack for decapitating legions of her ruthless brother's soldiers without pausing for breath. But just once it would be nice to be able to really talk to a man, the way she can talk to Fearghus the Destroyer.

Too bad that Fearghus is a dragon, of the large, scaly, and deadly type. With him, Annwyl feels safe-a far cry from the feelings aroused by the hard-bodied, arrogant knight Fearghus has arranged to help train her for battle. With her days spent fighting a man who fills her with fierce, heady desire, and her nights spent in the company of a magical creature who could smite a village just by exhaling, Annwyl is sure life couldn't get any stranger. She's wrong. And just wait until you meet the rest of the family?

MY THOUGHTS

The Dragon Kin series is one that I have been recommended hundreds of times over the past few years.  And, for some reason or another, I avoided starting it.  Then I found myself going through a bit of a reading slump so I picked this book at random from my overflowing TBR shelf.  And I am so thankful I did!  Dragon Actually is a unique book in the overflowing paranormal romance genre with its fearsome dragon shifters, medieval setting, kickass heroine, and a dry sense of humor.

The heroine of this book is a warrior princess known as Annwyl the Bloody.  How awesome is that?!  She is a strong fighter who is determined to defeat her evil brother and save his unfortunate underlings.  While many paranormal heroines are considered fighters, Annwyl is probably one of the most powerful and she doesn't even have superpowers.  In terms of personality, she is extremely admirable with her self-reliance, sense of humor, and even a hint of vulnerability that keeps her down to earth. 

Her counterpart is Fearghus the Destroyer, a reclusive dragon shifter, who is impressed with Annwyl's determination and comes to her aid when she is injured in battle.  Fearghus first appears in his dragon form to Annwyl and does not reveal his shapeshifting abilities for quite awhile.  Instead he tends to her wounds and slowly falls in love with her through their interactions.  As a hero, Fearghus is a blast to read.  He is tough and extremely violent, but still shows a hint of loneliness that grabbed my heart.  He is extremely protective of those he cares about and shows readers that his biggest desire is to make Annwyl happy regardless of the price to himself. 

As a couple, Annwyl and Fearghus are extremely entertaining.  They have hilarious and poignant conversations while Annwyl is healing and Fearghus remains in his dragon form.  Then they have some crazy, lusty moments when Fearghus, as a human, strives to teach Annwyl some much needed fighting techniques.  The juxaposition of Annwyl's feelings for Fearghus the dragon and her mysterious, and handsome, trainer is intriguing and kept me turning pages to get to the big reveal.  Overall, their relationship is extremely sexy yet full of sweet, tender moments.

A big part of the book is also the introduction of Fearghus's family who are the backbone of the Dragon Kin series.  Each of the family members are unique and bring something fun to the plot.  I loved their funny and relatable dynamics with the sibling squabbles and the parental advice.  They really showed they were a true family despite the whole dragon thing.  I look forward to getting deeper into these characters' lives and their future romances.

I should also warn any potential readers that there is a significant amount of action and violence in this book.  This is a medieval setting so there is a lot of sword slicing and limb removal.  Aiken does not shy away from the gory details though she does provide a nice balance with the ever-present humor. 

Therefore, I recommend this book to any reader who loves spicy romance, tons of action, and a heavy does of bawdy jokes.  I found it highly entertaining and look forward to reading more of Aiken's work.  As a side note, readers of Dragon Actually are also given a novella, Chains and Flames, at the end that shows Fearghus's parents love story.  I absolutely adored this little story and it gave me some fabulous insight into how this intriguing family got started.

SERIES INFORMATION

The Dragon Kin
1. Dragon Actually
2. About a Dragon
3. What a Dragon Should Know
4. Last Dragon Standing
4.5. Dragon on Top
5. The Dragon Who Loved Me
6. How to Drive a Dragon Crazy (To Be Released 2012)
BOOK CHALLENGE ENTRY