Friday, November 30, 2012

FOLLOW FRIDAY (50)

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:
Oh!  Paper Pages
Novel Reveries 

Q: Who is your to-die-for book crush?  What do you think they look like?

I have many book crushes so it was very hard to narrow it down.  But, if I had to only choose one, it would be Bones from the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost.  I love almost everything about him from his appearance to his British accent to his vampire strength to his skills of a more...personal nature.  Bones is described by Jeaniene Frost, and Night Huntress narrator Cat, below: 

Out of the light and obscured by shadows, I saw the top of a man's head bent forward.  His hair was nearly white under the intermittent lighting, but his skin was unlined.  Hollows and contours became features as he looked up and spotted me staring at him.  His brows were distinctly darker than his hair, which appeared to be a light blond.  Those eyes were dark as well, too deep for me to guess a color.  His cheekbones could have been chiseled from marble, and that flawless diamonds-and-cream skin gleamed from under his shirt collar. --Halfway to the Grave, page 4-5.

I think the stepbacks on the Night Huntress books provide a great image of Bones for me (BTW, Bones changes his hair color pretty frequently so these don't perfectly match the first impression that I posted above):




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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!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY (38): "The Dark Lady" by Maire Claremont

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


(MAD PASSIONS #1)
by Maire Claremont

Historical Romance -- Victorian England
Signet Eclipse -- February 5, 2013

The Victorian era was full of majestic beauty and scandalous secrets—a time when corsets were the least of a woman’s restrictions, and men could kill or be killed in the name of honor...

Lord Ian Blake has returned from India a broken man. Years ago, he pledged to Lady Eva Carin—his childhood companion and first love—that he would bring her husband back alive. His failure haunts him. But even his jaded soul can’t anticipate the shocking sight of beautiful, independent Eva confined in a madhouse.

Locked in an asylum, forgotten by society, Eva is adrift in both body and mind. For Ian to break her free, they must cross a powerful enemy—and prove her sanity to England’s unforgiving aristocracy. But the biggest danger of all may come when the secrets of Eva’s tragic past are finally unlocked.
 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Most Anticipated Books of 2013

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


TOP TEN MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2013


1. Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer [YA Steampunk] (FEBRUARY 5)
The first Lunar Chronicles book (Cinder) was one of my favorite reads last year so it stands to reason that I am pumped to see what Marissa Meyer comes up with next. I love the way that she took the Cinderella fairy tale and gave it a science fiction/steampunk twist. Can't wait to see what she does with Little Red Riding Hood!

2. Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3) by Richelle Mead [YA Paranormal] (FEBRUARY 12)
I just discovered Richelle Mead's YA paranormals this year and I am so glad I did! Her vampire world is complex and completely original. I loved the Vampire Academy books, but am slowly falling even more in love with the spin-off series, Bloodlines. After the way The Golden Lily ended, I am anxious to get my hands on this one!

3. Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove #4) by Tessa Dare [Historical Romance] (MAY 28)
Tessa Dare has become one of my auto-buy historical writers, mostly due to this series. I believe I have given every book in the series (minus the holiday novella) a 5-star rating so I'm hoping this one will live up to my expectations!


4. Lover At Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood #11) by JR Ward [Paranormal Romance] (MARCH 31)
Qhuay!! I have been waiting for Blaylock and Qhuinn's HEA forever and it is finally almost here! Plus I am eager to see how the events of Lover Reborn are going to effect the lives of our beloved vampires!

5. Beauty Awakened (Angels of the Dark #2) by Gena Showalter [Paranormal Romance] (FEBRUARY 26)
I love Gena's sexy, tortured heroes and wingless angel Koldo sounds like he will be one of the best! I really like where Ms. Showalter is going with this series with a group of angels that are in danger of being cast out heaven.

6. MacRieve (Immortals After Dark #13) by Kresley Cole [Paranormal Romance] (MAY 14)
We don't know much about this next IAD book, but that doesn't matter to me! I will read almost anything Ms. Cole writes plus I love that she is returning to the powerful werewolf clan from the early books. Can't wait to hear about Uilleam's heroine and see the cover!



7. Sweet Peril (Sweet Trilogy #2) by Wendy Higgins [YA Paranormal] (APRIL 30)
Sweet Evil was one of my favorite debuts of 2012 and I am eagering awaiting the next installment in Ms. Higgins' paranormal trilogy. The concept is original (sons and daughters of fallen angels) and dark, but is balanced with a great sense of humor and well-developed characters.

8. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen [YA Contemporary] (JUNE 4)
Sarah Dessen is one of the authors that got me interested in YA fiction and I can't wait to read her newest story. She is one of the best at creating sympathetic heroines, swoonworthy heroes, and some realistic situations that bring back many memories.

9.Lord of Darkness (Maiden Lane #5) by Elizabeth Hoyt [Historical Romance] (FEBRUARY 26)
Ms. Hoyt's Maiden Lane series is everything I love about historical romance with its dark overtones, sensuality, and rich worldbuilding. I have adored every installment and this one seems like it will be no different.

10. Styxx (Dark Hunters #18) by Sherrilyn Kenyon [Paranormal Romance] (AUGUST 6)
I will admit that I have had a hard time with quite a few of the recent DH books, but I am definitely excited to read about Acheron's twin brother. I love when Ms. Kenyon works within the Greek or Atlantean pantheon!

Honorable Mentions: Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost, Prodigy by Marie Lu, A Woman Entangled by Cecelia Grant, The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn, Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi, Midnight Frost by Jennifer Estep

Monday, November 26, 2012

MONDAY KINDLE DEALS (11)

I love finding free or cheap books for my Kindle so I decided to start featuring some of the best.  Take advantage of these great deals before they end! 

Heart of the Hunter by Lara Adrian (FREE) [Historical/Paranormal Romance]
Ariana of Clairmont would risk anything to save her kidnapped brother, a quest she knows is fraught with peril. Her only ally is Braedon le Chasseur, a formidable knight with a mysterious past, whose scarred face and brooding nature mask a soul filled with pain. Ariana fears this dangerous man and the secrets he strives to conceal—but Braedon’s touch is pure seduction, his kiss a potent lure that tempts her into a passion she is powerless to resist.

Once known as The Hunter, now haunted by a dark legacy he struggles to deny, Braedon lives in a world of shadow and isolation—until he is thrust together with an innocent beauty in need of his protection. Embarking on a journey that will lead them to a legendary treasure, Braedon will be forced to confront old enemies and the stunning secret of his true nature—or risk losing Ariana and the only happiness he has ever known.



Ruby Blue by Julie Cassar ($0.99) [YA Fantasy]
Meet Ruby. She’s your average (somewhat dorky) ice-cream eating, garden-loving teenager, who is constantly being annoyed by her little brother, is best friends with possibly the only Goth kid in town and, oh yeah…she sees fairies.  After Nick Martino (possibly the hottest guy she’s ever known) finally asks her out, she can barely manage a two-word sentence when a bizarre incident strikes their lakeside town.Stumbling bare-foot through some interesting dates, will she ever find love? And what does Ruby do when more strange events continue to occur? Will she keep her gift of Fairy Sight a secret? As an ancient myth unfolds and new mystic fairy tales come to life, Ruby and her menagerie of friends tackle some extraordinary circumstances with her very ordinary abilities in this modern day fairy tale. 


Almost Perfect by Denise Domning ($0.99) [Historical Romance]
One broken urn, one fallen earl and a kiss for a wager.
Add Scotland, an ace up a noble sleeve and a runaway card sharp, then let the chase begin.



The Mighty Storm by Samantha Towle ($0.99) [Contemporary Romance]
It's been twelve years since Tru Bennett last saw Jake Wethers, her former best friend and boy she once loved.  Jake Wethers, sexy, tattooed and deliciously bad lead singer, and brains behind The Mighty Storm, one of biggest bands in the world, left Tru with a broken heart when he moved from England to America with his family when they were both fourteen.

Sent to interview Jake for her music column by the magazine she works for, they are both unprepared for the sparks that fly the instant they reconnect. Only, there’s a complication to their instant feelings for one another – Will, Tru’s boyfriend of two years.

Then Jake makes Tru a job offer she can't refuse - travelling the world with him and his band. But taking the job means leaving Will behind, and being on the road with the band means spending an inordinate amount of time with Jake.  Is Tru strong enough to resist the delectable bad boy who once held her heart so completely, or will she willingly risk it all for one night with the worlds most notorious womanizer?



His Contract Bride by Rose Gordon ($0.99) [Historical Romance]
Edward Banks has known most of his life that one day Regina Harris was to be his bride--but somebody forgot to inform her.  An avid academic and aspiring scientist, Edward is pleased to find that he won’t have to bother with the nonsense involved in courting a young lady.

Young and naive, it doesn't take much for her social-climbing father to convince Regina the man she's to marry has requested her hand out of love, but devastates her when she learns the truth.  Now, it's up to a man who's more comfortable in a conservatory than a drawing room to prove to Regina that she's more than just the proverbial sacrificial lamb that helped gain her family their foot in Society's door and that he--if no other gentleman--is trustworthy. But he just might be the one doing the learning as he'll be forced to acknowledge that sometimes the most combustible elements aren't the ones you control, but sometimes the ones you don't.

 

Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren ($1.99) [YA Time Travel/Historical Fiction]
Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives among the romantic hills with their archaelogist parents. Stuck among the rubble of the medieval castles in rural Tuscany, on yet another hot, dusty archaeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds...until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces.  Suddenly Gabi's summer in Italy is much, much more interesting.


Season for Surrender by Theresa Romain ($1.99) [Historical Romance]
Alexander Edgeware, Lord Xavier, has quite a reputation—for daring, wagering, and wickedness in all its delightful forms. But the wager before him is hardly his preferred sport: Xavier must persuade a proper young lady to attend his famously naughty Christmas house party—and stay the full, ruinous two weeks. Worse, the lady is Louisa Oliver, a doe-eyed bookworm Xavier finds quite charming. Yet to refuse the challenge is impossible—he will simply have to appoint himself Miss Oliver’s protector. 

Louisa knows her chance for a husband has passed. But she has no desire to retire into spinsterhood without enjoying a few grand adventures first. When Lord Xavier’s invitation arrives, Louisa is more intrigued than insulted. And once inside the rogues’ gallery, she just may have a thing or two to teach her gentlemen friends about daring.



Sorcery & Cecelia: or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer ($1.99) [YA Historical/Paranormal]
In this light magical correspondence, letters fly between Cecilia (author Pat), with Aunt Charlotte in Essex Rushton manor, and her cousin Kate (author Caro), with Aunt Elizabeth in London's Berkeley Square for alluring Georgina's season. Mistaking Kate for "odious marquise" Thomas of Schofield, a mysterious Miranda tries to poison Kate with drink from hot chocolate pot at Royal College of Wizards investiture for their country neighbor Sir Hilary of Bedrick Hall. When their shy friend Dorothea attracts men unwillingly, her step-mama Miranda Griscomb nee Tanistry, reveals evil motives and immense power, with ambitions against innocent brother Oliver. 
 

The Other Guy's Bride by Connie Brockway ($2.99) [Historical Romance]
Determined to prove her worth as a budding archeologist, Ginesse Braxton vows to solve one of the world's greatest mysteries--to find the location of the lost city of Zerzura. Unfortunately, no man dares take the risk of escorting the resolute young scholar across the open desert. But on her way to Egypt, Ginesse engages in a daring deception--she will switch places with Mildred Whimpelhall, who is traveling to meet her fiancé.

Cynical adventurer Jim Owen will do anything to escape the dark secrets of his troubled past. Betrayed by the woman he loved, scorned by proper society, he agrees to carry out a danger-fraught task: escort Mildred Whimpelhall across a lawless desert to her intended. But Jim is about to learn that "Mildred" isn't exactly what she seems . . . and the dangers they face together are eclipsed only by an even greater peril: falling in love, against all reason, with another guy's bride.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

BI-WEEKLY RECAP: November 12-November 25, 2012

Last Two Weeks on Feminist Fairy Tale Reviews:


BOOK REVIEWS:
5 Stars -- The Lost Prince (Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1) by Julie Kagawa (YA Fantasy)
4 Stars -- College Boys (Holsum College #1) by Daisy Harris (M/M Contemporary Romance)
4 Stars -- Player and the Prude (Holsum College #4) by Daisy Harris (M/M Contemporary Romance)
3.5 Stars -- Townie and the Twink (Holsum College #2) by Daisy Harris (M/M Contemporary Romance)
3 Stars -- Diva and the Frat Boy (Holsum College #3) by Daisy Harris (M/M Contemporary Romance)

BLOG FEATURES:
Monday Kindle Deals
Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Want on a Deserted Island
2013 Debut Author Reading Challenge: Sign-up Post 
Waiting on Wednesday: Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt 
2013 Dystopia Reading Challenge: Sign-up Post
Top Ten Tuesday: Books/Authors I'm Thankful For
Waiting on Wednesday: Beauty Awakened by Gena Showalter 

BOOKS READ:

Her Secondhand Groom (Grooms #3) by Rose Gordon (Historical Romance) -- 3 Stars
This was an ok read.  I liked the premise and the heroine.  The hero got a little annoying with his constant suspicion of the heroine, but I felt for him when the truth about his late wife was revealed.  The little girls were cute without being unrealistic.  Easy to understand plot and lovely writing as always from Ms. Gordon.  I look forward to reading more!

Holiday in Death (In Death #7) by JD Robb (Romantic Suspense) -- 4 Stars
Very disturbing mystery that kept me glued to my stereo especially towards the end.  Eve's strength of character is pivotal for the success of this investigation and I really liked seeing the progression of her character.  The holiday shopping bits were hilarious!  Roarke was perfection once again...he truly is too good to be true.  All the other secondary characters were in fine form and had valuable parts to play in the overall storyline.  Can't wait to continue the series!

Midnight in Death (In Death #7.5) by JD Robb (Romantic Suspense) -- 3 Stars
I really liked the concept of this book more than the execution.  The bad guy is absolutely fascinating and I wish Robb had been given more pages to develop the mystery more.  There were some twists that I didn't expect, but overall I felt the ending was anticlimactic.  Loved seeing the aftermath of all the present giving though!

Seducing Mr. Knightly (Writing Girls #4) by Maya Rodale (Historical Romance) -- 4 Stars
I loved seeing Annabelle and Knightly finally get their happily ever after!  I wasn't sure about my feelings for Annabelle at first because she always seemed too mild.  But, I really liked learning more about her.  Her quiet strength and resolve was very admirable especially once the truth about her home situation came out.  Knightly did get a little on my nerves with his obliviousness to Annabelle's feelings and I thought his feelings came about a little too quickly for my taste  It was fascinating, though, to learn more about Knightly's past and how much it has molded his devotion to The London Weekly.

I also liked seeing how hard the rest of the London Weekly staff worked to get Annabelle and Knightly together in addition to saving their newspaper from an ill-advised inquiry.  I'm a history dork so the inquiry sections were really intriguing to me.  Overall, I thought this was a great ending to a very entertaining series.  I look forward to seeing what Ms. Rodale comes up with next!

Rogue Rider (Lords of Deliverance #4) by Larissa Ione -- 5 Stars
I have been looking forward to Reseph's book for ages and it did not disappoint!  I loved almost everything about this book especially the tough, no-nonsense heroine, all the Demonica/LoD side characters, the reveal of the Horsemen's father, and, of course, Reseph in all his tortured, reformed glory.  I can't wait to read Reaver's story next!  Full review coming soon.

Dead to You by Lisa McMann -- 4 Stars
I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this YA contemporary, but it definitely wasn't the thrilling, dramatic ride that I finished within a few hours. McMann's writing style appears almost effortless and kept me on the edge of my seat.  Her characterization of Ethan, his family, and everyone at his high school was well-done and made me, as the reader, feel like I was a part of the community.  Emotions ran very high in this book and provided some major heartbreaking moments.  And don't even get me started on that cliffhanger of an ending...absolutely genius!

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick -- 4 Stars
A YA contemporary that provided readers with a fabulous portrayal of summer love and coming of age.  The heroine, Samantha, is realistic and sympathetic while remaining a great role model for teenage girls.  I loved reading about her journey to discovering how strong she really is and how different she is from her family.  The Garretts are a highly entertaining family that provided a great example of true happiness.  Jase is a swoonworthy YA hero that any girl would love to date.  Full review coming soon.

CURRENTLY READING:
When You Give a Duke a Diamond by Shana Galen
Easy by Tammara Webber

BOOKS PURCHASED OR RECEIVED:
A Vintage Affair by Josh Lanyon
Turbulence 1: Into the Bermuda Triangle by Jordan Castillo-Price
As You Wish by Elyssa Patrick
The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred
Her Secondhand Groom by Rose Gordon
Dragon Aster Trilogy by S.J. Wist
Cornerstone by Misty Provencher
The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen
Mything You by Greta Buckle
Lord Beast by Ashlyn Montgomery


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

SERIES REVIEW: Holsum College series (#1-4) by Daisy Harris

College Boys (Men of Holsum College, #1)
College Boys by Daisy Harris
(Holsum College #1)

RATING: 4 Stars

SUMMARY: When soccer star Chris Fischer moves next door to an openly gay classmate, he doesn't realize the wall between their rooms will be so thin he'll hear his neighbor's every move. But soon he and Peter become friends, and Chris is intrigued—imagining what happens on the other side of the wall.

Active on the Queer Student Council, Peter Cohen wishes he wasn't so damn hot for his straight neighbor. He can't tell if Chris is flirting or in denial or what, but Chris's innocent overtures lure Peter into flirtation that throws his world into chaos. Peter doesn't want to date a closet case, but he desperately, passionately wants Chris.

Soon Chris must choose whether to run away from his new feelings or embrace a relationship with the guy he loves. And Peter must decide if he can give his heart to a guy who hasn't yet figured it all out.

College Boys was a very sweet and spicy romance between two relatable heroes.  The setting for this book and the others in the series is a small liberal arts college in Vermont.  Holsum College provides a great background for a variety of love stories and also gives a reader a nostalgic view of those early adult years.

Both heroes are well-written and easy to care about.  Chris is a successful soccer player who starts to rethink his view on life like many college students.  Despite the difficulty of his situation, there isn't much brooding on Chris's part which I liked.  Peter's self-confidence is inspiring and a reader can see how Chris could be attracted to that.  Together they are a great couple and provide plenty of sexy scenes especially the ones where they "talk" through the wall separating their dorm rooms.  I also really liked all the secondary characters and hope to see them pop up in later Holsum installments.

In terms of plot, I am always intrigued by stories that focus on coming out and this is a great one. 
Chris's coming out tale is appropriately dramatic without ever going into cheesiness.  There isn't alot of angst in this book which I liked.  I recommend this to anyone looking for a sexy, but very spicy story about young love and the importance of being true to oneself.


Diva and the Frat Boy (Men of Holsum College, #2)
Diva and the Frat Boy by Daisy Harris
(Holsum College #2)

RATING: 3 Stars

SUMMARY: Nathaniel Reece is savvy and fierce and wouldn’t give boring-ass Greg Sanders the time of day, except Greg is the president of a fraternity Nathaniel wants to join. But once Nathaniel gets a taste of the ferocity under Greg’s cool exterior, he can’t stop himself from trying to lure the uptight frat brother out of his shell.

The face of gay life on campus and a crusader heading off to law school, Greg doesn’t see any problem with seducing the flamboyant and exciting Nathaniel. But that’s before he finds out his fraternity brothers are refusing Nathaniel's pledge bid. Greg’s athletic and masculine and has never had to deal with the censure of his friends or the odd looks of strangers, but if he’s going to be what Nathaniel needs, he’ll have to be comfortable not just being out, but also standing out.
 
I enjoyed this second installment in the Holsum College series, but not nearly as much as I did the first book, College Boys.  Like the previous story, Diva and the Frat Boy takes place on the campus of Holsum College in rural Vermont and is essentially a sweet, quick love story.

I thought Nathaniel and Greg were interesting characters, but I never felt like I got to know them well enough to care much about their happy ending.  I could see how the author was trying to go beyond cliches, but they both felt a little flat.  I really liked Nathaniel in College Boys and wish that he would have been given more depth in his own story than in the earlier book.  The romance was very sweet, but there were some moments where I thought Greg was a bit of an ass and he never really groveled enough for my taste.  

But, all that being said, I still enjoyed reading this book and will definitely continue the series.

Townie and the Twink (Men of Holsum College, #3)
Townie and the Twink by Daisy Harris
(Holsum College #3)

RATING: 3 Stars

SUMMARY: Insightful to a fault, Gabe Ashton knows Nick Flynn’s gay even if Nick doesn’t. And after seeing how the townie looks at his "buddy," Gabe knows Nick is in love with a guy who’ll never love him back. So Gabe invites Nick to campus parties and to hang out with new people. But soon their friendship turns physical, and Gabe wonders if he’s in just as much denial as Nick is.

Nick’s straight—or so he’s always assumed. But he can’t deny that the things he’s doing with Gabe are hot. More than that, he likes Gabe in a way he’s never liked anyone else. Well, anyone else except his high school friend, John.

The hardest thing to give up is a fantasy, and the hardest thing to face is the truth. But if Nick wants the man standing in front of him, he’ll have to give up the one he never had.

I liked Townie and the Twink much more than Diva and the Frat Boy, but it still didn't capture the magic of College Boys for me.  Still, I enjoyed learning more about the boys of Holsum College which continues to become a more detailed and sometimes poignant setting as the series progresses.

Both main characters were interesting and went beyond the typical gay stereotypes despite Gabe's flamboyant nature.  Gabe was a hilarious protagonist and I loved reading about how insightful he was about others' sexuality.  He was obviously very confident with himself which is very admirable and an interesting parallel to Nick.  I did get a bit frustrated with how oblivious Nick was to admitting his true feelings, but I am willing to give him a pass.  His confession to Gabe was very sweet and had me sighing with contentment.

The plot was simplistic, but still kept my attention especially when it came to Nick discovering his true feelings for Gabe.  Like the other Holsum books, the sex is pretty erotic and a big part of the overall storyline.  But, what I really enjoy is how the author uses those scenes to further the development of the romance.  Very entertaining installment of a continually entertaining series!

Player and the Prude (Men of Holsum College, #4)
Player and the Prude by Daisy Harris
(Holsum College #4)

RATING: 4 Stars

SUMMARY: Brooks Price loves a challenge. So when a frenemy dares him to sleep with a dorky, over-tall film major, Brooks amps up his considerable charm.

Matt Porter can’t guess why Brooks is flirting with him. Raised religious, Matt doesn’t believe in sex before relationships. Unfortunately, Brooks is all about sex, and Matt doubts Brooks is interested in anything else.

Slowly, Brooks chips away at Matt’s armor—taking him on dates, asking for kisses, holding hands—baby steps, none of which Matt can resist or refuse. However, when Brooks pushes too far, Matt freaks out.

Despite his stoic exterior, Matt’s painfully conflicted over his sexuality—scared of his darker desires, worried about hurting Brooks. The pair explores boundaries, but when things turn rough and Matt unleashes his inner wants, he doesn’t know if he can overcome his shame about sex in order to be with the man he’s growing to love.

Now this is what I'm talking about!  I had been getting a little disappointed with this series because the previous two books didn't match the potential I saw in the first.  But, Player and the Prude threw all my expectations out the window and gave me a fascinating story that kept me up late into the night.  As a warning, this is much darker than the other Holsum College novellas and I really enjoyed that aspect.  The authors plays around with some different, more controversial themes in this book and I think the gamble paid off.  

Readers first met Brooks and Matt in the previous book, Townie and the Twink, Matt being Gabe's roommate and Brooks being Gabe's occasional lover.  Based on the last book, I wasn't sure if I would like Brooks.  His arrogant, pampered personality was a little jarring at first, but his transformation to devoted lover was a great thing to read about.   And then there's Matt and I fell in love with him from the first pages of his narration.  Matt is a poorly dressed, overly tall student who had a difficult childhood with his narrow-mind hometown and family.  His journey to confidence with his sexuality and his trust in Brooks was dramatic, but worth the price by the end.

Brooks and Matt are a wonderful couple!  Even though they appear to be polar opposites in personality, they provide balance and devotion for one another.  Some of my favorite scenes involved Brooks reassuring Matt of his true feelings for me and him taking his time with the more sexual side of the relationship.  This book made me run the gamut of emotions from anger to tears to joy and that, for me, is the sign of a great read!

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY (37): "Beauty Awakened" by Gena Showalter

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



(ANGELS OF THE DARK #2)
by Gena Showalter

Paranormal Romance -- Angels and Demons
Harlequin Books -- Expected Publication: February 26, 2013

His name is Koldo. He is scarred, powerful, his control legendary-and he lives only for vengeance, determined to punish the angel who viciously removed his wings. But if he yields to the forces of hatred, he will be kicked from the heavens, eternally damned.

She is his last hope. Nicola Lane was born with a defective heart, yet this fragile human shows surprising strength as demons stalk her every move, determined to end her. She is the key to Koldo's deliverance...and his downfall. Though he fights duty, destiny and his first addictive taste of desire, his toughest battle will be the one for Nicola's life-even if he has to sacrifice his own.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

TOP TEN TUESDAY (45): Books/Authors I'm Thankful For

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


TOP FIVE BOOKS I'M THANKFUL FOR


1. There's a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer
My favorite picture book as a child.  It started my lifelong obsession with reading. 

2. American Girl series by various authors
My favorite books from early elementary school.  They were some of the first chapter books I read on my own and also started my love affair with history.  

3. Babysitters Club series by Ann M. Martin
This series was everything to me in late elementary and middle school.  I think I've read almost all of them.

4. The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
My first adult romance novel.  I fell in love with the genre and the rest, I guess, is history!

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Dystopian fiction is one of my favorite genres and I have this book to thank for introducing me to it.


TOP FIVE AUTHORS I'M THANKFUL FOR

1. JK Rowling
Duh!  She wrote my all-time favorite series and changed my whole outlook on books.

2. Sarah Dessen
Her YA stories got me interested in the genre and her characters have always felt like they could be my best friend.

3. Philippa Gregory 
She helped start my fascination with adult historical fiction once I outgrew the Dear America and American Girl series.

4. Jane Austen
The author who showed me that "literary classics" could still be entertaining over two hundred years later.

5. William Shakespeare
I love all of his work (plays and sonnets) and they really inspired my love of everything British!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

2013 DYSTOPIA READING CHALLENGE: Sign-Up Post

 
Hosted by Blog of Erised.


This is a reading challenge that focus on books with some type of post-apocalyptic theme.  It runs from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013.  Books must be full-length with all formats being allowed.  Standalones, series books, and rereads are all allowed as well.

The four levels of the challenge are:
  • Level 1: Recruit (1-6 books)
  • Level 2: Rebel (7-12 books) 
  • Level 3: Revolutionist (13-18 books)
  • Level 4: Leader (19+ books)
I have chosen to try LEVEL 3: REVOLUTIONIST which involves reading between 13 and 18 dystopian books.  Below I have listed a preliminary list of books that I am going to try to complete for the challenge:

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
The Selection by Kiera Cass
Prodigy by Marie Lu
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Matched by Ally Condie
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
Partials by Dan Wells
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Beta by Rachel Cohn
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Starters by Lissa Price
Insurgent by Veronica Roth

WHAT'S NEXT (2)



What's Next? Hosted by IceyBooks

I don't know about you all, but I have the hardest time figuring out what to read next.  So I was ecstatic to find this Thursday meme sponsored by Iceybooks.  Check out my featured books and please leave a comment letting me know which one I should read next!!

(Morganville Vampires #1)
by Rachel Caine

It’s a small college town filled with quirky characters. But when the sun goes down, the bad comes out. Because in Morganville, there is an evil that lurks in the darkest shadows—one that will spill out into the bright light of day.

Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. The popular girls never let her forget just where she ranks on the school’s social scene: somewhere less than zero. And Claire really doesn’t have the right connections—to the undead who run the town.

When Claire heads off campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Hew new roommates don’t show many signs of life. But they’ll have Claire’s back when the town’s deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood...

(Jewels of the Ton #1)
by Shana Galen

William, the sixth Duke of Pelham, enjoys his punctual, securely structured life. Orderly and predictable—that's the way he likes it. But he's in the public eye, and the scandal sheets will make up anything to sell papers. When the gossip papers link him to Juliette, one of the most beautiful and celebrated courtesans in London, chaos doesn't begin to describe what happens next...

Juliette is nicknamed the Duchess of Dalliance and has the cream of the nobility at her beck and call. It's disruptive to have the duke who is the biggest catch on the Marriage Mart scaring her other suitors away. Then she discovers William's darkest secret and decides what he needs in his life is the kind of excitement only she can provide.
 

Iced 
(Fever World #1; Fever #6)
by Karen Marie Moning

Dani “Mega” O’Malley plays by her own set of rules—and in a world overrun by Dark Fae, her biggest rule is: Do what it takes to survive. Possessing rare talents and the all-powerful Sword of Light, Dani is more than equipped for the task. In fact, she’s one of the rare humans who can defend themselves against the Unseelie. But now, amid the pandemonium, her greatest gifts have turned into serious liabilities.

Dani’s ex–best friend, MacKayla Lane, wants her dead, the terrifying Unseelie princes have put a price on her head, and Inspector Jayne, the head of the police force, is after her sword and will stop at nothing to get it. What’s more, people are being mysteriously frozen to death all over the city, encased on the spot in sub-zero, icy tableaux.

When Dublin’s most seductive nightclub gets blanketed in hoarfrost, Dani finds herself at the mercy of Ryodan, the club’s ruthless, immortal owner. He needs her quick wit and exceptional skill to figure out what’s freezing Fae and humans dead in their tracks—and Ryodan will do anything to ensure her compliance.

Dodging bullets, fangs, and fists, Dani must strike treacherous bargains and make desperate alliances to save her beloved Dublin—before everything and everyone in it gets iced
 




Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY (36): "Lord of Darkness" by Elizabeth Hoyt




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


Lord of Darkness (Maiden Lane, #5)

(MAIDEN LANE #5)
by Elizabeth Hoyt

Historical Romance -- Georgian England
Grand Central Publishing -- February 26, 2013

WHEN STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT
He lives in the shadows. The mysterious masked avenger known as the Ghost of St. Giles, his only goal is to protect the innocent of London. Until the night he confronts a fearless lady pointing a pistol at his head—and realizes she is his wife . . .

BECOME LOVERS...
Lady Margaret Reading has vowed to kill the Ghost of St. Giles—the man who murdered her one true love. Returning to London, and the man she hasn’t seen since their wedding day, Margaret does not recognize the man behind the mask. Fierce, commanding, and dangerous, the notorious Ghost of St. Giles is everything she feared he would be—and so much more . . .

DESIRE IS THE ULTIMATE DANGER
When passion flares these two intimate strangers can't keep from revealing more of themselves than they had ever planned. But when Margaret learns the truth—that the Ghost is her husband, Godric St. John—the game is up and the players must surrender . . . to the temptation that could destroy them both.



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

2013 DEBUT AUTHOR READING CHALLENGE

 
Hosted by Hobbitsies!


CHALLENGE GUIDELINES:
(taken from the main information page)
1) You must have a blog, a Goodreads account, a YouTube account, an Amazon account – any where you can post your reviews and share them with others.

2) There is no deadline to join the 2013 Debut Author Challenge, but make sure you give yourself enough time to achieve the goal!

3) ARCs of 2013 debuts read before January 01, 2013 do not count towards your challenge goal.

4) The 2013 debuts must be read between January 01, 2013 – January 31, 2014 to count for the 2013 Debut Author Challenge. The extra month is to allow participants more time to read the December releases.

4) 2013 debuts must be young adult or middle grade in order to count towards the challenge.

5) The title must be the author’s young adult or middle grade debut. If they have previously published an adult title, and this is their first young adult/middle grade title, that counts towards the challenge. If this is their second young adult/middle grade title, it does not count towards the challenge.

6) Each review equals one entry in the monthly prize pack. If you post six review of debut titles in January, you have six entries to win the January prize pack.

GOAL: To read 12+ books by YA/MG debut authors

POSSIBLE CHALLENGE READS:
The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell
Prophecy by Ellen Oh
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
My Name is Rapunzel by K.C. Hilton
City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster
The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings
The Flame in the Mist by Kit Grindstaff
Pantomime by Laura Lam
Broken by A.E. Rought
That Time I Joined the Circus by J.J. Howard
Prophecy of Oz by Megan Shan
Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan
The Mist on the Bronte Moor by Aviva Orr

TOP TEN TUESDAY (44): Books on a Deserted Island

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




TOP TEN BOOKS I'D WANT ON A DESERTED ISLAND
(and yes, I cheated on #1)

                 

1. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling [YA Fantasy]
 
2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon [Historical Fiction]

3. Cinder by Marissa Meyer [YA Steampunk]

4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins [YA Dystopian]

5. Persuasion by Jane Austen [Romantic Literature]

6. Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost [Urban Fantasy]

7. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie [Contemporary Romance]

8. Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly Harper [Paranormal Romance]

9. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen [YA Contemporary]

10. The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn [Historical Romance]

Monday, November 12, 2012

REVIEW: "The Lost Prince" by Julie Kagawa


The Lost Prince by Author
(Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1)

Young Adult -- Fantasy/Romance
For Ages 13+
Steam Level: Kisses

Harlequin Teen -- October 23, 2012
Paperback, 379 pages

Rating: 5 Stars




SUMMARY

Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

MY THOUGHTS

**Warning: This review may contain minor spoilers of the Iron Fey series.  My reviews for those books are linked below.**

Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series is one of my favorite YA series so I had high hopes for the spin-off featuring Meghan's baby brother, Ethan.  Thankfully, my expectations were met with a book full of realistic characters, a richly-developed setting, and plenty of suspense to keep readers turning pages late into the night.

Ethan Chase is definitely not the scared little boy we met in The Iron King anymore.  He has grown up and is dealing with his own fey-induced issues.  Ethan has always been able to see the fey and they delight in using his ability to torture him especially with his connection to the new Iron Queen.  Now that he is a teenager, Ethan is very aware of how dangerous the fey are and he does everything in is power to keep them from hurting others.

I wasn't sure what to expect from Ethan before starting this book.  After all, my last impression of him was a terrified child who had been kidnapped and held hostage in the Nevernever.  But, Ethan has definitely become a great YA hero.  I loved how Kagawa showed his strength as well as his vulnerabilities without making him seen unrealistic.  A reader can definitely find themselves rooting for Ethan throughout his adventures.  I also liked how she focused on how angry he was at Meghan, and Ash, and how that shaped his views of the fey world.

Besides Ethan, Kagawa gives us a whole new set of characters as well as some old favorites to keep things moving.  I absolutely adored the return of Ash, Puck, and Meghan and was also ecstatic to see the always shady Leanansidhe's reappearance.  But, my personal favorite recurring character is that shady feline Grimalkin who seemed to delight in torturing Ethan just like he did the other Iron Fey characters.

In terms of the new characters, I'm not a hundred percent sure what I feel about them.  I liked Kenzie (Ethan's "love interest") and am anxious to see how their relationship develops especially with the bomb she revealed at the end.  I found her curiosity and tenacity to be refreshing characteristics and a nice balance to Ethan's brooding.  Keirren, whose identity I won't reveal in order to avoid spoilers, was a little harder for me to get a handle on.  But, I think his background and possible future are intriguing so I'm willing to wait and see if he grows on me.

Just like in the Iron Fey series, the Nevernever is a character on its own.  The way that Kagawa describes this fantastical world is awe-inspiring and I always feel like I'm really there with the characters.  I also love how ever-changing the Nevernever is which fits in perfectly with the whole fey mythology.

I found the plot of The Lost Prince to be a nice balance between action and suspense.  There is so much mystery surrounding the missing exiles and half-breeds that I kept turning pages in order to get to the resolution.   Also, Kagawa provides plenty of action scenes to keep a reader's adrenaline pumping.  I really am looking forward to the next book in the series especially with the surprising ending of this one and the possible repercussions from the prequel novella, Iron's Prophecy.


SERIES INFORMATION

Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten
1. The Lost Prince
2. The Traitor Son (Coming September 2013)

Iron Fey (Prequels)
1. The Iron King
1.5. Winter's Passage
2. The Iron Daughter
3. The Iron Queen
3.5. Summer's Crossing
4. The Iron Knight
4.5. Iron's Prophecy

BOOK TRAILER


BOOK CHALLENGE ENTRY

MONDAY KINDLE DEALS (10)

I love finding free or cheap books for my Kindle so I decided to start featuring some of the best.  Take advantage of these great deals before they end! 



Cornerstone (Cornerstone #1) by Misty Provencher (FREE)
-YA paranormal about the daughter of a paper hoarder who discovers a secret supernatural society.

The Emerald Talisman (Talisman #1) by Brenda Pathos (FREE)
-YA paranormal involving missing high schoolers and vampire stalkers.

Lord Beast by Ashlyn Montgomery ($0.99)
-Historical romance about a scarred hero and a spinster heroine.

Miss Lacey's Last Fling by Candice Hern ($0.99)
-Historical romance about a spinster who finally learns to live after receiving a devastating health diagnosis.

Wallflower (Old Maids' Club #1) by Catherine Gayle ($0.99)
-Historical romance about an unconventional-looking heroine and the hero who has always adored her.  My 4 star review can be found here.

Playing for Keeps (Neighbor From Hell #1) by R.L. Mathewson ($0.99)
-Contemporary romance about a former shy girl who finally stands up to her annoying, but hot neighbor.  My 4 star review can be found here.

The Devil Duke Takes a Bride (House of Renwick #4) by Rachel Van Dyken ($0.99)
-Historical romance about a self-proclaimed rake and the spinster who brings him to his knees.

Her Secondhand Groom (Grooms #3) by Rose Gordon ($0.99)
-Historical romance that focuses on a widower who is searching for a mother/governess for his three daughters.  I really like Ms. Gordon's writing style though I haven't read this book yet.

The Secret of Ella and Micha (Secret #1) by Jessica Sorensen ($0.99)
-New adult contemporary romance about childhood friends who deal a variety of issues after a tragic incident.

As You Wish by Elyssa Patrick ($0.99)
-Contemporary romance featuring a rock star and a down on her luck heroine who meet up in a blizzard.

Desire Untamed (Feral Warriors #1) by Pamela Palmer ($0.99)
-Paranormal romance about some sexy shapeshifters and their kickass heroines.  Great worldbuilding and tons of action make this series a stand out to me.  I gave it 4 stars.

Beauty and the Werewolf (Five Hundred Kingdoms #6) by Mercedes Lackey ($1.24)
-Fairy tale romance where the heroine who goes through a series of obstacles before she can rescue her prince.

The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred ($1.49)
-Contemporary romance about the adventures of a pair of childhood friends.  Many of my blogger friends have recommended this to me over the years.

Princess of the Midnight Ball (Princess #1) by Jessica  Day George ($1.59)
-YA fairy tale retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses with a warrior hero and sympathetic heroine.

Waterfall (River of Time #1) by Lisa Tawn Bergren ($1.99)
-YA historical romance that involves sisters who time travel to medieval Venice.

Countess of Scandal (Daughters of Erin #1) by Laurel McKee ($1.99)
-Historical romance that takes place in 18th century Ireland.

Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt ($1.99)
-Historical romance that involves a virgin hero and an experience heroine.  My 5 star review can be found here.

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star by Heather Rigaud ($1.99)
-Contemporary retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in the world of rock music.  My 4 star review can be found here.

Emotionally Charged (Empath Chronicles #1) by Selina Fenech ($2.99)
-YA paranormal novella about a teenaged empath.

The Other Guy's Bride (Braxton #2) by Connie Brockway ($2.99)
-Historical romance set in early 20th century Egypt and involves a dangerous trip through the desert.  Sequel to the popular As You Desire.  My 4 star review can be found here.

The Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsale ($2.99)
-Historical romance that takes place in Victorian Hawaii and features one of the most tortured heroes I've ever read.  I gave it 4 stars.