Monday, December 31, 2012

MONDAY KINDLE DEALS (13)

Mondays, in general suck, so I decided to liven things about by featuring some great deals you can find for your Kindle.  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!  

FREE
NightDrake by Lara Adrian (dystopian romance, short story)
To Love a Thief by Darcy Burke (historical romance, short story)
To Wager the Marquis of Wolverstone by Bronwen Evans (historical romance, short story)
Dangerous Voices by Rae Carson (YA fantasy, short story)
Wait for Me by Elisabeth Naughton (romantic suspense, full length)
Forever Mine by Elizabeth Reyes (YA contemporary, full length)

Between $0.01 and $0.99
What I Did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long (historical romance, full length)
No Proper Lady by Isabel Cooper (historical romance, full length)
The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton by Miranda Neville (historical romance, full length)
Let It Be Love by Victoria Alexander (historical romance, full length)
Blood of the Wicked by Karina Cooper (paranormal romance, full length)
Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian (paranormal romance, full length)
How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks (paranormal romance, full length)
Taste Me by Tamara Hogan (paranormal romance, full length)

Between $1.00 and $1.99
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (YA paranormal, full length)
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (YA contemporary, full length)
On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves (contemporary romance, full length)
The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred (contemporary romance, full length)
When You Give a Duke a Diamond by Shana Galen (historical romance, full length)
The Countess by Lynsay Sands (historical romance, full length)
The Bride Wore Scarlet by Liz Carlyle (historical romance, full length)
Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost (paranormal romance, full length)

Between $2.00 and $2.99
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (fantasy, full length)
A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean (historical romance, full length)
The Sandalwood Princess by Loretta Chase (historical romance, full length)
Scandal Wears Satin by Loretta Chase (historical romance, full length)
A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare (historical romance, full length)
A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare (historical romance, full length)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

WEEKLY RECAP...December 24-December 30, 2012

Blog Features:
Top 10 of 2012: Day 1--Best Books Read
Top 10 of 2012: Day 2--Best Book Covers
Top 10 of 2012: Day 3--Best Couples
Top 10 of 2012: Day 4--Best Book Boyfriends
Top 10 of 2012: Day 5--2013 Releases
Follow Friday: Books as Gifts to the World

Book Reviews:
The Gravedigger's Brawl by Abigail Roux
Shadow's Claim by Kresley Cole

Books Read:
1. All I Want for Christmas is a Duke by Delilah Marvelle and Maire Claremont (4 Stars) --Two sweet historical romance holiday novellas.
2. Poison Study (Study #1) by Maria V. Snyder (5 Stars) -- Absolutely beautiful YA fantasy.
3. Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout (5 Stars) -- Entertaining YA sci-fi romance.
4. Something Like Summer by Jay Bell (4.5 Stars) -- Engrossing, heartbreaking male/male romance.
5. My Fair Dork (Men of Holsum College #8) by Daisy Harris (3.5 Stars) -- Funny and angsty male/male romance.
6. Heiress in Love (Ministry of Marriage #1) by Christine Brooke (4 Stars) -- Sweet and satisfying historical romance.

Books Added to TBR Shelf:
The Rake to Ruin Her by Julia Justiss -- Regency romance e-ARC from Netgalley.
Nightdrake by Lara Adrian -- Free dystopian short story.
Just a Kiss Away by Jill Barnett -- Historical romance with a very comedic reputation.
We Are Gathered by Jackie Ivie -- Vampire romance with a 800 year old virgin hero.
Glitches by Marissa Meyer -- Prequel novella to  the amazing Cinder.
Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi -- Novella told from Warner's pov.
Shark Bait by Jenn Cooksey -- Highly recommended NA title.
The Mist on Bronte Moor by Aviva Orr --ARC of an YA fantasy provided by the author.
Crimson Frost by Jennifer Estep --Next book in the wonderful Mythos Academy series.

Books Added to Goodreads Shelves:
Demons of the Sun by Cindi Madsen
Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
The Shapeshifter's Secret by Heather Ostler
Daughter of the Sword by Steve Bein
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Pivot Point by Kasie West
The Wild Ones by M. Leighton
Silver by Talia Vance
Beauty Dates the Beast by Jessica Sims

REVIEW: "Shadow's Claim" by Kresley Cole

Shadow's Claim (The Dacians: Realm of Blood and Mist, #1)
Shadow's Claim by Kresley Cole
(Dacians #1/Immortals After Dark #12.5)

Paranormal Romance
For Ages 18+
Steam Level: Hot

Pocket Books -- November 27, 2012
Mass Market Paperback, 481 pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars




SUMMARY

He won't be denied...

Trehan Daciano, known as the Prince of Shadows, has spent his life serving his people, striking in the night, quietly executing any threat to their realm. The coldly disciplined swordsman has never desired anything for himself—until he beholds Bettina, the sheltered ward of two of the Lore's most fearsome villains.

She's bound to another...

Desperate to earn her guardians' approval after a life-shattering mistake, young Bettina has no choice but to marry whichever suitor prevails—even though she's lost her heart to another. Yet one lethal competitor, a mysterious cloaked swordsman, invades her dreams, tempting her with forbidden pleasure.

A battle for her body and soul...

Even if Trehan can survive the punishing contests to claim her as his wife, the true battle for Bettina's heart is yet to come. And unleashing a millennium's worth of savage need will either frighten his Bride away—or stoke Bettina's own desires to a fever-pitch.

MY THOUGHTS

Introduction
I should begin this review by saying that I am a Kresley Cole fangirl.  I absolutely adore everything she writes and would probably even read her shopping list...if there was commentary.  That being said, I was a little hesitant about starting the Dacians series which is a spin-off of Cole's super popular Immortals After Dark books.  But, I'm glad to say that all my hesitations were for naught and I found Shadow's Claim to be a fabulously entertaining book with everything that I could ask for in a Cole paranormal romance.

What I Liked
1. One thing that always resonates with me about Kresley Cole's writing is her ability to build and explain the nuances of a complex supernatural world.  For many writers, trying to keep all the species involved in the Lore world and their histories straight would be an almost impossible task.  Shadow's Claim shows Ms. Cole's ability to deftly provide explanations into the world without every resorting to information dump chapters or monologues.  Also, I think she did a great job providing valuable knowledge for newbies to the world without making the longtime fans bored.

2. Kresley Cole is amazing at providing readers with sexy, tortured heroes that always are in need of a good hug.  And Trehan Daciano is not different!  I fell head over heels for this lonely vampire who acts as the assassin for his secretive home kingdom.  He is truly a lone wolf who has spent his much of immortal life providing security for his family and not letting anyone get close to him.  These type of characters always find their way into my heart especially when they begin to feel something special for another person for the first time.

3. I've seen a few reviews of this book that commented on the lack of strength from the heroine, Bettina.  While I found her a little annoying at parts, I thought she had a kind of quiet strength especially when one thinks about the horrors that she went through at the beginning.  Yes, she was a little wishy washy when it came to choosing who she truly wanted to be with, Trehan or Caspion, but I found it to be understandable considering her past.  Overall, I thought Bettina was a flawed, but admirable heroine.

4. A major part of the plot in this book involves a tournament where different beings compete in order to win the hand of Bettina, heir to the demon throne.  I found this to be a creative and highly entertaining aspect that really kept me turning pages.  Every element of the tournament was unique and had a purpose towards the greater story.  I was especially interested in all the demons that entered and their different reasons for wanting Bettina, appropriate or not.

5.  And the final aspect of Shadow's Claim that I enjoyed was the cameos of the Immortals After Dark characters.  While this book is part of a spin-off series, it was nice to see some old favorites like Lothaire, the MacRieve brothers, and, of course, Nucking Futs Nix herself!  Sometimes authors put previously featured characters just as background, but Kresley Cole really utilized these appearances by showing the continuity of the Lore world.

What I Didn't Like
1.  My major issue with Shadow's Claim has to do with my personal preference rather than a flaw with the actual storyline.  I am not a huge fan of the fated mate storyline, though Ms. Cole utilizes it fairly well in her paranormals.  While I enjoyed the romance especially towards the beginning, I did have difficulty with the introduction of Bettina and Trehan's relationship.  It seemed like the initial development of the love story relied too heavily on the fate aspect rather than the standard getting to know you portion.

Overall Impressions
I really enjoyed this spin-off to Kresley Cole's IAD paranormal romance series.  The characters were well-developed and the action was appropriately balanced with the romance.  Ms. Cole continues to impress me with her worldbuilding and storytelling and I look forward to more of her work.  Highly recommended!

SERIES INFORMATION

The Dacians: The Realm of Blood and Mist
1. Shadow's Claim

BOOK CHALLENGE ENTRY




Friday, December 28, 2012

FOLLOW FRIDAY (54)

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:
Bookworms Avenue
The Book Asylum

Q: What book do you think everyone should read, if you could gift the entire population with one book?



It isn't very creative and is kinda cheating, but there is no other answer, for me, than the Harry Potter series.  I'm sure it will be very popular today, but that is for good reason.  While I was a big reader pre-HP, that series completely changed my outlook on books and their purpose in my life.  Harry Potter changed an entire generation and, for that reason alone, I believe it should be read by everyone so they can truly understand how special it really is.


*******
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!!

TOP 10 OF 2012: Day 5-Books I'm Most Looking Forward to in 2013




A fun event sponsored by the bloggers at FiktshunA Life Bound by BooksConfessions of a BookaholicTwo Chicks on a Book, and Magical Urban Fantasy Books.  Check out the introductory post here.


BOOKS I'M MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2013

Lover At Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #11)

1. Lover At Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood #11) by JR Ward
March 26, 2013

Qhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has finally found an identity as one of the most brutal fighters in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems to be within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another....

Blay, after years of unrequited love, has moved on from his feelings for Qhuinn. And it’s about time: The male has found his perfect match in a Chosen female, and they are going to have a young—just as Qhuinn has always wanted for himself. It’s hard to see the new couple together, but building your life around a pipe dream is just a heartbreak waiting to happen. As he’s learned firsthand.

Fate seems to have taken these vampire soldiers in different directions... but as the battle over the race’s throne intensifies, and new players on the scene in Caldwell create mortal danger for the Brotherhood, Qhuinn finally learns the true definition of courage, and two hearts who are meant to be together... finally become one.

The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3)

2. The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3) by Richelle Mead
February 12, 2012
In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. 

Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.

Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, #2)
3. Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer
February 5, 2013
Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Lord of Darkness (Maiden Lane, #5)
4. Lord of Darkness (Maiden Lane #5) by Elizabeth Hoyt
February 26, 2013
He lives in the shadows. As the mysterious masked avenger known as the Ghost of St. Giles, Godric St. John's only goal is to protect the innocent of London. Until the night he confronts a fearless young lady pointing a pistol at his head—and realizes she is his wife.
Lady Margaret Reading has vowed to kill the Ghost of St. Giles—the man who murdered her one true love. Returning to London, and to 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.

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—the game is up and the players must surrender...to the temptation that could destroy them both.

Macrieve
5. MacRieve (Immortals After Dark #13) by Kresley Cole
July 2, 2013
Uilleam MacRieve, a centuries-old Lykae warrior, was captured, caged, and experimented on by a shadowy human order, along with other immortals. During a prison break that devolved into one of the bloodiest massacres in recent history, he escapes. But the aftermath of his unspeakable torture preys on his damaged mind, while the wolf inside him roars for vengeance and carnage. In the days leading up to the full moon, can MacRieve rein in his beast, even when he encounters his mate—a vexingly impossible female unlike anything he’d ever dreamed for himself?

Styxx (Dark-Hunter, #18)
6. Styxx (Dark Hunters #18) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
September 3, 2013
Just when you thought doomsday was over…Centuries ago Acheron protected the human race by imprisoning an ancient evil bent on absolute destruction. Now that evil has been unleashed and it is out for revenge.

As the twin to Acheron, Styxx hasn’t always been on his brother’s side. They’ve spent more centuries going at each other’s throats than protecting their backs. Now Styxx has a chance to prove his loyalty to his brother, but only if he’s willing to trade his life for Acheron’s.

Bethany was born to set right the wrong that left her family imprisoned for eternity. Now that she’s out, nothing will stop her from fulfilling the bargain that freed them. She must take the life of the last remaining Atlantean and she will not fail. But things are never what they seem and Acheron is no longer the last of his line.

Styxx and Acheron must put aside their past and learn to trust each other or more will suffer.  Yet it’s hard to risk your own life for someone who once tried to take yours, even when it’s your own twin, and when loyalties are skewed and no one can be trusted, not even yourself, how do you find a way back from the darkness that wants to consume the entire world? One that wants to start by devouring your very soul?

Apollyon (Covenant, #4)
7. Apollyon (Covenant #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
April 9, 2013
Fate isn’t something to mess with… and now, neither is Alex.  Alex has always feared two things: losing herself in the Awakening and being placed on the Elixir. But love has always been stronger than Fate, and Aiden St. Delphi is willing to make war on the gods—and Alex herself—to bring her back.

The gods have killed thousands and could destroy entire cities in their quest to stop Seth from taking Alex’s power and becoming the all-powerful God Killer. But breaking Alex’s connection to Seth isn’t the only problem. There are a few pesky little loopholes in the whole “an Apollyon can’t be killed” theory, and the only person who might know how to stop the destruction has been dead for centuries.

Finding their way past the barriers that guard the Underworld, searching for one soul among countless millions, and then somehow returning will be hard enough. Alex might be able to keep Seth from becoming the God Killer… or she might become the God Killer herself.

Sweet Peril (The Sweet Trilogy, #2)
8. Sweet Peril (Sweet Trilogy #2) by Wendy Higgins
April 30, 2013
Anna Whitt, the daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a vow. She’d been naive about a lot of things.

Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind.

When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?

Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7)
9. Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #8) by Abigail Roux
April 8, 2013
After having their faces plastered across the news during a high-profile case, FBI Special Agents Ty Grady and Zane Garrett have become more useful to the Bureau posing for photo ops than working undercover. Just as Zane is beginning to consider retirement a viable option, Ty receives a distress call from a friend, leading them to a city rife with echoes from the past.

New Orleans wears its history on its streets, and it’s the one place Ty’s face could get him killed. Surrounded by trouble as soon as they land, Ty and Zane are swiftly confronted with a past from which Ty can’t hide—one with a surprising connection to Zane’s.

As threats close in from all directions, both men must come to terms with the lives they’ve led and the lies they’ve told. They soon discover that not all their secrets are out yet, and nothing lasts forever.

A Woman Entangled (Blackshear Family, #3)
10. A Woman Entangled (Blackshear Family #3) by Cecilia Grant
June 25, 2013
Kate Westbrook has dreams far bigger than romance. Love won’t get her into London’s most consequential parties, nor prevent her sisters from being snubbed and looked down upon—all because their besotted father unadvisedly married an actress. But a noble husband for Kate would deliver a future most suited to the granddaughter of an earl. Armed with ingenuity, breathtaking beauty, and the help of an idle aunt with connections, Kate is poised to make her dreams come true. Unfortunately, a familiar face—albeit a maddeningly handsome one—appears bent on upsetting her scheme.

Implored by Kate’s worried father to fend off the rogues eager to exploit his daughter’s charms, Nick Blackshear has set aside the torch he’s carried for Kate in order to do right by his friend. Anyway, she made quite clear that his feelings were not returned—though policing her won’t abate Nick’s desire. Reckless passion leads to love’s awakening, but time is running out. Kate must see for herself that the charms of high society are nothing compared to the infinite sweet pleasures demanded by the heart.


HONORABLE MENTIONS:
How Beauty Saved the Beast  Twice Tempted (Night Prince, #2)  A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses  Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove #4) 
How Beauty Saved the Beast by Jax Garren (February 11, 2013)
Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost (March 26, 2013)
A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses by Molly Harper (May 28, 2013)
Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare (May 28, 2013)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

TOP 10 OF 2012: Day 4-Best Book Boyfriends of 2012




A fun event sponsored by the bloggers at FiktshunA Life Bound by BooksConfessions of a BookaholicTwo Chicks on a Book, and Magical Urban Fantasy Books.  Check out the introductory post here.

BEST BOOK BOYFRIENDS OF 2012


1. Adrian Ivashkov -- Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead 
A major side character who took centerstage in Mead's spin-off series to her super popular Vampire Academy books.  I was intrigued by Adrian in VA, but truly fell for him in Bloodlines and The Golden Lily.  He is arrogant, snarky, and very tortured, but still extremely lovable.


"Takes a lot of tries before you hit perfection." He paused to reconsider that. "Well, except for my parents. They got it on the first try." 
--Bloodlines


2. Winter Makepeace -- Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt
Readers met the secretive schoolmaster in the first book of the Maiden Lane series, but they never got to know him until his own book.  Winter is a rare breed...a sexy, seductive hero who also happens to be a virgin!  I loved the development of his character and how devoted he was to his students and his heroine, Isabel.  Not to mention the little matter of his secret identity...


"I'll never look at you in any way but complete admiration.” He stroked her hair soothingly. “You will never be a millstone about my neck. Rather you're the sunshine that brightens my day.” He swallowed. “Don't you see? You brought me into the daylight. You've embraced parts of me that I was never able to let see light. Don't make me retreat again into the night." 



3. Gabriel Nightengale -- Jane Jameson series by Molly Harper
While witty, klutzy Jane steals the show in this paranormal romance series, Gabriel is her stubborn, super-sexy vampire sire that strives to keep her safe during all her chaotic adventures.  Born during the middle of the 19th century, Mr. Nightengale has a very gentlemanly manner that is sometimes overtaken by his vampire nature especially when Jane is around. 


"I haven't had a lot of good, soft things in my life," he said against my forehead. "Not since my family sent me away. Apart from being your sire and feeling that pull to you, it's that goodness, that softness and warmth, along with the resolve and strength in you, that I love. Being turned hasn't taken that from you. If someone were going to design the perfect mate for me, it would be you."
 --Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men



4. Samuel Thorne -- A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare
Thorne is a solitary soldier with a mysterious past.  He is a man of few words, but his actions say plenty especially when it comes to Kate Taylor, the woman he has been pining for since childhood.  Some of my favorite scenes in this book involved Thorne opening up to Kate about his past and his true feelings for her.

"I never thought Greek philosophy could make a damn bit of sense to me. And most of it didn't, but those words just seemed right. 'Love is composed of a single soul, inhabiting two bodies.'" He took her by the shoulders drawing her close. "It rang true for me, in a way nothing else did. Whatever soul I had, Katie, I think I placed it in your keeping twenty years ago. And now, it's as if...every time we kiss, you give a little piece of it back."




5. James Easton -- The Agency series by Y.S. Lee
A young engineer from nineteenth century London who, especially at the beginning, has very strong opinions about life, love, and his place in the world.  But, through his interactions with the mysterious Mary Quinn, James begins to rethink his outlook and finds someone he can truly admire and respect.  He definitely has a way with words that had Mary and me sighing with happiness.

"I’m so sorry. I don’t think the etiquette manuals cover this sort of situation." He leaned in close, his lips all but grazing her neck, and inhaled. "Mmm. You smell good, too."
She nearly choked. Took a step backwards, until her back met cold stone. "Th-thank you."
"That’s better. May I kiss you?" His finger dipped into her shirt collar, stroking the tender nape of her neck. 
--The Body at the Tower


6. Dimitri Belikov -- Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
A very famous YA hero that I just met this year.  This tall, western-loving Russian dhampir completely steals the show in the Vampire Academy series.  And the journey that he goes on throughout the books makes him one of the most admirable heroes I've met in ages.

"No," Dimitri interrupted gently. He moved his face toward mine, our foreheads nearly touching. "It won't happen to you. You're too strong. You'll fight it, just like you did this time."
"I only did because you were here." He wrapped his arms around me, and I buried my face in his chest. "I can't do it by myself," I whispered.
"You can," he said. There was a tremulous note in his voice. "You're strong—you're so, so strong. It's why I love you." 
--Shadow Kiss


7. Zacharel -- Wicked Nights by Gena Showalter
A sexy, damaged angel who is danger of falling due to his propensity for killing humans while hunting demons.  I love heroes who are self-aware and know that they may not be worthy of a second chance.  But, Zacharel's protective nature and his camaraderie with his fellow warrior angels really caught my eye.

"Look, Winged Wonder. Get me out of here, then we'll hammer out the details about where I'm staying. Okay?"

"Winged Wonder," he said, nodding. "I find that I do not mind that one. It fits."
"Captain Modesty fits better," she muttered.
"I disagree. Winged Wonder is clearly the better choice for a man such as me."


8. Kaiden Rowe -- Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
The son of the Duke of Lust (one of the head henchmen for Lucifer).  Kai is the epitome of a sexy bad boy, but his seemingly carefree nature hides a softer side especially when he is around Anna.  I love when there are multiple sides to a single character and Kai definitely fits the bill for me.

"Wait,” Kaidan called from behind me. I squeezed my eyes shut for a second, but kept walking. Then I felt his hand around my wrist, spinning me in a half circle and pulling me to his chest. His face was so close. He reached down and cupped my face with one woolly hand, and wiped the top corner of my lip hard with his thumb. 
I flinched back. “What are you doing?” 

“I...” He appeared to have no idea himself. “I wanted to see your freckle.” 
A vulnerable tenderness flashed across his face, more painful to see than the coldness. It took every ounce of strength I had not to beg for one last kiss.



9. Lothaire Daciano -- Lothaire by Kresley Cole
For me, there is nothing better than a reformed villain which is why I had to feature Mr. Enemy of Old himself, Lothaire.  This red-eyed vampire has been annoying characters throughout the Immortals After Dark series, but it wasn't until his own story that readers finally got to see where he was truly coming from.  I loved how irreverent and arrogant Lothaire was and that he didn't undergo a personality transplant when he fell in love.  Sure he showed his good guy side through his interactions with Ellie, but he still retained enough bad boy swagger to keep me swooning.

His debtors always assumed he'd demand their firstborn. Like I'm fucking Rumpelstiltskin? What would Lothaire do with countless squalling babes? Raise them in a kennel?


10. Valek -- Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
I just finished reading this book today and I just had to feature Valek on this list.  I fell in love with this assassin from the moment Yelena met him and I kept turning pages hoping to see more scenes with him. I adored how passionate Valek is about protecting his Commander and the people who are loyal to him.  He is another example of someone that is more than meets the eye and I loved every minute of his page time.

"Yelena, you've driven me crazy. You've caused me considerable trouble and I've contemplated ending your life twice since I've known you...but you slipped under my skin, invaded my blood and seized my heart."

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Simon Pearson -- Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean
Logan Quinn -- Mythos Academy series by Jennifer Estep
Finnikin -- Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Wolfe Stovia -- Slumber by Samantha Young
Aiden St. Delphi -- Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

REVIEW: "The Gravedigger's Brawl" by Abigail Roux

The Gravedigger's Brawl
The Gravedigger's Brawl by Abigail Roux

Male/Male Romance -- Paranormal
For Ages 18+
Steam Level: Hot

Riptide Publishing -- October 15, 2012
Ebook, 250 pages

Rating: 4.5 Stars





SUMMARY

Dr. Wyatt Case is never happier than when he’s walking the halls of his history museum. Playing wingman for his best friend at Gravedigger’s Tavern throws him way out of his comfort zone, but not as much as the eccentric man behind the bar, Ash Lucroix.

Ash is everything Wyatt doesn’t understand: exuberant, quirky, and elbow deep in a Gaslight lifestyle that weaves history into everyday life. He coordinates his suspenders with his tongue rings. Within hours, Wyatt and Ash are hooked.

But strange things are afoot at Gravedigger’s, and after a knock to the head, Ash starts seeing things that can’t be explained by old appliances or faulty wiring. Soon everyone at Gravedigger’s is wondering if they’re seeing ghosts, or just going crazy. The answer to that question could end more than just Wyatt and Ash’s fragile relationship—it might also end their lives.

MY THOUGHTS

I just started reading Abigail Roux's male/male romances this year and am so glad I discovered her.  Like most readers, I began with the sexy Cut & Run series (who can deny Ty and Zane?), but have slowly been making my way through her other stories.  Therefore, when I saw The Gravedigger's Brawl on Netgalley, I knew I had to read it especially when I figured out that there was a ghost story component!

What I Liked
1. Both Ash and Wyatt were great characters.  One of my favorite parts of Ms. Roux's writing is her willingness to provide readers with unique, non-traditional heroes.  I liked how different they were even from each other with Wyatt as the scholarly curator of a history museum and Ash as the glamorous bartender.  I also enjoyed how much I as a reader was able to learn about them as people...to the point that I found myself really caring about their futures.

2. Since I adored both Ash and Wyatt, it should come as no surprise that I really liked the way their relationship developed.  It was a nice balance between quick and slow with the immediate lust and then the getting to know you better scenes which are always so nice to read.  By the end, I completely believed that they were meant to be together and can easily envision a very happy future for them.

3. Another interesting aspect of this book is the side characters.  Besides Ash and Wyatt, readers are also introduced to Wyatt's colleague at the museum and the other bartenders at the Gravedigger's Tavern.  This allows readers to understand the world that the story is taking place in and giving some nice side scenes.  I particularly enjoyed the secondary romance that featured Ash's boss Caleb and Wyatt's friend Noah.  They were a true example of opposites attract and I would love to see Abigail Roux write a story about them someday.

4.  A key part of the plot of The Gravedigger's Brawl is the ghost story element which I found highly entertaining.  I am a bit of a scaredy cat so I was hesitant about this storyline at first, but thankfully my fears were for naught.  While the ghosts are appropriately scary and the book gets very dark, I never felt outrageously scared which worked for me.  In similar thoughts, I really liked how complex the mystery was and how much danger there really was in figuring out what was wrong with Ash.  Definitely kept me reading late into the night!

5. I am certifiable history geek so the whole historical aspect of the Gravedigger's Tavern and Richmond in general was extremely fascinating for me.  I loved watching Wyatt and the other characters research the bar and use that knowledge to figure out what is going on with Ash.

What I Didn't Like
1. The ending was a little anti-climatic for my taste.  I'm not talking about the action-packed climax where the truth about everything was revealed, but the aftermath.  I would like to have spent a little more time with these characters as they dealt with all the weirdness they experienced.  But, that was a minor detail, that didn't affect my overall enjoyment.

Overall Impression
I continue to be impressed by Abigail Roux's writing and how varied her stories are since this book could not be any more different than the Ty/Zane series.  The Gravedigger's Brawl is a wonderful combination of mystery and romance that kept me engrossed until the very end and really made me care about the characters even after I was finished with the story.


THANKS TO NETGALLEY AND RIPTIDE PUBLISHING FOR PROVIDING ME WITH AN E-COPY OF THIS BOOK IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.

TOP 10 OF 2012: Day 3-Best "Couples" of 2012




A fun event sponsored by the bloggers at FiktshunA Life Bound by BooksConfessions of a BookaholicTwo Chicks on a Book, and Magical Urban Fantasy Books.  Check out the introductory post here.


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BEST "COUPLES" OF 2012



1. Sydney Sage and Adrian Ivashkov -- Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead
I will admit that I was not sure whether I would like Sydney and Adrian together when I first started this series.  Thankfully, I was dead wrong!  They are so perfect for each other despite the fact that they couldn't be more different.  Mead's beautiful writing and their insane chemistry makes them #1 in my book for 2012.


"My God, Sage. Your eyes. How have I never noticed them?"

That uncomfortable feeling was spreading over me again. "What about them?"

"The color," he breathed. "When you stand in the light. They're amazing... like molten gold. I could paint those..." He reached toward me but then pulled back. "They're beautiful. You're beautiful." --Bloodlines

2. Ty Grady and Zane Garrett -- Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux
One of my greatest finds this year was Roux's Cut & Run series which is a combination of romantic suspense and male/male romance.  Ty and Zane are two alpha heroes who should not work as a couple, but they do.  And what makes them different than others on this list is the danger that is associated with their jobs with the FBI.  This is a definitely a sexy, funny couple that redefines true love!

He sighed heavily and lifted his chin stubbornly, meeting Zane's eyes without flinching. "I didn't just say it to get you to jump. I'm in love with you Zane," he admitted in a calm,clear voice.
"I have been for a while." --Fish and Chips

3. Augustus Waters and Hazel Lancaster -- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
TFiOS is one of my favorite reads of 2012 so it should come as no surprise that Gus and Hazel are one of my favorite couples of the year as well.  The development of their romance is so heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time that I just had to feature them.


"May I see you again?" he asked. There was an endearing nervousness in his voice.
I smiled. "Sure."
"Tomorrow?" he asked.
"Patience, grasshopper," I counseled. "You don't want to seem overeager. 
"Right, that's why I said tomorrow," he said. "I want to see you again tonight. But I'm willing to wait all night and much of tomorrow." I rolled my eyes. "I'm serious," he said. 
"You don't even know me," I said. I grabbed the book from the center console. "How about I call you when I finish this?"
"But you don't even have my phone number," he said.
"I strongly suspect you wrote it in this book." 
He broke out into that goofy smile. "And you say we don't know each other."


4. Gabriel Nightengale and Jane Jameson -- Jane Jameson series by Molly Harper
Another great series find of 2012!  Librarian turned vampire Jane and her sexy sire Gabriel are probably the most humorous couple on this list.  Their antics are always over-the-top and highly entertaining.  And they still manage to keep a steady relationship going strong throughout the books.

"The ring is a copy of my mother’s. I took the stone from her engagement ring and had a jeweler place it in a titanium setting.”

"Titanium?” I asked.
“Dick knew a guy."
“Of course he did.”
“You’re a bit rough and tumble with jewelry, and I knew it would have to be able to stand up to…”
“Nuclear winter?”
His eyebrow lifted. “I never know with you.” --Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors




5. James Easton and Mary Quinn -- The Agency series by Y.S. Lee
This is a couple that crosses the social classes of nineteenth century London with James being a successful engineer and Mary a domestic spy.  They did not get along initially, but met up in random situations throughout the series and their relationship just grew and grew.  I'm definitely anxious to read more about them in the next book in the series!

He smiled. "I suppose I thought we'd have a madly impractical, terrifyingly modern sort of marriage. One based on love. Not to mention dangerous undertakings and hair's-breadth escapes from burning buildings, high ledges and exploding sewers."
"And bickering."
"Always that, yes."
"Assuming I want to marry at all."
"True. I know of no good way of forcing you to do anything."
"And you're mad enough to think it could work - one day?"
He cupped her face in his hands. His smile was so brilliant it seemed to illuminate the room. "I think it would be heaven."
She trembled, then. "You have a very strange idea of heaven."
"Kiss me and see." --The Traitor in the Tunnel


6. Dimitri Belikov and Rose Hathaway -- Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
I usually try to avoid replicating authors or series in top ten lists, but I couldn't resist Dimitri and Rose's epic relationship.  This slightly forbidden paranormal couple (he's her mentor) sizzled from the moment they met each other and their dramatic and often trying journey throughout the series really showed that they were truly meant to be together.

His fingertip gently wiped away a tear that had escaped down my cheek. "That's part of it," he said. "But also... well, you and I will both be Lissa's guardians someday. I need to protect her at all cost. If a pack of Strigoi come, I need to throw my body between them and her."
I know that. Of course that's what you have to do." The black sparkles were dancing in front of my eyes again. I was fading out.
"No. If I let myself love you, I won't throw myself in front of her. I'll throw myself in front of you.” 
--Vampire Academy 


7. Declan Tyler and Simon Murray -- Tigers and Devils series by Sean Kennedy
Another great male/male couple from a classic of the genre!  Simon is a film festival manager who is out as a proud gay man while Declan is a closeted Australian Rules Football player.  These two go through a lot over the course of their story from hiding their relationship to dealing with family issues to ex-boyfriends popping up at inappropriate times.  But, everything is worth it because they completely understand one another and strive to make the other person happy above all costs.

"I would never have broken up with you," I said earnestly. "I'm more miserable without you than I am with you." As soon as that sentence came out I groaned, because I knew how bad it sounded.
But Declan laughed. "Vintage Simon Murray comment." --Tigers and Devils


A Lady by Midnight (Spindle Cove, #3)
8. Samuel Thorne and Kate Taylor -- A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare
I have really come to expect a lot out of Tessa Dare's couples since she is so amazing at providing sexy heroes and intelligent heroines that are easy to root for.  Well, in my opinion, Thorne and Kate are her best yet!  Thorne simultaneously makes me want to kiss him and hug him while Kate's quiet strength makes her someone I would easily want to befriend.  Their journey to true happiness was put into motion from their childhood and it was great to see everything come together in the end.

"I don't want anyone fighting over me," Kate said. "It's not worth it."

"Like hell it's not." Samuel turned to her. "Don't ever say you're not worth it, Katie. You're worth epic battles. Entire wars."
Her heart pinched. "Samuel..."
"Yes, Helen of Troy?" She thought she saw him wink as he backed away, reaching for a sword to match Evan's.  After all this time...he would choose this moment to be charming. 

Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3)
9. Simon Pearson and Juliana St. John -- Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean
This couple consists of two people who could not be more different at the beginning of the story.  The sexual tension between Simon and Juliana is amazingly written and I loved seeing stoic Simon fall head over heels for wild child Juliana.  This is a great example of Ms. MacLean's fabulous writing style and characters.

"You are my siren,” he said, running his hands along her thighs and down her calves, feeling the shape of her even as the silk of her gown kept them both from what they wanted. “My temptress . . . my sorceress . . . I cannot resist you, no matter how I try. You threaten to send me over the edge.”



10. Alex Andros and Aiden St. Delphi -- Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
I have recently gotten obsessed with this YA series and Alex and Aiden's relationship is a main factor in that.  I love how well they compliment each other despite the forbidden aspect of their relationship.  There is a lot of drama involved with this couple, but it never gets over-the-top and kept me reading all the way until the end.

The hand that I tapped reached up and clasped mine. I froze as he threaded his finders through mine. “I’m what?”
Beautiful. Kind. Patient. Perfect. I said none of those things. Instead, I stared at his fingers, wondering if he knew he was holding my hand. “You’re always so….”
His thumb moved over the top of my hand. The balm made his fingers cool and smooth. “What?”
I looked up, and I was immediately snared. His stare, his soft touch along my hand was doing very strange things. I felt hot and dizzy, like I’d been out in the sun all day. All I could think about was how his hand felt on mine. --Half-Blood

HONORABLE MENTIONS: 

A Gentleman Undone (Blackshear Family, #2)  Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy, #1)  Easy  For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #1)
Will Blackshear and Lydia Slaughter from A Gentleman Undone by Cecilia Grant
Logan Quinn and Gwen Frost from the Mythos Academy series by Jennifer Estep
Lucas and Jacqueline from Easy by Tammara Webber
Elliot North and Kai Wentworth from For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

TOP 10 OF 2012: Day 2-Best Book Covers of 2012




A fun event sponsored by the bloggers at FiktshunA Life Bound by BooksConfessions of a BookaholicTwo Chicks on a Book, and Magical Urban Fantasy Books.  Check out the introductory post here.


For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #1)
1. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund 
Love the science fiction/fantasy feel.


How Beauty Met the Beast (Tales of the Underlight #1)
2. How Beauty Met the Beast by Jax Garren
Steampunk covers are such an interesting combination of classic and fantasy.  Plus I love the appearance of Hauk in the background.


Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)
3. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
When it comes to Cinderella, it is all about the shoe!  And I love the cyborg elements that make you think twice about this retold fairy tale.


Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy, #1)
4. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Pretty dress cover that shows the contrast between Kaidan and Anna in their appearances and in their outlooks on life.


My Life Next Door
5. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
This is a great summer romance and the cover really showcases that.  Plus I like that the gate is featured as well.


The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires (Half Moon Hollow, #2)
6. The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper
I know some people were a little skeeved out by the blood on this cover, but I thought it was awesome and ironic.



Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose, #1)
7. Venom by Fiona Paul
I love masks on covers so I had to pick one.  And purple and gold is one of my favorite combinations!


The Selection (The Selection, #1)
8. The Selection by Kiera Cass
Another pretty dress cover that I just loved!


Luminosity (The Raven Chronicles, #1)
9. Luminosity by Stephanie Thomas
I love the make-up on the cover model and the ominous background got me intrigued.


Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1)
10. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
I love fantasy novel covers and this one is appropriately beautiful, creepy, and mysterious.