Sunday, March 31, 2013

WEEKLY RECAP: March 31, 2013

I have been on the hunt for a great way to recap my week and figured that I would try this one.  It is partially inspired by the Clock Rewinders feature created by Amanda at On a Book Bender and Tara at 25 Hour Books. Check out their posts every week!

I was a bit more successful in my reading than I was last week.  I finally finished listening to Molly Harper's And One Last Thing which is a hilarious contemporary with a newly divorced woman and her hunky neighbor who resembles Hugh Jackman.  I also read Mina Wentworth and the Invisible City by Meljean Brook, a novellla that takes place after The Iron Duke and focuses on Rhys and Mina's life after their wedding.  And, finally, I got back into Celeste Bradley's historicals with When She Said I Do which is the first in her series that features a pretty large and crazy family.

I am super excited to say that I am reading Lover At Last and cannot wait to see what I think about the long awaited Qhuay story!  I am also reading Jocelynn Drake's prequel novella, The Asylum Interviews: Trixie, and listening to Molly Harper's The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf.

--Romance Writers of America announced the 2013 nominees for the RITA awards. (link)

--Continuation of the DABWAHA tournament, sponsored by Dear Author and Smart Bitches Trashy Books. (link)

--Vampire Book Club is still taking nominations for the Alpha Showdown 2013 through Monday April 1.  Make sure your favorites get nominated!  (link)

--The ladies from Book Chick City celebrated the release of Lover At Last by providing their dream cast for the BDB boys.  (link)

--Booklist Online does its 50th Hostile Questions interview with the always entertaining John Green. (link)

--Myretta Robbins at Heroes and Heartbreakers wrote a great post about the range of one of my favorite historical romance writers, Ms. Connie Brockway.  (link)

Written in Blood by Anne Bishop -- Reviewed at Smexybooks
Matilda by Roald Dahl -- Reviewed at Quinn's Book Nook
The Collector by Victoria Scott -- Reviewed at Addicted2Heroines


The first book in Maya Rodale's new series, The Wicked Wallflowers, has a cover!  Expected publication date is October 29th.  Learn more at the author's website here.

Twisted-sounding YA paranormal about two former high school friends who end up caught in a world of superpowers, mistrust, and revenge.  Expected publication is September 24th.  Learn more here


Seriously Series Challenge: 
Series Starting In 2013 -- Completed of 12 series
Series Started Before 2013 -- Completed of 12 series
Series Rereads -- Completed of series

Why Buy the Cow Reading Challenge:
Completed 5 of 24 free books

Debut Author Reading Challenge:
Completed of 12 YA/MG debuts

Immortals Reading Challenge:
Completed of 20 books

Paranormal Reading Challenge:
Completed 6 of 12 categories

Dystopia Reading Challenge:
Completed 4 of 13 dystopian reads

REVIEW: When She Said I Do by Celeste Bradley
REVIEW: And One Last Thing by Molly Harper
TOP TEN TUESDAY: Literary Crushes

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Two great features where bloggers can share what books they received during the week.  I don't always get enough books to warrant a weekly post so I am going to participate in these two memes at the end of every month.

Lover At Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #11)  Wild Invitation (Psy-Changeling 0.5, 3.5, 9.5, 10.5)  Twice Tempted (Night Prince, #2)  Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)
Wait for You (Wait for You, #1)  Flirting with Maybe  The Asylum Interviews: Trixie (The Asylum Tales, #0.6)  Reckoning (Night Huntress, #0.5)
Lover At Last by JR Ward
Wild Invitation by Nalini Singh
Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost
Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
Wait for You by J. Lynn
Flirting with Maybe by Wendy Higgins
The Asylum Interviews: Trixie by Jocelynn Drake
Reckoning by Jeaniene Frost

Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose, #1)  Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2)  When She Said I Do (Worthington, #1)  When She Was Wicked (Honeycote, #1)
Venom by Fiona Paul
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
When She Said I Do by Celeste Bradley
When She Was Wicked by Anne Barton

A Woman Entangled (Blackshear Family, #3)  Take It Off (Market Garden, #2)  If It Flies (Market Garden, #3)  City Mouse (Country Mouse, #2)
A Woman Entangled by Cecilia Grant
Take It Off by L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov
If It Flies by L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov
City Mouse by Amy Lane and Aleksandr Voinov

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Alison Can Read Feature & Follow
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!

Q: Tell us about the most emotional scene you've ever read in a book -- and how did you react?

There are so many scenes I would love to feature!  It doesn't take much for me to get emotional when reading, but I'll try to narrow it down.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling -- When *that character* died, I was a complete mess.  I had to put the book down and walk away for a good hour before I was ready to deal with it.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green -- The entire last half of the book.  It was beautifully written, but caused me to do the ugly cry.  I always warn people not to read it in public when recommending it.

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead -- The ending of this book that I won't go into detail about in order to avoid spoiling it.  I was a total wreck and had to go find the next book in the series immediately.

Strawberries for Dessert by Marie Sexton -- When Jonathon found out the truth about why Cole wanted to go NYC and what his family situation was really like.  I've re-read this book multiple times and that scene gets me every time.

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

ANTHOLOGY REVIEW: "Wild Invitation" by Nalini Singh

Wild Invitation (Psy-Changeling 0.5, 3.5, 9.5, 10.5)
Wild Invitation by Nalini Singh
(Psy-Changeling #0.5, 3.5, 9.5, 10.5)

Goodreads -- Amazon -- Book Depository

For Ages 18+
Paranormal Romance
Berkeley --March 5, 2013
Paperback, 339 pages
Bought from Amazon

In "Beat of Temptation", innocent Tamsyn has always had a place in her heart for Nathan, a blooded DarkRiver sentinel. But is she ready for the fierce demands of the mating bond?

In "Stroke of Enticement", a wary young teacher, skeptical about love, arouses the man—and the animal—in an aggressive leopard changeling who must prove his affections are true.

In "Declaration of Courtship", Grace, a shy submissive wolf, finds herself pursued by the last man she ever would have imagined: a SnowDancer lieutenant said to be “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”

In "Texture of Intimacy", SnowDancer healer Lara discovers the searing joys—and unexpected challenges—of being mated to quiet, powerful Walker, a man used to keeping his silence.

The Psy-Changeling series is one of my favorites when it comes to paranormal romance.  I started reading them about two years ago and believe that I finished all the ones that were published at the time (9) in about a month.  One of my favorite aspects of the series, besides the amazing characters, unique supernatural world, and complex plots, is all the little side stories that Nalini Singh provides for her readers.

These novellas and deleted scenes are great ways to keep readers interested in the series while also helping make this fictional world more developed and intriguing.  That's why I was so excited to see that Singh was releasing an anthology of Psy-Changeling short stories in preparation for the highly anticipated Book 11, Heart of Obsidian.  Of the four novellas, two were ones I had previously read (though never reviewed) and two were brand new to me and other PC fans.

**Beat of Temptation (#0.5)
The first short story involves the DarkRiver leopard pack and serves as a prequel to the entire series.  It focuses on two very popular side characters, Tammy and Nate, and shows how this amazing couple got together.  And I absolutely adored this story!  I have had a soft spot for these two from the moment we met them and their rambunctious twins so it was nice seeing their love story unfold.  I loved the way that Nalini Singh showed readers about life in DarkRiver before Lucas took over as alpha.  She also used this story to focus on the role of the healer in pack life and the struggles that Tammy had to face when forced into the position so young.  Nate was a bit of a stubborn blockhead at times, but he was so sweet and devoted to Tammy that I was able to forgive him by the end.
--4 Stars

**Stroke of Enticement (#3.5)
This story also takes place in the DarkRiver pack and features a leopard sentinel Zach and a human teacher named Annie.  I enjoyed this story, but not as much as I was hoping.  I loved the romance and the characters, but found myself wanting more.  The development of the love story was a bit rushed for my taste especially because of how much I was getting into Zach and Annie's characters.  But, it was still a pleasant reading experience and I always like seeing the interactions of the pack with the human world.
--3.5 Stars

***Declaration of Courtship (#9.5)
Now, the anthology shifts from DarkRiver to the SnowDancer wolf pack run by the always delicious Hawke.  This particular story focuses on uber-alpha lieutenant Cooper and the much more submissive Grace.  I was fascinated by the interactions between these two with their very different personalities.  The whole dominant and submissive thing hasn't been featured very much in the PC world and it was a nice change.  I loved Grace's character and how she was able to show her strength without going against her wolf's nature.  Cooper was a decent hero, but he had some jerk moments that made me want to reach into the pages and smack him.  The love story was pretty standard, but sweet especially with all the little things Cooper did to court Grace.

--3.5 Stars

Texture of Intimacy (#10.5)
And our final short story takes place soon after the conclusion of Hawke and Sienna's book, Kiss of Snow, and features one of my favorite secondary romances: SnowDancer healer Lara and Psy-defector Walker.  I loved this couple's scenes in Kiss of Snow and was really excited to see Nalini Singh focus on them again.  Their situation is very unique and I like how the author portrayed the good and bad parts of the relationship.  Both Lara and Walker are strong individuals with some hidden vulnerabilities that they need to work out.  This was, by far, my favorite novella in the anthology and I really am hoping to see more of this couple in future PC books.
--4.5 Stars

Overall, I thought this was an entertaining and well-constructed anthology.  It covers a variety of themes and really allows the reader to immerse themselves into the DarkRiver and SnowDancer worlds.  The Changelings are my personal favorites when it comes to this series so I am always happy to see Nalini Singh write about them.

***4 Stars***

0.5. Beat of Temptation
1. Slave to Sensation
2. Visions of Heat
3. Caressed by Ice
3.5. Stroke of Enticement
4. Mine to Possess
5. Hostage to Pleasure
6. Branded by Fire
7. Blaze of Memory
8. Bonds of Justice
9. Play of Passion
9.5. Declaration of Courtship
10. Kiss of Snow
10.5. Texture of Intimacy
11. Tangle of Need
12. Heart of Obsidian (Coming 2013)


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I am now on Bloglovin!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I, like many others, am trying to figure out the best way to deal with the eventual (?) demise of Google Reader.  One way that I keep reading about on other blogs is Bloglovin.  I may try some other methods, but this seems like a good one to try for the moment.  So please feel free to click on the link above or on my sidebar to keep following Feminist Fairy Tale Reviews!  

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY (51): "The Cursed" by Alyssa Day

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

The Cursed (League of the Black Swan, #1)

by Alyssa Day

Expected Publication: May 7, 2013
Paranormal Romance

Bordertown private investigator Luke Oliver’s beat is the dimensional fold in Manhattan between the human and supernatural realms. But now a secret from his past—the League of the Black Swan—has surfaced. Because Luke isn’t any ordinary P.I. He’s the Dark Wizard of Bordertown, and he never backs down from a fight.

But this time the fight threatens his life and his heart. Rio Jones, the only woman he loved, needs his help against a deadly menace. Luke pushed her away once before, so she’d never fall prey to the curse that threatens to destroy him. He swore he’d never let her go again.

Luke and Rio, with the help of the newly reformed League, must keep evil forces from taking over Bordertown—all the while battling a passion on the razor’s edge between danger and desire. And going to take everything they have just to stay alive. 
WHY I'M WAITING: I've heard some great things about Alyssa Day's paranormals so the release of her newest series seems like the perfect opportunity to try her out.  Plus I adore books with wizards in them...think it goes back to Harry Potter obsession days!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I Recommend The Most

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

1. Persuasion by Jane Austen
A classic that doesn't get the type of publicity that Pride and Prejudice does though I love both.  I always recommend this one because of its mature theme and beautiful writing.  Plus Captain Wentworth's letter includes some of the most romantic lines I've ever read!

2. The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
One of the first historical romances I read and it is still one of the best.  I just re-read this over the weekend and it stands up even after so long.  The chemistry between the two leads (Kate and Anthony) is amazing and the comedy is well-timed and intelligent.

3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
An epic time travel saga that allows readers to fully immerse themselves in the world of 1740s Scotland.  I always recommend this one for fans of historical details, swoon-worthy romance, and plenty of drama.

4. Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
I'm not a huge contemporary romance fan, but I absolutely adore this story about a sports agent and a matchmaker.  Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a genius at writing beautiful love stories balanced with comedy and angst.  Heath and Annabelle are both amazing characters that just seem to jump out of the page and into real life.

***Young Adult***
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Probably doesn't need much of an introduction nowadays, but I still always take the time to recommend it.  I especially give it to people who try to convince me why YA fiction isn't worthy of all the hype.

6. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors and this is my favorite of her books.  Annabel's journey from fear to confidence is one that I really related to in high school and I think almost everyone can find something they understand from this story.

7. Angelfall by Susan Ee
The book that started my obsession with self-published authors!  I fell in love with this post-apocalyptic story's worldbuilding, well-developed characters, and dark overtones.  The author is definitely not afraid to push the envelope of YA paranormals.  My review can be found here.

8. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
Another recommendation that is probably obvious to anyone who has read my blog.  I just couldn't not mention the series that truly turned me into an obsessive bookworm!

9. Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost
My all-time favorite urban fantasy series!  These are the books that showcase why I love vampires so much especially if they are all like Bones.  Definitely recommend it for readers who like some comedy and spice with their supernatural drama.

10. Jane Jameson series by Molly Harper
Another paranormal series that I just discovered last year.  Librarian turned vampire Jane is an amazing heroine whose antics never fail to make me laugh and shake my head.  Plus it doesn't hurt that she has a drop-dead gorgeous boyfriend and plenty of hilarious friends to add to the fun.  My review of Book 1 can be found here.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

WEEKLY RECAP--March 24, 2013

I have been on the hunt for a great way to recap my week and figured that I would try this one.  It is partially inspired by the Clock Rewinders feature created by Amanda at On a Book Bender and Tara at 25 Hour Books. Check out their posts every week!


I haven't been very good about keeping up with my reading this week.  My life has gotten a little hectic with work and March Madness so I haven't had as much reading time as I would like.  

But, I did finish Nalini Singh's Wild Invitation, a collection of short stories from her super popular Psy-Changeling.  I had read two of the stories previously, but enjoyed the re-read and the discovery of the new ones.  This book also put me in the mood for more PC goodness so I have been catching up on all the freebies and deleted scenes on Ms. Singh's website like Movie Night and Poker Night.  Because I was in a bit of time crunch, I decided to do a re-read of one of my favorite historical romances, The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn.  This book never fails to put me in a good mood and I am really looking forward the release of Julia Quinn's The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After now!

For this upcoming week, I am continuing to listen to Molly Harper's hilarious contemporary, And One Last Thing.  I am reading Mina Wentworth and the Invisible City by Meljean Brook (novella from her Iron Seas series) and When She Said I Do by Celeste Bradley (historical romance with a Beauty and the Beast-type storyline).  I also plan on reading Lover At Last by JR Ward which is finally being released this Tuesday!  So excited to see Blay and Qhuinn get their happily ever after!


Seriously Series Challenge: 
Series Starting In 2013 -- Completed 2 of 12 series
Series Started Before 2013 -- Completed 2 of 12 series
Series Rereads -- Completed 0 of 6 series

Why Buy the Cow Reading Challenge:
Completed 5 of 24 free books

Debut Author Reading Challenge:
Completed 1 of 12 YA/MG debuts

Immortals Reading Challenge:
Completed 8 of 20 books

Paranormal Reading Challenge:
Completed 6 of 12 categories

Dystopia Reading Challenge:
Completed 4 of 13 dystopian reads


2013 Reads: 50 books read so far

To Read Shelf: 246 books
Recent Additions -- The Valentine's Arrangement by Kelsie Leverich (contemporary romance); The Problem with Seduction by Emma Locke (historical romance); Play with Me by Piper Shelly (YA)

TBR Shelf: 113 books
Recent Additions -- None


REVIEW: Wild Invitation by Nalini Singh

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I Recommend The Most

Friday, March 22, 2013


Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

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:
Cherie Reads
Shiloh Walker

Q: What is your guilty pleasure as far as reading?  Is it a genre or a certain type of book?

The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons, #2)  Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3)  The Raven Prince (Princes Trilogy, #1)  A Lady by Midnight (Spindle Cove, #3)  The Duchess War (Brothers Sinister, #1)
My biggest guilty pleasure is definitely historical romance particularly books set in Medieval or Regency-era Europe.  If there are lords, ladies, manor houses, arranged marriages, knights, or duels,  I am a happy reader.  I think my adoration of this genre started because of my high school obsession with Jane Austen where I had re-read her books often enough that I wanted more books that were similar.  And I never looked back!  

Some of my favorite HR authors are Julia Quinn, Elizabeth Hoyt, Tessa Dare, Courtney Milan, Lisa Kleypas, Sarah MacLean, and Eloisa James.  Other favorites can be found on my Recommendations page here.

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!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

REVIEW: "Pushing the Limits" by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
(Pushing the Limits #1)

Goodreads -- Amazon -- Book Depository

For Ages 13+
Young Adult -- Contemporary
Harlequin Teen --July 31, 2012
Ebook,  397 pages
Received from Netgalley

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.   

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

"My father is a control freak, I hate my stepmother, my brother is dead, and my mother has...well...issues.  How do you think I'm doing?"

Pushing the Limits is one of those books that I had heard about from all my blogger friends last year.  Like most readers, I am always nervous when I start a book that has the type of hype this one had.  Thankfully, I found this book to be an enjoyable and thought-provoking experience that met my expectations.

The best part of this story is the characters: primary and secondary.  Ms. McGarry really understands the people who inhabit her fictional world and isn't afraid to make them less than perfect.  She also knows that the key to a great book is the journey that the characters go on which is the main focus of Pushing the Limits.

Our two protagonists are Noah Hutchins and Echo Emerson, two high schoolers who are having a difficult time getting through their days without going crazy.  They have both gone through reputation changes since entering high school and have some major issues to deal with.  What is great about these two is how they go beyond the reader's first impressions of them.

Noah, at first, appears to be the typical teenaged bad boy with an attitude.  But, readers quickly learn that he has had a tough time since his parents' tragic deaths compounded by his unsuccessful efforts to gain custody of his two younger brothers.  Noah is understandably angry at the world and has to learn to control those emotions if he ever wants to be a major part of his brothers' lives.

Echo, on the other hand, was a popular girl until one night when something occurred that left her scarred and depressed.  She slowly starts to spiral when it seems like everything is going wrong from her brother's death to her stepmother's pregnancy to her mother's mysterious illness.  For most of the book, her main focus is figuring out the mystery behind her scars and what really happened that night since she doesn't remember any of it. 

Noah and Echo's relationship develops in a slow and satisfying way.  We see them interact as acquaintances and then friends and then ultimately something more through a variety of encounters.  The thing I really enjoyed about this love was that these two distrusting people had to learn to trust one another to get what they wanted.  Through trusting each other, Noah and Echo were able to understand their own motives and eventually become happier.  Each of them has their own issues to deal with and none of them are magically fixed by the power of love, but readers can see the beginnings of healing.

I also enjoyed reading about all the side characters that Noah and Echo interact with on a daily basis.  Some of my personal favorites included Noah's foster siblings, Isaiah and Beth, who have stories of their own to tell that I can't wait to read.  I also liked the characterization of Echo's friend Lila and how she strived to help Echo in anyway she can despite what others thought of her.  Another secondary personality that really struck me was Noah and Echo's counselor, Mrs. Collins, and how she was able to help these two troubled kids despite their early impressions of her.  I definitely hope to see more of her in the other books in the series.

Another thing I liked about this book was how it dealt with real issues rather than over-the-top drama that can be found in quite a few contemporaries.  I don't want to spoil much of the plot, but a few of the topics covered in Pushing the Limits are mental illness, death, grief, separation, and foster families.  Every issue is written with great respect and never white-washed for the audience.  This helps readers relate to the characters while also giving them something to think about after finishing the book.

***4.5 Stars***

---The worst type of crying wasn't the kind everyone could see--the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life.

---I love you enough to never make you choose. 

1. Pushing the Limits
1.5. Crossing the Line (Coming 2013)
2. Dare You To (Coming 2013)
3. Crash Into You (Coming 2014)


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY (50): "Spartan Frost" by Jennifer Estep/"Off Her Game" by Suzan Butler

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

Spartan Frost (Mythos Academy, #4.5)
by Jennifer Estep

Expected Publication: June 25, 2013
Young Adult -- Paranormal/Fantasy

I’m Logan Quinn, the deadliest Spartan warrior at Mythos Academy. At least I was — until the day I almost killed Gwen Frost.

Professor Metis and Nickamedes say that I’m fine, that Loki and the Reapers don’t have a hold on me anymore, but I can’t risk it. I can’t risk hurting Gwen again. So I’m leaving Mythos and going somewhere far, far away.

I know Gwen wonders what’s happening to me, whether I’m safe. I can’t tell her, but this is my story …

WHY I'M WAITING: I freaking love this series and am super excited to see that we are getting novella in Logan's point of view!  He is one of my book boyfriends and I want to know what is going on in his head especially after the events of Crimson Frost.


Off Her Game (Texas Highlanders Ice Hockey, #1)
by Suzan Butler

Expected Publication: March 25, 2013
Contemporary Romance

Penalty Number One: Men

Making time for men and relationships doesn’t fit into Valerie Chase’s game plan. This crisis-counselor-turned-cocktail-waitress knows the score—Men are a distraction. But when a certain hockey player tempts her wild side, part of her wants to indulge in a little harmless fun.

Penalty Number Two: Desire

As the star center for the Texas Highlanders, Darren Moran's good looks and deadly determination make him a fan favorite. But after the previous season’s disaster, the last thing he needs is to let some woman crawl under his skin. But… Valerie is different. She brings out the best in him—both on and off the ice—and he’s not about to lose her.

Penalty Number Three: Passion

When the game moves to the next level, Darren and Val have got to call timeout. An unplanned romance is a game-thrower, a sinful temptation that neither of them can afford. After all, there’s no way to have order in matters of the heart when the penalties tally up to an ejection from the game. 
WHY I'M WAITING: Sports romances are one of my guilty pleasures especially ones with hockey players.  Plus it is always fun to find new authors!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I Had To Buy That I Still Haven't Read

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


Iced (Fever, #6; Dani O'Malley, #1)  Insurgent (Divergent, #2)  The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)  Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry, #3)  Born of Shadows (The League, #4)

1. Iced (Fever World #1) by Karen Marie Moning
I am a huge fan of KMM's Fever series and bought this book the day that it released.  But, it is still on my TBR shelf months later. I am trying to hold on until I go on vacation this summer so that I can read in one sitting.

2. Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth
Another book that I bought the day it was released which is still unread.  I am waiting to read this one until closer to the release date of book #3 so that I will be ready to finish the entire trilogy.

3. The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1) by Julie Kagawa
I adore Kagawa's Iron Fey series, but still haven't read her vampire/dystopian series.  I am just trying to wait until I get to a weekend where I can spend the entire time reading from dawn till dusk.

4. Chain Reaction (Perfect Chemistry #3) by Simone Elkeles
I ran through the first two books in this trilogy within a week and am unwilling to let go of those delicious Fuentes brothers.  So that's why this book is still on my TBR shelf over a year later.

5. Born of Shadows (The League #4) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
I loved the first three League books and was excited when I learned Kenyon was continuing the series.  But, I haven't been inspired to open this book yet so it's still sitting there.

Rainshadow Road (Friday Harbor, #2)  Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)  The Seduction of Elliot McBride (Highland Pleasures, #5) Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)  Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1)

6. Rainshadow Road (Friday Harbor #2) by Lisa Kleypas
I worship the ground Ms. Kleypas walks on, but I've had a hard time getting into her Friday Harbor books.  I think that's why I've resisted opening this book immediately.

7. Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas
A debut from last year that got a ton of hype amongst bloggers.  I bought it shortly after its release date and still haven't started it yet.

8. The Seduction of Elliot McBride (Highland Pleasures #5) by Jennifer Ashley
Jennifer Ashley's MacKenzies are one of my favorite historical romance families and I need to get caught up with their adventures.

9. Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Another 2012 debut that I need to read sooner rather than later.  It is part of my Project TBR challenge so hopefully this will be remedied in the next month or so.

10. Poison Princess (Arcana Chronicles #1) by Kresley Cole
Kresley Cole is another of my favorite authors (adult paranormal romance) and I need to read her YA debut.

Monday, March 18, 2013

REVIEW: "Warm Bodies" by Isaac Marion

Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1)
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

For Ages 15+
Young Adult -- Dystopian/Paranormal
Atria -- April 2011
Ebook, 258 pages
Received from Netgalley

R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse. Just dreams.

After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a burst of vibrant color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that R lives in. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

I am dead, but it's not so bad.

I should probably start this review by admitting that I am not a huge zombie fan.  I don't have a real reason for this preference, but they just aren't creatures I usually seek out like I do demons, vampires, or weres.  But, that being said, I had been wanting to read this book for a long time because of all the hype about how unique it was.  Plus the movie was recently released and I fell in love with trailer so I knew I had to read this soon.  And I am glad I did because Warm Bodies was such an entertaining story full of great characters, a highly original love story, and some intriguing supernatural worldbuilding.

The first thing that grabbed my attention about this book was the originality of the narrator.  For those of you who aren't aware, Warm Bodies is told from the point of view of a zombie named "R" who lives with a group of other zombies in an abandoned airport.  R is a pure delight with his unique perspective of his world and his snarky sense of humor.  He definitely seems different from the other zombies, but its hard to get a handle on why at the beginning.  The development of his character was really well-written and I enjoyed seeing all the different facets of his personality.

The other characters in the book are also enjoyable though R is still my favorite.  I liked R's love interest, Julie, much more than I thought I would.  She is definitely not a whiny, screaming heroine which I definitely appreciated.  Her courage and willingness to go with the flow is a necessity for this type of story and I liked that the author recognized that.  I also enjoyed R's "best friend" M who went through his own mini-journey over the course of the book.  Another character I have to mention is Perry, Julie's boyfriend, who is eaten by R at the very beginning yet still retains enough of a personality to be a driving force for the book.

There are two main storylines in Warm Bodies: the first being the romance between R and Julie and the other involving the zombie plague.  As I mentioned earlier, I found the love story to be very unusual and entertaining.  It was a nice combination of humor, sweetness, and drama that really captured my imagination from beginning to end.  The secondary plot with the Dead and the skeletal Boneys just helped push the zombie thing to another level.  The whole mystery about the origins of the zombies was suspenseful and dramatic while still retaining the dry humor that permeates the entire book.

Overall, I found Warm Bodies to be an entertaining and unique reading experience.  I am definitely excited to watch the movie now and hopefully read the rumored sequel!

You should always be taking pictures, if not with a camera then with your mind. Memories you capture on purpose are always more vivid than the ones you pick up by accident.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

DOUBLE-REVIEW: "Quid Pro Quo" and "Take It Off" by L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov

Quid Pro Quo (Market Garden, #1)
Quid Pro Quo by L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov
(Market Garden #1)

Goodreads -- Amazon

For Ages 18+
Male/Male Romance -- Contemporary
Riptide Publishing -- January 7, 2013
Ebook, 43 pages
Received from Netgalley

For the past six months, Jared’s been selling sex at Market Garden, a London club that caters to the better-off. But business is slow in the run-up to Christmas, when businessmen and bankers are too busy bickering over bonuses to rent themselves a little high-class action.

Though Jared’s wallet finds the downtime unnerving, the rest of him rather enjoys the opportunity it gives him to admire Tristan, an old hand in the club whose reputation usually sees him well-booked. Jared has been crushing on Tristan for months—he’s no more immune to Tristan’s cockiness and confidence than the johns, and those are just Tristan’s inner qualities.

Just as Jared’s about to chat Tristan up, a businessman asks for something a little different: he wants to book them both. They agree—and Jared finds himself going from crush to mind-bending lust as he’s made the pawn in a sexual power game. Tristan shows him how a pro handles a john while delivering the top-shelf sex for which the Market Garden is so rightly renowned.

"Feast or famine in this place, isn't it?"  Tristan sighed heavily.

Quid Pro Quo is the first in a co-authored series from L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov.  I had never read Witt before, but I was a fan of Voinov's work so I was intrigued.  The focus of these books is Market Garden, a very unique London club.  For the first book, readers are introduced to Jared and Tristan, two of the club's prominent "rentboys."

I thought this was a short, but very hot little story that did a good job of setting up the series and introducing readers to Jared and Tristan.  The story was told from Jared's point of view which helped with the introduction of Market Garden since he was still considered a newbie.  It mainly consisted of a single smut scene that involved our two protagonists and a voyeuristic customer known only as "Rolex."  I really liked how the authors were able to develop their characters in such a short amount of time.  The relationship between Jared and Tristan is very intriguing and really grabbed my attention especially since there wasn't a definite HEA at the end.

Overall, I thought this was an entertaining introduction to the Market Garden series.  It definitely wet my appetite for more of Jared and Tristan!

Thanks to Netgalley and Riptide Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

***3.5 Stars***

At some point, Rolex had lost his jacket and opened another button of his shirt.  He wore a white T-shirt underneath which made him American with nearly one hundred percent certainty.

Take It Off (Market Garden, #2)Take It Off by L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov
(Market Garden #2)

Goodreads -- Amazon

For Ages 18+
Male/Male Romance -- Contemporary
Riptide Publishing -- February 25, 2013
Ebook, 38 pages
Received from Netgalley

Turnabout is foreplay.

High-end Market Garden rentboys Tristan and Jared have found their niche. Men are willing to pay good money to watch Tristan tease Jared, and the two of them seduce London’s elite with sex and power games.

Except Tristan is less and less interested in getting money out of the johns these days. He wants his partner in crime, and he wants the seduction to be real. But is Jared just in this for the pay?

When Rolex, the john who started it all, returns to Market Garden, the boys jump on the opportunity to service him—and each other—for a fresh pile of cash. Rolex isn’t the only one itching for a rematch, though. Jared’s been waiting for a chance to get back at Tristan for teasing him so mercilessly the first time.

And for a former stripper, revenge is a dish best served extra hot.

Tristan was bored.

Take It Off returns to the world of Market Garden, the London sex club, and shows what has been going on in the life of Jared and Tristan.  The first book showed their first experience working together to please a client who liked to watch with Tristan being the main power player.  Now its Jared's turn!

I really liked Quid Pro Quo so I was excited to see more in the series.  Like before, this book is mainly an extended sex scene with a great deal of plot and character development thrown in the mix.  Witt and Voinov's skilled writing really shines in the shorter page length with their ability to help readers figure out the inner workings of Jared and Tristan in the midst of all the smut.

I personally loved that the tables were turned in Take It Off with Jared taking control over the job.  The lap dance was perfectly described and Tristan's reaction to it was priceless!  It was nice to get inside his head in this book since we had spent that last time with Jared.  This couple does come to some time of an understanding by the end of this book, but I am hoping Witt and Voinov will revisit them in the future.  I also found myself intrigued by their colleague, Nick, who seems to be into stuff that's a bit less mainstream.  Can't wait to see what they do next!

Thanks to Netgalley and Riptide Publishing for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

***4 Stars***

"You don't just waltz into Market Garden and get a job unless you have . . . experience." Tristan pressed his foot into Jared's hand. "That, and you don't find Market Garden.  Market Garden finds you."

1. Quid Pro Quo
2. Take It Off
3. If It Flies
4. If It Fornicates (Coming 2013)
5. Capture and Surrender (Coming 2013)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

REVIEW: "Lord of Darkness" by Elizabeth Hoyt

Lord of Darkness (Maiden Lane, #5)
Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt
(Maiden Lane #5)

Goodreads -- Amazon -- Book Depository

For Ages 18+
Historical Romance
Grand Center Publishing -- February 26, 2013
Mass Market Paperback, 360 pages
Purchased from Amazon

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 the temptation that could destroy them both.

The night Godric St. John saw his wife for the first time since their marriage two years previously, she was aiming a pistol at his head.

I absolutely adore Elizabeth Hoyt's writing and have been a fan of hers ever since I read her debut, The Raven Prince.  Her current series, Maiden Lane, is shaping up to be some of her best work yet and Lord of Darkness really helps with that distinction.  It has everything that I have come to expect from a Hoyt romance: unconventional and flawed characters, tons of chemistry, multiple plotlines that come together as a cohesive whole, spicy sex scenes, and the unique setting.

For this book, Elizabeth Hoyt provided readers with two characters who have had a hard time in the series: Margaret "Megs" Reading and Godric St. John.  Fans of the series will recognize Megs and Godric from earlier books which is helpful for reading this one, but I don't think it is necessary.  These two have both dealt with serious personal losses and were forced to marry one another years ago.  Now, they are getting the opportunity to really connect with each other and try to make a happy life for themselves despite their earlier tragedies.

Megs has had a difficult time that really shows her strength of character.  Her fiance was murdered earlier in the series and, because she was pregnant, she was convinced to marry Godric in order to prevent scandal.  Unfortunately, all the drama caused Megs to miscarry her baby shortly after the wedding, and she has been grieving for it, and her fiance, ever since.  I think Megs is a classic Hoyt heroine.  She is kind, determined, and very intelligent.  Her main reasons for coming to London are to get pregnant and to get revenge for her fiance's murder.  She approaches both tasks with stubborn resourcefulness though not always with the most logic.  I really admired how she reacted to the changes in her plans and thought her handling of Godric and his grief was respectful and loving.

The hero, Godric St. John, had the misfortune of watching his beloved first wife die a slow, painful death from disease for nine years.  Like many, he reacted to this tragedy by shutting himself off from society and his family.  He really is a depressed, lonely man who feels like he will never find happiness again.  But, Megs's surprise arrival in London turns his world upside down in the best way.  He slowly becomes attached to her and shows off his protective side.  There are also moments late in the book where Godric shows how sexy and confident he can be as a hero.

I always believe that characters should go on some type of journey (physical or emotional) over the course of a book and both of the protagonists do that in Lord of Darkness.  Megs and Godric have to come to terms with their grief and eventually strive to find someone else that they can love even after thinking, for years, that they never would.  This book also focused on the journey they make as a couple by taking a marriage of convenience and making a true marriage of love.

Like most of the Maiden Lane books, this book deals with the Ghost of St. Giles, a mysterious 18th century "superhero" who takes care of the downtrodden in London's most impoverished neighborhoods.  I have really enjoyed these plots and how they have been used to connect the different romances.  Fans of the series will be excited to know more about the Ghost(s) and their history.  Also, there is the appearance of a third Ghost who, I think, will make for an interesting hero down the road.

One of my favorite aspects of this series, and all of Ms. Hoyt's books, is the Georgian England setting.  I absolutely adore the descriptions that appear from the clothes to the hair to the locations.  It is such a refreshing change from the Regency era (though I do love those!) that I always feel like I'm stepping into a new and exciting world.  The setting also allows Ms. Hoyt to showcase a mix of different classes which is a main focus of the Maiden Lane books.  There are a variety of social issues discussed in the series such as child labor, prostitution, poverty, and education of the lower classes.  And I think this along with everything else I mentioned in the review just helps push the book into a different realm of creativity and storytelling.

***4.5 Stars***

I love you, Godric St. John, and now I'm breaking my word. I will not leave you. You may either come with me to Laurelwood or I'll stay here with you in your musty old house in London and drive you mad with all my talking and relatives and... and exotic sexual positions until you break down and love me back, for I'm warning you that I'm not giving up until you love me and we're a happy family with dozens of children. --Megs

Wicked Intentions
Notorious Pleasures
Scandalous Desires
Thief of Shadows
Lord of Darkness
Duke of Midnight (Coming November 2013)