Saturday, August 31, 2013

WEEKLY RECAP: August 25-31, 2013


THIS WEEK ON FEMINIST FAIRY TALE REVIEWS
MY READING UPDATE

Bound by Night (Moonbound Clan #1) by Larissa Ione (paranormal romance) -- I adore Larissa Ione so I was excited to see what she does with vampires.  It is full of her signature humor, spicy romance, and drama that can be found in her Demonica and Lords of Deliverance series.  Full review coming closer to release date.

Dairy Queen (Dairy Queen #1) by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (YA contemporary) -- Cute, and quirky, summer story about a teenager and the football player who helps her out with her family's farm.  Loved D.J. (the heroine/narrator) and the football aspect.  I'll definitely be checking out more in the series.

Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl (YA historical) -- Very sweet romance that is a definite homage to Jane Austen with a heroine doing everything she can to keep her family's ancestral home stable.  Full review coming soon.

From the Ashes (Fire and Rain #1) by Daisy Harris (male/male contemporary) -- Entertaining romance between a closeted firefighter and an out-and-proud college student who meet up when the student's apartment burns down.  I wish the firefighter had been a bit more fleshed out, but I really liked it.

CURRENTLY READING

The Darkest Craving (Lords of the Underworld #10) by Gena Showalter (paranormal romance)
Origin (Lux #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout (YA science fiction)
A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses (Half-Moon Hollow #2) by Molly Harper (paranormal romance)

NEW TO THE TBR SHELF

Capturing the Silken Thief by Jeannie Lin (historical romance)
Aftermath by Cara Dee (male/male contemporary)
The Adorned by John Tristan (male/male fantasy)

REVIEW: "Obsession" by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Obsession
Obsession by Jennifer L. Armentrout
For Ages 18+
Science Fiction Romance
Entangled Publishing -- May 31, 2013
Ebook, 370 pages
Purchased from Amazon

THEMES
Aliens, Alpha Heroes

SUMMARY
He’s arrogant, domineering, and... To. Die. For.

Hunter is a ruthless killer. And the Department of Defense has him firmly in their grasp, which usually doesn’t chafe too badly because he gets to kill bad guys. Most of the time he enjoys his job. That is, until he’s saddled with something he’s never had to do before: protect a human from his mortal enemy.

Serena Cross didn’t believe her best friend when she claimed to have seen the son of a powerful senator turn into something... unnatural. Who would? But then she witnesses her friend’s murder at the hands of what can only be an alien, thrusting her into a world that will kill to protect their secret.

Hunter stirs Serena’s temper and her lust despite their differences. Soon he’s doing the unthinkable—breaking the rules he’s lived by, going against the government to keep Serena safe. But are the aliens and the government the biggest threats to Serena’s life… or is it Hunter?

FIRST LINE
In the dim, almost but not quite seedy bar lights, I stared open-mouthed at my best friend in what had to be the most unattractive manner.

MY THOUGHTS
I'm a huge fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout's Lux series so I was excited to see that she was doing an adult spin-off.  The fact that it was going to feature the Arum species was even better.  While I did not enjoy this one as much as the Lux books, I still found it entertaining, romantic, and full of great sci-fi action.

Obsession starts off with a bang when Serena Cross meets up with her best friend and learns that she is being threatened by something supernatural.  Things continue to spiral out of control from there with her friend being murdered to learning about the existence of aliens.  Serena quickly figures out that she is in just as much danger after seeing the Luxen in action and must rely on the protection of a mysterious, and hot, stranger who claims to be Arum, an alien species that is in direct conflict with the Luxen.

One of my favorite parts of the Lux series (and this book) is the complicated world that JLA has created with the Luxen and the Arum.  They are species that have been at war with each other for ages and have brought their issues to Earth upon the destruction of their home worlds.  The young adult series focuses on a group of Luxen in West Virginia and the Arum are always depicted as the villains.  But, Obsession provides readers with a different view on things by having Hunter (Serena's protector) being an Arum.  Things are never black and white in JLA's writing and this book shows that in a great way.

I liked Serena and Hunter as individual characters and as a couple.  Serena was appropriately disturbed by her experiences, but resisted doing anything too stupid once she realized what danger she was in.  She is also just a good person who strives to find something admirable in everyone including stoic, snarky Hunter.  JLA is amazing at creating sexy heroes for readers to fall in love with and she succeeds again with Hunter.  His arrogance is a little jarring at first, but I quickly learned how difficult his life has been and that he is willing to change especially once he gains feelings for Serena.

I don't want to say much more about the plot and the world in order to avoid spoiling both Obsession and the Lux series.  But, I also want to make sure that potential readers know that this book is written in such a way that it can be read as a stand-alone.  She does a great job of explaining the Luxen/Arum conflict without alienating new readers or boring devoted fans.  I continue to be impressed with JLA's writing skills and her ability to bring such a fascinating world to life.


4 STARS


FAVORITE QUOTES
"Never in my life had I been more frustrated. Go figure it wouldn't be with a human but a freaking alien. At least I now knew that the male species were asses no matter what planet they hailed from."

Friday, August 30, 2013

FOLLOW FRIDAY (82)

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: If you could only have one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Such a hard question!  After much debating this past week, I guess I would have to go with Persuasion by Jane Austen.  It is probably my all-time favorite book and I haven't gotten bored with it yet after almost fifty re-reads.  I could be happy re-reading Captain Wentworth's letter to Anne for the rest of my life...le sigh!


*******

bloglovin

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

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY (69)



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


World After (Penryn & the End of Days, #2)
WORLD AFTER
(PENRYN AND THE END OF DAYS #2)
by Susan Ee


Expected Publication: November 19, 2013
Urban Fantasy

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?



WWW WEDNESDAYS (16)


Hosted by Should Be Reading.

To participate in this feature, you just have answer these three simple questions:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you'll read next?

CURRENTLY READING...
A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses (Half Moon Hollow, #2)
A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses (Half-Moon Hollow #2) by Molly Harper [Paranormal Romance]

Bound by Night (MoonBound Clan Vampires, #1)
Bound by Night (Moonbound Clan #1) by Larissa Ione [Paranormal Romance]

Keeping The Castle
Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl [YA Historical Fiction]

RECENTLY FINISHED READING...
Dairy Queen (Dairy Queen, #1)
Dairy Queen (Dairy Queen #1) by Catherine Gilbert Murdock [YA Contemporary]

Witness in Death (In Death, #10)
Witness in Death (In Death #10) by JD Robb [Romantic Suspense]

From the Ashes
From the Ashes (Fire and Rain #1) by Daisy Harris [Male/Male Contemporary]

WHAT I PLAN ON READING NEXT...
The Darkest Craving (Lords of The Underworld, #10)
The Darkest Craving (Lords of the Underworld #10) by Gena Showalter [Paranormal Romance]

Origin (Lux, #4)
Origin (Lux #4) by Jennifer L. Armentrout [YA Science Fiction]

Judgment in Death (In Death, #11)
Judgment in Death (In Death #11) by JD Robb [Romantic Suspense]

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Most Memorable Secondary Characters


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

MOST MEMORABLE SECONDARY CHARACTERS

Note: For this list, I am focusing only on side characters that have not become center stage in either their original series or their own spin-off.  For example, I do love Vlad from Night Huntress and Adrian from Vampire Academy/Bloodlines, but feel like they have gone beyond the secondary label.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)
1. Luna Lovegood -- Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
Absolutely loved Luna from the moment we met her in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  Her quirky, but wise statements never failed to make me laugh and think.

Romancing Mister Bridgerton (Bridgertons, #4)
2. Lady Danbury -- various books by Julia Quinn
This cantankerous, but soft-hearted lady pops up throughout JQ's Regency London.  I always found her snarky comments to be funny, but she really won me over when she took Penelope Featherington under her wing in Romancing Mr. Bridgerton.

One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress, #2)
3. Ian Flannery -- Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost
Dangerous, sexy, obscene are all adjectives that describe this Master Vampire who is obsessed with collecting the rarest of the rare.  His antics are fascinating and his commentary always makes me laugh plus I love that he is extremely loyal to his friends Spade and Bones.

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)
4. Finnick Odair -- Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins 
I love when authors make me change my mind about a character through the course of a story and that is definitely what happened with Finnick.  There is so much more to him than the pretty boy with an affinity for water and that makes it that much more memorable to me.

Glory in Death (In Death, #2)
5. Delia Peabody -- In Death series by JD Robb
There are tons of secondary characters I could choose from this series, but my favorite (by far) is the obsessively neat and rule-oriented police officer who helps Lieutenant Eve Dallas with her homicide cases.  She has her own issues, but can always be guaranteed to provide a laugh to balance all the horrors of the mysteries.

Night Pleasures (Dark-Hunter, #2)
6. Simi -- Dark Hunters series by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Acheron's adopted demon daughter has made me laugh since the moment she arrived on the page.  Her obsessions with barbeque sauce, actor Travis Fimmel, and protecting those she loves definitely makes me adore her.

Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs (Jane Jameson, #1)
7. Dick Cheney -- Jane Jameson series by Molly Harper
This hilariously named vampire is a jack of all trades who always knows someone to help in any fix.  His rivalry with heroine Jane's boyfriend Gabriel is hilarious for its pranks and his devotion to his girlfriend is something to be admired.

Wild Invitation (Psy-Changeling 0.5, 3.5, 9.5, 10.5)
8. Walker Lauren -- Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh
A Tp-Psy with an affinity for working with children.  Walker, and his brother, risked everything to save their family by abandoning their Psy heritage and seeking refuge with the Changelings.  He is a quiet, dangerous man who is just learning how to feel.

The Darkest Kiss (Lords of the Underworld, #2)
9. William -- Lords of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter
A warrior whose origins are mysterious, but whose sexual exploits are legendary.  He is the son of Hades, the brother of Lucifer, and possibly the father of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  He does everything he can to avoid serious relationships because of a curse that says he will be killed by the woman he loves.

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)
10. Isabeau -- A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Isabeau is the matriarch of a prominent vampire family and shows that being a proper lady does not make one any less dangerous.  Her protectiveness is impressive and her wit is biting and intelligent.

Honorable Mentions: Lassiter (Black Dagger Brotherhood), Nix (Immortals After Dark), Oberon (Iron Druid Chronicles), Grimalkin (Iron Fey), Christian (Vampire Academy)

Monday, August 26, 2013

REVIEW: "Amy and Roger's Epic Detour" by Morgan Matson


Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
For Ages 13+
Young Adult -- Contemporary
Simon and Schuster -- May 4, 2012
Paperback, 368 pages
Purchased from Half-Price Books

THEMES
Road Trip, Grief

SUMMARY
Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she’s coming to terms with her father’s death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road--diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

FIRST LINE
I sat on the front steps of my house and watched the beige Subaru station wagon swing too quickly around the cul-de-sac.

MY THOUGHTS
I love road trip books so I was instantly grabbed by the premise of Amy and Roger's Epic Detour.  The fact that the trip is across country and involves two almost, but not quite strangers makes that much more interesting for me.  I found this book to be entertaining, engrossing, and thought-provoking in the way that great road trips can be.

Our heroine, and narrator, is Amelia "Amy" Curry, a soon-to-be senior in high school who is forced to endure this road trip in order to drive her mother's car from California to Connecticut.  Amy is a pretty typical YA heroine with average intelligence, decent looks, and a sarcastic look at the world around her.  But, what made her stand out to me was the fact that she is grieving over the recent death of her father.  I really connected with Amy and how lost she feels in her life right now.  This road trip allowed her to become comfortable with living again and understand how to best honor her father's memory.  I love reading about journeys (physical and mental) that characters take so this one being a combination of both was perfect for me.

Roger gives off similar vibes to other quirky, cute YA guys like Cricket from Lola and the Boy Next Door.  But, I didn't have too much of a problem with that since it is a formula that works well in these types of stories.  I did like the fact that Roger had a journey of his own to deal with rather than only being the sweet guy who imparts life-changing wisdom to the heroine.  His acceptance of the truth about his relationship with his ex-girlfriend was a nice wrinkle to the overall story line.  I could easily see why Amy would fall for him and definitely have high hopes for the future of their relationship.

The biggest thing that stuck out to me about this particular road trip story was the fact that the author had obviously gone on this very trip herself.  The entire trip is documented through various means like notes on napkins, photos, receipts, playlists, etc.  I loved reading about all the great sites that Roger and Amy visited like "The Loneliest Road in America" and Graceland.  There were tons of interesting people to meet like the nice gas station lady in Nevada, Roger's college friends, and his ex-girlfriend's brother in Louisville.  And, of course, Matson focuses on my favorite part of road trips: the food.  Readers get to hear all about the fascinating food that Amy and Roger discover along the way with my personal favorite being the delicious Hot Brown from my hometown.

In conclusion, I loved almost every minutes of reading Amy and Roger's Epic Detour.  It is a road trip story, but still so much more when you discover the journey that Amy needs to take to deal with her father's death.  I was really impressed with Morgan Matson's writing skills and will be checking out more of her work in the future.


4.5 STARS


FAVORITE QUOTE
“Tomorrow will be better.”
“But what if it’s not?” I asked.
“Then you say it again tomorrow. Because it might be. You never know, right? At some point, tomorrow will be better.”

Sunday, August 25, 2013

DOUBLE REVIEW: "If It Flies" and "If It Fornicates" by L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov


If It Flies (Market Garden, #3)If It Flies by L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov
(Market Garden #3)

Goodreads -- Amazon

For Ages 18+
Male/Male Romance -- Contemporary
Riptide Publishing -- March 11, 2013
Ebook, 140 pages
Received from Netgalley

THEMES
Alpha Hero, BDSM

SUMMARY
Spencer is in a rut. Long hours at the law firm are sucking the life out of him, and he doesn’t have time or energy for a relationship. He’s lonely, horny, and itching for something new, so he tries the Market Garden, an exclusive—and expensive—brothel. Spencer isn’t in the door five minutes before a cocky rentboy makes his move.

Nick isn’t just any rentboy, though. He’s a Dom, he’s a sadist, and he’s everything Spencer didn’t know he was missing. One night turns into more, and before long, Spencer is one of Nick’s regular clients.

Both men think they’re just scratching each other’s backs: Spencer’s exploring a submissive, masochistic side he never knew he had, and Nick is getting off and getting paid. But as time goes on, it’s clear their strictly professional arrangement . . . isn’t, and if Nick has one hard limit, it’s that he doesn’t get romantically entangled with his johns. The problem is, while Nick doesn't want to be owned, Spencer’s no longer content with just renting.

FIRST LINE
"Trust me, Spence," Percy said during a mostly liquid lunch.  "If it flies, drives, or fornicates, it's always cheaper to rent it."

MY THOUGHTS
I wasn't really sure what to expect from this installment in the Market Garden series.  I loved what Witt and Voinov did with Jared and Tristan so I was hoping for more time with them rather than moving on to another couple.  But, I was glad I read If It Flies even though it is a little outside my comfort zone (mainly the BDSM factor).

I had been intrigued by Nick's character since we met him earlier in the series and thought his approach to his "rentboy" status was interesting.  Spencer was just a nice guy kinda character that could have been boring, but rarely was so.  I loved the chemistry between Spencer and Nick and how the authors showed their relationship changing ever so slightly until everything came to a head.

This series is just getting better with each book and I am definitely looking forward to more!  Personally, I hope we get to see more of Spencer and Nick though I wouldn't say no to more Jared and Tristan as well.

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


4 STARS

FAVORITE QUOTE
"Nick had never kissed him before.  Ever.  And it was amazing.  Spectacular.  Just like he did everything else, Nick assumed control of the kiss and guided Spencer's mouth into motion. His smooth chin grazed Spencer's and he knew just how to tease Spencer's lips apart.  Goose bumps covered Spencer's skin, his whole body tuning in to that kiss, focusing on it, surrendering to it completely."

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


If It Fornicates (Market Garden #4)If It Fornicates by L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov
(Market Garden #4)

Goodreads -- Amazon

For Ages 18+
Male/Male Romance -- Contemporary
Riptide Publishing -- June 10, 2013
Ebook, 155 pages
Received from Netgalley

THEMES
Alpha Hero, BDSM

SUMMARY
Nick is a top earner in the Market Garden, where rentboys fulfill their high-rolling clients’ every sexual fantasy. As a Dom and a sadist, he sets his own price and is experienced enough not to let any client get out of hand. He’s damn good at his job, and it’s easy money.

Or at least it used to be. But now he has a boyfriend. Spencer is a former client, a closeted corporate lawyer, and so beautifully submissive he’s perfect for Nick. He doesn’t even mind how Nick earns a living. He just wants to take care of Nick—something Nick isn’t quite sure how to handle.

In fact, Nick’s clearly off his game these days. Sure, he’s tired from his shift work and his studies, but mainly he’s bored by his clients and distracted by thoughts of Spencer—dangerous for everyone when he’s wielding a whip. Now Nick has to make a choice: give up his independence, or walk away from the only man he’s ever loved.

FIRST LINE
"Oh, ow, that stings, " Richard hissed.  His welt-covered back flinched away from Nick's touch.

MY THOUGHTS
I got my wish!  I wanted a continuation to Nick/Spencer's story which I got in If It Fornicates.  And the best part is that this book is told from rentboy Nick's point of view.  I continue to love what Aleksandr Voinov and L.A. Witt have done with the Market Garden series with the great character development and some hot moments.

Nick's point of view gives this book a different feel.  He is a very dominant person (both in and out of the bedroom), but is dealing with being in love with someone for the first time in awhile.  Spencer continues to be sweet and understanding even with the fact that his boyfriend is a rentboy.  I love the balance between these two and how well it works for them.

I thought it was really interesting how the authors depicted the sex scenes between Nick and his clients and Nick and Spencer.  While all of them are spicy, there is passion and caring in the Nick/Spencer scenes that made it easier to deal with Nick's profession.  I really liked watching Nick's feelings change over the course of the story as well.  It is obvious how much he adores Spencer and it was awesome seeing him try to figure out ways to solve the sticky situation of his job.  Like with If It Flies, the BDSM aspect in this book was very well-written and never overly dramatic.  I appreciate that especially since it isn't something I usually seek out in my reading.

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


4 STARS

FAVORITE QUOTES
"The last thing I'd want is to sleep anywhere you aren't."  Nick reached up and gripped Spencer's tie right under the knot.  Just before he kissed Spencer again, he said, "And don't you forget it."

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Quid Pro Quo
2. Take It Off
3. If It Flies
4. If It Fornicates
5. Capture & Surrender

WEEKLY RECAP: August 18-24, 2013


THIS WEEK ON FEMINIST FAIRY TALE REVIEWS

MY READING UPDATE

What the Duke Desires (All the Duke's Men #1) by Sabrina Jeffries [Historical Romance] -- I really liked the hero and heroine in this one.  Their road trip romance is fun and sweet.  It did get a bit melodramatic at the end, but still enjoyable.  Review coming soon.

Witness in Death (In Death #10) by JD Robb [Romantic Suspense] -- Loved the fact that I was shocked by the reveal of the killer in this one.  It was great seeing Eve Dallas act as a witness and investigator.  Much funnier than the past installments especially with Peabody.

Run to You by Charlotte Stein [Contemporary Romance] -- A sexy and sweet take on popular theme with a middle class heroine and a Hungarian billionaire..  There were some boring parts and too many inner monologues from Alissa, the narrator, but I still enjoyed it.

CURRENTLY READING

Dairy Queen (Dairy Queen #1) by Catherine Gilbert Murdock [YA Contemporary]
Bound by Night (Moonbound Clan #1) by Larissa Ione [Paranormal Romance]
A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses (Half-Moon Hollow #3) by Molly Harper [Paranormal Romance]

Saturday, August 24, 2013

STACKING THE SHELVES (7)

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A great feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers get to feature the new books they received over the past week.

~BOUGHT~
Royal Bridesmaids
Royal Bridesmaids: An Original Anthology by Stephanie Laurens, Gaelen Foley, Loretta Chase [Historical Romance]

~NETGALLEY/EDELWEISS~
Bound by Night (MoonBound Clan Vampires, #1)
Bound by Night (Moonbound Clan #1) by Larissa Ione [Paranormal Romance]

Agamemnon Frost and the House of Death
Agamemnon Frost and the House of Death (Agamemnon Frost #1) by Kim Knox [Male/Male Historical]

~LIBRARY~
The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1)
The 5th Wave (5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey [YA Dystopian]

And Then Comes Marriage (Worthington, #2)
And Then Comes Marriage (Worthington #2) by Celeste Bradley [Historical Romance]

~PAPERBACK SWAP~
What Happens in Scotland
What Happens in Scotland by Jennifer McQuiston [Historical Romance]

My Fair Concubine (Tang Dynasty, #3)
My Fair Concubine (Tang Dynasty #3) by Jeannie Lin [Historical Romance]

Fablehaven (Fablehaven, #1)
Fablehaven (Fablehaven #1) by Brandon Hull [MG Fantasy]