Announcement

Feminist Fairy Tale Reviews is currently on hiatus. I hope to return to blogging sooner rather than later.

I will still be posting mini book reviews on Goodreads and talking books on Twitter so feel free to find me there.

Thank you and happy reading1


Saturday, January 31, 2015

STACKING THE SHELVES (66)

STSmall_thumb[2][2]
A great feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers get to feature the new books they received over the past week.

 
~BOUGHT~
Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #0.5)
Fairest (Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer (YA science fiction)
While I would rather have Winter, I am always excited to read a Lunar Chronicles book.

Catch a Falling Heiress (An American Heiress in London, #3)
Catch a Falling Heiress (An American Heiress in London #3) by Laura Lee Guhrke (historical romance)
I love LLG's late Victorian/Edwardian settings and am reading this right now.

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy (Smythe-Smith Quartet, #4)
The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy (Smythe-Smith #4) by Julia Quinn (historical romance) 
Of course, I bought the newest JQ historical!

Bound by Flames (Night Prince, #3)
Bound by Flames (Night Prince #3) by Jeaniene Frost (urban fantasy)
I'm not ready to say good-bye to Vlad and Leila, but I'm sure it will be a fabulous conclusion.

~BORROWED FROM THE LIBRARY~
Magic Burns (Kate Daniels, #2)
Magic Burns (Kate Daniels #2) by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy)
Definitely loving this series...I'm reading this right now.

~RECEIVED FOR REVIEW~
Becoming Jinn (Becoming Jinn, #1)
Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein (YA fantasy)
I've never read a book about genies so I am intrigued by the premise.

***********
WEEKLY RECAP

I READ... 
500 Miles by Parker Williams
Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Trade Me by Courtney Milan

I REVIEWED...


Friday, January 30, 2015

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: "Magic Bites" by Ilona Andrews


Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1)
Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews; Narrated by Renee Raudman
(Kate Daniels #1)

Goodreads -- Amazon -- Audible
Author Website

For Ages 18+ (Violence, Language)
Urban Fantasy

Ace -- Published in 2007
Audiobook, 9 hours and 6 minutes
Read in January 2015
Purchased from Audible

THEMES
Alternate Universe, Kick-Ass Heroine, Magic, Vampires, Shapeshifters

SUMMARY
When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate's guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta's magic circles.

The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate's guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she's way out of her league—but she wouldn't have it any other way.



FIRST LINE
"I sat a table in my shadow kitchen, staring down a bottle of Boone's Farm Hard Lemonade, when a magic fluctuation hit."

MY THOUGHTS
Ilona Andrews's Kate Daniels is the one series that I have been meaning to start for years.  While I am far from an urban fantasy fangirl, I do enjoy the genre and this one is considered a classic for many readers/bloggers.  I bought Magic Bites a long time ago and just had never had the motivation to jump into it.  But, after finishing and loving the audiobook of Burn For Me, I knew this was the time to get going and it was a hella of a ride!

Magic Bites is told from the point of view of Kate Daniels, a mercenary who is willing to take on almost any job in order to survive.  She does have a small issue with authority that requires her to remain independent for the most part.  But, when her guardian is found dead, she decides to use one of the powerful magical organizations and their resources, to find his killer.  I really liked Kate and can see that I will have a great time seeing her develop.  She does have some annoying habits like smarting off to people/creatures she shouldn't, but they make her relatable and flawed.

Because this is just the beginning of a longer series, there are also introductions of a large cast of side characters.  I liked how different all of these personalities were and how seamlessly they fit into the world as a whole.  Some of my particular favorites included Jim, the werejaguar who often worked as partner for Kate, the clairovoyant Annie, and the head of the Atlanta-area necromancers, Nataraja.  And, course, I can't forget Curran!  The moment he stepped on the page, I took notice and had a blast reading the back-and-forth with him and Kate.

The first thing that I noticed about the setting was how complicated it was.  I actually had a difficult time understanding what was going on due to the fact that readers were just thrown into the action.  But, after awhile, I started figuring out the ins and outs, so I was able to get more immersed into this fascinating mix of magic, vampires, and shapechangers.  I really liked the unique approach to vampires as the furthest thing from the current trend of sexy bad boys.  And, of course I have to mention, the shapechangers who I have a feeling will become a huge part of the series.

In conclusion, while it had a slow start, Magic Bites started the Kate Daniels series with a bang.  It threw a lot of information at the readers, but it works well by the end.  I am definitely excited to read more as soon as I can get my hands on Magic Burns.  I also recommend the audio version if only to get Renee Raudman's amazing narration.


4 STARS


FAVORITE QUOTE
“What kind of a woman greets the Beast Lord with 'here, kitty, kitty'?” 


BOOKS IN THE SERIES
0.5. A Questionable Client
1. Magic Bites
2. Magic Burns
3. Magic Strikes
3.5. Magic Mourns
4. Magic Bleeds
4.5. Magic Dreams
5. Magic Slays
5.5. Gunmetal Magic
6. Magic Rises
6.5. Magic Steals
7. Magic Breaks
8. Magic Shifts (Coming 2015

OTHER REVIEWS
SF Site
Dear Author
Heroes and Heartbreakers
On a Book Bender

Thursday, January 29, 2015

THROWBACK THURSDAY-HISTORICAL ROMANCE EDITION (61)

Happy Thursday, everyone! This is a new feature hosted by Buried Under Romance and Love Saves the World.

What is Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition?
Traditionally, Throwback Thursday celebrates nostalgia, asking participants to post a personal photo or an image from their past -- usually from 5 to 10 years ago. There are a lot of book blogs that also do a book-related Throwback Thursday.  Since Tin and Mary C. are unapologetic lovers of historical romances, they've decided to focus on this beloved genre.

Here are the rules:
1. It must be posted on a Thursday.
2. It must be a historical romance novel published before October 2008.

THIS WEEK I AM FEATURING...

The Spymaster's Lady The Spymaster's Lady (Spymasters, #1) 
The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne
Originally published in January 2008

She's braved battlefields. She's stolen dispatches from under the noses of heads of state. She's played the worldly courtesan, the naïve virgin, the refined British lady, even a Gypsy boy. But Annique Villiers, the elusive spy known as the Fox Cub, has finally met the one man she can't outwit...

British spymaster Robert Grey must enter France and bring back the brilliant, beautiful-and dangerous-Fox Cub. His duty is to capture her and her secrets for England. When the two natural enemies are thrown into prison, they forge an uneasy alliance to break free. But their pact is temporary and betrayal seems inevitable as the fates of nations hang in the balance.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

REVIEW: "The Burnt Toast B&B" by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz

The Burnt Toast B&B (Bluewater Bay #5)
The Burnt Toast B&B by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz
(Bluewater Bay #5)

Goodreads -- Amazon

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Male/Male Romance -- Contemporary

Riptide Publishing -- Published on January 10, 2015
Ebook, 241 pages
Read in January 2015
Received from Netgalley

THEMES
Opposites Attract, Small Town Setting

SUMMARY
After breaking his arm on set, Wolf’s Landing stuntman Ginsberg Sloan finds himself temporarily out of work. Luckily, Bluewater Bay’s worst B&B has cheap long-term rates, and Ginsberg’s not too proud to take advantage of them.

Derrick Richards, a grizzled laid-off logger, inherited the B&B after his parents’ untimely deaths. Making beds and cooking sunny-side-up eggs is hardly Derrick’s idea of a man’s way to make a living, but just as he’s decided to shut the place down, Ginsberg shows up on his doorstep, pitiful and soaking wet, and Derrick can hardly send him packing.

Not outright, at least.

The plan? Carry on the B&B’s tradition of terrible customer service and even worse food until the pampered city-boy leaves voluntarily. What Derrick doesn’t count on, though, is that the lousier he gets at hosting, the more he convinces bored, busybody Ginsberg to try to get the B&B back on track. And he definitely doesn’t count on the growing attraction between them, or how much more he learns from Ginsberg than just how to put out kitchen fires.



FIRST LINE
"Derrick recited the order to himself as he clattered around his parents' cramped kitchen: two plates of eggs, one of them scrambled and the other soft-boiled."

MY THOUGHTS
While I have heard of the writing duo of Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz, I haven't read any of their books since I find the subject matter to be a bit dark for my taste.  But, I have been enjoying the Bluewater Bay series and I wanted to know more about stuntman Ginsburg who had a decent role in the first book, Starstruck.  This was a very unique romance and one that I really had a great time reading.

The Burnt Toast B&B starts off with Derrick Richards, a logger who left a job he loved to care for his parents' bed and breakfast after their deaths.  Derrick tries to be a good host, but things like cooking an edible breakfast and keeping things tidy are a struggle for him to deal with alone.  So he decides to just let it go until Hollywood stuntman Ginsburg shows up injured and without a place to sleep for the time being.  Together these two work out the bugs in the bed and breakfast and deal with their own attraction to one another.

For me, the star of this book was Ginsburg.  I liked him in Starstruck and fell for him even harder here.  I loved how comfortable he was with himself and his place in the world.  It is obvious that it took some time for him to get to this level and I admired that.  In terms of Derrick, I did like him and thought his development was well-written.  My biggest issue was with the way that he treated Ginsburg especially towards the end.  He needed to do some serious groveling and, while he did, I wasn't sure if it was enough.

Despite my problem with some aspects of Derrick's personality, I had a great time reading The Burnt Toast B&B.  I had never read a book with a main character who was trans and I found it to be refreshing and very respectful.  I also loved the fact that, while Derrick and Ginsburg obviously found each other attractive, their relationship was based on friendship first before jumping into bed.  I am definitely excited to see more of Bluewater Bay in the upcoming Valentine's Day anthology, Lights, Camera, Cupid.

I received a free copy of this book from Riptide Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

4 STARS

STEAM LEVEL
Flush -- Detailed descriptions of lovemaking though nothing overly graphic.

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Starstruck
2. There's Something About Ari
3. Hell on Wheels
4. Lone Wolf
5. The Burnt Toast B&B
6. Lights, Camera, Cupid (Coming February 2015)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Book Club Reads


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

I've never had much of an interest in book clubs mostly because I'm afraid that I will get shy and not say anything.  But, here are some books that I think would provide some good discussion material.

Just Listen
1. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (YA contemporary)

Outlander (Outlander, #1)
2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (historical fiction)

Out of My Mind
3. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper (MG contemporary)

Always to Remember
4. Always to Remember by Lorraine Heath (historical romance)

Beauty (Folktales #1)
5. Beauty by Robin McKinley (fantasy)

Fangirl
6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (YA contemporary) [MY REVIEW]

Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1)
7. Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy) [MY REVIEW]

A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)
8. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (paranormal fiction) [MY REVIEW]

Playing with Matches
9. Playing with Matches by Brian Katcher (YA contemporary)

Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles, #1)
10. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta (YA fantasy) [MY REVIEW]

Monday, January 26, 2015

REVIEW: "Never Surrender to a Scoundrel" by Lily Dalton

Never Surrender to a Scoundrel (One Scandalous Season, #3)
Never Surrender to a Scoundrel by Lily Dalton
(One Scandalous Season #3)

Goodreads -- Amazon -- Book Depository
Author Website

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Regency England

Forever -- Expected Publication: January 27, 2015
Ebook, 384 pages
Read in January 2015
Received from Netgalley

THEMES
Shotgun Marriage, Spies

SUMMARY
A Reckless Desire...

Lady Clarissa Bevington is in trouble. A reckless indiscretion has left her with two choices: ruin her family with the scandal of the Season, or marry Mr. Kincraig, the notorious scoundrel mistaken as her lover. Desperate and disgraced, Clarissa vows to love and cherish a veritable stranger, a man whose eyes smolder with danger—and undeniable desire...

An Unexpected Arrangement...

As an agent for the Crown, Lord Donovan Blackmer has spent the last two years guarding Clarissa's grandfather from an unknown assassin while disguised as the rakehell Kincraig. His mission may now be over, but his duty has just begun. Salvaging his beautiful, impetuous wife's virtue will cost him his fortune and his position as an officer—but it might save him from the ghosts that haunt his own past. When their marriage "in name only" leads to exquisite seduction, Donovan must risk the only thing he has left to lose . . . his heart.


FIRST LINE
"What do you mean 'it seems Mr. Kincraig isn't our cousin after all'?" Clarissa Bevington asked, shocked, looking between her grandfather, the elderly Earl of Wolverton, and the tall, beared man in question.

MY THOUGHTS
Never Surrender to a Scoundrel picks up right where its prequel, Never Entice an Earl, ends and throws readers into an entertaining romance between two unlikely characters.  While I have enjoyed the other books in this series, this one is easily my favorite and really shows how Lily Dalton has grown as an author.

Readers of this series will be familiar with the rakish Mr. Kincraig who is the long-lost heir to the Wolverton estate.  Now his true identity as an agent of the crown trying to protect the earl is revealed after being unfairly blamed for the scandalous situation of the youngest Bevington granddaughter, Clarissa.  For her part, Clarissa did not mean for Mr. Kincraig to be blamed for her newly discovered pregnancy, but now her family is forcing them down the aisle and she feels guilty for ruining his life.  The rest of the book portrays these two as they maneuver the early days of their marriage as they get to know one another.

While the premise is a little far-fetched and outraged me a couple times with the way that Kincraig/Blackmer was treated by Clarissa's family, I felt like it was saved by the characters.  I found them both to be surprisingly mature about the whole situation and they thankfully didn't go react in unrealistic ways.  For example, I was worried that Blackmer would spend much of the book seeking revenge against Clarissa, but he quickly accepted that she did not mean for this to happen and he decides to just make the best of it.  Clarissa starts off as a naive young lady who develops very quickly and wants to do what is right by her new husband.

Besides the two main characters, readers also get to meet Blackmer's family who he has not see in years and I loved the scenes with all of them.  Families getting over their issues is a theme that I really enjoy reading about and I thought the author did a good job with their depiction.  Of course, there are plenty of scenes with Clarissa's sisters who got their own stories earlier in the series.  They do have their typical "look how happy we are" moments, but they do have a valid purpose in this book that made up for that cliche.

The only thing that I would warn future readers about with Never Surrender to a Scoundrel is the ending.  The pace of the story was moving along well until the last few chapters.  All of a sudden the sweet love story was taken over by a dastardly plot from someone in Blackmer's past.  It seemed a little out of the blue to me and I was disappointed with the easy way that everything got tied up.  But, I think that this is something that will improve with experience on the author's part and I look forward to many more books from her.

I received a free copy of this book from Forever via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


4 STARS


STEAM LEVEL
Flush -- Detailed descriptions of lovemaking though nothing overly graphic.

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Never Desire a Duke
3. Never Surrender to a Scoundrel

Sunday, January 25, 2015

UPCOMING RELEASES: February 2015

A list of new releases that grabbed my attention for next month.  These are organized by expected publication date.  As always, release dates are subject to change.

The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines, #6)
3rd

  • Earls Just Want to Have Fun (Covent Garden Cub #1) by Shana Galen (historical romance)

5th

  • The Hooker and the Hermit by L.H. Cosway (contemporary romance)

9th

  • Lights, Camera, Cupid: A Bluewater Bay Valentine's Day Anthology by S.E. Jakes, Amy Lane, Anne Tenino, L.A. Witt, Z.A. Maxfield (male/male contemporary)

10th

  • The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines #6) by Richelle Mead (YA paranormal)
  • Obsession in Death (In Death #40) by JD Robb (romantic suspense)
  • The Truth As He Knows It (Perspectives #1) by A.M. Arthur (male/male contemporary)
  • Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard (YA dystopian) *debut*
  • The Diabolical Miss Hyde (Electric Empire #1) by Viola Carr *debut*

17th

  • The Return (Titan #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout (NA paranormal)

24th
Soulbound (Darkest London, #6)
  • Soulbound (Darkest London #6) by Kristen Callihan (steampunk romance)
  • Highland Guard (Murray Family #20) by Hannah Howell (historical romance)
  • Once and Always by Elizabeth Hoyt (contemporary romance)
  • The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy (NA contemporary)
  • The Sin Eater's Daughter (The Sin Eater's Daughter #1) by Melinda Salisbury (YA fantasy) *debut*
  • A Wicked Thing (A Wicked Thing #1) by Rhiannon Thomas (YA fantasy) *debut*
  • Shadow Study (Soulfinders #1) by Maria V. Snyder (YA fantasy)
  • Diary of an Accidental Wallflower (Seduction Diaries #1) by Jennifer McQuiston (historical romance)
  • Bound by Bliss (Bound & Determined #2) by Lavinia Kent (historical romance)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

STACKING THE SHELVES (65)

STSmall_thumb[2][2]
A great feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews where bloggers get to feature the new books they received over the past week.

 
~BOUGHT~
500 Miles (500 Miles 1, An MLR Mixed Tape)
500 Miles by Parker Williams (male/male contemporary)
I bought it based on this review for the 2015 TBR Challenge.

~BORROWED FROM THE LIBRARY~
This Shattered World (Starbound, #2)
This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meghan Spooner (YA science fiction)
I enjoyed the first book in the series and am always ready for romantic YA sci-fi.

~RECEIVED FOR REVIEW~
Crushed (Redemption, #2)
Crushed by Lauren Layne (NA contemporary)
The first two books in the series were great and I have high hopes for this one.

Trade Me (Cyclone, #1)
Trade Me by Courtney Milan (NA contemporary)
I am a Milan fangirl so I will buy whatever she writes.

***********
WEEKLY RECAP

I READ... 
Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins (male/male contemporary)
Libby's London Merchant by Carla Kelly (historical romance)
Flirting with Disaster by Victoria Dahl (contemporary romance)
Never Surrender to a Scoundrel by Lily Dalton (historical romance)


Friday, January 23, 2015

REVIEW: "Flirting with Disaster" by Victoria Dahl

Flirting with Disaster (Jackson: Girl's Night Out, #2)
Flirting with Disaster by Victoria Dahl
(Jackson: Girls' Night Out #2)

Goodreads -- Amazon -- Book Depository
Author Website

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Contemporary Romance

Harlequin -- Expected Publication: January 27, 2015
Ebook, 384 pages
Read in January 2015
Received from Netgalley

THEMES
Small Town Setting

SUMMARY
Artist Isabelle West has good reasons for preferring a solitary life. Tucked away in a cabin in the woods, she has everything she needs . . . except a red-hot love life. That is, until a hard-bodied U.S. marshal threatens to unearth secrets she's spent years protecting. But giving in to the sparks flying between them can only lead to one thing…disaster.

Tom Duncan lives by the letter of the law. But no one has tempted him—or confused him—more than free-spirited Isabelle, who arouses his suspicion and his desire. As their connection grows, and their nights get hotter, they find their wild attraction might shake everything he stands for—and expose everything she has to hide.


FIRST LINE
"Isabelle West edged her SUV up the steep driveway and winced as she heard a grocery bag tip over."

MY THOUGHTS
Flirting with Disaster is a sexy and fun romance between two characters who meet up thanks to a difficult situation.  Tom Duncan is a U.S. Marshal who is assigned to protect a judge on a high profile murder case in Jackson.  Isabelle West is a mysterious artist that lives down the road from the judge and meets Tom while he is on reconnaissance.  What follows is a series of entertaining moments with Tom and Isabelle fighting their attraction, then giving in, and eventually dealing with the fact that they were both hiding things from one another.

Tom and Isabelle were just delights to read about.  I loved how mature Tom was when it came to both his job and his relationship with Isabelle.  I usually hate when characters keep important facts hidden from others for long periods of time, but I understood his reasoning.  It is always fun to have a hero that is both a protector and a cuddler.  Isabelle was also likable with her medical art career and her determination to live a normal life despite her past.  She reacted to most situations in a mature fashion as well and I also appreciated her quirky personality.

The reason that this did not get a higher rating from me was the latter third of the book.  Everything was moving along at a decent pace and the characters were developing nicely.  Then, a ton of things changed and we were subject to a time jump that threw me off.  I really was enjoying the story, but I was not a fan of the change in pace.

But, for the most part, I had a lot of fun reading Flirting with Disaster.  The ladies of Jackson were all really fun to see again especially librarian Lauren and advice columnist Veronica who I believe is getting her own story next.  I definitely recommend this series for fans of steamy contemporary romance with a nice balance of humor and drama.

I received a free copy of this book from Harlequin via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


3.5 STARS

STEAM LEVEL
Fever -- Definitely graphic, but still emotional descriptions.

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
0.5. Fanning the Flames
1. Looking for Trouble
2. Flirting with Disaster
3. Taking the Heat (Coming Summer 2015)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

THROWBACK THURSDAY-HISTORICAL ROMANCE EDITION (60)

Happy Thursday, everyone! This is a new feature hosted by Buried Under Romance and Love Saves the World.

What is Throwback Thursday: Historical Romance Edition?
Traditionally, Throwback Thursday celebrates nostalgia, asking participants to post a personal photo or an image from their past -- usually from 5 to 10 years ago. There are a lot of book blogs that also do a book-related Throwback Thursday.  Since Tin and Mary C. are unapologetic lovers of historical romances, they've decided to focus on this beloved genre.

Here are the rules:
1. It must be posted on a Thursday.
2. It must be a historical romance novel published before October 2008.

THIS WEEK I AM FEATURING...

Reforming Lord Ragsdale Reforming Lord Ragsdale
Reforming Lord Ragsdale by Carla Kelly
Originally Published in 1995

Emma Costello owed a debt of honor to one of the most dishonorable lords in the realm. The infamous Lord Ragsdale was as rich as sin, as sinful as he was rich, and as heartless as he was handsome. But he had saved Emma from a fate worse than death when he stopped a lecherous brute from buying her as an indentured servant.

It was Emma's turn now to save Lord Ragsdale from his wicked ways. She had to find a way to stop his drinking, his gaming, his wild revelry. She had to make him break with his mistress, the superbly sensual Fae Moulle. She had to make him a suitable suitor for the ideal wife that the prim and proper Lady Clarissa Partridge would be. And above all, she had to keep his lustful eye from lingering too long on herself--even as she struggled to keep her own growing desire from undoing all her hard work in the unmaking of this irresistible rake.

********************
After finally reading Libby's London Merchant for the 2015 TBR Challenge, I have found myself looking for more Carla Kelly historicals.  I bought this on sale for my e-reader and I am intrigued by the fact that the heroine is doing the makeover on the hero.  Sounds like lots of trouble going on in this situation!