Jul 27, 2012

We've Got a Winner!!!

Congratulations to Tim G. of Indiana!


Tim won the Signed Shadow Sight Post Card!

Jul 23, 2012

Corralled by Lorelei James

Corralled
Written by Lorelei James


Reading Source: Library
Series: Black Top Cowboys
Book #: 1
Genre: Adult, Erotica, Romance
Rating:


Lanie Capshaw has been working the rodeo circuit as a med tech. Not only has she been working out sore muscles for a couple of cowboys, but she's been rubbing out some stiff joints for two cowboys in particular: bullfighter, Hank Lawson and bull rider, Kyle Gilchrist. Caught two timing the unknown to her, best friends, Hank and Kyle approach Lanie with an offer that is too good to refuse.

Hank and Kyle are both unwilling to give up Lanie Capshaw without a fight. When they find out that Lanie has been hitting the sheets with both men, the come up with a plan to see which man Lanie will ultimately choose. They propose to share her, in every way possible. Through this wild ride, Lanie learns which man can really satisfy all her desires.

This book is erotic gold. You get one on one, two on one, vanilla sex, rough sex, sweet gentle love and tender, heartfelt moments. This is the female equivalent to the infamous male "spank bank." What is surprising that despite all of the hot, raunchy, taboo, yummy, orgasmic sex, the plot is still believable to the extent of the "hey, this could happen, maybe, I hope..." kind of believable. Yes, there is romance and the much enjoyed Happily Ever After ending. I really enjoyed this book, and will probably read it again, if not just for the sex scenes.


Jul 22, 2012

Body Movers by Stephanie Bond

Body Movers
Written by Stephanie Bond

Reading Source: Library
Series: Body Movers
Book #: 1
Genre: Murder Mystery, Light Romance
Rating:


Carlotta Wren's life is far from perfect. Abandoned by fugitive parents when she was barely an adult and left to fend for herself and her young brother, she's had a rough go of things. Shortly after her parents jump bail, Carlotta's long-time-boyfriend-future-husband, Peter Ashford, leaves her due to the scandal. For the first time, she is truly alone and struggling to survive.

Fast forward ten years, Carlotta and Wesley (her younger brother), have survived into adulthood and are still struggling to survive. Wesley has not been a saint, despite all that Carlotta has sacrificed to make sure they were able to make it this far. Now, Wesley owes a couple of loan sharks a lot of money, but that's not all. While working for commission at Neiman Marcus, Carlotta learns that Wesley has been arrested for hacking into the court computers. The arresting officer, Jack Terry, has also just re-opened her parents case and is showing signs of a take no prisoners attitude, both socially and professionally.

In an effort to help pay off his debts to loan sharks and now the courts, Wesley gets a job moving bodies to the morgue and funeral home with former Hot-Doctor, Cooper Craft. On a night when Wesley needed a ride to a body moving job, Carlotta gets pulled into the fray buy an untimely death, Peter's wife was murdered, and detective Jack Terry isn't so sure that Carlotta didn't have something to do with it.

Generally, I enjoyed the book. I'm hoping as we go along, Carlotta and Wesley gain some common sense. Some of the hang ups and decisions they made really got under my skin. However, I did enjoy the plot and characterization enough to order the next book in the series from the library. I'm a sucker for "love triangles," or in this case, a "love rectangle."


First Grave of the Right by Darynda Jones

First Grave on the Right

Written by Darynda Jones


Reading Source: Library
Series: Charley Davidson
Book #: 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Amazon Book Discription:
Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s  been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.This is a thrilling debut novel from an exciting newcomer to the world of paranormal romantic suspense.
My Review:

I loved this book. I can't wait to read the next book in the series. I am forced to preface my review with an outside fact: I am addicted to Stephanie Plum books. That being said - First Grave on the Right is like Stephanie Plum with paranormal activity and then some.

Charley is special. So special that she remembers the day she was born. Well she is the Grim Reaper, what can you really expect. Her ability to see the departed has led her to live a life of crime solving - that's why she's a Private Eye. Along with the help of her Uncle Bob, a detective, and a league of merry ghosts and side characters, Charley sets out to solve a murder chase involving 3 lawyers who were all killed the same night. Mix in the sultry dreams Charley has of a mysterious shadow showing her what the night is really for, and you've got one snarky, paranormal, mystery, urban fantasy book you won't want to put down.

I loved it. There is not much more I can say. The only thing that kept it from a 5 star review - I wasn't always feeling the humor. Don't get me wrong. This was a great book that made me laugh out loud more than once, I just believe that there is a time and a place for snarky humor. Other than that, it was wonderful. Similar to Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novels, yet so unique. I'll be reading the entire series as if it were my job.



Jul 17, 2012

Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Fantasy Lover
Written by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Reading Source: Library
Series: Dark Hunter
Book #: 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Rating:



Julian of Macedon was imprisoned in a book for invading Alexandria - that's right, Alexandria... Because of his.... impropriety.... he is destined to live out eternity as a sex slave. He had a difficult "mortal" life, but living in the dark seclusion of the book isn't living at all.

Grace Alexander is a sex therapist... without a sex life. For her birthday, Grace has been gifted with an ancient book that is said to house a Greek Sex Slave - all she has to do is say his name three times, and then all of her pent-up-sex-energy can be expelled.Julian of Macedon has been trapped in a book for over 2,000 years. For one month, he can be released from the book to service the needs of the woman who summons him. Only this time is different. Grace is the one woman who can break the curse that has kept Julian a prisoner. 

I enjoyed this book, but the only reason I have read it more than once is for posterity's sake. When I re-read a book that is in a series, I have to read the whole series. The story itself is unique, and I love Grace and Julian. My favorite part of the book is the supporting characters though. They add to the story and keep it going. Unlike most books, there isn't a lot of world building. My thoughts are, this may have been a stand alone book originally. The books to follow are worth the read.

Jul 14, 2012

Shadow Sight by E.J. Stevens

Shadow Sight
Written by E.J. Stevens


Reading Source: Author (ARC)
Series: Ivy Granger
Book #: 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Mild Paranormal Romance
Rating:



Ivy Granger is far from average. At a young age, she learned that through her touch she could learn about the person, or people, who have been in contact with that item. These aren't idle visions - these are visceral, bone wrenching visions. To outsiders, it would seem that her ability would be a gift. To Ivy, a life with the 'gift' of psychometry  has been torture. Being able to touch even the simplest item, like a pop-tart wrapper, has caused Ivy to isolate herself. She keeps few close to her, namely Jinx her best friend, and Kaye, a bad-ass warrior witch. In light of her 'gift,' Ivy and Jinx have gone into the Private Eye business.

Approached by the Kelpies to find something very dear to them, Ivy and her marry band of 'others,' are sucked into a major threat against the town of Harborsmouth. It is up to Ivy to find what the Kelpies treasure in order to save her community.

I loved reading this book. There was a lot of detail, but given that it is the first book in a series that can only be expected. With the amount of information that is provided, I can only assume that each book hereafter will be detailed and entertaining. It is difficult for me to go into any great detail about the plot itself without giving away key points. The foreshadowing throughout the book is wonderful. Too often I find myself wondering why I am reading a book at all, when I feel as if I am blind through the majority of the story. Not here. Ivy is a complex character who is still growing up. Because of her gift, she has sheltered herself - locked herself away from personal relationships and friendships. By the end of Shadow Sight, you get the feeling that the next book will be another point in Ivy's life where she will be pitted against her fears once again, and will  be all the stronger for it.

Between the 'creepies' and the dynamic between Ivy and Jinx, I couldn't have been more tickled, but then, at the end we are thrown for a loop - I can't wait to read the next book in the series and see what Ivy does with the strings that are daintily, and quite nicely left open.

I giant THANK YOU to E.J. Stevens for giving me another book with lots of monsters (both scary and cute) to run around in my imagination!


House and Garden by Deb Victoroff

House and Garden
Written by Deb Victoroff


Reading Source: Author (ARC)
Genre: Science Fiction, Horror, Short Story
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Amazon Book Description:
Elise, a socially awkward professional single woman finally buys a piece of real estate – a house with a garden – which she feels she can shape to her own desires. Her need to control her surroundings, her fatal flaw, will never be directed to a human partner. Instead she turns her energy toward taming nature.
She feels the dislike of the townsfolk toward the city people who keep buying up the countryside only to domesticate it to city tastes. Are they behind the creeping dangers that assault her at every turn? Or is there some larger malevolent force in play?
An odd-looking real estate agent has sold her the parcel after the previous owners have abruptly abandoned the house, a bungalow with a creepily over-grown garden. As Elise attempts to weed and groom her property, it seems to fight against her. Bugs bite her, thorns pierce her, gardening tools are ripped from her hands and mysteriously disappear.
My Review:

I find that science fiction, often times, makes the best short stories. This one, in particular, was enthralling. The premise of the story was chilling - turning something that everyone has, a yard, into a playground for an unknown force that is assumed to be 'evil.' Buying a home, working in your yard, and playing with your dog should not be something that is normally suspenseful. Within this story, I find that the best part happens to be the subtle hints of paranormal activity that is found in the details. The ending was appropriate for the genre and length, which is sometimes the most difficult part of a short story. A common misconception is that short stories are easier to write because they are short. That simply is not the case. In having a story be purposefully short, the author must have good overall balance within the story. Too much detail and the story becomes cumbersome, too little and it is uninteresting. House and Garden was balanced very well. The detail provided was descriptive enough to keep the reader engaged, but vague enough to allow the imagination to fill in the blanks and make the story larger that it actually was.  This was a very entertaining quick read.

My thanks to Deb Victoroff for the chance to read a thoroughly entertaining story that has made me even more fearful of my shrubs than I already was!



Jul 10, 2012

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf
Written by Molly Harper

Reading Source: Library
Series: Naked Werewolf
Book #: 1
Genre: Light Paranormal Romance
Rating: 



This was a fun, entertaining, light read where a lonely werewolf and a love-child of hippies learn to accept themselves in the harsh climes of Alaska. Mo is the daughter of Hippies - clingy hippies, that want to control her dietary habits for the sake of her colon. Deciding to get away from the strangle hold - Mo moves to Grundy, Alaska. As a result of being in the right place at the right time, Mo begins working as a short order cook. Her new boss become her best friend in the small town, and things start falling into place for Mo. Until Cooper, a surly, dark haired wilderness guide, shows up naked on her doorstep with a bear trap on his foot. Before conking out, Cooper tells her not to be afraid no matter what she sees. The next thing she knows, she's curled up with a large black wolf with Cooper's eyes.

This was a great quick read. There was humor, suspense, mystery, self-actualization, family squabbles, hippies, revenge, and forgiveness. You'd think with all that it would be crowded - but it was quick and very fun. I grabbed this book because I had read Molly Harper's Jane Jameson series. Everything I have read so far has been quick and fun - a great lazy day book. I'll probably end up reading this again.


Darkness Dawns by Dianne Duvall

Darkness Dawns

Written by Dianne Duvall

Reading Source: Library
Series: Immortal Guardians
Book #: 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Vampires
Rating: 4 Stars


Amazon Book Description: In this dazzling, sensual novel, Dianne Duvall beckons readers into a world of vampires, immortals, and humans with extraordinary gifts. . .where passion can last forever, if you're willing to pay the price. . .
Once, Sarah Bingham's biggest challenge was making her students pay attention in class. Now, after rescuing a wounded stranger, she's landed in the middle of a battle between corrupt vampires and powerful immortals who also need blood to survive. Roland Warbrook is the most compelling man Sarah has ever laid hands on. But his desire for her is mingled with a hunger he can barely control. . .
In his nine centuries of immortal existence, no woman has tempted Roland as much as Sarah. But asking her to love him is impossible--when it means forfeiting the world she's always known, and the life he would do anything to protect. . .
My Review:

I really enjoyed this book. I knew what I was getting into with this though. I'm a serial series-reader. The first books are always the roughest book in the series, what with all the need to provide background for the world. I have to give anyone who comes up with a "new world" at least  3 stars - it's not easy to build a back story for not just a couple of characters, but an entire species!

In this new world, vampires are indiscriminate killers and immortals are the one's charged with protecting the humans. You see - vampires and immortals have something in common, they are both the victim of a virus that caused their altered state. The only thing is, immortals were born different - they have a special power, sometimes small, sometimes great, but special nonetheless. When a hunky, naked man is staked, stabbed and strung out to die, Sarah can't sit back and let another living creature die. Welding not but a shovel, Sarah rescues Roland, a powerful immortal. Little does she know that Roland is an immortal, and that saving him will thrust her right in the middle of a mysterious revenge plot against Roland.

Roland is a powerful, yet anti-social  immortal. With a difficult past, both when he was mortal and after he changed - Roland is reluctant to trust anyone. Sarah is different for some reason and Roland is compelled to keep her safe. The only problem is, he has no idea who is seeking revenge against him.

The back story of the Immortals and Vampires is a little vague so far. We know that it is a virus, and that there is no cure. However, we don't know what the oldest immortal, Seth, knows - but it is hinted that we might learn this in the future. Plus we are left with a few other open-endings. They are tasteful cliff hangers, which I appreciate. This story is told in it's entirety - but, the stories of others remain open. The characters were built up to be not only supportive of the main characters, but to give us generalities about them to lead into the next stories.

I can't wait to get the next book from the library. This is a series that I will probably end up buying.




Jul 9, 2012

Death's Daughter by Amber Benson

Death's Daughter

Written by Amber Benson


Reading Source: Library
Series: Calliope Reaper-Jones
Book #: 1
Rating:



I was initially cautious to read this book. Amber Benson was an actress on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I know what you're thinking... "OMG - Is this chick not a Buffy Fan???!!!" Well it's not that I'm not a Buffy Fan (lot's of negatives in that one... sorry...), but I never got into the show. I was into sports and boys and reading books.... I've never really gotten into TV at all. So that being said... on to the good stuff.

I read this book a little bit ago, so it's not going to be very detail oriented.

Calliope Reaper-Jones is your average 20 something trying to live and work in New York City - once you take away the fact that she's Death's daughter. That's right - she's the Grim Reaper's daughter. Long (not too long - but entertaining) story short - Callie has put a forgetting spell on herself so that she can be normal. One bite out of a healthy muffin, and her Dad's assistant broke the charm. Her Dad has been kidnapped and now it is up to Callie to save Death, Inc from the Devil's protege, Daniel. Callie must become Death - to do so, she is in a race against Daniel to complete 3 tasks in order to get the powers of Death, and keep her family immortal, oh yeah - and she has to find out what happened to her father.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty entertaining story. It was a little "valley girl" at times and the romance was a little trite, and all together weird. It was an original concept and at times incredibly amusing. I enjoyed the secondary characters quite a bit, and found that a lot of the humor was contingent on them. I've since read the second book in the series, and intend on reading the third one. This story in particular I listened to on the way to work - that being said - I've heard some complaint on the number of italicized words, but since I did not "read" it, I cannot speak to it. I can say that I may not have enjoyed the book as much if I didn't get to hear it the way Ms. Benson intended the tone to be. She did a very good job on the narration.





Jul 4, 2012

The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman

The Ice Queen

Written by Alice Hoffman


Reading Source: Library
Genre: Fiction, Deep Meanings
Rating:  5 Stars

Amazon Book Description:Be careful what you wish for. A woman who was touched by tragedy as a child now lives a quiet life, keeping other people at a cool distance. She even believes she wants it that way. Then one day she utters an idle wish and, while standing in her house, is struck by lightning. But instead of ending her life, this cataclysmic event sparks a strange and powerful new beginning. After the lightning strike, the chill in her spirit starts to have physical manifestations. She feels frozen from the inside out, and everything red looks as colorless as snow. Hearing of a fellow lightning-strike survivor - a man who was apparently dead for forty minutes, then simply got up and walked away - she goes in search of him. Perhaps Lazarus Jones, as he is known, can teach her to live without fear. He turns out to be her perfect opposite, a man whose breath can boil water and whose touch scorches. As an obsessive love affair begins between them, both hide their most dangerous secrets - what happened in the past that turned one to ice and the other to fire. And everyone in her fragile network of friends and family will be drawn into the conflagration of their joining. Alice Hoffman has written a magical story of passion, loss, and renewal. With a spareness and immediacy that only a master could achieve, she illuminates the bonds and mysteries that connect mother and daughter, sister and brother, woman and man.


My Review: 

When I picked up this book, I was expecting something totally different. After all, I had searched for "paranormal romance," I guess I didn't include 'special quirks due to natural disaster' as paranormal activity. That is my only real gripe with this book, and it's not even something the author did, it was my library's fault.... After reading the description of the book (as you can also read above...) I was intrigued. I borrowed the book anyway. By no means did I expect to find a new "favorite" book.

Notes:

  • I find myself wanting to summarize the entire book for you - I loved it that much. Here is my compromise: I will warn you that I may say something to giveaway an important point - but I am trying not to. I just love this book and cannot help but to gush like a crazed fan girl. 
  • The narrator is never named, therefore I view her to be the namesake of the book. So I will refer to her as "the Ice Queen" rather than some ambiguous title.  


This book was deep and though provoking. It deals with death and it makes it beautiful. Every stage of grief is covered, not in a short period of time, but throughout the course of the Ice Queen's life. Being struck by death at a very young age has shaped her core self, and has caused a coldness to consume the Ice Queen. After being struck by lightening, she has a physical manifestation of the mental limitations she has placed upon herself. The mental limitations are subconscious to her "adult self" but were most likely purposeful by the "child self".

As the Ice Queen grows in age, her mental limitations become second nature and therefore, are not noticeable to her. The people who care for her deeply, namely a Police Captain and the Ice Queen's grandmother, can see that  she is not "living" and try urging her to drop her barriers. However, she simply cannot see the problem. Then tragedy strikes twice in a short period and she is forced to see her mental barriers as physical manifestations.

The growth and emotion in this novel are fantastic. This is the kind of book that forces you too look at a subject that is often misunderstood and feared. It makes it into something that is still a tragedy, but that can be seen as a blessing. I helps provide an image of the "big picture" -- the cycle of life and rebirth.


Jul 3, 2012

And the Winner Is...

Barbara B. from KS.

Barbara is the lucky winner the Shadow Sight Private Eye Sticker!

Congratulations Barbara!!!


"Welcome to Harborsmouth, where monsters walk the streets unseen by humans…except those with second sight. 

Whether visiting our modern business district or exploring the cobblestone lanes of the Old Port quarter, please enjoy your stay. When you return home, do tell your friends about our wonderful city—just leave out any supernatural details. Don’t worry—most of our guests never experience anything unusual. Otherworlders, such as faeries, vampires, and ghouls, are quite adept at hiding within the shadows. Many are also skilled at erasing memories. You may wake in the night screaming, but you won’t recall why. Be glad that you don’t remember—you are one of the fortunate ones. If you do encounter something unnatural, we recommend the services of Ivy Granger, Psychic Detective. Co-founder of Private Eye detective agency, Ivy Granger is a relatively new member of our small business community. Her offices can be found on Water Street, in the heart of the Old Port. Miss Granger has a remarkable ability to receive visions by the act of touching an object. This skill is useful in her detective work, especially when locating lost items. Whether you are looking for a lost brooch or missing persons, no job is too small for Ivy Granger—and she could certainly use the business. We can also provide, upon request, a list of highly skilled undertakers. If you are in need of their services, then we also kindly direct you to Harborsmouth Cemetery Realty. It’s never too early to contact them, since we have a booming “housing” market. Demand is quite high for a local plot—there are always people dying for a place to stay." 

Slight Delay

I'm a little behind due to Midterms!

I will announce the Winner of the Shadow Sight Private Eye Sticker tonight!!!!

Jul 2, 2012

New Reviewer = Changes

Hey all,

With school being so consuming for me, I've asked my friend Riona to help me out with contributing to the site. She's been away from the book scene for a while... she was recently married and spending time with the  new hubby.... so no one can really blame her for disappearing for while...

Who knows when she'll be posting, but when she starts, we will be discussing changing the name of the site...

Since I'm new to the blogosphere - changing the name at this point won't be too drastic. After all, variety is the spice of life and all that jazz....

See ya!
Izzy