Friday, December 30, 2011

Follow Friday

Follow Friday is now hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of course 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: The New Year is here — and everyone wants to know your New Years Blogging Resolution! What are you going to try to revise, revamp and redo for 2012 on your blog?

A. I need to be more consistent and also better organized. I always think about getting a bunch of posts ready and scheduling them but never do.

Have a Happy and Safe New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Book Review ~ A Cup of Jo

A Cup of Jo (Maggy Thorsen Mystery #6)
By Sandra Balzo
Published by Severn House Publishing

Summary: The new ‘Maggy Thorsen’ caffeine cozy   - Maggy Thorsen's heart, uncharacteristically, is swelling with optimism. Sure, her original Wisconsin coffeehouse, Uncommon Grounds, was destroyed in a freak blizzard. But, with new business partner Sarah Kingston, she’s found the perfect place to relocate to – a quaint railroad station that will soon be revitalized by a new commuter-rail connection. Sarah and Maggy hope that the station’s ‘Dedication Day’ will provide great free publicity. But their dream turns into a nightmare when the event manager makes her grand appearance on the day. As a corpse . . .

My Thoughts: This is the sixth book in this series and one of the better ones. I liked how the new neighbors add an eccentric twist to the story without being the bad guys that disappear at the end of the book. Maggy was her usual naive yet endearing self. There were times when I wanted to smack her inability to stick up for herself and just kick Pavlik to the curb. Sarah is a much better character and partner, she brings some much needed levity and realism to the story.
The mystery of who killed Jo wass well done and I must say had me stumped for awhile. With her evil sister Rebecca (have not liked her since meeting her in an earlier book) to the husband, various lovers, etc it was wide open. Of course I loved the mime (if you've read the books or my earlier reviews this will make sense).
Overall another great read. I love the lengths of these book and can generally finish in one day. Can finally read my review copy of Triple Shot.

Rating: 4

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Book Review ~ The Girl in the Steel Corset

The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles #1)
By Kady Cross
Published by Harlequin Teen

Summary: In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one except the "thing" inside her. 

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch... 

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits. Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret. 

Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help-and finally be a part of something, finally fit in. 

But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on, even if it seems no one believes her.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. I was first pulled in by the cover. As soon as I saw it, I wanted to read it.
I loved how the author was able to make this steampunk feel natural. It was such a normal part of their world I didn't find it jarring to read. I also liked how even though it's YA it doesn't read as one. Since I'm over thirty sometimes I can find YA to be too young for me.
There is a great mix of characters so you're sure to find one you like. The fact that Sam didn't immediately like/trust Finley made me like him more. I dislike when a group comes together and is one big happy family within the first chapter. Finley was a strong (literally and figuratively) female lead.   Trying to find the control over her evil side that comes out when she is scared/angry and integrate it with her relative normal side was interesting to follow. I liked both Griffin and Dandy but was glad that this didn't become another love triangle YA book.
Overall: I could not put this book down, I had to know what happened next and who was going to come out on top. I also liked how the ending led nicely into the next book without being a cliffhanger. What needed to be resolved in this book was.

Rating: 5

Monday, December 26, 2011

In My Mailbox~ Christmas Edition

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren

Hope everyone had a Safe and Happy Holiday Weekend!

The Hollows Insider by Kim Harrison *This is the first insider I've ever bought instead of checking from the library. I love quirky things like the glow in the dark cover.

Blood Bound by Rachel Vincent
The Help by Katherine Stockett
The Traitor's Daughter by Paula Brandon
Seeing Redd & ArchEnemy by Frank Beddor
The Next Always by Nora Roberts

So what did you get this week? Stay Safe!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Follow Friday

Follow Friday is now hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of course 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 had to spend eternity inside the pages of a book, which book would you choose and why?

A. It's a toss up, it would either be Diana Gabaldon's Outlander world or for the less rustic more modern Sherrilyn Kenyon's early Dark Hunter (before Ash got married and boring )

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

By a Thread (elemental assassins #6)
by Jennifer Estep
Published by Pocket (mass market)
expected release date February 28, 2012

Summary: When killing people is your job, there’s no such thing as a vacation. Then again, how often does an assassin live long enough to enjoy her retirement? In this line of work, you either get lucky or you get dead. And since I destroyed my nemesis Mab Monroe a few weeks ago, all of Ashland’s lowlifes are gunning to make a name for themselves by taking out the lethal Spider—me, Gin Blanco. So I’m leaving behind my beloved barbecue joint and heading south with my baby sister, Bria, to cool my heels in a swanky beach town. Call it a weekend of fun in the sun. But when a powerful vampire with deadly elemental magic threatens an old friend of Bria’s, it looks like I’ll have to dig my silverstone knives out of my suitcase after all. Complicating matters further is the reappearance of Detective Donovan Caine, my old lover. But Donovan is the least of my problems. Because this time, the danger is hot on my trail, and not even my elemental Ice and Stone magic may be enough to save me from getting buried in the sand—permanently.

**I really enjoy this series and always look forward to a new one coming out.

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine.It's a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Favorite Things ~ 2011

These are some of my faves from the past year. Everything from books, music, and tv.

Criminal Minds: The first episode was a mess but it really picked up from there. The show has been filled with creepy, eerie cases that have been both disturbing and fascinating.

Once Upon a Time: I love this show! The first thing is the casting, they nailed it. I can't think of anyone who doesn't work for my. The storylines. I love the retelling of classics with a twist that makes them all work together in one place.

Grimm: It took me some time to get into this one. It seems to be picking up as the season goes. I'm loving the quirky sidekick and wondering how long before the partner gets brought up to speed.

Ringer: I'll admit it, I was a Buffy fan. It's nice seeing Sarah Michelle Gellar back on tv. Still not sure about the show but I still watch every week.

My taste in music seems to fluctuate. I've been really into country and Adele lately.

The Band Perry (The Band Perry) My favorite song is If I Die Young followed closely by Postcards from Paris

Luke Bryan (Tailgates & Tanlines) One of the few cds I can listen to from beginning to end. While I didn't care for the first single, I like I don't want this night to end (current single). My favorite song is Been There Done That.

Adele  (21) Love her! She just has one of those voices. The one where even if you've never heard the song before as soon as she starts singing you know it's her.

This is what this blog is about. These are just a few of my favorite reads over the past year. This does not mean they were published in 2011 just that I read them this year.

The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima (The Demon King, The Exiled Queen, The Gray Wolf Throne) I've loved this series. If you enjoy fantasy this series is a definite read.

Curse Workers series by Holly Black (White Cat, Red Glove) A darker, grittier look at magic and family. I also like The Poison Eaters and other stories. I liked some better than others but an overall great read.

The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab  I don't read a lot of stand alone books but was glad I read this one.

Edelstein Trilogy by Kerstin Gier (Ruby Red) This book grabbed right from the beginning and didn't let go.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

I thought I would get one of these in before Christmas.

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Waking the Witch by Kelley Armstrong

Paranormalcy and various swag from Crystal @Elegantly Bound Books Thank You!

Not much but enough for now :)

Have a Great Week and Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Follow Friday and Blog Hop

Follow Friday is now hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of course 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.When you've read a book. what do you do with it>? (keep it, give it away, donate, it...)

A. It depends on the book. New books,especially series, I usually keep (waaay to many), Used I will either trade at the used book store, donate to the library for book sale, or keep if I really like it.

Have a Great and Safe  Weekend Everyone!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday ~ Helpless

by Daniel Palmer
Published by Kensington Publishing
expected Release Date: February 1, 2012

Summary: (Goodreads) Nine years after he left Shilo, New Hampshire, former Navy Seal Tom Hawkins has returned to raise his teenage daughter, Jill, following the murder of his ex-wife, Kelly. Despite Tom’s efforts to stay close to Jill by coaching her high school soccer team, Kelly’s bitterness fractured their relationship. But life in Shilo is gradually shaping up into something approaching normal. Normal doesn’t last long. Shilo’s police sergeant makes it clear that Tom is his chief suspect in Kelly’s death. Then an anonymous blog post alleges that Coach Hawkins is sleeping with one of his players. Internet rumors escalate, and incriminating evidence surfaces on Tom’s own computer and cell phone. To prove his innocence, Tom must unravel a tangle of lies about his past. For deep amid the secrets he’s been keeping—from a troubled tour of duty to the reason for his ex-wife’s death—is the truth that someone will gladly kill to protect.

**I'm reading this right now and find myself completely engrossed. I keep picking it up instead of doing all that stuff (like Christmas cards) I'm supposed to be getting done.

Have a Great Week !

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine.It's a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating

Monday, December 12, 2011

Book Review ~ Lord of Rage

Lord of Rage (Royal House of Shadows #2)
by Jill Monroe
Published by Harlequin
pub Date: September 2011

**received from Harlequin via NetGalley for review

Summary: Princess Breena had been dreaming of her warrior lover when she was ripped from her Elden castle and thrown into a strange, dangerous realm. Lost and alone, she prayed for survival and vengeance for her stolen kingdom. She found both in a woodland cottage…in a dark bear of a man.
The golden-haired beauty had eaten his food and slept in his bed when Osborn found her. Though he wanted to awaken his virgin princess to carnal pleasures, Breena wanted more—including his warrior skills. Skills the once-legendary mercenary had long buried. Now Osborn had a choice—risk his life or deny his princess her fairy-tale ending.
My Thoughts: This is the first time I've read anything by this author and mus say I really enjoyed it. This is the second installment from the Royal House of Shadows, written by four different authors.
I felt this story had more flow and fit better into the shorter format. It could be because not as much of the back story and world building had to be done int this book since it was done in the first.
The characters were interesting and really grabbed you right from the start. I loved how Breena was both a strong woman while also being unsure and naive about things that fell outside of her "princess" training. Osborn was a great match even when he was trying to push her away you could feel that he didn't really want her to go. You wanted these two to work out.
I'm looking forward to seeing how they start bringing the siblings together to defeat  the Blood Sorcerer while still doing the individual stories of the last two brothers. On to Lord of the Wolfyn.

Rating: 4

Friday, December 9, 2011

Book Review ~ The Twilight Saga:The Official Illustrated Guide

The Twilight Saga:The Official Illustrated Guide
by Stephanie Meyer
Published by Little, Brown Young Readers

SummaryThis must-have hardcover edition--the only official guide--is the definitive encyclopedic reference to the Twilight Saga and provides readers with everything they need to further explore the unforgettable world Stephenie Meyer created in Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, andBreaking Dawn. With exclusive new material, character profiles, genealogical charts, maps, extensive cross-references, and much more, this comprehensive handbook is essential for every Twilight Saga fan.

My Thoughts: I'll be the first to admit I am not one of those TwiHard (or whatever they are called) fans. I didn't start the series until after the third book came out and still have not finished Breaking Dawn.  I still found this insiders guide to be an interesting read.
I was concerned at first and didn't think I was going to finish it. The interview at the beginning with Stephanie Meyer is really long and I ended up skipping ahead. The sections on each individual vampire was very insightful and added to characters that we are already familiar with. It didn't make me like a character I didn't already but still interesting. 
The family tree breakdown for the werewolves was well done and very detailed. The sections on the individual packs was set up like the vamps but I did not find it as interesting.
My favorite things were the illustrations. Whether fan created or other, they definitely made the book worth picking up. The end sections of foriegn covers, cars, music playlists, etc I found more entertaining than the rest of the book.
If you're a diehard fan you probably have already bought this but if you're curious do what I did and check it out from your local library.

Rating: 4

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine.It's a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating

Fair Game (Alpha & Omega #3)
By Patricia Briggs
Published By Orbit
expected Release Date March 6, 2012

Summary: When the FBI request a pack consultant on a serial killer case they're following in Boston, Anna and Charles are sent in. They quickly realize that not only the last two victims were werewolves – all of them were. 
Someone is targeting their kind. And if Charles and Anna can't get to the bottom of this mystery, they may be next...

**I've really enjoyed this series and looking forward to having another one to read.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Book Review ~ Brewed, Crude, and Tattooed

Brewed, Crude, and Tattooed (Maggy Thorsen mystery #4)
By Sandra Balzo
Published By Severn House Publishers

SummaryMaggy Thorsen, co-owner of the Brookhills coffee-house Uncommon Grounds, is trapped in a shopping mall by a snow storm which cuts the electricity and phone lines. She finds the body of Way Benson, a local developer and owner of the mall. Maggy's discovery unearths other refugees of the storm and it seems that more than one of these people has a motive for killing the arrogant Way. Then there is another murder.

My Thoughts: Another round for Maggy, who always seems to find herself in the middle of everything. This story had a Clue feel to it, Colonel Mustard in the Barber Shop with the Meat Cleaver.
This was not my favorite, there was almost too much going on. With everyone trapped in one building during a freak snowstorm in May (being from MI I know how much this sucks) I found myself mixing up characters and forgetting who others were. I found the general store shopping for supplies throughout almost more interesting than the murder mystery. I've never really card for Caron, Maggy's business partner, and that became more evident here. I kept hoping she would be next on the murder list.
It took me awhile to figure out why this book was titled as it was (has to do with the murder vic), I was hoping this was going to be about Amy, the author created this great character and we haven't really heard from since she was introduced. It'll also be interesting to see if we ever see any of these other characters again or if they will be lost with the crumpled building.

Rating: 4

Friday, December 2, 2011

Follow Friday and Blog Hop

I haven'i done one of these in a long time, thought I would give it a go again...

 Follow Friday is now hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of course 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. What is your biggest Pet Peeve when it comes to books? Maybe you don't like love triangles or thin plots. Tell us about it!

A. This one was easy for me. I really hate insta-love and the over use of love triangles. It seems as if some use it as a crutch to add conflict to their stories.

Book Blogger Hop is hosted over at Crazy For Books.
Book Blogger Hop
Start hopping around, visiting other links in the list, meeting fellow bloggers and chatting about their blogs and books they are reading. If you aren’t a blogger, this is a great opportunity for readers to find new sites to follow and meet some new friends who enjoy reading the same things that they do!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book Review (Shorts) ~ Hexed

Published By Berkley mass market

Four of the bestselling names in romance and fantasy come together in this collection of thrilling novellas featuring powerful women who know how to handle a hex or two...

Magic Dreams (Kate Daniels 4.5) by Ilona Andrews 
I haven't started this series yet but I've read both novellas and loved them. 

Ice Shards (Sisters of the Moon 9.5) by Yasmine Galenorn
Loved learning more about Iris and her past. Would also like to hear more about Howl and his pack. 

Double Hexed (Stormwalker 3.5) by Allyson James
Found this story very entertaining even though I was not familiar with the series. I was intrigued by almost all the characters that were in the story. Will be looking into it more.

Blood Debt (Anna Strong Chronicles 6.5) by Jeanne C Stein
This didn't grab me in the same way as the other three. It was still a good read I see myself at least trying the first book in the series.

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine.It's a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating

Triple Shot (Maggy Thorsen #7)
By Sandra Balzo
Published By Severn House Publishers
expected release: December 1, 2011

Summary: The new Maggy Thorsen coffeehouse mystery - There’s a chill in the Wisconsin air, and it's a shot in the arm – a triple espresso shot – to Uncommon Grounds, the Brookhills coffeehouse owned by Maggy Thorsen and real estate maven Sarah Kingston. Their new autumn drink is a huge success. But two estate agents have died lately, and Sarah herself is under investigation for irregularities at her job. Then a stench begins to percolate through the coffeehouse, and soon it’s clear that corpses – like other bad things – do indeed come in threes . . .

** I have this book sitting on my side table... Had to start from book 1, I'm now on book 4. They're great reads and I am really enjoying them!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Book Review ~ Bean There, Done That

Bean There, Done That (Maggy Thorsen Mystery #3)
By Sandra Balzo
Published By Severn House Publishers

SummaryHeres a tip: if your ex-husbands mistress-cum-missus asks for your help in proving that he cheated on her while he was married to you, just say no. And, whatever you do, dont invite her in . . .Coffeehouse owner Maggy Thorsen does just that when Rachel Slattery Thorsen comes knocking on her door. When the new Mrs Thorsen disappears that same evening, Maggy quickly finds herself embroiled in a murder investigation involving Rachels hotelier family Milwaukees answer to the Hiltons.

My Thoughts: The third installment of this series is my favorite so far. The addition of Maggy's ex and his mistress/new wife added something to both the book and Maggy's character. I found myself wanting the ex husband to be guilty. The author did a great job making him the slimy condescending type that you would expect. The romance that has been on the side of this series finally goes somewhere and then somewhere else. While I like Pavlik, I found myself liking Stephen more and hope he shows up in future books.
Overall this book had everything you've come to expect from this series. While I was happy with the whole book I'm not as sold on the conclusion of the mystery. This was another where there were plenty of clues scattered throughout but a few I never would have gotten. Looking forward to fourth book. Hoping for more Amy, she has quickly become my favorite.

Rating: 4

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Book Review ~ Grounds For Murder

Grounds For Murder (Maggy Thorsen Mystery #2)
By Sandra Balzo
Published By Severn House Publishers

Summary: A sharp and amusing mystery from a talented writer - Set in Milwaukee at a scaldingly competitive trade show for the coffee industry, events reach a head when coffeehouse-owner Maggy Thorsen discovers a body under a table at the conference centre. As the reluctant conference coordinator and a potential suspect Maggy must track down the murderer, save her coffeehouse and hopefully put some froth into her love life . .

My Thoughts: This series is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Maggy seems to be getting stronger as the series moves forward. The only problem I had with the book was the way it started. We start with the dead body and then spend the first half of the book getting back to that point. I would have preferred if we had just started at the beginning. 
The characters of Brookhill were entertaining as usual. Sophie and Henry and the Red Hats added some much needed levity. Sara trying to quit smoking and running the conference at the same time was almost more interesting than the mystery. I liked Amy as a new character, she adds something for the younger set without being the other woman that is often referred to. 
Overall the mystery lived up to the first book but I wasn't as surprised by who committed it. Since the victim was not likable it was harder to care about the who-dun-it part. 

Rating: 4

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book Review ~ Ruby Red

Ruby Red (Edelstein Trilogy #1)
By Kerstin Gier
Published By Henry Holt and Co.

Summary: Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

My Thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I loved it and it was definitely one of my favorite reads from this year. The author was able to blend both the present and the past without it being jarring to the senses. It didn't feel as if you were reading two different books that were then mashed together.
Loved the characters as well. Even though Gwyneth is a typical teenager, she didn't annoy me as some do in contemporary YA. It was easy to see where she was coming from, being the invisible member of the family while her cousin was showered with attention and lessons. I found her ability to see ghosts a useful twist in helping her catch up on all the years of training she missed. I'm not sure about Gideon, I liked him for the most part but at the same time he is the character that you always need to keep one eye on. The Count comes across as suitably creepy, and him and his friends work well as the bad guys if that is what they are.
Overall, while loving the book there was just something missing that stopped me from giving it a 5 star rating. The ground work and back story for the series were laid out nicely but when the book ends there were to many unanswered questions. The only definite thing we get from this book is that Gwyneth is the time traveler.  Still I'm looking forward to reading the next book and unraveling the mysteries that were presented.

Rating: 4 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Book Review ~ Prophecy of the Sisters

Prophecy of the Sisters (Prophecy of the Sisters #1)
By Michelle Zink
Published By Little, Brown Books

Summary: An ancient prophecy divides two sisters-

One good...

One evil...

Who will prevail?

Twin sisters Lia and Alice Milthorpe have just become orphans. They have also become enemies. As they discover their roles in a prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other, the girls find themselves entangled in a mystery that involves a tattoo-like mark, their parents' deaths, a boy, a book, and a lifetime of secrets. 

Lia and Alice don't know whom they can trust.

They just know they can't trust each other.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this book more as a whole than I did as I was reading. It seemed to keep going over the same thing (prophecy) again and again with only new bits being added. I had figured out the whole key issue early on and could not figure out why these characters seemed unable to add 1 and 1. That being said I loved the concept of good vs evil that was portrayed and the consequences of one winning over the other. 
Alice while creepy didn't totally pull off what I think the author was trying to convey. She seemed more stuck up mean girl than evil gothic force. Lia worked more for me than her sister, I felt she was at least working towards a goal even if she went about it a little too timidly for most of the book. 
The twists and disturbing turns kept me reading and I'm glad I finished. I look forward to reading the next book and finding out more about these characters.
Cover: I actually thought the cover conveyed more of the darkness of this book than the story did. It has that creepy gothic sense to it that made me pick up the book in the first place.

Rating: 4

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine.It's a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating

Shadow Heir (Dark Swan #4)
By Richelle Mead
Published By Bantam
expected Release Date: December 27, 2011

Summary: Shaman-for-hire Eugenie Markham strives to keep the mortal realm safe from trespassing entities. But as the Thorn Land's prophecy-haunted queen, there's no refuge for her and her soon-to-be-born-children when a mysterious blight begins to devastate the Otherworld...

The spell-driven source of the blight isn't the only challenge to Eugenie's instincts. Fairy king Dorian is sacrificing everything to help, but Eugenie can't trust the synergy drawing them back together. The uneasy truce between her and her shape shifter ex-lover Kiyo is endangered by secrets he can't--or won't--reveal. And as a formidable force rises to also threaten the human world, Eugenie must use her own cursed fate as a weapon--and risk the ultimate sacrifice.

**This series has been up and down for me but right now I still look forward to them. I like this cover better than the pink one.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Book Review ~ Meridian

Meridian (Fenestra #1)
By Amber Kizer
Published by Delacorte Books

Summary: Half-human, half-angel, Meridian Sozu has a dark responsibility.
Sixteen-year-old Meridian has been surrounded by death ever since she can remember. As a child, insects, mice, and salamanders would burrow into her bedclothes and die. At her elementary school, she was blamed for a classmate’s tragic accident. And on her sixteenth birthday, a car crashes in front of her family home—and Meridian’s body explodes in pain.

Before she can fully recover, Meridian is told that she’s a danger to her family and hustled off to her great-aunt’s house in Revelation, Colorado. It’s there that she learns that she is a Fenestra—the half-angel, half-human link between the living and the dead. But Meridian and her sworn protector and love, Tens, face great danger from the Aternocti, a band of dark forces who capture vulnerable souls on the brink of death and cause chaos.

My Thoughts: While this seemed to start a little slow for me it picked up fairly quickly and the premise was new and intriguing enough to keep me reading. The whole idea of Fenestras being the light that people go through to get to the other side during death, was well thought out and wasn't made this simple thing that Meridian was able to do. I liked the idea of her having to learn how to do this or there would be consequences for both her and the person (or animal) trying to pass.
I ended the book still not sure about Tens, I didn't feel his character was explained enough. He worked well as Meridian's protector but there was a lot missing that made the relationship and how quickly they were "in love" less believable. Hopefully this is something to is fleshed out more in later books.
Overall it was a good read and I loved the thought of both the Fenestra and the Aternocti and their battle for the passing energies. I look forward to reading the next book, Wildcat Fireflies which just came out in July 2011.

Rating: 4

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Book Review ~ Uncommon Grounds

Uncommon Grounds (Maggy Thorsen Mystery #1)
By Sandra Balzo
Published By Five Star Trade

Summary: Maggy Thorsen, former PR executive, and current coffeehouse owner finds the blonde, beautiful and bodacious queen of the wealthy city of Brookhills dead...dead in a pool of decidedly unfrothed milk in front of her espresso machine.

In a town where high heels are appropriate attire for a trip to the hardware store, why would any one of the town's latte loving citizens hot-wire an espresso machine with 220 shocking volts on the very day of its grand opening?

Stumbling over small town politics - and the all too self-important new sheriff, Jake Pavlik, Maggy is on her way to finding out the truth - even if it's a truth that may be very hard to swallow...

My Thoughts: This was a great read and excellent start to this series. I was hooked from page one and was able to finish it fairly quickly (about a day).
Maggy's character is what you would expect from someone who's trying to pick up the pieces after her  husband has left her for his dental assistant. She is fun and quirky but also has her insecure moments where she is not sure of anything that is going on around her. I thought the rest of the characters in this small town were great and each added something to the story.
I probably should have, but I did not see the guilty party coming until it was right there in fron of me. That always makes mystery books a better read. Now on to book two: Grounds For Murder.

Rating: 4

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Book Review ~ The Babylon Prophecy

The Babylon Prophecy
By Sean Salazar
Published By Andante Publishing
*received from author for review

Within hours of an accidental bombing in Iraq, retired CIA sniper Al Robek is summoned to investigate. While battling his own demons from post-traumatic syndrome, Al uncovers one mystery after another. He learns that his former girlfriend, Jess Contreras, was the pilot responsible for the bombing. Together, they find an ancient city buried by the Biblical flood and become the targets of a secret brotherhood bent on triggering an early Armageddon. Enter Ed Collins, an unassuming British code-cracker, who has been tracking the brotherhood since the end of World War II. With the help of the CIA and the British SAS and MI-5, the trio embarks on a dangerous mission that takes them to the Middle East, Europe, and South America--slowly uncovering evidence of a conspiracy hatched thousands of years ago. Ultra-secret espionage involving the highest level of government, the Vatican, and international banking brings about new discoveries, but with each comes new questions, new missing pieces to the puzzle. Can they figure out what is going on before it's too late? Is there anyone they can really trust? Do they know who they're fighting against? Or even what they're fighting for? The survival of mankind ultimately lies in this unlikely team's hands

My Thoughts: This was my foray into this genre for the year. While there were some misses throughout the book, I enjoyed the read and can see myself taking the time to read the second.
The action starts on page one and does not let up until there are no more pages. While the characters seem stereotypical of what you would expect, I don't think they would work if you tried to take them to a different direction. I loved the quirky British bunker agents, they made up some of the best scenes in the book. Al works as the main character and his background is well explained throughout so some of the things he does seem more probable. I'm not sure how I feel about Jess, she was a good side character but the twist didn't really make sense and was not really explained.
I had two main problems that I could not get past. The first, trying to add romance to the story. The author did a good job of establishing the past history between Al and Jess but needed to leave it at that. Al displaying jealousy just seemed to pop up in weird place and broke up the flow of the story. The other problem was, if this is a series it needs to have smaller issues that will be resolved inside the book while still working on the overall big picture that runs throughout the series. The big picture of the Brotherhood vs. the Mason vs. Al and friends was established very well but when I finished reading I didn't fell as if anything was accomplished that made the reading overly satisfying. As stated, the big picture was interesting enough that I will take the time to read the second but I hope something is resolved, even if it's a small something, to make it feel more like a series book.

Rating: 3

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine.It's a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating

Touch of Power (Healer #1)
By Maria V. Snyder
Published By Mira
expected Release Date: December 20, 2011

Summary: Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted.
Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture.
Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people.

As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life....

**I love Maria V Snyders books and am really glad to see another new series from her. I also love the cover for this one.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Book Review ~ Retribution

Retribution (Dark-Hunters #20)
By Sherrrilyn Kenyon
Published By St. Martin's Press

Summary: Harm no human... 

A hired gunslinger, William Jessup Brady lived his life with one foot in the grave. He believed that every life had a price. Until the day when he finally found a reason to live. In one single act of brutal betrayal, he lost everything, including his life. Brought back by a Greek goddess to be one of her Dark-Hunters, he gave his immortal soul for vengeance and swore he’d spend eternity protecting the humans he’d once considered prey.

Orphaned as a toddler, Abigail Yager was taken in by a family of vampires and raised on one belief- Dark-Hunters are the evil who prey on both their people and mankind, and they must all be destroyed. While protecting her adoptive race, she has spent her life eliminating the Dark-Hunters and training for the day when she meets the man who killed her family: Jess Brady.

A gun in the hand is worth two in the holster...

Jess has been charged with finding and terminating the creature who’s assassinating Dark-Hunters. The last thing he expects to find is a human face behind the killings, but when that face bears a striking resemblance to the one who murdered him centuries ago, he knows something evil is going on. He also knows he’s not the one who killed her parents. But Abigail refuses to believe the truth and is determined to see him dead once and for all.

Brought together by an angry god and chased by ancient enemies out to kill them both, they must find a way to overcome their mutual hatred or watch as one of the darkest of powers rises and kills both the races they’ve sworn to protect.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this book overall with one small exception. While I liked Abigail, I had a hard time believing that Acheron (pregnant Tori or not) or the other dark hunters would just let her off for killing their own kinda with nothing but some simple barbs. It goes against everything we know about these characters and their world. I think I may have been more forgiving of this if there had been more hatred/animosity towards her that eventually diminished rather than straight "whateverness".
I have always liked Jess when he has shown up in earlier books and it was nice to get his full story. I loved the mix of his heritage and the dark hunter/greek world of the series. 
This book was also filled with plenty of action and old friends. I like when the books of the series seem to go towards a larger overall goal than just the HEA and this one fit that bill. Not that long to wait for the next one (11/11).

Rating: 4

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren.

Received my first books, since moving,  and won a prize pack from a book release. Overall a good week!

For review from author:

Helpless by Daniel Palmer

Triple Shot by Sandra Balzo
(Maggy Thorsen Mystery #7)

From netgalley and Harlequin:
Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh
(Royal House of Shadows #4)
*I don't know why I did not request this when I requested the first 3

Won from E.J. @ From The Shadows

Legend of  Witchtrot Road (Spirit Guide #3) prize pack. Included signed copy of the book as well as bookmarks, postcards, etc.

Happy Reading Everyone!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Book Review ~ The Alchemyst

The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #1)
By Michael Scott
Published By Delacorte

Summary: The tomb of Nicholas Flamel is empty. The greatest alchemist of his day supposedly died in 1418, but rumors continue to swirl that he continues to walk among us. Could it be true that this magician/chemist has access to the secret of eternal life? Could the Book of Abraham, which he purportedly owns, hold the key to this elixir? If it does, the theft of this single ancient volume could destroy the world as we know it. 

My Thoughts: I'm so very torn about this book/series. I wanted to like it and for the most part I did but there was a big flaw that is still nagging at me and causing me to not want to read the next book. I really dislike books that are good vs evil and only one side seems to be having any success while the other spends the whole book just surviving. There were several times while reading where it felt like the author was going to need to come up with some new characters because the current batch was not going to make it.
That aside, I did like the most of the characters. I found Dr John Dee to be a suitable "evil" even if everything seemed to be a little to easy for him. The twins came off as likable but kinda generic. For most of the book you never would have known they were teenagers if the author did not remind you. Scatty and Perenelle were my favorite characters and may be the thing that causes me to pick up the next book.
Overall, it wasn't a waste of a read but also didn't feel completely satisfying once finished. It may be awhile before I try the second book.

Rating: 3

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

The Time In Between
By Maria Duenas
Published By Atria
expected Release Date: November 8, 2011

Summary: This sweeping novel, which combines the storytelling power of The Shadow of the Wind with the irresistible romance of Casablanca, moves at an unstoppable pace. Suddenly left abandoned and penniless in Algiers by her lover, Sira Quiroga forges a new identity. Against all odds she becomes the most sought-after couture designer for the socialite wives of German Nazi officers. But she is soon embroiled in a dangerous political conspiracy as she passes information to the British Secret Service through a code stitched into the hems of her dresses. 

** This is outside of my norm but still sounded like a great read.

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine.It's a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book Review ~ Lord of the Vampires

Lord of the Vampires (Royal House of Shadows #1)
By Gena Showalter
Published By Harlequin
eGalley received from Harlequin via netGalley

Once upon a time…the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with a need for vengeance. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs…and time is running out.

Nicolai the Vampire is renowned for his virility, but in a cruel twist of fate “The Dark Seducer” has become a sex slave in the kingdom of Delfina—stripped of his precious timepiece and his memory. All that remains is a primal need for freedom, revenge—and the only woman who can help him.

When the wanton vampire summons Jane Parker, she is helpless to obey. She's drawn to his dark sexuality and into his magical realm. But for this human, all is not a fairy tale. For saving Nicolai could mean losing the only man she's ever craved.

My Thoughts: I wanted to like this much more than I did. The premise of Nicolai trying get his memories back and seek revenge seemed good in theory but seemed to fall short. It felt like there were chunks of the story that were taken out in editting to meet a page count.
I also had a problem with how Nicolai seemed more caveman posessive than Alpha posessive. It made him harder to like than the story called for. I liked Jane more than I thought I would at the beginning. She seemed to be trying to hard at first. Later, when she was dealing with Laila and trying to get back to Nicolai she seemed like the strong female we were supposed to be seeing her as.
Overall it fell a little short on story but I will read the rest of the series to see if it picks up. I'm also intrigued by a series written by four different authors.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine.It's a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

Easing back into blogging this week. Even though it's been awhile, I still haven't got much read. I've been way too tired by the end of the day. Hoping things start going back to normal now. 
Have a great week and enjoy the picks!

Courting Darkness (Sisters of the Moon #10)
By Yasmine Galenorn
Published By Jove
expected Release Date: November 1, 2011

Summary: Camille D'Artigo is Priestess of the Moon Mother and wife of a dragon. But her dragon father-in-law doesn't want her in the family. Captured and swept off to the Dragon Reaches, Camille must find a way to escape before her husband's father breaks her spirit...

**I sometimes have trouble with Camille's books but I'm looking forward to delving more into the dragon's world.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Blog Update

We are finally closing on our house this week :) With all the packing and then moving and unpacking I may not be able to get to the blog for the next couple of weeks. I can't wait for it all to be over so I can find my books again.
Have a Great, Safe week!
Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking The Spine.It's a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

Last Breath (Morganville Vampires #11)
By Rachel Caine
Published By NAL Hardcover
expected Release Date: November 1, 2011

Summary: With her boss preoccupied researching the Founder Houses in Morganville, student Claire Danvers is left to her own devices when she learns that three vampires have vanished without a trace. She soon discovers that the last person seen with one of the missing vampires is someone new to town-a mysterious individual named Magnus. After an uneasy encounter with Morganville's latest resident, Claire is certain Magnus isn't merely human. But is he a vampire-or something else entirely?

**Haven't gotten tired of this series yet. I just recently finished and enjoyed Bite Club. Glad there is not too long of a wait before the next one is available.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Book Review (Shorts) ~ A Fantasy Medley

A Fantasy Medley
edited by Yanni Kuznia
Published By Subterranean

Zen and the Art of Vampirism By Kelley Armstrong: Takes place in the Otherworld series. I loved this story of how Zoe Takano gets rid of two vampires who decided they were going to take over her city.
Riding the Shore of the River of Death By Kate Elliott: from Crown of Stars. I'm not familiar with the series or world this story takes place in. I started reading it and it did not hold my attention so I skipped ahead.
From Russia, with Love By CE Murphy: characters from Negotiator Trilogy. This is described as Janx and Daisani fighting for the affection of Baba Yaga's daughter. I found it to be more about how these two characters are intertwined with each other. It made me more curious to find out what happened between this story and where they are in the series.
Words Like Coins By Robin Hobb: This takes place in Farseer world. This was another where I wasn't familiar with the world and had trouble getting into.