Sunday, January 31, 2010

January Wrap-Up

This post turned out to be longer than I apologies!

January has been a weird month for me. It began with a reading slump that had started in November/December - I just couldn't enjoy much of what I was reading. Things started to pick up a bit, and looking at my list I did read a bunch of books but it feels like it took a long time (if that makes any sense). I started and put back SEVERAL books before going with the ones I actually read. I also noticed I didn't do very many reviews, AND I used up all the reviews I had "in the can". I think I only have one left!

This is also the first year I've joined several reading challenges. My plan is to not use any books in more than one challenge. For example, reading Bound to Please I could put in either Erotica or Contemporary but not both.

New Author Challenge (NAC)
Contemporary Reading Challenge (CRC)
Erotica Reading Challenge (ERC)
M/M Reading Challenge (M/M)
JDR In-Death Challenge (JDR)
Vampire Series Reading Challenge (VRC)

My January Read List:

1. Wolf Signs - Vivian Arend (NAC)
2. The Wild West - Victoria Dahl
3. Wolf Tales - Kate Douglas (NAC) DNF
4. Blush Opal Carew - (NAC)
5. Catch of the Day - Kristen Higgins (CRC)
6. Giving Chase - Lauren Dane (CRC)
7. Taking Chase - Lauren Dane
8. Hot In Here - Sophie Renwick (CRC)
9. Nice Girls Don't Live Forever - Molly Harper *
10. Sold to a Laird - Karen Ranney (NAC)
11. Dirty - Megan Hart *
12. Crossroads - Moira Rogers
13. Strange Bedpersons - Jennifer Crusie (NAC)
14. Crossroads - Moira Rogers
15. To Tempt A Scotsman - Victoria Dahl
16. Shift - Rachel Vincent *
17. The Mane Event - Shelley Laurenston (NAC)
18. Long Hard Ride - Lorelei James (ERC)
19. The Mane Attraction - Shelley Laurenston
20. Stay With Me - Maya Banks
21. Bound to Please - Lilli Feisty* (ERC)
22. Delicious - Shayla Black (ERC)
23. The Wedding (re-read) - Julie Garwood
* denotes 5 star reads. See how bad I am? I think I only did reviews on 5 or 6 of these books! AND, I did not finish my book for the In-Death Reading Challenge - bad, bad Patti!

I also got some awards this month:
From Larissa over at Larissa's Life, I received the Prolific Blogger Award:

I'm passing this award on to:

Parajunkee at Parajunkee's View;
Janna at Erotic Romance Reader;
SuziSunshine at The Geeky Bookworm;
Hannah at Taunt; and
Erotic Horizon

From SusiSunshine at The Geeky Bookworm and Minx at Loose Knickers and Window Lickers, I received:

This one comes with rules:List 10 things that make you happy. Try and do at least one of them today. Tag 10 bloggers that brighten your day. Link back to the person that tagged you.

10 Things that Make me Happy:

1. Husband/kids
2. Tulips
3. Books/Kindle
4. Sunny days
5. The Museum
6. Music
7. Casual evenings in the backyard with friends
8. Presents!
9. blue glass
10. THE SAINTS IN THE SUPERBOWL (you knew it was on the list, don't roll your eyes!)

and to pass it on:

1. Danielle at ALPHA Reader
2. Kris at Kris 'n' Good Books (Her cookies make me happy!)
3. Cecile at All I want and More
4. Kris at the Cajun Book Lady
5. Mandi at Smexybooks
6. Heidenkind at Heidenkind's Hideaway
7. The Gutter Girls
8. The Book Girl
9. Razlover's Book Blog
10. Marissa at Marissa's Booklair

And, lastly (whew!), I received this award from CBrett60 over at Pirate's Bounty:

This award also has rules: Tell 7 secrets and tag 7 People:
1. I am a neat-freak...I get anxious when things are not symmetrical or in order
2. My favorite color is Navy Blue.
3. If my last child had been a boy instead of a girl I wanted to name him Seamus.
4. If a book doesn't contain at least a little sexytime I'm probably not going to read it.
5. I can't do foreign accents. I've tried but fail miserably!
6. I was in court recently (not my fault) and saw an inmate wearing pink handcuffs. Now I want a pair!
7. I always start out reading at home in an uncomfortable wooden chair, then when my back starts hurting move the comfortable chair. I don't know why I don't start in the comfy chair!

I'm passing this award to:
1. Pattepouille at One Book Away from Heaven
2. Pearl at Pearl's World of Romance
3. Chris at Stumbling over Chaos
4. Blodeuedd at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
5. Ms. Moonlight at Moonlight to Twilight
6. Minx at Loose Knickers and Window Lickers
7. The Neverending Shelf

Thanks everyone for the awards!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Recommend Me

I saw this meme over at Bookworming in the 21st Century and thought it would be fun to play along: Kate at The Neverending Shelf is hosting this weekly meme where you recommend a book, old or new, that you want to share.

From Kate's site:
Recommend Me is a weekly event in which participants will pick one of their all time favorite reads to share. This could be a book that your read yesterday or years ago.

To play along, grab a favorite read and tell us about it. You can include your thoughts about the novel, its summary, your favorite memory related to the novel... the possibilities are limitless. If you are up for a challenge, you can also include:

•Your review of the novel
•Links to others' reviews of the novel
•Recommending to a general group of readers or if you want to be extra daring, to specific reader friends

Today I am recommending Rachel Vincent's Werecat series: Stray, Rogue, Pride, Prey, and coming March 1, Shift. The final book in the series, Alpha, is due out in October 2010. (Okay, so that's not the cover for Alpha, but he does look like he's been ravaged by a werecat, eh? Actually, that could be Marc - I think I may have to read this series again, right now! Rowr!)

I haven't seen many bloggers show any love for this series and I've gotta tell you, it's amazing!! I did a post a while back about some of my books my husband has read, and this series is one he asks when the next book is coming out.

Here's my review of Prey, including a mini-summary of Stray, Rogue, and Pride.

Here's my reaction when I went to buy Prey and couldn't find it at the bookstore.

I recently had the opportunity to review Shift, and although I have not posted the review yet I can tell you I gave it 5 stars. I couldn't put it down. I will say this: you really need to read the books in order to get the most out of the story. So much happens over the course of each book that you do miss important plot points if you skip, and this is a series where the heroine grows and matures as the series moves along. There are also plot points that carry over from book to book, as in what happens in book 2 affects the storyline in book 3, etc. I honestly believe that once you start reading you won't want to stop. This series has everything I like - a strong spunky heroine who sometimes makes mistakes and learns from them, sexy alpha males, action, and drama. Just when you think things are going one way she takes a hard right and you're thinking "OMG!". It's great!

I know this is going to sound weird, but Ms. Vincent's werecat world is totally believable. Usually, in a Paranormal, you have to check your disbelief at the door; in this series, your disbelief sneaks out the back while you're engrossed in the story.

So, for my first Recommend Me, I'm recommending Rachel Vincent's Werecat series. Enjoy!

Here are some reviews by other bloggers (warning: There may be spoilers!):

Ink and Paper's Review of Stray and Rogue

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Guest Posting over at The Cajun Book Lady today!

Hey Y'all, I'm guest posting over at the Cajun Book Lady today. Kris invited me as part of her Louisiana Blogger Feature and I was thrilled to participate! Please stop by and say hi!

Review: Nice Girls Don't Live Forever by Molly Harper

I really enjoyed the first two books in this series, Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs and Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men. This book was my favorite of the three. I loved this book - nonstop laughs and an interesting story, and lots of my favorite character, Dick Cheney. I'm only going to say this once (maybe): I love Dick. We see a side of him in this book only hinted at in the previous two books. I could write this whole review around Dick, but I'll behave.

As Nice Girls Don't Live Forever opens, Jane and Gabriel (her sire) are on a European vacation; it's not going well. Gabriel is acting weird, and at every hotel they stop at there's a fancy linen envelope waiting for him at the front desk. It's upsetting Gabriel and he won't tell Jane why. He's keeping her out all night and their sex life is in the toilet. Jane knows he's having an affair, and when she sees one of the letters torn up in the wastebasket, she pieces it together while Gabriel is in the shower and she reads it. It is from another woman (vampire) and Jane is devastated. She leaves to come back to the USA immediately and Gabriel doesn't try to stop her; that upsets her more.

Back in her hometown, Jane takes comfort in her friends - Andrea, Dick, Zeb, and Jolene. Andrea is working at the bookstore with Jane, and Dick "helps out". (One of my favorite parts of the book was when Dick took Jane for a "guys night out" to get over Gabriel.) Jolene is pregnant and Zeb is having "I'm not ready to be a father issues". Jolene's werewolf family is making it hard for them to have a house built away from the werewolf compound and both families are getting crazy about the impending birth.

It was fun to watch Jane settle back into her life without Gabriel. She joins the Chamber of Commerce and meets "the Courtneys". Dick's great-great-great grandson comes into the bookstore and decides to stay, making attempts to wrestle it away from her, and Jane has to deal with him because Dick and Mr. Wainwright refuse to deal with their progeny. Weird things are happening - there was a break-in at the bookstore and someone throws stink-fruit at her house. Then Jane starts getting threatening letters and photos, and someone makes an attempt on her life. Gabriel's come back to try to patch things up but is he sincere? He still won't tell Jane what's going on.

There is so much going on in this book it's impossible to get bored. Between seeing Jane's relationship with her mother and sister grow, Zeb and Jolene's pre-birth fiascos, the crazy Courtneys at the Chamber, Jane's relationship with Gabriel, the mysterious letter-writer, and Dick and Andrea's attempts to cheer Jane up, this book kept me turning the page to find out what was next.

Jane is as snarky as ever:
After she sips some coffee: "Gah! That's awful! My cousin Muriel isn't that bitter and she has two gay ex-husbands...who now live together."

When asking a werewolf about her pregnancy: "...Can you still transform? Are werewolf babies born able to transform? Do you give birth in a big cardboard box with towels in it?"

If you haven't started this series yet - do it!!! I really hope they give Ms. Harper a new contract for more books - I give Nice Girls Don't Life Forever 5 stars.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Review: Bound to Please by Lilli Feisty

This book falls under my Erotica Reading Challenge.

Ruby Scott is an event planner in San Francisco; she works with her best friend, Meg. Mark St. Crow is a musician in town to meet with Meg's husband, a record producer. They meet at an art show Ruby and Meg are doing and immediately hit it off. Mark talks Ruby into meeting him at his concert later that night and gives her a few rules to adhere to while she's there. After the show, they go back to her place and Ruby gets a bit more insight into the fact that Mark is a Dom - and she discovers she likes it!

Ruby's childhood was less than perfect, and she has some abandonment issues. Mark's rock-n-roll lifestyle isn't really condusive to the steady relationship that Ruby thinks she wants. She knows she's attracted to Mark and he's attracted to her, but she doesn't want to be 2nd place behind his music. It seemed to me she spent a good portion of the book trying to leave Mark before he could leave her, doubting his assertions that he cared about her. The thing is, neither Ruby nor Mark wanted to leave, but neither could see how they could make a relationship work.

Oh. My. Goodness. I really liked this book! I enjoyed reading both Ruby and Mark, they were likeable characters and I wanted things to work out between them. Every time they hit a bump I thought to myself, "You can do it - give it a chance!" The sexual chemistry between them was hot, hot, hot! (I may have taken notes *g*) I also liked the secondary story of Meg and her husband Emmett. Mark's music partner Yvette. At first I didn't think I would, but by the end of the book I found myself hoping we'll see her again.

This book held my attention all the way through - no skimming or running off to check my e-mail when things got slow. I give Bound to Please 5/5 stars! Her next book, Dare to Surrender, is out next month and I can't wait to read it!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Bloggie Cult

A few weeks ago, I was going over blogs, and over at Tynga's Urban Fantasy Reviews I stumbled across a mention of The Bloggie Cult . The Bloggie Cult is a collaboration between Kate from The Neverending Shelf and Kristen from Bookworming in the 21st Century. A big part of my New Year's Resolution was to improve my blog, so naturally I headed on over to check it out!

Kristen has graciously agreed to mentor me. Thank you and I'm sorry in advance ;) The Bloggie Cult Ladies had me fill out a questionairre to give them an idea of what I'm looking to improve. I indicated I'd like to improve my layout, reviews, basic html assistance, and social networking. I redid my layout a few months ago and I like it, but I'm sure there are things I can do to make it better. I'd love a little constructive criticism regarding my reviews - I think they come across kind of dry sometimes and maybe need to be a bit more organized in content and presentation. HTML to me is a whole different language and, honestly while I'd like to be better at it I'm scared of it and therefore hesitant to get into it (plus it seems like a different language and I'm afraid I don't have the time or patience to learn). Lastly (and for me a biggie), social networking. In RL I am very shy. I'm a bit less shy in blogland but not by much - I find it difficult to put myself out there. I've signed on for Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads but don't utilize them as much as I probably could.

I love book blogging and am having fun, but I'm hoping these ladies can help me improve where I'm weak and expand my horizons (blogizons?). Thank you, Kristen, for taking me on. I'm looking forward to working with you!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tales of the TBR

After a trip to the bookstore(s) on Saturday, I decided I really needed to get a handle on my TBR shelf. I have a 3-shelf bookcase with all my "keepers" on them (those shelves are overflowing) and the TBRs go on top. Well, they were starting to get a little precarious, listing slightly one way or another, so I decided this was the time to organize. I took a page from Cecile's book and decided to write in a pretty notebook what I have and what I want...(thanks to the heart-stopping Saints win I haven't gotten to write down the Want list yet!)

Here's what I have:

Paranormal: 48 books

Historical: 28 books

Historical Highlanders: 15 books

Contemporary/Erotic: 28 books

Total: 125 print books in my TBR

That does not include my Kindle which currently has a bit over 120 titles (some are "keepers" that I've already read so those don't really count, right? When you finish a book on your kindle to you save it or delete it - just curious) I know this is small potatoes compared to some of the TBRs I've heard about, but I'm surprised it's gotten so big - it's growing like one of my children!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Meeting Richelle Mead and a Giveaway!!

First, I'd like to say thanks to everyone who voted for Ms. Mead to come to New Orleans as one of her stops on her book tour. Even though the signing was in the middle of the Saints playoff game (Who Dat!), my husband agreed to keep our girls so I could take the teenager (Book Mule) and go to the signing. It was very nice - at a small, independent bookstore, probably around 100 people came (I'm not sure about the number...dramatic pause....I was in the 3rd row!!!).

I didn't expect her to look like her photos (why not, I don't know), but she does - she's cute as a button and her red hair is gorgeous!! (I've wanted red hair since I read Anne of Green Gables) She read an excerpt from Blood Promise (about Rose getting another Tarot reading) and then did a bit of Q&A. I don't think she revealed anything new in the Q&A (6 VA books, 6 Succubus books, I don't remember if she mentioned how many Dark Swan books) although she did say when she finishes up VA and Georgina she may do a VA spinoff or something but she wants to go down to one YA and one adult series each. I asked who her favorite characterwas and while she didn't really answer directly she did say Georgina is her favorite to write because that character is most like herself, and Rose is least like herself. She said the men were becoming fun to write, at which point I asked if Seth would redeem himself before the series was over and she gave me a wry look and said yes.

Reading an excerpt from Blood Promise:

Answering questions:

She was actually very talkative while she signed which surprised me; I figured seeing so many people and signing your name over and over would be a bit monotous. She did comment on that when she signed two of my books and realized she'd signed the same thing, she went ahead and added some more stuff to make it a bit different - she was really sweet.

She did a post about her visit with pics and Book Mule and I are in one of the photos, LOL!

As a big thank-you for voting, while I was there I got Ms. Mead to sign a copy of Vampire Academy and a copy of Succubus Blues (SB was my first book review - this series does not get the love it deserves IMO) to give away. I'll pick one winner for each book. Due to the fact that this city is getting ready to turn into Party Central and I plan at being at Mardi Gras Parades for almost two weeks straight, the contest will end February 19.

Here are the rules:

1. You MUST be a follower.

2. +2 for putting my button on your blog (leave link)

3. +1 each for posting, sidebar mention, or tweet of this contest (leave link).

Everyone is entered for both books unless you mention you're only interested in one or the other. Open to everyone.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In Which My Nerdiness Shows Again....

Remember when you were a teenager and you'd have "a song"? That song that just totally got how you are as a couple?

Well, I'm way past teenager (although hubs and I do have a song) so now I listen to songs and think "that song is perfect for -insert character names here-". Yes, lame, I know. Keeping in mind I don't really watch TV and definitely don't watch music videos (cuts into my reading time!!), so I don't know if the videos are weirdly inappropriate for my couples.

Here's a few:

Cat and Bones (Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress Series):

Richard from Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series (in her later books):

Charlaine Harris' Eric and Sookie (after the blood bond):

Jace from Rachel Vincent's Shifter series:

Moira Rogers' Derek and Nick (Crossroads - right before Nick goes to NY):

Megan Hart's Dan and Emme from Dirty:

And Ilona Andrews' Kate and Curran (in this song I see Kate talking and Curran imagining Kate dancing around his Bimbo Room to the music):

So anyway, that's my short list; hope you liked it!

Review: How To Tame A Modern Rogue by Diana Holquist

When I read the blurb for this book I thought it would be a fun, light read. I was right - it was pretty cute!

Ally Giordano is a teacher who's parents left her in the care of her wealthy grandmother when she was 15. It's 10 years later and she's done waiting for them to come back. She's moving from her apartment in New York City and relocating to San Francisco.

Sam Carson is a sexy, wealthy businessman with a 1-month limit on relationships. Apparently he's quite the playboy. As he's arriving to his apartment, he sees an angry girlfriend out front and is considering leaving when an elderly lady in a carriage pulls up in front of him. When she addresses him as a Marquis, he informs her he's a Duke - Duke Whatthehell. He accepts her offer of a ride, thinking it should be an interesting trip,until she mentions to him that he'll be marrying her granddaughter.

The night before she's supposed to move to San Francisco, Ally's grandmother shows up at her door, dressed in Victorian garb, in a horse and carriage, with a man. After a few minutes, Ally realizes her grandmother is having some sort of mental episode and needs some help. She delays her trip to figure out what's going on, and realizes her grandmother is living out her favorite historical romance novel!

Knowing her grandmother may be declining into her last days, or could stay delusional forever, Ally decides to give her a farewell trip to say goodbye. They are going to go on a trip by carriage. Ally asks Sam for help, as her grandmother is obsessed with him, and he agrees. Ally has been on his mind and he doesn't know why.

The trip was entertaining and it was fun to watch Ally loosen up and Sam learn that love can come more than once in a lifetime. There is an interesting side story with the carriage driver that was kind of a mystery.

I liked this book, it was a fun read with a satisfying ending. There were a few spots where things moved quickly and I suspended disbelief; I'm giving it 3 1/2 stars.

Disclaimer: I won this book from Author Kelly Moran's blog.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Review: Crosssroads by Moira Rogers

Crossroads is the follow-up to Crux, and is the 2nd book in Moira Roger's Southern Arcana series. I thoroughly enjoyed Crux (my review here), and and have been looking forward to this book.

Nicole Peyton (Nick) is a bar owner in New Orleans. She's also a werewolf - not just any shapeshifter but the daughter of the New York Alpha. She's made her home in New Orleans to escape the politics of werewolf society in New York. Derek Gabriel was a regular guy with supernatural relatives until he was turned into a werewolf two years ago. He was attracted to Nick before he was turned, but since he was turned hasn't acted on those feelings because he's not sure he can control his "wolfy" urges and is afraid he'll hurt her. There's also the problem of who her father is - in this Southern Arcana world, the werewolf heirachy is very defined: natural-born werewolves consider "made" werewolves to be second-class citizens, and the governing body (Conclave) is like royalty. So naturally Derek's a bit intimidated because he's a nobody and Nick is "royalty". Nick is frustrated because she thinks Derek doesn't like her and doesn't understand Derek's reasons for not acting on his feelings for her.

As Derek and Nick finally start to act on their feelings towards each other, Nick's twin-sister Michelle and her guardian/boyfriend Aaron literally show up on her doorstep. Michelle and Aaron are in trouble with the Conclave; Nick knows the Conclave will send someone to hunt for them and knows she must do anything she can to help her twin. Nick gets her sister into hiding and decides she has to go to New York to try to save her sister and Aaron. She and Derek are also dealing with their feelings and urges for each other. The interactions between Nick and Derek were so sweet (and sexy!), and the scenes between the two of them when Nick went to New York were heartbreaking. The ending had a twist or two I didn't see coming, but was satisfying and made me smile.

This book was fast paced right up until the end - there was a lot going on. My only problem was that I couldn't keep all the secondary characters straight as far as supernatural/human and friend/relative/coworker. That was my difficulty with Crux as well, but I think it's probably just a reflection on the fact that I can't keep names straight in real life either.

I give Crossroads 4.5/5 stars - it was an enjoyable read and I'm hoping there will be more books in this series; several of the secondary characters have stories I'd love to read about. Crossroads goes on sale February 9, 2010.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Review: Coming Undone by Lauren Dane

Coming Undone is the highly anticipated follow-up to Laid Bare (my review of Laid Bare here). Although this is a sequel it can definitely be read as a stand-alone. Coming Undone centers on Erin's older brother Brody and his new neighbor, Elise.

Brody is almost 40, tatted up, and hot; he actually owns his own tattoo parlor. We learn throughout the story that Brody's parents died when he was a young man and he left his plans for the future to care for his younger brother and sister - he doesn't regret any of it, they are a very close family.

Elise is a former ballet dancer and single mother. Her daughter, Rennie, is six years old. Elise has a pretty terrible past and works hard to protect her daughter from any of the aftereffects. Her ex-husband was abusive and Elise has is wary of men in general and Alpha-type men specifically. She's moved across the country to start a new life.

Brody and Elise get to know each other through a series of events and they end up dating. Neither one is looking for anything serious, but over the course of several months they do become serious; everyone around them knows it except Brody and Elise. There are some very sensual and tender moments, and Elise's former in-laws cause a lot of problems for Elise and Rennie. Brody wants to help but Elise is determined to handle things on her own.

While I did enjoy this book immensely, one thing I didn't like was how often Elise brought up that she wasn't going to put up with X,Y, or Z because she wanted to protect Rennie - she mentioned it a lot; such as the scene where Raven tells her off and Elise refuses to be around Raven "to protect Rennie". I felt like it really had nothing to do with Rennie and Elise was using it as an excuse to not have to deal with Raven.

Speaking of Raven - Ooohhh! I loved hating her!!! She was great (in a totally bitchy way, of course), and I couldn't believe Brody was that clueless about her.

I liked this book, I liked Brody and Elise, and I was glad we got to see Erin, Todd, and Ben again. I'm hoping the next story is the third sibling, Adrian, but I read somewhere it's going to be Cope's story (Ben's brother, I think?). Either way, it's an auto-buy for me!
I give Coming Undone 4/5 stars.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Review: It Happened One Night by Lisa Dale

I'd seen a lot of buzz around the internet about this book and even though it's got a pregnancy plotline (which I usually RUN away from) I wanted to read it. I'm glad I did.

Lana Biel co-owns a flower and seed store with her sister, Karin. Lana is a free spirit, she's always wanted to travel the world and plans to, as soon as her sister is settled in with her husband. Karin and her husband want a baby but so far have been unsuccessful in their atempts to conceive naturally. Lana's best friend Eli is a meteorite hunter and teacher; he travels often with his job. Eli loves Lana but hasn't told her - recently. Lana wants their friendship to stay platonic because she's afraid if they become romantically involved he'll eventually leave her and she doesn't think she could live without him.

As the book opens, Lana is taking a home pregnancy test with Eli there for emotional support. Lena had been casually dating Ron but hadn't seen him in months - the last time they'd had sex, actually.

From that point, the story goes back to the night Lana and Ron had sex, and the events leading up to the moment Lana takes the pregnancy test, which is positive. Lana is devastated - she doesn't want kids, she wants to travel. She knows she'll have to tell her sister, Karin, who is desperate for a child. Her relationship with Eli is becoming rocky, as he wants a romantic relationship and Lana keeps fighting it.

This book has several twists that are heartbreaking yet hopeful. There are no easy answers for Lana, Eli, or Karin's problems. Ms. Dale does a very good job of showing each side of the story and I was unsure of the outcome until the end. There were a few slow spots involving Lana's father where I wished she'd move the plot along, but I really enjoyed this book and give it 4 stars.

Disclaimer: I won this book from Author Kelley Moran's blog.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Review: Wolf Tales by Kate Douglas

I'd seen a recommendation somewhere about this series, and after checking around saw that Ms. Douglas has written 9 books in this series, so I figured it would be pretty good. There are shapeshifters and maybe menage so I was ready to read. It was off to a good start, the sexin' started on page 6.

As the story begins, Alexandria Olanet (Xandi) is out in a snowstorm, her car having gone over a cliff. She'd been out driving in the storm to get away from her fiance; she'd walked in on him having sex with another woman. As night falls and Xandi is still wandering around in the snow, she passes out, but wakes up in a warm bed with a large penis beween her legs, rubbing up against her from behind. She has crazy wicked sex and passes out again. When she wakes up she's at a rest stop. A limo stops to offer her a ride and she immediately knows the man in the back seat is the man she had sex with. Then she gets a good look at him - he's really hairy..all over, even his face, but she finds herself attracted to him.

Stefan Aragat was a famous magician who suddenly disappeared from public view. Apparently he pissed off his mentor, who turned him into a wolf. After several tries, he got himself back to semihuman form but cannot rid himself completely of wolf characteristics. Xandi is attracted to Stefan and overlooks his wolfy traits, and they have crazy sex again. So far so good...

Here's where it started to go bad for me - page 34:

After a moment's struggle, she found the zipper, tugged it slowly down, released the pressure holding his damned cock in place. It practically jumped out of the opening, all glistening animal cock that it was. He might have changed his hands, but the penis still looked like something a dog would sport...a very large dog. He wondered if he'd ever get used to the sheathlike foreskin, the strange shape, the extra-sensitive surface of this organ.

See, here's the thing...I grew up in a dog family - great danes to be specific. Anyone who's ever been around a male dog when he's excited knows what a "red rocket" looks like. I just cannot get past that. Am I misunderstanding, or is she having sex with a canine penis? *blinks and rubs eyes*

Apparently I've found my limit. There were a couple of more scenes where she mentions his red penis, and how she hopes if Stefan gets changed back to human form he'll be able to keep this penis. I had no problem with Stefan taking it from behind by his mentor while Xandi watched, but every time sex came up all I could think about was that damned red rocket and I finally shut the book for good.

If anyone else has read this series, I'd love to hear from you. Is this not as bad as I'm imagining? There are 9 books in the series, should I try again with book 2? Obviously it's a popular series - is each book different? I'm all out of brain bleach so if it's more of the same I don't think I can do it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Review: Dirty by Megan Hart, aka I've Got A New Book Boyfriend!

I picked up this book thinking it sounded like a good story and it fell under my Erotic Romance Challenge. Little did I know I not only would I love this book, but I would also find my new fictional boyfriend here!

Dirty is the story of Elle and Dan. They met in a candy shop, went to a bar and had a few drinks, and that was that. But Elle couldn't stop thinking about him. When she went out for drinks and dancing with her friend from work a few weeks later, Dan was there. It was hot and steamy right there on the dance floor!

Elle has a lot of issues that you don't see right at the beginning of the story. She's got a dysfunctional relationship with her parents, and her gay brother won't come home to visit. Elle is a counter, she counts everything. Counting is one of three ways she can forget her past - the other two are sex and drinking. Her father is a full-fledged alcoholic, so she doesn't drink much, which leaves counting and sex. She doesn't date, but she does pick up men for sex. She thinks this is what will happen with Dan; but acknowledges to herself she's strangely drawn to him.

Although he's described as average in height and stature, Dan is definitely a dominant male. He knows better than Elle what she wants for herself. The thing about Dan is he's also patient and sensitive to her needs. He knows there's something under the surface that he doesn't know or understand yet. He knows he wants her and puts up with a lot of things a less secure man would walk away from. And yet he was not a "super" hero - he had flaws. He got mad. He had insecurities (shown especially, I thought, in the class reunion scenes).

These two are amazing together, and not just sexually. Dan is in her life but she won't let him be a part of it; I think I would describe Dan as the catalyst that causes Elle to be ready to really look at herself and her life when the time comes.

This book is beautifully written. Her descriptions of Elle's thoughts and reactions and sensory perceptions made me feel like I was in the story, watching while the scenes played out. Ms. Hart layered this story perfectly; Elle's relationship with her next door neighbors is hopeful yet sad and is another symptom of Elle's primary issues, her relationship with her brother and mother, her books, and her counting are all beautifully woven together to leave us wanting more of her story, and when we get The Whole Picture - wow.

When I wasn't reading this book I was thinking about it. I give this story 5/5 stars. Thank you Ms. Hart, for sharing it with your readers.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Review: Night's Cold Kiss by Tracey O'Hara

Night's Cold Kiss is the first book in the Dark Brethren Series.

Antoinette Petrescu is a Venator, a highly trained vampire hunter. Vampires come in two types: Aeternus - regular vampires, and Dreniacs - vampires who drink until they kill the human. While Antoinette has been trained to fight Dreniacs, she doesn't like Aeternus vampires either. Her mother was killed by a Dreniac in front of her when Antoinette was a child and therefore she has an obsessive hatred of all vampires.

When Antoinette is charged to a mission partnering with an Aeternus, Christian Laroque, she is vehemently opposed but is overruled by her superiors. On the way to the mission, Christian discoveres Antoinette has been injured in a recent vampire attack and it's become infected. He makes a poultice to heal it, which includes some of his blood. Apparently vampire blood is a powerful aphrodisiac and they have hot vamp sex in the airplane. Once vampires go into Blood-thrall (intense sexual arousal) they must complete the act for relief. Naturally when she comes down off her vamp-blood thrall Antoinette is mortified. Christian is confused because the sex with Antoinette was unusually powerful. The romantic tension between them zinged throughout the rest of the book as Antoinette is attracted to Christian and fights her prejudice against vampires.

While investigating some mysterious deaths of females - they all look like Antoinette - some of her superiors are attacked. Antoinette witnesses the attacks; they were attacked by the vampire who killed her mother. He's supposed to be dead - permanently! No one believes Antoinette and she is briefly a suspect.

I give this book 3 1/2 stars. I liked this story - there were a couple of twists I didn't see coming. The death of one particular character was so sad, and the bad guy was not who I thought it was. I'll be on the lookout for book 2 - Death's Sweet Embrace, to be released in September 2010.

Disclaimer - I won this book at Yankee Romance Reviews.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Review: Tangled Up In You by Rachel Gibson

Tangled Up In You is my second book by Rachel Gibson. I really enjoyed this one, too.

Maddie Dupree is returning to the town where her mother was murdered by her married lover's wife when Maddie was a toddler. Now it's 29 years later, Maddie's a true crime writer who's decided it's time to write her mother's story.

Mick Hennessey owns the family bar. His father was killed by his mother when she killed him and his lover, then shot herself, leaving two young children behind.

Maddie comes back to town, determined to get answers and write her book. She doesn't count on falling for the handsome bar owner. She's going to tell him who she is, but the time is never right. Then, after she attempts some interviews with the townsfolk, Mick finds out she's writing a book about his parents. (Maddie's been using her pen name so no one has made the connection that her last name is the same name as the Other Woman.) Although he tries to stay away from her, he's drawn to Maddie. Maddie's going to tell him her mother was the Other Woman, the woman killed by his mother, but she's fallen in love with Mack and she's afraid to tell him.

The reveal is so bittersweet. Mack is so betrayed and leaves. Maddie throws herself into writing the book. And the way she tries to reconnect with Mack is touching.

I liked the characters, I liked the plot. Mick had other issues with his sister that made him a sympathetic hero, and Maddie was chasing the truth to say goodbye to her mother. I really liked this story, I'd give it 4/5 stars.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Just because I want to share:

While I was in Houston this weekend, I went to Trader's Village - a huge outdoor flea-market and found a great little jewelry maker in a sword shop - The Pirates Cove. ThimbleNina does nice work and I purchased three necklaces!! I'm wearing the Boondock Saints necklace today:

Any Boondock Saints nerds out there? It's pretty cool - if you can't read it the back has that prayer they always say on it and it's on a black ribbon so it looks great.

I also bought one similar to this:

She's got some really good pin-up art and geeky stuff, as well as anime and feminine stuff. Seriously - go check her out!!!!

Happy New Year and Review: Bending the Rules by Susan Andersen

I hope everyone had a happy and safe New Year celebration! I'm back from vacation and feeling refreshed; my book slump seems to be over and I'm excited about reading again! I read a few books on my kindle during the drive back and forth to Houston...I LOVE MY KINDLE!!!!

I've fallen a bit behind in reviews so I've got to get back into that - I don't think I did reviews of any of the books I read in December. My resolution at this point is to get back on track as far as reviews, figure out Goodreads and book blogs, and jump into Twitter. I downloaded Tweetdeck at home but then went to bed so I haven't looked at it to see what's what. Not sure if it's a good idea to download it at work as it seems to be addicting and my boss thinks I'm actually here to work, not just collect a paycheck.

Is anyone thinking about going to the Richelle Mead book signing on Jan. 16? I'd love to meet if anyone else will be there.

So, on to the review:

Poppy Calloway had two best friends as a child. They grew up inseperable, although their socioeconomic backgrounds were not the same. Once again, I unknowingly picked up the 2nd book in a series. I liked this book and will be going back for the first book, Cutting Loose. I found out today at Book Binge that Harlequin will not be publishing the 3rd book in the series, and all I can say is, WTF?

Poppy is on the neighborhood business board, and there was some vandalism by young spraypainters (taggers). The board is trying to decide if they want to press charges or not as the offenders are first-timers. The police officer the board invites to the discussion is Jason deSanges, who Poppy can't stand. He assisted them in the first book, and she finds him abrasive and rude. When Poppy wants to have the kids clean the damage and give them a wall to do art on, Jason disagrees. After a vote, it ends up that the kids will clean and have a wall, but Poppy and Jason will supervise to make sure they do a good job and don't get into trouble.

The three taggers are not thrilled but agree in order to escape having a police record. The night before they're supposed to begin, one of the taggers, Cory, witnesses a mob-sanctioned robbery. When she does her tagging, Cory dresses like a boy, so she hopes the mobster will be looking for a boy, not her. Cory's past has lead her to not trust the police, so she does not tell anyone what she witnessed.

Working with the kids is bringing Poppy and Jason closer. He's not as hard-ass as she originally thought and is actually good with the kids. He fights the attraction, as he was a foster-system child and doesn't think he's capable of love and knows Poppy is the kind of woman who deserves to be loved.

The story was interesting, told from Poppy's, Jason's, Corey's, and the mobser's point of view. The interconnecting storylines were good and I liked the characters. I felt like at one point Poppy and Jason moved a bit quickly, but honestly, in this day and age I think that might happen quite a bit in real life too. Her interactions with her two girlfriends was fun too, but the main focus was Poppy and Jason and Poppy and the kids. Normally I find kids in books annoying but these kids were part of the plotline and did not put me off at all.

I'd give this book 3 1/2 stars.