Monday, May 30, 2011

DNF Review: The Initiations of Ms. Holly by K D Grace

The Initiations of Ms. Holly
~K D Grace

Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Xcite Books
Publish Date: January 3, 2011
ISBN-10: 9781907016431
ISBN-13: 978-1907016431
ASIN: 1907016430

From Goodreads:
Sex with a mysterious stranger aboard a train leads Rita Holly to an initiation into the exclusive and secretive Mount club. Sophisticated and deviant rituals await Rita, as do the endless intrigues and power struggles deep within the heart of the organization.

Rita Holly is on a train when the power goes out. She's feeling claustrophobic, but lucky for her, Edward, the gentleman who bumps into her in the dark aisle, wants to help her out...a hot kiss to take her mind off things soon leads to mind-blowing sex, on the train, and when they part, she realizes she never even saw his face.

Once she's home, she wants to find him again. Her roommate playfully texts him, pretending to be Rita, and he texts her back that he'd like to see her again. They arrange to meet at The Mount, an exclusive club that is rumored to be a sex club. Rita is excited to be invited, and once there she's overwhelmed by the opulence and sexuality of the place. She soon learns that there are rules, and if she wants to be with Edward, she must follow them. If she is well-behaved, she'll be invited to become a member, at which time she will be able to see Edward's face. In the meantime, she must go through an initiation period with each of the members.

My thoughts:
I'm going to be up front, I did not finish this book. I like reading erotica, but for me there was just too much sex. I like sex in my books - lots of it. But The Initiations of Ms. Holly wore me down. I read 74% of the book before I set it down for good. I think I would have enjoyed this book much more if it had been a collection of short stores instead of one long one.

There was also no real character development - what is the basis of the attraction between the main characters? I know she eventually decides she's doing it as an expose for her magazine, but it doesn't feel true - this reader knows she's doing it for Edward. Why does Vivian, the Mistress of the Mount, hate Rita so much? Why does Edward want Rita so much that he'll endure whatever Vivian dishes out? Halfway through, Rita's mother becomes an issue - she's stalking Rita? It was a bit too much to throw into the plot. I also found the word the author used for her sexy bits - a "pout" - to be distracting. I've never heard that expression; I asked on twitter and checked urban dictionary but couldn't find anything. (I am still curious about where it came from if anyone knows)

The sex in The Initiations of Ms. Holly was very steamy - if you're looking for a very sexy read this might be a good choice; it was just not a good book for me.

My Rating:

Received from the publicist in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Has anyone tried Audible?

I like to listen to books on disk - I spend a lot of time in the car and listening to books makes it bearable. I've been seeing a bit of buzz around the interwebz about Audible, but even though I've looked at the site, I'm not sure what it is or how it works...

It looks like you can download audiobooks to your ipod or smartphone? Do you get to keep the downloads? If you do get to keep the books, do they just accumulate space on your ipod/phone? I'm wondering how many books I could load onto my ipod before it's full or there's no more room for music...

From what I can tell, the selection looks pretty good - I'd be buying Romance, of course... Although it looks a bit pricey if you want more than one audiobook/month - is the membership worth it?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


The winners of Moonglass by Jessi Kirby are:

Comment #6:Ms. Towle
Comment # 10:Enamored Soul

(An e-mail will be sent to the winners.)

Thanks everyone for entering!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Review: Tender Mercies by Kitty Thomas

Tender Mercies
~Kitty Thomas

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 283 KB
Publisher: Burlesque Press
Publish Date: May 6, 2011
Language: English

From Goodreads:
“Grace. That word that finally meant something again. Mercy. Favor. Good will.”

Fed up with play kink, Grace Warner moves to an island that embraces erotic slavery to be with a man she met online. Within hours of her arrival, everything is ripped from her, and she quickly learns play is preferable to the realities of actual enslavement.

Asher Collins has spent the past year mourning and blaming himself for the death of his slave, Darcy. When Grace catches his eye at a showing, obviously abused, he becomes obsessed with buying her and finding a way to atone for his own past sins.

Grace Warner wants to be an erotic slave. So much so that she's been considering moving to a private island where it's legal...and binding. She's been communicating with Lucas Stone, a resident of the island nation Eleu, for almost a year. He wants her to come out and be his slave, but she's just not sure she's willing to give up her citizenship and become his legal property. After they have an argument and quit communicating, she realizes it is what she wants and agrees to go to him.

What happens once she gets to the island is not at all what she'd envisioned - he's a vicious and sadistic master. Eight months into it, she barely recognizes her beaten, bloodied appearance or even her own name. Then, when she thinks things can't get worse, he sells her to Asher Collins, a man reputed to have killed his last slave.

What Grace doesn't know is that Asher didn't kill his slave, but feels responsible for her death anyway. His guilt has prevented him from purchasing another slave,until he sees how Lucas has been treating Grace. He sees in Grace a chance to atone for his mistakes and save a life where previously he did not. But has Grace been tortured beyond repair? Can she unlearn the lessons taught by such a sadistic master as Lucas was? And is Asher a strong enough master to save her?

Kitty Thomas writes darkly erotic novels that are not easily forgotten; Tender Mercies is no exception. Her psychologically disturbing yet erotic stories take the reader on a journey of submission and trust as a way to fulfillment. Comfort Food, Guilty Pleasures, and Tender Mercies all explore the slave/master dynamic, but she manages to make the story different and intriguing each time. Her stories are well-crafted and even though the scenarios are fantastical in a kinky, masochistic sense, I don't have any trouble falling right into her stories and becoming fully vested in the characters and their experiences. I am slightly disturbed by how much I enjoy her books; as if something this dark should not be enjoyed, but I do. Very much.

Note: This book contains non-consentual sex scenes, so if you have difficulty reading those types of scenes, this may not be the book for you.

My Rating:

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Review: Love Drunk Cowboy by Carolyn Brown

Love Drunk Cowboy
~Carolyn Brown

Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publish Date: May 1, 2011
ISBN-10: 1402253583
ISBN-13: 978-1402253584

From the back cover:
She’s a Self-Made City Girl…
High-powered career woman Austin Lanier suddenly finds herself saddled with an inherited watermelon farm deep in the countryside. She’s determined to sell the farm, until her new, drop-dead sexy neighbor Rye O’Donnell shows up…

He’s as Intoxicating as Can Be…
Rancher Rye O’Donnell thinks he’s going to get a good deal on his dream property—until he meets the fiery new owner. Rye is knocked sideways when he realizes that not only is Granny Lanier’s city-slicker granddaughter a savvy businesswoman, she’s also sexy as hell…

Suddenly Rye is a whole lost less interested in real estate and a whole lot more focused on getting Austin to set aside her stiletto heels…

Austin Lanier is an oil executive in Tulsa. Her mother has always encouraged her to put her career first and focus on working her way to the top.

Rye O'Donnell is a cowboy through and through - he owns a ranch, raises bulls, and rides in the rodeo.

When Austin's grandmother dies, she leaves her a watermelon farm and very specific funeral instructions. Austin goes out to Terral, Texas to carry out her grandmother's wishes, and she meets Rye, who lives across the street from her grandmother's farm. Rye was friendly with Austin's grandmother, and after her death Austin and Rye spoke on the phone, but Austin assumed he was an older man in his 70s, not a 32-year-old hunky cowboy.

Austin's intention is to clear out her grandmother's home, sell the farm, and move back to Tulsa, but it her plans keep leading her back towards Terral: There's migrant workers who depend on working the farm, a watermelon winery that's a surprise to Austin, and she can't stop thinking about that sexy cowboy right across the street.

My thoughts: Love Drunk Cowboy was pretty cute. I liked both Austin and Rye, and their chemistry was good. I loved how various scenarios made it seem that Austin's grandmother was pushing them together from the grave. The townsfolk were friendly and fun (the workings of the gossip mill had me smiling), and I enjoyed reading Austin's struggle between her corporate career and small-town living. While I liked Rye's family, I didn't care for Austin's mother and aunts - they seemed one-dimensional and flat. Austin's obsession with Rye's tattoo drove me up a wall, I think it was mentioned at least a dozen times.

My Rating:

This is the first book in Ms. Brown's "Spikes & Spurs" series, and I'm looking forward to the next book, Red's Hot Cowboy, coming August 1, 2011:

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

TMI (not really)

Vixie & Annabella Button

I'm over at Paranormal Haven today for their "Beyond the Blog" feature:
Stop by and learn things about me you never wanted to know :)
Click here and go say hi!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Recap of lunch with Charlaine Harris

My birthday was last week, and my BFF took me to lunch with Charlaine Harris to celebrate! Just the three of us....and about 200 other people, lol :) Murder by the Book in Houston puts on a great event - the lunch was at the Briar Club and it was wonderful.

She did a Q&A session before she signed books. Yes, I'm a nerd and took notes, right there at the table. She was very funny and self-deprecating. She laughed a lot and took compliments from the audience very graciously.
  • The original title for Dead Until Dark was Southern Fried Vampires but her publisher didn't like it. She says it took her two years to sell it - the only other UF at that time was Laurell K Hamilton, and publishers didn't know where to put these kinds of books. She'd been writing her mysteries (Lily Bard, I think she said) and said she decided to write a new series: She'd take her 10 Lily Bard readers with her, throw in some mystery to grab that audience, throw in some blood/gore to grab that audience, and throw in some sex to grab the rest!She's surprised that people are so wrapped up in Sookie's love life, she says the romance is not the main theme for her.
  • After Dead Reckoning there are only two more books left. She's had the key scene in the last book written for 10 years.
  • Sometimes real people do inspire her characters.
  • Her favorite Sookie book to write? All Together Dead - She loved writing about the trip and the hotel.
  • Her favorite (any) book to write? Ice Cold Grave from her Harper Connelly Series; she says she's done with this series. She doesn't believe in extending a series beyond where it should go.
  • I asked (okay, I made my BFF ask) if there were any characters she regretted killing off - she said Claudine. She was in a "clear the decks" mood and killed off a lot of characters in that book - she still feels bad she killed off two pregnant women in one book. States the murders seemed like a good idea at the time :)
  • Someone asked who Niall was talking about when he said "he's a good man" - Ms. Harris states she won't tell us (probably not, anyway), she likes to make her readers do some of the work.
  • She loves her covers - states "It's not a chick in black leather with a gun or knife" Lisa Desimini is the artist.
  • Where did she get the name Sookie? She says it's an old Southern name - her grandmother's best friend was named Sookie. (So is my cat, lol)
  • Was she invited to Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin's wedding? No (she playfully acted indignant)
  • She loves writing Pam - she's fun and sarcastic. States Kristen Bauer does a great job even if she does get the accent wrong - she's supposed to have a British accent, not a Southern accent. She says the actress looks like Pam and the character and writing are consistent.

What's coming up next? She's got an anthology coming out in August: Home Improvement, Undead Edition, with Patricia Briggs, James Grady, Heather Graham, Melissa Marr, and others:

She's also got The Sookie Stackhouse Companion coming out August 30. There's an original novella, interviews with Ms. Harris, Alan Ball, character interviews, a timeline, recipes, and a secret Eric/Bill conversation (<--I'm guessing that has a lot of hissing and "Sookeh is mine" in it, lol).

All in all it was a fabulous lunch - our table mates were super nice and I met another blogger who will be in NOLA for the ALA conference in August. We also sat next to the cutest couple - both in their 70s, I would guess, who were absolutely adorable. They didn't stay for the book signing, they just wanted to see Ms. Harris and hear her speak. BFF and I both said later we hoped our marriages would be like that when we were their age (awwww!!!).

Thank you BFF Hannah for the tickets and going with me; Thank you Hubs (for sending me off for a fun birthday weekend and bankrolling the crazy), and Thank you to my son and mother who watched my two Littlest Book Addicts so that I could go to Houston and have a wonderful grown-up (relatively speaking) weekend!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


The month of May is kicking my ass - I'm so sorry I'm a bit behind on the contest winners. Using (for the first time - I can't believe how simple it is!!), the winners are:

The winner of the Chloe Neill Cadogan House prize pack is:

Comment #34: A Buckeye Girl Reads


The winner of the first three e-books in Moira Rogers' Southern Arcana series is:

Comment #28: Chris S

(An e-mail has been sent to the winners.)

If you didn't win, don't get discouraged:
I'm currently giving away two copies of
by YA author Jessi Kirby - click
here to enter!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

~Jessi Kirby

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publish Date: May 3, 2011
ISBN-10: 1442416947
ISBN-13: 978-1442416949

From Goodreads:
From Jessi Kirby, a debut novel about confronting the past in order to move ahead. I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now, I've thought maybe my mother drowned in both. Anna's life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It's bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love- a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface. While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide means that nothing- not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna's mother's death- stays buried forever.

Learn more about the book here.
As the story opens, it's the end of summer and Anna and her father are moving from her childhood home in Pismo Beach, California, to Crystal Cove. In addition to the difficulties of leaving behind her home and friends, she's also leaving behind her mother; or rather, the place her mother died. When Anna was four, she watched her mother walk out into the ocean and not come back.

Anna's father is a professional lifeguard, and they are moving to Crystal Cove because he accepted a position there. As Anna starts to get settled in and meet new friends, she slowly learns there's more than just a new job in Crystal Cove - it's the place where her parents met and fell in love.

My thoughts: First I have to say that I love the cover - they nailed it, and, it's gorgeous. The title refers to the pastime Anna and her mother used to share: They'd walk along the beach looking for sea glass. When Anna found a piece at night, they dubbed it moon glass.

I fell right into Moonglass, and by the end of the first chapter I was hooked. Anna is a sweet kid and I liked her. She seems pretty well-adjusted, but her memories of her mother are constant, even in this new place, away from where she killed herself. She never talks about her mother with her father. It's not that she's not allowed to, they just don't discuss her.

She meets Ashley, a stereotypically rich, gorgeous, weight-obsessed California girl, and since they'll both be starting school together as new students, they decide to be friends. When Ashley asks about her mother, Anna doesn't tell her she's dead.

She also meets Tyler, a cute lifeguard working on the beach in front of her house. Her father has warned the lifeguards away from Anna, but she gets invited to their end-of-summer beach party, and gets to know Tyler a little better. She also learns a little history of the Cove and how her parents met. A tiny peek into her mother's life...and she wants more, no, she doesn't want more...but she does. She learns her mother lived in one of the cottages; it's one of the now-abandoned cottages, and she can sneak in, if she wants.

Anna's relationship with Tyler progresses at a sweetly, yearningly slow pace, and she wants to think about him and not her mother. Her running helps her forget her questions about her mother, but the questions seem to be coming more frequently now, especially as she meets more people who knew her mother.

I thought this was a fabulous story; there is so much more to it than what I've talked about in my review: her relationship with her father, her mother's past, Anna's own feelings about her mother's death. It's not a light, fluffy read, but still a great book for summer reading - the author really brings the beach setting off the pages. I thought her friend Ashley's character was a bit superfluous and annoying, but not enough to diminish my enjoyment of the book.

Moonglass is Jessi Kirbi's debut novel, and I can't wait to read more by this author.

My Rating:

The giveaway: Simon and Schuster is offering a copy of Moonglass to two lucky winners! (Trust me, this is one you want to win!!) To enter, leave a comment telling me why you like reading YA, and a way to contact you. US addresses only please. Following is not required but is appreciated. Ends May 22.

This book was received by the publicist in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Some Recent DNF reads

Going Cowboy Crazy
~Katie Lane

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Forever
Publish Date: April 26, 2011
ISBN-10: 0446582786
ISBN-13: 978-0446582780

From Goodreads:
Faith Aldridge wants answers. Bramble, Texas is the only place she can find them . . . as well as Hope, the identical twin sister she never knew she had. But the townsfolk reckon that shy city-girl Faith is really her long-lost sister Hope, back in Bramble at last. And they're fixin' to do whatever it takes to heat things up between her and Hope's long-time flame, Slate Calhoun. If that means rustling her car, spreading rumors like wildfire, and reining in some explosive secrets, well, there's no way like the Lone Star way . . .
But Slate's no fool. The woman in his truck may look like Hope, yet the way she feels in his arms is altogether new. He's determined to keep this twin in his bed and out of his heart. Trouble is, the real Hope is headed home, and she's got her own designs on Slate. If Faith wants to avoid heartbreak, she'll have to show a certain ruggedly handsome cowboy that this crazy-impossible love is worth fighting for.
I read to page 166 and I just couldn't go any further. Faith is looking for her separated-at-birth twin sister, Hope, and when she gets to town, Hope is gone. The town thinks she's Hope and she goes along with it. She's attracted to Slate, and the town is thrilled that Hope and Slate are "finally gettin' together again", but after she sleeps with Slate and then figures out Slate and Hope dated in the past, she's furious! Even though every word out of the townsfolk's mouth alluded to it and the local Sheriff hides her car so she can't leave - thereby giving Slate and "Hope" more time to work things out and get together. The townsfolk were all TSTL and, honestly, Faith and Slate both annoyed the heck out of me.

Bound by Honor

~SE Jakes

Format: Kindle Edition

File Size: 716 KB
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

Publish Date: March 1, 2011

Language: English


From Goodreads:
One year ago on a mission gone wrong, Tanner James failed to save the life of Jesse, his Army Ranger teammate. Before dying in that South American jungle, Jesse extracted a promise that won’t let Tanner rest until it’s fulfilled—no matter what it costs him.

Damon Price loved Jesse, but problems in their relationship had come to a head right before Jesse left on his final mission. Now a reluctant Dom and a man still in mourning, he’s not happy when Tanner appears at his BDSM club. And even less happy with Jesse’s last request—that Tanner sub for him for one night.

After a rough start, Damon realizes that the tough soldier, despite his protests, aches for someone to take control. And Tanner senses a hesitance, an insecurity in Damon that makes him wonder if he’s simply a placeholder for Jesse, or if their tentative connection could grow into something more.

For Jesse’s sake, they agree to try one weekend together. Then duty calls, and a series of attacks that have been happening near the club hits too close to home, making both men wonder if giving their hearts is a maneuver fraught with too much risk…

Product Warnings:Contains rough language, rougher sex and warriors who fall hard for each other
I got 38% in before I decided not to continue. Tanner is an Army Ranger, who is going to see a Dom to honor the final request of a dying friend, Jesse. He feels guilty he couldn't save his Jesse's life, so he feels honor-bound to go. Damon Price was Jesse's boyfriend and still isn't over his death a year later. He's angry that Tanner has come and agrees to top him, and ends up humiliating him in front of the patrons of his BDSM club. He regrets his actions and goes to Tanner, asking for a second chance. Tanner agrees, then stands him up, but gets himself into trouble and Damon rescues him. They get together again but then Tanner leaves. For me, although the sex was very hot, the back and forth of "I'm sorry, let's try again *leaves*, I'm sorry, let's try again *leaves*" was too frustrating. And I thought Damon was a jerk. I couldn't get into the mystery that the author was working into the story because I was too annoyed with Damon and Tanner.

This book got good reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, it just didn't work for me.

My Ratings:

These books were provided by the publisher/publicist in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Promo: Dark Swan Graphic Novel (Richelle Mead)

I love Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy and Succubus series. I haven't read her Dark Swan series yet but I bought the first book and am planning to read it soon. I've also found that I'm gaining an appreciation for graphic novels - I bought The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel and Black Wade in the last few months and loved them both. So I'm super excited about this:

Sea Lion Books has released the first five pages of the Dark Swan graphic novel, and it looks good:

According to the publicist, there will be four comic book issues, the first issue releases May 18 and the other comics will come out every month thereafter. The graphic novel, which is the hardcover will be out in September. Richelle Mead posts about it here.

Dark Swan (Graphic Novel)

Hardcover: 120 pages
Publisher: Sea Lion Books
Publish Date: September 20, 2011
ISBN-10: 0982818645
ISBN-13: 978-0982818640

Product description from Amazon:
Eugenie Markham never asked for any of this. Until now, she''s been content with her job as a freelance shaman, battling and banishing Otherworldly creatures. When a prophecy suddenly makes her the Otherworld''s most popular bachelorette, Eugenie finds herself fighting off unwanted supernatural suitors, as well as the evils that begin emerging from her past...

I think I'm going to need a separate shelf for my growing Graphic Novel collection!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Review: Big Bad Beast by Shelly Laurenston

Big Bad Beast
~Shelly Laurenston

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Brava
Publish Date: May 1, 2011
ISBN-10: 0758231709
ISBN-13: 978-0758231703

From the author's website:
When it comes to following her instincts, former Marine Dee-Ann Smith never holds back. And this deadly member of a shifter protection group will do anything to prove one of her own kind is having hybrids captured for dogfights. Trouble is, her too-cute rich-boy boss Ric Van Holtz insists on helping out. And his crazy-like-a-fox smarts and charming persistence are making it real hard for Dee to keep her heart safe...

Ric can't believe his luck. He's wanted this fiercely-independent she-wolf from day one, but he never expected teamwork as explosive as this. And now is his last chance to show Dee what she needs isn't some in-your-face Alpha male-but a wily, resourceful wolf who'll always have her back in a fight…and between the sheets.
I am a huge fan of Shelly Laurenston's shifters. They've been my guilty pleasure for a long time. Why guilty? Her characters are such over the top and laugh-out-loud funny caricatures of Southerners (with names like Sissy Mae and Bobby Ray, what do you expect?), I feel like I should be offended - but I'm not, I'm too busy laughing at the crazy situations they get into.

The prologue to Big Bad Beast is one of the best I've read - Ric sees Dee-Ann in his uncle's office when he's six years old and knows she's the one:

"She's perfect for me, Uncle Van."
"No, Ulrich. She's not. From what I can tell she's just like her father and that means she needs to be avoided at all possible costs. Understand?"
"I understand, Uncle Van."
"Good," Van said, reversing out of the parking spot.
"I'll wait until we're both older," the kid went on, "and then I'll nail her."
~Big Bad Beast, page 7

25 years later, Ric is working in his family's restaurant and is also a supervisor for The Group, a sort of shapeshifter CIA. They're working on finding and shutting down a ring of illegal "hybrid-shifter fights" - hybrids are being captured and forced into fighting to the death.

Like her father before her, Dee-Ann is a former Marine who now works for The Group in a more hands-on capacity: she's good at killing and doesn't think twice about it. Ric assigns her to work as part of a team to find out who's financing the illegal fights and stop them by any means necessary.

Even after all these years, Ric still has it bad for Dee-Ann but hasn't acted on his feelings because he doesn't want to scare her off. He knows he'll have to use his brains to get her to see that he's the one for her. There's almost a Romeo & Juliet feel to their relationship, as the Van Holtz's and Smith's have been bitter enemies for years. Both Ric and Dee-Ann have been warned off each other by their parents based on their families alone.

Ric and Dee-Ann's chemistry was off the charts - I loved how he turned the tables and made her chase him! And once she caught him, ooohhh! These two were sizz-a-ling!

Big Bad Beast brought back a lot of characters from previous books - the lions, hyenas,and bears. Bo Novikov was back with his charts and need for order, and oh how Ric loved to mess with those charts! Bo's mate Blayne (Teacup), with her master plan for getting Ric and Dee-Ann together - project Wolf/Wolf - was great.

(between Novikov and Ric)
"I need to borrow a house. I know you have several locally."
"What do you want a house for?"
"Why do you care?"
Dee's finger tightened on the trigger, her lips pulling back over her fangs. But Ric made her lower the gun, his hand firm against hers, pressing it down onto the bed.
"You have your own houses," Ric argued. "One with a seal farm."
"Not around here. And Blayne wants a party."
"What's wrong with your apartment? It's massive."
"Do it there," Ric reasoned.
"I don't want people around my stuff."
"But you want them around mine?"
"I don't care about yours."
~Big Bad Beast, page 189/190

In Big Bad Beast, Ms. Laurenston blends a fabulous storyline of the hybrid thieves, with Ric and Dee-Ann's romance, Ric's issues with his father, and highlights some of the younger hybrid shifters that we've met in previous books. I'm hoping some of the younger characters will eventually get their own stories, as I don't see these series ending anytime soon.

My one complaint is that I couldn't keep all the side characters straight. Even though I've read all but one of her previous books, throwing so many of the characters together got a bit confusing for me because her shifter world is so large. I wonder if she has some sort of chart to keep them all separate.

In summary, another fabulous installment to the Pride series. I can't wait for the next book!

My Rating:

This book was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Moira Rogers is killing me!!! (and a giveaway)

Moira Rogers has put up the first three chapters of Cipher!!! I have big love for this series and feel like I've been waiting for Kat and Andrew's story foreverrrrrrr. (Is there a whiny font? 'Cause that's what I'm doing) Cipher doesn't come out in e-book until September 6, so these chapters are going to have to hold me until then. Actually, there's a prologue too, so really it's almost like getting four chapters!!! Whee!!!

Fourteen months ago, Kat Gabriel's life changed forever when she used her empathy as a weapon. Now she can't escape the weight of those deaths--or the loss of the easy friendship she and Andrew once shared. Obsessed with her mother's violent past, Kat is determined to learn the truth of her inner-darkness by understanding her legacy.

Since the attack that turned him into a wolf, Andrew Callaghan has done everything possible to make himself stronger. More capable of protecting Kat--both from the supernatural world that forced her to kill, and from their own volatile connection. Pushing her away hurt them both, but he's finally made himself into the protector she needs.

As Kat's quest leads her into the darkest underbelly of the psychic world, Andrew is determined to be at her side. But every step forward reopens old emotional wounds and shakes their control. For a dangerous alpha and a deadly psychic, distraction could be fatal--especially when the greatest threat they pose is to each other.

I don't want to suffer the wait alone I'm so excited that I want to share, so I'm giving away Moira Rogers' Southern Arcana e-books: Crux, Crossroads, and Deadlock (aren't the covers gorgeous?):

To enter, leave a comment telling me why you like shape shifters, along with a way to contact you. Following not required but always appreciated. Contest ends May 15.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Review: The Guardian by Margaret Mallory

The Guardian
~Margaret Mallory

Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Forever
Publish Date: April 26, 2011
ISBN-10: 044657516X
ISBN-13: 978-0446575164

From the author's website:
Four fearless warriors return to the Highlands to claim their lands and legacies. But all their trials on the battlefield can't prepare them for their greatest challenge yet: winning the hearts of four willful Scottish beauties.

After years of fighting abroad, Ian MacDonald comes home to find his clan in peril. To save his kin, he must right the wrongs from his past . . . and claim the bride he's long resisted.

As a young lass, Sìleas depended on Ian to play her knight in shining armor. But when his rescue attempt compromised her virtue, Ian was forced to marry against his wishes. Five years later, Sìleas has grown from an awkward girl into an independent beauty who knows she deserves better than the reluctant husband who preferred war to his wife. Now this devilishly handsome Highlander is finally falling in love. He wants a second chance with Sìleas - and he won't take no for an answer.
This is the first book in a new series: The Return of the Highlanders. In the prologue, four young lads go to visit the local wise woman to hear their fortunes. She gives each a snippet of the trials and tribulations they will face and sends them on their way...

Ian MacDonald and his three best friends have been gone from their village for five years, fighting in France. He comes home to find his father injured, his brother grown, and his clan being led by a heartless man after the death of their leader. He must help his best friend claim his rightful place as clan chief, which will not be easy since they keep getting attacked. He's also got to face his wife, Sileas, his childhood friend that he was forced to marry and hasn't seen since the day they married five years ago. He plans to end the marriage so he's free to marry someone else. When he gets home, he doesn't recognize the comely young woman sitting in his parent's room, and when his friend tells him it's Sileas, he can't believe it. He sees the lovely, smart, caring woman she's become; he also sees that another man in the village has been paying attention to Sileas, and Ian is jealous.

Sileas MacKinnon has loved Ian all her life and knows she'll marry him some day. Then, due to circumstances no one could predict, they're suddenly married, and it's nothing like she thought it would be. He's been gone since their wedding day. Five years later she's thinking about ending the marriage and finding someone else, someone who will care for her and wants to be with her. Then Ian comes home, and she finds he's still as handsome as he was before he left. But that doesn't make up for leaving her alone, and now he's going to have to prove he's good enough for her.

My thoughts: Margaret Mallory has introduced a great cast of characters in The Guardian. I liked Ian, then thought he was a bit of a jerk, then grew to like him all over again. Caught in an unfortunate (and innocent) situation, he's forced to marry gangly, awkward, 13-year-old Sileas, who's followed him around since she was small. He's angry and lashes out, then leaves to fight in France with his four best friends. When he came home he was all kinds of an idiot about how to treat his wife, but as Sileas made him work for her affections his character grew (just like in real life, sometimes they need a push, lol).

Sileas was a strong woman, enduring the pity of the villagers for her husband deserting her; becoming the glue that held Ian's family together while he was gone, nursing his father back to health. When Ian came back she refused to let him walk back into her life and take over, and I loved it!

Of course, you can't have a Scottish adventure without clan wars, intrigue, traitors and secret alliances, and The Guardian has plenty! Ian and his friends have to face treacherous relatives and land-hungry neighbors, and through it all attempt to guide their clansmen into choosing a new clan chief. There were some surprising twists that had me holding my breath to see how things would turn out.

The four friends who are the cornerstones of the series (Ian, Alex, Duncan, and Connor) are very engaging and I liked how they have different strengths to help each other out. The Sinner is book 2 in the series, and is his friend Alex's story. Alex is a bit of a womanizer, so I'm looking forward to reading about his exploits.

My Rating:

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.