Friday, September 14, 2012

Quick & Dirty Reviews: 2 from my Can't Wait To Read List

One of the problems I've been having with my book blog has been the amount of time it takes to keep up with it.  Working six days a week doesn't leave me with much extra time.  I can either work on my blog or read books but it is difficult to find the time to do both.  I need to read in order to have something to blog about but blogging consistently makes it difficult to find time to read.  Ya see my dilemma?  So, I've been spending a bit of time just reading, attempting to whittle down my TBR pile.  I've managed to read quite a few books including the two reviewed below - both of which were on my can't-wait-to-read list.  Were they worth it?  Read on and see.

Riveted  (Iron Seas, #3) by Meljean Brook
As far as I am concerned, no one writes a better steampunk tale than Meljean Brook.  Her world building is phenomenal and so intricate that, at times, it is hard to keep track of.  Her books are nuanced and complex plus her characters always feel emotionally real.  In the third volume of Brook's Iron Seas series, we meet completely new characters to the series and are taken to the unusual setting of Iceland.  Annika, the heroine, has left her hidden village to seek out her missing older sister.  While considered timid by those she grew up with, out in the real world, Annika has come into her own as an engineer for an airship, developing a quiet strength and capable courage to deal with the dangerous situations she sometimes finds herself in.  The hero is David, a naturalist who is journeying to Iceland to study the island's volcanoes.  Injured in a catastrophic accident as a youth, David lost an eye, his hand, and a leg but this being a steampunk world, they have all been replaced with mechanical prosthetics.  While artificial limbs are not uncommon in this world, David's have made him somewhat of an outsider.  Watching these two characters come together, learning to trust each other, plus the unique setting and action-adventure, made for an enjoyable read.  Brooks has a way with writing main characters that are fully realized, three dimensional people.  It's one of her strengths as a writer.  This strength doesn't carry all the way through to the villain, unfortunately, who ends up being a batshit crazy bwahahaha type with daddy issues.  Still, the action was exciting and the romance sweet.  This is another solid entry to a fantastic - and I mean fantastic - series.  I'm a bit in awe at how good of a writer Meljean Brook is and I thoroughly recommend the previous books in this series as well as The Guardians  series.
Where'd I Get It: Pre-ordered and paid for with my own damn money.

God Save the Queen (The Immortal Engine, #1) by Kate Locke
I was surprised on receiving this book to discover that is was a hard cover as I was expecting a paperback.  It's not much bigger than a paperback, though and it kind of reminds me of the Nancy Drew books I read as a kid.  (Size-wise, not story-wise.)  I also was under the impression that it was a steampunk fantasy but except for some Victorian fashions, its really more of an urban fantasy.  That's fine, though.  I still enjoyed it.   It was a fun, easy read.  I liked the conceit of the world.  It is set in London during the 175th year of the reign of Her Ensanguined Majesty Queen Victoria, the undead matriarch and the Aristocracy is made up of vampires and werewolves.  In this world, technology and magic live side by side.  The heroine, Xandra, is a half-blood, the result of her vampire daddy doing the nasty with a human.  As a member of the elite Royal Guard, she is charged with protecting the Aristocracy.  When her younger sister goes missing, Xandra sets out to find her and ends up uncovering a vast conspiracy There are some super ideas in this story that I found engaging.   Since it's set in Britain, the class systems is a big deal.  Vamps and Weres hold all the power while humans and half-bloods are second class citizens.  So... there are a lot of issues to explore there. Plus they all hate the goblins - one of the few things that unites the different groups.  I also enjoyed the family dynamic between Xandra, her two sisters and her brother.  I've read so many urban fantasies where the heroine is a rebel, a loner, y'know the  I'm-not-like-other-guys-Dottie type; It was nice to see siblings interact with one another in a completely sibling way with the petty squabbles, the family reliance and all the other stuff that binds family together.  I wasn't as keen on the romance.  I wish there had been more complexity to that relationship.  It seemed so easy, too straight forward, especially considering everyone else had secrets to hide and hidden motives.  I kept expecting there to be more there than meets the eye... but there wasn't.  As a first book in a series, God Save the Queen also fell into the info-dump trap that is often hard to avoid.  But, y'know what?  I still enjoyed it and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.  Especially after the way this one ended.  The writing isn't the most complex - the book could easily be marketed as YA - but it was a fun, brain-candy read,
Where'd I Get It:  received via

Monday, August 6, 2012

It's About Time - Book Pimpin!

It's been such a long time since I've book pimped that a chunk of books on my Upcoming list have already been released.  I figured that maybe it was time I posted another Pimpin post.  Below are some of the books I am excited to check out in the next few months. I absolutely cannot wait to read Spirit's End by Rachel Aaron.  I love this series and am expecting a thrilling conclusion.  The Bornikova book also sounds real promising.  Influenced by The Firm and Anita Blake? - hopefully, that means influenced by both series' strengths and gives us a savvy, action-packed, thriller with twists and crafty turns as opposed to merely a supernatural lawyer fuck-fest.  Anyway, these are all auto-reads for me.  Check 'em out.  See what catches your eye.

This Case Is Gonna Kill Me by Phillipa Bornikova
What happens when The Firm meets Anita Blake? You get the Halls of Power—our modern world, but twisted. Law, finance, the military, and politics are under the sway of long-lived vampires, werewolves, and the elven Alfar. Humans make the best of rule by “the Spooks,” and contend among themselves to affiliate with the powers-that-be, in order to avoid becoming their prey. Very loyal humans are rewarded with power over other women and men. Very lucky humans are selected to join the vampires, werewolves, and elves—or, on occasion, to live at the Seelie Court.
Linnet Ellery is the offspring of an affluent Connecticut family dating back to Colonial times. Fresh out of law school, she’s beginning her career in a powerful New York “white fang” law firm. She has high hopes of eventually making partner. 
But strange things keep happening to her. In a workplace where some humans will eventually achieve immense power and centuries of extra lifespan, office politics can be vicious beyond belief. After some initial missteps, she finds herself sidelined and assigned to unpromising cases. Then, for no reason she can see, she becomes the target of repeated, apparently random violent attacks, escaping injury each time through increasingly improbable circumstances. However, there’s apparently more to Linnet Ellery than a little old-money human privilege. More than even she knows. And as she comes to understand this, she’s going to shake up the system like you wouldn’t believe….
Drops September 4th 2012 

Howl For It by Shelly Laurenston, Cynthia Eden
They hunger for your pleasure. They growl for your touch. And in these sizzling stories by New York Times bestselling author Shelly Laurenston and Cynthia Eden, these sexy wolf shapeshifters are lust at first bite. . .
"Like A Wolf With A Bone" by Shelly Laurenston
Quiet little Darla Lewis couldn't be happier when the most-feared member of the South's rowdiest pack kidnaps her. A girl gets real tired of being overprotected by her own shifter family, and there's nothing like an oh-so-big bad wolf to start a pack feud, unleash her instincts--and have her surrender however and whenever she wants. . .

"Wed Or Dead" by Cynthia Eden
Gage Ryder knew his human bride had a wild side. But spending their honeymoon night on the run from hunters out to finish him and his pack is sure not the kind of fun he was looking forward to. No problem--Gage will do whatever it takes to lay bare Kayla's secrets and find the truth. If he can keep from being captured by his own seductive game. . .

Drops August 28th 2012 

Spirit's End (the Legend of Eli Monpress, #5) by Rachel Aaron
Eli Monpress is clever, he's determined, and he's in way over his head.
First rule of thievery: don't be a hero. When Eli broke the rules and saved the Council Kingdoms, he thought he knew the price, but resuming his place as the Shepherdess's favorite isn't as simple as bowing his head. Now that she has her darling back, Benehime is setting in motion a plan that could destroy everything she was created to protect, and even Eli's charm might not be enough to stop her. But Eli Monpress always has a plan, and with disaster rapidly approaching, he's pulling in every favor he can think of to make it work, including the grudging help of the Spirit Court's new Rector, Miranda Lyonette.
ut with the world in panic, the demon stirring, and the Lord of Storms back on the hunt, it's going to take more than luck and charm to pull Eli through this time. He's going to have to break a few more rules and work with some old enemies if he's going to survive.
Drops November 20, 2012

Steel's Edge (The Edge, #4) by Ilona Andrews
The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is a fairy tale—and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny… 
Charlotte de Ney is as noble as they come, a blueblood straight out of the Weird. But even though she possesses rare magical healing abilities, her life has brought her nothing but pain. After her marriage crumbles, she flees to the Edge to build a new home for herself. Until Richard Mar is brought to her for treatment, and Charlotte’s life is turned upside down once again. 
Richard is a swordsman without peer, future head of his large and rambunctious Edger clan—and he’s on a clandestine quest to wipe out slavers trafficking humans in the Weird. So when his presence leads his very dangerous enemies to Charlotte, she vows to help Richard destroy them. The slavers’ operation, however, goes deeper than Richard knows, and even working together, Charlotte and Richard may not survive...
Drops November 27, 2012

Angel's Ink (The Asylum's Tales, #1) by Jocelynn Drake
The series is firmly settled in the urban fantasy genre, set in what I like to call an open world (ie, everyone knows about all the other races and has for a really long time, allowing everyone to live side-by-side in a relative, occasionally strained, harmony.) Some of the races that you meet in this series include, but are not limited to: humans, elves, trolls, dwarves, pixies, werewolves, vampires, ogres, minotaurs, incubus, faeries, goblins, and many many more that are fighting to get their time on the page. 
At the center of this mess is Gage Powell, a tattoo artist who owns a parlor in a sketchy little neighborhood in Low Town called Asylum. In a world that is naturally filled with magic, it only makes sense that many of the non-magic folk (like humans) could use an edge. In this world, tattoo artists aren't just tattoo artists. They are also licensed potion stirrers. For the right price, they can help you get an edge. Need courage, love, or luck? A tattoo artist can stir a potion to be placed in the ink of a tattoo that can help you achieve those things. 
Unfortunately, Gage has a secret that keeps coming back to haunt him despite his attempts to keep his head down and his nose somewhat clean. Lucky for him, he had a pair of employees that help him out. The first is Bronx -- a patient troll who manages to keep a level head and his sense of humor when things get bad. The second is Trixie -- a elf who is pretending to be a human because she's got her own problems, but she still manages to make time to give Gage a hand when he needs it.
Drops October 16, 2012

Shadow's Claim (Immortals After Dark: The Dacians, #1) by Kresley Cole
He won’t be denied
Trehan Daciano, known as the Prince of Shadows, has spent his life serving his people, striking in the night, quietly executing any threat to their realm. The coldly disciplined swordsman has never desired anything for himself—until he beholds Bettina, the sheltered ward of two of the Lore’s most fearsome villains. 
She’s bound to another
Desperate to earn her guardians’ approval after a life-shattering mistake, young Bettina has no choice but to marry whichever suitor prevails—even though she’s lost her heart to another. Yet one lethal competitor, a mysterious cloaked swordsman, invades her dreams, tempting her with forbidden pleasure. 
A battle for her body and soul
ven if Trehan can survive the punishing contests to claim her as his wife, the true battle for Bettina’s heart is yet to come. And unleashing a millennium’s worth of savage need will either frighten his Bride away—or stoke Bettina’s own desires to a fever-pitch....
Drops November 20, 2012

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Review: The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams

Urban Fantasy is a funny thing.  By its very name, it should have a contemporary city setting but there are a lot of books termed urban fantasy that have nothing to do with cities at all.  Take The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams. The heroine spent much of the book being held captive in various isolated locations.  I never had the sense that she was even near a city, let alone in one.  There's also a certain tone urban fantasies have that was missing from this story.  This book felt more like a classic fantasy that was occurring in present day.  This is not a criticism of the book, by the way.  Merely an observation but if anything, I would categorize The Shadow Reader as Contemporary Fantasy.

The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams
(McKenzie Lewis, #1)
GENRE: Contemporary Fantasy
ISBN: 1937007014 
ISBN13: 9781937007010
Published October 25th 2011 by Ace
Blurb: There can only be one allegiance.
It’s her time to choose.
Some humans can see the fae. McKenzie Lewis can track them, reading the shadows they leave behind. But some shadows lead to danger. Others lead to lies.
A Houston college student trying to finish her degree, McKenzie has been working for the fae king for years, tracking vicious rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn’t her only secret. For just as long, she’s been in love with Kyol, the king’s sword-master—and relationships between humans and fae are forbidden.
But any hope for a normal life is shattered when she’s captured by Aren, the fierce and uncompromising rebel leader. He teaches her the forbidden fae language and tells her dark truths about the Court, all to persuade her to turn against the king. Time is running out, and as the fight starts to claim human lives, McKenzie has no choice but to decide once and for all whom to trust and where she ultimately stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.

There were several aspects about this book I liked.  I enjoyed the politics – the rebels against the realm storyline, while not new, was suitably entertaining, there was some nice action sequences and the two male leads were recognizable but enjoyable beefcake-y types.  Kyol is all honor-bound and restrained while Aren is volatile, bad boy danger.  Clichéd, yes… but still effective.  And shadow reading is a new and inventive ability that captured my imagination.  I only wish the heroine got to use her ability more often instead of spending most of her time as a damsel-in-distress.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

BEA 2012 Recap-ish

So, BEA. 
I keep attempting to write a recap of my time spent roaming the Javitts but I find I don’t have very much to say.  It was just like last year – crowded, stuffy, exhausting and fun.  I wasn’t able to spend the full amount of time there.  I had to leave at 11:30am on Wednesday to get to my matinee but despite that (and despite not being very organized), I still managed to get a lot out of the event.  I was able to touch base with the one publicist I have had some dealings with and I got to do a little networking with some other bloggers.   I also discovered that there are a lot of unannounced giveaways that happen first thing in the morning, which is how I snagged an ARC of The Iron Wyrm Affair (Bannon & Clare, #1), by Lilith Saintcrow -  on my must-read-this-summer list.  I have high hopes for this one.  

My goal at BEA was to not be a greedy pete.  I wanted to only take books that I would definitely read and that fit the scope of my blog.  It's hard not to get sucked into the whole book feeding frenzy.  Really hard.  There are piles of books just sitting there!  And they want to come home with me.  

Anyway, I wanted to highlight some of the books I received.  These are promising books to keep an eye out for and the books I am looking forward to reading.  Some of them have already been released, while others will be dropping later this year.  
I guess you could call it the k reads Buzz List.    

Redshirts by John Scalzi
Blurb: Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship "Intrepid," flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It's a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship's Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn't be better...until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship's captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.
Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expendedon avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues' understanding of what the starship "Intrepid "really is...and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives
Published 6/5/12

The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There (Fairyland, #2) by Catherynne M. Valente
Blurb: September returns to Fairyland to reunite with A-Through-L, Saturday, and Gleam, and to confront her shadow-self, who has become the queen of Fairyland-Below, the upside-down world beneath the Fairyland of the first novel, filled with creatures of water and shadow, tales of ancient Fairyland before the human world was born, and not a few hungry buffins, blind birds of ice and moonlight. The yearly revels of Fairyland-Below climax in a mysterious rite September must avert or else lose her shadow forever.
Drops 10/7/12

Carnal Machines: Steampunk Erotica by D.L. King
Blurb: The Victorians wrote some of the best and most enduring erotica. For such a tightly-laced age, people spent a lot of time thinking about things carnal. Jules Verne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mary Shelley, H.G. Wells, et al enthralled us with their visions of new possibilities. The rich and slightly decadent visuals of the steam age lend themselves perfectly to the new carnality of post-punk era. And, of course, what is repressed will be even more exciting once the corset is unlaced. Steampunk, even without sex, is erotic; with sex, it’s over-the-top hot. A widowed lady engineer invents a small device that can store the energy from sexual frustration and convert it to electricity to help power a home. Teresa Noelle Roberts shows us what it can do, confronted with sexual fulfillment. What volume of steampunk would be complete without a tale of sailing ships and the men who sail them? If your taste runs to sexy pirates in space, Poe Von Page will delight you with the mutinous crew of the Danika Blue and their new captain.
Then there’s the very special room on the top floor in the House of the Sable Locks, a brothel where sexually discriminating men go to have their fantasies fulfilled. Even if a man daren’t put those fantasies into words, Elizabeth Schechter’s “Succubus” will give the madam all the information she needs with which to make her clients happy. There are brothels, flying machines, steam-powered conveyances, manor houses, spiritualist societies. The following stories afford intelligently written, beautifully crafted glimpses into other worlds, where the Carnal Machines won’t fail to seduce you, get you wet or make you hard so, lie back, relax; a happy ending is guaranteed.
Published 4/12/11

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Day at the Book Blog UNCON & the BEA Blogger Conference

Hey!  Guess what I did last Monday?
I went to the Book Blog UNCON and the BEA Blogger Conference!

I had registered for BBC back in early February.  The registration process blew (You can read my bitchfest here.), and when the schedule was released, I was underwhelmed;  it seemed more of a publishing industry event than something geared towards the actual process of blogging.  So when Jeff over at The Reading Ape proposed an "unconference" for book bloggers, I was intrigued.  I have been blogging for over a year but I feel like I’m still figuring it out.  The UNCON sounded like more my speed.  But, I wasn’t ready to walk away from BBC completely.  I went last year and found it informative.  There was always a chance I’d get something out of it this year.  Since the BBC morning events were a big snoozefest, I decided to hedge my bets and split the day between the two.

On Monday I got up at an ungodly hour and headed over to The Center for Fiction, the site of the UNCON.  I was a little nervous because unlike BBC, the UNCON is participant driven with a loose form structure.  Topics would be determined by the participants at the top of the day so I wasn't sure what to expect.  (Plus, I am NOT a morning person.  Coherent conversation before the crack of noon?  I wasn’t sure I could manage that.)  I needn’t have worried.  It ended up being a stimulating morning. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Review: Harvest of Dreams by Merrie Destefano

Ok.  First things first.  The cover of this book is just terrible.  Terrible.  It does not accurately reflect the type of story inside at all.  Look at it.  Look!  Wouldn't you expect this to be about one of those kickass urban fantasy heroines, who beats the crap out of the baddies and sexes it up with the dude on the cover?  Does the woman on this cover look like she is a divorced mom with a 9 year-old son, who's life is falling apart?  This is a typical urban fantasy cover but this is not an urban fantasy.  Instead it's a lyrical, darkly magical tale that feels almost like a fairytale.   

Feast by Merrie Destefano
(Harvest of Dreams, #1
ISBN 0061990825 
ISBN13: 9780061990823
Published June 28th 2011 by Harper Voyager
Blurb: Madeline MacFadden ("Mad Mac" to fans of her bestselling magical stories) spent blissful childhood summers in Ticonderoga Falls. And this is where she wants to be now that her adult life is falling apart. The dense surrounding forest holds many memories, some joyous, some tantalizingly only half-remembered. And she's always believed there was something living in these wooded hills.
But Maddie doesn't remember the dark parts -- and knows nothing of the mountain legend that holds the area's terrified residents captive. She has no recollection of Ash, the strange and magnificent creature who once saved her life as a child, even though it is the destiny of his kind to prey upon humanity. And soon it will be the Harvest. . . the time to feast.
Once again Maddie's dreams -- and her soul -- are in grave danger. But magic runs deep during Harvest. Even a spinner of enchanted tales has wondrous powers of her own.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hey! Look Who's Back!

So, my two week hiatus turned into a month.  I was feeling overwhelmed by... everything, actually.  I realized that I was either working or working on the blog and barely finding time to read.  I need to read.  It calms my brain, it reduces my stress, plus, there's the entertainment factor.  I couldn't do anything about the job so it was the blog that got reduced.

It was really a terrible time for me to take a break, what with BEA just around the corner, but, boy, was it necessary.  And I got to read... a lot.  Not as much as I used to - working 6 days a week really puts a crimp in my reading time - but, still, more than I had been.  Here's what I discovered:
Sometimes, I stick with a series out of habit.  I keep reading because I read all the previous books, not because I can't wait to find out what happens next.  So, I took stock of my teetering TBR pile.  I ended up culling several series from my reading list.  Not because they were bad but because they were only fine... and because I won't miss them.
I'm over the zombie apocalypse.  If a book has zombies in it, I'm gonna take a pass.  No matter how great the buzz is.  I have read some terrific zombie books in the past year ( and I cannot wait to read Blackout by Mira Grant), but its not my favorite genre and a little goes a long, long way.  
Dystopian stories are depressing.  Although I've read some that I just absolutely loved, cumulatively, they pushed me into a real reading funk.  And that's unacceptable.  (Thank god for Shelly Laurenston.  Her books were a welcome antidote.)  So I'm gonna be choosier when it comes to the genre.
Just because a YA book gets great reviews and has the fangirls squeeing, doesn't mean I need to read it.  I'm not a fan of the YA genre.  Nothing against it, its just not what I am interested in reading.  I have a small stack of YA books that have been sitting on the shelf for almost a year.  Each is supposed to be great, each is one of the hottest books in the genre and I can't bring myself to pick any of them up because I just don't care.  So, I am going to pass them on, unread and not acquire any new ones.  (Except for the Penryn & the End of Days series which is awesome.)    
So, that's where I'm at.  Trying to maximize my reading pleasure in a minimal amount of time.  We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Review: Sacrificial Magic by Stacia Kane

Sometimes you read a book that is so emotionally enthralling that, once finished,  you need a cooling off period, a chance for the tumultuous, rapturous feeling it gave you to settle down.  You can't pick up another book for a little while.  You were swept in so deeply that you need a little time to resurface.  That's how I felt about Sacrificial Magic.  It's so good that it almost hurts.  I would fuck this series, that's how much I love it.

Sacrificial Magic by Stacia Kane
(Downside Ghosts, #4) 
ISBN: 0007349068 
ISBN13: 9780007349067
Published March 27th 2012 by Del Rey 
Blurb: When Chess Putnam is ordered by an infamous crime boss—who also happens to be her drug dealer—to use her powers as a witch to solve a grisly murder involving dark magic, she knows she must rise to the challenge. Adding to the intensity: Chess’s boyfriend, Terrible, doesn’t trust her, and Lex, the son of a rival crime lord, is trying to reignite the sparks between him and Chess.
Plus there’s the little matter of Chess’s real job as a ghost hunter for the Church of Real Truth, investigating reports of a haunting at a school in the heart of Downside. Someone seems to be taking a crash course in summoning the dead—and if Chess doesn’t watch her back, she may soon be joining their ranks. 
As Chess is drawn into a shadowy world of twisted secrets and dark violence, it soon becomes clear that she’s not going to emerge from its depths without making the ultimate sacrifice.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I'm taking a little hiatus from the blog.
Nothings wrong, I just need to focus on some real life stuff.
I should be back in a week or so.
See ya soon.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Book Pimpin: More Upcoming Books!

Jane Yellowrock is a shapeshifting skinwalker you don’t want to cross—especially if you’re one of the undead…
For a vampire killer like Jane, having Leo Pellisier as a boss took some getting used to. But now, someone is out to take his place as Master Vampire of the city of New Orleans, and is not afraid to go through Jane to do it. After an attack that’s tantamount to …a war declaration, Leo knows his rival is both powerful and vicious, but Leo’s not about to run scared. After all, he has Jane.
But then, a plague strikes, one that takes down vampires and makes their masters easy prey. Now, to uncover the identity of the vamp who wants Leo’s territory, and to find the cause of the vamp-plague, Jane will have to go to extremes…and maybe even to war.
Drops October 2, 2012

Toby’s not ready to get back to work, but now she must search
for a powerful changeling with the potential to destroy all of Faerie. She quickly finds herself drawn into a web of kidnappings, political intrigues, and attempted assassinations. Toby must travel farther than ever before—and what she’ll find might not be what she expected.

Drops September 4, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Review: Lothaire by Kresley Cole

Kresley Cole writes fun, readable books set in the world of the Lore that are always amusing if not laugh out funny.  Her characters are primarily of the fantastical type - there are Valkeries, Shifters, Demons, Sorcerers, and, of course, Vampires - and Cole has nicely crafted a detailed mythology for each race.   The series is set during the Assession, a period that occurs every 500 years when the different factions of the Lore battle it out for supremacy. 
And that time is now.  
So there is lots of action in this series, lots of adventure, and a sweet amount of sexy shenanigans.  It's a really enjoyable series and I look forward to each new installment.  When Lothaire showed up in my mailbox, I started reading it right away...

Lothaire by Kresley Cole
Immortals After Dark, #12
ISBN 1439136823
ISBN13: 9781439136829
Published January 10th 2012 by Gallery Books 
Driven by his insatiable need for revenge, Lothaire, the Lore’s most ruthless vampire, plots to seize the Horde’s crown. But bloodlust and torture have left him on the brink of madness—until he finds Elizabeth Peirce, the key to his victory. He captures the unique young mortal, intending to offer up her very soul in exchange for power, yet Elizabeth soothes his tormented mind and awakens within him emotions Lothaire believed he could no longer experience. 
Growing up in desperate poverty, Ellie Peirce yearned for a better life, never imagining she’d be convicted of murder—or that an evil immortal would abduct her from death row. But Lothaire is no savior, as he himself plans to sacrifice Ellie in one month’s time. And yet the vampire seems to ache for her touch, showering her with wealth and sexual pleasure. In a bid to save her soul, Ellie surrenders her body to the wicked vampire, while vowing to protect her heart. 
Elizabeth tempts Lothaire beyond reason, as only his fated mate could. As the month draws to a close, he must choose between a millennia-old blood vendetta and his irresistible prisoner. Will Lothaire succumb to the miseries of his past . . . or risk everything for a future with her?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I'm Going To BEA 2012 and The Book Bloggers Conference! Wait, No I'm Not. I Didn't Get Approved!...Wait a sec, maybe I am? Oh, I Don't Fucking Know...

UPDATE:  Well, looks like everything has worked out.  After some back and forth, my registration and press pass has been approved and I am all set for BEA and the Book Bloggers Conference.  I still haven't decided yet what I'll do in regards to the Book Blog UNCON.  I would like to attend both events but  I'm going to wait until they get a little closer before I decide. Right now, I am still leaning towards splitting the day between the two.  But I am happy that I have the choice...    

So, back in early February the Book Bloggers Convention was bought by Reed Exhibitions, the organizers of BEA.  Around that time, I came up for air from rehearsal hell and decided I'd better get registered so I could take advantage of the early bird pricing.  (Which was $15 more than last years regular price, go figure.)

Registering was an ordeal, convoluted and difficult to understand.  Despite a posting on The Bean (the official blog of BEA), stating that bloggers could register for $135 (see this post: Book Bloggers Convention at BEA and this one:Clearing up the BEA Bloggers Conference Issues (I hope)), the only way to register and get that price was to do so as editorial media.  Which meant I would have to register as a member of the press.  The other option would be to register as non-editorial media but then the price went up to $231.  A steep hike from last year as well as different from what Steve Rosato had previously stated:
Bloggers pay a flat early bird rate of $135.00 that includes their pass for BEA - end of story for our blogging friends (stop reading now if you are blogger).    
I don't consider myself press but bloggers are supposed to pay a flat rate of $135 and I could not figure out how to register and get that price.  Utterly confused, I decided to give a call to customer service.  I called twice and spoke with two different people.  Not only were both unaware of the $135 rate for bloggers but when I mentioned that it had been posted on The Bean, both customer reps asked, "What's that?"  
This did not inspire confidence.

So, on February 7, I registered as editorial media and then kept my fingers crossed that I would get approved.  It had been stated that if not approved for the press pass, I would be notified within two weeks.  Considering how unorganized I had found the process to be, I figured it might take 3 to 4 weeks to know for sure.  When I got my credit card bill and saw the BEA charge, I was giddy.  I was approved!  They wouldn't charge me if I hadn't been approved, right?  I paid the bill and began making plans to attend not only the blogger conference  but also some BEA publisher industry events that I began getting invited to.

Flash forward two months.  On April 5th, almost two months to the day I registered, I received an email from Roger Bilheimer, the BEA Public Relations Director, letting me know that I do not meet the standards required to qualify for a press pass.  Nothing was said at all about my registration for the bloggers conference, only that I did not qualify for a BEA press pass.  So, what did this mean?  Was I still able to attend the blogger conference?  Would I have to re-register?  Was I going to have to fork over more money to attend?  What happened to the two week notification?  What the hell was going on?

So.  I called again and spoke with yet another customer rep.  Who told me that yes, I would have to pay an additional $96 if I still wanted to attend the conference since I did not qualify for the press pass.   There is no way I was about to do that.  $231 for a conference that last year only cost $120?  Are you kidding me?!  I've seen the proposed schedule for this years conference (you can see it here).  There is no way I am going to pay that much money for something that so far is so very underwhelming.  There is no way I am going to pay that much money to an organization that I have serious doubts about considering what a clusterfuck this whole process has been.    According to the customer service rep, I could either pay the additional fee or they would de-register me and refund my money.  So I told him to cancel my registration; I would not be attending this year.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Link Love

I've been a bit distracted this week.  A couple of days ago I received an email from BEA letting me know that I had not been approved for the event as editorial media.  Even though I registered and paid in full two months ago.  
I'm pretty ticked off about that part.  That I already paid for it.  Charging a customer for a service before it has been determined that said service will in fact be provided is poor business and even unethical, as far as I am concerned.  And to wait two months - Grrr!  
I'll blog more about this at length a little later but for now, here's your links for the week.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Whell, Whell, Whell...

So, the big news this week.  J.R. Ward announced on Facebook that the next book in her BDB series will be about... (drumroll)... BLAY and QHUINN!  The book is scheduled to come out in March 2013.  I'm glad to hear they will get a full-length novel instead of a novella as first reported a while back.
Anything else I know about the book, I learned over at Blogging by Liza so head on over there if you want more teasers and spoilers.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Book Bonanza!

I've really enjoyed Waiting on Wednesday.  I've discovered some new blogs, had my blog discovered by others, and found some new-to-me books to add to my wish list.  But I'm going to take a little break from the meme for a while.  I'll still do my Book Pimpin posts as books come up but I want to work on writing more reviews for the site.  I thought I'd go out with a bang and list a bunch of my can't-wait-to-read books.  Thank you for visiting and be sure to check back next week when I'll post a bunch of books that are of notable interest, even if they haven't made it on to my can't-wait-to-read list.  So, without further ado, here's your weekly meme:

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights anticipated upcoming releases. This week my can't-wait to-read books are:

by Meljean Brook
Drops September 4, 2012

A century after a devastating volcanic eruption forced Iceland’s inhabitants to abandon its shores, the island has become enshrouded in legend. But the truth behind the legends is mechanical, not magical—and the mystery of the island a matter of life and death for a community of women who once spilled noble blood to secure their freedom.

Five years ago, Annika unwittingly endangered that secret, but her sister Källa took the blame and was exiled. Now Annika serves on an airship, searching for her sister and longing to return home. But that home is threatened when scientific expedition leader David Kentewess comes aboard, looking to expose Annika’s secrets. Then disaster strikes, leaving David and Annika stranded on a glacier and pursued by a madman, with their very survival depending on keeping the heat rising between them—and generating lots of steam

As far as I am concerned, Meljean Brook is one of the best steampunk writers out there.  (As well as one of the best paranormal writers, too.)  Her stories are built on complex mythologies that continue to reveal new depths with each read.  She's a crackerjack storyteller and her books are filled with action, high stakes danger, and steamy romance.  Her male characters are great but where she really shines is with her female characters.   I've already pre-ordered Rivetted and can't wait for it to come out. 

* * *

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Quick and Dirty Reviews: "C" Ya Around

Two books from two of my favorite authors.  What a drag that both were... underwhelming.

Oracle's Moon (Elder Races, #4) by Thea Harrison
After a long hiatus away from writing, Harrison burst back into the scene with the well-received and enormously entertaining Dragon Bound, the first book in her Elder Races series.  Less than a year later she has released the fourth book in the series, Oracle's Moon, the story of Djinn Khalil and Grace, the newest Oracle.  This book has all the hallmarks of a Harrison tale.  Super hot hero, feisty heroine, magical hijinks and danger.  So why am I meh about it?  Maybe because if the supernatural aspect is removed, you're left with a (decently written), Harlequin.  Or it could be Grace's niece and nephew, straight out of cute kid central casting, who, improbably and immediately, bonded with the hero, a trope common to romancelandia kids.  (Have I mentioned that I am not a fan of kids in books?)  Or it could be the hero, an intense, alpha-arrogant, djinn who never transcended the type.   The heroine, too, remained a character type, one I feel like I 've read too many times before.  23 years old, she becomes guardian to her young niece and nephew when her sister and husband die in a car accident. She also inherits her sister's power, becoming the new Oracle.  This doesn't mean life is rosy.  She lives a fairly isolated life, with virtually no emotion support from anyone.  She has no one to rely on.  She is on the verge of declaring bankruptcy and relies on foodstamps to help feed her family.  Along comes super powerful, rich guy and suddenly life starts to get better.  The plot was disjointed and the bad guys seemed peripheral to the story, only there to give Khalil a reason to have to save Grace.  Moments that should have felt, well, momentous, such as when Grace fully accepted her power or when she is confronted by Khalil's crazy-assed daughter, were anticlimactic.  A shame, really because those were events I expected and wanted more from.  The book wasn't dull but it also wasn't particularly engaging.  Like I said, take away the supernatural aspect and this could have been a category romance, not terrible but nothing to write home about either.  The next book is supposed to revolve around Pia and Dragos, from book one, so hopefully, the series will return to its former level.
Grade: C+

Undone Deeds (Connor Grey, #6) by Mark Del Franco
This is the final book in the Connor Grey series and one I have been anxiously awaiting.  Finally, a series that actually ends and gives some resolution instead of stringing the reader along with never ending adventures of the paranormal kind.  (I like my series, I do, but at some point, a girl needs some closure.)  I'm ambivalent about this book, though.  It's not Del Franco's best effort.  A majority of the book is spent with Connor laying low, as he is now considered a terrorist, and rehashing things that occurred in the previous novels.  And, somehow, Connor manages to get kidnapped three times so I guess he's not that good at hiding out.  We meet Connors parents for what solely seems to be a chance for them to impart some crucial information about Connor's past; there's no other reason for them to be in the book and they add little too the story.  The book wraps things up in the end but, I have to tell ya, I'm not sure I completely understood what happened.  I mean, I understood the events but not what they meant.  I cannot say that I was disappointed; I'd have to have understood the book better to be disappointed.   I will say that one of the appealing things to me about the Connor Grey series was how nicely paced each book was.  Unfortunately, the pacing was off in Undone Deeds.  A bummer since it was the last book and I wanted to end the series on a  high note.  We do get some answers in this book but, ultimately, I was left feeling unsatisfied.  There was a lack of cohesion to the story and I was left confused by the end.  I have read other reviews that say that if you are knowledgable about Arthurian legends, the end makes much more sense.  I have a fair amount of knowledge but I still didn't get it.
Grade: C