Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Favorite Books Published in 2014

I've read at least 469 books this past year, many of them were re-reads or older books, but I had quite a few newly published books that went onto my favorites list. Without further ado, my favorites that were published in 2014, in no discernible order:

5 Star

The Martian by Andy Weir
Everlastingly by Michelle M. Pillow
The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Archangel's Shadows by Nalini Singh
Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston
Unbinding by Eileen Wilks
Darkness Falls by Erin Kellison
Darksider by Erin Kellison
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
The Hot Zone by Jayne Castle

4 Star

Beyond Series by Kit Rocha
Lex Talionis by R.S.A. Garcia
Love is a Battlefield by Vivien Arend
Beyond Repair by Charlotte Stein
Silver Tongued Devils by Dawn Montgomery
Sweetest Surrender by Katie Reus
One Sexy Ride by Vivian Arend
Sinful Secrets by Cynthia Eden
Rumpel's Prize by Marie Hall
The Kraken King by Meljean Brook
Night Shift by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, and Milla Vane (AKA Meljean Brook)
Nobody by Sarah M. Anderson
Moonshine by Vivian Arend
A Dangerous Madness by Michelle Deiner
Festive in Death by J.D. Robb
Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper
Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick
Sin Brothers Series by Rebecca Zanetti
The Escape by Mary Balogh
Air Bound by Christine Feehan
Wild Wolf by Jennifer Ashley
Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger
Light My Fire by G.A. Aiken
Sheild of Winter by Nalini Singh

Going through the list of all the books I've read this year makes me see I've been perhaps a bit too liberal with my 4 star ratings, or maybe that's just hindsight. Nevertheless, I read a lot of great books this year and re-read some beloved series.

Top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2014

I've been blogging for not quite a year, but here's my most popular posts so far.

Open Library-Borrow Books for Free

This one makes good sense to me, because hey, who doesn't like to read free and legally?

Dear Author Legal Defense Fund

Probably the most shocking thing besides the stalking to have happened in the romance blogging community in the past year. My thoughts on the actual event didn't get so many hits, but man did the community rally.

Inn at Last Chance

This one really surprised me, I gave it a middling review and inspirationals aren't typically my milieu.

Free - Wrecked by Meljean Brook is Free

I guess this one it is not terribly surprising, people love free. It's not still free of course, but it is still an excellent series.

Review - Air Bound

Christine Feehan is a highly polarizing author, but love her or hate her, she's big business in the paranormal romance genre.

Goodreads "Ask the Author"

Ask the author is a really cool thing Goodreads is doing. Yeah, I know anyone can do it (that is in fact what makes it so very cool) but damn was I excited the author actually answered my question.

Sweetest Surrender

This post was from back at the start of my blog, I didn't say much, but I really did like the story. While I wouldn't say I'm a fabulous blogger yet, at least I can say I've improved.

Review - Moonshine Takhini Wolves Book 4

Arend is a prolific writer across several genres. I really enjoy her work, but she probably isn't one of the most well known authors yet, so it surprised me that my posts on her books get so many hits.

Review - Dark Blood

Out of over 100 posts I made since I started this blog in April, only two of them were for Christine Feehan, and both of them made the top 10 list. Apparently, polarizing gets the hits. As much as I liked Air Bound, I kind of didn't enjoy Dark Blood. My final summation: "So, as much as I am complaining, I am giving this 3 stars because IMO, Feehan's heroes have become much less rapey and FINALLY we have a hero that checks consent, because it kept me entertained, and actually entertained enough that I will likely still read the next book (I just can't quit Feehan), and nostalgia-because I have now been in this series for 26 books and apparently I just can't quit Feehan."

The Collector

This is another one of my earlier posts, so I suspect the number of hits has more to do with the length of time that it was up rather than any intrinsically helpful,quality in my review.

I am not sure what this pattern tells me, but it is interesting to see how I have progressed in my blogging style. I am looking forward to the coming year and future books to Read and reviewed.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Just how politically correct does a fiction blogger need to be?

Last week All About Romance posted an announcement that they were starting a companion series to their "Dreamboat or Douchebag" series, which resulted in such vitriol that an apology was posted. The original post stated fairly clearly that some of the title ideas were in jest, but apparently some people were outraged. I struggle with this a bit for several reasons. One, by the nature of the topic you just aren't going to be able to use a "nice" descriptor, it would completely defeat the purpose. Secondly, while there was some outcry against the use of the word douchebag to describe the men, it never seemed to reach these levels AND it was mostly framed as an issue of why a feminine gendered descriptor was an insult to men. So it wasn't about the men and consequently, to me, that smacks of the worst sort of hypocrisy. Thirdly I am somewhat conflicted on the idea that it isn't acceptable to judge fictional characters. For me at least, things that would never fly with me when it comes to real humans, I don't find so outraging when it comes to fictional characters. I just have this feeling that both when writing the characters and when judging them, since it is fiction, it should remain a safe place to explore this sort of thing without the moral issues that come into play with real people. Maybe I'm wrong on that, maybe I'm contributing to the negative cultural mores I rail against in real life, but those are my feelings.

As far as the actual title goes, I favor "Keeper or Kick-her-to-the-curb". And I favor it not specifically because of the lack of outraging or denigrating terms, but BECAUSE I feel that sometimes only a bitch or a shrew will do. So I'll likely continue to judge fictional characters, and I'm likely to think of them in terms that some people will find objectionable. Probably the only difference I'll make is to try to explain my motivations and meanings a little better. And I hope All About Romance doesn't decide to scrap the project, because frankly it's fun to judge, and it's also extremely illuminating to see just how differently people interpret and judge things. Frankly I kind of thought that was the whole point in blogging about fiction, because taste is so subjective and it's certainly not universal.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Goodreads Choice Awards 2014 Review - The Martian

The Martian
by Andy Weir

This is definitely not remotely a romance. The vast majority of the time this novel focuses on one solitary man. Now that I have that out of the way, on to the review. I picked this up because it was the only Goodreads Choice Award Winner that piqued my interest. It was outside of my normal bailiwick, but I do enjoy the occasional science fiction story, so I figured why not. And I am so incredibly glad I did. Some of the thrill was probably just the palate cleansing effect of reading :shudders: NOT ROMANCE. But, I think most of the effect was the fact that this is a legitimately good and interesting book. It is commonly described as "Apollo 13 meets Cast Away", which if that makes you want to read it I say go for it, but if it doesn't, well I think that is actually a horrible description. Mine? Mark Watney is Q from James Bond meets MacGyver... ON MARS! He is hilarious, with this irrepressible spirit, and he has this incredibly smart/sexy thing happening and he survives everything Mars has to throw at him with intelligence, science, and creativity. Honestly, I'd love to hang out with him in person, maybe stand him for a beer, and have his babies. Wait, that just slipped out, so maybe this is a romance...mine.

Just for fun, here are some of my favorite quotes:

"My asshole is doing as much to keep me alive as my brain."

"I'm the King of Mars."
"I don't want to come off as arrogant here, but I'm the best botanist on the planet."
"Yes, of course duct tape works in a near vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped."
"I'll call it a "pirate-ninja."
"As with most of life's problems, this one can be solved by a box of pure radiation."
"You're sending him to space under a tarp?"

"...apparently, I smell like a skunk took a shit on some sweat socks. This is the happiest day of my life."

ARC Review - Watch Me

Watch Me
by Cynthia Eden

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. 

OK, so you need to know up front, I adore Cynthia Eden. Her books tend to be like crack for me. And this book even more so. By that I mean, it is addictive, with a quick short high, that doesn't last long, and leaves you scrambling for the next one, often with very little memory of that previous high.

This is romantic suspense lite, there isn't a lot of depth to the plot or the characters, and the mystery while tricky wasn't really explored much,it was just BAM and there it was. Don't get me wrong, I really did enjoy this book, I am looking forward to the rest of the series, and it was just a ton of fun while it lasted (so altogether a whole lot better than crack), it just isn't likely to go on my re-read list.

Chance Valentine is the secretive, dangerous, and sexy body guard. Gwen Hawthorne is the feisty but loving heroine. They have years of back story, but we really don't get to see any of that, and of course they love each other (and always have).

3.5 stars

Monday, December 8, 2014

Free - Wrecked by Meljean Brook is FREE

Ok, so the title says it all. But Wrecked is free over at amazon.

Even more interesting, Meljean has contact to get an epub from her if kindle isn't your thing.

Since I read this series in order, I am a bit unqualified to determine how this fares as a stand alone, but this is my absolute favorite steam punk series. So I highly recommend it.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Review - Dead But Not Forgotten Stories from the World of Sookie Stackhouse

Dead But Not Forgotten
edited by Charlaine Harris

OK, so I am a sucker and I borrowed it. I mean really, how many ways are there to hose a fan base? Now we have fan-fic of her series? But I really wanted to see MaryJanice Davidson's take on Eric. While I never felt the antipathy so many people felt toward Dead Ever After, I remained somewhat dissatisfied with Eric's ending, and After Dead really only made it worse. Hind sight is 20/20, and re-reading only makes it truer, so going back and re-reading the ENTIRE series made me see even more clearly that it was always only and ever Sam for Sookie. But still, I adored Eric and I didn't like how his ending was left. And I really enjoy MaryJanice Davidson, so I figured this was a shot, much like when I tracked down the book Scarlett when Gone With the Wind left me too depressed. And much like Scarlett, while the tone was a little off, it was good to see my favorite characters overcome. MaryJanice Davidson gave me back the 4 steps ahead of everyone, devious and conniving Northman. So I am going to take my Davidson provided Eric ending and enjoy it.

The rest of the stories were hit and miss, some of the authors were obviously not as familiar as they should have been with the source material, and tone and characterization were problematic throughout. I don't know that I would actually recommend this to anyone, and I certainly wouldn't advise buying it, but if your library or a friend has a copy you could borrow, if you are anything like me about needing closure, you might open it up to Widower's Walk.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Goodreads Best Books of 2014

Goodreads annual reader poll results are up here.

I'll admit that it is hard to get into it when my personal favorite books didn't win. Honestly, I think there should be more romance categories, but that is a personal bias. One winner did however pique my interest, in the Science Fiction Category Andy Weir's The Martian seems like, despite the fact that it isn't remotely romance, it may just be my cup of tea. but, if you are a loss for what to read next, dig through not just the winners but also the nominees, there is some great stuff out there.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Review - Night Shift

Night Shift
by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Lisa Shearin, and Milla Vane

I was ecstatic when I saw this book coming out. It has 3 of my absolute must read authors in it.

Secrets at Midnight (Psi-Changeling 13.5?)

This novella stars Bastion and a new character as his heroine. I flip flopped a lot on this one. It just seemed somewhat uneven in terms of the plotting and the pacing. I went from aww that so sweet I love this, to what the heck that is just crazy, several times. And there is quite a twist in terms of Changeling physiology. It wasn't necessarily bad; I just think it suffered a bit from the shorter format and time frame. While this could probably be read as a stand alone, I wouldn't advise it. 3 stars

Magic Steals (Kate Daniels 7.5)

This is a Jim and Dali story, and I adore them. I will however admit that I threw a bit of a temper tantrum when I realized this story was set during magic Rises rather than after magic breaks. Tantrum done, I dug into the story and I adored it every bit as much as I expected to. We got into both of their heads so much and Dali got to know Jim so much better too. And there is a really touching scene with Dali's mother. I am really enjoying seeing their story unfold, and these short stories work for them because we know so much about them and their lives from their relationships to the rest of the characters in the Kate Daniels world. I remain, as ever, conflicted on whether I want a full novel for them post haste (so I can gobble it down the unseemly greed), or if this unfolding through short stories is the better plan to prolong the enjoyment. This is absolutely not a stand alone. You have to at least read magic Dreams which was originally printed in Hexed, if not the entire Kate Daniels series. 5 Stars

Lucky Charms (SPI 0.5)

I could not get into the voice of this story and the plot just didn't interest me. Presumably this is a stand alone as it appears to be a prequel. DNF
The Beast of Blackmoor

This was way, way darker and way more explicit than I was expecting from Meljean Brook AKA Milla Vane, but I suppose that is why it is under a different name, it isn't the same as the rest of her books. That is by no means a bad thing, as it is really well written and the characters are well rendered even in this short format. It was just a surprise. It features an interesting peak into a new almost medieval fantasy world with deities who act dramatically and concretely in the world. fascinating stuff and I hope we see more like it. This is absolutely a stand alone. 4 Stars

Altogether I am rating this 4 stars

Monday, November 24, 2014

Advance Review - Light My Fire

Light My Fire
by G.A. Aiken

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
This is the 7th book in the Dragon Kin Series, and then there are a handful of novellas. I adore both this series, and her Pack/Pride series under the Shelly Laurenston name. If you are confused by the fact that some of the Dragon Kin stories are under a different name, well it's the same author, so don't worry.

A word about reading order according to the author:

There are two ways to read the Dragon Kin series. One is in the order they were written by me, and one is based on the chronology of the series. I, personally, prefer the order in which the books were written because I tease or hint about the romances of the older dragons during the full-length novels. Then in the anthos, some of the humor payoff comes out of having read those novels first.

This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t read the series in straight chronological order. I know there are some readers who hate “prequels.” So to help out, below are the reading orders of the book, mine and chronological.

– G.A.


1. Dragon Actually
2. “Chains & Flames” from Dragon Actually
3. About a Dragon
4. “Can’t Get Enough” from Everlasting Bad Boys
5. What a Dragon Should Know
6. Last Dragon Standing
7. “Dragon On Top” from Supernatural
8. The Dragon Who Loved Me

*9. How to Drive a Dragon Crazy
*10 A Tale of Two Dragons


1. “Can’t Get Enough” from Everlasting Bad Boys
*2. A Tale of Two Dragons
3. “Chains & Flames” from Dragon Actually
4. “Dragon On Top” from Supernatural
5. Dragon Actually
6. About a Dragon
7. What a Dragon Should Know
8. Last Dragon Standing
9. The Dragon Who Loved Me
*10 How to Drive a Dragon Crazy

*These are my additions to Aiken's post which hadn't been updated with the newest books.

While I was disappointed that the Pack/Pride series was ending or at least going on hiatus, I was thrilled to see she started back on the Dragon kin series. Aiken/Laurenston has the absolutely funniest paranormal characters. They're witty, snarky, self-absorbed, and insane. Who wouldn't have a good time with that? But, as is almost always the case with a series, this just isn't a good starting spot, so if you haven't read the rest of the series, now is not a good spot to jump in. While each of the stories has it's own hero and heroine, there is an overall plot arc that won't make sense without all the pieces of the puzzle.

Light My Fire comes back about a decade after The Dragon Who Loved Me. Most of the characters live hundreds of years, so all the beloveds are still around and much as we saw them last, but there are a ton of new kids running around. Celyn the Charming, who caused so much trouble with, Izzy and Éibhear, finally gets his own heroine, and she is an absolute riot. Elina Shestakova of the Black Bear Riders of the Midnight Mountains of Despair in the Far Reaches of the Steppes of the Outerplains, is a cynic with a fatalistic world view from a matriarchal society, so just about as opposite from the Southland Dragons as is humanly, or even inhumanly , possible.  And she is even more different from Celyn who tends to be a sweetie. The best way to explain Elina is to picture a stereotyped Russian man and then add some more aggression and chauvinism. Frankly, Celyn and Elina kind of flip gender sterotypes in an enjoyable and hilarious way that made me re-read this in really short order. Their romance was nicely integrated into the overall plot arc of the series, and they fit into the overall Anwyl and original human dragon hybrid children plot. The series seems to have grown organically and the new characters have been a logical extension of that growth, and they don't just seem to be place holders for characters we are waiting to have grow up so they can get their own stories. When a series gets this long you start to worry that the whole thing is going to spiral out of control into a mess that you don't even recognize anymore, and I am so, so glad that isn't the case this time. This book opened up the Dragon Kin World in a way that i think is going to keep the series fresh and interesting for a few more books at the very least. 4.5 stars and a murderous rampage if it takes more than about a year to get me the next one.

Friday, November 14, 2014

ARC - I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas

I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas
by Molly Harper

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. 

This is a novella set in the Half Moon Hollow series, which is a spin-off from the Jane Jameson series and in the same world as the Naked Werewolf series. While you don't need to read the naked Werewolf story (or vice versa) to enjoy these, the Jane Jameson ones are somewhat required as far as I am concerned.

This particular novella is actually kind of interesting. It was initially released as an audiobook LAST Christmas, and is now being released in ebook form. If you do the Audible audiobook thing, it is actually free at the moment. Considering Charlaine Harris recently did something similar, with the audio releasing before the print, I kind of wonder if this is some sort of new experiment. I know some people love the audio, but since I just can't stand it, i hope this doesn't become too common, or I'll end up very frustrated.

Molly Harper's strengths have always been her humor, and the relationships her characters have with everyone, not just with their hero/heroine. There's no romance in this story, but considering Harper's strengths, that really isn't a problem. It is a happy holiday story that lets us get caught up with beloved characters (without eating into another main character's story) and gives is helpful time spanning information without dragging down the main romantic story. It's Gigi's first Christmas since her sister Iris became a vampire, she's getting ready to graduate college, and she's looking for a future job. All very entertaining for a hold over novella, not something I would want in addition to the main book, but definitely something to whet the appetite for The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire. 3.5 stars

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Review - A Kiss of Christmas Magic

Kiss of Christmas Magic: 20 Paranormal Holiday Tales of Werewolves, Shifters, Vampires, Elves, Witches, Dragons, Fey, Ghosts, and More

by Eve Langlais, Aubrey Rose, Molly Prince, Deanna Chase, Mandy M. Roth,Michelle M. Pillow, Angie Fox, Mimi Strong, Viola Rivard, Michele Bardsley, V.M. Black, Lola St. Vil, Tera Edun,Jessa Slade, Chloe Cole, Cristina Rayne, Shawntelle Madison, J.S. Hope, Carina Wilder, Dawn Michelle, Jessica Ryan

I am absolutely not going to review these each individually. Come on, there's 20 of them and the book is well over 1000 kindle pages long. The more important thing is that it is currently $0.99, and it is absolutely worth that much, but after the holidays it is supposed to go up to $20.00, and I would absolutely not pay that price. Some of the stories I absolutely loved, like Caribou Christmas and Everlastingly. Some of them I just could not finish. Some were mediocre. There were only a couple of parts of a serial (since I hate the serial thing this is a good thing). But for $0.99 it absolutely rocks.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

ARC - Rocky Mountain Miracle

Rocky Mountain Miracle
by Christine Feehan

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. 

This book gets a great big fat 1 star from me, for a variety of reasons. For one thing, I assumed that this was a new novella. It is most assuredly not, and while this one wasn't so memorable that reading the synopsis tweaked my memory, once I started reading it reminded me of all the things I disliked about it before.

So, this story was first published in The Shadows of Christmas Past, which includes another paranormal Christmas story from Suzanne Sizemore. It was then recycled with other previously released Christmas stories in A Christine Feehan Holiday Treasury, which is almost certainly available in your library (and the other stories in this particular anthology are much stronger IMO), or on Amazon for extremely low prices in print. So if you are considering this book, first check your shelves and then maybe check your library. I just can't see this book as being worth $4.00.

As for the story itself, I now faintly remember disliking it the first time I read it, and it simply hasn't improved with time or re-reading. Maia is insipid, Cole is irritating, I kind of like Jase and the story between the two brothers, but the dialogue for this thing really just kills me. I accept a certain amount of info dumping dialogue in paranormal and urban fantasy because sometimes the world building needs it. But this is essentially a contemporary with a bit of paranormal, so it is just frustrating and irritating. And even without the info-dumping aspect, I just could not get behind the characters or what they had to say. So I recommend this to no one and want to shame the publishers for not posting up front that this was previously released.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

ARC Review - Wild Nights

Wild Nights
by Tina Wainscott

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. 

This is book 3 in the Justiss Alliance, and you can see my previous reviews here.

Wild Nights picks up after Wild Ways with everyone (except Roth) settling into the Justiss Alliance, and the new relationships for the previous heroes/heroines.

Saxonby "Sooch" Cole's new assignment is infiltrating a nude resort, as a mild mannered geek, in order to uncover a date rape scheme. It's the perfect job for the confirmed bachelor of the group. Jennessy Shaw scheduled this trip to spark things up with her long-term boyfriend, but when she catches him cheating on her, she decides to explore her wild side on her own. They are both instantly attracted, but between the miscommunications as well as Sax's feeling about fidelity, (he has some really crappy men in his family), they needless to say get off to a rocky start. But, when Jennessy (who has depths not seen at first glance) winds up in Sax's arms as a victim, all bets are off.

The Justiss Alliance is like the A-Team, only with sex and romance, and in this case a nude resort. It's is a little campy, a little ridiculous and over the top, but plenty of fun. This latest installment, the writing seems to be somewhat smoother and overall the pacing issues I saw in the first books seem to be resolved.

It looks like we are set up for Knox's book next, but I honestly find myself most curious about Roth. 

Altogether, I enjoyed this book as I have enjoyed this series so far; however, there is one event with another woman on the resort. It seems like the author used this as a note that this isn't some unrealistic, not like real life plot line, but honestly, it came off as gratuitous and unnecessary. 3.5 stars and thus far, completely willing to go the distance with this series. There's nothing groundbreaking about it, but it is reasonably good entertainment.

Monday, November 3, 2014

ARC Review - Beyond Possession

Beyond Possession
by Kit Rocha

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. 

This is listed as book 5.5 in this series. You can read previous reviews here and here.

This is a novella in what is a rather gripping post-apocalyptic dystopian world. While the author states she tries to make the novellas more accessible to new readers, at this point I don't think it is possible. The world building and characterization of the other main characters in the series are simply too far along. So new readers, don't start here, and don't read this review if you don't want spoilers for the previous books.

I really enjoyed Zan and Tatiana's story. Zan is recovering from when he almost died attempting to protect Trix. Tatiana on the other hand is struggling to maintain her balance in Sector 4 as her father was the ruler that O'Kane over threw in order to come to power. O'Kane isn't universally loved so this puts her, and her sister, in a hard place. When rebellion starts brewing, and her sister trapped on the wrong side, few choices falls down to none. Since this is a short story, there isn't much to the courtship process, so Zan and Tatiana's connection relies on back-story not seen on the page, which I infinitely prefer to the insta-connection. They are sweet and sexy, and Zan for all his dominant ways was remarkably sensitive to Tatiana's needs. And Tatiana for her part recognizes this and learns to bend and to trust, but I appreciate the level of independence she maintained compared to some of the other heroine's in this series. This book is grittier than the previous one and gives us some new insight into the politics within Sector 4. Overall 4 stars, but I couldn't rate it any higher because Tatiania seemed a bit shoehorned into joining the O'Kane's. I absolutely cannot wait for the next book, because that one should be another full-length one.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Review - Burn for Me

Burn for Me
by Ilona Andrews

Ilona Andrews, the husband and wife writing team of the Kate Daniels Series and The Edge Series, and just all around awesome couple who seriously interact with their fans on their blog and who do free serial writing projects (really check out their blog) have started a new series, Hidden Legacy.

The Hidden Legacy series is in a divergent world where in 1863 we discover a serum that unlocks untapped magic potential. Shenanigans ensue and the world decides this is much too dangerous to be let loose. Of course, there are all the people who have already had the serum, and these traits are passed down genetically to their offspring, so magic, and thus power, prestige, and money are concentrated into the hands of these families, known as Houses.

Nevada Baylor, so far as the world is concerned, is magically a null. She owns an investigation service that is mortgaged to a powerful House, and has a host of responsibilities from her family and the business. When a deranged pyrotechnic starts a series of crimes, and his family wants him peaceably captured, Nevada is conscripted, because her chief qualification is she's expendable. If only they knew she is an extremely powerful human lie detector, it would be so much worse.

Connor Rogan, also known as Mad Rogan, is the most powerful telekinetic known. He's a former soldier and something of a sociopath. But when his cousin who he hasn't contacted in a decade comes to him for help in getting her son who has been pulled into the plot into custody rather than dead, he decides to become involved.

Naturally this sets Nevada and Mad Rogan onto a collision course. I have to say, I did not like the way they met. Mad Rogan was in my opinion reprehensible, and his future behavior didn't endear me to him as we went along. I am typically cool with morally ambivalent and even to an extent, sociopathic ones, but Rogan really kind of irked me. And it didn't help that the POV was completely from Nevada's side, nor that Nevada started out displaying TSTL heroine characteristics with an overwhelmingly unsuitable hero and in the most inappropriate moments.  But, as the story progressed and they were in dangerous situation after dangerous situation where Rogan kind of shined, and where Nevada stuck to her guns about not going after what she wanted when it wasn't good for her, well I started to see it better. Then Nevada gave us a bit of insight to how Rogan looked to someone with such an unusual magical ability.

"Mad Rogan, unlike other people, rarely lied. I didn't know if it was because I would call him on it or if it was simply his way. When he said he would kill you, he meant it. He didn't make threats or promises, he stated facts, and when he wanted something, he'd do whatever he had to do to get it"

That, to me, really seemed to make it make sense. I mean, how seductive would it be to a human lie detector to be around someone who didn't lie to her?

When we hit the last chapter and I saw how much stronger Nevada was than she thought (it seriously closed the power differential between her and Rogan), and how she kept up her distance for the most part, despite her attraction and him pushing, I was ready to give it 3.5 stars or so and be cautiously optimistic about the rest of the series. Then, OH MY EFFING GOD, we got to the epilogue. There was a hellacious twist that I never saw coming and we finally got into Rogan's head. It immediately bumped up to 4.5 stars for me and I am extremely excited about the next book in the series. I can't wait to see how Rogan unfolds. Do I forgive him right now? Nope, but he's got all kinds of room for growth and interesting stuff.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review - Archangel's Shadows

Archangel's Shadows
by Nalini Singh

This is book 7 in the Guild Hunter series. If you haven't already been hooked into this series, it's a delightful blend of paranormal romance and urban fantasy. The world is controlled by Angels and Archangels who are the progenitors of vampires. These are strictly secular angels with evolutionary rather than religious origins. And both the vampires and the angels are extremely other, not just humans with accouterments strapped to them, which I adore. What's the point of having paranormal characters if you can't tell them from mortal ones? Vampires are naturally quite dangerous creatures and so a human organization, the Guild Hunters, have set themselves up as a sort of police organization. They must work with the Angels and Archangels, as they are the powers, but the Guild is largely an independent organization. The series primarily revolves around the Archangel Raphael and Guild Hunter Elena Deveraux; however, it sidles off to explore the lives and relationships of the more integral secondary characters. In that way it is more like Eileen Wilks' World of Lupi than her Psi-Changeling series (which is another excellent series if you haven't yet been sucked in).

This is one of those series that makes me wish for a time machine so I could sit in a library and devour ALL THE BOOKS! I can't savor these on the first read; I gulp them down and save the savoring for the re-reads. And I can guarantee you that I will be re-reading any of her books. So, that being said, this book is absolutely not the place to start with this series. The mythology and the relationship backgrounds are entirely too intricate to start in the middle. Go ahead, start at the beginning, I'll wait right here :)

So, this is nominally Janvier and Ashwini's book. We already had a peak into their relationship dynamic through other books and most particularly in the novella Angel's Pawn. Ash has been notoriously reluctant to become involved with Janvier and this book gives us a bombshell about exactly why. I don't want to spoil it, but it was excellent. This is not one of those little nothing turned into BIG MISUNDERSTANDING situations that I find so exasperating. It was a serious issue, albeit one which as this is a romance we knew would be resolved.

There was a bit of a mystery and investigation involved, but it really served more as a backdrop to the politics and world building, and to giving a platform to all the main characters. It was a good plot line, but honestly, I cared much more about the characters than the suspense part this time. We got to get into plenty of our favorite characters heads, learned more about Legion, and....Naasir absolutely stole the show and has completely supplanted my wish for Ilium to be next. Ilium just isn't ready, but Naasir is, and I am oh so ready for Naasir. I can't believe I hadn't previously seen the possibilities of a tiger-like vampire. That isn't to say Janvier and Ash were sidelined, they were front and center and much of the story is devoted to them, but they are so closely tied to the families they have made that it is impossible to separate them out.

5 absolutely breathtaking stars, and if it weren't for the fact Ilona Andrews' Burn for Me is up in my que next, I'd be re-reading it tonight.

ARC Review - Full Contact

Full Contact
by Sidney Halston

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. 

This is the second book in Halston's Worth the Fight series. My previous review can be found here.

I'll admit now, that in retrospect, a bit of my liking for this first book was because of the new buzz of actually being picked for a Netgalley Arc. If I read it now my rating may have been lower because I have become more critical of rough spots and pacing issues. That being said, Halston has really smoothed out in Full Contact.

We met Jessica Cross as a victim and Slade Martin as an eff-up in Against the Cage. In Full Contact, they are both trying to heal and get into some semblance of adult life. This is a Loveswept, so naturally in this fluffier line; we have a caricature villain, stupid misunderstandings, and a lack of communication. But with such relatively one-dimensional main characters, you've got to have something for tension and conflict. Where Halston really shines though is her humor. I had many laugh out loud moments and for the most part I really enjoyed seeing these two very different people get together. Plus, the rest of the ensemble is really enjoyable too. You just know that everyone else is sequel bait, but it didn't lessen my enjoyment in the slightest.

So I am giving it 3.5 stars and am ready and willing to read the rest of the series.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Undead and Unwary

Undead and Unwary
by Maryjanice Davidson

Here we are at book 13 with Betsy and the gang. She's still as snarky and vapid as ever, and that is excellent. I have to say though, while I enjoyed this one quite a bit more than 10-12, this may be here strangest and most disjointed book to date. Some of that is because rather than opening with a précis of the series so far, she instead weaved snippets of past events into the current story. It wasn't badly done, but in my opinion, it made the story even jumpier than usual (and anyone who's read this series knows being in Betsy's head is kind scattered anyway). However, the upshot to this, is that if a person actually wanted to (and this is the first and probably last time I will ever say such a thing about a series this long) they could hop right into the series right now. I would really, really advise against this as the first books are the best of the series, but I think it would be possible.

Altogether I think we've reached a turning point in the series, wherein Betsy goes to hell and gets a clue, she finds out that her sister's less than charming traits may have come from her father rather than either of her mothers, and SinkLair seems to be just as lovably sneaky as ever despite his current embrace of light and joy. While I miss the less grown up incarnation of Betsy, I find myself somewhat refreshed on this series and genuinely curious where Davidson will be taking it next.

Monday, October 27, 2014

ARC Review - Beyond Addiction

Beyond Addiction
by Kit Rocha
I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. 

This is book 5 in the Beyond Series, a post-apocalyptic erotice/romance series. You can read my previous reviews here.

Trix was left hanging with one hell of a cliffhanger at the end of the last book. That is rather expeditiously resolved at the beginning of this story, when she lands right back into Sector 5 and the hands of her former lover, Finn. Finn is a man on the edge, a man who only wants a front row seat with no exit plan to the ruination of Sector 5. But, when Trix shows up everything changes. While he doesn't start out wanting to change his path, he does have a new goal.

Despite the action, this book seems both more relaxed and introspective. Overall, I'd say this book was less about Trix and Finn (though don't get me wrong, there was plenty of sizzle), and more about expanding the world building. And that is the thing about these stories; they are creating such a novel, raunchy, post apocalyptic-dystopian world, that these books just aren't stand alones. While this is absolutely not my favorite story or couple, I still enjoy the world that is being built and can't wait for the next one.

But one more thing, I'd love to find out more about Ryder.

3.5 stars

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pamela Clare Breast Cancer Fundraiser Anthology

Here's a novel way to fund raise for breast cancer treatment.

"Enjoy 11 emotional stories - 2000 pages filled with all types of heroes from small town to international action-adventure who earn and protect those they love.

PLEASE NOTE: All proceeds go directly to the medical fund for box set author Pamela Clare, who is in the midst of her own battle with breast cancer."

Last Hero Standing: Eleven sexy heroic stories by bestsellers is available for $0.99 by pre-order:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Review - Unbinding

by Eileen Wilks

Eileen Wilks' World of the Lupi series is sort of an alternate history, slightly post-apocalyptic, urban fantasy romance series. In this world, we have Lupi (sort of like hereditable werewolves who are only male and have a deeply religious bent), Sidhe, humans with Gifts, witches, dragons, demons and various other mythological creatures. Needless to say, with all of that going on, this is NOT the place to start this series. This is a richly textured world and mythology, but of late I had started to fear that it was making the mistake other series I've read has, that of building the world in inorganic ways merely to drive the series. I am so happy to see that that is categorically not the case here. I had a moment of tummy butterflies when I saw this story would feature Kai and Nathan rather than returning the Rule and Lily, despite the fact that I enjoy them as characters, because it felt like one more piece of evidence that the world and the series were devolving. Honestly, I shouldn't have doubted Wilks. Kai and Nathan's involvement with the god of chaos makes perfect sense, as does the god's actions in the previous book and this one. By the end of it there's not only a nice little resolution to some previous plots, but the diverging worlds Wilks seemed to be building have much more firmly been shown how they are really more of a tapestry than spin offs. It all felt really organic, and except for the fact that they reference quite a bit of stuff that obviously happened of the page, I was really pleased. More specifically on the relationship, Kai had some major personal growth that I enjoyed seeing, Nathan had a bit of relationship growth himself in realizing he can't just go it all alone, and it was really nice to see how their relationship is shaking out. I'll look forward to seeing more of them in the future. I'm already lusting after Mind Games, and the teaser at the end of this book doesn't even have any of our recognizable characters in it.

5 stars

Friday, October 3, 2014

Dear Author Legal Defense Fund

Sarah over at SBTB is administering Dear Author's fund, you can read about that here.

If you are interested in donating, just follow the link.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Review - The Witch With No Name

The Witch With No Name
by Kim Harrison

Ok, so it took me a bit to write this review, I've been following Rachel Morgan, Jinx and Ivy for a long time, and it is tough to let go. On the other hand, it is good when an author knows when to let go too. Rachel and the gang have come a long way since they started, so book 13 was less about the action and the exposition, and more like an epilogue for the series. Yes, there is some action and drama, but this book was all about tying up the loose ends. Overall, the plot seemed frequently disjointed, as if Harrison was trying to cram everyone in there and tie all their threads too. I guess I just have mixed feelings on this. If this weren't the finale, I think I would have hated it because there were (in my opinion) too many deus ex machina. On the other hand, I will admit that when a series is completed but doesn't feel like everything is all tied up, it will piss me off, so I would have probably been madder if the book hadn't turned out the way it did.

So I am giving this 3 stars, while the series didn't end on a high note, it is probably about the best we can hope for with such a long running series. If I can kind of compare this to anything, it would be the feeling I got reading the last Harry Potter book, but maybe a little worse since The Hollows peaked for me a few books back. And while everything was just a little too neat for me in the epilogue of this epilogue, I am hoping Al's last word clears it up for me and lets this thing actually end on the high note I was hoping for.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Ellora's Cave, Dear Author & Lawsuits - Oh My!

One upon a time, as a younger but still voracious reader, I stumbled upon Ellora's Cave, an Indie publishing company, and so my love of both ebooks and erotica was born. Back then they only offered PDF, and I STILL have some of those. But over the past few years EC has become stranger and stranger. All I can say is I'm way past disappointed and right into appalled. EC actually has the temerity to SUE a blogger for posting things that by all accounts seem to be true. I don't know what the goal is, but for me, all I can say is they've lost a reader.

The post that spawned the lawsuit can be found here.

"But the problems within Ellora’s Cave are deep and broad and should be brought into the light of day, not only for those existing authors and creators but for future ones. In internal emails, the CEO admits that “the drastic drop in sales has resulted in large net short term variable production losses and slow and often negative return on investment for ECon almost every new book we publish, with the exception of a handful of the highest sellers.”
There is a set of authors who have not received royalty payments in over six months. EC has blamed this repeatedly on a new accounting system installed in December of 2013.
CEO Marks admits that “already submitted finished books” will be paid but that “payment may be delayed.”
For editors, any partial work would not be paid, only finished work and that by finishing the work, they must accept the terms of the late payment.
Partial work that is completed should be sent in to be finished by an in house editor and no partial work will be paid for.
Failure to turn in either partial work or finished work will result in a 25% deduction of overall payment for that project.
The author portal has been shut down where a select few authors could check their royalties.
Authors request for return of their rights have been rejected and some are told that their books will be published with or without their approval.
The total sum of unpaid royalties, editor fees, cover artist fees is in the several thousands, perhaps approaching six figures.
EC has held warehouse sales advertised via online forums and through eBay.

Authors are now asking readers to not buy EC books. See Avril Ashton and Cat Grant."

(Formatting issues in this excerpt are my own and not the results of DA)

And here's the link for Dear Author's response about the lawsuit.

All I can say is that Dear Author has shown a lot of class, I wouldn't have been as nice, and I think EC is behaving childishly and throwing a whining tantrum. I hate to wish ill on someone, and I'm sad for the authors, editors, cover artists et al who are being hurt by this, but Tina/Jaid needs to be stopped.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

UK- Magic Breaks Sale The Countdown has begun.

Ilona Andrews magic Breaks is on sale in the UK for $0.99 for the next hour, then it jumps to $1.99.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sale - Nora Roberts: The Inn Boonsboro Trilogy

Nora Roberts: The Inn Boonsboro Trilogy is currently on sale at Amazon only for $4.99. Since that is the price of the current cheapest book in the trilogy, it is an excellent deal. Hopefully some of the other retailers will price match. But for now, if you haven't read them already, or you only have paper and are looking to pick them up in digital, it is a steal.

Review - Frozen

by Meljean Brook

Meljean Brook had been teasing us with the idea of Frozen for quite some time, and eventually she gave into the shame and got herself to finish it by posting it in serial format on her blog until it was finished. Her blogs of shame were a very clever stick to beat herself with, and was an excellent reward for those who have been waiting. It is currently still $0.99 in digital formats (that I understand may be subject to change). It is billed as a novella, but frankly, at 163 or so pages, that is really almost a novel.

Frozen relies heavily on the snowbound trope to keep the word count down and still leave us with fleshed out characters and conflicts, since there aren't really mother people or places to devote word count to. It has a really interesting mythology, which makes it one of the fresher stories I've read in quite a while. This is categorically NOT your standard vampire, werewolf, ghost, or Fae story. I really, really enjoyed it. My one issue, is I am not a huge fan of first person narratives, particularly when I am in the heroine's head. I like to get a bit more insight into the hero's thought processes, and while we got to know Olivia rather well, Erik remained largely opaque even at the HEA. Overall, 4 stars, and more than worth the dollar price tag.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

UK Ilona Andrews Magic Breaks SALE

September 25, 2014 Magic Breaks will be on sale in the UK, and the price will increase as time goes buy. If you are in the UK and have held off, it's time to get it now.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Meljean Brook's Frozen avaliable

Meljean Brook finally completed her story Frozen and it is currently $0.99. She published it first on her blog as a freebie serial and now it is available for purchase!!! I haven't read it yet, so review should be coming soon.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review - Mine to Have

Mine to Have
by Cynthia Eden

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

This is book 5 in Eden's Mine Series. While I suppose most of these could be read as stand-alones, really, this is sort of a saga of the most villain-beleaguered group of friends and family I think I have ever read. These are insta-hots and insta-obsession type books and are rather predictable, but they are so filled with drama that they are really kind of fun to read too. So here is a general breakdown of how they connect (minus any spoilers).

Trace (hero of book 1 & 2) is friends with Noah (hero of book 3) and Drake Archer (hero of book 4). Archer falls in love with Jasmine, who brings to the group her brothers Saxon (hero of book 5) and Victor (hero of book 6?).

Mine to Have is no exception to the rule of danger, bullets, blood, and betrayal. Saxon has been undercover for so long he doesn't know precisely who he is anymore, but he has a definitive plan for who he wants to be and an exit plan that he is on the cusp of obtaining. Elizabeth is the ubiquitous woman in danger, but she is pretty feisty so I liked her quite a bit. Book 4 seemed to be the conclusion of the original set of villains and book 5 seems to set up this next arc of villains, and while I enjoyed the book, Victor kind of stole the show to me (as he did in the previous book as well). And while this does seem to set up the next book, he wasn't just sequel bait. I think the biggest difference in this book, from the rest of the series, is how isolated the main couple felt from the rest of the group. I can't tell if that was just the on the run aspect, or the fact that we have branched away from the original group, but it should be interesting to see how the rest of the series shakes out.

Overall, Cynthia Eden is an auto-buy for me because of the non-stop action and over the top instant devotion. I am not here for intricate world building or deep characterization; these are kind of the romance novel equivalent of Bruce Willis action films.

3.5 stars

Friday, September 12, 2014

Review - Festive in Death

Festive in Death
by J.D. Robb

This is book 39 in the series, not counting the 10 novellas. For anyone who's maybe not read, you know, books, in the past two decades, J.D. Robb is a pseudonym for Nora Roberts, under which she writes futuristic police procedural romantic suspense featuring Lieutenant Eve Dallas, her husband Roarke, and their friends and colleagues. While each book has a completed mystery, the series as a whole follows the lives, loves, tragedies, and mysteries of the main and recurring characters. The series is as much, if not more, a character study, as it is whodunit. So, while each story presents a discrete mystery, and could likely be read as a stand-alone, I really wouldn't, because otherwise you probably won't have any incentive to care about these characters.

That being said, Festive in Death is somewhat lighter and less fraught than previous books. Eve is heading into the Christmas holidays, and she still isn't a terribly festive person. But, she's definitely more relaxed about the holidays than she has been in years past. That actually seems to be the tone of the book, how Eve and Roarke have settled into this life they have made which is so different than either of them ever expected to make. It is sweet and a bit sappy, but seeing as I have followed this series for quite some time, it was nice to see some of my favorite imaginary people without the life and death struggles. The mystery was kind of interesting, and it is nice when the "victim" is someone you can despise, though there was a bit of a twist in the end that was kind of sad all the way around.

As an aside, I still don't particularly care for DeWinters. I can tell she is going to become an increasingly visible character in the series, but really, she rather rubs me the wrong way.

Altogether, this isn't the strongest book in the series, but it is a solid entry that long time readers will likely enjoy and it isn't anything that is likely to throw those readers out of the series. Eve has grown and changed into a more complete person, she has moved through most of her issues, and as I have said, it is nice to see her happy. That being said, we have kind of reached the point where it may be time to for Eve, and this series, to take those final steps to the end. I don't think adding new characters is going to be enough to freshen the series for much longer of a run.

3.5 stars

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Review- Dark Blood

Dark Blood
by Christine Feehan

This is book 26 in the Carpathian/Dark series, and most of us have been reading it since 1999, so Ms. Feehan kind of pre-dates the whole vampire craze, and it kind of shows. This book is absolutely not a stand-alone and you cannot just jump into the series from here, nothing would make any sense. Also, there will be spoilers.

I am going to admit, I did something I rarely do, which is read the reviews before reading a book I know I am going to read anyway. I don't typically do that because for a book I know that I am going to read, I don't want other people's opinions to color mine. With this book however, I have been toying with quitting the series. It has dragged on a really long time and we finally got Skylar's story, which is what I had been waiting for since Dark Legend in 2002. So needless to say, I went into this book with expectations, and frankly, they were negative ones. Several reviewers complained about angry sex being used to punish the heroine. Ever since I started with this series, the heroes have felt kind of rapey, there have definitely been elements of non-consent in these books, and a major theme has been that the hero basically takes over the heroine's life and is rather controlling in every aspect-not just the sex. But the flip side has always been that the heroines typically fight back and try to obtain and maintain a sense of independence and self-reliance. Maybe it is too much to expect from a romance novel series, but this series always felt kind of like a mirror of the feminist movement to me, and in many ways the series seemed to be reflecting a movement towards more independent females who actually fight and have tremendous powers and gifts of their own, ones who are more self-reliant etc. Except lately it felt like more steps were being taken backwards than forwards. So I was prepared to hate this and just rip into it so that I could give up on the series altogether. But it really wasn't like that. Yes, there is grudge sex and aggressive sex, but the heroine is actually into that. Where it not just ok in my book, what makes it so much a step in the right direction for this series, is that the Zev actually tells Brannislava that if she isn't okay with things she needs to tell him and he will stop, and he doesn't say that just at the beginning, there is ongoing verification of consent throughout an event. That is such a change from the first books that it is just extraordinary in my opinion. Yes, we have had gentler, more considerate heroes (Razvan comes to mind), but this is the first time we have had an extremely dominant aggressive one who requests consent.

Of course, now we get to the actual issues with the series as a whole, in my opinion. The sex is kind of boring but overly plentiful and utilizes the type of flowery language and long drawn out scenes that I am learning to loathe. There is also the made up Carpathian language and spells and chants that Feehan is obviously very proud of, because they are literally everywhere. They add absolutely nothing to the story for me, so I tend to skip anything that is italicized just for my own sanity. Those things have been around for quite some time in these books and while I have been able to get through it, I can't tell if I am just getting more irritated with it over time, or if it is just becoming more pervasive.

What I am having trouble forgiving with this particular story is how repetitive and clunky it is. How many times do we really need to be reminded just what and who our main characters are? I don't know, but I can guarantee you that it is less than how many times it happened in this book. And, there has been an overriding arc  of villains in this series that included the Mage Xavier and the Malinov brothers. Xavier and three of the Malinov brothers have been killed, but that still left us with 2 Malinov brother, one of whom has actually has two slivers of Xavier in him. Then we added the issues with the Lycans and as far as I am concerned, those things could and should have more than fulfilled the villain quotient for the rest of this series. But NO! We add the deus ex machina of all villain plot lines. Xavier wasn't actually alone. Oh, no, he was actually one of a group of identical triplets who all pretended to be the same person and the only ones who actually knew were Brannislava and Tatjiana, and they don't bother to say anything to anyone because they thought Xavier killed them. So Xavier wasn't actually the mastermind behind the downfalls of the Carpathians, Jaguars, and the Lycans. Nope, he was just behind the Carpathians troubles, Xaviero has apparently been dealing trouble to the Lycans, and Xayvion was behind the destruction of the Jaguar race. And for some reason, Xavier was the only one literally rotting and requiring a new body even before he was killed, and these other two are doing just fine. And guess what? They are trying to bring Xavier back from the dead. Why? I am just not sure, Xayvion is obviously the more successful of the three, and Xavier is obviously the eff up who managed to out himself and screw up many times and get caught and killed, but whatever, they must need him to complete this mysterious plan that has been rocking along for hundreds of years. I'm baffled by the direction this took and I can't quite decide if this is a direction Feehan has been planning since we found out Xavier sired triplets on the stolen Carpathian (come to think, how do we even know they ARE Xavier's), or if after the last book she just said, you know, I am never going to get another 20+ books with the villains I've got, I'd better amp things up a bit. I also find myself a bit frustrated by how many additional supernatural creatures she's been throwing at the series. We've now got demons and hellhounds and whatever else, and for the past 25 books no one ever came across them or mentioned them more than briefly in the case of the demons, but all of the sudden they just show up and people just know how to handle them, like ho hum, didn't I mention the, well, there they are, by the way you got any hyssop oil? This story is just...clunky.

So, as much as I am complaining, I am giving this 3 stars because IMO, Feehan's heroes have become much less rapey and FINALLY we have a hero that checks consent, because it kept me entertained, and actually entertained enough that I will likely still read the next book (I just can't quit Feehan), and nostalgia-because I have now been in this series for 26 books and apparently I just can't quit Feehan.