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.

G.A.’S READING ORDER

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

CHRONOLOGICAL READING ORDER

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 √Čibhear, 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.