Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hanging Out with Anthea Lawson

I've been a bad bad blogger! Sorry I "disappeared" for a bit. The whole moving and starting work thing is taking some adjusting. *sigh*


Anywho...


I'm hanging out with Anthea Lawson, the fabulous new romance writing team of All He Desires over at DIK. Come by for some drinks and a lovely chat with Anthea and Lawson!







Other things...

The sweater was successfully assembled (and wow it really looks like a sweater). Worn it to work (and got lots of compliments, dunno if it was that I warned them ahead of time or not). Anyway, pictures of said sweater below. (I had to borrow a camera as I don't own one... maybe I'll get one... someday after I get that e-reader... A girl has to have her priorities in place)



Next knitting project (now nearly completed): Some cute lacy fingerless gloves! And currently reading Eye of the World by the late Robert Jordan *still upset that he died before he finished the series!* (which a challenge when one is knitting at the same time, the cookbook stand not working so well... must find a better book holding system).

Will check in again soonish...

Oops forgot all about the book club (BAD Shaymless Aymless BAD)... Anyway... how about the discussion for The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie at the end of this month (since that'll give me time to actually read it *ducks*? And we'll get LustyReader's book in December!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Busy Busy Busy... Kinda

Life continues in Indiana. It was "warm" all last week with of a high in the mid 60's (18-ish for you metric folks). That's NOT warm! *sigh* On the plus side, no ice on car ! On the down side, it rained for most of the week.

Haven't been online much or reading much (must read The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie *nervously checks calendar* *panics*). Instead I have been knitting and just completed my very first sweater, mostly - still need to assemble it. Pictures will be forthcoming once I actually assemble it. And as I have yet to figure out how to read (a bound book - e-books are easy since you can turn pages with a touch and don't have to keep them open, and now am seriously thinking about buying a e-reader since reading on the computer is a bit awkward) and knit at the same time, the reading hasn't been going well. And the TBR continues to grow!

Some review to be written... soon-ish... really...

A quick run down:
  1. Meljean Brook's Demon Forged was excellent! (Can't believe what she did to poor Michael... wondering how CJ/KB will rescue him so that he can continue to "dust" their cabanas).
  2. Nalini Singh's Blaze of Memory was fabulous. Nalini continues to please! Loved it. Of course I'll need to get an official copy when it get out on the 3rd of Nov. (still giggling over Rom and Jules's jealousy).
  3. Anthea Lawson's All He Desires was good/okay (B-/C+ still trying to grade it). I'm thinking it was a mood thing since I read it after Demon Forged (which had the reading bar set really high and had me thinking of knife wielding, heart devouring heroines *sigh*). She's a new author with promise and her book will hit the stores in November (see here for an excerpt). Come by the Island next month (11-14) to chat with Anthea!
Now, back to my knitting... must make mittens for winter (which they tell me is just around the corner... I'm still making people laugh at my indignation about the weather). On the plus side knitting has made me some new friends at work. Now I'm teaching four people how to knit!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Life in Indiana

It's been a while since I last posted. So here's an update for all of you (just in case you were wondering what in the heck's been going on in my ever so exciting (not!) life).


First there was the misery that is the flu. I think I was probably one of the first to get it in my neck of the woods. I'm so lucky!

*sigh*

So with the help of my good friend Cindy, I was able to get back on my feet after a week of bed rest (so not fun and I didn't even want to read any of my books!).

Now everyone at work is blaming me for the flu that is spreading like wildfire throughout the building. *sigh* Of course they cannot blame the swine flu on me as I didn't have that particular strain (at least I don't think I did but don't know of sure as I did not go to the doctors).

I discovered that there is a branch of my bank in Indiana (yay!) but it was over an hour away (boo!). I went and deposited by first paycheck and relocation money. Got home and checked the mail and wouldn't you know it there was another check (yay! Money in is always good) in it! *sigh* Now am trying to decide whether or not to open a bank account in one of the local banks so that I can cash checks and use the ATM (for free!).

Woke up early over the weekend and thought I should do the grocery shopping while I still had the energy for it (this flu really sucked). It was a nice brisk morning. I got into my car, started it and discovered that it wasn't dew on the car but ice!

ICE!!!!! In October!!!! *pout*

It so doesn't do that where I came from (at least not until December or January). This whole weather thing sucks. I am not looking forward to "real" winter. Of course everyone around has been getting a great laugh at my whole indignant attitude toward this phenomenon.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

September 2009 Reads

Did pretty well. Of course I bought most of this month as well. *sigh*

1. Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder
2. Sea Glass by Maria V. Snyder
3. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
4. Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
5. Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder
6. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
7. Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
8. Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
9. Alpha and Omega novella by Patricia Briggs
10. Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh
11. Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
12. Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs
13. Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs
14. One Silent Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon
15. Dream Warrior by Sherrily Keynon

And I'll get around reviewing these...

soon-ish...

still have August reads to review. All this moving and unpacking and starting new job has made me choose between reading and reviewing...

one guess on which I choose ^_^

SARBC Book for October 2009:

It's Sarai's (of What am I reading?) choice and she's chosen!

The Shaymless Aymless Romance Book Club book for October 2009 is:


Official Blurb for the author site:

The year is 1881. Meet the Mackenzie family--rich, powerful, dangerous, eccentric. A lady couldn't be seen with them without ruin. Rumors surround them--of tragic violence, of their mistresses, of their dark appetites, of scandals that set England and Scotland abuzz.

The youngest brother, Ian, known as the Mad Mackenzie, spent most of his young life in an asylum, and everyone agrees he is decidedly odd. He's also hard and handsome and has a penchant for Ming pottery and beautiful women.

Beth Ackerley, widow, has recently come into a fortune. She has decided that she wants no more drama in her life. She was raised in drama--an alcoholic father who drove them into the workhouse, a frail mother she had to nurse until her death, a fussy old lady she became constant companion to. No, she wants to take her money and find peace, to travel, to learn art, to sit back and fondly remember her brief but happy marriage to her late husband.

And then Ian Mackenzie decides he wants her.

Read excerpt here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

SARBC Discussion: Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught

Welcome everyone to the Shaymless Aymless Romance Book Club discussion for September 2009.

Kati of Katidom selected Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught.


The Official Blurb:

ELIZABETH CAMERON
The Countess of Havenhurst possessed a rare gentleness and fierce courage to match her exquisite beauty. But her reputation is shattered when she is discovered in the arms of Ian Thornton, a notorious gambler and social outcast.

IAN THORNTON
A dangerously handsome man of secret wealth and mysterious lineage, his voyage to Elizabeth's heart is fraught with intrigue, scandal, and a venomous revenge.

Destined for each other, yet wary of each other's motives, Elizabeth and Ian engage in a dance of suspicion and passion that tests the very soul of their star-crossed love. As a twisting path of secrets takes them from London's drawing rooms to the mysterious Scottish Highlands, Elizabeth must learn the truth: is Ian merely a ruthless fortune hunter at heart?


Read excerpt here.




******************** DISCUSSION AHEAD ********************



1. Was this your first McNaught novel? If so, what about it worked? What didn’t?

2. McNaught’s heroes are famously dominant and have been described as “asshats” before. What did you think of Ian Thornton? Did he work as a hero? If not, what aspect of his personality didn’t work for you?

3. Throughout the book, Elizabeth finds people underestimating her. Did you find her reaction/manipulation of that fact to be funny? Or have a negative reaction to it?

4. One of Judith McNaught’s most famous writing tropes is the B.R.G. (Big Romantic Gesture), Almost Heaven is no exception. Did you find the BRG to be romantic? Give some examples of your favorite BRGs in romance.

5. Almost Heaven has one of my favorite epilogues. Do you enjoy epilogues in romance?

DISCUSS!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

The first week of work went well as did the first official weekend after starting work. Found another kindred spirit and we visited each others homes to ogle each others books. What fun! And tried an Indian place (not bad but not spicy enough). But wouldn't you know it as soon as I relaxed that evil thing called the "Migraine" struck and incapacitated me for three days. *ugh* I really hate them and still think decapitation would work but its just too permanent a solution to really be feasible. I suppose it was just too much change all at the same time.

Week two was topped off by a lovely surprise from my newest book buddy with a copy of Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs ((((bookbuddy)))). Which I promptly devoured as soon as the weekend started (and of course I read it all in one sitting). Then on Sunday I went and found the nearest Trader Joe's (about one hour and 15 minutes away). A bit far for everyday stuff but close enough that I can stock up on Nuts about Antioxidants trail mix monthly. *happy dance* So its off to week three.

The much anticipated (by me) Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre is out tomorrow. Now the big question is do I go out and buy it tomorrow and stare at it for the rest of the week as it sits next to the reading chair whispering my name (which also sounds a lot like that little voice telling me that ice cream doesn't have calories) or do I wait until Friday to swing by the bookstore? Oh the agony!

And to think I will have to do this next week as well since Demon Forged by Meljean Brook is out the 6th (another Tuesday). *sigh* (And not to mention Deep Kiss of Winter being out the following week then Queen of Song and Souls two weeks after that... nope not mentioning those books and none of those gotta haves in November either... nope no mention of Blaze of Memory here at all... none!)

Much will power will be involved these two weeks since I know once I open the little devils I'll have to read them all the way through. Perhaps is best that I not buy them until the weekend...

but what if they sell out!?

Well it's a college town and there are many bookstores...

and many more readers...

ARGH!!!

Must buy, then hide until the appropriate time...
must not open books until after work on Friday...
*squints eyes and crosses fingers*

And don't forget to come by on the 30th for the Shaymless Aymless Romance Book Club discussion. We will be discussing Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

TBR Challenge 2009: Countdown by Michelle Maddox


Published: August 2008 by Dorchester

Number of Pages: 293

Genre: Futuristic Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Stand Alone

Why This Book: Eve Kenin (aka Eve Silver) told me to read it at the 2008 RWA book signing because I liked her Shomi releases a lot. I am such a good, obedient little reader.

From the Author Site: THREE
Kira Jordan wakes up in a pitch-black room, handcuffed to a metal wall. She has 60 seconds to figure out how to escape. Thus begins a vicious game where to lose is to die.

TWO
The stranger she’s been partnered with—her only ally in this nightmare—is a convicted murderer. But if he’s so violent, why does he protect her? And worse yet, what is it behind those haunted sea-green eyes that makes her want to protect him?

ONE
No one to trust. Nowhere to run. And the only hope of survival is working together to beat the COUNTDOWN.


Hero: Rogan Ellis is a convicted rapist and serial killer who had completed four years of his 5oo year sentence in a maximum security prison before he became a contestant on a killer, literally, reality show called "The Countdown". Once a playboy with no care in the world but his pleasure and now a harden con with an agenda. But he has to survive the game. As the story unfolds you can't help but root for him and really want him to survive the game and come out on top. Too bad he was tied to Kira is so many ways.

Heroine: Kira Jordon was orphaned at 15 after her family was brutally murdered during a home robbery. She's survived by becoming a shoplifter and pickpocket. Now her only chance for survival is Rogan Ellis, a mass murderer. Whiny and annoying, she wasn't someone I could really get behind. Way too much of the "poor little ole me" going on to make her a really attractive heroine. Rogan was too good for her.

Review: A good story about a reality show gone mad. What happens when you can pay to watch someone else struggle in real life or death situation where there is no good choice and stay anonymous while doing so. You have "The Countdown". All the contestants are the dregs of society, the killers, the rapist, thieves and generally the unwanted. Of course, watching them struggle with morally corrupt choices isn't too horrible.

Michelle Maddox created a fascinating world set in the not so near future (minus the whole space travel thing and other world bits). The reality show was truly horrible but I kept waiting for Kira and Rogan to win and get to "Offworld" where they would battle the true horror. But alas, "Offworld" was apparently the paradise that its was thought to be (or at least that is where the story left off and will most likely stay as the Shomi line died).

The concept of "The Countdown" reality show isn't new. After all horror, blood and violence sells. Make it exclusive and it sells like hot cakes. Throw in some sex and voila you make it irresistible. This storyline really worked for me as I am not a huge fan of reality shows, and in particular those that show people at their worse. This is a ultimate horror in reality show. I don't understand what about them that fascinates people. I like my story carefully scripted with 'real' actors. I suppose its like watching a traffic accident, the helpless horror of being the bystander unable to help.

What I liked best: Rogan. *sigh* What a hunk, even if his is a convicted serial killer/rapist! You like him despite his bad reputation. But then again maybe because of his bad reputation.

What I least liked: The whole existence of "Offworld". First the name is really lame and second this "new world" was discovered just prior to the Great Plague which killed off most of the population. With the sudden decrease in the population, how did people get to "Offworld" and how did travel between the two survive when the rest of the world fell into disarray and chaos and technology taking a nose dive. The whole concept just didn't work for me. Now if was like Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, I would have been much happier but then the whole story would have probably had to change. *sigh*

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: If you like the post-apocalyptic romance (yes, I know its very specific) then you'll probably like this one. Its certainly a genre with room to grow. I'm a big fan of the end of the world scenarios and what's better than romance after "the end" has occurred.

Grade: B-

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wanderlust Winner

The lucky winner of their very own autographed copy of Wanderlust is...


Drum roll please....



Carol!


Congrats. E-mail me your snail mail at 2aymless at gmail dot com and I'll get into the mail.

Monday, September 14, 2009

First Day of Work

Had a successful first day of work! Didn't get to meet too many people since I spent most of it with the other six new hires. Had a quick little chat with the boss-type-person who promptly told me that I would be taking over some projects from a fellow co-worker "who sits here" (points at empty cube). So I'll be working closely with Mr/Ms Invisible for the next couple of days. I hope my communication skills are up to it. *g*

My cube-neighbors are funny (especially the one on the right-side) so I think working there will be fun. *crosses fingers* I wasn't able to connect with the one person I know so maybe I'll run into her later this week.

Still have one used copy of Lord of the Fading Lands and Lady of Light and Shadow to give away (just e-mail me your snail mail). And there is still time to enter to win a signed copy of Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre (details here).

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Reminder!

Just reminding all you folks out there that you have until end of day Monday (14th of Sept) to enter to win an autographed copy of Wanderlust! See details here.

Finally all unpacked and all the books put away into there appropriate spots. Due to some creative rearranging I have discovered lots of additional space for yet more books without having to go buy another book case (although I have tentatively scoped out a wall for the additional book case).

Boxes unpacked: 80-ish (I packed 65 and what the movers packed - they really really love packing paper, I made 12 13-gallon bags (49 liter) of the stuff.
Time Unpacking: approximately 24 hour (not counting eating and sleeping breaks)
Trips to the store for "things": 8
Trips to the grocery store: 3

During unpacking I discovered that I have four copies of Lord of the Fading Lands and three copies Lady of Light and Shadow. Why do I have so many?! And where were they before I unpacked them! *sigh* Anyway... I'm going to giveaway two copies of Lord of the Fading Lands and one copy of Lady of Light and Shadow. They are well loved (abused, depending on how you think of them). Its first come first serve. E-mail me your address and I'll ship them out on my next trip to the Post Office (sometime next week).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The BIG Drive: Part 5 and 6

The big drive is now over and I'm reporting to you from Indiana. (Thank goodness I was able to find free wifi at Barnes & Noble - books, coffee and free wifi could it get better?)

Highlights for Part 5:
1. After leaving Salina, KS it was more corn fields and what I later learned was soybeans.
2. Missouri is more interesting to drive through than KS. They have corn, soybeans and the occasional hill to drive up or around.
3. Weather was really lousy. Overcast all day.
4. Got to relatives hows (no wireless *sigh*) and lots of visiting eating and then some card play.

Highlights for Part 6 and THE END:
1. Discovered a used bookstore (A-1 Books) in Overland, MO (just south of St Louis). Acquired an additional 8 books and they were off my TBR list *smiles proudly*.
2. Discovered the leasing office closed at 5:30pm and that I really should have left earlier or skipped the bookstore (like that was going to happen).
3. Discovered the Pepper the Prius will indeed go over 100 mph (161 kph)*blink* and still get a fairly decent mpg averaging out at 41 mpg
4. As far as I have discovered there are no major highways that go through Bloomington.
5. The nice folks at the leasing office stayed open for me for an additional 15 minutes so was able to get keys.

THE END
1. Got lost trying to figure out where in the hell I'm living (apparently one should update their in-car GPS discs because if they are over 5 years old then its quite likely that some roads and places do not exist.)
2. Bought lots of bleach and bleached the hell out of the bathroom because I can stand any mold even if its in the caulk around the tub. Much happier now.
3. Discovered the whole foods grocery store and it's cheaper to eat organic in CA (go figure)
4. The aerobed worked great after figuring out how to keep it from deflating.
5. Movers will be here later today! Two whole days before the best estimated time of delivery!
6. Cable guy comes tomorrow so should have internet at home sometime tomorrow afternoon!
7. Already discovered a fairly decent used bookstore (The Book Rack) (across the street from B&N, sometimes getting lost has its perks).

Now off to buy some bathroom things and more groceries.

So the stats:
Distance: 2383 miles or 3835 km
Driving time (minus stops and detours): 35 hours
Books read: 2
Books acquired: 21

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The BIG Drive: Part 3 and 4 and Award

Didn't have time to access internet yesterday and woke with twitchy,itchy fingers. I think I may have been experiencing internet withdrawal.

Part 3 Highlights:
1. Woke up really, really early because my friend had to go pick up someone in Jackson Hole, Wyoming at 10am to start is fishing vacation. (yeah I wasn't too impressed with his vacation plan either, guess I just don't like fishing that much). And lets face it I really didn't want the responsibility of locking up his house. With my luck I would locked myself out and then would have had to wait for his house sitter to show up so that I could get the rest of my things.
2. Was the longest leg trip at 551 miles (887 km).
3. Lots of hills again (in the mountains, go figure) so mileage was okay (still averaging around 44 gpm)
4. Got to relative's house in the early afternoon. There was lots of visiting and gossiping then eating (wonderful meal with a great glass of wine) then more visiting and gossiping until it was past bedtime. Since was up really really early (before that big bright thing in the sky was even remotely visible).

Part 4 Highlights:
1. Had nice breakfast and was off at 8-ish (that bright thing was up and about)
2. Once out of the mountains it was very, very flat and quite boring. But not nearly as boring as the salt flats.
3. Not much in eastern CO or western KS. Corn and other growing stuff and some hay rolls and bales.
4. The Pruis does not like flat roads with no starting and stopping. Currently getting 42 gpm now.

Now only have one more night before hitting my new hometown. Completed 1725 miles of 2383. Hopefully there will be internet at my next stop but not counting on it. Stay with some more relatives so mostly will stay up yakking again and waking with those dang twitchy, icky finger.

Award *blush*: JennJ of Sapphire Romance Realm gave me a Lemonade Award!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The BIG Drive: Part 2 and an Award

I have official completed leg 2 of 6. Leg high-lights:

1. The Great Utah salt flats are really boring. Miles and miles of nothing but white stuff (that apparently is not snow *g*) on the ground. And really, really flat.
2. Averaging 44.4 MPG today. Lots of going up into a higher elevation.
3. There is supposedly a giant used bookstore in Salt Lake City. My friend gave me the choice of going to a high school football game or the bookstore. One guess which one I chose? Because everyone knows how much I loathe love football especially that stuff kids play.

And while I wasn't looking the lovely Leontine gave me an award.



"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all. "

My nominations go to:
KB of Babbling About Books
Donna of Fantasy Dreamer's Ramblings
Lusty Reader
My Favourite Books
Orannia of Walkabout (although I think she already got this award)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The BIG Drive: Part 1

On my way out of CA I stopped at my local new & used bookstore (Bounty Books) and said a fond farewell to Darlene and Cindy. Of course I also walked out with eight books. ^_^

I have official completed leg 1 of 6. Leg high-lights:

1. The Sierra Nevada mountains are pretty. Lots of deep blue lakes and green evergreens.
2. Nevada is really boring to drive in. And they are doing so much road construction and have so many speed limit changes cruise control is almost useless.
3. Averaging 47.4 MPG (7.78 km/liter)
4. According to a billboard I saw, I've stop in the place that is "Half Way to Everywhere" Nevada. I'm thinking that its just another way of saying middle of nowhere. But that would describe most of Nevada.

And thanks for all the support. Moving to a new place won't be so hard with all of you out there. If I get lonely I know that all I have to do is go online and be instantly surrounded by my pals.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The BIG Drive

The car is all packed with all the necessities (books, some clothes, books, lotion collection, books, some munchies, books, computer, and books). My pretty little Prius has never been more than 380 miles (612 km for you metric folks) from where it was bought. And after nearly 5 years it only has 37,000 miles on it. So it a big adventure for the car as well!

Tomorrow I will be leaving my beloved Bay Area to drive almost all the way across the country to my new home in Indiana (2300 miles/ 3700 km).

And as my friend put it, I am going to be living in the middle of nowhere. *sigh*

Having never lived away from the Pacific Ocean I have no way of judging how close to the truth that is. I will be moving to a college town so it can't be that bad (crosses fingers) and I am within driving distance of Chicago, St. Louis and Cincinati which all have large airports with flights to "everywhere" (again previously mentioned friend).

So I'm off to start my new adventure starting tomorrow and who know what will happened. Hopefully only good things! *crosses fingers*

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SARBC: Book for September 2009

It's Kati of Katidom's choice and she's taking us back to the old school with an oldie but gooodie! The Shaymless Aymless Romance Book Club book for September 2009 is:



The official blurb:
ELIZABETH CAMERON
The Countess of Havenhurst possessed a rare gentleness and fierce courage to match her exquisite beauty. But her reputation is shattered when she is discovered in the arms of Ian Thornton, a notorious gambler and social outcast.

IAN THORNTON
A dangerously handsome man of secret wealth and mysterious lineage, his voyage to Elizabeth's heart is fraught with intrigue, scandal, and a venomous revenge.

Destined for each other, yet wary of each other's motives, Elizabeth and Ian engage in a dance of suspicion and passion that tests the very soul of their star-crossed love. As a twisting path of secrets takes them from London's drawing rooms to the mysterious Scottish Highlands, Elizabeth must learn the truth: is Ian merely a ruthless fortune hunter at heart?


Read excerpt here.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Books Read in August

Hey everyone else is doing it so here's my list of books read in August.

1. Skykeepers by Jessica Andersen (reviewed at KB's): B-
2. Lover Avenged by JR Ward: B
3. Bengal's Heart by Lora Leigh (review at KB's): B-
4. Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre: B+
5. The Fire King by Marjorie M Liu (thanks to My Favourite Books): A
6. Bad Moon Rising by Sherrilyn Kenyon (thanks to Donna): B
7. Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare: A
8. Blue Diablo by Ann Aguirre: B
9. Beyond the Night by Joss Ware (thanks to Joss Ware): B
10: Dark Slayer by Christine Feehan (to be reviewed at KB's): B+
11: Countdown by Michelle Maddox: B
12: Must Love Hellhounds anthology by Charlaine Harris (Britlingens Go to Hell), Nalini Singh (Angels' Judgment), Meljean Brook (Blind Spot) and Ilona Andrews (Magic Mourns) (to be review at KB's): A

And that's it.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

SARBC Discussion: Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James

Welcome everyone to the very first Shaymless Aymless Romance Book Club discussion. The book of the month was:



The official book blurb:
WHEN IT COMES TO THE LAWS OF ATTRACTION . . .

Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson are lawyers who know the meaning of objection. A feminist to the bone, Payton has fought hard to succeed in a profession dominated by men. Born wealthy, privileged, and cocky, J.D. has fought hard to ignore her. Face to face, they’re perfectly civil. They have to be. For eight years they’ve kept a safe distance and tolerated each other as co-workers for one reason only: to make partner at the firm.

. . . THERE ARE NO RULES.

But all bets are off when they’re asked to join forces on a major case. At first apprehensive, they begin to appreciate each other’s dedication to the law—and the sparks between them quickly turn into attraction. But the increasingly hot connection doesn’t last long when they discover that only one of them will be named partner. Now it’s an all out war. And the battle between the sexes is bound to make these lawyers hot under the collar . . .


Read excerpt here.

******************************SPOILER ALERT*********************************

Now that everyone has had a chance to read this book, let the discussion begin!

1. What made this book work/didn't work for you and why?

2. Did the HEA satisfy you or was there something missing?

3. What aspect of the hero did you find appealing/annoying?

4. What aspect of the heroine did you find appealing/annoying?

5. Revenge or the high road (let it pass)?

6. Office romances, do they work or are they doomed to failure?

7. Being naughty in public, do or don't?

8. How do you deal with unfairness at work? Bring it up or let is pass?

Discuss!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Review: Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James

Published: March 2009 by Berkeley Sensation

Number of Pages: 304

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Stand Alone

Why This Book: Dearest KB wouldn't stop raving about it so I had to read it. And so I thought I would make others as well since this is the book I choose to kick off the Shaymless Aymless Romance Book Club (SARBC)

From the Author Site:
WHEN IT COMES TO THE LAWS OF ATTRACTION . . .

Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson are lawyers who know the meaning of objection. A feminist to the bone, Payton has fought hard to succeed in a profession dominated by men. Born wealthy, privileged, and cocky, J.D. has fought hard to ignore her. Face to face, they’re perfectly civil. They have to be. For eight years they’ve kept a safe distance and tolerated each other as co-workers for one reason only: to make partner at the firm.

. . . THERE ARE NO RULES.

But all bets are off when they’re asked to join forces on a major case. At first apprehensive, they begin to appreciate each other’s dedication to the law—and the sparks between them quickly turn into attraction. But the increasingly hot connection doesn’t last long when they discover that only one of them will be named partner. Now it’s an all out war. And the battle between the sexes is bound to make these lawyers hot under the collar . . .


Read excerpt here.

Hero: JD Jameson comes from wealth and doesn't see the fairness of affirmative action especially when it comes women. He's worked hard to get were he is and didn't take the easy road by accepting a job at his father's old firm. And no one is going take the partnership position from him, not even his nemesis, Payton Kendall, the "I'm not a stubborn, button-pushing, Pruis-driving, chip-on-my-shoulder-holding, 'stay-at-home-mom'-is-the-eighth-dirty-word-thinking feminazi".

Heroine: Payton Kendall was raise by her very liberal mother and, to her mother's greatest disappointment, has become a successful yuppie. To her, JD Jameson is a member of the "Might Penis-Wielders" and "an uptight, ponying-owning, trickle-down-economics-loving, Scotch-on-the-rocks-drinking, my-wife-better-take-my-last-name sexist jerk" who embodies all that is bad and wrong with the establishment.

Review: Julie James has definitely written another great book. Another light and witty book that is perfect when you need something lighthearted and fun to read. And she still proving that steamy doesn't necessarily mean sex, sex and more sex.

After eight years of putting in the extra hours and giving all they had to give in hopes of attaining a covet partnership at the firm, both JD and Payton are down to the last four weeks as associates. After landing a huge client, they are told only one of them will make it. So after nearly eight years of hidden dislikes and skirmishes its open war. Although they both think and agree the approach the firm has taken is wrong only one of them will and both are determined to win it no matter what! An unfortunate accident leads to a contest of one-upsmanship that only leads to disaster.

I never thought the law was funny. Dramatic and maybe even tragic but never funny. Having been a juror, I would describe the experience as being like Law and Order just really, really slow with lots of wardrobe changes and none of the interesting/exciting background investigation stuff. Of course the case I was a part of was very boring and unfortunate not nearly as amusing and interesting as Payton's trial. No bare body parts to be found. I suppose we can all be lucky.

Ms James has written one of the best opposites attract tropes I've read in a long time. She has taken the story of not so friendly rivals who find that their rivalry is based on a deep attraction that they've been hiding not only from each other but also from themselves and turned it into a great romance. Once they realize that their attraction is reciprocated, it can't be business as usual and they must find a way to make it all work. Lots of tension between to two leading characters right up to the end.

What I liked best: The cabbie telling JD that English Breakfast was more robust and better suited for Pride and Prejudice while Earl Grey was more a Sense and Sensibility kind of tea. Okay the court room scene with Payton was funny but tea pairings with books had me snorting my own tea.

What I least liked: The prim and proper Laney. I didn't find her all that necessary to the story. For being Payton's friend, she was way too easily flustered. You would think that after knowing Payton for so long you would get used to her somewhat outrageous ways.

Keeper?: Yes. And this one also has my name all over it thanks to the RWA conference and the lovely Julie James.

Recommendation: Lots of fun to read. And lots to snicker about. A Darjeeling kind of book, one high quality that has subtle and delicate flavor nuances. *g*

Grade: B+

Be sure to come back on 31 August for the SARBC discussion.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Give-Away at DIK

I'm over at the Island giving away a some free books (I'm making you work for them because I'm evil that way) and hanging out with the ever so fabulous

NALINI SINGH!

Come drop by and have drink and chat up Nalini! ^_^

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Goodnight My Sweet Terraine


For those of you who have been following this blog know that my sweet furry baby, Terraine, was diagnosed with lyphoma earlier this month. She now has stopped eating and drinking so it's time to tell her goodnight and send her off the to the forever sleep.

I will miss her greatly, especially since I am moving cross country and into a whole new territory. It will be hard without my best furry friend. But in a way, perhaps this will help. A completely new environment than what I am used, one without the daily reminders of her sweet little purrs, guarding my towel as I took a bath, telling me off for taking a shower and her greeting me at the door with her eager little meow whether I was gone all day or just stepped out to take out the trash.

Night-Night my sweet baby. May we meet again soon.

Review: Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre and Giveaway

Published: August 26, 2008 by Ace

Number of Pages: 312

Genre: Science Fiction

Stand Alone/Series: Jax book 2
Book 1: Grimspace

Why This Book: I really enjoyed Grimspace and the character of Jax.

From the Author Site: Sirantha Jax doesn’t take chances… she jumps at them…

Sirantha Jax is a “Jumper,” a woman who possesses the unique genetic makeup needed to navigate faster than light ships through grimspace. Jax has worked for the Farwan Corporation her entire career. But now the word’s out that the Corp deliberately crashed a passenger ship, and their stranglehold on intergalactic commerce has crumbled—which means that Jax is out of a job.

She’s also broke, due to being declared dead a little prematurely. So when the government asks her to head up a vital diplomatic mission, Jax takes it. Her mandate: journey to the planet Ithiss-Tor and convince them to join the Conglomerate.

But Jax’s payday is light years away. First, she’ll have to contend with Syndicate criminals, a stormy relationship with her pilot, man-eating aliens, and her own grimspace-weakened body. She’ll be lucky just to make it to Ithiss-Tor alive…


Read excerpt here.

Heroine: Sirantha Jax doesn't have to go looking for trouble. It finds her. After blowing the lid on Farwan Corporation and sitting through numerous hearings she's offered a job, one that she can't turn down, as an ambassador for the Conglomerate. Her first mission as ambassador is to get the xenophobic Ithtorian of Ithiss-Tor to join the Conglomerate. Only problem is that someone's out to see that she not only fails but also doesn't live to make it to Ithiss-Tor. It all starts with a new ship and some new crewmates that lead to an unscheduled detour that only leads into more trouble than Jax could have possible dreamed of.

Jax's Crew:
Dina: Ship's mechanic and general bad-ass.

March: An unregistered Psi ex-mercenary who has loyalties to the Dahlgren clan on Lachion and who is Jax's pilot and sometimes lover.

Velith Il-Nok aka Vel: Jax's Ithtorian cultural liaison and translator. The bounty hunter who helped Jax blow the lid on the Farwan Corporation and is a Bug aka Slider, shape-shifter.

PA-245: Jax's personal assistant.

Review: Ann Aguirre drives us right back into the wonderful universe that she has created. Wanderlust starts just weeks after the end of Grimspace and seamlessly continues Jax’s story. Once the story starts to unfold, in one page turning chapter after another in which trouble swarms around Jax and her crew, its non-stop action to the very last sentence.

Jax is pushed into the position of ambassador from all sides. The Conglomerate needs the Ithtorians to help cement their power in the galaxy and Jax is the only one Velith Il-Nok will work with. Jax has no money to pay for a ship and supplies to follow her dreams as an explorer. And the Syndicate is holding Ramona Jax’s, Jax’s estranged mother, life hostage and are only willing to exchange it for Jax’s failure on Ithiss-Tor. So with no choice, Jax is on the job.

Jax’s love for March is undeniable but she’s determined to not let him suffer her death, which is coming anytime now (according to her) by being the first to walk away. And although March loves Jax more than she can imagine, he has a duty to the Dahlgren clan that supercedes his need to be with Jax. If you are looking for the great romance in this book, its not there. Hopefully this is an interlude for Jax and March and that their love will overcome all the obstacles their past and present has placed before them.

Ms. Aguirre takes us on another wonderful journey through the galaxy told through the eyes of Sirantha Jax. Jax, with all her hang-ups, especially her fascination with her own death, is a heroine you can really sink your teeth into. She’s gutsy, indomitable and a bid morbid. What's there not to like?

What I liked best: Vel. He’s a jem. His dry wit and humor makes him a scene-stealer.

What I least liked: Jax’s attitude towards March. At times I wanted to give her a big slap upside the head to knock some sense into her.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: This series is best read in order. Although there is enough background given and the story stands well as a stand alone, I think it would be more enjoyable if read in order. A lot of background and character development would be missed if the previous book (Grimspace) is not read.

Grade: B+
Series Grade to Date: A-

The Giveaway portion:
I have a pretty autographed copy of Wanderlust to give away (thank you Ann!). Leave a comment to enter. To make it interesting tell me who your favorite character is and why. All entries must be in by 5PM on September 14. The winner will be drawn at random and will be announced on the 15th!

For additional entries you can do the following:
- Link back to this post from your blog (come back here with the link)
- Tweet about it (and let me know somehow either here).

Monday, August 24, 2009

Another Award.

Cherry over at Contest and Freebies gave me an award.



The Lemonade Award is a feel good award which shows great attitude or gratitude.

Here are the rules:

* Put the Lemonade Award logo on your blog or post.
* Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude.
* Link your nominees within your post.
* Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
* Share the love and link to the person from whom you received the award.

Here are my nominees:
Ann Agurrie
Katiebabs of Babbling About Books
Desert Island Keepers
AnimeJune of Gossamer Obsessions
Barbara of Happily Ever After
Kati of Katidom
Leontine of Leontine's Book Realm
Kristie of Ramblings on Romance
Mandi of Smexy Books
Orannia of Walkabout

Review: Lover Avenged by JR Ward

Published: April 2009 by New American Library (hardcover)

Number of Pages: 527

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy

Stand Alone/Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood 7
1: Dark Lover
2: Lover Eternal
3: Lover Awakened
4: Lover Revealed
5: Lover Unbound
6: Lover Enshrined

Why This Book: It's book crack. Once you start you can't stop.

From the Author Site: Caldwell, NY, has long been the battleground for the battleground for the vampires and their enemies, the Lessening Society. It’s also where Rehvenge has staked out his turf as a drug lord and notorious nightclub that caters to the rich and heavily armed. His shadowy reputation is exactly why he’s approached to kill Wrath, the Blind King, and leader of the Brotherhood. Rehvenge has always kept his distance from the Brotherhood, even though his sister is married to a member. Because he’s a sympath, his identity is a deadly secret- the revelation of which will result in his banishment to a colony for sociopaths. And as plots within and outside the Brotherhood take their toll against Rehvenge, he turns to the only source of light in a darkening world- Elhena, a vampire untouched by the corruption that has its hold on him- and the only thing standing between him and eternal destruction.

Read excerpt here.

Hero: Rehvenge, son of Rempoon, aka the Reverend, is the drug lord of Caldwell, a part of the vampire aristocracy, the gylmera, and a sympath (a sub-species of vampire who feed on and manipulates emotions). Being a sympath makes him unwelcome among the vampires and something he has to keep hidden. If that secret got out he would deported to the sympath colony where he would most likely to be killed for being a half-breed. That's just one secret he has to maintain in order to protect those close to him. In order to keep that most important secret, he pays his blackmailer in both flesh and jewels monthly. Having done this for decades has left him feeling unclean and unworthy. Although he has friends who know and understand as well as sister who loves him, he is lonely. A man simply existing and not living.

Heroine: Ehlena is a nurse at the vampire hospital and is caring for her ailing schizophrenic father. Her family was once a part of the vampire elite but due to some double-crosses and back-stabbing as well as her father's failing health, they have fallen into hard times and a meager existence. Ehlena gives and gives and cares for other while saving nothing for herself until her life is nothing but duty. She's almost too compassionate to be a real person, too sickeningly gentle, kind and giving. But her character is saved by the presence of a temper and prejudice that in keeping with her society.

Review: JR Ward delivers yet another action packed books. But unlike her last two books, this one has a romance that can be understood and appreciated. No suddenly dead heroines turning into ghosts or a completely lackluster romance between two uninteresting characters. The romance could stand on its own, which is an improvement from the last couple of books. Its poignant and a delight to read. But it does not take away from the hard core action we have come to expect from Ms Ward.

The war against the lessers is still raging on and the causalities are mounting. All the deaths and loss of property, not to mention lives (though most of the new gylmera council members don't seem to mind that last part) have undermined Wrath's power base with the elite. And the gylmera see a chance for wresting power away from Wrath by assassinating him. This internal power struggle only adds fuel to the fire.

The Brotherhood is too short on manpower to make any headway in the war which puts Wrath back in the field. Wrath's vision is failing, the lessers have become stronger under Lash's leadership and a drug war is in the making in Caldwell. The relationship between John Matthew and Xhex is morphing into something physically steamy while John's relationship with Tohr is on the decline. Everything seems to be ramping up for some great climax, the final showdown between the lessers and the Brotherhood, the Omega and the Scribe Virgin can almost be glimpsed on the horizon.

What I liked best: George and and Fritz. Where can I find some vacuum-loving doggens?

What I least liked: The use of the word "outtie" by the brothers and Rehv. These are tough men, fighters who instill fear and dread in their enemies. Having them use the word"outtie" diminishes them, makes the sounds like some misbehaving teenagers and is completely out of character and unbelievable.

Also the use of so many acronyms/abbreviations. Sure they are useful but not everyone hangs out with people who constantly use acronyms/abbreviations as a part of every day life. Having to figure what in the heck MMA stands for makes for breaks in the flow of the story being told.

Keeper?: Yes. Although it's a hardcover and throws off all my neat little rows, I'm keeping it because it's autographed.

Recommendation: Read the series in order. There is just too much of the back-story details that are needed to fully enjoy the book.

Grade: B
Series Grade to Date: B

Friday, August 21, 2009

Review: Dawnkeepers by Jessica Andersen

Published: January 2009 by Signet Eclipse

Number of Pages: 455

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Book 2 of The Final Prophecy

Why This Book: Read book 1 and enjoyed it. And I have series OCD! *g* Beside I want to know how the world ends.

From the Author Site: The final four-year countdown to the end of days has begun. According to ancient Maya prophecy, demons from the underworld will arise on December 21, 2012. Only the Nightkeepers, mortal descendants of an ancient race of magic-wielding warrior-priests, can prevent the apocalypse by stopping the demons from bringing the old legends to life.

Unlike his fellow Nightkeepers, Nate Blackhawk isn’t about to let the gods determine his destiny- especially when it comes to his feelings for Alexis Gray, his ex-lover and nemesis. But when they’re forced to work together, racing to recover seven antiquities before the demons get their claws on the vital artifacts, Nate and Alexis will have to face their feelings- and their past- in order to defeat a dire and ancient enemy.


Read excerpt here.

Hero: Nate Blackhawk, unlike the rest of the Nightkeepers, grew up without his winikin (guardian and blood bound servant). His winikin died from the wounds he'd gotten during the Solstice massacre and left Nate to grow up without knowing his heritage. So unlike the rest Nate was completely unprepared to become a Nightkeeper and Nate's determined not to let the prophecy determine his fate. Unfortunately for him, Alexis is the very model of his dream girl and both his magic and subconscious has foreordained her as his mate. While he may accept her as his mate, he is determined not to like it one bit.

Heroine: Alexis Gray is the perfect Nightkeeper, at least on the outside. She's become a warrior-princess as well as a mage. But on the inside she still needs the approval of her godmother, Izzie. She's determined to walk the path the gods have written for her, which includes Nate as her mate even if she has to drag him along with her. After repeatedly offering herself up to Nate and getting shot down she finally learns that she has to accept herself as she is and not something that someone expects her to be.

Other Notables:
Izzie: Alexis's winikin and godmother. Alexis needs and lives for her approval.

Carlos: Nate's replacement winikin. Carlos is steady and relentless, like the tide. He wants Nate to accept and take his place within the Nightkeepers.

Review: Jessica Andersen picks up right where she left off. The Nightkeepers are racing to fill the gaps in their knowledge of what to expect in the final years of the countdown. Unfortunately for them, their ancestors sold off key artifacts for funds, which has left them completely uninformed on how to avert certain prophecies. Just as they get lucky in their search, an old enemy of the Nightkeepers resurfaces.

The countdown continues and the number enemies determined to usher in the apocalypse grows. The world is doomed. Got to love that. *g*

What I liked best: The new temple (see Wikipedia entry here). I love when reality is mixed in seamlessly with a story. The use of real people, historical events or ancient places just make a story sing for me. I probably should have majored in history or archeology just so I could be surrounded by old moldy texts and ancient legends.

What I least liked: The whole Anna, her husband and her boss love triangle. Its not that I don't like love triangles but this one seems to be completely pointless. There could have been a way to make the necessary plot points work without the messy and inane triangle.

Keeper?: Yes. And it's autographed to yours truly! *g*

Recommendation: This series should be read in order otherwise there are way too many spoilers. The first book outlines the prophecy, introduces each character and does a lot of the world building. Without it the reader may founder and find many of the plot points confusing.

Grade: B-
Series Grade to date: B

I recently reviewed the third installment of this series over at Babbling About Books. See here for my review of Skykeepers.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Good News and Bad News

Good New:
For those of you who have been following this blog, you know that I have been out looking for work as its required so that I can have book money! Yes I work for books, a place to put all my books and the occasion meal.


I'm happy to say that I will be officially employed once more by Monday (have to look over the offer letter details and other paper work). And thus I will be relocating to Bloomington, Indiana. The home of IU (uh... I think they are the Hoosiers so uh... Go Hoosiers? I so suck at staying in touch with sports). So now I will need to determine how fast I can move and get settled so that I can start earning that lovely book money.

I gave in. I'm now on Twitter. Am ShaymlessAymles (damn Twitter wouldn't let me add another 's' and Aymless was already taken. *pout*)

Bad News:
My roommate, best furry friend, sanity and furry baby has cancer and doesn't have long to live. Currently she is on pain killers to help her eat but even then she is not eating much. So now I must look at euthanasia options. And probably within the next week. I'm not sure I want to put her through the stress of moving on top of what she's suffering now. Do I move her or let her go now? It's a hard decision.

We've been together nearly 13 years and countless ups and downs. She was a scrawny little kitten/cat (not quite a kitten and not yet full grown) when she wandered into my yard and life. After a couple of weeks of eating on my porch, she moved in and took over my bed and stole my heart. And there she stayed. She's been a great cat and friend. I will miss her greatly, my lovely furry purr ball, my little mountain lion, my Terraine.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

TBR Challenge 2009: Nightkeepers by Jessica Andersen

Published: June 2008 by Signet Eclipse

Number of Pages: 443

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Book 1 of The Final Prophecy

Why This Book: I find that whole end of the world scenarios fascinating. This endgame scenario has been a particular favorite since I heard/read about it as a teenager.

From the Author Site: According to the Mayan doomsday prophecy, time ends on December 21, 2012. In Nightkeepers, the last king of an ancient race of magi must team up with a sexy Miami-Dade narcotics detective in order to reunite his scattered warriors and fight the gods of the Mayan underworld. Wielding ancestral blood magic, the king must choose between his duty to avert the 2012 apocalypse and his love for the woman who is the gods' destined sacrifice.

Read excerpt here.

Hero: Striking Jaguar, aka Strike, is the last king of the Nightkeepers. A very reluctant king, since the prophecy foretells that the king will have his greatest sacrifice in the final five years of the countdown. For 24 years he thought there were only three Nightkeepers, including himself, and thus his throne and crown were a pretty empty honor and position. But the barrier fell and now he must lead Nightkeepers to victory or see the end of the world. Now he is faced with the unpalatable choice between following his heart and possibly dooming the world to annihilation or following the dictates of his kingship and the prophecy.

Heroine: Leah Daniels is after out for vengeance. Her younger brother was murdered by the Survivor2012 cult and Leah holds its leader, Zipacna, responsible. She'll do anything for the chance to kill Zipacna, which is very bad thing for a Miami-Dade police officer to want. When the very people she is hunting kidnap her, the man of her dreams rescues her. Literally. She'd been having hot, steamy dreams of a black-haired, blue-eyed man only to have him pop into existence near her as she lays on a sacrificial alter.

Other Notables:
Jox: The royal family's winikin (guardian and blood bound servant). For 24 years his has kept the secret of the other Nightkeepers from Strike and Red-Boar, hoping that this knowledge would never be needed. He and the other winikins hid the babies Nightkeepers that survived the Solstice to keep them safe and as a last defense against the demons. Now that the barrier has reactivated, he must make a king out of Strike and see the Nightkeepers' final charge fulfilled.

Red-Boar: The only adult Nightkeeper to have survived the Solstice massacre. He lost his beloved wife and twin sons. For a while after the massacre he disappeared into the jungle only to come out with a son. He is bitter and broken man.

Rabbit: Red-Boar's son. He has only known contempt from his father. He is a teenager who only wants to belong but is rejected at every turn. He means the best but his very biology, and unknown heritage (on his mother's side), works against him.

Review: Jessica Andersen has taken a doomsday prophecy and given it life. According to the Mayan end date calendar, the world is going to end on December 21, 2012 during the Great Conjunction, when the earth, sun and moon align at the exact center of our galaxy. During the Great Conjunction the barrier between the earth and underworld, Banol Kax, falls and demons are free to walk the earth. This occurs every 26,000 year. During the last Great Conjunction Atlantis was sunk before the demons could be pushed back and the barrier reactivates. The Atlantean survivors created the Nightkeepers, warrior mages, and charged them to protect mankind from annihilation when the barrier falls during the next Great Conjunction.

Strike's father destroyed the Nightkeepers in hopes of circumventing the doomsday prophecy. Only three Nightkeepers, Strike, his sister Anna and Read-Boar, survived. For 24 years it looks like the barrier had been sealed but during the summer solstice, just five years before the apocalypse, the barrier is once again active. The countdown is still on and only Strike and a few untrained Nightkeepers is all that stand between all the demons in the underworld and the earth. Time is running out and evil has the upper hand.

Okay so the REM song "Its the end of the world as we know it" keeps playing in my mind and it seem appropriate for this book. For Strike, Leah, Rabbit and all rest of the Nightkeepers, who had thought the Nightkeepers were a bedtime story, it’s true but they don't feel fine. Its more on the lines of "Its the end of the world as we know and you want me to do WHAT?"

This is a good start to what I hope will be a fascinating saga that will only get better as the end date approaches. Ms Andersen as outlined the world and its possibilities as well as its rules, in the form of prophecies, with an excellent amount of detail, which definitely delights my analytical mind. The test will be in keeping them all straight and building it towards its eventually climax of the final battle on December 21, 2012.

What I liked best: Rabbit. I like him. The underdog, under-appreciated, unwanted by his father and a completely screw-up. He's a disaster waiting to happen and what a disaster he makes. He's like a tornado, unstoppable and destroying everything in his path, even when he means the best.

What I least liked: Red-Boar's treatment of his only living son. Okay so he had issues with his son's mother, but did he really have to take it out on the kid. Its not like Rabbit chose to be born with a mixed heritage. And frankly his whole attitude basically sucks.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: If you like doomsday prophecies this is the book for you. Ms Andersen has created a wonderfully rich world within the framework of some known archaeological and historical facts. She has taken a bit of archeology added a bit of magic and a prophecy of the end of the world and created a world of possibilities.

Grade: B+
Series Grade to Date: B+

Monday, August 17, 2009

Review: Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh

Published: July 2009 by Berkeley Sensation

Number of Pages: 345

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Psy-Changeling Book 6
1: Slave to Sensation
2: Visions of Heat
3: Caressed by Ice
4: Mine to Possess
5: Hostage to Pleasure

Why This Book: It's Nalini Singh!

From the Author Site: Though DarkRiver sentinel Mercy is feeling the pressure to mate, she savagely resists when Riley Kincaid, a lieutenant from the SnowDancer pack, tries to possess her. The problem is not simply that he pushes her buttons; the problem is that he’s a wolf, she’s a cat, and they’re both used to being on top.

But when a brilliant changeling researcher is kidnapped from DarkRiver territory, Mercy and Riley must work together to track the young man—before his shadowy captors decide he’s no longer useful. Along the way, the two dominants may find that submitting to one another uncovers not just a deadly conspiracy, but a passion so raw that it’ll leave them both branded by fire…


Read excerpt here.

Hero: Riley Kincaid, aka Mr. Mud Stick aka The Wall, is the SnowDancers' top lieutenant. Solid, dependable, unmovable, unemotional and boring may be words that have been used to describe him in the past. But with Mercy he feels the wild side of the his beast and definitely is out to get a piece of the cat that's been tempting him and annoying him for over a year. Riley dreams of mating the nice girl next door, a homemaker and someone who will stay safe and out of the danger. Too bad all he wants is Mercy, who is exactly the opposite of his dream mate.

Heroine: Mercy Smith aka Melisande (but don't call her that or she'll kick your ass), is a DarkRiver Sentinel and a woman who knows what she wants. Its just too bad her beast doesn't want to lay down for just anyone. Especially not some staid, emotionless wolf, even if he is totally hot and dominate enough to be acceptable to her cat.

Review: Nalini Singh just keeps the best-sellers coming. In over six books she's not missed a single beat. Each page turner of a book is perfectly crafted to ensnare the reader in a captivating tale that takes life right before the reader's eyes. And this one starts with a sizzle guaranteed to fog up your glasses.

The DarkRiver/SnowDancer alliance is solid but it takes constant work to keep the alliance from falling apart. Mercy and Riley are the ones responsible for maintaining that daily balance between the packs. In addition to their usual tasks as dominate members of their packs, they have to deal with each other and all the messy details of building and maintaining an alliance. The juveniles are still jocking for position within the mixed pack structure, the Psy are up to something mysteriously violent and the Human Alliance has come out of the woodwork shooting to kill.

Ms Singh tells a wonderful story and each is a delight to read. Really there isn't much more to say. I could sit here and gush on and on about how wonderful writer she is and what delightful characters she has created, but I'm not going to do that. I have only one thing to say. Go buy/borrow her books and read them for yourselves. You'll not be disappointed.

What I liked best: Mercy's ploy to get rid of her brother's girlfriend. Even though the scene is less than half a page, it had me giggling until I was in tears. The "tool" was just the final bit of perfection that made the whole scene irresistible.

What I least liked: I can't really think of the single scene that I didn't like. All the characters stay true to themselves, no great leaps of belief required and the Psy world is going to hell in a hand basket. Who could ask for more?

Okay I need more. More Kaleb, more Vasic, more Hawke and Sienna, just give me more story and a grandmother who will send me hotties (^_^)!

Keeper?: Most definitely

Recommendation: The series has progressed to the point where it must be read in order. Although it is probably still very enjoyable there is just too much of the back story to cover, even briefly, to bring the reader up-to-date.

Grade: A+
Series Grade to Date: A

Friday, August 14, 2009

Work Update

One rejection (the although you are impressive we have gone with another candidate who better fits our needs). Oh well.

One... dunno what to call it. I'm off to do the drug screen portion so it must be going well. Please keep you fingers cross because the alternative, frankly, sucks . I love my parents but have no desire to live with them again!!!!

Review: Hidden Currents by Christine Feehan

Published: July 2009 by Jove

Number of Pages: 441

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Drake Sisters 7
1: Magic in the Wind
2: Twilight Before Christmas
3: Oceans of Fire
4: Dangerous Tides
5: Safe Habor
6: Turbulent Sea

Why This Book: Because I has series OCD and I have Christine Feehan OCD. Just can't stop myself.

From the Author Site: From afar, Sheriff Jackson Deveau has always loved Elle Drake, the youngest telepath of seven sisters. After a long time away she’s finally returning home to the small coastal village of Sea Haven. But someone has been following Elle, someone who doesn’t want her to make it back. And when Elle fails to arrive, her disappearance strikes fear in the hearts of everyone who loves her. Now it’s left to Jackson to uncover the mystery of Elle’s vanishing, and rescue her from an unseen danger. But Sea Haven is no longer safe for anyone, and it’ll take the powers of all the Drake sisters and their men to survive the coming storm.

Read excerpt here:

Hero: Jackson Deveau is an ex-Ranger who has settled down in Sea Haven which was home to his only friends, Jonas Harrington and Matt Granite. He is gifted with physic powers of his own and doesn't want that heritage for his children since he fears his gifts. But Elle saved him when he was in an hopeless situation and now he must accept his gifts and Elle and hope for the best.

Heroine: Elle Drake is the seventh daughter of the seventh daughter and charged with passing on the Drake family gifts to the next generation. But the man who seems to be destined for her doesn't want her heritage. So she takes on one last undercover job which goes wrong. After being tortured she's not sure she can be who Jackson need and doesn't know if she should pass on her gifts.

Review: What to say. It was okay. Certainly not Christine Feehan's best work but it was still better than most of the series. Why does Ms. Feehan take heroines that could be so kick-ass and turn them into little weepy, clingy creatures? Elle Drake had a lot of potential but after a brief inprisonment and some torture she's suddenly unable rely on her gifts and her own strength.

I get that torture changes a person. But if that person was strong to begin with wouldn't she still be strong in the end as long as her will wasn't broken? Even then can't she fight to remake her life? This confuses me greatly.

Jackson's wishy-washy feeling also doesn't make for a good story either. Up until Elle disappears he seems quite happy to keep her at a distance. But when she suddenly goes missing, he arranging a rescue party and risky life and limb to get her out. Then he decides that they are meant to be and everything turns out as he wishes. Alpha heroes are good but they should always get their way. Makes them to damn domineering and unbearably bossy as well as makes for a boring story.

What I liked best: That is the end of a series! Yay! One less to keep track of and one less I HAVE to pick up.

What I least liked: There's a lot. In particular I didn't the beginning of the book. Elle being kidnapped and held for breeding by an evil physic. Blah!

Keeper?: Still thinking about it.

Recommendation: The series was okay. Not the best by a long shot and probably not the worse. But it did have a clear beginning and a end which makes me happy.

Grade: C
Series Grade: C-

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Review: Coyote's Mate by Lora Leigh

Published: February 2009 by Berkeley Sensation

Number of Pages: 341

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Breed #17
See here for complete list and order.

Why This Book: I have series OCD and I like Lora Leigh and her steamy sex scenes.

From the Author Site: For six years Anya Korbin worked with Del-Rey Delgado—the genetically altered rebel known as the Coyote Ghost—to free a group of coyote women kept in her father’s lab. As Anya matured into a woman, she and Del-Rey grew close…but then he broke his promise and killed her father. Now she must deal with her animalistic desire for the one who betrayed her.

Read excerpt here.

Hero: Del-Rey Delgado, aka Ghost, is leader of the Coyote Pack, Coyote Prime. For years he watched and waited for Anya to grow old enough for him to take as a lover. When she was old enough he freed her friends and took her captive not knowing she was his Mate. After on fateful sexual encounter they are locked together by fate and now he must regain the trust he callously threw away.

Heroine: Anya Kobrin was a young 16-year-old security guard when she first contacted Ghost in hopes of freeing her friends from the Genetic Council. For six years she helped him plot their escape only to be betrayed then taken captive. When she finds out that she is bound to him by a cruel fate she has to make a new life. One that will include Del-Ray. As mate to the Coyote Prime she holds the title of Coya.

Review: Another wonderfully crafted story by Lora Leigh. Lots and lots of steamy sex and angst along with a nice devilish plot in which everyones life is in jeopardy.

Del-Rey knew that he was going to betray and kidnap Anya he just never told her his complete plan. He knew that he would have to would her family so that the Genetic Council would not kill them for failing to stop to rescue. Anya was very innocent to believe everything he promised. This set up had the tension going right from the start. He had done her wrong and now he had to win her favor once more. Added to sexual tension of being Mated, this made for a great beginning.

Again there is nothing deep or dark about this story. Lots of fun and tension with a happy ending. But when I pick up a Lora Leigh book that is what I am expecting so I was a happy little reader.

What I liked best: Lots and lots of steamy sex! But then that's what I've come to expect from Lora Leigh. And Anya's bodyguards are so cute. Deadly but cute.

What I least liked: Del-Ray was a complete jerk. But it didn't keep me from enjoying the book. Anya does get him back and he does reform so its not all bad.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: I like Lora Leigh. I usually pick up one of her books when I'm in the mood for steamy. Although they are a series, I think you could probably read these in any order you like.

Grade: B+
Series Grade to Date: B
 

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