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:

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.


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?


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:

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.


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


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

Monday, August 10, 2009

New URL Address and an Update

Shaymless Aymless now coming to you from:

It was an excellent book week. Scored three books.

Thanks to Joss Ware

Thanks to Julie James

Thanks to the folks over at My Favourite Books

Read three books. But also discovered a free e-book download site (thanks to Karen Marie Moning's author site here). See Suvudu here. Not that I have an e-book reader (yet). So books IN once again greater than books OUT. No wonder I keep adding bookcases.

Now that phone call about getting the job would be great... any minute now... REALLY... any minute now...

Review: Darkness Calls by Marjorie M Liu

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

For those who haven't started this series, be warned that there are spoilers ahead. As always I will try to keep them to a minimum, but this is a series that builds on the information given in previous books.

Published: July 2009 by Ace

Number of Pages: 303

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Stand Alone/Series: Book 2 of Hunter Kiss series
Prequel: Hunter Kiss novella in Wild Thing anthology or e-book
Book 1: Iron Hunt

Why This Book: Iron Hunt was one of my best of 2008 so this was a must read for me. And I really enjoy reading Marjorie M Liu stories.

From the Author Site:
They are the obsidian shadows of my flesh - tattoos with minds, hearts, and dreams. By day, they protect me. But when night calls to them, they leave my body, dissolving into their true form - as demons…
Nomad born and bred, demon hunter Maxine Kiss has always relied upon herself to fight the darkness that surrounds her, the predators-human, zombie, and otherwise - who threaten the earth. But one man has penetrated her lonely life: Grant, the last of his kind. With music he is able to control any living creature…including demons. And now his life is in danger.

Haunted by the past, determined to change the future, Maxine soon understands that to save Grant, she has only one choice-to lose control, and release her own powers of darkness…

Read excerpt here.

Heroine: Maxine Hunt is the last of the Wardens and the Veil that keeps the demons from entering this dimension is failing. But the Veil isn't Maxine's only problem, there is yet another rogue Avatar on the loose causing all sorts of havoc and mayhem, killing and destroying and must be stopped. If that isn't enough, there is also a darkness growing within her and one that threatens to destroy all that she is as well as hasten the end of the world. And the end of the world is coming, that is inevitable. But as to what end, it will be up to Maxine to decide.

Hero: Grant Cooperon is a Lightbringer. But he must find out what that is and who it will make him. He always thought he knew his history but now he past is covered in mysteries. It's no longer just Maxine's war but his as well. He must face the darkness, both in her and his murky past, and hope to come out sane and safe on the other end. Grant truly loves Maxine and knows that she probably won't grow to be an old woman but will die in her prime. So he writes a letter to the daughter they may one day have. One that he might not know. You can read it here.

Other Notables:
Jack Meddle aka the Meddling Man aka Old Wolf: Maxine's grandfather and an Avatar. Maxine's lineage was always from mother to daughter for countless generations with no mentions of fathers. Now that has changed in part due to Jack being an Avatar. The Avatars created Maxine's lineage and they fear what they had created. But by mixing her bloodline with that of an Avatar, he created something else. What and who is still a mystery and something to be feared.

The Boys (Zee, Raw, Aaz, Dek and Mal) aka Hounds: Maxine's eternal family. The family handed down from mother to daughter since the beginning of Maxine's line. By day, they reside on Maxine's skin as tattoos, making her invulnerable. By night, they are her guardians and aid her in her battle. But they have secrets, secrets about Maxine's past as well as the secrets of her complete bloodline. Very dangerous secrets.

Review: Another wonderful story by Marjorie M Liu. This is not like the her Dirk and Steele series. This is urban fantasy at its best! Dark and gritty with insurmountable odds and a no win situation. The end of the world as we know it coming, and it is inevitable. The how soon and who will do the destroying is what Maxine controls. There is no happy ending. Just more darkness ahead.

The story picks up pretty much right after the end of Iron Hunt. Maxine is still living with Grant Cooperon in Seattle. And still wondering about whether this was a good decision. She truly cares of Grant but being a nomad was bred into her. Being in one places still makes her itch. Her newly found grandfather, Jack, is missing. And strange events are pushing her and Grant into what they know is a trap but they must go anyway. The darkness grows and the end is coming closer.

The story continues in its first person narrative but this installment is action packed from beginning to end. The novella and first book did much more of the world building and character development. Those who did not enjoy the first book should really give this series another chance. The narrative style of this book is more action related and less of Maxine's internal turmoils.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it is definitely going on my best of 2009 list. I liked how there was a no win situation. Its darkness and grittiness was refreshing as well as dealing with the issue of knowing that you have to do what you have to do and deal with the consequences later and that everything has a price. I can't wait for the next installment. The novella Armor of Roses will be included in the anthology Inked coming out in January 2010.

What I liked best: I love them boys! Even though they are countless centuries old, they are still children. They look to Maxine for love and support while still protecting her anyway they can. They add just the right touch of lightness to the story to keep it from being too overwhelmingly dark. Their baseball fascination as well as their love of Bon Jovi and teddy bears keeps you smiling even through the darkest parts of the book.

What I least liked: Nothing. Loved every word of it. Appropriately hated the villains as well as cheered for the good guys even when they weren't so good.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: This series is best read in order. Although some have read this book without reading Iron Hunt or the novella Hunter Kiss and still enjoyed this story. For those who didn't enjoy the first book, truly consider giving this series a second chance.

Grade: A+
Series Grade to Date: A

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lookie here!

Whee! Tracy over at Tracy's Place gave me an award!

Its the Excellent Blog Award. *blushes wildly*

I'm going to pass this on to some of my evil nice book pimps promoters and some new blog friends:
Orannia of Walkabout
AnimeJune of Gossamer Obsessions
Katiebabs of Babbling About Books
Barbara of Happily Ever After
KristieJ of Rambling on Romance
Mandi of Smexy Books
Wendy the Super Librarian

Friday, August 7, 2009

Review: Just The Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James

Published: October 2008 by Berkeley Sensation

Number of Pages: 296

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Stand Alone

Why This Book: KB made me! *g* And the lovely Julie James autographed it for me this year at RWA.

From the Author Site:

Nothing fazes Taylor Donovan. In the courtroom she never lets the opposition see her sweat. In her personal life, she never lets any man rattle her–not even her cheating ex-fiancĂ©. So when she’s assigned to coach People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” for his role in his next big legal thriller, she refuses to fall for the Hollywood heartthrob’s charms. Even if he is the Jason Andrews.


Jason Andrews is used to having women fall at his feet. When Taylor Donovan gives him the cold shoulder, he’s thrown for a loop. She’s unlike any other woman he’s ever met: uninterested in the limelight, seemingly immune to his advances, and shockingly capable of saying no to him. She’s the perfect challenge. And the more she rejects him, the more he begins to realize that she may just be his perfect match. . .
Read excerpt here.

Hero: Jason Andrews, THE movie star, Mr. Sexiest Man Alive. He starts out as an arrogant ass. Fame had definitely gone to his head, but then it would probably have happened to just about anyone put in a situation like his. But as the book progresses, the onion that is his shield and image is slowly peeled away to reveal the heart of a lonely man. A lonely man who didn't know that he was lonely and waiting for that perfect someone. That someone with whom he could just be with and not have to be THE Jason Andrews, someone he didn't have to put on an act for, someone who saw his flaws and still loved him anyway.

Heroine: Taylor Donovan, sex harassment attorney and an associate at a large law firm. She mouthy and is no holds barred. Definitely the kind of attorney you would want to represent you in a big case. I love that she doesn't fall for Jason because he's a star even if he is the Sexiest Man Alive. The fact that she uses his fame and arrogance against him only made the book more enjoyable. She's sassy but vulnerable, having just dealt with an unfaithful ex-fiancé and now faced with a man who is even more irresistible and has a longer list of exes. She had put all her personal wants aside, buried the hurt and made her career the most important thing in her world. Now out of nowhere she's given an chance at happiness with the Sexiest Man Alive, but is it worth the risk?

Review: Julie James's debut book about a lawyer roped into helping the hottest man in Hollywood. It was a lighthearted and delightful read. The book was fast-paced, witty and charming, the perfect book for a lazy summer's day (or a very long and uneventful plane ride). And Ms James proves that a steamy romance doesn't have to have lots of hot steamy sex to make it sizzle!

Taylor Donovan is a lawyer and the law is her passion. Her dream is to make it as a partner in her firm and its what she has been aiming for since she was child. She was sent to LA to litigate a high profile sexual harassment case when out of nowhere she's been ordered to help THE Jason Andrews, actor and every woman's fantasy, prepare for his next role in a legal thriller. This is not to her liking and soon he becomes the bane of her very existence as he first stands her up, then lies to her and then refuses to work with any other lawyer. And what Jason Andrews wants Jason Andrews gets.

Ms James has taken the orderly world of law and mixed it with the chaotic world of a Hollywood superstar to create this wonderful tale of unexpected romance. Neither were looking for romance, all Taylor wanted was to win her case and all Jason wanted was in her pants. But as unexpected as it was, romance between these two unlikely people bloomed. Taylor begins to see Jason the man and not the star. And Jason realizes that fame and fortune isn't everything in life.

What I liked best: The part that made me laugh the hardest was Taylor's fake sexually harassment case! The way she described Jason's supposed behavior with his employees in front of her boss and Jason was just too funny. Talk about the perfect revenge. It hurt no one but made the point hit home right where it mattered most, his reputation in his own eyes.

What I least liked: The quick resolution at the end. Not quite realistic but then its a romance and the HEA is required and those moments of "ah-ha" are necessary to move the story to its eventual end.

Keeper?: Yes. It has my name all over it! Thanks Julie!

Recommendation: It was a great read. A perfect airplane book. Something easy to pick back up after shuffling planes and getting interrupted by flight attendance about drinks and snacks. (As well as the neighbors asking what made me snort! )

Grade: A-

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Review: Burning Wild by Christine Feehan

Published: April 2009 by Jove

Number of Pages: 443

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Book 3 of the Leopards but can be read as a stand alone
Book 1: Novella The Awakening in the Fantasy Anthology or Fever Anthology
Book 2: Wild Rain or in Fever Anthology

Why This Book: Because its Christine Feehan and I have this horrible series OCD that makes me keep reading a series I started. *sigh*

From the Author Site: Born into a world of twisted monsters, Jake Bannaconni is shaped and molded into a cold, revenge driven man. Honed in the fires of hell, he controls his world and rules with an iron hand. He has everything and anything money can buy. He’s ruthless, merciless and considered a man to leave alone. His hidden legacy, that of a shapeshifter, makes him doubly dangerous in the corporate world.

Emma Reynolds is a woman who knows how to love and love well. When their two worlds collide, Jake’s plans for a complete take over, may just come tumbling down.

Read except here.

Hero: Jake Bannaconni was bred. His parents want to control a shapeshifter and they thought they could make one. When he was a disappointment to them, they tortured him and tried to use him to breed a shapeshifter. Jake always knew there was another being inside him and when he was finally free of his parent he was able to let that side out. Although he has everything money can buy, he needs those thing that cannot be bought: true freedom from his parents and the love of a good woman.

Heroine: Emma Reynolds has a mysterious past. On the surface she is a pregnant widow who had been a newly wed. But there is something that is irresistible about her that draws Jake's leopard to the surface.

Review: I quite enjoyed this book. I really like Wild Rain when it came out and kept wondering if Christine Feehan was going to write more. I was a bit disappointed that it didn't take place in the jungle as the other had but was appeased with the appearance to support characters from the Jungle.

It was what I've come to expect from Ms. Feehan but with a nice edgier heroine. A wounded hero meets heroine who has that undefinable something that makes her irresistble to the hero. The heroine then "heals" the hero. Meanwhile evil someones are attacking/chasing them and it climaxes to a big huge fight where the bad guys all die horribly and the hero and heroine are free to live their lives happily ever after, sort of.

Her recent heroines haven't been much to my liking but Emma has a nice edge to her and isn't one to lay down and let people walk over her, even though she does seem to let the hero get away with way too much.

Ms. Feehan write good stories but they just don't have the edge or excitement that many of the newer authors have. I don't know what is missing but there is something that makes her stories just miss the mark. They are enjoyable but not rave-worthy. But I will no doubt keep reading her as long as she keeps writing them.

What I liked best: Jake's employees. Although Jake has a very ruthless reputation in the business world, all his employees are "damaged" in some way and he seems to be collecting all these "wounded birds" and giving them a chance to succeed. The softer side that doesn't otherwise show through.

What I least liked: The heroine's matter of fact attitude towards finding out Jake is a shapeshifter and her whole mysterious past. It seemed to pop out of no where. But it did work with the overall storyline.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: If you enjoyed Wild Rain, you will probably enjoy this one as well.

Grade: B-
Series Grade to Date: B-

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Cover: Shalador's Lady by Anne Bishop

Look at Anne Bishop's new cover!

Blurb: Thanks to Orannia for the heads up!
Return to the “intense...erotic...and imaginative”* world of the national bestselling Black Jewels novels with this sequel to The Shadow Queen. In Anne Bishop’s “vividly painted”** realm, witches and warlocks channel their power through magical jewels—and one Queen has emerged from the shadows to bring hope to an impoverished people…

For years the Shalador people suffered the cruelties of the corrupt Queens who ruled them, forbidding their traditions, punishing those who dared show defiance, and forcing many more into hiding. And even though the refugees found sanctuary in Dena Nehele, they have never been able to call it home.

Now that Dena Nehele has been cleansed of tainted Blood, the Rose-Jeweled Queen, Lady Cassidy, makes it her duty to restore the land and prove her ability to rule. She knows that undertaking this task will require all her heart and courage as she summons the untested power within her, a power capable of consuming her if she cannot control it.

And even if Lady Cassidy survives her trial by fire, other dangers await. For the Black Widows see visions within their tangled webs that something is coming that will change the land—and Lady Cassidy—forever…

Due out in March 2010!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Review: The Mage by Jean Johnson

If you haven't read any of the Sons of Destiny series there may be some spoilers, so be warned! As always I have tried to keep the spoilers to a minimum so that I do not distract from your enjoyment of the book.

Published: April 2009 by Berkeley Sensation

Number of Pages: 374

Genre: Fantasy Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Book 8 and end of the Sons of Destiny Series *yay*
Book 1: The Sword
Book 2: The Wolf
Book 3: The Master
Book 4: The Song
Book 5: The Cat
Book 6: The Storm
Book 7: The Flame

Why This Book: It's the last book in the Sons of Destiny series and since I read the ones before that dang book OCD made to read this one too!

From the Author Site: Hope, Morganen's foretold bride, has finally arrived on the island. She hasn't been telling the full truth about herself, and the consequences will stretch further than even she anticipates. Just as Morg gets used to Hope's revelation, new enemies arrive on the Isle, seeking to steal away the brothers' chances at creating a new nation. During the attack, an old foe resurfaces and strikes amid the confusion, kidnapping the final bride-to-be.

Either Morg will rescue Hope and help his family complete the Prophecies of the Seer Draganna and the last Duchess of Nightfall, carving a new kingdom in the process...or their enemies will be free to slaughter them all....

Hero: Morganen is the Mage and the youngest of the Brothers Corvis who were exiled to Nightfall Island by Empire of Katan in hopes of diverting an unfavorable prophecy. Now that the lines of prophecy regarding his older brothers have been fulfilled and after having played matchmaker for the rest of his brothers, its finally his turn to fulfill his part of the prophecy and for his happily ever after. But there is a hitch to his plans. The woman, Hope O'Neill, he had been courting as his bride to be isn't exactly who he thought she was.

Heroine: Hope O'Neill was the Duchess Haupanea of Nightfall and Seer of Nightfall who foresaw the Shattering of Aiar and the destabilization of the Portals. While trying to save all those around her when the energy caused by Aiar Shattering poured through the Nightfall Portal, she was transported to Earth in the current time, about 200 years after the Shattering, and had to resume the identity of Hope O'Neill since the real Hope O'Neill was missing and most likely dead due to a tornado. Once she returned to Nightfall she had to tell everyone one the truth and try to win Morganen trust once more.

Review: Jean Johnson did a lovely job of wrapping up her series. All the loose plot lines were connected and brought to their happy or justly ends. Each book pushed the expectation of the next book little higher until you reached this climactic end.

Morg was tasked to be the matchmaker for his brothers in the prophecy and always seemed to know more than he let the others know. In fact he kept much of his skill and power hidden, even from his brothers. Here we were able to see the full range and scope of his power as well as his feelings of responsibility to bring the prophecy into reality. Hope was nicely matched with him in power.

Hope aka Haupanea has no desire to rule although she was and still rightly the Duchess of Nightfall. But all she wants to do is to become the first chocolatier in world. She purposely brought cocoa plants and took chocolate making classes while on Earth to help in making her dream a reality. In addition she wishes to once more connect with her Goddess, Nauvea the Goddess of Dreaming.

Although with the prophecy and the aid of many help and quite useful, at times just to dang convenient, characters everything comes off without a hitch. A twist in the plot or greater difficulty in fulfilling the prophecy would have made the book and series more interesting. As it is, the story and series flow along without much impediments making for the light and enjoyable read. Nothing very exciting and then again nothing that asks too much of the reader is suspending their belief.

The series as a whole was quite enjoyable. Very nice fluffy reading. Nothing too deep or too difficult to accept. Ms Johnson kept the storylines moving forward in each book and brought everything to this climactic end. Nothing was left open so there was the nice feel of closure at the end of this book and the series. Although I didn't care much for the middle of the series (The Song and The Cat), they did move certain portions of the storyline forward and each brought a required piece needed to complete the final task and free Nightfall from the Empire of Katan.

What I liked best: That its the end! Finally a series that has a clear cut beginning and ending. How each book built on the previous and moved the storyline along at a nice pace until it reached this end. Nothing too difficult to swallow and everything fitting in nice and smoothly

What I least liked: The Hope is Haupenea thing. Sure it worked for the story and did help tie up some of the loose ends but it would have been a much more interesting story with Hope staying as Hope.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: This series is best read in order. Each book follows one of the brothers in their quest to win a bride and to the fulfillment of a prophecy.

Grade: B-
Series Grade: B-

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Book & Movie Review: NONE

Argh! Didn't have time to prepare one! *sigh* Sorry everyone! Tune in next month. I'll have one really I will!

But for your listening and viewing pleasure I give my following tribute to airports and hotels! Look here.

While I was gone...

I've survived my week of airports, airplanes and hotels mostly sane but very tired. After having slept most of the last day and half, I started to catch-up on the whole blog reading thing (had about 150 to catch up on!!! O_o).

Anyway... the update:
1. The interviews went well (I think) but now it's wait and wait and keeping those fingers crossed.

2. I hate airport and flying! Looking back at the last month, I realized I'd made SIX cross country flights. I have to JetBlue was the best out of the three carriers I flew on (Southwest and US Airways being the other two). And the stewardesses on US Airways are baggage nazis! Never seen so many airline representatives so concerned about carry-ons. Really my little 6-inch x 12-inch x 2-inch purse (which I use as a lumbar support) shouldn't count as an "extra carry-on"!

3. Dress up shoes suck! Now that my heels (the ones on my feet) are rubbed raw, I think I'll toss the shoes into the goodwill so that they can eat up someone else's feet.

4. Got 4 and 1/2 books read! Yeah!

5. LeeAnn gave me an award. See further down.

6. CL Wilson finally put up an excerpt for Queen of Song and Souls! Whee. Read excerpt here.


LeeAnn gave me an award! As usually I'm speechless. I'm not so good at getting compliments since I usually don't think I'm all that good at the blogging-thing (or whatever it is I'm getting complimented on). So... THANKS LeeAnn

The Kreativ rules state that:
Once you receive this award you are to list seven of your favorite things and then nominate seven other blogs.

Some of my favorite things:

1. Burt's Bees lip balm. The original minty flavored one. I can 't get enough of it. I think I have 5 or 6 sticks of the stuff floating around my house and various purses.

2. Books. I don't think you can have enough. Though at this point I think my house is a fire hazard with all its various piles of books everywhere. I think it's time to get yet another book case. Just have to figure out which wall to cover up.

3. My Mac. The security blanket of all security blankets. Thank goodness its a laptop so that I can lug it everywhere I go!

4. Handmade soap. I've got to one of the world biggest sucker for handmade soap! Thank goodness for being short on money since it has made me have to choose between getting more soap or books. I think the soap drawer is now down to just one drawer and not the two or three it was before.

5. Teas. Can't get enough of them. I have at least 20 different blends currently hiding in my cupboard. Mostly herbal since I'm already high-strung I don't need anything else to make me hyper.

6. Fresh fruit especially berries. I love summer since that's when most of the fresh fruits and berries are the cheapest and I don't have scrape the bottom of the purse to feed this habit.

7. Pajamas. I think you should be allowed to wear them everywhere. They are soooo comfy and go so well with bedhead! *g*

And the nominees are...

Orannia of Walkabout
Mho Fho of Babbling About Books
Mandi of Smexy Books
Carolyn Crane of The Thrillionth Page
Nalini Singh
Ana and Thea, The Book Smugglers
Judge a Book by the Cover


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