Year in Review

When I first set out to pick my top 10 books I didn't realize how hard that was going to be. See, 2010 was a big reading year for me.  I left my 60+ hr a week career at the beginning of the year, and began filling my time with reading and more reading. Before, I had dabbled in the UF genre, reading Kresley Cole, JR Ward, Kim Harrison, Karen Marie Moning, and Vicki Pettersson but that was about it. So, when I actually started having time for reading I was shocked by how many great books there are out there...so I read and I read.  I finished the year at about 130 books, and that's not including the ones I don't tell Goodreads about ;)  

So, here are some of the highlights from this year as a reader: (in no particular order)

Disillusionists Series by Carolyn Crane
Downside Ghosts Series by Stacia Kane
Greywalker Series by Kat Richardson
Dreg City Series by Kelly Meding
Blood Singer Series by Cat Adams
Sirantha Jax Series by Ann Aguirre
Allie Beckstrom Series by Devon Monk
Dead, Undead, or Somewhere In Between by JA Saare
Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews

I'm also loving some of the new writers I've found including, Suzanne McLeod, Jeannie Holmes, Kaylana Price, and Colleen Houck. Can't wait for more from them.  

Urban Fantasy keeps surprising me with it's changes and I can't imagine ever tiring of it. I'm so excited to see what happens in 2011.  Hope you all had a great reading year too!


Winner Winner

Thank you to everyone who read and commented on Meljean Brook's "Behind the Pen".  The copy of The Iron Duke goes to:


Congratulations Tanya.  Please email me you snail mail addy and I'm get your book to you.  

Review- Pale Demon

Kim Harrison
Urban Fantasy
432 pages
The Hollows Series #9

Condemned to death for black magic and shunned, Rachel Morgan has three days to somehow get to the annual witches convention in San Francisco and clear her name. If she fails, the only way she can escape death is to live in the demonic ever after . . . for ever after.

Banned from the flight lists, Rachel teams up with elven tycoon Trent Kalamack, headed for the West Coast for his own mysterious business. But Rachel isn’t the only passanger along for the ride. Can a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixy in one car survive for over 2,300 miles? And that’s not counting the assassin on their tail.

A fearsome demon walks the sunlight, freed after centuries of torment to slay the innocent and devour souls. But his ultimate prey is Rachel Morgan. While the powerful witch with nerves of steel will do whatever it takes to stay alive, even embracing her own demonic nature may not be enough to save her.

Each time I begin a new Hollows book I'm instantly reminded of the skill in Kim Harrison's writing, and the brilliance of her story telling.  Yes, I'm clearly a huge fan but I'm not going to lie and say that every book has been a home run... I can stay objective. But Pale Demon was nearly perfect in my opinion.

Rachel, Ivy, Jenks, and TRENT (yes that's not a typo) are trying to make it to California for Rachel's hearing and Trent's mystery elf endeavor.  I for one, loved that the story is told via road trip.  It created new settings and introduced us to some new characters along the way while introducing us to their cultural differences.  This is book 9 in the series, so to still be finding out new things in the "world" was great.  Also by taking the story on the road and away from the church and the everyday, it really helps the reader focus on the changes in both the characters themselves and their relationships.  There was a lot of action along the way, so don't be worried that this story will lag in that department.  There were a few slight lulls, but it in no way effected my experience. I just can not tire of these characters.  

I will mention that for me, it almost felt like this book might have started out as a series conclusion (thankfully that's not the case). Everything is definitely NOT buttoned up, actually I don't think Rachel's life will ever be buttoned up, but the characters all wind up somewhere new/different by book's end.  I think in the end, it became a transition book for pretty much all the characters.  This really has allowed the series to continue in a fresh and interesting way... and who doesn't want that?!

My only complaint... that I didn't re-read Black Magic Sanction before I began.

Bottom Line: Fans of the series will be blown away by some of the developments and thirsty for more.

4.5 stars


Review- Tempest Rising

Nicole Peeler
Urban Fantasy
344 pages
Jane True Series #1
Orbit Books

Living in small town Rockabill, Maine, Jane True always knew she didn't quite fit in with so-called normal society. During her nightly, clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean, a grisly find leads Jane to startling revelations about her heritage: she is only half-human.

Now, Jane must enter a world filled with supernatural creatures alternatively terrifying, beautiful, and deadly- all of which perfectly describe her new "friend," Ryu, a gorgeous and powerful vampire.

It is a world where nothing can be taken for granted: a dog can heal with a lick; spirits bag your groceries; and whatever you do, never-ever rub the genie's lamp.

When you read as much Urban Fantasy as I do, and you're about to start a new series, a lot of the times you worry ok I worry that everything is going to sound a little too familiar... especially if there's a vampire involved.  But hallelujah someone give this women a metal or at least an "OMG you rock" tweet, because Nicole Peeler has created a world full of brand new beings/creatures/life-forms each with a totally new set of rules & powers and they each come equipped with amusing personalities.

So, clearly I enjoyed the world Ms Peeler has created for our heroine, Jane True.  You need only look at the cover of Tempest Rising to know it's going to be anything but typical. But the characters she's created are just as rich...and just as original.  Jane begins as a standard protag; slightly isolated and damaged, and definitely a little defeated.   But readers quickly discover that Jane is anything but ordinary.  She's whip-smart and much more self-confident than she gives herself credit for.  And have I mentioned funny?  Jane's inner-monologues are completely giggle worthy without being too "cute".  She's a hero to root for.
In the warm light of day, my evening with Ryu was far less ruined by Stuart's outburst than it had felt like at the time. Instead, I was mostly thinking about the good stuff. Like dancing with Ryu. And holding Ryu's hand. And being in Ryu's arms. And Ryu whispering in my ear. And the brush of Ryu's lips against mine. 
Not to mention my tuna melt had been particularly tasty.

 And that brings us to Ryu.  He's charismatic and charming and readers will instantly hope that he and Jane will hit it off.  He's doting whilst still masculine and compliments Jane's personality perfectly. But he has an air of mystery about him that will keep the reader intrigued and definitely still engaged.  Not to mention the fact that his humor is on par with Jane's.
He grinned at me and I noticed he was carrying a large rectangular box.  He handed it to me and I took it gingerly by its handle.  "I couldn't find a florist," he explained.
"Oh, okay. Thanks. What is it?"
"A lobster."
"A lobster?"
"A lobster."
The story line is not necessarily action-packed along the way {it has a totally kick-ass climax} but Peeler still manages to set a fast paced story regardless.  This lead off book focuses on introducing readers to Jane and her story and I can't wait to see what happens with her next.

Bottom Line:  A fun series opener complete with an original cast of characters and a heroine worthy of a long running series.

4 stars


I've got issues

Just a heads up, we're in the process of moving. So this week will consist of packing, arguments, and wine.  I'm kidding.  But, just wanted you to know why my posts will be sporadic until after Jan 3rd.  Happy Happy Joy Joy


We're takin a few days

Whoever you're with, Wherever you are, However you celebrate:




When will Jan 18th get here all ready?!?!  I cannot wait for the release of KMM's Shadowfever.  I had to stop reading the excerpt teases she's been releasing over the year b/c they're driving me crazy.  BUT, she posted a picture of the first page this past weekend  and it's the perfect amount of tease I think.  And because I love you all so, I've transcribed it for you.

Shadowfever Page 1:

Hope strengthens. Fear kills.
Someone really smart told me that once.
Every time I think I'm getting wiser, more in control of my actions, I do slamming into a situation that makes me excruciatingly aware that all I've succeeded in doing is swapping one set of delusions for a more elaborate, attractive set of delusions-that's me, the Queen of Self-Deception.
I hate myself right now. More than I'd ever have thought possible.
I squat on the cliff's edge, screaming, cursing the day I was born wishing my biological mother had drowned me at birth.  Life it too hard, too much to handle.  Nobody told me there'd be days like these.  How could they let me grow up like that-happy and pink and stupid?
The pain I feel is worse than anything the Sinsar Dubh has ever done to me.  At least when the Book is crushing me, I know it's not my own fault.
This moment?
Mea Culpa.  Beginning to end, all the way, I own this one, and there will never be any hiding from that fact.


There are always book cover releases, but 2 of my favorite series of 2010 showed us glimpses at their next book covers and I couldn't be more happy with both of them.

Kelly Gay showed us the the cover for The Hour of Dust and Ashes, the 3rd installment in the Charlie Madigan series.  Charlie looks super tough!  And there's someone else with her, which is the first time that's happened on one of her covers. hmmmm  The book releases in August 2011 so you have plenty of time to catch up and read The Better Part of Darkness, and The Darkest Edge of Dawn *whispers* I still need to read DEoD myself *_*

The Dreg City series is another one of my favorites from 2010, no question about it.  And this week, Kelly Meding showed us the cover for Another Kind of Dead and I can't wait. There is some crazy shit happening in the background there.  I'm bouncing in my seat with anticipation.  But alas, it's another summer release.  The book comes out July, 2011.  In the meantime you can read my reviews for Three Days to Dead and As Lie the Dead.  And then go enjoy them for yourself!

Before her book releases, Kim Harrison is always generous enough to share a couple chapters with us.  Well, she's just posted the first chapter of Pale Demon, so go download here and enjoy...you wont be sorry


Behind the Pen: with Meljean Brook (+giveaway)

I love interviews.  But I find the artists behind the stories equaling intriguing, and I think they deserve as much limelight as their characters.  So here instead of a list of questions about the story, the plot, and the characters I ask authors the same 11 questions about themselves and hopefully get a glimpse behind the pen...

Meljean Brook's latest release, The Iron Duke, was one of my favorite finds of 2010.  I just loved it. Loved the world building, loved the characters, loved that it conquered my fears of steampunk.  So, I couldn't have been more thrilled when she agreed to answer my questionnaire.  If you haven't had the opportunity to read The Iron Duke yet, then slap a fuzzy red hat on me and call me Santa, because I'll be giving away my copy to one lucky commenter.  


  • Your comment is your entry
  • If you follow the site you get an extra entry
  • US & CA only
  • Contest will end Dec 26th at midnight (pst)
  • Winner will be announced here shortly after that

Q1: What is the last book you read? 
Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King. When I’m short on time, I really love to fit short stories and novellas in, and I’ve been an almost-lifelong King fan.

Q2: If you were stuck on a desert island, what book would you like to have with you? 
A book about how to build a raft from materials found on a desert island.

Q3: What is your favorite swear word? 
“Eff”. I have a little girl, so I can’t say the real word out loud anymore.

Q4: What is your biggest pet-peeve? 
When my husband takes the bag out of the kitchen garbage can and places it on the floor “because we can fit more stuff in there.” That drives me crazy, because it’s really short for, “I don’t want to take out the freaking garbage right now, honey” and invariably, the bag will tip over.

Q5: What quality do you most like in a man? 
Aside from one who will take out the garbage? :-D I like compassion mixed with intelligence.

Q6: What quality do you most like in a woman? 
Compassion mixed with intelligence.

Q7: What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt? 
I’d like to be a spy. So many cool gadgets!

Q8: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? 
The Maldives. Have you seen pictures of the water there? Sure, as a redhead, I’d burn in an instant ... but, wow. Those are some beautiful islands.

Q9: What inspires you? 
For my work, everything does – from cruelty to kindness, from big headlines to little moments that I observe between strangers. Personally, though, I’m inspired by books and the stories we all make up to explain our lives. 

Q10: If you could be one person (dead or alive) for a day who would you be? 
Shakespeare, just to see what it was like when words ran through his head. What is writing like when you’re William Shakespeare? Is it the same as the rest of us? I’d want to know.

Q11: Mac or PC? 
I wish it was a Mac, but at this point, I’ll probably never change from a PC.


Review- Magic in the Shadows

Devon Monk
Urban Fantasy
350 pages
Allie Beckstrom Series #3
Roc/Penguin Usa

Allison Beckstrom's magic has taken its toll on her, physically marking her and erasing her memories-including those of the man she supposedly loves. But lost memories aren't the only things preying on Allie's thoughts.

Her late father, the prominent businessman-and sorcerer-Daniel Beckstrom, has somehow channeled himself into her very mind. With the help of The Authority, a secret organization of magic users, she hopes to gain better control over her own abilities-and find a way to deal with her father...

Magic in the Shadows is the 3rd installment in the Allie Beckstrom series, and if after reading my first 2 reviews you didn't add this entire series to your TBR pile, maybe a straightforward review is not what you need to see?  Maybe you've been burned by series in the past; investing your time and emotions with a set of characters only to lose interest along the way. Maybe I need to disspell those fears right here and now; prove to you that Allie is one of those heroines you feel more bad-ass just by knowing/reading her, show you examples of her snarky-ness and generosity of spirit. And maybe I should prove that Devon Monk has what it takes to keep a series riveting.  Has the cojones to take a series exactly where it needs to go, even if that's down a dark and grey alley. {er, no pun intended}

Allie is tough,witty, compassionate, sharp...my adjective list could go on and on. She's so true to character readers can't help but feel every blow, wince at each crack in her shell. And her internal monologues are some of my favorite.  They're not filled with dribble and over-analyzing but with genuine humanity... and humor when you need to stay sane. 
We paused there, caught in the proverbial unspoken question of first dates: to kiss or not to kiss. 
"I have company," I said.
He nodded. "Would you like me to come by and take you to class tomorrow?"
"How very college of you Jones. Does this mean we're going steady?"
"Now who's old fashion? And yes. Say, around five?" 

That was all I had time to watch.  I hacked at the first thing with fangs that jumped at me like the mother of all rosebushes was out to kill me, and then fell into a steadier rhythm, my body catching on pretty quickly how to use this much metal.
Which was great, because I liked breathing.  It was one of my most favorite things to do. 

Me? I felt like an idiot. And a jerk. A jerkiot.
Monk's plots are so interesting you never really know what you're in store for.... I love that.  This time around the plot was a little twisted; I loved that too.  Allie's dead father's spirit has taken up shop in the back of her brain; influencing, demanding, and even helping a little, and after basically disowning him so early in life, you can imagine how disturbing it is that he's now smack dab in the middle of every thought and emotion, every struggle. Add to the fact that Allie's still weeding through her feelings for Zay in this book, can we just say "AWKWARD"  But, it all comes off really really intriguing and leaves you dying to know what's up next.  And the fight scenes in this book, are the best of the series in my opinion...seriously "magic" makes fighting way more interesting.

Another aspect of Monk's writing that has me ubber fan-girl, is the way she introduces new characters to the series.  Sure, every series has them but Monk's new additions lend real purpose, and attach like parts of the same crazy jigsaw puzzle; totally separate misshaped pieces that have a picture all its own, but when put together form something really amazing. Even the characters I growl at {and there's definitely a new growl-worthy character here} leave me wanting to know more, desperate to uncover what makes them, them. 

And, I know it's an odd thing to point out but I love how Monk ends a chapter.  More than any other author I can think of at the moment, her chapters feel like a true end-scene. Like each one is a mini act, complete with a start a conflict and a resolution of sorts.  For me anyway, it keeps a fantastic momentum.

Still not convinced?!  Well hell, here are some shiny in-your-face buttons, courtesy of Julie at Yummy Men and Kick Ass Chicks, to win you over.

4.5 stars


Coming Up...

Ok this week definitely felt like Christmas was upon me. I baked cookies, went out 4 times, felt like I was behind all week, and didn't buy a single book for myself.  Even though this coming week is leading up to Christmas Day for me, I'll still be around blogland.  In fact, tomorrow I'll be visiting Fiction Vixen to discuss Faefever.  If you've read it recently stop by.  It's a great place to ask questions or just watch what others are saying.  

I'm currently finishing up Faefever.  Then I hope to start a couple new series! Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler and Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge

Magic in the Shadows by Devon Monk and Pale Demon by Kim Harrison 

Giveaways & More:
Tuesday I'll be posting "Behind the Pen" with Meljean Brook and will be giving away a copy of The Iron Duke to one lucky commenter.  

My holiday giveaway is still going on so be sure to enter if you haven't already.  



Here are some of the most juicy bits of litterary news this week:

Ilona Andrew's {Author of the Kate Daniel's series} posted the prologue for her upcoming May release, Magic Slays.... The entire prologue!  And it's great.  If you're new to the series you can read my reviews for Magic Bites, Magic Burns, Magic Strikes, and Magic Bleeds or you could just trust me read them :)    Here's the link to the prologue and while you're at it, check out the new holiday-inspired wallpaper on her site, it is awesome.  


Cassandra Clare, author of the Mortal Instruments series and the Infernal Devices series, released the images of her upcoming release, The City of Fallen Angels.  This is the 4th book of the MI series, and releases this coming April.   I can't believe there are actually faces on the cover!  Is it a sign that things are changing?!  

Author Kelly Gay is giving away 2 signed copies of her book, The Darkest Edge of Dawn, on her facebook page. But hurry up the contest ends this Sunday.


Review- Gentlemen Prefer Succubi

Jill Myles
Paranormal Romance
332 pages
Succubus Diaries Series #1
Simon & Schuster Pocket Books

Jackie Brighton woke up in a Dumpster this morning, and her day has only gotten weirder. Her familiar B-cups have somehow become double Ds, her sex drive is insatiable, and apparently she had her fi rst one-night stand ever...with a fallen angel. All she remembers is gorgeous Noah's oddly hypnotic blue eyes...and then a dark stranger whose bite transformed her into an immortal siren with a sexy Itch. With help from Noah, Jackie begins to adapt to her new lifestyle — until she accidentally sends Noah into the deadly clutches of the vampire queen and lands herself in a fierce battle for an ancient halo with the queen's wickedly hot righthand man. Who just happens to be the vampire who originally bit her. How's a girl supposed to save the world when the enemy's so hard to resist?

Paranormal Romance is not my regularly scheduled program. Every once and a while though, I come across a book I just keep seeing everywhere and curiosity gets the better of me.  I was looking for something fun, and easy to read and thats exactly what I got; is that a bad thing?

The storyline did a great job of starting off with a bang {our heroine in a dumpster} and continuing on until the conclusion.  There were very few low points and even though the flow was predictable it remained interesting. The book takes you from a vampire bar to the heart of Egypt naturally and it really was fun overall.  

The characters, mainly the heroine, was my major issue with the book.  Jackie is a museum docent and is suppose to be the ugly duckling of this story; shy, un-noticed, all-together dorky.  But her personality doesn't match.  She's opinionated and ballsy and largely self-confident. Now these traits are not bad traits, they're awesome in fact, but I just didn't see them for her.  It made it hard for me to connect with her character, therefore making it hard to become invested in her problems.  

For a book centered around a succubus, the sex scenes were not un-warranted.  No "falling on a dick" here.  {btw, if you just winced at that little statement I made you will not make it through the book}  There's a triangle between our heroine,a fallen angel and a vampire that I'm still on the fence about. But for the most part the romance was genuine and definitely steamy.

Bottom Line: An notable plot with slightly un-notable characters...but fun, have I mentioned fun?

3 stars


From me to you...

I mentioned on Saturday some of my favorite holiday giveaways happening out there in Blogland, and even though I'm not able to offer a giveaway as huge as those, I wanted to make sure that I gave my awesome followers a small gift from me to you.  

As a book reader turned blogger there are a few things I have with me at all times.  My page markers, my notebook, and an awesome book.  So that's what's up for grabs. 

Moleskine soft cover ruled notebook

Peter Pauper magnetic page markers

AND 1 book of your choice.  Yup you heard correct; you decide. You can finally get that book you've been pining for... Just call me Santa. 

  • Comment below to be entered
  • If you follow the site you get an extra entry
  • If you mention the giveaway somewhere (twitter, facebook, your blog) that's pretty rad and you'll get an extra entry. [link accordingly with your comment]
  • Book must be available at The Book Depository (up to a $20 value)
  • Open to anyone on the planet
  • Contest ends Dec 31st
  • Winner will be announced here Jan 2nd (i'll be asleep Jan 1st)


1 Book 2 Reviews: Nightshade

Andrea Cremer
YA fantasy
452 pages
Nightshade Series #1
Philomel/Penguin Teen Usa

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Jess' Review:
I'm not a big reader of YA fiction.  Usually the storyline and the struggles come off, for lack of a better word, juvenile.  Therefore, my attention span during the books wane slightly.  But Cremer's inventive take on a theme as common as "coming-of-age" was much more grown-up than I expected and kept me interested throughout.

Calla's struggle with herself, was one of my favorite parts of story to watch unfold. Calla and the rest of her pack have grown up living their lives according to the rules they're told to live by, by their "Keepers" {masters}.  No questioning. Things are merely the way things are; everything is quite arranged.... including Calla's marriage.  And who in life doesn't sometimes feel as though they're moving through life the way their suppose to; the way they're excepted to?  To make Calla brave enough to question the answers that have always been provided to her was a step in the right direction in YA literature, in my opinion. A mature theme such as this is easy to relate to, young or old not young.

The other thing that surprised me was my feelings about the ever-present love triangle between Calla, Shay, and Ren.  I always know who to root for, I always know who's "Team" I'm on.  Not the case here.  Shay makes her question herself; helps her open her eyes and her heart.  But Ren is much more complex than the alpha male stereotype that he's suppose to be.  Most of the time a triangle is boring for me due to the fact that there's never a question in my mind as to the heroine's final decision but Cremer's complex characters kept my emotions always guessing. {I still don't have a side}

The world-building wasn't as rich as what I like, but the interesting cast of characters made up for it, mostly. The plot moved along quickly enough after I figured out what was happening, which was a bit of a struggle to pull out of the story.  Some of the terms and character relationships were a bit more of a mystery than I thought they should have been in the beginning, but everything smoothed out enough not to really irk me.  And I really enjoyed that the plot was much more about our characters than about a new villain in town or a mystery that needed to be solved.  I'm really looking forward to more answers from the series, so I'll be eagerly anticipating Wolfsbane's release.

Bottom Line for me: An interesting new take on the world of werewolves from a YA perspective... that didn't feel "youth" to me at all.  
3.5 stars

Kristin's Review:
Calla Tor, 17,  is a Alpha werewolf. She is also a Guardian, although at the beginning of Nightshade, we’re not quite sure what that means. That’s ok though, because it all becomes clear before the end.  Well…mostly. Nightshade opens with a bang when Calla rescues handsome Shay from a bear attack during her patrol and heals his wounds with her blood. This book was tons of fun and I really enjoyed the hierarchy and history of the shifters created by Ms. Cremer. Guardians are watched over by the Keepers, and Calla has never questioned her loyalty to them until now. After all, they provide materially for her and her pack plus provide for her future. Even her arranged betrothal to Ren (an Alpha hottie) has always been set for her. 

I also appreciated the rather unique take on shapeshifting (revealing any details would spoil the fun). There was a bit of teen angst and the ubiquitous love triangle, however it was really well done here.  She had a tough choice between the two boys, human (read forbidden) Shay and fellow shifter/bad boy Ren, and there was some admittedly delicious romantic longing between these three.

Nightshade is a wonderful story, spotlighting Calla’s discovery that all in her insular world is not all that it seems, and makes her question everything she’s been led to believe. The plot is not simplistic and really can’t be summed up in a short review. This is a big ‘ol hunk a’ book, but I blew through it because it was just that much fun! It reminded me of adult urban fantasy, minus the sex scenes and language, and the fact that the main characters were teens. 

I’ll look forward to learning more about the Keepers, the Guardians, and the mysterious Searchers in the next novel. 4 stars out of 5 for me!


Coming Up...

This past Wednesday was my local book club meeting. We discussed Daughter of the Forest(if you missed my review you can check it out hereand I swear they always put me in the best mood. Five of my friends and I devote a couple hours, and several bottles of wine, once a month and I look forward to it all month long. We decided that our upcoming "January" book would be Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning.  This just gives me more reason to fall off the face of the planet come Jan 18th.  So, to prepare for the 5th and final book I will be re-reading the series.  Fiction Vixen & Smexy Books are co- hosting discussions of the re-read and the next discussion is Dec 20th for all things Faefever. So I have to get cracking...I can't wait.

This week was also great b/c I discovered that one of my local Borders was closing and the entire store was 40% off, and since paperbacks never go on sale it would be un-just to pass up this opportunity; right?!  The store was pretty picked over but I found 5 books I need/want so I couldn't be more pleased.  

Books in this week:
The Greyfair by Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith
Siren Song by Cat Adams  

Magic at the Gate by Devon Monk
Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon 
Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning
Soulless Gail Carriger

I'm currently reading Magic in the Shadows by Devon Monk.  Also this week I'll be reading Bloodfever by KMM and Pale Demon by Kim Harrison.  (I know this was on my reading list last week, but I got behind...sorry)

Tomorrow will be our first ever dueling review!  Kristin and I will each be posting our review on Nightshade by Andrea Cremer.  It should be interesting. I'll also be posting my review of Gentlemen Prefer Succubi by Jill Myles and possibly Magic in the Shadows if there's time. 

Tuesday I'll be announcing a Holiday giveaway. It's a small little way for me to say "Thanks" to all of you who stop in and say hi.  I hope you'll come back and check it out.

That's it from here, what are you getting into this week?


Tis the Season

The holidays get people all warm and fuzzy inside, and put some in a very generous mood.  Here is a list of my favorite holiday giveaways happening this Christmas season in blogland.  

WLP's "The Thirteen Wicked Days of Christmas"
Starting December 13th, the site will quiet down on the reviews so it can focus solely on interviews and giveaways for the fans, and will host a different author each day.  Full details by clicking through on the button below:

Vampire Books Club's "2011 Winter Preview"
For the rest of the month (well, until the 28th) the site will post early reviews, author interviews, giveaways, and previews of some the most anticipated book releases of 2011. Full details by clicking through below:

Dark Faerie Tales is teaming up with Tynga's Reviews to host "Dark Winter Tales"
Over the course of the month 15 authors will stop in and contribute to an on-going story...and giveaways will accompany most posts.  Full details by clicking through below:

Smexy Books' "12 Days of Naughty Books"
For all those looking for a little romance this holiday season, starting Monday the site will have 12 different authors stopping in to chat and give away naughty books.  Full details by clicking through below:


Review- Daughter of the Forest

Juliet Marillier
544 pages
Sevenwaters Series #1

A beautiful retelling of the Celtic "Swans" myth, Daughter of the Forest is a mixture of history and fantasy, myth and magic, legend and love... To reclaim the lives of her brothers, Sorcha leaves the only safe place she has ever known and embarks on a journey filled with pain, loss and terror. When she is kidnapped by enemy forces and taken to a foreign land, it seems that there will be no way for Sorcha to break the spell that condemns all that she loves. But magic knows no boundaries, and sorcha will have to choose between the live she has always known and a love that comes only once.

Although this book is not my recent selection of fantasy, I am forever grateful for reading it. The fantasy world that Marillier has created is fascinating and truly memorable.  The tale she tells keeps the reader enthralled throughout, and had this reader highly emotional {and I don't get emotional often with books}.  I can honestly say that over the course of the book, Sorcha's heart became my own.  I somehow felt every loss and break, and every triumph.  Sorcha's struggle is long but wasn't frustrating for me at all.  Marillier doesn't bog down the story with unneeded twists to keep the reader engaged, which in my opinion happens too often with epic love stories over 500 pages.   She weaves her tale with adventures and strife but doesn't ever lose sight of the original objective. And I was forever grateful to learn that each book in the series is a complete tale from start to finish.

I could ramble on and on about all the parts that I loved, about the beauty of the world and the distinction of the writing, but I'd rather just leave it and hope that by saying "It's a classic" will be reason enough for Daughter of the Forest to make it on your holiday reading list.  

Bottom Line: At the heart of this story is a fairytale; complete with an evil step-mother, a wicked curse, and the possibility that love can conquer all.  

5 stars


Review- Doubleblind

Ann Aguirre
Science Fiction/Fantasy
310 pages
Sirantha Jax Series #3
ACE/Penguin Usa

Sirantha Jax isn't known for diplomatic finesse. As a "jumper" who navigates ships through grimspace, she's used to kicking ass first and taking names later-much later.  She's not exactly the obvious choice to sell the Conglomerate to the Ithtorians, a people whose opinions of humans are as hard as their exoskeletons.

And Ithtorian council meetings aren't the only place where Ambassador Jax needs to maneuver carefully.  Her lover is frozen in permanent kill mode, and his hair trigger threatens to sabotage the talks -not to mention their relationship.

But Jax won't give up on the man or the mission.  With the Outskirts beleaguered by raiders, pirates, and flesh-eating aliens, an alliance with the Ithtorians may be humanity's only hope.  Which has Jax wondering why a notorious troublemaker like her was given the job...

If executed properly a great piece of fiction can transport you to a foreign environment, maybe even a different place in time, but the thing I absolutely love about this series is that it becomes a completely new identity for me.  It's no secret than Sirantha Jax has become one of my all-time favorite leading ladies.  It's a treat to slip beneath her skin and watch the story through her eyes. In this edition, Jax proves to the reader {while proving to herself} why you stick by her. She's changed so much from the first book, but not in a way that I've forgotten why I identified with her in the first place.  She's evolved into this hero who is far from perfect, but has honor and integrity enough that you always believe she'll make the right decision. The range of emotions Jax expresses in this book, made this reader fully engaged and kept my own emotions on high-alert the entire book. 

No question, Doubleblind has brought new life back into the Sirantha Jax series.  The characters have morphed into new versions of themselves, and so has everything in the world they live in.  The story almost reads like a whole new start to the series.  Subtly, the series has shifted from the adventures of a cast of shipmates and has really turned into the tale of this far off world and the struggles it has to function.   Sirantha, March and their crew are on the cusp of an inner-stellar war of the worlds, and I can envision how the rest of the series will look. {There are 3 more books left in the series} The story-line was complex, fast-paced, and original. The twists and shocks will even creep up on the most clever reader. There's also new depth in the way Aguirre relays the story that I really enjoyed. She laces the story with various bits of news and information from all the different worlds, and it helps bring the rest of the universe into play.  Doubleblind has become my favorite of the series so far, without question.

Bottom Line:  Ann Aguirre proves to me again why I fell in LOVE with this series and the characters within her pages.  

5 stars