It's not you... it's us

September.  Yeah, about that...

We swear; Nina and I are still here and still reading, but the month completely ran away from us. (including a weekend of fun together...see butt bombed photo for proof)

We'll be back in October!   But to get you up to speed, here's what we read in September.

Stormwalker by Allyson James
Aftermath by Ann Aguirre
Blood Rights by Kristen Painter (review coming)
Spider's Revenge by Jennifer Estep (review coming)
Hunted by The Others by Jess Haines
Shadow Kin by MJ Scott

Downside Ghosts 1, 2 & 3 by Stacia Kane (post coming)
Downpour by Kat Richardson
First Grave on the Right & Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones

Fill us in on your month! What was your favorite book? What have we missed?

And because we're ridiculous... mustaches!


The Sound

I love music. Always have. I like scouring the web looking for and listening to all the new sounds artists put out. I'm constantly amazed by it.  Here's what this month sounds like...

**I never ever EVER steal from artists (bands or authors). Everything posted here is either a free download provided by the band or from my personal music library**


Early Review: The Renfield Syndrome

J.A. Saare
Urban Fantasy
Rhiannon's Law #2
Mundania Press


Vampires, and werewolves, and demons, oh my.
Rhiannon thought facing off against a deranged child vampire was the most dangerous task she would ever have to undertake, but she’s about to discover making a deal with a demon is far, far worse. Sent forward into another reality, one in which vampires are now dominating nearly extinct humans, she realizes the sooner she returns to her vampire lover, Disco, the better.

Unfortunately, time changes a lot of things, including those most trusted around her. When she’s faced with a loss and betrayal unlike any she has ever known, her focus shifts from severing the debt between the demon that wants to kill her, to exacting a revenge that will bring forth consequences she never could have fathomed. By reaching out to the darkness lingering within her, she’ll find the strength to push forward despite the circumstances that would see her dead and buried.

After all, when it’s all said and done, all that she has left to lose is her soul.


Nina Talks BAD Covers

As a reader I see quite a few book covers. Some are amazing. Breath-taking even. And some are… well… not so great. This post is dedicated to the fabulously flawed book covers that are out there.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked down the isle at the bookstore or browsed Goodreads only to roll my eyes and think “Oh. Ya. There’s no way real men look like that!” or “Wait! Now I need eye bleach!”  The bad covers are not limited to any one specific genre either. Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Romance, and Horror all suffer from the affliction.

Keep in mind that the authors usually have no influence in the cover. So, cheese ball art design in no way reflects the quality of the story between the covers. I’ve found that covers can miss the mark for several reasons; Bad CG art, ridiculous unnaturally ripped men, and what-were-they-thinking/how-would-that-ever-be-a-good-idea!? With that said, prepare to be amazed.


Winner Winner

The winner of Sherrilyn Kenyon's latest release, Retribution, is:


Congrats Alicia!  Please email me thespinecracker(at)gmail(dot)com as soon as possible with your snail mail address.  You have 24hrs to email me before I must re-draw. 


I Can Haz A Break?

I'm exhausted.  Between the new job with a completely new schedule, and preparing for the bachelorette party, this past week was insane. And I had zero free time to myself.  I think I read 25 pages of a book, all week long.

I need a break.  I'm going to take this week off from blogging, and hopefully come back next week refreshed & revived.   I will figure out how to juggle it all.... just not this week.

** I'll still be posting the winner of Retribution on Wednesday**


Ready for Some Retribution?

The next addition to the Dark Hunter series, Retribution, released yesterday.  But in case you've yet to grab your copy, you're in luck.  Zeitghost Media is giving away a copy here, at TheSpinecracker.

Check out the awesome trailer, and then scroll below for giveaway details.

Enter the giveaway by telling me who your favorite Dark Hunter character is in the comment section below.

  • US and CAN only
  • Contest Ends next Tuesday August 9th at Midnight (pst)
  • Winner will be announced the next day on this site, so be sure to check back.
  • Winner will be chosen using Random.org & will need to contact me if selected.  If the winner does not contact me in 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.


Nina Reviews: Ghost Story

Jim Butcher
481 pages
Urban Fantasy
The Dresden Files #13

When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn't doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin.

But being dead doesn't stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has nobody, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own.

To save his friends-and his own soul-Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic...


I Double-Dog Dare You...

One day on Twitter I noticed one of my favorite new authors, Jenn Benett author of Kindling the Moon, talking about how fantastic a historical romance novel was.  I struck up a conversation that started "I don't get it. What's so great about historical romances?" By the end of the conversation we'd decided that she would pick my DARE book this month, and she would make it goooood.  

Jenn Bennett:
Okay, so I've been thinking about my dare for you, the historical romance, and I've decided on a pick: The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne. It's an engrossing story about two rival spies during the Napoleonic wars, full of twists and turns, and action. The writing is spectacular; at times it blew my mind. The author has created two extremely strong leads, and their story isn't sweet and light, but rather rough and unapologetic. I thought it was pretty freaking brilliant. The lovely and very witty Carolyn Crane (MIND GAMES, DOUBLE CROSS) recommended it to me recently, and she was spot-on about this book breaking the mold. I hope you like it!
Thank you Jenn, I accept! 

Joanna Bourne
400 pages

She's braved battlefields. She's stolen dispatches from under the noses of heads of state. She's played the worldly courtesan, the naïve virgin, the refined British lady, even a Gypsy boy. But Annique Villiers, the elusive spy known as the Fox Cub, has finally met the one man she can't outwit...

British spymaster Robert Grey must enter France and bring back the brilliant, beautiful-and dangerous-Fox Cub. His duty is to capture her and her secrets for England. When the two natural enemies are thrown into prison, they forge an uneasy alliance to break free. But their pact is temporary and betrayal seems inevitable as the fates of nations hang in the balance.


DARE Review: Happy Hour of the Damned

Mark Henry
Urban Fantasy
294 pages
Amanda Feral #1
Kensington Books

Donuts are deadly. One minute you’re getting your binge on, the next, you’re slipping on the box, cracking your skull, and in the weirdest turn of events, rising as a zombie. That’s just for starters. Now, the recently deceased Amanda Feral is trying to make her way through Seattle’s undead scene with style (mortuary-grade makeup, six inch stilettos, bangin’ Balenciaga handbag) while satisfying a craving for decent vodkatinis and the occasional human flesh—Don’t judge. And no, not like chicken. Navigating a dangerous world of cloud-doped bloodsuckers, reapers, horny and horned devils, celebrity blood donors, and PR-obsessed shapeshifters—not to mention an extremely hot bartender named Ricardo—isn’t easy. And the minute one of Amanda’s undead friends disappears after texting for “help” (the undead—so dramatic!) she knows the afterlife is about to get really ugly. Something sinister is at hand. Someone or something is hellbent on turning Seattle’s supernatural underworld into a place of true terror. And this time, Amanda may meet a fate a lot worse than donuts…


The Sound

I love music.  Always have. I like scouring the web looking for and listening to all the new sounds that artists put out.  I'm constantly amazed by it. Here's what this month sounds like...

***I never ever EVER steal from artists (bands or authors). Everything posted here is either a free download provided by the artist or from my personal music library***


Review: Shadowflame

Diane Sylvan
Urban Fantasy
360 pages
Shadow World #2
Chapter 1

It's been three months since musician Miranda Grey became a vampire and married David Solomon, Prime of the South. As Queen, Miranda must quickly come to terms with her new role and learn how to negotiate the treacherous waters of Signet politics, inevitably making dangerous enemies along the way.

As if complicated vampire politics and a rising music career weren't enough, an enigmatic but powerful force from David's past appears, leaving a wake of chaos and uncertainty for the Pair's fledgling relationship. Miranda begins to realize how little she really knows about her husband. But when an assassin begins targeting her friends and allies, the Pair must track down the killer, even as their lives hang in the balance...


Kevin Hearne was my first...

There are just some people out there that simply amaze me. Authors are definitely some of them.  People who's imaginations are so broad that they invent worlds and rules, and create people from the crevices of their brains quite frankly intimidate the shit out of me.  I have no doubt that their brains are always firing.  They're always creating.  How do you talk to people when you know you're not as smart as them?  I didn't know, but I was determined to find out.

When I realized that Kevin Hearne was coming to San Diego Comic Con, I decided to stuff my fear and worries back in the closet, and committed to making him my first author meet and greet.

I couldn't have asked for a better person for my first time.


Nina Talks Dresden

A quick note about these three books:

For me, each one of these books was extremely moving in its own way. And because of that I have not re-read these editions as much as others. Sometimes you need to savor the heart ache. These books are also darker than their predecessors. Harry goes through some extremely difficult emotional situations in Small Favor, Turn Coat and Changes, and as the reader you are sucked into the anguish with him. The comedy and love is still there, but its evident Harry has very troubled times ahead.

Dresden #10
432 pages

In this story Mab, Queen of the Winter Sidhe, shows up to collect on one of the two favors still owed to her. What is this Small Favor? To rescue John Marcone, crime lord extraordinaire and some times ally, from the clutches of a group of fallen angels. The Denarians are back, and they are making a major move for power.


Early Review: Another Kind of Dead

Kelly Meding
Urban Fantasy
384 pages
Dreg City #3
Random House

Been there. Done that. Evy Stone is a former Dreg Bounty Hunter who died and came back to life with some extraordinary powers. Now all but five people in the world think she is dead again, this time for good—immolated in a factory fire set specifically for her. Evy and Wyatt, her partner/lover/friend, can no longer trust their former allies, or even the highest echelons of the Triads—the army of fighters holding back from an unsuspecting public a tide of quarreling, otherworldly creatures—they can trust only each other. Because when the Triads raided a macabre, monster-filled lab of science experiments and hauled away the remnants, they failed to capture their creator: a brilliant, vampire-obsessed scientist with a wealth of powerful, anti-Dreg weaponry to trade for what he desires most of all—Evy Stone: alive and well, and the key to his ultimate experiment in mad science.


A Question for the Audience

Nina and I are currently consumed by a certain series book, Hammered.... hence the reason we're so behind on our other reading and reviews.  This book is the last book for a while from the author, so we're savoring it.

One of the many hilarious scenes in the book is when a character announces that a certain inanimate object has changed her life.  The scene made us both laugh out loud.  For a couple days!  I won't ruin your experience by telling you what is so fascinating that it has changed her life... it also won't be as funny without her "delivery".  ::I seriously just snorted as I wrote that::


Nina Talks Dresden

Dresden #7
424 Pages

I hate zombies. I really REALLY hate zombies. I hate them almost as much as Indiana Jones hates snakes. Okay. I hate them more. When I started to read this book I belted out, in true Indy fashion, “Zombies. Why’d it have to be zombies?!”

This time around Harry is confronting a group of disciples, and their hoards of undead on their quest to find the last journal of a notorious necromancer. As if to make matters worse, Mavra the super creepy Black Court vampire (I can’t believe she’s not dead yet), is also after the book, and threatening Murphy’s life if she doesn’t get it. And as usual Harry works his magic best when he’s between a rock and a hard place.


Review: Bloodlust

Michelle Rowen
283 pages
Nightshade #2
Chapter 1
Berkley Sensation


For those who feast on blood, Jillian Conrad is a fatal attraction. After being injected with a serum that made her blood both irresistible and deadly to vampires, she was used as a pawn to assassinate the vampire king. Now, the vampires want her eliminated.

Hunted and unable to return to her old life, Jillian desperately seeks to prevent the poison in her veins from killing her. And she must find a way to help her dhampyr protector, Declan, whose exposure to the serum has split his personality into one part uncontrolled desire, and one part stone cold killer.

But an even greater danger is rising. The Amarantos – a secret society of vampires – is seeking the infant daughter of the slain king to complete their quest for true immortality. And if they succeed, no one, living or undead, will escape the darkness.


Review: My Life as a White Trash Zombie

Diana Rowland
Urban Fantasy
310 pages
White Trash Zombie #1
Downloadable Excerpt
DAW books

Angel Crawford is a loser. Living with her alcoholic deadbeat dad in the swamps of Southern Louisiana, she's a high school dropout with a pill habit and a criminal record who's been fired from more crap jobs than she can count. Now on probation for a felony, it seems that Angel will never pull herself out of the downward spiral her life has taken.

That is, until the day she wakes up in the ER after overdosing on painkillers.  Angel remembers being in a horrible car crash, but she doesn't have a mark on her. To add to the weirdness, she receives an anonymous letter telling her there's a job waiting for her at the county morgue-and it's an offer she doesn't dare refuse.

Before she knows it she's dealing with a huge crush on a certain hunky deputy and a brand new addiction: an overpowering craving for brains. Plus, her morgue is filling up with the victims of a serial killer who decapitates his prey-just when she's hungriest!

Angel's going to have to grow up fast if she wants to keep this job and stay in one piece. Because is she doesn't, she's dead meat.  Literally.


Early Guest Review: Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

350 pages
Mythos Academy #1
Kensington Publishing

My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy — a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest.
But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why—especially since I should have been the one who died. . .


Nina Talks Dresden

Book #4

446 pages

I have a deep seeded love for all kinds of mythology and lore. And the Fae are some of my favorites. They are a beautiful, devious, powerful, crazy bunch of peeps, especially when Mab, the Winter Queen, needs you to do something for her. She’s not exactly the kind of person you can say no to.

As it turns out Mab has bought Harry’s debt from his godmother, the Leanansidhe, and in doing so, she is owed three “favors” or errands from Harry. She needs him to prove her innocence in the murder of the Summer Knight, the rival courts champion, and find who holds the fallen knight’s power. And what happens if he can’t? Nothing big… just the end of the world.

In this book we get to see some of the inner workings of the White Council of Wizards, the ruling body for wizards around the world, and the enforcers of the seven laws of magic. It’s clear that Harry is known council-wide for being a smart ass, and is generally not taken seriously. The fact that he started the war with the vampire courts doesn’t make it easy for anyone to support him. You start to see divisions in the senior council, and what people are willing to do to support their side.

We also finally get to meet Elaine Mallory. She was Harry’s first love, which he thought was dead by his own hand and has been killing himself with guilt over her supposed death for years.  Turns out she’s been hiding out with the faerie courts (thanks for the post card!), and is in way over her head. Of course, Harry feels a bone deep, sometimes annoyingly strong, need to rescue every damsel in distress. And he gets sucked into this situation more than once, and more often then not, (read: always) ends up being more trouble than it’s worth. I’ve never been a fan of Elaine’s. She shows up again later in the series, and I know the author isn’t done with her story line yet.

In Grave Peril we had a little break from Murphy. In Summer Knight she’s back and I actually really like her. She’s completely willing to trust Harry, and accept the fact that some things (like vamps, werewolves, ghouls, and giant Fae tree… things) need to be handled a little differently. By doing this she proves she’s a friend not foe, and wins my heart. There is a scene with Harry and Murphy in a 24 hour Wal-Mart that shows how bad ass she really is. She’s amazing under pressure and handles everything with a calculated calm that comes with years of discipline and practice. The girl also knows her way around the home improvement section.

I can admit when I’m wrong. And I was wrong. Karrin Murphy rocks my socks.


Review: Kindling The Moon

Jenn Bennett
Urban Fantasy
358 pages
Arcadia Bell #1
Chapter 1 Download
Pocket Books

Being the spawn of two infamous occultists (and alleged murderers) isn’t easy, but freewheeling magician Arcadia “Cady” Bell knows how to make the best of a crummy situation. After hiding out for seven years, she’s carved an incognito niche for herself slinging drinks at the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge.

But she receives an ultimatum when unexpected surveillance footage of her notorious parents surfaces: either prove their innocence or surrender herself. Unfortunately, the only witness to the crimes was an elusive Æthyric demon, and Cady has no idea how to find it. She teams up with Lon Butler, an enigmatic demonologist with a special talent for sexual spells and an arcane library of priceless stolen grimoires. Their research soon escalates into a storm of conflict involving missing police evidence, the decadent Hellfire Club, a ruthless bounty hunter, and a powerful occult society that operates way outside the law. If Cady can’t clear her family name soon, she’ll be forced to sacrifice her own life . . . and no amount of running will save her this time.


Review: Night Play

362 pages
Dark Hunter #5
St. Martin's Press

Bride McTierney has had it with men. They're cheap, self-centered, and never love her for who she is. But though she prides herself on being independent, deep down she still yearns for a knight in shining armor.

She just never expected her knight in shining armor to have a shiny coat of fur...

Deadly and tortured, Vane Kattalakis isn't what he seems. Most women lament that their boyfriends are dogs. In Bride's case, hers is a wolf. A Were-Hunter wolf. Wanted dead by his enemies, Vane isn't looking for a mate. But the Fates have marked Bride as his. Now he has three weeks to either convince Bride that the supernatural is real or he will spend the rest of his life neutered--something no self-respecting wolf can accept...

But how does a wolf convince a human to trust him with her life when his enemies are out to end his? In the world of the Were-Hunters, it really is dog-eat-dog. And only one alpha male can win.


I Double-Dog Dare You...

This month's DARE is courtesy of my friend, and H&H partner in crime,  Natasha from Wicked Lil Pixie.

Nat says:
Zombies are under-rated, but so is the awesomeness that is Mark Henry. There is no other male author as snarktastic as Mark and the heroine, Amanda Feral kicks serious ass.

I dare you to read the first book in the Amanda Feral series!

Gleefully, I accept!  I don't read near enough male authors.

Mark Henry
291 pages
Amanda Feral #1

Before she became a zombie, Amanda Feral had everything under control. This sassy Seattle advertising exec and full-time party diva knew how to cope with club leeches and overbearing clients, but fending off the undead is clearly something else. As Amanda gradually adjusts to her new, exceedingly weird identity, she learns important lessons about shapeshifters, reapers, bloodsuckers, dressing to truly kill. A hysterical paranormal debut romp.

Happy 4th of July

Today may actually be all about the celebration of The United States' independence, but it's all about the sparklers for me.  

Happy 4th!



Nina Talks Dresden

I love Harry Dresden. I know that seems like a goofy thing to say, but I can't help it.  Anyone who knows me knows that I have read, and listened to the series several times over. Okay, more than several. I love how the series has progressed, and has recaptured my heart with each new installment. The next book in the series, Ghost Story, was originally supposed to come out in April, and after some thought it was pushed back to July. JULY! As you can imagine I was not happy about this, and have been waiting, rather impatiently, ever since. Reason for pushing it back, said Jim (paraphrased): “It came down to readers could either get a half-assed story in April, or a full-assed one in July!”

Well, with July just around the corner, I thought I might get the excitement going.

For the next few weeks leading up to the release of Ghost Story {July 26th} I’ll post reviews of the current books in the series, and since the publisher posts chapter previews for the new Dresden releases, I’ll post links to the first few chapters of the story, and audio too.

I hope you’re as excited and captivated as I am!


The Sound

I love music. Always have.  I like scouring the web looking for and listening to all the new sounds that artists put out.  I'm constantly amazed by it. Here's what this month sounded like for me...

** I never ever EVER steal from artists (bands or authors). Everything posted here is either a free downloaded provided by the artists or from my personal music library**

Two of my "auto-buy" bands released their long awaited albums this month, so I didn't "hunt" for music much this month, since I was consumed by these albums.  I thought I would share a few of my favorite tracks from each of them. I hope you enjoy as much as I do. 


Dare Review: The Iron King

Julie Kagawa
YA lit
363 pages
Iron Fey #1
Chapter 1
Harlequin Teen

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.


Review: Mockingjay

Suzanne Collins
390 pages
The Hunger Games #3

Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12. The thrill-packed final installment of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy will keep young hearts pounding.


Review: Catching Fire

Suzanne Collins
YA Lit
391 pages
The Hunger Games #2

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark won the annual competition described in Hunger Games, but the aftermath leaves these victors with no sense of triumph. Instead, they have become the poster boys for a rebellion that they never planned to lead. That new, unwanted status puts them in the bull's-eye for merciless revenge by The Capitol.


Early Review: Dead Iron

Devon Monk
352 pages
Age of Steam #1
Chapter 1

In steam age America, men, monsters, machines, and magic battle for the same scrap of earth and sky. In this chaos, bounty hunter Cedar Hunt rides, cursed by lycanthropy and carrying the guilt of his brother's death. Then he's offered hope that his brother may yet survive. All he has to do is find the Holder: a powerful device created by mad devisers-and now in the hands of an ancient Strange who was banished to walk this Earth.

In a land shaped by magic, steam, and iron, where the only things a man can count on are his guns, gears, and grit, Cedar will have to depend on all three if he's going to save his brother and reclaim his soul once and for all...


Review: Dead on the Delta

Stacey Jay
Urban Fantasy
389 pages
Pocket Books

Once upon a time, fairies were the stuff of bedtime stories and sweet dreams. Then came the mutations, and the dreams became nightmares. Mosquito-size fairies now indulge their taste for human blood—and for most humans, a fairy bite means insanity or death. Luckily, Annabelle Lee isn’t most humans. The hard-drinking, smart-mouthed, bicycle-riding redhead is immune to fairy venom, and able to do the dirty work most humans can’t. Including helping law enforcement— and Cane Cooper, the bayou’s sexiest detective—collect evidence when a body is discovered outside the fairy-proof barricades of her Louisiana town.
But Annabelle isn’t equipped to deal with the murder of a six year-old girl or a former lover-turned-FBI snob taking an interest in the case. Suddenly her already bumpy relationship with Cane turns even rockier, and even the most trust-worthy friends become suspects. Annabelle’s life is imploding: between relationship drama, a heartbreaking murder investigation, Breeze-crazed drug runners, and a few too many rum and Cokes, Annabelle is a woman on the run—from her past, toward her future, and into the arms of a darkness waiting just for her. . . .


Nina Reviews: Hunt The Moon by Karen Chance

Karen Chance
Urban Fantasy
432 pages
Cassandra Palmer #5

Cassandra Palmer recently defeated a god, which you'd think would buy a girl a little time off. But it doesn't work that way when your job description is Pythia-the world's chief clairvoyant. Cassie is busier than ever, trying to learn about her power, preparing for her upcoming coronation, and figuring out her relationship with the enigmatic sexy master vampire, Mircea.

But someone doesn't want Cassie to become Pythia, and is willing to go to any lengths to make sure the coronation ceremony never happens- including attacking her mother before Cassie is even born.


"Say hello to my little friend..."

It's official The Spinecracker has found her partner in crime.  Please help me welcome her to the site!

Hi all! I’m really excited to be teaming up with Jess!

My name is Nina, and I am a bookaholic, crafter, foodie, beauty junkie, and all around dork. I work as a manager at beauty store and if I’m not at work I’m reading. I love reading Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Mystery and some Graphic Novels. I am a devoted follower of several series that I can not live with out, and read, re-read (and listen on audio book too) constantly. Told you. Dork.

When I’m not at work or reading, I’m outside at the beach or walking around my beautiful California coastal town. I’m on twitter and good reads as beenah if you want follow the craziness. I look forward to sharing and laughing with you all!


Mini Review: Dark Hunter 2, 3, 4

I've been powering through the Dark Hunter novels, hoping to be up to-date in the series by the end of the year. {There's no way I'll make it in time for the Retribution release, August 2nd}  I don't want to write lengthy reviews since there are thousands upon thousands of them already, but I also didn't want to just leave them, and not share my thoughts.  Here are a few mini reviews:

Dark Hunter # 2
408 pages

This should have been the first book in the series.  If you read Fantasy Lover, DH 0.5, or Night Pleasures, DH 1, and thought it was a borderline chick-lit, come back! Start fresh with this book.  Embrace has so much going on, it's a great introduction into the world. And a great intro to Acheron as well. The meet-cute is still a little bad romance novel "I see you. You look hot. Let's get it on. Now I can't let you go." But the Talon and Sunshine are entertaining, with lots of history from both of them, and have a few surprises for you. The world is interesting and unique and you'll finally get a feel for what all the fuss is about. 
4 stars

Dark Hunter #3
343 pages

I love Zarek.  My heart poured out for him.  His life is one of the worst I've ever read, and each time he dove into stories of his past I would ache for him. Seriously. "Tortured soul" has his picture next to it in the dictionary.  The story picks up exactly where DH2 left off, which was really cool.  Zarek is marked for execution, but Astrid has been sent by The Fates to judge him before he is condemned.  She ends up trapping him in a house using a snow storm, so that she can give him a fair trial.  The locale and story surroundings became a little drab because its mainly in one location, but there is a lot of action due to the fact that certain beings decide not to wait for the verdict.  There's also finally a building relationship. Woot.  OH! And lots more Acheron mystery.
4 stars

Dark Hunter #4
361 pages

This book had a lot of things happening that I never thought would happen so early on in the series.  We got a healthy dose of the Apollite and Daimon insight, and I was surprised with how it all played out.  There are still a few cameo appearances from the Dark Hunters we know, but mainly this book was all by itself. The romance was a little more tame than the rest of the books, but it was more tender too.  There were a lot of emotions involved with this one, but the couple was my favorite. But I have to say, I really liked having to think about this race, the Apollites and the Daimons, as people, and force myself to imagine what I would do if I was in their shoes. 
3.5 stars


Winner Winner

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and read Ann Aguirre and Carrie Lofty's 'Behind the Pen'  The winner of Nightfall is :

Pamela (spaz)

Congrats Pam! Email me thespinecracker(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address. 

*winner was chosen by random.org*


Review: Nightfall

Ellen Connor
Urban Fantasy
327 pages
Dark Age Dawning #1
Chapter 1
Berkley Sensation

Growing up with an unstable, often absent father who preached about the end of the world, Jenna never thought, in her wildest nightmares, that his predictions would come true. Or that he would have a plan in place to save her–one that includes the strong, stoic man who kidnaps and takes her to a remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest.

The mysterious ex-Marine named Mason owes a life-debt to Jenna’s father. Skilled and steadfast, he’s ready for the Change, but Jenna proves tough to convince. Until the power grid collapses and the mutant dogs attack–vicious things that reek of nature gone wrong.

When five strangers appear, desperate to escape the bloodthirsty packs, Jenna defies her protector and rescues them. As technology fails and the old world falls away, Jenna changes too, forever altered by supernatural forces. To fight for their future, she and Mason must learn to trust their instinctive passion–a flame that will see them through the bitter winter, the endless nights, and the violence of a new Dark Age.


Review: Dragon Bound

Thea Harrison
Paranormal Romance
312 pages
Edler Races #1
Chapter 1&2

Half-human and half-wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful - and passionate - of the Elder races.

As the most feared and respected of the Wyrkind, Dragos Cuelebre cannot believe someone had the audacity to steal from him, much less succeed. And when he catches the thief, Dragos spares her life, claiming her as his own to further explore the desire they've ignited in each other.

Pia knows she must repay Dragos for her trespass, but refuses to become his slave - although she cannot deny wanting him, body and soul ...


Review: The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins
YA fantasy
374 pages
The Hunger Games #1

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.


I Double-Dog Dare You...

This month's dare comes from Chelsea over at Vampire Book Club, and I think I'm actually excited about this one. Me like-y the Fae.

Chelsea says:
How often do we get epic fantasy books where the one who saves all is the heroine? Not often enough. Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series gives us a teenage girl discovering her fae linage. A war is brewing in Faery and she may be the key. Expect trickery, battles and lots of familiar names. Add two hot faerie boys -- one who comes from the dark court -- to up the romantic tension.

Jess, I dare you to take on the epic journey started in THE IRON KING, because a little YA fantasy will be good for you. 

Chelsea, I accept!

Julie Kagawa
YA Fantasy
363 pages
Iron Fey #1
Chapter 1

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined. 

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change. 

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.


Release Day Review: Hexed

Kevin Hearne
294 pages
Urban Fantasy
Iron Druid Chronicles #2
Del Rey/Spectra

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, doesn’t care much for witches. Still, he’s about to make nice with the local coven by signing a mutually beneficial nonaggression treaty—when suddenly the witch population in modern-day Tempe, Arizona, quadruples overnight. And the new girls are not just bad, they’re badasses with a dark history on the German side of World War II.

With a fallen angel feasting on local high school students, a horde of Bacchants blowing in from Vegas with their special brand of deadly decadence, and a dangerously sexy Celtic goddess of fire vying for his attention, Atticus is having trouble scheduling the witch hunt. But aided by his magical sword, his neighbor’s rocket-propelled grenade launcher, and his vampire attorney, Atticus is ready to sweep the town and show the witchy women they picked the wrong Druid to hex.


Behind The Pen: with "Ellen Connor" + Giveaway

I love interviews.  But I find the artists behind the stories equally 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, or the characters, I ask authors the same 11 questions about themselves and hopefully get a glimpse behind the pen...

What happens when two authors get together? Why, they join forces and create an apocalyptic world that's a little "28 Days Later"... and a little "9 1/2 weeks" ,of course. Ellen Connor = Ann Aguirre & Carrie Lofty. The pseudonym is a combination of each of their ideas of a bad ass heroine; Ellen Ripley & Sarah Connor. 

The authors are launching their new Dark Age Dawning series tomorrow with the series' first book, Nightfall. The series will fishing up with Midnight, releasing Sept 6th and Daybreak Dec 6th.  If you're a sci-fi/suspense/romance fan, this series might be exactly what you've been waiting for. 


Ode from a Superfan

Vicki Petterrson, how do I love thee. No?  Coming on too strong? Oh, but it's true. Vicki Pettersson's series was the first series that I found by myself, that wasn't recommended to me from someone else, and from the very first book I was hooked.  


Review: Magic Slays

Ilona Andrews
Urban Fantasy
304 pages
Kate Daniels #5

Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.

Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be—now that the Order is disparaging her good name, and many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.

So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. Turns out this is not an isolated incident, and Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price . . .


Winner Winner

I should have announced the winner of Spellcast last week, but I was on hiatus.  I apologize for the delay.  I wish I could personally give each and every one of you a copy of this book to read, because I loved it that much.  But alas, I can not.  The winner is:


Congratulations Sara!!  Please email me thespinecracker(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address.