Saturday, October 17, 2015

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

October "Toby" Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas...

The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening-s dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant and renew old alliances. As she steps back into fae society, dealing with a cast of characters not entirely good or evil, she realizes that more than her own life will be forfeited if she cannot find Evening's killer.

Where to Buy

For those who like their faeries to be a bit on the dark side, this is a good book for you (the entire series as well I'm sure). As the blurb says, the denizens of the Summer Lands aren't entirely good or evil, though there are certainly representatives of both extremes to be found there. Toby may disdain fae society to a large degree, but she definitely knows how to navigate it and how to play by its rules when such is required. Full of human snark and sass, with more than a bit of a chip on her shoulder due to her status as a changeling as well as the specific things she's had to endure because of events in faeriedom, Toby is a refreshing character who treads that not-good-or-evil line herself.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Predator's Trinity by Rosanna Leo

Librarian Suzan Marsh is an empath and has always felt assaulted by the feelings of others. She has had to distance herself from the people in her life, raising a mental barrier to ward off unwanted emotions. When wolf shifter August Crane abducts her, he breaks through the walls she constructed, forcing her to accept a frightening new truth.

Jaguar shifter twins Percy and Byron Moon are familiar with the evil ways of August Crane. Because of him, their childhood was destroyed. Because of him, their way of life at the peaceful Ursa Fishing Lodge and Resort is threatened. And they won’t rest until he is dead.

When Crane drags Suzan into his cult and decides to make her his “concubine,” Percy and Byron know they must save the human woman. Their connection to her is strong and they cannot deny the dream they always held close. That they could share a woman and make her their mate.

But even after rescuing Suzan, none of them are free from Crane’s clutches. The wolf shifter has plans, ones that involve the demise of every shape shifter at the Ursa Resort. Not only must Percy and Byron keep Suzan safe, they must convince her to accept them both. In order to stop Crane from hurting everyone they love, they must learn to fight together.

Where to Buy

Rosanna Leo is one of the authors I can and often do get a bit fan-girlish about. She is also one of only a few authors that can have me eager to read a shifter romance. Shifters aren't really my thing in general, and I fully admit to being rather tired of shifter romances generally speaking, but Rosanna's Gemini Island shifters are one of the exceptions to that rule. They are all filled with wonderful, well-developed characters and this latest entry in the series is no different. Though darker than most of the other books in the series, and overlaid with a rather more somber mood given the recent events on the island and surrounding community, I think this book can still stand as one of the crowning jewels of the series. Perhaps because of those things.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Magic's Promise by Mercedes Lackey

The wild magic is taking its toll on the land, and even Vanyel, the most powerful Herald-Mage to ever walk the world, is almost at the end of his strength. But when his Companion, Yfandes, receives a call for help from neighboring Lineas, both Herald-Mage and Companion are drawn into a holocaust of dark magic that could be the end of them both.

Where to Buy

This book continues Vanyel's story and shows us much of the man he has become a decade or more after the events of Magic's Pawn. He's grown up a lot and is far more responsible and duty-minded than he was as a teen, yet in many ways that abused and resentful boy is still a part of him. He's learned to put some wrongs behind him, manages through the course of this story to resolve even more old grudges and move on from them, yet some hurts remain all too fresh for him and healing is still a long way off.

Monday, August 31, 2015

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day

From online entertainment mogul, actress, and “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, a funny, quirky, and inspiring memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to Internet-stardom, and embracing her individuality to find success in Hollywood.

The Internet isn’t all cat videos. There’s also Felicia Day—violinist, filmmaker, Internet entrepreneur, compulsive gamer, hoagie specialist, and former lonely homeschooled girl who overcame her isolated childhood to become the ruler of a new world…or at least semi-influential in the world of Internet Geeks and Goodreads book clubs.

After growing up in the south where she was "homeschooled for hippie reasons", Felicia moved to Hollywood to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and was immediately typecast as a crazy cat-lady secretary. But Felicia’s misadventures in Hollywood led her to produce her own web series, own her own production company, and become an Internet star.

Felicia’s short-ish life and her rags-to-riches rise to Internet fame launched her career as one of the most influential creators in new media. Now, Felicia’s strange world is filled with thoughts on creativity, video games, and a dash of mild feminist activism—just like her memoir.

Hilarious and inspirational, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is proof that everyone should embrace what makes them different and be brave enough to share it with the world, because anything is possible now—even for a digital misfit.

Where to Buy

I've been a fan of Felicia Day's for several years now, primarily because of The Guild, though also because of some of her other work like the Flog, and her monthly book review group Vaginal Fantasy. So it was a given that I wanted to get this book as soon as she announced it, and while I may not have immediately pre-ordered for various reasons, I did pre-order so I would have it right away once it released. I of course didn't get to read/listen to it right away (I pre-ordered the audiobook version from Audible), but a slow and dreary Monday at work had me turning it on to help make the day less dreary and boy did it. I was able to listen to the whole book during the day, finishing up the last bit of it on the drive home. I actually got a fair bit done at work while getting caught up in her life story, and I count it as a day well spent overall.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues by Diana Rowland

Angel Crawford is finally starting to get used to life as a brain-eating zombie, but her problems are far from over. Her felony record is coming back to haunt her, more zombie hunters are popping up, and she’s beginning to wonder if her hunky cop-boyfriend is involved with the zombie mafia. Yeah, that’s right--the zombie mafia.

Throw in a secret lab and a lot of conspiracy, and Angel’s going to need all of her brainpower--and maybe a brain smoothie as well--in order to get through it without falling apart.

Where to Buy

A great follow-up to the impressive first book in this series, Angel is every bit as loveable in this book as she was before. Perhaps even more so in some ways, for she continues to come more and more into her own as time goes on. Though this one gets into some tropes that I personally don't really care for much, it was still a very enjoyable book and quite engaging to listen to (I did the audiobook version for various reasons.)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Magic's Pawn by Mercedes Lackey


Though Vanyel has been born with near-legendary abilities to work both Herald and Mage magic, he wants no part of such things. Nor does he seek a warrior's path, wishing instead to become a Bard. Yet such talent as his if left untrained may prove a menace not only to Vanyel but to others as well. So he is sent to be fostered with his aunt, Savil, one of the fame Herald-Mages of Valdemar.

But, strong-willed and self-centered, Vanyel is a challenge which even Savil can not master alone. For soon he will become the focus of frightening forces, lending his raw magic to a spell that unleashes terrifying wyr-hunters on the land. And by the time Savil seeks the assistance of a Shin'a'in Adept, Vanyel's wild talent may have already grown beyond anyone's ability to contain, placing Vanyel, Savil, and Valdemar itself in desperate peril...

Where to Buy

The Last Herald-Mage is probably my favorite trilogy from the whole Valdemar Universe. Vanyel's story is both inspiring and heart-breaking and definitely stands the test of time. Despite being a few decades old now, many of the themes here are very relevant to issues that many are dealing with today. This book tells the story of Vanyel's early life, starting before his enormous mage powers are awakened. We follow him through a journey of self-discovery, of love and devastating loss, and of finding the strength to keep going when the future seems unendingly bleak.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Eternal Craving by Nina Bangs

THE ELEVEN—an alliance of ultimate predators. Primal, lethal, irresistible.

THE PROPHECY—an ancient Mayan prediction that the world will end on 12-21-12.

THE PREY—where can you hide from pure evil?

Lies. He’s been promised a new life as the hunter he once was. But Al soon learns that all the rules have changed. Now he must control his most basic urges—the need to kill, to feed, to mate. And the woman he wants looks at him with both heat and fear in her eyes. Jenna Maloy doesn’t buy the story that he’s come to Philadelphia to save souls. She seems to see through the layers of deception to the primitive heart of him. With her beside him, Al stalks the dark forces that crouch in the city’s night shadows. But the real battle rages in his heart. Love is a formidable opponent. How can he ask her to stay with him after she’s seen the savagery of his beast? He only knows that if she turns from him he’ll be cursed with an Eternal Craving.

Eleven Gods of the Night…
The only creatures more deadly are the ones they’ve been summoned to destroy.

Where to Buy

Dinosaur shapeshifters may seem rather improbable as the heros in a paranormal romance series, but these work. Mostly. No monster porn here -- the sexy times only happen in their human forms -- so if that's your thing, then look elsewhere. It also isn't your typical shapeshifter romance though, for there is an entirely different backstory to why these men are what they are, one that is mostly a mystery though a few hints are given here and there. This book is the second in the series, and while I remember being somewhat impressed by the first book (at least to the extent that it was better than I'd thought it would be), this one was fairly underwhelming.

(Note: This post was written on October 17, 2015, but backdated to when I actually read the book.)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The Other Half by Elaina M. Roberts

For Kristiana Latimer, the Fifth Annual Human-Other Summit creates more aggravation than hope for the future. As a security guard for the hosting hotel, her job requires that she remain civil and professional with the visiting dignitaries regardless of provocation. But the Summit has yet to address the many growing concerns of the nonhuman integration. And when Michael Zakhara, the mysterious Head Ambassador, requests that she serve as his human liaison, Kris’ civility and professionalism are tested to the limits.

Just as they acknowledge their growing attraction and begin to work together, Kris’ niece and nephew are kidnapped, along with a half-dozen other nonhuman children. Suspecting the head of the local hate group, the Human Purity League, and Kris’ former boss, the couple organizes a stunning array of humans and nonhumans alike to help search for the missing children.

As tensions rise, Michael and Kris succumb to their intense mutual attraction. Secrets are shared, and truths revealed. But the Summit only lasts a week. Will they have time to save the children, address the issues at hand, and accept that they have found their other half?

Where to Buy

This is one of the books that I've had for quite some time but never got around to reading until recently despite being friends with the author (sorry Elaina). I didn't really have many expectations going into it, except perhaps that I'd expected there to be a lot more sexy times than there really are. Or at least more explicit sexy times. Not that I'm complaining about that, because I think the balance between explicit and closed door is pretty good here, but it was a bit surprising to me nonetheless. Overall though, I'd really expected to enjoy the book more than I actually did because I'd enjoyed her other book The Fox's Mate. This book really shows that it is a first novel I think, for the writing is not quite as skilled as in the later work. It definitely has its moments, but overall was a less satisfying read for me.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost

The climactic third novel in New York Times bestselling author Jeaniene Frost's Night Prince series finds Vlad and his newly turned bride, Leila, at odds with each other—and vulnerable to the one vampire powerful enough to end the Dark Prince's reign . . .

Play with fire, pay the price

Leila's years on the carnie circuit were certainly an education. What she didn't learn: how to be a vampire, or how to be married to the most famous vampire of them all. Adjusting to both has Leila teetering on a knife edge between passion and peril, and now the real danger is about to begin . . .

Vlad must battle with a centuries-old enemy whose reach stretches across continents and whose strength equals his own. It isn't like Vlad to feel fear, but he does . . . for Leila, because his enemy knows she is Vlad's greatest weakness. As friend and foe alike align against him—and his overprotectiveness drives Leila away—Vlad's love for his new bride could be the very thing that dooms them both . . .

Where to Buy

This book blew me away. The energy, and the raw emotions that go into it, not to mention a great deal of edge-of-the-seat action make this a book you won't soon forget. And I have to say that at this point, I think Vlad and Leila have surpassed Cat and Bones as my favorite couple in this universe. Bones may be melt-your-panties sexy, but Vlad is pure raw lust and rugged sexuality that will appeal to your inner bad girl. And while Cat is all kinds of badass rolled into one firey redheaded bundle, Leila's keen intelligence and self-assuredness make up for what she lacks in strength and experience. Together, Vlad and Leila are combustible on so many levels in so many ways that you half expect the book/e-reader/headphones to catch flames in your hands as you read/listen to this book.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Up From the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

There's always one more grave to dig.

Lately, life has been unnaturally calm for vampires Cat Crawfield and her husband, Bones. They should have known better than to relax their guard, because a shocking revelation sends them back into action to stop an all-out war....

A rogue CIA agent is involved in horrifying secret activities that threaten to raise tensions between humans and the undead to dangerous heights. Now Cat and Bones are in a race against time to save their friends from a fate worse than death...because the more secrets they unravel, the deadlier the consequences. And if they fail, their lives - and those of everyone they hold dear - will be hovering on the edge of the grave.

Where to Buy

I am very conflicted about this book. The writing is Frost's usual stellar quality and the story progression from what has happened before now is understandable and makes sense. In many ways I suppose it could be argued that we should have seen this coming. Still, I can't say I particularly like where she went with the story or how she wrapped up the long, tumultuous saga of Cat and Bones' love story. Despite the fact that much of this had been building for longer than anyone realized, I still think there are other paths that could have been taken with it so that things didn't have to end they way they do here.

Up in Flames by Rosanna Leo

Juliet Baker is not looking forward to coming home after six months. Yes, the fiery brunette wants to make a go of turning her parents' farmhouse into a B&B. She’s just not looking forward to seeing the place where they died. To make things worse, she knows she'll finally have to face her cheating, firefighter ex-boyfriend.

Luckily, her sister has found Jules a boarder. Easy money, right? Not when she realizes the boarder is Captain Shane Gaskill. Not only is Shane a firefighter, he’s the town's hot new fire captain.

Jules is determined to hate all firefighters. After all, the men of that precious brotherhood protected her cheating ex. Shane, however, proves he’s different from the start. He's protective and kind, and she can't stop looking at his smoking, Viking-hot body. She learns, though, that Shane isn't so willing to love again either. He's been hurt, too. They both fight the sexual chemistry, and resulting tenderness, between them. But when a stalker begins to target Jules, they realize they can't fight their desire forever.

As the threats escalate, Shane and Jules are thrown together. The resulting passion overwhelms them. But are they willing to trust each other and surrender to the flames of love?
Where to Buy

Rosanna Leo is much better known for her paranormal romances, but this contemporary from her backlist contains most of her signature style elements that make all of her books so enjoyable. Since this is one of her earliest books, it's perhaps not quite as polished as some of the later ones, but it still shows off her innate skill quite well. The pacing is a touch on the slow side perhaps, but the story develops steadily and in a way that seems quite natural. If you're looking for romantic suspense, this isn't it, because the identity of the stalker is revealed pretty early on (at least to the reader, not to the characters), and there aren't really any true nail-biting moments. Still, it's quite enjoyable.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost

Dating the Prince of Darkness has its challenges...
Leila's psychic abilities have been failing her, and now she isn't sure what the future holds. If that weren't enough, her lover, Vlad, has been acting distant. Though Leila is a mere mortal, she's also a modern woman who refuses to accept the cold shoulder treatment forever–especially from the darkly handsome vampire who still won't admit that he loves her.

Like choosing between eternal love and a loveless eternity...

Soon circumstances send Leila back to the carnival circuit, where tragedy strikes. And when she finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer who may be closer than she realizes, Leila must decide who to trust– the fiery vampire who arouses her passions like no other or the tortured knight who longs to be more than a friend? With danger stalking her every step of the way, all it takes is one wrong move to damn her for eternity.

Where to Buy

This book sees Vlad and Leila's relationship tested as well as solidified. Also tested are the loyalties of several of Vlad's top men and closest friends. Some pass the test, some don't, but what's clear almost from the beginning that things will never quite be the same again in Vlad's household. For many, the changes they go through make them stronger, and this newfound strength is at times to be seen in unexpected places. Others, however, seem to diminish in character, and rarely is it easy to tell who can and cannot be trusted. By the end, answers to some questions that lingered at the end of the first book have been found, but those answers mostly just give rise to new questions.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost

She's a mortal with dark powers...

After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person's darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude...until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world's most infamous vampire...

He's the Prince of Night...

Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don't call him Dracula. Vlad's ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him—a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.

Where to Buy

Vlad Tepesh is already well known to readers of the Night Huntress series, but the heroine for his spin-off series is someone we haven't met before. And she's human. She's far from being an ordinary human, however, for as the description tells us, she has some pretty formidable powers of her own. She also has a personality that's capable of standing up to Vlad's formidable ego and presence and is in many ways the perfect complement to his. Watching them butt heads throughout the story is just as entertaining as the story itself, which is as full of action and suspense as one would expect from a book set in this universe.