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Thursday, March 19, 2015

One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost


The grave is one wrong step away.

Having narrowly averted an (under)world war, Cat Crawfield wants nothing more than a little downtime with her vampire husband, Bones. Unfortunately, her gift from New Orleans' voodoo queen just keeps on giving - leading to a personal favor that sends them into battle once again, this time against a villainous spirit.

Centuries ago, Heinrich Kramer was a witch hunter. Now, every All Hallows Eve, he takes physical form to torture innocent women before burning them alive. This year, however, a determined Cat and Bones must risk all to send him back to the other side of eternity - forever. But how do you kill a killer who's already long dead?





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** Warning: This review contains some possible mild spoilers, primarily regarding the ending. **

After hitting a lull in This Side of the Grave (in my opinion at least), this series found the energy it had in the first books again in this one. Once again Cat and Bones and their friends are facing a truly evil adversary, and this time their vampire powers won't necessarily help them all that much. True, they do still have a few handy tricks up their sleeves they can use, but how do you catch the wind much less fight and destroy it? It's a question that they don't really have a real answer for up until the very end almost, and the struggle is real as they do their best with trying to beat the clock and outwit Kramer. Add in another serious growing problem with regards to changes with Cat's former team since the game changing event there in the last book, and life is very "interesting" indeed for them now.

Monday, March 16, 2015

This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost


Danger waits on both sides of the grave.

Half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her vampire husband Bones have fought for their lives, as well as for their relationship. But just when they've triumphed over the latest battle, Cat's new and unexpected abilities threaten to upset a long-standing balance . . .

With the mysterious disappearance of vampires, rumors abound that a species war is brewing. A zealot is inciting tensions between the vampires and ghouls, and if these two powerful groups clash, innocent mortals could become collateral damage. Now Cat and Bones are forced to seek help from a dangerous "ally"—the ghoul queen of New Orleans herself. But the price of her assistance may prove more treacherous than even the threat of a supernatural war . . . to say nothing of the repercussions Cat never imagined.




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After the high energy and edge-of-your-seat suspense in the previous novels of this series, this one came as a bit of a disappointment to me. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy it, or I didn't think it was good, for I did and I do, but it just didn't seem to be quite up to the level I'd come to expect. Overall this one seems to be more about character building and refining some of the relationships more than it is about fighting the bad guy(s). Worthwhile and entertaining reading to be sure, just don't expect to be wow'd as much as with the previous books in the series.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Stand-In by Rosanna Leo


Failed actress Winn Busby is at the end of her rope. With no money and no prospects, she accepts the one job she never thought she’d see on her résumé. Professional bridesmaid. It should be easy. If only the idea of weddings and vows didn't give Winn a case of the hives. Her role becomes more challenging when she's told a reporter will shadow her work for a men's magazine article.

Working for Player Magazine is Patrick Lincoln's worst nightmare. A former political journalist, he used to write thoughtful columns for one of Toronto's most respected papers. That is, until he was blackballed for allegedly sleeping with the boss's wife. Overnight, Patrick becomes the city's most reviled bad boy. And now he's forced to write a seedy expose on, of all things, a bridesmaid.

Patrick begrudgingly accompanies Winn to a series of strange weddings. As they are forced to work together, he learns there is more to the stand-in bridesmaid than puffy dresses and pretty speeches. She, in turn, begins to question whether or not Patrick actually deserves the derision of his peers. As much as they fight their attraction, it begins to threaten their work and their sanity.

For so long, Winn has felt second-best. A stand-in. She finally meets a man who believes in her value. But can she let go of the past and accept him?

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Rosanna Leo is best known for her paranormal romances, but with this book she proves (again?) that she can rock a contemporary romance as well. What she gives us here isn't a steaming hot affair involving super sexy preternatural creatures, but the the passionate budding romance of two damaged, but not broken, normal humans who prove that they can be every bit as sexy as their supernatural counterparts. As they work their way through their issues to find a way to come together they learn more about themselves and about each other than they ever thought they would.

Monday, March 2, 2015

And One Last Thing ... by Molly Harper


"If Singletree’s only florist didn’t deliver her posies half-drunk, I might still be married to that floor-licking, scum-sucking, receptionist-nailing hack-accountant, Mike Terwilliger."

Lacey Terwilliger’s shock and humiliation over her husband’s philandering prompt her to add some bonus material to Mike’s company newsletter: stunning Technicolor descriptions of the special brand of "administrative support" his receptionist gives him. The detailed mass e-mail to Mike’s family, friends, and clients blows up in her face, and before one can say "instant urban legend," Lacey has become the pariah of her small Kentucky town, a media punch line, and the defendant in Mike’s defamation lawsuit.

Her seemingly perfect life up in flames, Lacey retreats to her family’s lakeside cabin, only to encounter an aggravating neighbor named Monroe. A hunky crime novelist with a low tolerance for drama, Monroe is not thrilled about a newly divorced woman moving in next door. But with time, beer, and a screen door to the nose, a cautious friendship develops into something infinitely more satisfying.

Lacey has to make a decision about her long-term living arrangements, though. Should she take a job writing caustic divorce newsletters for paying clients, or move on with her own life, pursuing more literary aspirations? Can she find happiness with a man who tells her what he thinks and not what she wants to hear? And will she ever be able to resist saying one . . . last . . . thing?

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I went into this book expecting some light entertainment, and pretty much got what I came for. Infused throughout with a snarky sense of humor, this book held many laugh out loud moments for me. While the basic plot may not be anything entirely new, the wry, self-deprecating humor with which the Lacey tells us her story makes it unique, and as preposterous as the situation seems at first, it's really not that hard to see it happening for real. What I ultimately liked most about it though is that instead of being a simple story of "woman ditches cheating husband then finds true love," it's primarily a story about Lacey's journey in figuring out who she really is and what she really wants from life once she breaks free of the cycle of simply doing what others expect her to do. There is something of an HFN ending to it, but not really a HEA.

Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost


 An immortal war has been brewing in the darkness . . . And now one woman has stumbled into the shadows.

Chicago private investigator Kira Graceling should have just kept on walking. But her sense of duty refused to let her ignore the moans of pain coming from inside a warehouse just before dawn. Suddenly she finds herself in a world she's only imagined in her worst nightmares.

At the center is Mencheres, a breathtaking Master vampire who thought he'd seen it all. Then Kira appears, this fearless, beautiful . . . human who braved death to rescue him. Though he burns for her, keeping Kira in his world means risking her life. Yet sending her away is unthinkable.

But with danger closing in, Mencheres must choose either the woman he craves, or embracing the darkest magic to defeat an enemy bent on his eternal destruction.

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I skimmed over some of my friends' reviews of this while I was listening to it and was somewhat surprised to see how many said they didn't care for this book as much as others in the series. I can see where some of them are coming from on this, I suppose, but in the whole I have to disagree for I found this one to be quite riveting. Perhaps it's that I'm often drawn to very old, insanely powerful characters such as Mencheres, or perhaps it's just that his world-weariness pulls at the heartstrings. Whatever it was, I found myself totally engrossed in this one, not wanting it to end, and yet knowing that the deadly game that Mencheres was playing with Radjedef couldn't go on forever.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Oathblood by Mercedes Lackey


This exciting new anthology includes a new novella featuring Mercedes Lackey's most popular heroines, Tarma (one of the sword-sworn and most feared of all warriors) and Kethry (who wields magic and weapons for the greater good), whose fates are suddenly bound together in blood by the powers that control their destinies. Also included in the unique volume is the complete collection of Lackey's short stories about these two brave sisters as they answer the call of their destinies with sword and sorcery!

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I remember being excited when this first came out because I'd wanted to read more about Tarma and Kethry than just the two books about them. I then remember being somewhat disappointed that this was mostly just a collection of the previously published short stories about them, most of which I had already tracked down in their original anthologies via the public library. Still, it was nice to have them all together in one volume, and the new stories that showed us some of their life after the end of Oathbreakers were interesting. Also of note is the fact that this volume includes the story "Sword Sworn" which is the tale of how Tarma and Kethry first met and became oath-sisters.