Thursday, 29 April 2010

Review: Strange Angels - Lilith Saintcrow

If Dru can't survive until sunrise, the game's over...

Dru knows that The Real World - peopled with ghosts, suckers and zombies - is a frightening place.  She's ready to kill first and ask questions later, so it's going to take her a while to work out who she can trust.

Dru Anderson has been 'strange' for as long as she can remember, traveling from town to town with her father to hunt down things that go bump in the night.  It's a weird life, but a good one - until in an icy, broken-down town, a hungry zombie bursts through her kitchen door.  Dru is going to have to use every inch of her wit and training.  Can she stay alive long enough to fall for one - or both - of the guys hungry for her affections?

Strange Angels Series:
Strange Angels
Betrayals
Jealousy

For more information visit Lili St. Crow's website

Review:
Dru's and her father are hunters who travel from town to town killing creatures of the night - monsters from The Real World that most unsuspecting humans have no idea exist.  The story starts with Dru starting at yet another new school which she thinks is pointless as they'll just be moving on again in a couple of months.  Fed up with being the new girl she decides to skip school and meets Graves - the local goth boy - but she has no real interest in starting a friendship with him.

However, when her father doesn't come home from a hunt, Dru finds herself up against zombies, vampires and werewolves (or suckers and werwulfen as Dru calls them) with no one to help her.  Graves comes to her assistance like a knight in shining armor but they are both out of their depth.  When Christophe appears on the scene they aren't sure if he can be trusted but as desperate as they are they have no choice but to accept his help, at least temporarily.

I really enjoyed Strange Angels and can't wait to continue reading the series.  I loved Dru's snarky sense of humor and the fact that she is a strong heroine who will do whatever it takes to survive.  She knows her way around weapons and has trained to deal with the supernatural but when she realises she is out of her depth she is willing to accept that she needs help.  I also loved Graves - he does his best to take care of Dru despite the fact that he has been thrust into a supernatural world he had no idea existed.  I found the fact that he admitted his fears and wasn't always strong made him a more realistic character.  Christophe is another interesting character but one that we don't get to know as well as I was hoping, I'm guessing that he is going to play a big part in the series though.

Being the first book in a series there was obviously a lot of world building going on but I thought Lilith Saintcrow did this really well, explanations were smoothly slotted into the storyline without taking away from the plot.  The action was fast paced and there were some fantastic plot twists that helped build the tension levels and I was swept along on the ride with Dru.  Although this could be read as a stand alone novel & a lot of loose ends were tied together we are left with quite a cliff hanger that is going to make the next book Betrayals an interesting one to read.  I'd definitely recommend this to fans of young adult urban fantasy novels and I think the story would appeal to both teens and adult fans of this genre.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
Darlyn & Books
The Bookette
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

ARC Review: The Iron Hunt - Marjorie M. Liu

The last of her kind, a warrior awaits the call.

During the day, Maxine's tattoos are her armour and she is invincible.  At night they peel from her skin to take on forms of their own, leaving her human and vulnerable - and showing themselves to be demons sleeping beneath her skin.  But these demons are the best friends and bodyguards a woman could have.

And Maxine needs bodyguards.  She is the last in a line of women with power in their blood, trained to keep the world safe from malignant beings who would do us harm.

But ten thousand years after its creation, the prison dimension that kept the worst of these from us is failing, and all the Wardens save Maxine are dead.  She must bear the burden of her bloodline and join the last wild hunt against the enemy.

Hunters Kiss Series:
Hunters Kiss (companion story available in the anthology Wild Thing)
The Iron Hunt
Darkness Calls
Armor of Roses (novella in the Inked anthology)
A Wild Light

For more information visit the Marjorie M. Liu's website

Review:
Maxine is the last in a long line of female warriors who have been protecting the world for centuries from demons.  The demons have been held in a prison dimension for thousands of years but there have always been a few who manage to escape and walk among us by taking over human bodies.  Maxine's family fight these demons (who they call zombies) and their powers are passed down from mother to daughter.  Maxine is protected by 5 demons who she affectionatley calls "the boys" who are magically attached to her body in the form of tattoos during the day but who come to life at night leaving her body vulnerable. 

The prison is becoming weaker and where only the less dangerous demons inprisoned in the outer edges of the prison could break through before Maxine now finds she has more powerful enemies to contend with.  It appears that the prison is about to fall completely and the only thing standing between us and hell on earth is Maxine.

I was hooked on The Iron Hunt from the very first line of the prologue "When I was eight, my mother lost me to zombies in a obe-card draw."  Well that definitely had my attention!  The story is told in first person from Maxine's point of view and we get to join her on a voyage of discovery as she learns about her heritage.  At times this could be a little confusing but I enjoyed learning things alongside the heroine and it made it easy to relate to the feelings she was experiencing.

There was an interesting mix of characters - I absolutely loved "the boys" and I'm curious to find out more about Maxine's human boyfriend Grant who has some very interesting musical abilities that I hope we will get to find out more about.  I'm also curious Tracker and interested to see what part he may have to play in the series.  I thought The Iron Hunt was a promising start to a new series and I'm looking forward to finding out what happens in the next 2 books!

Source: Thanks to Orbit for sending me this review copy

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Review: Winterborn - A.D. Roland

Plagued by vivid, violent hallucinations, a recovering drug addict desperately seeks the truth. Are her waking nightmares a product of her self-medicating, or dire supernatural warnings?

Tamsyn Hallert, an artist, exists in a vicious circle of addiction and recovery, fueled by her husband Sean’s long-time secret affair. The affair ended in his lover's bizarre suicide, but not before she left a surprise on Tam and Sean’s doorstep—Kevin, the son Sean never knew he had.

Sean moves them to the country, to his familial home near the crumbling Wraithborne Estate, the massive old house with a terrible mythos. The twisted attempt to save their marriage only makes matters worse as Sean’s obsession with his dead lover deepens, and Tam’s grip on reality grows more tenuous. A horrific plot to summon the dark spirits that possess the Estate comes to light, with Tam, Sean, and Kevin in the center of it all. Will Tam be able to save her family, or will the lure of the spirits’ promises be too strong to resist?

Winterborn is available for purchase from All Romance Ebooks

For more information visit A.D Roland's website

Review:
The story begins with 4 teenage friends sneaking into the local haunted house Wraithborne Estate.  What was supposed to be a fun evening ends takes a turn for the worse when they find the guard has been murdered and gets even scarier when they are attacked by some kind of strange monster.

Fastforward 18 years and the story continues with Tamsyn, a recovering drug addict who is struggling to deal with life since finding out her husband Sean was having an affair for the majority of their marriage with his high school sweetheart.  Even worse, when his mistress dies Tamsyn is expected to take in the other woman's son Kevin who she didn't even know existed. 

Sean convinces her to move back to his parents home - the caretakers cottage at Wraithborne Estate.  Struggling with her drug addiction and suffering withdrawal symptoms Tamsyn is unsure if the strange things that are happening to her are purely hallucinations or if something more sinister is going on.

Winterborn is a truely terrifying read that I had to stick to reading during the day for the sake of a good night's sleep!  I couldn't help but feel sorry for Tamsyn who is struggling to deal with Sean's betrayal and having his son Kevin move in with them.  Everything she is going through has pushed her right to the edge and sent her spiralling into a drug addiction that is only making things worse.  Plagued with horrible visions Tamsyn is unable to tell if it's all in her mind and is quickly losing her hold on sanity.

Sean was a character I struggled to feel any sympathy for - he's made Tamsyn's life hell and when he isn't apologising to her and promising to change he is back to obsessing over his dead ex-girlfriend.  He comes across as a very weak man and at times I was screaming at Tamsyn to just leave him and get the hell out of there.  Kevin is a very disturbed little boy, deeply affected by his upbringing in the care of his psychotic mother who he misses dreadfully now that she is gone.  His mother had promised that she would come back to him and they would be a family with Sean and Kevin would do anything it takes to make that happen.  He is resentful of Tamsyn's place in the family and wants her out of their lives.

The supernatural side of this story was scary to the extreme and it was impossible to know what would happen next.  I had strong feelings about how I wanted things to end but was completely surprised by how things turned out - it was even better than I'd hoped for.  This isn't the kind of book I read very often but I enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it to fans of supernatural thrillers or horror.

Source: Thanks to A.D Roland for sending me a review copy of this eBook

Other Reviews:

Sci-Fi Guys Book Review
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - Mistress by Mistake

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!  Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:

Taken from Mistress by Mistake  by Maggie Robinson

[Pg 7] She slept as if dead, having the most delightful tipsy dream somewhere past midnight.  But when morning came and she found her nightgown hanging from a fat angel's head and a naked man with his lips planted firmly around her left nipple, she knew her dream was now a nightmare"

[Pg 58] When she realised where he was going to put the raspberry fool next, her mouth opened in protest.  Surely he would not do something so scandalous.  But he did"

This isn't the book I'm currently reading but I couldn't resist using these quotes.  You can read my review of Mistress by Mistake here

Review: Beneath A Darkening Moon - Keri Arthur

Someone is murdering humans on the Ripple Creek Werewolf Reservation, and the murders are eerily similar to those Chief Ranger Savannah Grant witnessed nearly ten years ago.  Having once had the reputation for being the wild sister, it seems her past has come back to haunt her.  Worse still, the man sent in to help with the investigation is the one man Savannah had hoped never to see again - the man who had taken her trust and her heart, and smashed them both.

Cade Jones is in Ripple Creek to catch the killer who escaped his noose ten years before.  What he doesn't expect to find is the woman who had also slithered from his grasp.  This time, Cade has every intention of holding her to the promises she made long ago.  But, as the murders continue, it becomes evident that the killer isn't murdering at random.  Suddenly, Savannah finds herself having to trust the one man she'd sworn never to trust again.  But can Cade unravel the clues left from the past and present in time to save them both, or will a killer's need for revenge snatch away their hopes for a future together yet again?

Ripple Creek Werewolf Series:
Beneath A Rising Moon
Beneath A Darkening Moon

For more information visit Keri Arthur's website

Review:
Savannah is a Ranger on the Ripple Creek Werewolf Reservation and is investigating a spate of murders that are very similar to ones she witnessed 10 years previously.  Because the people who have been murdered were human she is forced to call in the IIS (Interspecies Investigation Squad) to help with the investigation but she is shocked when she discovers the man in charge of the investigation is Cade.  10 years ago she met and fell for Cade but due to circumstances and some major misunderstandings she ended up with a broken heart.

Cade may be the last person she ever wanted to see but because of a promise they both made all those years ago they are now bound to each other in ways she had never imagined.  They can't fight the attraction between them but is it just the pull of the moon or is there something real behind it?  They need to work through the issues in their past but with a murderer hot on their tails will they have the opportunity to try?

I loved Beneath A Rising Moon and I'm pleased to say that Beneath A Darkening Moon didn't disappoint me.  I'm sure you would be able to read this book without reading the first book in the series but I would definitely recommend reading them both in order as there is some cross over with the characters.  I feel the need to point out that this series is paranormal romance rather than urban fantasy so there is a lot more sex in this book than there are in Keri Arthur's Nikki & Michael & Spook Squad series (I can't speak for her other series as I've not read them yet).  That isn't a bad thing & didn't take away from my enjoyment of this series in the slightest but if you're not keen on PR then you might want to give this series a miss & try some of Keri's other books.

Although Beneath A Darkening Moon concentrates mainly on the romance between Savannah and Cade there is still plenty of action and a few plot twists thrown in for good measure.  One of the things I love about Keri Arthur is her ability to throw a curve ball that comes out of nowhere and completely changes everything.  Savannah & Cade's relationship is very complicated - there are issues on both sides that date back to a murder investigation 10 years ago and it isn't easy for them to trust each other again.  Physical attraction isn't a problem though & because of their moon promise they are unable to resist which makes for some scorching scenes between them.  I would definitely recommend this series to paranormal romance fans.

Source: Library

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Monday, 26 April 2010

ARC Review: Mistress by Mistake - Maggie Robinson

Scandal is only the beginning...

Charlotte Fallon let her guarded virtue fall once - and she's paid dearly for it ever since.  She swore she'd never succumb to men's desires again.  But even a village spinster's life miles from temptation can't save her from a sister with no shame whatsoever.  Or a heart that longs for more, whatever the cost...

Sir Michael Bayard found more than he expected in his bed when he finally joined his new mistress.  He'd fantasized about her dewy skin and luscious curves, assured her understanding that what passed between them was mere dalliance.  But he didn't expect the innocence and heat of her response in his arms.  Nor her surprisingly sharp tongue once she was out of them...

A few days of abandon cannot undo the hard-learned lessons of a lifetime.  Nor can an honest passion burn away the restraints of society's judgments.  Unless, of course, one believes in nonsense like true love...

Courtesan Court Trilogy:
Not Quite A Courtesan (Lords of Passion Anthology)
Mistress by Mistake
Mistress by Midnight
Mistress by Marriage
Master of Sin

For more information visit Maggie Robinson's website

Review:
Charlotte regrets the mistake she made when she was younger and has been happy living a sheltered spinsters life in a small village ever since.  Her sister Deborah couldn't be more different and is one of London's most renowned courtesans.  When Deborah contacts her saying she's in trouble Charlotte is quick to rush to her aid.  Deborah has recently become the mistress of Sir Michael Bayard (Bay) but has been offered marriage by someone else and needs to leave.  Bay has been called away and Deborah wants Charlotte to speak to him when he returns and explain why she has gone.

Reluctantly Charlotte agrees to help but things become complicated when Bay returns in the middle of the night and finds Charlotte in Deborah's bed.  As the sisters can pass for twins he makes an easy mistake thinking Charlotte is his mistress.  Charlotte is horrified in the morning when it turns out that her x-rated dream the night before was in fact reality and Bay is in her bed.  She is shocked at her own behaviour and wants to leave immediately but Bay is not happy to find his mistress gone along with some priceless family jewelery.  He thinks Charlotte is in league with her sister, helping her steal from him, and refuses to let her go home.  I don't want to give away any more of the story but watch out for fireworks between a Charlotte & Bay and a whole heap of trouble caused by his nightmare of an ex-wife.

It's been a while since I read a good historical romance and the blurb sounded similar to quite a few books I've read in the past but I was absolutely blown away by Mistress by Mistake.  The story wasn't at all predictable and I quickly fell in lust with the handsome Bay.  I think this is probably the steamiest historical romance I've ever read & I really enjoyed the passion between fiesty Charlotte & sexy Bay - I'm surprised the pages didn't spontaniously combust in places! 

Charlotte is sassy and determined and won't take the threats Bay makes lightly, sparks will definitely fly when she attempts to get away from him.  She acts like a prim school teacher outside the bedroom but has a very passionate and sensual side that Bay finds impossible to resist.  Bay on the other hand is a brilliant alpha male determined to enjoy his time with Charlotte and teach her to embrace the passionate side of her nature.  Their characters balance each other out well and I loved the way their relationship developed.

Bay's ex-wife makes a terrifying villian causing a few horrific and heart-in-mouth moments where I could hardly bear to continue reading but there were also many laugh out loud moments which helped restore the balance.  Mistress by Mistake had me gripped from the first page and I can't wait to get my hands on future books in the series.  I can't recommend this enough to historical romance fans who are looking for a story that will have them swinging between laughing out loud, fanning themselves (did I mention how HOT this book was?) and gripping the edge of their seats.  If this is Maggie's debut I can't wait to see what else she's got up her sleeve!

Source: I won this ARC from author Maggie Robinson in a giveaway on Twitter - Thanks Maggie

Other Reviews:

If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (16)

This meme was started at J. Kaye's Book Blog but has now moved to One Person's Journey Through a World of Books run by Sheila.

Books read last week: (Click on the links to read my reviews)

Books read last week but reviewed this week:
  1. Bloodlust - Larissa Ione (Short Story)
  2. Weaved for Pleasure - Stella & Audra Price (Short Story)
  3. Shift - Rachel Vincent
  4. Stolen - Kelley Armstrong
These are the books I read last week:
  1. His Darkest Hunger - Juliana Stone
  2. Leaving Paradise - Simone Elkeles
  3. Beneath A Rising Moon - Keri Arthur
  4. Kiss of Life - Daniel Waters
  5. Mistress by Mistake - Maggie Robinson
  6. Beneath A Darkening Moon - Keri Arthur
  7. Winterborn - A.D. Roland
So I still didn't quite manage to catch up with my reviews but I did get to do a lot of reading so I'm not going to complain.  I'm still determined to get caught up eventually though LOL

What I'm reading now:
What I'll be reading next:

There are so many books I want to read this week that I'm not too sure where I'm going to start, I have some review books I want to get to, library books due back soon & I'm still working on the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong.  I've also signed up for the April NAC Mini-Challenge & need to read another 2 books to complete that by the end of the month.  I'll just have to see how I get on.

Challenge updates:

100+ Reading Challenge - Read 74/100
Paranormal Reading Challenge - Read 50/50 - COMPLETE
Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge - Read 24/24 - COMPLETE

What are you reading?

While you're here don't forget to check out my giveaway for The Island by Sarah Singleton - it's international and you don't have to be a follower to enter (although of course I'd love it if you were LOL).  It is open until the 30th April & you can enter by clicking here

Review: Kiss of Life - Daniel Waters

When Phoebe's best friend Adam takes a bullet for her, it proves everyone right - Adam is in love with her.  And now that he's come back to life, Phoebe's more important than ever.  A zombie can come back from death faster if they're loved - and kissed... which means Phoebe has to say goodbye to Tommy Williams, the other zombie in her life.

While coaxing Adam back to reality and fending off Tommy's advances, Phoebe tries to carry on as normal.  But what's normal when teenageers are rising from the dead and scores of others want nothing more than to send them back to their graves?  And does having a zombie boyfriend make Phoebe a target too?

Generation Dead Series:
Generation Dead
The Kiss of Life
Passing Strange (July 2010)

For more information visit the Daniel Waters' Blog

Review:
It is impossible to review Kiss of Life without giving away at least one major spoiler for Generation Dead so if you're new to this series I'd really recommend you don't read any further.  Click here if you'd like to read my review for Generation Dead instead.

Kiss of Life continues the story not long after the end of Generation Dead, Adam died trying to save Phoebe's life and has now come back as a zombie but he is struggling to regain his speech and movement.  His killer is facing trial but as there are no laws protecting zombies or giving them any rights things are very complicated.  The defense are going to argue that it couldn't be murder when the victim can walk into court as a witness and it looks like the Adam's killer could literally get away with murder.  But that isn't the only thing Phoebe and her friends have to worry about.  The prejudice against the zombies is getting worse - with the help of an unknown group who are stirring trouble - and things are going to get even more complicated than they were before.

I had mixed feelings about Generation Dead and I had a similar experience with Kiss of Life.  It was interesting to have some of the story told from Adam's perspective but that did make for frustrating reading, particularly at the beginning when he is really struggling with his speach and his thoughts are very disjointed.  Adam was by far my favorite character in the first book so I wasn't happy about the change in him but I'm glad to say this does improve by the end.  I also found that this gave Colette and Margi a chance to shine and their humor added a lighter note that I enjoyed.

The themes of discrimination and prejudice are continued and again handled very realistically by Daniel Waters.  I really like this side to the series and think we can all learn something by reading it.  I'm very curious to see how this will be handled in Passing Strange which I believe is the last book in the series.  We see less of Tommy in this story which I didn't mind - he was never my favorite character anyway and I didn't have the same icky feeling about Adam & Phoebe that I did when she was dating Tommy.  I think this was because they already had a strong relationship before his death so it didn't come across as quite so creepy.

As much as I liked the above points I did find that I struggled to get into the story.  The first half of the book in particular was very slow with not much happening and I found myself wanting to give up.  I'm glad that I persisted though as the action levels do pick up and it has left me wanting to read Passing Strange so I can find out how the series ends.

Source: Thanks to Simon & Schuster for sending me this review copy

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

NAC Mini-Challenge - Battle Royale (April 2010)

Time for the details of the challenge:
1.You do not have to be a participant of the New Authors Challenge, but if you’re not, why not?

2.The Challenge will run from April 1st through the 30th. All reviews must have an April 2010 date.

3.The goal is to read up to 5 different authors from the either list below. Write up a review on your blog and then come back to the official start post and add your link to Mr. Linky.

4.The idea is to try a new author (it is a New Author mini-challenge), however, if you’ve already read all of the listed authors, you can still participant, but don’t re-read a novel. Try something new. Not only is this an excuse to try a certain group of authors, but it’s also a great chance to help promote them.
 
Deadline Dames include: Keri Arthur, Toni Andrews, Jenna Black, Rinda Elliot, Jackie Kesslar, Karen Mahoney, Devon Monk, Lilith Saintcrow and Rachel Vincent.

Fangs, Fur & Fey has an overwhelming number of authors who contribute, so I am limiting your choices a little. Some of the authors from FF&F are also Deadline Dames, so they’ve been removed from this group. Some of the authors are also from the League of Reluctant Adults and since they were our featured group in February, I’m nixing them as well (sorry guys!). That still leaves you with 53 different authors to try.  For the list of authors see the sign up post

Check out reviews from other participants here

Deadline Dames:
  1. Keri Arthur - Generation 18
  2. Jenna Black - The Devil's Due
  3. Rachel Vincent - Shift
  4. Lilith Saint Crow - Strange Angels
Fangs, Fur & Fey:
  1. Marjorie M. Liu - The Iron Hunt
Challenge completed - Read 5/5

New Author Challenge 2010

The New Author Challenge 2010 is hosted by Jackie at Literary Escapism.  I'm a bit late signing up for this challenge but I've been enjoying trying a lot of different authors this year so I thought it would be fun to sign up & see how many new authors I actually manage to discover this year!  Here are the details in case you want to join me:

1. The challenge will run from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010.

2. Since this is an author challenge, there is no restriction on choosing your novels. They can definitely be from other challenges. However, the authors must be new to you and, preferably from novels. Anthologies are a great way to try someone new, but only a third of your new authors can be from anthologies.

3. I want this to be an easy challenge, so you can pick to do either 15, 25 or 50 new authors. It all depends on how fast you read and how adventurous you want to be. For me, I’m trying another 50 new authors. If you reach your goal halfway through the year, don’t stop. Any new author you try can be added to Mr. Linky. We all want to know about your new experience.

4. After reading your new author, write your review and then go here to add your link to Mr. Linky

5. Bloggers or Non-Bloggers alike are welcome

Once you reach your goal, you don’t have to stop. Any new author you try, go ahead and head back here and add it to the list. Introduce us all to whoever you find. Afterall, there’s no reason to stop trying new authors, right?

I'm going to aim for at least 50 new authors but I'm hoping to try a lot more than that.  I'll be including links to my reviews below.
 
Check out reviews from other participants here
  1. Bloodlust & Initiation - Alex Duval
  2. Howling at the Moon - Karen MacInerney
  3. Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick
  4. Tall, Dark & Dead - Tate Hallaway
  5. Succubus Blues - Richelle Mead
  6. Beautiful Dead book 1 Jonas - Eden Maguire
  7. A Girl's Guide to Vampires - Katie MacAlister
  8. Bitten - Kelley Armstrong
  9. Heavenly - Jennifer Laurens
  10. Kitty and the Midnight Hour - Carrie Vaughn
  11. Nearly Departed - Rook Hastings
  12. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan
  13. Dancing with the Devil - Keri Arthur
  14. Stray - Rachel Vincent
  15. The Devil Inside - Jenna Black
  16. Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean - Justin Somper
  17. Perfect Chemistry - Simone Elkeles
  18. Rising Shadows - Jacquelyn Wheeler
  19. Lex Trent versus the Gods - Alex Bell
  20. Dark Life - Kat Falls
  21. Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater
  22. Hex Hall - Rachel Hawkins
  23. The Demon's Lexicon - Sarah Rees Brennan
  24. Pleasure Unbound - Larissa Ione
  25. Generation Dead - Daniel Waters
  26. Wolf Signs - Vivian Arend
  27. Need - Carrie Jones
  28. You Burn Me - Stella & Audra Price
  29. The Rest Falls Away - Colleen Gleason
  30. The Prophecy - Gill James
  31. Hand of Fate - Lis Wiehl with April Henry
  32. Viola in Reel Life - Adriana Trigiani
  33. His Darkest Hunger - Juliana Stone
  34. Mistress by Mistake - Maggie Robinson
  35. Winterborn - A.D. Roland
  36. The Iron Hunt - Marjorie M. Liu
  37. Strange Angels - Lilith Saintcrow
  38. Hard Magic - Laura Anne Gilman
  39. Blue Diablo - Ann Aguirre
  40. Shadow Game - Christine Feehan
  41. When I Was Joe - Keren David
  42. Moon Called - Patricia Briggs
  43. Forget You - Jennifer Echols
  44. A Hunger Like No Other - Kresley Cole
  45. Guardian of the Dead - Karen Healey
  46. Nina Jones and the Temple of Gloom - Julie Cohen
  47. Dido - Adele Geras
  48. Low Red Moon - Ivy Devlin
  49. Blood Lust (Kept, Claimed & Mated) - Zoe Winters
  50. Halfway to the Grave - Jeaniene Frost
  51. Lonestar Calling - Colleen Coble
  52. Comfort Food - Kitty Thomas
  53. Siren's Call - Devyn Quinn
  54. I Married A Demon - Beverly Rae
  55. Sing Me To Sleep - Angela Morrison
  56. Wild Card - Lora Leigh
  57. Impossible - Nancy Werlin
  58. My Name is Memory - Ann Brashares
  59. Ex Appeal - Cari Quinn
  60. Fallen - Lauren Kate
  61. Restoring Harmony - Joelle Anthony
  62. Dear Dylan - Siobhan Curham
  63. Best Friends Forever - Jennifer Weiner
  64. Chasing Brooklyn - Lisa Schroeder
  65. The Chosen One - Carol Lynch Williams
  66. A Safe Harbor - Moira Rogers
  67. Claire de Lune - Christine Johnson
  68. The Alchemyst - Michael Scott
  69. Forbidden - Tabitha Suzuma
  70. Shadow of the Vampire - Meagan Hatfield
  71. Trash - Andy Mulligan
  72. Kiss Me If You Can - Carly Phillips
  73. Texas Tangle - Leah Braemel
  74. Shade - Jeri Smith-Ready
  75. Raised by Wolves - Jennifer Lynn Barnes
  76. Forget-Her-Nots - Amy Brecount White
  77. Immortalis Carpe Noctem - Katie Salidas
  78. Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson
  79. Noah Barleywater Runs Away - John Boyne
  80. Angel - L.A. Weatherly
  81. Cattitude - Edie Ramer
  82. Shadows - Amy Meredith
  83. Boys Don't Cry - Malorie Blackman
  84. The Trouble with Spells - Lacey Weatherford
  85. Demon Hunts - C.E. Murphy
  86. The Crescent - Jordan Deen
  87. The Fallen Volume 1 - Thomas E Sniegoski
  88. The Body Finder - Kimberly Derting
  89. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
  90. Witchfinder Dawn of the Demontide - William Hussey
  91. The Long Weekend - Savita Kalhan
  92. Some Girls Bite - Chloe Neill
  93. Abela: The Girl Who Saw Lions - Berlie Doherty
  94. You Against Me - Jenny Downham
  95. Soul Love - Lynda Waterhouse
  96. Playing with Fire - Henning Mankell
  97. The Eternal Ones - Kirsten Miller
  98. Awakened - Ednah Walters
  99. Black Swan Rising - Lee Carroll
  100. Monster High - Lisi Harrison
  101. Once Bitten, Twice Shy - Jennifer Rardin
  102. Nightshade - Andrea Cremer
  103. Secret Lives - Gabriella Poole (Review coming soon)
  104. Half Brother - Kenneth Oppel (Review coming soon)
April NAC Mini-Challenge - Battle Royale - Click Here to see my reviews - COMPLETE read 5/5

I can't believe I tried 104 new authors this year!  I made some amazing discoveries - many have been added to my favorite authors list who are going to be automatic buys for anything they release in the future.  I wonder how many new authors I'll try in 2011?

In My Mailbox (17)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.

Books Purchased:
I'm currently trying to get caught up with the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong so I brought a couple of books in the series Haunted and Broken - I think I still need to buy a couple more but I've got quite a few to keep me going now.  I'm definitely back on a book buying ban until I've managed to reduce my TBR pile a bit - I wonder how long I'll manage to last this time?

Competition Prizes:
  1. They Call Me Dead by Missy Jane from Amanda at Story Wings - this looks fab & I can't wait to read it!
  2. A signed copy of When I Was Joe by Keren David I've been wanting to read this one ever since I read Becky of The Bookette's review so I was really excited to win this when Keren did a Twitter giveaway
  3. Anasi Boys by Neil Gaiman from Sam at Headline - I've never actually read any of Neil Gaiman's books before, although I love the film Stardust, so I'm really looking forward to reading this
  4. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris and a fab Sookie Stackhouse pen from Jon at Orion Books - again I've been wanting to read the Sookie series for ages but haven't started it yet
  5. Crux by Moira Rogers eBook from Bree (one of the Moira Rogers duet).  This is the first book in the Southern Arcana series which I've heard a lot of fab things about so it's another one I can't wait to read.
I've had such an amazing week this week for giveaways & these are all books I can't wait to read.  All I need to do now is figure out a way to read 5 books a day and I'll have a chance of getting through my TBR pile LOL.

For Review:
I recieved a copy of The Darkest Room by Johan Theorin from Transworld Publishers and it sounds like it's going to be a really creepy thriller and I'm sure I'll enjoy it.

What was in your mailbox this week?

While you're here don't forget to check out my giveaway for The Island by Sarah Singleton - it's international and you don't have to be a follower to enter (although of course I'd love it if you were LOL).  It is open until the 30th April & you can enter by clicking here

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Review: Beneath A Rising Moon - Keri Arthur

On the Ripple Creek Werewolf Reservation, a killer is on the loose.  Three women are dead, their bodies mutilated and faces slashed.  A fourth, Neva Grant's twin, lies in hospital, fighting for her life.  Psychically linked, Neva shared the horror of her twin's attack and makes a vow to hunt down the killer.  The Rangers believe the killer is a member of the Sinclair pack.  To begin the hunt, Neva will first have to seduce a Sinclair, as she knows they will never talk to an outsider.

The only wolf not under suspicion is one with a hard-drinking, hard-loving reputation: Duncan Sinclair.  Called back home to help find the killer, he wants nothing more than to complete his task and get out of the town he loathes.  However, he finds himslef ensnared in a growing web of desire and deceit and, as the murders continue - and the killer's shadow draws ever closer - Duncan and Neva find themselves having to trust each other in order to survive.  But can they trust the emotions flaring between them?  Or will the lies of the present, the deeds of the past and a killers bloody intentions tear them apart?

Ripple Creek Werewolf Series:
Beneath A Rising Moon
Beneath A Darkening Moon

For more information visit Keri Arthur's website

Review:
When Neva's sister Savannah is almost killed while investigating the current spate of murders on the Ripple Creek Reservation Neva vows she will stop the killer.  Although she has no investigative experience she knows that her sister and the Rangers suspect the killer is a member of the Sinclair pack.  The only pack member not under suspicion is Duncan, who wasn't even in town when the murders began, so Neva decides he is the best person to approach if she wants information. 

Using the Moon Dance (the week before the full moon when all werewolves have a high sex drive) as an excuse to approach him, Neva ends up agreeing to spend the week with Duncan.  Duncan who has returned to town in order to find the killer who appears to either be a member of his pack, or someone setting them up, becomes suspicious of Neva's motives and her interest in the killer.  Despite the fact that neither of them are able to trust each other fully the attraction between them is instant but is their lust just caused by the Moon Dance or is it something more?

I'm a big fan of both Keri Arthur's Nikki & Michael and Spook Squad series so I'm currently working through her backlist.  Beneath A Rising Moon is very different to both of those series - it is definitely Paranormal Romance rather than Urban Fantasy so the focus is much more on the romance rather than the murders and there is a lot more sex than there was in the other Keri Arthur books I've read.  Personally I love both PR & UF so this didn't bother me in the slightest and I absolutely loved this book but if you're not keen on PR then you might want to give this series a miss.

The heat between Neva and Duncan is both instantanious and scorching but it takes them longer to connect on an emotional level.  Neva is scared of Duncan's past - he is known as a love 'em and leave 'em type so she is scared to trust the connection between them.  Duncan on the other hand is wary of Neva's motives for getting involved with him and believes she could be working with the enemies of his pack to frame them.  I enjoyed the action in the story and although it she focuses more on the romance Keri still manages to include some of the great plot twists that I have come to expect from her work.  I read this book in one sitting because I just couldn't put it down & I would thoroughly recommend it to any paranormal romance fans.

Source: Library

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Review: Leaving Paradise - Simone Elkeles

What happens when the person who damaged you for life...

Caleb Becker spent the past year in juvenile detention.

Maggie Armstrong spent the past year in hospitals and physical therapy.

Two teens who were scarred one fateful night are going to have to face their greatest challenge yet - meeting up with each other again.

...becomes the person you trust the most

Paradise Series:
Leaving Paradise
Return to Paradise
Paradise (Bind up containing Leaving Paradise & Return to Paradise)

For more information visit Simone Elkeles' website

Review:
Caleb has spent the last year in juvenile detention after being convicted of having an accident while drink driving. He hit Maggie with his car and then drove off leaving her seriously injured. Having spent a year away from home he is looking forward to picking up his life where he left off. Maggie however, has spent the last year in hospital suffering through multiple operations and physical therapy while trying to learn to walk again. All she can focus on is trying to get out of Paradise before Caleb returns.

When Caleb is released early for good behaviour it is Maggie's worst nightmare come true. As they are neighbours who grew up together living in a small town it is going to be impossible to avoid each other no matter how hard they both try. They are going to have to face up to their fears though.

I loved Perfect Chemistry so was looking forward to reading Leaving Paradise but was a little worried about reading it as I didn't think I'd be able to relate to Caleb - drink driving is something I feel very strongly about and I wasn't sure I'd be able to put that issue to one side to enjoy the book. I needn't have worried though - Simone Elkeles tackled a very sensitive subject but handled it very well and I did end up feeling sorry for Caleb despite the mistakes he had made.

I really liked both Maggie and Caleb, they were both very real characters and the developing romance between them was very well written and believable. I love the way Simone Elkeles switches the point of view between them so we really get both sides of the story. I also felt that the relationships between Maggie & Caleb and their respective families were very well written - the accident and it's aftermath had a major impact on family life for everyone involved.

I think the only thing I found slightly disappointing was the ending but I've got high hopes for the sequel Return to Paradise. If you are a fan of Perfect Chemistry I'm sure you'll enjoy Leaving Paradise and I would definitely recommend it.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
I Want To Read That
Maria the Bookworm
Confessions of the Un-Published
Story Wings
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Review: His Darkest Hunger - Juliana Stone

Jaxon Castille: jaguar shifter, warrior, assassin.  He has long hungered for the chance to make his former lover, Libby Jamieson, pay for her deadly betrayal.  After three long years he's finally found her.  The hunt is over...

But the Libby that he finds is not what he expected.  She has no memory of their tumultuous affair, of her treachery, of anything beyond her own name.  A shadowy and deadly clan has marked them both for death, and in an instant, the game changes: the hunter has become the hunted.

On the run, with the ghosts of their past between them and a dark, desperate hunger quickly reclaiming their bodies and souls, Libby and Jaxon must discover the truth behind the dark forces working against them.  Together, they must grab hold of a destiny that has the power to either heal them or destroy them.

But the truth is far more shattering than anyone can imagine...

Jaguar Warriors Series:
His Darkest Hunger
His Darkest Embrace
His Darkest Salvation (July 2011)

For more information visit Juliana Stone's website

Review:
Jaxon and Libby used to work together in a paranormal anti-terrorist unit until they were betrayed leading to the death of one of their team members.  Libby has been missing ever since and Jaxon and the unit are convinced she was the one who betrayed them.  When he receives information about Libby's whereabouts he goes looking for her ready to make her pay for the damage she caused.  Things aren't as simple as they first appeared though and when he finds Libby he realises she has no memory of either him or their unit.

Jaxon is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery and Libby is the key but he needs to help her regain her memory before she can be any help to him.  The more time he spends with her the harder he finds it to resist the attraction between them.  Libby is very aware of her physical responce to Jaxon but she doesn't remember their history or understand why he keeps blowing hot and cold.  As her memory starts to return she realises that she has good reasons to keep her distance from him.  They are both going to discover that nothing is what it originally seemed but they are going to have to rely on each other and the rest of their unit if they are going to make the people responsible pay for what they did.

I've been looking forward to reading this ever since I first saw the cover and I have to say that Juliana Stone's debut novel is not a disappointment.  The story takes you on a complete emotional rollercoaster alongside both Libby and Jax.  At first I thought that Libby was going to be quite a weak character but as she gets her memory back she grows into a kick ass heroine who gives as good as she gets.  Jax is a real alpha male who I absolutely loved and the 2 main characters really complimented each other.

His Darkest Hunger is action packed with plenty of twists that make it impossible to put down.  We are also introduced to some great secondary characters, in particular Jax's brothers Jagger and Julian, but I also loved unit members Ana and Declan who I hope we will see more of in future stories.  I can't wait to read Jagger's story in His Darkest Embrace.  His Darkest Hunger has a well earned place on my keep shelf and I'd definitely recommend it to any fans of paranormal romance and urban fantasy.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
Ramblings of a Book Bitch
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Quick Reviews: Bloodlust - Larissa Ione & Weaved for Pleasure: Sinclair - Stella & Audra Price

I think it's great when authors put free short stories on their website - it's a fab way of trying out new authors before you buy their books.  The 2 short stories I'm mentioning today are actually from authors I already know & love but I wanted to mention them for those of you who haven't tried their work before.

Bloodlust - Larissa Ione
Sometimes, you don't need romance…

Sir Brynn of Lochland has a serious problem. He's been captured by an evil vampire queen who wants to use him as her newest blood slave. But Bryann doesn't have a submissive bone in his body, and he intends to fight her every step of the way.

Can Brynn's willpower remain intact when pitted against Sorla's superior vampire strength, seductive skills, and underhanded cruelty, or will she ultimately take possession of both his mind…and body?

* * * CONTENT WARNING: This is a VERY graphic erotic horror/fantasy novella. Expect blood, sex, some M/M content, and bad, bad words

The PDF for Bloodlust can be downloaded from Larissa Ione's website here

Review: I'm a massive fan of Larissa Ione's Demonica series and enjoyed Bloodlust, a story about vampire Queen Sorla and Sir Brynn Blackheath of Lochland - a knight who was captured in battle and is now her sex slave.  I have to say that this is very different to the Demonica series so if you don't enjoy Bloodlust don't let that put you off trying Pleasure Unbound, the first book in the Demonica series.
 
Weaved for Pleasure: Sinclair - Stella & Audra Price
When Nora is willed a beautiful house on a bluff, and a musty old curio shop from a distant relation, She thought it would be great way to start over after her divorce.
 
While cleaning the store room, a carpet unrolls and a very naked and sexy man pops out offering her a month of sultry passion... and three wishes.
 
For more information you can check Stella & Audra's website and Weaved for Pleasure can be downloaded from All Romance eBooks here
 
Review: I really enjoyed Weaved for Pleasure - Nora was a likeable character and I couldn't help but love Sinclair.  I found it was a sweet romantic love story but that didn't mean we missed out on plenty of hot scenes between them.  I'd definitely recommend reading this if you've a fan of Stella & Audra's and it would also be a great first read if they are new to you - I'm sure you'll want to read more of their work.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Review: Stolen - Kelley Armstrong

Elena Michaels is a wanted woman.  She hasn't done anything wrong.  Well, not recently, anyway.  But ten years ago her lover turned her into a werewolf: the only female werewolf in the world, in fact.

And now, just as she's finally coming to terms with it all, a group of scientists learns of her existence.  They're hunting her down, and Elena is about to run straight into their trap.  But they haven't reckoned on Elena's adoptive family, her Pack, who will stop at nothing to get her back.  They haven't reckoned on Elena herself, either, and that's a very big mistake...

Otherworld Series:
Bitten
Stolen
Dime Store Magic
Industrial Magic
Haunted
Broken
No Humans Involved
Personal Demon
Living with the Dead
Frostbitten
Waking the Witch
Spellbound

For more information visit Kelley Armstrong's website

Review:
When Elena is sent to investigate someone who is selling information on the existence of werewolves she gets a lot more than she bargained for.  She meets Paige and her aunt Ruth who not only know more than they should about werewolves but who also claim to be witches.  Elena is sceptical to start with but when they start talking about sorcerers, demons and vampires she really knows they are crazy.  When Paige and Ruth tell Elena that the supernatural community is in danger she doesn't know what to think.  People have been disappearing and it seems they are being held prisoner but no one has been able to discover why.

When Elena becomes the next kidnapping victim she finds herself in a whole heap of trouble.  But her captors didn't take Elena's determination into account.  She will do whatever it takes to make her escape and her Pack are equally determined to help her.

In Stolen, the second book in the Otherworld series, we get to re-visit Elena, Clay and Jeremy but we are also introduced to a whole host of new characters and species which made this a really interesting read.  Although we didn't see as much of Clay and Jeremy as I'd have liked (I love both characters from the first book Bitten) this was understandable due to the circumstances.  I wasn't sure at first if I was going to like Paige but by the end of the book she had really grown on me and I'm looking forward to reading the next two books that are written from her point of view.  I also liked new character Adam and I'm hopeful that he will be making appearances in future books.

Kelley Armstrong did a fantastic job of raising the tension levels when Elena was held captive, I was completely absorbed in the story and couldn't put the book down.  There were a lot of great twists that I wasn't expecting and the action had me on the edge of my seat.  Although this book is quite different from Bitten I think overall I enjoyed it even more.  I would recommend reading them in order to get the most enjoyment from the story and I'm sure if you liked Bitten you will love Stolen.

Source: Christmas Present

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Review: Shift - Rachel Vincent

Sometimes you have to make a tough choice, knowing it might get you killed.

When vicious half-human, half-bird creatures kill two of her Pride and kidnap young tabby Kaci, sassy werecat Faythe is ready to wage war.

Yet with an injury preventing her from shifting into cat form, Faythe has to rely on her intelligence - and the help of hot-headed enforcers Marc and Jace, who are both ready to do battle for her heart.

With only forty-eight hours to save Kaci, Faythe faces impossible choices in the biggest test of her Alpha potential yet...

Shifters Series:
Stray
Rogue
Pride
Prey
Shift
Alpha
Hunt (Novella)

Wildcats Series:
(This series is set in the Shifters world featuring characters we've already met but is paranormal romance rather than urban fantasy)
Lion's Share
Further titles and release dates to be confirmed

Visit Rachel Vincent's website for more information

Review:
This is the 5th book in the Shifters series so it is very difficult to review without giving spoilers for previous books. If you're new to the series I strongly recommend you don't read this review as this series really should be read in order - why not check out my review for Stray instead. This is my favourite Urban Fantasy series though so I'd definitely recommend you check it out!

This book continues the story just a couple of weeks after the ending of Prey - Faythe and the rest of her Pride are still devastated by the loss of an important Pride member and are preparing to go to war to get their revenge and stop Calvin Malone's attempt to take over the Pride Council. But attack comes in an unexpected form when they are set upon by the Thunderbirds - a Flight of bird shifters who are determined to destroy the Pride. The Pride have no idea why they are under attack and they are at a major disadvantage when their enemy can fly - they can't afford to lose more members if they are going to have a chance in the upcoming war. When the Thunderbirds manage to kidnap Kaci it falls to Faythe to discover what they want and to figure out a way to rescue her.

I have been a massive fan of the Shifters series ever since I read Stray but with each book I've been amazed that it has managed to be better than the last. Shift didn't disappoint and I was drawn into Faythe's world from the very first page.  I love the way Faythe's character has grown throughout the series - she still has flaws and makes mistakes but she is truly starting to show her full potential.

Shift is action packed from the word go and kept me on the edge of my seat until the last page. I really didn't know how the book was going to end and there were some great twists that I wasn't expecting. I have no idea how the relationship issues between Faythe, Marc & Jace will be resolved after the events of the last book. I feel for each of the characters and just can't see a way to give all three of them a happy ending.

The style of Rachel Vincent's writing has created an absorbing world that hooks you from the moment you pick up the book. I don't think I've ever felt so emotionally invested in the outcome of a series before and for that reason I am both longing for and dreading the final book Alpha. I'm sure Rachel will manage to surpass my expectations but I really don't want my journey with Faythe, Marc & the Pride to come to an end. If you haven't tried this series yet then I really recommend you go out and get a copy of Stray today - I'm sure you'll be as hooked as I am.

Source: Purchased

Other Reviews:
Tynga's Reviews
Ink and Paper
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

Paperback / Kindle:

It's Monday, What are you Reading? (15)

This meme was started at J. Kaye's Book Blog but has now moved to One Person's Journey Through a World of Books run by Sheila. 

Books read last week: (Click on the links to read my reviews)

Books read last week but reviewed this week:


These are the books I read last week:
  1. Generation 18 - Keri Arthur
  2. The Devil's Due - Jenna Black
  3. First Howl & Second Howl - by Vivian Arend (2 short stories)
  4. Viola in Reel Life - Adriana Trigiani
  5. Bloodlust - Larissa Ione (short story)
  6. Weaved for Pleasure - Stella & Audra Price (short story)
  7. Shift - Rachel Vincent
  8. Stolen - Kelley Armstrong
I was almost caught up with my reviews but it wasn't meant to be & I'm now behind again!  I will catch up eventually LOL.

What I'm reading now:
What I'll be reading next:

I have quite a few books I want to read this week - I'm trying to catch up on the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong so I can read Frostbitten that I was sent for review.  I've also got quite a few library books that I really should start working my way through & I want to spend some time catching up on writing my outstanding reviews.

Challenge updates:

Paranormal Reading Challenge - Read 50/50 - COMPLETE

What are you reading?

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