Archive | February, 2011

Review: Dark & Disorderly by Bernita Harris

28 Feb

Dark & Disorderly by Bernita Harris
Carina Press (June 2010)
Ebook: $5.99
ISBN: 978-1-4268-9033-8

Favorite Lines: “A momentary and very bleak vision intruded: myself, despised and unemployable, years hence, holed up in my little house, surrounded b twenty-nine stray cats, forty-nine stray dogs and an equal number of homeless ghosts that I’d gathered for company.” (p. 148 )

“I was standing there naked when my dead husband walked into my bathroom…”

Lillie St. Claire is a Talent, one of the rare few who can permanently dispatch the spirits of the dead that walk the earth. Her skills are in demand in a haunted country, where a plague of ghosts is becoming a civic nuisance.

Those skills bring her into conflict with frightened citizens who view Talents as near-demons. Her husband comes to see her as a Freak; so when Nathan dies after a car crash, she is relieved to be free of his increasingly vicious presence. Lillie expects to be haunted by Nathan’s ghost, but not to become Suspect #1 for her husband’s murder and reanimation.

But what’s most surprising of all is the growing attraction between her and psi-crime detective John Thresher. He thinks that Lillie killed Nathan–and Nathan must agree, because his zombie is seeking revenge. Now she and Thresher must work together to solve her husband’s murder–before his corpse kills her…

Dark & Disorderly is a paranormal romantic suspense written by Bernita Harris. It takes place in a world in which ghosts have made themselves visible. In response to the dead, some humans seem to have mutated on a genetic level to help deal with the problem. Those people are usually marked by their white hair. They walk a thin line between being respected and feared/despised by other humans.

I want to start by saying, “I never saw the twist this book took.” Some people will call me slow for not seeing where the author took the story. I think the author did an excellent job distracting me with all of the events taking place that I lost sight of the direction the story was taking. I thought I was reading a romance; what I got was urban fantasy. I’m not complaining. I was in the mood for a HEA and I didn’t get one. It’s not a fault of the author, just one of those quirks readers have that matter only to the reader.

Let’s discuss the characters. I really enjoyed several of them, but one that I didn’t = Detective John Thresher. He was so wishy-washy that I couldn’t stand him. I wanted him to fail at everything. He pissed me off throughout the entire story. On the other hand there was Lillie. I liked her. She was strong enough to say what was on her mind and to protect herself. For the most part she avoided TSTL territory and she didn’t put up with a hero’s bad treatment. She called him on it.

Would I recommend this book to a friend? I don’t know. It’s only available in ebook format and it’s the first book in a series. It’s entertaining, the world building was great, the suspense had me wondering…but I hated the hero. This is one of those books that I liked, but don’t see myself reading about. It wasn’t bad…it wasn’t great…it just was.

Books I Want: March 2011

25 Feb

Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire (March 1)

October “Toby” Daye is half-human, half-fae-the only changeling who’s earned knighthood. But when someone begins targeting her nearest and dearest, it becomes clear that Toby is being set up to take the fall for everything that’s happening.

River Marked by Patricia Briggs (March 1)

Car mechanic Mercy Thompson has always known there was something different about her, and not just the way she can make a VW engine sit up and beg. Mercy is a shapeshifter, a talent she inherited from her long-gone father. She’s never known any others of her kind. Until now.

An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River-one that her father’s people may know something about. And to have any hope of surviving, Mercy and her mate, the Alpha werewolf Adam, will need their help…

Hidden Away by Maya Banks (March 1)

A man who shoots first and asks questions later…

Most people would take an all-expenses-paid trip to the beach in a heartbeat. Garrett Kelly only accepts to keep tabs on Sarah Daniels, who’s in hiding after witnessing a murder by Marcus Lattimer, her half-brother–and a personal enemy of KGI. This gig may be beneath a disciplined soldier like Garrett, but if he gets a shot at Lattimer, it will all be worth it…

…and the ultimate moving target.

But Garrett hadn’t counted on falling for Sarah. He’d considered seduction as a tactical maneuver, but when he glimpses Sarah’s dark past, he feels an urgent desire to keep her safe–even after she disappears on him. Garrett doesn’t know exactly who, or what, Sarah’s running from, but whatever it is, she’s running for her life…

Primal Bonds by Jennifer Ashley (March 1)

When a female Shifter comes to town seeking refuge, Feline Shifter Sean Morrissey claims the new arrival and finds a beautiful woman who looks him straight in the eye without fear, stirring the mating frenzy within him.

To relocate to a new Shiftertown, half-Fae, half-Shifter Andrea Gray must accept a new mate. But Andrea’s intense attraction to Sean is something she never expected-a perilous complication for a woman with a troubled past.

Under Wraps by Hannah Jayne (March 1)

Sick of wrongful-death lawsuits every time a full moon comes around?
Call the Underworld Detection Agency.

As a human immune to magic, Sophie Lawson can help everyone from banshee to zombie transition into normal, everyday San Francisco life. With a handsome werewolf as her UDA boss and a fashionista vampire for a roommate, Sophie knows everything there is to know about the undead, the unseen, and the uncanny. . .

Until a rash of gruesome murders has demons and mortals running for cover, and Sophie finds herself playing sidekick to detective Parker Hayes. Dodging raging bloodsuckers, bad-tempered fairies, and love-struck trolls is one thing. But when Sophie discovers Parker isn’t what he seems, she’s got only one chance to figure out whom to trust. Because an evil hiding in plain sight is closing in. . .and about to make one wisecracking human its means to ultimate power. . .

Vampires: The Recent Undead an Anthology edited by Paula Guran (March 15)

The undead are more alive today than ever. Immortal? Indeed! Nothing has sunk its teeth into twenty-first century popular culture as pervasively as the vampire. The fangsters have the freedom to fly across all genres and all mediums – there’s even apps for vamps. Whether roaming into romance, haunting horror, sneaking into science fiction, capering into humor, meandering through mystery – no icon is more versatile than the vampire. Slack your insatiable thirst with the best sanguinary stories of the new millennium: terrifying or tender, deadly or delicious, bad-ass or beneficent,

classic or cutting-edge.

Whedonistas: A Celebration of the Worlds of Joss Whedon by the Women who Love them an Anthology (March 15)

In Whedonistas, a host of award-winning female writers and fans come together to celebrate the works of Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog). By discussing the impact of Whedon’s work, their involvement with his shows’ fandoms and why they adore the worlds he’s created, these essayists aim to misbehave in Whedon’s rich, fantastical worlds. Essay topics include Sharon Shinn (“Samaria” series) and Emma Bull (Territory) elaborating on the perfection of Firefly, Jeanne Stein (the Anna Strong Chronicles) revealing Buffy’s influence on Anna Strong, and Nancy Holder (October Rain, The Watcher’s Guide) relating on-the-set tales of Spike menacing her baby daughter while Riley made her hot chocolate.Other contributors include Seanan McGuire (October Daye series), Elizabeth Bear (Chill), Catherynne M. Valente (Palimpsest), Maria Lima (Blood Lines), Jackie Kessler (Black and White), Mariah Huehner (IDW Comics), Sarah Monette (Corambis), and Lyda Morehouse (AngeLINK Series). Also featured is an exclusive interview with television writer and producer Jane Espenson.

Seduce Me in Dreams by Jacquelyn Frank (March 22)

Dark. Mysterious. Sensual. When Bronse Chapel, the commander of a specialized unit of the

Interplanetary Militia, begins to dream about a beautiful and exotic brunette, he wants to dismiss it as being induced by lack of sleep . . . or perhaps lack of sex. But his instincts tell him it’s something different, something far more dangerous.

Ravenna is the leader of the Chosen Ones, a small group of people from her village born with extraordinary powers. She doesn’t know that draws her to Bronse’s dreams night after night, but she senses that he and his team are in jeopardy. Ravenna can help him, but first Bronse must save the Chosen Ones fr

om those who plan to use their powers for evil. Together, Bronse and Ravenna will be unstoppable. But Ravenna is hiding something that could endanger them all.

The Battle of my Year: nook vs. paper

23 Feb

I’ve had my nook for about a week now and so far in the battle of nook vs. paper, paper is winning. Sure I like reading the nook when I’m out and about (like the skating rink over the weekend), but my preference is paper books. I’m enjoying the convenience of instantly downloading books, but something is missing. I can’t put my finger on it. I just need to hold a real book.

At one point in my life I was all about convenience. Now as I get older I find myself wanting quality. Quality that can be found in a paper book instead of an electronic copy lacking a cover. Or an e-book with words that are connected (thatare) and I have to separate in my mind. It’s not really that big of an issue, but it’s not quality. It’s great for the books I don’t want to keep. Not so great for those that I’ll need to purchase again to decorate my bookshelf. Ahhhhhh!!!!!

So the debate runs on in my mind…to ebook or not to ebook. Right now, not to ebook is kickin’ ebooks ass.

Review: Murder in Vein by Sue Ann Jaffarian

22 Feb

Murder in Vein by Sue Ann Jaffarian
Midnight Ink (September 2010)
Trade: $14.95
ISBN: 978-0-7387-2311-2

Favorite Lines: “Madison had been in Los Angeles just over two years when she found herself facedown on the ground in a wooded area. Her clothes were in tatters. Duct tape held her hands. A filthy rag muffled her screams.” (p. 1)

Vampires. Vam-pires. Real live—er, dead (undead?)—bloodsucking vampires, living in the City of Angels. Madison Rose, a street-smart twenty-something waitress would never have believed it—until a vampire thwarts a vicious attack against her by appearing in the nick of time and finishing off her assailant in one tasty bite.

Madison has been saved by the vampires—or has she? She learns that women have been going missing; their lifeless bodies turning up drained of blood. Now the murderer is after her. As the violence escalates, Madison, LAPD Detective Notchey, and a cadre of alluring and dangerous vampires search for the true killer—while Madison keeps a wary eye on the skittish and thirsty vampires. Will she survive to see the light of day?

Murder in Vein is book one in Sue Ann Jaffarian’s Fang-in-Cheek mystery series. In Jaffarian’s vampire world the California Vampire Council rules over the vampires in the area with the ancient vampire Samuel La Croix sitting as council head. All of the other vampires defer to him. Samuel is intriguing. He will do whatever it takes to protect those he cares for and he is vicious. But with Madison he is patient. I really like him. Definitely better than I like Madison.

It’s not like Madison is a horrible person. She is just so new to the paranormal world that she acts TSTL at times. Like when she goes off to investigate on her own, more than once. After something bad happens, she does it again! WTF!! But I do like that she’s a survivor. (Even though for a survivor she makes some really dumb choices.) The book really revolves around the mystery aspect of the story which is well written.

I felt like I jumped around the paranormal world with the heroine trying to figure out from which direction the danger would come. But one thing really bothered me: the derogatory use of the word “beater” to describe humans. It’s used often throughout the book and usually by humans. At first it was a piece of information, but before long it was being slung from every direction. (That’s how it felt anyway.) To be fair, some of my issues could be based on reading Sophie Littlefield’s Aftertime which used the word “beater” to describe the zombie characters. I don’t know…

Overall opinion of Murder in Vein? It was a quick, no-think type of enjoyable read. I want to see how Jaffarian plays out the romance she introduced and the short snippet at the back of the book sounds really good. Not knowing Jaffarian’s work, I gotta give it to her—she really knows how to grab her readers. From the first sentence of Murder in Vein and the snippet of the next book, Baited Blood which will be released in September 2011. I like books that cut straight to the story.

Review: Nightshade by Michelle Rowen

21 Feb

Nightshade by Michelle Rowen
Berkley Sensation (February 2011)
Mass Market: $7.99
ISBN: 978-0-425-23982-7

Favorite Lines: “Wow. I’d just deflowered a twenty-eight-year-old dhampyr assassin. This was not a claim I could make every day.” (p. 181)

Jillian Conrad never believed in vampires. But she’s just become a living, breathing weapon against them. Attacked by a desperate scientist, she is injected with a serum that was supposed to act as a deadly poison to vampires. And when the scientist is gunned down in front of her, his secrets die with him.

Declan Reese was only half-vampire, but he hates them with all his heart. He knows that the poison in Jillian’s veins could finally destroy the undead kingdom. Also, the serum has had an unintended effect, making her blood irresistible to all vampires—including Declan, whose bloodthirsty traits are driven into a frenzy by her.

Driven by duty to protect her and by instinct to crave her, Declan takes Jillian into his shadowy world of blood and battle. But he soon realizes his increasing need for her may be a different kind of hunger…

Michelle Rowen, author of Living in Eden and Immortality Bites has created a new urban fantasy series revolving around a human whose blood kills vampires. I don’t really know what to say about the first book in the series, Nightshade. When I read it I immediately thought of Gena Showalter’s Playing with Fire. I realize the similarities are few, but when the thought popped, it popped. Both have a strong male who is forced to make a decision kill the infected girl or use her.

That’s where the similarities end. Nightshade continues by introducing a human to a world filled with vampires and the secret government facility filled with people wanting to destroy the vampires at any means. (This part reminded me of L.A. Banks’ Crimson Moon series.)

I didn’t like Declan for a long (loooooong) time. The medication he took hid his personality and even at the end I wasn’t sure he was the best choice for Jillian. I do like that he isn’t the pretty boy hero most authors write about. He’s missing an eye and is covered in scars. He’s also a virgin. Yep, you read it right. Declan our tough, killing machine, has never done the nasty. Nice…I think.

What do I really think? I don’t have strong feelings about Nightshade. I don’t dislike or love it. That may have something to do with the fact that I didn’t really get into the story until around chapter 19 when a new character was introduced. I really liked the pseudo-bad character. The character makes me question all that I learned about different factions while reading the story. The character is intriguing enough that I’ll read the next book in the series, Bloodlust which comes out July 5, 2011, to find out how it plays out.

I’ve already bought Primal which contains a short novella about Declan and Jillian set before the events in Bloodlust, so I’ll be reading that too. I’m not sure that I need Nightshade on my bookshelf. I think I’ll be alright with electronic copies. Everything hinges on whether I still ambivalent about the series after reading Bloodlust.

Review: Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield

17 Feb

Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield
Luna (February 2011)
Trade: $14.95
ISBN: 9780373803361

Favorite Lines: “She hadn’t been able to clean herself in days, and she knew she carried the smell. The long hair on the back of her head, the hair she hadn’t pulled out, was knotted and tangled. Her nails were blackened and broken. Real Beaters usually had no nails left, but how could the girl be expected to notice a detail like that?”

Awakening in a bleak landscape as scarred as her body, Cass Dollar vaguely recalls surviving something terrible. Having no idea how many weeks have passed, she slowly realizes the horrifying truth: Ruthie has vanished.

And with her, nearly all of civilization.

Where once-lush hills carried cars and commerce, the roads today see only cannibalistic Beaters—people turned hungry for human flesh by a government experiment gone wrong.

In a broken, barren California, Cass will undergo a harrowing quest to get Ruthie back. Few people trust an outsider, let alone a woman who became a zombie and somehow turned back, but she finds help from an enigmatic outlaw, Smoke. Smoke is her savior, and her safety.

For the Beaters are out there.

And the humans grip at survival with their trigger fingers. Especially when they learn that she and Ruthie have become the most feared, and desired, of weapons in a brave new world….

Aftertime takes a harsh look at the world after the apocalypse. It is a dangerous and deadly place where the smartest people shoot first and ask questions later. It is a world where zombies and disillusionment have been mixed together to build a place where only the strongest survive.

It is not a feel good type of book. There is a moment toward the end of the story that my lips burned with sympathy pains for a character and other moments where I didn’t know if the end was ever going to come. It seems like one problem after another constantly popped up and I’m more than pleased with the way Sophie Littlefield avoided bringing unrealistic closure to the different plot lines. She went hard all the way.

The heroine of the story, Cass, is a damaged, former drug abuser who I found hard to like. Not because of her bad choices during the events of the book, but because her difficult life and the poor life choices she made before the world went psycho caused her to become a person I would never like in reality. But her goal and determination to reach her goal made Cass human to me.

Aftertime is built upon the idea that all people make mistakes…it’s what you do after you realize mistakes have been made that forms determines what kind of person you truly are. There is a light romance thread throughout the book and a constant drive to survive. The groups introduced in the story are vastly different from each other. The most important thing to remember about Aftertime is nobody is who he/she appears to be.

Aftertime is the first book in Littlefield’s series. The next book, Rebirth, will be released in August 2011.

Charlaine Harris has a Video Game? WTF

15 Feb

Yep, you read it….Charlaine Harris has a video game you can download for $19.95; I found Dying for Daylight at Pogo’s website.

Charlaine Harris, author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels and inspiration for HBO’s hit series True Blood, invites you to be the Vampire. Play as Dahlia, a vampire with a devastating sense of fashion and a razor-sharp wit, on an epic hunt to find a legendary sun potion.

Review: Dangerous Desires by Dee Davis

14 Feb

Dangerous Desires by Dee Davis
Grand Central (July 2010)
Mass Market: $6.99
ISBN: 978-0-446-54204-3

Favorite Lines: “Madeline Reynard squinted in the bright light. After three days of total darkness, the dappled sunlight hurt her eyes. She flinched as the guard shoved her forward, losing her balance and careening into the exercise yard.” (p. 1)

As the extractions expert for A-Tac, an elite CIA black ops unit masquerading as faculty at an Ivy League college, Drake Flynn knows how to survive behind enemy lines. But he’s about to meet one adversary he can’t subdue . . . or resist.

A RACE FOR SURVIVAL

Stranded in the Colombian jungle after a mission goes bad, Drake has only one objective: evade the mercenaries hot on his trail and deliver “the package” to U.S. officials. But “the package” has a mind of her own, and she has no intention of trading one set of captors for another. Madeline Reynard is beautiful, headstrong, and hell-bent on escape after years as a crime lord’s pawn. She’ll risk everything for freedom, even if it means deceiving the dark, handsome operative who now holds her life in his hands.

Drake has been burned too many times to let a woman manipulate him, especially a secretive one like Madeline. Even so, they cannot deny the attraction between them. Now as enemy forces close in, Drake and Madeline must trust each other with their lives-or face certain death.

Book two in Dee Davis’ A-Tac series, Dangerous Desires, focuses on team member Drake Flynn. The poor guy let himself fall in love with a double-crossing spy; he was forced to kill her and became bitter and filled with distrust for the female species. Love was marked right off of Drake’s list of things to do until he met Madeline Reynard.

It’s an interesting story line with tons of possibilities; too bad I didn’t believe in the relationship. I couldn’t suspend my belief long enough to enjoy two damaged people falling in love. It just wasn’t plausible for two damaged people to fall in love in less than a month. Especially when you factor in the lack of trust both Drake and Madeline had for one another through the book.

Davis did do a great job showing two people attracted to one another. And she avoided having her characters switch personalities by immediately falling in love. Both either proved the other wasn’t worthy of trust or went through moments of wondering why they allowed the other to lull them into complacency. But it wasn’t enough.

Dangerous Desires has great action scenes and an interesting plot, but as a romance I found it to be lacking. I never fell in love with either character. I also think you should read book one before attempting to read this one. This is the first Davis book I’ve read, so there were a couple of instances when I became confused about what was happening. After reading a little bit more, I think it’s pretty safe to conclude those spots were mentioned in book one of the A-Tac series.

I won’t be continuing this series.

Review: A Werewolf in Manhattan by Vicki Lewis Thoompson

7 Feb

A Werewolf in Manhattan by Vicki Lewis Thompson
Penguin/Signet Eclipse (January 2011)
Mass Market: $7.99
ISBN: 978-0-451-23247-2

Favorite Lines: “Emma is it that time of the month? Yep, he was a dweeb.” (p. 46)

Emma Gavin writes bestselling novels about werewolves, but that doesn’t mean she believes in them—and she certainly doesn’t think she’ll meet one. But that’s exactly what happens when her books catch the attention of a rich and powerful pack of Manhattan Weres, who have kept their existence hidden for centuries. Alarmed by the accuracy of her novels, they’re determined to find out if a renegade is acting as her informant.

Aidan Wallace, the pack leader’s son and heir, knows he’s the wolf for the job, but when he gets close to Emma, they are both surprised by an attraction too strong to deny. To surrender to it, Aidan will have to risk everything—including the security of the pack he’s sworn to protect…

Vicki Lewis Thompson is the author of many books. I recognized her name without pinning it to any book in particular. (You might know her from the Nerd series: Nerds Like it Hot, Nerd Gone Wild, The Nerd Who Loved Me…) She is a straight up romance writer, which I love, but I feel like I stumbled into the category romance hole.

Why? Well, the book is about the relationship between Emma and Aidan. Unfortunately it comes at the expense of the plot. The beginning of the book was great. It introduced the characters and problem while building a believable background and setting. I immediately liked and began rooting for both the hero and heroine. But somewhere along the way the drama which plagued them just magically disappeared.

Shit hit the fan, but the fan blew the chunks and smell away. Right at the peak, the action slid into the background. Maybe it’ll be brought up in the next book, but it does nothing alleviate my irritation at the way it was pushed into the background as if it weren’t a major aspect of the book.

Yes, A Werewolf in Manhattan is a character driven book. It is a fun, do not think type of book. It has moments were I was so embarrassed. (A party involving reader’s of Emma’s werewolf series had me cringing.) It’s not a keeper shelf book, it’s a “I have nothing to read and somebody loaned me this” book. I don’t mean to sound harsh. When I finished reading the story I was ambivalent. It wasn’t until I started writing the review that the lack of plot bothered me. Have you read A Werewolf in Manhattan? What do you think about it?

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy an e-book Reader

6 Feb

Okay, I’m just gonna go over the top. It seems like EVERYONE is purchasing or receiving an e-book reader lately. Sure they’re great. They make it possible to have instant gratification when you’re feening for a book and sure it’s convenient. But when I hear people say e-book readers change the way people read today I get scared. These are the reasons why you shouldn’t buy an e-book reader.

  1. When the apocalypse comes and the electric grids fail, you will have no way to charge your reader. Then what will you do with all your time.
  2. If you spill liquids on it you are threatening your library. Not just one book but all of them because most stores only allow you to re-download books a few times.
  3. When you lose your reader you will be shit out of luck. This means you will have nothing to read.
  4. What will you decorate your bookshelves with? They’re called BOOKshelves for a reason.
  5. You need to buy groceries more than you need another electronic gadget in the house.
  6. They cost the same amount as the paper books on your BOOKshelf.
  7. When you consider the materials needed to make your reader, you really aren’t doing much to save the environment.

So why shouldn’t you get an e-book reader?

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