Want a book that retells a classic fairy tale? Well, you’re in luck. There are tons of books available for purchase right now, both in paper and electronic formats. This Halloween, think of yourself. You’re kids will be getting plenty of candy, in addition to new costumes. You…well, you will be getting touched by sticky fingers. Pull a little joy out of Halloween by sinking into a romance. (BTW…I haven’t read all of the books listed below.)
Favorite Lines: “YOU WERE BORN TO SHINE.”
Every child is born with a crown. The crown is everything that gives us unique value. Our crown will always be with us wherever we go, whatever we do.
The Crown on Your Head is a book which shouts to the world children are special. In it a parent tells a child from the moment she (he) saw the child she knew he was special and would accomplish wonderful things.
Aimed at smaller children, The Crown on Your Head makes statements and then backs them up with a simple explanation most children will understand. Every colorful page of the book portrays a child living life to the fullest. If you’re looking for a short picture book capable of expressing your love toward a child, this may be the book for you.
Isle of Night by Veronica Wolff
NAL (September 2011)
Trade: $9.99; ebook: $9.99
Favorite Lines: “He gave me a look that I prayed was more kindly uncle and less here’s a live one for me to deflower.” (p. 191)
Is life offering fewer and fewer options? Then join the dead.
When Annelise meets dark and seductive Ronan, he promises her a new life-if she has the courage to chance the unknown. Now, she’s whisked away to a mysterious island and pitted against other female recruits to become a Watcher-girls who are partnered with vampires and assist them in their missions. To survive and become a Watcher, Annelise has to beat out every other girl, but she’s determined to do so, because to fail doesn’t mean dishonor-it means death.
When I heard about Isle of Night at Book Binge, I knew I had to have it. The premise of the book is intriguing and while I’m not someone who visits the YA section of the book store, I’m not quite willing to let a good book pass me by. I wanted it bad enough to buy it right away. It started off interesting enough until I began to know the heroine. I didn’t like her.
She is introduced as an immature, but extremely intelligent girl; she’s a genius. Her decision-making skills aren’t the best. She makes poor choice after poor choice and never lets the possible consequences affect her decision-making process. Maybe it’s par for a young adult novel, but I found it to be distracting. Added to that immaturity is the heroine’s need to give silly nicknames. For example, her father is Daddy Dearest, her arch-enemy is von Slutling and a random guy is Mr. Harvard Premed.
For the most part, the idea behind the plot is pretty awesome. Girls on the verge of womanhood battle for the right to live as vampire caretakers. They learn all types of things, but the key is to survive. The school doesn’t encourage friendships, as you never know when you’ll be
battling killing your friends. I was good with all that. I didn’t love the mean girls which filled the pages. It was Annelise and another girl against a school full of beautiful, fit Barbies out to get them. I just couldn’t connect to the world, especially when I didn’t particularly care for the genius heroine who kept making ignorant decisions.
Neither was I thrilled with the love triangle. First of all, love with a person who deceives you is never high on my love plots list. Love with a man who may kill you if you misspeak…not high either. Especially in a world where you will never be equal. In Veronica Wolff’s world woman can NOT become vampires.
“You will not be vampires,” he assured us. “Never that. To be Vampire is a man’s destiny. But we cannot survive without you, my fair ones. You see, only you have the opportunity to be a part of an elite group. A group that ensures the survival of the coven. This group is known as the Watchers. And to be Watcher is a woman’s fortune.”
I just wish authors would get over the stupid love triangle BS. It’s been over done.
My biggest peeve with the book has nothing to do with the story or the writing. I always get a little testy when I pay the full price for an ebook. I hate paying $10 for an ebook, especially when the paper version is also priced at $10. If I do spend that amount of money I expect for there to be no issues with my electronic version. Unfortunately, the copy I received had a stupid error that irked me. What? Well, the first paragraph in chapter 12 has two of the same sentences. Mine says:
The Initiates had led me to the ground-floor foyer, where I stood, stripped led me to the ground-floor foyer, where I stood, stripped to my underwear.
I read that crap about 5 times before I realized that I wasn’t crazy and my eyes weren’t skipping lines. I’m even more irritated that the error isn’t in the paper edition, only the ebook. WTF? If anything, I’d expect it to be the other way around since fixing an ebook is simpler than recalling thousands of books, which just wouldn’t happen.
Anyway, I read the entire book. I think it got better as it progressed. I’m even interested in reading the next book in the series. Why after this predominately negative review would I do that? Because I want to know where the author is taking the heroine with one of the possible love triangle guys. I know, I’m punishing myself, but I’ve got to know what happens when a girl hooks up with a guy whom she can never be on equal footing with.
Book two, Vampire’s Kiss will be released in March 2012 and the third book, Blood Fever, will be released in August 2012. I’m not sure what’s going on because it sounds like a third “hot” guy is added to the menu.
IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE PARTNERED WITH A VAMPIRE, YOU HAVE TO WORK THE NIGHT SHIFT.
By her wits, blood, and sacrifice, so far Drew has survived the intensive training on the Isle of Night. As a second-year Acari, her ultimate goal is to become a Watcher, and now she has a shot at her first mission. Except nothing is as it seems. The vampire Alcántara is as sinister as he is sexy, Ronan is more distant than ever, and it turns out there are other vampires out there. Bad ones.
Ancient, bloodthirsty, and powerful, these undead are really old school. They’ve captured one of the Watcher vamps and are torturing him for information. The only chance to save him is to infiltrate a major summit the baddies are holding on their own island. There will be mortals there, serving as butlers, maids, and various hired help. Drew had better brush up on her skills as a serving girl, because she’s about to go undercover…
But, when their vampire prisoner turns out to be a gorgeous bad boy, Drew’s first mission quickly turns into more than she bargained for…–Veronica Wolff’s website; description of book two.
Prowl the Night is book two in Crystal Jordan’s Prowl series. It contains two erotic, romance stories. They are sizzling, so if you like your sex spicy and often, you’ll most likely love the stories included in the book.
Favorite Lines: “And even though she was in his lap, curled against the heat of his body, she was dismissed just that quickly for the more important aspects of his life. It was depressing, disheartening, and made her regret her impulsive need to find comfort in his arms.” (p. 37)
As newly appointed heir to his Pride, Tomas Montoya struggles with both his new duties and his new mate. He craves the dark and dangerous pleasure he finds with Ciri but wonders if he can ever satisfy her need for more…
Crave Me is an emotionally satisfying, erotic story. It shows what comes after the instant attraction and destined mate story line. Watching two people learn about each other outside of the bedroom (or office) shows the need for there to be more than great sex. The best part is creating a workable, yet believable happily ever after for the hero and heroine. I’ve got to know they will succeed in the future. I got all that and much more with Crave Me.
I understand who the hero and heroine truly are as people. I watched the sexual chemistry between the characters burn with desire before they stroke, lick and pump each other to completion. Most importantly, I felt the two compromise as they discovered they could have everything they wanted only if they had each other. The short action oriented story line worked to more the story forward, but don’t expect to run from page to page. Most of the story is about the indecision and concern Ciri and Tomas feel. It is also hot, hot, hot from the first sentence to the last.
Favorite Lines: “His fingers were buried deep in her sex when she woke up. Her nipples were tight, her p**sy so wet she whimpered before she opened her eyes. His arms held her back tight to his chest, but she twisted around as best as she could to look at him. Only to find that he was still deep in slumber.” (p.186)
Teresa Garcia has seen how loving and losing a mate can drive someone mad and she has no interest in experiencing that herself. But when she meets Rafael Santiago, she wants him like no other. Driven by desire, she hungers for his body with a fierce and feral passion…
Want Me features a heroine determined to resist the fated bonding common among panther shifters. Her brother was featured in previous stories written by Crystal Jordan as a villain, but there is so much more to his story than a man determined to have his way. The reason he turned out the way he did is explained in Want Me‘s short story. More than that, however, it is the story of a man comfortable enough to let his woman lead.
She is the heir to her Spanish Pride and outside of the bedroom he defers to her. It doesn’t make him weak or cause him to ever question his masculinity. She never thinks less of him and in the bedroom the two create magnificent sparks. Rafael knows what he wants, considers the pros and cons and then inserts himself in Teresa’s life. She makes a major decision that he doesn’t agree with, but he never goes the caveman route. He allows her to be a grown woman and make decisions. He never closes the door on the relationship or acts petty.
The story is short, sexy and smart. It has no action, but the story doesn’t suffer from the lack there of. I can’t say I absolutely liked it as much as Crave Me, but it was okay. The sex scenes were really, really nice.
Favorite Lines: “I glanced at her, startled, before nodding and putting my own hand over it. We stayed there for a long time, listening to the distant music drifting from the house behind us, and watched as the tide rolled out. She didn’t say anything about my tears. I didn’t say anything about hers. Everything changes.” (p. 354)
October “Toby” Daye is settling into her new role as Countess of Goldengreen. She’s actually dating again, and she’s taken on Quentin as her squire. So, of course, it’s time for things to take a turn for the worse.
Someone has kidnapped the sons of the regent of the Undersea Duchy of Saltmist. To prevent a war between land and sea, Toby must find the missing boys and prove the Queen of the Mists was not behind their abduction. Toby’s search will take her from the streets of San Francisco to the lands beneath the waves, and her deadline is firm: she must find the boys in three days’ time, or all of the Mists will pay the price. But someone is determined to stop her-and whoever it is isn’t playing by Oberon’s Laws…
Book five in Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series continues the adventures of Toby as she is forced to investigate fantastical matters. This book takes the story under the sea, giving the reader an exciting new setting to learn about and a variety of new characters to meet. It is only in the water for a short time, but it was enough to excite me. One Salt Sea also closes several story lines, reveals origins and provides the direction in which the series will travel.
Like all the other books in the series, I loved it. I know I say it every time I review one of McGuire’s books, but it cannot be said enough. McGuire is an expert at writing detailed, action oriented stories without changing her characters. We meet the characters and instantly know when we stumble across that character later in the book or series how it will act or react.
I wasn’t thrilled with the role my beloved Cat King had been relegated to when I began reading One Salt Sea, but I’m more than satisfied with the conclusion. I won’t tell you what happened, but I will tell you McGuire has taken her usual zig-zag path to find the conclusion. You may think one thing is going to happen, but the details leading to that end are important and play a major role in my appreciation of the story.
The path McGuire traveled with Toby made me cry, not for a person that I think, you think, but for another person whom I grieved for the entire series. At times I felt like I cared more than Toby. However, in her defense one crisis after another occurs in every October Daye book.
In the end, I want more. I need to know how this series ends. Often I find myself setting aside a series after the third book. I never once contemplating doing so with October Daye. I know there will be something for me in the next book. I have faith that the author won’t try to shock me in a way that revamps the world and characters I’ve come to know over the course of five books. That deserves loyalty, which is why I’ll continue to pick up McGuire’s books. They are dependable reads.
Book six is titled Ashes of Honor and will be released in September 2012 and book seven is titled The Chimes at Midnight and will be released September 2013.
I’ve got a copy of Amanda Ashley’s Bound by Blood to giveaway courtesy of Kennsington Publishing. Giveaway is open now until noon, Oct. 19 when I select a winner using random.org. To enter: Tell me if you’re dressing up for Halloween. You must have a mailing address in Canada or the US to be eligible.
Zack Ravenscroft loves women-all women-and they love him. The irresistibly seductive owner of the hottest casino in Vegas, Zack has tasted every wicked pleasure Sin City can offer. But never in his six hundred years as a vampire has he seen a morsel as delectable as Kaitlyn Sherrad, the mysterious young newcomer in town. Zack knows nothing about her-except that he craves her.
Kaitlyn is half vampire, half human-and all woman. As the cherished daughter of the Carpathian Coven’s master, she has been given every luxury a girl could desire. Now her only need is for a prince. But though she’s ready to gamble her heart on Zack, a powerful enemy stalks their every move…watches their every kiss…and waits to destroy their undying love…
Blood Rock by Anthony Francis
BelleBooks (July 2011)
Trade: $15.95; ebook: $12.95
Favorite Lines: “”I’m so sorry, Miss Frost,” Isaacson said. “I think your daughter has Tourette’s.”" (p. 143, egalley)
Book Two in the Skindancer series.
Dakota Frost is back, and the ink is about to hit the fan-again.
Graffiti comes to life in the dark heart of Atlanta’s oldest cemetery, slaying one of the city’s best loved vampires before the eyes of his friend Dakota Frost. Deadly magick is at work on the city’s walls, challenging even the amazing power of Dakota’s tattoos to contain it. The hungry, graffiti magick loves to kill, and the Edgeworld is no longer safe from its own kind.
Dakota begins a harrowing journey to save those she loves and to discover the truth behind the spreading graffiti-even if that truth offends the vampires, alienates the werekin and creates police suspicion of her every action.
Saving Atlanta may cost her everything, including custody of her “adopted” weretiger daughter, Cinnamon. But failure is not an option. If the graffiti isn’t stopped, Cinnamon could be the next victim.
The Skindancer urban fantasy series revolves around magical tattooist Dakota Frost. The marks she tattoos come to life. I recommend you read book one, Frost Moon, before attempting to read Blood Rock, the latest installment in the series.
The story picks up a few weeks after the events of Frost Moon. Dakota is trying to get her soon-to-be adopted daughter enrolled in school, but since the girl is obviously werekin, she is having trouble. One of the things I like about the series is how Francis makes it clear that family is much more than blood. In Blood Rock, Dakota’s family is Cinnamon. She would do anything for her and is forced to go to major extremes for her. That isn’t to say Dakota doesn’t have blood relatives. Her father makes an appearance–I didn’t like him.
Blood Rock is an action packed, non-stop book. I mean as soon as things start popping off, there is no break from the action. I hate to say it–but too much happens. So many things are crammed into the pages that I wanted the author to slow down and investigate a little bit. For example, Dakota’s love life is a hot mess. We all know she’s bisexual. However in this book, she’s kinda in relationships with two different men and her past relationship with the queen of the vampires is a minor secondary plot. But nothing is really explored in-depth. The author explains that Dakota never sees her boyfriend SPOILER, so they break up. END SPOILER I want to tell you more, but it would ruin the shock of your life.
I guess what I want you to know is that the story will RUN you from place to place until you’re exhausted. It’s fun. It’s intriguing. But it’s superficial. There is no time to find the meaning in the events or to pick up on the foreshadowing. That is a minor complaint when compared to the concept of graffiti that eats people. Yep, I said it. Man eating graffiti. I could visualize it consuming vampires, which is positive. I like being able to see events in books take place. Francis gave that to me…in fast forward.
In the end, the book was okay. Had it been a little slower paced, I might have felt different because the book would have had meaning while being entertaining. The one time I found something to connect to emotionally, Francis ripped it away. While I read the book, I thought about how fast things happened, but it really didn’t bother me until later when I thought back on the story.
Favorite Lines: “No, it wouldn’t, which has forced the Mage to get creative. They’ve tried stripping the souls of the warriors, they’ve tried creating clones. A few weeks ago, they created a wormhole into the spirit trap, hoping to end the existence of as many of the warriors as possible. Two fell in–Tighe and Hawke.”" (p. 63, egalley)
They are called Feral Warriors—an elite band of immortals who can change shape at will. Sworn to rid the world of evil, consumed by sorcery and seduction, their wild natures are primed for release…
Shattered by recent nightmarish events, Hawke feels his bond with his animal spirit weakening—and once it breaks, he’s finished. The arrival of Faith sends his life spinning even further out of control, for although she delights him and enflames his deepest primal passions, she’s promised to Maxim, the newest Feral Warrior.
Faith is drawn to Hawke from the start, but Maxim holds her in his thrall and has secretly bent her to his malevolent will. Though gravely damaged, Hawke is the only one who can end Faith’s slavery and protect the Feral Warriors from Maxim’s evil designs. But first they both must embrace the wild . . . and surrender body and soul to a forbidden, all-consuming ecstasy.
Ecstasy Untamed is book six in Pamela Palmer’s Feral Warriors series. It’s also my favorite book out of the series. However, if you have no experience with the series you may want to start with book one.According to Pamela Palmer’s website:
Eons ago, before the rise of human civilization, two immortal races battled the Daemons for control of the earth. The Mage, or magic ones, and the Therians, the mighty shape-shifters. Though traditional enemies, the Mage and Therians banded together to overcome the High Daemon, Satanan, ending his reign of terror and destroying his armies. The cost of victory was high. To win that ultimate battle, both races were forced to mortgage nearly all their power. Only one Therian among each of the ancient lines of shape-shifters was left with the power of his animal. Nine remain.
Warning: expect alpha’s with eye-roll worthy names.
Each book in the Feral Warriors series focuses on a different warrior. Book one set up the world, introduced the chief of the warriors and placed his woman as the Radiant, or head of the society. Afterward, each book told the story of the different warriors finding their mates. The relationships could be based on an instant attraction or a friendship that gradually advanced to more.
Ecstasy Untamed takes the route of a woman finding an instant attraction to a warrior. The wrong warrior. For the story to work, Palmer had to tread carefully. It would have been so easy for her to create a TSTL heroine or a love triangle. As far as I’m concerned, neither happened.
Faith is a great heroine. She has an inner strength that is marvelous. She is willing to bend, but certain actions by her possible mate immediately set of warning bells causing her to make a decision. Her actions immediately following the decision weren’t the brightest, but I don’t know anyone who would have guessed the events which followed.
And that right there is why I enjoyed Ecstasy Untamed so very much. I didn’t know what to expect–other than a happily ever after, which at times seemed far-fetched. My emotions while reading the story jumped from anticipation to excitement to confused to blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I was all over the place.
In the end, the thing that makes a great romance novel is the characters. The story must answer at least one important question. Do I care if the characters are happy together? Sure there are other factors such as the pacing of the story, action, word choice and how I relate to the characters. The key, though, is whether the characters are worthy of love. Sometimes just one character is worthy, but in Ecstasy Untamed both the hero and the heroine deserved to be happy…wait for it…together. They got each other. They were willing to support one another and did not try to change the other.
I will be rereading Ecstasy Untamed soon. What did you think about it?