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I’m Reading Gini Koch’s Kitty Kat Series

27 Sep

I’ve seen the series posted sporadically and finally decided to try it. Luckily my local library had all five books and I was able to borrow them. I probably won’t post reviews of the books, but here’s what I’m reading.

Touched by an Alien

Marketing manager Katherine “Kitty” Katt steps into the middle of what appears to be a domestic dispute turned ugly. And it only gets uglier when the man turns into a winged monster, straight out of a grade-Z horror movie, and goes on a killing spree. Though Kitty should probably run away, she springs into action to take the monster down.

In the middle of the chaos a handsome hunk named Jeff Martini appears, sent by the “agency” to perform crowd control. He’s Kitty’s kind of guy, no matter what planet he’s from. And from now on, for Kitty, things are going to be sexy, dangerous, wild, and out of this world.

Alien Tango

It’s been five months since marketing manager Katherine “Kitty” Katt started working with the aliens from Alpha Centauri, and she and Jeff Martini are getting closer. But when an experimental spacecraft is mysteriously returned to the Kennedy Space Center, Kitty and the rest of her team are called in to investigate. Now the team must survive murderous attacks, remove a space entity from a group of astronauts, and avoid an unhinged woman with a serious crush on Kitty’s high school boyfriend. And that’s all before evil masterminds decide Kitty’s extermination is vital.

Alien in the Family

Super-Being Exterminator Kitty Katt and the Alpha Centaurian she loves, Jeff Martini, should be finalizing their wedding plans. But that was before she discovers Jeff is in line to become Emperor back on his home world. Kitty knows she is everything a royal family wouldn’t approve of, and is bracing herself for the worst. As it turns out, the royal family is just the beginning. Especially when extraterrestrial Amazonian terrorists are determined to start and end Kitty and Jeff’s nuptial festivities with a bang.

Alien Proliferation

Alien Super-Being Exterminator Kitty Katt is expecting her first baby. But the alien attacks are getting more dangerous, and now Kitty and her Alpha Centaurion husband, Jeff, have to find out who’s behind the conspiracy to kill Kitty’s secret agent mom and what caused Kitty’s transformation into a superhuman-and they’ve got to do it all before the baby shower…

Alien Diplomacy

Being newlyweds and new parents is challenging enough. But Jeff and Kitty Martini are also giving up their roles as super-being exterminators and Commanders in Centaurion Division while mastering the political landscape as the new heads of Centaurion’s Diplomatic Corps. Enter a shadowy assassination plot and a new set of anti-alien conspirators, and nothing will ever be the same…

Alien Vs. Alien (coming December 2012)

Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini and the rest of the American Centaurion Diplomatic Corps are still recovering from their introduction to Washington D.C. politics, parties, and conspiracies. So when compromising pictures arrive, no one’s too surprised. They’re also the least of anyone’s worries.

Evil androids running amok, birds of all kinds and from all places creating havoc, a Senator trapped in an ever-tightening web of intrigue, and escalating international tensions all seem tough but manageable. But the disappearance of Jeff Martini and Charles Reynolds during the International One World Festival signals more than the usual nastiness — and it looks like even ACE can’t help them.

Then new trouble arrives in old packages and even with the best hackers in the world, beings from near and far, the full might of Earth’s military, and the Wonder Twins on their side, Centaurion Division’s outmanned and outgunned.

Now Kitty’s racing against the clock to find not only Jeff and Chuckie, but to keep the peace between Middle Eastern countries, all while searching for the bases of super-soldier operations — to stop them or die trying.

There are supposed to be at least 3 more books in the series released according to GoodReads. What are you reading?

Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

19 May

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
Harlequin/Harlequin TEEN (April 24, 2012)
Hard cover: $18.99; ebook: $14.99
ISBN: 9780373210510
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “Go too long without  feeding, and the result will be the same. And this is why vampires do not become attached to humans, or anyone. Sometime in your life, Allison Sekemoto, you will kill a human being. Accidentally or as a conscious, deliberate act. It is unavoidable. The question is not if it will happen, but when. Do you understand?” (p. 96, egalley)

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

Book one in Julie Kagawa’s Blood of Eden series is The Immortal Rules. It’s set in a dystopian world in the aftermath of a devastating virus which affected humans and vampires. The end result has placed vampires as the rulers of society and humans as slaves and food. Humans live hard lives. But Kagawa’s world contains more than just vampires and humans. There are terrible creatures called rabids who hunt humans. The world is ugly, raw and painful.

The Immortal Rules is aimed at young adults and revolves around an orphaned teenager named Allison Sekemoto. She is street smart with an inner soft streak. As with most young adult novels, she’s at the start of a new journey. One which will transform her in many ways and force her to grow up, even as her body is stunted in death. That journey is not just a physical transformation, but a mental progression that all kids must make as they learn there is so much more to life than their small, immediate circle.

The story is broken apart into four sections which are indicative of Allison’s life: human, vampire, monster and wanderer. I enjoyed some sections more than others and at times became quite irritated with Allison. She whined about decisions that she made and made silly choices. Then I had to remind myself that the heroine was a teenager so her reactions and actions would be those of a teen.

In addition to Allison’s story line, there is one which connects the ugly world to its creation. One character plays a key role in both story lines. The revulsion others’ feel toward that individual is easily transferred upon those with no knowledge of the event. I can’t wait to trace the story of the most reviled character ever to exist in Kagawa’s Eden world. Book two in the series is still untitled but will be released in 2013.

Bonus: For those who like discussion topics there are questions for discussion attached to the end of the book.

Have you read: Lucy Snyder?

16 Mar

A few years ago I picked up my first Lucy Snyder book: Spellbent. It just so happened to be the first book in the Jessie Shimmer series. The heroine (Jessie Shimmer, duh) starts out as your everyday college dropout packed into a  cute body, but quickly transforms into a determined woman. She is far from perfect and remains so throughout the first three books of the series. How imperfect? Well in the first book her eye is burned out leaving her face disfigured and her hand is bitten off. There is a cure for the disfigurements if they are addressed immediately. Jessie’s are not. What does that mean? She attacks problems without the aid of a human eye or hand. She is a disabled, urban fantasy heroine whom many of the characters still find sexy and attractive.

The Jessie Shimmer series is not a romance or for lack of better word “soft” urban fantasy. The book is hardcore. There are moments while I read each book that I wanted to scrub my mind with bleach. Even now–days after finishing book three–I still picture a gruesome image as the villain makes good on her promise to the heroine. It is violent and disgusting goodness that I couldn’t set down. (I haven’t watched the Saw movies, but that type of graphic horror.) It is NOT for the weak stomached or those who will dissect it looking for the hidden message. It is entertainment.

I haven’t read many posts about Lucy Snyder, which surprises me. Maybe it shouldn’t since I read Spellbent when it was released and didn’t pick up Shotgun Sorceress or Switchblade Goddess until a week or so ago. In a way I’m glad I waited. (Y’all know I have a problem with waiting for books to be released.) However, I’m slightly confused at the lack of blog posts about this series. Are readers put off by the down and dirty secrets and scenes? What do readers think about the heroine’s limitations?

Snyder has a gift for creating disturbing scenarios and setting them in an urban fantasy world. She has created a woman who has grown so much and paired her with a man who has slowly grown on me. In book one, I thought he was rather self-centered; not that we got much time with him. By the end of book two, I found him to be damaged but salvageable. At the end of Switchblade Goddess I knew he was the perfect man for Jessie. He is far from perfect, but he recognized his faults and the things he had done wrong in his relationship with Jessie, told her about them without her pointing them out to him first and promised to do better. I believe him. While their relationship is never front and center as the main issue, it does burn slowly on the back burner almost to the point where I wanted to scream at Jessie to do something.

Snyder’s Jessie Shimmer series is not a feel good series. I never put down any of the books happy. I put them down grossed out and haunted by the vivid imagery of torturous scenes, but I never considered setting the books down and walking away. I wish I could wash away many of the images, so I could stop thinking about the books as “the book where this guy did this” or “the book with the electric drill.” Gosh, I’m grossing myself out thinking about it. The series is urban fantasy meet horror, featuring a heroine who often got lucky by not dying. What I’d really like to know is if you’ve read any of Lucy Snyder’s books and what you think about them.

Shout out to Dan Dos Santos! The cover art is excellent. I’ve bought all three of the books in paper form strictly to have access to the gorgeous covers.

I Blame Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy

3 Mar

Years ago I became obsessed with reading paranormal romance and urban fantasy. I love the strong women who don’t take shit, but are comfortable with letting their man lead in the bedroom. Most of them are proficient at the art of kicking ass and find the most yummy alpha men ever. But the genres themselves have done things to me.

  • No, they aren't my puppies!

    I randomly fixate on my appearance. I panic because I need to lose weight to avoid spending my undead years chunky. I look at my poor, raggedy feet, then the next time I’m at the store buy a pumice stone. Why? I can’t live forever with feet that need to be pedicured on a daily basis. Picture it with me. Waking up next to my alpha man and running my foot up his leg only to draw blood cause my feet were dry, sharp chunks of flesh. Then there is the obvious, ultimate gross out: hair. I need to shave my (fill in the blank) and shape my eyebrows or it could be quite a lonely future when you live forever and are a hot mess.

  • Occasionally I consider the necessity of an apocalypse care kit. You know when the angels/zombies/shifters strike against humanity I will be a survivor. Maybe. I don’t know about living in a world that doesn’t have running water or television or Internet…But just in case I change my mind. I’d be sure to pack bottled water, lighters, matches, aerosol hairspray (instant flamethrower, duh!), a baseball bat and Hostess coffee cakes.
  • Sometimes I wonder if holy water would work on paranormal creatures. Would it work even though I’m not Catholic? Would it work if I took it from a church since that’s basically stealing?
  • Knowing when I die I will be cremated. Have no fear. This woman is not rising back up as a corpse.
  • Is that cool area of the room the result of ghost? Is it a malevolent apparition? Are wererats in my house?
  • Being thankful that my tubes are tied so I don’t end up like the dumb-ass Lori chick from The Walking Dead. You know, the lady who got pregnant and deserves to be eaten because she got pregnant while dodging zombies.

There are so many other things that I blame paranormal romance and urban fantasy for, but I’ll leave a few for you to express in a comment. Come on! What do you blame those genres for?

Review: Chaos Tryst by Shirin Dubbin

5 Oct

Chaos Tryst by Shirin Dubbin
Carina Press (October 2011)
ebook: $3.99 (33,000 words, think 107 pages)
ISBN: 9781426892394

Favorite Lines: “Everything went swimmingly on the approach but she’d forgotten what a tall woman she was. Forgot it all the way up until her forehead slammed into the poor guy’s ‘nads.” (p. 14, egalley)

Ariana Golde may be known for breaking and entering but she’s no thief, she’s a returner. She retrieves stolen objects and gives them back to their rightful owners. Her latest job: retrieving a statue from the Medveds. But Ari is having an off night, and she’s caught red-handed by the three brothers, who don’t just get mad-they turn into bears.

Maksim Medved is outraged-the statue belongs to his parents. But Ari’s returner magick doesn’t lie: the heirloom has a new rightful owner. Ari is drawn to the surly, handsome Maks-maybe because he possesses the same chaos magick she does. But while Ariana enjoys a touch of chaos, Maks hates its destructive power.

When Ari and Maks team up to find her mystery client, their chaos magicks ignite even faster than their attraction. Can Maks learn to love a little chaos, or will the havoc they cause among the faebled creatures drive him away for good?

Chaos Tryst is a short story which takes place in a fairy tale like land and features The Three Bears. Ariana Anase Kitsu Golde is the daughter of Inari (a Japanese trickster fox god–kitsune) and Anansi (African trickster god who looks like a spider). She is a quick-witted woman who is attracted to a cursed bear shifter named Maks. He is a man who hates wild magic and thieves. Both Ari and Maks have chaos magic and tends to react in a variety of ways.

One of the most interesting aspects of Chaos Tryst was the interracial hero and heroine. The heroine is African-Japanese and the hero is Russian-Gypsy; she uses Japanese terms and he has a Russian accent. I thought it slightly odd that characters from such varying fables would interact so freely, but it didn’t distract me from the story. It made me think about how different the characters where from their appearances to their jobs. It didn’t take long to figure out they were perfect for one another. (Good thing seeing as how the book’s less than 107 pages long.) Ari has a carefree, live and let live attitude while Maks was bitter. He had reason to be, but I kept thinking that he was a major cry baby.

Despite like parts of the story, there were things that didn’t work for me. I understand the reason they were included was to show chaos magic at work, but they really confused me for a while. I’m talking about the scene in the bakery involving an old woman and later on the thoughts running through a princess’s mind. I don’t like being yanked out of a story by additional ideas or information which is what I felt like happened.

Chaos Tryst is a retake on fables and fairy tales. If that’s your thing, you’ll most likely enjoy the book. It features a warring land with goblins and ogres, tons of trickery and a happy ending. It’s not the most exciting book I’ve ever read, but it’s a fairy tale aimed at romance readers. While I didn’t love the hero, I liked the idea of him shifting and the alpha tendencies his inner beast tried to put into his head.  However, bear shifter or not, there wasn’t enough to create more than a “meh” reaction within me.

Review: Feast: Harvest of Dreams by Merrie Destefano

16 Jul

Feast by Merrie Destefano
HarperCollins/HarperVoyager (July 2011)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
ISBN: 9780061990823
Favorite Lines: “And suddenly, I remembered what I had seen in the woods, the dead body and the shadowy creatures that had tried to hold me. Something foul and dreadful had by loosed in the wood this afternoon. We had to get out of here, quickly. I grabbed my son by the hand.” (p. 116, egalley)

Halloween is a bad time to return to the woods . . .

Madeline MacFaddin (“Mad Mac” to fans of her bestselling magical stories) spent blissful childhood summers in Ticonderoga Falls. And this is where she wants to be now that her adult life is falling apart. The dense surrounding forest holds many memories, some joyous, some tantalizingly only half-remembered. And she’s always believed there was something living in these wooded hills.

But Maddie doesn’t remember the dark parts—and knows nothing of the mountain legend that holds the area’s terrified residents captive. She has no recollection of Ash, the strange and magnificent creature who once saved her life as a child, even though it is the destiny of his kind to prey upon humanity. And soon it will be the harvest . . . the time to feast.

Once again Maddie’s dreams—and her soul—are in grave danger. But magic runs deep during harvest. Even a spinner of enchanted tales has wondrous powers of her own . . .

Feast is a campfire story put into book form. Filled with predatory monsters, the story revolves around a small town which has been cursed. At the center of the curse is Ash, a creature consumed with guilt and grief who refuses to let go of the past and live. At least until a tormented Maddie arrives. It’s not a romance. It is not character driven, but there is a romantic element to the story.  The tone of Feast reminds me of Amanda Stevens The Restorer. Not in creep factor, but in pacing and ambiance.

The story is told in first person, but each chapter is told by a different character.  The story is shown from all the important characters except Maddy’s son. Despite the multitude of storytellers, it’s not hard to follow;  each chapter is labeled with the storyteller’s name. Feast manages to subtly combine horror and fantasy, while making sure to add a touch of romance. It’s a tale of implications.

It’s obvious Ash and Maddie will eventually hook up, but when it happens it doesn’t feel right. There was never any honest recognition of sexual attraction leading the way to a romantic love. It just sort of happens toward the end of the story. One minute Maddie is oblivious, the next she clearly sees the man/beast.

Then there’s the chaos which gradually expand from Ash and Maddie to encompass the entire town. There are implied murders without ramifications and the furtive rapes. The rapes aren’t violent, but when you have a greedy, driven shapeshifter who is capable of manipulating humans…well, use your imagination. I expect both the murders and rapes to be discussed if there are to be more books in the series. As it ended I was not satisfied.

You want to know what I think? So do I. I don’t hate Feast, but I won’t seek out future books if it becomes a series. Feast successfully intermingles the fantastic with reality and I enjoyed the introduction to the shapeshifting monsters reminiscent of the dark fae. However, it isn’t enough to hold my attention. Borrow it from a friend or the library.

What are others saying about Feast?
The Bookaholic Cat
Smexy Books
Ruby’s Reads
My Bookish Ways