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Books I Want: December 2012

1 Dec

The Cat’s Meow by Stacey Kennedy (TBA December)

thecatsmeowkennedyIn Charleston, Libby is an Enchantress—a witch gifted by the Goddess to conjure spells. When a magical presence is detected around a recent string of feline slayings, Libby must take the case to discover the reasons behind the odd deaths. Much to her displeasure, the coven has also sent the sexy warlock, Kale, to assist her.

While having the muscle around proves to be useful, fighting the
attraction between them is worse than a hex, especially considering Kale is keeping secrets. Libby has good reason to believe that Kale is there to evaluate her performance as a witch, and fears her job is on the line. But soon, Libby has bigger problems than the elusive warlock and career stability. Her spells are turning up clues that point to something far more sinister than slaughtered cats, leading her to a threat that could shake the very foundation of her world.

Now Libby lands herself in the midst of an uprising. She trusts no one and isn’t safe. Not from the warlocks stirring up trouble. Not from the worrisome rebellion she can’t escape. And certainly not from Kale who is weaving a very dangerous spell over her. Continue reading

Review: How Beauty Met the Beast by Jax Garren

13 Nov


3 out of 5 scoopers

How Beauty Met the Beast by Jax Garren
Carina Press (Nov. 19, 2012)
ebook: $1.99 (38,000 words)
ISBN: 9781426894664
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “Even through the sheet she sparked with energy, with life. He brought his other hand up and slowly raked his fingers from her palm to her wrist and down to her elbow.” (p. 16, e-galley)

The Beast

Scarred. Damaged. Living with a terrible secret. Agent of the Underlight Wesley “Hauk” Haukon has nothing left but the fight for liberty against the oppressive Order of Ananke. He’s starting to lose hope…and then he sees her.

The Beauty

Despite her night job as a burlesque dancer, grad student Jolie Benoit has always played the mostly good girl. That all changes following a scorching sexual encounter with a stranger whose face she doesn’t see. After she’s kidnapped by thugs and rescued by a man with a very familiar voice, Jolie becomes a pawn in a struggle she never knew existed.

Hauk knows he cannot have her, and resolves to protect his heart and his secrets. But as they work together and grow closer, he finds new reason to keep fighting. Dare he risk hope in a new life, one where Jolie can see past his ravaged face and where their friendship can grow into something more?

I knew from the get go that How Beauty Met the Beast was going to be a novella. I wasn’t sure how long 38,000 words would show on my nook. It turns out to equal 110 pages. For me, it was just long enough to whet my appetite and as soon as things started getting good the story was over. The good news is that it is part of a three story series and book two, How Beauty Saved the Beast will be released in February 2013.

I had a little bit of trouble staying in the world. I knew the hero was a member of an anarchist group called the Underlight. Then I read about him being a soldier who was disfigured fighting in Afghanistan. When you add in a steambike, metal leg/foot, and people who worship old gods (think Thor), you’ve got me thinking okay it’s a steampunk book. But then I considered the heroine who drove a Nissan coupe, has Celiac’s disease, and attended the University of Texas and felt like I was reading a contemporary romance. By the end I was thoroughly confused when it came to the world building, but satisfied by the introduction of two characters to one another and myself.

How Beauty Met the Beast is…different. It’s not bad, just not what I expected. The characters though, they are what hooked me. For example, it’s not the “norm” to have the heroine of a romance work as a burlesque dancer. The scenes in which she struts her stuff and belts out tunes before meeting the hero behind the animosity of a sheet hit home her adventurous nature. Hawk is introduced by his actions as well. The reader is shown Hawke on the run with a buddy and his willingness to sacrifice himself in order to protect his pal. We get to travel into his mind where he considers the reactions others have to his disfigured face and watch him have a healthy interaction with a beautiful woman before we are told the extent of the damage done to him. When the author gets descriptive and I’m able to visualize what this man looks like it’s too late to walk away thinking the man is “gross.” By then I’ve half fallen in love with the man.

Obviously there were parts of the story that I was invested in, however when the world which confused me is added to what felt like a third of one complete story, I’m left feeling so-so about it all. I like to read complete stories in one book. I think there are way too many series and trilogies floating around. Sometimes it’s necessary, but other times it feels like a reason to suck money out of readers. If the Tales of the Underlight trilogy unfolds the way I expect, the division will be a way to give the characters time to get to know one another. That’s understandable, but does nothing to absolve my irritation for a story that ends just when it starts getting good. That said, I don’t regret reading How Beauty Met the Beast and plan to read the next book in the series.

Review: Enslaved by Elisabeth Naughton

23 Oct


4 out of 5 scoopers

Enslaved by Elisabeth Naughton
Sourcebooks (Nov. 6, 2012)
Mass market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
ISBN: 9781402262159
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “All her life she’d been alone. Even the few times she’d been in love, she’d still been alone, because she’d never opened herself all the way. She’d never admitted who she really was, never confessed her hopes and dreams, never shared her soul. This time, she would. This time, everything was different.” (p. 296, e-galley)

After being rescued from the Underworld, Gryphon is plauged by strange voices and an evil foreboding. He believes that his only hope for salvation is to track down the goddess who cursed him…until he meets Maelea.

A prisoner with no bars, Maelea encounters Gryphon on her quest to find Olympus. He’s about to test her loyalty to the gods, and she’s ready to find out if he still has a heart worth saving…

It’s hard to believe that Enslaved is book five in Elisabeth Naughton‘s Eternal Guardians series. I’m not a fan of Greek mythology, but I’ve really become addicted to this series which incorporates bits and pieces of the past with its modern word. I highly recommend starting this series with book one instead of jumping in with Enslaved. Every book is about a different couple, but we’re given information and introduced to a variety of characters prior to starting their story. For example, we read about Gryphon’s experience in Hades and learn all about Maelea’s existence in book four, Enraptured.

After reading all the damage done to Gryphon in Enraptured and learning of Maelea’s predicament I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Enslaved. I knew a story about two horrendously damaged people would be good reading and I was right. The emotional trauma paired with the feelings of loneliness made them a perfect match once they realized the attraction between them. Maelea has always been alone not out of a desire but because she was cursed by the gods. Her father, Zeus, didn’t acknowledge her and her mother, Persephone, didn’t have much to do with her either.

Her constant migration and inability to let others get close to her made me want more for her. Just imagine how she felt living forever with no family and no constant partner or friends. Then BAM! there’s Gryphon who was tortured and is now infected with the voice of a villainess. He is purposely separating himself from his friends and family. Sure it’s out of a need to protect them from him, but he feels dirty and dangerous. He used to be completely different. His transformation from light to dark is affecting everyone–but Maelea.

As the two find peace in the world and within themselves there are so many other things taking place. The villainess from book one is still around. Atalanta still wants the Orb of Kronos and is using Gryphon to get it. The gods are making a play for the Orb, as well. They are trying to get it through Maelea. One of the story lines that began in book one will finally be concluded in this book.

Enslaved is equal parts romance/relationship and action moving the book/series forward. It’s also a nice change from the average vampire or shifter paranormal romance. It’s a decent addition to a comfortable series that is on my auto buy list.