Tag Archives: Apocalypse

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: Sleeping with the Wolf by Maddy Barone

17 Nov

 
3 of 5 scoopers

Sleeping with the Wolf by Maddy Barone
Liquid Silver Books (November 2010)
Trade: $11.99; ebook: $3.99
ISBN: 9781595787774

Favorite Lines: “We don’t have a church or a priest here. Don’t need ’em to be married. You want vows? I’ll make vows to you. I promise to take care of you as long as I live. If there’s only enough food for one of us, you’ll get it. I’ll keep you warm when it’s cold. Anyone who tries to hurt you will have to go through me first. How’s that?” (p.16)

Rising country music star Carla boards a plane in the year 2014. But it crashes in the future, fifty years after Armageddon has destroyed technology and plagues have reduced the female population to a precious few. She finds herself offered as prize in a Bride Fight, where only the strongest and fiercest men are allowed to compete to win a wife. Alpha werewolf Taye knows Carla is his mate. He wins the Bride Fight and takes her to his den, ready to give her everything, even his heart. Will Carla ever be ready to give him anything?

I stumbled across Sleeping with the Wolf  by Maddy Barone while surfing Goodreads. The premise for the series sounded interesting so I took a chance and bought it, as well as book two, Wolf’s Glory. Currently there are four books available in Barone’s After the Crash series set in a post-apocalyptic world where women are scarce. I paid $3.27 for Sleeping with the Wolf; the book shows on my nook as being 106 pages long.

Sleeping with the Wolf is not an instant love story, but it doesn’t take long for the heroine to realize she can’t go back in time and to make the best of what she has been given. Her husband knew going into the relationship that Carla was the only woman for him, but Carla hadn’t even had a chance to adapt to the new world before she was shoved into Taye’s arms.

One of the best things about Sleeping with the Wolf is that many of the men are virgins. Taye used romance novels to learn how to interact with females and discover what to do in the marriage bed. Going by Carla’s reactions and the things Taye did, he learned quite well too.

I don’t regret buying Sleeping with the Wolf. It’s about what I expected to get in a little over 100 pages. The characters fall in love quickly and the heroine never acts out in a way that makes me hate her. The hero is compassionate, but definitely an alpha. Taye was sweet and wooed Carla until he won her over which satisfied me. It’s just that despite the time travel to the future and apocalypse which swept the world before the series begins everything is extremely predictable.

Review: Sleeping with the Wolf by Maddie Barone

3 Nov

Sleeping with the Wolf by Maddie Barone
Liquid Silver Books (November 2010)
Trade: $11.99; ebook: $3.99
ISBN: 9781595787774

Favorite Lines: “I heard my father explain it once to my mother. He said that to his wolf, she was like the only warm house in the middle of a deadly blizzard. She gave him a safe place to shelter in, one that was just for him, and he would take care of that safe place and defend it from intruders.” (p. 70)

Rising country music star Carla boards a plane in the year 2014. But it crashes in the future, fifty years after Armageddon has destroyed technology and plagues have reduced the female population to a precious few. She finds herself offered as prize in a Bride Fight, where only the strongest and fiercest men are allowed to compete to win a wife. Alpha werewolf Taye knows Carla is his mate. He wins the Bride Fight and takes her to his den, ready to give her everything, even his heart. Will Carla ever be ready to give him anything?

Sleeping with the Wolf is book one in Maddy Barone’s After the Crash series set in a  futuristic world after the apocalypse and featuring paranormal creatures finding love. It shows up on my nook as 106 pages long. Since it’s short there are many instances that are told instead of shown, but I liked the idea of a world where women are in demand and where it isn’t abnormal for the men to be virginal.

Yep, you read that right. An area of land which is home to over 4,000 men only has 200 women. Two female newcomers to the world in search of aid have been sold to a man who sets up a special fight to find eligible men who can afford to care for and be good life partners to the women. Not exactly an easy introduction to a topsy-turvy futuristic world.

Short but sweet, Sleeping with the Wolf is a new look into the paranormal shapeshifter world. I love the idea of a world gone to hell, but still home to strong shifter men who can only love their mate. One of the best parts was seeing how the hero taught himself to be prepared for the time when he found his mate. Consider how sex would be if romance books were considered reference books. Think of a virginal man who bypasses wham bam thank you ma’am because he has a step-by-step plan.

The romance is definitely on fast forward cause within days the heroine falls for the alpha hero. It didn’t really bother me because the heroine constantly thought of the nice, considerate things her man did for her. She also realized that she’d never be able to travel back in time to the world she knew. Her ability to adapt without losing herself made Sleeping with the Wolf a pleasant read. I’ll be picking up the next book in the series, Wolf’s Glory.

Review: Hearts of Darkness by Kira Brady

1 Aug

Hearts of Darkness by Kira Brady
Kensington (Aug. 7, 2012)
Mass Market: $6.99; ebook: $5.99
ISBN: 9781420124569

Favorite Lines: “I will carry you when you grow weary…I will warm you when you are cold…I will shelter you when you seek refuge…I pledge my body to your protection, my soul to your happiness,  and my heart to your keeping.” (p. 327, ARC)

Nurse Kayla Friday has dedicated her life to science and reason. But for her, Seattle is a place of eerie loss and fragmented, frightening memories. And now the only clue to her sister’s murder reveals a secret battle between two ancient mythologies…and puts Kayla in the sights of lethally-sexy werewolf mercenary Hart. He’ll do whatever it takes to obtain the key to the Gate of the Land of the Dead and free what’s left of his soul. But seducing the determined Kayla is putting them at the mercy of powerful desires neither can control. And as the clock ticks down to hellish catastrophe, the untested bond between Kayla and Hart may lead to the ultimate sacrifice.

Book one in Kira Brady‘s romantic Deadglass trilogy, Hearts of Darkness, is a new take on the paranormal world. In Brady’s world there are dragon shifters (Drekar) who lack souls and feed on humanity and shapeshifters (Kivati) on the verge of extinction who are battling the dragons. The shifters are also supposed to protect humanity, but that’s not high on their priority list.

Hearts of Darkness combines Babylonian, Native American and Norse mythology to create a world on the verge of destruction. Though set in the present day, the world has a steampunk feel due to the monocles, steam engines and clothing worn by the Kivati. There is a crack in Seattle’s Gate to the Land of the Dead. Damned ghosts and evil wraiths slip through the crack into Seattle longing to touch and feel again. Those spirits are capable of possessing humans, turning them into walking zombie-like creatures.

The paranormal aspects of life in the corrupt city of Seattle remains unknown to most of humanity, but Kayla is not allowed to keep her head in the sand. She want to find her sister’s killer and her very human attempt at compassion has placed her in debt to the Kivati. She is given three days to find an item her sister hid or face the consequences of not upholding her side of an agreement with the Kivati. She’s not what I consider a kick ass heroine, but an everyday woman thrown into a “crazy” situation. Kayla is pretty naive for being the woman who always cleaned up after her little sister. She takes things at face value, never looking below the surface which kept placing her in danger.Especially when it comes to the book’s hero, a Kivati man named Hart.

Hated by his fellow Kivati, Hart is enslaved to the leader of the Drekar. He is filled with self-loath and has little choice in many of the actions he is forced to take. He clings to threads of honor, unwilling to become completely warped by the evil he has been associated with for over 15 years. Hart wants to be a better man, however until his debt is paid off, he can do nothing but follow orders.

Hearts of Darkness is filled with suspense and action. I never became enamored with the romance thread though. I know Kayla and Hart were attracted to one another, but I didn’t see the appeal for more than a sexual relationship. It’s a book in which a man can earn redemption and love can be found and recognized in the darkest of situations. I enjoyed both the suspense and the happy ever after ending despite my ambivalent thoughts on the romance. I will be reading the next book, Hearts of Shadows, because its main characters (Grace and Leif) really interest me.

Review: Night Forbidden by Joss Ware

24 Jul

Night Forbidden by Joss Ware
HarperCollins/AVON (July 31, 2012)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $4.99
ISBN: 9780062018649

Favorite Lines: “The sight was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. The emptiness billowing inside her mingled with affection and love for Yvonne, and the quiet knowledge that she’d always be an observer rather than a member of a close-knit family. She’d always be a surrogate mother instead of one herself. She’d always have to be on her guard about letting anyone too close to her.” (p. 32, egalley)

The world is ash, destroyed, and now controlled by Strangers. Survivors live in constant peril. But in the heart of Envy, resistance grows . . .

Somehow Bruno “Fence” Washington survived the apocalypse—emerging from a Sedona cave into a strange and terrible new world . . . fifty years later. Now, scouring the ruined earth for answers about the malevolent Strangers, the former extreme sportsman encounters an Amazonian beauty who calls to his every desire, but whose secret could mean his end.

Ana grew up in the ocean, diving far beneath the waves to the remnants of a world she never knew. Try as she might she can’t resist the man who tempts her in ways she never knew possible . . . whose touch elicits truths she swore never to reveal. But the passion between them won’t be denied even though it means facing a new evil rising up from the roiling waters to blanket the world in unending night.

I love Ware’s dark post-apocalyptic world where her Envy Chronicles world is set. It’s violent, deadly and full of passion. Passion for survival and for the unexpected appearance of love. No one is undamaged. No one is who they seem to be. All you can be certain of is the appearance of the zombie like former humans wondering the earth and some form of a happy ending. Warning: Don’t try to jump into the series with this book or you will be lost.

Night Forbidden introduces a new aspect to the world: mer-like people, aka Atlanteans. They aren’t Disney merpeople either. They are the reader’s key to learning about the sunken city of Atlanta. Through the water-loving people the reader learns about the crystals which have been sought after throughout the series. We also get to revisit some of the main characters from previous books. One of them, Zoe, about drove me nuts. I wanted to smack that chick.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the book once I realized the heroine could breathe underwater. I’m not a fan of mermaid books. I should have known Ware wouldn’t let me down. I was fascinated with all aspects of the story. Now there is danger coming on earth and water. It added to the tension which was being built. I want more. Mostly I just want to read Remy’s story, but I’ve a feeling that will be the last book.

If you’re looking for a romance book that involves mutated people, zombies and world building which will suck you in, you’ve got to pick up Ware’s Envy Chronicles. Each book is better than the last and I can’t wait for the next installment to come out.


New TV Shows: Revolution

2 Jun

I’m thinking I might want to watch this one when it shows up on tv this fall. What about you?

Review: Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen

30 May

Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen
Harlequin (May 29, 2012)
Trade: $9.99; ebook: $9.99
ISBN: 9780373210473
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “Grays consume souls. If they give in to their hunger, it can kill a weaker human. Stronger humans can survived losing their soul, but they will become infected–they’ll become a gray, too. Being gray changes them, and grays who feed too much, get too greedy, are incredibly dangerous.” (p. 88, e-galley)

Smart, über-careful, ordinary Samantha—that’s me. But I just couldn’t pass up a surprise kiss from my number-one unattainable crush. A kiss that did something to me…something strange. Now I feel hungry all the time, but not for food. It’s like part of me is missing—and I don’t know if I can get it back.

Then there’s Bishop. At first I thought he was just a street kid, but the secrets he’s keeping are as intense as his unearthly blue eyes. If he’s what I think he is, he may be the only one who can help me. But something terrifying is closing in, and the one chance Bishop and I have to stop it means losing everything I ever wanted and embracing the darkness inside me….

Dark Kiss is book one in Michelle Rowen’s Nightwatcher series. It is marketed toward kids 14 and older according to the B&N website. The heroine is a teenager whose life was forever changed by a kiss. The hero is an angel and part of a team composed of angels and demons sent to destroy a threat to world, of which the heroine is somehow involved.

I started reading Dark Kiss on April 15, but put it down for several weeks. It’s not that the story was horrid or boring, it just didn’t hold my attention over other books which had recently become available. I needed to write this review so I picked the book back up May 29th and flew through its angst filled pages. My fingers itched to put the book down until I hit chapter 13. Then I didn’t want to stop reading.

Some young adult books that resonate with adults. Michelle Rowen’s Dark Kiss was not one of those books. The heroine was not mature beyond her years nor did she come off as on the cusp of womanhood.  Samantha–the heroine–gets kissed by a guy she’s been crushin’ on for years. It’s a soul stealing kiss that changes her. Now she can do and see things she was never capable of doing before the kiss. What it doesn’t do is make her into a cold, uncaring person ruled by her hunger to kiss others. That ability to ignore or manage the hunger to kiss people makes her different from others who’ve lost their souls.

When Sam meets a young guy and finds out he’s an angel sent to stop the soul suckers she  makes a deal with him. She’ll help him find his teammates who are wandering around town if he helps her get her soul back. It’s a great premise and works quite well. I just kept getting irritated with the heroine’s inability to see what was right before her eyes. Thinking back I know it’s because she is so young. She has no life experience to change her initial reaction to different situations. She takes things at face value when an older woman would (hopefully) know better.

Dark Kiss is a book for younger people than I. I expect several plot lines to be picked up in the second installment, Wicked Kiss, when the book comes out in 2013. I wasn’t impressed with the first half of the book, but the story got much better as the action picked up in the second half. Had the heroine not been “special” she would have died many times. Her naivete makes her an easy target for the many supernatural beings who are all following their own agendas. I don’t think I’ll revisit this series.

 

Semi-Review: Kiss of Pride by Sandra Hill

4 May

Kiss of Pride by Sandra Hill
HarperCollins (April 24, 2012)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $4.99
ISBN: 9780062064615

Some men are too bad to be true . . .

Is he really a Viking with a vampire’s bite? An angel with the body of a thunder god? A lone wolf with love on his mind? Alexandra Kelly, his prey, thinks Vikar Sigurdsson is either flat-out crazy or he’s trying to maneuver her into his bed—which is hardly where a professional reporter should conduct an interview, tempting as that prospect might be.

And some men are too good to be true . . .

Until Vikar does something a teensy bit unexpected, and Alex begins to wonder whether her mystery man could really be everything he says he is: a Viking Vampire Angel on a thousand-year-long mission with his pack of sinful brothers—and a man who’s finally found the woman of his dreams. By then, Vikar is already wrapping his chiseled arms around Alex’s body . . . and sinking his wicked fangs right into her neck. If this is sin, why does it feel so good?

I did not finish this book. In lieu of writing a complete book review I’m going to post my GoodReads updates so you know what I thought and why I chose to not continue reading Kiss of Pride. This is unusual because I normally enjoy Sandra Hill’s books. Without further ado I give you my reading thoughts:

Page 37: Not loving it so far. I keep rolling my eyes and sighing. I think it’ll get better, but the irreverence and set up for the story is silly. I especially didn’t like it when I read “Without words, Michael could see down below to what had so offended his Lord. “Tsk, tsk!” was the best he could come up with.” That’s all my kick ass archangel Michael can come up with? I think my prob. is that it (the story) came off as a soft fairy tale.

Page 37: I can’t do it. This book is irritating the crap out of me. DNF

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: Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

6 Dec

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
Harlequin/MIRA (December 20, 2011)
Trade: $14.95; ebook: $10.99 (pre-order for best price)
ISBN: 9780778313076
Excerpt
Favorite Lines: “Right before I was escorted to the jail, Fawn waved bye-bye to me. I smiled. My empty, pointless life for hers. Not bad.” (p. 15, egalley)

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan absorbs their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Fifteen Realms, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.

Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life….

I think I’m gonna love this new series by Maria V. Snyder. What is it? The Healer series which begins in Touch of Power. We are introduced to a world decimated by plague and humanity. It is a fantastical world and the start of an epic journey.

Touch of Power is about Avry who is a healer, but it’s also about the kingdoms effected by the plague and the many people Avry meets on her journey. It is an action packed, enticing launch of a fantasy series. I plowed through the book and can’t wait to read book two, Scent of Magic.

Touch of Power establishes the setting and background needed to understand the treachery, trauma and traitorous actions which are normal in the apocalyptic, magic filled world. It is not a human world. It’s an alternate history in which characters travel by foot and live in medieval like buildings. Its people are superstitious and the actions remind me of those taken during the Black Death in medieval England. Every one has been effected by the illness, but it’s a magical sickness. Still the people turn on what they don’t understand which happens to be healers. Because it is an alternate world the healers possess a magical ability. They assume the illness of the person they heal (hey, it is magic), so if they heal a fever…they get a fever. The healers heal quickly, but they still feel pain. Healing is a major part of the story, but there is so much more.

There are many story lines which connect at different points in Touch of Power. Those story lines push the story, but the likeable heroine Avry carries the story. Maybe because everything is told from her point of view. As she discovers knowledge, so does the reader. She is a compassionate heroine who is intelligent enough to know when to press an issue and when to get out of Dodge. This is a survival technique she was forced to learn in order to survive; she had been in hiding for over two years. Her survival methods apply to all aspects of life, including family matters. Because Avry had a brain and a heart, I wanted her to live. Not just eek by. I wanted her to thrive.

Avry isn’t on her trip alone, however. She is rescued early in the story by a group of travelers. Out of all her traveling companions, I cared about her friend Belen the most. He is a bear of a man. He is faithful and trust worthy. Hell, he is just plain the perfect man. I really appreciate Snyder allowing her heroine to have a solid friendship with a male. There is never sexual tension between the two, simply a deep “I’d do anything for you” connection shared between them. It’s a refreshing change to stories which pair a homosexual male with the heroine or twist a friendship into a romance. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with those stories, but pairing a straight man with a straight woman in a straight friendship doesn’t happen as much as it should. I’m always happy when it does occur because it reaffirms the idea that men and women can be friends without benefits. That said, y’all know I like romance in my fantasy and urban fantasy so you have to know there’s a trace of something in the book.

After my rant about Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams (you can read it here), I’d be remiss not to point out the heroine’s possible love interest in the man who physically injured her. In a way it’s different from my feelings I posted in Shadow Reader because the two know nothing of the other before they meet and they have no interest in the other which would lead to a relationship.

I’d gone too far. With a strangled cry, Kerrick lost his temper. Belen lunged toward Kerrick and I raised an arm to block Kerrick’s strike, but we were both too slow. Kerrick back-handed me across my cheek. The force of the blow sent me to the ground.–p. 41

The hero is on a journey to save his friend who is also his prince. He reacts to a threat which happens to be the heroine. However physical abuse is never acceptable which leads to my indecisive emotions about a romance between the two. There are other scenes in which Kerrick is less than salacious to the woman who unknowingly holds the world’s fate in her hands, but taken in context–I don’t really consider them as a man being abusive to a woman. I think they are a warrior trying to convince the enemy to toe the line.

Maria V. Snyder hooked me the story of a healer with the power to cure the world. I love the plant life, the characters and the action. There are so many things taking place that I think I could easily reread the story and find small things that I missed the first time. I will buy this in paper form to sit on my bookshelf.

I’m not the only one with an opinion on Touch of Power:
Tatiana on GoodReads
Read Me Bookmark Me Love Me
Sweet Tidbits
Joyous Reads