Tag Archives: Fantasy

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.

Books I Want: November 2012

26 Oct

Provoked by Rebecca Zanetti (Nov. 1, received copy from Netgalley)

A TIME FOR WAR…
A casualty of the war between the demons and the vampires, Jase Kayrs has been missing for six long years. His older brothers want answers—but they’re going to have to get them from an unlikely source. For when Kane Kayrs tracks down Amber Freebird, what he finds is a blonde, vegan pacifist who has no intention of using her skills in his war…

A TIME FOR LOVE…

Amber enjoys her life of chaotic freedom and has no intention of falling in line just because a sexy-as-sin vampire insists on order. Unfortunately, he discovers she may be the only hope they have of finding his brother, and there’s no way he’s going to let her go—even if it means mating her to gain her cooperation. The two are as different as can be, yet when the dominant Kane and the untamed Amber finally unite to rescue Jase, they just may find that opposites really do attract… Continue reading

Review: Cast in Peril by Michelle Sagara

18 Sep

4 out of 5 scoopers

Cast in Peril by Michelle Sagara
Harelquin/LUNA (Sept. 18, 2012)
Trade: $14.95; ebook: $10.99
ISBN: 9780373803507

Favorite Lines: “Kitling, I don’t know what hopes you have for Lord Nightshade, but hope, among our kin, is not a double-edged blade. It is single edged, and the edge always wounds. Always. He is not mortal. He does not value what you value…He is what he is, Kaylin. Accept that; you will find the Barrani less daunting. He is not mortal and his concerns are not mortal concerns.” (p. 118-119, e-galley)

USUALLY DISASTER DIDN’T STRIKE QUITE SO CLOSE TO HOME…

It has been a busy few weeks for Private Kaylin Neva. In between angling for a promotion, sharing her room with the last living female Dragon and dealing with more refugees than anyone knew what to do with, the unusual egg she’d been given was ready to hatch. Actually, that turned out to be lucky, because it absorbed the energy from the bomb that went off in her quarters….

So now might be the perfect time to leave Elantra and journey to the West March with the Barrani. If not for the disappearances of citizens in the fief of Tiamaris-disappearances traced to the very Barrani Kaylin will be traveling with…

Yes, it’s that time again. Michelle Sagara has written book eight in her Chronicles of Elantra series. (I call it the Cast series.) If you haven’t read the previous seven books, do NOT attempt to begin with Cast in Peril.

Kaylin is about to depart on a new journey. This one will take her into the heart of he Barrani. She has no idea how many secrets she’ll uncover or the danger she’ll face. Kaylin’s ability to tell stories and use true words will be needed as she learns truths about those who surround her. Fortunately, she has a new ally which hatched before the trip.

I enjoyed this installment, but I had a few issues. For the first time Kaylin irritated me with her cluelessness. I’ve watched her grow over the weeks that which were written about in books one through seven. She may not have caught on to the events immediately, but she always learned and retained what she learned. While reading Cast in Peril I wanted to shake Kaylin. Over and over she was told the need to do certain things, but by the end of the books she had yet to do so. It was like all adventures she’d recently faced made no impact at all.

Despite my irritation with Kaylin, I enjoyed the story. I have a feeling that others will not be pleased with the lack of progress made in the story though. The journey begins in Cast of Peril, but by the final page turn the characters have yet to reach their destination. I feel like the story ends without ever reaching the climax and the idea of waiting a year to find out what happens is going to drive me bonkers.

On the Severn and Lord Nightshade note, I think Kaylin is beginning to lean toward one person in particular. I could be wrong, but she discovers some information which infuriates her. It bothered me too, but I need more. I want some romance thrown in and the reader is still being teased about who means what to whom. The thing to remember is Kaylin and Severn are humans playing an unknown game with immortals. What makes sense to long-lived creatures, does not always seem “right” to the human who “would only live a handful of years.”

Cast in Peril is not my favorite book in the series, but I still rank it higher than the average book. I will re-read it and am excitedly waiting the next book, Cast in Sorrow.

Quickie Review: Brides of the Kindred

11 Sep

The Brides of the Kindred series is written by Evangeline Anderson and is about alien men and women finding their mates. Some of those mates come from Earth, others from different planets, all are in for some kinky sex. Now right off the bat you need to know that overall I didn’t like very many of the heroines. They were silly and TSTL. Most of them whined way too much. The men, well they all wanted mates in the worst way. There are different types of Kindred men: beast, blood, twin and touch. It’s exactly how it sounds. Some men have animalistic traits, some drink blood, some have twins and share a mate and others can touch their women with their minds.

I read five of the six books which are available–purposely choosing to skip book four which has a heavy bondage theme. Some people may love one of the things that irritated me; once characters are introduced they are included in the next story. So by the time you read book six (Pursued) you’ll be reading about the characters from books one through five. The women have a girl’s club where they discuss their problems and the hot sex they’re having. I could have done without it, but to each their own.

The villains are capable of great atrocities and for the most part the books keep a good pace. Outlandish sexual practices made me laugh, but I’m pretty much done with the Kindred. It was fun and the books only cost $2.99, so I’m not angry or disappointed with the series. But the lack of depth in the heroines is a huge turn off and I’m okay saying goodbye to Anderson’s series.

Review: In a Fix by Linda Grimes

30 Aug

4 out of 5 scoopers

In a Fix by Linda Grimes
TOR/FORGE (Sept. 4, 2012)
Trade: $14.99; ebook: $9.99
ISBN: 9780765331809

Favorite Lines: “Guess you could say I’m a kind of life coach. At least, that’s my cover with all but the select few nonadaptors who know about us. Only instead of teaching people how to solve their own problems, I just do it for them. My clientele tends to be more comfortable with delegating than learning.” (p. 13, e-galley)

Snagging a marriage proposal for her client while on an all-expenses-paid vacation should be a simple job for Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire. A kind of human chameleon, she’s able to take on her clients’ appearances and slip seamlessly into their lives, solving any sticky problems they don’t want to deal with themselves. No fuss, no muss. Big paycheck.

This particular assignment is pretty enjoyable…that is, until Ciel’s island resort bungalow is blown to smithereens and her client’s about-to-be-fiancé is snatched by modern-day Vikings. For some reason, Ciel begins to suspect that getting the ring is going to be a tad more difficult than originally anticipated.

Going from romance to rescue requires some serious gear-shifting, as well as a little backup. Her best friend, Billy, and Mark, the CIA agent she’s been crushing on for years—both skilled adaptors—step in to help, but their priority is, annoyingly, keeping her safe. Before long, Ciel is dedicating more energy to escaping their watchful eyes than she is to saving her client’s intended.

Suddenly, facing down a horde of Vikings feels like the least of her problems.

In a Fix is a fun urban fantasy novel written by Linda Grimes that had me thinking “go go Gadget arms.” That should tell you not to take it seriously. It’s an outrageously comedic book featuring characters with fantastic abilities who are placed in an urban setting.

I’ve got to tell you–I was a little confused in the first chapter of the book. I didn’t understand what was going on so I’m going to simplify it for you. Mina is a rich chick who wants her boyfriend to propose to her, but she’s nervous it won’t happen so she hires Ciel. For a price Ciel can alter her aura which allows her to take on another individual’s appearance and level of fitness. So when the book opens we get Ciel who has “shifted” into Mina and is making out with Mina’s boyfriend. We also get other aura adaptors who are pretending to be other people which created a mess of confusion.

Now those other adaptors are men. Attractive, single men who Ciel becomes sexually drawn to in tingly ways before the story ends. In a Fix is not a romance, but it gives Ciel a couple of guys to lust after while avoiding a permanent entanglement with either. Ciel is immature and child like at times, so either of the men would be a good fit. Both of them are responsible adults. Mark is serious, while Billy is playful.

Let’s move on to the villains. They are neo-Vikings who believe the Viking lifestyle is the only way to live. Silly. Do you hear me? The villains are goofy. And their big plan is straight out of an Inspector Gadget cartoon and is exactly what you would expect some play acting men to concoct. Now it may feel as if I’m being derisive, but after I decided to just go with “it” I had a great time reading In a Fix.

Ciel is a trouble magnet who somehow manages to stumble into absurd situation after absurd situation. I laughed out loud and wondered how Grimes could top each crazy adventure. She showed me when she brought in a catapult. Yes, a catapult. You’ll be seeing the similarity to cartoons when you read In a Fix, but you won’t be thinking kids when you read it. It’s sexy, action packed and humorous. If you’re anything like me you’ll have picked the man you want Ciel to explore more of with in a physical romantic way. Book two in the In a Fix series is called Quick Fixed and will be released in 2013.

Review: Tinker by Wen Spencer

14 Aug

Tinker by Wen Spencer
Baen (November 2003)
Mass market: $7.99
ISBN: 9780743498715

Favorite Lines: “Tinker, we can’t know other people’s hearts. Humans fall in love at first sight, and only time tells if that love is true. There is no reason that elves can’t do the same..” (p. 257, Hardback)

Inventor, girl genius Tinker lives in a near-future Pittsburgh which now exists mostly in the land of the elves. She runs her salvage business, pays her taxes, and tries to keep the local ambient level of magic down with gadgets of her own design. When a pack of wargs chase an Elven noble into her scrap yard, life as she knows it takes a serious detour. Tinker finds herself taking on the Elven court, the NSA, the Elven Interdimensional Agency, technology smugglers and a college-minded Xenobiologist as she tries to stay focused on what’s really important – her first date. Armed with an intelligence the size of a planet, steel-toed boots, and a junkyard dog attitude, Tinker is ready to kick butt to get her first kiss.

A reader of Scooper Speaks clued me in on Wen Spencer’s Elfhome series. It’s a fantasy series with only three books, but boy is book one, Tinker, good reading material. It’s full of big words and theories, but never once did I feel bogged down. I was fascinated with the world, the characters and the plot.

Tinker is a young lady who is trying to prove how very adult she is now that she’s turned 18. She’s an intelligent business owner who has never been kissed at the moment we meet her. Over the course of the story the reader watches her mature after being placed into positions based on her own ignorance. She learns from her mistakes and owns up to them, which makes her a worthy heroine. Tinker makes mistakes, but by the end of the book she is a character that I’d be glad to have grace my “keeper” shelf.

The story progressively intensifies over time. The ramifications of ever decision becomes clear.  Violence, bloody and disturbing, is used to show the primal evil of a particular group of characters. There is also a rape scene (involving a secondary character) which I’m sure will bother some readers. Yes, it bothered me and it takes a lot to get me squeamish.

Tinker is a fantasy book, but there are things in it which invite science fiction and romance lovers to pick it up. From quantum physics to finding love in unexpected places, Spencer has written a book that draws from various genres to create a world and peoples I want to know more about.

I loved Tinker. I borrowed the book from my local library because I wasn’t impressed with the cover and the blurb on the back of the book didn’t pull me in. Now, I’ll be buying it and recommending it to other people. I’m about to start book two, Wolf Who Rules, and am pleased to say book three, Elfhome, was released in July 2012.