Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Book Review: Howling for my Baby

Product Description

Romeo and Juliet never had to worry about being skinned alive.

Sydney Skeller’s father is spitting bullets over her reluctance to join the family business as a shifter hunter. The last thing Daddy needs to know is why—she yearns for a lover who’s man enough for a relationship but animal enough to give her the wild ride of her dreams. After a treadmill mishap lands her in a tangled heap with Jason Cannon, she wonders if she’s finally found her beast, er, man. One session in bed and one bite later, she’s sure. Now if only she can keep her father from mounting Jason’s head on a wall…

Jason is all man on the surface, but wolf shifter down to the bone. He’s more than ready to stop “playing the pack” and find his one true mate, and Sydney of the luscious curves is the woman of his dreams. Finding out that she comes from a family sworn to eradicate his kind isn’t a deal-breaker. But her outrageous plan for him to masquerade as the wolf in hunter’s clothing, right under her father’s very nose, could be asking more than he ever expected to give.

This book was previously published in ebook form only under the title Kissin’ in the Moonlight, and has been revised from its original release.

Warning: Readers, be aware of stranger side effects. These side effects may include but aren’t limited to the following: biting strangers, asking furry strangers to bite you, purposely falling off treadmills to collide with handsome strangers, enjoying hot sex with wild strangers, and baying at the moon to meet other moon-influenced strangers. If you notice any of these side effects, contact the author immediately. You may be the heroine of her next book!  (from amazon.com)


Review

Where to begin? I guess I’ll just jump right in and say I probably shouldn’t have spent time reading this when I should have been spending it working on 2 essays that are due in 2 days. Working on essays for grad school would have been more fun than reading this book, sadly.

The only characters I really liked were Madame Medusala and the mom. The hero and heroine had very little to bring to the story and that is sad, because there was really a lot of potential.  The story felt contrived, the dialogue forced and unfunny.  I could tell the author was going for breezy, funny, romantic banter but it just didn’t work, and neither did the sex scenes. I’m far from a prude, it wasn’t the biting that made me not like them (referring to the warning in the product description), it was more that there was very little build up, it happened the same day the hero and heroine met.  The romantic/sexual tension that I prefer in books was simply lacking.  The hero and heroine were too easily manipulated by outside forces (her father and Max). 

I don’t know how much this version of the book changed from the original, but this book should have been a short story or a novella instead of a novel. 

I got the book when it was free from amazon so I don’t have buyer’s remorse; I didn’t hate the book but I would only recommend this with reservations. Also, if I had been in a sillier mood when I read it, it might have worked (giving the benefit of the doubt).

Sensuality: a few sex scenes

Rating: 2 stars

Monday, November 7, 2011

Series Review: Deadtown


From Publishers Weekly
In Holzner's fast-paced urban fantasy debut, shape-shifter Victory Vaughn fights demons in an alternate present-day Boston, where a few thousand people have been mysteriously zombified and are now confined to the neighborhood of Deadtown along with vampires, werewolves, and other Paranormal Americans. Vicky's sometime boyfriend, Kane, a werewolf, lawyer, and PA rights advocate, gets some competition from human detective Daniel; teen zombie sidekick Tina occasionally wreaks unintentional havoc; and Vicky's sister, Gwen, an inactive shape-shifter and suburban wife and mother, argues with Vicky over their life choices and attitudes toward shape-shifting in the most fully realized and emotionally compelling parts of the book. By comparison, the reveal of the big villain comes off as both predictable and a little cardboardy. This fun and facile tale would be a great beach read if it weren't coming out in the middle of the winter. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review
What a breath of fresh air!  I’m always on the lookout for new authors and a new spin on Urban Fantasy and this book did not  disappoint at all! We have Vicky, Gwen, her sister, Kane, Daniel, Aunt Mab and Tina, the teenage zombie (excuse me, Previously Deceased Human—PDH). All are fantastic characters  and  they only get better as the series progresses (up to 3 now, I’ll insert links to all for your purchasing ease—from Amazon, not me).
Vicky is a tough heroine with a strong sense of justice and family.  She can shapeshift three times a month into whichever form she chooses and boy does she come up with some doozies in just the first three books! 
I love Aunt Mab!  If you think Vicky is tough as nails, just wait until books 2 and 3 give us a lot of Aunt Mab page time.
Tina, the PDH, is alternatively entertaining and infuriating (much like most teenagers, no matter how much you love them).
Deadtown I would only rate 4 stars because Nancy Holzner is setting the stage, building Vicky’s world, setting up political dramas—yes, the books have some political undertones to them, but they are well-done and thought-provoking, not a beat-you-over-the-head kind of politics.  There’s not much worse than being preached at about various political/social topics when reading for pleasure (even if I agree with the author).  Books 2 and 3 I give 5 stars each.  I can’t wait until the next one comes out.
If you like Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series, you should try this one out.
Sensuality: a few kisses and references to sex, safe for teens.
Rating: 4 stars, 5 stars

Whoa Nelly!

 

I’ve been reading quite a lot lately, even though the posts haven’t been regular!  I decided it was way past time to put my fingertips to the keyboard and tell you about them!  Right now I have around 20 books I need to show you of various genres, mostly Urban Fantasy, but a few Regency, a steampunk here and there, some modern romances. Most of them were worth reading, some worth re-reading.

As some of you may know, I started librarian school a few months ago so even though I squeeze in time to read for fun, I don’t always have time to sit down immediately and share about the book I just read (sorry!  I’ll try to do better about that!).  I’m an eighth of the way through the program and am enjoying it very much.  So far it seems like a really great fit for me, much more so than my last educational adventure.  I’m going to group several of the books into one post, complete with the amazon.com product description, a rating and general impressions about each one.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Book Review: Black Night (Black Wings)


Black Night (Black Wings)Product Description
Madeline Black is an Agent of death, meaning she escorts the souls of people who have died to the afterlife. Of course, not everyone is happy to see her...
If obstinate dead people were all that Maddy had to worry about, life would be much easier. But the best-laid plans of Agents and fallen angels often go awry. Deaths are occurring contrary to the natural order, Maddy's being stalked by foes inside and outside of her family, and her two loves-her bodyguard, Gabriel, and her doughnut-loving gargoyle, Beezle-have disappeared. But because Maddy is Lucifer's granddaughter, things are expected of her, things like delicate diplomatic missions to other realms.   Taken from amazon’s product description.

Book Review:
When I read the first book, Black Wings, I didn’t really expect a lot, mostly I read it because it sounded quite a lot different from my usual urban fantasy selections.  Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed the first and and eagerly anticipated the second book in the series, this one.  It did not disappoint.  If you thought the first one got complicated, this one surpasses!  Gabriel still seems flat as a character and I find myself  hoping someone, anyone (Nathaniel or JB would be fine with me, well OK, maybe not Nathaniel)  steps up and becomes a man, not a chess piece.
 
This is a complicated book.  It continues the great world-building of the last one and introduces fairies and werewolves to the cast of characters.  Christina Henry weaves a tale that keeps you on the edge of your seat in places, angers you in others, adds in laughs, a dash of heartbreak and a bit of a mystery for a very satisfying read. 
 
If you want something a bit different from the usual urban fantasy offerings, you might consider adding this book to your to-read list but read Black Wings  first.  It reads fairly quickly, but it’s  dark in places, dealing with demons, attempted murder, attempted rape and more.  I  hope I haven’t spoiled too much!
 
Sensuality: attempted rape
 
Rating: 4 stars

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Book Review: Eye of the Tempest


Eye of the Tempest (Jane True)Product Description
Nothing says "home" like being attacked by humans with very large guns, as Jane and Anyan discover when they arrive in Rockabill. These are professionals, brought into kill, and they bring Anyan down before either Jane or the barghest can react. Seeing Anyan fall awakens a terrible power within Jane, and she nearly destroys herself taking out their attackers.
Jane wakes, weeks later, to discover that she's not the only thing that's been stirring. Something underneath Rockabill is coming to life: something ancient, something powerful, and something that just might destroy the world.
Jane and her friends must act, striking out on a quest that only Jane can finish. For whatever lurks beneath the Old Sow must be stopped...and Jane's just the halfling for the job.  Taken from amazon product descriptions
___________________________________________
Book Review:

Nicole Peeler knocks one out of the ballpark yet again.  The series continues the intriguing story of Jane True and all her friends from Rockabill, Maine.  Most of her friends from previous books return for a cameo at the least, some play much larger roles.  Blondie plays a large role in this book; she’s quite an intriguing character. 

The “bad guys” are at their evil best (******* Phaedra and her crew) as the kind of bad guys you want to jump into the book and hurt them yourself.

Jane learns quite a lot more about herself, her powers, the supernatural world and the history of how they all came about in this installment.  It’s a treat that leaves you waiting for the next installment due out spring 2012 if I remember correctly.

I HIGHLY recommend this series to people who enjoy strong women leads, urban fantasy, funny books, sarcastic inner monologues, basically to anyone who will listen to me!  Jane True is all of that and more.  She is truly becoming one of my favorite characters and I can’t wait to read the next one!

Sensuality: several sensual scenes, somewhat graphic

Rating 5 stars

Series Review: Morganville Vampires


Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires, Book 1)Product Description:
Book 1 in The Morganville Vampires series for young adults grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go, even at the end of the book (make sure you have the next one ready!).  Claire Danvers is a 16 year old going to college after finishing high school in 2 years.   She finds a home in a nontraditional  setting with three other young people, Michael, Eve and Shane.

The Morganville Vampire series is a young adult series that doesn’t read like a young adult series.  The characters are complex, the stories have depth, emotions portrayed realistically and a reluctant set of heroes. 

As the series continues and we learn more about the town and its inhabitants, Amelie, Oliver, Myrnin, Frank, Monica and more, it’s very difficult to  not become spellbound with the characters.

The books read very easily, I read the 1st 10 (up-to-date now) in a few weeks.  Like most longer series, sometimes the series slows a bit and transitions into different storylines.  This one is no different.  The first few books or so you can read a little bit out of order and be fine, not be too lost in the story, but not for long.  The story really does build and for maximum enjoyment and comprehension, I recommend reading in order, starting with Glass Houses.

The series is well-drawn, a satisfying read for the young and the young-at-heart.  I fully recommend it to anyone who enjoys vampire books as well as those who enjoy young adult literature, indeed, people who enjoy a good read should add this series to their to-read list.

Sensuality: very light.  Sensual situations, sex in later books but  not very descriptive.

Rating: Most books 4 stars, some 5

The Dead Girls' Dance (Morganville Vampires, Book 2)Midnight Alley (Morganville Vampires, Book 3)Feast of Fools (Morganville Vampires, Book 4)Lord of Misrule (Morganville Vampires, Book 5)Carpe Corpus (Morganville Vampires, Book 6)
Fade Out (Morganville Vampires, Book 7)Kiss of Death (Morganville Vampires, Book 8)Ghost Town (Morganville Vampires, Book 9)Bite Club (Morganville Vampires, Book 10)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Review: Grave Dance


Grave Dance: An Alex Craft NovelProduct Description
After a month of down time, Grave Witch Alex Craft is ready to get back to solving murders by raising the dead. With her love life in turmoil, Alex is eager for the distractions of work. But when her new case forces her to overuse her magic, it might be the last mystery the Grave Witch ever gets to solve...




Review:   I’ve been waiting for this book for many months now and was not disappointed.  Alex is back in all her grave witchy glory.  So is Falin and Death as well as her  best friends.  The premise of the series is very interesting and the ending leaves the author with MANY directions she could go. 
 
In this  installment in the Alex Craft series, several left feet are found, that’s all, no bodies and no apparent means of severing.  All the alphabet soup law agencies try to stake out their territory on the case but the Fae claim ultimate jurisdiction.  Which leads to lots more problems as Alex recently discovered she was part fae.  As she investigates the left feet and no body problem, she starts encountering other more serious problems.  This is no light-hearted romp.  It’s an easy read, but not a comedy.  If you read Grave Witch, you know this series is a great evening read (all the better to keep you up all night, my pretties).  It has some nice twists and turns and I am already searching the web to see if the author has the next one in the series ready for publishing.  Recommend fully.
 
Sensuality: kissing, no sex.  I love that the heroine made a decision to not have sex with a character and sticks to it. 
Rating: 4 stars

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Book Review: Towers of Midnight


Towers of Midnight (Wheel of Time, Book Thirteen)Product Description
The Last Battle has started. The seals on the Dark One’s prison are crumbling. The Pattern itself is unraveling, and the armies of the Shadow have begun to boil out of the Blight.

The sun has begun to set upon the Third Age.
Perrin Aybara is now hunted by specters from his past: Whitecloaks, a slayer of wolves, and the responsibilities of leadership. All the while, an unseen foe is slowly pulling a noose tight around his neck. To prevail, he must seek answers in Tel’aran’rhiod and find a way--at long last--to master the wolf within him or lose himself to it forever.

Meanwhile, Matrim Cauthon prepares for the most difficult challenge of his life. The creatures beyond the stone gateways--the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn--have confused him, taunted him, and left him hanged, his memory stuffed with bits and pieces of other men’s lives. He had hoped that his last confrontation with them would be the end of it, but the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. The time is coming when he will again have to dance with the Snakes and the Foxes, playing a game that cannot be won. The Tower of Ghenjei awaits, and its secrets will reveal the fate of a friend long lost.
This penultimate novel of Robert Jordan’s #1 New York Times bestselling series--the second of three based on materials he left behind when he died in 2007--brings dramatic and compelling developments to many threads in the Pattern. The end draws near.
Dovie’andi se tovya sagain. It’s time to toss the dice.

Review:
I debated waiting to read this until the final one was out but I couldn’t stand the suspense of not knowing what happened until then.  I should have waited because now the suspense is REALLY killing me!  Yes, many questions were answered but just as many were asked!   I started reading the Wheel of Time books about five years ago when several friends recommended them and like many millions of readers, now eagerly await the Last Battle.    It is just about to begin and everything in Towers of Midnight points the reader to it. 
 
Thankfully we don’t meet too many more people in this book as the cast of characters is truly massive, but there are a few characters named I didn’t remember.  Don’t worry, they don’t take up too much time away from Rand and company.  I started to give a synopsis of what each of the main characters were trying to accomplish, but I really feel that would be too spoiler-ish.  I will say however, that there are many truly breathtaking scenes, jaw-dropping scenes, laughing, crying, horrifying scenes and much wondering how the heck things are going to work out, who’s going to live and who will not. 
 
Rand: the first time Rand appeared in Towers of Midnight gave me shivers.  He truly has grown into the man he needs to be to complete whatever task is needed of him.
 
Mat: felt much more like Mat of the previous books than he did in the last book.  I think Sanderson’s finally gotten  his groove with him.
 
Perrin: Perrin really shines in this book.  He never was one of my favorite characters, I would simply read his stuff to get to the rest of the crew, and I really didn’t care for Faile at all but they really grew on me this time around, having worked out many of the things that made me not care for them so much.

So many other major characters and their stories are intertwined I dare not say much more.  Suffice it to say, Towers of Midnight is fantastic and I can't wait for the final one.  I highly recommend this book but if you haven't started this series, don't even think about reading this book.  You will be completely lost.  Do however start with The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time, Book 1) and then read the rest of the books in order in the Wheel of Time series. I do hope Sanderson includes a brief history of the main characters and their families after the Last Battle.  As readers who have invested countless hours in reading 10,000 + pages in this epic fantasy series, we are kind of invested in the characters.  I personally want to know how things turn out for the kids and grandkids.
 
Sensuality: references to kissing, no sex
Rating: 5 stars

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book Review: Kitty Goes to War


Kitty Goes to War (Kitty Norville, Book 8)Product Description: From Booklist
In the eighth installment of the Kitty Norville series, Kitty, the alpha werewolf of the Denver pack and host of a radio talk show that examines lives and problems of paranormal people, is summoned to an army base to help with a werewolf problem. The werewolves in question were part of a secret project that infected soldiers with lycanthropy to make them more effective in the war in Afghanistan, but when their alpha was blown to bits the squad imploded. The three remaining members, who have a murderous lack of self control, are facing extermination unless Kitty can teach them the ways of civilized werewolves, while dealing with her own problems revolving around a libel suit and possible wizard. Kitty is an empathetic character and smart as can be in this fast-moving urban fantasy. --Diana Tixier Herald
 

Review:
Given the excellence of Kitty’s House of Horrors, I expected quite a lot more from this one.  It was interesting enough to keep me reading but I wasn’t gripped like I was with the last one.  Ms. Vaughn had an interesting take on werewolves in the military but the resolution of the difference in Cormac was lame.  It’s a solid entry in the Kitty Norville series, but probably best read as a transition book as Book 9, Kitty's Big Trouble (Kitty Norville, Book 9) , looks really packed.  It actually looks like what I was expecting for this one given the name and the hints at war coming in Kitty’s House of Horrors.
Sensuality: a few fade to black sex scenes and some kissing.
 
Rating: 3 stars

Book Review: Kitty’s House of Horrors


Kitty's House of Horrors (Kitty Norville, Book 7)Product Description
REALITY BITES
Talk radio host and werewolf Kitty Norville has agreed to appear on TV's first all-supernatural reality show. She's expecting cheesy competitions and manufactured drama starring shapeshifters, vampires, and psychics. But what begins as a publicity stunt will turn into a fight for her life.
The cast members, including Kitty, arrive at the remote mountain lodge where the show is set. As soon as filming starts, violence erupts and Kitty suspects that the show is a cover for a nefarious plot. Then the cameras stop rolling, cast members start dying, and Kitty realizes she and her monster housemates are ironically the ultimate prize in a very different game. Stranded with no power, no phones, and no way to know who can be trusted, she must find a way to defeat the evil closing in . . . before it kills them all.
 
Review:
Kitty Norville is back for the 7th book in Kitty’s House of Horrors.  She’s well-established in her marriage and as co-alpha in her pack and is a national radio talk show celebrity with her show: The Midnight Hour.  She’s just as out-spoken as ever.  This book has been out for a while and since I’m not a huge reality TV person, this didn’t seem like a book I would really enjoy, but I did!  That part of the story didn’t last too long and was really well-done.  The meat of the story starts about halfway in and starts in a shocking way.  I read this in a day, could barely put it down.  Highly recommended, probably best read after dark to enhance the tenseness and the horror. 
I think you could read this book as a stand alone novel, but it would be much better if you read the series starting with Kitty and the Midnight Hour (Kitty Norville, Book 1) for maximum impact.
 
Sensuality: a fade to black sex scene
 
Rating: 5 stars

Book Review: Magic to the Bone


Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom, Book 1)Product Description
Devon monk is casting a spell on the fantasy world...
Using magic means it uses you back, and every spell exacts a price from its user. But some people get out of it by Offloading the cost of magic onto an innocent. Then it’s Allison Beckstrom’s job to identify the spell-caster. Allie would rather live a hand-to-mouth existence than accept the family fortune—and the strings that come with it. But when she finds a boy dying from a magical Offload that has her father’s signature all over it, Allie is thrown back into his world of black magic. And the forces she calls on in her quest for the truth will make her capable of things that some will do anything to control...

Review:
I wanted to love this book, it sounded very promising.  I enjoy books where the characters have to train to use their abilities, they don’t just automatically arrive and the main character knows immediately exactly how to use the ability, I enjoy stories where there is a cost to using the ability, even if it’s only fatigue.  We have that here in spades.   Not only does Allie get fatigued, she pays a physical price for the magic she uses: headache, flu, nausea, bruising and sometimes she pays a double price: memory loss, sometimes large chunks.
 
The book was well-written, the theme is a nice mystery, it’s tense in the appropriate spots, I just wasn’t that interested in what happened to Allie and friends.  I’ve heard the next few books in the series are much much better now that the author has laid the groundwork in this book.  That’s the main reason I gave it 3 stars instead of 2.  It’s the first book in the series and often there’s a lot of world-building stuff that the author needs to do.  I will probably read more books in the Allie Beckstrom series but there are so many more books that are calling to me: “read me, read me!” that it will probably be a while before I actually get around to it.  Overall, I do recommend the book.  It probably won’t rock your world or anything but it’s a great alternative to sitting and staring at a wall! 
 
Sensuality: a few sex scenes
Rating: 3 stars

Monday, June 13, 2011

Book Review: Lord Langley is Back In Town


Lord Langley Is Back in Town (The Bachelor Chronicles: the Widows of Standon)Product Description
Lord Langley and Minerva, Lady Standon, began their faux engagement with three simple rules set down by the baron's all-too-proper (and utterly unlikely) bride-to-be.
1. No more kissing. The intoxicating kiss Langley stole from her lips still has Minerva aflutter.
2. She will not share his bed. (For if his kiss is that tempting, Minerva doesn't dare imagine what a night in Langley's embrace will do to her already addled senses.)
3. No scandals during their engagement. With the infamous Langley back in Town, there is no lack of trouble he can bring to Minerva's unblemished reputation.
Oh, the wily Lord Langley will keep his word—but that doesn't mean he won't use every rakish trick he knows to get Minerva to break her own proper rules, especially once he realizes that this convenient arrangement has led him to the only woman he's ever loved . . .
 
Review:
Set in Regency England, I knew I would enjoy the book from the first page.  The author included a cast of characters, which included “the nannies.”   The story was a bit improbable but it was well-written with good character development as well as steady action.  The characters came to trust one another in a fairly believable manner, not immediate and not strung out forever.  The heroine was practical and smart, had a lot of spitfire buried under her  prim fa├žade and didn’t have a lot of TSTL moments like so many heroines do.
 
Lord Langley is a man accused of treason and comes back to London to clear his name.  He finds his twin daughters’ former “nannies” (his mistresses) have moved into the house he’s hiding in, the indomitable Minerva, who has a huge secret of her own.  What ensues is a lot of craziness with the nannies, various relatives, intrigue and of course, a romance.  I recommend this book for a summer afternoon read.  It’s light with just enough action and romance.
 
Sensuality: a few sex scenes
Rating: 3 stars

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Book Review: One Magic Moment


One Magic MomentProduct Description
Medieval studies scholar Tess Alexander is thrilled for the chance to live in a medieval castle. But then a trip to the village brings her face-to-face with the owner of the local garage, who looks a great deal like the man who married her sister...800 years in the past. She's determined to remain objective about magic and destiny, but she can't help wondering about that mysterious, sword-wielding mechanic.
 


Review:
Lynn Kurland can still craft a heartwarming time travel romance, however, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I enjoyed many of her other stories.  The characters seemed a bit too “bolt-y” for my taste, the heroine a bit too emotionally fragile and the hero too secretive.  The lack of communication was problematic in the beginning (on both sides). 
 
John de Piaget has many characteristics of the trademark LK heroes: handsome, protective, wields a mean sword, curses in many different languages and grumbles but he doesn’t have that loveable arrogance so many of them have.  It was a satisfying addition to her paranormal world but it felt a little bit long, although I’ll readily admit I wanted to finish it quickly so I could read another book that was on my list.  It was nice to see several characters from past books and it made me want to re-read Kendrick’s story, Stardust of Yesterday (Haunting Hearts Series)which has to be my all-time favorite Lynn Kurland book, closely followed by This is all I ask, which I previously reviewed.  This would be a fantastic beach read or a lazy Saturday afternoon read.
 
Sensuality: kissing and references to sex
Rating: 3 stars

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mini Reviews Part 3


Yes I have more I want to squeeze in!  Told you I’d been reading a LOT!

Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin, Book 4)Tangled Threads by Jennifer Estep

Book 4 in the Elemental Assassin series begins a few weeks after the showdown at the giant’s house, where Gin Blanco declares war on Mab Monroe.   She now has another problem: Mab has hired an assassin to assassinate HER!  And it’s Christmas!  What a Scrooge Mab is!  What follows is a dark novel  with some bright rays of family and friendship.  The scenes with the assassin, LaFleur, are really well-done.  I LOVE how Gin taunts her!  I’ve been rooting for her to tell Bria who she was.  We also see more of Owen, much to my delight.  They are really so good for each other.  Of course there are the loyal, trustworthy dwarves and Finn drinking his chicory coffee.  If you haven’t read the first 3, don’t bother with this one, there’s too much history, even though the author does a bit of summarizing for us.  However, if you have read the first three Elemental Assassin books, this one is not to be missed.  My one complaint about the series is Jo-Jo has told Gin repeatedly she’s the strongest elemental she’s ever seen and Gin doesn’t use her magic much at all.  I’d like to see her practice with it more, just in case she ever loses her silverstone knives Smile

Sensuality: a few sex scenes
Rating: 5 stars

Iron Crowned (Dark Swan, Book 3)Iron Crowned by Richelle Mead

Iron Crowned is the third book in the Dark Swan series about Eugenie Markham, a shaman in the human world and a fairy queen in the Otherworld.  We see more of Dorian and Kiyo and a surprising about of Jasmine, her sister.  I have mixed feelings about this book.  The story was well-told, but I was soooo frustrated with Eugenie.  She made so many poor personal decisions.  I realize it was all on purpose and that the author has a fantastic grand design to all this, but it was rough reading it; I had to get up and walk away from the book a few times toward the end (kind of like Joey putting the book in the freezer).  I was really upset with Dorian and Kiyo in this book, they both had their own agendas  and I think Eugenie needs  an all together new man, leave these guys alone.  The ending was great but it also had some ambiguous parts, leaving the next installment wide open; the author could go in any number of directions with the series.  I do look forward to reading the next book.  If you haven’t read the first two books, you should do so before you read this one as it will make a lot more sense.

Sensuality: a few sex scenes
Rating: 3 stars

Vampire Journals series by Morgan Rice

These are mostly novellas with Destined being a bit longer.  I’m not going to review these individually, although I will put in individual links to amazon for them.
These appear to be self-published and I had some real problems with the writing.  I appreciate how difficult it must be to edit your own writing, but the author should spend some more time on it or have someone with fresh eyes read it. 

This is a young adult series, written from the perspective of a teenage girl and I read it as such but it was dizzying how quickly someone turned from an evil person to best friend, possible boyfriend to forgotten in the face of a new guy.  The timeline was seriously messed up as far as personal history of characters.  My other major complaint about the novellas is that the author merely states something and it is so.  Girl sees boy, falls in love, done deal, no real description about why or how.  The bad guy is evil to the extreme, no nuancing or redeeming qualities, more of a caricature of evil.  Also, the author spent very little time doing world-building.  How does vampirism work in this series?  Does one bite kill or can vamps sip from willing donors?  It reminded me a bit of Twilight in parts (although no sparkles!). 

The story is pretty decent;  I enjoyed the action scenes, the vamps have some interesting abilities and the coven mentality was well-done.  The quest that threads through all of them is a really good one; it involves time travel and saving the world.  I will continue reading the series and recommend with reservations.  They read quickly and are inexpensive but the writing and editing need help. 

Sensuality : very little
Rating: 2 stars

Turned (Book #1 in the Vampire Journals)Turned




















Loved (Book #2 in the Vampire Journals)Loved




















Betrayed (Book #3 in the Vampire Journals)Betrayed




















Destined (Book #4 in the Vampire Journals)Destined