Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Topics that instantly make me pick up a book

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

This week's topic is words or topics that instantly make me pick up a book. I'm not a complicated person; most of these are related. It doesn't take much to pique my interest in a book, but it does take effort to keep it - that's the real challenge!

#1. paranormal

#2. urban fantasy

#3. dystopian

#4. werewolf

#5. magic / powers

#6. witch

#7. demons

#8. dragons

#9. adoption

#10. cover blurbs by authors I like

Monday, April 29, 2013

review: THE IRON WITCH by Karen Mahoney

THE IRON WITCH by Karen Mahoney
Series: The Iron Witch Saga #1
Flux
Released: February 8, 2011
Source: Good Golly Miss Holly ARC Tours
Page Count: 299

Rating: Liked it

Cursed by a magical legacy

When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed Donna Underwood's father and drove her mother mad. Her own nearly fatal injuries were fixed by alchemy - the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. Now seventeen, Donna feels like a freak, doomed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a norla life. Only her repationship with her best friend, Navin, is keeping her sane.

But when vicious wood elves abduct Navin, Donna is forced to accept her role in the centuries-old war between human alchemists and these darkest outcasts of Faerie. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous guy with faery blood running through his veins and secrets of his own, Donna races to save Navin - even if it means betraying everything her parents fought to the death to protect.

My Thoughts

I have been waiting for this book to come out since I read Mahoney's first short story in The Eternal Kiss! Moth was such a great character, and I'm a little disappointed that she didn't make a cameo in this book. However, The Iron Witch stands on its own, and I really enjoyed getting to know Donna Underwood's character. The fae mythology was really interesting, and it reads a little like the fae are an endangered species because of humanity encroaching on their lands. (Of course, we'd be much more sympathetic if the creatures weren't so deadly!)

The Iron Witch was a little shorter than I would have liked, and because of this the characters weren't quite as in-depth as they could have been. It also could have used a little more action, as I felt that the story wasn't quite exciting enough to hold my interest. It's a fast read but also fairly easy to put down (whereas if the story is more engaging, I literally can't put the book down). Mahoney's writing style really shines, though, and I look forward to reading her next book and seeing how he writing has progressed.

One of the best parts of this book, at least for a nerd like me, was the "Making of" section after the last chapter, explaining how Mahoney came up with the idea for the story. I don't want to give too much away, so let's leave it with Mahoney being a great researcher in addition to a great writer, and now I have a whole new set of reading material to check out!

If you haven't yet read her short stories, check them out in The Eternal Kiss and Kiss Me Deadly. There will be another anthology coming out in September entitled Wicked Pretty Things. Mahoney also has a couple of articles in Nyx in the House of Night and A Visitor's Guide to Mystic Falls. Lastly, look for The Wood Queen, the second book in the Iron Witch Saga, in 2012.

Friday, April 26, 2013

review: THE HIGHLANDER'S TOUCH by Karen Marie Moning


THE HIGHLANDER'S TOUCH
by Karen Marie Moning
Series: Highlander #3
Penguin: Dell
Released: November 7, 1990
Source: Bookstore
Page Count: 354

Rating: Really liked it!

A WARRIOR OF IMMORTAL POWERS

He was a mighty Scottish warrior who loved in a world bound by ancient laws and timeless magic. But no immortal powers could prepare the laird of Castle Brodie for the lovely accursed lass who stood before him. A terrible trick of fate had sent her 700 years back in time and into his private chamber to tempt him with her beauty - and seduce him with a desire he could never fulfill. For this woman he burned to possess was also the woman he had foresworn to destroy.

A WOMAN CAUGHT IN THE MISTS OF TIME

When Lisa felt the earth move under her feet, the fiercely independent 21st-century woman never dreamed she was falling . . . into another century. But the powerful, naked warrior who stood glaring down at her was only too real . . . and too dangerously arousing. Irresistibly handsome he might be, but Lisa had no intention of remaining in this savage land torn by treachery and war. How could she know that her seductive captor had other plans for her . . . plans that would save her from a tragic fate? Or that this man who had long ago forsaken love would defy time itself to claim her for his own . . .

My Thoughts

Circenn Brodie has been charged with guarding a certain magical object important to the Fae. As such, he has cursed the object so that if it is touched, the item will be magically returned to him. What he doesn't count on is it being lost for 700 years . . . and that its finder is returned to him from 700 years in the future along with the object!

Lisa Stone's life has been tough, and it looks like it will only get tougher down the road. She consoles herself by touching the objects in the museum where she works as a night janitor. One night, she touches the museum's newest acquisition and finds herself hurled through time and space into medieval Scotland.

Circenn finds himself between a rock and a hard place, because Lisa is clearly a guileless woman, but he has sworn to kill the person who returns his magical object. Not only can he not bring himself to kill a woman, but he also finds himself increasingly drawn to her.

I've read a couple of negative reviews about this book, and it really makes me wonder why people who expect historical accuracy bother to read historical romance. It's fiction, people. Authors take creative license. Is it so wrong to enjoy a story without considering its true historical context? No, of course not! Again, it's fiction. With TIME TRAVEL. Of course it's not going to be 100% accurate. </ rant="">

The ending was romantic and mostly predictable, yes, but that doesn't detract from the story in this case. You need to expect a certain amount of formulaity (is that a word) in this genre, and in my experience this is even more flagrant in historicals. That said, I thought this was a cute story. Moning's Highlander series is great in that the characters are different enough to maintain your interest in the series but don't vary so much that it's jarring to skip from one book to the next.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

review: TO TAME A HIGHLAND WARRIOR by Karen Marie Moning

TO TAME A HIGHLAND WARRIOR
by Karen Marie Moning
Series: Highlander #2
Penguin: Dell
Released: December 1, 1999
Source: Bookstore
Page Count: 366

Rating: Really liked it!

A WOMAN'S TENDER TOUCH

He was born to a clan of warriors of supernatural strength, but Gavrael McIllioch abandoned his name and his Highland castle, determined to escape the dark fate of his ancestors. Hiding his identity from the relentless rival clan that hunted him, he called himself Grimm to protect the people he cared for, vowing never to acknowledge his love for ravishing Jillian St. Clair. Yet even from afar he watched over her, and when her father sent an urgent summons, "Come for Jillian," he raced to her side - into a competition to win her hand in marriage.

A WARRIOR'S STEELY HEART

Why had he run from her so many years before? And why return now to see her offered as a prize in her father's manipulative game? Furious, Jillian vowed never to wed. But Grimm was the man she loved, the one who urged her to marry another. He tried to pretend indifference as she tempted him, but he could not deny the fierce desires that compelled him to adbuct her from the altar. She was the only woman who could tame the beast that raged within him - even as deadly enemies plotted to destroy them both . . .

My Thoughts

This was a cute follow-up to Moning's historical debut, Beyond the Highland Mist, and picks up with that main character's best friend, Gavrael, aka Grimm. Whew! This was one hot story. It took a little while to get started, as Grimm had decided to protect Jillian from himself by staying away from her or, when that proved impossible, acting like a general jackass toward her. But once Grimm, for lack of a better term, got over himself, the story heated up immensely!

For me, the best part of the book was Grimm's backstory. I loved reading about Grimm and Jillian together, and especially their banter, but Grimm/Gavrael's tragic childhood added a poignant touch - and just the right bit of paranormalcy - to an otherwise predictable story.

If you're looking for a great historical and/or highlander romance, this is the series for you! If you still need convincing, check back tomorrow for my review of the third book in the series, The Highlander's Touch.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I thought I would like more / less than I did

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

This week's topic is books that we thought we would like more or less than we actually did. I'm going with less because I tend to expect that I will love every book that I pick up. Please, no hating in the comments for this one! We all have our own reading tastes!

#1. anything by Amanda Ashley. They always sound so good from the back cover description, but they never quite click for me.

#2. The Vampire Diaries: The Return by L.J. Smith. It got too weird for me. I loved the original series so much that the new material didn't live up to my expectations.

#3. House of Night by P.C. & Kristin Cast. I think this series was written for a slightly-too-young audience for me to connect with the characters.

#4. The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer. I loved the first book in the series, but the characters in the sequel fell flat for me. It may have been the religious themes, too.

#5. Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward. I tried... I tried so hard to like these books. I read 7 or 8 of them, but I still don't like them.

#6. Nightwalker by Jocelynn Drake. It's too bad that I didn't get into this series, because my fiance loved them, and we ended up buying them all anyway.

#7. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I may have gotten more into the series had the second book not entirely undone all of the relationship progress made in the first book. It's a personal pet peeve of mine. I may still give the third book a shot, but that remains to be seen.

#8. Anita Blake by Laurell K. Hamilton. "Hi, my name is Anita and this is a list of things I'm not going to do. Except that in 100 pages I am going to do all of them just to annoy someone. I will also never allow anyone I love to die, ever, so I go to ridiculously stupid lengths to keep everyone alive and completely screw with already strange storylines. I will also take every single man that I meet as a lover, because I cannot possibly make a decision about which man I want to spend the rest of my life with." Ugh.

#9. Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry. One, the main character shares my name and is a total witch. Not in a fun, paranormal way. Two, there are several scenes which involve adult diapers as a way to enjoy food other than brains. I felt like I needed a mind scrub after reading this book.

#10. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. Read because I sort-of enjoyed the tv series and wanted to see if the book series was any better. Spoiler alert: it wasn't (at least in my humble opinion).

Monday, April 22, 2013

review: BEYOND THE HIGHLAND MIST by Karen Marie Moning

BEYOND THE HIGHLAND MIST
by Karen Marie Moning
Series: Highlander #1
Penguin: Dell
Released: March 28, 1999
Source: Bookstore
Page Count: 357

Rating: Really liked it!

AN ALLURING LAIRD

He was known throughout the kingdom as Hawk, legendary predator of the battlefield and the boudoir. No woman could refuse his touch, but no woman ever stirred his heart - until a vengefl fairy tumbled Adrienne de Simone out of modern-day Seattle and into medieval Scotland. Captive in a century not her own, entirely too bold, too outspoken, she was an irresistible challenge to the sixteenth-century rogue. Coerced into a marriage with Hawk, Adrienne vowed to keep him at arm's length - but his sweet seduction played havoc with her resolve.

A PRISONER IN TIME

She had a perfect "no" on her perfect lips for the notorious laird, but Hawk swore she would whisper his name with desire, begging for the passion he longed to ignite within her. Not even the bariers of time and space would keep him from winning her love. Despite her uncertainty about following the promptings of her own passionate heart, Adrienne's reservations were no match for Hawk's determination to keep her by his side . . .

My Thoughts

Beyond the Highland Mist was my first foray into Moning's paranormal romance books. It's also the first historical romance I've read in a long time - that used to be my favorite genre, but it fell to the wayside when I discovered paranormals back in '06. What a fun reintroduction to the genre!

Adrienne is a likeable heroine, and, unlike many female protags in timetravel romance, she actually comes to terms with the reality of her situation fairly quickly. And Hawk, though definitely the picture of an overbearing Highland laird, is actually soft at heart and just a touch insecure about himself. I really loved the fae aspect and how eager Adam was to mess with Hawk and Adrienne's lives. While it was frustrating to watch the couple and their relationship suffer, it was worthwhile in the end to witness how they came together and were able to overcome the obstacles facing them. (That's not cliche at all, right? ha!) It's hard to find a historical romance that isn't formulaic, but, though she follows the general outline, Moning continually finds ways to make it her own. If you haven't read this already, go grab a copy now! Check back tomorrow for my review of the second book in the series, To Tame a Highland Warrior.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (3)

Stacking the Shelves is an alternative to In My Mailbox that is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Click here for more information!

These are the books I bought this week:

DEAD SILENCE
The Body Finder #4
by Kimberly Derting
FURIOUS
by Jill Wolfson

I picked these up from the library:

DIVIDED IN DEATH
In Death #18
by J.D. Robb
VEIL OF MIDNIGHT
Breed #5
by Lara Adrian
I also nabbed these on Audible:

CLOCKWORK ANGEL
The Infernal Devices #1
by Cassandra Clare
CLOCKWORK PRINCE
The Infernal Devices #2
by Cassandra Clare
CLOCKWORK PRINCESS
The Infernal Devices #3
by Cassandra Clare
ENDER'S GAME
Ender's Saga #1
by Orson Scott Card
GLORY SEASON
by David Brin

Friday, April 19, 2013

review: A WEREWOLF IN MANHATTAN by Vicki Lewis Thompson

A WEREWOLF IN MANHATTAN
by Vicki Lewis Thompson
Series: Wild About You #1
Penguin: Signet Eclipse

Released: January 4, 2011
Source: Bookstore
Page Count: 316

Rating: Really liked it!


A FANTASY COME TO LIFE – LITERALLY.

Emma Gavin writes bestselling novels about werewolves, but that doesn’t means he believes in them – and she certainly doesn’t think she’ll meet one. But that’s exactly what happens when her books catch the attention of a rich of powerful pack of Manhattan Weres, who have kept their existence hidden for centuries. Alarmed by the accuracy of her novels, they’re determined to find out if a renegade is acting as her informant.

Aidan Wallace, the pack leader’s son and heir, knows he’s the wolf for the job, but when he gets too close to Emma, they are both surprised by an attraction too strong to deny. To surrender to it, Aidan will have to risk everything – including the security of the pack he’s sworn to protect . . .

My Thoughts

I love when authors write about authors. Sometimes it's a little tough to swallow when they're first timers, but a veteran writer like Vicki Lewis Thompson can definitely get away with it. Main character Emma Gavin is a highly successful author about to go on tour for her latest werewolf romance novel. Aidan Wallace is the werewolf charged with ferreting out her source within the werewolf community. After watching her every move for the last three months, Aidan is ready to call an end to the operation when he discovers a werewolf has been contacting her . . . and may be gearing up to show her that werewolves are real. Now, Aidan is acting as Emma's security on the book tour. The hardest part won't be guarding her from other werewolves, though - it will be keeping her body safe from himself.

While this was a great, quick, fun read, I had a few issues with this novel. First was Emma's hypocritical attitude. She constantly berates Aidan's money, yet she is making enough to afford an apartment in Manhattan (that's not cheap!) and name brand outfits and shoes. If anything, Aidan and his family make better use of their money by donating to a number of charities, whereas Emma probably doesn't have much left over to donate. Aidan even called her on her attitude at one point, yet Emma never really changed her attitude or apologized sincerely. That was a little frustrating. Also frustrating was Emma not seeming to grasp the reality of the situation towards the end of the book. She kept harping on how she would rather die than not be allowed to write - yet that was a definite possibility, and it didn't seem like she realized just how possible it was. I understand that writing is part of who she is, but she could have been a little more concerned about the death part.

Overall, though, the pros far outweigh the cons. Emma and Aidan have a seriously hot romance, and it felt very sincere considering the compressed timeline. I would say that Thompson's first foray into the werewolf genre is highly successful.

The second Wild About You book, A Werwewolf in the Northwoods, will be released in October 2011!

Friday Finds (3)

Friday Finds is hosted by Should Be Reading and showcases all of the books, whether new or previously published, that we have added to our TBR lists this week!

The Secret Order #1
by Kristin Bailey

I have no idea how I missed this March release, but I shall rectify this soon! Steampunk is becoming more and more appealing to me, and this one seems like quite a good one.





Ex-Heroes #1
by Peter Clines

Zombie apocalypse + superheroes. Enough said.







Fairwick Chronicles #1
by Juliet Dark

I'm pretty sure this cover is hypnotizing me. Just look at it . . . so pretty!






Ashley Arthur #1
by Jack Heath

Being written by an Australian author is generally enough to get me to pick up a book. Not only does Money Run have that going for it, but Scholastic believed in it enough to publish it here in the U.S. Considering we don't import very many novels, that really says a lot about the confidence that Scholastic has in this title. I'm sold!


by Laurie Plissner

I am a sucker for stories that deal with adoption. Also, Screwed was pubbed by Merit Press, for which I received a press release earlier this year. I have been meaning to check out some of their titles.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

review: CHICK WITH A CHARM by Vicki Lewis Thompson

CHICK WITH A CHARM
by Vicki Lewis Thompson
Series: Babes-on-Brooms #2
Penguin: Signet Eclipse
Released: March 2, 2010
Source: Bookstore
Page Count: 311

Rating: Liked it

Ignoring a witch is never wise.

Lily Revere is free-spirited and fun-loving - two dangerous qualities in a witch. Especially one who is planning her sister's engagement party - and who needs a date! She's determined to bring hot Griffin Taylor, but he's a divorce lawyer who claims his job has warned him off romance. He may pretend he's just not into her, but she knows better - he needs only a nudge in the right direction.

Slipping a love elixir into Griffin's drink may not be the noble thing to do, but it sure works! Lily's dreamboat drops all his defenses, and the two discover they're perfectly matched - in every way. There's just one problem: Are Griffin's feelings the result of some truly good witchcraft, or is he really in love?

My Thoughts

Picking up right where Blonde with a Wand left off, Chick with a Charm follows Lily Revere's misadventures in love after she administers an adoration elixir to the man of her dreams. It seemed like a great idea at the time, what with Griffin being so stubbornly set against admitting his attraction to her. But after overhearing him make a date with another woman, Lily decides that she has to act fast. She just didn't expect it to be so potent! As she and Griffin quickly become more and more involved, Lily must figure out how to discover if Griffin's feelings for her are real or merely a result of the potion.

I had a couple of issues with the plot. First, Griffin explains to his friends and in inner dialogue why he is so picky in his relationships, but he never explains this to Lily, even after they get together. This seems pretty basic, and, if I were Lily, it would have been one of the first questions I'd ask. The second issue was Lily giving in to Griffin so quickly. I know, I know, there wouldn't have been a book if she hadn't gone for it. But still, it seemed beyond selfish on her part, and she should have had more self control.

Those issues not withstanding, though, I think Chick with a Charm was a great wrap-up for this cute little series. Hopefully Thompson will write another witchy paranormal series in the future so Dorcas and Ambrose can cameo again!

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating! I like to look pretty ahead, so all of these books are set to release the week of October 15, 2013.

Ironskin #2
by Tina Connolly

I have been debating since the first book came out whether or not to read this series. It still sounds ridiculously good, but I may end up waiting for reviews on this one nonetheless.

Helen Huntingdon is beautiful - so beautiful she has to wear an iron mask. Six months ago her sister Jane uncovered a fey plot to take over the city. Too late for Helen, who opted for fey beauty in her face - and now has to cover her face with iron she she won't be taken over, her personality erased by the bodiless fey.

Not that Helen would mind that some days. Stuck in a marriage with the wealthy and controlling Alistair, she lives at the edges of her life, secretly helping Jane remove the dangerous fey beauty from the wealthy society women who paid for it. But when the chancy procedure turns deadly, Jane goes missing - and is implicated in the murder.

Meanwhile, Alistair's influential clique Copperhead - whose emblem is the poisonous copperhead hydra - is out to restore humans to their humans to their "rightful" place, even to the point of destroying the dwarvven who have always been allies.

Helen is determined to find her missing sister, as well as continue the good fight against the fey. But when that pits her against her own husband - and when she meets an enigmatic young revolutionary - she's pushed to discover how far she'll bend society's rules to do what's right. It may be more than her beauty at stake. It may be her honor . . . and her heart.

Slayers #2
by C.J. Hill

I was already planning to pick up this series after falling in love with Hill's Erasing Time, but I just discovered that C.J. Hill also writes as Janette Rallison, who did the godmother series. I loved those books! Excuse me while I have a fangirl moment!

Tori is at a White House dinner party when she hears a horrifying sound: dragon eggs hatching. it means in less than a year, the dragons will be mature and dangerous. The Slayers are well-trained, but their group is not yet complete, and Tori is determined to track down Ryker Davis, the mysterious Slayer who has yet to surface.

What Tori doesn't bargain for, however, is the surprising truth about her powers: she isn't a Slayer after all, but a Dragon Lord, with a build-in predisposition for protecting dragons, not killing them.

How will she overcome this to save the lives of her friends?

For Darkness Shows the Stars #2
by Diana Peterfreund

Somehow, I let For Darkness Shows the Stars slip through the cracks last year, and I have been keeping an eye reviews ever since. It looks amazing, and I plan to get my hands on it in time for Across a Star-Swept Sea's release this fall!

Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction - the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars - is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries' weapon is a drug that damages their enemies' brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized hew romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo . . . is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can't risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he's hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country's revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he's pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she's not only risking her heart, she's risking the world she's sworn to protect.

Unwind #3
by Neal Shusterman

Well, it wasn't for lack of trying that there isn't a book description here. I looked all over for one! It's just as well, though - I have been waiting for this book to come out so I can read the entire trilogy all at once!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: REWIND!


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

This week, we can go back to whichever past topic we missed or want to revisit. I choose Childhood Favorites. Here are my choices, in no particular order:

#1. Bunnicula by James Howe. Vampire bunny? Yes, please! I also loved the narrator, Harold, the family dog. I still find him hilarious. As an adult, I discovered that Victor Garber (of Alias fame) narrated the audiobooks, which makes them even more enjoyable! He has such a dreamy voice!

#2. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. I had an unhealthy love for blueberries as a child, and I also love cute little bear cubs. This was the perfect mash-up.

#3. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Because who doesn't want to lead an independent life as a child? I read every single book that my grade school library had in this series.

#4. The Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon. These brothers were SO much cooler than Nancy Drew! I also read every Harby Boys book that my grade school library had, to the point that the librarian gave me one when I graduated.

#5. Animorphs by K.A. Applegate. This one really shouldn't need explanation. Animorphs rock.

#6. Replica by Marilyn Kaye. As an adoptee, I have always found stories about adopted characters fascinating. While that drew me in, though, I just really enjoyed the world in this series.

#7. The Dream of the Stone by Christina Askounis. I'm still not entirely sure why I was so drawn to this book, but I read it over and over until the local library weeded it from the collection. It was reissued a few years ago, and I immediately picked up a copy.

#8. The Starlight Crystal by Christopher Pike. I have read many, many Pike books over the years, but this one remains my favorite. It has some rough moments and could benefit from a rewrite (hint hint, Kevin McFadden!), but the general storyline has stuck with me for all these years.

#9. The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith. This series may have been the beginning of my fascination with paranormal fiction.

#10. Sweep by Cate Tiernan. But if I wasn't already into paranormal fiction, this series definitely would have done it! OH MY GOD it was so good!

Monday, April 15, 2013

review: BLONDE WITH A WAND by Vicki Lewis Thompson

BLONDE WITH A WAND
by Vicki Lewis Thompson
Series: Babes-on-Brooms #1
Penguin: Signet Eclipse
Released: February 2, 2010
Source: Bookstore
Page Count: 320

Rating: Really liked it!

From the wild and hexy imagination of Vicki Lewis Thompson comes an engaging new series of bewitching temptation, mortal consequences, and a witch who shouldn’t be toyed with . . .

Never cross a witch in love.

Sexy witch Anica Revere has one absolutely unwavering rule: Never, under any circumstances, get involved with a man before telling him she’s a witch. Still, what’s one silly rule? Especially when the guy in question is as cute as Jasper Danes. But when Anica and Jasper have a spat, she breaks an even bigger rule of witchcraft and turns him into a cat. Bad news for him. Worse for her.

With Anica stripped of her powers for the witchy infraction, it’s p to Jasper to undo the hex, but he never expects the hardest part of the bargain to be resisting Anica. The stakes are high, and the chemistry is off the charts. But what’ll happen if Anica and Jasper both fall under the strongest spell of all: love?

My Thoughts

Anica Revere is three weeks into a great relationship with Jasper Danes, and it's clear he wants to move things to the next level. But there's one problem - he doesn't yet know she's a witch. When they are out to dinner and she runs into his ex-girlfriend, though, Anica loses her temper and blasts him with a transformation spell. The cat is finally out of the bag - literally! Jasper is now a cat, and Anica has no idea how to change him back, especially now that she has lost her magic. As they slowly begin to figure things out, the next question is whether or not Jasper will be able to look past her magic to love her for the woman she is.

What a cute book! I was worried that I would be burned out on Thompson's paranormal books after the Hex series, but I actually ended up liking this book even better than Over Hexed. Anica and Jasper were really cute together, and it was fun to see Dorcas and Ambrose make a repeat appearance in this series. Thompson's new series is a fantastic light paranormal romance read.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (2)

Stacking the Shelves is an alternative to In My Mailbox that is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Click here for more information!

I received these books for review from Netgalley:

THE TESTING
The Testing #1
by Joelle Charbonneau
THE RULES
Project Paper Doll #1
by Stacey Kade
And I bought this book: 

FROSTBITE
Vampire Academy Graphic Novel #2
by Richelle Mead

Friday, April 12, 2013

review: OVER HEXED by Vicki Lewis Thompson

OVER HEXED
by Vicki Lewis Thompson
Series: Hex #1
Penguin: Onyx
Released: October 2, 2007
Source: Bookstore
Page Count: 319

Rating: Really liked it!

The key to finding love . . .

Banished. Until their unconventional techniques land them in hot water, Dorcas and Ambrose are the matchmaking sex therapists for lovelorn witches and wizards. The Grand High Wizard has exiled them to the very conventional and unmagical town of Big Knob, Indiana. Population: 947. But that doesn't mean they've given up on matchmaking.

. . . is a good hex life.

Now they're doing it for mere mortal - although all agree: Sean Madigan is something of a god. Because he's tired of being the town sex object, Dorcas and Ambrose strip him of his appeal and then introduce him to his destiny, Maggie Grady. This time, winning a girl's heart won't be so easy for Sean. It means rediscovering the charms buried beneath the gorgeous surface and finally proving himself to be more of a man than ever before.

My Thoughts

Sean Madigan needs a woman. No, scratch that - he's got women, but what he needs is a good woman he can settle down with, one who doesn't think he's only good for his looks and skill in bed, who will save him from the throngs of woman who are throwing themselves at his feet. Insert Dorcas and Ambrose Lowell. Exiled to Big Knob, Indiana, after a spell-gone-wrong affected a member of the Witches' Council, this unconventional couple knows they are sorely needed in this nonmagical town. They agree to help Sean - not that he believes them - by turning off his sex appeal. Unfortunately, the next day Sean meets the perfect woman... who has the least perfect job. If he can't charm Maggie into looking elsewhere for a property for her big box store, Sean could lose his childhood home. Can he win her heart without his good looks?

This was a cute book, and I loved the two main characters. The way their relationship developed, both magically and unmagically, was a joy to watch. Sean was really a fish out of water, as he'd never had to work to catch a woman's eye. Losing his sex appeal made him try harder than he ever had in the past, and I think that made it more worthwhile for him in the long run - he knew that Maggie loved him for who he truly was on the inside. All of the magical goings-on in this nonmagical town gave the story a little something extra. Dorcas and Ambrose, with their sex-starved ways, pack a punch on their own, but George and the Whispering Forest add quite a bit of levity. In short, highly recommended!

For more information on the Hex series, click here! Check back tomorrow for my review of the second book in the series, Wild & Hexy.

Friday Finds (2)

Friday finds is hosted by Should Be Reading and showcases all of the books, whether new or previously published, that we have added to our TBR lists this week!

In honor of the success of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign (!!!!!!!!!! fangirl moment !!!!!!!!!!), I give you these books:

NEPTUNE NOIR: UNAUTHORIZED INVESTIGATIONS INTO VERONICA MARS
edited by the one and only Rob Thomas
(ignoring the fact that there is another famous Rob Thomas out there . . .)

More than just a high school drama, Veronica Mars is a smart and savvy teen detective show that offers complex mysteries and rapier wit, engaging social commentary, and noir sensibilities - with the occasional murder thrown in for good measure. This collection, edited by the creator and executive producer of the show, offers supreme insight into the class struggles and love stories of the series. Essays by top writers intelligently address a multitude of questions, such as: "Is Veronica Mars a modern-day vigilante?" "Why is a show that features rape, potential incest, and a teen girl outsmarting local authorities so popular with America's conservative population?" and "Why is Veronica and Logan's relationship the most important story-driving factor in the show?"

INVESTIGATING VERONICA MARS: ESSAYS ON THE TEEN DETECTIVE SERIES
edited by Rhoda Wilcox and Sue Turnbull

Essays explore many aspects of the teen detective series, including Veronica Mars and vintage television; the search for the mother; fatherhood; how the show relates to the classical Greek paradigm; feminist anger and vigilante justice; the anti-hero's journey; the inter-generational audience; rape narrative and meaning; and television fandom, among others.

tv review: CONTINUUM Season One

CONTINUUM: Season One
SyFy Channel
aired: 1/14/13 (SyFy US)
released: 3/26/13

Rating: Loved it!

In the year 2077, the ruthless leaders of the terrorist group Liber8 escape execution by time traveling to 2012, taking tough-as-nails cop Kiera Cameron with them. A stranger in a strange land, Kiera  poses as a government agent and joins forces with police detective Carlos Fonnegra and teen tech wizard Alec Sadler to capture the terrorists before they can alter the future and turn the world upside down.

My Thoughts

I know, I know, it's not about books or even a book that landed on a screen. It's just awesome, so bear with me!

I marathoned this season in one night. It's almost 7 a.m., and I am utterly exhausted . . . yet still watching the special features just to get a little more of the Continuum experience. That in itself should tell you how much I loved this show! Rachel Nichols is fabulous as Kiera Cameron. I didn't really have any knowledge of her past acting jobs, so there were no preconceived notions going in. I am a fan of Victor Webster from his Mutant X days (I know, I'm old), and I will admit that I sort of expected him to have superpowers and/or always win in a fight. It's not Victor's fault that I can't let go of Brennan Muwlray. Kiera's husband is a snake, and I thought so from the very beginning, but most of the rest are pretty good. I like all of the cops in 2012, and her kid in 2077 is absolutely adorable. Alec is adorable. He reminds me a lot of Birkoff from La Femme Nikita (you know, the good one with Peeta Wilson). Birkoff is one of my favorite tv characters of all time, so I do not make comparisons to him lightly.

Time travel is a fascinating subject, especially when it's done right. Continuum is one of the few shows that handles it well. The show jumps back and forth between 2012 and 2077 - in storyline only - and it is interesting to see how the future develops, how relatively minor choices made in 2012 can affect the future. The future technology is also pretty mind-blowing, and I have to wonder how much of it is actually viable.

This is such a fun show! I can't wait for season two to premiere on June 7 on SyFy (US)!!!

1x01 A STITCH IN TIME Future cop Kiera Cameron is swept along with eight ruthless terrorists who've time traveled to 2012 to escape incarceration and their planned execution. I was unsure about this in the beginning, to be honest, because time travel is always tricky to pull off. Luckily, the time travel issue was addressed in this episode, and I found it believable enough to continue watching. Kiera is not just a touch cop, she has a soft side that she's not afraid to show. She is very easy to relate to. I also liked Alec. It's a little odd that he accepts Kiera so quickly, but that's really the only questionable thing about the series so far.

1x02 FAST TIMES When Kiera learns Liber8 is trying to return to the future, she plans to go with them so she can return to her husband and son. My heart broke for Kiera in this episode. She was obviously not going to make it back to the future, as that would have ended the series in only two episodes. This one was heart-wrenching.

1x03 WASTING TIME Kiera and Carlos investigate a series of murders where the victims have been drained of their endocrine fluid. Honestly, this one had some gross moments. I could have done without the holes in the back of a bunch of people's heads. I'm not sure how realistic the science is, but the idea that parts of the human brain can be harvested and turned into a drug is incredibly creepy!

1x04 MATTER OF TIME When a scientist working on clean energy is slain, Kiera believes it might be the work of Liber8. This episode brought up some interesting concepts of ethics in time travel. Kiera allows someone to get away with one crime because of what this person contributes to society in the future. Which is more important, justice or innovation?

1x05 A TEST OF TIME Liber8 decides to eliminate Kiera's grandmother so their archenemy will never exist. My favorite episode so far! I would LOVE to meet my ancestors, and the idea that Kiera was able to do so - but could not let anything slip that could jeopardize her future - is fascinating.

1x06 TIME'S UP When Liber8 kidnaps the CEO of a major corporation, Kiera and Carlos race against time to save her. I didn't really love this episode, but I did see how it tied in with the Occupy Wall Street movement and how it made perfect sense to put that together with Liber8's manifesto. Of course a group like that, arriving in 2012, would want to put it to good use in furthering their cause. Also, Alec's stepbrother is a spoiled brat. Wow.

1x07 THE POLITICS OF TIME Kiera investigates the death of a reporter, unaware that Carlos was with the victim the same night she was murdered. TAHMOH PENIKETT!!! That should really be enough of a review. Alas, I will continue. I hate when he doesn't play a nice guy. Also, Liber8 is jumping into politics! Yikes! This could be getting pretty dicey soon.

1x08 PLAYTIME When two murder-suicides occur on the same day, Kiera and Carlos investigate the only link between them: a video game company where the shooters worked. Oh, goodness. There is some seriously disturbing technology shown in 2077. The way they brought it into 2012 was actually something that I had wondered about after discovering that she had bionic upgrades that at the very least linked with her suit and her means of communication. Very interesting. As an aside, I keep going back and forth on Kellogg, but he really came through in this episode. I wanted to hug him, just a little.

1x09 FAMILY TIME Kiera and Carlos track large quantities of stolen annonium nitrate to the farm belonging to Alec's stepfather. I was wondering when Alec would be brought more fully into the story instead of just chillin out in his computer room / barn. This storyline had a very bittersweet tinge to it - you know soon after going in that something terrible is going to happen. Looking past that, though, it was nice to see Alec show some backbone in a non-computer-related arena. I really enjoy his character, and I hope to see more of him in the future.

1x10 ENDTIME Kiera races the clock to stop a world-changing terrorist attack that was planned in 2007. HOLY TROUT, BATMAN! Endtime was very twisty and turny and completely threw me for a loop! I can't wait to jump into season two and hopefully figure out what the heck is going on in 2077 that started all of this. Once again, I really felt for Kiera in this episode. It's always difficult to see her grasp for hope and have it torn away so cruelly.