Posts filed under ‘Just Finished Reading (Review)’

Just finished reading…Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey

My review of Beauty and the Werewolf is up at Book Binge! Head on over and see what I thought.

Beauty and the Werewolf

And, while I’ve been pretty scarce lately on the blog, I’m still reading up a storm. Come visit me over at Goodreads for my latest reads. Also, I’ll continue posting reviews over at Book Binge.

Meanwhile, I’m knitting like crazy, getting ready for Christmas. Regular posts will resume in the New Year!

Advertisements

December 15, 2011 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Just finished reading…Pushed to the Limit by Nico Rosso

Pushed to the Limit (Limit War series, book 2) by Nico Rosso [NOVELLA]

Pushed to the LimitTeryn Pilander lives in a world of secrets. She is a Shadow Corps operative for the Core Army in the Limit War, trained in espionage. Her latest mission takes her to the planet Viela, drawn by a communication that the local government captured a Dusk Warrior Officer for questioning. More interesting than the message, though, is the voice delivering it. A little shy, but deep and strong, the masculine voice sparks dormant fires in Teryn. She tells herself that once the mission is over, she might put her spy self away for a bit and live a little as a woman.

 

Drel Kol has secrets of his own. He is the one who sent the message drawing Teryn and her team to his planet. But he was just following orders and led her into a trap. Now, the woman he spoke with could be in grave danger. Her voice alone is enough to ignite a passion he has never known. Yet he’s only a technician. Can he fight against his own government and the Dusk to save her? And will the new bond between Teryn and Drel be torn apart when she learns his secret?

 
Typically, I tend to be a bit compulsive when I read a series, hating to read out of order. However, when I was asked by the author to review this novella, I was assured that the story would stand alone just fine. And, I was so relieved to discover that it was true. While there were some references to what took place in Taken to the Limit, book 1 in the Limit War series, I never felt like I was missing out on any important storyline, character development, or information.

I really liked this story of Teryn, a strong, kick-ass heroine, and Drel, a shy but tough beta hero. Pushed to the Limit opens with Teryn arriving on the planet Viela after being lured to it by communications tech Drel. She quickly sees it for the trap that it is, and Drel realizes that he’s made a big mistake. When they join forces against the Dusk (a stealthy invading force) and Vielan collaborators, the story kicks into high gear.

At the beginning of the story, their connection felt sort of  like “insta-love,” with a pretty extreme reaction on Teryn’s part just by hearing Drel’s voice as he guided her and her crew to land on Viela. However, as events unfold, Teryn and Drel are given an opportunity to connect and get to know each other. (The time-frame is still pretty fast, but the time is well spent, with each learning what makes the other tick.) I really appreciated that even in the compressed format of a novella, a good amount of it was focused on developing their connection. One really gets why they are drawn to each other.

As far as the world-building, there was just enough given the novella-length, with out the story feeling either wallpaper-y or too dense. There also was a good balance between the romantic relationship and the larger story arc.

I would really enjoy seeing a long story in this world, with a greater complexity of plot and more time to develop characters. However, Pushed to the Limit was a satisfying introduction to the series, and I’m now curious enough about it that I’ve gone ahead and bought the first book. I’ll be looking forward to reading more about the Limit War.

I received this book from the
author, for review purposes.

July 3, 2011 at 7:00 am 10 comments

Just finished reading…My Dangerous Pleasure by Carolyn Jewel

My Dangerous Pleasure (My Immortal/Witches series, book 4) by Carolyn Jewel

My Dangerous PleasureTEMPT THE DARKNESS Strong-willed and independent, Paisley Nichols is used to taking care of herself. But when an insane mage begins tracking her every move and threatening her at every turn, she has no choice but to put her life in the hands of a demon.
RISK THE PASSION Burned by betrayal, demon assassin Iskander won’t get too close to anyone. He spends his days serving his warlord and his nights indulging in carnal pleasures . . . and that’s exactly how he likes it. But when a mage wages a wrenching psychic assault on his beautiful tenant Paisley, Iskander must defend her. Under his protection, she will be drawn irresistibly into his life and learn about her own mysterious powers. And not a moment too soon. The mage haunting her isn’t acting alone-and he won’t rest until he destroys both Paisley and Iskander.

I love this series, and was so glad that the long wait between books 3 and 4 was finally over. Iskander has been put through the mill in previous books in this series, so I’ve been really looking forward to his getting a shot at a HEA.

First off, let me say that this is the fourth book in the series, and given the complexity of the world and the character relationships, I highly recommend reading them in order. I’m usually a stickler about these things, and the payoff will be worth it in this case, since the larger story arc continues to get more and more interesting as the books progress.

The world of demonkin, witches, and mages waging a power struggle  in modern-day San Francisco is dark, sensual, and often violent. Nikodemus, the leader of the kin, is struggling to keep the peace between his kind with their witch allies, and the power-hungry mages.

Paisley, a human woman who owns a bakery and rents a garage apartment from her sexy (and unbeknownst to her) demonkin landlord, Iskander, stumbles into this explosive situation when Kessler, a dark mage awakens an incipient magic in her, and begins to terrorize her.

I really liked Paisley. While she’s often put in terrifying, confusing, and overwhelming situations (at the beginning of the book she is completely unaware of the non-human world) she deals with it in a straightforward, no-nonsense manner. Her naiveté doesn’t result in tstl actions, as often is the case with uninformed heroines.

Iskander is someone who has been through hell, been damaged, especially by his crazy blood-twin, and is often on the edge of losing it, himself. I love how when he’s put in the position of guarding Paisley, she brings out another side of him that we haven’t seen in previous books. He’s not just a bad-ass alpha around her, but also a considerate protector (and, eventually,) lover. Their love scenes are HOT, and I love how Iskander, for all his passion, always tries to make sure that she is ok with his more “demon-like” aspects.

While the story itself took a little bit to really get going, once it did, I love where it went. I found the story behind Kessler’s actions original and absorbing, and it kept me turning pages. I can’t wait for the next book in the series to see where the larger story arc continues to go.

Related posts about the series:

For more info on the series, the author has a great primer on it.

I received this book from the
author, for review purposes.

June 24, 2011 at 12:05 pm 8 comments

Just finished reading…Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts

This review is cross-posted from Goodreads.
Chasing FireThere’s little as thrilling as firefighting-at least to Rowan Tripp. The Missoula smoke jumpers are in Rowan’s blood: her father is a legend. She’s been fighting fires since her eighteenth birthday. At this point, returning to the wilds of Montana for the season feels like coming home-even with reminders of the partner she lost last season still lingering.
Fortunately, this year’s rookie crop is one of the strongest ever-and Gulliver Curry’s one of the best. He’s also a walking contradiction, a hotshot firefighter with a big vocabulary and a winter job at a kids’ arcade.
Everything is thrown off balance when a dark presence lashes out against Rowan, looking to blame someone for last year’s tragedy. Rowan knows she can’t complicate things with Gull-any distractions in the air or on the ground could mean the end-but if she doesn’t find someone she can lean on, she may not make it through the summer. . . .
It’s apparent that Chasing Fire was excellently researched, and the fire jumper aspect was really interesting. I also really liked Rowan and Gull, as well as all of the secondary characters. However, I did have a couple of minor issues that prevented me from rating it higher.
I listened to the digital audiobook, and between parts 9-12 (out of 13 parts) the book started feeling really long. Rowan and Gull’s relationship seemed to be in a holding pattern while they continued to work on the fires, and all of the other secondary plot threads were being dealt with. I wanted a little more focus on Rowan and Gull’s relationship, I think.
Also, I would have liked more about how they were going to work out their future, post fire-season. This seemed to be a big issue for Rowan at the beginning as to why she didn’t get involved with fellow smoke jumpers. Gull’s got a thriving family business in CA, while Rowan is firmly entrenched in Montana. That part of it seemed to be too rushed at the end, and dealt with only superficially.
I also found Rowan’s initial attitude toward her father’s romance really immature, which despite her extremely close relationship with her father, felt inconsistent with her character.
However, all that being said, it was a good read, and I think if it had been a little shorter (maybe if one of the plot threads had been smaller) I would have loved it.

May 25, 2011 at 2:20 pm 6 comments

Just finished reading…The Shattered Gates (Rifter #1)

The Shattered Gates (The Rifter, book 1) by Ginn Hale

From the publisher’s press release:

Written over five years, The Rifter is award-winning author Ginn Hale’s new ten-part serialized novel that follows two men transported from modern America to a theocratic world in the throes of a revolution.

When I was offered the opportunity to review Ginn Hale’s ambitious, 10-part serialized novel, I jumped at the chance. Not only am I a big fan of Ginn Hale, I was also intrigued by the structure of this project. It conjures up visions of those old-time radio dramas, serialized adventure movies, and telling stories around a campfire where the storyteller always left one wanting more.

Here’s the description for the first installment, The Shattered Gates

The Shattered Gates
When John opens a letter addressed to his missing roommate, Kyle, he expects to find a house key. Instead he is swept into a strange realm of magic, mysticism, revolutionaries and assassins.
Though he struggles to escape, John is drawn steadily closer to a fate he share with Kyle—to wake the destroyer god, the Rifter, and shatter a world.

This first installment of the 10-part serialized novel pretty much did what it needed to do, and has hooked me!

John and his mysterious roommate, Kahlil/Kyle come from different worlds, but are connected by magic. John is just discovering that there is more to the everyday world he knows. He is thrust into the action (and Kahlil’s world) when he makes a fateful mistake. Now, he’s doing everything he can to survive—and keep his friends alive—in a strange land. I like John. He’s forthright, and a bit skeptical of the magic that he’s just becoming aware of.

Kahlil is still a bit of a mystery. He’s on a mission to protect his world and John’s, even if it means killing. He’s a bit of a fish out of water in John’s world, but I love the wonder he has at the everyday (our) world. even something as simple as ordering breakfast at a diner is a special experience for him. The author really conveys Kahlil’s awe in a beautiful and believable way.

The sense of loneliness and isolation of both men is conveyed beautifully, and it ties them together, even while they are unaware of their similar feelings.

My only quibble with the story was John’s initial lack of curiosity about his knife/weapon carrying roommate. I really found it sort of brought me out of the story when he never even questioned Kahlil’s comings and goings while armed to the teeth (at least beyond wondering about it to himself).

The world—especially Kahlil’s world—has plenty of depth. It’s clear that there’s still a lot to learn about it, but it’s complexity doesn’t completely overwhelm the story. I like the knowledge that I will learn more about it as the story continues to unfold in future installments.

The events were mysterious and compelling enough to suck me in, and make me want more. I have plenty of questions about where the story is going: what role does John play in Kahlil’s world? What will happen when Kahlil connects up with John again? What exactly is going on with the shattered gate? I’m sure that all of my questions will be answered.

In all, I really enjoyed part 1, and can’t wait to read part 2 .

New installments will be released on the second Tuesday of each month. Singles installments and subscriptions are available from Weightless Books.

This review cross-posted on Goodreads.
My Goodreads rating:4 of 5 stars
View all my reviews at Goodreads.
I received this book from the

publisher for review purposes.

March 14, 2011 at 6:00 am 7 comments

Just finished reading…Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery

Chasing Perfect (Fools Gold series, book 1) by Susan Mallery

Chasing PerfectWelcome to Fool’s Gold, California, a charming community in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. There’s lots to do and plenty of people to meet, especially women. Because there’s just one tiny problem in Fool’s Gold: the men don’t seem to stick around. Maybe it’s the lure of big-city life, or maybe it’s plain old bad luck, but regardless of the reason, the problem has to be fixed, fast. And Charity Jones may be just the city planner to do it.
Charity’s nomadic childhood has left her itching to settle down, and she immediately falls in love with all the storybook town has to offer—everything, that is, except its sexiest and most famous resident, former world-class cyclist Josh Golden. With her long list of romantic disasters, she’s not about to take a chance on another bad boy, even if everyone else thinks he’s perfect just the way he is. But maybe that’s just what he needs—someone who knows the value of his flaws. Someone who knows that he’s just chasing perfect.

I was really disappointed in this, my first Susan Mallery book. It sounded like just what I was in the mood for: a light, contemporary romance about life in a small California town, in the vein of Jill Shalvis’ Wilder Adventure series.

Unfortunately, even though it felt like all of the elements were there, the complete package never did it for me. A lot of that was due to the heroine, Charity. She was so resistant to Josh’s public reputation and desire to race again due to her own personal insecurities, that she came across as selfish. In the very end, she understands that his need to race has absolutely nothing to do with her, but it was a little too little, a little too late.

I liked Josh’s character more, but the repetition over and over about how god-like Josh was: so handsome, so lusted after by every woman in town, so envied by the (few) men around him, and how extremely thunderstruck Charity was by him, it made it hard to believe in them as a couple.

******SPOLIER AHEAD (highlight area to read)******

When Charity tells him she’s pregnant, Josh walks out on her. He doesn’t call her for days trying to “work things out”. It felt really out of character for him to not even try to let her know why he left town.

And, when they do come back together, his actions–and her reactions–are never believably resolved. (At least to my satisfaction.)

******END SPOILER*******

In the end, I never really bought their HEA. Charity’s insecurities made the climactic scene seem more like a “happy for now”, and it never really felt like she actually trusted in him or in their relationship.

It might have worked for me more if I had seen more of them as a couple after their declarations: how they settle into their new lives with Josh’s career decisions and how Charity comes to terms with his fame.

The main reason I gave it the 2.5 stars at Goodreads (and not lower) was because I liked Josh, and I also liked the town of Fools Gold. I’m not sure yet if I’ll read book 2, but I might. I’m hoping that my failure to like the story more was due to Charity, who will not be the heroine in book 2.

  • Susan Mallery’s site
This review cross-posted on Goodreads.
My Goodreads rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
View all my reviews at Goodreads.
I received this book from the

publisher for review purposes.

OK, so now I have some questions for you: Have you read Susan Mallery’s books? What do you think about them? I’d still like to read more by her, but think I might need a recommendation. Got any?

January 5, 2011 at 6:00 am 11 comments

Just finished reading…My Immortal Assassin by Carolyn Jewel

This book was given to me by the author.
This review cross-posted on Goodreads.
My Goodreads rating: 4 of 5 stars
View all my reviews at Goodreads.

My Immortal Assassin
(My series, book 3) by Carolyn Jewel

My Immortal AssassinRevenge. It’s all Grayson Spencer wants. Christophe dit Menart, a human with dark magical powers, destroyed the life she loved. She wants the pleasure of killing him, no matter the cost to her. If not for Durian, a dangerously sexy demon fiend charged with keeping Christophe alive, she would have succeeded, too. Now, she’s certain all hope is gone. But he has a plan and an offer she can’t resist…

Durian has spent his life as a trained and sanctioned assassin. His duty: to enforce the laws against demons harming humans. He’s always prided himself on staying out of the fray, carrying out his orders and honoring his fealty to his warlord, but never getting attached. Never until Grayson, a spunky and determined woman clearly gifted with magic herself. He convinces her to swear fealty to him so he can protect her and teach her to use her magic to taste the revenge she so desperately wants.

They’re soon bound together in a forbidden desire — a dangerous passion that calls into question Durian’s oath of loyalty to his warlord. When he refuses to return her to Christophe, his disobedience threatens to inflame the tumultuous war between demons and the magekind. Can they — and their love — survive?

I’ve been a big fan of Carolyn Jewel’s books since reading, Scandal (see review), one of my Top 5 historical romances. Since then, her My series has become one of my Top 5 paranormal romances.  It’s been a long wait for Durian’s story (the previous My Forbidden Desire was released May 2009), and I was really happy when the author offered to send an early copy of My Immortal Assassin to me.

One of the things I really enjoy about this series is the originality of the world. The demons (known as the kin, among themselves) are engaged in a struggle with the magekind. Dark mages use enslaved demons to provide power and as coerced minions. Witches, too, often get caught in the crossfire, becoming pawns for the dark mages.

Over the course of the previous 2 books of the series, the leader of the kin, Nicodemus, has brokered a tenuous détente between the mages and demon kin (aka fiends). It’s amidst this precarious cease in overt hostilities, that the assassin Durian encounters Gray, a witch whose life was torn apart by a dark mage.

Gray has been indelibly changed, transformed into something “other” as a result of the mage’s failed power grab attempt, and now she is determined to exact revenge upon him. Durian is sworn to uphold the peace agreement, but is drawn to Gray, and promises to help her learn how to control her new powers, if she will bind herself to him.

This is a lot more set up to a book review than I usually do (I usually prefer to use the book description to do it), but the series story arc, and as a result, the book’s plot is a very complex one. There’s a lot of “meat” to the story, and that’s one of the reasons I really love this series. My one regret about My Immortal Assassin is that I didn’t re-read the previous 2 books to refresh my memory of the series details. (Something I like to do with some series.) I’d really recommend reading this series in order, if you haven’t already read the first 2 books.

One of the things that made My Immortal Assassin a stand out in the series for me is the relationship between Gray and Durian. More than any other book in the series, there is a give and take to their relationship that is really refreshing. While Grey has “submitted” (not in a D/s way, but in a magical way) by binding herself to him, rather than being subservient to him, she is pledged to protect him, and becomes his bodyguard. As Gray increasingly comes into her power, she assumes a more protective role toward Durian that male heroes more typically take on. I really liked this shift in traditional power dynamics.

And, despite this reversal, Durian is as bad-ass as ever, struggling with his increasingly protective feeling towards Gray, while relishing her growing abilities and her desire to protect him. He sees her protection of him and it affects him in a way that it new to the usually cold and detached assassin. Gray’s and Durian’s chemistry is great, and they both feed so much from this dynamic.

I really enjoyed the direction the larger story arc took as well, and where the series will go in the next book, My Dangerous Pleasure (to be released June 2011). The introduction of the mage Leonidas is showing a more complex image of the mages, and should complicate the storyline nicely.

Also, I’m chomping at the bit for Kynan’s story and Iskander’s story, as well as hoping for more about Gray’s sister, Emily.

My Immortal Assassin will be released January 3, 2011.

  • Carolyn Jewel’s site.
  • Excerpt for My Immortal Assassin.
View all my reviews at Goodreads >>

January 2, 2011 at 3:24 pm 10 comments

Older Posts


Vintage pin-up girl reading
Urban Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Mystery, M/M, Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, audiobooks, it just goes on and on...
A little bit more about me.

Renee's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Tweet! Tweet!

Now reading…

Pleasure and Purpose

Pleasure and Purpose (Order of Solace, book 1) by Megan Hart

Now listening to…

Feed

Feed (Newsflesh trilogy, book 1) by Mira Grant Audiobook narrated by Paula Christensen and Jessie Eisenberg

COME ON OVER…

DIK Banner

A FEW BOOKS FROM THE PILE…

Receive notifications of new posts by email.

Can’t hardly wait!

September 20, 2011:
Tempted by His Target
Tempted by His Target by Jill Sorenson

October 4, 2011:
Angels of Darkness
Angels of Darkness with stories by Meljean Brook, Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh, and Sharon Shinn

BLOG HOPPIN’…

RSS Blanche: There’s No Such Thing as 2 Many Books

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Book Binge

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Carina Press blog

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Carolyn: The Thrillionth Page

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Ciara Stewart

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Dear Author

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Dirty Sexy Books

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Doug: Sci Fi Guy

RSS Eyre: A Reader’s Journey

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Fantasy Cafe

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Holly: What Were You Expecting?

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Jackie: Literary Escapism

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Janna: Erotic Romance Reader

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Jessica: Read, React, Review

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Katibabs: Babbling About Books, and More!

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Kati: Katidom

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Lisabea: Nose in a book

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Mandi: Smexy Books

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Marta: Vampire Wire

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS nook & BN eReader Blog

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Sarah T: Monkey Bear Reviews

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Smokin’ Hot Books

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS The Intern

RSS Tracy’s Place

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS VampFanGirl: Lovin’ Me Some Romance

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

%d bloggers like this: