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

WINNER: Nightfall Giveaway!

Nightfall

Thanks to Random.org, the randomly selected winner for Nightfall is…

Sherri A. Dub

Congrats, Sherri! Drop me a line at reneesbookaddiction AT gmail {dot} com with your mailing address, and I will forward it to co-author Ann Aguirre who is generously providing the book!

June 14, 2011 at 8:59 pm 2 comments

Giveaway: Nightfall by Ellen Connor

Earlier this week, I featured Nightfall as one of my anticipated books on my June 2011 Releases post. I’d been looking forward to this book for quite a while. “Ellen Connor” is actually the writing team of Carrie Lofty and Ann Aguirre. And, with a team like that, I had pretty high expectations.

Here’s the description of Nightfall:

Nightfall

Their instincts will save them.
Their passion will transform them.
Growing up with an unstable, often absent father who preached about the end of the world, Jenna never thought, in her wildest nightmares, that his predictions would come true. Or that he would have a plan in place to save her–one that includes the strong, stoic man who kidnaps and takes her to a remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest.
The mysterious ex-Marine named Mason owes a life-debt to Jenna’s father. Skilled and steadfast, he’s ready for the Change, but Jenna proves tough to convince. Until the power grid collapses and the mutant dogs attack–vicious things that reek of nature gone wrong.
When five strangers appear, desperate to escape the bloodthirsty packs, Jenna defies her protector and rescues them. As technology fails and the old world falls away, Jenna changes too, forever altered by supernatural forces. To fight for their future, she and Mason must learn to trust their instinctive passion–a flame that will see them through the bitter winter, the endless nights, and the violence of a new Dark Age.

I read Nightfall earlier this week, and I can tell you, it lived up to all those high expectations. You don’t want to miss this book!

Co-author Ann Aguirre has generously offered a book to be given away a a lucky commenter.

So, in the comments below, tell me: when technology dies and magic is in its ascendency, what 3 things would you make sure you had with you in your bunker? (Remember, technology is d-e-a-d. No computers, phones, ereaders, etc)

Contest will close on June 12, 2011, Monday, 11:59pm PST. I will post the randomly selected winner on Tuesday, June 13.

June 10, 2011 at 5:00 am 16 comments

June 2011 Book Releases, part 1

Tuesday is a big ebook day for me. 3 books I’ve really been looking forward to will be released. I won’t know which one to read first.

NightfallJune 6, 2011: Nightfall (Dark Age Dawning trilogy, book 1) by Ellen Connor

This is book 1 in a new series is by the writing team of Ann Aguirre and Carrie Lofty. Adjectives like “gritty” and “intense” have been used to describe it.

Ann Aguirre is an auto-buy for me. She does such a great job of balancing world-building, character development, and action.

I was lucky enough to get it and read it over the weekend, after preodering it, I have to say, all of the above is true.

In Nightfall, Jenna is kidnapped by Mason, a man who believes her father’s apocalyptic prophecies and has promised her father he would watch out for her when the predictions start to come true. Together, she and Mason have to fight the horrors that come to pass and figure out what exactly is happening to the world around them and to themselves.

Goddess with a BladeJune 6, 2011: Goddess with a Blade by Lauren Dane 

I’ve read contemporary erotic romance, paranormal romance, and futuristic romance by Lauren Dane, but, this will be the first urban fantasy I’ve read by her. I love Lauren Dane’s writing, and am looking forward to it.

Rowan is a “physical vessel to the Celtic Goddess Brigid and raised by the leader of the Vampire Nation”. Sounds like a kick-ass heroine if there ever was one! She encounters a sexy vampire leader, and has to solve a series of vampire-related killings.

Yours to KeepJune 6, 2011: Yours to Keep (Kowalski family, book 3) by Shannon Stacey

Currently reading this!

After Angela James raved about this book at the Romantic Times blogger dinner, I had to start reading this series.

I’ve really enjoyed books 1 and 2 of the Kowalski family series, and like its predecessors, Yours to Keep has a great blend of fun, family, and chemistry between heroine Emma, and Kowalski cousin (and recent Army vet) Sean.

Bad CompanyJune 6, 2011: Bad Company by KA Mitchell

There’s something about this story that really sucked me in when I read the excerpt. (See excerpt on linked page.) It’s already pre-ordered, and I can’t wait to download it today!

Nate and Kellan were friends until Kellan outed Nate in high school. 13 years later, Kellan comes to Nate asking for a favor: pose as Kellan’s boyfriend to get back at Kellan’s homophobic father.

Why should Nate help Kellan out? And, why would Kellan ask him, when he knows that Nate hates him?

I love transgression/forgiveness stories, and am so excited to dig into this one!

Hunt the MoonJune 7, 2011: Hunt the Moon (Cassie Palmer series, book 5) by Karen Chance

It’s been a long wait (2 years!) since book 4, Curse the Dawn. I really enjoy this fast-paced series, and am looking forward to see what’s in store for Cassie, Mircea, and Pritkin, especially since I’m hearing that the Pritkin/Cassie relationship might progress a bit.

I’ve read a couple reviews that indicate that this is one of the best books in the series so far, and am excited to see for myself. I’m on the library wait list for this one, so hopefully it won’t be too long before I get it.

Hit ListJune 7, 2011: Hit List (Anita Blake series, book 20) by Laurell K Hamilton

Yes, I’m STILL hanging in there with Anita and the gang.

I am totally invested in the characters, and really want to know how Nathaniel, Jason, Edward, and even Jean Claude are doing.

When Anita and the guys don’t get too caught up analyzing their relationships, there is usually some good supernatural action (of the non-sexy variety), and I’m hoping Hit List will deliver.

I’ve been listening to the audiobooks from the library for a while now, and always like the production on these.

Demon's SurrenderJune 14, 2011: The Demon’s Surrender (Demon’s Covenant trilogy, book 3) by Sarah Rees Brennan

This is one of my favorite YA series, and Alan’s on the cover of this one!

If you want a gripping, unique YA, I can’t recommend this series enough. I love the relationship between brothers Alan and Nick. They are often at odds, but when it comes to fighting the magicians who complicate their lives, they have each others’ backs.

And then there’s Jamie, his sister Mae, and the dancer Sin who round out the cast of characters. Confession time: while Nick has had considerable chemistry with both Mae and Sin, it’s his rapport with Jamie that gets me. If this were a different kind of story, I’d be hoping for a Nick and Jamie HEA.

This book is the last in the trilogy, and I can’t wait to find out how Sarah Ress Brennan will conclude it.

Come Unto These Yellow SandsJune 14, 2011: Come Unto these Yellow Sands by Josh Lanyon

Lanyon is another auto buy for me, and this one sounds really good!

A professor gets embroiled in a murder investigation when he tries to help one of his students. Complicating matters is the professor’s boyfriend, who happens to be the police chief.

I always have high expectations of Lanyon’s books, and am rarely disappointed. I will be pre-ordering it soon!

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That’s a lot of books for just a 2 week period! Luckily, 3 of them will be library reads, but even so, my poor bank account is taking a big hit this week!

What are you looking forward to in June?

June 7, 2011 at 5:00 am 15 comments

May 2011 Releases, part 2

I’ve fallen a little behind (what else is new?) but I’m really excited about some of the releases that came out at the end of May, and wanted to share them!

GraveminderMay 17, 2011: Graveminder by Melissa Marr

This is Melissa Marr’s first adult novel, and if it’s half as great as her faerie court series, I’ll be thrilled. The story is about Rebekkah, who returns to Claysville, her hometown, after her grandmother’s death. She comes to realize there is more to Claysville than she thought, and that her grandmother played a key role in keeping the peace between the living and the dead. And, it falls to Bek to uphold the family tradition.

I’m on the library waitlist for the audiobook, and can’t wait to listen to it!

America PacificaMay 18, 2011: America Pacifica by Anna North

I think I’m at the point with YA (which I love) that the first thing I’m looking for in a story is originality. And, when I read the description of America Pacifica, I knew I had to read it.

North America is in a second ice age, and Darcy lives on the island of America Pacifica. It’s a place of haves and have-nots, and is ruled by a mysterious dictator. When Darcy’s mom disappears, she searches for her mom, and finds much more than she bargained for.

Rhapsody for Piano and GhostMay 24, 2011: Rhapsody for Piano and Ghost by ZA Maxfield

ZAM is one of my favorite m/m authors. She always writes with so much heart, creating characters I really care about.

While gifted pianist Fritz is studying at a conservatory and looking for a little peace, he finds himself surrounded by family and friends (possibly including a couple of well-meaning imaginary ones) who complicate his life.

It sounds like this story is told with ZAM’s trademark sense of humor.

Between Sinners and SaintsMay 29, 2011: Between Sinners and Saints by Marie Sexton

I’ve recently discovered Marie Sexton’s Coda series, and LOVED every one of them. Her new release is a stand alone, and sounds like it’s as angsty and will pull at my heartstrings as her Coda books.

Bartender Levi is has left behind his Mormon roots behind and encounters Jamie, a loner who is haunted by his past. It’s an opposites attract love story (one of my favorite kinds) and of course the heroes find common ground, healing, and love.

Kiss of SnowMay 31, 2011: Kiss of Snow  (PsyChangeling series, book 10) by Nalini Singh

Hawke’s book!

Need I say more? I do? Oh, ok.

Well, I’ve already read it, and it’s as awesome as all the hype led me to believe.

Read it. You won’t be sorry.

Enough said.

Magic SlaysMay 31, 2011: Magic Slays (Kate Daniels series, book 5) by Ilona Andrews

I always say this about the Kate Daniels series, but here we are at book 5, and it’s still true: each subsequent book in this series gets better (and I really liked the first book).

I’m really interested to see where the author goes with Magic Slays, especially since we are sort of moved to the post HEA part of the story line with Kate and Curran.

I’m looking forward to see the new life that they will build, what Kate is going to do with her new business, and what will happen with the bigger story arc involving Kate’s background.

Just Like HeavenMay 31, 2011: Just Like Heaven (Smythe-Smith quartet, book 1) by Julia Quinn

The legendary Smythe-Smith family (and their notorious musicales) has always been the comic relief in Julia Quinns more recent books. The poor Smythe-Smith girls are now getting their own stories, and Lady Honoria is the heroine in Just Like Heaven. Another of my favorite romance tropes is the younger sibling/older sibling’s friend pairing, and Marcus (Honoria’s brother’s best friend) starts out keeping an eye on Honoria in her brother’s absence, and finds himself falling in love.

I always enjoy Julia Quinn’s historical romances. They’re light, funny, and romantic. I’m currrently listening to Just Like Heaven (narrated by Roslyn Landor) and so far it’s exactly what I expect.

My Dangerous PleasureMay 31, 2011: My Dangerous Pleasure (Witches/My series, book 4) by Carolyn Jewel

This is one of my favorite parnormal series. I love the unique world, the strong heroines, and the sexy demons.

My Dangerous Pleasure is Iskander’s story. The author has really put him thru the mill in this series, and I was excited that he finally gets a HEA. And, Paisley is a worthy heroine.

If you haven’t picked this series up yet, I highly recommend that you start with book 1, My Wicked Enemy.

My review for this book will be posted in a couple of days.

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That’s a lot of books, isn’t it? Lots of good stuff, here.  What’s recently been released that you’ve been looking forward to?

June 4, 2011 at 5:00 am 18 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

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Pleasure and Purpose

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

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

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A FEW BOOKS FROM THE PILE…

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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

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