Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: Blade Song by J.C. Daniels

Book Description

Kit Colbana—half breed, assassin, thief, jack of all trades—has a new job: track down the missing ward of one of the local alpha shapeshifters. It should be a piece of cake.

So why is she so nervous? It probably has something to do with the insanity that happens when you deal with shifters—especially sexy ones who come bearing promises of easy jobs and easier money.

Or maybe it’s all the other missing kids that Kit discovers while working the case, or the way her gut keeps screaming she’s gotten in over her head. Or maybe it’s because if she fails—she’s dead.

If she can stay just one step ahead, she should be okay. Maybe she’ll even live long to collect her fee…

(Description from Goodreads)

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Paranormal Fantasy

Series: Colbana Files #1
Does the series need to be read in order? N/A, first in series

Quick Synopsis

Kit gets hired to find a missing kid and is stuck with Damon, a sexy shifter, for the duration of the project. She also has to deal with a vampire stalker named Jude.

Review

    Liked
  • Kit is a great character. She has a traumatic past and though she copes really well, she still experiences echoes of her abuse. She can never shove it completely down and just keep blithely going every time. Her trauma is given its due without taking over her life completely. The author keeps it nicely balanced.
  • The world of the book has the typical vampires, shifters and witches. I found the paranormal races to be fairly typical for UF but I found the interactions between the races to be interesting.
  • Kit is something different - aneira. Aneira are a paranormal race similar to Amazons but different enough to keep it fresh. I like the set of powers that Kit has and how accepting she is that she is weaker because she’s half-human. She works with what she has.
  • Damon starts out as a total asshole. At first I was pretty annoyed with him (as Kit was), but then he grew on me. I think his finally starting to trust Kit made the difference to me.
  • The Walgreens scene is comedy gold.

    Liked Less
  • There were a few typos in this book. The mistakes were not enough to throw me out of the story, but they definitely shouldn’t have been there.
  • I really wish that more had been explained about Jude’s business venture (to explain more would spoil). Why did he set something like that up in the first place? I also thought that his business was very cliched and I was a little disappointed because of it.

Rating

King of Swords
A very enjoyable read that I feel happy recommending to other readers. I will likely read the next in the series.


Disclosure: I purchased this book.

Amazon | B & N

Monday, October 29, 2012

Steals & Deals: eBook Bargains

Here are a couple of bargains that caught my eye tonight when I decided to take a break from storm coverage. Luckily I still have electricity.

Prices were current at the time of this posting. Please check prices before buying as they can change.

    99 cents
  • Ghosts by Gaslight - An anthology of supernatural stories set in Victorian times. Reviewers' chief complaint is that the stories contain little steampunk though the book is marketed as such. Still, for $0.99 it's tough to go wrong and you might find a spooky story you like for Halloween.
    Amazon | B & N

    $1.99
  • Updated to add: Firelight by Kristen Callihan - If you are a fan of urban fantasy/paranormal romance, this is a must-read especially at this price. I definitely one-clicked. All the reviews I've read say it's amazing.
    Amazon | B & N
  • The Look of Love by Bella Andre - This is Book 1 of the Sullivans contemporary romance series. I haven't read any of Andre's books myself but I've heard many people say they enjoy them. Also, if you like Amazon's Whispersync for Voice, the audiobook is also $1.99 when you purchase the ebook.
    Amazon | B & N
  • A Night Like This by Julia Quinn - Quinn is a very well-known author of historical romance. This book has decent reviews.
    Amazon | B & N
  • Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt - A historical romance with mostly rave reviews on GoodReads.
    Amazon | B & N

    $2.99
  • Eternal Rider by Larissa Ione - A paranormal romance featuring the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. While I have not started this series yet, I love Ione's Demonica series and hope this is just as good.
    Amazon | B & N

Hope you find something that you like!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Audiobook Review: Riveted by Meljean Brook

Book Description

A century after a devastating volcanic eruption forced Iceland's inhabitants to abandon its shores, the island has become enshrouded in legend. But the truth behind the legends is mechanical, not magical—and the mystery of the island a matter of life and death for a community of women who once spilled noble blood to secure their freedom.

Five years ago, Annika unwittingly endangered that secret, but her sister K√§lla took the blame and was exiled. Now Annika serves on an airship, searching for her sister and longing to return home. But that home is threatened when scientific expedition leader David Kentewess comes aboard, looking to expose Annika's secrets. Then disaster strikes, leaving David and Annika stranded on a glacier and pursued by a madman, with their very survival depending on keeping the heat rising between them—and generating lots of steam . . .
(Description from Goodreads)

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Steampunk

Series: Iron Seas #3
Does the series need to be read in order? No


Quick Synopsis

David and Annika meet and their relationship starts to bloom aboard the airship Annika works on. Then some crazy awesome action stuff happens (don't want to spoil) and Annika and David are in a fight for their lives. Along the way, there's plenty of airships, clockwork devices and other neat steampunk tech.

Review

    Liked
  • The world-building is amazing. You can tell that the author has the world completely sculpted in her head. Each place has its own feel and history and people. It's a cornucopia of stories to be told, and I want to read them all.
  • There are plenty of steampunk devices - airships, clockwork dogs, nano-agents, mechanical prosthetic limbs, and much more. The technology is neatly integrated into the story so I never felt like it was a collection of "look at the cool things my brain invented."
  • Annika and David are fascinating, layered characters. I loved getting to know them almost as much as they loved getting to know each other.
  • There is no insta-lust. I don't always mind insta-lust but I very much appreciated the slow-developing romance between David and Annika. Many times I found myself grinning like a fool as things progressed so sweetly.
  • The sexy scenes are hot and well-written. Ms. Brooks doesn't fall into any over-used phrases typical to romances (flat, male nipples anyone?). As with everything else, the sex is well-integrated into the plot.
  • About 50% of the way through the book, shit gets real. I was already enjoying the story immensely, but then the action really got ratcheted up and I loved it even more.

    Liked Less
  • I wish we'd seen Annika's home. Maybe in another book in the series?

Audiobook Notes

  • Clarity - 5/5 - Words and names were very easy to understand, even with differing accents.
  • Differentiation Between Characters - 4/5 - It was fairly easy to tell the difference between characters speaking in conversations. There were a couple rare moments of confusion.
  • Sound Levels - 5/5 - I never had to adjust the volume because the sound levels were too different i.e. suddenly too loud or too quiet.
  • Overall Performance - 4.5/5 - Excellent voice acting.
  • Audio Version Recommended? Yes

Rating

Queen of Swords
Amazing! Why aren't you buying this book right now?
I will be buying up this author's entire backlist.


Disclosure: I purchased this book.

Buy the audiobook at: Tantor | Amazon | B & N
**Currently the digital download is on sale at Tantor for only $6.99!**

Buy other editions at: Amazon | B & N

Contest Shoutout: Win The Fever Series - Ends Today!

Contest has ended!

Click here to enter the contest at All Things Urban Fantasy. Contest ends tonight!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Review: Until There Was You by Jessica Scott

Book Description

From the author of Because of You comes an all-new contemporary eBook romance. Though he plays by the rules, she’s not afraid to break them. Now these two strong-willed military leaders will prove that opposites attract . . . even under fire.

A by-the-book captain with a West Point background, Evan Loehr refuses to mix business with pleasure—except for an unguarded instance years ago when he succumbed to the deep sensuality of redheaded beauty Claire Montoya. Since that brief lapse in judgment, Evan has been at odds with her. But when he is asked to train a combat team alongside Claire, battle-hardened Evan is in for the fight of his life.

Strong, gutsy, and loyal, Captain Claire Montoya has worked hard to achieve her high military rank. In Evan Loehr, Claire sees a spoiled commander who puts the rules before everything else—including his people. Army orders force them together and Claire soon discovers that there is more to Evan than meets the eye. He too has dark secrets and deep longings. For all their differences, Evan and Claire share two crucial passions: their country and each other.
(Description from Goodreads)

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Military Romance

Series: Coming Home #2
Does the series need to be read in order? No

Quick Synopsis

Evan follows the rules; Claire doesn't. They argue a lot and lust after each other a lot, all while trying to ready other soldiers for deployment. They also deal with their friend and fellow soldier, Reza, being a raging alcoholic.

Review

    Liked
  • I enjoyed the glimpse of military life from a woman's perspective. I wanted to see more of it.
  • Claire's friendship with Reza was solid and interesting. I also liked her changing interactions with Engle. At first Claire wants nothing to do with Engle but their relationship evolves as Engle tries to step up to the plate and get her unit ready in time for deployment.

    Liked Less
  • So much lusting. It all started with insta-lust and would not die. I'm ok with lusting, really. I do expect it in my romance novels, but there was way too much in this book. It actually interrupted good conversations and plot developments and made me roll my eyes.
  • The hero and heroine were very one-dimensional. We get told that Claire is some kind of maverick who breaks the rules all the time and Evan is the rule follower. We get told that they discovered this about each other when they were deployed. Then the lusting and arguing start. It feels like I got dropped right into the middle of something with no preparation. I wanted more backstory about their interactions when they were deployed. I wanted more actual interaction instead of lust, lust, lust. I also wanted to know more about Claire's damage than just "oh, everybody leaves me so I can't connect." I was the one who couldn't connect.
  • The sexy scenes were ok but there were too many in a row with too little plot development between them toward the end of the book. I found myself skimming.

Rating

Page of Swords
Has some good points that are unfortunately overwhelmed by bad points/flaws.


Disclosure: I won an ARC of this book in a contest. My opinions are, as always, 100% my own.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Review: Dying Bites by D.D. Barant

Book Description

Her job description is the “tracking and apprehension of mentally-fractured killers.” What this really means in FBI profiler Jace Valchek’s brave new world—one in which only one percent of the population is human—is that a woman’s work is never done. And real is getting stranger every day…

Jace has been ripped from her reality by David Cassius, the vampire head of the NSA. He knows that she’s the best there in the business, and David needs her help in solving a series of gruesome murders of vampires and werewolves. David’s world—one that also includes lycanthropes and golems—is one with little knowledge of mental illness. An insane serial killer is a threat the NSA has no experience with. But Jace does. Stranded in a reality where Bela Lugosi is a bigger box office draw than Bruce Willis and every full moon is Mardi Gras, Jace must now hunt down a fellow human before he brings the entire planet to the brink of madness. Or she may never see her own world again…

(Description from Goodreads)

Genre: Paranormal Fantasy

Series: Bloodhound Files #1

Review

Dying Bites has your standard urban fantasy helping of vampires and werewolves, but there's a unique twist. These creatures exist in a parallel universe where humans are in the minority. Jace Valchek is a (human) FBI profiler from our world who gets pulled into the alternate universe by their NSA. They need help tracking a human who's killing vampires and werewolves.

The alternate world that Jace is pulled into is pretty neat. It's a lot like our world but a step to the side. There are vampires and werewolves, and golems, the animated sand/clay of Jewish legend. I found the golems to be a refreshing addition because they're not seen often in stories. As mentioned previously, there are humans as well though considerably less of them than the other races. The history of this universe is explained to Jace (and the reader) as she acclimates to her new situation. I was really enjoying my tour of this world at Jace's shoulder until I thought about it a little more. That's when I noticed the logic problems.

As a reader of paranormal fantasy, I have no problems suspending disbelief to a point, but Dying Bites lacked the internal consistency that makes other urban fantasy worlds easier to swallow. The entire premise for bringing Jace to the other universe is flawed. Apparently, in that world, vampires and werewolves are immune to mental disorders so humans are the only ones who can be insane. I could buy this if vampires and werewolves were distinct races, but alternate universe humans can be turned into either one. So does the mind change so completely during the transformation that they're no longer like humans at all? I saw no evidence of that. In fact, the author seems to go to a lot of trouble to show that vampires and werewolves can be pretty "normal." So why is it that they can feel emotions and interact like humans but not be crazy? I don't get it. Not to mention, a werewolf does some weird stalkery things toward Jace but nobody thinks that's maybe a little nuts, especially Jace who's supposed to be an expert? And that's not the only sign of Jace's apparent lack of skill. It seemed to me like every conclusion that she drew was due more to detective work than to any special insight into the criminal mind. I was expecting decent psychiatric analysis, but instead I was told that the killer is insane. Well, duh. That's why you were brought to this world in the first place, Jace. This is not a character that I can respect.

Perhaps I would have like Jace more if I'd been able to understand why she acted the way she did. Unfortunately, this book is full of tell instead of show so I never really got a feel for her. For example, we're told that Jace likes Gretchen and that she's probably the closest to a friend that Jace has in this world, but there's no real evidence of that. The friendship isn't actually shown developing or existing. There are also several times where she notes that a man is attracted to her that left me scratching my head. Once again, there are no signs of this attraction other than Jace just telling us it's there. She doesn't even really elaborate on her own feelings/attractions. This disconnect leads to many of Jace's conclusions looking like stunning leaps of non-logic.

Overall, I liked the idea of an alternate universe with supernatural creatures but the logic holes and the distant heroine left me wanting.

Rating

Page of Swords

Has some good points that are unfortunately overwhelmed by bad points/flaws.
I will not be continuing with the series.


Disclosure: I purchased this book.

Contest Shoutout: Win the Fever Series @All Things Urban Fantasy

Contest has ended!

Enter to win the Fever series (5 books) by Karen Marie Moning over at All Things Urban Fantasy.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hey Howdy

I thought I'd like to start a blog specifically for my book reviews. Why? I can't really say. I have been posting my reviews to GoodReads but GR doesn't leave a lot of room for such things as challenges and explanations of reading-related things that aren't specific to a certain book. So here she is.

I'm not 100% up and ready to be posting reviews. I'm still deciding on what format I'd like to use and setting up my review system. For now, I'll mostly be posting links to contests on other blogs I enjoy.

Things will be added slowly. Stay tuned!