Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My First Ever Giveaway!!!!!!!

Thanks to Care Selick from Wunderkind who contacted me and offering me a great oportunity to read a few ARCs and review them. Because I would like to share my good fortune as soon as I finish the book up I am offering to send it to one of my lucky bloggie friends. So, you want to know which book?

Book Description: It's been ten years since Bitten, the first novel in Kelley Armstrong's New York Times bestselling Otherworld series. In that time hundreds of thousands of fans have ravenously devoured the adventures of Armstrong's witches, demons, and werewolves. Now, in Spell Bound, she brings them all together for her most sweeping tale yet.

Savannah Levine is in terrible danger, and for once she's powerless to help herself. At the heartbreaking conclusion of
Waking the Witch, Savannah swore that she would give up her powers if it would prevent further pain for a young orphan. Little did she know that someone would take her up on that promise.

And now, witch-hunting assassins, necromancers, half-demons, and rogue witches all seem to be after her. The threat is not just for Savannah; every member of the Otherworld might be at risk. While most of her fellow supernaturals are circling the wagons at a gathering of the council in Miami, Savannah is caught on the road, isolated from those who can protect her and unable to use her vast spell-casting talent, the thing she counts on most. In a story that will change the shape of the Otherworld forever, Armstrong gathers Elena, Clay, Paige, Lucas, Jamie, Hope, and other beloved characters, who soon learn that the greatest threat to supernaturals just may come from within.

This comes out 7/26/11 and since I just got it I don't have much time to have a long giveaway. Sooooooo, here are my hoops you need to jump through (just kidding)

  1. Leave a comment saying you want to win including your email address and get one entry 
  2. Follow Me (and let me know in a comment) and get one entry. It's not mandatory to follow me but it will make me happy!
  3. Spread the word (on your own blog, facebook whatever..just make sure you post the link in the comments section) and get one entry
That's it actually. Everyone has potentially three entries but you don't have to do all but I would appreciate it.

Now for my rules (yes there always has to be rules)....

  • Must have a US address (I am sorry but I just can't afford to send outside the country right now.)
  • Must be 18 years or older. 
  • Each entry must have it's own comment
  • Make sure you leave me your contact info
  • If you have shared this please leave me the link in the comments section that I can follow
  • Giveaway starts RIGHT NOW and ends at 11:59pm CST Wednesday July 6, 2011
Sometime on Thursday 7/7/11 I will take all the entries and list them on will randomize the list and the person in the very first spot will win! I will mail the book out First Class on Friday 7/8/11.  This will ensure that the lucky winner will get the book before publication date. It would be great if the winner could read it, review it and share it too but it's not necessary.

Since this is my first giveaway there may be somethings I am overlooking. Don't be shy in bringing those to my attention and just as a disclaimer that the blog owner (ok that's really me but I just wanted to sound formal Yo!) has the right to change the giveaway in various ways except she will not swap out another book for the one you are expecting, extend the time frame (or shorten it if need be) or for some unforeseen issues cancel the giveaway altogether. That would totally suck but I have to tell you my city slowly flooding (just a few spots right now) because of the Missouri River and I can't predict what will happen. Today I have nice books. Tomorrow I may have to ring them out.

PS: This is an ARC and it came to me with the back cover a bit abused. Just so you know, looks like someone used the book as a hard surface while drawing on another piece of paper. Drawing would actually be not quite accurate. More like making dots...smallish dots...a bit like this..:.:.;.;;.;::::You get the idea right. They aren't holes the cover isn't really damaged just a bit marred. Oh and you know I'm reading it first right? (review to come soon)

Ok, I think that's it! Good Luck All!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bound By Darkness by Annette McCleave

Soul Gatherer Brian Webster has long lived with the guilt of his failure to save his teenage sister. When another girl dies in his arms as she protects an ancient coin from a demon, he takes up her cause. The coin is one of thirty pieces of silver paid to Judas. United, the coins are a dark relic of immense power, and in the wrong hands, they could destroy civilization.

Lena Sharpe is on her own mission to find the Judas coins. A Soul Gatherer by day and a thief by night, she's negotiated the most important deal of her life. When Brian intervenes and kidnaps her to obtain the coins, she attempts to escape. But the brazen warrior is unrelenting, as he is fearful that the beautiful felon has made a pact with the devil himself. And he's not entirely wrong.

Bound together by burning desire and a similar darkness in their hearts, they race against time to recover the missing coins. But as the truth behind Lena's bargain surfaces, Brian is faced with a desperate choice: save one or save many.

My Thoughts:
Throughout the book (that took me almost 2 months to finish) I was so frustrated with, what I thought as, cheesy dialogue. I had trouble seeing the connection between the two main characters too. Having read the first in the series I knew the background. It's about gatherers who collect the souls of the recently departed for Death, herself. They entered into a contract when each of them died for the period of 500 years. The series is based on Good vs. Evil with archangels, demons, Satan, God and a whole lot of religion chatter. Nothing as exacting as scripture quotes and I highly suspect that much of the stuff within the book is fictionalized (it is a fiction novel after all) but I got easily bored with it all. This book is about a bunch of coins that if Satan has them in his possession he can cause thousands to suffer on earth. I never really understood why. He had roughly half of them (there was something like 36 of them) but when a character within the "Good" camp accidentally destroyed one of the coins the rest of the coins "inherited" it's power giving Satan more than 50% control (it felt very big business takeover-ish to me). So the Gatherers need to make sure Satan does not get the rest of the coins.

So, Lena (a Gatherer) found them and plans on handing them over to Satan's minions for her own reasons (which we kind of learn why throughout the book but not specifics until close to the end). Brian (another Gatherer), who fell for Lena on sight, believes she has motives that are not purely selfish even though she doesn't confide in him....about anything. I hated their romance. I never warmed up to them. I hated Brian's "Babe" term of endearment for Lena because it reminds me of how much I hate smarmy men in bars who try to pick up women by calling them Babe or Baby and every time he said it I had this going through my head "My first name ain't baby. It's Janet. Miss Jackson if you're Nasty." which really pulled me out of the story.

The swearing in the book was not on every page but when used it also pulled me out of the story because it seemed so unnecessary. At one point one of the characters used the big ole "C" word that we women hate with a passion. He was referring to another man being one but it was still jarring.
I also didn't like the names. Weird I know. I am so used to unusual names when it comes to paranormal heroes that Brian Webber just didn't scream "Save me you hunka hunka magic man!" Others might find the average Joe name refreshing but to me it brought pictures of pocket protectors and chess games to mind.

The Gatherers have magic too to fight demons when they collect the souls (because demons are also trying to get the souls to add to the army of the underworld or something.) I just don't understand where they magic comes from. They recite incantations and poof they have shields that stop demonic fireballs, mostly. Anyway, they talk a lot about training but this part didn't really get discussed on how they do it. Do they have a book on it or what? I don't know. Lena ended up using magic chants from ancient Egypt and paying prices for the help to those gods during battle. I didn't understand that at all since they are Gatherers who work for Death who essentially works for God (she hates Satan). So the Gatherer's powers have to be connected to God. Not sure how Lena was able to tap into the ones she did. It kind of explained a bit about which god she had help from (she didn't exactly say they were gods either by the way I just interpreted it that way) but I'm still confused. Also it seemed that the only magic the gatherers had (except for Lena) pretty much was to make shields which didn't stand up to more than a few fire balls honestly. You would think that they would be far better equipped to fight demons than a with a sword and a magic shield.

Now that I have gone on and on about what I didn't like I have to say there were some highlights. Thank goodness otherwise this would have been only a 1 Star read.

1--The secondary characters were very interesting. Specifically Carlos, Emily and Murdoch. Despite my irritation with this book I will read the next book because it's about Murdoch and I'm hoping for more storyline for Carlos.
2--The fighting sequences were actually entertaining. Somewhat thrilling and exciting. There were a few of them and I wish there were more. It would have made the story go a lot faster.
3--When Brian comes clean with Lena about his addiction it was a rather touching scene. It was the first time I actually viewed him as a hero and a tormented man which was a good thing. 

I have to say that without those last 3 things this book would have been horrible for me. As it turned out they made the book bearable and brought my thoughts and feelings about the book to a 3 Star rating. I will continue with the series by reading the third book in the series (since I already bought it) but if it turns out to be 3 stars or less I probably will not read any more books by Annette McCleave.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

What It's About:
Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is. — Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.

She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very... different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.

Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.

What I Think About:
The Characters....
Ari--A young teenage girl who is allowed to wander off in the family car by her foster parents to search for the answers to her birth. Granted the foster parents are described as the best she ever had who taught her love in addition to the tricks of the bail bonds trade but I found it a bit hard to accept that any parent (foster or birth) wouldn't want to go with and help out with the search. Anyway, Ari is an interesting character (at least the mystery of her birth and heritage are) but I found her abrasive, swore too much and emotionally all over the place.
Sebastian--Equally young but a leader to a band of misfit kids in New 2. Prickly personality that I never understood why Ari was interested in him other than he was attractive. Quite mysterious even after his heritage was revealed.
The Rest of the Cast--I enjoyed a couple of the kids quite a bit (I mentally referred to them as Lost Boys even though several were girls). The head of one of the Nine Families of New 2, Josephine, was also interesting. Self serving she wants to use Ari in the long run against New 2's biggest enemy...which is Ari's enemy incidentally.
The Setting:
A Dystopian setting in the not so distant future (approx 2025) mostly taking place in the city of New 2 which is a rebuilt New Orleans after massive hurricanes wiped out the city around 2015. I found some of the descriptions of the city the best part of the book. The author did a great job of describing the destruction and the rebuilt Garden District after the storms. 
The Overall Storyline:
I thought the story drug in parts but the Mythological theme was so interesting that I was able to ignore some of those slow parts just to get to the interesting stuff again. It did seem to take quite a bit of time to get to the meat of the story. I kind of expected that as Ari walked around New 2 people would shy away or cross themselves (at least this is what I expected based on the description) but not so much.

What I Didn't Like:
Other than the lulls in the storyline I didn't like the assassins that were sent after Ari. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate them as characters I just hated what the author named the group of assassins. The author not only used a word that I didn't know how to pronounce she used foreign letters to spell it out. I think it was Greek. I don't speak Greek. It annoyed me.

What I Liked:
Not your typical vampire/werewolf paranormal. The Mythological setting and other world creatures made this Paranormal YA not your Ho-Hum same ol' same ol'.

Overall 3.5 Stars.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bloggie Friend Giveaway

My Bloggie Friend Kristen is Giving away a great looking book!!!!

So I'm spreading the word! Always With a Book is giving away a copy of Creed's Honor by Linda Lael Miller. This is the most recent release in her newest trilogy The Creed Cowboys, which is actually part of her bigger series The Montana Creeds. Wouldn't you like to win a copy of this book? I know I would. Just click the clicky link and it will take you to Kristen's original giveaway post. Giveaway only lasts until June 27th at 6pm EST and open to US and Canada only. So hurry hurry hurry!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Storm Watch by Jill Shalvis

Uniformly Hot!: The Few.  The Proud.  The Sexy as Hell.
— SUBJECT:  Jason Mauer, National Guard.
— CURRENT STATUS:  Homeward bound.
— MISSION:  Getting some R & R!
— OBSTACLE:  Lizzy Mann.  Sexy blast from the past.
— After battling a hurricane of catastrophic proportions, Jason needs some downtime -- badly.  But there's no rest for the heroic.  During another deluge, Jason's savior skills are suddenly in demand... by his hot friend Lizzy.
She's fiercely independent.  But that doesn't keep them from having incredible sex as they, ah, ride out the storm!
Jason knows relationships and duty don't mix.  Still, he feels as if he's being swept away by a flash flood of desire for Lizzy.

The permanent kind....

My Thoughts: I haven't read many Harlequin Blaze books. I actually don't seek out super steamy books because I prefer the romance aspect of the books over the sex. I thought though that since I really have enjoyed Jill Shalvis's other books I have read I thought I would give this one a try and was rather disappointed. 

What I liked....As far as characters go I actually did like both Jason and Lizzy (even though her name annoyed me just a bit). He was a hot military man and she was a smart nurse. 

I also really enjoyed the pace of the book. Lizzy and Jason have to get through town to check on Lizzy's pregnant sister but the area her sister lives has been evacuated because of horrible flooding. Their adventure in getting to their destination was nail biting on the edge of your seat fun.

I loved how Shalvis set her storyline up too. Lizzy and Jason had been in high school together (but not a couple). Sometimes authors who use the reunited type storyline don't pull it off so well and the reader is left feeling that there should have been a prequel book somewhere that they missed. This book definitely did not have that problem.

What I really didn't like....The fact that their lives are in danger while navigating rivers where streets used to be the characters found a lot of time to make out. Jason would get out of the Jeep to move a large branch blocking their way and when he got back into the vehicle they would make out. A little further down the road after almost having an accident they take a breather and make out. Lizzy is scared for her younger sister and to comfort her they make out. Ok that last one might not have happened but you get the idea. Jason is in the National Guard just off a search and rescue mission where flooding was happening. With that in mind why would a seasoned expert spend so much time making out when he knew that time is of the utmost urgency and getting to their destination was priority? I just could not suspend my disbelief enough to accept his actions. I kind of felt as if the only reason all the making out was including was so the hot monkey sex that happened once they were safe didn't come out of nowhere.

I also didn't care for the secondary storyline involving Lizzy's sister. In order to make her interest in her mystery man hero believable I think more time should have been invested (perhaps their own book) and after only 12 hours or so they are suddenly a couple of sorts. 

Overall I would say that this was an average read and I kind of expect just a bit more from Shalvis. Not a horrible book but definitely not one of her better ones. If you are new to Jill I would totally recommend Simply Irresistible.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kiss Me Deadly by Michele Hauf

Kiss Me Deadly - Bewitching the Dark, Bk 2 - Silhouette Nocturne, No 24
Death cocktail is what the vampires call a witch's blood. It's poisonous -- a drop will destroy a vampire within minutes. Nikolaus Drake is the rare vampire who has survived his first taste. Now he's on the hunt for the witch who almost brought him to his demise -- Ravin Crosse. — A witch who spends her nights hunting vampire tribes, Ravin has three obligations to fulfill to set her soul free. One of those obligations -- crafting a love spell -- twists her world upside down when Nikolaus draws the spell from her veins. Natural enemies rarely make the best bedfellows -- but is it possible their intentions are really, truly the same? Can Nikolaus's tribal loyalty survive if he surrenders to desires far darker than his own?

My Thoughts:
This was the first book that I read by Michele Hauf and I really wanted to like it but honestly it wasn't that good. 

What I liked.....Witches and Vampires are mortal enemies and even one drop of witches blood can reduce a vampire to ash. So witches totally kick vampire butt! 
.....Satan (or Himself as he is called in the book) appears in the form of the one you most desire/love (makes for interesting conversations.)
....and that's about all I liked about this book...oh except *****SPOILER*****when Nikolaus and Ravin were playing a weird Do You Trust Me game on the rooftop and the love spell wears off Nikolaus drops Ravin off the building. I thought that was pretty cool*****END OF SPOILER*****

What I disliked....Ravin hates vampires but jumps into having sex with one that wants to kill her (or he will want to once the love potion wears off) despite her verbal "I do not want you"s. I got tired of the war yet the result of her going all soft on him knowing he was only under a potion almost put her into the TSTL category.
...Actually I just really hated Ravin. For centuries she has been massacring vampires based on a traumatic event in her childhood...mostly because she could and because vampires are all evil. Her prejudice overwhelms her character.
....Nikolaus is a vampire created in the 70s (I am pretty sure it's the 70's) yet he is the head of his tribe despite there being other vampires who are more powerful and centuries old. He is a baby compared to others.
...Ok I actually hated Nikolaus completely too. Because of the love potion he couldn't think of anything other than sex with Ravin. He talked a lot about this. He did a lot of this. He wanted to do a lot more of it too. I was under the impression that it was a "LOVE" potion. Not  a "Do Me" Sex Potion. Of course he did tell her he loved her while trying to get into her pants and even said it afterwards too so it must be true. 
....Oh and Ravin trying to earn her soul back from the important part in the continuation of the story in possible sequels but not very well played out. I think that if this particular part of the storyline was hit harder and used to it's fullest the story would have held more promise. As it is there are 3 different storylines competing within this book. It made the book feel scattered.
.....Apparently vampires like to count. It's rather like an obsession.  I read a review that said they loved this little shout out to Sesame Street and the Counting Count but I found it ridiculous of mass proportions. If the rest of the book had quirky character traits or tongue in cheek humor it would have been fine but it came out of nowhere and was completely out of place.
....The ending. Yes the characters got their happily ever after (even though I was routing for Himself to burn them in a pit of fire for eternity) but the author opens the storyline up for a sequel based on Ravin and Nikolaus's child whose soul has been pre-ordered and paid for by Himself in the future. How's that conversation going to go? "Hey son, you know your mom and I love you and this in no way is your fault but....well, we sold your soul to Satan and Himself will be here to collect in *Ding-Dong*"

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Calamity Jayne by Kathleen Bacus

— Tressa Jayne Turner has had it up to here with the never ending string of dumb-blonde jokes and her longtime nickname that's harder to get rid of than lint from a belly button. Crowned "Calamity Jayne" by Iowa Department of Natural Resources officer Rick Townsend, Tressa's out to gain a little hometown respect - or die trying. Unfortunately for Tressa, that may be the case. She's just been handed the perfect opportunity to get "Ranger Rick," the doubting Don Juan of the DNR, and a skeptical citizenry to finally take her seriously. How? By solving a murder no one else believes happened ... no one, that is, except the killer.

Yup, Calamity Jayne is in it up to her hot pink snakeskin cowgirl boots and matching rhinestone belt - and it's a matter of life and death, respect and reputation, love, happiness and the whole shebang. Tressa would tell you her momma never raised no dummies, but the jury's still out on that one. And as she learned in her work at the Dairee Freeze: Sometimes life hands you a big sloppy ice cream cone. You just have to know how to lick it.

My Thoughts:
This was a fun book but doesn't live up to it's marketing label. It was supposed to be a contemporary romance but honestly other than some love/hate name calling banter and a couple of smooches there wasn't much romance. It was more of a mystery but a weak one at that. I think the saving grace was that there were a few characters I loved. I loved the "hero's" grandpa who informed Tressa (aka Calamity Jayne) that he was the Green Hornet and she was his Kato and just needed to drive. This was before he pulled out a gun that would impress Dirty Harry for their protection which ended up stolen and used to murder a murderer.
I didn't like Bacus's way of wrapping up the mystery either. She builds up a somewhat suspenseful scene where the killer realizes Tressa is on to him/her and Bacus tries to continue the suspense by saying things like The Killer stared at Tressa. The Killer smiled a cold evil grin. So not identifying the killer during the big stand off for a a bit which I thought was a bit over kill and didn't make the mystery better. However, like I said there were some great (well, at least interesting) characters so I gave this book a 4 star rating and will read the next one. Oh and the blonde jokes peppered through the book were fun too.