Welcome to WBiT!
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Author: Moira Rogers
Page Count: novella length (54 pages according to Goodreads)
Genre: romance, fairy tale retelling
Copy for review was purchased by me
Back Cover Summary:
After three years at war, the First Warlord of the Forest alone faces the newly won peace with trepidation--a curse ensures the wolves of Farran’s family line are fit only for violence. Denied an enemy, he would prefer to return to his remote keep alone and turn that inevitable rage inward. Unfortunately, there’s the small matter of the bride he took in a moment of madness.
Iloria is a gently reared lady, trained from childhood to be the wife of the High Lord himself. Instead, she finds herself wed to his brutish commander, a man who offered kindness in her weakest moment. She’s more than willing to turn her dreams toward building a life with Farran, but her new husband seems reluctant to speak to her, much less bed her.
Farran’s isolated castle offers him little respite from the temptation of Iloria’s stubborn affections. Every encounter with her chips away at his self-control--a dangerous thing for a cursed man. If he takes her to his bed, he won’t stop until he’s mated his virgin bride...but if he fails to consummate their union, he risks losing the only person who’s ever made him feel like more than a beast.
This story's release totally snuck up on me but what a good surprise! I've read and reviewed Sabine and Kisri here at WBiT? and was totally stoked for book three, especially because I knew it was a marriage of convenience story and in the style of my ALL TIME FAVORITE FAIRY TALE, Beauty and the Beast!
The expectations were high, but the ingredients were all there for a good story and they were blended excellently. Iloria is a great heroine who overcomes a lot of cultural baggage and indoctrination in a short while in the pursuit of her own happiness, and at the same time she manages to convince Farran that their relationship is not only a good thing, but worth fighting for and strengthening.
Farran is a beast only when he's possessed by lunacy on the night of the full moon, but since the curse is inherited, he's seen plenty of examples of how repulsive people think he and his ancestors are, or so he thinks. His curse has become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and he's convinced that the only reason Iloria married him is to save herself the shame of being cast aside by the High King. While that may have been the first instant's motivation, she's determined to have a real, loving marriage, and he's determined not to hurt her, even if ignoring her is hurting her. It's a sticky wicket.
This is a really, really short story so there isn't a lot of time devoted to backstory. It's a good length though, and was a perfect way to relax after work one day. And at $2.99 per story, I can highly recommend buying all three and enjoying them one after the other. Do yourself a favor!
Posted by Emily at 4:46 PM
Monday, October 29, 2012
Author: Ilona Andrews
Page Count: 326 pages
Genre: urban fantasy/paranormal romance
Copy for review was purchased by me
Back Cover Summary:
After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea's whole existence is in shambles. She tries to put herself back together by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend. When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano--the male alpha of the Clan Bouda, and Andrea's former lover--die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate. Now she must work with Raphael as her search for the killer leads into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta. And dealing with her feelings for him might have to take a back seat to saving the world...
This was one of my most, if not actually my most anticipated books for 2012, and it lived up to my expectations in every respect. It's a little more on the romance side than the straight up urban fantasy side, but let's face it, the resolution of the drama between Andrea and Raphael is what we came for, right? Right.
Andrea Nash is one of my favorite female characters and despite having up until now been a supporting character in the Kate Daniels series, is entirely kick ass in her own right. She's had a terrible history and works hard to overcome her past and to be a person of integrity and honor in the present along with being a serious force to be reckoned with. She has secrets on top of secrets and has learned never to trust anybody. Period. She made an exception for Kate.
It looked, for awhile, like she had made an exception for Raphael too. They were madly in love, crazy about each other, and in Raphael's opinion that would be enough for Andrea to get over her past issues and be ready to ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. It seems like an arrogant as hell way to look at things, but realizing that Raphael has always had the love and loyalty of his family and the strength and support of the Pack it makes sense that he wouldn't understand how devastating Andrea's history truly was.
This is the backstory that all happened before the start of this book. In this book, Andrea and Raphael have to work together to figure out why four of Raphael's employees were horribly murdered. This means they're going to have to confront their hurt feelings and their history and figure out whether their relationship is salvageable. Both of them had some growing to do, and watching them go through their changes made the ultimate ending believable. I was so pleased.
The subplot of who is behind the murders was interesting too. In the tradition of this series, a Supreme Badass is on the loose and, grossly outnumbered and outarmed, Andrea, Raphael, Kate, Curran and the rest of the characters from this series have to save us all from doom. Also in the tradition of this series, they meet with varying degrees of success.
I can't say enough good things about this book- like I said, it totally blew away my admittedly high expectations. I do want to mention that I wouldn't start here if you're new to the Kate Daniels series- you should go back and read from the beginning and enjoy.
Another good thought- since, according to the author's blog, this book did very well in terms of sales expectations, I'm hoping we can look forward to more Kate Daniels World books in addition to the regular Kate Daniels books. Jim and Dali anyone?
Posted by Emily at 7:37 PM
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Author: Christine Feehan
Page Count: 370 pages
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review was purchased by me
Back Cover Summary:
Return to the seductive world of Christine Feehan's New York Times bestselling Carpathian novels as roiling passions collide in a perfect storm of dangerous desire that only a precious few can hope to outrun . . .
Awakening after all this time in a world of absolute darkness and oppressive heat, Dax wonders in how many ways the world above must have changed. But it is how he has changed that fills him with dread and loathing. Buried alive for hundreds of years in a volcano in the Carpathian Mountains, Dax fears that he has become the full-fledged abomination that every Carpathian male fears, a victim of the insidious evil that has crept relentlessly into his mind and body over the centuries. But there are some things that never change.
His name is Mitro, the vampire Dax had hunted all these long centuries. Second in command to the prince of the Carpathian people he is the epitome of everything malevolent, and perpetrator of one of the most shocking killing sprees known to man - and beast. Even his friends and family weren't safe from Mitro's bloodlust. Neither was Mitro's lifemate, Arabejila, an extraordinary woman with extraordinary gifts. But now that Dax has re-emerged, so too has Mitro. The ultimate battle between good and evil has been re-engaged. Between Dax and Mitro, a violent game has begun - one that has marked Riley Parker, the last descendent of Arabejila, as the reward.
First of all, I grabbed the back cover summary from Goodreads, and I have no idea why it says that the volcano that plays such a huge role in the story is in the Carpathian Mountains- it isn't. We're still in the jungle, and at no point in the story do we go to the Carpathian Mountains. If you were hoping for that, stop, because it didn't happen in this book.
Second of all, spoilers may follow in this review, but honestly at this point I don't think so, because nothing is happening in this series and therefore there really isn't anything to spoil. Be that as it may, I'm putting a spoiler warning here so nobody can say they weren't informed.
Moving on, this book was conflicting for me. I enjoyed the whirlwind relationship between Dax and Riley, but I'm starting to seriously resent the fact that this series is going absolutely nowhere. I've mentioned before that I'm not sure that the series needed more characters at this point, and I stand by that statement now. I would have been over the moon if this book included any forward yardage on the plot at all; sadly, it didn't.
If anything, this installment in the series actually moved the plot backwards, because things that have been canon in this series are now in question. We've been running on the assumption that certain things are the basis of the events in the story for a long time- years, in real life time- at this point, so to kind of throw all that out and start over is annoying for me as a reader.
Oh what the hell, I'll get more specific. The big example of this is that there still isn't a full resolution as to why the Carpathians have such a hard time having children and keeping them alive once they're born. For years (since Dark Demon in 2006) we've been told that Xavier is the reason, that he's corrupted the soil with parasites, and that he's alive and waiting to deliver the killing blow to the Carpathian species. Fast forward to this, book 23, and Xavier is dead (for real this time,) there's a way to purify the soil (albeit inefficiently) and theoretically things should be at least a little brighter now that the supreme enemy of the Carpathian race is dead.
If you think that, you're wrong! Apparently there's some ancient fertility ritual with a flower that's critical to successful procreation for Carpathians and somehow nobody remembered this until recently, which is how two HUMAN associates of the Carpathians (Gary and Jubal) ended up in the rain forest looking for the flower, and that's how they run into Riley and, by extension, Dax. The pieces fit together but they sure don't make a neat puzzle.
I find that at this point, the most enjoyable part of the story was the whirlwind relationship between Riley and Dax, but it was enjoyable because it precisely fit the mold of every other hero/heroine in this series. Sudden, almost accidental meeting, instant attraction, improbably odds (Riley's mom is murdered on screen so it's a really natural time for her to start a seriously long-term relationship) and happily ever after where they're both Carpathian at the end (albeit after a pukey, convulsive, organ-shifting conversion.)
I have a hard time giving a good review to a book whose best parts are ones that have been done a thousand times in the same series at this point. I know that this author works with the "my characters speak to me" method of plotting the series but at this point I'm kind of hoping they go back and read their own past installments so we don't end up just starting the whole story arc over again on accident.
I know Skylar and Dmitri's story is going to be a long, LONG way off, but at this point that is the one I want to read. It may not be a bad idea for me to take a break from this series and pick up later. Much later.
Posted by Emily at 4:21 PM
I actually have time to blog today because I and the rest of my region are expecting some out of town company:
Also, fun fact! Awhile ago I got a wild hair and decided not to use IntenseDebate anymore. I went to try to enable the standard Blogger nested comments and couldn't figure out how to do it without messing with my code and things that a) I don't have time for, sadly, and b) I don't trust myself not to screw up. The solution was to go with Disqus, which solves my problem and works and all that, so now commenting is re-enabled on my posts. Please feel free to comment, as I miss talking to people about books and other good stuff!
Anyway, it's time for cartoons and writing book reviews and hoping the power doesn't go out. If you're in the path of Sandy, please stay safe and follow directions and be prepared. Have a good week everyone!
Posted by Emily at 3:50 PM
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Sunday, October 14, 2012
I'm sitting and waiting for my flight back home after an excellent weekend celebrating a great wedding, so there isn't a whole lot to report, reading-wise. I'll do my best though:
Finished listening to: A Hunger Like No Other. Fun fun fun. Started listening to Stealing Kathryn by Jacquelyn Frank. Xe Sands may be my new favorite narrator. Seriously.
Still working on No Time to Lose and An Affair With Mr. Kennedy. Hopefully I will finish them this week.
In a perfect world I will also write some reviews for this week later tonight. I will certainly try.
Have a good week everyone!
Posted by Emily at 4:14 PM
Friday, October 12, 2012
Author: Laurie R. King
Page Count: 384 pages
Copy for review obtained via my public library
Back Cover Summary:
Long retired, Sherlock Holmes quietly pursues his study of honeybee behavior on the Sussex Downs. He never imagines he would encounter anyone whose intellect matched his own, much less an audacious teenage girl with a penchant for detection. Miss Mary Russell becomes Holmes' pupil and quickly hones her talent for deduction, disguises and danger. But when an elusive villain enters the picture, their partnership is put to a real test.
This was an engrossing book- the kind where the subtle details and the narrative really grabbed me. I forget where I'd first come across this book but was especially pleased to find that it's the first in a really well-established series. I love when that happens!
I really like books that show to advantage the author's enjoyment of a particular genre or character. That's totally the case here- you can tell that the author really loves Sherlock Holmes and as a result has gotten the tone and surrounding narrative pinned down. Using that as a base, the new element (a young lady who thinks the way Holmes does and is as quick on the uptake as one can be) is introduced and you end up with something that feels new but retains the qualities of the original. It's a rare feat.
Mary Russell and Holmes are an incredible team, because both of them have to challenge their prejudices and work together. A working relationship blossoms into friendship, and friendship is becoming something more, especially at the end of the story. The novel is even set up in the story collection style of the original Holmes books, where the different segments are shorter stories that tell the story of one of the cases that Mary and Holmes worked together. They're all connected, though, so don't think it's an anthology, but there are natural break times that make sense within the story.
Upon finishing this story I immediately checked my library to see if the next story (chronologically) was available, and it was! It's now in my pile of books to be read, and I'm looking forward to writing about that one too.
Posted by Emily at 7:01 AM
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Author: Bec McMaster
Page Count: 448 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: steampunk romance
Copy for review was purchased by me
Back Cover Summary:
A brilliantly creative debut where vampires, werewolves, and clockwork creatures roam the mist-shrouded streets of London...
When Nowhere is Safe
Most people avoid the dreaded Whitecapel district. For Honoria Todd, it's the last safe haven. But at what price?
Blade is known as the master of the rookeries--no one dares cross him. It's been said he faced down the Echelon's army single-handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood-craving he's been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.
When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She's so...innocent. He doesn't see her backbone of steel--or that she could be the very salvation he's been seeking.
One word- AMAZING. I picked this book up after reading glowing reviews at Parajunkee's View and Goldilox and the Three Weres and I'm super happy I did. Kiss of Steel has made the list as one of my favorite books of 2012 for its superior worldbuilding, awesome leading couple, and great start to a series that's going on my auto-buy list.
Just when you think there's nothing new beneath the sun, suddenly there is! This book takes elements of the paranormal in the form of a vampire elite and adds in the sinister element of a virus causing the condition, with the ultimate end being death for all the infected. It's the great leveling- no matter how rich you are, in this society, if you're a blue blood (blood drinker) you will eventually succumb to madness and have to get your head chopped off. The question isn't if, it's when.
Except for one- Blade. He's devoted his life to flourishing outside the control of the Echelon and has built a loyal following in Whitechapel outside the long arm of the law. When he meets Honoria, he knows she's hiding something, so being the only one who can protect her from the evil evilness out to get her and her siblings puts him in a unique position to discover those secrets.
This dynamic right here is one of the reasons I loved this book. The power dynamic between Blade and Honoria is extremely uneven- Blade has all the power and Honoria is at his mercy. Blade doesn't abuse this power, however- he sees Honoria as someone who needs a leg up, not as someone to take advantage of. He wants Honoria to like him, and it bothers him when it seems like she doesn't. Honoria, on the other hand, has been abandoned by everyone who was ever supposed to be on her side and carries a tremendous amount of responsibility around with her every day. Even so, she doesn't fight the inevitable and realizes that underneath his swagger Blade is a great guy. She ends up being the instigator in their relationship, and Blade can't resist her.
If the sole focus of the book was Honoria and Blade, it would still be an awesome book. There's more though! The issue of Honoria's father and the implications of his unfinished research, the lives of her siblings (especially her sister Helena, the heroine of book #2) and the supporting characters who move in Blade's circle all lend depth and detail to the story. I was up way too late on a work night because I wanted to see how everything ended.
I also enjoyed how the ending provided just enough explanation to give hope where previously there hadn't been any. It doesn't 100% explain anything and there isn't an epilogue where we see the couple fifty years from now, true, but I think there's plenty to go on and that it will be great fun to see where the series goes from here. Enjoy!
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Also, check out the book tour website for a list of all the tour stops and more contests and giveaways!
Posted by Emily at 12:51 PM
Author: Lori Foster
Page Count: 379 pages
Genre: romantic suspense
Copy for review provided by Meryl Moss Media Relations in anticipation of an honest review
Back Cover Summary:
When Detective Logan Riske goes undercover to find Pepper Yates, a potential link to his best friend's unsolved murder, he vows to gain her cooperation by any means necessary. But the elusive beauty is more suspicious—and in far more danger—than he expected. And the last thing Logan needs is to start caring for her .Pepper has spent years dodging the corrupt club owner who will stop at nothing to keep her silenced. She can trust no one, not even the handsome new "construction worker" who's moved in next door. The heat between them is undeniable. But will surrendering to passion bring her the safety she so desires—or will her feelings for Logan draw them both into a killer's crosshairs?
This book was a second chance romance in a lot of ways- the characters get a second chance to do things properly after royally screwing up the first one in the first half of the book, and I took a second chance with romantic suspense from this author after being thoroughly underwhelmed with my last encounter, Savor the Danger. Although this book wasn't without its flaws (most aren't, let's face it) I do think that this offering was a lot more tightly plotted and the characters were definitely more interesting to me.
Pepper's sole goal in life is protecting herself and her brother Rowdy from the human trafficking scumbag who's out to kill them. Her path crosses with Logan's when he's investigating his best friend's murder and thinks she and her brother may be leads. She's hiding undercover as a demure bluestocking, he's hiding undercover as a construction worker, but neither of them does a good job hiding their mutual attraction. Sparks fly.
Fast forward to when Pepper has learned the truth about Logan and is all kinds of mad. She has a right to be, sure, but these moments were where the book had its strongest times. Logan realizes that he didn't handle things well when he first met Pepper, but he thinks that she's the real deal and he's going to do a better job the second time. He's determined, in a non-creepy way, that there will be a second time, and he's determined that it will be better. That was the nugget of romance that kept me reading- I knew the bad guy was going to get caught and I didn't care about the heckling that everyone took from Dash and Reese, two other officers who are helping to keep Pepper hidden, but I kept reading because I enjoyed that despite all the other half-hearted deception, Logan was honest that he was going to legitimately pursue Pepper and Pepper was honest that she was going to make him work for it. That felt authentic and that worked for me.
The ending, too, was very sweet, where these two make decisions about their future. Logan wins the prize for cheesiest yet sweetest proposal (come on people, it's not that much of a spoiler) and you'll just have to read the book to find out.
Is this my next favorite book of all time? No, but it was a much stronger and tighter offering and a good start to a new series. I would be interested in finding out what happens next.
Check out the EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT below the rating!
He disappeared off the balcony and she just knew he was coming inside to corral her in the narrow hallway.
Why wouldn’t he leave her alone?
The apartment building was…unpleasant. Peeling paint from the walls, mold in the corners, carpet with stains she didn’t want to investigate too closely…
She knew why she was there.
Why was he?
Posted by Emily at 10:12 AM
In an effort to try to not neglect things around here so much I've started scheduling posts- reviewing is always what I've enjoyed best about this project so it makes sense to focus on that when I can and to not stress out about the rest. This weekly dealie is a chance for me to check in with my own reading and also to note when I finish a book, since my finished date tends to be pretty different from my review date. Maybe I'll note some thoughts and what have you there as well. We'll see!
Books Finished This Week:
Dark Storm by Christine Feehan- I told myself I was going to wait a bit to read this one, that I'd let the Kindle price come down and blah blah blah, and then I found myself in a doctor's waiting room on the book's release date and I'd forgotten to pack something to read. The Kindle app on my phone recommended this and then I was reading this book on its release date. I don't know what happened.
What I'm Reading Now:
An Affair with Mr. Kennedy by Jillian Stone- really enjoying this one so far!
What I'm Listening To Right Now:
I'm headed out of town for a wedding next weekend and so the scheduling bonanza will have to begin early, since I'll be decided unavailable :D. Have a good week everyone!
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Author: Jillian Stone
Page Count: 335 pages
Genre: paranormal/steampunk romance, first in a series
Copy for review obtained via my public library
Back Cover Summary:
In the gaslit streets of Victorian London, phantoms rule the night, demons dance till dawn, and one supernatural detective dares to be seduced by the greatest power of all. . .
He's The Man With The Magic Touch
A master of deduction, seduction and other midnight maneuvers, Phaeton Black is Scotland Yard's secret weapon against things that go bump in the night. His prodigious gifts as a paranormal investigator are as legendary as his skills as a lover, his weakness for wicked women as notorious as his affection for absinthe. But when he's asked to hunt down a fanged femme fatale who drains her victims of blood, he walks right into the arms of the most dangerous woman he's ever known. . .
She's The Devilish Miss Jones
Pressing a knife to his throat--and demanding he make love to her--Miss America Jones uses Phaeton as a willing shield against the gang of pirates chasing her. As deadly as she is, with a derringer tucked in her garter, Miss Jones is not the vampiric killer he's been staking out--but she may be just what Phaeton needs to crack the case. As the daughter of a Cajun witch, she possesses uncanny powers. As a fearless fighter, she can handle anything from Egyptian mummies to Jack the Ripper. But when an ancient evil is unleashed on the world, she could be his only salvation. . .or ultimate sacrifice.
I picked this book up expecting a breezy, fun read for a Saturday morning where I woke up way too early and didn't want to get out of bed yet, so I suppose those standards were met. This kind of lukewarm reaction kind of sums up my reaction to the entire book.
I guess my biggest issue with the story comes from the fact that even though I know that Phaeton and America were slowly coming to care for each other over the span of the book, I didn't feel like they really were a couple- more like a boss and his administrative assistant who bump uglies at every opportunity.
I should probably back up here. This book is an alternative history slash steampunk slash paranormal romance, which means there's a lot going on and a relatively few number of pages in which to expand on all that. Phaeton Black is an unofficial agent for Scotland Yard, which means he's the guy they call when things don't make sense and they want to be able to blame any future failures on a crackpot. America Jones is trying to avenge her father's murder and salvage his shipping company, and these two cross paths fairly early on. They soon realize that each can benefit from the other's particular areas of expertise, and a partnership/"relationship" takes off from there.
I didn't find either character all that likeable, actually. We first meet Phaeton sampling the house wares at the whorehouse whose basement he rents out, and the only reason that's important is that he doesn't really discriminate between any of the female characters in the book. They could be the whores who are his upstairs neighbors, the heroine, your aunt Margaret- if he can tab A their slot B then that's pretty much where his interest lies. This kills the romance for me pretty quickly:
There's a supporting cast of characters that I admit were not particularly memorable- my evidence is that I didn't read this book all that long ago and I've already forgotten them and what they were there for. Except for one- Dr. Exeter is some kind of weird Phaeton protector and his introduction is what gets the plot moving. Unfortunately for him, there is only room for one Exeter in my life.
Ultimately, the problem is this: even though the hybrid genre appealed to me, the characters didn't. I was reading this book and my dearly beloved came in and said, "so how are you enjoying your clank porn?" I was all set to rise to this book's defense and found that I really couldn't. There was some clank, there was a lot of horizontal rodeo (yee-hah) but not too much else. Are you a bad person if you're into that sort of thing? Not at all! Did this book ring my bell? Nope, and that'll happen sometimes. On a semi-related note, I'm reading the first book in this author's other series (An Affair with Mr. Kennedy,) and I'm LOVING it! Different strokes for different folks. Okay I swear I'm finished now.
Posted by Emily at 9:11 AM