Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Audiobook Review: First Year by Rachel E. Carter

Series:     Black Mage #1
Pub. Date:Oct. 27, 2016
Publisher:Clean Reads
Narrator:Melissa Moran
Length:8 hrs 9 min
Source:Audiobook Boom

Rachel & Jen Bambi
Full disclosure - I have a girl crush on Rachel E. Carter. She is very cool people and I hung out with her quite a bit at the RT Convention this year. So even though I don't read a lot of Y/A, or "clean reads" for that matter... I knew that I had to check out what Rachel is writing (and I'm glad I did)! I only wish it didn't take me so long, but the blog has allowed me little time for personal reading this year (something I hope to rectify in 2017). I'm rambling... on to the review!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

ARC Review: Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt

Series:     Maiden Lane #11
Pub. Date:Nov. 29, 2016
Publisher:Grand Central Pub.
Length:364 pages

In this eleventh installment of the Maiden Lane series, Elizabeth Hoyt seems to still be going strong. Of course, I have been reading this series all catawampus because I was late to the party. 

The heroine in Duke of Pleasure was quite unique... she is a street urchin masquerading as the Ghost of St. Giles, vigilante defender of the defenseless. As a relatively young woman, Alf had no problem disguising herself as a teenage boy by day, which helps her collect information and pass relatively unobserved through the streets of the downtrodden part of London. By night, Alf wields her rapiers and swords as she stalks her dangerous prey across the rooftops of the slums. When she finds herself fighting back to back with the Duke of Kyle one night, she finds herself stealing a kiss from the big brooding duke. Call it adrenaline or curiosity, but that kiss changes Alf's life. Alf was a bit of a tortured heroine, and my heart broke when she revealed the sad truth of her childhood. I loved that she didn't let her circumstances discourage her, as she was an independent and self-sufficient woman of the times (even if she had to dress as a boy to keep herself safe). As one of my friends would say, this chick had chutzpah. Her impish behavior and saucy attitude with the Duke were fun to follow. But I do have to say that I hate-hate-hated her name!  ALF! I had a very hard time not envisioning her as a hairy little alien with a big snoot. Gah!

ARC Review: When All the Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz

Pub. Date:Nov. 29, 2016
Publisher:Berkley Romance
Length:304 pages

This is my first read from Jayne Ann Krentz, and I am glad that I have finally got her on my calendar. I have had a couple of her series on my TBR for quite a while, so hopefully I can work those into the schedule soon. When All the Girls Have Gone is a good combo of women's fiction and romantic suspense, with relatable characters with real world problems.

Charlotte Sawyer is an eminently logical person... she isn't the type of person that you will find skydiving or bungee jumping, or anything spontaneous at all really. She works as a resident coordinator at a retirement village, spending her days with an endearing group of elderly people. After being jilted at the altar, Charlotte's life consists of work, wine, netflix and reading. While this doesn't sound horrible to me, I totally related to her feeling stuck in a rut but not being able to find that a hobby or niche to occupy her free time. I loved that she was not a whiny heroine, but when going got tough her practical nature stayed true and she persevered by putting one foot in front of the other.

Monday, November 28, 2016

ARC Review: The Operator by Kim Harrison

Series:     Peri Reed #2
Pub. Date:Nov. 22, 2016
Publisher:Pocket Books
496 pages

WARNING!!! This review may contain (minimal) spoilers for events that occurred in the first book of the series, The Drafter. Read at your own risk if you haven't read the first book.

The Operator takes place approximately a year after the end of The Drafter. After walking away from both Opti and the Alliance, Peri Reed is hiding in plain sight... running an upscale internet cafe and coffee shop above a medical waste dump site. But she should have known that no one was going to allow her to disappear for long. Now she will be fighting on three fronts as Silas wants to protect her (from herself), Allen wants her working with the CIA, and Bill wants her back as his corrupt operative.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Audiobook Review: Veiled by Karina Halle

Pub. Date:Oct 25, 2016
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Jo Raylan
Length:9 hrs 43 min

Take this review with a grain of salt because if I were to read/listen to this book at a later time, my rating might be different. Going in, I thought this was a standalone paranormal romance... and I really like Karina Halle so I jumped on the chance to review.  Unfortunately, this book did not seem like a standalone to me. It's actually a spinoff of the Experiment in Terror series... which I have not finished reading. This book contains major spoilers for that series (grumble grumble) so it will be a while before I can go back to Terror because I need to forget what was spoiled! This book also borrowed the world building that was in Terror, so I felt like I was missing a lot of necessary information. All those spoilery things that were referenced were the background story for this book (more grumbles).

Thursday, November 17, 2016

ARC Review: Belle Chasse by Suzanne Johnson

Series:     Sentinels of N.O. #5
Pub. Date:Nov. 8, 2016
Publisher:Tor Books
Length:336 pages

It's no secret that the Sentinels of New Orleans is one of my favorite series. I predict that this will be a series that I will re-read many times in the future, and I don't see myself ever getting tired of it. Suzanne Johnson's world building is fantastic and the cast of characters is so engaging and fun, particularly New Orleans favorite, the undead Jean Lafitte!

Warning!!!  This review may contain minor spoilers for previous books in the series. This series includes an ongoing story arc, so I strongly encourage you to start at the beginning with Royal Street

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Review: The Drafter by Kim Harrison

Series:     Peri Reed #1
Pub. Date:Sept. 1, 2015
Publisher:Gallery Books
Length:432 pages

I am a big Kim Harrison fan... so much so that I have been saving the last Hollows book because I don't want the series to be over! I have been curious about this new series and am glad that I have finally been able to work it into my reading schedule. It's definitely different from the magic of the Hollows, but I think the series has good potential.

Peri Reed is a drafter, which means she can draft time to fix mistakes that occurred within the previous 60 seconds or so... however when she drafts, she loses part of her memory and must rely on a partner (anchor) to help her fix the memory of the timeline. This makes the relationship between the drafter and the anchor crucial - they must be able to trust one another implicitly. The drafter can (kinda) rewind time to save an anchors life, and the drafter must rely on the anchor to rebuild her memory when she loses part of her timeline. Peri was a likable heroine for the most part. She was capable and kickass, but with a large dose of vulnerability when she lost her timeline. She definitely trusted the wrong people time and again, and was manipulated ridiculously easy, but her memory loss hampered her ability to learn a lesson from past mistakes. I do wish that her instinct would have been a little stronger at times, but overall I liked her quite a bit and think she will continue to grow as the series progresses.

Monday, November 14, 2016

ARC Review: When A Marquess Loves a Woman by Vivienne Lorret

Series:     Season's Original  #3
Pub. Date:Oct. 4, 2016
Length:320 pages

This is my first read by Vivienne Lorret, despite having bought the earlier books in this series. I just haven't been able to fit them into my schedule yet... but accepting a review copy is always a way to get something cemented on my calendar. I quite liked her writing style, so I will hopefully work the other books into the calendar before too much longer. Despite not having read the earlier books, I felt like I was fine reading this third book. There may have been some character crossover, but I didn't feel like I was missing anything that was required to follow the story.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

ARC Review: Demand by Lisa Renee Jones

Series:     Careless Whispers #2
Pub. Date:May 31, 2016
Publisher:Gallery Books
Length:320 pages

The second installment of the Careless Whispers series, Demand, picks up in the midst of the cliffhanger that probably had you cursing at the end of Denial. Let me take a second here to say a huge thank you to Lisa Renee Jones for her Author's Note at the beginning of this book which summarized (briefly) what happened in Denial. I wish these short summary/explanatory notes were more common in series because sometimes I just can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, not to mention what I read six months ago. Usually I use my reviews to trigger my memory... but I was starting this book at 30,000 feet with no wifi! So I very much appreciated that note.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Series Saturday Review: Mayhem by Gemma Brocato

Series:     Goddesses of Delphi #2
Pub. Date:Nov. 8, 2016
Length:196 pages
Source:Kindle Unlimited

So I was scrolling my Facebook feed one day a week or so ago, and I came across this article: Ancient mosaics unearthed in Zeugma, Turkey. How cool is that? And it fits right in with Gemma Brocato's new series, the Goddesses of Delphi. (I know the article is a couple years old, but it was new to me.) So it made me even more excited for this series because you don't see many stories of the Muses in mythological fiction. 

You may remember from the first book, Tyranny, this series is about The 9 Muses, who are Zeus' daughters with Gaia, and they inspire mankind in all kinds of areas like sacred song, written word, the Heavens, history, etc. Pierus was a jealous lower God, who also had 9 daughters known as the Pierides. Pierus and his daughters were always trying to subvert Zeus and, as a result, Zeus turned the Pierides into magpies. It is this story that Gemma has taken and given a unique modern twist. The Muses now have mortal life spans, to be reborn again throughout eternity with all their prior memories in tact. Olympus is being run by Zeus as if it were an international corporation, and all of this is taking place in modern day Delphi. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Release Day Blitz: Love Between the Lines Adult Coloring Book by Christina Collie


An Adult Coloring Book for Book Lovers 
by Christina Collie 
Release Date: November 8, 2016 
Forever Trade Paperback
$14.99/$19.99 Can.

Fall in love all over again with this adult coloring book featuring 45 hand-drawn illustrations inspired by romance novels from bestselling writers Colleen Hoover, Anna Todd, S.C. Stephens, Abbi Glines, K. Bromberg, Jodi Ellen Malpas and more. Sit back, grab your pens and markers, and get ready to explore LOVE BETWEEN THE LINES.

ARC Review: The Tides of Bára by Jeffe Kennedy

Series:     Sorcerous Moons #3
Pub. Date:Oct. 29, 2016
Length:174 pages

Warning!!! This review will contain spoilers for previous books in the series. If you have not read the first two books, I encourage you to go read them as you will need the previous world building and character development to understand what is happening in this story.

This third installment of the Sorcerous Moons series picks up where Oria's Gambit left off. Oria and Lonen escape Bára with their lives, Lonen's warhorse, and Oria's familiar, Chuffta. Racing off into the desert, they face an uncertain future starting with the fact that it is not believed that Oria will survive outside the walls of Bára. What follows is a long and difficult journey through deadly and dry terrain. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

ARC Review: Someone to Love by Mary Balogh

Series:     Westcott #1
Pub. Date:Nov 8, 2016
Publisher:Berkley Signet
Length:400 pages

This first installment of the Westcott series by Mary Balogh was quite the feel-good romance. It made my the flight I was on (9 hours on the uber-crammed Southwest) more tolerable and even helped me drown out the screaming baby two rows over. That takes some talent folks.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Series Saturday ARC Review: Ruled by Elle Kennedy

Series:     Outlaws #3
Pub. Date:Nov 1, 2016
Length:368 pages

The Outlaws series is an uber-erotic adventure in post-apocalyptic America that pits Outlaws (free people) against the Global Council (government officials and residents). Unfortunately this third installment, Ruled, didn't tickle my fancy quite as much as the earlier books. However, it is sure to be a hit with my smutty friends who love a book with over-the-top smexytime with some danger thrown in. 

Advisory: this is a MFM/MMF menage situation with two alpha males, an alpha female, fun piercings, and lots of time between the sheets, on the ground, against the wall, on a futon, etc.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Freebie Friday Review: Venom & Vanilla by Shannon Mayer

Series:     Venom Trilogy #1
Pub. Date:Nov 1, 2016
Length:240 pages
Source:Kindle First

The Venom trilogy promises to be a surprisingly fun and light-hearted urban fantasy series from Shannon Mayer. This author is allowing us to view serious social issues such as equality and segregation from the humorous aspect of supernaturals (a/k/a super dupers) and caricatures of the Greek pantheon.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Audiobook Review: Three Weeks to Wed by Ella Quinn

Series:     The Worthingtons #1
Pub. Date:Oct 25, 2016
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Cat Gould
Length:11 hrs 27 min

This introductory book to the Worthington series/family is reminiscent of the Brady Bunch, if the blended family were British and living in Regency England. With such a fun bunch of busybody siblings, Ella Quinn has a lot of fodder to take this series far into the future.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

ARC Review & Guest Post: The Untouchable Earl by Amy Sandas

Series:     Fallen Ladies #2
Pub. Date:Nov 1, 2016
Publisher:Sourcebooks Casablanca
Length:416 pages

The Untouchable Earl is my first read by Amy Sandas. I was sucked in by the blurb as this sounded like a historical of a darker nature than what is common these days. The story appears to take place contemporaneously with Luck is No Lady, so I don't think you have to read these two books in order. You should be fine if you are starting with the second book as I did.

Lily Chadwick is a heroine that has fallen on hard times after the death of her parents. After the death of her mother, her father devolved into drinking and debt, leaving his three surviving daughters in dire straights after his death. Lily is the middle sister and she finds herself somewhat plain, wishing she shared more attributes with her sisters. Lily also has a secret, dark desires that stem from her stealthy reading of erotic novels. She despairs of finding a husband that will actually make her happy and satisfy her passionate nature. For a virginal heroine, Lily did not come off as a shy heroine, at least with our hero. In society, she acts the demure lady... but the chemistry with our hero seems to overwhelm her. I do wish she would have shown more grit and backbone when she is stolen off the street and sold to a pleasure house, but she seemed to lack the confidence. I also didn't connect as fully with her characters as I would have liked, but I can't put my finger on exactly what was missing.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

ARC Review: Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter

Series:     Soulwood #2
Pub. Date:Nov 1, 2016
Length:352 pages

Curse on the Land has been one of my most-anticipated releases for the fall. I just fell in love with Nell and Soulwood in Blood of the Earth. I found her character to be so unique and refreshing despite it being the fifth cult-themed book I had read for the year.

Nell Ingram is a young widder-woman, having been a junior bride to a man who left the polygamous cult in East Tennessee. Since Nell met the paranormal agents of PsyLED, she has experienced a great amount of personal growth. In the first book of this series, I enjoyed watching Nell experience new things... pizza, Krispy Kreme, wearing clothes that are outside anything she would wear as a churchwoman, and generally learning that it was okay for women to have their own voice. In this second installment, Nell has just returned to Tennessee from Spook School and is wearing pants and jeans for the first time in her life. She has even cut her hair into a short bob, something that she would never have been able to do as a member of God's Light Church. Nell also has a special brand of magic tied to her land, Soulwood. She has some very unique abilities which have now been recruited by PsyLED, a paranormal division of a governmental investigation agency. Through this consultant position, Nell is learning self-importance because she is dang good at the job.