Current Giveaways

Review + Giveaway: Sealed with a Curse by Cecy Robson (ends 01/21)
Enter to win an ARC of Sealed with a Curse.

Please Note: New Holiday Review Policy! (extended indefinitely)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rogue Oracle Giveaway Winner

There were a total of 24 participants. Using, I randomized the list of entries, and then random selected the winners. The winners of signed copies of Rogue Oracle by Alayna Williams are...

Barbara E.

Congratulations! Please respond to the e-mail I sent with your mailing information within 72 hours so that I can pass it on to Alayna.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

In My Mailbox (74)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.


This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

Book Depository Affiliate

I have just signed up for the Book Depository's Affiliate program. For those who haven't stumbled across the Book Depository yet, it's a wonderful company based out of England. They have free shipping to over 90 countries worldwide, great prices on books, and a huge variety of titles. I decided to become an affiliate in hopes that I could generate a teeny bit of extra income in order to cover the shipping costs of my giveaways (which will possibly lead to more giveaways). Being an affiliate should not interrupt the reading and enjoying of my blog. I have placed a button on my sidebar and will be adding links to buy the novels featured on my blog at the bottom of my posts. I hope you will find these links helpful. :)

Giveaway: Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright

Today I have decided to pass on my copy of Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright. For those who didn't see the little rant I posted about this novel, it can be viewed here. But don't let my personal issues with the novel stop you from entering the giveaway! With only a little under twelve days and seven hours left until the last chapter is available online, the winner will not have to worry about waiting because this giveaway will run until March 13th, the night before the last chapter is available on

Giveaway Rules:
1. Leave a comment answering the following question: Are you planning on seeing the movie, Red Riding Hood.
2. One comment per person.
3. Leave a valid e-mail address.
4. Open to US/Canada only.
5. Giveaway is open through Sunday 03/13 11:59pm.
6. Winner will be chosen using on Monday 03/14.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Review: Rogue Oracle by Alayna Williams

Title: Rogue Oracle
Author: Alayna Williams
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 02/22/11

Tara Sheridan is the best criminal profiler around -- and the most unconventional. Trained as a forensic psychologist, Tara also specializes in Tarot card reading. But she doesn’t need her divination skills to realize that the new assignment from her friend and sometime lover, Agent Harry Li, is a dangerous proposition in every way.

Former Cold War operatives, all linked to a top-secret operation tracking the disposal of nuclear weapons in Russia, are disappearing. There are no bodies, and no clues to their whereabouts. Harry suspects a conspiracy to sell arms to the highest bidder. The cards -- and Tara’s increasingly ominous dreams -- suggest something darker. Even as Tara sorts through her feelings for Harry and her fractured relationship with the mysterious order known as Delphi’s Daughters, a killer is growing more ruthless by the day. And a nightmare that began decades ago in Chernobyl will reach a terrifying endgame that not even Tara could have foreseen...

Plot: 4.5 Stars
I love the mix of science and paranormal that these novels blend together. The first novel dealt with physics, and this novel delved into the history of Chernobyl and the science of nuclear reactors. Add in a bunch of oracles with different skills in divination, and you've got a mix of Urban Fantasy with a touch of Science Fiction. It's not very often I learn a lot (about real, non-paranormal things) from a book, but I learned so much about Chernobyl and the nightmare that followed. I don't want to ruin the big twist of the novel, but the idea revolving around the bad guy was a very unique idea. I had never heard of this specific idea before (although I had seen the word before), and I liked the little bit of science that it was based on. I have a feeling I won't be coming across this specific kind of bad guy all that much in my reading.

Pace: 4 Stars
There were a number of twists and turns in this novel, as well as a number of destinations. As a reader, I love being kept guessing and this novel did just that perfectly. There were a number of changes in points of view throughout the novel, but it was never confusing. It actually worked out very well and flowed together seamlessly. Without the different points of view, there would've been a lot of information either left out or work in awkwardly.

Characters: 4 Stars
Once again, I loved Tara and her Tarot readings. They are so in depth, yet engrossing. And it was interesting to see her bond with a new deck of cards. I wished that the relationship between Tara and Henry could've made more progress, but it made a little. I wasn't expecting certain actions from Henry, and I'm interested to see how that pans out in future novels. I wish Cassie and the animals could've been in the book a bit more, but at least they weren't absent. The side plot of Cassie and the Pythia was definitely not what I expected, but kept me on the edge of my seat. And I can't forget about the Steves. They were two funny yet reliable guys, and I hope they haven't made their only appearance.

Cover: 4 Stars
This cover is such a departure from the last one. Although the first cover wasn't bad, I like the direction the art department went in because I feel this cover model embodied Tara a little more. She looked a little more like how I envisioned Tara, but the expression on her face also fit Tara's character a bit more. I liked the wide variety of colors on the cover. I also liked that they chose to use the same font, that way there was at least a little bit to tie it to the previous cover. And the spine is a bright teal, which actually compliments the bright purple of Dark Oracle's spine. The match quite well when sitting on a bookshelf. My favorite part of the cover is the Tarot cards. On the first cover, the cards had a generic design and could've been anything. But on this cover, specific Tarot cards were used and I felt it brought more depth to the cover. And allowed someone just browsing to know a little bit more about the book without having to read the back cover.

Overall: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review from the author.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review: Kitty's House of Horrors by Carrie Vaughn

Title: Kitty's House of Horrors
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 01/01/10

Talk radio host and werewolf Kitty Norville has agreed to appear on TV's first all-supernatural reality show. She's expecting cheesy competitions and manufactured drama starring shapeshifters, vampires, and psychics. But what begins as a publicity stunt will turn into a fight for her life.

The cast members, including Kitty, arrive at the remote mountain lodge where the show is set. As soon as filming starts, violence erupts and Kitty suspects that the show is a cover for a nefarious plot. Then the cameras stop rolling, cast members start dying, and Kitty realizes she and her monster housemates are ironically the ultimate prize in a very different game. Stranded with no power, no phones, and no way to know who can be trusted, she must find a way to defeat the evil closing in... before it kills them all.

Plot: 5 Stars
I love this series, and this was the best one yet! Kitty just can't seem to keep herself out of trouble. What I love most about Kitty's world is how much the Supernatural has come out of the closet. The general public doesn't just know about them, they're bombarded by them (in comparison to most Urban Fantasy novels). And the plot behind this novel would bring them into the spotlight even more. The beginning of this novel has quite a bit of humor, and definitely pokes fun at reality tv. Then everything hits the fan and becomes a roller coaster ride. Normally, I don't really fear for the main character's safety because I know there are more books to come after so obviously the MC doesn't die. But even though the next novel, Kitty Goes to War, is on my bookshelf I really didn't know how Kitty was going to pull through at some points. And that is exactly why I loved this novel so much. Plus, a special someone makes a special appearance at the end. I won't spoil anything, but readers who have been following this series will be very excited!

Pace: 5 Stars
I could not put this novel down. I don't remember the last time I finished a novel in less than 24 hours. (I think it was Hex Hall last March). I almost didn't go into work because I couldn't put this book down. I loved that there were still scenes in which Kitty hosts her radio show, The Midnight Hour, even though it's not the focus of the plot. I love reading about her taking calls. There was no downtime, unneeded scenes, or overwhelming amounts of detail in this novel, and that helped the plot fly by.

Characters: 5 Stars
Although it was great to see Kitty reconnect with a bunch of characters she's met along the way, I missed some of the characters that play a bigger role in her life. As she ventured out to the middle of nowhere to shoot the television show, she left a few awesome characters home in Denver. But that just leaves me anticipating the next novel even more, in hopes that they're back to center stage. Some very interesting relationships were forged at that cabin, and I wish some things could've worked out differently. Kitty's sarcasm and wit really kept the producers of the reality tv show on their feet. It was quite funny, but when it came time to be serious, Kitty became a leader. Somehow throughout all of the mayhem, Kitty stayed strong and was everyone's rock. She kept a level head in the face of danger.

Cover: 4 Stars
Although this is one of my top five Urban Fantasy series, they haven't had the greatest covers. I must've picked the first book up at the bookstore to read the back multiple times and put it back multiple times. I finally bought it, and am so glad I did. But it's proof that covers do matter. While the cover for the first book almost kept me from starting this series, I feel like these covers have definitely progressed. The monochromatic coloring is actually something I like to see in covers when done well. And the font color choices have definitely gotten better over the years. (Book one was royal blue with red text... A little too much for the eye...) This cover specifically is the perfect color; the purple gives it a mysterious feel that definitely fits the novel. My favorite part these covers is the consistency: Kitty is always the focus, and there's always an animal in the background.

Overall: 5 Stars

Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney

Title: The Iron Witch
Author: Karen Mahoney
Genre: Young Adult
Release Date: 01/25/11
When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed Donna Underwood’s father and drove her mother mad. Her own nearly fatal injuries were fixed by alchemy -- the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. Now seventeen, Donna feels like a freak, doomed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. Only her relationship with her best friend, Navin, is keeping her sane.

But when vicious wood elves abduct Navin, Donna is forced to accept her role in the centuries-old war between human alchemists and these darkest outcasts of Faerie. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous guy with faery blood running through his veins and secrets of his own, Donna races to save Navin -- even if it means betraying everything her parents fought to the death to protect.

Plot: 3.5 Stars
My favorite part of this whole novel was the introduction to alchemy. It's a subject that I had not encountered yet, in either young adult or urban fantasy. It was a very interesting way of pulling magical elements into the story, but I wanted to learn more. Many parts of this novel felt like an introduction. Although the novel has a climax and resolution, there are still so many areas in which the story only scratched the surface. In a way, it's a tiny bit annoying. But mostly, it leaves me pining for the next novel in the series (which is definitely a good thing). I also liked the element of faerie brought into the story. There were elements to the fae that I had never encountered before, which made the lore very unique.

Pace: 4 Stars
This novel was a little on the shorter side, but it was just the right size for the story. It flew by without feeling rushed, and there were no parts that dragged on with too much information. Everything about the pacing and revealing of information was spot on. It kept me glued to the pages. There was a nice balance between the action and the detail in this novel. I was easily swept up into Donna's quest, rooting for her the entire time.

Characters: 4 Stars
Donna was a very strong character. She had her moments of melancholy, but considering her past, they were warranted. But she didn't let the past get her down. I liked that she didn't absolutely need to fit in. Her best friend, Navin, was my favorite character. He didn't have the biggest part, due to the plot, but I hope he shows up more in future books. Xan was interesting and mysterious, and I was glad he stuck around to help Donna. The members of the Order of the Dragon were smaller characters, but I hope we get to learn more about them as more of the alchemy is demonstrated and explained.

Cover: 4.5 Stars
This is such a gorgeous and thought provoking cover. Tattoos are often used as on covers very arbitrarily, but these tattoos were intricate, beautiful, and (best of all) relevant to the plot. The small bottle in the cover model's hand is also relevant, and the color really pops against the neutral colors that make up the rest of the cover. My favorite part of the cover is the pose of the cover model. Too many young adult novels include a cover model looking at the reader. I like that this cover model is hiding, covering her face. This leaves my imagination to picture Donna however it chooses to interpret the description given in the novel.

Overall: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.

CSN Stores Giveaway Winner

There were a total of 30 participants. Using, I randomized the list of entries, and then random selected the winner. The winner of a $60 gift certificate to CSN Stores is...


Congratulations! I have e-mailed you the gift code. Let me know if you don't receive the e-mail.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

In My Mailbox (73)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.


Feed by Mira Grant
Confessions of a Vampire's Girlfriend by Katie MacAllister
Flip This Zombie by Jesse Petersen
Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen
Dead to Me by Anton Strout
Dead Matter by Anton Strout

Used Trade-In:

The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee
Deader Still by Anton Strout


The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver


Rogue Oracle by Alayna Williams (signed!)
Thanks to Alayna Williams!


Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton (ARC)
Dead Waters by Anton Strout
Thanks to Abigail at All Things Urban Fantasy for these two!
Lover Mine by J.R. Ward
Thanks to Kristin at Nocturnal Bites! There was a mix up with the Book Depository, so she ended up sending two copies and told me I was free to give this one away. Lookout for a giveaway coming soon!


Daemon's Mark by Caitlin Kittredge (signed!)
Thanks to Caitlin Kittredge! A couple weeks ago she was offering up all sorts of books on her blog to those who donated to a fund to help her roommate's sister go to Julliard. More information can be found here.

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Alayna Williams

Today I'd like to welcome back Alayna Williams, who is stopping by to promote her new Urban Fantasy release, Rogue Oracle, the second novel in her Delphic Oracle series, which releases on February 22nd. I'm about halfway through this novel, and hope to post my review next week. It's turning out even better than Dark Oracle! Her topic for this guest blog is the Delphic Oracle. I found it very interesting, and hope you do to!

The Delphic Oracle - Then and Now
by Alayna Williams

The Delphic Oracle is probably the most famous oracle of the ancient world. The priestess of the Temple of Apollo, the Pythia, wielded a great deal of political influence over leaders who sought her advice and the priestesses who served the temple. The Temple of Apollo was sited over a crevasse in the earth emitting noxious vapors, leading to modern-day speculation that the Pythia’s visions were not sendings from Apollo, but toxic hallucinations. The Delphic Oracle operated from roughly the eight century BC until 393 AD, when all pagan oracles were ordered to be dismantled by the Emperor. After that, no one knows what became of the priestesses.

I was intrigued by the idea of an order of women exerting subtle and powerful influence over the ancient world. I wondered what would happen if that order of priestesses went underground and survived to the modern day. What would their role in world events be? In ROGUE ORACLE, the title of Pythia is handed down through generations of women, all oracles with their own unique talent for foreseeing the future. Delphi’s Daughters are a secret organization, nudging world events and gathering information through vast networks of helpers. Their behavior is sometimes sinister, sometimes pure, but always secretive. No one but the Pythia herself knows how the puzzle of world events fits together, and her priestesses are often left in the dark, guessing at her motives.

In the ROGUE ORACLE world, the current Pythia is a pyromancer. She sees the future in dancing flames. The heroine of the story, Tara Sheridan, is a cartomancer who uses Tarot cards to create criminal profiles. Other characters have abilities with scrying, astronomy, and geomancy. Delphi’s Daughters come from all walks of life: they are physicists, soccer moms, artists, farmers, and dancers. They are women just like women you know and walk past on the street. But they are women with a secret.

In thinking about how such an order might survive into the modern world, I imagined the limitations inherent in being an oracle in a secret organization. It would require secrecy, sacrificing a large part of one’s life, and committing to a larger ideal. I decided that, as time passed, fewer and fewer women would be interested in unquestioningly serving Delphi’s Daughters. In ROGUE ORACLE, the order is dying out. Tara Sheridan has left the order after her mother died, refusing to return. After surviving an attacked by a serial killer that left her scarred for life, she is unable to bear children. And there are no young women in Delphi’s Daughters any longer.

In the first book in the series, DARK ORACLE, Delphi's Daughters gained guardianship of a young woman who is the orphaned daughter of a physicist. Under the watchful and sometimes brutal eye of the Pythia, she is growing into her own power, astrology. The ancient science runs counter to her scientific nature, but she finds that the stars are speaking to her...and they are telling her of a disaster of far-reaching proportions on the horizon. In ROGUE ORACLE, Cassie discovers that the stars are moving to positions almost identical to their configuration when the Chernobyl disaster struck the Ukraine. She's convinced that a new devastation is at hand.

Tara sees it, too, in her Tarot cards. Especially in the shadow of the Tower - a hulking structure destroyed by lightning. She must race against time to try and stop a Chernobyl survivor from selling nuclear secrets on the black market. And to do so, she must abandon Cassie to the Pythia's harsh care.

The Pythia must try to continue the line, whatever the cost. She is challenged to convince the rebellious Tara to return, and resolved that she must put Cassie through horrifying tests of will to empower her to move into the future. A new order for a new age. And blood will be spilled in the process.

Thanks for stopping by Alayna!


Tara Sheridan is the best criminal profiler around—and the most unconventional. Trained as a forensic psychologist, Tara also specializes in Tarot card reading. But she doesn’t need her divination skills to realize that the new assignment from her friend and sometime lover, Agent Harry Li, is a dangerous proposition in every way.

Former Cold War operatives, all linked to a top-secret operation tracking the disposal of nuclear weapons in Russia, are disappearing. There are no bodies, and no clues to their whereabouts. Harry suspects a conspiracy to sell arms to the highest bidder. The cards—and Tara’s increasingly ominous dreams—suggest something darker. Even as Tara sorts through her feelings for Harry and her fractured relationship with the mysterious order known as Delphi’s Daughters, a killer is growing more ruthless by the day. And a nightmare that began decades ago in Chernobyl will reach a terrifying endgame that not even Tara could have foreseen...

I also have two signed copies of Rogue Oracle to give away, courtesy of Alayna. All you have to do to be entered is answer the question: If you were an oracle, what medium would you use to help you predict future events? The giveaway is international, and will last until midnight Saturday 02/26. I'll announce the winner on either Sunday or Monday.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Review: Darkness Dawns by Dianne Duvall

Title: Darkness Dawns (ARC)
Author: Dianne Duvall
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 02/01/11
Once, Sarah Bingham's biggest challenge was making her students pay attention in class. Now, after rescuing a wounded stranger, she's handed in the middle of a battle between corrupt vampires and powerful immortals who also need blood to survive. Roland Warbrook is the most compelling man Sarah has ever laid hands on. But his desire for her is mingled with a hunger he can barely control... In his nine centuries of immortal existence, no woman has tempted Roland as much as Sarah. But asking her to love him is impossible -- when it means forfeiting the world she's always known, and the life he would do anything to protect.

Plot: 3 Stars
Without ruining the ending, I just want to add that everything wrapped up a little too nicely. There is a specific fact about Sara that is pretty much left out throughout the entire novel, but comes into play at the end to make everything perfect. It could have been alluded to or mentioned in passing once or twice to make the ending a little more believable. Otherwise, this novel was another fresh take on vampires in the Paranormal Romance genre. The similarities and differences between vampires and immortals in this novel were very interesting. Vampires didn't live that long because the bloodlust slowly drove them insane, while immortals were able to cope and live longer lives thus making them guardians between vampires and humans. But it was just one little detail that decided whether a turned human became a vampire or an immortal.

Pace: 4 Stars
This novel had many twists and turns, and kept up a moderately fast pace. Some twists I saw coming, others took me by surprise. Sarah seemed to welcome the immortals into her life and believe what they told her a little too readily, but she also witnessed a lot of the information (as opposed to just being told) so it wasn't too much of a stretch. Sarah and Roland also seem to come together a little quickly, but it wasn't unrealistic. There were some scenes that seemed a little out there in regards to Sarah reacting to crisis with a level head, but instead of taking away from the story, it just made me like her more. Although the other immortals we meet don't play as big of a role as Roland, it was interesting to see them interact with this new, more social Roland.

Characters: 4 Stars
Sarah was a very interesting heroine. She was a strong woman and showed real caring when taking care of Roland. She meets him under dire circumstances and plays a pivotal role in saving his life. From there her world is turned upside-down as she is swept into the world of the immortals, but she keeps a level head and never becomes overwhelmed. Roland, who is known as antisocial to all of the other immortals, really comes out of his shell as her forges a relationship with Sarah.

Cover: 3 Stars
Bare-chested, faceless guys have never really made me like a cover. It's a bit overdone in the romance world, and never really gives you much of a clue to the plot. The only thing about the cover model I didn't dislike was the fact that he had a shirt on, but it was open. This, to me, seems a bit more realistic than running around firght evil with absolutely no shirt on. The reddish-orangeish hues of the cover were a nice choice, along with the background image. But I'd have to say that my two favorite details are the swirl behind the title and the font choice. The font has a bit of an old world, gothic feel while staying simple and easy to read.

Overall: 3.5 Stars

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book for review from Abigail of All Things Urban Fantasy.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

In My Mailbox (72)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.


Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
Secrets and Shadows by Shannon Delany
License to Ensorcell by Katherine Kerr
Nightshade by Michelle Rowen

CSN Stores Giveaway

I have once again been contacted by a rep from CSN Stores, and am excited to be able to host another giveaway. CSN Stores is an amazing website where you can find just about anything. Whether you're looking for a a new chair like this Eames Lounge Chair, or a nice writing desk such as this Home Styles Student Desk, or anything in between, there are over 200 stores to browse.

So today, I'm giving away a gift code worth $60 towards a purchase from any of CSN's many stores. To enter the contest just answer the following question: What would you buy from CSN Stores if you were to win?

Giveaway Rules:
1. Leave one comment.
2. Must leave a valid e-mail address.
3. Giveaway is open to US and Canada.
4. There may be some international shipping taxes that the gift code cannot cover in the case of Canadian addresses, so take that into consideration when entering.

The giveaway ends on Saturday 02/19 at midnight EST. Winners will be announced on Sunday or Monday, and winners will be chosen using

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Giveaway: Twelve and Thirteen Years Later by Jasper Kent

Sometime last year I received an ARC of Twelve by Jasper Kent, and it was unfortunately a DNF for me. I wasn't expecting the publisher to send me an ARC of Thirteen Years Later (the sequel) a couple months later. Since Twelve was a DNF, I don't think I'll be reading Thirteen Years Later. That's where the giveaway comes in. I would like to offer up ARCs of Twelve and Thirteen Years Later by Jasper Kent. My only requirements for the giveaway is that you promise to review the ARCs. Whether it be on your personal blog, on a retailers website (Amazon, B&N, Borders, etc.), Goodreads, or even as a guest right here... Doesn't matter. I just want to get the word out. (If you do choose the review them as a guest reviewer for my blog, all you would need to do is e-mail me once you've finished reading. I tend to have a pretty open schedule.)

Twelve, and a few other novels over the past couple months, have taught me that Historical Fantasy is not my cup of tea. But what doesn't work for me could be right up your alley!

Twelve is the story of Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov, a captain in the army of Tsar Alexander I, sworn to defend Russia against the onslaught of Napoleon's Grande Armée in the autumn of 1812. He joins forces with a band of twelve Wallachian mercenaries, whose zeal and success in slaughtering the French invaders seem too good to be true.

Soon, Aleksei unearths the gruesome secret behind the Wallachians' abilities, and discovers that they make little distinction between Frenchman or Russian. His fight becomes not simply one against Napoleon, but against a far more dangerous enemy.

1825, Europe -- and Russia -- have been at peace for a decade. Bonaparte is long dead and the threat of invasion is no more. For Colonel Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov, life is peaceful. Not only have the French been defeated, but so have the twelve monstrous creatures he once fought alongside, and then against, all those years before. His duty is still to his tsar, Aleksandr the First, but today the enemy is merely human.

But the tsar knows that he can never be at peace. He is well aware of the uprising fermenting within his own army, but what troubles him is something far more terrible -- something that threatens to bring damnation down upon him, his family and his country. Aleksandr cannot forget a promise: a promise sealed in blood... and broken a hundred years before.

Now the victim of the Romanovs’ betrayal has returned to demand what is his. The knowledge chills Aleksandr’s very soul. And for Aleksei, it seems the vile pestilence that once threatened all he held dear has returned, thirteen years later...

Giveaway Rules:
Open internationally.
Must leave a valid e-mail address.
Open to US/Canada.
Contest ends at midnight on Wednesday 16th.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Review: Taken by the Others by Jess Haines

Title: Taken by the Others
Author: Jess Haines
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 01/01/11
Once, New York P.I. Shiarra Waynest's most pressing problem was keeping her agency afloat. Now she's dealing with two dangerous, seductive vampires who have been enemies for centuries. The only thing Max Carlyle and Alec Royce agree on is that they both want Shia -- for very different reasons. Max is determined to destroy Shia for killing his progeny, while Royce's interest is a lot more personal. That's not sitting well with Shia's werewolf boyfriend, Chaz. As the feud between Max and Royce gets ever more deadly, a powerful vampire-hunting faction is urging Shia to join their side. Shia has always believed vamps were the bad guys, but she's discovering unexpected shades of grey that are about to redefine her friends, her loyalties -- and even her desires.

Plot: 4 Stars
This is one of the few novels I've read that has included a vampire-biting scene that was truly scary and definitely not sexual in any way. That scene reinforced my love for this series because the vampires are evil and scary, and I love that. As the title suggests, Shia is taken (or kidnapped) by some of the others in New York. While kidnapping is normally a plot point that I find a bit boring, the author definitely made it interesting and necessary to the plot. All in all, Shia's crazy adventure back into the world of the others was a roller coaster of twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat. I just wish there could've been a bit more private investigating. Her job was such an important part of Shia's character in book one, so I expected more than just a couple passing comment to her job.

Pace: 4.5 Stars
This novel flew by. I just couldn't put it down at times. And it read even smoother than book one. Every scene had a purpose, even if that purpose wasn't totally explained until the end of the book. But I love when a book wraps up so nicely. There wasn't a cliffhanger, but there was just enough at the end to leave me jumping up and down for the next novel. I can't wait to see what's in store for Shia on her next adventure.

Characters: 4 Stars
Shia has definitely grown since the last novel, and grew quite a bit in this one as well. I have really enjoyed watching the evolution of her character. Although Royce didn't seem to be around quite as much as the last book, we also learned more about him (and I like him a bit more now). He was still manipulative at times, but he also seemed to have Shia's best interest in mind, even if it didn't seem like it at first. Max was a great villian because he was truly frightening and his moves were unexpected throughout the whole book. I wish we could've seen more of Sarah, Arnold, and Chaz. I really missed Arnold's humor and mage powers that helped Shia so much in book one. But I loved Mouse! She was such a strong little vampire, and a very interesting character. I really, really, really hope she's in the next book. It was also nice to see a few more of the White Hats and learn more about them.

Cover: 3 Stars
This cover's model was all sorts of wrong. The cover model looked like she had aged at least five years from the last novel, although barely a year had gone by. Plus, I'm not even sure if they used the same model. And her outfit was just wrong. She should've been wearing the trench coat from the first cover again, since Shia once again wears it to hide her crazy stash of weapons. Plus, she shouldn't have so much skin showing because she does not want the vampires to bite. Cover model aside, the it wasn't that bad of a cover. Purple is a color that doesn't seem as widely used in the genre as blues/greens and reds/oranges are, but it works very well against the model's red hair. And I really enjoyed the large moon in the background, especially considering most of the novel took place at night.

Overall: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review from the author.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

In My Mailbox (71)

Thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren for hosting In My Mailbox every week.


Haunted by Kelley Armstrong (used)
Visions of Magic by Regan Hastings
First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones


Lover Mine by J.R. Ward
Thanks to Kristin at Nocturnal Bites!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Review: Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning

Title: Bloodfever
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 08/26/08
Mackayla Lane's ordinary life underwent a complete makeover when she landed on Ireland's shores and was plunged into a dark, deadly realm unlike any she ever imagined. In her fight to stay alive, Mac must find the Sinsar Dubh -- a million-year old book of the blackest magic imaginable that holds the key to power over both the worlds of Fae and Man. Pursued by Fae assassins, surrounded by mysterious figures she knows she cannot trust, Mac finds herself torn between two deadly and irresistible men: V'lane, the insatiable Fae, who can turn sensual arousal into an obsession for any woman; and the ever-inscrutable Jericho Barrons, a man as alluring as he is mysterious.

Plot: 4 Stars
Bloodfever was a fantastic second book for this series. Often, I find that second books tend to fall flat since the world and characters are no longer new. First books are almost always my favorite because I like being introduced to new worlds and characters. I can't really say which of the two I liked more, and I hope the next book is just as great. There were definitely some interesting twists in this novel that I did not see coming, and a character or two that I hadn't expected to see again. I was glad to see more OOPs (objects of power) thrown into the mix as well.

Pace: 4.5 Stars
This novel flowed even better than its predecessor Darkfever. There was never really a point in which the plot wavered or slowed down. It was constant action, and had less information crammed between scenes since book one already introduced us to the world and its players. There were a few points where Mac's inner dialogue got to be a touch wordy, but right when I'd start to feel this way something bad jumped out of a corner and threw her world upside-down.

Characters: 3.5 Stars
My one complaint about this novel is that there wasn't as much character development as I expected after the first book. Mac continued to grow and transform throughout the story, but there wasn't much growth or exploration for the other characters. Barrons continued to be quite frustrating as he consistantly did not answer any of Mac's questions. V'lane continued to play his games, although he did prove helpful at some moments. I wish Mac could've found out a little more about Alina's murder. I felt like she hadn't learned much more than what she knew at the end of book one. But there were a couple of characters introduced throughout the novel that I hope will become bigger characters in the future books because they intrigued me.

Cover: 4 Stars
I said it in my Darkfever review, and I'll say it again... These re-released covers are fabulous. Since this novel has blood in the cover, I'm glad they picked a pinkish, reddish hue for this cover. The actual image on this cover is my least favorite of the four paperbacks because it has a bit less detail than the others, but it's still very interesting. The image has a very bleak feeling to it, with the cover model standing all alone under the moon. This reflects Mac's emotions in this novel very well, without being too straight-forward.

Overall: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.

Month In Review: January

I started off the year pretty well. I read nine books this month, which is better than practically every month last year. Although I did have two DNFs, the first time I've had more than one in a month.

January: 9

Hunted by the Others by Jess Haines 4.5 Stars
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand 3.5 Stars
His Darkest Hunger by Juliana Stone DNF
Amazon Ink by Lori Devoti 3 Stars
Manifest by Artist Arthur DNF
Grave Witch by Kalayna Price 5 Stars
Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright 2.5 Stars
Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning 4 Stars
Taken by the Others by Jess Haines 4 Stars review coming soon

So what did everyone else read in January?