Review: Bound By Night by Amanda Ashley

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bound by Night by Amanda Ashley
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Urban Fantasy
Series: Bound #1

A Vampire's Kiss Is Forever. . .

Once featured in a horror movie, the crumbling Wolfram estate is said to be haunted by ghosts, witches, and worse. But Elena doesn't believe a word of it—until she spends the night and wakes up in the arms of a compelling stranger...

Tall, dark, and disturbingly handsome, Drake is the most beautiful man Elena has ever seen. For centuries, he has lived alone, and Elena is the first woman to enter his lair—and survive. And Drake is the first man to touch her heart and soul. By the time she discovers who he really is—and what he craves—it's too late. Blood lust has turned to love, and Elena is deeply under Drake's spell. But forever comes at a price for each of them. . .

I know vampire books can get a little repetitive and the whole "been there, done that" thought comes up. But this one has a new twist to it. Not one of my favorites, but definitely a series that I will be continuing with. If only because it somewhat holds my interests. The type of vampires with their abilities, powers, myths and all that are different than others.

My one big gripe is the pace. The characters didn't really have time to develop much. You find out a little about each character, they run into each other and suddenly love pops up into the equation. The circumstances against them could certainly speed up their decision to be together or not. But it's not 100% believable to me. It seemed too fast and a bit too forced. I like the characters most of the time. There just wasn't enough development so I don't feel as if I know them, I can't relate to them, nor am I invested in their happiness. The other characters mentioned in the story (siblings of Drake's) were interesting, but this book wasn't focused on them so, again, not too terribly interesting for me.

I think if the book was longer and the story more paced, it would've been much better. It seems very PNR and not so much UF. The book setting doesn't really specify what century we're in, but it's not historical. It's still a modern setting so thus the UF genre, but has PNR qualities in that it focuses on one couple per book and usually has the HEA. But it feels very historical at times, like they are not in an urban setting. The setting is mainly in Romania, I believe. That could be the "historical" feeling I sense from the book. *Shrugs* 

Anyways, I wouldn't run to get this book, but if you have time and it sounds interesting, give it a try. I will continue with the series just to see if it does get better though.

Review: Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead

Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Georgina Kincaid #6

Georgina Kincaid has had an eternity to figure out the opposite sex, but sometimes they still surprise her. Take Seth Mortensen. The man has risked his soul to become Georgina's boyfriend. Still, with Lucifer for a boss, Georgina can't just hang up her killer heels and settle down to domestic bliss. In fact, she's being forced to transfer operations. . .to Las Vegas.

The City of Sin is a dream gig for a succubus, but Georgina's allies are suspicious. Why are the powers-that-be so eager to get her away from Seattle—and from Seth? Georgina is one of Hell's most valuable assets, but if there's any way out of the succubus business she plans to take it—no matter how much roadkill she leaves behind. She just hopes the casualties won't include the one man she's risking everything for. . .

This is the final book of this terrific series. When I initially read the summary of the first book in this series, I was not that interested. Little did I know that this would turn out to be one of my top series. The main character is a succubi and throughout the whole series, you find out about how she becomes one of Hell's minions. You will also come to the conclusion that she wasn't meant to be on the "dark" side and that she's worthy of redemption. As a succubus who is supposed to lure all these men into sinning with her, she ends up falling in love with a mortal. Obviously, it's a complicated relationship.

Sometimes, when a series ends, they don't wrap up every loose thread and that bothers me, unless it's for a spin-off. To my knowledge, no spin-off here though I wouldn't mind it for Carter or, if possible, Roman. The ending for this particular series was fantastic. It closed up all the loose ends and answered most of the questions we have. Now it does leave us with a question or two, but it's mainly a "what did/will happen to them?" type of question; a possible continuation of certain characters, if you will. But the basis of the story, Georgina's story, that is, every question is pretty much answered. I loved it and it made me happy.

As I mentioned, it's one of my top favorite series. I mean, I have quite a few, but that's because there are many books in the world with many great authors. But I really fell in love with Georgina's story and even though she's on the side of Hell, you can't help but root for her. It is a series you have to read in order. I didn't find too much action in the book, but a lot was still going on. I did find myself skimming some paragraphs, but I think that was me getting anxious to finding out something. I absolutely recommend it!

Review: The Dragon Who Loved Me by G.A. Aiken

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Dragon Who Loved Me by G.A. Aiken
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Dragon Kin #5

I was raised for battle. And as the first daughter of a warrior family, I've earned my reputation the hard way. Yet now I fight alongside uncivilized male Northland dragons who think a female is only good for breeding and waiting back home in the cave. But it's the foolish and foolhardy who would try to stop me, Rhona the Fearless, from doing what I do best—destroying the enemies of my kind.

So the smartest thing wily barbarian Vigholf the Abhorrent can do for me is stay out of my way as we risk all on a deadly mission in enemy territory. I don't care if he's fascinated by me, even though he is as attractive as he is resourceful. He's having far too much fun putting me in difficult situations and testing my sense of duty to the limit. And I'm going to enjoy challenging his insufferable confidence, outwitting his schemes, and making him surrender in the wildest ways. . .

I love this series. It's my favorite dragon-shifter series so far. Now, I wasn't really looking forward to the particular couple focused in this story. I was looking forward to these two other characters', Izzy and Eibhear, story instead. However, because of the plot, this story was essential before getting to Izzy and Eibhear's story. Because of that, I understand the developmental time-line the author is writing towards.

The couple that was focused on in this story was Rhona, the Fearless and Vigholf, the Abhorrent. As I said, I wasn't too interested in this couple, but the story was still great. I still enjoyed it and it was still interesting to me. It didn't detract me from wanting to continue the series; in fact, it did the opposite. Aiken spent a lot of time developing the whole story, world and characters, and you can tell all that from the flow of the story within one book to another. It's an excellent series that I highly recommend. I loved the new characters introduced in this book; especially this one-eyed hunk of a rebel dragon. Annwyl, the original and first female in this series, is as funny as ever! The characters in this story, along with the writing, just makes you wish this world was real and that you were a part of this dynamic family. This book does include a huge turning point and some key important moments so I wouldn't recommend reading this series out of order. Some series you can because they can be read-alone books, but this series is not. You'd be a bit confused.

Overall, get this book. It's a great book. The romance is hilarious because it's one of those "you annoy me, I hate you" type of relationships that just become what they are and they're all the better for it. The nookie scenes aren't many, but they're good.

Review: In Bed With a Highlander by Maya Banks

Saturday, September 3, 2011

In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Highlander #1

Bestselling author Maya Banks’s beguiling new trilogy features three unforgettable brothers risking everything to save their clan and their legacy—and to surrender their hearts to love.

Ewan McCabe, the eldest, is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his—until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan’s clan, but for a man who dreams only of revenge, matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.

The illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that has made her a pawn—and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe. But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband makes her crave his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin’s strength, spirit, and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons—and embrace a love that means more than revenge and land.

I love books to do with the Highlands and Scot history and all that. Men in kilts, um, YUM. So I had high hopes for this book because really, how can you go wrong when a book is written about sexy highlanders in kilts?

It was great, it met my expectations though it fell a little short in some places. I loved the beginning when boy meets girl and they dance around each other for a while before falling for each other. The nookie scenes were okay, could've been better. The pace was good in the beginning, but towards the middle, it started fizzing. Obviously, it's one of those HEA ending books which I enjoy tremendously because they brighten up my day. Mind-blasting nookie + Happy ending = Nice and easy read. *shrugs* But like I said, towards the middle, the pace and the story line fizzled a bit. There were places in which it got sort of cheesy and I just skimmed through. Obviously there's some type of drama or villain that prevents the character from falling in love with one another right away. In this story there's this evil male character, Duncan, who tries to force Mairin, lead female character, into marriage so he can claim her dowry (lots of money and prime piece of land in Scotland adding to his power). He's power hungry and just plain greedy and evil! So he really does come off as someone you hate in the book; you despise him and you understand Mairin's feelings towards him and you totally root for Ewan. Well, let's just say this book is anti-climatic for me. It builds up so great in the beginning, starts to level out in the middle, and then pbbbt towards the end.

This is the first book in the series so I can see the continuation from this point on, but I still think it should've wrapped up a bit better and more climatic or so. But with all that said, I enjoyed the series. I wished the storyline was a bit different towards the end but still... I will continue on. I think it's worth reading and I do recommend it to those who are into this type of story. I wouldn't say it's up to par with Karen Marie Moning's Highlanders (ooh, those are great), but it's a good read.

Review: Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep

Friday, September 2, 2011

Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Series: Mythos Academy #1
My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy — a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest.

But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why—especially since I should have been the one who died. . .
I actually didn't want to start a YA novel because I've been on a PNR/UF roll. I didn't want to pick up a new genre and run into a story that's too cheesy or childish compared to my more adult books. I do like a lot of YA plot lines; they have these great ideas and stories, but it just bothers me when it's limited to something so PG13ish. That's just me; I like lots of bookie nookie and I hate the whole teen angst deal. With all that said, I really enjoyed this book. It did remind me of Percy Jackson & The Olympians. It was a different touch because not many books are about mythology whether it be Roman, Greek, or what have you and I like that. It's not just vampires and werewolves and all the other more "common" supernaturals this time. I like that the female character is not weak nor stupid! I can't stand it when there's a great story line and the female character lacks intelligence and/or strength. She has her insecurities just like most teen girls would, but she has valid reasons. Valid, not vapid. She's modest and real, really easy to relate to and makes you just want to root for her. When she does something extraordinaire, it's believable and not total bullshit like some of the books I've read where I proceed to have a seizure from all the eye rolls I'm doing. The character development is great; I loved the pacing of the book. I always wish things were a little longer because I fly through books so easily, but this is a good length. It's the 1st of the Mythos Academy series. As far as I know through Goodreads, it is meant to be a trilogy.

I've read her other series: Elemental Assassins. From the author, I should've guessed that her female character wouldn't be so weak. I love Estep's work and I love her Elemental Assassins series. But when I found out this was a young adult vs. an adult PNR/UF book, I started out with good hopes for the book and not high hopes. That's due to my preferences for more adult books/topics/content/what have you. But all in all, I really did enjoy this book. It tied up some ends, but left some major ones open, of course, due to it being a trilogy and the 1st in a series. You can expect more to come. The teaser at the end of the book was very enticing. It made me want to read it asap! I will finish with the fact that the rest of this series will be added to my To Be Read list. I am definitely continuing with the series because I do believe it's worth my time. I liked it, but not more than that.

Review: First Frost by Jennifer Estep

First Frost by Jennifer Estep
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Series: Mythos Academy #0.5
I am Gwen Frost, and I have a Gypsy gift. It's called psychometry - that's a fancy way of saying that I see images in my head and get flashes of other people's memories off almost everything I touch, even guys.
My gift makes me kind of nosy. Okay, okay, maybe a lot nosy--to the point of obsession sometimes. I want to know everything about everyone around me. But even I don't want to know the secrets my friend Paige is hiding or the terrible loss that will send me to a new school - Mythos Academy, where the teachers aren't preparing us for the SATs, but to battle Reapers of Chaos. Now I have no friends and no idea how my gift fits in with all these warrior whiz kids. The only thing I do know is that my life is never, ever going to be the same. . .

So this is the prequel to Touch of Frost which is the 1st book in her new young adult series: Mythos Academy. I love her other series: Elemental Assassin. I do like young adult books, but many of them turn me off because of the immaturity level of the characters. It just brings back all the negative of my high school years. We've all been there. I'd rather remember the good times like the boys and not the backstabbing girls, you know?

I think this was a good prequel to the first book which I'm currently reading right now. The first book does go over many of the same things, but as a prequel, this goes into more depth of what happened in the past and how she found herself in her new situation in book one. It's a short novella so it doesn't get into character development much because it's supposed to be a glimpse of the past. It could've been longer so it allowed a better pace. But overall, for a prequel and a novella, it was a good, easy read. It was okay.

Review: Once and Again by Lauren Dane

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Once and Again by Lauren Dane 
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Petal, Georgia #1 
This time, he plans to do it with class. Style. And more than a little groveling… Petal, Georgia, Book 1 Seven years ago, Lily Travis was only too glad to see her hometown of Petal, Georgia, in her rearview mirror. Thanks to her father running off with a twenty-year-old, though, here she is, trying to pick up the pieces. First order of business: meet with her brother’s teacher in a quest to pull his grades out of a downward spiral. Nathan Murphy is pretty much resigned to his bachelor status—until he looks up from his desk to see an all-grown-up Lily walking into his classroom. Of all the women who turned out to be totally wrong for him, she’s the only one who felt right. At least until his foolish, immature mistake drove her away. Lily has to admit that time has been more than kind to gorgeous, sexy Nathan. Except there’s no room on her full plate for another complication. Especially with a man who broke her heart once before. With a little help from his friends, Nathan has a plan to rekindle the flame. It isn’t long before they’re burning up the sheets. Winning her heart? That’s another matter.
It was a good read, not great. The book starts out interesting and keeps the same pace throughout the book. It doesn't get more complicated or interesting as you read on. Sure, the female character's life gets more complicated but it's the same old bullshit from before to after. There's just more shit and less paddles to go around. Same difference. It just gets you more frustrated as you read on because of her inability to handle the situation even though she's supposed to be portrayed as an independent, successful, young woman who's made it from a small town. She's suppose to have backbone. But then when her ex comes into the picture, someone who broke her heart to so many pieces it took years for her to get over him, and he tries to maneuver his way into her heart, she's unable to say no. Seriously? I mean, let the guy crawl and beg a little!

The story goes into why and how they broke up even though things happened when they weren't officially together (makes me feel so 7th grade to say that). I understand why she was hurt and it was a good enough reason to dump him and hell yes, it was a good enough reason to have her heart broken. But what I don't understand is there's no reasoning beyond that. Okay, he did what he did and you still can't get over it. *shrugs* Shit happens. Either move on or let it go. Hell, hash it out. But they really don't besides some simple post-coital conversation. It didn't move me, it didn't give me a breaking point where I was like "Oh, so that's why! Yes, it's fixed now!" or whatever. I will say that the nookie scenes are great. The book was good as I mentioned. Just not something that I would want to re-read nor will it make my favorites list. Beyond those frustrating points, I enjoyed the book enough to want to finish it. The pacing is a bit fast for me probably due to it being a short book, but yeah. If you're interested, read it. If you don't have it, put it on hold and grab the books you are interested in first. This can wait.

My book blog!

I've decided to start a book blog because I love to write and read. I read about a book per day and sometimes, I forget what I thought and felt about a certain book I read 6+ months ago. I also love to discuss books. Well I love to discuss all things photography, book, cats, or computer gear related. Let's hope that with the change in my schedule coming this Fall with school, college and possibly a new employment, I will still be able to dedicate myself to this blog as well as my regular blog, photographing my life and kids, and scrap booking those photos. Oh, and let's not forget my regular household duties. Sounds like a lot, doesn't it? Well, bear with me while I design my website and figure out how I want to present my reviews and whatnot.
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