Sunday Showcase #15

For the past two years, Jenn has lived and trained at Spain’s Sacred Heart Academy Against the Cursed Ones. She is among the few who have pledged to defend humanity or die trying. But the vampires are gaining power, and the battle has only just begun. Forced to return home after death takes a member of her family, Jenn discovers that San Francisco is now a vampire strong-hold. As a lone hunter apart from her team, Jenn is isolated — and at risk. She craves the company of her fighting partner, Antonio: his protection, his reassurance, his touch. But a relationship with Antonio comes with its own dangers, and the more they share of themselves, the more Jenn stands to lose. Then Jenn is betrayed by one who was once bound to protect her, causing her to doubt all she had held as true. To survive, Jenn must find the courage to trust herself — and her heart.

Why I picked it up: Because I couldn’t stop myself. This book was on the bargain bookshelf. I’d never heard of the author or the title. The first time couple of times I saw it on the bargain shelf at Walden (remember, going out of business), I passed it up. Finally, I decided to read the first few paragraphs to assess the writing style. Worked for me. Right now my youngest daughter is reading and enjoying this book, so I might give it a shot sooner than later. We’ll see.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

Since the dawn of time, the Faerie have taken. . . .

For seventeen-year-old actress Kelley Winslow, faeries are just something from childhood stories. Then she meets Sonny Flannery, whose steel-gray eyes mask an equally steely determination to protect her. Sonny guards the Samhain Gate, which connects the mortal realm with the Faerie’s enchanted, dangerous Otherworld. Usually kept shut by order of icy King Auberon, the Gate stands open but once a year. This year, as the time approaches when the Samhain Gate will swing wide and nightmarish Fae will fight their way into an unsuspecting human world, something different is happening . . . something wondrous and strange. And Kelley’s eyes are opening not just to the Faerie that surround her but to the heritage that awaits her. Now Kelley must navigate deadly Faerie treachery—and her growing feelings for Sonny—in this dazzling page-turner filled with luminous romance. Wondrous Strange is a richly layered tale of love between faerie and mortal, betrayal between kings and queens, and magic . . . between author and reader.

Why I picked it up: I’ve wanted this book for a while. I won book two of the series some time last year and kept saying I’d pick this up eventually. With the Walden sales going on, I figured this was my opportunity. So where we are. 🙂

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

It’s a few years after rebel Tally Youngblood took down the uglies/pretties/specials regime. Without those strict roles and rules, the world is in a complete cultural renaissance. “Tech-heads” flaunt their latest gadgets, “kickers” spread gossip and trends, and “surge monkeys” are hooked on extreme plastic surgery. And it’s all monitored on a bazillion different cameras. The world is like a gigantic game of American Idol. Whoever is getting the most buzz gets the most votes. Popularity rules. As if being fifteen doesn’t suck enough, Aya Fuse’s rank of 451,369 is so low, she’s a total nobody. An extra. But Aya doesn’t care; she just wants to lie low with her drone, Moggle. And maybe kick a good story for herself. Then Aya meets a clique of girls who pull crazy tricks, yet are deeply secretive of it. Aya wants desperately to kick their story, to show everyone how intensely cool the Sly Girls are. But doing so would propel her out of extra-land and into the world of fame, celebrity…and extreme danger. A world she’s not prepared for.

Why I picked it up: Last week I picked the first three books in the series. Well, this wasn’t on the bargain shelf like the others, but still the discount was decent enough to warrant adding it to my collection.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

What if the hottest guy in the world was hiding a nameless evil, and all he wanted was you? At the start of this heart-pounding new installment of the bestselling House of Night series, Zoey’s friends have her back again and Stevie Rae and the red fledglings aren’t Neferet’s secrets any longer.  But an unexpected danger has emerged. Neferet guards her powerful new consort, Kalona, and no one at the House of Night seems to understand the threat he poses.  Kalona looks gorgeous, and he has the House of Night under his spell. A past life holds the key to breaking his rapidly spreading influence, but what if this past life shows Zoey secrets she doesn’t want to hear and truths she can’t face? On the run and holed up in Tulsa’s Prohibition-era tunnels, Zoey and her gang must discover a way to deal with something that might bring them all down.  Meanwhile, Zoey has a few other little problems.  The red fledglings have cleaned up well – they’ve even managed to make the dark, creepy tunnels feel more like home – but are they really as friendly as they seem?  On the boyfriend front, Zoey has a chance to make things right with super-hot ex-, Erik, but she can’t stop thinking about Stark, the archer who died in her arms after one unforgettable night, and she is driven to try to save him from Neferet’s sinister influence at all costs.  Will anyone believe the power evil has to hide among us?

Why I picked it up: For my daughter. 🙂 We have the first books in the series on our shelf. I won most, if not all of those in a couple of giveaways. She enjoyed those, so I figured I’d pick up the next in line for her. I know book one has an awesome start to it, and I almost gave it a whirl. Then I realized the start in book one was just a gimmick, so set it aside. Perhaps I’ll give it another shot one day, now that I got the disappointment out of my system over the gimmick. 🙂 Until then, my daughter gets to enjoy this one.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

When the sixteen-year-old runaway Chap is mistaken for a missing boy named Cassiel, his life changes dramatically. Chap takes on Cassiel’s identity, gaining the family and friends he’s always dreamed of having. But becoming someone else isn’t as easy as he hoped—and Chap isn’t the only one hiding a secret. As he teeters on the brink of discovery and begins to unravel the mystery behind Cassiel’s disappearance, Chap realizes that he’s in much deeper danger than he could have imagined. After all, you can’t just steal a life and expect to get away with it. Award-winning author Jenny Valentine delivers an explosive mystery where dark secrets, betrayal, and loss pave the way for one teen’s chance at redemption.

Why I picked it up: If I’m not mistaken, this is actually a reprint not set to release until February 2012. So I still have a few months to go before I pick this one up for a review. Still sounded interesting though. I’m wondering, what in the world is going on that you can just step into someone’s life and no one notices. Perhaps it really is his life, and he just has amnesia. Hmmm. I guess time will tell. I picked this one up from the NetGalley.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

Once upon a time…the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with vengeance. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs…and time is running out.… Nicolai the Vampire was renowned for his virility, but in a twist of fate “The Dark Seducer” had become a sex slave in the kingdom of Delfina—stripped of his precious timepiece and his memory. All that remained was a primal need for freedom, revenge—and the only woman who could help him. In her dreams, a wanton vampire called to Jane Parker, drawing her to his dark sexuality and his magical realm. But for a human, all was not a fairy tale in Delfina. Jane was the key to Nicolai’s memory…but exploiting her meant dooming the only mortal he craved.

Why I picked it up: Gena Showalter — need I say more? I’m quite fond of her Lords of the Underworld series, though I’ve yet to pick up her latest in the series. I was rather disappointed with the happily ever after against all odds… even death, so I decided to give her a little break. But I couldn’t resist trying out her latest series. 🙂 Plus, it was a NetGalley release. I plan to get to this one real quick since I believe it’s already on the market and I picked it up rather late.

Available at: Barnes & Nobles and The Book Depository

All Joss wants is to be left alone—with Dylan. But as more Talents are imprisoned by the government, everyone’s looking for a leader. Some look to Joss, some to Marco whose new criminal plan threatens Joss’s family and friends. Joss wants to stand up to Marco, but Dylan’s protective instincts are putting him in harm’s way. Can Joss find a way to embrace both the boy and her hero within?

a longer version…

In the world of the Talents, kids with supernatural powers are condemned to government research facilities from which they do not return. For a Talent, the most important thing is keeping the secret…

–Six weeks ago, Dylan Maxwell slugged it out with his best friend. Over a girl.

But Marco had it coming. After all, it looked like he was going to use his supernatural strength to kill Joss Marshall. That should have been the end of it, but Marco’s got bigger plans for crime in Fairview than Dylan ever understood. This time he’s going after the town’s merchants with a crime wave that threatens Joss’s family’s business and all the Talents’ secrets.

–Six weeks ago, Joss Marshall was alone.

Now there’s Dylan. It’s not always comfortable being just friends with the guy she’s had a crush on forever. And the more she learns about the boy with the easy smile, who always seems to know what to say, the more she learns how much they have in common. He’s so much more than she understood, and so much more than she could stand to lose.

That was then, this is now.

And now, everything changes.

Why I picked it up: Last year I fell in love with the first book, Hush Money (see review here). When Susan Bischoff sent out an email asking folks if the wanted to review her latest work — the one I’ve been waiting like forever to read — of course I said yes! I have her prequel hiding somewhere on my Kindle. Perhaps I’ll do a quick read of that and do a double review. This copy was supplied by the author.

Available at: Available at: Barnes & Nobles, Smashwords, and The Book Depository

Nerina has lived all her life as a mermaid, fascinated by humans and land but also repulsed by sex and unable to understand love. Her curiosity gets her captured by a human male intent on awakening her lust and turning her human. But Nerina doesn’t believe the legend is real and fears Kyros will kill her when he learns she can’t transform.

This work is a novella of 21,500 words which will take the average reader 1 to 2 hours to read, depending on personal reading speed. The work is “meant” to be short.

For those unfammiliar with Kitty’s work, this story in many respects is more “tame” than some of her other work, but it is still erotica with a master/slave and kidnap element.

Fun Facts:

Nerina is a Greek name that literally means: “Sea Nymph”.

Kyros is also a Greek name. It means power that is legitimate but compassionate. Despos is generally the term used for power over a slave and Kyros was the term more used for power over a wife or someone for whom you care about their overall well-being.

Meropis is the island upon which the story takes place and it’s a mythical island that I did not create but is part of mythology and sometimes associated in some way with Atlantis. Anostos, the portion of the island that the story takes place on, is as mythology describes, covered in a red, cloudy haze.

Awakening is meant to be a mermaid fairy tale for adults.

Why I picked it up: Every work Kitty Thomas puts out is unique while still holding the sexual domination theme. I can’t help but be intrigued with each piece she puts out… apprehensive usually, but intrigued nonetheless. She definitely an author to follow. Review copy supplied by the author.

Available at: Smashwords, Barnes & Nobles, and The Book Depository

What’s in your mailbox? Pick up any new or upcoming releases?

Novel Review: Darkest Lie by Gena Showalter

Okay. I have to admit, I was not looking forward to Gideon’s story The Darkest Lie by Gena Showalter. I cannot tell you how bummed I was to see he’d be next, but I was willing to give him a try. The thing is, he was just lame in the past books. His comebacks… oh my gosh… I just couldn’t imagine a book full of lines like “You so do not suck.” haha At the same time, I’d hoped to learn more about Paris. So, I finally purchased the book. 🙂 The blurb from Ms. Showalter‘s website:

Forced to his knees in agony whenever he speaks the truth, Gideon can recognize any lie—until he captures Scarlet, a demon-possessed immortal who claims to be his long-lost wife.  He doesn’t remember the beautiful female, much less wedding — or bedding — her.  But he wants to . . . almost as much as he wants her.

But Scarlet is keeper of Nightmares, too dangerous to roam free, and a future with her means risking everything.  Especially as Gideon’s enemies draw closer . . . and the truth threatens to destroy all he’s come to love . . .

Unlike the last novel, The Darkest Passion (see review here), where the first six chapters dragged and gave me a feeling of deja vu, The Darkest Lie started quite well. Gideon was the first Lord I’ve seen who actually got along (somewhat) with his demon. It added an air of originality. And the voice for Gideon was also quite different from the other Lords. It was almost as if the YA novels Ms. Showalter’s been writing filtered into this one. Because he so like totally used the lingo, if you know what I mean? 🙂 Okay. I’ve dated myself to the 80s and haven’t a clue how kids talk today. Let’s move on. Later in the novel, I didn’t notice the kid talk so much. So maybe Ms. Showalter needed to make the transition into the adult world.

So opposite day with Gideon Lord. How did it go? Well, as I suspected, it got on my last nerve. And really, I didn’t think it had to be so bad. I swear 100 words could have been shaved off the book if Ms. Showalter had let me think for myself. But no, she insisted on interpreting EVERYTHING Gideon said. “I hate you.” Which in Gideon talk really meant I love you. “You, devil.” Devil as in Angel. Yes, the entire book was like that, I kid you not (I wish I could add a smiley face with the mouth drawn across in a straight line, but I don’t know how.)

And I hate to say it, but when Gideon told the truth it got on my nerves even more, cause it was pointless. Remember how he lost his hands in the first place? Come on… let’s not be stupid.

Scarlet was okay. Actually, she started out great. She’s the first female Lord who’s had a major role. Tough? Yep. Spunky? Double check. An unlike the other Lords, she really knew how to use her demon to be most effective. I love that she didn’t shy away from going all kickass. Unfortunately, she lost some of her backbone as the story possessed. I swear she turned into a totally different person. Not until the end did she become the Scarlet I grew to know and love from the beginning. Odd, I always thought the characters were suppose to experience growth, not decline then end up where they started. Go figure.

So I liked the beginning. Then we hit chapter 6. I don’t know what the deal is with chapter 6 and the switch to a secondary character POV, but it happened in the Darkest Passion also. Only this time, there were more switches to secondary characters than before. All I could think about was, “Please don’t do to the Lords of the Underworld what J.R. Ward did to the Black Dagger Brotherhood.” Oh my word did I hate the billion and seven story arcs in Lover Mine (see review here).

The other thing about the POV switches for the Darkest Lie was they were awkward. It’d go from a sensual scene to a blood and gore scene, then back to sensual again. My mind was like, WTF? After visualizing folks getting beaten to death with their own arms, I’m so not down with a tender caress. Not only that, but a lot of the secondary character scenes trumped the Gideon/Scarlet scenes. I found myself caring more about Strider and Amun than any of the horizontal tangos the hero/heroine had planned. Which is a shame, cause the couple really deserved their own book rather than share the glory with folks soon to have their own titles.

I guess my bottom line is that the book didn’t have to be 444 pages long. Cut the translations and the side character arcs, and I think the book would have been okay. Not the greatest, but certainly a lot better than it was.

Favorite Lines:

  • Look away before you get an erection, he told himself.
  • Good bye, testicles. We had a good run.
  • Foot massages every day, her enemies heads delivered to her doorsteps like the morning papers. (Does Gideon know his way to a woman’s heart, or what?)
  • Working together. Killing together. (anyone got the Yo Gabba Gabba song going? Teamwork! Teamwork!)

Okay. Something odd. Does anyone notice how much face scrubbing, running tongues over teeth, and fisting go on in the Lord of Underworld series? I don’t know. I noticed this a few novels ago, and maybe that’s why they stand out so much now. Paris did a lot of running his tongue over his teeth in the last novel. I figured it was just him. I bet those folks have a lot of raw faces, polished teeth, and cramped hands. 🙂

By the way, and I don’t think this is a spoiler, but Paris didn’t appear even once in this novel. Anyone remember what happened to him? I totally forgot what happened to him in the last novel.

Available at Barnes & Nobles || Amazon || The Book Depository || Kobo || iTunes

Presents Make Me Happy

Even if I have to buy them myself. 🙂 I received some awesome goodies in the mail over the past couple of weeks. Yeah…I’m a bit slow on the ball. Still, let me share with you.

I’ve wanted these novels for quite some time. So, I finally decided to fulfill my wants and buy them. 🙂 Mockingjay is first on my list to conquer. I’m about 250 pages into this novel. Like I said, this post is a little late. Expect a review on it this coming Monday.

Okay. Now this isn’t my normal read. HOWEVER!!! I’m positive my mother would love it. She’s captivated by spiritual journeys. I’ll pass this on to her this weekend. I hope she loves it, cause it’ll be my turn next. So how did I get this in my greedy little hands? I was lucky enough to win this from Cuzinlogic. Thanks, LaTonya!

I’m quite fond of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. I’ve read the complete series a couple of times. Very unusual for a gal like me. Normally I’ll read a book once, and go back in the series to skim for reminders. Anyway, I won this book at Luxury Reading. It even has a built in marker. Once I finish The Great Gatsby, this definitely will replace my bathroom reading. And yes! I read in the bathroom. 🙂 Thanks, Vera!

Novel Review: The Darkest Passion by Gena Showalter

When I first opened the Darkest Passion by Gena Showalter and got another glimpse of Paris, I have to admit…I wanted his story more than ever. I even hoped his story might be told in Aeron’s book. I didn’t even care if he got a complete story just as long as I knew his outcome. Yeah…silly and short sighted.

Then I got the inside track to Aeron’s mind and the effects his demon had on him. Oh my word! I had no idea Aeron suffered as he did with his demon. It made me reassess my feelings about Paris’ book. I’m holding out, because I want the whole story. I heart U, Paris!

Of course I’m getting a head of myself. The teaser from Showalter’s website:

For weeks, the immortal warrior Aeron has sensed an invisible female presence.  An angel–a demon-assassin–has been sent to kill him.  Or has she?  Olivia claims she fell from the heavens, giving up immortality because she couldn’t bear to harm him. But trusting – and falling for – Olivia will endanger them all. So how has this ‘mortal’ with the huge blue eyes already unleashed Aeron’s darkest passion?

Now, with an enemy hot on his trail and his faithful demon companion determined to remove Olivia from his life, Aeron is trapped between duty and consuming desire. Worse still, a new executioner has been sent to do the job Olivia wouldn’t…

This review starts out snarky, but I swear it tempers down and ends on a good note. 🙂 Maybe.

Olivia quickly annoyed me. She was prone to childish tantrums and sobbed so much I wanted to slap some backbone into her. One thing I can’t stand is groveling females. I couldn’t understand what the Deity saw in her that she’d grow gold in her wings. The girl needed to grow some balls is what she needed. She had me screaming at the book.”Act like a warrior angel, damn it!” Then there was the manipulating bitch thing. Yeah, her thoughts were sweet and innocent, but if I’d encountered her in real life, I wouldn’t trust her as far as I could throw her. Okay, let’s just say the girl rubbed me all wrong. Like Lysander, she acted naïve, but it came across to me as just plain dumb. So those were my first impressions of Olivia. I will say she grew some backbone in the end. Thank the Deity!

Aeron really stood out as nothing significant to me. As far as demon versus man, the style was very similar to the prior books. He spent time convincing himself that he couldn’t be with Olivia because his demon was bad. Of course his demon was crazy for Olivia and calmed by her, just like the other LOTU and their ladies. Really, it was nothing new under the sun. I had to remind myself that Aeron didn’t read the other LOTU novels, so he wouldn’t know the other Lords had gone through the exact same internal combats with their demons. Still, would be nice to see something new.

And the wild card—Legion. I absolutely loved the little demon—well not absolutely. But I liked her a lot. Even when she was getting on my nerves, she had an entertaining quality about her. I definitely hope to see more of her in the future. In fact, I have some speculations about her and her own Happily Ever After (HEA). She’s definitely my presshusss.

One thing I didn’t understand was the concept of love in Heaven. Everyone loved everyone in Heaven, so Olivia said. Yet, most seemed lacking in compassion and cold—heartless beings. Sure they forgave on a dime, but without emotion. It’s easy to forgive when you don’t care. That’s not love.

What’s the best way to lose Reena as a reader? Simple. Give me a side plot not told from the POV of a main character.

The book totally grabbed my attention at the end of chapter 6. I was stoked! In my excitemen,t I looked to the next page and what did I find? The dreaded secondary character POV. Mentally I groaned. I flipped ahead to find out how long I had to wait to hit chapter 8 and hopefully get back into the action–nearly 20 pages! I tell you the truth. I put the book down and went to bed. I woke up, read chapter 7 (which was actually quite interesting, btw), and was back in the story. The book really only continued to get better.

Now this is the twisted me coming out. 🙂 Many people read romances because they’re guaranteed a HEA. And really, that’s what I hate about romances sometimes—the impossible HEA against all odds. Olivia and Aeron got their HEA, but I didn’t like it. Keep in mind, I often cheer for the not so HEA. I so hoped for an imperfect solution. You romance lovers get what you want though, and I suppose that’s what matters. GRRRR!

So, I had complaints. Yeah, but character interactions and twists kept my nose in the book (particularly after chapter 6). The story was action packed and full of revelations. If you’re following the LOTU, this is definitely not a book you want to skip.

Now a few things that had me wondering.

  • Why do people continue to bring Kane along on the mission? The Keeper of Disaster. Really? Is that a good idea?
  • What’s Cameo’s story? Poor girl gets no respect.
  • What was with all the face scrubbing? I bet there were a lot of red faces in that fortress.

Often I have favorite quotes. Today I present the darkest moments. 🙂

  • Darkest Not-so-helpful Pledge: “I heard an angel had fallen, but I didn’t know it wasss her. I could have helped them hurt her! But I can fix that. I can snatch my home from her now. I can kill her.”
  • Darkest Nickname: Stridy Monster
  • Darkest Insult: “Yes, you are indeed ugly. Actually, saying you’re ugly is being kind. I can hardly stand to look at you. In fact, to settle my stomach I’m going to have to stare just over your shoulder while we finish this conversation.”
  • Darkest Threat: “If you touch him, I’ll eat your eyes in front of you and you’ll have to watch, unable to stop me!”

Keepers of Lies is next, and honestly, I was dreading it. Listening to Gideon say the opposite of what he means totally gets on my nerves. Even his comebacks suck. Then I realized Gideon knew how lame he really was. Yeah…I want to see what’s up with him.

BTW, I’m still holding out for Paris’ story. Oh! And Ms. Showalter, send us Galen’s story!!!! Even bad guys need a HEA.

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