December 30, 2012

Stephanie Laurens Upcoming Releases!

And Then She Fell
Cynster Sisters Duo (Book 1)
Stephanie Laurens
Avon Books, Mass Market Paperback, 384 p.
ISBN: 978-0-06-206864-4
Due for release on 26 March 2013
The only thing more troublesome than a Cynster a Cynster lady who belives love is not her destiny. Famously known in London society as "The Matchbreaker," Henrietta Cynster's uncanny skill lies in preventing ill-fated nuptials - not in falling victim to Cupid's spell.
But then she distrupts one match too many and feels honor-bound to assist dashing James Glossup in finding a suitable bride for a marriage of convenience.
A task infernally complicated by the undeniable, unquenchable attraction that flares between James and Henrietta, who continues to believe she will never fall...
Finally, here it is. The first book in the Cynster Sisters Duo, and number 19 in the Cynster family series is the aptly named And Then She Fell.   Continuing on eight years after the last Cynster Sisters Trilogy book, The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae, we now find ourselves following Henrietta Cynster as she reluctantly finds her hero.
If you want to read the books in order, so you have some idea of who's who in the Cynster-verse, I'd get started now!  Start with Devil's Bride (or even The Promise of a Kiss if you want to start at the very beginning).  As the stories seems to inter-connect, I'd also recommend reading all the Bastion Club books.  However, if that's a little too much, just read Simon Cynster's story, The Perfect Lover, as ATSF continues about 2 years after this - and it's where we first meet James Glossup.
Oh, and for those of you who can't quite remember where Henrietta and Mary (recipient of the second Cynster Sisters Duo book) fit in on the Cynster family tree... they are the youngest sisters of Simon and the twins, Amanda and Amelia.
... quickly before I go, I just found out that Mary Cynster's story will be called The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh, and will be available on the 30 July, 2013!

December 29, 2012

The year that was 2012

Well my dears, Christmas has been and gone and as we come to the close of 2012 I find myself reflecting on the year that was.
So many of my favourite books have come from this year, and I even found a new author - or three - that I will follow in the future.  This year I time travelled my way through Shadow of Night with Diana and Matthew as they rubbed shoulders with Marlowe other Elizabethan celebrities, and mentally helped kick ass with Eve Dallas as she chased a madman with delusions of grandeur around NY.  Got caught up in a battle with Gods and Goddess' as I followed Atticus O'Sullivan, and flew with Jason and Princess Mahiya as they swept across the desert sands of India on angelic wings.  I eagerly awaited the hatching of Kaylin Neya's mysterious egg, and laughed at Stephanie Plum as she got into yet more trouble ... "but it wasn't my fault!".
So here's to the year that was, and the bright and shiny year that could be.  May all your books be fabulous in 2013!

Happy New Year to you all.

December 25, 2012

Christmas Greetings

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas full of magical moments, love and laughter.

November 23, 2012

Notorious Nineteen and Wicked Business

Finally!  I just got my hands on the new releases from Janet Evanovich.  So this weekend I will be snuggled up on the couch, catching up with Stephanie Plum and Diesel.  I just hope Stephanie has made a decision when it comes to who is the main honey in her life :-D

November 11, 2012

Remembrance Day, 2012

In Flanders fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae (1872–1918)

Thank you.

November 9, 2012

Returning to Middle-Earth

Made a quick dash to the shops this morning and happened to come across new companion books for The Hobbit.  I just couldn't resist returning to Middle-Earth for a few hours.  So I bought a copy (Gandalf does look good) and settled in on the couch with a hot cup of tea - and some Tim Tams - to happily reacquaint myself with some long lost friends.
Can't wait to see the movies.  Finally looked up the trailers which I had been avoiding (who wants to spend 6 months plus waiting on tenderhooks for the release date!), and am getting jazzed about it.  Was overjoyed when I realised that there will now be three movies.... yippeee!
I have already set aside Boxing Day to see The Hobbit at the cinema.  Since I saw each of the LOTR movies on opening day, I see no reason why I should break with tradition ;-D

November 6, 2012

Return to Rebel Ridge

Don't Cry For Me
Rebel Ridge #2
Sharon Sala
Released: September 18, 2012
Mass Market Paperback, Harlequin MIRA, 400 p.
ISBN: 9780778313427
Mariah Conrad has come home. Badly wounded on active duty in Afghanistan and finally released stateside, she has no family to call on and nowhere to go—until Quinn Walker arrives at her bedside. Quinn…her brother-in-arms, ex-lover and now maybe her future.
Quinn brings Mariah to his log cabin in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky to rest and recuperate both physically and emotionally. While she's incredibly grateful, Mariah is also confused and frustrated. She's always stood on her own two feet, but now even that can literally be torture. She's having flashbacks and blackouts, hearing helicopter noises in the night. She wants to push Quinn away—and hold him closer than ever.
But will she get the chance? Those helicopters are more than just post-traumatic stress; they're real—and dangerous. Bad things are happening on the mountain. Suddenly there's a battle to be fought on the home front, and no guarantee of survival.

Having read the first book in the series, Next of Kin, I was looking forward to getting my hands on Don't Cry for Me... and I wasn't disappointed.  Quinn Walker was a character that caught my interest in NoK, and even before Ms. Sala announced a second book, I was hoping that Quinn would get his own story.
As a former soldier, Quinn lives a quiet life on Rebel Ridge.  Content to roam the countryside as a forest ranger, he deals with the fall out of his time spent in Afghanistan.  Though still plagued with nightmares, Quinn does not hesitate to offer a place to stay to Mariah, one time lover, who herself is now state side and recovering from wounds she received during battle.
Suffering from lingering injuries as well as PTSD, it takes Mariah a while to settle in with Quinn, they man she loved, who she saved, and who left her without a word.  An independent woman, Mariah has trouble dealing with Quinn and his loud and affectionate family in the beginning.  An orphan, she has no idea how to relate to others in a family situation.  However, with the support of Quinn, and his mother, Dolly, and a scrawny red boned hound pup, Mariah slowly comes out of her shell.
But when trouble comes to Rebel Ridge - as it always does - it's Quinn who is in the firing line.  With no one to turn to Mariah has to overcome her injuries - and defy the odds - if she wants to bring her man back home again...
I loved Quinn and Mariah's relationship.  The building of a life together on a bond forged during war, the friendship and respect that the have for each other is refreshing to see in a contemporary romance.  This book, series, is a homage to family, friendship, loyalty and love.  A great read, and I would highly recommend to anyone who loves not only Sharon Sala, but the joys of a good book.

ARC Review: Kept

A Coveted Novel Bk 2
Shawntelle Madison

RELEASE DATE: 27 November 2012
Mass Market Paperback, Ballantine Books, 320p.
ISBN-13: 978-0345529176

A funny and sexy new paranormal romance, perfect for fans of Charlaine Harris and Patricia Briggs, Kept features the charmingly quirky werewolf, Natalya Stravinsky, as she navigates the minefields of love and war in the Garden State.
Fresh from defending her pack in battle, Natalya Stravinsky, a whip-smart werewolf with a lovable neurotic streak, wants a little rest and relaxation. Once an outcast, she's now eager to rejoin the ranks of her New Jersey pack, and has even gotten a handle on her obsessive urge to hoard holiday ornaments. Yet Nat barely has time to revel in her progress before the next crisis comes howling at her door.
Nat's father has suddenly gone missing, captured by the Russian werewolf mafia. And as Nat steps up to save her dad from a mob boss's deadly game, two men step in to play another round for her heart: her gorgeous alpha ex-boyfriend, Thorn, and her new flame, the sweetly sensitive wizard Nick. With her life growing more harried by the minute, Nat must stay cool, calm, and collected . . . or else risk losing everything.  

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Okay, I just want to make it clear that I am reviewing this title from an uncorrected ebook people.  So somethings I mention may have be slightly altered by the time you read it :-P


Yeah, my first ARC!  I was so excited to read Kept that I dumped all my other stuff, and jumped right in.  Then I had to wait until I could post this review.

Natalya is an anal werewolf germaphobe who can't seem to keep out of trouble!  Oh, she never goes looking for it, but trouble seems to find her anyway.  When her father goes missing while repaying a debt, somehow she gets tapped to find him.  So, with a rag-tag bunch of fellow therapy patients as back-up, Natalya goes hunting.
This is a quick paced, high energy book and it will have you rooting for Natalya as she not only searches for her father, but also has to deal with a hunky ex-slash-pack alpha from her past - and now engaged to another woman - and a truly nasty great aunt... all while trying to get re-admitted into the pack.  This truly qualifies as a bad week in my book!
Her friends are using every trick in the book to help Nat find, and free, her father.  However, it is Nat herself that must assume the debt, and undertake the burden of completing her father's task if she is to have any chance of bringing him home to his beloved wife and family - and with his wife due to go into labour any day, even her brother can't help her.
With Nat growing ever closer to Nick, wizard extraordinaire and fellow therapy goer, her feelings for Thorn (the ex) are still so obvious that a scent-blind wolf could pick up on them.  The tension between this threesome is so powerful, that I wondered when the other shoe would drop... and then it did.  Add to the mix a rather possessive and vindictive fiance and you've got a potential powder keg .  Erica.  Said fiance, and major bitch, is another nasty piece of work in Natalya's life that she has to deal with.  Good ol' Erica isn't above rubbing Natalya's nose in the fact that she's with Thorn now.  It's deliciously nasty, but so addictive to read.  You just want to punch Erica in her perfect face.
Will Nat stay with Nick, the new guy on the scene?  Or will Thorn's continuing presence in her life get in the way?
With the underlying themes of family and loyalty to those you love running through the book, Shawntelle Madison has created characters that are a joy to read. I got invested in Natalya, and totally tuned out the rest of the world while I devoured this book.
I won't give away any more of the storyline.  Just do yourselves a favour and find a copy - you won't regret it.
A great second book in a new series. 

A big THANK YOU to Shawntelle Madison for posting me some odds and ends  regarding promotional bookmarks and other extras. They are so beautiful.  I was surprised to see that there are trading cards that can be collected for this series too!

November 3, 2012

Woo hoo, I passed!

Just got my assignments back.  I passed with flying colours.  Now I just have to wait for the official documents.

No more studying... yeah!

October 12, 2012

Small Shen release date

Wow.  Just found the release information for Kylie Chan's graphic novel Small Shen

Small Shen
Kylie Chan

Release Date: 01 December, 2012 (AUS)
Harper Voyager
ISBN: 9780732289836

SMALL SHEN is the amazing story of Gold -- a stone spirit and a chronic troublemaker in the court of the great Gods of Chinese mythology. A mix of Kylie Chan′s brilliant storytelling and Queenie Chan′s beautiful illustrations, SMALL SHEN is a fantastic treat for fans of WHITE TIGER. Readers will be thrilled to discover the events leading up to John Chen and Emma Donahoe′s story in this wonderful prequel. Shown through Queenie Chan′s stunning illustrations and comics, the story follows the stone spirit Gold′s entertaining adventures throughout history. His escapades include seducing a dragon princess, attempting to steal one of the Tiger′s wives, making bets with demons, and working for the Blue Dragon of the East. Eventually, as a result of his crimes against Heaven and his constant philandering, Gold is ordered to join the household of Xuan Wu, the Dark Lord of the Northern Heavens. Xuan Wu is also known as John Chen, a Hong Kong businessman. The story then follows Gold and Jade -- the dragon princess - in contemporary Hong Kong. The two small shen must help guard John Chen′s beloved human wife and baby daughter from demon attack. John Chen is vulnerable to attack while living on Earth, but his family are in the most danger of all... SMALL SHEN is a unique piece of work for fans of Kylie Chan to treasure, but also a fantastic introduction to this gripping series.

Book Depository has the item listed as 'currently unavailable' so I don't like your chances of getting through them.

Instead, try Australian booksellers.


October 9, 2012

Review: The Lost Night (...late, but not forgotten)

The Lost Night
Ghost Hunter
Jayne Castle

Released: 01 September, 2012

Berkley (JOVE), Mass Market Paperback, 332 p.
ISBN: 978-0-515-15284-5

Even the mysterious world of Harmony has people who don't quite fit in.  They're drawn to places like Rainshadow Island, a beautiful sanctuary where anyone can feel safe - and where secrets are closely guarded...

Schooled in an exotic form of martial arts, and with the ability to detect the auras of dangerous psychic criminals, Rachel Blake and her dust bunny companion have found peace and quiet on Rainshadow Island, operating a bookstore and cafe.

But her tranquil new life in thrown into chaos when Harry Sebastian, the descendant of a notorious pirate, arrives to investigate strange developments in the privately owned woods known as the Preserve.

Immediately drawn to the amber-eyed woman, Harry tread carefully.  While Rachel's special talents can help him track down dangerous rogues who have voilated the Preserve, they can also sense the heart of darkness within him.  But desire can weaken the toughest of defences - and leave even the strongest man wanting more...

Okay, The Lost Night is another Arcane Society/Ghost Hunter books set on the world of Harmony.  Since the introduction of the Rainshadow angle in Canyon of Night, it seems that we'll be staying on Rainshadow Island for the next few books.

This is the first book of yet another trilogy - what is it with Krentz and all these cross-series trilogies? - and this time we are in search of the three missing stone from the dark and dangerous Preserve that covers part of Rainshadow Island.   I hope this means that the next 2 books will take place on Harmony because I'm getting sick of having a trilogy spread out amongst the Krentz's other series. I wasn't impressed that I had to get not only the Arcane Society book (which I don't mind because I collect them anyway), but book 2 was set in the Victorian era in the Amanda Quick series. I don't collect the Amanda Quick books!  However, I digress.  In all I did like the storyline, and who can resist those darn cute dustbunnies?  This incarnation, Darwina, is such a little scenestealer... but then they all are, aren't they!

I did find Harry Sebastian - our dark and dangerous hero - a slightly blank character to me. His responses are similar to every scenario, and I just didn't find him as engaging as Slade Attridge.  Rachel was fiesty and independent like all the other ladies we've encountered on Harmony.  My only real problem came with the characters of Marcus Lattimer and Nathan Grant.  They seem to spring out of nowhere with agendas, and have no real interaction with Rachel or Harry.  While reading the book their non-existant storylines bothered me.

Harmony is a great way to escape for a few hours, and I can't wait for the next installment of the series (and trilogy).  I'd rate it as 4 out of 5 dustbunnies.

September 14, 2012

Review - Delusion in Death

Delusion in Death
In Death Bk 35
J.D. Robb

Published: 13 September, 2012
PIATKUS, Paperback Trade, 388 p.
ISBN: 978-0-749-95512-0

Available at all good book stores.

'What would cause someone to want so many people, surely many of them strangers, to slaughter each other?'

The scene that greets Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her team one terrible evening in New York is more shocking than any of them have ever witnessed. The usually comfortable downtown bar is strewn with bodies - office workers who have been sliced, bludgeoned or hacked to death with the nearest weapon available. It appears they all turned on each other in a desperate blinding rage.

As Eve and her husband Roarke - who owned the bar among his many properties - investigate the big- business workers of the city, they link the attacks back to the Urban Wars and the chemical warfare used all those years ago. With another slaughter imminent, Eve must turn to unexpected sources in order to stop a killer who is getting revenge by creating mass carnage...

Delusion in Death was certainly worth the wait.  There are only a handful of these books that don't rate 4 plus stars from me, but this isn't one of them.  Set very soon after Celebrity (and only weeks after Eve's confrontation with McQueen and Stella), Eve is thrust back into the headlines with the mass murder of 83 bar goers.
A lot of our favourites make an appearance in Delusion.  Dr. Mira and Summerset are always on hand, with Peabody of course working side by side with Eve.  Strangely though, Mavis only has a quick scene, and most of the other cops only rate a mention now and then - even Feeney and McNab seem to revolve around Eve's peripheral view as she races to find a killer and prevent more murders.
Be warned - this book has the highest body count to date (127) but apart from a few instances we are spared a lot of the gruesome blow-by-blow details that have come up in some of the previous books.  Having said that, the descriptions that are included can be quite graphic, so if you're really squeamish you might have to skim a few sentences.  This is a back to basics book.  It's about the crimes and the murdered people that Eve takes under her wing.  While there are some funny moments, this is a police procedural at heart.  So if you're expecting to go through the emotional wringer with Eve and Roarke again, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but Robb has concentrated on the murders this time.

My only criticism, and it's a small one, is the adding of new(ish) character very late in the piece - you know who I mean if you've read Delusion.  They were only mentioned in passing a few times in the book, then BAM! new character out of the blue.  Thankfully it works, but it wasn't what I expected that's for sure.
For those of you who haven't picked up Delusion yet, I would highly recommend you get your butts down to your local library or bookshop. For you newbies, start with Naked in Death (Book 1) and read them in order. This is important as the world of Eve can get a bit complicated, and with references from previous books being regularly thrown around you'll get lost if you haven't read them.
So, in all I enjoyed Delusion in Death.  I devoured it in no time (about 4 hours) and while it wasn't as funny as Celebrity in Death, it was a great addition to the series.  Robb will have to come up with something big to top the last few books.  Alas, I keep waiting for Eve to get pregnant, but I suspect that will only happen in the final book :-P

Be sure to pre-order your copy of Calculated in Death - due 26 February, 2013.

A Werewolf Weekend

Even though I was supposed to be studying, I couldn't resist reading the three werewolf books that arrived in the post late last week.  I would have posted the reviews earlier in the week, however a quick visit to family left me in a wireless (and mobile phone) blackspot.  But now I'm back and unpacked, so without further delay, here are my fav furry reads for the month.

A Werewolf in Manhattan
A Wild About You Novel Bk 1
Vicki Lewis Thompson

Published: 04 January, 2011
Signet Eclipse, Mass Market Paperback, 324 p.
ISBN: 987-0-451-23247-2

Emma Gavin writes bestselling novles about werewolves, but that doesn't mean she believes in them - and she certainly doesn't think she'll ever meet one.  But that's exactly what happens when her books catch the attention of a rich and powerful pack of Manhattan Weres, who have kept their extistence hidden for centuries.  Alarmed by the accuracy of her novels, they're determined to findout if a renegage is acting as her informant.

Aidan Wallace, the pack leader's son and heir, knows he's the wolf for the job, but when he gets close to Emma, they rea both surprised by an attraction too strong to deny.  To surrender to it, Aidan will have to risk everything - including the security of the pack he's sworn to protect ...

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this book.  Like most of you, I love a good werewolf romance, but I'm finding it harder to locate books that offer something new.  A Werewolf in Manhattan did.  I found the idea that an author could accidentally spill pack secrets - and be under pack surveillence - rather interesting.  Especially when the wolf heading the investigation becomes emotionally involved with the naive, and innocent, author.

Much in the same style as her Nerds series, it's a fast paced story that keeps your interest till the end.  A definite must have if you love MaryJanice Davidson or Dakota Cassidy's books.


Werewolf in the North Wood
A Wild About You Novel Bk 2
Vicki Lewis Thompson

Published: 04 October, 2011
Signet Eclipse, Mass Market Paperback, 320 p.
ISBN: 978-0-451-23498-8


When she used to walk around her grandfather's property outside Portland, Abby Winchell loved the idea that Bigfoot was somewhere out there too.  Now her grandfather swears he's seen two creatures that fit the legendary description - and he has the evidence.  Sort of.  Grandpa Earl may be a bit dotty, but when his neighbors invite a renowned anthropologist to disprove his theory, Abby decides to send the man packing ... until she sees how hot he is.
Anthropology professor Roarke Wallace can't risk news being made of a Bigfoot sighting in the north woods - not with a local pack of werewolves to protect.  Disproving the evidence should be easy, but ignoring Abby is not.  Her fiery red hair makes him want to sit up and beg, and his obvious attraction is making the pack suspicious ...


From werewolves to Sasquatch?  This was a little bit of stretch even for me.  However, when I put aside the hunt for the Sasquatches - what is the plural of Sasquatch anyway? - and concentrate on the romance between Abby and Roarke, I found it to be your average paranormal romance. 

In the first book, you get more of a sense of a relationship between Aidan and Emma, as he'd been watching her for months.  However, I find the whole concept of instant bonding more than a bit tedious now.  As a story device it's been used and abused as a way to throw two characters together without trying to put the effort.  Can't quite make your heroine fall for your hero?  Hey, she gets bitten and now it's love at first bite - or 'first sniff' according to the cover.

Werewolf in the North Woods is a decent book to have when you need to take something with you on the bus, but I found that my attention wandered throughout.  Perhaps the next book in the series will pick up the slack?


The Accidental Werewolf
Dakota Cassidy

Published: 01 November, 2011 (reprint)
Berkley Sensation, Mass Market Paperback, 321 p.
ISBN: 987-0-425-24271-1

Marty Andrews is having a bad week.  First, she's bitten by a mangy mutt while walking her teacup poodle.  As a result, her salon-perfect blonde hair begins to darkening by the day to something that's sooo not in her color wheel.  Her mood swings have turned her into The Hormonal Hulk.  Worse yet, the hair on her legs is growing at a rate evan a body slam into an entire vat of wax couldn't cure.  Last, and most important, her dream job as a sales rep for Bobbie-Sue Cosmetics is going to hell in a handbasket...
The only high point is Keegan Flaherty, the drool-worth man who shows up at her door.  Of course, he's clearly insane.  Keegan claims that he accidentally bit Marty, and since he's a werewolf, she is now, too.  Red meat cravings aside, Marty refuses to believe a word until a kidnapping makes her realize there's more at stake than her highlights.  And she must put her out-of-control life in the hands of the man who makes her blood run wild in more ways than one...

I first picked this book up, years ago, at my local library - and I'm so glad I did.

Usually an author has their character being nearly mauled to death, then having to come to terms with their new 'condition'.  It is done in the most traumatic and emotionally draining fashion, but  Dakota Cassidy has made becoming a werewolf a fun lesson in how it could really put a crimp in a gal's life.  I got the giggles when I read about the constantly regrowing leg hair, and the trauma of Marty having to deal with the regrowth from hell. 

Every other book I've read with werewolves, they turn furry at the drop of a hat.  No problems.  But not our girl, Marty.  Her stubby little tail problem made me laugh even as I cringed in sympathy.

This is a great take on the classic werewolf tail (sorry Marty, couldn't resist :-P ).  If you like your paranormal romance books with an edge of sarcastic humor and wet-yourself-laughing moments, then Dakota Cassidy's books are for you.  Will definitely be buying the rest of the books in the series :-P


Stephanie Laurens
To be released September 25, 2012
Avon Books, Mass Market Paperback, 496 p.
(also in ebook and Large Type formats)
ISBN: 978-0-06-206863-7

Neville Roscoe, notorious and enigmatic, lives resolutely outside society, bound only by his own code of honor - until challenged by his desire for the one woman he cannot have.
Miranda Clifford is a lady imprisoned by rigid respectability - until tempted by a passion beyond her power to deny.
Flung together in peril, through danger and intrigue, they discover a love impossible to ignore ... or keep.

Can't wait to get my hands on a copy.  I have been following Stephanie Laurens Bastion Club and Bar Cynster's for nearly 10 years now, and although I enjoy the period, I don't read regency romances, except for these.  I have already pre-ordered my copy.

September 6, 2012

So much work!

Hi all,
Sorry I've not posted any reviews for a few days, but it's crunch time as my final assessments are due in two weeks { :-0  OMG! }
Until then, I'll post what I can.  Finger's crossed and all that.  Wish me luck - I think I'll need it (I really dislike cataloguing!).

September 4, 2012

Classic Read: Divine By Mistake

Divine By Mistake
Parthalon Bk 1
P.C. Cast

Published: September 2006
(Originally published as Goddess by Mistake, 2001)
LUNA, Mass Market Paperback, 698 p.
ISBN: 978-0-373-80247-0
The most excitement teacher Shannon Parker expected on her summer vacation was a little shopping.  But then her latest purchase - a viase with the Celtic goddess Epona on it - somehow switches her into the world of Parthalon, where she's treated like a goddess.  A very temperamental goddess...

It seems that Shannon has stepped into another's role as the Goddess Incarnate of Epona.  And while it has some very appealing moments - what woman doesn't like a little pampering now and then? - it also comes with a ritual marriage to a centaur and the threat of war against the evil Fomorians.  Oh, and everyone disliking her because they think she's her double.

Somehow Shannon needs to figure out how to get back to Oklahoma without being killed, married to a horse or loosing her mind...

All hail Epona!  In the 6 years since I discovered Parthalon, this is still my favourite of all the books in the series.  Originally published as Goddess by Mistake in 2001, then undergoing a name change and reissue in 2006, Divine by Mistake is one of the best books in the fantasy romance genre that I have ever read.

Though the book clocks in at nearly 700 pages, there is just something so enticing about it that you don't notice how thick the book is while you're devouring it.  Shannon Parker is just your average woman, nothing magical about her, no special talents or powers.  It is only her resemblence to the Goddess' Chosen on Parthalon that gets her dragged into this mess.

I found Casts portrayal of Parker to be so witty.  The smart remarks that fall from her lips (or thought in her head) are some of the best quips I've heard.

That's it.  He was probably the mirror image of an Oklahoma bubba.  I could see it now, he would want to call me his sweet thang and slap me on the butt.
And her confusion with the similarities to her world, and her friends dopplegangers, is fun to read.  Her close relationship with Alanna is sweet, and I loved the relationship between Shannon and ClanFintan as it's not often that an author crosses the species barrier quite so thoroughly.  Seriously, a Centaur!  That's a little weirder than a vampire or werewolf, isn't it?  But Cast does it so well that you don't even question the pairing.

The use of mythology in this book is great.  I'm a bit of a mythology nerd, and the way Cast uses the Celtic myths and legends to bring Parthalon to life is wonderful.  Fomorian's, false gods, nasty Goddess Incarnate and a Celtic Goddess.  What more could a girl ask for?

Although this book is the start of a trilogy (with 3 further titles published later), I find that this is the book I return to time and time again.  A great addition to any paranormal romance readers library.  I just wish we could have had more time with Shannon and ClanFintan.  Just don't try and read it at work, you just don't get any done - I certainly didn't ;-D

September 1, 2012

ARC Review: The Reluctant Amazon

Order your copy
The Reluctant Amazon
Alliance of the Amazons Bk 1
Sandy James
Release date: 03 September, 2012

Carina Press, eBook edition
eISBN: 9781426894305 (File size: 366KB)

The last thing Rebecca Massee expects on her wedding day is to go from jilted kindergarten teacher to Amazonian Earth warrior.  But when she causes an earthquake after her groom says I don't, she discovers that not only does she possess incredible powers, she is one of four lost chosen sisters who must fight to keep humanity safe from rogue gods and demons.  Luckily she has help: ruggedly handsome Scottish warrior Artair MacKay, her protector and teacher.

An immortal, Artair has trained countless warriors for more than four hundred years.  He understands Rebecca's confusion at the new world she's been thrust into and worries she is too emotionally vulnerable, but that doesn't stop his growing feelings for the beautiful and fearless woman.

When an evil force threatens to destroy the Amazons, Rebecca must claim her full powers - but they come at a cost.  Can she sacrifice the man she loves if it means saving the world?

I wasn't sure what I would find when I read this ARC, but all I can say is WOW!  Jilted at the alter, her temper - and a conveniently timed earthquake - are the straw that breaks the brides bouquette.  Punching her ex-fiance right in the nose, she storms out and into the arms of a stranger.  Oh boy, Rebecca's is in for an emotional rollercoaster ride. 
As a terminal paranormal romance junkie, the world that Sandy James has created for her Amazons totally sucked me in.  I forgot my worries, my cup of tea went cold, and I left reality behind as I followed Rebecca and Artair.  Forbidden romances are always so much fun, and watching these two deal with everything their world threw at them, with Goddesses at every turn - and bitchy ones at that - will Artair and Rebecca have a happy ending, or will a Goddess break them apart?

Unlike a lot of books, there are only a few central characters.  One of the most memorable is Sparks.  A real hot-head, she has a smart mouth as well as a nifty fire power.  With her sisters lost, and the next generation coming in for training, Sparks is desperate to find her sisters.  Will she trust in Rebecca and Megan?  What lengths will she go to to find them?

In the middle of Sparks struggle, and surrounded by fast and lethal women, Rebecca seems to be having a hard time fitting in.  The odd man out, she's not as quick, strong or athletic as the others (and if you listen to the goddess Rhiannon she's useless), but there is something so loving and giving about her that you can't help but root for her as she struggles to stay in Avalon.

Now Artair on the other hand is the hunky Celt.  Centuries young and gorgeous, as good heroes always are, the Sentinel and trainer for the Amazons has the task of training generation after generation of these powerful women.  That is until he finds his long forgotten heart being reawakened by this fragile Earth.  He swings between being a sweety, and a total hard arse - especially towards Rebecca.  There were times when I wanted to kick him in the butt, but the fact that I felt that way means that Ms. James has done her job well I think.
Two of my favourite characters were the changelings that seem to fulfill the Amazon's ever need in Avalon... Hey!, minds out of the gutter please ;-D.  Dolan and Beagan seem to have a soft spot for Rebecca.  Usually hidden from the other women, they often appear as cute little bunnies.  They grabbed me not because they are witty and sarcastic, but they were just sweet (plus I had a rabbit as a child).
It is not often that I come across a book that ticks all the boxes for me.  The Reluctant Amazon is one of those books.  There is romance, comedy, love and loss.  All the elements in seemingly perfect harmony.  Sandy James has created such memorable characters that I will definitely be buying the following books in the series.  And yes, I admit it. This book made me reach for the tissues at times, but I wouldn't have passed the opportunity to read this book for anything.
Oh, and by the way.  I never did get to finish my cuppa.

Review: Gunmetal Magic

Gunmetal Magic
Kate Daniels Bk 6
Ilona Andrews

Published: 31 July, 2012
ACE Fantasy, Mass Market Paperback, 434 p.
(inc. 105 pages for Magic Gifts novella)
ISBN: 978-0-425-25613-8

Some people have everything figured out—Andrea Nash is not one of those people.  After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is to try to put herself back together, something made easier by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend Kate Daniels.
When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano—the male alpha of the Clan Bouda and Andrea’s former lover—die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate…and must work with Raphael. As Andrea’s search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, she knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a back seat to saving the world...
After waiting a whole year for the next Kate Daniel's book, I was not sure how I would feel about someone other than Kate getting a book.  I hummed and harred about it, but in the end I couldn't resist.  Of all the characters we've met in the Katieverse, Andrea has been the most important person to Kate behind Curran.  With her earlier mysterious, and unexplained, disappearance Ilona Andrews has obviously decided it was time we finally found out what happened to Andrea after the events of Magic Bleeds, and what that meant to her relationship with the pack's peacock, Raphael.
Before I say anything else, I just have to say that in this book Raphael is a jacka$$.  There.  I've said it - it's now out there.  Because, even though, I love the pair of them, it made me so frustrated that Andrea had anything to do with him.  We all know that Andrea doesn't take any of Raphael's shit like Aunt B does, but after his behaviour (and his reasons for it) I just wanted to strangle him for his treatment of Andrea in this book.
In Gunmetal Magic we find a different Andrea.  Traumatised by what has happened in her personal and professional life, she's obviously decided enough is enough.  Andrea is finally coming into her own {yeah!} and has come a long way from the Knight that was hiding from herself and others in the early books.  Now, thanks to the events in Magic Bleeds and Magic Slays, we find a woman who has also become a harder version of Andrea that we knew and loved.  In a way I find it a bit sad, that she's had to embrace the truth that Kate and Curran live with, but the new Andrea is much more exciting to follow.

I loved this book.  There were new Gods, and creatures, kick a$$ fights, and all the usual stuff.  However, the only disappointing element I found in this book was how quickly Andrea forgave Raphael.  The fact that he not only hurt her and ripped her heart out - just to get back at her like the child he can be - but, it just happened so quickly.  She cried over him for crying out loud!  For that he should have been gotten on his knees and begged for forgiveness!  Especially after bringing another woman into her territory!  {Aunt B should have chewed him out for that}.  But no, once he'd confessed his sins, it went back to the same mating rituals, flirting, shagging and arguing, etc., as before.  So annoying.

Apart from her relationship with Raphael, Andrea also has to face some reminders of her own painful childhood. {**talk about being kicked while you're down**}  Her behaviour and reactions over the series becomes clear after reading what happened to her.  Most of the stuff you already have an idea of, but you get more details this time round.  To add insult to injury, she runs into someone from her past and has to make a decision about whether or not to take revenge.  As if Andrea doesn't have enough on her plate already!

Seriously, this is a great book.  Andrea and Raphael are a great, if twisted, couple that you can't help but love.  Aunt B makes an appearance with an offer out of the blue, and we see more of Kate's freaky Russian cousin.  I also got my Kate/Curran fix as they show up a couple of times throughout the book - which makes it even better IMO.  A great addition to the bookshelf, especially if you already have all the Kate Daniels series. 

Review: Always the Vampire

Always the Vampire
Francesca, Vampire Princess Bk 3
Nancy Haddock

Published: 21 July, 2011
Berkley, Paperback, 342 p.
ISBN: 978-0-425-24088-5

Francesca Marinelli must act now ... or forever hold her peace.

It might seem like I'm slacking on my duties as a vampire princess, but you can bet your fangs that I'm going to be the best maid of honor ever for Maggie's Victorian wedding.  I want everything to be perfect, even if I have to wear a bustle.  But when my mostly human honey, Saber, falls ill due to a magical construct called the Void, I know I'll have to go beyond the call of bridesmaid duty...

The Void is affecting every supernatural being in my afterlife, incuding my shape-shifter ex, Triton.  To counter the Void's reign of terror, I'll need to activate ancient amulets and fully summon my vampire powers - two moves that may lead to my own doom.

With a lot more than a wedding party to worry about, it's tie to show undying love and save them all - and save myself...

Yes, I know this book came out last year.  But it's new to me ;-D

I have been following the series since the beginning, and after waiting for soooo long for the third book I found it easy to slip back into Francesca's world.  Saber is still her honey, and Triton finally makes his presence in town known.  This time round, Francesca may have bitten off more than she can chew.  The Void is back with a vengeance, and is killing all the supernaturals it can get it's claws into.  So Francesca has been called in for vampire training by Cosmil, wizard extrodinaire.  All while trying to give Maggie the best wedding she can throw.

All of our main character are believable, within reason - hello... vampires!, with flaws that we can relate to even if we'd never experience them (as there is no way I'm going to drink a caramel flavoured blood drink... ewwww!) but even though it is a world of vampires and magic it's not totally over the top.  I'm hoping that the story arc gets a little bit of a shakeup soon.  There is a very real danger of the storyline getting staid if we just keep revolving around Francesca, Saber, Maggie, etc., although it was a nice twist to find out that Gorman had a personal link to Francesca.  Perhaps now the Void is gone it will offer up some fresh ideas.

Nancy Haddock has written a wonderfully funny series.  These books offer a fun read, great to pack for a trip.  For those who are wondering, there is no real language issues, and no graphic sex scenes.  Just a good fun book to while away the hours with.  If you like the Francesca, Vampire Princess books then I'd recommend Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampire series, Nalini Singh's Guild Hunters, as well as the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews.

P.S. d'uh, I nearly forgot.  Haddocks books are very much in the style of MaryJanice Davidson!  So check out her Wyndham Werewolves, Undead, The Royals and Mermaid series.

August 31, 2012

Enchanted Inc. Book 6 announced!

Just found out that Shanna Swendson has written a 6th book in the Enchanted Inc. series and it will be available - fingers crossed - on 01 October, 2012!

Format unknown, but will update you all ASAP :-P

See Shanna Swendson FAQ for more details