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!