The St. Croix Chronicles by Karina Cooper

Friday, February 28, 2014
Have you read this series? If you haven't, you're really missing out. It's kind of steampunky, kind of paranormal, kind of a mystery, mostly about a woman who has dealt with more than her fair share.

Tarnished (The St. Croix Chronicles #1)

Gilded (The St. Croix Chronicles #2)

Corroded (The St. Croix Chronicles #3)

Tempered (The St. Croix Chronicles #4)

Check out Karina Cooper's website for more information about the books and her other fantastic series.

Review: Wild Things by Chloe Neill

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Series: Chicagoland Vampires #9
Publisher: NAL Trade
Release Date: February 2014
Reviewed by: Amber R.
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Chloe Neil has this innate capability of bringing these characters to the forefront of your mind. She brings you this story, these lives and within seconds she makes the story real. If you can not read that, if you can not feel that I have no words for you. Merit is one of THOSE characters for me. You know what I mean. The one that you can't wait to read what happens next, the one that you read over and over again because it's just that awesome. Wild Things definitely brings all the greatest qualities of a great book to it's readers.

Merit and Ethan are on the lam, a well thought out decision was made to protect Ethan from the mayor of Chicago. She's gunning for Ethan to be tried for murder among other charges because, well, she can. There is literally no other reason. She wants the sups back in hiding and she wants it done now. Ethan is a good scapegoat for her vision. So to protect Ethan, they go off to part of the shifters land and hunker down. But trouble follows Merit around and things at this shifter gathering can not go easily. There is a major magical attack and a member of the pack goes missing. Merit gets kidnapped and it turns out elves are still around even though everyone except Gabe thought they were extinct. One of the elves members goes missing as well. And they're holding the shifters and the vampires responsible. So it's up to Merit and her crew to round up the missing sups and it's turning out to be more than what meets the eye. As things usually are with this group.

These aren't the only things going on. Merit is being pressured by outside parties to convince Ethan to make a decision that could change things irrevocably. There also seem to be quite a few loose ends being tied up in this book and things are kind of transitioning for a bigger storyline to come. Gabe's premonitions for Merit and Ethan are finally revealed to Ethan and he has some very strong feelings about the future.

I can barely wait for Blood Games to come out in August. Waiting to know what happens next with Merit and Ethan is not easy and patience is not one of my virtues. While we're already 9 books into this series, only 10 months have passed. And Merit's life has changed drastically from the beginning of this series and I can only imagine what's going to happen next. If you haven't read this series yet, you are truly missing out. 

Review: Hunted By Others by Jess Haines

Monday, February 24, 2014
Series: H&W Investigations #1
Publisher: Zebra
Release Date: May 2010
Reviewed by: Amber R.
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I have some pretty apathetic feelings towards this book. I think there were a lot of parallels to some other series I read. However I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and check out the next installment and find out if it's just off to a slow start.

Shia is a private detective who runs her own business with her best friend, Sara. They mainly stick with human clients but a chance case that had dealings in Weres caused Shia to be on the Others radar. The Others are all of the supes that are out of the closet and they live side by side humans. We have the usual suspects, Weres, Vamps, Mages, etc. Shia used to date a Were until she found out what he was. She says that they broke up because he lied to her not because of the whole Were thing...but the humans in this book are a bit prejudiced against the Others.

Shia reluctantly takes a job to find an artifact that the mages believe a vamp has. She doesn't really want to work for the Others but she needs the money desperately. However when she goes to search for the artifact, things quickly get reversed and she finds herself in contract with a vamp. Some quick thinking on her part keep her out of his clutches but things are still bad. Once the type of artifact is revealed Shia quickly realizes this isn't going to be a cut and dry case.

Honestly I was more interested in this book at the end. Everything leading up seemed kinda bland and not really all that captivating. The end of the book tells us that this is just the lead up story to how Shia became involved in working with the Others more closely and sets the tone to how the rest of the series might go, the characters, and the world that we're going to be involved with. So once we get all of that at the end, it gives you a better understanding. Plus the last quarter of the book really wasn't as boring as the beginning.

I think I'll hold off on more judgement until the next book. This was an okay start but it wasn't anything that I'd read again or really captivate me so that I'd be thinking or talking about it for the next couple of days. We'll see what happens though. 

Review: Bitten to Death by Jennifer Rardin

Friday, February 21, 2014
Series: Jaz Parks #34
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: August 2008
Reviewed by: Amber R.
Goodreads Info

So it's been awhile since I've read anything with this series. And honestly I am certain that I won't be continuing on. I really feel like the story is there but I can not get into this authors writing style. Everything is kinda back and forth, it's really confusing. It doesn't make for a smooth reading experience. Between the main character talking to herself and people who are in the same room with her, random flashbacks, very random characters popping up for absolutely no reason and only staying around for those few minutes, her having conversations in the middle of everything with her spirit guide.. I mean I could go on and on.

So while I'm sure this series is really great for some people, it's just not it for me.

Review: A Quick Bite by Lynsay Sands

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Series: Argeneau #1
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: October 2005
Reviewed by: Amber R.
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I really loved this book. It was a fun, lighthearted paranormal romance. Which was a fun twist on most PNR's that are darker and dangerous.

Lissa is a vampire but most of what you know about vampires isn't true. Holy water, garlic, crosses, etc can't harm them. And while they need to stay away from the sun, it doesn't immediately kill them. They do have to drink blood but they use blood banks specifically for vampires. Usually anyhow. Lissa is a special case because she's hemaphobic. So she has to drink straight from the source. Which isn't easy because she doesn't want to get caught and it's not the safest option.

Lissa's mother, thinking she's being helpful, basically kidnaps a psychologist who is a specialist in curing phobias. He's supposed to be Lissa's birthday present. She needs to not faint at the sight of blood and the good doctor is going to fix her. But he's not very cooperative. Lissa's mother tried to give him new memories and tried to control his mind but it's not working. Apparently his mind is too strong for her to whammy him. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Lissa is attracted to Greg and he's attracted to her. And for some reason Lissa can't read Greg's mind. Which there's an old knowledge with vampires that if you can't read their mind and what not it means that person is possibly their life mate. So Lissa and crew are working to get Greg out of the house while avoiding her mother and aunt, which isn't easy. While Lissa appreciates what her mom is trying to do, she doesn't really agree with the whole kidnapping bit.

Things of course lead into a ton of antics. And I really enjoyed this book. It was funny and sweet. I'm looking forward to reading more in this series. I'm glad that this series was brought to my attention.

Review: Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

Monday, February 17, 2014
Series: Angelfire #1
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: February 2011
Reviewed by: Amber R.
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So throughout this first half of this book I was literally like what in the crap is going on here? I'm not going to lie though somewhere throughout the last half of the book, I ended up kinda liking it. It somehow pulled me in and now I need to know what happens next.

Ellie is a normal 17 year old girl. Strange nightmares have been haunting her for months. And her dad is a total jerk but she's a normal kid. Until she finds out that she holds a power so strong, she's basically the leader in stopping a war that could be coming any second. Will, her guardian, wakes up her powers. He also helps her remember her past lives and trains her to fight until all of her memories come back. Because she's apparently been fighting this war for centuries and she's older than dirt. But she's reincarnated into a human girl, although she's strong and she has some super weapons.. she can be killed. Oh she hunts reapers who prey on human souls and flesh.

Obviously the premise is a little wonky and I'm not going to lie, the writing isn't always the greatest. But it's not bad really. If you can look past some of the cheesy lines between Ellie and her friends, the majority of the book towards the end is pretty good. I really think her dad is also up to something suspicious but I'm not sure yet.

I don't know what if I'll recommend this series or not yet. I'll read the next book and I'll let you know if it continues on. I'm really hoping it'll get better in the next book.

Review: Boundless by Cynthia Hand

Friday, February 14, 2014
Series: Unearthly #3
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: January 2013
Reviewed by: Amber R.
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I wasn't sure how I would feel about this final book. At the end of Hallowed Clara was off to Stanford with Angela and Christian. She broke her own heart and Tucker's heart as well when she told him that they couldn't be together. Even though she's trying to protect him from her crazy life, being apart from each other isn't the easiest thing ever.

Once school starts, things get crazy. Mainly everyone is super busy. Angela is acting weird and no one can figure out why. Clara and Christian are close but only as friends. He keeps trying to get close to her but the mind reading thing really puts a damper on things when Clara keeps thinking of Tucker. Clara is trying to get in touch with Jeffrey as well. Worrying about him constantly and once she makes contact, she worries about him even more. Clara and Christian are still having visions but they're cryptic as always.

I have to talk about this love triangle a little bit. I don't want to ruin the series for anyone who hasn't had a chance to read it yet so I'm not going to give too much away. With many YA series, you get a love triangle. I usually hate them, 99% of the time. It's one of the main reasons I'm not too hot on YA in general. However this series, is one of my ultimate favorite YA series. Clara's in love with Tucker and no matter how much is pointing towards Christian being her soul mate, she can't get Tucker out of her mind. And while things might seem one way, one tiny thing can change everything.

There are so many things that happen in this book that literally shocked me. I had no idea what was going to happen and the things that did happen were amazing. I absolutely loved this book, I loved this series. Every single book got a 5 star rating and this is one series that I would read again. I usually read books once and call it a day. If you haven't read these books, you're really missing out.

Review: Written In Red by Anne Bishop

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Series: The Others Book #1
Publisher: NAL
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Reviewed by: Amber I.
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Once I decided to get back into reading again, I decided that I wanted more Urban Fantasy and nothing to romancey. Carmel at Rabid Reads recommended this and I also seen it on the top 10 list from Jen at Red Hot Books so without even reading what it was about I jumped on it.  And Written in Red was PERFECT for that. The werewolves in this book aren't your "misunderstood" animal that just needs some loving. They are savage beasts who will eat before lending a helping hand. If you are looking for a dark urban fantasy then you have found your book.

I half listened to this book on audio and read it. I am not a huge audio person but the narration of this story was so amazing that I will for sure be listening to the next installment. This is such a complex world. You would think with all we need to learn that it might get a little boring learning everything but it doesn't. We are never over loaded on the information. Honestly I was eager to learn more about everything. Every character seems to have a major role and I loved almost all of them. There is so much new things introduced in this book.

Written in Red totally took me by surprise. I think I stumbled upon it at a great time in my reading life. Usually I am one for the romance but things have changed in my life and now I am looking for more story. This was just a perfect book for me. It has me eagerly anticipating the next book. I am pretty sad I can't jump into book two now. Even though I have only read a handful of books this year I can guarantee this one will be in my top favorite!!

Review: Jinx by Jennifer Estep

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Series: Bigtime #2
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: September 2008
Reviewed by: Amber R.
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Being the sister, daughter, and granddaughter of a long run hero in Bigtime has really made Bella bitter. She doesn't want anything to do with the superhero/ubervillain culture and does everything in her power to stay away from it. She's straight laced, logical, and downright staid. But since her brother Johnny is engaged to Fiona aka Fiera one of the Fearless Five, being involved with superheroes is a lot more common in Bella's life. Even so Bella has a sort of super power herself, sometimes she can control her own luck.

Being kidnapped by Debonair, one of the most suave, collected, cool, charming, ladies man type heroes in Bigtime is not part of Bella's plan. But that's exactly what happens. When a sapphire on display at the local art museum is almost stolen, Debonair kidnaps Bella and takes the gem back to his secret lair until he can get to the bottom of the theft. Even though he technically stole the sapphire, he wants to figure out why the ubervillain is trying to steal it and stop whatever plans they have. Bella gets caught in the crossfire.

Debonair almost immediately tries to seduce Bella and some strange revelations come out. While Debonair succeeds, which isn't too surprising he's super hot, Bella in intent on making it a one night stand and that's it. With her dislike of all things superhero, it's no surprise. Although Debonair's real identity might be surprising and might make a big difference in the scheme of things. But Bella is really stubborn and really set in her ways so it might take coming face to face with ubervillains to change her mind.

I'm really enjoying this series, it's fun, mostly lighthearted, and really sweet. Most of the mystery isn't really a mystery. For me it's really easy to figure out who the heroes and the villains are but I think that's how the books were meant to be. Plus I always like series where you can see the story lines of the other characters progress as well. I think that anyone who's looking for a fun series to enjoy for awhile, you should definitely check this out.

Review: Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett

Monday, February 10, 2014
Series: Roaring Twenties #1
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Reviewed by: Amber R.
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Aida Palmer is a spirit medium working in San Francisco during the late 1920's. A fiercely independent woman who is really embracing herself and making her own way. She was orphaned young by a tragic fire and moved across the country to an adoptive family. When she was a young girl, after the fire, she realized that she could communicate with spirits. And her life has never been the same since. She's taken the mantra of live day to day and really made that her life. Working at speakeasies and clubs who will hire her, she's working on making her way.

Winter Magnusson is a second generation bootlegger and fisherman who has been recently targeted by an unknown enemy. A curse placed on him caused him to be poisoned and his sight has been opened so that now he can see ghosts. Needing assistance from the manager of the speakeasy that Aida works at, Winter causes quite the scene. Attraction between Aida and Winter bloomed quick, working together to get rid of the ghosts and find out who's causing Winter so much trouble, attraction turns to a fiery passion to something even more. Although both parties have been burned, in different ways in the past, they must work through a dark and haunting time to find a life that they had never dreamed.

I loved this book. Aida and Winter had me enthralled from the beginning. Aida is definitely a woman of the times. She's smart, quick witted, funny, and always speaks her mind. She knows what she wants and she stands by her beliefs. Winter is the perfect tortured hero. He's a good man who has had some rough things happen in his past that he has a lot of guilt over. But he's a shrewd businessman, funny, sly, and downright charming. Seeing these two come together was a joy and honestly a lot of fun. I loved their banter and there was just enough heartbreak and sweetness and temper to make it real to me.

These two were placed together under supernatural, malevolent circumstances and watching things progress between them so naturally was fantastic. I absolutely adore Jenn Bennett, her books never fail to bring you in emotionally. This book was no different. It's so interesting, we have mystery, the supernatural, humor, a connection of epic proportions, and some hot, hot  sex. If you aren't reading this book or this author, you're missing out. I can only see things growing from here and you definitely want to be along for the ride.

Review: Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong

Friday, February 7, 2014
Series: Women of the Otherworld #8
Publisher: Vintage Canada
Release Date: January 2008
Reviewed by: Amber R.
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When the head of the Cortez Cabal comes calling, you answer. At least when you owe him a debt, even though Benicio Cortez would never be so verbal. Hope Adams is a half demon who is on the council of supernaturals, she's a reporter, and she is just trying to learn how to control her lust for chaos. As an Expisco demon, she thrives on chaos and doing small jobs for the council and working as a reporter she's able to get some chaos without compromising her morals or feeling guilty. But now going undercover for the Cabal, she's working with a gang that is possibly working on stirring up trouble for the Cortez'. Only the trouble is way more than they ever imagined.

In the beginning of this book we see very clearly that Karl and Hope have gone their separate ways. And even though the debt owed to Benicio is owed between both Karl and Hope, she's intent on taking care of it on her own. However, it quickly becomes clear that Benicio has ulterior motives for getting in contact with Hope. And he specifically does it knowing that Karl is out of the country. Karl is a werewolf and part of the pack with Elena, Jeremy, and Clay. He and Hope have had a hot and cold relationship for some time. Both of them are pretty closed off and not sure of what the other wants, communication has not been their strong suit. Although Karl comes to Miami as soon as he finds out what's going on. There's no way he's leaving Hope alone in this.

And though this book features Hope, we actually get almost as much time with Lucas. Because it's his father and because things closely tie in with the Cabal, he's a big part of this book. And I wasn't really sure how I felt about Karl and Hope being together but I really wanted them to end up together. I love how honest they are with each other. Even though they know that things might not work out, they still know that the risk is worth it. I know that their relationship is complicated but Karl is really trying to help Hope. It's obvious that they care for each other. The need to stop pushing each other away.

I really ended up loving this installment of the Women of the Otherworld series. There were so many moments that I was literally shocked over. I couldn't believe what was happening. And it all hits you right at the end of the book. A lot shifted in this book that's really going to affect Karl and Hope from here on out. Lucas and Paige's lives are definitely changed but in what way, we're not sure of yet. I can't wait to see what happens next or who the next book follows. But I have a feeling that we might get another main book from some of the characters in this book.

VA-VA-VOOM Read-a-thon Goals!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Jennifer at The Book Nympho and Lori from Romancing the Dark Side are hosting a Valentine's Day inspired Read-a-Thon starting today through February 10th. Basically the goal is to read any romance related book, novella, ebook, audiobook, any kind of book you can by 11:59p (your time zone) on February 10th. It doesn't matter how many, it's up to you. They're also throwing in giveaways so make sure to enter those!

So on to my goals.. I honestly don't know. I don't want to reach too far because I do have to work a few of those days. But I do want to read my face off. So I'm going to say my goal is to read 10 books between now and the 10th. Do we think I can do it? Who knows? But I'm damn well going to try!

If you want to join in the fun, tell everyone your goals on your blog or Facebook page, Twitter whatever sometime today and you can be part of this Valentine's Day read-a-thon!

Review: Hot Mama by Jennifer Estep

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Series: Bigtime #2
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Release Date: November 2007
Reviewed by: Amber R.

Fiona Fine is a top designer in Bigtime. She's also superhero, Fiera, part of the Fantastic Five. A group of superheroes who clean up the uber-villain messes in the city. After a duo of villains barge in on the tail end of Carmen and Sam's wedding, Fiona is on a mission to hunt them down. Not only for messing up the tail end of two of the Fantastic Five's wedding but also because they're on a mission to take over Bigtime.

While Fiona as Fiera is on the trail of villains, she runs into Johnny Angel. A kinda superhero who is out looking for his own kind of justice. Fiera has an inkling she knows Angel from somewhere else but she just can't put her finger on it. While Carmen and Sam aka Karma Girl and Striker are on their honeymoon, Fiera is leading the remaining members of FF to hunt down and capture these two villains.

And as Fiona she's dealing with running her major fashion line, moving on from the devastating death of her fiance Travis, a nasty reporter who is always in her face, a possible new relationship, and trying to convince people that she doesn't have an eating disorder because she eats constantly & she eats a ton. The last one really isn't a problem, I just think it's funny that she eats so much.

This series is super fun, action packed, and a bit on the kitzchy side and I really like them. While they're light-hearted there are some more serious undertones occasionally. With Estep's darker series, it's fun to see her whip together something on the lighter side. I'm really looking forward with moving on in this series. If you're looking for something fun, you don't want to miss out on this one.

Review: My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Release Date: July 5th, 2011
Reviewed by: Amber I.

This is my first book with a zombie as a main character. I was a little nervous about that. I just couldn't imagine getting into a book with the heroine eating brains. It seemed weird. Then I was like well wait! You read books with blood suckers and humans changing into animals and all sorts of things so give it a try. And I did and I am happy to say I REALLY really enjoyed it.

Angel was a great character. She was funny and smart and I loved seeing her go from pill popping trash to an awesome zombie who was taking care of business. Who knew being changed into a zombie could turn someones life around for the better. It was neat to see how she gradually came to terms with being a zombie when she had no idea that, that is in fact what she was. She didn't have many instructions she just woke up in the hospital, got a cooler full of brains (she didn't know this) a new job at the morgue ,and an anonymous note saying "If you crave it, eat it". She had to figure things out on her own. I loved how the author did the whole zombie thing it was very intriguing and done so good.

I loved that Angel also worked in the morgue. Her job was really interesting and also helped her get her brain fix in. I liked the new perspective on things. Usually we are in a detectives head or something, but this was a nice change of pace and just as interesting. She gets to go on crime scenes and everything to get the bodies.

I totally recommend this book to Urban Fantasy lovers. It was unique and fun and I can't wait to read more!

Review: Killer Frost by Jennifer Estep

Monday, February 3, 2014
  Series: Mythos Academy #6
Publisher: Kensington Books
Release Date:February 25, 2014
Reviewed by: Amber R.

Killer Frost is the 6th and final book in the Mythos Academy series with Gwen, Daphne, Logan and the rest of the Mythos crew. The ending of series usually make me nervous because we're coming to the end of some great characters and we know they're not coming back anytime soon. Plus things usually go really great or super bad. Luckily things end well for Gwen, well mostly anyhow.

Preparing for the final battle between Loki, Vivian, and the rest of the Reapers has Gwen and everyone else on edge. They all know it's coming but they don't know when. Everyone is being extra cautious and extra tense. Linus, head of the Protectorate and Gwen's boyfriend's father, comes to the academy to enlist in Gwen's help. Having touch magic and being Nike's champion puts her at the forefront of a lot of the planning to beat Loki. Even if she's only a teenager, she has a lot of responsibility on her shoulders. Not too mention she's been hiding a lot of things that Nike has told her from everyone. Mainly to protect them but it's adding additional stress on Gwen.

Vivian and the Reapers are looking for a specific artifact that will help restore Loki to his full power. Of course, the Protectorate has it and Gwen is set out to identify which artifact they're on the watch for. In the midst of all of this, Gwen's grandma is kidnapped by the Reapers and they're not planning on giving her back until Gwen turns over the artifact they want. Linus completely refuses to play into the Reapers plans. However Gwen has different ideas and goes head to head with Linus about rescuing her grandmother. And while I understand Gwen's motivations, she's being extremely disrespectful to Linus. But with some unexpected help from Nickamedes, Gwen is on the move to get her grandma back from the Reapers, no matter what it takes.

The ending to this series was pretty much what I expected. However, how we got there was completely surprising to me. And there were some spots when I honestly didn't expect that Gwen and her crew were going to be the ones to pull through in the end. Gwen really showed a ruthlessness that was kind of out of nowhere but it really came down to the flight or fight response. And fight she did. While it's always a sad day when a good series ends, the ending to this one was completely perfect.
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