December 30, 2011

Purge the Fire

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve and before I head on to parties and gorge on endless buffet matched with rounds of alcohol bingeing, I want to share my 2012 resolution.

To start the year right I hereby pledge to purge my Fire of some fantastic ebooks.

Some people hoard clothes, music, collectibles, etc. In my case I hoard books. I'm talking about giveaways and free Nook and Kindle books. Anything with a supernatural flavor that has a decent star rating that I can get my grubby hands on, I take it. This on top of my usual library visits and occasional used-book splurges. While most of you bring a bag to the library, I carry a small box and Cimmaron can attest to this. So when we say the gals in Talk Supe are VORACIOUS READERS, it's not exaggeration. So you could just imagine my little Book-enstein, a monster of my own creation, is growing by the day. I won't be surprised if a power surge will give it life!

My stack has been piling up and it's seriously starting to annoy the OCD out of me,
I have about 40 something titles stored and counting, ranging from short stories, to novellas to your good old fashioned novel. Not good.
I decided to tackle my Ereads first and lay off the community library and my friendly neighborhood bookstore and play catch up. I'm crossing my fingers that by the time I've done serious damage on my list that my eyesight won't fail me.

I still prefer physical books but like most people, I have to move with the times.
Thank God my personal Santa gave me a Kindle Fire. Makes this resolution a whole lot easier to fulfill.

Cheers to 2011 and looking forward to the magic of 2012!

I will be loaning some of the titles via Amazon Kindle 
or Barnes and Noble Nook so stay tuned for instructions and details.

A Vampire's Christmas Carol by Karen McCullough

FREE at Smashwords
Format: Digital
Release Date: November 29, 2011
Purchase Link: Amazon
Can Christmas Eve get any more fun? On her way to her family's home, Carol Prescott’s car slides into a ditch in a deserted area with no cell phone signal. The only available shelter is already occupied…by a vampire. To Michael Carpenter, Carol is the bait of a trap.

In an effort to hold onto his soul, Michael has resisted the urge to drink human blood for almost a century. Now he hovers between human and vampire. If he doesn’t drink from a human before the night ends, he’ll die. He’s desperately thirsty, but Michael has seen the soulless monsters vampires are and he prefers death. Carol is pure temptation to him, the Christmas present from hell…or is it from heaven?

So I got my copy for free because I was looking for a holiday book to feature in our blog. I was browsing when I came across this one and figured, What the heck, it's free and the rating is good. So I went ahead and got it.

This novella is a bit romantic, in that unique vampire way, almost tragic and will probably remind you of Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire. Carol is a human whose car broke down in the middle of a snow storm. Good thing Michael Carpenter's house is nearby. Michael is a vampire who is resolved to committing "suicide" so he can gain is soul back. Carol was skeptical at first but as the night progress she realizes that Michael is the real deal. Michael asked Carol to take down his story and her assistance in his self imposed death. After a night of swapping stories Carol finally agreed to the task at hand and helped deliver Michael to his maker.

There were some elements in this story that I questioned but there were minor ones that I wouldn't dwell on them. The story itself isn't epic but more of a crossroads sort of thing for both Carol and Michael. The latter reminded me a lot of Louis in that tormented sort of way. But I must admit I was expecting something else to happen at the end because Karen's story was really going in the tragic direction and then things changed in the last minute.

I'll go ahead and say that it was a happy ending but I liked McCullough's style. She took me by surprise in that small twist in the end.

December 29, 2011

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

read an excerpt
Series: Gods & Monsters 1
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Purchase Link: Amazon
Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is. Her search for answers uncovers just one message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.

She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.

Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.
Two of my favorite subjects are in this book, Gods (Athena) and Monsters (Vampires, Weres, Witches, etc) so upon cracking the hard cover open, I felt giddy like opening a present on Christmas morning.

Darkness Becomes Her is a compact read with only 270+ pages of YA mystery set in New Orleans post The Hurricane (caused by Athena) and spiced with vagabond monsters, born and made, with a dash of voodoo.

On the first third of the book I felt a bit lost because though compact, Keaton didn't fall short on the build up, action/adventure and mini revelations. So I found myself flipping back through pages because some of the events lost me.  But after Ari's brief capture and immediate escape from Athena, things got very exciting!

Here's a spoiler which will not ruin the book for you rather it will make you pick it up if you haven't yet. So Ari's family from her mother's side is cursed, for some reason they always drop dead at the ripe age of 21 and Ari is set to break the curse with her. Her search led her to Athena and turns out Ari's line is directly descended from The Gorgon herself, Medusa.

If you're familiar with Medusa's myth you'd know that she's not the "monster" contemporary stories peg her to be. She was a beautiful priestess seduced and raped by Poseidon in Athena's temple which incurred the Goddess' wrath thereby cursing her with reptilian locks and a mesmerizing gaze that can turn you to stone.

So how do you break a curse like that and defeat the Goddess of War? Are vampires, weres, witches and the rest of the New Orleans supe-posse enough back up to guarantee victory? I loved this book and if this is the direction the series is taking, I am compelled to follow Ari's story.

December 27, 2011

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

read an excerpt
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: March 21, 2006
Purchase Link: Amazon
Charlie Asher is a pretty normal guy. A little hapless, somewhat neurotic, sort of a hypochondriac. He's what's known as a Beta Male: the kind of fellow who makes his way through life by being careful and constant -- you know, the one who's always there to pick up the pieces when the girl gets dumped by the bigger/taller/stronger Alpha Male.

But Charlie's been lucky. He owns a building in the heart of San Francisco, and runs a secondhand store with the help of a couple of loyal, if marginally insane, employees. He's married to a bright and pretty woman who actually loves him for his normalcy. And she, Rachel, is about to have their first child.

Yes, Charlie's doing okay for a Beta. That is, until the day his daughter, Sophie, is born. Just as Charlie -- exhausted from the birth -- turns to go home, he sees a strange man in mint-green golf wear at Rachel's hospital bedside, a man who claims that no one should be able to see him. But see him Charlie does, and from here on out, things get really weird. . . .

People start dropping dead around him, giant ravens perch on his building, and it seems that everywhere he goes, a dark presence whispers to him from under the streets. Strange names start appearing on his nightstand notepad, and before he knows it, those people end up dead, too. Yup, it seems that Charlie Asher has been recruited for a new job, an unpleasant but utterly necessary one: Death. It's a dirty job. But hey, somebody's gotta do it.
And the absurdity continues.

A good sense of humor is a must if you want to read Christopher Moore otherwise you'll just have a headache trying to make sense of his world.

I lived in San Francisco, CA for a while and after reading Christopher Moore, I felt robbed! Why? Because I wish I came across one of his characters! I would never have left the Bay Area if I was even remotely acquainted with one of these loonies.

First of all I've read a lot of material about Alphas be it male or female, human or another animal. I have yet to read anything about Beta Males (P1, P2, P3, P4) but after reading Moore's manifesto about Betas, I think I want to snag myself one instead of the coveted Alpha. To enlighten you a little bit, here's why:

For the Beta Male, if nothing else, is loyal. He makes a great husband as well as a great best friend. He will help you move and bring you soup when you are sick. Always considerate, the Beta Male thanks a woman after sex, and is often quick with an apology as well. He makes a great house sitter, especially if you aren't especially attached to your house pets. A Beta Male is trustworthy: your girlfriend is generally in safe hands with a Beta Male friend, unless, of course, she is a complete slut.

Charlie Asher's odyssey as a Death Merchant is a perfect combination of comical and chaotic scenarios. Vicious crows, hellhounds for babysitters, people and animals dropping dead on "kitty", a toddler who commands death join the circus. Plus characters from his other novel Bite Me, which I just read last week, made special appearances in this book which further fueled my San Francisco daydreams. I just dig Moore and his sense of humor though ridiculous is not dirty, his characters are delusional and have a different grasp of "normal". The hero is a BETA MALE for crying out loud! I'm telling you, Christopher is an author that you HAVE to add to your library. Everybody needs a good laugh once in a while and Moore guarantees that you will have a good one with him.

From what I heard, someone is trying to develop this book into a movie, I hope it doesn't fall through.

December 26, 2011

Girl Crush Mondays: Charlize Theron

We J'adore
 Charlize Theron

Born in South Africa whose first language is Afrikaans.
A trained ballet dancer and attended New York's Joffrey Ballet School.
Avid supporter of animal rights and a staunch member of PETA.
 Dior's current muse.

A brilliant Academy Award winning actress and total chameleon.
She can play a bad ass action star (Aeon Flux), loathful villain (Monster),
a sweet and dutiful wife (Devil's Advocate), or a narcissistic bitch (Young Adult) effectively.

Aeon Flux                              Monster

But what I'm most excited about is next year's
where she plays the evil Queen Ravenna.

At 36 she just keeps on getting better and better.
Makes one wonder what else is up this gorgeous gal's sleeves.

Here's my favorite Charlize movie,
2001's Sweet November with Keannu Reeves.
*sniff* *sniff*

December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas

Amidst the hustle and bustle that is associated with the holiday season,
let us not forget what is essential:

Let us give thanks to our family and friends for making our lives richer;
For our favorite writers for feeding our imagination;
The blogger community for the encouragement.

And lastly, we would like to personally thank
Y O U 
for making our little venture worthwhile.

And just like our favorite man candies
David Gandy and Henry Cavill
would say


- Braine and Cimmaron

December 24, 2011

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

read an excerpt
Series: Unearthly 1
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: January 4, 2011
Purchase Link: Amazon
In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.
Another solid angel story that I truly enjoyed and couldn't stay away from. Cynthia Hand's take on Nephilim is more Halo than Mortal Instruments. They are like Guardian Angels with wings and missions as opposed to the usual godforsaken race that resulted from Angels coupling with mortal women.

I can compare the pace of the story to Hush, Hush although the storyline is different but the easiness and the fluid flow of words is comparable to Fitzpatrick's. Clara Gardner is a strong female protagonist, sure of herself and totally embraced her Angel blood. I adored her mother and their relationship is truly ideal. This would explain why there's no family drama aside from the usual disagreements but no exaggerated stubbornness and you-and-me-against-the-world kind of thing.

Now what I truly found interesting is the love triangle (as expected in most YA series) but Hand's take completely side tracked me. Clara's choice is between what she wants and what's destined for her. So how do you choose between an epic dilemma like that? Do you go with what makes your heart soar or do you go with what fits? I don't want to be in Clara's shoes, I think it's definitely hard to keep away from something that will incessantly pull you back like magnet and that's how she feels with Tucker (her heart) and Christian (her destiny).

The sequel, Hallowed, comes out next month. Will definitely put that on my to-have list.

But for now, get this at Amazon for just $0.99! It's worth every penny!

Merry Christmas!

Feliz Navidad!

Joyeux Noel!

December 23, 2011

Bite Me by Christopher Moore

read an excerpt
Series: Love Story 3
Release Date: March 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Purchase Link: Amazon
The city of San Francisco is being stalked by a huge shaved vampyre cat named Chet, and only I, Abby Normal, emergency backup mistress of the Greater Bay Area night, and my manga-haired love monkey, Foo Dog, stand between the ravenous monster and a bloody massacre of the general public.

Whoa. And this is a love story? Yup. 'Cept there's no whining. See, while some lovers were born to run, Jody and Tommy were born to bite. Well, reborn, that is, now that they're vampires. Good thing theirs is an undying love, since their Goth Girl Friday, Abby Normal, imprisoned them in a bronze statue.

Abby wants to be a bloodsucking fiend, too, but right now she's really busy with other stuff, like breaking in a pair of red vinyl thigh-high Skankenstein(R) platform boots and wrangling her Ph.D.-candidate boyfriend, Steve (the love monkey). And then there's that vampire cat Chet, who's getting bigger and smarter--and thirstier--by the minute. Abby thought she and Steve could handle the kitty cat on their own, "mais non" . . .

Before you can say "OMG WTF?" Tommy and Jody are sprung from captivity, and join forces with Abby, Steve, the frozen-turkey-bowling Safeway crew, the Emperor of San Francisco and his trusty dogs Lazarus and Bummer, Abby's gay Goth friend Jared, and SF's finest Cavuto and Rivera to hunt big cat and save the city. And that's when the fun really begins.
Abigail Van Normal is miles away from your normal teenager and so is this story. I would classify this as a YA book but with all the cussing and Abigail's failed attempts to hump and be humped, I understand why this would be better appreciated and a more appropriate read for mature readers... just to be on the safe side.

So this is one of those stories that doesn't really require a lof thinking like Novels on the Run's Michelle would say. But though ridiculous and definitely not lacking on hilarity, this book was smartly written. After all it takes a lot of smarticles to be funny, I think I read that somewhere and I'm just paraphrasing but that's the case with Christopher Moore.

So we have Elder and young vampires, cat and rat vampires, vampire hunters and goth chick Abigail running around San Francisco. Due to thoughtless incessant feeding, a huge stray cat, Chet, was accidentally turned into a vampire and by fusing human DNA with feline DNA, Chet becomes smarter and makes his own coven. Now a large number of stray cats are running around the Bay Area draining people of blood.

Like the Hangover movies, this is just one crazy story. I love Moore's sense of humor and his characters are just non stop fun. Mayhem seems to be his trademark and for a change, it's nice to read a funny vampire story. Even the dialogue is messed up! If you read the excerpt, you'd understand what I'm trying to say.

So if you are looking for a funny read, pick this stand alone book. I promise it won't disappoint.

P.S. Thanks Shaun and Diana for informing me that this is part of a series! I don't know why I missed that but now that I've looked it up, I'm out to get the two other books. :D Thanks for the holiday gift guys.

December 22, 2011

Darkness Descending by Devyn Quinn

Synopsis and excerpt
Series: Vampire Armageddon
Format: Paperback
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Purchase Link: Amazon
Fallen angels in the form of vampires are infecting humans one by one, creating an army fit for Armageddon. Jesse Burke, driven by vengeance to destroy the vampiric angels, has been protecting New Orleans from the onslaught, unaware that she has a much greater destiny awaiting her in the face of the oncoming apocalypse.

Set in New Orleans post Katrina, this is another action packed vampire story whose plot and premise sounded promising but the execution left me wanting for more or maybe it needs a little fine tuning.

The myth behind the story is solid. It promises this epic Armageddon when the chosen one comes. And the forces of good is slowly losing to the enemy because they are outnumbered, for every vamp killed, 10 more are created. I like the odds because the drama and the action lie on their struggle to win the war and Quinn's vamps are Fallen Angels so that will multiply their strength and resources further.

The heroine, Jesse Burke, is the prophesied female who will deliver humankind from the monstrous vampire race. So far, she's the only human who was bitten but never fully turned. Vampirism in Quinn's version is like possession and Jesse can sort of control her demon inside. Of course her mentor/protector/lover won't be far behind, Frenchman Maddox deValois, a 200 year old vampire hunter.

The love story between these two turned me off from the get go. I don't know about you but bad hygiene and body odor is not an aphrodisiac for me. Maybe Quinn could've skipped mentioning that and just got on with the smexy part? So after a bath and the hot and heavy lovemaking, Maddox just acted so detached. It was far from romantic and there's no indication of any love connection happening on his part or how being with Jesse suddenly caught him off guard. Jesse of course is invested on her handsome savior from the start and it's understandable that she'd feel rejected afterwards.

So for Quinn to inject Maddox's desperation and concern for Jesse towards the end, hinting of unspoken love and passion is a little hard to relate to. It just didn't flow well because I wasn't made to feel like there's something special between these two in the first place aside from the usual sexual attraction that led to nothing more than just recreational sex.

So I hope that Quinn will just drop Maddox on the next of the book and give Jesse someone worth her while OR make Maddox suffer for his transgressions if he really wants to be with her. Right now, Maddox is just a big jerk pulling and playing Jesse's heartstrings.

Overall the story isn't really new, we've all read Fallen Angels turn vampires. So what I'm really looking at is the unique story which  lies on the characters. Sure, individually they have interesting backgrounds and rich on motive but how they all come together needs to be more fluid in my opinion.

December 20, 2011

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

read an excerpt
Series: Halo 1
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Purchase Link: Amazon
An angel is sent to Earth on a mission.
But falling in love is not part of the plan.

Three angels – Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human – are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.

Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong.

The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?
Halo is like 500 pages long and for a YA novel that can be a bit daunting because as much as this genre is entertaining it can also be annoying. So this book was sitting on my shelf for three weeks now and finally I decided to give it a go.

Alexandra Adornetto wrote this when she was probably 16 or 17 and for a young writer she is articulate and has a lot of potential to become a great storyteller. But like her age indicates, Halo is an innocent love story between an angel (Bethany Church) and a human (Xavier Woods). It's similar to your usual coming of age novels with celestial beings but not as intense as Hush, Hush or as frustrating as Fallen. However, I have contradicting thoughts about this and I'll just air out my self debates and if you've read the book, I hope you'd understand where I'm coming from and maybe share your insights.

It felt like the book has two parts, Bethany and Xavier's love story and the conflict with Lucifer's agent. On the first part, I felt that Adornetto was over telling the love story and maybe she could've chucked out a 100 pages off that. But at the same time I understand that she was probably trying to stress the innocence and the difficulty of the situation. Part two with Jake Thorn was interesting and I was partly hoping that it would be a love triangle. An angel and a devil caught in a bitter love story has a lot of promise don't you think? However I think that angle will be explored in full in Hades and maybe Adornetto will cave in to the YA pressure of the staple love triangle and emo moments. Crossing my fingers here.

But though this was long-ish compared to other YA books, I personally didn't find it hard to read. It was easy even if Adornetto became too narrative or descriptive on some parts I was able to breeze through that without hitch. But because of the length of the book which can be attributed to editing on some aspect, I'd give this 3 stars. The story is interesting and it gave me enough reason to go on and read Hades.

December 19, 2011

Girl Crush Mondays: Rooney Mara

Patricia Rooney Mara
She's relatively a fresh face and if she looks familiaryou probably saw her in
The Social Networkas Erica Albright, the gal who dumped and scorned
Mark Zuckerburg played by Jessie Eisenburg.

But hold tight to your seats because come next year she'll be one of THE girls to watch.
With the upcoming release of
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
I'm sure you'll be fascinated not only with her transformation
but with how well she played the part.
Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is part of the late Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy.
I've read the series and saw the Swede version of all three movies.
I'll be honest, the book and movie series were spectacular, brings back memories of my old love affair with Sydney Sheldon. It also touched on a lot of socially relative issues from abuse, white slavery, discrimination to alternative lifestyles.
A very compelling series from start to finish.

The movies were fantastic as well, it stayed true to Larsson's novels
which is why the films are about 2.5 hours each.
Noomi Rapace was fantastic as Lisbeth Salander so in my book
 I have high hopes for Rooney Mara in terms of measuring up to the Swede version. 
However the rest of the cast wasn't really eye candy so visually,
I think I'll like the U.S. version better.

* Photo: Still from Dare & Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

December 17, 2011

Working Stiff by Rachel Caine

read an excerpt
Series: Revivalist 1
Format: Paperback
Release Date: August 2, 2011
Purchase Link: Amazon
Bryn Davis was killed on the job after discovering her bosses were selling a drug designed to resurrect the dead. Now, revived by that same drug, she becomes an undead soldier in a corporate war to take down the very pharmaceutical company responsible for her new condition...

Bad ass babe. Check.

Hot dude. Check.

Lovable supporting characters. Check.

Villais you'll truly hate. Check

Fast action sequence. Check.

[Urban] Fantasy. Check.

So for the life of me, I don't understand why I wasn't captivated by this book. Maybe because of its lack of sense of humor or probably because it's more fantasy than supernatural.

But I have to give Rachel Caine props, she put a different twist on zombies to make it more tolerable for some readers who have an aversion to rotting things and it's really a challenge to make anything decaying hot. So I like her zombies, well preserved and in full control of their facilities. Aside from being completely dependent on the drug, Returne, you wouldn't know that they are walking corpses. Just like vamps minus the fangs.

Bryn Davis is the heroine, an army veteran, served time in Iraq, trained to counter terrorists. So it's safe to assume that she's trained for combat, however I find it a bit inconsistent that she lacked stealth and kept on being beaten up and outsmarted by the bad guys. I don't know about you guys but I like my backstory to make sense. She just appeared like a normal citizen caught in the crossfire and ended up being collateral damage.

Will I read the next novel? Maybe but I'm not excited nor will I lose sleep over it like some series that I follow.

If you want to know more, below is Caine's book trailer.

December 16, 2011

The Bite Before Christmas by Lynsay Sands + Jeaniene Frost

plot summary and excerpt here
Series: Argeneau 16.5; Night Huntress 6.5
Format: Hardcover

Release Date: October 25, 2011
Purchase Link: Amazon
In Lynsay Sands' "The Gift," Katricia Argeneau knows grey-eyed cop Teddy Brunswick is her life mate. She just needs to convince him they belong together, and being snowbound in a secluded cabin will make this a Christmas neither will forget.

It's "Home for the Holidays" in Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series. Cat and Bones may long to wrap presents and set up a tree, but this Christmas, an evil vampire and long-buried family secrets will threaten to take a bite out of their holiday cheer.

The Gift
by Lynsay Sands

Throughout this long story I kept thinking about Richard Gere and Winona Ryder (blond) in Autumn in New York. At face value, the story of Katricia Argeneau and Teddy Brunswick seems like your usual May-December affair. But of course since Katricia is an Immortal [vampire] she's not really 25 and Teddy is the town's Chief of Police on the verge of retirement. The contrast between their looks can be disconcerting at first but it was also funny especially when Teddy was avoiding Katricia's advances and suggestive looks and body language. What he doesn't know is that the best is yet to come.

The story is about life mates and Katricia found hers in Teddy. Their story is smoking hot amidst the frigid air and powder white now of Port Henry. I am not familiar with Sand's work but the way she described her concept of life mates is so romantic and sexy. Being in tune with your partner, feeling every pleasure and pain, sharing an exceptional bond with someone, makes one wish this happens in real life exactly the way Sands described it. No wonder people have always been enamored with vampires. This is one of the many reasons why.

Home for the Holidays
by Jeaniene Frost

From a romantic story we shift to the [mis]adventurous holiday story of Cat and Bones. Apparently Bones shares his name with his long lost brother, Wraith, and the latter reveals a wealth of information about Bone's past and parentage. So it's no surprise that Bones have taken a liking to his brother but Cat observed that Bones has changed since Wraith's arrival. He is not acting like himself and this doesn't go unnoticed with Ian and Denise either as other member of their family has been acting peculiar as well. Obviously Wraith's reason for his sudden appearance in their lives is far from a heartwarming family reunion.

I wouldn't want to spend my holidays this way. I must admit it was very exciting and certainly the type of things that happens to Cat and Bones but demon possession doesn't fall under my list of "exciting", more like terrifying. And a coven of vampires possessed is certainly lethal especially if one of them can decapitate you with a mere thought! Ms. Frost certainly wrote a very compact story here and it doesn't matter if it's part of an anthology or Christmas being the background theme. No siree, she kept all the juicy parts albeit condensed in this 150 page long story. There's steam, life threatening situations, explosions, surgery and exorcism. What more can you ask for? Turkey's got nothing on Jeaniene Frost!

This is a new release so I encourage you to buy it, give it as a gift or put it on your wishlist, borrow a copy, doesn't matter as long YOU READ IT.

December 15, 2011

Pride Mates by Jennifer Ashley

read an excerpt
Series: Shifters Unbound 1
Format: Paperback
Release Date: January 26, 2010
Purchase Link: Amazon


To most, they are animals even when in human form. They are to be collared and kept on the fringes of society, scorned because they are feared, hated for their extraordinary powers. And attorney Kim Fraser has to go right into the heart of their lair.

It s her job to defend those in need. But there s absolutely nothing defenseless about Liam Morrissey. His soft Irish lilt and feline grace can t disguise his sheer strength. Nor can the silver chain at his throat, designed to control the aggression of his kind, completely reassure her that this man has been tamed.

Yet when a feral shifter begins to stalk them both, Liam is the only one she trusts with her life. She ll let him claim her for her protection, for her pride, and for a passion that knows no bounds.

The first two chapters is so charged with sexual tension it can probably power a small device like a small clock. It's hot, steamy and like Liam said, "fast and furious". Ashley didn't short change us on the romance and all its trappings and I guarantee that you'll be swept away by the scent of pheromones that seems to be included with the book.

So if you like sexy books and hotter than hot men, this will surely fire up your imagination:
Now after you've gotten over the passion and the dangerous thrill of dating a Shifter and find yourself focusing on the story, you'll understand that a couple of things were just glossed over by all the hot sex.

First off, the synopsis on the backcover is definitely misleading. The talk on murder was never the focus as it only encompasses about 30-ish pages of the 280p booked. Why am I disappointed? Because I was in the mood for some suspense-sexy-thriller kind of story and this wasn't that. Pride Mates is all about Kim and Liam coming (figuratively and literally) together. But that's ok, it's a smart marketing move I'll give Berkley Sensation that.

What really irked me was Kim's character and how it contradicts her profession. She's supposed to be a ruthless lawyer who advocates feminism but when Liam claims her as his mate she didn't even flinch. For a skeptic and someone who picks apart things for a living, she has awfully be accepting of her situation, didn't really question things. She just laid down and let herself be effed relentlessly by Liam on all levels. And while all this is happening she's still in a relationship with another lawyer.

So immediately after doing the deed with Liam on her bathroom, her boyfriend Abel called. Her body temperature haven't even cooled off, still naked from her calisthenics, she decides to break up with Abel over the phone and after the former's nonchalance, here is her reaction:
Get over yourself girl.

So if you're looking for some smexy romance book you'll love this. Like I said, Jennifer Ashley delivered really well on that department and that's the only reason why I was entertained enough to finish the book. But if you're looking for something smart to balance the steam, I'm not sure if this is the one. My brain cells were screaming on some parts.

Two years of my life I wasted on him and all he can say is "See you around?"

Tasked with defending a Shifter accused of murder, attorney Kim Fraser is completely out of her depth in the mysterious world of Shifter. To prove her client's innocence, Kim will need the help of someone on the inside, even though relying on Liam goes against everything society says about Shifters.

Big cats are sensational, sweetie. I keep some extra large condoms if you need them.

December 13, 2011

Labyrinth by Kat Richardson

plot summary and excerpt here
Series: Greywalker 5
Release Date: August 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Purchase Link: Amazon
Harper Blaine was your average small-time P. I. until she died-for two minutes. Now she's a Greywalker, walking the line between the living world and the paranormal realm. There are others who know about her new powers-others with powerful tools and evil intentions, and now that the man who "killed" her has been murdered, the police are also paying close attention. That means Harper has to watch her step while searching for the ghost of her "killer"-who could be a valuable clue in the puzzle of Harper's past and her father's death, as well as a key to figuring out who's trying to manipulate her new powers and why. But with her growing powers pulling her into the Grey, Harper might not be able to come back out.

Labyrinth picks up where Vanishing left off. I felt very exhausted for Harper, this girl didn't get an iota of rest plus the fact that she, like her dad, are nothing but pawns to Wygan's intricate designs. I find it exciting that Harper is slowly growing to her powers and that she is physically morphing with it. Quinton is a very dedicated boyfriend, he'll ride or die with Harper as she deserves nothing less.

I'm heartbroken about Will, Harper's ex boyfriend. He's traumatized, spirit beaten beyond pulp and he's slowly having a psychotic break. Kat Richardson, WHY?! Another sad thing is Harper's relationship with the Danzigers are strained, as understandable after what happened in Underground, but it's still painful to see friendship fall apart a bit at a time. On this note, Mara Danziger, for some reason acquired an accent based on her dialogues and that's just weird in my opinion.

I've finally figured out why some readers find Kat Richardson a challenge to read. Though her descriptions are vivid her style is more narrative than a discourse. She demands your attention by making you chew her words slowly. If you tried reading the Greywalker Series and decided that it's not for you, I am asking you kindly to reconsider. You might have tried to speed read and sad to say it doesn't work like that. You have to take your time and imbibe Harper Blaine's story and I understand that not rushing is, in itself, a challenge for us who are part of ADD generation. Maybe this series will convince you to slow down and enjoy a good book once in a while.

So Downpour is next and I hope that things will slow down a bit for Harper Blaine. Even superheroes needs some time off once in a while.

December 10, 2011

Fired Up by Jayne Ann Krentz

plot summary and excerpt here
Series: Dreamlight Trilogy 1
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: December 29, 2009
Purchase Link:

More than three centuries ago, Nicholas Winters irrevocably altered his genetic makeup in an obsessionfueled competition with alchemist and Arcane Society founder Sylvester Jones. Driven to control their psychic abilities, each man?s decision has reverberated throughout the family line, rewarding some with powers beyond their wildest dreams, and cursing others to a life filled with madness and hallucinations.

Jack Winters, descendant of Nicholas, has been experiencing nightmares and blackouts?just the beginning, he believes?of the manifestation of the Winters family curse. The legend says that he must find the Burning Lamp or risk turning into a monster. But he can?t do it alone; he needs the help of a woman with the gift to read the lamp?s dreamlight.

Jack is convinced that private investigator Chloe Harper is that woman. Her talents for finding objects and accessing dream energy are what will save him, but their sudden and powerful sexual pull threatens to overwhelm them both. Danger surrounds them, and it doesn?t take long for Chloe to pick up the trail of the missing lamp. And as they draw closer to the lamp, the raw power that dwells within it threatens to sweep them into a hurricane of psychic force.
This is the first time that I've got wind of Krentz/Quick's Arcane Society and the romance thriller-series is really, really good! I know that the series has about 10 novels printed already and it's a challenge to catch up considering that I get most of my books from the Public Library and some of the members are not so diligent in returning their borrowed books. Yikes!

So I decided to take up Dreamlight Trilogy instead. The prologue got me hooked immediately. Set in Seatlle, I know it's a serious read like Da Vinci Code but I didn't find it hard to stay focused and pay attention.

The heroine, Chloe Harper, is fantastic. She's a paranormal who can see and harness your dreamlight, it's like your aura but more on your dream energy. She is a workaholic and because of her ability she is a serial monogamist. Jack Winters is also an interesting character. He is the descendant of Nicholas Winters who started the entire thing and is also one formidable paranormal.

The romance between these two is sweet because given their gifts, it would indeed be hard to find a decent partner that you're compatible with. So it's no surprise that they found their soulmate in each other although they both tried to ignore the chemistry.

"What would you say to one hour in a private hot tub at the Tropical Gardens Motel?"
"The word yuck comes to mind," Chloe replied
In the middle of the chaos is the Burning Lamp that can make or break a talent and both the Arcane and Nightshades want to get their hands on it. Two powerful factions, The Arcane and Nightshade and playing tug of war to get their hands on this powerful relic and the conflict and adventure that was involved in acquiring this is nothing short of exciting.


December 9, 2011

The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore

read an excerpt
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: November 1, 2005
Purchase Link: Amazon
'Twas the night (okay, more like the week) before Christmas, and all through the tiny community of Pine Cove, California, people are busy buying, wrapping, packing, and generally getting into the holiday spirit.

But not everybody is feeling the joy. Little Joshua Barker is in desperate need of a holiday miracle. No, he's not on his deathbed; no, his dog hasn't run away from home. But Josh is sure that he saw Santa take a shovel to the head, and now the seven-year-old has only one prayer: Please, Santa, come back from the dead.

But hold on There's an angel waiting in the wings. (Wings, get it?) It's none other than the Archangel Raziel come to Earth seeking a small child with a wish that needs granting. Unfortunately, our angel's not sporting the brightest halo in the bunch, and before you can say "Kris Kringle," he's botched his sacred mission and sent the residents of Pine Cove headlong into Christmas chaos, culminating in the most hilarious and horrifying holiday party the town has ever seen.

Move over, Charles Dickens -- it's Christopher Moore time.


If you're buying this book as a gift for your grandma or a kid, you should be aware that it contains cusswords as well as tasteful depictions of cannibalism and people in their forties having sex. don't blame me. I told you.

I have to settle for that book flap synopsis because that's the best way that I can tell you about this book. I cannot begin to describe the hilarity and ridiculousness of the inhabitants of Pine Cove. It's like the entire town conveniently skipped their psych meds.

The plot is not that complex, it is just a documentation of the daily lives of these people a week before Christmas. But what's different and extremely interesting are Moore's characters. Suffice to say that they are all unhinged in some way so it's no surprise that although Pine Cove has a population of just 5,000, abnormal is their normal. Even the dead talk amongst themselves in the graveyard!

The Stupidest Angel is the Arcangel Raziel who functions like a person with an IQ equivalent to the temperature on the east coast during winter. First off he goes around town looking for a child, any child, and on this day and age that could easily be interpreted as a perversion of sorts. Anyway, he finds his kid and grants him his wish.

Result? MAYHEM! The dead decided to rise and join the feast by gorging on some serious grey matter. The accidental hero turns out to be a washed out B movie actress  who is off her meds and has turned lunatic.

This book is a trip! If SNL decide to make a Christmas movie it will certainly look like this. The humor is succinct and not overdone, the dialogue is snappy but not too sarcastic. The scenarios ridiculous but possible, except for the zombies.

I've read version two as as per the author the difference is the bonus chapter in the end.
"You think it's  bad being a Mexican, Romanian women have to start shaving when they're twelve,"

"We're [Arcangels] attracted to lunatics."

December 8, 2011

Valley of Silence by Nora Robers

read an excerpt
Series: Circle Trilogy 3
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: November 8, 2006
Purchase Link: Amazon
Having traveled through the Dance of the Gods to the land of Geall, the circle finds themselves convincing then training the people of Geall to defeat Lilith’s vampire army. The Valley of Silence is a forbidding place for the battle of all battles, but the circle continues to prepare through magic and a few early stakeouts that test their strength individually and as a team.

Moira finds herself playing the roles of warrior and royal, as she follows the tradition of her people and prepares to take the crown before leading them into battle. And if that isn’t enough, she finds her thoughts turning to Cian more often than not.

So what’s a chaste and intelligent young woman to do when given less than a month with the man she loves, who’s not a man, but a vampire? And how will the people of Geall fare against an army of blood-thirsty vampires who have had centuries to prepare?
It all ends in Valley of Silence. Finally everything is in motion and The Battle between Morrigan's Circle and Lilith's army of undead looms near.

In Geall, everyone is grasping with the reality of vampires and how this will impact everyone. War is not uncommon but when you're fighting for mankind it puts a lot of pressure on each individual. Men, women and barely adults are training hard for the fight of their lives and they are painfully outnumbered. Moira with the help of the Circle, is trying to pump up morale and teach her people basic skills on how to defend themselves.

Moira is now the Queen and for her people she found herself sacrificing a lot. But one thing she have realized is that she can't die without Cian not knowing how she feels, this she will do for herself. She will not only risk her kingdom and her people but she will also risk her heart for someone who might undo her and her destiny as Geall's ruler.

Whatever shortcomings the previous two novels had will be expunged when you get to the third and final book of Nora Roberts' Circle Trilogy. She didn't disappoint one bit and if any, Valley of Silence gave the series some major fireworks ending.

As expected, Moira and Cian are the featured couple in this book and what can be more complicated than a medieval warrior Queen falling inlove with a modern but extremely ancient vampire. They belong in completely opposite sides of the world and none can give up their life for the other should they survive the war. It's a Mexican stand-off.

But before the epic ending, Ms. Roberts sure built it up. The passion between these two lovers are palpable and you can feel their urgency and the desperation. And the reality that it will not be a happily ever after for them continues to loom over their heads which makes every encounter important and taken full advantage of. Their love story is by far the most dramatic of the three. A fitting match-up to end the trilogy.

Nora Roberts also balanced it all out by giving us more time with Lilith, her past, her cohorts and how she operates. Her wickedness is highlighted which, as a reader, made me itch to kill her myself. A formidable foe for six chosen warriors.

As for the final battle, I have to say that it's one of the most intense 26 pages that I've ever read. I saw it so clearly in my head and convinced me that Nora Roberts is indeed a gifted writer. I felt the dread of fighting an enemy that is almost invincible and the possibility that they'll fail. But Evil will never triumph and everyone had closure but the toll was high. 

So if you've been curious about this series don't hesitate to pick it up next time. I was pleasantly surprised by the story and Roberts' writing.

On to my favorite quotable quotes in this:

"Moira. If I wasn't damned already, this would send me to hell."
"I'll try to take you to heaven first, if you teach me."

"I know. I know all about never. Tell me today. Between you and me let it be today. I have to fight for tomorrow, and the day after and into always. But with this, with you, it's just today. Every today we can have."