Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review, Excerpt, & #Giveaway - Seventh Grave & No Body by Darynda Jones!




Twelve. Twelve of the deadliest beasts ever forged in the fires of hell have escaped onto our plane, and they want nothing more than to rip out the jugular of Charley Davidson and serve her lifeless, mangled body to Satan for dinner. So there’s that. But Charley has more on her plate than a mob of testy hellhounds. For one thing, her father has disappeared, and the more she retraces his last steps, the more she learns he was conducting an investigation of his own, one that has Charley questioning everything she’s ever known about him. Add to that an ex-BFF who is haunting her night and day, a rash of suicides that has authorities baffled, and a drop-dead sexy fiancĂ© who has attracted the attentions of a local celebrity, and Charley is not having the best week of her life.

A tad north of hell, a hop, skip, and a jump past the realm of eternity, is a little place called Earth, and Charley Davidson, grim reaper extraordinaire, is determined to do everything in her power to protect it.

We’re doomed.



Amazon | AudibleiBooks | B&N | Kobo




NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a Rebecca, two Hold Medallions, a RITA ®, and a Daphne du Maurier, and she has received stellar reviews from dozens of publications including starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and the Library Journal. As a born storyteller, Darynda grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike, and she is ever so grateful for the opportunity to carry on that tradition. She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press: The Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. She lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of almost 30 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys. She can be found at www.daryndajones.com.



As Cookie and Gemma planned my wedding, a job I did not envy in the least, I watched Reyes. I tried to single out his emotions, but there was so much blisteringly raw lust in the room, I couldn’t get past it all. Damn him and his sexual tractor beam.
A giggle floated toward me, and I saw the woman’s head tilt back again. Clearly, Reyes was slapping on the charm, but why? Was this about an interview? He’d been asked a dozen times for one and never gave any of the other reporters the time of day. Even 60 Minutes had wanted to do a story on him and got the door slammed in their face. But this woman came in, pinned him with a glittering smile, and he caved?
That was not like Reyes.
“I need a pretzel,” I said, ignoring my food.
Before any of them could say anything, I rose and walked to the bar, which put me a few precious feet closer to the happy couple. If he were ever to break up with me, I would so be that stalker ex- girlfriend who stole his underwear and hid in the hedges outside his bedroom window. But finally I had a clear path and could read Reyes’s emotions. Only I still couldn’t feel him.
He was blocking me!



**Spoilers for anyone who hasn't read Sixth Grave**

Typically when I'm reading a series that has been going on for this long, I'll have at least one book that I can say was just not as good as the others. With the Charley Davidson series, they're all amazing. Charley is always hilarious. Reyes is always oozing sex appeal. The secondary characters are always interesting. There are always plenty of mysteries to hold my attention. And the sex scenes are always incredibly HOT. I could never grow tired of this series.

Charley and Reyes' relationship still has plenty of ups and downs. They're both stubborn and continuously butting heads. Reyes wants to protect her and keep her safe and Charley just wants the freedom to continue on with her life and her career. It's not in her nature to sit still or to stop helping people, despite the fact that their lives could be in danger. 

In true Charley fashion, she manages to make her worries about becoming a mother both sweet and silly at the same time. It doesn't immediately click with Charley that her own needs can't come first anymore. She has a little one to think about now and while she has her doubts about her maternal abilities, I can't wait until we get to future installments when Charley becomes a mother. She's going to be fiercely protective, incredibly loving, and hilarious all at the same time. Can you imagine Charley giving life lessons to a kid? 

Another highlight of this story (although it was brief) was Mr. Wong. We may soon know this mysterious man's secrets! I've always been curious about Mr. Wong and I'm certain that we're getting closer to learning who he is and why he's there. 

As you'd expect from any installment in this series, Seventh Grave was the perfect blend of funny, dark, and sexy. I can never get enough of these characters and I'm always eager to see where the story line will take us next. It would have been nice to see just a bit more hellhound action, but I still loved the story regardless. 5 well-deserved stars.


~ Cat ~






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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

[Review] ~ Unteachable by Leah Raeder

Release date: March 24, 2014
Published by: Atria
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

Buy Links:  Amazon |B&N
Author links: Facebook |Author Web site




Maise O’Malley just turned eighteen, but she’s felt like a grown-up her entire life. The summer before senior year, she has plans: get into a great film school, convince her mom to go into rehab, and absolutely do not, under any circumstances, screw up her own future.
But life has a way of throwing her plans into free-fall.  When Maise meets Evan at a carnival one night, their chemistry is immediate, intense, and short-lived. Which is exactly how she likes it: no strings. But afterward, she can’t get Evan out of her head. He’s taught her that a hookup can be something more. It can be an unexpected connection with someone who truly understands her. Someone who sees beyond her bravado to the scared but strong girl inside.  That someone turns out to be her new film class teacher, Mr. Evan Wilke.  Maise and Evan resolve to keep their hands off each other, but the attraction is too much to bear. Together, they’re real and genuine; apart, they’re just actors playing their parts for everyone else. And their masks are slipping. People start to notice. Rumors fly. When the truth comes to light in a shocking way, they may learn they were just playing parts for each other, too.  Smart, sexy, and provocative, Unteachable is about what happens when a love story goes off-script.





This book had me from the very first page.  This book deals with a student-teacher romance and is graphic and raw in both sexual and emotional terms.  I've read a few books in this sub-genre, and this is by far the most developed and beautifully written of those books.  

When you're eighteen, there's fuck-all to do in a southern Illinois summer but eat fried pickles, drink PBR tallboys you stole from your mom, and ride the Tilt-a-Whirl till you hurl.

Maise O'Malley is a heroine that I fell in love with immediately.  She is a very strong girl who lost her innocence and naievity long ago.  Maise has lead a difficult life - her father isn't in the picture, her mother is an addict who is caught up in all sorts of bad shit, and she learned long ago not to count on anyone but herself.  But Maise isn't so hardened that she's unbearable or disillusioned.  She uses her tough girl persona to hide the fact that she is terrified on the inside.  She's terrified that she won't get out of the life she was born into.  She's terrified of the decisions she has made.  She's terrified that she's going to end up like her mother.  She is dealing with loneliness and self worth issues.  She wants all that life has to offer, but doesn't think it's something she will ever attain.  As Raeder writes in the novel, Maise is caught in the time between being an adult and a child.  But when she meets a handsome newcomer to her small town one summer night, it all begins to change.  

Thanks, Dad, for leaving a huge void in my life that Freud says has to be filled with dick.

Evan Wilke is a new to town.  Evan and Maise meet at a town carnival and spend one hot and steamy night together.  Immediately, Evan sees more in Maise than she knows.  Flash forward a couple of weeks, and we learn that Evan is the new teacher at Maise's school.  Let's be clear - Maise is 18-years-old during this book.  Although it is still frowned upon for a teacher to have a romantic relationship with a student, she is of legal age.  Evan is completely smitten with Maise, and Maise is obsessed with Evan.  In order to keep rumors at bay, they agree to continue their relationship in secret, although Evan offers more than once to quit his job for her.

I felt his kiss all the way through me.  I felt it in every hollow place, filling me with summer heat, starlight, sweat and abandon.

Evan and Maise are like fire together.  They are combustible, and burn anything in their way.  Maise sees Evan as stable - a nice guy is something she has never had before.  They go away on lovers weekends and spend nights together.  However, Evan is a broken man.  He is harboring secrets from his past, and when push comes to shove, he makes up his mind to do right by Maise.  Even is such an interesting character.  While reading this, I really liked the idea of him and Maise together.  He gave her something she had been searching for her entire life.  He made her feel like a real and decent person.  After reading this and thinking on it, I began to feel that Evan was creepy.  Really creepy.  We read this story through Maise's eyes, so it all appears sunshine and rainbows with some hard truths thrown in.  When looking at this story from Evan's perspective, though, it takes on a decidedly darker tone.

The storm had finally broken, tatters of cloud pulling apart like cotton candy and sprinkling the sky with the bright sugar grains of stars.  It felt like one of those timeless nights, not any season or year in particular, simply a snapshot of twenty-first-century loneliness.  Far away a train horn wailed, a sound out of a postapocalyptic landscape.  I felt like the last person alive on Earth.

There is a lot of drama and angst as this book progresses.  The taboo relationship begins in a whirlwind, full of promise and carefree love.  Soon, though, the real world intrudes.  Not only does Maise's mother cause her significant problems, forcing Maise to dabble in the illegal, but rumors about her and Evan begin to pick up steam at school.  A classmate tries to blackmail Maise, Maise has to find a clever way out of it, and just when you think Maise is in the clear, she faces yet another heartbreak.  There are so many plot lines running through this book that are expertly woven together.  It is a deep book that will stay with you long after you've finished turning the pages.  And the emotions!  Oh, the emotions in this book!  

The city at night gave me the same melancholy twinge I'd felt as a kid watching Mom plug in the Christmas tree.  Something beautiful and full of promise, but something you knew you could never touch.

This is an absolutely beautifully written book.  Not only can Raeder weave a compelling and intricate story, she writes in a fantastic voice.  She is poetic and writes visually.  The descriptions she includes had be closing my eyes and imagining I was in her book.  I can't even begin to tell you how many passages I highlighted while reading this.  The prose is lovely and I can't wait to read more from this author.

"I can't hold onto you.  You're like that shooting star.  Just a trail of fire in my hands."

The ending of this book was perfect.  It felt so true and genuine.  Maise's hopes and desires are within her reach, but just like real life, this isn't a fairy tale.  Her life is not a Hollywood movie.  Maise is following her dreams which is a scary thing when you are 18-years-old.  She is given a clean slate, and I'm only upset that this is a stand alone novel.  I would really, really love to hear what happens to Maise in the future.

Why did everything beautiful come from pain?

If you are a fan of dark romances, and don't mind the taboo nature of this story, than I highly recommend that you read this book.  It is a breath of fresh air in a sub genre that seems to go for the shock effect of the topic.  I found this book refreshing and to be what a New Adult book should be. Leah Raeder is a hot new author on the scene.  After reading Unteachable, it's a sure bet that I will read anything this talented lady writes.

"I've been waiting for months," I said, but what I thought was, I've been waiting my whole life.  I was so sure this was different, the kind of love story they made movies and books about, but in the end it was just a summer to a summer, a dizzying breath of honeysuckle and whiskey and candle smoke, inhaled, held, let go.




Review: Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels #5.5) by Ilona Andrews

Release Date: July 31, 2012
Source: Library Copy
Publisher: Ace
Author Links: Goodreads | Website | Twitter

The New York Times bestselling Kate Daniels novels have been hailed as “top-notch urban fantasy” (Monsters and Critics). Now, Ilona Andrews delves deeper into Kate’s world, and reveals its untold stories…
After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. She tries to put herself back together by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend. 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. Now she must work with Raphael as her search for the killer leads into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta. And dealing with her feelings for him might have to take a back seat to saving the world…




Since I decided to hop on the Kate Daniels train a few months ago, I've gobbled up every book in the series.
Now what do I do?
Sit patiently, and wait till some unknown time in 2015 for the next book to come out?
I don't think so!
There are a plethora of novellas to keep me occupied in the meantime. I will read them ALL!

Gunmetal Magic is listed as Kate Daniels #5.5, so when I requested this one from my library, I was fully expecting to get handed a shorty. You know, something I could read in an hour or two.
A little sumpin' sumpin' to take the edge off...
Whoa! This sucker was HUGE!
All this shock goes back to my refusal to read blurbs properly. 
300 plus pages does not equal a novella.
Anyway, I did my awkward Happy Dance, and the librarian (God bless her) didn't call security, so I was able to walk out of there with my prize.

This story takes place before Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6), so you finally get to find out how Andrea and Raphael kiss and make up.
I lovedlovedloved them both in this one! They have that over-the-top psycho shifter thing going on, and while it got a bit crazy at times, it was never dull.

The plot is just as good as any of the books about Kate. Same high-energy pace, and filled to the brim with magic, mystery, and mayhem.
Andrea is such a solid female character! She goes about doing her job to the best of her abilities, regardless of the mess in her personal life. Yes, it has an effect, but it doesn't stop her.
*fist pump*
There's a few cameos with Kate and Curran, but they don't steal the limelight away from Andrea.
Along with the mysterious deaths, you'll get the skinny on her childhood. And while it's touched on it the series, this time around you get the full story.
Trust me, it's totally worth it!

The breakout star of the show is Roman, though.
Where is his book? Cause I'd certainly read more about that guy!
Dark, mysterious, and funny as hell! As far as I'm concerned, he's the highlight of the story, and not to be missed. I know I've seen his character around in some of the other books, and liked him, but this took things to a whole new level. I'm really hoping Team Andrews decides to do a spin-off with this guy!

Awesome characters, interesting plot, and great writing.
And Roman. Don't forget Roman....
Highly recommended for fans of Kate Daniels!





Monday, October 20, 2014

[Blog Tour - Review and Giveaway) Burn For Me (A Hidden Legacy Novel #1) by Ilona Andrews



I am very excited to be hosting a blog tour stop for the amazing Ilona Andrews' and their newest book, Burn for Me.  This is a fantastic book and one that I urge all lovers of urban fantasy to check out!  Keep reading for a review and a giveaway!





Release date: October 28, 2014
Published by: Avon
Source: Publisher

Pre-Order:  Amazon 
Author links: Facebook 


Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire. Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.




Burn For Me is an action packed, exciting new book from the author duo of Kate Daniels fame.  This book is based on the idea that in 1863, scientists discovered the Osiris serum which brings out one's magical abilities.  Since that time, magical families have been honing and hoarding their power and have formed Houses, or business like entities run by the most powerful families.  The strong houses do everything to obtain more magic, including marrying for magical abilities.  

This is the story of Nevada Baylor and her investigation firm.  Nevada's magic allows her to discern immediately if someone is lying to her.  For various reasons, she has kept this information out of public knowledge.  She runs this firm with her family, including her gun toting, ex military mother and her hoot of a grandmother.  Her father passed away a few years previous to this story, and Nevada acts as the head of the family.  A Prime (the name used for the most powerful magic users) is on the rampage and the company that owns Nevada's mortgage forces her into an investigation that will most likely end with her dead.  Nevada is charged with bringing in Adam Pierce, Prime magic user with the power of fire, alive and delivering him to his family.  

Unbeknownst to Nevada, another man is implicated in Pierce's crimes - the cousin of Connor "Mad" Rogan.  The Scourge of Mexico!  Rogan and Nevada's first meeting is intense and terrifying.  They don't get off to a very good start, and this lays the foundation for Nevada's distrust of him.  Rogan seems to have lost a lot of his human-ness.  After spending time in the military, Rogan had become a sort of dehumanized and without much of a purpose in his life.  The more time Rogan spends with Nevada, the more charismatic and human he seems.  Rogan is roguish, charming and highly intelligent.  He's crazy hot and he likes a challenge.  

Move over Beast Lord.  There's a new Ilona Andrews hero in town and he isn't taking shit from anyone.  Well, at least anyone not named Nevada Baylor.  

The world building and the plot of this story are perfect.  I love the world Nevada and Rogan inhabit.  It seems on first glance very similar to the present day real world, but then you find it is completely different with its own set of rules and its own motivations.  There are quirky characters that live in some interesting places.  The plot is very well done and exciting.  Andrews' kept me guessing, wondering what was coming next.  I loved the interplay between characters and the relationships that developed.  

Burn for Me is full of fun and intense action scenes, interesting characters, lovely world building and a sizzling hot sexual tension that jumps off the pages.  I'm not going to say that this is my favorite Ilona Andrews book....because Kate Daniels.  But this book is ever bit as good, every bit as addictive and every bit as well written.  This is what I've come to expect from these amazingly talented authors, and they always deliver.

If you are a fan or urban fantasy, this is a must read book.  If you have enjoyed Ilona Andrews' previous work, then this book won't disappoint you.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a new story with magic, action and a bit of twisted romance!   I cannot wait for the next book in this series.  This series will be an auto-buy for me!  Well done, as always, Ilona Andrews! 









“Ilona Andrews” is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army.

Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him.

They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.) They have co-authored two New York Times and USA Today bestselling series, the urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and the romantic urban fantasy of The Edge and are working on the next volumes for both.

They live in Texas with their two children and many dogs and cats.










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[Coffee Shop Talks] What Groups or Clubs Do You Belong To?



What groups/clubs/etc do you belong to?


Surprisingly, I'm not a member of any book clubs. Not online or in real life. I've actually never even tried finding any book-related groups or clubs. I'm not even a part of a street team. I should probably change that soon..

The only group I belong to is an animal rescue group, Last Chance Pet Rescue, Inc. I'm a foster, volunteer, and manage their Facebook page. 

We had an adoption event over the weekend that went amazingly well. We had 7 adoptions and met a lot of really nice people. 

    

So what about you? Are there any groups or clubs that you belong to? 




     


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review: Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3) by Veronica Rossi

Release Date: January 28, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Library Copy
Author Links: Goodreads | Website | Twitter

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do—and they are just as determined to stay together.
Within the confines of a cave they're using as a makeshift refuge, they struggle to reconcile their people, Dwellers and Outsiders, who are united only in their hatred of their desperate situation. Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. Then Roar arrives in a grief-stricken fury, endangering all with his need for revenge.
Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble an unlikely team for an impossible rescue mission. Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival--he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.
In this final book in her earth-shattering Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.


This may not be one of the hottest YA titles out there right now, but it's certainly well-written and interesting.
Into The Still Blue is the conclusion to the Under the Never Sky trilogy, and it doesn't disappoint.
Perry and Aria have brought the remaining Dwellers and the Tides tribe together, but they now have to fight Sable and Hess for a chance to enter the Still Blue.

If you haven't read these yet, the premise is that (at some point) Earth's environment went nuts, and Aether storms made the outside world uninhabitable. Dwellers (like Aria) are people whose ancestors were selected by a lottery, and brought into Pods to live. Most of their lives have been spent in a virtual reality-like world called The Realm, due to lack of actual moving around space.
Outsiders (like Perry) are the remnants of the people left behind to face the harsh conditions of the...well outside. They have adapted somewhat, and some of them have mutations that give them to have extra senses (heightened hearing, ability to tell what people are feeling, etc.).
Perry and Aria met in book one, fell in love (eventually), and uncovered a conspiracy that has led them to this point in the book.
I mean, there's lots more to it, but that's the short version.

This one starts off with Aria waking up to a damaged arm from the previous book's ending. She, and a ragtag group of survivors from the Pod, must team up with Perry's Outsiders to try and rescue Cinder from Hess and Sable. They intend to use Cinder's power to try and open a hole in the Aether, and escape to the Still Blue, leaving Perry's tribe an Aria's friends trapped with the killer storms.
But with Roar still reeling from the death of his true love (and Perry's sister), his feelings about Sable (who killed her) may endanger the mission.
Dum, dum, dum...

This is a pretty darn good little dystopian trilogy.
Especially if you're looking for a young adult title that doesn't do the insta-love, and steers clear of the romance taking full control of the story. It's got a great love story, but it's a slow-burn kinds thing.
The ending is quite satisfying. Not everyone survives, but it won't make you want to throw the book across the room, either.
I'm not saying it's a must-read, but it's definitely something I'd recommend to fans of the genre.



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Release Day Review: Batman, Vol. 5: Zero Year - Dark City by Scott Snyder

Release Date: October 15, 2014
Publisher: DC
Source: NetGalley
Author Links: Twitter | Goodreads

Before the Batcave and Robin, The Joker and the Batmobile, there was ZERO YEAR. The Riddler has plunged Gotham City into darkness. How will a young Dark Knight bring his beloved hometown from the brink of chaos and madness and back into the light? This final ZERO YEAR volume collects BATMAN #25-27 and 29-33.








Origin of the Giant Penny!
Ok, maybe nobody else cared, but I thought it was cool of Snyder to give that massive Penny that Bruce keeps in the Batcave, a fresh start.
Dear Mr. Snyder,
Could you do the Dinosaur next?
Sincerely,
Anne

This is the second arc of Zero Year, which is Snyder's New 52 origin story for Batman.
It's not as dark as some of the previous origins, but it's not exactly light and fluffy, either.
This is a younger version of the Dark Knight. He's fallible, relatively inexperienced as Batman, and more mouthy than what we're used to seeing.
He sort of reminds me of Dick Grayson, with the snappy comebacks during fight scenes, you know?
Did I just say Snappy?
Holy shit. I did.
Did you know, that every time someone uses snappy in a sentence...
Somewhere an angel gets his AARP card?
That's deep, man. DEEP.

Anyhoo. Edward Nigma (last seen abandoning Wayne Industries) has returned as a full-fledged super villain.
The Riddler!
He's planning on taking Gotham hostage, and cleansing the earth, so to speak.
Can Batman unravel the clues fast enough to stop him?
Surprisingly...not at first.
Butbutbutbutbut, you say. He's the goddamn Batman!
Yeah, not so much. Or at least, not quite yet.
Butbutbutbutbut, you say. Batman is too well-prepared to be caught unawares!
Yeah, but nobody is born with Bruce Wayne's level of paranoia. That sort of thing is learned.
I mean, unless you're schizophrenic, of course.
So, I'm thinking that by showing Batman pull an epic fail, Snyder is giving us a solid reason for his wildly detailed contingency plans.
And also the Penny. Because, really, that was a highlight for me.

There were a couple of scenes I raised my eyebrow at, but, on the whole, this was another solid Snyder/Capullo team-up.
And if you're not reading this title, then you need to turn in you Cool Kid card.
Seriously.