RhiReading News

Dear readers,

Hi Rhireaders! Check out the latest events in the sidebar! Thanks for visiting, be sure and follow me on social media for MORE awesome content.

Did you drop by to request a review or tour stop? Due to high demand and a very busy schedule, I am currently CLOSED for unsolicited review requests. Thank you for thinking of me though!

I do have promotional openings for October 2017 through February 2018 open so please reach out. Just please drop me an email with a polite request and if I'm interested I will reply.

-- Rhi


Review: The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick

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The Kingmaking (Pendragon's Banner Trilogy #1) by Helen Hollick
Historical Fiction, Dark Ages
Trade Paperback (SOURCEBOOKS LANDMARK, 592 pages, $16.99)
ISBN# 1402218885
A novel of Arthur as he really was.
In the first book of this exciting trilogy, author Helen Hollick brings to life Arthur Pendragon as he really might have been. Leaving behind the fairy-tale element of Merlin's magic and the improbable existence of Lancelot, Hollick instead transports the reader to the early years of Britain circa 455 AD and tells the Arthurian legend in a solid and believable way.
For one, Arthur does not pull a sword from a stone using superhuman strength; rather, he is named heir to Britain (if he can win it from the tyrant Vortigern) while standing near a "hallowed stone, the symbol of a warrior's strength and the chieftain's right of leadership." Later, a sword won in battle signals his place as Britain's King.
This is a story of harsh battles, secret treasonous plots, and the life-threatening politics of the dark ages of early Britain. Intertwined through it all is the often-tested love of Arthur and Gwenhwyfar (Guinevere in Welsh - her name as it really would have been) as they struggle to survive and conquer to see Pendragon become King.

Author Site:

Remaking the Legend (5 stars)

There are many differing legends and ideas of who King Arthur was both as a man and as a ruler. Scholars can debate and those who love a good sword and sorcery story can dream but the truth is we will never know the truth. We are thus left with hundreds of interpretations and imaginings of who this legendary figure might have been. Hollick's version of events drops the knights and wizards elements common in Arthurian legend and treads upon a more it-could-have-been road.

With the Roman Empire leaving Britain to its own devices, the tribes have been left under the rule of Votigern a man who betrays them by taking a Saxon wife. Much of the book centers on the differences between the Saxon and the Briton peoples, their mutual dislike of one another. Thinking himself merely a bastard taken under the wing of a man who may or may not be his father young Arthur travels to the Gwynedd with Uthr Pendragon in preparation for war. Uthr will reclaim his throne from Votigern through strength of arms and the loyalty of his friend Cunedda, father of the wild lass Gwenhwyfar.

When Uthr falls in battle there is no one left who can take up the banner of the Pendragon and reclaim the throne. Until Cunedda reveals a secret he has kept for many years. But it will be years before the Pendragon is ready to rise again and with that time much can happen. Arthur will have to bow to the man he has sworn to rise against and give up his beloved Gwenhwyfar to reclaim Uthr's stolen throne.

Such a tough book to summarize, truly. I left so much out because I don't want to spoil anything! This story spans several years and thus a lot of story has to be told. I often struggle with a book this long as they tend to always reach a slow point where it feels as if the action will never pick up. Fortunately, Hollick knows how to fill these slower times with intrigue and the scandalous sort of stuff one might not expect in a book about Arthur and Gwenhwyfar. From Gwenhwyfar's cruel sister-in-law to Votigern's treacherous daughter Winifred the ladies of this story are just as violent and potentially evil as the men. If you enjoy a book that can mix that sort of thing with sword battles, cavalry strategy and a well explored world The Kingmaking really delivers.

Hollick makes few apologies for the artistic liberties she has taken but if you're not immediately sold on it she does offer an author's note I found very helpful as this particular historical era was not one I had ever explored in fiction. Those who are looking for familiar characters of Arthurian legend such as Lancelot or Merlin won't find them here but strangely, I didn't feel that this was a loss. I very much enjoyed that the characters were all believable, especially the villainous ones. It wasn't hard to imagine the lengths they could be driven to by the times and the world they lived in. The chemistry between this version of Arthur and Gwenhwyfar was also not unlikely and though it wasn't particularly courtly there was a realistic passion there.

I enjoyed The Kingmaking from cover to cover. Originally I had set out to read five chapters a night so I wouldn't get overwhelmed but quickly began cheating and reading just a few more. If you're looking for an engrossing Dark Ages tale with action and romance or you'd simply like to take another look at the legend of Arthur I highly recommend this book!


Review: The Mark of the Vampire Queen by Joey W. Hill

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The Mark of the Vampire Queen (Vampire Queen #2) by Joey W. Hill
Erotica, Paranormal Romance, Vampires
Trade Paperback (BERKLEY TRADE, 384 pages, $15.00)
ISBN# 0425219321
Full servant. With his new title, Jacob must attend to Lady Lyssa's every need, venturing into a world of passion darker than he's ever known. As a vampire hunter he wasn't prepared to embrace a world where humans are sexual commodities, but he has adapted. Now he finds the integrity of his soul challenged as he serves his Mistress's needs as fully as he services her desires.
He loves her, though other servants warn against giving her his soul. Everyone knows that Vampires have no regard for humans, so why would a Vampiress bother treating a mere sex toy with respect? But Jacob knows a human servant is far more than that. His Mistress needs a warrior, a friend and a lover. A man who will serve her in all ways, even if he has to betray the priceless treasure of her love.

Author Site:

Mastering The Mistress (4 stars)

Picking up where The Vampire Queen's Servant left off, The Mark of the Vampire Queen gives us a carefully written reminder of the previous installments events. Jacob Green has been given the third mark by Lady Lyssa. But she is dying and this leaves him bound to die with her if a cure for the Delilah virus cannot be found. Jacob's concern lies mainly in saving Lyssa though she must live if the vampire world is to maintain what little civility it currently has. There are some vampires who view humans not only as lesser beings but as less than even cattle.

With the Council's gathering approaching Lyssa needs to be in top health and the planning of her yearly kill must go through perfectly. Without it she will not last. But in helping her kill an innocent is Jacob compromising everything he has always stood for? The gathering itself may prove to be the undoing of everything both Jacob and Lyssa have worked for.

I do apologize for the slightly weak summary. There was a lot more plot packed into this book than the previous one. There are the preparations for the gathering and the gathering itself, then more story! If you enjoyed the first but wished it had just a bit more butt-kicking action this one will be a treat. What there was less of to an extent were the lengthy graphic sex scenes between Jacob and Lyssa. I think Hill did well in curbing that aspect of the book just enough to keep them from becoming stale and dull. There was a lot less of the BDSM element this time as well, for me I didn't mind but if you come in expecting it to top The Vampire Queen's Servant you'll likely be disappointed.

What I did greatly enjoy with this one was the vast use of secondary characters both to send the plot in many directions and in the sex scenes. I felt the scenes were multiple persons were sexually engaged were more tasteful and erotic than the first book. Seeing the vampire world openly at the gathering was a bit like watching Eyes Wide Shut, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a carefully plotted homage there. My only dislike about the book was that just when I thought the story was ended it went on. I really felt that the story could have ended at the one point and it would have been a little tragic but so much more romantic than the additional chapters.

Overall this was a fast paced and very well plotted story with great erotic threads tying it all together. If you're looking for an erotic paranormal romance with vampires this one is sure to please.


Guest Blog: Author Cheryl Brooks

Hello! I'm here to promote my new book, The Cat Star Chronicles: Rogue, which is due out the first of March.

Promoting a new book is harder than it sounds. You're asked to talk about how wonderful your book is and try to sell it. These days, money is tight all over, so why would anyone buy books? The answer? To take your mind off of your own problems, and when the book is set on another planet, it can divert your mind even further.

We all fantasize about romance, but in novels, that hint of danger and excitement has to be there to round out the story. In Rogue, the third book in the Cat Star Chronicles series, our heroine, Kyra Aramis faces a dilemma. She must choose between two irresistible alien lovers. She can't keep them—they are only on loan from the queen who owns them—but still, this is a problem plenty of women would absolutely love to have. To have two gorgeous brothers squabbling over which one gets you has to be a boost for any woman's self esteem.

And that's what women crave, you know. We all want to be admired and sought after; it's what makes us feel special, and we all like feeling special. Some ladies will tell you that they don't care for such things, but just take note of how they begin to glow whenever a man pays them a compliment. Even the toughest girl likes to hear that a man finds her attractive, but when that man is the sexiest thing she's ever seen in her life, and he has a brother who is just as hot, imagine the way it would make her feel. Beautiful. Desirable. Powerful.

With all the economic gloom and doom we hear on the news every day, we could all use a little something to make us smile. I try to incorporate as much humor into my novels as I can, and though my sense of humor might seem a little warped at times, for me, this writing adventure is about having fun. I might put something in there purely for the sake of laughter, and while it may not advance the story at all, I still believe it increases the enjoyment.

Sex is another thing to be enjoyed. As Rhianna has mentioned in her reviews of Slave and Warrior, my take on lovemaking is a bit more explicit than some, though there are other books out there that make mine seem tame. In my opinion, sex is the most fun adults can have. Period. It doesn't cost anything, and it can make you feel better than any drug, so why keep it hidden?

I try to incorporate as much fun, excitement, danger, romance, and hot sex in my stories to make for an enjoyable read. Books don't cost very much, and we could all use a little inexpensive fun these days. If I can take you away from your troubles for the time it takes to read a book and possibly longer—then I've done what I set out to do: Entertain.

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Cheryl Brooks
Author of The Cat Star Chronicles series
Slave, Warrior & Rogue

To celebrate its March 1st release, I am giving away a copy of Rogue to one of my lucky readers! All you have to do is leave a comment to this entry letting Cheryl and I know what you're doing to make sure you don't miss out on new books during these uncertain economic times (ie. borrowing from the library) by midnight Saturday, February 28th, 2009. I will choose a winner at random using random.org from the eligible comments to be announced on Sunday.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to leave a comment!
-- Rhi

Review: Rogue by Cheryl Brooks

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Rogue (The Cat Star Chronicles #3) by Cheryl Brooks
Paranormal Romance, Sci-fi Romance
Mass Market Paperback (SOURCEBOOKS CASABLANCA, 384 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 1402217625
Trag and Tychar are brothers sold into slavery when their planet was destroyed. Their race carries a feline gene, giving them sinuous beauty and extraordinary sexual powers. Tychar's female conquests are legendary, but they never meant much to him, and Trag just laughs at his playboy brother. Living on Darconia, a planet of friendly but unattractive lizards, neither has been with a woman in many years. When the queen hires Kyra Aramis, a human from Earth, to teach piano to her children, Trag and Tychar agree to share the female and set out to win her over...
But suddenly Tychar becomes possessive - Kyra is unlike any woman he's ever known. But he's sure he's ruined any chance of her trusting him with her heart...

Author Site:

Lions and Dinosaurs and Octopus-fingered Guys - OH MY! (5 stars)

Kyra is a piano teacher from Earth looking for a little adventure when she accepts a job teaching on the distant planet of Darconia. Hot, dry and not particularly beautiful Darconia is home to a dinosaur-esque race ruled by Queen Scalia. As far as rulers go, Scalia is quite progressive, welcoming outsiders from other worlds in the interest of enjoying diversity, technology and in the case of Kyra, entertainments. Among her many interests in off-worlders, Scalia has collected 'slaves' from other planets. Most prized among these are a pair of feline featured males the likes of which Kyra has never seen. One smile from the one called Tychar and she's ready to set him free.

Tychar and his brother Trag have been slaves on Darconia for the past twenty years. During this time the sexual prowess for which their race's males are notorious has gone to waste. Unable to become aroused by the Darconians they have lived a quiet, if lonely, existence hidden within Scalia's palace. Then Kyra arrives and the twenty-year famine ends for Tychar when Scalia makes him her personal servant. Her scent, her desire, awakens his dormant nethers. Whether Scalia intended this all along in hopes of breeding more of her beautiful Zetithians or whether this is a happy coincidence Kyra can only guess. But there are two brothers to be bred and Trag certainly isn't happy to be left out. Can Kyra convince Scalia to free Tychar? What is she to do about Trag? And what's with the octopus-fingered guy?

Blending once more the humor, eroticism and adventure she is quickly becoming known for, Cheryl Brooks hits it out of the ballpark again! I will admit, I was a little concerned about where this story could go with two Zetithian slaves and one quiet piano teacher from earth. But Brooks knows just how to take such a storyline to a point for the sake of the erotic side of the story while not killing the romance between two characters. Kyra and Tychar has great chemistry, though I still think Captain Jack is my favorite heroine of the series thus far.

In the previous stories secondary characters didn't play as large of roles as I tend to like but Rogue required a lot of them. The Darconians were really interesting and amusing, I grew particularly fond of Wazak the palace's Chief of Security. From Scalia's children learning the piano to Kyra becoming more open to the cultural norms of their world her interactions with the Darconians were always entertaining. There were also the other slaves Scalia kept, the toad-like Refdeck and the octopus-fingered Sladnil were great additions to the storyline. If this weren't a romance series I'd have loved to see their worlds. I love that Brooks isn't afraid to get adventurous with her alien races both in their physical descriptions but in discussing their sexuality.

Of course, no review in this series would be complete without mentioning the sex. Maybe this one is just fresher in my mind but there seemed to be a LOT more of that going on. It would be my one small complaint about the story... there was almost too much of it for my personal tastes. What I enjoyed very much though was the dirty talk. You don't see it enough. Tastefully nasty pillow talk done to perfection! Not many authors I have read can pull it off. I can't stand when characters are telling one another what to do in bed as if they are putting together a bicycle. Thankfully if you enjoy characters expressing their passion and sensual desires in a way that feels natural and real this book has it.

Overall this was a really enteraining book and added nicely to the series. The humor, the adventure and the sensuality made this one a definite recommended read.


What's New?

February has been a very busy month. Lots of great books have come out this month and I've been working hard setting up a bit of a plan for the year's entries. I'm working on a tentative theme for each month this year. My reading—and thus the majority of reviews I will post in each month—will focus on a different topic or type of book for each one. I was a little hesitant to do this but aside from the series I plan to review consistently I felt this was a good way to have some order in this madness called blog.

So far testing the theme idea for the month of February has worked really well. Since Erotic Paranormal Romance month went over nicely I've decided that March is going to be Shapeshifter month! Werecats and werewolves are on the menu with some great newer books in my TBR pile. Pride by Rachel Vincent, Night Huntress by Yasmine Galenorn and Destiny of the Wolf by Terry Spear are just a couple of the books I'll be reading and reviewing for March. At the end of the month I will also be having a guest blogging visit from Terry Spear.

And speaking of guests... the lovely Cheryl Brooks, whom you all know I LOOOOOVE, is guest blogging here tomorrow! With that I will be giving away a copy of her new release Rogue!!! Make sure you drop by for details and to see what she has to say about her latest release and to read my review of Rogue.

Have a terrific week!
-- Rhi

P.S. - I completely forgot to mention earlier that I posted my old review of Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione today! This is because the second book in the series officially came out today. My review mentions the next two books as Shadow Lover and Eternally Embraced but those titles have since changed to Desire Unchained and Passion Unleashed. I heard that Desire Unchained hit shelves weeks ago but couldn't find it anywhere. *sulk* But I found it this morning when I was picking up some groceries at my local Walmart. This was one of my favorite new series of 2008 so get out there and pick it up. ;D

Review: Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione

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Pleasure Unbound (Demonica #1) by Larissa Ione
Paranormal Romance, Demons
Mass Market Paperback (FOREVER, 416 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 044640103X
Released: June 2008 (Reviewed: June 2008)
In a place where ecstasy can cost you your life . . .
She's a demon-slayer who hungers for sensual pleasure-but fears it will always be denied her. Until Tayla Mancuso lands in a hospital run by demons in disguise, and the head doctor, Eidolon, makes her body burn with unslakable desire. But to prove her ultimate loyalty to her peers, she must betray the surgeon who saved her life.
Two lovers will dare to risk all.
Eidolon cannot resist this fiery, dangerous woman who fills him with both rage and passion. Not only is she his avowed enemy, but she could very well be the hunter who has been preying upon his people. Torn between his need for the truth and his quest to find his perfect mate before a horrific transformation claims him forever, Eidolon will dare the unthinkable-and let Tayla possess him, body and soul...

Author Site:

Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy have a meeting of the minds. (5 stars)

Finally! An author takes some of the best elements of Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy and stirs them together to build a really enjoyable start for a new series. Mix romance and steamy sex scenes with the dark brooding bite of good urban fantasy and you get Pleasure Unbound.

Welcome to Underworld General Hospital. Where the doctors are incubi, the nurses are vampires and the paramedics howl at the moon. This sanctuary where anyone can seek medical attention is headed up by hot doctor Eidolon. Someone in New York has been kidnapping demons and harvesting their organs for the black market. When the hospital's EMTs bring in a mangled demon and his would-be killer he's the only thing standing between the slayer and a quick death. Tayla Mancuso is a member of The Aegis, a group of demon slayers who call themselves Guardians. Not realizing she's not in a normal hospital or for that matter that she isn't dreaming she gets horizontal (and vertical!) with her sexy savior. When she comes around, however, she's shocked to find out she's not only in a demon hospital but that not all demons are evil.

Rumor has it The Aegis is behind the organ harvesting but there are too many holes in that theory and Tayla and Eidolon, as well as his brothers Shade and Wraith are going to have to investigate more if they want to stop the killing. Complicating the investigation is the fact that Eidolon is going through his species' final sexual maturation phase and he's losing control of his body and his mind a little more each time he is drawn to Tayla. Worse yet, the brothers have discovered that Tayla is actually half-demon. Her demon side is trying to take over her body and is slowly killing her. In order to save herself she will have to allow the brothers to integrate her demon half and her human half. With these complicated issues and a mystery to solve this is one book you will struggle to put down.

Wow. Let me just say it again... WOW. I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. I'd never read this author but the folks in Amazon's PNR forum had good things to say about her writing style so I took a chance. And I'm darned glad I did. This book could easily have been a pure urban fantasy if you toned down the romance and sex a bit. On the same token it could have been pure paranormal romance if you cut out some of the darker elements and added in more mushy parts. Ione managed to find a spectacular balance between the two that is rarely found in either genre.

I very much enjoyed this book and will be quick to snap up the next two. Shadow Lover, Shade's story, and Eternally Embraced, Wraith's story, are due out next spring but dates can change so visit Ione's site or check Amazon later this year for the exact dates. If you like Jacquelyn Frank's Nightwalkers series, Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld or Lara Adrian's Midnight Breeds you should give this series a try. Think General Hospital meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer! hehe! Happy reading!


Review: Fairyville by Emma Holly

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Fairyville by Emma Holly
Erotica, Paranormal Romance, Fae
Trade Paperback (BERKLEY TRADE, 320 pages, $14.00)
ISBN# 0425217051
Zoe Clare is a medium who has no trouble communicating with the dead-or with real live fairies, for that matter! But she can't seem to get her feelings across to her landlord-slash-manager- Magnus Monroe, Fairyville, Arizona's most eligible bachelor. She's tired of his erotic antics with every woman in town but her. So when her high school flame returns to town, Zoe is more than a little vulnerable to his charms. How Alex broke herheart is a scandal no one in Fairyville has forgotten. But even if Zoe isn't ready to forget, she's willing to forgive. The rules they're about to break will bring out the jealousy in Magnus-and the astounding truth.
Author Site:

Not My Fae-vorite EPNR Read (3 stars)

Zoe Clare talks to dead people... and fairies. Communicating for the dead to the living in Fairyville, Arizona might seem a bit eccentric but she's certainly not the only oddball in town. Her manager—the man she wishes was her own—is a bit quirky too. Magnus Monroe has a lot of secrets, deepest of which is why he can't be more than just friends with Zoe. Bedding a new lady every full moon is the only way to maintain his residence in Fairyville and stay close to her.

When her high school flame and his partner show up in Fairyville to investigate a mother's strange claim that her five-year-old son can't be her flesh and blood, things get even more complicated. Alex's conflicting feelings for the girl he left behind and his best friend lead the trio places both in the investigation and in the bedroom that leave all three wondering just where this is all leading.

I heard so many rave reviews about this one. I've read one of Holly's Upyr series and really love the way she writes, but this one was a struggle. I consider myself pretty open when it comes to reading all sorts of gender pairings but Fairyville was almost too much. I think what made it difficult for me was that there was so very little world building and explanation of why the Fey in this had the sexual tendencies they did. As a reader I can buy just about anything as long as there's an explanation that makes some sense. It came across almost as if the author assumed the readers would all know what her version of Fey should be like.

Plot-wise there was great potential to make this a good book with lots of erotic content. The scenes themselves could have been enjoyable if the worst possible writer's bungle hadn't become really obvious to me. It's commonly said that it is the author's job to SHOW not TELL. There was waaaaaay too much talking during the love scenes. I like dirty talk! But the majority of it wasn't dirty talk it was one character instructing another character in ways that weren't sexy. You can tell a lover to move faster with one word, it doesn't take ten.

So overall, I really thought this one could have been better. Holly has written better! I'd suggest checking out her Upyr series or if you're really interested in some good Fae world building check out Richelle Mead's Dark Swan series.


Review: The Vampire Queen's Servant by Joey W. Hill

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The Vampire Queen's Servant (Vampire Queen #1) by Joey W. Hill
Erotica, Paranormal Romance
Trade Paperback (BERKLEY TRADE, 384 pages, $14.00)
ISBN# 0425215903
Lady Elyssa Yamato Amaterasu Wentworth is a centuries-old vampire who's been given a new servant-Jacob, a total alpha male unaccustomed to submitting to any woman's wishes. What really binds Jacob to her are not her sensual midnight hungers, but something far more provocative. It stirs her blood, renews her life, and awakens her soul like only true love can. The passion between Elyssa and Jacob yields something else unexpected-a shared history that reaches back through the centuries and is fated to challenge their destiny like nothing ever will again.
Author Site:

Mistress May I? (4 stars)

Lady Lyssa doesn't want another human servant. To take another would mean losing him the way she lost Thomas, the monk who served her faithfully for hundreds of years. But Thomas' dying wish is that his mistress be protected and cared for. As queen of the vampires Lyssa's enemies are many and she cannot show weakness. The greatest of these being the mysterious illness that has plagued her for some time now.

Jacob Green has hunted vampires alongside his brother Gideon for most of his adult life. But one look at Lady Lyssa compelled him to be a part of her life. Thinking himself prepared by Thomas' tutelage he comes to Lyssa ready to serve, but unwilling to submit. She may not want a new human servant but she can't deny the wanting she feels for Jacob. If he is going to be her protector she must make him her submissive in all things; physically, emotionally and sexually. Can either deny that through it all something deeper and stronger than lust connects them?

I haven't read erotica really in quite a long time. I've always found it very difficult to read it when there's not some sub-story outside of the sex. Sure, you read erotica for the sexual nature of it, but is it too much to ask for there to be some action too? Fortunately, The Vampire Queen's Servant delivers on both smoothly. The plot of the story and the building of Lyssa's world gives the sex purpose and depth. It never feels overly gratuitous or out of place which is a feat worthy of praise.

Though I personally do not care for 'forced' sexual situations the BDSM was light enough that it was intriguing and sensual. The push-and-pull relationship that Lyssa and Jacob share spills over into their erotic encounters which makes the question of who will be initiating them anyone's guess. I very much enjoyed that Hill chose locations for the encounters that weren't conventional. The only scene I didn't particularly care for was an orgy, not so much because I don't care for several couplings happening at once, I just didn't like the casualness. I like there to be more emotional attachment between partners. Overall the book was well... hot. It blended great elements of paranormal romance with grittier sexuality than is typical, a great change of pace.


Review: Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk

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Magic to the Bone (Allie Beckstrom Series #1) by Devon Monk
Urban Fantasy, Magic
Mass Market Paperback (ROC, 368 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 0451462408
Using magic means it uses you back, and every spell exacts a price from its user. But some people get out of it by Offloading the cost of magic onto an innocent. Then it’s Allison Beckstrom’s job to identify the spell-caster. Allie would rather live a hand-to-mouth existence than accept the family fortune—and the strings that come with it. But when she finds a boy dying from a magical Offload that has her father’s signature all over it, Allie is thrown back into his world of black magic. And the forces she calls on in her quest for the truth will make her capable of things that some will do anything to control...
Author Site:

Every Little Thing She Does (5 stars)

Allie Beckstrom is a Hound, the best damn Hound running around Portland, Oregon. Magic use has a price to all who use it. Maybe something as simple as a week long sore throat but maybe something far more painful and potentially deadly. When someone isn't willing to pay the price an illegal Offload onto a stranger can prove useful. That's where Allie comes in and finds out who has done it. Tracking down the Offloader and making sure they get prosecuted for their crimes can be a dangerous line of work and in Allie's case not very profittable. But how can she turn down a little pro bono Hounding when a child is nearly killed by an illegal offload?

When her Hounding leads her back to her father's door after walking away seven years ago she falls into a side of magic she never knew existed. The hunter becomes the hunted and everything Allie knows about the fundamentals of magic begins to come into question. Could someone have forged her father's signature on the Offload? What does the man her father hired to follow her, Zayvion Jones, have to do with all of this? And just who can she trust in a world where magic can be both friend and foe?

It's not often I intentionally take a book a bit slow when I want to read it fast. Magic to the Bone was such a good read, never getting too slow or becoming so confusing I had to backtrack. Allie is impossible to compare to other heroines of the genre. One of the prices of her magic use is memory loss, something that really gives her depth and keeps her interesting. The contrast between she and her non-magic user friend Nola is a real treat. It isn't often that you get to enjoy a character who stands outside the realm of the wild and the weird confidently, Nola really balances Allie out and plays a great supporting role. The dynamic between these two was very refreshing! A relationship between friends that felt real.

Being a native of the Pacific Northwest I have to note that I loved how well Monk writes the locations she uses to the point that they feel like another character. There's nothing generic about them so it is easy to imagine yourself seeing what Allie sees.

One can't review this book without also commenting on Zayvion Jones. I liked him from the moment he showed up on the page. He's mysterious and cool, pretty much everything Allie isn't. He has a confidence that isn't easily shaken and makes for a great hero to Allie's heroine. Their relationship throughout the story did feel a tiny bit rushed but that's Allie's personality coming through. Like Nola I wanted to shout at her to be careful!

Overall it was an excellent read, one not to be missed. A well built mythos and magic system, characters that are likable but still leave some fleshing out for further novels and just overall smooth narration.


I Heart February!

Sooo... Halloween may be my favorite holiday, but Valentine's has always been a close second. I never bought into it as a purely romantic holiday. Maybe it's because I never had a crush on just one boy or because I always gave a card to every student in my class. Whatever made Valentine's a day to express love in all forms for me I am glad it did. Now that I'm a mommy and a wife it's always a pretty special day. I have two wonderful guys to share my day or hearts and candy with. :)

In addition to February being most obviously the celebration of Valentine's Day, it's also the month of my darling husband's birthday. Every year I get to think up something really neat to do for him. But this year I am utterly stumped! I wanted to buy him a bottle of cologne since this will be our 10th birthday together and he's due for something new. Unfortunately that would require me prying his favorite (Calvin Klein's Eternity) from his cold dead fingers. Hmmm, I don't see that as a particularly viable option. I definitely don't have the funds for a large HDTV either. Rats. But I've still got a couple of weeks to figure it out. Wish me luck.

So loooots of great books coming out this month! Topping my list is Larissa Ione's Desire Unchained. LOVED the first book and it was a completely fluke purchase. Right below that would be the third installment of Rachel Vincent's Werecats series, Pride. Now of course, everyone's seen my list of anticipated releases for the month but Ms. Vincent is having a contest that requires a second mention!

Pride (Werecats #3) by Rachel Vincent
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Shapeshifters
Mass Market Paperback (MIRA, 400 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 0778326497
Release Date: February 1st, 2009
I'm on trial for my life. Falsely accused of infecting my human ex-boyfriend—and killing him to cover up the crime. Infecting a human is one of three capital offenses recognized by the Pride—along with murder and disclosure of our existence to a human.
I'm two for three. A goner.
Now we've discovered a rogue stray terrorizing the mountainside, hunting a wild teenage tabbycat. It's up to us to find and stop him before a human discovers us. With my lover Marc's help, I think I can protect the vulnerable girl from both the ambitious rogue and the scheming of the territorial council.
If I survive my own trial…

Author Site: http://rachelvincent.com/

I how I didn't want to fall prey to that contest but... autographed copies & heart-shaped chocolate? It's like she knew I was going to be reading her blogness and catered her contest to my desires. :D Naughty!

So what else makes February fantastic? I've decided I am declaring it EROTIC PARANORMAL ROMANCE month for RhiReading. Why? Because I think every once in a while a gal just needs a little more spice in her reading. That and guess who's coming to guest blog on the 25th? Cheryl Brooks of course! With her third installment in the Cat Star Chronicles, Rogue, coming out soon we're all about the promoting. I've got my copy and I am loving it so far guys. Keep visiting so you don't miss out on the guestness... I might even be having a giveaway of my own! ;D

Well ladies and gents, I have been suffering from a cold this weekend so I am off to curl up with some tea and ... okay not gonna lie here... a movie. Ha! I need some mindless entertainment. But then I'll be hitting the hay with Rogue. I need my kittycat fix.
-- Rhi


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