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? I am currently CLOSED for review requests for ALL review requests due to time contraints. I have promotional openings for February through July open though so please reach out. Just please drop me an email with a polite request and if I'm interested I will reply.

♥ -- Rhi


3.31.2009

Review: Night Huntress by Yasmine Galenorn

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Night Huntress (Sisters of the Moon #5) by Yasmine Galenorn
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Fae, Shapeshifters
Mass Market Paperback (BERKLEY, 320 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0425225461
The D’Artigo sisters are half-human, half-Fae operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. Delilah, a werecat who’s one of the Autumn Lord’s Death Maidens, has to fight off the demon general who stole the third Spirit Seal and is now out for blood.
Author Site:
www.galenorn.com


Two Steps Forward, One Step Back (4 stars)

The D'Artigo sisters are back for the fifth time with werecat Delilah to tell the story. With four previous stories there's a lot of background that has lead us up to this latest adventure. In short the three sisters have come to Earth from their home in Otherworld, have become Earth's protectors from the demons of the Sub-Realms and made some interesting friends and enemies along the way. Delilah was marked by the Autumn Lord in Changeling. Becoming his only living Death Maiden she has gained the ability to shapeshift not just into her little tabbycat form but into the form of a panther. But having a new form isn't really a gift it's part of her new job. Sending Delilah on a special mission he lets her know he has plans for her, one in particular she may not be sure she is ready for.

Meanwhile, Karvanak, the nasty demon the sisters have faced before, has kidnapped Chase (Delilah's full blooded human boyfriend) to use as a hostage. He wants the fourth Spirit Seal in exchange but there's no way in hell the sisters are willing to risk their homes for the life of one man. It's up to them to find a way to rescue Chase, protect the fourth Seal and destroy Karvanak before the tables get turned.

Bah! I really was hoping for another story I would love as I had the last two. Unfortunately, Night Huntress just fell short in several ways. For one, the storyline direction that the author took with Chase and Delilah's relationship felt unnecessarily random. For fans who have liked their relationship this change may be a disappointment. Once again the author had her characters doing a lot of conflict-meets-instant-solution type plotting which left me frustrated because I enjoy seeing characters struggle to come up with a good plan or needing some outside power to guide them to the right solution. There was a lot of talking when it wasn't suited to the scene and over-description to the point of beating dead horses at times. When there's too much "what should we do?" going on in the middle of a fight it bogs the action down.

While those things definitely frustrated me there were many good parts of the book as well. Carefully sprinkled throughout are important little additions to the story that serve to help the many different sub/side stories move forward. Finding out what's happening with the civil war in OW and hints about Menolly's vampire group strengthen to plot of the series. The list of secondary characters in this series has gotten a bit overloaded (in my opinion) but again some of those serve important purposes.

Night Huntress is definitely not my favorite of the series so far but it was by no means awful.

Review: Dragon Wytch by Yasmine Galenorn

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Dragon Wytch (Sisters of the Moon #4) by Yasmine Galenorn
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Fae, Witches
Mass Market Paperback (BERKLEY, 304 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 042522239X
Released: July 2008 (Reviewed: July 2008)
The D’Artigo sisters are half-human, half-Fae operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. Camille is doing her best to juggle magic, men, and the demonic war into which they’ve been thrust—until she discovers a secret that could change all their lives.
Author Site:
www.galenorn.com


Which Witch is Wytch? (5 stars)

Dragon Wytch is the fourth book in the Sisters of the Moon series, the follow-up of Darkling(3). In Witchling(1) we meet the D'Artigo sisters- Camille, the eldest who is a witch, Delilah, the middle child who is a werecat, and Menolly, the baby of the family who is a vampire.

The plots of Witchling(1), Changeling(2) & Darkling(3) established the confusing existance of the three realms- Otherworld, Earth and the Subteranean Realms and introduces us to a host of otherwordly species from both those found on Earth and those from without. The three D'Artigo sisters and their friends have been fighting to protect their home, Otherworld, and their new home in Seattle (in the Earth realm) from the demon forces of Shadow Wing. There's civil war going on back home in Otherworld and there are twelve Spirit Seals hidden on earth that could open the portals between all three realms letting loose the demons of the Sub-realms into the others, destroying all life as we know it.

Returning to Camille as narrorator (she narrorated Witchling) we're picking up with the protection of the realms but there's a whole new cast of characters and troubles. A royal prince of the unicorns has come to give Camille a special gift, one that only she can wield, but first they have to find the pixie who was carrying it who was captured. Morgaine, yes *that* Morgaine, is also on the hunt for this mystical hierloom and she's camped out near Smoky's on Mt. Rainier annoying the crud out of the dragon. She's intent on raising the Earthside fae's courts back to life and needs Camille to help her do it. Then there's Benjamin, a human who has seen visions of a stone and demons, his family thinks he's crazy, but Morio thinks there's more to his visions than the ramblings of a nutcase.

Lots of fighting, plenty of sisterly antics and a sprinkle of Camille and her triad of men makes for a very involved but strangely smooth plot. If you've been following the series and are a fan of Morio and Smoky you will probably really enjoy the face time these two get.

I'll be honest... the first two books in the series didn't quite fully sell me on Galenorn as a fiction writer. Conceptually they were good but I needed to see a stronger voice coming through. Darkling it started to show and Dragon Wytch showed how very much she's grown as a fiction writer. I'm really happy with how far along she's come and how well she's crafted not only a really good urban fantasy realm and characters, but at how very well she's kept them. Smoky fans might argue a bit after reading this book, he did seem slightly less dragonly in this one, but I think that was done intentionally because of where Galenorn went with him and Camille.

If you've been reading the series this is a must read! Sexy, action packed and impossible to put down. Enjoy!

Review: Darkling by Yasmine Galenorn

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Darkling (Sisters of the Moon #3) by Yasmine Galenorn
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Fae, Vampires
Mass Market Paperback (BERKLEY, 304 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0425218937
Released: January 2008 (Reviewed: March 2008)
The D'Artigo sisters, Camille, Delilah, and Menolly, are half-human, half- Fae operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. When humans begin to go missing, then turn up as newly born vampires, Menolly- an acrobat extraordinaire-turned-vampire- must face the demons haunting her memories.
Author Site:
www.galenorn.com


From the darkness springs a light. (5 stars)

Darkling is the third book in the Sisters of the Moon series, the follow-up of Changeling(2). In Witchling(1) we meet the D'Artigo sisters- Camille, the eldest who is a witch, Delilah, the middle child who is a werecat, and Menolly, the baby of the family who is a vampire.

The plot of Witchling establishes the confusing existance of the three realms- Otherworld, Earth and the Subteranean Realms and introduces us to a host of otherwordly species from both those found on Earth and those from without. Darkling draws us further into the darker sides of these races. Menolly is dragged into a hunt for her own kind this time: vampires. The tale of how she was turned is revealed this time, giving us a new villain to loathe, Menolly's sire, Dredge. She's pretty sure he's behind the recent murders and turnings happening around Seattle, she just has to find out if he's working for his own agenda or that of Shadow Wing.

Though darker in tone and content, Darkling is a story about healing. Menolly has been through so much more than anyone close to her knows and she finally has to face her demons both inside and out. Some fans will be disappointed that Smoky makes no appearance in this book but Maggie, Iris, Erin and Tim/Cleo, some other fan faves are all here and greatly enrich the story.

I personally enjoyed Darkling the most of the three books in the series thus far. It was more emotional, touching and empowering than the other installments and Menolly turned out to be so much more than I had anticipated. A great new character, Roz, is introduced and while this story went off into left field regarding the main thread of the series it brought the sisters closer together which I think will be very important in future books. Greatly looking forward to the next installment- Dragon Wytch.

Review: Changeling by Yasmine Galenorn

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Changeling (Sisters of the Moon #2) by Yasmine Galenorn
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Fae, Shapeshifters
Mass Market Paperback (BERKLEY, 304 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0425216292
Released: June 2007 (Reviewed: December 2007)
Now comes Changeling-again featuring Camille, the good witch, Menolly, the vampire, and Delilah, a feline shapeshifter. They're the D'Artigo sisters, half-human, half-Faerie supernatural agents who are now enlisted to find the fiends responsible for slaughtering the weres of Rainier Puma Pride.
Author Site:
www.galenorn.com


Too many witches spoil the brew. (3 stars)

Changeling is the second book in the Sisters of the Moon series, the follow-up of Witchling. In Witchling we meet the D'Artigo sisters- Camille, the eldest who is a witch, Delilah, the middle child who is a werecat, and Menolly, the baby of the family who is a vampire.

After the plot of Witchling establishes the confusing existance of the three realms- Otherworld, Earth and the Subteranean Realms, Changeling picks up the same plot regarding the big bad evil known as Shadow Wing who is threatening to run the other two realms over. Of course that story alone wouldn't be enough so this book has Delilah approached by a member of the Rainier Puma Pride. The Pride has had a handful of mysterious murders and have finally gotten scared enough to look for help. Insert an even more confusing story about Native Americans who were turned into werespiders that now work for Shadow Wing and have an ancient grudge against the Pumas and you have the basic premise.

I know that many others have enjoyed this story more than Witchling, but I am the opposite. I felt that this story was not well plotted so that the two storylines intersected in a way that wasn't confusing and weak. I also feel that these books would have been better if they were not written in the first person perspective because Delilah felt just like Camille to me. In fact, I had a real hard time finishing the book because I could not buy Delilah as an entity unto herself.

The books aren't bad by any means, I think they have a great concept and not unlikable characters... I just feel like there too many characters and plots packed into this one book without being fleshed out individually enough to please a fan of other well loved paranormal serieses. The author also did two of my pet peeves in writing in this book which grated my nerves- she would "read directions" or rather write out how the characters were driving to a place down to the right and left turns to the point of seeming like filler AND she introduced a new character VERY late into the book, told us very little about them and then they were killed off like a nameless technician in an episode of Star Trek. I just personally would have preferred having a little bit of a reason to care that the character died, not be left feeling like this one was cannon fodder.

Review: Witchling by Yasmine Galenorn

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Witchling (Sisters of the Moon #1) by Yasmine Galenorn
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Fae, Witches
Mass Market Paperback (BERKLEY, 304 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0425212548
Released: October 2006 (Reviewed: July 2007)
Meet the D'Artigo sisters: half-human, half-faerie, they're savvy-and sexy-operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. But their mixed-blood heritage short-circuits their talents at all the wrong times. Delilah shapeshifts into a tabby cat whenever she's stressed. Menolly's a vampire who's still trying to get the hang of being undead. And Camille is a wicked-good witch, except her magic's as unpredictable as the weather, as her enemies are about to find out-the hard way.
Author Site:
www.galenorn.com/


If Witchling were a soda it'd be diet. (3 stars)

Attempt at a witty review title aside I think it conveys my overall opinion pretty well. If you love paranormals with heroines akin to Buffy or the Halliwell sisters this is right up your alley. Any comparison to literary heroines would bring those gals down just a little.

Meet the D'Artigo sisters, mom was a human, dad is fae. Oldest sister Camille, a witch, tells this first story. Operatives for the Otherworld Intelligence Agency they are the protectors of the line between Otherworld (their home realm) and Earth. When a baddy from the Subterranean Realms threatens to upset the balance between the three realms Camille and sisters Delilah, a shapeshifter, and Menolly, a vampire, have to kick some bad guy butt. Throw in the rich setting of the Pacific Northwest and some hot guys to keep the lust tension going and you have the perfect light reading.

While not quite as well built, planned and plotted as other heroines in the genre don't count these girls out. Characters like Rachel Morgan or Mercy Thompson are the caloric equivalent of a regular cola and these would make a great diet substitute. Lighter reading for in between the meatier series's. Enjoy!

3.27.2009

Review: Pride by Rachel Vincent

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Pride (Werecats #3) by Rachel Vincent
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Shapeshifters
Mass Market Paperback (MIRA, 400 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 0778326497
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/


Werecats and Werebears and Drama, Oh My! (4 stars)

Before I go into the plot of this book please, please note that this book cannot stand alone. You have to read both Stray and Rogue for any of this book's plot to make sense.

Faythe is back and this time she's in more trouble than most tabbies could even dream of getting into. She accidentally infected her former human boyfriend and then killed him in self-defense. That'd all be a great 'war-story' if it weren't for the fact that there are laws within the Pride against both infecting humans AND killing a fellow Pride cat. Now she's on trial for her crimes. This is one situation where her dad can't just bail her out. Gathered together in the Montana wilderness, a neutral zone suited for the task at hand, the Territorial Council is there to decide her fate. Unfortunately, in the werecat world you're guilty until proven innocent. Unless she can prove the partial shift and her innocence Faythe will be facing punishment. As a tabby, one of the few and valued female werecats, she should be facing being caged or losing her claws but because she's made it quite clear she has no plans to be a walking baby factory the Council thinks her life isn't worth preserving.

As if this weren't enough drama, the cabin compound is visited by a bruin (yep, a werebear!) who claims that the cats have been bothering his territory. The Pride definitely isn't involved which leaves only strays to be causing trouble on the mountain. But when the bruin brings in an unconcious tabby he's mistaken for Faythe the plot really thickens. Where did a barely teenaged tabby come from and where is her Pride? How has she survived this long alone and eluded capture by the strays raising havoc on in bruin territory?

So much plot packed into this one book! I have to say this is fast becoming one of my all-around favorite urban fantasy series. Faythe is a tough heroine to like because she's very stubborn and in many ways immature. She's always saying and doing what the reader knows she shouldn't and it isn't hard to find yourself wanting to bop her on the head or send her into a time-out. But this is what makes her different from most of the heroines out there in this genre. She's frustrating but with each book she matures a little more and that is very rewarding to watch unfold. In Pride she continues to make mistakes and be disobedient to her alpha. Yet she's slowly proving to the males around her that tabbies have uses beyond a filled womb. I think any woman with a feministic streak can rally around Faythe's need to show the misogynistic older males that she's capable of so much more than they expect from their females. I personally have really enjoyed seeing the very different female minds present within this series.

Another aspect of this book in particular that I enjoyed was the unraveling of the mystery behind the little tabby that comes into the care of Faythe. Kaci's story (sorry NO spoilers!!!) wasn't too hard to guess at and really added room for exciting possibilities in future novels. And, of course, as is often the case... I can't help but like secondary characters. Jace has been my favorite from book one and I loved Elias Keller (the bruin) but strange as it may sound I actually liked the really awful Council members because they gave a good glimpse into what other alphas besides Faythe's father are like.

The outcome of Pride is promising, leaving lots of room for an action-packed fourth installment with Prey. The only thing I can say I (and possibly other readers) didn't enjoy in this book was that once again the villains were more 'red-shirt' strays. I'd really like to see the strays evolving into more than just villains. Marc makes a good example that it could be done. Or at the very least give us a human who knows about the werecats! Something different. Still, great story and a hard to put down read.

Review: Rogue by Rachel Vincent

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Rogue (Werecats #2) by Rachel Vincent
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Shapeshifters
Mass Market Paperback (MIRA, 400 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 0778325555
Released: April 2008 (Reviewed: March 2008)
Okay, so cats don t always land on their feet.
I know that better than most. Since rejoining the Pride, I ve made big decisions and even bigger mistakes: the kind paid for with innocent lives. As the first and only female enforcer, I have plenty to prove to my father, the Pride, and myself. And with murdered toms turning up in our territory, I m working harder than ever, though I always find the energy for a little after-hours recreation with Marc, my partner both on- and off-duty.
But not all of my mistakes are behind me. We re beginning to suspect that the dead are connected to a rash of missing human women and that they can all be laid at my feet--two or four, take your pick. And one horrible indiscretion may yet cost me more than I can bear...

Author Site:
rachelvincent.com/


Paws, Claws & Flaws: This is Rogue (4 stars)

Faythe Sanders is back, working hard to prove herself as the first female Enforcer for the South Central Pride. Teamed up with her one-time fiance and current lover, Marc, she's got a lot to do to show her father she's worthy of his pride and support. But when strays start showing up dead Faythe's skills are put to the test. When one of their own joins the strays in the after-life the mystery begins to deepen even as it starts to unravel. The killer smells like a jungle cat and 'more'. So who is this rogue and how the the missing strippers, who all bear a striking resemblence to Faythe herself, tie into this plot?

If you liked Stray you're bound to love Rogue. The story picks up quick and keeps a steady pace. Just don't expect many surprises, if you read Stray you'll know pretty much everything that is going to happen in this sophomore novel before cracking it open. But while predictable, Vincent had woven a more emotionally resounding and complex tale. The women in the werecat world begin to be more visible as strong members of their society which I think most readers will be pleased with.

What I did not like about this book and Stray is Faythe herself. She's always doing the rebellious and stupid thing, even when she knows it's a mistake. It's like she doesn't care despite her narrative saying she does. She abuses her father's protection, Marc's devotion and her mother's kindness to the point I want to smack her in the head with a brick. Her spoiled ten-year-old attitude has grown tired by the end of the novel, but you will see a slight improvement, so let's hope she continues to grow and mature through the series. See her next in Pride, the third novel!

Review: Stray by Rachel Vincent

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Stray (Werecats #1) by Rachel Vincent
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Shapeshifters
Mass Market Paperback (MIRA, 624 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 0778324214
Released: June 2007 (Reviewed: June 2007)
There are only eight breeding female werecats left...
And I'm one of them
I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.
Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.
I'd been warned about Strays -- werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female, and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.
This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back . . . for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I'm no meek kitty. I'll take on whatever -- and whoever -- I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays -- 'cause I got claws, and I'm not afraid to use them...

Author Site:
rachelvincent.com/


New Author, Not New Concept, Still Likable (4 stars)

Stray is a tale of tabby-cats and toms, the world of werecats is finally getting a little recognition. Enter Faythe Sanders, a cheap clone of Kelley Armstrong's Elena Michaels with a twist of southwestern spice. All mocking aside, Faythe may not be an original character but her world is fresh. Werecats have few females, the age-old idea for all weres, and Faythe is one of that handful. But like many modern girls the idea of being a brood mare for her Pride has never appealed to her.

This werecat coming of age styled story centers around Faythe's fellow tabbies being kidnapped and the lengths her Pride (and others) are going to in order to find them. The villains of this novel are "strays", the werecat version of lone wolves. Throw in a mix of men for Faythe to have troubles with from her brooding ex-boyfriend Marc to the flirtacious hottie next-door Jace and you'll be turning the pages to find out how she balances her beaus.

Oft times throughout the story we see Faythe's words telling us she doesn't want to piss off "Daddy" but then she turns around and does something that will. She is a contradiction from the first chapter. Told from her perspective she constantly repeats herself and the little details about being a werecat that we have already had ingrained into our minds.

Overall this book is pretty rough, constant repeated points and at times choppy dialog. But this is Vincent's debut novel and it's better than Armstrong's Bitten on many levels. Vincent has a nice writing style and I can see her growing as a writer as this becomes a series. I personally liked this book but I didn't love it. I reccomend this as a filler book when you've got nothing better in another series to chew on. If you love Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series this is right up your alley! I hope that the second book, Rogue, will tie up the loose ends left in Stray.

3.19.2009

Can't-Put-It-Down Reads

It doesn't happen as often as I wish it did but every so often I get ahold of a book that does not want to be put down. I've been known to get so wrapped up in a book that I fall asleep reading and only the sensation of the darned thing slipping from my hands wakes me. In many ways I suppose it's good not every book does this to me or I'd be a zombie most days. ;)

But what is it about a book that makes it so hard to put down? We can't blame it on additives the way we can fast foods and sodas. lol I think for me it is very much a combination of two things that make a great formula. Interesting Potagonist + Solid Plot = Who Needs Sleep?

So last night I started Pride the third Werecats book by Rachel Vincent. I've been looking forward to this book for so long but haven't had time to start reading it yet since I had review copies of other books to work on first. I put it down around page 82 or so and turned out the lights. Unfortunately I didn't make it five minutes before I was up hanging my head over the sink (the sink? yes the sink... I didn't make it to the toilet, yay for pregnancy!). Now anyone who's ever experienced a late night (non-drunken) vomiting session likely knows how hard it is to fall back asleep after that. After a thorough brushing I was back in bed and tossing and turning. And wouldn't ya know that damn book kept whispering sweet nothings to me?

Needless to say I had to force myself to put the book down when the clock reminded me I had to get up in four hours. Ugh. Rotten things, clocks. 152 pages down...

Anyone else read any hard to put down books lately?
-- Rhi

3.18.2009

Review: Destiny of the Wolf by Terry Spear

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Destiny of the Wolf by Terry Spear
Paranormal Romance, Werewolves, Shapeshifters
Mass Market Paperback (SOURCEBOOKS CASABLANCA, 448 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 1402216688
All she wants is the truth…
Lelandi Wildhaven is determined to discover the truth about her beloved sister's mysterious death. But everyone thinks she's out to make a bid for her sister's widowed mate…
He's a pack leader tormented by memories…
Darien Silver blames himself for his mate's death. When her twin arrives in his town, he finds himself bewitched, and when someone attempts to silence her, he realizes that protecting the beautiful stranger might be the only way to protect his pack—and himself…
Author Site:
http://www.terryspear.com/


Mystery Worth Wolfing Down (4 stars)

Lelandi shows up in Silver Town with one mission in mind: find the bastard who murdered her sister and avenge her death. What she doesn't anticipate is that her sister had been living under Lelandi's name and got herself in over her head so far she could have never got out on her own. Still grieving, Larissa's mate, Darien Silver, doesn't expect to find his mate's identical sister snooping around his pack's home. When someone tries to kill Lelandi to keep her from discovering the truth the hunt is on.

In spite of his grief, Darien can't help but be drawn to Lelandi. When Larissa came along he thought she was the female he had dream-mated with but now he knows that cannot be true. Lelandi is his true mate and he will protect her from both his gray lupus garou pack and the reds who claim she belongs to them. With enemies on all sides and a killer in their midst Darien and Lelandi have to solve the mystery of her sister's murder before they can have any future together.

Yay! I wasn't all that impressed with Heart of the Wolf, Spear's previous release about lupus garou. But Destiny of the Wolf definitely delivered a much stronger plot which kept me interested and guessing. The web of deceit and danger was a little overcomplicated but I felt that was excusable considering it entertained even when it felt a bit overdone.

The wolf pack dynamics introduced in her previous release are further explored in this one. While I do like that the author has attempted to make them like real wolves in most aspects, I feel a little bit disappointed that she works so hard against giving them any truly human sympathies and tendencies. It might work for some readers but I like a shapeshifter to be a little human and a little animal blended together. There's no struggle really presented between their natures and for me as a reader that's always an enjoyable part of the man/beast mythos.

The romance between Lelandi and Darien was... not my favorite coupling. As stand-alone characters I did like both. Darien felt a little under developed personality wise and I thought he could have been a bit more alpha where Lelandi was concerned but he was a likable hero none-the-less. Lelandi was almost more alpha than her mate and her spunky determination was quite infectious. I will comment that I personally don't really care for how Spear writes her love scenes after having read two of her books but I think any reader looking for something different (ie. making love on a table messy with pie fixings) will get a kick out of her location choices.

Overall, this was a really entertaining book with a lot packed into it. Fans of shapeshifter romances with a who-dun-it mystery to keep the plot going are sure to be pleased. Enjoy!

3.17.2009

Review: Desire Unchained by Larissa Ione

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Desire Unchained (Demonica #2) by Larissa Ione
Paranormal Romance, Demons
Mass Market Paperback (FOREVER, 416 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 044640098X
Pleasure is their ultimate weapon . . .
Runa Wagner never meant to fall in love with the sexy stranger who seemed to know her every deepest desire. But she couldn't resist the unbelievable passion that burned between them, a passion that died when she discovered his betrayal and found herself forever changed. Now, determined to make Shade pay for the transformation that haunts her, Runa searches for him, only to be taken prisoner by his darkest enemy.
A Seminus Demon with a love-curse that threatens him with eternal torment, Shade hoped he'd seen the last of Runa and her irresistible charm. But when he wakes up in a dank dungeon chained next to an enraged and mysteriously powerful Runa, he realizes that her effect on him is more dangerous than ever.
As their captor casts a spell that bonds them as lifemates, Shade and Runa must fight for their lives and their hearts-or succumb to a madman's evil plans.

Author Site:
http://www.larissaione.com/

When You Don't Like the Hero... (3 stars)

Introduced in Pleasure Unbound, Shade is the brother with the brooding bad-boy manners and a chip on his shoulder the size of Texas. Branded with a love curse thanks to his Seminus Demon nature he can never fall in love, lest he fade away. When an evil figure from his past comes back to haunt him he winds up imprisoned with former girlfriend Runa Wagner. Once naive and sweet, his betrayal has left her jaded and with more than one bone to pick with her former flame.

Suffering under a curse of her own the last thing Runa wants is to fall in love with the man she blames for her curse. But when Shade's enemy bespells them, forcing the two into a mating that binds them eternally both begin to finds things in one another worthy of love. Shade has to find a way to break his own curse and defeat the enemy or fade away forever.

Oh how I wanted to love this one. The storyline was good. The villain was nicely brought in and made a terrific enemy for the brothers. Runa was a likable heroine, once timid and innocent she's become angry and bitter in a way most women who've been burned by love can relate to.

What didn't work for me and makes me actually feel a little guilty is that I don't like Shade. Didn't like him in Pleasure Unbound and don't like him any more now than I did then. I read somewhere that he is the authors favorite and I think to some extent maybe that is why I kind of felt like she was trying to put too many eggs in one basket with him. Originally I thought he was supposed to be the mysterious, brooding one and Wraith was supposed to be the bad-boy but it came across like she was trying to make Shade brooding, mysterious, charming, snarky, the bad-boy, the rebel, all of these things in one. If you are a Shade fan I think you'll love this one. Unfortunately he just didn't work for me and it's tough to love a romance when you wanna trade the hero for another one.

That said it sets us up nicely for Wraith's story which is the one I have been looking forward to. If you enjoy subcharacters and side stories there's more of Kynan and Gem's back and forth attraction and Luc (I love Luc!!!) pops up a little. If this series continues beyond the books of the three brothers it looks like there is potential for some enjoyable urban fantasy storylines with a romance blended in smoothly. I may not have loved this one but I definitely look forward to seeing where this series goes.

3.09.2009

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb

Wow, where has March gone? I've let the month slip by a bit. I dunno about the rest of you but the weather where I live needs to make up its mind. We had a 70° day at the start of the month and now we've got windchills into the -10° range. Ugh! But that's March for ya. It's the month where winter becomes spring and the weather can be nasty one minute and nice the next.

It's because of the transition of Winter to Spring that I decided to make March Shapeshifter month. My reading is focusing primarily on shapeshifter books right now. Partly because it's a good month for it to be the theme, partly because I've ended up behind on a couple of series I love. Expect to see a review of Night Huntress by Yasmine Galenorn and one of Destiny of the Wolf by Terry Spear. If I'm lucky I will get to Pride by Rachel Vincent too.

So what makes shapeshifter stories so great anyway?

I've mentioned before I was always a fan of Beauty and the Beast. Not the Disney version per se (though it's good) but the original fairy tale. I was always very intrigued by the monster who eventually became a man. I think that's likely where my love of shapeshifters came from. But then, most people like animals and it is very easy to find animal qualities attractive when personified. One of my favorite books when I was a child was Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.

I can't help but be completely partial to wolf shifters though. Wolves are quite simply one of the most majestic animals I've ever seen. Call me a tree hugger but in spite of living in a cattle state where ranchers are doing everything they can to get them off the endangered species list so that they can kill them without legal trouble, I continue to sign anything that comes my way to keep them on it. Britain wiped their wolves out 300 years ago, I'd hate to see us do the same.
-- Rhi

3.01.2009

Guest Blog Giveaway!

I just want to say a quick thank you to everyone who dropped by and read my guest blog with Cheryl Brooks. An even bigger thank you goes to those of you who were kind enough to comment and to Cheryl herself for visiting us!

I sat down and let random.org choose our winner now that midnight has passed and want to congratulate donnas on being the winner of my giveaway copy of Rogue! You're in for a treat... all I need you to do is drop me an email (always.and.never AT gmail DOT com) with your mailing address and that will hopefully be heading your way by Monday afternoon.

Like donnas I've been making good use of my Walmart visits. Sometimes saving just 10% can be helpful. Some other money saving tips so you can keep up with your books:

• Thrift-shops! Not always the best place to find books in good condition but I've been scouring their shelves for older titles for a few years now. Just this past week I got a like new copy of The Outlaw Demon Wails for 99¢ at my local Goodwill. I even saw a like new copy of Lover Awakened for just 25¢ at the Salvation Army.

• Other charity-based book sales! The AAUW in my area collects books all year round for their annual book sale. Each day of the weeklong sale is a different deal. My favorite is the $3 a bag sale. Check into whether a church, school or other local charity has something like this.

• Paperback trading! When I was a kid one of my favorite places to buy books was a local bookshop where I could bring the ones I'd already read to trade in for credit that could be used to purchase either old books like mine or brand new ones. Your local phone book will likely list them under Book Dealers.

• Amazon.com's 4-for-3 promotion! My personal favorite, this is how I buy a lot of my books. They aren't usually available under the promo until a few weeks after they've released but this is a great way to buy new-ish titles. Doing the math if I buy 4 books at $7.99 each that comes to a total of $31.96, which means I've spent over $25 so I can get their free shipping (a little slower but I always use it) and the free book! So I get four books for only $23.97 shipped right to my door. And that breaks down to each of those books being only $5.99 each which is almost the same as I'd pay at Walmart... but there are a lot more books to choose from.

And if you're unsure whether to try a new author give it a few weeks from the release date. Then head to sites like Amazon or Goodreads and read reviews. That is one of the reasons I began reviewing. I was reading other people's reviews and found that it really helped me decide whether a book was worth me buying or whether I should wait. Sometimes the most negative reviews are the ones that convince me I should buy a book! LOL One woman's trashy bodice ripper is another woman's treasure.

So keep on reading! Just think how much money you're saving turning off the computer and the television, putting down the chips and soda and just curling up with a good book. ;) Happy reading everyone!
-- Rhi

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