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


7.31.2009

Review: The Dark-Hunters Vol. 1 by Sherrilyn Kenyon


The Dark-Hunters Vol. 1 (manga) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Paranormal Romance, Vampires, Manga
Manga (ST. MARTIN'S GRIFFIN, 208 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 0312376871
Vampires getting you down? Call the baddest warriors in town: The Dark-Hunters.
They're mad, bad and immortal. Ancient warriors with attitudes who fight rough, and play hard. They are the scary things that go bump in the night. And they love every minute of it.
It's just another night on the prowl for vampires for Kyrian of Thrace when he meets the most frightening thing imaginable. An accountant. But Amanda Devereaux is much more than she seems. Hunted by one of the deadliest of vampires, Amanda is the key to our survival. If she goes down, so does he and no offense, he doesn't want to die (hence the whole immortality thing). And he doesn't want humanity dead either which is a good thing for us since he and Amanda are all that stands between us and oblivion. Let's hope they win.
The age on the manga is for 14 and up.

Author Site:
www.sherrilynkenyon.com


Creating a new audience for the Dark-Hunters... (5 stars)

Normally with my reviews I like to summarize the plot a bit in my own words to start it out but for some reason I just don't think this one needs it. If you read the blurb for this manga version of the already very popular Dark-Hunters novel, Night Pleasures, you can get a pretty decent idea of what this manga is about. Why? Because they've done such a great job of translating the novel into a manga.

It's been a few years since I read Night Pleasures but it all came flooding back when I picked this manga up. I'm very new to the manga format but it really has been growing on me. It's fun to see a 'comic book' version of a story I've already enjoyed and they've made it teen friendly! The sensuality is toned down and the nudity is carefully hidden making this a great one for younger readers who might not be ready to trudge into the Dark-Hunter novels which do get a bit erotic at times.

Fans of vampires and manga should definitely pick this one up, even if they've never heard of the Dark-Hunters series. The mythos is well done and the series has great characters and romance. I do feel that if you're a fan of the series but don't care for comic books and such this one isn't for you. Some readers who aren't familiar with manga may find the backwards to front layout confusing and annoying. I did love the art though and can't wait to pick up the next installment!

7.30.2009

Hold that thought please!

Hey there dear readers. Just wanted to pop onto the blog and let you know I've had a pretty productive week of reading. I had planned to get those two reviews in the coming soon section done before the end of the month and will still try to get them done ASAP. But... well, I was in a car accident yesterday!

I'm not badly hurt and was just a passenger but I'm stuck in a neck brace for a couple of weeks. It's only been a day and already the thing is cramping my style, making reading uncomfortable. I'm supposed to take it easy for a few days so if you don't see hide nor hair of me I do apologize.

I am getting ready to start with the Historicals for August. It's quite an odd mix I've got set out but I am looking forward to some non-contemporary settings. And keep those witch novel recommendations for September coming!
-- Rhi

7.27.2009

Review: The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal by Sean Dixon

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The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal by Sean Dixon
Literature, Adventure
Trade Paperback (OTHER PRESS, 304 pages, $15.95)
ISBN# 1590513126
The girls of the Lacuna Cabal Montreal Young Women’s Book Club are at a crossroads. One of their founding members is dead, they’ve made a few unfortunate compromises to their membership, some of them aren’t getting any younger, and they’ve been stuck on a single weepy tome for six long months. Resident maverick Runner Coghill decides to shake things up by introducing a cherished family heirloom to the group — ten pristine stone tablets, carved in cuneiform, telling the oldest story in the world: The Epic of Gilgamesh. Because their new book is written in an ancient language, the group must take the unprecedented step of allowing Runner to translate the whole story for them. But Runner’s narration is not of a common vein. Before they know it, the Cabalists have been thrust out to sea, on a journey in search of answers that extends halfway across the world to the war-torn land of this oldest story’s birth.
The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal is an offbeat rites-of-passage novel whose characters live out literature with ferocity and passion. It is a funny, quixotic debut that follows the members of a shallow, squabbling, time-wasting, protracted-adolescent book club as they find themselves transformed through the alchemy of the storyteller’s art.

Author Site:
lacunacabal.blogspot.com


Way over my head... or just plain ridiculous? (2 stars)

The Lacuna Cabal Montreal Young Women’s Book Club is peopled by odd-ball, young women seeking purpose and validation through fiction. But don't call it fiction. They aren't reading the latest pulpy science fiction or lurid piece of chick-lit. These ladies are focusing their time and attentions on serious literature. Not just reading the stories but bringing them to life through whatever means they feel are necessary to the book.

But the death of one member turns a page in the lives of those left behind. A new chapter, the final chapter, must begin and who better than Runner Coghill, twin sister of the deceased, to lead the charge? Proposing a reading of the supposed first book ever written, Runner presents the Epic of Gilgamesh covering ten stone tablets. Rules are broken, the club suffers division and another death rocks the cabal before the members are sent off on a crazy journey around the world in search of their king and the conclusion to his epic.

I have to say with sincerity that this was one of the harder books I have read this year. Not only is the story a difficult one to chew and digest but it is presented and written in a form I think many will find difficult to process. The narrative is from the perspective of two of the cabal members as if they were writing the book and includes several footnotes which I personally found confusing, if not also distracting. The entire cast of characters leave something to be desired. The book's own blurb well states that they are indeed shallow and time-wasting. I found myself confused at many junctures as to how old the characters were supposed to be. Roughly college aged I expected mentions of jobs or responsibilities outside of club meetings. Instead I found behaviors and attitudes more suited to middle-schoolers. Even the club's origins fit this pattern and thus I wasn't able to really find a character I could latch onto and care about the fate of.

The actual adventure—and I'm using that term loosely—is the book's main redeeming quality. But since it doesn't come up until the book is more than half finished many readers may find they don't make it to this point. The Last Days of the Lacuna Cabal does attempt to be a little endearing at this juncture in the story, leading readers on an adventure that is indeed epic for the characters involved. In reality this journey is so far-fetched and unbelievable that the potential warm fuzzies one might get from the final chapters are quickly burst like soap bubbles.

On the whole this novel tries to be literary, thought provoking and intelligent but falls more into eccentric and flat territory. It is certainly not for every reader. If you're looking for something strange and distinctly Canadian to fill a summer afternoon this might be a great choice. I, as a reader, found it to be a little too pretentious and slow-paced for my tastes. Maybe this book is such simple satire disguised as fiction that I missed some vital message... or maybe the content was just way over my head, I did not enjoy it.

7.23.2009

Review: The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox

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The Accidental Demon Slayer (Lizzie Brown #1) by Angie Fox
Paranormal Romance, Shapeshifters, Demons
Mass Market Paperback (LOVE SPELL, 292 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 0505527693
It's never a good day when an ancient demon shows up on your toilet bowl. For Lizzie Brown, that's just the beginning. Soon her hyperactive terrier starts talking, and her long-lost biker witch Grandma is hurling Smuckers jars filled with magic. Just when she thinks she's seen it all, Lizzie learns she's a demon slayer-and all hell is after her.
Of course, that's not the only thing after her. Dimitri Kallinikos, a devastatingly handsome shape-shifting griffin needs Lizzie to slay a demon of his own. But how do you talk a girl you've never met into going straight to the underworld? Lie. And if that doesn't work, how dangerous could a little seduction be...?

Author Site:
angiefox.wordpress.com


Road Killer Funny! (5 star)

As if turning 30 isn't tough enough, Lizzie Brown finds out that her biological grandmother is a biker witch come to protect her as she transitions into her own witchy power... as a demon slayer. To top it all off a demon shows up in her bathroom, her dog, Pirate, can talk and the hot guy who claims to be her protector is a shapeshifter! Now Lizzie is running for her life, trying to learn how to use her gifts before it's too late and doing her best not to bump heads too much with the rest of Grandma Gertie's biker coven, the Red Skulls.

When the coven's home is attacked by the demon who wants Lizzie's soul the Red Skulls have to not only protect Lizzie but get her trained and fast! Tussling with werewolves, being seduced by the shapeshifting Dimitri and making the descent into Hell itself are all in a day's work, even if she's not ready to handle any of them. But there's no one else to save the world and Lizzie will have to choose between the organized, simple life she left behind and her destiny as a demon slayer.

If you're looking for a new paranormal heroine with plenty of humor and hijinks I have to recommend The Accidental Demon Slayer. I was a little iffy on the concept of an adopted woman meeting her bio grandma on her 30th birthday and finding out she has a demon slaying destiny but the good writing and fun characters make up for the somewhat cliched plot. I loved the nasty and yet goofy magic the witches of the Red Skull coven practiced, it was gritty. If you're someone who prefers the more Wiccan or herbal witch types these gals might disgust you. They practice their magic using road kill which definitely fits the biker concept more than herbs and candles would. I liked that aspect.

The only things I really did not like were Lizzie's dog's dialog and Dimitri. The idea of a talking dog was cute for the first few lines but eventually it felt really forced and he sounded like a human trying to imagine what a dog would sound like rather than flowing along with an individual voice. Dimitri also got on my nerves. At one point he seems so mysterious but quickly he's all over Lizzie and you don't see why until much later in the story and then it becomes hard to believe he cared for her all along. His motivations never really felt real or natural to me and his relationship with Lizzie lacked a certain amount of chemistry I look for in a hero/heroine pairing.

As a whole the writing it good, the majority of the characters are amusing and likable even when they're not being nice and I see potential for some good stories to follow. Enjoy!

7.21.2009

Review: Sleeping with the Fishes by MaryJanice Davidson


Sleeping with the Fishes (Fred the Mermaid #1) by MaryJanice Davidson
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Mermaids
Mass Market Paperback (JOVE, 309 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0515142220
Fred is not your ordinary mermaid. She's not blonde. She's not buxom. And she's definitely not perky. In fact, Fred can be downright cranky. And it doesn't help matters that her hair is blue.
While volunteering at the New England Aquarium, Fred learns that there are weird levels of toxins in the local seawater. A gorgeous marine biologist wants her help investigating. So does her merperson ruler, the High Prince of the Black Sea. You'd think it would be easy for a mermaid to get to the bottom of things. Think again.

Author Site:
www.maryjanicedavidson.net


The Little Mermaid Fred Is Not (1 star)

Her name is Fredrika Bimm, but call her Fred or she might rip your arms off. She's a doc at the New England Aquarium. Oh, and when she gets into the water if she doesn't force herself not to... she becomes a mermaid. She doesn't know who her bio daddy is but her human mother means she's stuck somewhere between merfolk and manfolk. Fred's okay with it most of the time but listening to the fish at the NEA gripe all the time is an annoyance and her blue/green hair always has nasty split-ends.

Fred is quite content just doing her own thing until a foxy new doc shows up at the NEA to do some research and the Prince of the Black Sea drops in around the same time. They both want to find out what is polluting Boston Harbor and they both want Fred. They just have to work together to save the harbor and hopefully win over Fred's affections in the process.

Mermaids and merfolk in general are highly under represented in the realm of paranormal romance so I was glad to pick this one up and give it a try. Unfortunately what I was anticipating was not what I got. Fred might be a mermaid and the Prince of the Black Sea is definitely a merman but the fun stops there. Fred's personality might be humorous or even cute in a she'll 'bite-yer-head-off' kind of way but I personally found it grating after a few chapters. It made her very one dimensional. Which strangely was something that carried over to every character within this book. Without a well built personality, whether this is intended to be a funny romance or not, there's no reason to really care what happens to anyone within it.

As to the story itself. It was pretty weak. The whole thing resolved quickly and simply but seemed to have no actual effect on Fred or her companions in the long run. One thing I found really random and misplaced in this book was the relationship between Fred's boss, Dr. Barb, and her best-friend, Jonas. They're the ones having lots of crazy sex through the whole thing despite the fact it seems Davidson couldn't make up her mind whether to make Jonas gay or not (and honestly... it was very contrived).

The book certainly had potential to be good but I get the feeling this was some very early work of the author's that she sought publishing for only after she had a hit with another series. I think fans of her work will find this to be really bad and those looking for a merfolk story and some good humor will be much in the same boat.

7.20.2009

Looking to the future!

Happy Monday readers! Over the weekend I sat down and started planning out themes and such for the rest of the year. As I may have mentioned before I'm going to be having my second child this October. I don't know how many of you are parents but if you've experienced life with a newborn you probably have an idea of why I want to get organized well in advance!

For the month of August I'm going to be focusing on historical fiction. But not just plain old historicals. I decided to scour my TBR shelves and see what I had that I might want to get read. This resulted in a little bit of PNR but also some completely regular historical romances.

For the month of September I want to focus specifically on witches. The problem I am having here is finding some witch fic that focuses on them more than anything else. I have a young adult novel lined up but will need some suggestions for more. What are some of your favorite witch reads? And hey all you authors and publicists! If you have something to promote that focuses on witches let me know!

Because October will be very up in the air for me in spite of having a due date I think I will probably make it a month focusing on books about fledglings... newly turned main characters. Whether they be werewolves, vampires or something else a couple of these to keep me busy between contractions should be good.

For the month of November I anticipate being quite busy not only with a new baby but getting started on preparations for the holiday season. But best of all my birthday falls in November! Because of that I want to make that month the month of Rhi. Err... rather, I mean... RE-reading. I'll be celebrating my 30th birthday so what better to do than pick my top 30 books worthy of rereading and reread a few of them.

Lastly, the month of December will be (as it is every year for me) the month I devote to finishing all those books I set aside and haven't finished for 2009.

So there you have them ladies and gents... the themes for the rest of the year. They're all subject to change should something come up but I try not to do that if I can help it.

Now get those witchy recommendations coming!
-- Rhi

7.15.2009

Review: Wait Till Your Vampire Gets Home by Michele Bardsley

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Wait Till Your Vampire Gets Home (Broken Heart, Oklahoma #4) by Michele Bardsley
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Vampires
Mass Market Paperback (SIGNET, 320 pages, $6.99)
ISBN# 0451225503
Undead fathers really do know best...
To prove her journalistic chops, Libby Monroe ends up in Broken Heart, Oklahoma, chasing down bizarre rumors of strange goings-on—and finding vampires, lycanthropes, and zombies. She never expects to fall in lust with one of them, but vampire/single dad Ralph Genessa is too irresistible. Only the town is being torn in two by a war between the undead—and Libby may be the only thing that can hold Broken Heart together…

Author Site:
blog.michelebardsley.net


Not the highlight of the series. (2 stars)

Libby Monroe comes from a family of paranormal investigators, running PRIS, better aka Paranormal Research and Investigation Services. When PRIS decides to investigate some interesting rumors of paranormal activity near the town of Broken Heart things get wild when Libby is attacked by a zombie, a tainted vampire and gets mixed up in a battle between dragons all in the course of a few minutes. This kind of proof is exactly the sort of thing she needs for PRIS to get some respect. But there's a complication... she's hopelessly attracted to the handsome vampire widower, Ralph Genessa, who helped her escape the monsters. As if that wasn't enough she's also developed strange new gifts after her contact with the dragons.

While Libby and Ralph continue to be drawn together the battle with those who've threatened Broken Heart in previous books continues. Could Libby's new gifts be the key to defeating Lia? Will Ralph be able to avert family crisis with his twin boys and will Ralph be able to bring Libby into his new life as both vampire and widowed father? You'll just have to read Wait Till Your Vampire Gets Home to find out!

I hate to say it but I was very disappointed with this installment in the series. Conceptually I like the series in general but have found the last couple of books somehow lacking. So far this has been the weakest of the bunch. Ralph is mentioned a lot in earlier books but now that he had his own book I expected to get to know him better, instead we're told the story from Libby's side of things. This makes Ralph pretty cookie-cutter and unfortunately he feels strangely generic. While other readers might find his attraction to Libby plausible I saw no actual reason for him to be drawn to her outside of her paranormal gifts. For me if the hero and heroine don't feel well matched I have a hard time enjoying a romance.

The plot itself felt contrived, as if a handful of ideas were written on slips of paper and drawn from a hat and this was the one that came out. It came together far too swiftly, with very little true conflict where I felt any of the characters were in danger. The previous heroes and heroines make appearances but none of them seemed important to the overall plot which was frustrating. The humor this series is characterized by was also weaker than in earlier installments.

In the end I don't know if I am going to continue reading this series or not. I know one dud shouldn't spoil a series but this one was exceptionally blase and dull and it wasn't the first that didn't win me. Ouch!

Review: Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly Harper

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Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs (Jane Jameson #1) by Molly Harper
Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Vampires
Mass Market Paperback (POCKET STAR, 384 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 1416589422
Maybe it was the Shenanigans gift certificate that put her over the edge. When children's librarian and self-professed nice girl Jane Jameson is fired by her beastly boss and handed twenty-five dollars in potato skins instead of a severance check, she goes on a bender that's sure to become Half Moon Hollow legend. On her way home, she's mistaken for a deer, shot, and left for dead. And thanks to the mysterious stranger she met while chugging neon-colored cocktails, she wakes up with a decidedly unladylike thirst for blood.
Jane is now the latest recipient of a gift basket from the Newly Undead Welcoming Committee, and her life-after-lifestyle is taking some getting used to. Her recently deceased favorite aunt is now her ghostly roommate. She has to fake breathing and endure daytime hours to avoid coming out of the coffin to her family. She's forced to forgo her favorite down-home Southern cooking for bags of O negative. Her relationship with her sexy, mercurial vampire sire keeps running hot and cold. And if all that wasn't enough, it looks like someone in Half Moon Hollow is trying to frame her for a series of vampire murders. What's a nice undead girl to do?

Author Site:
www.mollyharper.com


The 'LOL' Vampire Tale of the Year! (5 stars)

Half Moon Hollow was always a quiet little Kentucky burg, never the sort of place Jane Jameson would expect to be mistaken for a deer by a drunken redneck and shot to death. But that is exactly where she finds herself, except that she's very much alive, or rather... very much undead. Losing her beloved job as the local children's librarian and becoming a vampire all in one week might seem like hell but that's nothing compared to trying to break the news to mama and daddy.

With a ghost keeping her company, a sexy sire and his nemesis vying for her attention and a slew of crimes and rumors being laid at her feet the simple life Jane left is long gone. But like any great paranormal heroine Jane Jameson is not going down without a fight and she'll protect the ones she loves even if that means accepting her new lifestyle—the good parts and the not-so-good.

Oh what can I say? I didn't want to give away ANY spoilers even some of the trivial ones that others might not see as spoilerific. Why? Well... it isn't everyday I pick up a book and fall so in love with it that writing the review makes me nervous!

Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs is just the sort of humorous 'fish out of water' fledgling vampire story I think most fans of funny paranormals will enjoy. Jane isn't actually physically described much, this was one small thing that kind of bugged me, but she has a very relatable personality. Most everything about her aside from her being a vampire is far from out-of-the-ordinary and it is through this sudden change that her life becomes too crazy for one small town girl to handle without help. Enter her sire Gabriel. I'll admit he is a tiny bit cliched and didn't really win me over as a fan girl. What made Gabriel likable was primarily the way he and Jane interact with one another in their dialog.

The story's actual arc wasn't obvious from the beginning but is carefully hinted at throughout most of the book. When you realize what all the trouble is about you'll smack your forehead and if you're anything like me mutter something about why you should have seen it coming. I will say it's not the most exciting plotline but this book did very well to establish the characters and setting for what feels like it is going to be a really great "I laughed my ass off" kind of series. I don't think I could have asked for more from the author in that regard.

So who would I recommend this book to? That one is a little tough. For some who like darker, more serious reads this is definitely light and fluffy. For someone who likes lots of steamy love scenes you won't find them in this book. I think this is a great one for anyone who needs a good laugh and like the paranormal romance genre and moreso it would be good for someone new to the genres (paranormal romance and urban fantasy) looking to just dabble a little. While I think it's definitely up to a parent's discretion to decide what language, sexual content and violence is appropriate for their children... this might be an okay read for an older teen pushing past the Twilight phase and looking for something a little more adult.

7.07.2009

The Reviews Are Coming!

Wow, so I've managed to finish a few books and almost finish a couple more but I got hit with a really nasty sick bug over the holiday weekend. :( On top of that we had an emergency early birth in the family, a birthday and I have an unexpected house guest I had to get ready for. So yes I've been reading but I just haven't had a lot of time to sit down and write out the reviews. So sorry dear readers!

I do hope to get them done within the next few days but with company to entertain I can't promise anything. What I will say though is that I LOVED Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs! I can't wait for the next book: Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men. I can tell this is going to be a new favorite series for me, Jane Jameson is a great character.

There've been some great new releases this month already that I didn't have listed but I've heard lots of good about and if you're chomping at the bit to check out Rachel Vincent's new YA series the free ebook is available now. I had some trouble getting it to work but once I did and got a few pages read I am pleased to say I think this new series had promise both as a YA read and as one for fans of Vincent's other writing. Also, there are LOTS of contests going on out there at author blogs and sites so be sure and pop into your favorite writer's webhomes to look for any goodies being given away.

That's about all I have to share right now! Have a great week everyone. :)
-- Rhi

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