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 Policy & FAQ

I got into reviewing because I found that reading the reviews of others helped me find information about books and products I had an interest in. Because I liked honest opinions I try very hard to give the same. If you send me an ARC or review copy you can expect me to do the following:

• Read the book in its entirety. I do not believe in the whole "DNF" review. I do not think this is fair to the author or the review reader. Because of this if I am not interested in your book I will decline to accept the review copy.

• I will provide a paragraph or two that sums up the plot of the book how I persceived it. I try very hard not to use spoilers and will always provide a warning to any content I feel will be spoiler-ific.

• I will do my best to point out both things I liked and any things I disliked about the book. I strive to always do this respectfully and stress to my review readers that these are always just my opinions, what I dislike can often be a matter of simple personal preference. I do my best to be objective.

• If you request it, I will send you a link to my review here on my blog within 48 hours of it being posted. I usually repost all of my reviews to Amazon.com as that is my preferred purchasing venue but I may also share it via Goodreads.com or Librarything.com.

• I am always open to a guestpost or short interview with an author whom I am going to review a book for. I do not always have a lot of time to read the book before the interview questions are written and welcome you to work back and forth with me via email to clear up any issues with questions in them.

If you are interested in sending me a review copy or ARC of your novel please keep in mind that my interests are primarily considered Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and books in a similar vein within the SciFi or Fantasy genres. Not that I'm not interested in anything else but my main audience of followers/readers are here for those types of reviews and I want you to get a fair chance at being noticed!

Please email me with your contact information, the information about your book (website links are always very helpful) and I will get back to you as soon as possible (usually within 4 days time) with my response.

How did you get into reviewing?
It just kind of happened one day when I was looking for books on Amazon.com. I noticed the option to write about books and other things I already owned was there. Since I found several of the book reviews I had read helpful in deciding if certain books were what I was looking for I thought I might try my hand at writing them too. My earliest attempts were really pathetic but I wanted to be helpful to other readers looking for good stuff so I slowly started to work on making my reviews better and the rest is history.

You've mentioned a few times that you're an Amazon Vine Voice reviewer, how can I become one too?
No one quite has the formula for getting an invite figured out but I was invited to join the program in the spring of 2008. The best advice I can offer there is to start writing reviews in a variety of areas. Review your books but also things like your camera, cookware and that new shampoo you tried out. One of my earliest reviews was for my cookware. I've reviewed all kinds of things that aren't books from cookware and computer software to nail polish and personal lubricant. Just keep in mind that most of us Viners don't get anything but books most of the time because they make up the majority of what we're offered. Trust me when I say you're not missing out on fancy electronics as they aren't offered very often.

Your posting can be really frequent and then drop off to nothing for two weeks, what is up with that?
Blogging is something I LOVE and I may be a stay-at-home mom but I tend to stay very busy. With one kid in school, one less than a year old and a stepkid who spends a lot of time with us they are my #1 priority. Sometimes I don't have time to read until it's 2am and I fall asleep with book in hand. But I do my best to put any ARCs and review copies first before other reading. Reading is supposed to be fun and if it feels like a chore (which it sometimes does) I take a break from it for a day. I generally only have time to write for the blog when the baby is asleep which isn't as often as you'd think.

I'm new to book blogging and reviewing can you help me?
I was once new to the whole blogging world too! I still feel like a newbie even after a year and a half. If I can help you in any way within my means I will certainly try to do so. Others have offered encouragement and advice, answered questions and helped me find contact info so if I can do any of those things for you I will certainly do so. Drop me an email and I will get back to you as soon as time permits!

I'm a self published author will you review my book?
Check out my review policy above and then drop me an email. I don't care if you're self published or from a big publishing house. If your book appeals to me I will let you know.


Weekend Reading [04/23-04/25] :: Werewolf Weekend Challenge!

I love shapeshifter stories. From Native American legends about raven tricksters and Celtic folklore about selkies it isn't hard to appreciate the idea of the dual-natured. But of all the shapeshifter breeds out there, few are as special to me as a reader as the werewolf.

In spite of living at the edge of wolf country in a state where wolves are considered a pest (don't get me started, I have a bad attitude toward ranchers who get mad that wolves are poaching their livestock) I have only once ever seen a wolf. But I was halfway around the world at the time living in Germany. My husband and I were taking a short trip up to the city from our tiny village and the sun was just beyond having risen in the East. A lush field with the first hints of spring green was damp with dew and as our car raced past so very quickly I saw a lone figure trotting away in the tall grass. I only saw him (or her) for a blink before we were too far down the autobahn but in that heartbeat I fell in love with wolves.

I suppose since we humans enjoy canine companionship it isn't a far cry to love wolves. Even before my lone wolf encounter I had found them fascinating and majestic. Their behaviors in a pack aren't so truly different from how humans interact with one another. Heck, most romance readers use the term Alpha to describe a certain type of hero even if the book is not of the paranormal bent.

This weekend Velvet of vvb32 reads is hosting a special werewolf weekend event. Since I plan to do a shapeshifter month later this year (I haven't decided which month hence no previous mention) I've been thinking a lot about werewolf books already. So I decided in taking part of this challenge to share links to some of my favorite series that have werewolves as main characters. I hope you'll find some of them useful if you're looking for a howling good werewolf read!

Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs / Set in my home town this series features Adam Hauptman and other werewolves including a gay couple. It is one of my favorites because it features many different paranormal races, a strong female lead and having familiarity with the territory is always fun. I've also enjoyed the comic book adaptations but not the spin-off romance series Alpha and Omega.

Kitty Norville Series by Carrie Vaughn / Traversing the country from Denver and Las Vegas to Washington, D.C. Kitty Norville is a werewolf who "outs" the paranormal world for good or for ill. What I love about this series is how different each book is. That and Kitty just plain kicks ass.

Broken Heart, Oklahoma Series by Michele Bardsley / When the PTA gets turned into vampires Broken Heart becomes home to lots of paranormals including several studly werewolves.

The Delilah Street Series / Vegas + paranormals = perfection! Okay, so I've read the first book so far but even though there was a lot I didn't like about it I fell in love with the world built here. Werewolves as mobsters? Hell yes!

The Demonica Series by Larissa Ione / Okay, so the series is mostly about a bunch of demons but one of my favorite secondary characters in the series is a werewolf!

Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark Series / This series keeps putting out books faster than I can read them and it is damned popular. I don't really dig alpha males but if you like a tortured werewolf dude as your hero the third book's Bowen is pretty foxy... err wolfy. ;)

Tales of an Urban Werewolf Series by Karen McInerney / If you're looking for a Texan she-wolf look no further than Sophie Garou. While not my favorite of favorite series this one is great if you want a little bit of romance and mystery with a big dose of wolf.

Emma Holly's Upyr books / Probably some of the weirdest shapeshifter fic I've read but if you're looking for something more on the erotic side these have a lot of werewolves getting it on. :P

Dark/Were/Dream Hunters Series by Sherrilyn Kenyon / Next to the "series-that-shall-not-be-named" (*coughanitablakecough*) this was probably one of my first exposures to werewolves as romantic heroes. Vane will probably always be one of my favorite heroes in a romance.

Of course there are other series that feature werewolves that I don't consider to be favorites or simply haven't gotten around to reading yet. L.A. Banks' Crimson Moon series is one that I hear lots of good things about. Terry Spear writes werewolf romances that I've read but haven't really loved. I read one of Kendra Leigh Castle's Drakyn books which feature dragon and wolf shifters as enemies and really liked it.

And what about upcoming werewolf reads you ask? Ellen Schrieber who writes the Vampire Kisses series has a new series about them coming out in 2011! The sequel to last year's Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater entitled Linger will be out this summer. And I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Nightshade by Andrea Cremer and not just because it has a gorgeous cover (can we say jaw-dropping awesome) but because it's about a she-wolf coming into her own.

Of course if you check my tags for werewolf and shapeshifters you're likely to find plenty of reviews of books featuring werewolves in prominent roles. Even the supposed steampunk title I'm reading right now has some werewolves in it so that's what I'm working on all weekend and so far I'm really liking it. Soulless is definitely one of the stranger reads I've had this year so be sure to check back in the coming weeks when I get time to review it. And, of course, if you're interested in other werewolf topics of all kinds (like movies or whatever) head on over to Velvet's blog and see what she has up this weekend! :D
-- Rhi

Review: I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It by Adam Selzer

I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It by Adam Selzer
Young Adult, Romance, Zombies
Trade Paperback (DELACORTE BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS, 192 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0385735030
Algonquin “Ali” Rhodes, the high school newspaper’s music critic, meets an intriguing singer, Doug, while reviewing a gig. He’s a weird-looking guy—goth, but he seems sincere about it, like maybe he was into it back before it was cool. She introduces herself after the set, asking if he lives in Cornersville, and he replies, in his slow, quiet murmur, “Well, I don’t really live there, exactly. . . .”
When Ali and Doug start dating, Ali is falling so hard she doesn’t notice a few odd signs: he never changes clothes, his head is a funny shape, and he says practically nothing out loud. Finally Marie, the school paper’s fashion editor, points out the obvious: Doug isn’t just a really sincere goth. He’s a zombie. Horrified that her feelings could have allowed her to overlook such a flaw, Ali breaks up with Doug, but learns that zombies are awfully hard to get rid of—at the same time she learns that vampires, a group as tightly-knit as the mafia, don’t think much of music critics who make fun of vampires in reviews.

Author Site: www.adamselzer.com

A Zombie Tale With Braaaains and Heart (4 stars)

Ali Rhodes is thisclose to getting out of suburban Des Moines, Iowa for good. Ever since the supernaturals came out of the coffin in defense of zombie rights all anyone can talk about is dating the undead. While everyone tries to win over the vamps at school with an overabudance of goth gear all Allie wants to do is move on from the 'burbs to Seattle where people aren't such idiots.

Writing for the school paper's music section puts the cynical and snappy teen into a pickle when she's asked to review a performance by the Sorry Marios, a band consisting of students from her school. But when guest singer Doug joins the Sorry Marios singing show tunes and sporting true goth flavor, Allie winds up on the fast track toward having a bonafide boyfriend. The only trouble is that Doug is a zombie and the vampires at school think she should have just a little more in common with her new love interest.

This is one of those short and sweet books that you can easily finish in an evening. But what it lacks in length it makes up for in being just plain good. At first I was a little skeptical of a first person narrative told by a teen girl but written by a guy. But Selzer manages to give Allie a voice that works even if it feels like she doesn't quite belong in her generation. There are a lot of likable pop culture references, especially if you're into show tunes (which I'm not but still found tolerable).

What I loved about this zombie story was the lesson here. Doug talks about how painful existing as a zombie is a lot. Drinking embalming fluid to stay "alive" is an interesting twist on your typical zombie story. It is because he's dead that he really appreciates living and the message there really hit me hard, gave me a little sniffle at the story's climax.

If you're looking for a good read for a rainy afternoon I think this one is perfect. I liked the humor, pop culture bits and the reminder that life is way too short so make the most of what time you've got. Highly recommended for non-horror zombie fans. Fans of Stacey Jay's Megan Berry books should give this one a read.

Other Reviews:
A Very Merry Shakespeare @ Amazon.com
Karin Librarian
enchanting reviews

Notes: I bought this book at an online bookstore.

Zombies Are The New Black

Even though the month hasn't ended yet I think I'm going to call it. Yep, zombies are the new black. As much as I am enjoying the steampunk goodness I can't see it becoming my new favorite.

So what is it about zombies that makes them so appealing? It has to be that (like vampires or werewolves) there are so many different types of zombies. Sometimes they're the flesh hungry horde dragging their legs and drooling. Other times they're helping investigators track down their killer. How they come back from the dead runs the gamut from the magical to the macabre. A few years ago a friend of mine was giving me a bunch of shit about having never seen 28 Days Later. I'd never found a zombie movie I really cared for before that but it's become one of my favorite movies ever! Zombies in their many incarnations have a way of making the rest of us feel alive. Reminding us how short and precious every moment is. Unlike the glamorous undead vampires present they're a reminder that the flesh dies and if we're lucky there might be an afterlife of some kind.

That said I have gone out and found a handful of fun zombie goodies to share with y'all! Right now Hot Topic has a bunch of really cool zombie merch. My personal favorites are the brains hair bows and the zombie rose tee. Just search "zombie" over at Sourpuss and you'll find the awesome zombie unicorn dress (love the retro styling!) and the very cool zombie cheerleader necklace. Over at the creepy Zombies & Toys you can purchase a Monroeville Zombies tee shirt (my fellow Kevin Smith fans will remember this from Zack & Miri Make a Porno) or take home Tofu, the Vegan Zombie.

I certainly haven't given up on steampunk though! I'm seeing blog posts and tweets here and there from authors of Urban Fantasy that I already love who are now working on steampunk titles. Correct me if I'm wrong but I think I read Devon Monk, author of the Allie Beckstrom series, is doing a western steampunk book or two. I can't wait!!! And I just discovered that Cherie Priest has a book entitled Clementine that is coming out later this year and features characters from Boneshaker.

And if you're into steampunk with ladies running the show please hop on over to vvb32 reads and check out Velvet's steampink week June 4-12, 2010. Velvet is fast becoming one of my favorite bloggers to drop in on with her eclectic tastes and really fresh ideas, cool giveaways and friendly community atmosphere.


Off HEARTing the Spring Weather... BBL!

Apologies dear RhiReading fans! I have been, shall we say... a bit absent. Our weather here got really yucky dumping upon us a record breaking snow fall for this time of year and a week later it was 75 and sunny. In the midst of all that meteorological chaos there've been doctors and dentists to see, a bit of spring cleaning to work on (I've never had a yard before so this is new lol), a big cooking project with my husband (gyros from scratch is harder to pull together than we anticipated), a lovely trip out of town and a special birthday project for my grandmother. My reading has been suffering and so has my sleep. Go figure the week I decide to cut back on the caffiene I end up being up an hour later every night and up an hour earlier every morning. Someone hook me up to a Starbucks IV stat!

I very much enjoy this time of year though. Living on the high plains is very unpredictable weather wise but that first kiss of spring means so much more after months of frigid cold, clouds and mud. Today I put on my new EasyTone sneaks and some sunscreen, put the baby in the stroller and took a long walk around the park. The daffodils and tulips are just starting to bloom and I saw a huge fuzzy bumblebee. It certainly puts me in a good mood to enjoy a walk in the sun.

Meanwhile I have The Zombie Survival Guide, I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It and Boneshaker all sitting here waiting to be reviewed. Ouch. I have partial reviews written and just haven't sat down to finish yet. So sorry!

And speaking of not finishing things. I've decided to move some of my themes around a little. Why? Well... I have a big backlog of Amazon Vine books I need to read. We're talking ten books here. I suck. So I decided I'm changing the month of May to a catch-up month. But I'm looking forward to it because I have some books I've really wanted to read in that stack including The Blonde Samurai and Holly Black's White Cat. Now if only I could sleep and be reading at the same time. ;) Seriously I wish speed reading worked like that speed learning in the Matrix flicks or that I could shout "more input!" like Johnny 5 in Short Circuit and people would give me their books to thrash my way through. Well since that's not happening any time soon I'm off to update the sidebar a little and go slip in a few pages while the baby naps. TTFN!
-- Rhi


Review: Steamed: A Steampunk Romance by Katie MacAlister

Steamed: A Steampunk Romance by Katie MacAlister
Steampunk, Romance
Mass Market Paperback (SIGNET, 352 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0451229312
Jack Fletcher's heart is about to get punked.
Computer technician Jack Fletcher is no hero, despite his unwelcome reputation as one. In fact, he's just been the victim of bizarre circumstances. Like now. His sister happens to disturb one of his nanoelectromechanical system experiments, and now they aren't where they're supposed to be. In fact, they're not sure where they are when…
…they wake up to see a woman with the reddest hair Jack has ever seen-and a gun. Octavia Pye is an Aerocorps captain with a whole lot of secrets, and she's not about to see her maiden voyage ruined by stowaways. But the sparks flying between her and Jack just may cause her airship to combust and ignite a passion that will forever change the world as she knows it…

Author Site: www.katiemacalister.com

Not really the steampunk or the romance I was looking for. (2 stars)

Jack Fletcher seems to always end up in a situation where he becomes some sort of hero even when he isn't trying. Somehow he gets thrust into strange circumstances that make him seem heroic... and the ladies love him ever the more for it. When his meddling sister Hallie drops by his place of business to discuss setting him up on a date he becomes the victim of strange fates again. When Hallie messes with the wrong nano-whatsamahoozit and explosion rocks the two into an alternate reality where the year might be the same but the Victorian-esque manners and airship travel could hop right from the pages of one of Jack's favorite steampunk graphic novels.

Finding Jack and Hallie aboard her Aerocorps vessel, the HIMA Tesla, Captain Octavia Pye is in no mood to deal with stow-aways. As it happens Europe is in the middle of a war and between Moghul enemies and Revolutionaries dead set against bringing down the emperor Octavia has her hands full. But one look at the red locked Captain and Jack is smitten with lust. He'll have Octavia Pye and she him, if the two can survive the adventure ahead. If Hallie and Jack can't return to their own reality they may have to learn the ways of a steampunk lifestyle really fast.

Yet another book where the concept seems really great but just doesn't quite work. I'm no purist when it comes to romances. Sometimes I do like one where the narration is done in first person. Unfortunately, Steamed is told from both Jack and Octavia's eyes. It might work for some readers but I found it hard to tell the difference between their "voices" in this format. I didn't like it and by the end of the book I found it insanely irritating how shallow and lusty it made each sound. I like a lusty romance as much as the next reader but with the Victorian era mannerisms and speech it sounded kind of crass.

The story itself felt really slapped together. There were entertaining crew members aboard the Tesla to pepper it with funny dialog and euphemisms but at times it felt like there was no one really needed aside from the hero and heroine. It is my personal preference in reading—whether romance or not—that there be secondary characters. Those here in Steamed really do nothing for the story other than provide a little bit of conflicting force and backup. What little conflict there is resolves way too easily and that really cheapened the conclusion for me. This is the first time I've read MacAlister though I have some of her other titles in my TBR pile and if this is an example of the humor she threads into her work that is its main saving grace.

In summation, liked the humor, liked the concept, didn't care for the narrative style or general storyline. Would I read another steampunk romance based on this one as a point of comparison? Probably not. But I'm open to trying other steampunkish titles with romance in them.

Other Reviews:
SHUZLUVA @ dearauthor.com
Novel Addiction
Katiebabs @ Babbling About Books, and More!

Notes: I received this book through Librarything.com's Early Reviewers program.


Review: Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr

Radiant Shadows (Wicked Lovely #4) by Melissa Marr
Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Fae
Hardcover (HARPERCOLLINS, 352 pages, $16.99)
ISBN# 0061659223
Hunger for nourishment.
Hunger for touch.
Hunger to belong.
Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers.
Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries' coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani's death.
Ani isn't one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin's plans—and his life. The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?
Alluring romance, heart-stopping danger, and sinister intrigue combine in the penultimate volume of Melissa Marr's New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series.

Author Site: www.melissa-marr.com

Didn't entertain me this time... (3 stars)

Devlin is caught between two natures. His sister-creators made him and because of their duality he is cursed to be ever conflicted. He is chaos and reason, the balance between the unbalanced. He serves his sister Sorcha, Queen of the High Court, without question save one choice he has made of his own free will. A decision that nows haunts him. Ani, the halfling he did not kill, has now grown to be a young woman. She is both part Hunt and not of the Hunt. Ani must feed on both touch and emotion but what she really longs for is to belong.

Now War and Order threaten the world of the Fae and only Devlin and Ani can put things to right. But will doing so unravel their world or can they save the whole of Faery and themselves in the process?

I know it's not a terrific synopsis I've provided there and for that I really am sorry. I wanted to like Radiant Shadows. I really, really did. Wicked Lovely was just such a terrific story and it was written so well! So naturally as part of that series it has to be compared to this one. For me it just did not deliver. I liked the basic plot idea and the characters conceptually speaking. I loved the Hunt and got very excited to see what would happen with Ani's role in and outside it. Devlin's part of the story didn't work for me so much. Aside from some kind of weird lust-at-first-sight type attraction I felt no chemistry between the two as romantic partners. If that had been left out of the story I think I would have actually liked it a little more.

What really killed this book for me was how slowly paced it moved along. So much talking and indecision and reflecting on boring stuff. I didn't care about any of the politicing with Niall and Irial. I began skimming these scenes out of sheer desperation for something interesting to happen. There's also Rae. She makes no sense to me. How did she get into Faery and why? What is the point of her other than to be a pivot point for Devlin? She's a likable character but so little is really explained about her (and her bit of story has no real conclusion) that it was hard to not think of her as pretty superfluous.

If you're a die-hard fan of the series you may like this one. I think Marr has written better stuff in her previous installments of this series but that's just me. I think I'm just gonna fence sit on this one. It wasn't horrid but there was a lot about it I did not like. Good story but not well executed.

Other Reviews:
Jesse Potts @ Amazon.com
Kate of I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read!

Notes: I received this book through the Amazon Vine program.


RhiReading Feature: Weekend Reading [04/09-04/11]

You know what day it is dear readers. Oh yeah, it's Friday alright.

This week I've been working through more Zombie and Steampunkness. I've also been doing it on a limited amount of sleep. It is certainly a joy to have a baby in the family and I tolerate the every-two-hour night feedings with the knowledge they won't last forever. One of my cats, however, has decided that around six in the morning I need to be woken sheerly to give him a back scratch. Once he has sufficiently had a good ear rub and back scratch he takes off for parts unknown. He has officially become the most annoying person in my life. :P

I have become a bit of a zombie myself this week with the lack of sleep. I even nodded off while reading yesterday afternoon. *wince* But I should get I Kissed a Zombie, and I Liked It finished over the weekend. I've found it pretty amusing so far. The other book I'm working on is the steampunk novel Boneshaker. I've been wanting to read that one since before it came out and finally I'm getting around to it. It's sort of cheating and mixing it up with steampunk and zombies in it but it definitely leans more toward the steampunk side. I've not read any of the author's other work but I'm interested in it now. :)

Anyone else reading any steampunk or zombie stuff?

*yawn* Well, I'm off! I want to attempt a catnap... err, a short snooze before the baby wakes up from hers. Coffee is only getting me so far these days. ;) Hope you all have a splendid weekend filled with the 3 R's—rest, relaxation and reading.
-- Rhi


RhiReading Feature: Weekend Reading [04/02-04/04]

Spring break is in full effect around here dear readers. With my kid home, my steppie visiting for the weekend and a very fussy teething tot I dunno when I am going to find time to read. We've got eggs to color and a carrot cake to bake. Maybe plans for an Easter brunch out with my fab in-laws. Who knows. We're very casual like that. ;)

Right now I'm working on The Zombie Handbook by Max Brooks. My husband read it earlier this year and has kept telling me silly things about how to zombie proof our house so I figured it was a good first read for the month of April. So far all I can say is that somebody thinks way too hard about all this stuff. While we're sort of on the subject of my husband anyone have any book recs for him? I'm trying to get him to read the Signs of the Zodiac series by Vicki Pettersson but so far he doesn't seem interested.

Well... sorry to keep this short but I need to get some dinner going and try and slip in a little reading while the baby naps. I hope you all have a terrific weekend whether you're celebrating Easter or not. :)
-- Rhi


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