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


RhiReading Feature: Weekend Reading [09/24-09/26]

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I usually don't bother to get one of these up if I didn't have time to write on Friday. But hey, I've had a bit of a crazy week and needed some time to just sit and relax in my office. Of course, my office is also known as the laundry room but I spent an hour cleaning up the corner that is MINE last night so it's now a spot I want to sit down for a few.

Haven't had much time to read yet this weekend. I've got some family coming to visit this coming week and getting ready for the visit has been a bit on the chaotic side. There's nothing like having three guests with special dietary needs and physical infirmaties to send a person like me (neurotic and flighty) into a miserable dither! On top of that I'm in the middle of planning the baby's first birthday party and I am so bad at this kind of thing. All I know is I want to do a cupcake theme on a small budget inviting my husband's coworkers and a couple of friends 'cause none of my relations live near enough. Then my mum asked if she could stay for three weeks and well... we mix like oil and vinegar, really well when the situation is right but it takes some work. ;)

As I was cleaning up around my office though I was super happy to find that I have a BUNCH of awesome stuff to giveaway here on the blog next month that I forgot I had put aside. Extra copies of books, bookmarks and a set of mini nail polishes. Follow the blog to be kept informed of when the giveaway starts.

Over the weekend I am hoping to get Bespelling Jane Austen finished. I've never read any of Austen's books. I tend to rebel against what is popular so I always avoided them when other girls and women extolled them. It doesn't help that I really dislike the Regency era. The more books I read from that era the more I hate how men acted. So not my kind of hero.

...and speaking of heroes... my husband is a huge Spartacus fan. You might even call it a man-crush he loves that show so much. So I finally sat down and started watching it with him since the Bluray of season 1 just hit shelves this week. I've always been more into reading historically set fiction books taking place in Roman times than more civilized times so it wasn't hard to get really into it. And how can a girl complain when there's so much man candy parading about in the buff? I like the equal male to female nudity ratio thank-ya-very-much. How frustrating that the show has been put on hold while its star battles cancer. :(

The other book I am working on is Strange Brew. Some big name urban fantasy authors in here. Patricia Briggs. Jim Butcher. So far it's okay. None of the stories have really bitten me and made me want to get bit again. I can say I like reading authors I already enjoy, such as Briggs, writing something connected but not within the series they are already known for though.

Well, I am off to get some of these chores I only think to do when company is coming. Can we say dusting picture frames and tossing out the magazines in the bathroom? lol May what's left of your weekend be fun and the coming week be even better! -- Rhi


Review: Burning Up (anthology)

Burning Up by Angela Knight, Nalini Singh, Virginia Kantra & Meljean Brook
Paranormal Romance, Steampunk, Shapeshifters, Vampires
Mass Market Paperback (BERKLEY, 368 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0425235955
Bring these four authors together and it's sure to ignite a spark...
Angela Knight pairs a vampire warrior and his seductive captor in a battle against demonic predators.
Nalini Singh returns to the world of her Psy-Changeling series as a woman in lethal danger finds an unlikely protector-and lover.
Virginia Kantra continues the haunting tales of the Children of the Sea in her story of a wounded soldier rescued by an enigmatic young woman.
Meljean Brook launches a bold new steampunk series about a woman who strikes a provocative-and terrifying-bargain for freedom.

Author Site: www.angelasknights.com, www.nalinisingh.com, virginiakantra.com, meljeanbrook.com/

Unexpectedly Good For Being Short Stories (4 stars)

Bringing together stories from four very popular paranormal romance authors, Burning Up is a solid taste of each contributors work.

Headlining the collection is Angela Knight. Known for her Mageverse series and many other writings her story Blood and Roses is an interesting medieval vampire romance. Combining magic and vampires with what I think would be a pretty cool series realm this one was likable but a toddler character in the mix might be a turn-off and annoy readers. The hero and heroine have great chemistry for such a short story. The love scenes were memorable and quite spicy. 4/5 stars

Author of the popular Psy/Changelings and Guild Hunter series, Nalini Singh contributes a short story from the former. I've read other P/C short stories before but still haven't cracked the novels open. Whisper of Sin pairs a studly leopard with a sweet, young human in danger. These characters make cameos in the P/C series and this is their backstory. Sadly, that made it hard for me to enjoy the story. I didn't have anything to ground me to them and so this story felt kind of contrived. Maybe fans of the series will love it but I didn't feel it. 2/5 stars

The third tale in this tome is Virginia Kantra's Shifting Sea, a Children of the Sea series short. I have to say that the CotS series is one of the more original paranormal romance series I have had the pleasure of reading. Not one of the titles or shorts I have read from this series was a disappointment and this is no exception. When a lady of the finfolk falls for a wounded soldier on land she has to choose between her love and the sea. If you love historicals and paranormals this is a terrific sample of what the best in the genre can be. Fans of the series shouldn't miss this one! 5/5 stars

Probably one of the most anticipated books to be released this year is Meljean Brook's Iron Seas series opener, The Iron Duke. Brook is already well known as the author of paranormal romance The Guardians series and The Iron Duke is her steampunk romance debut. Letting readers have a nibble of the world of the Iron Seas series seems to have only served to whet appetites more. For such a short story where the steampunk element requires intense descriptive world building Here There Be Monsters delivers in spades. The romance between the blacksmith heroine and crazy pirate captain is palpable and downright yummy. Fans of steampunk looking for some romance or fans of Brook's other work should definitely read this tale. It was my favorite! 5/5 stars

Overall this anthology is exceptional. The entries are varied to include shapeshifters, mechanical-limbed pirates, vampires and more. From the big city and the high seas to the Scottish countryside and dangerous fantasy realms there's a little bit for every romance reader who likes a paranormal element. I highly recommend Burning Up and look forward to reading more from these authors in the future.

Other Reviews:

Emily @ What Book Is That?

Notes: I purchased this book online.


Speak Up About SPEAK & Censorship

If you've been listening in on the book blogosphere the past few days I am sure you've heard the angry buzzing. I like to think of bloggers like bees. Hard working, productive and devoted to their hive under normal circumstances. Kick the hive, however, and these book lovers give new meaning to the saying "mad as a hornet".

It's taken me several days to sit down and write about this latest issue. I don't like confrontation. Avoiding drama is how I prefer to live my life. But sometimes even I feel like action is needed no matter how difficult it is for me to act.

The issue centers around an editorial opinion piece from the Springfield, Missouri News-Leader. Entitled Scroggins: Filthy books demeaning to Republic education this letter from a Mr. Wesley Scroggins points out three books he feels are inappropriate, immoral material for children within the local school district. As a parent I respect his desire to protect his or other children. I do not feel he is wrong in that motivation. But also as a parent I feel that it is not his or any other adults place to choose what my child is allowed to read or not.

Please let me share a very uncomfortable personal experience with you...

When I was 13-years-old my mother and step-father began seeking God. Every weekend we would attend a different local church as my mother struggled with her need for a higher power in her life. Eventually my step-father mentioned a church he had attended two states away in Montana. My family began making Friday night drives to Montana where we slept on strangers' floors so we could attend worship on Sundays. After half a year of this she quit her job and moved us to the place I now live. Our extended family was upset and disgusted at the cultish nature of my parents' faith.

And I will not lie... many things about it were cultish and having known differently, coming into that world as a teenager, I struggled with it. No television or movies, no music, very conservative clothing, no holidays aside from our birthdays. But books were okay... to a point. As soon as another congregation member told my parents that the Dragon Riders of Pern series had sex in them I wasn't allowed to read them anymore. When I found The Handmaid's Tale at a yard sale and tried to read it—knowing it was a frequently banned book had fueled my interest—my step-father caught me and I was punished for it.

Many other children were home schooled so eventually my parents pulled me out too. I wasn't allowed to attend my junior and senior year of high school. I spent those two years very isolated, my only friends younger girls who also attended church. I was told I had to be an example as the eldest child in the congregation but unlike the majority of the rest I knew there was another world. A world with music, movies and books, where punishment from God for any questioning of parental judgement was not a daily threat. All the while my step-father was physically, emotionally and up unto a point bordering on sexually abusive.

But I was one of the lucky ones. I left. One of my close friends was not so lucky.

For the sake of privacy let's call her Amy. Amy was my opposite. I was tall and skinny, dark haired and shy. Amy was shorter and athletic, blond and bold. She was a few years younger than I was but we shared a lot of interests. We snuck off to movies and traded contraband CDs. We became long-distance friends with a pair of sisters from another congregation of our church. Amy was kind of like the sister I never had. What little we knew about the outside world was enough to convince us that not everything our parents were protecting us from was bad. But the time came when I couldn't live under the religious thumbs of my parents. My step-father had begun to exhibit behaviors toward me that suggested a less than fatherly love and I was terrified he was going to hurt me. I left that life behind and with it I lost touch with Amy.

A few years went by. I married, had a child, and had moved around the world and back. Through my mother I got in touch with Amy and her family. We got together and she was very pregnant at the time. It turns out that like me, Amy had gone through a stage of wanting out of that over protected life. For her it had resulted in accepting a date with a guy ten years her senior when she was only 16. He had met her at her job, since she was home schooled she could work when other girls were attending school. Because, like myself, she was very naive about what sex was (our good Christian parents never taught us anything but that "it" was a sin unless we were married) he managed to convince her to do certain things. He began plying her with drinks and eventually invited his friends around and would make her service all of them one after the other. She ended up strung out on drugs and with STDs. Eventually someone found out and got her away from him but the damage was done. She ended up pregnant by her drug dealer boyfriend. Her self-esteem was destroyed and as I sat with her that evening listening to her tell me what had happened I grew insanely angry. Later, when I was home and had time to think I began to feel a painful guilt.

And my guilt still lingers. Why? I'm still not sure. Part of me feels like I abandoned her when I left. I know I couldn't have taken her away from the world we were sequestered in but I often wonder if there wasn't something I could have done to make sure she wasn't left in the dark about what is and isn't okay. I know her family didn't want her to be hurt by keeping her naive but did they (and my own parents) really believe the lack of knowledge would protect us from a world filled with immorality?

Mr. Scroggins talks about books with immoral content. But where was he when my friend was being sexually abused? Who spoke out against my preacher step-father who would wake me up in the morning by laying on top of me and kissing me on the mouth? I couldn't even tell me own mother what my good Christian step-father had done for over a year. Then my good Christian mother had me talk to the teacher at church about it. They agreed I was lying to get attention. No good Christian man would do that. But I was known for refusing to just sit quietly and accept everything they taught at face value.

Christians talk about morality. Preach against acts they feel are immoral. But many keep their children from having the knowledge to protect themselves outside of the church walls, to think for themselves. When I read men like Mr. Scroggins speaking out against books I can't help but think of my abusive step-father screaming through the phone lines that I didn't want to come home because I was fornicating. I didn't want to come home because I was scared his wake-up kiss would one day be more than a kiss and I couldn't tell anyone the truth.

I wish that Speak had been published that year. I wish that someone had given it to me. Maybe I would have stayed away and lived with my real father since I was almost 18. Up until a couple of years ago when my mother divorced my step-father I was still angry at her for staying with him and choosing her relationship with him over my safety. I only visited her home once in those years since I left and only because my husband threatened that if he touched me or even looked at me wrong he would kill him.

A few months ago the film version of Speak was on Lifetime. I stumbled upon it as I was flipping channels. I had no idea it was a book at the time and I can't recall what kept me from finishing it (kids interrupting most likely) but the story really resonated with me. Melinda was made out to be the villain. I was so angry at her for not telling someone what happened. For letting herself be treated so poorly. For not speaking up. For not demanding justice.

Now that I know this is a book and that it is being suggested it be removed from schools' curriculum I am downright pissed. I have a step-daughter who will be 12 soon. Our son is almost 11. Someday my baby daughter will be a young woman. I would protect them from the world's evils if I could. I hope they never have to know some of the painful, scary, ugly things I have in my life. But I also know that kids grow up and we have to let them out into the world. A world where teenagers drink, drive and die. Where they give into hormones and societal pressure and sometimes end up with diseases and unwanted babies. Where they are tempted to try drugs and begin cycles of addiction. If I don't give them the armor—knowledge—to protect themselves then I am the one who is being naive.

I don't want my kids being sexually active, doing drugs and drinking or disrespecting the cultural and religious traditions of others. But I hope that when and if those topics enter their worlds they will know I will not judge them. I will answer their questions and help them understand the world that we live in. All of it. The sweet and beautiful as well as the grisly and violent. May they have a voice when I was not allowed one.

I don't want my voice to go unheard today. As much as I did not want to write this post for fear of backlash or being judged for my experiences and opinion I am forcing myself to do it. We Americans are blessed with the right to speak freely and I am glad that both Mr. Scroggins and those who disagree with his opinion have that right. I commend his taking a stand for what he feels is right. For wanting to protect young minds from what he sees as bad things. I cannot write about the other two books in question since I know nothing of them. But I will not let him get away with calling rape "soft pornography". Ask any rape survivor, of which I have more than one in my family, if they feel that such an act is pornographic and I believe the answer will be no. Rape isn't about the sex at all, it's about control.

If our school district would teach Speak I would be glad to have my children read it and discuss it. Mr. Scroggins speaks out in his article about the middle school sexual education curriculum introducing concepts such as homosexuality, oral and anal sex and how to have sex. Guess what dude... kids are going to learn these things no matter what. Instead of being a closed minded religious wing nut demanding the course be changed keep your children out of it. Last year when I was pregnant I took the time to answer all of my 10-year-old's questions about where babies come from. Some of them were ones I was not very comfortable talking about... like the two men who lived downstairs. He now knows how we feel about both the morality issues AND that sometimes same-sex couples have children too. He will have to form his own opinions as he grows older and is exposed to more of the world but now he knows he can always talk to us about sex. It isn't a dirty or bad thing, but he also knows it isn't something to take lightly or do until you're old enough to make an informed and safe decision about it. And every so often a new question pops up because let's face it... kids talk about it. Even elementary schoolers.

Mr. Scroggins says: "it is time parents and taxpayers in this school district are informed about this material" and I could not agree more. Parents SHOULD know what their children are reading. They should be involved in educating their children, answering questions and be aware of what their children are being taught. How can that ever be a bad thing? But first parents have to give a damn. No disrespect meant but many just simply don't. May I never be apathetic about what my kids are learning and being exposed to. Not so I can keep them from being informed or maybe reading something objectionable but so that the lines of communication will always be open. So my children will know they are that important to me. That I give a damn. That I will protect them from harm with knowledge, understanding and compassion.

And so dear readers, please forgive me if I have offended anyone in putting my own voice out there to be heard. I know this is a tough and touchy topic. I've written things here I never wanted to share publicly. Exposed a part of who I am I prefer not be seen. Let secrets out that I will forever struggle with. But if what I shared could save one young woman (or young man) from being afraid to speak out when something wrong is being done to them it will all be worth it. I told someone what happened and they said I lied. That was my greatest fear. It was painful, humiliating and I was even told that because I was never actually molested or raped I wasn't being abused. Ya know what? I refused to shut up. When my mother and church counselor said I was lying I went to my aunts. I told the rest of my family what had happened. And they didn't for a moment suggest I was looking for attention or trying to ruin my mother's marriage.

Don't give up. Keep talking. Be heard.

In closing this post I wanted to share this poem Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak, put together. When I heard it I was moved to tears. I hope you will be too.

It was this poem that finally convinced me to put aside my discomfort and write about this.

Want to get involved and help spread the word about Speak? The ALA hosts Banned Books Week every September. I suggest that be your first stop. Learn what books have been challenged and banned this year. Then go out and buy them! Read them! Blog them! Tweet them! Make yourself heard in the fight against censorship. Exercise your right to free speech. You'll be surprised at some of the books that have been banned and challenged, I know I sure was.

Then I suggest you check out posts and GIVEAWAYS from some of my fellow bloggers!

Eleni from La Femme Readers - Post and Giveaway
Jo from Once Upon a Bookcase - Post
Jan from Eating Y.A. Books - Post and Giveaway
Natalie from Mindful Musings - Post
mavie from The Bookologist - Post
Jenny from Supernatural Snark - Post
KB from Babbling About Books, and More - Post

Thank you so much to everyone who is spreading the word, sharing their experiences and not letting this man's opinion go unchallenged. I want to have the right to choose what my children are ready to read and are not... not some Christian man who won't even let his own children attend the schools where he is challenging the curriculum.

Image Credit: vermillion


RhiReading Feature: Weekend Reading [09/17-09/19]

One of the unpleasant parts of living in Montana, aside from the fact many Americans think we're part of Canada, is the climate. Some years the summers can be dastardly, filled with forest fires and heatwaves that kill power. But most years winter starts as early as July. No, I'm not exaggerating. I've seen it snow on the 23rd of July. The saying here goes: "Don't like the weather? Wait five minutes and it will change." Too true, that statement is.

Our forecast for Friday through Monday was rain. Being from Washington I was born on a rainy day. I love rain. I prefer rain to other forms of weather. But here on the high plains it doesn't rain very often and when it does it's usually followed by hail, high winds and snow. Sure enough... just as I was packing the baby and the puppy into the car for a vet visit this morning the rain turned into snow. Yuck!

Fortunately, we've got lots of supplies, some rental DVDs & Blurays, stacks of books and a brand new XBOX360 to keep the big kids busy 'cause this wet snow usually downs power lines and knocks out power for hours. I foresee a long weekend of meself grumbling as I layer on flannels, sweaters and socks.

I guess I shall have to be content and stay warm with Burning Up. I'm almost finished! I am sooooooo ready for The Iron Duke to come out already. I wanted an ARC but didn't want to commit to a review for it. Why? If I really love a series I tend to avoid reviewing it unless it is YA. Mostly because I worry I won't be objective enough. The Black Dagger Brotherhood is a good example of that. I enjoy it so much I often excuse or forgive things I see other reviewers griping about. :P That and with many of them going to hardbacks and me being obsessive about mass markets being my preferred form there's just no point reviewing by the time I read them.

I also received a huge package in the mail yesterday from HarperTeen. I scratched my head and thought "hmmm why are they sending me stuff?" but it was filled with some 2011 YA books. Not UF stuff but the premise for the January release, See What I See by Gloria Whelan, was so good I sat down and read half of it last night. I know, I know. Bad Rhianna. Not supposed to start it yet. Ah well. Pffffft! It couldn't be helped, it's not every day you pick up a book and find that you have (or in my case had at that age) a strangely large bit in common with a character's circumstances. Be sure and check back in December for the review!

Well anyhow, my boy just walked in from school with cheeks red and whining about the cold. I'm off to make him some hot chocolate. May your weekend be warm and cozy, filled with relaxation and bookish delights! -- Rhi


RhiReading Feature: Shopping w/RhiReading

It's that time again pretties! Time to roll out some nifty finds that I think suit the interests of my blog buddies. :)

Part of today's shopping post is centered around cool things I've found that match book covers. My obsession with this started a few months ago when I finally started dropping some of the baby weight. I needed a belt to help hold my "fat" jeans up so I was looking for a cheap-o one in Target. I happened upon a cool leopard print one on clearance that reminded me of the one Faythe is wearing on the cover of Stray by Rachel Vincent. Is it totally dorky that that factor alone was what convinced me to buy it? I'm even wearing it today as I write up this post. LOL

Every once in a while now I find something (or even go specifically looking for) that matches a cover or at least reminds me of one. I don't wear skirts much because I live in a place where it's too cold most of the time but I still love hosiery so I thought I'd try and find some leopard print ones like the ones on the cover of Alpha. I hit the jackpot when I stumbled across AMI clubwear. Just a quick advanced search for "leopard" brought up more than 100 items with leopard prints! Everything from scarves, belts and pumps to coats and bikinis, including several different tights, stockings and leggings. My personal favorite are the purple thigh highs with the bows.

Now I've always been a bit of a doll fan. I'm no collector by any means but I loved dressing mine up and taking them on adventures when I was a kid. I think my teenaged dreams of being a fashion designer may have even started with Barbie. So a while back when I was trolling the doll aisles and saw Clawdeen Wolf from Mattel's Monster High product line I about died from have-to-have-it overload. Needless to say my husband talked me down from it. Once I was home and had time to look into them more I found out they're based off of characters from the book Monster High by Lisa Harrison. I do plan on buying these and putting them up for the baby when she's old enough for fashion dolls. I've heard a lot of negative feedback about these from toy collectors and such. As a huge action figure collecting family I think these are just really original and a nice change from the norm. They even have really cute cartoon shorts on their website and youtube. Ghoulia is my favorite but they don't make her in a doll darnit!

While I haven't read the book Dust yet, I couldn't help but find these earrings from girlprops.com reminded me of its cover. So much so in fact it wasn't until I saw them that I actually read the blurb for this book...
Nine years ago, Jessie had a family.
Now, she has a gang.
Nine years ago, Jessie was a vegetarian.
Now, she eats very fresh meat.
Nine years ago,
Jessie was in a car crash and died.
Nine years ago, Jessie was human.
Now, she’s not.
After she was buried, Jessie awoke and tore through the earth to arise, reborn, as a zombie. Jessie’s gang is the Fly-by-Nights. She loves the ancient, skeletal Florian and his memories of time gone by. She’s in love with Joe, a maggot-infested corpse. They fight, hunt, dance together as one—something humans can never understand. There are dark places humans have learned to avoid, lest they run into the zombie gangs.
But now, Jessie and the Fly-by-Nights have seen new creatures in the woods—things not human and not zombie. A strange new illness has flamed up out of nowhere, causing the undeads to become more alive and the living to exist on the brink of death. As bits and pieces of the truth fall around Jessie, like the flesh off her bones, she’ll have to choose between looking away or staring down the madness—and hanging onto everything she has come to know as life…

One of my favorite paranormal romance series—even though I haven't actually been keeping up with it in the past two years—is Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunters. One of my favorite romances in general is Night Play. But what really sells the series for me is Simi. Just like Maggie from Yasmine Galenorn's Sisters of the Moon series she adds that cuteness and fun just when the story needs a lighter moment. I'm not sure if any of you were following RhiReading back when I first mentioned that Ashton-Drake was coming out with Ash & Simi dolls but I finally went and checked them out. For only five payments of $30 Simi could be mine. Alas that's a little out of my budget if I ever want to buy books again. hehe! But I did find (through BlogFest's giveaways) a really awesome etsy shop called Stupid Shiny Designs. The shop owner makes book inspired book thongs that are sooo gorgeous. I love her Black Dagger Brotherhood ones in particular but the Simi inspired one is just so cool I had to share it here!

Ages ago when I was looking for some vampire party theme ideas I found Wicked Wines Online. They sell all kinds of vampy beverages from Vampire Vineyards. Classic wines, Witches' Brew Ale, energy drinks, vodka (in red and white!) and even their own line of coffees. For adult vampire fans they've done special Twilight DVD and wine packages and for the underage set a Vampire Diaries book and coffee pack. I dunno if any of it's any good but just the idea is cool enough that if I was much of a wine nerd I'd look for some. Still, I think it'd be a great thing to serve at your Eclipse DVD release or True Blood Season 4 premiere get togethers. How can I resist pairing it with, Blood Wyne, Menolly's next book in the Sisters of the Moon series though? ;)

Do any of you out there know of some other vampire food specialty items? Hot sauce or something? Let me know!

And now for some slightly less related goodness. About a month back my husband and son came home from a day doing guy stuff with a surprise bag of antibacterial goodies from Bath and Body Works just for me. What sweeties eh? I'm always carrying hand sanitizer in my bag because let's face it... kids touch everything and then touch their mouths. I'd prefer not to spend my days in bed with the nasties. The ones they brought me though were sooo cool! Halloween themed ones. *squee* I thought y'all would love the zombie squad and vampire blood ones. So last weekend I went into B&BW hoping to pick up a bunch of them to put away for a giveaway. But the only ones they had left were the vampire blood ones. Which I did buy, so no worries. Look for them in a goodie bag giveaway sometime in the not too distant future. :)

Since I had a coupon for a free item when I bought something from the new Dark Kiss collection I decided to treat myself. It has been ages since I bought any fragranced products for myself. I blame pregnancy giving a woman hormonal nausea even with things they like. Made it very hard to wear or wash with anything scented.

Dark Kiss is delicious though. I get why they put it in their Sexy grouping. 'Cause it is very sexy.

Master perfumers have blended voluptuous berries, tempting blooms, sensual incense and night musk for this daring and seductive fragrance. It is a modern tale of forbidden love that will unleash your most primal passions.
• Top Notes: Bergamot, Incense, Mirabelle Plum, Black Raspberry
• Mid Notes: Amber, Burgundy Rose, Geranium, Peony
• Base Notes: Dark Vanilla Bean, Labdanum, Vetiver, Sensual Balsam, Musks

And it's all packaged so pretty! I'm not a fan of purples but mixed with the magenta and having that kind of pop-arty edge it's very urban, sexy chic. Plus the name immediately made me think of paranormal romance books. Not that the little advert here helps any...

Anyway, with the help of the clever girl working the store I was able to walk out with two eau de toilettes, two body lotions and the shower gel in Dark Kiss and my other new found love Twilight Woods. Which also made me think of romance and the paranormal for obvious reasons. It's a bit more of a snuggly, warm scent.

Master perfumers have blended apricot nectar, mimosa petals, and Tuscan cypress to create this hypnotic fragrance inspired by a romantic walk in enchanted woods.
Indulge your senses with our exclusive Twilight Woods, a hypnotic fragrance inspired by a romantic walk in enchanted woods.
• Top Notes: Juicy Berry, Sparkling Mandarin, hint of Coconut
• Mid Notes: Creamy Frangipani, Soft Mimosa, Wet Honeysuckle, Wild Freesia, Apricot Nectar
• Base Notes: Oud Wood, Skin Musk Captive, Vanilla Milk, Warm Woods

I just had to share those little nummy scent goodies with you guys. There's also a Twilight Woods for Men line coming out at the end of September. I'm thinking I might buy some for the hubs for our anniversary in October. What else do you buy a dude who buys everything he wants but never thinks to buy nice smellies for his bod? I mean if PNR writing is any indicator we like it when our men smell good enough to eat right? LOL

Alright well, I am sure no one is gonna read this anyway and the baby is screaming bloody murder thanks to her first tooth coming in so I best retire for the night. Have a lovely evening and please do drop a comment if you see anything you like in this post. I'd love to know someone is out there. :P Besties! -- Rhi


I Heart Viral Marketing!

Happy Wednesday dear readers! I'm having one of those days we call an ADD day around here. I can't seem to sit and finish anything in completion. I get a pile of laundry half folded and when I take the kids clothes upstairs I find that the dog dish needs water so I take it to the sink and notice the windows are dirty so I go find the cleanser and do the living room window only to find the plants need a little water... do you see where this is going? hehehe.

I seriously need my mother to come visit so I can beg some help with some of these bigger tasks. Like changing the hall lightbulbs that need replacing. It requires a ladder so natch I can't do it alone. Then there's all these calls that need to be made to reschedule dentist's appointments and such. That saying about a woman's work never being done... oh yeah, that woman is ME. :P

But I am forcing myself to take little breaks to sit down and hit the interwebs. I have email and tracking on packages to check. I must email the teacher about homework. But wait... I should really make a blog post today. Why?

I keep forgetting to mention the freaking wicked coolest thing ever! I dunno how many of you remember when they were doing all that awesome viral marketing for The Dark Knight a couple of years back? I was already stoked to see it but that viral marketing campaign managed to make my husband and I practically frothing at the mouth for it. Then Heath Ledger died and I didn't want to see it anymore because I was (and still am) a huge fan and for some weird reason (my mother pointed out we were just a few months apart in age so I kind of grew up watching his work like a peer) found it really difficult emotionally. But anyways... that whole campaign did two things, got me really into something before it was released and made me wish more films/books/games did that!

Every once in a while you do see cool viral stuff. Those True Blood ones people were sharing pics of before I had even heard of the show. District 9's TV advertisements. And now Nightshade, that book I recently reviewed and am uber in love with, has its own viraly type prequel marketing going on. I soooo wish I'd been one of the lucky folks who got mailed a calla lily with the key and stuff. I forget who in the blogosphere I saw got them but definitely would go on my office shelf with my books and treasures. On top of it Shay Doran now has a Facebook page and videos on YouTube! *squee* I can't even get through the first one because of baby interuptions and phone calls but I decided I would post about it NOW and finish it tonight when the baby goes down. What I have seen though... *dances* oooh it's sooo neat. Really makes me feel more like part of the book.

So without anymore rambling nonsense on my part here is the first one of Shay's vids.

I'm off to eat a very late lunch and feed the doggie. Have a good one! -- Rhi


Challenge Accepted! YA-D2 @ Bart's Bookshelf

I've never tried a reading challenge before. I see other bloggers doing them all the time and just think "holy crap when do they have time for this?".

Obviously I'm a blogger who does it more for herself than anyone else (okie that's only 95% true) but darnit all if I don't wish I felt like my blog was important and enjoyable to someone aside from myself. Which is why I still put my offline life ahead of blogging ALWAYS. In ten years I'd much rather have a happy marriage and well mannered kids than a million blog followers... no offense guys! lol

On the same hand RhiReading is something I do for me (like curl up in a bathtub filled with Kama Sutra's Treasures of the Sea bath salts—my personal favorite). Without having something for myself I would go insane. Some days I just NEED to sit down and scope what's going on in the book world or simply dive into a fantasy world where big chaos is happening but you know everything will turn out okay. Lately it seems like I'm getting hit with RL woes from every angle. Any of you other moms out there find that as soon as you started having kids it became impossible to have friendships that lasted? Right now I need a vent-to-my-bff day and realized I don't have one anymore. It's really depressing. I need to vent to my BFF that I don't have a BFF! Talk about a conundrum. :P

Since I don't have a super close friend to confide in and bounce things off of I need to do something for myself. I'm exceptionally stressed out and as the alpha dog in my household I really do need to continue keeping the facade of strength going. Don't get me wrong, I usually work really well under pressure. Lately it's just coming from too many directions at once, I kind of feel like I'm a blindfolded juggler... juggling baby skunks... on a unicycle. *head/desk*

With the blogiversary coming up I thought it was time to try partaking in a reading challenge. I've had a couple of ideas for hosting one in the past but don't have enough followers to feel like it'd be worth putting time into. I dunno... you readers tell me. Do any of you do reading challenges?

I must say that I am a very goal oriented person. Sometimes a goal might be a bit vague but when there is a challenge factor involved I find I'm more inclined to do something. Which could be why I've started making a list of all the things I want to add to or accomplish with RhiReading. Not that I am in a rush of course. Just slow and steady is how I prefer to work with this.

Anyway, back to the reading challenge. (Sorry I got a bit off track there... I need more coffee... or maybe less? haha!). I was checking my blog roll and found a post from Jan @ Eating YA Books about Bart's Bookshelf having a YA Dystopian Book reading challenge. Dude! I luuuurv dystopian fiction. The Unit anyone? Sooo good. I dunno... there's just something about people rising up in the midst of misery. Or beating a system of slavery/oppression/manipulation. Yes, there are some personal RL reasons I love this that I could go into for paragraph after paragraph but I don't want to bore you anymore than I already am.

Cool thing is that the challenge is the perfect starter size for me. After all I plan on being buried in Meljean Brook books in October and am still trying to decide who to make my November author to read. But I can get in 2-4 books in the dystopian YA genre in the challenge period of time. I actually have two sitting around I've been excited to read but keep putting off. The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Hunger Games. I'm still kicking myself for not being fast enough to grab The Hunger Games when Amazon Vine offered it to us Viners two years ago. I knew it was gonna be something good but daaaayum, it's a phenomenon. Something tells me it might end up a favorite. ;)

Well, I suppose I ought to go sit down with a cup of tea and Burning Up. I finally got to The Iron Duke related story and *cheers* it is really good. Weirdly the entire anthology has been like a pyramid for me. The first story was a 2 star, the second a 3 and so on. I have to say I grow into more and more of a Virginia Kantra fan everytime I read her writing. Alright, I said I was going so I bid you all a good day. :) -- Rhi

Image Credit: heironymus


RhiReading Feature: Weekend Reading [09/10-09/12]

*yawn* Oh yeah... wait to start the Friday blogging. Big yawn. But I have an excuse... the past couple of weeks have been spent trying to fit in reading between puppy training, baby duties, starting up fall cleaning, back-to-school hooplah and my man's new hobby... falconry.

Yeah, you read that last one right. Falconry. As it happens when we were newly married he took me to visit his extended family where I met his oldest cousin, who might as well be my husband's sibling for the way they go at each other (lol). His cousin is one of those eternal bachelors who shares my love of Guinness, Norse mythology and despite his metal band preference admitted at our first meeting to liking Enya (we're both insomniacs). We get along like peas and carrots. At our first visit he introduced us to Mr. E, his red-tailed hawk, and the sport of falconry. I honestly thought it was a medieval thing and had no idea it was even legal to do any of it.

Fast forward a decade and guess what he's finally convinced my husband to do? Yeeeeah. Which means the past few weeks have been my husband tweaking out about getting a sponsor (a falconer has to apprentice for 2 years under a master), building a mews (errr... is that the plural or singular or both?) and studying for the test he has to take before he can trap his first bird. When I could have been curled up with that Nalini Singh short story in Burned Up enjoying some nice slap-n-tickle I was reading questions out loud about species of raptors (falcons, hawks, owls, eagles... you get the idea), their breeding habits and illnesses. Blurgh!

But it got me thinking about an Emma Holly book I read years ago. Catching Midnight is a shapeshifter story in a kinda fantasy-ish setting and the heroine ends up becoming a falcon at some point. Of course, she gets trapped by the hero and lusty business ensues. Definitely not the kind of birding adventures my husband will be having. He took his test today so hopefully our completely unhot study sessions paid off and he'll be able to get his first bird soon. In the meantime we have to buy a chest freezer (oh yay Home Depot/Sears/etc. here we come! *sarcasm*) to store dead pigeons (to train the red-tail he'll be trapping) in. Eww. Falconry from cool to sexy to gross in one blog post. ha!

So what are you dear readers up to this weekend? Aside from freezer shopping I'm hoping to get some more fall cleaning type stuff done, watch a few episodes of Smallville S9 with my man (mmm Justin Hartley) and win some cool stuff from the big BlogFest thing that so many of the blogs I was already following are taking part in. OMG how could I have missed out on being part of this? I'm so bummed. My 17 followers are all totally the awesome but they do seem a little lonely. I was going to start the giveaway process for my blogiversary today but since there are all those other giveaways happening this weekend I thought it might be a bad time. I did, however, get out to the mall and found something to add to the giveaway goodie box I've started. :D

...and I totally treated myself to some Bath & Body Works goodies. I haven't had any nice pretty smelling stuff in a couple of years. Pregnancy always kills my sense of smell. So anyways falcon boy is calling me to the love dungeon to watch Smallville. I'm gonna go put on some nice smelling lotion and cuddle up with my RL superhero. May your weekend be fantastic and don't forget to head over and check out BlogFest!!! Seriously, killer giveaways!!! Everything from Kindles and $5-$50 giftcards for Amazon & Book Depository to book promo swag (bookmarks, magnets, pens,etc.) and signed copies of books. I had an absolutely heyday signing up for some. Found some great new blogs I didn't know about in the process as well. Ain't that the point? And I'm working on Burning Up still, on Angela Knight's story and finding it a little... slowish. Wish me luck getting time for reading. ;) Besties! -- Rhi


ALPHA trailer is here!

It's no secret how much I LOVE author Rachel Vincent. What started out as a late night impulse buy (Stray) has ended up being one of the wildest fictional rides I've been on. I especially love that Vincent delivers consistently. None of the Shifters books have been half-assed. Each one has moved the story forward without straying (no pun intended) into side story that doesn't help the series plot move along. But the series is coming to an end!

I'm going to miss Faythe and the Shifters world but at the same time I am so very pleased to see an author who knows when to end a series before it becomes contrived and boring. I can't wait to see where it ends and yet I don't want it to be over at the same time. That, my friends, has to be the mark of an exceptional series right?

So the book trailer—which is frickin' amazing!—went up today and with it a contest to win a copy of Alpha. Not gonna lie here people... I want it. I want it NOW. My mother-in-law and I are so hooked on this series I know she'll be all over me to borrow it before I can make time to read it. I'm betting most of y'all would be to. So check out this wickedly well made trailer and pop on over to Rachel's blog to partake in the contest too! Then come back and tell me what you thought of it. How do you think the series will end? Who are you hoping Faythe ends up with?

That's all for now folks... have a freaking fabulous Wednesday! -- Rhi


Review: Into the Dark by Gena Showalter

Into the Dark by Gena Showalter
Paranormal Romance, Anthology, Demons, Mythology
Mass Market Paperback (HQN, 400 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0373774516
Three otherworldly tales from the master of paranormal romance…and a brand-new Lords of the Underworld bonus guide!
The Darkest Fire—a Lords of the Underworld prequel
Geryon is the guardian of hell, more monster than man. Kadence is the goddess of Oppression, more angel than woman. Together they will enter the flames to battle a dangerous horde of demon lords—and discover a passion unlike any other.
The Amazon's Curse—a tale of Atlantis
Zane, a fierce vampire warrior, has been enslaved by the Amazons. Nola, a lovely Amazon soldier, has been cursed with invisibility. Now, these two stubborn enemies must overcome the pasts that haunt them and embrace a love that can set them free….
The Darkest Prison—a Lords of the Underworld tale
Once, Atlas, the Titan god of Strength, was the Greek goddess Nike's slave. Now, he is her master. And soon these sworn rivals destined to destroy each other will be forced to risk everything for a chance at love…

Author Site: genashowalter.com

For LOTU Fans Only (4 stars)

Okie, so my review title might be viewed as an odd statement. Let me clarify please! Because this story collection is more of a taste of the Lords of the Underworld series I just do not feel like a non-fan should read it without having read at least the first three books. Why? Well... you just don't get enough back story because these tales are so short and the bonus guide section could be considered a bit spoilery if you have no prior knowledge of the series. All that said this is a terrific pick-up for fans.

The one item that really feels out of place here is The Amazon's Curse. It's a tie-in to Showalter's Atlantis series. Still, it's a nice taste of another series and as a LOTU fan who hasn't tried the Atlantis series yet I still enjoyed it and it did provoked more interest.

If you're one of those readers who enjoys series guides and "insider info" but hates paying for a trade paperback or hardcover guide that's mostly filled with stuff you know already this is worth the mass market price. I didn't personally care for a lot of the character interviewy stuff but the background on how the series came to be and the interview with Kresley Cole was both funny and interesting.

Overall, I liked this one but I don't think I would recommend it to anyone who doesn't LOVE the Lords of the Underworld. There's just not much here for you. If you're thinking "well what if I just want to try a taste of the series to see if I'd like it" this really doesn't do the series justice as a starting point. Buy the first book instead!

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

Review: Z by Michael Thomas Ford

Z by Michael Thomas Ford
Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Zombies
Hardcover (HARPERTEEN, 288 pages, $16.99)
ISBN# 0060737581
The First Rule of Torching: Cleanse with fire.
Josh is by far the best zombie Torcher around—at least, he is in his virtual-reality zombie-hunting game. Josh has quickly risen through the player ranks, relying on the skill, cunning, and agility of a real Torcher.
The Second Rule of Torching: Save all humans.
But luckily for Josh, zombies exist only in the virtual world. The real zombie war is now more than fifteen years in the past, and the battle to defeat the deadly epidemic that devastated his family—and millions of others—is the stuff of history lessons.
The Third Rule of Torching: You can't bring them back.
Charlie is the top-ranked player in the game. Since all the players are shrouded in anonymity, Josh never expects Charlie to be a girl—and he never expects the offer she makes him: to join the underground gaming league that takes the virtual-reality game off the screen and into the streets. Josh is thrilled. But the more involved he gets, the more he realizes that not everything is what it seems. Real blood is spilling, members of the team are disappearing, and the zombies in the game are acting strange. And then there's the matter of a mysterious drug called Z.

Author Site: janebitesback.com

Z is for Zombie, W is for Weaknesses (3 stars)

More than a decade and a half ago the newest strain of the flu mutated those infected into primal creatures. The primitive, instinctual center of their brains taking over and demanding the most basic human need—to feed. The only way to successfully destroy the virus and prevent transmission was to cleanse by fire. Torchers set fire to the zombies created by the flu until a vaccine could be found. Now zombies are little more than a cautionary tale.

For Josh, torching zombies is just a way to seek video game glory. He's one of the top players in the virtual world but that's just it... the only zombies he can torch are other players. Until he meets Charlie, another top player who invites him to join a group of players who take the game into a real setting. The zombies they torch are just cybernetic ones but they're sure realistic. Then there's the mysterious guy who runs the group and the drug the players are hooked on called Z. Josh knows something is off about his new friends and when they start to disappear it's only a matter of time before the virtual world and reality must collide.

Conceptually I was super stoked about Z. As an online gamer and zombie fan the story had a great set up to entertain me. Ford's writing is great too. A little repetitive at times but this is young adult fiction so I found that forgivable. Josh is a boy I think most early teen boys could relate to, though a bit younger than Josh I could easily see my own son in this character. He's not a bad kid, but he's drawn into a bad situation by his interests. Sounds like your typical boy eh?

What ultimately made me find the book as only okay was how much of a build up there is in the plot before a really weak ending. If you don't like a story to end with a massive amount of unexplained happenings this book will frustrate you immensely. In addition to the ending coming very abruptly I also found a major hole in the plot that I feel any editor worth their salt would have called into question and that unfortunately would have negated most of what the story stood on. While the targeted age group might not catch it, an older teen or adult reader most likely will.

On the whole the tale is timely, entertaining and likely to appeal more to boys from age 10 to 15. I do not think anyone outside of that age range would really love it unless they are a die-hard zombie fan looking for something really light and outside the more morality-tale type books.

Other Reviews:

Books Are Life
Read All Over Reviews

Notes: I received an unsolicited ARC from the publisher.


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