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


Larissa's Bookish Life Blogoversary & Xmas Giveaway

I'm super busy this week dear readers. I could seriously ball my eyes out from exhaustion. I just cannot get caught up on anything. *grrr* And the puppy... argh! With the weather and her still recovering from surgery I can't let her outside to play so she's been really naughty. I have to remind myself she's not being a shit on purpose just to make me mad or I'd be tempted to put an ad out... Free to good home 5 month old hellhound. House broken and spayed. Answers to commands "sit" and "bite mommy so hard it draws blood". No returns! :P

But in farting around looking at blogs to find some funny or good news to sooth my stressed out state I came across a couple of people's links to Larissa's giveaway she's got going on. Somehow it happens that I was not a follower of her blog before. I dunno why. It happens sometimes. But anywho, it is a kick ass giveaway involving books (including titles from Gail Carriger, Patricia Briggs, J.R. Ward and Larissa Ione) and Amazon giftcards. Not gonna lie guys... I am broke as a joke and winning a big giveaway right now would be sweet. So I thought to myself "self, you should enter this one" and so I am. But then I felt a little guilty as I looked at the "extra entries" section... I personally hate them in giveaways but I GET why bloggers do that... and thought I should support Larissa's blog by doing this advertising! Besides, you guys wanna enter to win too right? ;)

So pop on over between now and Jan. 11th and comment/fill out the form/etc. And if by chance you win and found out about it through me... let me know! That'd be pretty cool. :) Happy Tuesday guys! -- Rhi


Review: Demon Angel by Meljean Brook

Demon Angel (The Guardians #1) by Meljean Brook
Paranormal Romance, Angels, Demons
Mass Market Paperback (BERKLEY SENSATION, 432 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0425213471

For two thousand years, Lilith wrought vengeance upon the evil and the damned, gathering souls for her father’s armies Below and proving her fealty to her Underworld liege. Bound by a bargain with the devil and forbidden to feel pleasure, she draws upon her dark powers and serpentine grace to lead men into temptation. That is, until she faces her greatest temptation — Heaven’s own Sir Hugh Castleford.
Author Site: meljeanbrook.com

Decaf Versus Espresso (3 stars)

I prefer to begin my reviews with a break-down of the basic plotlines as I took them. Let me apologize for not doing that this time but if you've read the above synopsis (straight from Brook's website) and the back of the book you're well prepared. But moving on...

It took me a long time to break down and try the Guardians series. I accidentally picked up the third book, Demon Night, and started it by mistake. What little I had read excited me before I decided I better start with this one first. Brook is definitely a writer with an exceptional talent but Demon Angel is a very hard book to follow. At first I thought it was just me. But I happened to stumble across a note Brook had about the series, Demon Angel and Demon Moon in particular, that I found reassuring. Basically she acknowledges that her writing style in the first two installments didn't work for some readers and she took the constructive criticism to heart.

My personal struggle with Demon Angel was not so much the pace, though it was a little draggy, but the execution. While I didn't dislike Hugh or Lilith I wasn't given enough to compel me to like them either. I found myself sadly indifferent toward them even though I was very interested in the world of the Guardians. While a past was established between the two I didn't feel like enough world building took place for me to understand the past that was presented when it was presented.

I wanted to like this book but so much of it didn't fall into place for me I didn't particularly care for it. All I could think of as an analogy to explain it was that it was like being a decaf drinker and the barista slipped you espresso, you're not prepared for the intensity of it. Too much of some stuff and not enough of others even though it's all coffee. And on that note I doubt I am making any sense. Sorry! What redeems it from getting a lower rating is the fact that Brook shows her immense capability in spinning words. Conceptually this series has great potential and since I am late getting started I have to say the recommendations and high ratings on further installments seem promisingly high. Having read Brook's first book in her new series, The Iron Duke, I plan to be a watching for anything this author writes.

Other Reviews:
Gossamer Obsessions
Candy of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
Jane Stewart @ GoodReads

Notes: I purchased this book online.

Review: The Darkest Lie by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Lie (Lords of the Underworld #6) by Gena Showalter
Paranormal Romance, Demons, Mythology
Mass Market Paperback (HQN, 448 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0373774613

Forced to his knees in agony whenever he speaks the truth, Gideon can recognize any lie—until he captures Scarlet, a demon-possessed immortal who claims to be his long-lost wife. He doesn't remember the beautiful female, much less wedding—or bedding—her. But he wants to…almost as much as he wants her.
But Scarlet is keeper of Nightmares, too dangerous to roam free. A future with her might mean ultimate ruin. Especially as Gideon's enemies draw closer—and the truth threatens to destroy all he's come to love…

Author Site: genashowalter.com

Dialog issues made this a difficult one to read... (3 stars)

Beautiful, enigmatic Scarlet, Keeper of Nightmares, has been taken into custody by the Lords of the Underworld. Dangerous and lovely she's trouble with a capital T. This is only complicated by her past, a past that she claims involves a marriage to Gideon, Keeper of Lies. While he might be infatuated with and drawn to Scarlet he has no memories to support her claim. But when she uses her gifts from Nightmares to show him their linked past he will do anything to see those memories restored. Even take on the goddess of Memory.

Meanwhile, Amun, William and Aeron go to hell in search of Legion. The Lords have taken the artifacts into hiding and Strider faces off with an old enemy. Chaos and tumult are around every corner as the overall story arc of the series thickens into a really fine soup.

I have to sigh and shrug on this one. Gideon was always the Lord I looked forward to seeing in more scenes. He added a nice slice of humor because of his forced lying. Unfortunately I found myself so swamped in double-talk dialog I was falling asleep reading it from the brain strain. It's a fun element in small doses but for me there was just way too much dialog to unravel. Showalter does explain most of Gideon's double talk right after the line has come out--"I thought it was ugly." Meaning he thought it was pretty.--but after a while it feels like wasted words. I'm not sure if other readers would naturally try to twist it in their head before reading the second line but that was what happened with me.

Gideon's lie-based double talk aside the Gideon/Scarlet chemistry was a little dry. The reasons for their attraction and interest in one another are constantly put to the test by the events happening to them involving her past and his lack of memory of said past. I liked both characters individually but their romance felt a little bit contrived. I did love the "TO PART IS TO DIE" thing. It was romantic, sweet and a nice plot point until late in the book when certain things are revealed that I won't spoil for you. The bits between Lies and Nightmares was an excellent twist, the demons have always played bigger roles in the lives of their keepers so seeing their roles here was enjoyable.

As far as the other plot elements regardng the other Lords goes I wasn't very impressed. I realize we're setting up for Amun's book, The Darkest Secret, but the Strider parts were annoying to read. I've never been more bothered by him as a character as I was this time. Because Gideon and Scarlet's story involves the other Lords at such a minimal level the breaks with the other characters felt like they were out of place most of the time. I hope they won't be as trivial feeling in the next installment.

If you're a LOTU fan it would be hard to skip this one but I can honestly say it vies with The Darkest Night as my least favorite. Which sucks, 'cause Gideon was my favorite Lord before this book. I won't say skip this one because there are some key factors introduced here toward the overall storyline of the series but be warned, this one might be a hard sell with such brain melting dialog to unravel.

Other Reviews:
Julie of Yummy Men and Kick Ass Chicks
Tori of Smexy Books
Karan of For What It's Worth
Pearl of Pearl's World of Romance

Notes: I received this review copy via Amazon's Vine Program.


Chronicle Books Happy Haul-idays Drawing!

It takes a lot to get me really excited about this sort of thing but I actually spend a lot of money on crafting books from Chronicle Books already! Wouldn't it be uber cool to make off like a bandit this holiday season? Awww, seriously though I could use a nice treat and something tells me one of my readers would dig some of the stuff I found (some of this I already have on one of my Amazon wishlists, teehee!).

So here's how it works...

The Official Rules

for BLOGGERS: Post a list of Chronicle Books valued at up to $500 that you’d like to haul in, and you’ll be automatically entered into a drawing to WIN your list of books! And, one of your readers who comments on the post will win the list too!
Last day to submit entries is December 10th!

You just have to fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page here. I'm assuming that's so they'll know who to award the prize to. ;)

for EVERYONE ELSE: Visit these blogs for your chance to win a haul of Chronicle Books! Each of these blogs has posted a list of books valued up to $500! One blogger and one commenter on the winning post will each WIN the list!
Winners will be announced on December 13th!

Can we say kickass? Yes we can! And a big thanks to the awesome Velvet of vvb32reads for posting hers up which is where I saw this for the first time. Oh the woe if I hadn't caught this one. And without further ado... MY LIST!

World of Geekcraft Step-by-Step Instructions for 25 Super-Cool Craft Projects
Why did I pick it? I am 101% GEEK. I own about $10,000 worth of Star Wars action figures. I wear World of Warcraft tee shirts. One of my cats is named after a Final Fantasy VII character. I miss Firefly. They're called graphic novels, not comics. 'Nuff said.

Embroidered Effects Projects and Patterns to Inspire Your Stitching
Why did I pick it? Some of you readers may remember my big craftgasm posts last spring about learning embroidery. I shared links to Jenny Hart's website and her really fun patterns. I recently finished bib #4 and started #5. Unless there is another book coming I don't know about this is the only one I am still missing! Time to learn some advanced techniques.

The Sexy Book of Sexy Sex
Why did I pick it? *giggles* I'm going to blame Flight of the Conchords. And I love humor books! And sex books! And 'cause the title alone classifies this book as the perfect item to make sure my mother sees next time she visits to get her to go home sooner*. Did I mention Flight of the Conchords?
(*See October review slowness and weep)

Yum-Yum Bento Box Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches
Why did I pick it? Among the handful of things I have secretly obsessed about wanting to try bento is in the top five. This book is even on one of my Amazon wishlists. Even if I never get around to trying it how cute is this book anyway? So cute it belongs in my collection of cookbooks!

The Star Wars Cookbook II Darth Malt and More Galactic Recipes
Why did I pick it? No joke—though I kind of wish it was!—I bought the first The Star Wars Cookbook the week it hit shelves. I still have it. I've even made a lot of the recipes in it. I had no children at the time but my kids love it now. I think we all secretly just adore the pictures. Yet I've never broken down to add this one to the collection. I think it might be time. ;)

Zombies A Record of the Year of Infection
Why did I pick it? It's called Zombies. Duh! After devoting a month of my blog life to the great debate of Steampunk versus Zombies I think there is little more that can be said. I ♥ Zombies!

The Writer's Toolbox Creative Games and Exercises for Inspiring the "Write" Side of Your Brain
Why did I pick it? I'm shy about it but as soon as I could write sentences I began my love affair with writing. I was first published at the age of 7. And unless blogging and collective fan-fic count I haven't been published again. But someday I want to remedy that and anything that can help me improve my beloved craft is worthy of being listed. :)

Porn for New Moms
From the Cambridge Women’s Pornography Cooperative

Why did I pick it? Foxy dudes + cute babies = *awwww* One of the sexiest things I've ever seen is my husband holding our newborn son and later our newborn daughter for the first time. There's just something about seeing that raw love and desire to protect your spawn that makes a man damn hot. Plus these are just some of the funniest books in general... which is why I think I'm gonna add another to the list. ;)

Mini Masters Boxed Set (The set includes: Dancing with Degas, A Picnic with Monet, A Magical Day with Matisse, and In the Garden with Van Gogh.)
Why did I pick it? Okie, so this pick is more for the baby than myself. My husband and I have a mutual passion for Van Gogh that kind of added to the courtship phase of our relationship. Though neither of us made it to AIS like we had both aspired to our love of art has yet to wane.

The Official High Times Pot Smoker's Handbook
Why did I pick it? Definitely a controversial choice. No, I'm not a pot smoker. I do happen to have a couple of relatives who, for medical reasons, are. My state has had soooo much debate and drama over Marijuana lately I just don't get it. Legalize the crap and let it be taxed, regulated and so on. I don't care if that offends anyone and I have no plans to use it if it's legal but it'd sure make my family's life easier. This is a way to show my support of legalization without being too out there.

Mom's Ultimate Family Organizer A One-Stop Planner for Busy Moms
Why did I pick it? As regular readers of my blog know... I am one busy momma. I can't even get to MY computer right now for all the junk piles around it. Paperwork, bills, ARCs, magazines, CDs, coupons, all kinds of STUFF. I want to be organized but have yet to find an organizer I like. This one might be a good place to start. Maybe I can finally get my desk back.

Bitten Dark Erotic Stories
Why did I pick it? Really tantalizing erotica is hard to find. Some is too fetishy, others too clinical. With this snakey cover it'd make an attractive and subtle bedside book no matter what.

The Toddler Café Fast Recipes and Fun Ways to Feed Even the Pickiest Eater
Why did I pick it? If my Amazon reviews of baby food cookbooks are any indication I loooove cookbooks geared toward feeding little people. So far my big kids are the more picky of the bunch but if she's anything like her father the baby may end up hating a lot of foods too. Some surprising things she loves include artichokes, hummus and cranberries. I'd love to see what the Toddler Cafe has to offer. :)

Everything Tastes Better with Bacon 70 Fabulous Recipes for Every Meal of the Day
Why did I pick it? As if this one needs explaining? It's BACON! No, I don't eat it often. But if there was one food you could feed me as a kid to get me to shut up... it was bacon. My favorite guilty pleasure snack is my peanut butter and bacon sandwich. It's all about the crunchiness, toasted wheat bread, chunky Adam's peanut butter and crispy bacon strips. Mmmmmm. Give me the bacon porn!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Why did I pick it? As much as I have avoided this one for the trendy factor I can't lie... I have wanted to read it. I've never actually read a Jane Austen novel (trend factor again) but I love mash-ups and this is pretty much the one that started it all. So why not eh?

Subversive Cross Stitch 33 Designs for Your Surly Side
Why did I pick it? I've actually eyeballed this one for ages. I don't do cross-stitch. But I'm notorious for my potty mouth which my husband blames on my Irish heritage. Maybe this would motivate me to try it. Can I get a #@!! yeah?

Lickshot A Photo Scrapbook
Why did I pick it? Ben Watts, brother of actress Naomi Watts, has a style I've always liked. Some of my favorite photos of the late Heath Ledger were taken by Watts. Since some of those are in this book I think this book—while being the most expensive on this list—is priceless. I was such a huge fan of Ledger that I still have a hard time watching his films without feeling an embarrassing level of grief. His talent was unfathomable for someone our age (we were the same age at the time of his death) and I feel like we didn't even get to see all he was capable of. But enough rambling... on to other picks...

Wonder Woman: The Complete History The Life and Times of the Amazon Princess
Why did I pick it? When I was four my mom put my Wonder Woman underoos on over thermal underwear so I could be the Amazon Princess for Halloween. I wish I had a pair of those underoos in my size still. Yay for girl power!

Fuck the World
Why did I pick it? It's utterly devious but all in good fun. I enjoy this sort of humor though I'm too scared of getting in trouble to "deface" a sign or something. I'll live vicariously through the author.

XXX Porn for Women
Why did I pick it? If you saw the Porn for New Moms book above you'll understand why the other thing I love is a handsome man taking part in some choreplay. My husband shoveling the snow so I can safely get to the car while carrying baby and 20lbs of baby gear? Hot. Hubby picking up his own laundry from the bathroom floor? Steamy. Any man doing the dishes? SMOLDERING!

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better A Girl's Guide to Guy Stuff
Why did I pick it? In my circle of friends I'm generally that girl who is "one of the guys" but on the same token I manage to also be the one who feeds them, remembers which kind of beer they like (and make sure it's stocked) and when our guy friends come to visit for a weekend of gaming or the holidays will wash their clothes. Basically, I can do it all and I'm proud of it. But there's still some stuff I don't get. I am completely baffled by tools, how to build a fire and all things sports and gambling related. Yep, I would so love to show I don't need them for those things either.

The Villain's Guide to Better Living
Why did I pick it? Why is it that the bad guys always seem to be having way more fun? I love a good villain and I have often thought I would enjoy writing one more than good guys. This would not only be a fun conversation starter book but might inspire some villainy in real life. >:)

The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Paranormal
Why did I pick it? I read enough paranormal related fiction to likely know everything in this book already but wouldn't this be an easier manual to pick up in case of a werewolf bite or alien abduction?

How Not to Write An Office Primer for the Gramatically Perplexed
Why did I pick it? Not gonna lie... grammar is so not my strong suit. I feel more comfortable with a conversational writing style but we all know that's not the proper way to be writing. I seriously should be sent back to elementary school. Maybe this book could help me improve my writing for the blog? Make me seem a little more professional?

Use This Book! The Only Book You'll Ever Need
Why did I pick it? It says it's the only book I'll ever need. Shouldn't I get this one then? lol

Fairy Parties Recipes, Crafts, and Games for Enchanting Celebrations
Why did I pick it? Having a baby girl I'm slowly reconnecting with my inner girly-girl who once lived for unicorns, tea parties and playing dress-up. I adore fairy stuff and this book is as cute as it gets. I can't wait to do some of the fun girly things I once loved with my daughter when she's big enough to enjoy them. :)

And there my Haul-iday choices are coming in at a grand total of $498.79 just shy of the $500 mark. Not a bad way to spend that kind of cash. Don't forget to visit the other blogs and leave your comment for a chance to win!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick note dear readers to wish you a lovely holiday if you happen to celebrate it. :) Rumor has it there are going to be some wicked great deals on ebook readers tomorrow. There is still no way in hell I'm standing in line for five hours. Good luck if you're that crazy! I hope you get all the awesome deals you have your eyes on. I am staying H-O-M-E and away from the shopping madness. Then late in the day we're having a photographer come and take pics of the baby and the family. We never get a family photo done so it's about time to do it and just in time for mailing those Christmas cards. Wish me luck getting them out before the end of January. teehee!

Alright, off to get the sweet potatoes cooked and change before having the big feast! I am very thankful for many things this year and one of them is being part of the wonderful book blogging community. Thanks for being here guys! -- Rhi


Review: The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook

The Iron Duke (Iron Seas #1) by Meljean Brook
Steampunk, Romance
Trade Paperback (BERKLEY TRADE, 384 pages, $15.00)
ISBN# 0425236676

First in an all-new series where seductive danger and steampunk adventure abound in the gritty world of the Iron Seas.
After the Iron Duke freed England from Horde control, he instantly became a national hero. Now Rhys Trahaearn has built a merchant empire on the power-and fear-of his name. And when a dead body is dropped from an airship onto his doorstep, bringing Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth into his dangerous world, he intends to make her his next possession.
But when Mina uncovers the victim's identity, she stumbles upon a conspiracy that threatens the lives of everyone in England. To save them, Mina and Rhys must race across zombie-infested wastelands and treacherous oceans-and Mina discovers the danger is not only to her countrymen, as she finds herself tempted to give up everything to the Iron Duke.

Author Site: meljeanbrook.com

BEST Romance of 2010! (5 stars)

Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth may be a woman of skill and social standing in post-Horde controlled London yet she faces challenges few could fathom. The subject of whispers and public accost due to the Horde blood she cannot hide, she cannot afford the sudden attention of infamous Iron Duke, Rhys Trahaearn. But the Iron Duke's attention cannot be dissuaded when a badly abused corpse is dropped at his doorstep. It is up to Mina to discover who has a reason to provoke the Iron Duke.

Rhys Trahaearn never intended to make a name for himself when he destroyed the Horde's tower which controlled the "buggers". A simple chain of events begun by the former pirate have lead to a dukedom and a the building of a merchant empire. Feared and loved alike, the Iron Duke's influence is felt far and wide. Underneath the swagger and fearless reputation, Rhys is a far simpler man than his alter ego. A man who finds Mina undeniably attractive, a man who won't be denied.

Thrust together by her investigation, Mina and the Duke must weather a storm of secrets, passion and a danger that stretches far beyond their own lives. The fate of England falls on the shoulders of a tenacious Horde blooded woman and the rakish pirate-turned-businessman who will stop at nothing to possess her.

I know I am not alone in my five star rating of this novel. Before I picked this one up I had heard it praised many times over. Which, I have to admit, scared me a little. I was afraid it might not live up to the high expectations I had for it. Fortunately, Brook is quite possibly the most gifted romance writer out there. I love a nice, fluffy romance as much as the next reader but if you want something solid and intelligent look no further.

The Iron Duke might be a steampunk adventure of the highest order but the romance at its heart is delectable. Rhys is a little bit of everything rolled up into one. He's brash, alpha and oh-so-rogueish and still manages to be sensitive to Mina's needs. He manages an apology! He's a giving lover. The man is the sort of hero most romance readers adore. Quite simply he's almost too good to be true! Mina manages to be strong and yet have these vulnerabilities that are believable. I wanted to hate her for it but they made her real, relatable and it wasn't hard to want to knock some sense into her when she wasn't as smitten with Rhys as I was. The sex in this story was so well written it knocked my socks off.

As much as I love a steamy romance where the chemistry between the hero and heroine flies of the page I NEED a good storyline for them to be dropped in. The Iron Duke delivers in spades. There is some heavy world building here. This is steampunkery with a dash of nanotech and may not be for a reader who has a hard time with reading about clockworks and psuedosciences without going crosseyed. Keeping that in mind I loved it. Being new-ish to steampunk I felt like this was a terrific example of combining it with a romance to form an intricate, intelligent and extremely entertaining read.

Quite honestly I could keep going for paragraph after paragraph expounding on why you should buy The Iron Duke but I won't. Let me sum it up. Hot love scenes. Girls who kick serious booty. Bad guys you'll enjoy seeing beaten. More hot love scenes. Superb dialog. Awesome tech! High adventure. Zombies! Steampowered sex toys. Cool fights. Kraken! And more hot love scenes. Buy it. Enjoy it. Share it.

Other Reviews:

Smexy Books
Babbling About Books,and More
Dear Author
The Good, The Bad and the Unread
Reading on the Dark Side

Notes: I received this book at my request from its publicist.


Weekend Reading [11/19-11/21] :: Baby, it's freakin' cold outside!

Please tell me it's warm somewhere! This past week our weather went from being unseasonably mild to New Years Nasty. *pout* This morning when I got up to take the puppy out we were at a frigid -14°F with a -30°F windchill. *shudder* As yucky as that extreme cold is it isn't unusual for the high plains where I live. We just don't tend to get it this early in the season, usually the week of Christmas and early January are our nastier weeks. Makes me want to hibernate! Alas, hibernation for humans is not an option.

Even with the unpleasant weather life has to go on so it's been one of the busier weeks of my year. At the top of that long list of things to be done—amongst birthday planning for my big kid, Christmas shopping and parent-teacher conferences—was getting the puppy spayed. The pup is a pure bred German Shepard but ended up with the liver coloration instead of the red the breeder said she thought she would have. But she's a pretty pup and HUGE. She's only 4 1/2 months old and she weighs 40lbs! Her behavior and personality do leave something to be desired though. Which means we had to drive across town in this nasty weather to buy her an E-collar (aka a cone) to keep her from tearing the bandages off her feet (she had 2 very loose dew claws removed at the same time as the spay) or licking her stitches. But with the snow outside (about 6") we've had to come up with a solution to putting bags on her feet so she can go outside for potty time. The vet had IV bags tied on her feet with gauze and it just doesn't work well. So I found some winter gloves with bungie ties that can be pulled tight around your forearms... and I've been putting them on her back feet over the bandages! It's hilarious looking but she doesn't mind them and has been doing really well with her recovery.

With everything going on I have had to snatch little bits of reading time whenever I can. I was able to finally finish The Iron Duke! *happy dance* Must say it was flawless. I can't think of anything to say that's negative about it which is rare. I also got Mob Rules finished too and it is another book I am adding to my list for the guy readers I know. It was just darned good from dialog and characterization to originality and surprises. I'm looking forward to giving both great reviews when I have a little more time to think in reviewer mode.

I did a lot of cooking this week. I made a Butternut Squash and Cranberry Risotto that was killer. Even the hubs liked it—he's quite picky—enough to mention it to a coworker who called me asking for the recipe. I also made chicken soup from the stock up. Talk about daunting for someone who is freaked out by whole birds to cook. I don't think I'll be attempting to put a whole chicken in a pot again any time soon but it was an interesting learning experience and the baby LOVES the results. Both recipes I used came from Baby Love: Healthy, Easy, Delicious Meals for Your Baby and Toddler by Norah O'Donnell & Geoff Tracy a book I have been using a lot lately since the baby is in that between purees and true finger foods stage. She liked both the risotto and the chicken soup. Why am I bothering to mention this on my blog? Meh, well I enjoy cooking and I actually got this book to review from Vine a while back (that's my review at the top of the list) so I figured it kind of relates. :P

Still working on The Darkest Lie. As much as I like Gideon and Scarlet, I'm kind of bored. The plot is moving too slow for me. I keep falling asleep reading it at night. So last night I decided to skip it and focused on my YAD2 Challenge reading. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan is the one I decided to work on next. I had originally picked it up to read during the Steampunk vs. Zombies month I did earlier this year and never got to it. So far it's depressing which I suppose one should expect from a dystopian novel but with the gloomy weather outside making me blue it might be a bad choice to work on this afternoon. lol

In other reading I'm working on a few Ebook galleys and review copies I've received. Winter Wishes by Moira Rogers, Vivi Andrews & Vivian Arend is a Christmas themed paranormal romance/erotica anthology from Carina Press, Seducing the Vampire by Michele Hauf is a vampire romance coming out in January 2011 and To Kill a Warlock by H.P. Mallory is the first in her Dulcie O'Neil series and so far I loooove the hysterical dialog and well written characters. I'm barely started on any of the three but with it being Gena Showalter Month I am trying to get caught up on her books first. Maybe I have adult ADD? teehee! Easily distracted by shiny new covers... who me?

And what's happening with you my dear followers? Anyone baking up a storm in preparation for Thanksgiving? Or have you all gone into hibernation? ;) Whatever you're up to I want to know what you're reading this week! -- Rhi


Review: In Enemy Hands by K.S. Augustin

In Enemy Hands by K.S. Augustin
Romance, Science Fiction
Ebook (CARINA PRESS, $5.99)
ISBN# 9781426890062

The Republic had taken everything from Moon—her research partner, her privacy, her illusions. They thought they had her under control. They were wrong.
Sirin, Moon's new research partner, is a chemically enhanced math genius whose memory is erased every two days. He's also a charming, fascinating man who is attracted to her anew after each memory loss cycle.
Escape from the regime that treats them like tools is impossible. There are too many walls around them, too many eyes watching. But when you've got nothing left to lose, running becomes the only option.

Author Site: www.ksaugustin.com

Sexy but slow-paced... (4 stars)

Dr. Moon Thadin might be damned good at stellar mechanics but she didn't see her research assistant's traitorous plot coming. Blindsided and believed to be a traitor to the Republic herself she has only just been allowed to return to her research after three years. Desperate to prove her innocence and that she can reignite dead stars she dives into her work aboard the Differential. But her new partner ignites fires of his own.

Srin Flerovs has the mind of a computer and is of such value to the Republic that his handler has spent the past twenty years wiping his memory every two days. But there are some things that even his handler can't completely explain away such as his aging face and the sense of trust and desire he feels for Moon. When her experiment fails and the two face possible death they are left with no choice but to risk it all. Better to run together than die alone.

Finding really good scifi romance is something I look forward to. I'm a total Star Wars and Firefly geek who lives for a nice space adventure or alien race to dabble in. So glad I found K.S. Augustin because her writing is top notch amongst a not-always-reliable-for-quality epub world. In Enemy Hands certainly lacks the humorous moments the aforementioned fave scifi worlds of mine have giving it a harder, colder edge than most of the science fiction romance I've previously read. Augustin's Republic seems anti-alien, highly manipulative and political. The militaristic heavy-handedness present in the world building will appeal to hard scifi fans.

Moon is a heroine I immediately liked. She's extremely intelligent and while she's very driven she's not completely willing to take advantage of Srin to get results even when she's told that's what he's there for. I also liked that what few mentions of her physical stats were did not give a hard impression of any specific ethnicity. Srin, on the other hand, is mentioned as being very physically fit though based on his years of memory wiping history he has to be somewhere in his 40s. There's something about his personality that was really endearing, probably the fact that he puts up with half the crap he does is part of it. There is an intense and yummy chemistry between Srin and Moon that I had a hard time tearing myself away from. I wasn't sure I would like it at first but their personalities were refreshing individually and together.

The science is a bit confusing but Augustin does a decent job of making it non-essential for the reader to be a rocket scientist to enjoy it. While the plot does center around their work on Moon's experiment the actual story is how their romance can develop when he forgets her every two days.

The one thing the story really lacks that I tend to like is some likable secondary characters. While there are a few they are either villainous or a little too faceless for me to have given a damn what happened to them when they left the room.

Overall I did enjoy In Enemy Hands but I feel that it might not please a scifi romance reader looking for action and adventure. There's a lot of talk and a decent amount of sex and plenty of complaining (though not angsty really) and only in the final few chapters does anything really happen. It fits the setting but does make it feel slow at times. If you love a good amnesia plot this is a nice twist on the theme. I will definitely look into reading more of Augustin's scifi romances in the future.

Other Reviews:

The Galaxy Express: Adventures in Science Fiction Romance
Rae Lori @ A Writer's Dream

Notes: I received this an ebook review copy through NetGalley.


Weekend Reading [11/12-11/14] :: Contemplating Blue Hair

Mmmm, Friday. Most Fridays I groan at the thought of sitting down to write about reading. Mostly I just hate how rambling I think I sound. :P

Lots of interesting stuff happened this week. My hubby and kids did a good job on birthday giftage in the end. They hit up Amazon for some craft/cook books for me. Woot! One of which is the awesome Witch Craft: Wicked Accessories, Creepy-Cute Toys, Magical Treats, and More! one I have been dying to get! I will review it for the blog once I've had a chance to get some supplies and actually make something from it. Promise! Another was the book Who You Callin' Cupcake: 75 In-Your-Face Recipes that Reinvent the Cupcake—and shit that reminds me! I need to review Zombie Cupcakes: From the Grave to the Table with 16 Cupcake Corpses which I was less than impressed with, sadly. I admit I let myself be distracted by crafty/cooky reading a couple of times this week. I'm a horrid cook and crafter but I loooove both when I have time and supplies. :) Any of you have a favorite cookbook or craftbook?

I finished In Enemy Hands last night and was more than a little dissappointed with it. It wasn't what I expected overall and I did enjoy it but the ending was a let down. Expect a review sometime next week. I'm working on Mob Rules again and have to say I agree with the reviews I read that made me decide to read it... it is superb! I love the character's voice. There's a certain bent to it that does make it obvious that the main character is a woman written by a man but it works. Domino is fast becoming a favorite of mine. Good thing the second book comes out next May!

In actual book-in-hands reading this weekend I am trying to get finished with The Iron Duke. Ever read a book you find you read slowly not because it sucks but because you're savoring every word? This is one of those. I wanted my review to be up by the end of October and instead I'm lingering over each page. Bad Rhianna! >:) Then there's Gideon. Oh, Gideon my blue-maned liar. My favorite Lord of the Underworld. *sigh* I'm trying not to do the same thing with his book, The Darkest Lie, but damnit! I'm both anxious for him to win over his heroine and kind of sad his book is here 'cause I dunno who I will get to be excited about now that he's done. *pout*

Well... talk about weird. My husband came into my office (aka the laundry room) and I was rubbing my forehead thinking and he knows I have a headache and I told him not to bug me. "I'm writing my Friday blog post"... and he said I should write about the Trojan Vibrating Touch... he thinks I won't do it. Guess what honey? You bought the little massager thingy when we were grocery shopping and when we tried it out I believe saying "it earned a standing O-vation" is fair. Didn't think a woman who blogs about erotica and romance books has the balls...errr, nerve... to write about a sex toy babe? You don't know your wife that well do you? :P Uhm, so I suppose I should say that it was a nice little gifty non-gift I would recommend as a stocking stuffer this coming holiday season. Ha!

Alright my dear readers, I didn't have time to look over my blog roll and I am wrecked tired after this busy week. I have some other things I need to do online before going to bed and curling up with Gideon... errr, the hubs... yes, Mr. RhiReading, not a fictional warrior. Hmmm, tomorrow is my bi-monthly spa day, maybe I should take my Ramona Flowers (OMG loved Scott Pilgrim vs. the World!!!!) crayon color hair temptation into literal places tomorrow, pink, green, red? Gideon's blue? I can't even repeat my husband's comment on it in type without blushing, all I can say is he wants me to do it more than I want to do it. *giggles* Anywho, drop by and tell me what you're reading this weekend! -- Rhi


Paranormal Romance + Christmas

Not going to lie guys. I like holiday romance stories. I'm not even a big Christmas fan, yet every year when I see books on the shelves with romance and Christmas together I can't help but pine for them. Maybe it's because my whirlwind romance with my husband happened with our first date on Black Friday (where we saw a vampire movie no less!) or his attempt at a romantic first kiss (on a snowy local hill where the trees were lit with colored lights) and the first Christmas I had celebrated in 6 years was the first one we had together (he went a bit crazy with the gifts considering our circumstances at the time). Whatever it is I can't help but find the whole season a little romantic. Afterall, what's better to do during the chilly season than snuggle with your sweetie?

What prompted my post today was running across a pre-order page for Christmas with a Vampire, an anthology from Harlequin's HQN imprint which releases on December 1st. As a fan of Linda Winstead Jones' trilogies I thought I might want to buy this (plus I was tempted to give it as an early gift to my MIL) but for some reason all the story names sounded so familiar.
After a little research I discovered the five novellas are actually the same ones from the Sillhoutte Nocturne line's Holiday With A Vampire II & Holiday With A Vampire III. Which is okay I suppose but doesn't make it obvious these are reprints of old novellas essentially. I'm glad I hadn't bought the others previously 'cause I'm a bit bad about keeping track of novellas.

There are a couple I have read and reviewed such as An Enchanted Season and Wolfsbane and Mistletoe but I'm always a little hesitant to buy because I usually see other reviewers say they sucked. What do you guys think? Have you read any? Did you like them? Or is the whole Christmas + PNR thing too cheesy?

Either way I thought I would share a few other titles I knew of that were Christmas themed paranormals and let you be the judges. I hope at the very least they might help get us all in the mood for the upcoming holiday season! -- Rhi

The Magical Christmas Cat
Put a little meow in their stocking this year with these tales of Christmas and felines-from beloved bestselling authors!
New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh and top-selling authors Nalini Singh, Erin McCarthy, and Linda Winstead Jones have a special gift for readers this year: heartwarming holiday stories featuring passionate romance, paranormal adventure, and a distinctly alluring feline touch. With four new stories-including one featuring Lora Leigh's genetically altered Feline Breeds-this is a collection packed with more surprises than Christmas morning, and more chills than the snowiest winter night...

All I Want for Christmas Is a Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks
Toni Davis's Christmas wish list
1. Springing my best friend from the psych ward.
2. Living somewhere that doesn't have coffins in the basement. Occupied coffins.
3. Finding Mr. Right. Please make him tall, dark, handsome, and alive.
This Christmas isn't so merry for Toni. Her best friend's been locked up in a mental hospital ever since she told the police she was attacked by vampires, and the only way for Toni to get her out is to prove that bloodsuckers really do exist. So she's taken a job as a bodyguard for the Undead, but she gets more than she bargained for, especially when she meets Ian MacPhie, a Scottish rascal looking for Ms. Right.
Although Ian's nearly five centuries old, he looks and acts like a twenty-seven-year-old hunk.
How can a dead man be so damn sexy? Could Mr. Wrong be Mr. Right? One forbidden kiss could lead to an eternity of passion—and all it takes is one moment under the mistletoe...

The Bite Before Christmas by Heidi Betts
In Heidi Betts’s collection of holiday novellas, vampires turn to Angelina Bertolli—vampire matchmaker extraordinaire—to help them find that special someone to curl up with under the mistletoe…
“All I Vant For Christmas”
Connor loves trimming the Christmas tree, baking gingerbread cookies, and hanging the mistletoe. But his vampire siblings won’t help. His friend Angelina sends party planner Jillian to the rescue. But when Jillian, who’s mortal, discovers she’s decking the halls for a family of vampires, will she run—or will Connor have a beautiful woman to share the holidays with?
“A Vampire in Her Stocking”
When Vivian learns that her secret crush Nick is terminally ill, she’s heartbroken. Confiding in Angelina, Vivian refuses to turn Nick into a vampire. Deciding to play Santa, Angelina changes Nick and leaves him wrapped in a red bow on Vivian’s doorstep…
“It’s A Wonderful Bite”
Although Angelina is happy with her boyfriend Sergio, she’s ready for a commitment. After drinking eggnog and watching It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve, Angelina falls into a dream where she is mortal and Sergio isn’t interested in her. Talk about the nightmare before Christmas! But Santa must have checked his list twice because this Christmas Angelina’s wishes are coming true…

Sugarplums and Scandal
SUGARPLUMS AND SCANDAL brings together the best of romance and mystery in one delightful collection of Christmas tales. In the expert hands of six of Avon's best storytellers, the holiday season takes on an air of love and scandalous surprises! Filled with Christmas miracles, romance, and suspense, this will make the perfect gift for both romance and mystery fans. Each author brings their own unique voice and characters to the collection, as well as their fan followings.
All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth – Lori Avocato
The Lords of Misrule – Dana Cameron
The Ghost of Christmas Passed – Mary Daheim
Partners in Crime – Cait London
Holly Go Lightly – Suzanne Macpherson
A Very Vampy Christmas – Kerrelyn Sparks

Hot for the Holidays
Something passionate. Something mysterious. Something sexy. And something totally inviting. It's the perfect gift for the holidays.
Four bestselling authors invite readers to spend the night with these never-before-published novellas spiced with sexy romance and paranormal passion. So come in out of the cold and experience the thrill of a soul-stirring new tale of the Breeds from Lora Leigh, a return to the beguiling world of the Mageverse from Angela Knight, and two more mesmerizing and unexpected stories of sensual surprises and seasonal spirits from Anya Bast and Allyson James.
Includes A Christmas Kiss by Lora Leigh


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