RhiReading News

Dear readers,

Hi Rhireaders! Check out the latest events in the sidebar! Thanks for visiting, be sure and follow me on social media for MORE awesome content.

Did you drop by to request a review or tour stop? I am currently OPEN for review requests for review requests. I have promotional openings for August through November open so please reach out. Just please drop me an email with a polite request and if I'm interested I will reply.

-- Rhi


4.29.2011

Weekend Reading [04/29-05/01] :: When I grow up...


When you were young, what did you aspire to be when you "grew up"?

The odds were stacked against me from the day I was born. I've only recently come to the realization that the many different things I thought I wanted to be when I was a grown up were all completely out of my reach. We tell our children they can be anything they want to be but if we're honest with ourselves it's not likely to happen. Ask any college graduate stuck working retail or athlete who was sidelined by injury... or teacher who faces losing their job when something from their private life is brought out into the open. I know many folks have already talked about it and see no reason to go over it again but I was really stirred up by what happened to author Judy Mays.

As a parent not only would I not be bothered by Ms. Mays' writing erotic novels in her private life, I'd be happy to know my children's teacher was able to find time outside of the busy teacher life to pursue writing as a secondary career. Be pleased that my children were being taught by someone who valued the art of creative expression through writing, something I'm obviously rather passionate about myself. Obviously if a teacher was sharing erotic content in the classroom or something to that effect I would take issue but that was not the case here and I hope the situation is resolved without Ms. Mays having to stop teaching.

All of this brings to mind the whole Madonna-Whore Complex and the mindset that a woman cannot be both nurturer and sexual at the same time. I don't think that's a healthy thing to be promoting in our young adults and that is, IMHO, what is happening in Ms. Mays' community. Honestly, it seems like they're making scandal for the sake of scandal. I just hope they don't ruin someone's life in the process.

Changing gears here... it looks like snow again this weekend. Yuck! I have two big things to work on this weekend. The easy one is a birthday gift for my grandmother, when you're almost 80 there's not a lot you need really and I usually send flowers but I was debating a Real Simple magazine subscription. My grandma is quite the practical lady and while flowers are always lovely I kind of thought she might like something different this year. The other project is my much neglected About Me page.

I mean... how does one manage to summarize themself neatly into a paragraph or two without sounding like the bio on a baseball card. Age 31, 2 cats, 1 dog... yeah I guess that's traditional but feels so lame to me. It's not so much that I want to be special or cool, I just don't want to be totally boring and forgettable. Isn't the whole point of the About Me page to impart a little knowledge about yourself that will make you a little memorable? Overanalyzing the whole thing? Most likely. :P

Last night I finished To Tame a Highland Warrior which I read for Reading Between the Wines Book Club's Highlanders Week. I'll be sharing my guest review over there on the 9th of May! The whole event should be super fun so mark the 2nd week of May down on your calendar as HOT MEN IN KILTS week! ;)

I'll probably also finish Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler. I'm not that impressed so far and I hit 51% on it last night before I went to sleep. After that I'm not sure what to work on. I have a huge stack of ARCs both literally and digitally so I pushed my Ilona Andrews month to June to play catch-up during May. I can't help but, sometimes the Vine program is a curse. lol I end up grabbing my allowed amount of books but then get busy with the ones I've actually asked the author for instead. Now I'm in deep about 12 books. Don't think I can get to them all in one month but I'm gonna try to square it away as much as possible.

Other than that it should be a pretty quiet weekend around these parts. Just hitting the gym and my spa date tomorrow with my MIL. She's been geeking out on cowboy romances... I'm so not a cowboy kind of girl... now maybe if there was a vampire cowboy or a werewolf bronc rider or something I could be snagged in. I suppose living where I do it's expected that I'd dig cowboys but the Montana portrayed in romances really isn't that accurate. But don't tell anyone I said so because tourism is all that keeps this place interesting. ;) teehee!

Here's hoping your weekend rocks-yer-socks and don't forget to let me know what you're reading! XO -- Rhi

4.27.2011

Review: Hounded by Kevin Hearne

Hounded (The Iron Druid Chronicles #1) by Kevin Hearne
Urban Fantasy, Mythology
Mass Market Paperback $7.99 (320 pages, DEL REY)
Ebook $7.99
Audiobook $19.99

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old—when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.
Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power—plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil.

Author Site: www.kevinhearne.com

The New "It" Series of Urban Fantasy (5 stars)

What do you get when you mix in all of the world's mythologies, pantheons and superstitions with modern snark and rich pop culture influences? One of the best urban fantasy books I've read in... uhm... ever.

Atticus O'Sullivan might look like a barely-legal-to-buy-booze college kid but thanks to his druid's knowledge of herb lore the guy's pushing into the millenia-old catagory. With his trusty Irish Wolfhound sidekick, Oberon, and a whole lot of running he's managed to stay out of the way of trouble for a while but his past is catching up with him. An angry Celtic god wants his sword back and might just be ready to stop sending in lackeys who aren't getting results. If only that were the half of it.

With gods and goddesses from all over choosing sides and doing their best to muddle the whole thing up Atticus will need help from his friends and a hell of a lot of it. Angry witches, Viking werewolves and frisky old Irish ladies mix this plot into a laugh-out-loud adventure worthy of the highest praise.

I love a butt kicking chick as much as any urban fantasy fan can but I loves me a guy character who can solidly stand-up with them on the shelves. Unfortunately they aren't so easy to find. If you've been looking for a great urban fantasy series with a male lead look no further. Atticus is a druid, old as dirt but blessed with a youthful face and a spirit that matches. Outwardly he might appear a little cowardly but he's crazy like a fox.

The world building for this series is absolutely fierce. I've been wishing for an urban fantasy author to get bold enough to try setting a world up where the many pantheons of the past and present could blend effectively and work. Hearne has made this a world you'll find rich and well thought. A Viking vampire who as a beef with Thor? Sign me up!

While Atticus and the world building are essential and delightful I couldn't help but be charmed by the vibrant secondary characters but specifically Oberon. I am not a dog lover, don't even like dogs because the whole dog loyalty and personality doesn't suit my own. Somehow Oberon just managed to wiggle his chatty little tail into my heart and make me almost wish I was a dog person. Providing that hilarious comic relief every well-written UF series needs he is likely to charm most readers the way other "sidekick" characters (ie. Jenks from Kim Harrison's Hollows series) have.

Overall I honestly can't review this one well enough. There was nothing I didn't like about it. I've tried to think of anything to complain about and all I could come up with is that my husband found Oberon to be too chatty and distracting at parts... see I made him read it as soon as I finished it, I loved it that much. Ha! I'd recommend this for mythological urban fantasy fans, fans of Celtic lore and especially for dudes who are wishing for more male characters they can relate to in the genre. I am so thrilled Hexed and Hammered are being published so close to Hounded because I'm shaking with excitement to dive into this world again. So what are you doing still reading this review? Go buy Hounded already!

Other Reviews:
So Many Books, So Little Time
Urban Fantasy Investigations
Melindeeloo


Notes: Received ARC via Amazon Vine.

4.26.2011

Review: The Vampire Dimitri by Colleen Gleason

The Vampire Dimitri (Regency Draculia #2) by Colleen Gleason
Regency Romance, Vampires
trade Paperback $14.95 (384 pages, MIRA)
Ebook $10.99

Dimitri, also known as the Earl of Corvindale, should be delighted that the headstrong Maia Woodmore is getting married. His mortal ward and houseguest has annoyed—and bewitched—the Dracule nobleman too long, and denying his animal cravings grows more excruciating by the day.
Miss Woodmore's family has a rather…complicated history with the immortals and she herself possesses a keen sensibility far beyond mere women's intuition. Marriage will give her safety, respectability and everything else a proper young lady could wish for. Everything, that is, except passion.
In the looming battle between Dracule factions, all pretenses will shatter as Maia and Dimitri come together in an unholy union of danger, desperation and fiercest desire.

Author Site: www.colleengleason.com

Old Adventure vs. New Adventure (4 stars)

In Gleason's The Vampire Voss we met Dimitri, Earl of Corvindale, and Miss Maia Woodmore and as other characters were the central romantic figures we only saw a little bit of their interactions. Yet, Dimitri and Maia were such large factors in the adventures of Voss and Angelica much of the plot within The Vampire Dimitri remains the same. If you've read The Vampire Voss the first half of this one may frustrate you as most of it is the same story just told from Dimitri and Maia's perspectives. Very little new material pops up.

After the first half of the tale has passed and Voss and Angelica are on their way to a happily-ever-after the pace picks up considerably and the couple who previously did nothing but snip at one another begin showing signs of attraction. The chemistry between Dimitri and Maia is highly amusing, the sensual tension lucious as they exhibit the sort of passion that can only come in a well written love-hate scenario.

As characters I was surprised to find that I liked them even more than Voss and Angelica, whom I did like a lot. Dimitri is very broody and unhappy as a vampire while Maia is struggling with the responsibility of being the eldest Woodmore sister and her upcoming marriage. Both characters are quite capable and wise, passionate and strong.

Once their adventure begins in earnest things get really complicated. Gleason's brilliant Asthenia plot device is a big part of this tale and Dimitri's past explains his personality and growly nature well. When at last the two come together it is very satisfying.

If you struggled with The Vampire Voss based more on Voss himself than the actual story I believe you will like Dimitri much more. If you enjoyed it this one may be a bit slow to start but once you hit the middle it picks up quick and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Other Reviews:
Geeky Blogger's Book Blog
Nicki J. Markus
The Bookaholic Cat


Notes: Received ARC via NetGalley.

4.25.2011

Review: Badlands by Seleste deLaney

Badlands by Seleste deLaney
Steampunk, Romance
Ebook $3.99 (CARINA PRESS)
Audiobook $15.71

After a brutal Civil War, America is a land divided. As commander of her nation's border guards, Ever is a warrior sworn to protect her country and her queen. When an airship attacks and kills the monarch, Ever must infiltrate enemy territory to bring home the heir to the throne, and the dirigible Dark Hawk is her fastest way to the Union.
Captain Spencer Pierce just wants to pay off the debt he owes on the Dark Hawk and make a life for himself trading across the border. When the queen's assassination puts the shipping routes at risk, he finds himself Ever's reluctant ally.
As they fly into danger, Ever and Spencer must battle not only the enemy but also their growing attraction. She refuses to place her heart before duty, and he has always put the needs of his ship and crew above his own desires. Once the princess is rescued, perhaps they can find love in the Badlands—if death doesn't find them first...

Author Site: www.selestedelaney.com

Romantic American Steampunk (4 stars)

Mash up great steampunk elements into Civil War Americana, make women as tough as nails and throw in a weak splash of adventure and you'll get Badlands. The blurb pretty much says everything that could be said to summarize this novella length story.

Ever is one really strong heroine and Spencer makes a terrific hero. Their attraction wasn't fully felt by me as a reader, there was a hurriedness to it that frustrated me. I think if given more time to develop it would have been much more enjoyable as I very much liked both characters. The sexual tension element was palpable and could have really come to a proper crescendo if it had been built up over several more chapters.

I loved the world deLaney presented in Badlands but it felt so very shadowed, not enough was given to really make a reader get the motivations of the characters. Even still I managed to enjoy what was there and would definitely read more of this particular flavor of steampunk. My biggest complaint overall is one I am finding myself giving frequently on novella length steampunk stories... not long enough! With great secondary characters and the appeal of post-Civil War America as a canvas I would recommend this one for fans of the genre looking for something a bit out-of-the-box.

Other Reviews:
Naughty Edition Reviews
Yummy Men and Kick Ass Chicks
PonyTails Book Reviews
Bad Ass Books


Notes: Received Review Copy via NetGalley.

Bargain Erotic, PNR, UF, & YA Titles $6 & Under!!!

As I was prepping my post about the BBB SmackDown a low price caught my eye and I ended up going shopping. I thought I'd share some of the ones I bought and a few I didn't with ya... these are great prices so grab them while they last! Many of these had less than 10 copies left so hurry!

$6.00



$5.92

$5.60

$5.58

$4.00



$3.98

$3.60

BBB SmackDown! 2011: Joey W. Hill vs. Shayla Black [GO VOTE!]

vs.

As I mentioned last week Bitten By Books is having a fun event not unlike DABWAHA, but minus all the drama that bribery can cause, in which books in several catagories face off. The best part? It's all urban fantasy, paranormal romance and basically books in that vein. The first pairing is up today for voting so head on over and cast your vote!

4.22.2011

Weekend Reading [04/22-04/24] :: sNOw Easter Eggs For You!


It never fails. Every Easter we get either super cold temps with a little snow or we get mildish cold temps and LOTS of snow. Guess which one I woke up to at 6:30AM?

This would be my backyard at the above mentioned time...



Our yard happens to fall at a funny angle so that horse pasture behind us is actually North. Nasty eh?

This is the front deck at about 10AM...



And a view of the neighbor's tree being pulled down to Earth by all that wet snow weight.

Yesterday it was cloudy and rained a little but no snow. It was supposed to be almost 60 on Sunday. Methinks we'll be canceling our Easter egg hunt plans for the tot. Not only would the snow be up to her waist but you can't really make it at all a "hidden egg" event when you have bright colored eggs on snow. lol

Soooo whereever you are this weekend I do hope (if you celebrate the holiday of course) that you're enjoying something a little more Spring-like and warm.

I've not got much to share this weekend. I finished The Vampire Dimitri last night and started The Twisted Tale of Stormy Gale because I didn't want to get up and come upstairs to find where I'd laid down Visions of Heat or one of the other books I had intended to start. With the holiday and extra kids around (which I can't really send outside to ride bikes in the snow) I don't think I'll be getting much reading done anyway.

I hate to keep this so short but I have a million things to do today and not a lot of time to squeeze them in if I want to find any reading time. Have a wonderful weekend and let me know what you're reading right now! -- Rhi

4.20.2011

Greed, Lust, and Other Deadly Sins


I've been sitting on a file filled with links to some really interesting posts about publishing from ebook piracy and what the monetary value of books should be to author's thoughts on bad reviews. What made me decide that today was the day to share a bit of a link-up though was a letter written to Jane of Dear Author that I found quite interesting and worth nudging readers toward. So let me open with a link to that...

Of Rape and Rape Fantasies discusses the difficult subject that is rape in fiction. Most readers of romance have stumbled across it in some form. I'm one of those readers who is very uncomfortable with it in a romantic situation. The whole 'forced seduction' trope so popular in the 80's does not appeal to me at all. I don't find it romantic. Does that mean I can't stand rape ever being used in a fictional situation? No. For the sake of not going spoilery I can say that when one of my favorite series' heroine was raped it was shocking and made me angry. Not at the writer for going there but at the situation and I was so proud of the heroine as she got back on her feet after what she had been through.

What really intriqued me about the discussion there was a comment made by Lori:

"I think one of the things about the fantasy/reading is the ability to control it. When something happens to you, a violent act or an act that plays on your vulnerablity, you know that you never had control. You couldn’t turn the page or put the book down. You couldn’t do anything but be a victim.

The fantasy is taking the situation and not being victimized by it."


But another point that was even more interesting came from Julia Broadbrooks:

"But if we accept that women are entitled to rape fantasy in their reading, do we have to accept that men are entitled to the same fantasy?"


It's all some really heavy stuff and very thought-provoking to say the least.


I don't even remember how I found it now, most definitely through another blogger's post or an author's perhaps, but Joe Konrath aka J.A. Konrath wrote a really interesting post about how ebook piracy might not be a totally awful thing.

Now I DO NOT promote—nor encourage—piracy, but Joe made some really crazily sense-making points about the subject that were IMHO quite enlightening. He also points out something I've always thought to be true about the whole e-piracy thing in general:

1. You CANNOT assume that a downloaded free book is a lost sale. It isn't 1 for 1.

In some cases, the pirate would have never bought the book in the first place.
In some cases, the pirate does buy the book, and other books by the author.
In some cases, the book languishes on a hard drive, never read at all.
In some cases, the pirate would have never even been aware of the book or the author without finding it on the file sharing site.


Switching it over to the otherhand author Jeannie Holmes wrote an equally great post on the subject which poses a hypothetical situation and really drives home how much money could be lost to epiracy. Most notably her closing statement stands strong:

The truth is no writer writes to get rich. We write because we love telling a story, because we love books, and because we want people to read the books we write.

We only ask that we be compensated for the time we so willingly give to creating the stories you love to read.



So why do ebooks cost so much and what is the true value of a book?

Dear Author had this fabulous post up last month.

While this article goes more directly into eBook prices specifically.


And what about the influence of bloggers?

Apparently we Bloggers Have More Influence on Purchases Than Celebrities. Seriously? Wow. Could bloggers be the new celebrities?

I have noticed in the many magazines I subscribe to every month that there are more and more bloggers being featured in both fashion magazines and the ones for teens (which I get for the stepkid).

So do you think it's true? Are you influenced by celebrity endorsements? I can admit to only one thing I can be a little bit of a celebrity sucker for and that's fragrances. If a celebrity I like is the spokesmodel for one I'm not familiar with I tend to be drawn to checking it out. Strangely enough two of my favorite fragrances eventually hired actresses I admire after I was already a fan so it's not a huge influence but it is my one beauty indulgence.

Obviously our influence is reviewers has become quite controversial in the past couple of months with all the drama over Bad Reviews.

As a strong believer in the importance of the 'negative review' as a book seller I refuse to let myself be bullied by the unhappy authors. I'm not without sympathy for authors who read bad reviews and get offended, I'm sure I'd feel really shitty too. But I think it was Meljean Brook who I first saw really making a point to say that reviews are for readers not the author and I whole-heartedly agree.

Why do I love negative reviews? Because most of the time the very thing that a reviewer thought didn't work or disliked is what I'm looking for! Many a bad review has sold me on a book I've ended up loving. Crazy really but true.

So I have to link up this great post from YA author Justine Larbalestier, I Love Bad Reviews. If you read ANY of the posts I've linked up in this post I want it to be that one. It's brilliant, honest and hilarious.


Closing out the musings here I wanted to share something random and adorable, I already adore Kelly McCullough for his richly genius Rivirn books—which try though I might I cannot get the hubs to read and haven't caught up on myself—but Neil Gaiman proved how truly fun Kelly is. If that doesn't prove what a lovely guy Kelly is you have to see his Friday Cat Blogging posts over at the Wyrdsmiths blog.

Now I am off to feed the oh-so-patient toddler and fold some of this laundry. I got that email off for the BBB SmackDown 2011 earlier and now I need something to distract me from how nervous I am it's terrible. :P

Have a great Wednesday dear readers! -- Rhi

Review: Semi-Sweet by Roisin Meaney

Semi-Sweet: A Novel of Love and Cupcakes by Roisin Meaney
Contemporary
Trade Paperback $13.99 (400 pages, FIVE SPOT)
Ebook $9.99

Hannah Robinson is just about to open the doors to her new shop Cupcakes on the Corner when out of the blue her boyfriend Patrick announces that he's leaving her for another woman. Faced with starting a business on her own, Hannah begins to wonder if her life-long dream has just turned into a nightmare. So her best friend Adam sets his birthday as a deadline - seven months to make her shop a success, or walk away from it all. And as Hannah immerses herself in her new business, she soon discovers that she's too busy to think about Patrick and his now pregnant girlfriend ...or to notice an increasingly regular customer who has recently developed a sweet tooth for all things cupcake. But while Hannah is slowly piecing her life back together, family friend Alice's is falling apart. Her husband Tom's drinking is getting out of control and things are about to get a whole lot worse. As the seven-month milestone approaches, Hannah must decide her future. And while she's figuring out what's really important, it becomes clear to everyone that happiness in life, and in love, is all in the making.
Author Site: www.roisinmeaney.com

More Soapy Than Sweet (3 stars)

Once in a while I try to break outside my usual reading taste and try something different. One of my secret joys in life is baking. I'm terrible at it but even when your cupcakes sink in the middle they're still yummy. Thinking I'd enjoy a book about a woman opening a cupcake shop in a small Irish community, Semi-Sweet sounded like it had potential to be a nice dip outside my usual paranormal fare.

Meaney is a great writer, she's good at giving the reader great sensual cues to bring them into the scene. You can see the way Wally's wool cap musses his hair or smell Patrick's cloying aftershave that makes Leah gag. She can also stimulate strong emotional response to what her characters each go through. This is writing at a great quality.

What just didn't do it for me was the pace. This book gets bogged down at parts with frustrating moments where it seems like nothing is happening. A big part of that might be that this story jumps around from one character to another constantly. We get to see what everyone is doing and with whom. We know who Hannah's ex hires as his new PA, we see how Hannah's parents react to the break-up. In ways I liked it at first, there was something a little soap opera like about how everyone was being affected directly or indirectly by the choices of other people in the community. After a point though it was just aggravating.

The final few sections focused more on everyone except Hannah so much that I was kind of left wondering why the blurb made it seem like she was the central character. The ending was very anticlimactic and I was left feeling a bit like I'd just read a bunch of randomness and didn't really get anything out of it. The characters were all well written but by the end I wasn't emotionally invested in them enough to care how their stories ended mostly because so much time was spent jumping around.

Overall if you're a contemporary fiction fan looking for something to waste away a rainy day I think this one is well written and if the concept appeals to you it'd be a nice read. It just didn't satisfy me personally and since it's not my usual fare what can I say? I tried it and didn't love it, but maybe you will.

Other Reviews:



Notes: Received ARC via NetGalley.

4.19.2011

The Iron Duke FTW Part II: The BBB SmackDown! 2011


I am the Chosen One. The valiant knight sworn to defend the honor of The Iron Duke in battle against a multitude of lesser novels. Okay, not lesser, but darnit all this is my chance to prove why The Iron Duke rules.

Bitten By Books is having a fairly informal event not totally unlike the madness that was DABWAHA but certainly more in my vein of reading. The preliminaries are done and as the chosen defender of TID I have to get ready to defend my beloved to the death. Or at least until it hurts a little. ;)

You can check out more about the BBB SmackDown! Event in the Preliminary Results thread.

I can do this, I can bring TID to glory. But I don't have much time. So I am asking you my followers to comment here with any reasons you think TID is the awesomesauce. I'll be spending today giving the book a quick skimming reread to refresh my memory and this evening I'll be writing up my brief submission paragraphs on why it should win the SmackDown. Naturally I am open to hearing why you guys want it to win to help bolster my confidence and strengthen my argument with anything I might have overlooked as valuable.

And on that note I am off for the day! Have a great one and feel free to tell your own friends and followers about this event if you want to see TID win the smackdown. ;) -- Rhi

4.17.2011

Review: Vixen by Jillian Larkin

Vixen (The Flappers #1) by Jillian Larkin
Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Hardcover $17.99 (432 pages, DELACORTE)
Ebook $10.99
Audiobook $44.00

Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination.
Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?
Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . .
Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . .
From debut author Jillian Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . when anything goes

Author Site: unavailable




The Flappers is the Bee's Knees (4 stars)

In 1920's Chicago three young women take on the underworld of jazz and booze in this introduction to The Flappers from debut author Jillian Larkin.

Engaged to the most eligible and desirable bachelor in town, Gloria Carmody has grown restless for a taste of trouble. There's glamor and excitement in the life of a flapper, a lifestyle she won't be able to taste now that she's as good as married to the morally upright Sebastian Grey.

In town just to make sure Gloria's nuptials go on without a hitch, Clara Knowles is a goody-two-shoes with some secrets of her own. As Gloria's cousin she's expected to keep her out of trouble but when her own past begins to haunt her steps it's her own future she'll have to worry about.

Meanwhile, Gloria's best friend, has embraced the flapper lifestyle ready to step out of her shadow for once. Lorraine Dyer has all the amibition and style a flapper can get but stepping out from the shadow cast by Gloria may prove harder than she thought. Lorraine might crumble under the pressure and hurt the people she cares about most...

If there was ever an era in American history more suitable to some exciting historical fiction for young adults I don't know what it could possibly be. The Roaring Twenties got the name for a reason. Afterall, isn't the flapper the ultimate example of young women rebelling? I've always been interested in the era and finally an author has given it a really nice fictional treatment.

Larkin manages to write in a style similar to Anna Godbersen without feeling like a clone. I read one of Godbersen's Luxe series books and enjoyed the style greatly but didn't care for the era. Apparently she's got a 1920's set series that started shortly before this one but honestly I haven't read it. If you enjoy her writing I do suggest checking Vixen out.

The three girls Vixen centers on are each quite different and enjoyable in their differences. I was especially happy that Larkin took on interracial relationships so candidly. There's lots of sneaking around, secrets kept and spilled, danger, mobsters, drunkeness and dancing. Sure, some of it does feel a little overglossed and silly, maybe a little historically questionable but this is fiction and it was darned entertaining. I quite honestly liked it and look forward to reading the second Flappers book, Ingenue, in Fall 2011.

Other Reviews:
Dirty Sexy Books
Moonlight Book Reviews


Notes: Received ARC via Amazon Vine.

4.16.2011

Weekend Reading [04/15-04/17] :: Time waits for no blogger...


One of the hardest parts of blogging for me is the time it takes. When I can devote large chunks of time to it I revel in the whole thing. I love mulling over bookish topics and the social aspects of what a blog is. But I'm also a wife and mother, the two things in life that should—and always will—come first. Which at times can really cramp my style. Fridays are my Saturdays essentially, due to my husband's schedule and we both like that but it does sometimes conflict with my getting a weekend reading post up on Friday.

So what do y'all have happening this weekend? Anything fun? We rented some movies and did some grocery shopping. I think we'll probably get our grill fixed (the puppy chewed the hose apparently?) and have some steak. Maybe do a few more spring cleaning projects (ugh neither of us has the patience to work on these for long). Yep, we're probably the most boring family ever. lol

I'm trying to get some more of The Vampire Dimitri read but my Kindle's battery is almost dead so I may not get as much as I wanted. I have to get it charging at some point today. My other problem... I'm having a hard time getting into Visions of Heat. *sigh* Any of you have that problem sometimes? Where you plan to read something specific and then can't get into it? It doesn't happen to me a lot but I'm frustrated by this one because I really wanted to read all four of the Nalini Singh books I have this month. I know it's not a matter of not liking it or her writing, I definitely do... the story just hasn't gotten exciting yet. Those are the only two books I'm actually working on right now which is kind of unusual for me. I tend to have four going at once and I swap them out by what's fitting my mood or holding my interest at the time of the day. Maybe I have ADD? :P

Well I better get off here and get something done with my hair and maybe put on some make-up since I'll be facing the general public for a couple of hours. Hope your weekend is going great, drop in and tell me what you're reading right now, I really do love to see what's on your plate. TTFN! -- Rhi

4.14.2011

I'm over at RBTWBC w/ a Guestblog & Giveaway!


I am sooo behind today guys. Whoever invented babies and dogs should be... oh nevermind. Both did a fine job of being restless and needy all night so I'm tired and grumpy. That and sometimes I just really want to give the finger to other members of the blog community. It's not nice or right so I don't but sometimes I read things that just seem... catty... snooty... holier-then-thou. Sometimes I just have a hard time not feeling offended by the know-it-alls. I think maybe I'm too laid back and willing to help someone who asks for it if it is within my means to do so. Or maybe I'm a little mercinary in my tactics and don't like being told to feel bad for being driven.

It's probably just that I'm not cut out for dealing with other womens! :P I read a guy's review of a book I'm working on yesterday afternoon and he made this insanely great point about how evil girls are to one another. Ain't that the truth?

Any of you other bloggers out there ever feel like you're the odd man out because your stances on certain issues or even your opinion of a much beloved book are just not the same as everyone else?

Anywho... enough of me venting my spleen. (hehe you can see I've still got Hounded stuck in my head there)!

Crystal of Reading Between the Wines Book Club and I have become good bloggin' buddies and like the doofus I so helplessly am I took forever to write my guestpost for her. To be fair to myself I was kind of scared to pretend I know a damn thing about blogging because let's face it... I'm quite ignorant really. There's no right or wrong way to blog but if you really get down to it but there's also an unspoken accepted way and unaccepted way to do things or you're likely to unwittingly offend other bloggers and whatnot. I've already begun doubting my post but it is what it is and if it helps someone I'm happy if not... well life goes on.

Did I mention I'm giving away one of my fave books over there?

Alright enough of my mindless yapping. I've got to eat something, I think my blood sugar is affecting my mood for the worse. :P Hope you guys are having a rockin' Thursday, so glad it's almost Friday! -- Rhi

Review: Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Bumped by Megan McCafferty
Young Adult, Dystopian
Hardcover $16.99 (336 pages, BALZER + BRAY)
Ebook $9.99

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.
Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.
Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.
When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.
From New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty comes a strikingly original look at friendship, love, and sisterhood—in a future that is eerily believable.

Author Site: www.meganmccafferty.com

YA Dystopian Lit Steps Into the Light (4 stars)

Identical twins Harmony and Melody were separated at birth. Harmony was raised by the church in Goodside, a community living in relative seclusion from the outside world. Her life has been spent preparing for the sacred rite of motherhood as a wife to a husband chosen for her. Meanwhile, Melody was raised by a well-to-do couple with a broad understanding of the current value of teenagers as surrogates.

In a world where a virus has rendered everyone above the age of eighteen sterile it is up to teenagers to bump, to carry a preg for profit. Having become the first girl in her school to have a professional pregging contract, Melody is admired and yet manages to be sixteen and still not have been bumped yet. When her twin decides it's time they meet, thinking she can convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin, craziness ensues. While Melody is supposed to finally be pregged—and by the world famous Jondoe no less—a mistaken identity can change everything the two girls have wanted in life.

Bah! I almost loved this book. The concept was absolutely genius. I LOVE dystopian themes and this one turns the dark, bleak post-apocalyptic style most commonly associated with the genre on its ear. It's light and makes fun of commercialism, pop-culture, celebrity... while still managing to happen in a world where babies are being paid to make babies. This is so controversial and thought-provoking I would expect to see it used to teach in classrooms a couple of decades from now.

What ultimately ruined the book for me was the ending. No offense to the author but it kind of felt unfinished. As if there should have been another chapter or two. There wasn't a solid resolution but neither was it a true cliff-hanger ending either. It was unsatisfying to say the least. Otherwise I really enjoyed it.

Because this is a story focused on procreation as a commercial industry I would recommend it for older teens and encourage parents with younger readers to perhaps read it themselves before deciding if their kid is ready for some of the subject matter. Bumped is really heavy on slang but still manages to convey what it is slang for. My older kids are tweens and I don't think either would be ready for this one emotionally speaking. It's a pretty heavy load of controversial subject matter revolving around teen sexuality so I highly applaud both McCafferty for taking it on and parents who read this with their teens. If anything this will definitely get you talking about teen pregnancy.

Aside from the ending which didn't work for me I think this was an excellent book, one I'll be adding to my keeper shelf and recommending to my fellow YA dystopian fiction lovers.

P.S. -- While looking for other reviews to link to I discovered that there is a sequel to Bumped coming out! It is as yet unnamed but maybe that will help with the ending I hated?

Other Reviews:
Andye on reading Teen
The Book Faery


Notes: Received ARC via Amazon Vine.

4.13.2011

Review: Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

Slave to Sensation (Psy/Changelings #1) by Nalini Singh
Paranormal Romance, Futuristic, Psychic, Shapeshifters
Mass Market $7.99 (352 pages, BERKLEY)
Ebook $7.99
Audiobook $29.99

In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed. To reveal them would be to sentence herself to the horror of “rehabilitation”— the complete psychic erasure of everything she ever was….
Both human and animal, Lucas Hunter is a Changeling hungry for the very sensations the Psy disdain. After centuries of uneasy co-existence, these two races are now on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several Changeling women. Lucas is determined to find the Psy killer who butchered his packmate, and Sascha is his ticket into their closely guarded society. But he soon discovers that this ice-cold Psy is very capable of passion—and that the animal in him is fascinated by her. Caught between their conflicting worlds, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identities—or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation…

Author Site: www.nalinisingh.com

A smooth blend of futuristic worldbuilding and paranormal romance (4 stars)

Shut off from their emotions for decades the cold, logical Psy lord over the human and Changeling population. But they are not as flawless as they seem. Sascha Duncan has seen the secrets that set her apart from her Psy brethren, knows of the mystery of how she is different but not why. When she is asked to learn the secrets of the Changelings as she works together with one of their leaders on a housing project little does she know that her whole world is about to change.

A Psy has been murdering Changeling women in a most brutal, efficient manner. As the leader of the DarkRiver leopard pack, Lucas Hunter, wants to use Sascha to figure out who the murderer is. When it becomes clear that Sascha is unique among her kind his inner animal wants her. As the icy facade she has struggled to hide behind to protect herself from her own kind crumbles she may discover more about herself and the Psy than she's bargained for and Lucas may not be able to protect her.

Having sampled an anthology short or two from the Psy/Changeling world I've been looking forward to finally giving this popular series a try. I can't say that I was madly wooed by this first installment but I did enjoy it. I really love the world Singh has built, there's something a little Spock-ish about the Psy but contrasting them with the touchy-feely Changelings is a brilliant plot device. My only real big beef was the confusing PsyNet stuff. I'm not even sure I can explain it for the sake of the review, imagine the internet if it was all brains (not physically but mentally) connecting to one another instead of computers. Almost hive-minded but not. Yeah, it was confusing... cool conceptually but confusing to understand how it worked.

Sascha and Lucas have a pretty good romance but he felt very generic to me. Sascha on the otherhand was great, I loved the outsider experiences she went through and was really pleased that she was multiracial. While Lucas did feel a little cookie-cutter to me as a reader the dream scenes the two shared were pretty sexy and the dialog within them was really amusing. The things the two go through to catch the murderer moved along fairly nice pace-wise but I was frustrated at how obvious the answer was from early on.

I'd suggest you read this one more for the romance than the plot. It's a great first book to introduce a new world and I'm already working on the next installment. A must-read series for lovers of paranormal races and futuristic themes.



Notes: Purchased by me.

4.11.2011

It's Monday, Get Your TV On!


Mmmmm... rich, black coffee. I cannot function in the morning without it. Funny thing is... I'm more of a tea drinker. Where I live there's nothing nearby as far as businesses go but a few years back someone opened a bakery/coffee house about six blocks from here. Last week I noticed they have tea time from 3-4, a cup of tea and a scone for $3. I totally want to push the stroller over there and have teatime one of these days. Definitely can't be on a school day though because that's when the kids are all coming home. Do you have any special rituals like that just for yourself?

Monday is definitely my ritual day. All my daily rituals with the tot and such, then an easy, quick dinner so I can get to Curves (guess what? I lost 6.25 total inches between Feb. & Mar. even though I spent 3 weeks not going!) early enough to be home for the TV time ritual with the hubs.

And speaking of TV it's getting pretty slim! Until new seasons start up this will probably be my last TV Monday post until June. Maybe one to remind when Castle's finale is but since Being Human's finale is tonight... well seems silly to make a post each week for just one show eh? ;)


Josh and Sally tend to Aidan after Bishop's attack; Nora learns the truth about Josh; Aidan's first meeting with Josh is detailed in the Season 1 finale.(summary from tvguide.com)

Happy news guys! I finally went and looked to see if BH had been renewed for another season and the answer is yes. :) No info yet on when it will start but maybe some hint will be mentioned tonight? Gotta keep the viewers interested afterall.


A star swimmer with Olympic dreams is found dead in a pool, and crime writers Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane (appearing as themselves) help Castle dissect the complex case over a game of poker.(summary from tvguide.com)

I also checked for the finale date for Castle and tonight is the last episode for this month and then there will be three in May with the finale falling on the 16th. If you're a Castle fan you might want to check out http://www.richardcastle.net/ the new (and official) website of Richard Castle. ;)


I'm off to get some stuff done. Have an awesome day and don't forget to watch the BH finale! -- Rhi

4.10.2011

Review: Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison
Young Adult, Contemporary
Paperback $9.99 (224 pages, HARLEQUINTEEN)
Ebook $8.99

Bridget Duke is the uncontested ruler of her school. The meanest girl with the biggest secret insecurities. And when new girl Anna Judge arrives, things start to fall apart for Bridget: friends don't worship as attentively, teachers don't fall for her wide-eyed "who me?" look, expulsion looms ahead and the one boy she's always loved—Liam Ward—can barely even look at her anymore.
When a desperate Bridget drives too fast and crashes her car, she ends up in limbo, facing everyone she's wronged and walking a few uncomfortable miles in their shoes. Now she has only one chance to make a last impression. Though she might end up dead, she has one last shot at redemption and the chance to right the wrongs she's inflicted on the people who mean the most to her.
And Bridget's about to learn that, sometimes, saying you're sorry just isn't enough...

Author Site: www.paigeharbison.com

Light Redemption Tale for Teens (3 stars)

Every high school has its reigning queen bee, the beautiful, seemingly flawless girl that everyone worships. Bridget Duke hides her insecurities with her queen of mean 'tude and a whole lot of manipulation. When her reign of terror starts crumbling, she finds herself racing down the highway to her death. But maybe there's a chance for Bridget, a last chance to redeem herself. While she can't undo the past, maybe she can find forgiveness for it. Facing the five people she has wronged the most as she waits in limbo, Bridget walks a mile in their shoes and ultimately learns how her actions matter in the lives of others.

Readers who love an over-the-top mean girl character might like this one. I found Bridget a bit lacking in true meanness, there's a somewhat sympathetic character hidden inside her. The way she treats others was mostly based on selfishness, passing blame onto others or trying to make herself feel better about her own issues. In that regard she's a much more real mean girl than the type portrayed in films. Her mean girl antics aren't even really that mean.

In concept I liked Here Lies Bridget. The actual delivery was a little on the short side, the love-interest was pretty boring and weirdly enough the most likable character was Bridget's long-suffering stepmother. If you're looking for a light rainy day read with a more true-to-life mean girl gets a nice-over this one might be for you.

Other Reviews:



Notes: Received Review Copy via Amazon Vine.

Top 5 Sundays [Favorite Character Names]


Top 5 Sundays is a fun weekly feature over at Larissa's Life. Each week readers get to vote in a poll for two options and the winning one will be that week's top 5 for the meme. Cool eh?

This week's Top 5 is Favorite Character Names!

Anyone who has read my initial post for the blog knows how much of a name nut I am. Growing up with a very unusual and unpopular name was a real pain in the ass. But then I hit adulthood and out of nowhere I started loving my name. Having gone through choosing names for two children and a multitude of my own fictional characters this one was a really hard one to decide on favorites for. Least Favorites would have been easy... Beth, Hunter, Connor, Isabella & Jane would top the list. (I hate overused, generic names). But favorites? It can be hard to seperate characters you like and their names. I think I've narrowed it down though...


#5 - My favorite "mobster" goes by the name of Domino Riley. Mexican and Irish. I think that might even be what I like best about it. Yep, I love the mixed culture and that it could easily be a guy's name too. See her next in Skeleton Crew.


#4 - While the series might be all about Allie Beckstrom, I have hearted her mancandy since he first popped up. Zayvion Jones is probably the smoothest name ever. It's sexy and suits the character so well. See him next in Magic on the Line: An Allie Beckstrom Novel.


#3 - Wellsie from the Black Dagger Brotherhood novels. In a series filled with a lot of strangely placed H's and weird spellings of other names this one really stood out. I'm probably spelling it wrong but it's short for Wellisandra right? It's been ages since I read one of the books she was in. I love how it sort of rolls off the tongue but then gets shortened into this kinda cutesey nickname. Meet her for the first time in Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 1).


#2 - From Andrea Cremer's Nightshade series, Calla Tor. I don't usually like flower names but as a combination of first and last names it just really struck me. I love it. (Okay and when I say it all I can think of is Skeletor from He-man which is awful but I dig it anyway). It also suits the character. Calla lilies are such a strange looking flower, kind of sharp and curvy at the same time. Strong and graceful, feminine and blunt all rolled into one which is just what the character is. See her next in Wolfsbane.


#1 - October "Toby" Daye, does it get any more clever than that? Of all the names on the list I have to confess to this one being such a favorite I considered naming my daughter October. My favorite month of the year. Alas we did not use it but it remains my favorite. See her next in One Salt Sea: An October Daye Novel.

4.09.2011

My Stressbusting Secret: Coloring Books

I think most of us would relate to the phrase "I have issues!". No?

How we all deal with those things we go through can be really bad or smart. My emotional eating? Not so good. Hitting the gym at the end of the day? Pretty good. Caving to the temptation to indulge my Amazon wishlist with a big batch of random stuff? Not usually very good. Except for my secret stressbuster purchase. I discovered a few years ago that when I'm particularly stressed out or irritated or anxious that coloring helps me calm down. The color books out there for kids are alright, I have a Hello Kitty one I've been working on lately, but Dover Publishing makes the BEST adult friendly colorbooks.

We were out and about today hitting up the pet store (don't get me started on the cats visiting from the rescue shelter that I couldn't bring home 'cause I had 3 picked out) and the indie toy shop. I could spend HOURS in the toy shop with all the play foods and realistic plushies, science kits and puzzles. But what I totally love most is the section filled with Dover Publishing goodies. So I came home today intending to share these with ya in case you're in the mood for something cool like this. ;) Amazon tends to have awesome deals on them too so be sure and look for the 4-for-3 promotion on the colorbooks. I'm including some of the paperdolls too because they're just too darned cool.



4.08.2011

Weekend Reading [04/08-04/10] ::


I hate Spring. With a passion. Not too fond of Winter either. But Spring... while the rest of the nation is seeing things turning green and experiencing milder temps ya know what I get? Prairie dogs and snow. Mud. Wind. It's all a bunch of suck. Makes me feel all gloomy and negative.

That grumbly thing is influencing my plans for the weekend. And by plans I mean my lack thereof. Stepkid is sick. Hubs is having a bit of a House M.D. obsession right now (and I'm cool with marathoning TV on DVD as long as I still get time to read). Our home is in serious need of Spring cleaning but with snow and mud outside it seems kind of idiotic to wash windows, dust or shampoo carpets yet.

I think we might brave the yucky weather to go to the local fancy toy shop in search of some glow-in-the-dark stuff for the baby's ceiling, maybe order pizza for dinner. I'll probably attempt to get some review stuff written. Man, I am so boring this weekend. Could part of it be catching little snippets of all the fun happening at RT this week(end)? Maybe a little.

So this weekend I'm hoping to finish Hounded. I have had no time in the last day to really get more than a few pages in. I did start Badlands yesterday while the baby was down for her nap. I'm frustrated lately by the lack of world building in some of these short stories that are falling under the Steampunk label. It is IMHO essential that even if the reader is dropped into the middle of the plot happenings the world building has to happen somehow and right away otherwise it's confusing. What do you guys think?

Alright well I am off to get ready to go to the gym. I'm tired and not feeling particularly motivated but maybe that's just what I need to get my blood pumping and bring this yucky mood back. Hope you weekend is lovely, drop in and tell me what you're reading! -- Rhi

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