RhiReading News

Dear readers,

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

Did you drop by to request a review or tour stop? I am currently CLOSED for review requests for ALL review requests due to time contraints. I have promotional openings for February through July open though so please reach out. Just please drop me an email with a polite request and if I'm interested I will reply.

♥ -- Rhi


1.31.2012

My Book Boyfriend Giveaway Hop [02/01-02/05]

 
My Book Boyfriend Giveaway Hop Hosted is by Reading Between the Wines Book Club & As the Pages Turn Giveaway. The hop will run from 12:01 AM February 1st through to 11:59 PM February 5th, 2012.

What better way to celebrate the month of LOVE then with your favorite book boyfriend? Whether you have a valentine or not, the swoon worthy heroes we find in romances can’t be matched anyway! So why not put on those naughty underwear and curl up with one of these steamy reads this year instead? Make you Valentine’s Day perfect by joining the My Book Boyfriend Giveaway Hop where fellow bloggers offer you the chance to win some of their favorite book boyfriends!
  

.o • O • o.

 
It takes a lot to make me fall hard for a fictional guy. He's got to have a lot of mystery, a lack of overbearing Alpha-ness while still having a protective streak, plus the ability to appreciate women with flaws while recognizing his own. I know Alpha males are a favorite of what seems to be the majority of readers but while I can appreciate them from time to time they'll never earn a place in my 'book boyfriend' harem. My book boyfriends cannot pound their chests and shout 'Mine!' when they meet their mate 'cause if a real man did that to me I'd smack him upside his moronic head and tell him to take his possessive ass elsewhere.

Which is why it was tough picking the right one from my list to give away. 'Cause ladies, Rhi is the Alpha. Rhi is the possessive one. I can't just give my man away! But awww hell... he's one I can't help but love to share so...

Today I'm featuring the one who has been hard to shake from the top of the list. Others have dethroned him for a while but he just keeps creeping back so I had to share him with you guys today.

I give you the lusciousness that is Brystion.

Character © Allison Pang / Artwork © Darchala

There are many incubi out there in the world of UF and PNR but not one compares to Ion. Maybe it's because I'm some kind of perverted freak and have a thing for men with tails (ie. Hellboy, Nightcrawler) but whatever it is... he smolders and I've had his next adventure pre-ordered for EVER.

I actually had him as my desktop wallpaper for most of 2011. No, he's not always in this form you can get a feel for how charming he is in other artwork Allison has commissioned too.

Now what are you waiting for? Enter my giveaway! I don't usually like sharing my toys (ask my husband!) but one of you lucky folks is going to get him delivered from my door to yours. Don't forget to come back on Leap Day too, when Allison will be here celebrating the release of A Sliver of Shadow!


.o • O • o.
WIN ME!



Book Review: The Official Vampire Artist's Handbook by Lora S. Irish

The Official Vampire Artist's Handbook: How to Create Your Own Patterns and Illustrations of the Undead by Lora S. Irish
Art, Illustration, Vampires
Releases: March 1st, 2012
Paperback $14.95 (112 pages, FOX CHAPEL)
How to draw vampire art in simple, easy steps. Instructions could be used to create patterns for various crafts, or for drawing.
Lora Irish is the creator of a virtual library of designs and patterns for artisans, including tattoo artists, carvers, woodburners, and woodworkers. A highly regarded artist, carver and craftsperson, Irish is also the author of many top selling books including Modern Tribal Tattoos (one of Fox's top ten bestsellers for 2009), Great Book of Tattoo Designs, Great Book of Dragon Patterns, Great Book of Fairy Patterns, Landscapes in Relief, and Classic Carving Patterns. She is a former teacher and has helped thousands learn the art of woodcarving through her books, website, and online tutorials.

Publisher Site: www.foxchapelpublishing.com

Might Suit a Kid Better (2 stars)

Let me preface my review by saying that I'm not an artist. I'm a vampire and fantasy art geek who loves checking out books I'll never learn artistic skills from for the art itself. I've enjoyed other art titles from Fox Chapel so I wanted to give this one a chance.

What stumped and disappointed me right away was the way the book is presented. I still can't figure out if the author intends to be giving facts or if it's supposed to be more tongue-in-cheek. If she had stuck to the artistic side of it, suggesting anatomical conditions that would be different in vampire physiology and that sort of thing it wouldn't have been as odd. But there're entire sections devoted to supposed 'facts'. I'm not sure where most of them came from but as a fan of vampire novels, films, and such a lot of it felt pulled from random and some even seemed to contradict each other. In effect it all felt like filler between sections of sketches.

The drawings themselves were not particularly thrilling. Perhaps I was anticipating something more 'traditional' but odd piercings, shocks of pink hair, and an awful lot of tattooes gave it all a cheesy fantasy flavor that just didn't work for me. Art is definitely subjective so my opinion shouldn't matter much in regards to the art's quality but while a few of the drawings were likable, the majority lacked the professional polish I had hoped to see from a book with the word 'official' in its title.

Overall, I wasn't impressed with this book. If I were a tweenager I could see this book being entertaining and helpful but as an adult vampire art fan it just didn't meet my expectations. There are some amazing titles on drawing and painting vampires out there (such as How to Draw Vampires and Draw and Paint Fantasy Art - Vampires) that have really beautiful artwork for fans who collect vampire art books for the art itself and this just isn't one of them.



Notes: ARC received via NetGalley. (This review is cross-posted from my other blog: RhiAlistic).


More Art Books from Fox Chapel Publishing:

1.28.2012

Review: Chain Reaction by Zoe Archer

Chain Reaction by Zoe Archer
SciFi Romance, Adventure
Ebook $3.99 (novella, CARINA PRESS)
Elite 8th Wing pilot Celene Jur was taken captive after a mysterious device temporarily disabled her ship's controls. Three solar months later, when Celene receives intel on the man who built the device, she's ready to get the bastard. Only problem is, the higher-ups think her mission partner should be Nils Calder, a tech-head who can understand the disabling device. The attraction between them is electric, but Celene needs a soldier who can watch her back as she exacts her revenge.
Nils knows his department is nicknamed NerdWorks. Pilots like Celene think the closest tech geeks come to combat is all-night Nifalian chess tournaments. But behind the NerdWorks insignia on his sleeve Nils is an able fighter, ready to prove himself and gain Celene's trust.
The desire between them is unexpected, but with the fate of thousands hanging in the balance, the hotshot pilot and the tech genius must succeed in their mission—no matter the cost. (43,000 words)

Author Site: www.zoearcherbooks.com

Spread the geek-love! (4 stars)

A legendary pilot rescued from a fate as a slave when her ship was disabled by a mysterious device. An engineer from the aptly nicknamed 'NerdWorks' with the skill to aid her in her mission to destroy the device. Both with something to prove and a need to get revenge against the man behind the 8th Wing's greatest threat. But Celene Jur, with her stainless reputation, doesn't want a tech geek weighing her mission down and Nils Calder is the best man for the job. Sparks fly and not all of them good as the pair fight the sensual tension building between them and their mutual sense of duty.

CHAIN REACTION flew by fast, even for a novella. I have a serious weakness for geek heroes and Nils is a smolderingly well-built example of the hawt-geek. He's almost too darned perfect. Handsome, intelligent and romantic. Blah, watch me melt into an oozy little puddle of reader goo. It's pathetic. Meanwhile, Celene is maddeningly bad-ass in all the right ways. Is she a little too cool? Yep, she just pushes over the line between being awesome and too cool. Her redeeming quality is that being a legend has kind of made having a relationship impossible. Men are either intimidated by her or they want to hook-up with her for the status, finding a guy who likes her for her isn't easy until Nils comes along.

The actual plot is a little shaky. It's dull during the traveling bits but when action happens it's pretty fun. Once they reach the villain it hits a bit of a hurdle. I felt like them getting to him was too easily resolved considering all the preparation but this is a romance so I shouldn't have expected the 'boss fight' to be the highlight of the story. The conclusion was well done, I didn't want the characters to not stay true to their 'duty first' personalities. Once they return from the mission the actual ending made me grin. It's a romance and I wanted the geek to get the girl so I loved it.

While not without a few areas that didn't fully sell me I think the only big issue I had was that I had somehow not read COLLISION COURSE beforehand so I was confused at the beginning. I could have sworn I had read it already but I guess not. I think this can stand alone really but readers would benefir greatly from reading this second. Overall, I loved the sexy geeky spacey romance of CHAIN REACTION and can't wait to read more from Archer!




Other Reviews:
Smexy Books
Smart Bitches Trashy Books
Yummy Men and Kick Ass Chicks
Hanging With Bells


Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.


Check this book out if you liked:

1.26.2012

Review: Banshee Charmer by Tiffany Allee

Banshee Charmer (From the Files of the Otherworlder Enforcement Agency #1) by Tiffany Allee
Urban Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal, Novella
Ebook $2.99 (novella, ENTANGLED)
When she’s sent to a crime scene and finds her second dead woman in as many weeks, half-banshee detective Kiera “Mac” McLoughlin is convinced a serial killer is on the loose. Incubi are extinct, her boss insists. But what else can kill a woman in the throes of pleasure? When her partner is murdered after using witchcraft to locate the killer and Mac is thrown off the case, her frustration turns to desperation.
Certain the killer is an incubus, Mac works behind her department’s back to chase down slim, sometimes perilous leads. While the killer eludes her, she does discover handsome Aidan Byrne, an investigative counterpart from the enigmatic Otherworld Enforcement Agency. Mac typically runs her investigations fast and hard, but with Aidan at her side, she’s running this one “hot” as well. But Aiden knows more than he’s letting on—something that could shatter their blazing romance and add Mac to the killer’s growing body count…

Author Site: tiffanyallee.com

Promising start to a new Paranormal 'cop' series (4 stars)

I prefer opening my review with my own summary of the storyline but BANSHEE CHARMER's blurb is spot on. So let's jump into what I thought about it shall we?

Since getting burned about eight books into the Anita Blake series I've had a tough time with finding a paranormal 'cop' series that doesn't fall off into the sexual side of the story. I like steamy love scenes as much as anyone but when it devolves the overall series into every-other-chapter nookie I just don't enjoy it. I love a good crime to solve and the thicker the mystery the better. BANSHEE CHARMER manages to introduce what I hope will become a great series.

I really like Mac. My only beef with her was her lack of follow-up on Aiden's credentials. She struck me as smarter than that. I do wish Allee had given us a little bit more to work with as far as the world building and what paranormal races are in it yet she gives what she gives well. No disjointed info dumps, hallelujah! The chemistry between Aiden and Mac honestly felt transparent. He's hot. She's hot. She's something other. He's something other. I just didn't feel it. There was too much of the telling and not enough showing of the chemistry. It happens sometimes with first person narrative and was one big flaw I found here.

The mystery was transparent from page one. Don't expect any surprises. This was definitely more about getting Mac and Aiden between the sheets than a real crime solving plot but as a short story there couldn't have been much more dragging it out.

As a novella I thought it was pretty good but I really wasn't thrilled with it as an introduction to a new series. I hope the first full-length novel has stronger legs to stand on. Overall, I liked it though, it was entertaining and has the potential for a great series to follow. If you're in the mood for something steamy and cop-py I think it's a light read for a rainy day.



Other Reviews:
Geeky Girl Reviews
Thoughts of a Snarky Writer
Getting Naughty Between the Stacks


Notes: ARC received via publisher.

Check this book out if you liked:

1.25.2012

Review: Shadowlander by Theresa Meyers

Shadowlander (Shadow Sisters #1) by Theresa Meyers
Urban Fantasy, Fae, Novella
Paperback $8.99 (112 pages, ENTANGLED)
Ebook $2.99

Four sisters, three rules to live by, one big problem.
O'Connell Family Rule #1: Don’t let the Fae know you see them.
O'Connell Family Rule #2: Don’t talk to the Fae.
O'Connell Family Rule #3: Never, ever follow them.
Most people only believe what they can see. Gifted with the ability to see the deep, dark fae of Shadowland, Catherine Rowan Mary O’Connell would prefer not to. When the fae abduct her friend Maya, Cate breaks the sacred O’Connell Family Rules and sets a trap for the handsome fae who haunts her every step.
Rook, High Court Advisor to the Shadow King, has been following Cate since she was sixteen. When Cate reveals herself as one of the fabled “Seers”, Rook is stunned---she is one of the few that can permanently open the gates between their worlds. If he turns her over to the Shadow King, his court will rule the human realm.
Cate knows she has precious little time to find Maya. By midnight, the glamour of Mid-Summer’s Eve will fade, leaving her trapped forever in the Shadowland, but Maya’s abductor won’t give up the woman he’s mesmerized easily.
The midnight hour is almost at hand. Cate must choose: her freedom or her destiny.

Author Site: www.theresameyers.com

It just wasn't for me. (3 stars)

Cate's family has had one standing command amongst them since their mother disappeared. Pretend that you don't know the Fae are there. But that's impossible to do when Cate's best friend is kidnapped and taken into the Shadowland. With a miniscule amount of time before the doorway to the Fae world closes trapping them there forever, Cate sets a plan in motion to rescue Maya. But it means revealing her ability to see them to the alluring Fae who has dogged her steps for years.

Rook's position in his world is high but shadowed by the King's wavering favor. Bringing Cate, a "Seer", to the Shadow King will bring that favor to him. But to Rook, Cate is more than just a pawn to be played at the whims of the Shadow King and his desire for her could prove to be their undoing.

I'm embarrassed admitting this but I wrote something similar to this when I was in high school. I think that's why on the one hand I liked it and on the other it felt sort of juvenile. I loved Meyer's writing style, was easily excited by the world-building, and enjoyed the basic set-up for the series but really disliked the characters. They felt a little too... ugh, I feel like a jerk saying this... flawless. The hot love scenes didn't make up for the lack of personality and chemistry I was looking for in Rook and Cate.

As a novella I felt like very little happened and yet a lot did. Too much talking about things and not enough organic flow of the info. It wasn't awful or unenjoyable it just hit a few of my reader-no-likey buttons. I didn't love it, couldn't quite say I liked it with so many things not working for me but I plan to check out the next one anyway. If you like Fae fantasy most of this takes place in their world and there's plenty of steaminess between Cate and Rook, it's worth a read if you didn't write stuff like this for fun when you were fifteen. lol It just kept taking me back to my awful teenaged ideas—need I say misunderstandings—of what romance and love were.




Other Reviews:
What's Your Story?
Kat Kennedy on Goodreads
Manga Maniac Cafe
Confessions of a Vi3tBabe


Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.




Check this book out if you liked:

Off Topic Rhi Go: Cats... and not the LOL kind.

You wil obey me & get a kitty...

I've had a lot of different pets. Rabbits. An eel. A parrot. Frogs. Pigeons. The only thing I can think we've never gotten into are the 'creepy pets' like snakes and tarantulas. The thing is though... the only pets I've ever actually liked are cats. Cats are easy and aside from feeding them and cleaning up their pottybox they pretty much take care of themselves. Just when you need someone to cuddle they'll turn up and do it. The only major cons are shredded furniture and shedding. Since I shed too who am I to complain right?

So my author buddy, Stacey Jay, is trying to convince her hubs that they need a cat. And chickens. While my only experience with chickens has been visiting grandparentals and obsessing over getting to collect the eggs for them 20 years ago I can say I have cat experience. The kind that proves they are an essential part of a happy lifestyle. To prove it I'm posting some very personal pictures which I never share since I dislike my children being shown publicly without my permission and that always happens once they're out there. Anywho... help me make the case for cats if you love them as much as I do by leaving a comment.


1.23.2012

It's Monday, Get Your TV on!

TV Monday is officially back. I wanted to wait till there were enough shows to make it worth putting the post up. :)

As you can see Monday itself is kicking my butt. Too many shows and always a busy night without TV in the mix. Thank goodness for on demand service. So which of these are on your plate?

I've been devouring Shameless but didn't really think it fit the context of the book blog. It's great fun and so well casted. I tried watching the new season of Face-Off but am a bit meh on it. None of the artists have made an impression on me like a couple of the first season ones did. Now it's the long wait for April's Game of Thrones premiere. I'm just glad The Walking Dead will be back next month! Need me some zombies darnit.

So go ahead and check out this week's schedule, watch the previews, and discuss last week's episodes. You know you need someone to dish to and I do too!

Please be aware that if you're behind there may be unmarked SPOILERS in the comments.

Monday:
 
Wednesday:
 
Thursday:
Friday:
Sunday:

(all synopsises courtesy of TVguide.com or the show's site)

1.20.2012

Weekend Reading [01/20-01/22] :: Keep Calm and Fangirl On


I hate admitting this but I get sickly obsessed with things. I am a fangirl of the worst kind. The kind who has spent an entire tax return on action figures. The kind who has stalked stores at midnight for collector's edition DVD sets. The kind that gets suckered into paying exhorbitant amounts of money for that one coveted item that no one can find.

Star Wars. Lord of the Rings. World of Warcraft. LOST. Monster High. I own enough 'toys' to open a museum. It doesn't help that I married a fellow collector. We're no help curbing one another's addictions to our latest obsession. We've been through it with our kids too. Bakugan. Yugioh. Pokemon. Halo. Bella Sara. The big kids are fading out of it just as the wee one's distinct loves—thank goodness she loves Hello Kitty as much as I do—are starting.

But there are other types of fangirling. Obsessing over the latest episode of a TV series. Getting itchy with excitement for a long awaited—and probably bad—sequel to a favorite film franchise. Squeeing everytime your fave nail polish brand announces new colors. Or more to the point of all this... melting into a puddle of goo over the announcement of a spin-off series, cover reveal, or teaser chapter from a favorite author.

Now, while I might own a Hello Kitty hairbrush, a True Blood makeup set, a Monster High purse, pewter Lord of the Rings wine goblets, and enough Star Wars Christmas ornaments for a single tree I get just as excited about books. Maybe more so.

So, what gets your fangirl blood boiling? Do you have a hard drive full of fanfic? A guestroom devoted to your Star Trek memorabilia? A closet filled with anime cosplay stuff? Spent more than a month's rent on shoes? Let your geek flag fly a little. ;)

This weekend I'm grabbing a couple more titles from my review reading pile. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi and Chain Reaction by Zoe Archer, was feeling the need for more Scifi flavor in my book diet. Did you know Zoe's husband, Nico Rosso, also writes romance? How cool is that? I have one of his romances hopefully up next weekend.

On that note lovelies I am off to try and write more on the reviews waiting and get a post up for my other blog. I'd hoped to get out and feed my Underworld fangirl but I dunno if our budget is really there for it right now. (Damn my Jewelmint addiction!) Have an awesome weekend and let me know what you're reading eh? -- Rhi

1.18.2012

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Young Adult, Angels, Romance
Hardcover $17.99 (448 pages, HARPERTEEN)
Paperback $8.99 (446 pages)

Ebook $0.99
Audiobook $17.94
Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.
Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.
As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?
Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

Author Site: www.cynthiahandbooks.com






Perfect page-turner for a long winter weekend (4 stars)

Leaving the comfort of her life in California for being the new-girl in Wyoming isn't a choice for Clara Gardner. As an angel-blood, she has many gifts that make life easier but it comes with the price of having a purpose. A divinely appointed duty she must fulfill. If only it were easier to figure out just what that duty was than trying to decipher cryptic clues in waking-dream-like visions. All she knows is that she must save a handsome guy from a forest fire in Wyoming so her mother packs she and her brother up and off they go.

Meeting Christian, the guy her visions indicate she must save, doesn't help much. The attraction she feels for him could be part of her destiny. But when another guy begins to steal her heart Clara is torn between love and duty. If loving Christian is supposed to be her fate then why does it feel wrong? Could choosing between the desires of her heart and the duties of her kind really be crossing the line between good and evil?

Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of angel stories. They're not easy to pull off in execution without too much religion thrown in. But Nephilim tales are becoming more and more popular so I was pleased to give UNEARTHLY a try. What makes this book work is that readers know very little about what being an angel-blood is and neither does Clara. As she learns more about her purpose and what secrets about being part angel haven't been revealed to her so do we the readers. It makes this one difficult to put down and even a bit frustrating at times.

If you took out the angel element and made this simply a love-triangle story it would get a five-star rating from me. I adored Tucker right away and enjoyed the developing relationship he and Clara had. It made me want to be a teenager again just so I could have the fun they were having getting to know one another and becoming friends. In contrast, Christian isn't unenjoyable just vague. I look forward to getting to know him more as the series progresses.

In avoiding spoilers I can't truly expound further on what else there is about this book. It's long but only occasionally slow, I finished it in a weekend which is fast for me. While I didn't love it I will definitely keep reading more of the series. Hand has a wonderful grasp of voice and normally I hate first person-present-tense perspective but it was only mildly distracting for me here. A great book for a weekend when you're snowed in. Definitely recommended for angel fans.



Other Reviews:
Reading Teen
Books and Things
Sophistikatied Reviews
Krystle Yanagihara on Goodreads
Vampire Book Club
Chicks With Crossbows
Between the Covers


Notes: ARC received via Amazon Vine.



Check this book out if you liked:

Review: Enchanted Destiny by Rayka Mennen

Enchanted Destiny by Rayka Mennen
Paranormal Romance, Psychic, Witches, Novella
Ebook $2.99 (89 pages, ENTANGLED)
Kat never believed she’d fall victim to her family’s stories about destined soul mates—she makes her own fate, thank you very much. When she walks by a construction site and admires the same sexy architect for the zillionth time in a week, the last thing she expects is to be slammed by a vision of his death.
Which activates the spell that will change their lives forever.
Jake is a single dad with a singular focus—create a stable life for him and his son. His ex-wife cured him of any desire to fall in love, but when an intriguing woman saves him from what should’ve been a deadly accident, he can’t shake his fascination. Too bad she’s crazy, claiming she’s a witch and that they’re soul mates—not exactly the “stable life” he had in mind.
Kat’s destiny comes with a deadline. If they don’t fall in love by her twenty-fifth birthday—a mere three weeks away—Jake will never find the peace he seeks and Kat will lose her magic forever.

Author Site: www.raykamennen.com

Light and Sweet, PNR Fun! (4 stars)

Kat has her life all planned out. Her witchy powers have come in handy in her business but when she has a vision of the handsome guy she's seen at the construction site she passes on her way to work meeting his death she finds her plans getting disrupted. According to the family legends he's destined to be her soul-mate and if he doesn't fall in love with her by her impending 25th birthday her witchy gifts will be gone.

Jake has had enough heartbreak for one lifetime, with a baby to parent on his own and a career he craves stability. But when Kat comes crashing into his life, saving him from a swift exit he can't squash the attraction. If only she weren't a nut-job claiming she's a witch...

I didn't go into this one thinking I'd like it. In fact, I was pretty sure it was going to get a two-star. Blending the supernatural with the lightness and sweetness of a solid romance novella I ended up sucked in and enjoyed myself. ENCHANTED DESTINY is a quick read with likable characters and just the right amount of quirk. This is just the sort of read I need when I've been soaking up too many darker Urban Fantasy stories. Think of it as the novella equivalent of a palate cleanser.

While it's not dark or particularly lengthy I found it to be a satisfying read worth recommending to readers in need of something just plain sweet and uncomplicated. Will definitely be watching to see more about ENCHANTED DESIRE, the sequel, which should be out sometime this spring.



Other Reviews:
Book Lovers, Inc.
Wendy Hines on Goodreads


Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Other enjoyable novellas from Entangled Publishing:

1.14.2012

Review: Deadly Pursuit by Nina Croft

Deadly Pursuit (Blood Hunter #2) by Nina Croft
SciFi Romance, Shapeshifters, Vampires
Paperback $15.99 (286 pages, ENTANGLED)
Ebook $4.99

Breaking assassin Jonathon Decker out of a maximum security prison on Trakis One seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, pursued across space by the two most powerful factions in the universe, the crew of El Cazador are having second thoughts. They’d like to give him back. Unfortunately, that no longer seems an option.
Jon is used to working alone. Now, he’s stuck on the space cruiser El Cazador until he can work out just what he’s supposed to know that puts him on everybody’s most-wanted-dead list. He’s not happy that the crew includes a runaway priestess with designs on his virtue—such as it is. Jon likes women, but he gave up the role of protector a long time ago, and Alexia, High Priestess of the Church of Everlasting Life, is an accident waiting to happen.
After twenty-four excruciatingly boring years of doing her duty, Alex is finally having some fun. She never meant to run away—it was a rash impulse—and she means to go back—eventually. But first, she’s going to squeeze enough excitement out of the situation to last her a lifetime. And what could be more exciting than a stunningly gorgeous werewolf?
Meanwhile, the Church are chasing their missing priestess, and the Collective are pursuing their escaped assassin. Being hunted has never been more deadly…or more fun.

Author Site: www.ninacroft.com

When the hunted becomes the hunter... (4 stars)

When the El Cazador's crew broke assassin Jon Decker out of prison they knew he was dangerous. But far more dangerous is the mystery as to why the Collective want him so badly. Complicating things is the discovery that the cabin boy has just been outed as a woman, and not just any woman. High Priestess of the Church of Everlasting Life, Alexia has spent her entire life under the designs of others. Her little adventure wasn't supposed to land her in the place she's found herself. But being part of the crew is far more enjoyable than serving the Church, at least on the El Cazador she has a choice in what she does and just maybe people who care about her as more than just a figurehead.

Before her obligation to the Church manages to wrest her from the new life she's built Alex just wants one thing—to know the touch of the virile werewolf assassin. But the last thing Jon needs is the complication of a virgin bride of God, even if she's the only thing to truly spark his desire in a long time. Their pasts have made them hunted but their pursuit could prove their more than just prey.

Admittedly, I think my expectations were a little higher than could be met but Croft has done it again. Taken a crew of misfits and sent them on a great adventure where another pair of characters find a happy ending. In my geekness I love the idea of vampires and werewolves in space but I have to say it is actually the one thing that sort of kills this series for me. It's too... Earthy? I kind of wanted them to have some space/alien origins that would scrape the cheese off the idea for lack of a better way to put it. I felt like the werewolves here didn't get explained enough for me as a reader. I like to have a solid understanding of the 'mythology' or in this case 'pseudo-science' that makes it work.

Pushing past that one area I struggled with I really enjoyed DEADLY PURSUIT. It's not-as-common to see the heroine as the one doing the chasing and I adored it here. It may not be something I want in every romance but when done right, as it was done here, it's refreshing. Jon is just not the guy you see being pursued by a girl in romances, that big-bad alpha male being chased by a tiny barely-woman was a nice twist. I didn't quite like either character as much as I had hoped, both felt a little two-dimensional and uninspired but they weren't unlikable either.

On the whole it wasn't flawless but it was still very much worth the read. The things that weren't working for me were pretty mild and not-too-hard to look past to enjoy the novel as a whole. I look forward to seeing what adventure is next for the El Cazador's crew and I really want to know more about the Trog darnit!



Other Reviews:
Fangbooks
Reading Reality
The Romanceaholic
OCDemoness

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Check this book out if you liked:

1.13.2012

Weekend Reading [01/13-01/15] :: Why I like heroines with big issues...


I was debating whether to address the whole Friday the 13th thing, especially since I think it falls again in April and July. Talk about weird eh? But instead I was sorting through recent videos and photos to share with family and friends and saw a cluster of pics I took for review projects and the above one kinda made me smile. No, it's definitely not a flattering shot. It was taken in the mirror on my antique vanity to show the necklace and what I paired it with outfit wise but there's something about it. I guess 'cause I'm smiling at myself as I'm viewing the shot and it looks natural.

I think we all struggle with how we feel about ourselves. Being confident does not come to me naturally. Low self-esteem lived in me most of my life and still tries to hook it's claws into me daily. The difference these days is that I'm learning how to fight it. I may never look at myself and see beauty or view work I've done and feel boundless pride but it's okay to be content with it, to find a level of comfort in who I am and what I want to do with the life I have. I damn sure want people to like me but does whether I like me or not need to depend on them?

I think that's one reason I love a good kickass heroine with some issues. My three favorites last year were Annabelle Lee from Dead on the Delta with her drinking problem, Cady from Kindling the Moon with her naivety, and Abby Sinclair from A Brush of Darkness struggling with how a car accident changed her life. All three of them have an issue that on some level resonated with me. Sometimes when I just want to crawl inside myself and hibernate, it helps to sit down and read a heroine getting through her own issues or something worse. Do any of you experience that?

This weekend I'm trying to get through Unearthly which is alright but not really wowing me. I finished so many books this week. Well, it felt like so many. Three is a lot for me. Then it's time to start up the ARC of Hallowed of course. I was also one of the fortunate readers who got an ARC of Hunter's Prey (Bloodhounds #2) by Moira Rogers so I'm going to alternately dig into it too. So it should be a really good weekend of reading. What are you working on right now?

On that note dear readers I have to fly. Everyone here is fighting the edge of a cold. I have such a messy house but no energy to work on it. Better just rest and read, the dishes can wait right? ;) -- Rhi

1.11.2012

Review: The Demon Lover by Juliet Dark

The Demon Lover: A Novel by Juliet Dark
Paranormal, Literature, Fae
Trade Paperback $15.00 (448 pages, BALLANTINE)
Ebook $9.99

Since accepting a teaching position at remote Fairwick College in upstate New York, Callie McFay has experienced the same disturbingly erotic dream every night: A mist enters her bedroom, then takes the shape of a virile, seductive stranger who proceeds to ravish her in the most toe-curling, wholly satisfying ways possible. Perhaps these dreams are the result of her having written the bestselling book The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers. Callie’s lifelong passion is the intersection of lurid fairy tales and Gothic literature—which is why she’s found herself at Fairwick’s renowned folklore department, living in a once-stately Victorian house that, at first sight, seemed to call her name.
But Callie soon realizes that her dreams are alarmingly real. She has a demon lover—an incubus—and he will seduce her, pleasure her, and eventually suck the very life from her. Then Callie makes another startling discovery: Her incubus is not the only mythical creature in Fairwick. As the tenured witches of the college and the resident fairies in the surrounding woods prepare to cast out the demon, Callie must accomplish something infinitely more difficult—banishing this supernatural lover from her heart.

Author Site: julietdark.com

A Must-Read for Urban Fantasy Dabblers (5 stars)

Raised by parents obsessed with fairytales and folklore, writer Callie McFay came by her obsession naturally. Being raised by her stoic grandmother after their deaths she's a contrast in classy New Yorker and eccentric professor. When she accepts a job teaching at Fairwick College she finds herself buying the neglected Victorian house once occupied by another writer who left a collection of unedited drafts for her Gothic romances. As Callie begins reading them she finds that there's one thing the final versions all left out, a mysterious demon lover. Her own hauntingly real dreams of a similar shadowy figure leave her at the center of a world she never knew existed.

Callie quickly discovers that not only is her nightly visitor real, all of the creatures of myth she once thought were stories are too. Surrounded by demons, witches, and fae, Callie's eyes are opened to the truths she must know to not only protect herself, but the community she has grown so fond of. Her incubus must be sent away before he consumes her completely but can she cast him out knowing the painful fate he will be banished to?

Don't get me wrong. I love a proper paranormal romp that ends with a definite hero and heroine's happily-ever-after. Even moreso do I enjoy a butt-kicking heroine with fancy weapons and a questionably practical wardrobe to do it in. But THE DEMON LOVER takes great elements of each and softens the stuffiness of literature with them in a masterful blend of myth, mystery, and sensuality. Admittedly there were times I rolled my eyes because I felt it went too far into trying to be intellectual and chic but for the most part the balance of elements worked to create a really great read.

If you love cozy mysteries for their small town feel this has a great community built into it. It was easy to connect with the town and the professors, wanting to see what would become of them. Family curses, different mythological beings trying to get along, and mysterious attackers in the woods round out the incubus banishment plot nicely. Callie has moments she seems much older than she is, her voice not ringing true to someone so young. Occasionally she comes off as downright snobbish and yet most of the time I liked her in spite of it.

I think this would be a great read for Urban Fantasy fans who would like something less violent than the norm and for literature readers who feel like indulging their paranormal guilty pleasure with something not stashed in the Young Adult section.



Other Reviews:
My Overstuffed Bookshelf
Badass Book Reviews
Dear Author
The Bawdy Book Blog
Dark Side of the Covers

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

1.09.2012

EREADER CONTEST: Trucker vs Outcast Throwdown! [Moira Rogers]



If I were trying to keep my ass alive in a post-apocolyptic hell on Earth you can bet your sweet butt I would not be joining up with a group of whiny, demi-demon outcasts being lead by a dude.

I would be joining up with Team Trucker. If I have to be following someone she's going to be a strong chick like Devi who stands by her friends. That and having a mysterious guy who can kill you with dental floss or Cache who can hack your brain? Devi's friends are far scarier individually than the entire Team Outcast crew combined. Gotta go with the team who're more likely to come out of a fight intact than a bunch of wimpy half-breeds. Me, opportunistic? Hell yeah.

A psychic, a lady's man, a hacker... sorry Team Outcast your odds aren't looking really favorable. So you've all got mommy and daddy issues... boo-freaking-hoo. In a fight I'll take a big gun and an eighteen-wheeler over men with bad tempers and a bunch of useless old pop-culture references thank-you-very-much.

But don't just take my word for it... head over to Moira Rogers' blog and check out the details of the giveaway. Leave your comment here whether you're on Team Trucker or Team Boohoo Outcast and don't forget to buy your copy of Hammer Down: Children of the Undying, Book 2.

Leaving a comment enters you into the EREADER giveaway. Let the fight begin!



Disclaimer: This post is part of Moira Rogers’s Post-Apocalyptic Trucker vs Outcast Showdown. A comment on this post will enter you to win your choice of a NOOK Simple Touch, or a Kindle Touch or Kobo Touch with special offers. For rules, details on more ways to enter or information on how to pick your own side, visit the contest page at Moira Rogers’s website.

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer
Young Adult, Dystopian, Futuristic, Science Fiction
Hardcover $17.99 (### pages, PUBLISHER)
Ebook $9.99
Audiobook $39.99

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Author Site: marissameyer.livejournal.com





Not Just Another Fairytale Retelling (5 stars)

Being cyborg means being owned. Not quite human and not quite android, Cinder serves her family in their marketplace stall as one of the best mechanics in New Beijing. Her skill leads the prince to bring an ancient android no one on his staff has been able to repair to her stall. But what could the future emperor need with an old tutor robot?

As plague strikes the market and Cinder's 'step-mother', Adri, and 'sisters', Pearl and Peony, prepare for the upcoming ball celebrating the end of World War IV decades ago Cinder's life takes on a new purpose. Her fate tied to the possibility of a cure for the plague and a growing friendship with the prince will put her in danger of more than just being given away as a test subject by her stepmother. Cinder's existence may threaten the only real enemy worth fearing.

It isn't every day an author can pull off a flawlessly genre-bending, roller-coaster ride of young adult fiction. Watch out, because here comes Marissa Meyer. Taking a classic fairytale and turning it on its ear in all the right ways she manages to make a classic cool again. Melding futuristic tech with a dash of dystopian flavor, a subtle sprinkling of romance and enough fantasy to give it a twist Cinder is an adventure I almost couldn't put down.

Just when you'll think Meyer has taken you off the path of the classic Cinderella format a clever twist brings it back on track. At the same time she manages to make each character in the story unique, interesting and just enough like their fairytale counterpart to be obvious. Prince Kai is handsome and intelligent, a stronger figure than the original Prince Charming, and Iko, the little android with a big personality, is sure to win
a fan following.

To sum it up, if you love any of the elements this story contains you are sure to love Cinder. It's smart with just the right amount of humor and sadness, in spite of being, in essence, a retelling it's as fresh and original as it can get. I am so anxious to read the next Lunar Chronicles novel, Scarlet, a Little Red Riding Hood retelling. Meyer is going on my auto-buy list.



Other Reviews:
Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm
Lauren's Crammed Book Shelf
Writing From the Tub
Krystle Yanagihara on Goodreads

Notes: ARC received via Amazon Vine.

1.06.2012

Review: Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
Young Adult, Vampires
Hardcover $16.99 (320 pages, HARCOURT)
Ebook $9.99

The highly anticipated sequel to Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side.
It’s one thing to find out you’re a vampire princess. It’s a whole other thing to actually rule. Newly married Jessica Packwood is having a hard enough time feeling regal with her husband, Lucius, at her side. But when evidence in the murder of a powerful elder points to Lucius, sending him into solitary confinement, Jessica is suddenly on her own. Determined to clear her husband’s name, Jessica launches into a full-scale investigation, but hallucinations and nightmares of betrayal keep getting in her way. Jessica knows that with no blood to drink, Lucius’s time is running out. Can she figure out who the real killer is—and whom she can trust—before it’s too late?

Author Site: bethfantaskey.com

Something was missing... but it was still just shy of lovable... (4 stars)

Now married and living in Romania, Jessica and Lucius face a new challenge together. While royalty they must still be judged worthy of being king and queen by their fellow vampires. Stepping up from being just a title to showing true leadership potential is difficult for a girl raised by vegans but Jess doesn't have a choice. When a violent crime leaves her beloved husband as the obvious suspect she will have to sink or swim on her own.

With the support of Lucius' cousin Raniero and Jessica's best friend Mindy, Jessica will find her resolve. Not just the strength to find the true perpetrator but to prove her worth as a vampire queen.

Please don't hate me for finding this sequel to be only okay. I know exactly what about it didn't work for me. I missed the tension between Jess and Lucius that their seperation in this book—while he's in solitary confinement until his trial—didn't allow for. At the same time it was awesome! I loved seeing Jess growing into her role, how she was learning to trust her instincts. As a married adult I truly found this part sang to me. This is a message I would want my daughters to get. Being strong as individuals is so important to a marriage and Jess shows that here, I felt proud of her as if I were her own mom.

I really enjoyed the alternating perspectives once again but mostly I wanted to read Mindy and Raniero's. They're very cute in their quirks. I would love to read an adventure of theirs! They kept the really obvious plot from getting dull.

Overall, I honestly struggled with missing the tension between our hero and heroine yet still managed to find it enjoyable. The plot is far from original and I had it figured out so fast it made the book drag at points but I was thrilled to jump into the lives of these characters again, seeing how they've grown since the last time I read them. Recommended for folks who loved Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side—especially those who took part in the wedding story voting—not so much for those who only liked it.




Notes: Received ARC via author.


Free on Kindle as of the date of this review:

Weekend Reading [01/06-01/08] :: Getting Bejeweled & Out-of-This-World Reading


Goooood morning everybody! I'm feeling just slightly more energized today than I have all week. I shouldn't be looking forward to the weekend considering it means the kid will be home from school but I have a spa date! How can I not get all excited when I'm scheduled for 2 hours of being beautified? It feels like it's been forEVER since our last appointment. Now if only I could just get my hair to grow out again. My regular stylist wasn't available for one of my scheduled appointments over the summer and they didn't tell me until I was there. I liked the other girl but she cut my hair too short and now it refuses to grow below my shoulders enough to satisfy me.

So how are y'all recovering from the holidays? Are you broke and hungover still? lol Already given up on those resolutions? I don't really make resolutions myself. I set a few realistic goals to work on like an unfinished project or adding a healthy habit. One of my goals last year was to begin making our home more eco-friendly in small ways. I began switching to greener laundry and cleaning products, using fewer paper towels, and I no longer leave a light on in the kitchen at night like I always did.

This year my goals are more abstract and one I didn't mention on my other blog is that I've decided not only to nix my pajamas-all-day habit but I'm investing more of my spending cash into becoming more polished. Jewelry, make-up, wardrobe, things that make me look (and thus feel) better. After years of being a SAHM and having an attitude that how I look doesn't really matter I realized that it really does. It matters to me. I want to feel confident and pretty when I need to snap a photo or make a video for a review or when I present myself in public. I don't want my kids to think their mom is a lazy slob incapable of proper dress. I've already picked up a few pieces of jewelry from Jewelmint—yes that's Eric from True Blood's girlfriend's jewelry line—and started doing the Influenster thing to find new products. I'm also starting to make a list of classic wardrobe items I want to invest in so I'll have some lasting style.

Now when I'm out at the bookstore and I start babbling to strangers about books I hopefully won't look as young as people often mistake me to be. I'll begin looking more my age and with some professional polish. Okay, I doubt it but I'm going to try. lol

As far as reading goals... or blogging goals... I'm not really sure what I want to achieve this year yet to be truthful. The only thing I know I really desperately want to do is crush my TBR pile's face in. I have so many books in it I haven't even cataloged them all onto Goodreads yet. They're in boxes and triple stacked on a shelf... in piles in front of the bookshelf. Covering the entire surface of my desk. Yeah, they need to get tamed.

So I nixed the monthly themes for now. Decided to crush the books for review pile first and then try to tackle the books I've bought or won or whatever. It's probably never going to happen but I have to try. The hubs has a face he makes when I mention buying more books or making a Goodwill stop to check for new releases on their shelves. Seriously, someone here reads all the stuff I do and then drops them off there. I got Magic on the Line and Under Attack for 75¢ each a couple days after Christmas.
This weekend I'm working on Unearthly by Cynthia Hand which has so many creepy similarities to my own life I'm not sure what to make of it. Hopefully I'll even have time to read with the spa-date and a party we're invited to Saturday. Wish me luck and don't forget to leave a comment telling me what you're working on! -- Rhi

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