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JulieYMandKAC

JulieYMandKAC

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Grimm Consequences (Transplanted Tales, #1.5)
Kate SeRine

Foretold

Foretold - Rinda Elliott Really enjoyed this one. Great and almost steamy chemistry between the H/h. Loved the Norse mythology and the twist Rinda put on it and the pace was fantastic. Quite the ride too! Full review to follow :)

Ghost Seer (The Ghost Seer Series)

Ghost Seer - Robin D. Owens I like the idea but the main heroine's reluctance to accept her 'fate' drove me nuts! But I did enjoy the idea of the ghosts and the wild west history mixed into the story. The romance was unnatural but I feel the two made a good couple. Curious to see where the series is going. Full review to follow. 3.5 stars :)

Taken with You

Taken with You - Shannon Stacey Very cute. I have always liked Hailey and Matt is awesome. Full review to follow. :)

The Day He Kissed Her (Bad Boys of Crystal Lake)

The Day He Kissed Her - Juliana Stone Review to follow :)

It Happened One Wedding

It Happened One Wedding - Julie James This was definitely a different style for Julie James but awesome just the same. Sidney and Vaughn make a great couple. The romance felt very natural and I smiled through the whole book. Full review closer to release date :)

Just One Night: Sex, Love & Stiletto Series

Just One Night - Lauren Layne Posted at Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks

Just One Night is the third book in Lauren Layne’s Sex, Love & Stiletto series. When I requested this title from NetGalley, it did not state that this was a book three. When I started reading it, I immediately noticed that there was some backstory to a few couples and thought to myself “it seems like these guys have already had their stories told”. I went to Goodreads to check and yup, the friends who are said to be madly in love had already had their books published. But finding this out didn’t make me feel lost or upset, it made me curious about how these friends’ HEA happened because I was drawn to the secondary characters in this book. They seem genuinely friendly, sassy, loyal and happy. And other than the ‘happy’ part, I felt the same way about Sam and Riley, the hero and heroine of this latest book.

When I started reading, I instantly liked Lauren’s voice. It really suits the genre and it held the fun and light quality – without coming across as flighty or silly – that I enjoy in a contemporary romance. I also liked the idea of this book because who doesn’t like a friends-to-lovers romance story. I think we’ve all been there, either as teenagers or as adults. Close friends with a boy and daydreaming about him one day seeing you in a new light and wanting to profess his undying love for you right then and there because he’s not sure how he held off this long… *dreamy sigh* Er… *shakes head*

But back to the book.

Riley is a writer for Stiletto magazine. She is their sex columnist and is good at her job yet she feels a bit like a fraud. You see, she’s only had sex once in her life and it was years ago. Why has she not been going at it with tons of guys? She is smart and beautiful, so what is the issue? Well, the issue is Sam. Riley has had a crush on her brother’s best friend for over a decade and just can’t seem to want to be with anyone but him. The issue is Sam has yet to notice Riley in ‘that way’. Or has he?… Riley finds out she is to write a story about the ‘real’ her and it sort of freaks her out. She decides to go after what she wants and asks Sam to give her one night so she can write about something real and not about something she made up, which she does not want to do. Of course, Sam says no, then yes, then no, then yes, then… You get the idea.

The idea, even though it is not something new to this genre, is fun. And watching Sam torture himself over whether or not to take Riley up on her offer makes for entertaining reading. Their chemistry is hot and their smexy scenes are really well written. I liked this book very much but…certain plot points did start rubbing me the wrong way after a while.

There is one thing in any book that drives me bonkers is when someone is hiding something from the other person that really does not need to be hidden. And if said thing would not be hidden, if they would just fess up and get on with things, it would make everything better for everyone. Riley hides from Sam that she is practically a virgin and lets him believe that she is essentially a woman who sleeps around a lot. Why? Why why why? This assumption of his hurts her. I didn’t get the secrecy and, for me, it caused unnecessary stress and sadness for Riley.

Sam also has something that confused me a bit and it’s primarily because there wasn’t enough information about him for this to make sense. At least, that’s my thinking. He is starting is own brewery and is afraid of actually getting it off the ground. Why? He’s afraid of failure and his mother is horrible and makes him feel like a nothing but still, why? I feel I needed a bit more elaboration about his decisions for them to make sense to me. And he was doing the whole ‘I promised Riley’s brother, my BFF, that I wouldn’t touch his sister so I have to avoid my true feelings’ thing. A lot. Also frustrating.

Other than that, I did enjoy Just One Night. It was a quick and fun read even with the issues I had with the story. I am very picky when it comes to my contemporary romance books and the issues I had with this book are issues I would have if written by any author in any book. Not just this one. So if the issues I had with this latest installment are things that don’t usually bother you in a romance story, check this book out. The author’s voice makes it worth it.

3.5 stars

Stone Cold (Broken Magic, #2)

Stone Cold (Broken Magic, #2) - Devon Monk Amazing! Non-stop and full of twists you would not expect. And not quite the ending I expected but better! Devon rocked it with this one. Full review closer to release date :)

Night Owls (A Night Owls Novel)

Night Owls - Lauren M. Roy Posted at Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks

Night Owls is the first book in a shiny new urban fantasy series by Lauren M. Roy. It can’t be easy writing a new urban fantasy series these days because really, most things have been done. Crazy blood sucking vampires – done. Werewolves who are…wolfish – done. Witches, hunters, fighter, protectors – done. So where authors can’t really find new stuff to include in their books anymore, they do have to find a way to present it in a new and interesting way. I feel Lauren did that in her debut. Nothing is so farfetched that you are left wondering why she went there but they are just unique enough to keep you captivated.

Night Owls is a college area bookstore owned by a vampire, Val. I actually really liked Val and I really enjoyed her Renfield (daytime human helper) Chaz. They have been friends for five years and have grown to depend on each other. There is nothing romantic there (‘yet’ I’m hoping) but their friendship-chemistry is really well written. Val has decided to redefine herself not long ago but what she is not wanting to face may be coming back to find her. She is a strong character, very loyal and with tons of integrity, as is Chaz, and I look forward to reading more about them in future installments.

Elly is the other main lady in this series. She is a Hunter of sorts and in possession of a book that the bad guys, the Creeps, really want. The Creeps are pretty much werewolves and they are not nice. At all. I did feel for Elly and her circumstance but I can’t say I felt much for her as a character. Not sure why, honestly. It’s not that we didn’t get enough back info about her and she wasn’t annoying or anything of the sort. I just didn’t click with her. But I am not against reading more of her so I guess that is a good sign.

Cavale was a very interesting character as well as Lia and Sunny. A warlock and two succubi. They are strong supporting characters that really bring something special to the story. Justin is another supporting character who goes through a whole lot in this book and who I found was well written. In fact, there is a pretty impressive twist or ten that involve him.

As for the story, it was very well paced and interesting. The book Elly has is finally given to the Creeps but there is one thing wrong – something is missing from it. So basically, where did it go and how to get to it once it’s found… You meet people here and there, bad guys and good guys, to keep things interesting as you are brought along from one twist to another. I liked the story, a lot. I thought I was well planned out and felt just different enough to keep me engrossed.

All in all, I was very pleased with Night Owls. An impressive debut that promises at more exciting things to come. The way it ended was not expected and left me even more curious about what will happen in the next book. Hoping it’s release date isn’t too far away.

4.5 stars
Cold Hard Secret  (Secret McQueen, #7) - Sierra Dean Tough to read in the beginning only because Sierra does such a good job showing how Secret is affected by the happenings from the last book. Secret is damaged and it makes me want to hug her :( But then the usual crazy insane wtf stuff happens and you are left wanting more. Holden has such a moment in this book! Loved it a whole lot. Full review closer to release date :)

Night Broken (A Mercy Thompson Novel)

Night Broken - Patricia Briggs Posted at Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks

I know that when I write this form of review, the ‘what I liked’ and ‘what I didn’t like’ review, it’s usually because I didn’t like a book all that much and I’m trying to not write a review where I will pretty much vent for 3 or so minutes of your time. But do not fret, that is not the case at all this time around. While trying to write this review, I noticed that I very clearly loved some aspects of the book and very much didn’t appreciate others. So writing a review in this ‘style’ seemed adequate.

So here we go.

Night Broken is the eighth book in Patricia Briggs’ incredible Mercy Thompson series. This is what urban fantasy series should aspire to. Patricia has written one of the best shifter-based worlds out there, with the details being so precise you swear she knows all of it thanks to witnessing it for real, and the characters, especially Mercy herself, are hard to match.

As the story goes…I’ll talk about that in a short while. And a heads up, I included mild spoilers. Meaning, I talk about specifics but nothing that you will look at and think ‘well dang, now I don’t have to read the book!’. So no worries about that ;)

What I liked about Night Broken –

Mercy. She continues to grow and learn Pack politics. I just love her as a character. She is not perfect, far from it, yet she tries her hardest. She is loyal and lovely and incredibly smart. And in this book, she showed restraint I don’t think I would have found in her situation.

Adam and Mercy. They are one of my favorite couples because they have an adult relationship without the teenaged-type drama. Although I didn’t agree with everything Adam did (or didn’t do) in this installment (see ‘what I didn’t like’), I can’t help but love how Adam is with Mercy. They are fantastic together.

Tad. OMG Tad! I loved his role in this book. We learn so much about him in a relatively short time in this installment. I really hope we continue to hear more about him in future books because, where Tad is concerned, there is much we still need to know.

Honey is another character that impressed me in this book. She is still in mourning but it’s nice to see her have a bit of bite. I liked how she sided with Mercy when the going got tough. Go Honey!

Gary Laughingdog. No, you won’t know who this guy is because he is indeed a new character. I won’t say much about him because I think the surprises are one of the things that makes him so interesting, but he is awesome. He will make you laugh even when he’s not trying to be funny. I hope we see more of him in later books.

The walking stick! I don’t know why but I love that thing.

I always enjoy the use of mythology in this series. Whether it’s Native American or, as is in this case, volcano gods, Patricia always makes it relevant and interesting. I like the spin she put in this book and the villain is pretty intense. He was very challenging and, as usual, I really enjoyed watching Mercy and cohorts trying to crack the mystery of how to take him down.

Relationship-based plotlines. That is not something you usually see in this series but I liked the timing of it. I find it helped continue to build on relationships that we have witnessed in this series for some time. It’s also nice to see just how strong these friendships and relationships are in this world.

What I didn’t like about Night Broken -

Christy and everyone’s reaction to her. Christy is Adam’s ex-wife. Yes, she is ‘back’ in this book and boy, did I NOT like her. At all. But I believe that is the point of her. She was created to make us hate her. And we do. A lot. But as much as I didn’t like Christy, I disliked the way everyone reacted towards her even more. I never felt that she was a threat to Adam and Mercy’s relationship. I feel Patricia built a very strong bond there and would not cheapen her series by making Adam re-fall for the self-centered ex. He is better than that and so it this author. But everyone kissed Christy’s feet! No one noticed how manipulative she was and no one respected Mercy’s authority while Christy was there, which surprised me because Mercy is Pack and she’s Alpha! That didn’t make sense to me. But Christy did bring the ultimate bad guy to town so for that, I suppose I should be grateful because I really did like how that whole plot went down.

Adam. Yes, I love him, but in this book I feel he needed to grow a set. Christy was in his home, thanks to an invite from Mercy, and she was doing her best to make Mercy look bad or put her on the spot. Yet Adam just let her! What the heck?! I don’t think it would have undermined him as Alpha or done anything else Pack related if he told her where to go instead of letting Christy do what she did to Mercy. I didn’t get it while reading the book and I still don’t.

The random plot lines. I have to say that by page 100 I still was not sure exactly where the story was going. We had volcano god and Coyote and evil Fae and the ex-wife and… It was not clear what was going on. Eventually, of course, everything worked out but I felt there were many little details that were not necessarily needed in order to weave the plot and that instead they just added to the sense of ‘what?!’.

So there you have it. Lots of things I enjoyed and three that I did not. But I’m still giving Night Broken 4 stars. Why? Well, it was a solid and very imaginative story (even if a little confusing at times) and the character growth where Mercy was concerned was awesome. I also love the world, the voice, the pace and the new characters. And even though this was not my favorite installment in the series, it always feels nice and homey when I pick up a Mercy Thompson book. There is just something about these books that always manages to put me in a state of awe. And if you are a fan of urban fantasy books, let this one awe you too.

Killer Frost (Mythos Academy)

Killer Frost - Jennifer Estep Very satisfying ending to the series. Tons of action! Full review to follow :)

Turn Up the Heat (A Pine Mountain Novel)

Turn Up the Heat - Kimberly Kincaid Cute but I had some issues with this one :( Review to follow.

Murder of Crows (The Others, #2)

Murder of Crows - Anne Bishop Posted at Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks

OMGTHISBOOKWASSOGOOD!!!!!

Before I even tell you why, go to the store (or a bookstore website) and pre-order this book. Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop. NOW. I’ll be here when you get back. If you have not read the first book, Written in Red, buy that one NOW then pre-order this second one. I will wait while you do that. Go. *hums Jeopardy anthem*

Okay. Let’s get to it then.

Anne Bishop is primarily known for her straight up fantasy. Fantasy writers, in order to be successful, need to be able to build a world that is just as captivating as their characters and their stories. Anne definitely accomplishes that in her The Others series. It’s based on how the Europeans came to North America and captured the Native’s land. But what if the Natives were shifters of the most terrifying sort and didn’t relinquish their lands and resources so easily? What if they controlled everything we needed to make what we need to survive? Some pretty interesting questions come up while you are reading these books. Many times I thank goodness that our reality isn’t the one in these stories. That is the impact this world has on its readers.

The stories are also quite gripping. In Written in Red, we meet Meg and all of the scary and intriguing members of the Courtyard, a place where Others (paranormal creatures) live and handle trades with humans. Meg is a blood prophet, which means she can see the future when she cuts herself. You just have to ask her a question before she does so and you’ll get an answer. A cryptic and weird answer but an answer none the less. We watched as the Others took Meg under their wing and started seeing her as one of their own.

In Murder of Crows, humans are starting to get gutsier, or stupider -however you decide to look at it, and are starting to attack Others. Why anyone would want to purposely incite a war with creatures that see you only as meat is beyond me. Others are vicious. They are animals. Animals who know they are the top of the food chain. There are also Elementals mixed in there. I love these characters. They control the wind, air, fog…name it. If it’s natural, weather related and outside, there is an Elemental that controls it. And don’t tick them off because they are unapologetic in their attacks. You get to see their sheer power in this book and it will for sure make you shudder. You also have sub-plots of how the ‘human pack’ is forming in the Courtyard, the Controller wants Meg back and someone is making drugs that can turn humans and Others alike into either blubbery balls of goo who don’t care what is happening to them or angry rage-filled beings. All of these make up the story in Murder of Crows and all of these plotlines will keep you interested while keeping you guessing until the very last moment.

There is one more little side story line of sorts in this book and it’s one we romance/chemistry lovers are excited about and that is Simon and Meg. I know, there isn’t really a ‘Simon and Meg’ but we ‘love-junkies’ are hoping there will be someday. And we are also hoping that it won’t cause too much trouble for them because they deserve happiness and each other.

Simon is one of the most feared Other. He is a wolf shifter and leader of this particular Courtyard and in the first book, it was very easy to see how people tended to pee themselves at the mere sight of him. He’s vicious and unrepentant. He is wolf, animal, and he has no desire to be anything else. We watch him transform a wee bit by being around Meg in the first book and his transformation continues a bit in this latest book. I love watching his growth. Anne writes it perfectly. He is nowhere near ‘human’ but there are moments here and there, endearing scenes with Meg, where you almost swear there is a little bit of ‘man’ in him. I love watching his struggles to understand human women, and Meg in particular. She has been locked up in an institution before her escape in book one so she is also just learning about herself. Watching the two of them trying to figure things out together really warms the heart.

We meet a new sort of human/Other in this book. Intuits are humans who have a ‘feeling’ when something is going to go wrong. Very interesting people and I like how Anne added them to her world. We also have Monty and the human police force. They play a very important role in this book. I liked how Anne managed to even add character growth to these side characters. There are many characters in this book and some of them seem to come out of nowhere then drop off for a while only to come back in later chapters bringing with them a pivotal line or scene that just brings everything together. Anne weaves such an intricate story it really is impossible to put the book down once you start it.

Meg has many opportunities to prophet in this book, and thank goodness she does as she manages to thwart many nasty things. Watching Meg and her friends trying to decipher and read a prophet was so interesting. This is just another example of how Anne writes her world with incredible detail.

The side characters, as I mentioned, are abundant but each memorable. Vlad, Henry, Sam…I can go on and on, but I won’t. I’m sure you all don’t want to read a 72 page review ;)

One BIG revelation occurs in this book: we finally learn what Tess is! All I’m going to say is *shudder*

Overall, I absolutely adored Murder of Crows. It is, in my opinion, a near perfect urban fantasy read. It is the perfect mix of endearing moments that make you smile and giggle and moments that scare the poop out of you on a psychological level. It has some of the best written characters I have ever found in Urban Fantasy and storylines that suck you in so completely you try to convince your bladder that no, it does not have to pee right at that moment. The pace is perfect and Anne’s voice is stunning.

It’s simply brilliant.

5plus stars

Wild Things: A Chicagolands Vampire Novel (Chicagoland Vampires)

Wild Things - Chloe Neill Posted at Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks

Excuse me for one moment…

*jumps up and down* I liked this book! I really liked it!!! *brushes herself off and goes back to typing*

Wild Things is the ninth book in Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series and yes, I liked it. I really liked it.

Why I am so excited about this fact is that I, like many, have had a very…tumultuous relationship with this series. Let’s just say that I have not agreed with the direction this series has taken in every installment and I was close to losing interest in it entirely. But the characters stopped me from giving up on the series and after reading this latest installment, I am glad I have stuck with it. Wild Things, for me, had much of that magic that made me fall in love with this series in the very first book and, for the first time in a while, I didn’t feel like throwing this book across the room once while reading. I like the direction the series seems to be taking and I hope it continues this way.

On that note, I think I’ll start by talking about the one beef I had. Yes, I am talking about the same beef I have had with the last few installments and that is the “idiot humans vs vampires” plotlines. This has been very prominent in past books and I get tired of it because it seems to be recycled in this series over and over and over. Politicians who think they are doing the best thing for humanity by prosecuting vampires for crimes pretty much entirely committed by humans. Gah…been done. And when you think the idiot politician is leaving the picture…another one takes his place! This plot is definitely present in this book but it’s not as important as the other plots. And, unless I really misread it, it seems to be finding its way back even further onto the backburner by the end of this book. I feel there is so much story to be told just in the issues surrounding vampires and its governing body and other supernaturals that we can leave the uneducated humans out of the main parts of this series from now on. I hope that really is how this series is headed because that would make me, and many others I’m sure, 100% happy.

The main story this time around features supernaturals going missing. Of course, one goes missing in werewolf territory while Ethan and Merit are there so, naturally, they are looked upon as suspects and must clear their names and find the culprit in order to restore peace. I know, that has been done too in this series, but who cares because it’s so much fun when it happens! I love the mysteries Chloe writes into these books. They are always well done, with hints dropped at just the right time and everything coming to a head at a natural yet very exciting pace. The twits and how this mystery ties into previous mysteries was cool and I am very interested to see how it plays out, if at all, in future books.

One of my favorite parts of this series is the dialogue. All of the dialogue in these books is exceptional. I may not agree with what is being said all the time (*grin*) but how it is written is so natural, you can’t help but feel as though you are in the room while everything is going on. The serious talks, the teasing and jokes, the sad and heartbreaking moments, all of it said in perfect time and with great ease. It is what helps make the characters in this series some of my favorite to read despite being disappointed in some of the plot directions.

Merit and Ethan are at their best here. No silly teenager-type games. We are witnessing two adults, in love, who want their relationship to thrive and who know that, through compromise and work, it will. What a nice thing to witness! These two are made for eachother so it was nice to see that they finally see it as strongly as we’ve seen it since book one. Catcher and Mallory are two others who are great in this book. I’d attach another ‘finally’ to those two. Jeff is awesome, as usual, as are Luc and Lindsay and Jonah and Gabriel and pretty much everyone else. Chloe did a fantastic job with everyone in this book. We meet a new shifter character named Damien. His is not a huge role but you will remember him, as you tend to remember most of Chloe’s side characters. You may also find yourself wondering where he has been all your life as there is just something about him…

Chloe has promised talk of the ‘prophecy’ in this book and she did not tell a lie. There is much talk of it…and now we are left waiting to see when it happens and if it actually means what we all think it will mean. *sigh* Yes, more waiting. But there isn’t too much waiting until the next book, at least. Blood Games is due out August 5th 2014, a mere six months from now.

Overall, I was very pleased with Wild Things. And for the first time in a while I am actually very much looking forward to the next installment. This series is the perfect example of whether or not an author should really follow her heart while writing even though she knows many readers will not support her decisions. Not everyone has stuck by this one but I’m happy to see that Chloe’s long term vision for Merit and Ethan and friends looks like a good one. If Wild Things is any proof, this series is worth sticking with.

4.5 stars

Ill Wind (Weather Warden, Book 1)

Ill Wind - Rachel Caine I finally read this! I enjoyed it but I did find it rather slow until David came along. Very curious about book two. Full review to follow. :)

Too Good To Be True

Too Good to Be True - Kristan Higgins Cute. Review to follow.