The Scarlet Corset

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Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill

Posted by Mistress on May 21, 2009

All vampires except the Head Honchos are allowed only a single name. Which may prove my long held theory, that Prince is a inhumanly sexy beast. Heard a lot of squeeing to this books awesome around the net. “It’s a fresh voice” , “It’s “unputdowanable”, “It’s a brilliant new series”; they said. I highly doubted all of that was possible. But picked it up anyway, cause I loves me some vamps.

They killed me. They healed me. They changed me.

Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it was mine. I was doing fine until Chicago’s vampires announced theirexistence to the world-and then a rogue vampire attacked me. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker… and this one decided the best way to save my life was to make me the walking undead.

Turns out my savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now I’ve traded sweating over my thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan “Lord o’ the Manor” Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four hundred year old vampire, he has centuries’ worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects my gratitude-and servitude. Right…

But my burgeoning powers (all of a sudden, I’m surprisingly handy with some serious weaponry), an inconvenient sunlight allergy, and Ethan’s attitude are the least of my concerns. Someone’s still out to get me. Is it the rogue vampire who bit me? A vamp from a rival House? An angry mob bearing torches?

My initiation into Chicago’s nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war-and there will be blood…

Let’s set the mood, shall we.

Little Red Riding Hood was skipping *tra la la la la* through the forest, on her way to Granny’s house. She was enjoying the warm summer day so much, that she didn’t notice a dark shadow approaching out of the forest behind her. Then the wolf pops out, and well you know the rest: Nana in mah bellay, cross dressing, & the woodsman gets medieval.”

For Our purposes Red is named Merit and she’s a grad student. Walking, with no concern for her safety, through the campus at night. Then all of a sudden she’s grabbed by a vampire, who tears into her neck like a jelly doughnut then runs away. As she’s losing her life and red stuff all over the pavement; 2 men appear commenting on how purdy M is. Next thing you know, one of them is murmuring for her to be still while he laps at her wound like a hungry kitten. Mer wakes up 3 days later of the pale fanged persuasion and is not amused. Instead of cross-dressing etc. , we’ll substitute in stubborn reluctance, sexual tension, and vamp cloak and dagger drama.

In every vamp story the setup is different, here’s what M’s workin’ with. There are 12 vampires houses. Three of which are in Chicago: Navarre, Cadogan, & Grey. Any vampire outside of this house system is a rogue and beneath reproach. Each of these houses has a liege/boss and is only able to “turn” 12 fledglings a year. So it’s a huge deal & a great honor to be chosen. Vamps still eat regular food and blood is more a needed weekly vitamin + tasty treat then meal. With home blood bank delivery just a call away none of the houses feed directly from the source anymore; & biting peeps is frowned upon as savage and uncivilized. Well ‘cept Cadogan house, which happens to be Mer’s lot. Add to that lots of intricate customs, rank, and histories.

Merit’s biggest point of contention is she was changed without consent and makes her in my mind rather bratty. She’s oh so very angry with Ethan for sweeping her into a life she didn’t want, though it’s not like the other option “dead” has any appeal. I empathize that it’s hard for her to give up her dream of teaching literature. Since it’s illegal for vamps to teach or even attend college (they’ve recently come out of the closet and the human world is still at ill ease). Still I spent the first half of the novel wishing she’d woman up and get with it already. Ethan ( her: savior, sire, and head of her House) expects instantaneous loyalty, gratitude, and is more than a little willing to grace her with some luvin’. Instead he’s met with, subtle disobedience with a side of pouting at every turn and a firm refusal to be his slutty chew toy; despite the serious lust going between them. The book centers on, Merit haphazardly navigating vamp society, ineffectively fending off her newly found suitors, and of course a rather transparent mystery threat.

Truth time. Did it live up to the all the hype? Not exactly. It’ll definitely appeal to the younger generation testing the water beyond the Twilight Ya-ish stuff or Para Romance readers looking to bridge gently into hardcore “kick ass heroine” UF. But to me it was just decent Urban Fantasy-lite, nothing to inspire tingles and gasps. At times: the tongue in cheek retorts were a bit much, the side characters were too chick lit kitschy, there was lagging in the beginning and middle of the novel; & TBH Ethan was a pretty 2 dimensional. On the other hand the world building was well done and surprisingly Neill makes the first person narrative work. So if the blurb strikes your fancy give it a look it’s pretty good, but that’s all the push you’ll get from me.

Final Grade:

Was a Fun ride but nothing that screamed, “Same time, same place tomorrow”. Has all the right elements but lacks a little somethin’ somethin’ to rise above the pack. Enjoyable but not memorable filler, great for when you’re between dynamic reads

Around The Net:

Wendy’s Minding Spot
– ” SOME GIRLS BITE is fang-tabulous! You won’t want to miss this one.”
Romantic Times Book Reviews – 4 1/2 stars
Darque Reviews – “engaging, well-executed and populated with characters you can’t help but love.”
Monsters and Critics – ” Packed with complex subplots, embittered family members and politics, this is an excellent first installment to what should be an outstanding series in a crowded field.

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Posted in B, I Heart Monsters, Mistress, Reviews, Urban Fantasy | 4 Comments »

Eve of Darkness by S.J. Day

Posted by Mistress on May 16, 2009


As a consequence for sleeping with the wrong man, the life Eve’s created for herself has been ripped away. Finding out if she’s strong enough to survive what her life has become, is the stuff Urban Fantasy dreams are made of.

The other night I had more fun milking UncommonJen for Grey’s Anatomy Finale spoilers and talking smack, than I had watching the finale. On the logic of sharing the luv; I harassed my internal Jaded Genre Fan also known as Evan ; until he consented to grill me for my take of this book. And yes my internal jaded genre fan is male. We’ve made peace with this oddity, mostly.

Cursed by God, hunted by demons, desired by Cain and Abel… All in a day’s work.

For Evangeline Hollis, a long-ago fling with a bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks just became a disaster of biblical proportions. One night with a leather-clad man of mystery has led to a divine punishment: the Mark of Cain.

Thrust into a world where sinners are drafted to kill demons, Eve knows her learning curve must be short. A longtime agnostic, she begrudgingly maneuvers through a celestial bureaucracy where she is a valuable but ill-treated pawn. She’s also become the latest point of contention in the oldest case of sibling rivalry in history…

But she’ll worry about all that later. Right now she’s more concerned with learning to kill while staying alive. And saving the soul she’d never quite believed she had.

Mistress: Just do it already Ev, stalling gets us nowhere

Evan: F-i-n-e, but we already know how this is going end. You’re a mean bitch who hates pretty much everything.

Mistress: Nuh Uh, I like lots of things.

Evan: Like what?

Mistress: I like Lifetime movies.

Evan: …Yeah to laugh at their pain, not normal.

Mistress: Hey I’m plenty normal. If you cut me do I not bleed, if you play Forest Gump will I not watch.

Evan: What about walks on the beach?

Mistress: What about them?

Evan: *sigh* Do you like them?

Mistress: What’s that have to do with anything?

Evan: Everything. You crisp in the sun like an albino, despite your abundance of melanin. You’re allergic to beer and hate children.

Mistress: Jeeze E, want my number or something? You’ve put way too much thought into this = /. What’s your point?

Evan: You’re a freak. I’m in your head, no digits neccessary. You iz minez ,whether I want you or not.

Mistress: Less sniping and more interviewing. Now.

Evan: Don’t be like that babe, it’s a compliment really.

Mistress: …

Evan: Um, this book sounds like your kind of ride. Did you have high apple pie in the sky hopes?

Mistress: No. I didn’t expect much from this book. The when meaningless nookie goes horribly wrong meets Cain & Abel love triangle had me prepared for vapid UF wanna be fluff.

Evan: So why’d you buy it then?

Mistress: The thrilling blurb, Jeri Ready Scott’s endorsement, and the kick ass cover.

Evan: Ohh this is gonna be fun. So how bad was it?

Mistress: Not

Evan: Not?

Mistress: Not bad, Eve of Darkness is one of the best Urban fantasy novels of 2009.

Evan: Wait pause that thought… back to the Cain & Abel Love triangle. Sounds Zexy & hussyrific, I bet it gets all mindless and porny.

Mistress: It’s not like that, well it is sorta. I mean yes, this book is sexy as hell, but it doesn’t detract from the story quality. Yes she feels an attraction to the brothers ( heck I do too), their similarities and difference are so dangerous and yummy. But Day weaves the tension and action like a pro, so it adds depth and texture to the interaction/motivation of the players in this drama. Eve’s much more than a woman drawn to 2 men, though .

Evan: Oh really, what is she then?

Mistress: She’s intelligent, endearing, realistically tough and really pissed off at her circumstances. Being drafted into protecting mankind from threats never imagined, is hard to swallow. Her focus is staying alive, which will take figuring out the ins & outs of being God’s assassin. Then finding how to regain the life she’s made for herself. And is porny even a word?

Evan: Silence Wench, I ask the questions here.

Mistress: lol, whatevz.

Evan: What about the dialouge, plot, characterization, & world building etc ?

Mistress: Thrilling and insanely brilliant. Humans ignorantly co-existing with creatures of good and evil. Uniquely fierce and amusing Baddies not down with G.O.D. Heavenly hierarchy taking shady corporate rat race shape, where even Angels have gray or dark motives. Just enough old testament nuggets to add heft and substance without going into preachy snore territory. Full fleshed out characters and motivations. It’s good, all good.

Evan: So it’s safe to say you liked the book?

Mistress: Yup

Evan: How much did you like it?

Mistress: If I had to burn this book for heat & live or freeze to death, I’d die smiling.

Evan: In english please, sans dramatics.

Mistress : Hmm well Day has reached UF auto buy status, which is a sacred conjugal involment level for me. I’ve also pre ordered the back to back releases for Eve of Destruction (June) and Eve of Chaos (July). So I liked it very much.

Evan: Hmpf. When’s the wedding?

Mistress: Soon, your invitation’s in the mail.

Evan: Lay the flaws on me. What’s wrong with this book?

Mistress: Bupkis. It’s awesome, every aspect.

Evan: I dont understand

Mistress:Neither do I, but I’m not questioning my good fortune. You should read it Ev you’ll like it.

Evan: I think I will, the biblical remix sound fun..wait, what the hell? We’re not done Mist, You can’t leave it at that. Say one non flattering thing about the book.

Mistress: But, I dont wanna.

Evan: Tough titties, spill.

Mistress: Ok ,Some readers might not be as enamored with the intimacy building aspects here and there; as myself. But it’s blended well into the Fantasy, Mystery and Horror aspects; so I hope the fellas don’t sleep on this series. Eve falls somewhere between Mercedes Thompson and Riley Jensen heroine wise, which is damn good company to be in. That’s the best I can do, unless want me to make up something?

Evan: No, I guess that will do.


Final Grade:

Utter Perfection, I wanna have it’s babies. Can’t find fault with it nor can I come down from the bookgasmic high it induced. This is a not a test. Buy, read, and pimp this book to others, as long as there’s breathe left in your body.

Around The Net:

Katiebabs – A-


Sci Fi Guy
– “I found Eve of Darkness to have thoughtful and subtle layers that are not immediately evident until further reflection.”


Aymless
– B

Posted in A-, I Heart Monsters, Mistress, Reviews, Urban Fantasy | 3 Comments »

Letters From Home by Rhonda Nelson

Posted by Mistress on May 14, 2009


Your eyes aren’t deceiving you; I really did read a Harlequin Blaze book. Been engrossed in a crap load of Urban Fantasy lately( not that Im complaining) and got a little overwhelemed. So I looked for something light and sweet. This book caught me with it’s: hawt military dude, small town setting, and driftwood animals.

Subject: Levi McPherson, Army Ranger.

Current status: Active duty.

Mission: Locate a sexy, unidentified correspondent. Conduct very private negotiations!

Obstacle: Natalie Rowland, longtime star of his X-rated dreams…

Levi McPherson’s tour of duty has an unexpected benefit: anonymous red-hot love letters! Someone he knows is mailing the rugged soldier her very explicit fantasies. And he’s loving every word.

On an unexpected leave home, he discovers his sexy secret admirer—Natalie Rowland, the longtime star of his own X-rated dreams!
But he’s not letting Natalie know her cover’s blown…yet. That way, the exquisite pleasure of fulfilling each and every one of her naughty ideas is all his—and hers….

Natalie has problems. Is it her overprotective father or best friend Adam who lost his leg in combat? No, she’s about to be unmasked as a penpal hussy and wants to crawl in a hole and die. She’s been anonymously writting her best friend’s brother for months. She didn’t mean to let it go so far, but after seeing the man inside, she couldn’t stop herself. If this is all of him that she can have, she’ll take it. In typical romance fashion theres a slip up, now it’s only a matter of time before Levi knows her identity and the chips fall.

Levi McPherson has been deployed in Iraq for 10 months. It’s been a hard tour and the letters he receives from his friends & family give him the strength to keep going. The highlight being the anonymous letters he’s been receiving from a girl in his hometown. Her letters trigger all types of appetites, she tells him of home, her fantasies, her longing and never sign her letters. He nicknames her Ms. X and their correspondence has grown to something he wants to explore. He has leave coming up and he’s determined to find ms X and make the steamy letters a reality.

Natalie and Levi have been crushing on each other since their teens. Noble Levi always kept Nat at a distance because he believed, she and Adam were more than just friends. He distanced himself to avoid poaching on his brother’s territory. Nat knew she never stood a chance with Levi, since he always acted as though she were contagious. Now they’re back in the same town, with the mystery letter business unveiling their desires, but there are fresh complications. They’re both equally in love with and committed to very different lives. Where Levi needs the globe trotting soldier lifestyle, Natalie has put down strong roots in all aspects of the small town community and her drift wood art gallery.

Nat and Levi make a OK couple. Her letters ( well the snippets of them) were full of TMI. Sweet? Yes. Sexy? Definitely. But all in all, just a breathe away from creepy stalker. Everything went too smoothly. The plot conflicts came to a head with a “squeak” instead of a satisfying “boom”. Overall this story wasn’t very exciting, but I didn’t expect fireworks so I’m pretty content. My favorite character was Adam, whose book ‘The Soldier” is coming soon. His determination to not let his injury define him and the playful/competitive interaction with his love interest, makes me all giddy. And on a crass note, I have plain ole fashioned curiosity about how Nelson will handle the love scenes.

Final Grade:

Liked the Premise of this book, but aspects of its execution were WEAK. Enjoyed it enough to continue riding the series/author out, at my own leisurely pace. Beyond the hype, this book is fine for a fluffy generic read. But more library rental/swap quality, rather than a keeper on my personal bookshelf.


Around The Net:

Nada…well there was a Harriet Klausner summary pretending to be a review, but I’ll spare you. If any of you guys have reviewed this book please link to it in your comment and I’ll edit it in.

Posted in C, Contemporary Couplings, Mistress | Leave a Comment »

Julie James – Practice Makes Perfect

Posted by Wanderer on May 10, 2009


It feels like it’s been ages since I read a contemporary romance so for anyone else looking for a great one to jump back in with, look no further. PMP is about Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson, both hot shot lawyers at the same firm. They’ve worked there for 8 years and have always been in competition with each other but now a chance at making partner has them upping their game. This leads to pranks being played on the opponent which are done in fun yet somehow end up going a lot further than intended.

Book description: When it comes to the laws of attraction, there are no rules The battle between the sexes is about to make these two lawyers hot under the collar. Opposites collide when two lawyers try to make partner at the same firm. Payton Kendall is a feminist to the bone. Cocky J.D. Jameson was born privileged. But when they’re asked to join forces on a major case, they gain a newfound awareness of each other’s personal assets. The partnership spot will be offered to only one of them, though. The competition heats up. Sparks fly. Let the games begin.

There isn’t much about this book that I didn’t enjoy. The characters were well developed, the pranks were funny and the growth of the character’s feelings from beginning to end was believable. I liked the secondary characters as well, from the best friends to the secretaries to the brief moments we saw of the h/h’s parents. The interaction between all of them was right on. I liked the revelation at the end of how the h/h’s feud began 8 years prior. That kind of stuff absolutely happens in real life (I can speak from experience although I don’t think I’ve ever gone quite as long before things were cleared up). I also loved the moment when the secretary realized what was going on. Been there done that too. The only thing I didn’t like and felt was unnecessary was when Payton overheard something that J.D. had told their boss years ago and this causes conflict between the two. I guess I can see why that was done because at the end we see the resolution of that but maybe that same resolution could have come about without the secret reveal being thrown in? But that is just a minor detail that in no way takes away from the enjoyment of this book.

This is the first book I’ve read by Julie James and after completing it I googled her name and was surprised to find this is only her 2nd novel. I have added her 1st book, Just the Sexiest Man Alive, to my TBR pile and added her to my authors-to-watch list. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that PMP is being sent out to Hollywood producers because as I was reading it I kept thinking how it would make a great romantic comedy. The author’s blog even has a few candidates listed for the main characters. I like a couple of the people already listed but here are my picks:

Payton: Christina Applegate

JD: Josh Duhamel

When all is said and done, for me, PMP was near….well….perfect. I was only left with one question: What does J.D stand for? 🙂

Final Grade:

Around The Net:

The Book Binge: 4.5 out of 5

Tracy’s Place: 5 out of 5

Manic Readers: 3.5 out of 5

All About Romance: B

The Book Smugglers: 8

Babbling About Books and More: A

Posted in A-, Contemporary Couplings, Julie James, Practice Makes Perfect, Wanderer | 4 Comments »

The Nymph King by Gena Showalter

Posted by Mistress on May 3, 2009


This time on The Young & The Restless: The haughty Nymph King finds & steals his mate, who isn’t the woman sized puddle of lust and gratitude he expects. Dun dun dun dun…

Enter a mythical world of dragons, demons and Nymphs…enter a world of dark seduction and powerful magic…enter Atlantis…

He is Valerian, the most darkly seductive male ever created. He embraces every aspect of his sensuality, reveling in his erotic powers. No woman can resist his potent allure. . .until he steals cynical Shaye Holling from modern day earth. Valerian’s hunger for Shaye is soul deep – but she is to be offered up to his men…

While Shaye claims to want nothing to do with the mighty warlord whose touch is like fire, she is inexplicably drawn to him. For underneath the warrior’s arrogant beauty lies a complex and powerful man. A man she is finding hard to resist…

Valerin wakes up post orgy tangled in 3 sleeping women; one for each hair color of course. He had tried to selflessly pimp them on his soldiers, for you see nymphs need sex for survival. But the soldiers’ manslut karate is no match for V’s kung fu. So they ignored the other perfect (if slightly worn hunks) and all 3 threw themselves at him in tandem. When the Nymph army had set off for their latest exploit, he ordered all the women stay behind, it was too dangerous and they wouldn’t be gone long. But now after they’ve settled and sent for the women, they’re missing. Feeling guilt over this and his selfish manwhore actions last night while his men suffered, he agrees to let them use the magic portal to earth.

The plan if they choose to accept it, is: to kidnap as many earth women as possible quickly and take turns choosing later; since earths’ environment is toxic to them past short durations. V goes to supervise promising not to claim any of the earth women for himself. All that changes when the prerequisite mate scenting happens, and he realizes Shay is his. He can’t go back on his word because of honor stuff. So he throws her in T&A pageant line up anyway, praying no one picks her. Shaye is not amused at the circumstances and wants nothing to do with any of his men or V. She’s determined to escape back to earth and the life she’s made for herself. And thus the battles of wills begins, that is sure to end in lurve.

Shaye’s a plucky heroine, who doesn’t feel love is an excuse for idiocy. She runs a Anti-cards business, cards for those who want “to tell someone to fuck off in a round about way”; I liked her instantly. There was a delightful playfulness to their courtship. And I enjoyed Valerin’s initial confusion & vulnerability upon realizing he has to woo her, when she doesn’t fall on her back legs spread; as he’s accustom. The minor love triangle plot, with Brenna (another captured woman, with a dark past) and the 2 soldiers she’s drawn to on very different levels; is by far the high point of the novel.

The plus column ends there for me, since the rest was sprinkled in generic cliched fairy dust. You know how it goes : declarations she’ll beg for his touch, if she attempts to escape he will “punish” her in some kinky orgasmic fashion, the overuse of the word “mine” in mental dialogue, lots of spirited rebuffs on her part though she’s quivering woman jelly for him on the inside, somehow despite being 25 and jaded from boyfriends past – she’s untouched *gag*, and he comes to the brilliant realization that she doesn’t know what she wants, because she’s never had sex …so less talky more ‘getting it on’.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Heart of the Dragon. I keep reading in hopes the next addition will measure up, no dice yet. All the above mentioned cliches make me tingle like any other Para Romance enthusiast when well executed. But the Nymph King lacked effort; the characters were new, the story recycled. Fingers crossed The Vampire’s Bride will be an improvement, when I eventually get around to reading it.

Final Grade:

Liked the Premise of this book, but aspects of its execution were WEAK. Enjoyed it enough to continue riding the series/author out, at my own leisurely pace. Beyond the hype, this book is fine for a fluffy generic read. But more library rental/swap quality, rather than a keeper on my personal bookshelf.


Around The Net:

Lurv A La Mode 3/5 scoops “this was entertaining enough to pass the weekend with, but it was unfortunately in no way memorable, nor interesting enough to want to read the previous two.”

Book Loons
“those looking for a bit more plot and character development may find this isn’t their cup of ambrosia.”

Romantic Times “Readers looking for a plot beyond the typical cat-and-mouse game for sex may find this novel hard to finish. The action and conflict do not appear until the end of the book, which makes the first 270 pages hard to get through. Showalter’s latest doesn’t live up to its promise. “

Riley Reviews “In truth, Brenna’s story was more interesting to me. Shaye’s and Valerian’s story smacked a little too much of Stockholm Syndrome for my taste, which is a danger when it comes to fated mate stories…..Despite my misgivings, I still enjoyed my return trip to Atlantis, and I look forward to going back again.”

Once Upon A Romance “The Nymph King is all about finding the one – and that search is not easy or simple as this. If you want a funny, romantic book that is not senselessly erotic, then I recommend this one. “

Posted in C, I Heart Monsters, Mistress, Paranormal Romance, Reviews | 2 Comments »

JR Ward – BDB 01 – Dark Lover

Posted by Wanderer on May 2, 2009


I’ve had JR Ward’s books in my TBR pile for a long, long time and upon finally reading book 1, I realized why. The character names are rhediculous. No, no, no that was no spelling error, that was in honor of Ward’s characters: Wrath, Rhage, Zsadist, Phury, Vishous and Torhment. Cheesy names aside, the book started out interesting.

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood.

The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams.

The hero is Wrath, the King of the vampires and the last purebred of his line. He also happens to be blind. He is part of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a group of specially trained warriors who protect the vampire race against a group called the Lessening Society (aka vampire slayers). The other members of the BDB also have some sort of physical imperfection. The descriptions of the characters drew me in and made me anxious to continue reading and discover more about these flawed mens’ lives.

The heroine is Beth who doesn’t know she is half vampire. Her father, Darius, is also a member of the BDB but has only watched his daughter grow up from afar. He wants to approach her now because she is reaching the age of her Transition, where she will become a vampire. Apparently a Transition isn’t a guaranteed thing and some do not survive the change. In order to give his daughter the best chance at survival he wants Beth’s first drink during the change to be from Wrath-of-the-pureblood.

So the story goes thru the meeting of Wrath and Beth. I found it funny that she never questioned his name or any of his brother’s names for that matter. Basically, he say’s “My name is Wrath” and she’s all “Hi Wrath my name is Beth”. Guess Wrath is the new Michael? I liked the fact that we got to see how Wrath experienced the world using his other senses. There’s a part where he first scents Beth and he says “she smells beautiful”. I thought that was sweet, it’s like the Jerry Maguire “you had me at hello” line. They get it on early in the story and eventually Wrath tells her about what he is and what’s about to happen to her. After some disbelief, thankfully it wasn’t too drawn out, she accepts what he says as truth. Through all this I didn’t really like Wrath until much later in the book. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate him but I didn’t feel the fondness I normally would for the hero of a book. Part of it was his treatment of Marissa, the female vampire who was his one and only (in blood exchanging only) until Beth came along and he got the blood/sex/lust/love TKO combo. Then there was how he treated Fritz, the caretaker of the house and the brotherhood, and the comments he made to Tohr about Wellsie. In fact, I liked Torhment more than him for a while and even Zsadist made me laugh at one point.

Beth also has a human cop friend, Brian “Butch” O’Neal, who warns her against Wrath. He thinks Wrath is a drug lord but eventually is told about the vampire’s existence due to his first meeting with Marissa and something that happens in front of him. We also learn about the lessers and one of the main guys, Mr. X, is out recruiting for new members for the vamp slaying society. He finds one kid in particular who has all the right moves but aside from one battle where Rhage’s beast makes its appearance, I didn’t find the lessers much of a threat to the brotherhood. Maybe future books will have more interesting battles between the two groups?

Anyway, after the initial intro of the main characters I didn’t get caught up in the story again until about the last third of the book when we get to Beth’s Transition. The emotions of that part of the story and the way Wrath treated Beth finally won me over.

Overall, there are definite pluses and minuses in the world of the BDB. I found the death ritual Wrath performs and the Fade to be interesting. The concept of the Brotherhood is cool and I like the reverence they show Beth later on in the book. That scene reminded me of the end of the Return of the King movie. I found the slang annoying (outie, whack, you feel me, pimp juice, off the chain, true?, rap music references) and at times it made the story comedic. I didn’t like the terms Mating and Needing, kept making me think of animals in heat. Then we have the villain’s of the story, the Lessers, whose scent is….baby powder. Huh?

I’ll keep the rest of the series in my TBR pile but I’m thinking of skipping to Tohr and Zsadist’s books since those are the two that caught my attention in this story. For those who have read all the books, do they need to be read in order? Also, I checked Ward’s website for Tohr’s book but it doesn’t look like he has one. Why is that? I would love to see how he and Wellsie met or even what happens with the baby.

On a completely random personal note, I grew up with a dad who loved WWF wrestling and the BDB reminded me of the old school wrestlers. With over the top names and the slang, especially them calling each other “brother”, it’s definitely the WWF era redux. So without further ado, I present to you my WWF/BDB comparison (they don’t necessarily fit look-wise but characteristically, this is how I’d match them up). Enjoy!

Wrath = Hulk Hogan

Rhage = Jake the Snake

Zsadist = The Undertaker

Phury = The Ultimate Warrior

Vishous = Sting

Torhment = Macho Man Randy Savage and Wellsie = Elizabeth

Butch = Bret Hart

I was on the fence on the grade for this one. My gut reaction after completing the book was a C but then when writing the review and realizing it reminded me of the WWF (and good memories of dad) I wanted to bump it up to a B-. But alas, gut reactions are absolute truth for me so…..

Final grade:

Liked the premise of this book but aspects of its execution were WEAK. Enjoyed it enough to continue riding the series/author out at my own leisurely pace. Beyond the hype, this book is fine for a fluffy, generic read and has more of a library rental/swap quality rather than a keeper for my personal bookshelf.

Posted in Black Dagger Brotherhood, C, I Heart Monsters, JR Ward, Reviews, Wanderer | 9 Comments »

Turn My Swag On

Posted by Mistress on May 2, 2009

Went to heaven today, also known as Barnes and Nobles. Had a chocolate cupcake induced mouthgasm, then raided the shelves to support my habit. Pretty proud of myself, only left with 9 books. Urban Fantasy,Paranormal YA, Dark Fantasy, & Paranormal Romance, oh my. I am a very happy Bookslut, my wallet…not so much.

The new additions to my harem:

Sins & Shadows by Lyn Benedict

Sylvie Lightner is no ordinary P.I. She specializes in cases involving the unusual, in a world where magic is real—and where death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you…

When one of her employees is murdered in front of her. Sylvie has had enough. After years of confounding the dark forces of the Magicus Mundi, she’s closing up shop. But wanting to quit and actually quiting are two different things. Because when a god asks you for a favor, saying no isn’t a option.

A man claiming to be the god of Justice wants Sylvie to find his lost lover. And if she doesn’t agree to help, her family, her friends, and the world will suffer the consequences.

Tracked by real-world government agents, hunted by her many enemies of the darkness, and drawn ever deeper into a labyrinth of evil deeds and immortal powers. Sylvie must find her quarry before she finds the truth about herself. Because in her line of work, the truth can set you free… and then it can kill you

I purchased out of character today,usually research before purchase is my motto. But, despite hyper awareness of UF releases,I’ve heard no buzz about this book. So I’m bumping it to the top of my TBR, cause I’m selfless like that lol and the blurb is fantastic.

Eve of Darkness by S.J. Day

Cursed by God, hunted by demons, desired by Cain and Abel… All in a day’s work.

For Evangeline Hollis, a long-ago fling with a bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks just became a disaster of biblical proportions. One night with a leather-clad man of mystery has led to a divine punishment: the Mark of Cain.

Thrust into a world where sinners are drafted to kill demons, Eve knows her learning curve must be short. A longtime agnostic, she begrudgingly maneuvers through a celestial bureaucracy where she is a valuable but ill-treated pawn. She’s also become the latest point of contention in the oldest case of sibling rivalry in history…

But she’ll worry about all that later. Right now she’s more concerned with learning to kill while staying alive. And saving the soul she’d never quite believed she had.

Storm Glass by Maria V Snyder

As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowen understands trial by fire. Now it’s time to test her mettle. Someone has sabotaged the Stormdancer clan’s glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians. The Stormdancers—particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade—require Opal’s unique talents to prevent it happening again.

But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap into a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening. And the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear. With lives hanging in the balance—including her own—Opal must control powers she never knew she possessed…powers that might lead to disaster beyond anything she’s ever known.


Undone by Rachel Caine

Once she was a powerful Djinn. Then Cassiel defied her ruler, Ashan, who tore her very essence away and reshaped her in human flesh as punishment. Forced to live among mortals, Cassiel has found refuge among the Weather Wardens—whose power she must tap into regularly, or she will die.

Cassiel earns her keep by assisting the Earth Warden Manny Rocha on his missions—which she finds much easier than coping with the emotions and frailties of her human conditions especially her growing affection for Manny’s brother, Luis. But when Cassiel encounters a malevolent force that threatens the Rocha family, she discovers that her perceived human weaknesses may be her greatest strengths….

Pleasure unbound by Larissa Ione

In a place where ecstasy can cost you your life…

She’s a demon-slayer who hungers for sensual pleasure—but fears it will always be denied her. Until Tayla Mancuso lands in a hospital run by demons in disguise, and the head doctor, Eidolon, makes her body burn with unslakable desire. But to prove her ultimate loyalty to her peers, she must betray the surgeon who saved her life.

Two lovers will dare to risk all.

Eidolon cannot resist this fiery, dangerous woman who fills him with both rage and passion. Not only is she his avowed enemy, but she could very well be the hunter who has been preying upon his people. Torn between his need for the truth and his desire to find his perfect mate before a horrific transformation claims him forever, Eidolon will dare the unthinkable—and let Tayla possess him, body and soul…

Need by carrie jones

Zara collects phobias the way other high school girls collect lipsticks. Little wonder, since life’s been pretty rough so far. Her father left, her stepfather just died, and her mother’s pretty much checked out. Now Zara’s living with her grandmother in sleepy, cold Maine so that she stays “safe.” Zara doesn’t think she’s in danger; she thinks her mother can’t deal.

Wrong. Turns out that guy she sees everywhere, the one leaving trails of gold glitter, isn’t a figment of her imagination. He’s a pixie—and not the cute, lovable kind with wings. He’s the kind who has dreadful, uncontrollable needs. And he’s trailing Zara.

Evernight by claudia gray

Bianca wants to escape.

She’s been uprooted from her small hometown and enrolled at Evernight Academy, an eerie Gothic boarding school where the students are somehow too perfect: smart, sleek, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn’t fit in.

Then she meets Lucas. He’s not the “Evernight type” either, and he likes it that way. Lucas ignores the rules, stands up to the snobs, and warns Bianca to be careful—even when it comes to caring about him.

“I couldn’t stand it if they took it out on you,” he tells Bianca, “and eventually they would.”

But the connection between Bianca and Lucas can’t be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart . . . and to make Bianca question everything she’s ever believed.

Wake by Lisa McMann

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people’s dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie’s seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can’t tell anybody about what she does — they’d never believe her, or worse, they’d think she’s a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn’t want and can’t control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else’s twisted psyche. She is a participant….

Evermore by Alyson Noel

Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people’s thoughts, and know a person’s life story by touch. Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste…

Ever sees Damen and feels an instant recognition. He is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets. Damen is able to make things appear and disappear, he always seems to know what she’s thinking—and he’s the only one who can silence the noise and the random energy in her head. She doesn’t know who he really is—or what he is. Damen equal parts light and darkness, and he belongs to an enchanted new world where no one ever dies

Posted in Mistress, Swag | 1 Comment »

Red-headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells

Posted by Mistress on April 30, 2009

Saw this book for the first time, strewn on a table at Barnes & Noble. Above loomed a “If You liked Twilight” sign. The tweens must have went apeshit, cause everything was awry. So while fixing the books into neat little piles (yes, I’m one of those, lmao) this book caught my eye.

I ooohed as expected at the eye catching cover; then spun it around like a cheap date to check out the goods. The Blurb was impressive, lots of interesting conflict potential, not frilly, and brief. So like any bookslut worth her salt, I brought it home to join my harem.

In a world where being of mixed-blood is a major liability, Sabina doesn’t really fit in. And being an assassin – the only profession fit for an outcast – doesn’t help matters. But she’s never brought her work home. Until now.

Her latest mission is uncomfortably complex, and threatens the fragile peace between the vampire and mage races. As Sabina scrambles to figure out which side she’s on, she uncovers a tangled political web, some nasty facts about her family and some unexpected new talents. Any of these things could be worryingly life-changing, but together, they could be fatal…

Vampires are the living decedents of Lilith and Cain (as oppose to being the evil undead), and as a result all vampires are gingers. Sabina is a mixblood assassin for the Dominae, the counsel her Grandmother heads which rules the Vamps with an iron fist. You’re thinking sweet deal right? Mixed abilities, Nana looking out for you & getting to kill things. Well that ain’t the case.

Sabina has a complete disconnect from her mage heritage and is just as racist as the average vampire. Why? Well, Vamps and Mages loathe each other, like the opposing street dance crews. While her Grandmother did raise her after the death of her parents, she did so in the apathetic commanding way she does everything; so no warm fuzzies. On the up side she does get to kill things, but any hesitation, refusal, or questioning their choice will render her equally dead.

So despite her prolific vamp bloodline and her pest control contribution; she’s never fully been accepted among the Vampire community and will continue to suffer for the sins of her parents. All that leaves us, a Bad Ass killer with epic little girl issues; determined to prove herself worthy, no matter the cost. Which drives her to accept a dangerous mission infiltrating a cult that is threatning the Dominae’s power base. It’s all very Anita Blake meets alias. Nothing is as it seems and everyone has ulterior motives; survival will require rexamining: who she is? Who she’s fighting with? and what she’s fighting for?

Sabina’s a funny, lethal, and flawed heroine; just how I like em. The world building was decent, but there were occasional gaps.
For Example Sabina sleeps in the day and wakes at night, but no mention is made of how vamps react to sunlight. Are her sleeping habits just cultural or would she sizzle like bacon at noon? Though I realize even if there are sleep patterns/sunlight rules that it probably wont to apply to her; I still would have appreciated the clarity.( Readers: if I missed where this revalation, please shed some light, I promise not to bitch.)

The colorful cast of side characters were amusing, as was the dialogue. Sabina’s issues give credibility to some of her actions, more than it detracts in a whiny sense. I even like the sidekick she acquires, but the jump from foes to friends was too instantaneous for my tastes. My other grumble is, Sabina was agreeable to illogical degrees when dealing with the enemy. I get that she needed to infiltrate the rival organization, but c’mon. Any assassin that you approach with a vague job offer, that agrees to be led somewhere unknown to meet, by your henchmen… blindfolded and disarmed…is either retarded and isn’t worth hiring or ding ding ding is a enemy mole, lol. what about accepting a job without any discussion of payment or whats expected of you? I assume hunting vampires would take umpteenth cognitive reasoning and awareness skills, so why is Sabina in many aspects so naive?

“Digging graves is hell on a manicure, but I was taught good vampires clean up after every meal.” With a darkly amusing opening line like that, I anticipated a thrilling ride. Did the positives outweigh the flaws? Do I look forward to the next novel? Will I pimp it to the legion Urban Fantasy fans? Yes, yes, and yes. Despite the hiccups, Red-headed Stepchild is a fun fast paced read & a damn fine addition to the genre. Congrats Mz. Wells, you’ve done good.

Final Grade:

Is everything I hoped it would be but not a pinch more. Better than average, hit the spot like a tall drink on a hot summer’s day and is in no way a stale retelling. But didn’t dazzle me with shiny unique or transcendent content. A smidgen formulaic but doesn’t detract from maximum entertainment value.


Around The Net:


Love Vampires
4.5/5 Stars

Reading with Monie 5/5 Stars

Darque Reviews – “Well-written with easy to visualize detail, Read-Headed Stepchild is a fantastic opening to this trilogy and should be at the top of every urban fantasy reader’s wish list.”

Trollitc – “The novel’s not groundbreaking or high literature (but then, that’s probably a good thing as so much high literature tends to be unfathomable and unentertaining) and people who aren’t fans of the genre are not likely to enjoy it especially, but it is a good solid example of urban fantasy/horror, a pleasant read with promises of better stories to follow”

SFF World – “In summary, this is not a bad debut novel. I get the impression the author had a lot of fun writing it. It reads fairly smoothly. It’s not deep, nor particularly significant, but then it doesn’t try to be. Unlike some, it’s not explicit vampire porn (though there are insinuations to sex), nor is it pretentiously ponderous either”

Fantasy Book Critic – “Even though Jaye Wells’ “Red-Headed Stepchild” doesn’t really distinguish itself from other urban fantasy/paranormal romance novels—aside from the vampires—the book is fast-paced, charming and fun. Add it all up and “Red-Headed Stepchild” is a book that I expect will do quite well…”

Persephone Reads – “If you enjoy urban fantasy that feels fully realized – even if it’s not laid out at your feet in the first outing – you’ll definitely enjoy this book. And if you like swift action, serious sexual tension, and a solid dose of intrigue you’ll like it even more.”

Fantasy Literature 3.5 /5 “I will read the sequel to Red-Headed Stepchild. Not because there’s anything really original about this book or its characters, but because Wells makes the well-worn exciting and sometimes that’s enough to make a book worth reading. Wells knows how to take you for a ride.”

Posted in B, I Heart Monsters, Mistress, Reviews | 2 Comments »

The Better to Hold You by Alisa Sheckley

Posted by Mistress on April 23, 2009


Neil Gaiman is Magic. When you have a comment from him scrawled on your book, you need to come with your A game; Ms Sheckley , unfortunately did not. At times the novel had a pleasant gothic flare, but mostly it stays in the underwhelming angst slut B movie realm.

Product Description:

SHE KNOWS WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE.

Manhattan veterinarian Abra Barrow has more sense about animals than she
has about men. So when her adored journalist husband returns from a
research trip to Romania and starts pacing their apartment like a caged
wolf, Abra agrees to move with him to a rural mansion upstate in order to save her marriage.

But while there are perks to her new life, particularly in the bedroom,
Abra soon discovers that nothing in the bucolic town of Northside is
what it seems. The local tavern serves a dangerous, predatory
underworld. Her husband has developed feral new appetites and a roving
eye, and his lack of humanity isn’t entirely emotional. As the moon waxes full, Abra must choose between trusting the man she married, taking a chance on a seductive stranger, or following her own animal instincts.

Poor Abra Barrow, staring at odd men on the train and having marital difficulties, just isn’t what it used to be. Her masochistic responses to conflict make for a tale full of woe when her husband comes back from a trip behaving oddly. Hunter admits he betrayed her, then demands she uproot her life to go live in the sticks. Abra is: lied to, fucked senseless, plays peek a boo with the only possible explanation of whats happening to her life/marriage,and feels sad. Wash and repeat, again and again. After the day is won the villains are sent to bed without dessert, the end. Probably in preparation for sequel, I wont be reading.

The writing style is decent, I enjoyed some of the world building aspects. But the dialogue is inconsistent; shifting between engaging conversations, rushed comic book bad guy overshares, and a healthy dose wtf. The scenes of intimacy were sexy, yet each had a off putting spot that knocked me out of the zone, and left me shaking my head. Add to that a few annoying repetitive themes, we get it already: Abra is nun like, Abra is downtrodden, Abra has no self esteem.

Abra twice refers to herself as animal smart, people stupid;and I agree TSTL indeed. Who will Abra choose her husband or the enigmatic stranger? Wont spoil that conundrum for ya, I just wish she would’ve choosen herself. I took a peek around Romancelandia and this book was well received, but I’m with the Amazon folks in giving it a verdict of bleh.

Grade:

Posted in C, I Heart Monsters, Mistress, Reviews | 11 Comments »

Mission Accomplished

Posted by Wanderer on April 18, 2009

Sorry for the lateness of this post but the real world has a way of getting in the way of my fun 🙂 I want to thank those who offered suggestions for my Mission Possible a couple months back. I read a few of the books mentioned as well as a couple others that I found on my own and final verdict: I read some good stories, a couple ‘bleh’ books but my favorite would have to be A Knight In Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux!

Abandoned by a cruel fate, lovely, thoroughly modern Dougless Montgomery lay weeping upon a cold tombstone in an English church. Suddenly, as if in answer to her prayers, the most extraordinary man appeared.

He was Nicholas Stafford, Earl of Thornwyck…and according to his tombstone he had died in1564. Tall, broad of shoulder, attired in gleaming silver and gold, he was magnificent. Drawn to his side by a bond so sudden and compelling it overshadowed reason, Dougless knew that Nicholas was nothing less than a miracle: a man who would not seek to change her, who found her perfect, fascinating, just as she was.

Yet she could not imagine how strong were the chains that tied them to the past…or the grand adventure that lay before them….

I’ve read a couple of Jude Deveraux’s books in the past and they were just on my OK scale. Decent stories with a cute love story but nothing that stuck with me after the fact. A Knight In Shining Armor broke that mold and is a definite keeper that I can see myself re-reading in the future.

I’ll admit, the beginning started out bad for me. First of all, I have a thing with character names that make my eyes roll and this one had that: the heroine’s name is Dougless. But after seeing the name a few times, I got over it. Then the beginning of the book makes Dougless sound so pathetic with all she puts up with that I thought I had another TSTL heroine on my hands. I did put the book down a couple times but after finally getting over that beginning bump, there was no looking back.

I was happy to see that this wasn’t another lust at first sight story and enjoyed the build up of the friendship then relationship between Nicholas and Dougless. I wasn’t annoyed each time Dougless had to explain an item and it’s function to Nicholas. In fact, most of the time I found it sweet to look at things through his eyes. Actually, I was surprised at how his comments were very relevant to things going on today what with everyone trying to go green and save the earth. It’s very true how much we take for granted and waste in this time.

I loved the humor in the book and found myself smiling several times throughout the story. It was also cool to have two different time-travel aspects in the book, the second being where Dougless is transported back in time. This book even includes the Buffy/Angel dilemma – all you Joss Whedon fans know what I’m talking about. Basically, the “we want to make love but can’t because something bad will happen” dilemma. There’s a part when Dougless has traveled back and they’re about to get it on but then Nicholas stops them and he says something to her that I found heartbreaking and sweet, sad and beautiful, just a whole mix of emotions.

As for the ending, for a few moments I wished that it happened a different way but after some thought, I felt it was perfect as is.

Final grade: A-

Posted in A Knight in Shining Armor, A-, Historical Hook-Ups, Jude Deveraux, Mission Accomplished, Mission Possible, Pilates of the Page, Wanderer | 2 Comments »