Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm a mom again..

Okay, so he's a cat.
 Yes, this is Tigger, the newest addition to my house. Isn't he sweet? Doesn't it look like he's saying "Don't bug me?" Here's why....

"I want to love him and squeeze him and hug him and ..."
That's Leo, my other beast. And actually, they're doing phenomenally well together so far.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay

You ever find one of those perfect books that hook you in from the first sentence?? Well, Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay was one of those books for me.

Anyone who has read my blog knows I don't like first person present tense. 99.9999999% of the time, it ruins the story for me. It's so easy to get it wrong.

Stacey Jay gets it right.

And I'm so glad she chose to write it in this format because the story is so much better for it. In fact, there really is no other way to tell this story, not without losing everything that it is.

The world in this book is interesting and unique. Fairies (which no one even knew existed) have mutated and they're vicious poisonous creatures with a bite that kills most humans. They've wiped out a good portion of humans. To protect themselves, humans have created iron walls around their towns and a gridwork of iron lines over them to keep the fairies out. There are some humans who are immune to fairy bites, though, and these people can work outside the safe zones - making them extremely valuable for certain jobs. 

The main character, Annabelle Lee (my favorite name ever - because of Edgar Allen Poe's poem of that same name), is one of the immune. She works gathering samples from the swamp for scientific study. In addition, she works for the police at crime scenes outside the safe zone.

Annabelle is a seriously damaged character. She's a functioning alcoholic, and prescription drug addict, with a past that makes her shy away from any attachment. She's snarky and hostile and messed up -- and I loved her. Reading the story from her POV in the moment was amazing. I understood her motivations, I despaired/cheered over her choices, I cringed as she dealt with everything that came her way. And some of what came her way was awful. As you get to know her, it's totally understandable why she's so broken.

Despite it all, Annabelle loves. She doesn't feel loveable because she hates herself. But her boyfriend (a cop) Cane loves her and he wants more from her than she can commit to in her messed up state. His family? Not so much. Mix in a murdered girl, violent fairies, drug dealers, a nasty cat, the possibility of losing her job, and the ex-boyfriend who crushed her (who is the FBI agent assigned to the murder), and you're barely scratching the surface of this story.

Let's just say, Annabelle has a lot to work out.

So, I think this book is brilliant. I read it in less than a day because I could NOT put it down. I had to know what happened. I had to see where it would go. I absolutely LOVED it. And I immediately went on the internet to make sure there's going to be a sequel (there IS!!!!!!). I know some people might be turned off by Annabelle's character - if you don't like Stacia Kane's Unholy Magic series (**cough**you're crazy**cough**), because of Chessie's addiction, you probably won't enjoy this. But if you like a book where nothing is cut and dried, heroes have issues, love is possible if you're willing to work for it - a book packed with action and angst, twists and tangles, love and longing - this is one you're going to want to own.

So what are you waiting for? Go! Buy it!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

I just finished Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews. Can I say HOLY COW?!

For those who haven't read this series, which is about Kate Daniels, a woman with some serious trust issues (for very good reasons), a big heart and some powerful badass fighting skills. When the series first begins, Kate is dealing with the loss of her mentor. She's tough and alone. And then she meets Curran, the Beast Lord, head of the shapeshifters and Julie, a young girl whose mother is missing. Curran is...well, lets just say he takes alpha male to the extreme and yet he has this inner core that makes Kate want to know him better.

The world that Ilona Andrews (who are really Gordon & Ilona - a husband & wife writing team) create is clever and unique. Magic and technology are battling for control. Magic comes in waves and when its up, technology doesn't work. Not only that, it eats buildings, makes forests grow overnight and causes havoc. All manner of creatures have shown up from the shifters to the People - a group of necromancers who use magic to navigate vampires. And vampires? Freaking scary. Shifters are created by the Lyc-V virus, but vampires are people who sell themselves to the necromancers. Only they become these scuttling, loping, vicious, violent creatures with no mind and an uncontrollable blood lust. If the necromancer loses control of the vampire's mind, well lets just say bad things happen.

I don't want to give away too much of this series because I think it should be a staple in every UF reader's library and I don't want to spoil the experience of discovering it. I will say this - this latest installment doesn't disappoint. Things have become very complicated for Kate. She learns information about her upbringing that makes her question everything - including whether Curran really loves her or is using her, dealing with Julie who isn't happy, trying to keep a teenage bouda shifter out of trouble, and facing a group of zealots on a mission to destroy magic. Some really awful things happen and the end left me very worried about certain characters (geez this is hard -- I want to TALK about it) and what will happen to them. I don't think everyone is going to get their happily ever after. (And its going to be torture waiting for the next book.)

One of my favorite things about Gordon and Ilona is the way they interact with their fans. They regularly post snippets of upcoming books and allow readers into their lives. And Gordon has written several scenes from the series from Curran's point of view, which are just phenomenal - and which you can buy as e-reader books for cheap. (Okay, I admit, I love Curran. I want to curl up in his big bed with him and...never mind - lol.)

If you like strong heroines with issues, smokin' hot shapeshifters with attitude, humor, emotion, awesome fight scenes, and a story that will have you talking to your book then you have to read these. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Books Read in May 2011 - Total....eep 7

I don't think I need to say that May was a challenging month for reading. I read all of 7 - yes, you read that right - seven books. It's almost incomprehensible. But as phenomenal as some of these books were (and boy oh boy were some of them fantastic), my ADHD brain was scattered by the shit in my life. So, without further ado, let me tell you about the books I read....

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper (4 stars)

This is a silly, sweet, romantic and emotion-packed story of Mo, a woman raised by overbearing hippie parents. She flees to Alaska after a breakup - to get as far away from her parents as possible - so that she can figure out what she wants out of life. Through a fluke, she ends up running the kitchen at the local diner and meets Cooper, a somewhat cranky, rough, sexy werewolf who is trying to get away from the responsibility of running his pack. Sparks fly. But there are obstacles (like the town hunting a rogue wolf that they think is killing tourists) and a sexy game warden and a whole lot of nutty characters. (Not to mention, their desire not to desire each other.) Yes, its a typical romance format, but Molly Harper writes better than most and I actually really enjoyed it. Definitely worth reading.

Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison (3 stars)

Another romance. (Yes, I was in a weird funk this month.) This one is about Pia, who is half-human, half-wyr (think shapeshifter). All her life, her mother has taught her to hide what she is (and you don't know - but if you're smart like me, you'll guess it pretty quick). She's forced to steal from Dragos, the oldest dragon-wyr by an ex-boyfriend with whom she's shared her secret. Since she doesn't want to do it, she actually only steals a penny and replaces it with another penny along with an apology note. This both infuriates and confuses Dragos. He hunts her down. Now, some people might not like Dragos. He's overbearing, brutish and prone to violent tendencies. He's not modern at all. And yet, I liked him. I thought he was well portrayed. I don't think a dragon wyr who's been around since the beginning of time and who basically rules all the wyr would be any other way. And the sex is graphic, and at points almost animalistic - which, I have to say, makes sense as well. They fall in love even as the Dark Fae King comes after them, intent on destroying both of them. This should have been a book I hated (I don't normally like these types of books - they annoy me), but I thoroughly enjoyed it and I will definitely be reading the next installment.

Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (5 stars)

I loved this book! Bryn is a human girl taken in by Callum, an alpha werewolf, after her parents were killed by a rogue. She realizes something is going on and she's being kept in the dark. What she discovers is a boy, Chase, being hidden in Callum's basement in a cage. He's been bitten by the werewolf that killed her parents. What follows is a series of events where Bryn learns that nothing she believed (and no one) can be trusted. Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a great storyteller. She creates compelling characters and an interesting take on werewolves. She put serious thought into their actions, motivations and behavior. I can't wait to read what happens to Bryn next.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen (5 stars)

If you've never read a book by Sarah Addison Allen, you need to. This book was wonderful. (They all are.) Emily is a girl dealing with the death of her mother. She moves to a small town to live with a grandfather she never knew existed, and what a strange little town it is. What she discovers is the mother she knew, isn't at all the mother the town remembers. And people hold grudges. Within that story is the story of Julia, a woman who has returned to the town after the death of her father. She wants nothing to do with the town that condemned her. Both of them find love in the most beautiful way. A must read. I swear, it will make you feel good about life.

Tangled Threads by Jennifer Estep (5 stars)

The latest book in the Gin Blanco series. Gin is a retired assassin and a secret elemental. Or she would be a retired assassin if Mab Monroe and her flunkies would just behave and leave Gin alone. I love this series with a ridiculous passion. Finn, Gin's "brother" is funny and sexy. Owen, her boyfriend, is sweet but with an iron core. Sooo, Gin is kind of a sociopath, except she loves the people she loves and will do anything to keep them safe. And nothing will stop her. I don't want to spoil the series. Just freaking read it. Jennifer Estep is a crazy good writer.

Hard Bitten by Chloe Neill (6 stars)
(Yes, it gets the coveted  6 stars!)
I love love love this series. But, oh holy hell, this one has a killer ending that left me unable to read for two days!! I kid you not. If you can't take major traumatic endings, I'd suggest you hold off reading this until the next book comes out, because it's going to weigh on you.
The series follows Merit, a newly (and unwillingly) turned vampire. She is Sentinel for Cadogan House, run by Ethan. Merit and Ethan have a bit of a love-hate relationship, because he's a bit....well, lets just say bossy and egotistical and she is...hmm, not going to put up with it. Yet they're drawn to each other. Mix in werewolves coming out in the open; a nasty ass bitch vampire who wants Merit dead and Ethan brought down; humans who aren't at all happy to discover their world contains supernatural creatures; political intrigue; a jerk of a father and well-written world and you have the Chicagoland Vampire series. I can't recommend this series enough.

Almost Final Curtain by Tate Hallaway (5 stars)

This is the second book in a series about Ana, who has a witch mother and a vampire father (although she doesn't know that her father is a vampire at the beginning of the first book). She's been studying to become part of the coven her whole life, unfortunately she has no magic. Or at least she doesn't think she does. Then on the night of her initiation, her dad pays her a visit. It turns out he's a prince and she's a princess.  Then there's her best friend - who is a witch and majorly jealous of Ana. And her boyfriend, who just so happens to be a vampire slayer (that's a problem). And then she discovers she has vampire powers. These books a funny and yet serious. Tate Hallaway does a great job writing angst even as she makes you smile. The characters are wonderful, the storyline is great and I think it all works incredibly well. Definitely worth reading.

And that's it for my reading this month. Next month, I have Jennifer Rardin's last book, Ilona Andrew's latest and a slew of others to tackle. That's if life cuts me some slack.
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Oh Holy Crap - A Freak Out Moment!!!!

I'm sitting here monitoring the news, cause OH HOLY SHIT a tornado touched down in Springfield, MA & it's now around East Douglas heading toward Franklin and past that --- well, FUCK -- we're right in the path of this badass storm. The National Weather Center keeps interrupting our television with a SEEK FUCKING SHELTER message. The local news is telling us to turn up the tv really loud and get in the basement!!


I can hear the thunder, the sky is yellowish gray & I'm about to head for the basement with the kid, the dog and my phones. This is BIZARRE!

11:32pm Update....We are safe & sound with just some small branches snapped off our very old elm tree. The sky got very yellow (if you've never seen it do that - its eerie), then very black & it was like early evening from 5pm on. We didn't see a twister, but we got one doozy of a thunderstorm. The lightning was spectacular. The wind was wild. We could actually see the cloud-to-cloud bolts, the sky lit up brighter than day, and there were points where there were as many as 5-6 cloud-to-ground bolts visible all at the same time. We were very very lucky.