Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (Harlequin Teen, 2010)

4 Stars! An exceptionally imaginative young adult fantasy that left me heartily ready for the next book! This is the first in The Iron Fey series, with the third (or fourth if you count the novella…which I plan to read soon!) having been released a few days ago. If I could divide the book into two parts I would give the first half a three and the second half a five.

The first half of the book, while still reasonably good, introduced a plethora of characters and creatures in a manner I found a bit indulgent, causing me to laugh at parts that were supposed to have me on the edge of my seat. However, by the second half of the book, Kagawa had me glued to my earphones. Usually I listen to an audiobook while exercising or doing housework. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective ;)), the last several chapters had my housework stalled, while I stood listening to see what would happen. The end of The Iron King was intensely climatic!

Julie Kagawa has without a doubt managed to pull this reader into her world! I am looking forward to seeing what she has next in store for Meghan Chase, and her unique cast of characters!

Copied Blurb:

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny - one she could never have imagined….

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Additional Audio Notes:
Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd
Narrator: Khristine Hyam (She did a terrific job as a Meghan Chase!)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jaq's Harp by Ella Drake (Carina Press, 2011)

4 ½ Stars! A stimulating futuristic twist on Jack and the Beanstalk! With a kick-ass heroine, and a fabulous title, you can’t go wrong grabbing this one up! And I so love the cover :D

Jaq’s main plight in this novella is to get the cure her younger sister needs to live. She must find a way to get to the floating islands, sneak into Giant’s secure headquarters and steal the antidote. Oh, and then get out. Adding to the mix, a year ago her fiance went deep undercover in the same place, leaving Jaq behind brokenhearted. And he is still there, somewhere. Will she run into Harp while searching for the antidote?

Ella Drake kept this reader glued to the page with her well paced plot, with lots of action! I really liked both of the characters. I also felt Drake did a great job of world building and creating the romance within a shorter word count. Perhaps because the couple had a previous relationship, I found their current attraction quite believable. Highly recommended whether you like sci-fi or not. Jaq’s Harp is an exceedingly entertaining novella with a conclusion much different than the original fairy tale. I hope that Ms. Drake revisits this world, as I would love to learn more about it! I will be watching for more stories by this creative author!

Copied Blurb:

In a world of floating islands and bio-engineered beans, the bad guys are taken down by agents of the MOTHER organization-agents like Jacqueline "Jaq" Robinson. Instead of accepting her next routine assignment, she sets out on a mission of her own-to destroy Giant Corp, the company responsible for her sister's wasting illness. Jaq must steal her cure from Giant's headquarters high above the city...even though she'll be brought face-to-face with Harper English, the man who left her to go deep undercover at Giant.

For Harp, Jaq had been a distraction the mercenary thought he couldn't afford. But once he sees her again, Harp knows he's made a mistake. Even though she vowed he won't have her again, it's clear they still have a powerful attraction. Harp's determined to get a second chance with Jaq-if they can escape Giant Corp and get back to solid ground in one piece...

My Rating: 4.5

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Outside In by Maria V. Snyder (Harlequin TEEN, 2011)

4 1/2 Stars! Oh Wow!  This book, Outside In, grabbed me from the beginning and kept me from doing anything else until the end!  Snyder has created a unique place in time, with an equally unique heroine.  If you haven’t first read Inside Out, I recommend not reading the rest of this review as the two books are tightly woven together.

Trella, a pipe cleaning scrub whom we met in the first book, never wanted to be a leader.  She preferred to keep to herself.  However, after what happened in the first story, the people of Inside did and do look up to her.  A committee is formed and Trella finds it mundane and boring and therefore resigns.  During her absence strange things start occurring.  Perhaps she shouldn’t have resigned?  In the meantime she discovers more fascinating details about Inside.  And then Outside wants something….

Overall, a fantastic second book to Maria V. Snyder’s series.  I seriously could not put it down!  I definitely recommend this book and the one that comes before it….read in order.  While it could possibly be read as a stand alone, the story is so much richer read together.  Highly recommended!!

Copied Blurb:

Okay, I did prove that there’s more to Inside than we knew. That a whole world exists beyond this cube we live in. And finding that led to a major rebellion—between worker scrubs like me and the snobby uppers who rule our world. Make that ruled. Because of me, we’re free. I thought that meant I was off the hook, and could go off on my own again—while still touching base with Riley, of course. He’s the one upper I think I can trust. But then we learned that there’s outside and then there is Outside.
And something from Outside wants In.

My Rating: 4.5

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Into the Night by Kate Hoffman (Halrequin Enterprises, 2011)

3 1/2 Stars!  An enjoyable listen..:)

Copied Blurb:

The offer: a weekend in paradise with a multimillionaire lover. No strings attached…
Tess Robertson is about to get engaged—to a man she doesn't love. But when she meets dynamic, sexy Derek Nolan, she's thrilled to take him up on his seductive proposal instead!
The fantasy: a lush tropical island filled with sun, sand…and a lot of sexual exploration….
Derek can hardly believe his good fortune. Tess is uninhibited…and totally into their uncomplicated, steamy hot island romp!
The reality: paradise is only temporary….
When real life crashes back in, Tess reluctantly forces herself to leave the island and go back to the uninspired life she'd planned for herself.

My Rating: 3.5

Additional Audio Notes:
Narrator: Savannah Richards
Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Vampire in Her Mysts by Meagan Hatfield (Harlequin Nocturne Bites, 2011)

3 Stars!  While I really loved a previous book by Hatfield, this novella did not quite work for me.  I didn't get why they were attracted to one another.  I also wanted a little more story.

Copied Blurb:

Bounty hunters had wounded and abandoned him in the Mysts a dark haven for the supernatural. But vampire Yuri Feodorovna thinks he has found the key to survival when he sees Ileana Tarasova a beautiful servant of the Goddess. Yuri is filled with desire at the sight of her tantalizing body...though it is a desire with a dangerous undercurrent of hunger. He cannot resist his need to feed and possess Ileana just as she cannot help the way her body responds with eagerness and lust at his touch... But will Yuri still want Ileana when he learns her deadly secret?

My Rating: 3

Should We Drown in Feathered Sleep by Michael Merriam (Carina Press, 2010)

5 Stars!! I was really looking forward to this short story by Michael Merriam. For one it takes place in the state I live in, MN. And for two, loons have such a special place in my heart. And after reading the blurb for the story, I had to guess that Merriam has looked into the eyes of a loon and seen their remarkable intelligence. That said, I still seriously wondered how a futuristic story like this would turn out!

Grace Kriske is an unhappy woman in a war-torn society, and she is bound to a wheelchair. She feels dependent on those around her. Her boyfriend longs for her to leave with him, yet she is hesitant to do so. She dreams of the loons, and is soon called to make a frightening sacrifice.

Should We Drown In Feathered Sleep turned out beautifully! It was a touching story, even while Merriam did not hesitate to show mankind's unkindness, or gloss over certain subject matters. Hard for me to say more without really giving away the story, since it was short. But I do recommend it!! And I hope to see more from this very talented and insightful author!

My Rating: 5

Monday, January 10, 2011

Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer (Listening Library, 2008)

5 Stars!  Wow!  Certainly my fav of the series!! The first two books I found slightly annoying due to the h's whining(perhaps because I am no longer a YA.:)) However by the 3rd book, she had matured, and the story was really good. And the 4th held so much story to it yet I wanted more.  Hopefully there be!!

Copied Blurb:

To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare, woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, she has endured a tumultuous year of temptation, loss, and strife to reach the ultimate turning point.Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fate of two tribes hangs.

Now Bella has made her decision, and a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating and unfathomable consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella's life - first discovered in Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse - seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed...forever?

The astonishing, breathlessly anticipated conclusion to the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn illuminates the secrets and mysteries of this spellbinding romantic epic.

My Rating: 5

Additional Audio Notes:
Publisher: Listening Library, 2008
Narrator: Ilyana Kadushin, Matt Walters

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

First Caress [Kinross Triad Series book 1] (eXtasy Ebooks, 2009)

4 Hearts!  A very enjoyable read.  I loved the setting of this novella, it took place in a National Forest:D Looking forward to reading more in this series!

Copied Blurb:

Rory Gordon, Alpha of Clan Gordon and his beta Gavin McGregor are on a mission: Bring back a root from the the Tree of Life entrusted to a lost clan of their people. The first of six teams, they'll search America for their missing clansman in order to ensure their species survival. Little did they know that their search would lead them to the one woman who they could successfully mate with. Jenny Owens cannot abide treasure hunters tearing up the forest. So when she spots a pair of men with a map heading into an unmarked cave, she follows. Little did she know that her actions would set up a chain of events too fantastic to believe. From discovering men could shift into jaguars to learning that a tree of life was necessary for them to breed, that's just the beginning of the surprises in store for Jenny. When danger threatens their new mate, Rory and Gavin will do whatever it takes to protect her, even at the cost of their mission, but they haven't taken in account that Jenny isn't about to let her men fail their people and she'll do whatever it takes to make sure they complete their mission successfully. 

My Rating: 4

Dr. Zinetti's Snowkissed Bride (Harleqin Medical Romance, 2010)

4 Stars!  I really enjoyed the fact that the h was not a traditional one.  She liked the outdoors(as I do!!) and she was quite tough when needed.  The H was just awesome!!  And the h's son was just adorable!  Great read!

Copied Blurb:

There's not enough mistletoe in the world to tempt rescue medic Meg Miller to get anywhere near notorious heartbreaker Dr. Dino Zinetti! Though her small son thinks the man's a superhero, Meg knows the truth -- the incredibly sophisticated doctor would never look twice at a scruffy tomboy more comfortable up a mountain than in a dress.

But Meg has gotten under the normally unflappable Dino's skin, and he's not about to give up on her -- however hard she fights their explosive attraction. This Christmas he'll teach Meg the meaning of romance...and receive a crash course in love himself.

My Rating: 4