Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review: Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase

This is a new author to me and listed at the Literary Escapism blog's New Author Challenge 2013.

Suddenly Royal
by Nichole Chase
Series: The Suddenly series, book 1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by:Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013
E-book, purchased
464 pages
Grade: B-
Synopsis: Samantha Rousseau is used to getting her hands dirty. Working toward a master’s degree in wildlife biology while helping take care of her sick father, she has no time for celebrity gossip, designer clothes, or lazy vacations. So when a duchess from the small country of Lilaria invites her to dinner, Samantha assumes it’s to discuss a donation for the program. The truth will change the course of her life in ways she never dreamed. Alex D’Lynsal is trying to keep his name clean. As crown prince of Lilaria, he’s had his share of scandalous headlines, but the latest pictures have sent him packing to America and forced him to swear off women—especially women in the public eye. That is, until he meets Samantha Rousseau. She’s stubborn, feisty, and incredibly sexy. Not to mention heiress to an estate in his country, which makes her everyone’s front-page news. While Sam tries to navigate the new world of politics and wealth, she will also have to dodge her growing feelings for Alex. Giving in to them means more than just falling in love; it would mean accepting the weight of an entire country on her shoulders.


This is a contemporary romance about a mythical small European country near France. Samantha (Sam) Rousseau is a typical American girl from Minnesota in a master's degree program in wildlife biology. She suddenly discovers she's the last Rousseau descendent of a royal family from the small country of Lilaria. If she decides to return to Lilaria she will be installed as a duchess. She isn't tempted by the riches, the chance to be part of the nobility or even by Prince Alex! But her stepfather is ill with cancer and the thought she might be able to provide him with better healthcare, tips the balance for her.

She travels to Lilaria with the prince and his aunt and discovers a beautiful country. However, she really dislikes the persistence of the photographers and reporters who constantly follow her whenever she's in public. She has a difficult time getting used to her new life. She's very attracted to Alex, but feels there's no future in a relationship with him. She feels she could fall in love and that would end in heartbreak for her.

I know a lot of people have really loved this book. I thought it was okay, but I admit I was a little bored with the book. This is a character driven romance and I'm really enjoying adventure books and urban fantasy at the moment. I kept expecting demons or at least a kidnapping!

The constant presence of the paparazzi and Sam's discomfort with them is the main conflict in the book. The book keeps mentioning how everyone close to her looks at her with sad eyes...I guess because they all know she can never go back to her old life. She does really enjoy seeing her own lands and living there...wearing her own clothes, not worrying about photographers, not being treated differently.

In the beginning the book is reminding me of a Harlequin romance since it's about a mythical country where an ordinary girl is suddenly a royal. However, usually in a Harlequin romance people are hiding things from each other or blackmailing each other(!) and that doesn't happen in this book. That was a plus for me, but the fact Sam is so unhappy with being famous doesn't seem like a recipe for happiness. I do think it must be reality, however. People who are born in this circumstance may deal with it a little easier, but even for them it can't be easy as shown by Prince Alex's tabloid history and his difficulty trusting anyone.

I liked the romance between Alex and Sam. I did like that Sam is getting a master's degree in wildlife biology and is studying raptors. That's a different career than found in many books. Of course, raptors are special birds in Lilaria and a special love of Alex's. He owns raptors and is head of a charity to ensure raptors don't become extinct. Sam volunteers at this charity when she's in Lilaria.

This was a little above average book for me, but many people like/love this book. I'm not really enjoying contemporary romance right now so I don't think I'm the target audience at the!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday Post--May 26

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is where I take a look at my last week and look ahead to what I might be doing next week.

Last Week

Around the House
I flew into Madison Wednesday night and now I'm helping my daughter organize her things. The movers are coming earlier than we Tuesday. Yikes! We are heading up to northern Wisconsin to visit relatives so I'm trying to get this post ready and have it scheduled to post Sunday morning since they don't have reliable internet. I won't be able to link it to The Sunday Post meme until we get back on Monday, but that's okay.

Note: I scheduled this to post at 6:00 a.m. this morning, but it didn't work. I've gotten an internet connection so am attempting to post this now!

Posts on my blog
Sunday Post--May 19

Counterfeit Betrothal by Mary Balogh

Kissed by Darkness by Shea MacLeod

Books read
Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase

Current book
Cinder by Marissa Meyer

E-books bought

Kill the Dead: A Sandman Slim Novel by Richard Kadrey

Wool Omnibus Edition, Books 1-5 (Silo Saga) by  Hugh Howey

Shift Omnibus Edition, Books 1-3 (Silo Saga) by Hugh Howey

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

Next Week

Around the house
We are staying with various relatives until my daughter's household goods are delivered next Friday. Then we are busy unpacking. A busy week!

Posts on the blog
I won't be too active in blogland next week, but I hope to have my Sunday Post and at least one review scheduled. We'll see how that works!

Sunday Post--May 26

Top Ten Tuesday--maybe!

Review: Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Kissed by Darkness by Shea MacLeod

Another new author! It's been so much fun reading all these new authors. I'm taking part in the New Author Challenge 2013 hosted by the Literary Escapism blog.

Kissed by Darkness
by Shea MacLeod
Sunwalker Saga, book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by Montlake Romance, 2012 (Reprint Edition)
E-book, purchased
256 pages
Grade: C-

Synopsis: Three years ago, Morgan Bailey narrowly survived a vampire attack that left her with heightened senses, uncanny speed, and a new calling: supernatural bounty hunter. Since that day, sexy, street-smart Morgan hasn’t met a vampire she couldn’t dust or a demon she couldn’t kill—until she’s hired to hunt down a priceless amulet and the sunwalker who stole it. Sunwalkers—powerful vampires immune to sunlight—are notoriously difficult to find, let alone kill. Still, a job’s a job, and Morgan’s never been one to shy away from a challenge. So bring it on…right?

But the sunwalker ends up tracking her down. And not only that, he turns out to be cunning, charming—and undeniably gorgeous. Nevertheless, she can’t ignore the destruction he is capable of: the sunwalker possesses an ancient secret which, if unleashed, could destroy the human world. 


This was a forgettable book for me. There was a strange love triangle in the book, but one of the persons bows out during the course of the book. Morgan has been working with the supernatural world for about three years ever since she was attacked by a vampire and lived and didn't turn into a vampire. She's thought to be the only person who didn't die or turn into a vampire after an attack like hers. Before that she didn't know a supernatural world exists, but now she works for Kabita Jones who is also her best friend and a natural-born witch. Morgan is now a vampire hunter and also helps hunt down other dangerous supernatural creatures.

I never got much of a sense of who the characters were. There's a mystery of sorts in the book, but it was so obvious I was sure there must be some twists to it. But no what was obvious was the solution. I only read the book a few days ago, but I'm already having problems remembering anything specific about it.

I did enjoy the setting of the book--Portland, Oregon. I lived there for awhile many years ago and it was fun to read about places I remember.

More books are already available in this series.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: A Counterfeit Betrothal by Mary Balogh

A Counterfeit Betrothal
by Mary Balogh
Series: none
Genre: Historical Romance
Republished by Dell, 2013
Originally published by Signet, 1992
E-book, Purchased
About 280 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Lady Sophia Bryant has no intention of marrying anytime soon. Her one desire is to reunite her parents, who have been estranged for fourteen years. Surely, if she happens to announce her betrothal—even a false one—they will be forced to see each other. Devilishly handsome Lord Francis Sutton seems perfect for such deceit, always agreeable to games of passion in which he has nothing to lose. The trap is set—if only Lady Sophia can keep her foolish heart from falling prey to her brilliant snares.


This is one of Mary Balogh's Signet regency romances from over 20 years ago. They're slowly being republished by Dell. That makes me very happy. :) Over the years I've searched for her older out-of-print books in used bookstores and found a few. I've also bought a few on e-bay and other on-line stores. Ms. Balogh is one of my favorite writers and I especially love her older books. Though really I've liked most everything she writes.

Mary Balogh writes satisfying historical romances about interesting and flawed characters. The regencies aren't necessarily part of a series, but often have characters which show up in another book. Sometimes the character who seems the most irredeemable in one book is the hero of another book.

This book is interesting because the main characters aren't Lady Sophia and Lord Francis (the young couple in the story), but are instead Lady Sophia's parents--the Earl and Countess of Clifton (Marcus and Olivia). Sophia has manufactured her betrothal to Francis to get her parents back together. She loves them both and they love her. She's sure that if they are just together for a few weeks they will stay together.

Sophia is only 18 and Francis has a reputation as a rake so her parents aren't happy when she says she and Francis are in love. Since Marcus and Olivia separated years ago Sophia's father has been the parent  with her in London for her season. A house party at the Earl's country estate is planned and Olivia arrives so she and Marcus can talk Sophia out of marriage with Lord Francis. Marcus and Olivia have lost faith in love:
...Marc had said in his letter that the young man was wild. That would mean that he was a daredevil, a gambler and drinker, a rake. A womanizer...
Sophia would end up with a lifetime of misery, an unfaithful rake for a husband.

Not that for Sophia. Please not that, she begged an unseen power silently. Please not that. Sophia was all she had. If she to live to see Sophia rejected and desperately unhappy, she would not be able to bear it.
Olivia is 36 and Marcus is 41. They parted 14 years ago after Marcus had a foolish, drunken sexual encounter when he went to the wedding of a friend. Olivia had stayed home with Sophia who was ill. His friends egged him on, calling him old, staid and married and he was immature and drunk enough to listen to them. He confessed what had happened to Olivia and she was horrified. They had had a love so perfect that they had never quarreled in five years of marriage. She decided their love was tainted and she would never trust him again.
She had written to tell him that after deep and careful reflection she had concluded that she could never again be his friend or his wife or lover after what had happened. It would always be there  to come between them.  
Over the years and after Olivia sees Marcus again she realizes how immature and young she had been when they had been together. They had married young, they had been so much in love, but they had been immature and they hadn't grown. They had lived such a perfect life together that when the first trouble came along they couldn't face it or adapt. Marcus let his friends convince him to commit a stupid act. They each had to grow and mature, but by that time they had separated.

This is a good book about second chances and learning to forgive. I enjoyed this book a lot. It is part of a two volume book. I will review the other book--The Notorious Rake--in a week or so.

Update: I checked at the Mary Balogh site and she says she has the rites to many of her older books and is planning to release them (perhaps only as e-books). She is asking her readers to let her know which ones they want to read first. This is very exciting for her fans!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Post--May 19

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is where I take a look at my last week and look ahead to what I might be doing next week.

Last Week

Around the House
The week went fast. Only one book read, but three reviews so that's not too bad, I guess. I started my blog at the end of February, but my plan is to post reviews for books I've read since January. I'm making progress. I try to post at least one review from past books and one from recent books.

I also started an online class to learn the ins and outs of WordPress blogs and websites. I'm thinking of moving this blog to WordPress, but also planning to start another blog and possibly a website.The class is a lot of fun.

My older daughter spent the weekend with us. So good to see her. We went to see the new Star Trek movie and really enjoyed it. She's airborne which means she has to jump from planes every so often. She had her last jump this week and has 60+ jumps. I'm so proud of her, but also glad she's leaving the Army.

Posts on my blog
Sunday Post--May 12

Review: Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olson

Review: Apocalyptic Moon by Eva Gordon

Review:Written in Blood by Anne Bishop

Books read
Notorious Rake by Mary Balogh

Book reading
Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase

E-books bought (or free)

Defiance: The Essential Guide

World of Shell and Bone by Adriana Ryan

The Well of Tears by Roberta Trahan

Dead Jitterbug by Victoria Houston

Half Way Home by Hugh Howey

Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Around the web
Sync offers young adult audio books and they are again offering two free audio books each week this summer. One classic and one YA title are available each week. They are only available for download for one week. The downloads begin May 30.

May 30 – June 5, 2013
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, read by Rebecca Gibel
The Tempest by William Shakespeare, read by a Full Cast (AudioGO)

There are some great titles so be sure to check them out and bookmark the site if interested.

Next Week

Around the House
I'm leaving the middle of next week to visit my younger daughter in Madison, Wisconsin. She's moving to Des Moines, Iowa and starting a new job in June. I will help her with the move, but I also get to go to her going away party and to visit relatives in northern Wisconsin. It will be great to see her. I plan to still post to the blog, but we'll see how that goes.

Posts planned
Review: Counterfeit Betrothal by Mary Balogh

Review: Kissed by Darkness by Shea MacLeod

Sunday Post--May 26

What have you been doing this last week and what do you hope to do next week?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Written in Red: A Novel of the Others by Anne Bishop

Written in Red
by Anne Bishop
Series: A Novel of the Others, book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Published by: Roc Hardcover, 2013
E-book, purchased
448 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.


I read the Black Jewel books by Anne Bishop ten years or so ago. I thought they were very good, but her books have kind of fallen off my radar since then.  When I saw she was beginning a new series I was interested and I finally bought the book last week and read it quickly. For me this is fantasy at its best--fast paced, heroic characters, evil doers, good world building.

The world Ms. Bishop has built is very imaginative...the culture of the Others, the human government, the world of the cassandra sangue. We find out quite a bit about the Others and the human government. The world of the cassandra sangue is still somewhat mysterious.

"A Brief History of the World" at the beginning of the book sets the tone as it talks of humans:
They learned to build fires and shelters. They learned to farm and build cities....They bred and spread throughout their pieces of the world until they pushed into the wild places. That's when they discovered that Namid's other offspring already claimed the rest of the world.
The Others looked at humans and did not see conquerors. They saw a new kind of meat.
There is still sharp-toothed tolerance on one side and fear of what walks in the dark on the other. But if they are careful, the humans survive.

Most of the time, they survive.
In some of the cities built by humans the Others have Courtyards--fenced parks where they live in the cities and observe humans. Even though humans have populated settlements and cities it's the Others who control everything and only allow humans to live because they like some of the things humans create. The Others have a moral code they expect the humans to follow. If the humans step out of line they find swift justice.

When this book opens Meg Corbyn is on the run during a fierce snowstorm. The reader gradually learns about Meg's life before her escape. She's a cassandra sangue or blood prophet. Her life has always been very cloistered. She lived with other blood prophets and had no freedom. They watched training images so they could identify images in their prophecies and their prophecies make lots of money for their owners.

They weren't allowed to actually experience life and they were told it was for their own safety, but Meg managed to escape. She knows she has to find shelter from the storm and escape from her pursuers. She finds herself outside one of the Courtyards, realizes human law doesn't apply inside the Courtyard and that they're advertising for a human liaison. She gets the job and is at least temporarily safe from the humans.

Meg has never been free in her life and now she relishes her new life in the Courtyard even though there are so many things she doesn't know how to do. She's great at observing others though and learns that way. There is a naive innocence about her that the Others respond to. However, Simon Wolfgard who's in charge of the Lakeside Courtyard realized Meg was hiding something when he hired her and he's even more puzzled by her since she doesn't smell like prey as other humans do. He isn't sure she should be allowed to stay, but she does a great job as a liaison between the humans delivering mail to the Courtyard and the Others receiving their mail.

She meets many different types of Others and discovers some of their secrets, but she's just glad to have some freedom and some friends. I thought a good touch was that the Others have taken on some of the characteristics of the animals they mimic. For instance, the Ravens like sparkly things!

Even though Meg is now safe inside the Courtyard the people looking for her to return her to her owners haven't given up. She's property and worth a great deal of money. A number of attempts are made to retrieve her. From the very beginning of the book Asia Crane shows she has an agenda of her own. She wanted the human liaison job and isn't pleased when Meg is hired. Asia was hired by a mysterious person she calls Bigwig to find out the Others' secrets and she tries to seduce Simon, but he instinctively doesn't like or trust her. However, the Others don't really understand human motivations very well and don't take her very seriously.

Even though Meg is naive she has good instincts and her innocence and good will are noted by the Others. One of the outcomes of Meg's introduction into the Courtyard is that the Others begin to see at least some humans as individuals.

This is a great beginning to a new series. Unfortunately,  the publishing date for the next book isn't until next March :(

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: Apocalyptic Moon by Eva Gordon

This is another new author I've read this year and as such is part of my New Author Challenge 2013 hosted by the Literary Escapism blog.

Apocalyptic Moon
by Eva Gordon
Series: After the Bane series, book 1
Genre: Zombie Romance
Published by: The Wild Rose Press, 2013
E-book, Purchased
276 pages
Grade: C-

Synopsis: Dr. Dora Adler’s life has been in disarray since the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, but when she gets bitten by one of the undead her whole world is turned upside down. Held captive in a secret underground lab, the tall, muscular hunk in the next cell is her only hope for salvation. Unfortunately, he claims to be a werewolf. Yeah, and she’s supposedly a witch.

Dirk Gunderson is an alpha Arbor pack werewolf. Captured and collared, he’s sold to the zombie lab in hopes his blood serum can create a vaccine. He needs to escape, but not without the hot little brunette witch.

In the midst of enemy werewolves and the hordes of undead, Dirk and Dora’s sexual tension ignites a blaze hotter than the desert highway. Along their journey, they battle the inevitable: a werewolf must never take a witch as a mate.


I haven't read any zombie books before and haven't watched any zombie TV programs either. Zombies generally don't interest me in urban fantasy. However, one book I read had a zombie character who was actually a love interest in the book! (Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander...I liked that book a lot, but the book wasn't about zombies. They are just another paranormal character in the book. In this book the zombies are definitely not love interests...they're mindless monsters who just want to bite, kill and eat people.

In Apocalyptic Moon a zombie apocalypse has occurred. Dr. Dora Adler speculates the disease was created and released by someone, but that isn't resolved in this first book. People who are exposed to the zombie virus soon become zombies and this is happening all over the world. Governments have broken down and rumors abound about what has happened to government officials.

Dora works in a hospital and on her 27th birthday she gets bitten by a zombie patient. Dora isn't very surprised this happens because the women in her family die right around their 27th birthday. She's been expecting something to happen.

Anyone bitten by a zombie is whisked away to an underground laboratory from which they are never seen again. This happens to Dora and she waits to become a zombie and die, but it never happens to her. She survives and though she's a doctor she is experimented on again and again...left to be bitten by zombies over and over again with her blood used to see if it is an antidote. She survives, but her blood doesn't help anyone else.

Dora is just biding her time waiting to escape. If the people experimenting on her had approached her as a doctor and scientist she would have helped them, but instead she's just another test subject. The head of the lab is a little crazy so she knows she has to escape or  she's going to die one way or another. Then Dirk Gunderson arrives at the underground lab. He's in chains and put into the cell next to her. He turns out to be a werewolf and tells her she's a witch.

They both escape and the rest of the book is their attempt to make it through the zombie hoards, rescue Dora's brother and niece and get safety at Dirk's werewolf pack. Dirk and Dora are attracted to each other, but apparently werewolves and witches are a bad combination for anything serious. They still have sex on a number of occasions which just seemed strange in the middle of this apocalyptic zombie event. Mankind is being wiped out...but they still find the time and a safe place for sex?

Quite a few things didn't work for me in this book. The world building wasn't very complex and many things aren't explained (though this may change in other books in the series). What really didn't work for me was the romance. It read like many werewolf mate books with the zombies added in to make it a little different since they're popular right now. I don't like zombies so this book wasn't my favorite!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Review: Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olson

Melissa F. Olson is another new author to me. This book is listed at the Literary Escapism blog's New Author Challenge 2013.

Dead Spots
by Melissa F. Olson
Series: Scarlett Bernard, Book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: 49North, 2012
E-book, Purchased
293 pages
Grade: B

Synopsis: Scarlett Bernard knows about personal space: step within ten feet of her, and any supernatural spells or demonic forces are instantly defused—vampires and werewolves become human again, and witches can’t get out so much as a “hocus pocus.” This special skill makes her a null and very valuable to Los Angeles’s three most powerful magical communities, who utilize her ability to scrub crime scenes clean of all traces of the paranormal to keep humanity, and the LAPD, in the dark.

But one night Scarlett’s late arrival to a grisly murder scene reveals her agenda and ends with LAPD’s Jesse Cruz tracking her down to strike a deal: he’ll keep quiet about the undead underworld if she helps solve the case. Their pact doesn’t sit well with Dash, the city’s chief bloodsucker, who fears his whole vampire empire is at stake. And when clues start to point to Scarlett, it’ll take more than her unique powers to catch the real killer and clear her name.

I believe this is the first book published by Ms. Olson. I liked the premise: Scarlett Bernard is a null (magic doesn't work around her) so LA's three most powerful magical communities (vampires, witches and weres) use her to scrub crime scenes clean of any trace of magic to keep "regular" people unaware of magic. However, I did find it odd that when she doesn't get to a crime scene quickly enough to scrub the scene clean that this is the first time this has happened. It seems like there would have to be more times she hadn't made it to the scene before the police. All urban fantasy needs some suspension of disbelief, but the world that is built needs to make sense and that point didn't make sense.

However, overall I did like the book. The world is an interesting one and the mystery is a good one. There are many characters who could be responsible for the murder Scarlett didn't get cleaned up. It's quickly clear that this crime was supposed to frame Scarlett, but because she showed up late it's harder to frame. Dashiell, the head vampire, doesn't care about that--if Scarlett doesn't produce the killer then he will kill Scarlett. And the policeman who tracks her down and finds out about the supernatural world stays alive during the investigation and helps Scarlett with  the investigation as long as he keeps quite about what he's found out about this world. However, he will also be killed if they don't find the killer.

I liked the fact that some of the supernatural characters in the book like being close to Scarlett (becoming human) and others want to stay far away. Dashiell, the head of the vampires, is one who wants her to stay away from him...he's vulnerable when she's close and he doesn't want to age anymore than he already has! Others such as Scarlett's roommate, Molly, (another vampire) wants to grow older and likes to be able to be awake during the daytime.

Before this book begins Olivia who was Scarlett's mentor has died. Olivia had shown up at her parents' funeral and afterward took her in and trained her. During Olivia's illness Scarlett learned things about her life and about Olivia that were a shock to her. During the course of this book she realizes she's been going through the motions since then:

...I had been going through the motions. Clean up crime scenes. Ignore my brother. Watch TV with Molly. Have slightly drunken sex with Eli. Do laundry. Repeat. I might as well have died with Olivia, or with my parents, for all the living I've been doing.... It's so much easier to just think of your life as a giant checklist that has to be worked through. But like it or not, I couldn't sit on the bench anymore.
I enjoyed this book and it ends on a surprising note which I didn't see coming at, The second book in this series--Trail of Dead--is scheduled to be published on June 4 and I have preordered it!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Post--May 12

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is where I take a look at my last week and look ahead to what I might be doing next week.

I enjoy taking the time to review my last week...see just what I did...and then decide what I hope to do next week.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!

Last Week

Around the House
We made a day trip to Chesapeake Bay last weekend. This was the southern Maryland part of the western beach portion of the Chesapeake Bay. We are still exploring southern Maryland and all the towns around here. We've discovered there are lots of roads throughout the area! We found a great used bookstore on our way to the Bay. My husband and I enjoy spending time browsing in used bookstores especially if they have some old books. We spent an enjoyable couple hours and bought a box load of books when we left! 

Posts on my blog
Sunday Post--May 5

Review: Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos

Review: Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning

Review: Sleight of Hand by Mark Hening

Books read
A Counterfeit Betrothal by Mary Balogh

Written in Red by Anne Bishop

A Matter of Circumstance and Celludrones by Claire Robyns

E-books bought
Once again...I bought many more books than I read, but they all looked so good! At least they are e-books and many of them were on! I keep telling myself that.

Written in Red: A Novel of the Others by Anne Bishop

A Matter of Circumstance and Celludrones by Claire Robyns

Now You See Her by Linda Howard

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klaus

The Dimensional Shift by Frances Pauli

The Cost of Victory (Crimson Worlds) by Jay Allan

Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster

Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase

Cocaine Blues: Phryne Fisher #1 (Phryne Fisher Mystery) by Kerry Greenwood

Next Week

Around the house
Our oldest daughter is coming to visit this next weekend. She's getting out of the Army at the end of the month so she's bringing some of her things to store with us as she decides what to do next and where she's going to live...get a job or go back to school. She's planning to take time off this summer which is good since she's been going nonstop for the last eight years after she finished school.

Blog posts planned
Review: Dead Spots by Melissa F. Olson

Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Review: Apocalyptic Moon by Eva Gordon

Sunday Post--May 19

Friday, May 10, 2013

Review: Sleight of Hand by Mark Henwick

Another new author to me! I'm participating in the New Author Challenge 2013 hosted at the Literary Escapism blog. This blog has been hosting a New Author Challenge since 2009.

Sleight of Hand
by Mark Henwick
Bite Back series, book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by: Marque, 2012
E-book, Purchased
574 pages
Grade: C
Synopsis: "Vampires are the flickering illusions of Hollywood. They don't exist. We do. We are the Athanate."
For Amber Farrell, post-military life as a PI has it's ups and downs: She's been hit by a truck. She's being sued by a client. Denver's newest drug lord just put out a contract on her. The sinister Athanate want her to come in for a friendly chat. And it's only Tuesday.

Enter Jennifer Kingslund: rich, gorgeous - a tough businesswoman who's known for getting what she wants in the boardroom and the bedroom. Someone's trying to sabotage her new resort and destroy her company - and she wants Amber to find out who.
The answers lead Amber past Were and Adepts, right back to the Athanate - and a centuries-old war that could threaten not just Denver, but the nation Amber swore to protect and serve.

And all sides want to claim her for their own...

This book was alright. I read it fast and it kept my attention. But it has some things which I don't enjoy in the books I read...I'm not a fan of ancient, secret organizations. Also at the end of the book there are some romance elements which seemed awkward, tacked on and just not very believable when compared to the rest of the book.

Sleight of Hand contains action and the world building is fairly simple, but contains enough information in this book to explain the world Amber is in. She is connected to both the supernatural world and the regular human world which is a good touch.

However, I didn't really connect with Amber or the rest of the characters in the book. The problem for me is that there isn't enough in this book and this world to make me want to come back again. The book and world just weren't unique enough for me. The second book in this series was published in January 2013.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Review: Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Karen Marie Moning is another new author to me. So this book is listed at the Literary Escapism blog's New Author Challenge 2013.

by Karen Marie Moning
Fever series, book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published by: Delacorte Press, 2006
E-book, purchased
382 pages
Grade: B+

Synopsis: MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman.
Or so she thinks... until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae...


I've been aware of this series for several years, but I hadn't bought the books or found time to read any of the series. I'm going to fix that and read all the books in the next couple months. I enjoyed this book a lot and want to savor the series. I'm also trying to be very careful not to read too much about the next

Though certain things are revealed in this book during the course of the book there are many more questions. Mac really doesn't know very much yet. The reader knows a little more because of the prologue in the book. I think I would rather not have had the prologue and discovered the pieces of this world as Mac discovers them.

The book takes place mostly in Ireland although Mac is from a small town in the southern United States, but after her sister is murdered in Ireland Mac travels to Ireland to find her sister's murderer. Mac has no idea she's one of the few humans who's a sidhe-seer--a human who can see the Fae without their glamor.

Even when Mac sees strange sights in Dublin she doesn't let herself believe in anything otherworldly.  She has several narrow escapes and after a strange walk through a deserted and derelict part of Dublin she finds herself at a bookstore. There she meets the bookstore owner--Jericho Barrons--who's much more than he seems. He tells Mac to leave Dublin or she's going to die. Of course, she doesn't do that because she's determined to find her sister's murderer.

She ends up partnering with Jericho and he helps her learn about the Fae. She moves into the the bookstore where Jericho can keep her safe, but he makes it very clear they aren't friends. It takes awhile before Mac believes Jericho about the Fae, but she's finally convinced.

Mac's sister mentioned the Sinsar Dubh on the cell phone message she left for her sister before she died. He's also searching for the Sinsar Dubh. Mac doesn't know that the Sinsar Dubh is an ancient Dark book until Jericho tells her. A number of different people including Jericho are looking for it. Jericho discovers Mac can sense Fae artifacts (they make her feel very sick). Even photocopied pages of the Sinsar Dubh make her feel sick. Jericho decides to use her like a tracking dog to try to find the book and other Fae artifacts. Mac resents this, but goes along with it because she hopes finding the book or that the kind of people who might have the book will lead her to her sister's killer.

I like Mac. She might look (at the beginning of the book) like a dumb blonde, but she's willing to take chances to find her sister. She likes to look good and at the beginning of the book might seem frivolous since she wears carefully matched outfits along with carefully matched makeup and manicures. Jericho certainly assumes she's a lightweight, but during the course of the book as she realizes what the world really is she toughens up and loses the carefully put-together look.

Jericho is very much a mystery. Mac thinks he's a sidhe-seer like her, but he's definitely more than that. My guess is that he's a Seelie Fae, but I have to keep reading to find out. I'm also not sure he's completely trustworthy though he did come through for Mac at the end of this book.

I'm ready to read the next book--Bloodfever--but I'm reading a couple other books in between. I'm thinking about it a lot though!

Ms. Moning had a new book--Iced--come out last fall which is written in the Fever world, but is the first book of a new series--the Dani O'Malley series. I was going to start with that book since I knew there were several books in the Fever series. I thought Iced would be a good place to start...but discovered from another blogger I definitely wanted to start with the first book--Darkfever--and I'm so glad I did. :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Review: Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos

I believe this is the author's first book. So not only a new author to me, but to all his readers!

Update (May 7): I forgot to add this to the Literary Escapism blog's New Author Challenge 2013. I've done so now!

Terms of Enlistment
by Marko Kloos
Series: I hope so
Genre: Military Science Fiction
Published by: Frostbite Publishing, 2013
E-book, Purchased
293 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: The year is 2108, and the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. For welfare rats like Andrew Grayson, there are only two ways out of the crime-ridden and filthy welfare tenements, where you're restricted to 2,000 calories of badly flavored soy every day. You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service.

Andrew chooses to enlist in the armed forces of the North American Commonwealth, for a shot at real food, a retirement bonus, and maybe a ticket off Earth. But as he starts a career of supposed privilege, he soon learns that the good food and decent health care come at a steep price…and that the settled galaxy holds far greater dangers than military bureaucrats or angry welfare rats with guns.


This book was recommended to me by fellow blogger Li from Me and My Books. Thank you so much, Li, as Terms of Enlistment is one of my favorite books of the year so far. She recommended it after I read and reviewed another military science fiction--The Scrapyard Incident by Phillip Nolte. I've read military science fiction for years (Robert Heinlein, Elizabeth Moon, Tanya Huff, David Weber) and regular military fiction (mainly books about WWII when I was a teenager). I like adventure stories and military science fiction pretty well guarantees that!

I enjoyed this book very much. It's an exciting adventure story. Written in first person, present it an's a bit like a journal or listening in to Andrew's thoughts. The author does a good job with the mechanics of writing this way. I don't imagine it's that easy. The book is self-published, I think, but the editing and writing are first-class.

The book opens with Andrew getting ready to leave the next day for his enlistment in the North American Commonwealth (NAC) military. These opening pages give the reader a flavor of the life he's led in the tenements where he was born and grew up. This is a good backdrop so we know why he's so determined to leave, succeed in the military and get off polluted, overcrowded Earth.

We experience the life of a recruit with Andrew as he learns the discipline and skills required in a military...what thousands of other recruits have learned through the ages. 

It feels strangely liberating to do precisely as instructed. I don't have to worry about displeasing the sergeant as long as I follow his orders exactly. For now, I resolve to not even scratch my nose unless being ordered by someone with chevrons on their collar.
It feels a bit like a college dorm, only with guns and uniforms, and instead of learning trigonometry or North American History, we learn better ways to kill people and blow up their stuff.

This book does a good job of letting the reader discover the world through Andrew's eyes rather than with an omniscient POV. The book has some romance in it, but as happens in military life Andrew and Halley have to go their separate ways after Basic Training. But they continue to correspond with each other. Mr. Kloos also shows the closeness one feels towards comrades when in a unit together. Each person counts on his fellow soldiers. We've seen that comradery in recent years as soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are eager to return to their unit even after terrible injuries. They don't want to let their fellow soldiers down.

Andrew's military career has its ups and downs, doesn't always go the way he wants it to and he's not always sure he's made the right decisions, but he learns a lot during this book and is a different person than the "welfare rat" we see at the first of the book although the seeds were already there...his absolute determination to work toward a goal (leave the tenements and Earth). Much of the book is a real page turner and I hope Mr. Kloos is writing another book about Andrew and that it will soon be available!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday Post--May 5

The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is where I take a look at my last week and look ahead to what I might be doing next week.

Last Week

Around the House

I read more this week since my husband was

Working on the blog
I did read a bit more this week though I had my frustrations. I decided to put a comment system on my blog. I like to tinker with the blog and, so far I'd had good luck with getting things to work, but this time my old comments didn't import for four days...and then still didn't import because I'd made a mistake on my blog. By this time, I had rethought whether I really needed this new comment overlay. I decided I didn't and finally figured out how to delete it!

Posts on my blog
Sunday Post--April 28

Blog Update...How I'm Learning an Old Saying Is Still True

Review: Under Wraps by Hannah Jayne

May 2013 Books on My Radar

Out With the New, In With the Old

Books read
Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning

Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos

What I'm reading
A Counterfeit Betrothal by Mary Balogh

E-books bought
A Counterfeit Betrothal & The Notorious Rake by Mary Balogh

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik

The Crimson Hunt (Eldaen Light Chronicles) by Victoria H. Smith

Rush Me by Allison Parr

Around the web
Lark from The Bookwyrm's Hoard blog writes a weekly post each Saturday called News & Notes. The posts are about books and publishing Always very interesting. For example, this week she links to and talks about what Tor UK has found from removing DRM from their books, The Enchanted Blogspot which offers a post about getting past writer's block, a list of "101 Best Chapter Books to Read (or Hear) Before You Grow Up." Lots of interesting info each week.

If you're a fan of science fiction and fantasy and you haven't checked out the Fantasy Cafe blog during the month of April you've missed some great posts. Kristen has hosted the Women in SF&F Month during April where she's had authors and fellow bloggers talking about all the amazing women writing fantasy and science fiction. I've found so many books and authors to add to my list of "want to reads." It's awesome!

Next Week

Around the house
Reading, gardening, card making.

Blog posts
Review: Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos

Review: Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Review: Sleight of Hand by Mark Hening

And, of course, the Sunday Post!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Out with the New, In With the Old

I'm back to my old Blogger comment system. The way they were before I decided to fix what wasn't broken. I like to tinker with things, but when they don't work the way I want I get frustrated. I've been frustrated with this most of the week.

I've lost a few comments which were made after I switched to Disqus and I'm sorry about that. However, I have all the old comments formatted the way they were and I'm happy about that.
I'm sure Disqus is a good system. Many people like it and perhaps it's so good that's the problem. They apparently have problems keeping up with all the people who want to use their services.

I emailed Disqus after 36 hours when I didn't have comments. They said it could take longer than the 24 hours stated at their site. The import was finally finished on Thursday morning (I started this process on Sunday), but for some reason my comments still didn't show up (though I had over 2 billion reactions for every post!)

I've emailed their customer service again, but haven't heard from them yet. This morning when I still didn't have comments I tried to figure out how to delete Disqus from my site. When I finally figured that out I also figured out what was wrong and did get Disqus to work, but by that point I just wanted the status quo back.

As I stated on Tuesday: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I'm sure I will tinker more with the blog as I go along, but I hope future tinkering has a better outcome.

I'm sure Disqus would have worked fine for my blog. The problem was mostly with me--I made a mistake which made the comments not show up, but at best the comments wouldn't have shown up until Thursday (on Tuesday they said they were moving me up in the queue). I've decided Blogger comments are just fine.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May 2013 Books On My Radar

I don't have too many books I'm excited about this month. This may change as I discover new books from other bloggers.

May 7


This book is a hardcover so both the book and e-book are expensive so even though this is the final Sookie Stackhouse book I won't buy it until the e-book is less expensive...or I will try to find it at the library. It's hard to believe this is the last in the Sookie series. I've been reading them for years. I wonder what Charlaine Harris is doing next.

Dead Ever After
by Charlaine Harris
Series: Sookie Stackhouse #13
Published by Ace, hardcover
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Synopsis: THE FINAL SOOKIE STACKHOUSE NOVEL There are secrets in the town of Bon Temps, ones that threaten those closest to Sookie—and could destroy her heart....
Sookie Stackhouse  finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated.

Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime.

But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough…

This e-book costs less than the paperback version so I've pre-ordered the book.

Heart of Iron
by Bec McMaster
Series: London Steampunk series, book 2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca, paperback
Genre: Steampunk
448 pages
Synopsis: In the mist-shrouded streets of London's dreaded Whitechapel district, werewolves, vampires, and a clockwork army are one step away from battle...

No One to Trust
Dangerous. Unpredictable. That's how people know the hulking Will Carver. And those who don't like pretty words just call him The Beat. No matter how hard Will works to suppress his werewulfen side, certain things drive him beyond all control. And saucy Miss Lena Todd tops the list.
Lena makes the perfect spy against the ruling Echelon blue bloods. No one suspects that under the appearance of flirtatious debutante lies a heart of iron. Not even the ruthless Will Carver, the one man she can't wrap around her finger and the one man whose kiss she can never forget. He's supposed to be protecting her, but he might just be her biggest threat yet...

I already downloaded an e-book copy of this from Smashwords where it was free (for a limited time)

Tarnished Knight
by Bec McMaster
Series: London Steampunk series, book 1.5
About 51,000 words
This was available as an e-book (Apr 1, 2013). I didn't know there was a book 1.5 until I went to Ms. McMaster's website as I was writing this post.
Synopsis:After a vicious vampire attack left him struggling to leash the dark urges of the craving virus, John ‘Rip’ Doolan, thinks he’s finally starting to master the darkness within. The only thing that threatens to shatter his hard-won control is Esme, his closest friend and the only woman he’s ever wanted. If the stubborn beauty ever realized precisely what was going through his mind, their friendship would be ruined…

Again, this is a hardcover so even though I enjoy these mysteries I will wait to buy it or look for it at the library.

Murder in Chelsea
by Victoria Thompson
Series: Gaslight Mystery, book 15
Published by Berkley, hardcover
Genre: Historical Mystery
304 pages
Synopsis: Sarah Brandt is shattered when she learns that a woman has inquired at Hope’s Daughters Mission for Catherine, the abandoned child she has taken as her daughter. The woman claims she was Catherine’s nursemaid, now acting on behalf of the girl’s mother to reunite them.
Unwilling to simply hand Catherine over to a complete stranger, Sarah asks Malloy to investigate. But when he goes to interview the woman at her tenement in Chelsea, he finds she has been murdered.

May 15

This is a reprint of one of Ms. Kelly's earlier books from 1989. So far, an e-book version is not shown.

Miss Chartley's Guided Tour
by Carla Kelly
Series: n/a
Published by Camel Press
Genre: Historical Romance
250 pages
Synopsis: To all appearances, Miss Omega Chartley is a schoolteacher on holiday. In fact she is a gentlewoman fallen on hard times, left at the altar eight years earlier and forced to make her own way in the world after the loss of her family fortune.

Omega's modest tour of England is cut short when she comes to the aid of a runaway. Jamie Clevenden has fled the clutches of a brutal uncle, and Omega is determined to help him escape the law, as represented by Bow Street Runner, Mr. Timothy Platter.

 May 28

As I write this the kindle e-book price is still set at the hardover price so I won't buy this book right now.

The Proposal
by Mary Balogh
Series: The Survivor's Club, book 1
Published by Dell, paperback release of hardcover published in 2012
Genre: Historical Romance
384 pages
Synopsis: Gwendoline, Lady Muir, has seen her share of tragedy. Content in a quiet life with friends and family, the young widow has no desire to marry again. But when Hugo, Lord Trentham, scoops her up in his arms after a fall, she feels a sensation that both shocks and emboldens her. Hugo is a gentleman in name only: a war hero whose bravery earned him a title, a merchant’s son who inherited his wealth. He is happiest when working the land, but duty and title now demand that he finds a wife. Hugo doesn’t wish to court Gwen, yet he cannot resist her guileless manner, infectious laugh, and lovely face. He wants her, but will she have him? The dour ex-military officer who so gallantly carried Gwen to safety is a man who needs a lesson in winning a woman’s heart. But through courtship and seduction, Gwen soon finds that with each kiss, and with every caress, Hugo captivates her more—with his desire, with his love, and with the promise of forever.

The kindle e-book is a little less than the mass market paperback so I've already pre-ordered this book!

Once Upon a Tower
by Eloisa James
Series: Fairy Tale series, book 5
Published by Avon, paperback
Genre: Historical Romance
416 pages
Synopsis: To win her love. . . As an extremely wealthy laird, Gowan Stoughton, Duke of Kinross, can have any of the maidens at the ball he attends. The only problem is they are all English and Gowan is not so certain they are suitable. He is accustomed to the hard-working lasses from his Highlands, not these dainty noblewomen who spend their days drinking tea or some other such nonsense. But then he makes the acquaintance of Lady Edith Gilchrist. Utterly bewitched by the emerald-eyed beauty with lush golden locks, he knows he must have her.
He must free her from her tower. . .
"Edie" had the misfortune of being dreadfully ill at her debut ball and barely remembers what Gowan looks like. Even worse, she accepted his proposal the following day. Edie's only true passion is playing music—until Gowan writes a scandalous letter and stirs the most irresistible desire. Yet when they marry, Edie realizes her husband needs a lesson and locks herself in a tower. Somehow Gowan must find a way to enter the tower and convince his new bride that she belongs in his arms.


What books are you looking forward to this month? What books have I missed?