Thursday, January 31, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Quirky


This week’s question is suggested by (blogless) JMutford:

Sometimes I find eccentric characters quirky and fun, other times I find them too unbelievable and annoying. What are some of the more outrageous characters you’ve read, and how do you feel about them?


When I first read this question I was at a loss. I don't recall reading a story that had a true quirky character-in their actions, anyway. It took me a while to remember the quirkiest character that I've read. The only one that I could come up with was Elphaba. She is also known as The Wicked Witch of the West. I read her story in Wicked and always thought that she was extremely strange and led a very weird life. Strange and quirky go hand in hand, right?

A few things stand out in my head about her quirkiness. Like the fact that she was born emerald green in color and proceeded to bite the finger of fishwife, that delivered her, clean off. She also had an aversion to water.

She gnawed on her own skin from birth and anyone else who got too close. She became an animal activist and plotted the death of Madame Morrible because Elphaba felt that the woman treated animals wrong. She had an affair with a man, Fiyero, who had blue diamond shaped tattoos all over his body, in which an illegitimate child was conceived that she never knew about. She carried the child, Liir, to term while in a coma and never knew about him...

Eventually, Elphaba became a witch with an obsession of getting her hands on ruby slippers only to meet her demise from a bucket of water. I'd say she was quirky or had a quirky life at least.

Who is the quirkiest character you've read? Leave your link to your answer in the comments or just leave your answer!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Raven Prince Review

Book: The Raven Prince
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Grade: A-

I was looking for a book with a hero that wasn't the everyday, run of the mill, handsome type. A blogging buddy of mine, Jace, recommended The Raven Prince to me. Thanks Jace, I really enjoyed the book and Edward.

Anna, is a widow and has been for six years. Her husband wasn't the most faithful man while alive, and cheated on her. Where this act would lead most heroines into an endless pit of self pity, Anna has persevered. When the funds of her household become low she seeks employment with the Earl of Swarthingham, a man who is known for his short temper.

Anna gets the job as the Earl's secretary and finds herself attracted to the brooding Earl. Edward is not particularly attractive, having smallpox scars on his face and an overly large nose, but Anna wants him just the same and she is starting to sense that The Earl wants her too.

Edward knows that he is not a even tempered man. He has scared off his share of male secretary's in the past but for some reason the little wisp of a widow is unable to be thwarted by his temperamental actions. He becomes intrigued by Anna. She is not like any of the other females or males he knows, for that matter; she listens to him, is unafraid of him, and if he's not mistaken, she actually likes him.

Edward does not feel like he is able to act on his feelings toward Anna. She is a Lady and he does not want to compromise her position as a gentlewoman by sleeping with her. Edward decides to take his lusty feelings for Anna and go to London, to a brothel, and get out some pent up energy. Upon finding this out Anna is outraged. Not only won't the Earl act on his feelings for her but he is going away to act on them with someone else!

With the help of a prostitute that Anna has inadvertently befriended, a plan is put into motion. Anna sets out to London where she will seduce Edward, while posing as a harlot. Edward and Anna engage is anonymous sex (very hot encounters) and even though Anna is glad that she was able to spend that time with Edward, she is unsettled because he didn't know it was her. But at the same time she is afraid for him to find out. What will he think of her if he does?

After Edward's encounter with the prostitute he is even more conflicted. His feelings for Anna haven't changed, he still wants her as much as ever, but now he also wants the "prostitute" that he spent two very naughty nights with. Not to mention that he is engaged to be married to yet another woman. What is an Earl to do when he finds out that his anonymous sex was not so anonymous?

I can not express how refreshing it was to read a story where the woman "scorned" was not overly cautious of men. Where she didn't shrink like a wallflower and think that she was unattractive because of what her husband did. A Heroine that actually pursued the man of their desire. Going so far as to costume themselves as a harlot, just so that she could sleep with the man she was falling for. I was so surprised that Hoyt went there, pleasantly, of course.

Let me not forget Edward, he was just the type of hero I wanted to read about. It was easy to see how his past had shaped the man he had become. He wasn't very trustful of women and thought that a woman who wanted to be with a man as ugly as him was either lying or got some type of thrill out of bedding a pockmarked man. It took him a while to realize that Anna saw past his rough exterior and simply loved him.

This was a very good read. It was a little slow to start, but it was more than made up for as the story progressed. Grade A-

Excerpt

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Blood Magic Review

Book: Blood Magic
Author: Matthew Cook
Grade: B+

I just finished Blood Magic. It's not the type of book that I would normally give a second look, let alone buy and read. But while browsing the bookstore isles the cover caught my eye and after flipping through a few pages I wanted to know more about Kirin.

*Spoilers Below*


Blood Magic tells the story of Kirin, a necromancer. Her story is presented in alternating chapters that switch between her past and present before finally coming together at the end.

Through her past we find a quiet girl who was very much the opposite of her outgoing, identical twin. She found solace in books and playing outside where her twin found her fun in boys, one boy in particular. Over time her sister falls more and more for the guy until she is determined to marry him, but not without Kirin marrying his best friend as well.

Through the manipulations of her twin, Kirin's parents are convinced that she should marry and both twins are. The marriages serve as a catalyst for the turn of events in the story that lead Kirin to seeking out the knowledge of a wise woman, Kirin's twin being killed, and eventually, Kirin killing her twins murder and forever changing her life.

Through her present we see Kirin fighting in the war against the Mor, creatures that come out of their underground dwellings every few generations and go on a human killing spree. We also see Kirin battling a war with herself; one against her dead twin who, Kirin had bound herself to and now lives within her. It should also be noted that we never find out Kirin's actual name. 'Kirin' is the name of her late twin sister. After binding her sisters soul she takes her sister's name as well.

Kirin uses a power that she has acquired but doesn't really understand to raise the dead at first (in her past) for company, but eventually (in her present) in order to help with the battle. She refers to these creations as her sweetlings or children and she feels a motherly affection for them regardless of how grotesque they look. Her power as a necromancer doesn't gain her any fans and Kirin is looked at as a demonness of sorts. This does not bother her though or stop her from raising the souls of the dead to help her in battle.

A series of events which include meeting the beautiful elemental Lia Cho, having one of her creations turn against her and finding out that she is pregnant, steadily lead up to Kirin reexamining her profession.

While the story is full of action I did find myself a little bored with it all. Mainly because I didn't like that all we really know about the Mor is that they don't like humans. We never understand why. We get some suggestions: Like they might not like that humans took their land, but that's it. Never knowing the actual motivation behind the Mor made story very one sided.

I did like the alternating chapters of past and present and felt like Cook pulled it off very well. I also liked Kirin and her lack of apology for who she was and what she did. I did find a little thread of attraction between Kirin and Lia Cho. It seemed to me that Kirin became enamored with Lia and Lia with Kirin. It will be interesting to see how things progress between the two in the upcoming book. Grade B+

The second book in this trilogy, Nights of Sin, will be released in August.

Monday, January 28, 2008

It's My 25th Birthday

And I'll post a half naked man with a balloon covering his intimate details if I want to. My mother visited today and thought it inappropriate for me to show a half naked man on my blog. Apparently she still thinks I'm 10.

Photobucket

Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday Fill-Ins #56



1. My family makes me happy.

2. I would like a little peace and quiet, please.

3. My mom's spinach and mushroom stuffed chicken breasts tastes SO good!

4. Saturday is my favorite day of the week because My husband is off of work.

5. My smile is my best feature.

6. We could learn so much from listening.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to movie night, tomorrow my plans include updating my current fan fiction story and Sunday, I want to celebrate my birthday by spending a lazy day at the beach!

Friday Fill-Ins

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Huh?


What’s your favorite book that nobody else has heard of? You know, not Little Women or Huckleberry Finn, not the latest best-seller . . . whether they’ve read them or not, everybody “knows” those books. I’m talking about the best book that, when you tell people that you love it, they go, “Huh? Never heard of it?”

My favorite book that no one (I know of) has read is Madeline: After the Fall of the House of Usher by Marie Kiraly.

Madeline is a Gothic novel full of danger, mystery, family curses and intrigue. It is about Pamela, a mysterious woman who shows up on Poe's doorstep looking for help in finding her missing son and mother. Pamela is directed to Louisiana and upon her arrival she gets entrapped in the seductive world of the Usher's.

The author, Kiraly took a lot of risks with Madeline. First by making it a sequel of Poe's, Fall of the House of Usher. Then by putting Poe in the story and finally, by breathing a new life and extended back story into the characters that we originally see in Poe's tale. Sounds like a lot, I know, but somehow it comes together in a seamless story.

I read this book about seven years ago and misplaced it soon after. I haven't seen it since but the story of Pamela and Madeline has remained with me all of these years.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ember

I've just finished reading Ember by Bettie Sharpe and I liked it... a lot. ;)

Everyone loves Prince Charming. They have to—he’s cursed. Every man must respect him. Every woman must desire him. One look, and all is lost.

Ember would rather carve out a piece of her soul than be enslaved by passions not her own. She turns to the dark arts to save her heart and becomes the one woman in the kingdom able to resist the Prince’s Charm.

Poor girl. If Ember had spent less time studying magic and more time studying human nature, she might have guessed that a man who gets everything and everyone he wants will come to want the one woman he cannot have.

Charm is a curse. Love is a fire. This story is no fairytale.

Told from the perspective of a young witch, Ember is a witty anti fairytale. I'm not usually one for first person story's but this one was fast paced and clever and truth be told I completely forgot that I was reading in first person.

Ember, the heroine(?), is a young witch. Her main goal is to steer clear of the enthralling Prince (Charming), Adrian Juste. All of the men respect him and the women at his feet. After an embarrassing disaster occurs as a result of Ember seeing the Prince for the first time, Ember just wants Adrian to stay the heck away from her! She does not want to be enraptured by him against her will and takes precautions to ensure that it will never happen.

Ember is filled with memorable characters from Sylvia, Dulcie, and Minette (the "evil" stepsisters), to Adrian and with out a doubt, Ember. At about 10 chapters long Ember is an engrossing story that I recommend to anyone who wants a different take on the saccharine sweet, Disney type of fairytale.

It's available in ebook form, for the small price of nada! That's right, Ember is free. Read it directly from Bettie's site or download it at no price to you. Ember. Enjoy!

Grade A

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Heroes With a Funky Disposition

Lately my reading has consisted of heroes with attitudes, bad habits, foul mouths and an overall horrible disposition. To my surprise, I have found that I like these types of heroes just as much as the rakish good looking ones. In the past I hadn't read a lot of books with brooding heroes because I always felt the need to tell them to shut up and get over it. But as of late my cold heart has been softening toward these brooding men.

This change is due largely in part to my two latest reads, Lord of Scoundrels and The Bride Finder. Both of these books I was reluctant to read because of the way that I heard that the Hero behaved toward the heroine. I didn't want to read a book that dealt with an idiot of a man who couldn't get over his "past" problems enough to see that his lady was all the redemption he needed. Heck if she could see that under the menacing facade that he had a tender heart and just wanted to be loved then surely he could, right?

Wrong. Sometimes we as human beings are not do cut off our noses to spite our face, just like the heroes. Something bad happened to them to shape them into the person they became and it will take more then a little coaxing from a wisp of a woman to bring them out of that funk.

Dain, in Lord of Scoundrels, is the meanest of the mean. So mean, in fact, that he has been dubbed Beelzebub. He takes only whores to bed and steers clear of respectable women, because they would want nothing from a man like him but his money. He's quite content with his life as a ruthless man until Lady Jessica Trent, traipses into his world and eventually into his black heart.

Dain was a scoundrel, true and through. He was the type of hero that I would usually scoff at, but I found myself unable to. I felt for the big brute and hoped that he would end up genuinely happy in the end and he did.

Anatole, in The Bride Finder, was not so much a scoundrel as he was a dark, brooding fellow. Anatole was very rough around the edges and he was also afflicted with a "magical" family curse that aided in his unfriendly attitude. His heroine, Madeline, was just the type of woman he needed even though he didn't think she was.

Picked to be his bride by the family Bride Finder, Madeline was promised and married to Anatole sight unseen. When the two finally see each other both are taken aback. Madeline was expecting a handsome poet, Anatole was not. Anatole was expecting a sturdy, buxom blond who wouldn't be afraid of his size, not a tiny wisp of a woman with fiery red hair; something he specifically told the Bride Finder he did not want.

Anatole was not a love at first sight hero for me. He was harsh, and constantly overreacting but through reading he grew on me and I wanted him to get a worthy HEA.

Now that I have fallen for these temperamental heroes, I'm looking for more to read about. Suggestions anyone?

Booking Through Thursday: Let's Review


How much do reviews (good and bad) affect your choice of reading? If you see a bad review of a book you wanted to read, do you still read it? If you see a good review of a book you’re sure you won’t like, do you change your mind and give the book a try?

Good question. I'd like to say that reviews do not affect my choice of reading either way but I wouldn't be truthful if I did because, to a degree, they do. For instance, if a book that I was looking forward to reading (Shadow Music) has more negative reviews than good ones then I most likely will not go out and get the book, where if it has good reviews, I will.

If I see only a few good reviews for I book I'm sure I won't like then I probably won't purchase the book but if the book gets overwhelming positive reviews (The Spymaster's Lady), then I will certainly give it a try.

Now, there have been times where I read a book that got so-so reviews and loved it and times where a book received glowing reviews and hated it. So since reviews are a crap shoot for me, I try not to rely too much on what others think and go with my gut feeling. Or read a few pages through the book to see if I like what I what the book has to offer before purchasing.

So while I do not rely solely on book reviews, they do-in some ways-help color my opinion of a book prior to reading.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Spymaster's Lady

Book: The Spymaster's Lady
Author: Joanna Bourne
Grade: A

It's always the books I love the most that I'm unable to put into words.

Don't let the bare chested, man titty cover fool you, this is a very good book. So good, in fact, that I have read it twice. I have nothing but good things to say about The Spymaster's Lady, which makes it hard for me to review. So instead of going through the whole summary, I'm just going to point out a few things that made me love this book so much.

She's braved battlefields. She's stolen dispatches from under the noses of heads of state. She's played the worldly courtesan, the naive virgin, the refined British lady, even a Gypsy boy. But Annique Villiers, the elusive spy known as the Fox Cub, has finally met the one man she can't outwit.

  • I loved the heroine, Annique Villers. Annique is a spy for the French. She was smart, crafty and witty. Her external and internal dialogue was engrossing and I became totally enamored with the character. Not a usual occurrence with me and romance heroines but Annique was not the average heroine.

  • The hero, Robert Grey. Grey is an English Spymaster. He served his time in the war and became the British Head of Section. Grey isn't the normal, run of the mill romance hero. He isn't rakishly handsome or brooding, he doesn't need reforming or saving. Though he is intelligent, cunning and quite delicious in his own right.

  • The Romance. Annique and Grey don't fall for each other immediately. It's gradual and while it's not the foremost running theme in this story it is a strong one. A romance between the two isn't easy under the circumstances. Annique is a French spy and Grey is an English one. Each can use the others secrets against them for the gain of their own country. Therefore they are inevitable enemies. But even with this big elephant between them they are realistically attracted to each other.

  • The setting. Even though this is a historical there are no pretty, formal Balls and no fancy dresses. Thank goodness, finally! There is lots of movement in terms of location, which I loved. Part of the book was in France, part in England and some of it was spent on the countryside. There was plenty of action and never a stagnant moment. Thumbs up to that.

  • The secondary characters. I love when secondary characters are fleshed out without taking over the story. Bourne did a great job of that. Adrian and Will were just as entertaining as Annique and Grey. I especially liked Adrian and wonder if Joanna might intend on writing a story for him. I'd love to read about Adrian and his mystery lady.

  • Last but not least, the language. Annique was very French from her speaking patterns to her internal speech -all French- and Grey was completely English in the same respect. The dialogue stays this way throughout the whole book. There is never a lapse in Annique's french speaking, never a moment when I thought that Grey didn't come off as an English man, which could have easily happened with a lesser writer.

The Spymasters Lady was a lovely book. If you haven't picked it up yet, please do so. Or you could enter this contest for a chance to win your own autographed copy of The Spymaster's Lady. Grade A.

Excerpt.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Fill-In #54



1. My favorite Book 2007 was Lady of Light and Shadows.

2. I'm most tempted by Godiva chocolates.



3. Today I want to make homemade chicken noodle soup.



4. The last thing I took a picture of was My husband returning from deployment.

5. You and I have memories of life and love.

6. The most recent movie I’ve seen that I really enjoyed was Inside Man.



7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching an old black and white movie, tomorrow my plans include going to the beach and Sunday, I want to relax!



Fill in your own blanks Friday Fill-Ins

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Gardella Vampire Chronicles

Books: The Rest Falls Away & Rises The Night
Author: Colleen Gleason
Cumulative Grade: B+

I've been wanting to read a female slayer series for a while now but most of these types of books are written in first person, and for over a year now I haven't been able to get into first person books. I'm not sure why this is. Maybe it's the lack of perspective from all of the characters involved in the story, maybe it's not.

Recently I found a book, centered around a female lead that was not written in first person, so of course, I jumped on it. The Rest Falls Away is the first book in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles. The setting is 19 century England. The Slayer is Victoria Gardella.

First, let me say that I already knew how this book was going to end before I read it which, in some ways, spoiled the book for me. I wasn't going to read it just because I knew the ending but I wanted the foundation for the story before I began the second book in the series. I'm glad I read it anyway.

Beneath the glitter of dazzling 19th-century London Society lurks a bloodthirsty evil... .

Vampires have always lived among them, quietly attacking unsuspecting debutantes and dandified lords as well as hackney drivers and Bond Street milliners. If not for the vampire slayers of the Gardella family, these immortal creatures would have long taken over the world.

In every generation, a Gardella is called to accept the family legacy, and this time, Victoria Gardella Grantworth is chosen, on the eve of her debut, to carry the stake.

But as she moves between the crush of ballrooms and dangerous, moonlit streets, Victoria's heart is torn between London's most eligible bachelor, the Marquess of Rockley, and her enigmatic ally, Sebastian Vioget.

And when she comes face to face with the most powerful vampire in history, Victoria must ultimately make the choice between duty and love.


Victoria is a slayer by birth right. The Gardella's are born with the power to sense vampires and with a training they are able to hunt them down and get rid of them. In The Rest Falls Away Victoria is just coming into her own as a venator (vampire slayer) at the same time she is being debuted. So, all the while she is being courted she is also fighting the undead.

Victoria tries to balance these two very separate parts of her life but go awry and well... You will just have to read to find out what happens. I won't spoil it for you.

The book was good even though at times I skimmed many of the formal parties that Victoria attended, looking for the action and searching for a certain mysterious man who caught my attention from the moment he entered the story. *G* Who could that be? The delectable Sebastian, maybe?

I did find myself wondering why these vampires tended to show up at all of the formal parties of the ton. I'm still trying to figure that one out. Also Victoria's mother and her mothers two friends annoyed me. I guess they were typical women of the nineteenth century but I found their perspective was rather draining and tedious.

Still, this was a good book that laid the foundation for the series.

Excerpt
---

The second book, Rises The Night, was very enjoyable. All of the action that was missing in the first book came racing in, in full force. I couldn't put the book down and at many points found myself with baited breath wondering what was going to happen next.
Victoria Gardella has been a vampire slayer for just over a year, balancing her life as a peer of Society with the dangerous role that takes her out on moonlit streets, stake in hand.

As Victoria races across Europe to stop what could be the most deadly army the Gardellas have ever faced, she is accompanied by the unlikely Sebastian Vioget, a man as tempting as he is untrustworthy. But when Victoria discovers that she has been betrayed by one of her most trusted allies, the truth will challenge all her powers as a Venator – and as a woman
.

In Rises The Night, Victoria finds herself in Italy and Rome (I think that the change of venue, from England, made this book many times better than the first). She has to find a way to destroy the Akvan's Obelisk. It has fallen into the hands of Nedas, son of the Vampire Queen, Lillith. The Obelisk has the power to wake the undead and basically cause hell on earth, which would be a draw to any evil vampire bent on destroying all of human kind.

This is one of those books where I don't want to say too much because any little slip can give a major plot away. But I will say that there are a lot of unexpected surprises and twists in Rises The Night. Victoria really comes into her own in Rises The Night and other characters, that were more so just wallpaper in the first book, become three dimensional.

What I love about this series is that Victoria is never idiotic. She thinks out her actions before she takes them. There is never a moment where I want to close the book and roll my eyes. In other words, she is never too stupid to live.

Oh, and let me not forget Sebastian. Love him. Sebastian is a mysterious character who I can't say much about because I don't know much about him. One of his secrets does come out in RTN but Colleen leaves us with so many more. Like why won't he take that shirt off? What more is this mortal man hiding? So many questions, so much more series to go.

While the first book was not as good as the second, both together made a great read. I also love that the books seem to be getting better with time. I'd take that over having a strong first book and a disappointing second, any day. Grade B+

Excerpt

The third book in this series, The Bleeding Dusk, comes out in Febuary 2008.

Booking Through Thursday


1. How did you come across your favorite author(s)? Recommended by a friend? Stumbled across at a bookstore? A book given to you as a gift?

I came across majority of my favorite authors through message boards. To me, message boards are a good way to find new authors and chat with other book lovers/ Plus, nine out of ten times, an author recommendation I get on a MB turns out to be a great one.

2. Was it love at first sight? Or did the love affair evolve over a long acquaintance?

A couple of authors (J.R. Ward, Karen Marie Moning...) were love at first sight but most evolved over time. Ironically enough, after a few books the "love at first sight" authors lost their appeal to me where the "evolving loves" (Kresley Cole, Shana Abe, Nalini Singh...) just keep on getting better!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Smoke Thief

Book: The Smoke Thief
Author: Shana Abe'
Grade: A-

I stumbled upon this book by chance on a routine book store visit and, on a whim, decided to purchase it. I did have a few qualms in the beginning about the book being centered around dragons (dra`kon) that masquerade as humans. My main concerns being, how will it work? Will it be believable enough for me to really get into the book? The answer is an enthusiastic yes!

The dra`kon are a private society that live on the fringes of the outside world. They keep themselves mostly hidden from society because of their abilities to shift from human form to smoke to dragon. Being that if they were ever discovered for what they really were that would be the end of their race, they punish those who try to escape the tribe, most times by death.

Clarissa "Rue" Hawthorne, is half dragon/half human. Since she is not full drakon she is deemed a halfling and lives her life as an outcast among the dra`kon. As a young teen of fourteen Rue fantasises about seventeen year old Christoff "Kit" Langford. Kit is the Alpha of the dra`kon tribe. It is known that the Alpha male must mate with an Alpha female but none of the dra`kon females are able to Turn (from human form to dragon which would undoubtedly make them Alpha) and haven't been able to do so for decades. Until Rue.

On her seventeenth birthday Rue survives the Turn, becoming the first dra`kon female in decades to accomplish the feat. By this time Rue's childhood illusions about Kit have been pretty much demolished and she knows that if she stays she will be mated off to Kit. With this in mind she plans to stage her death and succeeds.

Nine years later Rue is in England, living under the guise of an eccentric widow and many other aliases. She uses her ability to turn to smoke to her advantage and becomes a jewel thief, gaining her own fortune and making a name for herself as the notorious Smoke Thief.

Upon hearing about the thief that can change from human to smoke, Kit and his men set off to capture the thief that they are convinced is a dra`kon. They feel the smoke thief is attracting too much attention and risks outing the whole tribe. They set a trap for the thief by displaying the Herte diamond, a very valuable diamond to the dra`kon.

In the process of trying to trap the thief Kit notices a woman who appears to be the thief, he chases her and when he catches her Kit realizes that the woman is Clarissa Rue Hawthorne. Kit remembers Rue right away as being a little mousy hafling girl. No longer mousy and no longer a girl Rue uses her drakon abilities to turn to smoke in Kit's arms, leaving Kit stunned. He did not expect the Smoke Thief to be a woman (since they can not Turn) and not just any woman but Clarissa Rue Hawthorne, believed to be dead.

During that fiasco the diamond is stolen and Rue is the prime suspect. Rue swears that she did not steal the Herte and makes a deal with Kit: She will help him retrieve the diamond and it's thief for her freedom from the tribe and from him. Kit agrees but makes it his mission to keep Rue as his own.

What I loved about this book were the characters, they were so well formed that they seemed to jump off the pages. Rue is independent, free-willed, smart and clever. She risked her life to travel away from the tribe and she is perfectly content to stay away from them. She loves her freedom and has no desire to me mated to Kit just because she is an Alpha female, which is exactly why she left the tribe. When Kit asks her: "Why did you feign your death? Why did you run?" She answers:

"Because of you," she said finally. When he didn't respond she chanced a sidelong glance at him. He was studying her, not shocked, merely quizzical, the planes of his face underlit with storm. She gathered her nerve. "I left because I did not wish to be wed to you."

Kit is arrogant, spoiled, cocky but strong and loving. He makes no apologies for who he is:
"I've grown a trifle weary if being constantly cast as your villain, my love. I am only what I've been forged to be. Not evil, and perhaps not especially good. I care for very few things-the tribe, my name, my position. And you. If it pleases you to roll stones into our path, go ahead. At least I know my own heart, black as it may be. I make no apologies for my past, Rue, so don't expect any. I won't expect any of you either."

I was a little unsure of how Abe would portray the dra`kon in dragon form. Apparently there was no need for me to worry about that because Rue and Kit as dragons were just as tangible as them as humans. I especially liked the way Abe illustrated the flying scenes:

Rue stretched thin to follow him, her wings stretched out, leaping high to fall into a long, flat dive that tore the tops from the clouds in a swirling stripe.

Every stroke of her wings shifted hues, deepening the heavens, and when the first of the stars sparked overhead--a bouquet of them all at once--all that was left of the day was a band of intense maroon melting like hot sand into the edge of the world.


This book is a really good paranormal read. Set in the 1700's with the backdrop of England, it is a magical story of romance and adventure. Grade A-.

*The Smoke Thief is the first book in the Dra`kon Series, followed by The Dream Thief. Queen of Dragons, book three, was just released.

Excerpt

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Hunted

Book: Hunted
Author: Amelia Elias
Grade: DNF

This book I tried to read time and time again but in the end it was "did not finish" material for me.

Witness to a brutal murder, Sian Lazuro didn't count on the killer escaping moments after his conviction. Three years later, she's learned the hard way there's only one person she can trust herself. When she wakes up in bed with a gorgeous stranger who claims to have saved her life, she's understandably wary. Diego Leonides is like no one she's ever met before. Sensual, mysterious, and clearly delusional, he insists not only is he a vampire, but she's now his eternal mate.

Diego never dreamed he'd find his mate by getting hit by her car, and he's no happier about their sudden bonding than she is. The only survivor of a massacre that wiped out his entire Clan, he's spent the last century avoiding taking a mate. Now he finds himself stuck with a woman running from a murderer just as the descendants of the vampire slayers who killed his family arrive in San Francisco to finish the job with him.

Arranged marriages are hard enough on a vampire without having to convince his mate that the real bloodthirsty fiends are the mortals.


The premise is promising. The hero, Diego, was intriguing. The story had legs but somewhere along the pages the words fell flat and the characters became hollow, especially the heroine, Sian.

I doubt that I have been more annoyed with a heroine before. She was everything that I dislike in the female lead. Loud for no reason, constantly thinking herself to be right, hardly ever listening to direction that would keep her out of trouble, rude...

I grew weary of her antics halfway through and put the book down. I didn't even want to see if she ever gained some semblance of humility. I felt sorry for Diego, being mated to such a numb skull against his own will. Yes, that's right, he was bonded to her, not by choice but by trickery.

In conclusion, Hunted was just not my cup of tea. Grade DNF.