Monday, October 31, 2011

Dark Vow by Shona Husk

Dark VowWow!!! I don't normally read anything that falls into scifi or fantasy genres, but the premise of this grabbed my attention.. A woman in a somewhat western/fantasy world works as a gunsmithy and when a bullet made by her is used to kill her husband, she vows revenge.

The world is somewhat hard to explain in a review.. It's a rugged world full of horseless buggies and guns and farming. Thus, the western feel. But there's also ten different gods over different trades (for men only.. hrmph.) such as mining, farming, and there's a bad god, the god of everything unexplained and magic, the Arcane.

The Arcane sends a bounty hunter to kill her husband. Why? She only did some engraving and made some bullets... Regardless, she's got a dead husband and as a woman, she can't get licensed to be a gunsmith herself so she's got two choices: become a whore/kept woman or move on and do her thing. She chooses the latter and along the way, meets Obsidian, an Arcane with a stone hand. See, he disobeyed the rules and healed people for free.. and now every time he heals someone, a little more of him turns to stone. But he's got skills that Jaines needs to find the bounty hunter. Can she get past her dislike for everything Arcane enough to get along with Obsidian, accept and use his help, and track down the hunter?

There's one dilemma after another as she falls in love with Obsidian and he with her, another group wants the hunter's gun to do kill more lives, and Obsidian may be faced with saving the woman he loves AND turning to stone in the process. This story was action packed, suspenseful, well told, and had a ball busting heroine. I LOVED every minute of it.

LOL quote: "If an Arcane farted near Tallow (a deputy), he'd have bottled the stench and worn it as perfume."

Favorite quotes:

This one is about Jaines's grief and it just really struck me: "Working gave me a reason to get up. Working made me hungry, so I ate. Working made me dirty, so I bathed. Without work, I would've crumpled into the empty bed, closed my eyes and never woken up."

I was surprised at the "closed door" sex, but sex wasn't necessary in this story to make things sexy as seen in this quote here: "Even with my back to him, our eyes would meet in the mirror. The heat in his gaze was brighter and hotter than any flame. I wanted him to always look at me like that, to make me feel like I could melt from just one touch."

I suspect and I hope there is a sequel to this.. I devoured every word. 

I got this from netgalley.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Icebound by Julie Rowe

This is like a psychiatry lesson and contemporary romance in one. It addresses handling grief in the face of losing a loved one, feelings of guilt, sharing the 'blame,' and surviving a traumatic childhood. In the background is the trials and tribulations of surviving a winter in Antarctica.

Emilie is the one dealing with grief. She has lost her husband and is struggling to get past his death a year later. She's a doctor with "everything needed to treat every malady except her own. Loneliness wasn't listed in the medical textbooks." She goes to Antarctica to finish her late husband's research and falls for Tom. Tom is the one trying to overcome a traumatic childhood. He knew nothing but abuse growing up and feels that he will be an abuser too. He must learn that you are not always what you are raised to be, that one can overcome a childhood full of hate. There's immediate chemistry between these two.. (too immediate, actually.. ) and their relationship goes back and forth. Tom claims he is a one night stand man (he's climbed Everestt, crossed the Gobi Desert, and looked down the barrel of a gun, but the thought of a wife and kids scares the crap out of him) and they can only be friends, yet he gives the impression they have a relationship. This was odd and disconcerting at times. Emilie is all about marriage and kids. (I would so not mention that to a man one month after meeting him! LOL)

So how is this going to work out between Tom and Emilie? One of them is going to have to change their long term plans in order to accept the other's...

I mentioned guilt and sharing of blame being another issue. Remember this takes place in Antarctica, a very rough terrain. An accident results in death and a man must deal with the fact that he possibly killed his best friend, but there may be more to the accident than they initially realize.

The medical stuff: FABULOUS. I had no idea what all hypothermia was really about or how to treat it till now. And even though this is just a contemporary romance.. not a murder mystery or anything like that, I really got a good idea of what life on Antarctica is like. There was plenty of excitement as well... downed power lines, fires, accidents... The author did a fabulous job.

Still felt the romance between Emilie and Tom sort of came up too fast and out of nowhere. I would have appreciated a bit more build up there.. so four stars.

Favorite quote: "There are all kinds of ways to die...It's living that takes guts."

I received an egalley of this through netgalley.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sail My Oceans by D.F. Krieger

Sail My OceansI won this on a blog today and as it's a novelette, decided to read it right away. I just needed entertainment and this book promised to have a strong heroine, a futuristic pirate. And I was not disappointed.. This is an awesome heroine!

Lucy is a space pirate who unloads other space ships of their cargo and crew and sells them for profit. She picks up some prisoners, Julius and Devon only to discover that they aren't really prisoners.. but the victims of some really underhanded dealings. The men convince her to help them and later, aid their crew.. but what is Lucy getting out of all this? Not just money.. No. Some hot sex.. :)

First of all, this is a sci fi but it doesn't have ugly alien beings or anything too strange to comprehend. There's ships and planets and normal technology. It seems to be a combination of the past and the future as there are horses and hovercraft.

Second of all, this is an erotic romance but the sex doesn't take up the entire book. It's tastefully done and at intervals. There really is a story. I really enjoyed it. Loved Lucy! Want more of her.

Third, hooray for condom usage!!!

I have no complaints about this story. I loved it. Here are some "hot damn" moments:

"She imagined his body stretched out on her bed as she rode that stoic stare right off his face."

"He imaged striding across the room, kneeling her across that desk, and giving that firm ass a hard smack."

No worries, potential readers, the characters don't stop at just imagining things... he he he. And here, I laughed:

(Julius) "Thanks for not calling me a pussy."
Devon shrugged. "I figure some things are so obvious, they don't need to be said."

And later, Julius gets Devon back after he leave Devon in Lucy's care:
"Perhaps tomorrow you'll need my assistance in forgetting this brute."

Five stars. Entertaining, sexy, and funny.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Hearing Heart by Bonnie Dee

A Hearing HeartI was torn two different ways by this novel. On one hand, I loved the message it conveys, that deaf isn't dumb and we are just like everyone else with desires, wants, and the need for love. On the other hand, it took me a long time to like the heroine. She does a good thing teaching a deaf man to sign and read, but for a while there, it feels as though she is using him. She loves him, but is embarrassed by him and too afraid of what society will think. It takes her a long time to grow some balls and publicly show her feelings for Jim. And the way she treats him at a dance....

That's not all there is to this though. There's an underlying story of a man buying up a town and getting involved in illegal practices. This endangers Jim because since meeting Catherine, he's gotten "ideas above his station" as the townfolk like to say and wants to make more money in hopes Catherine will be less ashamed of him. Him ends up with a choice to make: turn his boss in or keep taking the money to do a job and be quiet..

I rate this a 3.5. I didn't like the heroine though she does see the light in the end.. and I grew sick and tired.. (I get this a romance, but...) of reading about his straining cock/erection. He's a horny bugger. Most men are. I get it. Let's move on...

Favorite quote: "..there are some things we convince ourselves we have no control over when the truth is the power was in our hands all along."

My mother gave this to me as a birthday present. I read it on my kindle.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rippler and Chameleon by Cidney Swanson

Rippler (The Ripple Series, #1)I won the Rippler in LibraryThing Member Giveaway... and after I reviewed it, the author approached me asking if I would like to read the sequel.. I said yes. Here's why: 

What a great story!! I'm on the edge of my seat as it ends, wondering what happens in book two. The author has done a superb job catching my interest, holding my interest, and making me seek out the second one.

What is a rippler? It's when a person suddenly goes invisible, appearing to ripple as they disappear and reappear. Same and her new guy friend can both ripple and it's gotta be a secret as people all over the world that can ripple (or have the disease that brings it on) have been killed.

You think this would draw them closer, right? Hm.. Maybe. Part of the story is teen love. Does he love her? Did his kiss mean anything? What's all this "friends" talk.. (sigh) We have all been there.

Also, Sam has to make a difficult choice between her new potential beau and her best friend. She can't have them both cause telling her friend the truth about their rippling is a no no and could cause her man to leave town out of fright... so Sam deals with the loss of her friend.

As if she isn't bummed enough, some strange man comes to town asking lots of questions and she finds out some serious stuff regarding her mother's death previously... that maybe it wasn't an accident. By the end of the book, it appears someone wants Sam dead. 

The rippling descriptions... AWESOME stuff. Especially loved the "rippling through" glass thing. I could almost imagine it. The diary excerpts from Germany's experiments with children.. spine tingling and alarming and I'm sad to say, believable.

Really enjoyed this. My only quibble is I didn't care for Mickie and never did came to like her. I found her annoying. 

Rippler got four stars from me so naturally, I jumped at the chance to read the second one.. Chameleon.

Chameleon (The Ripple Series)First of all, in Chameleon, Mickie isn't quit so annoying.. perhaps because she has met her match in Sir Walter. Sir Walter is 600 years old so even though he's quite wordy and old fashioned, finally someone knows how to handle Mickie!

Sir Walter enters the picture when Sam and Will and Mickie travel to France. He's the keeper of many secrets and hold most all the knowledge that Sam and Will need to know about their amazing rippling ability. While Sam and Will prance around France and see the sights, Sir Walter is in tow appearing and disappearing at will telling them and US, the readers, about the history of his evil cousin and the rippling story. 

The downside: While the book is supposed to clarify many things, it actually confused me more. There needs to be a handbook/manual about the rippling rules. I was left scratching my head more often than not. In book one, I learned that one cannot ripple while holding more than their body weight. Sam weights less than Will obviously so Will is able to save her when they are in a tight situation. He grabs her and ripples her away. Later in the novel, in an underground cave, they are once again faced with danger. Both him or Sir Walter OR him AND Sir Walter could have grabbed Sam and rippled her away.. so why couldn't they? What happened here? I don't understand. A few pages later, it's like the idea finally dawns on Sir Walter and Will when Walter tells Will to ripple her away.. At that point I was still screaming, "why did you do that when the bad guys first showed up????"

Also, there's a moment when Sir Walter wishes to help Will with a wound. He ripples Will away to fix him. If you are rippled, you cannot physically touch anything. The Ripplers must maintain solid form to grasp/touch things or people so how did this work? How was Sir Walter able to touch Will in invisible form and fix his wound?

More questions that answers for me... BUT again, amazing descriptions!!! 

"Will's mouth tasted like the whisper of willows through my mind, and sunshine, and coming home. I thought he was kissing me back, and then I was sure of it. His lips on mine felt like the slow embrace of rippling through glass. My hands on his face trembled."

Nice! Also enjoyed the teen love thing.. Does Will love her? Did the kiss mean anything or they 'just friends?'

Once again, four stars. Good, but confusing.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ride for Rights: The Real Glen Eyrie

In Ride for Rights, my historical young adult novel, Angeline and Adelaide come across a castle during their trek across the United States... 

           The nearer the sisters grew to the beautiful peaks, the more exhausted they became and upon arriving in the small town of Colorado Springs, they were no longer staring at the mountains, but searching for a respectable hotel. Upon riding through a small maze of rock formations, the women thought they had found one, a very large one. Whereas the sight of the majestic peaks from seventy miles away had caused them to stare in awe, the sight before them now caused them to stop and stare in complete shock and wonderment.
            Ahead of them was a castle. It was a very large mansion made of brown stone with tall beige framed windows and a matching tower. It appeared so out of place in what Angeline had always thought of as the “wild west” that she found herself wondering if she was hallucinating or if perhaps they were lost? Was it possible they had crossed an unknown bridge to England?
            Adelaide broke the stunned silence. “Surely, that is a hotel,” she declared, “and I don’t know about you, but I would sure like to spend a night or two there!”
            The sisters did not waste a moment more. All thoughts of scenery were forgotten as the women shared an excited smile, and aimed their motorbikes towards the looming castle ahead. Surely it was a hotel and in a small town like this, it was bound to have available rooms and due to its elegant appearance, indoor plumbing. Thoughts of warm baths and clean bed linens propelled the sisters towards the brown castle.

I had the pleasure of visiting this castle myself in January, but let me tell you a bit about the place... It's a 67-room English Tudor style castle built by General William Jackson Palmer, the founder of Colorado Springs. His wife was from England and so he built this for her, to mimic an English castle. It contains 24 fireplaces, all them brought over from England.

General and Mrs. Palmer had three daughters, Elsie, Dorothy, and Marjory.

In Ride for Rights, Angeline and Adelaide make a friend in Elsie, the last family member left residing at Glen Eyrie, in the novel. Though the name is the same, Elsie is a figment of my imagination. She loves horses, is a suffragist, and encourages Angeline and Adelaide to summit Pike's Peak. 

When I visited the castle, I took care to pay attention to the real Elsie's bedroom. She was a very private woman and even required visitors to her room to go through two doors.

Glen Eyrie is now owned and operated by a group called the Navigators.

How many of you have actually visited a place you read about in a book? Or if you're a writer, have you visited a place and then wrote about it?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Highland Storms by Christina Courtenay

Highland StormsI don't know how this woman does it.. one fabulous historical romance after another and as usual, Courtenay does the male POV wonderfully. And as usual I fell in love with the hero myself. (I'm super picky so this is not a easy feat!)

Highland Storms is a sequel to Trade Winds, but if you haven't read Trade Winds, this could stand alone without major confusion. The hero, Brice, is the son of the couple previously in Trade. He leaves Sweden and heads to Scotland where he has a family home and land and a suspicious landlord, Seton. Seems Seton has been "skimming off the top" and not doing his duties. Brice means to get to the bottom of it. 

Seton is an evil cretin. His crimes may not stop at just thievery when Brice shows up threatening all his plans. He was Marsaili, the lovely housekeeper. Will he stoop to rape or abduction to get her? Marsaili fends him off as well all other suitors, but can she fend off Brice? He does something to her.. (giggling)

What seems like a slow plot in the beginning becomes super exciting in the last half. There's false accusations and arrests, beatings, hidden tunnels, lies revealed, abductions, escapes, and a ship briefly with a docking in Amsterdam. And the best part??? The dog. There's this dog named Liath and his role isn't minimal. The lovable hound even saves the day at point. I absolutely loved this scene! I stayed up till 4am reading this scene. I couldn't put the book down.

And the hero and the heroine must not only survive all that, but come to terms with the fact that they just may love each other.. (They are both hesitant for their own reasons to fall in love...) 

Favorite quote: "Love is when you realise a part of you will die if you can't be with a certain someone. That life isn't worth living if you can't share it with that special person. That you want to kill, with your bare hands, anyone who comes between you."

I wholeheartedly give this five stars, five well deserved stars. I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.