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Friday, September 28, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday (September 28th)

I am so sorry that I didn't get to respond to anyone last week. My family was here from Italy and I was spending as much time as I could with them. I swear, I did not want to send them back. But I will respond to everyone this week because I will be sitting in front of my laptop all weekend.

Also, because Feedburner is in crazy shutdown mode, please if you subscribe to my RSS or email feed, please click on the FeedCat chicklet in the upper right hand corner or go here. To subscribe via email, sign-up using the MailChimp form on the upper left. I am not very happy with Google right now.

Reviews Posted This Week:

Q: What is the BIGGEST word you’ve seen used in a book lately – that made you stop and look it up? Might as well leave the definition & book too.

Hmm it might just be the word Ch√Ętelaine. It means the wife of the lord of the castle or a woman who controls a large house. I have come across it in one of Stephanie Laurens' books. I think it was A Comfortable Wife. I knew I should know what it meant but I didn't so I had to wiki it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bloggiesta 2012

I look forward to Bloggiesta every year because it’s basically my only opportunity to clean up my mess. Yes, the blog looks pretty but behind the scenes, there is chaos and craziness and things that are not finished yet (or even started).

Here is my To Do List of craziness:
  1. Re-do the Review Index (Years only)(link)
  2. Add books to challenges and update the challenge page
  3. Take new bookshelf tour pictures
  4. Catch-up on reviews.
  5. Create a recommended reading list for romance readers
  6. Create a dedicated blog Twitter –my Twitter has become polluted by hockey.
Probably more will be added later.

    Monday, September 24, 2012

    Feedburner Frustrations

    As you may have noticed around the bloggy world lately, Feedburner is in a bit of a tizzy. Everyone apparently has zero followers as of the last four days. It has made me a bit nervous especially with the rumors that Google is going to phase out Feedburner in October. I am so not happy that my 500 followers is reduced to 0 right now. Not happy at all, Google!

    All that combined has forced me to move my feed to FeedCat. So please, if you are a follower via RSS or email, please resubscribe by clicking on the image below.

    Friday, September 21, 2012

    Review: When You Give a Duke a Diamond by Shana Galen

    When You Give a Duke a Diamond (Jewels of the Ton, #1)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
    Pages: 356 pages
    Genre: Romance/Historical/Regency
    Series: Jewels of the Ton
    Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's


    William, the sixth Duke of Pelham, enjoys his punctual. securely structured life. Orderly and predictable—that's the way he likes it. But he's in the public eye, and the scandal sheets will make up anything to sell papers. When the gossips link him to Juliette, one of the most beautiful and celebrated courtesans in London, chaos doesn't begin to describe what happens next...


    Juliette is nicknamed the Duchess of Dalliance, and has the cream of the nobility at her beck and call. It's seriously disruptive to have the duke who's the biggest catch on the Marriage Mart scaring her other suitors away. Then she discovers William's darkest secret and decides what he needs in his life is the kind of excitement only she can provide...

    My Review:

    I saved this book for last because I knew that I would love it. That may sound a bit presumptious of me but when I find a book about a haughty or badly behaved hero, I must read it. And I was totally right. I did love this book. Intensely.

    Juliette was one heck of an amazing heroine. I label many heroines as "strong" but she really was. She took care of her own business and did not depend on the hero to do it for her (it's a bit of a spoiler but if you read the book you'll get it). She was smart and rational in all that she did. I also love how she dealt with Will. He didn't exactly treat her nicely but she never got sad or dramatic about it. Will, on the other hand, was in need of a good scolding. He treats Juliette like crap for most of the book. He is so focused on his title that he can barely comprehend complex thought. But he has his reasons and once you get through his doltishness, he really is a sweetie.

    This is one of the rare times in my reading life where I can say with absolute accuracy that there was nothing I did not like about this book. I loved everything. The chemistry between Juliette and Will was just perfect. He treated her not so nicely most of the time but I kind of like that. He was also a bit snooty---but I like that too. I also liked the mystery even though it was a bit open-ended but I am expecting that that will be resolved in future books.

    Thursday, September 20, 2012

    Feature and Follow Friday (September 21st)

    Books Reviewed This Week

    Q: What hyped up book was worth all of the fuss?

    Hmm. I can think of four series right off the top of my head.

    1. The Iron Fey Series-Read it in one afternoon. Did not leave my couch the whole time.
    2. The Vampire Academy Series-So well written and I love Dimitri.
    3. Gemma Doyle Series-I can't even quantify how obsessed I am with this series.
    4. The Black Dagger Brotherhood-I hear about these books just about everywhere so I figured why not buy them all in one go and read them in a marathon. Totally worth it. The best two day reading marathon ever.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    Review: A Lady and Her Magic by Tammy Falkner

    A Lady and Her MagicPublisher:  Sourcebooks Casablanca
    ISBN: 1402268122
    Pages: 352 pages
    Genre: Romance/Fantasy/Fairies
    Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's
    Rules Are Made to be Disobeyed...

    Sophia Thorne is new to the Regency's glittering high society, which resembles her magical homeland only insofar as both places are filled with ridiculous rules. Which means no matter where she goes, she's bound for trouble...

    And Scandals Are Meant to be Shocking...

    The Duke of Robinsworth has flaunted and shocked society for years. In a moment of fateful mischief, Robinsworth encounters the enchanting and distinctly scandalous Sophia. Between her streak of magical mischief and his penchant for scandal, they're about to take rule-breaking to a whole new level...

    My Review:

    I knew this book was going to be good when I realized that Tammy Falkner is 1/2 of Lydia Dare. The best shapeshifter series on the planet is the Westfield Wolves series and I am hoping that she could do the same sort of magic for fairies. Fairies are not my favorite so it would take a really great book to get me even remotely interested.

    I really liked Sophia. Very much, in fact. But she flabbergasted me at times with her decision making. I did not understand why she refused to stay with Ashley when she knew she loved him. I thought she was being ridiculously stubborn. I did begin to understand her reasoning when we meet her grandfather. He's such a sweetie. Ashley was a bit of a conundrum for me as well. I did not understand why he was supposed to be so bad. Yes, he was rumored to have murdered his wife but he was so sweet. He was a nice guy and a great father and a great hero.

    I loved how Falkner approached fairy lore. Usually, it just doesn't work for me. Fairies in any book can trip and fall into Disney territory but Falkner's never do. It was believabe and relatable without ever approaching Tinkerbelle. The chemistry between Sophia and Ashley was also worth the price of admission. I think after finishing this book one thing stuck with me above all others--Ronald, the crotchety old garden gnome of awesomeness. I want a book just about him. I want to start a fan club dedicated to him. He was awesome.

    Needless to say, I am looking forward to the next book (hopefully about either Finn or Marcus).

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    Review: Temptation in a Kilt by Victoria Roberts

    Temptation in a Kilt (Bad Boys of the Highlands, #1)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
    ISBN: 1402270062
    Pages: 352 pages
    Genre: Romance/Historical/Highlander
    Series: Bad Boys of the Highlands
    Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's
    She's On Her Way to Safety

    It's a sign of Lady Rosalia Armstrong's desperation that she's seeking refuge in a place as rugged and challenging as the Scottish Highlands. She doesn't care about hardship and discomfort, if only she can become master of her own life. Laird Ciaran MacGregor, however, is completely beyond her control...

    He Redefines Dangerous...

    Ciaran MacGregor knows it's perilous to get embroiled with a fiery Lowland lass, especially one as headstrong as Rosalia. Having made a rash promise to escort her all the way to Glengarry, now he's stuck with her, even though she challenges his legendary prowess at every opportunity. When temptation reaches its peak, he'll be ready to show her how he really is...on and off the battlefield.

    My Review:

    I was a bit unsure about this one to start with. I have gone against my normal habits and read other reviews of this book and they were so-so but I loved it. I really did.

    I loved Rosalia. The only problem I had with her was her rather obnoxious name. Her mother was terrible and her father was a weakling putz. It was brave and smart of her to escape. There was literally nothing that I can nitpick about her. She was the perfectly written heroine. I loved Ciaran. I really did but I also wanted to hit him over the head with a brick. His adherence to his promise to his father made him seem a bit indecisive about his relationship with Rosalia. He needed a big 'ol kick in the head and, thankfully, he got it.

    I loved this one. As I said, I was a bit unsure but, thankfully, the the review pollution wasn't so bad and I disagree pretty vehemently with many of the reviews I saw. This book was excellent. It was well written, well plotted and chock full of chemistry. What it lacked in love scenes it made up for in great storytelling. I can't wait for the next book-hopefully about either Declan or James.

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

    Feature and Follow Friday (September 14th)

    Reviews Posted This Week:

    Q: What hyped up book do you think was not worth all the talk?

    Oh boy, it's gonna be a list.

    -Fifty Shades of Grey-Yes, I read it. Yes, I liked it. Yes, I wrote a fairly glowing review of it. But I don't get the hype. Much better BDSM erotica has been written. I don't get the controversy and I don't understand why people were so pissed about it. Women like to read about sex. Get over it. I don't have a problem that it was based on Twilight fan fiction though--otherwise I would be equally angry that Cassandra Clare has been published. 
    -The Da Vinci Code-It's the singular worst book ever written. I would like to burn it. I don't have a problem with the subject matter but I do have a problem that it's a terribly written piece of crap that everyone but me loves.
    -Twilight series-The fan fiction is better written. It is. I can point you out a thousand stories where a fan fiction author took characters that I hated in Twilight and made them likable and believable and created beautiful stories that would leave the source material in the dust.  Stephenie Meyer tripped and fell on a goldmine but otherwise she's a pretty terrible writer whose heroine is obnoxious and whose hero has stalker tendencies. She should have written about the wolves. Actually, strike that, leave it to the fan fiction writers---they do a better job. 

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    Review: In Rides Trouble by Julie Ann Walker

    In Rides Trouble (Black Knights, Inc., #2)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
    ISBN: 1402267169
    Pages: 311 pages
    Genre: Romance/Contemporary/Military
    Series: Black Knights, Inc-1
    Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's
    Rebel with a Cause

    Becky "Rebel" Reichert never actually goes looking for trouble. It just has a tendency to find her. Like the day Frank Knight showed up at her door, wanting to use her motorcycle shop as a cover for his elite special ops team. But Becky prides herself on being able to hang with the big boys-she can weld, drive, and shoot just as well as any of them.

    Man with a Mission

    Munitions, missiles, and mayhem are Frank's way of life. The last thing the ex-SEAL wants is for one brash blonde to come within fifty feet of anything that goes boom. Yet it's just his rotten luck when she ends up in a hostage situation at sea. Come hell or high water, he will get her back-whether she says she needs him or not

    My Review:

    This book proves why continuing with a series after a disappointing first book is always a good idea. This one was amazing. As I expected it would be after I learned that it was about Frank and Becky, my favorite characters from the last book.

    I loved Becky from the last book. She's a gearhead which predisposes me to loving her intensely. But she is also one of the most capable heroines I have ever come across. She was kidnapped by Somali pirates and never lost her head. She was brave and smart throughout it all.Frank, and I do have a difficult time with his name because Frank is my Father's name and that is just weird to me, was a bit of a stubborn ass. He put himself and Becky through so much needless angst because of his worries over an age difference. I wanted to smack him upside the head but I did like him quite a bit.

    With many series, you can jump right in at the second book and be fine. This is not one of them. In my opinion, there is so much continuation from the first book with very little rehash that it is nearly impossible to dive in cold. Plus, the whole beginning of Becky and Frank's story happens in the first book. It's a good book so it's not really a trial but still, you need that first book. I do have to admit that I loved the angst in this book and the unrequited love tension. I do love my books to have a bit of heartfail and this one definitely does. I also really loved the kidnapping plot and the action scenes were spectacular.

    I can't wait for the next book and I am hoping for a book about Angel.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2012

    Giveaway: Backstage Pass and Rock Hard by Olivia Cunning

    Backstage Pass (Sinners on Tour #1)  Rock Hard (Sinners on Tour, #2)Double Time (Sinners on Tour, #3)

     Sourcebooks is just so lovely and is allowing me to give away two sets of books (Backstage Pass and Rock Hard) by Olivia Cunning. In case you have been living under a rock, these books are full of rock star awesomeness. I can't wait to share the lovely awesomeness with 2 lucky winners. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter and answer some rock related questions.

    I can't let you answer without answering some of my own.

    1. If you could meet one rock star living or dead, who would it be?--Jim Morrison or Johnny Cash
    2.If you had to pick a rock song to be your anthem what would it be?--Crazy Train or Hells Bells
    3. Every rock star has their own signature something, what would yours be?--A Fedora and an eye patch. I can't pull off a fedora and no one can pull off an eye patch but I figure if I was a rock star both would be no problem.
    4. If you were in a band, what instrument would you play?--I've failed at every instrument I've tried so I probably would be the one playing like a random tambourine or something.
    5.What was the first rock album you ever bought?--Nevermind by Nirvana. It was my first encounter with musical genius. 

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    BBAW Day 2: Shining a Light on You!

    This is a sign that I must stop my self-imposed Twitter exile. I plumb forgot about BBAW. And I am sad. I will have to interview myself (scary prospect) because just found out about BBAW right this very moment.

    Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?-Not usually. I usually read in the very early mornings right before I go to sleep so no eating. But when I read during the day, I drink tea and munch on granola or cereal.
    Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you? I don't write in books. It's one of the many rules I have. I tend to lose it if I see writing in one of my books.
    How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? I use Tarot cards as bookmarks. They come in bulk and are often quite pretty. 
    Laying the book flat open? Breaks the binding and is very very bad.
    Fiction, Non-fiction, or both? Fiction with Non-fiction in very low doses. 
    Hard copy or audiobooks? Hard copy. Never got into audiobooks. 
    Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point? I once made my dentist allow me to read while he was filling a cavity because I needed to finish a chapter. I think he liked it because he found that it kept me from trying to make a run for it. 
    If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away? I usually make a post-it note. 
    What are you currently reading? The Lady Risks All by Stephanie Laurens
    What is the last book you bought? Passions of a Wicked Earl by Lorraine Heath
    Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time? One at a time but I finish two or three a day so it moves pretty quickly. 
    Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read? I like to read in the hours between 3 and 5 am. That's right before I fall asleep...and I am a bit of an insomniac. 
    Do you prefer series books or stand alone books? Series. Especially romance series where you get variety but stay in the same world with the same characters.
    Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over? Kaylie Jones. A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries is one of my favorites.
    How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?) I don't. I am a trained librarian and the organization system in my home library is nil. It's sad. 

    Also, if you feel like it, go enter my giveaway for two books by Olivia Cunning

    Friday, September 7, 2012

    Feature and Follow Friday (September 7th)

    I am sorry I didn't get around to responding last week. I have been cleaning my house in preparation for an invasion by my relatives from Italy. Not fun at all. But I will return every comment this week. 

    Reviews Posted This Week: 

    Q: What book(s) are you reading right now? What do you think of it?

    I am currently not reading anything. I am in a very bad place right now. I keep picking up books to read and they keep disappointing me so I abandon it and pick up something new only to be disappointed again. I think it's because I just finished a really good one, Kiss of Steel , and nothing is living up to it. I think I may need to find some more Steampunk. Any suggestions? Maybe a really long series.

    Thursday, September 6, 2012

    Review: Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas

    Smooth Talking Stranger (Travises, #3)Publisher: St. Martin's Press
    Pages: 372 pages
    Genre: Romance/Contemporary
    Series:  Travises-1,2
    Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's

    Billionaire playboy, and all-around ladies’ man, Jake Travis has a reputation as big as the state of Texas. He drives too fast, lives too hard, and loves too many women to count.

    In her advice column, and her love life, Ella Varner is always practical. So when she’s left holding her reckless sister’s baby, she decides to ask Jake Travis to take a paternity test.

    Ella is instantly struck by Jake’s bold good looks and easy charm—but she’s not falling for his sweet talk. This big sexy tomcat needs to take responsibility for his actions, and Ella’s making him stick to his word. Now if she can only ignore the unspoken attraction that smolders between them…
    My Review:

    I am not usually into novels with a baby focus. I have an unnatural fear and dislike of them. I don't find them cute or sweet and I tend to avoid them. But I figured that if Lisa Kleypas wrote it, I should give it a chance.

    I liked Ella. I identified with her quite a bit in the beginning of the book. I am not one of those girls that has ever wanted to get married or have children and neither was Ella. Until she came across Jack and Luke that is. I did love watching her fall in love with the both of them. Luke was alsoone of the cutest book babies every. I am not the type of girl to coo over a baby but Luke had me going gaga. Jack has always been my favorite of the Travis brothers (aside from Joe who deserved his own book but never got one). He's an alpha with a scampy and naughty side. He was a bit of a playboy but I liked him.

    As I said, I am not a big fan of babies. At all. But I did love Luke. It was easy to get over my pathological dislike of babies because Luke was super adorable. I also loved the dynamic that Luke's presence created between Ella and Jack. I did want Ella's mother to get hers because she was quite the jackass. I also love that Tara wasn't demonized because motherhood wasn't for her.

    There is one thing that really detracted from this series for me...the lack of a book for Joe. Why was he not deserving of a book? I think he was. He was my favorite brother. He was just as important as the others. This series, without a book for Joe, just felt like a whole lot of middle. If Kleypas ever reevaluates and writes a book for Joe, I may reconsider this series but if not, it's not even close to my favorite of her series. I am not sure if I would rather she return to historicals or write Jack's book but either one would be lovely.

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012

    Review: Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster

    Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, #1)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
    ISBN: 1402270275
    Pages: 448 pages
    Genre: Romance/Steampunk/Paranormal
    Series:  London Steampunk
    Challenges- TK
    Buy this Book: Amazon, Indiebound, Powell's
    When Nowhere is Safe

    Most people avoid the dreaded Whitechapel district. For Honoria Todd, it's the last safe haven. But at what price?

    Blade is known as the master of the rookeries—no one dares cross him. It's been said he faced down the Echelon's army single–handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood–craving he's been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.

    When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She's so...innocent. He doesn't see her backbone of steel—or that she could be the very salvation he's been seeking.

    My Review:

    How have I avoided steampunk for so long? If it's as good as the two I've read, I've been missing out in a criminally deprived kind of way. It's awesome. It is. And this series, I can tell you right now, will be one of my favorites.

    I loved Honoria from the start. She was a strong and capable heroine with just a few moments of weakness. I liked that she was stubborn and independent but not in that annoying, Mary Sue-ish way. She is pretty much a character study of the perfectly written romance heroine. Blade is definitely going on my favorite hero list. He reminded me of Derek Craven from Lisa Kleypas' Dreaming of You. That is pretty much the highest compliment I can give a hero. Derek comes second only to Darcy. I loved his choppy way of speaking. It reflected his character so well and it's nice not to see such a prim and proper hero. He was also very kind, gentle, protective and generous in spite of his rough exterior. He was a noble hero in the most unexpected of packages.

    I loved this book. In case you couldn't tell by my abject worship in the other parts of this review. I kept going back because I didn't want this book to end. I loved the way McMaster approache vampires. They are not suave or sexy or anything of the sort but they are grotesque and disgusting. Her descriptions are enough to turn anyone's stomach. The world building in this book was just plain amazing. I could easily revisit this world for 20 more books and be completely happy about it. Honoria and Blade were also one of the most adorable couples I have ever come across. This is a book I will be rereading. Many times. I can't tell you how much I loved this book enough. I will be waiting for the next book (please be about Will) like a rabid fangirl.

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