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Currently Browsing: reviews
Oct
12

Review: Ghost of a Smile

Review: Ghost of a Smile Ghost of a Smile Author: Simon R. Green  Release Date: August 30, 2011 Publisher: Ace Ghost Finders #2 ISBN: #978-0441020751 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (279 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       The Ghost Finders answer a distress call from the private research centre of one of the biggest drug companies in the world, where a team of police enforcement agents have vanished. They have no idea what they’re facing-except a deadline that threatens to remove the entire building from existence if they fail to get to the bottom of the mystery. What G & U are talking about:       Gikany and Una were first introduced to Simon R. Green through his book For Heaven’s Eyes Only in his Secret History’s series (review HERE).  So when the opportunity came to review Ghost of a Smile in his latest Ghost Finders series, we jumped for it.  We were hoping for another story that would have wonderful banter, engaging plot and fascinating world.  We got more than we hoped for!       Since this is only the second book in the series, Gikany and Una went ahead and read the first book, Ghost of a Chance.  There is quite a bit of world-building and set up in the first book so we recommend that you grab it and read it first.  We will say we found the Ghost of a Smile much stronger, but we did enjoy the first novel.      The story begins with our fearless (well, except for Happy) ghost finders of the famous Carnaki Institute up to their usual antics.  As their beginning mission ends, they are, again, thrust into a serious situation they must deal with (even though there are better teams the “higher” ups would rather send in, they are stuck with JC, Melody and Happy).  Mr. Green’s characters are absolutely charismatic and fun. The banter is wonderful and the plot flows well. “Come on, Happy,” JC said cheerfully.  “Where’s your sense of adventure? “I had it surgically removed,” Happy said coldly.  “It was endangering my life.” “It’s true,” said Melody.  “He did.  I’ve got it in a jar at home, on the mantelpiece.”      This was just an incredibly fun and engaging story.  The plot moves well, the writing is splendidly woven with humor and character development all while keeping the mystery moving and plot thickening up until the end.  There just are not that...
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Oct
6

Review: Unleashed

Review: Unleashed Unleashed Author: Sara Humphreys   Release Date: October 1, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Amoveo Legend #1 ISBN: #978-1402258435 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (320 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       What if you suddenly discovered your own powers were beyond anything you’d ever imagined… Samantha Logan’s childhood home had always been a haven, but everything changed while she was away. She has a gorgeous new neighbor, Malcolm, who introduces her to the amazing world of the dream-walking, shapeshifting Amoveo clans…but what leaves her reeling with disbelief is when he tells her she’s one of them…       And shock turns to terror as Samantha falls prey to the deadly enemy determined to destroy the Amoveo, and the only chance she has to come into her true powers is to trust in Malcolm to show her the way… What G & U are talking about:       Unleashed is the debut novel of Sara Humphreys and the first in the new Amoveo Legacy series.  This is a new take on shapeshifters and a blend of intriguing urban fantasy with rich romantic overtures.       In general, we enjoyed the novel.  The balance of the novel is more weighted towards romance and less urban fantasy/paranormal, but it was still quite an enjoyable read.  The world that Ms. Humphreys has built is unique and fascinating and we look forward to finding out more about this ancient race of shapeshifters.  It is difficult to discuss too much of the novel without giving portions away, so we apologize if this review is a tad brief.       As with many newly published artists, it does have the feel of a “first” book but it does not detract from the overall enjoyment of the story.  Samantha and Malcolm’s story was enthralling.  The mystery was not entirely surprising, but it did have some interesting twists and neatly set up the next book without sacrificing the happily ever after.  We found Unleashed to be a quick read.  The writing flowed, albeit a little overly romanticized at times, but with vivid imagery.  We were easily able to immerse ourselves into this world.  The character development was a little rough, but not a distraction or detriment to overall enjoyment of the storyline.       We look forward to reading the next book in this new and fresh series, Untouched due out in April of 2012.  If you are looking for a...
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Sep
30

Review: The Goblin King

Review: The Goblin King The Goblin King Author: Shona Husk Release Date: October 1, 2011 Publisher: Sourcebooks Shadowlands Trilogy #1 ISBN: #978-1402259852 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (319 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Cursed by a Druid a millennia ago, Roan lives a bleak existence in the Shadowlands, desperately trying to retain his soul and not succumb to the goblin horde.When a beautiful human summons him to grant a wish, he sees a glimmer of hope. But will she ever agree to be his queen? What G & U are talking about:       The Goblin King is the first full-length novel in a new paranormal trilogy by Shona Husk.  There seems to be a free ebook prequel entitled, The Summons, which is the backstory to when Eliza first called the Goblin King, Roan.  The story is referenced and summarized in this novel.  Gikany and Una did not read it (we discovered it when putting together this review), and we did not feel as if we missed anything.  However, it might be fun to read as an extended teaser if you are interested in trying the series on before purchasing this book.       Gikany and Una specifically requested this book from Twimom.  We were intrigued by the synopsis and thought it might be a new and fascinating world.  Long story short, we felt a little let down by the novel.  The Goblin King did not live up to our expectations, however we did enjoy it.  Overall, we think the author could have done more with the characters and the world, but didn’t.  What follows are the few issues we found with the novel.       The main bad guy, the Druid, had no back-story or character development.  Simply put, the Druid is evil, he is the reason Roan and his men were cursed and that’s that.  You cannot reason with him, he hates Roan, and waits to be able to destroy him for being a King who would turn his back on his people and sell them out to the Romans.  We feel that there could have been more to the Druid and this plot point.  It adds to a story if a main character was evil and was guilty and redeems himself (one of Una’s favorite plot devices is the element of redemption) or if the main character is innocent all along (see…we will NOT spoil you!) and can plead his case...
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Sep
28

ARC Review: Spider’s Revenge

ARC Review: Spider’s Revenge       Today I have a special review post from the lovely Danni. Danni won my Spider’s Revenge ARC Giveaway, and today she takes over That’s What I’m Talking About to tell us a little more about Jennifer Estep’s newest release.       Danni is a stay-at-home mom who loves to read.  Luckily she gets enough free time to indulge in her passion.  Paranormal romance and urban fantasy are her preferred genres, and she loves a hot shifter story! Please welcome Danni to That’s What I’m Talking About! Spider’s Revenge Author: Jennifer Estep Release Date: September 27, 2011 Publisher: Pocket Books Elemental Assassins #5 ISBN: #978-1439192641 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (400 pgs), e-book Book Source: Author About the book: Old habits die hard. And I plan on mur­der­ing some­one before the night is through.    Killing used to be my reg­u­lar gig, after all. Gin Blanco, aka the Spi­der, assassin-for-hire. And I was very good at it. Now, I’m ready to make the one hit that truly mat­ters: Mab Mon­roe, the dan­ger­ous Fire ele­men­tal who mur­dered my fam­ily when I was thir­teen.    Oh, I don’t think the mis­sion will be easy, but turns out it’s a bit more prob­lem­atic than expected. The bitch knows I’m com­ing for her. So now I’m up against the army of lethal bounty hunters she hired to track me down. She also put a price on my baby sister’s head. Keep­ing Bria safe is my first pri­or­ity. Tak­ing Mab out is a close sec­ond.    Good thing I’ve got my pow­er­ful Stone and Ice magic — and my irre­sistible lover Owen Grayson — to watch my back. This bat­tle has been years in the mak­ing, and there’s a chance I won’t sur­vive. But if I’m going down, then Mab’s com­ing with me…no mat­ter what I have to do to make that happen. What Danni is talking about:       Gin is finally ready to face Mab Monroe.  Finally ready to take down the person that destroyed Gin’s family and set her on the path of becoming the Spider.  The action starts right off the bat with Gin making an attempt on Mab’s life right in her own home while Mab is entertaining guests.  Of course things can’t be that easy for Gin.  And she also discovers that there are tons of bounty hunters in town going after a bounty on both Gin and her sister, Bria.  Gin has to stay...
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Sep
23

Review: The Darkest Surrender

Review: The Darkest Surrender The Darkest Surrender Author: Gena Showalter Release Date: September 27, 2011 Publisher: Harlequin HQN Lords of the Underworld #8 ISBN: #978-0373775811 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (432 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      Possessed by the demon of Defeat, Strider cannot lose a challenge without suffering unimaginable pain.  For him, nothing stands in the way of victory.  Until Kaia, an enchanting Harpy, tempts him to the razor’s edge of surrender. Known among her people as The Disappointment, Kaia must bring home the gold in the Harpy Games or die.  Strider is a distraction she can’t afford because he as an agenda of his own – steal first prize, an ancient godly artifact, before the winner can be named.  But as the competition heats up, only one prize will matter – the love neither had thought possible… What I’m talking about:      Ms. Showalter kicks off her eight full-length Lords of the Underworld (LotU) book with a little history of harpy, Kaia. We’ve seen Kaia around – twin sister to Bianca (Lysander’s mate) and big sister of Gwen (Sabin’s mate). (For my LORDS primer post, click HERE). When she was only 14 years old and full of untested confidence, Kaia unknowingly released a prisoner who decimated a large percent of the Harpy population. He also happened to be the consort of a fellow harpy who to this date, waits to seek her revenge on Kaia.  Kaia was named “The Disappointment,” and while she never let it show, she was deeply hurt. Now Kaia and her sisters have the opportunity to prove their worth at the Harpy Games, a deadly “warrior Olympics” of sorts. The first thing I want to say about The Darkest Surrender is WOO-HOO!! I am a huge fan of LotU, and felt the last two books have been mediocre. So it is with great pleasure for me to say GENA IS BACK! Surrender gets back to the basics, and showcases all that I adore about this great series. HUMOR, check. SEXY HERO, check. KICK-ASS HEROINE, check. FUN PLOT, check. LOTS OF ACTION & SMEX, check, check! Fans of this series will not be disappointed! Kaia and Strider are perfect for each other! Both are egotistical and funny, each thinks that they are at the top of the food chain, and both have the skills to prove it. Right from the start, I was chuckling out loud at Kaia’s wit and humor. She knows fun....
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Sep
9

Review: Isle of Night

Review: Isle of Night Isle of Night Author: Veronica Wolff  Release Date: September 6, 2011 Publisher: NAL Trade The Watchers #1 ISBN: #978-0451234629 Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal) Format(s): Paperback (312 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       IS LIFE OFFERING FEWER AND FEWER OPTIONS? THEN JOIN THE DEAD.        When Annelise left for college, it meant good riddance to her abusive father and stepmother—until a bureaucratic screw-up left her without a diploma, flat broke, and facing a future that seemed more elusive than ever. Then she met Ronan—tall, dark, and way too seductive for her own good. He promised Annelise a new life, if she had the courage to chance the unknown. One look at him and she certainly had the desire. Sure enough, accepting rides from strangers does yield surprises.        Whisked away to a mysterious island in the North Sea, Annelise is pitted against other female recruits in tests of skill, smarts, and strength. To win is to become a member of the Watchers, an elite and unique partnership—with vampires—that dispatches its teams on the most dangerous missions imaginable. It’s not exactly what Annelise had in mind for a new beginning but it’s livelier than the alternative. Because on the Isle of Night, to lose the challenge doesn’t just mean dishonor. It means death. Let the games begin. What G & U are talking about:       Isle of Night is the premier book in the new young adult series The Watchers.  This is a fresh and tantalizing series that anyone from middle school-aged children to adults may enjoy.  Due to some more adult issues (maybe a bit scary), we feel that this would not be an appropriate book for elementary school children.       The premise feels like Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Vampire Academy all rolled into one.  Annelise (usually called Drew) is a teenaged genius who has come from an abusive home and dreams of a better life.  However, the old adage of be careful what you wish for… has never more rang more true than in Drew’s case.  This world she has now found herself in has only two paths: excel or die.       Una and Gikany found Isle of Night to be captivating and enthralling.  The story flows easily and the novel is very difficult to put down.  Drew is a character that is easy to relate to.  She is neither horribly complicated nor...
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Aug
31

Review: Demon Marked

Review: Demon Marked Demon Marked Author: Meljean Brook  Release Date: September 6, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Sensation The Guardians #7 (does not include novellas) ISBN: #978-0425242698 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher   About the book:       Nicholas St. Croix is familiar with the evil of demons. After his father’s death, a demon took over his mother’s body and raised him. Six years ago, his “mother” was responsible for the disappearance of the woman he loved, and Nicholas swore he’d find her—even if he had to go to Hell and back. Except she finds him first—and with one tormented kiss, he knows she too is a demon. Now he is determined to take his revenge…       Ash is a half-demon with no memory of her past or how she got to Hell. All she knows is that Nicholas St. Croix holds the key to her identity. And though he’s clearly drawn to her, Nicholas makes no secret of his distrust of her. Yet one kiss at a time, he breaks down her defenses as they battle an array of demons and Guardians. But is Ash’s greatest enemy the man at her side? What I’m talking about:       For those that don’t already know this… I adore the Guardian Series and Meljean Brook. I have been anxiously awaiting Demon Marked, not because of the primary characters, but rather because I know the series will be ending after the next book and I wanted to see where Meljean went with this one.  Let me tell you, this book was better than I hoped!       Ash isn’t really sure who or what she is – she doesn’t remember Before, only After. Something unknown happened to Ash and now she only recalls that for three years she was locked in the Nightingale House, living each day without experiencing any emotions, never eating nor sleeping. After her escape, she begins to track down clues that might help her learn her history, the biggest clue being Nicholas St. Croix.       Nicholas has his own agenda – finding the demon, Madeline, that impersonated his mother and ruined his life. He lives for the sole purpose of revenge. Thinking he can use Ash as bait to bring in Madeline, Nicholas agrees to help Ash, even though he doesn’t trust her. Together they begin to piece the puzzle together, learning that there are exceptions to every rule....
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Aug
24

Review: Shadowflame

Review: Shadowflame Shadowflame Author: Dianne Sylvan  Release Date: July 26, 2011 Publisher: Ace Novel of the Shadow World #2 ISBN:978-0441020652 Genre: Urban Fantasy Format(s): Paperback (360 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:      It’s been three months since musician Miranda Grey became a vampire and married David Solomon, Prime of the South. As Queen, Miranda must quickly come to terms with her new role and learn how to negotiate the treacherous waters of Signet politics, inevitably making dangerous enemies along the way.      As if complicated vampire politics and a rising music career weren’t enough, an enigmatic but powerful force from David’s past appears, leaving a wake of chaos and uncertainty for the Pair’s fledgling relationship. Miranda begins to realize how little she really knows about her husband. But when an assassin begins targeting her friends and allies, the Pair must track down the killer, even as their lives hang in the balance… What G & U are talking about:      Shadowflame is the second novel in the exciting new Shadow World series.  It begins three months after the resolution of the first book Queen of the Shadows.  Due to the nature of the story and character development, and since there is only one book prior to this one, we recommend you read this series from the beginning.  Trust us, it is worth it.      The Shadow World is a world that exists within our own.  This is where vampires (and possibly … other things) exist.  Shadowflame is a gripping read as Miranda, the newly turned vampire and new Queen of the Southern Territory, tries to find her place and role within this world while still trying to hold on to some human ties.  There is a strong, grounded feel to this series, which allows the reader to truly lose herself in the storytelling.  The suspense of the action/mystery is expertly woven with the drama of the relationships.  It was very difficult for us to put it down.  The duality of the worlds and the interactions between them are fascinating and add to the richness of the story.      Some of the drama between Miranda and her Prime, David, is surprising.  We found it somewhat interesting, knowing how much “older” David is than Miranda, that they don’t spend more time getting to know each other and asking those “early relationship building” questions.  We understand that there are some secrets that people feel they must...
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Aug
19

Review: Black Night

Review: Black Night Black Night Author: Christina Henry  Release Date: July 26, 2011 Publisher: ACE Madeline Black #2 ISBN: #978-1937007065 Genre: Urban Fantacy Format(s): Paperback (288 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Madeline Black is an Agent of death, meaning she escorts the souls of people who have died to the afterlife. Of course, not everyone is happy to see her…        If obstinate dead people were all that Maddy had to worry about, life would be much easier. But the best-laid plans of Agents and fallen angels often go awry. Deaths are occurring contrary to the natural order, Maddy’s being stalked by foes inside and outside of her family, and her two loves-her bodyguard, Gabriel, and her doughnut-loving gargoyle, Beezle-have disappeared. But because Maddy is Lucifer’s granddaughter, things are expected of her, things like delicate diplomatic missions to other realms. What I’m talking about:       After reading Ms. Henry’s debut Black Wings (review HERE, purchase info: Black Wings), I couldn’t wait to find out what was in store for heroine, Maddy. When we last left Maddy, she had found out her “dead-beat dad” is actually Azazel and her grandfather is none other than Lucifer himself. She was in love with her bodyguard, Gabriel, but because of Lucifer’s laws, they are not allowed to be together-ever. Oh, and she’s engaged to some tight-ass fallen angel, Nathaniel, because her father said so.       Black Night picks up shortly after the conclusion of the first book. Once again, Ms. Henry packs in the action right away.  This time around, Maddy, Gabriel and gargoyle Beezle stumble across the gruesome murder of a werewolf and discover that a begrudged demon is out to kill Maddy (for murdering its father). Things progress quickly when Maddy’s mates disappear and she is forced to act as Lucifer’s ambassador to the fae kingdom of Queen Amarantha, who has quite a few nefarious plans of her own.       The book was another quick, enjoyable read. The plot moved swiftly and there was plenty of action and adventure.  The star-crossed romance was toned down quite a bit and new possibilities were brought forth.  I enjoyed the complications Queen Amarantha presented and loved that Maddy really came into her own this time around.  Not only did her powers grow, but she is learning how to maneuver this still-new-to-her world without losing herself or diminishing her priorities.       One thing that...
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Aug
18

Review: Heart Search

Review: Heart Search Please welcome my friend, VampBard who wrote today’s review of… Heart Search Author: Robin D. Owens  Release Date: August 2, 2011 Publisher: Berkley Trade Heart Book Series #10 ISBN: #978-0425241387 Genre: Paranormal Romance Format(s): Paperback (368 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher   About the book: Laev T’Hawthorn — one of the highest nobles in the land — must rebuild his life after a devastating mistake.  He married a woman he believed was his HeartMate, only to learn she was a greedy social climber.  She callously used him, stealing his family heirlooms.  He is determined to reclaim all that he has lost — beginning with his self-respect. Abandoned at fifteen, Camellia Darjeeling values her independence above all.  She’s fought to establish her own businesses — elegant tearooms — only to have her father and uncle re-enter her life.  They emotionally scourge her and extort money.  Trusting men, even her HeartMate, is too risky. When Laev and Camellia meet, they refuse to acknowledge that they are true HeartMates.  After her shady relatives are implicated in the theft of Laev’s property, Camellia and Laev’s lives become ever more entangled bringing each to the brink of despair and passion…and a destiny they can no longer avoid. What VampBard talking about:      Heart Search is the tenth book in Owens’ series. This is my first time reading her work. Let me just start by saying I L-O-V-E the world she’s created! This world is the perfect blend of fiction and reality for me. Just enough sci-fi tossed in to make it interesting, too. The mythology behind this novel was well-researched, and the combination of Wiccan and Druidism as well as some of the Celtic myth definitely kept my interest, as I constantly find myself drawn to stories of this type.      The hero, Laev, is an extraordinary hero. At the onset of the story, he’s a ruler that has not stepped up to his role. By the end of the novel, however, Laev is THE man! He rights wrongs, and seeks solutions to problems. Most importantly, he finds the love of his life – his HeartMate – in Camellia.      Camellia, a heroine as strong as they come, provides the story with a strong dose of reality. We all have skeletons in our closet, and poor Camellia has to deal with hers quite often. She loves passionately, works hard, and is self-sufficient. While she doesn’t really have room nor time in...
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