TABT, Blood Hunt (Sentinel Wars series), Shannon K. Butcher Tuesday, Oct 11 2011 

This is the fifth book in the Sentinel Wars series, and I HIGHLY recommend the previous books be read first to get the full effect/history, since it’s a very complicated urban fantasy world.

I think the main thing that keeps me coming back to this series, Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series and Jessica Anderson’s Nightkeepers books is the fact that while there is an overarching storyline that influences everything, each of the books focus on one romance and follow it to it’s Happily Ever After.  I’ve pretty much given up on continuous storylines that feature the same heroine/hero because after about the 4th book I just can keep interest (with the exception of Jennifer Estep’s Gin Blanco series).

This was a great addition to the Sentinel Wars mythos, this time exploring the blood-drinking Sanguinar Logan and introducing us to Hope, a woman with out a past who touches Logan in a way no one ever has…but is forbidden to him.  As I read this, I have to admit, I didn’t see any way they could get their HEA, but was I ever happily surprised!  Both characters are wonderfully tortured, but not so much that I, as a reader, couldn’t identify with them.  Additionally, the storyline is continued, maybe through more ancillary characters’ POV than I’d prefer, but it was well done.

This one is well worth picking up, and I can’t wait until the next one comes out!!!

TABT–Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin Book 4), Jennifer Estep Tuesday, Oct 4 2011 

Yet another great installment to Estep’s continuing series.  While this could be read as a standalone, I highly recommend picking up the previous books, because they’re all fabulous in their own right, and you’d be missing out on something special by starting with this book.

Throughout this series we’ve watched Gin grow from The Spider, an assassin motivated purely by money and by her handler’s instructions, to a rounded woman who, while on a purely selfish mission to exact revenge, still manages to retain her humanity by being who she really is–a woman who cares.  Her Robin Hood motivations even out what could have been a too-harsh character.

Secondary characters are well drawn as well, but not as prevalent as they have been in past books.  This is certainly Gin’s book, and I got more than a little misty as the last few pages unfolded.  The overarching storyline continues on at a brisk pace, and I can’t wait to see where the next book goes!!

TABT…Song of Scarabeus Tuesday, Aug 9 2011 

Finished this one over the weekend and really, really liked it!  Creasy has created a descriptive, vivid universe that pits the huge, unscrupulous Crib against the hardscrabble Fringers and those caught in between.  This book deals mostly with Edie, a child who’s been brought up utilize her special skills to ‘talk’ to both the bio and tech sides of terraforming and Finn, a slave forced to act as her bodyguard.  The story centers around Edie’s kidnapping by pirates, and their “mission” to recover very expensive hardware from the very first planet she helped terraform (note…this is hugely, dramatically oversimplified).

Creasey has done a fabulous job not only in universe building, but in giving us real, three-dimensional characters that we can really get behind.  From Edie and Finn’s developing relationship to the secondary characters on board the Hoi Polloi and from her past, this is an exceedingly well-drawn sci-fi story, very light on the romance (so don’t go in expecting that).

All in all, a great read, and I can’t wait to see where the next book takes us!

TABT…Deadly Fear, Cynthia Eden Tuesday, Jun 28 2011 

A very, very strong entry into the romantic suspense field, and believe you me, I’m picky as hell.  To the point I put an entire series in the outgoing pile after not being able to connect to the first book. But not this book, thank goodness!

Monica Davenport and Luke Dante have a past…and now they’re teaming up to hunt down a serial killer.  Little do they know it’s about to get VERY personal, both on the killing front and in the bedroom!  I really, really liked Monica’s character.  She earned her nickname of “Ice” but wasn’t overly proud of it, which made her a really sympathetic character.  Luke was also fabulous as an agent who can get inside the head of the victim, while Monica does the opposite, and hones in on the killer.  It makes for a perfect partnership that’s almost destroyed when the killer gets too close.

As a series, it’s reminiscent of Kylie Brant’s Mindhunter books, but has enough distinctiveness of its own to make me pick up the second book in the series! Well done, Ms. Eden!

The Sweetest Thing, Jill Shalvis Tuesday, Jun 21 2011 

I was having a really crappy week last week, and when I looked at the TBR pile for a Calgon moment, I saw Jill’s book calling to me. And as always, she made me laugh, she made me hot, and dammit, she made me cry at the end.  As with all of her books, she inserts heroes and heroines we can identify with and root for, even if we could never imagine being in their shoes ourselves.

In this installment of the Lucky Harbor series, we get to figure out exactly what’s up with Tara and Ford.  I mean, c’mon!  We knew, from Simply Irresistible, that they had a past, and pretty much figured out most of it, but oh honey, getting to see it all hashed out in The Sweetest Thing was a TON of fun!  I won’t recap the plotline, you can see that anywhere on Amazon or Goodreads.  Instead, I’ll tell you what worked for me.  In a word, the hero and heroine.  I LOVED the fact that Tara was trying to find herself, and neither Ford nor Logan are going to sway her from that goal.  Tho they tried like hell.  And as for Ford… wow.  Just wow.  What a fabulous hero.  He knows he’s not a “keeper” but dammit if deep down he doesn’t want to be, but only for Tara.

So my recommendation?  If you want a keeper shelf book that’ll make you giggle, blush like a schoolgirl and then bawl like one as well, then pick this bad boy up!  Can’t WAIT for Head Over Heels in November!

Bidding Adeiu to Long-Running Series Monday, May 23 2011 

As much as it pains me to say it out loud, I think I’ve come to the end of reading ongoing, long-running series. I’m not talking interconnected romances…I’m good with those, but rather those books that have long and intricate storylines (usually urban fantasies). I still love the writing and the characters, but I just can’t keep track of the plots, not unless I want to limit myself to those books alone.

I read across multiple genres and categories, so keeping worldbuilding deets straight across several series is beginning to seem like work, and I’ve already got a day job, the Editorial Director gig and writing going on. How much does that suck?? I guess I just can’t justify spending the moola when my recall of the worldbuilding is foggy at best because I’ve read a dozen other books in the intervening year since the last book in the series came out. Does that make sense? Or am I being cranky *G*??

TABT…Beyond the Night by Joss Ware Tuesday, May 3 2011 

A slam-bang entry into the post-apocalyptic fray–and it’s not YA! That’s a big thrill for me since I just don’t seem to “get” YA.  The plot recap has been done to pieces already at Amazon and B&N, so instead I’ll focus on what worked for me (may contain spoilers).  Loved, loved, loved finding out which town Envy is in “our” world, and how Ware led us up to it.  The background of the world is perfectly drawn–in your face with no apologies and vivid as hell.  I had to giggle a bit over the “gangas” because every time I read it, I thought of marijuana <VBG>.  I enjoyed the two main characters, Jade & Elliott immensely, and had a wonderful time watching their relationship flourish.  I already bought the second book in the series and it’s next up on my reading list.  Don’t miss this exciting new world!!

TABT, Worth the Trip by Penny McCall Tuesday, Apr 19 2011 

This is a backlist book, but I’d enjoyed one of McCall’s books before, so decided to try her again.
This is a fun, fast story with a lot of quick wit, banter and danger. It reminded me a lot of my favorite TV show Bones, in that Norah (the heroine) understands exactly who she is in the beginning, only to learn something completely different as the story progresses. She becomes stronger, more of a whole woman even as she realizes there’s no way Trip will be around when it’s all said and done. Trip was adorable–alternately confounded and turned on by Norah and it was a blast to watch him go down, and go down hard *G*.

TABT…Double Cross, Carolyn Crane Tuesday, Mar 8 2011 

This is the second book in Carolyn Crane’s richly imagined Midcity series, and if anything, she surpassed the first book (Mind Games).  In this story, Justine and the rest of the Disillusionists are continuing their work in making Midcity a safer place, but now they’ve got a new foe to face…a gang who are systematically killing Highcaps.  I don’t want to give too much of the first book away, so I’ll leave it at that, which kinda sucks as a review, so let me just say this…if you want to read something totally different, something that’ll make you laugh, get a bit misty and wonder “where the hell did she come up with this idea?” then march forth and purchase both of these books today!

TABT, Eternal Kiss of Darkness, Jeaniene Frost Tuesday, Jan 4 2011 

Eternal Kiss of Darkness (Night Huntress World, #2)Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost
I’m a huge fan of Frost’s, but I have to admit I let this one sit on my self for awhile because I just couldn’t picture Mencheres as a hero I’d root for. Not really sure why, I just never really connected with him in a way that made me want to read any more about him.

I was hugely glad to be proven wrong! As usual, Frost created a vibrant, sexy world where I was totally immersed in the action as well as the romance. Kira was a perfect foil to Mencheres, and I hope to see more of her in future Frost books. Mencheres showed himself to be the leader all of his “family” were so loyal to (which we’d never really seen in the past), and appearances by Bones, Cat and Vlad were both necessary to the plot and welcome.

Can’t wait for the next one!

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