Thursday, January 27, 2011

Highland Warrior by Monica McCarty

Highland Warrior
(The Campbell Trilogy Book #1)
by Monica McCarty

Genre: Historical Romance

The ruthless enforcer of Scotland’s most powerful clan, Jamie Campbell is the most feared man in the Highlands. Raw physical strength coupled with cunning political acumen make him a powerful force with whom few men will dare to reckon. Determined to see the Highlands tamed of its lawlessness and unrest, Jamie’s objectives are clear: under the guise of seeking the Chief of Lamont’s daughter’s hand in marriage, discover whether the Lamonts are harboring any outlawed MacGregors. But guise turns to desire when he meets the beautiful spitfire who rules the household with a dainty iron fist. The fierce Highlander never expects that the woman he wants above all others will test his duty and loyalty to his clan to the breaking point.

Cosseted and adored by her family, Caitrina Lamont has no intention of abandoning her beloved father and doting four older brothers for a husband—especially a Campbell. But Jamie Campbell is nothing like the parade of suitors that Caitrina’s father usually traipses across their hall. His raw masculinity threatens her in a way no man ever had before. But when Caitrina’s idyllic world is shattered, could the man she blames for her tragedy become her only hope for the future?

Caitrina "Caiti" Lamont is the spoiled daughter of the Chief of their clan with three loving brothers. She's content with her "princess" lifestyle and even okay with her father trying to match her up with a husband at the highland festival being held at their castle. Yet, the one man who captures her interest the most is a mystery and frustratingly tells her "no" unlike every other male in her life. Life is good with a few stolen kisses until the long-hated Campbell clan attacks one night and brutally murders her family & burns her home. Now, the grieving Caitrina is staying/hiding with her aunt and uncle until Jamie Campbell, the cute mystery man from before, comes back into her life proposing marriage for clan alliance. She accepts solely for the reason of gaining her family lands back, but before she knows it . . . love begins to change her view on the world.

As I mention in my other reviews (links below) I read this series all out of order, but enjoyed it none the less. Caiti comes off very young and naive in the beginning of the Highland Warrior but grows up a lot throughout the story. She still isn't my favorite female protagonist throughout the Campbell trilogy, but she does have some great character development and you feel her emotional change during the death of her family. Jamie of the other hand is quite sure of himself and though I didn't really notice much of a change in him within the story, he was very loyal to Caiti and open to making their marriage work.

Near the end of the book, there were many scenes of the two immaturely fighting over their beliefs/feelings/etc that it became quite tedious to read after a while, but even though everything resolved itself in time for the last page - I still felt as if something was missing from the tale. I did enjoy that the story preached loyalty (to not only ones partner, but family as well) as being just as important as love (i.e. don't make ultimatums!), which is a theme you don't find too often in romances but was surprisingly nice in this one.

I should have read the series in order, than maybe I would have a sense of completion.
So, maybe I'll pick up the other two again soon and do that!
Check out my other reviews of the Campbell trilogy here :
Book # 2 - Highland Outlaw
Book # 3 - Highland Scoundrel

Likes: The silly ways that Jamie could easily get under Caitrina's skin in the beginning of the story (ex: kitten incident, archery competition, etc.)

Dislikes: The "honeymoon stage" (aka numerous sex scenes) near the end of the story became pretty consistent every other page and almost eclipsed the concluding plot. Don't get me wrong, I love the love-scenes. . . but it was almost too much for my taste and about the 4th to 5th time . . . I began skipping ahead.


Book Blogger Hop #6

Welcome to the BOOK PARTY!


"What book are you most looking forward to seeing published in 2011? Why are you anticipating that book?"

Shadowfever by KMM, which already came out, was probably the most anticipated book I was looking forward to in 2011. The end of a series is a big landmark and I've been reading the story from the beginning. Yet, there are other books coming out later this year which excite me as well : Kresley Coles's Dreams of a Dark Warrior, Carrie Ryan's The Dark & Hallow Places, Richelle Mead's sixth Succubus installment and oh so many more! ;)

Thanks for hopping by!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Toot My Own Horn!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

(Fever Series Book #5)
by Karen Marie Moning

Genre: Urban Fantasy | Paranormal Romance

MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever. Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister's murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals that have lived concealed among us for thousands of years. What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief, while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh--a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King that contains the power to create and destroy worlds. In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac, and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves.Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman that haunts her dreams? More importantly, who is Mac and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card? From the luxury of the Lord Master's penthouse, to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover, to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac's journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and make a choice that will either save the world...or destroy it.

Mac must confront all the monsters in her closet in this last Fever installment. Facing the facts about her past, confronting her sister's killer, dealing with the deadly Sinsar Dubh, and working on her relationship with Barrons are just a few of the highlights Mac deals with in Shadowfever. There are defiantly some dark twists, steamy scenes and harsh facts about Mac's reality that makes this story quite intriguing. I found I did not want the story to end, thus I slowed down reading on the last few pages, but the overall tale was amazing - even though I felt it had a few hick-ups here and there.


My first impression of the story was that there were so many details, descriptions, and explanations about things that it became difficult for me to become absorbed during the first 100+ pages. I am not sure if my reaction was a reflection of Mac's growing insanity/grief or if Mac just views the Fever World in a new light compared to Book #1 (which could highly be the case), or maybe KMM wanted to add extra pages to up the book tally count (who knows?) . . . but it just felt like there was too much going on in the beginning but it eventually became the Shadowfever that I was expecting around page 174. Yet, because of all these details . . . I do have to praise KMM's writing style since Mac's emotional feelings were VERY evident throughout much of the story. You feel her gut-wrenching grief, her overjoyed happiness, her silly giddiness, and her cold disdain which really gets the reader to step into her shoes and enjoy the ride!

Another down factor for me was Mac & Darroc's "fake" buddy-buddy relationship. Both characters knew it was a facade and eventually one would betray the other (please, no trust to begin with!) but BOY did Darrco (aka LM) give out A LOT of detailed and personal information about himself, what he does and what he plans to do. . . much more information then Mac herself would give out. It just seemed an easy short cut to throw out much needed facts and a silly move on KMM's part to write it out that way since it was like taking the police with you on tour of a bank you were about rob, just plain idiotic . . . but the whole end of Darroc was a nice surprise.

Once I got into Shadowfever, I was addicted. It became easy to enjoy the tension created and the shocks near the end were highly enjoyable. I did get upset with the "real parents" coming to Mac and if it would have truly ended that way . . . I would have screamed and threw the book away. Also, the Unseelie King came off as lacking to me, not exactly immature, but too naive to be seen as royalty. And I actually grieve for the true Vlane, poor Fae. Plus, its not like I was expecting for the world to do a full flip into its original state at the end, but the fact that the walls were still down was a shocker to me. I assumed once all was put into place that things would be repaired, but I guess KMM needs to keep some things exciting to go into her spin-off novels. Overall, great book and its bittersweet that Mac's adventure has concluded.

Likes: Barron's underground digs . . . NICE!

Dislikes: Killing of the son - I would have thought/hoped something could have been done for him instead of what happened. ALSO - I felt sorry for Kasteo and think since Mac now has "extra powers" that Barron's group should have followed through with the execution rules, but o'well, less brutality I guess.



Monday, January 17, 2011

Shadowfever NOLA Booksigning with KMM

See more pictures HERE!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning

(Fever Series Book #4)
by Karen Marie Moning

Genre : Dark Fantasy | Paranormal Romance

"But for those of us who live large, the most alive we ever feel is when we're punching air with a fist, uncurling our middle finger with a cool smile, and flipping Death the big old bird."

MacKayla Lane lies naked on the cold stone floor of a church, at the mercy of the erotic Fae master she once swore to kill. Far from home, unable to control her sexual hungers, MacKayla is now fully under the Lord Master's spell. In the New York Times bestselling author Karen Marie Moning's stunning new novel, the walls between human and Fae worlds have come crashing down. And as Mac fights for survival on Dublin's battle-scarred streets, she will embark on the darkest-and most erotically charged-adventure of her life.

He has stolen her past, but MacKayla will never allow her sister's murderer to take her future. Yet even the uniquely gifted sidhe-seer is no match for the Lord Master, who has unleashed an insatiable sexual craving that consumes Mac's every thought-and thrusts her into the seductive realm of two very dangerous men, both of whom she desires but dares not trust.

As the enigmatic Jericho Barrons and the sensual Fae prince V'lane vie for her body and soul, as she rallies the sidhe-seers to fight an impossible battle, and the power of the Dark Book weaves its annihilating path through the city, Mac's greatest enemy delivers a final challenge...

It's an invitation Mac cannot refuse, one that sends her racing home to Georgia, where an even darker threat awaits. With her parents missing and the lives of her loved ones under siege, Mac is about to come face-to-face with a soul-shattering truth-about herself, and about the world she thought she knew.

Mac finds herself drawn deeply into the Pri'ya world where the only person who is able to help her escape is the one man who makes her cringe/shiver in more than one way. Yet, having overcome her latest ordeal has given her new powers (& a new darker side!) that begins to frighten herself & even those around her, plus she's dealing with a crumbling Dublin, a divided Sidhe-seer gang, and the scary realization that her revenge mission has become a lot more personal/depraved with the involvement of her parents and close friends. In the end, she finds just how alone she is in this journey and she must face a startling truth that just may shatter everything she's ever believed in [i.e. cliffhanger!!!!]

This is the book that defiantly heated up the relationship with Mac & Barrons, something many of the readers were highly anticipating throughout the series. Yet, it came with a twist that will leave all loyal followers coming back for more in Shadowfever. Even though a lot was revealed in this book - much more was left out including the cliffhanger at the end that has everyone guessing the true outcome and just who some of the characters are - a true mystery even after 4 books.

EXTRA : Moning Maniacs are in town for the book-signing tomorrow. I'll be there as well!

Likes: Mac warming up to the Sidhe-seer group was comforting and her finding out information about her maternal mother was nice to learn as well. Interesting to see where all this new information pans out.

Dislikes: I feel I couldn't give this book a solid 5 rating since I just cannot warm up to Dani. She drives me insane! I usually skip the parts where she appears in the book. Ugh, enough said!



Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Knight before Christmas by Jackie Ivie

The Knight before Christmas
by Jackie Ivie

Genre : Historical Romance

A Reluctant Husband Caught in a furious blizzard, battle-weary Myles Donal has only two options: die alone in the snow, or make his way home by order of his sire to marry a woman known as the Harridan of the Highlands. The warm glow of light in a small croft will only delay his fate...

A Rebellious Bride Kendran is not about to share her hard-earned shelter with anyone, especially not a man! Running away from an arranged marriage was her only chance at freedom--and she'll not forfeit it to another arrogant male...even one as devilishly attractive as Myles Donal...

A Wedding to Remember Snowbound and equally stubborn, Myles and Kendran engage in a battle of wills that quickly becomes a passion too fiery to ignore. "Wedded bliss" may be an abhorrent concept to both of them, but true love is not so easily denied...

While on his way to wed the "Harridan of the Highlands," Myles Magnus Donal gets lost in a snowstorm. When a silent beauty rescues him, he becomes convinced that she is his betrothed, and he does his seductive best to convince her to marry him by Christmas. When Myles arrives at his fiancee's home, he discovers the woman with whom he has been stranded is not his bride to be, but her sister.

I got this book around Christmas when I was in the historical holiday romance spirit ;) It wasn't too bad of a read, but it did slow down around the end which threw me off. I liked a lot how right off the back it jumped into Myles and Kendran's relationship and focused solely on them. The side character, Lady Sybil, who is Kendran's half-sister and considered a sorceress was interesting as well, plus she added some fun twists to the story. Overall, The Knight before Christmas was enjoyable, but don't expect a great in-depth history packed tale . . . just an easy romance read.

Likes: Myles & Kendran's interactions while holding out the snowstorm in the cabin was cute - like bean tossing, etc.

Dislikes: The beginning of the book began with a bang, but it sizzled out in the end for me. Plus, the cover of the book isn't actually one where I feel comfortable reading in public.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sin Undone by Larissa Ione

Sin Undone
(Demonica Novel #5)
by Larissa Ione

Genre : Paranormal Romance | Urban Fantasy


As the only female Seminus demon ever born, master assassin Sinead Donnelly is used to being treated like an outcast. She spent decades enslaved, and now vows she’ll die before she’ll relinquish her freedom again. Then Sin’s innate ability to kill her enemies goes awry: She creates a lethal new werewolf virus that sparks a firestorm of panic and violence.


Half-werewolf, half-vampire Conall Dearghul is charged with bringing in Sin to face punishment for the plague. And she’s no stranger: He’s bound to her by blood, and the one sexual encounter they shared has left him hungering for her raw sensuality. Worse, Sin is the underworld’s most wanted and Con soon learns he’s the only one who can help her . . . and that saving her life might mean sacrificing his own.

Sinead (aka Sin) has always felt left behind and non-deserving of anything good in life. Her Mother tried to kill her when she was a baby, her twin Brother deserted her when they discovered their demon heritage in her early 20s, and all those she knew from her mortal life (i.e. caring Grandparents) have died, thus she now focuses only on herself. Yet, upon discovering some new family connections (three brothers) work at the UG, under-ground demon hospital, she stumbles across a paramedic there -Conall (aka Con)- who begins to push Sin's buttons in ways no one else can. As a connection between them grows, Sin must dodge her assassin co-workers who are out to kill her for her job and assist with the deadly genocide disease that she started before either she, her new mate, and those close to her with the virus end up dead.

This was a nice genre switch for me since lately I find my reading list is consumed with Historical Romances or Young Adult novels, thus it was great to get a little down & dirty with demons in this steamy book. I'm also a huge fan of this series, so it was enjoyable catching up with past characters and seeing the Demonica world expand. I wasn't that big of a Sin fan in previous books, but getting her POV really softened her for me and I'm happy with her relationship with Con. Certain points were a little cheesy here and there with Con trying to break down Sin's emotional wall (had me remembering a particular Family Guy episode) and some of their lovey-dovey quotes had me smirking as well, but overall it was a great read that I devoured in two days and couldn't put down. Plus, those love scenes were yummy!

Likes: Sin slowly opening up to her Brothers was nice to read about in the end and seeing their sibling bond grow.

Dislikes: Even though I'm a fan to the series, the overload of multiple vampires, dhampirs, various demons, werewolves, and shifters can get a bit confusing at times and I don't like that distracting me from the story itself.


Monday, January 10, 2011

One week away . . .


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Red Riding Hood by Blakley-Cartwright/Johnson

Red Riding Hood
by Blakley-Cartwright/Johnson

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance Mystery

The blacksmith would marry her.
The woodcutter would run away with her.
The werewolf would turn her into one of its own.

Valerie's sister was beautiful, kind, and sweet. Now she is dead. Henry, the handsome son of the blacksmith, tried to console Valerie, but her heart beats fast for another: the outcast woodcutter, Peter, who offers Valerie's another life far from home. After her sister's violent death, Valerie's world begins to spiral out of control. For generations, the Wolf has been kept at bay with a monthly sacrifice. But now no one is safe. When an expert Wolf hunter arrives, the villagers learn that the creature lives among them -- it could be anyone in town. It soon becomes clear that Valerie is the only one who can hear the voice of the creature. The Wolf says she must surrender herself before the blood moon wanes . . . or everyone she loves will die.

The body of a young girl is discovered in a field of wheat. Her flesh mutilated by telltale claw marks. The Wolf has broken the peace. When Valerie learns that her sister has been killed by the legendary creature, she finds herself at the center of a dark mystery, one that has plagued her village for generations. It is revealed that the werewolf lives among them, and everyone in the village immediately becomes a suspect. Could her secret love Peter be behind the attacks on her town? Is it her betrothed, Henry? Or someone even closer to her? As the men in the village hunt for the beast, Valerie turns to her grandmother for help. She gives Valerie a handmade red riding cloak, and guides her through the web of lies and deception that has held her town together for so long. Will Valerie discover the werewolf's identity before the town is ripped apart?

Valerie wants more than her small village can give her. She wants to see the world, experience more in life, and make her own decisions. Yet, no-one escapes her cursed village and since before she can remember, the villagers offer monthly sacrifices to the wolf that stalks the wood at night. [ "Walking past the sacrificial altar today, Valerie hadn't even noticed the pile of bones left over from the previous night's offering. Like all the other children in the village, she'd seen it once a month all her life and stopped thinking about what it meant." pg. 19 ] Yet, upon her sisters brutal murder, Valerie can no longer pretend life is bearable and a new evil (even darker than the wolf) descends upon her home. Dealing with her grief-stricken Mother, alcoholic Father, heroic Fiancee, childhood Crush can all be trying at times, but now being accused of as a Witch for communicating with the killer Wolf; Valerie must face this darkness head-on and choose where exactly her future leads.

I'm a sucker for fairy tales, thus on my first 2011 visit to Borders to use my Christmas gift card (yayy!), I picked up Red Riding Hood. I've seen the trailor for the movie coming out in March(which looks so-so), but wanted to get an early fix on this Gothic re-telling. It's a great mystery since it keeps you guessing (and re-guessing!) throughout the whole story. Her relationship with Peter can be almost sickeningly sweet at times and you feel bad for Henry's constant rejection, but I think I enjoyed his character development the most. Its heart wrenching to see Valerie's grief over losing her beloved sister Lucie and to bear witness to her dark inner feelings/thoughts toward her parents, friends, etc. can border on awkwardly personal at times. Yet, Valerie came off as being a very grounded girl dealing with extraordinary (and sometimes quite gruesome!) things. The ending of the tale is a bit abrupt, not something I like since it does leave everything on a cliff-hanger in which you have to go HERE for the final chapter. :) So, I'm still waiting to see what happens myself . . .

Likes: The historical village background and the traditions of all the people that live there fascinated me!

Dislikes: I wish the story would have gone a little deeper into Valerie & Peter's background as children so it would be easier to see her obsession with him now.



Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel

Infinite Days
(Vampire Queen #1)
by Rebecca Maizel

Genre: Young Adult | Paranormal Romance

“Throughout all my histories, I found no one I loved more than you…no one.” Those were some of Rhode’s last words to me. The last time he would pronounce his love. The last time I would see his face. It was the first time in 592 years I could take a breath. Lay in the sun. Taste. Rhode sacrificed himself so I, Lenah Beaudonte, could be human again. So I could stop the blood lust. I never expected to fall in love with someone else that wasn’t Rhode. But Justin was…daring. Exciting. More beautiful than I could dream. I never expected to be sixteen again…then again, I never expected my past to come back and haunt me…

Lenah awakes after sleeping for 100 years to find herself mortal and newly enrolled within a high school to slowly adapt to her new surroundings. Her sire, Rhode, sacrificed himself so that she may have a chance at mortality again and can experience a life that she gave up so many years ago. Yet, being queen of a powerful coven and stepping down from her responsibilities isn't something to be taken lightly, thus, her old "family" is on the hunt to bring her back . . . alive or (re)dead!

This book was praised rather highly and because of that, I eagerly anticipated reading it. But, sadly . . . I wasn't impressed. The main problem I had at the end was I felt none of the characters had any real depth to them. Sure, you learn their past stories and/or meet side characters that relay more facts about them but, when all is finished, I felt that I didn't really know these people any more personally than I did at page 1. Thus, Infinite Days was one of those tales were the blurb on the back of the book was better than the actual story overall.

I wish I could put my finger on the actual reason behind me not enjoying this (AUDIO!)book; perhaps the character development was lacking or the plot lagged too much - but the main part is - the story wasn't doing anything for me! I never got around to liking Lenah herself and I was not happy at all with her relationship with Justin (it just seemed so fake from the beginning) and of all the ways to end . . . blah!

I had also expected more from an old vampire soul like Lenah, maybe more knowledge of the world, more insight into love/relationships, but she just came off as a normal inexperienced teenager. Plus, she kept talking about how really horrible she was during her vampire reign that I so desired to hear more about that as well, but it was unsatisfactorily left out. The one praise I have for this book is that the concept was original, but I felt it could have been written into a much richer tale and for me, it was just so-so.

Likes: Great characters names like Rhode or Vicken.

Dislikes: *Spoiler* How Lenah had to kill her coven to stay alive and because of that . . . she came off as very selfish to me. She made her coven into what they are, she also made the decision to become human again and now she's making those of her past suffer for it. I could go on and on about this fact, but I'll stop at that.