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Timeless by Gail Carriger

Title: Timeless (The Parasol Protectorate #5)

Author: Gail Carriger

Publisher: Orbit 2012

Genre: Steampunjk Paranormal

Pages: 416

Rating:   5  / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Fantasy; A to Z — T; Mount TBR

How I Got It: I own it!

Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire’s second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell’s acting troupe’s latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia’s enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?

I am in love with each and every one of the characters in this series.  I love them all equally.  I really cannot decided who is my favorite.  Ms. Carriger has made me want to live in her version of Victorian England.  I want to be best friends with Alexia.  I want to run into Lord Akeldama and his drones at social gatherings. I want to see the productions of the Tunstells.  I want to buy a hat from Biffy.  I want to peruse Madame Lefoux’s gadgets.  And I want to marvel at the dirigbles and ballon travels and general wonderment.   This series is one of my favorites in a very long time.
Alexia Tarabotti
1. Soulless
2. Changeless
3. Blameless
4. Heartless
5. Timeless 

 
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3 Comments

Posted by on March 19, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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The Accidental Werewolf by Dakota Cassidy

Title: The Accidental Werewolf (Accidental Friends #1)

Author: Dakota Cassidy

Publisher: Berkley Trade 2008

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Pages: 326

Rating:  4  / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Books Around the States – New York

How I Got It: borrowed from the library

Marty Andrews is having a bad week.  First, she’s bitten by a mangy mutt while walking her teacup poodle.  As a result, her salon-perfect blonde hair beings darkening by the day to something that’s soooo not in her color wheel.  Her moodswings have turned her into The Hormonal Hulk.  Worse yet, the hair on her legs is growing at a rate even a body slam into an entire vat of wax couldn’t cure.  Last, and most important, her dream job as a sales rep for Bobbie-Sue Cosmetics is going to hell in a handbasket…

The only high point is Keegan Flaherty, the drool-worthy man who shows up at her door.  Of course, he’s clearly insane.  Keegan claims that he accidentally bit Marty, and since he’s a werewolf, she is now too.  Red meat cravings aside, Marty refuses to believe a word until a kidnapping makes her realize there’s more at stake than her highlights.  And she must put her out-of-control life in the hands of the man who makes her blood run wild in more ways than one…

A fun little paranormal romp.  I loved the main characters, Marty and Keegan.  They were fun and strong characters.  It was an interesting mix of personalities.  Marty was incredibly stubborn, but then so was Keegan.  They were an oddly, but amazingly endearing romantic match.  The storyline is fairly predictable.  But again, I don’t mind if the characters are fun.  I liked the fun werewolf transition story.  I will be picking up the next one to read soon.

Accidentally Paranormal

  1. Accidental Werewolf
  2. Accidentally Dead
  3. The Accidental Human
  4. Accidentally Demonic
  5. Accidentally Catty
  6. Accidentally Dead, Again
  7. The Accidental Genie

 
4 Comments

Posted by on October 3, 2011 in Book Reviews

 

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Stranger by Zoe Archer

Title: Stranger (Blades of the Rose #4)

Author: Zoe Archer

Publisher: Zebra 2010

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Pages: 463

Rating:   5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Summer Romance – Paranormal; Books Around the World – England

How I Got It: I own it! (from the Borders closing sale)

Gemma Murphy has a nose for a story – even if the boys in Chicago’s newsrooms would rather focus on her chest. So when she runs into a handsome man of mystery discussing how to save the world from fancy-pants Brit conspirators, she’s sensing a scoop. Especially when he mentions there’s magic involved. Of course, getting him on the record would be easier if he hadn’t caught her eavesdropping…Catullus Graves knows what it’s like to be shut out: his ancestors were slaves. And he’s a genius inventor with appropriately eccentric habits, so even people who love him find him a little odd. But after meeting a certain redheaded scribbler, he’s thinking of other types of science. Inconvenient, given that he needs to focus on preventing the end of the world as we know it. But with Gemma’s insatiable curiosity sparking Catullus’ inventive impulses, they might set off something explosive anyway…

The last book of the series definitely got back on track.  After the ridiculous revelation from the third book, Rebel, I was glad to see the story get back on track.  The characters, both new and old, made the book feel like an epic.  Everyone coming together from across the world to fight the Heirs and take back the Primal Source made for a great adventure.  I loved seeing more of Bennett, London, Astrid, Lesperance, Gabriel, and Thalia.  The Heirs were appropriately vile.  But it was Catullus and Gemma that shined the most.  I loved Gemma’s tenacious spirit and Catullus’ cool intellect.  They make a perfect pairing.  I really bought the romance.

As to the story, I appreciated the inclusion of the mythical beings of England.  A nice touch to see pixies and trolls and Queen Mab.  When Catullus and Gemma journey into the Otherworld, I was momentarily reminded of Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series.  Thankfully, this book took the story to a new and different version of Otherworld.  I especially loved the encounters with Queen Mab and of course Merlin.  And finally, the epic battle was worthy of the end of the series.  Everything was larger than life (some things literally) and the danger was great.  Of course the Blades win, but with great losses.  I was satisfied to see that there were injuries and losses.  This wasn’t some magical battle where the good guys come through unscathed while vanquishing all their enemies.  This was a real battle.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed this series.  While I wasn’t a fan of Archer’s contribution to the Bianca D’Arc’s zombie series, this one definitely drew me in.  I loved the mix of magic, romance, and adventure.  I even got some geography and culture thrown in for good measure.  Recommend!

Blades of the Rose

  1. Warrior 
  2. Scoundrel
  3. Rebel
  4. Stranger

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 18, 2011 in Book Reviews

 

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Rebel by Zoe Archer

Title: Rebel(Blades of the Rose #3)

Author: Zoe Archer

Publisher: Zebra 2010

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Pages: 398

Rating:    4 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Summer Romance – Paranormal; Books Around the World – Canada

How I Got It: I own it! (from the Borders closing sale)

Nathan Lesperance is used to being different. He’s the first Native attorney in Vancouver, and welcome neither with white society nor his sometime tribe. Not to mention the powerful wildness he’s always felt inside him, too dangerous to set free. Then he met Astrid Bramfield and saw his like within her piercing eyes. Now, unless she helps him through the harsh terrain and the harsher unknowns of his true abilities, it could very well get him killed…Astrid has traveled this path before. Once she was a Blade of the Rose, protecting the world’s magic from unscrupulous men, with her husband by her side. But she’s loved and lost, and as a world-class frontierswoman, she knows all about survival. Nathan’s searing gaze and long, lean muscles mean nothing but trouble. Yet something has ignited a forgotten flame inside her: a burning need for adventure, for life – and perhaps even for love…

Well I hunkered down today, grabbed my tea and sweater, went out to the back porch, and finally finally finished this book.  It took me 5 days!  That’s just crazy for me.  It’s finally done, over, finished.  But what are my thoughts?  I’m having a hard time coming to a consensus on this one.  Do I like it?  Do I just like it less than the previous books in the series?  Do I have an issue with the main character?  All good questions… After some pondering, I think I’ve finally collected my thoughts.

The Good

The series continues to entertain me.  I still enjoyed the far flung location, this one in the rugged Canadian Wilderness.  I still loved the adventure and action sequences.  The final battle was the most brutal yet.  I still like the magical aspects.  It was nice to see the Sources tied to a Native American tribe.  I liked the twist of having three connected Sources.  I am still taken with the writing style. Not too descriptive, not too conversationalist, just right amounts of action and quiet moments.  I am really digging this series.

The Bad

The decision to make Nathan an Earth Spirit.  It felt so cheap, so overused.  Maybe it’s because I’ve read a ton of shifter/werewolf/witch/vampire books lately, but I just felt out of touch with the character.  I want to connect to the characters.  In fact, I think I have a fixation on characters lately.  I also took issue with the baddies in this book.  They just didn’t seem bad enough.  I loved the nastiness of the Heirs in the first two books.  For goodness sakes, in the second book on the baddies is the female lead’s father.  There’s not much nastier than that.  But these ones seemed almost like caricatures, but real villans.  I was disappointed.

The Verdict

I enjoyed it, just not as much as the first two.  I am still looking forward to reading the fourth book, Stranger, and seeing Catullus’ story play out. But first, maybe a graphic novel break…

Blades of the Rose

  1. Warrior 
  2. Scoundrel
  3. Rebel
  4. Stranger

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 13, 2011 in Book Reviews

 

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Scoundrel by Zoe Archer

Title: Scoundrel (Blades of the Rose #2)

Author: Zoe Archer

Publisher: Zebra 2010

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Pages: 400

Rating:    5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Summer Romance – Paranormal; Books Around the World (Greek)

How I Got It: I own it! (from the Borders closing sale)

London Harcourt’s father is bent on subjugating the world’s magic to British rule. But since London is a mere female, he hasn’t bothered to tell her so. He’s said only that he’s leading a voyage to the Greek isles. No matter, after a smothering marriage and three years of straitlaced widowhood, London jumps at the opportunity – unfortunately, right into the arms of Bennett Day. Bennett is a ladies’ man, when he’s not dodging lethal attacks to protect the powers of the ancients from men like London’s father. Sometimes, he’s a ladies’ man even when he is dodging them. But the minute he sees London he knows she will require his full attention. The woman is lovely, brilliant, and the only known speaker of a dialect of ancient Greek that holds the key to calling down the wrath of the gods. Bennett will be risking his life again – but around London, what really worries him is the danger to his heart…

A great addition to the series.  I loved this one so much!  The characters! The culture!  The adventure! The magic!

Bennett Day made his appearance in Warrior and I just knew who was going to be a great character.  A rogue but one with a sense of honor.  He treats women as equals not the delicate flowers most men of the time saw.  I loved that in his character.  I think I fell in love with him right from the beginning.  London is an interesting case.  While she starts as that delicate flower, inside she has a thirst for knowledge and adventure.  Once she figures out how to satisfy that thirst, she goes after it.  I liked that.  She’s innocent in many ways, but open to new experiences.  And Athena is just awesome.  A witch from a matriarchal clan.  She reminds me of the Amazons: strong, independent, not needing a man.

The story was full of adventure, danger, and riddles (of course).  I loved the journey through the Greek Isles to the hidden islands and ruins.  The descriptions were amazing.  I really felt like I was on a boat in the beautiful Aegean Sea.  And of course, Greek mythological creatures made their appearances.  My favorite was the Nereids.  Such fun!  And the hidden creature at the top of the island.  I won’t give away who it is, but after reading it, it completely makes sense.  I just love this story!

Blades of the Rose

  1. Warrior 
  2. Scoundrel
  3. Rebel
  4. Stranger

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 8, 2011 in Book Reviews

 

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Warrior by Zoe Archer

Title: Warrior (Blades of the Rose #1)

Author: Zoe Archer

Publisher: Zebra 2010

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Pages: 354

Rating:  5  / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Summer Romance – Paranormal; Books Around the World (Mongolia)

How I Got It: I own it! (from the Borders closing sale)

The vicious attack Capt. Gabriel Huntley witnesses in a dark alley sparks a chain of events that will take him to the ends of the Earth and beyond – where what is real and what is imagined become terribly confused. And frankly, Huntley couldn’t be more pleased. Intrigue, danger, and a beautiful woman in distress – just what he needs. Raised thousands of miles from England, Thalia Burgess is no typical Victorian lady. A good thing, because a proper lady would have no hope of recovering the priceless magical artefact Thalia is after. Huntley’s assistance might come in handy, though she has to keep him in the dark. But this distractingly handsome soldier isn’t easy to deceive…

This is definitely a keeper.  A blend of romance, Victorian era historical, and Indiana Jones-esque adventure created the perfect book.  I loved the premise: magical items, Sources, containing the power of the world.  The Blades protect the Sources.  The Heirs seek to use the Sources to take over the world.  Into this very strange world, a common (or not so common) soldier follows his inner code of honor.  Along the way he meets a very confusing young woman, many colorful characters, and danger.  I especially liked that Thalia was not a typical Victorian lady.  She is a true child of the world, open to the cultures and lifestyles of other peoples.  Gabriel is just enough Indiana Jones to keep me intrigued while embodying the traditional romance novel lead characteristics.  I loved him.  I could see how Thalia allowed herself to love him.  Even the brief appearances of fellow Blades members entertained.  (Could it be that they are the focus of subsequent novels?  I have all four, so we shall see.)

Beyond the characters, I enjoyed the paranormal aspect.  The concept of objects imbued with primal energy peaked my interest.  There’s a great twist when if comes to the Source Gabriel and Thalia seek.  I didn’t see it coming, but it was definitely a good one.  None of these cheesy twists.  This one made sense.

Finally, I loved Thalia explanations of Mongol life.  At my heart I love reading about culture and history.  This book had a bit of both thrown in.  I’ve never done much research into Mongolia, but the cultural discussions intrigued me.  I loved learning about the stories and traditions of the Mongol people.

Overall, a great action-adventure romance.  A definite must!  I’ll be moving quickly onto the second in the series: Scoundrel.

Blades of the Rose

  1. Warrior 
  2. Scoundrel
  3. Rebel
  4. Stranger

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 4, 2011 in Book Reviews

 

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The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance

Title: The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance

Edited By: Trisha Telep

Publisher: Running Press 2009

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Pages: 532

Rating:   4 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Summer Romance – Paranormal

How I Got It: Borrowed from the library

If love transcends all boundaries, then paranormal romance is its logical conclusion.  From the biggest names around, here are 24 tales to take you to another time and place.

Let Alyssa Day, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Cheyenne McCray, Jeaniene Frost, Ilona Andrews, Kelley Armstrong, Maria V. Snyder, Carrie Vaughn, Allyson James Marland, and others show you powers beyong your wildest imaginings.

Within these pages mythical beasts, magical creatures of all shapes and sizes, heart-stoppingly handsome ghosts, angels, and mortals with extra-sensitive sensory perception play out the themes of extraordinary desires.

Overall, I really enjoyed this anthology.  There were a few stories that I didn’t really love, but I think that has more to do with the style of writing.  I did absolutely adore a few.  My favorites:

  • “John Doe” by Anna Windsor — Really loving the angel theme stories lately.  This one intrigues me.  Definitely want to read more from the author.
  • “The Tuesday Enchantress” by MJ Putney — Two Guardians meet in a surprising circumstance.  Neither can deny the attraction.  Whole story takes place in the span of a few hours.  Great meet and instant attraction story.
  • “Pack” by Jeaniene Frost — A great werewolf story.  Love Frost’s writing and characters.  When I get the rest of the series, I am blasting my way through the Night Huntress books.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2011 in Book Reviews

 

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