Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Everything She Does Is MagickEverything She Does Is Magick by Maggie Shayne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When a trio of matchmaking witches chooses unsuspecting little Nathan McBride as the perfect mate for their baby niece, the future looks rosy indeed–except for one little catch: They must keep him a virgin!

A VERY quick read. This is a nice story, but I think it could have easily fleshed out into a much longer tale. It is a twist on Sleeping Beauty with some Practical Magic thrown in.

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Brand New HeartacheBrand New Heartache by Maggie Shayne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In high school, Wade Armstrong had been half in love with Edie Brand, even though she barely seemed to notice his existence.

In high school, Edie Brand had been afraid to even look at Wade Armstrong. He was too hot, to smooth, and his reputation of being able to get any girl to say yes on the first date scared the daylights out of her.


Edie & Wade's story continues the Oklahoma Brands story with a super-feisty couple bent on misunderstanding each other.

The bad boy made good and the highly-successful lingerie model make an excellent pairing in this suspenseful story. Another quick read which lends itself to "spurt reading" which is about all I seem to have time for these days!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Brands Who Came For Christmas (The Oklahoma Brands Book 1)The Brands Who Came For Christmas by Maggie Shayne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.*

The Oklahoma All-Girl Brands is a six-book, small town, contemporary romance series with shades of HOPE FLOATS and YOU’VE GOT MAIL. Spin off of the bestselling Texas Brand Series.

Sometimes the best laid plans fall apart.

Maya has been fighting all her life to become "respectable" in a small town with a fairly notorious family. Caleb has spent his life following in the family tradition of politics. In one evening of rebellious behavior for both of them plans... change. Maya and Caleb have come together in a chance meeting that will forever change the direction of their lives. But, before they can come together everything has to seemingly fall apart.

This was a fairly quick, but enjoyable read. And, yes, there were a few tears. Anyone who enjoys Maggie's writing - and romance in general - will enjoy this story.

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Owlet (Society of Feathers, #1)Owlet by Emma Michaels
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review*

Iris has a secret. She lost her memory eight years ago and never told a living soul. After an asthma attack one night she finds out that her dreams of a strange house on a snowy island may be a memory resurfacing but the more she learns about the past the more she realizes the life she has been living is a lie.

This story has a unique take on the animal/human pairing - there is no actual shape-shifting involved. As a member of the Stryx, Iris was born with two souls - her human soul and an avian soul. Each type of avian soul has very specific characteristics tied to it such as strength, loyalty, or wisdom. When the two souls work together they can make one very strong and intelligent, but when they are at odds...

Raised by her father, Roger, and Diana, a woman she believes to be only her nurse, Iris also has severe asthma and a large portion of missing memories - including the fact that she is Stryx. When her father learns she has been having reoccurring dreams about an island and what looks like snow, but is in fact white feathers, her world as she knows it starts to crumble.

Roger sends Diana and Iris to the island, which is actually where Iris lived as a young girl, and she reunites with Falcon who helps her to learn about herself and her people; come to terms with the changes that have occurred; and gain the strength to overcome what lies ahead.

I enjoyed this book. It is mild enough for young adults, but engaging enough for adults who enjoy paranormal literature. I plan to suggest it to my daughter who loves reading as much as I do, and loves owls even more.

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Otherworld Nights (Otherworld Stories, #3)Otherworld Nights by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review*

I am a new-comer to Kelley's Otherworld series. I've heard of it - and even have it in my (extremely large) TBR list - but, had not yet managed read any of it. After reading this compilation of short stories it has definitely moved up the list! I do think this would have been a faster read if I'd known the world prior to reading these stories.

I want to know more about Elena & Clay, and how she came to forgive him for taking the choice to change out of her hands. I'd like to know what has shaped their twins into the precocious little kids that they are. (I also can't wait to see how they turn into adults, but I don't think that's in the works as yet!) You get to spend Elena & Clay's honeymoon and a very special Christmas with them. You also meet several other members of their Pack, and get the background story on why Reese has the issues he does.

You meet Adam as a young boy who doesn't know why he has the powers he has, and then meet up with him again as an adult who is trying to come to terms with his relationship with Savannah, a witch who is trying to figure out what she wants out of life.

I also want to know how all of the characters came to know each other as they aren't all of one paranormal subset. (The overwhelming portion of this anthology is devoted to the werewolves, but there are also several short stories about half-demons.)

I don't want to give any spoilers so I will leave it at that.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Black Spring (Black Wings, #7)Black Spring by Christina Henry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**I received an ARC in a contest.**

A former Agent of death, Madeline Black now has everything to live for, most importantly, her unborn child. But Chicago has become ground zero in a struggle between ancient creatures, and only Maddy can stop the carnage…

Maddie is doing her best to dodge assassination attempts while dealing with a seemingly accelerated pregnancy in a household full of males. But, as usual, Lucifer, a mysterious shapeshifter's master, and Alerion have plans to drag her into trouble again.

Christina has once again managed to write a story that pulls you in which is liberally laced with Maddie's & Beezle's patent sarcasm. I found myself laughing out loud and having to read passages to my dad and friends at different times.

PS - The ending has a couple of twists you probably won't see coming.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Poison Promise (Elemental Assassin, #11)Poison Promise by Jennifer Estep
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gin Blanco is hard-nosed, sexy, and lethal. Nicknamed “The Spider,” she’s a stone elemental assassin who brings her unique mix of magic and tact to every assignment, no matter the target.

Gin is once again she's being pulled into the situation whether she wants to be or not... Hitmen are still trying to kill her at all hours of the day and night as criminals still vie for the top spot left vacant by the death of Mab Monroe, and bodies are being piled up under trash bags by her dumpster as they fail for Sophie to deal with later.

With a new, highly potent drug hitting Ashland's streets Gin finds herself riding to the rescue of one of her waitresses which is only the beginning of her newest adventure. Once again Owen, Xavier, Finn, Sopie, JoJo, Phillip, and Bria help her fight her battles, hal her wounds, and eliminate the "bad guy".

I personally think Gin is one of my all-time favorite heroines, and often find myself chuckling out loud at some of her well-honed verbal barbs. My biggest problem with this series is that they are so good they read too fast! lol

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Priceless (Rylee Adamson, #1)Priceless by Shannon Mayer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“My name is Rylee, and I am a Tracker.”

When children go missing, and the Humans have no leads, I’m the one they call. I am their last hope in bringing home the lost ones. I salvage what they cannot.

Wow! I've been meaning to get to this series for while, and boy am I glad I finally did! Ogres, trolls, werewolves, harpies, unicorns, witches, sorcerers, vampires, daywalkers, and demons - just in the first book!

Rylee Adamson is a Tracker first and foremost, and an Immune second. She has supernatural abilities to "feel" someone - children are her personal focus - so that she can find them when they are lost, and a personal immunity to,... well, ... everything harmful - from a snake's venom to a death spell she isn't harmed. Because of personal tragedy when younger she has pledged to find any child she is ever asked to find. She doesn't always manage to bring them home alive though.

Her newest request strikes very close to home when she is asked to find India who has been taken in circumstances eerily similar to those of her younger sister. She has stumbling blocks - like Agent O'Shea of the FBI - her personal nemesis and a local werewolf pack who want to kill her friend/pet, Alex. And, she has assistance from friends like Milly, her sister/witch, and Dox, the ogre bar owner. When it comes down to it though, Rylee must rely on her own instincts and abilities to get through the day.

If you are a lover of well-written urban fantasy; strong, sarcastic female protagonists; and all things supernatural then you will love this book!

Now on to book 2... ;)

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Kindle Unlimited - the Nutshell Explaination

I have borrowed the following from Maggie Shayne's newsletter for informational purposes:

Kindle Unlimited: What Does it Mean to YOU?
The New KU program was just announced, and there's so much confusion among authors I can only imagine what it's doing to readers! I thought I'd nutshell if for those of you who are curious.

What is it?
Kindle Unlimited, or KU is basically Netflix for Books. You subscribe for $9.99/month, and for that, you can download and read as many KU books per month as you want and keep them for as long as you want.

What's the Catch?
The only down side is that not all books are included in the program. Just like with Netflix, many titles you want to read might not be available, and new releases will probably not show up for quite some time, if ever. So you'll still have to buy the books you want to read that aren't in the program.

What's the Benefit?
Seems to me, even without all titles being included, it would not be hard at all for a voracious reader to find ten bucks worth of books they want to read each month, and then some. If you do, you're saving money.

How is this Different from Amazon Prime?
In Amazon Prime (a different program that costs $99 per year) you get free two-day shipping on a great many products. (That alone makes Prime a great deal for me.) Plus you get to stream movies, and you get to download and read one book per month. The same books available in Amazon Prime are available in Kindle Unlimited. However, in Prime, you only get one book each month.

Which Shayne Titles Are Included?  
To be included in this program, authors have to pull their titles from all other outlets and make them exclusive to Amazon for a period of 90 days at a time. So I am very selective about how much I participate. Right now, ANNIE'S HERO is available in Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited, but its time in the programs expires Thursday July 24th. MIRANDA'S VIKING is also available in both programs until August 23rd. As soon as each title's time expires, it will immediately become available at all other outlets, including BN, GooglePlay, iTunes, Kobo, and Smashwords.

THANK YOU, Maggie for taking the time to explain this new service!  :)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

HauntedHaunted by Randy Wayne White
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hannah Smith has another mystery to resolve, and this time a ghost may be helping her!

I personally hadn't read any of this series prior to this book. It can be read as a stand-alone if desired, and I don't feel you lose any sense of history because the author drops snippets into the story that give you some of the background you might otherwise be missing.

This was a well-crafted story that kept me turning pages. My only fault with it is that the ending is rather abrupt - I kept hitting my next button on my e-reader to try to get the epilogue to pop up...

**I received an ARC of this book from the publisher for early review.**

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Masters of Seduction: Books 1-4

Masters of Seduction (Masters of Seduction, #1-4)Masters of Seduction by Lara Adrian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Awesome, awesome, AWESOME!

You can tell the stories are crafted by different authors due to verbiage, but they all work well together and describe a common world. I can't actually pick a favorite from these 4 hero/heroine groupings. You can imagine yourself as a fly on the wall in many scenes as these stories portray each of these uber-alpha males and their personal weaknesses.

A quick, but terrific read!

Cannot wait for the next 4 stories, but who gets to write the tie-breaker ninth?!

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