Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review- Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep

Back cover as provided by Goodreads
My name is Gin, and I kill people.
They call me the Spider. I'm the most feared assassin in the South — when I'm not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don't use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.
Now that a ruthless Air elemental has double-crossed me and killed my handler, I'm out for revenge. And I'll exterminate anyone who gets in my wayCaine has agreed to help me. The last thing this coldhearted killer needs when I'm battling a magic more powerful than my own is a sexy distraction...especially when Donovan wants me dead just as much as the enemy.
So the first chapter of the book is so amazing that I have to post at least the opening lines:
“My name is Gin, and I kill people.”
Normally, my confession would have elicited gasps of surprise. Pale faces. Nervous sweat. Stifled screams. An overturned chair or two as people scrambled to get away before I buried a knife in their heart—or back. A sucking wound was a sucking wound. I wasn’t picky about where I caused it.
“Hi, Gin,” four people chorused back to me in perfect, dull, monotone unison.
But not in this place. Within the walled confines of Ashland Asylum, my confession, true though it might be, didn’t even merit a raised eyebrow, much less shock and frightened awe. I was relatively normal compared to the freaks of nature and magic who populated the grounds. Like Jackson, the seven-foot-tall albino giant seated to my left who drooled worse than a mastiff and gurgled like a three-month-old child.
This 1) made me laugh rather manically and 2) immediately sucked me into the Elemental Assassin Series. The premise of Jennifer Estep's urban fantasy series takes no prisoners. In this world there are vampires, giants, dwarfes and elementals. Elementals have the ability to control an element such as air, water, fire or stone as well as off shoots such as lightning, metal etc. Gin Blanco is the main character of the series, an elemental assassin whose day job is as cook at the Pork Pit a local bbq restaurant.

Gin is a very strong main character (my kind of woman), who is somewhat jaded to the world. While she is an assassin, she does not enjoy killing people but only sees it as a career choice. She is witty and quick witha strong sense of loyalty to her friends and family. As the back cover explains, Gin wants revenge after her mentor and handler is brutally murdered. Her partner in crime is Finnegan Lane, her handler's son. The two strike out into corrupt Ashland looking for the murdered.

I don't want to give out any more spoilers, since I would not be able to do the plot justice, The character development is great and the action allows the plot to move very nicely. There are no parts that one gets bogged down. The only annoyance I had was the obligatory love interest during the book, but in the end I was okay with the plot line. I think it is because it's not all sunshine and rainbows that brings the book together in the end.

I would definitely recommend this read, and afterwards you will definitely want to read the other books in the series.

Rating: 4.5/5

Review - Archangel's Consort by Nalini Singh

Archangel's Consort is the third book in Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter Series.

Blurb from Goodreads:

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux and her lover, the lethally beautiful archangel
Raphael, have returned home to New York only to face an uncompromising new

A vampire has attacked a girls’ school—the assault one of sheer,
vicious madness—and it is only the first act. Rampant bloodlust takes vampire
after vampire, threatening to make the streets run with blood. Then Raphael
himself begins to show signs of an uncontrolled rage, as inexplicable storms
darken the city skyline and the earth itself shudders.

The omens are suddenly terrifyingly clear.

An ancient and malevolent immortal is rising. The violent winds whisper her name: Caliane. She has returned to reclaim her son, Raphael. Only one thing stands in her way: Elena, the consort who must be destroyed…

This is the continuation of the Guild Hunter Series. I was a little apprehensive since I was not a big fan of the last book Archangel's Kiss. However, this book contains loads more action as well as character development than the previous and I really enjoyed the read. The story still focuses on Elena and Rapheal,but many of the other characters have more of a storyline.There is still a great amount of focus on their love... blah blah blah. Normally I have no problem with love in a book, after all Black Dagger Brotherhood focuses a lot on love, but in this case three books talking about their complicated love life is enough for me. I ended up reading the book wanting to know more about the other characters such as Illium, Dimitri and Jason. This definitely has a setting reminiscent of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and has quite a bit of potential for more storylines. There is also a great plot line about the complicated relationship of Elena and her father. In the end I still connected with Elena and her attempts to adjust to the new life she now lives.  The action was seamless and flowed nicely, and kept the plot moving forward.

Overall the book was enjoyable and I would definitely recommend it as a read. There is also an upcoming book on Dmitiri(super badass vamp) which I'm super excited about. 
Rating: 4/5

Friday, July 1, 2011

Release Day - Carolyn Rosewood's Haunted Heart

Happy release day to Carolyn Rosewood! Carolyn's first full length novel, Haunted Heart, is available today from Etopia Press.


Rowena Sommers thought moving back home to restore her beloved Aunt’s home was the key to starting over. Van Whitney thought taking the job would keep his business afloat. When a ghost hunter tries to convince Rowena the home is haunted, can these two escape the past and find a future together?

We wish Carolyn success with today's release and look forward to reading it. If you just can't wait for a preview, check out this excerpt, courtesy of Carolyn.


She didn’t need Hollywood, or Brett Fontaine.

Rowena Sommers stuffed the latest issue of Celebrity back in the magazine rack, glancing around the Pilot gas station to see if anyone was watching. She sipped her coffee, fuming over the slant of the article.

Contrary to what the reporter said, her relationship with bad-boy leading man Brett Fontaine was in trouble long before she filed a libel suit against him for leaking her personal e-mails to the tabloids. The dumb-ass reporter should have checked the back issues, like the ones with candid photos of Brett and his female costars, taken every time he went on location. They ran right next to the stories with headlines like: Who’s Keeping Rowena Company While Brett Romps in Australia?

A woman in denim cutoffs and an Ohio State T-shirt plucked a copy of the magazine from the rack and glanced sideways, her eyes wide. “This is you. On the cover.”

Rowena studied the picture, taken on the steps of the Van Nuys courthouse three weeks ago. The day she won her lawsuit against Brett. The same day she found out her great-aunt Lunette had died. She’d trade twice the settlement amount to hear Aunt Loony’s voice again. “Yes. That’s me.”

Rowena took another sip of coffee as she tried to formulate an answer that didn’t involve telling this woman where she could stuff that magazine. Her cell chirped. Saved by the ring tone.

“I have to take this. Excuse me.” She headed for the counter as she opened the phone with her free hand. “Tricia, impeccable timing, as always. You just saved me from an inquisitive fan.”

“And judging by the sarcasm in your voice, I’m guessing you’ve seen this week’s Celebrity?”

She glanced back toward the magazine rack, where the woman and a teen dressed like Lady Gaga were reading the article out loud. “Yeah, I’ve seen it. And as if this day could get any worse, I’m forced to drink gas station coffee.”

Tricia laughed. “No Starbucks in Creek Ridge, Ohio?”

Her best friend’s voice reached across the miles, tugging at her heart. Had it been a huge mistake leaving LA? “God, I hope there’s still a Starbucks here.” She took another sip. “This is actually better than the brown goo they tried to serve me at the Holiday Inn Express this morning.”

“Have you been to Aunt Loony’s house yet?” asked Tricia.

Rowena swiped her credit card through the machine. “On my way now. I’ll call and let you know what the contractor said.”

Ohio State and Lady Gaga moved behind her in line, still talking about the article. Rowena’s fingers trembled as she put the card back in her wallet. She pushed past them without a glance. As she opened the door to the parking lot she heard one of them mutter something, but only caught the words “Hollywood” and “bitch.”

Wonderful. Back in town less than twenty-four hours and already someone thought she had an attitude. So much for believing the gossip wouldn’t follow her home.

She waited until she pulled out of the parking lot in her brand-spanking-new Infinity SUV before screaming. Dialing her iPod menu to Led Zeppelin, she turned up the volume, loud. Angry, frustrated, rebellious. Perfect.

The readers of Celebrity weren’t interested in the story behind the lawsuit. They didn’t care about the string of bullshit promises Brett had made. Or the callous way in which he’d trashed her costume design career and her industry contacts with a few keystrokes, all because she’d dared to issue him an ultimatum.

They only cared about two things: reading her personal e-mails, and how much money the Superior Court of Los Angeles had ordered him to pay her because of what he’d done.

They didn’t care why she was in Ohio, or that Aunt Loony was dead. Brett’s money wouldn’t bring her back. Fun and zany, she’d been dubbed Aunt Loony by Rowena’s father when he was a teen, and she’d loved Rowena and her five siblings as if they were her own.

Fresh grief mixed with anticipation. Willow Lane was less than two miles away. Would she be able to handle walking through Aunt Loony’s house, knowing she’d never see her warm smile again?

Spotting a cop parked in front of a strip mall, she braked. Just for good measure, she turned down the volume on Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. She could see the headlines now: Rowena Sommers Arrested for Speeding in Hometown!

The memories overwhelmed her when she turned onto Willow Lane. She’d spent almost as much time on this street as her own, two blocks over. It hadn’t changed in ten years. The oak tree in front of Traci Westphall’s house, where she used to hide from her older sister Emma, still had dead branches along one side. Two doors down, she half expected Bud Williams to materialize in his driveway, sweeping up leaves and twigs while he muttered about the damn, dirty trees.

The scent of roses, lavender, and freshly cut grass filled the air. May sunshine shimmered on the pavement. The smells evoked memories of the end of each school year, when the magic of summer stretched out endlessly. Summer vacation meant going barefoot, walking down by the railroad tracks, and staying outside after dark to catch lightning bugs.

She was home, ready to be part of this town again. To be with people who made her feel safe, wanted, and who didn’t measure their lives by the latest Nielson ratings or market shares.

But would they welcome her? Or had they read the tabloids while laughing at the girl voted Most Likely to Trip Over Her Own Shoelaces? She’d tripped all right, landing smack in the belly of the gossip machine.

The imposing Queen Anne at the end of the street, just before the entrance to Oak Park, rose into view. Despite the faded siding and missing shutters, the grandeur of the home still took her breath away. As her eyes settled on the four-story tower, she remembered summer nights in the second-floor bedroom, wishing she could live with Aunt Loony. Her own room, with no Emma harassing her or parents screaming at one of her brothers.

She slowed the car, turning off her iPod. Letting her gaze travel up to the top floor of the tower—the lookout point—she recalled her big brother Jake and his friends pretending they were pirates. Part of the game included the ability to see all the way to Cleveland, where ships from exotic places like Spain or China would pull into port, stuffed with treasure beyond imagination. She was usually stuck playing the kidnapped damsel in distress or a cabin boy. They’d ignored Emma when she repeatedly pointed out Lake Erie had never been plagued by pirates, nor had treasure ships sailed on the Great Lakes.

The trim lawn and pristine flower beds brought a smile to her face. Her little brother had actually kept a promise. If a contractor showed up, he’d have kept two. For Mike, that would be a record.

She raised her eyes to heaven. “Thank you for the house, Aunt Loony. I promise to take good care of it.” She could almost hear Aunt Loony’s hearty laugh and see the twinkle in her green eyes.

Her smile faded at the sight of a silver Mercedes parked in the driveway. If that belonged to the contractor, she was about to get ripped off.

She parked the SUV in front, then caught the hem of her favorite summer skirt in the door as she tried to make a graceful exit. She glanced toward the Mercedes. Too late. The driver’s side door was already open. Classy way to make a first impression, Rowena.

In the towering maple on the front lawn, a pair of robins started to chirp, probably about her clumsiness. She released her skirt then took a deep breath, turning to look at the man leaning against the Mercedes. Her mouth fell open as she scanned his face. It couldn’t be…

Vance Whitney—everyone calls me Van—belonged to the perfect, popular crowd of cheerleaders and jocks that had made her existence at Creek Ridge High a lesson in insignificance.

He crossed muscled arms over a forest green polo shirt that set off his luminous blue eyes, even at this distance. Broad shoulders tapered to a trim waist, and the khakis he wore accentuated his long legs. The same confident grin she remembered spread across his tanned face.

This is the contractor Mike called? No way. Not happening.

No matter how hot he still looked.
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