Saturday, January 24, 2009

Playing with Fire, by Gena Showalter

Genre: Sci-fi/fantasy, Romance, paranormal,
Spoiler free description: Belle was a normal girl until an evil scientist spiked her coffee and she was transformed into a superhero able to command the weather. Luckily, there's a superhero watching over her who wants to help her get used to being a superhero. Even more luckily, he's really hot, too. Unluckily, the evil scientist team wants Belle on their team, so they can disect her and understand why their evil potion worked, and then force her to work for them, using all sorts of nepharious and dastardly ways.
The best: The highlight of this book is when Belle meets up with Tanner. He is the best. A 19 year old wanna be ladies man, looking for women who would love to ride the Tanner express. His interactions with the rest of the good guy team kept me rolling!
The worst: Eh. The fact that Belle and Rome weren't more interesting than Tanner. Actually, the worst was probably how, even sick, even when she thought he was going to kill her, she was all hot about him. Eh. Not so easy to believe.
Grade C+

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Alpha & Omega AND Cry Wolf, by Patricia Briggs

Genre: Sci-fi/fantasy, Romance, paranormal, shifter
Spoiler free description: These books must be read together. The short story "Alpha and Omega" is in the book On the Prowl, and it is really just the first few chapters in Cry Wolf. And wow do I love this story. Anna is an abused, newly made, undereducated werewolf. Charles is a 200 year old dominate werewolf who comes to investigate trouble in Anna's pack. He immediately recognizes Anna as a rare and valuable Omega wolf (not the submissive she thinks she is) and his "brother wolf" also sees Anna's wolf as his mate. Anna realizes that her wolf feels safe with Charles, and that lets her trust him. But the real story is how the human halves of Anna and Charles get to know each other and try to catch up with the bond their wolf halves have decided on. Awesome!
The best: Lots of show, not too much tell. I like how the book unfolds and we see things alternating from Anna and Charles' points of view. I like how it's not easy, but they keep trying, and how they don't always get it right. I loved watching Anna's self confidence grow.
The worst: Hmmm. Not much to complain about. I would have loved more Anna and Charles and less secondary storyline, but I'm sure there is more coming in future books, as this is the beginning of a series. (Hunting Ground is due out in August 2009)
Grade A-

Bet Me, by Jennifer Cruise

Genre: Contemporary

Spoiler free description: Minn is an average looking, man-hating, logical actuary. Cal is a gorgeous womanizer runs from commitment. When Minn's ex bets Cal that he can't bed Minn (because, of course, since Minn wouldn't sleep with her ex in 2 months, she must be frigid...) and Minn overhears the bet, hilarity ensues
The best: Really well written! Just about the best sexual tension I've ever read. And laughter abounds in the secondary characters as well as Cal and Minn. Awesome.

The worst: Cal's ex. Cal and Minn's parents. Cold, almost non-human.
Would you recommend this book? Absolutely!!! To anyone
Grade: A

The Pride Books, by Shelly Laurenston

Genre: Paranormal, shifter

Spoiler free description: The Mane Event is two stories, Christmas Pride: Mace(Lion) & Dez(human) and Shaw's Tale: Brendan(Lion) & Ronnie Lee(wolf) . The Beast in Him: Smitty(wolf) & Jess(wild dog) (no, really, wild dog).
Christmas Pride is the only one where all the characters are not aware of the shapeshifting. In this case Dez is a tough as nails human cop, who is surprised when her stringbean best friend from middle school shows up as a grown up Marine. Though the lion part is original, it wasn't the best story I've read. In fact, I almost didn't read the second story in the book, and I'm so glad I did. (C+)
I laughed from the beginning of Shaw's Tale to the end. It was a blast. And it made me curious as to what the author would do with a full length novel. (A-)
The Beast in Him was good. Laurenston does full length well. (B)
The best: Laurenston does an awesome job of showing animal traits in human form. The way a lion breed stares much like a cat would. A dog's gleeful smile and playful nature. There's an awesome scene early in Shaw's Tale where Ronnie Lee is trying to handle a playful and feverish lion, in lion form, that makes me smile just to remember it.

The worst: Sometimes the stories drag. Especially the secondary storylines, have the mystery/plot. The relationships are fun to watch unfold. The drama... eh.

Would you recommend this book? Yes, if you like paranormal/shifters, with lots of humor
Grade: B