Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Magic Study, by Maria V. Snyder

Genre: Sci Fi/Fantasy
Spoiler free description: Yelena, ex-poison taster to the Ixian Commander now goes south to her homeland of Sitia to be reunited with the family she doesn't remember. She'll also be trained to use her magical powers. But from the very first things don't go smoothly, and on top of everything bad that's happening, she really misses Valek.
The best: Well written! I didn't want to put it down. I kept trying to figure out what would happen next and who was behind it. I enjoyed this book even more than Poison Study, as Yelena is stronger in this book and not so crippled by her circumstances. I love a heroine who can learn! I also really enjoyed how realitic I found the emotional side of things. Problems don't just magically go away, and past hurts influence how the present is seen. Also, I enjoy being surprised by characters... especially when, after it happens, you can nod to yourself and say, "yes, that makes sense, I should have seen it coming" Great, subtle forshadowing. Wonderful!
The worst: Really not a worst. It got a little complicated at times.
Grade: A

The Spymaster's Lady, by Joanna Bourne

Genre: Historical Romance
Spoiler free description: Robert is a spy, and so it Annique. They meet in a prison and Annique helps Robert and his partner escape. She doesn't realize his mission is to collect the secrets she keeps. But there is more to everyone than meets the eye... I read this based on awesome reviews it got online and how often I saw it at the top of the best of 2008 lists.
The best: Great writing! A real page turner. Annique is a great heroine. Roberts friends are awesome, and I really enjoyed their parts of the story and how they weighed in on the budding romance.
The worst: I felt bad for Annique. At many times in the story I didn't like Robert.
Grade: B

One Bite with a Stranger, Christine Warren

Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Romance
Spoiler free description: Reggie and her friends started a "Fantasy Fix" for each other, where they set each other up with men who can fulfill their fantasies for the night. Reggie says she wants a dominant vampire. When her friends set her up, a real life vamp steps in to take over the Fantasy Fix
The best: I enjoyed the chick feeling to the book, especially when Reggie was with her friends. I thought the BDSM motivations were explained well, and it was hot.
The worst: For all the early work put in to explaining the BDSM side of things I didn't feel like it carried through consistently. I was dismayed by how easily Reggie turned her life upside down.
Grade: C

The Mane Attraction, Shelly Laurenston

Genre: Paranormal Romance, Shapeshifter
Spoiler free description: Third in this series. Mitch (lion) goes into hiding with his best friend Sissy Mae Smith (wolf). While in Sissy Mae's home town they realize they want to be more than just friends. But Sissy Mae has quite a history in town, and the bad guys Mitch is supposed to testify against want him dead. More of Laurenston's signature animal behavior in people form, which ROCKS!
The best: Mitch and Sissy Mae together, and Smithville. Laurenston paints a very entertaining shifter town.
The worst: Underdeveloped plot line with the wolf witches on the hill.
Grade: B

Playing Easy To Get - Anthology

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Spoiler free description: This was a re-read for me - I had it long ago for the Kenyon story in it. Then once I read Kresley Cole I realized one of the stories in this anthology was the story of Mysty the Vampire Layer, but I couldn't remember it. So I re-read just for the Cole story. Overall, I think it was good, but there was at least one thing I found so off-putting that it really ruined the rest for me.
The best: Strong hero and heroine
The worst: You shouldn't be able to command someone not to feel pain.
Grade: C

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Miss Wonderful, by Loretta Chase

Genre: Historical Romance
Spoiler free description: Alistair Carsington, Waterloo hero, pursues a countrified lady more interested in her responsibilities than her clothes. Witty dialogue and mischeif ensues.
The best: Awesome, strong heroine.
The worst: Too much canal.
Grade B-

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Poison Study, by Maria V. Snyder

Genre: Fantasy
Spoiler free description: Yelena is given a choice - become a food taster/poison detector for the Commander, or be hung. She chooses to become a poison taster and the adventure begins. It's got a dark tone to it. Intrigue and mystery. And as the story moves forward you learn more and more about Yelena's past and her trainer, Valek.
The best: Great story! A real page turner to see what twist will happen next.
The worst: Somewhat open ended. The "romance" line didn't have the tension I love.
Grade B

Monday, February 2, 2009

Flat Out Sexy, by Erin McCarthy

I think I've read some short stories by Erin McCarthy in some anthologies. I know I've heard her name before. I was curious when I read the good review for this book on so I got it from the library. Winner!
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, NASCAR
Spoiler free description: Two years after her famous race car driver husbands dies in a race, Tamara is finally ready to start dating again. She literally bumps into Elec, and though he is younger than her, the sparks fly. She figures she could do with a one night stand, he's looking for a relationship. Elec tries to convince her it's worth a try, but there are hurdles to cross - she's a single mom, the previous generation has a family feud, and she's a bit older than him...
The best: No unbelievable villians out to get anyone. Really, no villians at all. This felt like ROMANCE to me. They have issues, they work them out. I love Tamara! Sensible, logical, gets swept away, but still keeps up with all her responsibilities.
The worst: Elec was a little too perfect. I can't really complain about that.
Grade A-

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Immortals After Dark Series, by Kresley Cole

Genre: Sci-fi/fantasy, Romance, paranormal,
Spoiler free description: Strong heroines and very Alpha heros. Vampires, Valkyrie, Demons, Lykae (werewolves) and more. Very contemporary - references to the Amazing Race and Survivor. Funny, funny, funny stuff. Quite hot, too. On my top 5 series list!
The best: I love the strong heroines! I love the families/support groups that the characters have. Witty banter. I love it all!
The worst: I wish there were more... now.
Grade A