Friday, October 21, 2011

After Dark Book Review of Last Dragon Standing by G.A. Aiken

I have added After Dark Reviews to my blog as a way of notifying you of a review of a book with Adult themes and scenes. From now on I will keep my reviews of all books I read that have explicit scenes in them for late night posts for those of you who prefer to avoid them or easy to find for those of you who seek them out ;)

Um check out that cover! Yummy! I have this thing with shoulders and backs, add a sword and I am swooning!

Synopsis: "I know what they see when they look at me. The charming, soft-spoken dragoness bred from the most powerful of royal bloodlines. A disguise stronger than any battle shield that allows me to keep all suitors at tail's length. A technique that's worked until him. Until Ragnar the Cunning, handsome barbarian warlord and warrior mage from the desolate Northlands. Unlike those who've come before him, he does not simply submit to my astounding charm and devastating smile. Instead, he dismisses me as vapid, useless and, to my great annoyance, rather stupid!

Yet I'll allow no male to dismiss me. Soon he'll learn my worth, my many skills, and the strength of my will. For this one challenges me enough to make me want to ruthlessly taunt him, tease him and, finally, when the trap is set, bring him to his knees."

My Review: I admit, not my favorite book of the series, but it was still entertaining. It felt like a book to gear up to the next, there is no real conclusion. I am less of a fan of Keita than Gwenvael, but I adore Ragnar! We also met a new character, Ren, not really sure what to think of him. Of course we still got some time with all the other previous characters and I still absolutely love Eibhear! The babies have me very curious, wondering what they are planning and how they will turn out. While this wasn't my favorite book, it still leads me to read the next one!        

My Rating: I was actually able to put this one down over an entire weekend so I give it a rating of Two Paws.

In My Mailbox


In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by The Story Siren that I have decided to participate in.

How IMM works:
Make your own IMM post! You can post about books you've bought, gotten from the library, received for review... books don't have to arrive via your mailbox.
I post every week, but you don’t have to. You can do one week out of the month or every other week it’s up to you.
You don't have to call your post In My Mailbox... (some people don't even have mailboxes!)
I post my IMM on Sunday, but choose a day of the week that works for you.
Once you have your IMM posted, come back to The Story Siren on Sunday and add your link to the list.
Try to post a comment on other bloggers IMM posts. I don’t expect you to post a comment on every single one, but pick a few!

All book bloggers are welcome, while I’d like to keep the theme to YA literature it’s NOT a requirement.

There is no right or wrong way to do In My Mailbox, you can vlog, you can take fun picture, you can use the books cover art, it’s up to you!

Most importantly HAVE FUN!
I know I said this would become a once a month Meme here, and I can't remember the last one I posted so here are the books that have recently been added to my giant TBR pile!
Here is a little guide for you while looking through the new books:
* = already been read
** = been read and reviewed
(when I have a chance I will try to link to the reviews)
Synopsis from Goodreads: "It’s a fight to the death—on live TV—when a gladiator’s daughter steps into the arena
Lyn is a neo-gladiator’s daughter, through and through. Her mother has made a career out of marrying into the high-profile world of televised blood sport, and the rules of the Gladiator Sports Association are second nature to their family. Always lend ineffable confidence to the gladiator. Remind him constantly of his victories. And most importantly: Never leave the stadium when your father is dying. The rules help the family survive, but rules—and the GSA—can also turn against you. When a gifted young fighter kills Lyn’s seventh father, he also captures Lyn’s dowry bracelet, which means she must marry him..."
Synopsis from Goodreads: "Is this Ragnarok, or just California?

The NorseCODE genome project was designed to identify descendants of Odin. What it found was Kathy Castillo, a murdered MBA student brought back from the dead to serve as a valkyrie in the Norse god’s army. Given a sword and a new name, Mist’s job is to recruit soldiers for the war between the gods at the end of the world—and to kill those who refuse to fight.

But as the twilight of the gods descends, Mist makes other plans.
Journeying across a chaotic American landscape already degenerating into violence and madness, Mist hopes to find her way to Helheim, the land of the dead, to rescue her murdered sister from death’s clutches. To do so, she’ll need the help of Hermod, a Norse god bumming around Los Angeles with troubles of his own. Together they find themselves drafted into a higher cause, trying to do what fate long ago deemed could not be done: save the world of man. For even if myths aren’t made to be broken, it can’t hurt to go down fighting … can it"
Synopsis from Goodreads: "Waiting for Daisy is about loss, love, anger and redemption. It's about doing all the things you swore you'd never do to get something you hadn't even been sure you wanted. It's about being a woman in a confusing, contradictory time. It's about testing the limits of a loving marriage. And it's about trying (and trying and trying) to have a baby.
Orenstein's story begins when she tells her new husband that she's not sure she ever wants to be a mother; it ends six years later after she's done almost everything humanly possible to achieve that goal, from "fertility sex" to escalating infertility treatments to New Age remedies to forays into international adoption. Her saga unfolds just as professional women are warned by the media to heed the ticking of their biological clocks, and just as fertility clinics have become a boom industry, with over two million women a year seeking them out. Buffeted by one jaw-dropping obstacle after another, Orenstein seeks answers both medical and spiritual in America and Asia, along the way visiting an old flame who's now the father of fifteen, and discovering in Japan a ritual of surprising solace. All the while she tries to hold onto a marriage threatened by cycles, appointments, procedures and disappointments"
** Synopsis from Goodreads: "After traveling to Scotland on business, the bed of a highland laird is the last place Ali Graham expected to wake up. But there's no mistaking the irresistibly masculine Scottish Highlander whose chamber she's accidentally infiltrated-or the severe wound he's suffered in battle. As a doctor, Ali knows how to heal his injury, how to nurse his body back to health. What she doesn't know is how to heal his heart... A proud warrior and the leader of a powerful clan, Rory MacLeod is ready to fight to the death to protect his homeland. After all, ever since tragedy robbed him of his wife, he has had nothing to lose. Yet the mysterious woman sent to tend his wounds is beginning to reawaken something inside him-something that he'd rather stay buried. But when true passion is mixed with Scottish magic, even the most fearsome warrior could begin to fall... "

Synopsis from Goodreads: "Bound By Duty
In a time of raids and ransoms, Aidan MacLeod is responsible for a formidable Scottish keep and all the people within. Yet the fearless Highland laird never forgets his charge to shield his young half-brother from the grave consequences of his tragic birth.
Linked By Fate
But an alluring stranger known only as Syrena could undo all of Aidan's defenses. For Syrena has vowed to bring Aidan's brother to a realm far from the Scotland of their understanding. To succeed, she is at Aidan's mercy.
Divided By Desire
Ignoring his attraction to the beautiful Syrena is pointless. But if Aidan lets himself trust the enchanting woman who has so quickly captured his heart, he'll be forced to risk everything he has sworn to protect... "

* Synopsis from Goodreads: "She couldn't believe her eyes.
Stressed out ad-exec Dakota wandered into Catamount Outfitters in search of a guide for a wilderness excursion. She didn't expect to be greeted by not one, but five of the most ruggedly delicious-looking men she'd ever seen. Not to mention a live cougar guarding the shop.
The Falke brothers have more than just good looks in their genes.
Eldest brother Axel agrees to guide Dakota on her mountain trek. In cougar form, Axel's twin, Gunnar, was there as a protection from predators—but he had his eye on the sexy client instead.
Into the wild...
While the rule with clients was "paws-off," both Axel and Gunnar couldn't resist Dakota's seductive Native American beauty and determination. As cold days led to hot nights in the cabin, Axel and Gunnar wondered if they'd finally found a woman strong enough to tame them..."

* Synopsis from Goodreads: "Brotherly love? Oh hell no…
On the surface, court reporter Lark Manning looks like the luckiest girl in the world, blessed with great friends and a wonderful family. Underneath, she harbors a hopelessly unrequited love for the sexy werewolf everyone thinks of as her cousin. Taran rarely notices her except to condescend or lecture. He’s treated her the same way since she was eight years old, and there’s no reason to think he’ll ever change.
Taran Lloyd, a detective in the Houston Police Department’s Shifters Investigations Unit (SHIU), lives for those rare moments he gets to spend around Lark, torturing himself with what he can’t have. Kin only by marriage, she thinks of him as her big brother. He couldn’t bear her pity—or her disgust—if she learned he wants her for his mate.
When weres from a rival pack attack her, Lark screams out the first name that comes to mind—Taran. Only this sexy alpha can keep her safe until they find out who wants her dead, and why. But keeping her safe means keeping her close. And the closer they get, the harder it gets for these not-really-cousins to honor their commitment to keep their paws off."

* Synopsis from Goodreads: "Workaholic web designer Megan Jones exudes sensible and practical by day, but in her dreams she truly lives. Her nights are filled with erotic trysts with a dream lover-who also defends her against the dangerous wild stallion of her nightmares.
When she inherits a Victorian-era Welsh locket, she opens it to a shocking revelation. The tiny portrait of a black-haired man with a sardonic smile is none other than the man in her dreams. There-s only one way to learn the truth about him-head to her ancestral home town in Wales.
A member of the ancient race of Tylwyth Teg, Owain Deverell has spent the last 170 years suspended between man and beast-punishment for loving a human woman. Weary of his cursed existence, and longing to be more than the object of Megan-s dream desire, he strikes a bargain with the Fairy Queen. In exchange for retaining his human form, she grants him three days to win Megan-s unconditional love.
Or remain the object of her nightmares. Forever.
Warning: Contains graphic sex, dream sex, picnic sex, magic sex, a meddlesome Fairy Queen, and did we mention sex?"

** Synopsis from Goodreads: "Brentan Montgomery, Earl of Charfield has one love - his stable of Arabian horses. When he is offered breeding rights to the Marquess of Fellingsdown’s prize Arabian, El Solidar, if for two weeks he acts as companion to Fellingsdown’s sister, he doesn’t care if the reclusive Lady Elyssa has three chins and a dozen hairy moles, the prize at the end is worth anything he has to endure. But when he meets the elusive Lady Elyssa Prescott, all thoughts of gaining a prize Arabian colt disappear. He realizes he’s met the woman of his dreams - if only he can keep her from discovering the deceit that brought them together and convince her that her imperfections don’t matter to him.
Lady Elyssa Prescott knows what it’s like to be ridiculed and shunned. But when Brent Montgomery lets her glimpse a world where her limitations aren’t important, she believes it’s possible for her dreams to become a reality. Until she discovers the man with whom she’s fallen in love was ‘hired’ to offer her everything she’s always dreamed of having.
The cruel reality of a love built on deceit shatters both their dreams and threatens to destroy their lives forever."

* Synopsis from Goodreads: "Joshua Camden, Marquess of Montfort, will do everything in his power to save his precious Graystone Manor - even take a wife he doesn't want. But he isn't prepared for the one demand the woman who holds the power to save his precious Graystone makes - that he remain faithful forever.
 Lady Allison Townsend would rather go to her grave a spinster than marry a man who embarrasses her with his string of mistresses. But when she's given no choice but to marry one of London's most well-known rakes and womanizers, she refuses to go to the altar without a stipulation of her own - that the man she marries never share his bed with another woman.
But neither Allison nor Joshua is prepared for the dangers they're forced to face and the choices they're forced to make to protect their happiness - as well as their hearts."

** Won from Bad Ass Book Review Blog ~ Synopsis from Goodreads: "Sienna Diaz is desperate to find her missing beagle, no matter what it costs. She hires Cruz Santino, the best-and hottest-in the business. He's an ex cop, dangerous on many levels, which comes in handy when all evidence indicates her beloved pet was snatched to use in a dogfighting ring.

Cruz will do whatever it takes to find Sienna's lost pet, but he also wants results from the smokin' hot attraction between them-and he isn't above breaking his own hands-off-clients rule to get there. However, until he brings her beloved beagle home safely, he won't have Sienna's undivided attention...and affection."

** Won from Bad Ass Book Review Blog ~ Synopsis from Goodreads: "When a regular night of Robin Hood-ery results in the manifestation of some, um, unusual paranormal abilities, perfume-maker Elleodora Fredricks realizes the normal world she lives in isn't quite... normal. And neither is she, thanks to her father, king of the shadow elves. Not only is he evil incarnate and the reason Elle moonlights as a burglar-someone has to take care of all his victims-he's stolen her memories.
And only reading her fate can fix that.
Good thing she's got a trio of hotties willing to help her find said fate, but only if she gives them something in return. Saving her oracle BFF's fiance, falling in love with the gargoyle, and making up for breaking the phoenix's heart ought to be a piece of cake for the princess of the shadow elves.
If only the king didn't want his daughter dead..."
Synopsis from Goodreads: "Breena's entry into Feyland is marred by danger and beauty. A prisoner in her own palace, she longs to see and touch her forbidden prince Kian. Yet her heart is also still with her friend Logan. The discovery of a long-lost figure in Breena's life propels Breena into the heart of fae politics. In a stunning turn of events, Breena suddenly finds herself faced with the most heartbreaking decision in her entire life."

Synopsis from Goodreads: "Enter the world of Feyland, where beautiful strong fairies have been at war for years. Breena, the beautiful half fairy, half human princess from Oregon, has ascended to her rightful place in Feyland, as Queen of the Summer Kingdom. Being Queen isn't at all what she expected. Now the weight of Feyland falls heavily on her shoulders. The landscape of Feyland is scattered with the silver blood of fairies, turning the once whitish blue frost of the Winter Kingdom to silver frost, and danger lurks everywhere including within her own court. Secretly in love with her intended Winter Prince Kian, now Breena is faced with the realization of war, and the possibility of Kian as her greatest enemy. To help her navigate through the politics within her court and Feyland, help comes in the form of an old friend. Before she knows it, Breena's heart is torned between two loves, just as torned as Feyland. The fate of Feyland depends on her choices, can she make the right ones even if it means turning away from her love forever?"

Synopsis from Goodreads: "Feyland is thrown into turmoil once again as the Summer Queen Breena s fate leaves the land of strong, beautiful, and dangerous fairies in chaos. An emerging danger has arisen deep in Feyland, and all must take sides. Sacrifices will be made, and not everyone will survive. How far would you go for love?"
Synopsis from Goodreads: "The most tragic love story in history . . .
Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love."

Synopsis from Goodreads: "There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.
Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.
Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her"

Synopsis from Goodreads: "Hell on earth.
That’s what it’s like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel.
It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts—immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something—something dangerous.
What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?"

Synopsis from Goodreads: "Luce would die for Daniel.
And she has. Over and over again. Throughout time, Luce and Daniel have found each other, only to be painfully torn apart: Luce dead, Daniel left broken and alone. But perhaps it doesn’t need to be that way. . . .
Luce is certain that something—or someone—in a past life can help her in her present one. So she begins the most important journey of this lifetime . . . going back eternities to witness firsthand her romances with Daniel . . . and finally unlock the key to making their love last.
Cam and the legions of angels and Outcasts are desperate to catch Luce, but none are as frantic as Daniel. He chases Luce through their shared pasts, terrified of what might happen if she rewrites history.
Because their romance for the ages could go up in flames . . . forever."

And I think that is it, finally! Yea yea I know, I bought a lot of books when I am not suppose to be buying any but I couldn't resist!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Writing Wednesday

So Wednesday is my official writing update day. I have so many story projects going on and I need a push to get some done. So I will be trying to post each Wednesday about how my writing adventures are going (and I may need a swift kick in the pants by you guys sometimes).

Current Active Project:

The New Old Home
Everyone dreams of winning the lottery, but what would you do with that money? That is the question presented to Natalie, when she is at the lowest point in her life, she is presented with an opportunity to make any normal person's dreams come true, but all those winnings can't give her what she wants most.

Other Works in Progress:
Princess Bs - 32,131 words
A story about a woman, recently divorced and returned to her home town to figure out what is next. She encounters an old friend and spends a weekend with him and his daughters. Feelings that are long since buried are rising up again, but are her recent loss and his current life going to stand in the way of their happily ever after?

Tamlyn Marie's Grace - 12,072 words
Think Cinderella only with a matchmaker ;)

The Last Mountains - 15,352
A equine shapeshifting family is being hunted to near extinction and the young new leader must go against all her lessons and approach the elite council for aide. Will they help her? How will she keep her family's traditions and values alive, let alone her herd?

Night Rider - 17,229
Alice is a recent high school graduate who is a very accomplished competitive rider in Hunter/Jumper, Dressage, and Western/Rodeo. Her parents had arranged for her to attend a private college on the east coast geared specifically to equine professions. However, Alice wants to focus on her studies in English Literature. When she arrives at the college she hides her riding abilities, but can she keep her talent and love of horses hidden?

Other Ideas Plotting:

Bloodsoar's Story
A pegasus struggles through life, ejected from the herd, near capture by humans.

The Assassin's Assassin
A student learns what the school is really teaching and sets out to destroy those who support the program.


So again no new writing done but more outlines and plotting done for the upcoming Nano book! I have gotten several chapters outlined and only plan to do a few more, getting towards the end I don't like too much planning so I can let the story go where it wants to go.  I have also done some research, I wasn't planning on getting facts down until after nano and go back and edit, but I had a little time. So research on names, lottery, taxes are all done and I picked up several books at Barnes and Noble last night to begin researching castles and manors!  I just wish I had a laptop to take to write ins so I didn't have to hand write, I think the story would really fly if I could just type like crazy!

I am also starting to work on a Nano 2011 soundtrack, I could use some help since I can't seem to come up with songs that I need.

I need sad songs - for grave site and memories
I need celtic and scottish music for traveling too.

If you have any suggestions please post titles or links!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Poetry Pause: She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron

I am working in the poetry section of my own 2011 Reading Challenge. I had planned on posting the poems for you to join me in reflecting on them; however, I am not entirely certain on the copyright laws regarding some of the poets we will read. So to be on the safe side I decided to try to link you to the poem I will be reading.

Another option, if you are looking to purchase a book of poetry, I suggest Half Hours with the Best Poets (Barnes & Noble or Amazon)

This is a fantastic collection of poems, nearly all of my top poems are in this one book!

So the next poem is
The title link with take you to the poem
I love this poem, the rhyme and meter are what you would expect in a poem. I also love how he is talking about a dark haired simple beauty as opposed to the gaudiness of others. I love the comparison between the woman and night, how the smallest light from a star stands out against the darkness when in day the light is overwhelming and common. I am thrilled to have a poem for us dark haired girls :) This is a very beautiful poem and probably one of my favorite love poems!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Book Club Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Synopsis: "As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive."

My Review: Well that was interesting! Not at all what I expected. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one but I wasn't sucked in like I normally am use to. I don't know if it was the 1st person point of view, the characters or the sci-fi aspect that didn't quite click with me. The only character I did connect with was the Grandfather, I absolutely adored him! This was a unique adventure with time travel and some unusual abilities. I did enjoy how each one had a single talent. Though I am not happy with Jacob's final decision, the ending definitely set up for many more books in the future. The really great part about the book were the unusual photos that were included, it really set the book apart and added to the believability of the whole story.

My Rating: I really am not sure what to give this one, it was unusual, interesting and completely unexpected which gets major props, but due to the lack of character connection and the pacing it fell a little for me.  So I think I give this one a rating of Three Paws.

Rhodie Reader Thoughts: I think the overall consensus was that this was a really good book. It caught us all off guard and was so different from many of the other books we have read. A few of us did find it to be a little predictable (ie. who the bad guy is) but were surprised by other events that occurred. We also all agreed on the fact that the pacing was a little off but came to the conclusion that it may have been due to trying to get all the background details and characters prepared for the next book, which we hope will pick up pace and suck us in. None of us were very happy with Jacob's final decision or the ending. Most of us plan to read the next one when it is released.

Time for a Reading Update

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

What I Read Last Week:
Links will take you to my review
Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken
About a Dragon by G.A. Aiken
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (review coming soon)
Currently Reading:
Last Dragon Standing - Nook - on page 14 of 371
Sabriel by Garth Nix - PB - on page 216 of 496
The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke - PB - on page 18 of 348
A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin - on my Nook, page 20 of 1439
Taste Me by Tamara Hogan - Nook - on Page 30 of 384
Next Books to be Read:
Catundra by Stephen Cosgrove - Childrens/Bedtime stories
Holes by Lewis Sachar - Middle Reader/ 2011 Challenge
She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron - Poetry/ 2011 Challenge
Divergent by Veronica Roth - Rhodie Readers Book Club
So we had our first real book club meeting on Friday, unfortunately not too many people showed up but it was still fun! I will post some comments on my review of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
Sadly, I missed the Boston Book Festival on Saturday :( I came down with a nasty cold last week and was just starting to recover on Friday and Saturday, so I stayed home.