Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Importance of Being Wicked by Victoria Alexander

The Importance of Being WickedHistorical Romance
Goodreads Summary:
"In this dazzling new novel, #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander welcomes you to Millworth Manor, a delightful English country estate where love is always perfectly at home…

For Winfield Elliott, Viscount Stillwell, finding a prospective bride always seemed easy. Perhaps too easy. With three broken engagements to his name, Win is the subject of endless gossip. Yet his current mission is quite noble: to hire a company to repair his family’s fire-damaged country house. Nothing disreputable in that—until the firm’s representative turns out to be a very desirable widow.

Lady Miranda Garrett expected a man of Win’s reputation to be flirtatious, even charming. But the awkward truth is that she finds him thoroughly irresistible. While Miranda resides at Millworth to oversee the work, Win occupies her days, her dreams…and soon, her bed. For the first time, the wicked Win has fallen in love. And what began as a scandalous proposition may yet become a very different proposal."
The Importance of Being Wicked is another wonderful story from Victoria Alexander.  Since Winfield Elliott’s three previous engagements play a big part in the story reading the novella Lord Stillwell’s Excellent Engagements (see my review) will add to your enjoyment of the story.
Winfield Elliott is a really great character.  He was a bit wild in his youth but he has changed into a very responsible man but because of his three broken engagements his reputation does not match the man he is today. He is very conservative and feels that a womans place is in the home.
Miranda Garrett started working and doing architectural drawing when her husband was alive.  She was the better architect of the two and when he died she continued his work keeping his architectural firm alive.  The fact that she is doing most of the work is a secret.  Usually she does not oversee a job but the job for Winfield requires her to oversee.  They start out as less than friends.
I loved the way Win and Miranda gradually became friends and then more than friends.  Miranda’s secrets and Win’s broken engagements are a big part of the tension in the story.  Seeing how each responded to the secrets was very satisfying.  As anyone who reads a romance knows at the end there will be a HEA.  It is the journey to that ending that makes the difference between a good or a not so good story.  The Importance of Being Wicked has a great journey making it a very good story.
Zebra published The Importance of Being Wicked by Victoria Alexander in 2013.
I received an ARC of The Importance of Being Wicked from Netgalley.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Collateral Damage by K.S. Augustin

Erotic Science Fiction Romance

I am on the Round the World Cruise and have limited internet.   I am using this time to catch up on my TBR pile on my ereaders.  My posts are short.

When I checked my email last week I found one from K.S. Augustin.  She attached a copy of her new erotic science fiction romance story.  It is fairly short at only 42 pages but is filled with action and romance.  It also downloaded quickly which was great with the type and speed the internet is on the ship.

Collateral Damage is set back in the Republic's past.  Hyperspace creases are still being found and explored.  People want off of Earth and Meyal, the main character in the story, has accepted a difficult job that will pay her family's way off.  She is orbiting a planet surveying it for minerals.  They job is for a year and she is suppose to be the only one in the system.  Imagine her surprise when she gets a call from Waryd who is working for another company.  He is on the other side of the planet doing the same job she is.  Their calls start as playful pretend sex but as they get to know each other a friendship develops.  When Meyal realizes that Waryd is in danger she must decide what is most important, her job or Waryd.

This is a quick fun read. I am always glad to see new stories set in the Republic Universe and hope to see many more.  The one I am still looking for is the rest of Quinton's story.
Sandal Press published Collateral Damage by K.S. Augustin in 2013.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Enchanted Ever After by Robin Owens


I am on the Round the World Cruise and have limited internet.   I am using this time to catch up on my TBR pile on my ereaders.  My posts are short with no links or graphics.  Check my travel blog to see where I have been and where I am going.

Enchanted Ever After is part of the Mystic Circle series by Robin D. Owens.  It is book three in the series but is the first book in the series that I have read.  The first two are Enchanted Once and More Enchanted Again.   There is enough back story included to keep me for feeling lost.

There were things I loved about the book.  The main character, Kiri Palger, is well drawn and very likeable.  She has made some choices she would like to undo.  They are not world shaking, they are just things many of us do in real life.  When she get the chance to change her life she jumps right in and goes for it.  The book is all about how that decision changes her.   Lathyr Tricurrent is the love interest in the story.  He is the one who helps Kiri achieve her dreams. 

The story is about magic and the people who have it.  I did like the world that is being developed here but for me the story just did not have the tension and punch I was looking for.  It was a nice well written story, just not exciting.

I am a Robin Owens fan so I might go back and read the previous books sometime.  I don’t miss any of her Heart series so they are my first reading choice.

Harlequin published Enchanted Ever After by Robin D. Owens in 2013.

I received an ARC of Enchanted Ever After from Netgalley.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Caught in Amber by Cathy Pegau

Caught in Amber by Cathy PegauScience Fiction Romance
Goodreads Summary:
"Recently out of rehab, Sasha James is determined to keep her head down, complete her parole and never touch amber again. The chip in her neck controls her cravings for the highly addictive drug, but also tracks her every move. Not that she goes anywhere other than work and the halfway house she calls home—a far cry from her luxurious former life as lover of the mining colony's top drug dealer, Guy Christiansen.
Agent Nathan Sterling has no desire to see Sasha fall back into amber, but his sister has become Guy's latest conquest and the unexpectedly attractive Sasha is the key to getting her back. So in exchange for an introduction, he offers Sasha the one thing she can't refuse—her freedom. From the chip, her parole and even the planet if she wants. Though he would be sorry to see her go…

Torn between her growing attraction to Nathan, fear of Guy and the allure of amber, Sasha accepts. But who will save her if Guy refuses to let her go a second time."
Caught in Amber is set in the same universe as Rule Breaker (see my review).  In fact there is a brief mention of Liv Braxton and Zia Talbot in this story.  While Caught in Amber is listed as Science Fiction Romance, like Rule Breaker, you could easily move the location to the present day and have a contemporary romance.  Having said that Caught in Amber is a strong story filled with very strong characters.
I wasn’t sure I liked Nathan Sterling through much of the story. He started out not caring about Sasha James as a person and the way he used her did not sit well with me.  He did change his attitude as the story progressed but I still found him a little cold. Sasha on the other hand was a very strong character.  I admired how she was working to change her life and keep off of the drug that had possessed her.  She was the one with the most to lose if anything went wrong but she felt it was worth the risk. 
Guy was a contradiction.  He still wanted Sasha, in fact it was stated he loved her.  However his love was more possession than love.  He did make a very good villain.  There were other side characters that added to the story.  One of the side characters looked like she was being set up for her own story.  Time will tell if I am right.
The story moved at a fast pace with an interesting plot.  There was a lot of tension.  Some between Nathan and Sasha, some brought on by the danger in the plot, and some because of other characters.  There were enough twists and turns to keep me reading. 
Cathy Pegau writes a very tight well-thought out story.  I'll be looking for what she publishes in the future.
I received an ARC of Caught in Amber from Netgalley.
Carina Press published Caught in Amber by Cathy Pegau in 2013.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder

Fantasy Romance
I am on the Round the World Cruise and have limited internet.   I am using this time to catch up on my TBR pile on my ereaders.  My posts are short with no links or graphics.  Check my travel blog to see where I have been and where I am going.
This is the second book in the series and like many middle books it sets up the action for book three.  All of the characters from book one, Touch of Power, are here. Avry and Kerrick the two main characters are separated for most of the book and when they finally get together it is for a cliffhanger ending.  While we don’t see much of him Tohon is back as the really bad guy.  There are some important new secondary characters introduced.  Secondary characters from book one are still around but most do not appear as often in this book.
The action in Scent of Magic flows smoothly.  The major world building was done in book one so the small additions in Scent of Magic add to the story arc without interrupting the action.  There are two separated story lines in the book and it will be interesting to see how the characters from both merge.  I found that everything worked to keep my interest.  Now I just have to wait for the next book to see how everything comes together.
Harlequin Mira published Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder in 2013.
I received an ARC of Scent of Magic from Netgalley.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Jewels of Paradise by Donna Leon

The Jewels of ParadiseMystery
Goodreads Summary:

Donna Leon has won heaps of critical praise and legions of fans for her best-selling mystery series featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. With The Jewels of Paradise, Leon takes readers beyond the world of the Venetian Questura in her first standalone novel.
Caterina Pellegrini is a native Venetian, and like so many of them, she’s had to leave home to pursue her career. With a doctorate in baroque opera from Vienna, she lands in Manchester, England. Manchester, however, is no Venice. When Caterina gets word of a position back home, she jumps at the opportunity.

The job is an unusual one. After nearly three centuries, two locked trunks, believed to contain the papers of a baroque composer have been discovered. Deeply-connected in religious and political circles, the composer died childless; now two Venetians, descendants of his cousins, each claim inheritance. Caterina’s job is to examine any enclosed papers to discover the testamentary disposition” of the composer. But when her research takes her in unexpected directions she begins to wonder just what secrets these trunks may hold. From a masterful writer, The Jewels of Paradise is a superb novel, a gripping tale of intrigue, music, history and greed.

I love the Commissario Brunetti books by Donna Leon so when I say The Jewels of Paradise audio CD on a recent trip to the library I immediately picked it up.  I was not disappointed.

The book is filled with wonderful characters.  Caterian is the main character but there are other scattered in the story that add to the richness of the tale.  I only met Caterian’s sister, a nun, through their emails but she comes across fully developed.  The Romanian, a scholar who is seldom sober, is a very nice touch.  The lawyer is one thing one time and another later.  The cousins are about what I expected.  Then there are the historical characters that are exposed as Caterian does her research.  Leon uses them to draw some insightful parallels between today and the past.

Then there is the story.  I am not that familiar with the world of baroque music but that did not keep me from enjoying the book.  The past and the present are woven together in a way that keeps the story moving.  There were plenty of surprises as I listened.  For me finding out what the Jewels of Paradise actually were was a biggest surprise.  I did love how that fact helped bring a very nice end to the story. 

I was left sadden that this is a stand-alone book.  I would love to meet the characters in a future novel.

AudioGo released the recording of The Jewels of Paradise by Donna Leon in 2012.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Reluctant Countess by Wendy Vella

Historical Romance 
I am on the Round the World Cruise and have limited internet.   I am using this time to catch up on my TBR pile on my ereaders.  My posts are short with no links or graphics.  Check my travel blog to see where I have been and where I am going.
I really loved the beginning of this book.  The reluctant countess started life out as a servant the house of a dying Earl.  He did not like his heir so with the help of his sister he married her just before dying.  After his death they told the world she had been married for several years and that her young brother was the Earl’s son. 
After two years of training to make sure she could pass as the Countess of Monmouth Letty, Lady Letitia Carstairs, the Earls ‘s sister and Sophie the Countess of are in London for the season.   Patrick, Earl of Coulter, is determined to prove that she is a fraud.
I love both Sophie and Patrick.  Sophia is a really loving woman who is uncomfortable with what they have done.  Patrick starts out wanting nothing but to prove Sophia is not who she says she is and ends up protecting her. 
The journey to Patrick’s and Sophia’s HEA was well written and filled with surprises and danger.  There were some wonderful side characters that added to the story line.  The only character that came across as wooden was Tim, Sophia’s brother.  I did wish he had been written with a little more care.
Pick this on up for a enjoyable Historical Romance story.
Loveswept published The Reluctant Countess by Wendy Vella in 2012.
I received a ARC of  The Reluctant Countess from Netgalley.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Importance of Being Wicked by Miranda Neville

The Importance of Being Wicked (The Wild Quartet, #1)Historical Romance
Goodreads summary:
"The rules of society don't apply to Caro and her coterie of bold men and daring women. But when passions flare, even the strongest will surrender to the law of love...
Thomas, Duke of Castleton, has every intention of wedding a prim and proper heiress. That is, until he sets eyes on the heiress's cousin, easily the least proper woman he's ever met. His devotion to family duty is no defense against the red-headed vixen whose greatest asset seems to be a talent for trouble...

Caroline Townsend has no patience for the oh-so-suitable (and boring) men of the ton. So when the handsome but stuffy duke arrives at her doorstep, she decides to put him to the test. But her scandalous exploits awaken a desire in Thomas he never knew he had. Suddenly Caro finds herself falling for this most proper duke...while Thomas discovers there's a great deal of fun in a little bit of wickedness.

This is the first of a four book series centered around a group of badly behaved late-Georgian art collectors."
I ended up with two books with the same title and this one got lost in the process.  I just realized what had happened and now both have been read and reviewed.
I liked this story.  It had two very interesting characters. Thomas and Caro  are a good example of opposites who attract.  They met when Thomas comes to court Caro’s cousin Anne. There is an immediate attraction between the two.  I loved how Caro brought out the fun in Thomas and how Thomas made Caro feel safe.  Trusting was hard for both but once that happened they had a wonderful HEA.
The Importance of Being Wicked is a great start to a new series.  Using Caro and her past as the way to introduce the whole new cast of characters was brilliant.  I hope we will see more of Caro and Thomas as side characters in future books.
Avon published The Importance of Being Wicked by Miranda Neville in 2012,
I received an ARC of The Importance of Being Wicked from Edelweiss.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson

The Emperor's SoulFantasy
Goodreads Summary:

A heretic thief is the empire’s only hope in this fascinating tale that inhabits the same world as the popular novel, Elantris.
Shai is a Forger, a foreigner who can flawlessly copy and re-create any item by rewriting its history with skillful magic. Condemned to death after trying to steal the emperor’s scepter, she is given one opportunity to save herself. Though her skill as a Forger is considered an abomination by her captors, Shai will attempt to create a new soul for the emperor, who is almost dead.

Probing deeply into his life, she discovers Emperor Ashravan’s truest nature—and the opportunity to exploit it. Her only possible ally is one who is truly loyal to the emperor, but councilor Gaotona must overcome his prejudices to understand that Shai’s forgery is as much artistry as it is deception.

Brimming with magic and political intrigue, this deftly woven fantasy delves into the essence of a living spirit.

The Emperor’s Soul is a fast read at only 170 pages.  It is more novella length than book length but it still tells a complete story.

I loved Shai.  She believes in what she does and considers herself an artist.  When she is given the change to give the Emperor a new soul in return for her life she throws herself into the challenge.  She knows that if she succeeds the people who promised her freedom will kill her instead. It was the challenge that drew her.  No one had ever done this before.  She started a job and she was determined to see it through to the finish.  That did not mean she did not put in some very subtle changes in the Emperor’s personality.

The story needed one loyal man and that was Gaotona.  He really carried for the emperor.  Working with Shai he began to understand the extent of the job she was trying to do.  He had a more open mind that any of the other characters.  He still did not like what was being done but developed an unexpected respect for Shai.

Wondering how everything was going to turn out generated a great deal of tension.  The ending held a few surprises.

If you like Brandon Sanderson’s writing be sure to pick up The Emperor’s Soul.  It is a very entertaining read.

Tachyon published The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson in 2012.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Riveted by Meljean Brook

Riveted (Iron Seas, #3)Steampunk
Goodreads Summary:
"A century after a devastating volcanic eruption forced Iceland’s inhabitants to abandon its shores, the island has become enshrouded in legend. Fishermen tell tales of giant trolls guarding the land and of seductive witches who steal men’s hearts. But the truth behind the legends is mechanical, not magic—and the mystery of the island a matter of life and death for a community of women who once spilled noble blood to secure their freedom.

Five years ago, Annika unwittingly endangered that secret, but her sister Källa took the blame and was exiled. Now Annika serves on the airship Phatéon, flying from port to port in search of her sister and longing to return home . . . but that home is threatened when expedition leader David Kentewess comes aboard.

Determined to solve the mystery of his own origin, David will stop at nothing to expose Annika’s secrets. But when disaster strikes, leaving David and Annika stranded on a glacier and pursued by a madman, their very survival depends on keeping the heat rising between them—and generating lots of steam ."
Even though I pre-ordered Riveted it sat on my TBR pile for quite a while.  I am trying to read through all the paper books I have ordered before I leave on my cruise.  I can carry my ebooks but not the paper ones.  I am writing and scheduling this before I leave home but by the time it is published I will be on the ship with limited internet.
Riveted is Meljean Brook’s third novel in the Iron Seas series.  The world building in the first novels was very complex.  That was not true in Riveted.  The world was established in The Iron Duke and Heart of Steel and little if anything was added in Riveted.  In some ways it was so far removed from the first two novels it could stand alone and while reading some parts of the book you might be slightly puzzled it would not be enough to impact your understanding of these story.
The story in Riveted is predictable but still good.  The two main characters both have secrets and both have insecurities.  Growing up Annika was the one who always messed up.  She was a daydreamer and that lead to her neglecting to pay attention to what she was doing.  That often led to problems.
David Kentewess lost an eye, an arm and two legs in an explosion that killed his Mother.  He has metal parts grafted to his body and people are often afraid of him.  Many treat him as less than human.  He is another hero who is a virgin.  He is like Kel Pattan in Games of Command.  The changes in his body mean no one wants to have anything to do with him.
There are several twists and turns in the story.  The bad guy is really bad.  Annika’s sister turns up in an unexpected place. Of course, David and Annika are attracted to each other but their insecurities threaten their relationship. Annika’s family and their secrets threaten the relationship.  Iceland is another danger.  Make the wrong move and you can die.
Riveted is a good addition to the series.  It does not add to the world building but it does introduce some interesting new characters and places.
Penguin published Riveted by Meljean Brook in 2012.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Stacking the Shelves January 5, 2013

Welcome to my Stacking The Shelves post!  Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews so follow the link and check out what other stacked on their shelves this week.    

This week I won all of the books.

From the SFR Holiday Blitz:

Switched by Diane Burton (I won The Pilot but because I had already purchased that book she substituted Switched) .  
Ghost in the Machine by CE Kilgore 
Lightning Rider by Maree Anderson

Coffeetime Romance’s Santa Watch:

Secret Santa by Kristine Cheney   

I wrote this before I left home and linked it before I left the hotel for the cruise ship.  I am off around the world so my internet will be expensive and limited.   I will post but sometimes there will be no links or covers.  You can follow me on my travel blog.  The link is on the right.  During my days at sea I plan to clean out my ebook TBR pile.  The rest of the time I will be out seeing other countries and meeting other people.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dead Iron by Devon Monk

Dead Iron (Age of Steam, #1)

Goodreads Summary:
"In steam age America, men, monsters, machines, and magic battle for the same scrap of earth and sky. In this chaos, bounty hunter Cedar Hunt rides, cursed by lycanthropy and carrying the guilt of his brother's death. Then he's offered hope that his brother may yet survive. All he has to do is find the Holder: a powerful device created by mad devisers-and now in the hands of an ancient Strange who was banished to walk this Earth.

In a land shaped by magic, steam, and iron, where the only things a man can count on are his guns, gears, and grit, Cedar will have to depend on all three if he's going to save his brother and reclaim his soul once and for all."
I think the cover on Dead Iron is one of the best I have seen.  It just made me want to read the book and was one of the reasons I purchased the book.  It has also been on my TBR pile for some time and is another I wanted to finish before I left on my cruise.
Dead Iron is the first book in this series and as a result there is a lot of world building.  The setting is in the old west (Oregon).  There are witches, shapeshiffters, curses, and The Strange.  This is a land shaped by magic, steam and iron.
Cedar Hunt is one of the main characters.  He is a bounty hunter who has been cursed , becomes a wolf at each new moon, and reacts as a beast with no memory of what he does during that time.  He thinks that he killed his brother during one of his changes.  To make up for this he uses his skills to help when there is trouble. 
Rose Small is another of the main characters.  She was left as a baby and has never fit in.  She can see the Strange.  Mae Lindson is a witch.  One of the Strange has killed her husband.  She and Rose join Cedar in fighting the Strange and what they want to do to the world. 
The Madder’s are the last characters that join in the fight.  No one quite knows what they are.  They add a comic element to the book as they also help in the fight.
The plot is a good set up for future books in the series.  The story was well thought out, there is plenty of tension, and the hint of things to come. Dear Iron is a good story and a good start to a new series.
ROC published Dead Iron by Devon Monk in 2011.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Lesson in Chemistry with Inspector Bruce by Jillian Stone

A Lesson in Chemistry with Inspector Bruce (The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard, #2.5)Paranormal Romance
Goodreads Summary:

A force of attraction...too tempting to resist.
AS READERS OF The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard series already know, Archibald “Archie” Bruce heads up the crime laboratory for Special Branch. Undervalued and overworked, the brilliant young man has no time for a social life––that is, until the heroine's father, a noted chemist in his own right, offers Archie a deal. He will modify a secret latex compound that will transfer fingerprints from the crime scene to the lab. In exchange, Archie must agree to tutor his charming but exasperating daughter, Miss Fiona A. Rose, for the major pharmacy exam.

But as Archie and Fiona attempt to study for the major, they can't help but get involved in a bit of sleuthing. Was the fire in the opium den accidental or deliberately set? Who was behind the lab explosion? Not to mention the strange and haunting memory of a masquerade ball and a very seductive kiss...

Amidst the pop quizzes and danger, Fiona and Archie ultimately find the force of attraction too tempting to resist.

This is the first story I have read in this series and I wondered if I would feel lost.  I did not.  Even though there were characters that I knew were probably from past books the main characters stayed in charge of the story so it was not problem.

This is a romance with a little bit of mystery.  Because it is a novella there is not as much time to develop a complicated story but what you have is a pleasing read.  The lesson in chemistry  involves both chemicals and love, a nice mix.

Archie is a great character.  He met Fiona several years ago at a masked ball but she disappeared and he did not know where she went.   Fiona is a strong female character who is as smart as or smarter than Archie.  She is working in her family pharmacy because she is needed.  When Fiona ends up in a class that Archie is teaching the sparks fly. What follows is a very nice story.

Having read the story I would like to try one of the book in The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard series.
Simon and Schuster published A Lesson in Chemistry with Inspector Bruce by Jillian Stone.

I received a copy of A Lesson in Chemistry with Inspector Bruce from Edelweiss. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Teaser Tuesday January 1, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

A Happy New Year to all of my readers.

My teaser is from Immortally Yours by Angie Fox.

"Attention all surgical personnel. Attention. Incoming wounded arriving on chopper pad two.  Come and get yours while they're fresh. "  

"And will  whoever released a kraken in the officers' shower please report to Colonel Kosta's office on the double. 

 If you ever watched M*A*S*H you know where that first line came from but this is a M*A*S*H unit that is out of this world.  That first line really caught me.  I am almost finished with the book and I recommend it to anyone who likes some humor and romance mixed with the grim reality of war.  Even war that is between the new Gods and the old Gods.  This is listed as Monster M*A*S*H #1 so there is more to come.

Here is the Goodreads Summary:


No one patches up the incoming wounded like Dr. Petra Robichaud. Recruited by the gods for her uncanny medical skills, she’s the best M*A*S*H surgeon in the army. Along with a nosy guard sphinx,vegetarian werewolf, and otherparanormal paramedics, she bandages soldiers who are built like Greek gods (literally). But when one sexy immortal ends up on her operating table—half dead and totally to-die-for—Petra’s afraid she’ll lose her patient and her heart…


Commander Galen of Delphi is one gorgeous but stubborn demi-god. When his spirit tries to slip out of his fatally wounded body, Dr. Petra has to slip it back in—unwittingly revealing her ability to see ghosts. Now that Galen knows her secret, he’s convinced she’s part of an ancient prophecy. If the oracles are right, Petra could lead Galen’s army to peace. And if he seduces her on the way to hell and back? Heaven knows—all’s fair in love and war…