Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series - Welcome home boys!

The UPS man was generous today and dropped off the first six books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series a whole day early..Yeah! I finally followed the advice of many a twitter and book blogger friend and dived into the BDB series. I also loved reading peoples reviews of Lover Mine and re-enactments and recreations of scenes from the books - if people love the series that much to use action figures to express their feelings I can't go wrong right? (check out Mandi at Smexy Books, Fiction Vixen, and Katiebabs blogs if you missed it) So before I go into book hibernation mode and go read all these books my wolfies and I wanted to show them off with a little wine and chocolate. I was wondering if you you guys have read the BDB series and what's your favorite and least favorite books. What other series would you compare these books too? Favorite and least favorite characters? Any particular books I should have kleenex for or not read in public?

Thanks for the book advice and I'll see you in a few days!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wicked Wednesday Review of Blind Spot by Meljean Brook from the Must Love Hellhounds Anthology

Title: Blind Spot (The Guardians #5.5)/ Must Love Hellhounds Anthology
Author: Meljean Brook
Pages: 361 Pages (anthology), Paperback
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Standalone/Series: Series
Release:  Already Out
Publisher: Berkeley
Purchased by me
Author info:
Spoiler Alert: minor
Blurb: The job was simple: find her boss’s niece, bring her home safely, and hand out a whole lot of pain to whoever had abducted her. But Maggie hadn’t counted on her boss’s nephew, the hellhound who loved to make her life difficult, or her own past rearing its complicated and ugly head.

This was my first introduction into Meljean Brook's Guardian series and I'm sold on checking out more of her books after reading this novella. You do not need much of a primer for the Guardian world to understand what is going on in this entry but if you get lost Meljean has a great series primer on her website that will introduce you to the world and let you know what you missed if you are starting in the middle of the series. This entry into the series starts out with Maggie who is the head of security for a vampire known as Ames-Beaumont. Maggie is tasked with retrieving her employer's nephew Geoffrey Blake and saving Blake's sister who was kidnapped. The retrieval of Mr. Blake turns out to be quite interesting as she finds him chained up to a radiator in a house in New York City with just his smiley face boxers on. Though Maggie works for Blake's uncle, she doesn't realize until Blake opens his eyes that he is blind. What Maggie doesn't know if that through a twist in the family tree both Blake and his sister have some special abilities. Blake's ability allows him to see through other people's eyes which presents for some interesting situations before Maggie figures out that Blake has some ability to see.

The hellhound in this entry of the anthology was there more for comic relief and demon chomping back-up than as a main part of the story. The main plot line was the twisted connections between Maggie and the kidnappers as well as the growing attraction between Blake and Maggie which was very entertaining. This novella is told as a third person from both Maggie and Blake's point of view which was a little confusing to me at first but soon I figured out the POV switches. I also enjoyed the glimpses I saw of the Guardian world and I think next I'm going to jump to Savi and Colin Ames-Beaumont's story (Demon Moon) who we meet in Blind Spot.

Overall a 4 out of 5 - a sexy story with a smokin' ending that leaves some good parts to the imagination.

Wicked Wednesday Review of Magic Mourns by Ilona Andrews in Must Love Hellhounds Anthology

Title: Magic Mourns (Kate Daniels #3.5)/ Must Love Hellhounds Anthology
Author: Ilona Andrews
Pages: 361 Pages (anthology), Paperback
Genre: Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Romance
Standalone/Series: Series
Release:  Already Out
Publisher: Berkeley
Purchased by me
Author info:
Spoiler Alert: Small spoilers for previous books

Blurb: Kate is on medical leave and Andrea is sitting in her office. Everything is going well, until a a giant hell dog escapes the Underworld and Raphael, the smoking-hot and very persistent werehyena, asks Andrea to help him track down…

I read this novella in the Must Love Hell Hounds anthology to help tide me over until the next Kate Daniels series release (1 month to go) on 5/25/2010. I love the Kate Daniels world with the alternate Atlanta, the magic and tech waves, and the People and the Pack. I also love the characters in the series, Kate and Curran of course, as well as the secondary characters. This novella focuses on Andrea and Raphael who also play a big part in Magic Strikes (Book 3). The way Raphael is described in previous books, as basically sex on a naughty stick, you have to wonder how Andrea could be putting up resistance to him for this long, especially with all the entertaining courting customs that occur with the Pack. I mean he created a beautiful metal chandelier for you and hung ornaments full of thongs, how can you turn down a sexy man who gives you sexy underwear?

In this novella, Andrea is filling in for Kate while she heals at home after her battles in book three. We get small appearances and mentions of Kate but this novella mainly focuses on Andrea and Raphael's discovery and battle with a Cerberus who is running into some resistance when trying to collect a soul for Hades. This of course makes the Cerberus, or hell dog the size of a house, a little angry and he seems intent on taking out his anger on whoever gets in his way, including Andrea and Raphael. Andrea gets forced to spend some up close and alone time with Raphael while trying to fight the hell dog and she also spends time trying to figure out her feelings for Raphael. For a novella length story it was a very satisfying read and delivered the twists and turns in plot that I love in Ilona Andrew's books. And Andrea delivers a magnificent work of guy liner with magic marker to get back at Raphael while he was sleeping.. that part had me snorting.

For a novella this was a 4 out of 5 for me - How can you resist the sex on a naughty stick and a woman who knows how to pack some serious heat.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Review of Angels' Blood (Guild Hunters Book 1) by Nalini Singh - I love those deadly sexy angels!

Title: Angel's Blood
Author: Nalini Singh
Pages: 339 Pages, Mass Market Paperback
Genre: Urban Fantasy/ Paranormal Romance
Standalone/Series: Series
Release:  Already Out
Publisher: Berkeley
Purchased by me
Author info: or twitter @NaliniSingh
Spoiler Alert: Small plot hints

GoodReads Blurb: Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux knows she's the best—but she doesn't know if she's good enough for this job. Hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael, a being so lethal that no mortal wants his attention, only one thing is clear—failure is not an option...even if the task is impossible.

Because this time, it's not a wayward vamp she has to track. It's an archangel gone bad.

The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other…and pull her to the razor's edge of passion. Even if the hunt doesn't destroy her, succumbing to Raphael's seductive touch just may. For when archangels play, mortals break… 

Elena is a vampire bloodhound - she is a hunter-born who can sniff out the unique scent of the a vampire and track them anywhere. Born hunters are rare and Elena is the best. In Elena's world, vampires are created by angels - and the archangels are the most powerful among them. The angels have always existed in her world, occasionally worshiped and revered but also feared for their immense power. Among the angels, Archangel Raphael is one of the most powerful and a member of the Cadre of Ten - the ruling class of angels. Raphael rules over New York City and most of North America with a cold and ruthless heart. When he first meets Elena he tries to rule over her as well but she is having nothing to do with it. Elena has always been enamored with the angels and their beautiful wings but that doesn't stop her from wanting to be an independent person. When she is called before Raphael to fulfill a Guild contract, he instantly tries to gain the upper hand, even using her body against her but Elena forces him to back down, which rarely occurs in Raphael's world. The job Elena is hired for is beyond the normal vampire hunt, she is hired to hunt down a rogue archangel - something she is most likely not going to survive.

As Raphael and Elena spend time together hunting the rogue, attraction between the two of them grows. Elena fights her attraction to Raphael as hard as she can because she knows her life will never be the same if she submits to the handsome and deadly archangel. Raphael wants to posses Elena and admits he only takes warrior women for lovers, though his feelings develop beyond the simple need to posses Elena's body. Both Raphael and Elena have dark pasts that haunt their waking hours and deep emotional scars that make them well suited for each other as well. As the hunt for the rogue heats up so do their feelings for each other, the dark crimes the rogue commits causing the pair to look for comfort in each other. And let me say I loved the special magical properties of angel's dust and the sensitivity of the wings when the angels are aroused. Such fun details!

The story of this world was an interesting one, our world but with beautiful immortal angels populating it - angels that can destroy whole cities in fights for power and territory. Also angels making vampires - a new twist to the vampire story that I definitely haven't read before. The secondary characters in this book added another layer to the story - the seductive vampire Dimitri and beautiful angel Ilium. Both are part of Raphael's inner circle that are sworn to protect him with their life. Elena's friends are great too - Sara her best friend and boss who is super protective of Elena, as well as Ransom, a fellow hunter and friend with a cocky attitude and sex-appeal. All of these secondary characters added to the richness of the story and made it even more enjoyable.

Overall this was a 4 out of 5 stars for me - a kick-ass heroine, sexy archangel Raphael, and unique and interesting world building. I was so lucky that the second book was already out when I read this one because the ending had my diving right into the next book of the series - Archangel's Kiss.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Interview with Leanna Renee Hieber - Author of Strangely Beautiful Series and a Book Giveaway

 Today we have the author of the Strangely Beautiful Series (you can find my review of book one and the soon to be released book two on the blog this week) Leanna Renee Hieber answering some questions about her books and about herself so check it out and stay tuned for contest details at the end of the post!

Welcome to Darkly Reading, I am so happy that you are my first interview on the blog! Can you give a little introduction to my readers about your Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker and the soon to be out release - Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker?

       Thank you Heather! It’s such an honour to be your inaugural interview! The Strangely Beautiful series is Gothic Victorian Fantasy Romance. Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show described Strangely Beautiful as “Bulfinch’s Mythology, Harry Potter and Wuthering Heights in a blender.” *grin* And I think that’s about right. The Darkly Luminous Fight picks up exactly where The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker leaves off, keeping Percy and Alexi in the main focus. From the back cover:
       “With radiant, snow white skin and hair, Percy Parker was a beacon for Fate. True love had found her, in the tempestuous form of Professor Alexi Rychman. But her mythic destiny was not complete. Accompanying the ghosts with which she alone could converse, new and terrifying omens loomed. A war was coming, a desperate ploy of a spectral host. Victorian London would be overrun.  Yet, Percy kept faith. Within the mighty bastion of Athens Academy, alongside The Guard whose magic shielded mortals from the agents of the Underworld, she counted herself among friends. Wreathed in hallowed fire, they would stand together, no matter what dreams or nightmares—may come.”

Where do you get your inspiration for your characters? Are there any specific book characters or actors that inspired Alexi and Percy?

       I’ve always been inspired by the Victorian Era, since childhood, when I fell in love with Dickens and Poe. The era speaks to me; all its grit and grandeur, struggle and romance, a conflicted society rife with passions hid under preened exteriors.  I’ve always been drawn to the Gothic too – and the Gothic revival in the 19th century, and that’s where my love for the paranormal, spiritual, fantastical and the neo-classical finds a natural home. 
       Professor Alexi Rychman is very much the picture of a Gothic hero; he is all my literary love affairs wrapped up into one. One reviewer described him as a cross between Mr. Darcy and Severus Snape. *grin* And I think that’s about right too.  As for actors – well, ten years ago when I began Strangely Beautiful, the actor playing Alexi was (and shall always remain, in my mind) Alan Rickman. However if it were to be made into a movie today, I’d certainly cast Richard Armitage – and I’m thrilled that other reviewers (such as yourself) have pegged him the same, some reviewers even referencing that the delicate, aching dynamic in his BBC production of North and South reminds them of the simmering dynamic between Alexi and Percy. It’s such an honour to be compared to that.
       While Miss Percy is very much the typical Gothic heroine, orphaned, alone, meek, containing powers she doesn’t yet understand, dear Percy became a force all on her own. She came to me as a fully formed character, looking like a ghost, and demanding (ever so sweetly, mind you) that I write her Tale. My vision began with the two of them and their aching dynamic. The tension between them begged me to unearth all of their secrets, ghostly or otherwise. I wanted them to be surrounded by a rich, vibrant community of secondary characters that would allow us to get to know them better through outside, colourful eyes. Certainly my characters have parts of myself, of friends and family within them, but only certain traits. Percy, Alexi and the Guard truly have evolved into unique people entirely on their own. At this point I just sit back and take dictation.
The titles for your books are unusual - how did you come up with them? Have you found any interesting misspellings of the titles on the web?

       The initial title came entirely from my agent who figured the best way to market a cross-genre book like mine was to give it a descriptive title, to give the readers a sense of what they’re about to read. When he made the point, I absolutely agreed with him, and it became a marketing coup of his. The subsequent titles have been brainstorms between my editor and I. I can’t say I’ve found many misspellings – a few words switched around perhaps, and not everyone gets the series title of the “Strangely Beautiful” series correct, but nothing atrocious.

Do you have any favorite secondary characters in your books? Will they be getting books of their own?

       I can’t pick a favourite from my Guard. I love them all equally, for all their differences.  I adore books with rich group dynamics, and The Guard have all been so much fun and are each so dear to my heart. I’m so excited that Rebecca and Michael get their own novella this fall, releasing September 28th! “A Christmas Carroll” will be featured in Dorchester’s A MIDWINTER FANTASY anthology. I’d love to offer the same novella opportunity to Elijah and Josephine, we’ll have to see!
What is the future of the Strangely Beautiful world? How many books do you see in the series?
       Four books and two novellas (Rebecca and Michael get theirs this fall, I hope Elijah and Josephine can have the same next fall). Book 3 is a prequel and Book 4 will continue with the Rychman familial legacy up to and broaching World War I.

Your books have many influences - Victorian England, ghost stories, gothic novels, and Greek mythology - do you have any particular favorite stories you came across during the course of your research?

    In college I pursued a focus in the Victorian Era and I loved researching all these disparate aspects that are a part of Victorian society – they were ardent spiritualists and fascinated with ghosts. And so to honour this, why make up all the ghosts when I could just use some that actually exist?  So all of the ghosts in the books- save for the spectral residents of my fictional Athens Academy and those in the Whisper-World- are real, documented London haunts. Picking my ghost stories was my favourite part of the research process, as well as trailing Jack the Ripper in Strangely Beautiful #1. You can learn all about them by joining in my Haunted London Blog Tour beginning April 26th! Schedule:
When you write do you have any rituals to put you in the mood - or can you be found jotting down a few lines on a cocktail napkin while out at the bar? How do you avoid writers block?

       Yes and yes to the first two questions. My rituals if at home (though I have been known to have very productive sessions at a good coffee shop): spend a few quiet moments daydreaming, get the lighting right (turn on the stained-glass lamps) put on atmospheric classical or movie soundtracks without words – something period or particularly sweeping.  Brew a cup of spiced, clove tea because that’s Alexi’s scent; “all clove tea and leather-bound books” because I want his essence near me.  I always have pens on hand, everywhere (dry erase markers for the washroom). My characters talk to me all the time (I know, it’s a fine line between being an author and a schizophrenic) and so I have to be ready to take dictation no matter where I am. I’ve been known to pause when I’m out and about with my boyfriend or my friends and say. “Hold on, Elijah just said something really funny.” (It’s usually Elijah who interrupts me. Thankfully, most of my friends are authors or actors and they get it, and my boyfriend is just a saint of a good sport.) 
       Writer’s block is just something you can’t accept when you’re a contracted author on deadline. You have to get around it. Since I write very character driven stories, my characters help me avoid writers block.  If I have a problem, I ask my characters to fix it and let them percolate on it. Generally within a day or so they present me with an answer (which comes to me in the form of a mental movie that I then translate into words – I write like a cinematographer, director and an actor all at the same time.) As a director of my book, I have a cast of actors, my characters, and with my asking the right questions, they come up with the solutions.
I noticed that you are quite that expert at connecting to your fans through social media (facebook page, twitter, website) - do you think it's helped promote your book to a wider audience and have you ever had any strange encounters of the fan kind - besides me of course? Do you have any favorite fan encounter stories as well?

       I’d not dare call myself an expert, though I’m definitely active in the social media spheres. And it’s absolutely made the series. I thanked book bloggers in the acknowledgements of Darkly Luminous because it really was connecting with bloggers like you that was the defining factor in getting me, a debut author with a new series, off the ground. It’s one aspect of many factors that make a successful book, some of which end up being random (like book covers since authors have no control over them, titles; often authors have no control, the time of year its released, whether or not the publisher pushes the book to sales reps or not, etc), and then some of which we can control, like how much we ourselves try and get the word out about our work – and social media is the easiest, fastest and most cost-effective way to do so. I balance a lot of social media presence with a bunch of public appearances around the release of my book, as well as a few print media advertising spots. I confess it gets utterly overwhelming, and often I get scatterbrained. Each author has to establish for themselves how much they can do and can balance while keeping to their book deadlines. It isn’t easy.
       No strange encounters of the fan kind, just lovely ones. Truly, when people write to me or review my book saying how much they connected with my characters, there’s just nothing better than that. My Strangely Beautiful characters have been with me for a decade and are family to me. When readers take them into their hearts as their family too, it’s such a great honour.  My favourite fan moments: The stuffed kookaburra Mary sent me from Australia and the “If you like Twilight you’ll like Strangely Beautiful” YouTube video that Hanna made me.
Now onto questions a little off book topic -
Favorite Tea?
Bigelow’s “Constant Comment” – it has cloves in it. As I mentioned, it Alexi’s scent. Yum.

Favorite Sweet Treat?

Sour apple gummy things.
Favorite deep dark secret TV show?

I have no secrets, nor shame. I’m proud of my love of Beauty and the Beast (my favourite from back in the day). I’m a Star Trek Next Gen fan, a Battlestar Galactica fan (the new one) and I’m most proud of my eldest television obsession that began at age 8: with Doctor Who (old and new – Baker and Tennant are my Doctors). 

Favorite character you've ever played on stage?

See pictures: Lucy in Dracula (Cincinnati Shakespeare Company). Yep, that’s me. Favourite stage photo ever. (Thanks Rich Sofranko) And then, going as Miss Percy for Halloween to a costumed ball (replete with photography by Steven Rosen) really took the cake last year. People think at first glance that picture of me as Miss Percy is a painting. Hee-hee.

What are your favorite authors and books?

All the 19th century greats, particularly the Gothic and fantastical authors like Poe and Stoker. The list continues with King, Gaiman, Tolkien,  Lewis, Austen, L. M. Montgomery and last but most certainly not least: J.K. Rowling. As for favourite books; the whole of these authors’ work.

Favorite music?

Classical (Dvorak, Vaughan Williams, Debussy, Chopin, Sibelius, Glass), Goth (VNV Nation, Covenant, Apoptygma Berzerk, The Cure, Depeche Mode), Alternative / Folk (Over the Rhine, Radiohead)
Before you go - do you have any special events planned around your latest release that you want people to know about?

Join me for my Darkly Luminous Haunted London Blog Tour (full of giveaways) and my contest, all details available at and I really hope you’ll pick up The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker starting April 27th!  I’ll also have lots of updates regarding the option agreement for the musical theatre adaptation of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker up on my blog:
and via Twitter: and the Strangely Beautiful Facebook page: Also, I’m all over the country this year at conventions and conferences, see if I’m coming to a town near you:

Thanks for your answers Leanna!

Thanks, Heather, for this wonderful opportunity!

***Book Giveaway Time***

So I'm giving away a copy of one of Leanna's books - either Strangely Beautiful or Darkly Luminous - winner's choice. The contest is international (anywhere Book Depository ships) and will go till Saturday May 1st.

To Enter:
-Leave a comment/ question for Leanna (she will be on later this afternoon to answer questions) or answer this question: What's your favorite novel set in the Victorian era?

-To get extra entries: follow my blog/ follow me on twitter/ tweet about the contest - just let me know (and leave the name you use to follow me with) and leave a link if you tweet! (each counts as one extra entry)

-Check back on the blog on May 2nd to see if you won!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Review of The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

Title: The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker
Author: Leanna Renee Hieber
Pages: 320 Pages, Mass Market Paperback
Genre: Victorian Paranormal/ Gothic Romance
Standalone/Series: Series
Release:  April 27th 2010
Publisher: Leisure Books/ Dorchester Publishing
Received book from author 
Spoiler Alert: Review contains some spoilers if you haven't read first book

GoodReads Blurb: With radiant, snow white skin and hair, Percy Parker was a beacon for Fate. True love had found her, in the tempestuous form of Professor Alexi Rychman. But her mythic destiny was not complete. Accompanying the ghosts with which she alone could converse, new and terrifying omens loomed. A war was coming, a desperate ploy of a spectral host. Victorian London would be overrun. Yet, Percy kept faith. Within the mighty bastion of Athens Academy, alongside The Guard whose magic shielded mortals from the agents of the Underworld, she counted herself among friends. Wreathed in hallowed fire, they would stand together, no matter what dreams or nightmares—may come. 

Darkly Luminous picks up directly where Strangely Beautiful left off. After facing deadly nightmares in the previous book, Alexi and Percy now get to have a dream come true and be wed. Although the newlyweds as well as The Guard know that their fight is not done and that Darkness may still try to claim his now mortal bride. While Alexi and Percy enjoy their new married life together dark signs begin to gather in Athens Academy that point to a great war coming with the Whisperworld and allies appear in the form of ghosts of previous guard members.

Though this book had its fair share of complicated love stories, Micheal's love for Rebecca as well as Josephine's love for Elijah, it starts on a happy note - the marriage of Percy to her dark and stormy professor, Alexi. Finally, the moment that I hoped would occur but feared would never happen in the previous book is laid out in delicious detail in this book. Thankfully, Ms. Hieber allows her readers to also witness the event rather than start the second book after the marriage and we get to tag along on their honeymoon as well. The romance between Alexi and Percy is young and they have alot of growing pains to go through in their relationship. Since they were both solitary creatures in their pasts they have to learn how to live with another person and learn to establish their relationship dynamic beyond professor and pupil and more as partners. One of the biggest changes in this book for me was Alexi becoming a bit unhinged at the thought of Percy being in more danger and of the possibility of losing her. Alexi who was always the calm and cool leader has so much tumultuous passion in his breast when it comes to his wife he doesn't know how to cope. Percy also slowly learns how to develop a backbone when it comes to Alexi and stand up to him, even when what she wants goes against his wishes. And it's important that they work out this difficult part of their relationship quickly since they face a war with the Whisperworld. Though Alexi and Percy certainly do have passion for each other that even overcomes them while in their magical chapel (oh my!).

Another favorite part of this book was learning more about the other members of The Guard and their loves and desires. You had to feel for Rebecca as she watched the man she loved and felt she should spend the rest of her life with married to another. You also felt for Micheal since he had to watch Rebecca go through this and her feelings were not for him. And learning about Jane and her mystery lover was surprising as well, as well as learning more about the mystery of her life and her multiple names. The Guard is integral to the fight with the Whisperworld and Darkness himself, and the sacrifices that have to be made to win the war are heartbreaking.

This book was a 4.5 out of 5 stars for me, a fitting end to this chapter of the fight against Darkness and it was lovely to see Alexi being an emotional mess about his beloved Percy.

**Make sure to stop by tomorrow for an interview with the author Leanna and a book giveaway!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Review of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

Title: The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker
Author: Leanna Renee Hieber
Pages: 320 Pages, Mass Market Paperback
Genre: Victorian Paranormal/ Gothic Romance
Standalone/Series: Series
Release: Out Now
Publisher: Leisure Books/ Dorchester Publishing
Received book from author

GoodReads blurb: What fortune awaited sweet, timid Percy Parker at Athens Academy? Hidden in the dark heart of Victorian London, the Romanesque school was dreadfully imposing, a veritable fortress, and little could Percy guess what lay inside. She had never met its powerful and mysterious Professor Alexi Rychman, knew nothing of the growing shadows, of the Ripper and other supernatural terrors against which his coterie stood guard. She saw simply that she was different, haunted, with her snow white hair, pearlescent skin and uncanny gift. This arched stone doorway was a portal to a new life, to an education far from what could be had at a convent-and it was an invitation to an intimate yet dangerous dance at the threshold of life and death... 

I loved this strangely beautiful tale from the start. The combination of gothic ghost story, paranormal thriller, re-worked Greek mythology, and heart-wrenching love story was wonderfully woven together and kept me engaged throughout the story. Miss Persephone Parker is a very unusual woman with her incredibly pale and ghostly looks as well as her peculiar gifts for seeing and hearing ghosts as well as her visions. Though I have to say what struck me most about her was not her ghastly looks but her tenacity. She believes that a fate awaits her and believes beyond what people snicker about her behind her back that she deserves love as well. When Percy first lays eyes on Alexi Rychman, her mathematics and alchemy professor, she hopes that one of her wishes has been answered. Unfortunately for Percy, mathematics is her worst subject so instead of catching the professor's eye with her mathematical genius, she is forced to get remedial math lessons from him instead. Though since it means spending time alone with him in his office every week, perhaps it is not so ghastly.

Professor Rychman and the school Headmistress hide a secret life from their students as well, they are part of The Guard that has been charged by a mysterious goddess to protect the mortals from ghosts that are still trapped in the mortal realm. The Guard has six members that come from all walks of life and serve a unique purpose within the Guard. Each member as well houses a spirit that gives them special abilities to fight the ghouls they face. When each member was given a power they were also given a prophecy to wait for a seventh to join their ranks as well to stop the Darkness from overwhelming the world. Alexi was given a personal prophecy that the seventh would be his true love and that he must wait for her and have faith. Several years later with no direction from their silent goddess, The Guard is on edge and questioning their reasons for following a prophecy that they have seen no signs of happening yet.

My favorite part of this book was reading the interactions between Percy and Alexi. Percy's desire for her intimidating and aloof Professor was sweet and her responses when he was close, even when it was to ridicule her math ability, had my heart going pitter-patter along with hers. Alexi was a great foreboding presence as well, though as you begin to learn more about him between the pages of the book you learn that he is vulnerable and has very human weaknesses as well. Although Alexi always puts up his emotional armor in the presence of The Guard, you begin to see the cracks as he spends more time with Percy. And their story was both tantalizing and heart-rending as well. I loved to read their forbidden romance budding as they discussed mathematical theorems and he gave her private dance lessons. After I finished this book I went back to re-read all the sections of the book that they were together in since I loved their story so much.

Overall this was a 4.5 out of 5 stars for me, a well-woven gothic tale with a tender romance that gets me all worked up - and the yummy tortured Alexi Rychman - le sigh...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weekend wrap-up: In my mailbox / On my blog/ In the blogosphere

This week I got to one review - Ecstasy Unveiled - by Larissa Ione, thus ending my Demonica series book reviews until the next book comes out - Sin Undone - in August of this year! I also posted my Sinful Saturday Views of Gabriel from Molly Harper's Jane Jameson series - if you haven't read that series yet and love snarky humor that will have you snorting out loud then I recommend running out and buying the books!

I have a lot of book booty to show off this week - first off are the books I received from Bloomsbury Publishing by way of Terry Kate from Romance in the Backseat from attending the Book Bloggers On-line conference a few weeks ago.
There are some great reads here and the books look like a great introduction to YA novels for me. I'm particularly looking for to reading Alyxandra Harvey's books since I love the idea of a vampire princess - reviews to come!
Books: Hearts at Stake and Blood Feud by Alyxandra Harvey, Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George (One of my favorite book premises - a twist on common fairy tales), Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles, and Deception by Lee Nichols.

I went to a book signing this weekend in North Haven, CT (which is about 10 minutes from me) and got to chat with some lovely authors. The always well-dressed and lovely Stella Price was there (I got her book - Entwined by Fate at the last book signing I went to and loved her weresnakes!) and she was rocking some wicked heels that would probably kill someone uncoordinated like me and she had on a rockin' black corset. I also chatted with Bianca D'Arc and Kathryn Smith. They were both great people to chat with about books and BBC programming, it was alot of fun and soon the two hours passed and I had some great new book goodies to take home and enjoy.

I've received some lovely swag from Vivian Arend (the cute wolfies, book swag, and olympics souvenirs) and from Moira Rogers (book marks and character cards). I also won Laced with Desire from Marissa's Booklair and got a signed bookplate from all the authors from Joey Hill. Yeah for book swag - now I just have figure a way to display it..or maybe I'll give it away with a book though I'm keeping that Keith card under my pillow!

I also received The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker and The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker from Leanna Renee Hieber. I met Leanna through twitter and when I tentatively asked her to stop by my blog she agreed and was kind enough to send me books too. I will have reviews of both books up on the blog this week as well as my first writer visit and interview on Darkly Reading with Leanna Renee Hieber. She will be stopping by on Thursday and I'll be hosting a book giveaway so be sure to stop by!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sinful Saturday Views - Gabriel from the Jane Jameson series by Molly Harper

This is a new weekly post hosted by me and Incident over at Sordid Fantasy. We will list some of our favorite fictional men along with why we love/lust them. Pictures will also be included.

This week my sinfully sexy pick is Gabriel from the Jane Jameson series by Molly Harper. Though the main event of these books is Jane and her quirky friendships and family - I think her sexy sire and boyfriend Gabriel earns a mention as well. As you can see from the book covers he is a sexy and mysterious part of the story, though it kind of makes me twitch when he or Jane refers to their relationship as sire and childe (ohh Daddy issues). I just finished this series of books last week and I love it! You can see my review of the first book Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs here. Gabriel is the epitome of tall, dark, and handsome as well as mysterious, pompous, and occasional pain in the ass.


"I am your sire. I am to guide you through your first days as a vampire. Your first feeding is a rite of passage, a sacrament. It will not be wasted on some hormone-driven frenzy. This is why I wanted you to feed from me.” (Gabriel)
“I will not drink it in a house, I will not drink it with a mouse. I will not drink it here or there, I will not drink it anywhere,” I wheezed, hoping I was able to communicate adequate sarcasm through the crippling belly cramps. (Jane)
“Did you just quote Green Eggs and Ham?" (Gabriel)*from Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs

"I haven't had a lot of good, soft things in my life," he said against my forehead. "Not since my family sent me away. Apart from being your sire and feeling that pull to you, it's that goodness, that softness and warmth, along with the resolve and strength in you, that I love. Being turned hasn't taken that from you. If someone were going to design the perfect mate for me, it would be you. Even when you infuriate me with your pigheaded stubbornness and your temper and incredible lack of anything resembling self-preservation—" (Gabriel)
"Stop describing me please." (Jane)
"You're the most fascinating, maddening, adorable creature I've ever met," he said, sighing and pushing my hair out of my eyes. "So, when I seem possessive or I'm raving like a lunatic, it's just that part of me is still very afraid that I'll lose that—that I'll lose you. I love you."(Gabriel) *from Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men (this quote makes me swoon a little)

My pick from Gabriel is the hunky James Marsden - let me know what you think!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Review of Ecstasy Unveiled by Larissa Ione - Can't get enough of the sexy demons!

This is the book that first started me on the Demonica series. I won this book in a contest, read the first chapter, and decided I needed to read the rest of the books right away before finishing Ecstasy Unveiled. And really how could you not get tempted by this series when the book opens on Lore getting busy with "AprilMayJune" (he doesn't remember her name) and then almost ends up getting eaten since his lady of the month ends up being a Dire Mantis (yup she eats her partners after sex). Needless to say he doesn't get eaten and thus begins my obsession with the Sem brothers.

GoodReads blurb: DEMON ENSLAVED. Lore is a Seminus half-breed demon who has been forced to act as his dark master's assassin. Now to earn his freedom and save his sister's life, he must complete one last kill. Powerful and ruthless, he'll stop at nothing to carry out this deadly mission.

AN ANGEL TEMPTED. Idess is an earthbound angel with a wild side, sworn to protect the human Lore is targeting. She's determined to thwart her wickedly handsome adversary by any means necessary-even if that means risking her vow of eternal chastity. But what begins as a simple seduction soon turns into a passion that leaves both angel and demon craving complete surrender.
Torn between duty and desire, Lore and Idess must join forces as they battle their attraction for each other. Because an enemy from the past is rising again-one hellbent on vengeance and unthinkable destruction.

Lore is the most recently discovered half-human and half-demon brother of the Sem brothers. Technically, offspring from a Seminus demon and a human should not exist, unfortunately for Lore and his twin sister Sin - the little demon sperm that helped make them didn't get the memo. Lore is just getting to know the brothers after almost killing them in the previous book yet their relationship is greatly strained when Lore finds out that to save his sister from being sold as a slave by their assassin master, he must kill Kynan - a human that is like a brother to the Sem brothers. Kynan is also the man that Lore saved the life of using his demon powers in the previous book, though Lore has been regretting it since Kynan ended up with the sexy goth demon Gem and Lore ended up alone again. Though soon Lore is distracted by sexy and dangerous Idess who is an angel in training - tasked to protect Kynan to earn her wings.

Another side plot in this book is the troubles that are facing Underworld General Hospital. All the employees are on edge, including the Sem brothers for some unknown reason. The fights and lines being drawn between the brothers are heart-wrenching as they argue over what to do with Lore once they find out his mission. Since we met E, Shade, and Wraith in the previous books I have a tender spot in my heart for them and hate to see them really fight. In the midst of the fighting, the brothers also learn that they are related to the impossible, a Seminus female, Sin, a being that shouldn't exist. It's interesting to watch how the brothers learn to deal with the new members of their family.

But of course you don't just read Ione's books for the story of family dynamics but for the love story as well. And this story, I have to admit, I did some back of the book peeping just so I could make it through. Idess is just the right mix of hard and soft for Lore, and she's one of the few people who won't die due to Lore's touch. Finally Lore can find release with a woman without fear of killing her. This is the third book of Ione's in which chains are used in the course of the romance, I think all except Wraith ends up in chains during the course of his book - which is kind of surprising knowing Wraith. Though my favorite person of this book is Sin - she's the female version of Wraith and an assassin as well. I can't wait till her book - Sin Undone - comes out in August!

This was a 4.5 out of 5 for me - true star-crossed lovers and a sarcastic assassin sister.

So this is my pick for the dark and brooding Lore (I found him over at Demon Lover's Book Reviews) let me know what you think of the half-human/ half-demon all sexy assassin pic.

To check out more about the sexy demon brothers head over to Larissa's site here!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Review of Passion Unleashed by Larissa Ione - Some More Sexy Demon Brothers!

Now that I'm a little more rested from my marathon reading weekend of naughty demon brothers I'm ready to tackle my review of Passion Unleashed. This was a brother I didn't think I was going to like, he was selfish, a total ass, and also completely broken from events in his past - so how could you build a story around someone who had no capacity to love and how was it going to be believable. Much to my surprise, this was one of my favorite stories of the bunch. Check out my review below along with my picture pick for Wraith.

Goodreads Blurb: FORBIDDEN TEMPTATIONS. Serena Kelley is an archaeologist and treasure hunter-and a woman with a secret. Since she was seven, she's been the keeper of a powerful charm that grants her health and immortality . . . as long as she stays a virgin. But Serena isn't all that innocent. And when a dangerously handsome stranger brings her to the brink of ecstasy, she wonders if she's finally met the one man she cannot resist.

FATAL DESIRES. Wraith is a Seminus demon with a death wish. But when an old enemy poisons him, he must find Serena and persuade her to give him the only known antidote in the universe-her charm. Yet, as she begins to surrender to his seductions and Wraith senses the cure is within his grasp, he realizes a horrible truth: He's falling for the woman whose life he must take in order to save his own.

Wraith finds himself in life-threatening trouble after a "hunting trip" ends badly for him. After finding out he's living on borrowed time due to a slow acting poison, he and his brothers can only come up with one possible cure, to be given a magical charm from a woman who will die without the charm. Well the woman in possession of the charm, Serena, has no plans of handing it over and giving up her life and to keep the magical ability of the charm she must remain a virgin. Though a sex demon can be quite persuasive when he puts his body and mind towards achieving a goal. Wraith doesn't have much experience seducing a woman though, especially a human, and he has to take pointers from his sister-in-law, Tayla, about how to woo a woman. The idea of Wraith sitting there taking notes about how to seduce, something he hasn't had to do in his almost 100 years as a incubus, from Tayla had me giggling.

My favorite part of this book was the developments that Wraith made. We finally get to learn more about the torture he suffered at the hands of the vampires, something that was always mentioned in the previous books but no details were given. Now we know more of why he avoids human females and understand even more about why he is so broken due to his treatment at the hands of vampires. Now that he is dying he really has to evaluate what is important to him and take a look at how his decisions affect more than himself, something I don't think he has ever done. Wraith faces seducing a woman who his life depends on and finds himself caring for her as well. As the stakes get more dire, Wraith gets stuck with an impossible decision to make.

Serena was an interesting character, she was a mix of Indiana Jones and Super Man. Indiana Jones due to her love of treasure hunting and Super Man because her magical charm makes her impervious to physical harm. Though as she and Wraith continue to spend more time together and dark forces are trying to steal something from her possession, she finds herself vulnerable and turns to Wraith for help. Serena's story is alot more complicated than it first appears and leads to a whole new story arc that I was surprised at and I look forward to finding out how it resolves in future books. I love the overarching theme of more than just finding a mate but also that the bad boys are important for saving the world too.

Overall this was a 4.5 out of 5 stars for me, treasure hunting, world saving, and smoking seduction all wrapped up in one story.

Now for how I see Wraith. Wraith looks different than his brothers, he's not dark and brooding, he is blond haired, blue-eyed and smoking (and so is model Lucas Kerr)- so let me know what you think. Just imagine longer hair!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Review of Desire Unchained by Larissa Ione - I love me some demon action!

So this weekend I purchased book 2 & 3 from the Demonica series (I have book 4 and have reviewed book 1 here) and then proceeded to tune out the rest of the world for about 2 days while I read book 2-4 (I apparently have to eat and sleep or I definitely would have devoured the books in a day). Now a day later, I have dark circles under my eyes, the inability to focus on people's conversations without daydreaming about sexy demon brothers, and a slightly worried hubby. So I thought I would share the delicious reasons for my sleepless nights with my lovely readers and review the lovely Sem brothers books for you guys. Along the way I plan to share some pics of how I picture these brothers and will hopefully leave you a little hot under the collar and panting like I was through the books. Enjoy!

GoodReads blurb: Pleasure is their ultimate weapon . . .

Runa Wagner never meant to fall in love with the sexy stranger who seemed to know her every deepest desire. But she couldn’t resist the unbelievable passion that burned between them, a passion that died when she discovered his betrayal and found herself forever changed. Now, determined to make Shade pay for the transformation that haunts her, Runa searches for him, only to be taken prisoner by his darkest enemy.

A Seminus Demon with a love-curse that threatens him with eternal torment, Shade hoped he’d seen the last of Runa and her irresistible charm. But when he wakes up in a dank dungeon chained next to an enraged and mysteriously powerful Runa, he realizes that her effect on him is more dangerous than ever. As their captor casts a spell that bonds them as lifemates, Shade and Runa must fight for their lives and their hearts—or succumb to a madman’s evil plans.

Runa never planned to be kidnapped and chained up to the arrogant ass who broke her heart a year before - but apparently fate isn't done playing with her. Shade never expected to see Runa again after she ran out his door after catching him in bed with two females, he broke her heart like he did with so many females before - he's an incubus and knows better than to get attached. So when Shade wakes up in a dungeon chained to a wall the last person he expects to see next to him is Runa. But one thing he notices right away is that Runa isn't the same sweet girl that ran away from him after his betrayal. She is tougher - both physically and mentally- due to being attacked by a werewolf the night she caught him cheating and she is itching to make him pay for what he did to her. Unfortunately they are both at the mercy of a sadistic killer who is hell bent on making Shade and his brothers pay for a tragic event in the killer's past that left him scared and broken. This black robed killer also has intimate knowledge of the Sem brothers and uses that knowledge against Shade by binding him to a woman that he must never love or he will suffer a fate worse than death.

I love this opening scene - you can check out the rest of Chapter 1 excerpt here at Larissa's website:
It had been at least two decades since Shade had awakened on a strange floor, hungover and without a clue as to his whereabouts. The heavy weight of a manacle around his wrist and the sound of a rattling chain made him smile. It had been even longer since he’d been in this situation and chained up.
Sure, he preferred the females to be the ones in chains instead of him, but he'd roll with it.
The female voice sounded familiar, but he couldn't place it through the ringing in his ears. He couldn't open his eyes, either.
"Shade. Wake up." A hand shook his shoulder, not gently, like he'd expect a female to do after a spending a night with him. Hell, she should be waking him with her mouth on his– "Shade, damn you, wake up!"
Groaning, he rolled onto his back, wincing at the dull ache pounding against the back of his skull. "I'm awake, baby. I'm awake. Climb on. I'll catch up."
"Thanks, I'll pass. But call me baby again and I'll rip your lips off."

The antagonistic banter between Shade and Runa is great from page one, and as the banter continues so does the increase in sexual tension between the two. Though they are thrown together by unfortunate circumstances they begin to care for each other as well, which could not be worse for Shade since he was cursed long ago with maluncoeur, if he falls in love, he will suffer a shadow existence of thirst, loneliness, and unslaked sexual desire. The closer the two of them get the more Shade tries to push Runa away and convince himself he doesn't care for her. Runa is constantly being thrown mixed signals and despairs that she is forever bound to someone who will never care for her. 

To distract them from their terrible situation is their kidnapper who is still focused on making the Sem brothers pay and does not go easy on them. The action in this book is one of the things that impresses me about Larissa Ione's novels, the action doesn't suffer for the sake of romance, the heroines in these books are just as tough as the men, and she isn't afraid to put her characters through hell. What the characters get in the end does not come easy and there is usually a high price to pay for any hope of happiness. Besides the heart-pumping fight scenes is also a sharp sense of humor - another favorite line in this book is the re-naming of PMS to be Pre-Moon Syndrome which describes the on-edge mood were's are in a few days before the full moon. Though I would be remiss if I didn't mention another favorite part of Larissa Ione's books - the love scenes. Shade is a bad boy so it is a given that when he makes love to a woman, it isn't going to be sweet - it's going to be hard and leave the woman panting for more. And wow does he deliver. 

Overall this was a 4.5 out of 5 stars for me, an excellent ill-fated romance, bloody battles, and a bad boy hero that loves to wear leather and is covered in tattoos!

Now onto the pictures of how I see Shade. For this one I picked Joe Manganiello - he's the actor for Alcide in the new 3rd season of True Blood though with a few glyphs on his arm and the long hair I could totally see him as Shade.

 So what do you think?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sinful Saturday Views - Tybalt from the October Daye Series by Seanan McGuire

This is a new weekly post hosted by me and Incident over at Sordid Fantasy. We will list some of our favorite fictional men along with why we love/lust them. Pictures will also be included.

This week's pick is Tybalt from the October Daye Series by Seanan McGuire. Tybalt is the local King of the Court of Cats of the Cait Sidhe. Toby describes him as having the "sort of sleek, muscled build that only comes from a few specific types of exercise programs." Though Toby was referring to the exercise to keep Tybalt's throne, I definitely came up with a few others. To learn more about this great series, you can see my  reviews of Rosemary and Rue and A Local Habitation. So far the only interactions of our heroine, Toby, with Tybalt have been mostly antagonistic and snarky, but who doesn't love a man who is able to dole out the sarcasm. 
Some favorite Tybalt quotes: 

“I’m a cat. We aren’t required to make sense.” - from ALH

"You were sleeping so peacefully that I was loath to wake you. Duke Torquill, after demanding to know what I was doing in your apartment, has requested that I inform you of his intent to visit after ‘tending to some business at the Queen’s Court.’ I recommend wearing something clinging, as that may distract him from whatever he wishes to lecture you about this time. Hopefully, it’s your manners. You are truly endearing when you sleep. I attribute this to the exotic nature of seeing you in a state of silence."- A note from Tybalt to Toby from ALH

For how I see Tybalt, James McAvoy comes to mind so I included some pics.

So have you read the October Daye Series? What do you think of my pick for Tybalt?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Review of A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire - Go Team Tybalt

GoodReads Blurb: Toby Daye-a half-human, half-fae changeling-has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the fae world, retreating to a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world had other ideas...

Now her liege, the Duke of the Shadowed Hills, has asked Toby to go to the Country of Tamed Lightening to make sure all is well with his niece, Countess January O'Leary. It seems like a simple enough assignment-until Toby discovers that someone has begun murdering people close to January, and that if the killer isn't stopped, January may be the next victim.

Ahh.. what can I say about A Local Habitation, it has location (San Francisco Bay Area), hot and broody potential love interest (Tybalt), awesome heroine job (knight errant), and amusing sidekick (Quentin). All the perfect elements to make another great entry into one of my new favorite urban fantasy series. This is book two in Seanan McGuire's October Daye series - if you want to check out my review of book one, Rosemary and Rue, click here. ALH starts out a few months after the end of Rosemary and Rue, with Toby stumbling home after have having a girls night-out with her friends she's finally starting to reconnect with after her stint as a fish. Luckily for Toby and her feet, Tybalt shows up to help get Toby home and one of my favorite scenes ensues: (The full excerpt in on the author's site here if you want to check it out)

“The skirt passes muster,” said Tybalt, finishing his survey. “I might have called it a ‘belt’ rather than a ‘skirt,’ but I suppose you have the right to name your own clothing. While we’re on the subject of apparel, tell me, were you intending to walk all the way home in those shoes?”
“Maybe,” I hedged. The straps were starting to chafe my ankles, making walking even less comfortable than it had been to begin with, but he didn’t need to know that.
“You’re drunk, October.”
“And you’re wearing really tight pants.” I paused. That hadn’t come out right. “I mean, those are really nice pants. I mean...”

Shortly after that little episode, a slightly hungover Toby gets called away by her leige lord, Sylvester, to check on his niece, January, the Countess of Tamed Lightning. Toby and her charge, Quentin, head down to Fremont to determine what is going on in Tamed Lightning and end-up getting entangled in fae politics and enigmatic murders. Unfortunately for Toby, her sense of honor doesn't allow her leave when she and Quentin both almost become victims of a murder attempt, and as Toby stays to try to figure out who or what is behind these deaths she needs the help of not only Quentin but other friends to figure out what is going on and survive.

I loved the setting for this book in Silicon Valley, it was a great backdrop to bring-up issues of Faerie integrating with modern technology and the question of whether or not Faerie is in decline. It also added to the eeriness of the murders since Toby had to investigate throughout the Tamed Lightning County which primarily resided inside a tech company. Endless mazes of cubicles and hallways made even more confusing by the strange physical properties of a faerie knowe reflected all the confusion and false leads surrounding the murders.

Besides the murders, Toby also gets more entangled with the men in her life. Although this book was light in the romance department it is definitely setting the stage for some potential relationships in future books. I love the snarky banter between Tybalt and Toby where they thinly veil their regard for each other with sarcastic dialogue. Toby's relationship with Connor is still very murky since he obviously cares about Toby (probably more than his wife) yet he is married to Sylvester's daughter so the two of them can never be together. Although I'm on Team Tybalt, Toby still has a soft spot for her now married former flame, Connor.

Overall this book was a 4.5 out of 5 for me - Toby is a great damaged and dark heroine trapped between two worlds..... and go Team Tybalt!

Book three of the October Daye series is set to be released September 7th, 2010. I can't wait!