Thursday 30 December 2010

Reading Pet Peeves

We all have things we do not like in books and try to avoid as much as possible, but once in a while I stumble into a reading pet peeve by accident once again.

I bought the above book as it's a historical murder mystery. I opened it to start reading to find it was written in:

Present Tense!!!

Let's state it once and for all:
Dear authors,

Please, if you're not Carolyn Crane do NOT write in present tense unless you've studied Mind Games very, very well and try to accomplish what Crane did there: Write present tense in such a way that I do not even notice it's written in present tense!

Because honestly:
Present tense sucks most of the time.
Nothing makes me lose interest as fast as present tense as (with the exception of Mind Games and Double Cross) stories in present tense create a distance for me and drag me out of the story as it just doesn't feel natural to me that a lead character is telling me about things at the moment that they are happening.

I had really wanted to read a historical murder mystery, but now I just can't get into the story and keep putting the book aside. I'm afraid this book will go onto my pile of will probably only read it if there's nothing else to read and all the shops are closed as well.

Wednesday 29 December 2010

The Unnatural Inquirer - Book Review

The Unnatural Inquirer (Nightside #8) by Simon R. Green

What is it about:
The publisher of The Unnatural Inquirer—the Nightside’s most notorious rag—has offered John Taylor one million pounds to find a man who claims to have evidence of the afterlife stored on a DVD. The Inquirer made the guy a sweet deal. Then he and the disc vanished. And if Taylor’s not careful, he may be next.

What did I think of it:
And yet again I stumble into a series somewhere along the way. Luckily this book can be read as a standalone although you do feel you're missing some background here and there. Otherwise it's a dark, gritty detective story with a film noir feel set in a strange, dangerous otherworldly city. I really liked the worldbuilding and the characters. The story could have been better, but the setting and the writing kept me entertained enough to overlook the lack of strong plot. I might pick up another book in this series if I run across it.

Why should you read it:
It's a hard boiled detective story dipped in a paranormal sauce

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - Afterlife

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!

We went downstairs again, the three of us, Chaz, Isabelle and I. That was when I realized that there was something sinister in the air tonight, more than the apparitions that had visited me.
(page 93, Afterlife (The Resurrection Chronicles #1) by Merrie Destefano)

Sunday 26 December 2010

Top Pearls of 2010

2011 is almost here so I decided to make a post listing the books that I most enjoyed reading this year.

I'll start of with the five books/series that blew me away and are not just on my top list of this year, but also made it on my list of all time favourites. Suprisingly enough all 4 authors of my top 5 pearls list had their debut as published writer this year*. I certainly hope we'll hear lots more about them in years to come.

(*please do not wack me if I'm mistaken and missed out on earlier work.)

I'm not going to try to say which one of these five series/books is the best as my feelings about that change depending on wether I'm in the mood for vampires, aliens, ghosts, tarot or disillusionists.

Anyway: here they come in random order:

The Justine Jones: Disillusionist trilogy by Carolyn Crane
So far there's two book out in this series: Mind Games and Double Cross
Mind Games was unbelievably cool and Double Cross was even better. Gritty, witty and full of action and heartache. I'm looking forward to reading the last book of this trilogy in 2011.

The Katherine (Kitty) Katt series by Gini Koch
I stumbled upon this series as the cover artwork by Daniel Dos Santos drew my attention and was hooked from the start as the stories are even better than the covers. So far there's two books: Touched by an Alien and Alien Tango, but luckily there's lots more books to come. The next book Alien in the Family will be released in April 2011.

The Delphic Oracle series by Alayna Williams*
There's one book out in this series so far: Dark Oracle.
This is a book I wanted to read as soon as I heard about it, but I had to wait a couple of months before it was released. And it was so worth the wait as it was even better than I had hoped. Highly underappreciated in the book blogging community in my opinion, this book drew me in and wouldn't let me go until I finished it (not that I wanted to go I must add). I'm looking forward to Rogue Oracle, which will be released in March 2011

The Anya Kalinczyk series by Laura Bickle*
So far there's two books out in this series: Embers and Sparks.
I loved Embers, especially because of Sparky, Anya's familiar, but it was Sparks that blew me away with it's total awesomeness. It's not clear at the moment if there will be more books, but I'm really hoping there will be.

The H&W Investigations series by Jess Haines
So far there's one book out in this series: Hunted by the Others, but the next book, Taken by the Others will be released in January 2011 and there's lots more to come.
Shia dances on that thin line that makes a heroine either likeable or a total bitch. For me the scales tipped to likeable though. Add some other cool characters to that, a kick ass story and intriguing, but nasty politics and you got me hooked!

*Yup, one author is on this list twice. Alayna Williams and Laura Bickle are one and the same.

So now you know my five top pearls of 2010, but I'm not stopping there! There's two more lists I want to share with you.

The Best of the Rest:

Favourite YA read of 2010: Downsiders by Neal Shusterman
The Ebook that got me into reading ebooks: Wolf Signs by Vivian Arend
Best Zombie read of 2010: Soulless by Christopher Golden
Best SciFi read: Grimspace by Ann Aguirre

Honourable Mentions:

Once Bitten, Twice Dead by Bianca D'Arc
Deadtown by Nancy Holzner
Spellbent by Lucy A. Snyder
the Iron Duke by Meljean Brook

And lastly I want to mention a book that might have made it on one of my lists if only I started reading it sooner:

Afterlife by Merrie Destefano
Reading this book at the moment and so far loving it.

Friday 24 December 2010

Just One Sip - Book Review

Just One Sip by Jennifer Ashley, Katie MacAlister and Minda Webber

What is it about:
Three romance novellas take a different look at vampire heroes.

"Viva Las Vampires" by Jennifer Ashley, features a gorgeous, sun-bronzed Viking vampire who owns a vampire-themed hotel and casino in Las Vegas and sees his one true love striding through the lobby hot to interview him for her new book on vampire culture. In this world, there are warm vamps who are immortal and cold vamps who are undead.

Katie MacAlister's "Bring Out Your Dead" is about Ysabelle, a counselor to newly made zombies, who meets Sebastian, a vampire who falls madly in love with her and must protect her from a demon.

In Minda Webber's "Lucy and the Crypt Casanova" the host of a cheesy talk show who frequently gets into trouble because of her paranormal guests finds that the police detective investigating the same incubus case as she is the long-lost vampire love of her life.

What did I think of it:
I bought this book for the Katie Macalister story "Bring Out Your Dead" and that story is fun like all her Dark One stories and has a very cool zombie named William. I do think it's not a very good standalone novella though. You need to have read at least book two and three of her Dark Ones series to grasp all of this story.

Take note: "Bring Out Your Dead" has also been printed in another anthology called "My Zombie Valentine".

On to the other two stories:

"Viva Las Vampires" is quite an entertaining story. The action storyline is paper thin and it focuses more on some steamy romance and smut, but is quite enjoyable at that.

"Lucy and the Crypt Casanova" wasn't my kind of story. I do not like the 'old lovers who broke up meet again, fight and kiss and make up' kind of plots, so I didn't much like this novella.

Why should you read it:
A nice read for any Vampire Romance fan.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Grimspace - Book Review

Grimspace (Sirantha Jax #1) by Ann Aguirre

What is it about:
As the carrier of a rare gene, Sirantha Jax has the ability to jump ships through grimspace-a talent which makes her a highly prized navigator for the Corp. Then a crash landing kills everyone on board, leaving Jax in a jail cell with no memory of the crash. But her fun's not over. A group of rogue fighters frees her...for a price: her help in overthrowing the established order.

What did I think of it:
After reading Enemy Within I was in the mood for more SF so decided to give this book a try.

And I was blown away!

This story is pure awesomeness from start to finish. I fell in love with Sirantha from the start and my love only grew the further I got into the story. Add an interesting and action filled rollercoaster story set in an intriguing universe, more unforgettable characters and a writing style that's worth reading even if the story had been bad (which it so is not!) and we got a sure fire hit. Aguirre writes SciFi as it should be, where the SciFi elements actually contribute to the story instead of just functioning as a pretty backdrop. The one negative thing of this book is that I now have to try to get my hands on book 2 as I want more!

Why should you read it:
Pure SF awesomeness!!!

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Hunting Ground - Book Review

Hunting Ground (Alpha & Omega #2) by Patricia Briggs

What is it about:
Mated to werewolf Charles Cornick, the son -and enforcer -of the leader of the North American werewolves, Anna Latham now knows how dangerous being a werewolf is, especially when a werewolf opposes Charles and his father is struck down. Charles's reputation makes him the prime suspect, and the penalty for the crime is execution. Now Anna and Charles must combine their talents to hunt down the real killer -or Charles will take the fall.

What did I think of it:
Yet another book I love!
It has a lot more intrigue and politics than the first book, but it's all well thought out and fits together pefectly. The action is cool and intense at times. I love the developing relationship between Charles and Anna and Anna's growth throughout the story. I did miss my favourite character though and hope he'll be back in book three. Final verdict: loved book one just a bit more than this one, but this one is certainly a keeper as well.

Why should you read it:
It's a powerful story about werewolves

Monday 20 December 2010

Early Teaser Tuesdays - Grimspace

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!

Not much time to blog today so I give you an early Teaser Tuesdays so I can post a review tomorrow.

"Tell me you did this on purpose. This is how we're getting our DNA sample, yes? Because nobody's dumb enough wind up like this accidentally."
"I'm that dumb." March glares at her.
She smirks. 'I always secretly suspected."
(page 128, Grimspace by Ann Aguirre)

Absolutely loving this book so far I must add!

Saturday 18 December 2010

Cry Wolf - Book Review

Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega #1) by Patricia Briggs

What is it about:
Anna never knew werewolves existed until the night she survived a violent attack... and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she'd learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. Then Charles Cornick, the enforcer - and son - of the leader of the North American werewolves, came into her life.

Charles insists that not only is Anna his mate, but she is also a rare and valued Omega wolf. And it is Anna's inner strenght and calming presence that will prove invaluable as she and Charles go on the hunt in search of a rogue werewolf - a creature bound in magic so dark that it could threaten all of the pack...

What did I think of it:
Although this is supposed to be the first book in a series I can advice you to first read the novella 'Alpha and Omega' that's part of the anthology 'On the Prowl' as it will give you the story of how Anna and Charles meet and contains valuable information about both of them.

That being said:
I love this book! This will not be a surprise to those who read my reviews of the Mercy Thompson books, but I can tell you the Alpha and Omega series has a charm all of it own that makes it stand out from other werewolf stories.

There's the characters ofcourse: Anna and Charles are both intriguing and cool characters and their interaction is very well written and believable. There are characters we also met in the Mercy Thompson series and that we get to know a bit better, like Bran.

And then there's Asil!!
Not going to tell anything so as not to give away too many spoilers, but Wow!! Asil rocks and is so cool from the first moment he's introduced till he exits the stage again, I wish he had a book all of his own. Go read Cry Wolf and see if you agree.

The story itself is great as well. There's werewolves, action, heartache, a bit of romance, intrigue, murder. You name it: this story's got it. A most satisfying read!

Why should you read it:
It's a well written, suspenseful UF about werewolves.

Thursday 16 December 2010

Sanctuary- Red Rock Pass #1&2 - Book Review by Voodoo Bride part 1

Sanctuary- Red Rock Pass #1&2 by Moira Rogers

Today Voodoo Bride will be reviewing the first story in this book:
Cry Sanctuary

What is it about:
Keith Winston has come home to Montana to find peace. Instead, the veteran warrior finds himself fighting pressure to become the alpha's right hand. His attraction to a new wolf on the run sucks him into yet another battle between his instincts and his heart.

Abigail Adler knew nothing about werewolves--until she became one. Red Rock is her only refuge, but she chafes under its rigid rules. Except when it comes to submitting to the passion Keith stirs in her body. With her sister in danger, though, they will both have to risk breaking all the rules.

What did Voodoo Bride think of it:

Action, romance and a smoking hot werewolf! This is how I like my Paranormal Romances.

The Moira Rogers duo manage to create a believable and interesting setting even while the romance storyline is dominant. Talking about dominant: I really liked that both Abigail and Keith are dominant werewolves as it gave the romance and action a bit more bite to it. Too often in werewolf stories the author decides to give the hot, sexy dominant male a nice little mate who needs to be protected by a big strong man, so it was refreshing to see a dominant female werewolf and the problems she encounters because of that. I can advice anyone who loves a shifter/werewolf romance to pick up this series. I know I'll be reading the rest of this series anyway!

Why should you read it:
Hot, sexy werewolf!

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Teaser Tuesdays on Wednesday

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!

Time is flying it seems, so I'm a day behind.
Still reading:

Angry zombies are strong zombies, as I knew from experience with Abbot. I began striking wildly to keep her away from me in the close space, and I sliced through a few books and cut off one of Mona's hands before I found my bearings again and did the deed.
(page 94, Jane Slayre by Charlotte Brontë and Sherri Browning Erwin)

Monday 13 December 2010

Serial Mom - Movie Review

Serial Mom

What is it about:
A seemingly perfect housewife decides to teach some people a lesson in manners by going on a killing spree.

What did I think of it:
This is a really fun movie that shouldn't be taken serious even for one minute. It's wacky, over the top and hilarious. Kathleen Turner does a great job as serial mom and while displaying a crazy murderer still manages to make you feel for her.

Why should you see it:
It's a cool and fun movie

Sunday 12 December 2010

Winner of the Zombie Anthology

The random number generator has spoken!

Winner of the Zombie Anthology is:
Michelle Greathouse

I will email you for your addy.

Saturday 11 December 2010

Bite - Book Review

Bite by Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, MaryJanice Davidson, Angela Knight and Vickie Taylor

What is it about:
The aptly titled Bite is a collection of five vampiric tales of supernatural seduction

I'll tackle them all one by one:

Hamilton's "The Girl Who Was Infatuated with Death" is set in time between the novels Blue Moon and Obsidian Butterfly. Vampire hunter Anita Blake, just beginning to come to grips with her recent metaphysical connection with master vampire Jean-Claude, takes a highly unusual case. A runaway teenager with bone cancer wants to become a vampire; but in order for her to change, another vampire must in essence murder a child. Blake agrees to find the rogue bloodsucker and pass judgment as only she knows how.

What did I think of it:
I wasn't impressed with this story. It's just a long conversation between two people. To do Hamilton justice I still decided to read the first book in her Anita Blake series after reading this story and I must say: Hamilton is not a writer for me.

In "One Word Answer" by Harris, everyone's favorite waitress, Sookie Stackhouse, learns that her only cousin has been murdered by one of the undead -- and the vampire Queen of Louisiana has sent her condolences in the form of an unusual gift.

What did I think of it:
I liked this story. It's simple, but clever. I do wonder however if people not familiar with the Sookie Stackhouse series would understand anything about this story.

Davidson's "Biting in Plain Sight" revisits her Undead universe with a touching love story about a benevolent vampire and her human suitor and the tragedy that brings them together.

What did I think of it:
A fun story with cool characters. A good balance between romance and action. I liked this story so much that I decided to give the Undead series a chance and I'm glad I did as it's a great series.

Knight's "Galahad" looks at Arthurian legend with a decided twist -- the knights of the Round Table are actually warrior vampires!

What did I think of it:
This is Voodoo Bride's favourite story. It's got sizzling hot romance and even a decent action storyline as well. The setting is intriguing and original. I've put Knight's books on my wishlist and intend to explore them in the future.

In Taylor's "Blood Lust," a researcher whose groundbreaking formula for synthetic blood was stolen by a maniacal vampire takes vengeance by becoming one of the undead!

What did I think of it:
I didn't much care for this story. The writing didn't appeal to me and the story just couldn't grab my attention.

So, all in all I liked 3 out of 5, not a bad score.

Why should you read this anthology:
It's a perfect way to try out new-to-you authors!

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Enemy Within - Book review

Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard

What is it about:
After a stint in an alien prison, Captain Ari Rose wonders why she even bothered to survive. Stripped of her command and banished to her father's scientific expedition to finish a Ph.D. she doesn't want, Ari never planned to languish quietly behind a desk. She wasn't built for it, either. But when pirates commandeer her father's ship, Ari once again becomes a prisoner.

As far as pirate leader Cullin is concerned, Ari's past imprisonment puts her dead center in Cullin's sights. If she hasn't been brainwashed and returned as a spy, then he's convinced she must be part of a traitorous alliance endangering billions of lives. Cullin can't afford the desire she fires within him and he'll stop at nothing, including destroying her, to uncover the truth.

What did I think of it:
I love this book. It's got everything you want from a SciFi: spaceships, intrigue, nasty aliens and firefights. Add an intense and complicated romance to this mix and you got a story that sizzles and captivates. Ari is a character that's been damaged, but luckily not broken and it makes you cheer her on and hope she will get a happy end in both love and her normal life. Some plot twist were a bit too obvious, but that didn't spoil the story for me, I must say. I can only add that I hope Burnard will write more books in this setting.

Why should you read it:
Spaceships, intrigue, nasty aliens, firefights and romance!!

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - Jane Slayre

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!

Just started this one and got high hopes for it:

There was no possibility of continuing my walk that night. We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour after dark, but since Mrs. Reed had picked up a scent (Mrs. Reed, when there was no company, hunted early), I was send home so the others could stalk their prey.
(page 1, Jane Slayre by Charlotte Brontë and Sherri Browning Erwin)

Zombie Giveaway

This weekend it was Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas Eve) in the Netherlands and one of the presents I got was this Zombie Anthology. I already owned this anthology though and Sinterklaas was kind enough to buy me another book.

So why am I telling you this?

Sinterklaas not only bought me another book, he also kindly donated the Zombie Anthology for giveaway!!

So if you want a chance to win this book:
- Leave me a comment on this post to let me know you want to be entered in the giveaway
- Leave a way for me to contact you
- Do this before December 12th
* Open internationally and you do not have to be a follower to enter
(I like followers, but only if they actually like my blog)

Friday 3 December 2010

Ghost of a Chance - Book Review

Ghost of a Chance (Karma Marx, #1) by Kate Marsh (Katie Macalister)

What is it about:
Karma Marx exorcises haunted houses, sending troublesome poltergeists and other spirits to the ever after. But one assignment traps Karma, her foster child, her sleazy soon-to-be-ex husband, Spider, and his crooked partner under one roof. And when Spider turns up dead, it's a locked house mystery, and Karma's determined to reveal the truth, even if it means tackling all of the mansion's inhabitants-mortal and otherwise...

What did I think of it:
A nice, if somewhat shaky mystery with an intriguing setting. In this book Macalister (writing under the name Marsh) proves she doesn't need snarky characters and steamy romance to keep you reading. I really liked how she uses creatures she also uses in her Dark Ones series and expands on them in this story. I also really liked Karma and Macalister's writing style holds up perfectly when stripped of the snark, which made it a lot more serious than her Dark Ones books, but I must say I enjoyed the more serious tone. The plot was a bit wobbly at times, but all in all I really enjoyed reading this book and I hope there will be more books in this series.

Why should you read it:
It's a nicely written paranormal whodunnit

Thursday 2 December 2010

A Girl's Guide to Vampires - A Book Review by Voodoo Bride

A Girl's Guide to Vampires by Katie Macalister

What is it about:
All Joy Randall wants is a little old-fashioned romance, but when she participates in a "Goddess evoking" ceremony with her friend, Roxy, Joy finds out her future true love is a man with the potential to put her immortal soul in danger. At first the ever-practical Joy is ready to dismiss her vision as a product of too much gin and too many vampire romances, but while traveling through the Czech Republic with Roxy, Joy begins to have some second thoughts about her mystery lover because she is suddenly plagued by visions of a lethally handsome stranger. Then, when she and Roxy attend a local GothFaire, Joy meets Raphael Griffin St. John, head of security, and she becomes even more bewildered because the dark and dangerous Raphael seems too close to her dreams for comfort.

What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
If you're looking for a light, funny, romantic and steamy read that also has some mystery going on this is the perfect book to pick up! Aside from yet again a bit of Goth bashing this book is pure fun. Joy is a cool, quirky lead character and the males (yes: plural! But don't be expecting a menage, merely a triangle or square) aren't half bad either! Macalister's vampires are original and very cool, but luckily they do comply to some universal vampire rules I think every vampire should comply to (meaning no sparkles) so I could really love them. All in all an enjoyable read and after finishing this book I ran out to buy more books in this series.

Why should you read it:
Steamy Romance and Vampires!

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Alien Tango - Book Review

Alien Tango (Katherine "Kitty" Katt #2) by Gini Koch

What is it about:
It's been five months since marketing manager Katherine "Kitty" Katt started working with the aliens from Alpha Centauri, and she and Jeff Martini are getting closer. But when an experimental spacecraft is mysteriously returned to the Kennedy Space Center, Kitty and the rest of her team are called in to investigate. Now the team must survive murderous attacks, remove a space entity from a group of astronauts, and avoid an unhinged woman with a serious crush on Kitty's high school boyfriend. And that's all before evil masterminds decide Kitty's extermination is vital.

What did we think of it:
Both me and Voodoo Bride love this book!
It's a witty, cool thrillride of over the top wackiness mixed with suspense, romance and gators. It's got all the cool characters from the first book and adds a lot of new great characters. Koch's writingstyle is funny and very pleasant, which (combined with the awesome story) makes this a book an instant comfortread for us that will be read again and again. Although the second book in a series it can be read as a stand alone, but my advice: Read Touched by an Alien first, because once you read Alien Tango you will want to read the first book as well, so why not read it right away?!

Gini: Keep the books coming!

Why should you read it:
According to me: It's an awesome story with aliens and gators!
According to Voodoo Bride: It's got Martini!!!

Alien Tango will officially be released on december 7th, but might be available at your local bookstore earlier.

Teaser Tuesdays - Alien Tango

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!

"I hate it when you point out things like this," Martini said.
"Because you're so frequently right."
(page 162, Alien Tango by Gini Koch)

Alien Tango will officially be trleased on December 7th.