My Book Rating System

My book rating system is based on 5 stars. The book must be rated at least 3 stars for a review.

3 Stars: Good story, good plot, good writing.

4 Stars: I was wowed, but something about the story fell short of perfection.

5 Stars: I was either drooling, on the edge of my seat, or falling in love.

If you would like me to review your book, please contact me at

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book Review: The Darkest Whisper, by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Whisper (Lords of the Underworld)
Gena Showalter

Okay, #4 in the series reveals the torment of Sabin, Keeper of the demon Doubt. I wasn't sure about this one coming into the book, because Sabin wasn't really a big player in the previous books, and I was all like, Sabin who? I 'doubted' (yuck, yuck, yuck) whether I could get into this character.

Here's the thing: my favorite book of the series so far (maybe that's a little lie...I really dug the first one, too). Ms. Showalter whips up an another immortal character, Gwen, to tame this demon. I loved Gwen! I loved Gwen's sisters! These characters are nearly as fun as Anya.

I could go on and on about Ms. Showalter's brilliant writing prowess, but I've said it all before (like, 3 times already) and I'm going to start boring *myself* if I keep ranting on that level. So just let it be known that this book doesn't fail in that area. It's as good as it gets.

What makes this book so *fun* is the rocking twists. I love twists. Twists make me beg for more, more, more! I also love seeing how Ms. Showalter comes up with these ladies who have the power to tame these demons. Since each demon is unique to his demon, and lady-love must be uniquely tailored to enhance that demon. I have to keep reading the series just to see who she comes up with next!

Another solid read in the sexy, steamy, paranormal genre.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Book Review: Wisdom, by Amanda Hocking

Wisdom (My Blood Approves)
Amanda Hocking

Wisdom is the 4th, and last, installment in the series, My Blood Approves.  For me, the book started out very, very slow. No one is happy, there's a lot of tension and stress between most of the characters, and the feeling you get from reading the book is heavy and lethargic. I'm sure that's the feeling Ms. Hocking was trying to convey, but boy, it was really a Debbie Downer!

I understood what motivated Alice, but I didn't understand her constant lying. It's not like the members of her 'family' aren't empathetic or are bullies who keep her locked up or that she couldn't talk people into just about anything, like she's done in the past; yet she was under the constant notion that she had to lie in order to be able to do what she wanted to do. Alice, quite frankly, was not like-able in this one.

Despite that, I thought the series ended how it should end. There is a surprise or two in store for the reader at the end. Is it a happy ending for everyone? No, it's not. But that's what makes the wrap-up read true. Life isn't always fair, and not everyone gets what they want in life.

None of the books that followed the first book, My Blood Approves, quite reached the magic of that first book, but overall, I liked the series.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book Review: The Iron Queen, by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Queen
Julie Kagawa

This is the 3rd installment of the Iron Fey Series, and I think it's been my favorite of the series so far. Meghan is set to live her life banished from Faery. That's ok, because she has a human family that she can go back to. Ash is with her, banished as well, and it looks like they're ready to settle as outcasts, together.

But things change. Fast. Meghan and Ash and Puck are all drawn back into the thick of things. Meghan's choices are clear. She's learning how to handle the fey. She knows what she wants. And she, finally, figures out how to get it.

Meghan is the strongest in this book by far. She's no longer going along for the ride. She takes charge, takes control. She is strong, she stands up for herself. She learns to fight. And she does. She also learns to sacrifice. And she does.

The writing, as usual, is superb. Plot flows well, starts right in where the story left off in book #2, and doesn't lag in setting things back up. There's some slow stuff about a third of the way through, but it's easily forgivable. The characters are larger than life, and Ash is typically dark, mysterious and handsome. Puck is his usual puckish self, a character in his own right. Off to book number four for me!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Book Review: Sweet Light, by Jen Wylie

Sweet Light
Jen Wylie

Shara is a healer in the midst of a war. She's been conscripted by King Darren to be a court healer, but then finds herself in the middle of battle. When she saves a young, mute soldier, she doesn't know that her bond with him will cause shock waves throughout not only the kingdom, but through the healer community as well.

The story started solid. The characters are rich, and there is much descriptive detail so that the reader is immersed in the world that Jen built. Shara is a strong character who sheds the obscurity of an over-shadowing lover by striking out on her own to become a master healer. There are hints that she is destined to be a strong, powerful healer.

The story itself is quite good, however, it's one of those stories that I'd call a 'slice of life'. I would call this character driven, and I do prefer plot driven books. She's not on a quest, she's not trying to beat the clock to accomplish some far-reaching goal. She's just going on with her day-to-day life, and we the readers are watching. There's nothing wrong with that kind of story, but there's no sense of urgency or tension or suspense either. The story is mellow and smooth, and doesn't carry a dramatic climax.

Towards the end, the writing started to unravel a bit, with a number of grammatical errors.

This a good read if you like character driven fantasy stories that follow the life and times of your favorite character.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I Wish I Could...

Do you ever find yourself wishing you could do something? As we grow up, adults always tell you you can be anything you want when you grow up. But there are some talents that are just out of reach for the average knuckle-head, like me. There is one thing in particular I have always wished I could do, ever since my younger days.

I've always had a little bit of flare with the pen...not brilliant, but good. I loved to write, and growing up I was always writing short stories and poems. My second home was the library. But one day when I was in the 5th grade, I was over at a friend's house and it opened my eyes to a world I'd never seen. While our house was dominated by books, her house was dominated by art.

Her mother was an artist, and she had the most wonderfully eclectic home. The accents were deep, rich, natural wood, and it was a jumbled maze of rooms that had been carved in and out of the original structure over the years. Cluttered with art supplies, easels, pictures, drawings, couldn't move without bumping into something artsy.

I suddenly wanted to become an artist.

One problem. I can't draw. At all. Not even a little. Believe me, I tried and tried and tried. It was ridiculous.

I've see people sitting at the park, drawing, and I'd be jealous. I've see people at writing conferences, drawing, and I'd be jealous. I've see some amazing book covers and yes, I'm jealous. My husband is very artistic, though not professionally...yup, jealous.

When my son was about 2 years old, he asked me to draw pictures. A dog. A cat. A horse. A pig. So he'd demand, and I'd draw. When my husband came home from work, he studied the drawings and said, "Oh, was Wayne drawing today?"

As you've gathered, my talent runs on par with a 2 year old. I *told* you I can't draw. At all. Not even a little.

But what a wonderful talent to have! I have to give props to artists, especially when designing a book cover. There is so much information and emotion that has to be conveyed, the cover is an integral part of the book. Most people pass judgement on the cover before they even pick it up to read the jacket. We have to love our artists.

I also have a couple of friends who are artists. Am I jealous?


Monday, June 11, 2012

Book Review: The Darkest Pleasure, by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Pleasure (Lords of the Underworld #3)
Gena Showalter

This installment focuses on Reyes, who harbors the demon of Pain. Reyes finds himself unnaturally attentive, attracted, and protective of a human girl, Danika. One of their own, Aeron, who is the demon Wrath, has been pegged by Cronus to kill Danika (and her mother, sister and grandmother) or else be cursed. Reyes battles Aeron, imprisoning his long-time friend to save the girl. But the girl doesn't trust any of the Lords, and especially Reyes who she feels has betrayed her. But is Danika worth saving?

I was giddily happy to see this book focused on Reyes, who is one of the yummier Lords for me. There is something just so exquisitely heart-breaking about this man who has no choice but to inflict pain upon himself in order to protect those around him.

The Lords know quibble over whether to let Danik live or let Aeron destroy her. Reyes battles his demon, lusting over Danika but unwilling to turn her over to the dark side when being with her.

Danika battles her own inner demon; her inexplicable attraction to a demon who is a loyal friend to the demon who wants to murder her and her family.

Another happy ride on the Lords train, full of twist and turns and further plot developments as new characters join the cast of players. Loved it!

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Nothing is as Constant as Change

I've been thinking. Sometimes that's a good thing; sometimes it's not. When it comes to writing--or re-writing--it usually means a lot of extra work.

Anyway, I was thinking about books that I like, the ones that make you snap to attention. The ones that make you gasp, "OMG! I didn't see that coming!" You know, the ones that make an impression on you such that you recount the storyline again and again.

I was thinking of my latest work, Kiss Me Dead. It's already been proof-read, edited, and been called a wrap. But then I got to thinking.

Would this book make an impact on the reader? The answer to my own question was a shrug.

So I got to thinking. How could I make an impact?

The biggest impact, of course, would be to change the ending. Make the ending into a never-saw-that-coming kind of ending.

And I know just how to do it. It's an ending I toyed with when I wrote the novel, but it was an ending I wasn't quite brave enough to write. Then I got to thinking; if I wrote that alternate ending, I bet most readers would never see it coming.

Guess what I'm thinking now?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Book Review: The Christopher Killer, by Alane Ferguson

The Christopher Killer
Alane Ferguson

17 year old Cameryn Mahoney wants to be a forensic pathologist. Living in a teeny town in the mountains of Colorado, she doesn't get to see much in the way murders and forensics, even with her dad being the county coroner. So Cameryn learns what she can by studying her books. Until a new deputy comes to town, and the Christopher Killer drops a body right at the town's doorstep.

This forensic mystery is rock-solid. Solid characters, solid plot, solid writing, and solid details regarding the science of forensics.

Each character is distinctively drawn. You get cozy with the ones you need to, you like the ones you're supposed to, you get annoyed with the ones who are annoying, and you doubt the ones you're supposed to doubt. Nothing lacks in this author's characterizations.

The descriptions are lovely without being over the top, and you can easily imagine the picturesque scenery of the Colorado mountains. The descriptions of the dead and the autopsy are realistic, but artfully done so as not to be gory.

While you know the killer really can't be just *anyone*, there are enough red herrings to keep you guessing until the end who the Christopher Killer is.

The only niggly thing for me was the amount of time spent going over every detail in the forensic's lab. For me, I'm kind of an action girl, and I'd much rather have shortened that (it went on for *quite* a long time) and get right back to the mystery at hand. But boy oh boy, this author makes up for it in the end. The climatic scene was fraught with tension and suspense. This author *knows* how to write tension. I had to force myself to slow my reading down, wanting to rush through to the end to see how it all panned out. The ending of this book could easily be used as a teaching tool for writers. The "how to end a book with tension" class.

Excellent read for mystery-lovers.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Book Review: The Darkest Kiss, by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Kiss (Lords of the Underworld #2)
Gena Showalter

Lucien, who harbors the demon of Death, is having a battle of wills with Anya, the Goddess of Anarchy. What a pair these two are. Anya is stalking the Lords of the Underworld (Lucien, especially); Cronus, the king of the gods, is moving Lords and Goddess alike around like chess pieces; and all players are looking for the artifacts that will lead them to Pandora's Box. Everyone wants the box for their own ends, and most will betray anyone to get what they want, for the box will save some...and destroy others.

I had a hard time, at first, getting into this book because Lucien was not one of my favorite Lords. I kinda felt like a whiny Jan Brady, and kept thinking, "Lucien, Lucien, Lucien!" This book is all about Lucien.

Well, that feeling didn't last very long.

Lucien and Anya make a dynamic pair. Full of secrets, withheld thoughts/feelings, and misinterpreted actions. It's all so devilishly and artfully drawn, that you have to start lovin' it. I have kind of a girl-crush on Anya; she's just one of those fun, mischievous, and ballsy characters that grabs your interest and never lets go.

The plot thickens. There are so many players with so much going on, you never know who to trust. I loved the intricacy of the plot and sub-plots, never knowing where one path would lead or which path a character would take.

As usual, Ms. Showalter brilliantly draws the conflict in the Lords; their inner souls clashing with their inner demons once again claiming the reader's empathy.

Another yummy treat, and can't wait to eat the next in the series!