December 31, 2012

My Year in Books

It's late on December 31, and I just finished my last book for the year (The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter). I'm happy to report that I exceeded my goal of 150 books this year. My numbers here on the blog don't match those on Goodreads exactly for two reasons. First, Goodreads counts novellas in my total. I didn't here. Second, I actually read eight books TWICE this year. Since I believe I read eight novellas, the Goodreads total is correct. I read 154 books in 2012! Let's take a look at how my reviews matched up.

As you can see, I try to be very judicious with my five-star ratings. I don't believe in giving the highest rating to a particular author, despite how much I love his or her work. And, I don't give the highest rating to a book unless I just can't stop thinking about it long after it's over. Those books truly are the best of the best that I read this year.

In 2012, I met a fantastic group of girls on Goodreads through our shared interest in paranormal romance and urban fantasy books. We've grown as close as I think you can get when all your contact is done virtually.

Also in 2012, I've been introduced to a wonderful blogging community. I look forward to continued interactions and meet-ups in 2013.

And, so with only a few hours left in 2012, I bid you all a happy new year. See you in 2013!

December 29, 2012

Talk To Me! (And A Giveaway Announcement)

I have been thinking a lot about the goals that I posted about a few weeks ago. And, I thought, why wait until 2013? Most I can get started on immediately! So, despite being the self-proclaimed Queen of Procrastination, I started crossing items off my list. Starting with...

Krista's Dust Jacket is now on Facebook! Now, you lucky ducks can keep in touch with me six ways from Sunday - or at least four ways. That's something, right?

Like me on Facebook - Follow me on Twitter - Follow my reviews on Goodreads - Send me an e-mail

And now for the big news! On January 2, 2013, I will have been at this book review blogging gig for a whole year - *gasp*! In honor of the occasion, I'll be spending part of the week looking back at the year and reviewing my, uh, reviews. AND.... of course there'll be a giveaway. It wouldn't be a blogoversary celebration without one, right? I'll be giving away one January 2013 new release book. And, even better, if I crack 500 followers, there will be TWO WINNERS! The giveaway will open on January 1 and be open the entire month, so you'll have plenty of opportunity to enter.

Thanks for your continued support. Have a fantastic new year!

December 28, 2012

Top 10 Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2013

I love this time of year when all we book bloggers take a look back at everything we've read and attempt the near impossible task of whittling them down to our most favorites in several categories. It's so much fun checking out everyone's choices, and this year I get to add my own to the mix.

The Top 10 of 2012 week is organized and brought to you by co-hosts Rachel from Fiktshun, Lisa from A Life Bound By Books, Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic, Jaime from Two Chicks on Books and Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads. 

I've enjoyed this week so much! Not only has it given me a good excuse to reminisce about all the awesome books I read in 2012, but it's given me a good excuse to visit some really great blogs. Today is the final day of our look back, and it's finishing up with a look forward. These are the top 10 books I'm most looking forward to in 2013.

10. Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson #7), by Patricia Briggs

5. Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3), by Richelle Mead

3. Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2), by Tahereh Mafi

1. Apollyon (Covenant #4), by Jennifer L. Armentrout

There were a lot of books I could've put on this list. But, ultimately, I chose a lot of the ones I did because they will be the last in the series. The year 2013 will see the end of the Mercy Thompson, Crossfire, Infernal Devices, and Revenants series. It's a bittersweet thing, isn't it? I'm so excited to see how the stories will end, but I'm so sad that I won't get to read about some of my favorite characters anymore. In any case, 2013 is sure to be entertaining.  

December 27, 2012

Top 10 Best Book Boyfriends of 2012

I love this time of year when all we book bloggers take a look back at everything we've read and attempt the near impossible task of whittling them down to our most favorites in several categories. It's so much fun checking out everyone's choices, and this year I get to add my own to the mix.

The Top 10 of 2012 week is organized and brought to you by co-hosts Rachel from Fiktshun, Lisa from A Life Bound By Books, Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic, Jaime from Two Chicks on Books and Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads. 

Today is one of my favorite lists of the week, and was one of the hardest to narrow down. Let's take a closer look at some hotties, shall we?

10. Logan Quinn, Mythos Academy Series (by Jennifer Estep) - Logan is the school bad boy - tough, hot, the school's male slut. Yet, Gwen thaws his heart eventually anyway. They save each others' lives both literally and figuratively. 

9. Charles Cornick, Alpha & Omega Series (by Patricia Briggs) - Charles is an assassin werewolf and has been for more than a hundred years. He thought he was too far gone for anyone to love him. Then he met Anna and now he uses his skills to protect her at all costs. 

8. Adam Kent, Shatter Me (by Tahereh Mafi) - Juliette made such an impression on Adam when they were only 14 that he sought her out years later in an attempt to save her from something that he knew would destroy her. He risks everything for her and for the chance to be with her. 

7. Ethan Sullivan, Chicagoland Vampires Series (by Chloe Neill) - Ethan is the anti-boyfriend. He's narcissistic, cranky, and hot-headed. Yet, Merit still manages to get under his skin. Ethan is loathe to bring his feelings to light, for fear of being seen weak, but in a few moments of clarity, he demonstrates how wonderful he can be.

6. Han Alister, The Seven Realms Series (by Cinda Williams Chima) - Han is a nobody who falls in love with a princess. It's a story that's been told a million times before, and one I never get tired of. He goes to the end of the world to improve his station just so he can have a shot at marrying her someday. That kind of love is the stuff of fairy tales. 

5. The Merrick Brothers, The Elemental Series (by Brigid Kemmerer) - All four Merrick brothers earn a spot here. Michael, Nick, Gabriel and Chris are all such great guys. They had a rough past and a hard time dealing with their abilities. But, when the right girls come their way, they change and come alive. 

4. Adrian Ivashkov, The Bloodlines Series (by Richelle Mead) - Oh Adrian. After getting his heart broken in the Vampire Academy series, Adrian dons his goofy, party boy exterior once again and sets out for greener pastures. But, he meets his match in Sydney. She makes him believe in love again. And, Adrian in love is something to behold. 

3. Daemon Black, The Lux Series (by Jennifer L. Armentrout) - Daemon is less than human and more than amazing. Although he was cold and mean to Katy at first, their shared experiences and her uncanny ability to wind up in need of saving draw him to her and cause him to change his outlook on everything.

2. The Brothers, The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series (by J. R. Ward) - Every one of the seven Black Dagger Brothers (Wrath, Rhage, Zsadist, Phury, Vishous, Butch, and John Matthew) is the thing of every girl's dream. They are big, beautiful and wicked strong. And, once they decide they want a particular girl, they will give anything, do anything for her. 

1. Aiden St. Delphi, The Covenant Series (by Jennifer L. Armentrout) - Aiden starts out as Alex's instructor and sometime protector. He believes in her and thinks she's the strongest person he ever met. He tries to keep her safe by denying his feelings and staying away. But, love like his can't be denied forever. And, finally, he is doing all he can to try and find a way to be with the girl of his dreams.

December 26, 2012

Top 10 Best Villains of 2012

I love this time of year when all we book bloggers take a look back at everything we've read and attempt the near impossible task of whittling them down to our most favorites in several categories. It's so much fun checking out everyone's choices, and this year I get to add my own to the mix.

The Top 10 of 2012 week is organized and brought to you by co-hosts Rachel from Fiktshun, Lisa from A Life Bound By Books, Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic, Jaime from Two Chicks on Books and Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads. 

Today is blogger's choice, and I'm choosing my top villains from books published in 2012 (ones that I read, obviously). These would be the best of the worst of the worst. Did you get that? 

10. Strigoi, The Golden Lily (by Richelle Mead) - The Strigoi are vampires that have been terrorizing citizens for years, starting with The Vampire Academy, and now continuing in the Bloodlines series. Most are turned against their will, but that doesn't make them any less deadly. 

9. Numa, Until I Die (by Amy Plum) - Nasties that are the mortal enemies of the Revenants, Numa are on a seek and destroy operation. And, they don't care who gets in their way. 

8. The Guides, Spark (by Brigid Kemmerer) - Although they see themselves as the police of the Elementals, the Guides' methods leave much to be desired. They cause natural disasters and put innocent people in harm's way just to flush out these people who can command the elements - people who are just trying to live their lives. 

7. The Duke of Lust, Sweet Evil (by Wendy Higgins) - Kaiden's dad is most definitely NOT the daddy you want to bring your girlfriend home to. He's manipulative, mean, and very literally, evil. He doesn't give a rip about anyone, including his son. Not cool, dad. Not cool.

6. Jackal, The Immortal Rules (by Julie Kagawa) - This is one mean dude. There are reasons, which can't be disclosed here, but it's no excuse and it makes him no less evil. In his quest for power, he will take whomever down that he needs to. 

5. The Lessening Society, Lover Reborn (by J. R. Ward) - The Lessers of the Black Dagger Brotherhood world are fighting a war - them against the vampires. Thing is, in this world, the vamps are the good guys and it's the Lessers' connection with the devil-like Omega that keep their desire to bring them down alive.

4. Reapers, Crimson Frost (by Jennifer Estep) - Reapers are the minions of the Norse God Loki, charged with bringing him back to power and taking over the world. Stands to reason that they will do anything they have to to make sure that happens. Remember Voldemort? Yeah - like that.

3. Lord Bayar, The Crimson Crown (by Cinda Williams Chima) - A centuries old grudge that leads to deep-seated prejudices is the perfect soil in which to grow some real bad guys. Gavin Bayar has machinations to be the leader of a new world in which his kind rules over everyone else. Thankfully, there are some good people willing to try and stop him. 

2. The Arum, Obsidian (by Jennifer L. Armentrout) - The Arum are aliens on this earth for the sole purpose of hunting other aliens - the Lux. They're not opposed to kidnapping a few innocent girls and torturing them, if it helps them out. And, even when they have a Luxen in their sights, it never ends well.

1. Warner, Shatter Me (by Tahereh Mafi) - Warner is the bad guy you love to hate. He's ruthless, mean, evil, and horrible. He will hurt children and torture innocent men in his quest to exploit the abilities of a certain girl he's taken an unnatural fancy to. But, something tells me that there's a whole lot more to this guy than what meets the eye.    

December 25, 2012

Top 10 Best Covers of 2012

I love this time of year when all we book bloggers take a look back at everything we've read and attempt the near impossible task of whittling them down to our most favorites in several categories. It's so much fun checking out everyone's choices, and this year I get to add my own to the mix.

The Top 10 of 2012 week is organized and brought to you by co-hosts Rachel from Fiktshun, Lisa from A Life Bound By Books, Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic, Jaime from Two Chicks on Books and Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads. 

Merry Christmas, readers! Today, I'm a Cover Lover as I look back at my favorite covers from 2012.

10. Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers

 9. The Immortal Rules, by Julie Kagawa

 8. Finale, by Becca Fitzpatrick

 7. Throne of Glass, by Sarah Maas

 6. Reached, by Ally Condie

 5. Of Poseidon, by Anna Banks

 4. Pure, by Jennifer Armentrout

 3. The Selection, by Kiera Cass

 2. Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi

 1. Rapture, by Lauren Kate

December 24, 2012

Book #137 - Touch of Power (Healer #1)

Touch of Power (Healer #1), Maria V. Snyder
high fantasy
390 pages
Started 12/20/12
Finished 12/22/12

I read Maria V. Snyder's Study series back in the spring of 2012, and hadn't read anything of hers since then. It seems a bit like blasphemy, since she's a local author and I've met her twice since then. At one of the book signings I attended over the summer, I had her sign my copy of Touch of Power. And, as of this past Saturday, I now have a signed copy of Scent of Magic (Healer #2). I decided it was high time I get started on this series

Avry is the last healer in existence, which means she's highly sought after. Some want to kill her, some want to possess her. So, she gets lucky when Kerrick and his merry band of men free her from a difficult situation. In return they ask that she heal a friend of theirs - who is NOT a friend of hers. During the journey to find this friend, she grows to love this rag-tag group of guys. Perhaps even enough to die for them.

Maria sure knows how to weave a good story. My favorite part is the world these characters live in. The rules, the history, the characters - they all weave together to make this magical place that is very easy to lose yourself in. Books that you lose yourself in are the best kind.

Avry is a strong woman. As the last healer left, she has to be. Yet, the reason I love her is because she's not strong 24/7. She has a few moments of weakness where she breaks a little, and those glimpses into her less confident side makes her more real to the reader. Because, let's face it, no woman - heck, no person - is strong all the time. Those types of characters seem like bad caricatures of what the author intended.

Kerrick is awesome - he's mean and cranky and stoic and yet he grows to care for this pure person. But, I gotta say, my favorite characters in this story are Kerrick's men - Belen, Loren, Quain and Flea. They are definitely the comic relief in this story. Also the heart of it.

If you haven't tried a Maria V. Snyder book yet, I definitely recommend that you do. Strong women, loyal men, and fantastic worlds - what do you have to lose?

Top 10 Best Books I've Read in 2012

I love this time of year when all we book bloggers take a look back at everything we've read and attempt the near impossible task of whittling them down to our most favorites in several categories. It's so much fun checking out everyone's choices, and this year I get to add my own to the mix.

The Top 10 of 2012 week is organized and brought to you by co-hosts Rachel from Fiktshun, Lisa from A Life Bound By Books, Jessica from Confessions of a Bookaholic, Jaime from Two Chicks on Books and Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads. 

Today, we start things off by looking at my picks for Top 10 Best Books I Read in 2012.

10. Cursed, by Jennifer L. Armentrout - Jennifer L. Armentrout's first stand-alone book was a really emotional and inspiring read.

9. Lover Mine, by J. R. Ward - although published in 2010, I read this in 2012 along with the rest of the BDB books. But this one about John Matthew was my favorite.

8. The Golden Lily, by Richelle Mead - The second in the Bloodlines series, the Vampire Academy spin-off, made me like Sydney a lot more. And, made me love Adrian A LOT more.

7. Twice Bitten, by Chloe Neill - The third Chicagoland Vampires book gave us one step forward and two steps backwards in Ethan's and Merit's relationship. And what a fantastic ride it was.

6. Obsidian, by Jennifer L. Armentrout - Two words is all I need - Daemon. Black. 'Nuff said.

5. Until I Die, by Amy Plum - The Revenants series was something new and truly unique to me. This second book in the series was so exciting and left me hanging at the end.

4. Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi - Tahereh Mafi is an amazing writer, as evidenced in the unique style that she used in Shatter Me. She had me feeling so much for all the characters - good and bad. What a fantastic book.

3. The Immortal Rules, by Julie Kagawa - I was nervous to read this book because it was so different from the Iron Fey series, which is one of my favorites by Ms. Kagawa. My fears were totally unfounded, as the first book in this totally new series was amazing.

2. Deity, by Jennifer L. Armentrout - This is the third book in the Covenant series, and it was beyond incredible. There was so much action and excitement and heartbreak and intrigue. And, Aiden - oh my swoon. His love for Alex and his actions kept me glued to this book long after bedtime.

1. The Crimson Crown, by Cinda Williams Chima - This book wrapped up my favorite high fantasy series. As sad as I am to see it all end, it was wonderfully satisfying to see the characters I had grown to love (and hate, some of them) realize their destinies and fulfill them. It was a wonderful ending to an amazing series.

December 21, 2012

I'm a Cover Lover - Of Triton

My first mermaid book was Of Poseidon by Anna Banks. I read it earlier this year, and was really impressed. It was such a good book, and have been looking forward to it's follow-up, Of Triton, ever since. And, now, it finally has a cover. And, it's gorgeous!

Didn't I tell you? Beautiful. I absolutely can't wait until May 28, 2013!

December 19, 2012

Book #136 - Shadow of Night (A Discovery of Witches #2)

Shadow of Night (A Discovery of Witches #2), Deborah Harkness
urban fantasy, paranormal romance, historical fiction
584 pages
Started 12/8/12
Finished 12/19/12

Shadow of Night was an epic read in every sense of the word. It wasn't one that I could devour in two days like I usually do. Note that it took me an entire EIGHT DAYS to read this book. That, like, never happens. And, it's not that it was boring or bad. It was a really good book. But, there was a lot that happened - I mean A. Lot. And, it had to be digested.

Diana and Matthew have traveled back in time to the late 1500s to get Diana the proper witchy training that she needs, while staying safe from their enemies. And, if they happen to find a certain creepy book while back there, all the better. Problem is, enemies are constant. And being in the past brings with it a whole new host of challenges and problems. But, if Diana and Matthew can stick together and keep their love strong, they might be able to conquer anything, anyone, and anytime.

Books like Shadow of Night amaze me. The amount of research that Deborah Harkness must've put into it is staggering. When you mix fictional characters in a real historical time period with real historical figures, it is so hard to get it right. So many times, the historical figures end up caricatures of who they really were, and it really cheapens the story line and makes the fictional characters seem hokey.

So, in a book of almost 600 pages, there were plenty of opportunities to screw this up. Harkness, however, was brilliant. Although the story became convoluted at times and a little hard to follow, the interweaving of the real and the fictional was done so very well. And, honestly, I think the story would've been able to follow a little easier if I had re-read A Discovery of Witches before tackling its sequel.

Shadow of Night was a really interesting read, and I wholeheartedly look forward to the third book in the series. This time, though, I think I'll try and do a re-read beforehand. 

December 16, 2012

Book #135 - Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows #1)

Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows #1), Kim Harrison
urban fantasy
416 pages
Started 12/1/12
Finished 12/13/12

I seemed to be on a good urban fantasy roll, so I decided to see if my luck would hold with a new-to-me series and author. After the first book, I'm not sure which side of the fence I fall on with this one.

After a plague spread by tomatoes wipes out half the human population 50 years ago, otherworldly creatures have taken their place in modern society. Rachel Morgan is a witch who is a lowly runner for the supernatural version of the FBI. She hates her job and her boss, so she decides to quit, but that puts a price on her head. To call off the assassination attempts, Rachel decides to try and take down a criminal that her former boss has been gunning for. Could be the last thing she ever does.

Honestly? Dead Witch Walking left me with a big MEH feeling. It wasn't bad. It wasn't great. I didn't feel a great affinity for any of the characters. When Rachel was forced to fight or use her magic mojo, she was pretty cool. Anytime she interacted with Ivy, I wanted to strangle her, she was so annoying. Rachel had a major superiority complex and treated her horribly - it was in those moments that I seriously contemplated not finishing the book.

But, I did stick with it, and ultimately, I'm glad I did. The ending was pretty good, and I like how things fell into place for Rachel toward the end. I wish there would've been some sort of romantic entanglement, but I can understand why there wasn't. It seems to be a theme with UF - the first book very much lays the groundwork for the rest of the series, which doesn't leave much time for mushy stuff. That all comes later. So, if I do continue with this series, I hope that I see more warm fuzzies.

Overall, I'm not sorry I read it. It could've been better, but it passed the time and gave me a good introduction to Kim Harrison's work. 

December 13, 2012

Book #134 - Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1), Sarah J. Maas
high fantasy
404 pages
Started 12/5/12
Finished 12/8/12

I'm a sucker for hype. Many times, I'll read a book if there's a lot of polarizing points of view on it, just so I can see for myself what all the fuss is about. Throne of Glass was one of those books. It seemed as if most reviews were either stellar or very poor. I had to see on which end of the spectrum I ended up.

Celaena Sardothian is a notorious assassin who was caught and thrown in a work camp that no one ever survives. After a year there, she is pulled out by the crown prince and asked to be his champion in a series of trials with other thieves, assassins and soldiers. The winner is named the king's official assassin and is released from whatever prison from which he or she came. The losers go back. But, something else starts killing the contestants before their trials. And Celaena is determined to get to the bottom of it so that she can win fair and square and finally be free.

For a book about an assassin, she didn't do nearly enough assassinating.There was, in fact NO assassinating. None done by Celaena, anyway. I was really bummed out, because she was a real badass. She absolutely could've done some epic killing. It was unfortunate. The trials that we got to observe were my favorite parts of the book. I loved reading about Celaena besting the biggest, baddest dudes in the land. And, she did it with flair and panache. It was awesome. But, for some reason, we didn't get to see all the trials either. Another bummer.

I did love the supporting characters. Prince Dorian and Captain of the Guard Chaol Westfall were so different from each other. But, they both fall in love with Celaena and show their affections in very different ways. Dorian is a showman and Chaol is reserved and bides his time. And, although it seems as though Celaena prefers one over the other by the end, nothing is certain in this love triangle.

Overall, despite the lack of death, I did enjoy Throne of Glass. It was interesting and I really loved the characters - especially Celaena. I wonder what the future holds for her, Chaol and Dorian in the second book. 

December 12, 2012

2013 Blog Goals... and Cats

I can't believe it's been nearly a year since I started this blog! On January 3, 2012 when I made that first post, my goals and aspirations for Krista's Dust Jacket were different from where I am now. Goals are good - necessary, even. But, it's also a good thing to know when it's okay to shift those goals as you meet others and learn from them. Which is what happened to me. I've been introduced to an amazing blogging community with a shared love of the written word. I've learned so much from all of them, and I look forward to continuing my education in 2013.

So, being the goal-oriented person that I am, I need a new list. Behold, my top ten blog goals for 2013:

1. Blog redesign - You all have been looking at the same basic layout for 12 months now. I'm going to implement a new layout complete with social media buttons and a graphic rating system. Can't wait!

2. Daily weekday posts - I've been pretty consistent in my posting, but it hasn't happened every single weekday. You deserve consistency from me.

3. Author interviews - Part of the book-loving experience is connecting with the authors that inspire you. I want to help bring that to you.

4. Book tours - I love any chance I get to work together with my fellow bloggers, so be looking for me to participate in more book tours as a way to do that.

5. More giveaways - Who doesn't love good giveaways?! I've done three this year. I intend to do a minimum of one per month in 2013.

6. Adopt a meme and stick with it - I tried two memes earlier in the year, and it was hard to keep up with them. I plan to find one that works for my schedule and follow it consistently.

7. Develop a Facebook page - A Facebook page is the only major social medium that Krista's Dust Jacket doesn't have. It will soon.

8. Cross-post reviews on Goodreads and Amazon - In keeping with my desire to remain consistent, I plan to cross-post portions of my reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.

9. Get organized - I intend to develop a process workflow to make sure that I post every day in the same places around the same time so that my readers know what to expect from me.

10. Get to know my fellow bloggers - I want to visit more book review blogs, comment on more posts, do some guest posts, and most of all, MAKE IT TO BEA 2013.

I know it's an ambitious list, especially for someone like me who tries to fit blogging in the cracks between working full time as a marketing and communications professional, mothering my two young kids, being a wife to my supportive husband, and of course, reading a lot of good books. But, this is my personal creative outlet, and I enjoy it so much. I want to make The Dust Jacket the best blog that I can make it. If you want to see something that isn't on this list, let me know!

This year isn't over yet, so you will still see lots of review posts in the next few weeks about everything from assassins to werewolves to gods to vampires. I hope you stay tuned as I start to implement my 2013 goals - and let me know how I'm doing!

December 11, 2012

Book #133 - Spark (Elemental #2)

Spark (Elemental #2), Brigid Kemmerer
paranormal romance
345 pages
Started 12/1/12
Finished 12/3/12

Four stupidly hot brothers and they all have awesomesauce powers and are fiercely loyal and incredibly sweet - now, I know most girls totally want to hit that, and really, I can't blame them (in my own cougar-ish way). But, think for a second how amazing it would be to be besties with one or all of them? Can you imagine the parties - heck, even the casual get-togethers - they would have at their house? Hands down, the Merrick brothers are now my new favorite bookish family.

Following the events of Storm (Elemental #1), all the Merrick brothers are on edge. Their meet-and-greet with the guide doesn't go so smoothly, especially for Gabriel who is harboring a lot of guilt over his recent perceived failures. To make matters worse, he's in danger of failing trigonometry and getting kicked off the basketball team. So, he enlists Layne's help to get his grade up. He didn't bank on her being so interesting. But, his attention is pulled to a recent string of arsons, and his desire to help people compels him to use his power over fire to help save the victims of those crimes. Only problem is, everyone who knows about his ability now thinks HE'S the arson.

Boy oh boy, was this an emotional book. I mean, lump in my throat, tissue in hand, husband laughing at me while I cry at a BOOK emotional. Gabriel is so tough on the outside, being the brawler in the family. He feels a sense of responsibility to take care of his twin brother Nick and his little brother Chris. And, although he resents oldest brother Michael's authority, he loves him and looks up to him so much. So, when they all start asking Gabe questions about the fires in town, he takes it so personally. It kills him that they would even think he could do something like that. Gah - his reactions and his heartbreak was so wrenching!

The plot was enticing and interesting. These brothers are totally engaging, and I find the time reading their story simply flying by.  There was a seamless transition from book 1 into book 2, which I really do appreciate. Even though it's been a few months since I read Storm, the catch-up that was provided within the context of Spark was just right - not too much so that I forgot which book I was reading, but not too little that I was still missing important details.

But, most of all, I have to say bravo to Ms. Kemmerer. Thank you for making me feel. And, I don't mean "blah, blah, blah, oh, that's too bad, blah, blah." I mean, feeeeeeeeeeel. I was emotionally engaged and invested throughout the entire book, and that, my dear readers, is a very rare and wonderful thing.

December 8, 2012

Book #132 - Once Burned (Night Prince #1)

Once Burned (Night Prince #1), Jeaniene Frost
paranormal romance
346 pages
Started 11/27/12
Finished 12/1/12

Despite the fact that I had to hide the cover of this book from my husband, so as not to suffer his incessant ribbing about the fabio-esque dude with the six-pack abs and flowing locks, I really enjoyed Once Burned. The cover most definitely did not make the book.

Leila is an acrobat who works with vampires and weres and other supernaturals on the carny circuit. They're the only ones that can come close to being able to handle her electrified right hand and her ability to see the past, present and future with a single touch. Unfortunately, an ability like that is sure to be noticed sooner or later, and Leila's number is up. After being kidnapped by a bunch of scary vamps, one that is scarier - the scariest, actually - saves her and takes her under his wing. And, eventually, into his bed. Yum.

Despite the Dracula references, which I thought were a smite cheesy, I thought Vlad was really cool. He's mean and scary and raw and he kinda melts a little around Leila. I love that stuff. And, Leila is a loner and cranky and aloof who comes out of her shell around Vlad. It's good chemistry.

The bad guy was oh so very bad - no denying that. But, the good guys blurred the lines a little more. They weren't completely good. It was a refreshing change. Every book needs good and evil, light and dark. It's fun when it's hard to figure out who's who. Once Burned was a little like that. I mean, Vlad's nickname IS "The Impaler." It's hard to be a true blue good guy with a name like that, right?

I'm looking forward to the next Night Prince book and seeing Vlad flesh out a little more (excuse the pun) whether he wants to be good or bad. And whether he wants to admit he loves Leila or not. Can't wait!

December 6, 2012

November Book Report

November was a big book month. There were a bunch of new releases that I had been eagerly anticipating for months. Plus, I kept stoking the fire of my new urban fantasy obsession. It's been a fun month.

Books Read - 13
Books Read To Date - 134
Total Pages Read - 50,626
Favorite Book of the Month - Twice Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires #3)

I read the first four Chicagoland Vampires books in November, and of them, the third one was my favorite. It was all about Gabriel Keene and the shifters and their tense relationship with the vampires. I absolutely loved those leather-wearing, meat-loving, scary-looking dudes. It was also about Merit and Ethan and their tense relationship. Twice Bitten was the best, because when it was good, it was very, very good. And, when it was bad (and I don't mean that the book was bad, but rather the situations in the book took a bad turn), it was very, very bad. This is the book in which I laughed and I cried and I got pissed and I was deliriously happy. I loved it.