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    2011 Reading Challenge

    Fiendishly Bookish has read 3 books toward her goal of 250 books.
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    Thursday
    Apr082010

    New Juicy Review: Marked by Elisabeth Naughton

    Book:              Marked         

    Author:           Elisabeth Naughton      

    Publisher:       Dorchester      

    ISBN/ASIN:    9780505528223         

    Rating:            4.5 Stars   

    Buy:  | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Borders | Indiebound |

    Read an Excerpt

    Naughton channels a smattering of Sherrilyn Kenyon and Rick Riordan in her debut new Eternal Guardian series Marked which brings Greek and Roman mythology to the fore as an eternal guardian Theron must struggle with the sacrifice that will be needed to save his kingdom. But the sacrifice could well be his intended mate. 

    Never has an Argonaut been put to the test as Theron has. Hera has marked his soul mate as Acacia Simopolous, who is half human and half-Argoleon. She doesn’t even know of her heritage having grown up as human, let alone knowing that there could be an otherworldly family that she knows nothing about. And yet despite Theron’s incredible attraction to her, he is pledged to none other than her half-Argoleon sister, Isadora. Throw in an ancient prophecy requiring the sacrifice of one of the sisters, and an evil goddess who is determined to decimate a kingdom and defy the gods to do it and you have an explosively hot paranormal treat.

    How can Theron make such a choice? The love of his eternal life versus everyone and everything he knows, his beloved city of Tiyrns utterly destroyed. The wrong choice will lead to the destruction of Argolea and inevitably humankind, and he is running out of time to make a decision. In the background, the gods are conniving and manipulating forces for their own ends: Hades on side, Atalanta on the other, and the Fates thrown into the mix as well.

    Naughton’s pantheon is an interesting and inventive take of Greek and Roman mythology intermeshed with paranormal elements of her own devising.  She has the ability to connect to her reader, deliver exactly what is needed to move the plot and the romantic suspense forward and does not pull punches to achieve her goal. She convincingly made me believe all was lost, pushed me off the cliff, and then held down a hand to bring me back up again. Nothing will do but the most potent and heady ingredients for Naughton’s story. Her forte appears to be wrangling every drop of romance possible and laying it out for the reader to consume voraciously. Thrillingly romantic, heart-rending and satisfying…all in one breath.

    You’ll be wearing a smug, satisfied smile at the end of Marked. Guaranteed. Next out in the series is Entwined, hitting the shelves on July 27, 2010. Discover more about Elisabeth Naughton here.

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review

    Friday
    Feb122010

    Juicy Review of Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampires: Go Team Ethan! 

    Book:              Some Girls Bite & Friday Night Bites

    Author:           Chloe Neill

    Publisher:       NAL

    ISBN/ASIN:   0451226259 (SGB), 045122793X (FNB)

    Rating:          Five Stars

     

    Well thank you very much Chloe Neill for breakin’ my insomniac barrier! It’s all your fault and Ethan’s that I for the first time EVER read straight through the night. I’ve read to 3, even 4 am, but never all the way through. I blinked once when I realized that that alarm clock had gone off at 5am, and I hadn’t slept a wink, and my Kindle was glued to my hand.

     

    See…I was up late trawling through Kindle reads last night, ignoring my review pile next to me (happens a lot) and I noticed Some Girls Bite flash up as a recommendation and wondered out loud to no one in particular, “Hey, why haven’t I read Chloe Neill yet”? (Roxy Le Kat raised her head at that question, looked at me as if to say Well, why haven’t you?) and promptly returned to her feline dreams. This epiphany occurs now and again with authors I am just discovering…and I just surrender. Little did I know that I would be a fully immersed in Neill’s world with nary a complaint. And yes, right after Some Girls Bite, I devoured Friday Night Bites whole.

     

    The Chicagoland Vampires have all the hallmarks of a great read, and you won’t be disappointed, guaranteed. The adventure won’t end once you pick up the book, its one of those stories that sticks with you. Sometimes you don’t know what exactly you are getting when you pick up a book. Readers will feel they know the characters, all of them. We have become intimately acquainted with Luc, Catcher, Jeff, and the rest of the Ombud team, have laughed at the banter between Mallory and Merit, and have come to know Morgan and Ethan. This is the type of story that I look for, crave for, with all the elements of believable world building, infused with hot action, thrilling scenes, and sensual play between quite a few incredibly smokin’ characters. Some Girls Bite, and Friday Night Bites are all that and more.

     

    Neill is a “dangler”, taunting us with a hot romance between Ethan and Merit with a lure that even the best of soap opera writers would be envious of. Morgan, as the other man always peripherally there will definitely keep us guessing what really lies in Merit’s heart.

     

    While readers like myself, will definitely read on to find out if “it happens” between Merit and Ethan, or even with Morgan, we are also willing tourists in her world exploring her secondary characters, the plots, the conflict, and what motivates them all in this rich paranormal romance soup. I loved the vampire house hierarchy, the rules of the Canon; and the political intrigue. Chicagoland and its characters have a solid foundation.

     

    Even Neill has made the great “revealing” believable noting that there were difficulties in the beginning, when vampires first emerged into society. This is one of my sore points in paranormal romance and urban fantasy…some authors describe this transition into human society as a mere footnote, a whitewashed event that just happens. A reader is supposed to just accept it. Not! Some fictional events, no matter how well crafted, need to be rooted in some kind of reality. Personally, I have always believed that if a great revealing were to have occurred, it would be as Missy Jane described it in They Call Me Death, i.e. a full-scale war with a clear line of demarcation between humans and Supernaturals.

     

    And yes, Neill is alluding to something wicked coming their way. War is in the air, and sides will be chosen. I have my spot reserved on the Good Ship Cadogan and look forward to July’s release, Twice Bitten to see how our warriors and lovers fare in the impending battle!

     

    Go Team Ethan!

     

     

     

     

     

    Sunday
    Oct112009

    "Soulless" by Gail Carriger

    Book:        Soulless

    Author:      Gail Carriger

    ISBN:          0316056634

    Publisher:   Orbit

    Rating:       Four Stars

    Dirigibles, steam-driven mechanical contraptions, automatons, vampires and the like aboundin Carriger's "steampunk-lite" romance smorgasborg, chronicling the tale of a "soulless" preternatural, Alexia Tarabotti, and an alpha wolf, Conall Maccon, Earl of Woolsey in Victorian London as they try to unravel a sinister mystery.

    Throw in the help of the bureau of Unnatural Registry (BUR), the queen's Shadow Council, a truculent beta wolf, and one lavender-clad popinjay (entourage in tow), shenanigans roar out of control, threatening the Crown, and the fragile human/supernatural social structure.

    Carriger's realm smacks of fresh originality, her characters drawn with precision: the harridan mother, Mrs. Loontwill, Lord Akeldama, Professor Lyall, Floote (the butler), and hunky Conall are all memorable and quirky. It was a veritable feast to dig into Carriger's novel!

    Soulless distinctly reminds one of Kim Newman's original Victorian vampire series, (Anno Dracula, The Bloody Red Baron, and Judgment of Tears) and his stalwart character Kate Reed meshed with Emile Gaboriau's creation of French detective Monsieur Lecoq. But Carriger has a fresher, softer take in her Victorian vision. Her spinsterish brolly-wielding protagonist will have you on the floor laughing page after page and curling your toes as she and Conall reluctantly try to fight off their magnetic attraction to one another (and of course fail miserably!).

    March 2010 cannot come soon enough when "Changeless" the second book in the series is out!

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review

    Saturday
    Oct102009

    New Juicy Review: Covet by J.R. Ward

     

    Novel:       Covet (Fallen Angels)

    Author:     J.R. Ward

    ISBN:        0451228219

    Rating:     Four Stars

    For fans (like myself) of Ward's wildly popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series, "Covet" is a departure from the "pure" romantic/fantasy/suspense that has blazed a path for this very talented author. Instead, Ward has branched out into new territory sans the hottie-bad ass-black-clad-biker bros wielding a plotline whose focal point is not primarily that of romance. So fans who are expecting a hot and heavy paranormal romance read of the like of Wrath or Zsadist, should instead brace themselves for a carefully balanced good and evil tale as angels and demons duke it out for the fate of humanity.

    Ward's Fallen Angels world hangs in the balance, and what's at stake is exactly seven souls. Seven human souls whose fate could go either way depending on the players involved. Both teams, heaven and hell have placed their MVP's on the field to manipulate, coaxe, and duel for these souls using whatever dirty means necessary.

    On heaven's side is covert assassin, Jim Heron aided by two rusty-haloed angels Adrian and Eddie. On hell's side is Devina, a nasty she-devil who is pretty much a formidable army of one. Both teams are battling over the soul of Vin diPietro, a jaded millionaire real estate developer and closet "medium". At stake is his soul, the love of his life, Marie-Terese, and the acknowledgement of his psychic powers. The romance between diPietro and his lady love is steamy and heartwarming, but my interests lay in the peripheral characters of this great story: Adrian, the jaded fallen angel, the loyalties of Trez and most of all, Jim Heron-how would he end up?

    Ward has created a great peripheral romance between two characters from vastly different backgrounds, but greater yet is the overall story of "Covet" and its great sub-plots as we dig into the layers of these intensely intriguing characters. I look forward to reading the next in the series!

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review