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    2011 Reading Challenge

    Fiendishly Bookish has read 3 books toward her goal of 250 books.
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    Thursday
    Apr212011

    Next Up: "Hounded" by Kevin Hearne

    Book:                  Hounded

    Author:               Kevin Hearne

    Publisher:           Del Rey

    ISBN/ASIN:         9780345522474

    RELEASE DATE: May 3, 2011

    Find out more about the Iron Druid Chronicles

    Book Blurb

    “Atticus O’Sullivan has been running for two thousand years and he’s a bit tired of it. After he stole a magical sword from the Tuatha Dé Danann (those who became the Sidhe or the Fae) in a first century battle, some of them were furious and gave chase, and some were secretly amused that a Druid had the cheek to defy them. As the centuries passed and Atticus remained an annoyingly long-lived fugitive, those who were furious only grew more so, while others began to aid him in secret.

    Now he’s living in Tempe, Arizona, the very last of the Druids, far from where the Fae can easily find him. It’s a place where many paranormals have decided to hide from the troubles of the Old World—from an Icelandic vampire holding a grudge against Thor to a coven of Polish witches who ran from the German Blitzkrieg.

    Unfortunately, the very angry Celtic god who wants that sword has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power, plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good, old-fashioned luck of the Irish to kick some arse and deliver himself from evil.” (from www.kevinhearne.com)

    Just started reading this yesterday (part of my book loot) and by the second paragraph on the first page two things occurred:

    (1) I was completely and totally hooked to this amazing story and..

    (2) I experienced an almost insatiable envy for Hearne’s writing skill. Irreverent, hilarious, witticisms galore. So far…I want to have Atticus’ baby!

    Thursday
    Apr212011

    Gods...Goddesses and A Half-Lychen/Vamp Reign Supreme in "Ascension" by Sable Grace

    Book:                   Ascension

    Author:                Sable Grace

    Publisher:           Avon/Harper Collins

    ISBN/ASIN:         9780061964404 

    Release Date:    April 26, 2011

    Rating:                  3.25 Stars

    Read an Excerpt

    There’s a lot going on in Ascension, the first book in the debut Dark Breed series by writing duo Heather Waters and Laura Barone so much so, that it could be a challenge keeping it all straight. But while the genre-pushing first novel which blends both paranormal and mythology has great bones, it fails to live up to its potential.

    Ascension takes off at breakneck speed at a critical point in time.  The world has fallen into chaos when the gates of Tartarus are opened, and countless Dark Breeds (Lychens, Leeches, Shyfters, Demons) roam, maim, and wreak general havoc on the world. The last line of defense is the Order of the Ancients who are fending off the masses and protecting humanity as best as they can. For all intents and purposes it’s Game Over in a big way.

    The first objective of the Order and its tracers is to save those humans who have been marked as Chosen-those destined to replace the most critical of the supernatural hierarchy. Without the Chosen to replace certain gods and goddess, rule could cease to exist, and anarchy, even chaos would ensue. The world has already gone to hell-in-a-hand-basket but without the gods…well…annihilation. The second is to find the key to Tartarus, lock the gates, and “deal” with the conspirators who brought apocalypse to the world.

    Ascension’s heroine Kyana bears the brunt of both worlds being a former Dark Breed who was recruited into the Order for her unusual talents. As the last of her kind, Kyana has an advantage over the other Order soldiers…she is faster, more ruthless, and she possesses the dual strength of both Lychen and Vampyre biology within her. But those very traits color her personality as well and as she favors her colder Vampyre side, the chasm of human understanding is an even larger obstacle for her to overcome.

    While Waters and Barone have essentially met the prerequisites of crafting Kyana as the quintessential paranormal heroine she appears to be an empty shell, missing the internal substance crucial for a reader to bond with her.  Her background is glossed over in such a way, that it almost seems an afterthought. There are interesting glimpses of her though…her early years spent as an abused young wife to a Sultan, and her eventual transformation by her sire, and her longing for Ryker which transforms from a roll in the hay to something more substantial. But it’s simply not enough.

    With the reader unable to experience who Kyana really is through her eyes-to know who she is as a character, then there is no opportunity for the reader to relate to her, to bond with her, or any other element of the story.  It is that critical chemistry that makes it all come together, that makes a story memorable-and it is lacking here.

    What the Sable Grace duo does do well is maintain a balance between both Ryker and Kyana and their growing relationship as they journey from Above to Below to hunt down the key to Tartarus. As his yang to her yin, Ryker possesses an almost austere presence in the face of Kyana’s deficits. You get a real feel for his character, his caution, his premeditation, and his patience.

    On the whole, Ascension is fertile ground, has an interesting premise, but doesn’t fulfill expectations. By the last quarter of the book, more substance has been woven in, and there is a real connection that develops between the characters that hadn’t manifested early on: Kyana’s love for her best friend Haven forces her to make some do or die choices. And Ryker strikes a deal with his father, Ares to wrest an easy death for Kyana when she violates one of the Orders most sacred covenants. Artemis shows some benevolence. And last but not least, Waters and Barone prove they have a few tricks up their sleeves as well…especially with the surprise on the last page which is a great lead in to the next book.

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)

    Wednesday
    Apr202011

    Fiendish Book Loot! Shiver Me Timbers!

    It's always a wonderful surprise to come home to book loot.

    As much as I love e-books and the ease of reading them (as well as the the instant gratification factor)...I adore the heft of books as well. 

    This weeks yummies are Mind Games by Taylor Keating and Hounded by Kevin Hearne. I received a few others but I have been dying...DYING to read Hounded and Mind Games.

    Book:                    Hounded

    Author:                 Kevin Hearne

    Publisher:            Del Rey

    ISBN/ASIN:         9780345522474

    RELEASE DATE:   May 3, 2011

    Find out more about the Iron Druid Chronicles

    Book:                    Mind Games

    Author:                 Taylor Keating

    Publisher:            Tor

    ISBN/ASIN:         9780765365484

    RELEASE DATE:  May24, 2011

    Find out more about the Guardian Series

    Tuesday
    Apr192011

    Next Up: Ascension by Sable Grace

    Book:                   Ascension

    Author:                Sable Grace

    Publisher:           Avon/Harper Collins

    ISBN/ASIN:         9780061964404 

    Release Date:    April 26, 2011

    REVIEW PENDING

    Read an Excerpt

    “The gates of hell have opened, and one woman will stand in the crossfire as the Dark Breed—vampyre, demons, shape shifters—and mankind fight their last battle for survival.

    Kyana is half Vampyre, half Lychen . . . and the last of her kind. Determined, dangerous, and damned, she has no love for the mortals who have imprisoned and misused her. But when the Order of Ancients entrusts her with a mission—to find the key that will send the Dark Breed back into Hell for eternity—Kyana has no choice but to accept.

    She is furious to learn her assignment comes with an escort . . . Ryker, a demigod and fierce warrior who long ago found a way under her skin and stayed there. In a shaky alliance, they discover an ancient cult with dangerous motive and a god who seeks to destroy all others. And as Kyana begins to feel the heat that threatens to bind her to Ryker, she knows she has to resist. For it could only mean the undoing of them both . . .” (from www.amazon.com)

    Saturday
    Apr092011

    Trademark Christina Dodd At Her Best with "Taken By the Prince"

    Book:                  Taken by the Prince

    Author:               Christina Dodd

    Publisher:           Signet

    ISBN/ASIN:         9780451413048

    Rating:                  4.5 Stars

    Release Date:    Out Now!!!

    Read an Excerpt

    Christina Dodd revives the grandeur in historical romance with Taken by the Prince her latest release that kindles memories of the unforgettable characters, rampant humour, and amusing situations she trademarked in her Distinguished Academy of Governesses series. Doted on with Dodd’s careful, but solidly distinctive style, Taken by the Prince is a measured effort, and well…nearly perfect. 

    This time in Taken by the Prince, Dodd penned a similar theme to an earlier release, The Runaway Princess (1999), with her male lead Saber, a bastard and the unwilling heir apparent to the Viscount of Grimsborough. He is also a prince of Moricadia of the fabled House of de Barbari Jinete. Brought to England because he is Grimsborough’s last resort, the Viscount is willing clothe and educate Saber provided he bends to his rules. When Saber (now renamed Raul) comes of age, his one objective other than fleeing the coldness of Grimsborough Abbey would be to return to his beloved country of Moricadia and take back the throne.

    But the childhood friend of his sister Belle entrances him and their one shared kiss….that set off sparks of passion for the two of them will not be easily forgotten.

    Three years later and now a governess, Victoria Cardiff, the vixen that set his blood boiling crosses his path when on vacation in Moricadia with her host family. Unbeknownst to her, Raul has spent the past three years, and most of his gambling fortune funding an impending revolution against the de Guignards who wrested the throne from Raul’s ancestors. When Victoria recognizes Raul at a local hotel, all could be lost if she reveals his true identity as Prince Saber and true heir to the throne of Moricadia.

    Like exotic Baminia in The Runaway Princess, Dodd transports the reader to far off Moricadia, where the customs and colors of its citizens fill the pages with richness and a gypsy-like courtliness. From Sabers crumbling ancestral castle, the kidnapped Victoria begins to learn the meaning of yearning as Saber sensually entices her each and every night. But a simple capitulation is not what he seeks. He wants Victoria body, heart and soul.

    Cutting my teeth on novelists like Dodd, Deveraux, McNaught, and Garwood, I can honestly say that Dodd’s consistent writing style with historical romance fiction and her creation of believable but creatively imagined characters is one of her many strengths.  Despite the stutter of her Darkness Chosen series (of which I was not a fan), she continues to write exceptional contemporary and historical romances that I purchase on site.

    Taken by the Prince was a satisfying read, with little surprise. Any fan of historical romance will instantly love it because it delivers a well-balanced plot and romance that exceeds expectations. The nights that Raul taunts Victoria are amazingly romantic and heated-the highlight of this extraordinary romance!

     I have already unearthed my favorite Dodd novels to re-read: The Rules of Surrender, The Rules of Engagement and The Rules of Attraction.

    Highly Recommended!

    A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)