Sunday, January 25, 2009

Book: Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

Magic Burns is the second book in the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, and my first read for the seconds challenge in 2009.

Called out to assist in retrieving stolen maps for the Pack, Kate becomes involved in a much greater problem, a problem involving ancient Celtic gods and goddesses and their minions. What makes it worse is that Atlanta, always in a state of flux as waves of magic roll through and then dissipate, is currently experiencing a flare that only comes once every seven years. All magic is stronger during a flare, and much harder to control. Of course that would be when this ancient diety decides to make an entrance! All in a days work for Kate though...

Man does this girl take a beating! We're teased a bit more about Kate's heritage. The tension between her and Curran is alive and well, but we see a learn a little more of his feelings for her through his actions as interpreted by some of the other shapeshifters. We get a little Celtic mythology, a lot of action, and a few tears. Yes, I admit it, one of Kate's speeches just really got me, and made me want to go hug on my husband quite fiercely! The ending is great too, another point to the Curran team! LOL! I'm really looking forward to Magic Strikes, #3 in the Kate Daniels series. You can read an excerpt of it HERE at Ilonaland.com.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Book Giveaway: Scot on the Rocks by Brenda Janowitz

Sometimes we're so busy trying to fix the wrong thing that we don't see the right thing that's in front of us.

Brooke Miller had planned to attend her ex-boyfriend Trip's wedding with her Scottish hottie fiance, Douglas. Well, okay, they're not quite engaged yet, but soon, real soon, Brooke is sure! When a fight leaves Brooke suddenly boyfriendless, and homeless, she has to come up with a new plan for Trip's wedding. A normal person might just cancel, right? Actually, a normal person probably wouldn't have gone in the first place, but that's beside the point! Brooke has a plan, and with her best friends and co-workers in tow, she attends the wedding anyway and has a life-changing night!

I'm not sure I agree that she kept her dignity ever-so-slightly intact, but Scot on the Rocks was a very fun read, and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the next book, Jack with a Twist!

Now is your chance to keep your dignity ever-so-slightly intact, and just see if you can read this one without laughing out loud! Ah, what good is dignity anyway if it gets in the way of fun? I'm ready to give away my gently used and Bookcrossing labeled copy of Scot of on the Rocks. To enter, just comment on this post and tell me who your favorite Scot is, real or fictional, there's quite a few to choose from! I will announce the winner on January 31st! Be sure to give me a way to reach you!

My favorite Scot has to be Jamie from Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. But why stop at just one? I like Gerard Butler quite a bit too!

Check out Brenda Janowitz's website HERE for more info and the author's blog!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Serpent in Turquoise - and the winner is...




Alyce!


Congratulations! I'll check in with you to get your snail mail soon!

I found another book by Peggy Nicholson featuring the same female character, it's called An Angel in Stone, also in the Silhouette Bombshell line from June 2005. It actually comes before A Serpent in Turquoise. I'm looking forward to giving it a try, and possibly offering it up for giveaway sometime later!

My next giveaway will be for Scot on the Rocks by Brenda Janowitz, I hope to get it posted this weekend!

Thanks everyone, and Congrats Alyce!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

My Favorites from 2008

I managed to read 80 books this year, but here are the ones that stuck out for me (in no particular order) and that I would recommend to others. I've linked to my reviews so you can see what I thought a little more in depth (or to Fantastic Fiction if I had not done a review):


Teen Fantasy and Sci-Fi

Harry Potter #7: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling - Is anyone really surprised by this? Probably not! ;)

The Uglies Series by Scott Westerfield - Honestly I didn't expect to like these too much but they seemed popular, so I wanted to check them out. I ended up really enjoying them!

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead - This is one rough school to attend, I know *I* wouldn't have made it!


Urban Fantasy

The Marla Mason Series by T. A. Pratt - So far I've read Blood Engines and Poison Sleep, and am looking forward to the next two installments!

Dead to Me by Anton Strout - Very fun, ready for the next one to come out!

Dog Days by John Levitt - Aw, the story of a boy and his dog... well, not really, Mason's not a boy, and Louie isn't really a dog, he just looks like one. Another great new series, I'm looking forward to #2, New Tricks which I just picked up yesterday!

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews - Aw look, a story about a girl and her cat... Well, again, not really... Kate definitely isn't a girl, and Curran is definitely NOT just a cat, he happens to be King of Beasts. I'm reading the second in the series right now, Magic Burns and enjoying it!

Unshapely Things by Mark Del Franco - Connor is a druid who has lost his powers, but still assists on magical investigations. Well, assists is his word for it, others might say interferes. I already have #2 in the series Unquiet Dreams which I hope to get to this year!


Science Fiction and Fantasy

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - I have had this recommended to me for years, and I'm glad I finally got around to it! Very few books have I read that actually stunned me, and left me feeling like I had read something vitally important. This was heavy.

Grimspace by Ann Aguirre - This gave me the feel of the Firefly series that generated the movie Serenity. Don't get me wrong, the story was original, I just think it would appeal to those who enjoyed that series. I have #2 Wanderlust in the TBR already.

Stardoc by S. L. Viehl - Talk about trial by fire! I think Cherijo deserves top honors from the school of hard knocks. I was a little apprehensive about this one at first, thinking oh, it's going to be all sci-fi medical and boring, but it definitely was not! You can get into some pretty interesting situations in an emergency room with alien beings! I'm looking forward to continuing this series.

Poison Study by Maria v. Snyder - A very interesting story, I would NOT want to be a food taster, that's for sure! I listened to this on audio, and have the next two of the trilogy, Magic Study and Fire Study which I hope to get to this year also.


Romance

Succubus in the City by Nina Harper - A lot of fun, Lily and her friends are different demons, and indulge in all the vices, clothes, food, you name it, but love even gets them down sometimes. I love the rendition of Satan here, she's like their best girlfriend, and because she's so stylish they call her Martha! This was great fun, and I just recently picked up Succubus Takes Manhattan so I can continue the story!

Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning - Mac thinks her life is going pretty well until her sister is murdered in Ireland, and her only clue is a mysterious cell phone message. She goes to Ireland to investigate, and is thrown into a world she couldn't have dreamed existed. Bloodfever is already in my TBR!

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella - Samantha is a lawyer who has worked very hard and has high hopes of being made partner soon. A beginner mistake is uncovered that will cause unbelievable trouble, and rather than face the music, Samantha runs, with no thought of what she will do next. She finds herself knocking on a door where the owners believe she's there to interview for a housekeeper position and before she knows what's happened, she's been hired. The only problem, she really has no idea how to do any of those things! Very hysterical and sweet.


Historical Fiction

Ireland by Frank Delaney - I listened to this on audio and the narrator was just perfect. I think sometimes that can really make or break an audiobook. I'm not sure I would have had the patience to stick with this had I been reading it myself, because my own mental voice is just not that impressive, but I highly recommend this on audio (and in print)! The story is a boy's journey to find a wandering storyteller, and his journey to becoming a man, and learning the history of the country along the way.



2008 was great reading year for me, I found a lot of new authors to enjoy, and now have a bunch of sequels to look forward to! I can't wait to see what else I discover this year, though I do need to catch up with some old favorites who are equally deserving of admiration!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2009 Reading Challenges

I've decided to join in on a few reading challenges this year, these shouldn't be too difficult for me, I think they will fit in fine with what I would normally do, so not a lot of pressure! I've joined all of these over on J. Kaye's Book Blog, so if you think they sound like fun and would like to join in, head on over there and sign up, they're listed on her side bar. J. Kaye's Book Blog

I think as an extra challenge to myself, I won't let any book count for more than one challenge, even though I know they will overlap. We'll see if I can do it!



The 2009 Young Adult Reading Challenge: Read 12 Young Adult Novels between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009


1. Temple of the Dragonslayer (#1 New Dragonlance Adventures) - Tim Waggoner - finished 3/22/09
2. Fendi, Ferragamo and Fangs - Johanna Edwards, Julie Kenner and Serena Robar - finished 6/9/09
3. Glass Houses (#1 Morganville Vamps) - Rachel Caine - finished 8/15/09
4. The Colossus Crisis (#6 Seven Fabulous Wonders) - Katherine roberts - finished 9/5/09
5. The Good Ghoul's Guide to Getting Even - Julie Kenner - finished 9/6/09
6. Braced 2 Bite - Serena Robar - finished 10/10/09
7. Fangs 4 Freaks - Serena Robar - finished 10/13/09
8. The Book of Time - Guillaume Prevost - finished 10/25/09
9. The Curse of the Blue Figurine - John Bellairs - finished 10/31/09
10. Heart of a Jaguar - Marc Talbert - finished 11/8/09
11. Psyche in a Dress - Francesca Lia Block - finished 11/15/09
12. Extras (Uglies #4) - Scott Westerfeld - finished 11/30/09

Challenge completed 11/30/09!




The 2009 Audiobook Challenge: Listen to 12 Audiobooks between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009


1. Wedding Season - Darcy Cosper - finished 1/28/09
2. The Valley of Secrets - Charmian Hussey - finished 3/5/09
3. The Seduction of the Crimson Rose - Lauren Willig - finished 5/1/09
4. The Egyptologist - Arthur Phillips - finished 7/10/09
5. Magic Study - Maria V. Snyder - finished 8/4/09
6. Fire Study - Maria V. Snyder - finished 8/19/09
7. One for Sorrow, Two for Joy - Clive Woodall - finished 9/3/09
8. Skullduggery Pleasant - Derek Landy - finished 9/26/09
9. Bartimaeus #3: Ptolemy's Gate - Johnathan Stroud - finished 10/12/09
10. Wicked Lovely - Melissa Marr - finished 10/26/09
11. 12 Sharp - Janet Evanovich - finished 10/29/09
12. The Well of Lost Plots - Jasper Fforde - Finished 11/23/09

Challenge completed 11/23/09!



The 2009 First in a Series Challenge: Read 12 books that are the first in any series


1. Bad Blood (#1 Crimson Moon) - L A Banks - finished 1/21/09
2. The Iron Hunt (#1 Hunter Kiss) - Marjorie M Liu - finished 2/11/09
3. Dreamer (#1 Silent Empire) - Steven Harper - finished 2/26/09
4. Touched by Venom (#1 Dragon Temple Saga) - Janine Cross - finished 4/5/09
5. A Murderous Glaze (#1 of Clay and Crime Series) - Melissa Glazer - finished 4/9/09
6. Bitterwood (#1 Bitterwood) - James Maxey - finished 4/23/09
7. The Xibalba Murders (#1 Archaeology Mysteries) - Lyn Hamilton - finished 5/10/09
8. Dark Lover (#1 The Black Dagger Brotherhood) - J. R. Ward - finished 6/7/09
9. Airs Beneath the Moon (#1 Horse Mistress Saga) - Toby Bishop - finished 6/20/09
10. This Pen for Hire (#1 Jaine Austen Mysteries) - Laura Levine finished 7/5/09
11. Dying in Style (#1 Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper Series) - Elaine Viets 7/19/09 (Elaine even stopped by to comment!)
12. Fellowship of Fear (#1 Gideon Oliver Anthropologist series) - Aaron Elkins finished 7/31/09

Challenge completed 7/31/09!




The 2009 Seconds Challenge: Read 12 books by authors that you have only read once. It doesn't have to be a series.


1. Magic Burns (Kate Daniels #2) - Ilona Andrews - finished 1/4/09
2. Succubus Takes Manhattan - Nina Harper
3. Lover Eternal (#2 The Black Dagger Brotherhood) - J. R. Ward - finished 6/11/09
4. High Heels are Murder(#2 Mystery Shopper) - Elaine Viets - finished 8/4/09
5. Practical Demonkeeping (2nd book by Moore for me) - Christopher Moore - finished 8/23/09
6. Corpse Pose (2nd book by Killian for me)- Diana Killian - finished 10/2/09
7. The Demo Tapes - Year 2 - Susan Helen Gottfried - finished 12/6/09
8. Reign of Shadows (2nd Chester for me) - Deborah Chester - finished 12/9/09
9. New Moon (Twilight #2) - Stephanie Meyer - finished 12/17/09
10. Wanderlust (Grimspace #2) - Ann Aguirre - finished 12/24/09
11. Into the Labyrinth (sequel to The Great Good Thing) - Roderick Townsley - Finished 12/27/09
12. Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely #2) - Melissa Marr - Finished 12/31/09

Challenge completed 12/31/09!




The 2009 Erotica Challenge: Read 10 erotica in 2009. You must be 18 years or older to join.


1. Fantasy Fix - Christine Warren - finished 8/30/09
2. Wonderland #1: King of Hearts - Cheyenne McCray 11/22/09
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.


Whew, listed all out that way, it looks like a lot of books to read, doesn't it? I managed to get through 80 books last year, so I think I can do it! Wish me luck! :D

Happy New Year!

Well here we are, the 1st day of a shiny new year! We get to start over on our book counts and challenges, and make resolutions that we're determined to keep (only to break them in the first week if not sooner! lol!). It's a clean slate in some ways, and there's just nothing more exciting than the unlimited potential of a new beginning!

I've learned not to make detailed resolutions, because for me those are doomed to fail right off! So my one and only true resolution this year will be to try to exercise more, I've the got the equipment in my basement, and a nearly unlimited supply of books that I add to almost weekly, so really, it's a win/win (yes, I read while walking on my treadmill or using the elliptical, otherwise I would be totally bored!)

My job has been extremely challenging lately, causing me a lot of anxiety and stress (was that redundant?) and making me a little less than an optimistic person (that sound was my husband snorting in the background at my understatement. okay, actually he didn't, because he's not reading over my shoulder right now, but if he were, that's what he would have done! Heehee!) So another challenge I'm going to tackle in 2009 is trying to keep a more positive outlook, to try and remind myself of how fortunate I am, and what I have been blessed with during those times when it seems like all I can see is the never ending black tunnel of a job that doesn't seem to be getting any easier. It's very easy to get caught up in all of that and let it determine your mood. These are difficult times, and I know I'm only one of millions of people who feel the same way. If you're one of them, just hang in there, we'll get there! ;)

Whatever your resolutions are, don't be too hard on yourself if you step off track, just don't stay off track. Accept that you're not perfect (because despite rumors to the contrary, none of us are!), forgive yourself, and get back on track in your goal! It's never too late to start again, and while New Years Day is a good mile marker, it's all hype, any day is a great day for a new start! ;)

HQ/SIL Challenge #5 and Giveaway: A Serpent in Turquoise by Peggy Nicholson

Title: A Serpent in Turquoise
Author: Peggy Nicholson
Imprint: Silhouette Bombshell
Date: November 2006

A Serpent in Turquoise combined two of my favorite subjects: Paleontology and Archaeology!

Anson McCord is an archaeologist relegated to running digs for tourists as he searches for evidence of a lost Aztec caravan. He begins to suspect that some motifs of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, have some basis in a real creature, and upon seeing an article about dinosaur hunter Raine Ashaway in a magazine, decides to write her with his idea. Intrigued, Raine travels down to Copper Canyon to check the designs out, and finds much much more than she bargained for. It's a different world in the canyon, a beautiful and dangerous land that some would exploit, while the native population would go to extremes to defend. Throw in some Aztec history and culture for flavor, and you've got a fun adventure story that I really enjoyed!

I did actually finish this one laying on the couch and watching Dick Clark's New Year's Rocking Eve, so I completed the challenge just under the wire! ;)

I'm ready to pass A Serpent in Turquoise along now for someone else to enjoy, as always, it will be my own copy, labeled with a Bookcrossing number. To enter, comment on this post, make sure to leave me a way to contact you. I will choose a winner on January 17th. Good Luck!
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