Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Review: Learning Lenormand: Traditional Fortune Telling for Modern Life

Learning Lenormand: Traditional Fortune Telling for Modern Life
Learning Lenormand: Traditional Fortune Telling for Modern Life by Marcus Katz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loved this book! This book shares a lot more history on Mlle Lenormand as well as the "Game of Hope" from which the Lenormand Oracle originates. But what I really enjoyed was that most card descriptions shared also included those from other Lenormand book authors. I also learned more about the Grand Tableau, the houses, and reading the diagonals. I have this book on pre-order...I have to have a hard copy.

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Review: Temping Is Hell

Temping Is Hell
Temping Is Hell by Cathy Yardley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: WORST. JOB. EVER.

Kate O'Hara can't wait until this temp assignment is over. The woman who hired her is a psychotic pageant queen, her coworkers are convicts-turned-clerks, and it's so boringly corporate it makes her skin crawl. Even her sexy-as-sin boss, famed billionaire Thomas Kestrel, isn't enticement enough to keep her there. Once she makes enough to pay off her bills, she's out. Or so she thinks...


Next thing she knows, she's accidentally signed over her soul. Literally. And she's discovered Thomas's real mission: to kill thirteen bad guys in one year, in order to get his—now his and Kate’s—souls back.


From learning to boost the morale of some paper-pushing demons to navigating her way through blood-red tape, Kate has to work closely with her super-hot supervisor and get her flaky act together, before somebody clocks her out—p permanently!

My Thoughts: I so enjoyed this new Urban Fantasy!

I could relate to Kate. All she's ever done is "what is right" and yet, it always seems to turn out wrong. Poor thing. Everyone, friends and family, pretty much classify her as a screw-up.

Kate was pretty well fleshed out...we understood her and what motivated her. She was very candid about herself. Her new boss was a different story. His back story was revealed slowly over time although it wasn't to hard to figure out what was going on with him.

The story was cute and a fast read...the end left a whole lot up in the air for future installments and I will be there anxious to devour the next one.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review: Daughter of the Earth and Sky

Daughter of the Earth and Sky
Daughter of the Earth and Sky by Kaitlin Bevis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis: Some vows can never be broken.

Persephone thought she could go back to her normal life after returning from the Underworld. She was wrong. The goddess Aphrodite is born among the waves with more charm than she can control. Zeus is stalking Persephone and her loved ones, and Thanatos is no longer content with Persephone’s silence.

He wants her soul.

Persephone can’t tell anyone about Thanatos’ betrayal, and it drives a wedge between her and Hades. Her mother is still keeping secrets, and Melissa’s jealousy of Aphrodite threatens to tear their friendship apart.
Alone, Persephone turns to a human boy for comfort. But will their relationship put him in danger? Sacrifices must be made, and Persephone must choose between her human life and her responsibilities as a goddess. If she doesn’t, she could lose them both. But will either life be worth choosing once Zeus is through with her?

My Thoughts: This one was a gut-wrencher for me! I kept churning over ideas on how Persephone could get around her promise to Thanatos and get Hades on the same page with her. I gotta give Persephone props though, on how she finally got around it! LOVED IT.

Also continue to love Ms. Bevis's take on the Mythology. Aphrodite's creation and it's effect were a breath of fresh air on a very OLD story! Actually this series, thus far, is a breath of fresh air! Persephone continues to struggle with her god-hood as well as her human aspect which is the hormonal teen years. Meanwhile she is devoted to Hades and he discounts her feelings due to the fact that she is so young. She's damned if she does and damned if she doesn't and let's not even get started on her Mom!

Can't wait to see how this one ends up, but know I will be sad to see it end. This is all based on my assumption that this will be a trilogy...I'm kinda hoping for more than 3 books...but I guess I will just have to wait and see.

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Review: The Didymus Contingency

The Didymus Contingency
The Didymus Contingency by Jeremy Robinson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis: If you could go back in time...and witness any event...where would you go? When Dr. Tom Greenbaum faces that question after successfully discovering the secret to time travel, he knows the time, place and event he will witness: the death and failed resurrection of Jesus Christ. Dr. David Goodman, Tom's colleague and closest friend follows Tom into the past, attempting to avert a time-space catastrophe, but forces beyond their control toss them into a dangerous end game where they are tempted by evil characters, betrayed by friends, pursued by an assassin from the future and haunted by a demon that cannot be killed.

My Thoughts: Someone referred me to this book eons ago. I tried for a long time to scare up a copy of it but failed. When it was finally put out for the kindle, I got a copy. I finally read it.

This was not what I thought it was going to be based on the synopsis...I thought the time travelers would show up at the crucifiction and just witness that event. But that wasn't the case at all. David and Tom, aka Didymus, actually show up a few years earlier and travel with Jesus. Robinson did a fantastic job of weaving those oh so familiar parables and events into a concise storyline. It was fascinating to be transported to that time and those events. Made for a really hard book to put down. And the neat thing was that Tom and David had to very different opinions regarding the events. One of them could be described as an atheist, and the other was a "believer".

It was an uplifting read...which really took me by surprise. And it's one I haven't stopped thinking about.

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Review: Blood Feud

Blood Feud
Blood Feud by Alyxandra Harvey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: It's been centuries since Isabeau St. Croix barely survived the French Revolution. Now she's made her way back to the living and she must face the ultimate test by confronting the evil British lord who left her for dead the day she turned into a vampire. That's if she can control her affection for Logan Drake, a vampire whose bite is as sweet as the revenge she seeks.

The clans are gathering for Helena's royal coronation as the next vampire queen, and new alliances are beginning to form now that the old rifts of Lady Natasha's reign have started to heal. But with a new common enemy, Leander Montmarte—a vicious leader who hopes to force Solange to marry him and usurp the power of the throne for himself—the clans must stand together to preserve the peace he threatens to destroy.
This second adventure in the Drake Chronicles—told from both Logan's and Isabeau's perspectives—has all the same butt-kicking action, heart-pounding romances and snarky humor that readers loved in Hearts at Stake, as well as exciting new revelations about the vampire dynasties to keep readers coming back for more.

My Thoughts: This installment expounds upon the Vamp mythology that was begun in My Love Lies Bleeding. This time it's older Brother Logan, and a Hound "princess" called Isabeau that tell the story. Once again we have equal parts action/adventure and romance as well as more backstory on the Hounds. The over-arcing story of the Vampire Crown advances as well. A sweet and compelling story made for a one-sitting read. Really like these stories and will continue them in the future.

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Review: My Love Lies Bleeding

My Love Lies Bleeding
My Love Lies Bleeding by Alyxandra Harvey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars

GoodReads Synopsis: The Drakes are rather different to your usual neighbours. They are vampires and some of the members of the family date back to the twelfth century. One of the children, Solange, is the only born female vampire known and, as such, she poses a direct threat to the vampire queen. Her best friend Lucy is human, and when Solange is kidnapped Lucy and Solange's brother, Nicholas, set out to save her. Lucy soon discovers that she would like to be more than just friends with Nicholas. But how does one go about dating a vampire? Meanwhile, Solange finds an unlikely ally in Kieran, a vampire slayer on the hunt for his father's killer.

My Thoughts: Another vampire tale. Good vamps trying to care for their own while bad vamps are trying to take over the Vamp world. In this case there are 3 different species of Vamps. The normal blood sucking ones we are all familiar with.

The second kind, or Hounds, were barely transformed then buried underground and left in a crazed blood thirst for centuries. They usually have 2 sets of fangs and have a deep connection to earth magic...like shamans and witch doctors.

The third are the Helblar. This group are constantly blood crazed and almost sound like they are part zombie. All the teeth are sharpened and their skin has a blue tinge. They are usually controlled by their maker who is called Host.

This was a story of shifting perspectives between Solange (a rare born vampire) and her best friend Lucy, who is human. Lucy's Mom and Solange's Mom were best friends and live close to each other. Solange is the subject of a prophecy about the Vampire aristocracy and her future as queen. The current queen isn't too happy about this prophecy!

So that's the crux of the story...killing Lucy before she transitions into a vamp on her 16th birthday. Meanwhile a HelBlar host wants to get his hands on Solange so that he can be the puppet master once she becomes queen.

Mix in a little love story that develops between Lucy and one of her 7 brothers and you've got it. My Love Lies Bleeding is a fun, fast read that is equal parts action and romance. There are even a batch of Vampire Hunters that come into play. The story definitely continues...

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Review: Dinner With a Vampire

Dinner With a Vampire
Dinner With a Vampire by Abigail Gibbs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars

GoodReads Synopsis: One moment can change your life forever...

For Violet Lee, a chance encounter on a darkened street draws her into a world beyond her wildest imaginings, a timeless place of vast elegance and immeasurable wealth – of beautiful mansions and lavish parties – where a decadent group of friends live for pleasure alone. A place from which there is no escape...no matter how hard Violet tries.

Yet all the riches in the world can’t mask the darkness that lies beneath the gilded surface, embodied in the charismatic but dangerous Kaspar Varn.

Violet and Kaspar surrender to a passion that transcends their separate worlds – but it’s a passion that comes at a price..

My Thoughts: Loved this one! Can't wait to see what happens next.

Vampires, Alternate Universes, a prophecy...

I was enchanted with "Dinner". Read it in one sitting and laughed like a schoolgirl at some of the snarkier dialog. But I'm really stumbling with how to describe it.

Poor Violet, basically being held prisoner. She can't have any contact with her family. Her Dad is in a position to make like for the Vampires very difficult. The vamps don't want to let her go because now she knows of the Vampire Realm, so she must join them, become one of them, or die. Meanwhile she is falling for Kasper who has been forbidden to be around her because he plays an important role in a looming prophecy.

There was a lot going on with this story, although it started out kind of slowly. I liked how Violet and Kaspar slowly came together. Even if he could be a Royal jackass. He could be incredibly sweet to. I guess I am a sucker for tough "bad boys" who are really marshmallows on the inside. I also thought Violet was pretty cool...as in cool as a cucumber when she was able to keep her wits about her in times of great stress. She was a good anti-hero...didn't want to be a hero, but kind of ended up one by default anyway.

I am looking forward to the next book to see more of how the prophecy is going to figure in.

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Review: Unclean Spirits

Unclean Spirits
Unclean Spirits by M.L.N. Hanover

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Jayné Heller thinks of herself as a realist, until she discovers reality isn't quite what she thought it was. When her uncle Eric is murdered, Jayné travels to Denver to settle his estate, only to learn that it's all hers -- and vaster than she ever imagined. And along with properties across the world and an inexhaustible fortune, Eric left her a legacy of a different kind: his unfinished business with a cabal of wizards known as the Invisible College.

Led by the ruthless Randolph Coin, the Invisible College harnesses demon spirits for their own ends of power and domination. Jayné finds it difficult to believe magic and demons can even exist, let alone be responsible for the death of her uncle. But Coin sees Eric's heir as a threat to be eliminated by any means -- magical or mundane -- so Jayné had better start believing in something to save her own life.

Aided in her mission by a group of unlikely companions -- Aubrey, Eric's devastatingly attractive assistant; Ex, a former Jesuit with a lethal agenda; Midian, a two-hundred-year-old man who claims to be under a curse from Randolph Coin himself; and Chogyi Jake, a self-styled Buddhist with mystical abilities -- Jayné finds that her new reality is not only unexpected, but often unexplainable. And if she hopes to survive, she'll have to learn the new rules fast -- or break them completely....

My Thoughts: Ooh...love a good Urban Fantasy series and I really liked this one!

I've already started the second book in this series having read this one in one sitting. Anyway, Hanover jumped right into the action on this one. We, the audience, learned on the fly just like Jayne did.

See Jayne didn't know much about her Uncle Eric. Other than he was the one that usually rode in and smoothed things over when her life was in turmoil. So Jayne was very surprised to find out Eric was dead, left everything to her, and he was worth MILLIONS.

It's only later that strange things start happening and Jayne learns about riders and the demons from "next door", and Uncle Erics unlikely band of demon-stalkers.

The great thing is that while all the characters involved knew Eric, they all knew a different part of Eric...no really KNEW Eric. So they are sharing what parts of Eric they knew as we, the audience, are getting to know all the characters.

Another thing I am enjoying about this series is that the author is not only tackling secular "demons", he's dragging in demon-like mythologies from all sorts of religions, cultures, etc. Leaving the door wide open to a variety of stories without running out of bad guys.

By the end of the action packed first book, we haven't learned a great deal about the characters, which I believe was intentional. I think as we peel back the layers on Uncle Eric and his work, those same layers will be revealed on our characters.

I'm anxious to dive more into book 2 and see what I get to learn! I really think I will be enjoying this series even more than some others I've read.

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Review: Venom

Venom by Fiona Paul

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.

My Thoughts: I thought this was a supernatural story. I think it was the title of the series, "Secrets of the Eternal Rose", that put the idea in my head. It wasn't a paranormal story...murder mystery amongst the canals and graveyards of Renaissance Venice. We got to experience how the very wealthy lived as well as how the poor working class.

I liked Cass who was still reeling from the death of her parents. She's been foisted onto an elderly aunt whose nephew is soon coming of age and the Aunt's estate will default to him. So Cass will need to be married sooner rather than later and it's all been prearranged...oh joy. This is a girl who has no control of her life and she is desperate for some.

Cass is smart. She is dedicated to her friends and what she believes in. She is caring and treats everyone with concern and respect, including those paid to care for her. I love her rebellious streak! And she has one!

The story was a little slow getting going...we spent a little too much time on Renaissance Venice descriptions for me, but that info did come back as relevant later in the story to determine who the murderer was. I made a few predictions about how the story was going to go, that I am pleased to say I was wrong about.

There is the usual love triangle...that wasn't totally resolved in this book, so I will be on the lookout for the next installment and will be rooting for Luca. Overall it was a pleasantly enjoyable read.

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Review: Nerve

Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: A high-stakes online game of dares turns deadly

When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling-hot Ian. At first it's exhilarating--Vee and Ian's fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they're directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly they're playing all or nothing, with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE?

My Thoughts: I'd heard a lot about this book prior to reading it. I don't know what made me think this took place in a dystopian society...it's only slightly futuristic...like maybe 10 years ahead of today. The technology to put this game into reality is out there.

The plot of the "game" was fascinating. It was basically dares, as in "Truth or Dare". The dares start out pretty easy...uncomfortable, but easy. People could pay to become part of the audience. What was really scary was how the "audience" could become involved, paying to be where and when these dares happened. Talk about putting a twist on things. Being part of that audience would have been fun, but it was easy to see how it could all go very awry.

The story unfolds, for the most part, over the course of one evening. IT's a lightning fast pace because the audience is viewing it all live. I read this in one sitting just because I couldn't put it down. This book was chilling in how plausible the story was and how much the creators of this game were able to do. Really a fantastic, quick read!

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