Saturday, November 22, 2014

Review / Sarah J. Maas : Throne of glass (Throne of glass #1)

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. 
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. 
Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

One more novel I really, really enjoyed and whose series I want to explore further !
I recently read The assassin's blade (The throne of glass #0.5), which regrouped several prequels to the Throne of glass, and I wish now that I had read it after this novel - which is why I'll publish the reviews later. As much as I appreciated knowing what she had been through and what led her to Endovier, I think it's best to read it afterwards and somewhat explore her past instead of just following the progression of book numbers.

I still find Celaena to be an arrogant character, but I love her more and more. She killed people, yes, but she was trained to be an assassin, she was left no other choice and it didn't deprive her of her humanity. I loved the attractive prince who strives under the rule of his father, the terrible king. I loved the captain and the way his feelings toward Celaena evolved. I loved her friend the Ellwyn princess and her strength. I loved the magic, the plot, the mystery, the suspense, the pace of the book : all good ! 
Anything bad in here ?... Nah !

I wanted to read two short stories available on Goodreads, books #1.1 and #1.2 if my memory serves, but they have since disappeared. Maybe this means that another anthology of short stories is to be published ? I hope.

I want more Celaena ! I want more adventures, see how she will deal with the king, with the magic, with the prince and the captain, with the other countries submitted to the king. Will she be able to fight him from the inside ? I'm so glad I started reading this series after everybody else, because now, all I have to do to get book #2 is... click ;) Yay !

Friday, November 21, 2014

Review / Nalini Singh : Wild invitation (Psy-changeling #0.5, 3.5, 9.5 and 10.5) and other short stories

In Beat of Temptation, innocent Tamsyn has always had a place in her heart for Nathan, a blooded DarkRiver sentinel. But is she ready for the fierce demands of the mating bond ?
In Stroke of Enticement, a wary young teacher, skeptical about love, arouses the man — and the animal — in an aggressive leopard changeling who must prove his affections are true.
Plus 2 never before published novellas :
In Declaration of Courtship, Grace, a shy submissive wolf, finds herself pursued by the last man she ever would have imagined : a SnowDancer lieutenant said to be “mad, bad and dangerous to know.”
In Texture of Intimacy, SnowDancer healer Lara discovers the searing joys — and unexpected challenges — of being mated to quiet, powerful Walker, a man used to keeping his silence.

This is an anthology of short stories in the Psy-changeling series.

- I already reviewed Beat of temptation (#0.5) earlier : see here.

- Stroke of enticement (#3.5) :  Meet tall, dark and handsome Zach, with a voice smooth as sin and a will to lay his claim on poor and almost unsuspecting Annie !

"He let her go, but she had a feeling the game had only just begun. And that she was the prey."
But Annie has a will of her own :
"Then Zach spoke again, breaking her train of thought. "So you'll be skipping the dinner." It was an order plain and simple.
Annie opened her mouth. What came out was, "No, I'll take you."
See ? Good match !

- Declaration of courtship (#9.5) : Cooper wants Grace, but he's a very strong alpha and she's a shy submissive. How will they get along ?
"It would take time with Grace, the trust he asked of her a piercing intimacy, but Cooper had been called a stubborn bastard more than once. It wasn't an unfair accusation." 
And he does his best to woo her ! He even sends her presents at work :
"He could've had this delivered in my room."
"Please, Grace." Vivienne snorted. "The lingerie might be for you, but the message is for everyone else. Hands off sexy Grace. She's all miiiiiiiiine. Grr and snarl and grr some more."
Fortunately, Grace has a sense of humor and can stand up to him in spite of their different rank in the hierarchy :
"It wasn't a pity lay, was it ?"
Pushing up so she could look down at his face, Grace glared at him, then slapped his chest. "Yes. Absolutely. That's me, a woman who goes around sharing skin privileges with anyone who looks sad. Did I tell you about the engineer who broke his favorite tool the other day ? I had to strip right there and -"

- Texture of intimacy (#10.5) : Walker and Lara are finally mated, but will Walker completely open up after the disaster of his first marriage and the abandonment of his ex-wife ? Lara worries a little about that, she knows he's a lot to handle, but they're working together to make it. I loved the brother bonding between Walker and Judd :)
"My God," Ava groaned, sinking into the chair on the other side of her desk, "you're smitten. It's so sweet I think I just got a cavity."

I love all those changelings and psys. The adopted psys are adapting rather well to that different society, to the pack that is now their own, and the changelings are warm, friendly and loving between them as well as lethal towards their enemies. They also are terrible gossip ! I loved the character of little Marlee, who reminds me a lot of my youngest daughter (Silence wouldn't work with her either, she talks too much !). Reading about these people, while there is no major action in there, is simply watching them live, smiling with them and feeling happy for them.  

While I'm at it, you might also want to take a look at those short stories available on line :
- Clean and dirty (#9.2) : a fun and lighthearted Faith/Vaugh story ;
- Wolf school (#9.4) : lovely and fun, originally written to be a part of Play of passion ;
- Dancing with Cooper (#9.6) : Nice, but I prefered the first part to the latter.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Review / Tessa Bailey : Owned by fate (Serve #1)

Journalist Caroline Preston arrives at Serve, New York City’s hottest BDSM club, with one goal—to hate it. If her brother wasn’t trying to turn the family’s respectable financial magazine into a publication that features “lifestyle” pieces for the wealthy and adventurous, she wouldn’t even be there, trying to write an article about a world she doesn’t understand. But then she sees him.
Jonah Briggs doesn’t leave his post for just anyone. As the owner of the club, his sole purpose is to ensure that his clientele get everything they need, but when he sees Caroline, his only thought is what he wants—to dominate the sexy little reporter and give the most exquisite pleasure she’s ever experienced.
Caroline has no intention of entering that particular lion’s den—not with her family’s reputation at stake—no matter how dark, sexy, and complex the lion in question may be. But with every encounter, she craves more, and with every slide of his lips, she realizes Jonah might just be the man to break down all her defenses…if she’ll let him.

Anybody who has followed my blog even a little knows that I'm not into BDSM. At all. 
Domination in the bedroom, rough sex, dirty talk ? Yes !
BDSM, kneel and lower your eyes, punishments, follow my orders, "yes Master" ? The very thought of it makes my skin crawl, I want to bite. Hard.
So, why read such a book, then ? Because it's Tessa Bailey. She'd rewrite the phone directory and I'd read it ! And, to be honest, I've read worse than that, this novella is... let's say the BDSM is acceptable. Apart from the "Yes, Master" thing, it was rather mild.

At hardly 17% of the novella, it's already steamy :
"When is the last time you were properly fucked, Caroline ?"
She couldn't hold back a moan, her knees starting to tremble. "W-what ? I..."
"Never. The answer is never, because I've never fucked you."
Tessa Bailey's heroes seldom waste time.

Caroline, coming from an uptight surrounding, goes to a BDSM club to write an article for the declining magazine her father runs. It's the last chance for them to attract a different audience and save their magazine from ruin.
There, she meets Jonah, the club owner, who goes out of his usual ways to lure the beautiful journalist into his world. To make things clear : he wants her. They share this instant strong physical attraction though their respective worlds have nothing in common. But Jonah can be very persuasive ! She thinks he's not healthy for her, but he's determined to win her.

He has his own problems to deal with : people often see him as nothing more than a man with strange sexual tastes. If he wants the daughter he recently learned he has to visit him regularly, he needs to be seen as a man worthy of trust and respect.

How can the two of them be together while so different ? How can they accept each other ?  Will he finally get to meet his daughter ?

Trust Tessa Bailey to write another one of those steamy novellas with good characters, humor, steaminess and a dirty talking hero that will leave you panting. She has yet to disappoint me, I preorder all her books and they all leave me fanning myself, breathless... and happy !

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Review / Jennifer Armentrout : Stone cold touch (The dark elements #2)

Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.
But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden. Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay…


I waited for it, I did, but I was a little disappointed after finishing it.
First, a warning for those who hate this : there is a love triangle. Personally, I don't care, but I know some readers do. Zayne/Layla/Roth. Who will she choose ? The good gargoyle or the bad demon ? I have a big weakness for Roth, but I have to say Zayne gained serious sexiness points in this opus.

So, what went wrong for me ? The love triangle, after all, but mainly because it was treated in parallels. You have one adventure with Zayne ? You'll have the same adventure with Roth. Not once : three times. So you come to expect what is happening, no more surprise. I know, this is a means used to show us how differently both guys react to the same situations, but still, I knew what was going to come.
And the Lilin ? I knew who it was right from the start ! The big revelation at the end was no revelation.

There were good points, of course. 
Layla's swear words, for example : "Oh no, save the baby pandas !"
Both guys are very sexy, that's always good.
Layla is changing again, discovering a new ability.
Danika gets a little more human and less "glossy picture in magazine", I appreciated that.
There are adventures, suspense, you'll love to hate cold and judgemental Archer, there is humor :
"School was kind of like a sanctuary... when there weren't zombies, Nightcrawlers and wraiths crawling out of the woodwork.
My high school was turning into the Hellmouth.
I giggled.
Stacey arched a brow. "What ?"
"Nothing. I was just thinking of Buffy the vampire slayer."

In spite of what I said, I enjoyed it, it was a fun read and I'm looking forward to the next book, I'm sure it will be better ! It's just that I'm used to expecting more from Jennifer Armentrout. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review / Carlton Mellick III : The haunted vagina

It's difficult to love a woman whose vagina is a gateway to the world of the dead.
Steve is madly in love with his eccentric girlfriend, Stacy. Unfortunately, their sex life has been suffering as of late, because Steve is worried about the odd noises that have been coming from Stacy's pubic region. She says that her vagina is haunted. She doesn't think it's that big of a deal. Steve, on the other hand, completely disagrees.
When a living corpse climbs out of her during an awkward night of sex, Stacy learns that her vagina is actually a doorway to another world. She persuades Steve to climb inside of her to explore this strange new place. But once inside, Steve finds it difficult to return... especially once he meets an oddly attractive woman named Fig, who lives within the lonely haunted world between Stacy's legs.

How on Earth am I going to rate this book ?... I know : UFO !

One of my co-workers, who likes weird/funny/trashy stuff, made me buy this book for my library. We've got trashier books on the shelves, hidden behind the respectability of the words "classic literature", we've got books on the history of excrements and various body parts, so I thought, why not ? But when I received it, I wanted to read it before I decided if it would really deliver it to my beloved fragile readers.

Well, it's moderately funny, completely creepy, absolutely improbable and I really wondered what had the author been smoking before he wrote that ! It's not an erotica, it's paranormal because come on, a world inside somebody's vagina ? This story is simply weird. Bizarro, to be exact ! 

I did not love it, I did not hate it, some passages made me cringe but I've read worse, I think I read it with my eyebrows raised all the time, wondering where this was leading to ! You'll believe me or not, there's a happy ending :)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Review / Marie Harte : What to do with the bad boy ? (The MacCauley brothers #5)

Mike McCauley had his soul mate for a precious time before she died giving birth to their son. She left him with the best boy a guy could want, so why is everyone playing matchmaker? He's sick of it . . . until he meets Delilah Webster.
For some reason, the foul-mouthed, tattooed mechanic sets his motor running. He sees the loving woman buried within. But the closer they get, the more the pain of past wounds throws a monkey wrench into a future he's not sure he can handle...
The MacCauley parents are back together, all the boys are engaged/in love, except Mike. Mike is fighting a powerful attraction to Del, the girl mechanic with tattoos and piercings, the memory of his late wife Lea getting in the way of any possible future for them. He's persuaded he can only love once and that Lea was it. Delilah is strongly attracted to him too, but she holds no illusion about a steady relationship. The guy's got bagage.

So they agree on a casual fling to get this feeling out of their system. And believe me, there is a very, very hot connection between those two : Mike likes to take control in the bedroom and it's the only place where Del is willing to give it up (think bondage and spanking, for example ^^). They both are expert dirty talkers. It doesn't prevent them from being friendly with banter :
"Shut up."
"Oh no. Not in my bed, missy." He rolled over her in a flash, pinning her down with that enviable strength. "Here, I rule."
"I concede you're stronger."
"And prettier." He kissed the side of her mouth.
"That's debatable."
"And smarter." He kissed her nose.
"More polite." He kissed her forehead.
"You have me there."
"And... ?"
"And what ?" she said on a breath, not sure she should be feeling aroused again. Not when she wanted to sleep for a week.
"And I'm an amazing lover."
She nicknames him MC, not MacCauley, no, Monster Cock !

Colin, who loves Del, wants a new mom, a puppy and a little brother, in that order, and is quite happy about all that. He tries to manipulate them into something more permanent. 
"That kid." Brody wiped away an imaginary tear. "What a manipulator, I'm so proud." 
But Beth, Mike's mother, wants her son to finally settle and almost forces him to date a new neighbor, even if Mike is really not enthusiastic about it. I almost hated Beth's stubborness not to let Mike live his own life until they have a conversation that makes you see her side of the fence.

I really love Del. She's a strong woman, vulnerable but spirited, she knows who she is and she won't change to please anyone. I like her strength, how she faces things so bravely, never avoiding her problems. "Life was too short not to take a risk, right ?". And she smells lavender, like me, not vanilla, such good taste !

When Mike realizes he might be falling in love again (he nicknames her "Sweetness" : sweetness and Del, lol !), he feels guilty about forgetting his wife. Looking back into my past, I could relate to that, it's hard when you've passionately been in love with someone to believe it could happen again, and when it happens, you're completely unsettled. "He didn't have the words to describe what he didn't understand."
Maddie tells Del "You're like a major case of poison ivy he can't stop scratching." Romantic, huh ?

I enjoyed Mike's past with the world of romance novels, that part was awfully funny ! The whole family relations, banter and bickering (and the occasional fight), felt warm and funny too. 

I really love those family stories, with everyone meddling and poking their nose into each other's affairs. This instalment was as funny as it was grippingly emotional, you feel Mike's disarray, Del's careful hopes, it was all drawn beautifully. I guess this is the final book in the series since all brothers are settled, but Marie Harte thinks about writing their cousins's stories - fingers crossed !

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Update of the first part of the month - mid november

During the hiatus, I'm still reading !
Instead of a weekly update with the Sunday post, I'm posting a bi-monthly update until my break is over.
I succombed again to a buying spree *hangs head in shame*. In order to remedy that situation, I liberally propose that we write a petition to ask for time to stop while we keep reading, or days that last 48 hours, no less !

Edit : I forgot ! I've been watching reruns of the wonderful Sherlock all week long - as much as I loved Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes, this one is completely exciting ! I'm watching the new Supernatural season with happy anticipation and I'm also watching the new Vampire diaries season - but I must say I fast forward everything when there's no Damon in sight. Too bad it's ended, but the dynamic Bonnie/Damon was very good.

Books read :

Books reviewed :
I've finally finished ! You'll find the related reviews
to all ten the books it contains linked inside the topic

I am currently reading :

Then I'll be reading :

Borrowed at the library :

I bought :

- free :

- cheap :

 - full price :

(Because come on, on top of the great reviews, who could ever resist this cover !)