Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Title: Sisters Red
Author: Jackson Pearce
Genre: Young Adult, paranormal, fairy tale re-telling
Source: Free ARC received from Hachette Book Group in exchange for a honest response.

Love. From the awesome cover down to the last little detail of the book; I love it.  Months ago I got a glimpse of the cover and the title and just knew I wanted to get ahold of this book. You see, I've been interested in fairy tales and fairy tale retellings since I can remember.  I love it when an author gives me a new way to look at the characters...while still telling a tale I know and enjoy. Mr. Pearce has done this in spades!

Summary from the publisher:
Scarlet March lives to hunt the Fenris--the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls' bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett's only friend--but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they've worked for?

Things I like: 
1. I really enjoy that the character of Little Red is split into the two March sisters. They both contain pieces of the original character while still being fully formed individual characters.

2. The big bad wolf is actually a werewolf.....or wolves....

3. All the elements are there...grandma, wood cutters, the red cloak, and a wolf (or more) that is clever and charming enough to lure young girls.

From another angle:
I just came back from a long weekend at the Phoenix Comicon. While there I attended several panels on Steampunk. I think the March sisters would make awesome characters to portray and with a red cloak (which I happen to have (Thanks, Grandma!)) could be some fun costumes to make and wear.


Title: Wicked Becomes You
Author: Meredith Duran
Genre: Historical-ish Romance
Source: Sarah Reidy of Pocket Book tours in exchange for an honest review and promotion.

This is it. This is the book I was waiting for. I've been trying to get into it, but something just isn't working. I'm going to have to call this one a DNF. I hate doing that. There seems to be a good story here, and it appears to be descent writing, but I'm struggling to get through it. For whatever reason, I'm just not connecting with the characters and that is making the whole experience somewhat painful. I keep putting the book down. When I do try to read it, it goes right back down after a page.

I'm sure this is a good novel, but unfortunately it fell victim to that bit of me that just isn't happy with historicals.


My Eric Fix

Title: Dead in the Family
Author: Charlaine Harris
Genre: Paranormal, romance, mystery
Source: public library

Eric. Eric! This one is all about Eric....which makes me a very happy girl. And now I'm three books behind on owning all of this series, but I will. Oh, yes. I will have these vampires on my shelves, waiting for my pleasure.    Ahem. Right, back to it.

As fun and easy as this novel was, I do have a question. This is something that I'll look up later, but my SIL and I have discussed it and were not sure.....but.....didn't we (readers) already see Eric's Sire die (within the novels, not show)? SIL and I are pretty sure we did. Wasn't the Sire the ancient vampire the Fellowship has captured and locked up? I could have sworn that was Eric's Sire so it is a bit weird when we have the Sire appearing again in this novel.

Overall, these novels are still brain candy. The plot has thickened with Shifters of all sorts coming out of the closet and the fairy wars. At times I get a bit worried that all these different plots will get overwhelming, but so far they have been perfectly balanced.

Last Minute..

Title: Wicked Becomes You
Author: Meredith Duran
Genre: Romance
Source: Sarah Reidy of Pocket Book tours in exchange for participating in the book tour and promotion

Here's the rub. The tour/promotion is supposed to start tomorrow, May 13. However, due to whatever quirk of fate, I didn't receive the book until today. Can you do the math? Yep, that would give me approximately 12 hours to read and then review the book. Not really a problem, except that 12 hours was already spoken for with work-out, grading, and sleeping. So here's what I plan to do. Read it a.s.a.p. Unfortunately, I won't make it for the promotion.

Something that caught my attention, though, is the cover. I love romance novel covers. There is just something interesting about all the different ways clothes can still be on but be falling off. This one is entertaining to me. I love that she is strangely alone with her bodice all undone. One would think that it must be because the man has just stepped out of frame (those back lace corsets are a pain to undo yourself....trust me)....or maybe she's coming undone in preparation for a tryst? Either is plausible....but I have another theory. Check out her left arm. What's that hand doing? I think she's holding her top up. It might be ruining the illusion, but I find it highly entertaining. I want to read it even more now.

Summary from publisher:

She’s been burned not once but twice by London’s so-call ed gentlemen . . .
Gwen Maudsley is pretty enough to be popular, and plenty wealthy, too. But what she’s best known and loved for is being so very, very nice. When a cad jilts her at the altar—again—the scandal has her outraged friends calling for blood. Only Gwen has a different plan. If nice no longer works for her, then it’s time to learn to be naughty. Happily, she knows the perfect tutor—Alexander Ramsey, her late brother’s best friend and a notorious rogue.
So why won’t a confirmed scoundrel let her be as bad as she wants to be?
Unbeknownst to Gwen, Alex’s aloof demeanor veils his deepest unspoken desire. He has no wish to see her change, nor to tempt himself with her presence when his own secrets make any future between them impossible. But on a wild romp from Paris to the Riviera, their friendship gives way to something hotter, darker, and altogether more dangerous. With Alex’s past and Gwen’s newly unleashed wildness on a collision course, Gwen must convince Alex that his wickedest intentions are exactly what she needs.

I'm excited! How about you?

Indian Dreams

Title: The Sari Shop Widow
Author: Shobhan Bantwal
Genre: Fiction, romance
Source: public library

How much do I love that the author labels this book ~ "Bollywood in a book!" I have a deep seated obsession with India, belly dance, Bollywood style dance and movies.....pretty much anything that gives me an insight to that exotic locale.

Summary from publisher:
Since becoming a widow at age twenty-seven, Anjali Kapadia has devoted herself to transforming her parents' sari shop into a chic boutique, brimming with exquisite jewelry and clothing. Now, ten years later, it stands out like a proud maharani amid Edison’s bustling Little India. But when Anjali learns the shop is on the brink of bankruptcy, she feels her world unraveling…
To the rescue comes Anjali’s wealthy, dictatorial Uncle Jeevan and his business partner, Rishi Shah—a mysterious Londoner, complete with British accent, cool gray eyes, and skin so fair it makes it hard to believe he’s Indian. Rishi’s cool, foreign demeanor triggers distrust in Anjali and her mother. But for Anjali, he also stirs something else, a powerful attraction she hasn’t felt in a decade. And the feeling is mutual…
Love disappointed Anjali once before and she’s vowed to live without it—though Rishi is slowly melting her resolve and, as the shop regains its footing, gaining her trust. But when a secret from Rishi’s past is revealed, Anjali must turn to her family and her strong cultural upbringing to guide her in finding the truth…

What I like:
1. The contrast between the older, more traditional Indian, family members and the younger Americanized members is interesting and gives a unique view into a culture I don't know.

2. It's a light, fast read with just enough romance to give warm fuzzies.

3. I now want to go looking for a shop like the one in the book. I would have loved to have a local one while I was belly dancing.

What I don't like:
1. At times the problems between the characters feel contrived. Having not read any other of Bantwal's novels, it is almost as if she was following a formula that said there have to be this type of problem. However, this is a very small problem and barely detracts from the warm fuzzies.

Want a Sony EReader?

If you'd like your chance to win one, you have a couple options. Both of these are listed on her blog. Check there for full details.

1. Buying a copy of the book
2. Blog about the contest

Book summary from author's site:  

One woman, one man, and a love that won’t let either of them go.
Born on the wrong side of the tracks and dealt a fair share of hardship, Nikki Kline never gives up a fight. Even when her reason to keep going is ripped from her, Nikki tries desperately to hang on. But when the man who broke Nikki’s heart comes back into her life she doesn’t know how much she can take. Especially since that man seems determined to win back her damaged heart.
Wade Lightfoot is a man who knows he’s made more mistakes than most. As much as he would like to repair the damage he’s done to those he loves, Wade also knows there is no going back. But when he sets out to put things right the last thing he’s prepared to find out is that he had a son. A son he’ll never get the chance to meet.
When the truth is out and all the old wounds are bared, it seems impossible that Nikki and Wade will find their way back to each other. But true love is an undeniable force that even past hurts can’t destroy.
This book has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.
Warning: This title contains heartbreaking tragedy, lies and deception, and a scorching passion that nothing can deny.

Now, go enter! ;)

A quick taste of sexy...

Title: Bite
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton, Charlaine Harris, MaryJanice Davidson, Angela Knight, and Vickie Taylor
Genre: Paranormal romance, short story, collection
Source: public library

My husband pointed this one out to me....and I'm glad he did. It was a quick read. All the ladies contributed short stories, all of which appear to be side explanations for their well known characters. For example Charlaine Harris' contribution is a piece titled, "One Word Answer," which is an explanation for Hadley's situation.  Being a sucker for the True Blood vamps, I adored this story. Plus it cleared up a couple details I'd missed in the books.

Not to down play the other stories (I enjoyed them all, but haven't read the rest of the series that they belong to.), but I'm only going to talk about one other...LK Hamilton's.  As the lead story, this was interesting. It was set in the midst of the Anita Blake series.  Anita and Jean-Claude are on the rocks. What makes this one interesting (to me) is the frustratingly evident lack of sex.  The last book in that series I read had Anita being sex crazed with multiple partners and still having to look for more at every opportunity. Reading a story where she walks away (all be it unwillingly)is refreshing.

Overall: Not a must read, but grab this book if you're looking for a quick fix with your favorite vamps.

I'm choosing a side.

Alright, this isn't exactly shocking news...........but I'm a girl for Eric.

Team Eric from Silly Little Game

**This awesome button was made and shared by Yesenia @ Silly Little Game.**

I decided to post this because, thanks to my SIL, I have the newest Sookie book to read!

What team are you on?

My first Steampunk!

Title: Leviathan
Author: Scott Westerfeld (You might recognize him as the author of Uglies/Pretties)
Genre: YA, steampunk
Source: Borrowed from library

I have to thank you all...anyone who read and reviewed or talked about this novel. I usually only put stock in masses of reviews when I'm torn on reading a novel, but I couldn't miss the talk about this book. It was everywhere. You were right....this is an awesome book!

This is my first foray into the wonderful world of steampunk literature. I'm not sure why, I've just not found any that really caught my attention. Some of my trepidation has been do to my issues with historical fiction. I become too obsessed with minor details. I end up researching instead of reading the novel. I was partially worried that something similar would occur if I read steampunk. But it seems like I've lucked out. Being in an alternative world scenerio eleviates all the lingering "is this accurate historical?" questions.

Summary blurb from website:

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.
Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.
With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

What I like:
1. There is an interesting balance between the Clankers and the Darwinists. Both groups are taken to extremes, but their roots are easy to see. It's nice that both groups are given an equal amount of time, and the narrator doesn't seem to take sides or promote one over the other

2. There is an interesting bit of deception going on with Deryn. I'm excited to see where it goes.

3. I'm biased. I love the beasties that were created by the Darwinists. The combination of linguistic imagry and visuals (from the awesome illustrator Keith Thompson) made the reading experience. I think my favorite would have to be the jellfish like Huxleys.

What I dislike:
1. I'm not keen on the way Deryn's deception is playing out. The lengths to which Deryn goes to appear to be someone else are just ridiculous. Would anyone really do anything like that?

Overall: This is a fantastic read! Everyone should give it a try....steampunk fan or not. Parents and teachers will also want to take a look as many of the beasts and mechanics are named after famous (in our actual world) people, things, and events. This could lead to several conversations about where the names come from and how they apply. Outside of that, this novel is entertaining with a mix of action, adventure, deception, and a tinge of romance.

**This novel qualifies for the Speculative Fiction reading challenge**
I read books they way other people eat, sleep, or watch movies....voraciously, obsessively, and as often as possible. The reviews, random commentary, and snark in this blog are mine alone. Don't take my word...read the book.
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