Wednesday, October 31, 2007

STICKY: You're Invited...

I'm going to sticky this at the top for the duration of Spooktacular, scroll down for newer posts.

Note the nifty new URL:

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tuesday Trio

Since I spend so much time talking about the books that have given me such mental enjoyment, I thought I should further expand my mind through the Art of Photography. So every Tuesday I will present a trio of studies of the human anatomy.

What? Why, yes! You're absolutely right. How astutely observant you are! They DO all happen to be the study of the MALE human anatomy. And your point would be...?

The subject of this week's study will be Tricks 'n Treats.

You know, if I could open my door tomorrow night and find a little sumpin' sumpin' like this, passin' out sugar would be way more enjoyable...

Bonus study to wish you all a Happy Halloweenie!

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Lick of Frost by Laurell K. Hamilton

My review for Laurell K. Hamilton's A Lick of Frost is up over on The Good, the Bad, and the Unread.

This book so freakin' rocked! Brilliant, simply BRILLIANT! Another one for my Crème Brûlée category! But I guess, if you read all the spoiler filled comments in this post, you probably already got that idea, huh? *g*

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Mane Event by Shelly Laurenston

I've got a review up over on The Good, the Bad, the Unread for The Mane Event by Shelly Laurenston.

WOOT! Lands at the top of my Peanut M&M category! I really liked this one.

What Happened?!

So there we are, living our lives and BAM! 21 years have flown by! I keep saying I won't feel old so long as our youngest is still in grade school (this is his last year), but today has got me all weepy and nostalgic and I feel way too much like a grown-up right now.

Happy 21st Birthday Wo-Wo!

Happy 21st Birthday JuJu Beano!

Seems appropriate that they are not home, but instead are off doing their own thing. The Wo-Wo called me from a birthday party at his frat house (a bit inebriated, as you can imagine) at midnight his time (1 AM our time) to announce he was FINALLY 21! All he's EVER wanted to be, from probably age 3, was a meteorologist. That stuff has always fascinated him, so he's only a year and a half away from realizing his dream. I don't have a clue what opportunities are out there for him, but there has never been any question about what he would do with his life.

As I've mentioned before, JuJu Beano is studying in Rome and the Vatican this semester. This weekend, they took a side trip to the Lake Region of Italy. She isn't real sure what she wants to do, but most of her interests fall under the heading of Communications so that is what she's majoring in. She is a nose-to-the-grindstone person. One B in all of high school, one B so far in college, the rest are A's. She is not much of a partier and I had to laugh when she told me that, since there is no age limit for drinking in Italy, she has an occasional Pina Colada with dinner. Yes, in Rome, with all their Italian vinyards, my JuJu drinks $10 Pina Coladas! That just makes me giggle.

Anyway, Happy Birthday to my babies. Welcome to the World of Responsibilities.

BTW, that curly hair of hers is natural. She HATES it and straightens it all the time. My younger daughter has poker straight hair and is frustrated that it won't hold a curl for more than a few minutes. Go figure.

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's All About Me... AGAIN!

I guess I should probably be embarrassed and horrified. First Chantal interviews me, then just a few days later, I've got an "About Me" posted on The Good, the Bad, and the Unread!

Blame Sybil for the Fairy Tale theme. But you KNOW that once she said to start them out with "Once upon a time..." I just HAD to take it right over the top!

Speaking of TGTBTU, we're doing some major renovations over there, so bear with us if things are... odd... for a bit. Well, more odd than usual anyway.

ADDED: So what do you think of my two TGTBTU identifying icons? There was some concern that my M&M jeans weren't PG enough for syndication, so I decided to switch to the chocolate angel instead. But I'm thinking about still using the M&M jeans for my erotic book reviews. I'm just not sure if that would be confusing or not.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

QB's Aural Quickies

"So, HEARD any good books lately?"
"What did you think of...?"

Here's the Quickie answers to those questions. Click on the Links for more info.

Karen Marie Moning - Highlander series - unabridged audio books

1. Beyond the Highland Mist (see previous commentary)
2. To Tame a Highland Warrior - narrated by Phil Gigante
3. The Highlander's Touch (11/20/2007 audio release)
4. Kiss of the Highlander (01/20/2008 audio release)
5. The Dark Highlander
6. The Immortal Highlander
7. Spell of the Highlander
8. Into the Dreaming (novella)

Category: Lava Cake - reads like warm Chocolate Lava Cake... à la Mode... sprinkled with nuts (A,A-)
Flame Height: 6" out of 9"

As enjoyable as I found Beyond the Highland Mist, To Tame a Highland Warrior is even better because Phil Gigante has even MORE male characters to bring alive! And OH HOW HE BRINGS THEM ALIVE in this historical fantasy! Eargasms, I tell you... multiple eargasms!
Piquant Opines: RT,

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Christmas in October, Part II

Book Cover A Lick of Frost comes out today! The 6th book in the Merry Gentry series by Laurell K. Hamilton is finally here!

WOOT! Waldens, here I come!

Since I need to leave this reality and dive into Merry's reality, I thought I'd leave you with a few glimpses into Merry's world instead of my regular Tuesday Trio...

And here's two different ways that LissaNY interpreted Merry...

ADDED: There are now spoilers in the comments for this post. Enter at your own risk.

Monday, October 22, 2007

It's All About ME!

OMG! She did it!

A couple of weeks ago, Chantal asked me if she could interview me for her blog. I was gobsmacked, flattered, honored, and weirded out all at the same time!

When I sent her back my (as usual) long winded answers, I figured she regretted ever asking me! But if you head over to Chantal's Blog- Reading All Night Long, there I IZ! AAAAACK!!!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning

Karen Marie Moning - Fever series

1. Darkfever (see previous commentary)
2. Bloodfever

Category: Crème Brûlée - My All-Time Moan-Out-Loud Favorites (A+)
Flame Height: 3" out of 9" for sexual tension/potential.

An odd thing happened while reading Bloodfever-- I kept reading slower and slower and stopping to do other things. Now, normally I would devour a book this good in a rush to find out what happens next, then flip it over and read it again to absorb all the character development. But that wasn't the case this time-- I just didn't want to finish it! The entire time I was reading it, I was cognizant of the fact that I had endured an entire year of booklust waiting for it's release and it would be another year of unfulfilled lust before Faefever's release. At only 296 pages, I didn't want it to all be over in just a couple of hours!

This book takes place just after the ending of Darkfever and I highly recommend that the Fever books be read in order. This second book is a transition story. In Darkfever, Mac was thrown into this new world and had no real chance to absorb it. She basically had to accept this new reality at face value with no time to analyze it. In Bloodfever, she is settling into her new reality and, questioning whether she is getting reliable information from those around her, she begins trying to ferret out truths and is no longer trusting ANYONE'S words or motives. Here's the last line of the book, which pretty well sums up Mac in this one- "What had changed was me."

I have to give a warning about the ending-- it's a cliffhanger. And I don't mean an "Oh, that was a deliciously ebil way to end it!" cliffhanger, I mean one that made me a bit angry at KMM and tempted to fling the book against the wall. Yes, I KNOW that the mystery is so good because we are given only pieces of the puzzle, yet none that fit together. But this was a discovery of a foundation piece that is left face down on the table and unrevealed to us. I love knowing only what Mac knows because it adds so many delicious layers to all the mysteries. So when she made a major discovery and didn't tell US about it, I felt cheated because, up till now, if Mac knew something, so did we. It was like KMM broke an unspoken rule and betrayed us. Here we were right along with Mac through two books, and all of sudden, we were kicked out of her head!

In various interviews, KMM said that the entire Fever story came to her all at once, so the only difficult part is deciding how much of it to reveal in each book, and how much to hold back for a later book in this 5 book series. She also said to expect some romance and characters from her Highlanders series to show up. Let's just say that Mac and JB have a significant moment in this one, as do Mac and V'Lane. And we learn more about JB, but those things just seem to increase the mystery surrounding him. Oh, and I wish I could remember where Christian MacKelter fit into the Highlanders stories. I'm guessing he's the son of one of the modern MacKelters (as opposed to the time-traveling MacKelters), but I don't want to make the assumption that he's one of the good guys. And I THINK we get a glimpse of at least one other character from the Highlanders. I say "THINK" because the description fits, but he's not identified by name. Hopefully, I'll get through enough of the Highlanders audio book releases that, by the time Faefever releases, I'll remember details that have slipped my mind over the years.

Overall, Bloodfever is a quest for answers, but gives us few real ones. And the few we do get, only serve to elicit even more questions. BTW, the title DOES have some VERY gory significance.

If you noticed that I gave no summary or details about Bloodfever's storyline, that's because I can't. In fact, if you look on the book jacket or at KMM's Bloodfever synopsis, the blurb doesn't sound all that different than Darkfever's storyline! There's just no good way to summarize the book without revealing spoilers. And with a book this short and this good, you'll want to discover every step of the journey for yourself. This is a blurb from Publisher's Weekly, via Amazon, it's as close as I've seen to a Bloodfever blurb that doesn't sound exactly like one written for Darkfever...

Monig's latest feverish Fae dispatch (after Darkfever) finds that in Dublin the walls are coming down between Man and Faery. That means that the Buffy-like services of MacKayla Lane-the 22-year-old Georgia-born sidhe-seer (or one who can see the Fae) and slayer-are required. Mac is determined to kick the nasties back to faeryland and to avenge her sister Alina's murder by the Fae's dark Lord Master. She's also seeking the sinister Sinsar Dubh, a book of black magic. Jericho Barrons, Mac's enigmatic protector, is a purveyor of books and antiquities (and of course, is a major hunk). As Mac takes direction from Jericho, she must resist the sexy dangers of V'lane, a death-by-sex Fae, and learn about her true family of Irish sidhe-seers. Moning's delectable Mac is breathlessly appealing, and the wild perils she must endure are peppered with endless conundrums. The results are addictively dark, erotic and even shocking.

Friday, October 19, 2007

QB's Quickies

"So, read any good books lately?"
"What did you think of...?"

Here's the Quickie answers to those questions. Click on the Links for more info.

Christine Feehan - Carpathian (Dark) series

1. Dark Prince - Mikhail and Raven
2. Dark Desire - Jacques and Shea
3. Dark Gold - Aidan and Alexandria
4. Dark Magic - Gregori and Savannah
5. Dark Challenge - Julian and Desari
6. Dark Fire - Darius and Tempest
7. Dark Dream - After Twilight anthology/Dark Dreamers anthology - Falcon and Sara
8. Dark Legend - Gabriel and Francesca
9. Dark Guardian - Lucian and Jaxon
10. Dark Symphony - Byron and Antoinetta
11. Dark Descent - The Only One anthology - Traian and Joie
12. Dark Melody - Dayan and Corrinne
13. Dark Destiny - Nicolae and Destiny
14. Dark Hunger - Hot Blooded anthology - Riordan and Juliette
15. Dark Secret - Rafael and Colby
16. Dark Demon - Vikirnoff and Natalya
17. Dark Celebration - reunion story
18. Dark Possession - Manolito and MaryAnn

*note: Amazon lists Dark Possession as book number 15, but Christine Feehan does not exclude her three anthology stories and considers this her 18th Carpathian book.

Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)
Flame Height: 5.5" out of 9"

I keep saying that I'm done with the series, yet I automatically bought this one... in hardcover no less! I didn't particularly like MaryAnn, often couldn't stand her, and through much of the book she didn't seem quite worthy of Manolito. Yet it is the mystery surrounding her that kept me reading this book. And a Carpathian male who offers up a *gasp* COMPROMISE?!

I believe (or at least HOPE) that the unexpected ending to this book injects some much needed life into a series that, up until the last couple of books, had become predictable and formulaic. I have to give Feehan credit for apparently realizing that, while the threat to the Carpathians increased when vampires began organizing together, some new types of characters needed to enter the stage. I thought that would happen with the jaguar people, but it never panned out as much as I'd hoped. I really hope she takes the events in Dark Possession and runs with them!
Piquant Opines: RT, AAR,

Sherrilyn Kenyon - Dark Hunters series

11. Devil May Cry - Sin and Kat

*note: Kenyon's bibliography page is as muddied up as the books have become. I could not even create a coherent series list. And to make it even more confusing, in addition to screwed up links, she includes those god-awful Dream Hunters as part of the Dark Hunters series even though it was released as a new spin off series. According to her site, there have been 21 Dark Hunter releases. However, Amazon says that Devil May Cry is number 11.

Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)
Flame Height: 5.5" out of 9"

The ONLY reason I even bought this book is so I could sort of keep up with the series in anticipation of the release of Archeron. I'm even buying The Dark-Hunter Companion when it releases in a few weeks because I'm sure I'm going to need it when trying to read Ash's story (but I WON'T be buying another Dream Hunter novel). As I said in my previous commentary this series has become a muddied mess for the casual reader. I assume it must make sense to her devoted, die-hard fans, because that is apparently who she now writes the books for. I usually don't have a clue what she's talking about when she refers to the (loose) canon and/or mythology spewed out in previous books.

This book's central story follows Kat, who is Ash and Artemis' secret baby, and Sin, a Sumerian god whose powers were sucked out and stolen by Artemis (sort of). I didn't hate them, they were okay, nothing memorable though. We learn more about why Ash can't leave Artemis and their history together. It felt like a set-up for Archeron's book. At least it wasn't riddled with people exploding after being stabbed. That was getting old. But did there have to be DEMONS?! Enough with the demons! Demons are NOT the new black, they are trendy chartreuse, and I'm sick of them showing up in nearly every new paranormal romance release.

What I don't understand (among other things) is why, after years of making us hate and despise the bitch goddess Artemis, suddenly in this book, we are supposed to start viewing her in a more sympathetic light. Since the very first time I heard that Ash's book was imminent, I wondered whether Kenyon could live up to the expectations for his story. Attempting to manipulate us into seeing Artemis as misunderstood does not bode well for Archeron. Either SK is going to piss us off by pairing Ash and Artie up (and you thought Ward's wee ghostie raised a cry?!), or she's creating the kinder and gentler Artie that will free Ash when he meets his mate. Either way, it irritates the hell out of me and makes me wonder just how bad Ash's book will end up being.

The only thing that kept this book from dropping to my Dark Chocolate category was that we learned a lot about Ash and saw a side to him we haven't seen before. Also, as usual, Simi and her sister were hoots. It wasn't the worst of the DH series books, but it wasn't all that exciting either.
Piquant Opines: RT, TGTBTU,

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Servant: The Awakening by L.L. Foster

Another review up over at The Good, the Bad, the Unread--

Servant: The Awakening by L.L. Foster.

This is Lori Foster's long awaited, much talked about, attempt (let me emphasize the word ATTEMPT) at writing Urban Fantasy/Horror. So which category did it thud into? Coconut Truffles - SO not for me! (D,D-,F).

Have you read it? Do you agree or disagree? Head over to TGTBTU and let me know.

Christmas in October

I woke up this morning as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. My 1st thought (actually my 2nd thought, my 1st was "WTF do I have to get up at O-dark-fucking-fifteen) was


FINALLY! WOOT! And, yes, I've got it right in front of me RIGHT NOW!! YES!

So, in lieu of a Tuesday Trio this week, enjoy a few other Karen Marie Moning covers...

And my favorite KMM cover because Nathan Kamp is just so damn swoon worthy...

You know what's REALLY exciting? I get to have Christmas morning WOOTS again NEXT Tuesday...

Originally, both Bloodfever and A Lick of Frost were due to be released on October 30. Well, thanks to the powers that be, their release dates were moved! I seriously had no idea how I was going to choose which one to read first. I was even desperate enough to contemplate reading each book simultaneously-- I DO have TWO eyes after all, right?

Monday, October 15, 2007

QB's Quickies

"So, read any good books lately?"
"What did you think of...?"

Here's the Quickie answers to those questions. Click on the Links for more info.

Jean Johnson - Sons of Destiny

1. The Sword (see previous commentary) - Saber and Kelly
2. The Wolf (see previous commentary) - Wolfe and Alys
3. The Master - Dominor and Serina

Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)
Flame Height: 6.5” out of 9”

Damn, that cover isn’t exactly how I pictured Dominor, but… DAMN, it is NOW! [Update: No wonder I like that cover so much, it's Nathan Kamp! The long hair threw me off.] Most of this one takes place off Knightfall Isle, so we get to learn more about the fantasy world Jean Johnson has built. But we also get to learn a bit more about the mysterious brother, Rydan, and we meet Evanor‘s future Destined Mate. Maybe I don’t remember seeing it before (entirely possible), but this book tells us about The Curse in addition to The Sons of Destiny Prophecy -- somehow the two are tied together and one must be fulfilled to break the other. Okay, I’ll go with it, these aren‘t heavy stories, they‘re potato chip reads. Johnson also gives us another memorable heroine in Serina, she’s super intelligent, matter of fact, and can give all the brothers (except maybe Morganen) a run for their money when it comes to wielding magic. Dominor didn’t stand a chance. This is my favorite of the books so far, although I STILL can’t wait for Rydan’s book.
Piquant Opines: RT, RRT, RJ,

Elizabeth Amber - The Lords of Satyr

1. Nicholas - Nicholas and Jane

Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)
Flame Height: 7.0” out of 9”

WOOT! Nakey Boy Alert! Another nummy cover, although this one pushes the “can read it in public” envelope. This fantasy historical set in Italy centers around three brothers who are neither human nor fey, but Satyr/shifters who guard the passage between Elseworld and the human world. It seems the King of the Fey is dying and confesses that he fathered daughters on three human women 20 years earlier, but they have no idea they are half fey. He commands the three Satyr brothers to find his daughters and marry them to protect them from the upheaval that will occur upon his death.

Of note in this series is that the brothers sport an extra peen when in Satyr form and are known for their sexual appetites (they ARE Satyrs, after all). Nicholas’ behavior towards his new bride, Jane, is period appropriate- he “bothers” her as little as possible and sates his lust elsewhere. Until Jane asks him to teach her how to be his mistress instead of just his wife. The ending felt rushed, and Jane’s nipples glowing blue for Nicholas only was a bit off the wall, but I WILL be buying the next book in the series. I’ve gotta say that I haven’t read THIS story before!
Piquant Opines: RT, RRTE, RJ,

Julia Templeton - The Bargain

Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)
Flame Height: 6.5” out of 9”

Holy 54DD Man Titty, Batgirl! Apparently a sequel to another book since prior events are mentioned, but the first book isn’t listed. Nonetheless, it wasn’t too hard to figure out what was going on in this lusty Norman-Knight-seizes-the-Virgin-Heroine's-castle story set in Northumbria in the year 1069. We have the feisty, brave heroine, the feared yet honorable knight, the big deflowering/dishonoring, the king who fucks around with (and fucks up) everyone‘s lives, and a satisfying HEA. What more could you ask for?
Piquant Opines: RT, RRTE, RJ,

Julia Templeton - Return to Me

Category: M&Ms - a bit lighter and/or not quite as satisfying as Peanut M&Ms, but still Oh-So-Enjoyable! (B,B-,C+,C)
Flame Height: 6.0” out of 9”

Scottish Highlands vampire finds reincarnation of his dead wife in Regency England thanks to his bisexual horn dog twin brother and his brother‘s lover who is also the vampire that sired them. How could I resist?
Piquant Opines: RRTE, RJ,