Monday, 31 December 2012

My Year With Nora

This year has been a interesting one for me. I took six months off of university, and spent that time with my family. I was diagnosed with anxiety, which in hindsight was a wakeup call I needed. I got some counselling and sorted out my life.

I also decided to pick up a Nora Roberts book for the first time. I have been reading romance novels for about three years at this point, reading my first around this time in 2009. The reason I avoided Nora’s books is because I wasn’t sure they were romance, I thought they might be “women’s fiction” with romantic elements.

I took the plunge in April about when The Last Boyfriend was released. I used my local library, which felt a little awkward as the librarians there are the same ones who set me up with my first library card back when I was eight. My first Nora Roberts book was The Quinn Brothers a reprint of the first two books in the Chesapeake Bay Saga. Then I borrowed the next two and read them.

I was hooked. So I looked up her books and set myself a list, from the earliest single title books Nora wrote that weren’t Harlequin/Mills and Boon to the latest books. Not because I don’t respect Harlequin but because after twenty years the effort to find those books just isn’t worth it; I know some if not all have been reprinted in light of Nora’s success, but still.

Using my list the next books I requested from the library were the Born In trilogy. Around this time I also joined a book club run by the library, which was a good experience and although I was the youngest there by decades, all the people were very welcoming and encouraging.

This first half of the year was very low key for me, apart from helping my mother and reading the major undertaking was my counselling sessions for anxiety.

I also read the Dream trilogy, the Gallagher’s trilogy and the Key trilogy which I borrowed from the local library and read in that order.

Around half way through the year I returned to the city for University. I ended up in a different place to last year which meant joining yet another library. I now have memberships at four different libraries within my state, something I am both proud and embarrassed by.

I reserved and read the Three Sister’s Island trilogy before I ended up without a car. I had to spend several hours on a weekend going to the Uni campus using public transport because my regular bus doesn’t run on weekends. But I am proud of the fact I got up every day for Uni at 7, well 7:30 and walked to my bus-stop and got to Uni. Something I know I could never have done two years ago living alone(ish) for the first time. Also positive was the inability to get to fast food.

I took the bus to the library to pick the In the Garden and Circle trilogies; at separate times. I’m very proud of my prowess with the bus system at the moment.

This semester was fraught with both highs and lows. Unlike previous years at Uni I was able to do far more cooking, if only of my meals which still remains as a soothing activity.

Then after my exams which included a Saturday exam, seriously guys wth? and an almost two week break between my first and last exams. I had one on the first day of the exam period and one on the third and second-to-last days of the exam period.

I picked up the Sign of Seven trilogy from my city library and brought them home with me. Reading in the wee hours of the day, and sleeping in, the way only I can when I have nothing pressing in the mornings. I also helped my mother and sisters by cooking tea while they worked. Honestly, my sisters can get jobs but I can’t get one in the city?

On a trip back to the city I picked up the Bridal quartet before Christmas which I read amongst others as I frantically tried to reach my Goodreads set goal of 800 books for the year. (What was I thinking?)

So, next year will I pick another’s author’s backlist? No. This was not a plan, it just happened to take up an entire year. My plans for next year are to finish of my degree at university and to read as much as that allows in my “spare time”. I also hope to post at least one review per month here.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Review: Dire Wants

by Stephanie Tyler
Rating: 3/5

9780451238467_DireWants_CV.inddThe full moon is their mistress. They are predators of pleasure and pain. Feared by humans, envied by werewolves, the Dire wolves are immortal shifters, obeying no laws but their own bestial natures. Once they were many, but now only eight remain, a dangerous wolfpack forever on the hunt…

The supernatural world is rising up against the human one. The weretrappers want to control the humans, and only the immortal Dire wolves stand in the way of total destruction. Stray, a Dire, and his long-lost brother, Killian, emerge as the leaders of their pack. To keep themselves and the humans safe, the Dires must find a witch as powerful as the one who has been helping the weretrappers.

They find what they are looking for in Kate, a human who survived a horrible car accident that left her back scarred with a handprint no one else is able to see. Stray senses in Kate the powers of a witch and recruits her to help the Dires—all the while knowing that she is so powerful that they will need to kill her once she helps defeat the weretrappers.

Stray doesn’t expect the powerful connection that he feels with Kate, or his irresistible need to protect her. They cannot hide their feelings for each other, and what once was taboo now seems inevitable...

This is the second of Stephanie Tyler’s Eternal Wolf Clan books. Poor Stephanie seems to have trouble getting her series’ past three books. I can’t tell why because I absolutely love all her books. But I’m reviewing this with hopes to get enough people to try out her stuff so we can get a few more in this series.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Retro-view: A Hunger Like No Other

by Kresley Cole

US Mass Market Paperback coverA mythic warrior who'll stop at nothing to possess her…

After enduring years of torture from the vampire Horde, Lachlain MacRieve, leader of the Lykae Clan, is enraged to find the predestined mate he's waited millennia for is a vampire. Or partly one. This Emmaline is a small, ethereal half Valkyrie/half vampire, who somehow begins to soothe the fury burning within him.

A vampire captured by her wildest fantasy...

Sheltered Emmaline Troy finally sets out to uncover the truth about her UK Paperback Reprint coverdeceased parents--until a powerful Lykae claims her as his mate and forces her back to his ancestral Scottish castle. There, her fear of the Lykae--and their notorious dark desire--ebb as he begins a slow, wicked seduction to sate her own dark cravings.

An all consuming desire...

Yet when an ancient evil from her past resurfaces, will their desire deepen into a love that can bring a proud warrior to his knees and turn a gentle beauty into the fighter she was born to be...?

So, A Hunger Like No Other was my first ever romance. At sixteen I was on Rachel Caine’s website trying to decide if I’d like the Morganville Vampire series and I somehow found myself on Kresley Cole’s website looking at the summaries for her IAD books. It was late and very hot that night so I just gave up on it and forgot all about

And a year later I again go to Kresley Cole’s website through Rachel Caine’s, and this time I bought A Hunger Like No Other.

With the power of hind-sight and two solid years of reading mainly romance (I’d guess over a thousand books in the last two years) I can pretty safely say that A Hunger Like No Other is one of the best books I could have had as a transition.

Now I’ve always been a big paranormal fan and sadly my library was running out of fresh new paranormal books for young adults. So this was really right up my alley.

Monday, 24 December 2012


I’m going to start doing what I’ve cleverly (okay so I can’t think of anything better) called a retroview. It’s basically a review of a book that I read a long time ago or one that I read relatively recently that was published a long time ago.

The idea is to highlight an older book. Since they are older books I’ll be doing a bit more context and more spoilery summaries. For the first review, tomorrow I’ll be doing A Hunger Like No Other. Merry Christmas everyone!

Currently Listening: Troublemaker – Olly Murs feat. Flo Rida

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Review: Rise of the Guardians

Rating: 5/5riseoftheguardians

I wanted to see this movie since I saw early trailers for it on TV. The concept of it as I understood was basically Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and the Sandman team up to fight evil.

With an idea that awesome how could it possibly fail? Well there are lots ways but then this would have been a different review.

I took my brother, to see it with me. Surprisingly I was not the only person there not taking a child to see the movie, by which I mean my little brother came with me but I would have gone without him.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Review: Dark Wolf Rising

by Rhyannon Byrd
Rating: 3/5

darkwolfrisingEric Drake, a powerful Dark Wolf, has never trusted himself around human females—preferring to mate only within his pack. That is, until he encounters Chelsea Smart snooping around Silvercrest pack land in search of her missing sister.
Secretly, Chelsea thinks Eric is the sexiest man she's ever seen, though she is wary of his potent Alpha energy. Then it's discovered that Chelsea's sister is being held by a pack of vicious Lycans, and Eric heroically leaps into action. Now, Chelsea will risk everything—her body and soul—to surrender to the passion that will mark her as Eric's woman for all eternity…if they survive.

Dark Wolf Rising is the fourth in the Bloodrunner’s series. The third book was published back in 2007. In the mean time Ms Byrd has published at least 10 books in the Primal Instinct series and it’s spin-off. So, was it worth the five year wait?

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Review: The Werewolf Prince and I

by Marian Tee

werewolfprinceandiBroke, nerdy, and self-confessed wimp Misty Wall leads a ho-hum life as a Grammar Nazi intern, which of course earns her feelings of hate-at-first-sight from her colleagues at Ze Morgue, a.ka. Moretti Inc.'s Administration Department.
Misty has always wished for something exciting to spice up her boring-with-a-capital-B existence, but she never thought it would come in the form of a gorgeous six-foot-plus billionaire. The world knows him as Domenico Moretti, the ruthless, cunning, and aloof CEO of Moretti, Inc, a.k.a. her boss.
Gifts of (mis)fortune come in threes, they say, and it’s certainly the case with Misty, whose life is turned upside-down by Domenico Moretti’s three shocking revelations.
One, he’s a werewolf (who’s also a prince).
Two, he wants her in his bed – him, the guy who actually had to file a TRO against an obsessive supermodel.
And three, he has a proposition she never – and she means never – ever sees coming.

I have a special loathing for this book. I wanted to DNF it at several points and only the unavoidable lack of ANYTHING else to read made me finish it. At no point was I able to immerse myself in it as it was either ridiculous, cliché or just dumb far too often.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Review: The Boy Recession

By Flynn Meaney
Rating: 4/5


Where have all the boys gone?
The population of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, is shrinking as families move to cities and towns with greener pastures, and the local high school is hurting: nearly all of the area's most eligible guys have moved or transferred schools.
With little competition, the remaining boys find their stocks on the rise, and even the most unlikely candidates have a good chance at making the team and getting the girl. Guitar-strumming slacker Hunter Fahrenbach has made an art of blending into the background, but now desperate coaches are recruiting him and popular girls are noticing his scruffy good looks. With a little help, Hunter might even by boyfriend material...
Down-to-earth Kelly Robbins has a simple wish for her junior year: "one normal, nice boy to crush on." Kelly and Hunter have always been friends, but is there something more to their platonic relationship? And can Kelly overcome the odds? After all, dating is hard enough without a four-to-one ratio

I picked up Bloodthirsty last year and despite hoping for a sequel featuring Luke pretending to be a werewolf (please?), this is not about that at all.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Review: The Chocolate Kiss

by Laura Florand
Rating: 4/5

chocolatekissThe Heart of Paris
Welcome to La Maison des Sorcières. Where the window display is an enchanted forest of sweets, a collection of conical hats delights the eye and the habitués nibble chocolate witches from fanciful mismatched china. While in their tiny blue kitchen, Magalie Chaudron and her two aunts stir wishes into bubbling pots of heavenly chocolat chau.

But no amount of wishing will rid them of interloper Philippe Lyonnais, who has the gall to open one of his world famous pastry shops right down the street. Philippe's creations seem to hold a magic of their own, drawing crowds of beautiful women to their little isle amidst the Seine, and tempting even Magalie to venture out of her ivory tower and take a chance, a taste. . .a kiss.

Parisian princesses, chocolate witches, pâtissier princes and sweet wishes--an enchanting tale of amour et chocolat.

This is the second in the chocolate series. Unlike the novella and the first book, this features two french protagonists, not and American and a French chocolatier. Also a change of pace is that Phillipe Lyonnais is just a pâtissier (pastry chef) and not a chocolatier. In this book Magalie Chaudron is the "chocolatier".

Magalie helps her aunts run La Maison de Sorcières, a chocolate store on Île Saint-Louis, a wealthy island in the middle of Paris, near the Notre Dame. Phillipe has decided to open up a new store on the same street as La Maison de Sorcières.

The real sparks fly when Maggie marches into Phillipe's kitchen and threatens the new store. Phillipe offers her a macaron, for which he is known, and she refuses. In turn, when Maggie offers some of their famous chocolat chaud (hot chocolate, but the french sounds more delicious) he refuses. This results in an epic and sexy battle of wills where neither side will give in over the tasting of the other's specialty.

I really loved that Phillipe knew what he wanted (a permanent relationship) and went after Maggie with everything he had. It was a nice change that not only did Maggie have the commitment issues, something rarely done in romances, but it was well written. You saw the reasons for the issues she had before they were in a relationship. Phillipe is a sexy sexy beast. The relationship and food is all so well written you'll be craving a hot chocolate, and a Phillipe of your own.
Another aspect that is really lovely and subtle is the magic of La Maison de Sorcières, not just the magic of their beautiful window decorations (although yum) but the real magic of the way Geneviève, Aja and Magalie run the teashop. The way they take the "princesses" looking for a little magic and wish them to get backbones.

I really liked that we saw Slyvain and Cade (of The Chocolate Thief fame) again, Phillipe bakes for their wedding. Also Elle's blog (All's Fair In Love And Chocolate from the Kiss the Bride anthology) is briefly mentioned if not Simon or Elle.

I could spend forever just thinking of new things that I liked about this book, but the bottom line is it is a lovely well-written romance set in France. If that isn't enough for you, then you are heartless. Definite recommendations on this book and the previous in the series. And wait with me until June, for the next book, The Chocolate Touch.

**I received this book as an ARC from Kensington via NetGalley**

Currently Listening: Confetti – Dropout Year