Sunday, October 5, 2008

Beauty Queen by Julia London

Well, I guess I have to take back what I said in my review of American Diva. This book, Beauty Queen, wasn't as formulaic as her other books. The beauty queen (Miss Texas 1990) in question, Rebecca, is freshly divorced and raising her five-year-old son while she tries to figure out what to do with her life now that she's no longer a figure in society in Dallas. She's living in a house in a teeny town near Austin and is searching for some direction. She is approached by a senator who is running for Lieutenant Governor who wants her help with his campaign. There she meets Matt Parrish, a lawyer with District Attorney aspirations. Romance ensues but it's not an easy one. I think this has been my favorite so far of all her books and I am interested to see what happens in the conclusion, Miss Fortune.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox

This is Angie Fox's first book. It's about a woman named Lizzie who becomes a Demon Slayer on her 30th birthday. Hell of a present (pardon the pun) to get just after her biker witch grandma shows up to meet her for the first time ever. Lizzie and her little dog end up having to leave their well-ordered home to go with Grandma on her harley to her coven to keep from letting a demon snatch her up and drag her to hell. Did I mention that her dog starts talking too? And if that wasn't enough, she meets a ridiculously sexy man who is also a griffin who claims he's her protector and will teach her how to use her new powers. This book reminded me a lot of Janet Evanovich and her Stephanie Plum. Goofy and funny and sexy, this book was a lot of fun.

Faefever by Karen Marie Moning

It is so not fair that we fans of KMM have to wait another whole year to find out what's going to happen to Mac. Loved this book, loved it. I was so caught up in what happens at the end that I turned the last page looking for more, oblivious that I had reached the end. Stupid cliffhangers!

Spoiler alert!

Is Mac going to become pri-ya? Probably. Where the hell was Barrons? I know he was giving in to Mac since he'd been an ass to her and was letting her do what she wanted for a change and all but good grief. He picked a hell of a time to do it. V'lane was AWOL too. They did find the book though. And discovered that neither of them can be around it. Where does that leave them in terms of their working relationship? Their personal relationship takes an interesting turn (really, a birthday cake? What did she think his reaction would be?). I also wonder what kind of history Barrons and V'lane have. What is Barrons anyway? I bet we'll never get an answer to that one. I have too many questions to list them all. I still have a few Highlander books to get through so maybe they'll tide me over until next September. Come on Dreamfever!

Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn

I actually read this one a while back. I didn't like it. Usually werewolves are right up my alley (in books anyway, ha). I love werewolves written Patricia Briggs, liked Bitten by Kelley Armstrong, Ilona Andrews, and Charlaine Harris among others. I think one of the things that turned me off the most in this book was how much of a wienie her alpha was. I am used to alphas that are totally dominant - Curran the Beast King (Andrews) and Bran (Briggs) are perfect examples. Nobody screws with them, least of all their mates. I didn't like Kitty either. Really, a werewolf called Kitty? Who likes to run her mouth on the radio about the existence of werewolves and vampires and such but is absolutely submissive to her wienie alpha. Vaughn also killed off one of the few characters who I actually did like. After I finished this I went on wikipedia and looked it up and found out the plots for all the other books (just to see where it was going). Great thing, wikipedia. Goodbye Kitty.

American Diva by Julia London

Julia London writes addictive romances. They are also pretty formulaic - a well-to-do woman meets a less-than-well-off man. They fight like cats and dogs for a while and then they succumb to their nuclear level chemistry. The guy falls harder than the woman and she will eventually break his heart in the end before she comes to her senses. Doesn't necessarily make for bad reading, it just gets a little predictable. The first Julia London book I read was Material Girl, the first in the Lear family trilogy. I liked it (not loved) but it obviously didn't turn me off her books. And I'm still not sure why I picked this one up since celebrities aren't my thing but I liked this one too. The ending was happy (of course) and I liked the main characters, Audrey and Jack. I would probably listen to her music if she were real. Right now I'm in the middle of the second book in the Lear trilogy, Beauty Queen. More on that one in the future.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

This book was so good that I'm actually afraid to read the sequel. To me, Claire and Jamie are literary perfection and I want them to stay that way (I've heard that the rest of the books don't live up to this one). Even more importantly is that the scottish accent didn't even annoy me. I had a hard time getting through some of KMM's Highlander books because of use of words like "wee" and "lass." Maybe it was just KMM's style, I don't know, but Gabaldon used it "verra weel."

The story goes like this: Claire Randall and her husband are on holiday in Inverness, Scotland. It is 1945, the war has just ended, and they are rekindling their marriage since they were physically separated for something like six years while they served England (Claire was a nurse and I think Frank was a soldier). Frank is a history nut and is determined to chart out and research his ancestors. Early one morning Claire goes to study plants around a henge a short hike away. When she touches one of the stones, she is transported 200 years back to the 18th century. She immediately meets and is accosted by one of Frank's beloved ancestors. Then she's kidnapped by another man and taken to a cottage where there are a group of men, one of whom is James Fraser. Jamie is injured and Claire takes it upon herself to be his personal physician and caretaker. They become friends and eventually have to marry to keep Claire safe. Claire has some major issues about this - she doesn't love Jamie yet, she's already married to Frank and loves him still but the biggest problem is that she wants to get back to her time. Being a woman in the 18th century definitely isn't the same as being one in the 20th but she can't tell anybody what her real story is because who would believe her? They already think she's a spy for England and she definitely can't tell Jamie what her real last name is since her has a horrible history with Frank's ancestor Jack Randall. If he found out, he'd never be able to see past it. I won't spoil the rest of the story, you'll just have to read it yourself. I'm glad I did.

Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon

I love this woman's books. They are romantic, violent, funny and heartache-inducing. Ash has been one of my favorite characters for a while so I surprised myself after I bought this book - I didn't want to read it. Chomping at the bit for months, this book was one of my most anticipated yet when I finally got my hands on it, I put it on my bookshelf and tried to ignore it. I knew Ash's life was going to be unpleasant in the least and I also knew that it would be the end of one chapter in Kenyon's books. Leaving Acheron behind and focusing on Jaden next seems like it's almost a betrayal. I know, I'm being dramatic and all but still. Anyway...

Acheron is not a nice story. Being hated by almost everybody who knew of his existence, Acheron endured so many evils in his first twenty-one years. Being murdered was almost a blessing. Ash's first life takes up over 400 pages of this tome, which I will admit does take away from the telling of his relationship with Tory. But, this book is called Acheron, not some other fluffy title like all the other characters (read: dark-hunters) got so I will forgive Mrs. Kenyon. I don't think I would have wanted to finish it if I didn't know there would be a payout at the end. And it was a good one. I like Tory but I was surprised that she was The One. She wasn't terribly fantastic (i.e. a goddess) like Artemis but maybe that was the point. Acheron is the biggest, baddest being in the universe and his mate is a human female, albeit the one who discovers Atlantis for real. You gotta love irony. I loved that Kenyon made Ash the most vulnerable emotionally out of all her men; not everybody can put away their past and forget it to move on. In all the other books I never considered his appearance to be armor; I just figured he liked to be that way.

It would have been nice, I suppose, to have spent a little more time with Tory to learn more about her past, stuff that didn't necessarily involve her family or Atlantis. Whatever her history, one of my favorite parts of the book was when she put Artemis in her place. Halleleujah. Oh, and I loved the part where she learns about Ash. Whoever heard about somebody not being able to hold their Sprite? Also, I have a hard time listening to Nickelback's "Savin' Me" without getting choked up a little. Overall, I have to say that I enjoyed this book but I'm not sure I'll reread it. Maybe just the second half.

Working for the Devil by Lilith Saintcrow

Dante Valentine is one bad-ass chick. She's also a mess. Being hauled to Hell by a gun-wielding demon to meet Lucifer himself is where this series starts and it doesn't stop until the very end (duh). I guess I was lucky I got sick and had some downtime because once I started the second book, The Devil's Right Hand, I couldn't stop until I finished the fifth and final book.

These books aren't just about killing demons or any work that Dante does as a necromance; Dante is continually in an emotional upheaval: Her friends keep dying. She falls in love with a demon. Avenging the murder of her friend Doreen. Finding Doreen's daughter. Witnessing someone who goes through what Dante goes through is hard; I became way too emotionally involved in what happens. The second book really upset me. Japhrimel and his antics pissed me off in the third, fourth and fifth books. I still have to finish the second book in the Kismet series; I like Jill but she's not keeping my attention like Dante did.