Friday, November 17, 2017

Audiobook Review: Fire in His Blood by Ruby Dixon

Series:     Fireblood Dragon #1
Pub. Date:June 20, 2017
Publisher:Forever Romance
Narrators:Noelle Bridges
Jeremy York
Length:11 hrs 27 min

Ruby Dixon is a new-to-me author but one that I have been hearing about quite often, usually in reference to her Ice Planet Barbarians series. So I was looking forward to a little dragony alpha action, and this hero did not disappoint.

I liked the world-building for this series. We are operating in a post-apocalyptic Dallas, but not too far past the catastrophic event. About seven years ago, a big whole ripped in the sky and dragons came through. Most of them went crazy and started scorching the earth and killing off humanity. So now those who are left are eking out a meager existence behind makeshift forts with militia men and dictatorial mayors. The populace either has to obey the rules, or risk their safety on the outside. Neither is a good option.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

ARC Review: Once Upon a Maiden Lane by Elizabeth Hoyt

Series:     Maiden Lane #12.5
Pub. Date:Nov. 14, 2017
Publisher:Forever Romance
Length:100 pages

I feel somewhat grateful that I am behind on this series, because I know that I have more goodness to look forward to. Because I am really sad that this one is ending. I have enjoyed all of the books I have read thus far, and Once Upon a Maiden Lane is no exception.

Our heroine is Mary Whitsun, whom we met as a ward of the orphanage in one of the earlier books. She is now a grown woman and living in the home of Lady Caire as a nursemaid. Things seem to be going well for Mary, despite being relegated to the serving class. She has a good home and a good position, though she must scrimp and save to purchase one of her beloved books. She has a distrust for aristocratic men, and I'm not sure what that stemmed from. Perhaps its in one of the books that I haven't read. I liked that she had wit and personality, and wasn't afraid to show it to Henry from the get go. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

ARC Review: Nauti Angel by Lora Leigh

Series:     Nauti #9
Pub. Date:   Nov. 7, 2017
Length:349 pages

I was a big fan of the early Nauti books, but it has been a long time since I read them. I thought I would try to jump back into the series with the latest installment, Nauti Angel, and I ended up having a hard time with it. I couldn't remember quite what happened in those earlier books, and I have obviously missed what has been happening with the Mackays over the last few books of this spinoff series. 

Our heroine is a rough and tumble kickass mercenary chick, at only 23 years old. She has been taught to fight and survive since she was 3 years old, and she can allegedly remember everything back to her first birthday and first steps. While I like a good kickass heroine, that memory thing was a bit of a stretch for me. Nevertheless, Angel (f/k/a Beth) was a good heroine. She was tough, but caring. Capable and sure of her self, but that surety often came across in humorous ways. She also had a lot of vulnerability from her past that she tried to hide and stuff down so no one would see it. So overall I found her to be relatable and engaging, and I was glad our hero was around to break down her walls.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

ARC Review: The Scotsman Who Saved Me by Hannah Howell

Series:     7 Brides/7 Scots #1
Pub. Date:Sept. 26, 2017
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Justine Eyre
Length:8 hrs 35 min

Can we take a minute to appreciate this beautiful cover? It really caught my attention and had me wanting to read about this family of seven strong Scots, the MacEnroy men. I wasn't quite expecting to get a Scottish Western... but our characters have resettled in the American West so make sure you are in that mindset when you embark upon this adventure.

Iain MacEnroy is the eldest of the MacEnroy brothers, and sees himself as caretaker of the family, and most any other unfortunate soul who comes into his orbit. After being burnt out of their home in Scotland, the family is trying to make a new life in Arkansas. Though they are learning that the West is not without its own troubles and dangers, particularly when none of them can read or write, and they have sufficient honor to aid those in need. That's not to say that Iain does not have a chip on his shoulder when it comes to the aristocracy, and his rescue of a beautiful damsel will challenge his prejudice in that regard. I found Iain to be a stoic and somewhat silent hero, and there was nothing overly Scottish about him from what I remember. I was sympathetic to his tragic past, and was glad that Emily provided for something that he could focus on besides his family and fortress home.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

ARC Review: Someone to Wed by Mary Balogh

Series:     Westcott #3
Pub. Date:Nov. 6, 2017
Length:384 pages

I have been so pleasantly surprised by this series. I don't know why I've been surprised, Mary Balogh is an excellent writer. But I feel like each book has caught me off guard with how much I enjoyed it. I think this one caught me off guard with a sort of reverse Beauty and the Beast theme, with a beautiful hero and a tortured heroine. It was quite refreshing.

I urge you to read the earlier books so you have the complete back story, but if you have not, there are enough tidbits in this story to give you the gist of what has happened in the past. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

ARC Review: Wilde in Love by Eloisa James

Series:     Wildes of Lindow Castle #1
Pub. Date:Oct. 31, 2017
Length:416 pages

Woohoo! A new series by Eloisa James! I really enjoyed the Wilde family and am so looking forward to the family saga as the series continues.

We start off the series with the duke's second son, Lord Alaric Wilde. For the last five years, Alaric has been adventuring around the globe and writing about his travels. Unbeknownst to him, he has returned home to England a celebrity with female fans from hither to yon. Alaric found the whole thing ridiculous, until it interfered with him getting what (or who) he wanted... and then all the twittering females became more of an obstacle than an annoyance. I found Alaric to be great fun. His embarrassment at the female attention and teasing from his siblings was endearing. But I also loved his single-minded pursuit of our heroine, and his fabulously flirty banter.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Blog on Hiatus! I like to move it move it!

Hiya readers!
Please excuse my absence and slacking on the bloggity lately. There are big things happening in Casa Bambi... involving an impromptu move across the country! Watch out Arizona - here we come! I cannot tell you how excited I am to be moving to the land of Kristen Ashley and Diana Gabaldon. I am gonna fan girl all over the freaking place! So for the next couple months, I am not going to be posting much. I'm trying to pack up the house for me and the pups, and I have to head back out west to find a house. The move itself will be taking place mid-October, so my time in New Orleans is winding down. Things are super duper crazy and hectic. I am not getting much reading time for print books - but I am rocking the audiobooks. I am currently enjoying a Rock Chick audio marathon, and should be posting a series review soon.  

Monday, October 30, 2017

ARC Review: The Sea King by C.L. Wilson

Series:     Weathermages of Mystral #2
Pub. Date:Oct. 31, 2017
Length:608 pages

It's no secret that I totally fangirl over C.L. Wilson, so a new release from her is one of the highlights of my year. Unfortunately this book came up on my reading calendar as I was in the midst of a move across country, so I couldn't savor it quite like I wanted to. Nevertheless, it was still a yummy treat to sit down with when I got tired of the relentless packing and unpacking. 

Now, it's been quite a while since I read The Winter King, so I couldn't quite remember what happened in that book. So I was glad there were a few reminders dropped throughout the story to jog my memory. I do recommend that you read the series in order as there is some world-building in the first book that introduces Mystral and the general weathermage powers that you will want to know. Plus, The Winter King was an awesome read!

Friday, October 27, 2017

ARC Review: The White Lily by Juliette Cross

Series:     Vampire Blood #3
Pub. Date:Oct. 23, 2017
Length:326 pages

The Vampire Blood series is probably the most interesting take on fairytale retellings that I have read thus far. I mean we have Arabella (Cinderella) as a vampire hunter, Sienna (Little Red Riding Hood) living in a magical forest with huge Hart wolves, and now Brennalyn (Snow White) as the adoptive mother to seven children. And when you pair these unique heroines with some uber yummy (and fangy) heroes, sparks fly.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

ARC Review: Sleeper by Lexi Blake

Series:     Hunter #3 / Thieves #8
Pub. Date:Oct. 17, 2017
Publisher:DLZ Entertainment
Length:476 pages

I'm very greedy for this series, to the extent that I did an entire series re-read last year and then bought the whole series from Lexi at the RT Convention. So I did a happy dance when I saw we had a new installment coming out this month. And, seeing as I got the ARC on my birthday... happy birthday to me!!!

As this is an urban fantasy series, you really need to read all the earlier books before embarking upon Sleeper. There are new storylines for each book, but there is also a continuing series arc that would be difficult to follow. Plus, all the books are awesome so... just read them.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Audiobook Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Pub. Date:Sept. 5, 2017
Publisher:Macmillan Audio
Narrator:Jennifer Ikeda
Length:12 hrs 5 min

So this story is a bit out of my normal wheelhouse, but it was a nice diversion. The synopsis really says it all... this is a somewhat feminist retelling of Snow White

Our "evil" stepmother character is Mina, with a heart made of glass. I liked that Mina's character was misunderstood rather than truly evil, and I felt more drawn to her character than I expected to be. Mina grew up with an uncaring and slightly evil father, and her longing for love made me sympathetic to her. I enjoyed the play on the magic mirror giving Mina the power over glass, and her creation of Felix was an interesting take on the original story. As we saw Mina grow from young adulthood to a stepmother queen, her desperation for love and understanding was clear to the reader. It was easy to feel sorry for her and want things to go her way.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

ARC Review and Author's Top 5: Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt

Series:     Maiden Lane #12
Pub. Date:Oct 17, 2017
Publisher:Grand Central
Length:364 pages

Duke of Desire is the conclusion to the Maiden Lane series, and man did Elizabeth Hoyt take us out with a bang. I was supposed to be packing today for my big move, but this book kept me totally distracted and camped out my couch turning page after page.

Lady Iris Jordan was the friend of Hugh Fitzroy, Duke of Kyle, from Duke of Pleasure. Thought to be Kyle's new wife, Iris was kidnapped by the Lords of Chaos, a group of sadistic and pedophilic men operating in the dark of London society.  Iris is a widow and, after her unhappy first marriage, she was hoping to marry again for love and children. Finding herself married to the beastly Duke of Dyemore was not in the cards, but Iris found herself compelled by his dark vulnerability. I really liked this heroine. She was mature and did not despair of her circumstances. She looked past Dyemore's scarred visage and saw the wounded boy underneath, and the good man that he was trying to be. I liked that she was brave in her uncertainty and didn't allow the Duke to push her away or intimidate her.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Series:     Nine Kingdoms #2
Pub. Date:Sept. 12, 2017
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Laura Jennings
Length:13 hrs 6 min

I was somewhat confused for most of this book, because I simply couldn't remember what happened in Star of the Morning, and it drove me crazy. I wish I had the time to go back and listen to the first book before I started this one. I remembered the gist, that Morgan of Melksham and Miach of Neroche met up as they journeyed across the Nine Kingdoms and started to fall in love. Only Miach had told Morgan that he was a simple farmer's son, and not the Archmage of the realm. When Morgan learned the truth, she broke a sword and ran off half-cocked and got herself poisoned by Ludar, the big bad.  So while I had all the overall storyline in mind, I really wish that I remembered the smaller details.  

Now Morgan is recovering from her poisoning and near-death with her old friend and mentor, Sir Nicholas. But Morgan is being plagued by dreams which she attributes to magic so she journeys to the one place where magic cannot touch her, her swordmaster Weegar's stronghold. Morgan is maintaining her aversion to mages and magic, and refusing to believe/heed what her own abilities and dreams are telling her. She thinks the worst of Miach and of the rest of the realm, and is withdrawing into herself. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Audiobook Review: His Lady Bride by Shayla Black / Shelley Bradley

Series:     Brothers in Arms #1
Pub. Date:Sept. 5, 2017
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Tim Allen
Length:9 hrs 2 min

His Lady Bride is set during the tumultuous time of Richard III's reign, shortly after Richard had his nephews murdered to steal the throne. I enjoy when my historicals include actual historical events with a re-imagining of events, motives and characters.

Our heroine is Gwenyth de Auburd, a baronet's daughter who lost everything when her parents died. After being condescended to by her vain cousins and forced to work in the kitchen by a cruel uncle, Gwenyth dreams of the days she can be a lady again. Indeed, all Gwenyth seemed to care about was marrying well and regaining her status. So when she was wed by force to a poorly sorcerer, Gwenyth did not accept her fate graciously. Despite growing up with little, Gwenyth came off as a spoiled brat. She was ungrateful, greedy, and callous when it came to her new husband. I was not a fan of this heroine at all.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

ARC Review: Archangel's Viper by Nalini Singh

Series:     Guild Hunter #10
Pub. Date:Sept. 26, 2017
Length:361 pages

Nalini Singh has never disappointed me, and Archangel's Viper is no exception. I love the diversity and uniqueness of her characters, and I like the continuing story arcs so that we see prior characters and couples in abundance. Every time I read a new book in this series, it makes me want to go back and read the others all over again!