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review 2015-11-15 09:00
Audio Review: My Bluegrass Baby by Molly Harper

My Bluegrass Baby


Bluegrass, #1


Molly Harper


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Date of Publication: April 09, 2013
Abridged or Unabridged: Unabridged
Length of Production: 5 hrs and 28 mins



Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     BN    Audible    AudiobookStand



An original series from popular romance author Molly Harper! When Sadie & Josh compete for the same Kentucky Tourism Commission job, sparks fly—turns out Kentucky really is for lovers.

Sadie Hutchins loves her job at the Kentucky Tourism Commission. Not only could her co-workers double as the cast of Parks & Recreation, but she loves finding the unusual sites, hidden gems, and just plain odd tourist attractions of her home state. She’s a shoo-in for the director’s job when her boss retires at the end of the year…until hotshot Josh Vaughn shows up to challenge her for the position.

Josh is all sophisticated polish while Sadie’s country comfort, and the two have very different ideas of what makes a good campaign. So when their boss pits them against each other in a winner-takes-all contest, they’re both willing to fight dirty if it means getting what they want. But it turns out, what Josh and Sadie want could be each other—and Josh’s kisses are the best Kentucky attraction Sadie’s found yet!

I've been a fan of Molly Harper since reading her stand alone And One Last Thing... So I couldn't help but give a bit of small squeal when I heard a reference to that book in this one. It's not the first time that the author has added some small reference to one of her other books/series, but I still get a thrill when I recognize it. It's like a bit of a wink or a nod from the author to those in the know.

As with the Jane Jameson and Half-Moon Hallow series', this book is set in Kentucky. Many years ago, I once spent almost a year in Lexington. I had a fabulous time and met some wonderful people. Reading about the interesting people and unique culture of the state always reminds me of that time. This is especially true with this book, as the setting deals with tourism and the many facets of Kentucky life.

I was a bit surprised that this book didn't end with a definitive "Happy Ending". As a romance, I was expecting the HEA, but what I got instead was a Happy for Now ending. Spoiler Alert: there wasn't even a marriage proposal to help tie up the ending. Yes, Sadie and Josh were together, but  I still had questions that needed answers and issues I wanted resolved. I am hopeful that their story line will have more resolution in the next book, maybe tied into that story.

Amanda Ronconi was a new to me narrator and I thought she did a fantastic job. Doing multiple variations on an accent can be tough, but she did a great job. I enjoyed her pacing and emoting as well. She kept my attention on the story, even when I was doing other things. I can't wait to start the next book knowing she's going to be there with me.

I always enjoy Molly Harper's books, now in audio format as well. Her heroines tend toward the spunky and snarky, and I know I can always count on great dialogue. If you are looking for a quick, fun read, and don't mind an open ending this should be on your list. I gave it 4 stars.

Source: www.musingsandramblings.net/2015/11/review-my-bluegrass-baby-molly-harper.html
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review 2015-10-15 09:00
Review: Fury's Kiss by Karen Chance


Fury's Kiss


Dorina Basarab, #3


Karen Chance


Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Penguin Books
Date of Publication: October 11, 2012
Number of pages: 536



Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     BN     Kobo     OmniLit

Dorina Basarab is a dhampir—half-human, half-vampire. Subject to uncontrollable rages, most dhampirs live very short, very violent lives. But so far, Dory has managed to maintain her sanity by unleashing her anger on those demons and vampires who deserve killing...

Dory is used to fighting hard and nasty. So when she wakes up in a strange scientific lab with a strange man standing over her, her first instinct is to take his head off. Luckily, the man is actually the master vampire Louis-Cesare, so he’s not an easy kill.

It turns out that Dory had been working with a Vampire Senate task force on the smuggling of magical items and weaponry out of Faerie when she was captured and brought to the lab. But when Louis-Cesare rescues her, she has no memory of what happened to her.

To find out what was done to her—and who is behind it—Dory will have to face off with fallen angels, the maddest of mad scientists, and a new breed of vampires that are far worse than undead…

I have been holding off on the reading Tempt the Stars, the next Cassandra Palmer book by Karen Chance, because I hadn't read this one yet.  I had started it and got to page 25 two years ago, but ended up putting the book down and never coming back to it. The reason I was waiting to read Tempt the Stars is because this series is set the same universe and time line as the Cassandra Palmer books and Dorina Basarab's biological father Mircea is Cassandra's love interest. This means Mircea and his vampire family appears in both books. I didn't pick up the first Dorina book, Midnight's Daughter until after I had read Curse the Dawn, a Cassandra book, but that came chronologically before it. Basically, I spoilered myself for parts of the book, not realizing.  Since then I have been careful to read them in the correct order.

One of the things that I found amazing about these two series is that the two main female characters of each book have never met, even though they share the love of the same man. One as his lover, the other as his child. There was finally for the first time, a moment where I believe they had an interaction - concerning Mircea, of course.  But they were never introduced and totally get off on the wrong foot with each other. I can't wait to see how this will shake out in the end.

There was a lot of Dory and Mircea's history revealed in this book. And for all her bitching and complaining about her vampire alter-ego, I think that 'Dorina' isn't nearly as bad as Dory believes her to be. Dory's two sides have always been separated, but it looks like an integration process is beginning and neither side handles it very well.

There was so much action to be found. Vampires are violent creatures on a good day, and with a war being waged between the Silver Circle (good guys) and the Black Circle (bad guys), problems with smugglers and even the two factions of fairy sticking their noses into things, the action is ramped up even more. I think I just wasn't in the right mood or frame of mind last time I started this book, because this time I had no problems diving right in. I enjoyed this read and gave it 3 stars.

Source: www.musingsandramblings.net/2015/10/review-furys-kiss-karen-chance.html
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text 2015-09-15 09:00
Review: Kitty in the Underworld by Carrie Vaughn


Kitty in the Underworld


Kitty Norville, #12


Carrie Vaughn


Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Date of Publication: July 30, 2013
Number of pages: 320



Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     BN     Kobo     OmniLit
As Denver adjusts to a new master vampire, Kitty gets word of an intruder in the Denver werewolf pack’s territory, and she investigates the challenge to her authority. She follows the scent of the lycanthrope through the mountains where she is lured into a trap, tranquilized, and captured. When she wakes up, she finds herself in a defunct silver mine: the perfect cage for a werewolf. Her captors are a mysterious cult seeking to induct Kitty into their ranks in a ritual they hope will put an end to Dux Bellorum. Though skeptical of their power, even Kitty finds herself struggling to resist joining their cause. Whatever she decides, they expect Kitty to join them in their plot . . . willingly or otherwise.

Last month I read Kitty Rocks the House and unfortunately, it didn't rock my house. It felt more like a filler book or a transitional book.  In a startling contrast, this book took me by the hand at the beginning and just wouldn't let me go till the very end. I couldn't believe how fast I was able to just whip through this.

This was one of those books where it focuses on Kitty herself as she works her own special brand of insanity, without the help of Ben, Cormac or anyone else. It reminded me very much of some of the earlier books where it was Kitty alone against an enemy, trying to out talk and out think her opponent(s). It was Kitty at her best and sometimes worst.

I think that this book was a huge jump towards the Dux Bellorum end game. We find out so much more about who he was, as well as exactly how long this Long Game has been going on.  She didn't get any further toward his demise, but Kitty now has more pieces of the overall puzzle and more leads to follow.  I am getting more excited about where this is heading.

For me, this was a much better book than the last. And with only 1 more book to go till the ending, the tension is thick with anticipation. Plus, the next book is all about Cormac, gotta love that!  I gave this book 4 stars.


Source: www.musingsandramblings.net/2015/09/review-kitty-in-underworld-carrie-vaughn.html
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review 2015-08-22 09:00
Review: Kitty Rocks the House by Carrie Vaughn


Kitty Rocks the House


Kitty Norville, #11


Carrie Vaughn


Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Date of Publication: March 26, 2013
Number of pages: 337





Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     BN     Kobo     OmniLit
On the heels of Kitty's return from London, a new werewolf shows up in Denver, one who threatens to split the pack by challenging Kitty's authority at every turn. The timing could not be worse; Kitty needs all the allies she can muster to go against the ancient vampire, Roman, if she's to have any hope of defeating his Long Game. But there's more to this intruder than there seems, and Kitty must uncover the truth, fast. Meanwhile, Cormac pursues an unknown entity wreaking havoc across Denver; and a vampire from the Order of St. Lazaurus tempts Rick with the means to transform his life forever.

Okay, let me start by saying that I know this was supposed to have been posted last week, but I was having a very bad weekend. I don't advertise this, but with Psoriatic Arthritis there are good days and there are bad. Last weekend was bad. Very bad. So now that I am feeling a bit better, I am posting this. A little late, but better than never, right?

It's been a while since I visited Kitty's world - according to my Goodreads rating, January of 2013.  Eeek!  I must have liked it, I gave it 4 stars. However, thinking back, I can't really remember that it left much of an impact - not like those first couple of books where plot points seemed to be burned into my memory. Let's just say that this was one of those times that I was incredibly grateful for an author doing some backstory.

So Kitty is back from London and looking to gain more allies against Roman and his 'Long Game' to rule over humanity. (Wait, that wasn't a secret right? Ya'll figured that out already, yes?) The Denver Master of Vampires, Rick, is partnering with Kitty towards this end. But, of course, things are bound to go wrong.

First a new werewolf shows up and manages to stir up some trouble for Kitty and Ben.  Then a Vampire Priest shows up and Rick suddenly is not available, spending all his time with him.  In addition to all this, potential allies are trying to make plans to arrive and it is becoming very clear that Kitty's wolves have been feeling neglected, what with her away so much.

While I did enjoy the book, it felt like filler, giving us a chance to take a breath before the next big confrontation.  Yes, there was some fighting, but nothing like we've had before. There was the introduction of a new supernatural at the end, totally setting up the next book - Kitty in the Underworld.  But my favorite parts contained Cormac, just as many of the scenes I remember from previous books revolved around him. He just does it for me. :)  I gave this book 3 stars and hope that the next book has a bit more juice to it.


Source: www.musingsandramblings.net/2015/08/review-kitty-rocks-house-carrie-vaughn.html
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review 2015-07-15 09:00
Review: Deception Cove by Jayne Castle


Deception Cove


Rainshadow, #2; Harmony, #11



Jayne Castle



Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Jove
Date of Publication: August 27th 2013
Number of pages: 368
Cover Artist: Craig White



Available at the following retailers:
Amazon     BN     Kobo     ARe
The world of Harmony is home to secrets that have been kept for centuries, and treasure worth killing for...

Alice North is on the run. The mysterious death of her husband is casting a shadow of doubt on her innocence and even with her ability to make herself disappear - literally - Alice is finding it hard to avoid detection. It comes as a relief when a stranger shows up at her door, offering money and protection - for a price.

Drake Sebastian is on the hunt for two dangerous paranormal crystals, located on the mysterious and magical Rainshadow Island. Alice seems to hold the key to his success and a marriage will protect her from a murder accusation. A fair deal, right? It's merely convenience, after all...

But as passions start to flare, so do old demons. Alice's honeymoon on Rainshadow is guaranteed to be memorable, as the island-and the chemistry between her and Drake-is about to explode...

My sister introduced me to the wonder that is Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle/Amanda Quick.  She thought that I would enjoy the Arcane series, and as usual, she was correct. (Don't tell her I said that!) After discovering and enjoying Ms. Krentz, in all her incarnations, I started reading her other works as well. I adored the St. Helen's series and then the Harmony series. And if you pay close attention, you can see how they relate to the Arcane series as well. I always get a thrill figuring out interconnections between different series. :)

This book is the second book dealing with an area of Harmony called Rainshadow, hence it's multiple series designation. What's nice about breaking a series up into sections, is that for the most part, you can start at a new section without feeling that you are jumping in mid stream. I think this is a great idea and would appreciate it more, except I have read all the prior books in the series. (What?  I told you I liked the author!)

This story takes us back to Rainshadow and picks up where the last one left off dealing with the paranormal crystals (from ancient earth) and the alien artifacts left on Harmony. It has been awhile *cough* 2013 *cough* since I read the last book, The Lost Night, but was given enough information to easily jump back in. As per usual with a Krentz/Castle/Quick novel, I was completely taken in by the story. One of the aspects of this book that I was especially thrilled with is that we got some history on the dust bunny. They have been one of the constants since book 1. We have known so little about them, and now finally have some more solid information.

Overall, I was very pleased with this book and quite frankly kicking myself for not reading it sooner.  Needless to say, I don't plan on waiting another couple of years to read the next one, especially as number #5, Siren's Call, is due out in less than 2 weeks. I am giving this book 4 solid stars.

Source: www.musingsandramblings.net/2015/07/review-deception-cove-jayne-castle.html
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