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review 2014-01-25 20:00
Pack Challenge
Pack Challenge - Shelly Laurenston

Pack Challenge opens with Sara getting drunk off her ass in celebration of her grandmother's death. The fact that the abusive woman died months ago and the whole town is still ecstatic, shows just how evil the old bat was. During Sara's revelry, she ends up sticking her tongue down a biker's throat, but before things go much further Sara is pried off the guy by her two best friends. Sara isn't really someone who gropes random men without the motivation of tequila, so when the biker shows up at her work the next day she's a bit embarrassed.


Sara was an interesting character. Her leg is screwed up from when she was mauled by a mountain lion, so she spends 90 percent of the book limping around town. Turns out that the lion was actually a shifter seeking revenge against Sara's family and, with the death of her grandmother, the lion is back to trying to kill her. Bad thing is that Sara doesn't know that monsters are real and she especially doesn't know that she's a wolf shifter.


I really don't care for storylines centered on the main character discovering that vampires, werewolves, etc. are real. The whole chain of denial, proving, and slowly coming to terms gets a little boring. That was my main problem with this book. I got bored with Sara slowly discovering the paranormal aspects of her world, especially since it eclipsed the whole lions are trying to kill her plot.

The romance between Sara and the hero (Zach) was also dull. I liked Zach, but he wasn't the most interesting Laurenston hero I've read. Zach has a game plan and that doesn't include a meaningful relationship. His current goal is to become pack leader and sleep with a crap ton of women. So when he meets Sara he's immediately intrigued and scared shit-less by the intense attraction he has to her. He's determined to just tell her she's a wolf shifter and high-tail it out of town. But, of course, things don't go according to his plan.


All in all, I'd recommend this book for fans of Shelly Laurenston, but if you're looking to get into this author I would suggest starting with Beast Behaving Badly.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-01-23 00:48
Why must there be an unncessary H in his name?
Lover Eternal - J.R. Ward

After killing a deity's bird, Rhage was cursed to share his body with a dragon. Keeping the dragon under control is something Rhage has to deal with on a daily basis and it often consists of having to do things he'd otherwise never do. When Rhage meets Mary, he is instantly attracted to her but the curse puts a huge obstacle in their courtship.

I really adored Rhage. However, the reason why this is getting a mid-level rating is that I can't reconcile Rhage's choice to go out and sleep with a shit ton of women while he had Mary waiting for him at home. This stemmed from Rhage needing to regain control of the dragon, so it was painted in a way that he had to go screw other women. While I will give Ward kudos for not taking an easy route, it still put a really sour taste in my mouth. I can't stand cheating heroes and I wasn't convinced that Rhage had exhausted all other possibilities, which really pissed me off. I also felt that Mary got over it way to quick. I mean he comes home from having sex with who knows how many women and she almost immediately gets over it upon seeing his sad face....really? I think she should've been a little more conflicted about that whole situation. Other than that, I generally enjoyed Lover Eternal. My only other wish is that Mary had been given more personality since she came off as a very flat character, but I'm beginning to think that's typical of Ward's heroines.

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review 2014-01-19 02:45
A reincarnation story I actually loved!
Archangel's Blade - Nalini Singh

Guild member, Honor, had been held captive by vampires for months before she was saved. Her captivity has left scars on both her body and mind. Because of this, she feels nowhere near ready to go out into the world, let alone work with vampires to uncover a killer. Unfortunately, Honor is given little choice in the matter when the archangel Raphael's tower calls demanding an expert who can identify some odd markings. Soon, she finds herself facing Dmitri, one of the oldest and most dangerous vampires in New York.

Well known for being brutal and cold-hearted, Dmitri is a far cry from the man he used to be. Lately though, Dmitri has been finding it harder to bury the painful memories from his past. This doesn’t get easier when Honor shows up in his office. Her scars and behavior, remind Dmitri too much of what happened to his wife and family. Never having been someone who could tolerate women and children brutalized, Dmitri takes over Honor’s case. Soon, both of them are working together to track down Honor’s abductors, as well as discover who’s behind a rash of murders.

Now this is how an anti-hero book should be. Dmitri has always verged along the lines of being an antagonist in the series. In the first book, he seems fairly intent to kill Elena until Raphael nixes that. But even after that, his main role in the series seem be threatening to kill Elena if she shows any weaknesses. With this in mind, I wasn’t too thrilled to see him get his own book. I was skeptical of Dmitri as the lead because I was afraid it would destroy his character by making him all sunshine and bunnies. Turns out I had nothing to fear. Archangel's Blade stays incredibly true to Dmitri's character, while at the same time making you want to see him get some happiness.

The other reason why I was hesitant about reading this addition to the series is because reincarnation stories are not my thing. However, I really liked the way Singh did it here. She took a subtle approach that you don’t see too often. Throughout the story, you just kind of slowly assumed what Honor was. This was a huge relief, as it avoided the common reincarnation plot of one character trying to prove they are a reincarnation.

All in all, this was a wonderful addition to the series and I can’t wait to read the
next book.

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review 2014-01-18 00:20
Within the Flames
Within the Flames - Marjorie M. Liu

When she was twelve, Lyssa watched as her parents were murdered for their powers. Feared and cast out of the shapeshifter community because of her mother’s heritage, Lyssa has no one to turn to. In order to survive, she has been living on the streets, hiding her erratic powers, and avoiding others. However, the murder of the one person who knew what Lyssa was leads her parents’ killer straight to her. It also sends Dirk and Steele pyrokinetic, Eddie, her way.

Eddie has always had trouble controlling his powers and his most recent flameout was caused by news that his sister’s killer had been released from jail for good behavior. He wants nothing more than to hunt down her murderer, but finds himself assigned the task of protecting Lyssa. Working with the gargoyle, Lannes, he discovers that Lyssa is not the helpless little lamb they had been led to believe. Instead, he finds himself faced with a woman who everyone, Lannes included, seems to instinctively fear and hate. Soon enough, Eddie finds he's the only one willing to help Lyssa take down her parents’ killer.

Eddie has been a reoccurring character in the series since the very first book, so I was pretty thrilled to see him get his own story. He hasn’t had it very easy, with his powers constantly flaring up and almost killing him. He also didn’t have a very great childhood, growing up with an abusive step-father and then living on the streets for a little while. What I loved about this, though, was how his past experiences made it easier for him to understand where Lyssa was coming from. He was understanding of her predicament, but also knew when to push at the walls she put up around herself.

Lyssa was another of Liu’s great heroines, but I think she was also one of the most vulnerable. Don’t misunderstand when I say vulnerable for lacking backbone though. The girl has some serious guts; she just had been on her own for a long time and it shows. So, to have Eddie pop into her life and then refuse to abandon her (even with everyone saying that he should) touches and scares her to death. She’s petrified that he’ll die either by her own hand or by the person who’s hunting her.

One of the things that I really love about this series is how Liu incorporates her side characters. She never makes them flat and when she brings in main characters from past books, it’s always to serve a purpose. She did that in this one with Lannes, the hero from The Wild Road. He was a pretty prominent figure in the story, but he wasn’t exactly the good guy here, which I just loved. He had reasons behind his motivations and seeing how much he feared and hated Lyssa highlighted just how prejudiced the paranormal community is. Because seriously? Lannes is such a sweet character that seeing animosity and distrust from him was pretty shocking.

My only complaint, which really isn’t a complaint but me pouting, is that Koni didn’t make an appearance in this book. I missed the crow shifter. He’s the character that I always look forward to seeing in these books. Since Eddie got his own book I’m hoping and praying that Liu will eventually give Koni his. (Or that she'll even continue this series at all since its been almost 2 years since she wrote a book in this world.)

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review 2014-01-15 00:25
Kiss of Snow
Kiss of Snow (Psy-Changeling, #10) - Nalini Singh

Like everyone else who reads this series, I was really anticipating this one. Hawke and Sienna's relationship has been brewing in the background of the Psy/Changling series since the very first novel.


Sienna is an X-cardnial Psy. X Psy aren't known for having long life spans, their powers typically cause them to die a fiery death long before they reach their mid-twenties. So, when Sienna feels her powers slowly slipping out of her control, she knows she'll eventually have to leave the SnowDancer pack or risk taking everyone down with her. In the meantime, she's determined to try controlling it, but the angst filled relationship she has with Hawke is not helping matters. Hawke, the SnowDancer Alpha, has always caused Sienna's emotions to erupt into chaos and the confusing signals he's been sending have only added fuel to the fire.

Hawke has been a favorite side character of mine ever since he showed up in Slave to Sensation. I really loved seeing the playfulness of his character expanded on, in this story. However, in the beginning of Kiss of Snow Hawke's stubbornness concerning Sienna was annoying. He had a "kid in the playground" mentality about her. He didn't want to play with her, but no one else was allowed to play with her either. This, combined with their relationship throughout the other books, made me really wish that Singh hadn't gone the virgin route with Sienna. Going into this book, I had hoped that she would've slept with someone before this story. It was such a damper to see Sienna able to match Hawke in everything and then suddenly play the shy and naive virgin in the bedroom. She eventually gets out of that, but it still broke the tone of the story to have to sit through the "first-time" scene. (I HATE first time scenes).

Aside from that aspect, my only other complaint is that Singh decided to cram a secondary romance plot in. This really did not work here, as it felt like Lara and Walker got short changed. Similar to Sienna and Hawke, Lara and Walker's story had been quietly building over the course of the series, but they got slotted as a secondary romance. While their relationship was nicely done, it faded into the background because of the other major plot threads that were going on.( Such as: Hawke and Sienna's relationship, the Psy attacks, and even Lucas and Sasha's baby.) Because of this, I really wish that Singh had put off Lara and Walker getting together until another book or at least given them a novella where their story wouldn't get overshadowed.

Kiss of Snow really needs to be worked up to in order to appreciate the relationship developments and the events that are at the center of this story. So I would recommend you only read this if you have already read a few of the previous books.

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