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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Covers of the World: Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Today in Covers of the World we have Moon Called, first book in the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. 

English US First, Kindle, Audiobook
and Last Reissue Edition 
English US Second Reissue Edition
English UK First Edition
English UK Reissue Edition
German Edition
Spanish Edition
Turkish Edition
Polish First Edition
Polish Reissue Edition
Indonesian Edition
Hungarian Edition
Italian Edition
Japanese Edition
French Edition
Last week I said that all the Polish covers I had seen were exceptionally good, but sadly here I found the exception to the rule. I don't know what were they thinking with the first Polish Edition cover or what's going on with Mercy's zombie eyes, but that's an ugly cover. 
I like the US cover and all the others that use the same image, the German cover is different but nice. I also like the Japanese cover in an arty kind of way. 
Which of these covers is you favorite and least favorite? 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Review: Private Arrangements by Brenda Jackson


TitlePrivate Arrangements
Author: Brenda Jackson
Series: Steel, book 10
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Harlequin
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“No man has ever tempted her like this…

Nikki Cartwright can't believe Jonas Steele—the Jonas Steele—has chosen her for a high-profile marketing venture. It could make her career. But when she remembers the kiss they once shared, a kiss so intimate it sent their desire skyrocketing from simmering to blazing, Nikki knows she must guard her heart against the seductive Phoenix playboy as if her life depends on it.


Jonas has no problem making their professional relationship personal. With the beautiful and talented photographer within his reach, he can erase her from his system once and for all. From a whirlwind Las Vegas affair to jet-setting across four continents, this Steele discovers getting Nikki out of his system is easier said than done, and now he wants her to belong to him heart and soul—as the woman of his most passionate fantasies.…”
Private Arrangements is the tenth book in the Steel Series by Brenda Jackson. 

Jonas Steel is the typical womanizer that only goes out with model-type women, his motto is ‘one and done’. He is the owner of the most successful advertising company in Phoenix. 
After getting one of the most important accounts in the country he needs the best photographer for this job and that one is Nikki Cartwright. He has worked with Nikki before, eighteen months ago to be precise, he knows how good she is, the only problem is the kiss they shared at that time, kiss he hasn't been able to forget, there is something in Nikki that heats his blood as no other woman has done before. 
When Jonas approaches Nikki with the job proposal she is not sure about accepting it. It is a great job opportunity, one that will help her make a bigger name as a photographer but she also knows that working so close to Jonas will be very dangerous for her heart. After the kiss they shared she is already half in love with him and if she accepts the offer she will have to spend a lot of time with him, first in Las Vegas and then they will travel the world together for two weeks.
She decides to decline Jonas’ offer, she already has another job opportunity working in a political campaign, this job is not as good as Jonas’ offer but it’s safer for her heart. But Jonas won’t accept no for an answer, he calls in favors and the political campaign withdraws the offer forcing Nikki to accept Jonas job. 

Let’s start by saying I didn’t know this book was part of a series, I started to suspect it while reading it, there were some references about the older Steel brothers that made me realized this was a series. To say I was surprised that this was the tenth book in a series is an understatement, even tough I felt this book belonged to a series I can honestly say Private Arrangements can be read as a stand alone without a problem.

There were many things a liked about this book as there were others I didn’t like much. I had a problem liking Jonas, he was to cocky for my taste, the way he treated women was a bit too much for me. He’s a thirty-something guy who has never had a stable relationship, he allegedly sleeps with a different woman every night.
“...Jonas Steel. The master of one-night stands. The man who had a revolving door in his bedroom….”
I understand that in some cases the main character is a man with a reputation but in Jonas case his reputation was too much for me. I also don’t like heroes who frequent prostitutes, for me that’s a big red flag. In this book Jonas didn’t go to a brothel (he was busy with Nikki) but his little brother went after Jonas’ recommended him the brothel he likes the most in Las Vegas and of course with the great advice to bring plenty of condoms because he was going to need them. 

Nikki is the sweet girl who dreams with the perfect man, kids and a the house with the white picket fence. I liked that she knew what she was getting into, she is a smart woman and was responsible for the consequences of her actions. 
The chemistry between Jonas and Nikki is present since the first page, it was fun seeing them try to fight it until they succumbed to temptation. The sex scenes were hot but the internal dialogues were a little bit over the top making them kind of funny. I not sure if that was Mrs. Jackson intentions, but the very florid language only helped to bring the smiles. 
"... but something about being here with him was getting to her. He was a hunter and could pick up the scent of an aroused woman a mile off. And some part of his presence, and their conversation, had turned her on. He was certain of it." - * By the way he's not a shifter or anything like that, he's a mere human, I guess with a highly developed sense of smell. * -
“She began nibbling her bottom lip, which meant she was nervous. He felt his erection throb which mean he was horny.” 
“Every single rumor she’d heard whispered about him and his deadly steady, lickity-split, seemingly mile-long tongue was true.” 
“The sensations surging through her were over the top, off the charts, mind boggling and earth-shatteringly explosive.”
“-his mind, body and soul had been taken for one hell of a ride. It’d been one damn sexual transportation that had taken him to a whole new hemisphere, maybe another universe.”
I could quote many more examples but I think you get the idea with those. Don’t take me wrong I kind of liked the flamboyance in the narrative because it made of this book an even funnier one. 

Private Arrangements was my first book by Brenda Jackson but I’m sure it won’t be my last. If you are into funny and sexy contemporary romance and like very cocky protagonists this book is for you. 

My Verdict: 3 Paws

Other books in this series 
Solid Soul
Night Heat 
Beyond Temptation
Risky Pleasure
Irresistible Forces
Quade’s Babies
Intimate Seduction
Hidden Pleasures
A Steele for Christmas
Private Arrangements

Other reviews Goodreads

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Movie Trailer: The Dictator

The Dictator is an upcoming film written and starring by Sacha Baron Cohen. This is Baron Cohen's fourth film.

From iMDB: "The heroic story of a dictator who risks his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed."

Trailer


Movie Poster




Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: Firelight by Kristen Callihan



Title: Firelight
Author: Kristen Callihan
SeriesDarkest London, book 1
GenreParanormal Historical Romance
PublisherForever
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“London, 1881Once the flames are ignited . . .

Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented. Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities. Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman.

They will burn for eternity . . .

Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man. Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride. Yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime. When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world. But the curse that haunts him cannot be denied. Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue. For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.”
Firelight is the first book in the Darkest London series by Kristen Callihan.

When a friend told me “you have to read Firelight, I know you are going to love it.” I say ok, I’m gonna add it to my TBR and I did, but then another friend said the same thing, and later another one, by then I knew I have to read Firelight ASAP and not leave it waiting in my TBR with so many other books ‘I’m gonna read someday’. Being honest I’m very glad I let my friends bullied me into reading Firelight sooner rather than later. 

The blurb is pretty explicit, I won’t add more to it, I think in this case you need to read Firelight and discover the rest of the story for yourself. 

I really love Miranda, she is not a lady in distress or anything like that, she is strong, smart, determined and loyal but at the same time she is a bit susceptible because she is different from others, she uses her beauty in a manner to distract others for her real self but if you really know her you will see that under the facade of strong and in control woman she wears there is also a vulnerable person that blames herself for things out of her control. 

Lord Archer is not your typical tortured hero, he’s a lot more. He suffers from a curse and has dedicated his life unsuccessfully in finding a cure. Because of his curse he is forced to hide behind a mask, that mask also marks him as different and makes him feel undesired and undeserving. Despite his mask and his sometimes gloomy attitude Lord Archer is charming and caring, and the more we know him the easier is to see the real man under the mask and what a man he is. 

The romance between Miranda and Lord Archer felt completely real and possible; they are two characters that complement each other perfectly and it’s easy to understand why they fell in love with each other. The chemistry between them is clear since their first encounter and their romance builds page after page, same with the sexual tension, getting to a point that you will be eagerly turning pages faster and faster waiting for their next encounter, next sweet words and dying for a simple touch between them. When we finally get what we been waiting for the feeling of rightness and satisfaction we are left with is completely worth the wait. 

The secondary characters are also well written and interesting and you can’t help yourself but want to learn more about them. Miranda’s sisters are very unique characters, I’m sure there is more to them that the few glimpses we see. Lord Archer’s friends and not so good friends are also very intriguing. I’m glad next installment of this series will be Lord Ian and Daisy’s book.

Firelight was a very nice and entertaining book, it has a good pace, even though it stalls a bit in the middle but not for long, soon after it picks up the pace again grabbing you and entangling you anew in its story. The well-written and smartly developed plot with the help of a gothic setting makes of this debut book an even more enthralling read. 
As I said before I’m very happy my friends bullied me into reading this book, now it’s my turn to tell you this is a book you must read. Firelight is a book that will appeal to historical, paranormal, and urban fantasy lovers, that means all of you. 
I’m planning to read in the following days the prequel of this series called Ember and needless to say I’m looking forward to August 1st to the release of the next installment of this series, Moonglow

My Verdict: 4 ½ Paws

Other books in this series
Ember (prequel)
Firelight
Moonglow (August 1st)
Winterblaze (2013)

Other reviews Goodreads

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Covers of the World: Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Today in Covers of the World we have Magic Strikes, third book in the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. 

English US Edition
English UK Edition
Audiobook Edition
French First Edition
French Reissue Edition
German Edition
Czech Edition
Spanish Edition
Polish Edition

Ok, where to start with these covers. I like the English US Edition but I think the Polish Edition with the different background looks better. I don't know what to say about the French First Edition, it's just bad and it doesn't have any relevance with the book. But the worst cover in my opinion is the Spanish Edition, the model is so skinny that is scary, I hate covers with anorexic models. 
My favorite covers are between the German Edition and the Polish Edition. I don't know what is with the Polish covers but all I have seen are exceptionally good. 
Which of these covers is your favorite and least favorite?


Monday, February 20, 2012

Review: Tainted Soul by Sam C. Leonhard


Title: Tainted Soul
AuthorSam C. Leonhard
SeriesTainted, book 2
GenreM/M Fantasy, M/M Urban Fantasy
PublisherDreamspinner Press
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“Gabriel Jordan, part-time werewolf and full-time private investigator, should be living a happy life. Three years ago, he was a homeless thief; now he’s got a loving partner and a job he enjoys, he lives in a nice house, and he doesn’t have to worry about tomorrow. So why the sudden urge to cheat on Aleksei, the handsome and occasionally deceptive fae he loves? Why does Gabriel feel compelled to flee the life he’s built for himself?

Someone’s calling him. Someone’s looking for him. Someone holds his destiny in her hands. The portals to the hidden worlds have become unstable, even dangerous. Fear and madness linger in the dark. Panic and nightmares chase him, but Gabriel can’t fight an enemy he can’t see, and even turning into his wolf form may not be enough to save him.”
Tainted Soul is the second book in the Tainted series by Sam C. Leonhard. 

Tainted Soul starts three years after events in Tainted Blood (first book). Gabriel and Aleksei have been living a happy life, Aleksei is doing his researches and trying to find out to which other race Gabe belongs to and Gabriel is working at his detective firm, thanks to his ability to use the portals he especializes with great success in finding missing family members in other worlds. 

Things were going well until couple of weeks ago when Gabriel started to feel as if somebody was calling him, the same voice is putting ideas in his head, and urging him to hurt and leave Aleksei. Because of this voice Gabe has done things he’s not proud of and his relationship with Aleksei is in jeopardy, to add to all this he is forgetting things and day by day his memory is getting worse. 

Aleksei knows there is something going on with Gabe, his behavior has been erratic at times although he doesn’t admit it. Aleksei wants to help him but for that he needs Gabe to be honest with him. At the same time Aleksei is very busy, the Fae Council asked him to investigate the portals, they have become unstable and people using them are disappearing or losing their lives. 

Tainted Soul has a very different feeling from Tainted Blood, Tainted Blood was more like an m/m erotic paranormal romance while Tainted Soul feels more like a mix between m/m fantasy and urban fantasy. There are still hot scenes but not as many as in Tainted Blood

I liked Gabe but during the first chapters he made my heart ache and more than once I wanted to slap him and beg him to be honest with Aleksei. I understand he thinks he is getting crazy, hearing voices and all that but many things he did could have been avoided if he was honest from the beginning. 

Aleksei is one of my favorite characters, I loved his cool demeanor and how rational he is, I think he’s the perfect balance that Gabe needs in his life. His love for Gabe was proved page after page and while Gabe gave me heartache, my heart broke for Aleksei. Their relationship is tested many times in this book, hard decisions will have to be made and hard truths will be known. 

We see characters from previous books, they all have come a long way and their changes are noticeable in this book. New characters are introduced, some we will love, some we will hate and some others we won’t know what to think about them. The story is told from different points of view, the change between narrators is smooth and easy to follow. Sometimes I don’t like when there are many narrators but in this case it works perfectly with the story. 

In Tainted Soul Mrs. Leonhard created a story with a fluid pace, strong characters and with all the different worlds and different races a rich world building. I really hope this series continue, I would love to see more of Gabe, Aleksei and their new family.
Tainted Soul can be read as a stand alone but I recommend you to read it after Tainted Blood to understand better where the characters are coming from. 

My Verdict: 4 Paws


Other books in the series
Tainted Blood
Tainted Soul

Other reviews Goodreads

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Animated Short: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore


Yesterday a friend shared this beautiful short on her Facebook page. After seeing The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore I knew I have to share it with you. I hope you love it as much as I did. 


From The Huffington Post: "Books have the power to transfix a reader. A turn of the page provides an alternate story to live, be it a line prose or a hefty epic. Moonbot Studios' animated short "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" highlights the delight of literature through its very own story.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore was one of five nominations for the 2012 Academy Awards' Best Animated Short category, announced Jan. 24. The Shreveport, Louisiana-based studio released the short as its first animation project.

Directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, the 15-minute film draws from Hurricane Katrina, "The Wizard of Oz," Buster Keaton and, of course, a love for books. The story starts in New Orleans with the Keaton-like Mr. Morris Lessmore writing a book on the balcony of a hotel. A menacing storm swirls into town, blowing away houses and street signs, taking Mr. Lessmore and his unfinished book with it. Lessmore is transported to a land filled with fluttering novels; a land where he can dedicate his life to filling his book with the abundance of words he is now surrounded with.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore has already won 13 awards, including "Best Animated Short" and "Audience Award Winner" at the Austin Film Festival, and "Best Animated Short" at the Cinequest Film Fest."



Friday, February 17, 2012

Review: The Legacy of Eden by Nelle Davy


TitleThe Legacy of Eden
AuthorNelle Davy
GenreFiction, Family Saga, Drama
Publisher: MIRA
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“ ‘To understand what it meant to be a Hathaway, you'd first have to see Aurelia.’  
For generations, Aurelia was the crowning glory of more than three thousand acres of Iowa farmland and golden cornfields. The estate was a monument to matriarch Lavinia Hathaway's dream to elevate the family name - no matter what relative or stranger she had to destroy in the process. It was a desperation that wrought the downfall of the Hathaways - and the once prosperous farm.  
Now the last inhabitant of the decaying old home has died - alone. None of the surviving members of the Hathaway family want anything to do with the farm, the land, or the memories.  
Especially Meredith Pincetti. Now living in New York City, for seventeen years Lavinia's youngest grandchild has tried to forget everything about her family and her past. But with the receipt of a pleading letter, Meredith is again thrust into conflict with the legacy that destroyed her family's once-great name. Back at Aurelia, Meredith must confront the rise and fall of the Hathaway family... and her own part in their mottled history.  
‘Our farm was like the world when people still thought it was flat. And when you left it, it was as if you had simply sailed too far and fallen off the surface into the void.’ "

The Legacy of Eden is the family saga of the Hathaway family told by Meredith (Hathaway) Pincetti’s POV, her recollections of the past and the memories shared by her grandmother Lavinia on her deathbed. The story includes the lives of three generations of Hathaways, starting with Meredith’s grandparents Cal and Lavinia, followed by her parents generation including her uncle and aunt and her own generation, the one she shared with her sisters Ava and Claudia and her cousin Cal Jr. Her reminiscences goes from present to past in an easy way to follow.

Aurelia is the Hathaway estate, a estate they were very proud of and an estate they blamed for their downfall as a family, when the only responsible was the matriarch of the family, Lavinia, her greediness and her manipulations. 
Aurelia is a character in itself and despite many allegories that the Hathaways did horrible things for Aurelia I could’t find one. They worked the land and made it prosperous, they didn’t cheat or steal, their progress was a result of hard work, smart investments and good vision. Even though I tried I couldn't see why the hate towards the land, yes, there were bad memories but also there were many good ones. 

During the whole story they were suggestions to a big secret that destroyed the family and when the big secret was revealed I was like really? That was the secret? Also, I knew that was happening or was gonna happened because other references in the book. So in the end the big secret that destroyed the family wasn’t that big, don’t take me wrong is something awful, but it just shows how broken they already were if that event was the downfall of the family. 

The sisters animosity was also very difficult to digest, I expected them to forgive each other and leave the past behind, after all they are what’s left of their family but they preferred to hold to their grudges and sadly keep on going as they were. 

The Legacy of Eden is a story of betrayals, envy, greedy, scandals, abuse, lies and many conflicts. It’s well pace and with interesting characters. The Legacy of Eden is not happy read, is a very emotional one that will leave you drained and with heartache. If you like family sagas full of mystery and drama this book is for you, if you are looking for a happy ending steer clear of this book. 

My Verdict: 3 Paws

Other reviews Goodreads

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Review: Horizon by Sophie Littlefield


Title: Horizon
AuthorSophie Littlefield
SeriesAftertime Trilogy,
book 3
GenreDystopian, Post Apocalyptic, Zombies
Publisher: Luna
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book

*Warning: This book contain spoilers from previous book of this trilogy.*
“Cass Dollar is a survivor. She's overcome the meltdown of civilization, humans turned mindless cannibals, and the many evils of man.

But from beneath the devastated California landscape emerges a tendril of hope. A mysterious traveler arrives at New Eden with knowledge of a passageway North—a final escape from the increasingly cunning Beaters. Clutching this dream, Cass and many others decamp and follow him into the unknown.

Journeying down valleys and over barren hills, Cass remains torn between two men. One—her beloved Smoke—is not so innocent as he once was. The other keeps a primal hold on her that feels like Fate itself. And beneath it all, Cass must confront the worst of what's inside her—dark memories from when she was a Beater herself. But she, and all of the other survivors, will fight to the death for the promise of a new horizon….”
Horizon is the third and last book in the Aftertime Trilogy by Sophie Littlefield.

Let me tell you a story before I start with my review. When I got Horizon I didn’t know it was part of a trilogy, after realizing this I started to ask around if it was necessary to read previous books and all the answers I got were rotund yeses. Ok, after that I knew what I have to do; if I'm being honest I wasn’t too happy to add two extra books to my already insane TBR. But now, after reading them all, I’m very glad I did it, not only because all the books were great but because without previous books Horizon wouldn’t have made any sense.
Another thing I didn’t know was that this book was far from being the YA dystopian I thought it was. Yes, it’s a dystopian, but a very adult one. 

Cass, Dor, Simmi, Ruthie and Smoke are living at New Eden, the refugee camp where they last arrived in Rebirth (second book). 
Three months have passed, Cass has come a long way but now she’s going downhill. She is drinking again and her actions are not only affecting her but are starting to affect others. People are noticing her erratic behavior and are keeping their distance from her. Smoke has been in a coma for over three months, this is also taking a toll on Cass. Dor is in a relationship with a woman he met in New Eden named Valerie, but still he is having an secret affair with Cass. Simmi has a group of friends her age and is relatively happy. Ruthie is improving day by day, she’s talking, playing and living almost a normal life for a child her age.

Everything is going well, New Eden is located in a complex of islands surrounded by water thus inaccessible to Beaters (zombies). With Cass help they are growing plants, food in not scarce and under the circumstances life is good. Smoke wakes up from his coma, he’s still very weak but improving day by day. Cass is happy he is awake but now her feelings are in turmoil, she loves Smoke but she can’t forget he abandoned her and Ruthie to avenge his friends, he left without even say goodbye. Also she can’t negate the attraction she feels for Dor.
Beaters are becoming smarter and more organized, they are learning from the mistakes of other Beaters and soon they are learning to swim. Because of this New Eden is not the safe heaven it was and New Edenites including Cass and her gang need to abandon it and look for a safer place where they can start a new life again.
During their exodus and group of horse riders come to their aid. They come from the East with stories of a safe camp up North, were not Beaters nor blue-leafed Kaysev exists. After some general consensus they start their journey up North to this new land of hope, a journey full of dangers, with many Beaters encounters and other dangers along their way. 

Horizon as previous books in this series was a heart wrenching one. Cass is a very flawed character, she is broken and trying to put her pieces together, she struggles everyday and fails as much as she succeeds. She feels so real is painful to see her suffer. Despite all her mistakes she is better and page after page she is slowly getting better, her road ahead is a hard one, she will always have to fight with herself because she’s her worst enemy. She will never be perfect, but I have hope she will be ok. 
There is a love triangle between Cass, Smoke and Dor, but with everything that is happening there is not time for love. It’s more like Cass is in a standby, analyzing her life and who is really the person she wants in her life; coming to that realization even though it was hard to watch and I was rooting for Dor, I can say it felt honest and I was happy with her decision and they whys behind it. 
Dor is a force to reckon, he is playing the underdog in New Eden, he doesn’t want to created problems between the groups but when there was a need for a leader who knew how to lead he was there. He gave everything and puts his life in danger to save others many times. His love and admiration for Cass is noticeable, he sees her as she really is and still loves her and wants her because he also see the good in her. 
We learn more about Smoke's past and they why of his many actions, this made me understand him more and see he can’t change who he is, he does what he does because he needs it as a atonement to himself even if that means sacrificing his life for others. He also loves Cass, in his way and as much as that allows him. He knows something happened between Cass and Dor while he was away but he’s willing to forget and forgive because in a way he understands he was responsible. 
Even though I wanted to slap Simmi more than once I understood her behavior, she is a teenager dealing with so many things at the same time that is easy to understand her and forgive her. I liked that she thought about her actions are realized she was doing something wrong, I also liked that she came around in time of need. 
New and surprising characters are introduced, characters that will give Cass some light about her days when she was a Beater. 

The end as the whole book was a heart wrenching one but in my opinion the best it could have. It wasn’t an easy and happy one but it was the right one. 

Its amazing cast, a great world building, a fast pace and well structured plot made of Horizon a great read. Don’t expect fluffy love and butterflies, Horizon is dark, gritty, full of gore and drama, with lots of hard moments that will break your heart, but despite all this Horizon is a book of hope.

These books were my first by Mrs. Littlefield and I can guarantee you they won’t be my last. Horizon and Aftertime Trylogy in general will have an special place in my heart and my bookcase. If you like dystopian, apocalyptic and zombie literature these books are for you. 

My Verdict: 4 ½ Paws

Other books in the series
Aftertime
Rebirth
Horizon

Other reviews Goodreads

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