Behind on Book Reviews

Well, I seem to be doing a good job reading and a poor job of rating and writing reviews for the books I’ve read. Grr. I’m going to try to make amends to that – and quickly!! Normally, I like to do one book per post, but in the interest of getting back on track, I’m going to combine a couple.

Blood_and_SandFirst up is Blood and Sand (Elemental World #2) by Elizabeth Hunter. I fell in love with B and Gio of the Elemental Mysteries series. That love now continues with the characters featured in the Elemental World series. This time we got an in-depth look at Baojia, and what a fascinating character he is! Natalie was the perfect match for him. It was nice to see the cool and calm Baojia become a nervous, possessive wreck when it came to the stubborn reporter. The underlying murders and the inclusion of several of my favorite characters kept me glued to my Kindle.

I didn’t expect to become so focused on or intrigued by the quiet Baojia, but it happened. I really liked this read. Really. This is a must read for anyone who likes fast-paced vampire stories with sexy hotties and their tough as nails females.

Elizabeth Hunter can be found at http://elizabethhunterwrites.com/

5 out of 5 stars!

The next book featured here is Forged in Steele (KGI #7) by Maya Banks. I just finished reading it last night so it is fresh in my mind. This was the story of Mr. Quiet-Show-No-Emotion Steele. He has played a role in several of the other books so the Forged_in_Steelereader had a good idea about his character.

While I love the KGI series and the Kelly’s, this one didn’t do it for me. I’ve been thinking about what bothered me, and I finally decided it was the dialogue between Steele and Maren. For being the “ice man” Steele sure professed his emotions and feelings in great lengths as the book progressed (as in gag, I don’t think I’ve heard a man ever say half of what Steele professed to Maren). To me it didn’t fit his character. I also wished Ms. Banks would have given us more about his childhood and the loss of his family. It felt like she mentioned it (more like glossed over it), and that was it. I wish more time would have been spent on that as it made him the man he is.

The rest of the KGI bunch was in on the sap-fest. Rachel had the twins while the entire KGI clan (teams included) hung out in the waiting area of the hospital. I have a hard time believing all those bad asses were content to wait while she went through labor. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they showed their support, but it was a bit much.

Hancock was a surprising bright spot in this book. I’m very intrigued by what makes this man tick and for whom he works. He is an enigma in the midst of happy-happy-joy-joy. Sorry, I really did like Steele and Marin, but I didn’t buy into their quick relationship or the less than worthy villain.

I’m going to be the “bad guy” and give this one 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Catch-up or Ketchup?

I don’t know where the time has gone of late, but my poor blog has been neglected! I figured I would take this Monday morning post to catch everyone up on what’s new (and just maybe) exciting with me! The “ketchup” part of my blog title is in reference to the upcoming 4th holiday. Plus, it just seemed to fit! Hee hee!

On the Writing Front:

  • I got edits back from Books to Go Now on my erotica story, Latin Heat. Yay!  I hope to get them back to BTGN in the next day or two. Hopefully, I will have cover art to share in the near future.
  • Avery’s just finished editing her submission for Torquere Press’s Charity Sip. The charity this year is OutServe. Such a great cause! She’s titled it Drama on Skyline Drive. Hopefully you will get to read about Mason and Jax in another park adventure!
  • Speaking of Jax and Mason, Jax was featured on Torquere’s blog, Romance for the Rest of Us. He took part in an interview recently. You can check out the post here.

On the Reading Front:

  • Last night I finished A Sinner Born by Avril Ashton. I have to say that I was so tired trying to get through the end that I’m going to go back and re-read, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
  • Maybe two days ago, I finished Blood and Sand by Elizabeth Hunter. I need to write the review, but this one is getting 5 stars! Whoo hoo!!

Anything else…

  • No hiking or cycling since I’m still prohibited from exercising.
  • I’m hoping to get to the movies over the holiday weekend. Maybe I’ll have something to report next week *wink*
  • I haven’t been sketching, which makes me sad. The weather hasn’t been good for being outside, but I’m getting the itch to work on some flower pics. Plus, I picked up blank watercolor cards at the store. I’m hoping to experiment with them soon. I figure I will need the practice if I want to make my own Christmas cards this year!
  • I am back to knitting. I started an easy shawl pattern. Sadly, there’s no lace in it, but maybe once I finish this one (successfully), I can attempt one with some lace. I did have a close call with it yesterday: I dropped a yarn over stitch. Thanks to mom for coming to the rescue!

Okay, enough ramblings…it’s time to edit!

Fav Reads of 2012

Before I get to my “best of” picks, I’m going to look at my top 5 favorite reads from 2012. These books were not necessarily published in 2012 but were some of my favorites. Did any of these make your list??

Top 5 Favorite Reads

  1. Building from Ashes (Elemental World #1) by Elizabeth Hunter. I’m cheating with this one because I enjoyed alBuilding_From_Ashesl the Elemental Mysteries series (all but one of those books received 5 out of 5 stars; Gio and B rock as a couple). Building from Ashes is Carwyn and Brigid’s story. It was sweet and entertaining. Patrick Murphy was a hoot. I look forward to reading more from this author. Genre: Paranormal Romance/ Fantasy
  2. Home Work (Life Lessons #3) by Kaje Harper. Mac and Tony are one of my favorite fictional couples. I loved reading how they came together to make a family with Anna and Ben. Also, Oliver’s acceptance of Mac was awesome. Not to mention the wedding. Ok, I’ll stop now! LOL Genre: M-M romance.
  3. Born of Silence (The League #5) by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I love The League series. The setting and characters are fabulous. This was Darling’s book. He was such a complex character who suffered so much you just had to love him. Maris rocked in this one. I can’t wait for his book. Genre:  Fantasy/ Paranormal Romance
  4. Frog by Mary Calmes. Incredible novella. Cy had such a big heart. Loved Web. Two different people from different worlds who find a long-lasting love. Genre: M-M romance.
  5. Sins of the Demon (Kara Gillian #4) by Diana Rowland. Kara is an awesome character. She’s a summoner who is also a police detective in Louisiana. Diana includes great secondary characters and a tease of romance. Looking forward to the next book arriving from Amazon any day now. Genre: Fantasy/ Paranormal

I know there are several other books that could have made this list. It really was a tough decision. Maybe some of your favorites will be on my “best of” list.

Regardless, keep reading! There are lots of good books and series out there no matter your genre-preference.

Blah

It is Sunday night already. Where did my weekend go? I wish I knew. Let’s see if I can figure it out…

Friday night I had to work. My feet absolutely killed me by the end of the night, which didn’t come until past midnight.

Saturday was a reading and writing day. I finally have a completed first draft for a story I want to submit to an anthology. I am so excited! The deadline isn’t until after the holidays, but I am so many other stories in various forms of completion, I wanted to get this one wrapped up so I could go back to working on longer pieces. I am going to talk about the reading in just a minute…

Sunday started with a chilly early morning bike ride. The new bike did well other than some annoying noises towards the end of the ride. I am hoping my bumpy ride didn’t knock anything important loose. Plus, my elbows and wrists were nearly numb by the time I finished. I am blaming this on the short stem length. I figured I would have to get a longer one, this ride just proved that thought right. It was nice and cool today – yep, sure did feel like fall – so I went for a walk this afternoon in between watching football. I didn’t get any writing done today – darn it, but I did research some e-book publishers for a romance story. That has to count for something, right?

Ok, finally to the reading portion of the weekend. I finished A Fall of Water today. This was book four in the Elemental Mysteries series by Elizabeth Hunter. I could go on and on about this book. In fact, can I give it 6 stars?? 5 stars doesn’t seem to do it justice. I fell in love with this series. The plot was intriguing and fast paced. Loved, loved, loved the characters. B & Gio rocked. But the secondary characters were just as interesting – Carwyn, Ben, Tenzin, and all the other vampires who came together to help the good guys against Lorenzo and Livia.

If you are looking for a good mystery with a unique view on vampires that has lots of romance, this is a series for you. Be sure to check out the Elemental Mysteries website at http://elementalmysteries.com/ And stay tuned – on October 23rd, the first book in the Elemental World series will be released. It is titled Building from Ashes. This is Carwyn’s book – yay!!

The Force of Wind

I’m totally hooked on the Elemental Mysteries series by Elizabeth Hunter. I’m currently 63% done with the third book in the series, The Force of Wind. For my #SampleSunday I wanted to highlight a cute passage in the book (trust me, it was difficult to pick just one). Most of this book has been set on Mount Penglai, a hidden island near China. The Eight Immortals live here of whom Tenzin’s father is one. B, Gio, and Baojia (B’s bodyguard courtesy of her uncle) travel to the island. To keep things interesting, guess who also shows up?? Lorenzo. Needless to say, things are a bit tense for the good guys.

Ok, getting to the scene. Baojia has been flirting with B during weapons training and letting his feelings be known despite the fact her lover (Gio) is a powerful fire vampire. After training, B returns to Gio, and he immediately picks up that something isn’t right – she seems guilty. She explains that Baojia was flirting with her.

“Yeah.” She waved a hand. “He was joking about ‘knowing your options’ about weapons and, you know, there’s some kind of obvious jokes and . . . yeah, just being silly.”

Gio doesn’t cut her any slack so she chucks a pillow at his head, hitting him square in the face. He then tells her, “You’re very cute when your embarrassed.” She clarifies that she’s not embarrassed, just irritated.

Gio then asks, “Did he ask if you wanted to play with his sword?” Her response is “Stop.” She continued with “I’ll have you know,” she said, gasping, “I told him that I only like European spears.”

I suppose I should have included the conversation between her and Baojia. He has a spear in each hand and asks her if she prefers European spears or Asian spears? She, of course, answers European as Gio is Italian. However, the spear she takes from Baojia is Asian.

I am really enjoying this book. Things are progressing quickly . . . I fear the battle with Lorenzo is not far off. Guess I will have to wait and see!

Happy Hump Day

Hallelujah! Hump Day is upon us! For some reason, this week seems to be dragging. While I am looking forward to the weekend, it is going to be rather busy (i.e., no break in sight). I seem to be in a writing slump so I’m going to give a quick update of my happenings thus far.

  • Haven’t been writing, and I need to – have two stories that are really close to being finished
  • I’m still reading – totally hooked on the Elemental Mysteries series by Elizabeth Hunter. I’m 87% done with book two, This Same Earth  (I don’t want to spoil anything, but much more romance in this book; things are moving along between Gio and Beatrice)
  • Haven’t ridden my bike since Sunday, but I purchased a lock for it today. Think it will come in handy for the weekend. I also found out that I need a different stem as my position is too compact.
  • My team lost *frowns* In case you aren’t aware, my team is the Steelers. I also lost in fantasy football by a mere 0.8 points. Grr! So close, and yet still a loss!

Preview for the weekend . . . the 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle of Antietam http://www.nps.gov/anti/index.htm. There is also a separate reenactment http://150thantietamreenactment.com/. Given the number of visitors expected to swamp the area, I’m thinking travel by bike is the best course of action. I’ve located some of my photos from a past September morn at Antietam. I will leave you with one of them.