So this past week I revisted old favorite authors like Lynsay Sands, Jeannine Frost, Richelle Mead and Katie MacAlister, reveled in the new finds of Dakota Cassidy and stuck by the commitments made to PC and Kristen Cast. I ran the spectrum from young adult to paranormal romance with some serious and some hilarious and even finished the end of a beloved series. (Big snotty cry to that!)
1) Destined - Book 9, House of Night Series, P.C. and Kristen Cast, St. Martin's Press, October 2011.
Zoey is finally home where she belongs, safe with her Guardian Warrior, Stark, by her side, and preparing to face off against Neferet – which would be a whole lot easier if the High Counsel saw the ex-High Priestess for what she really is. Kalona has released his hold on Rephaim, and, through Nyx's gift of a human form, Rephaim and Stevie Rae are finally able to be together – if he can truly walk the path of the Goddess and stay free of his father's shadow…
But there are new forces at work at the House of Night. An influx of humans, including Lenobia’s handsome horse whisperer, threatens their precarious stability. And then there’s the mysterious Aurox, a jaw-droppingly gorgeous teen boy who is actually more – or possibly less – than human. Only Neferet knows he was created to be her greatest weapon. But Zoey can sense the part of his soul that remains human, the compassion that wars with his Dark calling. And there’s something strangely familiar about him…
Will Neferet’s true nature be revealed before she succeeds in silencing them all? And will Zoey be able to touch Aurox’s humanity in time to protect him – and everyone – from his own fate? Find out what’s destined in the next thrilling chapter of the House of Night series.
The House of Night series, for me, started out so fresh and exciting and really pushed YA Paranormal to a new edge. Sadly, the series took a shame spiral into teen drama-llama land and it was almost embarrassing to admit my secret obesession with Zoe the Ho and her many men. This installment was better than the past couple because it returned to some of it's roots - an ensemble cast of characters that are far stronger together than separate. Nevertheless, when tragedy strikes, these author's have no compunction about knocking off beloved characters much to the readers' dismay! I give 3 chocolate covered strawberries. But I did dig Aurox so I might throw in a half strawberry for him alone!
2) The Bite Before Christmas, Lynsay Sands and Jeanine Frost, Harper Collins, October 2011
The Gift by Lynsay Sands
Teddy Brunswick knows about the immortals among us. He’s worked with them, called them friend—but he never counted on being snowed in with one over Christmas. Katricia Argeneau is a tasty little bundle and she seems to feel the same way about him. Problem is, he’s not sure she feels quite the same way. After all, the snowstorm has derailed her blood delivery, which leaves him the only available meal on the menu. . . .
Home for the Holidays by Jeaniene Frost
Cat and Bones are looking forward to a normal holiday—at least as “normal” as it gets for the combustible vampire couple and their otherworldly friends and family. But their yuletide plans are shattered when a stranger shows up and reveals long-buried family secrets that threaten to take a bite out of their holiday cheer . . . and lives.
Argeneau's and Cat n Bones - can't really go wrong with this collaboration. Both stories were strong and enjoyable. Quick reads because they were novellas, both were like an appetizer sampler: little bits of your fav snacks to tide you over until the meal arrives. I give this anthology 5 chocolate dipped strawberries but must protest the wait for the Vlad spin off series and the next full length Argeneau/Rogue Hunter novel.
3) Honey, I Shrunk the Werewolf, Dakota Cassidy, Ellora's Cave, August 2011
“I’m a what?”“A werewolf.”“A werewolf who can’t remember he’s a werewolf because he has amnesia.”That pretty much sums it up. The timing couldn’t be worse, too. Just when the pain of booting her asshat of a husband to the curb has started to lessen, Ella gets stuck babysitting his hairy amnesiac ass. Well…she is a psychiatric nurse, after all. In exchange for helping Crosby rediscover his inner werewolf, Ella has the pack’s word she’ll be granted a divorce. She’ll be free to move on. Maybe continue the Twitter flirtation she’s got going with @Hairofthedog. Hey, it’s a start.But Crosby isn’t playing fair. No longer the Grand Poobah of Douchebaggery, with his memories gone, he’s more the charming, fun-loving man Ella fell in love with. How’s she supposed to hate him when he keeps smiling and charming and, oh yeah, screwing her six ways to Sunday? Though Ella’s body is game for more physical therapy, her mind hasn’t forgotten his betrayal. Crosby will need a damn fine excuse for what he’s done.As it turns out, he has one—and it’s a doozy.
Dakota Cassidy is every bit as funny in print as in real life. This woman is a scream - the crazy shit that comes out of her character's mouths actually comes out of hers as well (she was at AAD this year). I loved this story - fairly short, absolutely hilarious and sexy to boot! How can you not love that combination. Ella is a hot mess who just wants a Prince Charming. How can you not love her for that? Revenge sex sounds far more fun with some amnesia thrown in (rubs hands together and plots....hmmmmmmm). I give this short snort 5 chocolate dipped strawberries! Dakota earned an auto-buy status from this reader!
4) Much Ado about Vampires, Moravian Dark Ones book 9, Katie MacAlister, Penguin Publishing, October 2011
Corazon Ferreira is a jaded woman. Turns out she was a vampire's mate in a past life. And no matter how distractingly gorgeous he is, she just can't get the image of him killing someone out of her head. But when her life depends on him, Corazon's going to have to stop overthinking things-and start trusting her heart...
I admit it - I am a girl who loves a laugh with her smutty romance! Katie Mac has my number. Her Moravian Dark Ones are romantic, kooky adventures of the fangy sort and range from YA to all adult! It's nice to see characters return, it's like seeing family at holidays - a little comforting, a little exciting to catch up, thrilling to hear news. Her writing style and voice are genuinely enjoyable, humor flows like water and never feels forced - her heroines are the hot mess girl next door who's your BFF and you just love her. Her heroes are hotter than hell and love eternally, often against their better judgement. MacAlister knows how to make two wrongs very right! I give this installment 4 and a half chocolate dipped strawberries - only cause I was on a diet the day I read it and felt 5 was over indulgent!
5) Succubus Revealed, Georgia Kincaid book 6, Richelle Mead, Bantam Books, September 2011
Georgina Kincaid has had an eternity to figure out the opposite sex, but sometimes they still surprise her. Take Seth Mortensen. The man has risked his soul to become Georgina's boyfriend. Still, with Lucifer for a boss, Georgina can't just hang up her killer heels and settle down to domestic bliss. In fact, she's being forced to transfer operations...to Las Vegas.The City of Sin is a dream gig for a succubus, but Georgina's allies are suspicious. Why are the powers-that-be so eager to get her away from Seattle - and from Seth? Georgina is one of Hell's most valuable assets, but if there's any way out of the succubus business she plans to take it - no matter how much roadkill she leaves behind. She just hopes the casualties won't include the one man she's risking everything for...
I adore Richelle Mead's writing. Most well known for her YA Vampire Academy series, she also dabbles in the Urban Fantasy world with her amazing heroines Georgia Kincaid and Eugenie Thorn. Both series are excellent but my fav sassy bookselling succubus of Seattle Georgia and her nerdy author love Seth are in my top three romantic couples (Darcy and Lizzie, followed by Cat and Bones...what can I say? I a classic, paranormal hodgepodge mess!) The final installment in the series, Succubus Revealed, tortures the reader with more twists and turns in the ill fated love of Georgia and Seth. Without giving the end away, I will say that I was more than pleased with the ending but had to take a pause for a few sheets of TP when I ran out of tissues in the bedside box....yes, it was a happy cry! Definitely worthy of 5 chocolate dipped strawberries - this is one series that is worth the investment!
That's all from me this week - catch 'round the next humpday! Ciao for now!