21 July 2011

Review: Spell Bound by Kelley Armstrong

Title: Spell Bound
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Women of the Otherworld #12
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Release Date: July 26, 2011
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Edition: Hardcover
Source: NetGalley

It's been ten years since Bitten, the first novel in Kelley Armstrong's New York Times bestselling Otherworld series. In that time hundreds of thousands of fans have ravenously devoured the adventures of Armstrong's witches, demons, and werewolves. Now, in Spell Bound, she brings them all together for her most sweeping tale yet.

Savannah Levine is in terrible danger, and for once she's powerless to help herself. At the heartbreaking conclusion of Waking the Witch, Savannah swore that she would give up her powers if it would prevent further pain for a young orphan. Little did she know that someone would take her up on that promise.

And now, witch-hunting assassins, necromancers, half-demons, and rogue witches all seem to be after her. The threat is not just for Savannah; every member of the Otherworld might be at risk. While most of her fellow supernaturals are circling the wagons at a gathering of the council in Miami, Savannah is caught on the road, isolated from those who can protect her and unable to use her vast spell-casting talent, the thing she counts on most. In a story that will change the shape of the Otherworld forever, Armstrong gathers Elena, Clay, Paige, Lucas, Jamie, Hope, and other beloved characters, who soon learn that the greatest threat to supernaturals just may come from within.

We were left with a huge cliffhanger at the end of the previous book, Waking the Witch. Spell Bound starts just were it left of. Savanah tries really hard to function without her powers but she doesn't succeed. You can see traces of the teenage Savanah at the beginning but once she confronts her fears, she becomes a much more mature person, and in my opinion, you can finally see that she's an adult.

The relationship between Adam and Savanah is not going that well either and there were times I wanted to hit them both upside the head. They had so many issues that could have been avoided if they had just talked to each other that it got a little tiring. Fortunately, there was some progress on that front.

The main plot Arc, that started in Waking the Witch and finishes in book 13 - which, by the way, is the last book in the series - develops nicely in this one. There were plenty of bad guys and I liked the idea of a new generation of supernaturals that were stronger than ever and had abilities unseen before or extinct.

One of the things I liked the most is that all the previous characters from the other books appear in this one and you get updates on their lives, but at the same time they don't eclipse Savannah's story. You also get to see plenty of Savannah's brothers, who have always interested me.

All in all, this was a great book with a lot of action, character development (especially in Savannah's case), a very interesting plot and the appearence of plenty of loved past characters of the series.
I will admit that I was expecting more on the romance front, but I hope the final book delivers on this front.

Previous Books:
1. Bitten
2. Stolen
3. Dime Store Magic
4. Industrial Magic
5. Haunted
6. Broken
7. No Humans Involved
8. Personal Demon
9. Living with the Dead
10. Frost Bitten
11. Waking the Witch - Review

Next Book:
13. Untitled (Summer 2012)


20 July 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (44)

Title: Ghost Story
Author: Jim Butcher
Series: Dresden Files #13
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: July 26, 2011
Publisher: Roc
Edition: Hardcover

* Spoilers. Don't read if you haven't finished Changes*

When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn't doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin.

But being dead doesn't stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has nobody, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own.

To save his friends-and his own soul-Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic...

Review: Playing Dirty by Susan Andersen

Title: Playing Dirty
Author: Susan Andersen
Series: Sisterhood Diaries #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: July 26, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Source: NetGalley

When high school golden boy Cade Gallari publicly revealed he’d slept with “fat girl” Ava Spencer to win a bet, he broke her heart. Now a decade older and a head-turner with her own concierge business, Ava isn’t the gullible dreamer she once was—and she plans to prove it when Cade, hotter than ever, breezes back into town with an offer she can’t refuse.

A documentary film producer, Cade is shooting a movie about the mysterious mansion Ava inherited. And he wants her as his personal concierge. She’s certainly professional enough to be at his beck and call without giving him everything he wants. Like another shot at having her in his bed. But Ava doesn’t count on Cade’s determination. Because he’s never gotten over her. And he’s not above playing dirty to score a second chance at a red-hot future…

Ada, the heroine, was humiliated and left with a broken heart because of Cade, the hero. When the meet again years later, they both have changed.
At first, all you can do is hate Cade, but as the story evolves you realize that there's more to him than what meets the eye and I really liked getting to know him.
Ada had some weight problems when she was younger, and her friends were the only ones that really accepted her. I couldn't stand her parents but I liked that Ada stood up for herself.

I wanted Cade to grovel more and Ada to fully accept her curves, but aside from that, it was a light and very enjoyable read.
You get to see the heroines of the previous two books of this trilogy and glimpse a little of their lives after their HEA.

There was some mystery surrounding the house the three friends inherited and I have to say that the outcome was very predictable.
This was a perfect beach read with a pair of interesting characters that have a sweet and steamy romance but was predictable at times.

Memorable Lines:
She’d cut him off at the knees the other times he’d sought her out over the years to apologize, but if acknowledging his regret would move him along to a place where they didn’t have to hash over the past, then, fine. She’d grant him his damn redemption.
“You forgive me then?”
Hell, no. That would be a snowboarding day in hell.

Previous Books:

1. Cutting Loose
2. Bending the Rules


19 July 2011

Review: Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

Title: Spellbound
Author: Cara Lynn Shultz
Series: -
Genre: YA

Release Date: June 28, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Edition: Paperback
Source: Bought

Life hasn't been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Connor, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she's irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.

But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can't stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma's been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.

I read this book in one sitting. The pacing was fast from beginning to end and I was pulled into the story from the very first page.
I liked that this was a stand alone novel, rare these days, and that while it does involve the paranormal, it doesn't eclipse the rest of the story.

The characters had strong and distinctive personalities and it was very interesting seeing them evolve through the book.
While the romance between Emma and Brendan was sweet, at times it was clich├ęd, including a denial that what was happening was real and the hero giving the cold shoulder to the heroine out of the blue (which, by the way, really frustrated me).

Emma was a strong character and I liked that after all that happened to her in the past she still could be a funny, snarky girl instead of being filled with angst.
As for Brendan, he was at times a really nice guy, but others, he was a jerk. It doesn't mean that I didn't like him, it's just that I'm kind of tired of those kind of heroes in nowadays books.

This was a fast paced book with a little bit of magic and a whole lot of romance.
In other words, to me, it was a perfect comfort read.


11 July 2011

Review: Only Mine by Susan Mallery

Title: Only Mine
Author: Susan Mallery
Series: Fool's Gold #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: July 26, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Source: NetGalley
You can’t win if you don’t play…

Her town’s lack of men may make headlines, but it isn’t news to Dakota Hendrix. The beautiful blonde has bigger problems to deal with, such as overseeing the romance reality competition filming in Fool’s Gold. Screening eligible bachelors is a difficult enough task, but Dakota hits an unexpected snag when a sexy stranger comes to town.

Finn Anderssen will do anything to keep his twin brothers—the perfect contestants—off the show. Despite Dakota’s better judgment, she finds herself drawn to the mysterious outsider. Like her, Finn knows about heartbreak and how a family can fall apart, so she doesn’t dare to hope for anything more than a fling. After all, even in the Land of Happy Endings, finding true love is never as easy as it looks on TV.

I really liked the first three books of this series but this one disappointed me a little.
The next three books deal with the Hendrix triplets; Dakota, Montana and Nevada; and it shows. The first third of the book catches us up on what's been going on on the sisters' lifes and that slowed the novel down. The updates on the other characters, while nice, felt at times overwhelming.

The romance between Dakota, a woman who has always known what she wanted and went after it, and Finn, a man who had to give up his hopes and dreams when a tragic accident killed his parents and made him the sole guardian of his twin brothers, was steamy but predictable.
I got really frustrated with Finn at times. There's being stubborn, there's stupid pride and then there's being a blind fool. He was too much of all of them.

There was a subplot running on this book that dealt with Finn's twin brothers, and to be honest, at times their story was more interesting that the main plot. I wish we could have seen more of Stephen and his love story with Aurelia. Truth be told, I think they deserved a whole book instead of bits and pieces of this one.

The ending was nothing new but nice at the same time. This was a quick read, with an amazing cast of characters but had a predictable romance and was slow at the beginning.
Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to read the next two stories about Dakota's sisters.

Memorable Lines:
He glanced at his brother. "What are you going to do?"
Stephen was quiet for a long time. "I don’t know," he said at last. "Not go to Hollywood."
"You’d like it."
Stephen shook his head. "No. I want something different. I want..."
He didn’t complete the sentence, but then he didn’t have to. Sasha already knew. He and his twin might not share dreams, but they still knew everything about each other. Stephen wanted to find a place to belong, whatever the hell that meant.

Previous Books:
1. Chasing Perfect
2. Almost Perfect
3. Finding Perfect

Next Books:
5. Only Yours (August 30, 2011)
6. Only His (September 27, 2011)