Category Archives: book review

Guest Review: Game of Souls (The Quintessence Cycle #1) by Terry C. Simpson

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Your soul is your magic. The nobility will stop at nothing to steal it.

Keedar Giorin still remembers the night soldiers killed his mother. The Night of Blades. He was three, but the memories are written in his mind in blood, flames, scales, and his mother’s mad cackles.

Assigned by his father to save two young noblemen or risk a repeat of the massacre on his home in the Smear, Kasandar’s most lawless district, Keedar dives headlong into the mission. He uses his most secret skill, a magic that could bring the King’s Blades hunting him, a magic that could be a death sentence if reported to the wrong ears.

But even that risk is part of his father’s calculated plan. A plot to determine who was behind his mother’s death, while securing a new ally for their guild, and seeing their people rise from squalor and oppression to strive for the identity and power they have all but forgotten.

Plans, however, do not always follow the path drawn out. What will Keedar do when a count takes interest in his magic? Where will he run to when the hunt begins? Can a young man now growing into his power find a way to defeat the most ruthless of assassins?

As he watches the accursed Day of Accolades take away more children from the Smear, Keedar promises that one day he’ll stop the nobles’ exploitation of the under classes. On the same day, he encounters Winslow, a noble risking the Smear to win a chance to train with the King’s Blades. Together they become caught in a dangerous game of power, the Game of Souls.

The world the author has created in Game of Souls is fairly well sketched out. In the continent in which the story takes place there are several racial groups or kingdoms that are either at war or uneasily at peace. Our story is set mainly in the city of Kasandar in the kingdom, Kasinia. A map is thoughtfully included for the times when place names and races become a little confusing.
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Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines

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I first heard about Jim C. Hines via a mention the Dear Author blog. Jim Hines created a hilarious poem based off of the early 1990’s controversial rap song Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-A-Lot. I laughed so hard when reading his poem Baby Got Books that I had to chase down his blog.

I learned that Jim Hines wrote comedic fantasy in the same vein as The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Another Fine Myth. Delighted, I poked around his back list to locate a good starting place. I decided to start with Goblin Quest and I’m so happy I did.

I’ve been in a bit of a reading funk this year. There’s not been much that has caught my attention. But this? This was wonderful! I had so much fun while still getting every single bit of a typical fantasy adventure. !!!

I loved Jig. He’s a great character. It was funny to read the point of view from someone who is normally considered “the bad guy.” Instead of being the bad guy, Jig is a totally awesome good guy. He helps others, he loves and cares, he’s smart and canny.

I’ve purchased the rest of the books in this series. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for Jig the Goblin Hero.

Waking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly

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waking up married Photobucket Blurb:

Her first thought: “Who are you?”

It’s the morning after her cousin’s bachelorette party in Vegas and Megan Scott wakes up with the mother of all hangovers. Even worse, she’s in a stranger’s penthouse having woken up with something else as well—a funny, arrogant, sexy…husband!

Up until now, finding even a boyfriend had seemed impossible—been there, got the broken heart, sworn off men for good. Then a few martinis with Carter…no, Connor Reed and she’s gone from first meet to marriage in one night!

Megan wants a lawyer. But Connor’s shocking bombshell?

“I don’t want a divorce.”

This should have been a 4-5 star read but there were a few draggy moments in the middle that pulled the rating down.

For the most part…this is a rather cute story about finding the love of your life when you aren’t looking for it. The H/h meet in Vegas and wake up married…but that’s just the beginning.

Both characters have major hangups left over from childhood that has made forming permanent romantic relationships difficult (if not impossible). Watching them learn to trust and enjoy each other was a delight.

What started to feel flat for me was the constant effort by the heroine to “show her worst moments” so that she could run the hero off. It happened…two times to many for my personal enjoyment.

The other thing that pissed me off was the final Big Misunderstanding. (Spoiler, go to page two to see.) There were enough moments of foreshadowing for the reader to guess what the Big Mis was going to be. What surprised me was the execution of the Big Mis. I…just wasn’t feeling it.

So, the Big Mis. was a big FAIL for me.

But DAMN I loved the ending! HAWT and romantic! Plus I love the fact that her back biting cousin and friends saw that gorgeous man in love with Megan.

IF YOU CLICK THIS LINK TO PAGE 2 A BIG ASS SPOILER/RANT WILL FOLLOW. DO NOT READ THIS. ALSO, VULGAR LANGUAGE

Willams Sonoma Soup of the Day by Kate McMillan

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soup of the day Photobucket A colorful, calendar-style cookbook, Soup of the Day presents 365 recipes—and daily culinary inspiration— for soups and stews to match any season, occasion, or mood. Lavish photographs and a colorful graphic design add visual appeal to these fresh and fabulous recipes celebrating a favorite dish.ENDLESSLY VERSATILE, soup is perfect for any season and every occasion. What better way to capture the essence of spring than by simmering freshly shelled peas and fava beans in a fragrant broth accented by bracing mint and refreshing lemon zest? In summer, a cool gazpacho made by whirling perfectly ripe tomatoes, juicy cucumbers, and vibrant red peppers is fitting for a hot and humid day—no pot necessary! When the air turns brisk, soup nourishes and satisfies like no other dish. In autumn, white beans mingle with sturdy greens in satisfying, peasant-style pots, and starchy squashes and root vegetables blend into silky purées. Winter brings even more soul-warming fare, such as chilis and stews featuring sausages and other hearty meats and thick vegetable soups scented with woodsy herbs.

I have to admit to a weakness for soups.

A major weakness.

A weakness so strong that I started eating pork again (after a 10+ year hiatus) so I could get a tomato based crab soup mixed with a cream based crab soup.

Yeah. It’s like that.

This book drew me like a moth to a flame, lol!

There is only a HB version available for purchase…but I’m currently reading the ebook for review purposes. My God! These color photos makes me want to drool…and buy the hardback.

Also, I’d like to point out that it is currently Winter. I’m so not feeling the spring/summer soups right now.

I’ve completed several soups from this book. The instructions are clear, concise and easy to follow. The color photos are beautiful (and mouthwatering). The soups that I have made have been tasty and filling.

The problem that I had with this book is that – like Williams Sonoma, itself – it is not everyday accessible. A lot of the spices used are expensive and hard to locate. These are not soups that you can throw together using what’s in your (well stocked) pantry. Most of these soups will require a bit of prior planning. A lot of the soups are exotic to the “regular” palate, as well. I can’t see making a lot of these soups for children or a family weeknight dinner. A lot of these soups are more like “special occasion” soups – like using one of the (four) pumpkin soup recipes for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
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Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass

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I heard about this series and author via a recommendation at Dear Author. We were discussing the way [some] authors and [most] publishers are really screwing with the sub-genre “Urban Fantasy.” Urban Fantasy started as basically Sword & Sorcery but in a modern format and urban location. Somehow someway…Urban Fantasy became Romances with angry, sword wielding women who dressed in strings and had sex with paranormal creatures. Thank goodness someone in the comments section pointed me to this book.

This book…isn’t like that. I mean, it’s still an Urban Fantasy so it stays pretty close to the trope…but there is no emphasis on sex. The moment the heroine made a stupid decision…something bad happened to her. And there are POC characters!! Wow!

One of my favorite scenes in the book? When Khefar (hero) and Kira (heroine) are kissing and they stop. Because they have more important things to do…like planning for and killing the evil bad guy. 😀 There is no sex in this book.

This being an Urban Fantasy, Kira is the strongest Shadowchaser in quite a while. Kira is a bit of loner but it’s not because she’s angry with the world. She is gifted (or as she considers it, cursed) with a power that does not allow her to touch people in any way with her bare skin. If she touched them she would severely hurt them and possibly kill them. That puts a damper on interpersonal relationships, I’d say. She does have some really good “normal” friends but only a few – those she can trust. There is a relationship brewing in this book but it is not the focus of the story. Kira is fascinated with Khefar…but a huge portion of that comes from the fact the he is the only human she can touch.

Another thing I really liked about the book was its ethnicity and different focus. Kira is African American and Khefar is Nubian. Both Kira and Khefer worship Egyptian deities (Kira worships Ma’at and Khefar worships Isis). Egyptology is a large focus of this book (and I’m assuming the series). I haven’t ran across many (if all) fantasy books with this focus so kudos to the author!

While Kira is presented as very powerful, she is faced with a villain she cannot fight alone. She has to grow and learn teamwork during the course of the book. I appreciated the fact that Kira was shown as fallible and I hope that she will be forced into additional growth during the series. I do have a small concern: will she become too powerful? That becomes boring.

There is some info dumping at the beginning of the novel. Some of the terms are not really explained and the author leaves the reader to figure it out via context clues.

All in all, this is a fun book with great characters and a fresh background. I’m glad I ran across this author and I will be continuing this series.

How Beauty Met the Beast by Jax Garren

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This is a hard book to review.

It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I’m thinking that it is closer to the original than the Disney version.

How Beauty Met the Beast.

In this retelling Beauty is Jolie Benoit. Jolie is a burlesque dancer and the youngest daughter of a media mogul (ex: Rupert Murdoch). The Beast is Wesley “Hauk” Haukon, a severally burned and scarred ex-Army Ranger.

The story starts with Hauk and a friend being chased by some bad guys – part of a group that is run by Jolie’s father. In order to escape they drop by a (I hate to call it a strip club…) burlesque club that is run by a friend. Performing at this club is Jolie. Hauk gets a chance to see her perform and he is entranced.

After Jolie’s performance he goes to the back of the club to catch up with his friends when he runs into Jolie backstage. Jolie is changing clothes behind a white sheet. Hauk walks up to the sheet and they strike up a very short conversation that culminates in Hauk performing oral sex on Jolie through the sheet. They never actually touch or look at each other but Hauk brings Jolie to orgasm.

Afterwards Jolie is almost kidnapped and raped. Hauk saves her but she doesn’t realize that he is the same guy who ate her out via a sheet. The next day Hauk and Jolie find out her 12 y/o cousin Whitney was kidnapped at the same time. Hauk abandons his position in the Underlight for a time to assist Jolie in locating and rescuing her young cousin. It is assumed that Jolie’s attempted kidnapping (and attempted rape) and her cousin’s completed kidnapping is done to force her father in to publishing (via both TV news and Newspaper) some false story that would change the possible outcome of a major political event. The best example I can give is to imagine Rupert Murdock’s young granddaughter is kidnapped in order to have Rupert Murdock publish false information to influence the US Presidential election.

I really liked this book…but I also disliked it as well. I loved Hauk – he has been through so much and has so little. He’s such a great guy. I also liked quite a lot about Jolie. I loved that she had a gluten allergy and I loved that she was a burlesque dancer. She seemed to make her mind up quickly and didn’t come across as a helpless damsel in distress. I also loved the fact that she seemed to own her sexuality. She made no excuses for it and I ♥ that.
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Quickie: Submission (Various Authors)

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Control the day, surrender the night.

A collection of explicit erotica about the thrill of power games, erotic control and submitting to the passions of a lover.

The pleasure of surrendering to the will of another, or others, is unique. But who is really in control and who calls the shots? From the head games to the heart flutters and the shivers of pleasure on your skin, this collection of explicit erotica explores the fantasies and experience of female sexual submission.

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