Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review: Mercy Burns by Keri Arthur

Mercy Burns
Author: Keri Arthur
Series: Myth and Magic (Book 2)
Publication: Dell; 1st edition (April 19, 2011)

Description: For readers of Keri Arthur’s bestselling Riley Jenson Guardian series comes a new sexy and exciting paranormal romance—the second novel in her acclaimed Myth and Magic series.

Mercy Reynolds is a reporter in the San Francisco Bay area, but she’s also more—and less—than human. Half woman, half air dragon, she’s a “draman”—unable to shift shape but still able to unleash fiery energy. Now something will put her powers to the test.

Mercy’s friend Rainey has enlisted her help to solve her sister’s murder. Then a horrible accident claims Rainey’s life, leaving Mercy only five days to find the killer: If Mercy fails, according to dragon law, Rainey’s soul will be doomed to roam the earth for eternity. But how can Mercy help when she herself is a target? With nowhere else to turn, she must join forces with a sexy stranger—the mysterious man they call “Muerte,” or death itself, who’s as irresistible as he is treacherous. But can even Death keep Mercy alive for long enough to find her answers?

My Thoughts: MERCY BURNS was an interesting paranormal romance. Mercy is a draman - half-human, half-dragon - who has been raised a second class citizen and been abused by the full dragons in her area. She is a journalist who is investigating the extermination of some draman towns with her best friend Rainey when they are run off the road. Rainey is killed and Mercy has 5 days to find her killers in order to save her soul.

While investigating, she is taken captive and thrown into a cell with a muerte named Damon Rey - a full dragon who has special tasks and acts as an executioner for his kingdom. Mercy's dragon powers manage to get them free and, since they both want to know who and why the draman towns were destroyed, they team up. Mercy is rather impulsive and doesn't have much of a sense of self-preservation. If she had more sense, she would run from the muerte since everyone is afraid of them.

Mercy very hesitantly falls in love with him. Her main hesitation has to do with her previous experiences with full dragons. It doesn't help that he has certain mistaken prejudices about draman too. However, their love grows as they have to depend on each other to solve the mystery. The romance doesn't go smoothly since Damon doesn't believe that he can emotionally commit to anyone.

Fans of paranormal romance and especially dragon fans will enjoy this story.

Favorite Quote:
"Where the hell are we going?"

"Back to your brother's place. You need to get some things together, then get the hell away from there."

"I don't really think—"

"Yeah, we discovered that."
I bought this one on April 21, 2011. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Memory Zero by Keri Arthur

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser:
Guilt wasn't a luxury she could afford right now. Not when she was up to her neck in trouble and sinking fast. 
This week my teaser comes from Memory Zero by Keri Arthur. I got this eARC from NetGalley. It is now being published by Dell but I am almost certain that I read this book about ten years ago. It will be interesting to see what seems familiar. Here is the description of this Aug. 26 release:
MORTAL RECALL

For Sam Ryan, life began at age fourteen. She has no memory of her parents or her childhood. In a decade of service with the State Police, Sam has exhausted the resources of the force searching for clues to her identity. But all mention of her family seems to have been deliberately wiped off the record. Everything changes the night Sam’s missing partner resurfaces as a vampire . . . and forces her to kill him in self-defense. Now Sam is charged with murder. Suspended from the force, and with no one left to trust, Sam accepts some unexpected help from Gabriel Stern, a shapeshifter who conceals startling secrets.

While investigating the circumstances surrounding her partner’s strange behavior, Sam discovers that Garbriel’s been involved with a dangerous organization that’s planning a war on the human race. More immediate, someone is guarding the truth about Sam’s past—someone who’d rather see her dead than risk her knowing too much. To stay alive, Sam must unravel the threads of her past—and find out not only who she is but what she is.

Monday, August 18, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (August 18, 2014)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

I had my last quiet week of the summer this past week. I did a lot of reading. I also did a lot of work on my blog. I have set up the basic posts for all of my October review books. Yes, October! I'm that far ahead which should stand me in good stead since the beginning of any school year is hectic. 

This new school year will be especially hectic as I am also training a brand new high school media center paraprofessional who has no previous experience in libraries. Adding to that we have seven new staff members between my two buildings and are in the planning stage for an addition and remodel of my elementary building. My media center will not be in the construction zone but I wouldn't be surprised if I need to host "refugees" whose rooms are being disrupted.

This week a friend will be visiting for four days. We'll be doing our annual True Blood marathon and watching all of season six. We'll also be blogging, playing computer games, visiting actual casinos, doing tourist stuff and other assorted stuff. I expect it to be fun but I don't expect much time for reading.

Read Last Week
The Man from Stone Creek by Linda Lael Miller was a nice Western romantic suspense title with a sexy, honorable lawman, a feisty woman who runs the General Store, and robbers all set in the Arizona Territory in 1902. My review will be posted on Sept. 27.

Courting Magic by Stephanie Burgis is a novella in the Kat, Incorrigible YA historical fantasy series. I loved the magic and the romance. If you haven't read this series, I highly recommend them. My review is posting today since the novella was released last week. 
Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper is another historical fantasy. This one takes place in the 1860s on an island off the coast of Massachusetts and is about magic, whaling, and family curses. This is a much anticipated YA title and was good but it didn't live up to the hype for me. My review will be posted on September 25.

Firebug by Lish McBride is a YA contemporary urban fantasy title about a young woman who has the power to start fires with her mind and who is forced to work for the Coterie which is led by a vampire. When our heroine is told to kill a family friend, she and her partners go on the run looking for a way to bring down the Coterie. This was fresh and the writing was engaging. My review will be posted on September 24.
Two of a Kind by Susan Mallery was one of my Amazon Vine picks this month. It was a feel-good romance in the Fool's Gold series. It had great characters and realistic conflicts between them. I haven't been reading this series in order. The books stand alone well but do make me want to read some of the surrounding stories that tell about supporting characters' romances. My review will be posted on October 2. 

Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin was a young adult science fiction thriller. I enjoyed the story and think it will appeal to teens. It was action-packed and exciting. My review will be posted on September 27.
Pecan Pies and Deadly Lies by Nancy Naigle was a romantic suspense title I got from Amazon Vine. It is the 4th in the Adams Grove series which I haven't read. I enjoyed the characters and the romance in this story. My review will be posted on October 4.

Night Sky by Suzanne Brockmann and Melanie Brockmann is Suzanne's YA debut and Melanie's first book. It is a science fiction story that takes place in a near-future United States. There are people with hormones in their blood that let them use more of their brains and have gifts like telekinesis, telepathy, prescience and other psychic gifts. There is also a designer drug made from the hormone which has the drug dealers kidnapping and draining the blood from the gifted. Our heroines are trying to rescue one of the young girls who was kidnapped. My review will be posted on October 2.
Thursday with the Crown by Jessica Day George is the third book in the Tuesdays with the Castle Middle Grade fantasy series. It was engaging and filled with great characters. My review will be posted on October 6.

Currently
I am reading Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios. I got two copies of the ARC - one from NetGalley and one from Amazon Vine. I am reading my Kindle copy. This one seems like it is going to be on the upper end of young adult because of mature themes. Our heroine - a jinni sold into slavery on Earth - is juggling her master whom she hates and is attracted to and a jinni who hates her but wants her to do something for a revolution back home. 

Next Week

I have company arriving to spent most of the week and I need to get organized to return to my school year home. I don't know how much time I will have for reading. Here are the next four young adult review books on my stack.
Stray by Elissa Sussman
Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot

Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
How was your week?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (August 17, 2014)

Tynga of Team Tynga's Reviews has a meme to spotlight the books we receive each week. Visit her site to check out the linky and see what everyone gets. I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow.
I got a print copy of Blood Games by Chloe Neill when I went to Racine, Wisconsin, to attend her author signing. I also got a keychain, lanyard, pen, assorted bookmarks, and a cookie! It was fun to meet her and listen to her talk about her books. I got all of her other Chicagoland Vampires series autographed, too.
I took advantage of two Kindle deals this week. I got One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean and Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber.

What did you add to your stack this week?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Book Review: Steel's Edge by Ilona Andrews

Steel's Edge
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: The Edge (Book 4)
Publication: Ace (November 27, 2012)

Description: The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is a fairy tale—and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…

Charlotte de Ney is as noble as they come, a blueblood straight out of the Weird. But even though she possesses rare magical healing abilities, her life has brought her nothing but pain. After her marriage crumbles, she flees to the Edge to build a new home for herself. Until Richard Mar is brought to her for treatment, and Charlotte’s life is turned upside down once again.

Richard is a swordsman without peer, future head of his large and rambunctious Edger clan—and he’s on a clandestine quest to wipe out slavers trafficking humans in the Weird. So when his presence leads his very dangerous enemies to Charlotte, she vows to help Richard destroy them. The slavers’ operation, however, goes deeper than Richard knows, and even working together, Charlotte and Richard may not survive...

My Thoughts: This is the story of Charlotte de Ney and Richard Mar. Charlotte is a blueblood from the Weird who has a remarkable gift for healing. Richard is from the Edge and is a remarkable swordsman. Charlotte flees to the Edge after she learns that she is barren and her husband annuls their marriage. The gift of healing has an opposite counterpart. As strong as her healing is, she is equally able to kill with her gift. It was her strong desire to kill her fair-weather husband that sent her running.

With the help of Éléanore Drayton, who is the grandmother of Rose, George and Jack, she manages to make a new life for herself in the Edge. Things change drastically when Richard is brought to her in immediate need of healing after his encounter with slavers. The slavers are hot on his heels and recapture him, killing Éléanore and another young girl who happens to be there. Charlotte sets off to rescue Richard but has to resort to her dark side to do it.

Together, she and Richard are determined to bring down the slave trade and are even more determined when they discover who is behind it. Along the way, and despite each one feeling that they are unworthy of being loved, the two fall deeply in love.

This was a fast-paced, engaging story. I also liked getting to catch up with a couple of my favorite characters from earlier Edge books - George and Jack. I feel that this book could stand alone but it gains richness and depth if you read the rest of the Edge series first.

I highly recommend this one for fantasy fans.

Favorite Quote:
Charlotte faced him. Her wet tunic molded to her figure, and her hair, which she'd put up into a neat knot, had come undone and hung over her face. That air of detachment and civility had been washed away, as if someone had taken an elegant cat, groomed to within an inch of its life, and dumped a bucket of water on it. Her expression had the same shock, outrage, and promise of violence.

If he laughed, she'd probably kill him. Quite literally.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Memes: Steel's Edge by Ilona Andrews

Happy Friday everybody!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

This week I am spotlighting Steel's Edge by Ilona Andrews. This is the fourth book in The Edge series. I added it to my stack on Nov. 27, 2012. Here is the description:
The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is a fairy tale—and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…

Charlotte de Ney is as noble as they come, a blueblood straight out of the Weird. But even though she possesses rare magical healing abilities, her life has brought her nothing but pain. After her marriage crumbles, she flees to the Edge to build a new home for herself. Until Richard Mar is brought to her for treatment, and Charlotte’s life is turned upside down once again.

Richard is a swordsman without peer, future head of his large and rambunctious Edger clan—and he’s on a clandestine quest to wipe out slavers trafficking humans in the Weird. So when his presence leads his very dangerous enemies to Charlotte, she vows to help Richard destroy them. The slavers’ operation, however, goes deeper than Richard knows, and even working together, Charlotte and Richard may not survive...
Beginning:
"My Lady?"

Charlotte looked up from her cup of tea at Laisa. The young girl held an envelope of thick, heavy paper.

"This came for you."
Friday 56:
A torrent of fire devoured the house. Orange-and-red flames billowed out of the roof, blackened support beams thrusting out like bones of a skeleton. Fire filled the doorway, boiling within the house, winding about the porch posts, and belching smoke. The orange flames surged through the windows, licking the siding.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

ARC Review: Visions (Cainsville) by Kelley Armstrong

Visions
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Series: Cainsville (Book 2)
Publication: Dutton Adult; 1st edition (August 19, 2014)

Description: As #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong’s new Cainsville series continues, Olivia’s power to read omens leads to the discovery of a gruesome crime with troubling connections to her new hometown.

Omens, the first installment in Kelley Armstrong’s exciting new series, introduced Olivia Taylor-Jones, daughter of notorious serial killers, and Gabriel Walsh, the self-serving, morally ambiguous lawyer who became her unlikely ally. Together, they chased down a devious killer and partially cleared her parents of their horrifying crimes.

Their success, however, is short-lived. While Olivia takes refuge in the old, secluded town of Cainsville, Gabriel’s past mistakes have come to light, creating a rift between the pair just when she needs his help the most.

Olivia finds a dead woman in her car, dressed to look like her, but the body vanishes before anyone else sees it. Olivia’s convinced it’s another omen, a sign of impending danger. But then she learns that a troubled young woman went missing just days ago—the same woman Olivia found dead in her car. Someone has gone to great lengths to kill and leave this young woman as a warning. But why? And what role has her new home played in this disturbing murder?

Olivia’s effort to uncover the truth places her in the crosshairs of old and powerful forces, forces that have their own agenda, and closely guarded secrets they don’t want revealed.

My Thoughts: VISIONS is the fast-paced second book in the Cainsville series. The focus in this one shifts away from proving Olivia's parents innocent of being serial killers and shifts more to the town of Cainsville and the citizens and secrets there.

Olivia has found out the Gabriel has been taking money from her ex-fiance James to try to get them back together. Naturally, Olivia feels betrayed and loses trust in Gabriel at a time when she really needs someone to rely on. She is seeing all kinds of signs and portents and is also seeing various parts of Ciara Conway including her dismembered head. Since the body or head keep disappearing before anyone else sees them, Olivia isn't sure that the sightings are real.

The one thing Olivia can be sure of is that Gabriel is going to believe her and support her through visions or reality. I like the way her relationship with Gabriel is going. One of the characters suggests that Gabriel is feral and he does show some signs that that is true. His background has taught him that anyone can walk out at any time. So he is determined not to care about anyone. If you don't care, after all, you can be hurt when they leave. It takes a while for Olivia to learn this about him and to look at what he does rather than what he says.

Olivia is also having a relationship with Ricky Gallagher, who is the son of the leader of Satan's Saints, a local motorcycle gang with ties to all sorts of crime. Gabriel isn't happy about the relationship for a number of reasons. The one he states is that there could be a conflict of interest since he is the lawyer for both Olivia's mother and for Satan's Saints. Also, there might be more conflict because Olivia is now working for Gabriel as an investigator. However, Ricky is a nice guy who satisfies Olivia's need for sex and speed and she likes him.

Somehow, all of them - Olivia, Gabriel, and Ricky - are pawns in some sort of game being played by two groups of fey. And sometimes the pawns need to be sacrificed.

I enjoyed this story very much. I can't wait to read more in this series.

Favorite Quote:
My foggy brain slid away and—

And I was still dressed in only my bra and panties.

Well, at least its a nice set of bra and panties.

Yep, these were the thoughts going through my brain as I looked at a photo of a decapitated head on my bed. 
I got this eARC through Penguin's First to Read program. You can buy your copy here.