Thursday, December 29, 2011

One of the most disappointing endings...ever.

Shadow Heir
Book #4/Final

-Spoiler-Free Rant-
I admit, I've read my fair share of bad series finales or even followups, but I think Ms. Mead may have taken the cake as being the supreme Queen of Disappointment. Not to say I didn't enjoy the book up until that fateful point, but I think if I would have know that it was going to leave me so dissatisfied, to the point of frustration and anger, I might not have bothered with it in the first place. I understand that not every story is meant to have a happy ending, but I at least expected that an author would have the decency to attempt to wrap-up and answer most of the open-ended questions by the end. I guess that was pretty presumptuous on my part.

Without giving too much away, the book was much better as a whole than the final Succubus book, but that really isn't much of a consolation when it comes to the very loose ending. It really is difficult to keep my overall opinion of this book in perspective. Especially when the last thing you are left with is disappointment. The book was good if it wasn't for the ending. Some would say, just ignore the ending and rewrite your own, but it's hard for me to do so, when one ending is already so ingrained in my mind. Anger does that I guess.

I can only assume that the fan unfriendly ending is either a product of some greater machination or just tactic to anger her devoted readers. I really don't understand either reasoning, but I do know that I won't be investing anymore time with this author's future works.

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cheap Read Rec.

Blood Wager  99¢
Book #1

Yes, yet another "How I became a vampire", story, but this one isn't at all bad. I only had a couple of issues with the first one. Namely the multiple Passive & Active voices thrown together. It wasn't necessarily confusing, just a bit strange at the beginning. The protagonist also seemed a bit too morose and bitterly sarcastic, for me to like her completely all the time. Little to no humor, but a fast and interesting read nonetheless.  The covers are also a bit cheesy and cheap looking, but thankfully that's not an issue with electronic reading.

One word of warning.  This series is highly addictive, which I quickly found out after finishing the first four in record time.  A couple of things still bother me about this series and is keeping me from recommending it enthusiastically.  One being the heavy handedness of the men in these books, and two,  how the author defines what a "mate" is.
*****
Lissa is a middle-aged woman, down on her luck, with a terminally ill husband, who was just taken off life support. Drowning in her sorrows at a local bar, she unwittingly gets caught-up with two wagering vamps. Turned by rogues who wager her life, Lissa is running from her maker who is determined to kill her, hunted by the Council who has branded her a rogue and blackmailed by werewolves, who utilize her newly-developed talents for their own gain.

6-Blood Queen
7-Blood Rebellion (TBD)
8-Blood War (TBD
9-Blood Redemption (TBD)

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Monday, December 26, 2011

Another promising series disappoints

Kissed by Smoke
Book #3

The first book is the best of bunch. The 2nd book was just okay, and the third book, if it can be called that, left me disinterested in this series. The magic that made the first book pretty decent, seems to be missing in the followups. Still a decent series but I have to warn potential readers of a possible disappointment.

This book is a little longer than a novella and it felt entirely too rushed. It's like the author lost all of her momentum and just delivered a stock story she had handy. Little to no romantic tension and a plot I really could care less about, and I just wanted it to be over already. I called it quits after about 75% of the way through.  The other issues I had, were the over-the-top comical superpowers that the protagonists was starting to exhibit on a regular basis.  It was cool at the beginning of the series, now it just seems silly.  I also felt the characters lacked the same amount of depth and their brief interactions were just peripheral to the superpower-fae conflict plot.  Again, it was rushed and everything seemed to be effected by the lack of time vested in either the characters or  plot development.

A little too harsh you say?  I admit, I sometimes wonder if my poor opinion is just a product of a bad day or reading slump.  But then, I think about my own reading motto of life being too short to read a bad book or one you just aren't feeling.  And this book, my friend, I just wasn't feeling.

I think I can positively say, I  won't be seeking out the next book in this series anytime soon.

Sunwalker Saga

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Terrific Debut: The Shadow Reader

The Shadow Reader
Book #1

A heart stopping, non-stop action Fae fantasy adventure that will leave you breathless. This one is a real page-turner, that kept me glued throughout. The pace and editing are excellent, and the world building and plot seemed very fresh. I also loved that the author points out her own use of the stereotypical love triangle and damsel in distress plot devices, that we so often see.  I'm very curious to see if the author will be able to keep up the same pace, freshness, and interest in the followup.  Is it November yet?
****
Written in first Person POV, Mackenzie Lewis is a Houston college student who can track fae by reading the shadows they leave behind. For years she has been working for the fae King, tracking rebels who would claim the Realm. Her job isn't her only secret. She's in love with Kyol, the King's sword-master-but human and fae relationships are forbidden. When McKenzie is captured by Aren, the fierce rebel leader, she learns that not everything is as she thought. And McKenzie must decide who to trust and where she stands in the face of a cataclysmic civil war.
2-The Shattered Dark (Nov 2012)

-Life is too Short to Read a Bad Book-

K4 Update

Update 4.0.1 is now available for the K4, and it is supposed to correct the refreshing and flash issues. The update took less than 3 minutes to complete.  There is also a Kindle Fire update available.  Nothing yet for the Touch.

Go here to get the update.
  • Download and place it into your root directory on your Kindle
  • Disconnect your Kindle 
  • Go to your Homepage, select Menu, select Settings, then select Menu again, and the Update option should show up in your list of options on your Menu bar.

The update file added to the root directory disappears after the update is complete and another file named "Don't halt of repair" appears in its place.

After uploading the update, a new option named "Page Refresh", appears in the list of Settings (page 3 of 3). It's turned off until you mark it otherwise. Turning it on means you have a flash with every page turn. I think this is what we had before, but I never really paid attention prior. When turned off, I believe you only see a refresh every other page.

B&N 30% off Instore Coupon

30% off a 1-item instore purchase. Good until the 24th, and not redeemable for Nook or Nook products. Go here to print your 30% off Coupon and here for the 25% off coupon.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Favorites of 2011

Over at Tangler, we're making our yearly top ten reads list for 2011, so I thought I would share my own best-of reads from this year (or at least the ones I can remember).  Not exactly in ridged order, but I have to say that my most anticipated book was also my favorite of the year.  And that book would be, the 5th book in the Fever series, Shadowfever.


Urban Fantasy/Fantasy

PNR

Books read in 2011, but were published prior:

    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    Sex, Fey, and Vamps, Oh My

    Love is Fear
    Book #2

    You know you've truly found a good book, when you can’t help but immerse yourself fully, until all reality completely falls away and there’s nothing left but the imaginary world between the pages. In reading this book, I almost forgot about my little world and anything lying beyond the book in my hands.  Lovely.

    A little more Days of Your Lives (Paranormal style) at the beginning, but overall one of the better followups I’ve read in quite some time. Actually, I thought it was even better than the first.  Comparatively, I still noticed a few mistakes, but it's still better polished overall. It also seemed more humorous, sometimes to the point of crudeness, but I took it in stride because it was still quite funny. This book also flowed better, even more engaging (if that’s possible), and the story itself left me breathless, which was the true reason why I liked it so much.  That, and it doesn't exactly follow the same old Hero's journey paradigm.

    Before I get to the plot, I highly suggest anyone who hasn’t yet read the first book, to start there. This isn’t a standalone, and anyone attempting to read it as such, will be utterly disappointed and confused.

    The followup to Love is Darkness starts off exactly where the first book ends, which is sort of a rarity, if you ask me. I especially liked the expanded world building and flashbacks involving the fey.

    Word of warning. This one has way more sex than most PNRs even, but I would still be hesitant to classify this solely as a PNR. Contending with the heavy sexual and romantic theme is the heart of this book's story. The Fey are a long died out race, or so everyone thought. The Fey King has waited centuries for his chance at vengeance, and he's intending to get it at all cost. The fey subplot is actually pretty interesting and balances out the romantic/vamp subplot quite nicely.

    My second caution is to those who despise cliffhangers.  I would suggest holding off until the next book gets released, because this one is a doozy.

    It's Back: $10 + $10 off at Amazon (1 day only)

    This is the perfect opportunity to either pull the trigger on a new Kindle purchase for yourself or for buying holiday gifts for others.  Go Here to check out the offer on Amazon.

    Amazon: $10 off $100 in Electronics & Toys + additional $10 off $50 Future Savings if you use MasterCard: Kindle Touch $89Kindle Fire $189

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    Note: The additional $10 off $50 code will be emailed to you within 30 days of today's purchase

    Friday, December 16, 2011

    Nook Simple Touch Wifi $75 + Free Ship (New)

    Nook Simple Touch  $75
    Just in time for the holidays, Barnes & Noble seems to be selling off all their bestselling ereaders. Maybe a tip off for a imminent new release? You can get a New Nook Simple Touch WiFi eReader $75 + Free Shipping via Ebay, and probably Overstock soon enough. Go here for details.

    I'm actually tempted on finally jumping ship and going over to the dark side at this price point.  I liked it a bit more than Amazon's new Kindle Touch, but the nonadjustable big margin spacing is kind of a deal killer for me.

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    Another Good Cheap Read

    Love is Darkness   99¢
    Book #1
    Another surprisingly decent cheap read. I am again struck by how many good Indy authors there are out there. The first book in the series is a twist on the very overdone subject of Vampires.  But don't let that deter you from checking out this very engaging and fast read. A little more UF than PNR, but there are still plenty of hot scenes to take in.
    *******
    Valerie Dearborn wants a cotton candy life, but it’s more like a puffer fish: pointy, unusual, and—if not prepared exactly right—deadly. In London for graduate school, Val knows she's finally free. Her father and ex-almost-boyfriend are back in California and she's out of the Vampire hunting biz for good. Or is she?

    She draws the attention of Lucas, a 1600 year old Vampire, and King to his kind. He’s also wicked hot. As golden as Lucifer, and just as tempting, he makes Val an offer she can't refuse— help him find out if the Others (Empaths, Fey and Werewolves) still exist or he'll stop protecting those she loves.
    *******
    Okay, I had a few issues with this book. Namely, the various typos & mistakes peppered throughout. We also get the same worn out plot of the old sexy Alpha Vamp and the innocent pretty human girl. And of course it wouldn't be a hot Vamp novel without a love triangle. But in this case, it is more like a love square for good number of chapters.  How many love interests does one girl need anyway?

    My 2nd biggest issue is the dialogue & interaction between Val and the hot Vampire King, which seemed sophomoric, unoriginal, and uninteresting at times, but the scenes with her childhood friend, Jack, more than made up for it. Also, points off for the semi-confusing beginning and soft mild.

    Still, this was a very engaging read, that I gobbled up in no time flat. I looked forward to reading the newly released sequel soon as well. And if you aren't that big into the Vamp craze, a promise of more para-creatures, intrigue, and a further world-building, makes this series more than a little enticing to continue.

    Warning: Adult Content and Violence

    Valerie Dearborn

    Wednesday, December 14, 2011

    Nook Color (refurb) $129 + Free Ship

    Barnes & Noble via eBay & Overstock has Nook Color by Barnes & Noble 8GB WiFi eReader (Refurbished) for $129. Go here or here for more.

    Kindle Accessories Review: A better Sleeve

    Timbuk2 Plush Sleeve ($35)
    For K4 & Touch

    I prefer my Kindle naked, especially when reading. And while some would call that strange (my aunt for example), I call it practical and light. My latest Kindle purchase started me on a bit of a journey on finding the right container for my little naked ereader. My first attempt was with the BUILT Neoprene Envelope Case for the Touch and K4. You can read my review here, but just to sum it up, I was left feeling grossly underwhelmed.  However I have to comment that between the two sleeves, the Built is thinner and softer, but for some reason I prefer Timbuk2's.

    So, I finally decided to try another Timbuk2 sleeve, already having been somewhat pleased with their nylon sleeve I purchased for my K2. The only thing holding me back was the price, $35 (yikes). Quick tip. If you stick an item in your cart, Amazon will notify of a price change when you return. I got this during a brief price dive of $25.

    Pro:
    • Simple and Streamlined
    • Very Soft & Plush Inside (No chance of Scratches)
    • Fits K4 & Touch (Along with the K3 very very snugly-but it does fit)
    • Thick ballistic nylon protection. (No worries with damage here)
    • Easy to handle and hold
    Con:
    • Price (Yikes)
    • Plush ?? ( I thought the case would be soft or thinner than the Nylon version, but nope)
    • Pretty Color options (But not too girly)
    • Could be even more streamlined/thin and the flap could definitely be thinner for easier closure and overall less bulkiness.
    • Bulkier than the Nylon sleeve version.

    So to sum up, while I am happy with this purchase, I would have gone with the plain nylon version for less bulkiness if I had to do it all over again.  However, since I got a good deal on this one and I really do like the color/design, I've decided to keep it. 

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    HM: Caledonia Fae

    Some of you might be wondering what HM might mean. HM (Honorable Mention). I utilize this label whenever I find a book or a series that seems worth mentioning, but for whatever reason it didn't quite live up to my particularly fickle tastes. I usually file items such as these into my PNR list, but the following series, while romantic in nature, is more or less YAish Fantasy.

    Caledonia Fae
    A pretty decent Fantasy about Eilidh, an exiled faerie unjustly sentenced to death. Just as she grows accustom to exile in Scotland, local police discover a mutilated body outside the abandoned church where she lives. Recognizing the murder as work of one of her own kind, Eilidh must choose to either flee or learn to tap into the forbidden magic that cost her everything. The first book has a good mix of UF/Fantasy/PNR and the 2nd leans more towards Fantasy. The series follows Eilidh and her druid love interest, as they become embroiled in a fae racial war.

     These books are fairly well written and paced, and the worldbuilding is interesting enough to get caught up in. The only issue I with these books is the mild content and the little miss innocent routine played by our 120yr old protagonist. I would describe these books a little YAish, with no sex being described and a majority of the violence being skimmed over or omitted completely. However, there are a couple graphic violent scenes in the first book, so I caution recommending these books to young teens.
    Warning: Some Violence, Very Light Sexual Content/YAish.

    3-Enemy of the Fae

    More like this:
    Toby Daye
    Alex Craft
    Dark Swan

    Sunday, December 4, 2011

    PNR Pick: Short, but Entertaining

    Dragon Warrior  (2.99)
    Book #1

    Just like all of MacLeod's other books, this one is well written, very engaging, and imaginative. A Non-stop action and romance tale about a post-apocalyptic world ravaged to ruin by raging Dragons. 25 years of war brings their world to a place of devastation and hopelessness. That is, until a long lost warrior emerges and helps to level the playing field for those fighting on the side of good.

    Excellent worldbuilding and a good mix of PNR, Fantasy, and UF. This one is a little different than most Dystopian books I've read as of late, which is always a good thing. The only thing I can complain about is its length. Longer than a Novella, but definitely shorter than most books. Frustratingly enough, the book stops a bit abruptly, and we are left with a cliffhanger. Still, I recommend this extremely fast and entertaining read, that is sure to interest PNR and UF readers alike.

    Warning: Some violence and Sexual Content.

    Dragon Wars
    2-Dragon Lord (2012)

    Other books like this:
    Aftertime
    Feed

    Saturday, December 3, 2011

    A Good Second Effort

    Kissed by Fire  (2.99)
    Book #2

    Overall, I really enjoyed the second book in the Sunwalker series, but maybe not quite as much as the first. Just like the first book, this book is both imaginative and well written. The author seems to know exactly where she plans to take this series. The storyline isn't a rehash of the 1st and it didn't completely run a predictable course either. I thought the writing and flow of this book also greatly improved over the 1st.

    However, a couple of things did keep me from giving this read five stars. The tone was definitely more somber than the first and the humor seemed to be missing. I'm not sure if it was a slower pace or somber tone, that kept me from joyfully devouring this one in just one go. Three quarters the way through, interest and pace did seem to pick up, and I quikly read through the rest without any difficulty. I think the majority of my issue was the somber and somewhat depressive beginning. Hopefully the humor returns in the next book.

    But as I said, I still really enjoyed this book, and it was a fairly quick read. Not many books have peeked my interest as of late, so I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from this author in the future. For those that haven't read the first book in this series, I strongly suggest starting there first.

    Warning: Some violence and Sexual Content.

    Sunwalker Saga

    Thursday, December 1, 2011

    $10 off + $10 (future) offer on Amazon Electronics

    This is the perfect opportunity to either pull the trigger on a new Kindle purchase for yourself or for buying holiday gifts for others.  Go Here to check out the offer on Amazon.

    Amazon: $10 off $100 in Electronics & Toys + additional $10 off $50 Future Savings if you use MasterCard: Kindle Touch $89, Kindle Fire $189

    Buy Now ►
    Amazon offers $10 off $100 on Electronics & Toys + additional $10 off $50 in Future Savings on Electronics & Toys when you enter coupon code ZKGYLEBT and use MasterCard as payment for your purchases from Amazon.com as the seller (no 3rd-party sellers).  Only good for today (12/1), so hurry if you don't want to miss out.

    Note: The additional $10 off $50 code will be emailed to you within 30 days of today's purchase