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Lurv a la Mode 2

Romance (and scifi and fantasy) reading enthusiast, general lover of puppies and kitty kats, dark chocolate snatcher, writing playgirl, coffee luvah, chai latte chuggah, kidlet toting mama of one plus marriage credentials.

Currently reading

Three Parts Dead
Max Gladstone
Progress: 60 %
Dragon Keeper
Robin Hobb
Progress: 51 %
Into the Dark Lands
Michelle Sagara West
Progress: 13 %
The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard, #1)
Scott Lynch
Silver Shark - Ilona Andrews LOVE. Love love love. Enjoyed this one just as much as the previous short story. More excellent characters, worldbuilding and small little plot to go along with the short length. The only thing Id dare to gripe about - and I'm sure it's nothing new - is the length. It *would* be nice if they were a tad longer, still short stories, but just a smidge more. I love the romance in these stories and this time it would ahve been nice to see it get more page time.

I WISH they'd also do some full-length novels with this world.
Silent Blade - Ilona Andrews Very good, especially considering the short length. Great worldbuilding, wonderful character development. I was emotionally invested, even shed a tear of two. Eager to read more of this authorial pair's short stories now. This is how a short story should be done.
His at Night - Sherry Thomas I recently came back to this one and finally read it all the way through. While I still had some of the same reservations as before, it did eventually grow on me and there are some very poignant and touching scenes, as only Thomas can write them. It reminds me that I need to check up on what else she may have done since this or has coming soon. Far and above a lot of historical romance, but I also may feel that way because I don't read much of the genre anymore.
Marked by the Moon - Lori Handeland Loved this, another well-done werewolf romance from Lori Handeland. Glad that after an agonizing wait to see if this series would continue or not, that it picked right back up at awesome. A slight few things hold it back from being off the charts, but it seems few paranormal romances can forgo the cliches of the genre anymore. Other than that, this was sexy, fun, funny and a terrific weekend read. Buying the next Handeland ASAP! Thank goodness she was able to get back to this series!
Awakenings - Edward Lazellari I liked this one - with a few caveats. It's a superb story base, and considering it's the first in a new series, it's not too bad. There are several things I like the first in series to do in order to get me to feel hooked: well-developed characters, a very decent job building the world, and a snappy enough pace to keep the onset of yawns from beginning.

I want to say that this book accomplished all of these - to a point. There's a little lacking, I just don't know how to put it in words, which is so very annoying. All I can think to say ATM is that it all needed a little more oomph.

But I think I did come to care a little about a few of the characters, and the potential in this one overall is certainly enticing. I *do* want to know what happens next, so it was definitely worth the time.

I think the author's voice is nice and fresh, the style feels different, in a good way, gritty and nearly grotesque at times, but balanced with some gentler tones at times as well. That being said, I almost felt like I was reading an episode of Dungeons and Dragons or even a Piers Anthony title possibly(please don't slay me anyone, it's been so long since I saw/read anything to do with those works that it's more an obscure feeling than anything.). Maybe it was the juxtapositioning of people from "our" reality with other very traditional fantasy elements like centaurs, sorcerers, trolls, etc., and not to mention those parallel universes.

A satisfying enough story despite my wishes for more development across the board. Hopefully book 2 will help out there.
The Battle Sylph - L.J. McDonald I had a lot of fun with this book - but that didn't stop me from rolling my eyes a time or two. Then the things I rolled my eyes at had small-ish explanations! This made me happy. The romance is sweet, yet a little cheesy. But sweet cheesy. The worldbuilding and plot felt refreshing and I was entertained. Onward hooooooo.
Soulless - Gail Carriger, Gail Carriger Review snippet:

This turned out to be one of those books ripe for the phrase, “I dunno what the heck took me so long to read this book!” You know the kind. We keep meaning to buy/borrow/read them, but for some reason we just don’t. Not until we’ve been told by at least half or more of our reading peers that it is excellent. And then we wait several more weeks, maybe months even. Finally we buy it and the book sits in the TBR pile for several more months. By then, it was meant to be.

And I really, truly, loved this book. I’d like to think that extra-long seasoning time of waiting to read it had something to do with it.

OK, so that had nothing to do with it. Soulless is funny and refreshing and full of characters that reinforce this.

(for the rest, visit my blog: http://www.lurvalamode.com/2010/12/07/review-soulless/)
Killbox - Ann Aguirre My full review will go up tomorrow on my blog, but here's a snippet:

I didn't think I was going to get this one read in time, but here we are, Sirantha Jax fans, past, present and future. And my God, what a fantastic ride it's been, including this installment. Our last Jax book took place of Vel's home plant of Ithiss-Tor, and while I liked that book, this one showcased the Jax I'd come to love. I'll tell you what, if in this book's future they need to revamp the definition of noble, I've got a gal named Sirantha Jax they can use to illustrate it.

Check out the rest of the review tomorrow here:

Firelight (Firelight, #1) - Sophie Jordan I feel a rant coming on, but I’ll do my best to tone that down. For one thing, that’s the entire book, in a nutshell, the blurb above. There’s a lot wrong, in this reader’s opinion, with this book, but the blurb is what happens and if you’re looking for depth of any kind – character, romance, plot – it’s not in this book. I’ve heard rumblings from various people in the industry or who follow these kinds of things, that this kind of young adult book isn’t being bought as much and published. Maybe this is true, maybe it isn’t and I don’t have any proof. While I’m not a fan of saying don’t ever write another book like this again, I’ll certainly be happy never to read another one.

I started out genuinely liking Firelight. I find the premise to be, while not immediately a unique one, at least attention grabbing. Dragons haven’t quite taken off like angels in YA, not yet. But they’re coming, and the general carpet laid for this book’s use of a new mythology, that of these draki species being descended from real dragons, wasn’t a bad idea at all. I quite liked it. I liked that we get a glimpse of what life’s been like for Jacinda, the heroine, in her small hidden draki community. Her mother eventually comes to call them a cult, and she’s right. Terrified of their bloodline dying out, because draki being able to “manifest”, or change into their true draki forms, is becoming less and less of an occurrence. Something is happening to this species, and it’s not good. That’s why a teenager like Jacinda is so important. When her manifestation happened, what I came to view as, essentially, the puberty of a draki that brings on their first change into draki form, she turned out to be the first fire-breather in many, many generations. This is, of course, an instant reason for so many to want the talented young draki female. From the literal prince of the community, Cassian, to the hunters that exploit the draki for profit, Jacinda is the most wanted draki in existence.

I think this story could have gone in such a compelling and unique direction. I was set, in those first fifty or so pages, to really dig into a unique mythology about the draki, the motivations of their hunter and enkros (different from hunters, we only hear about them this installment) enemies and hopefully via a heroine that shapes it all.Instead, the book becomes disappointingly mundane.

The rest of my review is up at my blog. It's long, folks. A longity long ranty mcrant. Hence why I'm just posting a rant snippet here...

Dead in the Family - Charlaine Harris Well, this is it, the end of the road for me. This was my second most-favorite series for a long time, but the magic of it all has officially leached out of the pages. Sookie is turning into a big 'ole B, Eric into a big 'ole wuss (since when has he ever needed Sookie to take the reins and TELL him what he should do?)and that is just the beginning. The writing is horrible. I don't know if Harris has always written things as she does and I've just ignored it. I'll have to check previous installments. The need to tell readers what Sookie is feeling in parenthesis is annoying and duplicating efforts where it's clearly not needed. For example, Eric visibly reacting to something Sookie is feeling or thinking, but Sookie has to blatantly tell us is parenthesis that he's doing so because of their blood bond, that it enables him to "hear" her. Well, yes - DUH, Ms. Harris! I'm not a stupid reader, I can pick up your clues that were written in quite well enough without having to be treated like a handicapped reader that isn't getting it. This reads like an annoying sports announcer telling me everything my eyes can plainly see.

The only reason this is getting a Goodreads rating of OK for me is because Harris does manage to write in the development of some secondary characters fairly well. I sincerely enjoyed Claude the fairy. I will miss the ever loving hell out of Pam, who is continually more awesome by the page. I loved Sookie's interactions with her five-year-old cousin, who shares her special telepathic gift.

The ending was one of the biggest WTFs I've ever read and I finally came to a point I didn't think would happen: I didn't like Sookie anymore. The way she treats Eric towards the end, the way HE acts too, good grief - what the heck is this crap? No. More. The end is certainly here for me.
Hell Fire - Ann Aguirre You can find my review at my blog:

The Adamantine Palace  - Stephen Deas You can find my full review here:


Except the Queen - Jane Yolen, Midori Snyder I'll be reviewing this one in full via my blog ASAP.

For now...

The beginning was very engaging, the middle was GREAT. THe end, however, felt tedious. The author's excelled in developing the two fey sisters. The other characters were flat in comparison, but I found that as long as one of the sister's was present to absorb and report back to the reader, I loved the story. The plot isn't too daringly original, but the prose is wonderful. The pace is slow, it meanders much as I imagine the fey sisters feel their life does now, banished as they were from their fey world. The end was adequate, yet tedious as well. By the time we really get into the action of the book, at the end, it's pretty easy for readers to see what would play out. From there, there were no surprises. I felt Sparrow was a tad bit TSTL. She feels cornered, and while this tends to make anyone a bit TSTL, there were also copious trails of bread crumbs to lead her to the help of the sisters. The character of the fey Queen felt disenchanted, but maybe this was done apurpose, to show that being queen can sometimes feel and be as lowly as the life of one of her subjects. And much harder at the same time. Still, she was stiff to me, even as she and...well, I'll say no more. Wouldn't want to spoil.

Overall, I'd recommend the book. As a tale of faerie, it stands quite well and felt nicely fleshed out. The writing is superb, even if all the characters aren't on equally well developed footing. In the end I felt as if I'd enjoyed it and I'd read more such work from this team.
Auralia's Colors - Jeffrey Overstreet This is going to be a fast one - I'll have a full review on my blog soon.

Bottom line: I liked it.

What I liked was the way the author shows us the story. Beautiful, ethereal prose, making even a tired-sounding scene like a selfish queen's need to own everything she sees, seem beautiful and deeper than at first thought. The worldbuilding was easily scooped into the territory of beautiful as well, thanks to that same prose. It's a very stark world, thanks in part to the queen, but the way it unfurls into life through Auralia, an orphan no one can figure out, is simply...beautiful.

The story itself isn't particularly exciting - this isn't an action-oriented fantasy novel at all, and I found myself a little confused as to what was going on at times. Nor is it particularly strong character-wise. There wasn't the development of them I'd hoped for. However, again, the way the author writes it all here, that prose, is what made it an interesting enough read to continue and finally to finish. It's moved me enough to try the second book, which will be coming in the mail soon.

I do hope for some more character development with the second book, and I look forward to learning more about the world Overstreet has created. Book two, Cyndere's Midnight, has a kind of Beauty and the Beast telling from what I've read of it, which should be interesting with who the main male lead will be - a remnant from Auralia's Colors, one of the supposedly mindless, savage beastmen.

Overall, Auralia's Colors was surprisingly more introspective than anticipated, but once I felt in my groove with the story (which really didn't come for till almost halfway through the book), it was a pleasant change of pace. I do wish I'd connected with characters and the story itself more, but there's hopefully more room for that within the rest of the series.
Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs - Molly Harper Funny as hell, loved the heroine can't wait to read the next. A few hangups with the plot and one or two of the heroine's decisions, but I'd actually give the book a half star higher grade if the site allowed it. As is, loved the book.
Archangel's Kiss  - Nalini Singh A quick drive-by-opinion:

This was a good book. I wasn't as happy with it as the first book. I felt that the first several chapters (up to Chapter 13, yikes) were a little slow. I appreciated that we got a deeper look into the exclusive world of the angels, but I kept waiting for the plot to really kick in.

Also, Elena struck me at first as an average paranormal romance heroine enamored of the super sexy, bad-ass hero, not at all like the Elena established in book 1. She does eventually get back on track as the Elena we came to know before, and perhaps some of her eralier star-struck-ness can be attributed to her delicate situation with her new angel status. Still, I appreciated her character more when she started acting a little more "down to earth".

One other aspect of the book's world that seriously began to irk me was how SUPER everything almost every character that is mentioned was. If they're attractive, they're not just attractive - they're the most intensely attractive individual that has ever lived. I realize that this is pretty inherent in paranormal romance and we've all probably contemplated the pros and cons of reading about fabulously gorgeous and powerful as opposed to average and plain, but when (as another reviewer, AnimeJune) every character is described as the uber ultimate in sexiness and power, what exactly makes ANY of them that special? Instead I became more than a little tired of supporting characters that one and all could drop it like its paranormal hot.

That being said, if one can ignore such redundancy, the book is pretty damn good. I still think the first book's story was strongest - Singh really pulled off the initial interactions of Elena and Raphael well. This time, we still question whether or not Raphael is the type of male and being that can adequately care for Elena without breaking her, but we also see that he indeed CAN if he tries hard enough. At first I didn't think he would be able to, as he acts pretty detached and staid even with Elena a times, going extremely cold when a few pages back he was as hot as hot could be. I found it a little overkill when he'd do this, go so cold, because he does go out of his way to prove that he cares and likely loves her.

There were other times I felt the tone Singh set was overkill as well - we will be left with NO DOUBT that angels are not heavenly beings in Singh's world. They are killers, prone to mental asshatry the likes of which humans can never aspire to no matter how evil. The vampires they create are all the most lethal beings ever to swagger the Earth. Some of the angels are also oddly normal, with seemingly normal families and values, yet it's the killers that are most touted. It gets a bit much.

Once again, though, if the story can be focused on, then it's a good one. Especially if I'm willing to take away only one star for all the things that irked.