Wednesday, April 30

Review: Dark Needs at Night's Edge by Kresley Cole

Another week, another buddy review :D Today, I’m reviewing Dark Needs at Night’s Edge by Kresley Cole with Rosie from Nobody asked me

***Warning: This buddy review is full of spoilers. We are sorry, we couldn't help it, therefore read at your own risks.***

Dark Needs at Night’s Edge by Kresley Cole
published by Simon & Schuster in April 2008

Néomi Laress, a famous ballerina from a past century, became a phantom the night she was murdered. Imbued with otherworldly powers but invisible to the living, she haunts her beloved home, scaring away trespassers -- until she encounters a ruthless immortal even more terrifying than Néomi herself.To prevent him from harming others, Conrad Wroth's brothers imprison him in an abandoned manor. But there, a female only he can see seems determined to drive him further into madness. The exquisite creature torments him with desire, leaving his body racked with lust and his soul torn as he finds himself coveting her for his own.Yet even if Conrad can win Néomi, evil still surrounds her. Once he returns to the brutality of his past to protect her, will he succumb to the dark needs seething inside him?
Genre: paranormal romance
Series: The Immortals After Dark, book #5

The Story: The book description pretty much sums up the story. Néomi became a ghost after her ex-fiancé murdered her. For 80 years, she’s been stuck in Elancourt, her beloved manor. She has no contact with the outside world other than the newspapers and the families that have lived in her home.

Conrad Wroth became a vampire against his will. For centuries, he’s been hunted down by vampire slayers. In addition, to survive, Conrad became a mercenary and willingly succumbed to the bloodlust. Now, Conrad seeks revenge against his brothers and their Brides…

Nath: So what did you think of this book, Rosie? You who oh so enjoy ghost character LOL :)

Rosie: I have to admit that I groaned when I realized Néomi was a ghost. Even while reading the prologue I didn't believe I was being set up for a ghost story. So that was an issue for me throughout and did take some enjoyment away from the book. Probably if I weren't invested in the series and reading about the Wroth brothers I'd have set the book aside for another time. That's definitely a "it's not you it's me" sort of thing. Ghosts ain't my cuppa.

Nath: LOL, you must not have read the synopsis. Otherwise, there was no chance you wouldn’t know the heroine was a ghost. I know you don’t like ghost in your books (eg. Lover Unbound); however, I think that this book has a good premise. Also, when you start out with a ghost, then there is a high probability that the ghost will… well un-ghost LOL.

Rosie: Obviously I didn't read the back blurb. When I'm into a series or not having problems with the author and they truly are an "auto buy" I often don't read the back blurb. I sure didn't this time and was totally surprised with the story. I'm not at all sorry I read it, not as sorry as some ghost stories make me feel, but the ghost thing was definitely a distraction for me.

As soon as you know that ghost Néomi can't materialize to do the horizontal mambo you know there is going to be some way out for the two of them. She has to take some real form to have physical contact with Conrad. I didn't mind that she found a way to materialize, but I didn't like the keeping of secrets about the process or the immortal twist at the end. That was a bit too convenient for me.

Nath: True. As you said, Néomi and Conrad not having physical contacts was a good clue she would gain a corporal shell. I’m not sure how I feel about the process though. I agree that with Néomi new knowledge of the Lore, she had new possibilities in front of her and it was easier to contact someone who could help her out. What annoyed me is the whole concept, i.e. giving her a corporal shell that would attract her death which would results in the loss of her soul. I thought the whole “dying” part was unnecessary. Just make her immortal right away if you’re going to find a loophole. I guess the author tried to add some angst to the whole situation, but it doesn’t work because we, readers, know that this is a romance and that means a HEA ending = heroine can’t disappear.

I think I would have enjoyed the whole process more if it had been more logical, like Néomi gaining a corporal shell and then, being turned into a vampire. In that case, even if her corporal shell attracted death, she’d be able to regenerate… By the way, those phantom creatures of the Lore, has there been any mention of them in previous books? That, I found a bit convenient. Also, when did Mariketa McRieve the witch become so money-hungry?

Rosie: Yeah, when did Mariketa become so money hungry? We know that the Valkyrie like sparklies and money, but I missed that about Mari in the previous books. I don’t remember anything about phantoms in previous books either. I sometimes think I’ve read so many books in so many worlds I can remember them all. So I’m glad it wasn’t just me.

Anyway, I was hoping Néomi would become a vampire too. I didn't remember all that stuff about not being able to successfully turn females into vamps. Well, maybe a little when the story spoke about the Wroth brothers and their sisters. However, when Mariketa shows up and talks about not being able to successfully convert a woman into a vamp I was bummed. Even at the end when Néomi knew something was not "right" I was still hoping. Just like in Lover Unbound with the ghost wife at the end, this felt a little bit contrived. But, then I have a high sensitivity to the whole phantom/ghost issue so maybe less sensitive readers won't feel the same way about it.

Nath: Really? Women can’t be turned into vampires? I can’t remember that part… So I guess they can be born as vampires like Emmaline, but not turned?

Rosie: I only remember the “can’t turn women into vampires” in a very vague way. It was really emphasized in this book though. People who read the books and are good at remembering details will probably remember though.

Nath: What did you think of the characters? I didn’t really like Conrad, I felt he was a bit bleh.

Rosie: I didn't think Conrad was bleh at all. His ferocity and hate were a good foil for Néomi and I think made him an interesting hero. I think it was a bit of a stretch to think he would recover as much as he had in so short a period of time when he (the mindless souless killer) had been centuries in the making.

There's nothing I like better than redemption, I just don't like it to be too easy or pat. Conrad's history was delicious for me. The worse it is, the better I like it. I just want the climb and return to humanity to be full of anguish and lots and lots of redemption. There was some of that in the book, but I was waiting for a bigger turning point or impetus for his slow evolution to humanity. I did very much approve that at the end of the book he's not completely "cured". It’s appropriate that Conrad will continue to struggle with his blood lust, crazy delusions and bad memories of the bad beings he's killed. That was done well.

Nath: See, I felt like Conrad didn’t want to redeem himself and really, at the beginning, he didn’t do any efforts to and that, combined with his attitude, all the pent-up anger and blaming others annoyed me. Basically, when he was turned into a vampire, Conrad went berserk with anger and hatred and it was later explained why and that I can accept; however, he really didn’t care about himself and didn’t give a damn what he has become and would become. So I agree with you, given his attitude, it’s a surprise he regained his sanity so quickly and although I can see that Néomi was a great incentive, I think it should have taken longer. By the way, since Conrad despised vampires so much, I’m surprised he didn’t let someone just cut off his head or burn in the sunlight. Where did his will to survive come from? Also, why did he join that vampire slaying faction and not tell his brothers?

By the way, what did you think of the emphasis the author put on Conrad being a virgin? Was it to add a vulnerable side to him? Make him appear more human? Cause quite frankly, I thought it unnecessary and found the emphasis on it annoying.

Rosie: Conrad’s ‘will to live’ is tricky. I think he was trying to kill himself by drinking from the vein of the people he killed. To me, that was a form of self torture. I believe he hated his own existence. As for not telling his brothers, the organization was secret. Remember all that stuff about Wroth honor and promises? If Conrad made a vow of secrecy he wouldn’t break it even to tell his brothers.

Virginity, the female or the male is a touchy subject for me. If done well it works for me. I just didn't see the necessity here. I think Ms Cole wanted something that would make Conrad not seem such a monster. His embarrassment may have been to make him seem sweeter or nice. It didn't totally bug me, I just didn't feel a necessity for it.

Nath: Thing is, it didn’t work. Whenever the subject of his virginity was brought up, Conrad would get embarrassed and then, angry… and you’re right that Conrad was probably trying to “torture” himself. That makes sense now.

Let’s talk about Néomi now :D Néomi was cool. Also the fact that she’s been a ghost for 80 years and being untouchable made it easy for her to accept the Lore without blinking :P I thought it was refreshing to have a heroine not panicking and being afraid out of her mind and instead, embracing the whole paranormal universe. She was a nice character, very independent and confident… Unfortunately, I think some chemistry was missing between Conrad and Néomi.

Rosie: I didn't feel like they lacked chemistry. That was there. At least for me it was. I think the whole whirlwind romance bit after she had a corporeal form was a bit over the top. It didn't make sense that Conrad would drop the whole secret about how she gained a body. If we are going to buy into his obsession with her then I can't buy into his not finding out about what strings are attached to her new shape. Men in the Lore all get obsessed with their women or in the Wroth brothers case, their Brides. Oh and did you catch the part about Conrad not believing it could be a witch because he didn't think Néomi would have that kind of money? That really didn't make sense.

Nath: Especially after he drank some of her whiskey worth more than 100,000$

Rosie: Yeah, particularly when he knows Néomi earned good money and bought Elancourt on her own. One good thing about the chemistry between Conrad and Néomi is that Conrad was too strong a personality and too damaged to be involved or interested in a wimpy woman. Néomi's beliefs in her looks and her strength because of the success she had in her early life were exactly the right foil for Conrad.

Nath: LOL, none of the Wroth’s Brides are wimpy or delicate, that’s for sure. I still feel like something was missing. I think it has to do when Conrad thought Néomi “betrayed” him. See, I have a feeling that although Conrad loved Néomi, he didn’t completely understand her. Then, once she got a body, they were too busy… I have to say though, they did have cute scenes. I especially like the one where Conrad goes and gets all the newspapers for Néomi… that was so hilarious, especially when the brothers saw all the newspapers piled up.

Rosie: One of my favorite sayings is "It's the little things." Those little things are the things that can drive you crazy like dirty socks left on the floor. Or, those little things can be stuff that melts your heart like Conrad getting her the newspapers. That was very sweet and a great personal touch in the story.

Nath: Aside from Conrad, one of the main issues I had with this book was the storyline. There was a definite change of pace between the previous books and this one. While the others seem packed with action, this one was more focused on Conrad and Néomi. Well, couldn’t help it since she couldn’t leave Elancourt, I guess… I don’t think it was such a bad thing, but I felt like the storyline was a bit subdued… almost boring ^_^;

Rosie: The storyline and plot didn't bother me. The idea of the H/H trapped with each other in the house, Elancourt, was a sort of stuck on a tropical island type of a thing. After 80 years of isolation it's completely understandable that Néomi wouldn't be able to keep away from someone who can see and hear her. My issue, again, besides her being a ghost, is the whole secret keeping the last third of the book.

On the other hand, one weird thing I liked about the book? I love the French language. It was just divine! I took French for five years and while I still speak poorly, I love to hear it, or read it. It flows like ocean waves to my ears. I loved all the French phrases in this book especially since they were simple enough I could translate them easily. Ms Cole did a good job of with that.

Nath: Agree, the French was really well-used in this book and you know what? I only found one tiny mistake! LOL :)

For me, what I liked the most was the Wroth brothers’ loyalty to each other. How much the three brothers put on the line for Conrad was touching. I also liked the last scene when Nikolai helped Conrad and when they got together at Nikolai’s place. It’s also good to know that the brothers never gave up on Conrad and had a back-up plan in case he wouldn’t regain his sanity. By the way, that brings up something else that annoyed me. The fact that Conrad only went to help out his brothers when he needed them…

Rosie: The Wroth brothers, all very *sigh* and *swoon* worthy don't you think? The brothers’ loyalty, honor and stubbornness would probably drive us crazy in real life but are wonderful to see between them in the books.

At the end of the day, Dark Needs at Night’s Edge wasn't a bad book at all, so I’m giving it a B-. I just wish it didn't have any ghosts in it. :-P I'll be looking for the next book, Dark Desires After Dusk which is due out May 20th. That's not a very long wait.

Nath: I’m giving it a B- as well. I guess I just didn’t connect with Conrad… by the way, I can’t wait for Dark Desires After Dusk. I’ve been curious about those demons brothers ever since they appeared in Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night. You can read an excerpt here.

ps - Another character whose book I’m looking forward is Murdoch… when did he acquire his secret Bride?

Sunday, April 27

Review: Jacob by Jacquelyn Frank

Note: This review was originally posted at Twisted Kingdom.

So buddy review!!! It's been so long since we last had a buddy review!!

So Ames, tell me why you got this book :D

I kept picking this book up and putting it down, not sure about some of the reviews I had read. But then I read one good review and saw it not too long after at the library. I couldn’t resist anymore! What about you?

Me, well I was seeing Jacob everywhere! In bookstores, at Wal-Mart, at the grocery store! But I held out! I was so proud... I took a look at the cover, read the back blurb and thought it was another book about vampires and I said, No. I've had enough. Then, I read someone's review, I think it was Kristie... and I broke down and bought it. However, it's been sitting in my TBR pile for a few months :P Until I saw it was part of your challenge...

Since time began, there have been Nightwalkers -- the races of the night who live in the shadows of the moonlight. Love with humans is absolutely forbidden, and one man makes certain to uphold this ancient law: Jacob, the Enforcer...

For 700 Years, He Has Resisted Temptation. But Not Tonight...

Jacob knows the excuses his people give when the madness overtakes them and they fall prey to their lust for humans. He’s heard every one and still brought the trespassers to justice. Immune to forbidden desires, uncontrollable hungers, or the curse of the moon, his control is total -- until the moment he sees Isabella on a shadowy New York City street. Saving her life wasn’t in his plans. Nor were the overwhelming feelings she arouses in him. But the moment he holds her in his arms and feels the soft explosion of her body against his, everything changes. Their attraction is undeniable, volatile, and completely against the law. Suddenly everything Jacob has ever believed is inflamed by the heat of desire... Bring on the night.

Genre: paranormal romance, demons, druids, necromancers Series: The Nightwalkers, Book 1 Published by: Kensington/Zebra Paranormal Romance in November 2006

Ok, this book was a pleasant surprise. I thought for sure I was going to hate it when the smart (librarian) heroine slips and falls out of a 5 storey window. I was this close to throwing the book against the wall, but I just had to see what would happen when our heroine, Isabella, follows Jacob into an abandoned warehouse. Then the story got really interesting…and the sex really hot. So yeah, I liked this book.

Well I have to admit that I did enjoy this book a lot too LOL... even with Bella falling from her window. You know, when you told me that she fell off the window, I thought you meant, she jumped out to avoid danger, but not even!!! I liked Jacob and Bella well enough; however, it seems to me that Bella took all the revelations too easily. Not at one moment did she doubt or freak out, which seems a bit unbelievable for me ^^.

That’s true upon reflection. But Isabella did see proof with her own two eyes when she followed Jacob into the warehouse right at the beginning. I enjoyed Isabella’s strength. She was a good heroine, despite falling out a window (which the author does explain).

Well yeah, she does see proof... but some denial would have been expected. I have to admit, I'm getting tired of vampires and so I was pleasantly surprised that they were demons :P I thought it was a great take on demons, very original and new. I liked the powers and the diversity of them...

Me too! I love this world that JF has built. The demon society is interesting and new, and I can’t wait for Gideon’s story, which comes out May 29.

We're so lucky that we don't have to wait too long, LOL! Although the book was enjoyable, there are still some few lose ends in the world building and that annoyed me. 1) What is the punishment? This was never mentionned... at first, I thought it was death, but then too many survived LOL All I know is that it must be embarassing... All right, onto no. 2) what do they do? I mean, it's great that they exist... but besides that? they don't mingle with humans... do they own some business corporate in secret? do they have a mission like the Dark-Hunters? I mean, it seems they're missing a purpose!

Hmm…I think the punishment was different for each demon? It was tailored to punish each demon differently. As for their purpose? I’m not sure about that one either. But what’s our purpose? LOL I don’t mean to get philosophical, but the demons not having a purpose didn’t really bother me.

Ames’ grade: B- (the minus is for the heroine falling out the window, even with an explanation, that’s a no-no)
Nath’s grade: Hmmm, I'd give this 3.75 (B) :P

Wednesday, April 23

Review: 50 Ways to Hex your Lover by Linda Wisdom

So, guess who my buddy reviewer today? Come on, take a guess...

Can't guess? Need a clue? It's her first appearance here on Breezing Through :P

So everyone, please welcome Brie from Cupid’s Chokehold!

50 Ways to Hex your Lover by Linda Wisdom
published by Sourcebooks Casablanca in March 2008

Jasmine Tremaine, a witch who can't stay out of trouble

Nikolai Gregorivich, a drop-dead gorgeous vampire cop on the trail of a serial killer.

The sizzling love affair between Jazz and Nick has been off-again, on-again-for about 300 years. Mostly off, lately. But now Nick needs Jazz's help, and while Jazz and Nick try to figure out their own hearts and resist their ever-increasing attraction, they must steer clear of a maniacal killer with super-supernatural powers. They are surrounded by a hilarious cast of oddball paranormal characters, including Irma, the chain-smoking ghost who haunts Jazz's sports car, Dweezil, her ghoul of a boss, and Fluff and Puff, a pair of bunny slippers with sharp teeth and short tempers (watch your ankles)

Genre: paranormal romance
Series: book #1

The Story: Meet Jazz Tremaine, witch and limo-driver. When Jazz was young, she, along with her 12 witch schoolmates, was expelled from the witch academy for 100 years. 700 years later, she still hasn't returned, as any selfish or inappropriate uses of magic add on on her banishment. Not that it matters much, since Jazz has created a life for herself.

Nikolai Gregorivich, aka Nick Gregory, is Jazz' on and off (mostly off) vampire boyfriend. Nowadays, he's a PI investigating vampires disappearance. Rumors have it that a cure to vampirism has been discovered; however, Nick knows better. He has a suspect for the case, but to uncover it, he'll need Jazz' help as the suspect is actually a nightmare from the past.

Nath: So Brie, what did you think of the book? I have to admit, I had a little difficulty getting through the book. It wasn because the book started slow or anything it just couldn hold my attention.

Brie: I'm glad I wasn't the only one that found it hard to get through the book. Normally a light read, which I would consider this book to be, is easy for me to breeze through, but not this time. I had to force myself to concentrate on the book, instead of being engrossed in the story like I would have liked to have been.

Nath: Same thing with me. I almost never start a new book while reading one since I read so fast. However, I think I put 50 Ways to Hex your Lover aside to start and finish 2 other books. That almost unheard of for me.

One of the let-down’s is that the book wasn as funny as I expected. The characters are all quirky and almost designed to be funny, especially Irma and the bunny slippers, Puff and Fluff, and same thing with many scenes However, I felt like the author was trying to hard and in the end, it fell flat.

Brie: I agree. It did seem to me that the author was "trying to hard to be funny." I don't think I laughed once and I'm really easy to please. I think that if the comedic elements were more subtle, as opposed to "in your face" then it would have come off funnier to me.

For me, part of the problem was that the world building deterred from the actual story. Much of the goings on in the book seemed random and served very little purpose, and bored me. I guess that there was a greater purpose served (world building) but this was the type of expanding of worlds that I could have done without.

Nath: See, I only agree partially with you on this one. Yes, there were many random scenes; however, I don’t think they contribute to the world building. I actually felt that the world building was somewhat neglected. We're given some bits and pieces here, but nothing complete. I wonder how all the supernatural beings co-habit with the humans. We know that they know about vampires, but what is the level of acceptance? What is the level of tolerance towards witches? And all those weird creatures, are they really accepted? Or is everything ifferent because the story is set in Los Angeles?

Brie: True. It think that the human world know’s about the paranormal world to a point. Their opinions of different species of paranormal beings seem to be a bit distorted. Like the detective who didn't believe that Jazz was a witch because she wasn't wrinkled and covered in warts. But at the same time, Jazz didn't seem all that sure of all of the species' around her either. Remember, she wasn't completely sure what Dweezil was...

How did you all like Jazz and Nick's romance? I could appreciate the push and pull, but I never really got why Jazz was so upset with him. Even after they reconciled she still found a reason to walk away from him. Was it that she thought they were too different to make it as a couple? Because I thought they were way past the Witch/Vamp thing at that point.

Nath: That was another let-down. Jazz and Nick’s relationship was a bit like the world building. Ms Wisdom put a lot of thoughts and efforts into building this complicated relationship; however, I feel like we were missing something important in order to fully understand their relationship. If only there been more details on their past, I think it would have helped.

What annoyed me the most was Jazz resentment towards Nick. I would have like for Ms Wisdom to tell us what really happened during that incident, instead of bits and pieces from Jazz and Nick. Not having every pieces of the puzzle made it really hard for me to accept Jazz resentment and attitude towards Nick. On the plus side, it made me really like Nick character. I like that he didn't care that Jazz was mad at him. He just kept taking what he wanted. I like for my heroes to take what the want first and ask if it's okay later.

Brie: I thought that the incident between them would be explained more, but it really did to take a backseat to Jazz's resentment of Nick. It would have been nice to have some background to what exactly happened with them.

Nath: In my opinion, it would have been better if Ms Wisdom re-visited their relationship instead of the sorority house scene or Mindy wanting to take over Dweezil's business. I also wished we could have seen more of Jazz witch sisters one of my favorite scenes of the book was when the three witches sat and passed the binoculars around to oogle at the man working on the roof. That was cute :P

Brie: I forgot about the binocular scene. That was cute. A highlight in the book, for sure.

Nath: Are you planning to read the next book? I probably will, but I hope that Jazz won't be angry at Nick anymore.

Brie: I'm not sure if I'll read the next book. It depends on if it will be a continuation of Nick and Jazz's story or another pairing. If it's a new couple then I might give it a go.

I wish that there had been more emphasis on Nick and Jazz. I would have liked if their relationship had been more fleshed out. Their past was a bit ambiguous, and like you, Nath, I think that a few unnecessary scenes could have been left out to make the romance and overall story better. That said, I'm giving the book a C.

Nath: I read somewhere that this is an unconventional romance while I agree with that statement, I don think it justifies all the unanswered questions that I have about world building and Jazz and Nick past. I wished these elements would have been the focus of this book however, I can still hope I l get some answers in the next book. As it is, I giving this a C as well.

Thursday, April 17

Review: Dagger Star by Elizabeth Vaughan

Along with Strike Zone, Dagger Star by Elizabeth Vaughan was another of my most anticipated book for April. Talk about two complete different genres, no? LOL :) Turns out I wasn’t the only one looking forward for Dagger Star and so, I’ve been able to enlist Li from Book Daze and Katie(babs) from Ramblings on Romance, Etc. to buddy review this book with me!

Oh, there’ll be lots of spoilers in this review ^_^; Sorry, we couldn’t help it. I put up warnings for those who don't want to know...

ps - For those wondering about the follow-up for the polls, it'll be coming soon.

Dagger Star by Elizabeth Vaughan
published by Berkley in April 2007

A cold and beautiful mercenary known as Red Gloves finds Josiah, a lone figure emerging from the torched fields and razed farms of his homeland.

All Josiah knows about the mysterious woman is her dagger-star birthmark, a sign that she is destined to free the people from a ruthless usurper's reign of terror…

Genre: fantasy, romance
Series: Palins, book #1

The Story: Red Gloves and Bethral are two mercenaries from Soccia, traveling to Palins, a kingdom of unrest, to find work. One rainy night, they stopped at Josiah’s place for shelter and Red Gloves’ life is about to change drastically. It turns out that Red Gloves bears the dagger-start birthmark which makes her the “Chosen” in the prophecy to free Palins from the evil regent.

Nath: I asked Li and Katie(babs) to do this review with me, because all three of us really enjoyed The Chronicles of Warlands trilogy. However, it seems that our opinion of Dagger Star is very different from each other. So what did you ladies think of the book?

Li: How do I put this - if it wasn't for this buddy review thing, I would have put the book down halfway, and it would probably still be on my TBR pile a year from now. It just didn't excite me.

Nath: That bad?

Li: I loved Warprize (the first book in her Chronicles of Warlands trilogy) - I thought it was a refreshingly different fantasy romance. In Dagger Star, it was almost as though the romance and the quest/adventure were independent of each other. And I thought the fantasy part was rather cliched and predictable... and the h/h relationship didn't quite work for me. I couldn't feel the romance - when did it change from lust to love?

Nath: What about you, Katie(babs)?

Katie(babs): Overall, I really enjoyed Dagger Star as much as Vaughan's Chronicles of Warlands trilogy :) Dagger Star was everything I was looking for in a fantasy/alternative world book. I have already read Vaughan's three other books in her Chronicles of the Warlands and her voice in those books is very much alive in Dagger Star. I really enjoyed the character of Red Gloves. Vaughan's heroine of Red Gloves made this story an excellent read.

Nath: I stand in the middle of the two of you ^_^; I was disappointed, but I didn't find the book as bad as Li. I guess I was expecting a great or at least, a good read, but this was just okay. I think that Katie(babs) and I enjoyed it more because we don’t read as much as fantasy as Li. I actually love “prophecy” storyline, LOL, and I didn’t find the plot too cliché, but the direction it took disappointed me. Character-wise, I think this book was great and it sets up for very interesting storylines in the future. As for romance, I think it was a bit lacking. Like Li, I don’t know when the relationship turns from lust to love…

***Spoilers from here on, read at your own risks***

Nath: So let’s take it from the beginning. What did you think of Red Gloves and Josiah as characters?

Katie(babs): I enjoyed the mystery surrounding Red Gloves and the mystery behind her wearing these gloves and of course her nickname. She comes across a bit of a bitch but in this world she has to be because she is a mercenary. But I also realized that Red is very scarred and lonely. Because of her past she is afraid to trust and love. Her relationships are very much about money and what a person can do for her and how she will come on top. I originally thought this was her being selfish and cold, but because she is a survivor, she needs the comfort of the coin. With Josiah, she let go and was allowed to love and love freely.

Nath: I liked both characters a lot and how they were so different. I think you really nailed Red Gloves, Katie(babs). It’s also because Red Gloves has such a strong personality and has such fearlessness that I loved Josiah. Josiah is so calm and melancholic… such a huge contrast. It’s also very interesting in a fantasy novel to have a male character like Josiah, someone who is not a fighter or a soldier. Sure, he was a mage, but he didn’t excel in weapons or even in strategies which led to his tragedies. When you read a fantasy novel, I think you expect the hero to be more like Keir from the Chronicles of Warlands trilogy. Next to Keir, Josiah seems flawed and I think that it added a lot of depth to his character.

That’s why I felt so disappointed…. I loved the characters, the world building and the setting up, but I think the let-down was really the storyline. Perhaps my disappointment was due to my expectations. Like I said, I really like the “chosen” and prophecy plot and was expecting the whole prophecy - finding the chosen, rallying people behind her, going after the throne, i.e. the whole enchilada to last the whole trilogy/series... and although that would have been really cliched, that's what I wanted. Li complained about the fantasy part being cliché and she wasn't the only one... and I agree to a certain extent. The problem is that when the storyline deviates from those clichés, that's where my enjoyment starts to dim. For example, I would have preferred only ONE chosen... not several.

Li: Oh, we are so different then! Because those bits that were unexpected, the multiple Chosens, that's what I liked - I thought it was a clever way of turning the prophecy on its head. Also, there were other bits that worked - I liked the thought put into the various religions and how they differed from one another. But apart from that, it just felt like standard fantasy plotlines assembled together - the battle-scarred mercenary who turns out the be the long-lost heir to the throne or whatever, the treks to various lords to get support, the end-battle, etc. Even the twist at the end wasn't surprising, especially because it was hinted at right at the very beginning!

Nath: I thought that the various religions added a touch of reality in the world building. What I didn’t like was the magic ^_^; As for the twist, true - it wasn’t very surprising; however, it did fit Red Gloves’ character. Something else I expected to see was Red Gloves starting to believe in the prophecy and that she was the Chosen, then convincing and rally people. The way it happened, it was too easy. Red Gloves didn’t have to do much ground work, she just had to show up and ask for support, because Evie had set up everything. Also, the whole battle was over wayyyy too quickly.

Katie(babs): Personally, I was expecting a bit more battle scenes rather than all the planning. We see everyone talking about going into the battle, but the final fight was a bit dull IMO. And, perhaps the ending was a bit rushed?

Li: I definitely felt that too. Maybe part of that was because we didn't really get to see the final battle from Red's perspective. Instead, it was from Josiah's POV and from a distance.

Nath: I think you’re right, Katie(babs), the ending was rushed. See, when you combine everything that happened, you end up with an awkward pacing. The story started out well, but then it became slow and suddenly, everything was over. It wouldn’t have been too bad if it was only fantasy, but it affected the romance.

The main problem about the romance was that the timeline went by so fast, I felt the author had difficulty developing the romance between Red Gloves and Josiah. That’s why I think, Li, that you felt that the romance and fantasy seem independent from each other.

Li: They just didn't spend that much time together, did they? Especially in the second half of the book, when Red is running off trying to drum up support for her cause, and Josiah is left holding the fort.

Katie(babs): I also agree things went a bit too fast, but the romance had some interesting moments, especially when Josiah thinks he is losing Red and then the next page Red is thinking how she is losing him in turn.

Nath: I thought if they talked to each other a bit more, we could have been spared that scene ^_^; Not my favorite at all…

Katie(babs): I have to admit, I didn't see the attraction to each other at first. I understand Red's attraction to Josiah because, hey, he is a hunky goat herder after all, but it was definitely at first a very physical one between them. Josiah was the first one to fall for Red and I felt he was in touch with his emotions, where as Red is more stiff and cold.

Li: Speaking of Red/Josiah and their relationship - what did you think of the role-reversal? It was like Ms Vaughan was deliberately turning the romance hero/heroine convention on its head. I found it quite heavy-handed to be honest. And then when he started calling her "kitten", it then felt as though she was trying to bring them back to a more conventional h/h relationship. It left me confused and really not feeling their connection.

Katie(babs): She was the alpha one in this relationship. Josiah is a Beta hero, which I enjoyed. He allows Red to take him by the hand and do what she wants with him, well till the final scene that is. *G* I thought him calling Red "kitten" was sweet and when she heard him call her that, I let out a chuckle. Makes her a bit more soft in his eyes because she has been around harsh circumstances. And her nickname for his was "Lover," again the whole role reversal comes into play. Usually a hero will call the heroine lover or baby. Red calls Josiah her lover as a term of endearment.

Nath: I didn’t mind the H/H reversal. I thought it work well with their personalities… Josiah calling her by an endearment is not that surprising, since he seems to be the more romantic in the relationship :P However, I probably would have chosen “lioness” instead of “kitten.” Fits better LOL.

Li: Was I the only one to find the gloves thing a complete letdown??! I was expecting... I don't know... magic tattoos that would completely destroy her surroundings or something. Instead well... I thought the scene was just OTT! I very hurriedly skimmed those pages...

Katie(babs): I assumed wearing the red gloves was more of a emotional reason or maybe she had some scarring and couldn't bear to look at them. But when when they are taken off, I thought the scene was written very well as we see Red remembering back in time why she has decided to wear them.

Nath: I’m with Li, I thought her hands were magic… that perhaps, she had a void in her hand that would suck everything around her like a vacuum ^_^; However, kudos to Ms Vaughan because it really surprised me, even with all the hints throughout the book… although, I didn’t think it was necessary to make up a tragic past for Red Gloves. In my opinion, with out without that twist, I think that Red Gloves would still be who she is.

To tell the truth, aside from the main storyline and the romance, which I know is very, very important, the rest was very good ^_^; I like how Ms Vaughan tried something new with this series and switched from the 1st person POV to the 3rd person POV. It changes things up and definitively gives options for Ms. Vaughan.

I can see 2 future narrators: Evie and Glorianna. I'm also thinking that Ezren & Bethral relationship will be continued as a secondary storyline in the next books as well... and seriously, I’m interested in reading what happens in the aftermath of the Chosen taking the throne (which is something we rarely get to read about). Evie is going to be an interesting narrator because she knows the people and what happened. For example, the elven Baron marrying the human woman... she seems to have had a hand in their relationship and I hope we'll learn more about it. She's also the one who did a lot of the leg work that was supposed to be Red Gloves'. Plus, it seems to me that Ms Vaughan was hinting a romance between her and Blackhart, the traitorous High Baron.

Li: I felt as though there had been another book that we missed out on - the elven Baron and his human wife. Did you feel the same way? You may have guessed I'm not hugely excited about reading a follow-up to Dagger Star, but I wouldn't mind reading their story!

Katie(babs): I thought the elven lord and his wife was adorable! This kingly elf is all gruff and very pompous, but then his wife comes along and the change in his is sweet. I also would love to see their story and how a human and elf became man and wife. I am interested in a follow up to Dagger Star because of all the unfinished stories with the other characters such as Bethral and Ezren and I also Evelyn and Blackhart. What was up with those two? What did Evelyn promise to him that he kept sharing a look with her?

Li: I definitely got the feeling that Ms Vaughan was laying the groundwork for another story there!

Nath: However, I like how Ms Vaughan was setting up for the other books. It fits in the story so well and it didn’t feel to me like she was baiting us. Of course, there were tons of characters introduced, but that was not unexpected since this is a trilogy/series and I thought they were all so interesting. By the way, isn’t Evie a priestess? As in, she cannot marry, no?

***End of Spoilers***

Katie(babs): Something I found wonderful is that we have two female mercenaries who have made their own way in the world without the help of men. Red and Bethral have an incredible relationship as friends and sisters. I also wondered what if Vaughan had decided to make these two lovers and gone with a lesbian romance rather than the romance between Red and Josiah…

I also enjoyed Bethral and her tentative romance with the storyteller Ezren. He calls her is Angel of Light, which made me go awwww.... :) I would love to see these two in a future story and how far along their relationship has come. Ezren was actually my favorite character behind Red Gloves. He is not a fighter like Red or Bethral but a simple man who uses words to get his actions across.

Nath: Speaking of Ezren… something he said intrigued me. Ezren alludes to the Daughter of Xy "legend" and that makes me think that many, many years have gone by. I'd like to know how much, since I’m secretly hoping for a WarKing book... (either Keir or their son, Keirson :P) If I'm not wrong, I remember reading somewhere that characters from the Plain should appear in the second or third book...

Li: I caught that reference too! Agree - it sounds as though it's in the distant past.

Katie(babs): Vaughan may write a fourth book with Keir and Lara about her pregnancy and birth of their first child. That is one story I would definitely read. I also like the references about the Plains people and the fact in Dagger Star they also drink kavage! And did you notice how this story takes plain in a Palins? Palins has the same letters as Plains but moved around ;)

What I couldn't stand in this book were those goats!! They annoyed me. But that is just me. I know there is some point for them being in the story but their purpose was lost on me.

Li: Yes, the magic goats! Yes, I kept on waiting for them to be explained but they never were. Why were they in the story? Apart from some comic relief, I suppose...

Were there any standout scenes for you both? Because I'm trying to think back to when I read the book - and a week later, nothing really sticks in my mind.

Katie(babs): The one scene that sticks out for me was when Red and Josiah are making love and she removes her gloves to touch him wit her naked hands as Josiah allows himself to be blindfolded and tied up. A turning point in their relationship just as well as if they finally said "I love you" to one another.

Nath: None really except for some comedy relief scenes ^_^; However, it doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the book :) I’m actually giving it a B. Sure, the plot wasn’t what I expected and the romance was a bit weak, but I enjoyed the characters and I’m definitively looking forward for the next books :) What about you ladies?

Li: Gradewise, it's C+ for me. Not one of my favourite reads this year, unfortunately!

Katie(babs): For my grade I would give Dagger Star a solid B and look forward to a sequel. Hopefully with less goats! LOL

Monday, April 14

Reminder Polls series no.4: Sport Romances

Hello everyone!

Just a quick reminder, the polls series no. 4 about Sport Romances are ending tomorrow at 11.59am Eastern time. If you have not voted yet, follow the link here.

Have a nice day everyone :D

Wednesday, April 9

Review: Kiss of Midnight by Lara Adrian

aka Amy’s and Kristie’s Surprise Review – muahahaha!


He watches her from across the crowded dance club, a sensual black-haired stranger who stirs Gabrielle's deepest fantasies. But nothing about this night--or this man--is what it seems. For when Gabrielle witnesses a murder outside the club, reality shifts into something dark and deadly. In that shattering instant she is thrust into a realm she never knew existed--a realm where vampires stalk the shadows and a blood war is set to ignite.

Lucan Thorne despises the violence carried out by his lawless brethren. A vampire himself, Lucan is a Breed warrior, sworn to protect his kind--and the unwitting humans existing alongside them--from the mounting threat of the Rogues. Lucan cannot risk binding himself to a mortal woman, but when Gabrielle is targeted by his enemies, he has no choice but to bring her into the dark underworld he commands.

Here, in the arms of the Breed's formidable leader, Gabrielle will confront an extraordinary destiny of danger, seduction, and the darkest pleasures of all...
Here's the dealio - I've been feeling bad about not pulling my share around here lately (work has been kicking my ass since I got back from my trip) and I decided to do a super sneaky review (i.e. I didn't tell Nath - LOL) with Kristie, blogger and Crusader extraordinaire. Woot! So we chose Lara Adrian's Kiss of Midnight as we both had it in our TBR Pile. As we were reading, Kristie and I noticed here it is - our review!

Spoilers ahead matey, ye've been warned!

Ames: I see so many similarities between JR Ward and Lara Adrian but I think Lara Adrian comes out on top. Her vampires aren't gangsta wannabes. *g*

Kristie: I see a lot of similarities to JR Ward too. But I also think Lara Adrian comes out on top too. We don't have that silly gangsta thing going, the names are much better and I think the world building is better done. The relationship between the vampires doesn't have the same kind of hokey dialogue as JR Wards books. As well, I don't think the heroine is as wimpy as JR Wards. There seems to be a more equal distribution of power between the hero and the heroine for the most part.

I also thought the fact that they were descended from aliens rather interesting.

Ames: I thought the fact that they were descended from aliens was interesting too, except I got the creepiest visual to go with that thought. LOL You ever see that Stargate movie with James Spade? That's the alien image I'm channeling right now. *shudder*

And I agree 100% about the heroine - she was strong. You know what else I liked? The fact that both Lucan and Gabby were afraid of turning out like their parents. Lucan was afraid of turning Rogue and Gabrielle was afraid of going crazy like her mom.

AND the fact that there were some couples already in the picture. Like Gabby wasn't the first woman in the compound like Beth is for Ward's vhampires. hehe

What I didn't like - was how long Lucan fought his feelings for Gabby. It's understandable up to a point - I would have liked to see them together as a bonded couple for a few more pages. :P

Kristie: I agree. It was fairly obvious to me that he was so on the edge because that's what he needed - to find his mate. He never really seemed to clue into that.

Another thing that annoyed me slightly was how long he waited before telling her who she was and the way the Breedmates (and she could have come with a different term there I think - too similar to brood mares for me *g*) fit into their world.

"AND the fact that there were some couples already in the picture. "

I liked that too. It's a good way to explain the bond between vampires and their mates. I hope she doesn't plan on getting rid of any of the 'wives' in this series the way Ward got rid of Wellsie - that's one of the big reasons I haven't read further in the Brotherhood series. There's nothing wrong with keeping some happy couples around.
Yet at the same time we got to see what happened when a wife did go against the Breeds. Hopefully that will be the only incident.

I wasn't sure when I first started reading it though if I'd end up liking this one. The jury was out for a while. I didn't like the way Lucan used his mind control over Gabrielle. And he was pretty cold. Until I got used to that, it was touch and go. But once Gabrielle realized what he was doing and started fighting his control, the book started getting better for me. I ended up liking it quite a bit and I'm glad I already have the next one in the series - Kiss of Crimson. I've seen these compared more favourably and less favourably to the Brotherhood series. I like them better (sorry to all those JR Ward fans)

I'm still squicked out though by the fact that they need to drink blood in order to survive, but the fact that they aren't really dead and can be killed helps somewhat.

Ames: Yeah, Breedmates does sound like broodmare. LOL

Ok, I liked this book right from the get go. Yeah Lucan annoyed me a little, but he was yummy enough that I didn't stay annoyed for long. And his mind control didn't really bother me because I felt like it wasn't overt. Like I said before, Gabby is strong, and that includes mentally (i.e. her mental shields).

I have the next book in the series too. And I know the third book got favourable reviews in blogland. So woot for me for having it in my pile already. :P I might even "allow" myself to get the 4th book. Haha (side note: I had pre-ordered Midnight Rising before the list, so I got it as a surprise in the mail the other day. end side note)

Oooh, what did you think of the twist at the end, who the Master Rogue guy was? I see major angst in the future. LOL

Kristie: Well *gulp* I, ah, kind of looked at the end before I got there so it wasn't a surprise at the end. But it was a surprise when I did read it. I can see much angst happening over the next few books. But having brought up the bad guys - I think Lara Adrian's bad guys are way better written than Wards. I've read that quite a few readers just skip over the Lesser parts, but the Rogues and Minions in this series are pretty well written.
How did you think they compared to the Lessers?

What did you think of Lucan being afraid of being so close to the edge - so close to turning rogue himself. I liked the scene where he locked himself away in the dark and Gabrielle came looking for him and took care of him.

Ames: *gasp* How could you?! LOL Just kidding.

But yes, the Rogues were a whole lot better than the Lessers. I mean, I was one of those readers that skipped the Lesser parts. But I read about the Rogues. And it's interesting, with Marek - what Lucan believed about him, but he came back. And I think that's interesting. Like they could create a Rogue Rehabilitation. haha!

When Lucan savaged the Minion that tried to shoot Gabby - I knew he was 2/3 of the way over the edge into becoming a Rogue. I was like "Ok woah, dude has had waaay too much blood." But Gabby was so brave for sticking with him while he was going through a really terrible hunger pang. I also felt that was kind of dumb of her, following him in the dark. But I guess that just shows her trust in Lucan, she knew no matter how bad he got, he wouldn't hurt her. And I think he needed to see that belief she had in him, because of what happened to his parents. He loved her that much, although he didn't realize it at the time.

And a big bonus, it was nice and steamy. :P You know me. hehe

Kristie: That part was pretty gruesome wasn’t it? I thought she was pretty brave too – and she did see the difference between him and the Rogues.

One other thing I liked was that the women could leave the compound – they chose not to very often – but they seemed to do so if they wanted to.

And to answer your earlier question – no I never did see the movie Stargate – only a few episodes of the series with Richard Dean Anderson. He’s aged well *g*

Ames: So final grade? It would be a good solid B for me. I’m definitely going to keep reading this series. You?

Kristie: As for how I rated it – I grade my books on a 1 to 5 scale. I gave it a 4. I thought it was going to be lower – a lot lower – but once I got past the parts that were giving me issues, it really took off for me. And steamy is always good isn’t it? I like steamy. OK – I don’t watch Grey’s so I don’t care about Dr. McSteamy – but in books I like steamy.
And since like you, I already have Kiss of Crimson TBR – yep *g* I’ll be reading at least one more. And I’ve read a few places that the later ones get even better!

Tuesday, April 8

Review: Strike Zone by Kate Angell

This book is one that I’ve anticipated a lot, because I like the author’s style. Her books are usually quick, funny and entertaining reads and this one is no exception. My buddy reviewer is Kris from The Reading Spot.

Strike Zone by Kate Angell
published by Dorchester (Love Spell) in April 2008

Faced with the love of her life waiting at the altar, thrill-seeking adventure guide Taylor Hannah lost her nerve and ran. Three years later, the gutsy blonde is back in Richmond to reclaim handsome Rogues pitcher Brek Stryker before he makes another trip down the aisle. From dressing as a giant baseball to pummeling the other team’s mouthy mascot, this former fiancée is pulling out all the stops. Trouble is, her ball player refuses to believe she’s finally ready to play by his rules. Stryke hasn’t forgiven the woman who left him on their wedding day, but he can’t ignore the chemistry that sizzles every time he and Taylor meet. The fireworks between them could light up the ball park, but Stryke won’t lose his heart again unless he knows the score. If Taylor steps into his strike zone, she’d better be ready to go past third base and all the way home.

Genre: sport romance, contemporary romance
Series: The Richmond Rogues, Book #3

The Story: Three years ago, Taylor Hannah’s parents died in a plane crash. Then, a few months later, she was supposed to get married to Rogues’ start pitcher Brek Stryker... however, she left him at the altar. Now, three years later, after reading his engagement announcement, Taylor wants closure and to apologize, therefore she returns to Richmond… and sparks still erupt between them. The last thing Brek wants is to see Taylor again, to feel the sparks and to remember… but you rarely get want you want.

The secondary storyline involves Taylor’s little sister and Sloan McCaffrey, the Rogues’ reliever. Sloan is attracted to Taylor and decides to sign on one of the trip she guides… Although his mind is attracted to Taylor, his body responds to Eve, the non-thrill seeking, cynic with a sharp tongue sister. Of course, Eve is not interested in a man who only dates the same women 3 times… but being around Sloan is fun and it makes her forget that she’s the passive sister.

Nath: This was definitively a light and fun read. It took me only one evening to finish it and I know it took even less time for Kris!

Kris: I picked it up to read while I was eating lunch and could not put it down. I think I finished it in about 2 hours. It was a lot of fun. I had a few LOL moments. My favorite was Psycho at the dog adoption event. I could picture that so well.

Nath: LOL, so true! I thought the mascot fights were quite funny, especially the second one where Taylor won :) The first one with Psycho yelling her what to do… I think one of the most hilarious part of the book was when Sloan came to crash Addie's b-day party and Eve wondered what gift he brought. LOL, definitively a LOL moment.

I really enjoyed the Taylor and Brek’s storyline. I like their chemistry and I wondered how Brek was going to dump his fiancée without looking like a jerk. I have to say though, I wish Taylor and Brek had their own book. This was also a complaint I had with Squeeze Play and Curve Ball as well. In my opinion, Ms Angell had enough material with one couple, she didn’t need to squeeze in another.

Kris: I was okay with the two stories in the book. Though with the large timeline like there was, she could have done a couple more scenes during rehab or somewhere else in the story to make you feel the time pass more.

I totally did not see the Hillary (the fiancée) thing coming. That was a nice surprise.

Nath: Definitively could have added a few scenes, though perhaps not about rehab. I think she meant to keep the book fun and light. I can't see rehab being fun, witty and light LOL :) So perhaps them on a date or something, although I can’t see how she could have fit those scenes in… Sigh.

As for the Hillary thing – I didn’t see it coming either. I mean, I knew she wasn’t as innocent and nice as she looked. The clue was when she came up to Taylor to ask her advices about loving Brek... That’s really just plain mean and “in your face, he’s mine now.”

Kris: I was giving her the benefit of the doubt and wondering if she was abused at some point. So I guess I fell for it.

Nath: That would totally have not fit the fun and light mood, LOL. Personally, where she’s concerned, I think that Brek was wearing blinders. True, Ms Angell explains his "blindness" very well and it fits, but I can’t see a professional baseball star pitcher getting engage with a woman without ever having sex with her. You just know something is wrong when she denies you sex… and her reasons were not even “I want to wait for our wedding night” or something like that. She just didn’t feel comfortable ^_^; In the end, I would have liked to see what happened to Hillary, Stu and whether or not her father won the election.

As for Sloan and Eve, I enjoyed their relationship till the third date. Afterwards, I think that their storyline was rushed and they got together too quickly. Their storyline definitively suffered from lack of pages.

Kris: Though I think Hillary and Stu’s fate was mentioned in passing, I would have liked to have seen or heard a little more about that as well.

Sloan cracked me up with his arrogance. He was a good balance for Eve. This book was very much about opposites attracting. I do not think that they got back together too quickly. They were apart for like 3-4 months before they got back together. If she was still pining for him at that point then she needed to talk to him or get over him.

Nath: True, there were 3 or 4 months between their fight and reconciliation. However, you don’t feel those 3 or 4 months go by and that’s why I felt it was rushed. Adding more scenes to their storyline would have made it more believable in my opinion. I felt that they had the beginning of something together, but I don’t think they were involved enough for Sloan to change so completely in order to win her back. I mean Sloan doing small things and changing a bit would have been enough, but going the whole 9 yards – buying a house and adopting dogs? I think it was a little too much.

One thing I’m glad Ms Angell did not do is having all the previous heroines be pregnant LOL :) Also, she didn’t plug them too much in the storyline. The guys, they were unavoidable, being part of the same team… but it’s nice that wives are just mentioned in this book. Only Jacy has a bigger part and again, it was well justified.

Kris: I like she did not try to force the other wives and characters in so that you could see them again. Though I like to see characters from other books I do not like forced scenes. I need to track down the other book and read that one too. I read Psycho’s story but not the other one.

Nath: So story-wise, Ms. Angell did really good; however, baseball-wise, not so good. As Dear Author’s review of this book pointed out, there are a lot of baseball facts wrong in this book.

Kris: If you are a total baseball fan then you would probably catch those things and I think it would detract because it seems that Ms Angell did not do her research well enough. You would think that she would do a lot more research if she is doing a series around baseball, but I guess not.

Since I am not a baseball fan and any mistakes were totally over my head, this book was a lot of fun for me. So I would probably grade it a B+ to A- somewhere in there.

Nath: So total baseball fans, you’ve been warned. If you’re just a regular reader or have a high tolerance level, then go ahead, because this book was really fun. I’m giving this book a B+… and I’ll be reading the next, hoping that it’s Rhodes book!

Polls series no. 4: sport romances

Hello everyone :D

So I did come up with an idea for the new polls series :) The polls series no.4 will be about sport romances! Let us know what you think by voting and commenting :) Also, if you have any suggestions of sport romances, feel free to share :D

The polls are pretty straightforward, if you need any clarification, feel free to ask :D Oh, about the 5th poll, Would you be interested in amateur sport romance... by amateur sport, I mean any sport where the athlete is not making millions of dollars a year such as figure skating, speed skating, track and fields, etc.

Polls will be closing next week on April 15 at 11.59AM (Eastern time).

Wednesday, April 2

Follow-up: Polls series no.3

I know you've all been waiting for the follow-up post with impatience :P so here it is! I started this post at 8.07AM this morning, but am now only finishing it... (well yeah, I had to wait till the polls officially closed down + I was working + making the graphs). So here it is :D

First poll: Favorite book of the Women of the Otherworld series?

Are you surprised that Bitten came up on top? I'm not, although I thought it would be a closer fight, considering all the great books. From the start, Bitten took the lead and never looked back :P

I voted for Industrial Magic. I just love that book, mainly because it's one of the few where most characters appear... i.e. the werewolves, the witches and sorcerers, the vampires, Jaime, Eve and a bit of Kristof. My second choice would have been Stolen, again, same reasons - we are introduced to the other characters in the series.

I can understand though why Bitten would be most people's favorite. Elena is a great narrator and heroine and the storyline was great. I like how Elena is already a werewolf, part of a pack. There's no "oh, werewolf exists?!?" and she's not an outsider who's introduced to a great secret. Ms Armstrong was also gutsy to start the series as she did - i.e., focus on Elena and the werewolves instead of introducing all the other supernatural beings and too much of world building... Another factor that made Bitten the winner is probably because it's the first book in the series. First book usually has the greatest impact and is often the one people like the best, because that's where everything starts.

Oh, another factor might have been that most voters did not read the whole series yet. I wonder if they did, would the race have been closer?

Second poll: Favorite couple?

Well talk about a landslide :P 17 votes total and 16 went to the same couple. With no surprise, Elena and Clay came on top, but I didn't expect with such an overwhelming majority. I actually expected a fight between Elena&Clay and Paige&Lucas... guess not :P Personally, I voted for Elena&Clay... my second choice was Jaime&Jeremy. I almost voted for them, but their long-distance relationship is why I didn't. Although it made a lot of sense in the novel and storyline, I'd have preferred them to be together, together.

So why Elena & Clay? Personally, I think it has a lot to do with Clay. He's much more charismatic than Lucas in my opinion. It also comes down to his personality... he might be rude, possessive and grumpy, but all this make him charming. Next to Paige & Lucas, I think that people find Paige & Lucas' relationship more normal and common; they don't stand out that much. Also, Ms Armstrong focused less on their relationship. Paige and Lucas met in Dime Store Magic, were a couple in Industrial Magic and next thing you knew, they got married in a short story. I guess readers didn't get to connect as much with them as a couple compared to Elena & Clay with whom interaction and relationship is one of the main issues :P I also wonder if perhaps it's because readers prefer Elena over Paige... I know that many didn't enjoy Paige's books, so that's probably another reason.

As for the other couples, it's unfortunate, but I guess they never had a chance... mainly, I guess, because, again, readers didn't get to connect with them... However, if I removed Elena & Clay, I wonder if Paige & Lucas would come on top or not...

Third Poll: Favorite Supernatural Being

When I put this poll up, I meant supernatural being in the series... however, I wasn't very clear and I think people just voted for their favorite ones ^_^; Ah well, no biggy. See, one of the reasons why I enjoy the Women of the Otherworld series so much is Ms Armstrong's world building, but also her different take on certain supernatural beings such as vampires... That's why I was interested to see what others preferred.

Interestingly enough, Elena and Paige's races came on top, werewolf and witch respectively. Is it because that's what the readers had most exposure with? Werewolves appear in almost all the books in the series and we got to see a lot of witches too.

I voted for werewolf, because I think they got the best deal... Increased strength and speed, prolonged life and best of all, very high metabolism that allow them to eat tons. Being a witch or sorcerer can be cool too; however, it seems to demand a lot more work and studies :P Vampires aren't bad either since they have increased strength and speed too and they do live way longer, although their life span is finite; but yeah, the whole blood thing? Not very attractive. Half-demon is not bad either, but it's risky, since the power and degree is pre-determined by the demon that fathers you. I wouldn't like to be attraced to chaos like Hope, but I wouldn't mind being able to control fire like Adam... As for being a necromancer or a clairvoyant, well the powers are not bad... however, having ghosts asking your help or being exploited by the Cabals -both definitively have cons... and biggest con is that most necromancers and clairvoyants become mad at they grow older. Definitively not attractive. Finally, shaman is the race we know the least about and I wonder if Ms Armstrong will ever develop that one... So yep, werewolves definitively have the best deal :P

Fourth poll: Whose book are you anticipating most?

This was the poll with the least votes; however, the ones who voted seem to be anticipating Savannah's book the most... and it makes the most sense. We've seen Savannah grow up throughout the series and we know that she's a powerful witch who's a lot like her mother. It'll be interesting to see her story. On the other hand, I'm not looking forward to Cassandra's book as much. I mean, it's been hinted in many books that Cassandra's time is ending soon :( I can't see anyone really looking forward to reading the book of a character who's about to die... One person has voted for Elena. I wouldn't mind to have another book with Elena as a narrator; however, I have a requirement. I want the children to be still kids... I don't want to see Elena and Clay deal with teenagers... However, it'll be interesting to see what the future has in store for Elena as an alpha :P

Fifth Poll: Will you give a try to Darkest Powers, the YA trilogy?

More than half who voted said yes and the others, maybe. The good news is that nobody came out and said no :P I think it's going to be interesting, but I can understand why many are so wary. Although I'm sure that if there's good reviews, then people will pick it up :D

So that was it for the polls series no.3 :D However, while I was writing this follow-up post, I came up with a question... It seems to me that many have not read the series... Most seem stuck after the fourth or fifth book... and many have the first 2 books in their TBR pile. Why is it that so many are not up-to-date with this series? I mean, for most series such as Psy-Changelings by Nalini Singh, the Guardians by Meljean Brooks, the Midnight Breed by Lara Adrian, when a new installment is released, people rush to the bookstore to buy it. So why not with the Women of the Otherworld? Is it because this is more urban fantasy than romance? Or perhaps there was too much of a gap between the first two books and the rest of the series? Just curious...

Oh, I still haven't come up for the next poll series theme... any idea?

Tuesday, April 1

Reminder: Poll series no.3

Hi everyone!!

Just a reminder that the poll series no. 3 about the Women of the Otherworld series is ending tomorrow at 11.59am! If you haven't voted yet, please do so here! It doesn't matter if you haven't read the whole series yet...

As for those who have voted, if you have time, dropped by and let me know for whom you voted and why :P

Have a great day all :D

and oh, any idea for a new poll series?