Thursday, April 22

Review: Roadkill by Rob Thurman

Ouf, it's been a while, hasn't it? We didn't really plan this little break (if we did, we would have made an announcement, LOL), but with real life interfering, it just happened. However, we have a couple of reviews in the works and this blog will be kept busy in the next few weeks! In the meantime, to make up for our little break, I bring you probably the longest buddy review/discussion I've ever been involved in LOL. I mean, it's really long :)

So joining me today is Leslie from Leslie's Psyche and Hilcia from Impressions of a Reader... We all discovered the Cal Leandros series by Rob Thurman last year (can read the reviews here) and were looking forward for the newest installment. I'd like to thank them both for discussing this read, but also for their patience, as it took me a while to put the review together :D


*Warning: The are spoilers in this review. Read at your own risk!*

Roadkill by Rob Thurman
published by ROC (New American Library) in March 2010

It's time to lock, load, and hit the road...

Once, while half-human Cal Leandros and his brother Niko were working on a case, an ancient gypsy queen gave them a good old-fashioned backstabbing. Now, just as their P.I. business hits a slow patch, the old crone shows up with a job.

She wants them to find a stolen coffin that contains a blight that makes the Black Death seem like a fond memory. But the thief has already left town, so the Leandros brothers are going on the road. And if they're very, very lucky, there might even be a return trip...

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Cal Leandros series, Book #5

The Story: The story is a bit more than what’s described in the back blurb. Aside from the case, there’s also the fact that the Kin – the werewolves’ mafia – found out about Cal and Delilah’s relationship and they’re really not thrilled about it. So it wouldn’t be a bad thing for Cal to embark on a road trip. Accompanying them is their good friend, Rob Goodfellow who has his own share of personal issues – he’s contemplating monogamy! However, before embarking in this adventure, they are in need of a powerful healer – how else are you going stop an evil who spreads disease? Luckily for them, old acquaintances show up to aid.

Nath: So ladies, your thoughts? :P For me, while it wasn't as good as Deathwish - which is definitively going to be difficult to beat - I thought Roadkill was still a very good book :)

Leslie: I liked it but... not as much as Deathwish, that's still my favorite.

Hilcia: Roadkill was actually a winner for me. I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed Deathwish for different reasons.

I thought there was an excellent balance in this book between the darkness and the light. Through Catcher, Thurman brought in a positive POV I thought really contrasted with the growing darkness in Cal's, and there’s definitely a lot of darkness in this book.

Leslie: Hils, the comment about Catcher being the light to Cal’s darkness is perfect. I did feel that Cal was darker this time around. He was still snarky and a smartass but it felt less lighthearted, darker with a touch of evil to it. Seriously, Cal was scary in this one.

Hilcia: He was definitely scary, Leslie! That darkness that we knew was there and that exploded in this book was one of the things I really liked about Roadkill. He gave me the chills and at the same time it was a thrill to see how he could become something else. The way it happened seemed so innocuous that it made it even more chilling when the change came over him. Deliciously dark and thrilling, lol!

Leslie: One of the scenes with Cal and Catcher that I loved, on page 265, where Catcher summed up Cal so well when he told him that he had a choice to be “NOT SO BAD”. Then Catcher went on to torment Cal with knock-knock jokes of wisdom and it made me love him that much more.

Nath: LOL, that was such a great scene. Somehow, it seems Catcher understands Cal, perhaps because he is closer to his wolf-side now. As for Cal's darkness, I think the reason it was even darker than in previous books is that the darkness came from within. In the past, Cal's toughness and "darkness" were necessary for him to deal with the circumstances and possible Auphe attacks. Cal often said that he was a monster, but I don't think he believed it till this book. Before, if Cal ever became evil, it'd be because the Auphe have turned him or something external had happened and Cal lost it (eg. Niko's death). However, this time, it really came from within Cal and that's why it was so scary.

In my opinion, the fact Cal’s Aupheness is surfacing is truly a good thing for the series. After the events of Deathwish, I was wondering what would happen. This adds another dimension to Cal’s character depth and moves the plot along.

Hilcia: I agree Nath. I loved the way Cal's character and Auphness were further developed and explored in Roadkill. It moves the overall storyarc and gives the series a direction, and that was certainly unexpected.

Leslie: I'm glad it came out in him. I think he needs to go dark, bad, mad... before he could deal with the fact that even though the Auphe are dead there's still the Auphe in him and it's not going away. It definitely helped the progress of the storyline, there have to be consequences to what he is. Something that evil can't be ignored.

Nath: It’ll definitively drive the series.

Another element that is helping the series greatly is the narration. In Roadkill, we get both Cal and Catcher’s POV. As Hils mentioned, it balanced the book but I think it also helped the pacing of the story. It seems Ms Thurman has found the winning strategy having at least 2 POVs. I know I’m glad there was another character’s POV. I really don’t think I could go back to a whole book with Cal ^_^;

Hilcia: LOL, me neither! I totally agree with you on Thurman’s usage of different POV's. This will not only make the books more interesting, but we as readers will get to know the other characters. I'll keep my fingers crossed for Robin's POV! That should be a fun book. Don't you think?

Nath: It’d be great and so fun!!

Leslie: Having experienced Niko's POV in Deathwish made the fact that we didn't get it this time even more pronounced than before Deathwish.

Hilcia: Niko's POV was not really missed in this installment in my opinion. His presence was very much there, but this book was centered on Cal and that was okay with me.

Leslie: Gasps – Niko’s POV not missed? How could you Hils?! *Total Niko fangirl here and not afraid to admit it*

Nath: LOL. Of course, I would have liked to have Niko’s POV, I really like his voice and I’d love to know what he thinks of Cal’s Aupheness surfacing. However, reading his thoughts in Deathwish made the book very special and a lot more powerful. As a result, I’m not sure I would want his narration in every book. It will definitively have more impact if readers get it only once in a while, so I think it was wise decision from Ms Thurman not to include Niko’s POV. Plus, I really enjoyed Catcher’s POV in Roadkill :)

Leslie: Regarding Catcher’s POV, I thought Thurman did a good job of giving it just the right feel of man/wolf POV. It was a balancing act which, in my opinion, worked well. He nearly broke my heart when he would wake up and repeat his name. The bond between Rafferty and Catcher was just as strong as that between Niko and Cal. Definitely liked their relationship.

Hilcia: I loved, loved the relationship between Rafferty and Catcher! My heart broke for Rafferty and for what he was going to lose. In the end I was happy for Catcher, I thought he was the only one who had come to terms with his destiny.

Nath: I was really excited when I discovered that Rafferty and Catcher were going to be in this novel, because I've always wondered what happened to them. I ended up loving their relationship! It was very reminiscent of Niko and Cal: the loyalty, the dependence and always being there for each other. Great stuff, Ms Thurman really excels at writing guy-guy relationship.

However, I cried my eyes off for Catcher at the end T_T It was really sad and I was expecting for them to find a cure :( After reading the end of the book, I was simply bummed out for the rest of the day. Sigh.

Leslie: Catcher - sigh. It was sad, I did cry but I wasn't really surprised that they didn't find a cure. I'm not sure if I was sadder for Rafferty than for Catcher. Rafferty had to give up the possibility of a "normal" Wolf life whereas Catcher had already done that. The bond they had was written so well, the teasing, the love, the loyalty - all there.

What did you think of the storyline with Suyolak and the Plague of the World?

Hilcia: I enjoyed this part of the book. It was ominous. Suyolak was a worthy adversary for our gang of misfits and no easy kill. But at the same time, although creepy as heck, it was not a super gory storyline.

Nath: I really like the storyline/intrigue/villain. It was different and the idea of these unlikely comrades going on a road trip chasing the baddie was very interesting. There was still plenty of action even though I felt the Rom was a touch more passive than the previous bad guys. Also, as Hils mentioned, it was not super violent or gory.... Personally, I prefer this to the Redcap man or even the Kin's story. Plus, I think it was the perfect kind of mystery/villain for all the storylines (Cal's Aupheness, Rafferty/Catcher's storyline, Cal-Delilah-Kin) that Ms Thurman had in-store for us. Otherwise, it would have been too much.

Leslie: He was certainly different in his style of fighting/playing with the Scooby gang. Infecting the people along the way, it's like he was practicing after being locked up for so long. Training for when he finally got out of the casket. The one thing that I didn't get about him was why it took him so long to get out of the casket and the truck. If he could infect people as the truck passed by and get into the gangs head while they're asleep and awake then why take so long to get free? Am I missing something?

Hilcia: I totally agree with Nath that this villain had the perfect balance for this book and I loved the outcome.

What I got from the book was that he couldn't get out of that casket until he was strong enough to do so. He was gathering his strength by sucking life from others as he went along. Once he was strong enough he got out. He was in there for centuries using his mojo slowly.

Leslie: Suyolak gathering his strength makes sense but he kept using it when he talked to them or "appeared" in the car with them. Playing with them, that I could see that. He had the power but wanted to string them along for a while and possibly test them. Villians like to play with their food. :P

Nath: Hmmm, you're right, Leslie. Why did Suyolak use his powers to appear and toy with the boys? I think he felt somewhat threatened by Rafferty and wanted to show how powerful he was. Villains like to gloat as well :) However, I think there were two more reasons why Suyolak bided his time: 1) he wanted to get to the Park for the showdown and 2) he was getting use to this “new” world.

What about the whole business between Cal and Delilah?

Leslie: I’ve always liked her. I like her way of talking, getting right to the point and that she doesn’t hold Cal’s Aupheness against him. But by the end of Roadkill I liked her a little less. I get why she did what she did but it only confirmed what Cal knew, that Delilah's will always put herself and her interests first.

Nath: I’m with you Leslie. I’m a romantic at heart. I was secretly hoping that Delilah would be the one for Cal. It’s obvious Cal needs someone tough, someone who can stands by him and back him up. Sure, Delilah doesn’t have the best personality, but I thought she could change for Cal… and obviously, Cal wished the same. (He’s a romantic at heart as well LOL!) However, I liked Delilah less in Roadkill. It was really her obsession with All Wolf that turned me off :(

Hilcia: Delilah? I've never liked Delilah. I've always been suspicious of her motives. Yes, she accepts Cal's Auphness, but why? She's an egomaniac, self-centered and an opportunist. So how can someone like that be trusted? I was not surprised at how this turned out -- at how SHE turned out. I did however feel bad for Cal. He knew the type of female she was, but he was still hoping for something more from her, that's the reason he gave her a chance. I definitely felt for him.

Leslie: It's interesting what you said about Delilah, Hils. Do you think she has some nefarious plan to use Cal's Auphe abilities and that's why she hooked up with him? Because I felt that she's been clear that she looks out for herself first. Sometimes she acts like she has some affection for Cal but no way she would die for him or anything close to it. Like Rafferty and Catcher would die for each other, no doubt but I've never got that from Delilah, even for a member of her pack. Maybe it's that pack mentality and since Rafferty and Catcher weren't part of that cutthroat environment it gave them a different outlook on loyalty.

Hilcia: Leslie, I've always been suspicious of Delilah precisely because of her lack of loyalty to a pack. What werewolf doesn't have that? There's something lacking in her, something essential. I always thought that she had a use for Cal, whether it was for his abilities and the fact that he "owed" her for saving his life, I always thought she was using him for the moment -- until he stopped being useful to her. In this book we saw a clearer picture as to Delilah's plans, she wants to head her own pack. I've a feeling that was her plan all along... to use him as a weapon.

Leslie: So Cal willingly or not, helping Delilah become pack alpha. And the sex was just a side benefit and deep down he knew it and just went a long for the ride. Totally see that and Cal hoping, just a little bit that he was wrong about her.

Nath: Just wondering, are we sure that Delilah is Alpha now? Hils mentioned her lack of loyalty towards the pack. Actually, we have to be careful here because I've yet to see a "pack" in Ms Thurman's world... I don't believe we can equal Kin to pack, it’s really a lot more like mafia factions. As for loyalty to pack, personally, except for Rafferty and Catcher who seemed to be the exception, I haven't really seen it in any other werewolves characters introduced - Flay, Cerberus, etc. It seems to me there's a special bond about family ties - Rafferty/Catcher, Flay and his cub, even Flay and Delilah to a certain extent... but not pack.

Back to Delilah. I don't think that she had such an elaborate plan from the beginning (using Cal to become Alpha). Delilah has always been playing for Delilah and that's it. I don't even think she'd like to be a leader - I mean, she was going to kill Catcher so Rafferty would be the new Alpha, no? I do agree with Hils that she might have wanted to use Cal to get rid of some of her enemies - which she did in this book, but it feels like something natural for someone with Delilah’s background. Delilah’s character is more mafia than werewolf in my opinion.

Hilcia: Nath, good point on Thurman's meaning of "pack" in her world. But going back to Delilah my thoughts go to her ambition and her frustration in not being able to advance within the Kin due to the fact that she's not "pure" werewolf. It seems as if only the pure wolves can advance within the Kin. She looks perfect but she's not. In this book we see a Delilah who wants Rafferty, not as an alpha, but as someone she can use to gather others like her who can go back to what they believe is the right way -- all wolf. I DO do think she wants to be the alpha... there are enough of the not-so-perfect wolves that she can get her own gang going. She killed Cabal, so we'll see if she's allowed to keep the position. ;P

Nath: Actually, isn't it the opposite? As in Delilah is yearning towards the "pure" werewolf... the All Wolf?

Hilcia: Yes, definitely, Nath. However, I'm not sure she really understood exactly what that entailed. I'm not sure she understood that Catcher was going to lose himself totally to the wolf and that he would not be really cognizant any longer in the end. She thought he was perfect as he was, a wolf with his human memories and knowledge, and that's exactly what she thought they, the Wolves, needed -- at least that's what I understood.

Leslie: I think Delilah wants to be All Wolf as in all human elements gone. I think she wants to live in the woods, forest etc with a pack. She refers to Kin packs but I took Kin to be a pack, just a specific type of pack - wolf mafia.

Nath: I'm agreeing with Leslie on this one. It was said in the Thurman world that there are two kinds of werewolves. The ones that are the perfect blend human/wolf and the ones that want to be as wolves as possible, forgoing the ability to walk straight/vocal chords, etc. Delilah might not know that it entails loosing human thinking, but I think that she still yearns to be all wolf... run as a wolf, etc. From my understanding, being All Wolf would mean not having a human side anymore, so they wouldn't were anymore, just wolf.

Leslie: In any case, I loved the way Cal dealt with Delilah at the end. You think she's done with him now? That could leave an opening for Georgina as I’m hoping she comes back in his life soon. Yeah, I'm not hiding that I'm hoping for a Georgina/Cal pairing. :)

Nath: Oh, I loved the ending between Cal and Delilah; it was a great showdown :) And they’re both done with each other, I can’t see what they’d have to say to each other after this... and it’s good for me, because it’s definitively opening the door for a female character – hopefully, the right one this time. However, whether it is Georgina, we’ll have to see. I hope not ^_^;

Hilcia: Georgie? Leslie... Nath and I are in agreement for this one. Not unless she has changed in some way. She was not right for Cal the way she was... but, if life has changed her (the way it has changed Cal), who knows? :D

What did you all think of Abelia-Roo? Cal sure didn't spare her feelings, lol!

Leslie: Abelia-Roo to me is like the Rom version of the werewolf All Wolf movement. The way she constantly put Cal down, calling him evil and then ranting at Niko for staying with Cal. Not sorry one bit for what happened to her.

Nath: Ugh, Abelia-Roo got what she sow. I’m glad Cal confronted and scared the life out of her. One thing I like about Abelia-Roo however is that she shows that “normal” human can stand their own in this paranormal world as well. LOL, love the scene where she said she'd have given Cal the ride of his life.

Anything else?

Leslie: Was it just me or did Robin seem more subdued? Could be the lack of nookie buffet and looming potential monogamy that was getting his panties in a twist? Also with Rafferty and Catcher along, page time had to be shared. I hope we get to see more of Rob and Ishiah in the next book. I'm very curious about the peris.

Hilcia: LOL, on Robin! Monogamy? I don't believe it... like you Leslie, I hope we get Robin and Ishiah's story at some point. :)

Leslie: Robin has the big M hanging over his head. Poor, poor puck. I think he'll try because of Ishiah but I don't think it will ever take.

Nath: LOL, I don't think monogamy is possible for Robin either, but I’m still hoping for it because I want to see more of Robin and Ishiah's relationship! I'm actually hoping for a cross-over in the Tricksters series... for some reasons, I think if we ever find out more about Ishiah and the peris, I’ll be through that series.

I was okay with Robin’s subdued attitude – I mean, he has a really big personal crisis to figure out :P He still provided the comedy relief in this book: Salome!! Gosh, I loved that mummified cat and I loved how Robin brought Salome with him whenever they were fighting paranormal creatures!! That was hilarious LOL.. and you know the part where Salome and Catcher fought? Priceless!

Hilcia: I LOVED Salome! It was a hoot seeing her have more kills than Cal and the rest of them, lol!

Leslie: Salome is one kick ass cat! She was really creepy when we first met her but she does grow on you. :) And if something scares her, you better run!

Nath: You think she can get scared? LOL.

Wow, look at our very long discussion :P But we still have one thing to discuss and probably the most difficult… the grade!

I’m going with A-. Roadkill was a good and intense read and I really liked the storyline. The overall plot is going forth as well and I can’t wait to see what happens next. This series is definitively getting better and better with each book.

Hilcia: I'm thinking that the overall storyarc and worldbuilding seem to be coming together and the plot in the last two books seem tighter, as characterization remains the strong point in the series. I think Thurman is hitting her stride. I loved the contrast between the darkness/light, positive/negative, pessimism/optimism that Thurman uses in this book. For me Roadkill was just as good a book as Deathwish and I’m going with an A.

Leslie: A-. I do think that the characters are still the strength of the series. The world building - good but she keeps introducing more creatures with every book, it's going to start getting crowded real soon. I'd rather she focus on just a few. Like this time around how we got more details on the wolves. I liked that. Maybe soon we'll get more on the peris.

Nath: It’s already too crowded, Leslie, but at least, she’s keeping it interesting :)

Thursday, April 1

April New Releases

Ok, I've been saying it since January (at the earliest) that March, April and May were awesome months for book releases. And true to that statement, check out the April releases Chantal, Monroe, Nath and I are looking forward too. Is it any wonder my TBR Pile is ginormous?

April 1

Changeless by Gail Carriger
Alexia Tarabotti, the Lady Woolsey, awakens in the wee hours of the mid-afternoon to find her husband, who should be decently asleep like any normal werewolf, yelling at the top of his lungs. Then he disappears - leaving her to deal with a regiment of supernatural soldiers encamped on her doorstep, a plethora of exorcised ghosts, and an angry Queen Victoria.
But Alexia is armed with her trusty parasol, the latest fashions, and an arsenal of biting civility. Even when her investigations take her to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats, she is prepared: upending werewolf pack dynamics as only the soulless can.
She might even find time to track down her wayward husband, if she feels like it.
Genre:Urban Fantasy
Series: Parasol Protectorate Series #2

Nath: I've really been into urban fantasy lately and this is an interesting series :D Very different given the time period it's taking place. However, I must confess that I've actually gotten my copy the other day... and will be waiting for Blameless release before reading Changeless ^_^;

Ames: I have Soulless in my tbr pile. So based on blog buzz and Nath enjoying the first one, I have my eye on this one as well. :P

Chantal: I just want to say that I LOVE the cover.

Inside Out by Maria V Snyder
Keep Your Head Down. Don't Get Noticed. Or Else.
I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. One of thousands who work in the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. The Trava family who rules our world from their spacious Upper levels wants us to be docile and obedient, like sheep. To insure we behave, they send the Pop Cops to police us.
So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? Not like it's all that dangerous--the only neck at risk is my own.
Until a lower level prophet claims a Gateway to Outside exists. And guess who he wants to steal into the Upper levels to get the proof? You’re right. Me. I alone know every single duct, pipe, corridor, shortcut, hole and ladder of Inside. It’s suicide plain and simple. But guess who can’t let a challenge like that go unanswered? Right again. Me.
I should have just said no...
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Series: N/A

Nath: Love Maria V. Snyder's Study trilogy, so I'm willing to give a try to any of her new books/series :D

Ames: I enjoyed her Study trilogy as well. And I like no brainer. LOL

The Mage in Black by Jaye Wells
Sabina Kane doesn't have the best track record when it comes to family. After all, her own grandmother, the leader of the vampire race, just tried to kill her. When she arrives in New York to meet the mage side of her family, the reunion takes the fun out of dysfunctional.
On top of that, the Hekate Council wants to use her as a pawn in the brewing war against the vampires. Her mission will take her into the bowels of New York's Black Light district, entangles her in mage politics, and challenges her beliefs about the race she was raised to distrust. And Sabina thought vampires were bloodthirsty.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Sabina Kane #2

Nath: So this also falls in the urban fantasy series. Did I say how much I enjoyed this genre lately? :P I like this series because it contains mage/sorcerers. The first book, Red-Headed Stepchild, was a good set-up book, so let's see if the author continues her roll with this one.

My Own Personal Soap Opera by Libby Malin
Soap Opera Head Writer Frankie McNally has her hands full as she struggles to keep her failing show on the air--a leading man who broke his leg on Dancing with the Stars, staff writers who all want to be doing something else, and a real thief imitating a character on the show. If that weren't enough, she finds herself torn between two men, one who can give her everything she wants and the other who gives her everything she needs.
Genre: Women's Fiction
Series: N/A

Ames: I read and enjoyed Fire Me by this author, so I'm definitely looking for more by her. She's very funny and tells a good story.

Monroe: How cute does this one sound?!?! Ill give it a whirl!

Nath: I'm intrigued by this book just because Ames enjoyed Fire Me :P

A Prince and a Pregnancy by Kelly Hunter
When heiress Simone Duvalier sashays back into Rafael Alexander's life, Rafe can't wait for her to head back home and leave him to his empire-building in Australia. They once shared so much, but all that remains are memories and the desire to bed her...

Simone has never forgotten fiercely ambitious, achingly sexy Rafael-and neither has her traitorous body! But when a princely secret and an unplanned pregnancy threaten to change everything…can this dark-hearted bad boy become a prince and a father?
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: N/A

Nath: I'm actually debating about this one. I'm not a category romance reader, but there's few authors that I'm willing to look up when I remember them... Kelly Hunter is one of them.

April 6

A Certain Wolfish Charm by Lydia Dare
He gets crankier and crankier as the moon gets full...

The rules of Society can be beastly-especially when you're a werewolf and it's that irritating time of the month. Simon Westfield, the Duke of Blackmoor, is rich, powerful, and sinfully handsome, and has spent his entire life creating scandal and mayhem. It doesn't help his wolfish temper at all that Miss Lily Rutledge seems not the least bit afraid of him, and in fact, may be as untamable as he is...

A woman whose charm is stronger than the moon...

When Lily's beloved nephew's behavior becomes inexplicably wild, she turns to Simon, the boy's cousin and guardian, for help. But Simon's idea of assistance is far different than hers, and Lily finds herself ensconced in his house and engaged to the rogue.

They both may have bitten off more than they can chew when each begins to discover the other's darkest secrets...
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Westfield Brothers #1

Ames: I'm not over paranormal romance or werewolves just yet. And this one sounds cute. I'm willing to give it a try.

Changes by Jim Butcher
Long ago, Susan Rodriguez was Harry Dresden's lover-until she was attacked by his enemies, leaving her torn between her own humanity and the bloodlust of the vampiric Red Court. Susan then disappeared to South America, where she could fight both her savage gift and those who cursed her with it.

Now Arianna Ortega, Duchess of the Red Court, has discovered a secret Susan has long kept, and she plans to use it-against Harry. To prevail this time, he may have no choice but to embrace the raging fury of his own untapped dark power. Because Harry's not fighting to save the world...
He's fighting to save his child.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Dresden Files #12

Nath: I WANT THIS BOOK so badly because of the shocking news - Harry has a child. I've been debating with my co-workers whether it's really his child or just a ploy of Susan's to use Harry. Hmmm. The first 4 chapters are out on the author's website and I wasn't able to resist. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to reading this book, but at the same time, I'm a bit scared. I mean, this really could change the whole series, it will definitively become the turning point in my opinion.

Destiny's Star by Elizabeth Vaughan
Bethral, a beautiful warrior, and Ezren, a quick-witted storyteller, are confronted with a civil war and a tribe or warriors with their own code of honor and their own rules of pleasure and partnership. To stay alive they must learn new customs, confront their enemies, and conceal Ezren's fiery power.
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Epic of Palins #3

Nath: I loved, loved, loved and loved Ms Vaughan's Chronicles of Warlands series. It was such a great story. Haven't enjoyed the Epic of Palins series as much, but still. I'm really curious about Ezren, but not looking forward too much to Bethral. She didn't appeal to me in the first two books. Anyway, if anything, this should be the end of this trilogy, so it'll give Ms Vaughan the opportunity to move onto something better :D Yes, I'm very optimistic...

Lion's Heat by Lora Leigh
Bad boy Jonas Wyatt knows it is fate that Rachel becomes his mate. He can sense it. He can also sense her reluctance. But she has little power over the mating heat of the Breeds. It is Jonas's destiny to claim her. And nothing will stop him from having his way.
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Breeds #20

Ames: I say I haven't read Lora Leigh in a while and this is true, of her romantic suspense books. I'm still enjoying the Breeds and Jonas is one of the few left that I'm still very much interested in. Zeek also liked this one, and that's enough for me.

Chantal: I wasn't going to read any more from this author, she has become repetitive and boring, however, I have been wondering about Jonas' story. Ames, I'll read it only if you liked it.

Patience by Lisa Valdez
Known for her beauty, Patience Emmalina Dare is certain she'll never find a man to excite her-until she shares a passionate kiss with her enigmatic brother-in-law. But can she reconcile her desire for him with the desire for a life that's her own?
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Passion Quartet #2

Ames: Yeah yeah, it's been five years. I still want to read this. I've seen some reviews around that have been less than favourable, but whatever. I'm still going to read this. LOL

The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong
Chloe Saunders is fifteen and would love to be normal. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen. First of all, she happens to be a genetically engineered necromancer who can raise the dead without even trying. She and her equally gifted (or should that be 'cursed'?) friends are on the run from the evil corporation who created them. To top it all, Chloe is struggling with her feelings for Simon, a sweet-tempered sorcerer, and his brother Derek, a not so sweet-tempered werewolf. And she has a horrible feeling she's leaning towards the werewolf. Definitely not normal...
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Darkest Power #3

Nath: I'm such a fan of Ms Armstrong!! :) This is the last book in the Darkest Power trilogy :) It takes place in the same world as the Women of the Otherworld series, which is a great world :) Looking forward to see what happens to Chloe and cie... and who is Chloe going to choose? I hope Derek!!

The Summer of You by Kate Noble
Lady Jane Cummings is certain that her summer is ruined when she is forced to reside at isolated Merrymere Lake with her reckless brother and ailing father. Her fast-paced London society is replaced with a small town grapevine. But one bit of gossip catches Jane's attention- rumors that the lake's brooding new resident is also an elusive highwayman.
Jane must face the much discussed mysterioso after he saves her brother from a pub brawl. She immediately recognizes him from London: Byrne Worth, war hero and apparent hermit-whom she finds strangely charming. The two build a fast friendship, and soon nothing can keep this Lady away from Merrymere's most wanted. Convinced of his innocence, Jane is determined to clear Byrne's name-and maybe have a little fun this summer after all.
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: N/A

Nath: I've enjoyed Compromised, Ms Noble's first book. She has a great style and writing voice :D This sounds like a good book, so looking forward to it.

Ames: I like this cover and it sounds cute - and I know Nath enjoyed her first book. I'm so easy sometimes! LOL

Nath: LOL, Ames, it should always be easy like that :) Why do we make it so complicated with budgets and willpower?

Sweet Temptation by Maya Banks
Micah has started a new life, but he's about to be confronted with the one person who reminds him of all he's tried to forget-Angelina, the sister of his oldest friend David. She knows everything about his past, including how he and David fell in love with the same woman, and how they decided to share her between them. She knows his other secrets, his dark desires, his kinks and fetishes, and she'll use whatever it takes to reel him in...
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Sweet Series #4

Chantal: Oh yeah, baby!

Ames: I'm soooo behind in this series (I think I've only read book 1) but Maya is an autobuy author for me. Her books are hot stuff. Good and hot. :P

Monroe: WOOT WOOT! Never read this series BUT Maya Banks= YUM so I'm in! ;o)

April 13

Her Best Friend by Sarah Mayberry

What's a girl to do when she's secretly in love with a friend and he's married to someone else? She gets over it. That's what Amy Parker has done. Rather than lose her best bud Quinn Whitfield with an ill-timed, crazy confession of affection, she's taken the smart route. She's eased away from him. Just enough to get past the unrequited bits. And you know, it's working.

Until the day Quinn announces he's now single. That's right. He's single. And he wants to hang out. With her. Get reconnected the way they used to be.
Oh, this is so not good for Amy's equilibrium. Daily doses of Quinn remind her of everything she loves about him. But if he's free.and she's free.well, maybe the time has come for one of those crazy confessions.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: N/A

Ames: I LUUUUURVE Sarah Mayberry. And this is my favourite theme, so hello, of course I'm going to get this!

Nath: What can I say? I'm just easy. I'm still waiting to be wowed by Ms Mayberry... However, I admit that she writes very solid books :) And this, well I blame it on Ames! See how enthusiastic she is?

Monroe: Oh Ames you love friends become lovers! lol This one sounds good!

Tales of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong
Tales of the Otherworld explores the lives of some of Armstrong's most popular characters, giving readers glimpses into how Clay and Elena met, how Eve and Kristof first hooked up (a brand new novella), and how Lucas and Paige got married.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Otherworld Tales #2

Nath: This is the second compilation of Ms Armstrong's online novella. They are really good - I know, I've read most of them already :D If you're a fan of Clay and Elena, this is a must as we get to see how Clay and Elena met. Also looking forward to the new novella :D

April 27

Burned by PC and Kristin Cast
When friends stop trusting each other, Darkness is there to fan the flames...
Things have turned black at the House of Night. Zoey Redbird's soul has shattered. With everything she's ever stood for falling apart, and a broken heart making her want to stay in the Otherworld forever, Zoey's fading fast. It's seeming more and more doubtful that she will be able pull herself back together in time to rejoin her friends and set the world to rights. As the only living person who can reach her, Stark must find a way to get to her. But how? He will have to die to do so, the Vampire High Council stipulates. And then Zoey will give up for sure. There are only 7 days left.

Enter BFF Stevie Rae. She wants to help Z but she has massive problems of her own. The rogue Red Fledglings are acting up, and this time not even Stevie Rae can protect them from the consequences. Her kinda boyfriend, Dallas, is sweet but too nosy for his own good. The truth is, Stevie Rae's hiding a secret that might be the key to getting Zoey home but also threatens to explode her whole world.

In the middle of the whole mess is Aphrodite: ex-Fledgling, trust-fund baby, total hag from Hell (and proud of it). She's always been blessed (if you could call it that) with visions that can reveal the future, but now it seems Nyx has decided to speak through her with the goddess's own voice, whether she wants it or not. Aphrodite's loyalty can swing a lot of different ways, but right now Zoey's fate hangs in the balance.

Three girls. playing with fire. if they don't watch out, everyone will get Burned.
Genre: Young Adult
Series: House of Night #7

Ames: Monroe got me hooked onto this series and after the explosive events of the last book, I've been waiting forever for this one it feels like.

Monroe: I really need to catch up on these books...Ames has passed me by! lol BUT I wish more people would give this series a try...its truly addicting and not so "Young Adult" in my eyes! ;o)

Lover Mine by JR Ward

John Matthew has been through his vampire transition and taken to the life of the Brotherhood with a vengeance, but he still can't shake the nightmare of his past and is unsure of his future as a warrior hero. He's made a promise to honour the Brotherhood and their fight with the slayers at all costs, until the love of his life is kidnapped and he is forced to make a choice that could change his life and the Brotherhood's forever...
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #8

Ames: Yup. I'm still reading JR Ward. LOL Actually, I'm glad that she's focusing more on the Other stuff and the plot to take down the Blind King rather than the romances. However, this is JOHN MATTHEW's book and I LOVE JOHN MATTHEW. Even more important? I LOOOOVE BLAY. And Blay finally gets it on in this book...or so I've heard. LOL

Monroe: BREATHING VERY HARD! OMG Who hasn't been itching for this book to come out?!?! I love JM!!!!

Nothing But Trouble by Rachel Gibson

Chelsea Ross's acting career has been a total bust. The closest she ever came to stardom was her brilliant performance as "Pretty Dead Girl #1." But leaving Hollywood to become the personal assistant to a famous hockey player could be her stupidest career move ever.

More trouble...

Injured superstar Mark Bressler's glory days are over. The bad-boy ex-jock could at least be civil to the pint-sized, pink-haired bombshell who the Seattle Chinooks hired to be his P.A. If Chelsea didn't need the money, she'd be running from the world's biggest jerk as fast as her feet could carry her.

Big trouble!

Chelsea can deal with Mark's rotten attitude and dark moods. The problem is those biceps and that red-hot bod! And when the bad boy starts to put the moves on her, Chelsea knows it's time she banished him to the penalty box... if only she could resist the kind of trouble he has in mind!
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Chinooks Hockey Team #5

Monroe: RG is one of the authors I fisrt came to love in romance! And my fav books of hers are always involving the Chinooks! I cant wait for this book to come out! Im with you girls...the last book wasn't 100% for me...I wanna see some action like in SJS and Simply Irresistible!

Nath: Hmmm, Ms Gibson's last release True Love and Other Disasters was so-so only. I'm hoping this one will be better.

Ames: I hope so too, Nath. I want something that reaches out to me like See Jane Score. I love that book.

Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts
Childhood friends Mackensie, Parker, Laurel and Emmaline have formed a very successful wedding-planning business together but, despite helping thousands of happy couples organise the biggest day of their lives, all four women are unlucky in love. Chef Laurel McBane has worked hard all her life to secure her dream ? to be an award-winning baker. Now, her wedding cakes are as close as anyone can get to edible perfection ? stunning creations that complement Mac's beautiful photographs and Emmaline's floral bouquets. Because Laurel has worked so hard to overcome her tough upbringing, she is wary about letting anything, or anyone, get in the way of her work. But a slowly simmering chemistry with Parker's brother Del has suddenly become too hot to ignore ...
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Bride Quartet #3

Nath: I've really been enjoying this series :D I know it's not perfect, but it works for me. This one is another friends to lovers theme and I can't wait to see how it unfolds! :D

Monroe: Im excited for this one! This trilogy is the first Nora Roberts books I picked up! I love these girls! And the cover is so pretty!

Ames: My favorite theme!! And yes, I've been enjoying this series so far. Even my mom is reading them. And she politely informed me that she's going to read this before me. LOL

Wicked Becomes You by Meredith Duran
She's been burned not once but twice by London's so-call ed gentlemen...
Gwen Maudsley is pretty enough to be popular, and plenty wealthy, too. But what she's best known and loved for is being so very, very nice. When a cad jilts her at the altar - again - the scandal has her outraged friends calling for blood. Only Gwen has a different plan. If nice no longer works for her, then it's time to learn to be naughty. Happily, she knows the perfect tutor - Alexander Ramsey, her late brother's best friend and a notorious rogue.So why won't a confirmed scoundrel let her be as bad as she wants to be?Unbeknownst to Gwen, Alex's aloof demeanor veils his deepest unspoken desire. He has no wish to see her change, nor to tempt himself with her presence when his own secrets make any future between them impossible. But on a wild romp from Paris to the Riviera, their friendship gives way to something hotter, darker, and altogether more dangerous. With Alex's past and Gwen's newly unleashed wildness on a collision course, Gwen must convince Alex that his wickedest intentions are exactly what she needs.
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: N/A

Ames: I read Duke of Shadows and loved it. I haven't read her other books but I don't care. I'm still getting this one. Duke of Shadows made me a fan for life.