Friday, January 30, 2015

Goldilox's Greatest Hits Volume 1

Goldlox's Greatest Hits is our new monthly wrap up feature. We'll recap our most popular posts of the month and show you some you might have missed, as well as what's coming up next on Goldilox and the Three Weres. Because this is our very first wrap up, I'm going back a little farther than usual. So here are our favorites from the last few months. 

Greatest Hits

Our most popular posts:

Author Q&A with Kristi Charish The giveaway is over, but check out some of the fun comments. I asked "If you were a professional thief like Owl, what would you want to steal?"

Author Q&A with Jennifer Estep Jennifer talks Black Widow, Gin and her new YA series.

Most Anticipated 2015 Releases Our top 15 for 2015!

Top Ten Adult Paranormals of 2014 and Five Fave YA Paranormals of 2014 Check out the rest of our 2014 favorites in our Goldilox and the Ten Lists posts from December.

Our Most Popular Reviews:

Reckoning by S.J. Harper Review by Gretl


Have you noticed we got a makeover? In the last few months we've updated our header and sidebar. The sidebar is cleaned up, so things like the Search bar are easier to find. You can now see what each of is currently reading and our five most recent posts.

Book Blast Tour and Giveaway: The Darkest Part Still time to enter the giveaway for an Amazon gift card.

Our Favorite Reviews:

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews   5 stars from Rose Red! And watch for her reviews of the rest of the Kate Daniels series in the coming weeks.

Burn For Me by Ilona Andrews  5 stars from Gretl! One of my favorites of 2014 that not everyone's read yet.

Coming Attractions

Valentine's Giveaways

RTFB Reboot We'll be updating another of our Read This F-ing Book posts to reflect new releases and telling you why we still love the book.

Revamped and updated review listings.

Cover Reveal: Lion's Share by Rachel Vincent and Giveaway!

We're big fans of Rachel Vincent and her Shifters series. (You can enter to win a signed set below!) So we're really excited about the spinoff series Wildcats. And we're thrilled to reveal the cover for the first book Lion's Share.

Lion’s Share (Wildcats #1)
by Rachel Vincent
Release: February 23, 2015
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal
Links: Goodreads Amazon

Abby Wade has a dangerous secret.
Two months ago, she disobeyed an order, but instead of kicking her out of the Pride, Jace offered her a job. Since then, she’s been battling a completely inappropriate crush on the young, hot Alpha. But when accepting his job offer seems like the only way to keep her skeletons safely in their closet, Abby doesn’t hesitate.
Jace Hammond has a big problem.
A rogue is slaughtering humans in his territory, and he must eliminate the threat before the entire shifter species is exposed. There could not be a worse time for Abby to accept a job he only offered as a boost to her confidence. Abby is smart, beautiful, and resilient—more than enough to distract any man from the mission. Unfortunately, she may just be the worst enforcer ever to hold the title.
As they hunt the killer, Abby’s secret becomes a threat to Jace’s authority and to her own life. But the real danger is the grip she has on his twice-shy heart.



Rachel Vincent is the author of the Shifters series and the Unbound series for adults, as well as the Soul Screamers series for teens.

Rachel's next young adult book is THE STARS NEVER RISE, coming from Delacorte in June of 2015, and her new series for adults will debut with MENAGERIE, coming from Mira books in the fall of 2015

Rachel Vincent is a former English teacher and an eager champion of the Oxford comma. She shares her home in Oklahoma with two cats, two teenagers, and her husband, who's been her # 1 fan from the start. Rachel is older than she looks and younger than she feels, and she remains convinced that writing about the things that scare her is the cheapest form of therapy--but social media is a close second.

Author Links:

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

The Darkest Part of the Forest
Holly Black
Release: January 13, 2015
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Summary: Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
Review: In her acknowledgements, Holly Black said that she started out writing a fairy tale and it turned in to something else. That's exactly how I felt reading it. At first I was swept up in the magical world building. Fairfold is a modern town where the humans and Fae, who they call the Folk, have learned to coexist (more or less.) The townspeople leave saucers of milk out on their porches for goblins. Certain magical happenings are accepted parts of their daily lives. And the monsters in the woods only eat tourists.

At times I even felt like I was reading a children's book. There are lots of flashbacks to Hazel and Ben as small children hunting monsters and tromping through the forest. There's enough kissing and cursing to remind me that it's not a children's book, but it added to that magical fairy tale feeling.

Hazel gave up her childhood dreams of being a knight who the slays monsters in the forest, only to have a monster show up in her high school. When it starts attacking her friends, Hazel becomes Buffy the Fae Slayer. And I totally mean that in a good way.

The plot took several twists that I really wasn't expecting as eleven year old Hazel's deal with the Alderking comes back to bite her sixteen year old self. Her scenes in the fairy court reminded me a little of October Daye dealing with the Queen of the Mists where she knows enough about the world to get herself in trouble, but she's not really a part of it.

I even liked the love triangle, which is something I don't say very often. It's a nice twist that Hazel and her brother are both in love with the prince. And they don't think there's anything unusual about it - he's a larger than life figure, how could anyone not love him. Though maybe it's a love square since Hazel also crushes on her brother's best friend. I'm not often a fan of YA romances with all their teen angst, but I thought this one was really well done.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Darkest Part of the Forest. I loved the way it blended the modern and the magical. It's also a nice change of pace from what I usually read. I've unofficially resolved to read more YA this year because I know there's some good stuff out there. I'm so glad I found some of it!

Recommended for fans of: fairy tale reimaginings, girls who can be their own knights in shining armor

4 1/2  stars

This is book 5 of 36 toward my 2015 Library Challenge goal.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review: The Shape of My Heart by Ann Aguirre

The Shape of My Heary
(2B Trilogy #3)
Ann Aguirre
Release: November 25, 2014
Goodreads Amazon
Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney's social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she's made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore.

Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain he's been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it's time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney's the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves.

It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that's ever been broken, there's another that can make it complete.
Review by Rose Red:

The Shape of My Heart is the final book of the 2B Trilogy and it focuses on Courtney and Max. Courtney has always been attracted to her friend and roommate Max but they never crossed that line from friends to something more. That is until Max asks Courtney to accompany him to his grandfather’s funeral.

On the road, Max let Courtney into his past, secrets, and family problems. Courtney had no idea how crazy and tragic Max's life and past had been until then. Things change between them, for better or for worse, but Max isn’t the only one with baggage, Courtney is also dealing with her past and issues with her family. She had experienced the loss of her soul mate, Eli when she was seventeen.

Thanks to their trip to the funeral, the lines around their friendship became blurred. Max and Courtney soon found themselves going from friends to lovers. As much as I love the friends-to-lovers trope, personally it developed a little fast for my liking.

If anything has been confirmed in this book, it is that I really, really like Max. I liked him in the other books, but we didn't get to see the real Max until this book. He is easily my favorite part of this book!

I didn't like Courtney initially in the series. She was okay, but I didn't really connect with her. And while I didn’t connect with her as much as I wanted to in this book, I ended up really liking her. I loved how she constantly stood up for Max and was willing to be his biggest champion. She's very fierce and doesn't care too much about what others think of her. One thing I found interesting is that she has conversations in her head with her dead ex-boyfriend. I thought this was handled very well, and I loved seeing her grow and ultimately let go. She's willing to sacrifice her comfort zone to love Max completely, and that definitely warmed my heart. I just wish I had found her narration as engaging as the first two books. There were a few moments when I was bored and wanted the story to move forward. I will say that I loved that Courtney wasn't your typical female protagonist. She was a lot tougher and more adventurous than most. She's also bisexual and I can't think of a book I've read that has had a bisexual female character in it.

As for Max, he is every bit as sweet and sexy as Ann Aguirre's other two heroes in this trilogy. All three have this irresistible combination of being protective and slightly possessive but also vulnerable and sensitive. With his tattoos and motorcycle and overall unkempt appearance, Max may seem like a typical badass, but he has insecurities and an air of desperate longing that broke my heart. He has never been able to trust another person with his past let alone his whole heart, so seeing him open up to Courtney was precious. I really liked that their romance was kind of the 'ugly duckling' variety. Max sees nothing but beauty in Courtney, even if not everyone else agrees. They start out as best friends which you can see in their easy banter and playfulness, but over the course of the book they both fall in love. Max has no trouble expressing how much he has grown to need Courtney, and it's very, very sexy.

In terms of the typical New Adult contemporary romance angst, clichés and tropes, there definitely were some in this book. Max's past was definitely trope-y, but not to the point where it made me dislike the story. I loved the character development in both Courtney and Max. Obviously it's clearer when it comes to Courtney's development, since this book is written in from her perspective. But she really changes, as she lets go of her dead boyfriend and opens up to Max. Both Max and Courtney overcome a lot in this book. Slowly, they were able to mend their broken pasts and found comfort and love together.

The romance is really sweet. Well, sweet might not be the best way to describe the chemistry between Courtney and Max, but the relationship itself and its progression is sweet. I loved seeing Max and Courtney go beyond friendship and make things work as a couple. They are the cutest!

The Shape of My Heart is an enjoyable read but I did not fully love it. It was sweet, romantic and sexy but the long drawn out angst and drama was a bit too much for me. Even though that bothered me, I know lots of people will love it! Overall, it was a touching and enjoyable coming of age read! I will say that the ending of this book was great! Ann Aguirre included an epilogue that was both awesome and bittersweet, since this is the last novel in the series.

If you've enjoyed the first two books, definitely give this one a shot!

I received an eARC through Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

  3.5 / 5 Stars

My reviews of other books in this series:
I Want It That Way by Ann Aguirre
As Long As You Love Me by Ann Aguirre

Monday, January 26, 2015

Read This F@!%ing Book (31)

Welcome to a feature I'm going to post on Mondays called:
Read This F@!%ing Book!
This is a feature for me to push my favorite reads that just aren't getting enough attention! 
I'm also opening it up to anyone who would like to guest post. Do you have a book that you just LURVED but feel like its not getting the play it deserves? Email me to let me know and I'd be THRILLED to have you post about it here! Especially if its something I haven't reviewed yet - that's even better (but not necessary)! If you're interested email me:

This week's post comes from our very own: 
Rose Red!

Read This F@!%ing Book Post 31: The Others Series by Anne Bishop
(Click book cover to go to Goodreads page)

Not Your Normal Supernaturals 
The Others is not like any urban fantasy series I've ever read. I loved how different the Terra Indigene (aka the Others) were! They're not softened, romanticized, or even humanized. They don’t pursue romantic relationships with their food and they make no apologies for the way they live. In the world of The Others, supernatural creatures don't hide. They don't cater to human fickleness in the hopes of preserving peace. They own the earth and everything in it, and they allow humans to exist as long as "the monkeys" don't become too much of a nuisance.  

There are all kinds of different creatures that make up the Terra Indigene. There's elementals, vampires, shifters, and who knows what else. It's mentioned in Written in Red that the shifters had adopted their animal forms so long ago that they had likewise adopted some of the animal behavior that comes along with those forms. And this is one of the best parts about these books: wolves, crows, and hawks while in their human form act like wolves and crows and hawks. Whether it's a wolf threatening to eat someone because they're aggravated, a crow refusing to give correct change because the coins are shiny, or a hawk looking through packages because they smelled a mouse, it adds a depth to the characters I've never seen before. It's just all so amazing!

I've Never Read A Character Like Meg
Meg Corbyn is a cassandra sangue, a blood prophet. She's a human who sees prophecies whenever her skin is cut deep enough to bleed. As a protagonist, I’ve never encountered a character quite like Meg. She's both intelligent and innocent which is not an easy combination to get right but Anne Bishop does it. Meg's story is heartbreaking. She was kept locked up in a compound and educated only in ways that would help her describe her prophecies which means she had only ever seen pictures and short videos of life and things outside her little prison. She had never experienced them for herself, until she escaped and came to the courtyard to live with the Others. And unlike most humans, she’s not paralyzed with fear and hatred by the Terra Indigene. She shows them kindness because it had been the one thing she’d always been denied, and in return, they don’t eat her. Gradually, Meg helps the Others see that not all humans are not created equal. And Meg being Meg even befriends some of the most lethal Others. I can't wait to read more about her adventures in the next books,

The Others is my favorite urban fantasy series since Patricia Briggs, Kevin Hearne, and Ilona Andrews made me realize how much I love this fantastic genre. I love everything about these books from the gorgeous and frightening world that is similar but deliciously other from ours, to the tightly written suspense plot, and the characters who are so primal and wild and so very not human. I can’t declare my love for this series enough! I plan to devour Anne Bishop’s backlist while I endure the wait for the next book in this series.

This series is a must-read for fans of Urban Fantasy!


Have you read this book?
Did we persuade you to add it to your TBR mountain?
Let us know in the comments below!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Review: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Magic Bites
(Kate Daniels #1)
Ilona Andrews
Release: March 27, 2007
Goodreads Amazon
Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up paranormal problems. Atlanta has two factions struggling for power. Masters of the Dead are necromancers who control vampires. The Pack are a paramilitary clan of shapechangers. When Kate's guardian is killed, she is caught between.

Review by Rose Red:

Magic Bites is the first book in a series that I wish that I had started earlier than I did. I absolutely LOVED it! Kate Daniels is a mercenary who cleans up paranormal messes. When she gets news that her mentor and guardian was murdered, Kate takes on the case. To find the killer, she is thrown into the world of shapeshifters and the People and their vampires. 

I've been a long time fan of urban fantasy/paranormal romance and this book is nothing like anything I've ever read. The world-building is fantastic! The world is a character all itself. Magic Bites takes place in a post-apocalyptic Atlanta where technology and magic are at war with each other. And magic has struck back with a vengeance. It's feeding on technology. The city's skyscrapers are no more than dwindling piles of granite and steel, and machinery, vehicles or electrically powered objects can fail at any time. You never know when tech or magic will have the upperhand, but magic is getting stronger. Not to mention, the magic made it so all types of supernatural creatures are real. There are shapeshifters, vampires, witches, and more. This world is pretty screwed up and that makes it so interesting. You literally have no idea what could come to Atlanta. And Andrews doesn't stick to traditional lore for her supernatural. Vampires aren’t sleek and sexy; they are grotesque and misshapen, blood crazed creatures, lacking any of the characteristics that once marked them as human. They are super creepy.  

Actually, the world kind of reminds me of the gritty, post apocalyptic world Robin McKinley created in Sunshine except it's more diverse with the creatures and the magic. I love the idea of the magic and tech asserting themselves at ever-changing intervals and the effects that has on our protagonist. The world building was flawlessly integrated into the story, and I never got hopelessly lost in it, though I was completely immersed. I really like reading about how people have adapted to the magic waves.

The characters are as awesome as the worldbuilding! Kate is such a compelling character. She's tough and not just because she has to be since she fights and hunts things for a living. I absolutely adore Kate. Not only does she kick ass and have a smart mouth, but because when she does talk, she can back it up. Well, unless she’s trying to aggravate the Beast Lord, Curran. But he's one tough son of a gun. He's called the Beast Lord for a reason. Kate’s not perfect. She makes mistakes and she has flaws! Sometimes she even makes rash decisions. And this is probably one of my favorite things about her – when she does any of the above, it doesn’t always turn out the way she wants. A majority of the time, she has to accept the consequences of her actions. I’ll say it again, because I think it’s something that’s missing in a lot of urban fantasy I read – Kate’s (and truly all the characters) actions have consequences and they don’t just go away. They have to be dealt with. And it’s not always easy. Another thing to love about Kate is that she has a personal code of conduct, and she sticks to it. Honestly, there’s not one thing I didn’t love about Kate. Impressive, considering how difficult it is to make me truly love a heroine.

Besides Kate, there are so many wonderful characters! Derek, Jim, Aunt B, Doolittle, Ghastek, Nick, Saiman, and Curran. Oh, Curran! I can’t even describe how much I liked Curran, the Beast Lord of Atlanta. He’s arrogant and eminently sure of himself – with good cause. I was a bit wary of him at first but I really liked him by the end of the book. The verbal sparring between Kate and the Beast Lord is fantastic! Curran is someone who demands instant respect and Kate chafes at authority figures. I can't express how much I love their interactions. There wasn't exactly a romance between Kate and Curran, but there is a tangible sexual tension that made me giggle and smile whenever they had scenes together in the book.

The story moves at a very quick pace, with lots of action set in a fabulously complex, detailed world. I highly recommend this series if you haven’t started it already. Magic Bites is an amazing urban fantasy story that will leave you wanting more!

Recommended for fans of: 
Hounded by Kevin Hearne
Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron

5 / 5  stars!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Review: Strange Magic by James A. Hunter

Strange Magic
(A Yancy Lazarus Novel)
James A. Hunter
Release: January 16,2015
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Summary: Yancy Lazarus is having a bad day: there’s a bullet lodged in his butt cheek, his face looks like the site of a demolition derby, and he’s been saran-wrapped to a banquet table. He never should have answered the phone. Stupid bleeding heart—helping others in his circles is a good way to get dead.

Just ask the gang members ripped to pieces by some kind of demonic nightmare in LA. As a favor to a friend, Yancy agrees to take a little looksee into the massacre and boom, he’s stuck in a turf war between two rival gangs, which both think he’s pinch-hitting for the other side. Oh, and there’s also a secretive ass-hat with some mean ol’ magical chops and a small army of hyena-faced, body- snatching baddies. It might be time to seriously reconsider some of his life choices.

Yancy is a bluesman, a rambler, a gambler, but not much more. Sure, he can do a little magic—maybe even more than just a little magic—but he knows enough to keep his head down and stay clear of freaky-deaky hoodoo like this business in LA. Somehow though, he’s been set up to take a real bad fall—the kind of very permanent fall that leaves a guy with a toe tag. Unless, of course, he can find out who is responsible for the gangland murders, make peace in the midst of the gang feud, and take out said magical ass-hat before he hexes Yancy into an early retirement. Easy right? Stupid. Bleeding. Heart.
Review: On New Year's Eve, I started watching Supernatural on Netflix. Two weeks later, I'm in the middle of season five. So I admit I may be inclined to see Winchesters where there really aren't any. But when Yancy Lazarus gets a call from his Marine-turned-monster-hunter buddy Greg, sets out for L.A. in the old car he lives out of, and gets attacked by a monster in his crappy motel room on the way, you can probably understand why I thought he must be Sam and Dean's long-lost cousin.

However, Lazarus is also a blues musician and a Vietnam vet. I thought the choice to make him sixty five was an interesting one. His character would be the dad or the sidekick in most stories. He's also sarcastic, ill-mannered and usually funny. His pop culture references are a little dated, but they fit his age.

Strange Magic has some great fantasy elements. I especially liked the scenes in The Hub, the magical realm that serves as a bridge between worlds, which feels like a modern day Mos Eisley. But I felt like there were too many of those elements introduced for a book this size - it's only about 200 pages. A few bombshells are dropped and abandoned, like an ex-girlfriend possessed by the Morrigan, that me saying, "Wait! What?"

I 'd like to know more about The Guild, the monster hunting organization that Greg works for, and Lazarus had a falling out with. I'd also like more explanation of the way magic works in this world. Lazarus draws on the elements and weaves them together to form constructs, but he seems to do it all inside his head. I want him to be gesturing or something when he holds a spell in his hand.

But there's a good foundation for the series to build on here. If you're looking for a quick read about mages and magical creatures, it's worth a look.

Recommended for fans of: Supernatural, The Dresden Files

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Review: The Quick and the Undead by Kimberly Raye

The Quick and the Undead
(Tombstone, Texas #1)
Kimberly Raye
Release: November 26, 2014
Goodreads Amazon
Welcome to Tombstone, Texas, where anything is possible, even your wildest fantasy. Once a haven to outlaws, Tombstone is now a tourist town that gives travelers a taste of the old West. What visitors don’t realize, however, is that the super-hot cowboys, gunslingers, and lawmen walking the streets aren’t actors—they’re originals. These ancient vampires claimed Tombstone two centuries ago.

So step right up, folks, and book your trip today! The outlaws of Tombstone will be waiting . . .

Travel blogger Riley Davenport loves her job, traveling to the most exotic places in the world. Even better, it keeps her one step ahead of her stalking ex. The last thing she wants in her life is a strong alpha male. But that’s exactly what she gets when she comes face-to-face with Sheriff Boone Jarrett, a hero right out of her most erotic fantasies.

Boone isn’t just the law in Tombstone, Texas. He’s also an ancient vampire and the target of a crazed killer. He certainly doesn’t have time for romance. But a temporary fling? Now that he can handle.

Unfortunately, their first night together ends in disaster when Riley witnesses a murder. And to protect her, Boone forces her into hiding. Only her “captivity” ends up becoming the realization of her wildest, most carnal fantasies. Still, Riley’s not going to fall for him, at least that’s what she tells herself.

But as she gets to know him—the man and the vampire—she starts to wonder if she can hold out . . .
Review by Rose Red:

When I requested a book about vampire cowboys from Netgalley, I was hoping for a fun and quirky read. The idea behind this book had SO much potential! A group of outlaw vampires that were sired by the same vampire in the Old West return as a group to reclaim the town of Tombstone, Texas. In order to make that possible, they've turned the town into an exclusive vacation destination that will bring back the Old West for travelers. The whole gang is involved in this venture with the exception of their maker who has disappeared. 

This story should have been interesting....but I was bored. I finished the story but I didn't enjoy any of it. I actually kept reading because I couldn't help but think that it had to get better because no one could possibly waste such a great premise. Unfortunately, the actual story did not deliver. I actually thought most of the book was ridiculous and the "villain" was laughably easy to identify. Believe me when I say that the best part of the whole book was the prologue. It nearly drove me crazy how many times things were repeated over and over and over again. You don’t need to tell me a half a dozen times that Riley had no childhood because of her father. I got it. Over and over again, I read about her ex-boyfriend and how horrible and controlling he was. Again, I get it. Why repeat Riley's past over and over again without making it have any real impact on the present story? And I read about Boone’s father issues so often that I wanted to slap and tell him he was a vampire outlaw and to get the hell over it. I nearly went bonkers when we had to be told that a character was a gunslinger/thief/etc every time that character was mentioned. Maybe we needed that in the beginning but not every single time that character was mentioned afterwards.

Part of the reason I think this story didn't work for me was that the book was just too short for what the author was trying to do. There was no room for any good plot or character development. I was 90% through the story and realized I did not care one bit about any of the characters let alone the "romance". In fact, the story spent more time focused on Riley's sexual longing than what was probably a very interesting group of vampires. Hello! You made a group of outlaw vampires boring. 

As for the romance, it was comprised largely of her hormones and his hunger. But not really much more. I wasn't really given a romance. When Boone thinks Riley might be in trouble from a rogue vampire does he keep her next to him to protect her at all times? Nope. He puts her in a cave by herself while he searches for the villain. She literally spends a large part of the story in a cave by herself. How can there be a romance when they're separated 75% of the time. There was no build up of any actual feelings other than lust. And that wasn't even done well and was mostly associated with Riley's sweet tooth and Boone's craving for her blood. I honestly didn't get the love connection between the two of them. Not to mention, the sex scenes were weird to read. It was almost like they were not meant for this book because they were so disconnected from the story.
I appreciated the author's attempt at writing a different vampire book. It was a fresh idea in a stale genre. I just wish it had been done better. I have no interest in continuing on with this series.

I received an eARC of this book through Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  2 / 5 stars

Monday, January 12, 2015

Read This F@!#ing Book Rebooted

Did you know Read This F@!#ing Book debuted in 2012? I found some of my favorite series because of those first posts. This year we've decided to look back at a few of our favorite RTFBs and update them for 2015. We'll keep doing new ones too, so if you have a favorite book or series that you think deserves some attention or if you'd like to guest post, let us know.
For my first Reboot, I'm going back to where it all started. The very first Read This F@!#ing Book post featured Richelle Mead's Bloodlines. (Read Goldilox's original post here.) The final book in the series, The Ruby Circle, is only a month away so if you haven't read these yet, it's a great time to start.
Welcome to a feature I'm going to post on Mondays called:
Read This F@!%ing Book!
This is a feature for me to push my favorite reads that just aren't getting enough attention! 
I'm also opening it up to anyone who would like to guest post. Do you have a book that you just LURVED but feel like its not getting the play it deserves? Email me to let me know and I'd be THRILLED to have you post about it here! Especially if it's something I haven't reviewed yet - that's even better (but not necessary)! If you're interested email me:
Read This F@!%ing Book Post 1.1: The Bloodlines Series by Richelle Mead Rebooted

 Goodreads links:

Why I'm pushing it: In 2012 Goldilox said I know what some of you are thinking. Why push this series? Its probably getting PLENTY of attention! Well here's the thing.....SOME people aren't reading the series because they think they won't like Sydney. GASP! Let me convince you!

In 2015 I'm still seeing people make similar comments on reviews.
Why I love Sydney and this spinoff (Then) Sydney is not Rose - that's true. And as much as I loved Rose, I also love Sydney because she's a little different than the typical YA heroine out there right now. Instead of acting before she thinks or going balls out.....Sydney uses her intelligence to kick ass. I kind of think its daring for Richelle Mead to write an anti-cool dork like Sydney as the main character. What a girl for teens to look up to! She thinks things through! She's values things like education and reading! And even though she's a total nerd, she has some seriously funny and endearing moments in these books. You don't mess with Sydney's friends and family without consequences.....a wimp she is not (case in point: We finally learn why Sydney made a deal with Abe and it is juicy!).

(Now) As this series has progressed, what I've really enjoyed is getting to see other sides of the world that Mead introduced in the Vampire Academy books. Sydney and Adrian are living in the human world but they have also encountered Alchemists, witches, and a fundamentalist vampire hunting cult. The Alchemists in particular turned out to be so much more than what they seemed - in a wonderful, fascinating, horrific way.

Catch up with your favorite side characters from VA: (Then) Eddie and Jill are back as major players in the Bloodlines series.....and P.S. Eddie is adorable! Dimitri and Rose are even in The Golden Lily! Want to catch up with everybody you loved in VA? Well, here you go!

(Now) I also love getting to watch these characters grow up. Sydney learns to think for herself and trust her heart. Adrian battles depression and addiction. Eddie is everything a Guardian should be - responsible, loyal, fierce in battle - but he's also very human. Dmitri has a small but consistent role in the Bloodlines series. Silver Shadows even features a return to the Moroi Court and a look at Lyssa as queen.

Also.....there's Adrian: (Then) Maybe you live in a cave. Maybe you've had mono for like, two years. Because you've obviously forgotten about Adrian! HELLO! Adrian! He is even better in the Bloodlines series than in Vampire Academy! And unlike in VA, where you just knew things weren't going to work out for him, in Bloodlines you can root for him to get the girl! He is SO devilishly charming and irrestible in these books, especially in The Golden Lily.

(Now) And of course Sydney and Adrian's EPIC love story has only gotten better. It's everything a YA romance should be!
So, there you go. That's me pushing Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy spinoff, Bloodlines. If you were a VA fan please give this series a try. And if you've read the first book and were on the fence you REALLY need to read book two! 

I firmly believe that often our reaction to a book depends heavily on what we thought we were getting into and I think going into this series you need to not except another VA. Sydney is a different and more mature character and this series is less vampire, more Alchemists. I love Sydney and I hope you will give her a chance!

Our reviews of books in this series:
The Indigo Spell
Silver Shadows

Have you read this book?
Did we persuade you to add it to your TBR mountain?
Let us know in the comments below!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Author Q&A with Kristi Charish and Owl and the Japanese Circus Giveaway

I discovered Owl and the Japanese Circus when Jenn Bennett raved about it on Twitter. As soon as I was able to request an ARC, I jumped at the chance. It's got some really original world building and the story is so much fun! (Just like Jenn said it would be.) So I'm really excited to be part of the blog tour. We got the chance to ask Kristi Charish some questions about herself and her debut novel.

G3W: Happy New Year Kristi! We’re so excited to have on the blog today!

KC: Are you kidding? Thanks for having me!

G3W: Your background is in science. What made you decide to start writing Urban Fantasy?

KC: Honestly? I’ve always loved science fiction and fantasy books, movies, and games. I used to play Never Winter Nights and Balders Gate on my laptop while I was in between experiments or running samples on the automated microscopes.

I finally decided to try my hand at writing while finishing up my thesis (1 hour thesis- 1-2 hours fiction). I actually started with both fantasy and sci-fi, but was drawn to UF because there’s a real subtle trick in layering the fantasy parts over the real world. It’s a fun challenge to try and make it convincing without ruining the fun, and it’s not as far off from my science training as you might think :)

G3W:Tell us a little about Owl and what inspired you to tell her story.

KC: Owl and the Japanese Circus is my debut urban fantasy and my first completed novel. It’s about ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl— who has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.

As to what inspired Owl: It’s heavily inspired by all the 80’s adventure movies I used to watch over and over: Indiana Jones, Jewel of the Nile, Big Trouble Little China- even The Mummy is a big influence for me.

BUT, when I first sat down to write Owl I’d been struggling for a bit with third person narrative and really wanted to try something in first person. I had just finished a writing prompt exercise (where the prompt was ‘When death’s clowns came for me’) and had also just finished reading a mystery novel called ‘The Water Rat of Wanchai’ by Ian Hamilton (Ava Lee series). It was the first mystery I’d read in a while and I thought wouldn’t it be great to write something like that! Prompt and mystery novel idea in hand, I started writing about an antiquities thief...with absolutely no monsters, it was going to be a normal book, a break from fantasy...

That lasted all of twenty pages when I realized I’d accidentally written a dragon into the novel.

G3W: The vampires in Owl’s world are unlike any I’ve ever seen. How did you develop their mythos? What made you decide to make them smell?

KC: I’m glad you liked them! It’s not the first time pheromones have been used for vampires- Kim Harrison, Patricia Briggs and Jim Butcher all use a similar mechanism in their books- the vampires all have a chemical that subdues their prey and over time is addictive. In my case, I didn’t want my vampires to be omniscient supernaturals...more like cockroaches of the supernatural underworld. I decided to go with something that was less bite dependent, chemically volatile and aromatic (easily identifiable by scent), and incredibly addictive. That way my vampires didn’t have to be super strong or powerful to subdue prey- they just have to get close enough so their prey can smell them.

G3W: I know that the Ancient Egyptians really liked their cats. Is that what inspired Captain? Have you ever had a cat like him? (Well, probably not the vampire hunting part.)

KC: So, shameful admission here. I may have written my twenty lb house cat into my novel. There are a lot of similarities between Captain and Captain Flash- particularly the obsession with food and his propensity for “talking” at me. Though the real version hunts socks, not vampires. Seriously, he destroys my socks and he’s a ninja at stealing them when I’m not looking.

Captain in the series is also heavily inspired by the Egyptian Mau’s of legends, but instead of being mythical guardians of the underworld, they were actually bred to attack vampires. I thought it was a fun and more practical twist on the legends.

G3W: If you could have Owl meet any character from another book or series, who would it be and what would they do?

KC: Though it would likely have the same result as tossing cats into a small box, I’d have to go with the characters out of The Mummy or Big Trouble in Little China. Who throws the first punch? That depends, who grabs the artifact first?

G3W: If you could be BFF’s for a day with any of your characters, who would it be and why?

KC: Can we count Captain in there? I think it’s an even toss up between Nadya and Owl. Nadya is a lot more cautious than Owl and is the kind of person who goes out of her way to show her friends a good time. But all bets are off if I get to tomb raid with Owl... I’d just cross my fingers she brought the Corona and hope real hard I didn’t end up dead in the process:)

G3W: Do you have any books to recommend that have a similar feel to yours? or Do you have any book recommendations for us in general?

KC: Comparing your work to someone else’s is a hard one for writers. It elicits extreme feelings of unworthiness. What I can say is that the inspiration for Owl came more from favorite movies of mine: Indiana Jones (Temple of Doom and Raiders) and The Mummy. I’m also a fan of Kim Harrison (The Hollows) and Jim Butcher (Dresden Files) and love their procedural feel. For anyone wanting to dip into urban fantasy, I’d strongly recommend them along with Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld series. For non-fantasy, Ian Hamilton’s Ava Lee series is one of my favorites.

G3W: Can you tell us about Kincaid Strange and what else you’re working on this year?

KC: Kincaid Strange isn’t your average Voodoo practitioner.

For starters, she lives in Seattle.

With the new restrictions and regulations in place for raising the dead- and the fact that the Seattle PD have dropped her paranormal consulting contract- Kincaid and her roommate, the ghost of deceased 90's grunge rocker, Nathan Cade, resign themselves to running semi legal séances up at the University for students with more money than sense and desperate for guitar lessons. That is until the dead bodies start piling up and Kincaid has to find a serial killer before the blame finds it’s way to her.

Besides Kincaid #2 and 3 this year (Owl 2 is already handed in) I also try to post parts to my Canadian Blood Diamonds serialized story over on Wattpad. It’s free for anyone who wants to read.

G3W: What do you do for fun when you’re not writing?

KC: I like readingJ I’m also a fan of RPG video games and have been clocking a lot of hours on the new Dragon Age and South Park.

I also try to keep active. Yoga is my current torture exercise of choice. Besides that, I love to travel- the more deserted the tropical beach the better.

3W: What are you currently reading or what book have you just finished?

KC: Like always I’ve got a few books on my plate at the moment: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, and on audible I’m listening to The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum, Death Masks by Jim Butcher, and The Monuments Men are up next.

Recently finished: The King of Shanghai, by Ian Hamilton (Amazing), reread the Crystal Singer series by Anne McCaffrey, and Patricia Briggs Alpha & Omega series.
Synopsis: Fans of Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher, and Linda Hamilton will flock to the kick-ass world of Owl, a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world.
Ex-archaeology grad student turned international antiquities thief, Alix—better known now as Owl—has one rule. No supernatural jobs. Ever. Until she crosses paths with Mr. Kurosawa, a red dragon who owns and runs the Japanese Circus Casino in Las Vegas. He insists Owl retrieve an artifact stolen three thousand years ago, and makes her an offer she can’t refuse: he’ll get rid of a pack of vampires that want her dead. A dragon is about the only entity on the planet that can deliver on Owl’s vampire problem – and let’s face it, dragons are known to eat the odd thief.
Owl retraces the steps of Mr. Kurosawa’s ancient thief from Japan to Bali with the help of her best friend, Nadya, and an attractive mercenary. As it turns out though, finding the scroll is the least of her worries. When she figures out one of Mr. Kurosawa’s trusted advisors is orchestrating a plan to use a weapon powerful enough to wipe out a city, things go to hell in a hand basket fast…and Owl has to pick sides.

Read the first chapter of Owl and the Japanese Circus here.

Scroll down or click here to read our review.

Kristi Charish is the author of a forthcoming urban fantasy novel OWL AND THE JAPANESE CIRCUS (Jan 13th, 2015, Simon and Schuster Canada/Pocket Books), about a modern-day “Indiana Jane” who reluctantly navigates the hidden supernatural world. She writes what she loves; adventure heavy stories featuring strong, savvy female protagonists, pop culture, and the occasional RPG fantasy game thrown in the mix. The second installment, OWL AND THE CITY OF ANGELS, is scheduled for release Jan 2016.

Kristi is also a scientist with a BSc and MSc from Simon Fraser University in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and a PhD in Zoology from the University of British Columbia. Her specialties are genetics, cell biology, and molecular biology, all of which she draws upon in her writing. She is represented by Carolyn Forde at Westwood Creative Artists.

Also check out Kristi Charish's Wattpad site for some of her short stories.
Enter to win your very own copy of Owl and the Japanese Circus. This giveaway is INTERNATIONAL. Residents of the U.S. and Canada can choose either a signed paperback or a digital copy of the book. Everyone else will receive a digital copy. You must be at least 13 years old to enter.
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