Category Archives: Reviewettes

Books with bite?

Trek’s collecting Box Tops for Education again and is holding a contest through the end of February as part of it.

Wendy’s giving away a Signe mitten kit – leave a comment by 4 pm, EST, January 29, to be entered in the contest.

Knittymama’s hosting the Knitter’s Coffee Swap again and there might even be a few spots left!

O noes!

Reading Update
Angel’s Blood (A Guild Hunter Novel) by Nalini Singh. Please note that I received this as a bound galley in a contest held by the author and as part of that have promised to write something a bit longer more than my usual “short, pithy reviews.” The book will be available in early March.

Wow. I haven’t read any of Singh’s previous books as her Psy-Changeling series never intrigued me, but after discovering how involving and well-written Angels’ Blood was, I have to admit that I’ll be checking out more of Singh’s other work.

Some basics – this is the story of Elena, who’s a natural born vampire hunter living and working in New York City. Vampires are created by angels (who are not the usual heavenly host) and in payment for the angels’ doing so, vampires are basically indentured for the first 100 years of their lives. When vampires renege on their service, it’s up to Elena and the others in her guild to track them down. I didn’t get totally sucked in until the second half of the book (after all the story set up was complete), at which point I could not put it down.

I don’t want to tell you too much about the plot because I personally hate hearing a lot about a book before I read it, beyond someone I trust telling me it’s worth my time. So, if you enjoy paranormal romance, this book is definitely worth your time.

Demon’s Kiss (Compact of Sorcerers, Book 1) by Eve Silver. Hmm. I’ll give this series a book or two to see if the writing smooths out a bit.
Passionate Thirst, Luscious Craving, and Eternal Hunger (Candace Steele, Vampire Killer, Books 1-3) by Cameron Dean. This is a trilogy. This is only a trilogy. I’m ambivalent about it. It was a decent read, but the ending of the final book frustrated me.
My Sister Is a Werewolf (The Young Brothers, Book 4) by Kathy Love. I actually read this a year or so ago, but hadn’t read the first three books. Definitely got more out of it this time. A quick, fun, chick litty paranormal romance.
Over the Moon by Angela Knight, MaryJanice Davidson, Virginia Kantra, and Sunny. Ok collection of werewolf stories, although I confess to not reading the story by Sunny, because I would really need to read the prior books in her Mona Lisa series for it to make sense.
Season of Strangers by Kat Martin. Not your usual paranormal romance – no vampires or werewolves at all! This was about alien abductions.
The Twilight Before Christmas and Dangerous Tides (Drake Sisters, Books 2 and 4) by Christine Feehan. The Drake Sisters are seven daughters of a seventh daughter and they all have mysterious powers. This reminds me a lot of something Nora Roberts might have written, although the writing isn’t quite as smooth as The Nora.

I was at Ridgedale Library last week and found an interesting display in the young adults section – Love Bites (Vampire Love), complete with vampire reading list and a tub of plastic fangs to take home. How could I resist?!

*sniff sniff sniff* -Mayhem

“I’m waiting to see if those things snap onto your nose before I get any closer, Mayhem.” -Chaos

“Well, May’s ok, so they must not be dangerous.” -Chaos

“What the heck are they, anyway?” -Chaos

“I have no idea either, big kitty!” -Mayhem

“Well, let’s see how they taste. Maybe they’re kitty treats.” -Chaos

“Mmmm… kitty treats…” -Mayhem

“Nope, they sure aren’t kitty treats. I’m stumped.” -Chaos

“Me, too, big kitty! These things are silly.” -Mayhem

Reading and thrifting and hallucinating, oh my!

For plenty of urban fantasy and paranormal romance-related contests, I recommend subscribing to Literary Escapism.

Congrats to Ann-Marie, who won a spiffy mp3 player through a contest link I posted last week!

If you’re a fan of chick lit books and movies, you might enjoy this new blog from author Marta Costa. I also recommend her Vampire Wire blog if you’re into urban fantasy and paranormal romance.

Hmm – I could do this with the remains of the lurid baby blanket

Whoa. Check out the LEGO Inauguration.

Happy National Thrift Week!

You don’t need fancy machines or gym memberships to get in shape. (I’m a big believer in this – when I rediscover my exercise mojo, that is. Have you seen it?)

I can’t be the only one who thinks this is an intriguing idea, but fears a splattering buttery catastrophe in the microwave, right?

Three cups of coffee make you three times more likely to hallucinate? Dude! No wonder it’s the favored drink of office workers…

For the first time in 25 years, reading is on the rise!

These results will surprise no one. 🙂 (Assuming the darn thing posts properly…)

What Kind of Reader Are You?

Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Book Snob
Literate Good Citizen
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?

Reading Update
Dark Desires After Dusk and Kiss of a Demon King (The Immortals After Dark, Books 5-6) by Kresley Cole. Sadly, I thought the sixth book was probably the weakest one. *sigh* But weak in this series is still a really good read. I wonder when book 7 will come out?!
New Tricks by John Levitt. The sequel to Dog Days – another solid urban fantasy.
I Only Have Fangs for You (The Young Brothers, Book 3) by Kathy Love. I can already tell I’m going to have to reread the last book in the series (My Sister Is a Werewolf, which I read a year or so ago) now that I’ve read the rest of the series.
One Bite With a Stranger (The Others, Book 6… although the cover says “The first novel of the Others”), The Demon You Know, Howl at the Moon, and Walk on the Wild Side (The Others, Books 3-5) by Christine Warren. Mediocre to ok paranormal romance. Walk on the Wild Side (Book 5) is about a totally different group of Others than Books 1-4 and 6.
Tall, Dark, and Kilted by Allie MacKay. Paranormal romance set in a Scottish castle (Dunroamin) with a resident ghost, Sir Hardwin de Studley of Seagrave (aka Hardwick). Um, yeah, the puns are a little out of control here. Couldn’t tell you why I actually read the entire book.
Evil Ways (Quincey Morris, Book 2) by Justin Gustainis. Excellent urban fantasy, with a special treat for fans of a certain Chicago-based wizard… Highly recommended, but definitely read the the first book (Black Magic Woman) before you read Evil Ways.
I Shall Not Want: A Claire Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mystery by Julia Spencer-Fleming. The latest installment in this series is as intense as the others. Highly recommended – but read them in order!

*groom groom groom* -Mayhem

“What are all of you looking at?! What’s a girl gotta do to have some privacy on this blog anyway?! Sheesh.” -Mayhem

Accursed squirrel

When I woke up Tuesday morning, it was -18F, with a -36F windchill. Wednesday morning was slightly warmer (-8F with a -22F windchill or somesuch). I managed to work from home both days – will today (also to be bitterly cold) be the day my boss demands my presence at the office? Can’t he just wait until Friday, when the projected +9F means I might not even need a coat?! 😉 (Update, Thursday, 1/15/2009, 7:30 am CST: It’s -21F. *whimper*)

It’s good I was home Tuesday afternoon, because otherwise I would never have known how this happened:

A squirrel clung to the side of my building (I’m on the third floor) and gnawed a hole in my nearly brand new screen while two very overwrought black kitties thumped their (obviously ineffective) Paws O’ Death against the glass mere inches away. Yeah, it was really cold out there if dying a bloody death was looking good to that insane squirrel.

Reading Update
Dawn’s Awakening (The Breeds, Book 4) and Mercury’s War (The Breeds, Book 16) by Lora Leigh. Ok, so technically Mercury’s War is the fifth book, but apparently it’s the 16th story if you count everything that’s been in anthologies and whatnot, so the numbering went really weird. Whatever. These continue to not be the best written stuff you’ll find. They also continue to be pretty graphic. Mercury’s War had several gaping plot holes to make the story work. Only – it didn’t really, because hello! Plot holes.
Flat-Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy. Steamy, well-written NASCAR romance with a sequel on the way.
Wait Till Your Vampire Gets Home (Broken Heart, Oklahoma, Book 4) by Michelle Bardsley. Very light, chick litty paranormal romance. Best quote: “Yep… We need a loogie from a real dragon.”
On the Prowl (Tales of an Urban Werewolf, Book 2) by Karen MacInerney. Austin werewolf Sophie Garou returns in the second book of this series. I have no qualms about continuing to follow her adventures.
All I Want for Christmas is a Vampire (Love at Stake, Book 5) by Kerrelyn Sparks. Ok vampire tale – not great, but definitely readable.
Fangs But No Fangs (The Young Brothers, Book 2) by Kathy Love. A blogging vampire living in a trailer park and waiting tables at a karaoke bar? Yup.
Unravel Me by Christie Ridgway. The second in this chick lit knitting series was another good read. (The next book, out in June, will be Dirty Sexy Knitting. Hee hee.)
Dog Days by John Levitt. The first in a newish urban fantasy series about Mason, a San Francisco jazz guitarist and magic practitioner, and his dog/ifrit, Lou. I’ll definitely keep reading – in fact, the next book is already in my TBR stack.
A Hunger Like No Other, No Rest for the Wicked, Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night, and Dark Needs at Night’s Edge (The Immortals After Dark, Books 1-4) by Kresley Cole. Ok, I let the traditional romance-style covers of the first few books in this series scare me away for quite a while, but I’m glad I got past that (and not just because the guy on the cover of Book 4 is so hot) – this is an excellent paranormal series. Highly recommended (sorry, Carrie K – while there are werewolves, there are also vampires).

“It is ever so exhausting having Mom home all the time, because I have to keep track of her and bring her fetch toys to throw for me every time she goes to sit down on that shiny white chair.” -Mayhem

My kingdom for an inspired title…

It’s January, so it’s time to knit preemie hats for k3tog! Although the blog is gone, you can head over to their Ravelry group.

Kelle’s looking for submissions for Yarnival. Submit soon, because she’ll be publishing on January 15.

I think that Amy’s picture really captures the essence of the Minnesota State Fair experience – what do you think?

The Uptown Mpls Blog’s top 20 pictures of 2008 are worth a look.

Hee hee – did you see xkcd’s guide to converting to the metric system?

Isn’t this a scary thought?!

Too true!

This is how I felt upon returning to my usual work schedule (start at 6:30 am) yesterday morning…

Do not let your kitties read Perry and Emily’s New Year’s resolutions!

Here’s a link to a thoughtful article in defense of buying books. While the majority of my reading material is from the public library, I do purchase some books and I’m making sure to do so from local stores that I want to stay in business.

Literary Escapism’s latest Escapist Newsletter has a truly mind boggling list of urban fantasy/paranormal romance links – upcoming releases, author interviews, and much more.

The bloggers at Book Binge have listed their favorite heroes of 2008 – do you agree or disagree? I left a few of mine in the comments. Flashing back to my crushes on fictional characters thing, I think I have to add Wrath, Zsadist, Butch, and Vishous from the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

If you’re a fan of vampire books, check out The Ultimate VampList – and remember that it’s divided by subject, so if you don’t see an author that you expect, he or she may simply be on a different page.

Reading Update
Lover Enshrined (The Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 6) by J.R. Ward. Disappointing. Important to read before the next book comes out this spring, but this book doesn’t have the immersive qualities of the previous five. I think Ward spent too much time on other story elements and not enough time on Phury beyond his addiction issues. (Um, I may also have reread the first four books – at least most of them. Skipped most of the bits about the lessers the second time.)
Dead After Dark by Sherrilyn Kenyon, J.R. Ward, Susan Squires, and Dianna Love. Kenyon’s story about the Were-Hunter Fury was ok, but not great. Ward’s story was set in the same city as her Black Dagger Brotherhood books, but wasn’t about any of the familiar characters.
Zen and the Art of Vampires (Dark Ones, Book 6) by Katie MacAlister. Cliffhanger. You know how I feel about them. Hmph. Plus this book was crazy confusing. I kept reading, hoping for clarity.
Fangs for the Memories (The Young Brothers, Book 1) by Kathy Love. Light paranormal romance about a vampire with amnesia who doesn’t remember that he’s a vampire.
Anyway You Want It by Kathy Love. The first in a nameless series about lampir (energy vampire) brothers who live in New Orleans. (The second book, which I read a few weeks ago, is I Want You To Want Me.)
Megan’s Mark, Harmony’s Way, and Tanner’s Scheme (The Breeds, Books 1-3) by Lora Leigh. Not the best written stuff on the planet, but the premise is intriguing. These are extremely graphic.
Degrees of Separation (Jessie Arnold Mysteries) by Sue Henry. I have to admit to getting this series a bit confused with Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak mysteries! Anyway, in this latest Jessie Arnold mystery, Jessie’s knee is finally healed and she’s back to mushing.

“And now what are you doing, Mom?! You are so weird. Can’t let you out of my sight for a minute, can I?!” -Mayhem

A picture of sartorial elegance… not

The sartorial elegance bit? It ran through my head when I was taking out the trash yesterday, wearing my Ruby Sheep PJ bottoms, a black sweatshirt, and a dark red and black plaid wool coat. Hmm. Maybe I’ve been working at home too much… speaking of which, Monday and Tuesday were 17-hour days, so all you get for this post is a contest link, some of my wee book reviews, and a cat picture or two.

Shannah’s having a contest. Let her know what your favorite handcrafted gift was this year, and you could win some sock yarn and a surprise. Contest closes at midnight, January 6.

Reading Update
Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton. This was absolutely delightful. Recommended for knitters who enjoy a bit of fantastical romance. Plus it has a black cat on the cover. How could you go wrong?
Just Desserts by Barbara Bretton. Nothing paranormal or knitting related in this romance, but it was a decent read.
Hex Appeal by Linda Wisdom. The sequel to 50 Ways To Hex Your Lover is another enjoyable read, although there were a number of major inconsistencies that kept jolting me out of the story.
It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons by Franklin Habit. Delightful. This was a birthday present from Deb, but I’ve just been reading a cartoon here and there for the past five weeks, anticipating.
Dark Lover, Lover Eternal, Lover Awakened, Lover Revealed, and Lover Unbound (The Black Dagger Brotherhood, Books 1-5) by J.R. Ward. Very good vampire romance – I really am not able to put these down. Bits of it seemed reminiscent of the Dark-Hunters. Ward does this sort of cruel but effective bit where she starts gearing up the next book before the end of the current book. She ties up the current story, but you definitely know what the next book’s going to be about and are eager to get your hands on it. Much more effective than a complete cliffhanger, which drives me nuts. Oh, and some of the books (Lover Awakened, Lover Unbound) had me sobbing. Just so you know to have the tissues handy… Also please note that these are very, very steamy and a bit dark.
Sex and the Single Witch by Theresa Alan, Holly Chamberlain, and Carly Alexander. Very light’n’fluffy short stories that were actually a nice break from the intensity of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. However, not particularly recommended.
The Cursed One (The Wild Wulfs of London) by Ronda Thompson. One of the later books in this series about werewolves in England in the early 1800s. I enjoyed it, even though historicals tend not to be a favorite.
Wolf at the Door (The Others, Book 1) by Christine Warren. Can an Irish werewolf and a NYC foxwoman find happiness together? Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld might have been a bit of the inspiration behind this series, but this is much lighter and more chick lit feeling.

“Oh, for fur’s sake, the last thing she needs is more pink feathers.” -Chaos

“Silly big kitty. You can never have too many pink feathers!” -Mayhem

“Unhand my feathers, Mom! Mine! Mine! Mine!!” -Mayhem

Happy New Year! I may or may not post on Friday, January 2. It’ll be a surprise to all of us.

Woe of the Toe

Let Eryka know whether or not you attend craft shows and you could win a $25 KnitPicks gift card on December 31.

Thanks (?!??) to Van for alerting me to these fugly holiday sweaters… Swallow all coffee and cereal and brace yourselves before you click, ok?

Office a little quiet before the holiday? Make an origami reindeer from a box to keep yourself entertained.

You can blame all shopping malls on Minnesota. Sorry ’bout that.

Ever wondered what happens to those socks that vanish in the washing machine? Wonder no longer.

Here’s a clever trick to keep that poor right index finger from getting maimed by sharp needle tips.

Smart Bitches, Trashy Books is having eight days of giveaways. The first giveaway (not romances!) will probably be over by the time you read this, but there are still seven more on the way.

Apparently “business is booming” at Minnesota’s public libraries due to the recession.

Reading Update
Ghost Moon (The Moon Series, Book 7) by Rebecca York. Enough with the excursions to the parallel universe, please. Thank you.
How To Knit a Wild Bikini by Christie Ridgway. This is the first book in a chick lit knitting series set in Malibu. I’m looking forward to reading the next book!
Backup: A Story of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. Although published as a small hardcover, this is really a short story told by Thomas, not Harry.
“A Jaguar’s Kiss” by Lora Leigh, from Shifter. Yes, there were three other stories in this collection of paranormal romance, but I couldn’t get into them. Leigh’s story was ok, but definitely not one of her best.
Playing Easy To Get by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jaid Black, and Kresley Cole. Steamy. Very steamy. I liked the Kresley Cole vampire’n’Valkyrie story the best. The Sherrilyn Kenyon story wasn’t a Dark-Hunter story – it was from her B.A.D. series.
50 Ways To Hex Your Lover by Linda Wisdom. Vampires and witches and evil bunny slippers, oh my! This was a fun’n’fluffy paranormal romance – the next book is already in my to-read pile. (But please note – it’s really cheating to name a book based on a throwaway line in said book…)
I Want You To Want Me by Kathy Love. Apparently this is the most recent book in a series. Or it might just be the second book in a series. Not exactly easy to figure out. Anyway, this is a story about a sculptor and a lhampir (somehow derived from dhampir?!), set in New Orleans.

Still completely loving MaryLou’s sock pattern and am surviving my first top-down sock experience… mostly.

“But Mom, that’s my favorite bit because it matches me! I don’t understand why you’re cursing at it. And really, I’m not sure I’m old enough to hear language like that.” -Mayhem

And for a little color/preview of coming attractions… (I told May to watch out so MamaTulip doesn’t steal her toy!)  😉

*my toy my toy my toy my toy MY toy MINE MINE MINE* -Mayhem

Eye Candy Friday with Random Bits

Ok, although I’m not officially a part of Eye Candy Friday, I thought this overgrown motorcycle in our alley was pretty cool. It reminds me of a Charles de Lint story, maybe something from the Borderland

SRP Update
The Renewable Virgin by Barbara Paul, 215 pages. The first Marian Larch mystery (1984)! Bless the Minneapolis Public Library system for maintaining mystery series integrity. (Yes, Cute Library Guy was there, but I was too shy to talk to him… I know, I’m a dork.)

I’m liking the charcoal Regia Silk in the waffle pattern (two rounds of knit 2, purl 2 ribbing, then two plain rounds). Hopefully I make a lot of progress on it over the weekend so that it seems worth photographing. This probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but my Cabernet Adamas shawl is still a ball of yarn and likely to remain that way for a while, so no more Amazing Lace for me. And I still need to knit some Bitchin’ (baby) Mittens – yikes! Oh well, at least I finished the TrekAlong, right?!

In other personal knitting news, I had a pattern accepted by MagKnits for the December issue! All I’m going to say about it is that you can make the project from a single ball of Kureyon…

I still have a few more local purple architectural features to take pictures of, but to tide me over until I get around to it, Trek sent me this purple house from New Jersey. We should all forgive her for the slightly illegal action she took to get this photo, becase I love this house. Thanks, Trek!

And how could we end the week without a little Chaos, looking ever-so-sweet after his shenanigans of a few days ago… Have a great weekend, everyone!

“Whatever do you mean, Mom? I am the very soul of sweetness and innocence!”