Thursday, August 30, 2012

Courting Carolina and a quirky video

Courting Carolina  
by Janet Chapman is part of her 'Spellbound Falls Romance' series.  I love this series although I confess that I haven't had time to read all of the prequels but I certainly want to one of these days.  (Of course, it would help if I cut down on the number of projects I have going on, not to mention the proofreading jobs that are slowly trickling in).  I love the mixture of magic and realism in this series.  The author addresses common concerns such as childcare, ecology, family interference but does so using fantastical characters who carry on conversations with sea denizens, mountains, and the earth herself.  The dichotomy between beings who are capable of actually moving mountains or traveling through time and their fumblings when faced with the prospect of meeting their true love or courting recalcitrant mates or even doing such pragmatic things as camping in the wilderness gives depth to these delightful tales.  There are fun and quirky elements, including a fascinating creature named Kitalanta who has more than one form and wonderful cameos by beings who were introduced in previous books.  Don't pick up the book unless you have a block of time set aside because once you fall under its spell, you won't want to put it down you have finished it.

My Amazon review for Courting Carolina is at this link.  As always, a 'yes, this was helpful vote' is appreciated.

My review on Night Owl Reviews for Spellbound Falls is at this link and Charmed By His Love is at this link.


 Midnight Bay series:

Also....I'm not usually a video watcher but I enjoyed this one....

I can't tell if anybody has actually looked at the post about the squid skin that changes color according to the music that is being played...but it is really fascinating...almost like a screen saver.  For those who are grossed out at the idea of it being a squid, it is just a microscopic section of skin--no tentacles in sight!   My blogpost that contains the links is here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Loving Lady Marcia

Loving Lady Marcia  

by Kieran Kramer is a delightful tongue-in-cheek historical romance that utilizes the characters from the 70s television show about a 'lovely lady...with three lovely girls' whose eldest daughter was guessed it, Marcia!  It is a great read for creating nostalgia in those of us who watched the sit-com and identified with the trials and tribulations of having siblings, a blended family, and the difficulties of growing up (no matter what our own circumstances were).  This author is very adept at creating very eye-catching titles that are always humorous which are placed on beautiful covers.  One assumes there will be tales of all of the siblings since the series is The House of Brady and of course there are two more girls and three guys who deserve their time in the spotlight.  My Amazon review is at this link under ELF2060 with the title 'Here's a story about a lovely lady...Marcia....'.  A 'yes this was helpful' vote is always appreciated, especially since there seem to be people who are delighting in just passing out negative votes for some reason.

Kieran Kramer's 'Impossible Bachelors' series is comprised of:  When Harry Met Molly as well as Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right and Cloudy With a Chance of Marriage (sorry, Amazon doesn't appear to have a picture) and last, but not least, If You Give a Girl a Viscount.  My Night Owl Reviews are available by clicking on the titles above.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Run the Risk

Run the Risk  
by Lori Foster is another exciting  addition to her wonderful collection of suspenseful romances.  This first book in her ‘Love Undercover’ series showcases Detective Logan Riske who is undercover and attempting to get to know his reticent neighbor in an effort to discover the whereabouts of her brother.  Logan is determined to catch a murderer but gradually gives in to the attraction that he feels for the dowdy and self-effacing woman even as he plans to use her to catch her brother.  Logan is not the only one trying to get to know an elusive woman, his partner Reese is also puzzled about the aloof woman living in his apartment building.  Each man has quite a few obstacles to get past, not least of which is determining who can be truly trusted during their dangerous investigation. The problem is, the women also will have to deal with their own trust issues before any progress in the relationships can progress.

This was a fun read by Ms Foster who invariably creates strong male characters who are wonderfully protective and action-oriented and Logan Riske is no exception to this rule.  He is a bit of a jerk at first in that he is willing to use (and be used) by someone to achieve his goal but he eventually develops a rapport with the quirky woman that he enters into a rather unusual intimate relationship with.  Their passionate encounters are unique and somewhat of a role reversal but there is definitely chemistry that blossoms between the two as they both hide their true identities.  There are several different mysteries involving various secondary characters that are alluded to which will undoubtedly be addressed in future novels and delightful glimpses of a cute canine who has bounced into Reese’s life on all four paws.  The suspense is nicely balanced with the spice and makes this a nice start to the new series.  This title will be released on September 25, 2012 and subsequent titles featuring the other yummy males will hopefully make their appearance in 2013.

I was provided an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.

Lisa Renee Jones contest and chat as well as other contests

If I Were You   

by Lisa Renee Jones is an adult title and is out now!  To celebrate, there are several fantastic contests taking place.  Please visit Lisa's beautifully updated website at this link.  If you are curious about what other titles this prolific author has written, there is a partial list at this link.
The author will be at Writerspace on Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. and Monday, August 27, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. at this link.  I am pretty sure that there will be prizes and it's a great time to get your questions answered.  For those who have never been to a chat, just remember that if they say that they are on protocol it means to type a ? if you want to ask a question and wait for them to tell you to GA (go ahead) before you ask it.  Usually it is best if you get in line by typing the ? (question mark) and then go ahead and type your question in the little box but DON'T HIT SEND until you are called on.  It's usually great fun and a little wacky (virtual wine, nutella and who knows what else gets passed around) so please stop by!

Also, for those contest addicts (and yes, I consider myself one but even I gave up when faced with this list because otherwise I would never have any time to read or play Words by Post!), there is a remarkable list at this link...and that doesn't include any of the myriad of blogs who have bloghops going.  Enjoy entering.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Squid color change and music

Ok, I admit it, I can get easily distracted when I am writing a review and at a temporary loss for words.  That is happening a lot lately since I have written reviews for Night Owl Reviews for the past three years according to a particular template and last month the specifications changed abruptly.  It's amazing how one gets into a rut and makes a commonplace task difficult but it has been really difficult for me to switch to the new format and I fear that my writing is even more stilted than ever before.  Anyway, that means I get stuck frequently and start wandering around and doing other things like looking at e-mails and visiting blogs and getting my 10 second news inputs at various homepages.  I was really intrigued by the article stating that some scientists hooked up a squid to an iPod nano and recorded video of the color changes (squids have something called chromatophores in their skin that allows them to release color...brown, red or yellow).  The video shows their response to Cypress Hill's Insane in the Brain.  It's fascinating to watch (and yes, I turned up the volume since I usually have my computer on mute).  The link to the article is here and directly to the video is here.  And no, I don't get hungry when looking at squid since I don't like calimari but I do admit that visiting another blog which gave a picture and a recipe for lobster roll (yum) did make me hungry!

Back to the reviews.  Don't get me wrong, most of the reviews on tap are for excellent reads, I have been fortunate to have been reading some great review books (although there were a couple of titles I am still struggling about what to say since I had trouble finishing them) and will be posting over the next few days about Lori Foster's Run the Risk, Jeri Smith-Ready's Shade, Shift and Shine trilogy (yes, there is a story about this since I have already posted about Shine) and Corrina Lawson's Luminous.  I also was fortunate enough to receive Laura Griffin's upcoming novel, Scorched so that is toward the top of my TBR pile!  Back to being productive...


Cast in Peril

Cast in Peril  

by Michelle Sagara is part of her wonderful young adult series featuring Private Kaylin Neya, a young woman with far too much to juggle.  The admittedly poor quarters where she lives are a bit overcrowded considering the unusual egg that she is caring for and her Dragon roommate that she reluctantly shares quarters with. The etiquette lessons as well as the onerous magic lessons are assignments that she bears with semi-tolerance but they're definitely not something she enjoys.  An assignment that she is given little choice about complying with has only one unexpected allows her to move around without the presence of her dragon roommate.  Unfortunately, it doesn't save her from the rigorous rituals and pitfalls of dealing with the sometimes very deadly Barrani but she does have a few allies to rely on, including one very enigmatic winged creature.

These fantasy stories are a great blend of commonplace themes such as being late for work or night emergency calls and creative twists such as baring one's throat for a predator who is also one's boss as a gesture of apology.  There are little asides which add delightful accents to the tale such as a knife blade which is melted without heat and then reformed into a different shape by a creature's breath, color changing eyes amongst different species to communicate emotional states or a being which can act as a path but still generate a face for communicating with a human.  The series is packed with these fascinating details and continues to evolve even as Kaylin herself does. 

My Amazon review for Cast in Peril is at this link under ELF2060.  I appreciate all 'yes, this was helpful' votes.  It can be read as a stand-alone if one doesn't mind ignoring the mysterious interconnections that these beings all have with one another but it would be much better savored if one is familiar with the various players.  The series (Chronicles of Elantra) is presented below.