Saturday, July 23, 2011

His Darkest Embrace by Juliana Stone

His Darkest Embrace

Courtesy of Goodreads:  A solitary hunter with no regard for the human world, Jagger Castille is a shifter living on the edge. A woman who calls him enemy will give him reason to live . . .

Jagger is a creature of the night—Skye Knightly soars in the sun. Natural adversaries, they are now joined in a mission entrusted to Skye's family centuries ago: nothing less than the salvation of the Earth.

Wounded and bitter, Jagger sought escape in the solitude of the jungle, driven by a need to disappear forever . . . until a mysterious shifter who calls to his soul and feeds a yearning long forgotten pulls him from his dark path. A courageous warrior, Skye's passion is equal to Jagger's—but can she trust a man whose secrets are as devastating as her own?

Each is the other's sole hope for survival. But a dark and twisted truth is leading them toward the ultimate sacrifice for a love they may never live to claim.

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This was the second installment in the Jaguar Shifters Series and it pretty much picked up right where the previous book left off.  I liked this only because I had read the previous book and didn’t need a lot of background. If I had picked this up without having any prior knowledge, I am pretty sure I would have been lost. 

There wasn’t a lot of world building but the plot was pretty clear and simple.  To say that there was a lot of action is an understatement.  It seemed like every other page had some sort of fight or conflict which left little time for romance.

Jagger and Skye are the main characters in this book and although there were times I could feel the sexual tension between them, most of the story was spent on their dislike for each other until suddenly they realized they were in love and poof the book was over. 

Overall I just felt kinda blah after finishing the story.  I found myself skimming through many of the action scenes and not really being able to visualize what was happening.  This was a vast change from the first book which I enjoyed very much.  Hopefully the third book, His Darkest Salvation, will be more enjoyable and will involve more relatable situations and characters.  I give His Darkest Embrace two stars with the hope that I can give future books a better review!

Katie

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A week (or 2) in the life…

 

Ok…so it seems that I haven’t posted my weekly follow up in over two weeks!  I can’t believe I am such a slacker but here we are…Tuesday and I am finally getting around to my normal life update!

Let’s start with what’s been going on “on the blog” lately…

I reviewed several books that I enjoyed, including my favorite book of the year thus far, Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma.  This young adult, heart wrenching, love story was so powerful that it made me remember and think about it for days.  I have been recommending it to everyone I talk to!

I also came upon my first DNF of the year, Shifting Plains, which was one I planned on reviewing two weeks ago but just could not get into it.  Too much world building and not enough of anything else.  It was almost torturous so I had to eventually give up after about 100 pages.  Normally I will push through, but just couldn’t waste my time in this case.

Last week you all were also informed of my annual goals.  That post terrified me because it was very personal and hit close to home but the feedback I have received thus far has been very positive.  I appreciate all of your support and hope that in some way I have been able to rub some ideas or motivation off on others.

I really hope to spend some time reading this week and since I just realized that it has been almost a week since I last read a book, I am way behind!  The plan is to get at least two reviews posted…not sure what I am going to read yet…but I hope it’s fabulous! :)

 

Off the blog” has been insanely busy, which has  become part of the problem with my slacking lately.

Let’s start with 4th of July weekend.  My husband and I spent a lot of time with family and friend’s at BBQ’s.  My sister and her husband came to visit with my nephew and it was really fun to spend time with him again.  I love him more every time I look at him.  Here are a few new pics of him at 3.5 weeks old…

Katie and Tyler

Tyler-3 weeks

Isn’t he the cutest little smooshers ever???!!!! (I might be a little biased)

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This past weekend I was at the beach with one of my best friends.  The two of us invade her parent’s beach house in Bethany Beach, DE once a year for about three days and live it up! 

Of all our trips over the past few years, I definitely enjoyed this one the most.  It was wild, crazy, insane, and just plain fun.  We partied like we were 21 years old all weekend, and it felt so good to let loose and be free.  Well…as free as any 30 year old married woman can be.  We met people,  we got free drinks, we ate lots of seafood, we hung out in the sun…the experience was awesome.  By the time Sunday hit I was exhausted, although wished we had at least one more day to hang out by the water.  Here is a picture round up of our time!

KT at Seacrets Lunch at Seacrets in Ocean City

Kt at Seacrets 2 Drinking frozen rum runners in the Chesapeake Bay at Ocean City (still at Seacrets and YES…they let you drink in the water)

Seacrets Here are all the other people drinking in the bay as well. 

Seacrets is the best place at the beach and so much fun during the day.  If you have never been before…you must go…trust me-you won’t regret it  :)

Kt and Nichole at Bethany Beach Nichole and I at the beach the next day…

Rusty Rudder The crowd at the Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach on our last night.  This place was crazy!!!!

And now I am back at home and at work….it was an amazing three days and I really hope to have some more fun long weekends before the summer ends.  It’s awesome to take a break from reality every once in a while.

Please tell me about all the exciting things you have been up to in the last few weeks?  Any fun plans this coming weekend???

Thanks for reading and have a greattttt week!

Katie

Friday, July 8, 2011

My Blood Runs Blue by Stacy Eaton

 

Blood

Courtesy of Goodreads:  Officer Kristin Greene has always felt that something was missing from her life. Although her job with the Fawn Hollow Township Police Department keeps her busy, she still feels like there is something else out there for her.

She soon finds herself investigating a homicide where a young woman has had her throat ripped out. When she has to give the death notification to the family, her investigative nature comes out fast and strong when the parents seem too accepting of their daughter's death and make comments that just don't fit.

When the family requests the assistance of the VMF Securities, Kristin is confused that they would think a security company could assist with the murder investigation. When Julian and Alexander arrive she quickly finds herself being pulled into a love triangle that has been going on longer then she has been alive. Why do they look at her as if they know her? And why do they keep talking about Calista?

Join Kristin as she fights to learn the truth about the recent murder, the seductive and blood drinking men that have entered into her life and the rear truth about herself.

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This is the debut novel by Stacy Eaton and it is about a police officer, Kristin Greene, and the two vampires that fell in love with her long ago.  

I won this book in Ms. Eaton’s  birthday giveaway last month and was excited to try out a new author!  She built a fast paced story that I was able and more than willing to read in one sitting.   This novel was told in the first person point of view but changed based on chapter between Kristin, Julian, and Alexander.  I kind of liked this as it was different from the normal adult third person point of view.

The only criticism/wish I had was for the story to have been longer so there was more time to build attachment to all of the main characters.  The only one I felt really invested in was Julian.  His emotions seemed strong and focused.  I appreciated his straightforward attitude at going after what he felt was his.  He totally made me swoon.  I wanted to love Alexander as he was the one left in the dust and the underdog, but I just couldn’t root for him.  Kristin just seemed to not know what she wanted or who her mate really should be.  Even through the end of the story, I feel as if there is confusion in her eyes and maybe that will be ironed out in future books as I hear this is the beginning of a series.

Personally I was rooting for a different ending, but overall I enjoyed the pace and storyline.  I give it three and a half out of five stars!  Good debut and I hope to read more from Stacy Eaton soon!

Katie

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Forbidden

Courtesy of Goodreads:  Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives--and the way they understand each other so completely--has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

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It has been really hard for me to sit down and write this review because this book just tore my heart right out of my chest and stomped on it.  I was a mess of emotions for almost a day after completion and had to take some time to really get my thoughts together.  Let me start with this...if you listen to NOTHING else in the review - READ THIS BOOK.  Do not let the subject matter throw you off.  Yes it's about incest and yes that is creepy.  I completely agree, but this book was also beautifully written and tragically amazing. 

Maya and Lochan are only thirteen months apart in age and basically take on the parenting role with their three younger siblings.  Their mother is a worthless piece of garbage and everything about her made me angry.  Every time she entered the story, I just wanted to throw the book across the room because I hated how selfish and heartless she was.  I guess that was the point...but it still irritated me! 

Anyway, Maya and Lochan did everything for their siblings that parents were supposed to and over time their love for the family and for each other grew into something that was bigger and more overwhelming than either of them were ready for.  There were many times during the story when part of me wanted to cringe away from what was happening between them, but the other part of me hoped they could figure it out and somehow be happy.  With all the pressure and negativity surrounding them, I wanted them to find peace.  Of course in a story like this, you know it can't end well, and you are just waiting for the other shoe to drop. That kept me tense and in suspense throughout the more than 400 pages of this book.

I am not going to give anything away, but I will say that I read this book in one sitting simply because I couldn't stop.  It was THAT intense and compelling and I just had to know what would happen next.  Overall I give this book six stars out five...(is that even possible?).  I just can't recommend it highly enough...it was powerful and emotional and challenging and scary and everything in between.  Forbidden has been the best book I have read this year so far, as well as the toughest, but it was worth every second!

Katie

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

His Darkest Hunger by Juliana Stone

 

Darkest Hunger

Courtesy of Goodreads:  Jaxon Castille: jaguar shifter, warrior, assassin. He has long hungered for the chance to make his former lover, Libby Jamieson, pay for her deadly betrayal. After three long years he's finally found her. The hunt is over . . .

But the Libby that he finds is not what he expected. She has no memory of their tumultuous affair, of her treachery, of anything beyond her own name. A shadowy and deadly clan has marked them both for death, and in an instant, he game changes: the hunter has become the hunted.

On the run, with the ghosts of their past between them and a dark, desperate hunger quickly reclaiming their bodies and souls, Libby and Jaxon must discover the truth behind the dark forces working against them. Together, they must grab hold of a destiny that has the power to either heal them or destroy them.

But the truth is far more shattering than anyone could imagine . . .

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Jaxon and Libby can’t seem to control their attraction to each other.  They are former lovers who are torn apart by circumstances beyond their control.  There is lots of tension between the two right from the beginning.  Jaxon thinks Libby just ran away from him, while Libby can’t remember who he is or why she feels such a strong pull towards him. 

I felt the connection between these two instantly and found myself quickly engulfed in this story.  Before I realized it, I had devoured almost half the book and was still wanting more.  These two characters definitely sizzle from beginning to end.  We watch Jaxon and Libby through many twists and turns and lots of hate turning to love, turning back to hate and so on.  Jaxon carries around a lot of anger and it was interesting to watch it slowly be chipped away as time went on.  Libby seemed fragile, yet her inner strength came out as she became more confident and accepting of who she was towards the end.  She was very relatable in many ways.

There is a decent amount of world building in this book which was expected since it was the first in the Jaguar Warrior series but everything was well placed.  I felt as if there was a still a strong love story and a lot of action to keep the reader entertained.  We are introduced to several other warriors who I can only assume will get their own books in the future.  All of them seem yummy and I can’t wait to read more.  Who doesn’t love a good shifter book? ;)

Overall, there was very little I didn’t like about the book and I look forward to reading the second novel, His Darkest Embrace.  I rate this book with four out of five stars!

 

Katie

Monday, July 4, 2011

Half Over?

 

It's hard for me to believe that this year is ALREADY halfway done...where did the time go?  I am one of those people that loves to make goals and lists.  I do if for everything and I even do it when it may not be needed, just because I love the act of making a list.  Yes...I am aware this is a bit nutty, but I am also a firm believer that if you don't make goals and write them down then they just become wishes or dreams that don't usually get met.

Every year right before New Years Eve I make a big list of goals for the coming year.  This year was no different in the list making, but I am trying to make it different with the list following.  It's one thing to create a goal and get excited about it, but what happens a few months later when life gets in the way and it's not on the forefront of your mind.  Well this year I have tried to keep my eye on the prize and check back on my list of goals at least once a month and so far I think I am doing pretty well.  With July marking the middle point of the year, I thought it would be a great time to put myself out there and really analyze how I’m doing.

So here goes...In 2011 I want to…

1. Run 400 miles - I am up to 213.25 miles so far this year so I’m right on track.

2. 5k in under 30 minutes - I can totally do this on the treadmill...but the idea here was to clock a race in under 30 mins and I haven't run any 5k's yet....gotta get on that!

3. Read 50 new books (There are a bunch of books I want to re-read too) - I have read 80 new books so far this year!!!!!  Wow!  My new goal is 110...but I have not re-read the ones I wanted to and I plan to get on that during the second half of the year.

4. Submit one of my manuscripts for publication - I am still working on editing...it's slow going but with the help of Melinda from Muse, Rant, Rave, I am going to stay motivated and get to work.

5. Hit 150lbs!!!!!! - I am at 163.4 right now...which is as low as I have been since I was 19 years old.  I still have 13 pounds to go but I WILL get there by December!

6. Do something I am afraid of – Besides the fact that I just told everyone on the internet how much I weigh, which is terrifying…I am also planning a camping trip in October which will definitely be a scary experience.  I hate the idea of sleeping outside with the bugs and the lack of electricity.  This is one of those things where I consider myself high maintenance but I am going to suck it up and give it a shot.  This will be my first camping trip ever and hopefully it ends up being as fun as everyone says!

It looks as if I am pretty much on track for achieving all of these before 2012 hits.  The only one really posing a challenge for me in a big way is the book submission.  I am terrified of failure but I'm working on pushing past it because I can’t succeed or fail without trying!

Alright...so there you have it.  That is probably way more than you wanted to know about me but it felt good to throw it out there.  Now I would love to hear about your goals....how do you come up with them and monitor them?

Hope everyone has a great week!! :)

Katie