Saturday, July 31, 2010

july wrap-up

I am so sad July is over. July is my favorite month of the entire year for several reasons:

1) The Northern Hemisphere, where I happen to dwell, is inhabitable during July. By which I mean you're not generally at risk of hypothermia if you step outside your door without wearing several woolen layers (although this morning it was something obscene like 63 degrees when I woke up. This better just be a freak cold front and not a sign that winter is coming).

2) It is the month of my birthday. I'm getting old now so birthdays aren't quite as magical as they were before I'd been walking the planet for a full quarter century (vomit), but I still basically love them. Any day when you get to eat cake and people have to be nice to you and maybe even give you presents is just fine by me.

3) People just tend to be in a relaxed, happy state of mind during July, relative to other months. It is a month of vacations, popsicles, barbecues, puppies and dreams come true.

This July in particular was one of the best I've had in my "adult" life. Christina at Confessions of a Book Addict does great end-of-month summaries, and I hope she won't mind me copying her by doing the same over here.

Books read:
1. Carrie Ryan, The Forest of Hands and Teeth (1/5 stars)
2. Holly Schindler, A Blue So Dark (3.5/5 stars)
3. Chloe Neill, Twice Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires, #3) (4/5 stars)
4. Simone Elkeles, Leaving Paradise (2/5 stars)
5. Cate Tiernan, Immortal Beloved (3.5/5 stars)
6. Jennifer Echols, Forget You (3/5 stars)
7. Becca Fitzpatrick, hush, hush (1/5 stars)
8. Patricia Briggs, Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1) (4/5 stars)
9. Julie Kagaway, Iron King (currently reading...not appalling so far)

My July Top Five

1. FAVORITE BOOK: Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill. I had very high expectations for this and was so relieved/happy when it lived up to and even surpassed them.

2. BIGGEST LET DOWN: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. I'm a sucker for post-apocalyptic books, but the one-dimensional, whiny, boring characters in this were a deal-breaker.

3. BIGGEST SURPRISE: Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan. I was not expecting to enjoy this but it was actually really good.

4. FAVORITE NEW (to me) BLOG: Taradiddle's Reports from the Couch

5. FAVORITE PART OF JULY: As I said, this July was the best July I've had in recent memory. Many awesome things happened, including my first ever visit to Rhode Island, lobster dinners, a kegger birthday party (I know, you'd think at 25 years old I'd be over all that...but apparently not), and a wedding in Switzerland. But though each of those things (especially the wedding) was amazing, the most exciting was being in Spain when they won the World Cup! EVENT OF A LIFETIME!!! YO SOY ESPANOL, ESPANOL, ESPANOL!!!!

book giveaway winners! (1)

Thanks so much to the 9 lovely contestants (and to my Cousin's Uncle, who seldom has anything of pertinence to say on here but does have an admirable taste in dessert) who entered my first ever book giveaway. You have all generously contributed to a very noble cause, which I like to refer to as LJTTSPJFTOBABHFH* and for that you have earned my eternal gratitude. Anyway, without further ado, here are the three winners (who I will also notify individually):

1. Cate Tiernan's Immortal Beloved goes to NYMFAUX, who enjoys cheesecake. Not my personal favorite, but I certainly won't turn it down...especially cheesecakes with that delicious graham cracker crust mmmmmmm and maybe a tart lemon filling? And a nice cup of decaf? Maybe some oreos to wash it down? Now we're talkin.

2. Kelley Armstrong's The Summoning goes to Michelle of See Michelle Read (which, incidentally, I always want to read as See Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy authoress)). Michelle's favorite dessert is "delish oreo cake." I am totes on board with that. Anything cakey and oreo-y is A-ok in my Fatty-McFat book.

3. Claudia Gray's Evernight goes to Lisa R. of Lisa's Loves(Books of Course). Lisa is the winner of this book due to sheer bravery and independent thinking; even though she's heard Evernight compared to a steaming pile of cow dung, she's willing to give it a shot, and that takes guts. Also she was the only one who wanted this book. Her favorite dessert is "cherry yum yum." I'm not familiar with that (I tend to stray away from anything that doesn't have chocolate in it) but here's what came up when I typed it into google images. Doesn't look half bad!

Thanks again to everyone who entered my contest! There will be another giveaway soon...stay tuned!

*Let's Join Together To Save Poor Jane From Tripping Over Books And Breaking Her Fat Head

Friday, July 30, 2010

Top Ten Picks: Favorite Male Literary Characters (1)

First, only one more day til my awesome book giveaway ends! Click here to enter!

Now, onto Random Ramblings' amazing weekly meme, Top Ten Picks, which I just stumbled across for the first time this morning. This week's topic, Favorite Male Literary Characters, is irresistible, as are the fictional men I am about to list. So, here is a hastily put-together list, in no particular order, of 10 of my all time favorite male fictional characters. I am in love with most of them.

1. Jane Austen's MR. DARCY

2. Jane Austen's MR. KNIGHTLEY

3. Richelle Mead's DIMITRI BELIKOV

4. Elizabeth Gaskell's MR. THORNTON

5. J.R.R. Tolkien's ARAGORN

6. Emily Bronte's HEATHCLIFF

7. Chloe Neill's ETHAN SULLIVAN

(yes, that's technically a photo of Becks, but Chloe Neill has said Becks is how she envisions Ethan, and I have absolutely zero problem with that visual.)

8. Shakespeare's FALSTAFF

9. Simone Elkeles' ALEX

10. J.K. Rowling's SIRIUS BLACK

 11. (because it's my blog and if I want my list of 10 to include 11 items then so be it!!!

follow my book blog friday (2)

This week's featured blog on follow my book blog friday is the lovely Amelia of The Authoress. I  hadn't seen Amelia's blog before but I'm so glad I've found it...she has a very elegant layout and nice meaty reviews. The Elinor Dashwood widget is another plus. My only sorrow is that she compares Vampire Academy to House of Night and gives the former a grade D! Ahhh. Oh well - to each their own!


Hello friends....just a reminder, this week's GIVEAWAY ends today at 5 pm EST (T minus 8 hours) hurry up and enter!  

Contest link here. 

I am giving away three books this week (see below) and all you have to enter is briefly discuss your favorite dessert (mmmmmmmm) and a few other tiny things in the comments section of the contest post.

Happy Friday!!

book blogger hop (4)

Book Blogger Hop

Friday! I can't believe it's finally here. This has really been one of the longest weeks I can remember. There were times I thought I might not survive it. Anyways.....

This week's question for the blog hop: Who is your favorite new-to-you author so far this year?

It would have to be a tie between Francisco Stork and Suzanne Collins. I can't believe I had missed The Hunger Games train for as long as I did but I am definitely on it now and so are various friends and family members thanks to my manic raving about it. CAN'T WAIT FOR MOCKINGJAY!!!!

I admire Francisco Stork for slightly different reasons. I finished The Last Summer of the Death Warriors a couple weeks ago and it completely blew me away (review here). It wasn't as much of a page turner as The Hunger Games (nothing is, at least not since the days of Harry Potter), but it has an amazing depth and intellect that is very rare in YA.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review: Patricia Briggs, Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1)

Publisher: Penguin (Ace Books)
Pub date: January 31, 2006
Page count: 304 pages
Reading level: Young Adult

My rating: 4/5 stars

This book was recommended to me by a fellow Vampire Academy groupie (several of them, actually), so I knew I had to give it a shot. I am so glad I did! What a rare treat to begin a new gripping series when 5 books are already out. I hope I can pace myself so I don't finish all of them in a matter of days and then have that unbearable wait until January for the 6th one.

Anyways. Mercy Thompson is a Walker, a deliciously eerie name for people who can shift into coyote form at will. That's right, coyotes. So random and un-glamorous. I love it. She also runs her own auto-repair shop and restores battered old VW's as a hobby. Mercy is my favorite type of character. She's fiercely independent, sarcastic, loves to push people's buttons, etc., but also has a sweet, vulnerable side.When a young werewolf boy she's just met is suddenly murdered, she arrogantly claims that though it's a bit sad, she's too hardened to feel any strong emotion about it. I was kind of appalled by that...until several pages later we see her weeping for the boy and biting off anyone's head who doesn't speak of him with sufficient respect. She won me over in that moment and her character only continued to develop in positive ways as the novel progressed. She acted in a consistent manner; her character was realistic and interesting...basically she is an ideal (and sadly rare) heroine. Well done, Ms. Briggs!

I also love Adam, the local alpha wolf (I've always had a thing for alpha wolves...mmmm) and love interest for Mercy. Mercy loves pushing Adam's buttons. Because she's not technically in his pack, she doesn't have to obey him, and so she goes out of her way to do things she know will annoy him, just out of principle. That's my kind of girl. A coyote chick who can get under the skin of the almighty alpha wolf. Mmmmmm.

I actually did have a few pet peeves about the book, but my over all feeling of joy while I was reading and after I finished the book was so great that I'm not going to let them seriously affect my rating. Firstly (and this isn't the fault of Patricia Briggs), the jacket. Penguin has a habit, I'm beginning to notice, of designing completely tacky jackets for their UF/PR titles. Moon Called is even worse than usual. The jacket I posted here is actually the cover for the graphic novel, which I have not read, but I thought it was way better than the regular jacket, which shows what looks to be a deeply hungover, half-naked dominatrix who is attempting to swallow her own greasy hair. Who doesn't want to read a book about that?!

Second, I had a hard time, at times, following the plot. I understood the big picture (conspiracy to overthrow Alpha werewolf who is planning to reveal werewolves' existence to the human population) - but the individual strands got to be a bit much. I found myself skimming over some of the complicated caucuses between Mercy, Adam, Sam, & co., when they were throwing out names left and right of potential co-conspirators in this evil scheme. (Although admittedly if I had read over these parts carefully rather than skimming through them I may have gleaned a better understanding of what was going on...hmmm.)

Finally, there was so much tension and chemistry between Adam and Mercy throughout this novel, which I loved. I am totally on Team Adam, by the way (are there teams for these books?). But the final scene between these two just seemed kind of....ehhh. I feel like it came too soon, and it was too formal, given the passions of both characters. there are four more books out, and a fifth on the way, I have no doubt that Ms. Briggs has plenty more obstacles in store for these two. I can't wait to find out what they might be.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Review: Becca Fitzpatrick, hush hush

Reading level: Young adult
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pub date: October 13, 2009
Page count: 291

My rating: 1/5 stars

Seriously? Is this all you have to do to get published these days? Take the Twilight plot, plug in a few different names, use fallen angels instead of vampires, and BAM, a best seller? What am I thinking, wasting my time going to an honest 8-5 job every day??? I'm serious. You don't even have to change the personalities of the main characters. Nora = Bella (but even less interesting). Edward = Patch (but even less complex).

Nora and Bella are both Mary Sue types. The kind of utterly plain, boring people that millions of girls just like them out there (myself included) would really like to believe could actually become wrapped in the middle of a fairy tale, the heart throb of a mysterious and brooding Prince Charming, the central character in an epic saga.

Wake up, girlies, it's not happening. Worse yet, it's not even interesting to read about in fiction.

I'm not saying the protagonist in this type of story has to be a beautiful prom queen. It's okay if she's a bit anti-establishment, if she has a certain underdeveloped natural charm and doesn't need makeup, if she's in the marching band. But for godsake, she needs to have SOMETHING. A sense of humor? A passion for deep sea fishing? Whatever. Something interesting, some defining characteristic to make us understand why in the world she is the main character in a book series. To make us care enough to finish the book, for the love of god (which I did NOT manage here, I will admit fully. I made it halfway through, and even that was a real challenge).

Nora of hush, hush has nothing going for her. Her narrative is literally like reading the diary of a constipated frontal lobotomy patient (without the exciting drama of the lobotomy ordeal--or even the constipation). Here's an example of a typical Nora monologue (of my own rendering):

I was walking down the hall thinking about Patch. I hate Patch, he's such a creep. He's just not safe! Suddenly an asteroid crashed through the roof, and looking over I saw Patch standing next to me. In that moment, it didn't matter that an asteroid was about to crush my fat head into a bloody mass of mangled flesh and brains. Because Patch was there and despite everything, I felt safe and comforted. I wanted him to touch me, mmmm.

Shut up, Nora, no one gives a crap, and let's be serious, if fallen angels really did exist, they wouldn't waste their time on boring Mary Sues like yourself.

At least Twilight was kind of the first of its kind. Hush hush is a pathetic imitation of something that wasn't too great in the first place. I can't wait to give away my copy in my next book giveaway.

By the way, the current giveaway ends on Friday. So hurry up and enter!

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Contest: book giveaway!

So last night I was attempting to clean my apartment (radical, I know) when I tripped over a pile of something, stubbed my freshly (and for the first time in many years) pedicured toes, and nearly broke my face. It was a pile of paperbacks blocking the entrance to my closet. I knew something had to be done.

Therefore: I am giving away three books, for starters, and depending on how this goes there may be more giveaways in the near future. Since I am technologically impaired, there will be no fancy contest form. All you have to do to enter this contest is leave a comment below. Your comment should include the following information:

1) a link back to your blog, which hopefully will provide a means of contacting you, should you be a lucky winner!!
2) the name of your favorite dessert, mmmm
3) which of the 3 books below you'd most like to receive, and why (briefly, please)

If you're wondering whether you should become a follower of my blog in order to earn brownie points, shame on you! As if I am that shallow!

Muwahahaha. I am totally that shallow. Not to go all biblical on you, but whoever wrote Ecclesiastes was onto something: Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. And that's all I have to say about that.

Here are the books I will be giving away:

1) Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan (ARC) - a fun new urban fantasy about immortals. You can read my review here, or the goodreads summary here. I gave this 3.5 stars, which means I thought it was pretty good, for whatever that is worth.

2) The Summoning (Darkest Powers, #1) by Kelley Armstrong. A gripping start to an ultimately disappointing trilogy, in my humble opinion. Necromancers have never been so hotttt. (Not really. Vamps are way hotter.) Here's the goodreads summary.

And last and most certainly least, #3, Evernight (Evernight, #1) by Claudia Gray, which I thought was a pile of steaming cow dung, basically, but plenty of others seemed to enjoy it so maybe you will too! Here's my review, which you probably shouldn't read if you're actually considering this - and the far more tempered goodreads summary.

best wishes!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

book blogger hop (3)

Book Blogger Hop

Yesss!!! Friday!! I've missed the last two blog hops due to MY AMAZING TRIP TO SPAIN & SWITZERLAND (yep, that was a drop, meant to make you jealous, AND YOU TOTES ARE!!) - VIVA ESPANA!!!!!!  but, though i am sad the vacation has ended, i am happy to have regular internet access again.

The blog hop is hosted by Crazy for Books. This week's question: tell us about the book you are currently reading.

Well, I am stupidly attempting to read two books at the moment (never a wise idea): hush, hush and Mercy Thompson: Moon Called. I'm only a few pages into both of them so don't have a whole lot to say...except that so far I am loving the character of Mercy Thompson, a kickass mechanic slash coyote-shifter. I'm a little dubious about hush, hush as it's already taking itself super seriously and we're only about 5 pages in...not usually a good sign. But I will try to reserve judgment until I've read more. The jacket is cool, I'll say that much.

Happy Friday! Congrats to all on surviving another week!!

Review: Jennifer Echols, Forget You

Publisher: MTV
Pub date: July 20, 2010
Reading level: Young Adult
Page count: 304 pages

As much as I want to be snooty about Jennifer Echols (and don't worry, I will in just a sec), I have to say this: she knows how to do what she does. And, if you take what she does for what it is, you'll have to admit it's irresistible.  A literary masterpiece? Not remotely. But a quick, engaging, deliciously hormone-loaded soap opera? Oh, yes.  And sometimes that's just what we need.

After reading Going Too Far a couple weeks ago (review here), I didn't really imagine I'd be bothering with Jennifer Echols anymore. It's not that I didn't enjoy reading Going Too Far--I just didn't think it was all that great in terms of the qualities I tend to judge books on: character development and plot originality. But, I came across a flurry of reviews of Forget You after it was released the other day, and suddenly nothing seemed more appealing to me than another angst-ridden teenage romance (go figure). Putting werewolves and fallen angels aside for the moment, I downloaded Ms. Echols's latest work on my Kindle and dove in.

It's hard to review this work without comparing it to Going Too Far. Both were fun to read, but I think I slightly preferred Going Too Far.  I definitely preferred the main characters in Going Too Far to those in Forget You. John and Meg of Going Too Far somehow seemed more vivid, their voices more distinct, their choices and actions more logical than those of Doug and Zoey, the star-crossed lovers of Forget You.

Throughout Forget You, Zoey just seemed more defined by the things that were happening to her than by her own character. Her mom tries to commit suicide. Her dad is a cradle-robbing egomaniac jerk. Her "boyfriend" is cheating on her. She has amnesia. These are the things we know about her...but what about her personality? I'm trying to think of some defining characteristics and all I'm coming up with are: 1) super lusty and 2) wants to "hold her own counsel." In reality, she seemed a bit vapid, and so it was hard to become too invested in her story.

Doug is similar. We know more about the traumatic things that have happened to him (abusive dad, stint in juvie, treacherous best friend, etc.) than who he is as a person. Sure, we're told he has a feisty temper and he's sarcastic from time to time. But why is he so attracted to Zoey? Why has he been in love with her since the seventh grade? It's hard to say because the characters are underdeveloped and never really seem like real people.

That's not to say we don't want Doug and Zoey to get together, because we definitely do. But the reason for that isn't due to the chemistry of their personalities or any kind of carefully designed stimulating banter between them (a la Mr. Darcy & Elizabeth). It's pure sex appeal - and that's what Ms. Echols excels at, and that's why she's so fun to read, assuming you (and by "you" I really mean "me") can get off your high horse and allow yourself to enjoy her books.

3 stars

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Review: Cate Tiernan, Immortal Beloved

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pub date: September 7, 2010
Reading level: Young Adult
Page count: 416 pages

Many thanks to my generous friend Ashley for sending me an ARC of this book. Ashley has very highbrow literary tastes and happens to work in publishing, so I can always count on her to send me YA/vampire/urban fantasy ARCs she receives that would otherwise be thrown out.

I’ve never read any of Cate Tiernan’s stuff and was a bit wary going in, due to the lame cover and the schmultzy title (Immortal Beloved? Seriously?). But! Don’t let that stuff deceive you. This was actually a pretty good book, surprisingly so. The heroine, Nastasya, is interesting and funny with a distinct voice and just the right amount of snark. The plot is creative and engaging.

Nastasya is a 452 year old immortal. She lives a life of leisure…a high class party girl whose sole focus is roaming the planet to find the next great party, along with her band of similarly useless, pleasure-seeking immortal friends. Natasya has a dark past, with some very disturbing memories she works hard (through drugs and partying) to keep buried at all costs.

But everything changes one night after some intense partying when her best friend in the immortal world displays a truly sinister side: he uses magic to break a cabby’s spine for the pure fun of it. Nastasya has a sudden wake up call and feels sickened with her lifestyle. She checks into a sort of rehab center for immortals and begins a Thoreau-inspired quest to find meaning in life, to achieve happiness, confront her past, etc. While there, she develops true connections with people for the first time in centuries, including a certain "Viking lord" (another immortal delinquent) who seems strangely familiar...

I have only two real complaints about the book.  First, I thought it ended too abruptly. I understand that this is the first in a trilogy, but still...there were all these hints along the way that Nastaysa was in grave mortal danger, that the people who slayed her entire family 450 years previously were probably still out to get her due to her inherited powers, and that they were getting closer to finding her every moment. But nothing ever happens with this, at least not in book 1, which seemed a bit odd to me.

Second, the interaction between Nastaysa and the Viking lord was very awkward at times. Nastaysa has these bizarre outbursts whenever she encounters him - she bites his head off for no real reason and it just didn't work for me. I suppose the author was using these outbursts as a way to build tension between the star-crossed lovers...but it seemed unnatural. Plus their family histories provide plenty of tension in and of itself. Hopefully these kinks are now worked out and their relationship will be more fluid in the next book. The Viking lord is definitely sexy, so I hope I'll be able to get on board with him more in the future.

3.5 stars

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Review: Simone Elkeles, Leaving Paradise

Publisher: Flux
Pub date: April 1, 2007
Reading level: Young Adult
Page count: 312 pages

I went to the library in search of The Rules of Attraction, Simone Elkeles' sequel to my beloved Perfect Chemistry (to read my review of that book, click here) - but they didn't have it, so I checked out this one instead. Now, I adore Ms. Elkeles. Perfect Chemistry is one of my favorite reads so far this year. So it pains me to say that I was not impressed with Leaving Paradise.

Basically, the main problem was the entire premise of the book. Maggie is a formerly popular girl turned pariah after she gets run over by a drunk driver and develops a limp. That's right. She was really popular and loved by all. Then she suffers a horrible accident, and almost overnight, people turn on her and start making fun of her for her limp. Seriously? This just did not seem realistic. I know high school can be cruel, but somehow I don't think even the meanest mean girls would turn against their former friend because she had the misfortune to be run over. The whole idea was just kind of ridiculous and unbelievable.

Caleb is the formerly popular wrestler champion, boyfriend of the cheerleader captain, etc., who was charged with the hit & run that left poor Maggie in a wheelchair for 6 months, and who went to juvenile prison for a year as a result. I think it will come as a surprise to no one when Caleb, who previously never spared a second glance at his next door neighbor Maggie, suddenly finds her irresistible upon his release from juvie, despite her limp and ugly scars.

Caleb defends his Beloved admirably when the high school meanies tease her about her limp and the long skirts she wears to cover her scars; he wipes her tears away when she has a bad day; he condescends to give her her first real kiss, etc., etc., etc. It's all terribly sweet...and, I'm sorry to say, terribly boring at times too, not to mention sappy. There was a disturbing Walk to Remember quality to this book which was most happily missing from Perfect Chemistry. Super sexy popular badass boy falls for nerdy, long-skirt wearing, awkward girl. Their love is so pure and trueeeeeeeee. Gag.

I wasn't buying it. The chemistry seemed forced, and, as I've said, the entire premise was unrealistic. I will not be bothering with the sequel, Return to Paradise. But I am still going to give Rules of Attraction a chance, because I know what Ms. Elkeles is capable of.

2 stars

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teaser tuesday (3)

It's Teaser Tuesday, which means we survived Monday. Hoorah. Hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading, Teaser Tuesday asks you to:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I am currently reading Mercy Thompson: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1) by Patricia Briggs, which comes highly recommended from many of my comrades over at the Vampire Academy Amazon message boards. Here's the teaser, from ch. 1 (locations 268-75 on my kindle):

There are other things, though, things that hide in the dark, that are much, much worse--and vampires are only the tip of the iceberg. They are very good at hiding their natures from the human population, but I'm not human. I know them when I meet them, and they know me, too; so I go to church every week.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Review: Chloe Neill, Twice Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires, #3)

Publisher: NAL Trade
Pub date: July 6, 2010
Reading level: Adult
Page count: 368 pages

This was one of my most eagerly awaited books of 2010 and I am relieved to say it did not disappoint. The book picks up right where the last one left off, and the action is intense throughout. Merit has now completed her transition from human to vampire, but happily still retains plenty of her humanity. I have to say she is definitely one of the better role models I've come across in this genre. She has a great sense of humor, enjoys having fun, and has plenty of human weaknesses...but she's also incredibly strong and has remarkable self control. I would NOT have been able to resist Ethan Sullivan for as long as she does. I'm just saying...for all the girls out there who demean themselves by falling for unworthy guys...look to Merit. She knows what she wants and somehow, despite her intense attraction to Ethan, refuses to give in to him until he demonstrates worthiness.

Personally...Ethan Sullivan had me at hello. Next to Dimitri Belikov, he is definitely one of the sexiest vamps being written about these days. He is attractive for the same reasons as Dimitri...he has rigid self control, is extremely serious about his work...and yet you can tell he also has this intensity about him, and a tenderness which he has worked very hard over the centuries to conceal. The same characteristics that make him so devoted to his job, you can tell, would also make him an incredibly passionate lover. His determined resistance of a partnership with Merit is what makes us want them to get together so badly! I won't give any spoilers here but will simply say that if you thought the chemistry between these two was good before...Neill ups it by about twenty levels in Twice Bitten.

The plot was okay...I actually found myself skimming through some of the complicated explanatory chapters. Shifters vs. other shifters vs. good vamps vs. evil vamps vs. humans, etc., etc., etc. So many names thrown out, so many complex prejudices and motivations between the various parties. That stuff was not as interesting to me...I just wanted to see Ethan and Merit! Secondary characters such as Mallory and Catcher were also, as usual, very fun and interesting to read about. My only question is...when does the next one come out???!

4.5 stars

LA COPA ES LA FIESTA!!! and some book stuff

Hola amigos. I have returned from my travels (unfortunately) - and it's back to the grind.
A brief note on my trip before getting back on subject with books & stuff. Firstly, here is where I watched the World Cup Final:

Those crazy Spaniards set up a giant screen out in the Plaza Mayor, right in front of the above pictured Cathedral of Segovia. Pretty fricking intense. I think I lost a few years of my life due to the stress of that game. Totally worth it though. YO SOY ESPANOL, ESPANOL, ESPANOL!!! SOY DE LA ROJA!!! VIVA ESPANA!!!!

Then I went to Switzerland for a dear friend's wedding. She got married in a beautiful medievalish castle overlooking Lake Geneva, with the Alps rising up in the background. It was literally a fairy tale wedding...every little girl's dream. Photos soon, I hope.

Anyway, my trip was really busy and my kindle crapped out a few days in (I forgot to bring the charger, typical...) - but I did manage to finish these three books:

Simone Elkeles, Leaving Paradise
Cate Tiernan, Immortal Beloved
Chloe Neill, Twice Bitten (Chicagoland Vampires, #3)

Reviews will be posted soon (jet lag/real job permitting).

For now, it's back to the death march of Monday. Kill meeeeeee.