Happy Hour of the Damned by Mark Henry

From Goodreads.com:  Seattle. One minute you’re drinking a vanilla breve, the next, some creepy old dude is breathing on you, turning you into a zombie. And that’s just for starters. Now, the recently deceased Amanda Feral is trying to make her way through Seattle’s undead scene with style (mortuary-grade makeup, six-inch stilettos, Balenciaga handbag on sale) while satisfying her craving for human flesh (Don’t judge. And no, not like chicken.) and decent vodkatinis.

Making her way through a dangerous world of cloud-doped bloodsuckers, reapers, horny and horned devils, werewolves, celebrities, and PR-obsessed shapeshifters–not to mention an extremely hot bartender named Ricardo–isn’t easy. And the minute one of Amanda’s undead friends disappears after texting the word, “help” (The undead–so dramatic!) she knows the afterlife is about to get really ugly.

Something sinister is at hand. Someone or something is hellbent on turning Seattle‘s undead underworld into a place of true terror. And this time, Amanda may meet a fate a lot worse than death…

Can you write a review comprised of all quotes? Because there is no way anything I say will compare to the magic that spews from Amanda Feral’s mouth.  You know how when you see a stand up comic and they say something extremely racist but hilarious and the crowd goes “Ooooooooooooooh!”  That’s how I felt reading most of this book.  It took me forever to finish because I stopped about a million times to read aloud to my husband, who just smiled and shook his head.  The plot is really basic: Amanda’s succubus friend goes missing, Amanda finally gets around to finding her, uncovers a secret zombie plague conspiracy while sleuthing, hijinks ensue.  There is a lot of background on how Amanda and her friends became supernatural, which drags a little.  But none of that really matters because it’s when Amanda interacts with others that the real magic happens.  My God she is awful in the most hilarious way possible.  The only other character I can think of that has the same wonderful awfulness thing going on is Frank (Danny Devito) from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  99% of the words out of her mouth are cringeworthy, but brilliant! 

For example:  “A binge is a sincerely personal thing; no two are alike, at least that’s what my therapist says, and he should know, eating disorders are his specialty, not that he’s particularly good at treating them.  That is not why I saw him anyway; well it was initially.  Okay, I’ll admit, I was fucking him.” 

And another:  “’So let me get this straight, we feed on welfare recipients?’ Gross, right? Where do you find one, the Dollar Store? Jesus!

See? Awesome.  So, if you are looking for a truly hilarious yet soul-soiling experience, check out this book.  Just be sure to remove your moral compass first.

Rating: 8

 

Kindle rant:  Amanda likes footnotes…A LOT.  They are absolutely hysterical, but after the first 50 or so, you get sick of positioning the little Kindle cursor over them.  You have been warned.

 

Disclaimerlicious:  If you are looking for romance, this is not the book for you.  Two words: Zombie Sex. Ick.

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Moon Sworn By Keri Arthur (Riley Jenson, Guardian #9)

From Barnesandnoble.com:  

Some nights never end.
Some desires never die. . . .
Shape-shifting werewolf and vampire Riley Jenson is through with death—causing it, solving it, surviving it. Her soul mate, Kye Murphy, is dead—and at Riley’s own hands. Not even the seductive embrace of her vampire lover, Quinn, can fully ease her mind, for she has begun questioning everything that makes her Riley—including her job at the Directorate.

Now, the ritualistically slain bodies of ex-cons have started turning up. Reluctantly, Riley takes the case, but something even worse is waiting in the wings. A vicious enemy from her past is determined to strip Riley of everything that gives her life any meaning: her lover, her brother—and even her own identity. Can Riley survive this ultimate assault? All she knows is, she must fight one last time to find answers, before everything goes dark forever.

 

Warning: Spoilers from previous books are unavoidable.

Since Riley Jenson is one of my favorite heroines ever and this concludes the series, I’m abandoning my normal review format to discuss Moon Sworn, but I will do my best to avoid spoilers.  Moon Sworn picks up weeks after the death of Riley’s friend Kade and her soul mate Kye.  While she survived his death, she is deeply depressed and battling the emptiness of his loss despite her love for Quinn.  Riley, Rhoan, Liander and Quinn are still awaiting the child Liander’s sister is carrying for them, which gives Riley the will to live.  Shortly after saying good bye to Kade, Riley’s boss Jack calls in her help on a murder case.  Because of the experimental drugs given to Riley in a previous book, she has developed the ability to speak with the souls of the recently deceased.  The soul gives her enough information to figure out this murder was motivated by revenge. As with all the other cases Riley works, she quickly gets the details she needs and solves the case.  However, Blake Jenson is still seeking revenge.  Blake has developed an elaborate plot to make Riley suffer from memory loss and adjust to a new life before he kills her.  Of course, Riley is not going down without a fight, even if she doesn’t know who she is.  When she finds herself lost in a small town with a new identity, she somehow keeps being Riley…and being Riley means finding all trouble possible.  Luckily another murder case pops up and has so many similarities to the vengeance murders she was investigating, her memory is jogged.  Before Blake’s plan comes to an end, Riley must figure out who she really is and take care of the Jenson pack once and for all.  That’s all I can really say without giving away the ending so I will move on.

My thoughts on Moon Sworn and Riley Jenson’s journey:

I am literally wincing as I type this, but I did not love this book.  Over the past 8 books Riley Jenson has been through some serious stuff.  SERIOUS stuff.  She has been beaten (a lot), shot (even more), kidnapped, drugged, raped while drugged, genetically altered and forced to kill her own soul mate.  So, as far as I’m concerned, being dumped in a small town with no memory was like child’s play for Riley.  She also happens to have a crazy lethal twin brother and the most bad-ass vamp boyfriend on Earth who can tear a small town apart.  And the case she was working didn’t even have layer upon layer of messed up Aussies to peel away.  She solved it with only like 2 gun shot wounds and a dead hooker! So seriously?  This was the send off she got?    Sigh…I guess it depends on how you look at it.  If you were sick of fate kicking the crap out of Riley, then maybe you were relieved that things finally got easy for her.  But the reason I love Riley Jenson is how she always gets herself out of trouble on her own, without even relying on all the back-up she has available.  She is one of the smartest, sexiest, most kick-ass heroines I have ever read, and I loved every minute of her journey up until this point.  But this book felt almost formulaic to me.  I was really hoping for something even more over the top than the multi-species fighting ring from Tempting Evil (which is my fav book in the series and has one of the most awesome climactic battles ever!), but maybe it was time for things to calm down for Riley.  I am sure lots of people will love this final piece of Riley’s story.  And I really did love the ending; it was nice to see Riley finally at peace with herself and her past.   I think I was just ready to go on one more insane adventure with my favorite werewolf\vamp\seagull shifter and I don’t feel that I got it.  But don’t let my semi-negative review take away from this series.  I loved these books.  They are so much fun.  I will miss Quinn’s hotness, Rhoan and Liander’s sweetness, and Jack and Sal being super annoying.  I will miss Riley being that ridiculous seagull then shifting in midair to break someone’s jaw.  I will miss (actually have been missing for a few books now) the horny wolfie full-moon sex clubs and Riley’s unapologetic promiscuity (why the hell couldn’t she hook up with Cole just once?!?).  And finally I will miss getting to read all about Australia, which made these books unique for me. Okay, gushing is complete.  It feels weird to actually have closure from one of these series though.  Especially since book 8 left us with Riley on death’s door, its kind if nice to know everything is good now.  So if I can give no other reason to read this series, read it because IT’S DONE. 

Rating: 7.5 (-1.5 for lack of kick-assery)

Kindle Freebie: Regina in the Sun By R.G. Alexander

From Amazon.com:  There’s only one place left to run-into forbidden arms. Children of the Goddess Book 1 Children of the Goddess Book One When she arrives at Ye Olde Haven Pub, the sanctuary for Trueblood Vampires, Regina is wounded and desperate. Her only thought is to save the Deva Clan, her family, from the dangerous Loups De L’Ombre, the Shadow Wolves. She knows she will not exactly be welcomed with open arms. She is, after all, an Unborn, the lowest caste of Vampire.

 As a natural born from the purest line, Zander Sariel knows the rules are sacrosanct-a Trueblood mates with his own kind. But one taste of the young Unborn is all Zander needs to know that rules were made to be broken.  With enemies at every turn, Zander risks everything to save Regina from the monster that hunts her, his own kind-s ignorance and-if he must-her lack of faith in her own unique abilities.  Only together do they have a chance to defeat the shadow that haunts their future, and save their entire race from extinction.  Warning, this title contains the following: explicit sex, voyeurism of an m/m/f menage-a plethora of vampire nookie.

 

Mini-Review:  

Regina is a member of the Deva clan of undead vampires, meaning they were turned, not born that way.  She is on the run from the Shadow Wolves, werewolves who use black magic and thought to be extinct.  Her maker Liz, once told her of the kindness of the Sariel Trueblood clan and the sanctuary to be found at their pub Haven.  Regina flees to Haven after escaping the leader of the Shadow Wolves, Grey Wolf, in hopes of warning her clan.  Grey Wolf is interested in Regina’s special gifts that no other Unborn possesses.  Zander and Lux Sariel (AKA Big and Tasty) take Regina in, without knowing of the danger that follows her.  In Regina’s world, Trueblood vamps, Unborn vamps and Weres do not get along.  However, their Goddess fated them to find their one true mate in any of the 3 species that they could procreate with.  Regina has found her mate at Haven, but the newly-mated happiness is short lived when Grey Wolf comes knocking on Haven’s door.  In the face of the new threat from the Shadow Wolves, the Truebloods and Unborns are forced to get over the prejudice and politics and save their race.   

I find that certain books are great for certain moods.  I just came off a complicated urban fantasy, and I was starting to feel bad for my little PNR tag getting lost in my tag cloud.  I wanted a simple, completely smutty PNR.  You know the type: guy sees girl, gets painful erection, girl gets excited by this, they get it on, and fall madly in love and/or are mated in less than 48 hours.  Plot is there but takes a backseat to the lusty alpha male and whatever location he won’t let his woman escape from.  Sometimes, I just need these kinds of books.  They are like palette cleansers.  If you need these as well, Regina in the Sun is the book for you!  Zander and Lux are so freakin hot!!  And the sex scenes were out of this world! There was this one scene where Lux and …some other people were….yeah and Regina was in the doorway…and yeah…and then Zander…WHOA…you get the picture.  I am happy to report that this scene will stay with me for a while and I could not get my hands on the 2nd book in this series (Lux in Shadows) fast enough!  So…you know pretty much all you need to about this book.  Hence the mini-review is born!  Enjoy! I have a date with Lux!

Rating: 8.5

Oh, and in the spirit of Earth Day, the Kindle version of this book is free! So get that, instead of the dead tree edition.  Yep, that’s me, Kindlelicious: Saving the world one erotic download at a time.

Black Magic Sanction (The Hollows #8) By Kim Harrison

From barnesandnoble.com:  In New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison’s most complex and nuanced adventure yet, bounty hunter and witch Rachel Morgan fights a deadly battle—mind, body, and soul.  Rachel Morgan has fought and hunted vampires, werewolves, banshees, demons, and other supernatural dangers as both witch and bounty hunter—and lived to tell the tale. But she’s never faced off against her own kind . . . until now. Denounced and shunned for dealing with demons and black magic, her best hope is life imprisonment—at worst, a forced lobotomy and genetic slavery. Only her enemies are strong enough to help her win her freedom, but trust comes hard when it hinges on the unscrupulous tycoon Trent Kalamack, the demon Algaliarept, and an ex-boyfriend turned thief.

It takes a witch to catch a witch, but survival bears a heavy price.

My Spoiler-Laden Thoughts on Black Magic Sanction

The Recap:  Tink’s Dildos I couldn’t put this book down! What a wild ride! Our girl Rache has come so far!  At this point we are 8 books in to Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series and our favorite itchy witch is really in a mess this time around.  Unlike so many other series where the lead characters run around destroying cities and lives with zero consequences, every one of Rachel’s actions are now biting her in the ass.  She is now publicly shunned for dealing with demons, hunted by the “White” witches in the Coven for being a potential quasi-demon baby making machine, and hanging out in the Ever-After every Saturday with Big Al, all while dealing with her usual dysfunctional relationships and newly found daddy issues.  Rachel Morgan is a busy girl.

The Drama:  Where to begin!?  Most of the action in Black Magic Sanction revolves around the Coven summoning Rachel, Rachel escaping, the Coven attacking the church, lather, rinse, repeat.  After thousands of pages spent hanging out in Rachel and Ivy’s church, I felt almost violated when it went under attack!  The scene with the fairy attack was especially infuriating and I spent the evening alternating between being super pissed and sobbing uncontrollably over the death of a very special character.   I really enjoyed Rachel struggling with what to do with the surviving fairies, as I really couldn’t say what I would have done.  I love Jenks so much its retarded, and I wanted serious revenge for him, but at the same time, Rachel slaughtering 7 inch tall fairies might have made for awkward reading.  We also learn a lot more about Rachel’s family and the strange dynamic going on with her sorta crazy mom, rock star dad, and sorta douchey brother.  Honestly, I didn’t care for these scenes, I just wanted her brother to stop talking and give her the damn spell book!  Several supporting characters show back up, like Lee who I thought was terrifying in earlier, but is now super chill and laid back?! Whatevs.  And of course, D-bag Nic-k is back for the action, but thankfully Rache has FINALLY realized his douchbaggery knows no limits.

The Smut:  Oh Pierce. Piercey, Pierce, Pierce.  Me no likely the stalker ghost.  At one point, I was ready to skip over Pierce’s dialogue all together just to avoid any more “opines.”   I really tried to get behind the Rachel-Pierce thing, but I just don’t feel the spark.  And then we finally get to the good stuff, and Rachel feels the need to explain to us that male witches are less endowed than humans!! HUH?  I understand that this is technically an UF series and therefore we aren’t treated to as much smutty goodness, but still!  Was that really necessary?  And in a hole in the ground?? Anyway, I am enjoying Big Al sorta kinda tossing his name into the hat of potential suitors.  I am really excited to see how Ms. Harrison pulls off the softer side of a murderous demon with an affinity for velvet and lace.  And then there is always hottie Trent, who I can’t for the life of me explain why I have such a crush on.  But I do, and I really hope they end up together for some reason.  But I also kinda hope Jenks will decide to go back to full-sized hotness and hook up with someone.  Rachel, Ivy, I don’t really care, I just want to see the pixy in action!  Speaking of Ivy, it looks like she is finally moving past her feelings for Rachel, and I am really hoping for some Ivy-Glenn smuttiness in the next installment!

The Rant:  While I thought the Coven, especially Brooke and Vivian, were truly horrifying, I didn’t really understand their motives.  Brooke wanted to lobotomize Rachel, treated her like a freak of nature, all the while plotting for a demon baby all her own?  Not only does that seriously break the girl code, it doesn’t even make sense!  If he wants a mini-Rachel, then Rachel can’t be all that bad!  I really hope Brooke stays in the Ever-after, I don’t want her to turn into another Lee, where we just shrug off all the evil-bitchiness and keep going. 

Related rant:  Apparently publishing companies don’t get it.  If you own an e-reader of any kind, chances are you are pretty savvy about all things books and are probably a pretty hard-core reader.  So shame on HarperCollins for delaying the e-version of Black Magic Sanction.  They must really not care about pissing off hard-core fans.   I just so happened to read all the Hollows books over the past few weeks, so when I saw I had to wait a month longer than everyone else for book 8, I was not happy.  Most kindlers like the convenience, and I especially find it really irritating to tote around a hardback after enjoying my little light weight gadget for so long.  How can I hold my glass of wine if both my hands are keeping a hardback book open?!  Alas, I decided I didn’t want to wait.  So I may or may not have bought the hard back at B&N, read it that night, and returned it the next day.  Take that HarperCollins!!

Should I buy-with-1-click?  Oh yes.  I mean, Jenks is in it, what more do you need?  But no really, if you are a fan of the Hollows (and you have read the previous 7 books), you will not be disappointed.  This book has it all: action, emotion, humor, romance, and pixies.  You may want to shake Rachel for some of her decisions, but that’s what makes her so lovable, right? 

Rating: Definitely 10.  OBSESSED…like I am a 12 year-old girl and Jenks is my Edward Cullen.

Crux (Southern Arcana #1) by Moira Rogers

From barnesandnoble.com:  Jackson Holt makes a decent living as a private investigator in New Orleans, home of one of the largest underground supernatural populations in the United States. He and his partners have never met a case they couldn’t crack…until a local bar owner asks him to do a little digging on her newest hire.  New Orleans is the fourth destination in as many months for Mackenzie Brooks, a woman on the run from a deranged stalker. After all, any man who shows up on her doorstep claiming to be her destined lover has more than a few screws loose. But crazy doesn’t explain why he always finds her no matter how far she runs.  When her well-meaning boss puts a PI on her case, Mackenzie comes face to face with the incredible truth: magic is real, and whatever spell has kept her hidden and separate from the paranormal world is rapidly deteriorating.  With time running out, she has no choice but to trust Jackson as he struggles to uncover the truth of her past—and her destiny.

Mackenzie Brooks is on the run from what she thinks is a crazy stalker.  When she ends up at Nicole Peyton’s bar in New Orleans, she makes a whole lot of new friends.  It doesn’t take long for Nicole and her PI best friend Jackson Holt to figure out Mackenzie is in serious trouble.  A crazy old Cougar, Charles is desperate to keep his species alive and is determined to make Mackenzie have all kinds of little cougar cubs whether she likes it or not.  Nation-wide shenanigans ensue as Jackson and his friends try to stop Charles and find Mackenzie before its too late.

The Good:  As with any new series, there were a whole slew of potentially interesting characters introduced in Crux.  I am really interested to hear more about the Nicole and Derek star-crossed lovers’ storyline. Oh, and I reaalllyyy curious about Wesley. Anyone who says stuff like this: “Jesus Fuck, Holt.  It takes an act of God to get you on the phone,” is my kind of man.  And while shifters, weres, and witches are nothing new, I liked the concept of combining magic and shifting with the Seers. As for the plot, I was kinda shocked that what I thought should have been the climax happened so early, while the actual climax happened much later and was sort of lackluster.  I appreciated the deviation from the standard story arc, but I am not sure it worked in this case.  As for Mackenzie and Jackson (I love that name, its sooo Steel Magnolias), I was so pleasantly surprised that they weren’t declaring their undying love for each other and/or married after a few days.  So refreshing.  I felt like they were more in lust than love, which is exactly what should happen when you meet some dude in a bar.  And neither of them wore leather pants!! In fact, there was no leather anywhere in the book!  Hooray for jeans!

The Bad:  Well, the first sentence…”Nicole Peyton as I live and breath,’ and all the mama’s and darlin’s afterwards really made me cringe.  ::Rant Alert:: See, I am from Georgia, so southern stereotypes really irk me.  No one actually says darlin’ anymore unless they are my 84 year-old extremely sassy grandmother, and she only pulls it off because of said sass.  Unless you are from Backwoodsville, (insert southern state), you don’t say mama, or even worse “mama en em.”  So Jackson Holt being from Georgia and somewhere around my age should have maybe had a slight twang, an affinity for sweet tea, and used the term ‘y’all’ but not ‘mama’ ::Rant complete:: .  Anywho, my only other real complaint is that the witty banter and charm seemed exclusive to Mackenzie and Jackson.  I really didn’t get a feel for anyone else’s personalities, except for maybe Alec, who is just bitter.  Because of this, the fact that all these other people would be willing to risk their lives for a girl they met three days ago felt a little contrived.  Hopefully, the upcoming books will give us a better feel for the rest of the characters and their motives.

The Bumpin’ Uglies:  I can honestly say this is the first time I didn’t want everyone to shut up during the sex scenes.  Jackson and Mackenzie’s pillow talk was HOT.  I especially like this line:  “God damn it Jackson, if you tell me you’re not going to violate me in about ten different ways, I’m going to use my newly discovered super strength to kick your ass.”  Rob and Big would call Mackenzie a “chacha sucia.”  Hehe…yeah, I couldn’t really even remember what Mackenzie and Jackson looked like, but those sex scenes were STEAMY. 

The Morning After:  I think this series has a lot of potential.  Hell, the pillow talk alone will keep me coming back.  And if you are even shallower than me and will read a book for just the sex scenes, then you should definitely check out Crux.  Rating: 7.5

 

Rules of Hotness for the Twenty-Tweens

As if I couldn’t love Karen Marie Moning more, she went ahead and posted pics of her leading men (http://www.karenmoning.com/characters.html).  I LOVE this idea, but it got me thinking about how my mind’s eye sees UF\PNR leading men.  I quickly realized that the more I read from this genre, the more I ignore physical descriptions and make up my own.  Why is that you ask?  Cause there is an epidemic of outdated hotness plaguing the genre!!  So I thought I would lay some ground rules for what us modern chicks see as NOT hot these days.

  • Hair longer than mine is not hot!!  Why, oh why can we not leave Fabio and his minions in the eighties??  I mean seriously, a man with hair down to his butt is just not sexy; I don’t care if he looks like the cast of 300 from the neck down…the hair just ruins it for me.  And how can I take my beloved super prick leading men seriously if their hair gets stuck in their mouths as they mock my intelligence?!  Oh, don’t even get me started on long CURLY hair. ICK.  Now, I realize that everyone develops different mental images of characters as they read, but if you are like me, you pull on images you already have stored somewhere and go from there.  That being said, can we not stop and take a look around us??  Dudes with really long hair typically ride Harleys and have pot bellies (well, here in the south they do anyway).  You wouldn’t see a ZZ Top video on VH1 classic and think “you know he looks like that sexy lion shifter from that book I read.”   This is what I see when authors describe super long haired shifters, weres or most other supernatural creatures:

Hotness FAIL.  But I like to think of myself as an open-minded gal, so I will make an exception…Elves.  Thanks to those quirky Kiwis for giving me plenty of mental images of sexy long haired elves.  This I can work with:

This I cannot:

  • Why all the red?  Sorry to all my gingery friends, but let’s be honest with ourselves, how many hot red-heads do you know?  Let’s think about some famous red-heads…Lindsey Lohan…Shaun White…David Caruso…Pippi Longstocking.  Okay, okay, I’ll give you Nicole Kidman circa Days of Thunder…but on the whole red hair with freckles is average at best.  Strawberry blonde, doable.  Black\brown with red highlights…better.  Blonde, black or brown…yes please!  Exception:  Highlanders.  I can forgive a lot of things if muscles and plaid gift wrap kilts are involved.
  • The Lurch factor.  Since when did 6’8 and above become hot?  Has no one watched the NBA lately?  Super tall people look…well…strange.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the Dark Hunter series, but the multiple references to Acheron being  nealry as tall as Yao Ming was a turn off.  Plus he had that damn long hair!!! At least it wasn’t red.  Sigh…

What I am currently working with:

Blondish Leading Men

Brunette Leading Men

Leading Men with Black Hair

 Thoughts?