Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Chic Lit Review: The Truth About Cats and Bees (The Truth About Series, Book 2) by Alissa Baxter

The Truth About Cats and Bees: A Secret Blogger’s Dating Debacles
by Alissa Baxter

For jaded Emma Bradshaw, her blog is a way to come to terms with the 'serial datists' in her past - all those unsuitable men who've trampled on her heart and left her swearing off dating altogether. But when one anonymous blog commenter challenges her ideas on men, she can't help but open herself up. What can it hurt? After all, she doesn't even know his name.

The problem is that now she's looking at men differently - including her new boss, sexy author Nick Reynolds. A romance with the boss, especially one who epitomises every 'serial datist' she's ever known, is a no-no on so many different levels. But Emma can't seem to stop herself from considering it.

Which man will win Emma's guarded heart - the tempting boss, or the anonymous online man who understands her better than anyone she's ever known?

"Emma is a serious sassy woman whose sharp wit and tongue portrays her confident nature." Author Nana Prah

This book was previously published by Ubuntu African Romance as The Blog Affair.

My Review:
The Truth about Cats and Bees picks up from the last book in a sort of crossover style. Starting in Durban and then following Emma, the main character of this story, to Cape Town. Sick of the constant reminders of her latest failed relationship, Emma jumps at the chance to start over in a new place, but she doesn’t anticipate the spark she feels around her new boss.

This is another solid romance in The Truth About series, and as with the first, there is a digital romance thrown in to totally mess with the main character’s plans and assumptions. I very much enjoyed this one, but it was much easier to guess the outcome. The clues are there, though Emma doesn’t see them. Still, it was hard to want her to get together with either of them, particularly in the light of her blog.

On that note, Emma’s blog is designed to outline the sort of fellows that guarantee a dysfunctional relationship, and Emma’s posts reveal just how disillusioned she’s become. Toss in a side character’s abusive relationship and you have quite the campaign for women sticking up for themselves and staying away from these guys. At times it seems more educational than entertaining.

Because much of the story focuses on dysfunctional men, it tends to come across one-sided, and though that shifts a bit near the end, I don’t think a balance was achieved. For this reason, male readers may feel a bit put on the spot. Sure this is a chic lit, and the blog is in character, but yeah, it’s not very flattering for the fellows.

Overall, I would recommend this to women who enjoy chic lit, romance, and interesting locations.

I received the review copy of this book from NetGalley.

About the Author:

Alissa Baxter wrote her first Regency romance, The Dashing Debutante, during her long university holidays. After travelling the world, she settled down to write her second Regency romance, Lord Fenmore's Wager, which was inspired by her time living on a country estate in England. A Marchioness Below Stairs, her third Regency romance, is the sequel to Lord Fenmore's Wager. Also the author of two chick lit novels, The Truth About Clicking Send and Receive (previously published as Send and Receive) and The Truth About Cats and Bees (previously published as The Blog Affair), Alissa currently lives in Johannesburg with her husband and two sons. Alissa is a member of RWA as well as ROSA (Romance writers Organisation of South Africa).

Website  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon

Intrigued? Why not pick up both books and make a weekend of it?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Paranormal Romance Review: Spellcaster (Spellcaster #1) by Claudia Gray

Spellcaster (Spellcaster #1)
by Claudia Gray

When Nadia’s family moves to Captive’s Sound, she instantly realizes there’s more to it than meets the eye. Descended from witches, Nadia senses a dark and powerful magic at work in her new town. Mateo has lived in Captive’s Sound his entire life, trying to dodge the local legend that his family is cursed - and that curse will cause him to believe he’s seeing the future … until it drives him mad. When the strange dreams Mateo has been having of rescuing a beautiful girl—Nadia—from a car accident come true, he knows he’s doomed. 

Despite the forces pulling them apart, Nadia and Mateo must work together to break the chains of his family’s terrible curse, and to prevent a disaster that threatens the lives of everyone around them. 

My Review:
Good story! I enjoyed the intrigue behind what was going on in Captive Sound. Build up was good. The curses were interesting. 

Borrowed the audiobook from the library. Good read for fans of paranormal YA.

About the Author:

Claudia Gray is not my real name. I didn't choose a pseudonym because my real name is unpleasant (it isn't), because I'd always dreamed of calling myself this (I haven't) or even because I'm hiding from the remnants of that international diamond-smuggling cartel I smashed in 2003 (Interpol has taken care of them). In short, I took a pseudonym for no real reason whatsoever. Sometimes this is actually the best reason to do things.

I live in New Orleans. So far, in life, I've been a disc jockey, a lawyer, a journalist and an extremely bad waitress, just to name a few. I especially like to spend time traveling, hiking, reading and listening to music. More than anything else, I enjoy writing. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Paranormal Romance Review: No Mercy (Dark-Hunter #18) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

No Mercy (Dark-Hunter #18)
by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Live fast, fight hard and if you have to die then take as many of your enemies with you as you can. That is the Amazon credo and it was one Samia lived and died by. Now in contemporary New Orleans, the immortal Amazon warrior is about to learn that there’s a worse evil coming to slaughter mankind than she’s ever faced before.

Shapeshifter Dev Peltier has stood guard at the front of Sanctuary for almost two hundred years and in that time, he’s seen it all. Or so he thought. Now their enemies have discovered a new source of power- one that makes a mockery of anything faced to date.

The war is on and Dev and Sam are guarding ground zero. But in order to win, they will have to break the most cardinal of all rules and pray it doesn’t unravel the universe as we know it.

My Review:
Great story, definitely racy, though.

Nick from Chronicles of Nick is in here, but those who liked Chronicles of Nick should remember that is her YA series and so is toned down in the romance. I only read the Chronicles, but that was enough for me to recognize most of the major players in No Mercy. 

Folks who like paranormal romance will likely enjoy No Mercy.

I borrowed this from the little free library at my office.

About the Author:

Photography by Sheri Reno/Nashville.

New York Times and international bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon is a regular at the #1 spot. With legions of fans known as Menyons (thousands of whom proudly sport tattoos from her series and who travel from all over the world to attend her appearances), her books are always snatched up as soon as they appear on store shelves. Since 2004, she had placed more than 80 novels on the New York Times list in all formats including manga and graphic novels.

Her current series are: Dark-Hunter, Chronicles of Nick and The League, and her books are available in over 100 countries where eager fans impatiently wait for the next release. Her Chronicles of Nick and Dark-Hunter series are soon to be major motion pictures while Dark-Hunter is also being developed as a television series. Join her and her Menyons online at SherrilynKenyon.com and www.facebook.com/AuthorSherrilynKenyon

Author Webpage: http://www.sherrilynkenyon.com/
Chronicles of Nick: http://www.sherrilynkenyon.com/book-series/chronicles-of-nick/

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Sci-Fi Review: Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy: Annihilation; Authority; Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer

Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy: Annihilation; Authority; Acceptance
by Jeff VanderMeer

Annihilation is the first volume in Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, Authority is the second, and Acceptance is the third.

Area X-a remote and lush terrain-has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

This is the twelfth expedition.

Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers-they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding-but it's the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.

After the disastrous twelfth expedition chronicled in Annihilation, the Southern Reach-the secret agency that monitors these expeditions-is in disarray. In Authority, John Rodriguez, aka "Control," is the team's newly appointed head. From a series of interrogations, a cache of hidden notes, and hours of profoundly troubling video footage, the secrets of Area X begin to reveal themselves-and what they expose pushes Control to confront disturbing truths about both himself and the agency he's promised to serve. And the consequences will spread much further than that.

It is winter in Area X in Acceptance. A new team embarks across the border on a mission to find a member of a previous expedition who may have been left behind. As they press deeper into the unknown-navigating new terrain and new challenges-the threat to the outside world becomes more daunting. The mysteries of Area X may have been solved, but their consequences and implications are no less profound-or terrifying.

My Review:

This is not a book you would want to read if you want to feel good or encounter a happy ending. It is the book for you if you want to be left thinking, to experience the ultra-weirdness of an invader that may destroy the world, but heal it in the process, or to unravel a mystery through the eyes of those who may or may not solve it. 

I very much enjoyed this, perhaps even loved it, but I feel this book is probably easier to take as an audiobook. I might have had trouble getting through it in print, especially at first. Still, fans of hard science fiction, thrillers, and mysteries might find this a fascinating but terrifying read. The build is slow, but the dread it brews by the end is almost palpable.

If you're wondering, the movie Annihilation is based on this trilogy and takes its name from the first of the books. That movie, however, took some liberties to deliver a happy-ish ending, though those glowing eyes as the Biologist and her hubby embrace certainly promise something dire.

About the Author:
Called "the weird Thoreau" by the New Yorker, NYT bestseller Jeff VanderMeer has been a published writer since age 14. His most recent fiction is the critically acclaimed novel BORNE, which has received raves from the NYTBR, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and many more. Paramount Pictures has optioned BORNE for film.

VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy was one of the publishing events of 2014, the trilogy made more than thirty year's best lists, including Entertainment Weekly's top 10. Paramount Pictures has made a movie out of the first volume of the Southern Reach, Annihilation, slated for release in 2018 and starring Tessa Thompson, Oscar Isaac, Gina Rodriguez, Natalie Portman, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

His nonfiction appears in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, and the Atlantic.com. VanderMeer also wrote the world's first fully illustrated creative-writing guide, Wonderbook. With his wife, Ann VanderMeer, he has edited may iconic anthologies. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with two wonderful cats. His hobbies include hiking, reading, and bird watching.

Author Links:

Website  |  Amazon  |  Goodreads