Review: Iced by Karen Marie Moning

Iced by Karen Marie MoningReviewed by Sharon S.

I was a little apprehensive about reading this story. I loved (in an unnatural way) the Fever series, but I never really cared for the character Dani and the thought of a trilogy about her wasn’t appealing. I knew I would read it because I love Moning’s emotional first person POV writing style and the Fever world and all its characters. You don’t have to read the Fever series to enjoy this book. Moning does a good job of giving the reader any extra information needed, but you are totally missing out on one of the best series out there if you don’t.

I love that we experience things through many different characters POVs. Dani’s POV got on my nerves in the beginning. In part, because Moning was very repetitive with Dani’s thoughts. I don’t know if this was on purpose since Dani is such a chaotic character or if Moning just went overboard. By the end of the book I found Dani to be tolerable. Her growth over the trilogy is a what this story is about so I think I will eventually I will like her. Most of the book is from her POV and we learn some interesting information about her past. She is only 14 at this point and she would act mature beyond her years one moment and then like a teenager the next. It was interesting to watch her and the other characters struggle with this.

Mac and Barrons are mentioned though out the book, but we never have any interaction with them until the very end. Based on the ending of ICED we will see more of them in book two. There are three possible love interests for Dani at this point! I know, right?

Dancer is Dani’s post-apocolyptic buddy. He is a human and a genius. He obviously has feelings for Dani, but she is just too focused on herself to notice. He is just a little too perfect though. Like all the characters, he isn’t all that he seems and I can’t wait to find out.

Ryodan is one of Barrons’ men and he has been watching Dani since she was 9 when he found out about what she calls her “superpowers”. They are very much like Ryodans. He is sort of “the law” in Dublin now that the walls have fallen. He is like Barrons, but he wants to have power and is willing to do anything to achieve it. We don’t know why yet, or how Dani figures into his plans, but he sees something in her and is waiting for it. You really can’t tell his interest is romantic or just power driven yet. Moning is definitely setting up a love hate relationship between them.

Then there is Christian. I think he is the most complex and interesting character. You have to read the Fever series to understand what happened to him, but he is turning into the fourth Unseelie Prince. It is heart breaking to watch him struggle to hold onto his human side. Moning is creating a lot of sympathy for him even though his Unseelie side is very dark and twisted. He also sees something in Dani he calls a “light” and he is in love with her and plans to make her his Unseelie princess.

There are many character threads and they are all just starting to be woven together. I am very excited to find out what Moning has in store for us. I don’t know how she will get us there, but it will be on hell of an emotional rollercoaster ride!

[Rating:5]

Buy: Iced: A Dani O’Malley Novel (Fever Series)

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Review: The Demon Lover (Fairwick Chronicles, Book 1) by Juliet Dark

demon lover juliet darkReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This story is written in the first person.

Dr. Cailleach Fay seems to enjoy writing about all types of demon lovers. She doesn’t just teach the classics but also watches episodes of Dark Shadows and reads the works of Anne Rice. Callie is vying for a teaching position at Fairwick College. A college where we find out that everyone isn’t as they seem.

Juliet does a great job of describing the town where Fairwick College is located. It sounds like a quaint little town that any romantic would love to visit. Callie is staying at an Inn in town while waiting to see if she got the job. She then falls in love with a house across the street called Honeysuckle House.

Callie starts to get nightly visits from a mystery man. Is he just a man of her dreams or is he something more? We have a little mystery going on and some of it revolves around Callie’s house and the woods that are just behind. The College also seems something of a mystery.

Callie’s house used to belong to a romance novelist. Part of what the novelist wrote is located in the attic. Callie is very interested in learning more about the novelist that lived in Honeysuckle House as well as reading her works. Will Dahlia LaMotte’s stories, journals, and letters connect these two ladies?

I did love how Juliet gives us a story within a story. We get to read parts of the stories that Dahlia created. Juliet also gives her readers some pretty hot dream scenes. Not overly sexual but hot, and very descriptive, all the same. But there were times that I thought things were moving to slow. And that there were parts that could have been left out and probably would not change the storyline.

I think that Juliet knew what she was doing by creating a mystery around Callie’s house. It will hold your attention and make you question as to what is going on. We need to keep reading in order to see if the mystery gets solved. But then she surprised me by who she hooked Callie up with. I never would have guessed that one in a million years.

The story will make you turn the pages but if you’re looking for a romance, this may not be the kind you are looking for. To me it’s more of a paranormal mystery. But since this is book one, maybe the storyline will continue in book 2. Maybe this is the hook that Juliet wants to use to have us follow the series. I would say that if you want to read this book, check it out at your local library.

[Rating:3.5]

Buy: The Demon Lover

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Guest Review: The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

Reviewed by Lynn Reynolds

This is book number 4 in Julie Kagawa’s “Iron Fey Series”.

This story is written in the first person.  I’m not usually a fan of a book written this way but I found I enjoyed this one.  The book is written for a Teen audience but adults will like it as well.  Julie also names her chapters which give the reader a hint as to what each chapter is about.

Julie has a great writing style that gives the reader “ears” to her words – you can almost hear the conversations as they take place.    She also becomes our eyes.  The reader can picture exactly what her characters are seeing.

The story starts with Ashallayn and Puck talking to each other.  As they interact, you can almost hear the sarcasm.  At times, this sarcasm has the reader laughing.  What I loved about the story was that the sarcasm, between Ash and Puck, carried all the way through.

Ash is a fey who is in love with a half-human named Meghan – but he’s not the only one.  Because of who they are, they are currently unable to be together.  Ash is trying to find a way to change that.  We also meet his first love, Ariella.

Ash has asked Grimalkin, a cat, for his help.  But Grimalkin lets him know there is a price for his favor.  This is a great reason to turn the page.  The reader wants to know what that price is.  But Julie has also made Ash a smart young man.  He’s smart enough to put some stipulations on his “payment”.

In order for Ash to be with Meghan he must complete a journey.  The journey will not be easy but it is not one that he makes alone.  As you continue reading you think of other “adventure” stories such as “Alice in Wonderland”, “The Wizard of Oz”, and “The Chronicles of Narnia” – and for the adults, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

Julie also puts in some lessons in her story.  She shows Ash that not all tasks can be completed by one person.  Sometimes you need to work as a team to get things done.  During the journey there are trials that he must accomplish.  She also makes you think – can we go back and change the past?  She lets us see a side of Ash that is very hateful and another side where he would make a terrific father.

There are all different forms of love and toward the end of the story Julie writes one that will touch your heart.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book and how much I liked it.  I will have to put her other 3 books on my to read list.

[Rating:4.5]

Buy: The Iron Knight (Iron Fey, Book 4)

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A Story is Born!

by Inara Scott, guest blogger and author of Radiant Desire

Where do you get your ideas?

This is a common question that authors are asked, and I think perhaps people imagine that ideas drop, fully formed, into author’s minds. In fact, for most of the authors I know, the hard part isn’t getting ideas: it’s weeding out the avalanche of ideas that life drops on you, and turning them into a coherent plot. It’s an organic process of taking an idea, poking, prodding, and testing it, marrying it with other ideas, and then letting the resulting chimera grow and develop into something different and unexpected.

But what exactly does that mean, you might ask? How do you go from idea to story?

Here’s how it went for me when I was writing Radiant Desire. First, there were toys. My daughter’s Barbie faeries to be exact. I would look at them, lying all over the house, and muse to myself, “These faeries would be perfect for a romance novel.”

Seriously? You wrote about Barbies? No, no, remember, this was just the beginning!

Then there was a conversation on a blog about favorite romance tropes: you know, marriage of convenience, beauty and the beast, Cinderella, etc. I myself have always loved the beauty and the beast story, but it occurred to me that the man is always the beast. That didn’t seem fair.

Was there someway to make a woman the beast?

Hmmm. Barbies and Beasts. How to pull them together? Well, remember that in the Beauty and the Beast story, the Beast started out handsome, and then is punished for being wicked by being turned into a Beast. So perhaps my Barbie Beauty could be changed into something less beautiful. Perhaps not a Beast, per se, but what if she were turned into something, well, ordinary?

Human?

Yes, I thought, this might work! What if I took my perfectly beautiful faerie – the essence of male desire – and made her human? Better yet, what if my now-very-human faerie had to make a man fall in love with her, just like the Beast, but couldn’t use her beauty to do it?

Now, I thought about making my faerie selfish, or needing redemption the way the beast in the story is usually portrayed, but I decided that would make it very hard for people to identify with her and love her. (I think the woman is usually the beauty for a reason!) So instead of that, I left her ignorant of love, and ignorant of what it truly means to be human.

Of course, until you truly understand what love is, it’s very hard to use it against someone. My faerie would have to learn about love first hand before she could use it against our hero.

And voila! There you have it. A story is born. Beauty and the beast, Barbies, and true love.

Twitter: @inarascott
Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/inarawrites
Inara’s Website: www.inarascott.com
Blog: http://www.inarascott.com/blog/
Email: inara.scott@gmail.com

Buy: Radiant Desire (A Handmaid’s Seduction, Book One)

GIVEAWAY: I have an ebook of Radiant Desire up for giveaway. Open internationally. Enter by leaving a comment! Last day to enter: October 15, 2011.

6 Reasons Why the Paranormal Character is Always Male

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This post is in response to a little nugget that I read in Heather’s article at the Galaxy Express entitled Does Science Fiction Romance Need More Alpha Heroes? The specific section that caught my eye was this:

In response to the My Paranormal Malaise post at Dear Author, Lisa Paitz Spindler asked:

“Why is it the paranormal character is so often the hero and not the heroine?”

Yeah, what’s up with that?

I can tell you exactly what is up with that as I am a fan of paranormal romance and fiction. So here it goes… six reasons why the paranormal character is always the hero!

  1. We like our heroes mysterious. What is more mysterious than a mythological creature, be he vampire or lycanthrope or other?
  2. Strong powerful hero + average heroine = swoon. When an extraordinary specimen of the male gender sits up and takes notice of a rather ordinary female it is easier to place ourselves in the heroine’s shoes. That’s not because we think of ourselves as unworthy, this formula just makes it more accessible for readers. This scenario also tends to fill the tenderness and protectiveness side of the fantasy.
  3. Strong powerful hero + kickass heroine = hell yeah. When number two’s formula just doesn’t cut it there are the novels about strong heroes and stronger heroines. In this scenario the reader and heroine tend to dominate over the situation. The hero must work around the heroine to get in her good graces and who hasn’t imagine upon at least one occasion a strong sexy male groveling at your feet?
  4. Angel, Spike, Jean-Claude, Asher, Edward Cullen, Jasper Cullen, Eric Northman, and Bill Compton. Do I really need to go on with this point? I think this pretty much brings it home. Otherworldly men are downright sexy! Especially vampires!
  5. The desires of the paranormal fit better on a hero. The act of drinking blood is considered highly sexual in vampire romances. It’s become part of the erotic fantasy. Sometimes the heroine likes to pretend to be helpless and the hero’s act of feeding gives her a thrilling rush. Besides, I think I pretty much covered how icky it can be to read a heroine drinking blood.
  6. Redemption always looks better on a man. Many paranormal stories involve the preternatural lead repenting his past acts dictated by his nature, circumstances, and misinformed beliefs due to change. This makes him now a brooding hero and occasionally puts the heroine in the middle of the path toward his salvation or as his savior.

So there you go—six reasons paranormal stories always feature preternatural heroes.