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: ★★★★★

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

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To Spoil or not to Spoil (Don’t you wish you knew!)

by Sharon S., guest reviewer

Do you like spoilers or do you run screaming from the computer? I have a complicated relationship with spoilers. When we are talking about a running series on TV (Being Human or Supernatural anyone?) or book, and there is a cliff hanger ending… you will find me scouring the net for any little tidbit I can get! Let’s take Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning as an example; I bought the book (hardback, I might add) went to my car and read the last chapter! I do the same with the Black Dagger Brotherhood books too. I have been known to email a fellow blogger that got an ARC, and ask what happens. I did this when the last book in the Vampire Academy Series came out. I HAD to know if she chose Dimitri or not.

Yes, I am a pathetic spoiler ho. BUT if I am getting ready to read the first book in a series I don’t want to know anything. Especially not plot twists. This leads me to the fine line reviewers must walk. We don’t want to ruin a book for anyone, but give the reader enough information to decide if it is a book they will like.

I think with a stand alone book or the first few in a series you need to be real careful about revealing spoilers. After the third book in a series, you don’t have to be worried about revealing spoilers from the previous books. Usually the people reading these know what has already happened. You can reveal big spoilers, but you must give plenty of warning, like in the title of your post!

There was a study recently about the effect of spoilers on a reader’s enjoyment. I kid you not! I won’t tell you what the results were ;) but you can check it out here.

So what is your stance on spoilers? Love them or hate them? Oh, I have some juicy spoilers for the next BDB book (Bwahahaha!!!!!!)

Review: The Highlander’s Touch by Karen Marie Moning

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By: Sasha Muradali, guest blogger

The Highlander’s Touch is the third novel in the series of Highlanders by Karen Marie Moning. It is darker than the rest, but provides the ground work for four of the next novels.

Enter Lisa, a woman from the 21st century who is too nosy for her own good. Touching an ancient artifact, she finds herself stumbling back in time 700 years prior into ancient Scotland. But the thing is, and how romantically-novel-typical, Lisa falls 700 years back into the private bed chamber of Highland Laird Circenn. His nickname is “Sin,” believe it or not.

But nothing is as sweaty, sexy and frustrating as it seems, for Circenn has a secret; a very dark, deep secret.

Lisa, torn between anger and lust, left an ill mother behind when she fell back in time and that one factor pushes her not only to push Circenn away, but to find a way back to her century. Not having that Circenn is determined to not only keep her in his century, but help her let go of all the anger and bottled up emotions ready to consume her.

There are two problems: Circenn does not know how to return Lisa to her century and the ‘person’ that does…well, Circenn isn’t speaking to him, as they got into a rather interesting arguement.

Three guesses as to of whom we speak?

Adam Black, ladies, the fabulous Dark Fae himself, Adam Black!

But it gets better – Adam holds the key to Circenn’s secret. Actually, Adam is the reason for Circenn’s secret and it is worth reading to learn. The story builds up, and the tension between the two lead male characters reaches various levels of intelligence, humor, respect and spite.

What I absolutely love about this novel, is not the typical boy meets girl, girl meets boy, girl hates boy, boy tries to woo girl, girl whacks boy so on and so forth.

No, I dare say my favorite parts are the exchanges, as few as they are, between Circenn and Adam. Not only are they entertaining, but these key conversations, will help readers understand what is to come in the next four books.

The Highlander’s Touch is truly a joy to read.  Karen Marie Moning is on target and her Highlander novels only get better from here.

Rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Buy: The Highlander’s Touch

Review: To Tame a Highland Warrior by Karen Marie Moning

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By: Sasha Muradali, guest blogger

To Tame a Highland Warrior has to be the second best book in the Karen Marie Moning Highlander series, falling short directly behind The Dark Highlander.

Starting out in 1499, the novel tells the tale of Grimm aka Gavrael McIllioch, the son of a powerful Highland laird and best friend to Hawk, from Beyond the Highland Mist.

Upon finding his mother dead, assuming at the hands of his father, he flees to become one of the most sought after, intelligent and highly capable warriors of his time. However, nothing is ever peaches and daises in a Moning novel, as Grimm carries a deep secret; a secret so important in keeping that he doesn’t quite understand its depth himself.

Loving Grimm since she was a little girl is Jillian St. Clair. Cornered into choosing a husband, preferably Grimm, by her scheming parents, she refuses to take ‘no’ for an answer, no matter how many times Grimm shoos her away.

The beauty of this story, unlike the other six Highlander tales, it that this one solely takes place in the past. There is no time-traveling or shifting so to speak.

Moning finally touches the paranormal side of things, by mixing things up with a Norse legend about a mythical man, an unbeatable beast, with inconceivable power to destroy and rage; a Berserker.

Known to shape shift and become larger, with icy blue eyes and immaculate senses, a Berserker is said to be unstoppable.

The entire first half of the book touches on Grimm’s history, Jillian’s history and their history together. It also illustrates why Grimm doesn’t want to love Jillian, as well as, why Jillian feels the need to stay close to Grimm.

It’s not until the second half of the novel, does the actual adventure start, the mysteries are unwrapped and the impossible becomes rather possible.

To Tame a Highland Warrior is definitely full of surprises; what you think you know about the story may not be the outcome. This is one of the few books in the seven-part series that isn’t predictable and that idea is very refreshing.

Weaving through history and the timeless tale of girl loves boy, boy loves girl but won’t admit it – Moning redeemed herself after the freakish, unhealthy love from Beyond the Highland Mist.

This is really a great read, but only perfect for extended and uninterrupted periods of time because of its nature. I don’t recommend doing what I did and reading it in little spurts whenever you can. Make the time to sit down and enjoy it, it will really keep you on your toes.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Buy: To Tame a Highland Warrior

Highlanders: A Series of Novels by Karen Marie Moning

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By: Sasha Muradali, guest reviewer

It’s been awhile since I’ve come across a series of books that I can honestly say I love, especially, from a genre that I do not commonly read. But that’s the beauty of Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series: it defies the ordinary and jumps head on into the extraordinary.

Set, in mostly, throughout the 1500s shifting in between modern times, the seven books center around seven incredible heroes. From twins Daegus and Drustan, to warriors Grimm, Circenn, Cian and Hawk, to the ‘abso-freakin-lutely’ stunning black fairy (fae) Adam, the series is full of intense story lines that cut across history, time and space.

Whether you enjoy fantasy, science-fiction, romance, fiction, action, adventure or mystery, there is a little bit of everything. Most book sellers classify the series as “Paranormal/Time-Travel Romance.” The series really reminds me of Stardust and Harry Potter in the sense that the author takes multiple facets of mythology and history combining them to make her own margarita concoction.

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For example, Drustan is a Highlander, yes, but he also has the ability to shift through time, was possessed by the 13 Darkest Druid beings, and is a Druid himself. Sounds more like Joss Whedon’s Angel the more I think about it.  Or take for example, Grimm, a Highland warrior with extraordinary powers who has the ability to turn into a Berserk, a raging human beast of exquisitely irreconcilable power bred to destroy.

As a series, the books are mind-blowing, but like everything else in life, there is good and bad. Individually, some of the books are far better than others. Hands-down the best book in the entire series is The Dark Highlander, the worst is Beyond the Highland Mist and the one that disappoints, for the direction it takes, is the The Immortal Highlander which brings back Adam Black (aka Puck aka “the Fool” aka The Black Fairy/Fae).

darkhighlanderOne of the most interesting characters brought to life is Aoibheal, the Queen of the Fae. She’s sexy, alluring, smart, wicked, spiteful, playful, yet, very firm in her beliefs and way of life. It’s through her and Adam that most of the issues throughout the seven books occur. Well, it’s through Adam most of the issues occur, it’s through Aoibheal that the problems are fixed. Together, these two characters add a stream of sensual humor that is unique and brands Karen Marie Moning’s style as an author.

Each Friday we will be featuring an in-depth review on each of the Highlander books and you can make sure not to miss a single one by keeping tabs on the tag for the author “Karen Marie Moning.”

But make no mistake, if you want an easy read, to keep you on your toes and encase your senses in the unbelievable and extremely wanting – this is the series for you!

Book in Order:

Visit Karen Marie Moning website.

Engaging the Senses

by Sharon S., guest blogger

What is the difference between a good book and a great one? There are as many answers as there are readers probably, but for me it has to do with my senses. You know, smell, sight, taste, touch and sound. I have a definite preference in books. I like paranormal romances and dark urban fantasies best. I prefer series because I can watch the characters and their relationships grow and change over time. I also have a preference for arrogant alpha-males that make no excuses and kick-ass snarky females that teach said alphas a thing or two.

I’ve read lots, but which ones stick with me? The ones that make me feel.

“Feel what?” You ask…anything, everything, all things. A book that can make me cry, laugh, swoon, scream and so angry I want to throw the book across the room (would never do this because a kindle ain’t cheap).

All books let you see what is going on in the story, but some authors not only make you see, their words can make you smell the forest, the ocean, the blood or his scent as he walks past. They can make you taste that pizza, the potion or his lips. They can make you hear the monster creeping outside the door, the dying screams or his whisper next to your ear (file that one under touch too ). Then there is touch, the feel of the water, the fangs and fur of the were, or his hands…well, you know.

These are authors that have mastered the metaphor. Being able to experience with all my senses is what helps me connect to the characters and immerse my self in the story. I can put myself in their shoes so to speak and that brings my experience to a whole new level.

Here are some authors that have delighted my senses recently: Kim Harrison, Josh Lanyon, Amanda Stevens, Tere Michaels, Ilona Andrews (metaphor magician in my opinion), Karen Marie Moning, Karen Chance, Suzanne Collins, Jeaniene Frost, J.R. Ward…

How about you? What makes book good vs great for you? What authors make you feel?

Review: Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning

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By: Sasha Muradali, guest reviewer

Highlander, Book 1: Beyond the Highland Mist

Flung back in time, Adrienne de Simon got thrust into medieval Scotland from modern day Seattle.

A captive twice over in a century foreign to her, Adrienne became faced with the challenge of dealing with the Scottish laird they called ‘Hawk.’

Described as irresistible, seductive and passionate – Adrienne swore to keep him as far from her as possible.

But how possible, is the impossible, when she’s been forced to marry him via a thick plot to destroy him.

Brought to the sixteenth century by the mighty Black Fae himself, of the mythical Tuatha Dé Danaan race, Adam Black, Adrienne is determined not only to go back to her own time, but to swear off men…that’s how she got into the mess to begin with; she swore off men.

Sounds easy enough? Well no.

While, Beyond the Highland Mist is filled with alluring mysticism, betrayal, mystery and action, it bleeds hyper-masculine eroticisms that are anything but enchanting from the very beginning.

From Adam, to the Fae Queen, Aoibheal, and even Adrienne’s keen sense of humor, nothing quite makes up for Hawk’s soft-abuse of Adrienne that is supposed to be sexy.

Like his name, Hawk, decides to train Adrienne to make her love him, in his eyes, he’s bringing out her love of him. Hawk blind folds her, strips her naked and leaves her in a dark bedroom for unaccounted periods of time. He talks to her as if she is one of his falcons that he’s training to be obedient.

While, Adrienne never suffers physical abuse from Hawk, the mental tauntings are not only freakishly haunting, but disturbing:

She stopped screaming only when her voice gave out.

Stupid, she told herself. What did that accomplish? Not a thing. You’re trussed up like a chicken about to be plucked and now you can’t even peep a protest.

“Just take the hood off, Hawk,” she begged in a gravelly whisper. “Please?”

“Rule number nine. My name from this moment forward is Sidneach. Sidneach, not Hawk. When you use it, you will be rewarded. When you don’t, I’ll permit no quarter.”

No woman in her right mind would choose willingly to stay with a man who treats her that way. Especially, if said woman, has been previously abused by men, has sworn them off and is supposed to be a feisty chick from the 21st century.

It makes no sense.

While, I thoroughly enjoyed the premise of this introduction into the world of Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series, its opening title falls short of hooking.

The novel’s only true saving grace is the literary universe created and expanded upon by Moning; it is what will have you coming back for more…time and time again.

Rating: 3 of 5 stars.

Buy: Beyond the Highland Mist

Best of July 2009

July has been another outstanding month! You guys are such a blast! There were a lot of guest bloggers this month and I would like to take a moment to thank them all. You’re contributions really made this month special and I am so pleased with the responses they garnered. We also saw the announcement of the 2009 RWA Rita and Golden Heart winners this month. Congratulations again authors, your work truly enriches all our lives. Below are this past month’s highlights:

July’s 11 Most Commented Posts:

Guest Bloggers:

Author Interviews:

Guest Book Reviews:

Movie Reviews:

Polls: