October News!

Hi everyone,

I hope you’re all having a great October. I’m looking forward to Halloween (my favorite holiday) and my birthday this Friday. Woo-hoo! October is definitely one of my favorite times of the year. I just wanted to blog a little bit about me for a change. And less about books. Don’t worry, guys: Bitchin’ Books will never be a personal blog.

That being said, I will be very busy the next month. Never fear, I just can’t see myself staying away from books the entire time. But on Monday the 29th, I start an intense 2 weeks of training after which I will take a licensing exam to become an Insurance Agent… I won’t have as much time for reading, reviewing, etc. But I will still try to make it a great priority.

Okay – business is over. Now for the fun stuff!

I’m super excited for Wild About You, Kerrelyn Sparks’ new novel in the Love At Stake series. It stars Howard Barr, a handsome man who also happens to be a shapeshifting bear. The Love At Stake series is my second favorite vamp-series after Lynsay Sands’ Argeneau vampires so I’m very excited to read it. Wild About You releases on November 27, so don’t forget to pick up your copy!

I also just joined the website Shelfari, which I greatly enjoy. It is a lot more user friendly than goodreads in my opinion, though both have some redeeming qualities. Find me here! (Follow me, I’ll return the favor of course!)

And lastly, I started a very brief and handwritten outline of a new novel that I’ll be working on. Yup, that’s right. I write too! I’ve always had a problem finishing however. I’m really going to try buckling down and writing the crap out of an awesome novel! More to come!!

Everyone have a fab rest of the month and look forward to two more book reviews soon: Legacy of the Witch and Thirty Nights with a Highland Husband.

Meghan-

Book Review: Mark of the Witch

“A lapsed Wiccan, Indira Simon doesn’t believe in magic anymore. But when strange dreams of being sacrificed to an ancient Babylonian god have her waking up with real rope burns on her wrists, she’s forced to acknowledge that she may have been too hasty in her rejection of the unknown. Then she meets mysterious and handsome Father Tomas. Emerging from the secrecy of an obscure Gnostic sect, he arrives with stories of a demon, a trio of warrior witches-and Indira’s sacred calling.” (From Amazon.com)

Mark of the Witch is Maggie Shayne’s first book in the “The Portal” series. Indira is a witch. No, wait. Strike that- she was a witch. But the continued and loyal practice doesn’t pay out and Indira eventually loses her faith.

Until one night when she has a terrible nightmare. And it seems what’s more, something about the nightmare is real because she wakes up with rope burns on her wrists and a mysterious tattoo on her lower back which fades after just a few moments. Not to mention, she just quit smoking.

It’s just not Indy’s week, but that’s even before secretive and hunky priest Tomas shows up claiming that she is the world’s only hope. The one person that has the power to destroy the big bad demon…or the power to release it.

The choice is Indy’s and Tomas sure hopes she makes the right decision. An orphan taken in and raised by Gnostic priest Dominick, Tomas has only ever known one religion. He’s had his doubts about being in the priesthood and as the adventure progresses, his doubts only become more frequent. Especially now that he’s got Indy in his care. She’s beautiful and he can’t seem to take his eyes off of her–but is she a good witch…or a bad one?

What I Thought:

Maggie Shayne’s “Wings in the Night” series were some of the first paranormal books I’ve read. It’s this series that really started me on the “whole vampire thing” as some would call it! I did start to wean off the series, however and became interested in different vampire series. I came across Mark of the Witch I was excited to try another of Shayne’s series and not only that, but one that is a little outside my comfort zone as a reader.

I really enjoyed the book. Indira was a great character and I liked that she didn’t fit into a specific category. She is stressed, under paid, and struggling with her religion. She felt like a normal woman to me- which I really liked especially considering she had some extraordinary powers.

What drew me in at first after reading the synopsis was the taboo love story between Indira the witch and Tomas the priest. Tomas also struggled with his religion throughout the book which is completely different from the Wiccan religion Indy is struggling with. It really gave the romance an additional opposites attract feeling to it.

The only thing that I was disappointed in was the outcome. And this only because I knew the whole book what it would be. It was very clear from the get-go that Father Dom was a bad/not so sane guy and that what Indira was meant to release was not the Devil but in fact a man trapped inside the portal from ancient Babylonian times. You may have read that paragraph and thought to yourself: really? You knew that from the beginning? Trust me, you’ll have to read the book to understand. It was a very easy mystery to piece together.

Even though there weren’t any shocking surprises for me, I truly enjoyed the book and can’t wait for the next to come out in November.

Final Review: 4/5.

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Next up: Legacy of the Witch, prequel to Mark of the Witch. And then for probably the last book of October I’ll be switching it up (but keeping it magical!) with Thirty Nights with a Highland Husband.

Book Review: Courting Carolina

“While building a wilderness trail for a new five-star resort in Spellbound Falls, underachieving playboy Alec MacKeage rescues a beautiful woman who is being chased by kidnappers and agrees to let her hide out with him for a few days. But when those days stretch past a week, Alec finds himself fighting his attraction to the mysterious Jane Smith- despite knowing the woman isn’t who she claims to be. Then again, neither is he…” (From Amazon.com)

Alec MacKeage has been spending the summer camping out in the woods working on a wilderness trail for the new Oceanus resort, Nova Mare. Upon hearing a woman’s cry for help, Alec comes to the rescue and ends up with a mysterious stranger in his lean-to. The stranger’s name? Jane Smith. And Jane’s in no hurry to go anywhere fast. She asks to stay and Alec concedes without asking too many questions…for now.

But Alec soon learns the truth: Jane Smith is really Carolina Oceanus, Mac’s (from book one, Spellbound Falls) sister and princess of Atlantis. Alec decides not to let Carolina in on the fact that he knows her true identity and they spend several days together working on the wilderness trail and forming a relationship with each other.

Wait, not so fast. Happily ever after just doesn’t come that easy in Spellbound Falls. When Carolina is found out, her brother and father come to collect her. They bring her back to Nova Mare where she must choose a husband.

What I Thought:

I really became hooked into this third installment pretty quickly and had the first half of the book read in only a couple of days. I think the main difference between this one and the first two books in the series is that Chapman immediately put both main characters together in close quarters. That allowed me to quickly fall in love with them as a couple versus slowly getting used to the idea like in the first two.

I liked Carolina’s character a lot in the first book of the series and was excited to read her love story. While the first half of the book was centered on the developing relationship between Alec and Jane Carolina, the second half gave us a lot more insight into the Oceanus family and patriarch Titus Oceanus.

The reason Carolina is on the run is because she isn’t ready to get married. And what’s more, she’s certainly not ready to marry someone her father chooses for her. So she runs. And thru a series of events, she ends up running to Alec. But after dear old dad discovers her hiding out he whisks her away to Nova Mare. It’s here that he plans a great ball and brings men from many different centuries to the 21st so they may compete for his daughter’s hand in marriage.

I don’t have many negative things to say about this one. It was a really strong story and a great addition to the series. I can’t wait to read Nicholas’ (Carolina’s long term bodyguard) story in March of 2013.

Final Review: 4/5.

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PS. Even though this is the last book review required to participate in the Spooktacular Paranormal Reading Challenge, I’ll be continuing on until the end of the month. I decided to stick with the magic theme in October although this is my last Spellbound Falls romance for the month.

Book Review: Charmed by His Love

“All Duncan MacKeage wants is to keep his crew building roads and bridges up the mountain to the fancy resort overlooking Spellbound Falls’ new inland sea. He doesn’t want anything to do with his own family magic or with beautiful widow, Peg Thompson, and her tribe of little heathens. But when Duncan is tasked with keeping an eye on the widow Thompson, trouble starts.” (From Amazon.com)

Peg Thompson is a widow and mother of four young children. She just quit her job as counselor for friend Olivia Oceanus’ summer camp so she could stay home with her kids. Money is tight and Peg is getting desperate. Just when all hope seems lost, a builder hired by Olivia’s husband saves the day.

Duncan MacKeage is building the roads and bridges leading up to the soon to be new resort of friend Mac Oceanus. He pays Peg to use gravel from her pit and spends time bonding with her adorable kids. Duncan tries to get closer to Peg as she’s pushing away. Peg has a curse. She lost her first husband to it and vows never again to lose another–or her heart.

But Duncan has some mysterious surprises of his own and won’t let a pesky curse stand in the way of true love.

What I Thought:

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the second installment of Janet Chapman’s Spellbound Falls series. I thought I’d read the first couple of chapters and drift off into another book out of boredom. However, I found this one moved along quite a bit faster than the first book and hooked me in more deeply.

The character of Peg Thompson really intrigued me even in the first book because she came off (even in the few scenes she appeared in) as a really strong and confident character. Which is the exact opposite of how the heroine in Spellbound acted. I liked that Peg’s reluctance to get involved with Duncan had a lot more to do with her family curse than it did how she looked.

Peg’s four tiny children were absolutely adorable and I really enjoyed that each one of them had their own little unique personality. The twins, Peter and Jacob (affectionately Pete and Repeat) were so cute and had some of the best lines in the book. Isabel and Charlotte each had their own distinct personalities but despite every child being different they all love their mom just as much as she loves them. They worked together, played together, and attacked together (hint, hint, read the book!)

Duncan is actually a character from Chapman’s Highlander series. His father starred in one of the books as a time traveling Scottish Highlander. These books are all about magic. Not black magic or scary magic but magic that can lift you up and make anything happen. Mac (hero of book one) and Olivia (heroine of book one) have married and gone on a two month road trip leaving Duncan to start building the roads up to the new resort. Before Mac leaves though, he makes sure to let Duncan have his pick of the new mountains.

This book was a lot more fantastical than the first, which I really enjoyed. My only qualm is that there was even less sex/sexual tension than the first! I have to admit though; it was a LOT more enjoyable getting to it in this book than in the first installment.

In Charmed by His Love, there was a magic mountain, a family curse, a wizard, and even a whale from Atlantis. Not to mention a mystery/drama happening in the town.

I’ll be reading the next installment in the series shortly!

Final review: 4/5.

TBR Shelf: October

Hi everyone!

Hope you’re all enjoying the wonderful fall weather. Over here in CT it has been a bit rainy on and off. Definitely chilly out there today. I thought I would just post a quick update on my to be read shelf. If you’re not aware, I’m participating in the Spooktacular October book challenge this month. It’s not too late to join up, so definitely look into it!

Onward with the post:

 Just finished Spellbound Falls by Janet Chapman. Click here for the book review! I also just downloaded the second book in the series, Charmed by His Love. Starting on that one tonight. If all goes well with that one, I’ll probably read the third book in the series, called Courting Carolina.

Also on my to be read shelf is The Unholy by Heather Graham. I actually started this one a few days ago but got too sucked into Spellbound to finish it right away. And then of course there’s The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon and The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes that I’ve previously posted about.

Does anyone have any recommendations for great paranormal romances? (Like I need more on my plate!) What am I talking about, every reader needs more books piling up.

Hope everyone had a great week-end. Back to work tomorrow, gag.

Meghan

PS. Don’t forget to check out my other blog, Trashy TV!

Book Review: Spellbound Falls

“Olivia…doesn’t have time to deal with her growing attraction to the dangerously seductive Mac. Besides, weird stuff seems to happen all around him. Take the fact that her seatbelt keeps getting stuck in his presence, or locks magically open for him without keys, and that he seems to have a talent for sensing things…” (From Amazon.com)

Olivia Baldwin is a widow running a camp designed to help families get along better with each other. Her husband died overseas and together with her hard to love parents-in-law, Olivia makes Inglenook her second priority. Her eight year old daughter, Sophie, is her first.

Mac Oceanus and his newly discovered son, Henry, come to Inglenook to try to bond. Olivia finds herself incredibly attracted to Mac and also eerily spooked by the magic that seems to occur when he’s around. Doors lock and unlock seemingly at random, seatbelts get stuck, and zippers don’t work. Olivia wants to have an affair and be done with it several months later but love catches her off guard and soon magic is happening all around her.

What I Thought:

I have read most of Janet Chapman’s Highlander time travel books and found myself skipping and skimming a lot of them so I was wary of purchasing this one (especially at full price for an ebook) but I was caught up in the plot surprisingly quickly.

I read some of the reviews on Amazon prior to purchasing and one common disappointment seemed to be that Mac’s son, Henry, was old-fashioned and spoke too eloquently to be believable as a child. I had absolutely no problem with the way he spoke. He did speak like an adult throughout most of the book but Chapman made it clear early on that there wasn’t something quite right with the Oceanuses. It was my understanding from the beginning that Henry wasn’t originally from the 21st century.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was that the paranormal/magical elements were placed throughout very intelligently. The author didn’t throw the whole back story at the reader at once but instead left hints and used foreshadowing to allow me to keep guessing what was happening and who Mac and Henry really were. Even at the end of the book, nothing is spelled out for you (which I actually liked as it allows for a little more imagination.) Don’t get me wrong though, there was a definite conclusion and you do finally find out where Mac is from and who he is.

I had only two quarrels with the book. Number one, I thought Olivia was a little too down on herself. I understand that the point was to have her left very broken after her first marriage but she seemed to be constantly doubting herself, her looks, her decisions, everything! And it did get a little on my nerves. I found myself hoping throughout the book that she would finally grow up and be confident.

The only other thing I didn’t like is that there was only one love scene. I know, I know, not all novels need to have sex but to build up the sexual tension and only give the reader one quick glimpse at the actual act is such a tease. I’m not asking for erotica, just a little more love.

All in all, I have already downloaded the second book in the series, Charmed by His Love, starring another widow from Spellbound Falls. I’m excited to see where the series goes.

Final review: 3/5.