Juuli's Bookshelf

Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh

Shards of Hope (Psy/Changeling) - Nalini Singh

Really good. It's one of the longest if not the longest psy-changeling novel but I still wanted more. The way the Arrows started to build their society was so fascinating and I liked how all these different groups were trying to work together. There were old characters and amazing new ones and while some of the old villains were still lurking around they had a terrifying new foe, who wasn't picky while choosing its targets.
This is definitely my favourite paranormal series.

Lend (Flyte) by Angie Sage

Lend (Septimus Heap #2) - Angie Sage, Merlin Laansoo

I really like this series. Yes, it's predictable but in a good way. The cover and illustrations are gorgeous and there is a map. The story is well written, characters likeable and the world interesting. 
Great fantasy book for children.

Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

Doon - Lorie Langdon, Carey Corp

It was kind of addictive. I started the book and several times decided to stop but couldn't, because I wanted to know how it will end. So I finished it and now I have no idea how to rate it.

The beginning was quite interesting and mysterious. Veronica gets dumped by his cheating boyfriend and suddenly sees a handsome young man, who is wearing a kilt. The next moment the man disappears. A bit later Veronica travels to Scotland with her friend Mackenna, who has inherited her aunts cottage. In Scotland Veronica again sees the same man and hears about Doon - a magical land hidden behind a veil of mist, which can be visited only once in a hundred years. The village people are sure that Mackenna's aunt was one of the people who had seen Doon with her own eyes. 

When girls find aunt's diary and the rings, Veronica decides to prove that Doon exists. Mackenna doesn't believe in it but plays along, so that Veronica could go on after she realizes Doon is just a fairytale. 
It turns out Doon is real and before you know the girls are thrown into a dungeon, accused by being the accomplices to a witch, who has tries to destroy Doon for centuries. Veronica's dream man turns out to be the crown prince of Doon, who can't stand the girl and acts like a total jerk.

Doon was a weird place with indoor plumbing, sword fights, sushi, and carriages. At first it was so strange, but there was a rather good explanation of this mixing of centuries. 

Some days ago I moaned about the lack of books with true female friendship, well Veronica and Mackenna were really good friends. But the girls themselves were ... I don't have good enough word for this. Some examples maybe:

[spoiler]* they don't like their looks but think the other one is absolutely gorgeous. 
* Mackenna has no time or patience to read her aunt's diary. She's stomping around the room and singing hits from musicals while Veronica is reading the diary. 
* They are accused of witchcraft and instead of keeping her mouth shut, Mackenna threatens a man with some "Disney magic". 
* The other time she decides to be silent and let Veronica speak, but opens her big mouth anyway and makes things worse again.[/spoiler]


Veronica plays a martyr almost the whole story. 

[spoiler]* She believes it's her duty to save Doon without saying anything to Mackenna or James. 
* Although James tells her, that he is a grown up and for once would like to make his own decisions (it turns out when you are a crown prince, your whole life is planned before your birth), Veronica just takes his choices away, because she "knows" what is best for James and Doon. 
* She also makes assumptions without knowing all the facts and almost kills everyone. 

[/spoiler]


And James, I actually thought he was bipolar. His mood swings were confusing as hell. Later I understood his behaviour but his stalling was annoying. 

I actually liked Duncan, Fiona, and Fergus. They had some sense and although some things were so obvious, those didn't bother me as much as all that stuff I wrote before.

I so hoped it to be a 5 star read because of Scotland, travelling to a fairytale land, magic, but unfortunately it wasn't so. 

 

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Uprooted - Naomi Novik

I spent a sleepless night reading the story. I kid you not, I've slept only three hours because I couldn't put the book down. Thank heavens I'm on holiday. 
Uprooted was fantastic. Almost perfect. The world was so deliciously creepy. The Wood, the tower, even the castle was like a never ending spookfest. And I loved it - the tension, the danger. Absolutely freaking amazing. And it got even better because Agnieszka was the best heroine ever. I liked her magic and the way she destroyed her gowns. A true heroine with substance. But the best was her friendship with Kasia. I reveled in it because there are so few books about true friendship between females. A lot of books I've read have been about girls or women in men's world. Or when a female character has a female friend it usually ends with tears and backstabbing. 
I'm too tired and rambling already. I give it 4.5 stars. And the reason is the big battle at the end of the story. As I said before, I love tension and danger and the book can have death but this was just a meaningless slaughter.
Still, great book. Read it.

Deacon by Kristen Ashley

Deacon (The Unfinished Heroes Series Book 4) - Kristen Ashley

I have a weakness for mountains and cabins and the pictures of Colorado mountains always leave me breathless. You can already guess that I liked the setting a lot. As in a lot. 
Cassidy was a great character. She was independent, hard-working, and fearless. She loved what she did and to my relief she wasn't obsessed with clothes, shoes, jewellery, or makeup. She wasn't a kickass like Sylvie, but she also wasn't a doormat like Anya and Hanna. She was confident and knew what she wanted and also went after it with all her passion. 
Deacon was cold and mysterious at the beginning, but attentive and caring when they started their relationship. You have to love the man, who cleans the gutters without you nagging endlessly about it. After Grant, who had so little page space, but turned out to be the biggest asshole, Deacon was like a breath of fresh air. And this man had a past. I was sobbing like crazy while reading about it. 
Now about the story. The fist half of the book was amazing. I liked the pace of the story, how it flew and gave me time to enjoy getting to know the main characters. I liked to read about Cassie fixing the cabins and laughed when every time John Priest came back, the price of the cabin had gone up. The sex scenes were emotional and you could feel the bond between Cassie and Deacon. I also enjoyed their banter and the way they discussed things. 
The second half of the book wasn't so enjoyable any more. There were too many sex scenes and they started "playing" in the bedroom. After that vanilla flew out of the window and all these numerous scenes were about bondage, spankings, and anal sex. The storyline somehow disappeared, I couldn't feel the emotional bond anymore. I started skipping sex scenes again. The only likeable things were that they "played fair", so Cassie wasn't the only one tied to the bed and both main characters accepted the other as they were. 
Am I disappointed I read it? No. Am I going to reread it in the future. I don't think so. But I'm looking forward to reading Nick's story and I hope that there is more about Marcus Sloan and Daisy. 
Oh, by the way, the scenes in a supermarket, I can totally relate to.

Raid by Kristen Ashley

Raid - Kristen Ashley

Liked that it took place in a small town. Miss Mildred was awesome and Spot was hilarious. Didn't like how easily Hanna forgave Raiden, who acted like a total asshole, didn't like the repetitions (same theme was in the first book and although the author explained it, she should have at least chosen different vocabulary), and again I didn't like that she showed only sex and everything else was just told.

Creed by Kristen Ashley

Creed - Kristen Ashley

Way too long again. I liked Creed but loved Sylvie. She was a tough broad.
It was annoying that author didn't show the things but just said it happened. The only scenes she actually showed were sex scenes. Finally I started skipping those. I wanted more of a story - Sylvie's relationship with her friends and Knight and Creed's with his children.

Knight by Kristen Ashley

Knight - Kristen Ashley

Not the worst but definitely not the best of Kristen Ashley. The hero actually scared me. I just don't get, how Anya could be so clueless. 

Duke by Candace Blevins

Duke - Candace Blevins

I liked the story, but Gen's brother's relationship was so confusing (he had three lovers). I did some research and found out this story is connected to other books that take place in the same world and one of those is about Gen's brother. It's very unlikely I'll read these because a friend of mine, who loves author's books, told me these were hardcore bdsm novels.
This story is about shapeshifter bikers and somehow it worked. The main characters were intelligent and I liked how there relationship evolved - it wasn't just about sex. They had trust problems and of course Duke was a kinky bastard, but he actually listened to Gen and was ready to discuss things. 
The secondary characters were interesting and I would actually like to read Pebbles story. She was a tough lady. 

Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich

Two for the Dough - Janet Evanovich, CJ Critt

I laughed my head off listening to this book. I love Grandma Mazur, she is such a tough cookie and my favourite character. I also like Stephanie's relationship with her mother. The eye twitching was hilarious. 
I don't like Joe Morelli very much and the story didn't have enough Ranger to be a 5-star book but it came really close. 
C.J. Critt reads it amazingly well. Loved it. :)

The Unleashing by Shelly Laurenston

The Unleashing - Shelly Laurenston

While reading I constantly reminded myself that it's the first book of the series. So, I didn't have to know everything about the world yet. At the same time it was quite confusing because Kera was thrown into the unknown - Vikings, gods, demons, witches - I'm quite sure I forgot someone. Oh, who cares!

I liked Kera - she could kick some major ass, but still be vulnerable and doubt herself. It was good to read about the heroine, who battled her own demons but still tried to take the best from the bad situation. And believe me, Bird House wasn't the nicest place to hang around.

There was so much hostility toward Kera. Crows were real bitches and every time they called Kera "new girl" I got angrier. She just died, which was quite a dramatic experience, and then she was attacked by some jerks wearing huge hammers. Did the Crows apologize for leaving unconscious Kera alone in the house? No, of course not, they bitched about the broken glass door. These winged freaks wanted her to decide everything right away - where to live, what to do with her second chance and so on. They also thought that having an ex-marine among Crows was something horrible. And at the same time they had bank robbers and psychopaths as members. Hypocrites. And when Kera tried to use her coping mechanism, they went nuts and behaved like immature teenagers. Crows were cruel, heedless, and sometimes plain stupid. 

Vig was the hero in this book, but unfortunately I couldn't see him as Kera's love interest. So, the sexy times were really awkward to my eyes. Vig was the person who asked the goddess to give Kera a second chance, but he didn't have enough courage to clean up and ask the woman out before she died. That's what made it so unbelievable. He had time - weeks, if not months, and he didn't make his move. And then suddenly he is a love interest. Come on!

Overall I'm a bit disappointed because I expected more. It wasn't as funny as Shelly Laurenston's Pride series. Okay, there were some scenes I laughed out loud. I'm definitely going to read the second book because as much as I can say the world has a lot of potential, some Crows were quite unusual, and the end really piqued my interest.

Exquisite Trouble by Ann Mayburn

Exquisite Trouble - Ann Mayburn

WTH? This book is only the first part of the story? How could I miss it while reading the introduction and the reviews of the book. 

The main character Swan has autistic traits - she can't stand people touching her skin, can't read people's expressions very well, and has several weird habits. She works as a waitress in a strip club, has two university degrees (in maths and accountancy) and watches porn in her free time. She also has a twin sister Sarah, whom she doesn't communicate very much. But then her birth mother steals from very bad people and leaves her daughters in very dangerous situation. Sarah goes after her mother trying to protect her fiance and Swan. She disappears and Swan gets kidnapped. Fortunately Iron Horse MC has Swan under surveillance and they manage to save the girl. That's how Swan finds out that the sexy client from the strip club is actually a member of the Iron Horse MC. Smoke has been keeping an eye on Swan form weeks now. He likes everything about the young woman and wants her for himself. He is also a sexual dominant and decides to take his time to ease Swan into the lifestyle. Sarah's fiance is the leader of the Iron Horse MC and asks Swan to find her sister. So, Smoke and Swan leave the town to find Sarah and girls' treacherous mother.

The story was a bit too kinky for my taste.
There were also some contradictions - Swan always stressed how people couldn't touch her skin without her feeling bugs crawling all over her. The only people who could touch her, were the people she really trusted. And then during a few days she meets three men, who all can touch her without any problems. Oh, and don't forget, all three are smoking hot. Why am I not surprised. 
Swan also seemed to be addicted to Smoke. She didn't need more than seeing him and immediately her panties were wet. I'm quite sure, it's not healthy to walk around wearing wet underwear all the time.


Exquisite Trouble had a lot of potential and I enjoyed parts of it. Swan's family was amazing and snippets about her childhood were really interesting. I also liked how Smoke didn't rush with having sex. They did quite a lot of kinky stuff, but he always made sure that Swan was comfortable with those acts. 
It annoys me a lot that Swan and Smoke's story continues in a second book. I really wanted to find out who the villains were. 
I would say it was a little bit more than OK read.
2.5 stars

Mistress of the Marquis by Margaret McPhee

Mistress to the Marquis - Margaret McPhee

The story starts with a break up. A rich lord decides that it's time to marry and tells his mistress that their affair is over. And of course after that the fool realizes that he is in love with his mistress and living without her is quite miserable.
The mistress, who can't believe what a jerk the lord was, leaves his house, starts acting again and tries to go on with her life. But it's not so easy when you bump into your ex every time you turn around.

I liked the story. It didn't bother me that I didn't know anything about the beginning of their affair.
  It was a solid 4 stars read.

The Immortal Who Loved Me by Lynsay Sands

The Immortal Who Loved Me: An Argeneau Novel - Lynsay Sands

Really enjoyed this one. It was humorous and exciting. The story was still the same - vampire meets his lifemate, starts eating, dreaming about sex, having sex, and so on. But this time the heroine was really sassy and I actually liked the hero. Teenage Stephanie was a terrific character and it so many characters from previous books were present as well. It also tied up the storyline from the previous book.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

One For The Money  - Janet Evanovich, C.J. Critt

My first audio book! :) 
Loved the story and the experience was interesting.

Vampire Most Wanted by Lynsay Sands

Vampire Most Wanted - Lynsay Sands

I actually don't know how to rate this book. I liked the setting and the mysterious aspect of the story. The characters were likable and it was so good to read about previous main characters as well. I really enjoyed how author gave just enough clues to keep me guessing but didn't try to confuse me. After a long week at work it was just what I needed.
But there were also things that disgusted me. I don't know how much time does it take me to forget the "family picnic" described in this book. Probably a lot. The last chapter was so awful, I didn't know if I should have cried or screamed in horror. I also can't get over, how utterly stupid immortals can sometimes be. They've lived for centuries and still the baby vamps know more about life then they do.
What irked me the most was that after everything - things that took place in the camp, what Leonius and Abbadon did, we are left with a bloody cliffhanger. 
So, no rating at the moment. When I've made up my mind, I'll add it.