Kissing Sin by Keri Arthur

Book two of the Riley Jenson Gaurdian series, Kissing Sin by Keri Arthur picks up right where book one left off. Left a little heartbroken, Riley picks herself back up as she continues to investigate the abduction of all different kinds of creatures for genetic testing.

74043From Melbourne’s gleaming skyscrapers to its throbbing nightclubs, Riley Jenson’s world is raging with danger and desire. A drop-dead-gorgeous werewolf–with a touch of vamp coursing in her blood–Riley works for an organization created to police the supernatural races. But when she wakes up naked and bruised in a barren alley, she knows only that she must run for her life.

Within moments Riley collides with the sexiest man she’s ever seen: steely, seductive Kade, who is fighting a life-and-death battle of his own. With old lovers and enemies gathering around her, Riley knows she is being pursued by a new kind of criminal. Because in Riley’s blood is a secret that could create the ultimate warrior–if only she can survive her own dangerous desires…

This book had a lot of character growth. We get to see all the old characters and as the implications of the genetic testing come to light, her relationships start to change. I love that I’m so hooked to these characters. I care about them and I want them to kick ass and take names.

It gets interesting when Riley starts using her sexual prowess to get information. Not the most reputable profession but her motives justify the means. I like how she still has a conscience, feeling guilty for using people and being used. It adds a relatable conflict to the story.

There was one thing that bothered me this time: the cover and the subsequent cheesy taglines. They do not match the gritty, action-packed paranormal romance between the pages. I’m sure the author had no control of this, but I would definitely recommend a cover change to better market this great series.

Regardless, I loved book two as much as book one. It keeps getting better! And that’s a sign of a good series. I’m itching to get my hands on book three. If you haven’t already, pick up book one and immerse yourself into the wicked delight that is Riley Jenson.

STARS: 4 out of 5

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Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur

I was in the mood for a good urban fantasy and I came across Keri Arthur. I took a chance and bought the first few in this series about a half-vampire/half-werewolf, independent, sexually liberated, kick-ass girl named Riley Jenson.

172764In this exciting debut, author Keri Arthur explodes onto the supernatural scene with a sexy, sensuous tale of intrigue and suspense set in a world where legends walk and the shady paths of the underworld are far more sinister than anyone envisioned.

A rare hybrid of vampire and werewolf, Riley Jenson and her twin brother, Rhoan, work for Melbourne’s Directorate of Other Races, an organization created to police the supernatural races–and protect humans from their depredations. While Rhoan is an exalted guardian, a.k.a. assassin, Riley is merely an office worker–until her brother goes missing on one of his missions. The timing couldn’t be worse. More werewolf than vampire, Riley is vulnerable to the moon heat, the weeklong period before the full moon, when her need to mate becomes all-consuming.…

Luckily Riley has two willing partners to satisfy her every need. But she will have to control her urges if she’s going to find her brother….Easier said than done as the city pulses with frenzied desire, and Riley is confronted with a very powerful–and delectably naked–vamp who raises her temperature like never before.

In matters carnal, Riley has met her match. But in matters criminal, she must follow her instincts not only to find her brother but to stop an unholy harvest. For someone is doing some shifty cloning in an attempt to produce the ultimate warrior–by tapping into the genome of nonhumans like Rhoan. Now Riley knows just how dangerous the world is for her kind–and just how much it needs her.

There are two main reasons why I loved this book.

One, it’s a refreshing urban fantasy where the main protagonist knows what she wants and doesn’t want. She’s sexually aware and embraces her overly-sexual werewolf lifestyle. This book has a lot of sex scenes but they are necessary plot-building scenes. Plus, as a werewolf during the full moon, there is a reason for all the sex. It’s so refreshing when there is a point to everything.

Two, with lots of sex scenes, there are multiple partners. Again, with her alternative lifestyle, this is socially acceptable. This worked because she had a relationship with each one individually. I’m a sucker for love triangles and the like, so multiple love interests is always my cup of tea. I really enjoyed watching the heat rise and fall with each partner, trying to determine which man fit her best. Even better was her desire to one-day still find her soul mate, who has to be werewolf (which causes issues when she’s falling for a vampire!). This gives her the girl next-door feel, which helps combat her more whore-ish qualities.

Also, this book is so exciting! It’s action-packed with a mystery to solve. As Riley digs deeper into finding her missing twin brother she gets more involved in becoming a guardian (which she doesn’t want) and gets sucked into all the drama (which she doesn’t want either). However, it all involves her on such a personal level; she has to do what she has to do in order to save her brother. Plus, don’t forget about sweet revenge.

I was totally enthralled by this series. There wasn’t anything I didn’t like and it seems to be growing with each consecutive book, making it a series worth reading.

STARS: 4 out of 5

On My Shelf

My ever-growing to-be-read (TBR) list is usually a mental or electronic list. I’m pretty good at only buying what I’m going to read next. However, lately I’ve been on a buying kick and new, beautiful books are burning holes in my bookshelf, crying to be read. With working full-time and getting my master’s, there’s no time for pleasure reading. Alas, anyone who knows me knows I always make time for a good book. So what’s on my shelf these days? Take a look!

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrell

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Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

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The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

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Wrecked by Anna Davies

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What should I read next? Any recommendations?

Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Black City by Elizabeth Richards is a unique and refreshing dystopian read. I was intrigued from page one and the characters drew me in.

12568505A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

I loved Ash and Natalie’s story, the forbidden love, the drama, the PASSION. It was great. I was surprised at how unique and original this storyline was. It put a new twist on vampires and added another book to the list of well thought-out post-apocalyptic reads. I loved that darklings had two hearts and the implications of what that means. I really enjoyed the science behind wrath — the disease infecting the masses.

Another refreshing and original thing about this book was the love triangle and how it was the opposite of what we’re used to seeing in the Young Adult world. It’s two girls and one boy, which really drives the territorial and sometimes catty character traits in the female leads. I really enjoyed that aspect.

This story could have been breathtakingly awesome except for one thing — the writing. I can’t pinpoint what it was exactly, but the writing kept jumping from the page causing me to stumble, disrupting the flow of the novel. It was too much tell, not enough show, which is such a classic mistake. For example, the character would be sad, (seriously), not tears running down their face or pain in their heart, just sad.  It was so distracting that it prevented me from being completely consumed by the story, which is a shame because the plot and characters are so well-developed.

Regardless, the ending made up for everything. I cried, oh did I cry. For someone who had trouble connecting due to writing issues, I still clutched my heart painfully as the suspenseful, heartbreaking ending tore into my aorta. So. good. The ending left so much story to tell with all the loose ends. I have to know what happens next! The sequel, Phoneix, is already out with the third book, Wings, coming out in 2014.

STARS: 4 out of 5

Releases and Recommendations

It’s Tuesday! The wonderful day that books are released to the world.

This week I’m anticipating the release of Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau on Tuesday, January 7, 2014. The much-anticipated sequel to The Testing.

17165932In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.

I loved the first book in this series. (See link above.) Now that Cia has found the recording she made of the truth, I can’t imagine what she’s going to do now. However, I’m excited to see her fall in love with Tomas all over again. What an interesting concept. I wonder if it will be the same or if they will love each other for different reasons this time. Or, who knows, she may make some mistakes before she acknowledges the truth. Either way, I’m super pumped about this book.

Afterburn by Sylvia Day

Well wasn’t that a sweet treat. Afterburn by Sylvia Day is her newest novella. Harlequin and Cosmo have teamed up with Day to launch the new Cosmo Red-Hot Reads. As an avid Cosmogirl, I saw the sneak peek in a recent edition of Cosmopolitan and I was intrigued. Once it was released, I guiltily pressed buy and confirm on my nook, despite my very large TBR pile. (It’s just so easy to buy on a whim!) Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. In only 100 short pages, Day sucked me into this story and now I don’t want to let go.

17607848 #1 New York Times bestselling author Sylvia Day, America’s premier author of provocative fiction, delivers the debut novel from Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin.

The realization that Jax still affected me so strongly was a jagged pill to swallow. He’d only been part of my life for five short weeks two years ago. But now he was back. Walking into a deal I’d worked hard to close. And God, he was magnificent. His eyes were a brown so dark they were nearly black. Thickly lashed, they were relentless in their intensity. Had I really thought they were soft and warm? There was nothing soft about Jackson Rutledge. He was a hard and jaded man, cut from a ruthless cloth.

In that moment I understood how badly I wanted to unravel the mystery of Jax. Bad enough that I didn’t mind how much it was going to cost me…

We’re introduced to Gia and Jax, ex-lovers. Gianna Rossi is confident but vulnerable and Jax has the dangerous bad boy vibe going.  There is this pull between them that is undeniable and Day really pulls it off. I have to be honest, when I read the sneak peek in Cosmo, Jax seemed a little too violent for a lack of a better term. However, once you read this story and the context around that scene it’s a lot more sensual and exciting, less I’m going to kill you now with my lovemaking.

I loved that Gia was an ambitious career woman but I wasn’t pleased she attempted to use her sexual prowess to get ahead. This may just be a character flaw for this book, but in real life, that is not okay.

By the end, I LOVED this story. I was attached to the characters, I wanted to see what would happen and I definitely want to know how Gia is going to make Jax pay for hurting her and vice versa. I’m interested to see how Jax’s successful political family dynamics and Gia’s family-oriented lifestyle collide. I see so much potential in the Rossi family to maintain a continuation of these characters after Jax and Gia are done. I want to see more of her hot brothers! Basically, Day has left me panting for more.  This little treat is worth the read. Thankfully, the next installment, Aftershock, will be out in two months on November 12, 2013. This will be the conclusion to this story and I sure hope it’s more than 100 pages…

STARS: 4 out of 5

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is a contemporary YA romance that’s gotten lots of buzz. After reading multiple five star reviews, I decided to pick it up (and actually pay for it, not just rent it at the library) even though contemporary lit isn’t really my thing. I can now see what everyone’s talking about.

17453983Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. She is less than thrilled about boarding school in Paris – until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, he has it all – including a serious girlfriend. Will Anna get her French kiss?

Anna and the French Kiss sent my heart soaring. It’s the story of young, true love that doesn’t have the best timing or make the most sense until after the fact. Anna and Étienne are two characters with such depth, making them so relatable it’s hard not to love them. They both have their fears that continue to hold them back but when they are together it’s like they are free to be themselves.

However, there is a girlfriend, Ellie, in the picture. I have to say, this story hit close to home. I know exactly what it’s like to fall for the really hot boy that everyone likes and continually beat yourself up for thinking, even for a second, that he could actually like you, especially when he’s taken by this perfect, beautiful girl and they’ve been together forever. Regardless, this story was beautifully written and flowed flawlessly. There wasn’t a single time that I thought something was out of place or I was getting bored with the story. I specifically liked some of the funny Georgia shoutouts. As someone who lived in Georgia for awhile, I knew exactly what she meant when she mentioned going on vacation to Panama City Beach with the rest of Georgia. I’m sure Georgians keep that city in business. Anyway, Stephanie Perkins had me laughing out loud and left me with a goofy grin on my face a time or two.

This book is sweet and romantic without being cheesy. The characters are well-made, each with their own story and motives, even including the most minor of characters. I loved reading about Anna’s passion for film and the witty banter between Anna and Etienne about how he’s an American with an English accent lvinig in France. I have nothing to complain about with this book. I read it in two days and the happy ending left me satisfied. However, I just can’t give it five stars because it didn’t completely blow me away. It was pretty darn close though. I can see how everyone has fallen in love with this book, I have and I think you will too.

Stars: 4.5 out of 5