Book Review: Awakened (House of Night #8) by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

“My love, speak to me. Tell me everything.” Neferet went to Kalona, kneeling before him, stroking the soft, dark wings that unfurled loosely around the immortal.

“What would you have me say?” He didn’t meet her eyes.

“Zoey lives.” Neferet’s voice was flat, cold, lifeless.

“She does.”

“Then you owe me the subservience of your immortal soul.” She started to walk away from him.

“Where are you going? What will happen next?”

“It is quite simple. I will ensure Zoey is drawn back to Oklahoma. There, on my own terms, I will complete the task you failed.”

Exonerated by the Vampyre High Council and returned to her position of High Priestess at Tulsa’s House of Night, Neferet has sworn vengeance on Zoey. Dominion over Kalona is only one of the weapons she plans to use against Z. But Zoey has found sanctuary on the Isle of Skye and is being groomed by Queen Sgiach to take over for her there. Being Queen would be cool, wouldn’t it? Why should she return to Tulsa? After losing her human consort, Heath, she will never be the same – and her relationship with her super-hot-warrior, Stark, may never be the same either…

And what about Stevie Rae and Rephaim? The Raven Mocker refuses to be used against Stevie Rae, but what choice does he have when no one in the entire world, including Zoey, would be okay with their relationship? Does he betray his father or his heart?

In the pulse-pounding 8th book in the bestselling House of Night series, how far will the bonds of friendship stretch and how strong are the ties that bind one girl’s heart?

I can say this is one of those book series that makes me want to reach into the book grab a character by the neck and shake them, the one I want to shake is Neferet of course. She is no good and never likely will be, ever. I wish that Nyx would smite her or something! Alas even though she makes an appearance on the earth plane and all, she doesn’t free choice and all that. Still.

Zoey and Stark have heated things up and I am enjoying the relationship there, although I do not like some of the darkness and other things that crop up but I do not want to give to many spoilers away with that. And of course there is Stevie Rae, love her. Always will love her no matter what. Overall it is a good installment of the novels and I enjoyed the look of where things are going, we even got some more time with Heath and didn’t that take an interesting turn!

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Lover Enshrined (Black Dagger Brotherhood #6) by J.R. Ward

In this “frighteningly addictive” paranormal romance saga there’s a war raging between vampires and their slayers. Here are the stories of a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. And now a dutiful twin must choose between two lives…

Fiercely loyal to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood’s bloodlines alive. As Primale of the Chosen, he is obligated to father the sons and daughters who will ensure that the traditions of the race survive, and that there are warriors to fight those who want all vampires extinguished.

As his first mate, the Chosen Cormia wants to win not only his body, but his heart for herself. She is drawn to the noble responsibility behind the emotionally scarred male. But Phury has never allowed himself to know pleasure or joy. As the war with the Lessening Society grows grim, tragedy looms over the Brotherhood’s mansion, and Phury must decide between duty and love….

Another great installment of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books. Watching Phury struggle not only with what he must do as Primale but his inner problems, and addictive demons made me laugh and cry and everything between. I know it was meant not to be funny but the fact that he picture his “wizard” or inner bad voice as a ring wraith made me giggle a bit and of course my inner geek cheered.

As with all of the books while it is based mostly on one Brother we get the stories twined together of others and the tracks laid for us for what is to come. We learn more of John Matthew and how he feels, and works with his friends. Also the big kicker Tohr is found and returned to the fold.

All in all a fantastic book with threads of story that wrap around you and make you remember them for later!

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: A Lady of Secret Devotion (Ladies of Liberty #3) by Tracie Peterson

Eager to ease the financial burdens of her family, Cassandra Stover is thrilled when she is hired to be a companion to Mrs. Jameston, a wealthy society woman. Cassie finds herself living a life she’d never imagined-and growing close to the elderly woman who treats her like a daughter.

Her new position is tarnished only by Mrs. Jameston’s son. As Sebastian’s resentment and cruelty toward his mother mount, Cassie begins to harbor concerns for her employer’s safety–and ultimately her own. When Sebastian is suspected of fraud, insurance investigator Mark Langford solicits Cassie’s help to uncover the truth. But what begins as a game of pretense is quickly complicated by matters of the heart.

While I enjoyed this story as I have pretty much enjoyed the rest of the series, this was not my favorite of the set. Cassie is an interesting character and her eventual match as historical fictions go is also a character that draws you in. I am not sure why I could not fully click with this one maybe it is the time of year. Overall however it is a light, nice historical fiction read that has Christian themes but does not cram them down your throat. The theme works well within the period of the piece of course. So the short of this one is I would recommend it, a good read I just did not fully connect with it.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Bloody Bones (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #5) by Laurell K. Hamilton

In Laurell K. Hamilton’s New York Times bestselling novels, Anita Blake, vampire hunter and animator, takes a bite out of crime-of the supernatural kind. But even someone who deals with death on a daily basis can be unnerved by its power…

When Branson, Missouri, is hit with a death wave-four unsolved murders-it doesn’t take an expert to realize that all is not well. But luckily for the locals, Anita is an expert-in just the kinds of preternatural goings-on that have everyone spooked. And she’s got an “in” with just the kind of creature who can make sense of the slayings: a sexy master vampire known as Jean Claude.

Anita is up to her ass in alligators again as she likes to say when she heads down to Branson for what should be a complex Zombie raising and turns into a lot more. I liked this installment of the Anita Blake series better then the last one there was a lot of action and not as much fussing this time around.

Oh do not get me wrong Anita is still complaining and still dating both Richard and Jean Claude but she seems to be coming to terms with it more. I also am enjoying the relationship play between her and Larry her new protege. All in all this is one of my favorite in the series so far and I am enjoying watching Anita evolve. I do hope she picks a suitor soon though because the werewolf vs. vampire triangle still makes me think of Twilight (and yes I know this one came first).

Anita is up to her ass in alligators again as she likes to say when she heads down to Branson for what should be a complex Zombie raising and turns into a lot more. I liked this installment of the Anita Blake series better then the last one there was a lot of action and not as much fussing this time around.

Oh do not get me wrong Anita is still complaining and still dating both Richard and Jean Claude but she seems to be coming to terms with it more. I also am enjoying the relationship play between her and Larry her new protege. All in all this is one of my favorite in the series so far and I am enjoying watching Anita evolve. I do hope she picks a suitor soon though because the werewolf vs. vampire triangle still makes me think of Twilight (and yes I know this one came first)

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Winter Solstice Winter by E.J Squires

In the land where ruthless Vikings and ominous shape-shifters roam free Eiess usurps the Northlandic Throne and suspends the seasons on Winter Solstice.

Lucia, heir to the Northlandic Throne, is taken prisoner and wastes away in one of the castle’s towers.

Ailia, a peasant girl, goes missing, and wakes up in a glacier cave months later with no memory of how she ended up there.

Soren, one of the Sentinors sent to defeat Eiess, has failed in saving Lucia and in defeating Eiess.

As Eiess continues to amass her forces, preparing for the battle to end all battles, Ailia, Lucia and Soren are about to discover that their lives are intertwined behind a veil of lies. Determined to take back the throne, they begin to form an alliance, but their mission to overthrow Eiess is stalled when the lies surface.

And when a forbidden love flourishes between two, anger, jealousy and duplicity arises, causing one of them to betray the others – a betrayal which puts their lives and the lives of humanity in grave danger.

Winter Solstice Winter by E. J Squires pulls us into the land of the Vikings a bloody time in history that was full of battles and excitement and in this version shape shifters. Nothing is as simple as it seems when you are battling an evil Empress and the three heroes of the piece Eilia, Lucia and Soren find themselves deeply entwined. But can they overcome the love and jealousy that comes between them in order to rise up and not only reclaim the throne of the lands but save all of humanity?

This book is going to grab every reader from the first page and hold you until the last, which is how it was with me. E.J Squires is a new author for me but one that I look forward to reading a lot more of because of the depth of work that clearly shows in this book. The binding love between Lucia and Soren will bring anyone who loves a historical romance in, but the story is really so much more than that. Layer upon layer has been created with this book to make it utterly entrancing. I may be going a little horn tooting in this review but I feel that strongly about this book, anyone who loves fantasy, history and love is going to love this book and I highly recommend it. The one and only complaint I have about the book is that it ended! I look forward to more of this saga for sure.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: The Lunatic Cafe (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #4) by Laurell K. Hamilton

In Laurell K. Hamilton’s New York Times bestselling novels, Vampire Hunter and zombie animator Anita Blake is an expert at sniffing out the bad from the good. But she’s about to learn that nothing is ever as it seems-especially in matters of the not-so-human heart…

Dating a werewolf with self-esteem issues is stressing Anita out. Especially when something-or someone-starts taking out the city’s shapeshifters.

Time to jump back in with Anita Blake and all she gets up to. I jumped right into this one after The Circus of the Damned even though I had started another book because I was hoping to feel the good book vibes for Anita again. Luckily the Lunatic Cafe did not disappoint. Although there are points where I again just roll my eyes upwards, hense why 4 gems not 5.

So when we peak back in with Anita she is seriously dating Richard, good ole friendly neighborhood werewolf. But Jean-Claude our vampire has not given up! Oh and guess what? She loves them both, hey where have I heard this before! Although historically Hamilton came before Meyers. Anyways the actual plotting and tense violence that shows up in The Lunatic cafe is riveting, and I found myself very concerned and rather surprised on who the “big bad” killer was this time around. I had pegged someone totally different, which I suppose was the point. I was able to love the action and the crime part of the book while rolling my eyes still at Anita’s love life. I think it is turning into a bit of a guilty pleasure.

This time had all sorts of fun soap turns, from Jean-Claude demanding a date off, to him locking his progeny who loves him in a coffin for trying to kill Anita. To Anita loving both men and not sure she should be with either, to accepting a proposal to maybe having done so and of course laying down the no sex until marriage rule. At one point I am pretty sure I muttered, pick one or go with Edward (the assassin not the sparkly guy), so yes even with my complaints I did really enjoy this one over Circus of the Damned.

My Gemstone Rating:


Circus of the Damned (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #3) by Laurell K. Hamilton

First time in trade paperback: the third novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

In Circus of the Damned-now in trade paperback for the first time-a rogue master vampire hits town, and Anita gets caught in the middle of an undead turf war. Jean-Claude, the Master Vamp of the city, wants her for his own-but his enemies have other plans. And to make matters worse, Anita takes a hit to the heart when she meets a stunningly handsome junior high science teacher named Richard Zeeman. They’re two humans caught in the crossfire-or so Anita thinks.

Time to wade into the alligators with Anita Blake again, well she calls them alligators, Monsters the usual. Me personally I like Vampires most of them anyways. She can however keep the lamia and all other snake like things. Overall the book is what I am coming to expect a lot of action and Anita getting into a lot of fights, a lot of trouble and some people being dead. Edward makes an appearance again and you know for a killer I like him rather a lot. So why only 3 gems? I am so tired of Anita’s whining about Jean Claude. I mean seriously, okay I understand on some levels I do, but cripes. Even when it could have been life or death when another much more powerful and evil Vampire was going to take her and the whole city. I mean seriously already enough! So yes okay that is my biggest complaint and the level of the fuss really for me distracted from the rest. I will however be reading the next book…she has to stop fussing sometime right?

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: The Miners Lady by Tracie Peterson

When Chantel Panetta’s younger sister claims to be in love with Orlando Vittorio, Chantel knows there is no hope. The Panettas and Vittorios have been sworn enemies for decades, and young love cannot heal the deep wounds between the two iron-mining families. Yet, unable to resist Isabella’s pleas, Chantel agrees to help her sister spend time with Orlando…only to have a run-in with Dante, Orlando’s brother. The older, more handsome one.
Chantel can’t deny the attraction that flares when she’s with Dante. But when a tragedy occurs at the mine, is there any hope that the hatred that has simmered between these two families might be resolved? Or will Chantel’s hope for love be buried amidst decades of misunderstanding?

This was not my favorite of this series, for me it just seemed to be missing some of the spark from the first two and it took me a long while to cozy up to the characters in this book. I think the only one I mostly liked from the start was Orlando. I did not dislike the book but out of the three I have read from this series this was my least favorite. It was not overly memorable for me, just kind of an okay read that probably won’t stay with me to long. It does have some interesting Romeo and Juliet style moments though between the feuding families.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Pasha: My Story by Pasha Kovalev

From Moscow to New York to L.A. to London—the professional dancer’s extraordinary journey to the glitzy world of ballroom

With his slick moves, calm demeanor, and brooding good looks, Pasha Kovalev has become a senation as a popular dancer. His talent and determination have taken him around the world, but as he shares here, it was the stark, grey landscape of his Siberian hometown, still reeling from the Communist regime, which provided the unlikely inspiration for his early love of ballroom dancing. With a strong desire to succeed, he moved to the U.S. in 2001 with his professional dance partner Anya Garnis and settled in Fort Lee, New Jersey. He auditioned for season three of So You Think You Can Dance in 2007, moved to L.A. in 2008, and he has since participated in all following seasons as either a choreographer or an All Star. From 2009-2011 he joined the cast of Jason Gilkison’s production Burn the Floor, one of the leading ballroom based shows in the world, during its stint on Broadway. In September 2011, Pasha joined the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing as the new professional dancer of the ninth season, being partnered in the 10th season with Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh. He speaks candidly in this heartwarming autobiography, on topics from romance to body image to the illness that nearly killed him. Most of all, he gives readers a glimpse behind the scenes of the flashy world of ballroom, and what really goes on beneath the veneer of sparkles and glamour.

Those who read the blog regularly know I do not often read Autobiography’s but then you also know my Dance husband as they well exception made of course!

Pasha my story is a delightful and very fast read that gives you a fantastic insight into the life of growing up in Siberia and then finding ones calling so early in life. Pasha opens up and shares with the readers more then he usually does. He is notoriously known as a private person and so many of his fans call him an international man of mystery. This book gives us a peek beyond the curtain as it were and shows us the man behind the dancer. I did find however, even in this it was still kept at a level that kept most of his privacy. I admire that. Giving us the right information to know more, without comprising himself or seeming self serving. You truly follow the journey he takes from Russia to everywhere else in the world, all on hard work and talent. This really is a fantastic and inspiring read with some food for thought that will have you striving to reach out and grasp at your own goals in life.

My Gemstone Rating:


Book Review: Confessions of an Ugly Step Sister by Gregory Maguire

We have all heard the story of Cinderella, the beautiful child cast out to slave among the ashes. But what of her stepsisters, the homely pair exiled into ignominy by the fame of their lovely sibling? What fate befell those untouched by beauty … and what curses accompanied Cinderella’s looks?

Set against the backdrop of seventeenth-century Holland, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister tells the story of Iris, an unlikely heroine who finds herself swept from the lowly streets of Haarlem to a strange world of wealth, artifice, and ambition. Iris’s path quickly becomes intertwined with that of Clara, the mysterious and unnaturally beautiful girl destined to become her sister. While Clara retreats to the cinders of the family hearth, Iris seeks out the shadowy secrets of her new household — and the treacherous truth of her former life.

This was an interesting read for me. I liked a lot of things about it the different take on things, and the wicked kind of flavor too it. However there were some things that I did not like about it as well, the flow was not as good as I had hoped mostly. So how did I feel about this book? Overall it was just kind of a meh feeling. I did not love it I did not hate it. Was a decent read but not one I can rave about.

My Gemstone Rating:


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