Friday, March 29, 2013

Absolute Fear review

I am blaming Elle Rossi for my recent inability to sleep - she recommended Lisa Jackson to me, and specifically Absolute Fear, and Jackson's books are so creepy that if I read them at night, I can't sleep :)

Needless to say, I enjoyed Absolute Fear a great deal despite a couple of character issues that really annoyed me. It definitely kept me guessing all the way to the big reveal and the romance is better than in the preceding book in the series, Shiver. Jackson is really good, maybe a little too good, at painting a picture of the very mentally unstable thoughts of serial killers. The plot thread involving Our Lady of Virtues and the family of Abby from Shiver provides great continuity but doesn't preclude reading Absolute Fear if you haven't read Shiver.

While overall I enjoyed both Eve and Cole, there was one sticking point with them for me that really brought the book down from great to good. Cole demands that Eve trust him and yet he is lying to her the entire time! Then he doesn't understand why she is mad at him. The flip side of that is while Eve does get very angry at Cole when the lie is exposed, as far as I'm concerned she forgave him way too quickly - I certainly wouldn't have forgiven him at all but that's why I'll never be a romance novel protagonist :) Other than that, the chemistry between the couple was palpable and their personalities were enjoyable.

Overall, I've enjoyed the two books in this series that I've read and am highly likely to pick up more books by Jackson in the future. 


Eve Renner has returned to New Orleans hoping to forget the past...but it will not be so easily forgotten. The cold-blooded killings that culminated in a near-fatal attempt on her life three months ago have begun again. The crimes are bizarre, baffling, but all connected to Our Lady of virtues Hospital, the crumbling old asylum that was once the scene of unspeakable madness. Eve's father was a doctor there, and she spent hours exploring its forbidden passageways. Somewhere in its decaying rooms lies the key to a terrible crime. And the only man she can trust with the search is Cole Dennis, her former lover and, just possibly, a cold-blooded killer. Now, as memories begin to surface, someone is watching, planning... For the sins of the past must be revealed, the crimes brought to justice, and the price paid--in blood.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Heart of Evil review

I really liked Heart of Evil by Heather Graham, the second book in her Krewe of Hunters series. Like Phantom Evil, Heart of Evil takes place in New Orleans - always a good setting for a ghost filled murder mystery!

While I had mixed feelings about Jackson, the hero of Phantom Evil, I completely adored Jake, the hero of Heart of Evil. He was a quintessentially good guy - smart, fun, easygoing, and talented. Really, what more could a girl ask for? He also just happens to see and speak to ghosts :) When the Krewe gets a call about a case at Ashley Donegal's family plantation, Jake comes face to face with the woman he loved and lost.

Ashley was a great character - smart, strong, all Southern charm but independent and unwilling to take crap from anyone. She was, however, not willing to admit that she's just like Jake - she can see ghosts, too. There are a couple of times in Heart of Evil when I wanted to smack Ashley for not being more open minded overall she was a lot of fun to read. At the same time, Ashley's strong enough to find a dead body and be able to do what needs done - no fainting, no blubbering, no hysterics after the initial shock. I liked that Ashley and Jake were written as equals and not one coming in to "save" the other all the time.

The rest of the Krewe make appearances as well and round out the book nicely. Graham writes vivid descriptions of place and action which makes the settings jump off the page and makes me feel like I'm in the middle of her scenes. I figured out who the murderer was in Heart of Evil about three quarters of the way through but I did have to go back and double check a detail to make sure I was remembering it correctly.

I'm eager to read the next book in the Krewe of Hunters series and find out more about the remaining members of the team.


Emerging from the bayou like an apparition, Donegal Plantation is known for its unsurpassed dining, captivating atmosphere, haunting legends…and now a corpse swinging from the marble angel that marks its cemetery's most majestic vault. A corpse discovered in nearly the same situation as that of Marshall Donegal, the patriarch killed in a skirmish just before the Civil War.Desperate for help traditional criminologists could never provide, plantation heiress Ashley Donegal turns to an elite team of paranormal investigators who blend hard forensics with rare—often inexplicable—intuition. Among the "Krewe of Hunters" is an old flame, Jake Mallory, a gifted musician with talent stretching far beyond the realm of the physical, and a few dark ghosts of his own.

The evil the team unveils has the power to shake the plantation to its very core. Jake and Ashley are forced to risk everything to unravel secrets that will not stay buried—even in death.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Implosion review

Implosion, the second book in Berinn Rae's Colliding Worlds trilogy, is even better than the first book! I was riveted from start to finish with the characters and the action.

Implosion is the story of Nalea's kidnapping by Roden that readers witnessed in Collision. Nalea's secret that is alluded to in Collision comes out in Implosion - and boy is it a doozy! Nalea remains the kick-ass Sephian I enjoyed in the first book but she becomes more well-rounded and gets a new depth as the lead character in Implosion. Her emotions and reactions were so human that I forgot that she was a Sephian several times!

I honestly wasn't sure what to think of Roden - even after Implosion ended. One minute, I'm cheering for him and wanting him to win thinking he's the "hero" and the next I'm wanting someone to kill him off because he seems like the "bad guy"! His actions, plotting, and maneuvering all made perfect sense but at the same time, left me seeing him very ambivalently. There's one scene - and I won't spoil it - where his rationalizations were much like those of a serial killer. And yet, you can see how Nalea could love him. That's the dichotomy that is Roden and I suspect not many authors would be able to do such a great job writing such a flawed character.

Much like in Collision, the action in Implosion is fast and furious throughout much of the book. It flows well and the vivid descriptions of battles and their aftermath are sometimes a little too vivid.

Several questions remain after Implosion that I'm hoping are answered in book three, Explosion. I'm looking forward to Jax's story and hope we get to see more of his friend Ace as well! If you enjoy paranormal romance, I definitely recommend Rae's Colliding World's trilogy but you need to read them in order or it might be confusing.


A cataclysmic war is brewing… Sephian warrior Nalea exists only to kill Draeken, and she’s good at her job. That is, until a particularly bloody battle, she finds herself captured by Roden Zyll, a Draeken commander known for his good looks and heartless brutality. Her tormentor ignites a passion she believed impossible, and she despises him for it. Worse, she fears he has no intention of letting her go.

Desperate times call for desperate schemes... Meanwhile, a tyrant has devised a plan that threatens to obliterate life on earth. Roden has spilled plenty of blood in his time, and he cares little for humans. But when he realizes his leader’s plan could lead to his people’s extinction, he plans a war of his own, a war that needs Nalea to succeed. But does earth stand a chance if its survival depends on Nalea opening her heart to the man who’d enslaved her people?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blood of the Pride review

Blood of the Pride by Sheryl Nantus is the first novel in the Blood of the Pride series and the first book by Nantus that I've read. It was an interesting read but it was a little uneven.

Rebecca is supposed to be a strong and independent PI but she doesn't come across as particularly independent - in fact, she seems incredibly needy when it comes to the acceptance of the Pride that kicked her out twenty years ago. However, she is smart, brave, and seeking justice unerringly so she's not all bad. Brandon, on the other hand, needs to have his ass kicked - by Rebecca. I couldn't understand why she didn't kick the crap out of him - he didn't seem able to take anything seriously and he was far too pushy for a guy who didn't seem able to back his attitude up. I really didn't care for him at all which makes for a less than fun read since it is a romance novel.

The rest of the Pride members came across less as a supernatural group trying to avoid persecution and dissection by humans and more as a holier than thou cult. The concept that they could be wrong about something - anything! - was just never considered. The rigid policies enforced by the Board are apparently bent routinely and yet they didn't see anything wrong with kicking out a fifteen year old who was considered "less" than the other shifters. Then they have the audacity to say that she's family and has a responsibility to help them? Does shifting cause brain damage because that's the only way that kind of logic makes sense.

As a 'find the killer' mystery, it's good - and full of action. But I doubt I'll be picking up the next novel in the series as the characters just leave too much to be desired and without a main couple I can root for and empathize with, I can't enjoy the books.

Blood of the Pride was published in print by Carina Press on February 1, 2013. It was previously available as an e-book from February 2012.


When a severed rabbit's paw is delivered to her office, outcast cat shifter Rebecca Desjardin recognizes the summons home. One of their own has been murdered--and a shocking photo published in a local tabloid--and her Pride needs Rebecca, now a private investigator, to track down the killer.

Investigative reporter Brandon Hanover wants to find out who slipped the photo of the half-shifted cat-woman under his door, marking him as a suspect in her death. Determined to stay one step ahead of the sexy journalist, Rebecca reluctantly agrees to partner with him to find the real murderer. But as their mutual attraction heats up, Rebecca finds it harder and harder to keep Brandon from discovering the existence of the shifter society--and her own true nature.

When the search leads them back to the Pride, Rebecca must attempt to Change for the first time in years to face the killer, and save the man she loves...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Shiver review

Shiver by Lisa Jackson is a fast paced romantic suspense novel and I found it to be very good as a suspense thriller but found it lacking as a romance. As evidenced by the official synopsis in which the main female character is not even mentioned, the romance seems to be almost a second thought as opposed to a main part of the story.

The chemistry between Montoya and Abby, the female lead, is not even remotely convincing. Montoya is a fairly typical cop character - he's smart, intuitive, tough, and tenacious. He's painted as a bit of a ladies man but I didn't really see that in the story. Abby is a bit of a pushover - she seems to forgive too easily and is willing to do just about anything to keep the peace, regardless of how bad it is for her emotionally. Additionally, Abby and her sister, Zoey, seem to be less intelligent that I'd like or maybe it's just that they are lacking in common sense. They know there is a serial killer on the loose, Abby at least knows details of the investigation, and yet neither of them bothers to mention several fairly obvious incidents that involve the killer to the police? It seems a little less than realistic.

I do have to say that as someone who reads a lot of romantic suspense and mystery novels, I usually have a very solid idea of who the killer is by half way through the book. Not in Shiver - the killer was a complete surprise to me. Jackson does a good job of giving some possible, and one probable, blind for suspects but not in such a way as to make the reader feel like it should have been one of the blinds - just as good foils for the police and the reader to follow.

Shiver is the third novel in Jackson's New Orleans series and is followed by Absolute Fear, which I'll be reading shortly.


Detective Reuben "Diego" Montoya is back in New Orleans. Thanks to years of working with the dark side of society, his youthful swagger is gone, replaced by a determined, take-no-prisoners stride. He'll need every bit of it, because a serial killer is turning the Big Easy into his personal playground. The victims are killed in pairs --"no connection, no apparent motive, no real clues". Somebody's playing a sick game, and Montoya intends to beat him to it. As more bodies are found, Montoya's in a desperate race to find a killer whose crimes are getting more terrifying and closer all the time. Plunging deep into a nightmare investigation will uncover a shocking revelation. For the past is never completely gone. Its sins must be avenged, its wrong righted. And this time, Detective Reuben Montoya may pay the price.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Beauty's Beast review

Beauty's Beast by Jenna Kernan is the fourth, and last, book in the Tracker series but it's the first book by Kernan that I've read. It was okay - I don't feel the need to go back and read the first three books in the series but it was interesting and full of action.

Samantha was not a character that I really understood. She was too sheltered and didn't seem to have any self-respect at all. At the same time, she was brave and willing to sacrifice herself for the good of mankind. Alon was practically schizophrenic - he seemed to have an almost split personality. But he was good to his core even if he didn't think so. Alon was pretty much a quintessential tortured hero type. Samantha's parents and brother really irritated me. I found them to be self-righteous and completely unsupportive of their daughter/sister for the majority of the novel. Yet she remained completely loyal and supportive to them. My favorite character was Aldaria, Alon's sister, who was smart, strong, willing to take risks with her heart, but also not willing to be a doormat or pushover for love. She would have made an exceptional main character for her own novel.

I did enjoy the action in Beauty's Beast a great deal. From almost the first page, there is attack after attack, fight after fight, but all with a purpose. The action moves the plot along quite well by helping the characters come to epiphanies and realizations they might not have been able to get to without the push.

If you enjoy books based on Native American mythology and with a lot of action, you will likely enjoy this book. I prefer characters who are more self-aware and more self-assured than Samantha and Alon.

Beauty's Beast will be published on April 2, 2013 by Harlequin.


He was the son of her sworn enemy… and now the only one who could save her

Samantha Proud doesn't think her life could get any more complicated—or tragic. Since she dared to save a human boy from evil spirits, Nagi, the Ruler of Ghosts, has been actively stalking her family. Still, she never expected well-meaning Thunderbirds to scatter them to the four winds, dumping her at the feet of Alon Garza, a gorgeous Halfling, for safekeeping.

Alon has never met anyone like the sensual shifter who has just been literally dropped into his woods. Because of who he is, he never wanted to be with a woman for more than one night. Now, to keep Samantha safe, his only choice is to claim her. But will his desire expose the dark truth he's been fighting for so long?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Arbella: England's Lost Queen review

Arbella: England's Lost Queen by Sarah Gristwood is a biography of a less popularly known figure in the Elizabethan era. Arbella Stuart was third cousin (I think that's correct) to Elizabeth I and first cousin to James I. She was, at one time, a serious consideration as heir to Elizabeth's throne. For anyone interested in that era of British history, this biography is a good addition to the field and gives a great deal of detail on a person who hasn't been written about in as much detail as the more well known figures such as Elizabeth, James, Robert Dudley, and others whose names are recognizable to popular audiences even today.

Gristwood writes with an amazing amount of detail and uses a prodigious amount of source quotes. Arbella seems to have left a large number of letters from which to pull information and, as a possible contender to the throne, her name and events in her life were topics of gossip and letters by a variety of officials of the era - from Cecil to James to foreign ambassadors. Like most documentation from that time period, there are gaps in what has survived and conflicting information slanted by whoever wrote it for their own political purposes.

Arbella's life is a rollercoaster with seemingly more downs than ups. Her fate rests entirely in the hands of others and yet she attempts to take control of her own destiny several times. Her royal blood makes her both incredibly valuable and equally dangerous, cutting her off from both of the avenues for which she was raised - ruling and marriage. Her attempts to get won or the other are met with hostility by both Elizabeth and James. Arbella seems at all times to keep one eye on her political ambitions which can never help her marital cause. Her family member's ambition is an equal part of the problem as, much like Jane Grey, Arbella is blamed for the plots of others - though neither woman is without ambition.

Arbella: Englad's Lost Queen seems to be the first biography by Gristwood and she does a fair job of it - it's a well-written and engaging read but Alison Weir's works of the same time period remain my favorites to this point. It may simply be that Gristwood has not found her stride yet and I'm certainly going to read more of her work.


An extraordinary life lost in history: the compelling biography of Arbella Stuart spans both Tudor and Stuart courts and encompasses espionage, a clandestine marriage, imprisonment and eventual death in the Tower of London.

Arbella Stuart was the niece of Mary Queen of Scots and first cousin to James VI of Scotland. Acknowledged as her heir by Elizabeth 1, Arbella's right to the English throne was equaled only by James. Raised under close supervision by her grandmother, but still surrounded by plots -- most of them Roman Catholic in origin -- she became an important pawn in the struggle for succession, particularly during the long, tense period when Elizabeth lay dying. The accession of her cousin James thrust her into the colourful world of his extravagant and licentious court, and briefly gave her the independence she craved at the heart of Jacobean society. At thirty-five, however, Arbella's fate was sealed when she risked everything to make a forbidden marriage, for which she was forced to flee England. She was intercepted off the coast of Calais and escorted to the Tower where she died some years later, alone and, most probably, from starvation.

This is a powerful and vivid portrait of a woman forced to carve a precarious path through turbulent years. But more remarkably, the turmoil of Arbella's life never prevented her from claiming the right to love freely, to speak her wrongs loudly, and to control her own destiny. For fans of historical biography, Arbella is possibly the most romantic heroine of them all. Hers was a story just waiting to be told.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Collision review

I need to start this review by saying that I am a bad reader-friend! I have had Collision by Berinn Rae* on my Kindle since the day it was released and yet I just read it - after the second book in the series came out :( However, having read Collision, I can now say that was probably for the best as I would have been really impatient for the next book, Implosion, if I'd had to wait for it to be published! 

The characters in Collision were fantastically written - flawed but sympathetic. Sienna seems a bit naive in the beginning of the book but learns, grows, and and becomes wiser with her experiences. She is willing to roll with a lot of things that would force most people to shut down but she also stumbles over emotional baggage and her humanity which keeps her from being too cool under pressure. Legian might be an alien and is definitely arrogant but he's "real" - his alpha personality and protectiveness are very similar to that of a human soldier showing that some things are quite universal.

The supporting characters are well rounded and left me wanting to read more about them which I always think of as the sign of a well written book. Nalea, Apolo, Jax, and the rest of the aliens and humans are a combination of comic relief and reality check for our protagonist couple.

The action in Collision is fairly non-stop and completely page-turning. I was never sure what was going to happen next and made several wrong guesses as to who the "bad guy" was as the book moved forward. I liked the pace of Collision for the most part though the ending felt a little rushed. There were a lot of loose ends left dangling but, as it is part of a trilogy, that makes sense and wasn't entirely unexpected. The only issue I had with Collision was that it could have used one more round of copy-editing before being released but that's up to the published and not something the author can control.

Collision by Berinn Rae is the first novel in Rae's Colliding Worlds trilogy and it is an awesome start. I've definitely moved Implosion, book two in the series, up my reading list! Explosion, the conclusion of the trilogy, will be published this summer.

*I do know Berinn and think she's pretty kick-ass! :)


Sienna Wolfe knows it’s going to be an interesting day when a man with golden skin and strange tattoos crashes in her backyard… and ends up tied to her bedposts. She likes her life just the way it is – simple, easy, relaxed. But when the gorgeous new alien in her life asks for her help in an inter-galactic war on a collision course with earth, she can’t say no… but she’ll soon wish she had.

Sienna struggles with her new, unpredictable world, which includes trying to protect earth from alien domination and dodging attempts on her life. And to make matters worse, her greatest enemy – who just so happens to have annoyingly good looks – offers her a double-edged proposal to end the war. All she has to do is give up her freedom and turn her back on the love of her life. Now it’s up to Sienna to pull off the impossible: save the world and – hopefully – live a little happily ever after.

Sensuality Level: sensual

Friday, March 15, 2013

Calculated in Death review

Calculated in Death is the latest in the long running In Death series by JD Robb - in fact, it's book number 36 in the series! And it was a wonderful addition to the world of Eve, Roarke, and crew that I enjoyed a great deal.

It might seem odd to some when I say that this book was quite humorous. It is, after all, a murder mystery so why would it be funny? But anyone who has read the In Death series will know that Robb writes some fairly hysterical dialogue and that her characters have a sometimes dry sense of humor. I find that I appreciate more and more authors who can write dialogue that makes me laugh during a book that is suspenseful and Robb pretty much hits it out of the park with Calculated in Death.

Calculated in Death follows the familiar pattern of the series and keeps the story line of the Icove investigation publicity machine going as it had in several of the recent books. Eve just can't seem to escape the publicity from that case, no matter how much she tries :) Unlike in some of the other books in this series, the killer is not revealed halfway through the book though Eve narrows down the suspects fairly quickly - it's not until the last third of the book that the reader gets to learn which of the strong suspects actually is guilty.

My only quibble with this book is that some of the new characters were hard to keep straight because half the time they were referred to by first name and half the time by last name and a some of their names were similar. Also, there was one detail toward the end that Robb glossed over and didn't have Eve follow up (I won't say what so as not to spoil the ending) that left me feeling like Eve wasn't as thorough in her investigation as she normally is and that disappointed me slightly.

Calculated in Death was published by Putnam Adult in February 2013.


On Manhattan's Upper East Side a woman lies dead at the bottom of the stairs, stripped of all her valuables. Most cops might call it a mugging gone wrong, but Lieutenant Eve Dallas knows better.

A well-off accountant and a beloved wife and mother, Marta Dickenson doesn't seem the type to be on anyone's hit list. But when Eve and her partner, Peabody, find blood inside the building, the lieutenant knows Marta's murder was the work of a killer who's trained, but not professional or smart enough to remove all the evidence.

But when someone steals the files out of Marta's office, Eve must immerse herself in her billionaire husband Roarke's world of big business to figure out who's cruel and callous enough to hire a hit on an innocent woman. And as the killer's violent streak begins to escalate, Eve knows she has to draw him out, even if it means using herself as bait. . .

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wild Invitation review

Wild Invitation by Nalini Singh is a compilation of novellas in her PsyChangeling series. The first two novellas, Beat of Temptation and Stroke of Enticement, have been published before but this is my first time reading them.

I always enjoy the PsyChangeling stories - I've read all of them including several of the other novellas that have been published in between the full length novels. I enjoy the world Singh created and the characters that live there. The four novellas in Wild Invitation were no exception.

I think Beat of Temptation and Declaration of Courtship tied for my favorites. Beat of Temptation, the story of how Tamsyn and Nate got together, made me tear up repeatedly and alternately want to hug and smack Nate! In the opposite direction, Grace and Cooper's story in Declaration of Courtship made me laugh out loud repeatedly. Cooper is an over the top kind of wolf and Grace's innate shyness made for some interesting interactions, to say the least.

Stroke of Enticement was good both in plot and in that Annie and Zach were not characters that I had already read about in any depth so it was like meeting new pack members and getting to know them. Plus, it's always interesting to me to read about a non-changeling entering a relationship with a changeling.

Texture of Intimacy once again gives us pack members we already know and love - Lara and Walker. The balance of their relationship and the way they learn and grow together is beautiful to read and I'm really glad that Singh chose to write it for us. As Lara and Walker's story was never a stand alone full length novel, it's nice to revisit them as they progress.

Wild Invitation was published by Berkley Sensation in March 2013.


In Beat of Temptation , innocent Tamsyn has always had a place in her heart for Nathan, a blooded DarkRiver sentinel. But is she ready for the fierce demands of the mating bond?

In Stroke of Enticement , a wary young teacher, skeptical about love, arouses the man—and the animal—in an aggressive leopard changeling who must prove his affections are true.


In Declaration of Courtship , Grace, a shy submissive wolf, finds herself pursued by the last man she ever would have imagined: a SnowDancer lieutenant said to be “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”

In Texture of Intimacy , SnowDancer healer Lara discovers the searing joys—and unexpected challenges—of being mated to quiet, powerful Walker, a man used to keeping his silence.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Wolf Prince review

The Wolf Prince by Karen Whiddon was disappointing. There really isn't a better word to describe this book.

The beginning of The Wolf Prince was really strong - a ball to "encourage" Ruben, the son and heir, to choose a wife despite his deep-seated reluctance to do so given that he thinks he's going insane. Willow, a fairy princess (literally!), who crashes said ball. An act of terrorism against the royal family and their guests during the ball. I mean, who wouldn't want to read more, right?

Unfortunately, it goes downhill from there. The middle of the book is a bog that sucks you down and doesn't want to let go. Ruben starts as a character to root for and then turns into a raging idiot - seriously, an absolute moron - and Willow goes from an independent princess who jumps into different realms to an unobservant whiner. It's unpleasant and I really wanted to smack the both of them upside the head and scream "Talk to each other already!"

There's not much more I can say about why this book irritated and let me down without massive spoilers which I really don't like putting in reviews, so I'll just say that I was so underwhelmed with this book that if Whiddon chose to write a sequel I'd take a pass on it.

The Wolf Prince will be published by Harlequin Nocturne on April 2, 2013.


Willow was unlike any princess he'd ever met… 

As heir to the throne, Ruben must choose an appropriate mate to preserve his royal bloodline—despite his fear that his true nature will destroy them both. Yet the female he craves above all others is a dangerous combination of fairy and shifter, a mesmerizing creature who inspires both passion and suspicion. Then violence strikes the castle, and the two are forced to track a killer into perilous magical territory. But with treachery everywhere, will Willow and Ruben's growing bond be enough to shift the fate of their two kingdoms?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ruminations on Ebook Resales

Slate has an interesting article on the Amazon and Apple patent applications for technology/processes that will allow for the resale of e-books via their respective marketplace ecosystems. This is something that has been discussed by a couple of authors on my Facebook newsfeed and the consensus seems to be "if it happens, I will no longer publish or sell my books on Amazon". It seems to me that this attitude actually misses the larger picture of what is (or at least might) happen in the e-book marketplace.

Amazon's patent (and now Apple's) is in response to a larger ecosystem of court cases on the "first sale doctrine" - a legal precedent set well over a hundred years ago and enshrined in the United States' copyright law ever since. For those who do not know, first sale doctrine at its most basic states that once a consumer purchases a good, that good belongs to them and they may resell or give it away without paying the original producer a second time. Now, of course it's far more complicated than that - there are other intellectual property/copyright/patent issues as well as international and export issues - but in its original form, that's what it was and - wait for it - it was originally about books! The original case was Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Straus for those interested enough to look it up. As with all court decisions and laws, this has been changed, adapted, extended, and clarified numerous times since the original.*

The basic premise - that the first sale is the one that compensates the copyright creator/holder and exhausts that persons right to distribution for that copy  - applies to physical goods like paper books, music cds, DVDs, etc. Amazon and Apple (along with other technology companies in music and movies) are creating processes that would allow for the application of first sale doctrine to digital works as well.

Why would they do this? Despite the "Buy" button on Amazon, consumers don't really purchase e-books - we license them. However, there are a couple of court cases currently being heard (or about to be heard) that are contending that the rights of consumers who purchase digital content should be no different than those of consumers purchasing physical content and therefore are arguing that first sale doctrine applies to digital content. The Slate article mentions one of these cases that focuses on digital music files - Capitol Records LLC v. ReDigi Inc. - and you can bet that any case that applies first sale doctrine to digital music files will be swiftly followed by applying it to e-books as well.

The point of this rather long-winded post is to say that Amazon and Apple are likely gearing up for the possibility that the courts will decided that digital content is covered by the first sale doctrine and they want to be ready to get a piece of the secondary market pie should that happen. Authors and publishers may not like the idea of "used" e-books but the courts may well decide that first sale doctrine applies to e-books in the same way it applies to paper books, in which case authors and publishers will have to decide whether to work with Amazon, Apple, and other vendors or not. Regardless of the decision of individual authors or publishers on whether to engage with specific vendors in a secondary marketplace, their e-books will still be part of the ecosystem and consumers will have the right to sell or buy them "used".

*I am NOT a lawyer but the basic legal information behind this post is readily available online.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Soother trailer

The incredibly talented Theresa McClinton from Making it Reel has once again hit it out of the park with a great trailer for The Soother by Elle J Rossi, out Monday, March 11.

I was lucky enough to get an early copy of The Soother and reviewed it in February. If the review doesn't persuade you to take a look at the Brennan Coven trilogy, this trailer certainly will!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Phantom Evil review

Phantom Evil by Heather Graham is the first in the Krewe of Hunters series set in New Orleans about a quasi-governmental unit that investigates the paranormal and is set up by Adam Harrison, a character who also appears in the Harrison Investigation series.

I have to admit that I didn't love Jackson, the "hero" of this book. Despite his experience with the paranormal, he treated Angela and the others on his team as if they were lunatics for believing in the paranormal. He also shot down every idea Angela came up with for the first half of the book. In turn, Angela treated Jackson as if he could never be or do anything wrong. It was a little irritating.

The plot was fantastic - it kept me guessing right up to the end as to who was guilty. The appearances of the various ghosts was creepy (in a good way) and always a little disturbing and unexpected. I enjoyed that "relationship" between Angela and the ghosts in the house.

The various suspects were all really well written - shady enough to make you suspicious but with just enough explanation to make them understandable and not obviously evil or guilty. The other members of the Krewe were great as well. The banter and interactions with the various members was fun and easygoing without being contrived in any way.

While I didn't love this book at the beginning and didn't warm up to Jackson until the middle of the book, I ended up enjoying it a great deal. The plot and guessing about what would happen made up for my lack of love toward the two main characters and by the end I really wanted to read more about the other members of the Krewe.

Phantom Evil was published by Mira books in 2011 and is followed by Heart of Evil.


A secret government unit is formed under the oversight of Adam Harrison, famed paranormal investigator. The six members he's gathered know a little of the otherworldly--each has honed a psychic talent of their own. Jackson Crow, part English, part Cheyenne, heads the group. Haunted by his experience with an ancestral ghost who saved his life as a child, and the recent murders of two previous teammates, Jackson can't tell if Adam's demoted him or given him an extraordinary opportunity. Despite his link to the realm of spirits, he's well aware that the living commit the most heinous crimes, with spiritualist charlatans existing merely to fool and seduce the unwary.

To counterbalance Jackson's careful skepticism, Adam Harrison has paired him with Angela Hawkins, a young woman who learned the painful lesson of loss at an early age. A police officer utilizing her paranormal intuition in Virginia, she already has her hands full. But Adam's call to New Orleans is strong.

The case: In a historic mansion in New Orleans's French Quarter, a senator's wife falls to her death from a balcony. Most think she jumped, distraught over the loss of her young son. Some say she was pushed. And yet others believe she was beckoned by the ghostly spirits that inhabit the house--once the site of a serial killer's grisly work.

Whether supernatural or all too human, crimes of passion, greed and desire will cast the pair into danger of losing their lives...and their immortal souls.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Shadow of the Wolf review

As with the rest of Dana Marie Bell's books, I greatly enjoyed Shadow of the Wolf. The way she painted the differences between witches, wizards, and warlocks was interesting and a bit different. The Beckett and Evans families were easy to relate to because, despite their magic, they are pretty much like most families and many of the members and their interactions made me chuckle, particularly anything involving the matriarchs of the two families.

Christopher is a pretty alpha male and expects to get his perfect mate - and for her to do what he wants. Alannah isn't about to give him what he wants though and the push and pull between the two as they find their footing with each other is fun to read. I liked Alannah's independence and spirit as I liked Christopher's need to protect. I also really liked Alannah's friends and Christopher's brothers and am hoping that Bell gives us stories for each and every one of them in the future.

Shadow of the Wolf by Dana Marie Bell is the first book in the Heart's Desire series. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in this series, Hecate's Own and features Zachary Beckett, which will be released in ebook format in April.


Christopher Beckett is tired of being alone. His wolf is howling for his mate, and Chris knows it is only a matter of time before his needs override everything else in his life.

He casts the spell all the Becketts have used to call their mates to them. What he wants is a woman of an older lineage, of power to equal his own. And she has to accept the one aspect that sets him apart from almost every other wizard: his wolf.

What Chris gets is Alannah Evans, a powerful witch of the Evans Coven. The petite, dark haired woman has no problems with the wolf. What she does have a problem with is the fact that Chris is a wizard. Since wizards and witches don’t get along very well, neither should they, but the sparks flying between them can’t be denied.

Chris isn’t taking no for an answer. When it becomes clear that an old enemy has targeted them both Chris will wind up engaging his enemy in a duel that could cost him his life.

Or worse: Lana.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Broken Flight review

Elle J Rossi's latest novel Broken Flight is dark, dramatic, and compelling and is the first novel in a new series called Angels of Punishment. Anna is a very relatable character despite the fact that she's dead - or perhaps because of it. She has a great deal of mental and emotional issues but the one thing - the only thing - that matters is that the love of her existence, Grey, is alive.

But Anna is being watched, maybe even groomed, by Azrael who is one of the oldest and most powerful angels. He's also sadistic and enjoys torturing and punishing people. So when Anna breaks the rules, Azrael is there, ready and willing to use it to his advantage. Only he doesn't count on Grey or the depth of connection between our two protagonists.

Anna and Grey are reunited but it's hardly the easy and joyful homecoming they could have wanted. Their reunion is just the beginning of a chain of dangerous and deadly events leading to a culmination that only leaves the reader wanting more.

I couldn't put Broken Flight down and I can't wait for the second book in this striking and seductive new series.

Broken Flight was independently published in February 2013. For an awesome video trailer for the novel, see this previous post


Anna James never planned on dying at age nineteen or ending up somewhere other than heaven. Five years later, her heart is still on Earth with her soulmate Grey, while the rest of her struggles to survive in Beyond. Not quite heaven and a lot like hell, Beyond is a proving ground where only the strongest souls are allowed to move on. With no way out, Anna keeps her head down and plays by the rules... Until she learns Grey is about to die.

Grey Wilson would give anything to go back and stop the accident that ripped Anna from his arms. But when Anna appears on Earth again, he quickly realizes things can never be as they were. Death and Beyond have changed her; brought out the dark side and dimmed her inner light. Before they can even revel in this semblance of a miracle, Grey and Anna find themselves in the middle of an angelic civil war where sabotage and danger lurk around every corner.

Anna's dark side is exactly what Azrael - the leader of the Angels of Punishment - craves. When Azrael lays out his demands, Anna will have to make the biggest decision of her life.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Knight of Runes review

Knight of Runes by Ruth A. Casie, published in 2011 by Carina Press, was a frustrating book. The premise is that scholar Rebeka gets sucked back in time from the year 2011 to the year 1605 where she meets and falls in love with Lord Arik while trying to find her way back to her own time. Sounds great, right? Yeah, it didn't really work.

Rebeka is supposed to be smart and strong - she has no problem whatsoever mouthing off to the local lord knowing full well that she's in society where men rule with an iron hand. But she refuses to stand up to another woman. It makes absolutely no sense. Plus, she is supposedly loved by all the common villagers but she never actually interacts with them so why would they care one way or another?

Arik might be even worse than Rebeka. He's supposed to be this great lord - intelligent, chivalrous, fair, etc. But he's a moron and an asshole. He refuses to listen to anyone if they don't agree with him and while he ignores or reprimands Rebeka every time she speaks, he lets his female cousin walk all over him and his people. It makes no sense and makes me completely unsympathetic toward him.

So between the characters not being coherent and Arik treating Rebeka worse than anyone else, I'm supposed to believe they randomly fall in love? Um, no. It just doesn't work. There's no believable chemistry between them. I'm willing to suspend disbelief when it comes to time travel but not when it comes to two people falling in love the way these two supposedly did.

There are other issues with the ending and the characters but suffice it to say, Knight of Runes was not a book I enjoyed and not one I'd recommend to any reader who would have issues with the above things the way I did.


England, 1605

When Lord Arik, a druid knight, finds Rebeka Tyler wandering his lands without protection, he swears to keep her safe. But Rebeka can take care of herself. When Arik sees her clash with a group of attackers using a strange fighting style, he’s intrigued.

Rebeka is no ordinary seventeenth-century woman—she’s travelled back from the year 2011, and she desperately wants to return home. She poses as a scholar sent by the king to find out what’s killing Arik’s land. But as she works to decode the ancient runes that are the key to solving this mystery and sending her home, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic and powerful Arik.

As Arik and Rebeka fall in love, someone in Arik’s household schemes to keep them apart, and a dark druid with a grudge prepares his revenge. To defeat him, Arik and Rebeka must combine their skills. Soon Rebeka will have to decide whether to return to the future or trust Arik with the secret of her time travel and her heart.