Friday, 1 November 2013

Clean Out Your e-Reader Challenge: Goals

COYER Challenge Logo
Hosted by Fantasy is More Fun and Because Reading is better than real life, the purpose of this challenge is to read some of the Freebies and ARCs that have been on your e-Reader since the beginning of time...
This challenge couldn't come at a better time as I have dozens of Kindle Freebies just waiting to be read. I'll be going with the Lightly Clean option and of course, I have already changed my mind about what to read from my initial sign up post. Here are the new possibilities (there is no way I will read them all but maybe I can knock off a couple):


Lost in Shadow (Shadow Walkers, #1)Blood of Angels (Blood Hunters, #2)Wait For MeHead To Head (Claire Morgan, #1)Stolen Fury (Stolen Trilogy, #1)Ritual SinsThe Gingerbread Man

Looking forward to your comments and stopping by the participating blogs!


Sunday, 13 October 2013

Sunday Post #10: September Wrap Up

The Sunday Post
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. The purpose of this meme is to showcase new book acquisitions and interesting posts from the previous week. 

Haven't had much time to blog in the last couple of weeks but now that the academic year has started (and the endless meetings are over), I'm hoping to have more time :0)

I did, however, manage a Hunk of the Week post, yay! 

Anyway, here is the wrap up for September - better late than never...

I read 11 books - mainly  UF with some PNR and romantic suspense reads as well.

My favorite book for the month was Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews and the worst was Heat Stroke by Rachel Caine although it did have its moments and David is a scrumptious hero.


Best hunky hotties for September were Curran in Magic Rises (despite one or two bad kitty moments) and Owen Grayson in Venom by Jennifer Estep.


The Anti-Hottie Hero award goes to Jonathan in Heat Stroke. He really needs to learn to keep his mouth shut to stop all the garbage from coming out - jerk! 

The best Kick-Ass Heroine was Kate Daniels in Magic Rises (of course) and I also loved Gin Blanco in Venom.  


The special power that caught my eye was Rose Drayton's flash in On The Edge by Ilona Andrews
   
I also got a couple of books this week:


My Lady Quicksilver (London Steampunk, #3)Rogue Rider (Lords of Deliverance #4; Demonica #9)


My Lady Quicksilver by Bec McMaster (Discover a New Love)
Rogue Rider by Larissa Ione (Borrowed)

So what have you been up to this week?



Friday, 11 October 2013

Feature & Follow #9: Favorite Blogger


Feature & Follow

Feature & Follow Friday is a blog hop aimed at providing exposure for new bloggers and at expanding blog followers. The hop is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read and is a wonderful opportunity for making new friends and sharing your love for books and reading.
This week's featured blogs are: Musings of a Blogder and Words and Tea Bottles.
Q: Feature your favorite blogger.
My favorite blogger is Sarah from I'm Loving Books. She has some really great reviews and features including the book banners that I'm sure many have on their own blogs as well as Random Reads and Cover Love, which was the inspiration for my own Covers to Covet.

I'm Loving ♥ Books

Who is your favorite blogger?



Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Hunks of the Week: Double the Hotties

The My Book Boyfriend group over at Shelfari has a monthly thread dedicated to the hotties that caught members' eyes over the course of their reading. The thread encompasses all genres from romantic suspense and contemporary romance to urban fantasy and paranormal romance with a few historical heroes thrown in. 

The academic year is starting here and I've been swamped in preparation so I didn't manage to post about our hunks last week :0(

The good news is that this week we have Double the Hotties!

Always On My Mind (Lucky Harbor, #8) 

The Hunks of the Week:

Ty Garrison aka Mysterious Cute Guy in Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis - "I have to say Shalvis certainly knows how to create the perfect male lead. I absolutely adored Ty. He is going in my Top 5 Male Leads for sure".

Styxx in Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon - "I've always been an Ash girl but Styxx did something to me. He is just so sweet...he breaks your heart!."

Jack Harper in Always on My Mind by Jill Shalvis - "Man, she writes great heroes" AND "He's a good guy, even though he was a commitment phobe but never really with the heroine"

Thanatos in Lethal Rider by Larissa Ione -  "Loved his vulnerability not to mention the tattoos!"

FBI Agent Finn McBain in Hotshot by Julie Garwood- "A real hero and hot to boot!"

David in Heat Stroke by Rachel Caine - "He is so scrumptious!"

Vikar in Kiss of Pride by Sandra Hill - "What a yummy Viking Vampire Angel he is!!"

Jamie Fraser in Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Declan Camarine in On the Edge by Ilona Andrews

Cam Rohan in Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas - "Yes please!"

Quinn Braddock in Midnight Lies by Ella Grace - "I alternated between hate and love with this guy, but one thing was always certain, he's a sexy, sexy man!"

Jackson Davies in Wilde Child by Molly O'Keefe - "He's a great guy, almost to a fault and even skirted the edge of the anti harem for a time. He's tall and blond with sky blue eyes and is the town mayor.

Callahan O'Shea in Too Good To Be True by Kristan Higgins - "I loved him the first time I read the book and I absolutely ADORE him even more now!"

Jake Caplin in In Too Deep by Samantha Young - "This is going to make me sound somewhat creepy, but he was actually sexier as a teenager than an adult. But we don't get to see much of him wooing as an adult, so I'm hoping that changes in the next book. And I don't know what it says about me, but I love a dirty talker. I can't help myself."

Cade in Faking It by Cora Carmack - " I don't usually go for the perfect, good boys, but Cade won me over. He might have a heart of gold, but man, he's pretty sexy. And I liked his teasing, playful side."

Curran in Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews - Oh My God he is such a badass hottie. I loved getting to see him and Kate together again :) Sigh he's just so awesome!"

Noah McCall in Return to Me by Christy Reece - He sexy, smart, dangerous, and Damaged with a capital D. Holy smokes, though he's hot.!"


Whose your hunk for this week? 

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Sunday Post #9

The Sunday Post
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. The purpose of this meme is to showcase new book acquisitions and interesting posts from the previous week. 

The academic year is about to begin and I've been busy working on lesson plans and such, so its been quiet at the Harem.

Nevertheless, I have managed a few posts and reviews...
   

Monday Musings - Censorship at Goodreads
Top Ten Tuesday - back again next week (I hope)
Hunk of the Week
Heart to Heart - Banned Books Week
Covers to Covet

Reviews:
Dead Beat (The Dresden Files, #7)Lethal Rider (Lords of Deliverance, #3)Heat Stroke (Weather Warden, #2)
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
Lethal Rider by Larissa Ione
Heat Stroke by Rachel Caine


And these are the books acquired this week:
Omens (Cainsville, #1)Deadly Descent (Bagram Special Ops, #1)Sword of Darkness (Lords of Avalon, #1)Unchained (Nephilim Rising, #1)
Omens by Kelley Armstrong (Audible)
Deadly Descent by Kaylea Cross (Kobo)
Sword of Darkness by Kinley MacGregor (Library)

Unchained by J. Lynn (Library) 

So what have you been up to this week?



Covers to Covet #7: Steampunk Edition

Covers to Covet

Have you ever chosen a book based solely on its cover?

Sometimes a cover is a complete turn off but other times they make me want to rush right out and buy the book immediately!

Here are some recent additions to my Covers to Covet board on Pinterest

Many of my recent pins seem to focus on a theme: Steampunk. According to the Wikipedia, Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that focuses on steam powered machinery set in an alternative 19th century Victorian world or a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world and includes elements of fantasy and the supernatural.  

Here are some of my favorites:

Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, #1)Heart of Iron (London Steampunk, #2)My Lady Quicksilver (London Steampunk, #3)

Love the Victorian feel to the covers for Bec McMaster's London Steampunk series. The backgrounds convey the smoky, foggy atmosphere of 19th century London and the juxtaposition with the models' bare legs adds an air of subtle sexuality.

Kiss of Steel by Bec McMaster
Heart of Iron by Bec McMaster
My Lady Quicksilver by Bec McMaster


The covers for A. A. Aguirre's  Apparatus Infernum series epitomize the best of the Steampunk genre. The streetlamps in the background and the gears and cogs in the foreground convey the genre so clearly.


Bronze Gods (Apparatus Infernum, #1)Silver Mirrors (Apparatus Infernum, #2)

Bronze Gods by A. A. Aguirre
Silver Mirrors by A. A. Aguirre


Ironskin (Ironskin, #1)Copperhead (Ironskin, #2)

The models on the covers of Tina Connolly's Ironskin books have a classy, sophisticated yet exotic and dangerous air to them. The light and shading together with the inclusion of masks add another layer of mystery and intrigue.

Ironskin by Tina Connolly
Copperhead by Tina Connolly

*Links to Goodreads




Friday, 27 September 2013

Feature & Follow #8: My Reading Nook


Feature & Follow

Feature & Follow Friday is a blog hop aimed at providing exposure for new bloggers and at expanding blog followers. The hop is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read and is a wonderful opportunity for making new friends and sharing your love for books and reading.
This week's featured blogs are: Musings of a Blogder and Words and Tea Bottles.
Q: Reading Nook Tour: Give us a tour of your favorite reading spots.
Hmm... I used to be able to read anywhere and in any position - lying upside down was a real favorite - all the blood rushes to your head ;0). Things have changed as I've gotten older and now I prefer lying in bed with a cup of hot chocolate and my sweet Jack Russell (Tobie) cuddled up next to me.

Here's my nook:

 photo ReadingNook.jpg


Where is your favorite reading nook?



Thursday, 26 September 2013

Heat Stroke by Rachel Caine

Heat Stroke (Weather Warden, #2) Title: Heat Stroke
Author: Rachel Caine
Rating: 3 Stars

Review: The world building based on the use of Djinn to control the weather and other natural phenomena is very interesting. However, as in Ill Wind, the passages focusing on these elements are overly descriptive and excessively abstract to the point that they detract from the pacing of the book. 

The plot is barely existent until the halfway mark and even though the notion of Djinn being enslaved is gripping and the villainous characters are suitably creepy, it is difficult to muster any real interest in the outcome until the very end - if only the rest of the book were as good as the last few pages.  

Jo has tremendous potential as a snarky, kick-ass heroine although she hasn't quite gotten there yet. Moreover, as a Djinn, she is compelled to act against her free will, a concept that always makes my skin crawl, and she also has an annoying habit of evaluating every male character with an almost lascivious interest.  

That said, Jo's relationship with David is the highlight of the book. It might be the romantic in me but their chemistry sizzles and their emotional interactions are incredible and almost compensate for the lack of plot and problematic writing. 
Hopefully now that the world building has been established, the next installment will focus more on the story  and character development. 

Lethal Rider by Larissa Ione

Lethal Rider (Lords of Deliverance, #3) Title: Lethal Rider
Author: Larissa Ione
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Review: Best in the series so far as the Demonic Apocalypse plot reaches a climax and the romance finally lives up to its potential.    Fast paced and action packed from the outset, Lethal Rider begins exactly where Immortal Rider left off with Thanatos bent on revenge and Regan guilt ridden but determined to protect herself and her child. Thankfully, their love-hate relationship is relatively angst free as they slowly come to forgive, trust and love one another.    

The politics and machinations of the Underworld and its denizens continue although this installment is not as violent or gruesome as the last, and Ione illustrates once again that morality is never black and white and so-called good people can commit heinous atrocities supposedly in the name of doing what is right.  The only weak point involves the inclusion of the Daywalkers vs. Nightwalkers subplot, which is insufficiently developed and contributes little to the story or Thanatos's characterization.   

Finally, there are interesting developments in the Pestilence/Reseph storyline and some intriguing hints at things to come with Reaver and Harvester. Looking forward to what Ione has up her sleeve for the next installments.

Dead Beat by Jim Butcher

Dead Beat (The Dresden Files, #7) Title: Dead Beat
Author: Jim Butcher
Rating: 4.5 Stars


Synopsis: In Dead Beat, Harry faces some darker ethical dilemmas as he struggles to prevent a group of Necromancers from attaining godlike powers.

Review: Despite his questionable attitude toward women and his bad habit of getting his ass kicked far too often, Harry has finally wormed his way into my heart and it looks like he'll be staying there for good.

The plot is well paced with some nerve wracking action scenes and gripping developments in Harry's relationships with both friends and foes.

Although Murphy is absent for most of the book, her presence is keenly felt throughout and it seems that for Harry absence might make the heart grow fonder. Harry and Thomas also grow closer and their sibling banter leads to numerous laugh-out-loud moments. Secrets are revealed concerning Bob the Skull's past and Harry's contentious association with the Wardens in general and Morgan in particular comes to a head.  However, the most endearing character is definitely Butters, the timid little coroner with a huge heart who shows that courage can be found in the most unlikely of packages and at the most unlikely of times.

Finally, this review cannot come to an end without mention of Sue, whose contribution to the story cannot be overstated - you just have to read the book to find out why.

Heart to Heart #2: Banned Book Week

Heart to Heart 

Heart to Heart is a new feature here at The Hottie Harem. Inspired by Let's Discuss hosted at Oh Chrys! and The Fiction Conniption, the purpose of these posts is to either share a book or blogging issue, controversy or even a little tidbit discovered somewhere in the blogosphere.

September 22 to 28 is Banned Book Week and there are numerous posts on the Internet focusing on lists of banned books such as the New York Daily News, which focuses on the 10 Most Challenged Books of 2012 or Buzzfeed.com, which talks about the 15 books banned for the most absurd reasons

The one question that these lists constantly evoke in me is: Why is it so difficult for certain groups or individuals to allow other people to decide for themselves what they want to read and what they want their children to read?

Freedom is something rare and precious (as anyone who watches the news can attest) so why do we want to limit or restrain those around us? And believe you me, dictating what someone can and cannot read is the epitome of restraining freedom, just take a look at the books burned by the Nazis prior to and during World War II. 

So, in honor of my opposition to banning books. Here are my top five favorite banned books (there are more but I decided to limit myself to 5):

1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (banned for its promotion of witchcraft and portrayal of evil)
2. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (banned for having the words "black" and "beauty" in close proximity)
3.  In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (banned for sex, violence and profanity - can't actually remember reading any of these in the book though)
4. Animal Farm by George Orwell - banned in the Soviet Union for its anti-communist stance and United Arab Emirates for depicting a talking pig
5. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (banned for being offensive to Christianity)
 
What's your favorite banned book?

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Hunks of the Week: Sept 18-24

The My Book Boyfriend group over at Shelfari has a monthly thread dedicated to the hotties that caught members' eyes over the course of their reading. The thread encompasses all genres from romantic suspense and contemporary romance to urban fantasy and paranormal romance with a few historical heroes thrown in. 

Out of Control 

The Hunks of the Week:

Nick Robichaud in Out of Control by Stephanie Feagan - "He's Texas southern sexy and pretty mysterious. Sometimes on the arrogant side but he has to be when he's putting out oil rig fires. Double yum".

Marcus Marsden in It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas - "Even better the second time. Deceivingly uptight and unyielding, he's sexy and extremely caring."

Caleb D'Angelo in Storm of Visions by Christina Dodd - "He's an Italian bodyguard. As if that wasn't enough right there... I fell in love with him by the end of the book"

Roarke in Thankless in Death by J. D. Robb -  "Back with Roarke again ... He's still... Roarke:)"

Alec Kincaid in The Bride by Julie Garwood

Sawyer Thompson in Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis - "OMG! I want Sheriff Hottie in human form please! Not too much to ask, is it?"

Simon Hunt in The Kissing Game by Suzanne Brockmann


The Anti Hottie Harem: 
 
Max "Torment" Huntington in Against the Ropes by Sarah Castille - "His domineering ways were so over the top that he went beyond Alpha towards psycho-stalkerish. You can bet your supply of sweet tea that I wouldn't allow a man of mine to growl at a guy who just happened to look at me. Of course the heroine thought all that was just adorable, so whatever!"


Whose your hunk (or anti-hunk) for this week? 

Monday, 23 September 2013

Musing Mondays #7: Censorship on Goodreads

Musing Mondays

Hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…


• Describe one of your reading habits.

• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).

• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!

• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.

• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!

• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

My musing this week is ... a rant!


For those of you who haven't heard, Goodreads has announced changes in their Terms of Service that include deleting reviews perceived as being an attack on the author and deleting shelves deemed denigrating to authors such as "author-behaving-badly".  Click to see the Official Goodreads Announcement.
Well, this is CENSORSHIP plain and simple!

I am very disappointed in GR! This action demonstrates that the site is moving in a highly problematic direction away from being a site for readers to one that caters to authors. 

While I can understand GR's need to react in the face of some nasty incidents between reviewers and authors, this was NOT the right choice!

It will also probably backfire on GR as well as authors who seek exposure because readers will always find a way to be heard even if it is somewhere else and authors cannot escape it. Moreover, many reviewers may decide that it is not in their best interest to review independent authors for fear of being targeted by rabid fans and/or having their review censored. Authors need to grow a thicker skin, take the criticism and move on. It is never a good idea to lash out at a reader and if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen!

I have decided against leaving Goodreads, although many members are deleting their accounts, because GR suits my purposes for cataloging and discussing books and I love my groups and friends. That said, I am backing up on Booklikes just in case my reviews do disappear even though that is unlikely as my reviews aren't that negative and I don't have any anti-author shelves. 


What do you think of Goodreads' decision? 

Sunday, 22 September 2013

The Sunday Post #8

The Sunday Post
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. The purpose of this meme is to showcase new book acquisitions and interesting posts from the previous week. 

It's been a quiet week at The Harem as I've spent quite a bit of my time playing with Apple's new iOS. There are some great new features and some not so great ones but you have to take the good with the bad :0)

So what's going on at The Hottie Harem:

New Feature - created a new feature called Heart to Heart. Inspired by Let's Discuss hosted at Oh Chrys! and The Fiction Conniption, the purpose of these posts is to either share a book or blogging issue, controversy or even a little tidbit discovered somewhere in the blogosphere.

Design - finally figured out how to add an image to the popular posts section (needed to upload to Photobucket and add image HTML). Also added a Twitter feed although the widget is wonky and doesn't want to load half the time *sigh*.  

Joined Booklikes - Goodreads new TOS have encouraged me to back up my reviews by joining Booklikes. While I don't write reviews that bash authors or have nasty sounding shelves, Ive decided it is better to be safe than sorry. 

Unfortunately, no new reviews posted this week, although I've finally finished listening to Dead Beat by Jim Butcher and the review should be up today.

Now for some other fun stuff...

Monday Musings - None this week :0(
Top Ten Tuesday - Fall's Most Awaited Books
Hunk of the Week
Heart to Heart - The Blogging Bucket List
Covers to Covet


And these are the books acquired this week:



Lost in Shadow (Shadow Walkers, #1)Secrets of a Wedding Night (Secret Brides, #1)Stolen Chances (Stolen Series, #4)

Lost in Shadow by Cynthia Luhrs (Kobo)
Secrets of A Wedding Night by Valerie Bowman (Kobo)
Stolen Chances by Elisabeth Naughton (NetGalley)

So what have you been up to this week?



Saturday, 21 September 2013

Covers to Covet #6

Covers to Covet

Have you ever chosen a book based solely on its cover?

Sometimes a cover is a complete turn off but other times they make me want to rush right out and buy the book immediately!

Here are some recent additions to my Covers to Covet board on Pinterest

Wicked Enchantment (Dark Magick, #1)Cruel Enchantment (Dark Magick, #2)Dark Enchantment (Dark Magick, #3)Midnight Enchantment (Dark Magick, #4)

The Dark Magick series by Anya Bast is not new and its been a while since I read it but the covers have always appealed to me. They also reflect the content of the stories so well.


Wicked Enchantment by Anya Bast
Cruel Enchantment by Anya Bast
Dark Enchantment by Anya Bast
Midnight Enchantment by Anya Bast

Between (The Between, #1)Wakeworld (The Between, #2)

The covers for Kerry Schaefer's Between series are cleverly designed with the inclusion of scales on the heroines shoulders and the incorporation of dragons in the image - noticeable but subtle.

Between by Kerry Schaefer
Wakeworld by Kerry Schaefer

Silver Borne (Mercy Thompson, #5)Frost Burned (Mercy Thompson, #7)Night Broken (Mercy Thompson, #8)

The much awaited cover for Patricia Briggs' latest Mercy Thompson book is also out. The covers in this series are always beautifully designed and this one is no exception. I like the way that they incorporate modern life with the natural world.

The covers pictured are my favorites in the series.

Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs
Night Broken by Patricia Briggs


*Links to Goodreads