Monday, December 1, 2014

Good bye red hidden alcove, welcome to the e-reader junkie !

On April 7, in 2013, I opened the Red hidden alcove.
I was new to erotic romance, I wanted to keep a reminder of every book that I'd read and what I had thought of it.

It was hard to find such books in France at the time, so I bought an e-reader and ordered them on the net. Simple. At first, I didn't really know what to read, didn't know the authors, but now I've reached the comfortable number of 1612 books on my to-read list and I'm the proud owner of 758 e-books to read on my tablet... Those numbers are growing every day.
I never wonder what I'm going to read next, but I'm wondering if I'll ever see the end of that pile !

My tastes have evolved, the way I review books has too, I needed some change. I wanted to change the name of the blog, too, because I've turned from a closeted erotic romance reader who wanted a cozy and comfy place to share her tastes to a complete junkie who never forgets to take her tablet with her every day everywhere she goes.

"The tablet junkie" sounded a little too... medicinal. "The book hoarder" was already taken. But "The e-reader junkie" was free and was an accurate reflection of my current state of mind.

The e-reader junkie won't be a complete change from the Red hidden alcove, but I wanted something new and fresh.
There we go : the blog is dead, long live the blog !

Update of the second part of the month - end of november

During the hiatus, I'm still reading !
Instead of a weekly update with the Sunday post, I'm posting a bi-monthly update until my break is over.
If you want to have a good laugh, read this article : 25 erotica lit tropes that need to die. I've already read all of these at one point or another, even in romances ;)
Apart from that, I've been working on my new blog. It didn't turn out the way I wanted to, but I managed to build something that's pretty close ! Meanwhile, I didn't pay many visits to other blogs, I needed to concentrate on getting things done.
Now that I'm sufficiently satisfied with the results, it's time to say good-bye to my hidden alcove, so here's the final post before closing time :

Books read :

Short story offered by the author for those who reviewed 
her first two books of that series :)

Books reviewed :

I am currently reading :

Then I'll be reading :

Borrowed at the library :

I bought :

- free :

(I mistook the author for Anna Chastain...)

- cheap :

 - full price :

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Review / Sarah J. Maas : The assassin's blade (Throne of glass novellas #0.1 to 0.5)

Celaena Sardothien is her kingdom's most feared assassin. Though she works for the powerful and ruthless Assassin's Guild, Celaena yields to no one and trusts only her fellow killer for hire, Sam.
When Celaena's scheming master, Arobynn Hamel, dispatches her on missions that take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, she finds herself acting independently of his wishes and questioning her own allegiance. Along the way, she makes friends and enemies alike, and discovers that she feels far more for Sam than just friendship. But by defying Arobynn's orders, Celaena risks unimaginable punishment, and with Sam by her side, he is in danger, too. They will have to risk it all if they hope to escape Arobynn's clutches and if they fail, they'll lose not just a chance at freedom, but their lives.

A prequel to Throne of Glass, this collection of five novellas offers readers a deeper look into the history of this cunning assassin and her enthralling and deadly world.

Included in this volume:
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
The Assassin and the Healer
The Assassin and the Desert
The Assassin and the Underworld
The Assassin and the Empire

I read a lot - and I mean a LOT - of terrific reviews about this series, Throne of glass. So many that I waited a little before buying it - such unanimous enthusiasm kind of pulled me back, but I have yet to see a bad review about it. So I jumped in and joined the lot of those enthusiastic readers. Since I'm a sucker for order, I started with novella #0.1.
While it took me some time to like Celeana - she's too spoiled and in awe of her own reputation at the start, I loved the adventurous side of those novellas (hey, there are pirates in it !) and I just adored Sam Cortland.
Celeana may be deadly, but she really is a poor judge of character. I could almost pity her. A lot of stuff that I won't spoil about could have been avoided if she had just opened her eyes (and used her brain) but at the same time, she's only 16 when this all begins. Her character grows with the series and I appreciate that. A lot.

Throne of glass series, here I come !

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Review / Sarah J. Maas : Throne of glass (Throne of glass #1)

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. 
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. 
Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

One more novel I really, really enjoyed and whose series I want to explore further !
I recently read The assassin's blade (The throne of glass #0.5), which regrouped several prequels to the Throne of glass, and I wish now that I had read it after this novel - which is why I'll publish the reviews later. As much as I appreciated knowing what she had been through and what led her to Endovier, I think it's best to read it afterwards and somewhat explore her past instead of just following the progression of book numbers.

I still find Celaena to be an arrogant character, but I love her more and more. She killed people, yes, but she was trained to be an assassin, she was left no other choice and it didn't deprive her of her humanity. I loved the attractive prince who strives under the rule of his father, the terrible king. I loved the captain and the way his feelings toward Celaena evolved. I loved her friend the Ellwyn princess and her strength. I loved the magic, the plot, the mystery, the suspense, the pace of the book : all good ! 
Anything bad in here ?... Nah !

I wanted to read two short stories available on Goodreads, books #1.1 and #1.2 if my memory serves, but they have since disappeared. Maybe this means that another anthology of short stories is to be published ? I hope.

I want more Celaena ! I want more adventures, see how she will deal with the king, with the magic, with the prince and the captain, with the other countries submitted to the king. Will she be able to fight him from the inside ? I'm so glad I started reading this series after everybody else, because now, all I have to do to get book #2 is... click ;) Yay !

Friday, November 21, 2014

Review / Nalini Singh : Wild invitation (Psy-changeling #0.5, 3.5, 9.5 and 10.5) and other short stories

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.
Plus 2 never before published novellas :
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.

This is an anthology of short stories in the Psy-changeling series.

- I already reviewed Beat of temptation (#0.5) earlier : see here.

- Stroke of enticement (#3.5) :  Meet tall, dark and handsome Zach, with a voice smooth as sin and a will to lay his claim on poor and almost unsuspecting Annie !

"He let her go, but she had a feeling the game had only just begun. And that she was the prey."
But Annie has a will of her own :
"Then Zach spoke again, breaking her train of thought. "So you'll be skipping the dinner." It was an order plain and simple.
Annie opened her mouth. What came out was, "No, I'll take you."
See ? Good match !

- Declaration of courtship (#9.5) : Cooper wants Grace, but he's a very strong alpha and she's a shy submissive. How will they get along ?
"It would take time with Grace, the trust he asked of her a piercing intimacy, but Cooper had been called a stubborn bastard more than once. It wasn't an unfair accusation." 
And he does his best to woo her ! He even sends her presents at work :
"He could've had this delivered in my room."
"Please, Grace." Vivienne snorted. "The lingerie might be for you, but the message is for everyone else. Hands off sexy Grace. She's all miiiiiiiiine. Grr and snarl and grr some more."
Fortunately, Grace has a sense of humor and can stand up to him in spite of their different rank in the hierarchy :
"It wasn't a pity lay, was it ?"
Pushing up so she could look down at his face, Grace glared at him, then slapped his chest. "Yes. Absolutely. That's me, a woman who goes around sharing skin privileges with anyone who looks sad. Did I tell you about the engineer who broke his favorite tool the other day ? I had to strip right there and -"

- Texture of intimacy (#10.5) : Walker and Lara are finally mated, but will Walker completely open up after the disaster of his first marriage and the abandonment of his ex-wife ? Lara worries a little about that, she knows he's a lot to handle, but they're working together to make it. I loved the brother bonding between Walker and Judd :)
"My God," Ava groaned, sinking into the chair on the other side of her desk, "you're smitten. It's so sweet I think I just got a cavity."

I love all those changelings and psys. The adopted psys are adapting rather well to that different society, to the pack that is now their own, and the changelings are warm, friendly and loving between them as well as lethal towards their enemies. They also are terrible gossip ! I loved the character of little Marlee, who reminds me a lot of my youngest daughter (Silence wouldn't work with her either, she talks too much !). Reading about these people, while there is no major action in there, is simply watching them live, smiling with them and feeling happy for them.  

While I'm at it, you might also want to take a look at those short stories available on line :
- Clean and dirty (#9.2) : a fun and lighthearted Faith/Vaugh story ;
- Wolf school (#9.4) : lovely and fun, originally written to be a part of Play of passion ;
- Dancing with Cooper (#9.6) : Nice, but I prefered the first part to the latter.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Review / Tessa Bailey : Owned by fate (Serve #1)

Journalist Caroline Preston arrives at Serve, New York City’s hottest BDSM club, with one goal—to hate it. If her brother wasn’t trying to turn the family’s respectable financial magazine into a publication that features “lifestyle” pieces for the wealthy and adventurous, she wouldn’t even be there, trying to write an article about a world she doesn’t understand. But then she sees him.
Jonah Briggs doesn’t leave his post for just anyone. As the owner of the club, his sole purpose is to ensure that his clientele get everything they need, but when he sees Caroline, his only thought is what he wants—to dominate the sexy little reporter and give the most exquisite pleasure she’s ever experienced.
Caroline has no intention of entering that particular lion’s den—not with her family’s reputation at stake—no matter how dark, sexy, and complex the lion in question may be. But with every encounter, she craves more, and with every slide of his lips, she realizes Jonah might just be the man to break down all her defenses…if she’ll let him.

Anybody who has followed my blog even a little knows that I'm not into BDSM. At all. 
Domination in the bedroom, rough sex, dirty talk ? Yes !
BDSM, kneel and lower your eyes, punishments, follow my orders, "yes Master" ? The very thought of it makes my skin crawl, I want to bite. Hard.
So, why read such a book, then ? Because it's Tessa Bailey. She'd rewrite the phone directory and I'd read it ! And, to be honest, I've read worse than that, this novella is... let's say the BDSM is acceptable. Apart from the "Yes, Master" thing, it was rather mild.

At hardly 17% of the novella, it's already steamy :
"When is the last time you were properly fucked, Caroline ?"
She couldn't hold back a moan, her knees starting to tremble. "W-what ? I..."
"Never. The answer is never, because I've never fucked you."
Tessa Bailey's heroes seldom waste time.

Caroline, coming from an uptight surrounding, goes to a BDSM club to write an article for the declining magazine her father runs. It's the last chance for them to attract a different audience and save their magazine from ruin.
There, she meets Jonah, the club owner, who goes out of his usual ways to lure the beautiful journalist into his world. To make things clear : he wants her. They share this instant strong physical attraction though their respective worlds have nothing in common. But Jonah can be very persuasive ! She thinks he's not healthy for her, but he's determined to win her.

He has his own problems to deal with : people often see him as nothing more than a man with strange sexual tastes. If he wants the daughter he recently learned he has to visit him regularly, he needs to be seen as a man worthy of trust and respect.

How can the two of them be together while so different ? How can they accept each other ?  Will he finally get to meet his daughter ?

Trust Tessa Bailey to write another one of those steamy novellas with good characters, humor, steaminess and a dirty talking hero that will leave you panting. She has yet to disappoint me, I preorder all her books and they all leave me fanning myself, breathless... and happy !

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Review / Jennifer Armentrout : Stone cold touch (The dark elements #2)

Layla Shaw is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life—no easy task for a seventeen-year-old who’s pretty sure things can’t get worse. Her impossibly gorgeous best friend, Zayne, is forever off-limits thanks to the mysterious powers of her soul-stealing kiss. The Warden clan that has always protected her is suddenly keeping dangerous secrets. And she can barely think about Roth, the wickedly hot demon prince who understood her in ways no one else could.
But sometimes rock bottom is only the beginning. Because suddenly Layla’s powers begin to evolve, and she’s offered a tantalizing taste of what has always been forbidden. Then, when she least expects it, Roth returns, bringing news that could change her world forever. She’s finally getting what she always wanted, but with hell literally breaking loose and the body count adding up, the price may be higher than Layla is willing to pay…


I waited for it, I did, but I was a little disappointed after finishing it.
First, a warning for those who hate this : there is a love triangle. Personally, I don't care, but I know some readers do. Zayne/Layla/Roth. Who will she choose ? The good gargoyle or the bad demon ? I have a big weakness for Roth, but I have to say Zayne gained serious sexiness points in this opus.

So, what went wrong for me ? The love triangle, after all, but mainly because it was treated in parallels. You have one adventure with Zayne ? You'll have the same adventure with Roth. Not once : three times. So you come to expect what is happening, no more surprise. I know, this is a means used to show us how differently both guys react to the same situations, but still, I knew what was going to come.
And the Lilin ? I knew who it was right from the start ! The big revelation at the end was no revelation.

There were good points, of course. 
Layla's swear words, for example : "Oh no, save the baby pandas !"
Both guys are very sexy, that's always good.
Layla is changing again, discovering a new ability.
Danika gets a little more human and less "glossy picture in magazine", I appreciated that.
There are adventures, suspense, you'll love to hate cold and judgemental Archer, there is humor :
"School was kind of like a sanctuary... when there weren't zombies, Nightcrawlers and wraiths crawling out of the woodwork.
My high school was turning into the Hellmouth.
I giggled.
Stacey arched a brow. "What ?"
"Nothing. I was just thinking of Buffy the vampire slayer."

In spite of what I said, I enjoyed it, it was a fun read and I'm looking forward to the next book, I'm sure it will be better ! It's just that I'm used to expecting more from Jennifer Armentrout.