Monday, August 31, 2015

Quote of the Day

Though the sky was still cloudy, the rain had stopped hours ago, leaving a thin sheen of dampness that made the glade glisten silver in the lantern light.

"It's like something out of a fairy tale," John said. "Or a slasher film." He glanced around nervously. "Are there wolves nearby?"

"If by nearby, you mean Norway, yes."

Playing for Keeps by Avery Cockburn

Review: The Paper Swan by Leylah Attar

It's not everyday that a book touches you right in the center of your being. We read to escape, to understand other people, to visit places we'll never see. And every so often a book comes along, that on the surface has no resemblance whatsoever to your life, yet tells a story that speaks your truth, that makes you stop and look around and wonder how they knew. How could a story so vastly different from your own just understand, just know what you know about the world?

Today, for me, that book was The Paper Swan by Leylah Attar. By categories this is a contemporary romance written and published by an independent author. But it's also so much more. The story is gripping, equal parts breathtaking and frustrating, hideous and beautiful, and always utterly captivating. I started the book late in the evening, read much later that I should have, then read before, during, and after work, finishing in mere hours. Because I couldn't stop, I had to know what happened!

Come with me through the jump and I'll tell you why The Paper Swan is one of the best books I've read this year. Maybe ever. Spoiler free. Because it has to be spoiler free. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Quote of the Day

Fangirl Friday - Jill Shalvis and the Lucky Harbor series

I've done something this year I haven't done in a long, long time. I've been reading romances. Yes you know just contemporary romances. I can honestly say it's not something I've done since, well probably twenty or more years. Shock, horror I've actually been enjoying them. I know I shouldn't sound so surprised. After all, millions of romances are read around the world every year. What I've stumbled upon is one author that I just can't seem to get enough of - Jill Shalvis. Romance writer extraordinaire. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Quote of the Day

"We fit the only way two fucked up people could possibly fit together. I saw darkness in her beauty, and she saw beauty in my darkness. Yin and yang. Black and white. Beauty and scars; fury and forgiveness. She should’ve been my nemesis, but in her, I found something I didn’t know I was looking for. I shouldn’t have wanted her."

~~Keri Lake

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Quote of the Day


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

Comfort Reading

What do you consider to be "comfort food?" Maybe yours is mac & cheese, meatloaf or a tuna sandwich, like me. Whatever it is, it's what you go to when you need to feel warm, safe and comforted. Memories of home, family and friends are often tied to food because we experience them together.

Sometimes books feel the same way--comforting and satisfying. Come with me through the jump and I'll tell you about one of my comforting book series. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Quote of the Day

“Spanish, huh?" he said, glancing down at the scattered papers as he grabbed them. "Can you say anything interesting?"
"El tono de tu voz hace que queria estrangularme." I stood up and waited for him to hand over my papers.
"That sounds sexy," he said, getting to his feet and handing me the stack of Spanish work he'd swept together. "What's it mean?"
"The sound of your voice makes me want to strangle myself."

What the Wenches Are Reading


“[D]on't ever apologize to an author for buying something in paperback, or taking it out from a library (that's what they're there for. Use your library). Don't apologize to this author for buying books second hand, or getting them from bookcrossing or borrowing a friend's copy. What's important to me is that people read the books and enjoy them, and that, at some point in there, the book was bought by someone. And that people who like things, tell other people. The most important thing is that people read... ” 

― Neil Gaiman

Click through to see what we're reading this week, Saucy Reader. And share your reading list in the comments below!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Quote of the Day

"I will kill anything that tries to hurt you," he said, his voice quiet. "I know. I will kill anything that tries to hurt you," I told him. Curran looked at me. "I just can't figure out what to do when you hurt yourself. Who am I mad at?" I opened my mouth. Nothing smart came to mind. "If anyone can figure it out, it would be you. You're the only one who'll put up with me."

~ Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

Four M/M Romance Mini Reviews

Care Blackstone O'Flaherty has put together four mini reviews of the latest M/M romance she has been reading. There is football, hot contractors and, ummm, a funeral director? If you are looking for a new romance book to read, one of the below might be just the ticket.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Quote of the Day

"In fact, schedule a call with HR so we can look at our maternity-leave policies across the board."

When Tammy said nothing, she looked at the other woman. The assistant's face was nonplussed. "Is there a problem?" Akira inquired.
"No, ma'am. That is.. very kind of you, is all."
Hardly. "I like hiring good, competent women. It's not our fault parasites can grow inside our wombs and wreck our bodies and imbalance our hormones."
"I mean, it's not our fault delightful gifts from God bless our lives. And everything else."

Fangirl Friday: Audio Books

​You may have noticed from our What the Wenches are Reading posts that I do a lot of my reading in audio book format. I have a somewhat long commute, 45 minutes each way, assuming there isn't traffic. So, after I tired of my exhaustive collection of Broadway musical soundtracks, I turned to audio books. I've listened to audio books before, usually on road trips, but I didn't realize how much reading I could get done this way. It was an unexpected gift from me to me. So, for the Anne edition of Fangirl Friday, I'm going to gush a little bit more on my love of audio books.
Keep reading after the break!​

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Quote of the Day

When I was little, I’d fallen down a staircase, and I’d been horribly afraid to climb one again. But the size of the staircase didn’t matter, my dad had told me once. You took one step at a time, either way, so you focused on each step.
That’s why I made plans. Because he’d taught me to take fear and break it into tiny little parts. It was easier to beat back the parts when they were small. So that’s what I did.

The Veil, Chloe Neill

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Quote of the Day

“He had a bleeding cut on his leg and he smelled like shit. Her nose wrinkled. "Step in something?" she asked innocently.
"That I did not mind." He took a menacing step toward her. "What I did mind was being hit by a cab, then landing on the lap of a naked man. With an erection, Anya. He had an erection.”

The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter

Wench Review of...

Nicole Peeler's Jinn and Juice

Nicole Peeler is a Wench fave author, and I am one of the few Wenches who didn't listen to the others when it came to her Jane True series. So when we got the Netgalley for her new series, The Jinni, Jinn and Juice, and I saw the absolutely gorgeous cover (I mean seriously, look at that cover!!!), I jumped for a chance to read it!

I'll admit I'm rarely intrigued by Jinni lore in mainstream lit, since the mythology leans heavily on Western tropes and leaves out much of the dark, creepy and dangerous, and is more about the sexy, "exotic" stereotypes, especially when it comes to female Jinn in their skimpy belly dancing outfits, more sultry than terrifying and powerful, but I was willing to give it a try!

Click through to see what I thought! 

This review is largely spoiler free.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Quote of the Day

Our dogs don't care what we wear, where we live, how we vote, or who we call our friends, as long as those we surround ourselves with are kind. For they recognize anger, they recognize cruelty, even as they forgive more than any one of us ever would. Dogs don't know the word "love." To them, it's just a word like any other, a sound that defines or simply fills a lack, a word they don't need to know any more than they need to know the word for fear and pride. Yet, though they can't articulate it, they show it, as though nothing else had ever been, our form the shape and echo of all that is necessary to them.

What the Wenches Are Reading

Lots of reading going on in our Wenchy world this week, with quite a mixed bag of choices. Lisa Kleypas, Alisha Rai, perennial favorites Diana Gabaldon and Chloe Neill, as well as new finds Keri Lake and Sierra Simone are all taking up our reading time this week. 

Click through to see what else we're reading, and share your reading list in the comments below!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Quote of the Day

John's smile vanished. He stared up at Fergus, whose stomach dropped in horror.
Oh God. What did I say?
"Are you implying -" John whispered with a trembling lower lip. "Are you telling's not real?"
Keeping a straight face through his relief, Fergus laid a funereal hand on John's shoulder. "Young man, I'm so sorry. The truth is a hard, hard thing."

Playing for Keeps (Glasgow Lads #1), by Avery Cockburn

Review: Ricochet by Keri Lake

The only sure way to destroy a man is to take what he cannot live without.
Three years ago, I had everything.
A beautiful wife.
A son.
A reason for living.
Until a ruthless task force, assembled under Mayor Michael Culling, with a brutal strategy to make the streets of Detroit ‘safe’, ripped away everything I loved in a deadly hunt called The Culling.
They tried to kill me, too. I wish they had. Now I'm cursed by the memories of that night, and the words I whispered to my dying wife.
A promise—to avenge the wrong and set it right.
I’m no longer Nick Ryder. I’m a masked vigilante. Faceless. Loveless. Fearless. A man with nothing left to lose—one who's seen the dark and violent truth behind the city’s flawless veneer.
Michael Culling doesn’t know who I am. Or what I want. All he knows is that I’ve kidnapped his beautiful wife.
An eye for an eye—isn’t that how the saying goes? And Aubree Culling is the perfect pawn to destroy him.
If she doesn’t destroy me first.

At this point I'm not even sure what I was looking for when I saw that Zee had marked this book To Read and told her that we needed to read it next. Maybe the blurb intrigued me, maybe I loved the idea of reading a novel set in Detroit, maybe I remembered how much I loved The Punisher movie and thought this would be like that in some ways. Whatever it was that made me pick up this book, I'm so glad I did.

I can't say that "dark romance" is a sub-genre that I'm often (or ever!) drawn to, but I've read a lot of contemporary this summer, which also isn't my usual, so I'm glad that I'm reading different things. After Ricochet I'm sure to be reading more dark romance. Brutal, difficult to read, graphic, and explicit this book also had a wonderful ray of hope that kept me turning pages into the wee hours of the morning, thinking about it all day at work, dying to finish my adult responsibilities so that I could get back to it.

Come with me through the jump and I'll tell you all about how this book wrecked me in the best possible way. Spoiler free, because the surprises need to be surprises.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Quote of the Day

Fangirl Fridays – Exercising my ABCs

An Exercise in ABCs

I've always marveled at the talent and creativity of good authors. Their ability to create a whole world of characters, emotions, places from imagination, weaving a fictional piece of life that can sweep us off our feet. For years I wanted to have this ability, even a fraction of it. So I started playing with words, creating paragraphs, moving them around, and now have a few "pieces" I wrote for myself, small stories, exercises in my ABCs, or in writing. Lately, inspired by an anecdote a friend told me — and, of course, by some of the wonderful books I've read — I wrote this piece and I'd like to share it with you after the jump.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Quote of the Day

"You taught me to be brave again, Nate." I swiped at the tears, my heart catching painfully as his eyes
seared into mine. "How can such a coward teach someone to be brave?"
He flinched. 
"You know what else you taught me?"
He didn’t answer. 
"You taught me to believe in myself all the way through. You taught me that I’m worth more than what I see in the mirror. So today, as you try to teach me the opposite lesson, I say fuck you." I smiled humorlessly, licking the salty tears off my lips. "I deserve to be loved. All or nothing."

Before Jamaica Lane
~~Samantha Young 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Quote of the Day

Jamie blinked, brought up short by the assault. Shading his eyes against the dazzle from the window, he peered down into the shadows.

"Oh, hallo there, wee dog," he said politely, and took a step forward, knuckles stretched out. Bouton raised the growl a few decibels, and he took a step back.

"Oh, like that, is it?" Jamie said. He eyed the dog narrowly.

"Think it over, laddie," he advised, squinting down his long, straight nose. "I'm a damn sight bigger than you. I wouldna undertake any rash ventures, if I were you."
Bouton shifted his ground slightly, still making a noise like a distant Fokker.

"Faster, too," said Jamie, making a feint to one side. Bouton's teeth snapped together a few inches from Jamie's calf, and he stepped back hastily. Leaning back against the wall, he folded his arms and nodded down at the dog.

"Well, you've a point there, I'll admit. When it comes to teeth, ye've the edge on me, and no mistake." Bouton cocked an ear suspiciously at this gracious speech, but went back to the low-pitched growl.

Jamie hooked one foot over the other, like one prepared to pass the time of day indefinitely. The multicolored light from the window washed his face with blue, making him look like one of the chilly marble statues in the cathedral next door.

"Surely you've better things to do than harry innocent visitors?" he asked, conversationally. "I've heard of you—you're the famous fellow that sniffs out sickness, no? Weel, then, why are they wastin' ye on silly things like door-guarding, when ye might be makin' yourself useful smelling gouty toes and pustulant arseholes? Answer me that, if ye will!"

A sharp bark in response to his uncrossing his feet was the only answer.

There was a stir of robes behind me as Mother Hildegarde entered from the inner office.

"What is it?" she asked, seeing me peering round the corner. "Have we visitors?"

"Bouton seems to be having a difference of opinion with my husband," I said.

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Book Review: Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore, was first published in 2002 and one of my very dear friends read the book this year whilst on holiday. All her talking about how much it made her burst out laughing, cackle and crow with delight convinced me I needed to read this book. The plus for this book is it's also outside any of my normal genres that I would read. Something I've been trying to encourage in my own reading this year. I don't think I've ever read a humorists book before. So with much anticipation and hoping for a few laughs I dived in. Boy, was I pleased I did!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Quote of the Day

“Just when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, someone will hand you a shovel.”

What the Wenches Are Reading

Octavia Butler
“Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real.” ― Nora Ephron

What are you reading this week, Saucy Reader? Click through to see what we're reading, and be sure to share you books in the comments below! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Quote of the Day

"Take the emotion out of it," Curran said. "You will better persuade the other person if you make them understand the reasons behind your request. You have to demonstrate that in your place they would come to the same conclusion. Once they agree with you, saying no to you becomes much harder because they would be arguing with themselves." Once a Beast Lord, always a Beast Lord. Old habits died hard, and in his case, they probably never would.

~ Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

Review: Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels #8)

From Goodreads:
Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels #8)

by Ilona Andrews (Goodreads Author)

In the latest Kate Daniels novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews, magic is coming and going in waves in post-Shift Atlanta—and each crest leaves danger in its wake…
After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate—former Beast Lord Curran Lennart—are adjusting to a very different pace. While they’re thrilled to escape all the infighting, Curran misses the constant challenges of leading the shapeshifters. 
So when the Pack offers him its stake in the Mercenary Guild, Curran seizes the opportunity—too bad the Guild wants nothing to do with him and Kate. Luckily, as a veteran merc, Kate can take over any of the Guild’s unfinished jobs in order to bring in money and build their reputation. But what Kate and Curran don’t realize is that the odd jobs they’ve been working are all connected. An ancient enemy has arisen, and Kate and Curran are the only ones who can stop it—before it takes their city apart piece by piece… 

I've been a Kate Daniels fan for a couple of years now. What always surprises me, I don't know why, is that I like each book as much as the last. The characters, the storylines, and the series overall, is consistently good AND getting better and better!

Join me after the jump for a spoilery review of Magic Shifts

Friday, August 7, 2015

Quote of the Day

“It’s your fault that I've been reduced to such behavior,” he continued. “I assure you, I myself find it appalling that the only pleasure I obtain these days is chasing after you like an adolescent lordling with a housemaid.”  

“Did you chase after the housemaids when you were a boy?” 

“Good God, of course not. How could you ask such a thing?” Sebastian looked indignant.

Just as she felt a twinge of guilt and began to apologize, he said smugly, “They chased after me. ” 

 Lisa Kleypas, Devil in Winter

Fangirl Fridays - A Little Girl's Amazing Role Models

“We teach girls to shrink themselves. To make themselves smaller. We say to girls, "You can have ambition, but not too much; you should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise you will threaten the man."
Because I am female I am expected to aspire to marriage, I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support, but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don't teach boys the same?
We raise girls to see each other as competitors, not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”
 (Flawless by Beyonce, feat. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)

Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Quote of the Day

“Easy, luv. Don't stir the devil, or you'll 'ave to pay the consequences."
"I'm not sure I have any coin on me," she said leaning closer and kissing the stubbled roughness of his jaw. "Do you think he would accept my favors instead?" A sultry whisper in his ear.
Blade groaned, "Bloody 'ell, Honor. Don't tease a man so."
"But it's so very exciting.” 

Kiss of Steel, Bec McMaster

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Quote of the Day

“If you introduce yourself to anyone as Mrs. Dracula, I'll bite you in a manner you won't enjoy.”
Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost

What the Wenches Are Reading

For some, light vacation reading is a little more intense
Many Wenches are still enjoying a bit of light vacation reading as our summer nears its end, trying to prolong the carefree days of warm sunshine and freedom before they fade away.

What are you reading this week? We hope you’ll share your latest finds with us in the comments. Who knows, if we find enough good books, perhaps summer will go on and on...

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Quote of the Day

There are no endings. If you think so you are deceived as to their nature. They are all beginnings. Here is one.

(My favorite book ending this year!)

Blog Tour: The Veil by Chloe Neill

Seven years ago, the Veil that separates us from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil’s Isle.
Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused…
Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack — in full view of the French Quarter — Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs—even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head.
As more and more Sensitives fall prey to their magic, and unleash their hunger on the city, Claire and Liam must work together to save New Orleans, or else the city will burn…
We are honored to be a stop on Chloe Neill's blog tour for the debut novel in her new Devil's Isle series. We thoroughly enjoyed the book (you can check out our review here) and cannot wait for you to read it, too! With a deep love for all thing New Orleans we had just one question for Chloe:

Okay, that's not the only question!
Could you tell us about your inspiration for this series--both the setting and the mythology? What prompted you to want to destroy New Orleans, and set your new series there?
I'm originally from Arkansas, so I grew up in the south, went to school and college in the south, and vacationed there. I didn't visit New Orleans for the first time until I was in my twenties, but fell in love with it. The French antiques, the syrupy heat, the music, the food, the people, the attitude. Magic permeates the place.
Like Chicago, New Orleans has a very strong sense of place, of who it is as a city, of who its people are as a people. Both cities have their issues, undeniably. But like Chicago, New Orleans has the culture enough to stand on its own as a character. And, mostly, I was really excited to learn more about it. To research the origins of voodoo, the importance of Yakamein, groups like the Baby Dolls and Mardi Gras Indians. I know I'm only on the cusp of learning who the city really is.

 And did you HAVE to destroy St. Louis Cathedral? My heart actually hurt a little imagining it.
I didn't destroy it. The Paras did. ;)
Now the fun part, Saucy Readers! 

It's your chance to win a prize pack of Chloe Neill swag, including pen, bookmarks, lanyard, and more!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The fun doesn’t stop here. Want more chances to win? You can also enter THE VEIL Grand Prize Giveaway, which runs July 27 through August 7 on Chloe’s web site.
What is the Grand Prize Giveaway prize?
  • Fleur de Lis Amulet Pendant Necklace from New Orleans jewelry designer Mignon Faget
  • $50 Amazon Gift Card
  • THE VEIL 5″x5″ cloth screenwipe
  • THE VEIL tote bag
  • THE VEIL bookmark, sticker, and pen
  • Chicagoland Vampires bookmark, sticker, pen, keychain, and lanyard
Buy the Book!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Quote of the Day

Eriond smiled. "But the fire wasn't real." He looked around at the rest of them. "Didn't you all know that?" he asked, looking slightly surprised. "It was only an illusion. That's all evil ever really is - an illusion."

King of the Murgos by
David Eddings

Review: The Martian

The Martian book cover

The Martian by Andy Weir is not the usual fare among us Wenches. But, I loved it so very much I just couldn't pass up writing a review on it. I hope to convince all of you to read it. I've already convinced Head Wench Barb, who also loved it. Especially with the movie adaptation coming out in November, this is not a book you want to pass up. 

To get us started, here's the blurb for The Martian:
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. 
Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. 
Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. 
But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

So, it's about an astronaut that gets stranded on Mars. Let me just answer your question before you ask it. Yes, there is quite a bit of scientific and mathematics jargon. But, within the context of the book, it is not hard to follow. And, occasionally, the characters are flat out asked by others to explain what they just said in plain English. Trust me when I say you won't get lost in the technical stuff. You'll be just fine. And, our leading man, Mark Watney, MORE than makes up for any confusing jargon. I didn't expect to come out of this book with yet another book boyfriend. But, that is precisely what happened. I can nearly guarantee that you too will have a new book boyfriend by the end.

Keep reading to hear more of my thoughts on The Martian!