Friday, April 30, 2010

Review: Romeo, Romeo by Robin Kaye

This book falls into my New Author Reading Challenge.

I had seen a few reviews around for Ms. Kaye's latest book, Breakfast in Bed, and I thought it looked pretty good. Of course, if you know me at all, you know I couldn't just jump in and read that one, I had to start with the beginning of the series! Romeo, Romeo is the first book and Ms. Kaye's debut novel. I loved it!

Rosalie Ronaldi is a young executive who works for a turnaround company. She's got a boyfriend whom she's not serious about - it's more that she dates him to keep her mother off her back about why she doesn't have any marriage prospects. Then he proposes to her - and it's one of the most insulting (and comical) proposals I've ever read. Needless to say she drops him like a hot potato.

Nick Romeo is super sexy....and super rich. But when Rosalie meets him she thinks he's a mechanic, not the owner of several car dealerships. She ends up agreeing to date him after he tows her car, and the chase is on. Nick isn't looking for love, just a good time.

Rosalie tells him up front she wants no commitment and will never, ever get married. Nick is sort of taken aback because he's usually giving this line, not receiving it! They start dating and things are going well, they're both busy professionals and therefore only see each other occasionally, which keeps things from getting predictable and boring. Then, when Rosalie doesn't show for a date, Nick goes to check on her and ends up taking her to the ER - she's got pneumonia. Then he brings her home and takes care of her....and while he's there he gradually makes himself at home. (I liked how it was gradual so neither of them didn't really recognize what was going on!)

The thing is, he never told Rosalie who he really is, or that he's been trying to buy the auto dealership she's currently working on turning around. AND, he's got another secret from his past so he's afraid to meet her family. When her brother calls to tell her he's coming to visit, Nick knows it's now or never...but fate and circumstances have other plans.

This book was great! Ms. Kaye writes believeable characters who I'd love to hang out with in real life. I liked Rosalie and Nick and wanted them to be together. I probably need a dental check up for all the times I ground my teeth together in frustration with Nick for not coming clean with the truth. The secondary characters were well-written and showcased the fears of the h/h in an entertaining way.

Here's my one complaint: The characters were of Italian descent, and there were a couple of words and phrases in Italian that I didn't know what they meant. I blogged about this earlier - couldn't they put an index at the back of the book? I mean, I got the general idea, but I wanted to know. And I was reading this book in the waiting rooom at the hospital so I couldn't run off and look it up.

Aside from that one criticism, I thought this book was great. I can't wait to run out and get the 2nd book in this series, Too Hot to Handle, in which Rosalie's sister Annabelle is the heroine.

I give Romeo, Romeo 4 1/2 stars!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Do you Swap?

I have a very small area in my bedrooom where I can keep books. Therefore, I swap books (this is why a book has to be really, really good - or signed- to make my keeper shelves). I use my local used bookstore enough that they recognize me when I come in. She doesn't always take all my books though, so I decided to try PaperBack Swap.

Here's what I'm finding: PaperBack Swap is good if you have newly released books to get rid of and want older releases in return. For example, my copy of Pleasures of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole was snatched up before I could even refresh the homepage; there are over 200 people waiting for this book.
BUT, for books I am wishing for, it's not as quick. Here's a snapshot of my wish list:
Impossible by Nancy Werlien: I'm #9, they estimate a three week wait. Not so bad, right? (Although I'm a bit confused b/c on Friday it was only a two week wait.)
Patience by Lisa Valdez: I'm #224, they estimate a 25 week wait. That's six months, but okay.
The Summer of You by Kate Noble: I'm #91, they estimate a 46 week wait. Uh-oh, that's almost a year.
Wicked Burn by Beth Kerry: I'm #78, they estimate a 78 week wait. Ouch!
The Beast in Him by Shelley Laurenston: I'm #149, they estimate a 149 week wait. That's 3 years!!!
Then there are several books on my list they won't even give an estimated wait time for. :( I think the trick is to request them as soon as the book title is released, before the book ever goes on sale.

HOWEVER, you can get some older or less "in demand" books immediately:
Taimed by a Laird by Amanda Scott should be on its way to me soon.
Tumbling Through Time by Gwen Cready should also be on its way soon.

They have The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne, A Duke to Die For by Amelia Gray, and Compromised by Kate Noble ready to trade!

And, they apparently offer a few books to buy new through their store - I just bought Revealed by Kate Noble for less than $3.00 - New!!

The problem is that if you have older books listed (like I do) no one is taking them so you don't get the credits to get what you want. I think you can buy credits for $3.50 each if I understand the site correctly. I think if I didn't have my local used bookstore I would probably use PBS, but I'm more of an "instant gratification" kind of girl so once I've decided which books I want to use my credits on, I probably won't use it unless it's a book my used bookstore won't take and I can find someone on PBS who wants it.

Sooooo, I'm glad I can get some of the books they don't have in my local bookstores (why don't they carry the first book in series?), but am frustrated at the wait time for some of the books I want.

How about you? Do you swap? Or do you keep every book you buy? Even if you didn't care for it?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Review: Succubus Shadows by Richelle Mead

I feel like I've come full very first review was the previous 4 books in this series *reminisces about the old days (way back 10 months ago, LOL)*

I'm just going to toss all my thoughts into the air and let them land where they may:

Poor, poor Georgina. She just can't seem to catch a break. She's been the focus of all sorts of supernatural shenanigans over the past year, and to add insult to injury she's allowed herself to get roped into helping plan her dream guy's her good friend. So, yeah, I'd say she's entitled to feel a bit down.

She runs into some serious trouble and can't get out of it without her friends, both human and supernatural. I don't think Georgina realized what a great group of friends she had until this book. I loved the scenes showing her friends efforts to save her. The scenes from her past were an interesting view, like peeking through a window into her head.

I kind of see Georgina as the supernatural version of "the hooker with a heart of gold" (although she has sex for souls, not cash), and this book furthered that image. We saw how in her past she had a conscience and cared about the humans she interacted with. And in her present she continues to care, even though it hurts.

As far as characters go, I continue to adore Carter, although I can't really put my finger on why. And I thought it was sweet that he wore the hat Georgina had given him; I know that's silly but whatev, it's my review. And of course, his cryptic answers continue to infuriate me as much as they do Georgina. Jerome confuses me. He seemed to really care forher if you go by his efforts to assist her. But, I'm pretty sure he's behind Simone showing up in Seattle; I just can't figure out exactly why she was there - just to seduce Seth? I'm not buying it. It's got to be more than that. I also think he was behind Erik's "incident", though again, not sure why. He knew about Erik's talents before, I don't think he was suddenly scared of Erik's abilities. Speaking of Erik, I'm confused about the information he gave Georgina, in more ways than one.

And, finally, Seth. I'm really on the fence about Seth. I'm glad he seems to be getting his act together, but is it too little too late? I think he's doing the right thing though. (Does anyone else think Jerome was responsible for the photo? One of those "loopholes" demons are so fond of?)

Oh - and I really like Roman but I think he's a red-herring.

Loved this book - I give Succubus Shadows 5/5 stars!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Giveaway: Hannah's List by Debbie Macomber and $25 Visa gift card!

$24.95 U.S/$27.95 CAN.
ISBN-13: 978-0-7783-2780-6

#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber reveals a love letter like no other:

Occasionally, we get an opportunity to change our lives—whether it’s another chance at love, changing the path we’ve chosen or going back and making amends for the past. Hannah’s List is the story of a widower who is given an unexpected letter from his wife on the first anniversary of her death. In a remarkable act of love, Hannah includes a list of three women for him to consider marrying. With a unique twist and intriguing element, readers will be in for a wonderful story of a love that transcends time, hope that is exceptionally unselfish, and the possibility of a future otherwise unfathomable. An unexpected letter. An impossible request. The gift of a second chance.


I saw the synopsis and thought the premise of Hannah's List was unusual, so when I was approached about reviewing it, I jumped right on it. I'm so glad I did - it was such a sweet read! My review is here (4/5 stars!). This was my first Debbie Macomber book and I really enjoyed it.

If you'd like to read this book courtesy of Big Honcho Media, leave a comment below. One Grand Prize winner will receive a copy of Hannah's List and a $25 Visa gift card (to check out some of Ms. Macomber's other titles!), and two additional winners will each win a copy of the book. This book giveaway is open to participants with a United States mailing address only (international readers can enter if they have a friend in the States who can accept their prizes by mail.) Contest ends at midnight central time on Friday, May 7.

Double your chances at winning: Go check out The Book Vixen - she's also giving away Hannah's List and a $25 Visa gift card!

For more information about Hannah's List, go to
HANNAH’S LIST will be available April 27, 2010 wherever books are sold, or through

Debbie Macomber, the author of 92 Pacific Boulevard, 8 Sandpiper Way, Summer on Blossom Street and Twenty Wishes, has become a leading voice in women’s fiction worldwide. Her work has appeared on every major bestseller list, including those of the New York Times, USA TODAY, and Publishers Weekly. She is a multiple award winner, and won the 2005 Quill Award for Best Romance. More than a hundred million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. For more information on Debbie and her books, visit her Web site,

FCC disclaimer: This book was provided to me for review by Big Honcho Media.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Review and Giveaway Alert: Hannah's List by Debbie Macomber

I saw the premise of this book and was intrigued. Dr. Michael Everett had been married to the love of his life, Hannah, for 12 years, until she died. The book starts on the one-year anniversary of Hannah's death. Hannah's brother Ritchie gives Michael a letter she had written before she died, asking Ritchie to give it to Michael after a year had passed. In the letter, Hannah tells Michael how much she loved him, and that she wants him to be happy. She then goes on to ask him to start dating again, going so far as to list three women she thinks would be good candidates to settle down with and start a family.

Oh my gosh - I can't lie, the first few pages made me teary-eyed. Ms. Macomber just drew me right in to the pain and anguish Michael still feels at losing his wife, even a year later. His feelings for his wife are so sweet and raw and good. You could tell he'd gone back to living his day-to-day life again, but he was just going to the motions. After much introspection, and gentle (and not-so-gentle) coaxing from his brother-in-law, he decides to at least attempt to honor Hannah's last wish.

The three women on Hannah's list are:

Winter Adams, Hannah's cousin and friend. Winter owns a french bakery and is on a "break" with her on again-off again boyfriend, Pierre. When Hannah originally wrote the letter Hannah and Pierre had broken things off. Now, a year later, they're taking a break again, after trying uncussessfully to make things work again.

Leanne Lancaster, who was one of Hannah's oncology nurses. Leanne had been married, but around the time Hannah had started chemo Leanne's husband, an accountant, had gotten into huge trouble for unscrupulus financial reasons, and Leanne had divorced him.

Macy Roth is an artist/model /actress who was friends with Hannah but Michael didn't know. Macy is a bit of a free spirit, someone who takes life as it comes and loves people and animals. She's never been married and has a cantankerous old neighbor whom I loved.

All three seemed to be kind, smart, generous women. I liked two of them and thought they'd be good for Michael, one got on my nerves a bit (okay, a lot). And poor Michael, he was so out of practice with dating and he'd sort of jumped in with both feet; at one point he found himself trying to remember who'd cooked which meal for him!

I breezed through this book! It was such a sweet story, the characters were likeable and Ms. Macomber's style of writing put vivid pictures in my head as I read. I really liked Michael and his love for Hannah was so sweet. The secondary characters' stories were woven in nicely. As I mentioned above, I loved Macy's neighbor, Harvey, and Michael's brother-in-law, Ritchie - they were just "good people", if you know what I mean.

It wasn't until about Chapter 8 that I realized Michael's story was told in 1st person POV and everyone else was told in 3rd person POV. It seems like that would be awkward, but it wasn't; I don't think I've read another book written like that but I liked it - I feel like it made me feel closer to Michael.

While Michael didn't end up with the person I would have chosen for him, Ms. Macomber wrapped things up nicely and everyone did get an HEA. Now, if you're looking for "sexytime in your storytime", you won't find any, but if you're looking for a light, sweet read, then this is a book you'd enjoy. I give Hannah's List 4 out of 5 stars.

Come back tomorrow when I'll be giving away a $25 Visa gift card and a copy of Hannah's List, AND two more winners will each win a copy of Hannah's List, courtesy of Big Honcho Media!

I received this book from Big Honcho Media in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Review: Almost Like Being In Love By Steve Kluger

This book falls into my M/M Reading Challenge.

This book makes me laugh. And it makes me feel better about my own idiocyncracies. Because even if these are fictional characters, someone had to think this stuff up.

Travis Puckett is something of a nerd, and he's got the hots for the hot-shot jock, Craig McKenna. They attend an all boys boarding school, and although neither of them know it, they're both interested in each other. They do finally figure it out, and spend the remainder of their senior year talking walks and lots of showers together. Then they spend an amazing summer living and working together before going off to different colleges and lives

Fast-forward 20 years and Travis is a History teacher at the University of Southern California and Craig is an attorney in New York. And while Travis has had a series of hysterically failed relationships and Craig is in a long-term relationship, neither has forgotten their first love. After going back and forth and generally working himself into a tizzy, Travis decides to try to find Craig.

This book is not written in typical story fashion. It's done in memos, journal entries, newspaper articles, test answers, and the like. It takes a few pages to get used to but it really does showcase the idiosyncracies of the characters spectacularly. And I love how Travis and Craig "get" each other; even after a lapse of 20 years, when they think about each other it's eerily funny how much they're right about. I also loved Travis' friend Gordo. He was hysterical - and a true friend (and I loved how his life changed throughout the book as well).

I really, really enjoyed this book. I'm not going to pretend I got all the sports references, or the showtune references either, but for the most part it didn't really matter; this book had me laughing out loud in so many places. But here's the thing - I didn't like the end. I got all worked up over how it was going to be possible that they were going to end up together, it seemed so hopeless (I even wondered at one point if the author would turn them into a trio!). Then, sudenly, I was at the end of the book! It seemed to me to be abrubt and a bit vague about what happened - it all got wrapped up in about 6 pages or so.

The ending is the only reason I'm giving this book 4 stars instead of 5. It was a really terrific book and I'll be thinking about these two for a long time.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Review: Sinful by Charlotte Featherstone

Let me start by saying I want to lick this cover. A lot. Methinks this book should come with a protective veneer 'cause it's that lickable. I had to put my Kindle in a ziplock bag. Just kidding. Maybe.

Okay, enough about that delicious cover...I loved Addicted, Ms. Featherstone's first book in this series (my review here). In Sinful, the hero is Lindsay's best friend, Matthew, Lord Wallingford. I did not realize from reading Addicted how tortured Lord Wallingford is. Talk about your Tarnished Hero; he's as bad boy as they come: Condescending view of women? Check. Dysfunctional family? Check. Sexually promiscuous? Check. Skeletons in the closet? Check. He's been a terrible disappointment to his father, who's tightened the purse strings, and in order to fund his dream - an art gallery - he's painted a scandalous painting and auctioned it off. On his way out of the auction, he is attacked and left for dead. He ends up in a hospital on the other side of town, an obviously wealthy, anonymous patient.

This is where we meet Jane Rankin. She also has had a horrible childhood - she was an illegitimate child whose mother was deserted by Jane's father and left penniless, so she turned to prostitution. Although Jane was not a prostitute, she suffered the effects of having a parent working this profession. Luckily she was saved by Lady Blackwood who cleaned her up and took her in as a Lady's maid. Jane has been happy working for Lady Blackwood but recently took up nursing at her local hospital as a way to pay off debt, and once the debt was paid off she stayed on because she liked it.

When Lord Wallingford is brought in with a head and eye injury, Jane assists the young doctor caring for him. Although she's seen many male patients, she is attracted to him for reasons she doesn't understand. There is an intimate moment or two, and once he is better and able to leave, Wallingford wants to keep meeting her; he can't get her out of his mind. He is temporarily unable to see, but he knows she is lovely and he wants her in a way he doesn't understand. They meet once, but she wears a veil as she doesn't want the hospital employees to know she's meeting this man - she only knows him as Mathew, she doesn't realize he's the infamously scandalous Lord Wallingford. Their second meeting is heartbreaking; I felt so bad for Jane!

They next meet at Lindsay and Annais' wedding; Wallingford is Best Man and Jane is Maid of Honor. They detest each other (Wallingford does not realize who she is) and verbally spar back and forth, until a shadow crosses Jane's face and he realizes who she is. He's shocked, refuses to admit it, and has to have her, all at the same time. And she'll have nothing to do with him.

Wallingford and Jane's story is a very dark story. It's a story about pride, secrets, trust, redemption and love. Wallingford's secrets are indeed deep and dark. In this day and age maybe not so much, but for the time in which the story is set they're definitely scandalous. As Wallingford's secrets are revealed, the reader begins to understand why his life turned out the way it did. Jane has issues of her own due to childhood circumstances that make it difficult for her to give Wallingford what he wants and needs. Their path is a difficult one full of obstacles both internal and external.

Ms. Featherstone is a master (mistress?) of anticipation. For a good portion of the book, it felt like an "almost-kiss" - you know, where your heart is beating in anticipation and you're all tingly but you're not quite there yet? The tender scenes between these two were intimate and sensual and sometimes painful to read.

The story took a turn I wasn't expecting, which led to events that were heartbreaking. I'm not going to mince words here - this book did not end the way I wanted it to end. I do, however, understand why Ms. Featherstone ended it the way she did; it was the natural course of the storyline. To end it any other way would not have been true to the characters or the times they were living in. That's not to say it was a bad ending, just a dark one; not every book is cotton candy and unicorns. As an interesting side note, the end of the book mentions that Ms. Featherstone will publish an epilogue to this book on her site in May 2010.

This was a difficult book to put down, and I continued to think about it long after I finished it. I give this book 4/5 stars.

Sinful is available for purchase May 1, 2010.

This book was provided to me by NetGalley free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Meeting Maggie Stiefvater, Carrie Ryan, and Jackson Pearce

I was playing around on twitter a few weeks ago, and stumbled across a tweet that Maggie Stiefvater was coming to New Orleans. I was thrilled - I haven't read her books yet but Shiver is definitely on my TBR, so the chance to meet her had me all excited. Little did I know she was bringing some friends:

(left to right: Jackson Pearce, Maggie Stiefvater, and Carrie Ryan)

Excuse my bad camera skillz, they were so entertaining I kept forgetting to take pictures! They each told funny stories about being an author and answered some of the most common questions they get. I really enjoyed seeing them interact with each other - as I watched and listened, I thought to myself "This is a perfect example of how women should treat each other - they're incredibly supportive and genuinely like each other."

Maggie talked about how she used to hate the question, "what made you decide to write this book?", until she met an author she admired, Melina Marchetta, who wrote Saving Francesca. She was thrilled to be speaking with Ms. Marchetta, and asked, "What made you decide to write this book?" and had an "ah-ha" momet. (I had to chuckle, because as she was speaking, it popped into my head that I thought this was the book that Danielle at Alpha Reader had gushed about this book several months ago; then Maggie mentioned Melina was Australian, at which point I thought "Bingo!")

Carrie Ryan was sooo nice, she actually approached us while we were looking at the books for sale, trying to decide if The Dead Tossed Waves was a follow-up to The Forest of Hands and Teeth or a separate book. She told a very entertaining story about how she ended up writing about Zombies, and talked about her upcoming short story in Zombies vs.Unicorns, which looks like it's got some great authors on board! And she wrote a really nice dedication to my son (and his bum leg) when she signed his books for me.
Jackson Pearce is a new-to-me author, she wrote As You Wish, a book about genies. She also talked about working with editors and when asked what book she wished she'd written, her answer was "Harry Potter", of course everyone laughed!

Now, I haven't read Shiver yet, but apparently one of the characters writes notes to himself on his hand? Look closely at the picture below:

It was hard to get a good picture where you could see there was something there, but apparently that is a story idea that will (hopefully) be going into Forever, the third book in The Wolves of Mercy Falls series. The whole time she talked, she moved her hands around, behind her, one hand over the other, and I couldn't help wondering how many ideas she'd accidentally wiped off, until she mentioned it's on there in Sharpie ink.

AND, while I was there I got to meet one of my fellow New Orleans- area bloggers: Parajunkee!
I have to tell you, Rachel has some crazy good marketing skills - she had absolutely adorable bookmarks and business cards that she gave to the authors. Why didn't I think of that?!? She told me that this was her first signing; I've gone to a few so apparently I'm on the slow end of the learning curve. Rachel put up a few good pics and some more info in her post here.

(Me and Parajunkee with our loot!)
I really hope this is the start of more authors coming to New Orleans. The gathering for this group was intimate (read: small) but there really wasn't any promo - as I said at the beginning of the post I found out by accident!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Review: Mind Games by Carolyn Crane

I read several other reviews before I read this book, and they all said something like "Wow, I loved this book. It's such a unique twist!" and I thought, Hmmm...what could be so unique? Well, I hate to sound like a broken record, but it really is different. It's an incredible read with an unusual premise. And I don't quite know how to review it without giving it all away, but I'm going to do my bestest.

Justine Jones is at a good place in her life, if you don't count the fact that she's dying. Or at least, she thinks she is. You see, she's a hypochondriac. She imagines she can feel the symptoms, becomes convinced she's dying, seeks medical care until she's reassured she's not dying, and then she imagines she's having the symptoms again. She knows it's a cycle, and yet she can't break it. While having dinner at Mongolian Delights, she meets the mysterious Packard, who sees what she is and offers a way to escape the ''zinging" her fears into criminals, rendering them unable to function normally due to the debilitating worries of hypochondria.

I loved this book! Justine and her fellow disillusionists were all imperfect people trying to make the world a better place. Using their various neruoses to fight crime was a brilliant and unexpected take on traditional vigilante crime-fighting. I enjoyed the camaraderie between Justine and her new friends, Justine and the criminals (surprisingly), and the many layered relationship between Justine and Packard. Packard's situation was...interesting. The bigger story behind it kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what Justine would do.

Several times I wanted to shake the book and yell "No, Justine, No!!!" ,"Be careful!!" and "OMG!!!" The end of the book, while not a cliffhanger per se, definitely left me wanting more. I can't wait for the next book in the trilogy, Double Cross, which comes out September 28.

I give Mind Games 5 out of 5 stars; this one's going onto the keeper shelf!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

More Random Bookishness...

Just a couple of bookish thoughts:

I first asked this question on twitter but it's hard to explain in 140 characters or less. In trying to avoid spoilers for any of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books, let's say that one of the brothers's Shellan dies. And that Ms. Ward has hinted there may be a new mate at some point in the future. How does the name tattoo thing work?

Do they scratch a line through the first wife's name? Turn it into a bunch of flowers? Talk about a constant reminder of the first wife, right? That's gotta be worse than looking at her picture all over the house... Or maybe the new wife gets her name across his chest? 'Cause the kids names go on their backs too, right? Or was that just a one-time thing for Nalla?
My next thought is this: It drives me nuts when authors use ethnic characters who think/speak words and phrases (usually insulting ones) in another language (for example, Italian) and don't put in a glossary. Although I know it probably wouldn't be good for sales to have an Italian/English glossary of curse words in the front of the book....maybe they could put in italics what it means behind the phrases as they pop up in the story? Or at the end of the book? Maybe I'm the only one who wants to know....I mean, I kind of get the general idea but still....
Okay, this one is a weird question. I've noticed I've been having pain in my left wrist the last couple of weeks (I'm right-handed) and I've also noticed that's the hand I use to hold my book or kindle when I'm reading. Coincidence? Anyone else have this problem? I don't like to read in bed so I sit in a chair and prop my left arm up and hold the pages open while I read (duh - obviously!) but you know how those paperbacks can be tight if you're like me and don't want to break the spine. I'm wondering if I have "book wrist" instead of "tennis elbow".

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Slacker Review: The Morganville Vampire Series by Rachel Caine

This series fell into my Vampire Reading Challenge.

I'd seen a bit here and there about this series, but hadn't really decided if I wanted to give it a read until I saw Danielle's review. Then I knew I had to read this series. I'm so glad I did!

There are 7 books out already, with the eighth, Kiss of Death, to be released April 27. I'm just going to give an overview of the books already available. Sort of. My original thought was to just link to Danielle's review and say "What she said.", as Danielle's enthusiasm for this series is very evident in her excellent review.

The story centers around Claire Danvers. She's some sort of child prodigy, a 16-year-old in her first year of college. She'd wanted to go away to an Ivy Leage school but her parents convinced her to attend a community college closer to home. The problem is, she's being bullied to the point that she almost died, so she decides to seek off-campus housing. She ends up renting a room at the Glass House with 3 other people: Michael Glass, the home's 18-year-old owner, Shane Collins, Michael's best friend, and Eve Rosser, a goth-girl works at a local coffee shop.

Here's the thing. Unbeknownst to Claire, the town is controlled by vampires. They are in charge of everything and (almost) everyone. Residents make regular "donations" to the local bloodbank and have vampire "patrons" so they can go about unmolested by other vamps. The residents of the Glass House fight the vampire control and do not have patrons. When Claire finds out what's really going on she's incredulous but soon has reason to believe.

I really enjoyed these books. Claire is a scrappy heoine who uses her smarts to work her way out of sticky situations. She's got a major crush on Shane (as do I!) and their relationship is sweet. Michael and Eve are good friends to have. Her roomates are fiercely loyal to Claire; the vamps on the other hand, well, the vampires in this series are in turn fascinating and creepy.
One of the things I like about this series is that you never know for sure who's on which side of good or evil or what any particuar vamp is plotting. There are a couple of characters that I think have Claire's best intersts at heart, but I'm not exactly positive. She does a wonderful job of navigating between the good and bad characters to keep her friends and the town safe and makes some very difficult (and dangerous) choices in the process.

I'm thinking this review probably doesn't make much sense, but there's so much going on at this point in the series that it's hard to put it all together. I can't believe I came into the series this late in the game but I'm glad I got to read the first seven books back-to-back. I'm anxiously waiting for Kiss of Death.

Be warned, however, Ms. Caine may well be the Queen of the Cliffhanger Ending. I'm just sayin'.

Here's my ratings so far:

1. Glass Houses: 4/5 stars
2. The Dead Girls' Dance: 4/5 stars
3. Midnight Alley: 4/5 stars
4. Feast of Fools: 4/5 stars
5. Lord of Misrule: 3/5 stars
6. Carpe Corpus: 4/5 stars
7. Fade Out: 5/5 stars
Thanks Danielle for recommending this wonderful series!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Is it Christmas?

I've been a Molly Harper fangirl since last May, when hubs very generously gave me a B&N giftcard for my birthday, kept the kids, and told me to "go for it". One of the books I picked up was Molly Harper's first book - Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs. I loved it and waited anxiously for each follow-up, drinking in Jane's snarky comments and crazy escapades and loyal friends.

I think you all know how much I also love contemporary romance. Well, it looks like I'm going to get the best of both worlds: Molly Harper has written a contemporary romance!

It's coming out July 27 and let me tell you: I. Can. Not. Wait. (Even though it doesn't have any hockey players, LOL!) I would say I'm too old to squee like a little girl, but I'm not - just be happy you can't actually see it!

Review: Cheating Chance by James Buchanan

This book falls into my M/M Reading Challenge.

I bought this book at Chris' recommendation - Thanks Chris, you were right; I loved it!

Cheating Chance is about Nick, a young goth computer geek. He works for the Nevada State Gaming Comission checking the computer code in slot machines to make sure they're all legal. He's recently broken up with his boyfriend, Jake, who really did a job on Nick's psyche.

As the story opens, Nick is feeling sort of sorry for his situation when he meets Brandon at a Goth convention. There is instant attraction and they go back to Brandon's room. They intend to just have a fling, but their chemistry is strong and they exchange numbers and e-mail.

Brandon is a cop who lives in California, and is definitely NOT out. When Nick and Brandon get together for a fun weekend, Nick's feelings are hurt when Brandon starts flirting with women. Brandon exlains it's habit and promises to work on it because he wants the relationship to work. Of course, they stumble a few times and have some issues to work out, and Brandon has a few surprises for Nick.

The relationship storyline is nicely tied in to a mystery involving casino slot machines and a murder. There were a few scenes where I had to go back and read the technical stuff twice, but I pretty much understood what was going on and why Nick got involved; I got the "who" but was curious until almost the very end about the "why" of the mystery.

I loved the scenes between Nick and Brandon - the sex was hot and the emotional scenes drew me in. I was rooting for these two through the whole book. The scene where they talked about having sex with women had me in stitches - Nick is so freakin' cute! I got why it was difficult for Brandon to show his feelings for Nick outside the bedroom, and it made the ending that much more emotional. I'm definitely going to grab the next book about these two, Inland Empire.

I give Cheating Chance 4 1/2 out of 5 stars! Thanks Chris!!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Review: Can't Stand the Heat by Louisa Edwards

This book falls into my New Author Reading Challenge.

The cover of this book caught my eye - I don't know why but I think it's really sexy. I think it's the bare feet and long jeans (sorry, Hannah, I know how you are about feet!). Maybe it's that the model looks tall - you know how I am about tall men.

Miranda Wake is a food critic. She's apparently very good at what she does, and has a reputation as a tough cookie. Adam Temple is a chef who's finally opened his own restaurant. At the press soire a few nights before the grand opening, Miranda has a few too many drinks and starts to insult Adam, who replies with a challenge to come into his kitchen to see what it's like from the other side of the table. He doesn't expect her to accept, but she does. The PR people for both Miranda and Adam love it - all the free publicity - and the challenge turns into Miranda spending a month in Adam's kitchen. Miranda plans on writing a tell-all book about her experiences in the kitchen, using the proceeds from the book to finance her younger brother Jess's college tuition.

After a very prickly start, Adam and Miranda realize they're attracted to each other. The scene where he takes her to his home to teach her to cook was soooo sexy! I really liked Adam's character and didn't want Miranda to publish her book. Every time she started having second thoughts, I thought to myself "Don't do it! Don't do it!".

This book had an unexpected secondary romance that I absolutely loved - Miranda's younger brother Jess. He's 19 (I think) and comes home from college due to an unexplained difficulty. As it is revealed that Jess is gay, the romance that blooms between Jess and Frankie, Adam's very good friend/manager, was a delight to read. Miranda's reaction to the relationship was realistic and the events that followed had me rivited. I think I liked the Jess/Frankie storyline as much as I liked Miranda/Adam's!

I thought the very end of the book was a *teensy* bit over the top in a spectacular way, but other than that I really, really enjoyed this book - I give Can't Stand the Heat 4 1/2 stars.

Her next book, On the Steamy Side, just released and I plan to read it very soon.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Review: Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

Oh Mercy, Mercy, Mercy....

I've already seen several reviews about this book, so I'm going to skip the chit-chat and jump right in to why I loved this book:

Mercy and Adam: I loved how we got a bigger peek into their relationship; how Mercy was struggling with the new bond and Adam's continued understanding of her psychological reaction to certain events in previous books. His refusal to accept her apology had me smiling - he "gets" her. I absolutely LOVED the scene where Mercy finds the garland and rocks and rope. That scene completely melted my heart into a big ol' puddle of "awwwww!!!".

Samuel: I've always liked his character and enjoyed seeing a different side of him in Silver Borne. I thought it was a great showcase of how deep his feelings for pack and family (especially towards Mercy) are. Also a great view into the wolf/man relationship.

Bran: While Bran did not get a lot of page-time, that garland scene got me. I've always loved Bran's character, and this book is a perfect example of why I think he's so awesome.

The Pack: Although we didn't see a lot of the characters I've gotten familiar with , some of my favorites were here: Warren and Ben are probably my two favorite pack members and I enjoyed them immensely. I love that Ms. Briggs writes a gay werewolf whose definining characteristic is not that he's gay. He's a great friend to Mercy and a kick-ass werewolf. And Ben has done a lot of growing since the beginning of the series, I think. I really like him and hope we continue to see more of him in future books. It was also interesting to see the pack dynamic with reference to female status within the pack. I'm thinking there may be some changes a'comin.

The storyline: Ms. Briggs did a wonderful job hooking me in from the beginning. From the pack messing with Mercy to Samuel's accident to the mystery of the book, I devoured it all and read the whole book in a day.

I have only two niggles: 1: I missed Stefan. Honestly, I don't know what he could have added to this particular story, but I did miss him. And 2: I'm not sure how I feel about Samuel's friend. If you've already read the story you know to whom I am referring. I'm hoping Ms. Briggs can bring me around on that character in future books.

I wholeheartedly give Silver Borne 5 out of 5 stars!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Author Appearance

For anyone in the New Orleans area, Maggie Stiefvater will be at Octavia Books on Saturday, April 17!!! Info here.

Anyone thinking of going? My son is having knee surgery a few days before this but I think I'm going to try my hardest to go.

*does the happy dance* Yay!!!

Family Time and Grown Up Time

I got home from work this afternoon, and my 3yo runs up and hugs me and tells me she has to go to the bathroom. I escort her to the bathroom, where she's going to "be awhile", so I head into the kitchen to help hubs with dinner. A few minutes later we hear this:


Yes, she reads (okay, looks at pictures, really) on the pot and had dropped her bookmark. It was really very cute.


I always assume no one is paying attention to what I read. Well, apparently hubs has been paying attention to what I've been reading, because when I walked into the bedroom after helping the Littlest Book Addict find her bookmark, I found this:

Yup, that's what it is. Not sure it will ever do anything besides grace my bookshelf, but you never know..... *winks*

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Review: Original Sin by Allison Brennan

Original Sin is a bit of a twist on the classic Good vs. Evil theme. Moira O'Donnell is a witch. She was conceived with a specific fate in mind for her. Her mother, Fiona is a witch straight out of a fairy tale- evil to the core. Once Moira was old enough to realize her mother's true purpose, she ran away and vowed to destroy the evil she'd done.

As the book opens, Moira is dreaming about her posession by demons that caused her to kill her boyfriend/lover. As always, after the nightmare comes a horrible vision. She calls her Priest/mentor for advice, and is able to generalize where the things in this vision are taking place. Fast forward 10 weeks, and Moira has been at the location of the vision, piecing together what happened and trying to figure out what's coming next. She knows her mother is involved, and is hoping for a chance to kill Fiona so she can stop running.

Fiona has been busy in the last few years. She's become leader of a powerful coven, and in an attempt to gain immortality has perfected a spell/ritual that will bring forth the 7 demons for her to control. At the moment of truth, however, something goes terribly wrong.

This book had a lot going on. There was a lot of previous background between Moira and the other characters to the point where a couple of times I felt like I had accidentally picked up the second book in the series instead of the first. I think Moira's backstory growing up with Fiona and her subsequent escape; meeting Peter and their relationship; and Peter and Anthony's upbringing would have made an interesting story.

There were also a LOT of other character points-of-view: Her priest/mentor Fr. Philip, her dead boyfriend's best friend and demonologist Anthony, another member of the Church order Raphael Cooper, Rico - another member of the Church/Moira's mentor that is often referenced but I don't think we ever got his point of view, her mother Fiona, and her half sister/witch Serena. There were others but I think those were the POVs most important to the story. I don't usually mind multiple POVs, but there were so many that I did find it a bit frustrating.

This book seems to be billed as a Paranormal Romance, but I don't think it is. There was a short sex scene that had nothing to do with Moira; BUT, I can see where future books in the series may fall into that PNR category. This story was a bit darker than I usually read, with a bit less romance than I prefer, but the premise of the Seven Deadly Sins escaping and roaming the earth is interesting. There was a twist with one character I didn't see coming, and I enjoyed the animosity between Moira and Anthony, even though they were on the same team. I liked her young friend Jared and hope we'll see him in the next book.

I give Original Sin 3 out of 5 stars.

This book was provide to me by Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc. free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

March Wrap-Up

March was an odd month for me. I don't feel like I read that much but when I look at my journal my reading seems about average. Maybe because I read a series and it felt like one book? I don't know. I do know this month had some ups and downs:

1. Power Play by Deirdre Martin (my last hockey book *sniff*) 4 stars
2. Glass Houses by Rachel Caine (NAC) 4 stars
3. The Dead Girls' Dance by Rachel Caine (VRC) 4 stars
4. Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine 4 stars
5. Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine 4 stars
6. Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine 3 stars
7. Carpe Corpus by Rachel Caine 4 stars
8. Fade Out by Rachel Caine 5 stars
9. Can't Stand the Heat by Louisa Edwards (NAC) 4 1/2 stars
10. Something About You by Julie James (CRC) 4 stars
11. To Sin With A Scoundrel by Cara Elliot 3 1/2 stars
12. Loves Me, Loves Me Knot by Heidi Betts (NAC) 2 stars
13. Fragile by Shiloh Walker 3 stars
14. Broken by Shiloh Walker 3 stars
15. Double Play by Jill Shalvis 4 stars
16. Under the Magnolia by Moira Rogers 4 stars
17. One Reckless Summer by Toni Blake 3 1/2 stars
18. Sweet Talk by Susan Mallory 2 stars
19. Countess of Scandal by Laurel McKee 3 1/2 stars
20. Paradise Rules by Beth Kerry (ERC) 4 stars
21. Faith & Fidelity by Tere Michaels 4 1/2 stars (M/M)
22. Get A Clue by Jill Shalvis - DNF

I was blown away by Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampire books and am anxiously awaiting the next installment, Kiss of Death, coming out May 4. (I'm going to do a series review, I swear...I just don't know where the time goes to finish it!!)

Faith & Fidelity was a surprise for me -I loved it!

I really enjoyed Can't Stand the Heat and am waiting for the sequel, On the Steamy Side, to arrive in my mailbox any day now.

I was really looking forward to reading Fragile and Broken by Shiloh Walker but they fell a bit flat for me; I was a little disappointed.

I really enjoyed Jill Shalvis' baseball books, so while browsing my local bookstore I picked up Get A Clue. Little did I know that title was aimed at the heroine. I couldn't finish it.

So, that was my March! How was yours?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Review: Faith and Fidelity by Tere Michaels

This book falls into my M/M Reading Challenge.

I had seen several reviews of this book around the blogosphere and my curiosity was piqued. I really, really liked this book...with one reservation; which I'll address at the end of my review.

Evan Cerelli is a NY City cop. His wife died one year previous to the events in this story, leaving him alone to raise 4 children - 2 teenage girls and a set of younger twins. He'd basically been going through the motions of living since his wife died, living his life in a fog. While at a retirement party for a fellow cop, he meets Matt Height, a former Detective who'd left the force a few years earlier after turning in a dishonest fellow cop.

Evan and Matt each see something familiar, I think, in the other, and they start meeting for beer and to talk about their losses - for Evan, his wife and for Matt, the job that he'd loved. Their meetings grew into a friendship, then something more. Matt started having dreams about Evan which confused and excited him; dreams about being with Evan. He fought the thoughts going through his head because he didn't want to ruin this friendship, one of the only friendships that he'd had in a long time.

One thing leads to another and Evan and Matt confront the feelings that have been developing between them. Both are concerned about their jobs, Evan's kids, and other people's reactions. They start the relationship and it grows deeper, until Evan starts having second thoughts.

I really liked this story. The scenes between Evan and Matt were so tender and sensual and emotionally charged. The wants and fears and desires were well-written and my heart ached for both men when things got rocky.

Ms. Michaels' secondary characters were engaging and a nice foil for Evan and Matt's relationship. I liked Evan's boss Vic, and his partner Helena - they were both open and accepting of this surprising relationship between Evan and Matt. Their concern for Evan was heartwarming and sincere. Evan's kids were realistic and enchanting, not obnoxious at all, and added another layer to this already intriguing story.

Here's my reservation: It was hard for me to believe that two previously heterosexual men would suddenly (or gradually, as the case may be) fall in love. I just don't see it happening; probably because of my belief that you're either born gay or you're not, you don't actually get to choose. BUT, the story was so well-written and engaging it was easy to fall right into it and take an interest in their lives.

I give Faith & Fidelity 4 1/2 out of 5 stars - I really enjoyed reading it!