Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Review: The Vampire Next Door by Ashlyn Chase

The Vampire Next Door 
~Ashlyn Chase 

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages 
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publish Dates: August 1, 2011
ISBN-10: 1402236638
ISBN-13: 978-1402236631 
ASIN: B0057H74ZA

From Goodreads:
In this third installment of Chase's lively, sexy, paranormal trilogy, we meet witch Morgaine, who is deathly afraid of the dark, and her vigilante vampire neighbor Sly, who has his reasons for hating sunlight. Sly needs Morgaine's magic to help heal a broken fang, but with further help, and sometimes hindrance, from the wacky apartment dwellers around them, they may become each other's last hope for a normal life...
There is a brownstone in Boston that seems to attract supernatural residents.  Case in point, Sly Flores - a young vampire who,as the story opens, has just attempted to stop a man from attacking a woman.  When Sly tries to bite the man's neck, however, his fang gets caught on the man's gold chain - problem is, it's not really gold, it's silver, and Sly loses his fang.  He heads straight to the brownstone and asks Morgaine, a witch, to heal his fang.  She does, which leads to spending time together and a hint of attraction between them.

Sly has only been a vampire for 26 years, and suddenly his maker comes looking for him.  He's bound and determined to make Sly his lover.  Sly is horrified - his maker is responsible for the death of his wife during childbirth.  Morgaine and her witchy cousin, Gwyneth, decide to help Sly get rid of his maker and perhaps help Sly with another problem he's having as well.

My thoughts:
I have enjoyed the other books in this light, fun series, but I had a hard time with The Vampire Next Door.  Morgaine and Sly's relationship went from cold to hot in a matter of moments; they were both getting advice about how to not be so shy around each other and then were suddenly in bed together, and not shy at all about it!  I didn't see any progression into their romantic relationship and  pretty much skimmed the sexy bits.   I liked them when they were doing "plot" things like trying to outmaneuver Sly's maker or attempting to find a "cure" for Sly's vampirism.

The other residents of the house were their usual quirky characters.  We do get a LOT of Morgaine's cousin Gwyneth in this book, and I have to be honest - she was very annoying.  I hate it when Southerners are portrayed as stupid, and Gwyneth is stereotypically written as a dumb Southern girl who makes/drinks moonshine and says "y'all" every three words.  If you've read the other books in the series, you'll be happy to see Merry and Jason in this book, they have some good things going on, and Roz and Konrad make an appearance too.  We also meet two new tenants who have secrets they're hiding.

There were a few surprising "matches" in The Vampire Next Door, so I'm curious about who's going to move into the "Love Shack" (formerly Sly's apartment) in the next book.

The Vampire Next Door is a humorous and sexy paranormal read; unfortunately I was too distracted by my annoyance with Gwyneth's character.  It can be read as a stand-alone, although the characters are more interesting if you know their background stories.

 My Rating:

Book received by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Review: Cipher by Moira Rogers

~Moira Rogers 

Format: e-book 
File Size: 449 KB 
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. 
Publish Date: September 6, 2011 
Language: English 
ASIN: B00530J3AA

From the author's website:
Fourteen months ago, Kat Gabriel's life changed forever when she used her empathy as a weapon. Now she can't escape the weight of those deaths--or the loss of the easy friendship she and Andrew once shared. Obsessed with her mother's violent past, Kat is determined to learn the truth of her inner-darkness by understanding her legacy.

 Since the attack that turned him into a wolf, Andrew Callaghan has done everything possible to make himself stronger. More capable of protecting Kat--both from the supernatural world that forced her to kill, and from their own volatile connection. Pushing her away hurt them both, but he's finally made himself into the protector she needs.

 As Kat's quest leads her into the darkest underbelly of the psychic world, Andrew is determined to be at her side. But every step forward reopens old emotional wounds and shakes their control. For a dangerous alpha and a deadly psychic, distraction could be fatal--especially when the greatest threat they pose is to each other.

Kat Gabriel is a powerful psychic - she can feel other people's emotions as well as project emotion into others.  She knows her mother also shared this gift, and was involved in some questionable practices that may have resulted in her death.  Kat is even stronger than her mother though, and fears her powers will affect Kat like they did her mother; to that end, she is looking into her mother's past to try to find out where things went wrong.

Andrew Callaghan is a "turned" werewolf - he was not born this way.  Fourteen months ago he was attacked trying to save Kat.  New werewolves are very unpredictable, and with Andrew's strength, he knew that to protect Kat he had to stay away from her.  Neither of them are happy about it, but they both accept that that's the way things are.  There had been an attraction between them before the attack, and it hasn't gone away.

When Kat needs some help tracking down a lead from her mother's past, Andrew ends up going along to assist.  When Kat is almost killed, Andrew cannot overcome his instincts to protect her.  Together they  uncover a mysterious cult and battle for Kat's safety.

My thoughts:
I have been waiting for Kat and Andrew's story for what feels like forever; it was totally worth the wait!  In Deadlock, the authors tease us up with bits of Kat and Andrew's story, and in Cipher they BRING IT!!!

Cipher is a super-sexy psychological thriller.  Without giving spoilers, Moira Rogers doesn't pull any punches in this 4th installment of their Southern Arcana series - things are still unsettled in the political heirachy of the shifter world, old friends from previous books in the series are suffering, and this new threat that Kat uncovers is ruthless and will stop at nothing to attain their goal.

Because Kat is a psychic, a large portion of  the book is mental - thoughts, feelings, emotions - but it's definitely not passive.  Cipher is full of action - both the kick ass kind of action and sexy kind of action.  Kat and Andrew are both killing machines and worry about accidentally hurting the other by not being in control of their powers.  If they want to be together they must learn to trust each other and themselves.  I absolutely loved the way Kat and Andrew work through their relationship issues in the bedroom *wiggles eyebrows*.

Cipher hit all the right buttons for me:  An exciting mystery with creepy delusional bad guys, sexy and strong hero/heroine who compromise and work together, a few plot twists that I didn't see coming, and revisiting characters from previous books.  This series just keeps getting better and better!

 My Rating:

Book provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pam's Review: Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum

Amaryllis in Blueberry
~Christina Meldrum
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Gallery
Publish Date: February 8, 2011
ISBN-10: 1439156891

From the author's website:
In the stirring tradition of The Secret Life of Bees and The Poisonwood Bible, Amaryllis in Blueberry explores the complexity of human relationships set against an unforgettable backdrop. Told through the haunting voices of Dick and Seena Slepy and their four daughters, Christina Meldrum's soulful novel weaves together the past and the present of a family harmed—and healed—by buried secrets.

This story starts off in Africa with Seena on trial for the murder of her husband, Dick. Then it immediately rewinds, and the characters are now in Michigan and it plays forth from there, jumping back to the trial only occasionally for a few pages. The family is enjoying their summer when certain things come to light, and Dick decides that he is going to take his family to Africa in the fall. Africa turns out to be a surprise for all of them. Once in Africa, the family goes through a journey in finding out about God, each other, and themselves.

My thoughts: This book was extremely difficult for me to read. I even avoided it for a few days. The story dragged for me, at least the first two-thirds did. Eventually I sat down and made myself just finish it. It’s hard to put it in a summary when there are so many points of view, so many ‘mini stories’ in a way. The points of view are: Seena (the mother), Dick (the father), the daughters, Mary Grace, Mary Catherine, Mary Tessa, Amaryllis, and a few more! I also don’t want to give anything away for those of you who might read it.

I felt like a lot of the book was thoughts and not dialogue, and a lot of those thoughts had to do with God. God, or Jesus, was mentioned multiple times on a page, in over half the book. In saying this, I don’t have a problem with God or Jesus, and I am a Catholic just like the characters, although not as extreme in my thinking. But it was just too much for me, too much talk about the characters relationship to God.

I need to say some good things about this book, because there were a few. The cover, for one, is lovely. Beautiful even; I love it. Also, the story itself was good; I just couldn’t get into it. Additionally, while the first two-thirds of the book lagged, the last third was really enjoyable and moved at a faster pace.

Let me leave you with one of my favorite quotes. This takes place in Africa. What happens is that Dick, the father, is being yelled at to “stop stealing people’s souls” (p. 158) because he just took a picture of some African women. Dick calls those people superstitious. This is what their guide/friend had to say to him,

“Superstition?” Mawuli says. “Can you explain this to me, this word, ‘superstition’? You Americans like this word when referring to African beliefs, but I see little difference between your beliefs and this so-called superstition. You won’t eat meat on Friday. Is this superstition? You trickle water on the heads of babies to save their souls, while you talk about being washed in the blood of the lamb. Superstition? You believe a wafer and wine become the body and blood of Christ, and you eat it. Superstition?” (p. 158)
It’s funny how people see things differently; I didn’t like this book, but maybe it will become a favorite for one of you.

My Rating: 

Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Guest Post: Tera Lynn Childs and Sophie Jordan talk about their Worst Dates

Please join me in welcoming two wonderful authors, Tera Lynn Childs and Sophie Jordan, to Caught in a FAB Romance!  They're here to talk about one of those things you have to suffer through in order to laugh about it later - Bad Dates.

My Worst Date by Tera Lynn Childs
Warning: I don’t recommend anyone trying this at home. Or anywhere.

When I was a senior in high school, my best friend and I were driving from my house to a store or something and we pulled up next to a cute(ish) guy in a cute(ish) little red car. At the time I drove a very sporty and attention-grabbing, cream-colored Mazda RX-7. The guy in the red car checked us out and my best friend started talking with him. Well, one thing led to another and eventually we’re going on a double date with him and one of his friends.

Of course, he wanted to go out with my best friend, so I got stuck being the blind date for his friend. Now, I had never met the guy before (hence the blind date part) and have to admit he was quite good looking. He had that dark, wavy hair that I’m way too fond of and was in great shape because he was an athlete. You know how you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover? Well, I’m pretty sure his pages inside were blank.

Luckily we were seeing a movie (Wolf, starring Jack Nicholson—yeah, it was pretty awful) and I didn’t have to try to make small talk for long, because it was like having a conversation with a football. What I remember the most was that, even though he lived in a smallish, ruralish town, he’d never been near a horse or a cow. And that he was afraid of cows. Of cows! How is that even possible?!? (Now that I think of it, maybe he was intimidated by the intellectual superiority. Hmmm.)

After the movie, my best friend and I said goodbye to the guys and tried not to trip over ourselves as we ran back to my car. Turns out her date had been weirdly awkward, too. He’d held her hand throughout the whole movie, even though it was a first date and they’d never before been closer than the next car over. Lesson learned. All in all one of the worst—and weirdest—dates ever.

My Worst Date by Sophie Jordan
Hmm, my worst date? Immediately several scenarios pop into my head, which might alarm some that I’ve had a lot of bad dates. But actually no one date was sooooo terribly bad … just several stand out in memory … odd vignettes in my quest for the right guy. :)  Alow me to regale you. Here goes:

One time I went on a date with a police officer and the first thing he let me know when he picked me up was that he just came from work where he had to perform a body cavity search on a man in custody. Ew, right? There was no hand-holding that night.

Another time in collage a date showed up with his buddy. Both were harmless, but that was just … weird. A movie, dinner … the three of us. I almost expected them both to walk my back to my door, but it was just the one. *shakes head* I guess he was just nervous and wanted some moral support.

Another time a guy showed up injured from his rugby game. He was hurting … wincing every time he moved. He accepted some Tylenol, but insisted he was fine, so we sat down to watch television (I think he might have wept in pain once or twice during movie – but again, insisted he was fine). Later, when he stood up to leave, I saw that he was bleeding profusely through the back of his jeans! The blood even got on my couch. Another “ew” moment. I insisted he go home and properly take care of his injury. Then I disinfected my couch. ;)

But honestly, these weren’t terrible guys or even the most terrible nights … it’s just that these dates lacked the chemistry we dream of in searching for … the one. It’s that kind of romance and chemistry I love to read and write about. When the emotional and physical connection is strong between two people it’s the stuff of magic. That’s the magic I write about in Firelight and Vanish. I wouldn’t be capable of writing a book without some type of high-stakes romance. Love really does make the world go round!


Stories like that make me shake my head and say, "What were they thinking?" :)  Don't forget to look for these lovely ladies on their next blog stop at Supernatural Snark on Friday, August 26.

SWEET VENOM by Tera Lynn Childs

Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster. Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though. Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they’re triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.

These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful Gorgon maligned in myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.

VANISH by Sophie Jordan
An Impossible Romance. Bitter Rivalries. Deadly Choices.

To save the life of the boy she loves, Jacinda did the unthinkable: She betrayed the most closely guarded secret of her kind. Now she must return to the protection of her pride knowing she might never see Will again—and worse, that because his mind has been shaded, Will’s memories of that fateful night and why she had to flee are gone.

Back home, Jacinda is greeted with hostility and must work to prove her loyalty for both her sake and her family’s. Among the few who will even talk to her are Cassian, the pride’s heir apparent who has always wanted her, and her sister, Tamra, who has been forever changed by a twist of fate. Jacinda knows that she should forget Will and move on—that if he managed to remember and keep his promise to find her, it would only endanger them both. Yet she clings to the hope that someday they will be together again. When the chance arrives to follow her heart, will she risk everything for love?

In bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s dramatic follow-up to Firelight, forbidden love burns brighter than ever.

You can catch them in person here:
September 7 @ 7 PM Blue Willow Bookshop Houston, TX
September 8 @ 7 PM Books & Co Dayton, OH
September 9 @ 7 PM Magic Tree Bookstore Chicago, IL
October 1 Austin Teen Book Festival Austin, TX

 About the authors:

Tera Lynn Childs (Authora neo) is a newly discovered species of author fish who always dreamed of being a mermaid, but never got closer than a career as a competitive swimmer. She loves to spend as much time as possible in and around water (right up until her fingertips turn all pruney) in the vain hope that one day her legs will magically turn into fins. When stuck on land, Authora neo can be found writing in coffee shops across the country, prowling for cool mermaid gear on Etsy, and spending way too much time online. Visit her at

Sophie Jordan grew up in the Texas hill country where she wove fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she's also the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Avon historical romances. She now lives in Houston with her family. When she's not writing, she spends her time overloading on caffeine (lattes and Diet cherry Coke preferred), talking plotlines with anyone who will listen (including her kids), and cramming her DVR with true-crime and reality-TV shows. Sophie also writes paranormal romances under the name Sharie Kohler. Visit her at

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Whoopsie Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

~Sophie Jordan
Reading level: Ages 13 and up
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (September 7, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061935085

From the author's website:

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet of her kind, she nearly pays with her life, only to be spared by a beautiful stranger sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki--a descendant of dragons whose ability to shift into human form is her best defense. 

Forced to flee into the mortal world, Jacinda struggles to adapt. The one bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will's dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away - if it dies she will be left a human forever. She'll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy. 

Mythical powers and irresistible passion ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide ...

Firelight is the story of Jacinda, a fire-breathing dragon.  As the story opens, she is preparing to fly at dawn - flying during the daytime is forbidden by her pride, because there are Hunters who hunt the Draki, dragons who can take human form.  As she flies into the sunrise, she is surprised by Hunters, who trap her and her friend.  Jacinta provides a distraction so her friend can escape.  While she is hiding in a cave, one of the hunters finds her...and tells the other Hunters she's not there.  Then he disappears.

That night, Jacinta's mother takes her and her twin sister and flees the pride.  Her mother knows the elders want to mate Jacinta with Cassian, a powerful young dragon, to ensure more fire-breathers in the pride. Her twin's dragon never manifested, and her mother's dragon died from not shifting.   Jacinta's mother is determined to let Jacinta's dragon die, and they will live as humans.  Jacinta is miserable, until she sees him.  And he makes her feel alive again.

But can she fall in love with a Hunter?  Or will Cassian find her and bring her back?  Can she go back to life with the pride after she's felt true love?

My thoughts:
Complete honesty?  I thought this book was going to be about werewolves.  Then, when I saw the cover, I was confused because the girl on the cover has scales so I thought she was a mermaid.  WRONG.

Here's what happened:  I received the next book in the series, Vanish, for review.  Because I have BOCD (book obsessive compulsive disorder), I had to read Firelight before I read Vanish.  But I guess I didn't read the blurb very carefully for Vanish because I could swear it said werewolves...  So to say I was surprised once I started reading is an understatement.

That being said - I loved it!  The worldbuilding is fabulous and I liked the heroine.  She's a bit impulsive but hey - she's a teenager.  She's special to her dragon pride - the first fire breather in about a hundred years, so she's been treated well.  When her mother takes her away - she's miserable; not only does she miss her friends, her dragon is dying and she physically needs to go back to the pride.  The author's use of the character's physical surroundings to emphasize her feelings makes the book come to life.

Then, Jacinta sees Will.  He was the Hunter who let her go, and he goes to her school!  He's attracted to her, even though he only saw her in dragon form.  To say sparks fly is putting it mildly - Jacinta's dragon wants to come out and play :)  But Cassian isn't out of the picture...he kinda stole my heart a little bit...

The Hunters are scary dudes - the scene when she walks into the room full of dragon hides - Oh!  Poor Jacinta, I felt a little faint myself.  I'm curious about the Enkros - the creatures the Hunters sell the Draki to - what do they use them for?

To summarize:  Great world, interesting characters, intriguing storyline.  I read it in a day.  So, even though I started out a bit confused, I really enjoyed Firelight!  I couldn't put it down and as soon as I did I ran right over and picked up book 2 in the series, Vanish.  Fair warning:  it ends on a cliffhanger, you will definitely be left wanting to know what happens next.

My Rating:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Review: Red's Hot Cowboy by Carolyn Brown

Red's Hot Cowboy 
~Carolyn Brown 

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages 
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publish Date: August 1, 2011 
ISBN-10: 1402253613 
ISBN-13: 978-1402253614 
ASIN: B0057H76V2 

  From Goodreads:
When Pearl Richland inherits her aunt's 1950s motel she returns to her roots. Tired of the big city, she's ready for small town life, especially when sexy cowboy Wil Marshall comes in to escape an ice storm. Pearl never thought she'd turn in her high heels and start dating a cowboy, but Wil's got an awful lot to offer if a girl's available for a whole lot of fun, sizzle, and unexpected trouble...

Pearl Richland has given up her job as a loan officer in a large bank, and has decided to run the motel her great aunt Perlita left her in her will.  She's tired of watching other people pursue their dreams and has decided  it's her turn.  She's enjoying running the hotel, even if it does leave her tired and with no time to go out and have fun.  A winter storm knocks the power out in the next city over, and suddenly her little motel is full.  The last guest to check in, Wil Marshall, is one handsome cowboy, even if he did call her Red.  But Pearl has no time for handsome cowboys, she's got a motel to run.

The next morning, however, the motel is overrun by police, looking for Wil, claiming he murdered someone during the night.  Pearl knows he didn't do it, and heads down to the police station to say so.  After a few hours, Wil is released and the police admit they made a mistake.

Wil appreciates her assistance, but has no plans to pursue any sort of relationship with Pearl other than a thank-you dinner.  Pearl doesn't even want that, she's too busy.   Neither can get the other out of their mind, though, and they start talking by phone, then go out a few tiimes, and by the time they realize they're head over heels for each other it's too late to slow down.

My thoughts:
This was a cute read, neither Pearl nor Wil were looking for romance, it just happened.  I have to say, one of the parts I loved about Red's Hot Cowboy was how they'd talk and flirt on the phone just like an old fashioned romance, and had a few kisses before anything else happened.  Their comraderie and friendship was refreshing to read.

I enjoyed seeing Pearl's cousin Austin again, from the first book in this series, Love Drunk Cowboy, and getting to check in on how she and Rye are doing.  We also get to see Rye's family again (I'm looking forward to his brothers' stories)

That being said, I had a little trouble with the dialogue...I think it was because there were so many times contractions were not used ("you are" instead of "you're") it just felt awkward and pulled me out of the story.  I also didn't see the conflict very well:  Wil was worried Pearl wouldn't want to settle down with one cowboy, but I didn't really see what was holding Pearl back.

All in all though, a light, cute read.  Fans of Ms. Brown's books will enjoy Red's Hot Cowboy and be anxious for the next installment in the series, Darn Good Cowboy Christmas, featuring Rye's brother Raylen (*whew!* that should be good!)

 My Rating:

Book received from the pubisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pam's Review: Love Always by Harriet Evans

Love Always~Harriet Evans 

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery
  • Publish Date: June 21, 2011
  • ISBN-10: 1451639627
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451639629
  • ASIN: B004G8QTMU

From the author's website:
"This family's poisoned.  They won't tell you, but they are."
From a hot, tense Cornwall summer in 1963 to present day London, LOVE ALWAYS is the story of one girl's life fallling apart and what she finds out along the way as she tries to put it back together again.  Things have gone badly wrong for Natasha Kapoor, somewhere - she should be a successful jeweller in East London and everything should be perfect, but it's not.  And when her grandmother dies and she travels back to Summercove, the family home by the Cornish sea,  she is given an old, scribbled page by her grandfather.  It's the fragment of the diary of her Aunt Cecily, who died in a tragic accident many years ago, leaving behind a broken family and a terrible secret.  What happened that summer in 1963 and is Natasha's family irrevocably poisoned by it?  Will Natasha ever be able to make a fresh start and find love for herself and if so, how? 
Natasha’s world is falling apart around her. Her jewelry business is having some serious financial problems, her marriage is on the rocks, and her grandmother, who she used to spend many summers with, just passed away. She travels to meet her family at Summercove, her grandparent’s house where she used to go for the summer, for the funeral. At the gathering afterwards Cecily’s name gets brought up briefly a few times. The family doesn’t talk about Cecily, Natasha’s aunt who died at Summercove when she was only fifteen. However, in private, Natasha’s grandfather gives her Cecily’s diary. This diary is Natasha’s chance to get to know what happened that summer, find out why her family holds so much animosity towards her mother, Cecily’s sister, and figure out once and for all why no one wants to talk about the past.

My thoughts:
After reading this book I feel like I know the characters. My heart aches for Natasha; everything starts off going wrong for this woman. It also seems like she has no one stable in her life, no one she can really rely on or confide in. Her husband, Oli, is a jerk, and I found myself egging Natasha on towards some sort of face slapping or drink throwing towards him. He made my blood boil. Her mother, Miranda, is a selfish woman. She won’t tell Natasha who her father is, and leaves for days at a time, not telling her where she is going.

Not everything stays so depressing however. With reading Cecily’s diary and finding out about the past, Natasha also grows and picks up and puts back together the pieces of her life. Her issues with her career, her marriage, her family; everything gets taken care of, one way or another. This story showed me that life’s not always perfect, and people are not always what they seem to be, sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse.

This book was a little dark for me, but it was a great story. I feel like these characters are going to stay with me for a while. I will definitely read another book by Ms. Harriet Evans.

My Rating:


Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Drink Deep by Chloe Neill

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine
that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating:

After the total emotional punch of Hard Bitten, the most recent book in Chloe Neill's Chicagoland Vampire series, I have been waiting since before I turned the last page.  Total cliffhanger ending.  Made a lot of people mad.  Me?  Not mad, more...curious. (My review here) And after reading the first chapter (see below) - yes I did - I'm not as mad at Jonah as I thought I would be; I've been blaming him as the author's reason for the turn the series has taken.

So this week's Waiting on Wednesday - Drink Deep by Chloe Neill:

Drink Deep
~Chloe Neill

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: New American Library
Publish Date: November 1, 2011
ISBN-10: 0451234863
ISBN-13: 978-0451234865
From the author's website:

Clouds are brewing over Cadogan House, and recently turned vampire Merit can't tell if this is the darkness before the dawn or the calm before the storm. With the city iself in turmoil over paranormals and the state threatening to pass a paranormal registration act, times haven't been this precarious for vampires since they came out of the closet. If only they could lay low for a bit, and let the mortals calm down.

That's when the waters of Lake Michigan suddenly turn pitch black-and things really start getting ugly.

Chicago's mayor insists it's nothing to worry about, but Merit knows only the darkest magic could have woven a spell powerful enough to change the very fabric of nature. She'll have to turn to friends old and new to find out who's behind this, and stop them before it's too late for vampires and humans alike.

Read the first chapter here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Books As Fashion

I've seen wearable book jewelry, and I love it.  There are several pieces I'd love to own: 

These book necklaces by Margo Kent are pretty darn cool:

This one from bindingbee is just precious and I love the tiny key:

From artist Janna Syvanoja; this piece is gorgeous (not sure if it's a necklace or pin):


There are book purses (LOVE!!!):

Or, if you'd rather, a clutch from bibliobags:


And did you know there are dresses made out of books?

Here is a children's book dress made by Susan Perine:
Makes me think of flappers from the 1920's; it's adorable!

This is probably my favorite, by Ryan Novelline (the link has a gorgeous view of the back):
Made entirely from Little Golden Books - even the bodice is made from the spines!

I love it when people use books as wearable art; it's so much fun!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Review: Provoke Me by Cari Quinn

Provoke Me 
~Cari Quinn 

Format: Kindle Edition 
File Size: 459 KB 
Publisher: Ellora's Cave 
Publish Date: June 22, 2011 
ASIN: B005950L46

From the author's website:
Sometimes extreme provocation can lead to exactly what you need... 

Attracted. Kelly's focus is the bookstore she manages. Sex is relegated to a list of candidates on her PDA. Only one man pushes all her buttons—her boss. Fascinated. Spencer is determined to fight his desire for Kelly. For years they've bumped heads over the store they both love. But there's more than one reason their getting together is complicated.  

Provoked. When Kelly and Spencer unexpectedly meet up at a sex club, all the rules go out the window. Suddenly there's only way this match of wills can end —naked, preferably all night long. In this battle for sexual supremacy, there are two winners—and two losers when their stubbornness leads to the very thing each dreads most. 

Reader's Advisory: In a couple of scenes, Kelly and Spencer test "the more the merrier" theory.

Kelly Crossman works in a small, independent bookstore chain.  She loves her job, and she's good at it.  She gets along pretty well with her co-workers, but her boss - oh!  He's the stuff of fantasy.  And she fantasizes quite a bit ;)

Spencer Galvin lives and breathes the bookstore.  He got his position through dubious means, but he's good at what he does and he has big plans for his career by maintaining his professionalism and continuing to do an outstanding job.  That includes ignoring the hotness that is his employee, Kelly. 

When they both end up at a local sex club, sparks fly.  As they begin their relationship, it's all about sex, but as things go forward it becomes more.  But Spencer has a few work-related skeletons in his closet that prevent him from getting closer to Kelly, and Kelly must decide how much distance she'll allow Spencer to put between them, or if he's going to break her heart.

My Thoughts:
Wow.  I really enjoyed Provoke Me.  Usually, when I read "sex club", I roll my eyes.  In Provoke Me, it worked - it was a good setting for these two to run into each other in a non-work environment.  Their first meeting was so full of sexy tension I could almost feel it. 

Even though he was kind of an ass, I really liked Spencer - he was a decent guy who made some bad decisions and because of that swung in the complete opposite direction to being a very closed-type personality.  And when he had too much bottled up, he let it out sexually. Kelly was a more free-spirited personality, more open and bluntly honest, and she makes Spencer absolutely crazy - in both a good and bad way, lol.  Their differences in personality made for very good conflict throughout the book.

Provoke me had a great combination of an emotional storyline, interesting characters, and hot sexy scenes:  I loved Spencer and Kelly together - between his sexual procilvities and her willingness to try new things, Provoke Me steamed up my kindle screen!

My Rating:

Book provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pam's Review: Tamed by a Highlander by Paula Quinn

Tamed by a Highlander
~Paula Quinn

Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Forever
Publish Date: July 1, 2011
ISBN-10: 0446552364
ISBN-13: 978-0446552363

From the author's website:
Desire knows no bounds...

Connor Grant left his first love in the Highlands, vowing to return after serving in the king's army. Seven years later, he is still fighting for the crown, and his victories are legendary-both in the battlefield and in the bedroom. Yet he's never forgotten his bonnie lass. And he certainly never expected to see her amidst the splendor of the British royal court: beautiful, breathtaking, and tempting him past the point of no return.

The night he left, Mairi MacGregor banished Connor from her life forever. Now her heart belongs only to Scotland. As part of a secret alliance, she journeys to London in search of information . . . only to find herself face to face with the one man she swore she'd never trust again. Though Mairi's body still craves Connor's touch, she can't forgive his betrayal. But a traitor lurks in their midst and to protect her beloved Highlands, Mairi must make a leap of faith and join forces with Connor-even if it means losing her heart to him again.

England, 1685. Seven years ago in Scotland, Connor and Mairi were happy and in love. Then Connor broke the news to Mairi that he had to travel to England to serve his king who is also his kin. He asked Mairi to go with him, but Mairi thought that he didn’t mean it and that he wanted out of the relationship. Connor stayed in touch and was faithful for several years, but Mairi was angry with him for leaving and never asked him to come back, so he never did.

Fast forward seven years; they meet again in England. Connor is now a Captain of the King’s army and well known as a lady’s man, and Mairi is being pursued by an Englishman who is constantly at her side. These emotions cause them both a bit of jealousy and make them wonder if they still feel something for the other. They are both a bit angry, both wondering if the other feels the same, both possibly still in love.

My thoughts:
This was overall a good read, but here are the reasons why I rated it 3 ½ stars: In the beginning there were a lot of names thrown around that made me confused and caused me to reread certain paragraphs, and then I just decided that if they were important that they would be repeated later on. There were also a few times when I found myself having to revisit some sections just because I would lose interest. Thirdly, at about halfway through the book I just wanted to talk to Mairi and Connor personally and make them see that they both still loved each other, meaning that I felt that the relationship struggle between them dragged a little bit.

That being said, it was overall a good read, especially if you like historical fiction with a sexy highlander lead. Connor was a great male protagonist. He ended up doing some pretty romantic things for Mairi (can’t tell you without giving anything away), and he was the perfect combination of romantic, jealous, and aggressive. Mairi is a strong female lead as well, and she knows how to take care of herself. She is known to hide daggers under her skirts, and Connor might just know where those are located.

This was the second book I read by Paula Quinn, and I will continue to read others by her. She definitely knows how to tell a story.

My Rating:


Book provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Great news for Hockey Romance fans!

You all know how much I love my hockey romance! One of my favorite hockey romance authors, Deirdre Martin, has just announced the next book in her NY Blades series:

~Deirdre Martin

Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: February 7, 2012
ISBN-10: 0425243680
ISBN-13: 978-0425243688

From the author's website:
They had it all planned out: college, marriage, happily ever after. But it didn't quite work out that way... 

Erin O'Brien was everyone's favorite in Ballycraig, while Rory Brady was the town's golden boy: the local lad who moved to America and became a professional hockey player. Rory promised to return to sweep Erin away to the life of her dreams in New York. But the bright lights and late nights turned his head and he never came back. 

Two years later, Rory realizes he's made the worst mistake of his life. Heading back to Ballycraig, he's confident that all he needs to do is flash his winning smile and Erin will fall back into his arms. But Erin's moved on. 

Racing the clock, Rory needs to prove to her that the man she fell in love with is still there. But can happy-go-lucky Erin risk it all and give another chance to the man who broke her heart? 

Is anyone else as excited as I am?!?  Hunky hockey guys and set in Ireland?  Sign me up please!!!

Monday, August 8, 2011


Moving on... I've got some winners to announce:

The winner of the ARC of Forever by Maggie Stiefvater is:


The winners of Love Story by Jennifer Echols are:

Martha Lawson

Congratulations!  I hope you enjoy your books!

Friday, August 5, 2011

July Reads and Recap

Holy smokes - is it August already? Where did July go? I feel like I didn't get much reading done, but when I look at my list, there are 14 books on it:

1. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (4 stars)
2. The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa (4 stars)
3. The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa (5 stars)
4. Of Wolves and Men by G.A. Hauser  (2 stars)
5. A Weekend with Mr. Darcy (3 1/2 stars)
6. Love Story by Jennifer Echols (4 stars)
7. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr (4 stars)
8. Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr (3 stars)
9. Sunset Bridge by Amelie Richards (3 1/2 stars)
10. Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead (5 stars)
11. In the Heat of the Bite by Lydia Dare (3 1/2 stars)
12. A Gentleman Never Tells by Amelia Grey (3 stars)
13. Return to Paradise by Simone Elkes (4 stars)
14. Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan (4 stars) I have a lot of thoughts about this one.  I liked it, but there were some issues I'm having a hard time with.  I am definitely looking forward to seeing where the series goes though.

Let me also say, for those of you who haven't read Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series - what are you waiting for?  It is so, so good.  So good.  Trust me on this.

Pam reviewed My Dangerous Pleasure by Carolyn Jewel (3 1/2 stars)  She's got a few reviews coming up in August that I'm looking forward to!

Today's the last day to enter my giveaway for a sweet YA romance - Love Story by Jennifer Echols.  I liked it - go enter!!!

Was there anything you read in July that you have to share?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pam's Review: How to Seduce a Scoundrel by Vicky Dreiling

How to Seduce a Scoundrel
~Vicky Dreiling

Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Forever
Publish Date: July 1, 2011
ISBN-10: 0446565385
ISBN-13: 978-0446565387
ASIN: B0047Y17PC

From the author's website:

Lady Julianne Gatewick is in a pickle. It started when her brother’s best friend—for whom she’s long nursed a secret tendre—agreed to act as her guardian for the Season, only to seduce her with a risqué waltz.

But when the music stopped and the expectant ton waited for the Earl of Hawkfield to claim her as his own, he made his disinterest clear. Rather than succumb to humiliation, Julianne does what any recently discarded, wickedly witty young miss would do. She secretly pens a lady’s guide to enticing unrepentant rakes . . . and it becomes the hottest scandal in London.

Every honorable rake knows that friends’ sisters are forbidden. But suddenly Julianne has a spark of mischief in her eyes that Hawk can’t resist. Try as he might to push her away, he spends his days listening for her laughter and his nights dreaming of her kisses. He’s always avoided innocents and their marriage-minded mothers, but has the man least likely to wed finally met his match?


This story takes place in England in the year 1817. Hawk is a carefree ladies man. He refuses to live at home with his family, has his own bachelor pad, and has quite the reputation as a rake. His best friend, Tristan, has asked him to watch over his sister for the season, and be her guardian. Hawk agrees though he hasn’t seen Julianne for some time, and when he does he is momentarily taken aback. This isn’t the girl that he teased growing up; this is a beautiful woman.

Julianne has loved Hawk for many years. She has always daydreamed about them having a ‘happily ever after.’ However, with growing up comes the understanding that fantasies are not always realistic. Julianne gets a wake up call when Hawk has a romantic moment dancing with her and after mentions that he thinks of her like a sister. She resolves that she is done letting the men take all the control in her relationships and decides to write an anonymous pamphlet on how to seduce the man you want to help all the other ladies in situations like herself. Will it help her seduce and win Hawk’s heart after all?

This book was a pleasant surprise; the story pulled me right in when Hawk was introduced; I felt as carefree as he was. It was like a breath of fresh air, and then I got lost in the story. You get to experience Hawk and Julianne struggle with their feelings and decisions and see them both grow.

The secondary characters are great. While Hawk is acting as Julianne’s guardian, Hawk’s aunt, Hester, is her sponsor. Aunt Hester speaks her mind about men very openly for that time, and she doesn’t care who it bothers. Julianne’s friends Amy and Georgette are always there for support, to offer their opinions, and even to get in trouble together. On one such escapade, the girls are at a party and hear some interesting noises behind a closed door…

The thumping turned into banging, and the man’s grunting grew louder. “Feel my mighty sword.”
“He has a sword?” Georgette asked.
The woman behind the door screamed.
Georgette gasped. “He killed her.”
How to Seduce a Scoundrel, page 51

How to Seduce a Scoundrel made me laugh, kept me up extra late, and kept me interested the whole time. I highly recommend this book.

My Rating:


This book was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Review: A Gentleman Never Tells by Amelia Grey

A Gentleman Never Tells
~Amelia Grey

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publish Date: July 1, 2011
ISBN-10: 1402239750
ISBN-13: 978-1402239755

From the author's website:
When a lady is in a predicament...

Beautiful, clever and courageous Lady Gabrielle thwarts the shackles of her arranged betrothal by kissing a stranger in the park. But who is this man? Finding herself stuck in yet another forced engagement Gabrielle needs another strategy that isn’t so dangerous.

A gentleman may find himself in deep trouble...
Brentwood is walking in the park early one morning when a beautiful, enchanting young lady walks out of the mist and into his arms. Now Brent has no choice but to marry the delightful Lady Gabrielle. Unfortunately his intended bride has other ideas, and the determined Viscount finds himself plunging into one scandal after another.

Viscount Brentwood (Brent) is walking his mother's dog, Prissy, though Hyde Park when he runs into a beautiful young lady who is accompanied by an extremely large dog.  They exchange a few words, and then - she kisses him!!!  Before he knows what happened, her father and her fiancee's father are there, demanding to know how long they've been secretly meeting.  Naturally Gabrielle's engagement is called off and Gabrielle's father, the Duke of Windergreen, demands that Brent marry her to salvage her honor.  He threatens Brent's younger brothers' new shipping company if he does not comply. In the confusion, Prissy runs away.

Lady Gabrielle just caught her younger sister kissing Gabrielle's fiancee!  Distraught, she takes her mastiff, Brutus, for a walk through Hyde Park.  She comes upon a gentleman walking a tiny dog, and after a few minutes, leans in and kisses him!  She doesn't have explanation for her behavior, she was overcome with curiosity and kissed him, and she liked it.  She's pleased she'll no longer have to wed her fiancee, but when her father informs her she'll be marrying Brent instead she is horrified - she doesn't want to be forced to marry.

As Gabrielle works to convince Brent that he doesn't want to marry her, he realizes more and more that he does.  Gabrielle wants a husband that wants her, not one that's being forced to marry her.

My thoughts:
A Gentleman Never Tells was adorable!  I liked both Gabrielle and Brent, they were honorable characters without being saccharinely so.  It was funny to watch their story unfold from each of their viewpoints, if only they would have communicated more with each other!  The secondary storyline revolving around Prissy being missing was a nice diversion to get these two to spend time together.  I liked that the H/H were both dog lovers.

With respect to the secondary characters - they were a juicy bunch!  Gabrielle's sister and ex-fiancee totally deserved each other; that's all I'm saying about that.  Brent's younger twin brothers were rakish fun - I hope they each get a story.  Gabrielle's aunt, who came down to visit for the-wedding-that-didn't-happen, is one of those characters who is insightful and fun.  I hope now that she's in London she'll continue to try the Duke's patience!

All in all, A Gentleman Never Tells is a sweet story featuring an adorable couple, their canine companions, a feisty pair of twins, and a mysterious pet thief.  

My Rating:

This book was received by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Review: Sunset Bridge by Emilie Richards

Sunset Bridge
~Emilie Richards

Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Mira
Publish Date: June 28, 2011
ISBN-10: 0778312380
ISBN-13: 978-0778312383

From the author's website:
Five very different women find friendship–and unexpected love–on the barrier island known as Happiness Key.

Former socialite Tracy Deloche has nothing to her name but five ramshackle beach cottages and the unlikely friendships she's formed with her tenants: Wanda, the wise waitress turned popular pie-shop owner. Janya, the young Indian wife whose arranged marriage surprises her every day. Alice, a widow raising her complex tween-age granddaughter. Maggie, Wanda's daughter, a former Miami cop with a love life as complicated as Tracy's own.

The new man in Tracy's life hasn't mentioned love or commitment–and suddenly Tracy needs a big dose of both. Janya longs to be a mother–and inherits two young siblings to care for. Alice may lose her beloved granddaughter to someone no one expected. Maggie helps out at Wanda's Wonderful Pies, but is the kitchen big enough for both Gray women when one of them is looking for a murderer?

As a tropical storm brews, the wind carries surprises and secrets over the bridge to Happiness Key. Now, more than ever, five friends will discover just how much they need one another.
Sunset Bridge is the third book in a trilogy about the lives of four women living in a small community in Florida:

Tracy Deloche lived a life of luxury until her husband was arrested for fraud and the feds took almost everything they owned. Tracy has been dating Marsh Egan, a conservation activist, for a few months,and has just found out she's pregnant.  She doesn't know yet if Marsh cares for her, but she knows she wants this baby.

WandaGray is an older woman who used to be a waitress but fulfilled her dream of opening her own pie shop. Wanda's daughter, Maggie, has just quit her job as a police officer in Miami and left her long-term boyfriend to come to Happiness Key to help her mother in her pie shop and to think.  Her boyfriend still wants her in his life, and she's also met someone else who might be fun to spend some time with.

Janya Kapur is a young wife from India who loves her husband although it was an arranged marriage. Janya wants children but previously learned her husband is unable to have children.  When a horrible tragedy strikes a young couple they've recently met, their young children are left in the care of Janya and her husband.  But Janya and her husband are sure the tragedy is not what it seems at first glance.

Alice, a grandmother who's unexpectedly raising her teenaged granddaughter. Alice is tired.  She's getting older and is having a hard time keeping up with the demands of being parent to a teenage girl.

These women have formed a close friendship in their tiny community of five homes on the island of Happiness Key. 

My thoughts:
Whew! There's a lot going on in Sunset Bridge! I did not read the first book in this series, Happiness Key, but I did read Book 2, Fortunate Harbor, so I knew who the characters are and where they are in life.

I liked the pacing in this book. With so many stories to keep track of, normally I'd be all over the place trying to keep track of who was where, but with Sunset Bridge that wasn't a problem. It felt like the story was moving slowly but there was so much going on that I stayed interested.  I liked the introduction of Wanda's daughter, Maggie. She's the kind of character that I don't usually see in women's fiction (I have not read too many books in this genre so don't hold me to that) and I really liked her character - tough, self sufficient, stubborn to a fault; but she's also smart, good-hearted and helpful. It was her involvement in Janya's part of the book that I was most interested in.

I liked all the characters except Tracy: Tracy is the character I had a problem with in Fortunate Harbor.  This time around her weight was pretty low-key but her attitude towards Marsh really drove me nuts.  Other than Tracy though, I liked the women and their quiet support of each other.  Their weekly meals together, their willingness to assist, even their occasional snaps at each other, all shows the reader a family, if not in name.

Sunset Bridge ends with a bang - I was flipping pages quickly as the occupants of Happiness Key were cast about in a chain of events that left them (and me) breathless; it was a wonderful end to the trilogy. Oh, and for those who read Fortunate Harbor, there's a nice little blip about the owners of the restaurant that fired Wanda; it was the best thing that ever happened to her!

My Rating:

This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Love Story For My Husband

(Oh My Gosh - we were babies!!)

Happy 19th Anniversary Love!

I can’t believe we’ve come this far already. As I look back over our years together, I see that our life together is similar to romance novels in many ways:

When we started dating (in 10th grade), our relationship was like a YA romance: You were the Street-wise Bad Boy, I was the Innocent Shy Girl. No one would have pictured us together, not even us! But it was Instant Attraction and no matter how hard we fought it, we did get together, and by the end of high school we were The Couple Everyone Knew Would Last.

Then, in college, things got a bit bumpy; there may have been a “break” involved. At this point, our relationship was like a Contemporary Romance: We loved each other but were also trying to decide who we were as individuals. A road trip for you, some self-discovery for me…but we missed each other. Midnight phone calls, love letters…and a surprise road trip home. Read forward a few pages to our wedding day… We were definitely a Reunited Lovers story.  With a newborn baby in the One Year Later epilogue :)

Our life together has also been an Erotic Romance, a Comedic Romance (sometimes at the same time, lol), and an Inspirational Romance. One thing it has not been is a May/December Romance, although you repeatedly claim it is (I’m only 5 months older than you, damnit!).

Over the years, one thing has remained constant – our love for each other. Even with the things in life that don’t show up in romance novels (like you leaving your dirty clothes in front of the hamper, or me "rearranging" your spices in the kitchen), you’re still my Hero – a wonderful husband and father, friend and lover.
  • If our life was a Historical Romance, I'd be the Wallflower and you'd be the Reformed Rake.
  • If our life was a Vampire Romance, I’d let you suck me anytime.
  • If our life was a Fairy Story, you’d be my Summer King, bringing sunshine and warmth into my life.
  • If our life was an Urban Fantasy Romance, we’d fight the bad guys together.
  • If our life was a Paranormal Romance, you’d be my Alpha Werewolf - large and in charge but totally dedicated to me and our children .

We’ve been married to each other almost half our lives: Thank you for loving me, giving me beautiful babies, sharing the fun parts and comforting me during the tough spots. Thank you for my very own Happily Ever After.

With Love Always,