Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Review - Years

Title: Years
Author: LaVyrle Spencer
Publishing Date: 1986
Genre: Western
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Warm

It’s the year 1917 and World War I looms on the horizon. Linnea Brandonberg has just graduated and received her teaching certification. Against her fathers advice she takes a position in the little town of Alamo, North Dakota. Linnea is excited and scared. She has never been away from her family before and never left her home town, yet she is very excited to start her first teaching job and she is excited to see a new town. What Linnea imagines will happen, and the reality of what does actually takes place are quite different. The town is nothing but wheat farms as far as the eye can see. The town is really not a town at all, but a few small stores. The worst surprise in store for Linnea is Theodore Westgaard or Teddy as his friends and family call him. Teddy is an irascible, gruff man who is taken off guard by Linnea. He was expecting a male teacher, not a young woman, who is practically a child in his eyes. Teddy and Linnea, from the first moment they meet, butt heads with each other. Years is the story of these two unseemly, mismatched people coming together and learning to love.

Right from the beginning when Linnea and Teddy first meet, I have to say I was worried about how this story was going to play out. Teddy truly was rude and seemed like a miserable old man. Of course, first impressions can be deceiving and that is exactly what happens between Linnea and Teddy. The beauty of this story lies in the changes that occur in Linnea and Teddy. These two characters go through so much growth throughout this book. Linnea in the beginning seems very childish. She is constantly day dreaming and is very naïve about the world in general. Teddy, at first comes across as a hard unbending farmer, but slowly the reader sees that this is all just a front because he was hurt by his first wife when she left him. Underneath his stern demeanor is a gentle and loving man.

The actually story line takes place over a year or so. It is so nice to see the characters really develop their relationship over time and not just become instantly attracted to each other. Teddy and Linnea’s love for one another evolves slowly and it is very believable. They have a lot to overcome with their differences in age. Linnea is eighteen and Teddy is thirty-four and has been previously married. He has a sixteen year old son, Kristian. I thought the way Spencer handled these issues was really great. Usually, a large age difference between the characters really bothers me because there is too much of a power struggle. That was not the case with this story. Teddy really wrestles with his feelings for Linnea and he fears that he is too old for her.

Years is a deeply moving story. For those readers who believe that romances from the 80s were all about forced seduction and rape, Years breaks away from that mold. Years is a book that doesn’t need those devices to make a beautifully touching love story. The deeper message the reader takes away at the end of this story, is that a person doesn’t choose who they fall in love with and that love is a gift that should be cherished, not thrown away. Linnea convinces Teddy to take a chance on love and that it is worth fighting for. Teddy eventually does and Teddy and Linnea finally get their “Happily Ever After”.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Review - All Through the Night

Title: All Through the Night
Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Publishing Date: 2007
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Rating: B
Sensuality: Kisses

All Through the Night is book 12 in the Troubleshooter series. Jules and Robin are getting married. Only, the thing is that nothing seems to be going right. Their old Victorian house has bats in the attic and doorknobs that keep falling off the doors, which in turns leads to someone getting locked in a room and a pesky reporter who wants the dirt on their upcoming nuptials. One thing is clear though – that Robin and Jules are completely head over heals in love with each other. Nothing is going to stand in their way of getting married.

All Through the Night is such a treat for fans of Jules Cassidy. Since he first appeared in the series in The Defiant Hero, he has played a large role in each book. His spunky, fun personality has kept readers wishing and hoping that he finally get his own happy-ever-after. Now that Robin has gotten his act together Jules does. Robin has accepted his sexuality. He has also entered rehab and has been successfully staying sober. He is determined to be the man he wants to be for Jules. Their wedding is so sweet and very touching. Brockmann really sold me that these two will make their marriage a success.

There is also a small secondary romance between a reporter Will Schroder and Robin’s assistant Dolphina Patel. This romance was less than spectacular. It is one of those love-at-first-site romances, which I think is a total cop out on Brockmann’s part. The twist, in this case, is that Will is forced to make some very horrid choices and ends up hurting Jules and Robin. Dolphina with good reason wants nothing to do with him. This book was really too short to properly develop their relationship.

Here's what others had to say:

Julia's Books Corner!
What Women Read
I Just Finished Reading
Rosario's Reading Journal
My Thoughts on Nothing Much at All
Stacy's Place on Earth
Good and Bad Books
The Good, The Bad, The Unread

Sunday, September 28, 2008

October Books I Can't Wait For!

Kev and Win totally stole the show in Mine till Midnight. Need I say more?

Here is a summary:
Win has been an invalid ever since she suffered a near-fatal case of scarlet fever. Merripen is a Romany Gypsy who was taken in by the Hathaway family when he was a boy. He has always kept his fierce passion for Win a secret, believing a romantic relationship would never be possible.
But Win goes to an exclusive clinic, far away from Merripen and the rest of her family, and makes a remarkable recovery. And when she returns two years later, a changed woman, the explosive passion between these long-denied lovers threatens their family, their future, and even their lives . . .

I have really enjoyed McKenna's books in the past. She is a guilty pleasure read for me. Ulitmate Weapon is Tamara's story. I wonder how Mckenna is going to pull this off, because Tamara is unlike any of her previous heroines. It should be interesting.

Here is the summary:
Tamara’s a bad girl with a dangerous difference. Enter a terrifying, sexually charged world of thrilling suspense where love is the riskiest game of all . . .


Covert operations are what Val Janos is all about. The man is mysterious and sinister, and lethally hot. Only Tamara can understand the strange intensity that drives him to win at all costs—and only she can match it.

Val has one weak spot : Imre, the frail old man who befriended him when he was a scared, hungry kid abandoned on the streets of Budapest. But Daddy Novak knows about Imre, and Imre’s head is on the block if Val doesn’t deliver Tam up to Novak’s tender mercies . . .

A white-hot passion explodes when Tam and Val get too close. They both have too much to be afraid of, too much to hide. And now, for the first time, too much to lose . . .

The Chosen Sin is the first book in a new vampire series by Anya Bast. I have read Anya Bast's Witch series and have really enjoyed them. I figured I may as well give her new series a try too. This book releases October 7th.

Here is the summary:
In this sensuous and lust-filled otherworld, the Chosen are vampires fighting for their very existence.

It is Daria’s destiny to become one of them…

Daria Morris is a special forces agent with one obsession: to wreak vengeance on the brutal vampire who nearly destroyed her. Now she’s finally about to get her chance, on one condition. She must become something she detests: a vampire.

Her fate rests upon one man’s lethal bite. His name is Alejandro Martinez, and he can help her infiltrate a highly guarded group of the Chosen. But Alejandro is also a distraction for Daria. Because thirteen years ago, they shared a scorching night of passion neither has forgotten.

Now, while Daria struggles against her newfound bloodlust, the two must slip into the shadows to bring a monster to justice—even as their desire threatens to consume them. But under the cover of night, they’ll discover that it’s the darkness within that may stand in the way of their hunger for retribution…

I have read the first two books in this romantic suspense series. I thought the first one No Regrets was fantastic and the second one No Control was average. I am anxious to see how No Escape rates.

Here is the summary:
Teacher Isabelle Carson is grief-stricken, angry, and scared. Three of her childhood friends have died. The police say they’re suicides, but Isabelle knows they would never, ever take their own lives. Her past binds her to every victim, and she knows it’s only a matter of time before the killer comes after her. Only one man can help her now, the only man she’s ever trusted, the man who saved her so long ago . . .

No Place to Hide

For Grant Kent, Delta Force vet, just being near Isabelle brings back old memories and desires, and stirs longings he’d rather deny. Yet he can’t deny the real terror in her eyes, or resist the thought of holding her again. But even as their friendship begins to blossom into a passionate affair, a killer continues his deadly rampage, and plots his next move, the “suicide” of Isabelle Carson.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Review - Unmasqued

Title: Unmasqued
Author: Colette Gale
Publishing Date: 2007
Genre: Historical (Erotic)
Rating: C+
Sensuality: Burning

Unmasqued is a story of the well known classic The Phantom of the Opera but with a little twist. Instead of Christine falling in love with Raoul, she falls in love with the Phantom. Christine's father was a famous violinist who traveled all over the world, perfoming and tutoring. He died when she was a young girl. Since his death she hasn't been able to sing or find music as fufilling as when her father was alive. She hasn't been able to find her place in the world, feeling lost and alone until the Phantom comes to her. Erik notices not only her beauty, but the loneliness that surrounds her and he senses a kindred spirit. He takes it upon himself to tutor her as he sees great potential in her underdeveloped talent.

This book had its good points and bad points. For an erotic novel it was very steamy (and boy do I mean steamy). The sex scenes were frequent and varied. However, as with most erotic novels because of the number of sensual scenes, there was a noticable lack of character development. This is the most pronounced with Christine. I found her, by far, to be the blandest character in the story. She was much to mousy for my taste and needed something more to add life to her personality.

I found Madame Giry and her escapades with the production managers quite amusing. They added a few unexpected laughs. I also liked the direction Ms. Gale took with Carlotta's character. It was a welcome surprise for the story. The villians, however, could have used more development. I could see where Ms. Gale was going with them, but I think it could have been expanded on more. All in all, this was not a bad book. I know Colette Gale has another book about The Counte of Monte Cristo that I will be looking into in the near future.

Here is what others had to say:

Rip My Bodice

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Review - Dark Embrace

Title: Dark Embrace
Author: Brenda Joyce
Publishing Date: August 2008
Genre: Time-Travel
Rating: C
Sensuality: Warm

Dark Embrace is Brenda Joyce’s third novel in her Masters of Time series. It is also the start of the Rose Trilogy within the series. Brianna Rose is from long line of Rose women. These women have all had special powers passed down to them through the generations. Brianna’s special power is empathy. She can sense other peoples’ emotions. Brie has had a crush on Aiden since she the time she briefly meets him in Dark Rival.

Aiden is a Master and can time travel. After hearing Brianna scream for help, he leaps through time to find and protect her. She was being attacked by a group of boys who had been consumed by evil. Aiden saves her. A conflict happens between Brianna’s boss and Aiden. Aiden leaps time and takes Brianna with him back to Scotland in the year 1508.

I hate to say this but I was really disappointed with this story. Aiden appeared in the first two books as a happy-go-lucky, ladies man. Now he is consumed by hatred and revenge. He does such a complete one-eighty that I hardly recognized him as the same man. Aiden was pretty nasty to Brie most of the time and just an all around unpleasant man.

I also think Aiden’s personality and problems overshadowed Brie in this book. Aiden was too mean and Brie was too mousy. His struggles and problems were the focus and therefore the books seemed unbalanced. For example, I don’t even really understand Brie’s powers and how she came to have them. Nor is there much written about her family or background. Aiden was too changed for me to really like him and it is such a shame because he really could have been a magnetic character. Brie and Aiden’s sudden happy ending was not very believable.

One other thing that bothered me was Brie’s boss Nick, who has some very, unexpected capabilities in the book. This just leads to more questions that were left unanswered. It is possible that they will be addressed in future books in the series, but again, it left me confused and unsatisfied with this book.

Here is what others had to say:

Tracy's Place

Monday, September 22, 2008

Review - Date with the Devil

Title: Date with the Devil
Author: Olivia Rupprecht
Publishing Date: November 1991
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: C+
Sensuality: Warm

Can I just say this book totally makes me giggle? I mean first of all check out the ridiculous cover. Of course, it was written in 1991, so what did I expect, right? What’s inside the book is just as tacky as the cover. In this case, the saying “never judge a book by its cover” doesn’t apply. My whole reason for reading this book was because of a post I read over at the popular romance blog, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. A reader couldn’t remember the title of this book and described the plot. It sounded so ridiculous I knew I had to read it. What can I say? I’m a glutton for punishment.

Diedre Forsythe wins a trip to the Bahamas. She takes a day cruise site see around the surrounding area and a surprise storm capsizes the boat. After hitting the water she blacks out and wakes up to find herself in the arms of a strange man lying on a bed of palm fronds. She recognizes the man from the boat as Sterling Jakes a fellow passenger. (Don’t you just love the name, Sterling Jakes? It’s about as silly as the rest of the book.) He was able to save himself and her by swimming to the nearest island. Now it’s just the two of them and they have to live off the island to survive.

I loved the premise of this book. Two strangers who have to learn to live off the land in order to survive is a promising plot. No outside conflict, only the two of them against nature. Unfortunately, the delivery just didn’t work for me. Sterling was in the military and he studied as a Ninja and knows how to survive. So he teaches Diedre how to find food and how to make tools. Sterling came off as too much of a know-it-all. Plus, he was a lot older than Diedre and that immediately put him in control. What really got me, was the way he would talk. It was all very cheesy and he always called Diedre, Darling. I found myself rolling my eyes at the things he would say.

This story was very brief at a whopping 180 pages. It was an easy read and I read the book very quickly. I didn’t like how Diedre behaved at the end. She all the sudden turned into an immature ninny. Feeling so sorry for herself, she just ran away instead of confronting her problems. It weakened the book, for me. I don’t know if I can actually recommend this book, but it was funny and short. I didn’t mind having spent time reading it. But it’s definitely not an award winner. (Well, I suppose that depends on the award).

Friday, September 19, 2008

Review - Broken

Title: Broken
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publishing Date: May 2006
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Warm

Broken is book six in Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Underworld series. The main focus of the book was the mystery surrounding the portal Elena accidentally opens up and her emotional upheaval with her pregnancy. The mystery involved a From Hell letter that was supposedly written by Jack the Ripper. Elena is asked to steal it, and her needing some excitement in her life agrees to do the job.

Elena, Clay and Jeremy set out for Toronto to steal the letter. The theft goes as planned without any problems. It was a pretty simple job with very low risks involved. What they didn’t know about the letter though, was that it was actually a portal. Elena accidentally activates it and a couple of zombies escape. Elena and Jeremy want to close the portal. What they thought would be simple, soon becomes complicated.

I don’t know what it was about this book, but it just wasn’t as exciting as Elena’s first two books Bitten and Stolen. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the book, but it seemed to be missing something. The story centers around Elena because it’s all in her point of view. Maybe by getting only Elena’s point of view, the other characters make less of an impact. Clay’s angst was almost non existent. Occasionally, he would growl at Elena for her to keep herself safe, but that was about the extent of it. I really loved Clay in Bitten, but he just seemed a shadow of himself in this book.

I do really enjoy Elena’s voice and she is still the same sensible, level headed woman. She likes to have her fun though. I also love the pack dynamics. I love to see how the other wolves interact with each other. Jamie, the necromancer also puts in an appearance to help out the pack. I love seeing her interact with Jeremy. Especially since, Jamie isn’t pack and doesn’t follow Jeremy’s orders like Clay and Elena do. I just wish there would have been more of that in this story. Broken is a good solid read, but not as griping as the first books.

Here is what others had to say:

Dear Author

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Review - Faefever (Actually, it's more of a Tribute)

*Note* I want to state up front that there are absolutely NO spoilers in this review.

Title: Faefever
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Publishing Date: September 2008
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Sensuality: Warm
Rating: A

Can I just say, wow? Wow! This book is amazing! I have been anxiously counting down the days ever since last fall when I read Bloodfever, the second book in the Fever series, and I am so happy to say that it did not disappoint! It was freaking fabulous!!!!

Let me start at the beginning for those of you who are not familiar with the series. The fever books are narrated by Ms. MacKayla Lane, aka Mac. She is a young, 22 year old southern girl who worships the sun, lives with her parents, takes classes at the local college and bartends at night. She loves her life. It’s simple and fun and that is just how she wants it. Then one day her world came crashing down around her when she learns that her sister Alina was brutally murdered in Dublin Ireland, where her sister was attending college. The police said that Alina was hanging around a bad crowd and that she had stopped going to classes. Mac can’t believe that. It doesn’t sound anything like how Alina would behave.

Overwhelmed by her grief, and against her parent’s wishes, Mac flies to Ireland to do her own investigating into Alina’s death. What she finds when she arrives in Dublin changes everything she ever knew about her world and her life. Mac realizes that there are things that go bump in the night; things that can’t be explained by any reasonable explanation. She also learns that she has a special power. One that allows her to see those unexplainable things that go bump in the night. This fever series is about Mac’s journey in discovering what really happened to Alina. This is a finite series constructed of five books. Faefever is the third book. The first two are Darkfever and Bloodfever.

Moning has out done herself with crafting this world. She slowly over the course of the series reveals the world to Mac and the readers making it a puzzle that we have to fit the pieces together. Moning has done a wonderful job of keeping the reader on edge with giving us answers to some questions and yet somehow still creating the need for more answers to new questions. Moning is able to keep the story feeling believable even though what is happening in the story is truly unbelievable.

Mac herself is the best of heroines. She is completely out of her element. She is a normal girl and one that didn’t have any aspirations other than finding a nice southern gentleman and providing her parents with grandbabies and accessorizing her sunny outfits. But when it comes to finding her in impossible situations, she sucks it up and toughs it out. The reader can’t help but like her and feel compassion for her. The reader is right there with her through her journey and it’s a tough road she has to travel. Her growth and transformation over the story is amazing and one of the best aspects of the series.

This series is fantastic. If you like urban fantasy or even paranormal romance, I highly recommend it. If you don't like the first person point of view, but are intrigued by my review, I welcome you to just jump in and read this book. You will not be lost not having read the first two books. Everything is briefly explained in the prologue. It’s a quick read and highly addicting. Mac’s voice will suck you in and not let go and after reading this book I vow you will want to go back read the others. Ms. Moning, congratulations on a job well done. This book is everything I could ask for in a great read.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Review - Mr. Fix-it

Title: Mr. Fix-it
Author: Crystal Hubbard
Publishing Date: September 2008
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Hot

Khela Halliday, a well known romance author, is in a bit of a bind. She has a book convention to attend and needs a date fast. She has secretly been pining for the hot maintenance super in her building. She has known him for three years now and has never had the nerve to move their relationship from the casual hello, to more. Now out of sheer desperation, she asks him to attend the convention with her as her pseudo date, but really he’s just playing the role of eye candy. Only, it turns out Carter shares a similar attraction to Khela.

What I really enjoyed about Mr. Fix-it was that Khela and Carter come across as two very realistic and human individuals. I could believe that Khela and Carter are real people, not just characters in a book. There was a realness to them in their words and actions that was very believable.

However, since they were so human, they did have some flaws. I found Khela hard to relate to. She has the type of personality when she gets uncomfortable with a situation she starts snapping at people and becoming waspish. This got old after a while. Although, it is toned down by the end of the story. Luckily for her, Carter sees right through the façade and it never fazes him. Khela had her humorous points as well. She has a way with words that would have me chuckling every once in a while.

I really liked Carter. I especially loved that he read every single one of Khela’s books in order to get to know her better. He thinks by reading her books he will learn what she wants from a man and then he will know how to win her heart. But since Carter is portrayed so realistically, of course he flubs it up somehow. Carter’s downfall was that whenever he got into a sticky spot in his relationship with Khela he runs for the hills. Thankfully both characters learn from their mistakes.

I found that Mr. Fix-it was lacking in passion, but it was in interesting story with believable characters. It was sweet and funny and it was an overall enjoyable read.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Blogger Appreciation Week

This week September 15 - 19 is the official Blogger Appreciation Week.

There is alot going on at My Friend Amy. There are quite a few givaways that will be announced during the week. Be sure to check in often as I am not sure of the schedule. Here is a listing of all the giveaways. Good luck everyone!

A HUGE thank you to Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group USA, Harlequin, The B&B Media Group, Shera of SNS Blog Design, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, Catherine Delors, Pamela Binnings Ewen, Andromeda Romano-Lax, Ceceilia Dowdy, Sormag, Book Club Girl, Savvy Verse and Wit, Cafe of Dreams, Fashionista Piranha, and Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'?.

Daily Raffles:
Monday--Books and Chocolate sponsored by My Friend Amy and Hey Lady! Whatcha' Readin?
Tuesday--Books and Going Green sponsored by My Friend Amy
Wednesday--Books and Coffee sponsored by My Friend Amy
Thursday--Books and Charity sponsored by My Friend Amy and Fashionista Piranha
Friday--Books and Movies sponsored by My Friend Amy

Win a Book Club Girl Hostess Survival Kit!
Do you find it's your turn to host book club and not only do you not know what to serve but you don't know what books to offer up for the next month's selection?! Let Book Club Girl come to your rescue with the Book Club Girl Hostess Survival Kit.

One lucky winner of the kit will receive:

* A basket of cheese, crackers, cookies and wine for up to 12 people
* 5 great book group books to vote on for your group's next pick. And Book Club Girl will then donate 12 copies whichever book is chosen for your entire group to read.
* 12 Book Club Girl mousepads to give out as party favors that night
* 12 Book Club Girl bookmarks to mark everyone's favorite passages
* 12 Book Club Girl coasters to protect your coffee table from all those wine glasses!

TWO SORMAG Goody Bags containing books and more!

A Special Pamper Me Basket from Cafe of Dreams!
From Avon Foot Works
~ Inflatable watermelon shaped foot tub
~ 3.4 FL oz Watermelon Cooling Foot Lotion
~ 3.4 FL oz Watermelon Exfoliating Foot Scrub
~ 12 count Watermelon Effervescent Foot Tablets
~ An ARC of So Long At The Fair by Christina Schwarz
~ A variety of Hot Chocolate and Tea mixes

A pre-made blog template from SNSDesign!

A Subscription to Poetry Magazine from Savvy Verse and Wit!

Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors
The Moon in the Mango Tree by Pamela Binnings Ewen
The Spanish Bow by Andromeda Romano-Lax
John's Quest by Cecelia Dowdy
Confessions of a Contractor by Richard Murphy
Acedia & Me by Kathleen Norris
The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer
Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley
A Tale Out of Luck by Willie Nelson with Mike Blakely
The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson
An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken
Exit Music by Ian Rankin
The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire LaZebnik
Gunmetal Black by Daniel Serrano
Isolation by Travis Thrasher
The Miracle Girls by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
Every Freaking! Day With Rachell Ray by Elizabeth Hilts
Dewey by Vicki Myron
The Shiniest Jewel by Marian Henley
Keep the Faith by Faith Evans
The Book of Calamities by Peter Trachtenberg
A is for Atticus by Lorilee Craker
After the Fire by Robin Gaby Fisher
Mike's Election Guide by Michael Moore
War as They Knew It by Michael Rosenberg
Fixing Hell By Col. (ret.) Larry C. James
Wild Boy: My Life with Duran Duran by Andy Taylor
The Last Under-Cover: The True Story of an FBI Agent's Dangerous Dance with Evil By Bob Hamer
Border Lass by Amanda Scott
Insatiable Desire by Rita Heron
Hungry for More by Diana Holquist
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
Trespassers Will Be Baptized by Elizabeth Emerson Hancock
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not by Trish Ryan
Never Surrender by General Jerry Boykin
Dream in Color by Congresswoman Linda Sánchez, Congresswoman Loretta Sánchez
Beyond Belief by Josh Hamilton
Cobain Unseen by Charles R. Cross
Doing Business in 21st Century India by Gunjan Bagla
Branding Only Works on Cattle by Jonathan Salem Baskin
Launching a Leadership Revolution by Chris Brady, Orrin Woodward
How to Hear from God by Joyce Meyer
Knowing Right from Wrong by Thomas D. Williams
Pope John Paul II: An Intimate Life by Caroline Pigozzi
Pure by Rebecca St. James
He Loves Me! by Wayne Jacobson
So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore by Wayne Jacobson and Dave Coleman
Move On, Move Up by Paula White
The Rosary by Gary Jansen
Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts
The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
Right Livelihoods by Rick Moody
by George by Wesley Stace
The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
Trunk Music by Michael Connelly
Hollywood Crows by Joseph Wambaugh
Dead Boys by Richard Lange
The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters by Lorraine Lopez
Sisterchicks Go Brit! by Robin Jones Gunn
Beyond the Night by Marlo Schalesky
With Endless Sight by Allison Pittman
Harlequin Titles: To Be Announced

Many other blogs are giving away books and prizes for BBAW as well! You can see the links to all of these giveaways here.

Interested in gaining entries into the daily raffles? Post this complete list on your blog with links and you'll earn two extra entries!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Review - My Lord and Spymaster

Title: My Lord and Spymaster
Author: Joanna Bourne
Publishing Date: July 2008
Genre: Historical
Rating: A-
Sensuality: Warm

Jess Whitby’s father has been arrested by the British Government and is accused of being the spy known as Cinq, who has been passing secrets to the French. Jess knows that her father isn’t the most honest of men, but he is not a traitor. She must find the real Cinq and hand him over to the British Government before they hang her father. Through a few leads, Jess believes that Captain Sebastian Kennett could be the spy Cinq. She sets up to ambush him in the allies off of the docks. Only things don’t go according to plan and she ends up under attack and Kennett manages rescues her.

I just love, love, loved this book! I have decided that Joanna Bourne is my new favorite author. I think the greatest thing about this book is the amount of depth the characters have. From Jess and Kenneth, to the secondary characters of Adrian and Doyle (who we met in The Spymaster’s Lady) and a new character Lazareth the king of thieves, Ms. Bourne breathes life into the story. Even Jess’s pet ferret, Kedger was a lovely addition.

Captain Kennett reminds me of a typical Linda Howard hero. Once he lays eyes on Jess and decides he wants her, nothing will stand in his way of getting what he wants. He just barrels his way into her good graces, knowing that he will make her his woman. He is very protective of those that he loves and will do anything he has to, to protect what is his, no matter how distasteful. He tows the line between good and bad. He is a good man, but he sometimes does bad things.

Jess was just as enjoyable. There are two sides to Jess. One side is very naïve, sweet and fragile and the other is very determined and stubborn. She is constantly jumping into risky situations without regard for the consequences. It’s a good thing for her that Kennett is so protective and is willing to go great lengths to get her out of these scrapes she keeps finding herself in.

I really enjoyed this story. My only complaint is that I wish there could have been more love scenes. I mean Kennett kept talking about how he was going to make her his, and yet he doesn’t until the very end of the story. Now, that I look back on it though, I find that is part of the charm of the story. I can’t wait to see what Bourne comes up with next. I really hope it involves Adrian.

Here is what others had to say:

The Thrillionth Page
Dear Author
A Hoyden's Look at Literature
Errant Dreams Reviews
The Book Smugglers
The Good, The Bad, The Unread

Friday, September 12, 2008

Review - Haunted

Title: Haunted
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publishing Date: June 2005
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: C+
Sensuality: Kisses

Haunted is book five in Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Underworld Series. Eve Levine is a ghost. The fates have asked for her help in bringing a dangerous chaos demon Nix, back into confinement. Others have tried to bring the Nix back and have failed. Eve is given an angel Trsiel as a partner and her former lover Kristof Nast aids her on this mission as well.

First off, I have to say that I was not expecting Eve to be the narrator of this book and because of that I was a little disappointed. Eve is a ghost and that means she can’t interact with the living, except for necromancers, whose specialty is communicating with the dead. Eve enlists the aid of Jamie, who has appeared in earlier books in this series. The story felt disconnected in a sense that Eve is on the outside looking in. She can only observe what is happening in the real world and can’t interact in it at all.

The ghost world is very unusual and this was both a curse and a blessing for the story. The descriptions of the different places Eve visits in the ghost world were definitely unique and interesting to read about. I felt like Armstrong towed to close the line of the story becoming more cartoonish than realistic.

Trsiel, Eve’s angelic partner was very frustrating. He is supposed to help Eve in her quest to capture the Nix. Every time Eve had the Nix cornered and she called Trsiel for help, he was supposed to appear immediately brandishing his sword of justice and capture the Nix. Did he ever once show up on time? Nope, not once. I was ever so annoyed with this.

I did like the interaction between Kristof and Eve. These scenes were few and far between though. Haunted is definitely not a romance in the sense that Eve’s mission is more of a focus than her relationship with Kristof. It’s not a bad book but for me, this was an average read and probably the weakest of the series so far.

Here is what others had to say:

Rosario's Reading Journal
Someone's Read it Already
Reading Adventures

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New website, what's the buzz?

Okay, so I have discovered a new website paperspine. It's like netflix only for books. You subscribe to the website and they send you books in the mail. When your finished reading them (and there is no time limit) you send them back and they mail you a new one. Depending on the package you get, you can have up to three books at a time. They have a well stocked library with over 200,000 books to choose from. If they don't have a book you want then you can email them and suggest it. Do any of you have a subscription, or know of anyone who does? I was wondering how quickly they ship books. If it's a new release, does it ship right away or is there a wait. It sounds pretty good, but you do have to pay. I am just wondering if it's worth it or not.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Review - Warrior

Title: Warrior
Author: Angela Knight
Publishing Date: July 2008
Genre: Futuristic
Rating: C-
Sensuality: Burning

Galar Arvid is from the twenty-third century. He has been sent to the past so investigate the death of a famous artist Jessica Kelly. He arrives in the year 2008, minutes before her supposed murder takes place. After an intense battle, barely saving her life, he takes her back to the future where her new life will be, as she can no longer live in her time. He has to keep her safe from the killer and she has to adjust to her new life.

I was very disappointed with Warrior. I read Jane’s Warlord and had really enjoyed it and was looking forward to more of this series, but Warrior did not live up to my expectations. I just couldn’t connect to Jessica and Galar. They seemed very superficial and sort of bland. Nothing about either of them really stood out for me. I did think that Galar was very thoughtful of Jessica when she was trying to integrate into the new world. She had a lot to handle and Galar tried to make the transition easier for her. Certain times he devoted a lot of thought and effort for Jessica and that made him sweet in my eyes.

The world building was the more interesting part of the book, but it still lacked that extra something special to make it really stand out for me. I found the whole time-travel aspect very confusing. I don’t think it is explained very well. Jessica’s exposure to the aliens never really makes sense and the test they give her is never completely explained. There are a few holes in the plot overall. I really had a hard time finishing this book. Warrior was a big, fat dud for me.

Here is what others had to say:

The Good, The Bad, The Unread
A Bookaholic's Review
The Book Binge
Cyn Reads
The Reading Spot

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It's Almost Here!!!!!

One more week and Faefever will be in stores! Of course, there have been reports of early book sitings already in stores. I will wait until after the release date to buy mine. I want Ms. Moning to get proper credit for her first week of book sales. In order to keep people from buying the book too soon, the publisher is releasing the first three chapters to hold fans over until the big day finally arrives. Follow the links for the following chapters. Enjoy!

Prologue and Chapter 1
Chapter 2

(Chapter 3 hasn't been released yet, but I will update as soon as it does.)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Review - Into the Shadow

Title: Into the Shadow
Author: Christina Dodd
Publishing Date: July 2008
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: B
Sensuality: Hot

Karen Sonnet is overseeing the construction of one of her father’s adventure resorts in the Himalayan Mountains. The mountain she is working on is legendary. The local people swear it is Evil and no one who has tried to conquer it has ever succeeded. Early on during the construction process, while trying to clear the site, they discover the body of a child. While Karen investigates the body there is an avalanche. Warlord has been watching Karen ever since she arrived on the mountain. He can’t seem to get her out of his head. He was watching her when the avalanche started and rescues her.

If you have been following this series, Into the Shadow is the third book. Each of the books are connected by an overall story arc, but they each can stand alone. The Wilder family has been cursed. To break the curse each one of the four children needs to find one of four icons that have been scattered across the world. In order to find the icon, each child has to find their one true love and they will lead them to the icon. If all four icons are not found then their father is doomed to live for eternity in hell. Did I mention that time is ticking and the father doesn’t have long to live?

Adrick is Warlord and he left home when he was seventeen. For fifteen years he has made his way in the world and never looked back. His family believes him to be dead and therefore the curse can’t be broken.

The first part of the book when Karen is in the Himalayas was very good. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. There is nothing politically correct about Warlord. He takes what he wants and doesn’t care about the consequences. He is very primitive, but that is what I liked about him. Sometimes I like my heroes bad and Warlord was definitely bad. Not that he would ever physically harm Karen, but he steals and kills without remorse.

The second part of the book is where it faltered a bit. I really liked the passion of the first part of the book. The second part is more like Warlord trying to be tame and make up for his behavior from the first part of the book. Plus, there is a big gap of time between the first and second part. The reader is told in flashback form what happened during this time. Because of this style of storytelling the book seemed slightly off balance. This was overall still an enjoyable read and I am very excited about the next and final installment of this series.

Here is what others had to say:

Dear Author
Bookaholic's Review
The Good, The Bad, The Unread

Friday, September 5, 2008

Has this happened to you?

I am a member of paperbackswap and I use it all the time to get books. For those of you not familiar with the website, people who live in the United States can exchange books with other people who live there. All you pay for is the shipping costs. You can literally choose from millions of books. It supports my book habit, so of course I love it.

Recently though, two of the books I have requested have gotten lost in the mail. I am so aggravated. Usually after I have been notified that the book has been mailed, it is only a matter of a few days before I find it in my mailbox. But the last two books I requested have been lost in the mail. The thing that really gets my goat, is that I have to wait a month for the book to be officially considered lost. Then I have to go back on the wait list (if the book isn't currently available) and wait for someone to post the book. Then I get to start the process all over again. I am really just letting off some steam here because a book I was hoping to start reading this weekend hasn't come yet and the likelihood of me getting it this month is now slim to none. Damn!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Lyon’s Gate

Title: Lyon’s Gate
Author: Catherine Coulter
Publishing Date: 2005
Genre: Historical
Rating: D
Sensuality: Warm

Lyon’s Gate was a big fat disappointment. It is the ninth book in the Sherbrooke Bride series. After reading The Sherbrooke Twins, I was excited for Jason’s story. Unfortunately, it was a real let down. Jason Sherbrooke has dreamed of starting his own stud farm and plans to buy Lyon’s Gate. However, when he and his brother James venture there to look at the property, they meet a rather outrageous young lady Hallie Carrick. There she is on top of a mean horse in britches and a shirt, she can barely hang on to and she wants to start her own stud farm. She plans to have Lyon’s Gate for herself and thinks she can outsmart Jason. It seems they are pretty evenly matched.

The problem I had with this book was that it was sooooooo boring. The beginning starts out really slow because the reader has to slog through numerous characters from previous books and even some that belong in an entirely different series. I happen to know this because I have read the other series. It all seemed unimportant to the story and just bored me to tears. Finally Jason and Hallie meet and even their meeting is underwhelming. Nothing really stands out.

There really isn’t anything wrong with Hallie and Jason per say, it’s just that nothing about their lives is really gripping and intriguing to the reader, at least this reader. Most of the time I was bored out of my mind and my mantra was to hurry up and finish it so I can start on another book. Plus, I was hoping something would capture my attention. I am sorry to say, that nothing really ever did.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

August Summary

August was not a good month for me book wise. Too many books were big disappointments for me, Nights in Black Satin and Lyon's Gate being the two biggest. Plus, I didn't reach my reading goal of 12 books. I was shy only by one. There were a few good surprises with Bond of Blood and Hot Stuff.

1. Hot Stuff, Evanovich (Contemporary) Rating: B
2. Lawless, Palmer (Contemporary) Rating: C-
3. Lord of Midnight, Beverley (Medieval) Rating: B-
4. The Darkest Kiss, Showalter (Paranormal) Rating: C
5. Bond of Blood, Gellis (Medieval) Rating: B
6. Force of Nature, Brockmann (Romantic Suspense) Rating: B+
7. Beast, Ivory (Historical) Rating: B+
8. Nights in Black Satin, Mack (Time-Travel, Erotic) Rating: D
9. Lyon's Gate, Coulter (Historical) Rating: D
10. Into the Shadow, Dodd (Paranormal) Rating: B
11. Haunted, Armstrong (Urban Fantasy) Rating: C+

Monday, September 1, 2008

Review - Nights in Black Satin

Title: Nights in Black Satin
Author: Noelle Mack
Publishing Date: 2007
Genre: Time Travel (Erotic)
Rating: D
Sensuality: Burning

Nights in Black Satin begins with a young artist, Sarah Ryan who has traveled to Venice to appreciate the history and art of the city. She attends a wild party because a friend gave her the invitation. She meets a mysterious compelling man, Marco who walks her home from the party. The next day they meet and begin a tryst. Marco acquires an old book of spells that Sarah reads out loud from and the next thing they know they are transported back into Venice in the 1700’s (although, that is my best guess as to the time period).

I thought the premise of this book was very promising. Venice is a setting that is not used a lot in romances. I love time-travel novels and with the romance of Venice I was very excited about this book. I am sorry to say that it did not live up to my expectations. This first half of the book was actually pretty good. Marco comes across as very worldly and mysterious and Sarah who is young and naïve can’t help but be attracted to him. Fortunately for her the feeling is mutual. I liked that after their first encounter they don’t end up in bed right away. The time they spend together the first night is actually kind of sweet.

After they travel through time though, Marco takes on a different personality. He seems more selfish and even petulant. Sarah herself began to grate on my nerves because she was just as selfish. For this couple to have a lasting relationship was not at all believable. They never talked or worked out their problems or worries and none of the major issues were ever really addressed, at least not to my satisfaction. Also, there were hardly any steamy scenes in the last half of the book. It just became very boring and it was a real struggle to finish. I don’t recommend this book at all.