Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thanksgiving by Janet Evanovich

Was looking for a book about Thanksgiving and the only thing I was remotely interested in reading (and could get my hands on) was Evanovich's Thanksgiving. This title was recently re-issued and can easily be found on your local bookstore’s shelf.

What was nice about this story was that:
1) It was about your everyday people. Megan Murphy is a local pottery artist and Patrick Hunter is the town's pediatrician.
2) They weren't so ordinary as to bore you. Megan has been engaged 3 times (if you count her first engagement at the age of 5) but gets the boot EVERY time. Her bad luck with fiancés stem from the fact that her parents tend to push the relationships on her. Patrick is not the handsome doctor but the guy that is every girls best friend. The 'cute' boy that has a rabbit as pet.
3) And this book is not full of crazy things jumping at you at every conceivable opportunity (which I associate with most of Evanovich’s work)

Megan meets Patrick when his rabbit escapes and crosses path with her. She goes to return the pet and while she is there one of Dr. Hunter's patients shows up and his parent abandons the boy into the Dr. and his 'wife's' hands.

The Mother promised to be back for her son in two weeks and Megan agrees to help with the infant so that the child does not have to get into the foster system. During the time that they spend together pretending to play house, they fall for each other.

Megan is a bit weary after having being dumped at the altar the last time, and Patrick is not sure he is in a place in his life that he can have the luxury of a wife and maybe children. But the parent's descend on them for Thanksgiving as well as an ex-boyfriend and a bit of stirring up takes place.

The book was entertaining and very short which allowed me to listen to it from start to finish in about 4 hours (unabridged!). Not too over the top, but not a title to blow you away.

Grade: C+
Format: Audiobook

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Booking through Thursday - Presents!

It's been a while since I joined in on a Booking through Thursday but this one jumped at me because it's about books as presents, and as Deb celebrated her b'day today (Happy Birthday!!!), I'll be celebrating on Monday. So let's talk about Presents.

What, if any, memorable or special book have you ever gotten as a present? Birthday or otherwise. What made it so notable? The person who gave it? The book itself? The "gift aura?"

My daughter used to get me books for my birthday or other occasions all the time. I keep my wish list updated on Amazon so anyone can just pull it up and see what I'm waiting for. This was before I started going paperless. The problem I have with books as presents is if the book was REALLY bad, I will be stuck with the book for forever more. I will not giveaway a book regardless of how bad it is because it was a present.

Now the book that immediately comes to mind when I'm thinking of a gifted book is The Memory Keeper's Daughter. It's the last book Dre got me and I recall she said it was to be a book we read together (I read it and then I share it with her) but I haven't read it. I really wanted to read it at the time and now that I have it, it's waiting it's turn.

Other books that I've gotten as presents, Megan's Mark by Lora Leigh, Carrie's Story and it's sequel Safe Word by Molly Weatherfield, books by Emma Holly, Shiloh Walker (she got my the earlier Hunter books in PRINT!). These titles will always be on my shelf because they are gifts and it's not about the words between the cover but the person that put it in my hands.

Monday, November 03, 2008

And the Winner is......

Thank you all for dropping by and participating in The Missing Giveaway.

Based on the Random Integer Generator at

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2008-11-03 04:16:28

Comment #5 takes the book - That would be Brenda who said:

me,me,me!Pick me!

I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!!!

Those that did not win the copy I was giving away, don't forget that Shiloh has a give away going at her site for those that pre-order or purchase the book during this week (READ ALL ABOUT IT). I hope you don't miss out on this one.

Oh! And don't forget to VOTE tomorrow!!

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Missing by Shiloh Walker & Give-away

I recently had the pleasure of reading Shiloh Walker’s newest book The Missing and my first impression was Wow! I enjoyed the book to the extent that I am eager to share it with you all. Since I cannot give away my own copy I’m going to purchase a copy to share, so make sure you read on to get details.

Now to the Review:

Taige Branch has had to live her life in isolation because she is 'gifted' with psychic abilities. She has the ability to 'see' things. As an orphaned teenager living in Gulf Shore, Ala with her religious zealot of an uncle, her prospects are low, as is her patience for the summer boys that come to vacation at the beach front town. Until one of those boys proves to be more than just a pretty face with deep pockets.

Cullen Morgan is not from old money and he lives in a loving family so he knows how a girl should be treated. Regardless of her social standing, they deserve respect, so when he encounters two boys trying to rape a local girl he is compelled to step in and help. That the girl is the one that recently saved the life of a drowning boy bowls him over. He discovers that there is more to the girl than the mysterious air around her and over the summer, he falls in love. He returns to her every summer and every summer their love deepens. 4 years after they first meet, tragedy strikes at the heart of Cullen's family and with his heart torn he lashes out at Taige, destroying her faith in him.

At this point the book jumps forward 12 years, where Cullen has become a successful writer. He is a single parent of a 9 year daughter who appears to have some 'gifts' of her own. Taige also has achieved success but in a whole different area. She went on to college and after graduation became a consultant for the FBI on a special task force that helps the missing. She uses her abilities to find the lost but at a great emotional price. She has learned to master her gift but every time she uses it to save a child or to find one that is already lost, the toll weighs heavy on her.

Over the years she never has forgotten her only love and although she believes she loved more than she was loved, she dreams about him often. Vivid dreams that haunt her. They are more disturbing to her than the monsters she saves kids from. Unbeknownst to her, Cullen has been dreaming about her too. Dreams that wake him in the middle of the night, that make him yearn for the girl he chased away, that make him relive the loss.

When Jillian, Cullen's daughter gets abducted, he remembers those dreams and knows that Taige is the only person that can help him. When he shows up at her door she knows what he is looking for but seeing him again doesn't make it easier to accept. She would never say no to a missing child but knowing that the child is Cullen's makes the case more compelling. But there is more to the kidnapping than we are first lead to believe, there have been others that have gone missing, and the children share a commonality, something that has made them a target and if Taige cannot stop the madman, there will be even more lost.

The story is not just about lost love that is found again. This is a thriller that has you on the edge of your seat. The desperation that Cullen feels when he loses Jillian is palpable; the distress that Taige goes through every time she taps into her gift has you tensing. The villain is well hidden and you don’t suspect who it is (or I didn’t) until a little before it’s actually revealed in the story. But when his deeds are unveiled you feel him. The feeling was like when I saw Silence of the Lambs and Clarese was talking about the lambs being slaughtered. The same hushed disturbing visual, the same screams giving me the chills.

The relationship between Taige and Cullen is VERY believable. They have never really been apart, although they never realized it, because they have been linked through their dreams. So when he demands a place in Taige's life it doesn't come off as arrogant or presumptive. Cullen knows he messed up but he also knows that the love they had is still there. Taige's reluctance in accepting Cullen's feelings could have been annoying but Ms. Walker did not dwell upon that and made the reader know that Taige knew in her heart the truth but her mind rebelled against it. The internal conflict she felt for Cullen just made the story more grittier.

The book was reminiscent to works by authors like Sandra Brown. It was all about the romantic suspense. The darkness in Taige's visions, the evil the villain committed and the pursuit to find that person had you keeping your eyes glued to the page and refusing to put the book down.

I can't imagine the effort it took to write this, because I was exhausted by the end of the book. Like when you tense yourself for so long your body is tired when you finally relax. One of the best Romantic Suspense books I’ve read this year.

Grade: A+
Format: eBook

Now to the Giveaway, I really felt the need to share this one with you all so I will pick at random one name amongst those that leave a comment (make sure you also post your email address so I can contact you) and send them a brand new copy of the book when it’s released on Tuesday. Since postage can be pricey I need to limit this to those in the US.

Shiloh Walker is also having a giveaway at her site for those that pre-order their copy of The Missing or buy the book on release week (READ ALL ABOUT IT) where you can win, not just an ARC of her next release Fragile but also a $40 gift certificate to the bookstore of your choice and other goodies.

So, to give you a chance to get in on her giveaway, I’ll be picking my winner by Midnight EST on Sunday November, 2nd. That way if you didn’t win my copy, you can still pre-order your own copy and get in on Shiloh’s Giveaway.

I know you will enjoy this book as much as I did, so post away!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Go. Vote!!

So I was reading my subscriptions in my Google Reader and Karen Knows Best had posted about voting. It really hit home and I went out and voted. No it’s not Nov 4th but in 31 states there is early voting and Texas is one of them. You can vote early and miss the long lines on Tuesday but you have until Oct 31st to get ahead of the crowds if not you NEED to get out and Vote on Tuesday (Yes, it's almost here - This coming Tuesday!!).

This is one of the most important elections in my lifetime. The Economy, The War, HealthCare, Gay Rights, Gun Control… Too much is on the line for you to leave that decision in others hand.

Did you know that 537 people decided the 2000 elections? Did you stay home that year and let others decide your countries fate? Do you realize that there are more than 537 people at the supermarket at any given time on a Sunday. That's how close it was.

Check out the Video and… Go. Vote!!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Anthology - Hot Spell

The great thing about going paperless is that you can take a book and break it into small books. Like an Anthology. Essentially an Anthology is just a book that is divided into several smaller tales. For some reason I can attack four short stories better than one big one.
Yes, it’s the same thing but just like a 200 question test is overwhelming when you break up that test into 4 - 50 question tests it becomes do-able. This has been my plan of attack for those Anthologies I challenged myself to read in the Triple 8 Challenge.

Since we are in the month of October and I am all about paranormals this month I thought it appropriate to tackle a title that has been sitting in my TBR pile forever. Now that I got it in ebook I chopped and split it up into 4 really great stories. There really was no loser in this one, but that should not have surprised me since all but one were well loved authors.

Let’s start with the one author that was new to me:

Falling for Anthony by Meljean Brook: (A) This is the first in Brook’s Guardian series. Anthony Ramsdell would prefer to do anything than to serve as the personal physician to a Major General in the peninsula but the Earl of Norbridge had paid for his studies and he now owed him his livelihood. This was a small price to pay for the future the Earl had put in his hands. Two days before departing Anthony has a strange encounter with Emily, the Earl’s daughter, who he has secretly loved for many years. She is furious with her father and in a rebellious act, seduces Anthony in the library. He promise to return from the war and put thing right, if she will have him. But that was not meant to be.
On the battlefield in Spain he and a friend are attacked by a vampire and he sacrifices himself to save his friend. His sacrifice is not in vain since a Guardian give him the option to either die or serve in protecting humanity. Either way he is not to return to the life he knew. When Michael (head Guardian) pulls Anthony from his training months later, it is because a Nosferatu (a rouge vamp) has attacked the Ames-Beaumont searching for a sword. His friend Colin is about to turn and his sister, Emily is in danger. Michael goes against Guardian law and asks Anthony to return to earth to resolve the matter. This one was the best of all the tales. It was a strong story that did not feel like a short. It was so well written it makes me want to pick up the rest of this series immediately.

The Breed Next Door by Lora Leigh: (B+) Another story that did not feel like a short. There were villains, love, character conflicts, even some in-laws and yet I didn’t feel rushed at all! I am a big breeds fan and this title was a treat. Tarek Jordan is a breed in hiding and acclimating to normal life has been a difficult transition.
His current assignment is to search for a trainer from the Breeds lab that had murdered many of his brethren. His current problem is his neighbor, Lyra Mason. She has gotten under his skin and he would do anything to get some of her coffee and fresh baked bread in his belly and if he can get a piece of her as well, more the merrier. Lyra has a few big brothers that are trained Seal soldiers that might not appreciate his intent but if the lady ain’t complaining? In just a few pages I was feeling Tarek’s isolation, his need for more than just a romp. Lyra was feisty and having grown up with overprotective brother, strong willed. She could handle anything thrown at her and more and when she made up her mind to have Tarek, breed and all, she never backed down. Loved her!

The Blood Kiss by Shiloh Walker: (B+) Roman Montgomery is the An Ri Mac Tire, Wolf king of Wolf Clan Montgomery and his brother has been abducted, well not really but almost the same. Seems his little brother Steve ventured into Vamp territory and the House of Capiet has taken him as a prisoner for trespassing. In reality they are testing the new king and Roman rises to the challenge.
When Roman arrives (in secret) to rescue his brother he finds out that there is a celebration that is taking place as Lord Eduard presents his blood child to society, what surprises him most is that the daughter in question is the same young woman he has seen earlier in the plaza painting tourists in a street stand. She had attracted him at that time and now she is revealed to be the daughter of his mortal enemy. Well, he won’t let such a little thing as a long standing feud stand in his way.
This one had so much story in so few pages you could have blinked and you might have missed something but Roman and Julianna (a play on Romeo and Juliet) held their own. Loved the character of Mikhail, a truly old soul that needs a story of his own. Maybe he already has one and I just have not read it. I need to search for it since this book was published several years ago.

The Countess Pleasure by Emma Holly: (B) And last but never least, Emma Holly’s contribution. This one was the most difficult to read just because it takes place in an alternate universe where there are demons and alternate life forces.
Georgiana DuBarry, The Countess of Ware is a widow with the exceptional quality that she is still a virgin (although honestly, if you read enough romance you will ultimately agree that this is not such an exceptional quality). She goes to Bhamjran (the equivalent to Vegas) with the hopes she will discover passion and not regret having put that off for the sake of her husband. She has heard great things about the striptease preformed by Lyan and wanted to see for herself.
Lyan was trapped into the degrading profession after his mother was framed for a crime she didn’t commit. He is force into indentured service until the crime is paid in full. When he finally believes that his debt is about to be paid, further charges are pressed and he looks to a future with no freedom. He has never prostituted himself but when the woman that stirred his blood during his performance approaches him with a proposal he cannot deny himself.
Even though the whole – I slept with you and you turned my world around enough to make me love you- is a line I hate to accept, this story had other things going for it. Yes, Ms. Holly is queen of eroticism, but not just was the sensuality of the story red hot, the world building was very interesting since it paralleled our own world back when the Irish were seen as less, the black were unworthy. The prejudice against the demon race was a great twist to your typical short.

This anthology was definitely worth picking up. If you haven’t had your serving of the paranormal variety this month reach out for this one. Every tale was a success!

Grade: B+
Format: eBook

Saturday, October 25, 2008


So Marg tagged me to post Seven Random Things About Myself and since I learn from others I will not procrastinate in posting because, based on what Marg says these things have the potential to grow!

Random thing about myself…

1) I've lost 40 pounds this year!! Yeah Me! Last year I had said I wanted to be a size 12 by Xmas and my sister thought that joining a Gym would accomplish this. Instead of being a smaller size at the end of the year I had gained! I was almost a size 18 (I was squeezing into my size 16s, and buying stretch jeans so I wouldn't have to go another size up. I told my sister that she could do whatever she wanted but this year I was joining Weight Watchers. She reluctantly agreed to join me that first week and the rest is history. She has lost 60 pounds and I am wearing a size 10 (with 9 weeks left until Xmas).

2) I feel a bit inept in my new job. I started a new role at work in September and after 8 weeks I still feel like I have no clue what I’m doing. I get the work done, I sound competent when I'm talking but the insecurity is just under the surface. The position was a promotion and I guess I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop, like "What were they thinking in giving me this responsibility"

3) I'm going paperless. Yeah, I've put most of my paperbacks up for trade in Paperback swap and I'm working to replace them in eBooks. This definitely reduces the space issue I have had trying to store over 300 paperbacks in a closet with my clothing. I will say that I'm loving it. I put more books than I can read in a month on my Sony 505 eReader and I don't have to worry about ever running out of books to read when I'm about to finish a title. If you haven't thought about getting an eReader, think about.

4) I back date my blog posts. If you haven’t noticed the dates on my posts, pay attention next time. I have a problem having the same date on several posts (yeah, I’m anal) so I spread out the posts across several dates. Sometimes it takes forever to post my reviews but then I’ll go crazy (like this weekend) and do some major catch up so I back post them to better coincide with the date I read the books.

5) I like watching Korean soap operas. I started watching Anime with my daughter when she was in high school. I realized there was more to Anime than Dragonball Z and Sailor Moon. There was Anime targeted for adult audiences (not in the porn variety but in the mature variety – although if your into it you can find X rated anime). I got my hands on a Japanese soap opera (usually an 11 episode series) and realized that I liked it. They were like watching a season of some TV show but instead of the season lasting 22 episodes and returning after summer – these lasted 11 and there was not return. After watching a few Japanese shows I discovered that Koreans had a larger variety of shows and better quality of actors. So I watch them often and love them.

6) I do all my computer work in bed. I don’t have a desk in my room and that is where I have the most privacy, so I have a small lap desk where my laptop lives. As soon as I get home from work I jump into bed and start catching up. In the morning, I open my eyes and my computer is right there next to me. I have a desktop on a small table in my room (yeah I have 2 computers in my room) but I don’t use it much because it’s old and I don’t have a proper chair to sit in front of the machine. I use it just for printing. So, I do everything from my bed (and this is why I had gained so much weight).

7) I have another blog that I use for my crafty adventures. These are mostly related to my quilting (which I haven’t done in a VERY long time) but I thought I’d feel more motivated if I could talk about my hobby, so I set up a new blog ( I’m currently working on two quilts, one is a hush hush project and the other is a quilt for my cousin. Feel free to drop by.

So there! I shared 7 things bout myself, some of you might already have known this but others might have just discovered a new side of me.

Who will I tag? I’m tagging three ladies that share my passion for reading at different levels:

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Hollows Book 2 & 3 by Kim Harrison

I’ve been reading Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series and unfortunately it’s not something I can review without some MAJOR spoilers. So here is a short breakdown of the books without revealing too much:

In The Good, The Bad and The Undead, three months have past since the events of the first book, Dead Witch Walking. No more hunting Rachel and she is finally making a name for herself but there has been a string of murders taking place in the city and they have been focusing on ley line witches. The FIB contracts Rachel to go undercover as a college student and snoop out their major suspect and since Sara Jane's boyfriend is among those missing she feels obligated to accept the job (Sara is Trent's secretary who in book 1 helped Rachel when she was captured as a Mink).

Glenn, the chief of police’s son is assigned to partner with Rachel, since she is not 'officially' working on the case. Immediately Rachel sees connections between Trent and each murdered witch, making him #1 suspect in her book.

A lot of bad mojo goes down in this book. It’s the beginning of the end for Rachel’s relationship with Nick. She mistakenly makes him her familiar so he feels everything as she funnels power from the ley lines through him and in the final battle Rachel forges an alliance with Kisten, Ivy's old boyfriend and Piscary's scion. The bad mojo that I mentioned earlier leaves Ivy very damaged and Rachel indebted to the Daemon Al (the demon that tried to kill her in book 1). She has committed herself to become his familiar in exchange for his help in escaping the ‘bad guy’

We really have no clue who this bad guy is until the end and I must say Rachel is one daring witch to have been able to walk out of that confrontation alive.

Grade: A

In Every Which Way but Dead our third helping of the Hollows there is a turf war taking place after the evil one from TGTBATU is put away. Quinn, Trent’s bodyguard cannot protect Trent during a meeting with a rival gang because he was bitten by a vamp in the previous book and he is vulnerable to their lure, so he hires Rachel to take his place (like she is not vulnerable).
Rachel has to pay her debt to the daemon Al and becomes his familiar, to do so she negotiates the release of his current familiar, an elf called Ceri. In the process she tricks the daemon and Al does not like that. Rachel has a unique genetic build that allows her to do daemon magic even though she is just a witch and this is why she is so valued as a familiar to Al.

We get to know a lot about Trent in this one as well as discover a lot about Rachel’s past (like the tidbit about her genetic markers). Every book makes Trent a little less evil and more a guy with his own fears and his own vulnerabilities. Rachel also develops a relationship with Kisten after Nick walks out on her. She has a huge argument with Jenks at the end of the book leaving the relationship with him fractured.

I found this to be the weakest installment so far. It seemed that there was plenty of action with Rachel battling her daemon in hopes to keep her soul intact and the turf war that brings a few new characters to the fold but neither of these story lines could sustain the book. Still you cannot skip any of the books since this series is so tightly woven you would miss a lot of info you will reference in the future.

Grade: B-

Both of these books were read in Audiobook Format

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Body Language by Suzanne Brockmann

Not all series romance can be winners, not even with Suzanne Brockmann's talent to back you up.

Clint McCade is heading home or better said to the only home he has really known. He has discovered that after many years of traveling around the world as a videographer / photographer his heart belongs where ever Sandy Kirk is and he is not wasting another moment. He heads out to tell his childhood friend that she is the one for him but gets a little surprise when he arrives.

Cassandra Kirk grew up on the wrong side of the tracks always yearning for more. She wanted everything the country club set had to offer and then some. But one thing she wanted above all else was the heart of her best friend McCade. He flew around the world from job to job and from skirt to skirt but he never saw her other than his best friend. Well now Sandy is leaving that love behind and pursuing something more real.

When McCade shows up at her door she confesses that she is finally in love but the guy has no clue she exists. McCade hides his disappointment in arriving too late to claim his own love and suggests to Sandy that he help her attract this man's attention. He says that her problem is all in the body language. She sends blaring signals to this guy that she is not interested. He suggests that she practice with him, pretending they are a couple and using her body language to reflect her interest in him.

Yeah, you can follow the premise from here. She realizes that she still has feelings for Clint, Clint thinks he is unworthy, yada, yada, yada. Writing was good, this is a Brockmann, but the plot was so used and old I could have stop reading half way through and I would have know how it ended.

Grade: C-
Format: eBook

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Awakening Beauty by Amy Fetzer

Another AOM selection, this one for the month of September. This was a short series romance that really impressed me.

Lane Douglas appears to be a dowdy bookkeeper but there are secrets she works hard to hide. She has done a great job until Tyler McKay crashes into her parked car and he sees more than he should.

Tyler has been burnt before; he was just about to marry a woman who wanted him only for his money. Luckily he discovered the truth before it was too late but he has developed trust issues (obviously) and has been swinging from girl to girl until he discovers Lane. Lane actually wants nothing to do with him. She avoids him like the plague and this just makes her someone he wants to know more about.

With the help of his family and friends he coerces Lane into taking part of the small town’s celebrations. He gets enough time with Lane to prove to her that he is the good guy he appears to be. Still he knows she hides something.

Lane knows about getting burnt. She gave her heart to the wrong man, a journalist who was not really looking for money but fame. Her man destroyed the career she loved and exposed her family to an investigation into possible mafia ties. The press had a field day until she disappeared. Now she fears being discovered but her attraction to Tyler is enough to have her risk stepping out from the shadows.

What I really liked about the book was Fetzer’s writing. The story is old and recycled many times over but Fetzer makes it seem fresh. Laney is smart but also afraid of getting hurt. Tyler is charming and a bit of an idiot at the end but his character jumps off the pages.
I always pick up these short stories with hesitation just because you can always go bad with so few pages to work with but I will say Fetzer did a great job showing us how these two learn to trust again and how that lead to love.

I have several more of her titles in my TBR pile. I won’t hesitate in pulling them out when I want a quick read.

Grade: B
Format: eBook

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Smoke Thief by Shana Abe

Pick this one up as my AOM selection in July. I read it back then but had not gotten around to posting about this title. I had heard many great things about this series and when Abe was selected as AOM I had my excuse to pick up the title.

There is a thief running around London. A thief rumored to have the ability to disappear into thin air. London police are beside themselves with no clue to go on.
Christoff, the Marquess of Langford has more than a clue. Leader of the Dra'kons he recognizes the thief as a 'runner' who has fled Darkfirth. Dra'kon laws forbid dragons to step out of Darkfirth and as their leader it’s his duty to bring the thief back and he has the best bait out there, the Langford Diamond. A diamond so full of mystical lore that the Dra'kon in the thief would not be able to resist steal.

Clarissa Rue escaped Darkfirth once and has no intentions of returning. A society more antiquated than London itself, Rue can only see her future decided for her if her secret is discovered. With the Dra'kon heritage dying with every new generation born, females with the purest blood are considered Alphas and are destined to marry the pure blood males. Although Rue's blood is very much mixed, she is the first female in generations to have the ability to withstand the Turn. There are no female dragons flying the skies and if discovered she would be forced to take her place as Alpha female among her kind and marry Christoff. She would never be free again.

When the diamond arrives Rue knows it’s a trap but feels confident that as a woman she would never be discovered. She doesn’t want to steal the diamond but she does want to see Kit, who she has always loved but was found unworthy as a mixed blood to even lick his boots.

She is discovered by Kit himself, who yearns the freedom runners search for but is forced by his responsibilities to his position and his people to stay behind. When he realizes that Rue is his true Alpha he knows he must have her. When he discovers that she is Clarissa, the young girl he watched as a child, his determination doubles. She brings life to his existence and her fierce spirit sings to him. Now he needs to prove to her that he loves her for her self and not for the fact that she can Turn.

These two learn to trust each other and love each other as they pursue another runner who has in fact stolen the Langford Diamond in a bid to negotiate for his freedom.

It had been a while since I read a book that mixed Fantasy and romance so well. The world Abe built balances the romance very well. I did find Rue a bit on the annoying side at times and Kit was very arrogant as well but the romance was great and the scenes where they took dragon form were wonderful. I think the book could use less prose to tell the story but all in all I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment.

Grade: B-

Friday, October 10, 2008

Kill and Tell by Linda Howard

I had this title in my TBR pile forever. I picked it up when I found out it was the first installment in the series involving John Medina the hero in the first Linda Howard book I had ever read, All the Queen's Men. This book introduces us to his character when he is drawn into the murder investigation of his father, Rick Medina.

Karen Whitlaw has recently buried her mother when she receives a package from her absent father, Dexter. He had walked out on them shortly after returning from war but her mother always held a torch for him and lived for his memory and the hope he would return. Karen cannot forgive him and wants nothing to do with him, so she packs up the contents of the package and promptly forgets it's existence until she receives a call from Det. Marc Chastain from the New Orleans police informing her that her father has just been murdered.

Seems Dexter Whitlaw had a blackmail going that blew up in his face when Senator Stephen Lake contracts Rick Medina to take out his problem. Rick has been led to believe that this hit is a matter of security and that Dexter is harming others. What he is not told is that Dexter has been so difficult to find they need an expert like Medina to uncover him but Medina will suffer the same fate as Whitlaw does. This does not go over well with his son, John.

Det. Chastain is a bit rough with Karen when she arrives to identify her father because he believes that Dexter was just an old vet abandoned by his well to do family. He realizes his error in short order but Karen still feels the bad vibes thrown her way, which is why it was tough for me to swallow the 'I've fallen for you' . After the funeral there is a passionate encounter between these two (call it a slip on Karen's behalf) and the morning after has Karen running away, back to her home town where there is a killer looking for the blackmail material her Dad sent her. She realizes something is not right and runs back to where she feels safe, New Orleans.

Even though you knew who the villain was straight off the bat, you really didn't know what the black mail was about, what was the big secret the Senator was going to great extremes to cover up. It was a believable blackmail which is what tipped this book over for me. The heat between the couple was great but the love blooming between them was not. It was difficult to believe the couples feelings where real and I would have liked the book much more if Howard had not pushed a HEA but more of the beginning of something really good between these two.

The book was still worth the read and I definitely would recommend it to those John Medina fans. He did not have a main role but we meet him and saw the softer side of him at the end.

Grade: C+
Format: Audiobook

Monday, October 06, 2008

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Following up on my second take of Sookie and her gang of misfits. There are two mysteries in this story.

The first pops up when Lafayette, Merlotte's cook, is found murdered in the back seat of detective Andy Bellefleur's car. The car had sat in the parking lot the night before because Andy had been too drunk to drive it but when Sookie showed up for work she found the body (just the girl's luck!).

Before Sookie can look into this mystery she is pulled into the Vampire drama that takes her to Dallas where a vampire is missing and all fingers point to a minister that leads a racist congregation. Sookie is pulled into this when Eric requests her service on behalf of Stan Davis, the Dallas area's leader. Bill who became some sort of sheriff with the hopes it would give him enough political clout against Eric to protect Sookie, is forced to accept her involvement. Things start going wrong from the moment Sookie arrives there seems to be a traitor among Stan Davis' employees and they need Sookie to question everyone that was present at the time the kidnapped bouncer disappeared. Sookie has to deal with a suicidal vampires, ignorant cult followers and the disillusion from discovering that Bill is very much a vampire and struggles day to day to stay mainstream. When Sookie finally returns from Dallas, she returns alone.

Her breakup with Bill does not damper her need to find out what happened to Lafayette and she discovers that Lafayette was involved in some orgy stuff that was being kept hush hush in town. She makes herself a target for an invitation and recruits Eric to help her infiltrate the orgy party. It’s hilarious to read of how Eric dressed in some extreme costume (Lycra pants) to pass himself off as gay. Worlds collide when the minister whose plans she fouled in Dallas comes to Bon Temps to exact revenge on Sookie and attacks the house where the party was taking place.

Sookie is always a pleasure to read with the mix of innocence and determination she brings to the table. This installment did not disappoint, it had me on quite a roller coaster ride, even tearing up a bit for the suicidal vamp that was evil but needed redemption in a desperate way.

Club Dead is the next in the series and I’m happy to say it recently was release in Audiobook so I will be able to read it soon!! Yeah me!

Grade: A
Format: Audiobook

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Dead and Loving it by Mary Janice Davidson

This one is more of a compendium of short stories published previously in other anthologies but all from the Wyndham Wolf series. This series is very good but because they are all printed in different Anthologies it has been a pain in the butt to follow so I was jumping all over this Anthology when it first came out.

Now to be honest, I had not read any of the Wyndham Werewolf books but my daughter raved about Derik's Bane and since I knew Derik's Bane was the third book in the series I put off picking it up until I had collected all the books and could read them in order.

My suggestion is to NOT do this. The short stories are not strong plots and if you read too many of them, you kind of get sick of the tales. I read the first 4 on vacation back in August and then read the rest in September. Now all I need to read is Derik's Bane.

The Prequels to the Anthologies are:

Love's Prisoner : (C-) SPOILER ALERT!!!
I cannot fathom why I didn't give this story a worse grade. What I keep remembering is that Michael rapes Jeannie… more than once! I think that when I read it I forced myself to step out of my contemporary shoes and go into this alternate universe where werewolves exist and pack law determines how one deals with every day situation. He tries to explain this to his mate (who is human) and I REALLY had to work on getting past the whole rape issue. The story was good enough to bring up the grade even after the incidents but it is not for everyone.

Jared's Wolf : (C) Jared's sister was killed by a rouge Were and he has been searching for the culprit for years. Now he believes he has finally found him and is stalking the mansion waiting for his chance for revenge. He believes that only men can be Weres and kidnaps Moira from the grounds thinking she is in danger. Moira realizes the security risk Jared is and decides to stay close to him to 'protect' her pack. Yeah right!

Derik's Bane should be at this point.

From the Anthology though we have:

Santa Claws (C+): Cute little Xmas story but it was mostly a no plot story (thus why it didn't go over a C+). Just saw you, screwed you, committed to you. Didn't give it anything lower because the heroine, Giselle was a short plump girl that dressed in a Santa's costume. She was just too cute! The Hero, Alec was a Scot that came to pay homage to Michael and Jenny's daughter.

Monster Love (C+): In this one Janet Lupo, who must be a dominatrix in another life since she is such an overbearing b*tch, finds her mate in a vampire that kidnaps her (what is with these Weres getting kidnapped?), hot monkey sex ensues and she makes him heel to her – okay so she does give a little too.

There is no Such Thing as Werewolves (B-): This one was different. The hero was a blind Were who was not feeling welcomed in his pack. He has made a life for himself as a doctor among the humans and runs into some homeless kids that try to mug him. Cresent Muhn is among them but decides that mugging a blind guy is a bit much for her and offers him protection. Drake realizes that there is something different about Crescent and not in the wacko way (even though she is determined to fly). He had some issue due to an age difference but there is more different about them than age. This one was pretty good.

A Fiend in Need – (B): A crossover with Queen Betsy series. This story was a big seller for me on this Anthology. I want to say it was what made me buy the book but not really.. I wanted to read the story of George, The Fiend from the Betsy books and how he finds love with Antonia, the Were that doesn't change but has premonitions. These premonitions are what guides Antonia to Betsy's door and ultimately leads her to George.

Overall, I like this type of anthology where it’s one author and many of their shorts.

Grade: B-
Format: eBook

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

2008 Challenges Recap / Update

With 3 months from the end of the year I thought I should go and recap my challenges to make sure I'm on track to complete them. Some have been more successful than others but they have been fun nonetheless.

In no particular order:

Triple 8 Challenge:

I think I'll be missing the mark with one of my categories.
The one I always have problems with - Anthologies.
I have read three of eight and I have three months to go. Not very promising.

I completed the Audiobook category in no time. I have listened to 35 audiobooks as of today so the 8 the challenge required was not much of a challenge.

The romantic suspense is 5/8 at this time. This category proved to be more difficult than I expected. For some reason some of the books I thought of categorizing as rom. suspense really weren't (too much suspense, no romance or too much romance, no suspense). I recently selected Midnight Rainbow by Howard to be my last Rom. Suspense but I'm not sure if it will fit the bill – When I read it I'll decide if I’m keeping it in the pool.

Paranormals... no problem. I seem to move in that direction lately so I finished this category fairly early although I have not reviewed the books I have read, I'm done with this category.

Done with the category for books published before 2000 as well. I found great titles that are just as enjoyable today as they were 8+ years ago.

Just finished Series Romance with the last two titles being picked up from my yahoo groups AOM (Amy Fetzer) and Suzanne Brockmann's Body Language. I read many Suzanne Brockmann's for this category. The woman can definitely write a good Short.

In the Young Adult category I have just one title to read and I'll be taking care of that by the end of the year. I typically pick up a YA or two over the year but this year I have read several and I must admit being a bit envious of the kids today. Most YA books tended to be category/serial books when I was growing up but with authors like Brian Jacques, Tamora Pierce and Stephenie Meyer out there, today's YA have more substantial reading material. Wonderful choices out there.

And then the New Authors category... With my Yahoo group sponsoring an AOM program, I didn't think this one would be very difficult to complete and I was right. Although I did notice that many of the books I read were in my TBR list and not necessarily a recommendation from my AOM group.

So in total I am 9 books away from completing the Challenge.
5 - Anthologies
3 - Romantic Suspense
1 - YA


TBR challenge:

I realized that this one was a bit more of a challenge. The fact that you create your list upfront and MUST follow it was a killer for me. The Triple 8 challenge allowed me to change my mind on the books as long as I kept the categories I felt good. I use the lists as guide by not as set in stone.

Still I have been holding my own. With three months left in the year, I have 3 books to complete.
I have kept to my main list and not had to tap into the Alternates but I think that will change in October since I challenge my self to read only Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Paranormal genre in October. I'm happy that I have a book that I can tap into, allowing me to continue the book a month rhythm I have developed on this one.


Classic Romances:

Another one that is on track to be completed in December.
I am 3 books away from this one and I'm doing well. Some of these were a hit but others where complete flops so I think I'll skip this one next year.


Book A Month challenge:

This has been the most challenging of all the Challenges I signed up for.
The theme for the month is not announced until the first few days of the month and some of them have left me stumped to find a book.

I have missed 3 books so far. The month of January (signed up a bit late), May (theme: Mother) and July (theme: Independence) so I'm six books behind and just 3 months to compete.

Any suggestions on the topics from these missing months?


I completed the PUB 08 challenge reading more than the required books published in 2008. As of today I have read a total of 15 books published in 2008.

I also completed the Stephenie Meyer Mini-Challenge and the Chunkster challenge (This was an unofficial challenge since I discovered the challenge a bit late and couldn't sign up for it).

And last but not least the 100+ Reading Challenge.

I will complete this one without a problem; I have read a total of 92 books as of today. This puts me at 8 books to reach the 100 book goal. I've been reading an average of 8-10 books a month this year and if I continue on that vein I will be at around 113-115 for the year, about 12 books below last year. I think I'll see if I can get a few more reads here and there so I can meet last years numbers.

Anyway, I'll be posting my yearly report card in January and we'll see how things wrap up.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Lightkeeper by Susan Wiggs

I had not read a Susan Wiggs book in a very long time. I scoffed down her titles like a madwoman when I started reading romance and collected everything in her historical genre (yes, even those VERY HTF and OOP titles) but I discovered other great historical writers and Ms Wiggs books sat forever in my TBR pile. When I had to make a list of books and authors I wanted to get back to for my challenges, Wiggs was on that list of "why did I stop reading her?"

Now I remember!!

The Lightkeeper was close to ending with a DNF grade (Did Not Finish) not because of bad writing or because of uninteresting characters but because the narrative went on forever! There was so little interaction from the characters for the first ¼ of the book it felt as if they lived mostly in their own little world. When Wiggs finally woke up and the interaction between Mary Dare and Jesse Morgan started I had almost lost interest.

Mary Dare is a survivor of a ship wreck who lands on the beach next to the Light house Jesse Morgan watches. He had lost everything in his life to the sea 12 years ago (wife and unborn child) and his guilt and remorse for their deaths has him commited to live without ties in the world. When a pregnant Mary washes ashore he is determined to shut her out but the feisty Irish woman will not allow it.

Both of these characters are damaged and they find strength and purpose in each other (in Jesse's case he finds it kicking and screaming). The book has great scenes that will stay with you for a long time, like a Norman Rockwell picture of early American life. The narrative that had me considering dropping the book in favor of another really made the book jump out.

The loneliness in which Jessi lived is brought into stark relief with his monologues. Mary's desperate attempts to attain some semblance of happiness and security is seem in her recriminations for herself and Jessi.

There is a villian in the story. The father of Mary's child tries to come between her and Jessi when they are close to finding peace. Because of who this man is, the threat he presents is credible and you don't roll your eyes when the villian drops in, although you know a HEA will arrive.

This one is recommended for those that can deal with a narrative tale. It is not everyone's cup of tea but if you can get past the first 100 pages, you will find a great story.

Grade: C+
Format: eBook

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

First in the Southern Vampire series and I really don’t know why I didn’t pick this series up before. I absolutely fell in love with Sookie!!! I can’t even explain her. She is a good girl that won't take your sh*t. She’s a country thang that tries to find good in everyone even when it’s obvious that that the person is a cesspool of evil.

Sookie is a small town girl that has a difficult disability to live with. She can hear people's thoughts. She works as a waitress in a bar (Merlotte's ) in a universe where Vampires have come out of the coffin so to say. They have spread to the world that being a Vampire is not an undead thing but a virus thing. The virus that makes people vampires cause sensibility to light and allergic reactions to silver. People have accepted this and cautiously accepted the vamps into society, although a lot of discrimination exists.

One day Bill Compton (a vampire who recently relocated to Bon Temps) walks into Merlotte's and she is instantly intrigued. This curiosity leads her to discover that a local couple plans to kidnap Bill and drain him of his blood (which is very sought after for it's healing affects and it's addictive nature). Sookie saves the day and rescues Bill earning her his gratitude. During the process of rescuing Bill, Sookie discovers that she cannot hear Bill's thoughts, which is a great relief and she becomes attracted to him.

Besides Sookie's romance with Bill (which is not the main focus in the book) there are other happening in the small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. Someone has been going out of their way to murder some of the women that have enjoyed vampiric companionship. The problem is that all fingers point to Sookie's witless brother Jason. Jason is a dumb mutt of a man, screwing everything in his sight but he is not a serial killer and Sookie sets out to find out who is the real killer.

It's hard to see how Sookie keeps her moral compass when she has such a 'disability'. Hearing so much evil going around can make you lose faith in humanity but that is what is so charming about Sookie, she keeps her head on straight and is always clear on what is right and what is wrong. The cast of characters that Harris introduces brings to life this little town and allows us to root for them, feel their pain and their joy.

I never suspected the killer and that in itself made this book a thrill to read. I recently finished the second book in the series and the fun continues there (Review to follow)

If you haven't made Harris a must read on your TBR pile, do it. You won't regret it.

The books have actually been picked up by HBO to be made a series staring Anna Paquin (Oscar winning actress for 'The Piano'). Look for it listed as True Blood.

Grade: A
Format: Audiobook

Friday, September 05, 2008

Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

First in the Hollows series that follows the witch Rachel Morgan through her investigations and adventures. Had this one as an ebook but then discovered it as an Audiobook at my library and jumped on it. I am so happy I did since the book was the beginning of a wonderful series.

The book takes place in an alternate universe where many humans were annihilated after a man made virus ran across the world. The virus was introduced to the population via tomatoes and since then the vegetable has been banned right along with all medical research that might lead to another biological engineering accident.

Civilization is saved because of all the witches, vampires and fey that lived undetected among the human. This side of the population now live out in the open but are policed by several governmental agencies (Federal Inderland Security and it’s sister branch the IS).

Rachel Morgan worked for one of them, the Inderland Security agency – IS for short, but decided that her career was in the toilet and she needed to quit. Quitting is not so easy and although she was let go without fuss (she was a bit deficient in her duties), when her departure causes the best runner the agency has to leave with her (that would be Ivy, a half vampire that is a top notch agent), Rachel’s boss becomes very upset and decides that she will pay dearly for the loss. Jenks a fertile pixy decides to complete the mismatch crew.

Rachel thinks that if she brings in a huge catch her old boss will call off the assassins, so she sets her eyes on Trent Kalamack, a city councilor and successful businessman, who has been under surveillance for running brimstone (an edgy drug) but during her investigation she discovers that the handsome drug lord has his hands in a whole different type of cookie jar and she is determined to bring him in and save her hide.

There was not a lick of romance / sex / pairing in this book. I still loved this! Loved the world building, loved the unique characters, loved the mystery behind everyone’s motives. In the end there is so much more to learn and yet you don’t feel like you were left with any unanswered questions.

For those that need to know how to start a series, this is a great example. Make every single character interesting and with their own story to tell. Rachel was quirky but not stupid, Ivy was spooky but not a zombie, and Jenks was just plain adorable!!! I’m looking forward to reading the other 5 books in the series.

Grade: A
Format: Audiobook

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Death Angel by Linda Howard

The newest addition to the Linda Howard backlist was a bit of a disappointment. Nothing really jumped at me to tell me why I was not thrilled by it but I wasn't.

Drea Russo is the fluff piece for a drug lord called Salinas. She has her dimwit act down to the tee and she is making sure that when he dumps her she walks away with a comfortable retirement. She makes sure she minds her own business and takes everything that Salina throws her way. Her mouth shut and her head empty assures that she will have a life when Salina tires of her. What her plan did not include was Salinas using her as payment for a hit job.

Simon Goodnight, the assassin Salinas is contracting has asked for an unusual payment for his services. He wants a one time run with the boss's woman. He wanted it but didn't expect to get it. He was willing to walk away from the job and Salinas knew it and that was what turned the table in his favor. The little lady was not thrilled but when everything was said and done, both he and Drea walked away changed by the 4 hours they spent together.

Drea was not sure what she was going to do but she knew she could not stay by Salina's side after he gave her away. She was so moved by the few hours with the assassin, she knew she could no longer pretend. What she did to get away just leads her to a "near death" experience that further changed who she was and what she valued in her life. This transformation also takes place in the assassin.

Simon watched Drea die and the fact that she is still walking and breathing proved to him that there was more out there than just the here and now. He re-evaluates his life and decides that he wants something different. Not necessarily more, but different.

This is not a suspenseful book and that is what was missing. Now that I am writing this I can put my finger on that being my major disappointment. There was no real edge of the seat chases or great elaborate deceptions or anything that I have associated with a Howard book (at least her more recent ones). This was more story telling and it really was a bit out there even under that classification. If you are a Howard fan you will read it regardless, if you are not looking for much, it’s better than most, but if you are looking for great, skip this one.

Grade: C
Format: Audiobook

Monday, September 01, 2008

Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie

I realized that I have very little tolerance for novels with too much insanity in them. For example the disjointed stories of the Stephanie Plum series… Reviews to follow. This one was along that vein, where it has so many bizarre things going on, the book itself falls flat. Not that it wasn’t entertaining, because you enjoy the ride, but it borders on the ludicrous. There were pink flamingos, hitmen left and right, a psycho grandma, a gaggle of mobsters and food. Lots of Food.

Agnes has always yearned for a home to call her own and as a young girl she treasured the time she spent in the home of her best friend Lisa Lydia. As an adult she had the opportunity to buy the house her friend grew up in from Brenda Fortunato (LL’s mother). Brenda has agreed to privately finance the house and will waive the first three months of mortgage if Agnes agrees to host the wedding of LL’s daughter, Maria. Agnes eagerly agrees (she helped raise Maria so it’s an honor for Agnes)

Agnes plans to open a catering business with her fiancé so this gives them a great opportunity to put themselves on the map. Wanting to host the wedding and getting it done proves to be very difficult. There are several threats on her life, a mob hit scheduled for the wedding day, flamingos stolen from the zoo, dead people popping up in a basement Agnes never knew she had, and a very hot hitman that proves there is more underneath his cloths than his weapons.

The book definitely kept moving. It was fast paced and a whirlwind of commotion but as I mentioned earlier, maybe just a bit too much. It really needed more substance to all the action / comedy. I would recommend the book for a quick read on a day you don’t want to do much of anything.

Grade: C
Format: Audiobook

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Unforgiven by Mary Balogh

This book was very different from the first installment of this series (Indiscreet). When reading this book you get the impression that the author was in a bit of a rush to tell a story but not committed to it’s outcome.

At the end of Indiscreet we find that Kenneth Woodfall, the Earl of Harverford needs to rush back home to Dunbarton Hall in Cornwall because he needs to marry a woman he hates since she will be having his baby in 6 months time. So based on the timeline of the novels, while Rex is getting in trouble with Caroline, Ken had already done his damage to his neighbor, Moira.

Moira Hayes has given up hope for a HEA after many years of hatred poisoning her heart for a man she once loved and that betrayed her. Her father has died and a distant relative has inherited her home. He has decided that Moira would make just as good of a wife as the next and formalizes that betrothal over the Xmas season. What Moira didn’t expect was that Ken would return to his home seat after 8 years absence and that the idiot that she is to marry wants to mend fences with the Earl.

The book is divided in two parts. Before the pregnancy and after. The first part we see the enmity between these two fester and explode after a Christmas Ball, where Moira’s pride gets her into a predicament that causes her to be trapped in a cabin under a snow storm with Ken.

The After takes place when Ken returns from the duel fought by Rex in Indiscreet. The hasty marriage and the terrible aftermath the day after the wedding. I can’t say what happens there since it would be a spoiler but Ken removes himself from his home a week after the wedding and spends two months in London with his buddies trying to forget. When that fails he decides that he must at least try to make the marriage work and calls for Moira to come up to London.

Now, first of all, the story is mostly narrated with an occasional dialog here and there. I don’t get that. There is a lot of story telling but not enough content that SHOWS us what is going on. I think Ken and Moira really shouldn’t have been together. Too much had gone on. There were too many misunderstandings that had sat in their hearts for too long. Then all of a sudden Moira goes off to London and within 24 hours discovers that SHE loves him. I could believe Ken’s affections since he only thought himself betrayed but Moira thought that Ken had not just betrayed her but also lied to her, caused her brother’s death and, if we follow the chain reaction, her own destitution.

I was very disappointed in this one and hope that the last in the trilogy will return to the first's great writting.

Grade: D+
Format: eBook

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Indiscreet by Mary Balogh

For the longest time I thought this series was a category romance but when I went to pull it out to read I realized that it was a full length novel masquerading as a category (look at the cover!). Balogh is mostly a hit for me but she is also an author that writes more serious regency romances. They are books that have more bite to them and at times that is not what I’m looking for. This is why the book has been in my TBR pile for such a long time.
This year I put it on several of my challenges so that I could get it off my TBR list.

Rex Adams, Viscount Rawleigh heads out to visit his twin brother with two of his friends. When he arrives he lays eyes on Caroline Winters who has confused him with his brother and smiles at him. Rex confuses this gesture with flirtation and singles her out for his attention.

Caroline wants nothing to do with the Viscount. Her past holds many secrets that must remain hidden if she is to continue enjoying the peaceful life she has made for herself. She is frightened by her own urges but holds herself steadfast and denies Rex.

Rex, being the dumbass he is, thinks she is playing hard to get and continues on his pursuit until it’s too late. With her name in tatters, Lord Rawleigh must do the right thing and step up to the plate. Caroline is forced to expose her past to the man that has destroyed her present.

Rex was a bit moronic through most of the beginning of this book. His arrogance was his downfall. He just could not accept that Caroline wanted nothing to do with him. She avoided him like a plague and yet he kept seeing a game she was playing with him instead of seeing it for what it was. She was scared that her attraction for him would lead her to an indiscretion that would cause her to lose everything she had built.

Caroline was a strong heroine. A regency woman that learned from her mistakes and was determined not to fall again. She was so determined to keep what she had, she gave up all pleasures. She was frightened of living beyond the comforts her current life offered. But when she had to confront that past she did (kicking and screaming by her husband but she did do it).

Great first installment to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse trilogy.

Grade: A
Format: eBook

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Twilight - The Movie

Ain't it Pretty!!

August 15, 2008

Movie News Flash!

So, many of you have heard that the release of the sixth Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, has been moved from this Thanksgiving to next summer. First and foremost, please know that this schedule change has absolutely nothing to do with Twilight, me, or Summit Films (so enough with the imdb death wishes, okay?). This is Warner Bros. decision, and it was not motivated by anything Twilight-related.
Now for the good news! Though we're all sad to have to wait for Harry Potter, this open spot at the theater creates a cool opportunity. The good people at Summit were thrilled to let me know that now Twilight fans are going to get their movie three weeks earlier than scheduled. That's right—Twilight will be released in theaters November 21st! Let the merry-making commence!


So I'm a bit excited about the movie now but at the same time I'm a bit weary. I have an obsessive relationship with another YA author, Christopher Paolini.

His Inheritance series is a dream for those that love the Fantasy Genre. Dragons and Wars and Monsters.. It's a Lord of the Rings for the YA with a bit of Dragon Heart thrown in to make it tasty. When the movie Eragon was announced I was all over that!! I waited with baited breath for the release. And the day it opened I was there dragging my daughter and sister to the movie to watch this GREAT story.

I almost walked out of the theater, it was so bad. Just thinking of it gives me a bad taste in my mouth (like when you throw up and are forced to swallow it back down). So when I think of this movie and the potential for great work, I get worried that it won't live up to my expectations. My expectations are not for it to be like the books but for it to keep the story intact. Don't change the story so it will fit in the hour and a half the film might be. Cut non-essentials but don't change the story (like in Eragon and The Golden Compass).

I will keep the faith and head over to the theater the weekend before Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rules of Engagement by Christina Dodd

This was the second installment in the "Governess Series" and although Dodd has not been rocking my boat lately I still enjoyed this book a lot.
It seems that the Distinguished Academy of Governesses is in a bit of a financial bind and Pamela Lockhart is trying her best to get their heads above water but things are going from bad to worse when on her way home after receiving her pay for services she is robbed. Leaving everyone in the lurch, so to say.

In comes Devon, the Earl of Kerrich who is having a hell of a time himself. Seems that the Queen knows some secrets from his past and is using the info to blackmail Kerrich into some semblance of respectability. She has threatened to expose his secret if he doesn't get his act together. So he decides that the best way to show he is respectable is to bring in an orphan to show his more charitable side. Of course the child will need a governess and so he goes off to hire a governess that will then pick out a orphan who he will sponsor until the coast is clear of the Queen’s threat.

The academy is outraged at the mere suggestion that they would be an accomplice to such fraud but they need the money and Pamela decides that she is the best candidate for the position. She has enough hostility stored up that she will not be influenced by the Earl's good looks. This is something that the Earl himself has stipulated. He arrogantly request that the governess in question not be attractive but more on the old and worn side (as governesses should be) with no aspirations to his bed (he has had a few issues with women showing up naked in his bed)

Loved that Devon was such an arrogant bastard. He would say the most outrageous things with a straight face. I also love that he made a move on Pamela before she shed her costume. It showed more depth to his feelings. There was plenty of humor to go around but the last portion of the book just seemed a bit out there and could have been left out. Honestly, why the drama?

Until the last few pages of the book I had been enjoying every minute. I would still recommend this book because the HEA was not affected at all.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Lady Be Good by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

I read this one as part of many of the challenges I entered this year. It is the sequel to Phillips earlier title Fancy Pants. I did not read the first book but I've heard I really didn't miss much and even after reading this one, I honestly don’t have the inclination to pick up the first in the series. In other words this one does a great job as a stand alone title.

Lady Emma Wells-Finch is visiting the Lone Star state at the suggestion of her friend to finish some research on a paper she is publishing. She also has the intention of losing her reputation as a goody two shoes. Her pristine reputation has led her to be engaged to a pompous windbag in order to save her treasured boarding school (dysfunctional childhood and all that). She is picked up at the airport by a very handsome man who, she believes, her friend has contracted to be her driver / guide while in Texas.

Kenny Traveler would like to stay VERY far away from scandal. The suspended golf mega star agrees to cart Lady Emma around in hopes that the golf commissioner’s wife will put in a good word for him and have his suspension lifted so he can play in the Masters.

The problem is that Lady Emma is quite determined to do something a bit outrageous in the most public place so that news of the scandal reaches British soil and her fiance can be sufficiently offended to break off the engagement but not too outraged that he will close down the school. Difficult edge to walk on and Kenny is not helping her at all!!

I found the book quite humorous and at times I was wondering why Emma was doing this. I just had a problem following her whole reasoning. In the end it was good enough to get the B because it kept me engaged until the final confrontation and I love when a bad boy gets put in his place. You have to love Kenny and how he tries to avoid the temptation that is Emma.

Grade: B

Friday, August 15, 2008

TheThirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

There has always been questions on how a cover of a book might influence the buyer/reader. It has been debated many times and it always results in a resounding YES, the cover is a big draw on a book. A bad cover will have a book wither away on the shelf but a good cover will have the book flying out the door.
I absolutely feel in love with the cover of this book. I had no idea what the book was about but I saw the cover and knew I had to read it. For the longest time I thought this was a romance (never opened the book to read the jacket insert). I finally got over the cover and opened the book to read what the book was about and felt myself get disappointed.
With a cover that beautiful, why was the book not about love?

This book was definitely about love but a whole different type of love and I just had to read the darn thing to find that out.

The book is about the famous author, Vida Winters who is very ill and in her last days decides that her biography should be told. She had related her biography before but, as a storyteller, she would yield a new story about her life every time, swearing that the new version was the truth. Now she decides that the truth must be told but it's easier said than done. How does a storyteller step out of herself and deal with facts vs fiction when the fact is that her whole life has been fictionalized.

Margaret Lea, a young novice in the writing community is called upon to write the biography. But part of the challenge for Margaret is to decipher the true story out of the facts that Vida Winter gives her.

The love story is about the love of sisters, the love of family and the extent you go to in protecting those you love. This is reflected not just in the life of Vida Winters but also in Margaret who's own story needs to be told.

This is a ghost story, a story of identities lost and then found, a story of lies that were forced into truths.

Diane Setterfield's debut novel is not to be missed. The book reads like a fairytale and every glimpse we are given into Vida Winter's past is a story on it's own.

Don't miss this one. It's definitely one of my best reads of this year.

Format: Audiobook

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

Okay, I don't even want to go into this one. I have read all the previous installments of the Gemma Doyle series (A Great and Terrible Beauty & Rebel Angels) but this last installment made me want to cry at seeing how this great story just took a nose dive into mediocracy. This was a strong story that was brought down by a lack of continuity in characterization.

As the book starts we find out that Gemma has not been able to return to the Realms since she bound the power to herself. Kartek has disappeared even though we thought him part of an alliance with Gemma. When she finally get back into the Realms we find that the place has changed... ALOT. It is a more scary place and everyone wants a piece of the power. Gemma's alliance with the forest folks has not been completed and they are very resentful that they had helped her defeat Surcy and yet she has not lived up to their side of the bargain.

This is my big problem. Gemma always has had a bit of a problem with fitting in but I've never known her to be so easy to manipulate. She was such a mat, letting everyone govern her actions while saying it was all on her. She kept doing things so that people would like her with no regard of the outcome of her actions.

Gemma was very abusive with her power and had so little regard for her duties as the vessel to that power that it just was a disaster. Felicity was her typical self but Gemma was the one with the power. She needed to learn to say NO and move on. The book dragged on forever with all the idiocies that the girls were doing and all the "I do what I want because Felicity/Anne/ said so!"

The book could have been so much shorter and then the ending was terrible when we lose so many strong characters in the end !!! I would stop anyone from even starting this series because the last installment was such a GREAT AND TERRIBLE DISASTER!!

Grade: D-
Format: Audiobook

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward

I waited with great anticipation for this installment of the Black Daggerhood series.
We would finally give Phury his HEA, yet as the date of release approached many reviews of ARC popped up and the buz was that the book was a complete and utter disappointment. My anticipation for the release deflated.
My daughter was leaving for her two month journey to Japan the day of the release and I wanted to give her the book so she could read it on her 12 hour plane ride so when I got my hands on a copy the night before I happily gave it to her who had not read the reviews and still was on a high. I went out an purchased a copy of it for my eBook reader. I didn't get around to reading it until mid July.

It was FABULOUS!! I will try not to let reviews influence my mood on a book ever again. the main complaint on the book was that Phury's story was loss in all the other storylines going on. Also that Ward was deviating from the paranormal romance theme. All true. Wonderfully true!!

After reading the book I think Phury wasn't strong enough to carry a book the way the others did. Even Butch's story (which is my least favorite of all) had so many things going on for the romance between him and Marissa to reach that HEA that they had to be the main focus.

I think that Phurry's story was not cheated at all. We got to see his HEA and so much more. The War took a place front and center and it was very intense. I think if you wanted a pure romance this series is not going to be offering you that in the future. This book brought the series into a Alt-Universe/Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre with some elements of romance. I couldn't be more thrilled.

Phurry deals with alot of self doubt and with alot of pity parties between it all. Many thought he was overreacting but honestly the guy put his life on hold to search for his twin. The guilt of having been the one not taken shadowed his whole life, then when he finds him, the guy is so messed up that you got to wonder if he did Zadist any favors in saving his hide. I think he is owed some gratitude but I don’t think he should expect it. Zadist is not going to see the need for gratitude because he has too many emotional scars to accept anything good going his way. This is totally dished out in one of the more poignant scenes of the book.

The caretaker became the one needing the care. I loved that Ward explored this relationship because Phurry needed to hit bottom before he could get up. I think there was more that could have been dredged up but I think it was sufficient to get a feel of what was going on there.

The rest of the book was focused on the war between the brotherhood and the lessen society. Seems the Omega fathered a son and infiltrated him into the brotherhood. There is a traitor and when you find out who it is you are a bit thrown back but honestly not surprised.

Love, Love, Love John Matthew in this installment as well as his two buddies Qhuinn (who has problems of his own) and Blaylock (who blew us away with his own little secret!).

Rehvenge shows another side of himself and Xhex is finally intrigued by John Matthew!

And if all that is not enough… We have a new ally bringing home a lost brother!

Rumors are that we won’t be seeing a new brotherhood book for sometime. I am a bit bummed on that front. This is a series that has been on my list of must reads but it has moved to a positions that rivals my all time favorite series (The Outlander series by Gabaldon)

Grade: A

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Sometimes when reading a series it's difficult to ascertain if you like the story because the book was everything you wanted or because you are reunited with old friends (which give you everything you really wanted anyway). The last installment in the Twilight series was a finale worth remembering and worth every hour spent reading the mammoth book.

Bella finally gets her wish to join Edward in his world but it does not come without a cost and the rollercoaster ride to get to her final destination made for one hell of a read.

It's difficult reviewing this one since the whole story is packed with one surprise after the other. If you haven't read the book and don't want ANY spoilers...

Stop reading now.

The books opens on Bella and Edwards wedding. This part is told from Bella's POV and it goes over the phobia she has of marriage and we see how difficult it is for her to go through the process of the marriage. She is not afraid or concerned about the commitment (hell she wants to be a vampire and live eternity with Edward, so it's not a commitment issue) but the word marriage has always been voodoo for her, yet she survives the ceremony with grace.

Move on to a somewhat stressful honeymoon that for Bella is dreamy but has Edward rethinking the "I don't want to turn you just yet" proposition. and just when Edward thought it was safe to be with his wife, it turns out that Vampire males have a fertility issue... they can reproduce children on mortal women. Yup!! The marriage phobic Bella becomes pregnant. The thing is that this is no normal pregnancy. A Hybrid child who is half human and half vampire can make gestation period a bit difficult.

This leads us into the second part of the book that is told from Jacob's POV.
LOVE LOVE LOVE this transition.
Jacob is the epitome of a tortured soul. To have him guide the reader through this delicate time is wonderful because his love for Bella stops him from walking away and he has to suffer through his emotions every step of the way.

The last part moves us back into Bella's mind. She starts her life as a newborn vampire and everything that entails. The pain of transitioning, the urges, the discoveries and on top of that.. motherhood. She finds blissful happiness but it doesn't take long for the other shoe to drop. Those pesky Italian vamps (the Volturi who we met at the end of New Moon) are back to create havoc. If you didn't see it coming you really didn't pay attention to our encounter with them in New Moon.

I had not heard any resounding reviews on the book that was highly anticipated by young and old so I was intimidated and went in a bit skeptical. After reading 3 books you don't want the last book to bring you down. I should not have doubted the quality of Meyer's work. She came through for me with flying colors.

This was the best series I have read this year and if you haven't been lured yet into the world of Twilight, don't hesitate. Go out and pick up this series before the movie (coming out in December) taints your view of it.

Grade: A

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer

It has been awhile since my last post and I am back dating this one since it was written last month but I never got it out of draft. So let's see if I can catch up with my posting;

June saw me read the last of the available titles of the Twilight series. This series has been out since last year but it has been an uproar recently and was highlighted in my Borders monthly newsletter. Meyers was interviewed and I was intrigued but what put a cap on my jump into Twilight was when I found out it was to be made a movie. I headed over to view the Trailer ( and recognized the actor playing Edward as Robert Pattinson who played Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter movies. I knew I needed to watch the movie and I could not see the movie until I read the darn books. So borrowed them in Audiobook from my local library. I'm hooked and I will be forever a fan.

I recently spent the day harassing my daughter about the release of Breaking Dawn on the 2nd of August. I want to read the last installment soo bad but I will be in Puerto Rico for a visit after 11 years and I don't foresee having a lot of time on my hands to read it but I will be reading it in the month of August for sure.

Anyway, I thought it important to give a break down of the books I had read up until now so I will have them all documented when Breaking Dawn is read. So from the top:

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

The first installment of the Twilight series introduces us to all the main characters.
There is Bella who transports herself to Forks, WA when her mother Renee re-marries an athlete and goes on the road with him. Charlie, her father and sheriff of Forks has always been a bit uneasy with Bella but is happy to have a chance to deepen his bond with her. The Cullens are the family of Vampires that accept Bella as one of their own instead of the appetizer she could have been. There is Carlisle, Esme, Alice, Jasper, Rosalie, Emmett & Edward. We get to know these characters in more detail over the series but in Twilight we get a glimpse of them. Edward is the main man who saves Bella from death and causes a chain reaction that takes him to reveal his true nature to her. Bella becomes somewhat obsessed with him and that obsession leads to love.
Of course there is quite a bit of danger involved in loving a vampire. You have the secrecy issue... who can you trust with that type of secret? Not many people actually, at least not many that can stay alive after knowing. Then you have the other vampire families that just will not play nice with your pet human. It's like taking your puppy to dinner with your distant relatives from China. Your adorable little Beagle is being eyed as the main dish. This does not promote neighborly relations.

Twilight wet our appetite for much more to come. Don't expect a lot of action until the end of the book, when those "other vamps" (a vampire named James, his mate Victoria and a minion called Laurant) come sniffing around and want to take a bite out of Bella. The book focused mostly on Bella and Edward. Getting to know each other and how their lives change to fit into each others world.

Grade: A

New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

In New Moon Bella is faced with Edwards desertion. Edward feels it's best for Bella that they break up and Bella has to learn to live without him. She doesn't do well in that area until Jacob Black lures her out of her depression.

Jacob has a secret of his own and it makes Bella realize that there are more than one anomaly in the population of Forks (although Jacob is really part of the population of La Push). Bella takes these new revelations in stride but she becomes very reckless with her life. She develops a strong relationship with the natural enemies of the vampires especially with Jacob. She doesn't really lead him on but she doesn't dissuade him either and that didn't really sit well but in the end there was a good chunk of movement in this book that kept the grade so strong.

The trip to Italy with Alice to save Edward who was on a suicide mission not just introduces a whole new set of Vampires but also gives us a glimpse into Vampire politics. With Bella's strong relationship with Jacob and then the reemergence of Edward into Bella's life at the end, the book was a winner for me.

Grade: A

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

This was the weakest in the series and yet it had me going.
The relationship between Bella, Jacob and Edward gets redefined. Bella needs to make a choice between these two and although her heart belongs to Edward, she accept and acknowledges her deep feelings for Jake.

Jake is a bit underhanded in this book and it pissed me off but the truth is that you really need to give the story points for eliciting that type of reaction from me.
When Bella is the mark for Victoria (the vamp from Twilight who loses her lover James) Jake and Edward have to put aside their jealousy and make a truce that will assure Bella's safety against an army of newborn vampires that are creating havoc in Seattle. The Cullens and the la Push pack find themselves fighting side by side to protect their homes from this threat.

As I mentioned, what killed me on this one was Bella's feelings for Jake. I felt it a betrayal to Edward especially when Jacob was such a rat about getting what he wanted. When Bella admits her feelings for Jacob I was so upset but when you look at a book that kicks you in the gut and when you close it you are grinning, you can't complain!

I am really looking forward to Breaking Dawn.

Grade: B+

Since writing these reviews I actually had a chance to read Breaking Dawn and will post the review shortly.
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