Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Review: Wallbanger

Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Caroline Reynolds has a fantastic new apartment in San Francisco, a KitchenAid mixer, and no O (and we’re not talking Oprah here, folks). She has a flourishing design career, an office overlooking the bay, a killer zucchini bread recipe, and no O. She has Clive (the best cat ever), great friends, a great rack, and no O.

Adding insult to O-less, since her move, she has an oversexed neighbor with the loudest late-night wallbanging she’s ever heard. Each moan, spank, and–was that a meow?–punctuates the fact that not only is she losing sleep, she still has, yep, you guessed it, no O.

Enter Simon Parker. (No, really, Simon, please enter.) When the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. Their late-night hallway encounter has, well, mixed results. Ahem. With walls this thin, the tension’s gonna be thick…

In her third novel, Alice Clayton returns to dish her trademark mix of silly and steamy. Banter, barbs, and strutting pussycats, plus the sexiest apple pie ever made, are dunked in a hot tub and set against the gorgeous San Francisco skyline in this hot and hilarious tale of exasperation at first sight

My Thoughts: OH MY WORD!! I giggled through the beginning of this book. Actually truth be told, I giggled through the whole book for a number of reasons...but beginning was hysterical. I started this book at 7pm last night and didn't put it down until I finished at 1:30am...Thank you Ms Clayton for the set of Samsonite luggage that has taken up residence under my eyes! As usual, I've digressed!

So laying in bed last night, I would erupt into fits of giggles, which my poor sleeping husband probably didn't appreciate! Oh Well, his snores never stopped for very long!

I could not put this book down! I love snark and wit...and Clayton has it in spades! You can't help but fall in love with both Caroline and Simon...but the scene stealer is Clive, Caroline's cat! And I absolutely adored Clive's last words. *sigh*...I really didn't want this story to end.

So thank you to Ms. Clayton for a thoroughly delightful night! And thank you to Jennifer Armentrout, a favorite author of mine here on GoodReads, because it was the fact that she was reading Wallbanger that brought it to my attention. I look forward to enjoying Wallbanger again in the not too distant future!

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Review: Iced

Iced by Karen Marie Moning

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: The year is 1 AWC—After the Wall Crash. The Fae are free and hunting us. It’s a war zone out there, and no two days are alike. I’m Dani O’Malley, the chaos-filled streets of Dublin are my home, and there’s no place I’d rather be.

Dani “Mega” O’Malley plays by her own set of rules—and in a world overrun by Dark Fae, her biggest rule is: Do what it takes to survive. Possessing rare talents and the all-powerful Sword of Light, Dani is more than equipped for the task. In fact, she’s one of the rare humans who can defend themselves against the Unseelie. But now, amid the pandemonium, her greatest gifts have turned into serious liabilities.

Dani’s ex–best friend, MacKayla Lane, wants her dead, the terrifying Unseelie princes have put a price on her head, and Inspector Jayne, the head of the police force, is after her sword and will stop at nothing to get it. What’s more, people are being mysteriously frozen to death all over the city, encased on the spot in sub-zero, icy tableaux.

When Dublin’s most seductive nightclub gets blanketed in hoarfrost, Dani finds herself at the mercy of Ryodan, the club’s ruthless, immortal owner. He needs her quick wit and exceptional skill to figure out what’s freezing Fae and humans dead in their tracks—and Ryodan will do anything to ensure her compliance.

Dodging bullets, fangs, and fists, Dani must strike treacherous bargains and make desperate alliances to save her beloved Dublin—before everything and everyone in it gets iced.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to take a whole book about "Mega". Her attitudes and behaviors in the "Fever" series got on my nerves a bit. Thankfully Moning toned her down a bit.

Now this story continues very shortly after the 5th Fever book ends. Dani is still killing any demon she can, but for some reason she has attracted Ryodan's attention and the attention he gives this young (15) lady, is a bit creepy. Then there is the former druid who has been slowly turning into an Unseelie Prince who also has a creepy fascination with Mega.

While I missed Mac and Barrons, this was a great continuation with familiar characters following a familiar style of storyline in a familiar world. I was glad to see not too much had changed because I really love the world of Mac and Barrons. I'm really looking forward to spending more time in this world with Mega. Just have to try and be patient!

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Review: Sapphire Blue

Sapphire Blue
Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.

At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.

My Thoughts: This series is not grabbing me like I thought it would. In my Ruby Red thoughts, I mentioned that I thought it took a long time for the story to really get going. That the first book was mostly backstory and I was really hoping the story would take off in Sapphire Blue. I felt like it sputtered and stalled.

First the "romance" between Gideon and Gwen didn't really go anywhere, if anything it showed Gideon to be very fickle. Which I found disappointing, he has absolutely no faith in Gwen. If I were Gwen I'd kick his ass to the curb and ignore him completely rather than pine away for him!

I did love Gwen's grandfather and the little gargoyle like creature Gwen picks up in her travels. Xemarius has some great snarky comments and wonderful insights if only Gwen would actually listen to him. Gwen's cousin continues to be the bane of her existence as does the Count/Baron, whatever he is.

Sadly, I'm not holding out much hope for Emerald Green, the third book in this trilogy. With 2 books worth of back story and build up, I'm afraid it won't live up to the hype. I guess I will just have to wait and see.

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Review: The Beautiful and the Cursed

The Beautiful and the Cursed
The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: It was bizarre and inexplicable, but after it happened no one spoke of it and Ingrid Waverly was forced to leave her life in London behind. She had to trade a world full of fancy dresses and society events for Paris with her mother and younger sister, Gabby.
In Paris there are no grand balls or glittering parties, and, disturbingly, the house her twin brother Grayson found for them isn't a house at all. It's an abbey. A creepy, old abbey with a roof lined in stone gargoyles that one could almost mistake for living, breathing creatures.

And Grayson is missing.

Yet no one seems to be concerned about Grayson's whereabouts save for Luc, a devastatingly handsome servant who has some secrets of his own.
There's one secret about the city that he can't keep hidden, though. There's a murderer on the loose. And every day Grayson is missing means that there's less of a chance he's alive.

Ingrid is sure her twin isn't dead--she can feel it deep in her soul--but she knows he's in grave danger, and that it's up to her and Gabby to find him before all hope is lost.

Only the path to him is more than she could ever imagine.

My Thoughts: I've said it before and I will say it again. I tend to shy away from "historical" novels. This one took place in 1899 and I didn't realize it at the time I requested the galley. But once again, I am wrong and thoroughly enjoyed this historical paranormal story. I almost wrote "romance" which would have been wrong. There is some interest amongst some of the characters, but the "romance" would be the least of the plot points.

I love gargoyles and the thought of them coming to life and protecting their homes was intriguing. This storyline had the gargoyles, dispossessed, as a kind of slave to angels and they are used to protect humans. These gargoyles have an uneasy kind of alliance with a human group who is aware of and fights demons.

I loved that these young women are not the helpless "damsels in distress" types. They are headstrong and don't want to be reliant on anyone. If only the men of the time would allow them to be more self-possessed. Part of the conflict. But the women are smart enough to run an end game on the guys.

The story was well written if a bit predictable. I will definitely be on the lookout for future installments. I'm hoping that there may be some coming surprises!!

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Review: The Madness Underneath

The Madness Underneath
The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: When madness stalks the streets of London, no one is safe…

There’s a creepy new terror haunting modern-day London. Fresh from defeating a Jack the Ripper killer, Rory must put her new-found hunting skills to the test before all hell breaks loose…

But enemies are not always who you expect them to be and crazy times call for crazy solutions.

My Thoughts: This picks up shortly after the end of The Name of the Star. This one also starts off with a murder, a strange murder...but Rory is a long ways from London and no longer has any contact with any of her friends from school. Rory has signed a Secrets Act and can be tried for treason if she even thinks about contacting Stephen, Callum or Boo! Suddenly Rory's therapist suggests that Rory would be better off returning to school for the remainder of the term to face her ghosts.

This was a great continuation of Shades of London. Rory has to learn to deal with the fact that she is a terminus. Ghosts/Poltergeists seem to be wrecking havoc in London, again, and there is somneone or something else that suddenly seems to have their sights on Rory.

This book took a lot of unexpected turns! Some had me shaking my head and others had me in tears. And with that cliffhanger, I can't wait to see what happens next! If you enjoyed the first book as much as I did, I don't think you will be disappointed in Madness Underneath

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Review: Beautiful Bastard

Beautiful Bastard
Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: An ambitious intern. A perfectionist executive. And a whole lot of name calling. Discover the story that garnered more than two million reads online.

Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He’s exacting, blunt, inconsiderate—and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.

Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family’s massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who’d been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative—completely infuriating—creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he’s never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe’s so tempting he’s willing to bend the rules—or outright smash them—if it means he can have her. All over the office.

As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they’re willing to lose in order to win each other.


My Thoughts: I did not know this was fan fiction based on Twilight prior to reading it. Ah...the irony of it. As I read it I thought of the glut of "50 Shades" wanna-be's, which was originally Twilight fan fiction.

Either way, I enjoyed this story if for no other reason than the banter between Bennett and Chloe. However, now that I know it's a "knock-off" I don't know if I will read any future installments. These fan fiction spin-offs are just too much alike. Plus I do agree to a certain extent that they are very close to copyright infringement. I'm not sure how I would feel if I wrote a popular book and suddenly there were all these over-night authors making money off my premise...know what I mean? Now that 50 Shades has become a sensation, I suspect more knock-offs will flood the market.

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Review: Confessions of a Murder Suspect

Confessions of a Murder Suspect
Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: On the night Malcolm and Maud Angel are murdered, Tandy Angel knows just three things: 1) She was the last person to see her parents alive. 2) The police have no suspects besides Tandy and her three siblings. 3) She can't trust anyone--maybe not even herself. Having grown up under Malcolm and Maud's intense perfectionist demands, no child comes away undamaged. Tandy decides that she will have to clear the family name, but digging deeper into her powerful parents' affairs is a dangerous-and revealing-game. Who knows what the Angels are truly capable of?

My Thoughts: James Patterson, where have you been? This book felt like a return to his roots! There were so many different things going on that may or may not have had an effect on the murders of Malcolm and Maud! Plus there is the bizarre parenting of M&M...what is in those "vitamins" the kids are taking?? And what with Tandy's black-outs/memory lapses? So many loose ends were left to tease and torment us. Can't wait to see where this goes next!

This was hard to put down! The character development was lacking, but I think that was one of the strengths of this story. There is so much to discover about this family of orphans and their bizarre skills as well as what their parents may or may not have done to them. If you loved James Patterson way back when...you will probably really enjoy this little mystery...it will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Review: S.E.C.R.E.T.: A Novel

S.E.C.R.E.T.: A Novel
S.E.C.R.E.T.: A Novel by L. Marie Adeline

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Cassie Robichaud is thirty-five and widowed. After a life filled with disappointments, her days are dull and gray: she waits tables at a rundown café in New Orleans, and every night she heads home to a one-bedroom apartment alone. But when she discovers a notebook left behind by a mysterious woman, Cassie's world will never be the same. The notebook's shocking and scandalous contents lead her to S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T, an underground society dedicated to helping women realize their wildest, darkest, and most intimate sexual fantasies. The S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T motto: No judgment. No limits. No shame. Cassie soon embarks on a tantalizing and unpredictable erotic journey, completing ten fantasy-steps toward sexual fulfillment--discovering acceptance, courage, surrender, and more--with gorgeous men in rapturous scenarios beyond her imagination. As she is set free from her inhibitions, the satisfaction and bliss she experiences bring her a new confidence that transforms her forever. Equal parts scintillating, liberating, and emotionally powerful, S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T is a world where fantasy becomes reality

**This title is intended for an audience of 18+**

My Thoughts: Really enjoyed this novel! LOL - I felt like a perfect candidate for the club! That maybe TMI.

I loved the character of Cassie. She seemed very down-to-earth and had a very sad, convincing back story. I enjoyed watching her come into her own...watching her character develop over the course of the story.

The concept of the book was refreshing and it really fit the New Orleans locale. The story stopped kind of suddenly, but I was relieved to discover after reading the GoodReads synopsis that this will be a series. So I will be looking forward to the next installment...curious to see in what direction the next book will go.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Review: The Fetish Box, Part One: Open All Night

The Fetish Box, Part One: Open All Night
The Fetish Box, Part One: Open All Night by Nicole Camden

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: An enchanting eBook debut about a world where your fantasies come true and nothing is quite what it seems. Come on in to realize your heart’s darkest desire...Virginal twenty-two-year-old Mary has just inherited a sex shop in Florida from her mother. After a long drive from California, she arrives at her deceased mother’s house only to be confronted immediately with two equally sexy strangers: the strong, silent John and the irreverent, taunting Max. She’s innocent, almost completely untouched, but feels a completely uncharacteristic pull to each man. Shocking even herself, she realizes it’s not an unwelcome desire.


My Thoughts: I would have liked this more and rated it better if it wasn't so short and quit just when we were getting to the good part. Apparently out in the publishing world it is becoming common place to serialize books and spit out small chunks at a time...personally this is something I hate! That's what seemed to be going on with this book. Now I got this first part as a galley with no guarantee that I will receive subsequent sections...nor was it clear going into this title that any of this was the case. Hence the 2 star score. I would really have like to read the WHOLE thing at once!

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Review: Period 8

Period 8
Period 8 by Chris Crutcher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: In this full-length novel from Chris Crutcher, his first since the best-selling Deadline, the ultimate bully and the ultimate good guy tangle during Period 8.

Paul "the Bomb" Baum tells the truth. No matter what. It was something he learned at Sunday School. But telling the truth can cause problems, and not minor ones. And as Paulie discovers, finding the truth can be even more problematic. Period 8 is supposed to be that one period in high school where the truth can shine, a safe haven. Only what Paulie and Hannah (his ex-girlfriend, unfortunately) and his other classmates don't know is that the ultimate bully, the ultimate liar, is in their midst.

Terrifying, thought-provoking, and original, this novel combines all the qualities of a great thriller with the controversy, ethics, and raw emotion of a classic Crutcher story

My Thoughts: I think Chris Crutcher is a fantastic storyteller. His words always grab me within the first couple of pages and his stories build in intensity pretty steadily. This one has a good deal of mystery and a lot of guessing as to what is happening and who is doing it. I find Crutcher's books very hard to put down and this one was especially so.

I really loved the retiring teacher, Logs, as the kids called him. I wish more teachers were like him. He is the kind of teacher that genuinely cares about his students...he is the de facto voice of reason when kids don't feel like they could talk to their parents. He made himself available to his students...they knew where he lived, what his phone number was, etc.

Paulie was kind of an "every" kid. Average, he didn't stand out as the smartest, dumbest, sportiest, etc...Just a regular kid. But one with a history and strong feelings about telling the truth and admitting wrong-doing. In that way he reminded me of my son, maybe that's why I liked him so much.

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Review: The Story of X

The Story of  X
The Story of X by A. J. Molloy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Shy American student Alexandra Beckmann-'X' to her friends-arrives in Naples desperate for adventures beyond the sheltered life she has led. She is there to study the infamous Italian crime organization, the Camorra. But on the sun-soaked, ancient city streets, her research leads her to a man like no one else she has ever met. Lord Marcus Xavier Roscarrick is an Italian aristocrat, irresistibly handsome with a mysterious past. Yet, underneath his smooth exterior, X senses a man who is well-acquainted with danger.

Soon they begin a passionate affair, and X is drawn into Roscarrick's world of ancient secrets and sexual experimentation. A world she never dreamed existed. But as she falls ever more deeply under Roscarrick's spell, X must decide whether she dares to submit entirely to this shadowy world of dark desire.


My Thoughts: This was an incredibly interesting read! I believe it falls under the heading of "erotica", but it was so much more than that! Maybe a better classification would be a "thinking-person's erotica"??

What the synopsis doesn't tell you is that this is the story of a doctoral student working on her thesis. A thesis about the origin of the Cosa Nostra, or "the mob" as we Americans call it. But in addition to that she does get involved with a local Italian business man who is part of a secret society. It's where the secret society, it's practices, and the origin of the Cosa Nostra overlap that are really interesting. While being very tittilating and erotic, this book had me heading to the web to see if some of the references were created by the author or set in truth. Not something I usually do while reading erotica. LOL

I really enjoyed this book on a number of levels and would be very interested in reading more from A. J. Molloy again!

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Review: Hurt: A Novel

Hurt: A Novel
Hurt: A Novel by Travis Thrasher

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: His Rebellion Will Soon Turn to Hope When Chris Buckley first encountered the mysteries of creepy Solitary, North Carolina, he had little idea how far he would fall into the town’s shadows. After losing the love of his life, Chris tried to do things his way. He hunted answers. Then he gave up trying to find them. But now Chris comes back to Solitary knowing there’s a purpose for his being there. As he watches his place in a twisted and evil bloodline become clear, Chris waits for the last battle—and wonders who will be left when he finally makes his stand. The fourth and final book in the Solitary Tales shines light into deep darkness as Chris’s journey to Solitary comes to a dramatic close.

My Thoughts: I was so frustrated with this book...which in turn was frustrating! I really enjoyed the first 3 books and the novella of this series...but this final book was a letdown.

Over the previous books, the pace was heart pounding with tension continually building. So I was really looking forward to this, the final chapter. But, the story starts out very slowly and builds very slowly over a very long time. We are talking almost 500 pages here...with many tangents that did not further the story along and only succeeded in bogging it down further. THEN when we finally reach what has to be the culmination of all 4 books...it's over in a few pages and nothing really happened...at least nothing that came close to all the build up.

Can you tell I was bummed out? I was!

It's taken me a while to write my thoughts on this book. The sad part is that a week later all I can remember was how disappointed I was...not much of the story remains other than the (anti)climax. Thank goodness for notes and highlighting.

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Review: Natural Born Angel

Natural Born Angel
Natural Born Angel by Scott Speer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis: Life turned upside down for Maddy Montgomery when she found out she was half-Angel and was catapulted into the scene of flashbulbs, paparazzi, and the fervent adulation that comes with being in the celebrity Angel world. She's trying to juggle her ordinary life—high school, family, friends—with the intense demands of being in the public eye as heartthrob Angel Jackson Godspeed's girlfriend.

And now Maddy must face the most difficult choice of her life. She's been offered the chance to become a Guardian. This means entering into dangerous and high stakes training, with no guarantee that she can succeed. But more than that, it would mean leaving her mortal life behind—forever—and allying with the Angels at a time when their relationship with humans is heading for war.

My Thoughts: WOW! I really enjoyed the first book, but this one...YIKES! So much going on. I was so upset when it ended...not because or what happened, just that there was no more story left to read!

We get to see the angel training process through Maddy's eyes, though her's is an accelerated process. Which was interesting and fun...we also see Jacks kind of forced into the background as Maddy's charisma and special circumstances eclipse even him. Through Maddy's accelerated training she is introduced to Tom Cooper...and yes our love triangle may now be complete. We all know these stories where romance isn't the focal point, have love triangles.

Jacks is forced to go through a lot of changes because of injuries he sustained during the battle at the end of the Immortal City. Everything is compounded by the upcoming Presidential election and a rash of bizarre random catastrophes world-wide, among other things. Everything comes to a head and also a stellar cliffhanger...I hate having to wait for the next installment!

This story had a pulse pounding pace with equal parts mystery, romance, adventure, conflict, supernatural beings, and drama. A potent mix and incredibly hard to put down. If you enjoyed Immortal City, you will LOVE Natural Born Angel...so much is learned and so much happens. I will bet you are as frustrated as I was when it ends and you realize you are going to have to wait for what can only be a really thrilling conclusions.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Review: The Fever Series 5-Book Bundle: Darkfever, Bloodfever, Faefever, Dreamfever, Shadowfever

The Fever Series 5-Book Bundle: Darkfever, Bloodfever, Faefever, Dreamfever, Shadowfever
The Fever Series 5-Book Bundle: Darkfever, Bloodfever, Faefever, Dreamfever, Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I LOVE this series! A quick disclaimer though...I own and read the books individually but wanted to post a review on my blog that encompassed the whole series.

This is the story of MacKayla "Mac" Lane. Her sister, Alina, has been murdered while studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland. Unable to get satisfactory results over the phone, Mac leaves for Dublin in hopes of finding her sister's murderer.

Once in Dublin Mac starts to discover all is not as it appears. So much so that the wall separating our reality and the world of Faery has weakened and the fae are mixing with the human population. Mac can see through the fae glamour. Which opens up a whole world of questions about what is going on, and who or what she is.

In trying to find the answers to her questions Mac meets all manner of interesting characters and discovers she is a sidhe-seer and a rare one at that. She is also able to detect fae objects of power within her proximity...making her very useful to certain factions. Ultimately there is a race against time to find the biggest of fae power objects, the Sinsar Dubh...the book of all fae magic. The book is a sentient and evil being that can transform into a beast and causes chaos and death in it's wake. Everyone wants the book for the power it holds, but the question is whether who holds it can stem the tide of death and destruction?

This is a journey like no other. Moning has created VERY memorable characters and a story and sub-plots that keep me coming back for more. She is a fantastic writer whose "turn of phrase" is so quote-worth. One of the lines that is often repeated is... "Hope strengthens fear kills". It's a major theme of the book. And it is so true. There are so many instances during this series that Moning, very thoughtfully and beautifully, expresses thoughts everyone can relate to and many we should live by. If for no other reason, this book should be read for the beauty inherent in her writing.

I've read this series more than once and will continue to read it again and again...continually enthralled in Monings words and ideas. Not to mention the HOT Jericho Barrons!

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: Ever My Merlin

Ever My Merlin
Ever My Merlin by Priya Ardis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: The end of the world. The day of reckoning. The final battle.

In the last chapter of the My Merlin Series, it is a time of great strife for Arriane (aka Ryan) and Merlin (aka Matt) as they struggle to stem the flood of destruction unleashed upon the world. Their only hope rests in the one object that can restore their greatest ally: the Healing Cup.

With every scrap of life hanging in the balance, Ryan must convince both friends and enemies that the key to survival rests in the plans of a sword-toting girl of only eighteen. She must reconcile a fifteen-hundred-year rivalry between two brothers, and be ruthless enough to break a heart—and a life—in the process. And at some point, she really needs to get herself to Prom.

My Thoughts: WOW! What a roller coaster ride!

This installment is a total and complete race against time to save the world as we know it. Matt, as usual, thinks he has all the answers. But his judgement is clouded by his jealousy and anger. Ryan, thankfully, is the voice of reason, and is able to perceive things that Matt just can’t bring himself to see. Vane, meanwhile, remains his rather arrogant self…arrogant or not, his love has no bounds where Ryan is concerned.

Priya Ardis has written a very satisfying conclusion to a wonderful story that had something for everyone! Yes, there is an element of romance, but there is so much more. Global, cataclysmic events, duels, history, mythology, at one time I felt like I was reading an episode of “The Amazing Race”, and the prize at the end was saving the world and it’s inhabitants. Ardis has a wonderful voice and her attention to detail as well as history is amazing! I can’t recommend this story enough to everyone, but especially to those who love anything having to do with magic, Camelot, fantasy, history, and mythology! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Thank you Priya Ardis for a wonderful series that is now an all-time favorite! I look forward to re-visiting Matt, Ryan, and Vane many times in the years to come…and I will be anxiously awaiting whatever you choose to write in the future…Yours Truly, a Forever Fan!

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Review: Gabriel's Rapture

Gabriel's Rapture
Gabriel's Rapture by Sylvain Reynard

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Professor Gabriel Emerson has embarked on a passionate, yet clandestine affair with his former student, Julia Mitchell. Sequestered on a romantic holiday in Italy, he tutors her in the sensual delights of the body and the raptures of sex. But when they return, their happiness is threatened by conspiring students, academic politics, and a jealous ex-lover. When Gabriel is confronted by the university administration, will he succumb to Dante's fate? Or will he fight to keep Julia, his Beatrice, forever? In Gabriel's Rapture, the brilliant sequel to the wildly successful debut novel, Gabriel's Inferno, Sylvain Reynard weaves an exquisite love story that will touch the reader's mind, body, and soul, forever.

My Thoughts: Still love this series. Since finishing this book, I’ve learned that Reynard will be writing one more book with Gabriel and Julia…I’m thrilled! I wonder where he will take the story this time.

The story of Rapture was pretty much a foregone conclusion…you knew the University was going to find out about Gabriel and Julia’s affair. With that in mind, Reynard did not go the easy route and he generated a great story for Gabriel and Julia.

I think both Gabriel and Julia grow immensely through this book. They are forced to see their relationship for what it is and the impact it had on each other but also those around them…and that impact wasn’t necessarily very good. Ultimately, this is Gabriel’s quest for redemption in his professional as well as his personal life. And it is quite a quest!

I remain so very impressed by Mr. Reynard’s ability to write such great romance. His attention to detail is second to none in my book! I can’t help but wonder if Sylvain Reynard is really a Sylvia?? If not, that I will continue to picture him as the basis for Gabriel.

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Friday, October 26, 2012

Review: Gabriel's Inferno

Gabriel's Inferno
Gabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Reynard

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Enigmatic and sexy, Professor Gabriel Emerson is a well respected Dante specialist by day, but by night he devotes himself to an uninhibited life of pleasure. He uses his notorious good looks and sophisticated charm to gratify his every whim, but is secretly tortured by his dark past and consumed by the profound belief that he is beyond all hope of redemption. When the sweet and innocent Julia Mitchell enrolls as his graduate student, his attraction and mysterious connection to her not only jeopardizes his career, but sends him on a journey in which his past and his present collide. An intriguing and sinful exploration of seduction, forbidden love and redemption, "Gabriel's Inferno" is a captivating and wildly passionate tale of one man's escape from his own personal hell as he tries to earn the impossible...forgiveness and love.

My Thoughts: What a sexy, romantic read…and it’s written by a man! Gives a girl hope I tell ya!

I loved Reynard’s writing style! He, so completely, incorporated Dante and his works into the story and then used quotes from other classic works/authors to drive his point home. To quote Reynard’s bio on his website:
“I’m also interested in how aesthetic elements such as art, architecture, and music can be used to tell a story or to illuminate the traits of a particular character. In my writing, I combine all of these elements with the themes of redemption, forgiveness, and the transformative power of goodness.”

Reynard’s writing intrigued me and in researching him after reading this title, I found the quote and it really struck me just how successful he was in incorporating those aesthetic elements. Reynard’s writing is beautiful and creates

Gabriel was really hard to like at first. But ultimately I was totally in love with him just like Julia. Like Julia I was amazed that he didn’t know who she was, even after his sister came to town and told him who she was. Gabriel’s history was a huge aspect to his story and loved how it all came full circle. Julia has an equally disturbing history that haunts her. It’s their individual histories that draws Julia and Gabriel together.

Loved the sensuality of this story…so romantic, dreamy, the whole kit and caboodle. Am anxious to see where the story will go from here.

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Review: Where Demons Fear to Tread

Where Demons Fear to Tread
Where Demons Fear to Tread by Stephanie Chong

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Fledging guardian angel and yoga teacher Serena St. Clair dares to enter Devil's Paradise nightclub on a mission—to retrieve the wayward Hollywood "It Boy" she's assigned to protect. But she's ambushed by the club's owner, arch demon Julian Ascher. The most powerful demonic entity in Los Angeles, Julian is handsome as sin, a master of temptation who loves nothing more than corrupting pleasure-seeking humans. He won't release the lost soul Serena is supposed to guard. Unless she accepts his dangerous wager…

After the disastrous way his human life ended, Julian vowed that no woman would get the better of him again. Yet this sexy-sweet angel, smelling of fresh ocean air and happiness, triggers centuries-old feelings. Now, their high-stakes game of seduction, where angels fall from grace and where demons fear to tread, will lead them either to an eternity in hell or a deliciously hot heaven.

My Thoughts: Very interesting premise! Certain people, when they die, are given the opportunity to return to Earth as Guardians. These Guardians are usually assigned to a pivotal person in the fight of good against evil. Those people that have turned against God are destined for Hell where they have the opportunity to work their way up the ranks of “demonhood” to even become Satan’s right-hand man. So while demons are tempting these pivotal people, guardians are trying to steer them clear of the demons.

I love the whole angels and demons, paranormal storylines. This one was especially hard for me to put down. Especially since the demon in question is trying to turn the guardian assigned to that pivotal person. But there was a back story going on that the demon and guardian were unaware of. All of this mad the story exciting, really hot, and a real page turner.

Serena wasn’t fully fleshed out. We didn’t learn a lot about her life before becoming a guardian. The demon, Julian Ascher, was a much more complete character. We spent a lot of time in his head learning his history and what made him tick.

The ending was hinted at, but I didn’t see it coming because it went against the grain which made the read all the better. I love when authors do the unexpected! Really looking forward to the next installment of this series.

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Review: Eve of Samhain

Eve of Samhain
Eve of Samhain by Lisa Sanchez

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis: As a college senior and server at Hanaford Park's hottest nightclub, twenty-one year old Ryann Pierce's plan was simple: work hard, make lots of money, and avoid the ass-grabbers at all costs. What she never planned for was Quinn Donegan—the living, breathing advertisement for sinful behavior that waltzed into her life.

With an angelic face, a hard body and a butt-load of charm, Quinn had a way with the ladies—a lot of ladies. Cursed with a deadly, addictive touch, his trail of indiscretion blazed across five hundred years. Tired and jaded, Ryann is a shocking revelation Quinn didn't see coming.

Filled with desire, yet unable to touch one another, Ryann and Quinn embark on a daunting journey, battling frustrating physical limitations while exploring their new love. In a race against the clock, Ryann learns she must plead for Quinn's life before…the Eve of Samhain. Determined to end her lover's suffering, not even the danger dogging her every move can keep her from her mission.

My Thoughts: Really enjoyed this book! The reader could feel the heat and attraction between Ryann and Quinn and I absolutely loved that Ryann was able to resist Quinn when everyone else fell at his feet! She had some really great, really snarky comebacks for some of Quinn’s comments that had me thinking “You go girl!”.

This is a reimagining of the fae Gancanagh story, which is one I was completely unfamiliar with. The Irish Mythology has the Gancanagh as a race of people. The Gancanagh, in Eve of Samhain is a singular person.

While “Eve of Samhain” was predictable, it was a sweet story. The characters were not fully realized and I would have loved to know why Ryann’s Aunt was such a bitch. The story had a few holes, but over all a warm fuzzy read while it’s cold and dark outside.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: The Dark Light

The Dark Light
The Dark Light by Sara Walsh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Mia is torn between two guys—and two worlds—in this epic, romantic fantasy.

Mysterious lights have flickered above Crownsville for as long as Mia can remember. And as far as she’s concerned, that’s about the only interesting thing to happen in her small town.

That is, until Sol arrives. Mia’s not one to fall for just any guy, but she can’t get Sol—or the brilliant tattoo on his back—out of her mind.

Then Mia’s brother goes missing, and Mia’s convinced that Sol knows more than he’s sharing. But getting closer to Sol means reevaluating everything Mia once believed to be true. Because Sol’s not who Mia thought he was—and neither is she.

My Thoughts: Interesting story about an alternate universe…or maybe it’s another dimension? Mia doesn’t leave Earth per se, more like she steps through a curtain into a previously unseen Earth.

I’m not a big fan of what I call “High Fantasy”. Those are the types where whole new worlds and creatures are invented. This was not that. But I do love “looking behind the curtain” to see how an alternate version of life as I know it can be created.

“Dark Light” starts out as a mystery with young boys disappearing and weird lights in the sky. OK, you have my attention now. Poor Mia, whose life up to this point has been nothing but abandonment after abandonment, watches as her little brother disappears in front of her eyes…and the new guy in town is there with her but denies all knowledge to the cops. Abandoned again, Mia is desperate to find answers and her brother.

Great read, very mysterious, and you feel so strongly for Mia after all she and her brother have endured. By the time you finish Mia’s whole world has been turned upside down numerous times and you are pissed you have to wait to find out what happens next!

The characters are great…Sol is very chivalrous. And Mia is a lot smarter and tougher than she seems. The incredibly strong sense of family is what really blew me away. So little YA fiction has that focus and it was very nice to read. I’m assuming there will be another book…just too many questions left unanswered for this to be a stand alone book. I can only hope I don’t have to wait too long.

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Review: The Lost Soul: A 666 Park Avenue Novel

The Lost Soul: A 666 Park Avenue Novel
The Lost Soul: A 666 Park Avenue Novel by Gabriella Pierce

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Jane Boyle has long since known that her mother-in-law is a witch, but she'd never imagined Lynne Doran was actually the embodiment of a powerful, ancient, body-snatching evil! Now that Jane and her friends have uncovered Lynne and 666 Park Avenue's dark truth, they must race against the clock to find a way to destroy the ancient witch before she finds her next unwilling host. And as Jane attempts to tap into power stronger than her enemy's, her estranged husband Malcolm arrives in time to join the fight.but can she grow to trust him before it's too late?

My Thoughts: Honestly, I really didn’t enjoy the second book in this series, “The Dark Glamour”, and didn’t intend to read anymore. But then I saw this book and it had the whole TV series tie-in and thought I would give it another try.

“The Lost Soul” brought a few characters back into the fold, that were missing from the second book. That made the story more intriguing…yes, I am specifically talking about estranged husband Malcolm. Add to that the fact that his long lost, and long thought dead, sister is back among the Dorans. The question became how to stop evil matriarch Lynne from her dastardly plan.

Lots of new characters were introduced and the planning involved made this installment much more intriguing. What really impressed the hell out of me was the fact that Pierce had quite a death toll by the time all was said and done. And who died was what surprised the hell out of me. Now I can’t wait for the next book to see what happens to Jane and where she goes from here. Lots and lots of possibilities!

Now, in regards to the tie-in with the TV Show…a few of the names are the same, but that is about it. I’ve watched a couple of episodes and there really is nothing else in common. 666 Park Ave, on TV, is an apartment building and the Doran’s are the head of the Co-op board. There is a Malcolm but he is not a Doran, and there is a Jane, but she is the building’s manager. That is it…these are two entirely different stories! So don’t be confused and don’t look for the books content on the TV show and vice versa.

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Review: Beautiful Disaster

Beautiful Disaster
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

My Thoughts: You know, I’ve owned this book since I read Jamie’s book, “Providence”. What drew me to “Providence” was a bit of a paranormal element…but I loved her writing so much that I wanted all of her books. So I bought “Beautiful Disaster”. Contemporary romance is not something that usually gets my attention so this book sat on my shelf for a LONG time. I finally opened it up yesterday and just couldn’t put it down.

McGuire has such a compelling voice. Her writing, as well as her stories, grab my attention and interest in such a firm grasp I find putting her books down damn near impossible. She doesn’t go for the “insta-love”, more like a much more plausible “insta-lust”. Her roads to a relationship are fraught with misunderstandings, insecurity, fear, the whole gamut, which makes it much more realistic. Everyone gets to know each other, slowly…readers included. If I’m going to use a cliché it is like watching a flower gradually open over time. If you haven’t figured it out, all of McGuires books rate space on my “Favorites” shelf!

“Beautiful Disaster” is just what the name implies. Two people, whose histories are disasterous, become best friends, then lovers. They fight their pasts throughout the whole story...the question becomes which element is going to win? Love or History? You’d like to assume it will be love, but it was really hard to gauge while reading…but I was rooting for love.

I loved Travis. He was an “all or nothing” kind of guy, black or white, no shades of gray. He was so sweet in his earnestness even when he screwed up and he took screwing up to new levels. I couldn’t help but love him and want to heal him.

I fell in love with Abby over time. If Travis was a “black or white” kind of guy, then Abby was all gray. Abby was constantly battling her past, where Travis was oblivious to the effect his past had on him. All of this made for great conflict. Abby wore me down over time, as I got to know her better. I was blown away by her by the end of the book. She turned out to be a cool chick after all

Abby and Travis have a wonderful and comical supporting cast, including their best friends and members of the boys’ fraternity.

This story was an e-ticket ride and definitely worth the price of admission. It just reiterated what a wonderful storytelling voice Jamie McGuire has. I, personally, will be looking forward to her continued success!!!!!

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Monday, October 8, 2012

Review: Because You Tempt Me

Because You Tempt Me
Because You Tempt Me by Beth Kery

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Francesca Arno has been commissioned to create a grand centerpiece painting for the lobby of Ian Noble’s new skyscraper. It’s at a cocktail party in her honor that she first meets him—and the attraction is immediate for Francesca. It’s also bewildering. She’s not used to such a wholesale sexual response to a stranger. Enigmatic, darkly intense, with a commanding presence, Ian completely unnerves her. And she likes it.

For Ian, she’s the kind of woman he can’t resist—one that comes all too rarely: a true innocent. But he can sense in her a desire to open up, to experiment, to give herself to the fantasies of a man in control. The first kiss, the first caress, the first challenge for a woman who craves what she’s never had—a man who gets what he wants

My Thoughts: For some reason this was written in 8 installments and each installment is listed as an individual book in GoodReads. I did read all 8 installment but am only going to post on the first one.

Honestly, this book seemed like a copy of 50 Shades of Grey. The names, jobs, and ages were changed, but not a whole lot else. Now Beth Kery is a much better writer with a whole lot more books under her belt, but I just couldn’t shake how much this reminded me of 50 Shades.

I don’t know if this is going to be a series or if this was a stand alone book. Regardless, if you liked 50 Shades and want more just like it, here is one to add to your reading list.

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Review: The Serpent's Shadow

The Serpent's Shadow
The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: He's b-a-a-ack Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sade Kane can't seem to keep Apophis, the chaos snake, down. Now Apophis is threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness, and the Kanes are faced with the impossible task of having to destroy him once and for all. Unfortunately, the magicians of the House of Life are on the brink of civil war, the gods are divided, and the young initiates of Brooklyn House stand almost alone against the forces of chaos. The Kanes' only hope is an ancient spell that might turn the serpent's own shadow into a weapon, but the magic has been lost for a millennia. To find the answer they need, the Kanes must rely on the murderous ghost of a powerful magician who might be able to lead them to the serpent's shadow . . . or might lead them to their deaths in the depths of the underworld. Nothing less than the mortal world is at stake when the Kane family fulfills its destiny in this thrilling conclusion to the Kane Chronicles.

My Thoughts: LOVED this series. This was a great conclusion to a series that I believe was only intended to be 3 books, but Riordan left the door open to possibly more books. I loved that the storyline told from the alternating perspectives of the 2 heroes. Each speaking into a tape recorder that would be forwarded to Riordan for translation and publication. It allowed for a first person story to read more like a third person story.

Kane Chronicles moved much faster and was much more engaging than the “Heroes of Olympus” trilogy Riordan was writing at the same time. Olympus seems to really get hung up on the differences between the Greek and Roman versions of the mythology…whereas with Kane Chronicles it all a fun interpretation of Egyptian mythology. Loved that Riordan included lots of hieroglyphics in the text as part of the storyline as well. Fun series and really piques your interest in Egyptian mythology.

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Review: Moonlight

Moonlight by Tim O'Rourke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 Stars!
GoodReads Synopsis: When eighteen-year-old Winter McCall is offered a chance to leave her life of poverty behind on the streets of London, she moves to a remote part of the South West of England. Here she takes up the job as housekeeper to the young and handsome, yet mysterious, Thaddeus Blake.

Warned that he has some curious habits, Winter soon realises that not all is as it firsts appears at the remote mansion where she now lives and works.

Blind to the real danger that she is in, Winter finds herself becoming attracted to Thaddeus, and with nowhere and no one to run to, she slowly succumbs to his strange requests. But none of them are as strange as asking Winter to stand each night in the moonlight.

My Thoughts: OK, couldn’t put this one down, but had to to make dinner, etc. The story was not what you thought it was going to be.

Moonlight grabs you and doesn’t let go until it’s done. Pacing is quick and the author isn’t one to go on and on describing something (YAY!). There is a lot of meat to this story, pardon the pun. Moonlight starts with a murder and it isn’t until much later that you learn who the murder is, all the while wondering if our pal Thaddeus is the guy!! Lots of other sly plot points kept me guessing what was really going on until the author wanted us to know what was going on. Props to Tim O’Rourke for NOT being predictable.

Now that I have devoured the first book in this new series I am anxious for the next. I have my thoughts on where the storyline may take me, but won’t put much faith in my ideas since O’Rourke has made it clear he will keep me guessing until he is ready for me to know what is going on! In the meantime, I am definitely going to check out some of O’Rourke’s many other works. Love finding new authors!

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Review: Guardian

Guardian by Heather Burch

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Vigilance. The mission to safeguard Nikki Youngblood depends on the fragile alliance of two half-angel, half-human guardians, both struggling with intense feelings for the girl who has been assigned to their care. Mace, steadfast and deeply in love, wants to protect Nikki at all costs, while Raven's loyalty to Nikki finds him advocating for her independence and battling his own darker inclinations. At the same time, Nikki finds it harder and harder to choose between the two heavenly beings she may never have. Dangers intensify, and tensions between Mace and Raven flare as the purpose of their mission becomes clear. Can their defenses hold up to master manipulator Damon Vessler and the powerful secret he holds regarding Nikki's heritage? Can anyone protect Nikki from her true purpose and destiny?

My Thoughts: If only you could put Mace and Raven together in one body and Nikki would have the “perfect” guy. But then we wouldn’t have the love triangle which is one of the reasons I read this series. Mace and Raven are as different as night and day and they relate to Nikki in different ways and get different results from her. Nikki feels strongly for both of them and the tug of war over her is pretty intense.

One of my complaints regarding this series is that there is a wonderful cast of secondary characters. Because they are so good, I wish they had more opportunity to be “center stage”. Will, Vine, Zero and the girls are funny and really add to the story, I just wish they added more.

Burch has created an interesting world of Angels and half-angels. She has created quite the roller coaster ride in Guardian! There is a lot that is learned in Guardian but there are lots of new questions as the story is propelled forward. I am wondering where the next book will lead? I have my suspicions, but guess I will have to wait and see.

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Review: When Summer Ends

When Summer Ends
When Summer Ends by Isabelle Rae

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Chloe Henderson has never been one to break the rules or push the boundaries… but during her summer break, she and her friends use fake IDs to sneak into a club. It’s there that she meets handsome and alluring bartender, Will Morris. The pair hit it off immediately, growing closer with every passing day. But as with every summer, it has to end sometime.

Chloe’s senior year approaches and there’s a shock in store when she returns to do her final year at school. Will is there too, but he’s not one of her fellow students…

My Thoughts: When I read the synopsis for this book, it reminded me of an movie called “Sooner or Later” with Rex Smith (swoon) and Denise Miller from 1979. Yeah, I know, I am dating myself…suddenly I feel so much older than I did a minute ago. Anyway, I loved this movie, and the book. So with that memory in mind, I picked up “When Summer Ends”. I am so glad I did!

I started “When Summer Ends” last night and it proceeded to keep me up until after 2am. This was an incredibly sweet story. I couldn’t imagine being in Chloe’s shoes walking into the first day of school to find out your boyfriend is the new Calculus teacher. EEK! And in the lead up to that discovery, Chloe and Will seem to be meant for each other.

You know as the story continues that something is going to be discovered, somehow, somewhere. All you can do is sit back and wait…and hope it all works out for the best.

This story was a roller coaster ride of emotions. One I plan on taking again…it was just too good of a read. I’m going to have to read it again. Clichés and predictability aside, the love and ultimate devotion that flow through the story put this one high up on list of favorites to re-read. I’m going to have to check to see if Isabella Rae has any more work out there in the hopes of finding another gem like “When Summer Ends”.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Review: Beyond Shame

Beyond Shame
Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: All Noelle Cunningham has ever wanted is a life beyond–beyond the walls of Eden, where only the righteous are allowed to remain, and beyond her stiflingly restrictive existence as a councilman’s daughter. But only ruins lie outside the City, remnants of a society destroyed by solar storms decades earlier.

The sectors surrounding Eden house the corrupt, the criminal–men like Jasper McCray, bootlegger and cage fighter. Jas clawed his way up from nothing to stand at the right hand of Sector Four’s ruthless leader, and he’ll defend the O’Kane gang with his life. But no fight ever prepared him for the exiled City girl who falls at his feet.

Her innocence is undeniable, but so is their intense sexual attraction, and soon they’re crossing every boundary Noelle barely knew she had. But if she wants to belong to Jas, first she’ll have to open herself to the gang, to a dangerous world of sex, lust and violence. A world where passion is power, and freedom is found in submission.


My Thoughts: What a different book! It wasn’t what I was expecting, it was so much better.

I was riveted to the theme…dystopian erotica. That was definitely new to me. What I really liked is that everything followed the theme. Even the sex and lust had a dystopian theme to them.

This was an “in the moment” kind of story. We didn’t learn a whole lot about the characters beyond Noelle. We knew more about her but not a whole lot of what really made her tick. But we were introduced to a very interesting cast of characters, as well as the equally interesting sector life beyond the walled city of Eden. I would love to see more books in this series continuing the mob/gang theme out in the Sectors as well as seeing some of the unattached gang members finding someone to call their own.

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Review: Lip Service

Lip Service
Lip Service by M.J. Rose

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Lip Service probes the secret world of phone sex and one woman who becomes empowered by what she discovers there. Not since Erica Jong's Fear of Flying has a novel so masterfully examined the relationship between sexuality and identity.

On the surface, Julia Sterling's life seems blessed. Married to a renowned psychiatrist, living on Manhattan's tony Upper East Side, Julia deeply loves her stepson, and is forging a career as a journalist.

When a writing job at The Butterfield Institute - a sex therapy clinic - exposes her to the world of phone sex, Julia glimpses a world that stirs her erotic fantasies but threatens her carefully constructed reality. As she explores her emotional and sexual connections to the men she knows and several she will never meet, she confronts evil, perversity, and her own passions.

My Thoughts: I really got sucked into this story. A bit of history on me, I used to work for a 900# company way back in the early 90s…I wasn’t a phone operator, I was in the background building the program and dealing with the long distance carriers and the FCC. The phone sex operators in this story were using the phone as a means of therapy, rather than the way the 900 numbers were used in the 90s.

The story was riveting. Poor Julia went through a breakdown while in college. The only child of a rather renowned psychiatrist. It was through her father that she met her husband, Paul, her father’s protégé. Paul was drawn to her, but not for the reasons one would imagine. Paul has been more of a live in Dr. to Julia rather than a husband and Julia has allowed it. While researching her book for the Butterfield Institute that Julia starts to come out of her shell and really live. The research journey she undertakes opens up a new world for her in a number of different ways and we get to watch her blossom into a completely different person than the one we are introduced to at the beginning of the story. Her transformation made the book very hard to put down.

I liked Rose’s writing style and apparently this book is a prequel to a series she wrote about the Butterfield Institute. I will be checking out those books.

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Review: Hell Transporter

Hell Transporter
Hell Transporter by Cyndi Tefft

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Aiden MacRae has been given a new life after being stuck transporting souls to heaven for the last three hundred years. He doesn't know the culture, the times or the slang, but there is one thing he does know: he didn't come forward alone.

The master of hell has other plans for the Scottish Highlander and has sent a transporter of his own to get the deed done. Will Lindsey be able to save him or get caught in the crossfire?

My Thoughts: An equally sweet continuation of “Believe”. “Believe” didn’t have a danger element that this one did. Apparently, when Aiden was able to “come back” a Hell Transporter came through at the same time. That Hell Transporter wants Aiden all to itself. The question is who is the Hell Transporter.

I was frustrated that Lindsey was unable to confide in her father, especially considering how close they were. But she shared Aiden’s secret with other people she knew even less. Aidan and his accent continue to be dreamy in this story. The pacing was good and it was full of drama, mystery and romance…plus a few new characters. I really did like the world of Lindsey and Aiden, even though Lindsey did tend to worry too much. LOL, but who doesn’t.

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Review: Persephone

Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: There are worse things than death, worse people too

The “talk” was bad enough, but how many teens get told that they’re a goddess? When her mom tells her, Persephone is sure her mother has lost her mind. It isn’t until Boreas, the god of winter, tries to abduct her that she realizes her mother was telling the truth. Hades rescues her, and in order to safely bring Persephone to the Underworld he marks her as his bride. But Boreas will stop at nothing to get Persephone. Despite her growing feelings for Hades, Persephone wants to return to the living realm. Persephone must find a way to defeat Boreas and reclaim her life

My Thoughts: I really liked where Bevis took the ancient Greek mythology. In Bevis’s world, the Gods that are still alive have mostly relocated to Athens, Georgia. The Gods that ran out of worshippers a long time ago, died. Those, like Demeter, who still have some priestesses and follows are still thriving in the current day and age.

Persephone is, of course, Demeter’s daughter. Persephone knows nothing about her mother’s Godliness. That is until Persephone’s powers start to come in and she becomes a beacon for other living Gods, like Boreas, the God of Winter, who wants to possess Persephone. It’s during one of these possession attempts that Persephone is saved by Hades and she discovers the truth of her lineage.

I loved that Hades is portrayed as a caring soul. He knows that most of the souls in his care are good folks and he wants them to have a happy afterlife. He is surrounded by friends who are more like family and they make Persephone feel welcome.

Persephone, for her age, is a reasonable and mature teenager. She didn’t whine and accepted what was going on very well. Once she understood her Godliness she accepted the responsibilities that came along with it. I guess I couldn’t help but like her.

This was a fun read with a quick pace. Easily devoured in one sitting. Bevis did leave us with a bit of a cliffhanger so I will be looking for another installment, not only for the resolution but also because I genuinely like her characters. Especially Hades.

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Review: Scorch

Scorch by Gina Damico

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby is a teenage grim reaper with the bizarre ability to damn souls. That makes her pretty scary, even to fellow Grims. But after inadvertently transferring her ability to Zara, a murderous outlaw, Lex is a pariah in Croak, the little town she calls home.

To escape the townspeople’s wrath, she and her friends embark on a wild road trip to DeMyse. Though this sparkling desert oasis is full of luxuries and amusements, it feels like a prison to Lex. Her best chance at escape would be to stop Zara once and for all—but how can she do that from DeMyse, where the Grims seem mysteriously oblivious to Zara’s killing spree?

My Thoughts: “Scorch” picks up shortly after Cordy’s funeral. Lex and Uncle Mort have been out picking up new recruits and the two that they bring back to Croak are flippin hysterical. Bang, who never says a word, and Pip, her foster brother who seems to do nothing but ask inane questions.

Zara is still out there and she is damning anyone and everyone, including innocents. The whole story is a race against time to get a hold of something Zara is looking for and she’s going to keep damning one person a day until she gets it. Needless to say people are dying left and right and no one is safe

Almost as irreverent as “Croak”. Damico is the queen of snark as far as I am concerned! I picked up several new insults and euphemisms from “Scorch”. I’m still laughing at them!

Damico continued Lex’s story in a very interesting fashion, really, no one is safe…you will be completely surprised by what happens and to whom it happens. I really love authors who have the attitude that “everyone is expendible”, it makes the story so much more exciting. We also go to experience another Reaper community and it was worth the price of admission, alone. I loved it! Scorch is going to leave you begging for more with a really HUGE cliffhanger! Can’t wait to see what happens next!

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: Fire After Dark

Fire After Dark
Fire After Dark by Sadie Matthews

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: It started with a spark... Everything changed when I met Dominic. My heart had just been broken, split into jagged fragments that can jigsaw together to make me look enough like a normal, happy person. Dominic has shown me a kind of abandonment I've never known before. He takes me down a path of pure pleasure, but of pain, too - his love offers me both lightness and dark. And where he leads me, I have no choice but to follow. Deeply intense and romantic, provocative and sensual, FIRE AFTER DARK will take you to a place where love and sex are liberated from their limits.


My Thoughts: UGH! Where to start…A Dom named Dominic…Really??? I should have seen that as a sign. **BEWARE – WHOLE NOVEL SPOILED AHEAD**

The story is really contrived and tries way too hard. Plain, boring, Tessa has only ever had one boyfriend, even plainer Adam. She caught him inflagrante delecto with her friend. Now she is flat sitting for an aunt in the big city, London.

She spies the handsome dude across the courtyard and she spies on him from her darkened sitting room. They meet, Insta-Love, he pushes her away because he is into BDSM and it will never work. She does all sorts of things to get him back, including enlisting her gay boss, and convinces Dom she can be his sub, only he loses control. They break up, she decides she wants him back, he’s decided to travel for work so he can figure out what went wrong cuz only then can they get back together.

Of course the ending is left wide open for a sequel…No thanks. I don’t mind cheesey when the book isn’t taking itself to seriously…This was not the case. BLECH!

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Review: Between

Between by Cyndi Tefft

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: It just figures that the love of Lindsey Water's life isn't alive at all, but the grim reaper, complete with a dimpled smile and Scottish accent.

After transporting souls to heaven for the last 300 years, Aiden MacRae has all but given up on finding the one whose love will redeem him and allow him entry through the pearly gates.

Torn between her growing attraction to Aiden and heaven's siren song, Lindsey must learn the hard way whether love really can transcend all boundaries.

My Thoughts: This was just an incredibly sweet story! I laughed and cried. I devoured this book in one sitting.

There is a case of that “Insta-Love” in this book, that so many people are not fond of. I understand it, but having experienced a bit of my own “love at first sight” and am still married to him 20 years later, it doesn’t bother me. In this case the “Insta-Love” works out well as an obstacle in the follow-up book to “Believe”, “Hell Transporter”.

I loved Aiden MacRae and his kilt wearing self! He is exactly what any father would want for his daughter. Part of that comes from the fact that he lived 300 years in the past. But he does love Lindsay wholeheartedly and it’s obvious.

Lindsay is sweet and extremely likeable. I did get frustrated that she was able to tell the hospital priest everything that happened, but that she couldn’t tell her own father. I appreciated her frustration and her questioning of God and His decisions. I am sure I would have done much the same in her place.

I’m not big on being preached to, and while this book has a decidedly religious bend to it, I didn’t feel like the victim of a 100+ page sermon. Tefft got her message across in a very subtle way and in a story that left you wanting more.

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Review: Reflected in You

Reflected in You
Reflected in You by Sylvia Day

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Gideon Cross. As beautiful and flawless on the outside as he was damaged and tormented on the inside. He was a bright, scorching flame that singed me with the darkest of pleasures. I couldn't stay away. I didn't want to. He was my addiction... my every desire... mine.

My past was as violent as his, and I was just as broken. We’d never work. It was too hard, too painful... except when it was perfect. Those moments when the driving hunger and desperate love were the most exquisite insanity. We were bound by our need. And our passion would take us beyond our limits to the sweetest, sharpest edge of obsession.

My Thoughts: I liked "Reflected in You", but didn't LOVE it. I got very frustrated with Gideon and his inability to share ANYTHING with Eva. He’d promise to fill her in, yet didn’t. Although he finally did breakdown and share what happened to him when he was younger.

I got frustrated with Eva turning her feelings for Gideon on and off like a light switch. But I did love it when she decided to turn the tables on him, hiring one of her Dad’s bodyguards to keep Gideon “safe” was genius and freakin hysterical. It was when Eve finally grew a pair and decided to quit waiting for Gideon to share and she started looking into things, herself, that I thought I could start liking her again.

I'm really hoping now that they have shared their pasts, that they will be able to help each other heal and move on to a more mutually beneficial, more adult/mature relationship because some of the very immature dynamics of their relationship are getting a bit tedious.

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Review: The Crown of Embers

The Crown of Embers
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: In the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.

Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone's power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.

My Thoughts: I LOVED “The Girl of Fire and Thorns”!!! This was even better!!!!

I would not call Crown of Ember a one-sitting read…I just couldn’t put it down once I started it. The action and intrigue start in the first chapter and do not stop until the last page.

Elisa continues to grow and change in “Crown of Ember”. It’s so easy to forget she is “only” 17. She is dealing with running her adopted country, raising her adopted son, dealing with attempts on her life, trying to figure out how to be a stronger queen, and being forced into a political marriage. Thank goodness for trusted advisors.

Carson’s writing is lyrical in it’s beauty. She crafts such an amazing world and really knows how to keep me on the edge of my seat and my stomach full of knots. This series is quickly becoming an all-time favorite for me. I can’t wait to see what is going to happen in the final installment and if Elisa is ever going to get her “happily ever after”, knowing Carson though, I’m not going to be betting on it.

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Review: Skulduggery Pleasant

Skulduggery Pleasant
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Meet Skulduggery Pleasant

Ace Detective
Snappy Dresser
Razor-tongued Wit
Crackerjack Sorcerer
Walking, Talking,
Fire-throwing Skeleton

--as well as ally, protector, and mentor of Stephanie Edgley, a very unusual and darkly talented twelve-year-old.

These two alone must defeat an all-consuming ancient evil.

The end of the world?

Over his dead body.

My Thoughts: What a FUN read!

Stephanie is 12 years old. A very smart and resourceful 12 year old. I loved her! She has a strong moral character. At times of trouble she has a great internal dialog forcing herself to think her way through the situation. She is a really cool chick and is wise beyond her years.

Skulduggery is a really old, really snappy, really dead skeleton. He helps protect the world from the ancient evil that most of us are unaware exists. While he likes Stephanie, he is reluctant to drag her into this world. Not that he much choice seeing as Stephanie has a mind of her own.

Great characters and a great storyline really drive this story. It’s action packed and fast moving. I believe the target audience is probably middle schoolers, but the story appeals to all ages. I am planning on reading more of this series! Landy has created an awesome world that has sucked me in, entirely.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Review: Darkest Desire

Darkest Desire
Darkest Desire by Tawny Taylor

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

GoodReads Synopsis: Drako has found his woman Rin (see Darkest Fire). As the second Malek believes he has selected his mate in former sex slave Lei. However, though she is attracted to him, they have a problem with their relationship since both are doms. Adding further complications are Male is in a relationship with Brent and the Chimera targets Lei.

The second Black Gryffon erotic Celtic fantasy romance is an action-packed thriller with an intriguing love between two doms arguing who's on top. However, neither protagonist feels three dimensional though sub-genre fans, especially those who read Darkest Fire, will enjoy the heated courtship.


My Thoughts: Well, we learned a little bit more about the “Black Griffons”, as well as Rin’s sister Lei. But I was hoping to learn more about this secret they protect. The action and intrigue level was much higher in this installment which made for a better story. The characters are still lacking, but are likeable. There is some steamy sex and some very mild BDSM. The pacing is good, the story is a one sitting read that I am hoping will tie up some of the loose ends in the next, and presumably, final installment. I guess I will just have to wait and see.

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Review: Tempt Me

Tempt Me
Tempt Me by Olivia Cunning

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars

GoodReads Synopsis For the five sexy rock gods of Sole Regret, finding love is easy, keeping it is hard.

One more night…

For almost a year, Madison has been Adam’s hook-up every time his band, Sole Regret, tours through Dallas. But in spite of the way he sets her body ablaze with passion, the occasional night of rock-her-world sex isn’t enough anymore. She needs a commitment and knows that won’t fit into Adam’s rock-star lifestyle. Madison will take one more hot-and-heavy night with the sexy musician before she cuts all ties with him for good. Even if she must break her own heart to do it.

To tempt him…

Life isn’t all bright lights and fan adulation for the lead guitarist for Sole Regret. Madison has seen Adam at his worst and still managed to bring out the best in him. Her cleverly concealed naughty side also brings out the beast in him. He’s never met a more tempting woman in his life.

Madison has no problem tempting Adam into her bed, but can she tempt his heart into taking a chance on love?


My Thoughts: Another one-night stand with the fictional rock band, Sole Regret. My only challenge with these novellas is that I want to read more than one-night’s worth…in this case, I really wanted to read about that trip to New Orleans…HINT HINT OLIVIA CUNNING!!!

I do enjoy Olivia’s work…it’s fun to read (especially with that special someone), fast (usually can’t put it down), and leaves you wanting more. Hence my challenge with “Sole Regret”…I regret there isn’t more story. But I will take what I can get!

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