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 cafĂ© 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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