Thursday, December 22, 2011

100 Books In A Year Reading Challenge 2012!

So you know I am addicted to challenges right? Well, if you are new to my reading blog then you may not know that but trust me I am. While reading some of my favorite book blogs I came across a pretty awesome 100+ book challenge going on. It's hosted by Book Chick City and basically its super easy. All you need to do is read 100 books or more. The only restrictions are that they have to be fiction and cannot be audio books. The button for the challenge is in my right sidebar....clickity click to join. The more the merrier! You can join at any time and start participating on January 1st.


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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas

 Synopsis: ONE LITTLE GIRL NEEDS A FAMILY One rain-slicked night, six-year-old Holly lost the only parent she knew, her beloved mother, Victoria. And since that night, she has never again spoken a word. — ONE SINGLE MAN NEEDS A WIFE The last thing Mark Nolan needs is a six-year-old girl in his life. But he soon realizes that he will do everything he can to make her life whole again. His sister’s will gives him the instructions: There’s no other choice but you. Just start by loving her. The rest will follow.

SOMETIMES IT TAKES A LITTLE MAGIC . . .

Maggie Collins doesn’t dare believe in love again, after losing her husband of one year. But she does believe in the magic of imagination. As the owner of a toy shop, she lives what she loves. And when she meets Holly Nolan, she sees a little girl in desperate need of a little magic.

. . . TO MAKE DREAMS COME TRUE Three lonely people. Three lives at the crossroads. Three people who are about to discover that Christmas is the time of year when anything is possible, and when wishes have a way of finding the path home. . . .


My Thoughts: Finished Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas and loved it. It was heart warming and just a sweet type of romance. Despite the shortness of the book the story felt full and complete. I didn't find it ended abruptly as some people did but it kind of ended, to me, as a 'this is just the beginning for us' feeling. I very much enjoyed that even though this book was short the story took place over months and months time. So no 'instantaneous love' in this book...which is a huge bonus in my mind.

I really connected with Maggie who is a young widow and she is very much scared of moving forward in her love life. I loved that Mark is a 'we don't encourage whimsical imagination of faeries living in little houses' kind of guy who ended up making his niece a bowl of rainbow when she was sick. I loved that he went from an OMG I'm not a parent type of guy to knowing he is a father despite not being biologically correct. Lisa Kleypas creates excellent characters. I cannot wait for Sam and Alex's books. Seriously when are they coming out????

I was torn between 4.5 stars and 5....I ended up giving it 5 because my overall thoughts of "I wish it were longer" had nothing to do with making the book better. It was my own selfish reasoning in wishing it was longer. The story is excellent as is. I just wanted it to be a bigger book so I could continue with my enjoyment longer.

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Harlequin/Silhouette Reading Challenge 2012


 For the past couple years I have joined in on the Harlequin/Silhouette Reading Challenge which was hosted by Yvonne over at Socrates' Book Reviews in the past. This year she has passed the torch to Evy over at Islandgirl Read Romance. The rules are pretty much the same except the Mr Linky is used to link our reviews for the books we read. Here are the general rules...

Rules:1 This Challenge is from Jan 1, 2012 to Dec 31, 2012.
2) All of the books must be from the Harlequin family of imprints (includes Mira books as well)
3) Read one book for each of the following requirements:


  • The name of a place in the title (whether a country or small city or town)
  • A weather condition in the title (snow, rain, storm etc.)
  • A Title must be in the title of the book (Prince, Countess, etc)
  • The author's first or last name beginning with the letter M
  • A Holiday/Season in the title (Valentine, Christmas, Summer, etc)
  • A color must be in the title (red, blue, green etc)
Other information:
1) Please join the challenge by signing up with Mr. Linky. The link must be the one announcing
     your participation on your blog - not just the link to your blog in general.
2) You can grab the button above and post it on your site.
3) A list ahead of time is not necessary and may be changed at any time
4) Books can be in any format - paper, audio, ebook
5) Books may be used for other challenges
6) Go to eHarlequin for book information, anything you can purchase there counts for the challenge.
Just remember to use the little bitty Mr Linky to join and the larger one to post your reviews. 
This challenge goes for an entire year and there are only 6 books to read. Easy Peazy right? Oh and Evy's Islandgirl link will take you directly to the challenge post. Come on...Join the fun!



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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reading Romances Challenge 2012

Well Here it is almost December and I am getting my ducks in a row....or rather my 2012 Reading Challenges in order. I love challenges. I never really need an excuse to read but challenging me to read a certain number of books or specific type of books gives me just a little more of a thrill. I especially love to make lists of the possible books I could read to satisfy one challenge or another. Yep, I'm a list maker.
Anyway, over at one of my favorite blogs Reading Romances there is an awesome challenge that focuses on my favorite genre (romance of course). I have to join in. Looks like every month there will be a different theme to follow which is pretty cool and I should be able to find all the books I need to participate in my well stocked TBR located in my spare room, under my bed, in the hall closet, behind my bedroom door, etc. Why don't you come join me on this challenge. It starts 01/01/12 and runs through 12/31/12. You can join anytime from now until mid December 2012 (yes that means you can actually join in on the last two weeks of next year because this is all about fun...the more the merrier...join in whenever!) 






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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Wife For Hire by Janet Evanovich


Synopsis: The Prospective Husband with a Racy Past... — Hank Mallone spotted trouble when she sat down and said she'd marry him! Maggie Toone was a tempting firecracker who'd make his life delightful hell if he let her pretend to be his wife in order to improve his rogue's reputation. Would his harebrained scheme to get a bank loan for his business backfire once Maggie arrived in his small Vermont town and let the gossips take a look? 

Maggie never expected her employer to be drop-dead handsome, or to affect her like a belt of bourbon on her empty stomach, but she was too intrigued by his offer to say no... and too eager to escape a life that made her feel trapped. The deal was strictly business, both agreed... until Hank turned out to be every fantasy she'd ever had, and Maggie was so bright, funny, and downright irresistible that Hank fell head over heels in love! While the town watched, Hank wooed his wife with a charm that had never failed him yet. Could he make her dreams real by proving she belonged in his arms?

My Thoughts: An average read by one of my favorite authors. These Pre-Plum books are just short fun little reads that are more of a filler between better reads. That may sound harsh but I'm not trying to sound that way. Evanovich is my go to girl for fun. I will pick up a Plum book knowing it will make me smile and not tax my brain. These early books are even less taxing. They are the Extra Brand Chewing Gum you chew between meals hoping that they will satisfy you until you can gorge yourself on real food.

This book is short and sweet. Typical of her early books the man falls for the lady early on (read this as meaning love at first site) and then spends much of the book convincing her she loves him back. The man is a total hottie and the girl is a cute spunky gal that ends up being trouble with a capital T. 

Many of these characters appear to be early prototypes for her Plum characters. One of my favorites being Elsie Hawkins. Many of these early books have her as a secondary character. I love her. She would be Grandma Mazur later on in the Plum books. Her character is enough for me to keep reading these early books. You usually find a dog in these books too. In one case the dog's name is Bob which you will recognize from the Plum books if you have read them.

There was a slight mystery as to why people were breaking into the house and if Aunt Kitty's diaries are what they are after. The mystery aspect is weak and the only reason I bring it up is to mention that because of the break-ins  a bit of mayhem ensues. Mostly in the form of Elsie packing a gun and firing it through walls and stuff.

I would recommend this book to fans of Evanovich who need a quick filler read. If you like Harlequin type books this should be right up your alley. 
 

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Quicksilver by Amanda Quick

Synopsis: Virginia Dean wakes at midnight beside a dead body, with a bloody knife in her hand and no memory of the evening's events. Dark energy emanating from the mirrors lining the room, overpowers her senses. With no apparent way in or out, she's rescued by a man she's only met once before, but won't soon forget...

... Owen Sweetwater inherited his family's talent for hunting the psychical monsters who prey on London's women and children, and his investigation into the deaths of two glass-readers has led him here. The high-society types of the exclusive Arcane Society would consider Virginia an illusionist, a charlatan, even a criminal. But Owen knows better, Virginia's powers are real -- and so is the power she exerts over him simply with her presence. And if her abilities can be relied upon in the midst of great danger, they just might be the key to his investigation.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this book for the most part but it wasn't a favorite though. It really started out great. Very thrillerish. I really liked the mystery of who was killing the glass light readers and the chemistry between Virginia and Owen was excellent but very little is really said about Owen's psychical gift other than he can kill with it if he chooses and that he isn't really a Hunter but does have some characteristics.

I thought so much time was focused on the investigation and the connection between the two characters that the characters themselves somehow suffered for it. I liked that Owen was a Sweetwater because the mysterious Sweetwater family is mentioned later in the Jayne Ann Krentz installments of the series but the air of mystery surrounding the Sweetwater family is somewhat explained but not to the degree I was satisfied with.

The ending was wrapped up a bit too quickly and the last few paragraphs felt almost pointless to me. I think I would have preferred an ending that had both Virginia and Owen going into business together like Jones and Jones. I think it would have made for a better ending than something along the lines of and they gazed lovingly into each other eyes and knew their love would last a lifetime. Now that isn't how it really ended but you get the idea.

Oh and the title refers to something called the Quicksilver Mirror which is an alchemical weapon of sorts that anyone with a degree of psychical talent could use against another talent to blind that other person's talent to the point of permanent if they wanted. So the device was used. Virginia investigated the mirror. It was discussed briefly and then nothing else was said about it. This happened about 3/4 of the way into the book. It lasted a chapter or maybe two then....nothing. So weird.


All The Pretty Girls by J.T. Ellison

Synopsis:  When a local girl falls prey to a sadistic serial killer, Nashville Homicide Lieutenant Taylor Jackson and her lover, FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin, find themselves in a joint investigation pursuing a vicious murderer. The Southern Strangler is slaughtering his way through the Southeast, leaving a gruesome memento at each crime scene -- the prior victim's severed hand.

Ambitious TV reporter Whitney Connolly is certain the Southern Strangler is her ticket out of Nashville; she's got a scoop that could break the case. She has no idea how close to this story she really is -- or what it will cost her.

As the killer spirals out of control, everyone involved must face a horrible truth -- the purest evil is born of private lies


My thoughts: I thought it was an ok thriller but not the best I've read. It felt as if I was missing an entire book that came before ATPG but this is actually the first one. The relationship between Baldwin and Taylor is already in full swing and there is little to no romance in this book making it feel more of a thriller than romantic suspense. Their relationship did progress but I would have liked to see more of it. Also the first half of the book talked quite a bit about her trying to cope with almost dying in an incident that happened before this book started. That incident was the turning point in her and Baldwin's relationship marking them as a couple. We came into the story after that was all done. I would have liked to have read about it first hand instead of reading about it rehashed as if I should have already known about it. The last half of the book didn't mention her struggle to get back to normal at all.

The plot was muddied quite a bit with another case that was thrown on Taylor that had absolutely nothing to do with the serial killer one Baldwin was working on. I originally thought this book was Taylor's story but it turned into Baldwin's while we see him trying to figure out the serial killers next move.

There seemed to be quite a few plot threads that were thrown in but didn't seem to have much to do with the main story. The addition of the Special Agent Grimes saga felt gratuitous as an OMG factor and the story could have continued nicely without it. In addition the motive behind the serial killer's spree seems a stretch if best. I find it hard to believe that what appears to be a good person would suddenly decide to start murdering and dismembering a specific type of woman. In most cases when authorities dive into the back ground of most serial killers there were red flags that popped up as early as childhood. I can't buy that a person would start with killing one woman and find they really enjoyed doing and progress rapidly into a frenzied psycho killer. We have to accept the "crazy" card in this case as the killer's motive and means. I just can't.

I also thought that the additional Whitney thread was interesting but I honestly didn't understand how she came up with the knowledge of who the killer was based on some emails with parts of well known poems on them. As there was one 'suspect' and then the real killer I'm still not sure if Whitney actually knew the killer's identity or if she fell for the 'red herring'.

One last thought. I am extremely character driven when it comes to the books I read. I felt that the characters in this book were not as fleshed out as I would have liked. I think the author tried to make them seem more human but didn't quite accomplish it. Neither Baldwin nor Taylor seem very real to me after finishing this book. Great characters should stay with you when the book is done. These do not.

I will read more by this author but will not rush to do so.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Italian's Future Bride by Michelle Reid

Back Blurb: If there's a baby, then she'll be his bride

Eligible bachelor Rafaelle Villani is used to loving his women...and leaving them. Until his freedom is compromised by a candid newspaper photo, which suggests he has finally fallen...for Rachel Carmichael. Soon the world's press is reporting their engagement!

Rafaelle claims his fake fiancee; twenty-four hours later Rachel has been passionately seduced--and fears she has conceived his baby. So, Rafaelle demands that Rachel pretend to be his future bride!


My Thoughts: I think I always start out my reviews for Harlequin type books saying I rarely read them. Maybe I don't, but I should. When I tally my books read over the course of the year Harlequins take up less than 2% of them. I don't read them all the time because I think they just don't give me enough of a decent story and a good enough romance. Not all of them of course but in general. This book is not an exception to that rule. It is an average offering from the Category Market.

The back blurb does not really do the plot justice because the potential baby scare is in the book but it isn't front runner in the plot. Most of the conflict comes from Rachel and her family's plot to get her picture taken with Rafaelle by the paparazzi in a somewhat compromising pose to save her sister's marriage. What ensues is him pretty much kidnapping her to find out why, her telling the whole story, her family abandoning her while she was in his clutches to continue their much more important lives, him twisting the scene to include their pretend engagement and a whole lot of hot monkey sex.

I was pretty amazed by the amount of sex in this book. I admit to still be under the (apparently) misguided impression that Harlequin Presents is the 'virginal' more prudish member of the Harlequin line. With that said the other stereotypes that category a Presents is still alive and kicking. Tall handsome foreign extremely rich older man--check. Inexperienced young shy not breathtakingly but still beautiful woman--check.

Anyway, lots of sex. I do have to say that there was a lot of passion in this book. The characters fought (verbally) with passion and had a lot of sex (passionately). With all the arguing and sex I was hard pressed to see much of a relationship blossoming but never fear the last 3 pages did have the I Love You's we all come to expect. I knew it was coming but just didn't see how they got there. I saw a lot of mistrust, accusations, arguing, and sex but little else.

As far as the writing, Reid, kept my interest with the conflict between the characters and her dialogue flowed well. There were a couple glaringly obvious typos that pulled me out of the story but overall this book kept my interest. I never once thought about throwing it against the wall and was glad that the couple managed to put their fighting aside to fall in love (despite that I didn't see how they happened along that particular emotion.) On the other hand I would have liked more romance and less sex. I would have liked a bit more character building from Rafaelle because he is still somewhat of a mystery to me and it would have been nice if Rachel's family learned a lesson about their selfish behavior for feeding her to the wolves (um wolf).

So that pretty much balances out to an average book. I'd read more from this author if I need a short book to add between my longer ones.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Rogue in Texas by Lorraine Heath

Synopsis: A duke's son, Grayson Rhodes was a maverick who had left London's suffocating upper class world to earn his own fortune. So he seized the chance to work Abbie Westland's land...and from the moment he first saw Abbie, he was determined to use his arms to work the farm by day and to soothe her through the nights in his strong embrace.

Abbie, with her fiery determination, was different from the fragile beauties he'd known at home. In her Grayson found an honest passion he'd never experienced before. But could their growing love survive the surprising reminder of her past that comes to haunt them?

My Thoughts: I loved the set up of this book. Rich fathers in England, tired of their off-springs haphazard ways, send them off to America to make their fortunes as a last resort. The men, thinking they are arriving to make their fortunes are surprised what they find upon arrival. They end up in a town called Fortune, Texas and each man receives room and board for their labor working on a cotton farm. None realized the grueling work they had in store for them.

The characters themselves, although decent ones, I never really warmed up to as much as I would have liked. Abbie tends to come across as an uneducated hick and Grayson acts completely different once meeting Abbie than what he was described as being. I never really saw why Gray was so smitten with Abbie. Also it appears that Abbie my have intimacy issues and Abbie's late husband is all but accused of forcing himself upon her yet she defends him to the bitter end. There are several references to Grayson not ever being loved while growing up and I ended up feeling as if I were being forced to feel sorry for him. Call me callous but I didn't. Sometimes a connection can be made between the character and the reader and sometimes there isn't.

The major twist in the book was an obvious one to me and the drama that ensues seemed to drag on while trying to wrap up the happily ever after. The final event (a Hurricane) that brought on the happily ever after felt almost out of place and I'd say unnecessary if it weren't for the major twist that needed dealt with for our hero and heroine to be together.

What I did like about this book was the romance itself was just sweet. Almost to the point of overkill but not quite. I felt the romance of this book really balances the negative aspects out and makes this an enjoyable read. Certainly not my favorite Heath and not a keeper but it has some intriguing secondary characters who have their stories told in the second and third books of this trilogy and I will definitely be reading them.





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Saturday, October 29, 2011

When You Dare by Lori Foster

Synopsis:  The tougher they are, the harder they fall... — Professional mercenary Dare Macintosh lives by one hard and fast rule: business should never be personal. If a cause appeals to him and the price is right, he'll take the mission he's offered. But then the lovely Molly Alexander asks him to help her track down the men who'd had her kidnapped -- and for the first time, Dare's tempted to combine work with pleasure.

Fiercely independent, Molly vows to trust no one until she's uncovered the truth. Could the enemy be her powerful estranged father? The ex-fiancĂ© who still holds a grudge? Or the not-so-shy fan of her bestselling novels? As the danger heats up around them, the only anchor Molly has is Dare himself. But what she feels for him just might be the most frightening thing of all….



My Thoughts: When you Dare just wasn't a favorite.

The characters, although likable, just had issues. Molly acted exactly opposite of what I would think a woman would act who was held for over a week beaten and starved almost to death. Dare was supposed to be all macho but I expected him to insist on a sit down and talk about your feelings session. He pretty much knew what Molly should have been feeling so he kept her at arms length for the most part refusing to act on the chemistry they were feeling. I would have liked to have seen more of him in action (not in the bedroom kind of action way either) I think that what this book was missing was what Suzanne Brockmann is able to do in her TD&D books (Prince Joe, Everyday Average Jones etc). Hot sensitive men who you never question their testosterone levels because they are still all men. You get to see them on a mission and in action and still get to know their intimate thoughts and feelings about the women they love. It's quite a balance of sensitivity and macho but Brockmann pulls it off expertly whereas Foster doesn't. I was more fascinated by the secondary characters than I was the main ones. Those were great characters.

Oh and I thought this book could have been at least 100 pages shorter. It seemed to drag on and on but the cover is totally hawt which almost makes up for it.



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Foul Play by Janet Evanovich


Synopsis: When Amy Klasse loses her TV job to a dancing chicken, handsome veterinarian Jake Elliott rescues her with an offer to be his receptionist. Jake just can't resist a damsel in distress, and Amy certainly doesn't mind Jake's charming sincerity.

Then suddenly the job-stealing chicken disappears and Amy is suspected of foul play. Amy and Jake search for clues to prove her innocence. But will Jake be able to prove to Amy that love, too, is a mystery worth solving?

My Thoughts: A quick read with screwball characters and wacky situations. I found it funny and might have rated it higher except that the characters fell in love right away, in this day and age a 26 year old virgin (who doesn't look like a troll or has some mental deficit) is pretty much unheard of, and the ending had no closure to the relationship issues. Those problems aren't necessarily deal breakers but will reduce the enjoyment of the book overall. If you have a couple hours to spare and need something light and silly you should try this one. I wouldn't buy it at full price though. Seek it out through your local library or a used book store.

Oh and I kept thinking that the book should have been titled 'Fowl Play' hehehehehe.

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Shadow Bear by Cassie Edwards

(warning: if you want to read this book in the future and don't want it to be spoiled for you I wouldn't read much of my review because I am going to spell out the entire plot for you.....it's my way of saving you. Trust me.)

Synopsis: South Dakota 1850. Before he died from the Indian arrow that pierced his body while he was hunting gold outside Fort Chance, Shiona Bramlett's father, the colonel, revealed a shocking secret. Now, armed only with her father's map and her courage, she's determined to honor him-and to fulfill her own destiny.
After a fierce prairie fire, Shadow Bear, Chief of the Grey Owl Band of the Lakota tribe, is desperately looking for his missing brother Silent Arrow. His search leads him to a beautiful woman in desperate need of help. Shadow Bear loathes the white man-but he cannot help but protect her. With a passion that is undeniable, they must learn to put their mistrust aside and share their secrets before all is lost.

My Thoughts: Hmmmmm after reading this book I have been trying to come up with something I liked about it and failed miserably. After 20 hours of thinking I just gave up. I might have decided this particular book was going to be bad before I started but as I was doing a challenge this month in which I had to read a Cassie Edwards book I stopped at my local library and grabbed one off the shelf. I purposely chose one not in her Savage series because in many years when I think back on the book I read of her's I didn't want to struggle with trying to come up with a Savage Something name. So, did I decide this book was going to be bad before starting. Yes. Did I still give it a go. Yes. Did I roll my eyes and throw my hands up in the air shouting ARGH! repeatedly? Yes. So without further ado let me tell you what I didn't like about this book....

The Characters--Ms Edwards has managed to write some of the most boring characters I have ever read about. Her descriptive words to explain said characters consisted of tiny, golden haired and violet eyed (Shiona) and dark eyed and long flowing black hair (Shadow Bear). Personality wise they were milk-toast. After losing her mother and brother in the same day Shiona did make a statement which lead us to believe she just might have a backbone yet when she needed one it seemed to have disappeared. Shadow Bear was not much better. I don't think I've ever read a book featuring an "Indian" who managed to lose his woman because he circled around his enemy too far ending up a bit lost and thrown from his horse in the process.

The Romance--What romance? 'You're my woman!' 'I would love nothing more than to be your woman!' 'Now I'll put my manhood into your warm wet place!' Ok none of that was actually said....except maybe the You're my woman part but you get the idea. Oh and typical of Edwards writing they fell madly in love in a day.

The Plot--What a crazy series of events for poor Shiona. First she and her brother leave their mother riding a stagecoach on the way to Missouri to go fetch the gold their father stashed in a cave nearby only to find that as soon as they separated their mother is murdered by an unknown assailant possibly an Indian because of the arrow embedded in their mother's chest. Oh No! First their father (see the synopsis above....father never manages to be in this book as he is dead and buried before the beginning) and now their mother. Shiona and her brother bury their mother and set off once again for that cave. But wait! There is a storm brewing and they could get struck by lightning! Whew! They managed to make it to the cave, gather firewood and eat some nutritious grapes (the biggest Shiona has ever seen!) that happened to be growing outside the cave. Shiona settles the horses into the back of the cave and comes back to the fire only to find her brother is not in the cave. Oh No! Oh wait there he is stumbling into the cave and falling onto the floor with (gasp!) and arrow in his chest. Somehow her idiot brother stepped out of the cave into a storm for just long enough to get killed by the same murderer(s) who killed their mother! Because neither one of them was smart enough to realize that maybe if they were taking shelter from the storm maybe the killer(s) did too. So Shiona then buried her brother in the cave. Outside the cave a raging inferno is blazing across the plain because of lightning. Once the rain put it out Shiona realized she is ill. But she never gets ill! Her parents and even the doctor who took care of her have always been amazed at her health and strength. She may be tiny but she is strong, like bull. While suffering from a near fatal fever she manages to save an indian brave Silent Arrow who (queue the ominous music) was shot with the same kind of arrow Shiona's family was. Silent Arrow makes it back to his tribe and his brother chief (Shadow Bear) and before fading into a long sleep manages to utter the simple word "Shiona". Shadow Bear after having been urged by his grandmother and her visions, he finds the cave and brings Shiona back to his people. And they lived happily ever after.

Ok no there was more but by reliving this book a sharp pencil in the eye is sounding better and better. Just know that there was so much going on in the plot that I'm surprised Ms Edwards has any ideas for anything else.

The Action--With a fire and a murder you would think that there would be action a plenty. Not so much. After being forewarned about the fire by his vision getting grandma Shadow Bear has his people dig trenches around the village to save them all. And it works. It worked so well that very little of the fire is even mentioned. No Indian Braves courageously battling flames as the fire roared towards their village and no animals stampeding across the plain to escape certain death. Other than a two line mention of two scorched tepees it was rather anti-climactic.

But what about Shiona's happily ever after? Well kiddies it was touch and go for a while. After Shiona finally found happiness (this was Shiona's thought after losing her family and all) with Shadow Bear she had to leave to save herself from the evil murderer. Oh how poor Shiona cried. She was just getting over the loss of her family and now this. Oh did I mention that because of her fever induced coma sleep she theoretically lost her mother and brother then fell in love the next day? Actually the timeline was more like this buried mother/brother on Monday, coma sleep Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday, Fell in Love on Saturday!

Oh but the murderer! Now there was a twist. Not one...but two possibilities of whodunnit. OMG what a dilemma! Either one could have done it! They were both horrible men so Cassie, please just kill them both that way justice will be done. Poof! Baddies gone. Shiona, poor orphaned Shiona has now found happiness amongst the Lakota tribe despite that they hate whities.

Final Thoughts (that may take another several paragraphs)--To make it more authentic the author has peppered her work with words that I am assuming to be Lakota. Unfortunately, even though she used the same words over and over again (brother, grandmother, grandson etc) she didn't include a glossary or quick guide. Instead she used the explanation during dialogue. For example if Shadow Bear was addressing his grandmother he would say "It is good to see you Unci grandmother." I already took the book back to the library so I don't actually have it for reference but google said Unci is Grandmother (on the mother's side). So anyway, essentially (here is where my anal personality comes out) Shadow Bear is saying "It is good to see you Grandmother Grandmother." This was through the entire book.

On a positive note (yes there is one) this was a quick read. The paperback book's font was large and there was barely 300 pages. The book itself was kind of mind candy. Not the good kind of candy though. If you have a bag of assorted jelly beans and eat most of them and realize you only have the gross black ones left....this book is the black licorice jelly beans. Now don't get all mad if you happen to like those....some of you might. You might also like this book. No accounting for taste is there (just kidding.)

Oh and there is a reason for my irritating and irrational use of exclamation points! Ms Cassie Edwards Loves Exclamation Points!!!!! They are used a lot. Not even when a character is shouting. I don't recall any exclamation points used during dialogue actually. They were all used during the times that the characters were having internal dialogue. So weird!

My rating--  One cup of coffee (exclamation point point!!)

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Husband Hunt by Jillian Hunter

Synopsis: Catriona Grant is desperate. Fleeing a forced marriage in Scotland, she arrives on the doorstep of Rutleigh Hall seeking shelter as a distant relation, only to find that Knight Dennison, the Viscount Rutleigh, may be worse than the man she fled. True to his dangerous reputation, Knight threatens to toss the penniless, flame-haired impostor out -- until she produces the family ring as proof of her identity.

Thrust into the role of guardian, the dark, compelling Knight has his doubts about the lovely Scottish lass, who's clearly keeping secrets -- but her wit, beauty, and artless grace are hard to resist. When his sister starts husband-hunting for Catriona, the idea of any other man possessing her is suddenly unthinkable. For Knight realizes that there's only one possible groom for her: himself!

My Thoughts:This is my first by Jillian Hunter and although I really enjoyed it (there is an element of paranormal in the gypsy sense...Catriona has visions) I thought parts of it seemed overly long to get through. I set it down many times and although in the back of my mind I was thinking that I should pick it back up and finish it there wasn't that "compelling" factor there that made me want to pick it up other than I really wanted to finish it and get it off my list.

I thought the characters were good. I enjoyed that the hero was the one so utterly in love with her and not necessarily the other way around. Yes she loved him but it was almost from his view point rather than her's. Kind of refreshing in a historical romance. I did think that the big secret and whatnot was a bit anti-climactic and it was drug out to be a big deal but to me it really wasn't. Also there was a lot of stuff going on. Catriona's introduction to a bit of society, her running from her brother's guardianship, a possible evil uncle and the uncle's evil apprentice, a story of kidnapping, and a secondary love affair. With so much going on it seemed a bit muddled.

Overall I thought the book was a decent introduction to Hunter and there were some fun parts. Oh and the sex in the book was mild compared to many romances out there but there was some. So if you prefer books with no graphic porn-like scenes but want more than a fade to black approach this might satisfy you.


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Friday, August 26, 2011

Shakespeare's Secret by Elise Broach

Synopsis:
A missing diamond, a mysterious neighbor, a link to Shakespeare-can Hero uncover the connections?

When Hero starts sixth grade at a new school, she's less concerned about the literary origins of her Shakespearean name than about the teasing she's sure to suffer because of it. So she has the same name as a girl in a book by a dusty old author. Hero is simply not interested in the connections. But that's just the thing; suddenly connections are cropping up all over, and odd characters and uncertain pasts are exactly what do fascinate Hero. There's a mysterious diamond hidden in her new house, a curious woman next door who seems to know an awful lot about it, and then, well, then there's Shakespeare. Not to mention Danny Cordova, only the most popular boy in school. Is it all in keeping with her namesake's origin-just much ado about nothing? Hero, being Hero, is determined to figure it out.


My Thoughts:

I thought this book was entertaining but not the best young adult book I have read. It was an interesting look at a 12 year old girl's life who's father is a professor of Shakespeare. Her parents gifted her with Hero as a name which although popular amongst Shakespeare fans not so popular in school. The family recently moved to a new city and Hero finds herself friendly with an elderly woman next door who tells her a story about a missing diamond (rumored to be in the house Hero and her family now occupy) and a connection to Anne Boleyn.

I thought the history was interesting. Supposedly the necklace that the diamond was originally set into most likely belonged to Anne Boleyn at one time and was handed down through the generations to the woman who used to live in the house Hero's family bought. What I thought was even more interesting was that I never heard the rumors that perhaps William Shakespeare didn't write his works at all. In this book Edward de Vere was discussed a lot and the rumors that he may have been Elizabeth I's illegitimate son and he may have been the writer behind all of Shakespeare's work. Like I said it was very interesting and I enjoyed that part of the book completely. The necklace part of the story was completely invented by Broach according to her notes found in the book but the other information on the speculation of Shakespeare identity is quite true.

I didn't like that the mystery of the million dollar diamond was solved by 2 children age 12 and 14. What kind of inept police department does that city have that after scouring the house looking for the diamond the police give up but 2 children find it in about an a couple of hours. Granted the children had a clue that the police didn't have but still.
If it weren't for that unfortunate issue this book would actually be very good. This book is a young adult novel but is very good for children younger. Anywhere from 10+ I would say. There are no adult themes whatsoever but does have some bullying name calling (no physical bullying) from Hero's classmates.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Elixir by Hilary Duff


Synopsis:
Clea Raymond has felt the glare of the spotlight her entire life. The daughter of a renowned surgeon and a prominent Washington DC politician, she has grown to be a talented photojournalist who takes refuge in a career that allows her to travel to the most exotic parts of the world. But after Clea's father disappears while on a humanitarian mission, Clea's photos begin to feature eerie, shadowy images of a strange and beautiful man - a man she has never seen before.

When fate brings Clea and this man together, she is stunned by the immediate and powerful connection she feels with him. As they grow closer, they are drawn deep into the mystery behind her father's disappearance, and they discover the centuries old truth behind their intense bond. Torn by a dangerous love triangle and haunted by a powerful secret that holds their fates, together they race against time to unravel their pasts in order to save their lives - and their futures.

My thoughts:
I think the idea had good potential I just couldn't connect with a jet setting teenager who's mom allows her to head off to Rio, Paris and Tokyo without parental influence. It was written in the first person making it feel almost like a YA UF and the book does set up to have a continuing storyline with the same characters which also made me think UF. The main character is written in a way that we are to believe she deeper than she really is but I wasn't fooled. The addition of a weird love triangle proved that she is really nothing more than a silly girl. Haven't been a teenage girl in sometime but is it common for a teenage girl to think how much she loves a guy but then mentally takes it back so as to not ruin her chances with a second guy? I honestly don't know. Also the addition of a sexual encounter (a fade to black type...not graphic) made the book feel more 20-something rather than high school.

The non verbal communications between Clea and her best friend Reyna were almost ridiculous. Reyna would look at Clea and next thing the reader knew Clea would interpret the look as a full on conversation between the two of them which was spelled out for the reader's benefit.

I think what prevented me from giving this book less than 2 stars is because the idea was actually pretty good. I don't think the follow through did it justice. I'm also curious as to why the author "helper" of Hilary Duff, Elise Allen, merited a mention on the title page (it's listed as Elixir by Hilary Duff with Elise Allen) but doesn't get her name on the cover. With all the collaborations happening now it makes me wonder if someone was cashing in on a star's name or the star herself refused to share top billing.




Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

ok not my typical book selection but since I've never read it and it fit in with a challenge I am currently doing I thought "Why Not?" So, there you go.

Synopsis:
Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires...

The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning ... along with the houses in which they were hidden.

Guy Montag enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames... never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid.


My Thoughts:

Even though this book was written 60 years ago it's amazing how much it still applies to today. In Montag's world books were not only banned but destroyed, burned to ashes along with the house they were held in and in many cases the people who hid them. The government says that books are silly and the words meaningless yet destroys them all proving that someone in authority firmly believes that a book is a dangerous thing. Which is actually what happens. Montag meets a girl who society deems 'crazy' and she puts a little thought in his head. Next thing he knows he is questioning why. Why he is a fireman. Why the books are so dangerous. Why Why Why. Questions that to maintain peace and balance should not be asked.

Overall I found that I enjoyed this book despite it being totally different from what I am used to reading even though many times I had to read a paragraph over again because I missed some thing that ended up being important. I found Montag's discovery of himself and nature a bit hard to follow. His journey to discovery read a lot like descent into madness which I thought was hard at times to follow. I did like that this book was thought provoking and I plan to follow up with searching for some discussion web pages to see other people's interpretations.

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

After Life: Answers From The Other Side by John Edward

Synopsis:
In John Edward's fourth book he answers some of the most asked questions about how the psychic mediumship process works. In addition he shares his experiences while doing readings in Australia and his life as the son of an Irish father and an Italian mother. He also touches on his life as a husband and being a first time father. He shares his journey learning how to be a medium and lessons he learned from his friends and teachers here and from people who have passed on.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed learning about John and his family background. From problems he had connecting with his father (while his father was still alive) to becoming a first time father. He had some really great advice for those who experience grief from the loss of a loved one, mainly to not seek out a psychic to connect until you have accepted and embraced the grief process. It's something you just can't skip or ignore. Moving right to seeking out a medium soon after the death of a loved one usually brings heartache because they either find a crook instead of someone with an actual psychic gift of their loved ones don't come through as the expect. I don't think I expected him to encourage someone to not go to a psychic.

John included many transcripts of his readings throughout the book. I've watched his Crossing Over show on many occasions and enjoyed his readings. I don't know if I fully believe it but the readings that are included are pretty amazing.

What I didn't like is that the book felt almost as if I were reading a text book. I grew bored after reading only a few pages so it took me forever to read it. I also didn't like his explanation on how he does what he does. It was something along the lines of he raises his psychic vibrations higher and the people who cross over lower theirs so they can communicate on the same level. I just didn't follow it. Maybe you have to be a psychic to really get it.

Overall an average book with some good stuff and some stuff I just didn't care for. I am not sure if I will go out of my way to read another book by him unless it if filled with his transcripts of his readings because that is that part I enjoyed the most.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

**SPOTLIGHT**The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman


I was lucky enough to get an ARC of The Last Four Things by Paul Hoffman. Review is forthcoming but I wanted to give you all a little sneak peek into it. Release date is Tomorrow! August 4th.

Synopsis: Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell. These are the Last Four Things. Now there are Five. Meet Thomas Cale. Returning to the Sanctuary of the Redeemers, Thomas Cale is told by the Lord Militant that the destruction of mankind is necessary; the only way to undo God's greatest mistake. Cale seemingly accepts his role in the ending of the world: fate has painted him as the Left Hand of God, the Angel of Death. Absolute power is within his grasp, the terrifying zeal and military might of the Redeemers a weapon for him to handle as simply as he once used a knife. But perhaps not even the grim power that the Redeemers hold over Cale is enough - the boy who turns from love to poisonous hatred in a heartbeat, the boy who switches between kindness and sheer violence in the blink of an eye. The annihilation that the Redeemers seek may well be in Cale's hands - but his soul is far stranger than they could ever know.

Click the picture and you can preorder!
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Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes by Jennifer Crusie et al.

Synopsis:
"You're invited to spend the weekend with three extraordinary sisters..."  When she was sixteen, Dee Fortune kidnapped her two younger sisters and ran from danger. Now twenty-nine, she's still trying to control her shape-shifting power--no easy task when Danny James shows up one Friday morning with his deadly smile and dangerous questions about the past.

Lizzie is determined to save her family from financial ruin by turning straw into gold; now if she could only stop turning forks into bunnies. Then Elric, a sorcerer, appears one Friday--annoyed with the chaos Lizzie is creating in the universe "and" in his heart. . . .

The youngest Miss Fortune, Mare, towers above her sisters but her telekinetic power is dwarfed by their gifts. She spends her days at Value Video!! and her nights contemplating the futility of her existence. But then a gorgeous Value Video!! VP "and" Mare's long lost love turn up. . .and they all turn up the heat on a weekend that no Fortune will soon forget!

My Thoughts:
I thought it was ok but honestly it would have been better as a trilogy. Where each sister had their own book with the third book being the big showdown between the sisters and their evil aunt. I would have liked to get to know the characters better. As it is the book was written as a full book with each author contributing something but it read like an anthology whereas each sister's love story was told very quickly making it feel rushed.

There were some humorous things in the book that I enjoyed a lot and one of the couples had some great banter between each other. One of the sisters is a meek woman afraid of her own shadow and within a few hours suddenly developed a backbone. It felt as if she was a completely different character than what we were introduced to. I did enjoy the pop culture sprinkled in the book which felt right with one of the sisters. That particular sister actually felt more fleshed out than the other two to me however I liked the connection between the meek sister and her love better than the other two.

Collaborations are becoming quite popular and I'm not sure it worked here. I couldn't really tell when one author ended and another one started which was good but once again I really felt this book would have been better to have each sister have their own book.