Monday, October 30, 2006
Linda - I think I would like to be able to read peoples thoughts. And I don't think I would mind a bit being a Vampire. Like in the Argeneau series. gurrr especially if I got to be life mates with a hunky loving McDreamy Vamp. (I had to let Linda know, if I was a vampire, I'd want Eric from The Dead Series, hubba-hubba)
Lucy - For a superpower, I would like to disappear from the current location and then be able to astral travel to somewhere else.
Kim - I might like to fly. I'd like to be a shapeshifter that could morph into a bird or Pegasus or something.
Kay (Gret) - ... for the "superhero thing", it's kind of a cross between quite a few of the X-Men powers. Mind Reading- Xavier; Power Sucking- Rogue; ShapeShifting- Mystique. All put into one. I just think that those ones are pretty cool. (Um, me too, I would never be able to pick just one, give 'em all to me!)
Cheryl - I think a superpower trait I would like would be the ability to read minds. Perhaps, knowing what someone is thinking ahead of time would give me a chance to thwart bad intentions.
Christina - Asking me to choose just one paranormal feature or creature is just mean! I think some kind of were animal would be good because they probably have killer metabolisms and weight wouldn't be an issue, Can you imagine being able to eat all the chocolate you wanted and never gain weight? Then there is the super strength thing, being able to pick up your furniture to vacuum would be awesome. Perhaps a psychic turned werewolf? Then I would have super mental powers as well as the stuff I already talked about. And as much fun as flying would be, a were canary just doesn't have the same ring as werewolf.
Robin - Playing With Fire was a great book and I would LOVE to have the powers in that book! Control of the elements - wow. (I know. My kids watch this cartoon Avatar and he is master of all the elements, I am so hooked on that show it isn't even funny!)
Angela - My favorite super power would probably telekinesis.
Jordan - ..."invisibility". When I asked why she came up with a couple of answers: 1) It would be great to be able to play tricks on your friends!2)New way not to be late for class--if you are invisible you can usually go through walls so you could just slip into class late and appear in your chair!
Sheri - Super powers, eh? I think I would like to be able to shape shift. I have always loved horses and I think it would be so cool to be ale to change into a horse... Just picture it: high mountain meadow, wildflowers spilling over the hills on every side, a bubbling creek running through the middle of it. At the edge of the trees stands a wild horse. Sunlight glistens off her golden hide as she surveys the open space before her. Head up, she tests the gentle breeze that blows gently through her white mane, alert to any danger. Satisfied that she is safe, she steps delicately into the meadow. Thirstily, she dips her muzzle into the stream, blowing and snorting as the cold water tickles her nostrils. Having drank her fill, she nibbles at the succulent blades of grass, a mouthful here, a morsel there. The wind shifts and she raises her head, ears twitching, alert to a hidden danger. With a squeal she wheels away from the creek and gallops swiftly into the safety of the forest, and she is gone...
Hmmmm....That would be me, all right! But I would only want to be a wild horse--no saddles for me!!
I would also want to be able to shift into ANY shape--how cool would THAT be?! Just think, I could literally be that "fly on the wall" everyone always talks about! Or the stapler on the desk--who would suspect a stapler of being able to spy?!! It could be fun!
Whitney - The paranormal trait I would most want to have is telepathy so that I could communicate with my extremely adorable boyfriend all the time and we wouldn't run up minutes on the cell phone bill. Maybe then I could get my cell phone back...
And that, my dear readers, is all of the entries! Dee and I aren't picking the winners, so as soon as the winners are e-mailed to me, I'll post them and arrange for the books to be sent!
Thanks for entering our contest this month, and I cannot wait to see what we have for next month!
Sunday, October 29, 2006
If I have missed anyone, please send me an e-mail to email@example.com or comment on this post by tomorrow, Monday October 30 by Noon and I'll make sure you get added. Thank You again to every one who entered. The judges will be contacted and the three winners will be chosen by them. With so many great books up for grabs, I thought it would be better to get some third parties in!
As for the mini-contest , I only had two entries (see, catchy titles are tough) so BOTH of the entrants will receive a copy (unsigned) of Playing With Fire by Gena Showalter . Lucy and Christina, if you would please send your snail mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org I will get the books ordered and out to you! Thanks for entering!
Stay tuned for the winners on Tuesday!
Saturday, October 28, 2006
What can I say about this book? What can I not say? I bought this book last week when I was in Borders with my daughter. She was looking for another Jennifer Scales book, and I was just looking. I'd noticed an ad for an author signing that day, and was pleasantly surprised to see the author still there. I really enjoy getting the chance to meet authors and hearing what they have to say about their own work. The fact that this was a local author made it even more appealing. Speaking with Ms. Hunsaker was a joy, and her understated enthusiasm for her story convinced me that I should by her book. It's not something that I would have probably picked up on my own, especially with it's price and its length, but it's hard for me to say no to another author. I'm so glad that I bought it!
My initial attraction to the book was its title, Rehearsal, A Different Drummer. If you've ever visited my own webpage, you'll know that I have a fondness for Thoreau. His quote is listed as the very first of "My favorite sayings", even above my favorite Bible verse and my favorite chorus from Van Morrison. How could I not be interested in a book that uses his quote on the dedication page? That alone was worth the price of the book.
The book... I don't even know how to describe it. I guess the BCC does ok though. If you want to read it, click the link. It's not bad, and it doesn't have any glaringly obvious mistakes. However, it doesn't tell you that you may put the book to the side until you are out of historical romances, then pick it up when you realize you have nothing else to read, then spend the next 20 hours (literally) reading, then want to kick yourself for not being intuitive enough to rush home and read it the first day you bought it. Or maybe that's just me.
Susie Brooks is a 19 year old dance teacher, growing up against the backdrop of the American Seventies. She lost her mom as a child. Her mom's friend helped raise her, because her dad was out of town a lot on business travel. Evan Scott grew up in the same house as Susie, and was her built in big brother, best friend, and protector. Five years older, he took care of Susie and knew her in a way that most people can only imagine someone else ever knowing them. Evan and Susie shared the sort of relationship that you've always wanted with your best friend, able to talk about most anything, finish each others thoughts, and usually communicate with only a look. They move away from their tiny town together, taking up residence across the hall from each other in a building inhabited by the rest of Evan's band. Susie wants more from their relationship, but she's afraid that Evan will never see her as more than a surrogate little sister, or his best friend. Evan wants more as well, but is afraid of telling Susie how he feels.
Everything changes when Duncan O'Neil enters the picture. Duncan is a friend of Evan's, as well as being a shockingly sexy guitar player from the UK. He arrives in town to see Evan, and to possibly join their band, Raucous. His incredible talent earns him a spot in the band, and his raw sensuality earns him more than a passing glance from Susie. After being turned down by her a few times, she finally agrees to go out with him. What starts out as two of Evan's friends enjoying time together quickly turns in to something much, much more.
Susie isn't an official part of the band, but she's their biggest fan. She's been with them since Evan joined, and she rarely misses a practice, much less a performance. Playing mainly in local clubs, the band soon gains a small following. When asked to go on the road as the opening act for a much larger band, they accept, and Susie joins them. While on the road, the relationship between Susie and Duncan intensifies. Evan is torn between wanting Susie for himself and seeing how much she is blossoming with Duncan.
Susie's transformation from a shy, scared girl into an independent young woman is a sight to behold. With Duncan's help and encouragement, she learns that it's ok to be herself in front of others, and that she is much stronger than she ever thought she could be.
There were a few things that initially bothered me about this book though.
First of all, it's looooong. I don't mind long when I'm looking at War and Peace, or Gone With The Wind, but it's rather daunting with a new, unknown author. There were times when I wondered why certain things were there, because the book would probably have been just as good without them. However, as I finished first a hundred pages and then more, I realized that the story wouldn't have been quite the same. As long as it was, I really enjoyed most every word.
Second, I wish that the editor had been a little more attentive. As a writer, I know that occasional mistakes happen. However, as a teacher (though only to my six homeschooled children), they still tend to get under my skin. There were times when I was pulled out the story momentarily because a word or phrase didn't make sense, or was left out. This was not a huge thing, but it was a bit distracting for me. You know how I am about editing, so that should say enough.
However, the things that I enjoyed really outshone everything else. The book wasn't billed as a YA, but I will gladly hand it over to my 14yo daughter as soon as she's done reading her current book. I know that she'll love it, even if she's initially intimidated by the size. While there was sensuality and passion, it was not inappropriate for a teenager at all. Also, in keeping with the musical theme, the book was not divided into chapters in the regular way. It was divided more in a journal style with dates, but also included musical references. The beginning, for instance, (or what some might call a prologue, though I am loathe to use the term) was called the Overture. The rest of the story is divided into sections such as the Fugue, Fanfare, Andante, Arpeggio, Crescendo, Dissonance, Counterpoint, and Serenade. Look up the words if you don't know what they mean, but it's enough to say that the sections are pretty well described by them. Also, I got to get inside the head of the characters, and that was refreshing. The story was told in a way that scenes were not repeated from every point of view, but they were described from the main points of view. When Susie was worried that Duncan was pulling away because he didn't care as much, you got to see that Duncan actually didn't want to push things too far, too fast. You felt Evan's struggle to be happy for Susie, even if it was with Duncan. You really got a feel for who the characters were. At times, it was more like reading a diary than a book, and that made it all the more personal.
The back cover says that this is the first of a series of four books. I can honestly say that I hope I don't have to wait too very long to read the next one. The story of Duncan, Susie and Evan is far from over, and I want to know what happens next. Honestly, after over 600 pages, you'd think I'd be sick of these people already, but I'm not. In the style of most great storytellers, Ms. Hunsaker has created a cast of characters that captivated me, had me on the edge of my seat, not even wanting to close my eyes at 4am. Though I am known for not wanting to stop reading in the middle of the story, I can scarcely recall a time that I have become so engrossed in the lives of the characters so totally. I very much look forward to reading the next three stories.
I hope you'll add this book to your to-be-purchased list, and let me know what you think!!
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
I'm The Vampire, That's Why by Michele Bardsley
Does drinking blood make me a bad mother?
Broken Heart is the city with the highest rate of divorce and highest percentage of single parents in Oklahoma. And I, Jessica Matthews, have been a member of that club ever since my husband dumped me for his twentysomething secretary and then had the gall to die in a car accident.
Now I'm not just a single mother trying to make ends meet in this crazy world...I'm also a vampire. One minute I was taking out the garbage; the next I awoke sucking on the thigh of superhot vampire Patrick O'Halloran.
But though my stretch marks have disappeared and my vision has improved, I can't rest until the thing that did this to me is caught. My kids' future is at stake...as is my sex life. Once a vampire does the dirty deed, it hitches her to the object of her affection for at least on hundred years. I just don't know if I'm ready for that kind of commitment...
How would I rate this BCC? Not too bad. It isn't perfect, but then again, this isn't a YA novel, I didn't expect it to be. It's pretty darn close to hitting the nail on the head though. AND, although there are a few points I could argue with, they are all minor, and didn't distract me enough in the actual reading of the book to take offense on. So all in all, I give this BCC passing grades. It does the job of conveying the story within closely, and it also conveys the tone of the book fairly well. Blech, I really want to rip apart a BCC!
Like the BCC suggests, Jessica Matthews is a newly single mother of two. She lives in the small town of Broken Heart, Oklahoma where she spends her days the way most mothers do, cooking, cleaning and taking care of her kids. Jessica is my kind of mother, too. Just enough sass in her to keep me laughing, and all the love in the world for her kids.
When her son forgets (again) to do his only chore of taking out the garbage, Jessica gathers it up to take to the curb. The next thing she knows, she is being attacked by a stinky, hairy stranger and she can literally feel the life leaving her body. It is only the thought of leaving her children parentless that keeps Jessica from giving in completely. None the less, she stills finds herself meeting her end... "For those that know me, meeting my end among muttered curses and spilled refuse was not a great shock. But, shock or not, it was still a crappy way to go."
However, instead of floating away and standing at the Pearly Gates, the next thing Jessica knows, her mouth is latched onto the incredibly muscled thigh of the incredibly good looking (and naked) Patrick. Jessica then finds out that she is now a vampire and the supposed soul mate of Patrick.
But Jessica is not the only victim of Hungry and Hairy, ten other townspeople had been attacked and then saved by being turned into vampires, including the young tart that had had an affair with her husband. And if that isn't enough to deal with, Hungry and Hairy? Yeah, that would be Patrick's twin brother Lorcan.
At a meeting in the school gym, the newly turned town finds out that there is a group of older vampires and other paranormal creatures that make up the Consortium, and they have secretly been buying out the property in Broken Heart, so that they could turn the town into a safe haven for the paranormal. They also find out that there is a group of vampires known as Wraiths, that do not share their views and would like nothing more than to see them destroyed.
There is also a terrible disease called the Taint that is plaguing the vampires, and the Consortium has found a cure and the Wraiths want it. So on top of learning to be a vampire, getting their kids acclimated to a new lifestyle, and finding Lorcan, the new Vampires of Broken Heart have a lot to deal with.
Add to all of the above a jealous vampire Nara, who wants Patrick, to Jessica's troubles and you have an amazingly fast, fun, and touching read. One of my favorite quotes of the book is when Nara starts to get in Jessica's face and Jessica says, "I have faced down bitchy PTA presidents, power-hungry principal's, and Girl Scout leaders with cookie-sale complexes. Nara had no idea who she was dealing with." I'm telling you, Jessica is my kind of girl!
There were moments in this book that had me laughing out loud. There were moments in this book that had me sitting on the edge of my chair. And then there were moments in this book that just made sense - "Life's road often forked at unexpected moments." "...life is about choices. Sometimes you fight, sometimes you flee, but you never surrender." "Life is change. So what if you don't know what's going to happen next week or next century? You only have to live now, right now..." Are those quotes just not absolutely fabulous?
Another thing that I really enjoyed about this book was how Bardsley explained the creation of vampires. In so many paranormal books that involve vampires, you get very little explination of the origins of vamps, and it is rare, when you get an explination that is really creative. Bardsley managed to make the creation of vampirekind (yes, that is a word. My word.) something interesting and imaginitive, but also a tie in to one of the central themes of the book - What would you do to protect your child and keep them with you? I think the answer to that question is without a doubt - Anything in my power.
I think I could go on and on about this book and never do it justice. It really did have it all. A bit of suspense, laughs, insight, oh and HOT, HOT, HOT moments between Jessica and Patrick. I'm telling you right now, make sure you have a fan handy when you read this.
I'm also glad to say, that this is only the first book of the Broken Heart Vampire's. In July of 2007, the next installment will be out, and from the little excerpt at the end of this book, it promises to be every bit as good. So, what are you waiting for, GO GET THIS BOOK!
Monday, October 23, 2006
Jennifer Scales and the Messenger of Light by MaryJanice Davidson and Anthony Alongi
Where would you find weredragons, beaststalkers, and werachnids? You guessed it. MY family reunion...
Getting through high school is hard enough. Then add my weredragon life, with the trips to Crescent Valley to morph into a dragon under the constant threat of enemy attack. What's worse, I'm also half beastalker from my mom's side. Beastalkers and weredragrons are mortal enemies, and tension is growing over some suspicious deaths lately. I must prove to both sides that they can live in harmony, just like my family. Well, most of the time...
And get this: I have a half brother with a few too many legs. Too bad he's bent on some payback for a lifetime of abandonment and my dad is his number-one target. my life's starting to look like a daytime talk show. Somehow I have to convince everyone to get along, before they take matters into their own claws...
I give up. I like this BCC, too. I stand by my assumption (yes, I know what happens when one assumes, in fact, I'm counting on it, I need fodder people!) that publishers of YA novels feel that tricking young readers would be far too detrimental for sales.
After reading Ancient Furnace I had very high expectations for this book, and am pleased to announce - all expectations were met and exceeded. The writing was stronger than ever in this installment, the plot had so many twists and turns, that I could not wait to see how everything would unfold. Yet, I found myself wanting to read slower, to savor the words and to live in the world they created for just a while longer.
Jennifer Scales is looking on her 15th birthday in awe of the turns her life has taken the last year. She had discovered she is not only a weredragon, but The Ancient Furnace, a legend of her people that believe the furnace encompasses the source of their power. She has also discovered that she is half-Beaststalker on her mother's side. Not only must Jennifer master her dragon skills, she must also master the skills of the Beaststalkers - the skills to kill other weredragons and werachnids.
And as the BCC suggests, deaths start to take place and they all seem to have one thing in common - her family. Tired of the secrets that make up her life, Jennifer rebels by bringing a "younger" weredragon with her to the sacred Cresent Valley, and ends up reveling her Beastalker half to the rest of her peers, when that friend finds herself in danger. As you can guess, the other weredragons do not take too kindly to finding out that a Beaststalker is among them. Jennifer must prove herself worthy to the weredragons by undergoing the Fifty Trials.
I want so badly to tell you all about this book, unfortunately, there is no way to do that without completely filling the review with spoilers. There were two particular things I liked about this book. One - Hope. Having hope for a better future - a future where all kinds (even mortal enemies) can live in peace, was a BIG theme in this book. With everything going on in today's world, I think Hope is something we could all use a little of. The other was the fact that Jennifer was dealing with secrets, HUGE, life altering secrets, and she realized that it was hurting her more to keep them, than to share them with her friends. That is a tough lesson in life to learn, when to keep the burden on your own shoulders and when to share the load. Exceptionally done!
I want to share some bits of the book right now, the following is a group of quotes from the book that I think the publisher could have used for the BCC. I know, I liked this BCC, but when Jennifer comes clean of her secrets to her best friend sums up beautifully the essence of the book. "....So I'm part beaststalker, too........Also, um, funny thing, ...a half brother. Kind of a half-dragon, half-spider thing...Yeah. Um, one last thing. The half brother's from a completely different dimension...and he wants to kill everyone close to my dad. Including me..." I've obviously pieced together a few different sentences up there, but I didn't want to spoil some of the events in the book up to this point. But as you can see, Jennifer is up against some very difficult things in this book.
"I will enjoy hunting you tonight. What is it you beaststalkers like to say? "Ready yourself, or ready your soul." Sister. "
That's another one of my very favorite parts. This is where Jennifer finally faces off against her half sibling and the tension the author's write into the scenes is amazing. As I've said before, the writing in this book was so very strong. We get insights into the past and see them fused with the present. Phenomenal.
The book wasn't all suspense and secrets though. There were several times I laughed out loud and felt my heart touched by the people and circumstances in Jennifer's life. There was also a point in the book when I cried. I love a book that can do that to me. Touch me in all the right emotional places, and Messenger did that.
Jennifer has a rough task set out for her at the end of Messenger and I cannot wait until June to get my hands on the next installment (hint hint MJ and T, *cough* ARC *cough*). I will leave you with some sage advice given throughout the book, the last, coming from Jennifer's mom.
"...mark my words: Boys are sad..."
Go get this book! You will not be sorry you did. And don't forget to enter this months contest, you have until the 29th. Just leave us a comment or send us an e-mail, to email@example.com telling us what paranormal trait or super-power you would most want to have and why. You could WIN these books! Also, don't forget the mini-contest and give me a snappy title to this post!
Saturday, October 21, 2006
braced2bite by Serena Robar
Meet Colby Blanchard-cheerleader, fashionista, Daddy's little princess, bloodthirsty vampire...
I had it all. I was the popular cheerleader with the looks, the grade, and guys falling all over me Aidan Reynolds was destined to be my date for Homecoming, and I had the crown in the bag. Now wait, before you start hating me...
Things are going bad, way bad, Like, I'm turning into a vampire bad. Yellow eyes and pasty skin are not the hot look right now. And let's just say it's a good thing my dad happens to be an orthodontist, since he's had to fit me with special headgear to feed: My canines were taken out long ago so I could have this perfect smile. It makes it even harder to fit in with my new partners in blood sucking, especially because I'm only half vampire...
Can things get worse?
In two words: Uh, yeah! Now I have to defend my eternal life in front of a Vampire Council that doesn't see the point in a half vampire roaming the earth. Not to mention snag a date for Homecoming, get a college scholarship, and not fall fangs over heels for Thomas, the hottie Vampire Investigator who's trying to track down my attacker. I just can't give my heart to someone who secretly wants to run a stake through it. I have to protect myself from mortals and vampires. It's not just my life on the line here-it's my reputation...
It must just be a YA thing, because I have no beefs with this BCC either. My guess is, publishers think that younger readers will be less forgiving of the, ah, embellishments that they sometimes use to lure avid readers into buying books. Whatever the reason, this BCC was well written, it captures the tone well and describes the story even better.
Colby Blanchard has it all going for. At 16 she is Captain of the Cheerleading Squad, a star student taking AP classes, looks, friends, and her future well planned out. Sure there is some creepy attacker on the loose knocking girls down and scaring them, and sure they all seem to fit her description, but that sort of thing doesn't happen to girls like her. At least, that's what she thinks. Then one night after being stood up by her future Homecoming date, Colby walks home in shame, only to be surprised a short distance from her house by him.
When Colby wakes up by a ravine she walks home hoping that she can sneak in unnoticed by her parents. Imagine her surprise when she finds out TWO days had passed. Imagine her families surprise when she now has yellow eyes and powder white skin! Thank goodness Aunt Chloe is with them, because she seems to be the only one that knows what Colby has become. A vampire?!!
"...we are a family and what affects you, affects all of us. We stick together. That is what family does." I've mentioned before that one of the daunting tasks a YA author faces is adding in a few life lessons without seeming preachy, and Robar managed this task beautifully, as you can see by that quote. Shortly after Colby learns she is newly Undead, her family bands together to help make her transformation as easy as possible. Her mother helps her research vampires, her aunt tells her of her real life-experience with the Undead, and her dad makes her... "A fang headgear set. As if life wasn't hard enough for me, now I would be the laughingstock of vampires everywhere."
But even the love and understanding of her family offers little help when Colby is visited by two Investigators from The Tribunal Group. Thomas and Carl show up on Colby's door, both looking far better than any vampire has the right to, and begin to question Colby of the circumstances that lead to her being turned into one of the Undead. They serve Colby with an official summons to appear in front of the Vampire Tribunal. Suddenly, newly Undead Colby will have to defend her right to exist to a bunch of ancient Vampires. As if college interviews and Homecoming weren't enough to deal with.
Thomas has decided to help Colby with her defense, but can she really trust this hunk of a vampire, when his job very well may be to kill her? Or can she trust the maniac vampire "Chuck" who is responsible for her transformation?
I cannot express to you how much I enjoyed this book. Picture a cross between Legally Blonde and The Undead Series and you have the highly enjoyable Braced. Robar's next book Fangs 4 Freaks will be a continuation of Colby's adventures and will be available November 7th, and I for one cannot wait to get it. I have an appointment with an oral surgeon that day, so I can't think of anything more fitting to read.
Friday, October 20, 2006
And why am I reviewing another Michelle Cunnah book, when the last review I did was also a Michelle Cunnah book? Well, I'll tell ya - because I can't get enough of her stuff. Since meeting her in Jersey, I just have the teeniest lil' fan girl crush on her, ok? The fact that she writes books that I just suck up like a Venti Mocha Chip Frappucino is an extra bonus.
I'm not going to talk about the BCC, for two reasons. First, that's Cherry Tea's thing, and the fact that she now has me reading the damn things is pretty funny. Second, she's right, they're hardly ever accurate. However, I can't fault the author for this, because they very rarely write their own BCC. So I'm not even going to mention that the BCC for this book does not do it justice. Again, if you read this BCC and you think, "Uh-huh. No way. Too light for me" then you are missing out.
Emmeline (Emma) Taylor has some definite ideas about what she wants for her 30th birthday. She wants a promotion at work, and she wants her live-in boyfriend (who also happens to be her boss) to propose. Instead, her promotion goes to someone else and her boyfriend goes out of town with someone else. She's left with an interesting collection of birthday gifts from her equally interesting collection of friends.
Emma tries to get over both of her disappointments, while also dealing with having to find a place to live, being a sympathetic ear to most of her friends, and coming to terms with her lack of, umm, well, cleavage. Being the 32AA daughter of a famous Manhattan plastic surgeon isn't always fun, especially when people can be so mean. Reading this, I have a brand new respect for people that are not so well-endowed. I never really thought about what it would be like to be not-so-well-endowed, but what Emma deals with is quite eye-opening. People actually make comments to her about her breast size. Can you imagine?
One of the things that I appreciated about Emma was that she was constantly battling her weight, by trying to gain more. Yes, I said gain. She's thin, and she thinks she should gain a few pounds. However, instead of just spooning in the Ben&Jerry's, she heads to the gym. It was actually refreshing to see a character make a plan to change something that she didn't like, a plan that did NOT include a visit to a surgeon, and stick to that plan. When she notices her newly toned arms, I actually cheer for her. Also, Emma is ok with her looks, regardless of her small bra size. She buys clothes that show off what she has, and she appreciates the way she looks in those clothes. It's nice that when she walks out the door of her place, she generally thinks "This is a good look for me", because she knows what works for her, yet she doesn't seem vain at all. I can't tell you how much I really, really, liked this.
This book was so much more than Donna Karan suits, Manolo Blahnik's, and Dolce & Gabbana bags. It delved into friendship, and why we pick the people that are our friends. It explored how society's expectations of physical beauty can be difficult to overcome. It tackled how hard it is to trust someone after you've been hurt. Though it's billed as chick-lit (and you know that I know that there is not a thing wrong with 'chick-lit'), really, it's so much more.
When I turned that last page, all I could think was "Damn. It's over already?" But in a good way. It was an enjoyable, fulfilling read. I laughed, I re-examined, I sniffled, and again, I remembered Michelle Cunnah sitting on a bench outside a hotel in Jersey. And if I could go back to that weekend when I met Michelle and do one thing, I'd hand her a t-shirt that said "I wrote a FABULOUS book, with a bra on the cover", ask her to put the t-shirt on, then I'd tell her "That's a really great look for you".
Because I know it would be.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Playing With Fire by Gena Showalter
EARTH, WIND & FIRE aren't just a band anymore...
Used to be my greatest achievement was holding a job more than three days. Now suddenly I can shoot fireballs, chill your drink or blow-dry your hair at fifty paces with a blink of my eye!
It all started when this crazy scientist dropped something in my Grande Mocha Latte. Of course I got wicked sick. Next morning I'm waking up with this total hottie bending over me. He tells 1) his name is Rome Masters, 2) he's a government agent and 3) I can control the four elements with a thought.
He seems even less pleased by my (apparently irreversible) transformation than I am... Because now he'll have to kill me.
I'm really starting to get ticked, once again, I have no real beefs with this BCC. I KNOW! I cannot believe it either. I mean, really, if I can't dump all over it, what good will my reviews be? There is but one, albeit measly, point I could complain about, so I will. When she wakes up, he doesn't tell her his name is Rome Masters. He tells her only Rome, she learns the last name later on. I TOLD you it was measly, but come on, I'm itching to not like a BCC! It's my thing, what can I say?
I knew I was going to like this book when I opened it up and read the Dear Reader letter at the beginning. It actually made me giggle, and the book hadn't even started yet. Then, we get a look at Belle Jamison's resume right before Chapter One, and I was really ready for the story. Interesting reading, folks. And unfortunately, since the job I just talked about landing lasted only 2 weeks, I could sympathize with Belle from the get-go.
Belle Jamison has floated from dead end job to dead end job and she is getting mighty tired of it. She's ready for a little excitement in her life, but as the sole person responsible for her fathers health care she has little choice in the matter. Then, one incredibly bad day, the choice is made for her. As she takes a break from serving Richie Richersons coffee, Belle notices a man running for his life out of the building across the street. Storming into Belle's place of employment, he pleads with her for help as the people pursuing him run towards them. Frantic, the man hides, but not before he slips something into Belle's drink.
The next thing she knows, Belle is blowing a job interview (and I have to tell you, the way she relives this interview is hysterical) and sicker than a dog. And just as the BCC says, when Belle next wakes, she finds out that she now has the power over the 4 elements. She also finds out, that the gorgeous man in her room is there to neutralize her, and there are other people (very, very, bad people), out to get her so they can control her and use her newfound powers for evil.
Thrown into a paranormal world that she could have happily lived her life not knowing of, Belle must decide who to trust. With a little help from Tanner, a horny (and oh, so lovable character) Belle and Rome embark on a wild chase trying to get the formula from the crazy Dr. that slipped it to her before the bad guys do. Only problem, as time goes on, Belle isn't so sure her life is the most important thing on the line anymore. If things keep going the way they are, it just may be her heart at risk.
The story is told in First Person, and written so well, it actually felt like Belle Jamison and I were sitting down in our pajamas, having a little girl talk. There were also a few scenes in there where I thought Belle was in my house emitting flames, HOT, I tell ya!
When I started to read this book, I got out my little notepad and pen (just like always) to make note of certain lines or paragraphs that pop out at me, when I sat down to do this review, I saw I had made note of over 30 quotes and or pages, that had me laughing. No way could I put them all here, so I won't even try (do I hear, "cop out much?"). You'll just have to get the book for yourself (entering this contest would be a good way, hint, hint.)
In the end, I loved this book and cannot wait to get my hands on more of Ms. Showalter's work. I have to agree with Angela though, I wasn't too fond of the monicker Wonder Girl. My favorite of the ones they tried out was Homicidal Tendencies Wench, but that's just me.
So, don't forget to enter this months main contest by leaving me a comment or dropping an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with what superpower you would like to have and why, and also don't forget you could win a new copy of this book by giving this review a catchy title.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Jennifer Scales and the Ancient Furnace by MaryJanice Davidson and Anthony Alongi
AND YOU THOUGHT PUBERTY SUCKED. TRY MORPHING INTO A DRAGON.
I knew that at this age I'd be going through a lot of changes - but blue scales? Claws? A snout? Come on! This is ridiculous and just so unfair. And I can't believe my parents waited until the day I nearly turned into a dragon to tell me that I am one - thanks to my dad's side of the family. Believe me, no amount of dieting can stop how big I grow when I turn dragon - and don't get me started on the tail!
This dragon thing is going to happen every crescent moon. Can I be any more of a freak? At least I have my grandfather to show me how to get by as a were-dragon. It's not easy. And I can't even tell my best friends because there are ancient enemies who want to destroy all dragons. As if my parents, school, and the soccer team weren't enough to deal with. Looks like it's up to me to protect the few fellow dragons that are still left or I won't see my next birthday. Forget about blowing out those candles. With this breath, I'll set the whole town on fire...
I'm a bit loathe to admit (and please, my lovelies, try not to have a heartattack about this) - that I can find absolutely NOTHING wrong with this BCC. It does what it is supposed to do, gives a good idea of the story and conveys well the attitude of the main character, while sucking me in and making me want to read the story within it's borders.
From the moment I started reading this book, I was hooked. Jennifer Scales is your average 14 year old. She argues with her parents, she is the star athlete on her school's soccer team, and she has best friends. All of that begins to change (okay, except for the arguing with her parents part, I mean, I know this is paranormal and all, but even for fiction that would be stretching things) the day of the Community Junior League Soccer Championship.
Jennifer's team, The Winoka Falcons, are in sudden death overtime against the Northwater Shooting Stars, and Jennifer wants the win. With time running out, Jennifer sees her shot and makes a FANTASTIC goal. So, why are her friends staring at her as if she just grew a second head?
It isn't long after that fateful game that Jennifer learns that she is a weredragon and every crescent moon she will change shapes. Jennifer isn't just a normal weredragon, however. She first transforms about two years earlier than most and she is a cross breed between the three dragon types (creeper, dasher, and trampler). Can you say "Freak, Much?"
But Jennifer needs to get over herself and but fast. The weredragons are a hated species with many enemies. There are Beastalkers and werachnids that would love to see them exterminated and soon begin to launch their first attack.
I just cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book. There are reasons MJD is one of my favorite authors. Her ability to make the characters of her books believable is just one, and working with husband Anthony Alongi , has only strengthened this ability. Jennifer Scales is written with such true to life teenage angst, that I could actually remember what it was like to be 14 again, if only for a while. "In other words, this is a big vaudeville show, I'm your puppet, and you're both annoyed that I'm not moving and talking the way I'm supposed to with an arm jammed up my wooden butt!" Oh, if I was only as snarky as Jennifer, when I was 14!
I do not envy YA authors the task of writing a book for a younger market. The books not only need to entertain, but have some deeper meaning of life in them without being preachy. This fantastic duo delivered the goods. For instance, there is a part when Jennifer confides in one of her new friends and admits that she wasn't sure what she was going through was important, her friend tells her, "Listen Jennifer, if it's important to you, it's important." Or the time when Jennifer and her mother are trying to figure out who the bad guys are and her mother says, "Good and evil are not always so clear cut, dear...." I think that is one thing the younger generation should always know. And lastly, my favorite quote of the book, is when Jennifer confronts her mother about avoiding conflict and her mother replies, "I'm a doctor, honey. I heal. I see the results of conflict every day - school bullies who provoke my daughter, family members who hurt each other, and complete strangers who go at each other's throats because they're just a tiny bit different. No, I am not a big fan of conflict. I prefer discussion, and open minds." I hope, that as people read this book, they too realize that they prefer discussion and open minds.
I have already made this review longer than most, and I find that I could go on and on. I'll end it with saying, I have already ordered the second book of the series, Jennifer Scales and the Messenger of Light and two copies of The Ancient Furnace for other people (I am not lending my copy out). The minute you get a chance, you need to pick up this book, it is amazing!
And now, CONTEST DETAILS!!!!!
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be reviewing various paranormal books. All you have to do to enter the contest is COMMENT on one of the posts (make sure you comment on the PARANORMAL posts) and tell what paranormal creature or superpower would you want if given the chance. If you have trouble with the comment section, you can e-mail us at email@example.com with your entry. On October 29th, I will post all of the entries in one post and bring the judges in. The winners will be announced on October 31st. Happy Halloween!!!
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
I want that picture to be bigger. I want it to be HUGE so you can see it, and it burns into your memory, and the next time you are in the bookstore, you will spot it out of the corner of your eye, and you will be drawn to it, you will pick it up, and you will BUY THIS BOOK. Yeah, how's that for a review, huh?
Ok, on a serious note, here's the deal. I am a huge fan of the Literary Chicks website. I found the LC because most of them (if not all, by now) are Cherries. I see a few of them post over on JCF sometimes, and I decided to check them out. My main interest was Alesia Holliday, because she is always so kind over on JCF. Then there's that Lani Diane Rich, who just makes me LMAO on a regular basis. Well, I headed over to the LC back in early spring, and dicovered that Beth Kendrick, of "My Favorite Mistake", is also part of the gang. Fast forward a few months, and I'm hooked on Whitney Gaskell and Eileen Rendahl as well. Most surprising to me though, is that I'm just gobsmacked by Michelle Cunnah. She's like a little English ray o' sunshine to light my dreary mornings, and I really look forward to reading her posts. This weekend, I had the perfect FGSF at the NJRW Conference. I got to meet, among other beautiful and famous people, MICHELLE CUNNAH. I will not bore you with all of the details, because you can read them all here. Suffice it to say, she's more amazing in person than she seems on the LC, and it was totally fantabulous getting to chat with her.
OK, first, I have to tell you that I did not like either the BCC or the title, after reading this book. To me, they seem to indicate that our heroine, Rosie, is flighty, indecisive, and just a tad on the immature side. So, if you've been holding off on this book because it sounds really chick-litty, light, or fluffy, set aside your fears. It's nothing like it sounds on the BCC.
On the personal front, Rosie has a boyfriend named Jonathon. He's trying to get a promotion at work, so he asks Rosie to attend a Christmas fundraiser. Jonathon has a Horrible Boss that insists on invading Rosie's personal space. When Rosie takes a drastic step to keep Horrible Boss from an unwanted liplock, interesting things happen. Those interesting things include watching her boyfriend go to the aid of Horrible Boss instead of her, and leaving the party with Dr. Love, a sexy stranger that literally whisks her off of her hurting feet and takes her away for coffee. Thus begins Rosie's tale of life and love in London.
On the work front, Rosie co-owns a company called Odd Jobs, where their mission is to find the right job for the right person. Their clients range from dames that want 24 hour catsitting, to clubs looking for drag queen reviews, with condom testers thrown into the mix (don't ask, just read!).
On the homefront, Rosie is dealing with a lot of crap, including her fairly crazy mum, her nympho octagenarian grandmother, and a lot of garden gnomes. Throw in a group of wacky friends, a psychotic cousin, and a horse named Candy, and you're in for a wild ride.
Rosie's tale delighted me. It was a strange cross between a Crusie and a Kinsella, and oh my friends, you know I love them both. So of course, Rosie was just my kind of chick!
If there was a single thing that I disliked about this book, it was that I never could figure out just why Rosie's cousin Elaine was so nasty. It was never really explained, and that bothered me a bit. But then again, maybe that's because I'm always so starry-eyed, and searching for the good in everyone. If someone is bad, then I think there just simply must be a reason for it, and with a reason, I can understand their very badness, and almost forgive them. Well, there is no explanation in this book, at least that I can remember, and that left me feeling a bit blue. Perhaps, Michelle Cunnah is hinting that some people are just plain old nasty, for no other reason than that is how they are. I don't like this at all, but I am forced to admit that she's probably right. That's my only gripe, and it isn't all that big.
What did I love about this book? It was pretty fast paced, it read well, it made sense, things flowed, I loved the characters, I loved the dialogue, I was invested in the outcome. The final scene had me literally sitting on the edge of my chair on my front porch, doing what I was doing the first time I met Michelle, holding my breath, and telling my kids to give me "just 3 more minutes, can't you see I'm almost done?". When I closed the book, I could almost hear the beginning strains of "Sweet Mystery of Life, at Last I've Found You" starting in the background.
You hit this one right out of the park, Michelle. And you created a FanGirl while doing it!
Before I start today's review, I need to make a few proclamations. Proclamation #1 - Serena Robar and Gena Showalter are pretty (understatement. check out those pics) proclamation #2 - Mary Janice Davidson and Anthony Alongi are the cutest married couple ever to pen prose. Proclamation #3 - All of the above authors have graciously donated signed books for this months contest (details to follow by the end of the week). I'm so pumped about this, I cannot mention it enough!!! Okay, on with the review.
Murphy's Law by Lori Foster
(Back Cover Copy)
ANYTHING THAT CAN GO WRONG........ Nothing is going to go wrong. Ashley Miles has worked too hard for her independence to let some Bentley-driving hunk named Quinton Murphy interfere with her plans - or her freedom. Yes, the chemistry is phenomenal. Kind of scary, actually. But that's it. NO emotional commitment.
.......WILL But he's so wonderful - a woman could fall in love... How did that happen? That wasn't part of the plan! Bust can she trust him? Really trust him? Them an is just so mysterious. There's only one solution: put it all on the line and see what Quinton does when she tells him how she feels. And hope everything that can go wrong...won't...
By far, the absolutely worst BCC I have ever read. Not because of the job it does describing the content of the book (the person that wrote that seems to have possibly read the book) but because of the way they chose to word it. This is not a YA novel (which I am quite fond of, this months contest shows that) but the wording of this BCC seems like it would be more at home on a teenage style book rather than a woman's Romance novel. I do not envy BCC writers their job. It must be very hard trying to summarize a novel in such a short amount of words and make it seem readable. Plus, they have to deal with people like me, who constantly find their attempts lacking. Does not sound like my idea of a fun way to earn a living.
Before I continue talking about the book, let me say, that in all honesty I cannot say this review will not be another FGSF , but I cannot, in all honesty say, that it will be. You see, normally for me to put a book or author in the FGSF category, I have to have read more than two of their books, and I have only read one other of Foster's books. BUT, I loved it very much, and bought this book the day it was released, so maybe I could call this a mini-FGSF.
I was first introduced to Foster's work with her book Jude's Law , which is also where I was introduced to the characters of this book - Ashley Miles and Quinton Murphy. I enjoyed Jude's Law immensely, and it left me wanting to know more about Ashley and her HEA. Thank goodness Foster had exactly that in mind.
Ashley Miles is the type of woman I admire and the type of woman I would love to have as my friend. Raised in a home where her parents were selfish and negligent, Ashley found friendship in the form of May, her best friend and, in her view, savior of her self worth. Ashley fought against serious odds to become an independent woman, one who takes care of herself and values that very much. She works hard to have what little she does. Working three jobs, Ashley also finds time to go to school and keep her eyes firmly planted on the prize. The prize being money in the bank, a job she loves, and a home she can call her own. Ashley has no desire to find a man, because a man could be very dangerous to her fulfilling her dreams.
But then comes along Quinton Murphy. The exact opposite of Ashley, he was raised by parents that loved him, doted on him, and when they died, left him very well off. Quinton is the CEO of his own company, who's office just happens to be in a building Ashley cleans as one of her jobs. Quiton is stricken with an unfamiliar feeling when he meets Ashley and he wants very much to get to know her better. But Ashley keeps her distance, she knows just how destructive a man could be.
When an old enemy resurfaces, Ashley finds herself in danger and, for once in her life, she finds she has more than May to rely on. Quinton is there, and wants to make sure she is safe. Somewhere along the way, Ashley and Quiton fall in love.
This book, was just what I needed. I was in need of a fast and FUN read and Foster delivered. Although I mention danger, and they do incorporate it, it plays a very minor role in this book. Murphy's Law is definitely more character driven than plot (and those characters did some very predictable Romance book plot things), but it is just what the Doctor ordered to calm my nerves.
If you find yourself wanting to read an entertaining book that will make you smile and warm your heart, Murphy's Law is the book for you. I recommend reading Jude's Law first, though not necessary it will be helpful. Plus, both books are a great way to spend some quality reading time.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
If you would kindly send your snail mail addy via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com , with your preference of bookseller, we will get the gift card sent to you.
And, just want to give a quick heads-up (teaser) about our October Contest. I have been in contact with the authors of the YA Paranormal Blog and so far, I have Serena Robar on board to give away a signed copy of one of her books, and I also have Mary Janice Davidson and Anthony Alongi on board to give away signed copies of BOTH of their Jennifer Scales books that are out on the market!!!!
I am so excited about the contest, and details will follow in about a week. I don't have all the details worked out, and I am still waiting to hear from 3 more of the authors, but the contest will have something to do with Halloween. I mean, COME ON, YA Paranormal and Halloween just BEG to go together!!!
Once again, Congratulations Bunny!!!!!!!
Monday, October 02, 2006
Note from Charity: The following review is from our August contest winner, Rebecca. I think she not only did a fabulous job with her entry, but with the review as well. R.L. LaFevers is the featured author over on the Cherry Forums this month, so we're kicking it off here with another review of her latest Werewolf Rising. If I can talk Michael, who has also reviewed this book for us, Rebecca into it, I would like to do an interview with them about the other LaFevers books. So, hop on over to the Forums and ask LaFevers everything you ever wanted to know! And now, the review......
Hello blog readers! This is Rebecca, the winner of the contest you may have read about in earlier entries. After winning the contest, I was flattered when Charity invited me to write a review of the very book I won, Werewolf Rising by Robin LaFevers. I’d like to say thank you for that. I’ve never written a real book review before so I don’t really expect this to be as good as Dee’s and Charity’s but I hope you readers aren’t too disappointed. On to the book review!
I know you’ve read this in many of the other book reviews, but I must say it here too, this book’s back-cover blurb doesn’t do it justice. It stresses some plot points that play not-so important roles and doesn’t stress enough on some significant points. The one part I absolutely agree with is, “This fast paced adventure is full of supernatural magic and action that will sweep you into a world you never want to leave.” I do love the world Robin has created. It’s believable and doubly enveloping. It’s well filled in but still left me wishing for more knowledge about the werewolf society. Robin, if you’re reading this, WRITE A SEQUEL! Werewolf Rising left me wishing for one very very badly, to put it lightly.
I love the character portrayal of Luc in the story. Robin made a believable teenage character-- that really helped make an engrossing story and I completely identified with him even though I’m a girl and it might seem like this book is directed towards boys.
I think adults can enjoy this book as well as kids. It’s just a delightful story in a beautifully constructed world. I really can’t wait for Robin to write more books like Werewolf Rising.I’m really not all that great at writing reviews so I’ve run out of things to say. Just go buy a copy of the book and see how good it is for yourself.
Well done Rebecca. And I love how you included the comments on the BCC (as you know, my favorite part of a book ;))