Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Secrets by Jude Deveraux

When Cassandra Madden was twelve years old, she fell in love with Jefferson Ames, a young man she met at one of her mother's business conferences. She was a lonely child, with a cold mother, and holding onto her love for Jeff helped her cope with her isolated life.

When she grew up, she went to college and even met a man she thought she'd marry, but Jeff was still in her head. She broke off her near engagement and went to Williamsburg, Virginia, where she secretly got herself a job as a nanny to the widowed Jeff's young child.

Even though Cassie was living in Jeff's house, seeing him every day, she still couldn't seem to get his attention. But then, one day, she heard shots coming from the mansion of Althea Fairmont, a woman the world called “the greatest living actress.” Cassie ran to investigate and in an instant, her safe little life was turned upside down. She began to learn that all the people around her weren't who they claimed to be. Everyone had secrets, and until Cassie unraveled those secrets, there was no chance for happiness between her and Jeff.

I'm usually a hit or miss Jude Deveraux fan. Some of her heroines start off so damaged that it's hard for me to identify with them or root for the romance. In spite of that I do have a few favorites, but this one is not going to be joining them. I picked it up at the library book sale where it was $5/bag because even if the plot didn't sound fantastic I was essentially paying nothing for the book.

And I had such hope for it too! It started off well with a so-so back description that turned into an engaging first half of the books. I liked Cassie, Jeff wasn't a total doofus, and it looked like it was going to have just a bit of intrigue due to Jeff's CIA job; in fact, looking back at it now, I think it reminded me a bit of a Diana Palmer book.

But then it happened.

This hugely complicated plot thread turned into a thing that not only overshadowed the romance, it overshadowed everything! I didn't care enough about this random historical murder (or why Jeff was drawn into it) to understand why all of these people were brought together for this one weekend to reenact one particular scene. And I didn't like the fact that when Cassie gets frustrated by Jeff's blindness that she goes and starts working out and then curves that she's been so proud of the entire book are changed! Either way, it had potential, but I just didn't see that potential come to fruition. Oh well.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs down. It started out so well but the complicated and unnecessary side plot just killed it for me.

Series - None

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays (6/29)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
*
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"The definition of what is normal may shift but not the pressure to fit the definition."


--pg 142, Obsidian Prey by Jayne Castle

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dark Melody by Christine Feehan

Lead guitarist of the Dark Troubadours, Dayan was renowned for his mesmerizing performances. His melodies stilled crowds, beckoned, seduced, tempted. And always, he called to her. His lover. His lifemate. He called to her to complete him. To give him the emotions that had faded from his existence, leaving him an empty shell of growing darkness. Save me. Come to me.

Corinne Wentworth stood at the vortex of a gathering storm. Pursued by the same fanatics who'd murdered her husband, she was risking her life by keeping more than one secret. Fragile, delicate, vulnerable, she had an indomitable faith that made her fiery surrender to Dayan all the more powerful. This was the one woman whose loss would destroy him, even as her love promised to heal his soul.

Dark Melody is one of my favorites in Feehan's
Dark Series because of the uniqueness of her heroine and the way she conveys the emotions that Corrinne and Dayan experience coming together. It's #12 in the series (a series that's at 20 and counting) so it shouldn't surprise anyone if I say that there was a time when I was a little worried about where Feehan was going with this series (it was getting a little formulaic). Don't get me wrong, I love the 'brooding man looking for his light' plotline as much as the next paranormal junkie, but I was feeling like if I'd read one book I might as well have read them all.

Luckily that wasn't the case!

Feehan got her second wind and while still publishing books at the same fast pace, I felt like the characters were more unique and memorable as individuals - which is fantastic! I love how she comes back around to men we've already met while at the same time introducing us to women who are good for them. She rarely missteps when combining 'destined soul mate' with 'woman who has her own opinions and isn't going to let bygones be bygones'.

Definitely start from the beginning with these books, you're going to be confused as HELL if you don't, but go pick up this series! Paranormal romance wouldn't be the powerhouse it is today without Christine Feehan.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up! I love this series, and while it's had some ups and downs in terms of originality, this is where it starts picking up again and it makes you cheer once more for the Carpathians!

Series - .....15) Dark Secret 16) Dark Demon 17) Dark Celebration 18) Dark Possession 19) Dark Curse 20) Dark Slayer

Musing Mondays (6/28)

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about hyped books.

What do you think of books that receive a lot of hype? (think of the “Twilight” saga, or “Harry Potter”, or “The Da Vinci Code”). Do you read them? Why, or why not?

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your opinion in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog).
Thanks!

**MUSING MONDAYS is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading

When certain books get way more than necessary hype about how good it is, I actually get less excited about reading it. I've found that whenever something gets to a particular level of out of control 'greatness' it usual ends up that the thing in question is of average quality - if it's good at all. Take for example Twilight - this book got tons of hype, which made me hesitant to read it, and when I did get around to it I found it to be average/below average in quality! I even love this genre and couldn't find it any more palatable than that.

I'd just prefer for a book to have a good amount of publicity without being splashed everywhere possible. It creates unrealistic expectations and for someone like me prefers to make her own (but still informed choices) I think some of this money could have been better spent creating a more eye-catching cover.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Consent to the Cowboy by Abby Wood (ARC Review)

Surrounded by beer-swilling, skirt-chasing cowboys her whole life, barmaid Daphne Norris has no intention of ever settling for any of the men in her Podunk hometown. So when bronc rider Will Hanson sends shock waves to her core with just one glance from his striking green eyes, no one is more surprised than her.

But Will is no ordinary cowboy, and he can see that Daphne is no ordinary small-town girl. He can sense in Daphne the quiet strength and devotion needed to satisfy a man like him, a man who needs to be on top, in every aspect of his life.

Daphne hasn’t ever succumbed to her submissive desires before, and Will awakens her in ways she never imagined. While she’s not prepared to give him her heart, she agrees to Will’s offer of three days of intense pleasure, and then she’s walking. But Daphne falls hard and fast, and now she has a decision: return to a normal life, or give up everything for Will…

*I requested a copy of this title to review through netGalley*

I think what sticks out about this particular erotica that is a story depicting a lifestyle choice of two people who have been very hurt in the past. Will and Daphne are emotionally scarred characters and within each other they find the pieces they need to be complete. Wood does a very good job at writing a BDSM erotica that while has a lot of explicit, sexy scenes, takes the additional step to illuminate what makes the characters tick. By the end of this ebook I felt I knew why Will functioned and felt best in a dominance/submissive relationship - and the same goes for Daphne. I'll often read a book that depicts the more recreational activities of couples that might experiment in a little spanking, but rarely do I feel like I really get the chance to understand, from each character's point of view, why they like what they like.

The one criticism I have for this particular title is that I feel like Wood reached a bit with some other plot points, I assume to stretch her erotica a little farther with some suspense. There just wasn't enough time and energy spent on Will's father and his efforts to block Will's business deals to make me feel like a needed part of the story. It was just there and gone, and ultimately I think the ebook would have been better without it.

I definitely recommend this to those who like erotica featuring BDSM lifestyles, but prepare yourself for some adventurous sex- there's a particular scene in a club (that includes bringing in some other players) that springs to mind....

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. It's not quite my cup of tea, but it's very well written and the reader gets a great look at the mentality of both Will and Daphne.

Series - None

Sing-a-Long Fridays (6/25)

Sing-a-Long Fridays is hosted by Dana at Reading Amidst the Chaos.

All you need to do is pick a song from one of your favorite shows, movies, or artists and post it on your blog or comment with the link below so that other people can karaoke away! It's a great way to share the excitement of another Friday and an even better way to get the party started for the weekend!

It's time for a classic! No self-respecting sing-a-long meme would be complete without something from The Little Mermaid - and it would be sad if one of the best wasn't mentioned: 'Under the Sea'. With Sebastian and his wonderful Caribbean voice and the full band that makes an appearance to accompany him, this song is tremendously fun to sing along to. I can pretty much guarantee that a good amount of booty shaking will happen as you listen to this and no one's going to complain if it shows up on your playlist.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thirsty Thursday (6/24)

Thirsty Thursdays is hosted by Dana at Reading Amidst the Chaos and anyone can join in!

To share in the debauchery just think of one of your favorite alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages and say why you love it and how to make it! You can link to your own blog or leave a comment below with your choice, but please include the mixology of whatever it is so that other people can give it a try!

To try and beat the heat this week, why don't you whip up your very own Godiva Chocolate Martini? I had one of
these for the first time a few months ago, but with the 93 degree heat that's enveloping DC I'm inspired to try and make it myself. I'm not sure if the one I had was exactly this same recipe, I think it might have been a restaurant specialty, but it doesn't really matter now does it? It just shows to show you that this treat can be made a multitude of ways and each one will be delicious. And varying degrees of alcoholic ;)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Adventures of Dana & Jessy (the roommate)


**Sorry guys, I'm having some Blogger trouble so I had to post two slightly unequal halves.***

Cordina's Royal Family by Nora Roberts

It seems a fairy-tale kingdom. But a scheming traitor lies in wait . . .

Nora Roberts weaves a mesmerizing tale of palace intrigue and royal romance in three sizzling stories about Cordina's royal family.

Affaire Royale:
Recently kidnapped Princess Gabriella has amnesia, but in the arms of bodyguard Reeve MacGee she finds a passion that's unforgettable.

Command Performance:
Though His Royal Highness Alexander is destined to rule Cordina, it's regal - and elusive - Eve Hamilton who rules his heart.

The Playboy Prince:
Why is reserved Hannah Rothchild so intriguing to dedicated ladies' man Prince Bennett? Is it her secret mission - or the fascinating lady herself?

I mentioned Nora Roberts on a Musing Mondays post I think, because she is by far the author I usually pick from when I'm looking for a good, uncomplicated read. Sometimes I don't want to worry about how a book is going to turn out - I just want my HEA and I want it with characters that I'm familiar with and love.

Cordina's Royal Family is a omnibus of the first three Cordina family romances, and each one stars a member of the family and a commoner (ish) of some sort. It's the perfect modern take on an old theme, with just the right kind of cheeky counterparts to keep me involved in the story. Plus when you add in a bit of emotional turmoil due to terrorist plots, it all adds up to a great time. I fully admit that this is reread, I've owned it for awhile, but these are stories I come back to, with scenes and characters that I never get bored with. I'd say either buy it for yourself or pick it up from the library because I know you'll enjoy it!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. Another great family legacy, Nora Roberts doesn't disappoint with this set of royal romances.

Series - 1) Cordina's Royal Family (omnibus) 2) Cordina's Crown Jewel

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays (6/22)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
*
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"We already had sex."


"Yes, we did." He kissed one corner of her mouth, then the other. "Now we're going to make love."

--pg 125, Night Shift in Night Tales by Nora Roberts

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Burning Up by Susan Andersen (ARC Review)

She's So Good at Being Bad

Though it’s been years since the infamous Macy O’James stepped foot in Sugarville, Washington, everyone remembers what she supposedly did. The tiny town is still buzzing about her crime and lack of punishment.

Now back to lend her family a hand, Macy vows to hold her head high—especially at her high school reunion. But forget about the hottest man in Sugarville escorting her. Though she and fire chief Gabriel Donovan generate enough sparks to burn down the town, he’s a law-abiding, line-towing straight arrow. So not her type.

But, maybe—just maybe—he could change her mind about that.

*I requested a copy of this title to review through netGalley*

I've read quite a few 'hometown' romances, but this is probably the first one where the main female lead loves to change her look so much. We see her one way in the first scene of the novel, and throughout most of the book every time we see her she's wearing something different, with different hair (side note: I totally wanted to go wig shopping after reading this book). The outfit changes are just the outward embodiment of inner pain for Macy, because when she comes back home she's confronted with all the obstinate small-mindedness of her peers.

This book is a romance about two people, but it's also a book about a woman looking at her past with grown up eyes and learning from that experience. Gabriel helps Macy along that journey (with some bumps of course, no romance could ever be complete without idiocy bumps) as he's representative not only of the changes some of the members of the town have undergone, but of her family and friends who love her just as she is - with or without the wig. Even with all that 'deep-ness' the book is lighthearted and fun to read, Andersen once again coming out with a publication that demonstrates her deft handling of the contemporary romance genre.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up! This book was a lot of fun, with engaging main characters and the kind of hometown interaction that makes contemporary romances so great to read.

Series - None

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sing-a-Long Fridays (6/18)

Sing-a-Long Fridays is hosted by Dana at Reading Amidst the Chaos.

All you need to do is pick a song from one of your favorite shows, movies, or artists and post it on your blog or comment with the link below so that other people can karaoke away! It's a great way to share the excitement of another Friday and an even better way to get the party started for the weekend!

Ok I'm really sad about this one. Having Buffy last week inspired me to do another class favorite this week - Xena: Warrior Princess. I totally bow down to my nerdy roots and say that I loved this show from start to finish and never really cared/noticed any lesbian overtones.


But I digress.

The important thing for Xena is that it's another show that's had a great mix of drama, action, comedy and musical
throughout its run. The episodes Lyre, Lyre, Hearts on Fire was a particularly fun one, where Xena finds herself preventing a war between Draco (warlord) and the Amazons by hosting a battle of the bands. FANTASTIC! My favorite song from that episode is 'Dancing in the Moonlight' performed by Joxer's flamboyantly gay brother Jace. It's on Youtube, but I can't embed it (SAD) so to watch you're going to have click here. Please click! It's a fantastically hilarious scene!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thirsty Thursdays (6/17)

Thirsty Thursdays is hosted by Dana at Reading Amidst the Chaos and anyone can join in!

To share in the debauchery just think of one of your favorite alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages and say why you love it and how to make it! You can link to your own blog or leave a comment below with your choice, but please include the mixology of whatever it is so that other people can give it a try!

This time I'm coming out with a summer beer that I've stumbled upon this season and really enjoyed - Honey Moon.
I know, I know - I can't tell you how to make it, but at least I can let you know to try it right?!?!

It's by the makers of the beer Blue Moon, but for me that doesn't say a whole lot because I've always thought that Blue Moon as a beer was terribly overrated. It always looked better than it tasted, no matter what kind of spiffy orange slice was sitting on the rim.

Honey Moon is just a bit more palatable to me and actually has that enjoyable sit in the sun and drink away quality that everyone's always trying to convince me that beer has. If you get a chance I'd definitely recommend that you pick some up and try it on your own - let me know what you think if you do!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Coin Operated by Ginny Glass

When Elijah Elliot leaves a cushy job at a prestigious Atlanta advertising firm to strike out on his own, he recruits co-worker Beatrix London as his business partner. She’s smart, capable and, turns out, mouth-wateringly tempting. Now Eli has to keep his hands to himself, despite the very vivid daydreams he has involving his deliciously attentive associate. Daydreams that involve less administrative duties and more “yes, sirs” - less clothing and much more personal “activity reports”.

Bea’s attention to detail has only part to do with her work ethic. From the moment she first laid eyes on Elijah, Bea has had some pretty lathered-up fantasies about her brooding coworker. When a racy new advertising campaign sparks a test of their boundaries, Bea pushes Eli to cross the line he’s drawn between them – the one that keeps him from doing all the hot, sinful things she imagines he’s capable of.


A kiss that could ignite a cubicle’s carpet leaves Bea wanting more than Eli is willing to give. Eli’s reticence isn’t strictly an objection to a little office hanky-panky; his desire for Bea runs to the darker side of vanilla, and the gentleman in him just can’t seem to embrace the inner beast. But during a sexy showdown in a laundry room, everything comes out in the wash-- hot, steamy and coin operated!

*I requested a copy of this title to review through netGalley*

I am a picky erotica reader, especially when it comes to those that could be qualified as quickies (not that long page wise), but Ginny Glass has done a great job with Coin Operated. This story is hot from start to finish, as it begins with Eli's D/s fantasy about Bea and ends with the real thing. Whenever Eli and Bea come together you can just see the sparks, their attraction really palpable and believable, even though as reader you're being introduced to them after they've already been working together for a while.

But what most stands out about this relationship is how real both characters seem. Bea wants Eli but isn't sure about his feelings; Eli wants Bea but after being humiliated in a past relationship where he tried to introduce some D/s, he's understandably hesitant in approaching her. These two care about each other, and their dance to move from business partners to lovers has you rooting for them the entire time. Another plus for this particular erotica is that Glass writes sex scenes that have convincing dialogue, a believable back and forth between Bea and Eli; it's a fantastic combination when the scene itself is so sensual and real . You almost wouldn't believe it after 68 pages but this one definitely has me rethinking my laundry mat!


Overall Feeling
- Thumbs up! This is a great, fun little erotica that has just the right combination of romance and character development to get me attached to Eli and Bea. Highly recommended!


Series - 1) Coin Operated (Dirty Laundry series through Carina Press)

A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire

After spending fourteen years lost to both the fae and mortal worlds, only to be dragged back into Faerie by the murder of someone close to her, October "Toby" Daye really just wants to spend a little time getting her footing. She's putting her life back together. Unfortunately, this means going back to work for Duke Sylvester Torquill of Shadowed Hills, doing her duty as a knight errant. That isn't the sort of thing that exactly lends itself to a quiet existence, and before she knows it, Toby's back on the road, heading for the County of Tamed Lightning in Fremont, California to check on Sylvester's niece, January.

Things in Tamed Lightning turn out to be a lot stranger than they seemed at first glance, and Toby's talent for finding trouble isn't doing her any favors. With Quentin—a young foster from Sylvester's Court—in tow, and the stakes getting higher all the time, it's up to Toby to solve the mystery of Tamed Lightning, or face a failure whose cost will be too high for anyone to pay.

I enjoyed the first book in this series, Rosemary and Rue, but it took me a little longer to pick up the second book because I couldn't decide if this was going to be a series I wanted to own. There was nothing
wrong with the first book per se, but I read so many things that I have to be discerning somewhere, right? I liked the premise for the books but something about them didn't scream 'buy me! buy me!'

With A Local Habitation though McGuire has stepped her game up and it's definitely starting to become something I'm looking forward to. In this installment we get to know Toby more and for me becomes more of an independent character that I'm routing for, and not just one more half-blood in the world of urban fantasies. I think readers who like a significant mystery element to their fantasy will particular enjoy A Local Habitation because it's got that old school feel where there are a lot of suspects, a lot of information, and a lot of unknowns (both known and unknown) that you keep the reader on their toes as they try to figure out what's going on.

What drove me crazy though is that I found myself yelling at Toby and Quentin through most of the book. I don't want to put in any spoilers, but the author was dropping some heavy hints about the nature of one of the suspects and no-one seems to pick up anything!! I mean, if you're recovering after a big piece of evil magic left you a fish for almost 14 years, wouldn't you be slightly more suspicious of the people around you? And about your feelings toward those people? UGH!!! I was seriously tempted to bang my head against the wall or throw the book across the room. I don't need my heroines to be infallible, but I need them to use their brains!!!

Deep breath.

It works out in the end, people stop being dumb, and the back and forth between Toby and the Kind of Cats is pretty nifty. I'd recommend that you pick up the first two books from the library, see what you think for yourself, and then decide if this is a buy or not. McGuire's writing style isn't for everyone, isn't quite as mainstream popular as some of the other urban fantasy choices out there, so each person should choose for themselves if this is worth the money or not.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. The series is getting better with time, and the foreshadowing of a future showdown with crazy faeries has got me hooked.

Series - 1) Rosemary and Rue 2) A Local Habitation 3) An Artificial Night (September 2010)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (6/15)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
*
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"'Holy Shit,' he muttered, because she looked for all the world like one of those World War II pinup girls, dressed as
she was in a white sailor shirt trimmed in blue, those retro shoes, and even more retro little blue tap pants that showcased yard-long legs.

Hell she was even wearing a white sailor cap, its wide turned-up brim tilted rakishly off-kilter atop a froth of curls that clung in wisps to its brim and to her cheekbones."

--pg 12, Burning Up by Susan Andersen

Monday, June 14, 2010

Miss Foster's Folly by Alice Gaines

Manhattan, 1886

Juliet Foster has just become the wealthiest spinster in town. Her domineering and thoroughly unpleasant father has died and left her millions. She's free to be her own woman and seek a life of adventure.

David Winslow, Marquess of Derrington, is in search of a wife who can break the Winslow Curse. Every second-generation heir inherits a restless, defiant nature that can only be tamed by a mate as independent and rebellious as himself.

Miss Juliet Foster is perfect—and eager for seduction. But when he wants more than a few nights of passion, Juliet runs like the devil's on her heels. Can the marquess convince her that marriage isn't a trap, but the greatest freedom of all?

*I requested a copy of this title to review through netGalley*

I don't read a lot of historical romance, I admit that I'm probably more pickier about this genre than others, but Gaines writes a fun little romp here with Miss Foster's Folly. Juliet is convinced that with her father dead it's now her time to spend life as she sees fit; for her, that means it's time for a naughty trip across Europe, sampling all the many types of lovers it has to offer. She doesn't get to far in her efforts though because Derrington shows up and throws a wrench in her plans, as he sees in her the fulfillment of a family 'curse' and decides that Juliet is the woman he has to marry.

What made this book fun to read was Juliet's determination to stick to her no-emotion-just-sex plans and Derrington's change from immediate attraction to actual love. They're butting heads throughout the entire book, both parties having to compromise before any kind of relationship can be had on either side. I do have to say though that this book ran a little long. At 241 pages there wasn't enough witty banter in the world to keep me completely involved. Unfortunately I think Juliet and Derrington's circling around each other just got a little old, plus I didn't love Gaines's attempts at making the story more authentic by having Juliet 'learn' all the proper names for her and Derrington's 'naughty bits' (I really hate when anyone-anywhere-uses the term 'frigging' for having sex). I didn't find it all that realistic and it more separated me from the story because it was annoying whenever another scene like that made an appearance. Still, the last of the book was good, and Gaines wraps up her main characters' love story along with that of Juliet's companion, Millie, quite satisfactorily.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. A little long, but the ending pulls it out and makes this a cute romance pick. I still kind of wish I could tell you to get this from the library, but it's an ebook and only available through Carina Press.

Series - None

Musing Mondays (6/14)

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about family.

Who in your family (both immediate & extended) are readers, and who are not?

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your opinion in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog).
Thanks!

**MUSING MONDAYS is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading

Well this will be a quick one for me, mostly because I don't have a lot of extended family that I know closely enough to speak on their reading habits.

I am the middle of 3 children, with one older sister and one younger brother. My old sister does like to read, but I think she's more strictly romance - she's a big fan of the Harlequin and Silhouette monthlies. When my brother was younger he read more books, especially this one series about kids that through alien powers turn into animals....Animorphs? Maybe? Either way he's now more of a magazine reader than anything else.

I guess if I had to say I think my love of reading came from my mom. She never read quite as much as I did, but she was the one who took us all to the library and encouraged us to check out whatever we liked. And of course she was the one who would buy me the books I wanted when I was too little to pay for them myself. I still remember getting a hard cover copy of Charlotte's Web from my mother one Christmas - and it still has a place of honor on my shelf.

Giveaway Winners!!

First off I want to say thank you to everyone who entered! This is only my second giveaway and it's so much fun to send these books off to a new home!

The Romance category had 3 entries:


Blog Entries

1. Patti
2. TV and Book Addict
3. Lindy

And chosen with the help of Random.org (see inset) the winner is.....

PATTI!!!

Congratulations Patti!

The Facebook and Reading Doo-dad giveaways only had one entry each so a big CONGRATULATIONS to Tamara for winning Winds of Fate and to Patti for pulling a double and winning the reading doo-dad!

Facebook Entries
1. Tamara F **WINNER**


Reading Doo-dad Entries

1. Patti **WINNER**


Tamara I've sent you a Facebook message and Patti, an email to you, please get back to me when you get a chance so I can send off your prizes tomorrow!

Thanks to everyone who entered and keep an eye out for my next giveaway!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Sing-a-Long Fridays (6/11)

Sing-a-Long Fridays is hosted by Dana at Reading Amidst the Chaos.

All you need to do is pick a song from one of your favorite shows, movies, or artists and post it on your blog or comment with the link below so that other people can karaoke away! It's a great way to share the excitement of another Friday and an even better way to get the party started for the weekend!

This week I'm taking Sing-a-Long Fridays back to my high school roots - Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Joss Whedon did an incredible job weaving music of all kinds through his show. It didn't matter if it was being sung by a character (Giles anyone?) or played in the background ("Virgin State of Mind" by K's Choice) music was always the unmentioned addition to the cast of the series.

This all culminated in an episode Joss was only allowed to make once the show made the shift from the WB to UPN: The Buffy Musical. It was EPIC. This particular episode had all of the characters chiming in for their mini solo or duet, letting each man or woman sing from the heart was is often the hardest to say.

IT WAS SO GOOD!

To mark the greatness of that episode, I've linked below Spike's (James Marters) solo, 'Rest in Peace'. The whole Buffy - Angel vs Buffy - Spike relationship battle was so hard for me because I was totally pro B-A, but then Angel left the show and Spike came in and was like the bad boy but better......my heart strings were tugged. It was hard.



Thursday, June 10, 2010

Thirsty Thursdays (6/10)

Thirsty Thursdays is hosted by Dana at Reading Amidst the Chaos and anyone can join in!

To share in the debauchery just think of one of your favorite alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages and say why you love it and how to make it! You can link to your own blog or leave a comment below with your choice, but please include the mixology of whatever it is so that other people can give it a try!


I don't know what made me think of it, but this week I want to highlight Brazil's national cocktail, the Caipirinha. It has three ingredients: sugar, lime, and a liquor made from fermented sugarcane. I had this for the first time a couple of months ago at a Brazillian tapas place and was surprised by how good it was! It's another one of those drinks that go down easy, though because it's most ly liquor you don't ever really forget that you're consuming an acoholic beverage. Either way my friends warned me that a few of those can very quickly put you over your limit, so especially make sure to drink these with caution!

Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton (ARC Review)

Teagan Wylltson's best friend, Abby, dreams that horrifying creatures--goblins, shape-shifters, and beings of unearthly beauty but terrible cruelty--are hunting Teagan. Abby is always coming up with crazy stuff, though, so Teagan isn't worried. Her life isn't in danger. In fact, it's perfect. She's on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She's focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems.

Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn's a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he's crazy or he's been haunting Abby's dreams, because he's talking about goblins, too . . . and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby's right. The goblins are coming.

*I requested a copy of this title to review through netGalley*

I had no idea when I requested this title just how much I would enjoy it. Young adult series have been near and dear to my heart since I was a young adult, but lately I haven't been as enthused by all the Twilight-esque books that are being published at breakneck speed. Hamilton's book stood out to me because it was a fantasy novel with depth, and it sounded like an intriguing addition to the urban fantasy genre.

From start to finish this book had my attention. Each character is this book has an explicit place and purpose to the story; each time something new was introduced you knew you should pay attention or be confused later. It's also surprisingly dark for a young adult novel. Bad things happen, sometimes at a speed that leaves you gasping, and I as a reader had to make sure I was paying attention to the words, to the story, to guarantee that I really understood what was going on.

Hamilton's skillful hand at weaving Celtic history and legend with the world of today is just one more reason to recommend this series. I've always loved a good back story, and Hamilton's commitment to having reasons behind all of her characters and their actions make the whole book that much more believable. Things feel very deliberate and it's resulted in a novel that really catches you and doesn't let you go until she's done. The only thing that makes me crazy is the slightly cliff-hanger ending, but I guess I should have known what I was getting into reading the ARC of a series.

I highly recommend that anyone who enjoys young adult OR urban fantasy pick this book up when its released in November - this series is definitely one to watch!

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up! This is a riveting start to a new young adult series. Hamilton has written a dark fast-paced romp through Celtic history and lore that would be enjoyed by anyone.

Series - 1) Tyger Tyger (November 2010)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Yay! A Book Giveaway! *CLOSED*

I would love to be able to say that this giveaway is honor of something special, but really it's just in honor of me wanting to give some books away! Everything I'm offering up were used book picks I got at a library book sale a couple months ago. That means that they're not in pristine condition and unfortunately not signed by the author - BUT - they're both first books in series that are well read and loved by me and many of my friends.

The way this is going to work is that they're going to be two giveaways happening simultaneously - one on RAtChaos's
Facebook page and one here on the blog. The one hosted here will be a ROMANCE giveaway and the one on Facebook will be a FANTASY giveaway.


ROMANCE GIVEAWAY:

Causing Havoc
by Lori Foster


Sexy, sculpted extreme fighter Dean "Havoc" Connor has knee-melting good looks-and thick skin. But not from his brutal sport's enclosed rings. Orphaned and torn from his sisters as a boy, he has no family. That is, until he gets a letter revealing how much the once-little girls want him back in Harmony, Kentucky.


To stop his sister from marrying a man as sleazy as he is wealthy, Dean finds himself teaming up with her pretty-but-smart-mouthed friend Eve — who's heard of "Havoc's" reputation and doesn't need some hunk trampling on her heart. Now all Dean has to do is protect his sisters, win Eve over, and expose a devious criminal.


And he thought winning the heavyweight cage fighting belt was hard.


FANTASY GIVEAWAY:

Winds of Fate
by Mercedes Lackey
***More info for the fantasy giveaway can be found on RAtChaos's Facebook page!***

RULES FOR THE GIVEAWAY:


1) You can only enter ONE of the giveaways. Put your hat in the ring for the romance book OR the fantasy book - not both.
2) You must be a subscriber and/or fan (subscriber of the blog to enter for the romance book, fan of the Facebook page if you want the fantasy book)

3) You must be 18 years or older and live in the United States

4) To enter for a chance to win Causing Havoc please leave a comment on this post with your email address
5) Winners will be chosen using Random.org

6) To be eligible you must leave a comment by
11:59pm on Sunday, June 13th.

BUT WAIT - THERE'S MORE!
If with your comment you leave me the link to a post on your own blog where you mention this giveaway, I'll enter you to win an EXTRA SPECIAL READING DOO-DAD! That's right: a reading doo-dad!









I found this little thing-a-ma-bob in a mall in NC. It has little legs in the back that let it stand up on it's own on a bookshelf or table, but it could also be used as wall art just by hanging it with a nail. It's cute, random, and reading themed, so what's not to love?!?!


This giveaway will be open to people on Facebook and in the blogging world, so if you're not in the mood for a romance book don't worry, you still have a chance!


***Winners of the doo-dad will also be picked by Random.org***

Teaser Tuesdays (6/8)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
*
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"It was true, but it was her fault. Kate Drake acted as some sort of catalyst for strange behavior. He was good at
everything. Everything. Unless Kate was around- then he could barely manage to speak properly."

--pg 6, The Twilight Before Christmas by Christine Feehan

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bullet by Laurell K Hamilton

The music came back up and the next group of little girls, slightly older, came out. There was a lot of that in the next hour and change. I liked dance, and it was no reflection on the kids, but my will to live began to seep away on about the fifth group of sequined children...

Anita Blake is back in St. Louis and trying to live a normal life-as normal as possible for someone who is a legal vampire executioner and a U. S. Marshal. There are lovers, friends and their children, school programs to attend. In the midst of all the ordinary happiness a vampire from Anita's past reaches out. She was supposed to be dead, killed in an explosion, but the Mother of All Darkness is the first vampire, their dark creator. It's hard to kill a god. This dark goddess has reached out to her here-in St. Louis, home of everyone Anita loves most. The Mother of All Darkness has decided she has to act now or never, to control Anita, and all the vampires in America.

The Mother of All Darkness believes that the triumvirate created by master vampire Jean-Claude with Anita and the werewolf Richard Zeeman has enough power for her to regain a body and to immigrate to the New World. But the body she wants to possess is already taken. Anita is about to learn a whole new meaning to sharing her body, one that has nothing to do with the bedroom. And if the Mother of All Darkness can't succeed in taking over Anita's body for herself, she means to see that no one else has the use of it, ever again. Even Belle Morte, not always a friend to Anita, has sent word: "Run if you can..."

Let me start out by saying that I know the Anita Blake series has become a bone of contention for a lot of readers. It started out with one particular vibe and as Laurell K Hamilton changed as a person and an author, her books changed too. They became less centered on the mystery; instead they were more paranormal and more centered on Anita, her relationships, and the magic that helped bind them all together.

While there might have been specific books in the series I didn't like as much as others, on the whole I didn't have a problem with the tonal shift in the series. It worked for me and since I liked the additional characters any concerns I might have felt ironed themselves out pretty quickly.

There's a LOT of back story to the Anita Blake books but I'm going to try to write this review without it being too confusing. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I'm happy to explain more if it helps!

I feel that this book is one of the best that Hamilton has released for this series in a little while. The book has two main focuses: 1) exploring more Anita's relationship with the men around her and how they relate to her powers 2) setting up a new story arc of Anita/Jean-Claude/Richard's future confrontation with the Mother of All Darkness. What this translates to, for a series filled with characters whose powers depend on a lot of their emotional states, are a frequent number of scenes depicting interpersonal instead of situational conflict. Asher's feelings toward Jean-Claude, Richard's toward himself and Anita and Jean-Claude, Anita with her own unique triad - it's all explored. The violence that erupts, the battles that happen, all take place within that framework. What I like about the book is that I see Anita and the men (and women) around her grow as people; sometimes it's good and sometimes it's bad. Like a lot of urban fantasy series being done right now, it's hard for the hero/heroine to protect those around them if they're not sometimes willing to make the less 'clean' choice.

Here are some general warnings for people who are looking to pick up the book (no spoilers, but you are being warned):

1) There isn't really a murder mystery that Anita works on in this novel
2) However you want to say it, there is another male added to Anita's group. Feel how you feel about it, but it happens
3) There is still a good bit of explicit sex in this book. There's also a lot of vampire politics and 'woo-woo' stuff going on around it, but the sex didn't go anywhere.
4) For people who are somewhat squeamish about same-sex partner relations (hahaha, I'm so PC) there are some scenes in this book that are going to bother you: M/M and F/F pops up a few times

Overall Feeling - Thumbs up. I can tell that this is a book focused more on story building, but I think the character development and action scenes are well written enough to excite me about what's coming next anyway.

Series - ...... 16) Blood Noir 17) Skin Trade 18) Flirt 19) Bullet

Musing Mondays (6/7)

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about reading spots.

Where is your most often used (favorite) reading spot? Do you have more than one? What makes your favorite spot just that?

Share pictures if you have them!

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your opinion in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog).
Thanks!

**MUSING MONDAYS is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading

I think it's hilarious that the two spots MizB picked for her favorites are mine as well, but in the reverse order:

1) Left corner of the couch
2) My bed

Pictures will have to be added when I get home from work today, but my couch is this large dark monstrosity, that has what I think are the comfiest cushions ever. When you sit down you can't help but sink back and curl up in the
corner, which provides the perfect amount of back support to read comfortably. I don't mind if my roommate ends up watching TV or something else happens in the living room while I'm there. I like the sense of having people around me and it seems that all those years in public school have taught me how to ignore my surroundings when necessary for full book enjoyment.

My bed turns into my favorite reading haven in that time right before I go to sleep. I have my body and head pillows to brace myself against, pull my covers up, and just sit and read until I actually feel sleepy. The background noise is still important though so I usually have Family Guy or some other show playing on my computer.

What can I say? I'm rarely a quiet girl.

**EDIT: I'm adding in pictures of my two spots but be kind. My bed is not made (I've already been lying in it) and the couch is old. REALLY old. But comfy as hell.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sing-a-Long Fridays (6/4)

Sing-a-Long Fridays is hosted by Dana at Reading Amidst the Chaos.

All you need to do is pick a song from one of your favorite shows, movies, or artists and post it on your blog or comment with the link below so that other people can karaoke away! It's a great way to share the excitement of another Friday and an even better way to get the party started for the weekend!

This week I've chosen something a little slower, but not at all less of a classic: 'Feed the Birds' from Mary Poppins. Originally released in 1964, Mary Poppins is a well loved classic played over again for its amazing cast of characters and for its amazing music. Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke star is this wonderful musical and their faces and voices make this story what it is - in my opinion anyway. 'Feed the Birds' is a Mary Poppins' solo, sung to the two children under her care to help them fall asleep. Hope you enjoy!


Naked by Megan Hart (ARC Review)

I didn’t think he wanted me. And I wasn’t about to get involved with him, not after what I’d heard. Alex Kennedy was tall, dark and unbearably hot, but I’ve been burned before. Maybe it was stupid of me to offer but he needed a place to crash and I needed to pay the rent, but now he’s my tenant…with benefits. And now that we’ve crossed that line, I can’t seem to find my way back.

But I can’t give my heart to a man who’s so…unconventional. His last sexual relationship was with a married couple. It’s enough that my ex-fiancĂ© preferred men, I won’t take that chance again no matter how much my body thrives on Alex’s touch. I can’t risk it, but I can’t resist it, either.

Alex can be very convincing when he wants something.

And he wants me.

*I requested a copy of this title to review through netGalley*

I want to be very clear: while this book has explicit sex scenes I think it is almost limiting to the novel to consider it just an erotica title. When I pick up an erotic romance I'm often looking for something simpler, something sexy and fun that will distract me for a little while. That is not what Naked is. Naked is a book about self discovery. About emotional baggage and what we as people do to try to live with or overcome it.

Olivia is a prime example of diversity as an individual- she's a black woman adopted by white parents, whose mother is Jewish and father is Catholic. That didn't matter so much when she was younger, but as she got older she more and more saw herself through other people's eyes, and being faced with that type of confusion/pity is hard on the soul. Combine that with somewhat unhealthy friendship with her former fiance (who turned out to be gay) and you just have this huge ball of hurt that it's hard to figure out what to do with. Alex and Olivia's relationship is more that no strings sex, it turns into an avenue of healing for both of them. But healing is not without its bumps and bruises and the last 50 pages of this book were hard to read because I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop!

What matters is that this is a very well written novel that depicts a heart wrenching look at a women in flux. In life, in love, in knowledge about herself; nothing's set in stone and it's her journey to figure out what she deserves out of life. I highly recommend it, because it's not a typical erotic romance. It stands as a testament to how an author can push the envelope of a genre and define a space for her own kind of story.

Overall Feeling - Thumb up. This book isn't easy, don't confuse it with a throw away erotic romance. These characters are going through a lot, and while the book is enjoyable you're definitely going through the journey with them.

Series - None (book released 8/1/2010). Though there isn't an exact reading order, Hart's website has a suggested order organized by character.

National Doughnut Day!


HAPPY NATIONAL DOUGHNUT DAY EVERYBODY!!!

Today marks a day of celebration for that most wonderful of pastry goodness - the doughnut. Best fresh out of the pan, I love the doughnut for being infinitely customizable and the perfect companion to a good cup of coffee. Still, being from the South, I have to admit that Krispy Kreme doughnuts definitely hold a special place in my heart. The Original Glazed is the staple of many a morning meeting and my AP Biology class senior year of high school would not have been the same without it.

And in honor of NDD, Krispy Kreme will be giving out FREE DOUGHNUTS. You heard me - free doughnuts. So make sure to stop by your local Krispy Kreme to make your National Doughnut Day a great one!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cannon Movie Tales: The Frog Prince

In just one of the many examples of why my roommate and I are perfect for each other (in that dorky, nerdy, non-sexual kind of way), we both bonded this morning over a movie from our childhood: The Frog Prince.

Not that ridiculously strange version with Robin Williams, ok? Cannon Movie Tales: The Frog Prince, where an actual adult male in great makeup plays the prince when he's a frog.

I don't remember how we originally came onto the topic, knowing us Jessy said one word and all of sudden I exploded with how that one word reminded me of this movie I used to watch when I was a kid. But for us - that's all it takes.

Do any of you guys remember this? It hard Helen Hunt, Aileen Quinn........and John Paragon. Jambi the Genie as the Prince. Mekeleka Ai anyone?

I AM COMPLETELY BLOWN AWAY. Does that picture over there look like John Paragon to you? Because it sure as hell doesn't look like him to me!

I did not remember at all that John Paragon played the prince, and I watched the Peewee Herman Show. A lot. It's an example of the extreme ignorance that children can have watching an actor taking on the roles of someone else.

I've been sitting her frantically Google-ing and IMDB-ing for almost an hour, tracking down pictures and just reveling in what I loved when I was a kid. This movie was fantastic. Paragon was just so handsome (in my head) when he was the frog
and when he was the prince.


..................but it's weird for me to think of Jambi the Genie being that childhood hero. Go figure.

Luckily it appears that the Average Joe off the street, or at least the humble desk worker, is able to relive their childhood and watch the movie online (yay YouTube!) in 9 parts. You can find all the links here.


What childhood princes/heroes/old ass fairy tale re-makes do you remember?


Thirsty Thursdays (6/3)

Thirsty Thursdays is hosted by Dana at Reading Amidst the Chaos and anyone can join in!

To share in the debauchery just think of one of your favorite alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages and say why you love it and how to make it! You can link to your own blog or leave a comment below with your choice, but please include the mixology of whatever it is so that other people can give it a try!

This picture isn't actually a picture of the drink I'm going to feature this week, but since the drink doesn't have a title we're all just going to have to settle for this pretty picture of cranberry juice on ice.

The drink I want to talk about this week is my favorite for at home parties. It's way easy, there are a million ways to customize it, and it always tastes delicious. What I'm talking about is a mix of Rum, Pineapple Juice, and Cranberry Juice. It sounds simple I know, but once you mix everything together it results in this very refreshing, nicely fruity, drink. I mention the ease of customization specifically, because there is a whole world of wonderfully flavored rum out there that you can use to make this drink your own. I've tried raspberry flavored rum, pineapple flavored, even non-flavored run of the mill rum, and the combination has always turned out delicious. The only thing that you have to watch out for is that this drink doesn't taste alcoholic. Unless you're really watching yourself the chances of getting smashed are high because it goes down like kool-aid.