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Archive for June, 2012

 

 

by Kristine Grayson

Published March 1st 2001 by Zebra Contemporary Romance (first published February 1st 2001)

 

 

Summary:

 In Utterly Charming, Kristine Grayson took readers on a delightful romp through a modern fairy tale. Now, she picks up where she left off when a thoroughly modern Sleeping Beauty finds the kiss she’s been waiting for all these years.

Emma Lost can still remember the day she woke up in the back of a VW van after her famous thousand years’ snooze — the one that inspired the Sleeping Beauty myth. Emma knows it’s no fairy tale — she’s the real Sleeping Beauty, trying to hide her magical powers and swearing off kissing strange men for the rest of her life. Of course, most men follow her around like lovesick puppies…except for Michael Found, her gorgeous boss. The rational, logical Mr. Found doesn’t believe her theories about such things as Fates and fairies and magic, and he’s determined to expose her as a fraud. But Emma knows for sure the magic truly does exist, and she’s going to give Michael a lesson he’ll never forget — even if it means breaking her vow of not kissing men.

 

 

Review:

When I requested this book to read as an ARC, I did not realize that it was a continuation of a previous book.  That being said, I was able to read this one pretty easily without having read the first book.  Anytime there was something from the previous book alluded to, the author briefly explained what was going on and what happened in the previous book so that you got the gist of what was going on.  I was not confused at all, which is a good thing.  Reading this book made me want to read the first one, but I am not sure there is a point since it seems like all the high points were covered in this one.

I enjoyed the way Ms. Grayson wrote and I would most definitely read another book by her.  She writes in a very fluid manner and draws the reader into her work.  I was sucked in and wanted to know everything that was happening to the characters.  There was not a ton of character development and I still really would have liked to get to know some of the characters better, but not every book is written that way, and that is not a bad thing.  Thoroughly Kissed is just a nice book that allows the reader to get away from the world and enjoy a little romance without any of the heavy plot that can be in some other books.

Since I am moving out west in less than a month, I loved reading about the places that we will probably drive through.  I have one complaint though; Ms. Grayson was quite rude when she mentioned Sheridan, Wyoming.

“The only place I’d feel comfortable stopping in the middle of the night between here and Billings is Sheridan, and it’s not the friendliest city I’ve ever been to.” Pg. 239 of the ebook.

Now most readers probably just skimmed over it and didn’t think much of the sentence, but I take offence to it.  Sheridan, Wyoming is my new home and we chose to move there specifically because of the hospitality that it offers.  It is a beautiful, friendly city centered in the Big Horn Mountains.  Before Ms. Grayson, or any other author, decides to say hurtful things about a city, maybe actually going there and meeting the people would be a good thing, and if Ms. Grayson did go there and had a bad experience, I don’t think knocking a small town that really is friendly and has many neat experiences (Huge rodeo in July) and a strong history (Buffalo Bill and the Wild West show) to offer visitors, is a good thing to do.  There were other ways she could have gotten the point that it was too long a drive across to readers without mentioning Sheridan, Wyoming in a negative way.

Overall, this is a great romance novel that really didn’t have any bodice ripping.  Now it does have a lot of sexual tension and kissing and sex are a big overlapping theme, but it doesn’t happen in the book, you just know it happens after the book ends.  I would recommend this book to adults only because of the sexual tension and overall theme.

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy.

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by Leigh Bardugo

Published June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

 

 

Summary:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.

 

 

Review:

This book had me hooked from the very beginning.  Shadow and Bone was amazing.  Once I started reading it, I had a hard time putting it down.  Yes, it was a bit slow in the beginning/middle, as Alina learned how to use her power, but the ending was well worth the buildup.  This book has quite a bit of character development for Alina, the main character, and some for both Mal and the Darkling.  Those three main characters developed throughout the story and you got to see more about what was going on inside them as time went on.

Alina is a wonderful heroine and through she needs to be saved a bit a time or two, like most heroes do, she learns to trust in herself, in her instincts, as the story develops.  Alina starts out weak and confused, but once she embraces who she really is, there is no stopping her.  She is also not the most beautiful girl in the room and that keeps her humble, along with her upbringing as a peasant orphan.  I felt bad for Alina because she doesn’t really ever know who she can trust, and because of her naiveté, she is easily swayed, until her eyes are opened, that is.

I loved the romance between Mal and Alina.  I was hoping he would open his eyes and see her as more than his best friend and that he would see Alina as a woman, a woman who loved him and had stuck by him their entire lives.  I am hoping that in the following books, Alina isn’t swayed toward the Darkling, and that a love triangle does not emerge.  I hope Alina isn’t let down by Mal and that he does not go back to his womanizing ways.  I have hope for this couple.

The bad guy is yet again a conflicted character, which is kind of predictable, does he really love Alina, or was he just using her?  There are many unanswered questions at the end of this book.  It is a cliff hanger, but it leaves you with the illusion of a happy ending, at least until the saga continues.

I am eager to read the next one in this series.  I loved Shadow and Bone and cannot wait to continue on the journey that Mal and Alina have embarked on.  I highly recommend this book to anyone from 7th grade all the way through to adults.  This book would probably appeal most to girls, but there is a lot of action, so a boy might enjoy this as well, even though the hero(ine) is a girl.

There is no sex or alluding to sex.  There is a make-out scene that gets quite heavy, but that only happens once.  This book is appropriate for most readers in the specified age group.  There is violence, but it is just fight scenes, or training scenes, nothing gory.  There are monsters that appear in the dark, so if nightmares are a problem, you might want to avoid this one, but I HATE the dark and it was fine for me.

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy and also to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books for your kids to read.

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Transcendence

 

 

by C.J. Omololu

Published June 5th 2012 by Walker & Company

 

 

Summary:

 When a visit to the Tower of London triggers an overwhelmingly real vision of a beheading that occurred centuries before, Cole Ryan fears she is losing her mind. A mysterious boy, Griffon Hall, comes to her aid, but the intensity of their immediate connection seems to open the floodgate of memories even wider.

As their feelings grow, Griffon reveals their common bond as members of the Akhet—an elite group of people who can remember past lives and use their collected wisdom for the good of the world. But not all Akhet are altruistic, and a rogue is after Cole to avenge their shared past. Now in extreme danger, Cole must piece together clues from many lifetimes. What she finds could ruin her chance at a future with Griffon, but risking his love may be the only way to save them both.

Full of danger, romance, and intrigue, Transcendence breathes new life into a perpetually fascinating question: What would you do with another life to live?

 

 

Review:

 At first I wasn’t sure what to think, I was sucked in but started to dislike Griffon pretty much right away.  I thought this book had the making of a beautiful disaster, but yet again, I was wrong.  This book is beautiful, but certainly not a disaster.  After Griffon comes clean, there was no way to not like him.  He is totally lovable.

Cole is confused, pretty much throughout the entire book, and I don’t blame her.  Just when you think you know what is going on, you, the reader, are left even more confused and unsure of who is the bad guy in the story.  Even at the end, I am still confused, there was one sentence, one glimpse of another Akhet recognizing Cole that is never explained or brought up again, and I want to know who he is/was in a past life- ugh!  That has left me so frustrated.

But anyhow, Transcendence is fast paced and you keep learning new things about all the characters pretty quickly.  There is a nice mix of romance and action.  There are enough things left open that if the author wanted to write another book, which I am pretty sure she did according to her goodreads page, then more things can be cleared up.  If you only read this book, there is closure and a conclusion; it is not a cliff hanger ending.

I highly recommend this book to teens and YA.  There is no sex or even alluding to sex, even though there is romance.  There is some violence, since part of the story involves fighting a bad guy, but it is nothing gory.  This is a nice clean YA book, something that is hard to come by nowadays.  Parents and teachers should feel ok recommending this book to kids, unless you have a problem with the paranormal genre.  If you are Christian, this may not be a good one to recommend since the idea of the plot is that some humans are reincarnated over and over and will eventually remember their past lives.  I am Christian and would not have a problem with my kids reading this as long as I felt they would not get confused about their beliefs, this is just a story anyways.

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy and also to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books for your kids to read.

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by Cindy Spencer Pape

Published June 4th 2012 by Carina Press

 

 

Summary:

 There’s a time and a place for romance: any time, any place!

In honor of our second anniversary, Carina Press brings you a trio of amazing novellas by some of the freshest voices in romance today! A highland laird and an unconventional physician fight monsters and fall in love in Cindy Spencer Pape’s Kilts and Kraken. In Adrienne Giordano’s Negotiating Point, two security operatives try—and fail—to keep their professional distance while working a high-stakes case. And a driven career woman takes a detour to enjoy Slow Summer Kisses in a contemporary story by Shannon Stacey. Three very different tales, three very happy endings.

Edited by Angela James, this anthology includes:

Kilts and Kraken by Cindy Spencer Pape

Negotiating Point by Adrienne Giordano

Slow Summer Kisses by Shannon Stacey

Stories also available for purchase separately.

 

 

Review:

Since this is an anthology I will just be brief.  I really liked the first and third stories.  I was sucked into both of them quickly and did not want to stop reading.  The middle story, Negotiating Point, was ok, but was not memorable for me.  It wasn’t bad, just ok.  It just seemed to be a story that had to have sex in it and there really was no connecting with the characters.

I equally enjoyed Kilts and Kraken and Slow Summer Kisses, even though they are totally different stories.  I know that they are short stories, and there really is no getting to know the characters, but with these two stories, you do connect with the characters.  I wanted to know what was going to happen in their lives.  I was invested as a reader.

I love reading anthologies to find authors that I had not heard of, but enjoyed their short story.  In this anthology I found two new authors, and that is awesome!

I highly encourage those who might be interested to at minimum purchase the two stories I recommended.  They are really good and if you enjoy romances, you will love these.  The third story is worth it if you want a couple hot sex scenes, and don’t really care about the plot, because there really isn’t one at all.

In case you didn’t catch it in my review, there is sex in all three of the stories, they are descriptive scenes, but not overly descriptive.  This book is not appropriate for people under the age of 18, in my opinion.

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy.

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by Krystal Wade
Published May 13th 2012 by Curiosity Quills Press (first published March 12th 2012)

 

 

Summary:

“There is no pain in this death, only peace, knowing I am going to die with the one I love the most.”—Katriona Wilde.

Katriona Wilde has never wondered what it would feel like to have everything she’s ever known and loved ripped away, but she is about to find out. When she inadvertently leads her sister and best friend through a portal into a world she’s dreamed of for six years, she finds herself faced with more than just the frightening creatures in front of her. Kate’s forced to accept a new truth: her entire life has been a lie, and those closest to her have betrayed her. What’s worse, she has no control over her new future, and it’s full of magic and horrors from which nightmares are made. Will Kate discover and learn to control who she really is in time to save the ones she loves, or will all be lost?

 

 

Review:

This is definitely a fantasy novel. The summary of the book explains quite well what the main idea of the story was. I greatly enjoyed this book; it had magic, monsters, a bad guy or bad guys, a prince (sort of), fairy type beings that are good, and a strong female lead.

Wilde’s Fire is a fast paced, action packed novel. I was sucked in and didn’t want to put it down. There is the perfect amount of romance and fighting battles in this book to make me very happy. Though the romance happens much too quickly and I can’t really believe that in 3 weeks two people would be so madly in love with each other, but in the novel Katriona and Arland do.

I thought that this book was going to be another one of those books with the love triangle going on and the flighty girl who can’t make up her mind, but it is not. Now, Katriona does say that she loves her best friend, Brad, but that she does not and never did, love him the way that he loved her. Katriona is and always has been, in love with Arland, even before she met him, because she had had dreams about him for years.

I want to say that there is no actual sex in this book, but there are very close calls and talk of sex. Katriona mentions several times that she and Arland made love in the dreams that she had been having of him for years. Both Katriona and Arland are adults, but not married. It is actually Arland who stops Katriona from seducing him multiple times, even when she strips naked for him, since they are not married yet.

I think the most annoying thing about this book is that there is absolutely no ending, just a major cliff hanger. As you know, if you read my reviews on a regular basis, this is my pet peeve. Anyhow, I would definitely read the next book in this series. I want to see where the author was going and what happens next for everyone.

I would not recommend this book for kids under the age of 18, mostly because of the sex and the fact that Katriona doesn’t care that they are not married, doesn’t even think about marriage really, as a determining factor in her behavior. Obviously, this decision is up to you. The sex is not romance novel descriptive, but the wanton attitude bothers me. I would not put it in a school library or classroom library.

I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy and also to assist parents and teachers in recommending appropriate books for your kids to read.

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by Carla Stewart

Published May 15th 2012 by FaithWords

 

 

Summary:

 Shortly after burying her unfaithful husband, Georgia Peyton unexpectedly inherits the derelict Stardust motel from a distant relative. Despite doubts from the community and the aunt who raised her, she is determined to breathe new life into it. But the guests who arrive aren’t what Georgia expects: Her gin-loving mother-in-law; her dead husband’s mistress; an attractive but down-on-his-luck drifter who’s tired of the endless road; and an aging Vaudeville entertainer with a disturbing link to Georgia’s past.

Can Georgia find the courage to forgive those who’ve betrayed her, the grace to shelter those who need her, and the moxy to face the future? And will her dream of a new life under the flickering neon of the STARDUST ever come true?

 

 

Review:

 This was a super great book.  I really enjoyed it.  Stardust was a very different book from what I normally read, the paranormal genre, but when I can find a good fiction book that is “realistic,” I usually love it, though that is rare for me.

While reading Stardust I really wanted Georgia to stop getting the shaft all the time and almost all of it relating to her dead, cheating husband!  I am not sure I could have acted the way she did, taking care of her MIL and the kids of her husband’s mistress.  No way.

The book had a ton of plot twists that kept me highly entertained and trying to figure out what was going to happen next.  The revelation at the end was the most startling and I didn’t see it coming until right before it was revealed.  Very, very awesome!

I loved the romance in Stardust and I liked Georgia’s “down- on- his- luck” drifter from the very start. I loved how Georgia took chances, but also took care of her kids.  I loved that Georgia didn’t treat Ludi and her kids like everyone else wanted her to, instead she treated them like they were family, even though that was very uncommon during that time period.

Overall, this was a great book, it made me laugh, cry, get angry, and fall in love with the characters.  It is not a deep book, but one that I truly enjoyed.  I will definitely read other books by the author, Carla Stewart.

Stardust has a nice happy ending, but not the exact ending that one would easily guess in the beginning.  There is no swearing, violence, or sex, but it does have romance.  Stardust is the perfect book for a summer read, or really an anytime read.

I am not sure I would recommend this book to young kids since there is talk about how Georgia’s husband was a cheater, which could be a difficult subject for younger kids, but it would be perfectly appropriate for kids in like 11th grade and up, though it is primarily written for adults.

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy.

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Ruined by Rumor

 

 

by Alyssa Everett

Published May 21st 2012 by Carina Press

 

 

Summary:

After waiting five years for her fiancé to return from the war and marry her, Roxana Langley has been jilted! She may have longed for excitement, but this was not what she had in mind…

Who could possibly throw over a woman as beautiful and vivacious as Roxana? Certainly not Alex Winslow, the Earl of Ayersley, who has spent years trying in vain to forget his unrequited love. When he learns she’s been abandoned by her cad of a fiancé, he finds himself offering a shoulder for her to cry on. Comfort soon turns into a passionate kiss—and scandal when they are caught in an embrace.

Only one thing will save Roxana from certain ruination: marriage to the earl. The match may save her reputation, but responsible, tongue-tied Ayersley is a far cry from her dashing former fiancé. She’s convinced Ayersley is merely doing his duty…while he’s sure Roxana is still in love with another man. Are they trading one disaster for another?

 

 

Review:

Overall, I really enjoyed Ruined by Rumor.  I greatly enjoy a good romance novel every once in a while.  This book combined many of my favorite things, regency period and a bodice ripping romance novel.  It had all the elements of a great romance, a woman hurt (damsel in distress), ruined by the strict regency codes, and a man who was much stronger and better for her than she ever imagined he would be.  Yummy!

I fell in love with Ayersley right from that start, though I had to re-read the beginning twice to remember who he was and how he connected to Roxana.  I kept thinking- why is her brother into her, eww gross, so I went back and figured out who was who and put their names into my mental database and I was no longer confused!  Leave it to me to only ¾ pay attention when I am reading, can I just blame it on the fact that I was reading it in a busy airport?

Like most romances, especially good ones, the marriage was not what Roxana wanted.  She misjudged Ayersley and was actually not all that kind to him in the beginning, not really mean, but indifferent, before they were married.  After marriage, it didn’t take long for them to connect, and in the typical romance style that we all love, Ayersley turned into the jerk, sort of…  I am not telling you anymore, you will just have to pick this one up and read it yourself, you will not be disappointed.

I had a hard time putting this book down, I was totally hooked.  Though this is true, Ruined by Rumor had one very small fault.  There were times in the novel where it felt like something was skipped or left out, that time just jumped ahead without a solid connection.  This was most apparent at the end, though this is not something that should deter the average romance novel reader.

In case you wanted to know, there is sex, not extremely graphic, but it is described, not just alluded to.  Because of this, I would give Ruined by Rumor the label of adults only.  This is not a bad thing, adults need their great romance novels as much as kids need great clean YA books!  As many times as I have read romance novels and they almost all follow a similar plot outline, I am still entertained each time!  I cannot say enough good things about this book!

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy.

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