Monday, August 2, 2010

Sweet Magnolias The Next Generation by Sherryl Woods

Find the review here. I'm sorry, but keeping both sites going is too much for me, so from now on, I'll only be posting over at the WordPress site. I hope you'll continue to read with me there!

Take Care

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Vicki Lewis Thompson - A Babes On Brooms Series Look

I just heart Vicki Lewis Thompson. I first fell in love with her "Nerds" books and gobbled them up as quickly as I possibly could. When she came out with her Hex series I was double excited. I do loves me some Paranormal Romance. Unfortunately, they were okay books, well worth my read for a lazy day, but not books that were "Must Buy" for me. With that thought in mind, when I saw Blonde With A Wand on the store shelf I couldn't help myself from grabbing it up. It was after all a VLT book! I really enjoyed the book, where the matchmaking witch and wizard from the Hex books played minor roles. I was most excited to see that there would be a second book, Chick With A Charm and now that I've had a chance to read both, I thought I'd do a double post.

Blonde With A Wand by Vicki Lewis Thompson

From the Author's Website:

Sexy witch Anica Revere has one absolutely unwavering rule: never, under any circumstances, get involved with a man before telling him she’s a witch. Still, what’s one silly rule? Especially when the guy in question is as cute as Jasper Danes. But when Anica and Jasper have a spat, she breaks an even bigger rule of witchcraft and turns him into a cat. Bad news for him. Worse for her.

With Anica stripped of her powers for the witchy infraction, it’s up to Jasper to undo the hex—but he never expected the hardest part of the bargain would be resisting Anica. The stakes are high, and the chemistry is off the charts. But what’ll happen if Anica and Jasper both fall under the strongest spell of all—love?

Anica is what most would call a control freak. The oldest of two sisters, owner of her own coffee shop, Wicked Brew, and witch extraordinare, Anica likes to keep things under control, trying very hard to never act impulsively. That is, until she meets Jasper Danes. Jasper has been coming into Anica's coffee shop and there have definitely been sparks. After Jasper comes in devastated over a break-up with his latest girlfriend, he and Anica begin to connect and make a date for dinner. But, while at dinner Jasper is mortified to see his ex-girlfriend walk through the door. While Jasper hopes that her arrival is strictly a coincidence, when Anica goes to the restroom and she follows he really starts to sweat.

Anica talks with the ex only to find out that perhaps Jasper hadn't told her the truth. You see, Jasper wasn't dumped, quite the opposite--he broke up with the woman. What's worse, Anica finds out that he had given the ex the same story about being dumped by his previous girlfriend. Anica doesn't like to be played and when Jasper doesn't exactly come clean she leaves the date. Only Jasper isn't going to let her get away that easily and follows. A move he and Anica both end up regretting, becasue in her anger, Anica does the one thing she never thought she would--she transforms Jasper into a cat.

The thing is, magic of this sort is strictly forbidden, and Anica soon realizes that she's lost all ability to do magic. In her hour of need, not wanting to get her parents or the Wizard Council involved, Anica turns to her care-free, not entirely reliable sister, Lily for help. But when even Lily seems to have problems transforming Jasper back, the sisters turn to Dorcas and Ambrose Lowell, the quirky matchmaking witch and wizard, also a part of the Wizard Council, but it can't be helped, Anica has to find a way to turn Jasper back into a man, before the guilt and lack of magic do her in.

I have to say, I enjoyed BWAW much more than I did any of the other Hex books. I found that Jasper as a cat, using his paws to painfully type out notes to Anica was endearing, and the "cure" for the spell made it all feel real and believable. I also enjoyed the fact that the spell wasn't reversed immediately but Jasper did get to revert back to his human form for short spurts.

Chick With A Charm

From the Author's website:

Lily Revere is free-spirited and fun loving—two dangerous qualities in a witch. Especially while planning her sister Anica’s engagement party, and she needs a date! She’s determined to bring hot Griffin Taylor, but he’s a divorce lawyer who claims his job has warned him off romance. He may pretend he's just not into her, but she knows better—he only needs a nudge in the right direction.

Slipping a love elixir into Griffin’s drink may not be the noble thing to do—but it sure works! Lily’s dreamboat drops all defenses and the two discover they’re perfectly matched—in every way. There’s just one problem: Are Griffin’s feelings the result of some truly good witchcraft—or is he really in love?

In CWAC Thompson gives readers a dose of Anica's sister Lily. I truly enjoyed Lily in BWAW, I liked that she was a quirky bartender in a wizard owned bar, and I liked that when she did magic she got hopped up like she'd just downed five Red Bulls. In short, Lily was fun and the type of sister I think most of us love to hate.

Since Anica is now getting married, Lily finds herself in the awkward position of being dateless for the wedding. What's worse, is her parents, who she loves dearly, will be in town and Lily was really hoping to be able to impress them with how much she's grown up by having a lovely and stable man for them to meet. Griffin Taylor, divorce lawyer, would be the perfect man.

Griffin and his work buddies have been coming into The Bubbling Cauldron, for happy hour for several weeks now. There is some definite chemistry between him and Lily, but Lily was not the type of girl Griffin always envisioned ending up with. Since his parents had married with little more in common than great sex, and then divorced, Griffin knew exactly what he wanted from a woman--goal oriented and down to earth--Lily is the exact opposite, so while Griffin may be attracted, he's not stupid enough to get involved with her.

When Lily decides Griffin needs a push, like yesterday, in her direction, she mixes an adoration elixir using her newly acquired dog and the adoration she has for Lily as the focus point, she drops the potion in his drink and waits for the sparks to fly. And fly they do, with some steamy scenes that are sure to have beach goers heading to the water for a dip in the water to cool down.

But as the feelings Lily has for Griffin begin to deepen, along with his dependence on her, she'll never be sure if it's the spell or if Griffin's feelings are as real as hers. What's worse, Griffin and his friends seem to have figured out that he's under a spell. What will happen when/if they break it, is the ultimate question both Lily and Griffin have. The feelings of love seem so real but are they strong enough to hold?

Chick was such a good book! I fell in love with Lily and Griffin. And while Lily ocassionally irritated me with her selfish behavior, I can honestly say I could understand. Filled with scenes sure to leave a reader panting, and an ending that had me crying-twice-once from heartache and once for joy, Chick is one book you don't want to miss.

If you're heading to the beach, lake, or even just a lazy day in the backyard by the pool, you'll for sure want to have these two books with you, they're a must buy for any fan of Thompson or any Romance Reader.

Take Care

Friday, May 7, 2010

Embers by Laura Bickle

Embers by Laura Bickle


Truth burns.

Unemployment, despair, anger--visible and invisible unrest feed the undercurrent of Detroit's unease. A city increasingly invaded by phantoms now faces a malevolent force that further stokes fear and chaos throughout the city.

Anya Kalinczyk spends her days as an arson investigator with the Detroit Fire Department, and her nights pursuing malicious spirits with a team of eccentric ghost hunters. Anya--who is the rarest type of psychic medium, a Lantern--suspects a supernatural arsonist is setting blazes to summon a fiery ancient entity that will leave the city in cinders. By Devil's Night, the spell will be complete, unless Anya--with the help of her salamander familiar and the paranormal investigating team --can stop it.

Anya's accustomed to danger and believes herself inured to loneliness and loss. But this time she's risking everything: her city, her soul, and a man who sees and accepts her for everything she is. Keeping all three safe will be the biggest challenge she's ever faced.

* This review is done from a book Novel Reads received from the publisher.

Anya Kalinczyk, as the BCC says is a Fire Investigator by day and spends her nights for DAGR, the Detroit Area Ghost Researchers. Lately, Anya's been trying to figure out who has been starting several fires around town and leaving no clues behind. When DAGR calls her in on a particularly bad haunting. The group generally only calls Anya when they have to choosing to reserve her for the cases that are simply to hard for them to handle themselves. You see, Anya is a Lantern. A very rare type of medium that can devour ghosts. It's hard on Anya to do this not just physically but emotionally, as well so she is a last resort. When Anya finally traps the spirit and gets ready to devour her, the ghost whispers, "Sirrush is coming."

Anya knows little of Sirrush, just that he was once revered as a god of fire but after this experience with the ghost, who turns out to be that of a young girl, the name Sirrush and the fact that he is coming seems to be just about all the spirits can talk about. What's worse, is it seems the fires could in fact be related to Sirrush and his return. What's more, it would seem that perhaps Anya isn't the only Lantern out there--she just be the only Lantern out there with the desire to stop Sirrush from rising.

Embers takes the reader on a fast paced, page turning adventure, as Anya, Sparky, and DAGR race to save Detroit--and Anya herself--from demons and ancient gods. Bickle has written a fantastically believable world that a reader can get lost in. Embers, is hands down, bar none, the best Urban Fantasy written by a debut author, hell, written by anyone, that I have read in a very long time. I look forward to reading more about Anya and Sparky and the mishmash of others that complete DAGR in Bickle's next release Sparks.

Take Care

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Novel Chats: Series Catch Up

If you're a fairly new reader to the blog let me take a quick moment to explain the Novel Chat posts (one day I'll get that pesky FAQ page set up and not have to bother everyone with this stuff). I'm busy. Most days I'm lucky to remember to eat let alone find time to blog and so Novel Chats was born. I take two to three books I've read in my blogging silence and sum up my thoughts on them in as short a fashion as I can. Sometimes, the books have been out for quite a spell, and in that case, I really try to keep my rambling to a minimum. I grade the books I Chat because it's just easier than going into long details. Since I've been so busy lately, I have more than a few books sitting on my "Need To Blog" shelf, so there may be more of these posts in the coming days.

Real Vampires Don't Diet by Gerry Bartlett

From the Author's Website:
First Glory's stood up on New Year's Eve by her long time main squeeze Jeremy Blade. Then a moonlight boat ride on Austin's Lake Travis with newly turned vampire, rock star Israel Caine (Ray) goes horribly wrong. Who knew there was a Siren lurking in the lake just waiting for her chance to lure unsuspecting vampires into a trap? Now Glory and Ray are racing against time to find vampire sacrifices or they're doomed.

With the storm of the century threatening to wash out her new home and an old enemy taking aim at her, things don't look good for Glory.

As for her relationship with Blade? Well, Glory wonders if maybe it's time to cut her longtime lover loose.

Valdez is at her side as usual, along with her friends who won't let Glory go down without a fight. Surely all this action is bound to help our curvy vamp lose a pound or two. You think?

I've liked Glory since I first started the series with book two, Real Vampires Live Large. There's something about an overweight vampire, with a great vintage clothing store, a self depreciating sense of humor, great friends, and a shifter for a body guard. However, for some unknown reason, I've never added Real Vampires to my must buy list, and I never seem to know when a new one has been released. For that very reason, it wasn't until recently when I ordered the latest two books in the series. It took me quite a while to really get into Live Large, and I still don't know what I think.

What I do know is that I'm fairly sick of the back and forth relationship Glory has with Blade and her role as mentor to the newly made vampire Israel Caine is starting to annoy me, since Glory can't seem to pick which man she wants. I'm a firm believer in shit or get off the potty and Glory's interaction with the men in her life left me extremely cold with this last one. So much so that I haven't even cracked the spine on Real Vampire's Hate Their Thighs. I've no doubt I'll read it--eventually--but I think I need a breather for a while.

I have to give this one a C. I just didn't feel it as much as I did the others, but Bartlett's excellent and funny writing make it worth a read.

Sucker For Love by Kimberly Raye


Divalicious darling of the undead Lil Marchette is this close to finding her own happily-ever-after with hunky live-in bounty hunter Ty Bonner. Unfortunately, reality is biting back in a big way. Lil’s got mounting bills to pay and clients to keep happily hooked up courtesy of Dead End Dating, the ultimate meet-and-greet for New York’s fanged, furry, and fabulous. But leave it to a drop-dead gorgeous eight-hundred-year-old warlock with a big-girl fetish to take the biggest chomp out of Lil’s happiness by kidnapping Esther Crutch, one of Lil’s plus-size clients, now stamped as Grade-A Ritual Meat.

Leaving Ty warming the bed, Lil races to rescue Esther’s curvy behind before she’s turned into a Mayan sacrifice. The trail leads to Texas–hell by any other name–and as if dust, demons, and hopelessly outdated fashion weren’t bad enough, fate gives Lil an unexpected partner: her mom, who is on a mission to meddle (as usual) and grab a little mother-daughter time. Will Lil remain calm in the face of smotherly love and save Esther–or will her client bite the dust?

Sigh. I'm about to make you think I disliked all the books I've read in my long silences, but really, that's not true. What is true is that I didn't really feel this one either. Perhaps I'm growing tired of the sameness that is this particular brand of female vampire. You know, the I'm really nice, hate blood, can kick ass if I need too, but really hate too, and I'm really just a sucker for true love. It was a nice break for a while, and perhaps when the state of current affairs was cleaner, there was a place in my heart for such books. Now though, I find myself wanting more from the heroines of the books I read. I want grit. I don't want fashion and boys to be the top priority.

In truth, I enjoyed this latest adventure of Lil much more than the others and I liked it enough to read the next one, whenever it may be released. I've never been a large fan of this series to begin with so my expectations were low, giving me the freedom to give this one a B-.

I'm out of blogging time for today, hopefully I'll be back tomorrow.
Take Care

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni and Winners Announced (FINALLY!)

I've been silent for a little over a week, and at the end of the post I'll give a quick rundown of why. For now, let me announce the winners of the two contest currently up and running - CONGRATS to Ryan Collins winner of WILD RIDE by Jenny Crusie and Bob Mayer. CONGRATS to Mimi Goh winner of ANGELOLOGY by Danielle Trussoni. Please e-mail me at novelreads at gmail dot com with your snail mail address so we can get the books right out to you.

For those of you that check this blogger site, you can click here to see the Updated Author Promotion Page at Novel Reads and read a letter to readers from author Laura Bickle about her upcoming release Embers.

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni


There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them.
Genesis 6:5

Sister Evangeline was just a girl when her father entrusted her to the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in upstate New York. Now, at twenty-three, her discovery of a 1943 letter from the famous philanthropist Abigail Rockefeller to the late mother superior of Saint Rose Convent plunges Evangeline into a secret history that stretches back a thousand years: an ancient conflict between the Society of Angelologists and the monstrously beautiful descendants of angels and humans, the Nephilim.

For the secrets these letters guard are desperately coveted by the once-powerful Nephilim, who aim to perpetuate war, subvert the good in humanity, and dominate mankind. Generations of angelologists have devoted their lives to stopping them, and their shared mission, which Evangeline has long been destined to join, reaches from her bucolic abbey on the Hudson to the apex of insular wealth in New York, to the Montparnasse cemetery in Paris and the mountains of Bulgaria.

Rich in history, full of mesmerizing characters, and wondrously conceived, Angelology blends biblical lore, the myth of Orpheus and the Miltonic visions of Paradise Lost into a riveting tale of ordinary people engaged in a battle that will determine the fate of the world.

*This review is done from a copy of the book supplied to Novel Reads from the publisher.

Sister Evangeline loves her life at Saint Rose Convent. She takes great comfort in the daily routine of prayer and her work in the convent library. Since Evangeline lost her mother and her father brought her to New York to live, she's thought of the sisters as her family. But one day, a letter arrives from a V.A. Verlaine requesting information from the convent about some letters that Abigail Rockefeller may have exchanged with the Mother Superior of the convent of that time. Something stops Evangeline from dismissing the letter in the usual way the sisters are to handle them, and when Verlaine shows up at the convent, Evangeline becomes disturbed by the affect he has on her and the mystery as to why these letters are so important and why the sisters want very badly to keep them hidden.

As Evangeline and Verlaine begin digging, it becomes clear that the man who hired Verlaine may not be simply interested in art history as he claimed. Soon, Evangeline and Verlaine are thrust into a world both know very little about and are fighting not only for their lives but the fate of the world. For it's the Nephilim that want the letters, they have gone from powerful giants of old to a dying race, infected by a horrible disease that could ruin them for all time.

Evangeline soon finds out that Sister Celestine, a nun that came to convent the same time the letters stopped, knows more about Evangeline, her grandmother, and Angelology than she ever could have guessed. Now an old, frail woman on her deathbed, Celestine is the only hope Evangeline and Verlaine have at unraveling the mystery of what past Angelolgist uncovered and the Nephilim would do anything to retrieve.

Written in two view points, Third Person to take us on the present journey and First Person to take us on Celestine's journey, Angelology takes the reader on a journey like no other. It took me a while to finish the book, but I closed the pages and literally looked at The Hubs and said, "Wow!"

There is something about a book filled with angels and giants, biblical references and myth that captures me like no other book can. It didn't hurt either that Trussoni has a voice so distinct and her "pen" writes beautiful lines such as, "The mind and spirit become ripe in their own fashion and at their own pace. Beautiful music plays, but not everyone with ears can hear it."

Angelology is a book filled with danger, intrigue and mystery. A book so riveting it will stay with you for a long, long time. If you've not had the pleasure of reading it, I strongly suggest you find time.

Take Care

*Where I've been: I've mentioned before that Bear was having problems with Bullies at school. Well, it's getting worse. Not only is he having problems, but many 4th Graders are. I have been working on putting together a Student Advisory Program at our school that will empower the kids and help (hopefully) to put a stop to the horrible bullying that is getting out of hand at our school.

I've also been busy wrapping up the Spring Fundraiser for the PTO and writing a "How to Write a Story" book for my daughter's 2nd Grade class.

My part in all of this is winding down now, though, so I should be back more!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Win WILD RIDE by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

Before I begin with my post let me say CONGRATS to Chirstina Collins. Miss Beautiful drew your name and you've won your choice of TWO Kristan Higgins books. Please e-mail me at novelreads at gmail dot com with your choice of books and the address to send them!

Wild Ride by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer

Crusie/Mayer joint site


Mary Alice Brannigan doesn’t believe in the supernatural. Nor does she expect to find that Dreamland, the decaying amusement park she’s been hired to restore, is a prison for the five Untouchables, the most powerful demons in the history of the world. Plus, there’s a guy she’s falling hard for, and there’s something about him that’s not quite right.

But rocky romances and demented demons aren’t the only problems in Dreamland: Mab’s also coping with a crooked politician, a supernatural raven, a secret government agency, an inexperienced sorceress, an unsettling inheritance, and some mind-boggling revelations from her past. As her personal demons wreck her newfound relationship and real demons wreck the park, Mab faces down immortal evil and discovers what everybody who’s ever been to an amusement park knows: The end of the ride is always the wildest.

This isn't going to be a typical review (in fact, it's not going to really be a review at all), and if you've read this blog you'll know it's because that's not how I roll (if I ever get my FAQ's up and running I'll explain that). So let me start by saying I'm a HUGE Crusie fan. BET ME brought me back to reading after a long hiatus and I'll always, always love her for that. Yep, she's just one of the authors that I totally crush on. So, when Crusie joined forces with Mayer it was a no brainer that their books would be first on a TBB list. I loved their first release Don't Look Down and I fell even harder for Agnes and the Hitman. I think I've read AATH almost as many times as I've read Bet Me and I've loaned it out just as many. Hell, my father-in-law is now hooked on not only Mayer but Crusie because of me. At first, he was a bit embarrassed to check out Crusie books from the library, and figured he could he would just say it's for me, but at 75 years of age, he decided he could read anything he damn well pleased and the librarians could judge all they wanted. So, again, you get it right? Fan Girl alert coming right up.

I knew going into the book that this was not going to be the typical Crusie/Mayer, just like going into DLD I knew it would not be a typical Crusie, and that was just fine with me. Seriously, my favorite tag team doing Paranormal? SQUEE! And I was right, this wasn't the type of book we normally see from the two partners--it was better.

Dreamland Amusement Park is actually a holding place for the five Untouchables- demons that cannot be killed only contained. The Untouchables are kept in chalices, locked away in certain rides or attractions throughout the park. The Untouchables are kept in these chalices by the Guardia. Five people chosen and given special gifts to capture and hold the Untouchables as they escape.

Mab has been brought back to her home town by her uncle to restore the park and get it ready for the big Halloween event. Mab hated living near Dreamland as a child. Never allowed to go, she was part of the Batty Brannigan family, her mother always picketing the park and trying to get it shut down. Mab loses herself in her work. Never fitting in as a child has left her with no desire to connect with people. Two weeks left on the job and she's out of there.

Ethan has returned to his home at Dreamland after a bullet lodges itself near his heart and cannot be removed without killing him. It's only a matter of time, of course, before the bullet does move and penetrate his heart, but until then he has come home to drink away his sorrows and wait for death.

But when the demons start to escape and the old Guardia begin to die, new Guardia must be chosen and it's suddenly up to Ethan and Mab to bring them together and defeat the Untouchables before they break free of their chalices and destroy the human race. But, it's not just the demons Ethan and Mab have to deal with, a secret government agency has been staking out the park and Ethan and Mab will either find a way to bring them to their side or get rid of them.

When the Guardia are betrayed all hell breaks loose, not only are the demons going to get out, but Mab and Ethan find themselves fighting personal demons that will either bring them all together or tear them all apart.

WILD RIDE delivers exactly what the title promises, a fast paced page turner. And while this book is not the typical book readers of Crusie and Mayer have come to expect, it still has all the traits that this reader has come to love--family, wit, action, and an ending that left me smiling and hungry for more from two of my favorite authors. You can read the prequel to Wild Ride - Wild Night by clicking here.

And so, since I was a bad, bad reader and bought WILD RIDE before the actual release date of today, and I still want to do my part in the whole first week or two of sales I am going to give away a copy of the book. That's right, one lucky reader will have the chance to win a copy of WILD RIDE. Winners choice of Hardcover or eBook. Already own it? That's okay, you can give it as a gift and share the love.

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post. You can earn extra entries by spreading the word. FaceBook, Yahoo! Groups, your own blog, MySpace, Twitter, you name it, just let me know where you've posted and for each place you do, you name will be thrown in the hat. You can also friend me Novel Reads on FaceBook and let me know it's because you wanted an extra entry and I'll make sure that is counted as well.

Now, go forth and enter, you have until Saturday, March 20 to enter.

Take Care

Don't forget to also enter for a chance to win a Hardcover Copy of Angelology by Danielle Trussoni while you're here. Click on the Current Contest link at the top for the details.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Angelology Contest Kick Off

Whew! Spring Break starts tomorrow for the kiddos and between Parent/Teacher Conferences, finishing up the Spring Fundraiser, and all the other things I've had on my plate, I'm flat wore out! Both kiddos did great this semester. Bear started State Assessment testing and the Reading part is complete. He scored Exceeds Expectations, but this was not enough for him! NO! The boy wanted Exemplary. We've explained that getting the Exceeds is awesome, not only for a dyslexic kid reading on a computer screen and then answering questions but for anyone! Plus, he was only 4 points from Exemplary, but still not good enough for him. Miss Beautiful was all "A's" and a top reading level. I'm so proud of those two. Now, if we could just get the bullies to leave Bear alone, I think we'd be completely happy with their school experience this year! In fact, the bullying is starting to get out of hand. His markers have been stolen, along will all of his pencils and a kid took his ruler and bent it until it was no longer usable. Sigh. We'll be stocking him up with new school supplies for this last 9 weeks. Anyone have tips to help us help him deal with bullies? Anyway, you didn't come here to read all about my kiddos, did ya?

The winner of the Kristan Higgins books will be drawn by Miss Beautiful tomorrow morning and I will post as soon as we get that done. Thanks to all of you for entering! But today, I have a new contest to run. Thanks to Viking/Penguin, one lucky winner will receive a free copy of Angelology by Danielle Trussoni. This book is excellent, and a review will be posted tomorrow. In the meantime, check out my Author Promotion page and read and excerpt.

Ways to Enter:

Leave me a comment here telling me you want to win. (Or on my WordPress site, which is also where you will find the excerpt).

Read the Excerpt and tell why you'd like to continue reading.

Spread the word. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, your personal blog, GoodReads, or Shelfari. Get the word out and for everyone that stops by to enter and says you sent them, you'll get extra entries.

Every one of the above will get you an entry to the contest. The more you do, the more chances you have to win. The winner will receive the book direct from the publisher. Many thanks to Viking/Penguin and Danielle Trussoni for this great contest!

Take Care and Good Luck!