Monday, June 30, 2008

Happy Hour At Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta

Before I dive right in today, let me just remind you that today, June 30th is the absolutely LAST day you have to enter for my team contest with Click here or the link over in the sidebar, and get your entries in! Also, check out this post on the AuthorIsland Author News blog and find out how you can get in on the All Day chat scheduled for tomorrow. I'm telling you, you don't want to miss these chats. Authors stop in to chat, share excerpts and hold special chat day contests. In addition, you get to "meet" some really great readers too! And of course, I need to say a special "Thanks" to DeNita and LuAnn for helping put together the great contest! And now, on with it!

Happy Hour at Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta

Vampires don't exist in this day and age . . . or do they?

Milagro De Los Santos needs to get her career on track - and a sexy man to come home to. At a party for her ex-boyfriend, she meets the unusually attractive Oswald Grant, who sweeps her off her feet. But when he bites her in the heat of passion and she instantly falls ill, Milagro realizes Oswald is not just any fabulous man - he's a vampire. Whisked away to his family's estate to recover, Milagro learns the ins and outs of vampirism while falling for a wickedly inappropriate man. But when the vampires' lives are threatened, Milagro uses her wits, her wiles, and an incredibly whacky scheme to bring down a power-mad secret society that refuses to let the undead live and love in peace.

Milagro De Los Santos (Mil) is a Reading Consultant for the wealthier population of The City and works part-time at a local nursery. She’s also a very dedicated writer, “I worked diligently on my novel every single possible second that was available after going out, thrift store shopping, spending quality time with my friends, and finding gyms that offered the first month free.” When one of her Reading Consultant clients decides to hold a reception for a Sebastian Beckett-Whitherspoon, Milagro really doesn’t feel up to going. You know, seeing how he was her ex-boyfriend, who just stopped speaking to her.

But go to the reception she does, since it would be an excellent opportunity to maybe further her writing career. At the reception, she gets a less than friendly greeting from Sebastian, flirted with by a gay waiter, and picked up by a fabulous man named Oswald, who asks her to leave with him so they can discuss her writing, and since he seems as if he’s in the publishing world, and he’s well, fabulous, Mil doesn’t see the harm. But when the hotel bar is full, Mil finds herself in Oswald’s room, and wildly attracted to this man she suspects is most certainly NOT a part of the literary world. But one thing leads to another, and Mil and Oswald find themselves locked at the lips when Mil notices a bit of blood. But before things can go too far, Sebastian pounds on the hotel door, Mil feels sick, and the gay waiter is in the lobby trying to help her.

Mil finds herself very ill, with weird cravings, and suddenly kidnaped by Sebastian. When she manages to get free, the waiter is once again there, whisking her away to the family farm, where she meets people who aren’t exactly happy she’s there, finds out she’s a vampire, and may, or may not, live from the “infection”, and worse than that, discovers that the man who infected her not only wasn’t a part of the literary world but in engaged. Even worse, she’s still attracted to the guy! She also finds out she can’t leave, because the once love of her life, is now wanting to become head of an organization that wants to wipe out the vampires, and he knows she’s become one of them, and will stop at nothing to see Mil and her new friends wiped from their undead existence.

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book. Seriously, I laughed so hard I cried. Told in the First Person, Mil takes us through her journey with tons of snark, wit, and personal insight.

I think I’ve made it abundantly clear that my love of the Paranormal genre has been seriously compromised as of late. Oh sure, I still enjoy my tried and true, and occasionally find myself with a great new find, but all in all, I’ve felt disheartened by the forced lore and seemingly thrown-together-to-please-the-market books that have been flooding the shelves. Basically, we’re seeing the same story, told the same way, over and over again.

Acosta’s vampires are NOT the norm, and the writing is so freakin’ fresh and funky, that I couldn’t put the book down. I didn’t want to put the book down, and I cussed myself stupid for not having the second book already at hand to continue in the world. With a heroine so real she could be you and a great cast of secondary characters, HHACD is a book you’ll want, and if like me you're just now finding this wonderful series, you'll want to kick your own hiney for not finding it sooner. But make sure to have a back-up, because trust me, once you’ve read it, you’ll want everyone you know to have a go, and they won't want to let that book leave their hands!

Filled with Sex, Danger, Snark, Blood, a little bit of love, and a ton of laughs, Paranormal lovers have got to get their hands on this one!

Take Care

ETA: I tried to do this really funky font thingy using my Word Perfect, but blogger won't let the font transfer. Does anyone know if I'm doing something wrong or if I just won't get to do use all those cute fonts?!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods by Suzanne Collins

Before I dive in today (night, whatever), let me just remind you of the contest I'm running right now with , just click the link over there in my sidebar for all the details, but you have to hurry, time is running out to enter for this wonderful prize! And just a warning, I'm tired, I haven't been sleeping well (been unable to fall asleep) lately (we had a death in the family, a family reunion this week-end, ball-games, and swim practices and meets - Bear placed First in Freestyle and Second in Backstroke last night! ) oh, yeah, and the day job. I have a backlog of reviews to post, unfortunately, I'm going a bit slow and I've taken a Benydryl just to get me drowsy enough to sleep, so if I start to make no sense, please leave me a comment and tell me to re-write this when I'm not so stupid from lack of sleep, seriously, I don't mind being called out! Anyway...

Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods by Suzanne Collins

Gregor is now focused on the Prophecy or Blood, which calls for Gregor and Boots to return to the Underland to help ward off a plague. But this time, his mother refuses to let him go...until Ripred the rat convinces her that Gregor and Boots need to stay for only a brief meeting. Finally, Gregor's mom relents, provided she is allowed to travel with them.

When they arrive in the subterranean city, the plague is spreading - and it has claimed one of his closest companions. Only then does Gregor start to understand how the illness plays with the fate of all warmblooded creatures, but he still doesn't know how he can help combat it.

You know my family is hooked on this series, right? Well, just like any series, there will always be that one book that clearly stands out in your mind as the "favorite." This book was mine. I will be fair and say we're only halfway through the final book, but this one, so far, remains my favorite.

When Gregor and Boots are summonsed, once again, to the Underland to fulfill yet another of their Prophecies, his mother flat out refuses. That is until Ripred decides to put the pressure on and "convinces" her that they must. Only she won't let them go alone, this time, she will be with those of her family that disappears into the Underland.

But they aren't there for just a short meeting, the Underlanders need Gregor and Boots to lead an expedition to find the cure to a devastating plague that is spreading rapidly through the warmblooded population of the Underland. A plague, that if not stopped, could put an end to the war building between the rats and the humans, as there will be none of them left to fight.

Although Gregor's mother refuses to let them stay and find the cure, after Gregor sees his once amazingly strong friend and bond, the bat Ares, so weak and in so much pain because of the hideous plague, Gregor decides he will do anything to find the cure. It isn't until his mother becomes infected herself, that Gregor takes his leave to find the cure.

Only this time, Gregor won't be going with his usual "questers", Luxa and Aurora are still missing, Mareth suffered greatly on the last quest and is no longer able to be a soldier, and Howard has been infected by the plague. So, in their stead, Boots, Gregor and Temp, set off with a new group of Underlanders. A group made up of humans, rats, and bats, a combination no one would have ever dreamed.

The quest is filled with new dangers, new allies, new enemies, new losses, and a revealed truth that is truly scarier than anything Gregor has faced yet. Will Gregor succeed before time runs out for his mother? Will the cure reunite the rats and the humans, or will the cause throw them into a full-out war?

Warmbloods, is by far one of the most spectacular reads, in any genre, I've had the pleasure of reading in a long time. With heartbreaking revelations, touching good-byes, renewed friendships, edge of your seat twists and turns, you won't be able to read the next page fast enough, but you'll be aching for more Underland when you've reached the end.

Don't let the Children's label on this book fool you, this is one book that readers of all ages will love. A non-stop thrill ride that you'll want to take again and again.

Take Care

Monday, June 23, 2008

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich

I've sat on this Novel Read for a couple of days now, trying to decide if I wanted to go ahead and blog it or not. Obviously, blog it won out, and I'll tell ya why - I spent twenty bucks on this book, I should be able to talk about it! Since this isn't really a review of the book, more a "My thoughts on the series" in general kinda thing, I'm going to post the JCC, but probably won't spend too much time on this specific book.

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich

Personal vendettas, hidden treasure, and a monkey named Carl will send Stephanie Plum on her most explosive adventure yet.

THE CRIME: Armed robbery to the tune of nine million dollars
Dom Rizzi robbed a bank, stashed the money, and did the time. His family couldn't be more proud. He always was the smart one.

THE COUSIN: Joe Morelli
Joe Morelli, Dom Rizzi, and Dom's sister, Loretta, are cousins. Morelli is a cop, Rizzi robs banks, and Loretta is a single mother waiting tables at the firehouse. The all-American family.

THE COMPLICATIONS: Murder, kidnapping, destruction of personal property, and acid reflux
Less than a week after Don's release from prison, Joe Morelli has shadowy figures breaking into his house and dying in his basement. He's getting threatening messages, Loretta is kidnapped, and Dom is missing.

Morelli hires Walter "Mooner" Dunphy, stoner and "inventor" turned crime fighter, to protect his house. Morelli can't afford a lot on a cop's salary, and Mooner will work for potatoes.

THE CUPCAKE: Stephanie Plum
Stephanie and Morelli have a long-standing relationship that involves sex, affection, and driving each other nuts. She's a bond enforcement agent with more luck than talent, and she's involved in this bank-robbery-gone-bad disaster from day one.

THE CRISIS: A favor for Ranger
Security expert Carlos Manoso, street name Ranger, has a job for Stephanie that will involve night work. Morelli has his own ideas regarding Stephanie's evening activities.

THE CONCLUSION: Only the fearless should read Fourteen.
Thrills, chills, and incontinence may result.

If you've read the book, you know what I'm talking about. If not, let me break the points down, just pretend they were labeled 1-8 in order of the bold print. Also note - these are just my opinions, so feel free to let me know if you agree or disagree with anything I say.

1 - Carl the monkey is a two-bit player in the book, so I wonder why he's even mentioned. And as far as, "most explosive adventure yet," all I can say is "not so much."

2 - The robbery was nine years ago. As far as his family being proud? I think that was just the JCC writer trying to be cutesy.

3 - Yeah, they are cousins, very distant, barely counts as, cousins. What they fail to mention here is that Loretta just isn't a single mother/waitress, she's also a skip that Stephanie has been charged with bringing in, since she robbed a liquor store. And since Loretta can't make bail, Stephanie finds herself in charge of Zook, Loretta's teenage son. I seriously find myself baffled as to why Zook isn't once mentioned in the JCC, as he's a MAJOR player in this book.

4 - This actually does a pretty good job of explaining a lot of the complications.

5 - I have no idea why this is even mentioned, as it's not even really exactly 100% true.

6 - OK, so I see why they mention Stephanie in this, as it is her telling the story.

7 - There is no crisis. Morelli may not like Stephanie working for Ranger, but it is basically a very non-issue. In fact, it was such a non-issue I was disappointed. I guess the only way to bring in another major player in this book was to have Ranger hire out Steph, but otherwise, I read nothing but disappointment when this makes it sound so much juicier. (And yes, I am a Babe).

8 - No thrills or chills for this reader. Incontinence? Maybe, as I did seem to have an incontinent flow of disappointment.

I guess by now you can see that I was a far cry from happy with this book. It's just that I look forward to the new Plum every year. I have come to expect that each book will make me laugh out loud at least once. Have me panting from the heat thrown off by Ranger. And have me closing it with a sigh, sad it's over. Not this time though. I usually finish a Plum Novel in around three hours. I finished this one over the course of two days.

OK, back after a short side trip. Rachael from What I am reading... has a post up on this same book and has posted a link to a BB that Janet visited with fans. I was reading it and need to get back to this post so I can go back and read more.

Anyway, I know that there has been a lot of discontent with Plum fans over the Joe/Ranger thing. I know there has been some discontent over Stephanie never getting more adept at Bounty Huntering. I shared no such discontent. I enjoy the friction that the Joe/Ranger triangle creates, and I thoroughly enjoy the hilarious moments that ensue when Stephanie botches up a capture.

What makes her ineptness so much more enjoyable (for me anyway), are the rare moments when she does something right and I get to cheer for her. The Joe/Ranger thing doesn't bother me because I know that I'm not reading a Romance - I'm reading a mystery. A slapsticky, larger than life group of people, encountering far fetched situations with a good dose of danger usually tossed in to the mix.

Fourteen just was a miss for me in so many, many ways. Stephanie uses Ranger for her own means, but there is none of the usual tension there. And though it seemed as if Evanovich tried to put a bit of tension in the mix, it fell far short of the usual. I'll admit it again, I'm a Babe. I'm all for Ranger. I don't much care for Joe. He's often doing or saying something that has Stephanie feeling bad, and I don't like for any man to make a woman second guess herself the way he does. He often times bad talks Ranger, when Ranger has never really put Joe down.

The supposedly "funny" in the book, never directly involved Stephanie, and I just couldn't feel it. The book was short. Oh, page count was probably typical, but there was a TON of blank space.

Of course, I'll keep reading the series, and I'll keep buying it new. Why? For one, I own all the others and I have this bizarre need to have the entire series. And because there is always hope that the latest book will measure up to the older ones. Even though, Twelve, was the last book in the series I really enjoyed. There were far too many loose ends in that one, leaving me eager for some serious resolutions, and they've been, for now it seems, swept under the rug.

I'll wait patiently for Fifteen, with not nearly as much enthusiasm, and I'll probably re-read the series, just to recapture some of the love I lost with Fourteen.

Take Care

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Little Less Talk And A Lot More Action by LuAnn McLane

Contest Time!!!!!!! That's right, Novel Reads is teaming up with to bring you a great contest in honor of the release of this book I'm getting ready to tell ya all about. Because you see, not only is LuAnn one of my very favortist of favorite authors, she's also one of the many great Author members of AuthorIsland. So be prepared, ChariDee hasn't let loose with a good ole Fan Girl Squee Fest (FGSF) in a while but now that I get the chance, watch out! Be sure to read to the end of the post for contest details and the 411 on!

Note: This review is being done from an ARC, so whenever you see this * please note that it could vary slightly from the official release.

A Little Less Talk And A Lot More Action by LuAnn McLane


There's nothing that good hair can't fix...

Macy is starting to lose faith. The chance to be with the love of her life - her best friend's brother - is slipping through her fingers. College football coach Luke Carter has a penchant for hot-bodied babes, not curvy hairdressers such as Macy. And some big-time schools may be luring him away from Hootertown.

...or that a good woman can't untangle.

But then a country-singing sensation's hair emergency turns into an unexpected big break for Macy. Making it in Nashville boosts Macy's confidence, but her feelings for Luke have her all knotted up inside. And when he interviews for a job at a local university, Macy will have to put up or shut up - or lose him forever.

Oh man, where do I start? ALLTAALMA is the follow up book to Dark Roots and Cowboy Boots, the book I blogged about just the other day. Macy McCoy is Jamie Lee's best friend. And after spending months in close contact with Luke, Jamie Lee's brother and Macy's long-time crush, as they planned Jamie Lee's wedding (and nuh-huh, I'm not telling which man Jamie Lee chose, you'll have to read the DRACB to find out) Macy has found it hard to remember that she and Luke are not a couple. But sadly, they are not a couple and Macy decides that if she's not going to make her move, then it's definitely time to give up the daydreaming that they one day might be more.

The day after Macy sees her best friend married, Macy finds herself just wanting some time alone and space from her crush before she really does something stupid. But sitting home doing nothing is not exactly one of Macy's strong suits, so she heads down to the Cut & Curl to do a little cleaning. But when a favorite country song comes on the radio and Macy sings her heart out (badly, I might add) Macy is surprised to hear real applause and turns around to see none other than the artist she was just singing along to standing in the shop.

Tammy Turner, famous country singer, is in a real pickle. She cheated on some hair extensions and suffered some rather serious backlash. With a TV appearance scheduled in just over two hours she begs Macy to help her out. All Macy has to do is hop on the tour bus and do her hair on the way to Nashville. So off on the adventure of a lifetime, Macy boards the bus and finds that Tammy and her back-up singers, Lilly and Sam (sisters) feel more like the people she's known all her life than famous people, and soon they know all about Macy and her crush on Luke.

When Luke calls Macy and she tells him where she is and what she's doing, Tammy intervenes, and before Macy can object, Luke is on his way to Nashville to pick her up. And the spark begin to fly between Macy and Luke. Finally! But when Tammy offers Macy a job, Luke doesn't want to stand in the way of her big chance. But when things finally look like they may go somewhere with Luke, more and more opportunities open up for the both of them, and the both of them need to decide, do they take a chance on their careers or on love?

LuAnn McLane is the author you first read and then wonder, "Where the heck has this woman been all my life?" Her books are filled with humor and heart. You close the book only to find yourself wanting to open it again, and again. In fact, when I first read ALLTAALMA, I immediately re-read DRACB. Then I re-read ALLTAALMA. And it went on like that for a while. I did not want to say good-bye to these wonderful people of Hootertown.

You will cheer for Macy. "It's exciting to feel love with such intensity but it also scares the living daylights out of me because, let's face it, this changes our relationship forever. From this point forward we will never again be just friends."* You will even perhaps shed a few tears with Macy. And you will definitely laugh yourself silly with Macy. There's the famous chef and the potato incident. "..."I got it!" I shout as if I'm calling for a fly ball, but the potato lands with a loud thump and slithers across the tile floor...hurry over to retrieve it but the trail of oil makes the tile as slick as ice... But to my credit, I somehow manage to reach over and pick it up while spinning on my back like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle."* (snipped that quote to make it a bit shorter as I'm always leery of quoting too much) There's the realization that she and Luke could have been/should have been but probably won't be.

And while I love all of McLane's books, Macy will probably forever be my favorite character. I can identify with Macy. Like me, Macy talks a big game it's her follow through that is lacking. Macy can get on a roll and all fired up, and then finds herself having to backtrack a bit, unfortunately that last one is really too close to home :). And most of all, Macy has a heart and vulnerability without being weak, that just had me cheering for her.

With a cast of secondary characters that seem as real as if you know them, sizzling love scenes, a heartwarming (and sometimes breaking) journey of life and love, A LITTLE LESS TALK is one book you do no want to miss. I couldn't put it down, and I'm more than a little bit hopeful that one of the characters from this book will be who we see front and center of the next! (hint hint LuAnn).

And now, for the contest details! For the full scoop on how to enter and the prize, head over to the AuthorIsland News blog and read this post (and since you're there, check out all of the other posts from various authors for great excerpts and exciting news). For extra entries, leave a comment over there that says "Looking for some good Novel Reads at the Island" and look for the other way to gain extra entries. We want everyone to have as many entries as they can! The contest will run until July 1st, the official release date of A Little Less Talk And A Lot More Action. Good Luck and have fun!

I want to thank for hosting this contest with me. AuthorIsland is a great place to find news on wonderful books and authors. Featuring A Book A Day Give-Away, interviews, daily news, a slew of contests on the Contests Page, updates on some of your favorite authors new releases, and a monthly day long chat with recipe exchanges, excerpts and chat only contests (not to mention the chance to chat with great authors and readers) AuthorIsland is daily must stop for me. Hope to see you there!

Take Care

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Dark Roots and Cowboy Boots by LuAnn McLane

I have a contest to announce tomorrow, and I plan on doing it when I discuss A Little Less Talk and A Lot More Action, which is the follow up book to this one. I've been dying to talk about A Little for a LONG time, since I've had the ARC and have read, and then re-read, and then read it again, so many times. And now, the release date is coming up, so I get my chance! So be sure to check back in for the contest details, I promise you, this will be one contest you do NOT want to miss. Just a small hint as to why - !!!!! But as ALLTAALMA is a connected book to this one, I felt the need to tell you all about Dark Roots today, so if you haven't read it yet, you can go out and get it and have it read before July 1.

Dark Roots and Cowboy Boots by LuAnn McLane

Not Just Another Small-Town Babe...
Teetering on the Tennessee border, Hootertown, Kentucky, suits beautician Jamie Lee Carter just fine. She's the kind of gal who prefers longneck beers to cosmos, bare feel to high heels, and Daisy Dukes to Prada, but a bit of flash might still win out over another pool-hall line dance. That's where Parker Carrington, a hunky Hollywood producer, comes in...

Not Just Another Saturday Night Fling...
He's pegged Hootertown as an ideal movie site - and Jamie as more than a sexy extra. He's adding sizzle to Jamie's romantic slump and firing up something called jealousy in Griff Sheldon. Jamie's brother's best friend and her longtime crush. Now two hot-blooded rivals are going head-to-head. One's got a Jaguar. One's got a pickup. And only one's got what it takes to give Jamie the ride of her life.

I first discovered McLane's work with the release of her book Dancing Shoes and Honky Tonk Blues, and I fell in love. I mean, I could not put this book down! It wasn't just the humor - I mean come on, a book about a Redneck spoof of the television show Dancing With The Stars, that's funny, I don't care who you are - and it wasn't just the smokin' hot Romance (though great googely moogely can this chick write smokin' hot with the best of 'em). It wasn't even all about the fact that she was writing about Redneck and small town girls (which I happen to be, thankyouverymuch) No, it was so much more. McLane's voice was so fresh. Snappy dialogue, lovable characters, laugh out loud moments, cry a little moments, moments that had me so hot I was reachin' for my man. This book had it all - and I wanted more!

But could this book be a fluke? I mean, it's rare that I like a Romance novel written in First Person, and I lurved this book. I had to know, was I reading a one hit deal? Would her other books be just as good, or I would I be disappointed? Well, let me tell ya, my love of this book was no fluke, and I swear every other book I've read by McLane has had me hooked in the same way.

Dark Roots and Cowboy Boots was the third book I had bought by McLane even though it was actually the first of her southern series of books. And until I read A Little Less Talk, this one was my favorite. Honestly, it still is, only it shares that space with ALLT, because it has the same characters featured in it (but I'll get to that tomorrow).

Jamie Lee Carter, small town Beauty Shop owner, loves her life, her best friend Macy, her family and her small town. But something is missing, the love of a good man. She's always known who she'd like to be the man in her life, Griff, her brother Luke's best friend, but he'll never see her any other way than as a kid sister. But, when Parker Carrington, producer, comes to town in a fancy little sports car, and sets his sights on Jamie Lee, as tour guide and more, well, maybe it's Jamie Lee's imagination, or has Griff started to finally show a bit of interest? But with two very fine lookin' men showing interest, Jamie Lee has some serious thinking to do. Does she try one last time to get the man she's dreamed about forever, or does she move on with an exciting new man whose nothing like she always thought she wanted?

With lots of laughter and heart, Jamie Lee's story will draw you in, and won't let you go, even after you've reached the end. Stuck zippers, wild bull rides, best friends, old loves, old insecurities. new adventures and picnic baskets gone wrong, this book has it all and so much more.

Grab your best friend and head to the beach or better yet hit the lake, and be prepared to laugh, cry and fall in love!

Take Care

Gregor and the Prophecy Of Bane by Suzanne Collins

SUMMER READING CHALLENGE! Please do not forget about the Reading Challenge! For more information, you can click the link in my sidebar or click here. I know that some of you are already participating, as I have had quite a few e-mails with questions, so I plan to do an FAQ post by the end of the week to clear a few things up and hopefully get more of you joining in. I've also had some contact with a few people that may really help make the prize a LOT more sweet, so I'm trying to hold off on that post until I've made the final arrangements on that! But keep tuned more, so much more to come!

Gregor And The Prophecy Of Bane by Suzanne Collins
Book Two in the Underland Chronicles

Months have passed since Gregor first fell into the strange Underland beneath New York City, and he swears he will never go back. But he is destined to be a key player in another prophecy, this one about an ominous white rat called the Bane. The Underlanders know there is only one way to lure Gregor back to their world: by kidnapping his little sister, Boots.

Now Gregor's quest reunites him with his bat, Ares, and the rebellious princess, Luxa. They descend into the dangerous Waterway in search of the Bane, and Gregor knows what is at stake. If he does not fulfill the prophecy, his life, and the Underland, will never be the same.

When Gregor and Boots fell down the vent in the laundry room, his family was changed forever. Gregor discovers an entire world beneath our own, a world inhabited not by magical creatures, but real humans and their human sized enemies and allies, such as rats, bats, cockroaches, spiders, mice, and so much more. He also discovered that the strange light haired, violet eyed people and the huge animals believe him to be the warrior that has been spoken of in their prophecies. So while after that first trip to the Underland Gregor may have taken away one good thing - his father. Gregor also took away a few bad things. His father may be with them now, but he is not the same man and Gregor has nightmares of the people he met and their world.

Gregor doesn't care what any prophecy says, he is NOT their warrior, and he will NOT go back to the Underland. He plans to keep as far away as he possibly can. But then Boots disappears, and Gregor knows just where she went and who has her. So, against his mother and father's better judgment, Gregor heads back to the Underland to get his sister and to get home.

But the Underlanders have a different plan for Gregor. They don't intend for him to go anywhere, let alone home, until he fulfills the second prophecy. Only this prophecy could mean the death of his beloved sister and also calls for him to kill. Seeing no choice in the matter if Gregor has any hope for himself and his sister to make it home, he and his "team" head out on this next quest to hunt the Bane and hopefully stay alive.

Gregor learned in the first book that the Underland was nothing like his own, the Overland, and the difference only become more clear as he is attacked by giant sea creatures, a swarm of mites, and so many more dangers than even he could imagine.

One thing is for sure, if Gregor and Boots survive, he will never be the same again, neither will the Underland.

In this second installment of the Underland Chronicles, Suzanne Collins grabs you from the get-go and it's nearly impossible to quit reading once you've started. In fact, I've mentioned before that this series is one we are reading aloud as a family, and I read this book out loud to them in only two sittings! Talk about a sore throat! But, oh was it worth it!

Suspense, friendship, courage, and compassion fill each and every page, that had my family glued to this world. And even though there is no magic involved in the creation of the Underland, it's end result is pure magic as I watch readers young and old come together in my household for more.

Grab the first book in this series and be prepared to want the rest immediately. Grab the first book in this series no matter your age, and even if you don't have a child to read with. You won't be sorry you fell head first through the pages just as Gregor and Boots did with the vent. But trust me on this, it's a thrill ride like never before!

Take Care

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Touch of Twighlight by Vicki Pettersson

I "dished" the first two books in this series when I was at the old site, so in case you haven't read them yet, or cannot remember if I enjoyed them, click here. Go ahead, I'll wait. I also want to remind everyone about my SUMMER READING CHALLENGE. I'm working on a few things to sweeten the pot, so to speak, so I REALLY want you guys to get involved. And with all of that out of the way, I'll get on with it...

The Touch Of Twilight by Vicki Pettersson

Joanna archer has reluctantly accepted the roles destiny assigned her: Avenger, Savior...Destroyer.

On the surface she's a sexy, sophisticated socialite, at home among the beautiful people of the Las Vegas upper crust. But Joanne Archer inhabits another world: a place ordinary humans cannot see...a dangerous dimension where an eternal battle rages between the agens of Light and Shadow. And Joanna is both.

Stalked by an enigmatic doppelganger from a preternatural realm, Joanna can feel the Light failing - which is propelling her toward a terrifying confrontation with the ultimate master of evil, the lord of Shadow: her father.

Vegas is all about winner big...or losing everything. To save her friends, her future, her worlds, Joanna Archer mst gamble it all by fully embracing the darkness inside her.

Five days ago I started this post, and the BCC is as far as I got. I had to stop to go to my sons ball game and when I got home I had a house full of kids. The next day I also had a house full of kids. This went on for three days and nights and then I started to feel not so great. I spent a lot of time sleeping, trying to fight the sickness, but alas, the sickness has won out. Today I awoke with no voice and a migraine to end all migraines. The headache thankfully is gone, but unfortunately, so is my voice. Thankfully, I can still type...

I obviously enjoyed the first two books in this series, but I found myself having a very hard time getting through the first few chapters of this one. It was slow. Almost painfully so at times. Plus, I was frustrated because there were so many references to events that had happened in the first two books that I couldn't remember! I found myself with the inner debate as to whether or not re-read them, but realized that I couldn't. It wasn't that they weren't excellent books, because I clearly remember the general gist of them and I knew that I loved them at the time. It's just that their, well, kinda long, and while I enjoy the world, I don't enjoy it well enough to relive it. I think that in part this can be blamed on the fact that the first two books were released a month a part and I read them both within the first week of their release. Then, they were a quick bestseller, and thus, as I had predicted, it was a long wait to this latest one.

Not only that, I can sometimes be petty, and well, when I reached page 65 and saw this-
- well, I was irritated. That's not fair of course, but it was a disappointment to see.

It wasn't long though before Pettersson was able to capture my love for this world - the fight between good and evil - where superheros are real and I forgot my earlier irritation with everything and fell head first into the reading.

Joanna, quite simply is kick ass, and though the storyline is wonderfully convoluted in places everything falls together nicely and left this reader ready for more! If you've read the first two books, this one is really a must read, as the continuing story is action packed. However, if you have not yet read the other two, you need to start at the beginning.

Take Care

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

And The New Winner Is...

wildchild! Please send an e-mail to novelreads at gmail dot com (ya know the drill) and I'll get the book in the mail ASAP. If, once again, I don't hear from wildchild in one weeks time, I'll draw another name, or maybe just run a new contest and make sure to have people e-mail me saying they entered with their snail mail addy in case they win! I feel horrible when some one doesn't find out they were a winner and missed out!

I have a stack of noveltalks to do, but I'm wiped out and on my way to bed. Bear had his first swim meet tonight and it was so much fun, but I'm ready for bed. I have what is probably a severe second degree burn, possibly even a third degree burn on my shoulder (long story, but did you know that the sun is hot?) and it's getting better but the pain wipes me out easily. I'll have a talk posted tomorrow on THE TOUCH OF TWILIGHT by Vicki Pettersson and then I'm hoping to type up these others for reserve!

Take Care

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Stealing From Marg

blessedheart, I have yet to hear from you about your win of the signed copy of FROM DEAD TO WORSE by Charlaine Harris. If I do not hear from you by Tuesday at 3 p.m. I will announce the next winner (Miss Beautiful has already drawn a name). Please contact me at novelreads at gmail dot com (ya know, without the spaces and with the symbols) with your snail mail address so that I may get the book sent to you ASAP! Thanks.

Also, thank you to all of you that commented on the last post! It feels nice to know that I'm not the only one who reads ahead and chooses books that way!

Weekends are usually my time to catch up on the web surfing I miss out on during the week. However, we've bought a pool, and now my weekends are spent outside hanging with family and friends, so I surf at night and then am too tired to really blog. Today, though, I have a burn. In short, my body and face are darker than dark, well, except for my shoulders, that burned, peeled, then immediately burned again. So, I'm inside today, healing what is probably a third degree burn. No lie. It hurts. But I get a chance to catch up for the week without going without lots of sleep tonight.

One of my favorite blogs to catch up on is Reading Adventures written by Marg. The posts are always so well written that it's easy to spend time over there. Today, as I went and did my surfing, I noticed two things I could steal...erm....borrow? So, I'm gonna do just that....

123 Meme

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

OK, the nearest book is an ARC of LuAnn McLane's soon to be released A LITTLE LESS TALK AND A LOT MORE ACTION (look very soon for a post on this one - I've read it over 10 times!). So, you can't check me until July1, when it is officially released. And even then, it may differ, since technically, ARCs are uncorrected proofs. And as a side note, it just so happens that page 123 is a page I have marked for quoting!


It also boggles my mind how really ugly clothing sells out so quickly but I suppose that at three o'clock in the morning even turquoise tunics look appealing to bleary eyes. Plus they have models who would make a potato sack look sexy. I wonder how many people get UPS packages with turquoise tunics, scratch their heads, and mutter, "What the hell was I thinkin'?"

Now to tag -

1. Wendy
2. Rachael
3. Ter
4 & 5 - YOU!

And the second thing I stole...Ummmm, I mean BORROWED!

The concept:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name

Image hosted @

Enjoy! Novel Reads talk tomorrow!

Take Care

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My Newly Discovered Bad Reading Habit

Once upon a time, I was a very easy reader. I bought books by the lure of the cover alone. I never even thought about reading the BCC. I never even thought about reading ahead. Would not have even dreamed about reading the last page - oh no, that was just too taboo! But, times, they do change. And as time has ticked by, signaling the end of yet another era, I as a reader have also changed.

It started innocently enough. I was low on cash for books and trying to decide between two cute covers I read the BCC. Well, that damn BCC LIED! That's right, it lied. The book contained within the pages was nothing - nothing, like the BCC suggested. I was appalled! I was outraged. I was a changed reader. Suddenly, I started reading every BCC and then ranting about it on the d&D site when it ticked me off.

It didn't stop there, though. Oh NO! I went crazy. I started reading the first page of the book most of the times! GASP! I would not only read the first page, I would read the "Other Books By..." list at the start. If even one of them sounded off, I didn't buy the book. I'm telling you, that way lie madness, and it over took me!

And now - now - I am so ashamed of myself and disgusted at the outcome of my latest bad book reading habit, that I almost can't stand myself. Is no book safe from my insanity? I have started taking a peak at the last page!

Really, it started out innocently enough when I started reading the Gregor books to my children. We were hooked. Gregor and the Underland so captured my attention that I just didn't want to stop reading. Alas, I had promised Bear that I would never read ahead of him. But now that we're on book 4, I felt it would be safe to at least read the BCC to book 5, and what I saw shocked me! I had to know that my favorite characters were OK, so I read the last page - of a book I hadn't even started! I was ashamed, but at the same time a little bit excited. I had broken some unspoken rule, and I was giddy with the power!

Unfortunately, it is becoming a habit I can't seem to break. And like with all habits it has come back to bite me in the arse. You see, I started read Playing With Fire by Katie MacAlister. I've never read this author before. The books have just never jumped out to grab my attention even though I've heard mondo good things about the books and watched them hit bestseller lists. Well, I finally broke down and bought this one and I'm having a really hard time getting into the book. It took me three days to read past 2 Chapters. Fortunately it started to pick up, but I had a really bad feeling. So, me, being the cheater I have reluctantly become, read the last page. And to my horror, discovered I was not in-store for an immediate HEA. In fact, it would seem I was in store for a series.

Now. don't get me wrong, I realized I was in store for a series, but stupidly I thought each book would feature a different couple. See, this is why I should sometimes take better care to research books I have a reluctance to buy. I don't like the protag in this book. The writing seems stilted and dull, but I've heard great things about his author and really wanted to give this all a try. But, I just can't read on. I want resolution for these two, I don't want it drawn out for books on end. And maybe it won't be, and I'll be missing out on something - but that darn new bad habit has stopped me from ever finding out.

So, I find myself half-way through a book I know I will never finish. Wasting 6 - yes, SIX, days of trying to read the first half of this thing (not to mention $6) - all because I read the last page. It's madness, and I want it to stop, because I really may have found myself liking the book (doubtful, but perhaps) if I would have kept plodding through instead of cheating and reading the last page.

Please tell me I am not alone in the bad habit category! Please tell me if I've made a HUGE mistake and this book is worth finishing! Please tell me there is hope for a last page reader such as myself. I need help people, or I may never be able to read another book again!

Take Care

Monday, June 2, 2008

Devil May Cry by Sherrilyn Kenyon

I am a bad, bad blogger. And I don't mean in the "To the Bone" vane. Nope, I'm a bad blogger because I tend to get lax in my postings (which is evident when you see my personal blog). You see, I've been so proud of myself for doing so well in finally keeping up with this, and then I kind of fell off the wagon the last few days. We've gotten a pool for the backyard (pics will be posted on my other blog shortly) and we've been spending a lot of time outside. However, I could be blogging at night, ya know, when I can't sleep and The Hubs is at work, but then I'm so tired because I can't sleep that you get a post like this one will be - loopy. I apologize in advance if it's hard to follow, and I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know if it's too bad for me to blog while under the influence of Benadryl. And now on with it...

Devil My Cry by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Sin, an ancient Sumerian god, was one of the most powerful among his pantheon - until the night Artemis robbed him of his godhood and left him one step from death...

For millennia, the ex-god turned Dark-Hunter Sin has sought to regain his powers and take revenge on Artemis. But now he has bigger fish - or in this case, demons - to fry. The lethal gallu that were buried by his pantheon are stirring, and they are hungry for human flesh. Their goal: to destroy mankind. Sin is the only one who can stop them...if a certain woman doesn't kill him first.

Enemies have always made strange bedfellows, but never more so than when the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Now a man who only knows betrayal must trust the one person most likely to hand him to the demons. Artemis may have stolen his godhood, but this one has stolen his heart. The only question is: Will she keep it...or feed it to those who want him dead?

I used to be a HUGE fan of The Dark-Hunter novels. I started with Night Pleasures and loved it so much I even read Fantasy Lover. But, then Dream-Hunter novels and novels of the Were-Hunters started popping up, and well, I lost all interest. Fair weather reader? Who me? In all honesty though, that is what I was with this series. I swore I was done reading the Dark-Hunter books until Acheron's story came up. I was going to read Kenyon's books under the name Kinley MacGregor, because I love those historicals and that was it. But then, a few months ago I was in the store and saw this book and saw that it said it was a Dark-Hunter book, and thought, what the hell, give it a try. But then, the book sat in my TBR pile forgotten. Until a couple of days ago when I was in a funk and decided to give it a go. And ohmyword am I glad that I did.

Sin, ex-god, has Artemis worried. He's just stolen something that could be her undoing. And Artemis has a good reason to be worried, because thousands of years ago, she was his undoing. But although Sin would love nothing more than to destroy Artemis, at present, he has bigger fish to fry. A nasty like no nasty humanity has ever seen before, is about to re-awaken and Sin is the only one who has the power to stop it. That is, if he can find his twin brother.

But Artemis cares only for herself and sends Kat to kill Sin. Kat watches as Sin does something that could only be described as heinous, and decides that he is the worst sort of immortal that could ever be and that he must die. But, before the chance arises, Kat is attacked by one of the milder (and that ain't none to mild) nasties, and Sin saves her life - only as soon as he sees her, he wants to kill her.

But as Kat and Sin discover, they need each other to save humanity, if they can just survive Artemis' hit man, and demons that will stop at nothing to see them dead. But it just could be the love they are forming that could be their end or just maybe, it will be their beginning. With trust being a word Sin doesn't understand, Kat has her work cut out for her - good thing she's more than just Artie's hit-woman...

Devil reminded me just why I loved the Dark-Hunter novels. Thrills, chills, and Romance intertwine in this fast-paced page turner that will have you on the edge of your seat not ready to say good-bye to the fantastical world that Kenyon has created. The Romance is top notch, and let's just say have your fan ready because you'll definitely need it for some very steamy scenes.

Usually, I'm a POV purist, so if you've read Kenyon or MacGregor, your may be confused as to why I'm not complaining about the head-hopping that riddles the pages. But Kenyon is a master at the POV change within a scene, and only occasionally do I scratch my head at the sudden change. It works for her, and actually lends so much more emotion to the pages.

I'm so glad I read this book, because had I not, I may never have realized that Ash (the book I was awaiting to bring me back to this series) will have his book NEXT. To find out all about these wonderful and sexy Dark-Hunters and most importantly Ash, you can click here.

And now, for some reminders. I have yet heard form my contest winner, so if you are they, please e-mail me at novelreads at gmail dot com (ya know, with the symbols and without the spaces) with your snail mail addy so that I may get your prize to you. If not, I will draw another name soon.

Also, I have my Reading Challenge (side bar to the left has the direct link - I'm lazy right now) going on for the entire summer. And as a bonus to the prize I've already stated, the first person to read 5 books in the challenge and enter them in correctly will receive a Novel Reads tee-shirt (I work at a silk screening place). So please, help me get kids reading and help a library while we're at it!

Take Care