Wednesday, April 29, 2009

LAST CHANCE TO ENTER FOR ANGIE FOX SWAG!

So I'm about two days behind schedule here. Between thunderstorms, Teacher Appreciation Week (of which I am organizing 100+ teachers and staff for massages paid for by our PTO), and the general craziness that makes up my life, I'm late yet again. This, however, is good news for you! That's right, that means you get another chance to get your entries into this awesome contest! Just read through previous posts and you'll see how!

Tomorrow my review will go live and with it the announcement of winners. So hurry up and enter. Extra entries for anyone who visits Angie at her blog and gives her HUGE CONGRATS on the fact that The Dangerous Book For Demon Slayers is going in for a second printing, and that was even before the official release date!!!!

So go forth and enter. Leave a comment here, leave a comment on Angie's blog, blog it yourself. Just enter!

Take Care

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Q&A With Angie Fox - Enter to WIN!!!

This post on WordPress
One of the funnest parts of hosting authors on here is getting to get a sneak peak, as it were, behind the scenes to their books, writing process, and other fun details that make up the life of an author and then sharing them with all of you. So, grab a cuppa and sit back and read this Q&A I have with Angie. Make sure to post any questions for her in the comments and earn entries into this weeks GREAT contest!


Tell us about The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers.


The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers is the story of what happens when you take a bunch of biker witches to Las Vegas. Well, it’s more than that, I suppose. Lizzie and the gang head to Las Vegas to save her uncle from marrying a succubus.


As she experiences all kinds of new (and weird) things in Vegas, Lizzie is determined, once and for all, to master her powers. In fact, she’s going to write the book on demon slaying. So she begins a journal, The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers, where she records what she’s learning, starting with newfound discoveries about demons, gargoyles and a particularly mischievous live spell named Beanie who likes to fill Lizzie’s boots with pumpkin spice latte.


Things get dangerous when the demons get their hooks in Dimitri. He’s much darker and sexier in this book. And we introduce a new character, Max, who is half demon and 100% yummy.


Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?


Loads, actually. First off, the biker witches ride Harleys, and I’d never been on a motorcycle before. Second, I had to figure out how to get Pirate the dog onto a bike.


I went online and learned about the Biker Dogs Motorcycle Club, made up exclusively of Harley riders and their dogs. I ended up meeting some of them, along with a few other bikers along the way. These bikers were so great to me. They hoisted me onto the back of their Harleys (with dogs in tow). They took me to biker rallies (note to self: don’t wear pink). And they laughed at me when I tried to put my helmet on backwards (I still say I was distracted by the Pomeranian wearing a tiny pair of motorcycle glasses). After a few outings with my new biker friends, I was able to make my geriatric biker witch characters a lot more realistic. And I took home some great pictures, too.


My second favorite it of research was the behind-the-scenes tour of Hoover Dam. The climax of The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers takes place down there, and I was lucky enough to be invited to see first-hand what I’d be writing about. A guide took me far down into the inspection tunnels they used in the 1930’s and 40’s, when the cement was still curing. It was amazing to see the notes these inspectors made on the walls, to hear the stories of those that didn’t quite make it out and to walk the same old metal steps that they did. All of that made it into The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers, along with lots of things I had a blast making up (this is fiction after all).


What was your reaction when you learned The Accidental Demon Slayer was a New York Times bestseller?


Complete shock. The phone rang on a Friday afternoon, as I was writing the climax of The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers. I almost didn’t answer the phone. After all, who would call in smack dab in the middle of a demon invasion?


Luckily, I picked up because it was my agent, saying that The Accidental Demon Slayer would be #34 on the New York Times list the next day. I didn’t know what to think. Heck, I’d just wanted to sell enough books so that I could keep writing about biker witches, demon slayers and talking terriers. I had to ask my agent to please email me too, just to make sure I wasn’t phone-hallucinating.


What comes first: the plot or the characters?


For me, it’s both. For example, when I sat down to write these books, I had no notes about a sidekick for my heroine. But in the second chapter, when she’d learned she was a demon slayer and all hell was after her, she took comfort in her dog. As I was writing, I thought, ‘This is a sweet moment. Now how do I throw her off?’ Simple. I made the dog say something to her. Nothing big. After all, he’s only after the fettuccine from last week. And he knows exactly where my heroine can find it (back of the fridge, to the left of the lettuce crisper, behind the mustard).


It amused me, so I did it. Thanks to her unholy powers, my heroine can now understand her smart-mouthed Jack Russell Terrier. So did plot influence character? Maybe there it did. But I can tell you that as the book evolves, Pirate the dog does his share of influencing the plot too. Bottom line? I think the most important thing when you sit down to the keyboard is to be willing to follow your story in new directions, because if you’re enjoying the surprise, chances are your readers will too.


If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?


Reading…way too much. Oh wait, I do that anyway.


How does your family feel about your career as a romance author?


Well I admit I had these fantasies of my husband saying things like, “Oh let me fix dinner. You look like you’re really focused on getting that dialogue right.” Or my kids saying, “Wow. Mom is a published author. We’d better not use her laptop cord as a jump rope.” Alas, my home life hasn’t changed at all. Well, other than the fact that it might be a bit strange that my four-year-old knows what an editor is. She gets calls from her “editor” on her Tinkerbell play phone.


What do we have to look forward next?


Right now, I’m writing book 3 in the Accidental Demon Slayer series, tentatively titled A Tale of Two Demon Slayers. In it, Lizzie and the gang travel to Greece where they learn more about Dimitri’s past and a threat that could destroy them all. I’m having a ball with it because it’s so much fun to explore Dimitri’s home, his family and his juicy past.


I also have a story in The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2, which comes out on Halloween. And then I’m working on a voodoo novella for this amazing anthology that I’m not allowed to announce yet. But when it is out, and when I do have copies, I’ll be sure to give some out right here because, let’s face it, Charity rocks.


Awe! Thanks Angie! I think YOU ROCK! I've always wondered though, on those anthologies? How do those come to be? Do you the authors get together and decide to pitch it or is it something the editors do? I've just always been curious!

Thanks so much for joining me over here again, Angie. I know you're at RT right now, and what a great time to for it in the ways of promoting, but I know it's tough trying to keep up with us over here! And speaking of RT, how's that going? Has Dimitri been on your heels all night yet?


Take Care

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

WIN Signed Galley Pages And More with Angie Fox!

*Click here for Novel Reads on Word Press, as with yesterday,double entries when comments are left over there.


As you know, my guest this week is the uber talented Angie Fox, author of The Accidental Demon Slayer and the soon to be released The Dangerous Book For Demon Slayers. In fact, this entire week is just one great big celebration in honor of the release of second book in this great series! Why? Because I love the series, that's why. And I'm sure that once you've had a chance to read it (if you haven't already, which I'm sure you have) you will too!

Anyway, as I mentioned yesterday their would be prizes, and whoo boy do we have prizes! Signed books! Kiss My Asphalt Tee Shirts! Cover Flats, anyone? Oh, and SIGNED GALLEY PAGES from The Dangerous Book For Demon Slayers! So, what do I have to do? you may ask, to win such Novel prizes? Well, first, since we're talking Demons, you must make a virgin sacrifice and your first born, never mind, I require no such thing. Simply help us spread the word about Angie and her new book. We have widgets you can post, click here to get one. You can use your Facebook or MySpace status to send people our way. You can use your own blog. You can use e-mail, chat rooms, or any other form you so choose. If you do blog it, please leave me a link in the comments so I can link to you. All they have to do is leave a comment here (http://novelreads.wordpress.com/)saying you sent them. Easy Peasy, no? The comment can be on any post this week that is about Angie and her books or contest rules. There is no limit to how many people you can send our way, the more the merrier in fact, since we want to spread the word far and wide about this great series. Double entries if the person you send our way also gives us their Biker Witch Name, which today my name BWN is Mantrap Marcie Fancy Pants ! I'm definitely digging that one!

This is a pic of the front of the tee shirts up for grabs, and don't forget all the other loot Angie has graciously agreed to give out. For another chance to enter, simply leave a question in the comments for Angie to answer, as she's going to be doing a little Q&A with us this week. I have tell you, she's one busy lady this week, she's also, as I type this, on a plane to Orlando, FL for the RT Convention, where she'll be shadowed by Dimitri on night, and yes, I have requested pictures.

So, what are you waiting for? Get to entering! And for some reason, some comments are getting sent to me for moderation, I'm trying to catch them as quickly as possible, I don't know how to change that yet, but promise I am working on it. This is definitely a work in progress kind of site right now!

Take Care

Monday, April 20, 2009

Welcome Back Angie Fox!!! CONTEST TIME!

*Quick Note: I'm trying to move over to Word Press, so if you click over to that site http://novelreads.wordpress.com/ and comment, I'll give you extra entries today!*

I love debut authors. I always have. So last year, when I had the chance to inteview Angie Fox, the chance to give a way cool prizes with Angie Fox, and the chance to read and celebrate Angie's debut novel The Accidental Demon Slayer, I jumped at it and spent an entire week with the wonderfully funny and talented author. (Note, some of these links are to this blog not my blogger one. As soon as I figure out how to import the comments, those'll go up too!). BUT, you wanna know what's even cooler about introducing a debut author? Having that author back the next year to celebrate their SECOND release AND the fact that they are now a NYT Best selling author!!!!! CONGRATS Angie, you so deserve it!

And the best part? Angie not only agreed to come back this year to celebrate the release of the next book in the series, The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers, she's also agreed to host a contest... right here on this blog! I can't tell you all the prizes just yet, but I can tell you there will be tee shirts are more! So, let's just kick it off today with an easy way to start entering. First, click here and tell me your Biker Witch Name, mine is Mosquito Bite Marcie No Pants, I imagine I'll choose a different one for every day of this Week O' Demon Slayin'. Just leave your name in the comments.

78%


Then, click here to find out How Much of a Demon Slayer You Are, and leave me a comment telling me your percentage. Want even more entries? Use the widget on your own blog, MySpace, or FaceBook page and leave me a linkyloo in the comments and you'll get FIVE extra entries into the contest, and please be sure to link back to this post in yours.

Check back tomorrow for more Angie Fox fun! This is gonna be one WILD week!

Take Care

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Novel Reads on Word Press?

I'm working on moving posts over there, what do you think click here or go here - http://novelreads.wordpress.com/ . I've just started but I think I may like it over there better, since Blogger gives me such fits, but I'm just not sure, give me some insight as to what you think!

Take Care

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Evil In Carnations by Kate Collins

I'm a few months late on a review of this one, but seeing as it took me forever to finally get my hands on it, I'd like to think I can be excused. My local Wally World doesn't carry cozies, so on release day I headed out of town to the mall to see if they had it. I traveled 1.5 hours to not get my book. Called every few days only to be told they didn't have it yet but could order it for me. Well, duh! I finally went online to B&N.com and ordered this one and a few others (I'm not long on on-line orders). I guess that just goes to show how much I love me my Bloomers and crew!

Evil In Carnations by Kate Collins
(BCC)

What do you do when your best friend and roommate can't relate to your relationship bliss? I tried to help her get back her mojo...but I didn't know her first date would turn out to have cold feet - literally.

THE DATING SCENE CAN BE A KILLER.

Determined to help her roommate, Nikki, out of her singles slump, Abby Knight encourages her to give speed dating a try. Of course Nikki wants the guy at the very bottom of Abby's list, Jonas Treat - aka Treat the Cheat - and figures one day with him cant hurt. Her lack of good judgment catches up with her when Jonas is found dead - and evidence points to Nikki as his killer.

To clear Nikki's name, Abby enlists the help of her ex-Army Ranger boyfriend, Marco. But just when Nikki's situation looks dire and Abby needs Marco most, his rambunctious extended family descends, turning Abby's hectic life into a disaster zone. Abby's patience is seriously wilting, but with a killer on the loose, she can't throw in the trowel. She's determined to dig herself out of this mess - before someone buries her instead.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I LOVE Abby Knight and the cast of characters that is her family and friends. I want to live in New Chapel and I want to work at Bloomers. Yes, I would have no problems living in that fictional world.

Abby has had many a close call with the police. She's had to clear her own name, her hunky boyfriends name, and many others. But now, her best friend, Nikki is accused of murder. Sweet Nikki. Abby can't believe it when the police show up at her apartment to bring Nikki in for questioning. But what Abby really is having a hard time believing is that maybe, just maybe, she doesn't know her best friend nearly as well as she thought she did. And more than probably she's to blame for putting Nikki in this predicament in the first place.

But poor Abby has more to worry about than Nikki's case, her dear friend and co-worker Lottie has to be rushed to the hospital, Marco's sister doesn't exactly trust Abby with her brother's heart, and finally both families think that Marco and Abby are engaged!

In this latest installment, the eighth in The Flower Shop Mysteries, Collins proves yet again that the roots she's planted in the cozy genre are thriving. I enjoy watching Abby grow as not only a person but also as an amateur sleuth. I enjoy the relationships she's formed and the easy way in which the reader is transported into this world. Collins writes solid mysteries adding just the right amount of humor and romance to ensure something to appease even the pickiest of readers.

Collins has a new site launching on May 1, that's why her name above takes you to her joint blog.

Take Care

I'm BAAACCCCKKKKK!!!!

Well, I've been silent a while, again. Sorry about that. Things are nuts, as they often are, around here. Things have also been a bit scary. I've lost my job (no huge loss, and it's for the better), The Hubs has survived one lay-off only to have the company announce they would be doing another one. We're awaiting news on if we survive that one or not. He's thinking he'll be fine, but you just never know. I was literally sick to the stomach for a few weeks before we found out last time and this time I'm not doing much better. However, we've decided to just let it go and give it to God, He's always seen us through, we are nothing if not resilient, so hopefully... This is the time of year when my volunteer schedule fills up quickly and takes a great amount of time, but it too is slowly coming to a close.

Miss Beautiful survived a tough winter, making it through two serious cases of pneumonia, strep poisoning, scarlet fever, and a fever that lasted four days and reached as high as 104.9. She's finally back to pre-sick weight, which is still underweight for her age, but she's healthy, happy and strong and that's all I can ask for.

Bear has almost reached his self imposed goal of 100 AR points. He is 8 away and will be among a very few 3rd graders that will reach that number. He is looking forward to swimming again soon, and while practices and meets take up a lot of my time in the summer, it's worth it to see him so happy. His school work is OK, he has a noisy class and as a dyslexic it makes it tough for him, but he's passing with almost all 'A's and we're proud of him just for trying and studying so very hard. We've been reading The 39 Clues series of books together and are anxiously awaiting the next one in June. I'll be posting about them soon!

So as you can see - we're busy. I had almost decided that it wasn't really worth it to keep up the blog. That money is so tight, and things are so uncertain right now that it would be better if I just quit. But for the same reasons I thought about quitting, I've decided to get back on the horse and continue to talk books. Books are my escape, and if you're reading this, I imagine they are yours as well. So, if I can make it that much easier to decide on a good book or help steer you away from an iffy one, then that's worth it! Also, I would like to thank Fantasy Dreamer for the Let's Be Friends Award. Trust me, I needed that and it played no small part in getting me back to this site!

So, I'm going to type up some book talk next, and a second post for today will go up. I've got an interview with LuAnn McLane to post soon and Best Selling Author Angie Fox will be returning in a couple of weeks to party with us in celebration of her second book THE DANGEROUS BOOK FOR DEMON SLAYERS ! We have a some really fun stuff planned, hopefully even bigger and better than the blast we had last year!

Take Care

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Let It Snow!

The kids are on Spring Break today. Can't you tell by the pictures I took just a little bit ago? Ignore the date on the pic, I don't know how to change the date!

Bear playing snowball baseball with the neighbor!
Miss Beautiful not impressed with the snow, because she was cold! Look how those blue eyes stand out!
It was my 10 year anniversary yesterday, and Spring Break is ending. I PROMISE, back to the regularly scheduled blogging as soon as life gets back to normal!

Take Care

Friday, March 20, 2009

Contests And More Coming Soon

I've spent the last week at the school for the most part. I volunteer a lot and we had our fundraiser and Spring pictures this week, so I felt like I worked there without pay!

Anyway, will be back very shortly (hoping tomorrow but may be Sunday) with some great give a ways and reviews!

Take Care

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Grave Sins by Jenna Maclaine

Before I start in I want to let you know that I'm teaming up with Author Island again and will kick off the contest tomorrow. Also, thanks for the well wishes for Miss Beautiful. She's doing somewhat better, but her teacher requested she not return to school yet. Apparently, there have been a lot of absences in her class, and most of them are because of a different ailment. So, in an attempt to keep her already weakened immune system safe we're keeping her home one more day. Though, nothing gets done when she's home but a whole lot of cuddling!

Grave Sins by Jenna Maclaine
(BCC)

In the arms of her lover Michael, Cin Craven has found satisfaction for her most primal longings, reaching heights of pleasure no mere human could ever imagine. She has also found a purpose for her unearthly powers. Cin is a member of the Righteous, a band of slayers that hunts down vampires who inflict evil upon the world. With Michael by her side, Cin's latest mission brings her face-to face with Marrakesh, a beautiful, half-mad vampire queen charged with slaughtering humans. If she's found guilty, Marrakesh will pay with her life. But Cin is convinced that someone - or something - far more ruthless is trying to steal the queen's throne. It's a mission that will put Michael and Cin against each other for the first time, awakening their darkest instincts and testing their love like never before...

I've talked about the first book in this series and you can see that here. As you can see, I enjoyed it very much. I just love it when a debut author is this good. Love it!

In Grave, it's been thirteen years since Cin has joined the Righteous and she has had no regrets with her life or her mate in all of this time. But when Drake, the Sentinel of the Dark Council shows up at Cin's old homestead (her yearly vacation spot) to tell the Righteous they have been called to investigate the disappearance of, and death of, humans in Marrakesh. While this is what the Righteous do, this particular assignment has them all a bit nervous. The suspect is none other than the Queen of the area, Marrakesh, who can see the truth of a persons soul by touch. The "gift" has turned the Queen to bouts of madness and it has long been thought that Marrakesh, not her King is the person that metes out the punishment and truly does the ruling.

But Cin has her doubts about the Queen's guilt and the Righteous find more questions than answers and danger at every turn and no one can be trusted. Aside from the question of who is out to get the queen, Drake and Michael have a past and that threatens to tear apart the loving and trusting relationship that Cin and Michael have cultivated over the past years. Cin's aunt is after them, and plans to stop Cin from practicing magic. And it seems that no one truly is what they seem.

All fingers seem to point at magic, a magic that Cin can sense, but has no idea what it is or from where it came. A dark magic that may once and for all destroy the Righteous before they can destroy it.

In a page turning tale, Maclaine had me on the edge of my seat and unable to put the book down until the end, but I wasn't satisfied, I wanted more and I wanted it NOW! The unique blend of witch and vampire that is Cin, has this reader hooked and I can't wait to find out what's in store for us next!

If you haven't read Maclaine yet, I strongly suggest you get out there and pick up these two books, they are a definite must have for any shelf of fans of the Paranormal genre. You can also send me a quote for the quote of the day in my sidebar and be entered to win a copy of any book I talk about this month, that includes this one! Send quotes to novelreads @ gmail . com (ya know, without the spaces!).

Take Care

Monday, March 9, 2009

Miss Beautiful has pneumonia again, bacterial this time. I'll try and get on here tomorrow to do some posting, but she's been needing momma a lot these last few days!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Claiming The Rancher's Heart by Cindy Kirk

Claiming The Rancher's Heart by Cindy Kirk
(BCC)

THE SURVEY SAYS:
TRUE LOVE

The sleepy town of Wildwoods* was abuzz with romance ever since a doctoral student decided to come there and find everyone's perfect match. When sophisticated city girl Stacie Summers was paired with rugged cowboy Josh Collins, they both thought it was a terrible mistake. After all, they didn't have a thing in common...other than the spark that instantly flared between them.

But even though Josh thought his survey result was way off base, he couldn't push the gregarious Stacie from his mind. And Stacie's low opinion of ranchers inched up with her heart rate whenever Josh was around. Could this unlikely friendship turn into something even unlikelier - love?

* Not sure why the name on the BCC doesn't quite match the one in the book...

Confession time - this is the first category Romance I've ever read. GASP! I know, right?! I have a few in a box somewhere (some one gave them to me), but I've never read them. Why, you may ask? Well, I guess I just don't have a good reason. I've made assumptions about the category as a whole, and while I'm never proud of myself for making assumptions, I continue to do so. First of all, I've ASSumed that the shorter length would make the story pacing too rushed for me to enjoy. Secondly, I figured that the shorter length would mean the ending would be less than belivable because, really how could two people reasonably fall in love within the span of roughly 200 pages? Thirdly, I felt that the characters would feel two diminsional and be lacking in any plausible traits. Lastly, I feared that I'd want more, and not be satisfied.

Well, all but my last assumption turned out to be just that - ASSumption. When I entered a contest over on Kirk's joint blog, The Sisterhood of the Jaunty Quills, and did not win, but Kirk ended up giving everyone that entered a prize of some sort, I figured now was as good as time as any to give a category a chance. I'm pleased I did.

Stacie has come to Sweet River, with her two roommates, Anna, Sweet River native, and Lauren who is working on her dissertation project of male-female compatibility. When Lauren's computer program spits out Stacie a match, and that match turns out to be rancher Josh, Stacie is less than pleased. She doesn't like ranchers, "She liked her men more artsy, preferring the starving-poet look over a bulky linebacker any day." It doesn't matter that when she first meets him her body immediately reacts. It doesn't matter, because she's on a mission to find her "bliss" and a rancher like Josh was not in her plans.

Josh isn't much happier with Stacie than she with him; he's been burned before by a woman just like her, when his ex-wife decided he wasn't enough. But friendship comes so naturally for the two that it becomes harder and harder for the two to ignore the flame that's growing hotter and hotter between them every time they meet.

I really enjoyed Josh and Stacie and wish I had more time with them. Wish I could have watched a little longer as they discover that past mistakes and future dreams don't have to stop one's true "bliss". And aside from a few choppy moments of dialogue that I felt didn't really jive, Kirk has made a category reader out of me, and I can't wait to read more from this very talented author.

For a Romance that's all heart read this book. Then look for the next book from Sweet River Your Ranch or Mine? in July.

Take Care

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Falling For Gracie by Susan Mallery

I got my books yesterday and all I want to do right now is read! I quit reading on the two books I already had started and have cracked open Evil In Carnations by Kate Collins! I LOVE Kate's books, if I haven't made that clear before now, and am so happy to finally have this book!

Falling For Gracie by Susan Mallery
(BCC)

First comes love, then comes marriage...

At least, that was Gracie's plan at the ripe old age of fourteen. She loved eighteen-year-old heartthrob Riley with a desperation that made her a town legend. Even now that she's all grown up, the locals in sleepy Los Lobos won't let her forget her youthful crush.

And how can she, when she's face-to-face with Riley at every turn? The onetime bad boy has come back to town seeking respectability - but the sparks that fly between them are anything but respectable! Gracie's determined to keep her distance, but when someone sets out to ruin both their reputations, the two discover that first love is sometimes better the second time around.


This is actually a re-issue. I read this book when it was first released, LOVED it, ended up giving it to my sister to read, and never saw it again. Oh, I've looked at the bookstore from time to time, to see if perhaps a stray copy was left on the shelves, but had had no luck. Until I saw the title with a shiny new cover! YAY! I snatched it up and read it again as soon as I got home.

Mallery has always been a hit or miss author with me. Most of her books I enjoy, but others just put me off so badly I think I may never read her again. But FFG has got to be up there as one of my all time favorite Romances.

I loved reading the lengths young Gracie had gone to to get her man. I laughed out loud at some of her stunts, and loved how the town pulled for Gracie at the tender age of fourteen because she knew how to love with her whole heart.

I hated that her mother sent her away and never let her come home. I hated that her sisters were such self-centered bitches. I hated the selfish way her family acted, and the way Gracie dearly wished she was part of their group.

I loved the tension between her and Riley. My heart ached for her when she realizes she'll never have the relationship she wants with her mom and sisters. I was furious when some one tried to ruin her cake business. And I cheered for her when all the pieces started to fall into place.

And that was how I knew this book was such a keeper. I felt these characters as if they were my neighbors. I was emotionally invested in the characters because Mallery's crafted them so incredibly well.

The banter between Gracie and Riley is easy and seems to flow freely. The relationships with Gracie and everyone around her are all so believable. The HEA had my heart smiling for days after and even now as I type this.

I fell for Gracie, and think that any reader of Romance should have this as a must read!

Take Care

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Daddy Daughter Ball


Ignore the date on the bottom of the pic, I'm not sure how to fix it! Anyway, last night was the annual Daddy Daughter Ball and The Hubs and Miss Beautiful were in attendance.

The Hubs bought our little Princess a corsage. They went out to eat first, then to the high school gym for the big dance, where they danced the night away. A good time was had by all!

And this pic, is from my weekend of fun. Friday night was GNO and we had an absolute blast! Last night, after the Ball, The Hubs took me and my friends out to see our favorite band play at a local club.

Back to books tomorrow!

Take Care

Friday, February 27, 2009

Glitter Baby by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Glitter Baby by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
(BCC)

Fleur Savagar is the most beautiful woman in the world...to everyone but herself. With her oversized hands and paddle boat feet, her streaky blond hair and funny green eyes, she lives a life filled with secrets that began before she was born. That was when her bewitching mother left home to find James Dean and met Errol Flynn instead. Now Fleur has to grow up quickly, and life won't make that easy.

Jake Koranda is both New York's most brilliant playwright and Hollywood's hottest actor. Difficult, talented, and tormented, he has no patience for international glamour girls, not even ones with beautiful bodies and smart-aleck mouths. But there's more to the Glitter Baby than shine, and Fleur's tougher than Hake expects. Even with the odds stacked against her, she's fiercely determined to discover the woman she's destined to be.

And ugly duckling who can't believe she's turned into a swan...A tough-guy movie star with a haunted past...In a land of broken dreams, can two unlikely lovers trust their hearts?

I'm a late SEP bloomer. I didn't start reading her until, oh, about three years ago? Four maybe. Anyway, whenever Aint She Sweet was released for the first time, that's when I started reading her. I fell in love. I loved Sugar Baby. I hated Winnie. I loved the fact that the book created such strong emotions in me. I was hooked on SEP. I immediately went to the library and read all the books by her they had. I pretty much loved just about every book by her since.

I have to say though, that I was less than impressed with GB. I know it's a re-issue with changes. I have not read the original so I can't tell you what any of those changes were. What I do know, is that I expected more of a Romance than what I felt this one was. I expected this to be mainly about GB and Jake, but it was a whole lot of back story of Glitter Baby's mother and her story. Granted, we needed all of that information for the whole convoluted plot to make sense, but still, I just did not feel this one.

It took me days to read this book. I mean, days. Usually I have an SEP read within hours, but I was reading GB for what seemed like forever. I just wanted it to end, but found myself unwilling to give up the reading simply because it was an SEP.

One of the main things that lead to my distaste for this one is the BCC. I haven't had a good ole BCC hate fest in a while, so let me just revel in the fact that I finally have one. As I said, I expected more of a Romance because of that, and the fact that SEP wrote the book. Granted, one of the things I love about SEP is her ability to blend Women's Fiction with Romance so seemlessly that the end result is an amazing read. There was just too much in this for me. Too much drama. Too much story. Ya know?

Anyway, I have SEP's What I Did For Love in my to read stack right now. I have much higher hopes for that one. I'm still a huge fan, so I won't let my distate of this one stop me from enjoying it!

Take Care

Thursday, February 26, 2009

MacGowan's Ghost by Cindy Miles

Don't forget to send me your favorite book quotes, they can be from any genre. I don't care, just so long as they're from a book. If you're name is drawn at the end of each contest month (25-24 of each month) then I'll send you some coffee and a book!

MacGowan's Ghost by Cindy Miles
(BCC)

It's Hard to leave the past behind when it keeps coming back to haunt you...

Odin's Thumb Inn and Pub may be owned by brooding Highlander Gabe MacGowan, but it is actually run by a crew of ornery ghosts, who aren't eager for their home to undergo a change in management. Gabe intends to sell the pub not only to give his son a more stable environment but to escape what really haunts him - his wife's death.

Leave it to fun-loving American Allie Morgan to come to Gabe's rescue. Hired to oust the sneaky spirits, who are chasing away potential buyers of the inn, Allie winds up winning the hearts of everyone in the Scottish seaside village, including those of the ghost of a sea captain and Gabe himself. Now all she has to do is find a way to help the sexy Highlander chase away his own ghosts.

I had dished the first two books Miles published while at d&D, click here for Spirited Away and here for Into Thin Air . As you can tell, I really enjoyed Spirited but had a few problems with Into. I never did pick up the third book Highland Knight, but only because it never was stocked at my local Wally World or the out of town bookstore I frequent, or else I probably would have read it. Anyway...

MacGowan's was a bit different from the previous two Miles books I had read, as it's not actually a ghost or other supernatural entity that is the hero, rather Gabe, the hero is haunted by the ghost of his late wife and also has a group of ghosties that have been a part of his life and that of the towns for as long as they can remember. As he's wanting to sale his pub, and the local ghosties don't want him and his son to leave, he hires Allie to get them to leave, or at least behave until he can find a buyer.

But as soon as Allie arrives she is immediately charmed by the lot of ghosties as well as the pub, the town and Gabe. Soon though, Allie understands that it isn't any undead soul that may need mending as much as it is Gabe's.

I have to say, that I really did enjoy the story, as Miles is a strong storyteller, and she weaves her stories well. BUT, I missed the medieval aspect. I missed the ghost getting the girl and becoming real. While I hate to discourage an author from going out and trying something different, I was fairly disappointed that the ghosts seemed to be mere ghosts in getting Gabe and Allie together.

Am I sorry I read it? Absolutely not. I found myself once again transported by Miles' strong characters and realistic dialogue. Miles is skilled with the written word and a great addition to any Romance readers shelves.

Am I glad that the next book out will be more of the Miles I had come to enjoy? You bet! If only we could go back to the cutesie covers!

For a chuckle or two, and some down right heartwarming moments, I say grab MacGowan's Ghost. I think you'll be glad you did!

Take Care

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Monthly Coffee and a Book Contest

Wanna win a book and a container of flavored coffee? All you have to do is e-mail me with one of your favorite book quotes for my new Quote of the Day. The quote can be funny, sad, silly, touching, sexy, anything, just so long as it's one of your favorites. Send as many quotes as you like, only the first 10 of each month however will go into the drawing.

Each month, I will draw a winner for all the names who sent me a quote. That's all you have to do to win. So send me an e-mail to novelreads at gmail dot com (you know the drill) with the quote, who said it and in what book. Contests run from the 25th of each month to the 25th of the next. Coffee will be your choice of one of these or one of these and the book will be your choice of one I've talked about that month.

Authors, want to sponsor the contest one month? Simply send me an e-mail to same one above. I'll supply the coffee, you can supply the book :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Romance With Kristan Higgins...

... her books, that is, Kristan Higgins' books. And let me just state, this isn't a new thing, either. Nope, I've been in love with Higgins' since I sat down with Millie and read her story in Fools Rush In. I think I've probably scared a few people in bookstores as I hand sell these books. I personally have bought at least 8 copies of FRI and multiples of Catch of the Day and Just One Of The Guys. I send them to friends. I give them to my sisters. I gave one as a teacher gift last year. This is not a joke, people. I love these books so much that if The Hubs ever leaves me, I will marry them! The last three trips to the bookstore I've managed to talk over 5 people into buying her books, only to have my favorite sales lady tell me they came back in and asked if I had more recommendations because they LOVED those Higgins' books.

And it's not just because I'm quoted (though I no longer get the credit for them) in the front of all but Fools Rush In! NO. I adore these books and let me tell you why - Higgins doesn't write characters in a novel, Higgins writes your best friend. Your neighbor. You. She crafts stories that you live. Stories that feel like you're with Millie, Maggie, Chastity, and Grace, laughing and crying with them as they discover themselves and love. So indulge me, if you will (and as a side note: I picture myself saying that in a very Rocky Horror Picturesque way), as I gush my love of all things Higgins.

You can see what I'm quoted from by clicking here, and then read the review I did of this book by clicking here there's even a bit of an interview included in with that review. None of my feelings have changed. In fact, I may actually love this book even more. You all know I've quit smoking. Now I'm trying to get fit and stay in shape - by running. That's right, Chari-Dee is running. It's scary how bad I am. I mean, me and "in shape" aren't even in the same universe right now. What's really funny though, is that if you want a glimpse of what me running is like, pick up this book. Millie will have you laughing your head off, I know I was, until I started running that is. I just finished a re-read of Fools and my heart still broke with Millie and my heart still smiled at the end, just as if it was the first time I had ever read it. For me, Fools is a must for any true Romance reader.

You can see where I'm quoted from for this book by clicking here. What can I say, I loved Maggie's story as well. If not as much as Millie's, it still had the same effect. I closed the page and immediately missed my friend, Maggie. I had a smile in my heart and on my face and just plain felt good about life and love in general. I bawled my eyes out while reading this book. I mean wept people, huge wracking sobs that had my husband a bit worried, and damn I have to go re-read this one now. Who hasn't loved the wrong person and have that love not reciprocated? Maggie's story, like Millie's that will have you laughing and crying and just so darn glad to be a reader. Plus, Higgins won the Rita for this one, so you really should be reading it!

Now it's time for a small confession and one I'm not very proud of. It took me a while to get this book. I was working a lot of hours. Our local Wally World (only place to buy books that's close) did not have it. dee had told me she'd send me a signed copy and she forgot. I was getting irritated. It had seemed like the fates did not want me to have this book. Quotes in it be damned, I was not to have this book. Then finally I had time to run out of town and go book shopping. I grabbed this book as well as many, many, many others, only to not read this one right away. I was mad that it took so long for me to get it. Mad that I have loved and cherished all her other books, bought them as close to release as possible, only to have to wait forever for this one. Mad that it was getting rave reviews everywhere I turned and I still hadn't had it in my hands. Let's face it, I was a big baby throwing a pity party. I had it for a couple of months before I actually read it on our trip to Texas at Christmas time. The minute I reached The End, I opened it up and read it all over again. Then I was mad for a completely different reason, because it had taken me so damn long to grow up and read the thing!

Holy Crap! I LOVE Chastity and Trevor. Lovelovelove them. I didn't think any one could replace Millie in the top spot of favorite, but I was wrong, Chastity had me from go. And, like Millie, Chastity runs in this book. Unlike Millie, Chastity is a very verra good runner. I wanna be Chastity when I grow up. I already have my Trevor, but I'm nowhere near as cool as my new best friend Chastity. This book goes with me everywhere. It's in my purse almost constantly and every long(ish) trip we take, I'm reading this. The spine is wearing out. It really is sad, but in a good kinda way, right? I've bought copies and sent them to friends. This is one of the books that I nearly scared the book store customer with my recommendation. I'm sure I looked a bit like a fanatic while expelling the virtues of Just One Of The Guys. This book has gone from me being mad at it, to me loving it for all eternity. It has surpassed just about every book I've read and landed itself as Numero Uno on my Keeper Shelf. I'm giddy just thinking about it!


Upon the release of Higgins' latest book, too good to be true, I wasn't foolish enough to wait this time. I rushed out to the book store and nabbed it up. I read it the minute I got home. I enjoyed it, but hate to say that Chastity kind of stole the show from Grace. I really did enjoy just about every aspect of Grace and her story, but her irrational worship of her younger sister kind of bothered me. While still a definite keeper and a book I'm sure to re-read multiple times, tgtbt and Grace just didn't grab me has hard as Millie and Chastity. But I definitely recommend this one!

Now tell me, am I the only one who goes nuts about certain authors and their books? Are there any books you absolutely adore and can read over and over and over again?

Take Care

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bragging Auntie


Just wanted to share these pics my sister just e-mailed me. I don't get to see my Texas family much, and I miss them. Look how BEAUTIFUL my youngest niece is. I promise, back to books tomorrow!

Thanks

I want to thank everyone for the kind words of sympathy on the loss of my cousin. I must admit, that the funeral hit me a little harder than I had expected. There have been a lot of changes in my life this past week - for instance, I quit my job and am back to being a full time mom again. Now, if the volunteering would slow down a bit I will be able to be more regular here, where I really want to be. My last major function of the year is tomorrow so it won't be long!

I am working on a post, but may not get it up until tomorrow evening, so I wanted to say a quick thanks, and let everyone know that prizes have all been shipped earlier this week. Should be arriving soon.

Take Care

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Cousin - May He Rest In Peace

My cousin died yesterday. He was killed in an accident at work. From what I know, he was working on scaffolding when the storm kicked up faster than expected and blew him off. He will be missed.

I was around 11 or 12 when he was born *I think* I can't tell you exactly. I remember being at the hospital, trying to keep his older brother amused and I can remember hearing him cry one of his first cries. I remember him as a cute little ragamuffin with the blondest of blond ringlet curls, and a smile that promised mischief. He was a loving little guy, but whoo boy did he like to be ornery!

I remember that, but I can't say that I really knew the young man he had become. I know he was to deploy over seas soon. I know he had an absolute shit for dad, and not much more for a mother the first few years of his life. I know that, despite, or perhaps in spite, of that, he was a sweet kid. I know my parents would drive the hour or so out of town ever so often to take him and his brothers out to buy new clothes and just spend some loving time with them.

I know that he was a sweet kid. I know that, despite his fathers faults, he loved him and saw something good. I know that, if not for him, his father may not have found a way to act half decent. And I know without him, my mother worries very much about her baby brother and how he will be now that the one son out of three that loved him is gone.

I know that part of my family is gone and I feel it in my heart. My family may be large, but I find each and every one of them necessary and irreplaceable.

I know that he is with his true Father and that He is holding him and seeing to his happiness. I know that he is looking on us with love and I know that Heaven is blessed with one more angel. I know this, but it doesn't stop me from wishing that just once more I could have hugged that big bear of a young man and made sure he understood how loved he was.

Take Care

Reviews to follow tomorrow.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

And the winner Is...

blackroze37yahoo.com

Congrats! E-mail me at novelreads at gmail dot com (ya know the drill) with your snail mail addy and choice of your favorite flavor of coffee!

AND, since there were quite a few entries, Miss Beautiful wanted to pick more names, so:
Raven99


donnas


TezMiller


if you'll send me your snail mail addy and your choice of ONE of the books I had up for grabs, I'll send you a copy as well, compliments of my beautiful daughter.

For everyone else, check back often, I plan on holding contests more often, because it makes me happy to give good books, and times are tough, I need to get with the happy things!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Last Day To Enter

To Enter, just leave me a comment here! You could win the following:

Dogs And Goddesses by Jennifer Crusie, Lani Diane Rich and Anne Stuart.

At Grave's End by Jeaniene Frost

Mistress of Pleasure by Delilah Marvele

Wages of Sin by Jenna Maclaine

And your choice of one of these flavored coffees.

So hurry and enter to win. I'll close the contest at midnight tonight.

Take Care

Monday, February 2, 2009

WIn Dogs And Goddesses by Jenny Crusie, Anne Stuart and Lani Diane Rich

OK, so crappy week with severely sick daughter. Can't find What I Did For Love at any store near me in my little piece of nowhere Kansas. Did my taxes today and discovered it would be more beneficial to us as a whole if I quit my job. Just crappy all the way around lately. BUT, I was lucky enough to find this book yesterday, a book I've been drooling over! And I'm loving it.

SO, since it's brought some happiness to me in my crap filled days lately, I'm making it the final book to go in my prize package to make some one else happy, especially with tax time here!!! You won't be getting mine, as it will already be on my keeper shelf before the contest ends!

So, to read more about this fantastic book you can view the website Dogs and Goddesses or the authors individual sites. Jenny Crusie , Anne Stuart , Lani Diane Rich

Quick Note: All books will be new unless specified and unsigned, I'll be shipping them straight from an online store.

Novel Chats Paranormal Style - Part the First

Thanks to everyone for the well wishes going out to Miss Beautiful. We were pretty scared for a while. She has pneumonia, strep poisoning and scarlet fever. Thanks to a shot of Rocephin at the hospital and heavy doses of twice daily antibiotic she's on the mend. And although we had a note saying she could return to school today, the school thought it best that she rest one more day before trying it. I agree. She's still very congested and she tires very easily. And now, on with it!

Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland
From The Author's Website:

Darkness will summon her…

Elizabeth Phoenix once used her unique skills as a psychic to help in the Milwaukee Police Department's fight against injustice. But when Liz's foster mother is found viciously murdered—and Liz is discovered unconscious at the scene—her only memory of the crime comes in the form of terrifying dreams...of creatures more horrific than anything Liz has seen in real life. What do these visions mean? And what in the world do they have to do with her former lover, Jimmy Sanducci?

To places she's never been before…

While the police question Jimmy in the murder, Jimmy opens Liz's eyes to a supernatural war that has raged since the dawn of time in which innocent people are hunted by malevolent beings disguised as humans. Only a chosen few have the ability to fight their evil, and Jimmy believes Liz is among them. Now, with her senses heightened, new feelings are rising within Liz—ones that re-ignite her dangerous attraction to Jimmy. But Jimmy has a secret that will rock Liz to her core…and put the survival of the human race in peril.…

I received this book quite some time ago, and truth be told, I almost didn’t read it. I had seen that Handeland was a NYT Bestseller and that it was part of a series from the cover, and just assumed (I have to learn to quit that!) that it was a mid-series novel. Plus, I had never read Handeland before and the touting of bestseller always makes me nervous when I haven’t read the author before. Anyway, with a tip from a Yahoo! Group I belong to from a fellow reviewer, I went ahead and read it. They had enjoyed the book, plus I was seeing a lot of reviews – all good – all over the net. That, coupled with the fact that this was the FIRST book in a series had me cracking the spine.

All in all, I enjoyed the book. The concept is exceptional, but the writing I found to merely mediocre. While enjoyed the actual plot, the characters left me somewhat cold. I did, eventually warm up somewhat to the people of this fantastic world, but unfortunately, it didn’t last long. I’ll definitely give the second book a try, but it’s not one I will be rushing to the stores to own. I give this one a C.

Blood Bargain by Maria Lima

(BCC)

Keira Kelly has settled in at Wild Moon Ranch with handsome Adam Walker, her vampire lover, but her life is not so hot. Not only is Keira still struggling with the Change that will bring her an as of yet unknown paranormal power, but Adam’s avoiding intimacy and mysteriously growing weak. At least she has Tucker, her 1200-year-old shapeshiting ex-Viking brother, around to help. When a ranch hand is reported missing and some teens disappear, Keira and Tucker have a heap of unexpected trouble piled on ‘em. There’s a lot of weird doing down around Rio Seco, Texas, and after Keira and Tucker stumbled across some dangerous clues in an abandoned cemetery, things get even stranger…

Bargain is the second book in the Blood Lines series, and I had talked about he first book, Matters of the Blood here. I can’t link to a purchase button right now, as Bargain and Matters were both Juno releases and as you know, they’ve partnered with Pocket Books, According to Lima’s blog though, it looks like they should get re-printed from Pocket later in the year.

When I read Matters it was a dark tale. Terrifying yet witty. Scary yet Romancy. I had expected Bargain to be the same and was eager to delve into this richly written world with its complex characters yet again. I quickly noticed one thing – this wasn’t the world and the character I had left when Matters closed. Keira seemed more fluff in this book. She had apparently gotten used to the good life with Adam, and lost all of her edge. Even when the mystery starts, the lack of characteristics that made Keira so complex and fantastic in the first book left a huge gaping hole in this fictional world. The tone was far lighter even when the plot would have left much room for some dark, kick ass Keira moments. All in all, the tone was entirely too different from the first book and left this reader feeling betrayed. The third book will be released in November and I’ll eagerly crack the spine in anticipation that the dark and twisted world, balanced perfectly with wit and humor has been restored, and the light, trying too hard to be comical Keira is gone. If this were the first book in a series, I would grade it much higher, but since the feel of the book and overall character assassination was too much for me to handle, I have to give this one a D. Lima can do better, she’s already proved that.

Don’t forget to enter the contest! You have two more days.

Take Care


Friday, January 30, 2009

Miss Beautiful

My daughter has been extremely sick. Should be back on tomorrow or Sunday with another Novel Chat.

Take Care

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

At Grave's End by Jeaniene Frost

Let me just get this over with, SQUEEEEEEE!! I won a signed copy of this book on Frost's MySpace contest! I tell you this not to rub it in, but to let you know that since I won a signed copy, my copy is going into the prize package for the current contest. I've read it, but you'd be hard pressed to prove that, so I feel good about including it as a give away!

At Grave's End by Jeaniene Frost
(BCC)
Some Things Won't Stay Buried...
At Grave's End

It should be the best time of half-vampire Cat Crawfield's life. With her undead lover Bones at her side, she's successfully protected mortals from the rogue undead. But though Cat's worn disguise after disguise to keep her true identity a secret from the brazen bloodsuckers, her cover's finally been blown, placing her in terrible danger.

As if that wasn't enough, a woman from Bones's past is determined to bury him once and for all. Caught in the crosshairs of a vengeful vamp, yet determined to help Bones stop a lethal magic from being unleashed, Cat's about to lean the true meaning of bad blood. And the tricks she's learned as a special agent won't help her. She will need to fully embrace her vampire instincts in order to save herself-and Bones-from a fate worse than the grave.

I posted a dish on the first book in this series while at d&D, you can see it by clicking here. I'm not sure why I never posted on the second book, but suspect it was during my quiet time. But trust me, I totally dug it. And now that the third book has been released, I'm not really gonna bother with a "review."

I will say that I LOVE this series. I was hooked with book one. This world that Frost has created is one I look forward to visiting and one I hate to say good-bye to at the end of the books. Cat is a hell of a kick ass heroine. Bones is my favorite vampire and I have a serious case of literary lust. Every book thus far has taken me on a roller coaster ride that has me turning the pages faster and faster. In a time when vampire fiction is around every corner and growing old to some, Frost has staked a claim in my MUST buy category.

So, if you wanna win this book and the other prizes mentioned so far, help me out! In the flap of the book is a picture of Cat with a man whom I'm assuming to be Bones. This is not my idea of Bones. In fact, he looks kind of like Lewis Smith in The Heavenly Kid. So, all you have to do to be entered is point me in the direction of someone hot enough to be Bones. I don't even have to agree with your idea of hotness!

Take Care

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Novel Chats - Debut Authors- Contest

I'm going to be doing a few Novel Chats within the next few posts. I was quiet for quite some time and I didn't quit reading, so I have a lot to talk about! Plus, I really kinda like the NCs. They're fun to write.

Mistress of Pleasure by Delilah Marvelle
(BCC)

REAL PLEASURE CAN'T BE TAKEN... Granddaughter of a renowned courtesan, Maybelle de Maitenon has no interest in her grandmother's school in London where gentlemen receive instruction - in the art of seduction. Her only desire in life is to remain independent, free from men and the shackles of marriage. But when Maybelle lays eyes on Edmund Worthington, the Duke of Rutherford, at a soiree, and hears of his scandalous reputation, she decides he's the perfect person for her to have a tryst with no strings attached... IT MUST BE GIVEN... Unbridled passion has again muddied Edmund Worthington's family name. After his very public dalliance with the strikingly beautiful and sensual Maybelle, his mother insists he marry her. But much to the Duke's surprise, Maybelle scoffs at his proposal. Never has he encountered such a brazen - and maddeningly irresistible - woman. But when Maybelle's grandmother falls ill, forcing Maybelle to take over the operation of her school, Edmund devises a plan to make her his. He enrolls in the school, where no one other than Maybelle must give him expert lessons in carnal pleasure...

Cold in your neck of the woods? Well, save on heating bills by picking up this book, trust me, Marvelle's debut is sizzling hot. Maybelle de Maitenon has no intentions of marrying, nor does she have any intention of going into the family business of teaching gentleman the fine art of seduction. However, it's up to Maybelle to instruct the first group of students when her grandmother falls ill. Much to her irritation, one of the students just so happens to be the man she had a scandalous fling with, Oh, yes, I'll bed that one please. Worthington has enrolled in the school strictly to gain Maybelle's hand in marriage, since his father has already disgraced their family name, he doesn't want his very public encounter with Maybelle finish what little honor they have left.

I've always enjoyed the few Historical's I've picked up, but never enough to really follow a particular series or author, Marvelle has changed that. I don't plan on missing a single semester of The School of Gallantry and neither will you once you've read this one. I have to give this one an A+.

Wages of Sin by Jenna Maclaine
(BCC)

She is a warrior of extraordinary power - the ultimate creature of the night. Her story is one that spans the ages, from historical England to modern-day America and beyond. Welcome to eternity...welcome to the night.

Dulcinea Craven descends from a long line of witches, and she has just inherited wild, untrained magical powers that she has no idea how to control. now a ruthless vampire and an age-old demon are determined to enslave Cin and steal her power for their own. Her only hope is the Righteous, a band of warrior vampires who slay the rogue undead. Among them is Michael, a fierce swordsman who inflames Cin's most primal hungers. Showing her a sensual pleasure beyond anything in the mortal realm, she must choose between the human existence she has always known, and immortality as a vampire - a new life filled with forbidden urges, dark yearnings, and unearthly passions...


I cannot express how much I love to hit a series with book 1. Sure it's fun to find a good series like The Southern Vampire series or The Plum Series, in the middle and have tons of books to read to catch up, but there is just something amazing at catching a series from hello. I bought this book shortly after it was released and read it during my silent time and I feel bad that it has taken me this long to stand up and say - GO GET THIS BOOK!

Maclaine had me engrossed in her world of witchcraft and vampires from the first page. Wages had me turning pages so fast I didn't realize I had stayed up half the night reading until I hit The End. The Righteous are the boogeymans boogeyman, and when Dulcinea is hunted by an unspeakably evil and powerful vampire, she summons The Righteous to her, but they can only do so much, and soon Dulcinea has choices to make and finds herself in a fight for more than just her life. Maclaine successfully weaves together the best elements of the Paranormal, Romance, Fantasy, and Historical genres and gives readers a suspenseful thrill ride that will have them craving more, more, MORE Craven! Another A+.

For the next two weeks I'll be running a contest here on Novel Reads. Baby it's cold outside, and I want you to stay nice and toasty, so I'm offering up winners choice of one of these four flavors of Folgers Coffee (I'm totally digging the Hazelnut and French Vanilla right now). But wait! That's not all! I'm also going to give away a copy of each of today's books from the Novel Chat and at least two more books that will be announced throughout the next two weeks, because let's face it, books these good will warm ya right up (and I'm all about pimpin' a new author esepecially when they write this good!) :). Plus I'll throw in a tee shirt. Not sure what it'll say, I may even let the winner choose the saying.

There will be several chances to enter, and you may enter more than once. Simply visit each of the author's websites and tell me something you found there (please actually go look, don't just state the same fact as the person before you). There will be a new way to enter on each post until the contest deadline of February 4, 2009. Extra entries for blogging it and pointing people my way. Just let me know so I can make sure to link back to you.

Authors, if you're interested in offering up a prize for this contest, drop me a line at novelreads at gmail dot com (ya know, with the symbols and no spaces) and we'll see what we can do!

Take Care




Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hands Are Frozen...

...can't type! This cold weather is nuts. It's awful. It's so cold I can barely move my fingers to type. OK, so it's not really that cold in my house, but it's cold outside and that makes me want to do nothing more than lounge in the chair, book in one hand, coffee mug in the other (totally diggin' the Hazelnut variety right now). I feel a contest coming on. One to deal with books and coffee. Just cuz, ya know, I can!

Oh, and American Idol. I can't blog when American Idol is on. Tomorrow. More on books tomorrow. I'm going to go cuddle into my fleece sheets (yep, fleece, those babies are SO nice) and several heavy blankets, and dream of warm temps.

Take Care

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich

Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich
(JCC)

Turn on all the lights and check under your bed. Things are about to get spooky in Trenton, New Jersey.

According to legend, the Jersey Devil prowls the Pine Barrens and soars above the treetops in the dark of night. As eerie as this might seem, there are things in the Barrens that are even more frightening and dangerous. And there are monkeys. Lots of monkeys.

Wulf Grimoire is a world wanderer and an opportunist who can kill without remorse and disappear like smoke. He's chosen Martin Munch, boy genius, as his new business partner, and he's chosen the Barrens as his new playground

Munch received his doctorate degree in quantum physics when he was twenty-two. He's now twenty-four, and while his brain is large, his body hasn't made it out of the boys' department at Macy's. Anyone who says good things come in small packages hasn't met Munch. Wulf Grimoire is looking for world domination. Martin Munch would be happy if he could just get a woman naked and tied to a tree.

Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has Munch on her most-wanted list for failure to appear in court. Plum is the all-American girl stuck in an uncomfortable job, succeeding on luck and tenacity. Usually she gets her man. This time she gets a monkey. She also gets a big guy named Diesel.

Diesel pops in and out of Plum's life like birthday cake - delicious to look at and taste, not especially healthy as a steady diet, gone by the end of the week if not sooner. He's an uber bounty hunter with special skills when it comes to tracking men and pleasing women. He's after Grimoire, and now he's also after Munch. And if truth were told, he wouldn't mind setting Stephanie Plum in his crosshairs.

Diesel and Plum hunt down Munch and Grimoire, following them into the Barrens, surviving cranberry bogs, the Jersey Devil, a hair-raising experience, sand in their underwear, and, of course . . . monkeys.

I really didn't have very high expectations for this one as I have been increasingly disappointed with the Plum-verse. I think 12 was the last book that I really enjoyed and the Between the Numbers have never been my favorites. That plus that JCC and I just knew I was in for yet another disappointment. I mean, what the heck was it with the monkeys?!

I am happy to announce, though, that I WAS WRONG!! I remember now why I fell in love with Plum. Here's just a few examples...

"It's not our juju," I told Lula. "It's our skill level. We're incompetent."

"I got a high skill level," Lula said. "I just shot a rat off a rafter."

"You weren't aiming for it."

"Yeah. My skill level is so high I do things I don't even try to do."

*******

...I got out of the car and examined the dirt like I was Tonto running point for the Lone Ranger."

***

"Ranger this and Ranger that," Lula said. "Don't none of you people think for yourself? I bet you can't wipe yourself without Ranger telling you."

Tank looked at her in the rearview mirror. "I'm telling him you said that."

"I might have misspoke," Lula said.

**** And since I'm a Babe, this one is my favorite quote of the book:

I allowed myself a moment to relax into Ranger. He was warm and strong, and all the bad, frightening things in life went away when he held me like this.

Those are just a few examples of things that made me smile or laugh. The monkey story line that they seem so proud of on the JCC, wasn't nearly as horribly slap-sticky as I had figured it would be. Carl the monkey (from book 14) was back, and I actually liked him. Joe was in the book but not really, Evanovich kept him out of the way and mostly I just had to deal with him over the phone. And really, with characters like the fire farter, who could ask for anything more?Even Diesel didn't bother me much. In fact, I know of liked the way he teased Stephanie, and the dynamic between the two of them.

There were a few things that gave me pause, but all in all, I am SO glad I read this one. For the first time since closing the pages of 14, I'm excited about 15!

Take Care