Friday, February 26, 2010

truly, madly by Heather Webber and Contest Reminder

truly, madly by Heather Webber


Lucy Valentine is as smart as can be, as single as you can get, and so not qualified to run a matchmaking service. But, when her parents temporarily step down from the family business, Valentine, Inc., it's Lucy's turn to stop up and help out -- in the name of love. Plus, her rent is due.

Here's the problem: Lucy doesn't have the knack for matchmaking. According to family legend, every Valentine has been blessed by Cupid with the ability to read "auras" and pair up perfect couples. But not Lucy. Her skills were zapped away years ago in an electrical surge, and now all she can do is find lost objects. What good is that in the matchmaking world? You'd be surprised. In a city like Boston, everyone's looking for something. So when Lucy locates a missing wedding ring--on a dead body--she asks the sexy private eye who lives upstairs to help her solve the perfect crime. And who knows? Maybe she'll find the perfect love while she's at it...

* This post may include what some would consider spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Sorry for the spoiler alert, and in truth, there may be no true "spoilers" in this post, but just in case, I'd rather be safe than sorry. Lucy Valentine comes from a long line of matchmakers. Like the BCC says, her family believes that they have been given a gift by none other than Cupid himself, and they can see the auras of others and this allows them to match people with their true love. However, it seems that Cupid didn't give the gift free of charge, no not at all, it was accompanied by a curse as well, and for generations, no Valentine has been able to sustain a loving relationship with those of the opposite sex. When her father, the current head of Valentine, Inc. is caught, quite literally, with his pants down with a mistress on the beach when he has a heart attack, her parents decide that it would be best for him to step down for a while and for them both to get out of town while the media circus dies down.

Lucy is a bit reluctant to take charge though, but since she long ago decided not to use her trust fund or accept any financial help from her family, she really has no choice. She's between jobs and she's behind on her rent (she rents from her grandmother, who would never throw her out, but it still bothers her that she's behind). So it is with crazy nerves that she steps in and begins her first day on the job at Valentine, Inc. Thank goodness Suzannah, her father's secretary and all around office manager, is there to help get her going, because Lucy is sure if it weren't for the other woman's help that the business would surly go up in flames.

But matchmaking isn't the only thing happening on Lucy's first day. A little boy has gone missing and with the cold winter temps it is very critical he be found before too long. Lucy's upset that her "gift" at finding lost objects can't help the boy - or can it?

When Lucy meets with a client that her dad has not yet seen, therefore has no aura color swatch to help guide her, she listens to his story of why he hasn't found anyone since losing his long ago girlfriend and first love, Jennifer, the story tugs at her heart and she decides that she will try and find Jennifer and maybe, just maybe once she finds out the true story of long ago events, she will be willing to meet back with Lucy's client. But when saying goodbye to her new client Lucy shakes his hand, she immediately sees the engagement ring that he had given her - it's on the ring of a skeleton, buried in a shallow grave. Lucy immediately knows that this is going to be way over her head, and decides to enlist the help of the P.I. that rents the office space above Valentine, Inc. Only when she arrives, she finds out he's gone and his brother, ex-fire fighter Sean is helping out. What's worse, is that when Lucy shakes his hand, she doesn't get an image of what he's lost, but an image of the two of them - in bed together. Is Lucy seeing the future or simply going crazy? Will she and Sean be able to figure out why the engagement ring is on that of a dead girl and will Lucy be able to keep her secret safe from Sean and the world at large?

truly, madly was a mixed bag for me. I loved the author's voice. I loved how the book was filled with humor and quirky dialogue. The characters were real for me and the mystery was great. I enjoyed getting to know Lucy and her eccentric family - those related and those not.

That said, I really didn't enjoy the way Sean and Lucy come together. The attraction seemed forced to me. Yes, I understand that she had this totally erotic vision of the two of them together but - they had just met and BAM they are talking trust. Trust to me is something earned and not to be given lightly. I also didn't enjoy the sexual nature and relationship-esque manner in which Sean and Lucy spoke to one another. I simply didn't buy any of it. Maybe I'm just a cynic but I simply did not like the relationship between the two. I also couldn't seem to get over wanting to throw the book against the wall whenever Lucy cites the family "curse" as a reason not to get involved with some one. We get it, your family thinks they are cursed.

Aside from that, I enjoyed the book. It's a fast read with tons of humor, a great cast of characters, and a mystery that had me guessing to the end. And WHOA, what an ending, I was blindsided with it and that is one of the best things about the book. I can only hope that the next book answers a few questions for me, such as why the hell did Lucy "see" the future when shaking Sean's hand, but never with anyone else. I will definitely continue to follow this series, as Webber left me wanting more of the quirky Valentine's.

Heather Webber is also a Cozy Chick, so don't forget my contest and this could be one of the books you choose! Since Miss Beautiful was very sick this week and I haven't had a chance to blog very much, I'm extending the contest until Monday.

Take Care

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Firespell by Chloe Neill

Before I start I wanted to let you know that Novel Reads is on FaceBook now. Click here to add me as a friend (I can't embed it for some reason), I'll be doing some contests over there that are specific to the page.

Firespell by Chloe Neill ( A Dark Elite Novel: Book 1)


As the new girl at St. Sophia's Boarding School, Lily Parker thinks her classmates are the most monstrous things she'll have to face - but oh, how wrong she is.

When Lily's parents decide to send her away to a fancy boarding school in Chicago, she is not happy. Lily's classmates are the ultrarich brat-pack type - and if that isn't enough, she's hearing and seeing bizarre things on St. Sophia's creepy campus.

The only thing keeping her sane is her roommate, Scout, but even Scout's a little weird - she keeps disappearing late at night. When a prank leaves Lily trapped in the catacombs beneath the school, Lily finds Scout, who's running from a real-life monster. Scout is part of a splinter group of rebel teens who protect Chicago from demons, vamps, and the gone-to-the-dark-side magic users called Reapers. She lets Lily in on her secret, even though Lily has no powers of her own...or at least none she's discovered yet.

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

I've made it clear that I have no love for YA books about spoiled poor me rich girls away at a fancy schamncy boarding school. So when this book came I was more than a tad reluctant. What got me though, is my love of YA/Paranormal, the really cool cover, and the fact that I'd never read this author before. Things I very much love in a book.

Lily Parker, not quite sixteen year old, finds out just after her sophomore year that her parents, philosophy professors, will be going to Germany for a two year academic sabbatical, and she will be leaving her New York town for Chicago where she will go to school at St. Sophia's Boarding School. To say the least, Lily is not happy. She'd much rather stay with her friends and her comfort zone. But when St. Sophia's accepts her into the school, her future is set.

Lily hates St. Sophia's. There are the typical cliques and she's just not fitting in. Thankfully, one of her new roommates, Scout, is most definitely nice and true friend material. But, as the BCC says, Scout keeps skipping out late at night, and she seems more than a little tired after these outings. What Lily doesn't know about Scout and her secrets really piques her curiosity and she begins to follow her one night, that is after all, what a new BFF would do. But it isn't until Lily is on the receiving end of a fairly nasty prank that Lily truly finds out what Scout's been up to.

But Scout's mystery isn't the only one Lily is faced with - could it be her parent's had lied to her all of her life? Made a whole identity to cover up what they were really working on? As clues begin coming Lily's way about this, and evil magic users attempting to suck the souls of young magic users start to attack the school, Lily realizes she just may be in over her head. Or, does she have a bit of latent magic of her own?

Firespell is a refreshing addition to a YA Paranormal genre that is quickly filling up with shifters and vamps. Neill's writing is spot on, with great dialogue and the action packed scenes have the reader turning the pages and spellbound from the get go. I'm eager to read more from Neill and have added her Chicagoland Vampires Series to my wish list.

Take Care

Don't forget about the current contest I'm running, scroll down to yesterday's post or click here to see the details.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sleeping With Anemone by Kate Collins

I always love it when it's time for a new Flower Shop Mystery. I've been with the series since book one Mum's The Word and my love for these books just seems to (pardon the pun) grow with each new release! Click here for the posts on Kate's books I did while at deeanddee and click here and here for the posts I've done on them since starting Novel Reads. You'll see what I mean when I say I adore Abby Knight and the entire cast of characters that make up her world.

Sleeping With Anemone by Kate Collins

Click here to see the book trailer (I couldn't get it to embed correctly).

Maybe Abby Knight shouldn't have chosen a home and garden show sponsored by Uniworld Food as the venue for her protest against the corporation's harmful farming practices. But being bodily removed from the event won't stop her campaign. Nor will a burning brick thrown through her flower shop's window.

After she narrowly escapes being kidnapped three times, Abby calls in the big guns-her ex-Ranger boyfriend Marco and her friends and family. And then the stakes are raised by murder...

*This review is done from an ARC sent to Novel Reads by the author.

So, if you've clicked my links and read, you'll see I am an all out FAN GIRL over Kate Collins and her wonderful Flower Shop Mysteries. Kate took me from the occasional cozy reader to this stack (if you could see it you'd understand) of cozies sitting at the side of my desk. It's been a wonderful ride, reading Abby from the start. Each book gets better and better, and I absolutely love watching the characters grow and become more real with each book.

In Anemone love is in the air as Valentine's Day quickly approaches. Abby promises her niece that she and Marco will escort her and her boyfriend to a concert, Marco's family and Abby's are pressuring them to get engaged, and Abby has set her sights on Uniworld, a dairy farm that is moving into town and uses hormones to enhance the milk production of the cows.

Then there is Abby's cousin Jillian (constant - again, pardon the pun - thorn in Abby's side), who sees Abby wearing a broach, and just has to have one, so Abby's mom takes up yet a new form of "artwork" and that is making broaches (and homemade candy - loads of laughs on this). When the broaches continue to be stolen, yet another problem must be solved. But, when the threats that Uniworld is making against Abby and her business, Bloomers, turn to kidnapping, Abby and her friends feel the pressure to prove that Uniworld is to blame - but can they do it and still have everyone come out with their lives? Will the engagement to Marco ever happen or will the plus column of her Marco list be overcome with minuses?

Anemone is by far, the best book yet in the series. The laughs are stronger, the suspense and danger greater, and the heart and love that we get to see between Abby and her family is so touching, a few tears could easily be shared as well. You don't want to miss this action-packed, hilarious, and touching book.

Already love Kate and Abby but haven't had a chance to score Anemone yet? Leave a comment and at the end of the week, one winner will receive the latest in the series and one other book from a fellow Cozy Chicks author (winner's choice of book).

Never read Kate but want to? Leave a comment, and instead of this latest installment, I'll send you the first two books in The Flower Shop Mysteries.

Read all the series? No problem, leave a comment, and if you're chosen, I'll send you two books of your choice by any of Kate's fellow Cozy Chicks.

Take Care

I want to take a quick minute to THANK YOU all for the e-mails and comments I received after the wreck. I ended up with some cracked ribs as did my best friend. Miss Beautiful, thank God, was unhurt. It took a while, but we've finally replaced the van, and are still fighting with insurance, but at least I have a car again! Hopefully, one day soon, I'll be able to drive at night again or out of town by myself. Baby steps.