Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Review: IT HAD TO BE YOU by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

This book contained the single cheesiest moment I have read.  Up until that moment, I guess this was an okay book.  I wasn’t overly invested in the plot or that characters, but it was entertaining enough. 

Phoebe, who knows nothing about sports, inherits an NFL football team from her estranged millionaire father; however, she will only be allowed to keep it, if the Chicago Stars win the AFC Championship.  If they don’t, team ownership will transfer to her nasty cousin, Reed.  Head Coach, Dan Calebow, is appalled by Phoebe.  Unable to see past her blond hair, designer dog and too tight clothing, he thinks of her as a brainless bimbo.  The repulsion is mutual.  Phoebe sees Dan as a sexist jerk with a one track mind for football.  While the two fight constantly, they are somehow still attracted to each other.  (I found this too convenient.  There really doesn’t seem to be enough for these two to cause a relationship to spark.)

On top of working together to turn this losing team around, Dan has a stalker.  Ray is the father of one of Dan’s former players, who died in a car accident after Dan cut him from the team over substance abuse issues.  Ray can’t let go of blaming Dan for not only the loss of his son, but also the loss of his pride.  He decides the best way to get back at Dan is by killing someone Dan loves, Phoebe.

Okay, for the cheesiest moment… (This occurs at the end, so if you don’t want a spoiler, quit reading now.) …The Stars win the AFC Championship.  After being doused with Gatorade, Dan is hoisted up on top of his players’ shoulders and handed the winning game ball.  Over the heads of the crowd, he spots a ridiculously happy Phoebe standing on top of a bench or something, smiling to him.  Then, Dan’s gaze shifts and spots Ray the stalker in the stands, with a gun pointed at Phoebe.  Police are heading to the gunman, but they will not get to him in time.  Are you ready for this???  Dan takes the winning game ball and throws it like a bullet to hit the stalker in the gun arm, saving Phoebe from being shot.  I KNOW!  It’s so bad!!!

Enough making fun out of the book now.  Overall, I give IT HAD TO BE YOU…

Plot – 2 bookmarks
Character Development – 2 bookmarks
Ending – ½ bookmark (and that’s only because I seriously laughed out loud)
Sex scenes – 1 bookmark (The opening sex scene with Dan and his ex-wife was gross.  Trying to convince the reader that the bimbo was celibate was just ridiculous.)
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – A young Anna Nicole Smith (Phoebe), a young Nick Nolte (Dan) – I didn’t find either of these characters compelling or sexy in the least.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Review: CANDIDE by Voltaire

Voltaire is possibly the most famous of French writers, so I thought it important to read Candide, a short novel and his most famous work.  The novel was written in 1759 and is a satire of Liebnizian optimism, a philosophy which holds that the flaws of the world were created by God to provide balance and the world is a perfect creation. 

Candide was taught optimism by his tutor growing up, and it heavily influenced his outlook on life.  However, when his life goes to hell, he struggles to maintain his philosophical belief.  The novel sets out to torture poor Candide in every possible way.  Everywhere he goes, he is surrounded by death, disease, earthquakes, war, rape and murder.  Everyone he loves is treated brutally.  By the end of the novel, Candide breaks with his optimistic philosophy. 

Okay, I get it…but why is this one of the great classics in Literature?  I think this novel suffers from a case of “guess you had to be there.”  Since the Liebnizian philosophy is not one generally accepted in today’s world, it is hard to understand the cultural context for this story.  I think people today are much more cynical and generally believe the world to be fucked up.  We don’t need Voltaire to destroy a man to get it.  It kind of reminds me of the Biblical story of Job, where he is tortured in every possibly way to get him to break from his philosophy.  In Job’s case, he never does break from God and therefore is rewarded in the end.  Candide broken.  He adopts a new philosophy where one should devote themselves to their work and keep free from boredom, vice and poverty.  He also concludes that God doesn’t care about the lives of humans any more than a ship captain would care about mice. 

It is easy to see why this book would have caused a controversy in its time.  I’m sure the religious powers that be were not too thrilled with it.  In fact, I believe in some places it had been deemed blasphemous and banned. 

Overall, I give Candide

Plot – 3 ½ bookmarks (It moves really fast and there is plenty of action.)
Character Development – 3 bookmarks
Satire – 2 bookmarks (Might have felt differently had I been living in that time period.)
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Hunter Parrish (Candide)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Review: SUCCUBUS SHADOWS by Richelle Mead

I worried about reading this book, because I know the concluding book in the series will not be out until 2011, and if this left me dangling over the edge of a massive cliff, I might suffer a breakdown.  (I know how sadistic Mead is with her endings.)  Thankfully, I am okay this morning.  While I’m dying to read the next book, this ended on a good note.  That’s all I’ll say.

Succubus Shadows finds Georgina in a personal hell—She’s a bridesmaid in Seth’s upcoming wedding to Maddie.  Her depression is driving both her friends and her superiors nuts.  On top of that, a new succubus is in town and has her sights set on seducing Seth. 

Just when it seems like it can’t get worse for Georgina, something weird begins happening.  Some force is calling to her like a siren, trying to lead her off into some unknown.  Her roommate, Roman, is trying to keep an eye on her, but ends up being a moment too late when Georgina gets sucked up into the power and vanishes.  Her demon boss, Jerome, is uncharacteristically concerned and works with Roman, Carter and Erik to find her. 

Meanwhile, Georgina is trapped by some dream demons who torture her mind with memories of the worst moments of her life and lies.  Reading the dreams and memories is almost as hard on the emotions of the reader as that is the character.  Will her friends be able to find her?  Even if they do, getting her soul back from the dream plane is next to impossible. 

Overall, I give Succubus Shadows

Plot – 4 bookmarks
Character Development – 4 ½ bookmarks
Love Story – 4 ½ bookmarks
Dream Sequence – 4 bookmarks (This was so hard for me as a reader because at first it felt like a distraction from the action, but I think I have figured out the purpose for the reader seeing these dreams and memories.  If the next book proves me right, they will play an integral part in Georgina’s story.)
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Same as prior books.  No real additions this time. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Review SUCCUBUS HEAT by Richelle Mead

It’s amazing how books can break my heart over and over, yet I keep coming back to them. 

When demon territorial politics heats up. Georgina is outsourced to the arch-demon in Vancouver as a gesture of goodwill.  Her goal is to break up a local cult, but before she is able to do so, her boss, Jerome, is kidnapped and all of the Seattle immortals under his control lose their supernatural abilities.  While not being able to shape-shift control over her frizzy hair is an annoyance, the temporary loss of her succubus powers means Georgina is finally able to have a sexual relationship with Seth.  If only his new girlfriend wasn’t getting in the way. 

As Georgina sets out to find Jerome, she ends up in the middle of a power struggle between multiple demons with not even her succubus charisma to aid her.  One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Georgina has to walk two blocks from her apartment to work once she realizes she can be hurt or killed like a regular mortal.  It is interesting how many perils we face every day without giving thought to it.  We drive cars, we cross busy streets, we pass strangers with guns.  I thought this was very insightful of Mead. 

More than anything, this book is about betrayal.  Seth betrays Georgina, Georgina betrays Maddie, Dante and Georgina betray each other, and everyone seems to be betraying Jerome.  Sometimes it sucks being a succubus.

Overall I give SUCCUBUS HEAT…

Plot – 4 ½ bookmarks
Character Development – 4 ½ bookmarks
Love Story – 5 bookmarks
Sex Scenes – 5 bookmarks (The emotion put in these was amazing)
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Same as previous books with a few additions.  Robert Pattinson (Seth), Sophia Bush (Georgina), Javier Bardem (Jerome), Kyle Howard (Doug), Andrew Rothenberg (Dante), David Anders (Carter), Ian Somerhalter (Roman), Kristin Bauer (Kristen), Keiko Agena (Maddie)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Review: SUCCUBUS DREAMS by Richelle Mead

Those of you who have not read Richelle Mead, might not know this, but she is the Queen of Torturing Readers.  The endings of some of her books leave you on the edge of your seat and in an emotional state, leaving you begging for more.  It makes waiting for her next release absolutely unbearable.  (I know…waiting for the next Vampire Academy book is going to kill me.)  Succubus Dreams is one of those books which ends leaving the reader dangling on the edge of a cliff.  Thank god I have the next book in the series right here!

Something strange is happening to Georgina.  She’s having strange dreams, and then wakes up with all of her energy drained.  Human psychics, Erik and Dante, are the only ones who are taking her energy drain seriously.  There is a brand new succubus in town and Georgina has been tapped to be the girl’s mentor.  Unfortunately, the new succubus is amazingly bad at seduction.  A pack of angels have suddenly descended on her apartment for some top secret Heavenly mission.  On top of everything, things with Georgina and Seth are strained and temptation is getting increasingly difficult.  Can a succubus ever catch a break?

Emotionally, this book wrecked me.  Don’t worry, I won’t give anything away.  In this book we see more of the downside of a succubus dating a human.  She lives with the constant fear of her mortal boyfriend getting hurt or dying.  He feels she keeps too many secrets of her succubus life from him.  How can a happy future be possible?  I want to keep rooting for Georgina and Seth, but it is easy to see this is going to hurt both of them unless some Hellish loophole can be found. 

Overall, I give Succubus Dreams

Plot – 4 ½ bookmarks
Character Development – 5 bookmarks
Love Story – 4 ½ bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Same as earlier books with a couple of additions.  Robert Pattinson (Seth), Sophia Bush (Georgina), Javier Bardem (Jerome), Kyle Howard (Doug), Jeremy Piven (Warren), Danny Glover (Eric), Theo Alexander (Sol), Andrew Rothenberg (Dante).  And I finally figured out who Carter the grunge angel is… David Anders.  

Monday, August 23, 2010

Review: SUCCUBUS ON TOP by Richelle Mead

This is such a great series!  It is the perfect mix of sex and mystery and humor…  Unfortunately, none of my friends have read it, so I have no one to talk to about it.  :(  Good thing I have the whole Blogiverse to gush to!

Okay, so in the second book of the Georgina Kincaid series, Georgina and Seth have settled into a strange relationship for them both.  While the chemistry is so hot between them that they shoot off sparks, they are not allowed to have any kind of physical contact for fear of Georgina sucking away Seth’s life force.  I guess that’s an occupational hazard for a succubus.  Most of her friends feel the relationship is doomed to fail—her constant sex with other men would put a strain on things—but they are rooting for the pair just the same.  When Bastian, Georgina’s best friend and an incubus comes to town on a mission to seduce a famous conservative talk show host, he is jealous about her relationship with Seth… not because he wants her so much, but because love is so elusive for beings in their line of work. 

In addition to her romantic woes, Georgina is over-worked and short staffed in the book store.  Her co-assistant manager, Doug, is acting weird and flakey.  It turns out, he’s not the only one.  An unfamiliar immortal is hanging around Doug’s band, and Georgina suspects something strange is going on.  Once again, she sets off to uncover the truth and hopefully, save her friend before it is too late. 

Overall, I give Succubus On Top

Plot – 4 bookmarks (Incredibly well researched.  I’ve learned that Mead has a Masters in Comparative Religions.  It shows!)
Characters – 4 bookmarks (I’m in love with Seth.)
Humor – 4 ½ bookmarks
Love Story – 4 ½ bookmarks (Forbidden love is sooooo enticing.)
Sex Scenes – 5 bookmarks  (You have no idea how sexy, non-sex can be.)
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Same as last book, with a few additions.  Robert Pattinson (Seth), Sophia Bush (Georgina), Javier Bardem (Jerome – Okay, I know he is described as looking like John Cussak, but I just didn’t get the Cussak vibe from him), Kyle Howard (Doug), Jeremy Piven (Warren), Danny Glover (Eric), Theo Alexander (Sol), Sarah Palin (Dana)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Review: SUCCUBUS BLUES by Richelle Mead

After completely falling in love with Rose & Dimitri from Mead’s Vampire Academy books, I decided to check out her adult Succubus series.  Let me just say now, I think I have a writer-crush on Richelle Mead.  She makes me want to hole up with all of her books and not eat or sleep until I have read them all--then when done, read them all over again.  

Succubus Blues introduces the reader to Georgina Kincaid, a succubus trying to live as normal of a life as possible in Seattle… not easy considering she needs sex to live and her closest friends are demons, vampires and one powerful angel.  When she has sex with mortal men, she draws on their life force, giving her the energy to live, yet draining years off of the man’s life.  For this reason, she courts morally ambiguous, bad guys.  Unfortunately, this makes having a relationship with a good guy impossible.  When writer, Seth Mortensen, moves to Seattle and begins frequenting the book store where Georgina works, the chemistry between them is off-the-charts hot.  As much as she likes him, she knows she can never have him without draining his life away.  In turning from Seth, she meets another “good guy,” Roman, who unlike Seth, doesn’t want to take no for an answer.  What’s a succubus to do?

To make matters worse, something is attacking immortals in the Seattle area.  Georgina’s demon boss, Jerome, seems to be hiding something about the attacker.  Georgina wants figure out who the killer is, but each step she takes closer to the truth places her and her friends in greater danger. 

Succubus Blues is the first book in what I know will become another addictive series from Richelle Mead.  I have already started the second book, and I have a feeling I’ll want to read them all straight through. 

Overall, I give Succubus Blues

Plot – 4 bookmarks
Character Development – 4 bookmarks
Love Story – 4 ½ bookmarks (The chemistry Georgina has with men is wild!)
Sex Scenes – 4 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Ian Somerhalter (Roman), Robert Pattinson (Seth), Sophia Bush (Georgina), Javier Bardem (Jerome – Okay, I know he is described as looking like John Cussak, but I just didn’t get the Cussak vibe from him), Kyle Howard (Doug), Jeremy Piven (Warren)

Friday, August 20, 2010


The Daughters of Witching Hill is a fictionalized telling based on true events which occurred in the early 1600’s in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England.  The story revolves around a poor group of women, one step above beggars, who had the gift to perform cunning craft (healing), as well as bewitching magic.  Their magic was rooted in the old religion—a conflation of Roman Catholicism and pagan folk lore, which was the popular belief in the area prior to the English Reformation.  For years, Bess Southerns was sought after as a cunning woman to heal both people and livestock.  She would use a mixture of Latin prayers and power given to her by her familiar, Tibb.  The Magistrate was unable to convict her for witchcraft, since no one forged a formal complaint about her.  Instead, she was revered. 

During the time of the staunchly pious King James, a strong fear of witches washed over the land.  Nobles looking to get on the King’s good-side sought to make names for themselves as witch hunters.  When Alizon, Bess’s granddaughter, accidentally bewitches a man so that he has a stroke, she is arrested, setting off a full-scale investigation, pitting neighbors and family-members against each other. 

One thing that I liked about this novel is that Sharratt made no attempt to cover up the magical acts of these women, rather she glorified it, made it beautiful.  Whether you believed in Bess’s powers of healing or not, none could deny the effect she had on people.  Even if the healing came about through the power of positive thinking, it still happened.  Sharratt also did not gloss over those people who performed dark magic with their abilities.  When a woman is attacked by her landlord, a couple of the women fashion clay figures of the man and then destroy them—bringing about the man’s death. 

Like the Crucible, this story ends with accusations flying, most falsely.  While we may not hang people for witchcraft anymore, there are powerful lessons to be learned about the power of gossip and lies, about vilifying things we don’t understand. 

Overall I give The Daughters of Witching Hill

Plot – 3 ½ bookmarks
Character Development – 4 bookmarks
Moral Lessons – 5 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Vanessa Redgrave (Bess), Mia Wasikowska (Alizon), Emily DeRavin (Nancy Holden), Helen Miren (Alice Nutter)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Review: COULTERS’ WIFE by Maya Banks

Coulters’ Wife is a novella length romance.  (Please note where the apostrophe is in that title.)  Holly is “married” to three brothers, Ethan, Adam and Ryan.  The four of them live in an isolated location in the mountains and when the story opens, Holly is very pregnant with their first child.  She is upset because she wants to have sex, but the brothers agreed no more sex until after the baby comes.  The plot basically revolves around Holly getting the brothers alone and seducing them one by one.  When Holly goes into labor early, the brothers must work together to deliver the baby on their own. 

This book was creepy on so many levels.  I don’t really have a problem with ménage relationships, but brothers???  That’s just icky.  Then, they live up on this mountain semi-isolated from people…this is how bad religious cults are formed, not sexy love stories.  Add into the mix that they are bringing a child into the world whose family tree will go in circles and the hair on my arms prickled.  Okay, I know I got this story free off of Amazon, but even that was too much to pay. 

Overall, I give Coulters’ Wife

Plot – 1 bookmark
Characters – ½ bookmark
Love Story – Zero bookmarks (Major creep factor)
Sex Scenes – 1 bookmark (Uninspired)
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – I didn’t bother getting engaged enough to cast the roles. Just insert any random, toothless hillbillies and you will have it spot on.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Review: HOMEPORT by Nora Roberts

Dr. Miranda Jones is a scientist who works for her family’s art Institute authenticating and documenting works of art.  Her specialty is the Italian Renaissance.  When a couple bronzes that she verified turn out to be fakes, more than her reputation is on the line.  Miranda finds herself involved in a deadly game of “who done it.” 

Ryan Boldari is a wildly successful art dealer with galleries on both coasts.  However, Ryan’s real talent lies in art theft.  No lock or security system is too sophisticated for him to walk right through.  As a promise to his family, Ryan has agreed to retire from burglary after his last job—stealing a bronze from the Jones Institute.  When that bronze turns out to be a fake, he seeks Miranda out to find the real one.  Together, they travel the world trying to find out who is setting Miranda up to take an epic fall.

Once again, I fell in love with a fictional character.  Ryan is the perfect male lead.  Mysterious, witty, uber-hot, slightly wicked.  I love the idea of a man who can walk through locked doors, assume identities and accents with the ease of trying on new clothes and still be un-able to lie to his mother. 

Miranda is beautiful and smart, but very serious and has a reputation of being an ice queen.  She comes from a family that is cold and undemonstrative in their affections.  If it weren’t for sharing a house with her alcoholic brother, she would be completely alone.  It takes a warm and outgoing man like Ryan to melt her and make her human again.  The change in Miranda from the beginning of the story to the end is dramatic, yet believable. 

I also loved the mystery of this book.  Looking at the title and the cover, you would never know what fun lies between the pages.  I would definitely chalk this up as a TitleFail and a CoverFail, but that being said, I’m so glad I gave this book a chance.  It was definitely a fun read.

Overall, I give Homeport

Plot – 3 ½ bookmarks
Characters – 4 ½ bookmarks
Love Story – 3 bookmarks
Mystery Story – 3 bookmarks
Side Characters – 3 bookmarks
Dream Cast (Otherwise who I pictured while reading) – Amy Adams (Miranda), Galen Gering (Ryan)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Review: SCULPTING A DEMON by Lisa Fox

I always post the Amazon link in case anyone wants to order the books that I review.  Since this book is not on Amazon yet, I am providing you the link to the publisher's website where you can order the ebook for $4.45.  

When Lila and her friend jokingly perform a love spell from a woman’s magazine, Lila never expected to wake up with a seriously hot demon in her bed.  Arien was a fallen angel, sitting bored at a bar in Hell, when the Lila’s voice summoned him in a way he could not resist.  What he didn’t realize is that answering her call could put them both in danger. 

Sculpting A Demon is an erotic romance novella, which definitely shows the advantages of being a little bit wicked.  Honestly, if I could conjure the perfect man, it would totally be Arien.  Not only is he hot, but he’s funny and sweet as well.  He adorably has black wings instead of angelic white.  The fact that he only sees beauty when he looks upon Lila and not her flaws is every woman’s dream. 

Lila is also a compelling character.  She isn’t perfect.  She is an introverted artist who tends to lose herself in her work.  She has the same insecurities that we all do, yet, she doesn’t come across as a self-depreciating whiner.  I found myself really pulling for her and Arien to make it work out. 

This book is perfect if you are looking for a steamy story that reads quickly.  I really look forward to reading other stories by Lisa Fox. 

Overall, I give Sculpting A Demon

Plot – 3 ½ bookmarks
Characters – 3 ½ bookmarks
Hot Steamy Demon Sex – 12 bookmarks  (HELLO!!!!) (Yes, I realize this is a zero to five scale.  It’s my blog, I’ll rate how I want to.)
Love Story – 4 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Gabriel Aubry (Arien), Jewel Kilcher (Lila)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Review: JUST FOR KICKS by Susan Andersen

Carly is a Vegas showgirl living in a condo with her babies—two cats and two dogs.  Her next door neighbor not only hates her barking dog, but is also one of the big security offers in the casino where she works.  While she can barely stand to be around the Ice Man next door, she can’t deny the growing chemistry between them.

Wolfgang (Yes, for real.  More on the name later.), is as serious about his job as he is about everything in his life.  People see him as robotic and cold, but he sees himself as focused on a larger plan for his life.  Two things that definitely was not in his plan was to become guardian of his sixteen year old nephew, Nik, or falling for his irresponsible showgirl neighbor. 

Okay, this was a fun story.  It was sexy & steamy and the characters were likable.  That being said, I had a really hard time staying in the moment with a lead male named Wolfgang.  So not sexy!  There is a line where Carly is introducing him to some friends and she says, “Come meet my Wolf.”  For realz!  It’s like she is showing off her dog.  I get that he is an American born of a German mother, but there are sooooo many sexier German names to pick from.  I probably could have over looked it if this were a period piece, but in a contemporary setting—it didn’t do it for me. 

Aside from the distracting name and the fact that Carly calls everyone “toots,” I actually liked the characters.  Wolfgang actually was sexy in a powerful way.  Once his icy exterior begins to thaw and we can see what lies beneath, he’s wonderful!  I loved the relationship between him and his nephew Nik.  Carly is fun and sexy, without being over the top.  Under the Vegas glitz and glam, there is a real person with a big heart.  She and Wolfgang work well together.

I can’t wrap this up without discussing Nik a bit.  I love this kid!  He is sullen and sulky like a typical teen one minute and a fun dynamic person the next.  He felt so real to me.  Nik was a perfect addition to the Wolfgang character.  I don’t know that the character would have warmed up to Carly in a believable way had it not been for Nik. 

Overall, I give Just For Kicks

Plot – 2 ½ bookmarks
Character Development – 3 ½ bookmarks
Love Story – 3 ½ bookmarks
Suspense Storyline – 1 ½ bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Alexander Skarsgard (Wolfgang), Agyness Deyn (Carly), Matt Lanter (Nik)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Review: SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE by Rachel Gibson

Georgeanne and John meet as she is fleeing her wedding, leaving her rich and much older fiancé at the altar.  It’s not until John agrees to give her a ride that he finds he is adding his boss’s bride to escape.  He sees her as a sexy young gold-digger and she see him as a rude, self-centered jock, but even in their mutual hate, there is undeniable chemistry.  After one long passionate night together, the magic wears off as the moon disappears and John unceremoniously dumps her at the airport.

Seven years pass.  Georgeanne has put her assets to use and become a successful caterer.  John, one of the NHL’s star hockey players, has left his alcohol and womanizing in the past.  When they accidentally run into each other, not only is the chemistry (and mutual dislike) there, but John also learns that he and Georgeanne have a little girl. 

This story is another case of opposites attract, but since each character is damaged and flawed in their own ways, you can see why they would fall for each other.  The adorable little girl, Lexie, is funny.  The scene of the big, bad hockey player playing Barbies with her in the floor is too cute for words!  While not the deepest plotline in the world, this is a sweet story with romantic fun and heart.  A great summer read.

Overall, I give Simply Irresistible

Plot – 2 bookmarks
Character Development – 3 ½ bookmarks
Love Story – 3 bookmarks
Kid Character – 4 bookmarks (Love her make-up obsession!)
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – A young Delta Burke, minus the big hair (Georgeanne), Sam Worthington (John).  

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Review: TALK ME DOWN by Victoria Dahl

When Molly Jennings moves back to her hometown of Tumble Creek, CO after ten years, she brings with her a secret that even her family does not know about.  She is a best-selling erotic romance writer.  Soon after arriving, Molly discovers the flames of her old crush on Ben Lawson, now the Chief of Police, have never burnt out.  In fact, the chemistry between them is still red-hot.  Chief Lawson abhors gossip and scandal in his small town, and he is determined to hold Molly off until he discovers her secrets.  Unfortunately, Molly’s crazy stalker is on the loose and Ben’s duty-bound to protect her. 

Molly is a force of nature and not easily swayed.  I like that about her.  She is sexually empowered, but not trampy about it.  Ben is reserved and professional, yet he also has a soft artistic side that few people know about.  These characters have excellent chemistry on the page and make for an entertaining novel. 

The mystery of Molly’s stalker is slightly predictable; yet, not annoyingly so.  Even if the reader figures it out early, the love story is engaging enough to keep you hooked.  At first, I liked Molly’s keeping her profession a secret.  I understand the need for discretion and I love the idea of having a secret life.  However, her secret-keeping became annoying and blown out of proportion toward the end.  Writing erotica might require some delicate handling, but it’s not shameful.  Molly kept saying she was proud of her work and what she did, so why all the need to be Secret Squirrel about it?  Yes, I know she used Ben as her muse at times, but he probably would have handled it better had she been honest up front. 

Overall, I give Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl…

Plot – 2 ½ bookmarks
Character Development – 3 bookmarks
Love Story – 3 ½ bookmarks
Mystery Story  – 2 bookmarks
Sex Scenes – 4 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Allison Munn (Molly), Galen Gering (Ben)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Review: TRIBUTE by Nora Roberts

Cilla McGowan is the grand-daughter of a movie legend whom died before she was born.  As a former child star herself, she has been constantly compared to the grandmother she never knew.  In an attempt to start a new life away from the glitz of Hollywood, Cilla takes ownership of the neglected Virginian farm house that her grandmother lived, loved and died in.  Through her renovations, Cilla uncovers a mystery from her famous grandmother’s past. 

Ford Sawyer is a graphic novelist and a self-described nerd with a capital “N.”  When Cilla McGowan begins restoring the farm house across the road, he is immediately taken with her.  First, she inspires him to create a new female superhero for his book.  Then, she begins to inspire his heart. 

I am a Hollywood geek.  I love pop culture!  Jeez, my home page is PerezHilton.com…  I love books where characters are somehow involved in the Hollywood life style, even if it’s on the fringes.  In the beginning, that is what drew me to this book.  However, it turned out what held my interest was Ford the nerdy neighbor and his weird little dog, Spock.  If I had a “type” of man, it would be the sexy nerd.  Ford is nice looking, intelligent, extremely witty and adorably self-depreciating.  I think I might be a little bit in love with him! 

I’m also jealous of Cilla (in a good way).  I have always thought becoming a contractor and flipping houses would be the perfect career for me.  I love the idea of turning an eyesore into something beautiful and homey.  Unfortunately, I know nothing about carpentry or actually fixing anything myself.  So, for a little while, I was able to live vicariously though Cilla and her work. 

Now, about the weird little dog named Spock… I am a cat person, but this dog made me want to run out and get a dog like this of my own.  He is so dang adorable!!!  The dog is a perfect nerdy reflection of his owner, and I love that!  Spock alone is worth reading this book. 

Oh, and before I forget, the plot is actually very strong in this novel.  I have been gushing about the characters, but seriously, the mystery is pretty good.  I did figure it out earlier than I would have wanted to, but in no way would I say that it’s predictable. 

Overall, I give Tribute

Plot – 3 ½ bookmarks
Characters – 4 bookmarks
Love Story – 3 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Alexander Skarsgard (Ford), Anna Torv (Cilla), Grace Kelly (Janet), Blake Lively (Angie)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Review: DARKER THAN MIDNIGHT by Maggie Shayne

Cassandra “Jax” Jackson goes to Blackberry, VT after being offered the job as the new Chief of Police.  Who said small towns are sleepy?  When an escaped mental patient saves her from drowning, Jax makes it her mission to clear him of the murder of his wife and unborn child. 

Michael “River” Corbett used to be a hero at the NYPD, but after taking a bullet to the brain, he suffers from blackouts and missing time.  Did he really kill his pregnant wife?  He doesn’t remember.  With Jax’s help, he intends to find out once and for all. 

Aside from being somewhat predictable, this is actually a decent romantic suspense novel.  I liked the characters, the police work, the action.  Having the girl with ESP conveniently getting clues from dead people at the end, nearly ruined it for me, but not completely.  ESP girl could have worked had she been more involved in the first half of the book.  I was also disappointed that the reader (meaning me) was able to figure out the killer before the two seasoned cops and without the aid of ESP girl. 

While the mystery left me lukewarm, the relationship between Jax and River was red hot!  I really loved the compassion they showed for each other and the gradual descent into love.  Jax’s father was also a very touching secondary character.  Rex the dog was cute, too.

While this is the first book I have read by Maggie Shayne, it is actually the third in a series.  Coming in where I did was not confusing.  Shayne does well with getting the reader up to speed. 

Overall, I give Darker Than Midnight

Plot – 2 ½ bookmarks
Character Development – 3 bookmarks
Use of the Paranormal – 1 bookmark
Love Story – 3 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Mark Wahlberg (River), Anna Torv (Jax)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Review: LAIRD OF THE MIST by Paula Quinn

They say you should not judge a book by its cover.  The cover of this book has the obligatory hunk in a kilt ripping open the bodice of a gorgeous model.  I have no problem with a cliché book cover--What made me laugh is that the story takes place in the 17th century and the woman had her ears double pierced.  Um… I don’t think they did that back then.  Nor did they have spray tans, silicone boobs and chest waxing.  (Sigh.)  If I’m going to read trashy novels, I have to stop being so picky. 

Enough with the cover, let’s talk about the story.  The Campbells and the MacGregors have been involved in a feud for over a century.  The result is that the MacGregor name has been outlawed and all members of the clan are legally able to be persecuted and killed.  (As crazy as this sounds, this is an historical fact.  The MacGregors were almost wiped out.  Can you imagine a world where Ewan MacGregor didn’t exist?  Tragedy!)  When outlaw laird, Callum MacGregor captures Kate Campbell, his plan is to hold her for ransom until her uncle, the Earl of Argyle comes for her and Callum can kill him.  In typical Romeo & Juliet fashion, the two become intensely sexually attracted to each other and eventually fall in love.  (Not really a spoiler, since you can see it coming a mile away.) 

Kate hates Callum in the beginning because she was raised to believe that he had murdered both her grandfather and her dad.  By the third chapter, it is pretty easy to figure out that the rat-bastard uncle is really the one who took out his own family members in an attempt to inherit the family title, wealth and power. 

Well, that’s the book in a nut shell.  An entertaining way to spend a Sunday afternoon, but too predictable. 

Overall, I give Laird of the Mist

Plot – 1 bookmark
Character Development – 1 ½ bookmarks
Love Story – 2 bookmarks
Historical References – 3 ½ bookmarks (Most interesting thing about the book in my opinion.)
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) – Sean Patrick Flanery (Callum MacGregor), a younger Catherine Zeta Jones (Kate), Chris Sarandon (Uncle Duncan – Earl of Argyle)