Sunday, October 23, 2011


Have been sick with the cold from hell, so I haven't been up to writing reviews that last couple of weeks. But...i will be back shortly! :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer ~ Michelle Hodkin

1 star


It has taken me a week to try and get my thoughts together regarding this book. And after 7 days, I am still left with an unpleasant taste in my mouth. Honestly, I think I must have read a completely different book than everyone who gave this 5 stars, did.

I went into reading this book with an open mind, and was actually very anxious to start reading it because of all the glowing reviews and recommendations I had gotten for it. And even when I didn't fall in love with the story the way that others did, I was still more than willing to stick with it because I wanted to see what happened. I wanted to see where the author was going with all of Mara's hallucinations. But, the further I got in the book, the more frustrated I became.

Some of the things that frustrated me: There are the obvious similarities to Twilight & Hush Hush...a quiet, awkward girl becomes the stalkerish obsession of a ridiculously gorgeous boy full of mystery. But where this book differs (in my opinion anyway) is that the stalkerish boy in question here has absolutely NO appeal or redeeming qualities whatsoever. Noah is one of the most obnoxious, self-centered asshats I have come across in fiction in quite some time. And the way that Mara goes from being rightfully stand-offish towards him, to being completely smitten beyond all hope in zero to sixty is just one of the many faults of this story. And then there is Mara's best friend. About 3 quarters of the way through, he completely drops out of the story. Um...why was he there in the first place? Other than to pop in every few chapters to remind Mara to stay away from Noah?! Just when I thought there might be a character that was interesting and trying to talk some sense into our heroine... he gets suspended from school, and poof! he's gone.

And here is my main problem with the overall book: To be blunt, Mara's 'ability' is just plain ridiculous. Yes, it is unique...but only in that it is a silly story concept that just doesn't work in my opinion. And the fact that she meets and falls in love with a boy who just happens to have the exact opposite enough to make me want to smack my head into the wall. And as if all those elements weren't enough to make me sorry I wasted my time on this book in the first place...there's the actual ending. The 'big reveal' as it worked about as well as one of those 'dun dun DUN!!!' sound effects in a really cheesy movie. And left me literally saying out loud to myself..."Are you freaking kidding me?!" I know they are setting up a series here, but gimme a break! To have the villain magically come 'back from the dead', is one of the most overused plot elements of all time. And it wasn't even used well.

Maybe I have just been spoiled by reading so many truly great books over the last few months, but The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer was a huge disappointment.

The Replacement ~ Brenna Yovanoff

5++++ stars

Every once in a while I stumble upon a book that takes me completely by surprise. I had no idea what to expect going into this book, but decided to take a chance on it because of the interesting synopsis and creepy cover art. I am so glad I did, because this was hands down one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I have had all year.

On the surface, Mackie seems like an average teenage boy. He goes to school, has a crush on a cheerleader and feels alienated from the adults in his life. But Mackie is a Replacement, a changling left in the place of a human baby that was stolen from it's crib in the middle of the night sixteen years ago. Because of his potentially fatal reactions to iron, blood and consecrated ground, each day is a struggle just to survive.

In Mackie, Yovanoff has created a truly wonderful character. The reader can't help but be captivated by his story. His sense of longing to live a normal just belong somewhere, is heartbreaking. And his absolute devotion to his sister is just one of the many reasons I love him so much.

I loved just about every aspect of this book...from the smart dialogue, to all the truly creepy characters Mackie meets in the Underground world called Mayhem, to Mackie's best friend. The ONE thing that I was not so thrilled with was the female lead, Tate. She was just too...harsh for my taste. She didn't seem to appreciate everything that Mackie ended up going through to help her. And her hot and cold attitude toward him was frustrating. But in the end, that was just a minor annoyance that is easily overlooked.

What a wonderful surprise this turned out to be. Such an amazing story with truly unique and unforgettable characters. Loved every word!!

Virtuosity ~ Jessica Martinez

1 star - DNF

Usually I have a LOT to say about a book that I have read....either good, bad or in between. But sometimes a book comes around that I just can't bring myself to care about either way. This was unfortunately one of those books. So, I will keep this short and sweet...

I got about half way through this book, and had to give up. I had a very hard time taking the characters seriously. They seemed very one dimensional, and some of the dialogue was just plain laughably ba

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone ~ Laini Taylor

Inital thoughts as I finished the book:
The last act has left me a puddle of emotional goo.

*deep breath*


5++++ Stars

I will admit to going into this book not knowing exactly what to expect. The book synopsis is so vague and mysterious that I couldn't help but want to dive into this bizarre world where a young girl is sent out on these errands by her beastly guardian in search of teeth...human and otherwise. Where a door opens in Prague, and exits into Marrakesh.

I was completely captivated by this story from the first line. And I knew this was something special within the first few chapters.

I truly feel like delving any more into the actual plot would lessen the impact for anyone thinking of reading this book. This really should be a book that is experienced from beginning to end, with the roller coaster of emotions that that entails.

But, I do have to point out that Laini Taylor's writing is just absolute perfection. Her characters come to life in such a vivid way, that it honestly felt like I was inside the book as I was reading it. And one final comment regarding the character of Akiva. Hands down one of my favorite fictional characters ever.

Normally I would have been beyond annoyed by the MAJOR cliffhanger of an ending that this book had (the final few chapters left me a weepy mess), but I can forgive Taylor for that, knowing that we will have 2 more books in the series to look forward to.

Bottom line:

One of the best books of 2011 (top 3)
One of my all time favorite books...period.

Feed ~ Mira Grant

4 1/2 - 5 stars

It's taken me several days to get a grip on exactly how I feel about this book. As it is, this review will be a short one since I am still having a hard time trying to put my thoughts into a review that isn't a rambling mess.

This books was not what I expected. At all. Going in, I thought this would be an old fashioned zombie gore-fest. And while there are scenes of the infected going on the attack, this book is more about what's going on in the world of the living. Attempting to survive in a world where each and every person is born with the same virus. A virus that will activate upon the person's death, or even at some random moment in time...turning the person into the horror movie cliche' of a zombie. Of course you could also still be turned into the walking dead the old fashioned way of being chomped on by your undead neighbor. But the idea of living day to day with the question of not if...but when and how it will happen? That's what's truly scary about this book.

I will admit that Grant was a little too descriptive at times. There are countless scenes involving routine blood tests, and while I know that aspect of the story is important, I still didn't enjoy reading about the same process so many times. Also, the beginning was a little slow, and I feel like the story itself was dragged out a little too much. But the last act of the book....more than makes up for any faults i may have with the overall story. The ending packs a HUGE emotional punch, so much so that I find myself unable to dive into the next book right away, as i feel like this one took so much out of me.

So thankful to all of the people who recommended this book to me, as it truly was one of the best I have read in a long time.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Unclaimed ~ Courtney Milan

4 - 4 1/2 stars

Courtney Milan has fast become one of my very favorite authors. She has a way of weaving a story in such a simple, yet beautiful way...her characters are beautifully flawed and the reader can't help but care about them.

In the previous book of the series, [book:Unveiled|8663392], I will admit to not being overly fond of Mark, the youngest member of the Turner clan. He came off as aloof and very prim and proper (hard at work on a book detailing the joys of chastity). But, in Unclaimed, Mark became a truly wonderful male lead.

Milan handled Mark's virginity and view on the world in a believable way, and pairing him up with a 'fallen woman' out to seduce him, while seemingly a bit predictable, the way in which the seduction was handled, was anything but.

The only real flaw of this book was the fact that the ending seemed a little drawn out, and the resolution involving Jessica and her former 'protector' was a little too melodramatic for my tastes. It was those two factors alone that prevented me from giving this 5 stars. But otherwise, this was yet another wonderfully romantic, and sensual tale from Ms Milan.

ARC provided by

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Apocalypse Scenario #683 The Box ~ Mira Grant

5 Sars

To gear up for reading [book:Feed|7094569], I decided to try this novella from author Mira Grant first. All I can say This may have been short, but it packed a helluva punch in my opinion. It was unique, interesting and incredibly unsettling. I will go out on a limb here and say that it just may be one of the best short stories I have ever read. Yes, it was that good.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Night Circus ~ Erin Morgenstern

Having finished reading this a few days ago, i have been struggling ever since to try and put into words how much I enjoyed this book.

The Night Circus is a magical experience from start to finish.

The circus appears without warning.

Probably one of the best opening lines i have read in recent memory. it succeeds in grabbing you from the first lines, and I found myself staying up all night because i literally could not force myself to put this book down.

Le Cirque des Reves...The Circus Of Dreams, is a fitting name for the other-worldly attraction that captures the hearts and minds of so many people. At the heart of the circus are Celia and Marco...two illusionists trained from an early age by two very different but equally powerful magicians... pitted against each other in a mysterious competition that spans nearly 30 years. The way this secret competition ends up encompassing Celia and Marco's lives....and the lives of everyone associated with the Circus (both directly and behind the scenes) is the true heart of this beautiful story. Every aspect of the storytelling works on every level. From the characters, to the atmosphere, to the budding romance, and the sense of dread that falls over everyone as things begin to spiral out of control.

Every second I spent reading this book was a joy, and i look forward not only to reading this book again, but to devouring anything else Erin Morgenstern releases in the future.

Anna Dressed In Blood ~ Kendare Blake

5++ Stars

Call me jaded or it could just be that having been a huge fan of horror from an early age, i have gotten to the point where it truly takes a LOT to unnerve me. But, while reading the incredibly entertaining Anna Dressed In Blood, i found myself feeling more than a little unsettled several times.

Cas is the new kid at the local high school in a small town in Canada. He also happens to be a ghost hunter. He (along with his mother, a White Witch) travel around the country dispatching spirits, following in the footsteps of his deceased father. He has come to find the spirit known as Anna Dressed in Blood, a 16 year old girl who was murdered on her way to a party. The legend goes that anyone who steps inside Anna's house, never comes out, and she has been blamed for dozens of gruesome deaths over the years. But for some reason when Cas breaches her doorstep, she allows him to live.

At times this book was frightening, heart-breaking, funny and even romantic. I truly loved each and every character, no matter how minor they might have appeared to be. And while I could argue that this book should be allowed to stand on it's own....with no real need for a sequel, I have to admit, i am excited to see what comes next for Cas and his group of unlikely friends.

A wonderfully entertaining joyride of a ghost story.

Wicked West ~ Victoria Dahl

3 1/2 - 4 stars

A wicked little novella from Victoria Dahl (writing here as Holly Summers...the heroine from her contemporary romance [book:Talk Me Down|4716621]).

After reading Talk Me Down, I knew I had to read this, and I'm glad I did. Brooding Wyoming Sheriff Hale & seemingly prim and proper English widow Lily make an interesting Dom/sub pair in this quick tale. Considering this was such a short novella, there wasn't much of an actual plot, but the love scenes were hot and the characters likable. I'm not usually fond of westerns in general, but i am glad i made the exception for this.

Talk Me Down ~ Victoria Dahl

4 1/2 - 5 stars

Contemp romance is usually not my thing. But, surprisingly i was immediately won over by this one.

After 10 years, Molly Jennings is moving back home to Tumble Creek, Co. Back to small town life, and if she has her way, into the bed of schoolgirl crush, and her brother's best friend, Chief of police Ben Lawson. But, Molly has a secret and Chief Lawson is bound and determined to find out what it is.

Victoria Dahl has a wonderful writing style. I love when a romance doesn't take itself too seriously, and this one sure doesn't. There are scenes and dialogue that are truly laugh out loud funny, and the love scenes??? Uber hot and steamy (thanks in large part to an excellent tough but sweet hero in Ben). I have seen several reviews that mention people not liking Molly, and while I found her determination to hide her occupation from Ben (though in some ways it makes sense given his past) silly....i loved her character. She was tough, and spunky and a perfect match for Ben's serious police Chief.

I can't wait to dive into the next book in the series.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pumpkin Man ~ John Everson

1 star

Being a big fan of horror novels in general, i jumped at the chance to read an ARC of this book. Unfortunately, this book was nothing short of a hot mess.

The basic plot of the book involves a man who was brutally murdered and decapitated, being brought back from the dead to seek vengeance against those who did him wrong. A grieving daughter seeks refuge in an empty cabin, and all kinds of supposedly spooky things ensue. The first third of the book had promise, but when I realized that the author only seemed interested in piling on the gore instead of creating real tension, i couldn't wait for it to end.

The concept is a decent one, and I was really hoping that this would be a good scary read on the way to Halloween, but this just didn't work for me at all.

ARC provided by

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Her Kilt-Clad Rogue ~ Julie Moffett

5 stars

I have always had a love for all things Scottish...especially historical romances set in that beautiful country. And Her Kilt-Clad Rogue was a delight from start to finish.

Scotsman Connor & Englishwoman Genevieve spend a perfect summer together, but when Connor abandons Genevieve to run off and marry another woman, Genevieve is left devastated. 10 years later, Genevieve is in desperate financial straits, is brought to Scotland to become the governess to Connor's son after the mysterious death of his wife....the woman he left Genevieve for all those years ago.

The story of how Connor and Genevieve find their way back to each other is sweet, and considering this is a short novella, the author succeeds in making the reader truly care about these characters and long for their chance at a true HEA.

Book provided by

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Unveiled ~ Courtney Milan

5+++++ Stars

After having only read 2 books by Courtney Milan, she has now become one of my Automatic Buy authors.

The plot has been dissected by many other reviewers, so I will just concentrate on my thoughts on the characters themselves.

This was without question one of the best historical novels I have ever read. Milan has such a beautiful way of bringing a story to life. Each and every character is fully developed and she especially has a knack for creating amazing heroes.

*Let the gush-fest begin* Simply put...Ash is my ideal man. He's intelligent, devoted to his family, prone to smartass comebacks, confident but with a sense of vulnerability that he's not afraid to show. And he's willing to go to any and every length to win the heart of the woman he loves. In Margaret, Ash sees the epitome of everything he wants, no matter her supposed 'station' in life.

You're important. You matter.

That statement is just...perfection. Especially in the context of the story, and how it relates to Margaret's character.

And I have to say that Milan handled Ash's 'secret' very well. She took a plot element that could have come off as melodramatic and just made it another aspect to the personality of a truly wonderful character. *end gush-fest*

Unveiled has earned a permanent spot on my favorites shelf, and I am so incredibly eager to dive into the next book in the series.

Pride & Passion ~ Charlotte Featherstone

ARC Courtesy of

4 stars

I've been having a hard time trying to put my thoughts together regarding this book. There were a LOT of things i absolutely loved about it, and there were more than a few things I didn't like.

The beginning grabbed my attention immediately. I haven't read any other historical romances with a paranormal edge to them, so i really enjoyed that aspect (initially at least). Also, the first half of the book was written beautifully....the characters came to life, and I found myself being swept away in their story. Adrian, The Lord of Sussex was a wonderful character. He is a deeply passionate, loving man who keeps his emotions hidden behind a facade of a cold, boring aristocrat.

I can honestly say, without a doubt Featherstone has written some of the most sensual and erotic love scenes I have read in a LONG time, in this book. As someone who likes their sex scenes steamy....i was a happy camper.

Now as to what I didn't like...The names of the 3 main female characters....Lucy, Lizzy and Izzy. Needless to say, it was a bit confusing to try and keep track of who was who at times. Also, the last third of the book felt a little overblown to me. The paranormal aspect, and the dialogue between Lucy and Adrian just felt....forced and cliched at times. Also, the fact that for two thirds of the book Lucy is so dead-set against being with Adrian, that the way she just decides from one minute to the next that she simply MUST be with him didn't really work for me.

However, despite any minor problems I may have had with the final act, the over-all book was a very enjoyable, uber steamy read. I can't wait for the next in the series.

Tempt Me At Twilight ~ Lisa Kleypas

2 stars

I never thought I would see the day when I nearly gave up reading a Lisa Kleypas book out of sheer frustration. I have loved everything else I have read by her, and have quite the attachment to the Hathaway series. But, I just did not enjoy this book in so many ways.

My main problem was with the hero, Harry Rutlidge. This may end up being a very unpopular opinion, since i know so many people loved his and Poppy's story, but to me....there was very little to like about Harry. Yes, i know once the story of his childhood etc comes out, it is slightly easier to understand his actions and motivations, but for me, his behavior for the first half of this book completely turned me off on him. The obviously complete disregard for Poppy's feelings, and frankly his entire demeanor was just not attractive to me.

The only things I did enjoy about this book, were the scenes with the other members of the Hathaway clan, and I especially liked seeing the interactions between Marks and Leo. I have high hopes for that book, and hope that the rest of the series succeeds in making me forget how disappointing Poppy and Harry's story was.

The Lady Most Likely ~ Eloisa James, Connie Brockway, Julia Quinn

1 star

I tried....oh how I tried, to get into this book. I am usually not fond of anthologies to begin with, but I figured since I like all three authors, and i found the idea of a 'Novel written in three parts' intriguing, I thought I would give it a shot.

Unfortunately, this book is a huge mess. There are far too many characters to even attempt to keep track of, and it's also a choir trying to determine who's character is in the forefront of the a particular chapter, and who is just passing through.

The entire thing seemed ridiculously over-done; characters that are nothing more than historical romance cliche's (the ethereally beautiful girl who all the men are in love with, the boorish aristocratic, the rogue who loses his heart to an unexpected lady etc etc) witha kind of slapstick humor that i just don't enjoy. So, i found myself giving up on this a little over half way through.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Devil's Bride ~ Stephanie Laurens

1 1/2-2 Stars

I will freely admit it...i skimmed through a large portion of this book. I have nothing against an uber-Alpha male if written in the right way, but there was just something about Devil Cynster that REALLY bugged me right from the beginning. Yes, he was darkly brooding and handsome. Yes, he cared about the heroine, Honoria and refused to 'claim her' until she agreed to be his wife...but his rather brutish attitude bothered me. Also, i didn't really like Honoria all that much either, and the so-called murder mystery element was boring and took up far too much of the story. There were just long stretches of this book that felt like filler to me. Far too many secondary characters that I didn't feel the slight bit interested in.

On the good side, Laurens definitely knows how to write a steamy love scene. Although it felt like she spent the first half of the book building up to the big moment, and then she attempted to cram in as many sex scenes as possible until the last act of the book, which completely fell flat in my opinion.

I realize this is the first book of a long series that many people have recommended to me, and I definitely plan on giving the second book a shot at some point. But, in the end I can't help but feel very disappointed by Devil's Bride.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Unlocked ~ Courtney Milan

5+++ Stars

Unlocked was my introduction to the work of Courtney Milan, and what an introduction it turned out to be.

Milan somehow manages to give us more emotion, passion and character connection in this short novella, then a lot of other authors can do with twice as many pages.

I think what I loved most about this story, is that the plot wasn't one that had been done to death in the genre. Elaine has been the subject of ridicule due to the hurtful acts of both Evan and his cousin since their youth. One cruel remark has a snowball effect, and Elaine has been the butt of jokes ever since. But Evan has done much growing up over the years and has returned to attempt to make amends. And Elaine has no intention of making it easy for him.

Elaine is a wonderful character. She is a strong and vibrant and much more concerned about the attempts at humiliating her sweetly 'head in the clouds' Mother then anything directed at herself. And Evan is just as richly developed. He takes full responsibility for the actions in his youth that caused Elaine so much pain. Handled by another author, I doubt I would have been so quick to understand, and willing to forgive his character. But, just how much I ended up loving Evan is a testament to the talent of Milan at creating some of the most wonderful characters i have read about in some time. The H&h's slow dance not just towards a HEA, but to genuine trust and friendship, was deeply moving for me.

My one complaint, is that I wish their story could have been a full size novel. But, I am happy for taking the journey with them, as short as it may have been.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Draculas ~ JA Konrath, Blake Crouch

5++ stars

A completely different and ingenious take on the vampire novel.

4 amazing authors: J.A. Konrath, Blake Crouch, F. Paul Wilson, Jack Kilborn, and Jeff Strand- each creating their own characters and following them through to the end - come together to create an absolutely amazing twist on the Vampire novel.

Mortimer Moorecook is a desperate and dying man. Willing to do just about anything to survive the disease that is ravaging his body. After acquiring the so called "Dracula's Skull", he believes he has found the answer to his prayers. Within minutes of the skull arriving at his home, he sinks the elongated teeth into his own neck...

To say anything else about the actual storyline would take away from the enjoyment of discovering all the twisted nuances to this roller coaster of a novel.

As gory and twisted as this novel is (and trust me when i say, this is not for the squeamish), there is a hefty dose of delightfully warped black humor thrown into the mix, which only made me love this book more.

I am already a HUGE fan of JA Konrath/Jack Killborn, but this book makes me anxious to read more by the other authors as well.

Not for the fainthearted, but if you enjoy finding yourself giggling as you squirm in your seat, grab this book and dig in!

Hearts In Darkness ~ Laura Kaye

4 +++ stars

I was surprised by how much i truly enjoyed this little novella. The author packed a lot into such a short book, and she somehow made it all work. Whenever i read an erotic novella i usually feel like the plot is rushed in order to get to the naughty bits. I didn't feel this way here. The main characters were likable and damn if Caden (who definitely reminded me...looks wise...of one of my favorite male characters, Zsadist from JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series) isn't smoking hot. *fans self*

Recommended for anyone who likes their erotica steamy and short.

Hush Hush ~ Becca Fitzpatrick

5+++ Stars

Even though this book has been lumped into the YA category, it definitely felt more like an adult-minded para romance to me.

I love a good vampire story as much as the next para-junkie, but I have to say I now have a major weakness for fallen angels as well.

While I can understand some people making comparisons between this book and Twilight (dark, brooding hero, and a heroine who, against her better judgment, can't keep herself from being drawn into the hero's mysterious world). But, in my own humble opinion, Hush Hush is a far superior book. Yes this book has a few faults (the bad guy is far too easy to figure out, and there are a few continuity issues that pop up), but they obviously didn't bother me that much since i basically read this book in one sitting.
And finally, let me just say this...Patch is one helluva hero. He's a full-on sexy badass, and I loved him to pieces.

Mine Til Midnight ~ Lisa Kleypas

5++ Stars
*All Time Favorite Book List*

If I could give this book 10 stars, I would. I honestly haven't enjoyed a book this much in AGES. Cam Rohan is now firmly planted very close to the top of my list of all time favorite leading men.

The chemistry between Cam & Amelia is just breathtaking. I have always been a sucker for an Alpha male, and Cam is about as Alpha as they come. When he finally sets his mind to having Amelia, he won't let anyone or anything stand in his way. He's fierce, compelling, intense and sexy as hell and Amelia is helpless to resist his charm...and I definitely can relate.

This was my first experience reading Lisa Kleypas, and I have to admit I picked a great one to start with. From the first page, this book sucked me into the storyline, and the beautifully detailed world of the characters.

I have to point out something that many of the author's fans know all too well; Lisa Kleypas not only writes a hero to die for...but she has a knack for creating the most beautifully erotic love scenes I have ever read. She has said in the past that when she writes love scenes she choreographs them down to the last detail, and it's obvious that she does just that. She somehow manages to create toe-curling encounters without ever going too far in her descriptions. Her dialogue is always eye-rolling or giggling, the way I have found myself doing while reading love scenes in other books. She knows how to mix romantic with scorchingly hot like no one else.

LK cares about every aspect of her novels, and it shows. Which is one of the many reasons she has such a devoted following. I for one consider myself lucky to include myself among them.