Friday, September 28, 2007
And now, without further ado...
CRAZY IN LOVE by Lani Diane Rich
She's on the rocks.
Flynn Daly needs a drink. Under the crush of family guilt, she's agreed to move out of her dangerous South Boston neighborhood and join the family business. Her first assignment: running the inn left by a deceased aunt Flynn's never even heard of. The problem? It's in the middle of the country where there's nature and bugs and no public transport; her dead aunt is haunting her dreams;and the hotel's bartender is making her lose her mind...in more ways than one.
Make it a double.
When bartender Jake Tucker's beloved boss meets and untimely end, he intends to find out who's behind it. If cozying up to the eccentric niece gets him the information he needs, so be it. But once he gets close to the wild hair and captivating smile, he decides that some things are more fun with a partner...even if she sees dead people. After all, for a woman like Flynn, he'd be nuts not to.
My BCC complaints are that I have none. This is actually a very good example of what a BCC should be. Take note BCC writers.
If ever some one decides to immortalize me in the form of a Romance novel heroine (the woman not the drug, though The Hubs tells me I am addictive) I hope that that some one is Lani Diane Rich. Every single book Rich has written has me totally falling in love with the female protagonist (see, I just feel silly saying heroine so I'll just stick with FP from now on) and CIL was no different.
Flynn Daly is searching for her passion. Something to do in life that she believes in, cares about, and loves doing. She hasn't found it yet though, so when her dad and sister decide to do a life intervention over the phone, she gives in and goes to work for the family. The mission that she has accepted is to head out to the Goodhouse Arms, a hotel the family has recently inherited from a long lost aunt, and keep the natives happy until the family can finalize a sale.
But, good ole Aunt Esther has decided to haunt Flynn, Jake the bartender is worming his way into her heart, money turns up missing and it could be tangled up in a case Jake had once worked, and for some reason, Flynn finds herself becoming attached to the place - and the people.
I loved this book. Flynn is just the right kind of feisty. Jake is just the right kind of goofball gorgeous. Crazy In Love is one parts Romance, one parts Woman's Fiction, one parts Mystery with a twist of paranormal haunting to make it laugh out loud, touching, fun, fast-paced romp.
Trust me on this, you need this book. If you're a Rich fan already, CIL is just going to cement the fact and if you're new to Rich, be prepared to be hooked.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW by Cecelia Ahern
Everything in Elizabeth Egan's life has its place. Order and precision keep life under control - and keep Elizabeth's heart safe from dwelling on past hurts. Her role as a reluctant mother to her six-year-old nephew leaves little room for error - or any fun. Until the day Ivan comes into their lives. The mysterious Ivan in carefree, spontaneous, and always looking for adventure - all Elizabeth is not. But just when Elizabeth begins to trust him, she learns that Ivan isn't at all who she thought he was.
Playful and at times intensely moving, this is a novel about how seeing isn't always believing. Full of Ceclia Ahern's trademark warmth and poignancy, IF YOU COULD SEE ME NOW is a story of enormous heart - and just a little bit of magic.
As far as the BCC goes, I really think it would have been better to cut out the entire last paragraph. That's nice and all that the pubs think this such a wonderful book but I would probably take that last paragraph better had it been a quote of some kind. I don't know, something about that just troubles me.
I debated long and hard about buying this book. I must have picked it up a million times over the course of a few weeks and put it back down. I kept thinking I had read P.S. I LOVE YOU and was disappointed, and didn't want to chance the same author again. I still can't say if I have indeed read the P.S. , but I can say that after reading this one, I will give the author another read.
IYCSMN is the story of Elizabeth Egan, a woman raising her nephew, dealing with an alcoholic sister, a distant father, the memory of a mother that abandoned her, and disappointments in love. Elizabeth needs order in her life. Everything has a place and each place is always cleaned to a shine. Never really getting the chance to be a child herself, Elizabeth is at a loss as how to handle her nephew Luke. So when the day comes that Luke comes home with an imaginary friend Ivan, Elizabeth finds herself irritated and scared. Irritated because she wants to keep Luke's feet planted firmly on the ground and scared because she feels that the imaginary friend may be the first step in Luke becoming like his mother and grandmother.
But, with the appearance of Luke's friend Ivan, strange things start happening in Elizabeth's life as well. Chairs spin of their own accord, noises coming from her couch, and the feeling that she's being watched.
Ivan doesn't understand it. Elizabeth can sense him. He's used to kids seeing him, that's all part of the job. But, adults? That can't be right. And when Elizabeth actually sees Ivan, things become even more confusing. Is he there to be Luke's friend or Elizabeth's.
I've blogged before about my own children and their imaginary friends. How I sometimes wonder if they are indeed real and this book, much like the movie DROP DEAD FRED, just serves to increase that curiosity.
IYCSMN really is a touching story like the BCC suggests. Written mainly in Third, Ahern does give Ivan First POV at times, and it really adds a playful touch. I enjoyed watching Elizabeth learn to laugh and I enjoyed watching the playful Ivan (who loves to speak backwards and every new thing is his favorite) get a dose of growing up as well.
Though the book was a tad hard to get into, with a lot of sitting and thinking info dump at the beginning, I soon found myself turning page after page without any irritation. If you're in need of a fun yet surprisingly touching and insightful book that will leave you at The End with a smile, I definitely recommend picking this one up.
Monday, September 24, 2007
It all started when the mailman arrived today, and let me just say, this usually isn't a big event - I mean, basically the mailman (erm, person - sorry mom) brings me bills and on a few occasions a flier or two, so it really isn't a big celebration at my house. But note, I said usually. Today, my mailperson brought a package. Not just any old package either. A package from none other than a dee & Dee dish FAB author, Lani Diane Rich. Inside this package I found TWO signed copies of her new book CRAZY IN LOVE in which you, yes! you my dear Lovelies, will now have the chance to win. I was so excited that I grabbed the mailperson by the face and planted a big ole' kiss on their cheek and danced off, feeling the dazed look of my mailperson on my back the entire time. I imagine that mail time around here is about to get very interesting indeed. A small price to pay, having a mailperson think you're the bestest, to have this book to share you with you. Oh, the things I do for this blog.
And share this book with you is exactly what I plan to do. In fact, Lani has made it possible for me to share this book with two lucky readers! All you need to do is leave a comment on this post that has the recipe for your favorite mixed drink and why it's your favorite. OR, tell us your least favorite mixed drink and why. That simple.
Winners will be announced Friday when I post my dish of CRAZY IN LOVE.
Good Luck and Take Care
SOMETHING WICKED by Catherine Mulvany
Investigative reporter Regan Cluny is in hot pursuit of a reclusive philanthropist who is financing a mysterious archaeological dig in the California desert. Attempting to convince Charles Cunningham Nash to grant her an interview has proven impossible long distance, so Regan sets off uninvited for his dig to woo him in person. Instead, she meets with deadly trouble: a biker gang corners her at a remote rest stop, sabotages her car, and leaves her for dead on a country road. Miraculously, Regan survives with only one strange memory of her attack...and the man who comes to her aid is Nash himself. Strongly attracted to her handsome protector, Regan can't know that Nash is a vampire tied to her attackers by a vicious blood feud that dates back to the Civil War - or that he has hungered for the life and soul of a mortal for nearly two centuries. With the local sheriff determined to nail Nash for the violence perpetrated by his dire enemy, Regan must decide whether the dark secrets of a lover she can't live without are something wonderful...or something wicked.
First things first - The BCC. Well, to be honest it's a tad on the melodramatic side of things, and the tone of the BCC suggests the book within is going to be dark and edgy, when in reality - it's just not. But all of that aside, the BCC does sum up a good deal of the story so I'd give it a fair to middlen' rating.
Regan Cluny, as the BCC says, is an investigative reporter, doing stories for major magazines, that go in-depth and route out the truth in sensationalized stories. When she reads a tabloid article about space ships and aliens being found in the desert, and the dig that discovers them is funded by the mega rich and reclusive Charles Nash, something doesn't sound right to Regan so she goes in search of the real story. But, Nash isn't so willing to talk to her, or anyone it seems, and the mystery surrounding the story is just too much for the reporter in Regan to ignore.
So, setting off to the desert to get her story is just what Regan does, if Nash doesn't want to return her calls she'll just have to get her story face to face. But getting there doesn't happen as easily as Regan thought it would, and before she even reaches the dig site she is confronted with a group of scary, nasty bikers. When one of the bikers, Harper the leader, mistakes her for a woman names Katie and freaks Regan out, she fights back and finds herself getting away. But her get-a-way is short lived, the bikers catch up to Regan and after brutalizing her, leave her for dead in the desert.
As it turns out, Harper and Nash have a very long history. A history that dates back to the Civil War, when both Harper and Nash became vampires and fell in love with the same woman - Katie. But where Harper has reveled in the blood lust that is vampirism, Nash has despised it, and that's why his dig is so important. Nash believes that an old stream is hidden in the desert that can heal any sickness and he's banking on finding it so that he can live a normal life. Regan Cluny showing up is not what Nash had planned on and he is less than thrilled to have her around, even if the attraction and sexual energy they both feel is enormous. Because Nash falling in love is the last thing he wants, especially since Harper has made it his life long goal to destroy everyone and everything that Nash has ever cared about.
But Regan isn't going anywhere until she gets her story, and now finding the spring has become even more important, and time is of the essence, because both Nash and Harper see a resemblance to Katie (one no one else can see), and Harper has finally discovered that by using Regan, he may actually be able to kill Nash, something he has never been able to do, since Katie cast a spell upon her death that protects them both from killing one another.
Normally, a book that sounds like the one of above is one that I would love. Unfortunately, WICKED was a huge disappointment to me. I've mentioned before that one of my most favorite things about paranormals that include vampires is the unique way in which authors come up with the origins. And I have to say, that the explanation for the existence of vampires in this one just fell short for me, and unfortunately that is the first of many things that bothered me about the book.
The characters had no real substance to them, and the dialogue seemed forced. Regan Cluny seemed shallow and while the book tells us that she is really a strong woman, her actions and thoughts say different. Regan's also suffering from a disease, and the way it is brought to light was through some of the aforementioned forced dialogue. There were several threads in the story, but instead of being tightly woven, they were left loose and brought together in a very sloppy knot at the end.
I'll be honest here though and say that I have had a run of bad luck with PR lately. I have a couple of books to dish, but I have yet to be able to do that because I was so angry with them that it will be hard for me to do it in a fair way. So, perhaps I went into this with an expectation of being disappointed. Paranormal Romance has been such a big genre lately, and so many, many books are flying off the shelves simply because they have that label, that I'm starting to feel too many authors are simply writing to the current market, instead of writing the best story they can. This could very well be my problem and not the books at all. I just don't know.
What are your feelings toward some of the paranormals that have been hitting shelves? Is it getting to be too many? Is the genre suffering from a case of overplayed like songs on the radio? Have you read this one? What did you think?
Thursday, September 20, 2007
VIOLET ON THE RUNWAY by Melissa Walker
ON THE DAY MY LIFE CHANGED,
THE LADY IN GIANT CHANEL SHADES
STARED ME UP AND DOWN...
"Gorgeous, I've got fall castings coming up and I think you could IT. And I mean IT. Are you busy next weekend? I can have you on a flight to New York Friday night. If it's up to me, I'd say you're the next Kate Moss - but, you know, taller and without the PR problems...I hope!" Then she threw her perfectly highlighted hair back and laughed, which gave me a good look at her straight, white veneers.
So that's how I happen to have this business card in the front pockets of my jeans as I start my senior year of high school. The card of Angela Blythe from Tryst Models in New York City, who wants to put me on a plane this weekend and whisk me into her world of high-heeled boots and oversized sunglasses. Me, Violet Greenfield, who's been P-L-A-I-N practically forever.
And you wanna know a secret? I'm going...
It's a YA BCC, so you know what I'm gonna say already. This one especially hits the nail on the head seeing as they took it right out of the book itself, and I think I actually prefer that. I realize that that would be impossible with a lot of books, but I think whenever appropriate, editors need to take note of this.
Violet Greenfield starts her senior year with the promise that she could actually be going to New York to become a model. Being tall all her life has been some what of a cross to bear for her, in grade school they called her Jolly Green Giant, and that was about as far as most people came to even knowing who she was. It may be hard to be invisible when you're over six feet at seventeen but Violet has spent most of her life perfecting the ability to be just that.
And then one day while at work, Angela Blythe spots Violet, "This woman was, like, unabashedly staring at my awkwardness..." and offers her the opportunity of a lifetime - the chance to be a model, to be seen as something other than average, over-tall, shy Violet and it is just too alluring to give up. Written in First Person, Violet takes us through her foray into the modeling world. Filled with jealous best friends, cutthroat models, playboy partiers, and adoring fans, Violet learns that sometimes the most glamorous things in our lives are the ones we've always taken for granted.
The cast of characters that make up Violet's life are so very endearing. There are her parents, her pot smoking aunt, Julie and Roger her two best friends, a nutcase manager, and some nice, some not so nice models.
Walker managed to meld humor, a touch of Romance, and a heavy dollop of teenage angst into an endearing, cannot put down book that will have readers clamoring for more. I can tell you, I've already read it three times, and will do so again, I'm sure. This is a book for every teen aged girl that dreams big but feels small. This is a book for every woman who looks back and remembers how it felt to be seventeen and awkward. This is a book that needs to be on everyone's shelf.
If I had any complaints about VotR, it is only the pathetic little excerpt in the back of the book for the next installment of Violet's life. Come on. Can we say tease much? So what are you waiting for? Go. Get. This. Book. Now!
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Crazy In Love by Lani Diane Rich
She’s on the rocks.
Flynn Daly needs a drink. Under the crush of family guilt, she’s agreed to move out of her dangerous South Boston neighborhood and join the family business. Her first assignment: running the inn left by a deceased aunt Flynn’s never even heard of. The problem? It’s in the middle of the country where there’s nature and bugs and no public transport; her dead aunt is haunting her dreams; and the hotel’s bartender is making her lose her mind… in more ways than one.
Make it a double.
When bartender Jake Tucker’s beloved boss meets an untimely end, he intends to find out who’s behind it. If cozying up to the eccentric niece gets him the information he needs, so be it. But once he gets close to that wild hair and captivating smile, he decides that some things are more fun with a partner… even if she sees dead people. After all, for a woman like Flynn, he’d be nuts not to go for it.
Crazy In Love: Last call on sanity.
I think the books sounds FAB, and even if I don't win the copy, you can bet your bottom dollar I'll have it in my hot little hands as soon as possible.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
THE ETERNAL ROSE by Gail Dayton
Six years ago, the demons behind the rebellion in Adara were defeated, and Kallista Varyl was named the new Renine. Now, finally, word has come that her abducted family members might be found in the homeland her mate Obed abandoned. She packs up the family for a state visit, but disaster strikes: One of the godmarked is murdered, leaving Kallista devastated. But there are children to rescue, slaves to free, and the wicked working of demons to set aright. A ninth godmarked must be found to make the magic whole - but Kallista will need more than magic to heal her this time.
This is the final book of The Compass Rose Trilogy, so when I sat down to read it, I was nervous that I would be lost (as I had not read the other two books). Let's just say I was pleasantly surprised that that was not the case. In fact, Dayton's writing is so solid that I fell immediately into the story and lost myself in the world.
It was another pleasant surprise to find that the fact I read the BCC and the publishers literature that accompanied the book did not take away from the story in any fashion. The BCC is spot on and not at all misleading and for the first time in a long time I promptly forgot it while I read.
Kallista Varyl is the Reinin, Ruler of all Adara and she is also Chosen by the One, Godstruck. With her nine godmarked, all members of her ilian, she rules the country by day and searches for demons at night. Unfortunately, since peace has been the order of the day for so long, Kallista has let her magical muscles relax, so that when trouble comes calling, Kallista is not expecting it.
When a demon escaped them last, he rode out of town in the body of one of their ilian, and she was pregnant with child. Now, it appears, the demon is ready to toy with them again. Just after death spells are found in the palace, a messenger arrives from Obed's homeland, and brings a picture of a boy who could only be the child of their lost family member.
Kallista, the rest of her ilian, all of their children, and several guards set off to make the long and dangerous trip to Daryath. A place where ilian are unacceptable, and the offense of belonging to such a family is an offense that could be punishable by death. Once there, they find the town riddled with demon stink, and know that first and foremost they want to rescue their missing family, but then they will have to do battle with the demons.
But, the demons aren't quite that easy to find, and when negotiations for the child and mother end in murder, Kallista and her ilian find themselves one ilian and godmarked short, and with his loss comes the lessening of their magic and without a ninth godmarked they stand no chance against the very old, very evil demon that is polluting the city with hate.
The Eternal Rose is a fast-paced page turner, and I found it almost impossible to turn away from Kallista and the rest, as they try to free their lost son who has been serving as a slave, in a court that bring an entire new meaning to the term "custody battle", fight demons, try to free slaves, protect their children, and try to deal with the loss of a very beloved ilian.
There was only one thing that made me stop and say "hmmmm" in the entire book, and that had to do with a very, awwww, steamy part that left me scratching my head at the impossibility of the act. Other than that, Kallista and her family touched me deep with the amount of love they held for one another. I felt as if I knew these people, and I, for one, very much enjoyed my time spent in their world.
If you are an inspiring Fantasy writer, The Eternal Rose, is a must read. Dayton is a master at world building and she does it without ever breaking pace. She managed create a world so very different from our own, but also make the people in it so real. Or if you are just a reader looking for a great book to take you away for a while, this book is for you. I'm going to have to order the first two books in the trilogy now, as I did not want to leave Kallista and the Adarans behind and I'm willing to bet you'll find yourself doing the same!