In My Mailbox (25)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.

"Sing Me to Sleep" by Angela Morrison


arc won from Ashley at http://booksobsession.blogspot.com


"She Walks in Beauty" by Siri Mitchell


from Bethany House I'm reading this one now and I love it!


"Zan-Gah: A Prehistoric Adventure" by Allan Richard Shickman



and "Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country"


both received from Bonnie at Earthshaker Books


What did you receive in your mailbox this week??


Waiting on Wednesday (25)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!

This week I chose:

"Cate of the Lost Colony"

by Lisa M. Klein
Bloomsbury
Release Date: Oct 12, 2010

The following description is from Goodreads.com


The greatest unsolved mystery of American history--what happened to all the colonists who landed on Roanoke Island in 1587? This novel traces the fortunes and misfortunes of one Cate Archer, banished to Virginia by a jealous Queen Elizabeth because of her dalliance with Sir Walter Ralegh. What will be her fate in this dangerous New World?


I love historical fiction and this one is even based on truth! I can't wait to read more about this story, it sounds fascinating! The cover is so gorgeous, I love it!

What are you waiting for this week??

In My Mailbox (24)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.


"Blood Promise" (Vampire Academy #4)


bought
Yay! Finally I'm catching up on this great series!


"Tall, Dark, and Wolfish" by Lydia Dare

Won from Yankee Romance Reviewers, sent by Sourcebooks
I'm so excited to win this one!! This series looks great, and this book looks even better than the first one.


"Mistress of Rome" by Kate Quinn

Won from Peeking Between the Pages, sent by Penguin Group
I've read some awesome reviews of this one!


"Never a Bride" by Amelia Grey

sent by Danielle at Sourcebooks


"For the King's Favor" by Elizabeth Chadwick

sent by Danielle at Sourcebooks
I've heard so much about this author! I can't wait to check out one of her books for myself!


What did you receive in your mailbox this week??

"101 Things I Learned in Fashion School"

"101 Things I Learned in Fashion School"
by Alfredo Cabrera with Matthew Frederick

Source: provided by Anna at Hachette Books

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:

When I first opened this book, I thought, "Whoa, this is going to be all definitions of fabric weaves and official fashion terms, sounds boring." But then I got about 20 pages in, and I devoured the book in one sitting! Definitely not boring!

Each of the 101 tips had it's own page and an illustration on the opposite page. I liked how quirky quotes, fashion history, useable hints for shopping and dressing, and the afor
ementioned terms and definitions were all interspersed throughout the book. The diversity really made reading this one flow nicely and made me want to keep turning the pages.

I'm interested in sewing, and I found some really useful tips that I didn't know before, that I will definitely be using. I also learned the answer to some fun fashion questions:

Why do men's and women's shirts button up differently?
What makes jeans so sexy?
How do I mix patterns successfully?
How do I tie a necktie properly?


The price of this one is a little steep, but the book is itself is sturdy and of good quality. The book is small and would be a great gift.

Bottom Line: I really enjoyed this one, it was a quick, fun read and I learned a lot! I would recommend this book as a gift book for someone who is really interested in fashion, sewing, or even just a big shopper!

"Put on Your Crown"


"Put on Your Crown: Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom"
by Queen Latifah (Sarah Marshall-contributor)

Source: provided by Anna at Hachette Books

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:

This is Queen Latifah's inspirational guide for women of all ages, covering topics ranging from beauty to money. I've always liked the image that Queen Latifah portrays of herself and have liked her in any shows or movies I've seen her in. She definitely has an aura of girl-power, so I was excited to read some tips from her on self-esteem.

Queen Latifah holds nothing back, she divulges private information (as well as her private feelngs) about situations like her brother's death and even her brief time as a broke celebrity. It takes a strong person to talk about things like this so publicly and in doing so, she's showing the reader that she "practices what she preaches."

Two parts of the book stood out as my favorites. First, the section on beauty, which celebrates the beauty of all shapes, sizes, and colors. I also loved the section about Queen Latifah's mother, who seems like such a strong woman. Queen Latifah's love for her mother is evident in every word spoken about her and she even gives her a few pages to write her own thoughts and guidance.

Some of the sections didn't interest me all that much, Queen Latifah is a bit of a daredevil, so I didn't quite connect with her cliff diving and motorcycle analogies to conquering fear.

This book is a short read and packs a lot of inspiration in a small amount of pages. I think my favorite mantra that I've taken from the book is on page 157:

"You have to hold your head up and look at the horizon, because if you don't, if you keep gazing down at the ground, your crown's gonna fall right off."


Bottom Line:

I recommend this book to fans of Queen Latifah because you can really tell she's writing from her soul and sharing her own private experiences and feelings to help and inspire others.

Book Blogger Hop May 21


It's Friday: Time for the Book Blogger Hop!!

Welcome to any new visitors from the Hop, I'm glad you stopped by!!

If you're interested in joining the Book Blogger Hop, check out Jennifer's page, Crazy-for-Books, and enter your link and check out some of the other book blogs out there!!

Have a great weekend!!

"Wicked Becomes You"


"Wicked Becomes You"
by Meredith Duran

Source: provided by Sarah at Pocket Books

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:

Alex Ramsey, reckless and carefree rogue, feels responsible for his best friend's murder. He tried to honor his friend by promising to look after Richard's perfectly nice sister, Gwen Maudsley. Most importantly, Richard wished for Alex never to corrupt the "nicest girl in London", Gwen, with his roguish ways. So Alex always kept far from her, traveling to distant countries at every chance. When Gwen is jilted at the altar for a second time, Alex realized it's time to take a more active role in caring for Gwen. On a journey together to recover Richard's ring, Alex realizes what a handful Gwen will be after she vows to stop being so downright nice.

Meredith Duran really excels at the subtleties of love and life. She can write about one small action or short phrase and it has such a deeper meaning. Also, Duran can really paint a picture of the setting, I truly felt like I was running through the Moulin Rouge and le Chat Noir with Gwen and Alex. Her writing style is unique and if you haven't read anything by this author, I suggest you do so as soon as possible!

I loved Gwen's character at the beginning of the book. She wasn't just a nice girl, she calculated ever single action and word to be perfectly polite and nice. Alex was the only one who recognized how much strength and dedication it took for Gwen to be "the nicest girl in London." I was fascinated by Gwen's journey of learning to loosen up, that a misstep here and there was perfectly ok and made life worth living.

I wanted to know more about Alex. I was interested in his childhood asthma, but it wasn't dealt with very much. I also wanted to know more about his fierce love and dedication to his siblings, even when they treated him poorly. I liked Alex's cool, calm exterior, always letting rumors and insults bounce right off his back. But I wanted to see more of what laid underneath the surface.

The romance between Gwen and Alex never really caught fire for me. Sure, they liked each other, but I never really saw fireworks between them. They were missing that special spark needed to make them really star-crossed lovers.


Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 2/5 (unfortunately, there weren't really any)

Setting: 5/5 (Moulin Rouge and le Chat Noir, need I say more!?)

Romance: 3/5
Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5

Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line:
Meredith's writing is mesmerizing, and I enjoyed the subtleties of the story much more so than the overall picture. I loved Gwen's journey to find out that it's ok to not be perfect all the time.

Waiting on Wednesday (24)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!

This week I chose:

"Insatiable"

by Meg Cabot
William Morrow
Release Date: June 1, 2010

The following description is from Goodreads.com

Sick of vampires? So is Meena Harper.


But her boss is making her write about them anyway, even though Meena doesn’t believe in them.

Not that Meena isn’t familiar with the supernatural. See, Meena Harper knows how you’re going to die (not that you’re going to believe her; no one ever does).


But not even Meena’s precognition can prepare her for what happens when she meets—then makes the mistake of falling in love with—Lucien Antonescu, a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side . . . a dark side a lot of people, like an ancient society of vampire-hunters, would prefer to see him dead for.

The problem is, he already is dead. Maybe that’s why he’s the first guy Meena’s ever met that she could see herself having a future with. See, while Meena’s always been able to see everyone else’s future, she’s never been able look into her own.

And while Lucien seems like everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, he might turn out to be more like a nightmare.

Now might be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future . . .

If she even has one.

This one looks really fun!! I've really enjoyed some of her books, and I think this one looks like it's going to bring some humor to the paranormal genre! And look at the cover!! Love it!

What are you waiting on this week??

Winners Announced!! Ravished by a Highlander

Winners Announced!!

The five winners of Paula Quinn's "Ravished by a Highlander" are:


Bookie
Nfmgirl
Lisa R.
Kris from Voracious YAppetite
Elaing8

Winners were chosen via random.org random number generator. Congrats to all five winners!! I will be emailing all of you for your mailing address so I can send it on to Hachette. Congrats and a huge thank you to everyo
ne who entered!!



Check back June 11 for my next blog tour and contest, and enter to win "Knight of Passion" by Margaret Mallory!!

In My Mailbox (23)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.

"Arson" by Estevan Vega


I won this one in a contest at The Calico Critic! I've heard so much about Arson!!


"The Darcy Cousins" by Monica Fairview


Won from The Burton Review! I like the idea of a Pride and Prejudice spin off that travels to America!


"101 Things I Learned in Fashion School" by Alfredo Cabrera and Matthew Frederick


Received for review from Hachette!


"Knight of Passion" by Margaret Mallory


Received for review from Anna at Hachette!

Check back on June 11 for my stop on the book's blog tour for my review and a giveaway!!



What did you receive in your mailbox this week??

Book Blogger Hop May 14


Happy Friday, everyone!! It's time for another Book Blogger Hop!!

Check out Jennifer's page, Crazy-for-Books, and enter your link and check out some of the other book blogs out there!!

Here are a just a couple of the great blogs that I have found through the the Hop:

Reminder List

The Bookshelf Sophisticate

So join in the fun and check out the Hop!

While you're here, don't forget to enter my contest to win "Ravished by a Highlander" by Paula Quinn!!





The contest ends on Sunday at midnight and I have 5 copies to give away!! Thanks for entering!

Teaser: "Wicked Becomes You"

Here's a teaser for the book I'm reading right now- "Wicked Becomes You" by Meredith Duran!! Sarah at Simon and Schuster sent this book for review, and so far this book is amazing, just what I would expect from Meredith Duran!


Summary from Goodreads.com

She’s been burned not once but twice by London’s so-called gentlemen . . .Gwen Maudsley is pretty enough to be popular, and plenty wealthy, too. But what she’s best known and loved for is being so very, very nice. When a cad jilts her at the altar—again—the scandal has her outraged friends calling for blood. Only Gwen has a different plan. If nice no longer works for her, then it’s time to learn to be naughty. Happily, she knows the perfect tutor—Alexander Ramsey, her late brother’s best friend and a notorious rogue.So why won’t a confirmed scoundrel let her be as bad as she wants to be?Unbeknownst to Gwen, Alex’s aloof demeanor veils his deepest unspoken desire. He has no wish to see her change, nor to tempt himself with her presence when his own secrets make any future between them impossible. But on a wild romp from Paris to the Riviera, their friendship gives way to something hotter, darker, and altogether more dangerous. With Alex’s past and Gwen’s newly unleashed wildness on a collision course, Gwen must convince Alex that his wickedest intentions are exactly what she needs.


I love the heroine, she's known for being a 'nice girl' but this is no cartoon princess who is 'so nice' for no apparent reason. The hero is also more than his rakish reputation suggests. Both have carefully constructed these exteriors to mold what other people think of them, and I can't wait to see how they learn about the other's real self!!

Read an excerpt on Meredith Duran's site.

She also has an alternate 1st Chapter posted!!

Browse inside the book on Simon and Schuster's site.

My review will be up a day or two, I have a feeling I'm going to fly through this one!


Waiting on Wednesday (23)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!

This week I chose:

"Infinity" (Chronicles of Nick #1)

by Sherrilyn Kenyon
St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: May 25, 2010


The following description is from Goodreads.com:


At fourteen, Nick Gautier thinks he knows everything about the world around him. Streetwise, tough and savvy, his quick sarcasm is the stuff of legends. . .until the night when his best friends try to kill him. Saved by a mysterious warrior who has more fighting skills than Chuck Norris, Nick is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters: immortal vampire slayers who risk everything to save humanity. Nick quickly learns that the human world is only a veil for a much larger and more dangerous one: a world where the captain of the football team is a werewolf and the girl he has a crush on goes out at night to stake the undead. But before he can even learn the rules of this new world, his fellow students are turning into flesh eating zombies. And he’s next on the menu. As if starting high school isn't hard enough. . .now Nick has to hide his new friends from his mom, his chainsaw from the principal, and keep the zombies and the demon Simi from eating his brains, all without getting grounded or suspended. How in the world is he supposed to do that?


I love Sherrilyn's historical romances (writing as Kinley MacGregor) so I'm excited to see that she has a YA paranormal coming out! It seems like a couple of romance authors (Sophie Jordan's Firelight) are expanding into YA, my two favorite genres!!

What are you waiting for this week?

"Beautiful People"


"Beautiful People"
by Wendy Holden

Source: provided by Danielle at Sourcebooks

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:

I wouldn't even begin to a do a detailed summary of "Beautiful People", because I want this review to be spoiler-free. But this story is about a handful of strangers all mixed together in some juicy Hollywood scandals. Some are already divas fully immersed in the Hollywood culture, others are reluctant newcomers to this dazzling world. There's never a dull moment in this one and I flew through all 400 pages!

There are so many characters and all of their lives become intertwined in the most unexplainable ways. It's like a soap opera and you never know who will be thrown together next.

I loved Emma, the nanny, and Orlando, the dreamy guy who wants to avoid the Hollywood spectacle even with agents hounding him. These characters were so down to earth and almost naive and innocent, they really helped to keep the book in perspective. I loved to hate Belle (and her equally evil chihuahua, Sugar) and Christian! They were so typical of the dark underside of Hollywood's most "beautiful people." Still, their escapades were fun to live vicariously through. I liked being able to indulge that scandalous side with Belle and Christian but still see characters more like myself in Emma and Orlando, and also Darcy and Marco.

Whenever there are so many varied characters there are bound to be some that are uninteresting. I wasn't a fan of the Hollywood agent or the model scout even in a 'love to hate them' way. They just didn't interest me at all.


Main Characters: 4/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 3/5
Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5

Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line:
This book is the perfect scandalous guilty pleasure. The lines are clearly drawn between the good characters and bad characters, so the outrageousness is nicely balanced out.

In My Mailbox (22)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.


"Never Less Than a Lady"
by Mary Jo Putney


I won this one from Romantic Crush Junkies, it is even personalized and autographed by Mary Jo Putney! Thank you!

"Lament"
by Maggie Stiefvater


I finally got this book, I've heard so much about it!

What did you receive in your mailbox this week???

"Stay a Little Longer"


"Stay a Little Longer"
by Dorothy Garlock

Source: provided by Anna at Hachette Books

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

My Review:

Rachel Watkins' life irreversibly changed when her sister Alice died in childbirth. Rachel became a mother to her niece, Charlotte, and took over from her mother as the town midwife. Rachel's mother lost her courage to help bring new lives into the world after the loss of her daughter. Rachel is also in charge of the boarding house that her mother owns with her uncle. Rachel blames her sister's death as well as all the struggles of her new life on the fact that Alice's husband, Mason, died in the war. If he hadn't died, would everything be the same as it was before? Would he be able to fix everything if he could come back?

"Stay a Little Longer" had a really good story, but it was a little too simplistic at times. There were moments that were really exciting and even had me gasping, "Wow! I can't believe that happened!" This story was kind of like "It's a Wonderful Life," but people's lives really did fall apart because they thought Mason was dead, it wasn't all a dream.

The romance was okay, but I wouldn't really call this a romance book because the love story was on the back burner. It was more about Mason learning to live his life again. Some of the scenes with the villains were a little too grisly for me and at times I wondered how much more Rachel would have to endure.

However, I loved Charlotte's character and her faithful and loyal companion, Jasper the dog. These two really breathed life into the slow story. I also thought Rachel's mother and how Alice's death affected her was really interesting. These characters and their facets of the story really kept me interested in the book.

I really liked the poem at the beginning of the book and how it was the basis for the whole book. The poem is about a man who had survived a war and he doesn't want his wife to see his scars, both on the outside and inside. I think the book would have been more meaningful to me if Mason had been able to truly go back to his wife and see that she still loved him for who he was, regardless of the scars.


Main Characters: 3/5
Supporting Characters: 4/5

Setting: 3/5

Romance: 2/5
Uniqueness: 3/5
Cover: 4/5

Writing: 3/5



Bottom Line:
Overall, the story was nice, but a little slow and simplified for me. For fans of Garlock and Americana stories, I think this would be a nice, cozy read.

Waiting On Wednesday (22)

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it is a way to show off the books you can't wait to be released!!

This week I chose:

"Nightshade
"
by Andrea Cremer
Philomel
Release Date: Oct 19, 2010


The following description is from Goodreads.com:

While other teenage girls daydream about boys, Calla Tor imagines ripping out her enemies’ throats. And she wouldn’t have it any other way. Calla was born a warrior and on her eighteenth-birthday she’ll become the alpha female of the next generation of Guardian wolves. But Calla’s predestined path veers off course the moment she saves the life of a wayward hiker, a boy her own age. This human boy’s secret will turn the young pack's world upside down and forever alter the outcome of the centuries-old Witches' War that surrounds them all.

Oooh, I love how the girl is the supernatural creature instead of the boy in this one! And I definitely love that she sounds so strong!! Don't you love the cover?? It seems to contrast with the description a little, but that can be a good thing!


Ok, I'm cheating a little because this is not a book but I can't help it- I absolutely can't wait for the Prince of Persia movie!!

"Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time"
Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date: May 28, 2010

Summary from IMDB.com:

Set in the mystical lands of Persia, a rogue prince (Jake Gyllenhaal) and a mysterious princess (Gemma Arterton) race against dark forces to safeguard an ancient dagger capable of releasing the Sands of Time -- a gift from the gods that can reverse time and allow its possessor to rule the world. Written by Walt Disney Pictures


What are you waiting for this week???

In My Mailbox (21)

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren, and is a way for everyone to show their new books for the week, including those bought, swapped, won, or received for review.

Bought:


by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan


I finally bought this book, I've never even seen the movie! I think maybe because of the movie I was hesitant to read this one, I thought it might be all hype or something. But I've read the first 20 or so pages and I was wrong, this one is so much more than what I expected!!


"Lessons from a Scarlet Lady"

by Emma Wildes


I loooooved this author's debut book, "An Indecent Proposition" (my 5 star review), and I've been wanting to read her second book ever since. If it's only almost as good as her first, I won't be disappointed!

What did you receive in your mailbox this week?

While you're here, check out my 5 copy giveaway for "Ravished by a Highlander" by Paula Quinn!

Review and Giveaway! "Ravished by a Highlander"


Contest Closed! Thank you to everyone who entered!!

As part of the "Ravished by a Highlander" blog tour, I have my review of Paula Quinn's new historical as well as a 5 copy giveaway of the book, sponsored by Hachette! So read on to see my review of this fantastic Highlander romance and please enter for your chance to win!!

"Ravished by a Highlander"
by Paula Quinn

Source: ARC from Anna at Hachette Books

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

My Review:

"Ravished by a Highlander" was a rare mix of in-depth historical and political details combined with a moving, emotional love story. It's pretty unique for an author to succeed so well at both ends of the spectrum.

Davina has been hidden away in a convent for her whole life in order to protect her from political plots to kill her. Everything comes to a peak when the entire abbey and the soldiers guarding her perish in an attack. Fatefully, the son of a Scottish laird, Robert MacGregor, and his clansmen happen by the siege and join the fray. Rob heroically rescues Davina from the fire, but she holds onto many secrets about the cause of the battle and why someone will go to such lengths to murder a nun in training. On their journey back to Rob's home, they develop feelings for each other, but will Rob ever know all of her secrets.

Rob is my favorite kind of hero, the always honorable, strong and protective warrior. He's been so busy training to be a laird and take care of his clan, he hasn't had time for love-until love finds him with Davina. Rob loves her at all costs and will defend her safety no matter what.

I loved that Davina was a bit of a free spirit and full of life once she saw the world outside of the convent. Her spontaneity and Rob's no-nonsense way didn't always mix, but they love and accept their differences and don't try to change each other.

I love complex secondary characters, and the men in Rob's clan just jumped off the page for me. After Davina's rescue, all of the men practically fell in love with her. Who doesn't want a handful of handsome, charming highlanders catering to her every whim? Of course, all of the men are complete gentlemen and the flirtations are so innocent, it makes for the perfect fantasy. All of the clansmen have unique, three dimensional personalities, and Davina has a unique friendship with each one. My personal favorite of the group is Finn. He's just too sweet and cute, as well as a little bit fragile, as he follows Davina where ever she goes like a puppy.

Sometimes, I preferred a bit less historical detail, because I wanted to read more about the vivid characters and their interactions than the politics. But the historical landscape was essential to the magnitude of the story, so I felt like it was a bit like eating my vegetables to get to dessert.


Main Characters: 5/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5 (I can't wait to see them in their own books!)

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 5/5
Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5 (what's not to love?)

Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line:
This romance is for the reader who wants a deep, emotional love story with lots of historical details and action to fill out the story. i can't wait to read the rest of the series and see more of the MacGregor clan.



GIVEAWAY RULES:


Hachette books has generously provided FIVE copies of this awesome historical romance for readers of this blog! All you have to do is follow my blog and leave a comment on this review!

Extra Entries:
  • +2 Tweet this contest (leave link in comment)
  • +2 Post link in sidebar of your blog (leave link in comment)

Rules:
  • US and Canada only
  • No PO Boxes please
  • Must be a follower to enter
  • Extra entries are optional and can all be left in the same comment
  • Leave a comment with your email address
  • Books will be mailed out by Hachette
  • Ends May 16
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!
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