Review and Giveaway! "Seduced by a Highlander"

As part of the "Seduced by a Highlander" blog tour, I have my review and a giveaway of 5 copies of the book, sponsored by Hachette!

"Seduced by a Highlander"
by Paula Quinn

Source: ARC provided for review by Hachette Books

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My Review:


Isobel Fergusson met a handsome, charming highlander at the King's court. She knows Tristan is a rogue but that doesn't stop her from flirting and even lets him steal a kiss. But the deal-breaker is when she finds out that the object of her affection is a MacGregor, the son of the man who killed her father. Tristan wants Isobel and her brothers to know that his family is not evil, especially not him. He shows up on their doorstep to prove just that. But Tristan knows in his heart there is a bigger reason why he travelled all that way and even suffers being hit over the head with multiple objects by Isobel's brothers.

Wow. Just Wow! This is what a historical romance should be. A gorgeous hero, not afraid to show his lady how much he cares, meets a strong, independent heroine. Add in a full cast of family and friends, all with vivid personalities, and you have one fantastic romance story!

The focus here was always on the romance. There were side stories, but they were about feelings and family relationships. There wasn't a hint of a lost jewel mystery here!! The hero and heroine were never seperated long and you could really tell why they loved each other so much. They had already gotten to know each other before they even knew their families were enemies.

The story was very much about family too. It was very important for Tristan and Isobel both that their families learn to love the other person as well.

Tristan was darn near perfect. I'll take a smiling, playful, charming hero over a brooding one any day! But he wasn't miraculously perfect, a lot of different things caused him to act the way he did. He had flaws and had descended to a dark place, after the death of his beloved uncle, where he just didn't care about anything. He put up a facade of carefree-ness, but really it was because he was afraid of being hurt again if he actually cared about anyone or anything again. Underneath his armor was an very honorable and caring man.

Isobel's brothers were all adorable. I think I have a soft spot for Cameron, maybe because Tristan gave him some pointers on how to be a good man.

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

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 5/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 5/5


Bottom Line: If you like historical romance, this is a must-read!!



GIVEAWAY RULES:
Hachette
books has generously provided FIVE copies of this historical romance for readers of my blog!

All you have to do is follow my blog publicly and leave a comment on this review with your email address!

Please follow publicly or I can't tell that you are following :) Also, if you aren't comfortable leaving your email here, go ahead and leave a comment and then send me an email with your email addy.

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 Friday Sept. 10
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

Teaser Tuesday (4)

Yay for "Teaser Tuesday" from MizB of Should be Reading!!

Teaser Tuesdays
is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser Tuesday pick:


"Dirt and leaves peppered her face as her brother brought the pot down onto Tristan's head with a loud crack, knocking him out for the second time that day."

p. 111 "Seduced by a Highlander" by Paula Quinn (ARC)


Come back later today for my review of this awesome book and a giveaway!!

"All I Ever Wanted" Review and 1st Chapter


"All I Ever Wanted"
by Kristan Higgins

Source: sent by Julie at FSB in exchange for review


My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:

Callie Grey has a great job in advertising, the only problem is, she's still in love with her boss, Mark. They once had a brief fling, but she still carries for him. When Mark brings his new girlfriend on board at the company, Callie doesn't know how she can handle seeing them together everyday. Meanwhile, the new vet in town is having problems keeping his patients. Ian MacFarland is a great vet but his bedside manner is too cold for their small Vermont town. Callie offers to do some public relations work to make over his image. As she does with everyone in her life, Callie tries everything to make him happy, but maybe Ian is the one person that she doesn't have to try so hard with-maybe he likes her for her.

What a sweet book! Higgins is a great contemporary romance writer, I'm so glad I found her books! The book almost reads more like chick lit (ew, awful term) than romance. Written in first person from Callie's point of view, we don't get to see the alternate viewpoint from Ian like we would in a typical romance.

I could really identify with Callie wanting to be a people pleaser so badly. The only thing I didn't really like about her character was how hung up she was on her boss, Mark. Get over it!! She was only with him for five weeks and it was a year ago. I didn't understand why he was so great anyway or what he ever did to earn her love.

I loved the "angel and devil" on Callie's shoulder in the form of Michelle Obama and Betty Boop. The First Lady kept telling her to get a grip and focus on things other than Mark, while Betty swooned and sighed over him. I was able to get out my frustration over Mark through Mrs. Obama's eyes.

Ian was a bit on the stiff side, but he came around by the end, and was totally lovable!! I don't blame Betty Boop for swooning over him!

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

Setting: 4/5 (Vermont was nice!!)

Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5 (soooo adorable!! I love it!)
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: This is a great, well-rounded story with plenty of zany side characters to keep you laughing. The story has a lot of heart, and you will be pulling for Callie.


Now for a sneak peek at the first chapter!! Julie at FSB has generously provided the whole chapter for my readers!! Take a look, you might get hooked!!

Chapter One
by Kristan Higgins,
Author of All I Ever Wanted


As the man I loved approached my office, the image of a deer being hit by a truck came to mind. I was the deer, metaphorically speaking, and Mark Rousseau was the pickup truck of doom.

But here's the thing. The deer always freezes, as we all know, hence the expression like a deer caught in the headlights. The deer and I (Callie Grey, age thirty as of 9:34 this very morning) are well aware that the pickup truck is going to hit us. But we just stand there, waiting for the inevitable, whether it's a pickup truck (in the deer's case) or a man walking athletically toward me (in mine), perpetual smile in place, his brown hair carelessly curling, those gorgeous, dancing dark eyes. I waited, doe-eyed. It was all really too bad, because outside of Mark's influence, I was not at all a deer about to be run down. I was much more of an adorable, perky hedgehog or something.

"Hey." Mark grinned.

Bam! We have impact. The sunlight streamed through the windows of the old brick office building in which Mark and I worked, illuminating him so that he looked like something painted by Michelangelo. To make him even more appealing, he was wearing an old sweater vest his mom knitted for him years ago, shapeless and faded but something he just couldn't part with. A good son and a sex god.

It was as if there were two Callies . . . the smarter, more sensible self (I pictured her as Michelle Obama), and the dopey, in love part . . . Betty Boop. Would that Michelle could give Betty Boop a brisk slap, followed by some vigorous shaking. Alas, Betty just sat there, enthralled, as the First Lady snorted in disgust.

"Hi," I said, feeling my face warm. You'd think that four years of seeing him almost daily would have built up some tolerance in me, but no. My chest prickled with longing and love, my throat turned Saharan, my feet and fingers tingled. Though I was trying hard for Intelligent Coworker, my expression was probably somewhere around Pathetic Adoration.

Mark leaned against my desk, which meant his crotch was, oh, let's see, about a foot and a half from my face, since I was seated. Not that I noticed, of course. "Happy birthday," he said, making it sound like the most intimate, most suggestive phrase in the world.

Face: nuclear. Heart: racing. Callie: half inch from orgasm. "Thanks."

"I got you a present, of course," he murmured in that voice . . . God, that voice. Low and soft and velvety . . . the same voice he used in the bedroom, as I well knew. Yes, Mark and I had been together. For five weeks. Five wonderful weeks. Almost five and a half, if you really analyzed it. Which I had.

From his back pocket, he withdrew a small, rectangular package. My heart flopped as my brain raced with contradictory thoughts. Jewelry? Betty squealed. That means something. That's romantic. So romantic! Oh! My! God! On the other hand, Michelle advised caution. Calm down, Callie. Let's just see how this plays out.

"Oh, Mark! Thank you! You didn't have to," I said, my voice breathy.

On the other side of the glass-bricked wall that separated our offices, Fleur Eames slammed a drawer. The wall only went up ten feet; the ceilings were twelve, perfect for eavesdropping, and I guessed she was trying to snap me out of my daze. Fleur, a copywriter here at the firm, knew about my crush. Everyone did.

Clearing my throat, I reached for the package in Mark's hand. He held onto it for a minute, grinning before he let go. It was wrapped in cheerful yellow paper. Yellow is my favorite color. Did I tell him that once? Had he filed away that little fact the same way I filed away everything he ever told me? I mean, really, it could hardly be coincidence, right? He smiled down at me, and my racing heart stuttered, stalled, then revved into overdrive. Oh, God. Could it be? Did he finally want to get back together?

I'd worked at Mark's firm for the past four years. We were the only advertising and public relations agency in northeastern Vermont. Our staff was small -- just Mark and me; Fleur; the office manager, Karen; and the two pale computer geeks in the art department, Pete and Leila. Oh, and Damien, Mark's personal assistant/receptionist/willing slave.

I loved my job. Excelled at my job, as proven by the large poster on my wall, which had very nearly won a Clio, the Oscar of advertising. Said Clio ceremony took place eleven months ago out in Santa Fe. And in that beautiful, romantic city, Mark and I had finally hooked up. But the timing wasn't right for a serious relationship. Well, at least that's what Mark had said. Honestly, has a woman ever said that? Not a lot of twenty-nine-year-old women truly have timing issues when it comes to being with the man they love. No. It had been Mark's timing that wasn't right.

But now . . . now a gift. Could it finally be that the time was right? Maybe now, on the very day that my thirties began and I entered into that decade where a woman is more likely to be mauled by a grizzly bear than get married . . . maybe today really was the start of a new age.

"Open it, Callie," he said, and I obeyed, hoping he didn't notice my shaking fingers. Inside was a black velvet box. Squee! I bit my lip and glanced up at Mark, who shrugged and gave me that heart-stopping smile once more. "It's not every day my best girl turns thirty," he added.

"Oh, gack," sniped Damien appearing in the doorway. Mark glanced at him briefly, then turned his eyes back to me.

"Hi, Damien," I said.

"Hi." He stretched the word into three syllables of contempt . . . Damien had once again broken up with his boyfriend and currently hated love in all its forms. "Boss, Muriel's on line two."

Something flickered across Mark's face. Irritation, maybe. Muriel was the daughter of our newest client, Charles deVeers, the owner and founder of Bags to Riches. The company made outdoorwear from a combination of plastic grocery bags and natural fiber. It was our biggest account yet, a huge deal for Green Mountain, most of whose clients were in New England. I'd only met Muriel once, and then only briefly, but Mark had been flying back and forth to San Diego, where Bags to Riches was based. As part of the package, Charles had asked Muriel to come to Vermont and work as the account exec, so he could have someone close to him keeping tabs on things. And, since Charles was paying us gobs of money, Mark had said yes.

Mark didn't answer Damien, who was quivering with the joy of running Mark's day. "Boss?" Damien said, a bit more sharply. "Muriel? Remember her? She's waiting."

"So let her wait some more," Mark answered, tossing me a wink. "This is important. Open the damn box, Callie." Damien sighed with the heavy drama that only a gay man can pull off and hustled down the hall.

Cheeks burning, I opened the velvet box. It was a bracelet, delicate silver strands that twisted and turned like ivy. "Oh, Mark, I love it," I whispered, running my finger over the intricate lines. I bit my lip, my eyes already misting with happy tears. "Thank you."

His expression was soft. "You're welcome. You mean a lot to me. You know that, Callie." He bent down and kissed my cheek, and every detail was immediately seared into my brain -- his smooth, warm lips, the smell of his Hugo Boss cologne, the heat of his skin.

Hope, which had been lying in ashes for the past ten months, twitched hard.

"Think you'll make it to my party later on?" I asked, striving for perky and fun, not lustful and ruttish. My parents were throwing me a little bash at Elements, the nicest restaurant around, and I'd invited all my coworkers. No use pretending: I was turning thirty; might as well get some presents.

Mark straightened, then moved a pile of papers from the small couch in my office and sat down. "Um . . . Listen, I need to tell you something. You met Muriel, right?"

"Well, just that once. She seems . . . very . . . " Hmm. She'd worn a killer black suit, had great shoes . . . kind of intense. "Very focused."

"Yeah. She is. Callie . . . " Mark hesitated. "Muriel and I are seeing each other."

It took a few seconds for that to register. Once again, I was that stupid deer, watching mutely as the pickup truck hurtled down the road. My heart slammed to a halt. For a second, I couldn't breathe. Michelle Obama stood by, shaking her head sadly, her fabulous arms crossed in regret. I realized my mouth was open. Closed it. "Oh," I heard myself say.

Mark looked at the floor. "I hope that doesn't cause you any . . . discomfort. Given our past involvement."

There was a white, rushing sound, like a river engorged with snowmelt and hidden debris. He was seeing someone? How could that be? If the timing was okay for Muriel . . . why not . . . Oh, crap.

"Callie?" he said.

Here's the thing about being hit by a truck. Sometimes those deer keep running. They just bound into the woods, sort of like they're saying, Whoo-hoo! That was close! Good thing I'm okay. Um . . . I am okay, right? Actually, you know what? I'm feeling a little strange. Think I'll lie down for a bit. And then they wake up dead.

Mark's voice lowered. "The last thing I want to do is hurt you."

Say something, the First Lady commanded. "No, no!" I chirruped. "It's . . . just . . . no worries, Mark. Don't worry." I seemed to be smiling. Smiling and nodding. Yes. I was nodding. "So how long have you been . . . together?"

"A couple of months," Mark answered. "It's . . . it's fairly serious." He reached out and took the bracelet out of the box, then put it on my wrist, his fingers brushing the sensitive skin there, making me want to jerk away.

In the many years I'd known Mark, he'd never dated anyone for a couple of months. A couple of weeks, sure. I thought five was a record, quite honestly.

Ah. My body was catching on to the fact that I'd just been slammed. My throat tightened, my joints buzzed with the flight response to danger, and a sharp pain lanced through my chest. "Right. Well. You know what? I have to get my license renewed! I almost forgot! You know . . . birthday. License. Renewal." Breathe, Callie. "Okay if I zip out for lunch a little early?" My voice cracked, and I cleared my throat again, studiously avoiding Mark's dark and now sorrowful eyes.

"Sure, Callie. Take all the time you need."

The kindness in his voice made me feel abruptly murderous. "I won't be long," I chirped. "Thanks for the bracelet! See you in a bit!"

With that, I grabbed my oversize pink hobo bag and stood up, excruciatingly careful not to brush against Mark, who still sat on my couch, staring straight in front of him. "Callie, I'm sorry," he said.

"No! Nothing to apologize for!" I sang. "Gotta run. They close at noon today. See ya later!"

Thirty minutes later, I stood in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the effects of being emotionally run down by the man I loved -- and now hated -- but still loved -- were catching up with me. Michelle Obama had abandoned me, regretfully acknowledging that I was beyond help, and Betty Boop was clamping her lips together and blinking back tears. Trying to keep the choo-choo train of despair at bay, I glanced around. Gray, grimy tile floors. Dingy white walls. I stood in the middle of a line of about ten people, all of us listless and lifeless and loveless . . . or so it seemed.

The whole scene was like something out of some French existentialist play . . . Hell is not other people. Hell is the DMV. Robotic clerks shuffled behind the counter, clearly hating their lot in life and contemplating the easiest form of hari-kari or embezzlement so they could leave this grim place. The clock on the wall seemed to taunt me. Time's a'wastin', kid. Your life is passing you by. Happy fucking birthday.

My breathing started to quicken, my knees felt like a hive of angry bees. Tears burned in my eyes, and on my wrist, my stupid birthday present tickled. I should just rip it off. Melt it down into a bullet and kill Mark. Or myself. Or just swallow the bracelet whole and let it get tangled in my intestines and require emergency surgery and then have Mark come to the hospital and realize just how much he really loved me after all. Not that I would have him now. (Yeah, sure, Callie, said Mrs. Obama, making a reappearance. You'd eat a baby if it meant having him.)

Well. Maybe not a baby. But the idea that Mark was with someone . . . for a couple of months, fairly serious . . . ah, shit! Panic loomed like the jaws of a great white shark, terrifying and unexpected. Stupid Muriel with her black hair and white skin, like some vampire in fabulous shoes . . . when the hell had they started dating? When, dammit?

Oh, crap. Should I go? No. I had to get my license renewed. Today was the last day I could do it without incurring a fine. I'd picked out this wicked cute outfit, too -- red-and-white printed blouse, short red skirt, big gold hoops, and my hair was perfect today, all shiny and swingy . . . Besides, what could I do? Sit in my car and wail? Kick a tree? Strangle a moose? I really wasn't the type. The only idea that held any appeal was that of sitting in my rocking chair and eating cake batter.

A dry sob raked my throat. Shit. Shit on a shingle. Shit on rye.

"Next," called one of the DMV drones, and we all shuffled forward six inches. The man behind me heaved an audible sigh.

Without another thought, I fumbled in my purse for my cell phone. Where was it? Where was it, dammit? Tampon . . . no. Book on CD . . . no. Picture of Josephine and Bronte, my nieces . . . even their beautiful faces failed to cheer me. Where was the phone? Ah. Here. I scrolled down to Annie Doyle. Damn! I got her voice mail. Somehow, it felt like a personal insult. How could my best friend be unavailable in my time of need? Didn't she love me anymore?

Clearly the choo-choo was chugging faster now, so I scrolled down for backup. My mom? God, no . . . this would just be confirmation that the Y chromosome should be erased from humanity. My sister? Not much better. Still, it was someone. Mercifully, Hester answered, even though I knew she was at work.

"Hester? Got a minute?"

"Hey, birthday girl! What's up?" My sister's voice, always on the loud side, boomed out of my phone, and I held it away from my ear.

"Hester," I bleated, "he's seeing someone! He gave me a beautiful bracelet and kissed me and then he told me he's seeing someone! For a couple of months and it's fairly serious, but I still love him!"

The above is an excerpt from the book All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2010 Kristan Higgins, author of All I Ever Wanted

In My Mailbox (36)

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.
I missed last week, so there are a lot of books here!!!


contest wins: thank you!!
"Shadow Hills" by Anastasia Hopcus

won from christina at confessions of a book addict!

"The Body Finder" by Kimberly Derting

won from elizabeth at liz writes!

"The King's Mistress" by Emma Campion

won from amy at passages to the past!

"Immortal" by Gillian Shields

won from amber at reading addict

"The Iron King" by Julie Kagawa

AND a $25 visa gc! won from mel at he followed me home


for review:

"Much Ado About Marriage" by Karen Hawkins

a rewrite of her very first book!! love the cover, too!

"Cleopatra Rules!" by Vicky Alvear Shecter

sent by the author for review, thanks, Vicky!! I looooove Cleopatra and can't wait to read this, there's photos too!!

"Meet Me In Manhattan" by Judith Arnold


a new series called True Vows, based on real life romances!


bought:


"Mockingjay" by Suzanne Collins



Wow, finally done!!!

What did you receive in your mailbox this week??

Winners Announced!! Captured by Desire and Emma and the Vampires!

Winners Announced!!

The five winners of Kira Morgan's "Captured by Desire" are:

nfmgirl
cheryl
john the bookworm
alexa
lag123

The winner of "Emma and Vampires" is:

breanne

Winners were chosen via random.org random number generator. Congrats to all three winners!! I have emailed all of you for your mailing address. Winners have 3 days to respond :) A giant thank you goes out to Hachette for sponsoring the Captured by Desire contest and Sourcebooks for providing the copy of Emma and the Vampires!! Congrats and a huge thank you to everyone who entered!!

Book Blog Follow Friday August 27

Happy Friday, Everyone!!

It's time for Book Blog Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee.com!! I missed last week's Follow Friday so I'm ready to play catch up! I've found so many awesome new blogs to read by participating in this fun event! Check it out by clicking the pic!!


If you're visiting for the first time, I'd love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and say hi!! :)

While you're here, why not check out the the contests I have running!!? They both end tonight at midnight!!




"I Know I Am, But What Are You?" Review


"I Know I Am, But What Are You?"
by Samantha Bee

Source: sent by Gallery Books in exchange for honest review


My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads:

Samantha Bee's hilarious essays on everything from her parents' views on religion and sex to her pre-Daily Show stint as a Japanese anime character.

My Review:


This book was a little bizarre to me. There were some funny little snippets of wisdom here and there, but overall, I felt a little uncomfortable while reading this one. A lot of the chapters focused on her sexual awakening/ or non-awakening.

Some anecdotes were so cute, like when she talked about how her daughter doesn't like animals but her son loves them:

"The other child is enthralled by the cat and wants to stuff it's entire body into his mouth, to be kept safe forever in a protective human boy suit." (p. 177)


I also enjoyed the chapter where she and a female roommate subtly vied for the attention of their very handsome-but very un-showered- male roommate. I got a kick out of the Three's Company vibe.

Bottom Line: Overall, there are some parts of the book that will cause a chuckle but the rest wasn't really my kind of humor and made for an uncomfortable read.

Winners Announced!! Wicked Intentions!

Winners Announced!!

The five winners of Amanda Hoyt's "Wicked Intentions" are:

Diana
Stacey

Danielle

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming

Lovely Little Love


Winners were chosen via random.org random number generator. Congrats to all five winners!! All the winners have already responded to my emails :) Congrats and a huge thank you to everyone who entered!!

Don't feel bad if you didn't win this one, I have two more contests going on right now!

Emma and the Vampires!! Ends 8/27

One of 5 copies of Captured by Desire!! Ends 8/27

Waiting on Wednesday (34)

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:

"Wake Unto Me"

by Lisa Cach
Speak
Release Date: March 31, 2011

The following description is from goodreads.com:

A haunted castle, a handsome young man dead for four hundred years, one heck of a scary portrait of a witch, and a treasure hunt -- not to mention a princess for a roommate! -- all await 15 year old American girl Caitlyn Monahan when she earns a scholarship to a French boarding school.

There are secrets behind the stone walls of Chateau de la Fortune, buried
for centuries along with the mystery of who killed Raphael, the charming ghost who visits Caitlyn at night. But as Caitlyn unearths the history of the castle, nothing scares her as badly as the secret she learns about herself, and the reason she was chosen to come to the Fortune School.

And nothing breaks her heart as badly as falling in love with a dead guy.


Wake Unto Me looks flat out amazing to me!! Haunted castle, cute ghosts, witches? I'm in!!

What are you waiting for this week??

Winner Announced!! Team Jessica and Team Elizabeth Tees!

Winner Announced!!

The winner of the set of Team Elizabeth and Team Jessica t-shirts from Sweet Valley Confidential is:

PeechieKeen!

Winner was chosen via random.org random number generator. Congrats to PeechieKeen!! I have emailed you for your mailing address so I can send it on to Lori at getredpr. Winner has 3 days to respond :) A giant thank you goes out to Lori at getredpr for sponsoring this contest!! Congrats and a huge thank you to everyone who entered!!

Check out the first chapter of Sweet Valley Confidential!

"Only the Good Spy Young" Review


"Only the Good Spy Young"
by Ally Carter

Source: sent by publicist in exchange for review


My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:

Cammie is used to guards tailing her every move. She's even used to danger lurking at every corner. Why? Because Cammie is a Gallagher Girl! She goes to a school that trains young spies. Her favorite teacher risks his life to give her a secret message and then she's told that he works for the enemy. Cammie doesn't know who to believe. Then her love interest, Zach, starts giving mixed signals too. Will Cammie ever find out who's with her and who's against her?

This book is a nonstop spy adventure. Carter's writing is fast and fun, and she really has an understanding of teens. Cammie's voice is very funny, smart, and not too old or too young for a high school girl.

There's just the right amount of romance in the this one-also age appropriate and not all-consuming. Zach is a cutie, and I have to admit I was as confused by him as Cammie was some of the time!

The secondary characters were all well developed and the mystery had me perplexed. The thing I liked best about this book was the writing. The jokes were so witty and smart!


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

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 3/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 5/5



Bottom Line: All around, this is a great well-rounded story with something for everyone. Cammie is a great role model, too!

"Holly's Inbox: Scandal In the City" Review


"Holly's Inbox: Scandal In the City"
by Holly Denham

Source: sent by Sourcebooks in exchange for honest review


My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:

Holly doesn't have the job her parents expect her to have, she's a receptionist. Her love life is chugging along slowly with her boyfriend, Toby. She has a few office nemeses, but her friendships with Jason and Aisha keep her afloat. When she unexpectedly gets a promotion, even more backstabbing starts. And the worst thing is that Toby hasn't even noticed she has a new job!

The format of the book, being entirely told through emails, made the 525 pages fly by! I wouldn't have thought that a book with a so-called gimmick would be so emotional! I really think that instead of being gimmicky, the author used the format to cut right to the chase, no beating around the bush. You could tell how cold Toby was sometimes by his short, uninterested emails. You could feel the platonic love between Holly and her best friend, Jason. When Toby and Holly had troubled times, it was absolutely heartbreaking and so real to read her emails begging for him not to leave.

The first part of the book is mostly fun and light, then the real scandals come out and the book becomes totally unpredictable!

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

Setting: 3/5

Romance: 4/5

Uniqueness: 5/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line:This is such a fun read, the interesting concept makes it unique. It's definitely women's fiction with a lot of heart.

Waiting on Wednesday (33)

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:

"Angelfire"

by Courtney Allison Moulton
HarperCollins / Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: February 15, 2011

The following description is from goodreads.com

This debut, the first novel in a trilogy, is achingly romantic, terrifying, and filled with blistering action. When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers - monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell - she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul. A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie's powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her - an assassin who has already killed her once. While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie's soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian's most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives - including truths that may be too frightening to remember.


I had seen this book around but I KNEW I had to have it when I saw the amazing character art the author has featured on her website!! Go check it out!! http://www.courtneyallisonmoulton.com/media.html

"Georgia's Kitchen" Review


"Georgia's Kitchen"
by Jenny Nelson

Source: sent by booksparkspr in exchange for honest review


My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (or if you've read the book already- 3 Forks!!)

My Review:

Georgia Gray is a chef at one of the best restaurants in NYC and she's engaged to marry Glenn, an entertainment lawyer. But in a flash, everything goes down the drain. The playboy owner of the restaurant fires her after they get a bad review, even though it's his fault! Then her engagement gets broken off-all in the same day! She escapes to Italy, where she finds a new job as a chef, and a handsome new love interest, and maybe even finds herself.

This was a nice piece of women's fiction, nothing too terrible happens, but nothing too exciting happens, either. I think cooking fans would be love this, as well as those in the restaurant business. However, I was expecting more out of the romantic storylines, but both of her love interests fizzled fast!!

I like the message of empowerment the book gives to women and Georgia was very likable. She was strong but vulnerable at the same time. I really liked how she took a stand and didn't look the other way when she found out about the drug problem Glenn had been hiding from her.

There were a lot of secondary characters in the book, but I never really connected with any of them besides Georgia. The bulk of the novel was about the restaurant industry itself, which wasn't really my cup of tea.


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

Setting: 3/5

Romance: 2/5

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



Bottom Line: This book was a little slow and didn't have enough romance for me. I'd recommend it to cooking enthusiasts and those in the restaurant industry.

Teaser Tuesday (3)

Yay for "Teaser Tuesday" from MizB of Should be Reading!!

Teaser Tuesdays
is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser Tuesday pick:


"Now don't shoot me down till I've explained it all from my side. I'm not saying Toby's up to something and I completely trust him, but I just feel for my own sanity I need to hide in a cupboard."


p. 223 "Holly's Inbox: Scandal in the City" by Holly Denham

"The Red Queen" Review

"The Red Queen"
by Philippa Gregory

Source: ARC sent by publisher in exchange for review


My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Book Summary from Goodreads.com:

The second book in Philippa's stunning new trilogy, The Cousins War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series - The White Queen - but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses. The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England. Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth's daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.


My Review:

Margaret Beaufort isn't really a likable heroine. She was so stiff and unemotional, it was hard for me to relate to her. This criticism isn't against the author, it's just what you have to deal with in historical fiction based on real life.

When Margaret was a child, her prickliness was actually cute. And how can you not laugh when she rejoices at her knees being callused from kneeling in prayer, calling them 'Saint's Knees.'

I sympathized with her being forced into marriage with Edmund, who never really cared about her at all. And the scene where she has her baby, Henry Tudor, is heartbreaking because her own mother tells the midwife to save the baby at the expense of Margaret. So, I do understand that she has had a hard life and has felt unloved. However, it seemed like she only cared about her son for what he could do for her-make her the mother of a King.

Some of the interaction between Margaret and her brother-in-law Jasper Tudor was really romantic, but neither of them really went the extra mile to be together.

I really started to get frustrated with Margaret at her careless treatment of her second husband, Henry Stafford. He was never anything but nice to her and gave her a very comfortable life. But she was always mean to him and acted like she was disappointed in him because he lacked her all-consuming ambition.

The story was fast and intriguing. I was surprised I stayed so interested because I had just finished reading The White Queen-which dealt with the same time period and events from a different perspective.


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

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 2/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 3/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line:I think readers will be fascinated by Margaret's story even if she isn't the most endearing heroine.


Check out the site just for the book! http://pages.simonandschuster.com/the-red-queen

Get the latest Philippa Gregory news on her website: http://www.philippagregory.com

and twitter: @pgregory_news

And if you missed my review for "The White Queen" check it out here!

In My Mailbox (35)

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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.


"Only the Good Spy Young" by Ally Carter

I'm actually already finished with this one!! Expect the review this week!

"Dark Road to Darjeeling" by Deanna Raybourn

I'm excited to try a book by this author, I haven't read anything by her before!

"Seduced by a Highlander" by Paula Quinn

I can't wait to read this one because I really liked the first book in this series! Check back for my stop on the blog tour Aug 31, with a contest!

"Untamed Rogue, Scandalous Mistress" by Bronwyn Scott

I won this one in a contest on the author's blog!!

What did you get in your mailbox this week??

Review and Giveaway! "Captured by Desire"

As part of the "Wicked Intentions" blog tour, I have my review and a giveaway of 5 copies of the book, sponsored by Hachette!

"Captured by Desire"
by Kira Morgan

Source: provided for review by Hachette Books

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My Review:


Florie Gilder went to the fair to sell her goldsmith wares, she never thought she'd leave running from the authorities. As she's running, she's struck in the leg with an arrow from the lord's expert huntsman, Rane MacAllister. Rane is horrified to have shot a "wee lass" by mistake and vows to heal her and keep her safe. he helps her find sanctuary in an abandoned church. Soon he must choose whether to be loyal to his lord and turn in the outlaw, Florie, or keep his vow to keep her safe.

Rane was such a sweetheart! All of the ladies were in love with him, but not for the regular historical romance hero reasons-money and rakishness. They loved him because of how sweet and caring he was. I absolutely loved that Rane wasn't a rich, titled, arrogant aristocrat. Instead he was a strong and humble huntsman.
Florie was a petite and fiesty brunette, nothing like the voluptuous blondes Rane prefers. I love that she has a skill not usually learned by women and she's not impressed by the nobility.

I didn't love the first part of the book, there seemed to be something missing. But once the romance really started cooking-wow! This was one sigh after another, a super sweet romance.


Main Characters: 5/5 (Rane!)
Supporting Characters: 4/5

Setting: 3/5

Romance: 5/5

Uniqueness: 4/5 (just b/c neither were aristocrats)
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line:
If you love a really sweet romance with a tender, caring hero, this is a can't-miss book!



GIVEAWAY RULES:
Hachette books has generously provided FIVE copies of this historical romance for readers of my blog!
All you have to do is follow my blog publicly and leave a comment on this review with your email address!

Please follow publicly or I can't tell that you are following :) Also, if you aren't comfortable leaving your email here, go ahead and leave a comment and then send me an email with your email addy.

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 Friday August 27
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

Book Blog Follow Friday August 13

Happy Friday, Everyone!!

It's time for another Book Blog Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee.com!! I've found so many awesome new blogs to read by participating in this fun event! Check it out by clicking the pic!!



If you're visiting for the first time, I'd love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and say hi!! :)

While you're here, why not check out the the contests I have running on my blog right now!!?



"Manifest" Review


"Manifest"
by Artist Arthur

Source: ARC sent by Lisa at Online Publicist in exchange for review


My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

My Review:


Krystal hears dead people. The voices had stopped until she and her mom moved out of their home and left Krystal's dad. Krystal meets Ricky, a ghost who needs her help. Ricky's brother and his friends are accused of Ricky's murder. Ricky knows it's not true but needs Krystal's help to find out who really killed him. In the meanwhile, Krystal finds Sasha and Jake, who share her talent for talking to ghosts.

I was expecting a dreamier, more fantasy-like story, based on the cover, but this book is really gritty and raw. I would definitely say parental advisory on this one because there was stuff in this book that I didn't want to read about and I definitely wouldn't want kids reading it. Yes, the "bad stuff" is done by the "bad guys" so it's dealt with responsibly, but I'd rather read about rainbows and kittens, ok? That's me.

I liked how the author explored Krystal's relationship with her parents, who were recently divorced. The situation is real and lot of teens can relate.

I also liked the fact that Ricky, the ghost, was Krystal's friend, not her love interest. This is a new angle on the supernatural trend. Also, i love to see different types of relationships explored in books, including male/female friendships.

I thought the dialogue was written really well. The conversations flowed and sounded the way a real teen would talk. the action was a little slow but the book was a quick read.


Main Characters: 2/5
Supporting Characters: 3/5

Setting: 3/5

Romance: 2/5

Uniqueness: 3/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 3/5



Bottom Line: This book is a fresh take on the YA paranormal genre, but parts were way too dark for my taste.

"The White Queen" Review

As part of "The Red Queen" Blog Tour, I have my review of the previous book in the series: "The White Queen". Check back this weekend for my review of "The Red Queen."

"The White Queen"
by Philippa Gregory

Source: sent by publisher in exchange for review


My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

My Review:

Elizabeth Woodville, a commoner who traces her family tree back to the sea goddess, Melusina, needs the King's help. Her husband was killed in battle and her dowry lands and money were taken from her. Knowing where King Edward will be passing through with his men, she sets out to seduce him. Little does she know they will fall in love that day. And with a little help from Melusina, she will go on to rule England with him, all the while trying desperately to hold onto their throne.

I was so surprised by how romantic this book was. I've read this author's books before, as well as historical fiction in general, and I'd never read one this romantic. At the beginning, when King Edward meets the commoner Elizabeth under the oak tree, and in the time that followed, I was positively starry-eyed. It was like a real life Cinderella tale, as I'm sure people romanticized the story back then in songs and tales too. Even though Edward had his flaws, he was so likable and charming and he truly loved Elizabeth.

Elizabeth was a fascinating character. I loved her connection to Melusina, the sea goddess, and how she was able to do magic. She was always accused of witchcraft and, as the author pointed out in her notes at the end of the book, powerful women are always feared. Sometimes Elizabeth's ambition was all-consuming, even at the expense of her children's safety. So it was good to see her called out by her daughter, Elizabeth.

I also really liked Elizabeth's brother, Anthony, with his dedication to knowledge and poetry. i will have to do more research on all of these phenomenal historical figures.


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

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 5/5

Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line:This book was a fascinating piece of historical fiction and I learned a lot about a time period that I hadn't read about before. The characters jumped off the page and I can't wait to find out more about them. My favorite aspect of the book was the real life romance between Elizabeth and Edward.

Waiting on Wednesday (32)

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:

"Stork"

by Wendy Delsol
Candlewick Press
Release Date: October 12, 2010

The following description is from goodreads.com

Oh baby! A hip heroine discovers that she has the ability to decide who gets pregnant in this witty YA blend of romance and the supernatural.

Sixteen-year-old Katla has just moved from Los Angeles to the sticks of Minnesota. As if it weren’t enough that her trendy
fashion sense draws stares, she learns to her horror that she’s a member of an ancient order of women who decide to whom certain babies will be born. Add to that Wade, the arrogant football star whom Katla regrettably fooled around with, and Jack, a gorgeous farm boy who initially seems to hate her. Soon Katla is having freaky dreams about a crying infant and learns that, as children, she and Jack shared a near-fatal, possibly mystical experience. Can Katla survive this major life makeover and find a dress for the homecoming dance? Drawing from Norse mythology and inspired by The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, debut author Wendy Delsol conceives an irreverent, highly entertaining novel about embracing change and the (baby) bumps along the way.


I've seen some great reviews of this one, and what a unique plot!!

What are you waiting on this week??

Teaser Tuesday (2)

It's my second week participating in "Teaser Tuesday" from MizB of Should be Reading.

Teaser Tuesdays
is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser Tuesday pick:

"There's a pretty wide range of emotions that any girl-much less a Gallagher Girl-is bound to en
counter on any given day-from joy to sadness, frustration to disappointment.

At that moment, it's pretty safe to say that I was feeling all of them."

p. 4 "Only the Good Spy Young" by Ally Carter
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