Giveaway and Review: "Notorious Pleasures"

As part of the "Notorious Pleasures" blog tour, I have my review and a giveaway of 3 copies of the book, sponsored by Hachette!

"Notorious Pleasures"
 by Elizabeth Hoyt

Publisher: Vision
Release Date: Jan 25, 2011

Source: sent by publisher


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
 
Summary from Goodreads.com:


 Their lives were perfect . . .
Lady Hero Batten, the beautiful sister of the Duke of Wakefield, has everything a woman could want, including the perfect fiancé. True, the Marquis of Mandeville is a trifle dull and has no sense of humor, but that doesn't bother Hero. Until she meets his notorious brother . . .

Until they met each other.
Griffin Remmington, Lord Reading, is far from perfect - and he likes it that way. How he spends his days is a mystery, but all of London knows he engages in the worst sorts of drunken revelry at night. Hero takes an instant dislike to him, and Griffin thinks that Hero, with her charities and faultless manners, is much too impeccable for society, let alone his brother. Yet their near-constant battle of wits soon sparks desire - desire that causes their carefully constructed worlds to come tumbling down. As Hero's wedding nears, and Griffin's enemies lay plans to end their dreams forever, can two imperfect people find perfect true love?

My Review: 

Wow!! This love story was intense! In a very good way. I don't think there's a person anywhere who doesn't want to be loved the way Griffin loves Hero. 

As always, Hoyt's characters fly off the page. I found myself sympathizing with Griffin a bit more than Hero, just because he's so fiery and emotional. He loved her passionately, and she was still trying to sort out her feelings. Hero was much more closed off because she'd been raised to do everything a Duke's daughter must do. But still, every time she rejected Griffin, my heart broke along with his.
I loved all the drama and secrecy that surrounded Griffin and Hero's love because she was engaged to Griffin's brother, Thomas. Don't worry, it's delivered perfectly, Hero and Thomas are nowhere near a love match. Nonetheless, the family drama and brotherly rivalry amped up all of the already heated emotions.

As the second book in The Maiden Lane Series, parts of the story took place in St. Giles, the shady part of London. While still showing the seedy happenings in St. Giles, this book isn't as dark as the first book in the series, partially because the leads aren't as scarred. I really liked the first book, but I loved this one even more.

Hoyt has written a large cast of multi-faceted characters. We get to see just enough of the supporting players without them overshadowing the stars-Griffin and Hero. We also get a few more clues as to the identity of the Ghost of St. Giles. I am looking forward to Silence and Mickey's story, next! 

Main Characters: 5/5 can you tell how much I love them?
Supporting Characters: 5/5

Setting: 5/5

Romance: 5/5

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



Bottom Line: I can't recommend this book enough to readers of historical romance. Fans of Elizabeth Hoyt will not be disappointed and if you haven't read any of her books yet, this is a perfect way to start.




GIVEAWAY RULES:
Hachette books has generously provided three 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:

  • +1 Tweet this contest (leave link in comment)
  • +1 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 Feb 11
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

"Love on Assignment" Review

"Love on Assignment"
 by Cara Lynn James

Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: Jan 11, 2011

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:


While Charlotte is focusing on uncovering sordid information on columnist Daniel Wilmot, her heart leads her into uncharted territory.
During the summer of 1900 Charlotte Hale, a native Newporter and secretary for the Rhode Island Reporter, accepts an undercover assignment as temporary governess to Daniel Wilmont's children in order to secretly gather evidence against him. As he helps her rediscover God, Charlotte learns that Daniel is an honorable man.
They unexpectedly fall in love despite their different backgrounds and social positions. Charlotte soon realizes she must defend Daniel against the forces set against him-a willful student with a romantic crush and the newspaper editor determined to destroy his reputation.

My Review: 


I needed a really nice, sweet book, nothing to heavy, nothing too sad, and  "Love on Assignment" really delivered. It was a really relaxing read!

I really liked Daniel, and I wanted to know even more about him. Even thought the book was written from both Charlotte and Daniel's points of view, it was definitely skewed more towards Charlotte's inner thoughts and feelings. I find this happens quite a bit in Christian historical romance. But I think Daniel had a lot more to say than what we knew. For instance, how did he really feel about his late wife? What were some of the many trinkets he hoarded in his attic along with his feelings of guilt and anger towards his failed marriage? These are just a few of the questions that I thought were really interesting about Daniel, but I didn't feel like they were resolved.

I love reading about the Gilded Age, and it was great to see both a middle class and an upper class point of view. In books, we often see the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor. Here it was really nice to see more of the middle. Charlotte had to work hard to support her aunt and sister, but they had a comfortable home. Daniel was very well off, with servants and a mansion, but we also saw him working, and he wasn't a socialite like the characters we usually see in this era. The class differences between Daniel and Charlotte were shown but they didn't see it as an obstacle, they had bigger challenges to overcome.

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

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



Bottom Line:
I recommend this book if you've been doing too much heavy reading and need a relaxing break!! This book is much like falling onto a huge fluffy cushion to read and relax.

Winners Announced!! "Sins of a Highland Devil"

Winners Announced!!
 
The winners of the "Duchess of Sin" giveaway are:
 
 
JudyH
Kris
Chantel


Winners were chosen via random.org random number generator. Congrats to the winners!! I have emailed the winners for their mailing addresses. Winners have 3 days to respond :) A huge thank you goes out to Hachette sponsoring the contest and to everyone who entered!! Congrats!!

In My Mailbox (52)

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.


for review: 

"The Iron Queen" by Julie Kagawa
 Can you believe this will be my first time reading the Iron Fey books??

"The Orchid Affair" by Lauren Willig

Oooh, the newest from Lauren Willig! I will be having a giveaway for this one too, when I post my review!

"Mad Love" by Suzanne Selfors

 I'm already starting to hear great reviews for this book! My stop on the blog tour is on Feb 23rd.

"Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance" by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

 Another one that looks so cute!

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



Book Blog Follow and Book Blogger Hop Jan 28

Happy Friday, Everyone!!

It's time for Book Blog Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee.com and The Book Blogger Hop hosted by Crazy for Books!









My answer: English class was my fave, aka reading and writing of course :)


My answer: "Desires of the Dead" by Kimberly Derting b/c I can't wait for more Jay!!
Don't forget to enter the two contests I have posted right now:

Win "Sins of a Highland Devil" Ends 1/28

Win "How to Marry a Duke" Ends 2/4

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

"The Darling Strumpet" Review

"The Darling Strumpet"
 by Gillian Bagwell

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Release Date: Jan 4, 2011

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

A thrilling debut novel starring one of history's most famous and beloved courtesans.

From London's slums to its bawdy playhouses, The Darling Strumpet transports the reader to the tumultuous world of seventeenth-century England, charting the meteoric rise of the dazzling Nell Gwynn, who captivates the heart of King Charles II-and becomes one of the century's most famous courtesans.

Witty and beautiful, Nell was born into poverty but is drawn into the enthralling world of the theater, where her saucy humor and sensuous charm earn her a place in the King's Company. As one of the first actresses in the newly-opened playhouses, she catapults to fame, winning the affection of legions of fans-and the heart of the most powerful man in all of England, the King himself. Surrendering herself to Charles, Nell will be forced to maneuver the ruthless and shifting allegiances of the royal court-and discover a world of decadence and passion she never imagined possible.

My Review:

I've always pictured Nell Gwynne as a vivacious, lovable woman who won over King Charles and the public with her quirkiness, but in this book, I pitied her and felt sorry for her. Nell's sparkling side was talked about, but it wasn't really shown often. Instead I felt her inner sadness for most of the book.
I'm sure this book is historically accurate, but it just didn't fit the image that I already had about Nell.


The tone of the book is really dark and gritty, which isn't really my style. For those who like that type of book, I think you'll find it interesting. Also, I really wasn't prepared for all the sex in this book. The scenes were very sad and sometimes humiliating to Nell. It's not for the faint of heart, like me! 


I really liked Nell's group of theater friends and her time spent as an actress. This was the only part of the book where I felt like Nell was happy. I would have loved to have seen more from her as an actress as well as the other actors.


The part of the book that really stole my heart was Nell's relationship with her on-stage and off-stage love interest, Charles Hart. Hart was such a handsome sweetheart and I question the choices that Nell made regarding him vs. the men with more money and power. She thought she was doing so much better for herself by trading up, but the other men didn't treat her well like Hart did, and while she was with the King, she constantly worried about his other mistresses.



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

Uniqueness: 3/5
Cover: 4/5 I love the oranges
Writing: 4/5



Bottom Line: Overall, this book wasn't what I was expecting, but it was well written and will probably appeal to readers who like a darker book. What kept me reading were the theater scenes and the hope for something else to happen with Hart.





"The Darlings are Forever" Review

"The Darlings are Forever"
 by Melissa Kantor

Publisher: Hyperion
Release Date: Jan 4, 2011

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

Jane, Victoria, and Natalya. Together, they are the Darlings. Best friends forever. They have matching necklaces, their own table at Ga Ga Noodle, and even a shared motto: May you always do what you’re afraid of doing.
When the friends begin freshman year at three different high schools in distant corners of New York City, they promise to live by their motto and stay as close as ever. The Darlings know they can get through anything as long as they have each other. But doing scary new things is a lot easier with your friends beside you. And now that the girls aren’t spending all their time together, everything they took for granted about their friendship starts to feel less certain. They can’t help but wonder, will they really be the Darlings forever?

My Review:

This book uses what I call "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" format, where the story alternates chapters told from different girls' points of view. This format is a win for me nearly every time and "The Darlings" is no exception. The author succeeds in writing three very different, very likable girls and their adventures on their own and together.



The book has a great message- "always do what you're afraid of doing." Of course, the girls discover there's a limit, and sometimes you're scared for a valid reason, but it's a fun learning journey. I like that the main characters aren't into drinking, etc., but they are definitely aware of it going on around them. 


I think my favorite part of the book was Victoria's romance with Jack. They were so cute together, and their relationship was very age appropriate for high school freshman.


The format makes the book move really quickly because you jump between characters and story lines before anything could ever get boring. 


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

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



Bottom Line: This is a quick, fun read with a great message about friends and finding yourself.

Waiting on Wednesday (53)

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:

"Dark Mirror"
by M. J. Putney
St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: March 1, 2011

The following description is from Goodreads.com:

Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest daughter of the Earl and
Countess of Fairmount, is destined for a charmed life. Soon she
will be presented during the London season, where she can choose a mate worthy of her status.


Yet Tory has a shameful secret—a secret so powerful that, if
exposed, it could strip her of her position and disgrace her family forever. Tory’s blood is tainted…by magic. When a shocking accident forces Tory to demonstrate her despised skill, the secret she’s fought so hard to hide is revealed for all to see. She is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for young men and women in her position. There she will learn to suppress her deplorable talents and maybe, if she’s one of the lucky ones, be able to return to society.


But Tory’s life is about to change forever. All that she’s ever
known or considered important will be challenged. What lies
ahead is only the beginning of a strange and wonderful journey
into a world where destiny and magic come together, where true
love and friendship find her, and where courage and strength of
character are the only things that determine a young girl’s worth.


I loved the historical romance I read by this author, and this fantasy YA story sounds fantastic! How can you not love the cover!?

What are you waiting for this week??

Teaser Tuesday (23)

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:


" The people-watching that Natalya did on the subway was nothing compared to the people-watching she did at Gainsford. It was as if she were an anthropologist and her classmates were a mysterious tribe she traveled to the Upper East Side to study.  "



p 57 "The Darlings are Forever" by Melissa Kantor

In My Mailbox (51)

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.


It's been a few weeks since I've done an IMM post, so here are some of the books I've received for the past few weeks!


for review: 


"The Darlings are Forever" by Melissa Kantor
The blurb says this one is a mix of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Sex and the City. I'm in!


"Love on Assignment" by Cara Lynn James

This Christian historical looks so sweet! 


"The Landlord's Black-Eyed Daughter" by Mary-Ellen Dennis

 Wow!! I cannot wait to read this one! I was really excited to get this one, it's based on the poem "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes. I can't wait to see how they turn the poem into a historical romance!


"The Darling Strumpet" by Gillian Bagwell

  I am quite a fan of Nell Gwynn, she's so fascinating!

What did you receive in your mailbox this week??

Giveaway and Review: "How to Marry a Duke"

As part of the "How to Marry a Duke" blog tour, I have my review and a giveaway of 3 copies of the book, sponsored by Hachette!

"How to Marry a Duke"
 by Vicky Dreiling

Publisher: Forever
Release Date: Jan 1, 2011

Source: sent by publisher


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
 
Summary from Goodreads.com:

Tristan, the Duke of Shelbourne is a man with a mission: find a wife he can tolerate as long as they both shall live. Love is not necessary--nor desired. But how to choose among a dizzying array of wealthy-yet-witless candidates? Hire London's infamously prim and proper matchmaker. Then pretend she's not the most captivating woman he's ever met...

Helping a devilish Duke create a contest to pick his perfect mate is the kind of challenge Tessa Mansfield relishes. Her methods may be scandalous, but she's determined to find the notorious bachelor more than a wife--she'll bring him true love. Yet when Tessa watches the women vie for the Duke's affections, she longs to win his heart herself. And after a stolen kiss confirms Tristan's desire, Tessa knows she has broken a matchmaker's number one rule: never fall in love with the groom.

My Review:

At first, I thought this book was going to be just a cutesy regency era twist on "The Bachelor" TV show. But as I kept reading, I found myself completely drawn in by the story and totally falling in love with the characters!

Tristan was a handsome, charming duke with the confidence you expect from royalty, but also with this unexpected awkward quality that made him just so much more endearing and real. He didn't make much effort to hide his feelings for Tessa, but at the same time, he did feel a sense of duty to the girls in the 'competition.' Coming to terms with balancing his duty and his feelings was great to see play out.

I loved that the author really showed why Tristan and Tessa fell for each other. There was a great line about how Tessa was Tristan's first 'lady friend,' truly meaning she was his friend. Their romance was really based on friendship, understanding, and attraction, not just love at first sight or lust.

The secondary characters were just as fun and lovable as the leads without overshadowing Tristan and Tessa. Tristan's mother was a great addition to the story, as well as Amy and Georgette, two of the girls in the competition for Tristan's heart. It couldn't have been easy to essentially write rivals for Tessa and have them turn out so likable. Tristan's best friend, Hawk, was an adorable rascal, and I can't wait to read his romance with Julianne in the next book.


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

Setting: 4/5

Romance: 5/5

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



Bottom Line:This story was truly about romance and love between the leads. The author has a way of making her heart melt without being sappy or unrealistic. Books like this remind of why I love the historical romance genre so much!


GIVEAWAY RULES:
Hachette books has generously provided three 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:

  • +1 Tweet this contest (leave link in comment)
  • +1 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 Feb 4
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!
  

Book Blog Follow and Book Blogger Hop Jan 21

Happy New Year, Everyone!!

It's time for Book Blog Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee.com and The Book Blogger Hop hosted by Crazy for Books!






My answer: too many teams to count! :)


My answer:

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

"The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor, Vampire Slayer" Mini Review

"The Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor, Vampire Slayer"
as told by Lucy Weston

Publisher: Gallery
Release Date: Jan 4, 2011

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

Sovereign Power. Eternal Pleasure.
Revealed at last in this new vampire saga for the ages: the true, untold story of the “Virgin Queen” and her secret war against the Vampire King of England. . . .On the eve of her coronation, Elizabeth Tudor is summoned to the tomb of her mother, Anne Boleyn, to learn the truth about her bloodline—and her destiny as a Slayer. Born to battle the bloodsucking fiends who ravage the night, and sworn to defend her beloved realm against all enemies, Elizabeth soon finds herself stalked by the most dangerous and seductive vampire of all.
He is Mordred, bastard son of King Arthur, who sold his soul to destroy his father. After centuries in hiding, he has arisen determined to claim the young Elizabeth as his Queen. Luring her into his world of eternal night, Mordred tempts Elizabeth with the promise of everlasting youth and beauty, and vows to protect her from all enemies. Together, they will rule over a golden age for vampires in which humans will exist only to be fed upon. Horrified by his intentions, Elizabeth embraces her powers as a Slayer even as she realizes that the greatest danger comes from her own secret desire to yield to Mordred . . . to bare her throat in ecstasy and allow the vampire king to drink deeply of her royal blood.
As told by Lucy Weston, the vampire prey immortalized in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this spellbinding account will capture your heart and soul—forever.

My Mini Review:

This vampire romance is written in flowery, Victorian language that really gives you a feel for the era and the gothic style of the story. This book will definitely appeal to fans of Victorian vampire stories, the original Dracula story, and mash ups in general.

For someone who loves romance as much as I do, I'm just not a fan of literally dropping things because you're so mesmerized at first sight by someone. I think this style of 'love' will really appeal to die hard Edward and Bella fans. Unfortunately, it's an all-consuming, creepy kind of love to me.

Main Characters: 3/5
Supporting Characters: 3/5
Setting: 4/5
Romance: 2/5

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



Bottom Line: I might have liked this one more if I had read the original "Dracula" and could identify more with Lucy Weston. Overall, this one just wasn't my style.

Winner Announced!! "John Lennon: Life is What Happens"

Winner Announced!!
 
The winner of the "John Lennon: Life is What Happens" giveaway is:
 
 
Tiffany!
Winner was chosen via random.org random number generator. Congrats to the winner!! I have emailed the winner for her mailing address. Winner has 3 days to respond :) A huge thank you goes out to FSB for sponsoring the contest and to everyone who entered!! Congrats!!

"Brooklyn Story" Mini Review

"Brooklyn Story"
by Suzanne Corso

Publisher: Pocket
Release Date: Dec 28, 2010

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:


To me, some people lived in the real world and others lived Brooklyn. . . .It’s the summer of 1978, and Samantha Bonti is fifteen years old, half Jewish and half Italian, and hesitantly edging toward pure Brooklyn, even if her dreams of something more are bigger than the neighborhood girls’ teased hair. She lives in Bensonhurst with her mother, Joan, a woman abandoned and scarred in a ruinous marriage, poisoned with cynicism, and shackled by addictions; and with her Grandma Ruth, Samantha’s loudest and most opinionated source of encouragement. As flawed as they are, they are family.
Samantha’s best friend is Janice Caputo, a girl who understands, as well as Samantha does, this close-knit community of ancestors and traditions that stand like roadblocks, this insular overcrowded little world of controlling mobsters who mold their women like Jell-O; and of the wannabes, the charismatic young guys who are willing to engage in anything illegal to get a shot at playing with the big boys. Yet, Samantha has something Janice doesn’t—a desire to become a writer and to escape the destiny that is assumed for all of them in the outer reaches of Bensonhurst. And it’s to be had just across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Then comes Tony Kroon.
Older than Samantha, Tony is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, half-Sicilian, half-Dutch mobster wannabe. A Bensonhurst Adonis. Taken in by his adoring attention, and empathetic to Tony’s own struggles with identity, Samantha is falling in love, even when she’s warned never to ask imprudent questions of Tony’s life. Even when her family and friends warn her to stay away. Even when Samantha knows she’s too smart to fall this deep . . . but the last thing she wants is the first thing to happen. Unable to resist Tony’s seductive charms, Samantha soon finds herself swallowed up by dangerous circumstances that threaten to jeopardize more than her dreams. Grandma Ruth’s advice: Samantha had better write herself out this story and into a new one, fast.
Told from the adult perspective, this is a powerful, true-to-life novel of leaving the past to history and the future to fate—of restoring hope where there was none, and reaching for dreams in an inspiring promise of paradise called Manhattan.


My Mini Review:

Naive Brooklyn girl, Samantha, falls for a handsome guy and ends up moving too fast and finds herself in an abusive relationship. This isn't really the type of book I like to read, I'd recommend it to those who like a very raw, gritty read. The book doesn't gloss over any of the seedy details. Parts were very hard to read, some scenes really made me squirm.

There wasn't much else going on besides Samantha's relationship with Tony, which to be honest was quite a downer. This story was tough to read and I found myself cringing throughout the book, thinking "No, why is the poor girl doing this??" I just felt really bad for her and wanted to help her.


Main Characters: 3/5
Supporting Characters: 3/5
Setting: 3/5
Romance: 1/5

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



Bottom Line: This one just wasn't for me, it was way too gritty and uncomfortable.
 

"The Fashion File" Review

"The Fashion File: Advice, Tips, and Inspiration from the Costume Designer of Mad Men"
by Janie Bryant

Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style
Release Date: Oct 25, 2010

Source: sent by publisher

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary from goodreads.com:

As the costume designer for television's Mad Men, Emmy Award-winner Janie Bryant must match couture with the disparate body types and personalities of that show's distinctive female and male characters. In The Fashion File, she not only offers elegant peeks behind those dressing room doors; she describes how you can adapt your clothing choices to match your personal look and preferred style. In addition to its memorable Mad Men stories, this illustrated hardcover dispenses timely wardrobe and accessory details, tips, and advice.

My Review: 

This really is a beautiful book, perfect for fans of "Mad Men" and fashion in general. The illustrations in the book are absolutely gorgeous! I loved every single one!

I really liked the author's philosophy of embracing and loving yourself the way you are. She repeats the message throughout the book and never suggests making changes beyond style and fashion.

However, sometimes the fashion suggestions come off as slightly snobbish. I would have loved to have seen at least one footwear option other than heels!

Being tied into "Mad Men",  I did think this book would feature more vintage style than it actually did. There was only one chapter on vintage, which was my favorite. The author went through the eras from 1920's-on and chose her favorite items from each decade. I also loved the part of the book that took inspiration from classic film actresses and actors.

Bottom Line: This is a fun book, and gorgeous to look at! I would definitely recommend it to fashion lovers. They are bound to find inspiration here, without having to follow every one of her fashion mantras. I will probably take bits and pieces of her style advice, but I still love my jeans and flats!

Waiting on Wednesday (52)

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:

"Where I Belong"
by Gwendolyn Heasley
HarperTeen
Release Date: Feb 1, 2011

The following description is from Goodreads.com:

Corrinne Corcoran’s upscale Manhattan life is perfectly on track—until her father announces he’s been laid off and she’s shipped off to Broken Spoke, Texas, to live with her grandparents. All alone in a big public school and forced to take a job shoveling manure, Corrinne is determined to get back to the glamorous life she’s supposed to be living. But as she grudgingly adjusts—making new friends and finding romance along the way—this city girl begins to realize that life without credit cards and shopping sprees may not be as bad as it seems....

In this sparkling debut that flawlessly balances romance and humor, readers will grow to love sharp and sassy Corrinne as she goes on her totally reluctant but completely irresistible journey of self-discovery.

Ok, I admit, I totally LOVE this cover!! The story looks so sweet and it seems like there will be lots of romance!!

What are you waiting for this week???

Teaser Tuesday (22)

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:


" She inclined her head but said nothing. Her uncle had taught her never to feel compelled to fill a silence.  "





p 51 "How to Marry a Duke" by Vicky Dreiling

Giveaway and Review: "Sins of a Highland Devil"

As part of the "Sins of a Highland Devil" blog tour, I have my review and a giveaway of 3 copies of the book, sponsored by Hachette!

"Sins of a Highland Devil"
 by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: Jan 1, 2011

Source: sent by publisher


My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Summary from Goodreads.com:


The first book in the Highland Warriors trilogy, in which three heroes make a pact to insure that a rival clan does not take over their Glen of Many Legends. At the same time, three women plot to marry these heroes to ensure peace. In SINS OF A HIGHLAND DEVIL, James Cameron is concerned when the King's decree states all three neighboring clans must have a battle to the death in order to lay official claim to the scared Glen of Many Legends. James attempts to make a pact with the heads of the other clans to fight this decree. But he ends up fighting his own fierce desire when coming head-to-head with Lady Catriona of the opposing MacDonald clan, who has her own plan for peace.
 
My Review:


I loved the supernatural element to the story and Scandia, the ghost, had a much more interesting and romantic love story than Catriona did. However, I did like how Catriona wanted to help Scandia and felt sympathy for her.

For me, this book would have been better if I had liked the hero more and if the story had been more romantic. I just didn't feel like the hero and heroine felt anything more than lust for each other. James kept saying he loved Catriona, but he didn't show it. He always pushed her away when he started to actually feel anything for her.


My favorite character was Rannoch, the mystical deer stag. I especially had a soft spot for Rannoch because the author's note at the beginning told of the inspiration for his character.
 
Main Characters: 3/5
Supporting Characters: 5/5

Setting: 3/5

Romance: 3/5

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



Bottom Line: I loved the supernatural characters, including Scandia and the deer Rannoch, but I wanted to see more love between the two leads. 




GIVEAWAY RULES:
Hachette books has generously provided three 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:
  • +1 Tweet this contest (leave link in comment)
  • +1 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 Jan 28
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

Book Blog Follow and Book Blogger Hop Jan 7

Happy New Year, Everyone!!

It's time for Book Blog Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee.com and The Book Blogger Hop hosted by Crazy for Books!








My answer: I have discovered so many great reads from blogs!! The one that stands out in my head is "Crescendo" I probably wouldn't have read it if I hadn't seen so many great reviews of it!


My answer: I really can't think of a book that changed my life in a huge way...lots of books have changed the way I look at things though, that's the great thing about reading, it opens your mind!

This week, my post went up before the questions were posted! I'll try to edit the post tomorrow with the answers!
If you're visiting for the first time, I'd love to hear from you, so please leave a comment and say hi!! :)

Waiting on Wednesday (51)

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:

"Belladonna"
by Mary Finn
Candlewick Press
Release Date: June 14, 2011

The following description is from goodreads.com:
 
A lyrical coming-of-age story about a boy, a girl, and a horse - and how a chance encounter can lead to a life of intrigue and learning, a life beyond imagining.
When Thomas Rose first spots the girl hidden by the roadside, she looks as drab as a lark, with only her red kerchief giving her away. But French Hélène, who goes by "Ling," is no ordinary bird. Tiny Ling enchants Thomas with her wild spirit and tales of a circus where she danced atop her beloved horse, Belladonna. But the horse has been sold, and Ling must fetch her back. Now Thomas’s life as a clever but unschooled wheelwright’s son is about to change. Their search leads to painter George Stubbs, who euthanizes ailing animals in order to study their anatomy. Stubbs draws eerie horses that stride as if they could move out of the paper world into the real one - but he assures his young friends that their horse is safe at a nearby estate. As Ling and Thomas devise a risky plan to recover Belladonna, Stubbs hires Thomas as an apprentice, teaching him to read and write as well. In this fascinating story, Mary Finn incorporates a real eighteenth-century artist into a beautifully imagined tale of adventure and young romance.


 This looks so fantastic!! I haven't heard that  much about it, but I can't wait to read it. Romance, a circus, and a horse, what's not to like??

Which book are you waiting for this week?

Teaser Tuesday (21)

 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:


" Then, as now, Rannoch had turned his velvety gaze on James, making him feel as if all creatures, large and small, ever to walk the earth, were looking at him through the stag's kind and gentle eyes.  "


p 89 "Sins of a Highland Devil" by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Rannoch, the mystical deer stag is my favorite character in this one! Check back in a couple of weeks, I have a contest for this book during the book tour!

In My Mailbox (50)

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.

contest wins: 

"Anna and the French Kiss" by Stephanie Perkins 

I won this one, along with two others, from Jessica at The Cozy Reader! I can't wait to read it, it's been on my to read list for so long!

for review:

"The Girl Who Became a Beatle" by  Greg Taylor

There is some serious Beatle-mania going on in my house!

"Death Cloud" by Andrew Lane

I didn't get the audiobook, I just couldn't find this version of the cover anywhere else, and the new cover is so cute, I had to show it. This one is about young Sherlock Holmes!

"Anastasia's Secret" by Susanne Dunlop


"Cate of Lost Colony" by Lisa M. Klein

Bloomsbury sent these last two and more books that I will feature in next week's IMM, I can't wait to dive in to all the awesome YA historicals they sent! Thanks, Bloomsbury!


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

Review and Giveaway! "John Lennon: Life is What Happens"

Thanks to FSB, I have a giveaway of a brand new copy of "John Lennon: Life is What Happens"!

by John Borack

Publisher: KP Books
Release Date: Sep 27, 2010

Source: sent by FSB


My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads.com:

John Lennon - Life is What Happens celebrates the life and times of one of the most influential musicians in pop music history. A singer, songwriter, artist, social activist, husband and father, Lennon's genius inspired a generation &#151 and continues to do so today some 30 years after his death.
This fascinating read features rare images of Lennon juxtaposed by the myriad pop-culture memorabilia created from the height of Beatlemania into the late 1970s and the Plastic Ono Band. Chronicling his musical career, the book includes hundreds of classic photographs, dozens of quotes by and about Lennon, and personal reminiscence from fans and celebrities recalling Lennon's impact on their lives.

My Review:

This book is filled with beautiful photos and packed with information, quotes from John Lennon, as well as quotes about him from others. The photos include pictures of Lennon and detailed photos of memorabilia. My personal favorite parts of the book were the quotes from Lennon himself.

As a Beatles fan, but also someone who didn't live during the ear, I found out a lot of new information from this book. The body of the book was just the right balance of concise information, with enough details to satay both fast moving and in depth.

You could tell the book was written by a true fan and I loved the gushing moments praising Lennon and the Beatles' work. It was fun to know that the author was so passionate about Lennon's music.
If you are a Beatles collector, you definitely need this book. There are detailed photos of memorabilia with prices and details about the rarity and condition of the items. I had no idea that some really fun items were actually affordable. It's fun to think that if I wanted to, I could really get that vintage Beatles bobblehead for myself!

If I had to make one complaint about the book, it was that the photos didn't always match up to what you reading about in the body of the text. I would be reading about John's relationship with Yoko and on the opposite page was a photo of the Fab Four circa 1964 in matching black suits. It just didn't make for a smooth flow.

That aside, I loved the book and it was filled with info, quotes, and photos. There was just enough detail to make me feel informed and also want to read more about Lennon and the Beatles and do more research.

Bottom Line:
Lennon's life philosophy shines in this book, and I absolutely loved the quotes featured here.





GIVEAWAY RULES:
FSB has generously provided a copy of this book 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!


I'm also opening this contest up to readers of my vintage blog, In the Hammock Vintage, because I know fans of vintage will love this one too! Just let me know you're a follower of In the Hammock Vintage in the comments! Followers of both blogs will get an extra entry!

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:
  • +1 Tweet this contest (leave link in comment)
  • +1 Post link in sidebar of your blog (leave link in comment)
  • +1 for following both this blog and In the Hammock Vintage

Rules:
  • US only
  • 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 FSB
  • Ends Monday Jan 17
Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

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