Thursday, June 23, 2011

Booking Through Thursday

What, if any, kind of music do you listen to when you’re reading? (Given a choice, of course!) - Booking Through Thursday

My general music tastes fit nicely with reading as well. I love bands such as Tegan & Sara, Holly Williams, Adele, Brandi Carlile, Missy Higgins, Rosi Golan, Carina Round, Mumford & Sons & Christina Perri. Those are a few that I enjoy to listen to while I read. I like soothing voice centered music when I'm reading. Nothing that is gonna jazz me too much and make me wanna sing and get pulled out of my reading world.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea - Chelsea Handler

TITLE: Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea

AUTHOR: Chelsea Handler


When Chelsea Handler needs to get a few things off her chest, she appeals to a higher power -- vodka. You would too if you found out that your boyfriend was having an affair with a Peekapoo or if you had to pretend to be honeymooning with your father in order to upgrade to first class. Welcome to Chelsea''s world -- a place where absurdity reigns supreme and a quick wit is the best line of defense.

In this hilarious, deliciously skewed collection, Chelsea mines her past for stories about her family, relationships, and career that are at once singular and ridiculous. Whether she''s convincing her third-grade class that she has been tapped to play Goldie Hawn''s daughter in the sequel to Private Benjamin, deciding to be more egalitarian by dating a redhead, or looking out for a foulmouthed, rum-swilling little person who looks just like her...only smaller, Chelsea has a knack for getting herself into the most outrageous situations. Are You There, Vodka? It''s Me, Chelsea showcases the candor and irresistible turns of phrase that have made her one of the freshest voices in comedy today. - From Publisher

REVIEW: If you are looking for a humorous read, then this is the book for you. I don't regularly watch Chelsea Lately and I still loved this read. I started it today and couldn't put the book down until I was finished.

Yes, there were a few chapters that I didn't find particularly interesting but on a whole I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I will definitely picking up more books written by Chelsea and looking forward to reading them!

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Kardashian Konfidential - Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian

TITLE: Kardashian Konfidential

AUTHOR: Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian

SUMMARY: Confessions of life as a Kardashian sister-stuffed with family stories, advice, beauty tips and exclusive gorgeous full color photos, personal snapshots and the inside scoop on their life growing up into the gorgeous Dash DollsThe stars of not one but two #1 reality television shows, and frequent cover girls on all the weekly celebrity magazines, Kourtney, Kim & Khloé Kardashian live large and glamorous lives. But not everything is on the screen-how they really live, get along (and feud) as sisters is the subject of the Kardashians' very first book. Kardashian Konfidential is their sisterhood autobiography, full of fun facts about their childhoods (guess who was the ugly duckling?), their beauty and style secrets, the wisdom they learned from their beloved father, and the street smarts they got from their mother that sustain them in life and in business. Kardashian Konfidential is bursting at the seams with photos, memorabilia, diary entries, datebook pages, and old Valentines the girls sent to each other, as well as many other artifacts put together just for their book. As glamorous, fun and fashionable as the girls themselves, this is the perfect buy-one-for-me-buy-three-for-friends fan's book. - From Publisher

REVIEW: I am addicted to the Kardashian's, I find them so enjoyable and such an easy/mindless show to watch. I have to say though, that this book doesn't really give you TOO much into their worlds. You get some history but a lot I had known either through the show or through Wikipedia. Still, it was fun seeing the pictures and all that. They do give some excellent styling tips and some fun recipes I wouldn't mind trying. Mostly, as a fan, I just enjoyed reading it.

Was a very fast read and it does make for a cute coffee table book.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Low Red Moon - Ivy Devlin

TITLE: Low Red Moon

AUTHOR: Ivy Devlin

SUMMARY: The only thing Avery Hood can remember about the night her parents died is that she saw silver—deadly silver, moving inhumanly fast. As much as she wants to remember who killed them, she can't, and there's nothing left to do but try to piece her life back together. Then Avery meets the new boy in school—Ben, mysterious and beautiful, with whom she feels a connection like nothing she's ever experienced. When Ben reveals he's a werewolf, Avery still trusts him—at first. Then she sees that sometimes his eyes flash inhuman silver. And she learns that she's not the only one who can't remember the night her parents died.Part murder mystery, part grief narrative, and part heart-stopping, headlong romance, Low Red Moon is a must-read for teen paranormal fans. As breathless as Twilight and as spooky as Shiver, this is a book to be devoured in one sitting—by an acclaimed YA author making her paranormal debut under the pseudonym Ivy Devlin. - From Publisher

REVIEW: An amazing book! The first few pages made me so uncomfortable and heart broken that I was worried if I would be able to muster through the book. (Note: I may later blame this sadness on pregnancy hormones) And despite that uncomfortableness I loved that Devlin got me to that place because I felt Avery's pain so strongly. I felt like I was a part of her world and was dealing with the lose of parents as she was. This really helped you get pulled into Avery's world that was morphing and twisting into something unnatural and, in my opinion, because Devlin got you to that uncomfortable place I was more easily swayed into believing the paranormal events that begin to take place.

Avery is a self assured girl and I love that while she loved how her parents raised her she wasn't overly awkward and wanted to still be balanced. She seemed to have a clear view of life. Plus, it was refreshing that she didn't resent her Grama, Renee, and that as the story developed you saw that Avery realized how much her Grama did love her father and how alike they were. It was enjoyable that their relationship with neither perfect or horrible, just a tad awkward and it read realistically.

Oh and the romance between Ben and Avery was fire cracker hot and intense. I absolutely loved how this was written and all the history that was woven between the canvas of characters. Some thing I guessed and others were a pleasant surprise. But Ben was such a unique character (like all of them) and he often did the opposite of what I thought he would do, so it sorta kept me guessing.

I absolutely adored this book and you should all go pick this up to read. A wonderful blend of suspense, character growth, romance and supernatural. Also, I really hope Devlin continues with this 'verse and that we get a second book.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Monday, June 20, 2011

Don of The Dead - Casey Daniels

TITLE: Don of The Dead

AUTHOR: Casey Daniels

SUMMARY: She sees dead people

Beautiful, smart, and chic, Pepper Martin never had to work a day in her life -- until her surgeon daddy was convicted of fraud, her wealthy fiancé took a powder, and the family fortune ran bone dry.

Suddenly desperate, the inexperienced ex-rich girl was forced to take the only job she could get: as a tour guide in a cemetery. But a grave situation took a turn for the worse when a head-on collision with a headstone left her with an unwanted ability to communicate with the disgruntled deceased . . . and now Pepper has a whacked Mafia don demanding that she hunt down his killers -- and threatening to haunt her until she does. - From Publisher

REVIEW: Another series that I am past fashionably late to read. I have a few of these. However, the nice thing about being late is that there are now 7 books out (in total for this series) there for me to read. I sorta loved that when I started to reach Rachel Vincent's Shifters series I had so-so many books to read and I didn't need to wait for 'em.

Anyway, onto the review because none of you probably really care about how I seem to have been missing out on various series.

I was a bit leery when I picked up this first book. Worried that it would be cliche and that Pepper would annoy me, because realistically she has the makings of a character that would annoy readers. A rich girl that falls out of money and now has to work? I was scared that Pepper wouldn't have any endearing qualities and that she'd be so selfish and fashion centered that I wouldn't be able to make it through the book. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. Yes, Pepper has some room to grow but I found her enjoyable despite those flaws. She was a well balanced character; having flaws that I am assuming Daniels will slowly weed through and but I didn't feel I had to push through this first book. I loved Pepper, so I am excited to see how much more I love her as I continue to read this series.

The plot was at a steady pace and kept you wanting to read. Even when the characters weren't doing much, all the back history and sleuthing into Gus's past was so much fun. I loved the humorous moments and how Pepper learned so much from DVDs and her trying to explain that to her friendly ghost. Daniels mixed so much together in just the right blend, from humor to Pepper really succeeding in her digging. I dislike when characters seem overly klutzy and manage to always escape unscathed. Daniels put Pepper in situations that allowed for some really great moments, but in no way was Pepper a sleuthing genius.

I am so happy I got into this series and I cannot wait to catch up on the rest of this series. Two thumbs up!

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Booking Through Thursday

With the advent (and growing popularity) of eBooks, I’m seeing more and more articles about how much “better” they can be, because they have the option to be interactive … videos, music, glossaries … all sorts of little extra goodies to help “enhance” your reading experience, rather like listening to the Director’s commentary on a DVD of your favorite movie.

How do you feel about that possibility? Does it excite you in a cutting-edge kind of way? Or does it chill you to the bone because that’s not what reading is ABOUT?- Booking Through Thursday

Hmm... a tricky one. I don't read ebooks because I don't have an ebook reader and probably won't get one until my library makes them more compatible for downloading with my Macbook. The extra goodies don't really lure me into wanting to race out and get a reader. For the average book I wouldn't care, but for my favorite books I would be excited for the goodies and would want to dive into them and get all the little tidbits of juicy behind the scenes. Probably wouldn't be a hard sale for me to buy both ebook and book copy of my favorite books.

As I'm writing this and thinking about it... I love when authors put their writing music playlist in their books but when I don't know a song it would be nice to just be able to click and hear a little clip of it rather than having to go to my laptop and preview it on iTunes. But again, not enough to make me want to get an ebook reader.

Plus, I sorta love having the actual book in my hands. I know when baby comes though the lure for an ebook reader will get stronger because I may only have one hand while nursing and it can be tricky reading with one hand... but I would buy for the convenience not because of the enhancements.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Any Man of Mine - Rachel Gibson

TITLE: Any Man of Mine

AUTHOR: Rachel Gibson

SUMMARY: Autumn Haven's Las Vegas "to-do" list said to catch a show and play the slots-not wake up married to a sexy jerk like Sam LeClaire. The first moment she saw him eying her like a luscious piece of the dessert buffet, her usually responsible self told her to run. And she did-right into the wildest fantasy weekend of her life. But Monday morning jolted her back to reality, and before she could say "pass the coffee," Sam was gone.

Now a successful wedding planner, Autumn hasn't clapped eyes on the heartbreaking hockey superstar for over two years . . . until she organizes his teammate's "Special Day," where Sam makes a big play to pick up where he left off! But she has vowed any man of hers plays for keeps. Is Sam the man for her or does she banish him to the sin bin forever? - From Publisher

REVIEW: What I love about Rachel Gibson is that she has quickly become an author that I can pick up and thoroughly enjoy with no worries of disappointment. Her style is one I gravitate towards - character driven rather than skin driven. I use to only read romantic suspense because I just have never ever been able to get into the whole 100% pure romance. That should explain why it has taken me FOREVER before I got into chick-lit, I had assumed (and there are some out there) that it was going to be pure fluffy smut, which I dislike. That isn’t the case with Gibson. She always delivers fun characters that seem real and I love how this ‘series’ is surrounded around a hockey team. Yes, there is some smut but it never drives the story.

Especially with this book I found myself so immersed in Autumn & Connor’s world and how the events had shaped her. I loved how Gibson wrote Autumn’s feelings towards Sam, Connor’s Dad, from pure hatred to nothing. The emotions felt real and it was refreshing that Autumn had moved passed it and was focused on giving Connor a healthy home, that she had accepted Sam for being the tool that he at times was. Not that she was okay with how he treated his relationship with his son but not seeing the point in trying to get Sam to change. That indifference made the story pack a little extra punch.

We have had Sam in the previous books and he’s always been portrayed as a bit of a horn dog and he was 90% that guy in this book. Not at as much in the beginning and I have to admit I was a bit perturbed by that. I wasn’t sure if Gibson didn’t want to make him unlovable to us readers by going too far or if maybe Sam put on a front around the ‘boys’. This little inconsistency, in my opinion, wasn’t a huge deal just a little something I noticed.

If you are looking for some fantastic beach/patio/road trip books I highly recommend snapping up this book along with the rest from Gibson’s Chinook’s Hockey Players series. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed; I stayed up to 1:30 this morning in order to finish the book so that’s gotta tell you something.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Monday, June 13, 2011

Booking Through Thursday

All things being equal (money, space, etc), would you rather own copies of the books you read? Or borrow them? - Booking Through Thursday

**Yes, I realize it isn't Thursday but this past Thursday I was swamped with clients so I figured a few days late was better than not doing it... right?**

Hmm... this is a hard one. I love owning the books but then I think borrowing is so good. My biggest issue with borrowing is I wish the authors had a way of still getting paid from all the borrowing of the books and a way to track it. I feel bad at times when I realize that all the books I read the author isn't getting any $$ cash for it. On the other hand, borrowing and second hand book stores save on some trees. What I tend to do is then buy the books/series that I loved and figure I would read again. This way I can still support my beloved authors but I don't end up with oodles of books I was 'meh' about.

However, the question does state that money, space... etc isn't a factor. If that WAS the case than I would want to own and write my thoughts in the books and have friends be able to come to my little library and borrow. The thought of a large room filled with books makes me happy.

On the Prowl - Karen McInerney

TITLE: On The Prowl: Tales Of An Urban Werewolf

AUTHOR: Karen McInerney

SUMMARY: Talk about a bad-hair day!

Sophie Garou is a master at taming her inner beast, which comes in handy since she's a werewolf. With a big promotion at work and a supersexy boyfriend, Heath (whom she recently spotted leaving a jewelry store with a beguiling ring box), she's one happy girl.

But when Heath starts spending long nights at the office with his new associate-a dead-ringer for Career Day Barbie-Sophie smells trouble. And when her professional relationship with her big new client-who also happens to be Texas's brilliantly blue-eyed most eligible bachelor-begins to sizzle, she wonders if her animal instincts are leading her in the wrong direction. Just when it seems that things can't get any more complicated, they do. The Houston werewolf pack has sniffed Sophie out, and their message is chillingly clear: you're either with us or against us. And unless she can prove that she's with them, the next full moon may just be her last. - From Publisher

REVIEW: Yay for the second book and for not having to wait for it. That is one of the things I love about discovering an older series, the books are all out there and the waiting time is limited in length.

We start this second in the trilogy months after the first. Sophie is trying to get her life back to normal and succeeding fairly well. She’s now made partner but the waters get rough pretty quickly. Soon she has to meet the Alpha of Houstin and try to find a way not to end up as a furry rug, she’s getting threats on pretty much everyday that ends with a ‘y’. Her boyfriend and hers relationship isn’t going so smoothly and her client, (Texas Monthly’s Hottest Bachelor) seems to be very interested in her.

This book had some more strength than the first, but there were definitely still moments that I found the writing to be a bit elementary and frustrating. I think McInerney trying to blend Sophie’s wolf and human side (in both relationships and personality) was a bit awkward and when things were discovered it all happened so fast that it felt rushed. Even things with Heath, I felt events that happened were more an excuse to put Heath on the edge while other things were going on in Sophie’s world.

I am excited to still read the last of this trilogy but in all honesty, I am a bit disappointed with this series. A quick read but not one that I’m addicted to and or wholly invested in.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Falling out of Fashion - Karen Yampolsky

TITLE: Fall out of Fashion

AUTHOR: Karen Yampolsky

SUMMARY: In the bestselling tradition of The Devil Wears Prada, Karen Yampolsky's hilarious and disarmingly candid debut goes deep inside the glossy, glamorous, and completely ruthless world of magazine publishing, where bitchiness and betrayal are always in vogue, and this month's hotshots are just one dud issue away from a pink slip and a one-line career obit on Page Six... As a teenager at a prestigious prep school, Jill White studied her roommate's magazines, filled with airbrushed-beyond-recognition photos of whisper-thin blondes who hadn't finished a meal since third grade. She dreamed of one day starting a magazine of her own that would feature women of all sizes and colors--smart, witty, real women with aspirations beyond tinier thighs and shinier hair. - From Publisher

REVIEW: I was sort of expecting something different with this book so it took me a moment to realize that I was going to have to shift my expectations to enjoy this read.

When I had picked this book up I was thinking that it would be a chick-lit romance but it was more a chick-lit story with a splash of romance. The whole story flashes backwards and tells the story of how Jill becomes to be and her whole journey into the magazine scene. It was a good read, once I realized that this wasn’t going to be what I thought. Still, I found it a bit borlng because Jill’s whole life was crammed into a book so we more got snippets of stories and how that molded her… etc.

I probably wouldn’t recommend this book unless you love any sort of fashion story and if you like books that have this format and storyline. I personally like to get sucked into the world rather then feel like I am getting a point by point on a characters life.

All in all, it was okay. Not my favorite and I’m sure in a few months when I look back I may struggle to remember this book’s storyline.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Desires of The Dead - Kimberly Derting

TITLE: Desires of The Dead

AUTHOR: Kimberly Derting

SUMMARY: The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found.

Violet can sense the echoes of those who've been murdered and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life.

As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Normally she'd turn to her best friend, Jay, except now that they are officially a couple, the rules of their relationship seem to have changed. And with Jay spending more and more time with his new friend Mike, Violet is left with too much time on her hands as she wonders where things went wrong. But when she fills the void by digging into Mike's tragic family history, she stumbles upon a dark truth that could put everyone in danger. - From Publisher

REVIEW: This series has got to be one of the best out there. The style and plot is right up my alley. I love that while it is teen/ya I feel that the characters don't fall into the pitfalls of annoying teen.

The plot for this sequel moves at the perfect pace. I enjoyed how we got to see the repercussions from the first book and how it has affected Violet. Nothing was swept under the rug and I enjoyed reading, and being shown how Violet dealt with the previous event and how these new events affected her and her decisions. Often her choices felt authentic, sometimes a bit stupid (had a few moments where I wanted to yell at her to run the other way), but if she always made the right choice it wouldn't read realistically.

Violet and Jay have to be the cutest book pairing. (Sidenote: am I the only one who pictures Jared P. off Supernatural as Jay??) I liked the course that Derting is taking these two on, I sense some huge moments in the coming books for these two. They are strong, but life isn't always easy on young love. Their relationship in both books seem to add and enhance the story, and again they are just so darn cute!!

The plot was good, however I found the mystery element of it a bit weak and lacking the previous books punch. Bringing in the FBI filled the void that the murder left, at least for me, and again I am loving where Derting is going with this series.

It has such potential for growth and story line progression along with spinoffs into other characters backgrounds. If you haven't picked up this series you need to!

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Friday, June 3, 2011

Howling at the Moon - Karen MacInerney

TITLE: Howling at the Moon

AUTHOR: Karen MacInerney

SUMMARY: Sophie Garou seems to have it all: a great job at a prestigious accounting firm, a closet that rivals a Nordstrom showroom, and a terrific boyfriend who isn't afraid to use the "M" word. There's just one little itty-bitty problem: Sophie is a werewolf-and her time of month has a whole new meaning.

Needless to say, life among yummy flesh-and-blood humans is no piece of steak . . . er, cake!, but regular doses of wolfsbane tea and a mother who runs a magic shop have helped Sophie keep her paranormal pedigree under wraps. Still, when a sexy, golden-eyed werewolf prowls into town, Sophie finds herself struggling to keep her animal impulses in check-not to mention trying to keep things on track with her super hot (and super human) lawyer boyfriend. What's more, someone is threatening to expose Sophie for what she really is. And when her mother is accused of selling a poison-laced potion, Sophie must sniff out a culprit before the fur hits the fan. - From Publisher

REVIEW: My disclaimer for this book is that I have been hunting for it via used book stores and my library. As long time followers of my reviews you know that I am a huge library supporter, not saying I never buy books (there are some that one needs to own) but I generally like to use my library. Originally my library didn't catalog paperbacks, which meant it was a bit of a pain finding some of the lesser known authors and their works. Or you would find the second or third book in a trilogy but never the first. That was the case for this series. But I suppose being out of the reading loop for a bit was good because when I came back there it was, online and available to request. I love that they are working on cataloging all paperbacks. *content sigh* Now onto the review.

The book has a sorta chick-lit feel to it, with paranormal elements. It was so easy to sink into and enjoy - always a plus. Sophie is the sort of heroine that stumbles along into the roll of hero. She didn't really set out to become one but this first book lays the ground work for the rest of the trilogy. With that said because the adventures of this book are so 'out there' from what we know of her I found at times that there was a little cheese factor to it. I could tend to overlook it but I wish MacInerney had taken a little more time to develop that while Sophie had managed to snuff her werewolf traits she wasn't completely in the dark and understood some of those supernatural abilities. At times when the situation called for it Sophie had these skills that she was well aware about but than at other times she seemed so clueless. Of course, one has to give some room when it comes to the first book of a series.

Sophie and her best friend Lindsey had a fun dynamic to them, however I felt like at times Lindsey was a bit callus and didn't always show Sophie those 'have your back qualities'. On the flip side, it is sorta nice having a BFF in a book that is not the loyal, always there type of character. It makes me feel like Sophie is somewhat stumbling through all this new knowledge surrounded by friends and loved ones but at the same time doing it on her own.

The book progressively got stronger, especially once Tom (a hunky lone werewolf) came onto the scene. He brought lots of answers and mystery to Sophie's life. In fact, I think MacInerney did a perfect job in bringing him into the book without making him a huge part of this first book. I want more of him and his story and so curious as to how some of the information he passed on to Sophie will affect the next two books in this series.

All around this book had a few things that irked me (Sophie bouncing from having werewolf knowledge to being clueless and a few plot huhs) but overall I thought this first book has lots of potential. I think, especially with the ending, the second will be a lot stronger and dive more into Sophie trying to figure out some wolfy things.

If you enjoyed Vincent's "Shifters" series I imagine you would enjoy this book as well. It was published back in 2008 so maybe many of you have already read this trilogy, if so I would love to hear your thoughts on this first book.

RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Booking Through Thursday

Do you read book reviews? Whose do you trust? Do they affect your reading habits? Your buying habits? - Booking Through Thursday

I do indeed read book reviews. I find it an amazing way to keep on-top of upcoming releases, new authors or series that I've never heard about or that have been around for awhile but I have had my head in a hole. For example, if it weren't for Jessica's blog: A GREAT Read I would never have picked up Rachel Vincent's Shifters series, which I have loved reading and is a favorite series of mine.

Generally I tend to trust those reviewers that seem to have the same reading taste as me, that doesn't always mean that I'll 100% agree with their reviews but because I know we have similar tastes there is a comfort there. And when they toss out a new book genre I am more inclined to give it a try. I read because I love getting sucked into a new world, not because it is the 'it' book of the month.