Saturday, November 26, 2011

Review: Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Expected publication: December 6th 2011 by Entangled Publishing

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.


My Review: 

This is the second book I've read by Miss Armentrout so far. The first was Daimon, a short novella that is a sequel to the first book in another series, Half-Blood. (which I can't wait to get my hands on! *-*). I LOVED it, so I was really excited about Obsidian.

Well, it was pretty awesome! I just wanted to sit down and take it all in just one sitting. Too bad I only had the time to savor it bit by bit... LOL. Maybe it was better like that?

Katy was the new girl in a small town. After her father passed away, her mother decided they should move from Florida to West "By God" Virginia (LOL). There she met her neighbors, the very attractive twins Dee and Daemon. Dee and Kat quickly became friends, but Daemon... turned out to be a very difficult person, to say the least. Katy constantly felt the urge to strangle him. And I have to admit that I did too. :p But it's okay, because the chemistry between them was strong enough to make up for his rude/annoying remarks.

Every time his hand brushed her, she felt a hum of energy. Strange things suddenly happened to the weather when he was around. The whole town seemed to be afraid of the twins, and they didn't really mingle with "people like her", as Daemon said himself. Things started to get more and more suspicious, until Katy was attacked. Daemon rushed over to save her and ended up marking her.
Yes, the gorgeous boy next door turned out to be an alien.

And there was nothing wrong with that. ;)

I really liked Kathy. She was a very interesting character, being a shy, 'curvy' blogger and all, but I couldn't help but compare her to Daimon's protagonist, Alex. So she did come out a bit lacking to me at first... but then it was like she grew some serious cojones! She finally had enough of Daemon pulling her chain and started attacking back. LOL. That was fun to read.

But my favorite character really was... surprise, surprise!!! Daemon.

Gods, the guy knew how to be a pain in the ass. He was so annoying! Sure, we readers like it when our heroes are hard to get close to, and it's fun when they tease our heroines, but by Golly, I kept picturing him being run over by a car. And then being kissed senseless by me. Yes. That was Weird (with a capital letter). LOL.

Like Katy said in the book, it's surprising to find out that Like and Lust aren't necessarily connected. :p

But of course he had every reasons to act like he did, as we find out later on. The poor thing. :((

Oh. Something else was bothering me. I was over 80% done with the book when I started to really wonder if they would EVER kiss.

The tension grew and grew and GREW.... and, oh, boy. Was it worth it!!! There was this super hot make out scene!!! O.O (simply for the sake of dispelling traceable energy, of course).

Really, it was probably the hottest scene I've ever read in YA lit. ;) It really made up for the wait and lack of PDA between the couple throughout the first 3/4 of the book.

The action scenes were very exciting, too. I actually felt like getting a piece of obsidian to protection, myself. LOL.

Right by the end of the book I got a bit mad with Kat (how could SHE be so mean to my dear Daemon?? Especially when he was finally starting to be nice... :P), but I guess it had to happen.

We'll see what happens in the next book! :)
It's a good thing Armentrout is a fast writer, because I can't wait!

If I got you interested in Obsidian, you can read the first chapter here.

I received a digital copy of Obsidian from Entangled Publishing by Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Weekly Manga Recommendation #2 - Beast Master by Kyousuke Motomi

by Kyousuke Motomi

Leo Aoi looks like a crazy animal with wild eyes--and no one at his new high school will go near him!

He does seem to have a special connection with animals though, which intrigues overzealous animal-lover Yuiko Kubozuka.

In reality, Leo isn't as frightening as he appears, but Yuiko finds out that he goes berserk whenever he sees blood! Will Yuiko be able to get through to Leo during these violent fits? Or will Leo's ferocious side eventually devour her?


As always, I'm a sucker for good manga art. Kyousuke Motomi is an extremely talented mangaka. Her drawings really show the characters' feelings to perfection and the story touches deep into your heart.

And who doesn't love a poor, misunderstood bad boy? Go, Leo!

Beast Master has only three volumes (such a pity!), but the author has also published Dengeki Daisy, which is even funnier and more dramatic (and one of my favorites).
Go look for it!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Friday Reads - The Sterkarm Series by Susan Price

by Susan Price

"Beware of shaking hands with a Sterkarm!" goes the folk saying. Why the warning? The members of this wild 16th-century Scottish clan are left-handed, and while they smile and offer the right hand, the left wields a dagger.
When a 21st-century mega-corporation opens a Time Tube to the 16th century, the stiff-backed CEO finds his plans for exploiting the mineral and tourism possibilities of the ancient English-Scottish border frustrated by the Sterkarms--raiding parties of men he regards as primitive animals.

On the other side of the Time Tube, anthropologist Andrea Mitchell has been sent to live with the Sterkarms to be the corporation's informant and translator. There she is surprised to find herself admired for her generous curves and accepted warmly by the volatile and affectionate--but intermittently murderous--clansmen. When her lover, Per, is grievously wounded on a raid, she persuades Old Toorkild, the chief, to allow his handsome and adored son to be transported to the 21st century for healing. But when Per awakes in a world four centuries ahead of his own, his terror and suspicions of treachery bring down a wild collision between heartless technology and a ferocious people skilled in passionate defense of their life and lands.

Winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize in England, Susan Price's The Sterkarm Handshake--a richly textured love story, a vivid and sometimes humorous portrayal of confrontation between cultures, and a thumping good page-turner--should find enthusiastic fans among teen-fantasy and time-travel buffs. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell


by Susan Price
Andrea Mitchell returns to the past, only it's not exactly the past she visited in The Sterkarm Handshake (HarperCollins, 2000). Her nasty ex-boss at FUP asks once again for her translating services, and Andrea agrees to go back through the Time Tube to the 16th century–against her better judgment–hoping she will be reunited with her lover, Per.

Andrea departs and learns that she's been sent to a wholly different dimension, in which the people she lovingly remembers exist but do not recognize her. Instead of buying the loyalty of the Sterkarms, the company she works for initiates a violent overthrow by pitting them against their enemy clan, the Grannams. When an ill-fated wedding draws to its inevitable conclusion, the company's plans are set in motion, and Andrea must unravel them.

Though Price re-explains the setup from book one, familiarity with that novel gives this one greater emotional resonance. The plot moves quickly, and there's as much or more violence than in the previous book. The idea of a past that's actually a part of another dimension gets a bit confusing (16-A, 16-B), but it effectively comes together in a cliff-hanger ending.

The impersonal, inhuman violence of the 21st-siders is subtly, effectively juxtaposed with the brutality and anger of the 16th-siders. Andrea again faces an impossible but emotionally engaging situation: choosing between her murderous 16th-century lover and her destructive 21st-side counterparts.


Since it's Black Friday today, I've prepared a double book recommendation. ;)

I highly recommend these books to anyone who enjoys time travel, science fiction, fantasy, Scotland and romance! These are real page-turners, but unfortunately they're not very popular. Probably because they were not mainstream. Such a pity. The only way to find them is in used books' stores, but they're completely worth it. My copies are old library ones, and I treasure them immensely. *-*.

I'd give them 5674323 stars if I could. 5 are just not enough.

The alternate-universe 16th century, the Sterkarms (all such rich, complex and well-written characters!), the interesting 'time tube', the references to the old cultures and languages, the issue of greedy 21st century people wanting to exploit the land of the 'less developed' and naïve medieval Sterkarms, the 'forbidden romance', all of it joins in to make a GREAT book! I mean, no wonder the first volume won the 1999 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize!

These books are labeled as YA by some, but I really don't see why. To me they are adult reads, with real issues mixed in with fantasy.

I absolutely fell in love with Andrea and Per, and they also broke my heart.

As soon as I was done with The Sterkarm Handshake, I ran and got myself a copy of A Sterkarm Kiss. And, seriously, so should you. These are gems, master pieces. No, Susan Price didn't pay me anything to say this, I'm just being honest. LOL

Too bad she never came around to writing the third part... :((


Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz - Review

Deadly Little Secretby Laurie Faria Stolarz

Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published October 7th 2009 by Disney Hyperion
Some secrets shouldn't be kept...
Up until three months ago, everything in sixteen-year-old Camelia's life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades; an okay relationship with her parents; and a pretty cool part-time job at the art studio downtown. But when Ben, the mysterious new guy, starts junior year at her high school, Camelia's life becomes anything but ordinary.

Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend's accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She's reluctant to believe the rumors, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. She's inexplicably drawn to Ben...and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help--but can he be trusted? She knows he's hiding something... but he's not the only one with a secret.

From the best-selling author of Blue is for Nightmares comes a story of paranormal romance that's sure to be a thrilling and chilling teen favorite.


My Review:

Camelia is saved form certain death in a car accident by a very cute guy. The thing is, freaks out when he touches her stomach and pretty much runs away from her, before she can even ask his name or utter a 'thank you'.

Three months later, he's still on her mind. And surprise, surprise, in her school. He's the new guy everyone's talking about. Ben Carter. The Killer. The guy who strangled his girlfriend and then pushed her over a cliff.

But Camelia is set upon thanking him, weird rumors or not. But Ben insists hewasn't the one to save her, and starts to avoid her.

What I liked was that, every few pages the POV would change from Camelia's to a guy's, and this guy turns out to be a very freaky stalker. It was interesting to see what was on his mind. Creepy, but interesting nonetheless.

What I didn't like was that Camelia was WAY too much like Bella for my taste. Very 'Mary Sue' like.
I mean, it was as if EVERY single boy out there wants her, and she couldn't care less about them, because she wanted the rude, dark one. Her boss wanted her, her ex wanted her, the cute jock, too...

Not to mention the car accident and the lab scene. Totally 'Twilight' material. Even the 'touchy-feely' thing with Ben, which was getting annoying... until we finally found out the reason for it.

To me, her friends were the ones who really stole scene. Kimmie and Matt were my favorite characters, no doubt. (at least at first, mind you).They were funny and they felt real. More than the main characters ever did.

The ending was like 'wow', even if I sort of was expecting it, but I kept changing my mind all the time. That dramatic second-guessing thing was great too. I just didn't care much for the heroine and the Twilight-ish stuff.

All in all, this is a fun, mysterious, quick YA read.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lady Seductress's Ball by Eliza Knight - Review

Lady Seductress's Ballby Eliza Knight

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: December 19th 2011 by Carina Press

As the wife of the elderly Earl of March, Olivia Covington has never known the intimacies of the bedroom. Though her curiosity is piqued by the shocking whispers of society ladies, she is too wary of causing scandal to indulge in an affair. But Tristan Knightley, Earl of Newcastle, tempts her to throw off propriety.

Tristan wants Olivia for his own, and has sworn off all others until he can rid himself of the obsession. He is sure once he has a taste, he will tire of her, and can return to his rakish existence. Unable to wait to have her in his bed, he invites her for a tryst at Lady Seductress's Ball...


My Review:

First of all, this book includes explicit sex scenes and so it is not recommended for those under 18 years of age. So, with that out of the way...

The book starts with one of the many lascivous dreams Olivia, the Countess of March, has been having. And the main star is always the gorgeous rakehell Tristan, the Earl of Newcastle.

Olivia is suffering from what she calls 'amatory deficiency'. She yearns for a lover's hot touch and caress. All the things she's been hearing about in the ladies' retiring rooms. She craves and fantasizes for the attention and pleasure her sick, older husband hasn't been able to give her. She also regrets marrying him only to please her parents and to make their dying wish come true.

During her first dinner party, organized to celebrate her husband's recovery from a recent illness, she gets to meet Lord Tristan Newcastle. The tension becomes obvious and the sparks start to fly. After a brief rendezvous in the gardens they realize they cannot deny their desires anymore.

Olivia's husband, Henry, falls ill yet again. As he lays in bed dying, she receives a note from Tristan. It's an invitation for the Lady Seductress's Ball. The perfect place to enjoy any and all libidinous adventures, "where clothing is but a waste"...

Let me tell you something. This book made me crave quite a few things... LOL, including strawberries and honey. ;P

I really enjoyed the writing and how easily it flowed. The scenes were very hot, without being too much, and I liked the way romance blossomed from all that lust. You also get to see the couple's POVs, which is always nice.

What bothered me a bit (but not overly much, mind you), was that, given the time period the story was set in, there were a few words and expressions that didn't quite fit.
If you overlook it, you'll enjoy it immensely. It doesn't get in the way, really, but I've been reading a lot of historical romances lately, so I couldn't help but notice.
Yeah, I'm annoying like that.

Oh, by the way, the summary gives you the idea that the heroine was a virgin (which irks me tremendously. Why do all heroines HAVE to be virgins? Geez... talk about stereotypes! Not only in historicals, but also in contemporary romance! Do women like to think/remember about losing their virginity EVERYTIME they read a book? o.O But I digress.)
Anyway, as it turns out, she was NOT! Okay, maybe she was a virgin to good sex, but not literally a virgin (she WAS married, after all). Thank goodness. LOL

I would like to thank Carina Press and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book in advance.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Manga Rec #1 - The Wallflower 1: Yamatonadeshiko Shichihenge by Tomoko Hayakawa (Perfect Girl Evolution)

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
The Wallflower 1: Yamatonadeshiko Shichihenge by Tomoko Hayakawa (also known as Perfect Girl Evolution)

Translated by David Ury

It’s a gorgeous, spacious mansion, and four handsome, fifteen-year-old friends are allowed to live in it for free! There’s only one condition–that within three years the guys must transform the owner’s wallflower niece into a lady befitting the palace in which they all live! How hard can it be?
Enter Sunako Nakahara, the agoraphobic, horror-movie-loving, pockmark-faced, frizzy-haired, fashion-illiterate recluse who tends to break into explosive nosebleeds whenever she sees anyone attractive. This project is going to take more than our four heroes ever expected: it needs a miracle!


My Review:

Normally I wouldn't review a manga, but this one is just so perfect, so one of a kind, I just can't help myself. It's one of the funniest, most exciting stories I've ever read!

The great thing about manga is that you can actually follow how the mangaka's skills grow as the volumes come out, how she perfects her art slowly, but surely. Better drawings and even better tales every single time. :)

You can easily understand why I like this manga so much. The heroine is a very strong young lady, she can fight like nobody's business (especially with a katana), she loves horror movies, skulls and skeletons, monsters, swords and her favorite time of the year is Halloween. Also, she makes a mean fried shrimp.

Sunako is just so shy and cute and such a weirdo! LOL How can you possibly not love her? *-*

Oh, and there's also the anime version, for those who prefer it. I've watched it and it's pretty nice, but I still like my manga better. :)

A Dixie Christmas by Sandra Hill - Review

A Dixie Christmasby Sandra Hill

Kindle Edition, 100 pages
Published November 16th 2011 by Bell Bridge Books

New York Times Bestselling romance author Sandra Hill offers a special Xmas treat to her readers: two sexy, romantic novellas set in the land of Moonlight, Magnolias . . . and Santa Claus. In Blue Christmas, an uptight Boston businessman arrives in Memphis, Tennessee determined to sell the oddball "Blue Suede Suites" hotel he's inherited. Instead he lands in a pile of complications when he steps in the wrong spot at the Elvis-themed live Nativity scene on his property. Recovering from a concussion, he finds himself in the care of a gorgeous good ol' girl dairy farmer. And suddenly, all his plans begin to melt. . . In Jinx Christmas, a handsome and famous NASCAR driver shows up in his ex-wife's Louisianna town determined to win her back, even if it means using the matchmaking advice of an outlandish Cajun godmother and her far-from-conservative tactics.


My Review:

Who knew Scrooge could be so hot?

In Blue Christmas, Clayton Jessup III (described as a young version of Richard Gere, but taller) inherits a hotel named The Blue Suedes Suites. His father, a conservative Wall Street investment banker, had bought it 35 years ago and kept it a secret, until he died and his son became the owner.

Clayton hates everything Elvis and country music related. Oh, and he has no Christmas spirit whatsoever. Especially if it involves an Elvis-themed live Nativity scene in the vacant lot (which he also owns) by his 'new' hotel.

Annie Fallon (who supposedly looks like a younger, prettier version of Julia Roberts), the only girl among 5 brothers, was hoping to earn some money to save the family's farm. And what a better way to earn it than to dress like a 60's Virgin Mary, big hair and all that? Well, that was the plan, until Mr.Jessup slipped on a pile of sheep dung in her Nativity scene and twisted his ankle. LOL

The brothers were all very interesting characters, especially Chet, the handsome single father, and Roy, the veterinarian student. Clay was a bit annoying at first, with all the 'humphs' and 'harrumphs', but he was very cute with Annie, even if they were came from very different backgrounds. The few sex scenes were very tasteful.

In Jinx Christmas, the second story in the book, Lance Caslow, a famous NASCAR driver, wanted his ex-wife back after their divorce 5 years ago.

Brenda wanted nothing more to do with him, 'the cheating bastard', but, as things go with romance stories, he ended up winning her heart (and their little girl's) back.

It was annoying to read her complaining about how she thought she was fat. Size ten isn't fat, honey. Try size 18 and up.

Tante Lulu, the cajun healer, was a laugh-a-minute character. I happened to like her more than I did the main characters.

I didn't like the second story as much as the first, but the ending was different, creative, and to me it made the whole story worth it. I mean, that strip-tease... woohoo!

I was given this ebook in exchange for an honest review by Netgalley.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Undead and Unfinished by MaryJanice Davidson - Review

Undead and Unfinished
(Undead #9)
by MaryJanice Davidson

Vampire Queen Betsy Taylor returns in the ninth novel in the New York Times bestselling series.

Vampire Queen Betsy Taylor is having a tough time getting through the Book of the Dead-until the Devil strikes a bargain. She offers Betsy a chance to finish the cursed (literally!) thing, and finally discover all its mysteries. There's just one catch...

Betsy and her half-sister Laura have to go to Hell long enough for Laura to embrace her dark heritage (after a rebellious youth of charity work) and finally make nice with her mother, aka Lucifer. That means interacting with their family's past. In doing so, they're impacting the future in ways they never anticipated. Of course that's what Mother wanted all along. Damn her.


My Review:

I have been a big, big, BIG fan of Miss MaryJanice Davidson for years now, but my first thought when I started reading this volume was: "What was she on and where can I get some?".

Truthfully, this book was full of craziness. Not that any of the previous ones were what you'd call 'normal' (one of the reasons I love her writing so much), but this one was especially odd. LOL.

Other reviewers may have called it bad or simply garbage, screaming to anyone who would listen that they had given up on the author because of this volume... but I ended up liking it. All insanity and daughter of the Devil plus Vampire Queen time-travelling aside. No, wait, that was actually very interesting. LOL

Also, it was so very cute and romantic to see how Betsy acted with Sinclair in his past, to see how some unexplained things (involving Nostro, Tina's past, and the creepy Book of the Dead) suddenly became so obvious and clear.

But what absolutely freaked me out was the visit to the future. Really. I don't know what I can say without spoilers, but the latest book in the series is already out, so maybe... no. I won't tell. My only words for it are: THAT WAS FREAKING DEMENTED!

This book series started as light, humorous, paranormal chic lit, but it's evolving into something else entirely. I'm not sure I like where it's going, but I won't abandon the characters I love so much after all those volumes.

Oh, and the title tells it all. UNFINISHED. It makes you want to run and get the next volume ASAP. Or just drop the series entirely. Depends on who's reading.

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver - Review

We Need to Talk About Kevin

by Lionel Shriver

The gripping international bestseller about motherhood gone awry.

Eva never really wanted to be a mother and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin's horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.


My Review:

This was a very difficult book to review. I had so many conflict emotions while reading it, I was unsure what to say about it.

The first half of the book didn't go down very well, I constantly found myself putting the book down, and then going back and forth... I was THIS close to giving it up completely, but eventually I got used to the narrative from the mother's, Eva, point of view. An then I started to really enjoy it. That's the secret for this book, don't give up, it gets better. LOL

The book is a mixture of drama and horror, with small sprinkles of hope...

Kevin's life was incredibly... well, strange. He was strange from the beginning, but that's what made him so interesting. The way his mother describes him is very intimate, captivating and somewhat terrifying.

His coldness and heartlessness as a human being, very well displayed in certain terrible acts involving animals and people, brought to my fan girl's mind some of Stephen King's evilest characters ever.

The father's ignorance and denial were very unnerving. Okay, maybe it was just his way of coping, some people might say, I don't know. But in my oppinion, he could have been more supportive.

The little sister, the poor thing, was pitiful AND aggravating at the same time. It's hard for me to picture all she went throught just by this narrative alone, but I still can't accept how she never told anyone. Well, I also can't blame her, her brother must have terrorized her so bad, the poor thing was traumatized. (See? This is what I meant by mixed feelings. I feel sorry and mad at the same time.)

But, of course, the main focus was Kevin's relationship (?) with his mother. It had many highs and lows, and sometimes things looked like they would get better... but we know how it all ends.

A great book to try and understand the origins of a monster. It made me rethink my plans on having children in the future.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson - Review

The Girl of Fire and Thorns
(Fire and Thorns #1)
by Rae Carson

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.


My Review:
4.5 stars

I have to be honest. I really liked the summary, but even after reading so many great reviews, I still wasn't sure I would enjoy this book. I don't normally go for science fiction, but with a chubby heroine, I just HAD to give it a try. LOL. And I'm glad I did!

It was So, SO good! Really... unbelievably good. And somewhat sad. I loved to see how much the characters grew! Elisa was a great surprise, she became so strong and independent! It actually influenced me quite a bit. (read here: diet). Our dear main character goes from naïve chubby teenager princess to powerful respectful queen in a matter of months.

Elisa was God-chosen to carry the Godstone, a rock glued to her belly-button, that warms up everytime she prays and gets cold when danger is close. Oh, and as it's supposed to be very powerful, everybody wants to rip it off of her(but it only comes loose after the carrier is dead, so....). The concept of the Godstones was a bit difficult to grasp at first, but as you read, it becomes less and less of a mystery. The repetitive mentions of religion and God can be tiring, but I overlooked it and payed attention to the story itself.

The desert scenes were very well descripted, it was very interesting to read about how they survived sandstorms, with very little water and even less food (rat soup, anyone?), having to walk ALL day under the scorching heat of the sun, and sleeping in tiny tents with empty stomachs. Great way to lose weight and toughen up, huh, Elisa?

I really fell for some of the secondary characters, like the King's personal guard, Hector, and the cute kidnapper, Humberto, but what I really wanted was to slap Alejandro, the King, profusely. I actually came to really like some of supporting characters, but then the author started to kill them, and that was disappointing to say the least... but I'm sure it had to happen so the story could go where she intended it to go.

If you expect deep romantic interactions (like I always find myself doing), I wouldn't recommend this book to you. But if you also like adventure, drama and survival stories, go for it!!

Can't wait for the next one!!! I can't wait to see more of Hector! *-* Congratulations, Rae Carson, you are terrific!

The Darker Side of Lust: A Collection of Short Erotic Fiction by Abigail Ekue - Review

The Darker Side of Lust: A Collection of Short Erotic Fiction
by Abigail Ekue

The world is not full of happily-ever-afters or one-on-one relationships-three can most certainly be a (happy) crowd and a complete stranger can be the ultimate lover. The Darker Side of Lust takes you into the heads, hearts and beds of its characters in sixteen short erotic tales. Yet fantasies are fulfilled anywhere; in bedrooms and kitchens, on sofas, in cars, in church . . .

The Darker Side of Lust will satisfy straight, lesbian, gay or bisexual fans of erotic fiction. The stories are sweet and seductive or raw and risqué. Told at times through a 1st person narrative, these erotic tales draw the reader in with their vivid descriptions, hints of humor and brutal honesty-sure to bring up "I've been there" memories or arouse your senses with what you never dreamed of as erotic.


My Review:

I won a signed copy of this book in a giveaway. Here's my review:

The world is not full of happily-ever-afters indeed.

Funny, hot and sad stories make this book a refreshing new kind of read.

With sometimes shocking twists (and language), but quite realistic themes and curious views of relationships, it was a very interesting book. There is something for everyone.

I especially enjoyed all the free, sure-of-themselves heroines.

Contains explicit sex scenes, interracial relations, heterosexual/bisexual/homosexual.

Recovery by Alexandrea Weis - Review

by Alexandrea Weis

Paperback, first, 296 pages
Published March 7th 2011 by CreateSpace (first published March 1st 2011)

A killer is lurking among the ruins of Katrina-ravaged New Orleans.
A killer she knows.
Still devastated two years after the mysterious murder of her beloved David Alexander, Nicci Beauvoir surprises everyone in the Big Easy by returning to her hometown with a new admirer: the cool and contentious Dallas August. But the attractive stranger is asking a lot of questions about David’s death, making Nicci’s family and friends speculate about his true intentions. Only Nicci knows that Dallas, a high-priced corporate spy, has come to New Orleans to flush out David Alexander’s killer. Playing the part of her lover, Dallas escorts Nicci around town hoping to get closer to his possible suspects. But hiding amid the city’s elite is a jealous maniac waiting to make Nicci suffer. As the days pass and the danger grows, Nicci’s relationship with the handsome spy turns from adversarial to amorous. Desperate to unearth the identity of David’s murderer, Nicci and Dallas decide to lure the killer out of the city for one final showdown. It is a deadly decision that could cost Nicci everything. But it may be her only chance for… Recovery.


My Review:

I won a signed copy of this book in a giveaway, so here's my honest review:

I really, really liked it!

The book is set on a post-Katrina New Orleans and the scenes of the French Quarter are heart-breaking.

The main character, Nicci, has just lost her lover, David. She's called by his old boss to meet Dallas, David's old friend and co-worker. The duo then start to investigate their dear one's murder under the disguise of a couple traveling for the holidays.

The web of mystery involving David's death seems to only grow... until it reaches a complex, though not entirely unexpected, ending.

The characters in this book were very special, funny and complex. They would make you laugh, would make you sad and then smile again.

This is the second book in the "Nicci Beauvoir series", but it works really well as a stand-alone (I should know, 'cause I started with this one, LOl), because the author does explain a lot about past events, but there are some gaps only those who have read the first book would understand.

It has everything! Great tension, romance, strong and problematic heroine and hero, and a great murder mystery. I loved all the great second characters! (Nicci's family will crack you up!). I'll look for book 1 and book 3, that's for sure.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bumped by Megan McCafferty - Review


(Bumped #1)

by Megan McCafferty

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

From New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty comes a strikingly original look at friendship, love, and sisterhood—in a future that is eerily believable.


My Review:

When I first read the synopsis for this book, I became so excited I started to count the seconds until it was published. Then I finally got my hands on it. I'm afraid it did disappoint me a little.

'Bumped' was hard to read at most times... too much slang.
But it was interesting nonetheless. Not to mention polemic. It didn't really get my full attention. While I was reading it I was doing 100 other things. I just didn't have the urge to stop and read it. I kept pausing. That was not a good sign.

I couldn't like the characters much, either. The twins were interesting, but strangely unlikeable. Probably because of the weird setting, I guess. My favorite was the poor abandoned husband. LOL

Also, the book seemed to be cut in half. The end was not an 'end' at all. I had to double-check to see if I had actually reached the end of the book. LOL.

I'll search for the next one out of pure curiosity for the story and characters, not the writing.

This one will be HELL for translators. O.o

Sixpence Bride (Timeswept) by Virginia Farmer - Review

Sixpence Bride (Timeswept) by Virginia Farmer

Jilted by her fiance, Tanner had to struggle not to believe that her own value had been somehow diminished. Still she knew better than to let that fear ruin her tour of England. But no one had explained to her that there would be a mock bride auction—or that she would be sucked back in time to the close of the eighteenth century.

Suddenly Jocelyn found herself in another time, another body, and in a real auction—being claimed by a real hunk of a man. Still, her bride price hardly seemed flattering. And the handsome Garren had not yet shown her the attention for which she yearned. But as she began to make this new body her own, she saw interest flare behind the lord's reserved facade. She'd soon show him—and herself-in pounds or pennies, no one was worth more than his...


My Review:
4.5 stars

It was such a quick read, super funny and cute. Loved the heroine Tanner/Jocelyn and the story, but I really would have enjoyed it more if it had a further development.

I would've liked to see how Nelwina fared in the 21st century, what they would feel if they returned to their original time and then traded bodies again, a little more romance between the main characters, a clearer ending for the villain... it felt quite rushed and short, as if the author had to cut a lot of the story out.

Too bad, it could have been a 5 star! :) I will read it again, though.

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan - Review

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten subbasement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long gone, and Rose— hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire— is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes— or be left without any future at all.


My Review:
4.5 stars

I've never been so pleasantly surprised by a book before. I mean, I knew it would be interesting just by reading the synopsis, but it was so, SO much more than I could have possibly expected.

I read it in 3 hours. I just couldn't put it down. It was one of the greatest books I've read in years.

The beginning was a bit confusing, I'll admit it. I was probably just confused as the main character, Rose, was. The loss of identity was a very strong blow to her, but she annoyed me for being so weak! The plot was also moving very, very slowly. I did consider giving up.

But then everything got so much better! We started to get some answers to explain her past, her behavior, her suffering. We find out more about her childhood friend/long-lost boyfriend, Xavier, than just mentions of her beautiful drawings, we see how she becomes friends with Otto, an alien (yes, really. It IS science fiction, after all) and how she finally starts to fight for her life, running away from a killing machine and government agents.

This is much more than just a 'Sleeping Beauty retelling.'

Such unexpected turn-outs, such great development of characters, such creativity, so much emotion... I'm still crying because of the unfairness (and believability) of it all.

It had a great ending.


The 100 year-old girl in a 16 year old body was finally able to grow up and live her life.

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter - Review

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.


My Review:

Being a fan of mythology, I had a lot of expectations for this book. Too bad they weren't met.

The beginning was very irritating, especially because of Kate (she was too much like Bella from Twilight, I guess), but I persevered.

When I finally got to the middle I was starting to get very excited to see how everything would turn out. I was even starting to sympathize with the annoying heroine! The hero, our sexy Henry, sounded better and better.... then BOOM. I got to the end of the book.

What the HECK? It sucked SO BAD I felt like throwing the book out the window (except it was in my Kindle, so I just delicately deleted it. :P ).

It had so much promise, was getting more and more believable, and then it was done. Just like THAT. Such a disappointment.

But I'm a good-hearted, stubborn reader, so I might even try reading the next book in the series, just to see what happens.

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready - Review

(Shade #1)

by Jeri Smith-Ready

Love ties them together. Death can't tear them apart.

Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.

Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.

Well, sort of.

Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.

It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding—and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.

As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift.


My Review:

I loved, loved, LOVED it! Such a great, believable story, with so many strong, lovable characters and heart-clenching moments. A fantastic read. I read it in one sitting!

Aura was born post-Shift (the first one to be born post-Shift, actually), which means she can see and hear ghosts. She's not really happy about it, but she deals with it. LOL. Problem starts when her beloved boyfriend, Logan, overdoses on his birthday, dies and becomes a ghost. She can still see and talk to him, but they can never really be together again, try as they may. There's a very interesting take on sexual frustration in this book. Very realistic and believable.

Then comes the new guy at school, the Scot hottie Zachary (who also happens to be the last pre-shifter, born only a minute before Aura). Zach is 'the good guy' with the sexy brogue and beautiful eyes that tries his best to comfort Aura. The couple joins forces to discover more about the Shift and how it came to be. The action scenes were really good.

Logan's trial scene was very touching. The author has such a great way with words and descriptions, she just continuously makes your heart twist and clench.

This book was such a great mix of wonderful things! Romance, drama, music, boys... if you like emotional roller-coasters, great writing and strong characters, go for it!

In case you're wondering, I'm Team Shade Boys, because I really just can't pick one.

The sequel, Shift is out, too. And I already got mine. (I'm actually saving it. I want to savor it. LOL)

This Side of Heaven by Karen Robards - Review

This Side of Heaven by Karen Robards

Defiantly beautiful, Caroline Wetherby stepped ashore in a land so wild and fierce, she trembled. She had come seeking refuge with the last of her family, but her sister was dead. Waiting to greet her were pious Pilgrims, warring Indians, howling wolves, a boisterous household of men and boys...and him, her rugged, unwelcoming brother-in-law, Matt Mathieson. Caroline wanted to hate Matt as she hated all men.

After her father's death, she'd been eager to escape England. But as daughter of a gambler and a gypsy, her flamboyant ways and healing skills tempted disaster in the sanctimonious Connecticut Colony. And putting herself in the hands of a big, handsome stranger tempted something far more dangerous--emotions she couldn't resist, kisses she couldn't forget, and a future that could bring ruin...or a journey to heaven on earth in his arms.

My Review:

I really, really enjoyed it! The beginning was so funny, with so many rich characters, I was instantly drawn to it.

I caught myself really rooting for the main character, the poor young Caroline!

Matt, our hero, was a very nice man, and though realistic, the... personal private scenes among them were not exactly romance material, right, Ms, Robards? LOL. But he's forgiven.

The children were a bit annoying, but it was understandable, given the situation.

In my opinion, the end could have shown more of the other brothers' future and they could also have done something about the witch hunters, but it was a great and fast read. :)

Great light reading for a weekend.

Forbidden Love by Karen Robards - Review

Forbidden Love by Karen Robards

He was her guardian, absentee landlord of her neglected life--until Megan Kinkead returned to Maam's Cross Court, determined to make Justin Brant notice her. She finally commanded the attention of the sixth Earl of Weston when she burst into his room and caught him stark naked in the tub. Suddenly she knew a woman's hunger--and a woman's needs....

When had the scrawny brat from hell become a fiery, raven-haired, violet-eyed temptress? Justin told himself she was still a child as she offered him a seductive yet innocent kiss. He tried to remind himself that he was her guardian, her protector. But the flashfire desire that blazed between them ignited a love neither had ever known before. Then he told her he was married....


My Review:

After I read and absolutely loved 'This Side of Heaven', by Robards, I thought I'd love Forbidden Love too... but I really hated the hero.

He was not only 20 years older than the heroine (she was 17, he was almost 40), he was already married to someone else, he was very mean, rude, he called her names, he repeatedly grabbed her arms forcefully and then he hit her, upsetting her so much she ran away from him and tripped, losing their baby. O.o That's not a hero. Sorry.

And the heroine was quite silly, too. But I guess a 17-year-old from that time couldn't be very opinionated or aggressive. The story could have been much better if the hero was at least a bit charming and not so violent.

The Mammoth Book of Gorgeous Guys: Erotic Photographs of Men - Review

Over 500 erotic photographs of beautiful men by some of the world's leading photographers.
A stunning collection of over 500 erotic images of men from some of the world’s most outstanding photographers.

These male nudes and erotic portraits represent the best work of over 50 leading artists. This massive compendium is a worthy successor to the three volumes of erotic photographs of women previously published in the Mammoth series. Each photographer’s work reveals unique and innovative ways of capturing the beauty of the male body and bringing fresh eroticism to its form.


My Review:

Well, there isn't much to read in this book, if you know what I mean... LOL. But the art is really good.

It's very interesting to see how different artists portrait the male figure. How they challenge conventions.

Don't let the title and cover fool you, they are not all gorgeous in the conventional way. Most of them are actually kind of ugly (LOL, sorry, it's true!), but they're so confident, they have so much attitude and power, it draws you in.

These men are all so strong and, at the same time, so vulnerable. Not one picture is alike. There are black, white, asian, indian men, there are full-body photos, half-naked, sexual, non-sexual, full color, black and white, solo and group photos....

The artists whose works are included are (alphabetically) Jack Balas, Henning von Berg, Tom Bianchi, Libby Bulloff, Tony Butcher, Michael Childers, Julie Cook, Merri Cyr, Dennis Dean, Jay Eff, Robert Flynt, Zuleika Fray, Alex Gerry, David Gray, Conrad Hechter, Jay Jorgensen, Vim Kruger, Rob Lang, Jason Langer, Harriet Leibowitz, Edward Lucie-Smith, Christopher Makos, Vivienne Maricevic, Michele Martinoli, Elizabeth May, Glen Mitchell, Diana More, Katrine Neoromantika, Dianora Niccolini, Cat O'Nine Tails, Michael Palladino, Doralba Picerno, Eric Raptosh, Holly Revell, Roberto Rincon, Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte, Jan Saudek, Sara Saudkova, Jack Slomovits, James Stafford, Stanley Stellar, Britt Marie Trensmar, Arthur Tress, David Vance, William Yang, and David Zanes.

These lovely pages are from Michael Palladino's page.

From Sara Saudkova 
It's a great book for art lovers and for those who would like to start collecting.

And, as the editors say in the introduction: "There is no wrong or right way to look. The only mistake would be not to look. And wonder."

You can check a few more spicy pics here.

Big Girl - Review

Big Girl by Danielle Steel

In this heartfelt and incisive new novel, Danielle Steel celebrates the virtues of unconventional beauty while exploring deeply resonant issues of weight, self-image, sisterhood, and family.

A chubby little girl with blond hair, blue eyes, and ordinary looks, Victoria Dawson has always felt out of place in her family, especially in body-conscious L.A. Her father, Jim, is tall and slender, and her mother, Christina, is a fine-boned, dark-haired beauty. Both are self-centered, outspoken, and disappointed by their daughter’s looks. When Victoria is six, she sees a photograph of Queen Victoria, and her father has always said she looks just like her. After the birth of Victoria’s perfect younger sister, Gracie, her father liked to refer to his firstborn as “our tester cake.” With Gracie, everyone agreed that Jim and Christina got it right.

While her parents and sister can eat anything and not gain an ounce, Victoria must watch everything she eats, as well as endure her father’s belittling comments about her body and see her academic achievements go unacknowledged. Ice cream and oversized helpings of all the wrong foods give her comfort, but only briefly. The one thing she knows is that she has to get away from home, and after college in Chicago, she moves to New York City.

Landing her dream job as a high school teacher, Victoria loves working with her students and wages war on her weight at the gym. Despite tension with her parents, Victoria remains close to her sister. And though they couldn’t be more different in looks, they love each other unconditionally. But regardless of her accomplishments, Victoria’s parents know just what to say to bring her down. She will always be her father’s “big girl,” and her mother’s constant disapproval is equally unkind.

When Grace announces her engagement to a man who is an exact replica of their narcissistic father, Victoria worries about her sister’s future happiness, and with no man of her own, she feels like a failure once again. As the wedding draws near, a chance encounter, an act of stunning betrayal, and a family confrontation lead to a turning point.

Behind Victoria is a lifetime of hurt and neglect she has tried to forget, and even ice cream can no longer dull the pain. Ahead is a challenge and a risk: to accept herself as she is, celebrate it, and claim the victories she has fought so hard for and deserves. Big girl or not, she is terrific and discovers that herself.


My Review:

Now this one made me feel bad about myself... it was the first I've ever read by the famous Steel, and it will probably be the last. A realistic, uninteresting and depressing story, weird third person narrative and pitiful, though believable, characters.

I didn't like it, but I couldn't stop reading it either, even though I was skipping more pages than I should. Go figure. If I were you, I'd skip it completely.