Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Review: Can't Stand the Heat by Louisa Edwards

Can't Stand the Heat (A Recipe for Love Novel)
Louisa Edwards
St. Martin's Press
Sept 1st, 2009
ISBN: 9780312356491


For sharp-tongued food critic Miranda Wake, the chance to spend a month in Adam Temple’s [LE1] kitchen to write an exposé is a journalistic dream come true. Surely Miranda can find a way to cut the hotshot chef down to size once she learns what really goes on at his trendy Manhattan restaurant. But she never expected Adam to find out her most embarrassing secret: she has no idea how to cook.


Adam’s not about to have his reputation burned by a critic who doesn’t even know the difference between poaching and paring. He’ll just have to give the tempting redhead a few private lessons of his own—teaching her what it means to cook with passion…and doing more with his hands than simply preparing sumptuous food.

Miranda Wake is a food critic hungry to write a book. And when the opportunity to spend a whole month inside premiere restaurant, Market, presents itself, she's definitely not about to say no. She wants to learn what really goes on behind the scenes and Adam Temple, the chef of Market, isn't about to stop her. But she didn't bank on was Adam founding out that while she might be a food critic, she doesn't know how to cook. Adam's resigned to have to put up with Miranda until this crazy dare is over. But when he founds out she can't cook, he's determined to give her a few private lessons. And if things get a little hot, well, if you can't stand the heat, get out of kitchen!

Can't Stand the Heat is a steamy contemporary romance. From the beginning, the chemistry between Adam and Miranda was sizzling hot and great to read. I think they are awesome together. Adam's a very passionate person while Miranda's more on the practical side and they balanced each other beautifully. While the circumstances they meet under isn't the greatest, but certainly the funniest, they see past that and find someone they could deeply care about in each other.

There's a secondary plot line which is Jess's dilemma. Jess is Miranda's little brother and he just left his college and showed up at Miranda's unannounced and unwilling to completely explain what happened that made him leave. Jess has a big secret to spill to his big sister but he's not ready yet. I really liked reading about Jess. He's a broke college student who's dealing with something big and I think he does it admiringly. I really doubt another 20-year-old could have done it as well. And his story only added more realness to the story.

Can't stand the heat is a funny, lovable story about two unlikely people falling for each other. The plot, characters, and setting comes together to form a wonderful, light-hearted, culinary romance that is a blast to read and I can't wait for the next Recipe for Love novel!

[Original review posted on NOR]

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Snippet from Last night's reading.

Millie's Fling
Jill Mansell
Page 120-121

At five-thirty, peering out from behind Hester's bedroom curtains, Millie spotted his car slowing to a halt outside the house. She instantly threw herself, sniper-style, down on the floor.

He ran the doorbell and waited. Checking first that she wasn't in. Just being polite, thought Millie. Mustn't, mustn't answer the door.

Scuttling crab-like across Hester's bedroom carpet, she crawled out on to the landing and watched, nose to the ground, as the metal flap was pushed open and a scarlet satin strap appeared through the letterbox. For a moment she imagined grabbing it and giving him a fright. Heavens, having a tussle over her bra, how immature, the very thought of it.

The next moment a flash of fuchsia-pink appeared next to Hugh's dark outline through the frosted glass of the front door. Millie froze in alarm as she heard Hester said perkily, 'Well, hi! I know who you are!'

Bugger, bugger. It was half past five and Hester -with her customary hideous timing- had picked this moment to arrived home from work. Worse still -oh God- she was being perky.

'I know who you are too,' said Hugh.

The letterbox rattled, the bra strap twitched.

'And are you here stealing underwear,' Hester brightly enquired, 'or delivering it?'

'I wouldn't steal this bra,' Millie heard Hugh say gravely. 'It's not my size.'

'Oh, ha ha ha ha ha.' trilled Hester, overdoing it as usual.

'Millie left it in my car. It fell out of her bag,' Hugh explained.

'But isn't she in? It's half past five, she should be in!'

'I tried the bell. No answer.'

'Well you can't just post a bra through our letterbox and rush off!' exclaimed Hester. 'Millie was worried she'd never see you again!'

Up on the landing Millie let out a low moan and banged her forehead despairingly -but quietly- against the carpet.

I'm highly enjoying Millie's Fling, such a cute story and god! I love the cover. My proper review will be coming soon. Annnd maybe even a giveaway!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Young Adult books.

I wasn't big on read YA books, I admit. About a year ago (honestly, I'm fairly certain it was longer than that) I read Holly Black's Valiant and Tithe and loved those books. However, since then there had sadly only a handful of YA books that I've read. Some that come to mind are Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols (LOVED it), and Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow (Liked it, as well).

Lately though, I have been wanting to read more YA. I'm amazed at how many books I've found that I'm genuinely excited about reading. It's insane that I could have been so closed-minded when it came to this booming genre and I'm ashamed of that. Because of that, I recently brought Evernight by Claudia Gray. I've heard amazing things about this series and I'm so excited to start reading these books.

I have found a crazy amount of other YA books that I want to read as well - some of them include Evermore & Blue Moon by Alyson Noel; Need by Carrie Jones; The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong, and Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I could actually keep going but I digress.

(I'm actually building a huge list on my Goodreads account. Oooh, boy.)

I think I'll find some amazing stories, I'm insanely excited to tap into this genre.

Mailbox Monday! (1st ed)

I've seen this phenomenon around the blogosphere and thought I'd try it out. It's when I share what I've gotten in the mail, but not the spam or the bills. Oh, no. Books!

And luckily, today's mail rocked. See:

Demon Inside by Stacia Kane (Hells yes!)
Neck & Neck by Elizabeth Bevarly
Burning Alive by Shannon K. Butcher
Howling at the Moon; On the Prowl and Leader of the Pack by Karen MacInerney
Lucinda, Dangerously by Sunny
Millie's Fling by Jill Mansell

I specially like Millie's Fling's cover, it's so colorful!

Anyway, all these reviews will be coming soon.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Review: Dark Time (Mortal Path, book 1) by Dakota Banks

Dark Time (Mortal Path, book 1)
Dakota Banks
July 28, 2009
ISBN-10: 0061687308

Three hundred years ago, she sold her soul to a demon. Now she wants it back.

For centuries, the woman calling herself Maliha Crayne has lived a second life—as an assassin for the malevolent creature who owns her soul. A haunted killer with the blood of countless victims on her hands, she has finally discovered a way to nullify the demonic pact that chains her: If she saves a life for every one she has taken, she will be free.

But if she fails, her punishments will be unspeakable, unendurable . . . and neverending.

Maliha Crayne has secrets. She sold her soul to a demon three hundred years ago after she was accused of witchcraft and lost her husband, her baby, her own life. Since then has been its slave and its assassin, killing anyone who the demon told her to, not caring if those people were innocent or not.

But now, she wants out and the only way to get her soul back is to undue all the pain and suffering she's caused untold amounts of people. She has to save them and every one she does balances out the ones she killed in the past. However, she's not a super demon assassin who could be shot and would healed in seconds from it anymore. Now, she's mortal and she's in a race with time to save as much people as possible to get her soul back. Because if she doesn't succeed, her punishment will be unimaginable and will never end.

The beginning of Dark Time was powerful and sad. We see how Maliha - actual real human Susannah - is accused of witchcraft and her baby dies in a dirty prison cell. However, the rest of book seemed disconnected and mechanical. At times, it seemed like the expensive spy gadgets and how Maliha had been to all these great places in the centuries she's been alive was more important then her new mission to save lives to save her soul.

There was an overload of information and too much to take. Maliha would go off on completely different thoughts than the actual scene and because of that, I just found it hard to concentrate or even care. There was too much of everything and I feel like a bunch of things could have been cut and the story would have been stronger. And the descriptions was just overwhelming, and overpowered what was going on in that specific scene. The pace just crawled because there were too interruptions with the unnecessary details.

Dark Time left me with mixed feelings. I felt that while it certainly had potential to be a great story. Mahila seemed like a very strong heroine but the extra descriptions and odd tangents completely offset the story. Dark Time ends in a good place but it's obvious there's more to come and I'm hoping the next book is less cluttered and more focused on the story itself.

Browse Inside! you can see up to 20% of the book for free.

[Original review posted on NOR]

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Review: Vulnerable by Amy Lane

Vulnerable (Little Goddess #1)
Amy Lane
ISBN-10: 0595337465
February 4, 2005

Working graveyards in a stop & rob seemed a small price for Cory to pay in order to get her degree and get the hell out of Nor-Cal. She was terrified of disappearing into the aimless vortex that awaited the lost and the young that haunted her neck of the woods. Until the night she actually stopped looking at her books and looked up. What awaited her was a world she had only read about—one filled with fantastical creatures that she was sure she could never be. And then Adrian walked in—and she discovered that risking your life was nothing compared to facing who you really were. And then falling in love.

Cory works the graveyard shift in a little gas station to pay for college. Her one goal is to get her degree and get out of the black hole that is the boring hick town she grew up in. She doesn't want to end up like others who live there, aimless and without purpose; going through days without knowing what's out there.

But everything changes one night when she sees something strange in someone. Next thing she knows, a world of magic and fantastical creatures is all around her, where nothing is what it seems and every word could bring disaster. She founds out she's more than just a broke college students and Adrian, a beautiful boy, is her doorway into this world.

I literally could not put Vulnerable down. It was one of those rare books that I have to read between red lights and while at the grocery counter. From the first page, I could completely relate to Cory. She wants more from life than living in a boring town with the same old job, seeing the same old people day in, day out. She's got a mouth on her, razor-sharp wit and is the picture-perfect image of a tough goth chick.

Adrian might look like a really gorgeous nineteen-year-old, but he's actually a hundred and fifty years old and when he meets Cory, it's indescribable to him. From the beginning he can see past the black lipstick and dozen or so of earrings. He's always had that bad boy image going for him, being a totally playboy with girls but Cory sees past that and that adds to his attraction to her.

I think that character development can make or break a book and in this case, it completes makes it. Every single character is so well-developed, so strong yet vulnerable that it's hard not to fall in love with each one. The story is written in Cory's, Adrian's and Green's points of views and while I thought that would only confuse the reader, it makes things clearer. The plot and everything else just flows well and makes Vulnerable a very enjoyable book to read.

Mrs. Lane is a self-published author and admittedly, there's a number of editing errors in the book. However, as I read more of these wonderful characters and great plot, these mistakes don't matter at all. Vulnerable is a unmistakable story about love and how you can find it in the most surprising and unconventional places and I, for one, cannot wait to read more of Mrs. Lane's Little Goddess series.

[Original review posted on NOR]

Monday, July 20, 2009

Review: Hunting Ground (An Alpha and Omega Novel) by Patricia Briggs

Hunting Ground: Alpha & Omega series, Book 2
Patricia Briggs
August 25, 2009
Penguin Group

Mated to werewolf Charles Cornick, the son—and enforcer—of the leader of the North American werewolves, Anna Latham now knows how dangerous being a werewolf is, especially when a werewolf opposes Charles and his father is struck down. Charles’s reputation makes him the prime suspect, and the penalty for the crime is execution. Now Anna and Charles must combine their talents to hunt down the real killer—or Charles will take the fall.

Anna Latham is mated to Charles Cornick the son and enforcer of the leader of the North American werewolves. The same werewolves who are planning to reveal themselves as more than just a fairy tale to the human world. But not every one agrees with that, especially the European ones. They're both have been enlisted by Bran, the leader, to attend a summit to talk about their reveal and what objections the Europeans werewolves have.

But of course, things are not as easier as they sound. When the most feared European Alpha is found dead; actually that's putting it mildly; things changed and Anna and Charles are right in the thick of things. They have to find whoever killed the Alpha and stop them because someone doesn't want the werewolves to come out and they're willing to do anything, kill anyone, to stop them.

I feel that Anna is the perfect heroine, in that she's flawed, she has vulnerabilities but she uses them, not in a manipulative sort of way, but to draw strength for. She's been through a lot and that has made her so much stronger. Charles is hard to describe. For a long time now, he's been feared, he's still feared by most, but with Anna, he's so incredible gentle. They're trying to get to know each other while they both have been scarred by their past and also trying to deal with the summit and everything that is going on.

While the relationship between Anna and Charles was great to read, it didn't steal away from the plot about the reveal to the humans. No matter what the European werewolves, Bran is determined to go through with that plan, because there are certain people who know they already exist that wants to use that to their advantage and Bran's main object is to protect his wolves.

The writing is simple and compelling. Ms. Briggs is just simply a fabulous writer. She's weaved a story that has plenty of action, fantasy, and romance. There's honestly not enough good things I can say about Hunting Ground. I think it more than surpass my expectations and admittedly, they were quite high. I loved Cry Wolf but Hunting Ground made me, for a little while, live in Charles and Anna's world, made me feel like I was there, seeing everything unfold. This new Alpha and Omega series is turning out to be one of the best I've read and I seriously can't wait for the next book. But in the mean time, I'm beyond satisfied with Hunting Ground. Ms. Briggs has outdone her self.

*Original review posted on

Contest Alert!!

Rachael over at Enchanted By Books is having a fab contest: You can win a brand-spankin' new copy of WATER WITCH by Deborah LeBlanc (which sounds really good!) so go enter! Ends July 22nd.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Wendy Box (o' Books!)

My friend Rachael over at Enchanted By Books and I have had this thing going on where every several months, we trade boxes of books, called the Wendy Box and the Rachael box. (Because we are original like that.)

So! It's time for trading and I've got the best Wendy box EVAH. For real; lookit:

Eve of Darkness by S.J. Day (surprise #1!)
Dancing with Werewolves by Carole Nelson Douglas
Destiny Kills by Keri Author
Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs, aka one of my favorite authors ever aka OMG, I'm reading it now and loving it.
The Demon King and I by Candace Havens
One More Bite by Jennifer Rardin (surprise #2!)

So happy; my TBR pile totally rocks now!

P.S.: She also sent me a bunch of really cute bookmarks!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Review: Skinwalker by Faith Hunter

Skinwalker: A Jane Yellowrock Novel
Faith Hunter
July 7, 2009
ISBN: 9780451462800

Jane Yellowrock is a skinwalker. She can turn into any animal she wants, which comes in handy for her career choice: hunting vampires for a living. She's just been hired by the Katherine Fonteneau, the madam of Katie's Ladies and one of the oldest vampires in New Orleans. Her assignment is to hunt a rogue who's been murdering humans and other vamps, as well.

And when a hot Cajun guy shows up saying he wants to help, or when she meets Leo, the vampire master of the whole city, Jane soon found out is that things are not as nearly as they seem.

Skinwalker is a brand new addition to a genre of strong heroines who can take care of themselves. Jane shares her body with animal who she's nicknamed Beast. While she's not sure how that came to be, as the story progresses, she founds out some hard truths about her past. The dynamic between Jane and Beast was something completely different and very interesting to read. I found myself liking Beast. She, in her own way, was clever and very smart.

The plot pretty much kept me guessing until the very end. Jane has to hunt a rogue vamp, but it's not as simple as that. She also has to deal with what she calls "sane vamps" Until now, all she's known has been the crazy vampires who have gone rogue and she's had to kill. The thought that there's sane ones is a hard one to swallow for her. The secondary characters were just as wonderful as the main one. One of my favorites is Leo. He's the master vampire of New Orleans and apart from being drop-dead gorgeous (pun intended) he's very clever and interested in Jane.

The plot is fresh, the characters very well-developed and the writing so descriptive, I could image every single bloodied scene in my head. And the fact that Ms. Hunter titles every chapter is pretty cool, from "Stick a dollar in your garter?" to "I'm psychic." It's a nice chance to the old numeric chapters. Skinwalker is a perfect mixed of urban fantasy, mystery and a hint of romance thrown in for good measure. It has the potential to become a fantastic series, and I'm so looking forward to reading more about Jane Yellowrock.

Original review posted on Night Owl Romance.

TBR Pile

Too funny - when I don't have any books to read, I bitch about that. When I have quite a few (this picture is missing fifteen (!) I'm waiting for) I'm like WHOA. But I can't wait to read every single one.

P.S.: And yes, that mug does say: TRUST ME, I'M A NURSE. Heh. Just feel lucky I got all my other crap out of the way or you wouldn't be able to see the books!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Must Reads: Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland

Diana Rowland
Bantam Dell
June 23, 2009
ISBN: 978-0553592351

When Homicide Detective Kara Gillian finds traces of arcane power on a body, she quickly realizes that this is no ordinary murder. The serial killer known as the Symbol Man is a nightmare that Beaulac, Louisiana thought had ended three years ago, but now he's back for an encore and leaving every indication on the flesh of his victims that he is well-versed in demonic lore.

However, Kara is a Summoner of Demons, and may be the only cop on the city's small force who can stop the killer. Able to see and interact with a world most people can't, Kara must draw on her skills as a police officer and master of the arcane to stop the Symbol Man from killing again and possibly summoning something even she can't control.

But with a demonic lord of unearthly beauty and power haunting her dreams, and a handsome yet disapproving FBI agent dogging her waking footsteps, she may be in way over her head....

Mark of the Demon is just plain AWESOME. Honestly, one of the best debut novels I've read in a long time. I can't say enough good things, the plot was great and kept me on my feet, the characters draw you in, they ripped their claws in my gut in the first page and would not let go for the rest of the book (wow, gruesome imagery there) and I had a blast reading it. And I adore the cover!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Review: One Wish by Leigh Brescia

One Wish
Leigh Brescia
April 23, 2009
Westside Books
ISBN (hardcover): 978-1-934813-05-8

Overweight Wrenn Scott desperately wants what most high school girls daydream about: to be popular with the “right” group of friends and to snag a hot boyfriend.

Named for a tiny songbird by the father she never met, Wrenn lives with her single mom and her popular younger sister, Karly. Blessed with a beautiful singing voice, Wrenn auditions for and lands a role in the school's production of the musical, “Grease.” For the first time in her life, Wrenn's obesity has been overshadowed by her talent, and now she believes that all she has left to do before opening night is lose as much weight as possible in any way she can--because everyone knows that the chubby girl is never the star.

Wrenn's waistline shrinks rapidly as she secretly uses laxatives from one of her new, “it-girl” friends from the show, and soon her life spirals out of control in almost every other way. First, to Wrenn's dismay, her mom is falling in love with Phil, her unappealing TV station co-worker, who Wrenn describes with distaste as “a balding, Channel 8 News nerd.” Next, her younger sister Karly, more popular than Wrenn will ever be, is wrapped up in her own share of middle-school drama, and Wrenn's usually sensible best friend is falling in love with a guy she met online--but hasn't even seen yet! To top it off, as if Wrenn's rehearsal-filled, unpredictable life isn't crazy enough, she's exasperated to find out that Steven, the geeky student stage manager who's working on the show, has a crush on her, and he's even admitted to liking her before she slimmed down and had a makeover.

No matter what, she doesn't want to be seen with Steven, even though he's actually kind of nice, because popular girls don't date nerdy guys like Steven, and she desperately wants to be one of the elite, with a trophy boyfriend to show off. By the time she hits the stage, the chubby, quiet Wrenn that everyone thought they knew has changed so much she's almost disappeared. When she's diagnosed with an eating disorder, Wrenn nearly vanishes for real.

By the time its all over, Wrenn realizes that there are more important things than being thin and popular or dating a hottie, and that sometimes our actions can have permanent consequences.

I admit, I wasn't sure I was going to like this one at all. I won a copy of it, thanks to the awesome Debs, and thought I'd give One Wish a chance anyway. Plus, I've wanted to start reading more Young Adult, and this one qualifies!

But to my pleasant surprise - I LOVED IT. From the beginning, Wrenn stole my heart. And sure, while at times, she annoyed the living lights out of me, mostly because I knew she was making awful mistakes and I wanted her to open her eyes and see that! However, I could see how she was dealing with so much and she was a total champ.

This story is so engaging and moving. I loved every character, because Ms. Brescia made every one come alive. This story has substance, it has a meaning and I think it'd be a wonderful read for girls in High School. I'm past that (Ugh, I sound so old!) but as I ate up every word in One Wish, it made me go back to those days where every decision could bring utter disaster.

I really enjoyed One Wish, it's a wonderful story about a girl's struggles and finding out there's more to life than High School.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lookin' Forward To: Three Days to Dead by Kelly Meding!

Three Days To Dead
Kelly Meding.

She's young, deadly, and hunted—with only three days to solve her own murder…

When Evangeline Stone wakes up naked and bruised on a cold slab at the morgue – in a stranger’s body, with no memory of who she is and how she got there – her troubles are only just beginning. Before that night, she and the other two members of her Triad were star bounty hunters -- mercilessly cleansing the city of the murderous creatures living in the shadows, from vampires to shape-shifters to trolls. Then something terrible happened that not only cost all three of them their lives, but also convinced the city’s other Hunters that Evy was a traitor . . . and she can’t even remember what it was.

Now she’s a fugitive, piecing together her memory, trying to deal some serious justice – and discovering that she has only three days to solve her own murder before the reincarnation spell wears off. Because in three days, Evy will die again – but this time, there’s no second chance…

Coming November 24th from Bantam Dell!

I love the cover. Man! I wish I had those abs. I'd be wearing skimpy tops, too! This book sounds awesome.

*Info gathered from author's main site and blog: Organized Chaos.

Review: Dial Emmy for Murder by Eileen Davidson

Dial Emmy for Murder: A Soap Opera Mystery
Eileen Davidson
June 2, 2009
ISBN-10: 0451228251

Soap operas can get so dirty

Tabloids and fans are stunned when daytime soap opera star Alexis Peterson leaves her show. She’s too busy with her new job as presenter at the Daytime Emmy® Awards to even notice. But when a co-presenter goes missing on award night, Alexis is determined to find who is killing Hollywood’s biggest and brightest before another burns out…

Dial Emmy for Murder is perfect for when you want to read something light but with substance. Alex is an actress but when someone she knows almost drops on her lap dead - literally! - she can't help but be determined to help the hunkie Detective Jakes found who did it. What she soon founds out is that a murderer won't take an actress helping the police found him or her lightly..

While I enjoyed reading this mystery, I did have some issues with it. At times, the writing fell rushed, there was very little description and the characters were two-dimensional, at best. However, the romance between Alex and Jakes is cute and the mystery of whodunit was pretty great. I wanted to know who did it and that's what kept me reading.

The plot was pretty cool, the character development was a little weak but overall, I did enjoy reading Dial Emmy for Murder. It's a perfectly light, quick read that'll entertain those looking for a mystery with some romance thrown in!


Can you read me now?

He can Chapter-32 me anytime!

Bones is Mine