Sunday, September 30, 2012

Book Review: Fool For Love

Author: Beth Ciotta
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Series: Cupcake Lovers # 1


Call her a fool, but chef-in-training Chloe Madison wants to have her cake and eat it too. So when her boyfriend dumps her for some French tart, she decides to start over from scratch—with a new life and job in Sugar Creek, Vermont. What could be sweeter than cooking for an eccentric lady who’s crazy for desserts? What could be more tempting than joining a club called the Cupcake Lovers? Just one thing: local business-hunk Devlin Monroe…


Although he’s  the grandson of Chloe’s fun-loving boss, Devlin Monroe is all work and no play. Micro-managing the family business, he doesn’t have time to indulge in life’s  sweetest pleasures—until he meets Chloe. How can he resist such a vibrant, beautiful woman who brings so much passion to the table? But when old grudges and secrets threaten to destroy the Cupcake Lovers, Devlin must decide if his feelings for Chloe are a recipe for disaster—or a sinfully delicious ever-after

Do you know how many books that I have read just this year that involve cupcakes? A LOT!!! But that is fine by me because they have all been wonderful and now hold everlasting places on my bookshelf. The cover of this book drew me in first because well I mean look at it! It is so gorgeous and completely jaw-dropping!! You have to get really close to the cover to see that there are three, rather small, pink cupcakes resting on the white table under the well-lit tree. Something about this cover just screams long summer night!

Beth Ciotta has stolen my heart with the first novel in her Cupcake Lovers series. Beth, you are rising to the top of the charts among my favorite authors. I do not know if I am going to be able to give this book the praise that it deserves, but I am going to try. Before I get into this review let me just say to all my readers that I highly suggest you pick up this book. I mean I am telling you this at the beginning of the review, so that has got to be a good sign, right? YES!!!

Beth captures the heart and soul of a woman named Chloe Madison who has just been dumped by her boyfriend for a “Parisian Tart,” as she likes to refer to her. At the very start of this book we find out that Chloe’s best friend, Monica, has found a suitable job for Chloe that will help her to get her life back together. There is only one problem with that- it’s in Sugar Creek, Vermont and a long way from Manhattan. There are so many stories that are written from the perspective of characters that pick up their lives and start over in a new location, but I promise you that none of them are written as well as this.

Beth channels the charm and cozy character of a small town better than anyone. Sugar Creek was written so beautifully that I want to move there myself! Beth brings to life every secondary character that she can think of in Sugar Creek and each of them adds their own little punch to the story. Chloe was overwhelmed at first in this new place but I loved seeing her adapt to her new surroundings. I know that small towns have their disadvantages, but in Chloe’s case this town was all she ever needed!

I loved the relationship between Chloe and Daisy Monroe, who is the lady that Chloe takes care of each day. Her job is to be somewhat like a caretaker for Mrs. Monroe, excuse me, Daisy, she would hate if I called her that! Daisy is a woman well into her seventies (I believe) and she is what breaks Chloe out of her shell and out of a horrible depression. Through Daisy, Chloe learns how to live and love again. Their relationship is one of the best because Daisy always has something new to teach Chloe every day. I am sure that Daisy was a fun character to write because she is so wild and carefree. For a woman of her age, she knows no boundaries.

The romance written in this book was top notch. Devlin Monroe made me so mad at times that I wanted to twist his head off, but fortunately for Chloe’s sake I did not. He is a very stubborn man who has had a rough bout of love and all is takes is one look at Chloe Madison for his frozen heart to melt into her arms. They are both immediately attracted to each other right from the start, but Chloe tries her best to avoid him at all costs. She knows that she feels an attraction towards him right away and yet does not want to give in to it! Dev always seems to find Chloe in the most compromising of situations which are sure to leave you laughing all the way till morning!!

***A GIGANTIC thank you to Beth Ciotta for my copy of this book in return for my honest review***

Saturday, September 29, 2012

ARC Book Review: Whispers At Moonrise

Author: C.C. Hunter
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Series: Shadow Falls # 4

Shadow Falls Camp is back in session with the most explosive installment yet.  A shocking new threat will rock Shadow Falls—changing it forever and altering Kylie’s journey in ways she never imagined.

Even at a camp for supernatural teens, Kylie Galen has never been normal. Not only can she see ghosts, but she doesn’t seem to belong to any one species—she exhibits traits from them all. As Kylie struggles to unlock the secrets of her identity, she begins to worry that Lucas will never be able to accept her for what she is, and what she isn’t…a werewolf.  With his pack standing in their way, Kylie finds herself turning more and more to Derek, the only person in her life who’s willing to accept the impossible.

As if life isn’t hard enough, she starts getting visits from the ghost of Holiday, her closest confidante.  Trouble is, Holiday isn’t dead…not yet anyway.  Now Kylie must race to save one of her own from an unseen danger before it’s too late—all while trying to stop her relationship with Lucas from slipping away forever.   In a world of constant confusion, there’s only one thing Kylie knows for sure.  Change is inevitable and all things must come to an end…maybe even her time at Shadow Falls.

The breathtaking fourth installment of the New York Times bestselling Shadow Falls series from author C. C. Hunter...Whispers at Moonrise.

I have not read any of the other books in this series, but this book was sent to me for review and I was shocked! I know that the series is a big deal and many people love it, and after reading the book I can now see why! I feel like I need to start from the beginning and even though I have read the fourth book it does not take away from making me want to read the rest of them. I love the whole entire plot of the series and am intrigued and ready for more!

I can feel the suspense rising off the page when I am reading books like this one. I feel like this series would be the perfect one to be made into a movie. The world that I was transported to with Kylie was fabulous and even though I have not read the first 3 books in the series I did not feel like I was extremely lost. The language and fluidity of the novel kept me focused and enraptured the entire time that I was reading it. C.C. Hunter is great at hooking readers from the first sentence or paragraph of each chapter. There were no parts that I wanted to skip because of boredom either!

I got the fact that a huge question was answered for Kylie and that she had possibly sought the answer to this particular question throughout the other 3 books. I actually felt a relief for Kylie myself. I was right alongside Kylie every step of the way. C.C. does a great job of taking readers on an emotional rollercoaster; that’s just how powerful her words are. Her characters are powerful too, especially Kylie. I was cheering for Kylie and praying for her at times as well.

The ending of this book was what caught me the most off guard. I was just not prepared for it and was left totally speechless after having completed it. I definitely wish that I could have read the first 3 installments of this series first, but I am really not complaining and that is something that I plan to catch up on soon, even though I may not review them on here. If C.C. packs this much punch in all her other novels then I know that I am missing out on a whole circus full of entertainment!!

***A copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at St. Martin’s Griffin in exchange for my unbiased review***

Stacking The Shelves (13)

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga at Tynga’s Reviews, in which we share the books that we have bought, received, or borrowed from the previous week!

Goodreads | From Author

Goodreads | From Author

Goodreads | From Publisher

Goodreads | From Author

Goodreads | From Author/ Publisher

Goodreads | From Author/ Publisher

Friday, September 28, 2012

Follow Me Friday (11)


Q: What is the BIGGEST word you've seen used in a book lately - that made you stop and look it up? Might as well leave the definition & book too.

My answer: I really cannot think of the BIGGEST word that I have run across lately, but I know that when I do I always stop and look them up. What is great about my Nook is that I can just highlight the word and it will give me the definition. It is one of my firm beliefs that if you come across a word that you do not know the meaning of, then you should definitely look it up. I know that if I am really into a book that I will not stop right then and do it, but I will mark the page and come back to it later. I am really anxious to see what other people’s answers are to this question!

Have a wonderful day my little Charmings!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book Review: Primal Possession

Author: Katie Reus
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Series: Moon Shifter # 2

To protect her, he will unleash the beast within…

As his pack’s second-in-command, lupine shifter Liam Armstrong gives orders and takes what he wants—until he meets red-headed, blue-eyed December McIntyre. Liam knows the human beauty is his intended mate the moment he sees her, but December is far too strong-willed to accept his protection.

December, whose brother is the town sheriff, has every reason to mistrust shifters after one killed her youngest sibling. But the forceful and handsome Liam has gotten under her skin in a way she hadn’t thought possible, and the desire she feels for him is almost too much to bear.

When a radical hate group targets all humans known to sympathize with paranormal beings, December is attacked in her bookstore. Reluctantly, she turns to the only one who can help her: Liam. And he is going to take her to places within herself she never knew existed.

Paranormal Romance has been a new genre for me, but I am hoping to open up to as many new genres as possible. Books like this one by Katie Reus are helping me transition in the genre that much easier. I was fascinated by this series and decided that I would like to feature it on my blog. I love the cover and I got the instant idea that we were dealing with werewolves! I love the redhead on the cover as well. If you are an avid reader of mine you know my policy on reds: I don’t look good as one but I love book covers that feature them!

Liam and December have given me the most intoxicating and sexy romance to read! They are perfect for one another. I loved reading each character and I loved how December tried her hardest to deny Liam. She is so in love with him from the start that it would be visible to an infant, but I have to give the girl some mad props because she fights it, oh man does she fight it? I loved December and I loved the way that she carries herself. I think December gave me a confidence boost while reading!
This book has some amazing action scenes and takes some pretty crazy twists and turns. The further that December gets herself in Liam’s world, the more action and crazy rides we take. Of course from the start I wanted her to jump in head over heels for Liam, and I was getting so frustrated with her at times. Liam has a rough exterior, duh he is supernatural, but he is so gentle and caring. I myself happen to be falling in love with him just after watching and reading how protective he is over December. Liam gives the story and the plot the kick that it needs!
It usually takes me awhile to get into the paranormal side of a book, but this one grabbed me by the hand pulled me right in. I was able to understand who was who and who was after whom. It was all relatively simple and as a reader I can really appreciate that. I was so intrigued with this fantasy world and the idea of shifters and what they do. Sometimes I find myself really wanting to crawl inside author’s head like Katie Reus and find out what God gave them that allows them to come up with all of this. The fantastical element really sent this book thru the roof for me.
Another small detail that I really loved about this book was the fact the Liam called December “Red.” How freaking cute is that? Here is an example of that which can be found on page 211, “December was still unsure about a lot of things where she and Liam were concerned, but there was something about his entire body that just softened when he called her Red.” I was just so caught up in the romance sometimes that I forget to pay attention to the action that was taking place and that is awesome because usually the romance bores me to death.
I am happy to have become acquainted with Katie Reus and to be able to read and review Primal Possession. I am so excited for Mating Instinct, which is the third installment in this series and is due to be released in March 2013. Check it out you guys! Don’t be afraid to try something new!
***A huge thanks to the publishers for my very own copy of this book which I received in exchange for my unbiased review***

Book Review: The Liar, The Bitch, and The Wardrobe

Author: Allie Kingsley
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Publisher: Berkley Trade

If you’re going to step on people on your way to the top, you might as well do it in stilettos . . . . . . Or so she’s been told. Lucy Butler, former wallflower, lands her dream job working for her idol, world-famous fashion photographer Stefano Lepres. But in a world where getting doused in coffee for not getting the order right is the new normal, she isn’t getting any closer to her ideal of being behind the camera herself. Then a superstar actress generously takes Lucy under her wing and teaches her the ways of the rich and famous—treating her to racks of designer clothes and introducing her to a life of private planes and penthouse suites. Soon Lucy is dating a rock star, attending the hottest Hollywood parties, and dressing the part. Lost in the luxury, she loses sight of the things that once mattered most. It’s going to take a hard blow from the high life to send Lucy back to the real life she always wanted. From an industry insider—and featuring wardrobes personally selected by celebrity stylist Robert Verdi—this is a novel that will keep you guessing and introduce you to a world you know exists; you’ve just never seen it unretouched.
I love everything about the cover of this book! I don’t even know where to start! Before I even saw the cover I knew that I had to check it out solely based on the name. The cover is pure genius and I love the pops of red like her lipstick, her nails, and the author’s name at the bottom. I see some book covers and I wonder how they plan to market them to any audience, but this book needs no further introduction!
After the first chapter of this book I was immediately reminded of The Devil Wears Prada. Lucy is thrown into the fashion/photography world in order to follow her dream and is in turn working under a boss who is horrible! This book gives readers a wonderful insight into the world of Hollywood and all that it consists of. It seems to me that the author, Allie Kingsley, writes from experience because this story takes readers to the front lines of show biz! I was so into the drama and the chaos that was Lucy’s new job. On Lucy’s first day on her job she is forced to bring coffee to everyone and messes that up a few times before she gets it right. I felt so sorry for her, but I knew that at that point Lucy needed to put on her seatbelt and hold on!
Kingsley pulled me into the story first and foremost with her main character, Lucy. She is fresh out of college, which I will be soon, and she has one passion and one passion only: photography. I was really able to connect with Lucy because she was determined to get to the top and I could really respect that. She is going to work for Stefano Lepres no matter what anyone says. I really liked seeing Lucy go from the bottom to the top. Even though I didn’t care for Stefano at all, but Kingsley writes him just the way I imagine he really would appear!
I loved the development of her character throughout the book. Stefano turned out to be even more horrible that I expected and Lucy started to realize that her dream was not all that she has imagined it to be. My only complaint is that I wish Lucy would have stood up for herself more. I was waiting so patiently for her to have that moment, the one where something defines a character and they break free from constraint and become a stronger character. I loved Lucy simply because any normal person would probably react the way she did. All she could see was the reality of her dreams and she let herself become susceptible to Hollywood hysteria!
Kingsley definitely captures the sarcasm, cynicism, and utter reality of Hollywood and a world of fast-paced media productions! I laughed at some parts and cringed at others. I loved this book just for its pure realistic features!
***A copy of this book was provided to me by Berkley Trade for review purposes. Thank you!!***

Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Review: Imperfect Bliss

Author: Susan Fales-Hill
Publication Date: July 3, 2012
Publisher: Atria Books

Reality TV— Jane Austen Style Meet the Harcourt’s of Chevy Chase, Maryland. A respectable middle-class, middle-age, mixed-race couple, Harold and Forsythia have four eminently marriageable daughters—or so their mother believes. Forsythia named her girls after Windsor royals in the hopes that one day each would find her true prince. But princes are far from the mind of their second-born daughter, Elizabeth (AKA Bliss), who, in the aftermath of a messy divorce, has moved back home and thrown herself into earning her PhD. All that changes when a Bachelorette-style reality television show called The Virgin takes Bliss’s younger sister Diana as its star. Though she fights it at first, Bliss can’t help but be drawn into the romantic drama that ensues, forcing her to reconsider everything she thought she knew about love, her family, and herself. Fresh and engaging, Imperfect Bliss is a wickedly funny take on the ways that courtship and love have changed—even as they’ve stayed the same.

The cover of this book is exquisite, but is it noticeable that I am an obvious fan to black and pink? This book is a mix of The Bachelorette and Pride and Prejudice in my opinion. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite movies and all because of the family dynamics and sisterly love! I was all the more attracted to this book when I found out that the entire family was involved!

I fell so in love with this book! I did not exactly know what kind of book I was reading at first. We are dealing with a reality show, but also a mother whose utmost priority in life is having her daughters married off. I couldn’t decide, at first, what time period we were in. Forsythia, the girl’s mother, spoke so eloquently and acted like the Bennett’s mother from Pride and Prejudice, but then we have Elizabeth, better known as “Bliss”, coming in there with her divorce and Ph.D. so I knew we had to be talking modern times. However, I loved it! I love that maybe for the first ten pages or so I was trying to figure out where this story was going to go!
Forsythia was probably my favorite character. This woman is so head strong and sophisticated and expects the same decorum for her daughters. She is also all about prestige. In one part of the book Bliss makes a comment about the house they live in, saying that it was the smallest house in the richest neighborhood. They had to live on that particular street even though they could not really afford the house just because Forsythia wanted to “keep up with the Jones’” so to speak. Even though I would never be able to handle her as my own mother, I thought she played her part well throughout the story. She puts so much pressure on the girls to get married and bare children, and that is why I questioned the time period. She acts like she just stepped out of the 18th century!
Bliss’ story was remarkable and I loved the fact that she didn’t let her mother affect her as much as she could have. She was just coming out of a divorce and I really appreciated the fact that she was not a whiny character! I cannot stand recent divorcee character who thinks that the world is crumbling down around them because those characters are so frequently written. Bliss was trying to raise her little girl, Bella, who is so precious, and also trying to finish school with the Doctorate degree. I loved her character, even though she really got caught up in the drama that she first tried so hard to avoid. I was pleased to see that she had grown as a character by the end of the novel.
I laughed and really appreciated the style of Susan Fales-Hill’s writing, which I had never had the pleasure of reading before now. It was a quick read that incorporated so many issues dealing with family dynamics, reality TV, and personal identity. I loved it!!
***Thank you to Atria Books for providing me with my very own copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Book Review: Dust Blog Tour

Author: Devon Ashley
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Series: Of Dust and Darkness # 1

4. The number of times my delicate wings have been broken and clamped behind my back.
68. The number inked upon my skin, marking me the sixty-eighth pixie to be stolen.
87. The number of days I’ve been wrongfully imprisoned.
88. The first day the faeries will regret stealing me.

Healthy. Cheery. Vivacious. All traits Rosalie has before becoming enslaved by the faeries to make an endless supply of pixie dust. Now that Rosalie has been traumatized by slave labor, extreme desolate conditions and multiple deaths, this hardened pixie is anything but. When this rebellious teenager attempts an escape, she’s isolated in cramped quarters until she learns her place. Just as she begins to let go of all that hope, she finds an unlikely friend in Jack, the faerie assigned to guard her. Interspecies dating is forbidden in the fae world, so their growing attraction is unacceptable. And even if Jack can find a way to free her, they know the prison is the only place they can truly be together.

I haven’t read a book about fairies in what feels like such a long time. I have my fair share of other mythical creatures so this book was a nice change. Also, I am like the biggest fan of Tinkerbell that you will find, she is my favorite Disney character, so I was already in tune with the pixie world and I was anxious to compare the work of Tink to the world of Rosalie.

The introduction of this book was a pleasant surprise. I was so caught up in the Pixies and their own little world. I loved how Rosalie described her home and her friends Poppy, Mustard, and Tin. Everything just felt so real. Devon writes in a different style and it is one that I can appreciate. She makes sure to leave out no detail at all, no matter if it is big or small. When you introduce a new world like this, as a writer, you almost have to pretend that you are writing to an audience of people who have no knowledge of fantastical worlds so that you don’t leave anything out.

Rosalie’s character is courageous and I knew from the start that she has a slight desire to leave the fae world and see what else was out there. I almost wanted her to stay and explore the world of the fae more just so I could meet other Pixies and Fairies for myself; I know totally selfish of me. The imagery is beautiful and the descriptions from Rosalie led me to believe that I was going to be reading a book that was light and fun and would explore this fairy world more and more. I didn’t get very far into the book before I realized that I had made the wrong assumption.

This book takes a drastic turn near the very start. Rosalie is captured and is taken into what seems to me like a slave labor ring. Her wings are broken and her life has been changed in a way that she never saw coming. It almost made me feel bad for Rosalie because only a few pages prior to this she made a few comments about wanting more. She got out of the confined like fairy realm that she was living in, but this one is vial and cruel and I did not like it at all. I was taken aback by what happened and I just couldn’t help but picture these tiny little fairies laboring away all day without decent sleep or food.

I loved the writing of the book and I think Devon does a great job of taking you, as the reader, on an incredible journey where you will meet some inspiring and rough around the edges characters. I just did not like all the torture and suffering that these captured fairies faced. I was so sad for most of the book and I wanted to be happy about something. I felt like I did grow closer to Rosalie and I loved her character more at the end of the book than at the beginning.

***An e-copy of this book was provided to me by the author in participation with her blog tour***

Book Review: Incarnation

Author: Emma Cornwall
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Gallery Books

In the steampunk world of Victorian London, a beautiful vampire seeks out the author of Dracula–to set the record straight . . . If one is to believe Bram Stoker’s legendary vampire tale, Lucy Weston is Dracula’s most wanton creation, a sexual creature of the night who preys on innocent boys. But the real-life Lucy is nothing like her fictional counterpart—and she demands to know why the Victorian author deliberately lied. With Stoker’s reluctant help, she’s determined to track down the very fiend who transformed her—from the sensual underworld where humans vie to become vampires, to a hidden cell beneath a temple to madness, and finally into the glittering Crystal Palace where death reigns supreme.

Haunted by fragmentary memories of her lost life and love, Lucy must battle her thirst for blood as she struggles to stop a catastrophic war that will doom vampires and humans alike. Ultimately, she must make a choice that illuminates for her—and for us—what it means to be human.
Dracula is one of my favorite books/movies to be rewritten and given new interpretation to over and over again. The cover obviously struck me because even though I could never pull off red hair, I think it is beautiful! I was really the most anxious to see how this woman, Lucy Weston, would fit into the story. I really hoped, going off the front cover, that I liked her personality as much as I liked her look. The background in the picture on the cover also caught my eye and overall I thought the colors and scenery fit nicely into a book solely about vampires.

I was impressed with Cornwall’s depictions of her make-believe vampire world. Vampires are overly analyzed in our literary world today, but Cornwall’s interpretation was almost believable in a sense. The scenery, especially The Crystal Palace, was very versatile and I could grasp the steampunk side of this world as the descriptions floated off the stage. She did something different with vampires that hasn’t been done yet and I really appreciated her aim as a writer. She made a bold move writing about vampires but I salute her because she executed it down to the final paragraph.
Lucy Weston wins character of the month. I love her charm, boldness, and most of all her audacity. She takes the cake. I wanted to be her best friend. Her adventure could spread across a series and I am almost wondering if we may see more of this whimsical world! I would have liked to have seen more action from her character. I felt that her internal conflict was not always executed externally in the best way for readers to understand. ( I hope that makes sense; my inner English major is starting to surface) I would have liked to see more of the seductress that we all know the Lucy Weston to be in Dracula. Her character could have pulled that off so well!
I have already mentioned that the steampunk aspect of this was written well. I also believe that the action was paced especially well. I am a reader that is easily lost in the flow of action and if you, as an author, do not keep me entertained you will quickly lose me. Here I believe that some of the best scenes were action. Cornwall has a knack for writing them and they were all very strong. I would definitely trade the action for romance, however. I did not like that there was just not a lot of it. I believe that romance could have maybe helped develop Lucy’s character a little more since she is a newly turned vampire.
I liked the book and I am eagerly awaiting news for a sequel because I believe that there definitely has to be one!
***An e-copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers through Edelweiss in exchange for an unbiased review***