Tag Archive | book reviews

Ready to Wed – Cindi Madsen

Happy Tuesday darlings!

After my unseemly wallowing in unemployment, I am getting back into the swing of things with a new book review! The lovely folks at Entangled Publishing offered me a chance to review Ready to Wed by Cindi Madsen. And as always, I lept at the chance. Not only is Cindi a lovely person, I enjoy her writing, so it’s always a pleasure.

In a nutshell:

Dakota Hallifax is 100% type A. (Having those tendencies myself, I appreciate this.) So being a wedding planner is readytowedpretty much the perfect occupation for her. But how do you plan the biggest wedding of your career when your wedding just crashed and burned with a no-show groom?

Just when Dakota is sure that her life is a total mess, her childhood best friend Brendan West moves back to town. He helps her pick up the pieces.

The Good:

There’s a lot that I loved about this book. I’m a total sucker for happily ever afters, and this book has an awesome one. No, I won’t tell you what it is.

Beyond that, I like Dakota. I can relate to being something of a control freak and can sympathize with her mother issues. I also like the fact that in spite of the utter blow of having her fiance stand her up at their wedding (mental note: do not get married on a cruise, because awkward if it doesn’t work), she doesn’t completely fall apart.

True, I wanted to slap her when she actually considered giving the jerk another chance, but really, who can blame her? Been there, done that.

Then there’s Brendan. Who doesn’t love a genuinely nice guy? Especially one who swoops in with a nice broad set of shoulders just when you need them? It doesn’t hurt that he’s a hottie and wears suits to work 😉

Jillian, Dakota’s catering bestie, is awesome. She’s all snarky and no nonsense. She’s the kind of friend that everyone needs at least one of. Completely supportive in every way, but doesn’t pull punches or sugarcoat things.

I also love her color coding system for bride moods. It’s kind of awesome and I may just steal it for my personal mood ring.

The Bad:

There’s that whole getting stood up at the altar thing, that’s bound to give any girl (or guy!) nightmares about getting married. Just breathe through it and keep reading! It works out.

Overall:

This is a great read. It hits you in all the feels and I admit to getting a tad weepy there at the end. I hope to see Jillian’s story at some point in the future.

Where you can buy:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

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ONE – LeighAnn Kopans

View the electronic details here.

OR

Get the paperback version here.

I am cheerfully setting work aside to do a very, very long overdue review. I’m sure by now, we’ve all gathered that I love to read. I set my reading goal for the year at 150 books, but to be perfectly honest, I blow it out of the water. I’m also discovering that I like doing the whole review thing as well. Mostly because I want other people to like the books I like.

In this case it isn’t JUST about the book, although it’s freaking amazing. It’s also about the author. LeighAnn Kopans is one of the lovely people I stalk follow on Twitter. She is the very definition of awesome. ONESweet, inspiring, encouraging, supportive, and just generally a terrific person.

Does this really make her book better?

Hell yes, it does. No amount of love will make a bad book, good. But it definitely makes a great book, better. Because you sit there reading this terrific novel and in the back of your head the whole time is the knowledge that you know the author (even if it’s just through Twitter) and she is a truly fantastic human being. My joy in her success made reading ONE an even better experience.

Fortunately, for those of you who don’t follow LeighAnn around like a puppy, ONE is completely amazerful all on its own!

The Blurb:

When having two powers makes you a Super and having none makes you a Normal, having only one makes you a sad half-superpowered freak.

It makes you a One.

Sixteen-year-old Merrin Grey would love to be able to fly – too bad all she can do is hover.

If she could just land an internship at the Biotech Hub, she might finally figure out how to fix herself. She busts her butt in AP Chem and salivates over the Hub’s research on the manifestation of superpowers, all in hopes of boosting her chances.

Then she meets Elias VanDyne, another One, and all her carefully crafted plans fly out the window. Literally. When the two of them touch, their Ones combine to make them fly, and when they’re not soaring over the Nebraska cornfields, they’re busy falling for each other.

Merrin’s mad chemistry skills land her a spot on the Hub’s internship short list, but as she gets closer to the life she always wanted, she discovers that the Hub’s purpose is more sinister than it has always seemed.  Now it’s up to her to decide if it’s more important to fly solo, or to save everything – and everyone – she loves.

The Good:

The story is amazing. A fun, different take on superpowers. I read through it super fast to the exclusion of all else. There were many glares and sighs as my nose was stuck to the screen of my Kindle, but it was so worth it. Seriously, if I had all the moneys I would buy copies of this to just leave lying around for people to pick up.

This isn’t your usual spandex wearing superhero story. It goes deeper. I love the fact that in order to fly, you need a combination of powers that work together. I’d honestly never thought of it, but it makes perfect sense. Which is part of the draw for me. It makes me think: Oh yeah, that’s totally how that would work if we had superpowers.

LOVE IT!!

I also love the characters.

Merrin is such a great heroine. She’s smart, strong, and she knows what she wants. She loves fiercely and fights like hell to save her family. I just want to hug her.

Elias is totally swoon worthy. He’s the sort of boyfriend every girl should have in highschool. He’s sweet, confident, supportive.

The best part about their relationship, for me anyway, is that neither of them loses their sense of self. Yes, they’re in love and they can do amazing things together. But Merrin never gives up being herself or tries to be different to make Elias happy. Theirs is a healthy relationship that makes me all kinds of happy.

No bad. Just read it. You won’t be sorry!

Take it Like a Vamp – Candace Havens

This review is so horribly overdue, I cannot EVEN begin to say. All I can do is apologize profusely for the lack. Work blew up like nobody’s business and I’ve been running to exhaustion since about mid-May. Again, my deepest apologies to the ladies at Entangled and to Ms. Havens (whose work I really enjoy).

I could fill the whole blog post apologizing, but really, no one is here for that. Nor should you be!

View the details here.

In my fogged and totally out of it brain, it took me a minute to remember the book and why the name Candace Havens was so familiar. Well DUH. She was one of the authors featured in A Riveting Affair – A Steampunk Anthology. All the squees. I really love this woman’s work! I reread the first line of Take it Like a Vamp and immediately remembered the entire story. It’s pretty darn groovy.

Casey’s best friend is a super hot guy, and really, who doesn’t wish they had one of those! Hers also happens to be a vampire, a rather high ranking one at that. Naturally, Casey doesn’t believe that she is good enough for the hottie but still manages to end up right in the middle of a vampire power struggle with said hottie wrapped around her little finger.

I know what you’re thinking, but the truth is, no. Vampire stories never get old. They’re a whole lot of fun to read and this one is no exception. TakeItLikeAVamp

The Good:

I love Casey. She’s a terrific character. While she has insecurities, they aren’t enough to where she lets people walk all over her. She’s got some serious fight going on. One of the things that I really enjoy about her as a female lead is her strength. Yeah, her man is all kinds of alpha and intimidating, but she holds her own and stands up to him. Repeatedly. She insists on a partnership. For this alone I could totally kiss the author. In a non-creepy way, honestly. It isn’t just Nick she stands up to, though. She also kicks some serious ass when his psycho ex (from like a hundred years ago) shows up and tries to take a bite (literally) out of her.

Nick is the hottie, head of the council, vampire. He’s a pretty good guy, who has fallen in love with his neighbor. It’s sort of cute how he tries to resist her, being a vampire and all. But boy, does he jump at the chance to have Casey, when he has to get married, or else. He’s kind of a dumbass for not just telling her straight out from the get go that he thinks she’s amazing, but guys are silly like that sometimes, and where’s the fun in

Now, I know that I should be all swoony over Nick, and don’t get me wrong. He is totally swoon worthy, but his bff Linc totally steals the show. He’s got all of Nick’s swooniness and a smart ass sense of humor on top of it all. Every alpha male needs a best friend who keeps him grounded and tells him how things are without sugar coating, and Linc is that guy. I’m pretty sure he has his own book, but if he doesn’t yet, he really needs one!

The Bad:

There’s not a lot that I could pick out that irked me in this one.

Casey, while initially down on herself, really came into her own and shined like mad by the end of the book. Her self-esteem improved, but NOT just because she had a man. So there was nothing there to piss me off about her. I related on all kinds of levels. She’s really a wonderful character.

Overall:

Candace Havens had already impressed me in A Riveting Affair and she did so yet again with Take it Like a Vamp. I really enjoyed this and am seriously considering another read through. The writing is great and the characters develop really well. Especially my girl Casey! I highly recommend giving it a read, you won’t be disappointed!

Desire by Design – Paula Altenberg

View the details here.

Once again, I had the privilege of reading an early copy for review purposes. Naturally, I am totally honest in these reviews. So it’s good that I enjoy the books, cause I’d really feel awful if I didn’t and had to give one a less than favorable review. So thank you, authors, for writing entertaining stories that I can totally get behind!

And also, wordpress has totally wonked with my layout and control screens and they look like pewp and are making me cranky. *shakes fist* Anyway. Back to the book!

DesireByDesignThe Story:

Evie is a driven project manager, with some mad design skills. She’s finally landed a terrific job working on the new City Hall building that will do great things for her career.

It seems like everything is going swimmingly until the Mayor starts “helping” things along. He brings in a professional architect to design the new building. Not only does this do awful things to Evie’s budget, it sends her heart (and hormones) sky high.

Matt thinks he’s just doing Uncle Bob a favor to repay him for all his help and support over the years. He has no idea the mess he’s walked into. Not only is he working with a super hot project manager, he’s also replacing her as the designer on the project. It turns out, that isn’t the only reason that she’s prickly and hard to get close to.

The Good:

I really enjoyed reading Desire by Design. It was a fun and fast read. The characters were sweet and watching them get to know each other and get close made me want them to end up together.

I liked that Evie was a tough cookie and could hold her own on a construction site. I also appreciated that she really wanted to be independent and make her family proud of her as well as being proud of herself.

Matt is a sweetheart. He’s just an upstanding kind of guy who tries really hard to do the right thing and live up to his expectations of himself.

Uncle Bob, the Mayor, steals the show for me, though. He is so totally offensive and over the top with how he treats Evie. It’s like he goes out of his way to be “that guy” and push every last one of her buttons. Obviously, you aren’t supposed to like him at the beginning of the book, because he comes off like a jerk. But as soon as I figured out what his real agenda was, everything he did was pretty hysterical. Uncle Bob’s talent for manipulation is epic and I love the twist to the title in light of his hijinks.

The Bad:

Evie, while a good character, kind of irked me a bit. She did things that made me want to smack her and yell at her to smarten up. As much as she made me cranky, her actions were consistent with her character and her internal motivations. So I can’t complain TOO much about it.

Overall:

Desire by Design is a fun read and leaves you feeling good after you’ve finished. Even without that, it’s totally worth reading just to watch Uncle Bob work his crazy manipulating magic.

Famously Engaged – Robyn Thomas

View the details here.

As always, the lovely women at Entangled Publishing provide me with some of the best ever reading material! I really love getting the opportunity to review books for Entangled, because they are, without fail, well written and famouslyengagedentertaining.

Famously Engaged, by Robyn Thomas, is a fun read.

Super famous rock god, Jake Olsen is just looking out for his baby sister’s best interests when he decides to very publically engage himself to Beth Carlisle. What could go wrong? Only lots, of course!

The Good:

I liked the premise of the book. It was unique and a lot of fun. I liked the fact that Jake was doing his best to look out for his family, even though his sister didn’t know they were related. It was touching that he went to such ridiculous lengths to try and head off a problem that really wasn’t even there. Sure, there were probably easier ways to do it, but then there wouldn’t have been much of a story there!

I loved that Beth was such a sweetheart. She really deserved the happily ever after that Jake gave her and she wasn’t so sickeningly sweet and perfect that you ended up not liking her. She was a real trooper through all the media nonsense and it was easy to admire her pluck. Nothing beats a sassy heroine! I also got a kick out of the fact that all of Jake’s band and entourage immediately adopted Beth as one of their own.

The interaction between Jake and his friends was great. It’s exactly how guys who have been friends for a long time treat each other.

The dialogue was snappy and the descriptions didn’t drag.

The Bad:

I know that they’re secondary characters and all that, but Brad and Skyla kind of irked me. I get that Beth is a great person and all that. Like I said, almost too great.

Skyla being friends with Beth is cool. I like that she’s able to be friends with her fiance’s ex. But Brad? He’s obssessed. Like way more so than any normal person should be. They got divorced for crying out loud. Yes, it’s possible to still be friends with your ex, but it was really beyond what I’d tolerate in my fiance. So I wanted to kick Brad in the ding ding because he was stalkery in the extreme.

So, while Jake’s approach was a little heavy handed and ridiculous, it was totally understandable given the epic creepiness of his future brother-in-law. Honestly, in Skyla’s shoes, I’d have been looking for a new fiance long before the time he suggested moving in with his ex.

Overall:

It isn’t an instant classic or the next Harry Potter, but Famously Engaged was a good read. It was quick and entertaining with a sweet outcome for two people who deserved to be happy.

 

Today’s post is brought to you by…

Far too little sleep. And possibly sugar. If I’m lucky, anyway.

It’s been a lot of book reviewing here lately and not much else. Which, all things considered, is only half reflective of what I’ve been doing with my time.

Yes, there’s been a ton of reading. Sort of makes sense and all, seeing as how I do that writing thing and I’ve been reading since I could say beer. Don’t ask me why the two are related, because they’re probably not at all.

Other things!

TV. Yes, I know it’s a time sink with little to no redeeming value, but darnit, I love my shows!

Started watching BSG (the new one) for the first time ever. A put it on and said “It’s good. Watch.” So I did. Way less cheesy than I remember the original (via reruns, thank you, I am not THAT old) being. Pretty darn good actually. I love Boomer and I don’t CARE if she’s a toaster. So HAH! We’re almost to the end of season two. After we’re done with BSG, I’m gonna make A watch Caprica with me again, cause I really liked that, too. It makes perfect sense to me that drug dealer Jesus (also known as Eric Stoltz – don’t judge, that’s really what he looks like in Pulp Fiction) would be the one to start us on the road to destruction. Sort of like the people who invented Watson (I for one, welcome our new computer overlords) have laid the groundwork for Skynet.

We’re also watching Hell’s Kitchen, OF COURSE!! I’m calling Mary or Jon. Gordon Ramsay is the poo. And then there’s all that drama from Kitchen Nightmares. Seriously people, why ask to be on the show if you don’t really want him to fix your shit? He’s Gordon f***ing Ramsay. Trust me when I tell you that he knows more about running a restaurant than you do.

The day job has been… interesting to say the least. I know that I was tearing my hair out when I was juggling all the management, but I can honestly say that I’d rather go back to that than deal with the inanity I have now. I guess details will have to wait for the individual causing the havoc to be immortalized as a character in a book. Cause good grief. The person is almost unbelievable.

There are probably other things. Like A and I saw Iron Man 3. OMG! Loooved it. Need to do so many TV and movie reviews. Obviously I need to win the lottery so that I can update all the stuff I need to. Yeesh.

Special treat tomorrow! And on the 22nd. Guest blogs from Jenna Bennett and Diane Alberts. Squeee! I love guest blogs. And their books. You should totally go read their books!

And so that this post isn’t beyond boring… I leave you with:

avenger-dogs

Tall, Dark, and Divine – Jenna Bennett

View the details here.

I often get bogged down in my day job and life in general. That’s one of the reasons that my posting is sporadic (try as I do to keep it somewhat regular). It’s also one of the reasons that I read. I find that it settles my mind and gives me a little bit of escape (I always here this in my head as es-cap-ay, thank you Finding Nemo!) from the stresses of life.

I received a copy of Tall, Dark, and Divine for review from the lovelies at Entangled. Thus far I have been a huge fan of everything I have read from them. They publish quality work and I love that I am able to give honestly glowing talldarkdivinereviews about the books I get to read. I liked TDD so much that I jumped at the chance to host a guest blog post by the author, Jenna Bennett. That will appear on the 16th!

So let’s get going!

The blurb:

Annie Landon has given up on finding Mr. Right, and has gone out looking for Mr. Tonight instead. A conversation overheard in the bathroom of Dionysus’s Bar about a jilted and lonely “Greek god” in need of a quick pick-me-up sounds like just what she’s looking for.

But picking up the god of love for a one-night stand is easier said than done–especially when he’s sworn off mortals forever.

Eros has been down and out since his ex-wife left him, and falling for another mortal woman is the last thing he needs. Which means a maddening desire for the woman across the street is not in the cards. Thus begins his quest to find a match made in heaven for Annie. It’s the perfect plan … if only Eros can bear to let the girl of his dreams go.

Can a woman looking for love, and a matchmaking god who wants her to find it—with someone else—have a shot at a happy ending, or will Eros’s golden arrows miss their mark, for once?

The Good:

I’m a huge fan of mythology of just about any flavor, but the Greeks are my first great love. (Third grade school library for the win!) Bringing the Greek gods into the modern era is usually a big hit with me. Jenna did a terrific job with this! I thought she really captured what made each of them tick and showcased the personalities in a fun way.

TDD made me giggle at several points, which is always a huge plus! I liked Eros (Ross) and Annie. They were a cute couple and I was happy for them to get together. There were times I wanted to shake Ross for having his head up his ass. You’d think that after thousands of years and being the god of love, he’d have gotten a clue. But in keeping with mythology, while a god and exceptional, he really is just a glorified mortal with all the faults and foibles of a man, somewhat exaggerated.

The best part of TDD, for me anyway, was Dionysus. The god of wine and debauchery and all that other good stuff that comes from getting a snootful now owns a bar. Totally makes sense. He totally steals the show. Dion is snarky, brutally honest, has this awesome habit of telling Eros exactly what he doesn’t want to hear. He’s hysterical and made me laugh throughout the book.

The Bad:

While I really liked Annie, I sort of wanted to shake her for not putting her foot down a little more firmly about Ross being a moron about whatshisbutt guy that he was trying to set her up with. Not that I don’t understand why she didn’t. I totally do and it really would have been out of character for her to pitch a fit about it. I mean honestly, who WOULDN’T doubt that a FREAKING GOD would want them. She’s totally believable and relatable. Which is why I wanted to shake her 😉

Overall:

This is a great read. I love how Jenna nails the characters of the gods and makes the whole thing light and fun, while at the same time telling a sweet love story. It was totally worth putting off that pile of paperwork that’s breeding on the corner of my desk!