Thursday, September 30, 2010
I particularly enjoyed the way Cready wove the story of the mapmaker into the overall plot. The fairy tale, which Joss's mom told, is revealed at the beginning of certain chapters as other parts come in Joss's reflections on her virginity as well as conversations she has with time-traveling Hugh. At the end comes a nice revelation about the story.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Pocket Books.
I think I've found the one that I want... It matches fairly well with what I already have and should fit nicely in the dining room. Once I get it, I'll post an update. It'll be nice to finally get the stacks of books organized!
I'll receive a free product for review from CSN Stores for making this post.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Publishers Weekly about A Hint of Wicked:
"Two devastatingly handsome gentlemen vie for the love of the beautiful Sophie, duchess of Calton, in this debut historical romance, which delivers almost too thoroughly on its heart-tearing premise. Garrett, duke of Calton, returns to England barely recovered from amnesia following the battle of Waterloo and finds that after thinking him dead for eight years, Sophie has married his cousin and best friend, Tristan, now duke in his place. Sophie is torn between her sensual attraction to Tristan and her childhood love for—and legal bond to—Garrett, while the rivalry wrecks the men's lifelong friendship and pulls Sophie's two young children between their warring fathers. Haymore portrays the three so intensely and sympathetically that by the end, all of Sophie's possible choices seem guaranteed to bring misery to the lovers, leaving readers distressed and unsatisfied."
Booklist on The Raven Prince:
"After reviewing her somewhat precarious financial situation, Anna Wren comes to the conclusion that she needs a job. When she discovers that Edward de Raaf, the Earl of Swartingham, requires a new secretary, it seems like the perfect solution to her employment problem. Having already lost two secretaries because of his temper, Edward reluctantly agrees to give Anna a chance. Much to Anna's surprise, she finds she likes working for the often stubborn but unexpectedly kind Edward, and Edward soon realizes that Anna is not only an excellent secretary but also an extraordinarily intriguing woman. Hoyt's superb debut historical romance will dazzle readers with its brilliant blend of exquisitely nuanced characters, splendidly sensual love story, and elegant writing expertly laced with a dash of tart wit."
Publisher description for Hot Wheels and High Heels:
"Trophy wife Darcy McDaniel has just discovered that, thanks to her embezzling husband, her posh, upper-class life is gone for good. Now she's trading her suburban palace for a trailer park and her weekly salon appointments for a job. Darcy needs a new man--fast--one who'll keep her in the manner she darn well deserves. Problem is, the hottest prospect around is the my-way-or-the-highway hunk who's making off with her beloved Mercedes!
"Ex-cop turned repo man John Stark is sure that hiring the furious blonde in his headlights is a colossal mistake. He knows Darcy's high-maintenance, designer-labels-only type--after all, he's used to taking their cars. But he never expected this hellion to have the smarts and the spunk to go from receptionist to repo agent in record time...or to drive him insane with desire. She's the last thing this tall, dark, and dangerous loner needs...and everything he never knew he wanted."
The rules: Enter by leaving a comment to this post with your email (if I can't contact you, you can't win). You can gain additional entries by leaving separate comments letting me know that you're a follower (one extra each for the blog and Twitter) or have posted a link to the giveaway on your site. The deadline to enter is 11:59pm Pacific on October 16. Winners will be selected at random. Since this is from Hachette the winners must have mailing addresses in the US or Canada; no PO Boxes.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Right up until the end, The Human Bobby was stellar, gripping, and kept me guessing. I raced through wondering how it would end. Would Bobby win back Ava by finding their son? It seemed likely as it would make for a happy ending though it would take a lot of work. But when the book did end it felt like an easy way out. And yet I hesitate to say that it was. There were a few hints sprinkled throughout that lead me to believe the ending was exactly what Rotter was working toward all along. It’s worth a second read.
One thing that I still working out is that The Human Bobby starts with Chapter 31 then goes back to Chapter 1 (this part really worked for me), but then the Chapter 31 that comes in the normal sequence isn’t the same as the one that started off the book. If other readers have thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them!
Review copy provided by Newman Communications.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
According to the acknowledgments, it was ten years ago that Jennifer Weiner started writing Fly Away Home, a touching story about family turmoil that kicks off with the revelation that the Senator had an affair with a legislative aide. This just goes to show that politicians have been cheating on their wives for a long time. But the affair is not the true focus; its public announcement is simply what causes the Woodruff family to finally begin dealing with their issues.
Oldest daughter Diana has created a perfect life but it's all a façade. She's never really been interested in her husband, not even when they first started dating; she's now having an affair of her own (with a 25 year old intern at the hospital where she’s a doctor!). Lizzie, the troubled youngest daughter, is fresh out of rehab and acting as live-in nanny to Diana's only son. And with Richard’s infidelity out in the open, Sylvie escapes to her family’s isolated beach house and finally examines her life and marriage, which she must admit has not been all that she expected. After Diana confesses her affair to her husband, she packs up Milo and heads to the beach house as well; meanwhile, Lizzie has shocking news of her own that has her taking up her mom’s invitation to the beach house. That’s when everyone starts being honest.
This is one that pulls you in a bunch of different directions. Fly Away Home is sad at times (Tim telling Sylvie about the breakup of his marriage is a heart wrenching), but also quite humorous. There were times when I sympathized with the characters (and I adored Lizzie), but times when they were frustrating beyond belief (see Lizzie shutting out Jeff). In all it is an excellent novel.
Review copy provided by Engelman and Co.
Friday, September 17, 2010
If you read my review, you know I really enjoyed the book. Here's what Publishers Weekly said:
"Brady's second romantic thriller (One Scream Away) sports a winning combination of complex characters and intricately woven plot. Mourning the recent death of her father, Maryland police detective Dani Cole is called back to work to investigate a murder because she knows the victim, a former prostitute named Rosie whom Dani helped to start a new life. An unlikely link between Rosie and arts foundation director Russell Sanders dissolves when Sanders is also found murdered, but by then Dani has reconnected with an old flame: Mitch Sheridan, the foundation's owner. The independent, solitary cop stubbornly resists Mitch's charms, but as bodies begin to pile up, Mitch and Dani find themselves at equal risk of falling in love and being killed. There's nothing exactly new here, but Brady's deft style will keep readers turning pages."
The rules: Enter by leaving a comment to this post with your email (if I can't contact you, you can't win). You can gain additional entries by leaving separate comments letting me know that you're a follower (one extra each for the blog and Twitter) or have posted a link to the giveaway on your site. The deadline to enter is 11:59pm Pacific on October 2. Winners will be selected at random. Since this is from Hachette the winners must have mailing addresses in the US or Canada; no PO Boxes.
I am a musician, teacher, mom, wife. I’ll be the first to admit that I have never had any first-hand experience either knowing killers or catching them. (And, just for the record, I hope to keep it that way.) Neither do I have any background in law enforcement.
Yes, I have a friend who’s a cop and he answers a procedural question for me now and then. Yes, I occasionally attend workshops or clinics designed for authors who write crime novels. Yes, I sometimes watch one of those reality-TV shows about solving crimes.
But mostly, I just read. I read and read and read. I’m fascinated by good guys chasing bad guys. Cops, detectives, sheriffs, FBI agents. I love them all.
From mostly reading, I’ve learned a little—and little is the key word there—about how police might go about catching a criminal. But once I learned the basics, the bad news came to light: Most police work is pretty boring, at least from a reader’s standpoint. Investigators spend hours and hours sifting through files, interviewing people who know nothing, tapping other law enforcement agencies, staring at computers, driving from one place to another only to find nothing. Rarely—rarely, I say—do they get involved in high-speed chases and shoot-outs and even more rarely do they fall in love in the course of an investigation and take a moment here and there to have wild, passionate sex. The truth is, if I wrote a story that was utterly realistic about cop work, no one would read past the first page. Same goes with crimes and criminals, by the way: Most aren’t very colorful.
So along the way, I’ve had to allow myself the freedom to admit that this is fiction. For the sake of an exciting read, I allow myself to write with acknowledged inaccuracies in police procedure and with extreme characters for criminals. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spent hours or days trying to make the actions in a story completely accurate and believable, only to sit down and watch a popular TV show drama where the investigators are utterly unrealistic and the criminals are larger-than-life.
That’s when it hits me that as an audience, we still buy it. If I connect with the characters and enjoy the plot, I’ll let a cop get away with doing something unprofessional or a criminal get away with doing something unbelievable—and still love the show.
This is all to say that I think research is necessary, important, and grand. Accuracy and believability are wonderful qualities in a novel. But above all, readers of suspense want the thrill-ride of a good chase, and if I sometimes have to stretch the boundaries of reality to do it, I will. After all, I’m a musician, teacher, wife, and mom. If I only wrote stories about what I truly know, I wouldn’t have many readers!
Review copy provided by the publisher, Forever.
Want to win a copy of your own? Enter the giveaway. Also, check out the other tour participants:
Thursday, September 16, 2010
There’s a lot here, but the book centers on how messed up April is as a result of having parents who shouldn’t have been parents. Not long after her abusive father puts a teenaged April to work in his bar, she’s molested by the co-owner. Despite April’s protests to Oliver, Callahan seems to hold up this ongoing abuse as the catalyst for April’s current behavior. So there’s that issue, then there’s the reason why Oliver is back in town to setup this uneasy hint at romance in the first place: April’s brother died in a car crash. The family decides Grandma must not be told because of her fragile health, but you just know the truth is going to come out at the worst time (and it does). And Oliver has his problems too, though he seems content to ignore them and take the easy path that he’s already established (law school and marriage). There was just a little too much to adequately address in a novel with a lot of unhappiness in just over 300 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Grand Central Publishing.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Kimberly and her mother struggle because of their limited English and subpar living conditions; but eventually Kimberly gets on track. Although subjects requiring English are difficult, she’s able to prove herself in math. When the principal of her elementary school recognizes this, she’s able to arrange for Kimberly’s application at one of the top private schools in New York City. Kimberly is so impressive that the school not only accepts her, but waives her tuition only requiring her to work in the school’s library. While this is great news, Kimberly’s aunt is insanely jealous and begins to make things worse for them. And yet Kimberly is on track to accomplish all of her dreams until the astonishing twist comes at the end. It doesn’t mean Kimberly can’t go to Yale, but she does face a difficult decision.
I thoroughly enjoyed Girl in Translation; the various relationships Kimberly forms were especially interesting. She really has two lives (home/work and school) and the sharp contrast between the two was incredible. There was one thing I found annoying about Girl in Translation although I understood what Kwok was doing. Some of the dialogue is written as Kimberly hears it. It sometimes made it difficult to understand what was being said, but then, that means the reader has the same experience as Kimberly who also had difficulty understanding people in America.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Riverhead Books.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
And be sure to catch Jane Porter on tour:
Sunday, September 12: 2-5pm
Monday, October 11: 7pm
LOVE AND WAR IN TEXAS
Thursday, October 14: 5-7pm
THE TWIG BOOK SHOP
San Antonio, TX
Friday, October 15: 4-6pm
HILL COUNTRY BOOKSTORE
Sunday, October 17: 12-3pm
KATY BUDGET BOOKS
Sunday, October 17: 4:30-6pm
Monday, October 18: 10am
BLUE WILLOW BOOKS
Sunday, October 24: 3-5pm
STAR GUILD FUNDRAISER
Thursday, October 28: 7pm
Monday, November 8: 7pm
THIRD PLACE BOOKS
Lake Forest Park, WA
Saturday, November 13: TBA
KENTUCKY BOOK FESTIVAL
Wednesday, December 8: 7 pm
A BOOK FOR ALL SEASONS
Friday, January 14: 7 pm
LAGUNA BEACH BOOKS
Laguna Beach, CA
From Publishers Weekly:
"McGlothin (Sinful Too) explores themes of race in 1955 New Orleans via the spirited capers of his two protagonists, Bones Arcineaux and Hampton Bynote. Hampton, from the nearby village of Newberry, is a young and defiant black man who befriends Bones, a young mulatto dandy. They partner as cat burglars hitting affluent French Quarter residences until one heist ends in the murder of a white city politician. Back in Newberry, Hampton falls in love with Magnolia Holiday, but they're separated after the New Orleans cops, unable to nab Hampton for the murder, arrest him for a lesser crime that gets him locked up for 14 months. Jumping ahead to 1971, Hampton and Magnolia are settled with a family when Bones shows up with plans for him and his old friend, but despite their criminal association, a more ominous issue arises from an unexpected quarter. Though the villains are little more than piggish caricatures, McGlothin's rugged prose captures the sultry locale, and the suspenseful edge is a nice complement to the story's social conscience."
The rules: Enter by leaving a comment to this post with your email (if I can't contact you, you can't win). You can gain additional entries by leaving separate comments letting me know that you're a follower (one extra each for the blog and Twitter) or have posted a link to the giveaway on your site. The deadline to enter is 11:59pm Pacific on September 25. Winners will be selected at random. Since this is from Hachette the winners must have mailing addresses in the US or Canada; no PO Boxes.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Although Nick’s secret wasn’t what I thought it would be, when it was revealed it seemed a little expected. (Oddly, it seemed Coleman was hinting that Nick’s secret would have to do with his death, which it didn’t.) To address any of the reasons why would be a complete spoiler, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say that while The Home for Broken Hearts is well-written and has many interesting aspects, the secret is a big ol’ cliché.
Despite the cliché (which thankfully comes toward the end), I enjoyed the book. Each character really came to life, especially Ellen and two of the renters: Allegra (one of Ellen’s favorite romance novelists) and Matt (an attractive younger lads’ mag columnist). One character who really intrigued me was the one never met: Nick. The three who knew him (wife, son, and sister-in-law) view Nick through their grief while the three tenants hear something different in the “he was wonderful” stories. Even before Allegra shared her thoughts on Nick, I’d been leaning that way too; it pleased me that someone else heard the same stories and didn’t think Nick was such a catch after all.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Gallery Books.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Secrets to Happiness: headlessfowl, Jennifer L., and Scorpio M.
Follow Me: Brenda
Thursday, September 2, 2010
As Callie embarks upon her date other men to get over Mark plan, she has some crazy dates and deals with her even crazier family. Eventually Callie and the vet get together. Ian (the vet) proves himself to be a fantastic guy when someone Callie loves dies, but their romance gets a little complicated when Mark attempts to get in good with Callie again. The story is predictable, but nicely done. My big complaint is how annoying Callie sometimes is. In addition to her initial obsession with Mark, Callie repeats the same cutesy phrases (“holy guacamole” in particular) to the point of exhaustion.
Review copy provided by FSB Associates.