Sunday, April 29, 2012

review: gossip by beth gutcheon

With a title like Gossip, I expected a scandal-filled good time from Beth Gutcheon.  Although there is some scandal, the storylines just didn’t live up to my expectations.  First off, the title is actually derived from what narrator Lovie says is the original meaning of talk between the godparents of a child.  As such, much of the focus is on the adult children of two of Lovie’s best friends.  Said children eventually meet each other (although Lovie is friends with each one’s mother, their mothers are not friends), fall in love, marry, and have a child of their own.  Meanwhile, real-life events such as the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack and the Great Recession affect the characters; however, everyone is relatively unscathed and problems are always of their own making.  It was for that reason that I couldn’t find anything likable about these snobbishly wealthy New Yorkers.  Another issue with Gossip was that it was told from Lovie’s perspective, which meant there was quite a bit of disconnect from the action as it is always Lovie relating what happened rather than it playing out on the page.  Furthermore, nothing really happened until the last few chapters of the book when there was finally the huge scandal that I was waiting for, but it came out of nowhere and was quite disturbing.
Review copy provided by FSB Associates.

Friday, April 27, 2012

review: starters by lissa price

Callie and Tyler lost their parents to the Spore Wars that wiped out everyone who hadn’t been vaccinated, which means only the young and the elderly survived.  Kids like Callie and Tyler who didn’t have grandparents to take them in were either institutionalized or ended up living on the streets in constant fear of raids.  Money would make life easier, so Callie goes against her better judgment and signs up with Prime Destinations which will pay her to rent out her body to old people who want to relive their youth.  But one of Callie’s renters isn’t looking to have fun in a teenage body—she’s actually working against Prime Destinations.  There’s a problem with the merge though, so Callie is in control during much of the rental and uncovers the plan.  Soon she’s fighting to save her own life and the lives of so many other teens who just might find themselves permanently rented against their will. 

Two things made Starters really enjoyable:  the villain (though I wish he’d arrived on scene sooner) is completely creepy and Callie is a great heroine.  Even though her own life is at risk, Callie is always motivated to help her younger brother; she also finds a surrogate younger sibling along the way, which proves quite beneficial later on. 
Review copy from Amazon Vine.

giveaway winner: how to ravish a rake

Congratulations to Joanne!  She's the winner of How to Ravish a Rake.

Friday, April 20, 2012

review: friends like us by lauren fox

In their mid-twenties and still trying to figure out what to do with their lives, roommates Willa and Jane are the best of friends and no man can ever come between them. That is, until Willa reunites with Ben, who was her best friend in high school. Unbeknownst to Willa, Ben had a crush on her for all those years. So it almost seems inevitable that Ben would now fall for Jane, who looks so much like Willa that people mistake them for sisters.

Friends Like Us is definitely one of the best books I've read this year. I found the story completely relatable, especially since the characters were perfectly flawed. By that I mean that they’re not such wonderful people as to be unbelievable nor do they behave so awfully that I would never want to be friends with them. Furthermore, the characters were hilarious (like when they're snarking at their friends' wedding) and I loved spending time with them even though I knew something would happen to ruin their friendship. It wasn't too hard to guess what that something would be considering Ben first loved Willa, then started dating Jane, but it was interesting to see how it happened.
Review copy from Amazon Vine.

Friday, April 13, 2012

review: passing love by jacqueline e. luckett

Although her married lover insists she not go to Paris alone, Nicole does so anyway (earning instant favor with me). The trip turns into quite the revelation as Nicole learns, at age 56, the truth of her parentage—a story told in both the present-day and in the 1940/50s with chapters from Ruby’s perspective.

Passing Love is a masterful work. Each page had me ready for the next as I desperately wanted to know what happened to Ruby and what Nicole would discover next. The descriptions of the different time periods and places were incredible; I particularly appreciated Luckett’s contrasting of race relations in the US and Europe during and after WWII.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Grand Central Publishing.

giveaway winner: jami alden and dee davis

holdenj is the lucky winner of Run from Fear and Deadly Dance. Congrats!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

giveaway: how to ravish a rake

Want to read about Amy and Will's romance for yourself? Hachette has provided one giveaway copy for one of my lucky blog readers.

From the publisher:
Amy Hardwick has one last Season to shake off her wallflower image and make a love match. If she can't, she'll set aside her dreams of romance and return home to a suitor who can provide security-if little else. What she doesn't count on is the inappropriate-and irresistible-attention lavished on her in a darkened library by rake extraordinaire Will "The Devil" Darcett...
When Will is caught in a tryst with the ton's shyest miss, he knows he must offer for her hand. Yet Amy is not the shrinking violet she seems to be. Passion lies beneath her prim exterior and Will is eager to release it. But winning Amy isn't simply a matter of seduction; first, Will must convince her that he's mended his wicked ways..."

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 April 21. 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.

review: how to ravish a rake by vicky dreiling

This post contains affiliate links.

Will needs to marry a wealthy woman so he can pay off his gambling debts; Amy needs to marry because, well, that’s what women did in 1818. When the pair end up locked in a wine cellar, they’re forced to marry to avoid scandal. Although they don’t really know each other, the marriage fulfills the very basic requirements both need; however, this also means it’s a long time before the two get romantic. In fact, they sleep separately the night they’re married. Amy is quite prudish initially, balking at Will seeing her naked in the bath, but after a slow seduction that involves posing nude for Will’s painting, they finally consummate the marriage. There are sweet scenes and it was nice to see a couple take things slow since so many romance novels have the characters immediately jumping into bed. Despite the sweetness, Will and Amy were a little boring for the first 100 pages or so. I enjoyed these two as secondary characters in Vicky Dreiling’s previous books, but I didn’t find them strong enough to carry How to Ravish a Rake on their own.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Forever Romance.