Sunday, November 30, 2014

review: too hot to handle by victoria dahl

Victoria Dahl's books are always fun, sexy stories with strong heroines and Too Hot to Handle is no exception. It follows a woman who has drifted a bit through life, but now Merry has finally landed a museum curator job where she's tasked with turning a Wyoming ghost town into a tourist attraction. Of course there's a hitch. The grandson of the man who established the museum trust is contesting the will. The conflict Merry faces is tremendously done and she is an excellently flawed, lovable character.
5/5
Review copy from Amazon Vine.

Friday, November 28, 2014

review: saving grace by jane green

Saving Grace starts off slowly with a lot of background on how Ted and Grace got to where they are now. Ted is a temperamental, well-known author while Grace has turned to cooking (Jane Green includes a number of recipes in this novel) now that their daughter is grown. It seems like a fairly light read, but then turns dark when a new assistant comes into their lives. While I never really connected with Grace, who comes across as weak (did her childhood really damage her so much that she couldn't see what was happening?), Green does create an interesting premise albeit one that takes a little too long to get going.
3/5
Review copy from Amazon Vine.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

review: s.e.c.r.e.t. shared by l. marie adeline

After her own love life took a bad turn at the end of S.E.C.R.E.T., Cassie joined the group to guide other women on the same path she took. This is how Cassie winds up helping Dauphine, who is shy around men. The second book of the series primarily follows Dauphine and her sexual fantasies, but also incorporates the continuation of Cassie's story. L. Marie Adeline also brings in a minor character from the first book to create trouble for S.E.C.R.E.T. which made a nice addition and a great way to add some drama. There are also some unexpected turns regarding how Dauphine gets some of her charms which keeps the second in the series from being too much of a repeat of the first.
4/5
Review copy from Amazon Vine.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

review: it's the great pumpkin: the making of a television classic by lee mendelson

As with A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition, It's the Great Pumpkin: The Making of a Television Classic is beautifully illustrated. Lee Mendelson provides a fascinating look behind the scenes of the Halloween Peanuts special. Of note is that because child actors were used, their voices would sometimes age them out of their original role and they would voice other, older characters. It was fun to read about the experiences of the child actors and the production team as they reminisced about the television specials. This book includes the story of how the Halloween special came about, photos, and of course, the fully illustrated script.
5/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Dey Street Books.

Monday, November 24, 2014

review: playing with matches by suri rosen

Playing with Matches begins after Raina has already been expelled from a private school in Manhattan and forced to live with her strict aunt (her parents are in Hong Kong for work) in Toronto. Unfortunately her presence is what the fiancé of Raina’s sister cites as the reason for breaking off the engagement. With her sister/best friend devastated, Raina vows to find Leah a match. This comedy of errors finds Raina mixed up in all sorts of humorous matchmaking mistakes as she tests out her abilities on others before anonymously setting up her sister. Despite her frequent missteps, Raina is someone to absolutely fall in love with. Playing with Matches is a cute story, but it will also touch your heart.
5/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, ECW Press.

Friday, November 14, 2014

review: now that you're here by amy k. nichols

In an Arizona much different from the one of this universe, Danny is running from the cops when he suddenly wakes up in a different universe (ours). He meets the parallel of the girl he had kissed in his universe and as luck would have it, Eevee loves science and sets about helping Danny figure out how he ended up in another universe. They make a good team (and a great couple) and the subject of parallel time is fascinating, but Now that You’re Here could have been stronger if Danny had expressed more conflict about the two worlds. In the one where he has fallen in love with Eevee, he has no parents which should make a difference to a high school kid. Eevee, on the other hand, is fully fleshed out and a strong lead character.
4/5
Review copy from Amazon Vine.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

review: every contact leaves a trace by elanor dymott

One night Alex’s wife is murdered. In looking into her death, Alex discovers there was much about Rebecca’s university years that he didn’t know. Unfortunately, Elanor Dymott describes everything in such excruciating detail and sets about unfolding the mystery in such a roundabout telling instead of showing way that I no longer cared to learn who killed Rebecca and why about halfway through Every Contact Leaves a Trace. I hoped the revelation would be at least a decent payoff, but it was dissatisfying at best.
1/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, W.W. Norton and Company.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

review: boomerang by noelle august

After waking up together from a night they can’t remember, Ethan and Mia discover they are both the new interns at an online dating site called Boomerang. Although they’re obviously attracted to each other, their new boss lays down some rules which include not dating each other. They’re also in competition with each other for a job at Boomerang after the internship is over. These supposed obstacles never really got in their way so it all seemed very contrived. Boomerang was cute, but lacked substance. The introduction of Ethan’s ex, Alison, proved to be quite pointless. It felt like there should’ve been something more there, but it never ended up being addressed.
2/5
Review copy from Amazon Vine.

Monday, November 3, 2014

review: tabloid city by pete hamill

Pete Hamill’s Tabloid City is incredibly disjointed with numerous characters and plots taking place. The primary story is about the collapse of a newspaper, but that story gets lost in the multitude of others, many of which had no bearing on the rest of the story. The other story that’s at the forefront doesn’t even develop until about one-third of the way into the book because so much time is wasted on the other minor plots.
1/5
Review copy provided by the publisher, Back Bay Books.

review: when we fall by emily liebert

When We Fall focuses on two women with different lives living in the same New York suburb. Allison has just returned to her hometown to raise her son near her parents. She may finally be ready to date after her husband died a decade ago. Charlotte has a seemingly perfect life, but there’s plenty of trouble in her marriage. Allison and Charlotte meet when their children end up in class together. They are further brought together when Allison realizes Charlotte’s husband was good friends with hers when the three were at summer camp together. While it seems Allison could be a much needed solid friend for Charlotte, her presence has the unfortunate side effect of straining Charlotte’s marriage even more.

Both women were realistically presented as flawed though sometimes Allison was too naïve while Charlotte jumped to too many conclusions. Another downside was that Charlotte’s friends too often seemed like caricatures. Given how character-driven When We Fall is, the story would’ve been better with stronger character development; however, the plot was engaging and moved with a quickness that really draws in the reader.
4/5
Review copy from Amazon Vine.