Of Witches and Warlocks: The Trouble with Spells
on May 15, 2011
The Trouble with Spells is the first book in the Of Witches and Warlocks series by Lacey Weatherford. The book centers around Portia, who discovers she is a witch on her 16th birthday. On the same day, she learns that Vance, the hottest guy in school, is a warlock who belongs to the same coven. The book begins with Vance's point of view. Any book that starts with a sexy, mysterious guy has a fighting chance with me. I felt that the best parts of the book included Vance. I really liked when Vance's past is revealed, bit by bit. I found myself skimming over a lot of the minute details of Portia's day-to-day life, always ready to get back to Vance. Which leads me to a teeny problem I had with the storyline.
Shortly after connecting, things move fast for Vance and Portia. Very fast. Vance starts spending nights with Portia, in her room, in her bed. I had a hard time believing parents of a teenager would let her boyfriend sleep in her bed every night. Even if they are "bound" and decide to remain abstinate. But to the authors credit, Portia's mom does express concern with the situation and has "the talk" with Portia. Also, there were times when the narrative began to feel a little young for me.
Now that I've gotten that out of my system, let me say what I did like about The Trouble with Spells. This was a very, very sweet love story. The chemistry between Portia and Vance is so hot. When Lacey Weatherford describes their passionate kisses, I swooned a bit myself. I did love the devotion they had for each other. The book also had great drama. When Vance's trouble past comes crashing into the present, the drama, danger and mystery is ramped up. I don't want to divulge spoilers, but the last few chapters had me gasping and gaping.
In fact, the last few chapters of the book were so great that I can not wait to read book two in the series, The Demon Kiss. As of now, there are four books in the series. As long as they are all as good as The Trouble with Spells, you can count me in!
Meant to Be (The Saving Angels book 1)
on May 15, 2011
Meant to Be is a great debut for author Tiffany King. The story has great characters. Krista is very relatable and endearing. As teens, many of us felt as if every feeling and emotion was on display. But for Krista, that's a reality. She is the kind of character you can't help but love. Mark is the handsome and noble young man that many of us wish we had known in high school. He was totally swoon-worthy. There are the great sidekicks, Shawn and Sam, that are a lot of fun to read.
In addition to great characters, Meant to Be had a nicely developed, well paced storyline. I had gone in thinking the book was only a love story, but about halfway through, I was caught by surprise. I found myself suspensefully reading, frantically trying to find the answers to the questions forming in my mind. What is the connection that binds Krista and Mark? What is this unseen force trying to tear them apart. I literally flew through the last half of the book trying to find the answers to those questions. That to me is the mark of a truly great book. I HAD to know the answers.
Tiffany King has a great way with descriptive writing. She is able to set the scene and emotions without being too wordy and bogging the flow. Every time Krista became overwhelmed, I became flustered as well. When King described the climate, I almost felt I needed to clean myself of the salt and sand of Santa Cruz, California. I am looking forward to reading many more books by Tiffany King.
The Book of Lost Souls
on June 08, 2011
The Book of Lost Souls starts out like a great joke. A witch (Ivy), a vampire (Raven) and a werewolf (Shayde), turn a lizard into a date for the witch. Given an opening like that, I knew this was the book for me. I became instantly immersed in this cool, fun world author Michelle Muto has created.
In the town of Northwicke, there are Regulars (humans), and Kindred (supernaturals). The Regulars and Kindred have warred in the past, but now peacefully co-exist. Their agreement is based on mutual trust. The Kindred trust the Regulars to keep their secrets. The Regulars trust the Kindred to keep them safe. The Kindred consist of a wide range of supernatural beings. There are varying from witches, to demons, to trolls. The main character, Ivy, is a witch. Her friends are Shayde and Bane, were wolf twins; Raven and Gareth, vampire siblings, Nick, a demon; Spike, who is Gareth's pet lizard-turned-hottie. And I must not forget Devlin, Ivy's Beezlepup, a fox-dog hybrid.
Ivy and company are terrific, fun characters to read. When Muto wrote the dialogue, she was absolutely spot-on. The conversation of the characters was real, did not feel forced or awkward at all. These teens were basically good kids. They get into some , or a lot, of mischief. They aren't annoyingly perfect. There is no hand-wringing, whining or brooding. Especially Ivy. Ivy is funny, smart and is able to get herself out of trouble (with some help from her friends). One of my favorite of her friends is Nick. Michelle Muto really hit a home run creating Nick. I was so relieved to read about a really good guy. He's funny, really cool. He seems to have no secrets or agenda. He is a guy who lays it all on the line, letting Ivy know exactly who he is and what he wants. The chemistry between Nick and Ivy had me on edge. Will Ivy ever give in to Nick's charm? Will she realize he's not the bad boy she's made him out to be? Will she ever fully trust Nick? Will the finally kiss???
The Book of Lost Souls is a funny book, yes. But it is a whole lot more than that. This is a book about friendship, trust, regret and believing in the good in one's self.
If there was ever an "indie published" book that you should read, it is The Book of Lost Souls. To quote the movie Mary Poppins, it is "Practically perfect in every way". I wish I had a "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval" type of thingy to give this book. Maybe I should work on that. In the meantime, I'll go work on begging Michelle Muto for Book 2.
The Curse Girl
on June 16, 2011
I have been sitting here for about 10 minutes, trying to start writing. But I can’t seem to stop ogling the gorgeous cover of The Curse Girl. From the beautiful girl, to the gorgeous bluish/purplish colors, and the magic dust (or is it stars?); the cover to this book is a definite win.
As you might have deduced from the synopsis, The Curse Girl is a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. I’ve never read a re-telling of a classic tale, so I was excited to take this book on. When the story opens, Beauty (who also goes by Bee) has been betrayed, then abandoned by her father. Bee has been given up to the Beast to pay for her father’s sin. When her father leaves Bee at the Curse House, she must enter the spooky mansion and become a prisoner of the curse herself. As you might imagine, given that his nickname is Beast, the owner of the mansion, Will is arrogant, hateful and condescending. The house is filled with employers and family members who have also been saddled with the curse. Bee must decide whether to succumb to her fate, or work with Will to solve the riddle that makes up the curse.
The Curse Girl is filled with several memorable characters. There is Bee, of course. Bee is a funny, snarky, spunky girl. She never lets Will’s “beastly” personality get her completely down. She is immediately up to the challenge of solving the riddle. Will, as I stated before, definitely has some character flaws. While he is often irritable and rude, you always get the sense of his underlying despair and vulnerability. Will’s sister, Rose, is a delightful little girl. She is often the peacemaker to Will and Bee. There is also Liam, a boy chained in the basement of the mansion, whose screams wake Bee at night. The most surprising character of The Curse Girl is the house itself. Kate Ellison managed to make the house into another living, breathing, albeit spooky character.
While all of these elements make for a great story, The Curse Girl is not limited to the modern world. There is also Fae Land, the home of all mythical creatures. There are faeries, trolls, witches, elves vampires and werewolves. No one in Fae Land is trustworthy, and all are dangerous. Of course, the mystery to breaking the curse is the driving force of the story. What will break the curse? Will Bee and Will find a way to work together before time runs out?
The Curse Girl is a story filled with a tremendous sense of magic and wonder, which made it a very charming book. Kate Ellison managed to take a “tale as old as time” and create a charming story of her own.
*I received a copy of The Curse Girl from the author, Kate Ellison, who asked me to give an honest review*
on June 28, 2011
As I sit here, pondering exactly how to write this review, I feel a little overwhelmed. This book, Bone Dressing, took me completely by surprise. I'm terrified that I won't give this epic, bountiful book it's just due with me review. I have so much I want to say about Bone Dressing, but I strive for "spoiler free" reviews. Nevertheless, I must try.
First off, I LOVED Syd Roberdeau. Michelle Brooks throws you inside this character's head from the get-go and it's "away we go". Luckily, inside Syd's head is an awesome place to be. Her inner dialogue is sometimes sad, but also insanely funny. Syd is a wise-beyond-her-years, seventeen year old who has been forced by life to grow up too soon. She has a mouth like a sailor, a hair trigger temper, and is strong and confident.
Soon into the book, we are introduced to Beau, Sarah and TJ. Who/What are Beau, Sarah and TJ? That, I can not tell you, but I will tell you that each one is a terrific addition to the cast of characters. Sarah is a little sweetheart who often keeps the peace between Beau and Syd. TJ is, well...TJ. And Beau? I took an instant liking to Beau, as does Syd. Beau is a funny, intense, mysterious and surprisingly caring towards Syd. He is a smart alec with a bit of swagger.
Syd and Beau have an instant chemistry. They often reminded me of magnets. The pull between them often seems beyond their control. Syd must finally find the strength to remove the walls surrounding her heart, or Beau will leave. As she tries to find this strength, we are left with an emotionally wrought, heart-breaking scene. This moment brought me to tears right along with Syd. When the moment comes that the two may finally kiss, Brooks wrote the perfect scene. The words come out sensual without being remotely cheesy. The anticipation is torturous. This was one of the best "will they or won't they kiss" moments I have ever read. I was literally holding my breath and talking to the book in my hand! What binds Syd and Beau is more than a typical relationship. Beau seems to be Syd's salvation. Or, maybe, at the very least, he is there to facilitate Syd while she tries to save herself. He is the calm in the storm of her life/lives, able to say exactly what she needs to hear:
"Just breathe, Syd. And let it be. It's all good. Stop trying to control the day and just live it."
So, I know until now I've only talked about the main characters. But about halfway through Bone Dressing, this book turned entirely on it's head. I had my own A Christmas Story moment. I actually said "Ohhhh, fuuuudge!" Just like poor Ralphie. My husband thought I was insane. I just shooed him away, and re-calibrated my brain. This turn in events, to me, was brilliant and unexpected. I just wanted to slap myself that I didn't see it coming. I love books that are able to surprise me and don't have huge, flashing signs that signal a change coming.
Bone Dressing is the first book in what I expect to be a truly epic, seven book series. I can honestly say that I have NO idea what will happen next. There are quite literally hundreds of different roads Syd, Beau and company can take. Michelle Brooks has written engaging characters with what I consider a brilliant, distinctive Southern voice. Bone Dressing moved me in many ways I'm not sure I can give name to. I feel lucky that I had the opportunity to read and review this beautiful book.
Tempt Me (One Night with Sole Regret #2)
on Sep. 16, 2012
Adam Taylor was first introduced to us in Try Me, the first book in the series. I think I can speak for a lot of readers when I say that I was instantly taken with this quiet, broody rocker. Thankfully Olivia Cunning didn't make her readers wait too long to find the man beneath the rocker exterior. Adam was a surprise. His character has a sad past and a shaky yet very hopeful future. A past that makes his present relationship with Madison make sense. Madison is a cool chick. She has given Adam so much support in the time she's known him. She has been willing to be Adam's girl whenever he's in town, but her heart wants more. It's time to make a move or make a getaway and Madison is willing to put her relationship with Adam on the line, to satisfy her heart.
Once again, Olivia Cunning, or OC as my close friends and I call her, has brought the hardcore sexy. I can't even explain to you how much I love her books. I started out reading the full-length Sinners on Tour novels, and was ecstatic when she began writing her One Night with Sole Regret series of novellas. What I like about these novellas is the fact they can be easily and quickly devoured. They provide a tasty little "afternoon delight", if you will. *wink* Because really, we're all busy ladies and sometimes, we need our books to give it to us hard and give it to us fast. Am I right? Adam and Madison's sexcapades (I know that's a lame word but I like it.) are bit less kinky than Cunning's other rockers, but still so steamy that you'll have hot flashes. The scenes are very imaginative and so well-written that I almost feel that I'm there. *sigh*
Tempt Me was such a great story. I loved Adam, Madison, and the short but very dramatic turns in their relationship. Though Tempt Me is short, it doesn't feel incomplete. I was totally satisfied, but dying for more. I'll definitely be stalking her site until Shade's (he's an ass, but so sexy) story, Take Me, is released.
on Oct. 21, 2012
A fascinating story built around ancient memories, those who transcribe and protect them, and the never ending quest for peace and knowledge. Cornerstone begins as the story of Nalena, a girl who is tolerant, but socially ostracized because of her mother's eccentricities. Convinced that no one will ever see beyond the stacks of paper that consume her house, and her life, Nalena wants to be invisible to those who taunt her. But one person refuses to see through her, Garrett Reese. Garrett seems interested in knowing Nalena. The more she's around Garrett, the harder it becomes to remain invisible. When Nalena begins to notice remarkable changes in herself, and is harmed by an unknown person, she discovers that her mother may not be "crazy" and that Garrett Reese knows more about her than she ever imagined.
Going into Cornerstone, I had absolutely no idea of what to expect with the paranormal element. And honestly, I don't even honestly know what to say about it in my review. I don't want to go into all the details. I feel as if that would be spoiling the story, and taking half the fun in reading Cornerstone away. I will say that I have never read a story quite like this one. The paranormal is something completely unique to any book I've read before. Provencher does an excellent job of laying it out in such a way that it is detailed, smart, well-explained.
Cornerstone has an amazing cast of characters. Nalena is a girl that I just want to wrap up in love. She is a good daughter, always tolerant of her mother's quirks. She's a smart girl, she knows how to protect herself, especially her heart. When the hottest guy in school notices her, she's surprised and flattered, but is careful because of the torment she's endured. I love that she didn't throw herself at Garrett's feet; she makes him prove his worth. The further the story moves along, the more I loved Nalena.
I honestly felt sorry for Evangeline, Nalena's mom. She honestly wants the best for her daughter, but seems to be the source of all of her problems. But Evangeline has some serious secrets, and though I wish she would've been more upfront with her daughter, I can understand the need to keep your child safe. The Reese family was awesome. They were loud, loving, and loyal. I loved their closeness, their humor.
So...I have to swoon a little bit about Garrett. OhMyGosh! He was Perfect! Garrett is kind, caring, attentive, intelligent, athletic, supportive, and did I mention GORGEOUS? I have to admit, I'm crushing pretty hard on the poor guy. It's hard to find a balance of perfect without becoming boring or cheesy, but Provencher did a perfect job with Garrett. He's one of my new favorite Book Boyfriends.
I have to say, the ending of Cornerstone sucker punched me in the heart. I was shocked, saddened, and sobbing. And boy is Misty lucky that I had book two, Keystone, loaded and ready to go on my Kindle!
Cornerstone is an intricate, beautiful story that will appeal to your logic, and your heart.
The Charmed: Book One of a Trilogy
on Nov. 26, 2012
With a fated romance amid a danger-filled world, The Charmed is a story that will resonate with lovers of Adult Paranormal Romance.
The Charmed is a story that I really enjoyed. You have a heroine in Olivia who is a bit innocent, but not completely naive. A bit dramatic in her emotions, but not over-the-top melodramatic. Caleb, her savior and love, was a true romantic hero. He was all man, er, vampire...a manly, protective man who also happens to be a vampire. Their relationship, intense and fast-moving, was very steamy, dramatic, and heart-warming.
The vampire world that author Christine Wenrick built was familiar to other stories in some ways, but managed to have a unique enough spin to make it her own. The bad vampires were scary, the good vampires could be scary when pushed to the limit, but had human-like qualities as well. There are dhampirs, a human/vampire hybrid, who live somewhere in between. There are even vampire hunters, who didn't play a huge part in this book, but I expect a lot more out of in book two. As for Olivia...well, she is something all her own, something unlike I had ever read about before. I'm not going to go into it deeply, because it takes a decent bit of explanation, and it's something better left to the book.
There is one aspect to The Charmed that I think some readers may pick at the love story. Caleb and Olivia's attachment could seem like a case of insta-love to some, but I don't mind it when I can feel the connection strongly. I just felt that I should probably point that out. ;-)
The Charmed was a quite beautiful story. I enjoyed its destined, yet challenged lovers, and the dangerous world they live in. This is a series that I look forward to continuing in book two, The Charmed Souls.
Miss Me Not
on Dec. 16, 2012
I know what you're probably thinking. "A suicide book? I don't like to read about suicide." Well, much like funerals, nobody actually likes reading about suicide, but it is important nonetheless. And though the story is initially about two teens who have plans to go out together, Miss Me Not isn't about suicide in the way you may think.
Miss Me Not is actually about living. About Madison's decision not to end her life, and with the help of a kind, generous boy, she decides not only to not die, but to really live.
Madison Hanson is not your normal teen. In fact, she can be fairly unlikeable. But Tiffany King did a truly thorough and beautiful job of slowly revealing the events and people who made Madison the way she is...surly, brittle, untouchable. Madison is a girl who did some pretty bad things when she was younger, all to gain her unreachable parents' attention. And as badly as she has been treated because of it, her conscience is the loudest voice of all.
"He was the sun, while I was the darkness."
When Madison meets Dean, I could definitely see where the story is headed. But, the road to friendship was smoother than I imagined it would be and I appreciated that. I expected Madison to continually push Dean away, or for him to initially be a real jerk to her. It quickly becomes apparent, though, that Dean is a boy beyond compare, and that Madison really truly wants and needs love. To have the story, without the major bickering and back-and-forth, made the story much better, and allowed the focus to center on Madison's emotional journey rather than the budding relationship.
Miss Me Not was a very, very well-written, heartfelt, thought story. King's writing is practically flawless. And though the story begins in a tragic place, and has many sad moments, it is also hopeful, and uplifting. Miss Me Not is not to be missed.
The Charmed Souls: Book Two of a Trilogy
on Jan. 28, 2013
With a battle between Good vs. Evil and a swoon-worthy romance, The Charmed Souls is a great continuation of The Charmed Trilogy.
I have to admit, I was a little worried about picking up The Charmed Souls. Second books in a series are always tricky, even more so when the heroine and her leading man are separated, as Olivia and Caleb were at the end of book one. Because of that separation, although mostly necessary, it did take me a bit to warm up to this book. I understand that Olivia was doing what she melt she must, but I'm a romantic at heart. She and Caleb are a great couple and I wanted them back together. Pronto. But Olivia isn't away just for the sake of adding angst to the story. While she is with the Brethren, she is learning more about their world, and training to protect herself. That in itself was great because I love to see a proactive heroine.
However... Caleb can't stay away for long and once they are reunited, this book became fantastic. Yes, the entire story is an interesting and cool take on vampires, but the heart of this series is the love between Caleb and Olivia. It is sweet, exhilarating, and intense. I have to say, the author turned up the steam factor and I was one super-happy reader. It was romantic, erotic, and left me fanning myself. Wow. I will never look at a piano bench the same way again.
The Charmed Souls deals with a lot of revelations about Olivia's family, with a big surprise on that front, and about the Daywalkers like Caleb and Jax. I thought I was sick and tired of them, but I love Wenrick's take on vampires. There's also the secondary relationship issues between Jax and Gemma, two characters I adore and hope find happiness, with one another.
The Charmed Souls was surprising and sexy, and I ended up having a great time reading it. It wrapped up really well, leaving me satisfied on all fronts. But then...the epilogue. I'm scared! It set the story up for a great final book, The Charmed Fates.
Friends & Lovers Trilogy
on May 13, 2013
Make It Last
Colin and Briana were high school sweethearts. When Colin broke Briana's heart, he left her behind, with an empty place no other guy has been able to fill. After four years, she's moved on, but when Colin comes back to town and realizes what he's missed, the two will discover whether they have what it takes to make it last. (no pun intended, seriously)
I really enjoyed Make it Last. I love stories of two people who reconnect after heartbreak and years apart. I love when the two are forced to recognize who they've each grown into and have to re-evaluate their feelings. So in that aspect, Make it Last definitely appealed to me. The story is fairly short, which I have absolutely no problem with, I just felt it could have dug a little deeper into the emotions. Show me the heartache. Make me feel the emotions stirring. Leave me breathless, just like the characters. But still, I did really enjoy the story. Other than the showing vs. telling, it was well-rounded and left me so happy with its ending.
Make it Last is absolutely brimming with secondary characters who were vying to steal the story! Pete, Kara, Roni, Rich, Kent (broke my heart!), Nicole...they were all characters that I want to know better, probably Rich and Kent the most. This feeling leaves me wanting more from the series and I will definitely be reading Kent's story, I Choose You.
I Choose You
What a sweet story! We first meet Kent and Nicole in Make It Last, and I was definitely left wanting to know more about these two, particularly Kent, so I was really looking forward to reading their story.
I Choose You is a very quick and easy read, but I did feel that Lopez was able to manage to give enough insight into the characters to make me feel like I knew them, their story, and their motivations, wants and needs. Kent's story made my heart pinch. His upbringing was so sad and I truly felt for him and his twin sister, Roni. It explained a lot about him, the cool exterior and his effort to have a peaceful surrounding and control of his life. It also explains why he is hesitant to become too involved with Nicole. And though her story wasn't tragic, it was still difficult for her to break away from her family's expectations, and to maintain the ideals she embraces.
I found I Choose You to be a really sweet, thoughtful story, very low on angst. Sometimes I really appreciate a story that can accomplish to make me feel without making me crazy. The characters are the focus here, and Lopez has managed to create a great bunch of friends and lovers.
Trust in Me
From the beginning of the series, I wanted Rich's story. He's always been sweet, funny, and suuuuper sexy. I'm really glad that he finally got his own book, and I'm happy that Roni is his match.
Like her brother Kent, Roni was a troubled character. Not troubled in the present sense exactly, but more because of what she'd gone through. She was a girl who'd never had a great shot at the life she wanted, but was working hard to make it happen now. She doesn't want a guy like Rich, who's known as a ladies man, but is actually so much more. Rich did not disappoint in Trust in Me. He was just as sexy and fun as in the two previous stories, but he was also kind and thoughtful. I really enjoyed this couple's journey to the love they both deserve.
I also really, really appreciate that author Bethany Lopez wrote bonus scenes for each of the trilogy's couples. These provided a sweet, fun look at their futures and gave a nice resolution to the series.