90’s nostalgia, here I come!

Drain You
By M. Beth Bloom
YA Paranormal Romance (light romance)
HarperTeen, July 24th, 2012
Rating: Strong PG-13. Open door sex scenes, but no really details given
Coffee Beans: 4/5
Favorite Lines: So I loved Libby, but in a vintage way. Like a childhood blanket, or my dad’s mac and cheese. A deep love, but not one you tap into on a daily basis. (Ebook, pg 25)

Okay, no big deal, I’d just call Stiles…at his underground lair, where he most likely had Libby chained to a radiator and she was loving it. Stella gave me the number, which contained not even one six, let alone the three in a row I’d expected. (Ebook, pg 76)

…I drew on so much eyeliner I looked like a sobbing drunk raccoon on a tequila bender… (Ebook pg 134)

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my unbiased review.

Publisher’s Summary:
Every night I’d lie there in bed and look out at the hills behind our house, listening. I knew there’d be consequences.
Actions meant reactions. Sunrises meant sunsets. My fear was too permanent, lasting longer than eyeliner, something I wore every day and didn’t wash off.
Quinlan Lacey’s life is a red carpet of weird fashions, hip bands, random parties, and chilling by the pool with her on-and-off BFF Libby. There’s also her boring job (minimum wage), a crushed-out coworker (way too interested), her summer plans (nada), and her parents (totally clueless). Then one night she meets gorgeous James, and Quinn’s whole world turns crazy, Technicolor, 3-D, fireworks, whatever.
But with good comes bad and unfortunately, Quinn’s new romance brings with it some majorly evil baggage. Now, to make things right, she has to do a lot of things wrong (breaking and entering, kidnapping, lying, you name it).
There’s normal, and then there’s paranormal, and neither are Quinlan’s cup of Diet Coke. Staying sane, cool, in love, and alive isn’t so easy breezy.

My Review:
I admit, when I read the first chapter, I wasn’t that impressed. The voice was a little off and the writing didn’t grab me. But I kept reading and figured out that this was pretty much awesomeness. It instantly reminded me of The Lost Boys, but now. It also reminded me of the 90’s (which I loved) and made me want to move back to SoCal and remember the good times I had while growing up.
There were multiple things that impressed me with this book:
The dialogue. Snappy, witty, snarky, and funny, Bloom’s dialogue is just downright good. I was there, it was real, and it carried the story much more than just narrative alone

The MC’s voice. Quinn has a dark sense of humor and is so quick with everything, and her attitude of “whatever” is the icing on the cake. There were so many funny lines that were added that perfect certain something, which made the entire reading experience that much better

The MC. Quinn, for me, is very real. She cares deeply about those who mean something to her. She doesn’t know what she wants when it comes to boys. She’s shallow and selfish at times, but she has drive. And I didn’t find that off-putting at any point. Mainly because she gets called on it (several times) and she knows it’s the truth. But we’ve all been there. Admit it.

The relationships. There are several different, unique relationships Quinn is a part of, and they all come to life so realistically. Her absentee parents but their very functional relationship. Her coworker and complicated relationship-er, Morgan. Her casual best friend, Libby. The snobby girl from school, Naomi. James, the hot brother Quinn never knew existed. The equally hot other brother and instant best friend when crush disappears, Whit. And the evil twins, Stiles and Sanders. They all work brilliantly.

The package. I’m assuming this is going to be a series. Depending on how well this one goes. I thought it was a tight, well-written story encapsulated into one book. The ending was finite but there are definitely LOTS of questions that still need answering.
There were two thing that didn’t sit well with me, though.
Instalove. I’m not a fan of this. It’s unbelievable and really jars me out of a story. Yeah, we get Quinn thinks James is hot and she’s majorly crushing on him and they have to get together for the sake of plot progression. But getting as close and invested as they did—and in only a week—is a little hard for me to swallow.

The MC sleeps. A lot. Which isn’t bad, I guess. But she’s always tired and sleeping. *Shrugs shoulders* Just thought I’d mention that.

If you’re a fan of the 90’s (and if you aren’t, you should be), if you liked The Lost Boys (and if you didn’t, shame on you. Watch it again and change your mind), and if you enjoy dark humor, pick up the book. You’ll probably be pretty entertained.
Pick it up and decide for yourself. 🙂
And yes, this is another vampire book. I love them so much. ❤ I will buy this book so I can have a physical copy forever and always.

The Asylum Interviews: Bronx (The Asylum Tales, #0.5)The Asylum Interviews: Bronx by Jocelynn Drake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great start to a new series.

Gage owns a tattoo parlor called Asylum. He tries to live his quiet life flying under the radar because he has many things to hide, however nothing is ever simple in the world Gage lives in.

He meets Bronx, a troll with a mysterious past that is an excellent tattoo artist, as he comes to Gage’s rescue when a friend tries to distract him and gets into trouble.

As this short story unfolds, Gage and Bronx try to help Parker causing more trouble, the fix finds themselves in several predicaments.

A fun and compelling story and I am looking forward to meeting more characters that will surround the tattoo shop called Asylum.

View all my reviews

Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test, #2)Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Cover Factor: Pretty sweet
Rating: PG-13 for closed-door sex and some violence
Coffee Beans: 1.5 (And only that high because I liked the cover)
Favorite line: Ha! None
Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for this honest review.

 

What a way to start a Monday, folks!

Publisher’s Summary:

Kate Winters has won immortality. But if she wants a life with Henry in the Underworld, she’ll have to fight for it.

Becoming immortal wasn’t supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she’s as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he’s becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate’s coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.

As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.

Henry’s first wife, Persephone.

 

My Review:

“Oh, Kate!” Get over yourself, please.

I’m sorry to anyone who liked this book, but this review is going to be somewhat harsh, so, if you don’t want to be a witness to my forthcoming opinion, my feelings won’t be hurt if you mosey along.

I’ll wait.

Okay. Where do I begin?

Is it the fact that Kate is the WEAKEST female character I’ve seen in a YA book (yeah, I’ve seen plenty, but she’s near the top)? Is it the fact that….omg….I can’t even finish that sentence, there are just so many options to choose from.

Here’s my summary:

• A heavy-handed “theme” of, “It’s not your fault she got in trouble; she made her own decisions and these are the consequences” and while that is a positive theme, saying it (exactly like that, btw) five different times in the book makes me feel like you think I sit in the corner with a dunce hat on my head.

• Kate asking EVERYONE “Does he love me? I don’t think he loves me. I mean, he loves me, doesn’t he?” every two seconds is soooo tiresome! If your that insecure in your relationship, THEN MAYBE IT’S NOT THE RIGHT ONE FOR YOU. Let’s not even address the fact that this is her husband from the first book in the series (I think it’s called The Goddess Test?). Her insecurities voices every. Single. Moment was such a distraction from the plot. Which was trying to prevent Chronus from escaping his prison in Hades and Calliope

• Kate’s relationship with her “husband”. Talk about codependent in the worst way possible. Constantly think about what she did to make him mad, what she could do to make him like her more, pay attention to her, and whatever else she needed to feel validated. (Ugh!!)

• Oh wait, and then there’s the insecurities/jealousy regarding her husband’s ex-wife, Persephone, and the fact that Henry cheats on Kate with Persephone while they’re married. I guess I can see here why Kate would question if Henry really did love her. I mean, he normally treats her like she’s some obscure painting on the wall, but this really says, “Eh, I don’t really care.”

I like stories about Greek mythology and I kind of like Carter’s spin on it (although, I didn’t get all of it in Book 2, since most of it was set in Book 1 and I am now refusing to read it). So I guess it would be a “positive” that this book was loosely based on that. Kind of.

Anyway. That’s all I’m going to say. I know this is A LOT shorter of a review than I normally post, but anything else I would have to say would just be beating a dead horse, and I love horses. Dead or alive.

So I refuse that.

Usual disclaimer: pick it up and read it for yourself. You may feel differently than I do. But I doubt it.

I really, really doubt it.

–Rachel

Diva (Flappers, #3)Diva by Jillian Larkin
YA Historical Fiction
Rating: PG
Coffee Beans: 4 of 5 stars
Spoilers: Nope
Disclaimer:I received a copy of this book free via the publisher in exchange for this honest review.
Publisher’s Summary:
Parties, bad boys, speakeasies—life in Manhattan has become a woozy blur for Clara Knowles. If Marcus Eastman truly loved her, how could he have fallen for another girl so quickly? Their romance mustn’t have been as magical as Clara thought. And if she has to be unhappy, she’s going to drag everyone else down to the depths of despair right along with her.

Being a Barnard girl is the stuff of Lorraine Dyer’s dreams. Finding out that Marcus is marrying a gold digger who may or may not be named Anastasia? A nightmare. The old Lorraine would have sat by and let the chips fall where they may, but she’s grown up a lot these past few months. She can’t bear to see Marcus lose a chance for true love. But will anyone listen to her?

Now that the charges against her have been dropped, Gloria Carmody is spending the last dizzying days of summer on Long Island, yachting on the sound and palling around with socialites at Forrest Hamilton’s swanky villa. Beneath her smile, though, Gloria’s keeping a secret. One that could have deadly consequences . . .

My Review:
I received Vixen (book 1 in the Flapper Series) a couple of years ago and LOVED it. I requested an ARC of Ingenue, book 2 in the series, and was denied. When Diva, book 3, came out, I tried again and was rewarded.

What I liked:
Even though I hadn’t read Ingenue, I knew where Vixen left off and where Diva picked up, and with the clues that Larkin sprinkled in throughout the story, I was able to fill in the story holes and not miss a beat.

Larkin does, once again, a brilliant job of making this another character driven novel. I love how the story is told from the points of view of all the main characters. Doing that really gave me a well-rounded and personal feel for each of the girls (and occasional guy), as well as a more 3-D image of the story. We’re given a view from Gloria that we would NEVER get from Clara. And the humor Lorraine provides would never be there had we only been told the story from Jerome’s point of view. You can’t help but form strong attachments to even the smaller-role characters with the way Larkin writes.

The 20’s has always been a favorite time period for me, and to have Larkin describe everything the way she does just puts me in heaven. I’d love to see this made into a movie so I could visually lust after all the gowns and shoes.

Favorite Line: It was better to risk loving too much before it was too late and all you were left with was regret. (pg 305, ebook)

What I didn’t like:
Even though I loved all the fashion talk about clothes and dresses, and I know that that was a big component of the 20’s, the name dropping got to be bit much at times.

I was a bit confused with Larkin’s dialogue tags. There would be a quote, then another person would be performing an action tagged onto someone else’s dialogue.

There were a few really good emotional scenes that really carry the momentum of the story that were interrupted with too much narrative which pulled me out and made the scene lose the impact Larkin was trying to give it. Also, there were a few high tension scenes that were just too short lived.

Overall, this is another terrific book in the Flapper Series, seamlessly knit with the first two, and an easy read. I really enjoyed reading it and will go back and pick up the second book just so I can get more of the Gloria, Clara, and Lorraine.

Happy reading, my friends!

–Rachel

Oregon Outback (Romancing America)

Image

Elizabeth Goddard

July 2012

Barbour Books

352 pages

 

A Synopsis of the Four Books:

Comprising four novellas in one volume: A Love Remembered, A Love Kindled , A Love Risked, and A Love Recovered, is about four brothers journey to find love. It begins with FBI agent Jonas Love who brings trouble back home, endangering his life and that of an old flame. The second is about cattle rancher Carver Love who finds himself falling for the sheriff in the midst of chasing down modern-day rustlers. Thrill-seeker Lucas Love is featured in the third book —  a man who fears nothing until he meets a beautiful bookkeeper. And finally, Justin Love is trailing a fugitive in book four who’s heading too close to home—and one particular lodge keeper. How will God protect these men as they risk their lives to defend the ones they love?  

My Take:

Elizabeth Goddard is a good writer who creates believable likeable characters. The story runs through each novella, linking them together into one enjoyable whole. Unfortunately, my problem with the books is the problem I always have with novellas – they’re too short. I would imagine Ms. Goddard faces the same frustration in writing them that I did in reading them, namely, the extras and embellishments that make romances so much fun to read are missing. In 40,000 words, she must streamline the story and lay out the characters cleanly, which doesn’t allow for any extras that contribute so much to a book. I want to know the particulars about Carver and the sheriff’s original showdown, not a recap. How did Justin Love come to believe he was too dangerous to return to his family? What pivotal event marked his life? Hints aren’t enough for me, nor is the author’s say-so, I want to hear it myself from the characters experiences. Yes, the bare-bones of the background of the story is given, but we don’t experience it and that is a huge drawback.

My Rating: A 3 out of 5 simply because of their brevity.

Deep Autumn Heat

Deep Autumn Heat: A Loveswept Contemporary Romance (Star Harbor, #1)Deep Autumn Heat: A Loveswept Contemporary Romance by Elisabeth Barrett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sebastian Greyson is a master chef and owner of the upscale restaurant, Helena. He was born in Star Harbor, Massachusetts and still likes to think of himself as a local, although he seems to be the only one that thinks that way as he has been gone for several years. He still comes back at least once a year to hook up with his brothers to honor their father who died twenty years ago on Labor Day weekend. Val is the oldest and became the man of the house when their father died, always the stable one, he still lives in Star Harbor. Cole is the next oldest and has served in Afghanistan, came home a little broken and now is the local sheriff after being a cop in Boston. Theo is Seb’s twin and an author living in San Francisco. While spending time with his brothers, Seb is also brainstorming a new menu for his restaurant and planning for a new cooking TV show.

Lexie Meyers is the owner of LM Kitchen which is a breakfast and lunch place in Star Habor, she will soon start a catering business and her first customer is her friend Emma who is getting married in a few weeks to another local boy, Jimmy. Lexie moved here a couple of years ago to start a new life. She needed to leave California and a bad relationship and has moved as far away as possible.

Lexie is working at her restaurant when Seb and his brothers come in for coffee, she knows who he is and thinks he is presumptuous and stuck-up. Seb on the other hand, enjoys her company and her special creation, coconut cake. He starts hanging out at LMK, disrupting the flow and bothering Lexie. He even goes so far as to challenge her to a cook off so he can spend more time with her.

While Lexie and Seb spend more time together their attraction grows and Seb keeps putting off several decisions and opts to stay for his friend’s wedding in Star Harbor. Strange things happen to Lexie, enough that Cole, as local law enforcement, gets involved. They find out that Frank (Lexie’s ex-boyfriend) is no longer in California. Even though Lexie hopes she has moved on from her past, she takes out a restraining order on her ex; their past relationship had deteriorated so bad that in the end he tried to rape her. She does not believe he knows where she is at, but is always mindful of what could happen.

Deep Autumn Heat is a wonderful story that is compelling until the end. As the story unfolds we find out the fears that both Seb and Lexie need to overcome, Seb needs to think about where he wants his career to go and how far and Lexie needs to overcome the past, however when the past comes to meet her she needs help from the community, including Seb to get through it.

View all my reviews

Can’t Buy Me Love

Can't Buy Me LoveCan’t Buy Me Love by Molly O’Keefe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lyle Baker wants his estranged children home before he dies. And he has the money and power to bribe Tara Jean Sweet to help him in his scheme. So they publish an article in the paper along with a photo of the two of them together announcing their wedding plans.

Luc and Victoria are the children Lyle wants home, which is the last place they want to be. Even though they were from different mothers, Luc and Victoria are very close and spent several summers with their father on the ranch, however those were some of the worst times for each of them. Lyle was a brutal father that dealt out discipline with his hand and fist. At one point Luc’s mother stopped sending him to the ranch when Luc started talking about how to stop his father. Victoria also had the additional problem that her mother was the mistress and she was not treated well whenever Lyle’s wife Gloria was around. The only reason Luc and Victoria think about coming home is that Victoria wants her inheritance and she will do anything, including returning to the ranch, to make sure that a Bimbo Barbie does not get it.

Luc is a famous NHL Hockey player currently on hiatus before his last year of playing, he needs to successfully convince everyone that the head injury he recently received is not causing brain damage and will not bother him during games. Although Luc never wants to see his father again, he will go back for Victoria who is a recent widow after her husband conned several people with a ponzi scam. She has lost everything and has a young child to think about and lacking confidence in herself, believes she can’t do anything except live the way she is used to.

Tara Jean Sweet is helping Lyle with his wish to have his children home one last time before he dies. She does not expect to marry him and plays along with this fake engagement. As a reward, Tara will get a portion of his leather business to have some security in her life, something she never had. She grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and left home in her teens after her mother got mad at her when her mother’s boyfriend took advantage of her. Tara behaved badly in her younger years while trying to survive, things she is not proud of and does not want anyone to know about, she is hiding from a past and a man she hopes will never find her.

The story has unsympathetic characters and you have to dig deep to find positive qualities about them. Luc is angry at everything including a possible life without hockey and Tara is a past gold digger that only recently has lived the straight and narrow. These people are not perfect by any means and need some redemption to be likable; however throughout the course of the story, with the father dying, the reading of the will and Tara’s troubled past coming to find her, they begin to become human and we end up cheering for them to find happiness. Throughout the book we also get a glimpse of the secondary characters, Victoria and ranch foreman Eli, they too need some redemption as they are both very angry and unlovable but they have a whole story to go through to gain our love.

View all my reviews

Make Your Own E-Reader Cover

Have you priced the covers for eReaders? While they are down from the astronomical prices a few years ago, it’s still not uncommon to pay $50 to $100 for a cover. So chances are you only have one. As usual, creative folk have ways to avoid paying those costs, plus make them personalized. A co-worker, Charla, has made several covers for her Kindle, and she allowed me to photograph them and include her instructions for inspiration. Her first one grew out of her childhood love for Nancy Drew. She purchased a book from a thrift shop to use as her cover. It was so darling she grew more adventuresome and now has them created from other books and journals.
Image
Here are the instructions. You will need:
1. Something to turn into a cover: Think books, journals, and notebooks with stiff covers. Remove the pages from inside so you just have a shell.
2. A piece of felt in a coordinating color that is 1/2” larger than the height and width of the cover laid flat.
3. 12” of ¼” sewing elastic – any color you prefer, cut into 4 equal sections.
4. Elmer’s or Tacky glue.
5. Piece of thin cardboard such as a cereal box.
6. Sewing machine – needle & threat would work, machine stitching is more secure

Instructions:
1. Place your reader on the cardboard, trace around it and cut two shapes.

2. Lay your felt on the table below your opened cover and position the two pieces of cardboard in the center of the left-hand and right-hand sides of the felt. Glue the cardboard pieces to the felt, then pull the extra felt around the top and sides, gluing them around the edges. When finished you will have 2 semi-firm sides of a book liner with the spine free. For additional hold while the glue dries, use paperclips to hold edges.

3. Place it right-side up (cardboard hidden) on the table. Using the illustration above, cut four slits in your cover alongside the spine. The slits are approximately 1.5” from the bottom and top of the liner. Insert ½” of one piece of elastic in the slit and sew it to the felt and cardboard, making sure not to stitch the 2 ½ “ that is free.
4. Bring the free edge of the elastic to the bottom of the felt, 1.5” from left-hand corner, curve under the edge, pulling it tight enough so it will be able to hold a corner of your eReader securely in place. Sew the second end through the felt and cardboard.

5. Turn the liner over and cover the left and right sides completely with glue, being careful not to get any on the spine section, and secure to the book back. When dry, you can place the eReader in the loops and it will be secure.

I have included several photos of Charla’s three covers. In one you will notice that her eReader loops are on the left-hand side. She created this one for church, so the reader is on the left and a pad is secured on the right for note taking. If you decide to make one of your own, we’d love to see it and share it on the blog. So send us pictures.

Hauntingly beautiful story that will leave you thinking about it long after you’ve closed the covers

(Review from Dec 09, 2011 from my personal blog, RaeLynnFry.Blogspot.com)

I’d seen this title around, but never really had the desire to read it. The summary told me it wasn’t my typical type of book. Then I read Tahere Mafi’s review, and changed my mind. I consumed this book in 24 very short hours. It’s hard to describe the feeling this kind of book gives you. How it changes you as a person. It sounds so cheesy, but it’s true. This is a book about life. About people, and sadness and how loss can kill a person inside, how it effects everyone and the importance of family and loved ones.  This isn’t just a story, it’s a life and that life’s pain unfolding on each page.

Her words are so poetic and simple and real and oh, so powerful. The way she expresses the profound sadness and emptiness that comes with losing someone you love with all your heart was overwhelming. I felt everything Lennie did, I was riding this rollercoaster with her. I was crying with her, in the darkness of the closet amongst Bails’ clothes. I understand why she did the things she did, because while reading this story, I lost Bails too, and felt the need to do those same things. Make those same decisions and say those same words.

The poems in the books, the snippets of Lennie and Bails lives together was perfect and heart-wrenching and beautiful all at the same time. Jandy has a way with words that I have never seen before and I doubt I’ll see them again. There were so many times where she expressed something so complex in such a rudimentary, brilliant way. There’s a poetic element to her prose and narrative that is so fluid.

Every character, and I mean every character is real enough to touch. I wait for them to come walking down the street. I want a grandma like Grams, I want to live in their town, I want a crazy uncle who’s been married a bazillion times, I want to be able to play an instrument like Lennie or Joe can. I want to know them all. It’s just a great story and experience that you’ll have to have for yourself. Loved this book and will read it again. It definitely made it onto The List.

The toes knows.

Here are a few of my favorite lines from Jandy’s book:

“It’s as if someone vacuumed up the horizon while we were looking the other way.” Pg 3

“My sister dies over and over again, all day long.” Pg 9

“I wish my shadow would get up and walk beside me.” Pg 37

“But what if music is what escapes when a heart breaks?” pg 86

“Our tongues have fallen madly in love and gotten married and moved to Paris.” Pg 125

“My sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes part of you,m step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving Bailey because I will never stop loving her. That’s just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don’t get one without the other. All I can do is love her, and love the world, emulate her by living with daring and spirit and joy.” Pg 257

There’s still time to pick this up and read it for our Read Along discussion on Twitter this weekend (#IDS_BookAddicts, Wednesday, July 11th @ 2 PM MST)